My name is Dr. Nikki Velasco. I am an Assistant Professor of Research Methods and Statistics. I was raised by a single mom, not from the United States, who has been married many times and has some sad patterns when it comes to men. My mother and father didn't work out because he had a problem with his anger, and he was quite physically violent toward her.
I grew up knowing not to depend on anything that I couldn't touch or see or feel; or I had solid evidence for believing. I trained myself to be a very analytical person. After I graduated from UC Berkeley when I was twenty I secured a job add a Think Tank. At twenty-two I was running a research lab at the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, for my may Phd. advisor.
I happened to have a research assistant who was really confusing to me. He didn't fit my mold of what I thought a Christian was. His name was Aaron, and he had just one a rhodes scholarship to study Applied Statistics at Christchurch College Oxford, which was incongruous with the fact that he loved Jesus. At least it was in my mind.
I had quite a bit of disdain for Christians because I thought that they were intellectually lazy people. They believed in a God that there was no tangible evidence for. I felt like I didn't have the luxury of believing in fantasy, and that my system worked. I looked on Christians with sort of a mix of pity and disdain. So, Aaron, my research assistant invited me to talk by Francis Collins; and he said, “I will work extra hard on this project you need me to do, but you really should come. Francis Collins is a Christian, but he's the head of the NIH, National Institute for Health, and also he mapped the Human Genome.” I thought, “He is very respected scientist, and he's a Christian. Hmmm!”
He was talking about Jesus, and he was talking a little bit about *Universal Constants, but that wasn't the meat of his talk. He was talking about his personal relationship. He was not speaking about an evidence **dossier. He was talking about God. So, I was questioning the existence of God, and I recognized that now the Holy Spirit was speaking to me by reminding me of Chemistry lab years ago when you did a set of really simple steps to get very complicated outcomes, but if you did things randomly you got nothing. I believed that Holy Spirit was reminding me of this so that I could extrapolate the specific instance to a general principle; that the universe is surprisingly ordered. So once that question is answered the next question becomes...
Assumption: God exists.
A follow-up question: God exists and wants to be involved in our lives and have a personal relationship with us?
I was angry at God for not existing, and I was angry that God pushed me into a position where I had to develop these evidence dossiers to make good choices, and I was angry at God didn't provide me with parents who were stable.
I was incredibly unbalanced. I'd put it all of my time, energy, and attention into achieving things from my brain without acknowledging hurt and feelings, and feelings of rejection
and feelings of being alone. My coping mechanism was to try and achieve things academically so I had a sense of self worth, and it was unsatisfying.
I concluded, “Okay, God. Heaven is a perfect place, supposedly, if it exists. I am imperfect. I am so imperfect. I tried so hard to make good decisions based off of evidence that I collect, and I fail 13% of the time. By construction I am imperfect. Heaven is a perfect place. If I entered heaven I would spoil perfect heaven with my imperfection. There’s an inconsistency here, and so, I have a problem with this.” God answered me, and he said, “The solution is Jesus. He came down to earth to live a perfect life. He's my son. He died in your place. He’s the error term that balances the otherwise unbalanced equation, and his perfection substitutes for your imperfection. God reached out to me the first time that I actually took seriously, seeking him, and when he did he reached out to me with Jesus.
*a physical constant of wide application and frequent occurrence in physical formulas, e.g. the speed of light and the electronic charge
**a collection of papers or other sources, containing detailed information about a particular person or subject, together with a synopsis of their content.