I was raised in the Syrian Orthodox Church and was taught to follow its customs. Despite that, I was a silent atheist who loved Science and did not see a place for God in the real world. I kept quiet only so that I would not offend those around me whose views diametrically opposed mine. In the Orthodox Church, the Christian Bible was never opened or examined. The services were a repetitious drone that seemed incomprehensible even for the religious elite. What was the point of all the glamour and outward piety? What was the point of religion if it was only meant to be a one day event? Though I did not believe in the existence of God, I could not reject the reality of a conscience. Science had tried to explain it away, but had failed. Atheists and agnostics alike tried to devise experiments and formulas to understand emotions and guilt. But all attempts by the world’s great scientific minds had failed. So I continued attending church begrudgingly, hoping perhaps I could prove religion and the ‘notion of God’ wrong. I left the ‘Syrian Orthodox’ denomination when I was 18 and moved on to evangelical churches. I made such a move because I was drawn to the music and ‘showbiz’ style of worship at these so-called churches. Both in Kuwait and India, the churches I attended did not seem to have any interest in the Bible (which was surprising as Christians claimed it was the Holy Book of God). The pastor or ministers in these places often sounded just like Dr. Phil or Oprah with their self-help ideologies. But I continued attending because it was entertaining; like going to the movies except having to pay much less.
But, just out of curiosity, I started reading the Bible. I did examine the Hindu and Muslim religious books too, but they came nowhere close to the accuracy of the Christian Bible (scientifically or historically). Please remember that I say these things from a literary and neutral point of view (not religious). As an example, I was fascinated to know the shape of the earth and the value of blood for life had been contained in the Bible centuries before man had any understanding of them. This made me curious and led me to examine the Bible closely. I found many more examples. Now coming back to the evangelical churches and the Bible, I could see a huge gap; ‘a disconnect’ between the Bible and these church services. I was often confused by the preaching and lifestyle at these places. Mostly because much of what they were doing seemed to either contradict scripture or have extra-biblical influences. Please note that I am not blaming these churches or their leaders for my actions. According to the Bible, all men are held accountable for their own sins (Romans 14:12). Having said that, the Bible also states that God expects Christians (clergy and laymen) to handle His Word accurately (2 Timothy 2:15).
As stated above, I have considered myself to be a man of science since I was in middle school. Silly myths and superstitions did not interest me even though I remained quiet. In 2008, I came across the Christian radio show ‘The Way of the Master’. These guys asked questions that engaged the intellect and required some deep introspection. I was drawn to the show because their conclusions were based on facts and were true; not based on feelings or silly beliefs. They seemed to have a good understanding of the Christian Bible and what it’s authors were trying to convey; something that I had never seen before. At this point, I began to better comprehend the message of Christianity and the beauty of the Bible (a book that has been around for more than two millenia). A little later, I was convicted and understood the truth about sin, Hell, repentance and the work of Christ. I realized the importance of the Christian Gospel; saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Please be patient as I elaborate in the following paragraphs.
Continue reading at Washed Red.