Religion is a touchy subject. Is God real? Is He not? And if He is real, why does He allow such horrible things to happen around the world?These questions (and countless others) have dogged the possibility of the existence of God since, well, forever, right? Redditor Gothspada got the ball rolling with this question:
Former Atheists, what made you believe in God?The answers were thought provoking, to say the least.
A suicide attempt turned grossgeorgian's life around:
A suicide attempt. I drank a bottle of wine and took one of my mom's blood pressure pills every 15 minutes until the bottle was done then passed out. A few hours later I woke up and I swear on my life that I felt hands pulling me up by the shoulders and leading me to the bathroom. A voice in my head told me to chug water and make myself puke until my stomach was empty. I was sick for days afterwards but I'm sure I would've died had that not happened. Maybe it wasn't God but it was something and it made me believe that there's something other than what we can see.From doomsdaydanceparty:
I had something similar. Though not an atheist, I do not have anything to do with any organized religion. After an overdose I actually heard a voice shouting, "You do not have the right to do this. Call for help now."From _onions420_:
I was 7 or 8 yrs old, half awake in bed, very much alone in my room. Someone told me to roll over, which I promptly did without questioning who the hell was talking to me. At that point a ceramic, wood-backed, wall-mounted knick knack fell off of my wall and hit my pillow where my head had been. No idea who/what helped me avoid serious brain damage but I definitely believe in another form of existence after this one.
I think I was more agnostic than anything. My dad was and is pretty Atheist, so I grew up in that environment. I looked up at the sky one day and realized how wonderful the larger world is around us, and I had a feeling that was like reverse deja vu. I couldn't explain it, but I felt like one day I'd have something worth living for. I had a lot of roller coasters, even tried and failed at failing (killing myself) once. Somehow I got to a place where I married a great woman, and then we had two kids. Now there are moments when I'm in bed, and randomly one will appear in my bed and make me the little spoon, that the "deja vu" feeling I had so many years ago makes sense. I feel like there is actually a worth to my life, and I'm happy for a little while. That's God to me.From credenius123:
I was at the lowest point in my entire life. I grew up with an abusive, alcoholic step-father and other situations led me to depression and the only light I could find was God. It definitely isn't an easy journey and I have a lot of views that don't usually co-exist with Christianity(gay marriage and abortion). My life now is significantly better than my life used to be and I credit Christ for that.
I was agnostic for a long period of my life, and highly argumentative about belief, and one night when I was alone in a field, I "heard" a voice say as clear as day "Philippians 2:13" Because God is working in you to help you, want to do and be able to do what pleases him It was at that point that it kind of hit me that all of my doubt and questioning was a launchpad to that compelled me to study apologetics and turn me back towards God, as all of my doubt and questioning had a purpose that to that point I was unable to recognize.From trebuchetfight:
Perhaps "atheist" was not the best definition of what I was. I could never relate to what you might call the popular conceptions of God. I found myself though getting into Christian theology and began to realize that not all Christians actually held that view of God. That for many God was not simply some anthropomorphic deity in the sky, but that the anthropomorphic stuff was a way to make God more intelligible, but not actually define God's traits. These days "Christian agnostic" is the best label I can come up for myself. I think of myself as more leaning towards theism than atheism. God's a mystery to me, and I think that's just kind of an unavoidable consequence of God being what God is.Idiot_Machine provided readers with this thoughtful response:
There are a lot of good responses in this thread. I grew up in a religious family but didn't really believe in it and considered myself an atheist for a long time. Truthfully I'm still in the fence but I'm leaning a bit more towards the belief side at this point in my life. There were/are a few things that contribute to my current belief.
Finally 1 Cor 1:22 - 25. Being humble enough to accept that I'm not special enough to get a sign and not smart enough to have all the wisdom.
- Hard things are good for you and easy/fun things are bad for you. That's the pattern that seems to affect every aspect of my life.. eating vegetables sucks and eating tons of ice cream is awesome but it makes you unhealthy and you die. Lots of unprotected sex is fun but committed long term relationships are more rewarding and don't make you sick.. For me it was the acceptance that if something required hard work, self control and dedication it was probably the right thing to do. I've found that having a "level up" kind of mentality is healthy for me overall anyway.
- Generally accepting that i wasn't limited to believing / worshipping in the same way as the group or religion i associate with. They might have a narrow view of their beliefs but I'm free to define God in a way that makes sense to me. For example a God that respects honest skepticism and inquiry over blind faith.
- Generally learning to not take my self to
seriously. Lots of people believe ridiculous things. Nobody i care about is going to judge me for having a few inconsistent beliefs of my own. Honestly i think that those that think they don't have some gaps in their logic are deluding themselves.
- Heat death of the universe. If I'm wrong then what difference does it make? Why not do something that makes me a better person and brings some happiness to my family and others around me?
- Being more comfortable with not having all the answers.
From jonsnowsgirlfriend, who found her relationship with God tested as her husband faced a medical crisis:
I grew up catholic and then decided I no longer believed in God and thought it was all a crock. I held that belief until last year. My husband went in for 2 open heart surgeries and had 3 strokes during surgery. I went into the chapel at the hospital and prayed and prayed.....still kind of unsure but I figured if God exists I am at least going to try. When he was still having a very tough time in the hospital I went to the church where I had gone so many times with my family. I walked to the door and it was locked. Crying with my head in my hands, I walked back to my car and heard a voice say, "Wait!" It was the church organist. He asked if I was okay and I told him I wanted to go inside to say a prayer. And he let me in. I went in all alone - no one else was in there. I sat in the same row I used to sit with my family and I cried so hard. I was sobbing saying "please PLEASE God! Make him well. Please! I am so sorry for ever doubting you! Please!" and after crying and kneeling i sat back in the pew, I breathed a deep sigh, and I felt love. I felt stronger. I knew we'd be okay. I sent a note to the church thanking the organ player a few days later. My husband is healing and recovering and getting stronger everyday. And so am I. :)Another thoughtful response from JosephusHellyer:
In a little late so probably never going to be seen. Also on mobile. A better question for me at least would be what made me believe in divinity. "God" usually signifying specifically the Abrahamic view of divinity. I'd spent a lot of time looking into different religions, both historical and current. And while I don't think I'll ever become truly knowledgeable on the subject, I have learned some things which helped me. I had become very bitter toward the concept of divinity due to what I saw as evil which it did not stop, whatever "it" was. But I was also deeply interested in mythology. The change really came for me when I realized how widespread very specific beliefs were. Stories which all have the same basic plot, gods who had the same basic character in widely divergent cultures and time periods. I began to see it as a human hunger for something we knew was "there" but without the proper method to describe that knowledge. That all of us, no matter our culture or creed were all reaching in the same direction. It made me feel a lot of empathy for my fellow man, and to see the evil in the world for what it was. Because a God who did not allow pain and evil would only be a puppet master, not a parent. Any evil in the world is our responsibility to either endure or destroy, but that existence is Their gift to us. And that's enough for me. I kept the specifics of my faith out of this post as much as possible.
H/T: Ask Reddit