AtheistAtheist/AgnosticBaptistConversion Stories

Devin Rose: Former Atheist then Baptist

April 21, 2014 9 Comments

Devin was reared as a child as an atheist. In high school he became a militant atheist. In college, he began to have panic attacks. He prayed to God, “I don’t believe in you. But if you’re real help me!” He then picked up a Bible and began to read. After some months, a breakthrough occurred and he began to believe in God and his anxieties began to decrease. Through the witness of Baptist friends he began to attend church, accepted Christ into his life and was baptized. Through the witness of his one Catholic friend he was drawn to investigate the Catholic faith. The issue of the canon of Holy Scripture clinched the claims of the Catholic Church for him.

  • gigi4747

    Interesting edition of The Journey Home program. What I was left wondering, though, is what – if any – message we were supposed to take away from Devin’s experience of social anxiety/panic attacks. I’ve suffered from both myself and while of course prayer and spirituality help us with any type of illness, the idea that people will be cured of anxiety and depression by becoming religious/more spiritual has not been my experience, nor is it the experience of many faithful Catholics. While I’m sure people mean well when they quote Bible passages about having no anxiety, etc, those passages likewise don’t cure psych disorders.

  • Mickey7

    I think everyone is in agreement with you gigi4747 in the fact that usually people are not cured from psych disorders from reading the bible. In this case, it just seem like a supernatural way for God to touch Devin’s life. Some are healed physically and some are not.

    • gigi4747

      Hi, Mickey: I tend to agree that the anxiety attacks were a way to touch Devin’s life, as most likely my own anxiety issues have been God’s way of touching mine, however heavy a cross it has been. If I seem sensitive to the idea of faith healing for depression and anxiety, it’s because I have seen in the past among some faithful Catholics (as well as among some non-Catholic Christians) the idea that, for example, meds are unnecessary (or at least cavalierly prescribed), therapy is a waste of time, these problems would be alleviated if people just kept in mind that we are exhorted many times in the Bible to have no fear, be not afraid, etc. I think that one could say alternatively that God has given us smart people who have developed ways of helping those with anxiety cope with our illness.

      Anyways, thank you, Mickey, for your reply. I appreciate it.

  • deaconjohnny

    I only can say that, anxiety attacks are very real, and I would like to respond to gig4747 without coming across “preachy” lol. It reminds me of an attack I had many years ago when it felt as if I didn’t even belong in the world at all: a feeling of total, extreme isolation. I was a (protestant) Christian at the time, and had it not been for an inner awareness that God was silently real, I don’t know if I would have survived. Even that hidden, background awareness was purely by the grace of God.

    Interestingly, it was at about the same time in my life that I first stayed with a charismatic Catholic family, and it birthed a yearning in me for a deeper, richer fellowship with God. Their silent testimony to me I know was ordained by God… and so many years later, that seed they planted bore fruit when I was received into the Roman Catholic Church. I mention this because I think at times, it can be very hard for Christians. We know God exists, so deep inside we yearn for deeper reality – the world doesn’t fill the “empty gap” within us any more. So could it be that due to seeking reality, sometimes we might be more prone to anxiety attacks than others who live carelessly, when we feel out of control, when we don’t seem to have the “key” for God to “fix it” for us?

    The good news I have sometimes painfully learnt is that we don’t NEED to have the “key” to anything, because the “key” (Jesus) is the One that has us! He wants to be the One to guide and shape our lives.

    I now love early morning Mass, and even when I can’t feel any change happening in me, I know that by being in His presence, I am opening myself up for the Great Physician to silently work within my life, conforming me into HIS image. This connection with His Church and the Sacraments has kept me in the past recent years of my life. Our Protestant friends used to tell me, “You need to read your Bible more, pray more!” but I have found through the Church that God just wants me in His Presence more. Sure, I still read my Bible and make mostly feeble attempts at private prayer. But I am better at just “being me” with God’s help, rather than “trying to be” something I never was supposed to be in the first place.

    At times of extreme stress or anxiety, if we can somehow “throw our thinking and our mind in surrender to God” – and ask for REST – in our heart, in our mind, in our soul and in our physical self too – this might be a greater sacrifice, pleasing to God, made in our extremity, than any number of praises we might sing in happy times. Through these fires we are PERFECTED, but also, through these torments of the soul – glory to God, let’s not loose sight that we are also constantly PROTECTED!

    God’s abundant BLESSINGS to you, amen! (So sorry this is so long and rambling! I’m tempted not to post this.. but I will, in the prayer that SOMEONE might find a morsel of encouragement within these words!)

    • gigi4747

      Hi, Deacon Johnny: Thank you for your response! I’m a lifelong Catholic, but could relate to a lot in your testimony and was encouraged by it. I’m glad you decided to post it 🙂

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  • Macella

    If love, prayer, or scripture were all we needed to alleviate anxiety/depression my mother would be alive. She took her life after a long battle with depression and anxiety. My mom was a faithful Catholic who I thought was so happy and loving. She was a peaceful rock in my life and that of many others. The last 5 years of her life were awful! Medication did not help her. We tried hospitalization and many people were praying for her. I was really hoping she would be healed by God either miraculously or by medication but one day she took a large dose of her anxiety meds wrote a note and died. She was fine prior to falling into this illness like a trap. She was a very kind and friendly person who smiled easily and often. No one knows why she suddenly was afflicted or why she was not healed! It was the worst lost of my life.
    I loved Devin ‘s testimony and I am so happy that God chose to heal him . I am especially happy that God revealed Himself to Devin. My tears are of joy that he responded to God’s loving embrace. I am not sure why my mom who loved God so much was allowed to suffer this hellish way. Her agony was so deep and dark but she promised us she would not take her life. She had many suicidal thoughts and we went through about 5 attempts of taking her life until she succeeded.

  • Macella

    I will have to wait until I am in heaven to understand why she was not healed, in the mean time, I am certain she was loved by God and is with Him now.. St. Julian says we will not only know the why of our suffering but: it will add to our joy! I really hold this revelation close to my heart! Mental health issues are not understood by many Catholics/Christians so I am thrilled when I hear discussions on this topic because many good souls suffer and get little support and comfort.