When Porn Stars and an Atheist Remind Us of the Grace of God

Signs of God’s active work in the world are all around us, but too many Christians are closing their eyes to them.

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Leading up to April 8th, the internet morphed into a sea of apocalyptic theories. Reminders of doom, prophecies, and an urgent plea to “read the signs” filled news articles and Christian commentators’ platforms. We were on the precipice of an eclipse, and clearly, that must mean we were on the threshold of theapocalypse. 

People dismissing such notions were met with derision or accused of being apathetic toward the state of the world. After all, we must be reading the signs! 

But this statement demands scrutiny. Reading “the signs” should not be oddly reminiscent of reading a horoscope or obsessively shaking a magic eight ball. 

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Matthew 24:36 reminds us that the “day and hour no one knoweth, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone.” And justifying superstitious behavior on the grounds of “reading the signs” rapidly turns into unholy business. We are called to live every day in preparation for our death—staying in the state of grace and pursuing holiness. It’s not up to us to figure out the date of the Second Coming or even pinpoint the moment that ushers in the end times. 

Ultimately, God is in control; and if we allow our constant scrolling and revisiting of private revelations to convince us that we know more, we run the risk of denying God’s Providence. It’s a slippery slope that can easily lead to egoism or despair. Furthermore, when we become consumed with the horror and cataclysmic musings, we begin to dismiss the truly beautiful signs of God’s outpouring of grace. 

Two stories that have been making headlines on social media have to do with porn starsboth women left the industry and converted to Christianity. Both of these stories are hopeful and beautiful. But curiously enough, an overwhelming number of conservatives (and Christians) have questioned and attacked these women, arguing that these conversions are for attention or mere money ploys—a claim that makes little sense considering that these women were financially successful and have a lot to lose by publicly announcing their conversions and rejection of sin. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to note that vice is more popular than virtue. 

Nevertheless, it’s disturbing how many “Christian conservatives” have made it their business to judge the state of these women’s souls. It makes one wonder why such jubilant news is treated with an overwhelming amount of skepticism and derision? Have we simply been too plugged-in to “dire prophecies” and believing the worst that we are that quick to dismiss the truly astounding stories of redemption? 

Another intriguing development lies with Richard Dawkins, the world’s most renowned atheist. “I love hymns and Christmas carols and I sort of feel at home in the Christian ethos, and I feel that we are a Christian country in that sense,” Dawkins recently stated in an interview with LBC radio. He included that while he’s pleased more people don’t believe in God, he “would not be happy if, for example, we lost all our cathedrals and our beautiful parish churches.” 

According to Dawkins, Christianity is a “fundamentally decent religion” and it should not be replaced. So, while he is still an ardent atheist, he has made a curious confession: “I call myself a cultural Christian and I think it would be truly dreadful if we substituted any alternative religion.”

Christianity is the great civilizer, and while Dawkins is not directly saying this, he is alluding to the inherent goodness of the Faith. Not only that, but he also recognizes the beautiful fruits that an ardent belief in God produces: from art to culture, a life built for Christ is a life that elevates. 

Is it possible that Dawkins is worried that the world he fought to herald in might actually be devoid of the beauty, the grace of God, that makes life worth living? Could it be that in recognizing the barbarism and hedonism of a godless society, a world bereft of culture, God is tugging ever so gently on this old man’s heartstrings? 

During Holy Week, Christ the King was trending on X (Twitter). While yes, it trended with controversy, the mere fact that the doctrine of Christ’s social kingship punctuated political and religious debates is truly astounding. Now a log-on to X reveals countless users proudly promoting their Christian Faith—it’s everywhere, and it’s amazing. 

We’ve also been witnessing so many unlikely conversions to the Faith, from Shia LaBeouf to Tammy Peterson. And could it be that Russell Brand’s admission of praying the daily Rosary means he is almost Home? I hope so. 

As St. Augustine said, “Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence.

These are real events taking place around us, and they all point us back to God. 

God’s grace is at work. Reading through these stories, it’s impossible not to acknowledge that God is in control, and He is changing hearts. 

It would be complacent to dismiss these surprising stories. They orient us back to Truth, to God’s divine Providence. They remind us to pray for more hearts to be open, to fast, and to be vigilant in our pursuit of Christ. 

After all, as Chesterton once penned:

The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.

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