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“evangelical Christianity, which I held in particular contempt”

“evangelical Christianity, which I held in particular contempt”

Kirsten Powers in Christianity Today:

Just seven years ago, if someone had told me that I’d be writing for Christianity Today magazine about how I came to believe in God, I would have laughed out loud. If there was one thing in which I was completely secure, it was that I would never adhere to any religion — especially to evangelical Christianity, which I held in particular contempt….

I remember walking into the Bible study. I had a knot in my stomach. In my mind, only weirdoes and zealots went to Bible studies. I don’t remember what was said that day. All I know is that when I left, everything had changed. I’ll never forget standing outside that apartment on the Upper East Side and saying to myself, “It’s true. It’s completely true.” The world looked entirely different, like a veil had been lifted off it. I had not an iota of doubt. I was filled with indescribable joy.

The horror of the prospect of being a devout Christian crept back in almost immediately. I spent the next few months doing my best to wrestle away from God. It was pointless. Everywhere I turned, there he was. Slowly there was less fear and more joy. The Hound of Heaven had pursued me and caught me—whether I liked it or not.

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Wow. God is on the Upper East Side…?!?!?

How did Nanny Bloomers let THAT happen…???

I knew that there was a reason I like that young lady. I mean besides her hawtness…

Some people just DO have the ability to consider taboo ideas, regardless of their brain-washing.

    persecutor in reply to Ragspierre. | November 3, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    I thought there was something wrong with me that I was finding myself at times agreeing with her. Whew! Glad she found Him–and I can say I know how she felt!

Wonderful to read. Thanks.

pathfindersgt | November 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm

“The Hound of Heaven had pursued me and caught me—whether I liked it or not.”

really not sure whether to be proud or disgusted by this comment. I am so confused. so now that she has come over to “the dark side” and has become a zealot, I wonder what other life-altering revelations she will have. no pun intended. either way, i’m happy for her.

    You’d think if she’s been on the path for a bit, she’d know the Holy Spirit from a heavenly pooch. I’m pretty sure that all aspects of the Godhead are in His image.

The LOW POINT in her life had to be when she dated The WEINER !!!!!! So, perhaps dirtbag The WEINER deserves some thanks for Powers getting off the absolute bottom of existence and gaining religion.

I’m hanging with the folks from Missouri on this gal .. show me

Thanks very much for posting this, Professor. It speaks well against the argument that somehow belief in the Lord is anti-intellectual or downright stupid. She is fortunate to be able to hear Tim Keller’s preaching. His books are often very helpful to atheists or agnostics who are, like Powers, open-minded.

Powerful witness. I thought that KP was just another Liberal mouthpiece. Just goes to reinforce that you cannot always know what is in a heart.

Call me Hindu if you must, but … “Holy Cow!”

I almost ran a word search on “Onion.”

I am praying for success on her spiritual journey to develop a personal relationship with God. I hope she strengthens these young roots in the face of adversity and persecution that she is now bound to encounter, since the world hated Christ before it hated Christians in general.

Godspeed and many prayers of thanksgiving and success to her on her newfound journey.

“Contempt” is the attitude she shared with her like-minded Clinton-administration friends, i.e., ruling-class liberals. Telling.

This is a step up, but we’ll see. She’s still proudly a liberal, right? She may still be running on emotion. “Getting religion” is often an affectation. I know. Again, we’ll see.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this.

I am extremely happy when the Kingdom of God grows. Kirsten is part of the Covenant Family as are all whole believe that God keeps His promises – just as Abraham trusted God in his old age that God would produce heirs numbering in the billions like stars.

God’s own Son Jesus came to earth and set up His Kingdom. He made us right in the Father’s eyes by being the perfect Israelite and by His sacrificial death and resurrection – all fact, no fiction.

From her words it sounds like mustards seeds of faith were planted in Kirsten along the way.

The Hound of Heaven is a familiar poem: influencing J. R. R. Tolkien.

More of Tim Keller at

It doesn’t sound to me as if she really was an “atheist”. Rather, she was a religion-avoider and wanting to be like all her liberal secular friends.

The Christian philosophy may offer her peace of mind. It may offer her a path to redemption in her post-mortem. It does not conflict with the local philosophy (i.e. science) and her conversion should cause her no discomfort. However, religion is a philosophy of morality and will constrain her liberty. It seems that she is capable of self-moderating, responsible behavior and that should cause her no discomfort.

