"The tragedy of common sense
it that it is not
"Politically correct Christianity
is tolerated but despised.
Full Gospel Christianity is
respected but persecuted."
"If you marry the Zeitgeist
you will soon become widow."
"To reach the source of a river
you must swim upstreams."
(Stanislaw Jerzy Lec)
"I note that all those,
who are positive to abortion
already are born."
The year was 1954 and I was 12 years old. After careful deliberation, I had just decided that there was no God and that Man was the Supreme Being, if not in the entire universe, so at least on planet Earth. Man therefore had complete freedom to go his own ways and do what he wanted, when he wanted and how he wanted it, as long as this did not hurt anyone else. Like so many others, I had come up with the conclusion that God, if he existed, could not possibly be both omnipotent (almighty) and good. If he was good, and at the same time omnipotent, it was reasonable to conclude that he should have the will to stop all Evil and also the power (ability/might) to do so. As he apparently allowed evil to exist, he was therefore not good but evil (if he was omnipotent). My conclusion was thus that God was either good or omnipotent, but not both. If he was good but not omnipotent, he could hardly be the supreme god that had created everything. And if he was evil, well then, he was not worthy of worship. Who wants to submit to an evil God? In that case, I decided, God was my enemy. Christianity was therefore, as I saw it, logically untenable. I did not want to have anything to do with either an evil God or a powerless God. Furthermore, science could explain how the universe, life, and the different species arose, so neither for this reason was God needed. Thus I became, despite my young age, a science believing atheist.
A few years later it was time for first communion class. I was the only one of my peers who did not join in on this. Why should I do something that I did not believe in? Not even a moped or a nice, expensive watch (common gifts in Sweden at that time after the first communion) could tempt me to betray what I thought was true.
When I eventually started high school, my faith in science and technology was further strengthened. All textbooks seemed to speak the same language. "God is dead, science is alive and the future belongs to reason". Religion was just manís vain attempt to explain the yet unexplained. What still lay outside our ability to understand. As scientific knowledge progressed, less and less room remained for God. Although it wasnít directly implied in words, the high school books were breathing materialism and atheism. You could read between the lines, that modern science more or less had proved that every religious faith, including the Christian, was false, and by using physics and biology, one could explain how everything originated and evolved. Some minor gaps remained, perhaps, but it was only a matter of time before these too would be filled in. Only those who were ignorant or unintelligent could ignore this, and stick to something as antiquated as to believe in a supernatural God.
In the early 60s, when I was in high school, each school day began with a half hour morning assembly, often with a Christian content. Sometimes a piece of music was played or a beautiful poem was read. Maybe something memorable was said about morality or etiquette. Responsible for this assembly could be a teacher or a guest speaker or, sometimes, a student. On one occasion I myself was asked to hold a morning assembly. The result was perhaps not what was expected. Instead of telling some uplifting words with Christian or spiritual content, I stated clearly and boldly that God was dead, and tried to show how impossible and unwise it was for an honest man to be a Christian.
My outlook on life was quite optimistic. The A-levels gave the key to higher studies and interesting jobs. Even without a university degree, during these times, with your A-levels only, you were guaranteed a good job. On the whole, the 1960s breathed an air of a tremendous future. The economy rocketed. Prosperity grew rapidly, and Sweden was the exemplary pattern for the whole world when it came to combining individual and collective interests. I was very interested in science and technology, and read lots of popular science books. The more I read, the more I became fascinated by Manís seemingly inexhaustible possibilities. Eventually, humans would be able to produce energy in unlimited quantity. And then everyone would be able to live in prosperity and harmony. Starvation and disease would be eradicated. Because Man, from what I then believed, deep down was good, war, evil and terror would disappear as a result of this prosperity. The reader may smile at my naivety, but I was actually only 18 years and the whole world was like a sumptuous fruit tree. It was all there to grab; interesting jobs, exciting adventures and beautiful girls galore.
Here I was about twenty years. Judging by the hair style, the picture was taken when I did my military service as a military policeman. I was "the man who knew everything". And my opinion was that old people, i.e. all over 30, knew nothing. Eventually I realized that all was not as easy as you thought when you were 20.
