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Finding Hope for the Environment: Jan’s Journey

Jan Haugg
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Jan was a militant environmentalist intent on saving the planet and a die-hard atheist. Meeting some Christians reminds him at first of all the wrongs done by believers in the name of religion, but soon he is presented with some ideas that shake his certainties.


  • May 3, 2021
    9:30 AM


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My name is John how and I'm 30 a student at but went off and theological seminary in Austria and I'm preparing to become a minister. About God and about sharing my faith with others but only a few years ago I was a die hard atheist and here's my journey to say. I was born in East Germany into an atheist family and an almost completely secular social environment all my relatives schoolmates and friends were mostly nonbelievers at 14 years of age I participated in the human via that secular coming of age ceremony which had been supported by the communist government as a replacement for confirmation. As a youngster I didn't spend any time thinking about God because it's cool I had learned what terrible things Christians had done in history so for me religion was only for people who didn't want to think I was only a crowd was only for individual. Lived more like ducks and not so much like eagles I remember when I was around 16 years of age when I was invited to a Christian family for a meal and as they prayed before eating there was the 1st time that I see that I saw somebody praying. I was fortunate to grow up in the countryside surrounded by fields and forests and as I was watching documentaries about animals and distant lands I developed a deep love for nature and my 2 friends and I we played in the woods in the woods very often and we pull chapters here and there and we were kind of the forest police and we were telling little children off when they would drive nails into the trees. When I was 18 and still in high school I joined the youth wing of the Social Democrats and as a socialist I wanted to fight for minimum wage for abolishing nuclear power and I wanted to replace it with renewable energy of course it was while I was studying international business and it's on that I stumbled across a book that was entitled 50 things you can do to save the world and money at the same time and it gave tips on how you could reduce your ecological footprint in all the different areas of life like food and clothing and transportation. Even finances and internet usage and this book this book headed deep effect on me. And I started implementing these things and began putting a lot of effort into what I was thinking was saving the world and I was the kind of guy then who bought only organic and and as often as I could I would buy fair trade stuff even though I was only on a student budget and I planted even Indigenous flowers in the park to help save bees. And not before long I was an Vajra mentalism that became my religion I saw the world caught up in a rapid downhill spiral heading for disaster there is deforestation decertify cation agricultural degradation and plastic polluting the planet and all these and $100.00 more serious problems they require immediate and drastic action not only by tiny parts of the population but by large portions in order to be successfully. But despite my strong activism and that of other like minded people and activists things seem to get only worse and I felt like being confronted with there was a huge wave that was threatening to collapse over us and I had no idea how we could possibly survive in the future seemed just bleak and the hopelessness was very frustrating. I did all think many achievements that is from a university degree and there I had to choose one language from the Baltic Sea region to learn from my course and I took up Norwegian and I went on a backpacking trip to Norway and the next year also I returned there. I went to a farm about one hour from also because I was interested in learning about organic agriculture. And there met some great people there was Jonathan and Lena and Julia they were tenants on the farm and they also helped out Ok Shelley and while picking rust berries I found myself discussing. Things like country living and politics education and vegetarianism and these people had very interesting views and I realized we had many things in common even more so than with my environmentalist bodies so we became good friends we played games and had fun together. One Saturday morning I was searching for the sheep that had escaped again. And I saw my new friends all dressed up going out. And I just wanted to say hello so I went over and said hello and they told me that they were on their way to church. Oh no. I thought to myself Christians how disappointing why do these nice people have to be Christians and then they told me even that they were Adventists and I had never heard anything like that before. Back at home 2 years went by with me studying and doing an internship at a green bank in Nurnberg and then I had to accomplish a year abroad so I decided to write my bachelor thesis in Norway and work for a company doing roof mounted solar panels and for that purpose I moved to Austin. And I was desperately searching for an affordable place to stay so I remembered my friends from 2 years before. The friends from the farm and I