On YouTube, atheists often share their de-conversion stories about how they became atheists. But on today’s podcast, Dan Corse shares about his spiritual journey from being an atheist to becoming a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. He is interviewed by Evangelism Coach Daniel King, the author of Proof God is Real.
Notes: Dan Corse grew up in a Christian home but was not following God. In college he made a friend who was a anthropology major who was a militant atheist and because of the friendship he declared he did not believe in God. He was always looking for answers and since he could not prove there is no God, he became a weak atheist and later he became agnostic. The Holy Spirit began to work in his life, and he became a Christian after having an encounter with God.
Dan reveals the danger of having friends who do not believe in God.
Dan talks about how it is important to always look for answers.
What do you say to someone who is an atheist?
How should a Christians handle the pain and suffering that often occurs in this lifetime?
Key Quote: When I was an atheist, I often asked myself, “What if I am wrong?”
This is Daniel King. And I’m excited about leading people to Jesus, especially atheists – people who say that there is no God. And today I have with me a special guest who was an atheist, then he became an agnostic. And now he is a believer. Mr. Dan Course, thank you so much for joining us today to be with you. Tell me about your spiritual journey. You grew up in a Christian home.
Dan Corse: Yes, my mother was a Christian.
And then at some point you decided that you were an atheist. How did that happen?
Dan Corse (00:38):
Well, it actually happened at age 15. I was going to a Baptist church where my mother went and I got big enough fruitfully, physically big enough. She couldn’t force me to go anymore. So I finally decided that I don’t want to go here. And the truth of it is when I quit going there, it wasn’t that I was an atheist. I didn’t have any problems so much with God, but I didn’t want God being Lord. I didn’t want Jesus being Lord. I knew there was something about committing my life that I needed to do. But as a result of that, I then took a journey running as far away from God as I could get. And I proceeded to in my late teens, got around an anthropology major and a psychology major who were hard atheist. And I saw that my relationship with them was not going to be very good when I answered their question one time.
Dan Corse (01:28):
And what do you think about God? And they were like horribly offended. My me even bringing that up. And so I began to look at myself because as I said, I’d run away from God, his presence. I had no awareness of, of him in my life. Nothing to me said he really existed. So I said, why am I bothering to even profess this? Something that really is nothing to me. Cause I don’t know this. God, I don’t know anything about him. So I proceeded from that point forward. I said, you know, atheism makes the most sense to me because I don’t know him. Who is he? And I, as I said, I’d gotten so far away. This had been years over a period of years, very dark, very dark time in my life. So I was never aware of God’s presence ever in my life. During that time period,
While you were in the university, you got around some friends who didn’t believe that there’s a God. And you said, I didn’t feel that there’s a God anyways. I never feel his presence. So you agreed.
Dan Corse (02:21):
So I basically agreed with him. I thought I’m like, it was more important to be received by them by then, by somebody I really didn’t know. You know?
Okay. So you became a hard eighth, as you said, there is no God, but then later you moved from hard atheism to agnosticism. What, what happened?
Dan Corse (02:40):
What happened was this over time period? You know, looking back, I can see now where God was drawing me in my life, but I didn’t know what to call it back then, you know, but I was always looking for answers. I mean, many of us are consistently as nonbelievers are, why am I here? What’s the purpose of this life? Is this all there is, you know, in many ways when I read the book of Ecclesiastes, these, I can see a lot of that in my journey back then those days. Cause it’s like all seem to be vanity. I used to sit and say, well, what does it matter how much I do with my life? Whatever good I do with it in the end is not going to matter anyway, if there is no God and there is no hereafter, what does it matter? It’s all vanity.