Unsettled as I was in my mind, I did not continue my studies directly after the military service. Adventure was far too attractive. Firstly, life should be lived. However, the same happened to me as to so many others. From being a young man "with a promising future ahead", I was at the age of 25 a little less young man "with a promising future behind", as someone maliciously expressed it. I jumped from one hobby to another and from one job to another. At this time there was a great shortage of teachers, and it was easy to get a teaching job on your A-levels if you had mathematics as base subject. For several years I supported myself as unauthorized teacher at secondary school, high school and middle school. One year I spent e.g. on an island (Vätö) in the archipelago of Norrtälje (70 km north of Stockholm) in a so-called B2-school, as teacher for 3/4/5 and 6th-year classes. It was a very interesting experience. During the year on the island, I studied per correspondence to become a merchant marine radio officer. Since I had worked in the galley on a few merchant ships right after high school, I had acquired a taste for the adventurous life at sea. In the autumn of 1967, I set out to sea as a qualified radio officer.
The ship in the picture is m/s Albany and was a so-called reefer (refrigerated ship), operated by the shipping company Transatlantic (one of Swedenís major shipping companies during the 1950s until 1980s). Reefers transported fruit, frozen meat, frozen fish etc, i.e. everything that needed to be transported at low temperature. Here I worked for 13 months as a radio officerfrom late 1967 well into 1969. During that time we visited every continent except Antarctica. Reefers are the greyhounds of the ocean, and we sat a.o. record from Hobart in Tasmania (south of Australia) to Copenhagen non-stop (the Suez-canal was closed at that time, due to the 1967 Arab-Israel war, so we had to round the Cape of Good Hope). The cargo consisted of apples and pears. The voyage took about 30 days and we had an average speed of over 21 knots. At the time, the seafaring profession was still considered "romantic", and we lay e.g. three weeks in Hobart waiting for the apples to ripe. You had the time to both find a girl friend and to travel around and look at the island (which has a similar climate to Sweden). Today container ships arrive at 6 a.m. and depart at 1 p.m on the same day. Which doesnít give you much time in the ports. Nor is there much time anymore to play the accordion or sing shanties during long sea voyages. It does not seem like everything gets better with time. Much seems to be getting more and more boring, though it might be more economically effective. In those days they still built beautiful ships. Nowadays the ships look more like shoe boxesbut for sure, they are certainly very effective. But man needs more than technology and efficiency.
Evert Taube (a famous Swedish singer-songwriter) tells us in his songs about life at sea and all that this implies; hard work, loneliness, friendship, boredom, longing and sometimes adventures. Who has not heard of the girl in Havana (one of his more famous songs)?! This picture does not show "the girl in Havana" but is taken in a dockside bar in the small port town of Golfito in Costa Rica (as I recall), where we were loading bananas for transport to Los Angeles and Seattle. Yes, those were other times and other days. When you are trapped on a ship during long periods of time, there is of course a need to get off the ship and come ashore. While the cargo was unloaded in Los Angeles, we used to rent a car and drive around and look at things. Of course, we visited Disneyland and Sea World and all other attractions in the area. But in Golfito, there were only a few half-shady bars. And then you had to make do with that. Second man from the right, thatís meradio officer Renard. The person at the far right was carpenter on board. His name was Henrik, but he was generally known as Gånge-Henrik (alluding to a famous Viking, GŚnge-Rolf). The name, which means "Walking-Henrik" came about, as rumor had it, that he once, in a port, had been so sober that he even could walk. This was a standing joke. But, even though a lot of alcohol was consumed (liquor was almost for free, as everything was tax free on board), the rules on board were very strict. If you were drunk during working hours, this normally led to disciplinary actions, such as salary deduction, and if it was repeated, dismissal. You were then sent home, having to pay your own return trip back to Sweden.
After more than a year on the reefer Albany (see photos above), during which we visited all five continents, spent seven weeks in different ports in Australia etc, I arrived home to Sweden in the spring of 1969. I was now 27 years old and had finally decided to start studying. The choice fell on mathematics and physics.
