How Evidence Led a Virulent Anti-Theist, Darrin Rasberry, to Belief in God

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This is the testimony of a former anti-theist Darrin Rasberry who used to write for John Loftus’ blog Debunking Christianity.

An analysis of the Debunking Christianity (DC) blog shows that Rasberry’s testimony is authentic and that he converted to faith in 2011. Importantly, John Loftus objected to Rasberry’s conversion claiming that Rasberry “was never an atheist in the first place.” Rasberry would, of course, disagree with Loftus.

Rasberry begins by touching on his former anti-religious agenda,

“Some time 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.”

Rasberry was swayed by the “apologetic arguments for God’s existence”. He explains,

Briefly, I grew tired of the lack of explanation for: the existence of the universe, moral values and duties, objective human worth, consciousness and will, and many other topics. The only valid foundation for many of those ideas is a personal, immaterial, unchanging and unchangeable entity. As I fought so desperately  to come up with refutations of these arguments – even going out of my way to personally meet many of their originators, defenders, and opponents  – I realized that I could not answer them no matter how many long nights I spent hitting the books.”

Raspberry says that the atheists who surrounded himself with were not as rational as they claimed to be. They were far more interested in bashing religion than with taking arguments and evidence seriously,

“The months of study rolled on to years, and eventually I found an increasing comfort around my God-believing enemies and a growing discontent and even anger at my atheist friends’ inability to kill off these fleas in debate and in writing, an anger that gave birth to my first feeling of separateness from skepticism after reading comments related to a definitively refuted version of the Christ Myth theory, the idea that Jesus Christ never even existed as a person at all. Line after line after line of people hating Christianity and laughing at its “lie,” when solid scholarship refuting their idea was ignored completely. It showed that the motive of bashing and hating Christianity for some skeptics wasn’t based in reason and “free thinking” at all, although it would be unfair to lump many of my more intellectually rigorous and mentally cool skeptic friends in this way.”

Rasberry’s journey took time as it was not an immediate conversion to belief in God and Christianity,

As time went on, I reverted the path I traced after giving up Christianity so long ago: I went from atheist to agnostic to … gulp … *leaning* in the direction of God, to finally accepting that he very well could exist, and then to coming out and admitting (quietly) He did exist”.

Rasberry considered several worldviews and religions and found that only Christianity was the rational option among them,

“After considering Deism (the belief in a God who abandons His creation), Islam, Hinduism (yes, Krishna, don’t laugh), Baha’i, and even Jainism briefly, I have decided to select Christianity due to its superior model for human evil and its reconciliation, coupled with the belief that God interacted with man directly and face-to-face and had *the* crucial role in this reconciliation. This, of course, doesn’t prove that Christianity is absolutely true (although I can prove that God exists), but rather reflects my recognition that Christianity is exactly what I would expect to be the case given that God exists.”

How might his conversion be viewed by his friends and peers? Rasberry explains,

I understand that this may confuse and even upset many of the friends I’ve had for a long time, both in my personal life and in the years-long journey I’ve made as a skeptic-to-believer. Christianity is not without its critics, and given the absolutely shameful way many “Christians” have treated homosexuals, drug addicts, people of other faiths (and of no faith) and races, and even people of different Christian denomination, and given the often intellectually embarrassing way we’ve handled science and philosophy, I would not blame you for a second if you did not want to associate with me based on the track record of those who claim to believe similarly to what I believe now.

I won’t throw the Bible at you and I won’t preach to you with wild eyes and a million mile stare about how you shouldn’t be gay or how you should focus on what Hitch calls the “eternal theme park.” This is all the evangelism you’ll get from me (unless you ask after I’ve had too much Guinness) and I do hope it’s quite enough to motivate you to study the evidence for God’s existence yourself and to read the Bible without the predetermined idea of tearing it apart. Come over to the dark side; we have tea and cookies.”

