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An Atheist’s Dilemma

In an issue of CT magazine, author Jordan Monge shares her journey from atheism to faith in Christ. She writes:

I don’t know when I first became a skeptic. It must have been around age 4, when my mother found me arguing with another child at a birthday party: “But how do you know what the Bible says is true?” By age 11, my atheism was widely known in my middle school and my Christian friends in high school avoided talking to me about religion because they anticipated that I would tear down their poorly constructed arguments. And I did.

Jordan arrived at Harvard in 2008 where she met another student, Joseph Porter, who wrote an essay for Harvard’s Christian journal defending God’s existence. Jordan critiqued the article and began a series of arguments with him. She had never met a Christian who could respond to her most basic questions, such as, “How does one understand the Bible’s contradictions?”

Joseph didn’t take the easy way out by replying “It takes faith.” Instead, he prodded Jordan on how inconsistent she was as an atheist who nonetheless believed in right and wrong as objective, universal categories.

Finding herself defenseless, Jordan took a seminar on metaphysics. By God’s providence her atheist professor assigned a paper by C. S. Lewis that resolved the Euthyphro dilemma, declaring, “God is not merely good, but goodness; goodness is not merely divine, but God.”

A Catholic friend gave her J. Budziszewski’s book Ask Me Anything, which included the Christian teaching that “love is a commitment of the will to the true good of the other person.” The Cross no longer seemed a grotesque symbol of divine sadism, but a remarkable act of love.

At the same time, Jordan had begun to read through the Bible and was confronted by her sin. She writes:

I was painfully arrogant, prone to fits of rage, unforgiving, unwaveringly selfish, and I had passed sexual boundaries that I’d promised I wouldn’t …. Yet I could do nothing to right these wrongs. The Cross looked like the answer to an incurable need. When I read the Crucifixion scene in the Book of John for the first time, I wept.

So, she plunged headlong into devouring books from many perspectives, but nothing compared to the rich tradition of Christian intellect. As she read the works of Augustine, Aquinas, Pascal, and Lewis, she knew that the only reasonable course of action was to believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If I wanted to continue forward in this investigation, I couldn’t let it be just an intellectual journey. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32). I could know the truth only if I pursued obedience first.” I then committed my life to Christ by being baptized on Easter Sunday, 2009.

God revealed himself through Scripture, prayer, friendships, and the Christian tradition whenever I pursued him faithfully. I cannot say for certain where the journey ends, but I have committed to follow the way of Christ wherever it may lead. When confronted with the overwhelming body of evidence I encountered, when facing down the living God, it was the only rational course of action.

Editor’s Note: Jordan Monge is a writer, philosopher, and tutor. She is also a regular contributor to the magazine Fare Forward and for Christianity Today.

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