You article is almost identical to my experience growing up. Honestly, I think most so called "Christians" who become the ex-vangelical type have this experience. I stoppe pretending when I was 17. Like you, I knew all the pat answers, but wasn't somethingI really believed in. However, there was a question that bugged me, especially when I ended up fighting in multiple wars overseas—What is a human beings purpose. Not intrinsically, like your purpose being a writer or doctor, but what is the purpose of human beings as a species? From my perspective, we seemed incredible at killing, wounding, maiming, and objectifying each other.
As I studied, I checked everything out from secular humanism to Buddhism to Islam. I thought everything was mainly a sham, including Christianity, but then began to explore more in my late 20's. I finally met Christians so different from the mainstream weirdness, that I chose to explore the faith and ask the hard questions you asked in this article. Questions like, “If God is good and controls everything, why is there evil and suffering in this world? Does he just not care? And how come decent people go to hell?” Or “Why is it that in the Old Testament God sets the liar and murderer on on fire, but in the New Testament he eats with and blesses them?”
With time and study, I found Christianity both rationally and intellectually credible, but also emotionally and existentially true and satisfying. That said, I enjoyed this article dearly and feel like you're a fellow traveler on a path. I hope you continue to explore and question everything until you find truth. If you ever want to pick my brain too, head on over to my profile (you might have even read some of my work). It's not an offer I hand out often, but for those that are curious, I always have an open door and willing to talk.