Last night I had the pleasure of dinner with creationist-turned-atheist Bill Berry, the fabulous and famous juggler. Bill is a close friend of my daughter, and good friends with my younger son Leo (who is also a champion juggler). You can see his AMAZING three-ball juggling that made him famous.
Bill's story of discovering that creationism, Christianity, and even the existence of God, were all false, is fascinating. It started off in the typical fashion: He was studying the pseudo-science of creationism, learning about young-Earth theory, how dinosaurs coexisted with humans, and so forth, and Bill was a total believer. But Bill has a sharp and inquisitive mind (if you're in the juggling business for long, you'll discover that almost all world-class jugglers have world-class intellects, too; it's a very intricate and scientific discipline), and he wanted to learn more, and more ... and it didn't take long for Bill do see through the "pseudo" part of the pseudo-science called creationism. Once the facade started to crack, the whole thing fell apart, and Bill began his real education and conversion to a rationalist, intelligent view of the world.
That part of Bill's story has been repeated uncountable times, by almost every Christian/Creationism who ever opened his/her eyes to real science. But the part I found most fascinating was Bill's reaction: He felt like the world had dropped out from under his feet. Everything he believed in, his entire understanding of everything around him, the foundation for how he lived his life and behaved, all evaporated. Bill talks about how he felt disoriented, almost frightened.
I never thought about that aspect of losing faith. It would be as though I discovered irrefutable evidence that science is false, and the world really does work by magic. It would be very hard to accept.
Luckily, Bill didn't stop there. It didn't take him long to find a new foundation for his world, and now (four years later), he is an avid reader, and is working on a long essay that details his reasons for abandoning pseudo science and magic in favor of a naturalistic, rational view of the universe. Bill is also considering writing a book about his experiences, and I hope he does.