The very first thing that you must understand is that I was a literalist.. I believed the Bible to be inerrant and one hundred percent inspired by God through its authors and the various texts we now have. I once owned a pocket red letter addition of the New Testament and recall how excited I would become at the thought of having in my hands the very words of Jesus Christ! As a fundamentalist Pentecostal believer my experience with the church and my beliefs did not come through study but rather through experience. The type of "study" done by me was heavily biased in favor of my beliefs and my confirmation bias assured that I always got the answers that I sought.
Another thing that is important to understand was that my so called religious experiences were considered and seen as confirmation of my beliefs. For instance, if I was praying and I felt a tingling sensation going down my spine or a presence surrounding my being; then that was evidence enough to indicate to me that God was near and was attentive to my prayers. I believed that everything that happened in this world whether bad or good was God's will with an ultimate and greater purpose behind the event.
39“See now that I myself am he!
There is no god besides me.
I put to death and I bring to life,
I have wounded and I will heal,
and no one can deliver out of my hand.
Deuteronomy 32:39 NIV
This is why most fundamentalists rejoice when they see disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and the latest one in Houston Texas hurricane Harvey. They don't see the death tolls as unfortunate but rather they view it as God's wrath on these people for idolatry, fornication, and a slew of other sins they believe may have offended the good Lord. They don't see the victims as unfortunate victims but rather as God's enemies being subject to his "just" judgement and wrath! Never mind the children and many innocents that might have died. They have been given a blessing in that if there were any innocents they would be meeting their maker soon and so the ends justifies the means.
I personally saw the world in black and white there were no grey areas. Either you served God or you served Satan. By serving I meant in how you lived your life and how that was seen and reflected outwardly by others. If you lived in accordance to what I believed was God's will then you were a servant of the Lord. If you lived contrary to what the Bible taught as God's law and will then you were serving Satan. You were in essence an enemy of God.
All other Christian sects were wrong and all other religions were false teachings inspired by Satan. There was a time that nothing could have convinced me otherwise. I believed that I was following the true path of Christ and my spiritual experiences served as confirmation to myself that I was on the right track. I used to speak in tongues, dance in the Spirit, prophesy, interpret tongues (or so I believed), had visions and dreams. My ministry consisted of casting out demons from those I believed were afflicted by Satan and his minions. Casting out of demons (exorcisms) was the norm in my ministry.
I believed I was anointed (chosen) specifically by God to break Satan's hold off of the lives of the many victims I believed to have helped in those days. They passed out at my words, a wave of the hand, a tap on the shoulder etc. I felt I was filled with the Spirit of God to carry out these amazing feats. I never once dreamed that I was living a lie or deluded. But it was these many experiences that served as evidence and convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was with me and I was doing his will. Any attempt by anyone to tell me otherwise no matter how rational their argument was was seen as an attack not by that individual or group but rather by the Devil and his cohorts.
12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12 NIV
Fundamentalist are often warned by their church elders to never let anyone try to convince you of the falsity of your faith. I used to view any attempt to change my mind about my beliefs as nothing more than people being used by demons and their many wiles to draw me away from God. If you weren't with us you were against us and I in turn was against you.