Author Topic: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian  (Read 5829 times)

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Offline Hatter23

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Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« on: October 01, 2012, 03:46:21 PM »
Justin Obriecht thought he had it all.

"I had a good life,” said Obriecht recently at Hope Covenant Church. “I had enough money, I didn't have a lot of stress. Things were really good for me as an atheist."

Starting with his first restaurant opening in Tinley Park in 2001, Obriecht went on to open Culver’s locations in Orland Park, Tinley Park, Frankfort, Homewood and Matteson. But he later found something was missing.

Today, Obriecht is a member of Willow Creek Community Church. His talk at Hope Covenant Church in Orland Park was his second testimony.

“The nice thing about a testimony is it's a story about what happened in my life,” Obriecht said. “It's not about me shoving anything down anyone’s throat. A testimony is the quickest way to get to know somebody. I have put that out to all my employees. I have not received any negative reply about my relationship with Jesus Christ."

Obriecht came bearing Butterburgers, custard, a few of his employees and his testimony. More than 100 people came out to enjoy dollar Butterburgers and Culver's custard before listening to Obriecht’s story.

"I opened up a business when everyone thought the world was coming to an end," Obriecht said. 

Days after the 9/11 attack, Justin was preparing to open his first Culver's restaurant in Tinley Park. Just 25, Obriecht was the youngest person to open up a Culvers restaurant. Three years later, the Tinley Park Culver's had $3 million in sales, more than any other Culver's.

Five years after he found the success in Tinley Park, Obriecht opened restaurants in the other four nearby towns.

"The south suburbs have supported us amazingly,” he said. “I give a lot of that credit to the people of the south suburbs."

Obriecht gave back along the way. He participated in cancer walks, fundraisers for area schools and other philanthropy.

"I was an atheist but I wasn't a bad person,” Obriecht said. “I wasn't cheating, I wasn't stealing but I swore a little too much. The only difference is when you have a belief in God and you know God, he expects you to be more disciplined.”

Obriecht was traveling when he stopped in Tennessee, and began meditating around 2 a.m. He suddenly felt a warmth and peace come over him. He said that Jesus came into his life at that moment.

Obriecht immediately called his mother, who had become a Christian a few years before. She had almost the same experience.

Rather than open more restaurants, Obriecht and his new wife Tara are working on helping others.

"As far as charity work, I started a program three weeks ago,” he said. “When I was saved I went around and told my testimony to all the homeless people that lived around me. One day one of the ladies named Carrie asked me to take her to church. A light bulb went off. Maybe there are others that would like this opportunity. I decided to set up a program where I hand out flyers throughout the week. Whoever shows up at the bus stop near my building, my wife and I pay for them to get on the bus. We go to church together. After church my wife and I buy them lunch and give them tickets to do laundry the following Saturday."

An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline Nick

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2012, 04:03:01 PM »
I'm a little suspicious.  Notice how he talks about not being a bad person not sealing and such?  Like that is what atheists do.  Seems to smell a bit to me.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2012, 04:14:09 PM »
So, he's basing this conversion on the fact that he was meditating and felt warm and at peace?

Isn't that kind of the point of meditating?  I've meditated at night and felt warmth and peace, usually as an effort to relax enough to sleep.  Gonna need more than that to convince me.
Worldviews:  Everyone has one, everyone believes them to be an accurate view of the world, and everyone ends up at least partially wrong.  However, some worldviews are stronger and well-supported, while others are so bizarre that they make no sense to anyone else.

Offline EV

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2012, 04:50:42 PM »
I kinda imagine him to look like this:



but with a crucifix.

I do think that his testimony is flipping ridiculous though. It is not particularly philosophically sound.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2012, 06:11:54 PM »

Rather than open more restaurants, Obriecht and his new wife Tara are working on helping others.

"As far as charity work, I started a program three weeks ago,” he said. “When I was saved I went around and told my testimony to all the homeless people that lived around me. One day one of the ladies named Carrie asked me to take her to church. A light bulb went off. Maybe there are others that would like this opportunity. I decided to set up a program where I hand out flyers throughout the week. Whoever shows up at the bus stop near my building, my wife and I pay for them to get on the bus. We go to church together. After church my wife and I buy them lunch and give them tickets to do laundry the following Saturday."

