I was a devout atheist for
over twenty years. In July of 1998, I finally managed to see the
biblical truths that had managed to elude me. The following is an
account of how I went from hardcore skepticism to hardcore worship of
the Savior, Jesus Christ.
Rational thought replaces the God of my youth
I was raised a Roman Catholic in a home where the name of
Jesus Christ and God was never mentioned. I was encouraged to attend
catechism and church every weekend, but the concept of God was never
made completely real to me. I entertained the notion as any child
would, but I just wasn't into the imaginary friend scene and by the
time I was thirteen, I had concluded that God was merely a vicious
adult version of the Easter bunny. I abandoned the lie, informed my
upset parents that I would no longer be attending church, and began
In the absence of a religious belief to answer life's
questions, I turned my mental energy to science. Science had an awesome
track record of solving many problems and its resulting technology had
provided tangible benefits to all of mankind. Science was the answer! I
reasoned that if we could educate our populations and continue to make
advances in medicine, agriculture and energy production, we would one
day have the mythical Eden as our reality.
I threw myself into my studies, determined to become a
scientific messiah who would one day deliver people from the bondage of
disease. At the age of sixteen, my IQ and my grades made me eligible
for my high school's early release program and I began my studies in
biology and chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.
Rational thought replaces my compassion for others
I graduated from college with high honors and my prized
science degree, but I had lost any motivation to apply that knowledge.
I recalled staring at a swarming mass of termites one sunny day,
thinking that, from a comparative distance, there was little difference
between them and us. I smashed a few dozen with my shoe and ground them
into the dirt. What did it matter if these died? What did it matter if
they all died? People died every day. The end result would always be
death for both the individuals and, eventually, the species.
Humanity had become nothing more to me than an organized
network of molecules and enzymes. I viewed people as mere organisms
going through their daily routines of metabolizing nutrients and
expelling wastes, ovulating their eggs and ejaculating their semen. I
knew the psychology of humans almost as well as their anatomies. The
hidden things that pulled them this way and that were very evident to
me. They were like guinea pigs, only more predictable, and my chief
form of entertainment was to see how skillfully I could manipulate
them. I knew that I was supposed to care about them, but I didn't. I
couldn't. If mankind's goal was to alleviate its own suffering, a
bullet to the head was more efficient and made more sense in my
thinking than screwing around with medication or disease control.
What was the point of prolonging any one life? What
difference did it make if a girl didn't live to marry or her mother
live to see it? Of what value were temporary emotional experiences?
They were simply the biochemistry of the brain reacting to sensory
input and, upon that individual's death, any remaining memory of that
experience would be thrown away along with the person who had
experienced it. My extreme point of view had reduced people into
throwaway metabolic units; I had become as cold and indifferent as the
logic that I exalted.
If my education would benefit anyone, it would benefit
me. I passed up an offer of a low paying research position for a secure
and higher paying job in a chemistry lab. My brain rotted there for 40
hours a week for 10 years.
Rational thought turns from science to philosophy
Science had done nothing to answer the questions that
raged in my head. Why should I care? How much should I care? Should I
care at all? What is my purpose in life? Is there a purpose? How can I
love people? Should I love people? Which people should I love? How can
I forgive people? Should I forgive people? Have I done what is right?
Have I done what is wrong? Is there a right or a wrong?
I turned to philosophy. I started with Jean-Paul Sartre's
"Being and Nothingness". This man had won a Nobel Prize for basically
taking white and logically demonstrating how it was really black. I
tried several other atheist philosophers who tried to assign meaning to
a life created by chance and I decided that they were all full of crap.
If our life is the result of randomness and chance, it is meaningless,
no matter how we try to convince ourselves otherwise.
That was fine with me. I was prepared to live my life by
this truth and discovered that the prospect of a life without meaning
can be a very freeing experience. I set out to take advantage of moral
relativism and effectively destroyed any of my remaining conscience.
