The quotes below come from thinkers and commentators who were atheists before accepting a Christian worldview. The purpose of these quotes is to facilitate discussion between those holding to Christian and atheist worldviews. The quotes certainly make reference to points being discussed and contested in the atheist-Christian debate. A follow up post will include thinkers who were formerly Christians before converting to a secular worldview.
James Warner Wallace (b. 1961), former cold-case homicide detective, assistant professor of apologetics at Biola University and once vocal atheist:
- “In the end, I came to the conclusion that the gospels were reliable eyewitness accounts that delivered accurate information about Jesus, including His crucifixion and Resurrection. But that created a problem for me. If Jesus really was who He said He was, then Jesus was God Himself. If Jesus truly did what the gospel eyewitnesses recorded, then Jesus is still God Himself. As someone who used to reject anything supernatural, I had to make a decision about my naturalistic presuppositions” (1).
Frank Tipler (b. 1947), mathematical physicist, cosmologist, joint appointment in the Departments of Mathematics and Physics at Tulane University:
- “When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics” (2)
Alister McGrath (b. 1953), theologian, scientist, and Anglican priest:
- “Atheism, I began to realize, rested on a less-than-satisfactory evidential basis. The arguments that had once seemed bold, decisive, and conclusive increasingly turned out to be circular, tentative, and uncertain” (3).
- “Christianity offers a worldview that leads to the generation of moral values and ideals that are able to give moral meaning and dignity to our existence” (4).
Lee Strobel (b. 1952), a former militant atheist and employee at the Chicago Tribune:
- “It was the evidence from science and history that prompted me to abandon my atheism and become a Christian” (5).
- “To be honest, I didn’t want to believe that Christianity could radically transform someone’s character and values. It was much easier to raise doubts and manufacture outrageous objections that to consider the possibility that God actually could trigger a revolutionary turn-around in such a depraved and degenerate life” (6).
- “…the scientific data point powerfully toward the existence of a Creator and that the historical evidence for the resurrection establishes convincingly that Jesus is divine” (7).
Rick Oliver, member California Science Teachers Association and New York Academy of Science:
- “I remember how frustrated I became when, as a young atheist, I examined specimens under the microscope. I would often walk away and try to convince myself that I was not seeing examples of extraordinary design, but merely the product of some random, unexplained mutations” (8).
Sir William Mitchell Ramsay (d. 1939), Scottish archaeologist, New Testament scholar, foremost authority of his day on the history of Asia Minor:
- “Christianity did not originate in a lie; and we can and ought to demonstrate this as well as believe it” (9).
- “Further study… showed that the book (Acts) could bear the most minute scrutiny as an authority for the facts of the Aegean world, and that it was written with such judgment, skill, art and perception of truth as to be a model of historical statement” (10).
C.S. Lewis (d. 1963), former atheist and widely read Christian apologetic author today and mind behind Narnia series:
- “Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning” (11).
- “Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God” (12).
- “A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous” (13).
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (d. 2008), Russian writer and winner of 1970 Nobel Prize in literature speaks about life under the the state atheism and communism of the Soviet Union:
- “Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened” (14).
Antony Flew (d. 2010) was once leading atheist philosopher and member of analytic and evidentialist schools of thought. As a strong advocate of atheism, Flew criticized the idea of life after death, free will, and the concept of God. Flew converted to deism in 2004 and held to an Aristotelian notion of God:
- “It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design” (15).
- “I now believe there is a God… I now think it [the evidence] does point to a creative Intelligence almost entirely because of the DNA investigations. What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together” (16).
- “…we have all the evidence we need in our immediate experience and that only a deliberate refusal to “look” is responsible for atheism of any variety” (17).
Francis Collins (b. 1950) is a geneticist respected for the discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project. He is the Director of the National Institutes of Health and author of numerous books on science, medicine, and spirituality:
- “I believe God did intend, in giving us intelligence, to give us the opportunity to investigate and appreciate the wonders of His creation. He is not threatened by our scientific adventures” (18).
- “The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. He can be worshipped in the cathedral or in the laboratory. His creation is majestic, awesome, intricate and beautiful – and it cannot be at war with itself. Only we imperfect humans can start such battles. And only we can end them” (19).
Peter Hitchens (b. 1951), well-known English journalist, author, and brother of anti-theist Christopher Hitchens:
- “I thought this gesture [burning his Bible] was a way of showing that I had finally rejected all the things that I had been brought up to believe, and I went on to behave for the next 20 years of my life exactly as if I didn’t believe in him [God], and that’s how I discovered in the end that what I had rejected was right” (20).
