The day I converted from atheism is approaching…

by Maryann Spikes

coming upI spruced up the old testimony for Brian Auten’s Former Atheist Project on Apologetics 315, just in time for my approaching born-again birthday.  If you’re a former atheist, Brian would love to hear your story–and so would I 🙂  Mine begins here…

Before I became an atheist, I had grown up in church, a preacher’s kid who prayed to receive Christ when I was four. I never matured beyond the Sunday school understanding of avoiding the punishment of hell and gaining the reward of heaven.  There were lots of questions my parents did their best to answer, but many questions lingered after I got married and moved away from home.

When we bought a computer, I used it to witness in chat rooms and message boards, even met a few times in person with one of the people to whom I was witnessing.  In the process I discovered people have a lot of doubts about Christianity, and I added those doubts to my own.

I remember the night when the scales tipped and my doubts outweighed my faith – I had a nightmare that I rode in the passenger seat of a car speeding through a hilly stretch of road and could not make the driver slow down. I woke up terrified as the car launched off a cliff into the blackness of night.  The grounding of my faith gave way to an abyss of nothing.  It didn’t kill me, but it didn’t make me stronger, either.  The abyss provides no ground for meaningful strength.

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I lived as a lost, prodigal sheep for about five years.  Emotionally I abandoned my family, paying as little attention to them as I could get away with, and invested all my spare time in online philosophy message boards. I did a lot of selfish things I rationalized were okay at the time, as long as no one knew.  Now I regret those things.  They caused pain and left scars.  I learned that nothing genuinely good needs to be hidden.  Really, I knew that, but I ignored what I knew, and God gave me over to delusional thinking.  I remember with sadness even the happy memories during that time, because they are all colored with the full reality of what I hid.

By the time He brought me back to Himself, I no longer thought about God.  I didn’t think a God existed to think about.  I felt apathetic about life. I taught my kids that believing in God was like believing in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy.   My still-believing husband and I butted heads over my stand.

The nagging question of why something exists instead of nothing needled me.  It bothered me because I couldn’t answer it, not because I thought an answer exists…

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