But this is only one side of the story. At the same time, a significant number of people from a non-religious background are choosing to believe. I have taken an interest in finding some of their stories.
Stories of adult converts
I have recorded a number of stories on my Is there a God? website. Most recently, I have collected 8 stories from the Alison Morgan book, The Word on the Wind, and recounted them in Conversion stories. They include:
- people who experienced physical healing after prayer,
- healing of memories,
- healing from emotional disorders and mental illness,
- people who God gave a sense of peace at a time of stress,
- direct help to resolve questions in their lives and give meaning and purpose where this was lacking before, and
- people who God seems to have communicated with quite directly in unusual ways.
In all cases, these experiences have had a profound positive effect on the people, and seem to have led to permanent and positive changes in their lives.
I hope you check them out and find them encouraging and challenging.
You can’t beat personal experience
All of these 8 people were convinced to change from unbelief to belief through their experience of God. They gave God an opportunity and he responded by changing their immediate circumstances and giving them reason and ability to believe and live in the light of that belief. Personal experience is primary information, and will generally be the strongest basis for any belief, stronger than philosophical arguments.
It’s hard to argue with the numbers
For the rest of us, hearing these experiences as outsiders, they do not have the same immediacy. But these stories are only the tip of the iceberg – there are so many more, including the similar stories on my website.
On the evidence, it is beyond my belief that all these experiences have been misunderstood or misreported – there are too many of them for that. Many of them involve verifiable healing that cannot easily be explained away by some form of natural mind powers (see Ten Healings and Healings at Lourdes), and most of them led to significant changes in the people’s lives.
I hope these accounts (Conversion stories) encourage us all and strengthen our belief that there is hope, and there is a God who cares and heals.
Next, before I get back onto the Understanding the Bible in the 21st century series, I’ll look at some statistics on conversions and deconversions.