- “The current intellectual assault on God in Europe and North America is in fact a specific attack on Christianity – the faith that stubbornly persists in the morality, laws, and government of the major Western countries… The God they fight is the Christian God, because he is their own God… God is the leftists’ chief rival. Christian belief, by subjecting all men to divine authority and by asserting in the words ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ that the ideal society does not exist in this life, is the most coherent and potent obstacle to secular utopianism… the Bible angers and frustrates those who believe that the pursuit of a perfect society justifies the quest for absolute power” (21).
- “… when it comes to the millions of small and tedious good deeds that are needed for a society to function with charity, honesty, and kindness, a shortage of believing Christians will lead to that society’s decay” (22).
Richard Morga was a Mormon convert to atheism and then to Christianity. His conversion was the result of participating in debates and online discussions, notably on Richard Dawkins’s official website:
- “Science and philosophy do not have the answer to everything. If you are willing to listen with an open mind and an open heart and just say ‘perhaps I do not possess all the truth,’ that is an act of humility and I know that God never rejects or ignores acts of humility” (23).
Philip Vander Elst (b. 1951) is freelance writer and was lecturer for over thirty years in politics and journalism:
- “Since my own father had died when I was only 17, I found what Lewis had to say about the problem of evil particularly pertinent. As he rightly points out, we cannot complain about the existence of evil and suffering, and use that as an argument against the existence and goodness of God, unless we first believe that the standard of right and wrong by which we judge and condemn our world is an objective one. Our sense of justice and fairness has to be a true insight into reality, before we can we be justified in getting angry and indignant about all the pain and injustice we see around us. But if this is the case, what explains the existence within us of this inner moral code or compass? According to atheism, human beings and all their thinking processes are simply the accidental by-products of the mindless movement of atoms within an undesigned, random, and purposeless universe. How then can we attach any ultimate meaning or truth to our thoughts and feelings, including our sense of justice? They have, on this view, no more validity or significance than the sound of the wind in the trees” (24).
- “So, confronted by all these facts and arguments – philosophical, scientific, and historical – I surrendered my sword of unbelief to God, and asked Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my life during the hot, dry summer of 1976. In the years that have followed, I have never regretted that decision, despite many ups and downs and trials of my faith” (25).
A.S.A. Jones was self-claimed devout atheist before accepting biblical truths:
- “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” (26).
Craig Keener (b. 1960) is a leading scholar and Professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary:
- “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” (27).
Jennifer Fulwiler is an atheist turned Catholic, columnist for Envoy magazine, a regular guest on radio networks, and a standup comedian:
- “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” (28).
- “I found that the rules of the Church, that I had once perceived to be a set of confining laws, were rules of love; they defined the boundaries between what is love and what is not. It had changed me, my life, and my marriage for the better. I may not have experienced God, but, by following the teachings of the Church that was supposedly founded by him, I had experienced real love” (29).
Sarah Salviander 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” (30).
Darrin Rasberry is a former anti-theist and former writer at John Loftus’s blog Debunking Christianity:
- “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” (3§).
- “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” (32).
Michael Bird (b. 1974) is prominent Australian New Testament historian and theologian who lectures at Ridley College and teaches in the areas of the Synoptic Gospels, Paul’s Letters, and 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” (33).
- “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” (34).
Ravi Zacharias (d. 2020) was an evangelist and the founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries:
- “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” (35).
- “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” (36).
Nick Watts is the music minister at Bacon Heights Baptist Church who attempted to disprove God’s existence after the suicide of his son:
- “I tried to disprove the existence of God, immediately after finding my 19-year-old son dead in his bedroom from suicide” (37).
- “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” (38).
Jordan Monge is a contributor to the magazine Fare Forward, a writer, and a blogger:
- “I tried to face down an overwhelming body of evidence, as well as the living God” (39).
- “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” (40).
Edward Feser (b. 1968) is a philosophy Professor at Pasadena City College in California:
- “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” (41).
- “Dawkins, as I have said, tells us that there is “absolutely no reason” to think that the Unmoved Mover, First Cause, etc. is omnipotent, omniscient, good, and so forth. Perhaps what he meant to say was “absolutely no reason, apart from the many thousands of pages of detailed philosophical argumentation for this conclusion that have been produced over the centuries by thinkers of genius, and which I am not going to bother trying to answer.” So, a slip of the pen, perhaps” (42)
John Clayton was anti-Christian and wrote All the Stupidity of the Bible:
- “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” (43).
