44 Quotes From Former Atheists
by James Bishop
Here follows a list of quotes I’ve collected and compiled from over the last two or so years (my digital quote library is bursting at its edges!).
There is no particular form that these quotes take, rather each is from the unique story of each former atheist.
Where possible, I’ve left links that readers can follow to find out more about each conversion testimony, or articles that they’ve authored.
The others are predominantly from books that I’ve read.
Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective, assistant professor of Apologetics at Biola University, Christian case maker and author. He was once a vocal atheist.
- “In the end, I came to the conclusion that the gospels were reliable eyewitness accounts that delivered accurate information about Jesus, including His crucifixion and Resurrection. But that created a problem for me. If Jesus really was who He said He was, then Jesus was God Himself. If Jesus truly did what the gospel eyewitnesses recorded, then Jesus is still God Himself. As someone who used to reject anything supernatural, I had to make a decision about my naturalistic presuppositions.“
-Warner Wallace (‘Jesus Is Evidence That God Exists.’)
- “If skeptics were willing to give the Gospels the same ‘benefit of the doubt’ they are willing to give other ancient documents, the Gospels would easily pass the test of authorship.”
-Warner Wallace (‘Cold Case Christianity.’)
Frank is a mathematical physicist and cosmologist, holding a joint appointment in the Departments of Mathematics and Physics at Tulane University.
- “When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.”
-Frank Tipler (‘The Physics Of Immortality.’)
Alister is theologian, scientist, and a priest. He has delivered various lectures and presentations on God, faith, and science.
- “Atheism, I began to realize, rested on a less-than-satisfactory evidential basis. The arguments that had once seemed bold, decisive, and conclusive increasingly turned out to be circular, tentative, and uncertain.”
-Alister McGrath (‘Breaking the Science-Atheism Bond.’)
- “Christianity offers a worldview that leads to the generation of moral values and ideals that are able to give moral meaning and dignity to our existence.”
-Alister McGrath (‘Christian Quotes: Alister McGrath.’)
Lee was once a self-described militant atheist who worked at the Chicago Tribune. He is now a widely known Christian author, journalist, apologist and pastor, as well as author of the book Case For Christ.
- “It was the evidence from science and history that prompted me to abandon my atheism and become a Christian.”
- “To be honest, I didn’t want to believe that Christianity could radically transform someone’s character and values. It was much easier to raise doubts and manufacture outrageous objections that to consider the possibility that God actually could trigger a revolutionary turn-around in such a depraved and degenerate life.”
-Lee Strobel (‘Case For Christ: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity.’)
- “…the scientific data point powerfully toward the existence of a Creator and that the historical evidence for the resurrection establishes convincingly that Jesus is divine.”
-Lee Strobel (‘Finding the Real Jesus: A Guide for Curious Christians and Skeptical Seekers.’)
Rick Oliver has his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of California, Irvine. He is a member of the American Federation of Herpetocultural Lists, the California Science Teachers Association, and the New York Academy of Science.
- “I remember how frustrated I became when, as a young atheist, I examined specimens under the microscope. I would often walk away and try to convince myself that I was not seeing examples of extraordinary design, but merely the product of some random, unexplained mutations.”
-Dr. Rick Oliver (‘Designed to Kill in a Fallen World.’)
William (1851 – 1939) was a Scottish archaeologist and New Testament scholar. By his death in 1939 he had become the foremost authority of his day on the history of Asia Minor and a leading scholar in the study of the New Testament.
- “Christianity did not originate in a lie; and we can and ought to demonstrate this as well as believe it.”
- “Further study . . . showed that the book (Acts) could bear the most minute scrutiny as an authority for the facts of the Aegean world, and that it was written with such judgment, skill, art and perception of truth as to be a model of historical statement.’”
-Sir William Ramsay (‘The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament.’)
Lewis (1898 – 1963), a former atheist, is one of the most widely read Christian apologetic author today. He is the mind behind the Narnia entertainment series, and some of his most popular Christian writings read widely today are Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters.
- “Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning.”
-C.S. Lewis (‘Mere Christianity.’)
- “Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”
-C.S. Lewis (‘The Case for Christianity.’)
- “A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous.”
-C.S. Lewis (‘Surprised by Joy.’)
Aleksandr (1918 – 2008) was a Russian writer, and winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize in literature. He was pivotal in revealing what life was like in the days of the atheistic communist Soviet Union. He is the mind behind his powerful book Voice from the Gulag.
- “Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
-Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. (‘Voice from the Gulag.’)
