Maybe My All Time Favorite Interview: Lifelong Atheist Jennifer Fulwiler Tells of her Life of Scientific Materialism, and Christianity

God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.

A Lifelong Atheist

Lifelong atheist Jennifer Fulwiler speaks candidly about growing up in an environment where scientific materialism and naturalism was her way of life. (For her nightly bedtime reading, her father read from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.) (From the archives)

(I encourage you to visit the excellent website, ExploreGod.com, where you can watch the original video about Jennifer and also find a safe place to ask questions about God. You might also want to check out other articles from the Seeker category of GodRunning.com.)

A Diet of Science and Reason

Jennifer says she was raised on a diet of science, and reason, and evidence based rational thought. She says, “You believe what you can prove. I believe that I have hands because I can see them. I believe in a black hole even though I’ve never seen one but science can tell us about the way matter moves around it that we can observe. And so this very rational worldview always made sense to me on a fundamental level.

A Collection Of Chemical Reactions

“Before I got to the point that I could really start researching faith with an open mind, something had to happen. And for me that occurred after my first child was born. I looked down and thought, ‘What is this baby?’ And I thought, ‘Well, from a pure atheist materialist perspective, he is a collection of randomly evolved chemical reactions.’ And I realized if that’s true, [then] all the love that I feel for him, that it’s all nothing more than chemical reactions in our brains. And I looked down at him, and I realized: that’s not true. It’s not the truth. And I didn’t know where to go from there but that’s what prompted me to start researching topics of spirituality.

Anything Could Be True Except For Christianity

“I got my books about buddhism and you know, and about every religion except for Christianity, basically. I assumed anything could be true except for Christianity. And my husband, who considered himself a nonpracticing Christian, said, ‘You might want to start with the one major world religion whose founder claimed to be God. After all that’s a really easy claim to disprove if it’s not true. And I thought, ‘Well, that’s a fair point.’

Intellectually Rigorous Books

“I was such a through and through atheist that I have to admit I was ignorant of all these great Christian thinkers. What about Thomas Aquinas? What about Augustine? What about Descartes? I mean, all of these great thinkers throughout history were not only theists but Christians. And I was really surprised when I actually found these very intellectually rigorous books where people talked about their faith from a place of reason, and not a place of emotion. And when I looked at evidence like that, on the whole, I started to think something explosive, something world changing happened in first century Palestine.

There Was No Material Benefit For Anyone Who Joined This New Religion

“You have this guy named Jesus who comes from a lower class region, gains a bunch of lower class followers, and ends up being executed by the Romans. And yet in droves you see thousands and thousands of Jews giving up these traditions that they had held dear for thousands of years. And, the people who joined in on this new religion, there was no benefit for them. It was a persecuted religion. People who joined this religion, [it] didn’t tend to work out too well. They tended to lose social status and often face death.

Still Not Convinced

“But, I wasn’t yet convinced and ready to become a Christian. And so I started a blog: I just threw out every hard question I could think of. I just put it all out there on the blog. And as I would watch the atheists and the Christians go back and forth and debate, I realized, we atheists, we don’t have the lock on reason that I thought we did. But what I saw with the Christians was, they had that too, they had all the knowledge of science and the material world that we atheists did. But yet, they had the total picture of the human experience: of love, and triumph, and hope. And they could articulate that in a way that the atheists couldn’t.

A Prayer Uttered

“It wasn’t until after I had made the intellectual decision to become a Christian that I think I finally believed it in my heart. When I set my pride aside and said, ‘Okay, I feel like I’m talking to myself but Jesus, I want a relationship with you. I want to know you even though I don’t how to go about doing that.’

The Result

“This peace entered my life. This joy. The way my whole being was transformed there was just no question that, this is somebody real. I think that, not only am I more alive now that I’m a Christian but I’m so much more intellectually alive. Finally nothing is off limits. I can ask questions about science but I can also ask questions about the spiritual world. And I’m free to seek the truth.”

-Jennifer Fulwiler

Resources:

ExploreGod: The creators of the original Jennifer Fulwiler video.

You can read more from Jennifer on her blog, Why I’m Catholic.

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.

(Kindlehardcover, and paperback now available on Amazon.)

3 Comments on “Maybe My All Time Favorite Interview: Lifelong Atheist Jennifer Fulwiler Tells of her Life of Scientific Materialism, and Christianity

  1. “God Running is a place for anyone who wants to (or even anyone who wants to want to) love Jesus more deeply, follow Jesus more closely, and love people the way Jesus wants us to.”

    christians can’t agree on this. How do you propose to support the claim that you version is the right one?

    I’m always bemused that conversion stories are so important to Christians. Alas, that doesn’t make your religion true. Atheists are converting, Christians are deconverting, and still no evidence for your god.

    • I appreciate your comment and I understand your position. I once felt the same. If you’re ever interested in having a collaborative discussion about finding truth, I would enjoy dialoguing with you. Just send me an email: kurt@kurtbennettbooks.com.

      • I am curious, why no answer to my question here, Kurt?

        That you find conversion stories impressive tells me a lot about your ideas of truth. What you, and Jennifer, have is subjective feelings, which most, if not all, other theists claim too. If you don’t accept those as evidence that other gods exist, when why should anyone take your claims seriously?

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