Part of the Interview with an Ex-Atheist series.
Okay. First, let me apologize.
Launching this ex-atheist series took longer than I hoped. So sorry I drug my feet.
In my defense, though, the reason I took so long was because I wasn’t sure this was the right thing to do.
Just a gut feeling. But maybe I was veering off in the wrong direction.
So…I spent time in prayer. Mulled it over with God. And talked about it with some close friends.
In the end, I feel good going forward. Think it’ll be harmless. Hopefully eye-opening. And at least marginally satisfying to your spirit.
So, without further non-sense, me.
1. How would you describe your religious bent: Christian, non-Christian or other?
Christian. Classical Christianity. Meaning, biblical and historical Christianity. Adhere to creeds such as the Apostle’s and the Nicene. Follow the teachings of Reformers. Regard the Bible as the highest authority of truth. Recognize Christ as the exclusive way to God.
2. Were you religious before you became an atheist?
No. That’s what made me an atheist, right?
3. What makes you think you were an atheist?
Flat out rejection of God. Jesus Christ. To the point were I even believed Jesus was a mythical figure.
I admit: I was a bad atheist. I didn’t come to that conclusion after a systematic study of evolution or Bart Ehrman. It was more, “You honestly expect me to believe such crap in our modern world?”
4. How did Christians treat you as an atheist?
Depends. I avoided Christians as much as possible. Major buzz kill.
Those I did run into…I think they treated me fine. Gave me the gospel drill, which I swiftly drowned out with a drink or my fingers.
5. How are you treated by atheists now? Persecuted?
For the most part, respect. Naturally you encounter the militant who is determined to make a clown of you. But that’s the minority.
6. What was the final event or argument that brought you to believe in God?
Good question. And unfortunately there’s not a short answer. But I’ll try to sum it up like this:
No single argument. But one single event. When my wife busted me over my emotional infidelity, she threatened divorce. I freaked and said I’d do anything to save the marriage, the family, including making a serious effort at being a Christian.
See, shortly before I got married I “converted.” And said I was a Christian. For ten years. But what became apparent to me post-divorce threat…as I started to read the Bible and people like Ray Comfort, John MacArthur and Jonathan Edwards…was that I’d been deceived.
I’d drank the cultural Christian Kool-Aid that claimed you were a believer if you walked down the aisle or filled out a card or raised your hand.
What it boils down to is this: Profession of faith versus possession of faith. I had the profession but not the possession.
That event opened my eyes. And at some point I received the gift of faith from God. And then the arguments started to pile on.
Jesus’–the historical person who I dismissed as mythical–his life, death and resurrection. What was I to do with that?
With such a clearly substantiated event like that, I thought I’d be insane to ignore it. So I began to believe in it. And be changed. Radically.
7. Was it head or heart that led you to God? Or both?
Neither. It was God who cleaned my clock and said “You’re with me.” At that point, though, shortly after the near-miss with divorce, I’d been awakened and was like, “Yeah, I’m with you.”
That’s when I began my journey to understand my new faith.
This process is identical with the story of the Prodigal. He first is awakened out of his spiritual slumber, then returns to his father. Same with me. I was awakened, recognized my depravity and confessed my sin.
8. Have you talked to any atheists about giving up atheism? How did they react?
Lots of atheists. And usually they respond, “Sorry, tried that. Didn’t work for me.”
However, I’ve learned, especially through my blog, that it’s not about winning arguments. It’s about a clear articulation of the Gospel.
That’s what matters. Everything else is peripheral.
9. When did you know you were a Christian? Did it scare you?
Again, no single event. Clearly a process. That’s conversion as described in the Bible.
And naturally when you have the rug pulled out from under you…you are scared. I’d wrapped myself up in this solitary, vigorous pursuit of literary fame–emotionally, professionally and personally–and now that’s gone?
Talk about an identity crisis.
What filled that vacuum is light-years more satisfying than what was there before, though.
10. What do you want to accomplish with your life?
Use my gift of writing to spread the Gospel. Train my children to love God. Serve my wife with compassion and humility.
11. Who are your heroes? Why?
John Piper. I think that man is a gift from the past. What do I mean by that? He’s a Puritan to the core. And the best thing we could have to an actual flesh and blood Jonathan Edwards.
12. What would you like to accomplish with your blog?
Use my gift of writing to spread the Gospel.
13. What’s your favorite part about being a Christian?
14. Would you ever bail on Christianity?
The only reason I am a Christian is because of God’s mercy and grace. And the only reason I remain a Christian is because of God’s mercy and grace.
And because of God’s faithfulness I know that his word is true today and tomorrow, so when he says that no one can snatch a man from his grip, if I ever bail on Christianity it will because he let me go. But he doesn’t let believers go. So, I’m confident I will remain a Christian until the day I die.
Shew. That was harder than I thought. Anyway, I’ll roll out another interview in two weeks. You up for another interview? Let me know. And if you have any questions, fire away. I’ll try to answer.