Finding the Real God - Chris Waghorn's Story

Finding the Real God - Chris Waghorn's Story
Side B Stories
Finding the Real God - Chris Waghorn's Story

May 12 2023 | 01:19:20

Episode 67 May 12, 2023 01:19:20

Hosted By

Jana Harmon

Show Notes

Former skeptic Chris Waghorn left his belief in the Christian God behind to embrace an Eastern, universal view of god. After several years, he rediscovered the Christian God as the One who is both truth and real.

Chris's Resources:

Resources/authors recommended by Chris for further study on Christianity:

  • William Lane Craig
  • C. S. Lewis
  • Tim Keller
  • John Lennox

Atheists Finding God promo code promo code: LXFANDF30


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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:02 I had no plans to become a Christian. Uh, I, I didn't want to, I didn't want to become a Christian. I, I, uh, I didn't, I didn't really try to seek it out. Um, but yes, there I was. And, um, you know, it was a radically new, uh, supernaturally assisted positioning and, uh, an irreducibly Christian view of the world. And that's where I got to. Speaker 2 00:00:27 Hello, and thanks for joining in. I'm Jan Harmon, and you're listening to Sebe Stories, where we see how skeptics slipped the record of their lives. Each podcast we listened to someone who has once been an atheist or skeptic, but he became a Christian against all odds. You can hear more of these stories at our cby stories website, www sibe We also welcome your comments on these stories that are cby stories Facebook page, or through [email protected]. Speaker 2 00:00:57 Believing that something is true enough to give your life to it is not always clear or straightforward or easy, especially when it comes to religious belief. Something that is not necessarily tangible in the ordinary sense, religion not only entails answers to the big questions of life, but by its very nature, it also makes claims regarding the supernatural realm, that it is real, that God is real. And if God is real, then he can and does interact with our natural world. When someone is considering religious claims, there's a difference between intellectually believing that something is objectively true, such as God exists, or the biblical text is reliable and for good reason. And the subjective spiritual sense that God is real as felt through a personal encounter or religious experience. That is, for some believing God may not come easily through arguments or evidence, although this grounding may open the door towards serious consideration of God's reality. Speaker 2 00:02:13 Rather belief comes through a wooing of the Holy Spirit, as the former skeptic describes in this story today, although Chris Waho encountered a substantive intellectual reason for belief, and even a touch of God's presence, setting him on a path towards following after Christ, he left that behind to explore the world and its offerings. A few years later, he found the God he had left behind as both true and real. What made him reconsider? I hope you'll come and join in to find out. Well, welcome to Side Me Stories. Chris, it's so, so great to have you with me today. Speaker 1 00:03:01 It's great to be here, Jonna. Thanks for inviting me. Speaker 2 00:03:04 Oh, you're so welcome. As we're getting started, to the listeners can know just a bit about you, Chris, tell us, uh, about who you are, where you live, a little bit about yourself, Speaker 1 00:03:15 Right? Yeah, so I'm, I'm a Brit living in Australia, um, and I currently live in Melbourne in the Yara Valley Foothills. Uh, my wife is, uh, an an Aus, an Australian, the Melbourne, so no choice in destination, although, uh, you know, um, I'm not, uh, regretting it all. We moved over here in 2019, um, and, uh, I'm originally from, um, Hampshire in Petersfield and Hampshire, uh, a small little village, um, outside Petersfield, um, traditional sort of place with, uh, um, a shop in three pubs and, uh, you know, blink, blink and you'll miss it. Uh, so I grew up there and, and then I, I went up to, um, uh, study at, uh, Kings College London. Speaker 2 00:04:02 Okay. All right. Well, yeah, so you're a Brit who lives in Australia. So let's start back then, in your early life, in your British life, growing up in this sounds like a very lovely small community in Britain, in England. Um, tell me about what your life was like growing up. Tell me about your family of origin. Um, did you go to church? Uh, was it any part of your picture, uh, growing up? Speaker 1 00:04:30 Uh, uh, well, religion was really like, no part of my picture when I was growing up. Um, I was, I was raised as a Catholic, uh, and, um, my, my mother and my father, they went to Catholic school. My sister went to Catholic school, but I didn't go to Catholic school. Um, I had no real interest in religion. And because of growing up in England and being a Catholic, uh, we were always kind of relegated to the chapel, um, down the alley. We always, so we didn't have the nice big churches that, uh, that the protest Protestants had. But anyway, um, I always do. Perhaps there was something a little bit different there, but, um, I don't think it was religion, even at school, I don't think it was really at the forefront of anyone's minds. Speaker 2 00:05:20 Mm. So even as your mother was, uh, going to Catholic church or your sister going to Catholic school, uh, did you, did you get the impression at all that they had, uh, personal or expressed faith, or was it, is it, was it more of a ritual or just something that they, they did more of an activity than a belief? Speaker 1 00:05:43 Uh, well, uh, just to, um, come back to that, um, actually, even though, uh, my mother and my father and my sister went to Catholic schools, they didn't go to church at all. And, and we, we didn't go to church as a family, in fact, um, we only really went to church at Easter time and, uh, and Christmas time, which I think made us a, a what's known as a c, sea of E Catholics. So Christmas and occasional Easter, that was our experience. Yeah, yeah. So no real interest, no real interest. I don't think that there was really any sense of belief. Um, I wouldn't say that any one of my family were Christians. Um, certainly not born again Christians. Um, I think, um, the kind of, uh, Catholicism or, you know, Christianity that they believed in was really relegated to tradition, that it's something that happened. Speaker 1 00:06:44 That's something that happens in church. You can sort of, uh, you know, um, believe it or not, it's a, it was a kind of an optional, it's kinda an optional thing. So I think what, ok, I think I was really, I was brought up in a secular household, I think, I think I could say. And there was a very vague nod to, um, to religion, but it wasn't, uh, uh, it wasn't something that was really necessarily talked about or, um, you know, or certainly not practice. We, we were never the type of family to go to church every Sunday, <laugh>, you know? Yeah. Speaker 2 00:07:20 Ok. Alright. Yeah. So, so you, you grew up in a secular household and, and, and, uh, it was, it was a peace or a part of your life, but not, but, uh, it sounds like, um, relegated a little bit to the, to the edges. Um, yeah. So you, you grew up, uh, with, I guess you could call it, uh, fairly non-religious, but did, was there any discussion with regard to God or, or faith or any sense of what that was other than just tradition? Um, Speaker 1 00:07:56 No, I, I really don't think there was. Um, I can't, I can't remember any conversation that I had, um, about faith or, or anything like that with my, with my family. Not until I started to do my own investigations, and, um, I began to want to talk about it, but that was much later on in life. That was, um, kind of as, as I probably went past 16, 17, I started to, um, get kind of more interested, I guess, in those questions. Speaker 2 00:08:30 Okay. All right. So, so growing up as a teenager, it was just not a part of your life, but what, what caused you to start asking questions about religion or God or those kinds of things? Speaker 1 00:08:42 Well, when I was at school, I was really blessed with some very inspiring, uh, religious studies teachers or re or religious education, whatever you call it. Uh, they were very, um, inspiring from the point that, you know, they were intellectual, they were very passionate about their