When my studies in Örebro and Uppsala were completed, I ended up at the University of Stockholm in 1974 to devote myself to research studies in elementary particle physics. As my understanding of the foundations of physics grew, I realized that the foundation of science was not as objective and solid as I had hitherto believed. I began to understand that science could not, e.g., explain itself, but was based on a number of unprovable suppositions and values. Many questions popped up. Why was it, at all, possible to describe reality with mathematics and logic? Whence came the unprecedented and astonishing order and harmony of the Universe, as mirrored in the laws of nature? Had it just happened to be that way when the universe arose by chance, or was there perhaps another explanation? And how came that so many prominent scientists, although they were not always directly Christians, yet believed in a creative Intelligence behind the universe? That eminent physicists such as Einstein, von Neuman and Eddington were Christians, or had strong sympathies with the Christian faith, was difficult to reconcile with the claim that science had disproved the existence of God (or any supernatural agent in general). They, if any, should know and understand the possibilities and limitations of science. More and more I realized that atheism is a faith, just as much as Christianity. To argue that science had proven that God does not exist, also seemed increasingly like a circular reasoning. In this chain of conclusion it was assumed that everything having an objective existence could be "measured and weighed", and described and explained by means of logic and mathematics. What could not be observed and described in this way, was automatically, per definition, reduced to delusion or superstition or pseudo-knowledge. The problem with this materialistic approach was, however, that the basic assumption of materialism itself, would thus also be delusion and superstition, because this assumption could neither be proved logically or deduced from observation. To be valid, the materialistic perspective therefore presupposed its own validity. The conclusion that God could not exist, because he could not be accommodated in the scientific description, was simply based on the assumption that he did not exist.
From being an atheist I therefore proceeded to being an agnostic, i.e. a person who believes that God may or may not exist, but not knowing which alternative is true. This did not imply that I became more in favor of the Christian faith. What I had hitherto seen of Christianity had not impressed me very much. Most Christians I had met, seemed themselves hardly to believe in the Christian message. If you asked them if the miracles in the Bible had indeed occurred, they blushed and mumbled something about superstitious people in Jesusí days not understanding better. They grew even more uncomfortable when asked whether Jesus still performed miracles. The Bible says that he is the same yesterday and today and forever. To me it was pretty obvious that if God existed, which in my opinion was extremely unlikely, and if this God, by his Word, had created the entire universe out of nothing, his message to mankind, i.e. the Bible, must be true. Of course, anyone who is powerful enough to create a universe, would also be able to pass on a correct message to mankind. Even manufacturers of DVD players and washing machines are normally capable of ensuring that their manuals are correct. Naturally, there may be the occasional typing error, but the content is generally largely correct. My attitude was thus that, either Christianity was entirely false, or you had to buy the whole packet, that is resurrection, miracles, angels, the Devil etc. Personally, I was quite convinced that the first alternative was the correct one.
During the winter 74-75, I lived in a student housing in Åkeshov in Stockholm. One evening the phone rang and someone, who claimed to be from "the Church at Brommaplan", told me he was doing a survey among students regarding their attitude toward the Christian faith. He asked if he could visit me for an interview. Because he sounded uncommonly reasonable for being religious, I agreed. I had previously, at various times, been visited by Jehovahís Witnesses, and had had lengthy discussions with them about the credibility of the Bible. I thought it had been real fun to "slug them" with some sophisticated logical or scientific arguments. Although I was now an agnostic, I still thought it would be amusing to see "how much cold steel" this guy could take. The guy in question, also named Christer, turned out to play in a completely different league than any other Christian I had met so far. Firstly I noticed that he really believed in what he claimed to believe in. Secondly, I soon came to realize that his faith was well thought trough. Many of the objections I raised against the Christian faith, he could respond to quite easily. When I delivered my favorite argument (mentioned in the beginning of this article), namely how God could be both good and omnipotent, he looked at me as if I was slightly imbecile and commented shortly with, "Oh, you mean that old theodicy problem?". Suddenly it dawned on me that Christians through all ages had pondered over this problem, and that it was so well known that it even had its own special name. I realized that maybe it was not as easy to dismiss the Christian faith as I had imagined. Before we parted, Christer offered me a challenge. "If you really are the truth seeker that you say you are, shouldnít you try to find out a little more about the Christian faith, before you dismiss it for good!" Now he really had me hooked. What could I say? Was I a truth seeker or not? I accepted the challenge and decided to read the Bible from beginning to end.
During the following two years Christer and I met regularly and quite naturally we soon became good friends. I read a few chapters or books in the Bible and then, when we met, we drank a cup of tea and discussed what I had been reading. Obviously I questioned a lot of what Iíd read. "How could God do this to poor Pharaoh who did not know better? Why did animal sacrifice please God, if he was so good? It seems like he is more bloodthirsty than good." Many were the times when Christer in a satisfactory way could sort out my issues. Sometimes he was at a loss for answers too, and I think that both of us learnt nearly as much during this time.