Darren Gedye grew up as an atheist in a non-Christian home:
- “I grew up in a non-Christian home. My father is an atheist and my mother was a backslidden Christian, due mostly to marrying my father I suspect. Anyway, I grew up an atheist. I never went to Church or Sunday school, stayed in bed till lunch-time on Sundays, and hated Christians who I thought were all stupid… [But] I realized that a lot of what I had been told about Christians when I was growing up was not true” (44).
- “After a couple of years of this I realized that his worldview made more sense than mine did. I started reading a Bible he gave me and one night alone in my room it dawned on me that it was all true and I was the world’s prize idiot. I hit the floor and asked Jesus to take control of my life” (45).
- “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” (46).
Dana Oleskiewicz is self-employed in the environmental field, supporter of non-profit environmental education and of 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” (47)
Josh Rasmussen is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy who specializes in analytic metaphysics:
- “I was dissatisfied with the evidence presented to me by the Church, so for a while, I stopped believing. But that led me to begin a search for truth where I discovered my love for philosophy and reclaimed my belief in God” (48).
- “I think of my journey back to God as clues that led me to more clues. I discovered recent scientific breakthroughs about the fine-tuning of the universe, the developing of virtue, the value of natural irregularities, soul-making, and more. These things, along with my questions, helped me shake off my limited view of God” (49).
- “Francis Bacon once said, “A little bit of philosophy leads you to atheism, but depth in the philosophy leads you back to religion,” and that’s certainly been my story. The more that I study philosophy, the more I see that points to God. Often I wonder, why don’t all philosophers believe in God? The evidence is so powerful” (50).
Reblogged this on pmcoleman and commented:
I have spent considerable time with online discussion groups in dialogue over various atheist claims and arguments. It remains a mystery to me how those arguments can be so thoroughly addressed — debunked, even — and still the arguments continue. How often I have finally brought a discussion to a specific Yes-No response option only to be forced to begin again after my counterpart sidesteps and puts a spin on the words used in the conversation. Honestly, it is wearisome and I have simply walked from many conversations because it is obvious that no amount of logic or evidence will suffice. I appreciate the quotes here by people of greater intellect demonstrating how they finally had to admit the truth.
You said; “How often I have finally brought a discussion to a specific Yes-No response option only to be forced to begin again after my counterpart sidesteps and puts a spin on the words used in the conversation. Honestly, it is wearisome and I have simply walked from many conversations because it is obvious that no amount of logic or evidence will suffice.” I am with you on this. I have had my share of pure ignorance when talking to many atheists. You cannot not get a straight answer. I was asked, “Who created God?” My first thought was , REALLY? That is your question. So I answered, if God was created, then He wouldn’t be God. Needless to say, all this person was trying to do is ask what I call dilemma questions. I blocked him because I get irritated by blatant ignorance. But it seems that the idea of Burden of Proof only rests on the Believer and not on the atheist. In another conversation, I asked, tell me why you think atheism is true. He replied with atheism is a belief and so it isn’t “true.” Well, if it isn’t true then it must be false. No rational human would believe in something that is false. Then came the dilemma questions again. I did have an excellent conversation with an atheist that lived in Denmark who was civil even though we had a language barrier. He appreciated my patience by answering some of his questions and we parted ways in a mature fashion. Of course, those conversations are far and few between. Usually we get arrogance and ignorance. But I totally get what your saying. I believe that the greatest weapon against atheism is a Christian that reads. Eventually, it pays off and either they leave you alone or they, as I usually quote, “It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” When it gets to that level of ignorance, I end the conversation.
I have often thought atheism is illogical and the number of fallacies they present … well, I guess we all are guilty of such things from time to time. Rather than trying to talk through an issue with an atheist, as the only approach, I have found myself examining what they are saying to me and what they are saying to all others. I think it reveals one of two things: they really are atheist believers, or the person is more accurately described as anti-theistic. The former just does not believe God or any deity exists, which begs the question of why they are so concerned about those who do. The latter have a beef with God — they want nothing to do with him and thus are not really atheists, but angry fallen sinners who do not wish to relinquish their lives to their Creator. It changes my approach in either case. From my perspective on the matter it is the anti-theist who is hurting badly and yet continues to fight against God.
