March is Women’s History Month. To honor this, the Baltimore Christianity Column will be featuring the profiles of talented and accomplished women in the field of Christian Apologetics all month. These are trained, professional, and accomplished women who champion Christianity through their expertise in fields such as philosophy, history, and science.
Maryann Spikes’ is an all-too-common story. Growing up in a Christian church, she felt that she was born into the faith. She grew up with nagging doubts about her faith for which no one seemed to have convincing answers.
As an adult, Maryann discovered what seemed to be a tide of overwhelming evidence against her Christian worldview that finally shattered her belief.
Maryann’s life as an atheist originally found meaning in a freedom from Christian morality. She began to enjoy things that she had previously thought to be wrong.
However, Maryann’s life quickly spiraled down into existential bankruptcy. She had no purpose for existing besides those self-serving activities.
Her life in crisis and her marriage on the rocks, Maryann returned to faith due to a personal revelation and a crisis of morality.
Maryann’s return to Christianity inspired her to look into the reasons behind her belief, and she was delighted to discover that there was a firm evidential and philosophical basis upon which Christianity stood.
Maryann puts it this way:
“I realized that if God actually did show us he loves us no matter what by dying in our place, then there are answers to all the doubts that made me walk away from faith in the first place, and I'm not the only one who needs to know that.
“Before I became an atheist, I didn't know how to answer my doubts. Now that I have answers, the challenges haven't been intellectual ones, but moral ones. I no longer doubt God's existence, but my own desires and lack of spiritual discipline get in the way of fully enjoying him. I know his love never changes, and I take it for granted. He ain't done with me yet.”
While Maryann regrets many of the things she did as an atheist, the experience also gave her a valuable tool in her defense of the faith:
“I think it helps that God allowed me to know life on both sides of the fence between atheism and theism, and gave me a passion for turning ideas around and around so that they can be examined respectfully from various perspectives. Also, the way God brought me back really convinced me that it shouldn't just stop with me, and he motivated me to organize others towards the same end.”
“I think imaginative apologetics is helping dispel the myth that apologetics is all about besting your debate opponent. I appreciate the work of Holly Ordway (Hieropraxis) and Tony Horvath (Athanatos Christian Ministries) to that end.”
Maryann’s journey into atheism was prompted by a lack of answers, largely due to what she sees as a pervasive anti-intellectualism in the Christian community. As an apologist, she and her associates work to combat this problem and provide Christians with the answers they so desperately need.