(Photo: Patrick Greene)
Editor's Note: The story of former atheist activist Patrick Greene becoming a Christian after witnessing the compassion of local Christ followers is attracting a lot of interest from readers and other media outlets. The Christian Post has asked Greene to write the story of his faith life in his own words. The opinions in the account below represent Greene's and does not necessary reflect that of CP.
My parents sent all 8 children to Catholic school. We went to church every single Sunday. My father actually built a chapel in our backyard. He put pews and candles in it. We spent countless hours in there over the years in the 60s, saying the rosary, etc.
I overdosed on that by the time I was 15. I began researching the Bible and the encyclopedia to find out for myself about the Catholic Church and its insistence that it is the only true church because it was established by Christ himself.
The encyclopedia described the Catholic Church as "a" church. The Catholic Church described itself as "the" church. That one word destroyed my trust in 12 years of indoctrination. My journey to atheism had begun.
In the course of the next 3 decades I became more and more disillusioned by Christians because of their boasting of their hatred of anyone who was not Christian, anyone who was gay, anyone who was not like them. It seemed to me that "love your neighbor like yourself" had been changed to "love your neighbor, unless they are different, then treat them like dirt."
Atheism was a natural end to my journey away from God and everything like that.
My wife is an atheist also, so when she found out I hated sports and I did not drink any beer or liquor, and I was an atheist, she loved it. Her two ex-husbands were both wife beaters. So when I told her I hated football because it was so violent, we got married in 12 days.
Jump ahead 33 years and my introduction to Athens, Texas. The Rev. Erick Graham and Jessica Crye (read background story here) had so much love, kindness, generosity and compassion that I really began to rethink the thoughts I had when I was a kid. One thought which came back was the vast difference between animals and human beings; the physical and mental differences. Evolution has no reason for that except DNA. That does not do it for me. Then I finished my thoughts about Christianity by the obvious rationale: there were eyewitnesses.
The quick jump to wanting to become a minister.......is not quick. When I was a kid I wanted to become a priest. Not a very big jump.