If, like me, you were exposed to Churchianity early in life, and rejected it for the insane nonsense that it is, you will have started out as some kind of nominal atheist. If somehow you managed to be raised by wolves, or otherwise avoided the brainwashing indoctrination of modern “educational institutions” and retained your objective powers of observation and a scientific bent of mind relatively free from emotional manipulation, you will have, after naturally observing the universe around you and educating yourself on various scientific facts, have gravitated towards a general agnosticism.
Agnosticism as Thomas Huxley defined it. That is, an absence of knowledge. A reasonable and honest man who does not start with any a priori concepts cannot but help notice that factually, our universe displays a level of order and unlikely “coincidences” that cannot reasonably be ascribed to mere chance.
That said, it would be equally absurd to assume that this fact alone would necessarily give you much insight into what the possible intelligence behind creation might be like. So agnosticism is really the only honest position at such a point in life.
If you are in doubt about the order displayed by creation, I suggest you familiarize yourself with at the very least the work of biologist Rupert Sheldrake (A New Science of Life and The Science Delusion) and the arguments made by the evangelical and brilliant William Lane Craig (who has a lot of stuff on YouTube for all you illiterate millennials).
If you do, at least two things will come to be clear:
- The universe has a level of order and seeming intelligence behind it that is quite staggering, and it is on display everywhere. From the formation of polymers in a matter of seconds that should take thousands of years if done at random, to the very existence of the Universe itself being about as impossible as it is possible to be.
- The people who argue with William Lane Craig seem to either be ignorant about the most fundamental principles of logic and how formal arguments are made, or are actually dishonest about it.
That said, such intellectual exercises will be unlikely to convert anyone into an actual Christian. Even before I had an experience that changed me instantly, as well as permanently, I had come to the conclusion that God (for want of a better term) could only be recognized to about 80% probability, and that last 20% or so could really not be seen as such, and thus, short of a personal experience, it was unlikely to ever be the case I could ever become a believer in much of anything.
As it happens, personal experiences that are objective and undeniable for the person undergoing it, yet remain subjective from the perspective of anyone not directly involved in them, happen all the time.
The classic “Road to Damascus” moment is far more common than many would imagine. And it can happen to the most calloused of atheists.
I will not relegate my own experience in any detail here, but I will note instead the experience described by John C. Wright, the noted science fiction writer who was such a convinced atheist he wrote a letter to God asking that He show himself if he existed, just to make sure he had really covered all the angles. His account is funny, poignant, honest and ultimately touching, as well as revelational. It also pointed out to me that there may well be a simple way to have God indeed reveal himself to you personally and directly, in a way that leaves no doubt at all, even if, like John, or myself, you were a life-long atheist, or an unrepentant skeptic that was convinced nothing would ever give him any certainty regarding the mystery behind creation.
All you have to do is simply ask God to show himself to you. There is, I believe, one important detail in HOW you ask, but it really is as simple as that. All you have to do when you do ask, either for His help, if you’re at the end of your tether, or to show himself to you, because of intellectual honesty on your part not wanting to dismiss such an action as pointless, since a real scientist checks all avenues before declaring them dead ends, is completely mean it.
That is, your request has to be done honestly. Without fear, fervent desire, victim mentality or self-pity. John asked in cold, calculated, intellectual honesty. I, being a more passionate creature, had reached a situation that was less tolerable to me than death, yet I did not have the option of choosing death, otherwise I would have, so I asked without fear, despair or any real hope purely because I had no other options available to me.
In both John’s case, as well as my own, our request, which some might think of as a simple prayer free of most human trappings, was answered rather dramatically two days later.
His account of his conversion is well written, entertaining, and available here:
My point in all this then, is simply that even if you’re a wild-assed man (it’s a Biblical reference to a particular type of person that is both fearless as well as ignorant of both God’s grace as well as the consequences of it) you may somewhat benefit from simply asking honestly and clearly, for God to show Himself to you.
May your personal revelation be easier for you than mine or indeed John C. Wright’s was.