One Christmas blessing this year was a couple days before Christmas The Raving Atheist announce he was now the Raving Theist in a post “Christ is Lord“. Three years ago he appeared in the atheist documentary “The God Who Wasn’t There” and so at first blush many might think this was a hoax. Especially since last year on April Fools another person who was part of the same documentary released a video singing a Christian praise song. Some of his friends such as Dawn Eden vouch for him on this and I believe that this is no joke.
I first became aware of the Raving Atheist blog over six years ago after he had commented on my old “Atheist to a Theist” blog. Some years later via Dawn Eden I discovered that he decided to rethink the language he used towards Christians and his “Godidiot of the Week.” From what I remember he as a pro-life atheist was reforming his opinions of Christians because of the ones he met in the pro-life movement. He decided to be much more civil in what he said. Since that time he would occasionally guest post on Dawn’s blog and helped produce the video for her book on chastity.
Over the years I have prayed for his conversion and I have tried to pray for a number of other atheists. Though I never prayed for them as consistently as I should. When I was an atheist I was also a pro-life atheist and so it was easy for me to identify with him. I am more happy than surprised by his conversion since I had thought him to be in the category of being an honest atheist – someone who would follow the truth wherever it lead. Most of the so-called “new atheists” I do not place in this category such as Professor Dawkins and his followers.
Conversions always give me great joy. Though part of it is a selfish joy since they remind me of my own conversion. I still like reading conversion stories and watching The Journey Home. Each person is an individual and while we are all touched by grace, we respond in different ways. There are often plenty of similarities, but each conversion is a unique answering to grace. I hope that the now “Raving Theist” will give us his conversion story.
As you might expect the atheist community is not exactly pleased by this announcement. Many of the “Now that you have been brainwashed into a cult” variety have commented in a post that has garnered so far almost 400 comments. I found it interesting that former atheist Jennifer of Conversion Diary noted that it was the comments by Christians on his blog that surprised her “they weren’t the unreasonable people I’d stereotyped them to be.” I can certainly relate to that sentiment. As a pro-life atheist I came in contact with pro-life Christians who I came to admire and they were not as brainwashed as I had come to believe. That they actually used reason to defend their pro-life beliefs and not just quoting scripture surprised me. Just as the first time I heard Saint Aquinas’ ways of knowing that God exists surprised me. People often build up stereotypes of groups of people they disagree with. As an atheist my stereotype of Christians was of unreasoning people who had blind faith and nothing more. This became more difficult to automatically go to with actual contact with Christians. Though since my conversion I have also found that many Christians have stereotypes of atheists. That their rejection of God is mainly a rejection of sin so that they can do as they please. While no doubt this is true of some, many atheists truly believe that reason leads you to reject the idea of God. I can only speak for myself and that I thought atheism to be true and even though it is quite stark as a philosophy I wanted to follow the truth.
P.Z. Myers (Biologist and Eucharist Desecrater) who use to be on the Raving Atheists forums had this response “Another mind poisoned“.
There’s an interesting analysis of the process of deconversion to be made here. I suspect he’s been getting a lot of personal support and attention from Christians actively interested in converting him over the years, and it’s that emotional massaging that convinced him to throw his brain out the window.
As somewhat who experienced that deconversion I missed out on the emotional massaging part since I didn’t have any personal attention and support from Christians other than prayer. It was an intellectual conversion inspired by grace. Though this is a concept that Myers and others are not enough of a “freethinker” to be able to see. His is the stereotype world where every Christian is a dumb ass fundamentalist with no brain. His world can not admit an intellect like Pope Benedict XVI or the Catholic intellects throughout history both theologically and scientifically. Somehow Mendel managed to be the father of genetics even though he was a monk that must have thrown his brain out the window. Louis Pasteur, Pascal, and countless others did quite well without their brains I guess. Think of what Thomas Aquinas could have done with a brain! But of course to admit that anybody could have an intellectual conversion and that reason could become a path to knowing God violates the atheist’s dogmas. So what part of the scientific method did P.Z. Myers use to determine Raving Theist’s conversion?
Raving Theist as of yet has not announced any details other than listing the Apostles Creed on his blog. While he gives the Catholic part of the Creed a capital letter we don’t know yet if he has become Catholic. I do hope he has simply because I believe the Catholic Church to be the truth, which is the only reason to believe anything. Besides if you are going to go with a “brain washing cult” why not go with the oldest one? We’ve have it down pat! Regardless I wish him the joy of the truth which takes much time adapting to after the desert of atheism.