As a 21-year-old living near the Cal-Berkeley campus, Victoria Shephard was on a spiritual quest, looking for answers. And though she wasn't sure where to find those answers, she was convinced that Christianity didn't have them.

"I used to be really angry at Christians," she says.

She taunted the street-corner evangelists on the Berkeley campus. She believed God was "a mean, vindictive God who would smite you for any little thing you did." And, after dabbling in the New Age for a while, she eventually became a witch.

"I was initiated as a witch in 1992," Victoria says. "I practiced Wicca for about four years. I liked the rituals. I also liked the honoring of a female deity and the idea that the power is in your hands."

But of course, the ultimate power was in the hands of God, who would soon bring into Victoria's life a Christian man with a passion for sharing his faith on the Internet.

Despite her commitment to Wicca, Victoria ultimately grew to respect Christians and wanted to learn more about their faith a faith she'd briefly encountered as a four-year-old in a Baptist school.

So she logged onto the Net and dropped by the soc.religion.christian newsgroup and started asking questions. One day in February 1996, she chimed with this one: In one hundred words or less, why are you a Christian instead of something else? Why do you believe? Please, no sermons. I've had quite enough. I just want to know why you believe what you do. Thank you.

A Canadian businessman named Charles Scott read Victoria's question and responded. "I asked her why she was a Wiccan," Charles recalls. "That led into [an ongoing e-mail] conversation about the differences between Wicca and Christianity."

The conversation continued for the next few months. Initially, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.