Many atheists like to highlight what they view as crazy Christian conversion stories. For example, The Atheist Missionary referenced this testimony from Eric Metaxas which is based on a dream that he went on to interpret as a divine revelation.
Here’s what’s so puzzling about this. Speaking anecdotally (after all, that’s what we’re doing here), I have not found atheist conversion testimonies on the whole to be more “rational” than this. On both sides, the norm appears to be a penetrating “Eureka” moment that yields a new insight (or so it is believed) into the nature of reality.
Here’s a sample (fictional) account from “Dave” which represents many similar stories that I’ve heard over the years:
I grew up in the church. My dad was the pastor, so I had to. At first it meant a lot to me. I loved Jesus and I was going to change the world. But then dad cheated on my mom with the church secretary. I had to sit there and listen to her cries as my dad told her it was “God’s will”. He moved out two weeks later and started a new church. That first night after he left I prayed to God to bring him back. But the only thing I heard was silence. By the time the sun rose the next morning I knew it was all false.
An objective listener might reasonably wonder how Dave believes that a night of unanswered prayer provides the evidence sufficient to “know” Christianity is false. But do you think Dave would ever get pressed on the rationality of his conversion by his “skeptic” friends? Not likely.
Oh yeah, but let’s point a finger at Eric Metaxas.