Headed in the Wrong Direction

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One of the most militant atheists among the Oxford faculty, T. D. Weldon, sat in C. S. Lewis’ [at that time still an atheist] room one evening and remarked that the historical authenticity of the Gospels was surprising sound. This deeply disturbed Lewis. He immediately understood the implications. If this “hardest boiled of all the atheists I ever knew” thought the Gospels true, where did that leave him? Where could he turn? “Was there no escape?” He had considered the New Testament’s stories to be myth, not historical fact. If they were true, he realized all other truth faded in significance. Did this mean his whole life was headed in the wrong direction?

Lewis remembered an incident that happened several years earlier—on the first day he arrived at Oxford as a teenager. He left the train station carrying his bags and began to walk in the direction of the college, anticipating his first glimpse of the “fabled cluster of spires and towers” he had heard and dreamed of for so many years. As he walked and headed into the open country, he could see no sign of the great university. When he turned around, he noticed the majestic college spires and towers on the opposite side of the town and realized he was headed in the wrong direction. Lewis wrote many years later in his autobiography, “I did not see to what extent this little adventure was an allegory of my whole life.”

–Armand M. Nicholi, Jr.
The Question of God

A Lesbian Professor’s Journey to Faith

risenmagazine_2013summer_rosariabutterfield_03In the LGBT community, the opposite of pride is self-hatred. But in the Bible, the opposite of pride is faith. Was pride keeping me from faith, or was pride keeping me from self-hatred? That was when the question inserted itself like a foot in the door: Did pride distort self-esteem the way lust distorts love? This was the first of my many betrayals against the LGBT community: whose dictionary did I trust? The one used by the community that I helped create or the one that reflected the God who created me? As soon as the question formed itself into words, I felt convicted of the sin of pride. Pride was my downfall. I asked God for the mercy to repent of my pride at its root. . . .

My conversion left my former friends and family thinking I was loony to the core. How could I leave a worldview that was open, welcoming, and inclusive for one that believes in Original Sin, values the law of God, seeks conversion into a born-again constitution, believes in the truthful ontology of God’s Word as found in the Bible, claims the exclusivity of Christ for salvation, and purports the redemptive quality of suffering? Only one reason: because Jesus is a real and risen Lord and because he claimed me for himself.

―Rosaria Champagne Butterfield,
Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union with Christ

Inconvenient Truth

college-studentCliff Knechtle writes of a conversation that he had with a university student who claimed that the Bible was packed with mythology, even though he admitted that he had never read it. Knechtle challenged him to read both the Book of Isaiah, which contains prophecies concerning Christ, and Matthew, which records the fulfillment of those predictions.

Knechtle thought that he’d never see him again, but the next day, he approached Knechtle and said, “I read Isaiah and Matthew. It was interesting literature. I think it speaks the truth.”

“That’s great!” said Knechtle. “Are you ready to trust Christ for eternal life?”

The student replied, “No way. I have a very active sex life. I know that Christ would want to change that. I don’t want anyone to change that.”

–Lee Strobel

Confronted With Beauty

Lin YutangLin Yutang died in 1976. He was one of the greatest scholars and authors in China. He became a Confucius convert and wrote many books. His most famous is The Importance of Living, which became a runaway best seller. He wrote in it the chapter Why I Am a Pagan. He spent his last decade in New York and one Sunday his wife persuaded him to go to Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. He was overwhelmed by the beauty of the teachings of Jesus. He wrote, “God as Jesus revealed him, is so different from what men thought him to be. There is a totally new order of love and compassion in Jesus’ prayer from the cross, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ That voice, unknown in history before, reveals God as forgiving, not in theory, but visibly forgiving as revealed in Christ. No other teacher said with such meaning, ‘In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.’ The ‘me’ in this context is God sitting on the Day of Judgment with a first concern for the downtrodden poor, the humble widow, the crippled orphan. There, I said to myself, Jesus speaks as the Teacher who is Master over both life and death. In him, the message of love and gentleness and compassion becomes incarnate. That, I say, is why men have turned to him, not merely in respect but in adoration. That is why the light which blinded St. Paul on the road to Damascus with such a sudden impact continues to shine unobscured and unobscurably through the centuries.”

–Glenn Pease

When an atheist changes his mind

John-C-Wright-600x347Renowned sci-fi author John C. Wright recalls a prayer he said as an adamant atheist:

“I prayed. ‘Dear God, I know… that you do not exist. Nonetheless, as a scholar, I am forced to entertain the hypothetical possibility that I am mistaken. So just in case I am mistaken, please reveal yourself to me in some fashion that will prove your case. If you do not answer, I can safely assume that either you do not care whether I believe in you, or that you have no power to produce evidence to persuade me…If you do not exist, this prayer is merely words in the air, and I lose nothing but a bit of my dignity. Thanking you in advance for your kind cooperation in this matter, John Wright.”

Wright soon received the answer he did not expect:

“Something from beyond the reach of time and space, more fundamental than reality, reached across the universe and broke into my soul and changed me… I was altered down to the root of my being… It was like falling in love.”

http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/why-atheists-change-their-mind-8-common-factors/4729/

From Skepticism to Faith

art 1_tcm5-90275Some have great confidence in skeptical scholarship, and I once did, perhaps more than anyone else. If anyone thinks they are assured in their unbelief, I was more committed: born of unbelieving parents, never baptized or dedicated; on scholarly credentials, a PhD from a secular university; as to zeal, mocking the church; as to ideological righteousness, totally radicalized. But whatever intellectual superiority I thought I had over Christians, I now count it as sheer ignorance. Indeed, I count everything in my former life as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing the historical Jesus who is also the risen Lord. For his sake, I have given up trying to be a hipster atheist. I consider that old chestnut pure filth, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a CV that will gain me tenure at an Ivy League school, but knowing that I’ve bound myself to Jesus—and where he is, there I shall also be.

–Dr. Michael F. Bird,
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/april-web-only/how-god-became-jesus-and-how-i-came-to-faith-in-him.html?start=1