For Roux de Boy
There are essentially two kinds of atheists; the practical and rampant, or militant atheist.
The practical atheist is the one who keeps God in a box for special occasions, and sends his children to Sunday School. Probably 95% of ‘tick the box’ Christians are practical atheists. For them God is the God of Oprah, who nods kindly up in heaven, as long as everyone is having a good time. I believe 78% of Americans claim to be Christian. These are the people of whom I write.
As a family, we practised exactly that. We were sent off to Sunday School every Sunday morning, and it was an ordeal of gargantuan proportions. It was boredom on an epic scale. In this weird church, the Old Apostolic Church, to which my parents belonged, the kids had to sit through the main service and then, only after that interminable service was over, did we have Sunday School.
Meanwhile, my dad, who was quite a reader, with an enquiring mind, used to buy all the Time/Life books that came out. In fact, he subscribed to them, so we were building up quite a library at home. I have always been a voracious reader, so I got stuck into these books, handling them with the greatest of care because, to me, and my parents, books were precious.
Many of these books dealt with Natural Science and, therefore, evolution, and I drank it in. It all made so much sense!
One Sunday, when I was about fifteen, my mother came into my bedroom, where I was on the floor, busy painting. ‘Come on, you’re going to be late for church,’ she said.
With my heart in my mouth, I said. ‘I’m not going.’
‘We’ll see what your father has to say about that!’ she said, and closed the door very firmly behind her. My father came in a few minutes later and stood there, just looking down at me, saying nothing. I was squirming!
‘Your mother says you’re not going to church.
I shook my head. ‘No.’
‘I don’t believe in God,’ I said.
He looked at me as if I’d grown another head! ‘What do you mean you don’t believe in God?’
‘You’ve got all those books about evolution,’ I said. ‘God didn’t make anything; it all just evolved.’
The upshot of that little conversation, was that my father called me a fool for not believing in God, and left me to my devices. Now, strictly speaking, I was on shaky ground. I believed in God: I just didn’t want to go to church!
As time passed, my attitude hardened until, when I was in the army, I became a militant atheist. This was the hippy era. So it made no real difference to most of my friends, who encouraged me as I joked about everything to do with God. I became more rampant and militant as time went by, writing songs that blasphemed God, and thinking myself oh so clever!
When I met the woman who was to be my wife, I scandalised her, by saying, ‘You’re welcome,’ every time she said, ‘Thank God.’
My oldest son was born in 1979 and, unbeknown to us, had a club foot. In 1980, when he tried to walk, we noticed his right foot pulling skew, which prevented him from walking. He used to pull himself up and walk by pulling himself along the furniture, but that was it. We took him to an orthopaedic surgeon, who said they would start as soon as possible, breaking his foot and resetting it, until it was normal. We accepted it, with a heavy heart, but what could we do?
When he was 11 months old, my wife was downstairs, hanging out the washing, and he was pulling himself along the furniture. I squatted down and said, ‘Darin, come to daddy.’
And he took three little staggering steps and I caught him. I ran downstairs to tell my wife, but of course he didn’t do it again, till the next day. That evening, my brother called from Cape Town, and asked me how Darin was, and I told him he’d walked that day.
He then told me that his prayer group had been praying for Darin’s healing. To say I was gob-smacked would be an understatement of British proportions! God planted a seed that day and, although life was good, I was dissatisfied.
A few months later, my wife and I made a simultaneous decision to accept Jesus as our Saviour. We didn’t have a Bible and knew absolutely nothing, but we made the decision, then went to find a church.
The Pastor of the church we joined, had been a Chemical Engineer before he decided to go into full-time ministry, and he very patiently showed me that evolution could not be harmonised with the Bible. He also loaned me books, such as, ‘The Bible as History’, by Werner Keller, a German archaeologist.
This book I devoured, even though the author was not a Christian. What he was, was a distinguished archaeologist and he went about proving the historicity of the Bible from an archaeological viewpoint. I also started reading general history and Bible-related history. It would be fair to say I devoured any book I could find regarding the Bible and Christianity.
I still continued reading all the science journals I could find and have never stopped, as I see no conflict between the Bible and science. Many verses in the Bible point to things that could not have been known then, as the technology was not available in order to find them. That would take another post, all of its own. If you click on my username, you will find articles there which may be helpful.
I have had good times, I have had bad times: Jesus promises that we will have trouble, but He also promises to always be with us. The one thing Jesus never promises is an easy ride or prosperity, as some churches teach. He also says that we will be hated by men on account of His name.
Two books I can recommend, are ‘Wild at Heart’ and ‘Desire’, both by John Eldridge, and available at Exclusive Books.
Meanwhile, if you have any questions, you can click on my link and contact me on my Facebook page.