I have had “regular” atheists say they are aware of no “god shaped void” that they are trying to fill and are really quite content with their lives. They have no need for religion nor are they inclined to care about such things. Thin world scientism rules their thinking.
Regardless, I think it prudent to know when to simply scroll on rather than getting entangled in a web of fallacies. At the first sign of sidestepping I attempt to redirect the conversation back on track. After the second unsuccessful attempt I will simply allow them to have the last word and I move on. If a seed was planted in such cases it is not up to me necessarily to water or harvest.
I like your observation of the difference between atheist & anti-theist, I never thought of it like that before. Most of the ones I’ve come across, especially in Youtube comments, the ones who frequent Christian videos purely with the purpose to antagonize, tend to fall into the anti-theist category. Most are angry resentful people who as you say have a beef with God. I always wondered that if they were truly atheists then why would they care that others believe in someone who they claim to believe doesn’t even exist. I no longer bother to get into discussion with such ones.
I think it is wise to determine early on the direction a conversation is headed. Some argue to uncover truth. Many more who think themselves intellectuals argue simply to argue and fight. Unfortunately I see way too many professing Christians with the same mindset. They are simply wasting valuable time although I would wager many probably think it necessary and that they are engaging in apologetics. Watch the real apologetics masters at work. They are precise and waste little to none energy on trolls or pundits.
Sounds like you never paid attention to the content of any of the Athiest You Tube videos, because we always in response to those that are “god bothering” us.
And your not the only group, the Jewish Trilogy (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), but the most frequent at trying to put your god in the public spectrum. Maybe you should start paying more attention. 😊
Rocky, I suppose that, just as all “Christians” are not alike, not all “Atheists” are alike. But there is a rise in what I call “Evangelical Atheism,” by which I mean an atheism that has an almost “evangelistic” spirit to it in the sense that it is trying to increase the number of atheists.
Religion is a very emotional topic and that is applicable to both the religious and the irreligious. This emotional aspect means that many people react rather then respond to the challenges put up against what they believe. Add to this that, in the theist/atheist debate, neither side has any proof that their position is true, and reasoned debate is nearly impossible..
But, it seems by “proof” the atheist means “scientific proof,” that is, proof that arises from our natural senses and whatever instruments we can invent to detect things our natural senses cannot observe on their own – like microscopes. When the atheist defines proof in this way, he is revealing that he, as much as any religious person, is relying on a proposition that he cannot prove, to wit, that scientific enquiry is sufficient to reveal all truth. But, to rely solely on scientific investigations is to reject out of hand any reality that exists outside the reality of time and space. The “scientific method” is wholly inadequate to discovering such things. The God of Jews and Christians is unique in this: He is the creator of our reality, and as such, is not a part of our reality. Thus, those methods of investigation designed to discover things in our reality cannot be relied upon to reveal to us matters pertaining to another reality. If we are to know anything regarding a Being who exists outside of space-time, that Being must purposefully reveal it to us. In the Christian cosmology, this has been accomplished through God speaking through the prophets. But His fullest expression of Himself is through Jesus Christ whom Christians claim to be the spaceless-timeless God expressed in space-time terms. Christians admit that such a thing seems impossible, calling it a great mystery. But we should not be surprised that the Creator of our reality does things that do not fit into our understanding.
This brings us back to the apologetic question. And it would do us all well to recognize that neither the theist or the atheist can “prove” his assertion in a scientific sense. God is beyond scientific enquiry. But, we can show that the existence of God is plausible, even probable, and that those who believe in Him are not doing so out of ignorance. All else – for or against – is not science; it is faith.
Reblogged this on Concierge Librarian.
What a job well done! Thanks my brother in Christ. I ve put a similar piece together which I will be posting in parts. I am inspired significantly.
[…] Former atheists speak. 44 Quotes:. […]
Reblogged this on Pickering Post and commented:
Here follows a list of quotes …
[…] https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/former-atheists-speak-44-quotes/ […]
[…] https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/former-atheists-speak-44-quotes/ […]
Reblogged this on Messages from the Mythical and commented:
You can open the door to each one of these quotes and explore further. I am especially struck by the relevance of this one by Peter Hitchens:
“The current intellectual assault on God in Europe and North America is in fact a specific attack on Christianity – the faith that stubbornly persists in the morality, laws, and government of the major Western countries. . . .The God they fight is the Christian God, because he is their own God. . . .God is the leftists’ chief rival. Christian belief, by subjecting all men to divine authority and by asserting in the words ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ that the ideal society does not exist in this life, is the most coherent and potent obstacle to secular utopianism. . . . the Bible angers and frustrates those who believe that the pursuit of a perfect society justifies the quest for absolute power.”
