I grew up in a secular and only loosely religious home. I was never taken to church by my parents, and in the first 25 years of my life I only attended a Christian Sunday service three times (and all three were Protestant services). I grew up with the usual obligatory teaching that evolution was a theory but basically true and you were silly to reject it; that the earth was very old and the universe even older; and that science was the grand arbiter of truth, being a disinterested middle man only concerned about facts.
I would become a militant atheist in high school, having mostly negative experiences with Christians, and having a very short-sighted mind which was quick to judge. I embraced Communism as a good idea, being ignorant and young and knowing nothing at all about the practical effects of the ideology, nor its bloody history. After a few years of this I would “cool down” a bit, still being very much against religion but less aggressive about it. It was around this time that God seemed to give me a small grace of insight, as I found myself unknowingly musing on aspects of St. Thomas Aquinas' Five Ways (without knowing what they were). But I became uncomfortable with the challenge and quickly dropped the subject.
Several years later, in late 2017, I would revisit the subject again (thanks to a close friend being a quiet, faithful witness to Catholicism,) and my curiosity resurfaced. However, this time I was legitimately curious, and not seeking to crush anything that might challenge my current worldview or way of life. I simply wanted to know what Catholicism had to say—and, thanks be to God, my friend encouraged me down that path. I would attend my first Holy Mass (Septuagesima Sunday in the Tridentine Calendar, 2018, which was also the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas in the Ordinary Calendar), and, long story short: I was hooked.
One subject I was wondering about was how to reconcile the scientific “knowledge” I already had with the traditional account of creation in Genesis. I was being led down a very traditional understanding of Catholicism according to the Church Fathers and Sacred Tradition; and I was being formed by the Latin Mass, the Roman Catechism, and both Medieval and Patristic saintly writings. Thankfully the Kolbe Center was able to guide me.
I heard about the Center one day from a new friend and sat on the idea of visiting the website for a week or two. Eventually, I found the time and made the plunge. I listened to the audio recordings of Frs. Wolf and Ripperger, as well as the talks by Hugh Owen, in the 'Audio Downloads' section of the website. I was very quickly convinced by the theological and philosophical arguments, and by the historical and scientific evidence against evolution. I would then stumble upon videos of Kolbe Center talks from time to time and found them absolutely captivating. (I finally got to attend a conference in person as well!)
Knowing this information has drawn me deeper into the Faith and has given me a more secure trust and love for Our Lord. It's painfully clear now how destructive an effect these terrible ideas—Evolution, Big Bang cosmology, etc.—have had on the faith of so many men, women, and children. The staff at the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation are doing a very beautiful thing, and they are putting their necks on the chopping block by doing it.
Theirs is a cause I would love to join, if it be God's will for me.
Regina sine labe originali concepta, ora pro nobis.