I would much rather him open more restaraunts which will give more people jobs than spend his money taking homeless people to church.
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Offline jetson

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2012, 06:22:44 PM »
This dude was never an atheist.  End of story.  There are way too many pathetic attempts by people who think that not attending church is being atheist.  Real atheists don't convert to theism.  ;D

Offline stuffin

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2012, 09:10:21 PM »
No cheating or stealing but hamburgers, swearing and meditation; hmmm, toss in some beer and I might be convinced to accept jesus.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2012, 11:41:36 PM »
This dude was never an atheist.  End of story.  There are way too many pathetic attempts by people who think that not attending church is being atheist.  Real atheists don't convert to theism.  ;D
"No True Scotsman" is still a fallacy no matter who uses it.  :P

I kid.  I know what you mean, he was probably willing to believe, just didn't have the emotional reason to believe until that experience he had (which naturally was shared by a Christian, therefore it could only have been done by Jesus).  I get so tired of people making the correlation fallacy.
Worldviews:  Everyone has one, everyone believes them to be an accurate view of the world, and everyone ends up at least partially wrong.  However, some worldviews are stronger and well-supported, while others are so bizarre that they make no sense to anyone else.

Offline Aaron123

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2012, 01:40:18 AM »
Quote
Obriecht was traveling when he stopped in Tennessee, and began meditating around 2 a.m. He suddenly felt a warmth and peace come over him. He said that Jesus came into his life at that moment.

I can't help but imagine that this guy was rasied as a christian, didn't really think about religion too much, then reinterpreted the last 10-15 years of his life as "atheist".

Would explain why it apparently took so little to 'convert' him...
Being a Christian, I've made my decision. That decision offers no compromise; therefore, I'm closed to anything else.

Offline Bad Pear

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2012, 02:18:12 AM »
This dude was never an atheist.  End of story.  There are way too many pathetic attempts by people who think that not attending church is being atheist.  Real atheists don't convert to theism.  ;D

He was possibly an atheist by the strict definition of the word: He didn't believe in a/any god. However, I highly doubt that he ever gave the issue much thought and/or even to this day knows what the word 'atheist' even means.

At any rate: Your statement might, to avoid fallacy, be better rendered as : Atheists who have given serious thought to the subject and understand it don't convert to theism.  :P
Atheism is not a mission to convert the world. It only seems that way because when other religions implode, atheism is what is left behind

Offline Chronos

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2012, 04:04:12 AM »
I'm a little suspicious ...  Seems to smell a bit to me.

I agree.

John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline EV

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2012, 05:16:11 AM »
I'm a little suspicious ...  Seems to smell a bit to me.
I agree.

He reeks of Poe. And onions.

Something about the story just doesn't quite add up. Hatter, was this the article you posted? http://orlandpark.patch.com/articles/local-culvers-owner-finds-solace-in-religion
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Offline jetson

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2012, 06:08:57 AM »

At any rate: Your statement might, to avoid fallacy, be better rendered as : Atheists who have given serious thought to the subject and understand it don't convert to theism.  :P

Of course, you are more accurate.  I was just trying to be mean.   >:(

You are a bad pear.   ;D

Offline Hatter23

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2012, 06:55:03 AM »
I'm a little suspicious ...  Seems to smell a bit to me.
I agree.

He reeks of Poe. And onions.

Something about the story just doesn't quite add up. Hatter, was this the article you posted? http://orlandpark.patch.com/articles/local-culvers-owner-finds-solace-in-religion

Yes. There's another possible interpretation here. This article was free publicity for his restaurants; pehaps he's joining the fast food faith to dollars trend.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline Nick

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2012, 08:18:12 AM »
The God discount...like Chic-Fil-A with the gay thing.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline Chronos

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2012, 06:03:29 PM »
Yes. There's another possible interpretation here. This article was free publicity for his restaurants; pehaps he's joining the fast food faith to dollars trend.

Perhaps the franchisor didn't like the franchisee's lack of faith, and the franchisee wants to buy into another franchise ...

John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Justin Obriecht

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2013, 10:01:01 AM »
Hello all,

My name is Justin Obriecht and I was surprised to see a discussion surrounding my testimony.

While I've read and appreciate all of the differing views of what has happened in my life, I was hoping some of you would take the time to read my full testimony, written by me, soon after the events happened.

I'd be happy to discuss my motivations, my past anti-theistic life, and any thing else, if we can just start from the same position, which is my personal testimony.

You can find it here http://justinobriecht.com/about/

Thanks for not being luke warm and being bold in what you believe. I know from past and present experience it's not easy no matter which side of the fence you're on.

