Biographical Details

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.

4 Responses to Biographical Details

  1. Robin Claire says:

    Hi Robert,
    I like your blog. It seems that you think about your faith, and not just go along with the others. I also love to think about my faith and what I can wring out of it. I was indoctrinated in Atheism from a young child. I became a Christian ‘by accident’. Now I am ‘all in’ with this faith in Christ. I think we think along the same lines. Keep posting and I’ll keep reading.

    • Robin,

      It is a funny coincidence that you should use the poker phrase “all in” with respect to your faith. Just yesterday I was thinking about how I would explain one of my decisions to my father (who is not a Christian and thinks that I am wasting my life), I thought to myself, “I just have to make him understand that I am ‘all in’ on this Christian thing.”

      An atheist would say that we have compromised our objectivity by going “all in” but I would not agree with this assessment. My trust in Jesus Christ is not dependent upon evidence, but that does not mean that I cannot evaluate the evidence in an objective way. As I hope I have made clear in my posts, there are many facts that are difficult to square with a Biblical view of reality. What I am trying to share is my thoughts concerning these difficulties as I obey my Lord’s command to “Ask, seek and Knock”.

      Thank you for your kind comments,


  2. Pingback: Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth | A Thoughtful Christian

  3. Hi Robert I can’t figure out how to email you directly via wordpress. Your testimony is fantastic and your writing style is great! My husband is a volunteer apologist for I would like to repost some of your blogs/articles with your permission on our blog called The Christian Exchange and also on our Facebook page that has 1.2 million followers on it. (They aren’t a very active bunch when it comes to commenting so I don’t know what the traction will actually be but we like your work here and would love to repost with your permission!) Our Facebook page is called The Christian Exchange Community. We’d be happy to include a few biographical details about yourself at the bottom of the post on our page and blog. Let me know what you think. You can reach me at Thanks! -Sarah

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