- Religion and Philosophy
5 Famous Christian Converts
More from Norma
You may know Norma McCorvey better by her legal pseudonym, Jane Roe. She was the plaintiff in the landmark American lawsuit Roe v. Wade in 1973, which overturned individual states' laws against abortion by ruling them unconstitutional. Despite asking for an abortion in her original suit, McCorvey never had the procedure. She gave birth to a girl, who was put up for adoption
In the 1980s, McCorvey revealed herself to be the "Jane Roe" of the famous case, and that she had been the "pawn" of two young and ambitious lawyers who were looking for a plaintiff with whom they could challenge the Texas state law prohibiting abortion.
In 1994, McCorvey converted to Christianity and expressed remorse for her part in the Supreme Court decision. In fact, she is now a leading spokesperson against abortion through her Dallas, Texas ministry organization, Roe No More Ministries.
Most of us are aware of Kirk Cameron's active involvement in Christianity today. He acts in faith-based films, leads evangelism trainings along with Ray Comfort, and runs Camp Firefly with his wife, Chelsea Noble. But did you know that he used to be an atheist? Around age 17 or 18, during the height of his career on Growing Pains, he developed a belief in God, and became a Christian. After converting to Christianity, he began to insist that story lines be stripped of anything he thought too adult or racy on Growing Pains. In the 2008 film, Fireproof, the actress playing opposite Kirk had a kiss-double, Chelsea, because Kirk refused to kiss any woman but his wife.
Kirk is now known to speak out against atheism, recently stating, "Atheism has been on the rise for years now, and the Bible of the atheists is The Origin of Species," Cameron told PEOPLE. "We have a situation in our country where young people are entering college with a belief in God and exiting with that faith being stripped and shredded. What we want to do is have student make an informed, educated decision before they chuck their faith." In November 2009 Cameron and others distributed free copies of an altered version of Darwin's The Origin of Species on college campus in the United States.The book consisted of Darwin's text with selected parts removed and with an added introduction by Ray Comfort reiterating common creationist assertions about Darwin and evolution. It's been a bit controversial.
He's happy to be able to use his fame for what he believes in, though, stating, "I am proud to bring this to people's attention," he says. "You see things in the world that are truly distressing and you think, 'What can I do?' Well this is something I can do."
Piyush "Bobby" Jindal
He may not be exactly a household name, but he's sure getting a lot of attention lately. He's the current governor of Louisiana and the U.S.'s first Indian-American governor. It's no surprise that Jindal grew up in a Hindu household, but he converted to Christianity while in high school. He was then baptized during his first year of college. His family attends their Catholic church every week, but his faith includes a solidarity with other Christian denominations, and he has given speeches and offered religious testimony before Baptist and Pentecostal congregations.
At 36, Jindal is the current youngest governor in the U.S., as well as one of the most popular, with an approval rating of an astounding 77%.
Jeffrey Dahmer is one of America's most well-known serial killers. Between 1978 and 1991, he is known to have killed 17 men and boys. His murders were particularly gruesome, involving rape, torture, and cannibalism. I'll spare you any more detail than that. Dahmer was finally arrested in 1991.
While serving time at Wisconsin's Columbia Correctional Institution, Jeffrey declared himself a born-again Christian after reading some Evangelical literature his father had sent him. He even asked minister Roy Ratcliff to come to the prison to baptize him. Ratcliff has said this about Dahmer:
"One of the most common questions put to me about Jeff has to do with the sincerity of his faith. And I usually hear this from Christians. They ask if Jeff was truly sincere in his desire for baptism and in his Christian life. My answer is always the same: Yes, I am convinced he was sincere."
After his Baptism, Dahmer continued to meet and study with Ratcliff. He was beaten and killed Nov. 28, 1994, by a fellow inmate.
More C.S. Lewis
Though Mr. Lewis is no longer with us (he died in 1963), we all know his name - he's the well-known author of The Chronicles of Narnia series as well as a slew of Christian essays and novels. Born in Ireland in 1898, he grew up in a church-going family but became an atheist at age 15, when he started to view his religion as a chore and a duty. In 1931, following a long discussion and late-night walk with his close friend J.R.R Tolkien (you may have heard of him), he made a specific commitment to the Christian belief while on his way to the zoo with his brother.
Lewis wrote an autobiography titled Surprised by Joy, which places special emphasis on his conversion to Christianity. Many of his essays and public speeches on Christianity remain popular today.
I welcome your comments - who else belongs on this list?