Conversion from Atheism and Communism to
Today, I am a patriot. I love this country, and defend it. But I was not always a patriot. I was once an opponent of the United States, opposed in principle to the very concept of patriotism. I opposed America and supported its enemies.
Today, I am an evangelical Christian. On February 10, 1995, I made a life-changing decision to turn away from my past and to commit my life to Christ. I certainly had a past worth turning away from. But I was not always a Christian. I was once an atheist, opposed in principle to the very concept of Christianity. I mocked God, and ridiculed faith and moral values.
When I hear the words of Amazing Grace - "that saved a wretch like me" - I know those words are meant for me. Some people wrestle with the demons of alcoholism or drug addiction or depression. My demons were different.
As a 17-year-old college freshman at CCNY, I joined the Young Socialist Alliance, a communist youth group, in November 1968. For 22 years, as a communist and supporter of the Socialist Workers Party, virtually all my time and resources were devoted to the "movement." I resigned in December 1990, not because I had changed my mind, but because I was simply "burnt out." I "retired" from politics, and started to do what most people do - concentrate on career, friendships, family, health, etc.
I was totally broke and heavily in debt, having contributed a large part of my income over the years to the party. As I worked my way out of debt, I realized I had some "personal issues" to deal with. I gradually began to see that these "issues" reflected a spiritual lack - a very severe emptiness. Gradually, and not necessarily according to a plan, I began to read the bible and study religious history. My life changed.
As a communist, I had done some blatantly dishonest things. For example, I participated in communist efforts to infiltrate certain key trade unions and certain key industries, lying about my job history and creating false resumes so that I could become a machinist or steelworker or textile worker or airport worker.
I obtained, and held down, a steady honest job. And I found that I enjoyed working and pursuing a career. I even had some modest success. I began to meet spiritually-minded people, and decided to commit my life to Christ, becoming a Christian on February 10, 1995. The exact turning point and decision point was a particularly intense 2:00 am Christian radio talk show, but it really was a process.
After I became a Christian, my life changed in many ways. I started to examine my past, recognized my failings and sins, and went on a different path. During that time, I also went through a gradual political evolution, changing my views about government, capitalism, patriotism, the military, etc. But I was no longer an activist - I was just a private citizen.
After the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, I realized I had a further contribution to make as a citizen political activist. I have a particular insight into the true motives of antiwar radicals and far left extremists, and I found myself called to do what I could to help support the U.S.-led war against terrorism.
I hope my example will serve as a reminder of God's love, power, and grace, and perhaps as some inspiration to others.
Beren is available for media interviews and speaking engagments. To
schedule Steve Beren for a speaking engagement, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (206) 325-6341.
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