An atheist asked this of me in the comment section of another blogger’s post:
“May I inquire what was the evidence that convinced you of the truth of the biblical claims?”
I went to the trouble of typing up a rather lengthy reply knowing it would likely be wasted on him. And since I hate wasted efforts, I’ll share it with you. I don’t think I’ve ever told you my testimony… Here’s what I told him:
My dad was raised Protestant and my mom was raised Catholic. When they married, my dad converted to Catholicism because that was the deal back then. He took the classes and then he taught the classes.
We said grace at dinner, we said our prayers before bed, we sat in the cry room on Sunday mornings.
When I was in first grade I started attending catechism classes. I was given a workbook with Jesus on the cover. He was sitting under a tree with a big smile on His face and children on His lap. I was drawn to that smiling face, to those eyes that delighted in the children. I felt Love emanating from the cover of that book and I couldn’t wait to learn all about Him.
But there were some boys in the class, minions. I spent 95% of the class time with my hands folded quietly on my desk waiting for the teachers to chase the boys back into their seats.
Not long after that we stopped going to church. Something about abortion and excommunication and my fourth grade sister making something up to confess and being too intelligent for such nonsense….
No more grace, no more bedtime prayers. It felt like we were booting a member of our family.
Laying in my trundle bed one night I said, “That’s okay, Jesus, you can stay with me.”
But over barren years I forgot all about Him.
I had a work-study job in the Fisheries and Wildlife office when I was in college. One of the secretaries befriended me. She sometimes invited me to softball games at her church but I was way too cool.
One weekend home I learned that my dad’s journey through lots of metaphysical readings ended with faith in Christ. His wife told me he was praying for my sisters and me. I thought that was nice and that, as a result, I would probably be a Christian, too, one day. Whichever day God decided it would be. I went on my merry way not feeling any need, desire or compulsion to do anything about it.
I graduated and moved home to my mother’s house not too long afterward while my secretary friend fought Hodgkin’s disease. She told me that people she didn’t even know were coming up to her at church to say they were praying for her.
So laying on the sofa in the library at my mom’s house one night, I thought, Well, if I’m going to be a Christian some day, I might as well start now. So I prayed for her, too, and I asked God to bring something good out of her suffering.
Immediately my spirit, still attached to my body by a thin silver strand, was before the throne. It was like a zoom lens. And I saw God. Just as I zoomed in, Jesus stood up to greet me. He was transparent and I could see His Father seated behind him holding a scepter and smiling. It was an unforgettable smile that said “I have everything under control and I am pleased.”
And then I was startled by this thought, If I stay too long I might not be able to go back.
And with that buzz-killing thought I was back on the sofa.
I whispered into the air, “I remember You!” I remembered the cover of that book and my longing to know Him. It was like being reunited with and old forgotten friend.
That is when our 32-year-long-and-continuing conversation began. It’s when I started studying the Bible, too.
Sometimes I regret not opening my mouth and asking, when I was there at the throne, if it would be okay to stay.
But that glimpse was enough – enough to sustain me through tough and confusing times in the past, enough to give me peace in this unsettling present and, I trust, enough to get me through even tougher times in the future.
I know you asked for Biblical evidence you could refute, but it isn’t Biblical evidence that convinced me. It was that glimpse, that smile.
Arguing with me would be no fun for you because my faith is not in the Bible and I will not twist myself into a pretzel trying to defend the inerrancy of it. God is without error but those who have taken His dictation, translated and taught it are not.
And then I asked God to do for him what He did for me. Maybe you’ll say a prayer for him, too.
Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the wheel broken at the well,
and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.