subject. And, uh, I remember at school, I was, um, studying, I think it was Luke's gospel, and I was just taken aback with the, with the wisdom that I was coming, you know, coming across what I was reading about. Uh, um, it, it, it just struck me. And I had, I actually do remember that I had at school, I had a natural aptitude to, um, you know, writing essays, um, uh, in, in, in, in Rs. And, um, I remember one comment that, uh, I had from, um, one of my RS teachers in the margins saying, Chris, you are literally streets ahead of your peers. So I think I, I think there was a natural, um, how could I say, uh, a natural appreciation, but there was no faith at this stage. Speaker 2 00:09:52 So you considered yourself somewhat secular, I would imagine. Did you, did you ever place a label on yourself or an identity of like, oh, I'm agnostic, or I'm atheistic, or a, as someone who grew up in a secular household, did you even think on those terms so that when you came to the scripture too, I'm just curious how someone of a more secular mindset would, would even look at the Bible? Um, Speaker 1 00:10:20 I, I think the only tag that I would've given myself at school was rebel, uh, cause <laugh>, because I, I mean, that's, that's what I was, um, yes. So, uh, to give you some idea, you know, I, I, I, I used to have long hair. I smoked. I never used to do it. My top. Um, I always had to see the headmaster, uh, after, after school, um, well, actually not after school, after assembly. It became quite kind of embarrassing in the end. And, um, then after one assembly, I wasn't actually asked to see the headmaster, and he came to find me to, uh, ask me if everything was okay, <laugh>. So I think, so, I think, I think he quite liked me in the end, but, um, I think, no, I, I don't think I had any sort of label that I was necessarily in, um, that I'd applied to myself. Speaker 1 00:11:14 Um, I, I was very much kind of, um, kind of went along to my own drum. I marched to my own drum beat very much at, at school. And, um, I, I think I was very, I was very interested in literature. I was very interested in religious studies. I was very interested in the humanities. I think that's where I was kind of heading, because there seemed to be, I mean, I think from, from reading the gospel of, uh, Luke on this specific occasion, I remember I was, um, quite amazed at the sense of, as I, as I mentioned just now, the sense of wisdom in the, you know, in the, in the gospel. Um, and I wanted to find out more. I think it kind of piqued my interest. I think that's, that's what, that's what happened at the time. Speaker 2 00:11:59 Mm-hmm. So it piqued your interest. And then, um, did you do anything with that interest, or did you just, um, let it pass? Speaker 1 00:12:08 No, not at all. Well, what actually happened was, is, um, I was, uh, at the time, uh, of my A levels in my, in the sixth form I was, uh, looking at what to do at, uh, university. And, um, I wanted to study, um, law at university. Um, I myself at the bar, so, um, I was actually, um, applying for the different universities. Um, and I put, of course, um, you know, Kings, Birmingham, Oxford, all these other universities. And I thought I wanted to study law. And then when I was putting down my choices, I was, I was quite interested in, um, the EU and Europe and all that kind guided stuff at the time, which is quite kinda ironic. Um, and I was actually thought, you know, there's this great course of extra European law. I remember I thought I, I, I applied for that cause, you know, um, bigger, you know, being a lawyer, it would be, um, you know, uh, secure. Speaker 1 00:13:02 My father would have my back and everything. And then just as I was, um, putting in the, um, you know, filling it in the application for my RS teacher, uh, walked past and he asked me what I was doing, and I told him, and he said, if I can just give you one piece, um, that's to follow, whatever you decide to do at university, always follow your heart. And this seemed to make, um, sense to me at the time. And I said, well, what do you mean by that? And he said, well, what do you really enjoy doing? And I said, look, I really enjoy, you know, I enjoy the humanities, I enjoy history, I enjoy, you know, classics. Um, of course I enjoy rsa. And he said, well, why don't you study theology? And I said, yes, but what do you do with that? What can you do with theology? And he said, that's not the point, <laugh>. He said, that's not the point. So I thought, okay. Um, so I thought, I, I'm gonna read theology at University, why not? Um, there's nothing, it's not as if, you know, um, there's anything else that, um, um, that could keep me at university for three years. Cause I was quite kind, rebel, rebellious at the time. And, uh, I thought kind of following your heart was a, sounded like good advice at the time. So that's what I did. That Speaker 2 00:14:24 Is, that's very, very interesting for someone who was raised in a secular household, you en enjoyed the humanities and literature, and of course, theology is the study of God now at this point. What, uh, again, as a someone with a secular mind, uh, what did you think or religion was at this point? Did you think that the po there was, was a possibility that God was real? Or was this, you just enjoyed thinking about these deeper issues and these issues of humanity? Speaker 1 00:15:00 Well, I think all of the above, really. Speaker 2 00:15:02 Okay. Okay. So when you wanted to essentially de mythologize the, the Bible Yes. Or scripture, um, yes. I wonder if for those who are, are listening, what, what you mean by that? Like, for example, when you read the, the Gospel of Luke, and there are all kinds of things in there that seems rather supernatural or miraculous. Um, uh, I wondered, were those the kinds of things that you wanted to strip away from the text, um, because they didn't make sense for perhaps a more modernized understanding or more progressive understanding of religion and scripture? Um, talk with us about what you're, what you were thinking. Speaker 1 00:15:50 Uh, well, this is actually going back quite a long time. I was about 16 when I read the gospel for the flu. So I'll have to, I'll have to cast my mind back. But I, I, I think, um, at, at that point in my life, uh, I was, I, I was thought, you know, what's, what's all this supernatural, um, stuff about, is it real? Uh, you know, let's look at the historical, Jesus, let's look at the Christ of Faith. Let's, let's see. Um, you know, how much evidence there is outside of New Testament writings to the historical Jesus. Those, those are the kind questions that I was interested in. Mm. And I think, um, those, and, you know, early church history, patristics, you know, from IUs all the way up through to, um, uh, you know, uh, to, uh, nice and council of and going all the way through that I was interested in church history and how the whole thing, um, came about. Speaker 1 00:16:43 So that's what I was, that's what I was really interested in. I mean, at the time when I started reading theology, I had no interest in going to church, and I had no interest, um, of, of, into the church, for example. Um, but, um, in, in uk, and it might be slightly different in the States, it's certainly different in Australia, you, you can read theology as, um, as an intellectual, as, as a, as a liberal art. Um, you don't necessarily, and you probably know this from your studies at, at Birmingham, um, it, when you study Theology University, you're not necessarily at seminary or Bible college. So I came very much from the, from the outside to to study, uh, you know, faith, and faith and religion. And actually what ended up happening at Kings was, was the complete opposite of, uh, what I, what I set out to achieve. Speaker 1 00:17:37 Uh, because actually what, what happened, um, I went in with the demonization mindset, but actually what happened was, um, the, the case for the Christian faith, the intellectual case for the Christian faith began to stack up, and it began to stack up, um, because, um, you know, uh, I was, um, you know, studying all, uh, theology or, you know, all of the units and, um, going to lectures and writing, um, dissertations and, um, and actually far, far from, um, you know, the, uh, you know, just disproving, um, Christianity or the of, of, of Christ, or, or, you know, um, it, it actually went