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Benton Moss, University of North Carolina, Baseball

by carmine on March 18, 2013

Benton Moss
UNC-Chapel Hill
Enfield, North Carolina



My Story

 

My story begins with the typical drug experience. From a young age, I was ‘drug’ to church and ‘drug’ to Sundayschool afterwards, but to no avail. I did the right things that I was told the ‘Christian’ was supposed to do, said the Nicene Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, and even volunteered once a year! I was sure that I was as righteous and holy as any other good Christian was. Of course I was a moral young man and I knew that I was performing my ‘Christian duty’ to the ‘t’. Why did I do these things? I must credit my parents for raising me to always do not what was easy but what was right, no matter what. However, beyond the outward appearance of adhering to the ‘Christian way,’ the motives of my heart could not have been further from what Christ would ask of one of his disciples. I was motivated by what others thought of my actions and found myself in an endless cycle of attempting to justify myself with ‘good behavior’ and ‘good deeds.’ My heart fed off of the compliments of others and it sought their attention rather than seeking God’s approval and rest first. Little did I know, God would expose my lies to my soul and convict me of His true Gospel.

This cycle of self-justification continued through high school until I reached my senior year. Unfortunately however, like many young believers before me, and many to come, I entered a time in my life where my faith seemed less than real. Ironically, this very crisis resulted from reading a copy of David Platt’s Radical. The book literally ripped my heart open and watched while my soul bled out every bit of the moralistic ‘gospel’ I had lived my whole life. It truly was radical. It challenged me to my very core to be either one or the other: a committed follower of Christ or a follower of the rest of the world. The one thing I learned from this book was that there could not be any middle ground for Christianity. Either it was everything or it was nothing to you. After reading this book, my faith seemed admittedly stale and out of place in my life. I read my bible before laying my head to sleep every night, but after reading each passage, I can remember thinking to myself and wondering whether any of this nonsense was even true. Did this even happen? How can I know any of this to be true? Does God even exist? It seemed that I was not such a committed follower of Christ after all. I simply didn’t want to believe. My thought process and faith went south, very quickly. I truly can remember thinking to myself how much of a hypocrite I was because I lived my life claiming it was a result of the Christian faith and yet seemed to doubt the very truth of Christ in my heart of hearts. I felt dead inside and it seemed like I was a kid groping in the dark to find the switch to the lights.

I’ve always been a nerd. I’ll admit it. All of you athletes who hide this secret part of your person, please don’t! Be open about it; it’s never a bad thing to be intellectually interested in something! Anyways, the combination of the jock baseball player and the intellectual scholar rarely combined, but somehow they both found their homes within my soul. My problems of faith stemmed from an intellectual nature: ‘what about evolution? Is there any justification for the existence of God? Moreover, what about the Christian God? Better yet, why all this pain and suffering in the world if there is a so-called loving God?’ So many questions, and yet it seemed there were an infinite amount of answers to each question. I was a senior in high school seeking answers with the ferocity of a lion seeking its prey. I stumbled on the likes of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and the likes of the greatest scientific atheistic thinkers of our time. I even looked over Nietzsche and Sartre. Yes, I’ve been there. Their theories were purely atheistic and wove a cold, heartless story about the universe and life on earth. They sounded so right, and yet something within me thought that to listen to only one side of the story would be a terrible crime against Truth. The only problem? Where were the greatest Christian thinkers of our times with their answers? I couldn’t seem to escape these stumbling blocks to my faith simply because I could not find an equally valid opposing, Christian view that supported a loving God’s Incarnation in Christ.

During this internal war being waged within my soul itself, I continued attending church and continued to feel further and further from faith in God. I prayed daily that, if God even existed, that He would reveal the truth to me. I wanted to find the truth above all. I didn’t care if it meant atheism or if it meant Christianity or some other form of religion. I just wanted the truth. Here is where my uphill climb began. Let me introduce you to three fine men. Dr. William Lane Craig, perhaps the least known of the three I will tell you about, was one of the people I stumbled upon while looking for answers regarding the truth (or falsehood) about the Christian Faith. His website, reasonablefaith.org, is literally a library of Christian apologetics materials where he has written hundreds (perhaps thousands) of essays defending the Christian worldview. Needless to say, my prayers had been answered. This was only the beginning however! I began to read his essays with a vigor that couldn’t be quenched. Something deep inside of me began to click, my faith began burn again, and I became slowly and surely reconnected with the possibility of a life in Christ. Then came my good friend, Dr. Timothy Keller. He pastors a church in New York city and authored the book that truly connected the dots for me in terms of a life of faith: The Reason for God. I truly recommend this book for skeptics, believers harboring any doubts, and believers strong in their faith. It opened my eyes to the philosophical truth of the Christian Gospel as a whole. I read this book once, and then when I finished it, began it again and poured over its pages for hours to understand how the Gospel of Christ was so relevant today and why the Gospel was timeless, for all nations. Last of all, my favorite writer of all time, and probably the best known of the three: C.S. Lewis. He is most likely the timeless figure because his writings have withstood the test of time for decades and I believe they will for centuries to come. I read Mere Christianity for the first time in my life, and the truth clicked. I was presented with the real, true Christian Gospel: God’s love for us was perfect and infinitely selfless because He had nothing to gain by gracing us with mercy and forgiveness through His son Christ Jesus’ death at Calvary.

For the first time in 18 years, the Holy Spirit convicted me of the deep truths held in the Gospel. It was always there,but this stony heart rejected it time and time again on the basis of stupidity (‘intellectual’ objections). Indeed there are absolutely beautiful cases for faith, for the existence of God, for the historical basis of the resurrection of Christ, and the list goes on. But these alone will not bring us back to God. They will only convince us that there is a door that leads to the other side. It is at the encouragement and, for some, push of the Holy Spirit that we choose to open this door and explore the wonders on the other end. For those of you who have these questions, I pray for you that you will not give up the search for the truth. The answers are all there waiting to be discovered; simply have faith that the truth will present itself in God’s perfect timing!

In conclusion, I want to present two small points to learn from my story. First, we must remember that each person has his or her own story that has been woven throughout life like tiny brush strokes that make up the grand masterpiece of the world today. Their experiences shape their faith. My experiences shaped mine. Yours will also shape and define you. Whether people’s problems involve a physical addiction to substances, addictions to behaviors, suffering from seemingly unnecessary pain, or intellectual stumbling blocks to the Gospel, they are all in the same boat: their basic need is to not only find, but also experience the truth of Christ’s redemptive work at Calvary. Only then can the sinner fight their battles and wage war on the Enemy. Second, I would like to end by showing that at the center of the life of every person is the desire for self-justification. We all want to be justified in our ways, in our life, in our very existence. I wanted answers to my questions so that I could justify my own faith, my own beliefs, but I wanted truth, not some false doctrine. Just as well, those who suffer substance or behavior addictions fill their hearts with passions that only Christ’s selfless love can eternally satisfy. We all fill our hearts at some point with temporary substitutes for the One, true, eternal satisfaction: Christ, who justifies us before God despite our sinful state. No matter where our story begins, leads us, or ends, there is one common element among them all: we all were made vessels to be filled with Love and experiences that justify our existence. We now have a choice, and indeed face it each and every day: to fill ourselves with an eternally sustaining love and experience in Christ, or to substitute ever fading passions of the world.

In Christ,

Benton Moss

Sophomore baseball player at UNC-Chapel Hill

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