Peer pressure is a powerful force. In the ninth grade, in Warren, Michigan, it was Joe Bochinski’s turn to give himself to Jesus. A self-identified band geek, he, like many young teens, was searching for community. He was taken out of the crowd at a Baptist retreat and gave himself to the Lord.
His doubts grew as he began to learn about the differences between religions. Experiencing a fundamentalist megachurch for the first time -- and watching his girlfriend’s father use Scripture to justify subjugating female family members -- led to a crisis of faith. His education, particularly in science, led to what he describes as a liberating separation from religion. Knowledge fostered a growing self-confidence and a decreasing sense of fear. He began to consider that perhaps there is no judgmental, disapproving God watching over him.