Atheist Student Saved by the Sovereign Truth of God (via) I’ll be honest

Michael was challenged with the true Truth while on a college campus and he soon came to realize that his philosophy and atheism could not stand against the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a great video to pass on to young people and especially college kids as Michael discusses how he delved deep into philosophy scrambling to find anything that even remotely seemed like „truth” to him, personally. Instead of finding answers it sunk him down low and he found no value in it. Then he took a class on the varieties of religion and he started to value people with faith. He then started reading Richard Dawkins and considering God through Dawkin’s writing. Then came the Kirksville  Evangelical outreach. Michael was sitting and mocking an Ill be honest card about how you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. He was mocking it with 2 of his friends. Then a girl from Columbia went up to them and engaged them in a conversation. This led to Michael thinking more and more and after about an hour his friends left and tried to pull him away. His discussion with the girl lasted 3 hours.

Michael was trying to get at her any sort of argument he could come up with. No matter how hard  the questions he threw at her, what struck Michael was that every single response she gave was essentially the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the good news of His coming, His dying and the reality of sin. There was discussion of what he was bringing up but there was no argumentation. She would say, this doesn’t really matter. What matters is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. By the time they split, there was a real drive for Michael to want to read the Bible. To see what she was talking about. To see if any of it was true….(these notes are just from the first 8 minutes. There’s much more insight in the following 14 minutes)

Watch the video, it is a tremendous learning experience for me as to how to talk to a non believer. The student who talked to Michael did not argue, did not delve into philosophy, she answered all of Michael’s questions with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I think our biggest impediment in engaging non believers is the fear that we won’t know how to answer their hard questions, we feel we are lacking in rhetorical skills. But we do know the Gospel, and that is enough to get us to start conversations and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

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11 comentarii (+add yours?)

  1. James Watt
    feb. 28, 2012 @ 20:03:39

    He was an atheist, huh? He certainly doesn’t seem like it. He never explains about how using reason to find truth in the universe or about how he only accepted the world around him based on evidence.

    Unlike religion, the „tenets” of atheism have nothing to do with how you „feel” – yet all he does is talk about how he was latching on to whatever „felt right”. Atheism is simply how you look at the world.

    Take leprechauns, for instance. You probably don’t feel one way or another about them, you simply accept the fact that they don’t exist. Why? Because there has never been evidence of their existence.

    I’m sorry, but without an authentic explanation from this former atheist on how he was able to reason himself back into believing in something that defies reason, I highly doubt that he was ever truly atheist at all. I would venture to say he was actually a non-practicing Christian who fell away from his faith.

    • rodi
      feb. 28, 2012 @ 20:30:06

      Hi James, thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Michael’s interview (or narrative, really) is intended for the „I’ll be honest” organization and for (us) their Christian audience. Ill be honest was the organization that was in that Speaker’s Circle at his college, where Michael used to go for the specific purpose of throwing insults and mocking the Christian speakers. He attended out of hostility. But, something broke through this time and it slowly transformed him. I don’t doubt what he is saying about immersing himself into philosophy trying to find absolute Truth „with a capital T”. It is a common story of humans wanting to get answers, especially during the college years.

      The story Michael tells here is concise, but resonates with the story of all of us that have accepted to believe in Christ. We all have had that experience at one point in time, when the story of – God finding a solution to our sin problem, by sending His own Son to die on a cross, just fits in very clearly and as a result we „believe” (have faith). I don’t think you can say Michael was ever a Christian before his conversion, because He even rejected the existence of God.

      I don’t usually push links but the article right below this one may be of interest. It’s a lecture from Justin Barrett (former Oxford professor) who argues for the „naturalness of religion” theory. This theory advances the idea that we are all born believers. If you wish you can either watch the lecture or read the notes here https://rodiagnusdei.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/justin-barrett-why-would-anyone-believe-in-god-veritas-at-uc-davis/

  2. Rosa Rubicondior
    feb. 29, 2012 @ 02:58:47

    If he was previously an atheist, in other words, he knew there was no evidential reason to believe in ANY god, what definitive evidence convinced him, please?

    How did he know that there could ONLY be a supernatural explanation for that evidence and how did he arrive at the conclusion that the ONLY possible supernatural explanation MUST be the Christian god, please? In other words, how did he know which god to worship when, as a atheist he would have known that there is no evidence for ANY of the gods people do and have believed in.