into actually building a case for, you know, the, um, for, for the gospels. And, uh, that, that really surprised me. And I, I didn't expect, I didn't expect that to happen. Um, and, um, yeah, we had some really good, uh, lecturers and professors, uh, at Kings and, um, you know, some, some of them were ministers. So I think at the time, um, Jonna, I, I, um, I heard bits of the gospel, but I didn't hear the whole gospel. I did hear bits of the gospel at Kings, but then, uh, as I think I mentioned that I, I did have an extraordinary experience in my, in my, in my third year at Kings, which, uh, which kind of left a, a a lasting impression on me. Speaker 2 00:19:13 What, can you describe that experience? Speaker 1 00:19:16 Yes, yes, I can. Um, so what, what happened was, um, I was in my third year, and it was before my finals, uh, before my final exams. And, uh, I've been going through a really, really difficult period. Um, I was a, a Penn student in, in an expensive city, and, um, as, as London is, and I was living in a bed in, uh, in southeast London in Peckham, which is quite, they disrespect people who live in, but at the time, it was, it wasn't a particularly nice place. And, um, I'd been going through a difficult period, uh, I felt that, um, I'd experienced of, uh, intense sadness and, uh, I was kinda becoming quite depressed, um, and sad. I remember, you know, crying a lot at this time. I was about 20, 21 years of, you know, years of age. So it was quite a confusing time. Speaker 1 00:20:14 And I really struggled as well with theology, with reading theology because it was, um, extremely challenging to understand, I dunno if you've ever tried to understand Sogar or Hagar or Can, or Aquinas or any of these minds, and remember not being a Christian, um, it, it was, it was really, really difficult. And, um, I remember, um, you know, drawing maps of, you know, of what are these, what are these people trying to say? I, you know, I don't understand reading the same chapters and pages 15, 20 times trying to understand what, you know, where they're, where they're coming from. And, um, you know, the whole thing was just quite a, um, was just quite difficult. And then, um, I actually related my experience of, um, you know, being quite sad and, um, you know, being, uh, struggling to, to, you know, to cope with, um, uh, life in London and being a, and being a student, et cetera. Speaker 1 00:21:13 And, and, um, I spoke about it with this, um, guy on the course, this other student on the course. He was a, uh, a Christian. In fact, he was, um, he was, uh, he was from, uh, Peru originally, but he had, um, you know, perfect, uh, perfect English. And I remember telling him about, you know, my, my, my life and everything. And he said, well, don't worry about it, Chris, because you're just being rude by the Holy Spirits. And, uh, I thought, I thought this guy was, uh, completely insane because, um, I, I didn't understand what he was saying. It made absolutely no sense. I just thought he was another one of those idiot Christians. Um, I, but that said, some part of what he said made sense to me at the time. And I remember waking up one Friday morning, uh, in my bed sit, and I knew that I had to, um, get to the chapel at Kings College. Speaker 1 00:22:15 Uh, so you take the train in from, uh, from Packham and, um, and the chapel at Kings College is on the first floor. It's a very kind of, um, Greek, Greek orthodoxy type of type of place. So it's, uh, uh, it's a, it's a, it's a really beautiful chapel, actually. And I arrived there and I immediately got down onto my knee, um, in, in, in the, I was in, in the pews. And I just started saying, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. And I started saying, I'm sorry, from the, um, from the bottom of my heart, I started, you know, crying from my guts, you know, I dunno if you ever had that experience. And, and I was just boiling my eyes out. And then from nowhere I heard a voice that said, go in peace. Speaker 1 00:23:06 I was like, it was like a command. It was like a command. And, you know, since, since then, I've, I've tried to psychoanalyze that voice and think, well, maybe I, I heard that voice because, uh, I, I was going through a very difficult emotional time, et cetera. But in, in that moment when I was told to go in peace, I felt incredibly light, like all my burdens have been lifted, and I knew that I had crossed les's ditch, and I had gone from skepticism to theism, and there was no going back, uh, because that voice, that voice was a command. It was, I, I thought about it a lot since it happened. And, you know, I recognize the voice, but I didn't know who it was. Mm-hmm. It's, it's quite strange. Um, it's, it's a difficult, I think, concept to get across, but it means I recognize the voice. Speaker 1 00:24:24 Um, but I didn't understand who it was at the time. And sometime after, sometime after this had happened, um, I walked outta the, uh, lift in the McDon building, and there was a friend of mine, uh, Christina, standing there in front of me, and she looked at me and she said that my face was shining. And, um, she, she started crying. She said she knew what had happened. Oh, why? So, so, so it was, um, uh, so I committed to, um, uh, a church. I went to, uh, for a period of about six months. Um, I went, I started going to church. And, um, it was a, it was quite a charismatic church. And, uh, this was the first time in my life really I'd been two church to church willingly, um, after my very dry and wooden experience of going to church, going to a Catholic church when I was a kid at Christmas or, or Easter. Um, it was a very charismatic church, and there was a lot of charismatic expression. And at the time, I kind of felt a little bit uncomfortable with that. So, um, I pulled out after about six months, and it wasn't the right time in my life to, I think, um, continue with that going to church. And, um, I was very young in the head. I still had a lot of living to do. Um, but I think in the context of my entire journey, you know, you know, God, God is patient. Speaker 2 00:26:15 Mm-hmm. Speaker 1 00:26:15 You know, I still felt God had his hand on me. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:26:21 I'd like to take a break to let you know about some additions we've been making to these side B stories episodes that give you more than one way to benefit from them. First of all, we've been recording these podcasts on video as well as audio. So if you're interested in seeing, as well as hearing these amazing stories of atheists and skeptic conversions, hop on over to our Cby Stories YouTube channel. We have been posting the last few episodes in video and plan to continue doing that for all new episodes, as well as working our way backward through our Cby Stories catalog as well. Just go on over to YouTube and search for CBE stories, and you should find the stories and videos there. Secondly, for those of you who would like to read these CBEs conversion stories, we have also been transcribing each episode to make it easier to look back on their journeys in print. Speaker 2 00:27:18 If you're interested in this, most of the episode transcripts, except for the most recent few, are now available on the CS Lewis Institute website. That's Again, we are a podcast of the CS Lewis Institute, and that's why this connection. So once you go to the CS Lewis website, look for resources, select podcasts, and there you'll find side B stories under each story, find and select where it says more info. And there you'll find the transcripts. We hope to have all of these up on our side be Stories website soon as well. Now back to our story. Speaker 2 00:28:08 Yes, yes. So, um, just to, to clarify, you, you, you went through this, uh, theological education Yeah. You were expecting to debunk it. Instead you found yourself kind of compelled by the intellectual grounding of it. Yes. Um, so there was some element of you were finding some truth or belief perhaps, and then, and then you had this religious experience to, to where it felt personally and palpably real. That's right. So, so you grabbed hold of it, it grabbed hold of you mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I guess mm-hmm. <affirmative> for a period of time, um, but just for a period of time. Is that right? Yeah, Speaker 1 00:28:54 Yeah, that's right. I, yeah, I just think I was