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Testimony of an Ex-Atheist
By Darren "Daz" Gedye
I grew up in a non-Christian home. My father is an atheist and my mother was a backslidden Christian, due mostly to marrying my father I suspect. Anyway, I grew up an atheist. I never went to Church or Sunday school, stayed in bed till lunch-time on Sundays, and hated Christians who I thought were all stupid.
When I came to adolescence I went through a really hard time due to circumstances that I won't bore you with, and I decided life would be easier to bear if I cut out all feelings and contact with other people. I was eleven years old.
I spent the next decade working at achieving that goal and also trying to find a meaning for my life. I went through a stage of fads, where I would be fanatically interested in some subject, and then drop it when I found that it did little or nothing to feed the hunger in my soul. I didn't have many friends at high school, and those I did associate with decided I was the person most likely to initiate a global holocaust.
I dropped out of school after failing my University Entrance exams, and got a job as a chemistry technician with the New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. With the money came independence. I left home, was living in a house by myself, going to a job where I spoke to no-one, and going to night school at the local polytechnic where I did the same. I had achieved my goal: my life was empty of any emotions or meaningful contact with others. - It sucked.
The second year I was at night school I noticed a guy in my class was trying to talk to me. He'd been trying for the previous year as well, but I was too messed up to even notice. Luckily he was the patient type. He was a Christian and he invited me to go to an evangelistic outreach with him. I nearly punched him out. After that he tried just to be my friend and not try any heavy evangelism on me.
As I grew to trust him we started talking about life and stuff like that. I realized that a lot of what I had been told about Christians when I was growing up was not true. I started asking him questions about his beliefs and he answered them, but had the sense not to push it any further.
After a couple of years of this I realized that his worldview made more sense than mine did. I started reading a Bible he gave me and one night alone in my room it dawned on me that it was all true and I was the world's prize idiot. I hit the floor and asked Jesus to take control of my life.
My Mother has since reclaimed her faith so my family is now divided down the middle; my mother and I are Christians, my father and brother are atheists. Becoming a Christian didn't solve my problems, but it helped me to understand them and it opened the way for God to start healing me from my past.
After a few years I started going to Bible College at nights to learn more about God. I did that for two years, but then the pressures of trying to hold down a full time and demanding job, go to Bible College at night, and help out in the Church and its youth group got too much. I dropped out of Church for a couple of months and failed my subjects at Bible College. I wanted to do something with my life for God, but I didn't know what.
After a long struggle and a fair bit of soul-searching I quit my job and applied for the Youth Intern position at my local Church. I have switched from doing a Diploma of Biblical Studies to doing a Ministry Internship Diploma, which is a much more practical course. I am trying to do less studying of God and more following him. So far I am enjoying it, but I know following God is a lifetime journey. I still have a long way to go.
As an aside, my friend from polytech is the most effective evangelist I have ever met. He has never been to Bible College or had any formal training and he says I now know far more theology than he does. But he has a love for God that still amazes me.
Darren "Daz" Gedye's homepage
The above article was published in Darkness to Light
and posted on this Web site in 1996.
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