Anyway, good luck to her. She lost nothing by rejecting atheism, and has acquired superior principles with the adoption of Christianity.

    Christianity is Reality Itself and no mere philosophy.

    C. S. Lewis: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

      That is an article of faith. My interest is not to convert anyone, but to identify superior principles wherever they may exist. The basic principles by which I judge their fitness are: preservation of individual dignity, recognition of intrinsic value, reconciliation with evolutionary principles (e.g. fitness), and constraint of progressive corruption. They must also be internally, externally, and mutually consistent in order to be universally viable. Following this methodology, I have determined that the Judeo-Christian philosophy engenders principles which are superior to other philosophies. That’s all that I have concluded. I do not share your faith. I do share your religion (i.e. moral philosophy).

        ThomasD in reply to n.n. | November 4, 2013 at 10:34 am

        Denying the existence of a Creator has always struck as a parlor trick masquerading as principle.

        The harder is question is to acknowledge His existence, but then ask “so what of it?”

I have no problem with the sincere believers of any religion so long as they don’t try to force their beliefs on others.

The only thing worse than Evangelical Atheism is Radical Islam.

    It’s interesting that you should notice that juxtaposition. Atheism, by definition, is a philosophy with a single tenet: rejection of theism. It is not a religion by popular standards, but in practice, as it makes an affirmative statement about an article of faith, it defines itself as a faith.

    Atheism is not a religion. It provides no moral guidance for individual or societal development. Since the Judeo-Christian philosophy does not conflict with or attempt to corrupt a local reality or prevent its exploitation (i.e. science), the singular premise of atheism offers no benefit to improve the human condition.

    The adherents of atheism are highly antagonistic to other faith groups. They wield their atheism as if it represents something virtuous. In practice, this is merely a confrontation between competing interests. It is counterproductive and sponsors corruption as the atheists tend to deny their ulterior motives and faith.

    If people reject or moderate Judeo-Christian religion, it is because they do not like the morality that it imposes. Men and women just want to have fun. They dream of material, physical, and ego gratification. This is why they deny human evolution from conception to grave and rationalize premeditated murder for money, career, convenience, etc. This is why they pursue involuntary exploitation (e.g. redistributive change). This is why they demand normalization of dysfunctional behaviors (e.g. antithetical to evolutionary fitness). They are authentic hustlers. They adhere to a selective morality which will justify their voracious appetites.

      ThomasD in reply to n.n. | November 4, 2013 at 10:27 am

      ” It provides no moral guidance for individual or societal development.”

      Other than the admonition to reject any notion of a supreme being, higher authority, or First Cause.

      What you describe is perhaps more rightly described as strict agnosticism.

        There is no common philosophy among atheists. Karl Marx and Ayn Rand are very different.

        There is even a question of what is atheism? Is it simply the lack of belief in God? Or is it that there is no metaphysical anything: (o Platonic Good, no Buddhist One, no karma, no meta-physical anything?)

        Most consider Marx to be an atheist and yet he believed (supposedly) in Hegelian dialects.

        I’m an atheist – I don’t consider there to be any meta-physical anything: whether it’s God, many gods, karma, or the kumbaya Oneness of it all.

        And yet – I’m an ethical absolutist; think that the phrase “natural law” has an objective meaning (it’s a very Randian slant ) and have nothing in common with the progressive left in almost anyway.

        Do I differ with conservatives regarding drug use and homosexuality – yes. But that is more my libertarian outlook and my position about the social contract than my lack of belief in God. (Social Contract – “I promise not to kill you and take your stuff if you promise not to kill me and take my stuff.) – As opposed to “I promise to stop you having sex with other men if you promise to stop me from eating too many twinkees.”

        Anyway – the short of this long post is that atheism != being a socialist.

        Immolate in reply to ThomasD. | November 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

        Atheism is, literally, the absense of belief. It doesn’t require adherence to a philosophical construct. If you don’t believe in a higher power, then you’re an atheist, whether you signed up for the e-ticket ride or not.

          ThomasD in reply to Immolate. | November 4, 2013 at 4:20 pm

          No, atheism is not the absence of belief, it is the assertion of a metaphysical certainty – that there is no deity, or deities.

          Agnosticism is the absence of belief (or conversely, recognition of the unknowable.)

God is great. God bless Ms. Powers, there’s enough room for all of us, liberal or not. That’s some great news. We all need to remember God is in charge…not us.