too young in the head. I couldn't, I couldn't commit to it. Um, I, I, you know, I was, I think I was very wild at the time. I had a lot of living to do, and, uh, I just wasn't ready to make that commitment in faith. Um, that's, that's, in retrospect, that's where I think I, I, I was with things at that particular point in my life. I was about 20, 21, um, at the time. Right. And that was, that was that. But it never left me. It never left me, and it still hasn't left me. Um, you know, but that was, that was something that really did change my life at the time. And it was, it, it was an extremely powerful, powerful thing that happened. And, uh, I, I only told a, a few of my friends about it, cause it was, it was pretty extraordinary. Speaker 2 00:29:47 Oh, I bet, I bet. Yeah. Something like that would, would definitely be life changing for sure. Yeah. But, but like you say, you were young and not ready to commit to the fullness of what it means to follow Christ. So what happened next then? Speaker 1 00:30:06 Well, I had to, I had to go out and get a proper job, um, after I, I graduated. And, um, and, um, I, I really only at that point in my life, I think I wanted to see the world, and I wanted to travel. And I did end up traveling extensively. And, um, I think, um, yeah. So I had to cut my hair and, um, put on a suit, and I really hated that. And, um, I was told that one of the, uh, companies I worked for that, uh, I wasn't a very good cog in the machine. Speaker 2 00:30:37 <laugh>. Okay. You were still the rebel of sorts, <laugh>. Speaker 1 00:30:41 Absolutely. Yeah. So, so I just said, thank you very much. I said, thank you. Cause I thought it was a compliment, but actually it wasn't a compliment. And, um, I was marched outta the building and, um, I, I ended up, uh, in the late nineties going, going to India because that's a country that I'd always wanted to visit and go to, you know, for me, uh, you know, it was really exotic and exciting and different. And, um, so that's what I ended up doing. And, uh, I ended up, um, deciding that, uh, I wanted to stay in India and not, uh, I was intent on not rejoining the rat race in, uh, in London. Uh, so, uh, I kind of took the entrepreneurial route. So I set up, uh, my first business, um, buying textiles in India. And, um, I used to import the textiles back to London and Paris, and I had a stool on the Portobella road. Speaker 1 00:31:39 And I became very, very indianized during this process. And, um, and, uh, and that's what I did for a few years. I, I followed the sun for a few years, which was, um, which is a wonderful experience as a, you know, as a, as a young man. And, uh, I had a motorbike in India, and I went out into the, uh, the villages to, to find these, uh, textiles and, um, and, uh, you know, learned scuba diving. And, um, you know, I just had a, I just had, I just had an, an amazing time and, and actually one of those buying missions, uh, in a place called Rishikesh and Himalayas, I was introduced to yoga, uh, and, uh, yoga meditation. So, um, yes. So that's when I, uh, developed my, uh, my interest and my studies in that, I think from a theological perspective, uh, I think because I probably didn't continue the root of, uh, you know, committing myself to, uh, uh, you know, my journey with, with the Lord, I think because I was a, i I was a theist. Speaker 1 00:32:47 Um, at the time I thought that you could find God in all things. What I didn't realize, of course, is that, um, all these different pathways are, um, have different concepts of God, and they actually lead to very different places. But I didn't know that when I was, uh, when I was one. And, uh, I actually remember going to my, um, when I was in the India going to my swamis, uh, which is, uh, um, you know, teacher in, um, seventh square. So going to my swamis quarters and challenging him about one of the lectures that he delivered. And, uh, he actually turned around to me and said, uh, uh, he was surprised because he was being challenged. He's not always challenged. And, uh, he said, he asked me, by, by Hughes authority, do you come? Uh, which I thought was a very strange question to ask because I was just asking a question. But, um, uh, I can't remember my his answer cause it's such a long time ago. But, uh, I should imagine that probably his, um, his, his, yes, his, his, his position, his position would be able to, um, uh, you know, put up with too much scrutiny. I doubt that, um, his worldview was defensible Speaker 1 00:34:06 When push comes to shove, I think, I think where that's where that conversation would've ended up. But, um, of course, that's with 20, 20 odd years of high insight. Speaker 2 00:34:18 So when you, when you ran into, or you became invested somewhat in another worldview in another world across the world Yeah. And you were, you were considering that God was, you know, multifaceted, perhaps, or she could, you know, there were all these roads, but then you, you were questioning that you were questioning this particular road, and, and you found some resistance. Um, did that make you think, well, perhaps they're not all the same, perhaps, like you say, it doesn't come from the same place or lead to the same God. Speaker 1 00:34:55 Um, Speaker 2 00:34:55 Sure. Did that, did that, uh, kind of stir up that, that intellectual part of you, that that said that, you know, they can't all be true? Speaker 1 00:35:06 Oh, sure. Yes. I mean, I never went to India to find God, or I was never trying to find God in India, which is an extremely good position to go in, because I think as a westerner, if you go to India to find God, you're gonna find millions. And I think cause of, because of my experience in the chapel, uh, more than, or, uh, the study of theology at university, I, I, I kind of knew in my heart who God was. So for me, yoga was only ever a physical type of, um, a a physical type of, uh, practice that, uh, was done in order to, um, you know, uh, to be healthy for its therapeutic value. And because I went into teaching it in the end, um, because of my, uh, studies in theology, I could understand, you know, what theta was, and I could lecture about it. Uh, I could, I could inform people about what it, what it was, um, you know, where it was from. And I think what I'm trying to say is that I didn't mix, um, physiology with metaphysics, if you know what I mean. I, uh, or anatomy with metaphysics, I was always able to be really clear about, this is what this bit's about, and this is what that bit's about. I didn't, I didn't fuse them. I was always quite kind of objective about its practice. Speaker 2 00:36:49 Mm. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, thank you for clarifying that, because I think oftentimes there's a conflation of, of yoga that you buy into it's full metaphysics, um, um, implications if you're, if you're, yeah. If you're practicing yoga, and it sounds to me that you, you really try to separate the physicality from them as a metaphysic. Yes. Um, so how long were you there in this world and, and teaching and, and where was God or faith or the, the God that you had experienced back in the chapel? Um, where where was he in any or all of this? Speaker 1 00:37:33 Yeah, I think, uh, that's a really good question, um, Jonna because, um, what ended up happening is I think that, um, the God that I experienced in the chapel gradually began to dissipate. And, uh, I began to, because I was spending so much time in India, I began to bring in other views into my understanding, um, which were kind of more kind of vedantic views of God and Dantic philosophy. So, um, yeah, so, so that's what I ended up doing. And, and, and I went else. And, um, I, I made, um, uh, a name for myself teaching, uh, I, uh, I, I, I, I, I majored on teaching, uh, you know, one-to-ones, but I started, when I started, I did classes and, um, you know, my name got out there as a, as a yoga teacher. And, um, um, I made sure that I was, uh, well networked and, uh, I, you know, I taught, um, um, various VIPs and stuff. Speaker 1 00:38:43 And, uh, I had the ear of, um, you know, the, uh, the press as well. And, um, you know, by my kind of work, inverted commerce was, uh, kind of in quite a few of the, uh, you know, the, uh, uh, national pages of the health press and, uh, magazines and stuff. So, um, I managed to really, um, scale it out there. And, um, and, and during this