Dan Corse (03:21):
It’s just people putting up facades of what they consider to be important, but there’s no greater being at all or anything. So I was continually looking for answers and it wasn’t that I was I wasn’t going to read in the Bible. Like I’ve heard some people say or those sorts of thing. I wasn’t going from church to church. I did look at different philosophies and different religions you know, and beginning to study about them. And it’s just like, eh, none of those really made sense to me either. Kinda like, nah, I don’t like any of the above. So I kept searching in the morning. I kept looking for answers. I came to the place of what someone would call weak atheism, which is basically the idea that, you know I really can’t prove there was a God. I mean, I found it to be an intellectually, a phony perspective to say, well, I, because I say it, therefore it is, well, that’s not true. I mean, because I say it doesn’t make it reality and I couldn’t prove there was no God. So weak atheism became more are, are slipping over into agnosticism where it wasn’t, I didn’t have any faith. I didn’t have any belief, but I also didn’t have any it’s like when I wasn’t saying I could prove there wasn’t either. So I was alone. It was a softening of my heart though. I wouldn’t have looked at it at that way at that time. But that’s what it was
Now. You’re not an atheist. You’re not an agnostic. Now you’ve decided to trust Jesus for salvation. How did you come to the point where you became a believer in God?
Dan Corse (04:47):
Well, I’ve now been a believer as of this week, 42 years. So it wasn’t like this yesterday that I became a believer, but also to tell you how I got to the point, as I said, I continued to look like, okay, what is, what is I used to do? A lot of creative writing. My writing was always searching for answers. I would read literature that was about people searching for the truth. You know, I read things like there’s a philosophy philosophic type writings, and I kept reading them, but I didn’t find any true, but that’s, there was a hunger in me to know what, what are we here for? What’s this all about? And then in my life back then, I wouldn’t have known what to call it, but in my life now, I definitely know. After 42 years as a Christian, there was a Holy spirit in my life.
Dan Corse (05:28):
And I just began to have this knowing, not a knowing that I could learn by reading a book, not a knowing. I could know by somebody lecturing me for an hour and a half. Not any of those kind of noise. It was just like this inner knowing that there was beings beyond myself. And I’ll just put it really honestly the way I looked at it as like, I began to know that there’s one being that loves me dearly. I don’t know who he is for all I knew back then it could have been Moe and Larry, you know what I mean? And the other one I knew hated me. And I knew that those two beings we’re working, seeking to do things in my life. One for my good one, not for my good. And so that’s where I began to and I still didn’t have any answers.
Dan Corse (06:10):
I just knew there was something beyond. So at that point in time, I, you know, no longer an agnostic, not saying I had faith, but I didn’t know what I had faith in. You know what I mean? It’s says hi, something higher than myself. Something beyond a human being that I’d gone to church as a child hurt salvation messages. Many time never was born. Again. Never did embrace Christ as savior. As I said early, I didn’t want that Lordship him in my life. Like, no I’ll be bought, you know? And I went to a funeral, my aunt’s funeral, I had to go there and my aunt was a Christian and the pastor I had seen on a float trip and bet around him some and unlike many people in my life, that was my Christian experience before he didn’t shove things at me was just, seemed like he’s a normal human being decent guy.
Dan Corse (06:56):
I liked this guy. So when he began to speak, you know, I was interested to see what is it he has to say, you know? I mean, I haven’t, I wouldn’t go to church, even though I was no longer a, you know, an atheist or agnostic. I still wanted nothing to do with churches because my, my Christian experience like Nick, that’s not the answer. It’s not there. It can’t be there. I was there for 15 years as a kid. I didn’t find it what I wanted there. And, and obviously the enemy deceives us a lot and clouds your mind with the reality of what really was. But anyway, I go to this funeral and he began to give a salvation message. And I had not, as I, as I experienced God’s presence at that time, I had not. I remember all of a sudden it became real to me again, it was like, I remember that experience way back then, presence way back when I was a kid, you know, when I would say things like you’re, my mom would be on my, my father was an alcoholic.
Dan Corse (07:51):
And at that time he didn’t know Christ. And I would say things to my mom like mom, if I could, I would die for dad. I’d rather go to hell and see dad go to hell. Those are the kind of things I said. I mean, obviously those aren’t, that’s not possible, but I mean, that was a young kid trying to show his love for his father and a father who had a lot of challenges and later became a Christian, which is wonderful. But, but that was later much later. And anyway, so I’m, I’m at this funeral. I began to experience the presence of God and yeah, all of a sudden, as I said, he preached a salvation message. And at that moment I believed, and as Paul says in Romans one 16, he said, I’m not ashamed of the gospel of the power of God under salvation for basically you could put it, I’m paraphrasing everyone.
