Atheist to Jesus: My “Born Again” Story

Atheist to Jesus. My Born Again Story

This is a new blog, and I’m in the process of rediscovering myself, Easter is around the corner and it always makes me remember my “Born Again” story, (My Christian walk started on Easter, when I was 15 years old) so it is fitting that I start this journey with you with this post.

It’s a necessity to give you a quick recap of my life before I was a follower of Christ for you to understand the power of this story. I’ll go in more details in other blog posts, but for this one, that background is needed.

I did not grow up in a Christian household, but was familiar with it. From time to time my dad will feel guilty in life and try to get squared off with God, before going right back to his ways. God’s timing is funny sometimes as he always put someone in his path. For a few years it was a man named Larry that did house visit bible studies weekly for two years. My dad grew up in a church environment, and did the bible studies and talking the talk…at times. Behind closed doors he used scripture incorrectly and out of context to control people and do whatever he wants (wife submit, children obey, I can be forgiven of my sins) An abusive father preaching about God is not appealing. I grew to hate him and God. (NOTE: To this day I have forgiven my father, and love him. We do not have a relationship, but I do not wish anything ill towards him and still pray for him)

Fast Forward to my teenage years

My dad was at it again. Depressed and sought out church to comfort him of whatever he was feeling guilty about at the time. This soon led to us all going to church. I sat around people that I scorn and hated. I was an atheists, and while I didn’t particularity like church or cared about the message, I hated being at home even more, so I jumped on every opportunity to go to church on Sunday and Wednesday nights. This was guaranteed time away from home, because I would use the old trick of playing to my dad’s image against him if he wouldn’t let me go.

One evening my dad picked me up after track practice and  had to meet with the pastor of the church. As I sat in the pews of the church, a group of Southern Baptist women called me over and started the cute elderly ways of trying to reach out to the youth. Conversation led to the fact that I liked acting, and was asked to be a part of their Easter program. Hey, I liked acting and it would get me out of the house, so I said yes. It didn’t matter to me that I was faking my faith, I was given another way to get out of the house. Great the women said as they inviting the 16 year old, long haired, emaciated, teenage atheist to the team. “We have the perfect role for you……..John the Disciple!” (You really thought they were going to give me the role of Jesus, didn’t you?) Great, I get to leave the house more, really had no lines to memorize, and get to slide more into this church environment undetected of being a poser.

Little did I know that God was working here. Two weeks before the Easter program, the dude playing Jesus bails. (I have asked my former youth leader and we have no clue who was playing Jesus) Well as it turns out these ladies had an emaciated, long haired teenage actor, already in the cast, and really how important is John the Disciple in this story? (BAM, Gothca!) These women just asked the atheist, to play Jesus Christ, their Load and Savior, their Messiah, their Son of God, for the Church’s Easter program. (What the HELL where thinking. What the HELL was I thinking.) I‘m tying so hard to fit in, so how could I not take the part.(Plus my ego said, its the lead role!!!) I had a pretty good grasp of most the bible from Sunday school and some of my previous encounters of Christians in the past, but I always avoided the fairy tales of the Gospels. I knew, rules and laws, and proverbs and the practical stuff in the Bible, but I did not know anything about Jesus other than the fact that he WAS a real dude, and the events in which took place WHERE real.

I read the “big four” over the next couple of weeks and it meant nothing to me. I still did not care. Easter Sunday roles around and we began. God allowed an atheist kid, who was not popular, who was not the best or brightest, not really much of anything in the standards of the world to play the part of Christ in a Southern Baptist Church. The poor overacting of some fumbling over some lines made me only mildly nervous, so I was not prepared for what was to come next. As I come down the aisle painted up to look bloody, the real whip (WHY? ITS A CHURCH PROGRAM!) came around and made contact on my tiny little fragile teenage body. I came crashing down, heavy cross and all into the corner of a pew and hit my head, and got as gnarly rug burn on my knee. I was embarrassed and crying and in pain and humiliated, and uncomfortable, and scared and for the first time in my life realized that I know for a fact that Jesus was a man, and that he was staked to a cross because he believed he was the Son of God, and was paying the price for our sins, and for the first time in years I felt loved. What if this was real, what if Jesus died for my sins because he loved me. For the first time in my life I was surrounded by people, and was feeling the same feeling as I was. I had no doubt in my mind that God was real and that Jesus was his Son and he died for me. I didn’t know what any of that meant, but I was relieved inside.

Reflecting on this reminds me of what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:26-30.

