Jacob was Ben's well mentee and I share his story in my Christmas prayer letter. His story is really powerful so I wanted to post it again in case you didn't receive my Christmas letter in the mail.
Hello, my name is Jacob DeMott. I am currently in my second year of medical school. And I want to briefly summarize my journey with Christianity and faith. I was raised in a Christian household and attended a Nazarene church throughout childhood. I considered myself somewhat religious during my teenage years. My last year of high school I enlisted part time in the
Army National Guard and went to basic training the following summer after graduation. I had a Bible with me and would occasionally read it when there was downtime. After returning from basic training and starting college at Xavier University, I abandoned my faith entirely sometime during my freshman year. It is difficult for me to recollect what the exact reasons were, but I know that doubts were arising around age 18 and were increasing in frequency until I abandoned any faith in God. I also experienced some emotional issues and depression that first year of college which likely contributed to this. In college, I majored in chemistry with minors in philosophy and biochemistry. Many of my doubts were related to issues with reconciling faith and science. The required theology courses at Xavier made me realize I had not examined my religious beliefs critically, which was one reason why I drew the conclusion that my faith was more likely derived from the cultural contingency of how I was raised than in an objective appraisal of truth. My initial rejection of religion was associated with bitterness about many aspects of the faith in which I was raised. I began to adopt views that would be classified as “new atheist” (e.g. Richard Dawkins) during my first year of college. Very shortly after, I realized there was substantial baggage and a lack of support in many of the new atheist claims. I noticed that many religious people far surpassed that version of atheism in their sophistication and reasons for believing. However, it would take a few years for myself to come back to the faith. From then until the end of the first year of medical school, I held an agnostic view on religion, where over time my agnosticism leaned more theistically. Various sources, conversations, and influences impacted the evolution of my openness towards God and a reality beyond naturalism. The main doubts I had were on whether God exists, and not the truth of Christianity specifically. I eventually came to the point around late college where I believed that God probably exists. I had examined the philosophical arguments for the existence of God to a moderate level of detail. I had an interest in philosophy in general, hence why I minored in it.