The agreeable thing about truth is that it stands up to even the most rigorous scrutiny. Although I did not understand everything I read, I was to my great surprise more and more convinced that the Bible describes an objective, absolute reality. The contradictions I thought the Bible to be full of, shone with their absence, and the world view that was depicted, seemed stunningly well to be consistent with my observations of the real world. I have always been an avid reader, and have periodically totally devoured books of all types, fiction and nonfiction. Many of the books I had read claimed to be able to explain the mysteries of existence, but I had yet to find one that could live up to this. Most of the so-called answers presupposed that man was a biological machine, and that neither the "I" (the soul) nor the evil existed. None of this, I found, reflected reality. If Man were a machine, why then did he experience himself as a human being, and not as a machine? Even if a person could possibly experience himself as a machine, it seemed unlikely that a machine would experience itself as a human being. And besides, if it was true that Man was only a machine, a book (thus written by a machine, controlled only by natural law and randomness and nothing else) that claimed this, could hardly be very interesting. If materialism gives an accurate description of reality, than all is predetermined by the laws of physics. But if everything is predetermined, then all books are uninteresting. Their content is then of course one hundred percent the result of unbending law-governed processes, and not by any creative act. Nor does it help to introduce randomness as a factor. Then all things we say and write are one hundred percent the result of absolute deterministic laws of nature combined with coincidence. Neither in this case is there any reason to believe that a book representing materialism has anything meaningful to convey. Only if materialism is false, is it possible to seriously argue that it is true. This is the big dilemma of materialism. The whole thing reminds me of a philosopher I once read about, who wrote book after book, in which he tried to prove that any form of human communication, including the verbal one, is impossible.
Another problem I found difficult was our absolute conviction on the inviolability of human value. The general consensus is that every human being has the same infinite value, regardless of age, sex, race, religion and physical or spiritual fitness etc. If man was only a product of blind evolution, he could hardly have any particular value at all. In the "struggle for survival", weak and sick individuals are eliminated for the constant improvement of the species. How could we ourselves then, as being one hundred percent the result of evolution, perceive that this elimination of unfit human individuals was wrong? Are humans raised above the process of evolution? From where came this feeling? And why were people, who strongly believed in evolution and the "survival of the fittest", so outraged by what Hitler did? He just helped evolution along the way a little faster by screening out "unsuitable predispositions" (I am referring to the Nazi euthanasia programthe T4-programwhere about 200 000 chronically ill and mentally handicapped Germans were murdered by starvation, gassing and lethal injections). This was a contradiction that most people seemed totally unaware of.
The more I read the Bible, the more convinced I became that there were satisfactory answers to all philosophical questions that I myself, and all other people, had asked themselves through the ages: Who is Man? From where comes evil? Is there any meaning to life? Etc. And with satisfactory answers I mean not only therapeutic answers, i..e. answers that might make us feel a little better for a while, but answers that are true and meaningful. Answers that tell us how things really are, what is objectively true. It is only this type of truth that can help us create a better world.
In the summer of 1975, within a span of five weeks, three disasters struck my life. I had been appointed assistant at the physics department of the University of Stockholm, and spent the semesters studying and teaching. During the summer holidays I worked as radio officer on board Gotlandsbolagetís ferry Tjelvar, which sailed between Stockholm and Gdansk in Poland. In late May, one of my best friends committed suicide. On a Monday morning I received a letter, that he had posted last Friday night. After he had put the letter in the box, he would go straight home and take his own life by swallowing an overdose of sleeping pills, he wrote. In the letter was a key to his apartment, and he asked me to go there to make sure he was really dead before calling the police. Was he not dead but only unconscious, he asked me to let him lay there until he died. Even if his life could be rescued, he knew very well that there was a great risk that his kidneys, brain etc would by then be irretrievably damaged by the pills, and that he would have to spend the rest of his life as a "vegetable". The reader can certainly imagine that it was with a heavy heart I met with his last wish. Of course, I did not go there alone, but brought a good friend for support. He did not want to go in, so he waited outside. My friend, who had written the letter, was on the kitchen floor, already cold and in rigor mortis, so there was no doubt whether he was dead or not. How I would have acted had he not been dead I do not know, and I am glad I never had to find out.
