Posted by A Lurker on August 17, 1999 at 18:30:46:
In Reply to: Christians conversions from atheism? posted by Chelonian on August 17, 1999 at 17:00:34:
You should have fun with this one- this is the founder of the ex-atheists for jesus site-
Sanjay Merchant - Los Angeles
At one time in my life I considered myself an atheist. At least I thought that I was an atheist. However, I often struggled with the hypocrisy that I saw in my life due to the difficulties with actually living out atheism. From a detached "intellectual" point of view it's easy to wave your hand and proclaim, "there is no God because there is no proof of his existence." Yet most atheists are really shaking an angry fist in spite of the evidence which they know to exist.
You see, it's easy to claim atheism, but it's difficult to live atheism. I'll explain this later on. But first, I'll explain some things for those who don't know what atheism is about. The word "atheist" literally means, "without God". In other words, the nature of man, his moral standards (or lack thereof) and purpose can be explained outside of the recognition of a creator. Most atheists believe that everything we see in existence is the result of natural, physical processes, which can be observed today.
For example, I believed in the "Big Bang" theory and Darwinian evolution. I believed in the "Big Bang" because I thought that it was a scientific explanation as to our existence, while religion was just full of myth. Through later research I found that the "Big Bang" is not science at all since it is not based on direct observation or testable methods. In contradiction, it is adhered to "religiously" by those who wish to purposely reject the idea of accountability and a moral standard. Some say, "Well God could have initiated the Big Bang." But by the time you get to Ylem (the supposed source of the bang) you've effectively eliminated any worshipable god from the picture (a very convenient trick for those who don't want God but can't disprove him; just make him really small). In turn, I had simply assumed this theory to be fact as my sixth grade teacher had told me it was so. We studied it along with the fact that the earth revolves around the sun, and that's certainly provable and accepted.
Similarly, I believed that my origins were found in evolution. This was superficially pleasing to me as it was an adequate method to explain away actions that I knew were immoral. Deep inside I was convinced that many of my actions were wrong, but evolution helped me to conveniently rationalize those fears. I was able to blame my actions on my "natural instincts". I would lie to my parents to better my own existence, I would hurt others to ease my own life and assert my dominance over rivals (survival of the fittest), and I would sleep with my girlfriend due to my animal instinct to procreate (though had we succeeded we would have had an abortion - logical?).
I had trouble, however, trying to explain the guilt and sickness I had felt when I knew that I had done what was wrong.
Another real problem arose for me when it came to discussing religion. I could calmly discuss the teachings of Mohammed or Buddha, but when it came to Jesus I became very angry. I thought that an atheist should act rationally and never get angry. After all, it was evolutionarily useless to become so mad, unless it preserved my life.
I argued with and harassed Christians without cause. I hated their joy and love for one another. I felt that they simply needed a crutch; they could have their crutch... I was man enough to face my death. But, I found that I was afraid of life. I hated almost everyone, especially myself... but of course, this was "natural".
One evening I went to a Christian Bible study to argue and set people straight, as I thought. I was convinced that I understood life even though I had never heard the Christian message. I simply believed the hypocrisy I had seen in the headlines, the strict regulations imposed by the Vatican and the hate spread by racists who said that they were Christians (its surprising to note the roots of racism lie in atheism, and are nowhere found in the Bible).
I met people who were nothing like I had imagined. I hung on every word of the speaker. I was in awe of his wisdom, while still attempting to disagree. At the end of the evening he asked if he could pray for me. I allowed him as I did not believe in prayer, but didn't want to be rude. As he finished I opened my eyes in amazement. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was as if I was a newborn... all my vain arguments and anger passed away. I no longer hated these people. I almost ran out in fear. That night I prayed for the first time. I asked Jesus to help me if he was able.
The next day I called my former best friend (I say former because he had become a Christian months before and after many arguments I decided to have no contact with him). He brought two other men that had been close friends of mine in the past also. They answered all my lingering questions and I understood about God for the first time. Afterwards, they prayed for me. I felt as if I had come into the presence of the Jesus that I had hated so much. I raised my hands to fight, but I felt that his arms were wide open... ready to forgive and help me. I broke down in tears and gave my life over to Jesus. I didn't join a religion or a church... I simply can to realize what happens when an atheist meets Jesus.
The testimonies are Here