From Catholicism to Atheism to Christianity – a Testimony
The journey toward my present Christian faith began in the Roman Catholic Church, detoured into atheism, turned abruptly to a simple faith in the Saviour, and finally settled on a solid Biblical foundation, recognizing that the word of God is fully trustworthy, consistent and perfect, both theologically and scientifically.
As I grew up in the RC Church on the south side of Chicago I was fully engaged in religious activities, but had no foundation. In short, I was an eager churchgoer, but not a Christian. I trusted that some combination of canned prayers, active service and avoidance of ‘big’ sins would earn me a berth in heaven. I didn’t realize that ALL sins are ‘big’ (mortal) enough to earn hell: ‘For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.’ (James 2:10)
There were two powerful forces working against my belief system. Although all in my extended family were religious churchgoers, my dad was a skeptic. He took delight in pointing out inconsistencies in church doctrine and in the bloody history of what has often purported to be Christianity — most notably the Inquisition. What I didn’t realize was that true Christians were always on the receiving end of persecutions.
The second force was the culture of evolutionism in which I was immersed. I spent considerable time in the museums in Chicago, which are completely saturated with evolution as a naturalistic explanation for life. Additionally, everything I was exposed to in literature and the media that touched the subject of origins was evolutionary. I didn’t know then that I’d been sold a ‘story,’ but that all the scientific evidence pointed overwhelmingly to Biblical creation, as recorded in Genesis. In the 1960s there were a very few books on creation, but I certainly hadn’t noticed any.
As a precocious 13-year-old, and at the insistence of my mother, I brought a flock of questions to the smartest priest my family could find one Saturday afternoon. He couldn’t give me an answer for any of my concerns. That unsatisfying meeting confirmed my decision to be an atheist. Who needed God? The ‘church’ didn’t make sense and everything in the universe could be explained by atheistic evolution — it seemed.
I was a miserable atheist for the next three years. What point is there to life if we are just animals and death means the end of it all? At the depths of my depression, though, God had mercy on me and sent me a friend who was a Christian. He and his family embraced me and answered my arrogant questions with kindness. They gave me some books to read that convinced me that I didn’t ‘know it all.’ Importantly, I saw the love of Jesus in their lives and a purpose lacking in mine.
It took me about four months to realize that the Bible is absolutely true – scientifically, logically, historically, prophetically, and above all . . . personally. Namely, God’s word convicted me of my sinful life and my need for a Saviour. In a flash I realized that if the Bible is true, I’d be crazy to defy God. It’s not enough to ‘know’ the truth. I had to repent, trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. As Paul describes in 2 Cor 5:17, old things passed away and I became a new creature. I was born again and haven’t been the same since.
I didn’t entirely understand how to reconcile evolution with my new faith, so I began to study the subject over the next few years. Finally I concluded that true science is perfectly consistent with the Bible. I could accept the truth of Genesis — most notably a six-day creation and a literal worldwide flood — without compromise. I figured out that hybrid positions like theistic evolution were offenses both to God and to scientific reason. Theistic evolutionists attempt to peacefully coexist with atheists. But there is no communion between light and darkness (2 Cor 6:14). God reveals Himself in the Bible as the source of life and goodness. Man brought sin into the world (Gen 3, Rom 5:12, 1 Cor 15:21). That’s why we need the Saviour (1 Cor 15:21-22, Rom 6:23). When God pronounced his creation ‘good’ (Gen 1:31), He meant it!
Evolution would be a sickening and destructive method of creation for a loving God. Bloody competition, extinction of millions of species of animals and plants — survival of the fittest and destruction of the unfit. That’s not the God of the Bible who provides for the birds of the air (Matthew 6:26) and praises those who are kind to animals (Proverbs 12:10)!
One particular quote from an evolutionist affirms the conflict between the two views. Jacques Monod wrote (see Morris reference):
[Natural] selection is the blindest, and most cruel way of evolving new species, and more and more complex and refined organisms . . . The struggle for life and elimination of the weakest is a horrible process, against which our whole modern ethics revolts. [An] ideal society is a non-selective society, one where the weak is protected; which is exactly the reverse of the so-called natural law. I am surprised that a Christian would defend the idea that this is the process which God more or less set up in order to have evolution.
