Another Atheist Who Became a Christian

This is Jennifer Fulwiler, another atheist turned Christian.  (click for credit)
This is Jennifer Fulwiler, another atheist turned Christian (click for credit)
Those who read my blog regularly know that I like to discuss the stories of other atheists who have become Christians (see here, here, here, and here). Most of the time, these stories are rather different from my own, because God calls to each of us in a slightly different way. Nevertheless, I am always fascinated to see how people are able to find the errors inherent in an atheist worldview and learn the truth. Recently, I ran across the story of Jennifer Fulwiler, who was brought up in an atheistic household. In a short video presentation about her conversion, she says that when she was in fourth or fifth grade, her father would read Carl Sagan’s Cosmos to her at night. Her parents brought her up to believe that science was the answer to everything, and so from a very early age, she was indoctrinated into the materialist worldview.

In 2005, she started a blog called The Reluctant Atheist, and on what appears to be her first post, she wrote:

I was raised to believe that God does not exist…About two years ago I decided to actually do my own research and try to come to my own conclusions about God. I realized that despite my mantra of being “open-minded” about religion I was actually quite closed to ideas that didn’t fit with my atheist worldview.

So here I am. Two years and a lot of research later I’m still not sure what I think. I’ve uncovered a lot of information and philosophical perspectives that I certainly was not told about as a kid and am still trying to process it all. After educating myself more about physics and biology I now believe intellectually in some sort of intelligent design, but my heart has yet to catch up. To be totally honest with myself, I’m still functionally an atheist. But I want to believe. My logical mind tells me some sort of creator exists. Some deep gut feeling tells me God exists. But I have a long way to go.

This sounds a lot like me when I was an atheist. Once I actually started learning serious science, it became abundantly clear to me that a Creator had to exist. As a result, my mind was pushing me to a belief in God, but it took a while for my heart to catch up. If you scan through her posts at The Reluctant Atheist, you see her working through several issues, and it seems that in less than a year, her heart had caught up to her logical mind. She changed her blog from The Reluctant Atheist to Et tu, Jen?, and now it is called Conversion Diary.

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Another Atheist-Turned-Christian

This is  Rosaria Champagne Butterfield during an interview with Marvin Olasky of World Magazine.  (click for credit)
This is Rosaria Champagne Butterfield during an interview with Marvin Olasky of World Magazine. (click for credit)

Because I was an atheist who converted to Christianity, I like to read the stories of other former atheists (see here, here, and here). This post is about atheist-turned-Christian Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. She was an English professor at Syracuse University, and in her own words, her conversion to Christianity was a “train wreck.”

A short version of her conversion story is at Christianity Today, and it is well work the read. She has also written a book entitled The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. I have not read the book, but it is on my list.

What I find most intruiging about her story is how it began. She had written an article in the local newspaper that was critical of the Christian group called Promise Keepers. Like most controversial pieces, the article sparked all sorts of written responses. She says that she filed them into two groups: hate mail and fan mail. However, there was one letter she couldn’t classify. That letter led her down the path to Christ.

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Another Atheist-Turned-Christian

As an atheist who became a Christian, I am always intrigued to read of similar journeys made by others. I have written about a couple of them in the past (here and here), and now the GeoChristian points out another one:

The Atheist’s Dilemma

I love what she says at the end:

I came to Harvard seeking Veritas. Instead, he found me.

Not God’s Type

I read an incredibly interesting book about another atheist-turned-Christian. In this case, it’s Dr. Holly Ordway, and while her conversion was quite different from mine, she was also heavily influenced by the objective evidence that supports the validity of the Christian faith.

My review was published by Apologetics 315. You you can read it there.

Why God Won’t Go Away

Dr. Alister Edgar McGrath is a remarkable man. He holds an earned PhD in molecular biophysics and an earned Doctor of Divinity degree, both from the University of Oxford. He was once an atheist, but while studying chemistry at Oxford, he began to realize that the evidence for atheism was “circular, tentative, and uncertain.” The more he examined the evidence, the more convinced he became that Christianity was the most rational worldview. As a result, he became a Christian.

Because he was once an atheist, he continues to study atheism today. One of his best books is The Dawkins Delusion?, where he shows why atheists should be embarrassed by Dr. Richard Dawkins. However, that’s not the book I am writing about. Instead, I am writing about another one of McGrath’s masterpieces, Why God Won’t Go Away. Having publicly debated both Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, McGrath is well aware that many in the “New Atheist” camp would like God to go away. However, as McGrath demonstrates in this easy-to-read book, God stubbornly refuses to comply with the desires of the New Atheists.

Now even though this is an easy-to-read book, it is not simple or superficial. It is a deep, serious discussion of the New Atheist movement and its severe intellectual problems. However, McGrath is such an excellent teacher that you hardly notice how deep the material is until you put down the book and start thinking about what you have read.

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From Atheist to Creationist: Several Have Made That Journey

I receive a regular newsletter from Creation Ministries International (CMI), a young-earth creationist group made up of scientists from around the world. While I was reading the October, 2011 edition of that newsletter, I ran across an article entitled “Eternal fruit – from atheist to creationist.” According to the article:

Sai-Chung was an atheist activist attending church to study Christianity – so as to be effective at undermining it!

Well, it turns out that this man attended a talk on creation science given by Warwick Armstrong, who used to be a speaker at CMI but is now retired. Recently, Sai-Chung contacted CMI and told them that Armstrong’s talk (which was given in 2003) was instrumental in him coming to faith in Christ. He is now a youth group leader in the Chinese extension of one of Australia’s largest churches. He was actually contacting CMI because he wanted some assistance in polishing off his first talk on creation.

So here is someone who attended church specifically to learn how to undermine it. Obviously, then, he was not predisposed to believe what the Church (or the creationist speaker) was telling him. Nevertheless, what he heard was so convincing that he not only decided to put away his atheism and become a Christian, he also decided to become a young-earth creationist! That story, in and of itself, is quite interesting. It also got me to thinking: Sai-Chung isn’t the only one who made the journey from atheist to young-earth creationist. I made that same journey, albeit by taking a slightly different path.

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Everyone Wants A Piece of C.S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis is one of the greatest Christian apologists of the twentieth century. From the ripe old age of 15, he considered himself an atheist, even though he was raised in a Christian home. However, the works of George MacDonald and arguments with his friend J. R. R. Tolkien were central to his becoming a theist at the age of 31 and then a Christian at the age of 33. Because he was converted from atheism to Christianity, he has been called “the apostle to the skeptics.”1

To give you an idea of how important his works have been to Christianity, one of his books (Mere Christianity) was voted best book of the twentieth century by Christianity Today in April of 2000. It’s not surprising, then, that people want to imply that he agrees with their point of view. After all, if one of the greatest apologists of the twentieth century agrees with you, that’s got to mean something, right?

Unfortunately, this often leads to people mischaracterizing C.S Lewis’s views. Since he wrote an enormous amount of material, it is easy to twist his words to make it sound like he believed a great many things. I have read quite a lot of his work, not so much because I am a fan of his writing, but because he is such an important voice in modern Christianity. Because of this, I get a bit offended when quotes from his work are taken out of context in order to imply that he believed something he clearly didn’t believe. I have run across two instances of this recently, from two distinctly different groups, and it bothered me both times.

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