So what makes you so cocksure that you found the right answers?
Science is great for evidence-based experiments. Philosophical conclusions are another matter. One cannot be as sure about philosophy and belief as one can about tangible evidence. It would seem to me that at best one could go from being a believer to an agnostic. And about the parental analogy, I'm proud to claim something wiser than myself. I don't relish being an orphan and feel bad for those who are.
If I have conveyed the arrogance of being "Cocksure" about anything I owe you an apology. I don't feel cocksure about much at all. My atheism is not about absolute certainty about deep questions humans have asked since time immemorial. And I really have no interest in the philosophical hair splitting that is atheism/agnosticism. I discarded my faith as I discovered that religion has very few solid and reasonable answers to back up Cosmic claims of mind-boggling magnitude.
There is nothing wrong with being happy that there are others older, wiser, smarter than ourselves. Where it becomes embarrassing is when you see others who refuse to grow up; adults relishing helpless infant, lost in the Universe mentalities.
But it had to mean something to him once. He was on track to become a pastor and heavily immersed in everything Christian, which from the sound of it was completely traditional if on the extreme side. Sometimes people are born again and don't have a clear memory of it but most people I know do have a clear memory of it, so he is likely to as well. Of course I am wondering if such an experience is crucial in the perseverance of the saints. Perhaps Aussie has an opinion.
My life and my faith were almost indistinguishable from each other. My parents "brought up a child in the way he should go so when he is old he won't depart from it." Their life and faith are to this day indistinguishable. It is all I remember from childhood.
In terms of the Calvinistic "Perseverance of the saints," I could never wrap my mind around that. James in chapter 6 I think was very clear that you can believe; then no longer believe.
"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the Heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance..."
That was ME; I then stopped believing. But I think this verse alone casts a lot of doubt on the Perseverance of the Saints doctrine.
Nice to hear your wife and daughter get all of you on on the weekends. You're about my daughter's age by the way.
All I meant by "traditional" was denominations where standard biblical doctrine is held -- such as saved by grace through faith etc... as opposed to, say, liberal, or "prosperity doctrine" or something cultic, led by a personality or that sort of thing. Charismatic churches are a bit on the fringe but they too hold to the standard doctrines. (I belonged to a charismatic church for a few years and also did a lot of reading trying to convince myself whether the "spiritual gifts" are for today or ceased in the early church. I found it extremely difficult to come to a definite conclusion. Finally a few years ago a conference at John MacArthur's church convinced me the whole movement is false, by showing that the "gifts" practiced today are simply not those practiced in the early church.)
So your experience was pretty traditional.
I suppose I'm trying to understand if there are safeguards against falling away, such as being born again for instance.