How did a former agnostic KGB spy come to believe in Christianity? In the case of Jack Barsky, it took a pushy administrative assistant, a brilliant evangelist and a bit of C.S. Lewis.
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This is a rush transcript and may contain errors.
GLENN: And you were not a Christian at all, had really kind of contempt for the idea that — contempt in the way that it’s a fairy tale, guys. How stupid do you have to be to believe in God. And you met your now current wife.
GLENN: Who started as your administrative assistant.
GLENN: And you wanted to see how smart she was.
GLENN: And so you asked I would like to see some of your work, your studies. And what did she do?
JACK: Well, she attended Philadelphia Bible College, so she gave me an essay on the book of Ruth.
GLENN: And you’re thinking when you hire her, like, oh, I hope she’s not a holy roller.
JACK: Yes, I was. But at that point, I had not dropped my hatred for Christianity. I wasn’t an aggressive atheist anymore.
GLENN: You were an aggressive atheist —
JACK: At one point, for sure. Yeah. But, you know, I had met too many good Christians to, like, hate them. I told my admin at the time, I told her I’m an agnostic. You can do what you want to do, and I believe what I believe, which is I don’t know anything, really. That’s a cop out, but it was convenient at the time. But, you know, she sort of opened the door because once I read the essay, I said this is a pretty good — pretty well written. But does it justice to the original? And out comes the Bible.
GLENN: She knew.
JACK: She was ready. She pulled that out. She is a very aggressive evangelist, and she felt that there was a way to lead me to God. And the most critical moment was when she told me to listen to this radio program, Let My People Think by Ravi Zacharias.
GLENN: Ravi Zacharias.
GLENN: Amazing man. He is the C.S. Lewis of our time. If you don’t know who Ravi Zacharias is, Google him — watch some of his YouTube videos. He goes into universities — I think he’s at Oxford — he goes to universities, he speaks to atheists but has a dialogue. He’s not trying to — he’s not trying to win. He’s not trying to argue. He just wants to have a dialing, and he is absolutely brilliant. If you’re like Jack, you’re science-minded, he’s brilliant.
JACK: Yes, and so this was the first time that I heard somebody made a philosophically, locally-sound argument for God. And what particularly attracted me, and this is one of the poor pieces of his message is that there is no morality without a god.
GLENN: What does that mean to you?
JACK: What that means to me because I realized, looking back at my life, I always thought of myself as a good person. You know, I’m intrinsically good. Yeah, but then you come to terms with I did a lot of bad things. Never mind breaking laws. I hurt people. I did bad things. I served a bad cause. And I realized goodness doesn’t come from the inside.
GLENN: It takes down people like Lennon and Stalin.
JACK: Yes, it does.
GLENN: Even people on our side. It takes these guys down. It doesn’t matter what the society thinks or what the leader thinks.
JACK: Yes, and so, in addition, Shauna, now wife, just told me to read some C.S. Lewis. “Mere Christianity,” “The Problem of Pain.” And this is all — I said, yeah, I can go with that. And on top of it, I had this the spiritual, emotional need that I was talking to you about, this loneliness. So she took me to her church, and the sermon was just, like, overwhelming in that the pastor mentioned the word love about 30, 40 times.
GLENN: As the old Jack, the guy whose name I can’t pronounce, what’s your real name?
JACK: Albrecht Dittrich.
GLENN: Okay. That guy. What would you say to that guy that he would understand? Because you’re now saying, you know, he said love and this feeling. Albrecht Dittrich would say — would look at you and say I get it. I get it. But that’s fairy tales, and you’re talking about feels. What would you say to yourself?
JACK: To my young self, this would all be a logical argument, not so much about the feeling because my young self didn’t know that feeling was an intrinsical part of being a person, of being a human being. But I would make the logical argument of, hey, listen, you’re a scientist. Dig into this. Open your ears or open your mind. Let the message come in, and then decide for yourself because my young self was, you know — ideas other than what was preached and in our communist society were not coming in.
GLENN: You — there is a movement now under foot about — for socialism. I mean, 60 percent of millennials, maybe even be higher now, think that Marxism, socialism, it’s all great. What would you say? Especially to people who didn’t grow up in the Cold War like we did. What would you say to them about what they’re being taught?
JACK: Well, it’s a great dream. This romantic notion that, you know, everybody can get along. It’s the denial of evil in this world. It’s sticking your head in the sand and dreaming that, you know — it’s all about feelings and feeling good. And it’s in defiance of reality. And, as a matter of fact, the communist ideal is appealing as it might be, has never been implemented. Maybe in small communities like a Ca Buttes or amongst the Meta Knights. But not in a country, in a state.
JACK: So every country in history that sort of started out with a communist ideology became very quickly a dictatorship. And some of them just as bad if not worse than the Hitler dictatorship. Stalin. So, kids, is that what you want?
GLENN: Where do you want to go from here, Jack? You said to me you want to go talk to colleges.
JACK: Yes, I do, and I hope I get in one of these days and explain to them exactly what my experiences are and sort of, like, let’s not repeat history and go down that path again because if you don’t take ownership of your own lives, if you don’t open your mind, you will easily fall prey to one of those dictator types that will usurp your movement, that everything will be good, you start following somebody, and you go down that rat hole where you really don’t want to go there. Now, this message needs to be honed; right?
GLENN: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
JACK: I’m working on it.
GLENN: You’re a work in progress.
JACK: Yes, sir.
GLENN: How long have you been reborn?
JACK: Eight years.