Questions for former atheists

I have questions for the former atheists who have converted to the Catholic faith.

What made you convinced? Was it Catholic theology that convinced you first or was it general Christian theology (Protestant) and then you later pursued Catholicism?

Did you consider carefully and even skeptically before making your decision?

Looking forward to hear from you!

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Although I have never been an atheist, I do have friends that are, hence my 2 cents on the argument.

I doubt that Catholic theology will convince an atheist. The belief that the GOD exists has to come from a deeper natural longing to understand the questions all humans have ask since the beginning of time. And this is going outside of the understanding cradle Catholics have of humanity itself since it is grounded on the Bible. But since atheists and agnostics largely dismiss the Bible all together we must go further. By using our reason or intellect to figure out if this GOD is something we can believe in.
And the answer is, yes we can believe that GOD does indeed exist, that HE is a person, with some minimum attributes that separates HIM from every thing else in the created universe.
Only after the atheist crosses that line, then he will have to search for the theological truths that define a religion.

Peace!

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Hello, Chocolate Cake!
I was born a Catholic and years before, I’m on the brink of being an atheist, in God’s grace it didn’t affect me too much. Uhm… the one that convinces me that there’s really a God is the miracles in modern times. They have scientific evidence that drew me to dig up more of my faith. I just like to share this one:

If you want to make it shorter, please scroll it down because it will really help you hehe! Thank you very much :heart:

I am interested to read about these conversions, as I have never met an atheist who converted in real life. :popcorn:

I went from atheist to theist first. Then attended a non denominational church for awhile but found it to be very shallow, the Catholic Church had answers to questions they side stepped or ignored.

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“And the answer is, yes we can believe that GOD does indeed exist, that HE is a person, with some minimum attributes that separates HIM from every thing else in the created universe.”

You say you can believe that God exists, do you KNOW for certain or does it only take faith to accept that?

I’m sorry, I’m a little confused here by your wording. You said you were becoming an atheist and then by God’s grace you didn’t become one?

Me too and I’m a skeptic myself.

Were you looking for answers on Christianity or life itself?

A very great (former) atheist here in attendance.

I was such a distinct breed of atheist. When one asked me “Do you believe in God?” my answer would be an unapologetic – Yes, only 33.3 % to which some laughed, some took it literally. That 33.3% faith was actually an “ode” to my mom who is a theist (and not my own in God).

As years passed, I slowly began to explore Christianity. Mind it that before I became such a harsh atheist, I used to have some faith in Hinduism and Buddhism. Our family in general has had a varied practise and beliefs. I’m both thankful and un-thankful that my parents never exercised any discipline in matters of religion/Faith. Likewise were our relatives.

I still don’t know what turned me into an atheist but much later after many a suffering (health mainly), and after medical science only cost my parents a huge spending of money, I turned to Christ. Well, not easily. That took another several years of examining, comparing and exploring. People did try to convert me but I blatantly reused. I wanted my conscience to fully wake up first. As my studies (on Christianity) progressed, so did my physical suffering. I began to see Jesus in my dreams. Multiple times. And somehow, there, I eventually decided I wanted to embrace Christ because I felt that He indeed was calling me to surrender my sorrows to Him.

About Catholicism, I think I was following it already without actually knowing I was. I had this misguided perception that all Christians prayed to the Virgin Mary as well (so much for “years of examining” eh?). I was already beginning to pray to the Blessed Virgin because I firmly believe(d) that her motherly role has just as much place for prayers and honours as our Lord because she did go through so much pain and suffering from the birth sweet child Jesus to His death. I found Protestants’ exclusion of Mary from their devotionals very appalling. A friend from this denomination tried to argue in defense of their practise but I remain unmoved by her logic.

In embracing Catholicism, I found such a different perspective to look at my life and my suffering, I don’t know what took me so long to convert to it.

The short answer is YES I do know that HE is real.
The longer one well…

Peace!

‘Atheist’ in the US seems to mean someone who is resolutely opposed to the idea of a god(s) and thinks about it a lot. Most atheists in most of the world never think about it at all.

Thanks for your response.

And you never were skeptical or questioned any of it? You just accepted it regardless?

You said you had dreams about Jesus. Was it because you were thinking about him? Wouldn’t you think if Jesus is who believers say he is, all the atheists/skeptics would have dreams about him? I’ve heard people say Jesus will come to you in your dreams to prove he’s real. I myself have never dreamt of him and I’m a huge skeptic. I mean, why hasn’t he come to me in my dreams, if he’s real?

What would you say to that?

And what would you say to those who do not believe to convince them he does exist?

Yes, but there are atheists who’ve turned to Christianity/Catholicism.

I was skeptical all the time. Converts and cradle Christians alike used to tell me the many wonders of Jesus. I used to say " It’s the medical science in action, not your Jesus’ miracle". In non medical cases , my thought was " It was just a coincidence".

Even when I finally decided to convert, there still were remnants of my doubts and skepticism. I decided to convert because nothing gave me the inner peace I was so starving for. Meditations did but it wasn’t the type of peace I longed for. I wanted to feel connected to something as I felt empty. When I converted, to be honest, it was a part of “experiment” to see how I would fare.