Get the book, “The Rage Against God” by Peter Hitchins.
I read P. Hitchen’s book a few years ago – fantastic !
Another good recommendation. I’ll do it!
Strawman fallacy there. 😊
Reblogged this on Applied Faith and commented:
While I was aware of and studied most of these in school, this really an outstanding compilation of former-atheists and their case for Christianity. What a compelling read! Well done.
I’m still yet to see anything convincing enough to demonstrate that either Christianity or Atheism are an accurate route to follow. Both directions leave doubts, and it is typical of people who adhere to one to flip to the other upon being curious of the doubts of the other side.
Trouble is, the actual truth is very likely somewhere in between.
You remind me of a quote that says something like:
The British are the sort of people who, when asked “Is Jesus God or is he not?” will reply that the truth is probably somewhere between the two.
If the truth is a middle ground between Jesus being God and him not being God, that would be quite an esoteric truth!
I think it’s actually rather simple and understandable. Jesus knew the beliefs of that time and area from a young age. He certainly seemed to have a knack for it, especially to be so knowledgeable of such a complex text.
If he continued studying beliefs and philosophies for the 18 or so years of his life that are missing from the Bible, then he could have amassed an understanding of humanity that would come across as supernatural, especially when integrated into the Old Testament narrative.
That’s not a middle ground between Jesus=God and Jesus≠God (if that’s what you were aiming for).
Any hypothesis that concludes Jesus is just a human (albeit a very good human, but still just human), writes off Christianity, and takes you into Arianism/Unitarianism/Islam/theosophy.
I think what you described are actually variations of middle ground. Jesus being divinely inspired/highly knowledgeable of the function of humanity seems to me to be between Jesus being divine and Jesus being written off – which is what I think we are essentially looking at in the Jesus as God/Not God (Christian/Atheist) debate.
Your words contradict themselves without you knowing. If you believe he said all these things; these things being the intricate woven words that amassed so many. These same people who wrote down his words also recorded a plethora of supernatural miracles. How does one believed in what he said, but not done, when recorded by the very same people who heard and saw it all? As all these people demonstrated, Jesus, was and is, divine. He was and is, God. Everyone can take in everything Jesus said. But the mircales he did? Magic tricks? A man, who was known for years to be crippled was ‘in on it’? Think about it.
Not all strictly illusions, Jesus could very well have had an awareness of the power of the mind over physical limitations much in the way the so-called faith healers are able to have people seemingly overcome their disabilities in the moment on stage.
Or it would make Jesus a demi-god. lol
Reblogged this on The Isaiah 53:5 Project.
Reblogged this on The Truth.
[…] Former Atheists Speak. 44 Quotes. […]
It is nice to know that these 44 atheists have now seen the light of Christ and have escaped from the secular humanistic prison that once held them in a tight grip of despair. I pray that many more will seek Jesus Christ and escape satan’s stronghold of sin and evil which wreaks havoc upon their lives.
Wrote about this topic and linked to your blog post today!
[…] Former Atheists Speak. 44 Quotes. […]
[…] Former atheists speak. 44 Quotes: https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/former-atheists-speak-44-quotes/ […]
[…] https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/former-atheists-speak-44-quotes/ […]
Thank you for posting this. It is wonderful to see God save atheists.
[…] For a list of 44 quotes from former atheists, see Jamie Bishops’s blog post. […]
Although you seem not to respond to your comments James, which I believe is not what we as Christians should do unless we want others to do the same when we share from our heart, I have still decided to follow you and read some of your messages which impact me because of being an Atheist for almost 30 years in my head but not in my heart or I still would be one. I was deceived as a Teenager that I came from an Ape and Jesus was just made up, at the time He was my Best Friend so I was heartbroken.
Years later after messing up my life Jesus became a part of my life again but it was years again before I really understood His Truth even though I had been going to Church.
At the point of death once again Jesus rescued me and I came to heart repentance and having now asked for His wisdom and empowering and believing I have received them, He is leading me into all understanding and yes I have absolutely no doubts of His reality or how I came to be in His Family which is all about Love for Him as Part of The Godhead or Trinity as we call Them today and sacrificial Love for others .
