Why Atheists Change Their Mind: 8 Common Factors

atheist conversion

The following is a blog post from Matt Nelson. You can read more from Matt on his blog at Reasonable Catholic.

Conversions from atheism are often gradual and complex, no doubt. For many converts the road is slow and tedious, tiring and trying. But in the end unbelievers who find God can enjoy an inner peace that comes from a clear conscience in knowing they held to truth and followed the arguments faithfully.Of course not all converts from atheism become Christian or even religious. Some converts only reach a deistic belief in God (an areligious position that God is “impersonal”) but the leap is still monumental; and it opens new, unforeseen horizons.

The factors that lead to faith are often diverse. It is clear that every former atheist has walked a unique path to God. Cardinal Ratzinger was once asked how many ways there are to God. He replied:

“As many ways as there are people. For even within the same faith each man’s way is an entirely personal one.”

Of course, the pope-to-be was not endorsing the view that “all religions are equal” but rather that there always seems to be a unique combination of factors—or steps—that move each convert towards belief in God. It also seems that some of these factors are more prominent across the board than others.

Here are eight common factors that lead atheists to change their minds about God:

1. Good Literature and Reasonable Writing.

Reasonable atheists eventually become theists because they are reasonable; and furthermore, because they are honest. They are willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads; and in many cases the evidence comes to the atheist most coherently and well-presented through the writings of believers in God.

Author Karen Edmisten admits on her blog: Continue reading

Doubt, Faith, and Reason: Genuine Seeker (Part 3)

doubt faith reason

Last Post: Tolkien, Lewis, and the Gospel

In our last post (J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospel Accounts) we saw the impact (on me at least) of C.S. Lewis’ opinion of the gospels. Lewis, a former atheist, a professor at Oxford and Cambridge, and an expert in ancient literature, wrote that the gospels are either a documented account of the life of Jesus, or, “some unknown writer in the 2nd century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative.” In other words, C.S. Lewis believed the scriptures to be true. (I posted Lewis’ statement on Reddit and a commenter, SuddenlySeymour, with a masters degree in English Literature explained it better than I ever could. If you’re interested, you can read what he wrote in the NOTES section at the bottom of this post.)

Why Should I Listen?

The next thing we explored in the last post was the next logical step after learning of Lewis’ conclusion. And that step is to read the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life very carefully. Because if those accounts are true as C.S. Lewis asserts that they are, then when we read the gospel accounts, we’re reading a documented account of the life and words of the Son of God Himself.

The Son of God Himself. No one’s life can be more important than his. No one’s world view can be more important than his. No one’s words can be more important than his. He said he came to save lives, eternal lives, and I want to explore that. But before we continue I think it will be helpful to first look at how firefighters decide to save lives.

Why Dive Through a Window Into a Burning Building? Continue reading

Smurfs and the Genuine Seeker of Truth (Part 1)

Jesus Real

Smurfs May Lead to “Harder” Entertainment Media

So, your parents forbid you to watch the Smurfs and you think that is one of the stupidest things ever, right? But take a breath and think this through with me. Somewhere, down deep inside, you know in your heart that it was when the Smurf high faded, it became the gateway television show that led you to your use of “harder” entertainment media. Come on, admit it. We’ve all heard the stories about Smurf watchers graduating to Harry Potter books and even engaging with others in the sport of Quidditch.

I even heard that one poor soul tried out for the position of Seeker. He was last seen in a deserted alley, chasing imaginary Quaffles and Golden Snitches.

Clearly it was the Smurfs cartoon that led to your ruin.

A Genuine Seeker of Truth

Okay so you’re probably right about the impact of the Smurfs on your childhood. But while we’re on the topic of the position of Seeker… I was on Google+ one time and I saw this post comparing an Egyptian mythological character named Horus to Jesus. The guy who posted it said that the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life were just ripoffs of this Egyptian legend. It seemed pretty compelling so Continue reading

Is Jesus God?

Photo by iko, Creative Commons

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

-C.S. Lewis

“I and the Father are one.”

Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

John 10:30-33

For more see Believing God Today:

“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” -C.S. Lewis

“You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”  -George MacDonald