Leslie and I were quiet for a while. I gazed out the window at the undulating meadows of the Canadian countryside. Finally, Leslie said, "It sounds like your interview ended a little abruptly. What did Templeton say before you left?"
"Actually, he was very warm. He even gave me a tour of his apartment," I told her. "It was like he didn't want me to leave. But no matter how much I tried, I couldn't get him to reengage in discussing his feelings about Jesus."
I thought for a moment before continuing. "He did say one other thing that struck me. Just as I was getting ready to leave, he looked me in the eyes-very intensely-and shook my hand and said with great sincerity, 'We've been on the same path."'
Leslie nodded. "You have been," she said. "You're both writers, you've both been skeptics." Then she added with a smile, "And you're both too hardheaded to buy into faith until you're sure it's not riddled with holes."
She was right. "But, you know, his mind seemed so closed," I said. "He insisted there cannot be a loving God. And yet at the same time, his heart seemed so open. In a way, I think he wants Jesus just as much as the people who came forward in Indianapolis. Only he can't have him. At least, he doesn't think so. Not with his objections."
Leslie and I spent the night in a Michigan hotel and finally arrived home before noon the following day. I lugged our suitcase up the stairs and tossed it onto the bed. Leslie unzipped it and began taking out clothes.
"At least we're home for a while," she remarked. "Well, not quite," I said.
I couldn't let Templeton's questions go. They resonated too deeply with my own. So I decided to retrace and expand upon my spiritual journey in a different direction than I had pursued when I wrote The Case for Christ, which was an investigation of the historical evidence for the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I wanted to determine once again whether there are soul-satisfying responses when Christianity is confronted with life's harshest and most perplexing questions that send nagging doubts into our hearts and minds. Can faith really stand up to reason? Or will rigorous intellectual scrutiny chase God away?
I resolved to track down the most knowledgeable and ardent defenders of Christianity. My intent was not to take a cynical or confrontational approach by badgering them with nitpicking questions or seeing whether I could trick them into painting themselves into a rhetorical corner. This wasn't a game to me.
I was sincerely interested in determining whether they had rational answers to "The Big Eight." I wanted to give them ample opportunity to spell out their reasoning and evidence in detail so that, in the end, I could evaluate whether their positions made sense. Most of all, I wanted to find out whether God was telling the truth when he said, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."6
I picked up the telephone. It was time to make plans to hit the road in search of answers.
Charles Templeton would have expected nothing less.
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