Frank Pastore was a top fastball pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds beginning in 1979. Read the prequel Baseball Pitcher in Crisis for the beginning of this story.
Suddenly in June 1984 his career was cut short by a line drive off the bat of Dodger 2nd-baseman Steve Sax. It shattered his pitching elbow.
Pastore’s description of his philosophy at this time is:
“I would not have considered myself a ‘religious person.’ I was a ‘realist.’ I was a realist because I believed in only what was real and true, like science, history, psychology, chemistry and physics. I believed that some being called ‘god’ may have started the Big Bang; but I knew that evolution was a fact, that morality was culturally relative, and that environment and chemicals could account for all human behavior, because those were the things I had been taught in school. I did not believe that Jesus Christ was God, that He had been born of a virgin, that He had risen from the dead, that the Bible was inspired, that there was a literal heaven and a literal hell, or that there had ever been prophecies or miracles. Simply put, I just didn’t believe Christianity was true.”
As Pastore entered the training room with his injury, Christian teammates gathered to pray. He thought, “The religious fanatics want to pray for me. Isn’t that just like uneducated people to turn to a mythical god in a crisis situation?”
They stunned Pastore, praying as if Jesus were real and present. They won the right to be heard, and Pastore wanted their strength.
Pastore realized, “It was one thing to raise impersonal intellectual objections against Christianity, as I had done my whole life, but it was another to see close friends you’ve lived with for the past six years talking to the Jesus your arguments say doesn’t exist.” Pastore came to realize, “It’s hard to doubt God’s existence in His presence.”
Pastore describes his intense inner turmoil as he returned to Cincinnati for medical attention:
“I couldn’t get their prayer out of my mind (Who was this Jesus?!?) But on the other, I had all the memories of all the stuff I had ever learned about Christianity being a myth, silly, and false running through my mind. 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. 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 those Christians.”
When asked to help his Christian teammates see where the Bible was wrong and why Christianity was false, Pastore took the bait and began studying Genesis to show why creation was unscientific. Two months of study convinced Pastore he was wrong.
Pastore describes his immediate post-conversion thoughts:
“I had two powerful emotions simultaneously. The first was joy: my sins could be forgiven! The second was anger. I was so ticked off that I had been lied to my whole life. It was naturalistic evolution, secular humanism, and the other atheistic ideologies that were the myths, not Christianity! Not once was I ever told that there were good reasons to believe in God or Christianity, I was simply told that evolution was a fact and to ask questions about it was to be heretical and unscientific. I never heard that there were problems: huge, gaping problems: with evolution all through elementary school, junior high, or high school. I realized I had been deceived my whole academic life, and I was furious. I could have died and gone to hell because people wanted to repress intellectual freedom and force their agenda on me. Why couldn’t they have just presented the arguments both for and against Christianity and let me decide for myself based upon the evidence? Why all this censorship? The issue should have been Truth not Propaganda.”
Today Pastore hosts the Frank Pastore Radio Show, on 99.5 KKLA-FM in Los Angeles. It’s the largest Christian radio talk show in the U.S. In 2006 he won the “National Religious Broadcasters Talk Show of the Year” award.
This month Pastore’s autobiography, Shattered: Struck Down but not Destroyed, was published by Tyndale. It’s available on Amazon for $10. Tyndale says,
“Shattered is part sports book, because you’ll go on road trips, enter clubhouses, and walk on the fields of professional baseball. It’s part romantic novel, because you’ll journey with two young kids who fall in love and eventually elope, evading not only her family, but the law as well—for she was only 16. It’s also a story of brokenness, betrayal, and burn-out. If you were raised in a dysfunctional family, if you’ve ever had your dreams fall apart, been betrayed by close friends, or hit the psychological “wall” in your professional career, this is your book too. But, most of all, this is an uplifting story of how an unpredictable God can surprise any of us with His goodness and love when we allow Him to make beautiful the shattered fragments of our lives.”
Yahweh uses line drives to humble pitchers and lightning bolts to penetrate proud hearts. For 27 years Pastore was a caustic atheist, refusing to admit God existed. But Yahweh got his attention with tragedy and transformed him from an atheistic evolutionist into a committed Bible-believing Christian.
Pastore learned that Christianity is the only rational world view. All other worldviews rely on the truth of the Biblical worldview to even pose their arguments. Because Christianity is true, it’s relatively simple to answer objections to it.
Will Yahweh have to thunder or whisper to get your attention?
©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
Thursday May 27, 2010 A.D.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.