Mason Jones was convinced there was no phenomena that could not be explained apart from what’s physically observableHere, researcher Jana Harmon described how Mason grew unsatisfied with the limitations of his atheism and discovered the rationality of a Christian worldview

Christianity is often associated with a cross and with Jesus who died on a cross outside the city in 1st Century Jerusalem. Christians believe that Jesus not only died but rose from the dead and appeared to hundreds of people over 40 days, until he returned to heaven. 

Christians believe that these events, among others, confirmed Jesus’ claims to be God, to be truth, to be the way to heaven. They believe that these were not merely historical events in history but that they take on spiritual significance for those who believe, that it is good news for themselves and for the world.

For those who don’t believe, this story can seem like childish superstition, just another myth, wishful thinking, a psychological crutch to give comfort or hope for something better than this world alone can offer. It seems completely out of touch and disconnected with anyone or anything reasonable or rational. Sceptics believe it is severely out of step with scientific and sober-minded reality. It makes no sense intellectually or morally, until it does.

Former atheist Mason Jones once found himself rejecting the Christian belief he now embraces, and more than that, advocates. For him, Jesus Christ held the key to him making sense of himself, of his own values, and of reality itself. 


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Fighting against God


Questioning God

Mason was raised in a family who said they were Christians, but his belief was admittedly superficial. He viewed God as:

“…a kind of a fairy godparent who just existed to basically take care of me, watch out for me, and make sure everything went smoothly. My parents, especially my mother, really tried to shelter me from the messed-up stuff in the world like most mothers do. For the first few years of my life, I didn’t really have anything to challenge that view of God.”

But challenge came. When Mason was 8 years old, his mother could no longer shelter him from the “hard stuff” of life. Over a span of two years, he experienced the illness and deaths of two grandparents followed by the deaths of two uncles, one by accident and the other by suicide. 

These devastating events caused him to doubt God and ask the questions, “How can a just and loving God be reconciled in a world that seems so devoid of justice and love?” 

Dismissing God

Over time, Mason’s questioning of God turned into questioning of himself. He began to wonder, “Maybe God is good. Maybe I’m just not on his good side,” and “How good do you have to be to be good enough for God?” 

One day, he began posing these questions to his mother. She soberly turned to him and said: “You know none of that stuff’s real, right?” Mason hadn’t realised that she had lost her faith in God. 

As an authority in his life, he believed her. Although he was devastated by this revelation, from that point on he decided, “that’s the way things are”. He became an atheist, objecting on rational not emotional grounds, or so he thought. For Mason, belief in a good God was no longer reasonable in light of his observations of the world:

“Understanding how objective morality and God’s goodness and sovereignty all that fit together, it seemed like a contradiction. If you come in with the assumption that people are basically good, like I did, and with the right notion that God is both perfectly loving and sovereign over all of the Universe, then there is no rational explanation for what goes wrong in the world. If people are good, and God is sovereign, then God must not be good, if he is sovereign over all the evil that happens in the world.”

The reality of atheism

Over the next few years, Mason didn’t think much about God, resigned to living in a godless reality. The implications of his atheism, though, began to occupy his thoughts. Even as a child, Mason had a sense of existential dread, realising: “If something happens and I die today, that’s just it. There’s nothing.” 

This thought was terrifying for him. He was beginning to understand not only what he was rejecting, but also what he was embracing. He began wrestling with the belief that the physical world is all there is:

“I was a physicalist atheist, the strictest form of atheism there is. There’s no phenomena that can’t be explained apart from what’s physically observable. I realised the implications of that, that if physical phenomena and physical properties are the only properties and phenomena that exist, then there really isn’t a place for objective and transcendent moral values, because a physicalist worldview traps you within the immanent. You can’t reach out to the transcendent to grab resources. And I recognised that.” 

Over time, these realities began to cause Mason internal tension. The contradiction he once thought that existed with his belief in God now began to haunt his own belief in a godless world without ‘real’ moral choices.

“I couldn’t live as if that was actually true. At random points in the day I would recognise, ‘If God isn’t real and what I do doesn’t matter, then why would I not cut in line at lunch?’ Or, ‘Why would I care about not skipping school?’ But almost invariably, I wouldn’t do those things. I would do what was really a contradiction, but what I would say is the moral thing. And that perplexed me. It was confusing. My stated beliefs weren’t lining up with my practiced beliefs. And that was causing some tension.

