My parents were Lutheran (Missouri Synod). After a brief soul-searching as an adolescent following my confirmation (a ritual meant to ratify my baptism as an infant), I turned further fundamentalist and thumped the bible hard to repress my burgeoning homosexuality. It grew from a skepticism about the rather blasé emphasis on the bible that the Synod espoused (sermons were clever but watered-down treatises on snippets of bible verses, without real regard for its authority).
Eventually, however, it became easy for me to shoot holes in the authority of the bible, when fundamentalists who I met attempted to explain away easy-to-see evidence of natural history, like dinosaurs. They sounded brainwashed, with their non-answer answers. Questions posed as a response to a question. I was ashamed to be a part of them, and I turned my back on the bible. I still wanted God in my life, though.
Rejecting the authority of the bible was a slippery slope, as they say. A few years later I posed myself a scary question: what if there is no God? The probability of his existence for me seemed to boil down to a binary choice: he exists or he doesn't exist. Allowing the possibility (in a binary choice this is a 50% chance), I had to confront what could be a possible (scary) outcome: nothingness. I understood my beliefs or feelings were irrelevant to the reality of such an outcome. If God didn't exist, did wanting him to exist or desiring a more favorable outcome for my soul matter at all? If it didn't matter, why should I waste my time attempting to justify or prove his existence?
As I said, for me it was a slippery slope. I understand my belief is irrelevant. He exists or he doesn't exist. If he exists, do I accept others' revelations or anecdotes as proof of his existence and shouldn't such proofs withstand scrutiny?
You may mistake this post as a denunciation of religion or others' religious views. It is not. It is a chronicling of my journey and the sacrifices I made to reach some of the conclusions and ask the questions that I do. For me, it's still a binary question. The damage to my unwavering belief in a god is my own doing, and I have no regrets. I would think, if God exists, he would ask the same questions.