Nobody in his right mind likes to discuss his own idiocies. But because we are all in danger of being idiots, sometimes we owe it to each other to do so.
I was struck by the remark in one of your books that before your change of heart about God you had almost reached the “point of no return.” Would you explain?
On a journey, a point of no return is a point beyond which it is impossible to get back to where one started. For example, someone might jump into a deep hole, or descend into a steep valley, and be unable to climb back out.
Something like that happened to me when I was a young man, after I turned my back thoroughly on God. St. Paul remarks of the pagans, “for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.” Placing the comment in context, I think he is saying that although the pagans knew very well the reality of the Creator, they pretended to themselves that they didn’t; they suppressed their knowledge. That’s what I did too.
What happens when you try to make yourself stupid is that you succeed even better than you had intended, and that also happened to me. In order not to recognize the reality of God – whose reality is really quite obvious – I had to disable all sorts of powers and capacities, one part of my mind after another. I had almost reached the point of being unable to realize my own condition. It is like pulling out one’s eardrums in order not to hear the voice calling one home.
There are lots of ways to reach this point. Sometimes we take the act of turning our back on God lightly, thinking, for example, "I'll live without God now, but it will be okay, because later I'll turn back and He'll accept me." The problem is that by the very act of turning away from Him, we harden our hearts so that it becomes more difficult to turn to Him. True, we can put no limits on His grace. Even so, we should not "put Him to the test," saying to ourselves, "Since He can break even the stoniest heart, let us be hard-hearted."