period, I developed a, a, um, um, a product range as well, which I got out into, um, shops and, um, uh, you know, that national chains and kind of were at the high end. And, um, so by the time we get to 2015, I, I really had very little interest, uh, in the church, the Christian's faith, um, you know, uh, Jesus, et cetera. And, um, you know, um, uh, and the only Christians by about 2015 that I knew was, um, my neighbor Mike. Speaker 1 00:39:53 Um, he was, he was a Christian, but I always felt that, um, you know, he was a bit too Christian <laugh>, but I'll, I'll put up with him. And of course, the other Christian I, I knew in my life was Cliff Richard. But, um, I didn't know him, but, uh, I just knew that he was a Christian, so I didn't really have any, I felt that the church was, um, an anachronism. I thought that all Christians were narrow minded and bigoted. Um, and, and I thought my understanding, um, by that stage of what, um, you know, Jesus was all about, was far more sophisticated than, you know, the Christian theological understanding. Uh, and of course, what I, what I didn't realize is that I'd kind of, uh, I I, I'd actually become quite bigoted myself, um, intellectually bigoted. And of course it was, um, my, my views and my understanding was, uh, were, were very unfounded, I think, at the time. Speaker 1 00:40:50 So I had to come back to London in the year 2000 because, um, I'd had, um, uh, quite a, quite a serious, um, injury. And, um, I broke, I broke my neck in the year two thousands. So, um, I had to stop traveling and traveling overseas, and I was laid up in hospital, and, uh, so I had to recover from that. And, um, and it was, it was after that I thought, actually, uh, what, what I should, uh, what I could really do now is, cause I've done so much study in it, um, is, uh, I, I'll go into teaching yoga meditation, which is what I ended up doing. Speaker 2 00:41:26 Okay. All right. Speaker 1 00:41:27 Yeah. Speaker 2 00:41:28 Yeah. And then you had this lovely neighbor Speaker 1 00:41:32 That's right. Who was a Christian. That's right. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:41:34 That's, yeah. But you didn't, you didn't, you didn't think too much of Christians at that point, so, Speaker 1 00:41:39 No, I didn't, I didn't. But I remember actually going around to his, going around to his house. Uh, he lived in Ingham in southwest London. And, uh, it was, it was actually when I was thinking about moving into the area, uh, I'd been living in North London until this point. And, um, he was rent, he was actually, um, he, he was, uh, renting out rooms in his house. He had lodges. And, um, and I remember when I first, I first met him, and we had an incredible conversation about, uh, you know, theology and Christian theology. And, uh, I thought, well, I'm always going to know this, this man. Um, I know I don't wanna live here because I kinda decided that I wanted my own place, but I know I'm always gonna to, I'm always gonna, um, I'm always gonna know him. And in fact, he became the, um, the godfather of my, uh, of my, of, of one of my children. Speaker 2 00:42:28 Oh, my. Speaker 1 00:42:29 Later on. Yeah, that's right. But he was, he was, uh, he's a, he's an, he's an, he's an amazing guy. And, um, you know, we used to spend, uh, quite lot of time theo theologizing at, uh, at his house. And, uh, of course, I came from a very kind of universalist perspective, a very kinda John Hick type of, uh, you know, perspective, liberal perspective, I guess you could say. And, um, at one point, during one conversation we had, and this is a long time before I'd even began to go down that Christian path or began to commit my myself, um, he said, he said to me, Chris, uh, at some point, at some stage, you are going to have to name him. Speaker 2 00:43:15 And what did he mean by that? Speaker 1 00:43:17 Well, I think, um, because my perspective was so universalist, uh, a kind of fluid and, um, that I don't know what he meant. Well, I, I think what he meant is, Chris, you know, you're gonna have to be more specific. You're gonna have to, you know, your, your lines of argumentation, you're gonna, you're gonna have to start being able to defend them <laugh>, you know, you, you're gonna have to, um, you know, back, back up what you're saying basically. And, um, when he said that to me, uh, Chris, you're gonna have, you know, one day you're gonna have to name him, you know, um, I dunno if you've ever had one of the, those experiences when the whole of your world kind becomes slightly fuzzy at the edge edges and stops <laugh> when it was kinda one of those moments. Ok. I, I, I think what happened was, it was a, it was a prick of my conscience. Speaker 2 00:44:17 Mm. Speaker 1 00:44:19 It was just a prick of my conscience. And, um, Speaker 2 00:44:21 So, so he challenged you and, and so yeah. How did you respond to that? Speaker 1 00:44:28 Oh, well, um, I can't remember how I responded. I just remember being really taken aback by the question, um, and just standing there and probably think to myself, well, yeah, gee, I think he's right. <laugh>, at some point I'm gonna, mm, i I I'm gonna have to think through these things properly. Speaker 2 00:44:49 So did you, did you go back into kind of a more intellectual mode in terms of trying to look at this question and, and become more specific about who God is and what you believe? Or how did you approach that question? Well, Speaker 1 00:45:06 Well, actually, what, what happened, um, Janna is, um, during this time, um, by, by coming to Faith was actually more of a process that, um, kinda occurred between two. And what I'd like to do, I'd like to share some of those moments, I think, uh, which really, um, kind of, um, yeah, which were really kind of, um, important moments in that, in, in that journey. And, um, what happened at the time is, um, my wife did a, did an alpha course. Speaker 2 00:45:46 Now, what drew her to an alpha course, I'm just curious, what, was your wife a, a, a Christian, or just a just curious or, Speaker 1 00:45:57 Well, we lived across the road from, um, the church we ended up going to, and, um, it's a St. Stevens in, in twen. And I'd actually been living across the road from this church for 10 years without ever stepping foot inside. And, and I didn't step foot inside because I smelt the whiff of evangelism. You know, I'd read Theology at Kings, I thought I knew everything. And of course, ended up I knew not. I knew very little, very little. Ok, alright, so, so it, so, so what happened is my, my wife started going to an alpha course, and she actually asked me if I'd like to join her. And I'm slightly embarrassed to say that, um, I declined. I didn't want to join her. Um, I had no interest in, um, the church or Christian faith or Jesus, or anything like that. I just wasn't interested. And, um, I started to see that her behavior started to change when I, when I got back at, up into our apartment, she was, uh, uh, listening to kind of contemporary worship music. But I remember thinking to myself, um, you know, my goodness, she's, she's got it badly. This whole Christian thing, you know, she's got it badly, you know, I remember, I remember thinking. Speaker 2 00:47:18 So, so she started, she started really absorbing Christianity and the, the culture did she take up on a personal belief in God and Jesus at that Speaker 1 00:47:28 Time. So at that time when she, when she was doing, um, service at, uh, across the road at, uh, St. Stevens, and during this service showing a black and white film of, um, you know, the Virgin Mary. And I remember thinking to myself at the time, I remember thinking, you know, it was, it was, uh, it was a very good production. And I began to think, you know, what, what if, you know, and I thought was thought to myself, well, this prob something like this probably did happen. And, and then kind of the next Sunday we were, um, we went to a service, um, a family service, and we were really embraced by the, uh, by the, by the people who went to, um, St. Stevens with open arms. And we were really encouraged. And, uh, I was invited to join a, uh, a bible group, a men's bible group called Fishes and Men. Speaker 1 00:48:32 And I remember, um, during, during a service, um, I remember, um, we were singing some kind of contemporary worship music. And, uh, I, I saw on the, on the screen, Christ described as lovely