Last night Keith watched the movie, Billy, the Early Years. Well, to be technically correct....Keith watched AND listened the movie. I watched. I diverted my attention (back and forth) between my computer screen and the TV screen. No sound.
At my request (and wearied by the countless times he heard the words "Can you please turn that down") Keith opted for a wireless headset for almost all his TV viewing. I think he may have ulterior motives, though, because when the house is loud and there are distractions he can jack up the sound...and not be disturbed. Poof...none of us exist. Either way...win/win.
But often my attention is drawn to the big screen...and it is a big screen...48 inches or so and hard to ignore since it sits directly across the room from where I usually hang out with my lap top. And I have watched a lot of movies...sans the sound. Keith is usually reluctantly willing (who can blame him) to fill me in on any details that pique my curiosity and cannot be discerned without the sound track. The story line of Billy was about the early years of Billy Graham's ministry and his friendship and shared ministry with Charles Templeton, the Canadian evangelist who later renounced Christianity and remained an agnostic until his death. The story was told through the perspective of Charles Templeton...as an old man, very sick with Alzhemers....using flashbacks...and his commentary on the events.
His bitch with God? Same old same old--the timeless, oft cited reasons people give for disbelief. The inerrancy of the scriptures - the contradictions and statements that don't make sense...that defy the facts of science...that violate our moral code. At least from a surface view. And, of course, the biggie...the one that I struggled with for several years...theodicy...the problem of evil....suffering. I think the Holocaust particularly bothered him. The movie showed scenes of some of the cleanup at the prison camps. Pretty hard to look at.
So he left the faith...and stayed gone the rest of his life.
As is often my habit, after something piques my interest, I spend a chunk of time researching it on the internet. There is not as much about Charles Templeton as I expected....but I did come across a story about him on the Christian Courier in an article called "A Skeptic Reflects upon Jesus Christ." This is the author's view of an incident included in one of Lee Strobel's books, The Case For Faith"
Strobel interviewed Templeton in his high rise apartment overlooking Toronto. The following excerpt is from the Christian Courier article.
During the course of their conversation, Charles Templeton had again vigorously defended his disavowal of God and his rejection of the Bible. There was no apparent chink in the armor of his callused soul. Then, Strobel directed the old gentleman’s attention to Christ. How would he now assess Jesus at this stage of his life?
Strobel says that, amazingly, Templeton’s “body language softened.” His voice took on a “melancholy and reflective tone.” And then, incredibly, he said:
“He was the greatest human being who has ever lived. He was a moral genius. His ethical sense was unique. He was the intrinsically wisest person that I’ve ever encountered in my life or in my reading. His commitment was total and led to his own death, much to the detriment of the world.”
Strobel quietly commented: “You sound like you really care about him.”
“Well, yes,” Templeton acknowledged, “he’s the most important thing in my life.” He stammered: “I . . . I . . . I adore him . . . Everything good I know, everything decent I know, everything pure I know, I learned from Jesus.”
Strobel was stunned. He listened in shock. He says that Templeton’s voice began to crack. He then said, “I . . . miss . . . him!” With that the old man burst into tears; with shaking frame, he wept bitterly.
Finally, Templeton gained control of his emotions and wiped away the tears. “Enough of that,” he said, as he waved his hand, as if to suggest that there would be no more questions along that line.
More tomorrow...on the Quran.