One of the first people I thought of when I decided to take this year and fully explore the questions that had been building up about my faith, was Eric Criswell.
Eric is a filmmaker that lives in my neighborhood. We met for the first time last year when our mutual friend, Kevin, introduced us on Facebook. Kevin was one year ahead of me at Weimar College, the little fundamentalist, Seventh-day Adventist Bible College we both graduated from in the early 90s. I hadn’t seen Kevin since his wedding shortly after graduation. Then last year, after 20-years, we met up at Chipotle’s in Hollywood for lunch. We didn’t have more than 45 minutes to talk before we both had to get back to work, but in that space of time Kevin blew my mind with his news: he had become an atheist. I had already experienced major doubts about a number of elements of my faith, but the news that Kevin—by all accounts the golden boy of Weimar College in those years—had become an atheist bowled me over. For the first time I wondered to myself, “Will I become an atheist?”
Before we parted ways Kevin connected me to Eric and we met for lunch. Eric was an evangelical Christian who has gradually walked away from his faith, so on the fifth day of my journey, we went for a walk and I asked him about his experience.