Offline neopagan

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2013, 10:17:56 AM »
Gettin' me some popcorn... this should be interesting.

Welcome aboard Justin Obriecht.  I hope you have a strong stomach - well, a burger guy would! :)  Love me some burgers.

Curious our little place here would have set off your radar... someone tip you off you were the subject of discussion?
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 10:20:27 AM by neopagan »
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2013, 10:34:01 AM »
I have one question for you.  Are you willing to consider that what happened to you could have some other cause besides Jesus Christ visiting you?  Note that I am not expecting you to concede that it was something else - that would be a bit much to expect from anyone.  I just want to know whether you're open-minded enough to acknowledge that you might have been wrong about it.

Also, paragraph breaks in that testimony of yours.  Please.
Worldviews:  Everyone has one, everyone believes them to be an accurate view of the world, and everyone ends up at least partially wrong.  However, some worldviews are stronger and well-supported, while others are so bizarre that they make no sense to anyone else.

Offline screwtape

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2013, 11:20:48 AM »
I'm willing to accept Justin experienced something.  By something, I mean a kind of natural mental breakthrough, akin to what yogis and zen masters describe.  It is a natural and repeatable experience  that can be achieved through discipline and practice.  By his own admission, Justin was practicing those techniques already and in fact was meditating when his "epiphany" happened. 

But I see no evidence to suggest, let alone conclude it was jesus H christ.  He has done what people who have experienced something profound have done for thousands of years - attribute a natural but undefined process to the supernatural.  And he attributed it to the myth he was most familiar with, the one that permeates the culture in which he lived.


From Justin's link

Quote
Now many people ask me how I can be so sure that it was Jesus Christ. I tell them that the biggest reason and strongest reason is the feeling that I had in my heart. It’s an intangible feeling that I can’t describe.

translation: I have no idea whether it was jesus H, Tiamat, or Thetans.
OR
I grew up catholic, so all that jesus stuff was already in my background.  I was primed for xianity.




edit - read some more of his blog.  It's a rare level of crazy.  Not quite Wayne Harrposon level, but approaching it.  This post has all sorts of nutty, devil riddled conspiracy theories to explain why Obama didn't do exactly what Justin wanted him to do.
http://justinobriecht.com/2012/10/30/votes-ii-the-miscalculation/#more-125
(It was the Debil!)

It also gets into his man-crush on Rand Paul and the weirdness libertarians have about the fed and gold standard.

« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 11:30:37 AM by screwtape »
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2013, 11:29:59 AM »
translation: I have no idea whether it was jesus H, Tiamat, or Thetans.
OR
I grew up catholic, so all that jesus stuff was already in my background.  I was primed for xianity.

And, of course, those aren't mutually exclusive, either.
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Offline neopagan

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2013, 11:37:49 AM »
Had the chance to read the testimony... put away my popcorn.  Same old magic stuff I have heard and recited myself for years before deconverting.

Justin, if you'd grown up Hindu or Muslim, it would not have been jeezus blinking that light.

I wonder if your previous "intensely atheist mind" attributed odd events to magical deities as well? For example, I get up every morning and there is a newspaper at the end of my driveway. I never have seen it placed there by anyone and I do not subscribe to the paper, yet there it has been year after year every week day in a city where you must pay to receive a paper. Think jeezus/zeus/mithras/allah puts it there or could I explain it another way?  At times, I have had intense feelings and once a dizziness thinking it could be aliens. Your thoughts, as a former staunch atheist?

I hope you stop back by...
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2013, 12:18:25 PM »
Welcome Justin

While I am not so positive that atheists can't become theists, I still wonder. I've been an atheist for a long, long time and have no memory of ever having an "intensely atheist mind". I just don't believe. It is so easy anyone can do it.

My atheist mind is casual, at best. I can argue atheism all day long, but I put much more intensity into my work or my 3D drawings on my computer or into friendships and family. In comparison, my atheism is a blip in my life, energy-wise. I post here for fun, not reassurance, for instance.

Can you explain what an "intensely atheist mind" is? As per your testimony.

P.S. We don't have any Culver's out here in Montana. Do you deliver?  ;D
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 12:21:36 PM by ParkingPlaces »
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Offline Nick

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2013, 12:34:39 PM »
I am also curious as to how you found us.  This posting is from a long way back.  Maybe in one of those God states you were turned on to us?

Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger...pepsi.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline Astreja

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2013, 12:35:54 PM »
I'm willing to accept Justin experienced something...

Indeed.  The issue on the table is "What happened?"  Religious experiences occur in virtually every culture (don't know about the Piraha, 'tho) and usually get translated into something appropriate to the host culture.  I think that neuroscience will eventually find the answer, though.

Quote
translation: I have no idea whether it was jesus H, Tiamat, or Thetans.

Coming from ecumenical polytheism with a hint of Buddhism, I would tend to translate it as Tiamat (or as Guan Shi Yin, Oðinn, Athena, or any other deity with whom I had been enamored), but almost certainly not as Jesus because Christianity never resonated with Me.
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2013, 12:46:59 PM »
I know that if I ever have a warm feeling come over me, I'll either take off a blanket or turn the thermostat down. But I always have been practical.
Never trust an atom. They make up everything!

Offline Samothec

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2013, 05:43:11 PM »
Justin,
I read your testimony. I note that you were extremely ill and afterwards experienced a great number of new sensations. A severe illness can cause changes in the brain due to swelling or other damage. That fact along with your statements about tingling sensations make me wonder if the illness caused some initial damage which was followed by several transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).
Quote from: Wikipedia
Symptoms vary widely from person to person, depending on the area of the brain involved. The most frequent symptoms include temporary loss of vision (typically amaurosis fugax); difficulty speaking (aphasia); weakness on one side of the body (hemiparesis); and numbness or tingling (paresthesia), usually on one side of the body. Impairment of consciousness is very uncommon. There have been cases of temporary and partial paralysis affecting the face and tongue of the afflicted. The symptoms of a TIA are short-lived and usually last a few seconds to a few minutes and most symptoms disappear within 60 minutes. Some individuals may have a lingering feeling that something odd happened to the body. Dizziness, lack of coordination or poor balance are also symptoms related to TIA. Symptoms vary in severity.
Other than the tingling[1], do you recall experiencing any of the other symptoms? Have you consulted with a doctor about those symptoms? Have you consulted with a doctor about the other significant changes to your mind and senses?

Regarding the disappearing red light. You clearly state the red light was small and in your left peripheral vision. Human peripheral vision is largely devoted to sensing motion. Also, objects not in our main focus can disappear from our vision. These facts along with your description point to a quite ordinary situation of the meditation focus causing the light to not register until a slight shift in your body/head causes a shift in the light - implying movement. Since we evolved to react to peripheral movement, your focus was brought back to the light and it reappeared. Once you are comfortable with ignoring the light again and drop back into meditation, the light disappears again until you move and it reappears. And it repeats. Nothing mystical about it, sorry.

I understand the desire for there to be magic in the world. But there is a very real possibility you have suffered minor[2] brain damage which has caused these changes. The worry is that if you don't see a doctor, you could suffer worse - sooner rather than later. If this was Jesus/God reaching out to you then a visit to the doctor - where you describe all your symptoms to him - will only show a healthy brain and body. If the sensation were caused by damage then a visit to the doctor could save your life.
 1. Yes, I did note that you said your whole body was tingling. I'll point out that it says "usually" regarding the tingling being on one side of the body.
 2. hopefully only minor
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 05:45:54 PM by Samothec »
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Offline neopagan

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2013, 06:01:04 PM »
He came, he dumped his website on us, and he went away...

Now he has left us in d'lawd's hands

Bye burger man... we hardly knew you and your red light
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline Justin Obriecht

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2013, 08:49:56 PM »
I have one question for you.  Are you willing to consider that what happened to you could have some other cause besides Jesus Christ visiting you?  Note that I am not expecting you to concede that it was something else - that would be a bit much to expect from anyone.  I just want to know whether you're open-minded enough to acknowledge that you might have been wrong about it.

Also, paragraph breaks in that testimony of yours.  Please.

At the time I did consider other causes for about a week. Even though I was very confident, I wasn't positive.

However, after several tangible and causally related incidents in the weeks following my testimony all related to God, the Bible and Jesus Christ I was left with no other explanation. After a year and half of the same type of things happening over and over there is no other conclusion.

Every sign, signal, and prompting I've ever received, I've acted on, and every single one has not only been congruent with the Bible but has had a tangible and causally related outcome.

I don't mean to keep dumping reading material on you but this post will give you a good picture of those Biblically congruent, causally related events.