We all know that the number of committed religious people is dropping in most western countries (see, e.g. Who believes in God?). And it’s not too hard to find stories on the internet of people who were brought up religious, but now disbelieve.
It may be less well known that, at the same time, a significant number of people from a non-religious background are choosing to believe. I have taken an interest in finding some of their stories.
Lisa and the healing of memories
Lisa suffered the tragic deaths of her brother and mother before she turned 21, leaving her
full of guilt, anger, pain, sorrow and frustration. The effect was catastrophic:
These losses left me desperate for love but led me to a roller-coaster ride of self-destruction and criminal behaviour. This eventually lead to several prosecutions and a number of short spells in prison.
Looking for love, she entered into a series of relationships, leavings her a single parent of 3 children with a history of abuse, violence and drugs. At 33 she was
broken and empty
One day, walking home from work, she stopped to chat with a lady arranging flowers in the local church. She was invited to church and from there to a series of meetings explaining the christian faith.
Later, she sought prayer for her past, and:
God set my heart on fire and his love, patience, kindness, grace and mercy poured into my life repairing all the damage that fear, guilt and being chained to my past behaviour had caused.
amazing transformation had taken place in her life.
But wait, there’s more!
I have collected 8 stories, including Lisa’s, and recounted them in Conversion stories. They include people who experienced physical, mental or spiritual healing after prayer, people who God gave a sense of peace at a time of stress, and some strange events that are beyond coincidence.
I hope you check them out and find them encouraging and challenging.
All of these 8 people were convinced to change from unbelief to belief through their experience of God. Experiences come to us through our senses, and are thus primary information, and will general outweigh any arguments that people may present to us. It is therefore not surprising that these 8 people made the choice they did.
For the rest of us, hearing these experiences as outsiders, the stories may be less convincing. But these stories are only the tip of the iceberg – I have recounted other similar stories on this website, and there are many more. It would take a robust disbelief to argue, contrary to the evidence, that all these experiences have been misunderstood.
I hope they encourage us all to believe that there is hope, and there is a God who cares and heals.
Not everyone who chooses to become Christian has a ‘conversion experience’. I was an atheist until the age of 40, when I was challenged to explore if there was any truth behind Christianity. I explored evidence and moved intellectually to agreeing that the central claims seem to be true. Coupled with an attraction to the person of Jesus I eventually chose to ‘give God a chance’ … which I have to say he took!
Yes I agree – my own story is even less dramatic than yours. But I try to maintain a balance on Is There a God? of intellectual arguments based on evidence and people’s experience of God. Both are valid ways to decide to believe I think. I would be interested to hear more of your story.
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