I didn't become a Christian until I was 18. You are going to hear from Nicky Gumbel in the Alpha video (as well as folks like Bear Grylls) - he is going to tell his story:
For much of my life, I was not a Christian. I wasn’t brought up as a Christian. My father was a secular Jew and my mother was not a churchgoer. And really I didn’t like this kind of thing at all!I remember the first time I was dragged along to a talk like this, I was determined not to listen to one word the guy said! I remember there was a clock behind him, and I decided I was just going to watch the hands on the clock go round, because I thought that would be more interesting than listening to what he was going to say!
I had no interest in Christianity or church. All my associations with church were negative. I thought of it as boring, dreary, it made me feel slightly guilty – I didn’t know quite why I felt guilty about it – and I just thought, ‘God, Jesus, all that stuff, it’s just not true.’
My father was an agnostic, but I became an atheist as a teenager. I decided that I was a determinist, and I described myself very pretentiously as a ‘logical determinist’, and I argued against the existence of God. I wrote an essay at school disproving the existence of God – or so I thought. And I would actually quite enjoy just arguing with Christians and trying to prove that there is no God.
And also I thought, ‘This stuff’s just not relevant to my life.’ I was having a great time: enjoying my life – friends, parties, just having a good time. And I couldn’t see what some guy who’d lived 2,000 years ago, 2,000 miles away, what relevance that could have to my life.
And yet I think deep down, now, looking back, I would say that something was missing. I didn’t go around at the time saying, ‘Something’s missing!’ But why I say that is because I wasn’t really living the moment, I wasn’t living the day; I was always looking forward to something else: you know, ‘When I get this, then I’ll be happy. Maybe this is the answer.’
I even remember as a teenager at school thinking: ‘When I’m a Prefect, that will be great!’ And I became a prefect – a very lowly Prefect – and for three weeks it was great, being able to boss people around. But after about three weeks I started thinking: ‘There’s got to be more to life than this.’
I thought: ‘Well, maybe when I leave school, that will be the answer.’ And when I left school, three weeks, that was great – freedom! After about three weeks I thought: ‘There’s got to be more to life than this.’
I thought, ‘Maybe if I get a girlfriend.’ Somehow or other I managed to get a girlfriend, and after about three weeks… ‘There’s got to be more to life!’