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

I remind myself daily that God has a standard that is not of this world, and God will and can use the lowly, weak, and foolish things of this world to bring glory to His name, that the power of Jesus can reserve a spot at his table for the worst of us. It Is because of Jesus I have become a part of something more, something greater, and something worth boosting about.

This is my “Born Again” story, where God used an atheist teenager, to show others His story, and then changes his life.

24 thoughts on “Atheist to Jesus: My “Born Again” Story

  1. I have a couple of questions: Why did your god do nothing about your father? Christians repeatedly claim that believers change and your god does something to them and that any heartfelt prayer would get them in with this god. It seems this god had more than a few chances, and didn’t bother, not even to help you. You may cite free will, but the bible doesn’t not indicate that free will exist, it claims the opposite, that this god controls the fate of everyone, if they can believe or cannot. (Romans 9)

    You claim to know that JC is real and that the events claimed in the bible are true. How do you know this? There is no evidence for a character like JC nor the events claimed to have happened around him. I would also ask why your god evidently needs pain to get itself across?

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    1. When God created us, he gave us free will. He knows all, because He is outside of time itself, and He can control all, but God’s will to allow us to love or reject Him freely is more of His will, than to control everything we do (again He can, but chooses not to). He didn’t make us to force us to love Him. With free will we tend to make some really stupid choices at time. Choices that affect others. To control my dad’s choices would be to take away his free will. When I press more and more into Christ I ask for my will to be His will.
      I left home and the situation at the age of 16. God put many people in my life to help me. Being 16 and living on your own is rough, but I trusted everything would be alright. My change of heart has also allowed me to change my perspective. There are people less fortunate than me with more hardships. My heart changed to try to help them. I was able to find joy in dark situations.
      I’m older. I’ve healed from the hard times. I’m a pastor that oversees youth, and I actually have a teenager that is going through the same childhood issues. While his parent uses their free will to hurt him, God has put me in this teenager’s path to show him what faith is. That my free will is to help him, and point him to hope.
      There is much non-Christian historical evidence that proves Jesus was a real walking and talking person. Tacitus and Josephus are a few and really had nothing to gain for saying He was a person.

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      1. John,
        Where in the bible does it say that your god gave anyone free will? What it says in the bible is that this god interferes with humans, occasionally controls their minds like Pharoah and the Egyptian people, and no one can accept this god without it allowing it (Romans 9) the idea of sola gratia “4 What then are we to say? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses,“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”16 So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. 17 For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomever he chooses.“. How does that work with free will? I know that most Christians do believe in free will, though some don’t, like Calvinists. I was a Presbyterian and we were all about that predestination.

        You also claim that this god is out of time itself. Then how does it know when to do anything? And why is it bound by time in the bible when we have instances where it is bound by the sequence of events, like prophecy?

        Your father prayed for help, that wasn’t taking away a choice, unless you want to claim answers to prayers remove free will. Are you?

        How do you know what is your god’s will and your will? I ask since Christians don’t agree on what the will of this god is.

        You claim that your god put people in your life to help you. If this is so, why is this not abrogating your free will, since you claim that your god chose not to help your father thanks to free will? I would also ask, why doesn’t this god help everyone like you claim it helped you?

        What we have as historical evidence is historians reporting what Christians of their time believed. These are the claims, not evidence. We have Tacitus also claiming that Emperor Vespasian also did miracles and Tacitus also mentions Jesus “Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.” So again, we have a mention on what Christians believe occurred, which would be like believing that since worshippers of Isis believed that Osiris was put back together by their goddess it must be true.

        We have no mention of a miracle doing man in Palestine at the time periods claimed, only reports of what people believed long after. This man supposedly gathered a legion’s worth of men (plus women and children) twice outside of a Roman occupied city. No one noticed. No one noticed that the dead were walking around Jerusalem on the same day as a major earthquake and the sky darkening. We also have Josephus mentioning again what was reported, we have no evidence of the actual events. We also have the problem in Josephus that part of it was forged, the part about the miracles called the Testimonium Flavianum. Mentioning what people believed gives no one anything to gain or to lose. As I indicated above, the mere mention of believers of a god doesn’t support that god is real, unless you want to claim that other gods are as real as you claim yours to be. Do you?

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  2. Hello there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!

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  3. Hey! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

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    1. Hello Isaiah,

      I’m glad this sparked something for you. It’s not something that is figured out overnight. If you have questions about something, feel free to shoot me a message and I’d be glad to talk to you about it.

      Thanks
      John

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