How courageous of Ms Powers, to say such things OUT LOUD, at a time in our history when Christians and Christianity are under increasing pressure to disappear from public view. When such people can have the courage of their convictions to make such public statements,it gives the rest of us Christians hope, and encouragement to carry on.
Thanks a LOT!

Personally I always find it fascinating reading anyone’s account of their conversion to Christianity. All of us are individuals and everyone’s story is unique.

If she was stupid enough to claim atheism as her guiding spiritual belief system, she’s stupid enough to be a christian. Some people would rather chew their own arm off than take an honest look at how christianity, or any other religion including atheism, could possibly be an accurate representation of how the world works. There’s a sucker born every minute and most of them subscribe to some lame belief system rather than have to be honest with themselves. If you idiot christians would spend all of two minutes engaging in critical thinking, rather than pulling the blanket of belief (aka faith) back up over your eyes you’d see how stupid you really are. But then again, idiots are incapable of realizing how stupid they are. So who’s the stupid one here? You for being who you are, or me for expecting something better?

    Immolate in reply to Running Wolf. | November 4, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    And to think all of us idiots could have signed up for the church of embittered enlightenment and faced entropy with the likes of you.

    Why is being a Christian proof of being stupid? Was Isaac Newton or Thomas Aquinas stupid? How about Einstein? (the God of Spinoza)

    I don’t see proof of a God hence I’m an atheist. But why the vitriol against theists? Why does their belief in God make you angry?

Although it is painful to admit people like this make me uncomfortable.

I am a cradle Catholic. I’ve been steeped in the Catechism for five decades and, at times, still find it all a struggle.

I know it is a teaching of the Church to rejoice when the sinner turns away from sin, even more than we rejoice for the person who holds true to the Faith.

But seeing someone, anyone, turn on a dime like that frankly makes me doubt the strength and depth of any conviction they might espouse.

Perhaps what may seem abrupt is actually a longer time in coming.

    gracepmc in reply to ThomasD. | November 4, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    God touches us all in individual ways. As a cradle Catholic as well I am sometimes blown away by the strength and force of faith of many who come later on their own choosing. And , of course, there are some that do not. I am willing to cut her some slack. It takes a certain amount of courage to claim yourself Christian in America these days.

She’s so close to converting to Tea Party … it’s just a matter of time.

    That’s similar to what I chide my evangelical friends with.

    They’ve all left mainline Protestant Churches in search of something else – I tell them, only half jokingly, that their small-c catholicism will one day lead them back home to the big-C Church.

@Running Wolf, why the hostility and why do you care? If belief in God brings her some comfort how does that hurt you? As a Christian or any other religious person in America, she holds no more power over you than anyone else. If she is just one more gullible rube, why do you seem to fear her?

How anyone can look at all that we currently know about how the universe works, about the natural laws that govern all things, and not believe that there must have been a grand design is truly blind. Science does not refute God. Science validates God if you care to see.

On the other hand, if you think religion is for fools, we all suffer fools everyday. What does it cost you? Simply ignore her and move on.

Freddie Sykes | November 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

My daughter has an antipathy to atheists but I advise her against it because there are some decent people who call themselves atheists. I advised her to feel pity for them and try to image how lonely they must be.

I wonder if KP held evangelicals in particular contempt because of a) philosophical principle; b) because George W. Bush professed to be one; or c) one of them showed up at her door? One of the men in the congregation at my church used to pastor in the Bronx and he fulfilled the great commission by knocking doors there. He said he got the door slammed in his face a lot. Down here in Florida, we get a better reception.

Welcome aboard, it takes real courage in this day and age for a liberal to profess such beliefs, especially in New York and Wash DC. I, myself am a Catholic, but better to believe in in an Almighty God than not.

David R. Graham | November 5, 2013 at 2:30 am

Oh pish, as our daughter would say. “Evangelical Christianity” comes out of the left wing of the Reformation. Ana-baptists. It is anti-Christian. It is lawlessness. It is a precursor, in an entirely different milieu, of “liberation theology.” She hasn’t converted (turned around) to anything. She’s found a new label for an existing phobia (to humility) and a new schtick for a continuing career (in self-promotion). No Christian would be a media personality.

David R. Graham | November 5, 2013 at 2:33 am

And there is no such thing as an atheist. To deny something one first must affirm it. Every atheist believes in themself. They have a God. Who takes an “atheist” seriously is an idiot.