    The problem is that the atheist community is constantly bombarded with claims by people who say they were formerly atheists and yet none of them I have had any conversation with has ever been able to answer these simple questions. Frankly, it is often quite plain that they were never atheists in the first place. Either they don’t know what atheism is and think t means just a non-practising believer, or they are out and out lying.

    It is noticeable that they, almost invariably, ‘become’ believers in their locally popular god and practising members of the church their parents belonged to or a sect of that religion. I have never heard of a Hindu becoming an atheist and then ‘discovering Jesus’, a former Muslim atheist becoming a Sikh or a former Catholic Atheist becoming a Muslim, for example. Why is that, please?

    • rodi
      feb. 29, 2012 @ 09:56:24

      Dear Rosa, thanks for stopping by to comment and engage in conversation.

      First of all you and I are at a disadvantage because all we have is this 20+ minute video to go by. However in listening to Michael speak we must let his words have the weight that he gives them. Michael says that, although his parents were Lutheran, the extent of their faith was that they believed in the existence of God. They obviously were not faithful because they did not teach him about religion. Therefore he says when he was a preadolescent he „decided” that there was no God. (the incident where he voices the words „there is no God” and then ducks under the covers and waits for something bad to haapen to him. He then describes feeling free to do whatever he wants to do without moral consequences.

      Yet, the universal questions of – Who am I/ Why am I here? come back to haunt him and he goes on a search for answers in philosophy.

      Here is what I think: Michael actually is a very intelligent and voracious reader and he did not simply „dabble” in philosophy, he seems to know more about it than an average college student as he gives accurate quotes verbatim.

      Look at Dawkins. Have you heard the news this past week that Dawkins said that there might be a God? That he can’t rule that out? Just google it, it was in the UK papers and online.

      But getting back to Michael, you are wrong that no one of another faith has believed in Jesus. I can give you one example in Sadhu Sundar Singh, who was a very rich Sikh of a priestly family and he went on to be the most famous person from Inida to devote his entire life to Jesus Christ and to evangelizing in India and Nepal at huge perils on his life. There is also a Pastor in Iran right now who is awaiting execution for the simple fact that he was muslim and he became a Christian. He has been jailed more than 2 years and Iran’s supreme court just signed his final execution papers. His name is Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani. You know they tried to get him to sign papers in secret that he renounces Jesus Christ and they would have spared his life, and the Pastor refused. Why do you think a former Muslim believes so much that he is willing to die rather than renounce his faith in Jesus Christ? And this does in no way compare to muslim suicide bombers who are motivated out of their belief that by killing thier enemy thier god will reward them with 72 virgins. When a Christian dies (by being killed for his faith) it is because they already are so indebted and in gratitude to a living God who sent His Son into the world in order to atone (make up) for man’s sinfulness, that laying down their life is very well worth it for this living God whom they know.

      So, when you ask for definitive evidence… Michael gives it to you. It was the Gospel of Jesus Christ(what’s written in the Bible about Jesus). If I was an atheist I don’t think I could fully grasp that either. That just by reading what atheists believe is an old, outdated book, one can come to have profound answers to their deepest, most confounding questions and the reason is this: One can read and study the Bible frm two perspectives- 1) to find truth in it or 2) to find fault in it. But, even when doing it for reason #2 sometimes logic kicks in and people still come to find truth, such as former Chicago journalist Lee Strobel.

      So Rosa, if you want to know what convinced Michael, look at the book of John. It’s the 3rd book in the New testament, where John, the youngest of the 12 disciples that Jesus had, writes this book when he is well into old age and John recounts the life of Jesus, the teacher he followed.

      • Rosa Rubicondior
        feb. 29, 2012 @ 16:59:15

        Noticeably, you failed to address any of my points. Why was that, please, and would you care to address them now?

        The points you need to deal with are:

        1. What was the evidence which convinced him?
        2. Why was a natural explanation for it ruled out?
        3.How did he know that the supernatural explanation was the Christian god and not some other supernatural entity?

