Hi Justin, and welcome.
Every atheist to theist conversion story I have read or heard have all had the quality of being very peculiar. None have sounded very convincing to me because the reasons/requirements for their conversion do not match up with mine. This isn’t to say atheist to theist conversions don’t happen. I believe they do. But I don’t think these people were atheists for the same reasons I am. Did these ex-atheists turned Christian apply rigorous skepticism to supernatural claims? Did they research the history of Yahwism and the origin of Yahweh/El? Were they cognitively prepared to confront the reality of their eventual death? Or did they feel cheated or wronged by god? Did they lose their faith while battling depression? There are both good and bad reasons to become an atheist.
I read your testimony and I have a few questions:
I truly believed that religion was the most destructive thing on the planet and that the concept of God was psychologically damaging for a myriad of reasons.
• What arguments for atheism did you use/find convincing?
• Why did you think Christianity was damaging, and could you list several reasons from that myriad?
• Now that you’re a Christian, do you still think there are aspects of Christianity which are damaging?
• While you were an atheist, did you consider yourself to be a sinner?
You chalk up your February 17th experience as Jesus visiting you, but I think it’s much more likely you were experiencing side effects of taking oral penicillin. Daydreaming, tingling limbs, altered saliva, and a sense of euphoria have all been reported side effects of penicillin. When I was a Christian I felt the presence of a supernatural being. I now recognize that the presence I felt was a high-level release of serotonin causing a self-transcendent state. It's a pretty common experience in church settings, football stadiums, and after ingesting psilocybin, etc. My point is the human brain can be messed with fairly easily and produce "miraculous" effects- from little overactive protein structures in the human body to stimulants and hallucinogens.
• Since beta-lactam antibiotics are known to affect people’s mental states, wouldn’t it be illogical to consider your case as supernatural when it has been observed and documented as a natural phenomenon in countless other cases? At the very least you can understand why I think this is the more reasonable explanation.
About a minute into staring at it this second time I get another intense tingling feeling all over my body but no flashing. After about thirty seconds of this it hits me like a ton of bricks that it’s Jesus Christ visiting me now, and it was Jesus visiting me the night before and a month ago. So in my heart I knew what had happened but my intensely atheist mind was scrambling for any other explanation.
I certainly wouldn’t describe your mind at this point as “intensely atheist.” Hell, the night before you were saying Hail Mary’s for Christ’s sake. It seems like you had been considering Christianity and looking for a reason to believe. You found Jesus in a hairdryer of all things.
• At that point in your life, was there any beneficial reason to become a Christian? Any friends or love interests at Willow Creek Community Church that encouraged you to fellowship with them?
Again, welcome to the forum. Hope you enjoy it.