Craig S. Keener is a leading scholar and professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. Craig received his Ph.D. in New Testament Studies and Christian Origins from Duke University.
“I thought that atheism was ‘smart’.” When my grandmother argued for a first cause, I replied by postulating an infinite regression of causes (my arrogance left me unaware that my response violated modern physics!) Yet unknown to me, my father’s mother, sister, and the sister’s family were praying for our family. When I was 13, reading Plato raised for me the question of life after death, but Plato’s answers did not seem adequate. I began to realize that only an infinite Being could guarantee the hope of eternal life. Yet if such a Being existed, there seemed no reason why that Being would care about me, even if that Being were perfectly loving enough to give life to some. I was incurably selfish and undeserving of a loving Being’s attention; it seemed to me that if I pretended to love, it was only for the self-serving purpose of getting that Being’s attention. Yet shortly before I turned 15, I began to secretly cry out, “God, if You are there—please show me.” -Craig Keener (‘Historical Jesus Studies.’)
Jennifer, a former atheist turned Catholic, is a columnist for Envoy magazine, a regular guest on the Relevant Radio and EWTN Radio networks, and a contributor to the books The Church and New Media and Atheist to Catholic: 11 Stories of Conversion.
“One thing I could never get on the same page with my fellow atheists about was the idea of meaning. The other atheists I knew seemed to feel like life was full of purpose despite the fact that we’re all nothing more than chemical reactions. I could never get there. In fact, I thought that whole line of thinking was unscientific, and more than a little intellectually dishonest. If everything that we call heroism and glory, and all the significance of all great human achievements, can be reduced to some neurons firing in the human brain, then it’s all destined to be extinguished at death.” -Jennifer Fulwiler (‘Why I’m Catholic.’)
Sarah, a former atheist, is a research scientist in astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Texas.
“In fact, it seems that every question we have about the universe is answerable. There’s no reason it has to be this way, and it made me think of Einstein’s observation that the most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it’s comprehensible. I started to sense an underlying order to the universe. Without knowing it, I was awakening to what Psalm 19 tells us so clearly, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” -Sarah Salviander (‘My Testimony.’)
Darrin, a former atheist, used to write for John Loftus’ blog site Debunking Christianity. He is now a Christian, as well as a math teacher at Ellsworth Community College.
“Sometime last week, I realized that I could no longer call myself a skeptic. After fifteen years away from Christianity, most of which was spent as an atheist with an active, busy intent on destroying the faith, I returned to a church (with a real intention of going for worship) last Sunday. Although I know I may struggle with doubt for the rest of my life, my life as an atheist is over.” -Darrin Rasberry (‘The Journey Of An Old Atheist Convert.’)
Michael is a leading New Testament historian and theologian. He also lectures at Ridley Melbourne, and his teaching areas are on Synoptic Gospels, Paul’s Letters, Systematic Theology.
“Many years later, however, I read the New Testament for myself. The Jesus I encountered was far different from the deluded radical, even mythical character described to me. This Jesus—the Jesus of history—was real. He touched upon things that cut close to my heart, especially as I pondered the meaning of human existence. I was struck by the early church’s testimony to Jesus: In Christ’s death God has vanquished evil, and by his resurrection he has brought life and hope to all.”
“My faith and studies have led me to believe otherwise. First-century Jews and early Christians clearly demarcated God from all other reality, thus leading them to hold to a very strict monotheism. That said, Jesus was not seen as a Greek god like Zeus who trotted about earth or a human being who morphed into an angel at death. Rather, the first Christians redefined the concept of “one God” around the person and work of Jesus Christ. Not to mention the New Testament writers, especially Luke and Paul, consistently identify Jesus with the God of Israel.” -Michael Bird (‘Professor explains how his study of the historical Jesus made him leave atheism.’)
Ravi is a world-leading evangelist. He has authored numerous books, including the Gold Medallion Book Award winner Can Man Live Without God? in the category “theology and doctrine” and bestsellers Light in the Shadow of Jihad, and The Grand Weaver.
“I very seldom like to mention the turning point of my own life, for it is a very private matter and sometimes still hurts to think of it, to say nothing of the embarrassment it must bring my family. But I cannot resist thinking of that most poignant moment of my past. I was seventeen years old when, with neither great intensity or great anguish, I came to the recognition that life had very little meaning. The more I pondered its harsh implication the closer I drew to a decision. That decision was to choose the way of suicide.”
