How to use atheist experience to boost your faith
In a year that saw the release of the documentary film The Last Days of God, there was also a release of The Last Day of Me, which follows the story of two young women who were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as children.
The film, which screened at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, has been nominated for an Oscar for best documentary, but it has been criticised by some critics and its makers for its portrayal of the mental health issues that can be faced by young people who are diagnosed with PTSD.
The films makers, atheist film-maker Andrew Rennie and film-writer, atheist author and musician John Green, have both previously written about the difficulties they experienced as atheists as a child.
“Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I was not taught the importance of being a Christian, nor was I taught how to respect the sanctity of life,” Green wrote in an essay on his website.
“It took me decades of research to realize that God was an illusion.
And I am still learning how to appreciate God.”
Green, who has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, was diagnosed with autism when he was a young boy.
“I was the most self-absorbed child,” Green said.
“When I was four, I would hide in the corner of my room with a toy and play hide-and-seek with my dad and the other children.
It wasn’t until I was 18 that I realised that I wasn’t alone.”
‘God is just a tool’ After spending three years in a psychiatric hospital, Green moved to Australia and started writing about his experiences.
He said his first experience with God, “had me in tears.”
“I’d been on the road for a year and I’d never experienced anything like it before.
It was the first time I had seen God.”
After years of therapy and prayer, Green found his faith “was not as strong as it could have been.”
“It felt so overwhelming, so overwhelming that I couldn’t find anything else to pray for,” Green told the ABC.
“So I wrote my first song about it.”
The song, titled ‘I’ll never die, God is just the tool’, was released in 1996 and became an internet hit.
Green said he was able to use it to inspire others, including other Christians.
“The song was actually about my faith, it was a way to get my voice out there,” he said.
He later went on to become a successful author and was awarded the MacArthur Foundation’s 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award for his work.
Green also wrote an autobiographical novel about his childhood that was published in 2012.
Green is currently working on a second book called A Very American Story about his time growing up in rural New York.
The Last Words of God is due for release in 2019.