On our Christian faith-walk, most of us have or will encounter atheists, or non-believers. Most atheists base their beliefs on science, logic and reason. While some people will remain atheists throughout their life, there are some who change their mind and find God. Some of these people may have even strayed away from their roots in their church but find God at work in their lives later. Here are five common reasons atheists change their mind.
Near-death experiences are not uncommon, and the stories are remarkably similar as reported by individuals who have them. Medically speaking, near-death experiences should be impossible and the ability to communicate with those on the other side seems unreal. Yet, thousands of people have journeyed to the afterlife and many have had visions and communications with those who have passed. Some of those people include atheists who once didn’t believe in God until they had this life-changing experience that opened their eyes to His presence.
These experiences share many common elements. One main element is an accelerated review of one’s life. During these periods, they may experience joy, peacefulness and encounters with those from beyond, including deceased loved ones.
One thing that is remarkable is that regardless of their prior cultural or religious beliefs, there is often exceptional consistency is their descriptions of God. This consistency fulfills a basic scientific principle: What is real is consistently observed. These accounts, along with other forms of communication from those on the other side offer a profound message of reassurance, hope and comfort that God is real.
Beliefs Are Challenged
While you may think that atheists will remain unbelievers, that isn’t always the case. There are many atheists who encounter certain people or situations that challenge what they believe. Through those experiences, they end up finding God in ways they never imagined.
Francis S. Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, the world’s largest collaborative biological project, is a scientist and believer and finds no conflict between those worlds. However, the former atheist didn’t always embrace these perspectives. It wasn’t until he went to medical school and encountered life and death issues at the bedside of his patients where he was constantly challenged with the question “what do you believe, doctor?” that he began searching for those answers. Through that journey, he found Jesus Christ. Collins has led a consortium of scientists to read out the 3.1 billion letters of the human genome, our own DNA instruction book. As a believer, Collins said he sees DNA as “the information of all living things, as God’s language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God’s plan.”
Experimenting With Prayer
Prayer is a powerful tool for communicating with God. Prayer also has the power to change people from the inside out. There are some nonbelievers who simply find solace in prayer. There are many atheists who ‘experiment’ with prayer, especially during certain trials. Sigried Gold is one of those people. According to the Washington Post, Gold, an atheist, took up prayer out of desperation. He was overweight and depressed. He joined a 12-step program for his food addiction that required as many 12-step programs do – a recognition of God and prayer. This was a foundation that had a profound impact on his life. Some may experiment to simply solidify their beliefs and discover something else along the way. Through prayer, God’s presence is revealed and they witness their heart changing.
There are atheists who find Christ through the acts of Christians. In Abu Atalla’s book “From Cairo to Christ” “From Cairo to Christ” he shares how he was drawn to the Christen faith, and how he later becomes an ambassador for Christ with a ministry in the Muslim world. In his book, he describes the moment he was taken to a Christian prayer gathering. He had no idea that this experience would change not only his perspective on Christianity but also lead him to Christ.
At this meeting, these Christians were praying and studying the Bible. The women there did mingle openly with men and wore no veils. They also walked freely among the young men, who seemed to think nothing unusual was going on. The men and women treated one another as if they were brothers and sisters, not like the characters he had seen in Western soap operas, which is what he had expected. The people gathered at this prayer meeting were just as surprised by his presence as he was by theirs.
One person at this prayer meeting got up to pray and thanked God for helping him with homework. Atallah’s first thought was that he was foolish. Why would he expect the Lord of the universe to care about his homework? He had been taught that Allah is the master, and we are the slaves. Islam means submission so a Muslim’s duty is to submit to the will of Allah, not try to influence it. The servant must please the master; the master never serves the slave. He also wondered how he dared to bring God down to his level and give Him an earthly title like Father. Allah demanded submission and obedience, whereas the Christian God asked for love. This was the turning point, now helping hundreds of Muslims come to Christ.
Historical Study of the Gospels
While some believe there is no credible evidence that Jesus existed outside of the Bible, that isn’t true. There is solid historical evidence that Jesus Christ not only was a real person, but also died on the cross. There are atheists who dig deeper into the history of the Bible who discover that there is real evidence of the things that take place in the Bible, including the death of Jesus Christ.
The Old Roman Creed – the earliest surviving Christian creed outside the Bible – declared in the second century A.D. that Jesus was “crucified under Pontius Pilate,” and other sources both inside and outside of the Bible can agree. “Crucified under Pontius Pilate” provides Jesus with its most obvious link to larger history. Pilate was a historical figure, the Roman procurator of Judea; he was referred to in other sources of the time and even mentioned in an inscription found at the site of ancient Caesarea in Israel. Linking Jesus’ death with Pilate represents the insistence that Jesus was a real person, not merely a figure of myth or legend.
Also, according to Scripture, there were more than 500 witnesses who tested to the resurrection. What’s important to note is that the reliable Gospel eyewitness accounts aren’t the only ancient descriptions of Jesus from the late 1st and 5th Century. Ancient evidence related to Jesus reveals there were eyewitnesses and He did exist in history. These non-Christian interpretations help strengthen the claims of the New Testament.
These five things have compelled many atheists to turn their hearts to God. Consider sharing these truths with those who don’t know God. One of the best things you can do to show your friends that way to Christ is by being a living witness, practicing love, joy, grace, discipline and humility in your own life. Many people are drawn to God when they see Christ at work in your life. Your love and spirit as a result of your faith can be a drawing force. Don’t be discouraged if your friends don’t hear the message of Christ. This doesn’t mean you’re a failure, or that you’re not being a good enough witness. Remember, God is the only one that can turn their hearts. Let your life be a witness, and never shy away from your faith.