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Philosophy Lite: Many intellectuals converted to Christianity

July 29, 2011 at 2:29 a.m.

Raymond Smith

By Raymond SmithThe Christian religion has an appeal to the poor and to the rich - to the scientist and the layman - to people of all races and colors. I submit here a list of famous people who have converted to Christianity. Most of them are highly educated and deep thinkers. While the uneducated often easily accept the gospel by faith, others have to work their way through some seeming difficulties. They considered it an important enough matter that they took the time to investigate.

C.S. Lewis slowly embraced Christianity, influenced by arguments with his Oxford colleague and friend J.R.R. Tolkien, and by the book, "The Everlasting Man," by G.K. Chesterton.

Mortimer Adler converted late in life. Longtime professor at the University of Chicago and writer, he recognized the limitations of logic and the limitlessness of faith. In 1984, he made that leap of faith and worshiped the God "on whose grace and love I now joyfully rely."

As Chuck Colson was facing arrest for his part in the Watergate scandal, his close friend, Raytheon Company chairman of the board Thomas L. Phillips, gave him a copy of "Mere Christianity," by C.S. Lewis. That book convinced him of the reality and grace of Christ, and today he leads a great prison ministry across America.

Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana, converted from Hinduism to Christianity after exploring that faith in high school and college. He delved into the works of historic Christian writers and debated their philosophies with friends and preachers.

Frank Morrison was a lawyer and engineer who set out to disprove the resurrection of Christ, but in the process, he committed his life to the Savior and subsequently wrote the famous book, "Who Moved the Stone."

Lee Strobel, likewise, was a skeptic. As an investigative reporter and legal editor for the Chicago Tribune, he began a two-year search for evidence regarding the credibility of Christianity after his wife's sudden conversion. You guessed it - he became a Christian.

Malcolm Muggeridge was an English journalist and author who, in his youth, was a left-wing intellectual enchanted with Marxist communism. All that changed after an interview with Mother Teresa. One of his books: "Jesus Rediscovered."

Francis Collins, physician and geneticist, is the current director of the National Institutes of Health and former director of the U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute. He came to faith as he pondered the intricacies of life. He wrote the book, "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief."

Marvin Olasky was of Russian descent and former member of the Communist Party. He was converted by reading the works of Puritan writers like Jonathan Edwards and Cotton and Increase Mather. He taught in the journalism department of the University of Texas, and is now known as the godfather of compassionate conservatism.

The list is endless. Christianity is "The Faith That Makes Sense," as Dennis McCallum has written. Have you taken the time to sort it all out?

Raymond F. Smith is a deacon at Fellowship Bible Church in Victoria and president of Strong Families of Victoria

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