I must apologize for having ignored the Christ for so long.
Twenty years have gone past in my life, and yet I did nothing to convert. Though I was raised by secular atheists, one of whom has a grave hostility to religion, that is no excuse. My lax behavior and, yes, verbal assaults on religious people was part of my life until 2009. All I could do was laugh at how "silly" religion, and especially Christianity, were. After years of being told by my father how ridiculous it was, I suppose that one could not blame me; still, it was unacceptable. Cynicism was the only thing which came from my atheism, as I had no hope for a higher purpose, morality, or truth. Thank God I found something...
In mid-April, I was reading political
commentary, when a certain pundit began talking about God-given rights. Usually, I would have rolled my eyes at this, but the defense of God was so eloquent that I decided to read more history on Christianity. This decision brought me to the life of Saint Thomas of Aquinas, the Italian Catholic who wrote several arguments for God. After being fascinated by this man's life and works, I read his Summa Theologica
, written between 1265 and 1274. The logic, the questions, the objections, and the assertions of this amazing tome of logic managed to convince me of God's reality in mere days! It feels almost as if something drew me to Aquinas and his works. I hope that he rests in peace.
By mid-June, I had found another writer, but this one was much nearer to the modern age: C.S. Lewis. Though he is famous for his "Narnia" chronicles, the first I heard of him were his apologist works. His eloquent defense of religion, and then specifically of Christianity, in "Mere Christianity", broke the final atheist bone in my body. The sad and yet glorious explanation of his fall into atheism at college and subsequent conversion back to Christianity, described in his autobiography, "Surprised by Joy", inspired me. It was as if stars were floating in front of my very eyes, and suddenly the world seemed much brighter and more real. Something else was up in the aether, and something higher lived beyond the stars. It's amazing what mere books can do for us...
Sadly, I must admit that I have never opened a Bible. This is a great tragedy for me, especially since what was basically my whole conversion to Christ this past August. From April to July, I was unsure about whether Christianity was more likely than mere Deism. I did not know whether there was simply one God, - a monarch of the sky - or the Trinity of Christianity. A particular dream of mine, in which Christ beckoned to me, seemed to seal everything together. I was convinced of the holy power of Christianity when, a mere three nights ago, an awe-inspiring coincidence was made known to me. In early April, when I was reading about Christian Charity for the first time in my life, I came to Saint Martin of Tours, who cut his Roman legionary cape in half to clothe a freezing beggar in Amiens. This was the first saint I had ever heard of, and, after my private conversion a few days ago, I checked his name again to see where his feast day falls. I was given the shock of my life; amazingly, Martin's feast day falls precisely on my birthday. A second saint, Theodore the Studion, had crossed my path eight years ago, when I was watching a documentary on Iconoclasm in 8th century Constantinople. His heroism in defying Iconoclasm seemed very impressive to me; well, eight years on I found out that his feast day is also on my birthday.
There is certainly more to the world than my poor, hateful atheist father could have imagined. I hope that I can come to the Christ! I have never been baptised, nor do I know any passage of the Bible beyond the appearance of Cain and Abel. Since my private conversion mere days ago, research upon research has taken me to the conclusion that Orthodoxy is the true
Christian faith. The keeping of ancient customs, the usage of the original Greek, its logical arguments against the Filioque, and the concept of Sin seem so true. However, I am still an infant in terms of knowledge, for I have never been inside a Church, and the nearest Orthodox places in this city require an extensive set of directions to find. I hope that I can find the Christ.
Thank you for reading this, and for giving me a place to introduce myself. It would be most helpful to get this thing into order before I set out for the local Orthodox churches. There are five autocephalous "Orthodox" Churches in this city - Serbian (which has services very infrequently), Russian (St. Vladimir), Greek (St. George), Coptic (St. Mena), and Antiochian (St. Antonius). How am I to make a choice, being a mere English person with no knowledge of Greek, Russian, or Arabic? Your help is appreciated.