11 “Modern Intellectual Atheists” Who Became Christians
1. Albert Henry Ross (1881 – 1950)
Albert Ross was an English lawyer and journalist. He was initially a skeptic who criticized the Bible and embraced Darwinism. As a novelist, Ross was known as Frank Morison.
He then wrote a short paper, “Jesus the Last Phase,” disproving the resurrection of Jesus. However, like Lee Strobel, his investigations led him to become a Christian and subsequently authored “Who Moved the Stones” in 1930.
2. Anthony Flew (1923 – 2010)
A son of a preacher, Anthony Flew was a British philosopher and a notorious advocate for atheism who preceded Dawkins and Hitchens in the 1980s.
In 1950, he wrote a short paper, “Theology and Falsification,” that disavowed God’s existence. He quickly became a famous intellectual voice for atheism and wrote more books to discredit God’s existence.
In 2004, his faith changed, and he announced that he believed in God, sending shockwaves in the atheist community.
Three years before he died, Flew wrote the book, “There Is God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.”
3. Alister E. McGrath (1953)
Alister McGrath is an Irish Anglican priest, historian, and biochemist scientist who believed in evolution. He is also a Professor of Science and Religion who became a Christian apologist and author.
He is perhaps the most intellectual Christian of this century. His writings follow the discipline of historical theology, systematic theology, and the relationship between science and religion.
In 2004, he wrote “The Twilight of Atheism, The Dawkins Delusion?” considered one of his best works. McGrath holds three doctorates from the University of Oxford: in molecular biophysics, theology, and intellectual history.
4. Francis Collins (1950)
Francis Collins is an American physician-geneticist who discovered genes associated with a number of diseases. His work led to the Human Genome Project and founded BioLogos.
Collins’s work on the human genome showed overwhelming proof of God’s existence. He also addresses the compatibility of evolution and faith and argues that science and faith can be seen as complementary ways of understanding the world.
He investigated many faiths, and though he resisted, the evidence was clear, and he converted to Christianity in the 1970s.
5. John Gurdon (1933)
Sir John Gurdon is a developmental biologist known for his research in nuclear transplantation, cloning, and cancer research. He considered himself agnostic but later considered himself a liberal-minded Christian of the Church of England.
In 2012, Gurdon was awarded, jointly with Shinya Yamanaka, the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with his long list of scientific and intellectual scientific discoveries.
6. John Lennox (1943)
John Lennox is a British mathematician and philosopher of science. An Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College, he focuses on group theory, which has critical applications in physics, chemistry, and computer science.
As a teenager, Lennox struggled with doubts about God’s existence, but his studies in mathematics and science deepened his understanding of intelligent design.
Lennox has engaged in numerous intellectual debates with notable atheists and has written extensively on the relationship between science and faith.
7. John Eccles (1903 – 1997)
Sir John Eccles was a neurophysiologist and a Nobel Prize Award in Physiology Medicine—a devout Catholic who believed in divine providence over materialistic happenings of biological evolution. The Queen of England granted him a knighthood for his exemplary medical work.
Eccles spent his entire career in brain research because he believed that understanding the brain is the “ultimate problem confronting man. With it, it was deduced that naturalism failed to account for the uniqueness of the Self or Soul and that the divine or intelligent creation was necessary to explain its complexities.
8. Jordan Peterson (1962)
Jordan Peterson, an intellectual and rational atheist, was interested in theology but struggled to reconcile the notion of a loving God portrayed in the Bible.
Despite this, he delved into the study of the Bible. He recognized the Bible’s durability and regarded it as a life-changing academic and historical text that surpasses even stone or empires.
In 2022, Peterson announced that he no longer identified as an atheist and gave a series of lectures on Genesis.
He also collaborated with a team of notable theological and literary scholars and the Daily Wire media to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the Book of Exodus.
9. Lee Strobel (1952)
Lee Strobel is an investigative journalist. He was an atheist and tried to prove the Bible was not valid. The evidence he acquired changed his mind, and he became a Christian.
Strobel’s critical proof of Christ’s resurrection were eyewitness accounts from non-Christians, evidence of an empty tomb, evidence of post-resurrection appearance with multiple eyewitnesses, and ultimately the transformation of the lives of His followers.
10. Nabeel Qureshi (1983 – 2017)
Devout Muslim Intellect Nabeel Qureshi investigated Christianity for 15 years. Although he believed in the God of the Muslim, it was not the one true God of the Bible. He left Islam for Jesus.
11. Rosalind Picard (1962)
Rosalind Picard was raised as an atheist and converted as a young adult. She is a scholar and inventor who founded MIT’s Affective Computing Research Group. She received the highest professional honors accorded an engineer.
PIcard’s work involves developing devices and technologies to interpret human emotions and communicate more intuitively.
She said, ‘ I used to think religious people had thrown their brains out the window,’ but her perspective changed as she began to study the works of Christian philosophers and theologians, such as C.S. Lewis and Thomas Aquinas.
Additionally, Picard had the opportunity to witness firsthand the generous and benevolent behaviors of devout Christians in her personal life.