I used to do prayers to Jesus hoping for a “miracle” all the time. But the intended miracle never happened until I actually resolved that this way was futile and that I should either entirely give it up or fully acknowledge Jesus as my Divine friend. I had no patience, I realized. If Jesus were to answer immediately to what one asked for, think of it - we would all be lazy. We would take things for granted. We would become greedy to ask for more.

The realization alone opened up my heart wider. God is not an experiment. How stupid of me to take Him lightly!!! And that’s how I firmly established a foundation within me. Those “miracles” came in the form of my changed view of life and people around me. Yes, it truly was a wonder.

Now, I pray for others more than I do for myself; I don’t hold grudge against anyone which I used to for a long time, I forgive and forget, I resort to prayers when things get out (and beyond) my control instead of cussing and cursing and so on. The other miracles perhaps, I shouldn’t miss saying is being healed from my headache that has nagged me for more than a decade. I forgot the exact diagnosis but it caused me such a repetitive episodes of headaches, I hated life with all my heart. I just wanted to die. That’s it. It wasn’t a prayer immediately answered though. Nevertheless, I’m surprised that I don’t have to take painkillers anymore. They lie on the shelves untouched since several months.

About Jesus appearing in dreams of skeptics , I don’t know why Jesus appeared in mine. I hadn’t even asked Him to prove Himself (although, I was just praying to Him without any intentions).

But what I can tell you is that you CAN’T CHALLENGE GOD. He isn’t like your average neighbour next door with whom you can contest, compete or challenge. Your question " why hasn’t he come to me in my dreams, if he’s real?" is in a way a challenge to the divine being. We can question Him but not while doubting His existence. But then, it is exactly because we doubt His existence, He doesn’t (or may not) come in our lives. He won’t force you to accept Him.

Christianity. Specifically Christianity’s history and structure.

The existence and the goodness of God is the most fundamental truth and I do not think we can deduce such truth from some other truth, because this would mean that we believe more in the other truth than in God.
I belive in God because the certainty of His existence is in me and I feel His Presence, expecially during prayer.
Nevertheless, I think there are solid rational arguments which confirms my beliefs.
Since I am a physicist, I would like to explain a couple of arguments based on a rational analysis of our scientific knowledges.
All what science shows about the universe is that it manifests itself as a realization of some specific abstract mathematical models (what we call “the laws of physics”); in fact, the subatomic components of matters (quantum particles and fields) are actually only abtract mathematical concepts. On the other hand, mathematical models are only constructions of the rational thought and a mathematical model can exist only as a thought in a thinking mind conceiving it; this implies that matter (and the physical universe) is not the foundation of reality, but its existence depends on a more fundamental reality i.e. consciousness: contrary to the basic hypothesis of materialism, consciousness is a more fundamental reality than matter.

Therefore the existence of this mathematically structured universe implies the existence of a conscious and intelligent God, conceiving it as a mathematical model. In other words, the universe can be only the manifestation of a mathematical theory existing in the mind of a personal God.

Personally I think that atheism does not account for the existence of our mathematically structured universe and denies, without any rational arguments, the only rational explanation.

There is another argument from physics that I find strongly convincing; according to our scientific knowledges, all chemical and biological processes (including cerebral processes) are caused by the electromagnetic interaction between subatomic particles such as electrons and protons. Quantum mechanics accounts for such interactions, as well as for the properties of subatomic particles. The point is that there is no trace of consciousness, sensations, emotions, etc. in the laws of quantum mechanics (as well as in all the laws of physcis). Consciousness is irriducible to the laws of physics, while all cerebral processes are. This is for me the most convincing argument against materialism (which identifies cerebral processes as the origin of consciousness) and in favour of the existence of the soul, as the unphysical and trascendent principle necessary for the existence of our consciousness. Since our soul cannot have a physical origin, it can only be created directly by God. The existence of God is a necessary condition for the existence of our soul, as well as for the existence of us as conscious beings.

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I was not raised in a religious household. Not much talk of God at all. In high school, two friends invited me to their youth group, an evangelical Protestant church that adhered to biblical literalism. They were warm & welcoming and provided me a surrogate family, since my own home-life was a bit unsettled. I became a fervent convert.

In my senior year, I decided that I wanted to become a pastor. When I went off to university the next year, I decided to study history & philosophy so I could better preach & evangelize. After a few courses, I inevitably ran into the perennial problem for biblical literalists like me: critical thinking skills. I began to see the contradictions in Scripture. This lead me to despair.

I went through a phase of fashionable atheism. Then I dabbled in neo-paganism & the occult. Through my study of history, I became fascinated with the Catholic Church, but couldn’t bring myself to become a “papist.” So I became an Anglican as a half-measure. Eventually, I made “the leap” and converted to Catholicism.

Here I am.

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I was brought up in a kind of Anglicanism-lite, but in high school I rejected religion altogether, like many of my contemporaries at that time. Forty years later, God showed me I was wrong about that. As for the question of which church, with hindsight I’d say I had known all along that it was the Catholic Church or nothing. In the West, it’s the one authentic church, though of course people who have lived all their lives in Russia or Greece have a different perspective.

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