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Ralph Muncaster



Victoria Mukerji



Sarano Kelley

  
Ralph Muncaster:

It's not easy to become an atheist. I actually went to church and Sunday School for 1,458 hours as a child from age 5 to age 18. But it wasn't until I got to college that I firmed up my atheistic beliefs.


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Dwight Nelson:

According to "Skeptic" magazine, somewhere between 7 - 10% of Americans are atheist. That's over 20 million people committed to a belief in absolutely nothing divine. But remember, most atheists are thoughtful, intelligent people. Corporate executive, Ralph Muncaster, was one such person.

Ralph Muncaster:

I was on the verge of becoming an atheist right before college. I think, in the back of my mind, I kind of hoped that there might be a God. But all the evidence seemed to point to there not being a God. So, I struggled with that issue. But…after really thinking it through and rationalizing it in a logical way, the way an engineer would, I came to the conclusion that God did not exist.

Dwight Nelson:

After getting his degree in engineering, Ralph launched a sky rocketing career in business by landing a highly sought after position in Brand Management at Procter and Gamble. And by age 30, he held the top marketing and sales position at 7-Up. A man who clearly enjoys a challenge, Ralph made a game out of challenging people's belief in God.

Ralph Muncaster:

As long as it wouldn't hurt my business, professional career, or my family in any way, if we were in a situation and someone mentioned God or Jesus or the Bible, I made a game out of challenging them. And I would say, well, how do you know that's true? And I would ask him to defend his faith. And what I found is, nobody knew how to defend their faith. It was so easy as an atheist to basically win arguments. And I thought it was kind of fun.

Dwight Nelson:

But for atheist, Ralph Muncaster, the fun was about to end. While on a business trip, Ralph met with a supplier who gave him a challenge that changed his life.

Ralph Muncaster:

And the supplier happened to be a "Jesus freak", what I would call it back then. He started talking about Jesus and I started playing my game. Well, this person didn't back away. He challenged me. He said: "If you spent as much time researching the Bible and Jesus Christ, you will find out that everything in the Bible is true." And I started laughing at him and I said: "No way." But we talked for a few more minutes. And I said: "If you just give me a couple of weeks, I will come back with some information that will so overwhelm you that you will forget this thing about Jesus and the Bible." And what that did was lead me into a research program, an intensive research program, that changed my life forever.

Dwight Nelson:

So Ralph set out to disprove God. Not a man to waste time, he began by doing what he thought would be the easiest: discrediting the Bible.

Ralph Muncaster:

When I was a child, I remembered seeing all these maps of Palestine and all this. And none of it seemed to make sense. Because it didn't agree with anything that I was being taught in school. So I thought the first thing I'll do is prove that the history is incorrect. Well, when I started actually digging into it and going back in time in history, I found out it was absolutely correct.

Dwight Nelson:

When his first attempts failed, Ralph Muncaster decided it was time to get serious. He developed a logical strategy designed to determine whether or not God existed.

Ralph Muncaster:

I turned to statistical proof and legalistic proof, which I studied at the same time. But what really amazed me, after reading through the Bible (cover to cover - three times), I realized there was a vast number of prophecies embedded in the Bible. I also found out the Bible said to test everything. I also found out that the Bible said to use prophecy as a test. And when I started looking at these prophecies, I counted 668 provable, historical prophecies. When I went through the statistics of these being possible, I realized that they were absolutely impossible without a God of the universe inspiring this book.

Dwight Nelson:

When after years of study, he realized that the God he had openly rejected for so long was real, Ralph Muncaster's life turned around.

Ralph Muncaster:

I sat at my desk and just thought about it for a while. Then I went in and I took a shower. And when I was in the shower, all of a sudden I did the equivalent of getting down on your knees. I just sat down in the shower and tears started streaming down my face (which of course you couldn't see because the water was streaming down face too). And I just said: "God, I'm sorry that I've been so wrong about you and been fighting you for all these years. Just please…please forgive me." At that time, what I felt was a tremendous release of guilt, of some of the things I had done in the past, because, after all, I'd read through the Bible a number of times so I knew that if I believed it, truly, truly believed it, that I would be released from this guilt. And I felt a release from guilt. I was looking forward to joy in the present and also hope for the future.

