Rev. Doctor Clay Lein is the leader of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, and his personal story is one we’ve heard a few times before. He wasn’t always a believer, but he eventually came to believe in God.
Here’s how he tells it:
“I had a great plan for my life, it just turns out it wasn’t his plan for my life,” Lein said as he reflected on his first career.
He was an Atheist with a successful career as an electrical engineer.
“I was arrogant, I was prideful, I was aggressive, I was pushy,” he said. However, in following his wife to church he noticed others lived their lives with an alternate focus.
In another, lengthier article, Lein refers to himself as a former “angry atheist.”
He has every right to tell his story as he sees it, and maybe all of that’s accurate, but it got me wondering: Have you ever heard a story of a religious person — especially an evangelist or church leader — who “found” God later in life and readily admits he wasn’t “angry” or “aggressive” or “militant” in his atheism?
I realize it’s much more compelling to say you used to be an atheist with every fiber of your being, and that you hated God. It shows that even the people furthest away from faith can become believers again.
But I can’t recall a church leader ever saying something like this:
I didn’t always believe in God. I used to be a nice guy with a great life and a wonderful family who just had doubts about religion. I questioned the Bible. I didn’t believe what my pastor was saying. But then I began looking at the information from a different perspective and realized there was something to it. Now, it just makes more sense to believe God exists.
Maybe that’s because the most fervent believers — the type of people who would become evangelists or church leaders — were equally passionate about the topic of religion even before they changed their views. (If Richard Dawkins ever became religious, I have no doubt he’d become a rabid evangelist. He wouldn’t just tell people he’s Christian now and leave it at that.)
Still, it’s unlikely that every convert used to be a die-hard atheist. Some of them just didn’t believe. That’s it.
I wish some of them would admit their lives were fine before they began believing in God — and that they simply changed their views — instead of throwing us under the bus every time they share their personal story.
(Image via ENS)