Atheist Experience:
How an Atheist Found God

What moved me from my atheist experience to believing in God…

By Marilyn Adamson

ExperienceI found out, you can disturb a lot of religious people by asking, "How do you know God exists?"

Perhaps they were wondering about my motives. Or maybe they simply had no idea how to answer. But, most of their responses were, "Well, you just know."

I wasn’t trying to be difficult. But I certainly did not "just know." And I was hoping someone did!

After many months of this, I thought, "Here are the people who say they believe in God, but no one knows why!" I felt much like I did when I learned the truth about Santa Claus. It seemed obvious that God was completely fabricated. Maybe some people needed to believe in God. But clearly there was no proof. No objective evidence. I came to the most stark conclusion…God did not actually exist.

I held this belief for years, not expecting it to ever change. But then I met someone who caused me to become interested in the possibility of God. She was caring, kind, and very intelligent. It bothered that someone that intelligent could believe in God.

She talked about God like he was her dearest friend who deeply loved her. I knew her life well. Any concern she would take to God, as if trusting him to work out a way or care for her in some way. She would tell me, quite candidly, that she was merely praying that God would act upon her concerns. Every week I saw what seemed to be answers to her prayers. For more than a year. I watched her life through a myriad of circumstances. She was convinced that God did exist.

So, I wanted to believe in God on one hand, because I admired her life and her love for others. But I couldn’t believe in something against my intellect, against my better judgment. God did not exist. A nice idea, but that was all. Wanting something to be true, doesn’t make it true.

During this time I was developing (what I thought was) a very personally-built philosophy. Later I identified it as existentialism, pretty thoroughly.

However I did try something with these philosophies that I’m not sure many people do. Every few weeks, I would study a particular philosopher’s take on life, and then try to apply it…Nietzsche, Hume, Dostoevsky, Sartre, Plato, etc. I was looking for the perfect, workable philosophy for life. I found over and over, that either their philosophies seemed lacking, or were too impractical to actually implement. But I kept searching.

During this time, I was challenging my friend with every question that came to mind about God. I would find myself writing out questions late in the evening. This went on for well over a year. One day she handed me a book that briefly answered questions like, is there a God; is Jesus God; what about the Bible. It presented facts. No comments like, "you have to believe."

The book delivered some evidence for God that was logical. I’m not normally drawn toward science. However, the parts particularly convincing to me were the chemical properties of water, and the earth’s position to the sun. It was all too perfectly designed, too perfectly put together. And my faith in "nothing behind it all" seemed weaker than the possibility of God. I had fewer reasons to be certain of nothing, and more reasons to conclude that God might be there.

I then encountered a situation that fully challenged my well-constructed philosophy on life. What I had been putting my faith in proved to be completely insufficient. It shocked me to see that I was at a loss for an approach to life that was fully reliable. However, the situation resolved itself. And I moved ahead. I have a pretty steady personality. Throughout my life, I never really felt "needy." No on-going crisis. No big gaps or struggles. And certainly nothing I felt guilty about.

But the concept of God was something I couldn’t get off my mind….was he there? does he exist? maybe there’s a God…

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Recommended Resources: Finding an Unseen God: Reflections of a Former Atheist | Letters from a Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father’s Questions