By Daniel Fincke
[NOTE: Dr. Fincke teaches philosophy at Hofstra University and Hunter College (CUNY). While he, himself, seems to have no religion as such, the thoughts in the following essay may be relevant, in many respects, to Pagans who have "deconverted" from Christianity or some other religion.--Makarios]
Evangelical Christianity had a powerful grip on my mind from the time I was 5 years old until well after my deconversion at 22. My Christian faith profoundly shaped my views, practices, and very identity in such incalculable ways that even years after leaving the faith and reconstructing my identity in a thoroughly irreligious way, my former faith still has lingering effects on my life. The choices I made and beliefs I held as a teenager and a college student, while deeply beholden to Evangelical Christian teachings, affected the kinds of situations I found myself in throughout my twenties, which further affected the way my life is today in my thirties. There is no way to ignore the Christian indoctrination and socialization that I underwent and still understand the course of my intellectual, emotional, social, or sexual development.
Today, I have largely moved on from much of my formerly Christian life. I have tried to maintain whatever virtues that particular crucible forged into me, and I have tried to overcome the intellectual and emotional vices it also created. Taking recourse to the best philosophical minds available to me, I have rather vigorously explored for myself the questions that Christianity wanted to answer for me. And I have both intellectually and personally experimented with different value judgments and practices in order to learn their worth for myself.