25 comments

  1. It seems that he has a long way to go, but he is definitely headed in right direction. He does though seem to be ahead of the curve to a good amount of self proclaimed Christians. The true Christian seeks to be what Rasberry said he seeks be; “more Christ-like.” I believe in order to do that we need to try to think like Christ and accept all scripture(Holy Bible) God has given to us and “pick and choose” what we feel is best or fair. I believe God is more fair than any human could ever want to be.

  2. Really cool story man. I’m a convert into the Roman Catholic Church. I’m reading Johns book “why I became an atheist” for the first time. I appreciate the scope of the book, but haven’t been very impressed with his rebuttals of the classical arguments for the existence of God. I feel comfortable taking his “outsiders test” and feel that “God” very reasonably exists. In regards to catholic philosophy, have you read any of Ed Feser? “The last superstition” and “aquinas” were both quite worth the price of the books.

  3. Romans 1 says we all know God exists, but we suppress the truth in unrighteousness. I too, once claimed to be an “angry atheist”. But that’s like a criminal saying they don’t believe in a Judge. Keep pursuing the truth, keep reading your Bible, God is good! http://www.180movie.com God bless!

    • Ha! Good one. It has also been said that an atheist can’t find God for the same reason a thief can’t find a policeman.

  4. If those are the arguments that convinced you of a God then perhaps you didn’t spend much time thinking about them or don’t have much interest in logic and philosophy. They are no more than arguments from incredulity which is why the Philpapers survey show 74% of philosphers are atheist.

    this part here “although I can prove that God exists” is of course ludicrous. You’d win a nobel prize for this. Normally when someone asserts they can prove god it is some sort of first cause argument that shows a lack of understanding about special relativity and quantum mechanics. I hope your proof is better than those given by the usual suspects which have repeatedly failed.

  5. I think Loftus was being sarcastic when he said that Rasberry was “never an atheist in the first place.” He was mocking the Christians who dismiss deconversions from Christianity by saying that those who deconverted were not true Christians. Loftus said in that post that people come to faith and lose their faith for all sorts of reasons.

  6. It is important to be filled with the holy spirit and seek the mind of Christ to understand scripture.we tend to interpret scripture carnal minded.

  7. Sorry Darrin but you obviously have a bad stereotypical impression of atheists. Your effective definition as ” Christ haters” and ‘anti Christian” is not one with which I aim familar although I have read comments online from some. I am areligious but not anti religion – except where religious citizens try to incorporate specific religious belief into state/social/political domains. When the latter occurs my opposition is solely to the interference and/or attempts at exclusivity. I have no problems with anyone believing in their own personal philosophy no matter how incredible l find it. It is only when they try to impose their beliefs or its consequences as a matter of right that I draw lines in the ground. I consider myself as having managed to recover from my childhood brainwashing and my philosophy of life is the right to do as I choose provided I do not impinge on anybody else’s rights.

    • Colossians 1:27 ..not ‘advocating’ anything..but this might help explain some things (frighteningly, I saw atheism itself..the reality of it..as a symptom of some kind of ‘Transcedent (cosmic) Lie’. It’s nothing more than a symptom. Atheists do not hold the market on unbelief…they just happen to have allowed themselves to become victims of the symptom so much that they sold themselves on the idea irrationally Apparently Sam Webb didn’t read the post. He wrote: Sorry Darrin but you OBVIOUSLY have a bad stereotypical impression of atheists”..”Sorry” Sam, Darrin would know..he was one and worked with them..there is no such thing as a stereotypical atheist just as there is no such thing as a stereotypical Christian. An atheist is a an atheist, just as one in Christ is one whom is Posseseed by and in Possession of Him. http://www.christinyou.net/pages/Xnotrel.html

  8. Colossians 1:27 ..not ‘advocating’ anything..but this might help explain some things (frighteningly, I saw atheism itself..the reality of it..as a symptom of some kind of ‘Transcedent (cosmic) Lie’. It’s nothing more than a symptom. Atheists do not hold the market on unbelief…they just happen to have allowed themselves to become victims of the symptom so much that they sold themselves on the idea irrationally http://www.christinyou.net/pages/Xnotrel.html