“I found myself after that attempt lying in a hospital bed, having expelled all the poison that I had taken but unsure if I would recover. There on that bed, with a dehydrated body, the Scriptures were read to me. The flooding of my heart with the news that Jesus Christ could come into my life and that I could know God personally defies the depths to which the truth overwhelmed me. In that moment with a simple prayer of trust, the change from a desperate heart to one that found the fullness of meaning became a reality for me. God reached down to a teenager in a hospital bed in the city of New Delhi, a mega-city of teeming millions. Imagine! God cared enough to hear my cry. How incredible, that He has a personal interest in the struggles of our lives. I cannot express it better than to say that His self-sufficiency and greatness do not deny us the wonderful joy of being affirmed in our individuality and of knowing that we are of unique value to Him. That was the point of the parable Jesus told about the shepherd who left the ninety-nine sheep in the fold and went looking for the one.“ -Ravi Zacharias (‘The Cries of the Heart.’)
Nick is the Music Minister at Bacon Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock. He tried to disprove God’s existence after his son committed suicide.
“I tried to disprove the existence of God, immediately after finding my 19-year-old son dead in his bedroom from suicide. But atheism failed me. The words of the best, most intelligent atheists rang hollow. Their rebuttals and refutations against the existence of God were, in my opinion, incomplete, short-sighted, and at times, ludicrous. While the atheists scream loudly trying to speak for their evidence, the theists, in my opinion, simply step back and allow the evidence to speak for itself. For the arguments of theists were akin to the familiar statement: ‘You don’t need to defend a lion; you simply open the cage and allow him to defend himself.’” –Nick Watts (‘Atheism failed me.’)
Jordan is a contributor to the magazine Fare Forward, and has also written for Christianity Today. She is also an avid writer and blogger.
“I tried to face down an overwhelming body of evidence, as well as the living God. At the same time, I had begun to read through the Bible and was confronted by my sin. I was painfully arrogant and prone to fits of rage. I was unforgiving and unwaveringly selfish. I passed sexual boundaries that I’d promised I wouldn’t. The fact that I had failed to adhere to my own ethical standards filled me with deep regret. Yet I could do nothing to right these wrongs. The Cross no longer looked merely like a symbol of love, but like the answer to an incurable need. When I read the Crucifixion scene in the Book of John for the first time, I wept.” -Jordan Monge (‘The Atheist’s Dilemma.’)
Edward is professor of philosophy at Pasadena City College, and author of the book The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism. He is also particularly critical of atheists like Richard Dawkins.
“Secular theorists often assume they know what a religious argument is like: they present it as a crude prescription from God, backed up with threat of hellfire, derived from general or particular revelation, and they contrast it with the elegant complexity of a philosophical argument by Rawls (say) or Dworkin. With this image in mind, they think it obvious that religious argument should be excluded from public life… But those who have bothered to make themselves familiar with existing religious-based arguments in modern political theory know that this is mostly a travesty.” -Edward Feser (‘The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism.’)
John was very anti-Christian, and after reading the Bible four times over he planned to write a book called All the Stupidity of the Bible. After failing to find scientific contradictions in the Bible he gave up this project.
“I had a lot to overcome. I could not talk without swearing. You could not go to the preacher’s house and say pass the potatoes. I had to learn a new way of talking, a new way of living, a new set of values, and a new morality, because I had lived in opposition to God. I asked God’s help in these things and I found I was able to overcome things I had never been able to overcome before. I have a whole new set of problems — a whole new set of things that I have to work on — but the problems I have today are nothing like the problems I had in the past. If anyone had told me twenty years ago that I would be openly using my limited abilities to publicly convict disbelievers of God’s reality, I would have thought they were insane. Nonetheless, God has blessed my feeble efforts in spectacular ways — totally beyond anything I could have ever done.” -John Clayton (‘Why I Left Atheism.’)
Darren grew up in as an atheist in non-Christian home with a father who was an atheist and a mother who was a lukewarm Christian.
“I realized that a lot of what I had been told about Christians when I was growing up was not true.”
“Becoming a Christian didn’t solve my problems, but it helped me to understand them and it opened the way for God to start healing me from my past.” -Darren Gedye (‘Testimony of an Ex-Atheist.’)
Giovanni was militantly atheist before his conversion. He once attempted to create scandal by speculating that Jesus and John the Apostle had a homosexual relationship.
“Humans: become atheists each and all! God will nevertheless welcome you with all his heart!”
Dana is self-employed in the environmental field, with an emphasis on water protection. She received a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Secondary Education and an M.S. in Aquatic Ecology, both from Kent State University. Her area of specialization is in nonprofit organizational development, collaborative decision-making, environmental education, and lake ecosystems.
“I was again confronted with the science/faith dichotomy when recently given the gift of Jesus. This time, the Holy Spirit would not let me reject my salvation, but what awful anguish I experienced as I assumed I had to reject my beloved science instead. I was thrilled to learn that I could believe in both! As I investigate my newfound faith alongside my scientific knowledge, the Lord continues to reveal to me that scientific findings and the use of the scientific method are very good, just as his Word is also good.” -Dana Oleskiewicz (‘Historical Jesus Studies.’)