Friends, let me tell you, I fell far, far away, but I didn't know it. I
busied myself with one diversion after another, trying to fill my life
with meaningless activity in order to forget how meaningless it was. In
my desperation, I grew self-righteous and indignant. I was secretly
envious of the morons who seemed blissfully unaware of their own
meaninglessness. I wanted to shake them awake and get them to see how
worthless their lives really were.
My philosophy turns anti-Christian
The worst idiots were the Christians. I hated them
because, in their ignorance of naturalism, they failed to see that
there was no reason for the rest of the world to believe in their god,
live by their standards or give a damn about what they had to say, yet
there they were, acting as if they had a copyright on truth. Their
pretentiousness sickened me, despite my being equally pretentious
toward them. After all, I was justified in my pretentiousness! At least
I could give logical reasons for not believing in the supernatural. I
would challenge them to give reasons for believing in something that
couldn't be seen and they would reply, "You can't see the wind but it's
there." I would then try to explain to them that wind was created by
differences in pressure and that there was plenty of scientific proof
for the existence of wind but none for their god. Even the most
intelligent Christians I knew had a difficult time articulating their
reason for faith.
Most of the explanations I heard rested on the Bible's
authority. "The Bible says... the Bible says... the Bible says." Who
cared what the Bible said? I certainly didn't. "It's all a bunch of
made up, superstitious baloney. Can't you see?" and I would then go
into pagan origins, etc., and try to demonstrate that Jesus was a
manufactured myth. I ended up knowing the Bible inside and out just to
be able to debate against it.
My anti-Christian arguments became my ultimate diversion
to a hopeless life. I learned that religious debate wasn't as much
about truth as it was about language and presentation. I began seeing
flaws in my own logic while trying to demonstrate certain instances of
Biblical errancy, but that didn't keep me on the bench. To justify my
desire to destroy Christianity, I had to find reasons to discredit it.
I railed against its hypocrisy, the behavior of its followers, the wars
fought in its name and I questioned the motives of its bloody god and
the religion's effective outcome. In short, I began seeing it as the
supreme evil, despite the fact that my own view of moral relativism did
not permit a logical defense of the concept of evil.
The paradox of Biblical jabberwocky
One night, I was very tired and alone in my study. I
didn't reach, as I usually did, for a book of religious argument. I
grabbed Lewis Carroll's "Through The Looking Glass", plopped myself
down in a comfy chair and sleepily began reading. I skimmed through the
pages and stopped at Humpty Dumpty's explanation of 'Jabberwocky' to
Alice. A thought occurred to me that if I were to read 'Jabberwocky'
the same way I read the bible, it wouldn't make any sense at all. I put
Carroll's book aside, folded my hands and stared at the wall, lost in
The Bible didn't make sense to me. But why did it make
sense to others? What were they seeing that I didn't? Did they so
desperately want there to be a God that they had deluded themselves
into thinking that there was one? It was New Year's Day, 1998. I made a
resolution to read the entire Bible again, only this time I was going
to read it as I would poetry or fiction, and not as a proposal of fact.
In the months that followed, I kept my resolution and I
began noticing a change in my way of interpreting the Bible.
Intellectually, I found that my mind could logically accept two very
different interpretations of almost everything I was reading. One
interpretation of any verse or passage would render the whole story as
nonsensical. But the other interpretation allowed the whole story to
If my mind was capable of accepting interpretations that
allowed the whole book to make sense, then what was it in me that
wanted it not to make sense? This book was reading me as surely as I
was reading it. Every time I found fault with its god, I ended up
finding a fault of my own. What was I doing when I condemned this god
for commanding Moses to kill? Was I arrogantly making my morality
superior to that of the being who allegedly authored all of morality?
Was I condemning the actions of an entire nation, which was trapped in
a kill or be killed situation? What was it in me that wanted to express
outrage at Jesus Christ for telling me that I had to give away
everything to be considered worthy to follow him? Was it my own
For weeks, I was on a high, the type of high that comes
about by feeling that one is on the edge of making some sort of
profound discovery. I wasn't sure what I was discovering but my
perception of this world was changing. In July, I read these words of
Jesus Christ, understanding them for the first time after having read
them for years; "Who do you say I am?"