  9. Darrin appears to have originally left faith because of his disappointment and anger in his theist beliefs and he has returned because of his disappointment and anger in his atheist beliefs. My impression is drawn from the old proverb, “In all of your personal disappointments, there is one common denominator: You.”
    Because Darrin draws his anger from his strawman atheists who simply didn’t meet the demands of his superior intellect, I would venture that the gentleman will simply not be satisfied with any club that would have him as a member. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  10. As I understand things, an atheist would examine the claims made by religion and find that there is no evidence for support of those claims. This is an ultimate position, in that if later evidence was found to support the claims of religion, this evidence would be easy to show clearly that gods in fact do exist. Any person who claims to have been an atheist and then changes their position and is not able to show convincing evidence for the reasons of a change, could never have been an atheist in the first place. Sometimes people never were Scottish.

  11. Haha, ‘no true scotsman’, just about sums it up. Perhaps even more telling is the author’s own admission “Briefly, I grew tired of the lack of explanation for: the existence of the universe, moral values and duties, objective human worth, consciousness and will, and many other topics.”

    Most of the educated, pioneering, expert, prolific and profound skeptics, atheists, secular humanists, and agnostics I know and interact with on a daily basis are passionate, enthusiastic, scholarly, and indefatigable in their pursuit of a wide variety of multidisciplinary sciences, including: archaeology, Theoretical Physics, anthropology, Behavioral science, biology, geography, evolutionary psychology, history, logic , ratiocination, astronomy, Quantum Field theory, Neuroscience, mythology, philosophy, heuristics and religious studies, all of which trounce The four Pillars of theism: Theology, Teleology, Cosmology and Morality (Craig) By admitting he no longer has the intellectual fortitude to pursue these areas most of which resoundingly refute a theistic supernatural existence says absolutely nothing about “lack of evidence”, and everything about the author’s laziness, failure and mediocre choices.

  12. Regarding the above response, since there’s no editing function here, I would replace geography with geology. As for “lack of evidence” allow me to point out that since the mid-1990s George W. Gilchrist of the University of Washington and more recently, Barbara Forrest of Southeastern Louisiana University and Lawrence M. Krauss of Case Western Reserve University surveyed over 20,000,000 peer reviewed scientific papers over the last twenty years, approximately 150,000 were on evolution, and maybe 80-150 of them dealt with intelligent design and creation science. Fatigue is hardly a compelling argument for any claim, moreover, it a well known sociological phenomenon that many former self-proclaimed, but ill-equipped atheists often give up and return to the comfort and community of their original ethnic and familial belief systems. (Please note: Linda LaScola and Daniel C. Dennett’s The Clergy Project) for an enlightening perspective on why many of the clergy become atheists).

  13. Christianity isn’t truth. It is Judaism. The church will not go anywhere. The covenant was made with the Jews yet gentiles can gave part of it if one is like Avraham who was the first Jew who by faith was given the full Shekinah from HaShem. He was raised in the nations yet Avraham didn’t do his own things or follow Man. Shalom and shavua tov

  14. Hi James,

    You open this post saying: “An analysis of the Debunking Christianity (DC) blog shows that Rasberry’s testimony is authentic and that he converted to faith in 2011. Importantly, John Loftus objected to Rasberry’s conversion claiming that Rasberry “was never an atheist in the first place.” Rasberry would, of course, disagree with Loftus.”

    This is taken out of context and should be corrected, especially now that you’re reposting it. Regarding this statement, Loftus said: “I’m saying about Darrin what Christians ignorantly say about people like me who leave the faith. Unlike them I don’t mean this seriously.” I know from experience what Loftus reports. I was a Christian for twenty years and have frequently had Christians say this about me.

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