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Why Lee Strobel lost faith in atheism

The Our Place section of the Museum of the Bible’s new exhibition, “Scripture and Science: Our Universe, Ourselves, Our Place,” seen with its vibrant colors on the exhibit's opening day on Jan. 19, 2023.
The Our Place section of the Museum of the Bible’s new exhibition, “Scripture and Science: Our Universe, Ourselves, Our Place,” seen with its vibrant colors on the exhibit's opening day on Jan. 19, 2023. | The Christian Post/ Nicole Alcindor

Do you realize that it takes far more faith to be an atheist than to be a Christian? And not only that, but it takes a boatload of blind faith to remain an atheist once you begin to evaluate atheism logically and rationally. A case in point is Lee Strobel.

Strobel posted a hugely insightful comment in 2017 regarding his departure from atheism: “To continue in atheism, I would need to believe that nothing produces everything, non-life produces life, randomness produces fine-tuning, chaos produces information, unconsciousness produces consciousness, and non-reason produces reason. I simply didn’t have that much faith.”

Lee is one of many former atheists who abandoned atheism after examining the evidence. Mathematical physicist and cosmologist Frank Tipler said, “When I began my career as a cosmologist some 20 years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.”

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Theologian and scientist Alister McGrath was also persuaded by the evidence for Christianity, along with the lack of evidence for atheism. McGrath said, “Atheism, I began to realize, rested on a less-than-satisfactory evidential basis. The arguments that had once seemed bold, decisive, and conclusive increasingly turned out to be circular, tentative, and uncertain.” 

The evidence for Christianity, on the other hand, is extremely solid. Lee Strobel said, “It was the evidence from science and history that prompted me to abandon my atheism and become a Christian.” Lee also stated, “… the scientific data point powerfully toward the existence of a Creator and that the historical evidence for the resurrection establishes convincingly that Jesus is divine.”

British writer and literary scholar C.S. Lewis put his finger on an issue that every atheist should seriously consider. Lewis said, “Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

Irish mathematician John Lennox said, “Of course I reject atheism because I believe Christianity to be true. But I also reject it because I am a scientist. How could I be impressed with a worldview that undermines the very rationality we need to do science? Science and God mix very well. It is science and atheism that do not mix.”

William Thompson (Lord Kelvin) (1824-1907) codified the first two laws of thermodynamics. He said, “If you study science deep enough and long enough, it will force you to believe in God.” And Nobel prize-winning physicist Paul A.M. Dirac said, “God is a mathematician of a very high order and He used advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.”

Albert Einstein opined, “The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who — in their grudge against traditional religion as the ‘opium of the masses’ — cannot hear the music of the spheres.”

When someone is holding a grudge against God or against traditional religion, it is next to impossible to see the forest through the trees. C.S. Lewis described what it was like to live with this type of anger: “I was at this time living, like so many atheists or antitheists, in a whirl of contradictions. I maintained that God did not exist. I was also very angry with God for not existing. I was equally angry with Him for creating a world.”

If you find yourself holding a grudge against God today, you will need to turn to Him in humility and confess your sinful and ungrateful attitude toward your Creator. God will hear you and He will respond to your sincere confession and your prayer in Jesus’ name.

Richard Morgan went from Mormonism to atheism and eventually to Christianity. He wisely stated, “Science and philosophy do not have the answer to everything. If you are willing to listen with an open mind and an open heart and just say ‘perhaps I do not possess all the truth,’ that is an act of humility and I know that God never rejects or ignores acts of humility.”

How humble are you before the Lord? Do you place more faith in the way your brain understands the Universe than you place in the Creator of the Universe Himself? You will stand before Him one day, and the only way you will be welcomed into Heaven is to trust in Jesus as your Savior. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Christians around the world will soon commemorate the crucifixion of Christ and the Lord’s resurrection from the dead 2,000 years ago. With those verifiable historical events in mind, I hope you will give some serious thought to one additional statement from Lee Strobel: “Christianity is a very historical religion — it makes claims that are open to testing.” And when you test atheism and Christianity, the former requires blind faith, while the latter provides concrete historical and mathematical evidence upon which to base your faith in Christ. 

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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