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Michael Fiedler

I was born into a Catholic family in Minnesota in the late 70s. We moved to Nebraska when I was in the third grade, and my parents left the Catholic Church and began attending an Evangelical Protestant church. We were active in the Protestant church, and after high school I attended a Bible college for four years studying to be a missionary.

In my fourth year of college, my parents got divorced, which came as a complete surprise. I was shocked and disoriented, and was soon questioning everything in my life that I thought to be foundational. I realized that the Bible could not stand alone, with no foundation or authority behind its assembly.

By chance I found a copy of Catholic and Christian by Alan Schreck and soon returned to the Catholic faith. I still wanted to serve God, so I immediately signed up for the seminary with the Archdiocese of Omaha and was sent to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis to study. I was moving too quickly, however, and was not firm in my faith. I continued questioning everything, and as a philosophy major that’s how I spent much of my time. By the end of that first year I’d lost my faith completely.

For the next 15 years, I was an atheist with a strong interest in meditation in Eastern philosophy. I had a particular obsession with the Buddhist concept of emptiness, which in many traditions was considered to be the pinnacle of their philosophy. Emptiness is the principle that all things are empty of intrinsic existence or nature. After long hours of meditation and reading on emptiness, I ultimately had to reject the theory. Ultimately we must come to the bottom of things, at which there must be a ground of all being, something or someone that is Being itself, uncaused and uncreated. And so I came to believe once more in God, and I later discovered that I was convinced, as so many others have been, by what is known as the argument from contingency.

However, I was little more than a deist until I came upon Bishop Barron and the Word on Fire podcast. Of course this led me to the YouTube videos and Bishop Barron’s books. These resources were exactly what this recovering secularist needed to be guided back into the Church. My objections, questions, and doubts were all addressed in one way or another. It’s been almost a year and I am overjoyed to be back in the Church.

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