I was taken to school on this one. According to Joel Forster of Evangelical Focus this story is likely false news. Apparently there are several versions circulating, one with a 75 year old pastor as the inspirational figure in the story, others, like this one, point to a priest. Also, a member of the Italian Evangelical Alliance board was asked about the story. He then contacted evangelical pastors of several denominations in Italy and they all agreed that the testimony is not reliable. (See Joel Forster’s article: Christian Fake News? The story of the atheist doctor in Lombardy)
Forster goes on to say it’s possible there could be some truth in the story. But the right thing to do here is to point out it’s not credible.
The following post and the above image are from an article published in INTERRIS. (Manuela Petrini, Covid-19, la straordinaria testimonianza di un medico: “Ero ateo ma ora sono tornato a Dio”, INTERRIS, March 21, 2020) A friend of mine used Google translate and then did some further editing to clean up the translation. Hat tip to Amy DeTar Ginski and Sheila Underwood Vamplin.
Since February 21, the coronavirus has burst into Italian borders causing over 4,000 deaths. We are informed on a daily basis of how many people have died, how many have recovered and what the total number of infected people is. The whole of Italy was moved by the sad image of the column of trucks of the Italian Army which, last Wednesday, carried the bodies away from Bergamo because there was no longer any place in the cemeteries. A similar scene was repeated this morning, when another 70 bodies were brought to other provinces to be cremated.
Doctors and nurses, silent heroes
Too often what goes on in hospital wards is overshadowed. Yes, every day the commitment of doctors, nurses, health workers, their dedication to work and the enormous effort they are making is praised, but their emotions, their fears, are not taken into consideration. In these days we have repeatedly listened to their desperate appeals addressed to all Italians to stay at home, so that their efforts are not frustrated.
The testimony of a doctor
In these hours the moving testimony is circulating in the media of a doctor, engaged in the front line against coronavirus, serving in Lombardy and reported by the online site “La luce di Maria”. “I was an atheist – he says – now I’m happy to be back to God.” “Never in the darkest nightmares have I imagined that I could see and experience what has been going on here in our hospital for three weeks. The nightmare grows, the river gets bigger and bigger. At the beginning, some came, then dozens and then hundreds; and now we are no longer doctors but we have become decision makers on a conveyor belt. We are forced to decide who should live and who should be sent home to die, even if all these people have paid Italian taxes for life. ”
“Until two weeks ago, my colleagues and I were atheists. It was normal because we are doctors, and we learned that science excludes the presence of God. I always laughed at my parents who went to church. Nine days ago a 75 year old priest came to us. He was a kind man, had serious breathing problems, but had a Bible with him; and he impressed us as he read it to the dying and held them by the hand. We were all tired, discouraged, psychically and physically exhausted doctors when we had time to listen to him. Now we have had to admit: we as humans have reached our limits, we can’t do more; and more and more people die every day. We are exhausted, we have two colleagues who have died and others have been infected. We realized that man can only do so much; we need God. And we started asking for help from Him. When we have a few free minutes we talk with each other, and we cannot believe that we formerly fierce atheists are now every day in search of our peace, asking the Lord to help us remain strong so that we can take care of the sick “.
“Happy to be back to God”
“The 75-year-old priest died yesterday. He who, despite having had so far over 120 deaths in 3 weeks here and we were all exhausted, destroyed, had managed, despite his conditions and our difficulties, brought us a PEACE that we no longer hoped to find. The priest went to the Lord, and if it continues like this, we will soon follow him too. I haven’t been home for 6 days, I don’t know when I ate last time, and I realize my powerlessness on this Earth, and I want to take my last breath to help others. I am happy to have returned to God while I am surrounded by the suffering and death of my fellow men. ”
Related story: What I Learned About Fake News (the Hard Way)
Manuela Petrini, Covid-19, la straordinaria testimonianza di un medico: “Ero ateo ma ora sono tornato a Dio”, INTERRIS, March 21, 2020
Newly released book by Kurt Bennett, now available on Amazon!
Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.