As I studied the literature on origins I was impressed that there were fatal weaknesses in the arguments for evolution. These discoveries excited me because my spirit (and the Holy Spirit inside me) seemed to cry out for a simple trust in the word of God. I became convinced that evolution as an explanation for life and the universe itself is impossible. Below is a personal ‘Top 10’ list of reasons for believing that science is not an enemy of the Bible and that the evidence for brilliant design speaks against the random processes of mutation and natural selection.
1. The molecules crucial to life are so enormously complex that it is impossible for them to arise by chance. (And as a scientist, I don’t use the word ‘impossible’ lightly.) Example: A single ordinary protein molecule consists of hundreds of amino acids folded into a precise three-dimensional configuration. The odds against a random sequence of amino acids for even one small functional protein (perhaps 10^200 to 1) being fit for life are greater than the number of atoms in the universe (approximately 10^80). These molecules are constructed within living cells only with the aid of other macro-molecules including other unique proteins and nucleic acids. Such machines, far more complex than man’s best attempts at supercomputers or spacecraft, simply do not arise by time, physics, and chance. Furthermore, there is NO THEORY in any of the scientific literature that has been posed in this area. In short, there is no existing theory of evolution at the most fundamental level – biochemistry.
2. The simplest conceivable cell — the smallest possible self-replicating organism — is immeasurably more complex than the most sophisticated designs of human science and engineering. Example: There are about 500 different perfectly regulated chemical reactions associated just with metabolism. When confronted with such a wonderfully complex chemical system, it is elementary that there must be a system designer, namely God. We may marvel at the complexity of a construct like the space shuttle, admiring the work of the thousands of engineers who contributed to its design, manufacture, and operation. But a single ‘simple’ cell is overwhelmingly more complex – and can reproduce itself!
3. The two cornerstones of evolutionary speculation are mutations and natural selection. However, mutations merely destroy genetic information within a given organism. Natural selection also destroys genetic information within a population. I am not aware of any evidence that the opposite occurs — which must happen for evolution to be promoted from speculation to a viable theory. Furthermore, the reproductive process is wonderfully accurate, avoiding mutations because of their deleterious effects. Example: The DNA replication process for higher organisms includes proofreading to keep error rates at less than 1 in 10 billion. (The residual errors are our fault – we live in a fallen world.) Errors that do occur are invariably neutral or harmful and never increase complexity. Even rare ‘beneficial’ mutations involve loss of complexity. The replication process and its precision are wonderful testimonies to the genius of the Creator.
4. The genetic differences among species are so substantial that there isn’t enough time for them to occur on the supposed evolutionary timetable. Even if mutation and natural selection could produce new and more complex information, it would take many generations for each change to ‘take over’ a population. Example: Chimpanzees are thought to be our closest genetic relatives. Human and chimpanzee DNA are thought to be only a few per cent different (although measuring such differences is more complicated that just citing a percentage – chimps have more chromosomes, the genes are arranged differently, and only the ‘closest’ genes are compared to exaggerate the similarity). But even a 1% difference would amount to tens of millions of differences in the base sequence of DNA. Human evolution has allegedly occurred over the last several million years. Given a human generation time of perhaps 20 years, only a few thousand significant changes could arise in the population, under ideal circumstances. The numbers don’t add up. A few thousand changes cannot account for the millions of differences in the DNA code.
5. The gaps in the fossil record are huge and systematic. (See Gish in the references below.) Even evolutionists are troubled by these gaps. Fossil gaps are evidence against incremental-mutation and natural selection-evolution. Evolutionists have failed to describe any adequate mechanism for creatures to evolve over these chasms. Example: The deepest-lying sedimentary rocks exhibit billions of fully-formed, complex invertebrates with no trace of their supposed evolutionary precursors. This ‘explosion’ of fossils remains unexplained by naturalistic mechanisms. But from a creationist perspective I thrill at the immense variety and imagination the Creator used in producing this diversity. (I am also awestruck at the severity of His judgment – the Genesis flood, which entombed most of the fossils.) Furthermore, gaps in the fossil record are abundant. Gaps occur between invertebrates and vertebrates, especially fish; between fish and amphibians; between amphibians and reptiles; between reptiles and birds and reptiles and mammals; and ultimately between every significant type of creature leading up to human beings.