Dwight Nelson:

After his conversion, Ralph Muncaster gave up his business career to write books and give lectures challenging other people to test for themselves the evidence for God. When we come back we'll talk to a Cultural Anthropologist who found a different pathway to God.


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Victoria Mukerji:

There's no such thing as an atheist. There is only that person who is so alienated and ripped away from his or her God that they go around in anger.

Dwight Nelson:

When Victoria Mukerji was a little girl, she and her mother took a whirlwind tour of the local churches every year on Good Friday. They were searching for God. At the end of the day, though, they always ended up disappointed because they didn't feel they had really connected in the way they had hoped. As an adult, Victoria studied Cultural Anthropology. She wanted to study the "big questions" and refused to accept the first answer that came her way. Her insistence on a second opinion resulted from her culturally-divided upbringing.

Victoria Mukerji:

My parents have different religions. My father is a Hindu. My mother is Methodist. And at the time that they were raising a family, there was no community outside of our family. And there was no real consensus of who God was or what was right or wrong. I studied anthropology precisely because I had so many important questions. I have never been one to take one answer or one set of rules or one explanation for the important questions in life. So, as an anthropologist, I would go and study another culture's belief system. Every religion on earth deals with the questions of man's relationship to man, man's relationship to nature, and man's relationship to God. That's what culture is about. We were put on this planet and we created these constructions of culture. We created all of them and created the languages in which to express them. The big question is man's relationship to God.

Dwight Nelson:

Victoria Mukerji describes herself as longing to know God from the time she was a young child. For her, the turning point came when she began teaching at a Christian college in Northern California. She found what she was looking for through the confidence in God displayed by her students.

Victoria Mukerji:

If I didn't come to class one would call and say: "Dr. Mukerji, Why aren't you here?" And I would say: "Well, my little boy had asthma last night." And invariably, their answer would be: "I'll pray for him." Whew! I was just blown away by that kind of love and concern. And also the presumption, the good presumption, that there is a God and that they can speak to him. That He will listen and that He loves them. And pretty soon, there was no way I could avoid feeling that same line of communication; experience the same loving safety of knowing God. When I first experienced God as…when I first knew God it was like being three years old again and finally laying my sleepy head against…against the breast of my mother.

Dwight Nelson:

Many of Victoria's friends simply couldn't understand her decision.

Ralph Muncaster:

The questions, the challenges that people make to me as a believer, always entailed the same adolescent questions. Well what about this? And what about that? And what about the existence of this? And if there was a God, He wouldn't let this happen. Well that's very much like a teenager who blames the whole world on his parents just longing for that parent to take control again and to prove and to earn the respect of that rebelling child. But it's not God's place to earn our respect. It's our place to grow up, to recognize, and to worship what is absolutely good, absolutely compassionate, absolutely the truth.

Dwight Nelson:

The ability to worship, to kneel in genuine surrender can be very difficult for some people. It took Victoria forty years to find her way to her knees. She compares her story to her favorite Bible story, that of a man named Lazarus.

Ralph Muncaster:

In the story of Lazarus, he's dead. He knows the darkness of death. He knows the coldness of the grave. When he is resurrected by Christ, he is resurrected with the knowledge of coming from that coldness, that dark grave, into the light and love of a living God. I feel like Lazarus. Life with God is really living. Life without God is the shadow of living. I am so grateful to be living a life after all those years of searching for one.

Dwight Nelson:

Victoria Mukerji discovered God through intuitive experience. Ralph Muncaster found God through logic. When we come back we'll meet a man who grew up in a gang infested neighborhood in Brownsville, New York. Graduated from Vassar and became a successful stockbroker by age 23. We'll find out how he discovered God after this.


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Dwight Nelson:

Sarano Kelley overcame childhood poverty to become a stock broker earning $400,000 by the age of 23. He's come out with a book. The title of the book is "The Game: Win Your Life in 90 Days." Sarano Kelley, welcome to The Evidence.

Sarano Kelley:

Thank you so much for having me.

Dwight Nelson:

I am amazed with those numbers. $400,000 by the age of 23? And you began in childhood poverty. But you were an exceptionally bright student, so that just kind of whisked you through.

Sarano Kelley:

Well they didn't start me off like I was…now, in the beginning, what they said was that I was mentally slow because I stuttered and couldn't speak.

