Former Australian politician Bill Hayden was an atheist all of his life.
But at the age of 85, he turned to God and converted to Christianity.
Hayden was raised by a loving Catholic mother and an abusive father who was an atheist. His father's strong opposition toward religion had a long-lasting influence on Hayden throughout his life. "I was exposed to and understood what family violence was about," he said.
He joined the navy, then became a police officer. During that time, Hayden studied economics and joined the Australian political party.
His dislike for the church was tested after the death of his 5-year-old daughter, Michaela, when she was coming home from Sunday school in 1966.
Hayden could not find solace in prayer while mourning the loss of his daughter. "People were writing to me and saying, God in His inscrutable way, does these things and you shouldn't ask why. He does it for a good reason," he explained.
When he worked as a policeman, his mother told him that "There's no such thing as boys that are born mad. The way that people turn out in their lives is determined by their experiences when they are young," he said.
Hayden explained that a number of factors contributed to his atheism.
"My father was a determined atheist. 'Noah and the Ark' was a tall story. They wouldn't know how to make big ships as big as that one and take one of every creature. They wouldn't be able to cut the timber, big enough planks and they wouldn't know how to make steel sheets. I didn't believe it."
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