My only regret apart from hurting God and others which I now know I have been forgiven of, is that I wasted so much of my life when I could have been serving Him but I also know He will work all things for good, even my mistakes.
Christian Love in Christ Jesus – Anne.
That is a beautiful thing Anne. Dont let your regrets fuel anything but this.: Logically, the trials and tribulations anyone goes through before coming to Christ is glory to God. A man that is insanely stubborn to God, who eventually comes to grips with God in his almighty loving perfection is but God conquering a soul in righteousness. God is all for Righteous Glory. That is Gods way; give it to him and try to recognize when you see it. Have you ever heard of “All glory be to God”? Its because God conquers righteously. Only perfection can conquer righteously, and is the only thing can be called glorious.
Your mistakes, being washed away by your change and repentance, is Gods Glory. Take solace in that. Let this age be over, and lets take as many with us to the next age shall we? 🙂 Gods will be done.
Reblogged this on The Transforming Word with Dr. Mike Spaulding.
Reblogged this on Luc's Novelties and commented:
To end this series of posts on regarding our home in Christ, I thought I’d share this amazing post from the blog, Historical Jesus Studies, by James Bishop. It contains 44 quotes by Atheist’s who became Christians. Well worth the read!
Excellent – just sent this link to the leading atheist in Orlando, who I had a series on meetings with a few years ago. Good work!
[…] Original Post by James Bishop here […]
I highly doubt any of these people were atheists for logical or reasonable purposes.
[…] Source: Former atheists speak – 44 Quotes. | James Bishop’s Theology & Apologetics. […]
[…] Source: Former atheists speak – 44 Quotes. | James Bishop’s Theology & Apologetics. […]
This last one should be Giovanni Papini, not Panini. VERY important distinction. Please fix so I may refer people to this list.
thanks for noting this.
Thank you for fixing it!!! 👍🏼
[…] https://jamesbishopblog.wordpress.com/2015/07/06/former-atheists-speak-44-quotes/ […]
Not a very impressive list, and I speak as an agnostic (as someone with more questions than answers) rather than as an atheist.
Michael Bird converted before he began to study the Bible academically, when he was still a paratrooper. Craig Keener converted at 15. And I discuss William Ramsay’s testimony along with C. S. Lewis’s in “The Uniqueness of the Christian Experience” http://infidels.org/library/modern/ed_babinski/experience.html
Antony Flew is the only significant former defender of atheism on the list (as his academic publications questioning Christianity attest) but even after becoming a theist he didn’t become a Christian nor even a believer in a personal afterlife.
For discussion of A. S. A. Jones’s testimony (Jones is a woman named Amy, and not a “he”), see this piece on “The Assymetry of Conversion” https://www.sites.google.com/site/leavingxtianity/home/asym
Lee Strobel was a Christian for 16 years (including over 10 years as a minister in his church’s Sunday school) before he wrote, The Case for Christ, and in that book he only interviewed conservative Christians to build his case, not exactly the way investigative journalism works. Moreover, he converted not long after his wife, and after attending her church, and Strobel has never told us what he actually knew about Christianity, or had read about it, prior to converting, Which was probably relatively little since he wasn’t even a religion reporter.
Compare Strobel’s testimony to that of Robert M. Price who started out an enthusiastic Evangelical Christian defender of the faith who rushed to attend a conservative Christian seminary after high school (Gordon-Conwell), but also began to read widely in theology, and went on private journeys to ask theological questions of a diverse array of Christian scholars in the Harvard/Boston area. Two of Price’s books that I recommend are
1) Beyond Born Again, written after his questions with Evangelicalism had surfaced en masse, but before Price obtained his first Ph.D. in New Testament (in theology);
2) The Case Against The Case for Christ (a response to arguments in Strobel’s book).
Strobel’s testimony also pales in comparison to that of William Lobdell, ex-Christian and former national Religion Reporter for the L. A. Times. Lobdell was an enthusiastic dedicated Christian who strove to report on religion in a positive light instead of the negative way he saw others reporting on his faith, but after eight years of prayer, theological study, and in-depth reporting he reluctantly called it quits and wrote a book about his years of struggle, Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America and Found Unexpected Peace.
