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.
“I once thought I’d be a lifelong atheist. Then I became desperately unhappy, read up on philosophy and various religions (while assiduously avoiding Christianity), and waited for something to make sense. I was initially appalled when Christianity began to look like the sensible thing, surprised when I wanted to be baptized, and stunned that I ended up a Catholic.”
Dr. Holly Ordway, author of Not God’s Type: An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms, describes the consequences of reading great, intelligent Christian writers:
“I found that my favorite authors were men and women of deep Christian faith. C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien above all; and then the poets: Gerard Manley Hopkins, George Herbert, John Donne, and others. Their work was unsettling to my atheist convictions…”
Dr. Ordway mentions the eminent 20th century Oxford thinker, C.S. Lewis. Lewis is a prime example of a reasonable but unbelieving thinker who was willing to read from all angles and perspectives. As a result of his open inquiry, he became a believer in Christ and one of modern Christianity’s greatest apologists.
G.K. Chesterton and George MacDonald were two of the most influential writers to effect Lewis’ conversion. He writes in his autobiography, Surprised By Joy:
“In reading Chesterton, as in reading MacDonald, I did not know what I was letting myself in for… A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.”
Author Dale Ahlquist writes matter-of-factly that “C.S. Lewis was an atheist until he read Chesterton’s book, The Everlasting Man, but he wasn’t afterwards…”
Ironically, it was C.S. Lewis’ influential defenses of Christianity that would eventually prompt countless conversions to Christianity—and his influence continues today unhindered. Among the Lewis-led converts from atheism is former feminist and professor of philosophy, Lorraine Murray, who recalls:
“In college I turned my back on Catholicism, my childhood faith, and became a radical, gender-bending feminist and a passionate atheist …. Reading Lewis, I found something that I must have been quietly hungering for all along, which was a reasoned approach to my childhood beliefs, which had centered almost entirely on emotion. As I turned the pages of this book, I could no longer ignore the Truth, nor turn my back on the Way and the Life. Little by little, and inch by inch, I found my way back to Jesus Christ and returned to the Catholic Church.”
For an in-depth account of Murray’s conversion, see her book: Confessions Of An Ex-Feminist.
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