As a young lad with an entrepreneur as a father I was fed a constant dose of "business sense" and was reminded of the harsh realities of the real world. I learned that decisions had to be made often times without all the information you would like to have to be absolutely sure. One thing you could be absolutely sure of is that if a businessman does not make decisions he will fail and his dreams will dry up and blow away. It was just that simple. This left me with a sense that life was not a free ride and that you needed to deal with things not as you wish they would be but as they are.
As I grew older, I found myself interested in issues of the day, whether political, non-political, foreign, or domestic. I always prided myself on being informed on a subject or issue before I made a decision. I felt superior to those who tenaciously held opinions without good logical support and enjoyed debates to expose there lack of thought on the matter. I began to realize that this was a form of a put down and not always conducive to building relationships. Further, I also realized how common it is (myself included) for people to hold beliefs, without examining the evidence for their position. This is an understandable problem particularly with the complexity of today's world. However, regarding life's most important matters we must resist just taking for granted what are told without evaluating it.
Yet something was lacking. I found myself unable to be decisive regarding morality, especially where both sides of a issue had strong advocates arguing their respective positions. A good example was the abortion issue. Each side seemed to be valid, possessing a substantive basis for being right. I imagined the related hardships when a unwanted baby is born . . . financial difficulties, destroyed plans, pressured and unhappy marriages etc. On the other hand a baby was being killed, there was no doubt about that reality. Further what about personal responsibility for your actions? Considering both arguments, I honestly asked myself: would I want to be saddled with an unwanted baby - No way. Through this and other dilemmas I realized that I lacked a standard. Situationally applied logic seemed too arbitrary and inadequate to be a determiner of right and wrong.
I began a search for such a standard. My religious background was Roman Catholic. My regular participation with that church ceased when I was about twelve years old, although I continued to attend church infrequently when requested by my family on holidays. Practicing Catholicism was boring and ritualistic. I could not see what it offered. By the time I began college, religion seemed irrelevant to life decisions. My first college philosophy course spent one half the semester disproving the existece God. I wasn't fully persuaded by the arguments but I didn't know how to respond. Wrestling, weight lifting, karate, motorcycling, girls and school were the matters on my mind for those years.
When I was 27 or 28, I began to become interested in investigating spiritual matters. Through martial arts training I was exposed to Eastern religions. While Eastern religions are mysterious and hence more interesting then Catholicism, I found them to be equally empty. After some study it became apparent that no evidence existed to classify Eastern religions as anything more than philosophical ramblings.
It was quite some time before I was able to find anyone talk with about spiritual matters. At least not anyone who could articulate sensible reasons why they believed what they did. An old motorcycling buddy, named Seth, had moved to San Francisco to follow a engineering job opportunity. He came back to town regularly on holidays to visit his family. In a bar we used to frequent, Seth told me about how his life was going in San Francisco. Sometime during the evening, he just briefly mentioned that he was attending the Peninsula Bible church (Ray Stedman) and things of God had become very important to him. Sometime thereafter I purchased a modern translation of the Bible and begin reading. My thought at this point was maybe there is something to Christianity and I should look into it. On his next visit to town, I was prepared with all kinds of questions. Virtually all my education pointed to contradictions between the Bible and Science. But Seth, a mechanical engineer, believed the creation account in Genesis.
Seth not only believed, but he had reasons which made sense! I began to wonder, could it really be true?
This motivated me to do a systematic analysis of the evidence. I learned about the shakey foundation that evolution stands on. Real facts of science fit the creation model better! But then I asked "what about the accuracy of the scriptures, could they have been passed down all these centuries essentially uncorrupted?" So I studied how old documents are evaluated for their authenticity. I learned about how the transmission of copies are analyzed. I studied about how internal and external evidence of a document can be examined to determine it's reliability. I further researched archeological evidence confirming the accuracy of many reported events in the Bible which up to the point of the discoveries were supposed Bible errors. Every objection I had, when examined, resulted in reasonable and rational support of the Biblical account.
The evidence piled up. It was like many strands woven together making a strong rope. Finally, I came to a point where I concluded that there is a God who is real. After that decision reading the Gospel of John became a intense experience. I realized I needed God: I needed Jesus Christ! When I called my friend Seth and told him my feelings he prayed for me - right over the phone! It wasn't until that point that I really could let God into my life.
Since then I have realized it was not just my intellectual curiosity that brought me close to God. God gave me the desire to investigate and read His word. Yet responding by accepting Christ (as God's provision for restoring our relationship with Him) is something you must do for yourself. No one else can make this decision for you. It is the one decision which will impact your future more than any other.
In Christ, I truly have found the standard I yearned for and the direction for my life. Before I knew God my self-worth was related to achievements and attainment of material possessions. Always striving but never satisfying. With Christ in my life, I not only have a sense of what the real priorities in life are, but I have a feeling of fulfillment. In His service I have been given what satisfies. As Jesus said: "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32.
To the skeptic, I challenge you to objectively weigh the evidence. Seek Him and He will reveal himself to you.