Q. What evidence would cause an "atheist" to be swayed to a faith-based worldview?

A. I was an atheist for much of my life, starting in high school. In fact, a while back I was contacted by a nurse who had been a classmate of mine at Prospect High School in suburban Chicago during the late 1960s. She recalled how she had been "the good Catholic girl," while I was the acerbic atheist who was constantly belittling her for her faith. She was stunned when she stumbled upon one of my books and discovered I had later become a Christian!

I think your question may reflect a misunderstanding about faith. When I was an atheist, I still had a "faith-based worldview" - it was a faith built on my unproven conclusion that God does not exist. We all take steps of faith each day of our lives. Let me explain.

I define faith as being a step we take in the same direction we believe the evidence is pointing. For instance, I'm sitting here at my computer while sipping a bottle of water. How did I know the water wasn't poisoned? Well, the bottle came sealed. It bears the label of a reputable water company. It looks clear. There was no odor coming from the bottle when I opened it. My wife gave it to me, and she has no reason to want to harm me. So based on that evidence, it made sense to take a step of faith in the same direction and take a sip. Did I know for an absolute fact that it wasn't poisoned? No, but all the evidence pointed in the direction that it was safe to drink and therefore it was rational to do so.

When I was a teenager, it seemed rational for me to become an atheist. The world looked chaotic and unplanned. I believed my teachers when they said the unguided processes of evolution explained the origin and development of life. The presence of so much suffering in the world seemed to argue against a deity, miracles appeared scientifically impossible, and so on. Reading atheist authors reinforced my views. It seemed logical to take a step of faith in the same direction the evidence appeared to be pointing and became an atheist.

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