When this author was a child the question of God’s existence was a burning question. Raised in an evangelical home was not the precursor to faith but merely the catalyst for a personal journey towards it. The seed of faith was not planted in church but by looking at nature and the intricacy of its design; the idea that it was somehow just a happy accident became a self-evident absurdity. The day of this discovery altered all that came after and started an unending search for truth.
For every man and woman who comes to the point where they accept the existence of a higher power, it is a life changing event. More so than it is for those whose faith is a matter of habit or a family tradition. This is never more true than for those who have made the trek from atheist to believer.
Probably the most famous former atheist was C.S. Lewis, a man who set out to disprove and make a mockery of Jesus. For Lewis the facts did not line up like he thought they would nor could he deny what he was discovering. At some point he choose to believe and that changed everything. He of course was not the first or last to make such a journey. Many a scientist has found the order of nature and the universe too great to believe it to be mere happenstance. For them the decision to believe was less an act of faith but lack of it. They simply found it too incredulous to accept the premise of accidental order on such a grand scale.
A recent article in Christianity Today by Kirsten Powers lays out her personal transformation from being an atheist to a believer. Powers, a Democratic pundit, writer for the Daily Beast as well as Fox News contributor, was the quintessential liberal. Working inside the liberal political bubble she knew few people of faith. Her world was one filled with like minded atheist and the non-practicing/non committed. She loathed the Christians and marked being religious as the one thing she would not stand for in a relationship. Her article is a culmination of journey of discovery for which no course was ever set.
Her’s was story of a temporary relationship that would have permanent impact on her life. What she describes is not the culmination of an intellectual pursuit like C.S. Lewis or the humbling awe of a universe magnificently set in balance but the combination of a gradual awakening and an Apostle Paul like experience on a flight to Taiwan. Of course this is how it is, no person who makes such a journey ever quite takes the same road.
Faith is a part of the human existence, those who say they do not have it are lying to themselves as much as to others. As much as mankind has advanced he is still 99.999% ignorant and .001% enlightened. What fills the gap is often faith. The acceptance of a religious faith, particularly Christian faith, gives meaning to, as it challenges, one’s existence. Kristen Power’s discovered this truth for herself. While she is still a liberal, one can find a more open minded and humble women than inhabited the same body just a few years ago. When one realizes the existence of man is much more than that of a higher beast born by an accident of nature, it changes everything. It did for C.S. Lewis and for Kirsten Powers was well.
Unfortunately many scoff at the experiences of Kristen and others. For the skeptics, TV preacher scandals and child molesting priest is all the need to know about Christians and even faith in general. The fact is charlatans selling spiritual snake oil and those dark souls trolling for easy prey under cover of a collar, are no more a reflection of Christian values than crooked cops are a reflection of the law.
For honest seekers of truth, the discovery of faith is a stop on a road that never ends. Atheism on the other hand is usually an abandonment of the quest for enlightenment. A stagnation of the mind and soul where the search for spiritual truth meets an untimely end; enveloped in a false belief that one has arrived and there is no more. Those who escape quagmire of atheism and re-embrace mankind’s natural drive to find God are a rare but not unknown lot. Of those, the one’s whose search for truth leads to the discovery of faith find that their journey in life begins anew.
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