Dan Corse (08:37):
And I believed, and at that point moment in time, it was like, I didn’t know what to call it at that point in time. But it’s like, I went out of there that day. And I myself was an early stage alcoholic at that time. So by that time I’d gotten into the bondage of the dark and I was an early stage alcoholic and looking answers. That was part of my search too, was that I was looking for answers. How do you get freedom from this? How do I get free from that? You know? And that old wheel thing out, I’m going to will it to me. So it didn’t work. And that’s what, that’s what addiction is about. Loss of control. And so anyway, so I go out of there that day and I find myself beginning to say, wait a minute here. I’m talking about God all the time.
Dan Corse (09:18):
And I’m not talking anymore in a philosophical sort of intellectual. It’s in a way of a personal, okay. It’s like, God, this and God that, and I find myself begin to say, well, I really do want to go back to church. I want to start crying. I’m like, but my head would say, who’s that talking? That’s not what you say. You don’t say you want to go back to church. And that’s why you and I understood even from a very, what had happened to me, wasn’t an intellectual thing. On every level, it was something spiritually had happened to me inside. What I know now was made a new creation in Christ the new birth. But anyway, so I I started going to a church again and then I proceeded to go this church and went there for a while. And that was in 19 spring of 1979. And I haven’t quit going to church since. And I thank God for the growth that I’ve seen in my life that growth in grace. And
Talk to me about what you would say to an atheist, someone who is looking for proof, that God is real. What would you say to an atheist that you meet? Well,
Dan Corse (10:23):
A lot of it’s going to depend on the atheist. I mean, as you, as you understand, some people are completely closed. There was a time when, if you would have, would try to have this conversation with me. It wouldn’t have gone anywhere because it’s like, well, it’s great that you love people and want to see them know Jesus. I’m not interested in that. Thank you. I’m going out the door. You can go talk to somebody else, but so you have to really be sensitive, sensitive to the Holy spirit and sensitive to what’s going on in the atmosphere around you. I mean, if you see somebody scowling at you, there’s a good possibility. You know, you might want to try a different approach, but then again, if the Holy spirit says, no, keep going that route, then do it. But my, my, my advice would be basically, really get in tune God, what are you wanting me to say to this person?
Dan Corse (11:09):
What are you? Cause some people unlike me, some people simply say the raciest and I’ve met those who, frankly, they’re really not atheist. They’re just trying to post somebody string. They’re trying to yank the chain so to speak. But in my case, I really was. And what I would say is just, you know, don’t preach it. The person don’t shove it at them, ask the person why, what it is they believe, why are you an atheist? What did you, what brought you to this? You know, we know in, in Romans one, it talks about there that, that we all should have the knowledge of God, but some people don’t retain that knowledge of God. They reject it for whatever reason, like me, a couple of people that are atheist, what I’d rather be friends with them. I re I rejected that. And then you get, so when you get away from things, as it says in the scriptures, their foolish heart was darkened.
Dan Corse (11:59):
And that’s what happened in my life. A foolish art was more and more and more darkened till I saw nothing in my life until that period of time again, where, and when I said the Holy spirit began to reveal things, not through the words of others or through books, or, but just to an inner knowing. So I would say, and I would say two, and then two, this is, you know, they often want to argue that they get very adversarial aggressive sometimes when, and I would back in those days, but it’s like a, for a person who is a believer and they’re walking in fellowship with God, they have a knowing that that person has no conception of what you’re talking about. You know, it’d be like me talking about you know, I’m going to make a fake name, Mary Quicken, beard, who lives in Thailand.
