I was raised Independent Baptist. My dad was a pastor. We believed that the Bible is the inerrant word of God and is to be interpreted literally. We are all sinners, and accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior is the only way to Heaven. Those who do not accept Jesus will go to Hell when they die, and suffer eternal pain and suffering.
I attended a Baptist college and graduated with a Bible diploma (other degrees were offered, but I only completed 3 years....a story for another time). In college I learned a great deal about theology and the Bible and the history of the Church. Everything made sense. What made the most sense to me was that I could feel a Presence and a Peace when I prayed. When I read the Bible, I felt at peace. When I obeyed the Bible, I felt at peace. Mostly, when I sang songs of Praise and Worship, I felt peace.
When I left the shelter of college, I began to meet many people of many different beliefs. I began to see the entire world....not just my little corner. Over the years I had to constantly remind myself why I believed what I believed. However, despite my ability to take tests and get A's and B's, I do not retain information well. I often reread my class notes just to combat the questions that I was having, and to try to make sense of why another person's faith was "wrong" and mine was "right". And yet, the peace I felt in my relationship with God remained. I couldn't deny that I "felt" Him. I was convinced there was a God who loved me, although I couldn't necessarily argue it academically.