Atheist-turned-Christian on why he embraced Jesus

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Richard Suplita

Richard Suplita“WHEN I began to think about the logical conclusion of atheism,” Richard Suplita, a psychology lecturer at the University of Georgia, reflected, “I asked myself, ‘Is it really all about nothing?’ and realized that I could not accept that conclusion.”

The question led to Suplita abandoning his atheistic worldview and embracing the Christian faith.

Suplita was born in Fairmont, W.Va. Known as ‘the Friendly City’, Fairmont is the seat of Marion County, just about 20 miles south of the Pennsylvania state line.

He grew up in the Church of Christ, where his father was a deacon. The Suplitas were in church three times each week. During those early years Rich Suplita made a commitment to Christ.

The UGA lecturer admitted, “I made a commitment on the basis of my understanding of Christ at that time. I thought it was like a contract with God and I had to maintain my part of the contract. It was rather legalistic and it was my responsibility to maintain my salvation and if I failed to do so, then God could end the contract whenever He chose. I knew nothing about a covenant relationship with Christ.”

At age 22, Suplita enrolled in the University of West Virginia and earned two degrees – one in psychology and one in communication studies. During those years he also met Carla Price, a medical student at the university, and eventually proposed marriage. Richard and Carla moved to Savannah, Ga., where Carla was able to complete her internship and residency requirements in order to become a practicing physician.

The Suplitas then moved to Winder, Ga., where Carla began her medical practice in the fall of 2000 and Richard enrolled at the University of Georgia to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology and philosophy. On the way to his doctorate, he earned a master’s degree and actually began teaching during his last year of graduate school. He is now a full-time lecturer in the school of psychology.

Although the Suplitas’ marriage has not survived the stresses of separate educational pursuits and busy professional careers, they have three children: Annabel, 9, Lydia, 6 and Lola, 4.

Richard’s journey into atheism began when he was a young adult. “I didn’t want to be tied to a god who viewed me as a failure. I concluded that since I was not going to measure up anyway, it would be a relief to abandon the idea of God.

“I also became enamored with the whole concept of academia. Delving into science and evolution was intriguing. Of course, psychology departments are notorious for being secular and humanistic. It became easy for me to attach myself to that.

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“I started to explore the atheistic/free thinking mindset from time to time while I was in Savannah, but from 2006 until last year I was devoted to that worldview. I had some fond recollections of Christianity. I thought the story of Jesus being born in a manger was sweet and sentimental, but I was certainly not using Christianity as the guide for my life. In fact, I spoke harshly against it.”

Suplita continued, “I spent time ingesting the writings of some of the most renowned atheists of the day. I read Richard Dawkins’ book ‘The God Delusion’, Christopher Hitchens’ book ‘God is Not Great’ and Sam Harris’ ‘The End of Faith’.

“I now see these three atheists as the ‘unholy trinity’, because they are what I call evangelical atheists. They are trying to silence the voices of faith.

“Last year at this time,” Suplita added, “I was convinced atheism was true.” The free-thinking psychology professor became the faculty adviser for the UGA campus atheist organization, whose motto is ‘Being Good Dawgs Without God.’ The Christian Index | Read more

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