That's When I'll Believe
Mark J. Young

  It was the summer of '78, Mark and Janet were staying in an apartment at Gordon College while figuring out where to move next, and one day when Janet came home from work Mark played this song for her.  She was tired and impatient, and brushed it off as just another song he wrote, and probably went to bed.  In any case, Mark liked it, and was happy with it as a song he could do in what he thought at that point would

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be a solo career, at least for the foreseeable future.  Yet he did not have much opportunity to perform it, did not include it in the work of TerraNova (which focused on multiple vocals in all songs), and didn't really do much with it until Cardiac Output.  So it wasn't until years later that she heard it again--long enough that their youngest son, born in 1992, knew the song.  She asked whether he'd added that last verse, which puzzled him because of course he hadn't, it had always been part of the song, and really was the kicker:  for some people, reasons why they don't believe, demands for proof, are simply an excuse, a wall to keep them from facing the real issues.  They have already decided not to believe, and no amount of proof will make a difference.  If they find themselves floating in a lake of fire, quite literally, it will be written off as a remarkable coincidence, because of course they will not believe.

  The inspiration for this may have come from a sign that long sat on the desk at the Gordon College library, an anonymous quote that read, "People do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them."  That, combined with other sources including C. S. Lewis, helped Mark understand that the decision to reject the gospel was often irrational, that people gave reasons but only as a way of justifying their decision.  That is, they don't disbelieve for the reasons they give, but give the reasons to justify the fact that they have decided not to believe.  (He addresses this some in his book Why I Believe, which hopefully will become available eventually.)

  Because it is a solo, and by the very nature of the message wants to be the words of an individual, it was easy to incorporate first in Cardiac Output (and the lyrics are found there) and then into Collision, during the time before we found Brittany and it appeared Mark might be singing everything solo.  The range is good for him, and not good for Sara or Jonathan, so it has remained his solo--which is fine with him, because he likes the song.

He considers it an example of a category of songs he has labeled "songs of doubt", songs which express the struggle to believe, the obstacles to faith, because he has been through the struggles of wondering whether Christianity is true, and knows how that feels.  He came through them to the place of knowing, but finds that being able to relate to those who struggle, whether unwilling to commit to the gospel or uncertain whether what they embraced is true, helps them move toward assurance.

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