and beautiful. And, um, it, it was, it was, and, uh, I saw at the same time, there were a couple of the people in the church, you know, raising their, their, their, their arms. And, and I really wanted to be one of them. Um, and, you know, no longer was, um, God a sort of an intellectual type of primary cause or first mover or, you know, or that, those kind of, those kind of things. And, um, to, to to, to, to, to get any kind of understanding that God was, for me was, was really radical to me. It was quite, quite, uh, quite insane, really. I, I, I began to think, you know what, why would, why would God be interested in me? Speaker 1 00:49:44 And then I think during that process, um, I came to understand who Christ, um is and who Christ was. And, um, and, and, and it was really, really, you know, really powerful. And, um, but one of the, one of the deciding, um, factors was my wife once came, um, back into my apartment. I was standing in the kitchen, and, uh, we were struggling to, uh, conceive at the time. We'd waited about, um, five years, and, uh, we're involved with, um, ivf uh, assisted conception. And, um, my, my wife came into the kitchen, and, uh, she announced, or she, she told me that while she was in prayer on the train, coming back from King's College, which where, where the I V F was actually happening at the time, she said that, um, God had spoken to her and had given her the word, um, Nathan. Speaker 1 00:50:51 And she said that she didn't know any Nathan. So she Googled the word Nathaniel. And, uh, it means Nathaniel means God. God has given, and it was so outta the, uh, ordinary, uh, my wife's saying that cause she's not the kind of person to say that kind thing. Um, I was just, I, I just thought, what whatcha talk, whatcha talking about God spoke to you on a tray? What are, what are you saying? You know, but, but what it, what I did remember in that moment, Janna, is how God spoke to me in the, in the chapel when he said, go in peace. So I knew exactly, I knew that God talks to his creation. I I knew that because that was the experience I had. Right? And I wa and I went to the church on the Sunday, and I spoke with this lovely, um, uh, American lady called Annie, Annie, who was on one of the help desks there. Speaker 1 00:51:55 And I said, Annie, you're never gonna believe it. You're never gonna believe it. My wife's pregnant. And of course, I saw, um, Amy's face, and it was just this, this picture of awe just came over her face and amazement and reverence, and it really, really difficult to, uh, describe. But I, I knew that she had been praying for us, and I knew a lot of people at that church had been praying for us. Wow. So a lot of things were happening and had started to happen. And there was another moment as well. Um, um, I was exhibiting with my business at a, a new age kind of show, and I was there, uh, exhibiting with my business. And, um, I had a look at the floor plan, and I saw it was about this period. And, uh, I was very, very excited because I kind of felt that things were happening, and I had this newfound face, and I saw on the floor plan that there was this one Christian organization that was a, like, um, like a prayer organization in the middle of that somos board of New Age, um, uh, uh, businesses. Speaker 1 00:53:18 And I made a beeline for that, um, for that, uh, spot. And, um, I said to the woman, she sat down and I, and I just said to her, I, I was really excited, and I said, isn't, it isn't just amazing that, um, Christ died sins and was resurrect on the day. And I was just so enamored and passionate about it. And I think I made her feel a little bit uncomfortable because she kind of, she kind of looked away. I think she felt that I was probably one of the Luna Tunes from the, uh, you know, from, from the, uh, from the trade show, from one of the, you know, <laugh>, other, other kind of, you know, new age, um, um, businesses. But, um, what I realized at the time was that this was a brand, a new position. This was a new position, position for me in life. This was a, a, um, a supernaturally assisted position. This was not somewhere I could have got to myself. Wow. And, and, and, and this is what, um, this is what ended up happening. And, um, yes. And, um, yeah, I was just, I was just amazed. Speaker 2 00:54:35 I'd like to take a moment to pause and tell you about my new book. In this culture of increasing skepticism towards conservative forms of Christianity, what motivates atheists to believe in the reality of God and become passionate followers of Christ through the views lives and stories of 50 former atheists. I've written a book that takes a broadened look at their religious conversions. Not only to answer the question, what would it take for an atheist to become a Christian, but more clearly, what did it take? The most intriguing question of all this book is written through years of talking with former atheists. It includes what I've learned about their journeys from atheism to belief in God and Christianity. It's called Atheist Finding God. I wanted to take a broad look at their conversions to consider a wide range of influences that cause someone to hold and yet change believes. Speaker 2 00:55:37 We take a look at atheism atheists, and what they believe about themselves, their own views, their own lives, and what they think about God, Christians and Christianity, and why they reject it all. We consider how and why they turn from resistance to openness towards considering the possibility of God. We look at their questing towards belief, their conversions, and the amazing life transformations that follow. Importantly, much of what is written is through their own words, their perspectives, their stories, their voices. Whether you are someone who is skeptical of belief and believers, if you've moved from skepticism to Christianity, if you are moving from Christianity towards skepticism, or if you are someone who just wants to understand more deeply and engage more meaningfully with non-believers, I think this is the book that is for you. It is worthwhile. Right now, the publisher, Lexington, is offering a 30% discount on both hardback and ebook formats. In order to get the discount, you'll need to use a promo code and call them or connect with them on their website. And I will include all of that information in the episode notes. You can also find it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but without the discount. If you're interested. Again, I will include the necessary information for ordering in the episode notes. Again, the name of my book is called Atheist Finding. God, I hope you'll read it now, back to our story. Speaker 2 00:57:25 Yeah. So I, and you know, the, what your, your friend had encouraged you to kind of figure things out to, to, to, to find your way towards God, um, the God, not any God, but the God. Right. And so you, he was finding his way towards you, and you were finding his, your way towards him, <laugh>. That's right. Um, yeah. And through your wife and, and you were putting yourself in a position of, of really belief and coming to faith, seeing these things happening in your wive's life and your life. Yeah. And, um, obviously you became very excited about, you were describing Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, and what that meant. Yeah. And, you know, um, yeah. For you that I love what you say that you, you learned that God was for you. Speaker 1 00:58:21 Yes. That's right. Speaker 2 00:58:23 And then, and so that, that's what the gospel is, right. That God is, is for you. And then he came to Yes. To bring you to himself. Um, yeah. Yeah. So, so you were coming to a, a place of really true personal belief, it sounds like. Mm-hmm. Speaker 1 00:58:42 Yeah, that's right. It was no longer just an intellectual thing. Um, it, it was no longer he was, you know, just the, uh, as I mentioned earlier, you know, the, uh, the first cause or the unmoved mover, or you become irreducibly personal in my life. And, um, when I had this conversation with this woman at the, at the trade Fair, it became evident to me that I'd become a Christian Speaker 2 00:59:07 <laugh>. You surprised yourself? Speaker 1 00:59:11 I did. Cause I had, I did. Cause I had no plans. I had no plans to become a Christian. I, I didn't, I didn't become Christian. I, I, uh, I didn't, I didn't really try to seek it out. Um, but