Tackling Testimony

Question from Michael:
Hello I was wondering what your thoughts on this conversion story. I am an atheist, and for some reason this one is a headscratcher for me. I on a whim in a effort to appease a family member of mine and to be open minded watched the Its a new day Christian show. And they had a Muslim who converted to christianity and I first I thought big whoop, and then he got into his story and I honestly don’t have a really good reply for what he is claiming he did. Some of it is to me, obvious woo woo on par with things like being abducted by aliens, but some of it is well beyond my abilities at explaining things.

The closet thing I found in his own words to what he said on the tv show was these links


Another thing that was said on the show was that he went to Bangladesh and healed people in the name of Jesus and if he didn’t heal them he would have been killed by the people there. I at first thought of Peter Popoff and Benny Hinn and later people like Kathlyn Kulman. But still I would like to know what you guys think.


Answer by SmartLX:
I found his testimony on YouTube, where he says most of what you describe.

While it’s nice to be able to explain stories like Javid’s, and I’ll try to help with this, you are not obligated to explain away every story you’re told. Javid’s testimony is entirely unsupported except by appeals to Javid’s own character, and Javid makes money from people who believe it. If some evidence showed up, then there’d really be something to explain.

As you say, there’s plenty of woo in the account of his textbook “religious experience” in prison. The bulk of it, even if it’s true from his perspective, consists of him alone in his cell speaking to Jesus, a Muslim demon and primarily himself for weeks on end. It honestly sounds like a prolonged psychotic episode.

Notice that the “djinn” appears to him exactly as described in Islam, but Jesus’ words and behaviour match his Christian depiction perfectly. A New Testament demon or a Muslim version of Jesus might have been a surprise, but to Javid the two characters were as if ripped straight from two mutually exclusive texts. It’s like a comic book one-shot crossover where Superman fights a T-800 Terminator. (That happened, actually.)

The one other mortal in the story is the man who amazingly knew to give him a Bible – after he asked for one, possibly loudly enough that word got out into the prison population that a Good Book might calm the fanatic. As for the language aspect, firstly the man now speaks English so he learned it at some point, probably in prison since there was English reading material there, and secondly it wasn’t his first Bible so he might have projected it (probably badly) from memory.

The story of faith healing on pain of death (which isn’t in the linked video) does not give me pause even if he really was in that situation. Faith healers are extraordinarily effective in a way; while there’s no sign of any real healing, the sheer faith they generate is incredible. After a concert-scale faith healing by Oral Roberts or Benny Hinn, the genuinely sick and desperate people in the audience will go away unhealed, brokenhearted (or just plain broke) but convinced that a few people up the front received miracles. If Americans, Britons and Australians can be taken in by these performances, why should the Bangladeshi be any different? The ones with the guns just had to think someone was healed.

It’s worth pointing out to whoever pointed you to Javid’s story that Javid himself doesn’t expect anyone to be directly converted by his testimony. (Here’s the moment in Part 2 when he says just that. He challenges people to pray instead.) It’s funny, in light of this, that It’s a New Day had him on for this very purpose. (Hear the hosts talk about it in the promo.) Just spreading the Word doesn’t make it stick.

8 thoughts on “Tackling Testimony”

  1. From Peace via email:
    You can doubt Afshins’ testimony from now till the end of the world, the truth is clear. And deep within your soul it is lying there. His testimony is cystal clear he did not make it up. You don’t have to believe him. But he gave you a challenge why don’t you gather yourself together and ask Jesus to reveal the truth about him to you. If you ask in humilty and sincere search for truth surely you will find that Jesus is the Living God. You will simply be ignored if you are not sincere because the food of angels cannot be given to dogs.

  2. Notice how it’s always the atheist’s fault that God doesn’t speak up in challenges like this?

    I’ve answered similar challenges several times before, and I prayed for roughly the same thing back when I believed. After I watched Javid’s video for the first time, I actually did exactly what he said and prayed his prayer with as much sincerity as I could muster. Nothing.

    It’s a flawed approach to finding God, because just how sincere can you be when you’re talking to someone you don’t think is there? The best you can do is act. If you have to convince yourself that there’s a god before the prayer will work, firstly the prayer is superfluous and secondly you’re also liable to convince yourself that you hear something.

  3. Those who know Afshin Javid personally (ie Christians in Vancouver Canada) can tell you that he was terminated by, and excommunicated from his church for grossly immoral misconduct of the manner one typically expects of the televangelist types. He was also stripped of his ordination. This brings me to my point, when it comes to matters metaphysical, we cannot necessarily cite the testimony of others and the experiences of others as our proof-text for our position. As to which aspects of Afshin’s spiritual testimony are true or concocted, it is now (based on the resoundingly-negative testimony of his personal conduct) entirely unclear. One thing is for sure, if the written testimony of Jesus Christ is true, then He hardly needs the testimony of converts from any faith to back Him up. When it comes to God, He can speak for Himself – and He does. But I acknowledge asktheatheits’s point that sometimes the answer to the question he is asked seems to be dead-silence. I am afraid the same is true for Christians who ask – sometimes they hear silence – sometimes they do not. But the strongest evidence that one will ever experience of God is that which is revealed to that individual him or herself. Therefore, it behooves anyone who wants to know why we are here to ask the question of God for their own self.

    Certainly, Afshin’s aside, there are an enormous number of testimonies of conversion from Islam to Christianity and, given the substantial personal disincentive that people have for making such a switch, it would seem that they *do* believe what they are saying. I personally know about 9 individuals who have converted to Jesus Christ after a supernatural experience of Jesus Christ by way of dream, awake vision, near death experience or what-have-you. You can see lots on a the “muslim journey to hope” website. Incidentally, they are the ones who made the video you linked to on youtube above and they have removed the original from their website on account of the scandal.

  4. May God have mercy on you for you know not what you are saying. You say you are etheist but you breathe in fresh air, it means that you don’t even know who you are.
    Heaven is real and hell is real too. If you die today where will you go heaven or hell? think about it.

  5. Niki, would you care to elaborate on the idea that the fact that I breathe somehow affects my sense of identity? I’m really not sure what you’re referring to.

  6. I just heard about this mess after I watched Afshin’s testimony, something led me to Google Vancouver Christian Fellowship. And I saw the news! Wow! I was floored. However, it did not make me doubt his visions and testimony one bit. For I myself have had some far out matrix experiences with God and then fell into TERRIBLE sin. God chastized me over time proving his love to me. When stuff like that happens to you it is easy to think you are special and be lifted up with pride. It happened to me and if I could go back and make different choices, I would. I will pray for Afshin even if I do not know him personally. My hope is that he will be able to remain a Christian because God is real and WILL scourge the children he loves like the Hebrew writer has said (Hebrews 12:5-11).

  7. I found the discussion interesting, and there is lost of respect between the different feedback!
    I can understand the person who has supernatural encounter, who can still make mistakes because we are humans, and are far from being perfect.
    I am a scientific person, all my life was spent in testing, calculating, and examining what happen around me with extreme logic. I had, too, an experience of the presence of the loving God, the one, that statistically do not leave you any chance of doubt, and in spite of all that I still do mistakes but I always try to improve, guided by a deep believe that The Loving God loves every body what ever he is, and what he have done; did not he came for the sinners like me?

  8. Well, that’s the big question, isn’t it Wolfs? You’re apparently convinced beyond doubt, but how do you then convince anyone else that it’s true?

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