Eric Metaxas on How a Night's Dream Changed His Life and Faith in God

Eric Metaxas, a New York Times bestselling author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, was featured on an "I am Second" video released yesterday in which he recounts how he was an agnostic who turned into an advocate for God.

Metaxas explained how he had drawn his own conclusions about the meaning of life and religion after attending Yale University, where he says, "I was absolutely at sea, I had no idea what I believed or who I was," by the time he graduated. 

"I came up with this idea that is kind of like a literary image," Metaxas said, referring to the "suitable" answer he believed can explain the meaning of the universe. "There's a frozen lake and the ice on the lake represents the conscious mind and the water beneath the ice represents the unconscious mind with a collective unconscious." 

In other words, he thought the goal of life and of all religions was the same, which he said was to "drill through the ice (the conscious mind) to reach to the collective unconscious."

Although he had grown up in a Greek church in New York City, he was not fond of church life because he considered his congregation "not a community of faith." He explains that he went through college questioning his beliefs.  However, his life changed the night he had a dream that made him shed what he thought was the correct idea of life's purpose.

"In the dream, I'm standing on Lake Candlewood in Danbury, Conn., ice fishing in the middle of winter. There's a fish sticking its snout out of a hole, if you ice fish, you know that never happens," Metaxas said. 

He continues, "I reach down and pick it up and hold it up. The light from the sun was so bright and it shun on the side of this fish and made it look not bronze, but gold, and then suddenly I realize, I'm holding a living, golden fish."

Metaxas says when we awoke, he realized God was speaking to him with the "secret vocabulary" of his heart. He found  that the dream and his former beliefs were similar in a few ways, adding that as he was holding the fish in his dream, he also realized, "God has just 'one-upped' me with my simple system."

"God told me, 'Eric, you wanted to touch inert water, this collective unconscious, but I have something else for you, I have my son, Jesus Christ, the son of God, your savior.'"

He also recounts that he went to work the next day and told his co-worker about the dream, which he explained meant that "I had accepted Jesus." Given his background as an individual who doubted faith, Metaxas admits that he never thought he would say those words which at one point, made him cringe to even hear anyone else utter them.

"I had been trained at Yale that we avoid people like this, these are weird people," Metaxas said, referring to Christians who professed their belief in God.

However, soon after, he found himself a Christian who rejects the idea of blind faith.

"There's no such thing as blind faith, that's a misunderstanding because faith can only be faith in what is real," Metaxas said.

"There is no doubt in retrospect that God is real, and I wish I had known that sooner," he concludes. 

Metaxas' video marks the 100th film by the I am Second movement, which features video testimonies of Christians from a wide variety of backgrounds who have chosen to serve God as their number one priority. In addition, the release of his testimony coincides with the movement's celebration of their website, which has garnered 20 million views since it's inception five years ago.

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