The next shock came a few weeks later, when my absolutely best friend was killed in a road accident. Actually, he should have been with me aboard Tjelvar as my guest, but had to cancel this because his passport had expired. Two weeks later it was time for the third blow. A 16 year old girl I knew was brutally sex murdered down a lonely forest road. I was walking in a daze for several months. Because I was working at sea, there was unlimited access to cheap booze and I literally drowned my agony in this.
To continue with research studies in physics was out of the question. Such studies require tremendous concentration, which I was not capable of at the moment. When I was offered a teaching position at the Merchant Marine Academy in Stockholm, I accepted. The terrible things that had happened during the summer, made me naturally reflect even more about life and death, and the existence of evil, than had I done before. Suddenly it was not a matter of philosophical theories and speculations, but of an extremely cruel reality.
During all this period, I continued to read the Bible, and meet with my Christian friend Christer. Naturally I asked myself how God could allow such terrible things to happen. The old theodicy problem thus appeared again, though this time not only as an intellectual exercise, but as something which in a most tangible way had made itself felt in my own life. The answer to my questions, I found in the Bible. God did by no means allow evil. It was man himself, and, ultimately, human rebellion against God, which was the cause of all evil on earth. Man had been given free will, and could therefore choose either good or evil . And all too often he chose evil!
Although I now considered myself to have reached the conclusion that the Bible was true, it took me quite some time before I decided to become a Christian. At one occasion, when I met with Christer, he asked if I really believed Christianity to be true. My answer was "yes", and immediately the supplementary question came up, "Whatís stopping you from becoming a Christian right now?" I fidgeted a little, but could not think of any good reason to say no. "Letís pray to Jesus now, and ask Him to come into your heart", Christer said. It seemed after all quite logical, so with inexperience I clasped my hands, and we prayed a simple prayer together. I had heard quite a lot about how people who were "saved" toppled over and other odd things, but I felt absolutely nothing after the prayer. No heavenly music, no bolts of lightning or other dramatic things. "I felt nothing", I said, a little bit disappointed. "It doesnít matter", was Christerís reply, "Godís word says that when you pray this prayer, you will immediately become his child, no matter what you feel. Itís not a matter of feelings, but of truth!" Somehow I felt quite elated, as if something important had actually happened in my life.
For 36 years I had lived without God. I cannot say that I had been particularly unhappy. Of course my life had had its ups and downs, but overall I had probably had a pretty good life. I had many good friends and had been through a lot of interesting and exciting experiences. I had had the opportunity to try various adventures; trips to exotic countries, scuba diving, parachuting, gliding, ocean sailing and much more. My studies were interesting and very satisfying, and would eventually give me the opportunity to do what interested me the most. In short, I thought I had nothing to complain about. Why would I need God? What could he add to my life? I had previously thought that faith in God, even if he didnít exist, probably could benefit lonely and unhappy people. They could always find some comfort in the thought of an afterlife and the faith that there was someone in heaven who cared for them.
This is perhaps the great dilemma of Western Man, and explains why so few people in e.g. Sweden are believing Christians. Most people have a very good life and think they donít need God. As long as you are young, good looking, desirable, healthy, have interesting hobbies and earn good money and have friends, you think you are virtually immortal. The absolute futility of the materialistic perspective does not cry out for attention, and needs not be taken seriously. When you are young itís easy to joke about "living your life as long as it lasts". And anyway, there seems to be an eternity left. Then, when youíre old and perhaps lonely and sick, you have become so bitter and cynical, that for this reason you find it very, very difficult to start believing. It is a well-known fact that it is not easy to teach an old dog new tricks. Or, you are so filled with remorse and guilt over all evil things you have done during your life, that you cannot believe that God could forgive you, which of course is totally wrong. There is no action, how terrible it might be, that God cannot forgive, if it is regretted by an honest heart!
A major contributor for me to seriously begin searching for God was certainly the shocking events of the summer of 1975, which effectively punctured my inflated balloon of complacency. However what finally made me surrender to God, was not those events, but the fact that I simply had become convinced that the Christian faith was objectively true.
Initially, my life as a Christian meant no significant change. I was convinced that there was a God and that Jesus, the Son of God, was crucified and had died for my sake, and then had risen from the dead in order to once and for all solve the problem of evil. In this I believed sincerely. I prayed regularly to God, read the Bible and went around to various churches to find somewhere where I felt at home. To read the Bible gave me great satisfaction and I experienced again and again how the Bible texts kind of spoke to me in a very personal way. It was as if some Bible verses were written in letters of fire. I had no direct experience of contact with God or of his presence when I prayed, but still, those moments of prayer and Bible reading gave me a type of community, satisfaction and security. And several times, I also experienced miraculous answers to my prayers. People with serious diseases were healed, and various problems in my own life were dissolved in a seemingly supernatural way.
