From atheist to Christian author, theology student
By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
When former self-proclaimed “aggressive atheist” Alexander Manire, otherwise known by the pen name Chris F. Walker (Christian Faith Walker), was going through struggles in his life, he was challenged by a friend to read a chapter of Proverbs together over the course of a month.
Every time Manire had a question regarding the text he was reading, his friend would direct him to other places in the Bible to answer his questions.
The goal: If one gets into the reading, they will find that it answers all their questions.
“I thought it was a neat challenge,” Manire recalled. “But I was actually setting out to use skills that I had learned (during his time in the military) about how to do investigations and how to really dig into true versus untrue, and I thought I’d use that against the Bible.”
This exercise would lead the future Grand Canyon University Christian Worldview online student to write his book “The Path,” in which he placed a fictional version of himself face to face with Jesus Christ for a debate. His intention was to look for inconsistencies and question reasoning that did not make sense to him.
“As I went through the process of writing it, I wanted to give full credit to the character of who Jesus would be. If I was going to disprove it, then I needed to know for real that this Guy was real,” he said. “Then I had to give benefit of the doubt for studies into not only the answers that He would give, but how He would answer them with different people, what kind of personality did He have. I really had to study who He would be as a person and try to put that into a book.”
Little did Manire know that the experience would lead to his conversion to Christianity.
He had the finished book saved on his laptop when he lent the computer to his friend, completely forgetting what was open inside. An hour later his friend was crying when he called him, immediately causing Manire to worry.
“I thought he had got bad news,” he said. “Instead, he just looked up and said, ‘Did you write this?’”
After being encouraged by friends, Manire made some final edits to the story and submitted it for publication. It wasn’t long before Lighthouse Publishing picked up the book, which can be purchased on Amazon.
The story works as a window into Manire’s mind and the spiritual awakening he went through. It begins with an introduction to Manire’s character and his emotional journey as a young adult, through his time in the military and the heartbreaks he endured while searching for his life partner.
It also doesn’t shy away from his struggles with his mental health along with mistakes he made at that point in his character’s life. The following chapters in the 15-chapter book take the reader through Jesus’ responses to each of Manire’s questions, representative of the answers he found while conducting research for the book.
Not long after the publishing of “The Path,” Manire worked on another project to document the lessons he has learned in his spiritual journey. It was for his sons Aiden, 11, and Connor, 9, in case he couldn’t share them verbally.
“I wanted to write a book where I could give the lessons I had been learning about the things I probably should have known in my life that I was just never taught,” Manire said. “I wanted to write a book about that for my sons, so I sat down and said, ‘This is the things I think you guys should know that I wish I’d known before I went through this whole process.”
Thus, “The ‘Life’ Question” was born. It uses each of its 34 chapters to offer advice and knowledge for lessons and topics such as self-worth, Christianity, finances and discovering one’s calling. It also can be found on Amazon.
Manire, who lives in Nevada with his wife and two sons and also posts videos to his YouTube channel, said much of the feedback he has gotten about his books has been positive. Many people inquire about sharing it with others.
Since late last year, Manire has been pursuing a degree in Christian Worldview because he wants to add to his knowledge of God.
“I chose Grand Canyon because, one, they’re Christian and, two, because of the nature of my work,” he said. “I wanted a Christian university that could focus on the Christian worldview and make sure that I understood it even more clearly.
“I also knew that Grand Canyon, because it’s more of an open enrollment, that there would be a lot of people there that would understand opposing views. As an atheist who became a Christian, I became an apologist and never set out to do that. I wanted to make sure to look at a college that would be able to teach all sides of the spectrum but still stay true to the Christian beliefs.”
That perspective has been confirmed by his interaction with professors.
“I never once had a professor that, as you would ask a question, was anything other than excited at the opportunity,” he said. “There’s passion in what they do.”
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected]