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Converting to Christianity reading suggestions

(50 Posts)
donadumaurier Thu 09-Mar-17 17:27:10

Specifically Orthodoxy, but open to any and all suggestions. I was raised in an atheist family and always felt there was something missing, but was never particularly attracted to Christianity until I discovered Orthodoxy. I'm now trying to develop my understanding of Christianity as an adult and don't want to keep asking stupid questions blush

BroomstickOfLove Thu 09-Mar-17 17:45:09

Niminypiminy has posted lots of good book suggestions for atheists who are thinking of converting on here over the years. I have in the past searched for her name and book and come up with some good stuff. The books that had the biggest impact on me were Tokens of Trust by Rowan Williams , another book which I have forgotten the name of but will post in a minute, and an app called Pray as You Go, which is a cheesy name but is now one of my favourite parts of each day.

None of those are from an Orthodox point of view, though.

BroomstickOfLove Thu 09-Mar-17 17:47:38

Christianity: A Beginner's Guide by Keith Ward is the other one. It's more complex than the title suggests.

ollieplimsoles Thu 09-Mar-17 19:06:23

You say you were raised in an atheist family op, were these atheists who took an interest in living with the lack of a God and religion, or was it just a family that did not observe any religious customs?

If it was the latter, it might be worth reading around a few atheist places of interest on the web- Mat Dilahunty, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are all worth a listen.

Give both sides attention, I was raised a family that just didn't observe a religion, I had a brief period of 'finding God' in my teens but felt it just wasn't for me for various reasons.

Firstly there are no 'stupid questions' your questions are valid and are there to protect you from signing up to a belief system you might not totally agree with in your heart of hearts. Remember- people or faith can ask silly questions as well, and if you are made to feel uneducated/ looked down on for asking a question of a Christian, then its likely they are the ones who feel put on the spot and don't know how to answer it (or never thought to ask it themselves)

Pm me for more info if you like but keep your mind open, your 'something missing' feeling really struck a chord with me, and becoming a Christian may not be the answer.

shitgibbon Fri 10-Mar-17 04:21:59

Mere Christianity by CS Lewis. Anything by Lee Strobel (start with 'A Case for Faith' though). The Language of God by Francis Collins.

Also see if your local church has any intro to Christianity type programs. In any case I'd advise chatting with a church leader.

Good luck. I hope Christianity enriches your life as much as it has mine. Feel free to PM me if you would like to chat, as I also came to Christianity late in life having been raised as an atheist.

JeanBodel Fri 10-Mar-17 06:21:24

I would recommend Basic Christianity by John Stott.

ollieplimsoles Fri 10-Mar-17 07:17:26

You can enrich your life without Christianity.

Many enriching activities that people associate with churches are perfectly accessible to everyone without all the rules and spiritual obligations that cone along with Christianity.

For example:
A social circle- you don't need Christianity.
A hobby/ hobby group- you don't need Christianity.
Charity work- you don't need Christianity.
Helping others- dont need it.
Giving back to your community- nope.
The list is extensive.

Of course if you are a believer in God before considering joining a church it helps you get on side with the spiritual side of Christianity.

Any particular reason orthodoxy calls to you?

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Fri 10-Mar-17 20:56:19

Rejesus is a good website as it was designed for people with no Christian background so it might be a useful resource.

Depending on the strand of atheism you come from John Lennox wrote a really interesting book called 'Gunning for God' which I found really helpful from a Christian perspective trying to understand the atheist one. He has debated with high profile atheists so this might be a good read.

I did a module on Orthodoxy for my MTh and it was fascinating. I'm not about to change denominations but I love the icons and liturgy.

ollieplimsoles Fri 10-Mar-17 21:48:38

There are no 'strands' of atheism- atheism simply means to reject the claim that there is a god. What do you mean by strands?

I had high hopes for John Lennox op, and he has indeed debated with the greats- amongst Richard Dawkins and Hitch. You can watch them in full on youtube. I was undecided about faith and also felt something was missing, when I started researching.

Do some research into 'logical fallacies' as you watch them- john lennox's arguments are full of them.
I personally cant believe that a mathematics professor at Oxford doesn't seem to know the proper definition of the word 'random'.

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Fri 10-Mar-17 22:36:19

If this link works then research shows 6 types of atheist

My experience is that some atheists have very little knowledge of any faith tradition so any stirings of interest has to start with the basics. That was why rejesus was created. Others have been brought up very hostile to faith so something like the John Lennox book is addressing this audience. David Bentley Hart is really good if you are interested in history.

I really like Rowan Williams Tokens if Trust which was mentioned upthread and Nicholas King's translation of the New Testament which has mini commentaries which highlight how different the language and culture is then and now. For anyone interested in Orthodoxy Andrew Louth is one of the most accessible authors.

ollieplimsoles Fri 10-Mar-17 23:03:13

Thanks for sharing green its an interesting premise. I agree with the creators of the study when they say this:

The typology of nonbelief is fluid. Based on our interviews, we suspect people transverse the various types over the course of their lives. Since we did not conduct a longitudinal design (a study conducted over time tracking the same people) we are unable to validate this assumption.

In my opinion, it is unhelpful to put people who do not observe a faith in boxes. It gives the illusion to believers that atheists are somehow organised intentionally into sects of belief (like Christians). As an atheist I belong in almost all of the categories presented by this study.

In my experience, many people of faith mistake atheism as something you 'follow'.

Since the op did not state that she believed in God (she just said 'something missing) I urged them to look at both sides before conforming to a faith system.

skerrywind Sat 11-Mar-17 08:43:27



It's like classing "not collecting stamps" as a hobby.

What kind on non stamp collector are you? A fervent outspoken one? A non stamp collector that want to convert everyone to their hobby?
Do you not collect stamps on a daily basis?

Gtreenheart you are being arrogant posting a link to a religious web site showing how atheists are catagorised.

Christianity may have lots of sects because of dissent within faith, but atheists don't need that.We can be as disunited as we like.
We are not a cohesive group.

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Sat 11-Mar-17 12:17:31

I seem to have hit a nerve there skerrywind. A simple click through the religious blog page of a well respected news organisation leads to this webpage which is as far as I can see for an academic who is not part of any faith group looking at what non belief looks like. My parish according to the 2011 census has 42% of people who identify as 'nones' people of no faith so I'm interested in how that breaks down and if anyone has done any research in the UK.

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Sat 11-Mar-17 12:19:17

Whoops that link was for my sermon tomorrow. This is the link to the research by an atheist on non belief

WendlaBergmann Sat 11-Mar-17 12:59:11

What about an Exploring Christianity course? It answered a lot of questions I had.

I'm sure someone on here recommended me a book called something like Christians can swear?

ollieplimsoles Sat 11-Mar-17 13:45:46

I'm not phased green I'm glad you shared the research.

Id be actually interested in how the other 58% of the parish observe their faith to be honest, the 'none' seems pretty evident- they don't observe a faith system. A-theist, is simply a rejection of the claim that their is a god.

I hope the op does come back and tells us if /how she has continued her journey.
There are many branches of Christianity but why someone with no prior experience of a church would chose orthodoxy is beyond me..

Lumpylumperson Sat 11-Mar-17 13:56:56

Skerry I don't much care for the stamp collector analogy, I've heard it a few times before and I don't really think it's a good comparison.

Not collecting stamps may well relate to agnostics who really don't have much of an opinion on faith and are happy to let people live their lives how they wish to.

There are no 'non-stamp collectors' surely that turn up on threads about people wanting to collect stamps to discourage them, critise them, question their intelligence or be very vocal anti-stamp collecting. Surely? That's what happens often by atheists towards people of faith. So it's more than 'I don't do that' it's 'I don't do that and I judge you for doing it'. If it really were a total non-thing to you, why appear on a thread about 'stamp collecting?' I don't crochet so I stay out of the draft threads as it's not my thing, I do t go onto them saying 'crochet? Who crochets nowadays? They must be not as clever as me.'

skerrywind Sat 11-Mar-17 14:35:42

There are no 'non-stamp collectors' surely that turn up on threads about people wanting to collect stamps to discourage them, critise them, question their intelligence or be very vocal anti-stamp collecting. Surely?

No they don't.

But then they don't force their hobby on others.

Lumpylumperson Sat 11-Mar-17 15:35:47

But then they don't force their hobby on others

But they freely force their condemnation onto others.

ollieplimsoles Sat 11-Mar-17 15:55:03

I get your distain for the stamp collector analogy lumpy it rather generalises both sides.

Richard Dawkins uses a 1-7 point scale to measure the strength of a person's faith and belief in god in his book 'The God Delusion' 1 is a person who is absolutely sure of the existence of god and lives their life in that vain on a daily basis. 7 is someone who is absolutely certain that there is no god.
'Atheist' isn't a dirty word, to some extent we are all atheists as we dont all believe in every god ever worshipped past or present.

But I just want to defend those of us who reject mono-theistic religion. Some atheists are vocal against organised religion because they have experienced great misery at the hands of it. Some people find as much comfort and clarity in the rejection of a belief in god as an acceptance of it.

The problem is, there is no 'book of atheism' that contains the ancient rules all atheists must stick to in order to be true atheists. If you are an atheist- you simply do not believe in a deity, or you occupy number 6 on Dawkins' scale, in that you live your life as though there is no god, but you cannot completely reject that there could be, as the existence of god cannot be proved.

Atheists can still be racist, they can still be pro life, pro death penalty, pro isreal/ palastine... There are no set rules.

In religion I'm afraid there are set rules, and if you call yourself a christian, be prepared to answer questions about unfavorable bible passages and christian values from non believers who feel they pose a challenge to a progressive society.
If you feel uncomfortable with the stigma- dont be a christian.

I dont put any people of faith in presupposed boxes, as faith (or lack of it) is personal.

For what its worth I've been the target of some disgusting comments from christians in my time, mainly evangelicals but other sects too. A good way to avoid animosity and rudness on both sides is to avoid compartmentalising.

ollieplimsoles Sat 11-Mar-17 15:59:34

But they freely force their condemnation onto others.

lumpy you and I both know that people of faith are more than ready to condemn non believers, works both ways.

CardinalSin Sat 11-Mar-17 16:05:48

OP, I suggest reading the bible. That's usually the best thing for putting anyone off religion...

Lumpylumperson Sat 11-Mar-17 16:13:07

lumpy you and I both know that people of faith are more than ready to condemn non believers, works both ways

Yes, I agree with you here. Sadly there are judgy sanctimonious people hiding under the label of 'religion.' My reason for that post was to highlight the paradox of 'reviling isn't on my radar, it's nothing to me' followed by joining a thread about religion going 'don't believe in something different to me' iyswim.

Fwiw the Christians that I know genuinely are the most open-minded and accepting people I know. They're mostly a modern bunch but are very much about living and accepting people, emulating Jesus.

Lumpylumperson Sat 11-Mar-17 16:14:13

Sorry, typing while being a very distracted by three hyperactive children! Hope you got the gist of that.

ollieplimsoles Sat 11-Mar-17 16:28:56

Yes I got what you meant exactly, I was always making my little girl's tea.

The reason I joined the thread was because the op stated 'something missing' and wanted to weigh in from the atheist side! What branch of Christianity do you follow if I can ask?

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