Eventually I became a member of the same Baptist church as my good friend Christer. It came quite natural as the only Christians I knew were members of this particular congregation. For some reason, which I do not understand, God must have been undeservedly patient with me during this time. I often felt myself as the greatest of all sinners. I thought I had done so many evil and destructive things in my life. And I don't primarily talk about drinking alcohol or any such external things, but of all the people I had let down, taken advantage of and treated in a selfish and hurtful and unloving way. Unfortunately, I also continued doing such things, even though I did not want to. "For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to dothis I keep on doing", like Paul in his despair writes in Romans 7:19. But the grace of God is infinitely great and luckily for us, we are saved by grace and not by works. The more I realized my own sins and evil, the more I was filled with gratitude of Godís abundant grace. And instead of feeling superior and contemptuous towards all weak and sinful people, I was filled with love for them. I was myself as weak and sinful, perhaps even weaker than most. Not saved because of my own excellence, but by Godís immense grace. "Öhe himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames", as Paul writes in 1Cor. 3:15.
My road to God was thus initially mainly intellectual. I had logically concluded that all the evidence pointed towards the Bibleís message being true, and I had then started living accordingly. My faith was built perhaps to 90 percent on what I believed was true, and possibly to ten percent on personal feelings and experiences. Many times my prayers had been answered, and certain texts in the Bible had spoken straight into my personal life. I was acquainted with God and trusted him, but I did not know him personally. I often regarded church services as pretty boring, and although some occasional sermon could be interesting, I often sat waiting for the meeting to end, so I could do more meaningful things, like drinking coffee and talking with my buddies. It was more out of duty than of pleasure and anticipation that I went to church.
In 1978, during a service at a state church outside Uddevalla (in those days the Swedish Church was controlled by the statebishops were e.g. ordained by the government), I had my first supernatural encounter with God himself. I had at that time never heard of what the Pentecostals call "Baptism in the Spirit", i.e. that you can be filled by the Holy Spirit in such a tangible way that you act as if you were "drunk" or generally weird. Signs of Spiritual baptism can be manifested in different ways, as speaking in tongues or falling over or doing other things that for the uninitiated may seem "as a folly". I had just received the Holy Communion and was going back to my seat, when suddenly I was filled with an enormous love. It felt like I would burst from within, thatís how palpable it was. For a while I thought I was going to die. I stood there in the front for probably ten minutes, and tears were streaming down my cheeks. I felt completely purified and freed from all old garbage and all bitter memories, and I was filled with real, true love for all people, but also with a great sorrow for all the suffering and all the evil in the world. Afterwards I understood that God had showed me how much he loves every person on earth, including myself, and how important each individual is for him and how tremendously he grieves over the suffering. The emotion that filled me was so incredibly strong that I still, three days later, walked around in a "blissful intoxication".
This encounter with God changed my life definitely. What had previously only been a theory, became a reality and the beginning of a new phase of my life. Baptism in the Spirit is sometimes explained away as an effect of mass suggestion. When everyone else speaks in tongues or falls down, itís easy for whoever present to be gripped by "the agitated mood" the argument goes. My baptism in the Spirit can hardly be explained in this way. First, it happened in the Church of Sweden, and undoubtedly not many of those present knew of, or believed in, Baptism in the Spirit. Not even I myself believed in it. Nor was there present any mass hysteria or anything else that could have affected me. Yes, there was actually one thing that could have affected me. The Holy Spirit! And it is my firm belief that this is exactly what happened.
There are a few more things I would like to mention, as it may help the reader to judge the reliability of what I write, at least when it comes to science. Following the closure of the Merchant Marine Academy in Stockholm, I worked at sea between 1982 and 1985 as a radio officer on a small exclusive cruise ship named Lindblad Polaris.
Here I am, myself, in the radio room on the Lindblad Polaris, surrounded by the best radio equipment available at the time (I had myself decided how the station would be equipped). The Morse key, which I use, is a so-called "sideswiper", a model very popular among radio operators.
This ship, which only took about 80 passengers, had along with her sister ship Lindblad Explorer, specialized in a very specific niche in the cruise sector, so-called "cruising expeditions".