Dan Corse (12:50):
And me talking about knowing her, I know nothing about her, I know her name and that’s it. They can talk about God, but they have no understanding about God. They have no conception of what it is to know God or to walk with God. And when it comes to Romans eight 16, one of the beautiful things about that verses it says his spirit, talking about believers, his spirit bears witness with our spirit, that we are his children, you know? And that’s why, w w when I, when I say to them, people that don’t believe it said, you know, look, I’m not trying to be condemning. It’s just, it’s kind of like this. If you spoke to me in Russian, I don’t speak Russian. I have no conception of what you’re talking about. I can get all caught up in human pride and say, well, I know what you mean.
Dan Corse (13:34):
No, I don’t. And then when it comes to bathe theist who are blind and don’t walk in the truth, we know the God of this world has blinded their minds. That’s what he did to me, you know, but when you’re talking to them, they have no way, if you do it calmly, reasonably, and a few of them will still argue then, and you know that, but, but with, with those who are at least thinking, what may be perhaps, could I be wrong? Could I, you know, that was one of the questions I often ask myself too, when I was in my youth is what if I’m wrong? What if I’m wrong? You know? I mean, there is a possibility because I found out long ago, I’m not the fount of all knowledge. I’m not omniscient. I don’t know everything. So what if I’m wrong?
Dan Corse (14:17):
What if I’m wrong? What are the consequences of if I’m wrong? You know? And at that time, I wasn’t even thinking about it about Christian and that aspect of belief system. I was just thinking about wrong terms of God in general, but, but what if I’m wrong, but just letting them know. I think it’s wonderful to hear when I started hearing people, instead of preaching at me, started talking about the blessedness of the relationship with the savior, what that’s like to fellowship with him, you know, to go through a tough time in your life. Like, you know 15 months ago, I lost my only biological son unexpectedly. And well, I tell you what, that’s devastating for a parent to lose their only biological child. And I mean, it was, I mean, I’d never, I’d had lost parents, had lost family members and those sorts of things, friends, but losing my son was, is like, Oh, and my older brother, you know,
How did you deal with that? Because that is an extremely painful situation. How did God help you?
Dan Corse (15:18):
Well, that’s, that’s exactly it. And I’m glad you asked the question, but anyway it’s exactly, it goes back to that relationship with he who bears witness with my spirit. I was just very aware of, I was aware of his presence. He was there, comforting, comforting me. I was, I was aware that he was around me. I certainly knew that I did not find, and I was angry at times as, as when you lose your child, like, you know but I didn’t find God picking fights with me or any of that kind of crazy stuff. He was there in a comforting sort of way. And there’s still all that things I don’t understand about it. And let’s be real there’s things we don’t understand about life on this planet. Why did this, why did that, why did this? We are not omniscient, you know?
Dan Corse (16:03):
And, but, but yet what I do know is that he was always there. He’s always been there. He’s comforting me at times what it’s like. And I I’d be literally saying God, I mean, not just talking about crying, but crying and crying out to him and his presence. He, you know, he’s able to comfort you through the power that why it’s the Holy spirit called the comforter because he comforts that’s part of his ministry. He comforts us. So that’s how I got through it. And, and also I find too that second Corinthians talk about that. We can comfort others of that, which we are comforted. So I’ve found that people that are going through those kinds of things, like sit down one at a time. It was a store in st. Louis. Don’t remember the name of the store, sit down on a bench and started talking to a guy and he’d lost his child.
Dan Corse (16:46):
And, you know, and, and in a horrible sort of way as well. And so I was able to, to share with him what God was doing in my life. I saw that my comfort that I’d received from him, God could use that to comfort him too. So that’s just, you know, I don’t hear this. I’m not saying God caused my son to die. That’s not what I’m saying at all. What I’m saying is a horrible thing that I believe the enemy spiritual enemy, our spirit meant for harm. God was able to take in my life and has been able to use it to bless others.
Well, thank you so much for sharing. I am just about to publish a book called proof. God is real, and my heart is to reach out to atheist with the good news of the gospel. And so I’m so delighted to hear your testimony of how you went from atheism to Jesus, from darkness to light, what a tremendous testimony it is. And mr. Dan, thank you so much for being on the podcast. Wonderful life. It is.