My name is Robert Van de Water and I was born in Niagara Falls, New York. Moving frequently as a child, I ended up attending high school in San Diego, California. It was while in high school that I decided that I was an atheist as a reaction against my father’s pantheistic views. He believed that all human beings were good and that we are all a part of the “living divinity” that governs the universe. Having been bullied extensively in school, the optimism of his views did not match my experience of humanity and I rejected them.
After getting my Bachelor of Science degree in engineering at Yale University, I pursued my PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles for a number of years before a severe health issue forced me to leave the program. It was while I was at UCLA that I reexamined my beliefs by reading The Fingerprint of God by Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe. Because I had a tremendous problem with anger at that time, the notion that I needed a savior was not at all unreasonable to me and I became a Christian shortly thereafter.
Conversion is only the beginning of the Christian journey, however, and I was tormented by a number of questions for many years. My first step in attempting to answer these questions was to devour a great deal of material from Reasons to Believe. I became so familiar with this material that I even became a volunteer apologist for that organization answering letters and speaking before small church groups.
At some point, I realized that I did not understand Christianity well enough to defend it publicly and I stopped making apologetic arguments. I still believed in Christianity, but my own doubts were too extensive for me to feel comfortable sharing my beliefs with others. It was during this “crisis of faith” that I finally decided that my need for a savior would be the basis for my faith. I would not be a Christian because of any evidence. I would be a Christian because I needed the promises, the love and the forgiveness of Jesus Christ to be the person that I wanted to be.
Ironically, the decision to believe in Jesus Christ despite the fact that I didn’t understand Christianity precipitated a period of tremendous growth in that understanding. Freed from the terror of uncertainty and doubt, I was able to approach questions that had previously threatened my faith with a calm and analytical mind. This led me to ideas and solutions that I could not have thought of before.
In an effort to share these ideas and solutions over the last ten years, I started a website, made a series of audio mp3s, wrote a book and even created a series of videos on YouTube. This blog is the latest attempt to share the joy that I have found in Jesus Christ and I pray that you find it interesting, uplifting and rewarding.