Staffin, Skye

Staffin, Isle of Skye

Photo: Steve Taylor

1.

Why tell the story?

I have told  this story before, some in the book Island Conversion and some in a blog I wrote in 2012 – 2013. Why should I tell it again? There are a number of reasons.

In the book, the story of the events that happened in my  life, and my wife’s life, is mixed up with quite a lot of philosophical and scientific speculation. The same is true of the blog entries. These speculations get in the way of the story, and it is the story, the actual events that took place, that really matter. When I think of what happened, I am awestruck and will be to the end of my days.  Now that a number of years have passed, I want to take a step back and record these events in as clear a manner as I can; and in a consecutive manner, from beginning to end.

Why were the events important? They were important because they convinced me of the existence of God as a spiritual being who desires human beings to be in relationship with him. From being an agnostic most of my life, I became a convinced believer. All the rational arguments I had against the existence of God simply collapsed in the face of the incredible things that happened.

It all started long ago

But I must start at the beginning. Imagine a young boy brought up in a Gaelic-speaking Free Church of Scotland home. There is family worship morning and evening. This entails singing from a Gaelic psalm, reading a portion of scripture and going on our knees to pray. My father was a missionary or lay preacher which meant he took the services on Sunday, so it meant I listened to my dad’s sermons every week and was taken to the prayer meeting as well – sometimes two or three.

I’m sorry to say, this had little effect on me. In fact, it probably hardened me against religion. At that age one doesn’t have the resources to understand the deep mysteries of religion. I remember even at the age of 5 or 6 saying to myself that I would wait until I had more knowledge before deciding whether the Bible was true. Later, when I was 10 or 11  I read about the theory of evolution and that seemed to confirm that the world was a natural closed in system. There was no need for God. Aged 16 I left home and religion behind me, or so I thought. I stopped going to church. In the Merchant Navy there was little chance to go to church anyway. But there was a question always nagging at the back of my mind: What does it all mean? Without God is there any meaning to life?

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