Dr. Holly Ordway wrote the book Not God’s Type: A Rational Academic Finds A Radical Faith (Moody Publishers, 2010). In it, she tells the story of her rise in academic circles and her entrenchment as an intellectual atheist.
At thirty-one years old, I was an atheist college professor–and I delighted in thinking of myself that way. I got a kick out of being an unbeliever; it was fun to consider myself superior to the unenlightened, superstitious masses, and to make comments about Christians.
She then describes a change that happened in her life. The surprising thing is the clarity and openness that she describes the feelings that came over her as she was changed. The description is almost a reluctant change, one that she admits was unexpected and unwelcome, yet as it happened she seems to be, as Dr. C. S. Lewis described, surprised by joy. After becoming curious about Christianity and being given some scholarly Christian materials to read, Ordway describes her experience of conversion:
For me, it was completely new, utterly unexpected — and uninvited. What had happened was that I recognized a change in my internal state. It was like being feverish, while at the same time being completely well. Everything felt sharper-edged, preternaturally clear, yet at the verge of revealing something beyond itself. I felt — I felt something . . . Someone . . . working in me that was outside of, or beyond, myself. . . . I had not expected it. I had not looked for it.
Ordway’s book is a light but well-written account of how one hardened atheist thinker wrestled with the issues related to Christianity. She speaks of reading apologetics books and rejecting parts of them, accepting others, but ultimately coming to terms with the fact that there is a God, Jesus is who He said He was, and He revealed Himself to her. Ordway’s account is no foxhole conversion, but rather a slow, thoughtful journey. It is worth reading.