Antony was a world leading atheist philosopher who belonged to the analytic and evidentialist schools of thought. He was known as a strong advocate of atheism, arguing that one should presuppose atheism until empirical evidence of a God surfaces. He also criticised the idea of life after death, the free will defence to the problem of evil, and the meaningfulness of the concept of God. In 2003 he was one of the signers of the Humanist Manifesto. In 2004 he stated an allegiance to deism, more specifically a belief in the Aristotelian God. He stated that in keeping his lifelong commitment to go where the evidence leads, he now believed in the existence of a god.
- “It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design.”
- “I now believe there is a God…I now think it [the evidence] does point to a creative Intelligence almost entirely because of the DNA investigations. What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together.”
- “…we have all the evidence we need in our immediate experience and that only a deliberate refusal to “look” is responsible for atheism of any variety.”
-Antony Flew (‘There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.’)
Francis is a geneticist noted for his discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project, he is also the director of the National Institutes of Health. Collins has written a number of books on science, medicine, and spirituality, including the New York Times bestseller, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.
- “I believe God did intend, in giving us intelligence, to give us the opportunity to investigate and appreciate the wonders of His creation. He is not threatened by our scientific adventures.”
-Francis Collins (Interview: ‘God Is Not Threatened by Our Scientific Adventures.’)
- “The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. He can be worshipped in the cathedral or in the laboratory. His creation is majestic, awesome, intricate and beautiful – and it cannot be at war with itself. Only we imperfect humans can start such battles. And only we can end them.”
-Francis Collins (The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.)
Peter is a widely know English journalist and author. He has published six books, including The Abolition of Britain, The Rage Against God and The War We Never Fought. He also writes for Britain’s The Mail on Sunday newspaper and is a former foreign correspondent in Moscow and Washington. In his book The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith he tells us of his conversion from militant atheist to Christian theism.
- “I thought this gesture [burning his Bible] was a way of showing that I had finally rejected all the things that I had been brought up to believe, and I went on to behave for the next 20 years of my life exactly as if I didn’t believe in him [God], and that’s how I discovered in the end that what I had rejected was right.”
- “The current intellectual assault on God in Europe and North America is in fact a specific attack on Christianity – the faith that stubbornly persists in the morality, laws, and government of the major Western countries. . . .The God they fight is the Christian God, because he is their own God. . . .God is the leftists’ chief rival. Christian belief, by subjecting all men to divine authority and by asserting in the words ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ that the ideal society does not exist in this life, is the most coherent and potent obstacle to secular utopianism. . . . the Bible angers and frustrates those who believe that the pursuit of a perfect society justifies the quest for absolute power.”
- “…when it comes to the millions of small and tedious good deeds that are needed for a society to function with charity, honesty, and kindness, a shortage of believing Christians will lead to that society’s decay.”
-Peter Hitchens (‘The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith.’)
Richard, once a Mormon who converted to atheism, became a Christian after participating in debates and online discussions, especially discussions at Richard Dawkins’ official site.
- “Science and philosophy do not have the answer to everything. If you are willing to listen with an open mind and an open heart and just say ‘perhaps I do not possess all the truth,’ that is an act of humility and I know that God never rejects or ignores acts of humility.”
Philip, a former atheist, is a freelance writer and lecturer who has spent nearly 30 years in politics and journalism, and now works with Areopagus Ministries.
- “So, confronted by all these facts and arguments – philosophical, scientific, and historical – I surrendered my sword of unbelief to God, and asked Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my life during the hot, dry summer of 1976. In the years that have followed, I have never regretted that decision, despite many ups and downs and trials of my faith.”
-Philip Vander Elst (‘From Atheism to Christianity: a Personal Journey.’)
Jones was a devout atheist for over 20 years before finally managing to see the biblical truths that had managed to elude him for so long.
- “My atheistic philosophy had allowed me to lose my compassion for others. I no longer had the ability to love anyone, not even myself. I had become apathetic to life itself. For years, I had been dead, but because I continued to walk and talk, I didn’t know it. But now, I was born again and the spirit that was in me, which had allowed me to understand spiritual things, connected with the glorious and perfect higher consciousness of Jesus Christ”
-A.S.A. Jones (‘Testimony of A Former Atheist, A.S.A. Jones’)
Craig S. Keener is a leading scholar, and professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. Craig received his Ph.D. in New Testament Studies and Christian Origins from Duke University.
