By J. Paul Dill
The most fascinating factor in Christian conversion is the inner transformation that takes place. Many atheists doubt the veracity of miracles. If no other miracle was evident besides the resurrection, the rebirth would be enough. Murderers, drunks, homeless, hateful, vengeful people are instantly transformed by the power of the gospel. Some do indeed turn to AA and such for help, but an inner change begins to take place nonetheless. I have seen men's arms with needle marks up one side and down the other who today are in executive positions as a direct result of the Gospel. I have met former murderous drug addicted pimps who are now preaching hope to the seemingly insignificant of society. I know one man who upon his release from jail dragged a woman out of her house in front of her child and stuck the barrel of his gun down her throat for stealing his drugs while he was incarcerated. If you seen him praying for people in front of the church where he pastors today you would never believe it was him. I know two men who were millionaires at one time, who lost everything and literally became homeless. Today they are reconciling with their families as a direct result of Jesus changing them from the inside out. What is this thing about Jesus that has more power than all the green stuff that we are so obsessed with? Isn't money synonymous with success and fulfillment?
Now for some of you no matter how long I went on it would not faze you a bit. But for these people and millions of others, this transformation is not only real but it is evidence of a divine power that penetrates the heart, transforming us inside-out. This change that takes place seems to act on its own, sort of naturally. Of course it involves the will and desire, but often times this unearthly power supercedes the will in such a way that alcoholics are literally no longer riddled with a desire whatsoever. The sexually abused woman is no longer bitter and living in gilt driven grief, she is now not only wanting to forgive (often times to everyone's horror), but actually wants to help the abuser mend his soul. What would normally require years of therapy is resolved instantly with the Gospel. The power of the gospel can so infect a man that it causes him to do things that he would never do and stretch him well beyond what would be his breaking point. It is in reality a change in the person's very nature, it is what Jesus called being 'born again,' 'born from above'. This is not fueled by heaven, hell, a merit system or anything else that is self-serving. Of course heaven and hell have their place, often times they can motivate in one way or another. But there is something much deeper down affecting the psyche than fear could ever penetrate. This of course is something that atheism/naturalism cannot touch. Humanism and naturalism are powerless to transform street derelicts into bonafide saints. I have met humanistic philosophers who have made their bed out of a park bench. Others have spent their last days in the insane asylum.
Atheism literally means 'no god.' Complications with the defenseless nature of the traditional definition have given rise to a new definition of atheism 'absence of belief in God.' This allows the atheist to feel free to criticize belief in God supposedly without having to defend his own position (which is especially good for him considering it is impossible to prove there is no God).
The biggest problem that I see for the atheist view is that when pressed to explain itself realistically, it has little if any explaining power neither does it have anything to offer of any real value to the human predicament. The reality of Christian conversion, the miracle of the new birth is one of the many factors that naturalism has yet to adequately explain. Why are Christians happier and healthier than atheists? Why does atheism lead to more of a pessimistic view of life and Christianity more of a positive outlook? I find that atheism simply does not fit comfortably within the real world, it cannot make sense of our existence and it can only mock our affinities toward spirituality. Fact is we are spiritual beings. We hunger for something to worship. We long for fulfillment of our deepest needs. We create idols out of anything we can get our hands on: from money to mother earth. For naturalism the question of meaning is irrelevant, there is none. For humanism worship is meaningless because there is no god but self. What does atheism offer? Freedom! Freedom from morality, freedom from accountability.
Atheism's deficiency does not prove the Bible is true neither does it disprove atheism. It is my surmise that the view that the world is devoid of God is not practical or realistic. It was Francis Schaeffer who is accredited with 'taking the roof off' you do this by pushing an idea to its logical conclusion. It is my conclusion that atheistic humanism and naturalism are utterly bankrupt. Human experience points to something or someone beyond us. I think that the evidence points toward a someone and that someone has revealed Himself to the world in Jesus Christ. You might consider that a rather bodacious statement; I think you should want to ask yourself what if it’s true? Before you allow the doctor to remove your appendix you might want to find out what its function is, if you need it and what the alternatives are. Fact is God is far more critical to our survival than our appendix!
If you are an honest seeker and are interested in investigating Christ here are some scholarly resources to help you on your quest:http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/PageServer