Thursday, June 25, 2009

Finding An Unseen God: Reflections of a Former Atheist

My good friend, Karen, from Growing In Grace reviewed this book for The Nearsighted Bookworm. She is going to help me out with some of the non-fiction reviews, so that more reviews can be brought to you, our readers. Leave a comment to welcome her and to thank her for her great review! Thanks Karen!

Karen's Thoughts:

Finding An Unseen God
By Alicia Britt Chole

Finding An Unseen God is written by a former atheist and recalls her experiences from unbelief to Christ and beyond. Chole spends half of the book writing autobiographically about her childhood and young adult life. She found God, or rather, He revealed Himself to her unmistakably, when she was in college. After taking the reader on her life’s journey to the place where she remarkably transformed from an atheist who was increasingly hostile toward religion to her experience where God became a living force in her life, she spends the rest of the book reflecting on God’s place in our lives and our response to Him.

Because she is analytical and thinks critically about God, Chole asks questions that may seem unnecessary or even controversial, to an evangelical Christian who has been in the church their entire lives. However, her questioning served to solidify her faith in God and even revealed things about Him that were a comfort to her.

What a relief it was for me to discover that this continual questioning did not make God nervous. Interrogatives do not irritate God. Emotionally charged query does not shut God down. Over the past quarter century I have come to the conclusion that God is, after all, rather secure.

The problem is not that we have questions. The challenge is what direction our hearts and heads are facing when we ask questions. Do we ask with a posture that is open or closed to the existence or involvement of God? Do we question with an attitude that is humble or hardened toward receiving insight, instruction, and correction?

Personally, I have found that God takes pleasure in an inquiring mind. God delights in sincere questions.
(p. 142)

Chole’s wrestling with her faith is a very real picture of those kinds of sincere questions. Her life was truly transformed. She was not looking for God, and in fact, was shocked when He found her. She has learned to trust that God has always been pursuing her and He will not let her down.

But then, each and every time (I do mean that literally), when I am too exhausted to grip faith myself, I become conscious that Another – the Object of my faith – has always been gripping me. I am reminded by the Faith-Giver that faith was not my creation. His breath sustains the flame of faith even when my mind cannot and my emotions will not.

I love that quote! When you can’t hold on any longer, God will hold on to you.

The only criticism I have of the book is the way it is organized. The book covers two distinct time periods – before conversion and after conversion. The chapters are intertwined with every other one being pre-conversion and every other one post-conversion. Additionally, the chapters are very short. This made the reading choppy and disconnected. So, I actually read every other chapter and returned to the beginning reading the alternate chapters. This made my reading of the story chronological instead of intertwined. I know that the impact of the experience with God is the culminating point of her story, and my mixed up reading placed that in the middle instead of the end.

Overall, I enjoyed Finding An Unseen God and will likely read it again. I heard it recommended on the radio as a book for college students who may be struggling with their faith. And, I would second that recommendation. It can solidify ones decision to follow Christ and it can open your eyes to the perspective of a non-believer. Chole has done a fine job taking her reader into the mind of one who thinks differently and expressing the confusion, struggles, and ultimate joy on the journey to Christ.


Truth is dead. God never lived. Life is filled with pain. Death is the end of life. These beliefs formed Alicia Britt Chole's worldview as a young woman. "I sincerely believed that there was no God," she says. "As a young Atheist, I simply considered myself a realist who preferred unanswered questions over fairy tales." Then one day, without warning, Alicia's Atheistic worldview was shattered. Creatively written, Finding an Unseen God opens a window into Alicia's surprising spiritual journey. With warmth, intellect, and compassion, Alicia invites us to carefully consider what we believe and do not believe, while she paints a vivid portrait of a God who relentlessly pursues even those who deny him.

To purchase this book, click here.

1 comment:

alicia britt chole said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to review the book!

For any readers who are interested, a discussion guide can be downloaded for free on my website at



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