British author Scott Coren once described himself as a “militant atheist” who believed in a “world that operated on chance and natural selection” — but then something profoundly changed.
Coren, a father of two, said his path diverted after his daughter was born in 2012 with a serious heart condition.
He began caring for her around the clock, spending a plethora of time in medical facilities and a hospice, where he observed some dynamics that changed his heart and mind.
When Coren saw the nurses, whom he described as “human angels,” caring for critically ill children, his views on God and the afterlife began to dramatically transform.
He found himself pondering death, in particular, thinking, “It can’t be the end of things. It just doesn’t make sense.”
The “reason” and “logic” he had once used to deny God’s existence were suddenly leading him toward a belief in something more profound.
Despite his best efforts to avoid becoming a Christian, Coren said that his reasoning faculties left him with no alternative option.
“The point of atheism as a belief is about logic and sense — and then you hit that juxtaposition,” he said. “If you’re using sense, then you can’t deny when something else makes sense as well.”
Coren said it was “a very gradual and slow process” that evolved over the last couple of years, but that his daughter’s illness sparked an entire reworking of his views.
“My daughter was born with a heart problem. For two and a half years now I’ve been looking after her. She can’t be left alone for her for a second,” he explained. “My life is very much like a hermit. I’m awake all night, every single night. I’m living a very medicalized life.”
His daughter’s very serious condition means that she’s sometimes abruptly hospitalized and can go from being well to falling into a life-threatening condition in just a half hour’s time.
While some tend to blame God when loved ones experience illnesses, Coren has experienced quite the opposite, telling TheBlaze that his struggles have sparked an evangelical faith journey.
“I’m lucky because I have that Christian footprint behind me. I know the stories,” he said. “One of the usual byproducts of being a militant atheist is knowing what you’re militant against.”
While Coren had a good command over the contents of the gospels before, though, he said he’s now reading them through a very different lens: by viewing them as the word of God.
“It’s almost rediscovering my own culture. I think God uses everything some way to reach somebody,” he said, noting that he’s spent his life ignoring signs and revelations. “There’s actually a comfort in denying God, ironically, in having things objectively happen as a matter of chance.”
As for his daughter, Coren said that she still needs surgery, but that her prognosis is positive.
And though he’s been confined to his home and consumed with familial needs, the newfound Christian has found the time to pen a new book titled, “Matthew 13:44” — a literary project that is loosely based on his struggles surrounding his daughter’s heart condition.
“It’s a catharsis. It was a way of analyzing the experience I’ve been through,” he said of the fictional story. “The skeleton is my story, but it’s also a mystery, a bit of a thriller.
Coren said he wanted to focus in the text on how bad things sometimes happen in life — but that people can and often do find the strength to pick up the pieces and move forward.
Find out more about “Matthew 13:44” here.