Written by Rick Archer
Prior to his
death in 2018, the great physicist Stephen Hawking revealed
that he was an atheist.
said, "I believe the simplest explanation is that there is no
God. No one created the universe and no one directs
This leads me to a profound realization that
there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either.
We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the
universe and, for that, I am extremely grateful."
Hawking was an extremely tactful man. Known to be on
good terms with the Pope and other religious leaders,
Hawking added an interesting caveat.
it is impossible for science to prove there is no God."
happen to be a great admirer of Stephen Hawking, I have an
interesting story to tell which directly contradicts his
statement above. I think my life experiences offer
a compelling reason to suggest there is a Divine Power and that
our lives are guided by Fate. Given the wild twists and turns of my
life, I think any reader would be fascinated by the utter
improbability of some of these events.
However, I do
have a problem. Nobody has ever heard of me.
One day an acquaintance made a comment.
what is the purpose of
your book? Best I can tell, it is an autobiography, but that
genre is usually restricted to famous people. So I assume
you are famous, right? Unless you find a way to become
famous, no one is going to read your book."
Painful as it is
to admit, the guy had a point. Considering I am relatively unknown, who is going to bet
on a dark horse like me against a renowned physicist?
I think we can all agree I am facing a formidable opponent. In
fact, I shudder to see the Vegas odds regarding the Stephen
Hawking - Rick Archer debate on the existence of God. That said, in the
spirit of Goliath versus David, I
think I have a very good chance of winning this showdown.
So who am I and
why do I think my book is worth reading? Before we get
too far, let's establish my Underdog credentials.
I was an only child.
At age 9, my parents
I was quickly
abandoned by my father. After he married his
mistress following the divorce, he forgot about me.
Following the divorce, my mother went off the deep end.
unstable mother lost job after job.
Since my mother
could not pay her bills, we
were frequently evicted. I had eleven homes in
Due to moving all the time, making friends wasn't easy,
so I became a loner.
To deal with her loneliness, my mother spent three nights a week in bars looking for men.
I spent a lot of time alone. With
no relatives or family friends to lean on, I was
forced to start raising myself.
I was the poorest kid in my school from the
Fourth Grade lasting through Twelfth Grade.
I was the ugliest kid in my school from the Ninth Grade
through Twelfth Grade. A bizarre case of acne
fueled by a lymph gland infection was responsible.
The fact that the condition was left untreated resulted
in extreme disfigurement.
I did not have a single date during high school.
Due to my disfigurement, I shied from any girl who came
near. A classmate referred to me as a 'Creepy
Loser Kid'. Sad to say, those harsh words would haunt
me for many years to come.
My lonely, difficult childhood explains why I was a
social and emotional cripple when I began Graduate School.
Deciding a cripple riddled with
emotional problems had no business
becoming a therapist, my professors told me to leave.
Despite excellent grades, I was tossed from graduate
guess my Underdog credentials are sufficiently established.
Here I am at age 24. I have been devastated by being
dismissed from graduate
school. I am on my own with no money, no job,
no career, no parents, no friends, and no confidence. I am
Does this sound like a guy who
intends to make a strong case for the existence of God?
Well, look at it this way. Some people might conclude
it would take a miracle to turn this guy around.
that is exactly what happened.
For reasons that
left me baffled, after all my misfortune, suddenly I became
lucky. Ridiculously lucky. After a while, I grew
suspicious and started marking down each curious moment.
By the time I was 32, I had a List of 80 events that
suggested a Hidden Hand might have been involved.
Thanks to all the weird stuff, I went on to create the largest independent dance studio in America.
From 1978 till 2010, I ran SSQQ
(Slow Slow Quick Quick), a very unusual dance studio which
caught on in a major way here in Houston, Texas. SSQQ became Houston's largest
dance studio in 1981. By the Millennium, we were the
largest in the country.
Okay, you know
the clichι. You've seen Saturday Night Fever
and Dirty Dancing, so you know exactly how my
road to success was paved. So maybe I didn't have the
best of homes, but of course I had plenty of moxie and
talent. I was a hungry, ambitious kid who
learned to dance on the streets. I developed a huge
following. I used my
skill to win a big dance contest, then parlayed my
street cred into a job at a dance studio.
some imagination! We've
heard this before, right? With a wink, we know I will turn out to be a
good-looking hunk like Patrick Swayze with
lots of girlfriends and plenty of envious buddies who tag along
to catch my leftovers. I am slick
with the ladies, quick with the quip, and fast on my feet. I'm
Well, guess again. That ain't me, babe.
In reality, I was closer to Quasimodo than to Adonis. In a
curious twist, I was the exact opposite of Patrick Swayze. And how do I know this?
Because Patrick's mother Patsy Swayze was my best friend for a year.
Patsy Swayze was candid
enough to tell me the truth... when it came to talent, I was
no match for her son. In fact, after a year of
taking her adult jazz class, I wasn't
even good enough to join her dance company. Patsy
really liked me, but she knew I was too hopeless as a dancer
to make the necessary improvement. In the kindest way
possible, Patsy suggested I turn to a different direction.
Without a doubt, I
was highly unlikely to succeed as a dance teacher. When
one takes into consideration my handicaps, I had no
business creating a dance studio... much less the
most successful one in the country.
And yet that is
what happened. A social
cripple with no charm and no dance skills went on to create the largest
dance studio in America. Although this is the truth, it
seems impossible. How on earth did
I ever climb out of this hole?
being thrown out of graduate school, one day I wandered into
a book store. I discovered a
curious little $1 paperback with a persuasive
passage on the value of dancing as a way to meet women.
already knew I had no talent for dancing, but I was
desperate. Reeling from acute loneliness, I was forced to
consider 'Dance' as a way to escape my
debilitating fear of rejection. I
certainly had no idea those dance
lessons would change my life in such a
I contend that 'Fate',
or 'Providence' if you prefer,
played a direct role in this strange turn of events. I
have a favorite Arabic saying that suggests if something is
meant to be, God will move two mountains to make it happen.
In my case, that
is exactly what I believe... God moved two mountains.
Now let me go
one step further. There is a part of me that suspects
my initial ineptitude was deliberate. I believe it was
my 'Destiny' to be buried as deep as possible under
those mountains. In that way, I would have the
most unlikely success story imaginable just to make my point
Indeed, my rise from mediocrity was so
implausible, I bet even Dr. Hawking would have been curious
to see how I pulled this off.
I have not
exaggerated my predicament. Following my graduate
school failure, I was a seriously damaged kid.
Furthermore I faced long
odds learning to dance. My confidence was shattered, I had no direction
and there was little fight left in me. If you will
grant me the honor of reading my saga, you will realize my
self-assessment is accurate. I had only one thing going