Atheist to Christian | Dr. Rosalind Picard, MIT

I was not always a Christian. I was an atheist for the first part of my life and was challenged by people who I really admired who are Christians that maybe I should learn a little bit more and get a little bit more data to go with my views. My views at the time were that Christians and actually all religions (I was pretty antagonistic toward people who really didn’t know their science or maybe they needed a crutch or something) were not that smart. Then I started to realize that many of such people were super smart and they challenged me to read the best-selling book of all time, which is probably still the bible – the Hebrew Old Testament and Christian New Testament. As I was reading that, against my desires, I started to change my mind about some things. Then I thought “If this book is influencing me to change my mind toward Christianity or toward belief in God, maybe I should study other world religions.” So I started to do that and as I started learning more and more about different world religions, meeting people from those religions and going to temples and mosques and others, I started to realize that not only did I have a lot to learn but I was on a journey that was starting to make me not only believe in God even more but as I got dragged off to some Christian churches, which I resisted in the beginning, and found somewhere I could ask questions (very important), I started to realize that the religion was not at all what I thought it was and that there were some really interesting and very attractive elements that were historically verified. Not at all what I expected. As I learned about that, I changed my viewpoint gradually from an atheist to an agnostic to a theist to somebody who actually believed that the historical Jesus and the New Testament – what’s written about him – was true. It sounds a little wacky to those who may not come from that background. It was not an easy process but as I did that, I was challenged to not only believe this but to put it to practice. That’s where things started to really make a difference in my life and actually the real reason I’m here right now, spending time talking about something like this, as opposed to just my research is because it has made a huge difference in my life. Part of the Christian faith is that there’s a gift for everybody in the world, whether you’re raised Christian or Hindu or Muslim or Buddhist or Atheist or any of a long list of backgrounds. There’s a gift for everybody there and when I accepted that gift, it made a huge difference in my life for the better, big improvement. I didn’t realize it needed so much improving at the time. Those around me saw the difference and today it is my source of strength, an amazing source of peace and joy and wisdom.