In Depth  |  

From atheist to Bible worker

Just as he was building his first successful business, David Lepore developed a passion for espousing the atheist cause in public debates.

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What fuelled David’s fervour was the lack of value Christians seemed to place on the Bible.

“One of my really strong debating points was you have this picture of this loving and caring God and yet there are millions and millions of people around the world who don’t even know the Bible exists or don’t even have access to it, so what kind of loving and caring God is that?

“From that I’d take it a step further and I would say ‘Christians who say they believe in this word and that they love it don’t really do anything to bring it to people. They’d much rather support humanitarian things rather than what they claim to be spiritual, everlasting things. So do they really believe in that stuff because it doesn’t seem like it to me?’”

Having been kicked out of home at age 19 after an argument with his father, David started a marketing and consulting business in Melbourne that grew dramatically.

“So I read the Bible multiple times; I read the Koran multiple times. I read everything I could get my hands on. I visited every sort of leader, pastor, and eventually I became a Christian, mainly because of the evidence around Jesus, his authenticity and his character.”

“I started a business when I was 19 and I went from just myself to a team of about 50 staff within a year, so I did really well out of it,” he tells Eternity.

While enjoying the lifestyle benefits of his wealth, which extended to extravagant travel and luxurious gifts, David maintained the view that it was not possible to be an intelligent person and a Christian as well.

“Firstly, with Christians whenever I asked them ‘why do you believe what you believe?’ it would always be some crappy answer like ‘oh, I was born into it’ or ‘that’s just the way it is.’ I found there was never any evidence for their faith.

“Then looking at history and the damage that the church has done over a period of time, but more so, something that I found really difficult was the idea of a loving and caring creator. So I was definitely an atheist, but then I thought if there is a God he certainly doesn’t care.”

But as he read books by authors such as popular atheist Richard Dawkins and Christian apologist John Lennox, David was most engaged by the arguments of Lennox – a maths professor at Oxford University. He came to believe that there was a creator, but he was not sure which one it was.

“So I read the Bible multiple times; I read the Koran multiple times. I read everything I could get my hands on. I visited every sort of leader, pastor, and eventually I became a Christian, mainly because of the evidence around Jesus, his authenticity and his character.”

David explains that his wife, Dianna, who is a Christian, also inspired him to change his life.

“I was a pretty bad kid at school; I went to a really bad public school where there was alcohol in class, fights with teachers, drugs, bomb threats and violence. When I got to half way through year 11, the school figured out that I’d been wagging for about a year and then called my parents, who were furious because they never even noticed. Then they moved me to this tiny little Christian school on a hill and I met Dianna there. So she was my first girlfriend, I was her first boyfriend, and we grew up together.

“She’s the inspiration for everything, to be honest … I would never have done what I did if it wasn’t for her, because I didn’t really have any motivation. My parents didn’t really work and, even when I met Dianna, I was like I don’t know if I ever want to work.

“Then my wife was very much like, ‘oh no, you have to work and contribute to society.’

“So I would say that was the moment when I became a different person when I started dating her and people couldn’t believe it.”

Some time after accepting Jesus as his Lord and Saviour, David realised he needed to switch focus from making money to following Jesus. “My mind said, ‘move from making the most amount of money possible to thinking how can I serve this creator?’

“It was tough because when your lifestyle gets to a certain point and you try to go backwards, it’s a pretty difficult decision to make. At the moment, I still make money [through investments] but it’s just my view of money is very different. Now, to be honest, I see it more as a burden than anything else.

“In the Christian sphere it’s very hard because if you go to a church and ask ‘how can I serve?’ they say ‘give us money or just be a good little guy and sit in the back corner.’”

Feeling guilty about having bagged the Bible and Christians so hard during his atheistic debates, David decided that he wanted to get involved in Bible mission.

So he approached Bible Society and gained a position as church relations manager in Melbourne.

“I was an extremely arrogant personality back then because I was a young person who had led a large business, so during the interview I stressed how good I was and how much Bible Society needed me,” he says candidly.

He believes his work with Bible Society is key to reaching a generation of young people who don’t think the Bible is important.

“I wanted to be part of the people who were doing it on the ground, talking about the importance of Scripture and letting people know that there are people who don’t have it.”

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