- “I thought that atheism was “smart.” When my grandmother argued for a first cause, I replied by postulating an infinite regression of causes (my arrogance left me unaware that my response violated modern physics!) Yet unknown to me, my father’s mother, sister, and the sister’s family were praying for our family. When I was 13, reading Plato raised for me the question of life after death, but Plato’s answers did not seem adequate. I began to realize that only an infinite Being could guarantee the hope of eternal life. Yet if such a Being existed, there seemed no reason why that Being would care about me, even if that Being were perfectly loving enough to give life to some. I was incurably selfish and undeserving of a loving Being’s attention; it seemed to me that if I pretended to love, it was only for the self-serving purpose of getting that Being’s attention. Yet shortly before I turned 15, I began to secretly cry out, “God, if You are there—please show me.”
-Craig Keener (‘Historical Jesus Studies.’)
Jennifer, a former atheist turned Catholic, is a columnist for Envoy magazine, a regular guest on the Relevant Radio and EWTN Radio networks, and a contributor to the books The Church and New Media and Atheist to Catholic: 11 Stories of Conversion.
- “One thing I could never get on the same page with my fellow atheists about was the idea of meaning. The other atheists I knew seemed to feel like life was full of purpose despite the fact that we’re all nothing more than chemical reactions. I could never get there. In fact, I thought that whole line of thinking was unscientific, and more than a little intellectually dishonest. If everything that we call heroism and glory, and all the significance of all great human achievements, can be reduced to some neurons firing in the human brain, then it’s all destined to be extinguished at death.”
-Jennifer Fulwiler (‘Why I’m Catholic.’)
Sarah, a former atheist, is a research scientist in astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Texas.
- “In fact, it seems that every question we have about the universe is answerable. There’s no reason it has to be this way, and it made me think of Einstein’s observation that the most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it’s comprehensible. I started to sense an underlying order to the universe. Without knowing it, I was awakening to what Psalm 19 tells us so clearly, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
-Sarah Salviander (‘My Testimony.’)
Darrin, a former atheist, used to write for John Loftus’ blog site Debunking Christianity. He is now a Christian, as well as a math teacher at Ellsworth Community College.
- “Some time last week, I realized that I could no longer call myself a skeptic. After fifteen years away from Christianity, most of which was spent as an atheist with an active, busy intent on destroying the faith, I returned to a church (with a real intention of going for worship) last Sunday. Although I know I may struggle with doubt for the rest of my life, my life as an atheist is over.”
-Darrin Rasberry (‘The Journey Of An Old Atheist Convert.’)
Michael is a leading New Testament historian and theologian. He also lectures at Ridley Melbourne, and his teaching areas are on Synoptic Gospels, Paul’s Letters, Systematic Theology.
- “Many years later, however, I read the New Testament for myself. The Jesus I encountered was far different from the deluded radical, even mythical character described to me. This Jesus—the Jesus of history—was real. He touched upon things that cut close to my heart, especially as I pondered the meaning of human existence. I was struck by the early church’s testimony to Jesus: In Christ’s death God has vanquished evil, and by his resurrection he has brought life and hope to all.”
- “My faith and studies have led me to believe otherwise. First-century Jews and early Christians clearly demarcated God from all other reality, thus leading them to hold to a very strict monotheism. That said, Jesus was not seen as a Greek god like Zeus who trotted about earth or a human being who morphed into an angel at death. Rather, the first Christians redefined the concept of “one God” around the person and work of Jesus Christ. Not to mention the New Testament writers, especially Luke and Paul, consistently identify Jesus with the God of Israel.”
Ravi is a world leading evangelist. He has authored numerous books, including the Gold Medallion Book Award winner Can Man Live Without God? in the category “theology and doctrine” and bestsellers Light in the Shadow of Jihad, and The Grand Weaver.
- “I very seldom like to mention the turning point of my own life, for it is a very private matter and sometimes still hurts to think of it, to say nothing of the embarrassment it must bring my family. But I cannot resist thinking of that most poignant moment of my past. I was seventeen years old when, with neither great intensity or great anguish, I came to the recognition that life had very little meaning. The more I pondered its harsh implication the closer I drew to a decision. That decision was to choose the way of suicide.“
- “I found myself after that attempt lying in a hospital bed, having expelled all the poison that I had taken but unsure if I would recover. There on that bed, with a dehydrated body, the Scriptures were read to me. The flooding of my heart with the news that Jesus Christ could come into my life and that I could know God personally defies the depths to which the truth overwhelmed me. In that moment with a simple prayer of trust, the change from a desperate heart to one that found the fullness of meaning became a reality for me. God reached down to a teenager in a hospital bed in the city of New Delhi, a mega-city of teeming millions. Imagine! God cared enough to hear my cry. How incredible, that He has a personal interest in the struggles of our lives. I cannot express it better than to say that His self-sufficiency and greatness do not deny us the wonderful joy of being affirmed in our individuality and of knowing that we are of unique value to Him. That was the point of the parable Jesus told about the shepherd who left the ninety-nine sheep in the fold and went looking for the one.“
-Ravi Zacharias (‘The Cries of the Heart.’)
