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In my previous post I told the story of how St Augustine came to faith in Jesus Christ when he was willing to let go of his sex addiction. It doesn’t always work out like that. Here are two examples of people kept from Christian faith because they chose money, sex or power instead.
Duncan Bannatyne is a multi-millionaire entrepreneur who became a household name as one of the dragons in the BBC series “Dragons’ Den”. Encouraged by a committed Christian friend, he has done a lot to help abandoned and orphaned children in Romania. He describes one occasion when the double impact of seeing children suffer and then seeing their lives changed through loving care brings him to tears:
From time to time everyone involved in charity work like this breaks down in tears. I cry easily, but even those who don’t will break down at some point. The tears are always a private thing, and when they come you find a place where you can be alone and sob… For me the tears came at about ten o’clock that night.
I went outside and found a quiet place at the side of the house. I couldn’t stop the tears, my face was wet, my nose began to run and I was a mess… After many minutes I began to get the feeling that I wasn’t alone.
It was there and then that God said hello.
I felt that I had been consumed by this presence, that something had completely shrouded and taken hold of me. It was unmistakable: I knew who had come and I also knew why. It wasn’t a spiritual thing, it was a Christian thing, and I felt I was being told, ‘You’ve arrived, join the faith, be a Christian, this is it.’ It was profound, and I stood there, stunned, considering the offer and thinking about what it would mean. I knew I wanted to keep on building up my businesses and I wanted to keep making money, and I also knew I wanted to carry on doing all the things I wasn’t proud of – I knew I was never going to be this totally Christian guy going to church on Sundays.
So I said, ‘No, I’m not ready.’
And God said, ‘OK,’ and disappeared.Duncan Bannatyne, Anyone Can Do It: The Autobiography (Orion Books, 2006) pp230-231
Aldous Huxley is best known for his novel Brave New World, which presents a vision of a future world state which controls its populace in ways which now look remarkably prophetic.
Huxley deserves to be equally famous for his candid account of his personal philosophical journey. In Ends and Means he explains that as a younger man he believed life was meaningless. Partly this was what science seemed to be telling the world. But partly also he had other motives for embracing meaninglessness. Living in a world without meaning allowed him to do what he liked as far as sex was concerned; and he could adopt whatever political philosophy he chose to achieve whatever political ends he chose. Meaninglessness meant freedom – freedom from all sexual and political restraint. Sex and power won out over all other considerations.
In later life he came to see things differently. In Ends and Means he argues that science doesn’t tell the whole story of reality and the philosophy of meaninglessness becomes intolerable because we are so deeply wired to seek meaning and purpose. But – as far as anybody knows – he never found the meaning revealed in Jesus Christ.
 Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means: An Enquiry into the Nature of Ideals and into the Methods employed for their Realization (Chatto & Windus, 1937): see specially Chapter XIV “Beliefs”.