For the reader to understand that a shipís radio station includes very sophisticated radio equipment, I show a picture of Lindblad Polariís two transmitters (the previous picture shows the so-called receiver rack, from which the radio operator maneuvers the whole radio station). To the left is the shipís main transmitter of 1,6 kW output power, and to the right a 800 W automatically tuned transmitter, which can also run on batteries in an emergency. The transmitters are working both on MF telegraphy (medium frequency, 400-540 kHz), MHF telephony (medium high frequency, 1.5-3.5 MHz) and HF telegraphy/telex/telephony (high frequency, 4-30 MHz) and can be used for phone calls, messages, emergency etc. With these transmitters it is possible to communicate with other radio stations (other ships and shore stations) in the neighborhood as well as across the globe. Nowadays most of the maritime radio traffic over long distances use satellite systems. Sometimes HF is still used for phone calls as the minute cost on HF compared to satellite calls are significantly lower. The letters SIAQ, seen at top right on the left transmitter, is the shipís call sign (for Swedish merchant ships the call sign starts with SA and ends at SM).
The basic idea behind cruising expeditions is that you have small, purpose-built ships of highest luxury class, that take a small number of passengers to places of great interest, that would otherwise be very difficult or even impossible to get to. On board are eminent lecturers (historians, nature experts etc), who give lectures on the places and the nature that is visited. The cruises are thus not primarily focused on sunbathing, swimming, roulette games, dancing and drinks, although this too is available. Instead the concept is based on discovering the world and learning something. Because of the small size and small draft (depth) of these ships, and by using advanced, heavy-duty dinghies (Zodiacs), passengers can disembark at very difficult and remote places. There is complete scuba-diving and snorkeling equipment on board, and passengers with a diver's certificate have the choice to dive together with professional and experienced diving instructors. This type of ships (today there are many more of themrun by different operators) did and still do, as far as I know, adventurous cruises all over the globe; around Antarctica, far up the Amazon River and in the Red Sea, to name a few places that are visited. I cannot deny that it was extremely interesting to work on a ship of this type. That I, as an extra bonus, had the privilege to dive almost unlimited when we e.g. cruised in the Red Seadid not exactly worsen the situation.
Lindblad Polaris was initially Swedish flagged, but the flag was eventually changed to Bahamian. At the same time she underwent an extensive rebuild and was renamed Polaris. A tough little ship and a pleasant workplace, and which has given me many wonderful memories. The photo is taken during a so-called "whale-watching" cruise in the Sea of Cortez (the bay inside Baja California, south of San Diego), which is one of the waters richest in whales anywhere in the world. Passengers and crew on the bow and on the bridge are on lookout for whales.
Between 1985 and 1987 I sailed in my own sailboat, an L28 (an 8,5 meter long double ender of type Laurin Koster), along with a good friend, from Sweden to the Amazon River, through i.a. Madeira, the Canaries and Cape Verde Islands. The journey ended in Fort Lauderdale in Florida, where the boat was sold.
This is my sailing yacht, docked in Fort Lauderdale at a marina, waiting for sale. The L28 (constructed by the legendary Swedish yacht designer Arvid Laurin) is a very seaworthy boat and one of the sharpest offshore sailboats, in this size, ever built (click here to see a picture of the hull shapethis article is in Swedish but you will easily find the picture). The device at the stern is a so-called wind rudder (a kind of mechanical autopilot that steers the boat in relation to the wind directionthis allows the boat to steer itself almost entirely on its own at open sea). On the other side of the bridge is another Swedish blue water yacht of type Maxi 95.
When I came home to Sweden, I returned to my old "love", physics, and began graduate studies in theoretical physics, focusing on quantum mechanics, at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. At the time of writing I work as a high school teacher in mathematics and physics (while working on the translation of my home page to English some years have passed since I wrote the original Swedish text, and I am now retired since 4 years).
