hymns were loaded with arrogance -- self-congratulation on how cozy we
were with the Almighty and what a high opinion he had of us, what hell
everybody else would catch come Judgment Day."
do born-again people so often make you wish they'd never been born the
10.1 Reasons to reject the Bible
I dismissd the Bible
most of my life because of the hypocrisy of certain self-professing believers,
and mistaken beliefs about God and the Bible. I never heard any theology
explained to me with regard to science, logic, or historical proofs; nor
did I bother to ask.
While I never had a
problem with what I interpreted to be the Bible's general message of "be
nice to people", church seemed nothing more than empty ritual punctuated
with emotional hype and pop psychology. Christianity failed to make any
real and positive difference in my life. Ever felt that way?
10.2 Screaming backwoods Bible-beaters
By college, my sinking
opinion of organized religion was further irritated every time one of several
backwoods yahoos regularly appeared on campus literally screaming, "You're
all goin' to hell!" I was embarrassed by such a person's apparent inability
to see that the God-concept was whatever one wanted it to be.
line (from Hamlet?) "Nothing is good or bad, only thinking makes it so",
I thought people believed the Bible only because they were not educated
enough to know better. In my eyes, those screamers were either idiots or,
at best, philosophically immature. They weren't about to win me over to
By reading parts of
books from other religions such as the Bhagava-Gita, the Qur'an, and a collection
of writings by Ghandi, I felt I was enabled to see the Bible's metaphorical
mythology for its higher interpretations. I was not going to naively mistake
it to contain literal facts as did those raving fundamentalists. I saw
nothing particularly attractive in them, nor anything so undesirable in
me, as to stir up any desire to change or even question my beliefs.
10.3 Stevie Ray Vaughan preached the Word
Only after many years
and one divorce later did I become more open-minded about re-evaluating
the alleged spiritual aspects of life. Yet I still rejected the Bible without
having read it or any analytical argument for it.
At an August evening
Kansas City concert, I heard legendary blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan
surprisingly give a short message near the end of his set praising Jesus
Christ. He told the crowd of thousands that he had been turned from drugs
and aimless wandering by the help of his brother and by belief in Jesus
It was a feel-good way
to wrap up the night, but why anyone would encourage a roaring party crowd
to believe in Jesus seemed weird. The authenticity of Stevie Ray Vaughan's
beliefs, or his level of commitment toward living them out I didn't know.
I did recall his testimony quite vividly upon hearing he died in a helicopter
crash not very long afterwards.
SRV's words didn't convince me to follow Jesus, at least not that night,
Jesus turned to me through a co-worker. This co-worker shared his answers
for my many questions about the Bible as best he could; questions that were
sometimes quite pointed. I debated virtually everything about Jesus and
the Bible with him to the point that he gave up on me.
As I reflected on the
answers I had heard, and listened to a particular sermon on tape over and
over ("Examine Yourself" by John MacArthur), I became more and
more irritated. I was irritated by the fact that "God's way" was
so narrow and that the speaker was so certain of the Bible's authenticity.
I was also irritated that I was unable to defeat his arguments. At the same
time, I really did want to have a certain love for others that my grandmother
Helen Reichert exemplified more than most people. So I ventured to read
the Bible, and read about the Bible
My irritation was methodically
dispelled as I came to see that the Bible satisfied my need for intellectual
integrity to an astonishing degree. God instilled in me the truth of
Jesus Christ through the words of my friend, the actions of my grandmother,
and through my own exploration of the historicity and veracity of the scriptural
writings. By believing Jesus to be Almighty God, and by studying his
words in the Bible, I began to increasingly discern and confirm his hand
in my life.
10.4 Couldn't stand the weather
So I returned to my
university and started yelling "You're all goin' to hell" (just kidding!!!
- besides, I'd have gone to my sisters' schools - KU & MU - to do that).
While I did find a church
with good bible teaching, and even began bringing my girlfriend, my inward
desires were not yet very pure; neither toward her nor other parts of my
life. Having once been a two-bit guitarist in a crude and short-lived KISS
"tribute band", I neither intended to lessen my worship of rock
Yet in all this, the
truth behind something that C.S. Lewis once said of the new Christian slowly
became apparent in me: "It's not that God makes you give up all the things
you love, rather he gives you a love for all new things".
With increasing frequency,
I began to want to listen to Bible teaching and praise songs on the radio.
I began to not want a life cluttered with unimportant pointless stuff.
No one ever ordered me to shun rock music, as one example. It's just that
interest in Christ and his teachings progressively began to exceed other
interests. (I still love the guitar and still have hopes of playing at least
one SRV song convincingly well.)
Issue by issue, reading
the Bible continues to intellectually confirm his will in my conscience.
While sometimes my feelings are split between living according to my will
versus God's will, it always reduces to either living like the hypocrites
that I hated so much in my early church experience, or loving Christ enough
to allow his desires for me to supersede my own (read What
is the gospel?).
10.5 What I can do for you
The question I now struggle
with is "How can I relate to others the truth of that which I myself
failed to recognize for so long?" Christ is so beautiful, and has done
so much for me, that I so very much want everyone to see his glory.
I used to think that
going to heaven was about being good, or keeping the Ten Commandments, or
having good intentions, or even just believing that there is a God. But
understanding the real truth and finally accepting it was something that
did not come easily or quickly. It came only after considering the evidence
for Jesus and the Bible, and, as a consequence, realizing my own need for
Because asking questions
and looking for answers played such a key role in my birth into the faith,
and my growth ever since, it seems appropriate that I share those findings
and beliefs with you.
I have researched and
arranged, mostly in logical order, a series of questions about the Bible:
questions largely generated by the years and experiences I lived as a non-Christian,
from discussions with non-Christian friends, and from various non or anti-Christian
It is my desire that
from wherever you are, you will be able to identify with the unbelief I
once held, and more fully comprehend how one can come to life-altering belief
in Jesus Christ through the Bible.
10.6 What I can't do for you
Finally, while this
site can certainly add to your knowledge, it cannot subtract from it. I
can neither justify nor erase your experiences with immature Christians,
bad churches, or outright hypocrites.
I can tell you that
I, too, have had bad experiences with immature Christians, loathed church,
and still know hypocrites - both inside and outside the faith. I can also
tell you that no man is perfect, no man is righteous, and that includes
me. But my inability to live a scripturally perfect life no more disproves
Christianity than my failure to balance a checkbook disproves arithmetic.
It only reflects on my maturity, willingness, and abilities. Both are realities
that I can only carry out so well.
So the more that I believe
God to have both the power and desire to change me, and the closer I live
out God's exhortations in the Bible, the more evident it will be that I
truly hold God's Word to be as believable as history reveals and as this
site endeavors to set forth.
What is the gospel?
What is the Bible all about?
What is truth?