Please understand that I am trying to be totally honest here. I am also being completely subjective. This is not a presentations of facts, and logical insights that lead to certain understanding. I am not following an evidence that demands a verdict style of presentation. Rather I am telling my story, I am trying to do so honestly, and trying not to edit myself for effect.
With this in mind, I do not expect to convince anyone, but rather to explain myself. This is not an exercise in debate, or argument, but rather one of revelation. There are some things I will not talk about in depth, this is because I have a huge amount of respect for them, and will not subject them to public scrutiny or ridicule, I hope you can understand that.
So lets start with my beginnings. I grew up in a very marginally catholic home. My dad was more of a deist, he believed that there must be some kind of creator, but that this being whatever it was was both unknowable, and disinterested in its creation. My mother was a very strong believing catholic, but did not practice regularly for most of her life. I went to catechism, made first communion, and later went to Catholic school in Jr High and High School.
When I was very young, 10 or 11 years old the charismatic movement was effecting the catholic church that I was associated with. This belief was that the Holy Spirit, (the spiritual influencing part of the community of God) was active in our lives, allowing us to understand God's voice, and even doing miracles. It was very emotional, and of course this emotion was believed to be evidence of God's presence in our midst, which is how I took it as well.
During one meeting they left a mic turned on at the front of the church and asked people to come up if they believed God had given them a message for the church. I believed, and still believed that certain words came into my head that were not my own. I didn't hear a voice, but more realized a few sentences. So I walked up and said what I thought was God's message. I was told later that my voice sounded different, and a number of different things, but at the time I just felt like I had responded to God. I did not stay in the church for much longer. I began to drift further and further away, and though I did believe in God (and Jesus, as this is how I was raised to understand God) it had nothing to do with the day to day living of my life. I went to church once and a while, or when I had to, but there was no real faith in my life.
I learned a lot in school, they were actually quite forthright about church history, and gave the ugly side of things as well as the nice. But my cultural bias towards Christianity was actually quite small, but it was prevailing. The experience with the charismatic prophecy or whatever you want to call it, was the only personal experience I had until I was 18 and it wasn't enough to hold me.
I will continue, this is a long process, so please be patient