I turned first to philosophy when I was around 18 years old, though I had a keen interest in theology and comparative religion from an earlier age, which doubtless set the stage for my later departure from Pentecostalism. At 18, I read a book entitled The God Who is There by Frances Schaeffer. I remember its serious engagement with modern society without the simplistic condemnation so typical of most Christian writings. I was hooked on the idea that philosophy had a crucial role to play in life.
Fast forward about 7 years and I am married, a college drop-out, and father of a precious little girl. I am still fighting those inner demons from my abusive childhood, and struggling with the latest in a series of episodic unemployments. I decide to return to college and immediately enroll in philosophy courses, in part because they are the only courses that engage religion at all at the state-run University of Illinois of Chicago.
It was in those two fabulous life-changing years at UIC that I encountered the amazing ideas that would catapult me beyond the limits of my Christian upbringing. I read feminist, anarchist, Marxist, and postmodern books that expanded my horizons and nourished my starving intellect. While I was forced to drop out again after the birth of my son, I would never be the same.
Philosophy has held me spell-bound ever since. I still dream of becoming that professor of philosophy that I aspired to in those years at UIC. I might still return to that path, though I cannot say for certain as I approach my fifth decade how much I can invest in such a major change of direction.