        • rodi
          feb. 29, 2012 @ 17:55:54

          Rosa, maybe my answer was too detailed. I’ll try again:

          1. You are asking for specific evidence. He does not give a naturalistic or scientific explanation for his rejection of atheism.
          The evidence that convinced him was his empty heart and the Gospel message that he heard. That is his „ANSWER”; I know it’s not the answer you are looking for. (Maybe there was or maybe there wasn’t some additional piece of info that helped him accept the Gospel as Truth, but he does not share any of that with us)
          2) Michael does not explain why he ruled out the natural explanation.
          3) Because he was praying to the Christian God and reading the Christian God’s words in the Christian God’s Bible.

          I don’t have personal knowledge of Michael or the organization that produced this video, but if you want a better explanation, you can try to contact Michael through the organization here http://illbehonest.com/contactus and reference the original youtube link.
          I would not be surprised if he was now part of the organization speaking to students on college campuses, so he might actually respond to your inquiries.
          Wish I could help more with answers, but all we have is what’s on the video.
          Rodica

  3. Rosa Rubicondior
    feb. 29, 2012 @ 03:09:51

    Perhaps also I should have asked what, as an atheist, he imagined the Christian god was saving him from exactly. As an atheist he would have had no belief in original sin, of the fall or man or the need for redemption that Christians believe in. Nor would he have believed in the magical ‘cleansing’ power of sacrifice, let alone a blood sacrifice.

    In other word, he would have been a puzzled by the claim that the death of Jesus was a worthwhile sacrifice which magically achieved anything and something we should all be eternally grateful for. To an atheist the notion that killing an innocent person somehow absolves them of something some remote ancestor did, is about as repugnantly barbaric as religions get, short of the genocides they’ve regularly indulged in throughout history

    So what was he ‘saved’ from, exactly, and how did that magic work on an atheist, please?

    • rodi
      feb. 29, 2012 @ 10:10:38

      That’s a very good question and one of the reason even children from christian homes who walk away from their faith, do it for this reason: They do not „feel” that God has done something special for them because they do not believe they were sinners to begin with; being born in a christian home, going to church and all kinds of other works they believe save them from hell.

      The truth is that we are all sinful, even the best of people, indeed because of original sin. So whether one finds Christ for the first time or one finds Christ after having walked away, it is because of that conviction of sin. If there is no conviction of sin, then there is no need for a Savior or for atonement (payment for that sin by someone else). But you know how God’s (Holy) Spirit works this conviction in our hearts? It is when He, the Spirit shines a light on God’s holiness, that we find ourselves devastated by our human sinfulness. Imagine if God showed Himself to you in all His glory; you would fall down on your face and believe instantly. Well, the Holy Spirit does something similar. As Michael said, he read the Bible and he prayed for God to reveal Himself to him, and that one morning when he was driving home it all hit him powerfully and wonderfully and he just wept and wept all the way home. Only the God of Christianity can transform hearts and lives in this manner, because only the God of Christianity loved „this same mankind he created” enough to make a plan even before he created (mankind) to atone for their/our sins. This is why belief in Jesus Christ is so strong and powerful and true conversions turn people into true Christians.

      And this is not some kind of separation of people or singling out because somehow true Christians achieved some kind of higher learning. No, it is the fact that we can know of God and Jesus Christ or we can KNOW God and Jesus Christ. And once you truly KNOW, life is never the same. Then, you can become a poor outcast from your own parents as Sadhu Sundar Singh or die in a horrible execution (probably getting your head cut off with a sword) like Pastor Youcef.

      Thanks again for your comments. I appreciate your thoughts and I wish you peace in your own heart.

      • Rosa Rubicondior
        feb. 29, 2012 @ 17:04:07

        Once again you have failed to address my questions. Would you do so now, please, or explain why you are unable or unwilling to. This is what an honest person with an interest in truth would do.

        My questions were:

        1.As an Atheist, what did he imagine he needed a god to save him from.
        2.How did a blood sacrifice achieve that exactly, please?

        I would be grateful if you would address these questions and not post again one of the longest evasions I’ve yet read.

        Thank you.

        • rodi
          feb. 29, 2012 @ 18:09:29

          just saw this comment in spam 🙂

          1.)As an Atheist he did not think he needed to be saved. What went on in his head once he believed he needed to be saved, I don’t know
          2.)I already gave a long winded answer on that before. You seem to understand the original sin concept (and more) so no need for us to rehash it.
          If you don’t like his answers, or they don’t fit neatly into your philosophical system that still does not negate them.

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