And speaking of peace, Christians have admitted in their own magazines that depression remains a widespread problem among Evangelical ministers. Christians who suffer depression, including the apologist Michael Patton, (not to mention cases of Evangelical ministers and/or their children who have committed suicide) are mentioned here https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2015/08/christians-or-non-christians-who-suffer.html Depression is a problem that many triumphalistic churches don’t want to admit exists. Another thing Christians shy away from mentioning are cases of Christians who suffer from addictions to alcohol or drugs, or even die from them in the case of famed faith healer A. A. Allen. Furthermore, some people who left booze or drugs for Christianity can latter leave behind their Christian beliefs as well, and not go back to the booze or drugs. Here are some testimonies https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2014/10/on-recovering-from-alcoholism-drug.html
And instead of individual testimonies consider that entire institutions of higher learning that were formerly bastions of conservative Christian teaching have moved in the direction of moderation, more inclusive views. Read about the histories of Harvard, Yale (founded by conservative ministers in reaction to Harvard’s widening spectrum of theological questions being raised, but now look at Yale), Princeton (former home of B. B. Warfield, defender of inerrancy), Fuller Theological Seminary, and others.
The oft repeated mythical stories that warned about the dangers of higher education, which often include an enthusiastic young preacher who goes to seminary (“cemetery”) and comes back doubting everything are not so mythical. From the world famous evangelist Chuck Templeton (who preached with Billy Graham for many years) until going to Princeton to engage in Biblical Studies, to Robert Funk, the agnostic historical Jesus scholar who had been a fundamentalist in his youth, these myths are real, they are the stories of thousands of people who lost their zeal after engaging in biblical studies.
As the top conservative New Testament textual scholar in America, Dan Wallace, said:
“As remarkable as it may sound, most biblical scholars are not Christians. I don’t know the exact numbers, but my guess is that between 60% and 80% of the members of SBL (Society of Biblical Literature) do not believe that Jesus’ death paid for our sins, or that he was bodily raised from the dead.”
Also from Dan Wallace:
“In one of our annual two-day meetings about ten years ago, we got to discussing theological liberalism during lunch. Now before you think that this was a time for bashing liberals, you need to realize that most of the scholars on this committee were theologically liberal. And one of them casually mentioned that, as far as he was aware, 100% of all theological liberals came from an evangelical or fundamentalist background. I thought his numbers were a tad high since I had once met a liberal scholar who did not come from such a background. I’d give it 99%. Whether it’s 99%, 100%, or only 75%, the fact is that overwhelmingly, theological liberals do not start their academic study of the scriptures as theological liberals. They become liberal somewhere along the road.” [The quotations above are part of another leaver’s multi-part testimony on his blog, The Reluctant Skeptic]
As for myself, I was a zealous born again Christian on my secular college campus, president of the most Evangelical group on campus. After leaving the fold I edited a book of a few dozen testimonies of former conservative Christians who either decided to enter more moderate or liberal pastures, or who became adherents of more inclusive religions, or who became agnostics or atheists. https://etb-former-fundamentalists.blogspot.com/2012/04/edward-t-babinski-if-it-wasnt-for.html
Debunking Christianity – Women Speak Out http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2006/09/debunking-christianity-women-speak-out.html
Debunking Christianity – Women Speak Out #2 http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2006/10/debunking-christianity-women-speak-out.html
See also this list of 290 books on deconversions from Protestant Christianity most published in the last few decades, including books by former devoted missionaries and ministers https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/3JQ7OLD5KDHWQ/ref=cm_sw_su_w
[…] At some point the writer had stumbled upon an article I wrote for the Lubbock Metro Reader Magazine a few months after my son, Jordan, took his life. The article is entitled, “Atheism Failed Me.” (To read the article simply click on the article title, or you can click here.) Finding Jordan that day pushed me to the very edge of my faith, and beyond. After seeing my quote in James Bishop’s blog, I thought to myself, “Soli Deo Gloria! Christ continues to use the worst day of my life to bring hope and truth to those who may well be experiencing theirs!” You can read the blog, “44 Quotes from Former Atheists”, by clicking here. […]
It is important to understand, Atheism is an actual movement now, found within academia and within, with an actual agenda to change the culture through pop culture and street level conversion. They don’t care that they’ve been logically refuted, they just want to convince as many of the masses as they can to turn against religion–and they especially want us turned against Christianity.
This is not a joke. It’s easily documented, some are quite open about it.
[…] https://jamesbishopblog.com/2015/07/06/former-atheists-speak-44-quotesTradução: Emerson de […]