Five Reasons To Investigate Christianity | Ted Flint

truth

This is a WordPress repost of an excellent article originally posted by Ted Flint from Nature & Scripture  Ted is a Science Teacher and his blog has a number of excellent posts that raise some unique points that I found very interesting, and have often thought about myself. Hopefully you will find them interesting too!


In the book, Five Sacred Crossings, author Craig Hazen weaves a philosophical argument through a fictional story. His argument is that a thoughtful person, one who is open to exploring all the religious options available, would obviously start their exploration with Christianity.[1]  Why would Dr. Hazen make such a claim? He gives five reasons why you should begin your search by investigating the Christian Faith.

Reason #1 – Christianity is testable.

The strangest passage in all of religious literature is 1 Corinthians 15: 12-19.  Paul says that if it isn’t reasonable that Jesus rose from the dead, then you should reject Christianity!  Paul is not alone in his claim that Christianity can be tested – in fact many of the biblical authors encourage the use of evidence! 1 Thessalonians 5:21 tells us to test everything; 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to give reasons and make a defense. In Acts 2:14-41 Peter recounts all the physical evidence in his defense of the risen Christ, while in Acts 17:16-34 Paul is found explaining, proving, and reasoning. Even Jesus provided tangible, physical evidence to show who he was.[2] The Bible teaches that we are to use reason, look for proof, test our ideas, and find ways to explain Christ to others; never are we required to believe without evidence! The gospel of John is an argument with physical evidence, which ends like this, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ…”[3] The entire faith is based on evidence and is rooted in history.  Most of the authors, especially Luke, painstakingly put historical cross-hairs on all their claims!  If you want a religion that is spiritual and unfalsifiable, then Christianity is not for you. As Craig Hazen writes, “… Jesus parts company with other religious people who make untestable spiritual claims.”[4]

Reason #2 – Salvation is free.

Hinduism requires that we deliver ourselves from the world through devotion, works, and knowledge. Buddhism requires us to stop having desires. Islam requires obedience to the law.  All of these require our own human effort without assurance that we have done enough. The kind of grace that is described in Romans 3:20-24 and Ephesians 2:8-9 is unique: salvation given freely simply for trusting in a God that cared enough to provide a way for us to be in a right relationship with Him.  The father in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 is a great picture of the Christian God saving us without requiring us to do anything other than to trust in Him and accept what He freely gives us.

Reason #3 – With Christianity you get a tremendous world-view fit. 

Christianity makes sense of the way the world actually works.  Evil, pain, and suffering quite often are used as a “proof” that Christianity can’t be true.  As it turns out, Christianity rationally explains why evil exists and is the only religion that deals with it head on!  Eastern religions call evil an illusion. New Age religions say that you control your own life, that you are your own god and when you are fully “illuminated” you will no longer struggle.  Neither of these views match well with our actual real-world experience. Instead of pretending that evil doesn’t exist, Christianity acknowledges evil and suffering and then steps up to face them. Christians have been the main people group throughout history that have continuously tried to ease the suffering of people in need and Christian doctrine contends that God is working to bring an eventual end to evil, pain, and suffering.

Science also fits very neatly into Christianity.  God, according to Christianity, is rational and created a neat and ordered universe; science began because of this belief!  Science and Christianity have historically complemented each other. Christians see God as a Lawgiver, as a rational mind, and as the Creator. Because of this, the world must be rational, must follow prescribed laws, and must have a reason for its existence. Science is the way we study the world, the laws, and the reasons. Christian theology also teaches that man was created in the image of God, so we also have the ability to comprehend God’s laws and reasons. Therefore, science arose only once: In Christian Western Europe in the 17thcentury.

Reason #4 – In Christianity, you get to live a non-compartmentalized life.

Christians get to use reason, along with their minds and their rationality in their worship. Naturalists must take anything spiritual and remove it from their rational mind to an “upper story” of thought that can’t be discussed or rationalized with physical evidence. For Eastern religions, reason is actually thought of as an impediment to spiritual progress; our everyday reasoning cannot cross over into religion for the Hindu and Buddhist. “Christianity provides a solid basis for human rationality, while these other positions [of naturalism, postmodernism, and pantheistic monism] struggle to make sense of human cognitive faculties.”[5]

Reason #5 – Christianity has Jesus at the center and every major religion co-opts Jesus into their system!

  1. Warner Wallace summarizes:

Jews believe Jesus was Mary’s son, was a teacher (Rabbi), had many disciples, was respected, performed miracles, claimed to be the Messiah and was crucified on the cross. They also acknowledge His followers reported Jesus was raised from the dead.

Muslims believe Jesus was born of a virgin, is to be revered and respected, was a prophet, a wise teacher who worked miracles, ascended to heaven, and will come again.

Ahmadiyya Muslims believe Jesus may have been born of a virgin, was a prophet and wise teacher, worked miracles, and was crucified on a cross.

Bahá’í believe Jesus came from God, was a wise teacher who had a divine and human nature, worked miracles, and was crucified and resurrected as an atonement for humanity.

Hindus believe Jesus was a holy man, a wise teacher, and is a ‘god’.

Buddhists believe Jesus was an enlightened man and a wise teacher.

New Age believers maintain Jesus was a wise moral teacher.[6]

Jesus is the greatest universal religious figure in history; no other leader/founder of a religion is co-opted into every other religion!

A thoughtful person would begin their exploration of religion by investigating the claims of Christianity.  It is testable, it is free, it fits well with our everyday experiences, it explains reason and rationality, and the founder of the religion is part of every other major world religion!

 

[1] Craig J. Hazen, Five Sacred Crossings, Harvest House Publishers, 2008

[2] Luke 24:38-43 and Mark 2:1-12

[3] John 20:30-31

[4] Hazen, Five Sacred Crossings, pages 69-70

[5] Kenneth Richard Samples, A World of Difference, Baker Books, 2007

[6] J. Warner Wallace, Cold Case Christianity, http://coldcasechristianity.com/2014/who-is-jesus-according-to-other-religions/

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Follower of Jesus, married to Peggy, with 5 grown up children, 6 grand children, ex-military and residing in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. a.k.a. "Papa"

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