Message from My Friend, an Ex-Atheist
Updated: Mar 9, 2019
What drew you to Christ?
What led you to Christianity??
What caused you to make the decision to become a Christian???
I’m sure fear, hate and condemnation weren’t on our list. And I am pretty positive that a heated Twitter debate didn’t guide us to such decision. If these methods didn’t work for us...aren’t found in Christ...and weren’t used by Christ, why do we try to use them with unbelievers today?
August of 2017, a man by the name of Jack reached out to me via Twitter. He told me he was an atheist and expressed to me some things that had recently transpired in his life causing him to inquire more about becoming “religious”. He was on a quest to learn about God, Christ and Christianity to see if “religion” may be what he needed. My spirit was quite excited at his message, as I’m always overjoyed when people seek Christ. However, I kept my composure and offered to be available for any questions or concerns he’d have along the way, for I did not want to make him feel any pressure in his decision. We kept in contact occasionally, messaging here and there through Twitter.
Well, one year later, I receive a message from Jack saying,
“Hey Rochelle. I’m not sure if you’re still on Twitter or not, as I saw that you had left a tweet saying that you were going to take a break for a while, but I hope that you and your loved ones are doing well. I am absolutely delighted to say that I am now a Christian and God is doing great things in my life. I hope to hear from you whenever you can message, Jack”
I was speechless. To see the transformation God did in a year blew my mind. My spirit leaped with joy. Me, being the “evangelist” I am (My friends always joke about that. Lol), I had to ask Jack what led his decision to follow Christ for I wanted to have a better understanding of the perspective of atheists as to witness/minister to them more effectively.
Jack’s response was breathtakingly beautiful and I believe it will be eye-opening for many believers, and non-believers alike, as to how they seek to witness to unbelievers.
"My reasons for becoming interested in Christianity were initially because my grandmother, whom I adored, passed away last year and one of the last things she said to me was “you should always believe in God”. This stayed with me in the weeks following her death and I began to see how empty and reckless my life was without religion. I was also struggling with a mental health issue and after exhausting all other forms of help and treatment I felt that my faith in science was no longer of any use to me. So I looked at a few different religions, but the reason I felt compelled to seriously consider Christianity is because I met a few Christians and saw how kind they were compared with the rest of the population here, but also how much they were at peace. I saw that no matter how bad things got for me, as long as I had faith in Christ, then eventually God would come through for me.
I started speaking with a guy called Bahati who was from Uganda and he told me how becoming a Christian helped him to turn his life around. He gave me a Bible and some resources to learn, and I admired the way Jesus lived His life and saw that, if we all followed the basic standards and principles of the Bible, then the world would be a much better place. I also started to disagree with the militant secularism that is plaguing British society and it’s lack of tolerance for those with religious beliefs.
The most crucial part of all is I decided to pray for the first time in my life, and when I opened my eyes, I felt a sense of belonging and a warmth that I had never previously experienced. The struggles of life became easier, and I focused more on Christ and less on superficial worldly problems. I therefore abandoned atheism, as it is empty, arrogant and focused only on oneself. As opposed to looking outward and seeking to better yourself through helping others as to what the Bible teaches.” - Jack
The first thing that stuck out to me when reading Jack’s testimony is that not once did he mention hate as a reason for why he chose Christianity. Not once did he mention condemnation as a reason why he chose to be a Christian. Not once did he say that an argument with a believer led him to want to abandon atheism. Not once did he say that fear made him want to follow Christ.
I’ve found that far too many of our brothers and sisters in Christ choose to use hate, condemnation, debates and fear as a means to bring people to Christ which is not only counter-productive but contradicting. Christ doesn’t use condemnation to draw us to Himself. There is no fear nor condemnation in Him (Romans 8:1).
How can one use what is not like Christ, in order to bring people to Christ? Through this method we have either turned people away from the Lord or brought people to an “idea of Christ” that is nothing like Christ at all.
I have also failed to understand why we try to use hate and fear in attempts to get people to come to the Lord. There is no fear in God for there is no fear in love (1 John 4:18) and God is love (1 John 4:8). And because God is love and loves the world (John 3:16), it is idiotic to think our hateful tendencies would cause anyone to truly come to Christ or even have an accurate idea of His love. As "Christ representatives", people are looking to us to get a glimpse of who God is. Most of the people we will minister to, never have read the Word. We are the Word to them. We must live it fully and accurately.
Lastly, I’ve never seen a heated, disrespectful Twitter debate ever bring someone to the knowledge and love of Christ.
It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. Proverbs 20:3
23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 2 Timothy 2:23-24
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the Word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. Philippians 2:14-16
We labor in vain when we are quarrelsome and enter arguments with non-believers. Insults, condescending remarks and belittling statements don’t open anyone up to truth but rather shut them off from anything we have to say.
What if Christ debated you and made you feel small for your worldly way of thinking? What if He scared you with threats of God hating you for your sin and sending you to hell unless you got yourself together right now? What if we condemned you constantly for all your wrongs?
You would’ve never followed Him.
No. Christ drew you in love. Made you aware of and convicted you for your sins - in love. He promised you eternal life with the Father if you simply submitted to Him and allowed Him to clean you up and let His Spirit live through you to enable you to live a blameless life.
And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey My rules. Ezekiel 36:27 ESV
Even though scripture is important, unbelievers are rarely won to Christ that way. They respond to love and the way you demonstrate the scriptures rather than reading the scripture itself. It’s like when you read a textbook and it doesn’t make any sense, but when the teacher teaches/demonstrates it and then you go back and read the textbook again, it makes sense. Unbelievers don’t always have the mental context to understand scripture, so we as believers have to step outside that context and bring them in through the love of Christ. - Erin Coleman
Another thing that hit me when reading was that Jack’s friend, Bahati, not only told him about Christ and demonstrated His love, BUT he also supplied Jack with the necessary resources to learn about Christ himself. We can preach at people all day long but how many of us are actually teaching and supplying people with the resources to be able to study about the Lord. Anyone can type out sermons on social media but how many of us are actually ministering in our daily lives, leading people to Christ and making disciples.
Thirdly, one of the most beautiful aspects of this testimony to me is the end when Jack says, “The most crucial part of all is I decided to pray for the first time in my life and when I opened my eyes, I felt a sense of belonging and a warmth that I had never previously experienced. The struggles of life became easier, and I focused more on Christ and less on superficial worldly problems. I therefore abandoned atheism, as it is empty, arrogant and focused only on oneself.” HE PRAYED. He simply called out to the Lord and spoke to Him for himself. He took a step of faith and God responded.
Call out to God. He is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). He hears the prayers of those who diligently seek Him (Psalm 145:18). He draws near to those who draw near to Him (James 4:8). Give Him a try. Taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).
I am so overjoyed that Jack decided to join our family of believers. It is a beautiful thing to see people come to Christ...to see people gain a new identity...to see people receive an eternal home with the Lord.
Thank you, Jack for sharing your story.