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to say what was right or wrong? No God to hold me to account? The idea was appealing, but frightening. Could I embrace it? I was given permission to do so by my scientist heroes, Darwin, Huxley, Oparin and company.

So, I was 'saved' from sin by defining it out of existence. Absolute right and wrong had no place in a universe ruled solely by mathematical equations and laws of physics. Evolutionists didn't really present a completely convincing case, but I was persuaded to believe in evolution because it was the road to freedom from sin. If there were a God, I would be accountable to Him. But, if the first rational being in existence were, instead, an ape, then I was free from sin. I said goodbye to God and embraced the ape.

But, like my mother, I continued to seek. Not in the direction of religion, of course, yet I was still looking for answers. Without God, what is man's place in the universe? Do we really possess free will, or is that an illusion? Is there a purpose to life? Can what we do have lasting meaning? Or are we peripheral ephemerals, mere complex chemical reactions that achieved self-consciousness through an evolutionary accident? Do our choices and actions have any greater significance than the gas bubbles that result when you mix baking soda and vinegar? What conclusions had others come to? I began reading the classics and the works of the great philosophers. Were the answers found by Nietsche or Kant? Did existentialist Albert Camus figure it all out? What about Socrates and Plato?

My investigations did take me into religious writings as well, although I studiously avoided Judeo-Christian religious works and, by choice, remained ignorant of the Bible. (While an adolescent working on the God and Country Award, I had read the last book of the Bible, titled "Revelation" or "Apocalypse," depending on the translation, but at that time I concluded it fell into the same category as Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner" — a drug-induced fantasy.) I read widely in this area, as well. Even Zen Buddhism caught my attention for a while, as I read both religious treatises and serious fiction such as Herman Hesse's Siddhartha.

I must admit that assembling an impressive list of "Books that I Have Read" that I could add to my college acceptance applications was in the back of my mind while reading about everything from Adam to Zoroastrianism. But my real motive was to find answers to my questions. I read intensely, the way a thirsty person drinks water or a hungry person consumes a meal.

Was there an explanation that fit reality? Had anyone really figured it out? If so, I wanted to know it. If not, then I wanted to be sure of that as well, and not to let the meaning of life pass me by because I had failed to examine a certain philosophy or to explore a certain religion.

In the course of this many-years-long investigation I rejected one 'answer' after another. They all seemed to have holes in their logic, false assumptions, deceptive reasonings, or simply unsatisfying explanations. Eventually, however, I came to the conclusions presented in this book. In these chapters I share with you the information that helped me reach those conclusions.

But, here, I had to present this brief history of my own personal search, so that you will realize I didn't just grow up accepting and believing the Bible. Please be assured, I will not insult your intelligence by asking you to believe simply on my say-so, or on the say-so of respected religious authorities. I have attempted in this book to present evidence — the sort of evidence that it takes to convince a skeptic like me.

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