From an old faith to atheism to a new faith

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : January 17, 2007

A friend of mine has been going through the existential ringer for the past week.  A couple weeks ago he began to delve deeply into a study of Jesus (in particular the historical Jesus).  Along the way, he renounced his faith in God and became an atheist.  I got a gut-wrenching email from him.  He was miserable because he felt like he had to give up the faith that he had grown to love.  But in that crucible something profound happened.  Check out his post here.  Here’s an excerpt:

…I wanted desperately to recover the faith that had brought me so much joy and purpose. I asked close friends for help. I spent time with Christian apologist materials, which encouraged me that there might, after all, be a God. As it turned out, there are many problems inherent to atheism (the existence of morality, good, free will, and beauty), phenomena science cannot explain (consciousness, certain instances of irreducible complexity, much macro-evolution, finite history, miracles), and good counter-arguments to many of the atheist arguments that had destroyed my faith. But ultimately, the way of Jesus was the most beautiful thing I could think of, and worth living…

I went looking for a fresh faith and God took me further than I wanted. Now I have a completely new faith, with few doctrines or traditions or religious hangups. I’m now free to seek God’s truth without intereferance from “2000 years of theological engineering and religious propaganda”.

But now I’m walking towards God with a limp. I’m scared about my gullibility and God’s mystery. I have questions he won’t answer. I want him to show himself unequivocally, but he hasn’t. I’m more motivated than ever to pray regularly and commune with his Spirit, because now I know I can’t do it in my own strength. I can be led astray. I’m not smart enough to figure it out. I am more dependent on God than ever.

I appreciate Luke’s intellectual passion.  He is one of those friends that I’ve stumbled upon recently, but already feel richer for knowing him.  His blog reflects the depth and thoughtfulness that I’ve come to expect from Luke.  Please pray for him.  His spiritual journey is pretty painful right now.  Pray that God would show himself to Luke in profound, unexpected ways.

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2 Responses to “From an old faith to atheism to a new faith”

  1. Matt on January 23rd, 2007 2:25 pm

    Edward Oakes, with his recent post at the First Things blog, would support your friend in his journey. As Oakes notes, “But when we turn to God via our rational faculties, we simultaneously recognize both the underlying rationality of our faith in God and yet also reason’s insufficiency to grant us what we really long for: light itself in a dark world. That light, however, only comes from God, not reason. We are pilgrims . . . The nourishment this food [reason] provides is salubrious (when the reasoning is correct), but it is not life itself, only the provisions for life, which only God can provide.”

  2. markvans on January 23rd, 2007 2:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing that, Matt.

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