6. Life exhibits an abundance of irreducibly complex systems. (See Behe’s books below.) Such systems have no way of working in any partially formed state. The problem for evolution is to explain how such systems could develop incrementally. The scientific literature is devoid of any quantitative model that allows for an evolutionary origin for any irreducibly complex system. In short, there is no theory! Example: The cilium used by some cells for locomotion is a complex, self-contained motor using over 200 different proteins for structure and operation. No one has conceived how a cruder version (evolutionary precursor) could possibly function. The Creator, of course, was able to design and build such systems from scratch!
7. The sophistication of living design at the organ and at the organism levels is astounding. A detailed look at specialized organs and optimally designed creatures boggles the mind at the brilliance of the Creator — involving a smaller leap of faith than assuming ‘design’ by random mutation and natural selection. Example: The sonar systems of bats and dolphins are wonderfully sophisticated and exceed the performance of any that man has built.
8. Evolution’s advocates support a so-called theory that does not lend itself to the criterion of falsifiability. Genuine scientific theories must be testable! On occasion, some of the evolutionary faithful have proposed a test. But the results are not favourable to their cause. Example: An evolutionist once affirmed that structures like wheels and magnets could not have evolved because they would be useless until fully formed. But these structures have since been discovered in living creatures. The wheel is found in the rotary motor of the bacterium’s flagellum and magnets are integral components of the navigation systems of many birds. A creationist is not surprised to find fully developed structures with no hint of incremental development in the fossil record. The most ‘ancient’ bat fossils, for example, exhibit the structures necessary for sonar. Obviously, bats have always had this sophisticated ability from the time they were created.
9. I regularly search the evolutionary literature to find their ‘best’ evidence. But the ‘best’ examples are pitifully weak. Examples: Bacteria and insects that ‘evolve’ resistance to chemicals often lose genetic information and become less viable in normal environments. Antibiotic resistance that arises from the transfer of bits of DNA among bacteria still does not involve the generation of ‘new’ information, but merely the transfer of existing genetic code. The variations among the beaks of Darwin’s finches represent the rearrangement of existing genetic information through sexual reproduction — just as a husband and wife can have children with noses longer or shorter than their parents. Given that different species of finch have been found to interbreed indicates that the level of change is quite trivial — not evidence for molecules-to-man evolution. The literature is empty of any example of an evolved chain of organisms, transitioning from simple to complex.
10. Carbon 14 dating has been ‘born again.’ (See De Young.) The half-life of C14 is 5730 years. Dead organic matter contains trace elements of C14, which the organism ingested from the biosphere while alive. Once dead and buried, however, the C14 content drops by 50% every half-life. An evolutionist would expect that coal samples, allegedly hundreds of millions of years old, would have absolutely zero atoms of C14 remaining after all this time. In fact, coal shows readily measurable C14. Diamonds, allegedly a billion years old, also contain C14. That is IMPOSSIBLE from an evolutionary point of view. If the entire earth were made of solid C14, in a ‘mere’ one million years (174 half-lives), not one atom would remain. Ergo, the earth is young.
The intent of this ‘Top 10′ list is to be illustrative rather than exhaustive. I encourage interested readers to survey the creationist literature available through
I praise God that my faith continues to grow stronger as He teaches me more and more. The glorious truth of the Bible seems more vibrant every year. The glories of God’s creation speak volumes toward the truth of God’s design and handiwork.
The bottom line is: ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge’ (Psalm 19:1-2). If you do not know the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, as Saviour, God, and Friend, I implore you to repent from your sins, call upon Him for salvation, and live for Him every day that He gives you on this earth.
Morris, Henry. That Their Words May Be Used Against Them, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 1997, p.417.
Gish, Duane T. Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No! Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, CA, 1995.
Behe, Michael J. Darwin’s Black Box, Touchstone, New York, 1996.
Behe, Michael, J. The Edge of Evolution, Free Press, New York, 2007.
DeYoung, Don. Thousands . . . Not Billions, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2005.
- Dr. Dave