yes, there I was. And, um, you know, it was a radically new, uh, supernaturally assisted position and, uh, an irreducibly Christian view of the world. And that's where I got to. And, um, and I remember a, um, another, um, quick story that, uh, I'd love to tell you about was when I was with a friend Sure. And all my, all my friends had noticed something was happening in my life. Something was going on. And a very good friend of mine turnaround one day while I was visiting in the North London, and he said, surely you don't believe all that stuff. And I said to him, I said to him, oh no, I believe that, um, you know, Jesus Christ lived 2000 years ago. Um, he was crucified that the, the gospels are very, very accurate, and he must definitely resurrected it. And not only that, he died from my sins. And I said it with such weight, um, that when I'd stopped, my friend just turned around to me and he said, omg. Speaker 1 01:00:36 Um, Speaker 2 01:00:37 I guess he was, and actually he was stunned. He was stunned at your passion, I'm presume, <laugh>. Speaker 1 01:00:43 Well, yes. And it kind of felt like it wasn't me who was saying that it was <laugh>, Speaker 2 01:00:51 It was the spirit of God. Right. Speaker 1 01:00:54 It was, it was just so powerful. And, and then a few months, a few months, a few months later, um, he'd, he'd come down to and to see me, and we were, we were walking, walking down the road. We weren't talking about faith or Christ or anything. And then he pointed across the road at the church where I was going to, and he asked me, he said, is that where you go to church Speaker 2 01:01:20 <laugh>? Speaker 1 01:01:22 I mean, it was just really funny when he asked me, because, um, I just thought, yeah, but, um, you know, yes. It's, that's where, where I go to church and, and, and that was it. So, but, but the point is, I knew that what I'd said had made an impact on him. Speaker 2 01:01:35 Right. Yeah, Speaker 1 01:01:38 I'm sure did. I hadn't thought about it. I hadn't even thought about it. I hadn't thought about it, but he was thinking about it. So it just goes to show how many hungry people, uh, you know, there are out there, um, <affirmative>. Speaker 2 01:01:53 Yeah. There, there really are. And, and speaking of that, you know, um, if, uh, Chris, I'm sure that there are a lot of people who are listening who are hungry. Some recognize the hunger. Some actually probably don't even know that they're hungry. They just, uh, are are looking for something and they're, they're not really sure. Uh, but how would you encourage someone who is a curious skeptic or who might be looking in the direction of God or trying to figure things out? Um, what would you encourage them to think about or to do? Speaker 1 01:02:36 I, I, I think, um, it depends what kind of, um, you know, non-believer or skeptic that you are talking about. But if, if they, if they do have a sincere heart, you know, there's a, there's a, um, and they are interested. Um, I mean, I, I, I think a really good, great place to start is reading, uh, you know, I'm, I'm an, I'm an avid reader, and there's a plethora of good books out there that will help to, um, address, um, the issues that, um, or the questions that, um, you know, these, these people might have. Uh, and, um, I think what a really good thing to do would be to find out, you know, the types of, um, problems that they may have with, um, you know, where, where they're at in terms of their faith journey, even if they know it's a journey or not. Speaker 1 01:03:38 And, um, maybe just to gently put a, put a book in their hands, uh, because you're never given enough time, the time you need to, um, really go into too much depth or to, um, you know, um, talk about it in as much detail or necessarily have all the answers there at hand to talk to someone who has, you know, who does have, um, you know, lots and lots of questions. And since I came to faith, um, I have to say, um, you know, I, well, before I became a Christian, I heard all about, um, you know, when you, when you, when you come to faith, you become the enemy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that's been my experience. That really has been my experience. And, um, you know, I'm not playing a victim card at all, but I've really, really noticed that, you know, because I was the one who had the business and, uh, you know, the business had a profile and et cetera, et cetera. Speaker 1 01:04:42 But since I've come to faith, I've, you know, a lot of my friends think I've gone insane. That, that I've just gone, that I've gone crazy and, uh, uh, I've, I've, I I'm stupid or this, that, or the other. So I think there's a lot of, there's a loss of, um, arrogance out there and a lot of intellectual arrogance. But actually, I think the, the truth is it's not intellectual arrogance because, um, I think it really is. Um, it's, it, it's, it's mo it's mainly emotionally driven because if you, if you had a, a proper intellectual conversation about all of these issues, uh, my belief is that it can only lead you to Christ. Speaker 1 01:05:38 So I think what I'm trying to say is, is I think the obstacles people have to faith, certainly to the Christian faith often, I, I, I find that they're emotionally driven atheists for, uh, for example, um, so to a hard-nosed skeptic who has rejected the Christian faith outta hand, um, I'd always say to them, well, you know, you have to consider the evidence no matter where it comes from, because if you are not willing to consider the evidence wherever it c comes from, then, um, this effect will make you intellectually dishonest. Hmm. Um, so you, you have to be able to, you have to be able to consider these things without dismissing them or rejecting them out of hand. And I've had a lot of those types of conversations, and I, I enjoy asking people questions. Um, I, I, I've never been the kind of apologist who tries to preach at people, but really just to ask, but some very, very gentle questions, because often, um, I find that, um, skeptics or certain types of skeptics are often just repeating caricatures of Christianity or the Christian faith or, or repeating slogans without actually ever really truly understanding what it is they're talking about. Speaker 1 01:07:14 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, that's, that's, uh, I'm, look, I'm, I would consider myself to be quite a new Christian still, but that's been my limited experience so far. And, um, when I get into a conversation, I love getting into these, um, sorts of conversations. Um, I often say to people who are curious about, um, Christ in the Christian faith or religion or, or whatever, I'd, I'd always say, look, I'm, I'm not an expert, um, but I'd love to share my story with you and see, and see what you're saying. See, that helps. Have you found, yeah. Speaker 2 01:08:00 Have you found some reception to that? Speaker 1 01:08:03 Oh, yeah. Very much. Mm-hmm. Yes. That's right. Yes, I have. Um, but, but I've also been, because you see, when I came to Faith, I expected the whole world to come to Faith <laugh>, which of course, which of course, which of course didn't happen, because you realize something's true and you're so enthusiastic about it. Um, you know, I've learned the hard way, obviously, but when I first came to Faith, I was picking people up on, on social media and saying, well, you can't just say something like that. Have you considered this? Uh, and, and, and, and, and hoping that people will start to, you know, question their assumptions and, uh, um, et cetera, but in a, kinda, in a, in a gentle way. And, and I think a lot of the time people just need to be able to be given, uh, permission to be able to even ask these sorts of questions. I, I think especially in the kinda, you know, scientific communities and people who consider themselves to be, you know, o o of, of a scientific mindset and, um, you know, um, yeah. Speaker 2 01:09:07 Hmm. And, uh, you mentioned putting a book in someone's hand. I suppose it, it may, may depend on the kinds of questions or objections That's right. That, that someone might have. Uh, but, uh, yes. Are there any particular books that, that come to mind just off the top of your head that you like to, to give that you feel <laugh> are helpful? Um, again, Speaker 1 01:09:37 Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there, I mean, there are tons