My parents in their youth became atheists. My father lost his brother, and the tragedy of it made him lose faith. My mother also had different but still sorrowful experiences which led her to atheism. Considering their experiences, they would raise my brother and I as atheists.
I maintained that state for the majority of my life, almost twenty years exactly. I developed a sort of disgust with religion in that time. My father liked to disparage all religions, mentioning the slavery verses, sexism, and more, and this affirmed my atheistic mindset. It led to me debating religious topics with Christians even though for a considerable time I'd never even so much as read a chapter of the Bible or the Qur'an.
It took one debate that actually embarrassed me for me to develop that interest. We'd been debating for over thirty days on many varied topics, mostly ethics. He showed me verses I'd never seen before. So, I decided to read the book so I could debate honestly and be more confident in winning. Around this time in high school, I did Forensics, a speech and debate course, which would help me value doing research and choosing what I engaged in intellectually in a careful way.
The more I read of the Bible and was exposed to diverse Christians, the more I felt drawn to studying it, same with the Qur'an and other religious texts. When I graduated and went to a secular college, I took a religious studies course headed by Dr. Robert Stockman. His lectures and recommended works were very valuable. I'd also venture into the World Religions Through Their Scriptures program hosted by HarvardX. I accumulated a lot of academic works by saving my money, including religious and irreligious scholarship like Bart Ehrman, and also did the same for Islam, prioritising both as an academic focus. I'd read through Sahih Bukhari, the Qur'an, and the tafsir of Ibn Kathir.
While I haven't researched into other religions as much as I have Christianity, I still to this day read, and have recently purchased (as of this writing) works that analyse Babylonian and Chinese mythology, and have the Japanese Kojiki to read and study. I encourage anyone to spend some time just learning for fun and being honest with the approach!
In any case, this in a way paved the way as a foundation for what would lead me into Christianity.
Merci pour la lecture!
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