I see it!
What I had to say about who Christ was, said more about me than it did about Him.
At this moment, I saw it. I saw what the truth of the
Bible was! And I was humbled. More than humbled, I was broken. The
truth wasn't about cud chewing bunnies or how much precipitation fell
during Noah's flood. It was the truth about human nature and our
efforts to rise above it! It was the truth about human spirit being led
by divine spirit! It was the truth about each of us, imperfect in our
love for one another, needing to be made complete by the perfect love
of God! The truth was about how one man, without sin, had died for us
so that we could live! The truth of the Bible was and is JESUS CHRIST!
The moment I was made aware of my despicable nature, I
realized that Jesus had died for me. I never had recognized sin and,
therefore, thought that Christ had died for nothing. But this man was
able to see the horrible nature present in all of humanity and yet he
had sacrificed himself to save us from ourselves. In a very real sense,
my sinful nature had caused the death of an innocent man. I never
believed in hell prior to this, but one of my first thoughts, after
seeing how hellish a person that I was, was that I deserved to be in it.
A new creature
I had been a fool. I had paraded around, thinking myself
to be the sophisticate, oblivious to the trail of toilet paper clinging
to my shoe. For the first time in my life, I became aware of my soul
and how dirty it was when the light of Christ fell upon it. My accusing
finger turned around and pointed right back at me. I sucked!
Christianity wasn't what was wrong with the world! A lack of education
wasn't what was wrong with the world! I was what was wrong with the
world. I began praying for forgiveness to a god whose existence I had
thought was intellectually indefensible. But He was very, very real.
Within days, almost every viewpoint I had once so loudly announced,
changed. I could no longer justify my advocacy of abortion,
homosexuality or pre-marital sex because I recognized these options for
what they were, that being selfishness. I couldn't enjoy television
because much of what it offered was an offense to the god I had
discovered. But the most astounding change that took place in me was
that I was freed from my cold indifference in matters of the heart. My
atheistic philosophy had allowed me to lose my compassion for others. I
no longer had the ability to love anyone, not even myself. I had become
apathetic to life itself. For years, I had been dead, but because I
continued to walk and talk, I didn't know it. But now, I was born again
and the spirit that was in me, which had allowed me to understand
spiritual things, connected with the glorious and perfect higher
consciousness of Jesus Christ. He restored my heart and my conscience.
Christians speak of this as a veil being lifted, but, for me, it was
more like the iron curtain was being torn down. For the first time in
my life, I was seeing the world as it really was. I no longer saw
people as a sum of their components or this life as a meaningless
exercise, but I now saw both as something more valid than my rational
thought had allowed. I had spent most of my years examining life,
crouched over and focused on the microscope of logic, incapable of
seeing the Big Picture that was going on around me.
The more I emptied myself of myself, the clearer the
truth became. It had been my own selfish sin that had kept me from
seeing it before. Jesus Christ became my God and my grand obsession,
and for many months, I spent hours with my mind locked in meditation,
trying to connect with Him in a more tangible way. I wasn't
disappointed. There is a point that one can reach in prayer where there
is nothing at all left of oneself, and it is in that moment that God
makes Himself known.
For me, Biblical truth wasn't verified through historical
accuracy, inerrancy or reliability of the Gospels, because my initial
assumptions didn't include these things. I saw divine inspiration in
the actual content of the words attributed to Jesus Christ. The fact
that I, or anyone, was capable of understanding spiritual matters
became my evidence for the soul.
Learning the things of the spirit dramatically changed my
attitude and my outlook on life. It wasn't that the information
available to me had changed, but that my perception had changed and as
a result, I was changed. I was dead, but Christ woke me up! He saved me
from my selfish self and I have given myself to Him because I am
thankful for that which He has given me and hopeful for that which He
The above was borrowed, with permission, from Ex-Atheist.Com