Dwight Nelson:

You stuttered all the time.

Sarano Kelley:

Yeah, yeah.

Dwight Nelson:

Wow.

Sarano Kelley:

And I had difficulty writing. To this day I actually write sideways.

Dwight Nelson:

Is that right?

Sarano Kelley:

So people are always wondering, how do you write like that?

Dwight Nelson:

So the seeds of where this story is going to go come out of a pretty…a pretty austere beginning?

Sarano Kelley:

Yeah.

Dwight Nelson:

But your dad was financially secure and momma was…

Sarano Kelley:

No.

Dwight Nelson:

Tell me about that…tell me about the family.

Sarano Kelley:

My dad literally arrived from Alabama to Brooklyn, New York with $25 in his pocket and a one year old, me, in his lap. Didn't know how to read. Didn't know how to write. And had a medical disability. So, it was very challenging for all of us. But really, the level of his character is just amazing. I've never met a greater man in my entire life.

Dwight Nelson:

In fact, he made you read the dictionary.

Sarano Kelley:

From cover to cover.

Dwight Nelson:

I can't believe it.

Sarano Kelley:

Oh absolutely. I mean, even to this day, I have a…just a love of language.

Dwight Nelson:

In fact, you are so much into the queen's English as it were, you're sitting in a class and you get in trouble - you think.

Sarano Kelley:

Yeah.

Dwight Nelson:

What was that?

Sarano Kelley:

Well, it was a moment where something happened and I made the comment: "Oh, he should be ostracized." And the teacher said: "Young man, I want to see you outside."

Dwight Nelson:

Oh, I'm in trouble.

Sarano Kelley:

So, I'm thinking: "Oh my, this isn't going to be good." In the hallway, what she says to me is: "You know, I'm very impressed with you." I don't know why…what made her take the time to tell me that because it was a room with 30-40 kids, but that one moment just reaffirmed the direction in my life and in many ways kept me on the straight and narrow. So, at that point I started skipping grades and by the time I finished school, I was 16 years old and entered Vassar college at 16 years old. Even though I started off…

Dwight Nelson:

16 years old on a college campus.

Sarano Kelley:

Yeah.

Dwight Nelson:

How many other 16 year olds at Vassar?

Sarano Kelley:

I don't know at that time that there were any, to be honest with you. At least not that I knew of. I was definitely very very much on the young end of the scale.

Dwight Nelson:

Is God a part of your life at this point?

Sarano Kelley:

No, at that point, I'm, you know, I'm picking up smoking cigarettes to be fashionable. I'm trying to deal with being 16 years old. I'm noticing that all the other kids have cars and I'm busy washing dishes to get my way through school. So I would say that I got lost, very, very lost.

Dwight Nelson:

You didn't get lost from Wall Street.

Sarano Kelley:

No.

Dwight Nelson:

You end up there at the age of what? 21-22?

Sarano Kelley:

At 20 years old, I'm working on Wall Street. By 21, I'm working for the wealthiest investment banker in the world. By 23 I'm -

Dwight Nelson:

400,000.

Sarano Kelley:

Yeah.

Dwight Nelson:

In commissions, $400,000. Well, obviously, by that point you are convinced God must be the source of my brilliance.

Sarano Kelley:

No. No, at that point I am convinced that I am the source of my brilliance. And there was a kind of…a kind of arrogance. And you know, that arrogance got shattered when I had several members of our extended family, children, die in a fire. And really, that was what had me. It's literally like I got spun around so fast I could see my own reflection in the mirror. And when I saw what I had become, I just basically wanted to throw up. And it felt for me, I guess, that's my nearest relationship to the story of the prodigal son, just feeling like I had left home and I had lost my way. And it was really from that moment forward…

Dwight Nelson:

That's an epiphany for you.

Sarano Kelley:

Yeah, yeah. Yes. Before then, I've got all these different…do I want to do this? Do I want to do that? Am I really interested? You know, let's work by day, then let's go out and party on the weekends. But the direction was always in a circle. It wasn't going anywhere.

Dwight Nelson:

In fact, it's so significant an epiphany you walk away from Wall Street. Is that right?

Sarano Kelley:

I walk away from earning 6-figures a year to moving furniture at New York City in the summer is a 5-story walk off.