of, of great books. Um, uh, I love, um, um, gosh, I mean, I love, I love William, um, bill Craig. Um, I think he's a fantastic, um, apologist. I, I think, um, you know, he's just so clear and succinct. Um, the way that he, uh, puts things, puts things across. And, and what's really great these days is that, you know, you've got tons of Bill Craig on YouTube. So if you, if you, if you, if you've got a quick question to ask about, well, um, you know, suffering even and suffering, for example, well, well see, see what Bill Craig has to say about it, because he, he, um, because for ev, for all the questions that you have, someone has probably answered that question. Just do a bit of research. Do a bit of research. Speaker 1 01:10:30 So yeah, you've got Bill Craig, you've got, um, you know, um, CS Lewis, um, you've got Tim Timothy Keller who, uh, I think is, um, uh, just wonderful the way he speaks into that cultural, into that cultural space and how he grew, um, you know, the, the redeemer in, you know, in Manhattan, in a very secular, in environment, you know, what did he do? How, you know, how is he addressing his audience? And, um, he's written some great stuff. He's very accessible. Um, he's not too intellectual, um, but he's just intellectual enough, um, you know, for those very educated people of Manhattan who are very similar to the people that you meet in London who are very similar to the people you meet in Melbourne and, and Sydney. Um, John Lennox is great. Um, uh, gosh, you, we got here. Um, um, yeah, we, we've got lots and lots of people. Um, yeah. So I think those are good people to start with. Speaker 2 01:11:31 Yeah. I think those are really great recommendations now for the, for the Christian to engage with the non-believer. You've already given a lot of advice about asking questions and offering resources and Yeah. And, uh, just listening, is there anything else there, or even Speaker 1 01:11:54 I think, I think never underestimate the power of a good question. Speaker 2 01:11:58 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, Speaker 1 01:12:00 You know, I, I think the question, why would you say that is a really powerful apologetic question? Because if you ask that question, people will start to question their own assumptions. And usually, um, those assumptions are, um, only one or two or three in line to, for their argument to, to, uh, to fall down or certainly their position to, to fall down because they realize that, um, you know, their position is vacuous. There's nothing there. I dunno if that made any sense, by the way, but, uh, Speaker 2 01:12:40 No, it makes perfect sense. Yeah. It helps, it helps someone to think about why they believe what they believe rather than just, yeah. Throwing out a slogan or, or, or, or a caricature like you were saying before, of, of, of our faith, you know, just kind of our, um, but, but yes, uh, I think I, you, you can't underestimate the value of a question. I think it's, it's tremendous for, for everyone to think about why they believe what they believe, Christians and none. Um, but is there Yes. Speaker 1 01:13:14 Well, I, I was just gonna say as well, um, I think it's, uh, when you, when you ask a question, um, it's never about, it's never about winning the war, you know? Um, I, I'm, I, I, especially in the job that I'm doing at the moment, I've met all sorts of Christians now. Um, and, um, it's, it's even about winning, winning the battle. It's just about people. The, and, and maybe, and maybe just making them feel a little bit uncomfortable. And I think, uh, does, I think it's kugel who refers to it as just putting a stone in someone's shoe, Speaker 2 01:13:53 Right? Speaker 1 01:13:55 And, and, and I think that's, that's, that's where you wanna start, and just let then pray and let the Holy Spirit did his work. Speaker 2 01:14:03 Yes, yes. The Holy Spirit would woo them as he wooed you. Yeah. Speaker 1 01:14:09 Yeah. That's right. Yes. Speaker 2 01:14:11 Yeah. Oh, what a beautiful story, Chris. It's a, it's, it's a very, uh, I would say it's, it's a very circuitous story. It takes all kinds of twists and turns, kind a little bit unexpected, but you found your way back to, to the one God who is true and who is real, who had revealed himself to you earlier in your life. And, and now it's obvious to me, uh, that, that, that he has transformed your life. And, and you work now actually for a Christian ministry, don't you? Speaker 1 01:14:46 Yes, that's right. When I, when I came to Australia, I wanted to, um, explore my Christian convictions. Um, I'd actually stepped outta my business and, and, uh, yeah, I, I stepped outta it. And, um, I work for an organization called, um, Bible League and Bible League, uh, resources, the under-resourced global church through the provision of Bibles and biblical resources. It's actually a mission that started in Illinois in the 1930s and came to Australia in the 1970s. And, um, what I do is I work as a development officer in Victoria, so I support our supporters. Um, I, I, I, I visit them and make sure everything is okay. And then on the other side of things, I go into churches on, on Sundays, and it can be at any denomination. Uh, so we work, uh, right across the spectrum. Um, you know, one Sunday I'll be talking in a Baptist church, the next Sunday I'll be talking in, uh, you know, uh, a Presbyterian church and then an Anglican church, and then Christian Reform Pentecostal. Speaker 1 01:16:01 And, and I'm often asked to do, um, share my testimony and, um, and, and, and sometimes I do messages and sermons as well. So, um, you know, um, it, it's been an incredible, uh, transformation and change when I think about, you know, what I was doing, uh, just, just a few years ago. And, um, I think one story, uh, kind of encapsulates this very, very well. Um, I was on my way to actually, uh, delivering a sermon on a Sunday morning, and, um, when it's sun, when it's morning in Australia, it's the previous evening in, in London. And, uh, I was having a conversation with my friends who were all out, um, together in a, in, in a pub somewhere. And, uh, my friend asked me, he said, what are, what are you doing? And, uh, I said, well, I, I'm actually on my way to a church to deliver a sermon Speaker 2 01:16:55 <laugh>. Speaker 1 01:16:55 And he said, and, and he just said, oh, wow. <laugh> Speaker 2 01:17:01 <laugh>, Speaker 1 01:17:02 Which gotta, it's, it's a silly story, but it kind of, it, it kind of shows you the difference in between what I was doing right. You know, five years ago as compared to, you know, what I'm, what I'm doing now in my life. Speaker 2 01:17:15 Yes. Dramatic transformation, totally unexpected for him. I'm sure. And that will probably not be the last time someone looks at you and says, oh, wow, I can't believe where you are now. But, but thank God for your story, for your life, and Lord, for the change that he's made in your life. It's so obvious. And, and two, how wonderful that he brought both your wife and you at the same time. What blessing. Yeah. That would be that, that, that, uh, that you came to Christ together and that you, your family obviously, uh, gets the blessing of that. But, uh, thank you so much Chris, for coming on today. Thank you. And for sharing your story and your insight and your wisdom. And, um, I just am so thankful for what he's done in your life and with Anna, just so pleased to share it. So thank you for coming on. Speaker 1 01:18:14 Yeah, thank you so much, John. It's been, uh, I really enjoyed sharing my, uh, sharing my story with you today. Speaker 2 01:18:21 Wonderful. Thanks for tuning into Sy Iby stories. To hear Chris's story. You can find out more about his work at the Bible League, as well as other contact information in the episode notes. For questions and feedback about this episode, you can contact me directly at our email at info sy b Also, if you're a skeptic or atheist who would like to connect with a former atheist with questions, please contact us again through our website, our email address, and we'll get you connected. I hope you enjoyed this episode and that you'll follow rate, review, and share this podcast with your friends and social network. In the meantime, I'll be looking forward to seeing you next time, where we'll see how another skeptic flips the record of their life.

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