I have never heard anybody say, “One day I realized there was no God, no one behind reality, no life after death. I realized existence is a meaningless accident, begun by chance and destined for oblivion, and it changed my life. I used to be addicted to alcohol, but now the ‘law of natural selection’ has set me free. I used to be greedy, but now the story of the Big Bang has made me generous.
He ended up on death row. Lee Strobel13 met Bill and writes about him in his book The Case for Faith.12 A couple of guys went into prison (because God prompts people to go into prisons) and told him, “Bill, there is a man, Jesus, who loves you, and he gave his life on a cross. He died for you. He went to death row for you.” Nobody had ever told Bill about Jesus before. He’d been sitting on death row for years. He turned his life over to Jesus, and it changed him so much—changed the darkness and bitterness and hatred inside him so much—that other people began to be drawn to him. People started meeting Jesus through this guy on death row. He became known as “The Peacemaker.” His cell block was the safest place in the penitentiary because so many people were coming to Christ through Bill Moore. Churches found out about this, and when people needed counseling, no kidding, churches started sending people to the penitentiary to get counseling from Bill Moore. Can you imagine calling a church to ask for a referral and hearing, “I want you to go over to death row. There’s an inmate there….” What does that? Jesus does that.
Bill Moore was changed so much that he won the love of the family of the man he killed. It changed him so much over the sixteen-year period that all kinds of people wrote letters for him. Eventually, the authorities not only canceled his death sentence; they not only commuted his sentence, which was unprecedented; but they paroled him. Bill Moore now serves as head of congregation in a couple of housing projects in a desperately poor area. When Strobel met with him, he asked, “Bill, what in the world turned your life around? Was it a new medication? Was it some kind of rehab program? Was it a new approach to counseling?” Bill said, “No, Lee, it wasn’t any of that stuff. It was Jesus Christ.” Atheism really has nothing to say to a guy on death row. Because when you’re living on death row (and we’re all living on death row), there is really only one thing you want to know.