"Was there one thing in particular that caused you to lose your faith in God?" I asked at the outset.
He thought for a moment. "It was a photograph in Life magazine," he said finally.
"Really?" I said. "A photograph? How so?"
He narrowed his eyes a bit and looked off to the side, as if he were viewing the photo afresh and reliving the moment. "It was a picture of a black woman in Northern Africa," he explained. "They were experiencing a devastating drought. And she was holding her dead baby in her arms and looking up to heaven with the most forlorn expression. I looked at it and I thought, 'Is it possible to believe that there is a loving or caring Creator when all this woman needed was rain?'"
As he emphasized the word rain, his bushy gray eyebrows shot up and his arms gestured toward heaven as if beckoning for a response.
"How could a loving God do this to that woman?" he implored as he got more animated, moving to the edge of his chair. "Who runs the rain? I don't; you don't. He does - or that's what I thought. But when I saw that photograph, I immediately knew it is not possible for this to happen and for there to be a loving God. There was no way. Who else but a fiend could destroy a baby and virtually kill its mother with agony - when all that was needed was rain?"
But Templeton wasn't done. "My mind then went to the whole concept of hell. My goodness," he said, his voice infused with astonishment, "I couldn't hold someone's hand to a fire for a moment. Not an instant! How could a loving God, just because you don't obey him and do what he wants, torture you forever - not allowing you to die, but to continue in that pain for eternity? There is no criminal who would do this (14-15)!"
Saturday, July 30, 2005
As promised, here is the excerpt from The Case for Faith that I mentioned. In the beginning of the book, the author, Lee Strobel, interviews the late Charles Templeton, a man who once preached with Billy Graham but eventually came to reject Christianity and embrace agnosticism.