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An Atheist Lays Down Her Arms

A little over a year ago I read a book titled Not God’s Type, by Holly Ordway. The subtitle is, An Atheist Academic Lays Down Her Arms. It is a great book and really interesting to look at her thought process as she wrestled with the issue of God. You see a battle between her intellect and her heart. She comes to this conclusion as she’s trying to figure it out, “this was not a God I could bargain with. It was all or nothing with Him.”

Ordway is a brilliant woman with a PhD in English. She had an older professor whose name was Josh. He was a Christian and he helped walk her through all her questions. These are Ordway’s words:

I told Josh that I was faced with a new idea. “If I come to see that the Resurrection was a genuine historical event—as I’m thinking it is likely to be the case—what does that mean for me?”

He responded simply, “That’s the big question.”

 I continued to think about the implications. . . . [T]here was no way of escaping the recognition that, if I assented to the truth of Christianity, a truly radical commitment was required, which ran counter to what, formally, I’d thought Christians believed. I told Josh that this ‘commitment’ idea was nothing whatsoever like the ‘accept Jesus and be sure you’ll get into heaven idea that I’d heard many times.

“That’s the problem of cheap grace,” he said. “Some people treat Christianity as fire insurance, and that’s not the way it should be.” He acknowledged that God made demands on people. . . .

“This radical commitment’ that seems to be required … it’s really frightening. I keep thinking, ‘What would I be getting myself into?

Josh nodded. “I’m glad you feel that way. That is how it should be approached.’

“And the other thing is, isn’t this promise of eternal life a little too good to be true?”


Almost . . .

What would the Resurrection mean for me? What would happen to me? I felt I was stepping out into the darkness, fast approaching a point of no return. “My reason, my intellect have taken me a lot further than I ever anticipated.”

You can see the resistance in her heart. She said:

One night as I lay there in the dark marveling at this new complete thing that I had before me, I understood why I had been hesitating. I had been unwilling to say, “Your will be done. Not mine.” I was afraid to let go of control, to abdicate authority over my own life and heart and will.

At the very moment that I confronted my own fear, I knew that I was no longer bound by the fear in my life. I was afraid, but I had made my decision. I would lay down my arms.” 

And she waved the white flag and surrendered, and her life has never been the same.

Richard E Simmons III is the founder and Executive Director of The Center for Executive Leadership and a best-selling author.


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