got in touch with them and they again introduced me to David he lived in a church own student home in a 14 square meter room a small one and he took me in and he went out of his way to make me feel comfortable. At the home I suddenly realized that I was surrounded by Christians and I was sure they would try to convert me but I determined that they would not get me. And the 1st 3 months went smoothly except for me breaking the home's rules on alcohol prohibition which they kindly overlooked. When I was invited by my friends from the farm to an Independence Day celebration which is a big deal in Norway and of course I had no idea that a double decker bus full of Christian young people would show up but I had some great conversations with them and I remember arguing with them how unreasonable it was to believe in God but I kept it respectful because for some reason I really like these people they did have good values and they believed in the 10 Commandments and I thought if everybody would live like that healthy country lifestyle then this world would be a better place just imagine they were so genuine and they wanted to know how they can do things better. And after meeting as an activist so many people who did not want to change that was so refreshing my friends invited me on a boat trip to the south of Norway and we were going to spend the whole weekend on an island and there were about 30 to 40 Christian young people and I had such a wonderful time they took such good care of me they were sharing their clothes and other necessities with me and then a guy called your Kim asked me if I wanted to study the Bible and I felt uneasy since I had no interest in the Bible but I didn't want to sent him so I said let's do it tomorrow. And I was hoping he would forget about it but the next morning he surprised me again by asking me again so I scrambled another excuse and the best that I could come up with was saying Sorry I don't have a Bible but it turned out to be the lousiest answer that was available to me in that moment because I was in all surrounded by Christians and every one of them had a Bible so in the next moment I was presented with somebody else's Bible and I was like thank you. But then I thought these people have been so good listeners so it's only fair that I hear them as well. You can started talking about how the Bible made the extraordinary claim that it is the inspired word of God and their claim called for extraordinary proof and he showed me how the Bible was able to forecast the future and he explained to me the prophecy of Daniel Chapter 2 how the empires of the world had been foreseen by God you know Babylon Mido Persia Greece and Rome and the fragmented Europe of our days. And I could follow along because I had taken an advanced course in history and after that study my view of the Bible had changed so much that I decided to read it I was in expensive study Bible and I started out with Genesis the 1st book there was a road block though because I believed in evolution and there the Bible said that God created. So my friends took care of me referred me to some lectures about evolution and creation and as I learned some very intriguing facts my doubts started to crumble one by one. And then something started to work within me now I seriously wondered if God possibly existed and I carefully weighed up the arguments that I had learned and then there were basically 4 main points that challenge my own beliefs. These Christians 1st had solid values they lived a good life and did positive things Secondly the idea of the great controversy between God and Satan that made a lot of sense to me it was the most credible framework for interpretation the things that are going on in the world 3rd there was the reality of prophecy that God is actually able to predict the future and lastly number 4. There were the really viable ideas of creation and intelligent design. I had never envisioned being a Christian but the weight of the evidence became so heavy that I could just no longer ignore it if God exists. And if you say almighty and all knowing if he has a plan of salvation not just for me but for the whole planet then it would be stupid to not follow the winner team. So if God is the one that he says he is then I would follow him from now on. I decided to believe in God and then I prayed for the 1st time in my life and I was 25 at that time and it was very awkward for me but it was very special at the same time because for the 1st time I talked to the father that I never knew I had. Then I went back to Germany finished off my bachelor but my life had just acquired a new and rich dimension and I just had to explore more about Christianity so I attended mission school for 2 years and that was the best time of my life I learned that I was a sinner that I am in need of salvation and I had not thought that way of myself before people's hearts just need to change and the real hope the real hope is in living with Jesus in the new world that he has promised that he has promised to establish at His 2nd coming. Now I aspire to help others find God and true hope and I still believe that doing my part in taking care of the planet is essential and I still turn off unneeded lights and I still deposit my money in a green bank and it's good to do that but much more than that I'm really looking forward to God truly saving the Worlds.


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