By Bob Barney
I do not write too much about myself, but some people have asked me privately how I came to believe in God, and how I came to it. In Part 1, I explained the shock that evolution was more of a fairy tale than I thought that God was!
In spite of learning the truth about evolution, back in 1976, that didn't mean I accepted God as being real enitity, or for that matter that the Bible was even real. I was quite stubborn, and although I had stopped believing in evolution, I fought even harder against ever thinking God was real.
I was listening now to Garner Ted Armstrong every day; his show mesmerized me, I admit, and his intellect was like no other person I knew. So I started to consider that the possibility of a creator God, but I didn't assume it was the Christian God, especially the God of the Bible.
I began to look at various religions. eastern religions, Islam, unitarianism, and many of the "modernist" versions of what God was. All of them were nonsense. In fact, I found it very easy to prove that they were all a bunch of nonsense. It became easy to show that the discrepancies in their own "holy books" proved that they were fallible and wrong. Even at this time I really didn't study the Bible, as I knew it was full of errors and fables.
One Day, while listening to Garner Ted, he started explaining that the so-called discrepancies in the Bible actually did not exists. The so-called discrepancies were either mistranslations of the original texts, or easily explained when the entire Bible was studied. That sparked my interest, so in the summer of 1977 I started out really studying and reading the Bible, to prove that it was not accurate. To my surprise, with study tools, provided by the literature Ted had (all for free, mind you), I began to see that the Bible was provable in every way- historically and scientifically.
This was not very pleasing to me, because in these studies, I kept seeing that what the Bible said, was not what churches TAUGHT! I remember saying to a friend of mine, "you know, all these years when I thought I was proving the Bible wrong, I was actually proven modern Christianity wrong! That fact that man made churches are packed with paganism does not equal proving God wrong!" I was very surprised in my studies.
Although at this time, one might think I was ready to believe, I wasn't! I simply did not want to believe in a God that made me different from everyone else. I would not be welcome in any Christian Church that I knew of, and I sure as hell wouldn't go to other religious churches that I already proven wrong! To say the least, I was not happy! I was very confused, in fact depressed.
Although I told myself that I did not believe in God, it was just lying to myself. Inside I knew I believed in the God of the Bible, I just could not admit it.... I knew from reading the Bible that God is not an easy way of life to follow! I did not want to believe in the Sabbath Day, I did not want to stop observing Christmas or Easter - as they were very important family holidays for me. But, I just kept listening and reading, and trying to make excuses.
One day, a former high school teacher, who I became very close friends with and kept in touch long after high school, brought the subject up in a way I didn't like. I would in many of our conversations mention things I read in the Bible that shocked me. This went on for months, probably a year. One day, after a conversation about if God was real, and including the material of just what I learned, she asked; "Bob, do you believe this?"
"No," I said, "I don't, but I can not prove any of it wrong."
"Bob," she replied, "you're lying to yourself- You do believe it."
I said it didn't but after leaving her house that night I realized that I did believe in it. That did not make me happy. It actually made me very mad.
As a kid, I grew up living near a farm my dad had worked for as a young adult. I had my horses there, as well as I took over the farm vegetable stand (which paid my way through college); so I would go there sometimes at night to just think. Not pray, but think. It was my quiet space. I arrived there about midnight one cold October night, started walking around and blurted out my first prayer in probably 15 years! It wasn't a nice one.
"God, I did not ask you to get into my life and leave me alone- I don't want to believe in this nonsense." I went on and on. I was mad at God, whoever "he" was. My life was upside down, and only getting worse. The girl I was dating at the time left me during this time. Another girl, who I deeply cared for, wasn't interested - plus the fact that she was married. So, yes October 1978 was not good for me, to say the least, and the last thing I needed was God.
It was in November and then December of 1978 and I did get an answer for that prayer that I did not expect..... It changed my life
More in part 3.