I'm Justin. I was baptized Roman Catholic as an infant, but was never confirmed and was raised in mostly nominally Protestant homes. I became an Evangelical/fundamentalist at the age of eighteen, and started to devote most of my free time to Bible study/debate. I was "on fire for God," as they say. At the age of twenty I began attending one of my denomination's colleges as a Bible studies major, but as I studied the things like sola scriptura, sola fidei, and Church history, I realised by the end of the first year that I had to move on. After searching for an alternative, I became an Orthodox Christian at the age of twenty-two. So I switched from Bible study/debate to mostly Church History and Patristics study/debate.
Unfortunately, though life (or God) gave me a lot of bad qualities that makes me a louse as a father and husband, for some reason I was given a good memory when it comes to abstract arguments and ideas. And so, as the years passed, I had been collecting difficulties with Christianity in the back of my mind. Many times I would openly try to rationalise or justify the difficulties, when other people would bring them up for discussion. After about eight years of excusing and justifying, I began asking questions. I asked priests, I asked discussion boards, I read, I prayed. And, I could not find answers that were helpful. But at the same time, I had not been dissuaded from my belief that Orthodoxy was the best manifestation of Christianity, and the most faithful to the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles.
So for the first time since I had become a Christian, I had to think about whether I should be a Christian at all
. In the previous eight years, no matter what the trouble, I always just took for granted a priori that I was supposed to be a Christian. Even when I had first become a Christian I just assumed that that was what I was supposed to be, and hadn't really looked into whether that assumption was correct (though I wouldn't have been intellectually mature enough to come to a proper conclusion at eighteen anyway). I had read many defenses of Christianity over the years, many arguments about why it is true, why it is unique, etc. But upon reexamination of why I should be a Christian at all, I did not find answers that were helpful.
So I stopped calling myself a Christian, and at the age of twenty-six started calling myself an agnostic. The truth is, in actual conduct (prayer, fasting, church attendance, etc.) I had not been a Christian for some time before that. I suppose in some ways I never fully was a Christian, though that would be another thread (having to do with what effect genetics, life experience, etc. has on our spirituality, and whether that effect is permanent or somewhat reversible). I stick around this forum because I'm a friendly gadfly, and I have to do what friendly gadflies do somewhere