David had a similar discovery. One dark night, he found himself alone on his balcony, sobbing and cursing God for allowing his life to crumble. “When I stop weeping, I hear a voice,” he wrote in his book, Post-Traumatic God. “The voice is silence … it is a voice that is unconditioned, like a horse standing still.”

Not long after, David left the evangelical faith and became ordained in the Episcopal church, where the ritualistic liturgy offered a kind of spiritual liberation, one that not only helped ease his anxiety and depression, but renewed his bond.

“God has to die,” he said. “The God of our childhood has to shatter in a thousand pieces, die, disappear or change, if we are to have a spiritual life beyond our childhood.” The same eventually happened for my father. During his early 40s, while I was in college, he and my mother left the church for several years before joining a more moderate Lutheran congregation. After decades of seeking, he finally found true spiritual peace.