“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1: 18-20)
“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)
This is why, no matter if you believe it or not, repentance comes BEFORE knowledge of truth, not after: 2 Timothy 2:24-26, John 3:12, Jeremiah 33:3, 2 Corinthians 3:15-16.
I can personally attest to that. I repented before knowing God. As a 21 year old, just out of the military Atheist, I was handed this tract by a wonderful couple that I met while being a life guard. They left such a positive impression on me that I remember thinking that she is the kind of woman that I would want to marry someday. After reading that tract, I sincerely said to Christ "If you are real, please show me." "If all this is true, then I am in real trouble, and I am sorry. Help me" and the like.
|I am not an Atheist, but I played one in life|
I was an Atheist.
I will grant you the possibility there may have been a predestination for me to become a Christian, in spite of my surroundings, upbringing, and core worldview beliefs. In reflection that is a huge possibility. Much like Christians in Muslim countries. I remember thinking at a young age that my Dad must be wrong about lying for gain is the right and "business" way. But I lived, breathed, and fought as an Atheist.
At that age, 21-23, I did get reflective I will admit. I was questioning many life/death things at that point towards the end of my Atheism. That couple sure made a large impression on me. Life changing impression. I remember yelling at some teenagers to get out of my office as I was trying to life guard. I cussed at them, like a Sailor. After that, not thinking anything of it, I caught the man's eyes and the look of disappointment, and concern, in his eyes shook my soul for some reason. It steadied my reasoning to be more receptive to possibilities of Jesus maybe. I am not clear exactly.
All I know is that night after "speaking" to Jesus (after receiving the tract from that couple at the end of the summer), I went out and got high with my brother. I didn't think anything of it and I moved on with my life. Then some very strange things, that I wish not to detail about right now, happened that made me question everything. That is when I picked up the Bible, for the first time in my life, to read about evil. I remember getting all frustrated that I could not find the "section" on it and decided to read it, once and for all, cover to cover. It took me three weeks. I was out of a job at the time. I was 23, and I was never the same again. I ran to the closest church, Church of Christ, to get baptized. I waited until the service was over, pulled the pastor to the side and asked what I needed to do to be baptized? They stayed after and set it all up for me, with just a few people still there. I thought, or was thinking, that was what it took to be saved. Then it took 10 more years to finally, truly, be saved. I cannot lie about it. I cannot fake it. Its the truth.
You might be right that I was never an Atheist. I was just raised as one. I was groomed as one. I associated with ONLY Atheists. I believed everything Atheists believe. I thought I was an Atheist.
All I can say with certainty is, I will never be one again.