Dwight Nelson:

Now how do you go from Wall Street to moving furniture to becoming a well known motivational speaker in this nation?

Sarano Kelley:

Well, one of the things I would say, there was a lot more God in moving furniture than there was in my being a stock broker. So moving furniture was fulfilling because I was clearly serving.

Dwight Nelson:

Ok. Let me ask you this. God is now the under girding.

Sarano Kelley:

God is now knocked on my door. The door is open.

Dwight Nelson:

God is in your life.

Sarano Kelley:

Yes.

Dwight Nelson:

Do you introduce God in your motivational training?

Sarano Kelley:

You know, I would say that in the beginning, I was very tentative and I had been told like lots of people, well we don't talk about that. And I'm proud to say…and I work with some of most, you know, famous names in corporate America, and there is not a place that I go where I am not welcome to talk about what I want to talk about.

Dwight Nelson:

Is that right?

Sarano Kelley:

And in some circles, I'm the only one who's allowed to even reference or mention God in those kinds of conversations.

Dwight Nelson:

We're talking about circles like the…the Clinton fellows…

Sarano Kelley:

Yes.

Dwight Nelson:

…that included Collin Powell.

Sarano Kelley:

That's the same group that Collin Powell came out of. And in that group one of the things that people ask us, well how do I handle the pressures of a really tough meeting interview? How do I handle the kinds of things that are coming at me and at the same time? You know, it's up to them to really connect for themselves. I don't want to tell people what to think.

Dwight Nelson:

So what do you tell them about God? You introduce God to them somehow?

Sarano Kelley:

Usually what I ask is, ok, well, if your life is going to be over in 24 hours, I mean in 24 hours you're done, what kinds of things would be important to you? It's not any of the things that they are currently doing. It's always things like, I want my family around me. I'd want the Bible around me. I'd want the things that are really important. And then of course at that point, my question is, ok, so what is it going to take to get that into your day - every day? What does it take for that to become your life? Not just what you reach for in an emergency?

Dwight Nelson:

As far as I can tell, Sarano, reading your story, there is never a point in your journey where you blame God, in spite of your rather depressing circumstances. Why?

Sarano Kelley:

Because it was always clear to me that the mistakes were mine. I mean, I so clearly saw that there were people through out history who would face many challenging situations, and they made it a point to turn their lives around. And I saw that that didn't have to do so much with God as whether or not you were willing to use what God gave you. And my father was someone who always insisted that I take responsibility for my life. Not blame it on society. Not blame it on culture. That as long as I was willing to take responsibility, it would always be in my power to change my circumstances. And I believe that to this very day.

Dwight Nelson:

Sarano Kelly, God bless you. Thank you for sharing your life story with The Evidence.

Sarano Kelley:

Thank you so much.

Dwight Nelson:

Come back again.

Sarano Kelley:

Absolutely.

Dwight Nelson:

To find out how to get Serano Kelly's book, The Game, which can help turn your life around, sign on to our website at The Evidence. That's one word, TheEvidence.org. I'll be back in a moment for some concluding thoughts.

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Dwight Nelson:

Ralph Muncaster and Victoria Mukerji are strikingly different people. And yet both of them found evidence, compelling, personal evidence that convinced them of God's existence. Ralph was pushed God's way while pouring over historical statements in the Bible. It was the statistical evidence of its accuracy that drove him to his knees. Victoria felt the same nudge from a very different source, the love and concern of students who claimed to know God in a very personal way. I find this one of the most fascinating aspects of the path from atheism or agnosticism to faith. God seems to get to people on so many different levels in so many different ways. For centuries people have been laboring to explain faith in purely naturalistic terms. In other words, to explain away God as something we make up. He's a projection of our need for a father figure. We create him, they say, because we have this longing for a sense of cosmic security. But maybe these attempts to explain God away spotlight even bigger questions. Why do we have those needs, those longings in the first place? If everything is the product of a material world, a mechanistic universe, where did this human longing for cosmic security come from? Why do we search so passionately for meaning? Why this universal instinct to reach out to something more, to worship? The stories of people who find God suggest there is someone out there who can fulfill the variety of human need at every level. There is someone big enough to fit the deepest longings of our hearts. That's what I believe. I'm Dwight Nelson. Join us next time for more of The Evidence.







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