Anthony Lane's De-Conversion Story
“I grew up in Baptist Churches. There are gaps in my memory, during which time I assume my mother became lazy again and stopped taking us to church. When I was in the fifth grade, I became the subject of the church bus (or van) which, when you think about it, is just another way to hook the young when Mom and Dad just don’t care enough to go. This is the true beginning of my life as a Christian. During this time, I was ‘saved’ and baptized. I joined youth groups and went on retreats. I never questioned. For some reason, which I’m too intelligent to understand now, god existed and there was no doubt.
“Fast forward a few years to my senior year of high school. I think I can trace my first moment of doubt to listening to George Carlin’s amazing stand-up imy car. His thoughts on religion were shocking to me. I was sure that he was going to hell, but his words still inserted the doubt into my mind. I joined the US Army where I met an atheist for the first time. As much as I denied it, everything he said made perfect sense to me.
“I fought that doubt for six years until I was convinced that god did not exist. It scared the hell out of me. The only thing I felt I could do at that point was to throw myself into the Christian world again. I joined a local church and began working with the youth group. I spent the next 18 months studying the Bible. I spent all of my extra time working for the church. But the more I studied and taught, the more it slipped from my grasp.
“While teaching the youth group on a Wednesday night, I prepared a lesson called “20 questions.” We all sat in a circle. Everytime we answered a question, we moved our chairs closer to the center. The questions were easy at first — ketchup or mustard? At the end I asked, “Do you love god?” Everyone said yes, of course. Then I asked, “What person do you love more than anyone else on Earth?” The final question was, “When you think about how you really feel about that person, can you honestly say you feel the same about god?” everyone said, “no.” That was the nail in the coffin. I never went back.
“Christians will argue that we have to get to know god. We have to have a relationship with him. The reality, however, is that we feel the emotion we call love for people on Earth because our senses can detect them. We get to know them through these senses, and we love them because of our experiences with them. Experiences we can never have with a being who is nothing more than an idea.”