Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher and popular Christian talk-show host Frank Pastore died on December 17.
What follows is excerpted from the story of his conversion:
A Big-League Skeptic Finds Faith At The Cross
Written by Frank Pastore
For twenty-seven years I was a practical atheist, an evolutionist. I rejected Christianity because I had been convinced it was false. Very simply, if there is no God and no afterlife, then our existence is utterly meaningless. Since there is no meaning to life, all that is left is to create meaning in this life as you go. For me, it was in winning the “survival of the fittest,” and in our culture that translates to “He who dies with the most toys wins.” I thought I could create my own happiness, my own meaning, if I become rich and famous.
Funny thing was, although I became somewhat rich and sort of famous, I wasn’t any more content than I was on the day I signed with the Reds. Even living the American dream didn’t bring fulfillment. Playing life by the rules didn’t bring it either. The issue isn’t what is outside, the issue is what is inside.
Since the first grade I had been taught to doubt the existence of God: The universe had just popped into existence out of nothing, evolution was a “scientific” fact, miracles can’t happen, the Bible’s been changed, etc. During my whole life I had accepted the government’s humanistic propaganda that the teachings of Darwin, Marx, Freud, Hume, and Kant had all combined to make religion obsolete. As these thoughts raced through my mind, my heart was drawn to the quality of life I had observed in my Christian teammates. When I found myself wanting to yield to my emotions and pray, I had to remind myself that “God” wasn’t real. He was merely a crutch for intellectual weaklings, an excuse for mediocrity and failure, a placebo for psychologically imbalanced people – although also an effective and soothing pacifier for whining, injured professional athletes.
Although I may have all the external signs of success, internally there was something wrong. Something was missing.
… Then on June 4, 1984, in Dodger Stadium, all of that changed. … I was cruising to a 3-1 victory with two outs in the eighth inning, when I made the pitch that eternally changed by life. Dodger Steve Sax rocked a 2-2 fastball off my right elbow and my whole world-view shattered in one painful instant. Immediately, I knew my arm would never be the same again, and my career, as I had known it, had come to a tragic end.
… It was only about two months after making that pitch in Dodger Stadium that I gave my heart, my mind, and my life to Jesus Christ. Nine years earlier I had gone into pro ball to get rich and famous. Finally, I was rich – rich with the knowledge that my sins were forgiven and that I would spend eternity with Jesus Christ in glorious fellowship. And I was famous – I may not have been in Cooperstown, but I was in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Despite the injury and all the uncertainty of my career, I knew the void in my heart I had been trying to fill my whole life had finally been filled. My wife, Gina, came to Christ a short time later, and when our daughter was born in October of 1984, we named her Christina to commemorate our commitment to Him and to honor her.
Pastore’s conversion came about because a Bible study leader challenged him to refute the fundamental truths contained in three important books: Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis; Scientific Creationism by Henry Morris; and Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. Pastore thought doing so would be easy, but he ended up being the one convinced.