Retired pediatrician turned author Victor J. Ratzlaff draws on his personal struggles of reconciling science and faith in his first novel.
Creation Wars published by Word Alive Press takes place in the 1950s and focuses on the struggles and conflicts faced by a science teacher in a small Christian community who became disillusioned with his faith while attending university. The plot has elements of Ratzlaff’s own experiences.
The 77-year-old Red Deer resident grew up in a Mennonite home in Linden, Alta. He studied at a bible college in Calgary before enrolling in the University of Alberta to study medicine.
Ratzlaff said he became disillusioned because he could not reconcile his beliefs with the scientific education he was receiving at the university. Eventually Ratzlaff became agnostic for about 15 years before he returned to his faith in his first few years of practicing medicine.
In 2006, Ratzlaff retired from medicine after more than three decades of practicing in Red Deer.
“When you’re in medicine, I tell you there isn’t anything else you can do almost,” said Ratzlaff. “Except a very diversionary things. I just didn’t have enough time left to think about writing. It’s something you start doing once you have a little more time.”
Ratzlaff said he often questioned whether he should be heading down another career path at his age.
“Why not if I can still do it,” he said.
Ratzlaff said it was an easy decision to focus on creation in his novel because of his own experiences. In the last 10 years he began to broaden his reading in the area. Ratzlaff said he came across a book published in 1948 called Modern Science and Christian Faith that sort of made every thing click both spiritually and intellectually. He said the book inspired him to write something that would inspire others to keep their faith.
“I just started thinking if I had come across that book at the right time I could have saved myself a lot of confusion,” said Ratzlaff.
“That piqued my interest in writing something like this. I never thought about writing a novel. I just sort of jumped and thought why don’t I write a novel. I couldn’t get it out of my head.”
Tolerance for people with other religions and creation beliefs is one of the strong themes in the short novel.
Ratzlaff will be at the Snell Auditorium at the downtown branch of the Red Deer Public Library for a book launch between 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 15. Creation Wars is available from www.amazon.ca and by contacting Ratzlaff at firstname.lastname@example.org