Every now and then I get asked this question and my answer is probably not. I converted to Christianity as a young child of five or six. I remember sincerely believing that there was a man named Jesus who had died for my sins. All I needed to do was come forward and those sins would be washed away and I would be made anew.
Somewhere between that day and my motherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s death when I was 13 my faith died. As I had grown I had had many questions and been in trouble for various infractions, but it had always been assumed I still believed. On that day I did not want to attend church and an argument ensued. Somewhere in the midst of it I was asked bluntly if I believed in God. I froze. Until that day, no one had ever asked me.
And it dawned on me. I realized my answer was no and that it had been no for some time. I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t doubtful. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have any questions. I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t upset. I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t angry. I had no faith. I did not believe.
My pronouncement was met with something along the lines of Ã¢â‚¬Ëœonce saved, always savedÃ¢â‚¬Â and that I was going to church despite what I did or did not believe. As an adult now, I do not accept that pronouncement. I do not believe Ã¢â‚¬Ëœonce saved, always savedÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. I think that phrase (and others like it) are for the doubters and the believers, not the former believers and non-believers.
Since IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve now had twenty years to think about it, I do not think I was a true believer Ã¢â‚¬â€œ even as a child. In my honest opinion, true faith takes an act of will, mere acceptance or belief is not sufficient. True faith requires belief in something despite all contradictory evidence.
When I was exposed to evolution, I did not reject it. When I was exposed to the similarities between Jesus and other god-men, I did not reject them. When I was told of the contradictions, I did not deny them. All this and more Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I did not reject. I studied them and while I concluded that some things were obviously false, I accepted that what I had believed to be the truth was not the truth.
I gave up my belief. I did not give up my knowledge. Truth faith requires the opposite. I had no true faith. I was not a true believer.