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Friday, April 8, 2011

Conversions: From Christian Missionary to Atheist

by Jason Boyett

Today’s conversion story comes from Amy, a former Christian missionary, homeschooling mom, and magazine editor who has recently abandoned Christianity altogether. Now an atheist, she has asked that I only use her first name.

I grew up in a nominally Christian home—Mom took us to church occasionally at a mainline, liberal Methodist Church (There were 13 churches and 13 streets in my hometown—this church was one of the few “mainstream.”) I would consider myself a “seeking” kid. I prayed and had a sense of “something larger.” God/nature. Jesus. Whatever. I remember once seeing a part of a Billy Graham Crusade on TV where he was preaching that Jesus died for our sins. Frequently thereafter I would sit in church and look up at the big cross and wonder, “What does that mean? Does that mean I would have died on a cross if Jesus hadn’t?” About a year later (when I was 13), I was talking about Heaven with my best friend who was Baptist, and she asked me if I was saved. I wasn’t, but I understood instinctively that to be “saved” meant to be saved from something. I was instantly fascinated. To make a long story short, I met her at her pastor’s house that weekend and repented and invited Jesus into my life.

It was a meaningful and deeply moving experience. Pastor King explained the gospel in much the same way I presented it to other people in the years afterward. I remember crying and praying, on my own. “Thank you Jesus, for forgiving me. I know why you died on the cross, and that I never could have earned it.” I really understood what Billy Graham had been preaching about and I committed my life to Jesus that day. What’s more, I was completely bewildered by the beautiful simplicity of it. Why hadn’t anyone told me about this salvation before? I felt certain that anyone, hearing the truth of Jesus, would come to faith in Him as quickly as I had. If I’d had access to religious tracts, I would have been the most rabid tract-distributor the world has ever seen.

I read my Bible every day after that, as Pastor King suggested. I began praying regularly, going to church and youth group every week with my friend. I spent almost 20 years involved in evangelism, leading Bible studies, and on staff (with my husband) as missionaries in a well known, international, para-church organization. I was Assistant Editor of a Christian professionals magazine before my oldest child was born. Three years ago, my husband and I abandoned Christianity and deism. We are now atheists.

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