Nick is the Music Minister at Bacon Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock. He tried to disprove God’s existence after his son committed suicide.
- “I tried to disprove the existence of God, immediately after finding my 19-year-old son dead in his bedroom from suicide.”
- “But atheism failed me. The words of the best, most intelligent atheists rang hollow. Their rebuttals and refutations against the existence of God were, in my opinion, incomplete, short-sighted, and at times, ludicrous. While the atheists scream loudly trying to speak for their evidence, the theists, in my opinion, simply step back and allow the evidence to speak for itself. For the arguments of theists were akin to the familiar statement: “You don’t need to defend a lion; you simply open the cage and allow him to defend himself.”
–Nick Watts (‘Atheism failed me.’)
Jordan is a contributor to the magazine Fare Forward, and has also written for Christianity Today. She is also an avid writer and blogger.
- “I tried to face down an overwhelming body of evidence, as well as the living God.”
- “At the same time, I had begun to read through the Bible and was confronted by my sin. I was painfully arrogant and prone to fits of rage. I was unforgiving and unwaveringly selfish. I passed sexual boundaries that I’d promised I wouldn’t. The fact that I had failed to adhere to my own ethical standards filled me with deep regret. Yet I could do nothing to right these wrongs. The Cross no longer looked merely like a symbol of love, but like the answer to an incurable need. When I read the Crucifixion scene in the Book of John for the first time, I wept.”
-Jordan Monge (‘The Atheist’s Dilemma.’)
Edward is professor of philosophy at Pasadena City College, and author of the book The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism. He is also particularly critical of atheists like Richard Dawkins.
- “Secular theorists often assume they know what a religious argument is like: they present it as a crude prescription from God, backed up with threat of hellfire, derived from general or particular revelation, and they contrast it with the elegant complexity of a philosophical argument by Rawls (say) or Dworkin. With this image in mind, they think it obvious that religious argument should be excluded from public life. . . . But those who have bothered to make themselves familiar with existing religious-based arguments in modern political theory know that this is mostly a travesty.”
-Edward Feser (‘The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism.’)
John was very anti-Christian, and after reading the Bible four times over he planned to write a book called All the Stupidity of the Bible. After failing to find scientific contradictions in the Bible he gave up this project.
- “I had a lot to overcome. I could not talk without swearing. You could not go to the preacher’s house and say pass the @$#%& potatoes. I had to learn a new way of talking, a new way of living, a new set of values, and a new morality, because I had lived in opposition to God. I asked God’s help in these things and I found I was able to overcome things I had never been able to overcome before. I have a whole new set of problems — a whole new set of things that I have to work on — but the problems I have today are nothing like the problems I had in the past. If anyone had told me twenty years ago that I would be openly using my limited abilities to publicly convict disbelievers of God’s reality, I would have thought they were insane. Nonetheless, God has blessed my feeble efforts in spectacular ways — totally beyond anything I could have ever done.”
-John Clayton (‘Why I Left Atheism.’)
Darren grew up in as an atheist in non-Christian home with a father who was an atheist and a mother who was a lukewarm Christian.
- “I realized that a lot of what I had been told about Christians when I was growing up was not true.”
- “Becoming a Christian didn’t solve my problems, but it helped me to understand them and it opened the way for God to start healing me from my past.”
Darren Gedye (‘Testimony of an Ex-Atheist.’)
Giovanni was militantly atheist before his conversion. He once attempted to create scandal by speculating that Jesus and John the Apostle had a homosexual relationship.
- “Humans: become atheists each and all! God will nevertheless welcome you with all his heart!”
Dana is self-employed in the environmental field, with an emphasis on water protection. She received a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Secondary Education and an M.S. in Aquatic Ecology, both from Kent State University. Her area of specialization is in nonprofit organizational development, collaborative decision-making, environmental education, and lake ecosystems.
- “I was again confronted with the science/faith dichotomy when recently given the gift of Jesus. This time, the Holy Spirit would not let me reject my salvation, but what awful anguish I experienced as I assumed I had to reject my beloved science instead. I was thrilled to learn that I could believe in both! As I investigate my newfound faith alongside my scientific knowledge, the Lord continues to reveal to me that scientific findings and the use of the scientific method are very good, just as his Word is also good.”
-Dana Oleskiewicz (‘Historical Jesus Studies.’)
-Giovanni Panini (Inspirational quotes, words, sayings.’)
Original Post by James Bishop here