In a surprising turn of events, a former associate of celebrity atheist Richard Dawkins revealed in a recent interview that he has become a believer in Jesus Christ.
Josh Timonen shared the story of his journey to salvation on a Christian podcast last month.
Dawkins is considered one of the leading figures of the “New Atheist” movement. Through books such as “The God Delusion,” Dawkins has gained worldwide recognition for his criticism of religion and has made leading people away from God his life’s mission.
Interestingly, Dawkins dedicated one of his books to Timonen. Even more interestingly, Dawkins’ influence on the young man could not keep him from the path to faith.
Timonen said he grew up in a Christian household, but drifted away from the faith as he got older.
At a time in his life when he had completely dismissed the existence of Jesus as a myth, he crossed paths with Dawkins. The two began working closely together, and a five-year bond was formed. Comfort described Timonen as Dawkins’ “right-hand man.”
Timonen assisted Dawkins in many of his endeavors, including website development, video production and merchandise sales. The two eventually had a falling out that resulted in a legal battle, but Timonen held on to his atheism after his friendship with Dawkins ended.
“Atheism is a really useful worldview for weak men,” he said.
In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic and as rioters ran rampant in his home city of Portland, Oregon, Timonen said he and his wife were shaken by the “evil” they witnessed. That prompted a move to Waco, Texas.
Shortly after the move, Timonen said he and his wife wanted to find a supportive environment for their homeschooled daughter, so they began to visit a local church.
Neither had any plans of embracing faith but wanted to take advantage of the “social benefits” of attending church. But seeing the spiritual benefits led Timonen to engage with Scripture.
He began by reading the New Testament in its entirety and then delved into “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel, a journalist who also came to faith later in life.
Through his readings, Timonen found compelling evidence for Christ’s existence and had to acknowledge that he was not a mere myth.
“I had to deal with the fact that it was real, that Jesus was real,” Timonen said.