“I was…five years old…when I recognized there was something different.”
David Wood was aware of—and acting on—his antisocial urges from an incredibly young age.
So how did God transform this violent psychopath into a dedicated Christian apologist?
“A psychopath is someone who just doesn’t form normal attachments to other people,” Wood admitted. “They lack empathy.”
“I had those issues, but also, I just had delusional thoughts.”
Wood described his young life as a series of moments in which he realized how different he was from other people.
As a young man who struggled to develop and express normal emotions, he eventually came to the conclusion that he was on a “higher stage of humanity” than those around him.
It was the theory of evolution that helped Wood form his own beliefs about his superiority and his relationship (or lack thereof) to other humans.
“I was in high school biology when evolutionary theory was really laid out for us. Species develop new characteristics, new traits, and then those can actually eventually take over.”
“And so I concluded that I had reached a higher stage of humanity where I wasn’t held back by emotions the way other people were.”
Wood learned to mimic the emotions and reactions of others in order to fit in, but he never truly understood how it all worked.
Throughout his childhood, Wood floated in and out of “episodes” in which he experienced delusions of controlling the weather or of being controlled by animals. As he grew older, his thought patterns became more violent and antisocial.
“I came to regard all these little rules that people tell you to follow as kind of brainwashing me,” he said.
“[I started] breaking into places, and breaking into the school, or stealing things. I felt like I was stripping away these layers of rules that people had been imposing on me my entire life and it was an amazing feeling.”
Wood’s lack of a moral compass was coupled with atheist beliefs to form a man who was utterly devoid of respect and love for others.
He learned to build bombs and fantasized about creating events of mass destruction, convinced of his superiority and the idea that moral standards didn’t apply to someone like him.
Wood’s descent into evil was fully realized when he attempted to murder his own father at the age of 18.
Grabbing a hammer, Wood bludgeoned his father until he thought the man was dead and left him bloody and lifeless.
“Attacking my dad [seemed] like the final step in some kind of metamorphosis into what I was supposed to be,” Wood said.
Leaving his father behind, Wood drove away. When he was informed that his father was still alive, he reluctantly confessed his crime and was admitted to a mental hospital where he was diagnosed as a psychopath.
“Since my dad survived I was convicted of malicious wounding,” Wood said. “I was sentenced to 10 years in prison.”
It was due to his father’s pleas for leniency that Wood only received a 10-year sentence. He served a little over 5 years of his sentence, but he came out of prison a completely changed man.
While in prison, Wood encountered a fellow inmate named Randy, who habitually read the Bible.
“One day he was reading his Bible and I walked up to him, and I said, ‘Hey! You know why you’re reading your Bible? You’re reading your Bible because you were born in the United States.”
Wood had already asserted that Randy was only a Christian because he couldn’t think for himself, but he was unprepared for the other inmate’s response.
“He started arguing with me and he started tearing me to pieces, and that was very different from other Christians that I’d argued with in the past…Randy was winning the arguments that we were getting into.”
“I thought I was Humanity 2.0,” Wood laughed. But all his “intelligence” couldn’t challenge the Bible—and the love he saw in Randy.
As a result of his conversations with Randy, Wood began reading the Bible on his own and was overwhelmed by Jesus.
“I have to say that I was impressed with Jesus.”
It was the person of Christ that challenged Wood’s atheist convictions and psychopathic ideals.
“I went from thinking that I was the best person in the world to thinking that I’m the worst person in the world.”
“Who out of anyone had the ability to change, radically change, severely messed up people?” Wood wondered. “It’s Jesus or it’s nothing. It’s Jesus or there is just no hope.”
While he was still in prison, Wood gave his life to God, confessing his many sins and asking God to do something useful with him.
When he was released from prison, Wood asked for his father’s forgiveness—and by God’s grace, he received it.
Today, Wood is a husband and father himself, as well as a dedicated Christian apologist.
Drawing on his own experiences, Wood defends the faith and debates other atheists through his Acts 17 organization.
“I want people out there to know that there is a creator to this world, that there is a point to this world, that other people are important and that it’s not all just about you,” Wood said.
“Jesus rose from the dead and that shows that there is a point to everything…And that is a message that matters because it changes everything.”
Praise God for His powerful work in David Wood’s life!
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