By Scott Gillis
“I grew up in a family where we never went to church and God was not spoken of – He was never part of the conversation," says Kirk Cameron, an American actor best known for his role as teen Mike Seaver in Growing Pains.
"Science was one of my favorite subjects," he adds. "I loved cosmology, biology, anthropology..."
Like most people, Kirk was taught that evolution was an immutable scientific fact.
"My science teacher had a very charismatic, dynamic personality," he says. "And he would laugh at the idea that there was some mystical voodoo power in the sky ... we were simply evolved and science knew how it all happened.
"We were taught there were people far more intelligent than we were, as eighth, ninth, and 10th grade students, who understood these things and God was just a fairy tale – so that's what I believed."
Most young people want to be seen as rational, and Kirk was no different. "I wanted to be counted among the intellectuals, and those who reasoned through things based on evidence and facts," he explains.
As is the case with the majority of those who are taught evolution is the only rational scientific paradigm, any reasonable consideration of a divine Creator was logically excluded.
Kirk quips, "I believed God was part of a different trinity: the other two were Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny."
He had a few friends in school that believed in God, had some friendly debates with them, and went to church once or twice.
Despite this, Kirk says, "I had some significant hurdles to overcome, and they were primarily rooted in my evolutionary atheistic beliefs. Like, we evolved, didn't we? Scientists have proven that."
So how would an upcoming celebrity and self-described atheist come to know Christ?
At 17 years old, Kirk found himself right in the middle of the phenomenal success of Growing Pains. He describes one of the main reasons he didn't believe in God: "It was the appeal of doing what I wanted. I was a celebrity. I had money, insane popularity, nobody said 'no' to me, it was always, 'yes, sir'. So it didn't make sense to consider a higher authority over me."
But even though he rejected God, he still had questions. "I was crushed in the middle of a very adult world and asking a lot of adult-sized questions, like, 'What happens when you die?' and 'What's the meaning of life? Is it to make as much money and have as much fun as you can?' I was beating most people in those last two categories and yet I sensed there had got to be something more meaningful than all that."
in spades on
their side”God had never even been a consideration, Kirk recalls, until high school, when he met someone who took him to church. There, Kirk heard a message that was very new to him.
The pastor told Kirk, "There are answers from the Bible. We didn't get here by some accident. You and I were not the unintended result of a process of time and chance that never had us in mind. In fact, we were created by an all-powerful, wise, loving, and just God, and our lives have purpose and meaning. There is a cosmic drama being played out between good and evil, and God wins in the end."
That was a life-changing moment: "The chink in the armor was that there were a lot of smart people who believed in God and were Christian. I found out that creationists have intellect in spades on their side. That opened the door for me to the claim that there is a God."
Kirk began to investigate Christianity and, as a consequence, submitted his life to Christ soon after.
His experience as a former atheist helps him understand and relate to others who still do not believe.
"Atheists will tell you that evolution really explains everything," he says. He uses analogies to help explain how we can tell there is a Designer, such as, "When you look at a painting, how can you know there is a painter when you can't see him, touch him, feel him, or speak to him? Paintings don't paint themselves.
"When someone says to me, 'Kirk, when did you stop believing in reason and start believing in God?' I will immediately say, 'That's the wrong question.
"What actually happened was that I blindly believed that nothing created everything, which is illogical. Then I started looking at the facts, and reasoned through them and came to the obvious conclusion that God made all of this'.
"Being able to know what you believe and know why you believe is critically important. And we need to have intellectual integrity, to know we are standing on solid ground.
"Not everybody needs to have all the answers at the tip of their fingers, but we must have a basis of understanding that there are answers."•