Before his career even began, retired barrister and corporate lawyer Gavin Lawrie had a love for debating and asking the right questions.
"I remember sitting in the back of a courtroom, saying to myself 'I think there are better questions to ask,'" Gavin says.
Following degrees in economics and law at Sydney University, Gavin thrived in the drama of the courtroom as a barrister until he discovered an uncomfortable truth.
He noted a frighteningly high divorce rate among senior law practitioners and those on the bench due to their weekend workloads.
Knowing what his young family would suffer within 20 years, Gavin says, "I knew that was the wrong lifestyle for me."
After five years Gavin left the bar, turned to corporate law and later practised in the NSW coastal town of Murwillumbah.
Exposing the truth is vitally important to Gavin, not just because a lie can trap or imprison someone unfairly, but because arguments about truth have even broader outcomes.
Gavin was prodded by a former chess-opponent and atheist in 2010 to investigate the writings of outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins and was so surprised by what he discovered that he wrote a book-length response.
As any self-respecting lawyer would do, Gavin cross-referenced Dawkin's statements and noted far too many contradictions and failures to provide evidence.
With the clarity, sensitivity and the careful language of a barrister appearing before a jury, Gavin sorted fact from fiction and allowed the reader to decide whether atheism best explains the evidence.
In response to Dawkin's The God Delusion and The Greatest Show on Earth, Gavin's book, published in 2013, is titled The Evidence of Evolution - Uncovering the Faulty Science of Dawkins' Attack on Creationism, and is available on Amazon.
Gavin wrote the book saying he is convinced that what we do with our lives has everlasting consequences.
"Why we are here is the most important issue in our life," Gavin shares. "Whether or not you care about this, you are responsible for your own destiny.
"If you reject your Creator's liberating power seen in this universe and in His Bible, you will have failed to 'consider yourself worthy of eternal life' (as per Acts 13, verse 46), and will experience unending catastrophe instead."
Gavin reached this conclusion about God after he became a lawyer and a young father.
He and his wife wanted their baby daughter dedicated in a church that differed from both of their nominal family traditions.
"I and the minister hit it off immediately," Gavin recounts. "Every week I dreamed up questions to ask this minister. He finally had me reading Christian books, and after months of debate John Stott's Basic Christianity made the penny drop for me.
"In the ancient nation of Israel", Gavin recalls from the book, "God directed the high priest to place his hand on an innocent goat to symbolically pass the sins of the people onto the goat, and it would be driven out into the desert. Symbolically, the sins of the nation perished with that scapegoat.
"John Stott said that this predicted coming Messiah (Saviour), Jesus, the Lamb of God stretched out His hands on the cross and had the sins of the world heaped on His shoulders. He bore the wrath of God."
Gavin firmly rejects any cynical assertion that Christians lack intelligence and rationality.
"I never left my intelligence outside the church door after I trusted in Jesus as my Creator and Saviour," he says. "And I have met many intelligent people who have been attracted to Christianity."
Christianity is a unique faith, Gavin says, because it did not originate behind closed doors.
"Everything about Jesus was out in the open to eyewitnesses, it was brutal and blunt. As Billy Graham said, 'The life of Jesus is bookended by a virgin's womb and an empty tomb.'
"The religious leaders could not produce Jesus' body and offered a very poor explanation. Over 500 people saw the risen Jesus all at once. Whilst Jesus did not come when the world had internet or cameras, it was His timing, according to His promises thousands of years before."
As a Christian Gavin thanks God for giving him a personality that enjoys debating.
"I still enjoy debating at age 68," Gavin says. "The tongue is the pen of a skilful writer, as Psalm 45 says."
Gavin points out that thousands of years before any society had a legal adversarial system God inspired the Biblical proverb: "A man's version seems right until another comes forward and questions him" (Proverbs 18:17).
"God invented cross-examination," says Gavin. "And when we understand the invisible qualities of God that He has revealed in Creation, it makes sense that He did not leave His beloved creation in a desperate heap. Jesus provided a way out for every one of us."•