Pretty soon after becoming a Christian, probably because of my background in science, I was asked to lecture on faith and science, intelligent design and similar topics at my home church. Over the years I have been invited to other churches in and outside Sweden, universities, technical colleges and high schools. In 1989 my first book, entitled Vetenskap och Trotvå vägar till en världsbild (Science and Faithtwo paths to a world view) was published. There I summed up my thoughts when it came to the relationship between science and the Christian faith. For many years I spent my spare time writing a university textbook on modern physics, which was eventually published in 1995 under the name of Den moderna fysikens grunder. Från mikrokosmos till makrokosmos (The foundation of modern physics. From micro cosmos to macro cosmos). I have also co-authored a book about creation/evolution, published in November 2002, entitled Vetenskap, Evolution, Skapelse, Gudstro (Science, Evolution, Creation, faith in God) (link with more information about my books is found on my main pagewhere you also find details of a further book I have written, The Da Vinci Bluff, where I am responding to Dan Brownís book The Da Vinci Codethis page is in Swedish).
I have now been a believer for about 28 years. During these years I have never been disappointed in God or in my Christian faith. If I ever felt God being far away, it has always depended on myself. When you disobey the will of God, you lose all your boldness and dare hardly come before his face, as you feel unclean and unworthy. The simple solution he has given us to this, is that you sincerely repent and ask for forgiveness. Then all is set right.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
I have grown more and more when it comes to understand Godís boundless love and grace to all people and his incredible care, if we allow him this. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom 8:31)
Sometimes people have wondered what view I have of the Bible. "You who are so smart and have studied both mathematics and physics, surely you donít for a moment believe in Adam and Eve and the Flood and nonsense like that?" My answer to this is that I have the same view of the Bible as Jesus has. Why would I have a different view of the Bible that my Lord and Master?! For he is God himself come to earth, so he ought to know best! I believe that Adam and Eve existed as individuals, because Jesus believed this, as evidenced by Matt 19:4. I also believe that Noah and the Ark existed and I believe in the Bibleís story of the Flood because Jesus believed this (read here about historical evidences of the Flood). When Jesus on one occasion taught his disciples he said, a.o.:
Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:26-27)
Jesus also believed that Jonah was swallowed by a giant fish (Matt 12:40), that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah existed (Matt 11:24) and that Moses really wrote the Books of Moses (John 5:46-47). All of this was obvious to Jesus. If he believed in all this, itís good enough for me to believe in. Jesus knows better than any liberal theologians and scholars what is true, and I rely more on him than on any ordinary human being. I am not ashamed to believe what Jesus believed in! No Sir! Not at all!
Paul had the same attitude and writes, "I believe everything that agrees with the Law and what is written in the Prophets" (Acts 24:14). Why would I have a different view of the Bible than that of the apostle Paul?! What do I know that he does not know, when it comes to spiritual matters?
During my life I have had many "cool" experiences. Some of these I have mentioned above. I have mountain hiked, practiced skydiving and soaring, and in addition to the coasts of Sweden I have scuba-dived in the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, the South Atlantic and Australia. I have sailed with my own sailboat across the Atlantic and up the Amazon River. I have visited somewhere between 70 and 80 countries and have seen and heard and experienced a lot. Yet, by far the strongest and most amazing experience of them all, is my meeting with Jesus Christ!
You can read more on Christian faith in:
The liberal theology, a failed attempt to explain away God of the Bible
 This way of reasoning is usually called "the God of the gaps" and thus signifies that God is used only to explain the yet unexplained. As our understanding of the universe increases, there is less and less room left for God. When (and if) science will be able to answer the final question, God has thus been dismissed, once and for all. This philosophical approach has been embraced by both atheists and Christians, and has for the Christiansí part in some cases led to fear or contempt for science. Christian faith is however not opposed to scientific knowledge, it is rather a complement. Simply put, science answers the question "How?" while religion answers the question "Why?" They do not in any way exclude one another! Together they give a more complete explanation of total reality than either of them alone. I go into this in further detail in other articles (see my section about faith and science).
 The problem of evil and suffering is discussed in more detail in other articles (the titles of the articles give some guidance).
 The American preacher Lester Sumrall once said something like, "I donít want justice from God. If so, I would be on my way to hell right now. No, the only thing I want, is his grace".
 Studentlitteratur. This book deals with special relativity, quantum mechanics and particle physics.
 Sometime in the beginning of 1996, TT (Swedish news agency) reported that two Swedish archeologists, who had been excavating in Jordan on the shores of the Dead Sea, claimed to have found the remains of these cities. According to the TT-telegram, their findings suggested that the two cities had been destroyed by an earth quake around 1900 BC. This is entirely consistent with the Biblical description, both in terms of time and how the cities were destroyed. In Gen 19:24-25 we read:
Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrahfrom the Lord out of the heavens.
Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the citiesand also the vegetation in the land.