Later today, you’ll find out how well you did at spotting the fakers in the Atheist round (Christian round scores follow tomorrow), but now it’s time for the big reveal. At the bottom of the post is a table sorted by entry number, so you can check your guesses more efficiently. So, without further ado, let’s meet our lovely contestants:
Alan – Author of A7 and C13
I am an ordained pastor. I grew up in a mainline church but changed denominations over polity. I first experienced the holy through nature and growing relationships, youth group, on mission trips and international travel. I earned an engineering degree before seminary, but found seminary exceptionally engaging. I try to help others see God within, around and between.
Christian H – Author of A1 and C12
I am an Anglican-ish Canadian of Lutheran background. I am also a humanities MA student. A friend of mine once said that I have a “love affair with post-modernism,” which might be true, but I’ve recently coined the word “tentativist” to describe myself. I’m also a pretty interdisciplinary nerd.
Christian H blogs at The Thinking Grounds
Elliot – Author of A11 and C5
I was born the son of an Evangelical pastor, grew up attending a large non-denominational church in Chicago, attended Catholic schools pre-K through 12th grade, and spent my free time in high school reading Brian Greene, Morris Kline, Plato, and (especially) Kant. After a lot of time with Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Foucault, I entered the Catholic Church, by the grace of God and the ministry of Fr. Joseph Allen, OP.
Elliot blogs at The Paraphasic
Eve Tushnet – Author of A9 and C9
I was raised sort of atheist, sort of Reform Jewish. I was received into the Catholic Church my sophomore year of college, which was in 1998.
Eve Tushnet blogs in Patheos’s Catholic channel
Gilbert – Author of A5 and C6
Growing up, I started out as what Americans would call a Cafeteria Catholic. As I started thinking for myself I noted that world-view was full of contradictions. But instead of going atheist I doubled down and gradually turned into the reactionary Catholic I’m now. In secular Germany that makes me seem rather eccentric.
Gilbert blogs at The Last Conformer
Ruth – Author of A6 and C3
I am a female ordained minister in the United Church of Christ; I grew up United Methodist. I have always been active in church but had a crisis of faith while in college related to experiences at Nazi concentration camps. A rabbi sent me back to church on Easter.
Sweet Tea – Author of A3 and C11
Sweet Tea was raised conservative Mennonite, but has evolved through Reformed Presbyterianism, mainline Baptist thought, and lastly regular worship and study of Judaism to realize he truly believes with the Catholic Church.
Guy – Author of A8 and C4
Raised Anglican, I gradually turned atheist as I realised people actually believed the stories they told in church. I developed my own beliefs in ongoing discussions with a mixed bag of Christians, Muslims and other atheists in the school library. My interest in religion continues, in debates and church visits.
Jacob – Author of A12 and C1
I was a Christian for most of my life. In college, I realized I wasn’t seeing the evidence I should if Christianity was true, and rejected Christianity (slowly, over two years) in favor of Atheism. I’ve recently started investigating Christianity (and other world views) once again. So far, every world view I’ve come across (including my own) has huge flaws. For the moment, I’m somewhere between Atheist and Agnostic.
Jacob blogs at The Thoughtful Atheist
Matt – Author of A13 and C8
Matt is an atheist and de-converted Catholic. He holds no belief in the supernatural and promotes responsible skepticism, secularism, and the pursuit of broadly beneficial and applicable ethics. He gets on well with his family despite being the only atheist in the bunch. He wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be in third person.
Matt DeStefano – Author of A2 and C2
I grew up as a non-denominational Christian, and I was intent on becoming an apologist for the faith. I read Lewis, Tolkien, Chesterton and others voraciously, and read the Bible daily. The difficulties with my faith began in high school, when I encountered the evidence for evolution. While it was difficult to swallow taking Genesis metaphorically, I found the other doctrinal issues related to evolution especially difficult as well. This led me to question other parts of the Bible, and I realized how poor the evidence for my faith actually was.
Matt DeStephano blogs at Soul Sprawl
Neal – Author of A10 and C7
Currently happily married father of two, working and studying at an institute of higher education. Grew up Catholic, participating in charismatic renewal. Thinking through epistemology led me to question religion’s objective truth. Personal experience convinced me if religion was true, it was an artifact of my mind. Pragmatism pointed out that if it was in my mind, there wasn’t any point in “believing” it.
Shawn – Author of A4 and C10
I’m a 31 year old atheist social worker. I’m married to a lovely woman who is a Christian and we have 2 kids together. For most of my life I was a New-Agey nondualist, until February 2008 when I became an atheist. I’m a fierce advocate for the homeless and quite the geek.
Shawn blogs at Belief in People