From the archives


Me as the Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger and someone to believe in

I've lost faith in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, politicians of all parties, the space program, and most recently computer technology. What's left?!

Saturday morning. Eleven o'clock. For the first ten years of my life, it meant strapping on my double set of guns, saddling up my rocking horse, and putting on my white hat and black mask.

At the appointed hour, my hero would appear on the screen with a "cloud of dust Copy and a hearty 'Hi-O Silver,' The Lone Ranger!"

I've learned some painful truths, however, since those "thrilling days of yesteryear." "Kemo Sabe" may mean trusted scout, but in Spanish Tonto means stupid. And, I was shot out of the saddle when I learned the Lone Ranger could never have pinged the guns out of the outlaw's hands from one hundred yards. The black powder used in bullets at that time was too unpredictable. My hero would have been lucky to hit the hombre's horse at one hundred feet.

I don't even enjoy watching reruns of "daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains who led the fight for law and order in the early West." It's so disillusioning when our heros are unmasked!

Since then I've lost faith in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, politicians of all parties, the space program, and most recently computer technology. You've probably lost faith is some heros as well. So, after our heros and hopes have been dashed, what's there to believe in?! (To make it worse, I'm a journalist, so I'm naturally cynical and skeptical.)

One hero who has stood the test of time for me is Jesus Christ. Wait! I'm not talking about organized religion, TV evangelists, or any church. I'm talking about someone whose revolutionary life and teachings have changed the world as we know it.

That may sound strange coming from a hard-boiled newspaper columnist who doesn't believe in crying statues of the Virgin Mary, charismatic faith healers, or most of what's on "Christian" TV. There are several reasons I believe in Jesus Christ.

The philosophical arguments are powerful

Although I got an "A" in my college philosophy class ("magna cum grace"), I'm no expert in the subject, but I'm glad to recommend those who are.

Leadership U. has lengthy sylabus of thoughtful articles, particularly Rick Wade's overview of the philosophical arguments for a "reasonable faith." For those of us who struggled with philosophy class, Sue Bohlin provides as easy to understand article on the evidence for God's existence. And Ravi Zacharias, who regularly speaks at ivy league colleges, is an outstanding Christian philosopher.

One of the arguments against God is always, "Why does a loving God allow suffering in His universe?" I take a crack at that question in Why? Answering life's tough questions.

The historical evidence is powerful.

Archaeologists and historians have to admit that there was indeed a Jesus Christ who performed amazing miracles. (I go into detail about this in The Why Files book series.) Author Josh McDowell started out in graduate school to disprove the reports of Christ's resurrection using historical evidence. What he found caused him to become a believer!

The anecdotal evidence is powerful.

Whoever Jesus Christ touched was changed. I was amazed to see the changes in my peers who claimed to have "a personal relationship" with Christ. That seemed a little too weird! And yet, they were indeed changed people in their speech, lifestyle, and their whole way of thinking.

The personal evidence is powerful.

I was a self-centered, self-seeking, ego-driven, climb-over-people-to-get-to-the-top person. I was going to become a rich and famous author and I didn't care who got hurt in the process. Until, I was confronted with the life and teachings of Jesus:

Admittedly, a lot of it didn't make any sense humanly:

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . "

". . . whoever wants to become great among you must be you servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave."

"You must be born again."

Pretty wild! But as I began to read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), I began to realize that the Bible isn't a dusty history book, but a call to revolution. Jesus issues a manifesto against hate, prejudice, materialism, and pride. But more important, He offers a way to find lasting love, not only for God and others, but ourselves as well. He promises joy, peace, and a sense of purpose.

One of the early church father, Augustine, wrote of having a vacuum in our lives that can only be filled with a relationship with God. That seemed to describe my life. I put my cynicism on hold and committed myself to become a follower of Jesus Christ.

This self-centered, self-seeking, ego-driven, climb-over-people-to-get-to-the-top humor columnist began to see dramatic changes in the way he looked at people and the world. I found myself loving God and others in a way that surprised me. I began to sense God directing my life and filling me with a satisfaction that all the bylines and royalty checks had failed to deliver. I saw answers to prayer.

Like I said, this sounds pretty amazing. But if God can change a cynical, self-seeking journalist, there's got to be something to it!

I'd invite you to seriously consider the claims and the character of my hero—and Kemo Sabe—Jesus Christ.

Copyright © 2000 James N. Watkins. All rights reserved.

Related articles
Cynical columnist explores "spirituality"
The genuine Jesus
Lookin' for love
What does the Bible really say?

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