An Atheist Converted By His Own Writing
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
I ONCE spent a delightful hour in the study of Thomas Jay Hudson, Ph.D LL.D., in his beautiful home at Washington. He told me about his going to the common school and academy at Windham, Ohio, of the liberal education which a learned uncle gave to him, of his study and practice of the law, of his work as an editor of a newspaper and as an author of books. But the thing that charmed me most was the story of his conversion from atheism to Christianity. It seems that he began his literary life as rank an unbeliever as could be found in the country, and by the study of the science of the human mind he worked his way toward Infinite Intelligence, and by the persistent investigation of the constitution of the soul, he found himself approaching the arms of Jesus Christ. He said: " I was a pronounced, and supposedly confirmed atheist. I was unwilling to believe anything that was not tangible; would not accept as a fact anything unsupported by scientific observation. I had no compunctions of conscience in denying the truth of the Bible, the divinity of Christ, and the future life. My reason refused to allow me to believe them. I never dreamed that any evidence would be furnished me of the truth of those sacred things, and hence expected to live the life of unbelief and die without any hope of the future. The Honorable Lester L. Bond, who had been my intimate friend from the days we had played together as boys, and to whom I dedicated my first book, The Law of Psychic Phenomena, said to me one day, ` Have you ever noticed that your philosophy has demonstrated the truth of the Bible?' I said, ` I do not know, because I do not know anything about the Bible.' ` Well,' said he, ` it would be a good thing for you to study it, if for nothing else, to see how it verifies your psychological theories. In your examination of prophecy, especially that which refers to Christ, you will find a complete verification of your philosophy.' I immediately entered upon a careful study of the Bible, and especially of the life of Christ, with the result that the last three chapters of my book were devoted to the sacred subject, and I converted myself by my own philosophical writings." I asked him if he would indicate a step or two by which he was led from atheism to the Christian faith. He answered; " The first step was the confirmation of the history of the life of Christ. Psychology showed me that that historical life was not only a possible truth, but that it contained internal evidences of absolute truth, because everything Christ did demonstrated the fact that he was endowed with an intuitive knowledge of the laws of the human soul, and that his every act was performed in accordance with the laws that have been recently discovered by modern science. Hence, his biographers could not have told the story of that wonderful life as they did, had it not been true, for the reason that they kept so close to the law of psychological phenomena as demonstrated by modern science. The first step led me into a still closer investigation of Christ's ethical doctrines, which, as everybody knows, are in accordance with the highest possible conceptions of duty in this world. After I had written my first book, which, I am glad to say, had wide circulation, I waited awhile, wondering what book I would write next. I received many letters asking me to write a work on mental therapeutics, but some-thing within me held me back—I could not do it—I had to write on higher themes. And in the four books I have written since, I have tried my very best to atone for my former atheism by a scientific confirmation of the essential doctrines of the Christian religion."
The rich voice, the gentle spirit, the sincere expression of this scholarly man, whose philosophy had led him into the arms of Jesus Christ and into the heart of God, added greatly to the impressiveness of his remarks. I said to him : " True investigation and discovery are not unfriendly but friendly to the Christian religion ; a true knowledge of science has destroyed several of the great religions of the world, but it has contributed to the better interpretation and propagation of Christianity.