“If morality was just a construct that naturally arose from evolutionary processes, there was no reason for me as an individual to follow those restrictions. If those constraints served an evolutionary purpose, then I should disregard them when my own self-interest goes against those constraints, because that would be advantageous for myself, which would then pass on those genes to future generations, but I didn’t. And so, either I was the worst piece of Darwinian machinery on the planet, or something wasn’t adding up.”

Instead of dealing with this tension, Mason decided to push the morality problem off to the side thinking that someday he would figure it out.


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The good news

As a teenager, Mason’s parents divorced and lived in different states. He moved away from his familiar surroundings and moved in with his dad who still considered himself a Christian. Although Mason had never gone to church, he started going with his father for the sake of their relationship. It was also the first time he heard understood what went wrong with the world:

“The world was made good and was a reflection of God’s goodness and his perfect sovereignty over that creation, and that he made man in his image to enjoy that creation and for that creation to enjoy himself. That was the first time I heard that purpose statement for creation. It was also the first time I had heard an explanation for what’s wrong with creation, that we messed it up, that it was our own free choice that brought the curse of sin on creation, that we’d chosen finite, broken things instead of the infinite, eternal God to try to satisfy us. And that was the first time there was even a category given for what’s wrong with the world, other than God has to be what’s wrong with the world. Instead it was, ‘What if we’re what’s wrong with the world?’”

Once he understood what was broken in the world and in himself, he was able to understand how God moved to fix everything, recalling:

“The gospel was the good news, that God was committed to redeeming his people and so he sent his own Son, who is eternal, infinite and perfect. He suffered the full weight of the curse that we had subjected creation to. I heard that the world is far more messed up than I had ever thought and that I even had the categories to think of, because as an atheist I only have whatever categories fit within the immanent frame. But I also heard that there is a God who is far more committed to restoring and redeeming that Universe than I had ever thought to imagine.” 

After hearing this explanation, Mason realised that he had oversimplified Christianity and that it was time to engage with its claims more seriously.

Investigating Christianity

Once he began to look more closely at Christianity, he quickly discovered that the resurrection of Jesus from death was its most central claim. The whole of Christianity hinged itself upon the reality of Jesus of Nazareth rising from the dead 2,000 years ago. If Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, then Christianity is true. If the resurrection is false, then Christianity is false. 

The resurrection is a falsifiable historical claim. Every other religion makes claims on abstract, but non-falsifiable principles that cannot be disproven, unlike Christianity. Through engaging with the historical data, Mason investigated the resurrection through looking at the eyewitness testimonies and the reliability of their writings and became convinced of what he was reading. 

More than that, Mason also realised that Christianity was not merely an abstract set of propositions to be believed. It was something lived out that is glorious and beautiful. That is what he began seeing in the lives of the Christians he was coming to know. He saw that their presumptions about the world and about themselves produced real, attractive change in their lives, and he began to imagine how a different worldview could fundamentally change his own life for the better. 

He also began to see that belief in God doesn’t create contradictions as he once thought, but rather resolves the underlying tensions he was sensing in his atheistic view of the world. Both the beauty and the rationality of the gospel came together. Christianity was not as superficial as he once thought, but was deep and complex and beautiful. It brought everything together in a cohesive, meaningful and satisfying way in understanding the world around him and in understanding his own life. It answered the questions that were once unresolved. 

Life change

Once Mason believed in Christ, his life was transformed. He knew it would be a demanding decision, and it certainly has been:

“I recognised that if Jesus Christ really did die and rise from the dead, it demanded every ounce of my being to redirect my thoughts, my affections, everything that I was pointed towards and the end for which I lived my life, be captivated by that.”

For Mason, his new passion was helping others know Christ and become devoted Christians. He gave up his pursuit as a software engineer and redirected it towards full-time ministry and he has never looked back. 

If you’d like to listen to Mason Jones tell his full story, tune into the Side B Stories Episode 66, Apr 28, 2023. Or, you can find it on the Side B Stories website at


Jana Harmon hosts the Side B Stories podcast where former atheists and sceptics talk about their turn from disbelief to belief in God and Christianity. She is a teaching fellow for the CS Lewis Institute of Atlanta and former adjunct professor in cultural apologetics at Biola University where she received an MA in Christian apologetics. Jana also holds a PhD in religion and theology from the University of Birmingham in England. Her research focused on religious conversion of atheists to Christianity and related book is entitled, Atheists Finding God: Unlikely Stories of Conversions to Christianity in the Contemporary West.