The Arrogant Nuclear Scientist
A humbled intellectual finds new life in the One who created the world.
by Robert Faid as told to Muriel Larson
Though I had always gone to church with my family, I was an agnostic. As a nuclear scientist, I prided myself on my knowledge and accomplishments. As a student of the Bible, which I considered a marvelous history book with beautiful poetry, I prided myself on being able to destroy the faith others had in the Bible.
The churches my wife, Jean, and I attended were merely social clubs. When we joined one church, I informed the minister that I didn’t believe in the virgin birth or Christ’s divinity.
He shrugged his shoulders. “That’s all right,” he said, “I don’t either. Welcome to the fellowship!” I became a Bible school teacher there.
All my life I had been interested in science. Every nuclear power plant in the United States, as well as many around the world, had benefited from the processes I had developed to protect nuclear plants against earthquakes and flooding. Who needs a god? I reasoned. If I had a god, it was my work or me.
When my company transferred me to Massachusetts, my family and I started attending the first church that had ever made me feel uncomfortable. There the minister preached that all are sinners, that Jesus Christ had died for our sins, and that to live for eternity, we had to trust Christ as our Savior. The pastor’s altar call every week bothered me, too. The church wouldn’t let anyone join unless they were what they called “born again.”
About six weeks after we started attending, Jean and our children went forward when the altar call was given. After that, Jean glowed. “I’ve trusted Jesus as my Savior, Bob!” she exclaimed. “Now I know what the people in this church have that I didn’t!”
She changed immediately. Always before, my wife had looked up to me as if I were her god. Now she dared to tell me, “You’re not number one with me any more. Jesus is.”
Where before Jean would meekly do everything I said, now she began saying, “Honey, I don’t think that’s what Jesus would want us to do.”
“Jesus! That’s all you can think of,” I exclaimed, “as if He were God or something!”
“He is,” she answered.
Jean took a course on Christian womanhood and became sweeter than ever. Instead of meeting me head-on when she didn’t agree with what I wanted to do, she lovingly talked me out of my ideas. Knowing how I prided myself on my biblical knowledge, she began to ask me questions about the Bible. Flattered, I started digging to get the answers for her.
“I’m praying for you, honey,” she often said. “I know I’m going to live forever some day, and it won’t be the same if you’re not with me.”
I had a lot to learn. God was going to teach me that I wasn’t as self-sufficient and all-knowing as I thought. Some things man has no control over. One is an incurable disease!
I was scheduled to make a six-week trip to Asia in connection with a two-unit nuclear power plant in Taiwan.
“I’m praying you won’t go on this trip,” Jean said.
A few weeks before I was due to leave, I started to hemorrhage. I went to a specialist who gave me a complete physical, then put me into the hospital for further tests. These revealed that I had diverticulosis and a lesion on my colon. The doctor operated and found it necessary to remove 18 inches of my colon because of the malignancy.
Mistakenly thinking I was asleep, the surgeon talked to Jean outside my room.
“Mrs. Faid,” he said, “I have to tell you very bluntly: We have found many, many more cancerous growths in your husband that we weren’t able to remove. I’m afraid he hasn’t much of a chance. We’re going to run tests, and in five days we’ll know the definite answer.”
Jean called her brother Jim in Baltimore, who had connections with hundreds of praying Christians. They prayed for this self-sufficient agnostic who scoffed at their personal God, their Jesus Christ.
Five days later when the pathology report came back, it revealed that those lesions, which the doctor had been sure were cancerous, were not. I began to wonder: Maybe there’s some truth in what these Christians have been telling me!
When I got home, Jean’s friends started bringing me bags full of Christian books to read while I recuperated. I read them all. I discovered, to my surprise, that a lot of intelligent, successful people actually believed what I had always considered fantasy.
Then I attended a men’s prayer breakfast where I heard a testimony that touched me — one that revealed God’s power in a man’s life. That week I finally acknowledged God. “OK, God,” I said, “if there’s anything to this, I want to know about it!”
The following week Jean took the children to Bible school. I planned to join them for church. I got dressed, and as I walked through the family room, it suddenly seemed as if Jesus were actually speaking to me as He did to Saul on the Damascus road!
Suddenly, I was no longer an agnostic. I could no longer deny that Jesus Christ was who He said He was: the Son of God who came to die for sinners. I saw and acknowledged that I was the sinner He loved and had died for. I felt God fill my whole being with His love as I humbly yielded to Him.
When Jean came home, she found a brand new husband. I was no longer the arrogant scientist, but a lowly follower of Jesus Christ. “Everything’s going to be all right, honey,” I exclaimed. “Whatever happens, we’ll have peace and joy with Jesus in this house!”
Christ became number one not only with my wife, but also with me. As a member of the American Nuclear Society, I had written several technical papers and articles for various scientific magazines. Since accepting Christ into my heart, I’ve used my scientific and biblical knowledge to write books proving the existence of God and the truth of the Bible.
I have also learned that pride — a haughty spirit — is indulged in by not only lost people, but also Christians. As time has passed, I’ve had to battle this tendency in myself. When God has convicted me of it, I’ve gone to my knees to repent. And I thank God that when we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us, according to His promise.