Life Transformation Essay

1379 words - 6 pages

Spiritual transformations know no boundaries; they permeate throughout the world’s religions, even to the lack of religion. In the article The Nature of Spiritual Transformation A Review of the Literature by Arthur Schwartz, a spiritual transformation is defined as “a dramatic change in religious belief, attitude, and behavior that occurs over a relatively short period of time.” (Schwartz 4) Schwartz mentions three contexts of spiritual transformations. First, an intensified devotion within the same religious structure; second, a shift from no religious commitment to a devout religious life, and finally, a change from one religion to another. (Schwartz 4) There is a spiritual ...view middle of the document...

Billy was very comfortable discussing his family’s religious background, as well as his own, but he began to get emotional when discussing the event that led to his transformation. He grew up as a Southern Baptist in rural Kentucky. He was raised by a single mother, and had no siblings, until he was eight years old. After that, his mother remarried and the lived on various military bases. They went to church every Sunday. Billy was terrified of church because of the rituals that he witnessed. He described terrified he was of the churchgoers speaking in tongues, and how he didn’t understand what was going on. Although these experiences with the church would further his later religious decisions, this did not waiver his faith in God. In fact, as Billy grew in age, as well as away from the Southern Baptist church, he still held strong to his belief in God. He went to church, prayed, and contributed to all of the holiday ceremonies.
In 2007, his best friend from high school moved to North Carolina because her mother left her abusive father. She was in a car with four people, and the driver was speeding and driving recklessly on an icy road. They crashed. Three out of the four people died in that crash. One of which was Billy’s friend. The driver was the only one who had survived, and had been sentenced to do community service actions. He gave speeches to teens about the consequences of reckless driving. A few months later Billy looked up the driver, and found that the driver had gotten more tickets for speeding. He couldn’t believe that someone like his best friend could die yet the driver was still living and still putting other people’s lives in danger. Billy sunk into a depression, and started to reject religion. Six months after her death, two of his other friends died in a car accident, one of his friends committed suicide, and another was murdered. To make matters worse, his stepfather was also deployed to Iraq in the same year.
Billy attempted to turn to God for a short period of time after his initial rejection of religion. He desperately hoped that God could ease the pain that the past year had brought upon him. Unfortunately, that didn’t occur. Praying lost it’s meaning, as did going to church. Concurrently, Billy was attending college where he was learning more scientific information that was conflicting with his prior religious beliefs. These two factors solidified his spiritual transformation to atheism. This transformation was a permanent one. He grieved for his friends, but went through the normal grief processes. It is interesting to note that these permanent changes affected his future relationships. For instance, his wife, who at the start of their relationship was devotedly religious, is no longer religious due to Billy’s lack of belief. Billy’s parent’s mother, who was a devote Southern Baptist, has become nondenominational due to conversations with her son. Thus, one person’s spiritual transformation affected multiple people...

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