Atheism — Reality is all there is
Before I came to Christ, I was an atheist. I never called myself an agnostic, as I was sure of my beliefs. I believed in nothing but matter and what can be seen in the universe. I believed that science was the only truth, and I truly believed that science had buried all these ancient, fairytale myths known as ‘gods’. I hated the idea of there being a god of any kind, and I would often debate with those I perceived as ‘religious’.
Close encounter of the third kind
These atheistic views stayed with me until the age of seventeen. My closest friend asked me if I would like to meet his new friend, without mentioning that he was a Christian. I agreed, and we met up. He was very friendly, and he shared his faith with me. Usually, I would have debated and argued against his views, but this time was different. I did not debate back. In fact, I could not help but listen intently. For two hours he explained the whole gospel to me. He talked to me about Jesus and who he is, and explained to me that Jesus is God become man. He told me that Jesus took on flesh for two very important reasons.
The first reason is to show us what God is like since Jesus is the exact representation of God. Just as he said to Philip, one of his disciples, ‘if you have seen me you have seen the Father’ (John 14:9). Jesus shows us God’s character: his love, his compassion and even his anger towards evil.
The second reason, which is even more amazing, is that Jesus lived a human life without sin so that he could trade his perfection for our imperfection when he died on the cross. My new friend explained that we all deserved punishment from God because we had sinned and broken God’s Law. However, God loves us so much, that instead of punishing us, he punished Jesus Christ instead on the cross and we are set free just as if we had never sinned. My friend told me that this is God’s grace to us. He explained that grace is God’s unmerited favour towards us and it is completely undeserved; we could never achieve it or earn it even if we tried. God gives it to us as a free gift.
During the whole conversation, I asked only one question, ‘What about evolution?’. My new friend’s response was, ‘You know that’s not true.’ And it was then that I agreed. In just 2 hours my whole worldview fell apart before me, and it was being replaced with this all-forgiving, all-loving, all-powerful God named Christ. This was the first time I had ever had contact with a being from out of this world — a being larger than the universe and older than time.
Out of the tomb he called
By the time my mum came to collect me, I felt different. I felt at peace, a peace which even today I cannot fully explain but a peace that comes from God and is summarised in Philippians 4:7, ‘And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ My mum and my friends noticed a difference straight away. But before I could say anything to my brother and his friends, my friend said, ‘What’s happened to you? Change back.’ I said, ‘I think I’m a Christian.’ I still did not know what a Christian really was, but I knew I was different. Then I went to my room, and for the first time, I prayed.
Before I became a Christian, I thought that science and religion were in an epic battle with each other, and only one could win. Now that I see God’s hand in the universe, I realise that I was wrong and that faith and science are friends, not foes. Science and the pursuit of scientific knowledge are only possible because the world has been designed by an intelligent and rational God who made it with order and laws. That is why everything we see is so organised. That’s why we know that we will see the sun tomorrow and the earth won’t fly out of orbit at any time. That’s why we know that we will see the sea tomorrow and that all the water, gases, liquids and solids will not break form and change randomly. In fact, science could be explained as ‘thinking God’s thoughts after him’, as one scientist put it. The more we find out about the world around us, the more scientists discover the incredible intricacies of the biological processes and the laws that govern our planets and galaxies, the more it becomes evident that these were planned and put into place by God. If you doubt the existence of God, I encourage you to search for yourself and go where the evidence leads without just dismissing it all as if you alone hold all truth and facts, as I did. Do not fear where the path leads; you may have a close encounter of your own.
The on-going faith walk
Since the day that Christ saved me from myself, I started to change for the better. I feel happier and at peace, no matter what happens in my life, because I know that Jesus is in control and he loves me. I joined a church and fell in love with all the people in the Christian community as they share a deep love for Jesus and for each other. God has given me a wife, and we now have a growing family. I do not know what lies ahead, but I still feel peace because I trust Jesus and he has never let me go no matter how hard or how dark everything looked. He is there, and I know he will be with me whatever happens. He is faithful, and if you put your trust in him, you will know his faithfulness, just as so many have before us and will after us. God bless you all.