My Conversion from Ayn Rand to Jesus Christ
My name is Peter Rowe. I would like to share with you the story of my conversion. I was baptized a Catholic, but raised in a theologically orthodox Episcopal Church. Here I first learned about Jesus. What was most important was something that has always formed my understanding of Christianity: reading the Nicene Creed.
When I was 12, a period of slowly losing faith settled in. I stopped attending Church, then began reading and considering Freethinking. Eventually, I embraced Deism, which teaches that there is a God but He does not have anything more to do with the universe. After a while, I became a full-blown atheist.
It was in this period that I began to read many of the writings of Russian philosopher Ayn Rand. Rand's philosophy, Objectivism, is Atheistic, and emphasizes a radical individualism. Many Objectivists live life in an extremely triumphalistic manner: they have found the secret of living. Rand is especially known for her fiction novels, including The Fountainhead, Anthem, and most of all, Atlas Shrugged. But I preferred her non-fiction writings, as well as those of her disciples, Nathaniel Branden and Leonard Peikoff. Capitalism the Unknown Ideal, The Virtue of Selfishness, and The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought were a large part of my thinking at the time. This learning Philosophy would serve me later.
But God had a different plan for my life. He sent Christians who would witness to me and challenge me to seriously investigate Christianity. My father, in particular, challenged me to research miracles, and my Grandmother's quiet faith had a definite impact.
I accepted the challenge. Slowly but surely I began to investigate Catholicism. I went to Mass a few times with my parents, who had returned to the Church. Again, the faith of ordinary Christians witnessed to me.
There was a set of three types of miracles that opened my heart, and then there were two Marian apparitions that sealed the deal. Eucharistic miracles, Incorrupt Saints, and the Shroud of Turin placed me at the brink. But it was Our Lady of Guadalupe and the miraculous tilma that led convinced, and then a book on Fatima finished my doubts. God existed: and He wanted to be a Catholic, because it was predominately Catholics and Catholic miracles that led me to Him.
It was not just the miracles in the Catholic Church, it was the manner that the Church handles these miracles. Individuals are not required to believe just based on Faith, but reason plays a large part in the Catholic Church. The intellectual tradition is something I found very interesting.
There are intellectual conversions, and there are spiritual and moral conversions. I began to attend Daily Mass, and slowly I grew spiritually. One night, I was praying out of a prayer book, and I came across a self-dedication to Jesus Christ. With that prayer, I gave my life to the Lord, and have not looked back.
Shortly after this, I was invited to a Charismatic prayer group, and it was here that I had my spiritual conversion. It was in the context of this prayer group and the Renewal that I grew in my Faith. I established lasting friendships with individuals in the Renewal, especially a group of priests.
But God still was not done. I became involved in a youth group. Here I blossomed. A short year later, I became involved in a Catholic Charismatic peer ministry group, first as a youth and then as a young adult assistant after graduating from High School. I did a large part of a year in an Americorps program, and continued discerning the possibility of the Priesthood. After bouncing around in work and school, and remaining with this peer ministry group, it became clear that I do not have a vocation to the Priesthood.
Two and a half years later, I currently am a drug counseling student, and I am still involved in the Charismatic Renewal in the same kind of ministry, albeit with a different group.
God has blessed me with many gifts, and one is an ability to read. I devour books on theology and Philosophy, and have read a lot of Patristics and the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. I would love to share my gifts with young people who are searching for truth, and help them along the journey to the Catholic Faith.
God has been good to me, and led me into His Faith, His Church. God is calling each one of us, and we should open our hearts and listen.