A Spiritual Journey Less Taken

I had the privilege of attending the Reasonable Faith in an Uncertain World Conference in Turlock on April 15-16. It was encouraging, informative, and challenging.

Everyone has a worldview. However, many people have blindly chosen their worldview without any investigation. I suggest that one should embark on a journey to find out the TRUTH (yes that does mean there are false ideas). Craig Hazen, a professor of comparative religion and Christian apologetics at Biola University, spoke about “Christianity in a World of Religions.” I felt inclined to share a bit of the information he imparted at the conference because I think it is applicable to all no matter where you are in your journey. His idea came when he had an opportunity to speak at a state college as a “fundamental” Christian. However, he had a different idea, which was to offer the students and opportunity to learn how to embark on a spiritual journey to find the most valid religion. In a very uncertain world many would love to know how to take off on a journey through a sea of ideas, beliefs, and claims.

Below I am going to share with your the five points that Craig Hazen gave to us at the conference. First, I must preface that Hazen suggests that to appropriately start on this journey one must begin with Christianity and here is why:

1. Christianity is testable.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19 “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

At first glance one might see Paul’s writing as bleak and gloomy, but Paul’s point is that Jesus’ resurrection is not only crucial to Christianity, it is provable. Unlike Christianity, there are many other religions where one must literally believe with “blind faith” that it is true. However, in Christianity it is a faith (trust) that is based on true and reliable facts, such as Jesus’ resurrection (if you want more information on this I wrote a post called “Jesus Wanted…Dead or Alive?“).

2. In Christianity, salvation is a free gift.
In Ephesians it says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Unlike other religions, the center of Christianity, salvation, is a free gift. Good works, offerings, money, and many other things are needed to gain anything in many other religions.

3. With Christianity you get an amazing worldview fit
(Psalm 119:159-160; Romans 1:20; Psalm 19:1-4) Christianity paints a picture of the world that actually matches the way the world really is! Many other religions paint a picture of reality that doesn’t seem to resinate with the world around us. For example, Buddhism says that pain and suffering is an illusion, yet our senses (which we can trust) shows that this pain and suffering we experience is real. On the other hand, Christianity says it is real, helps us understand that there are reasons for this pain, and redeems the pain and suffering that we will experience. As CS Lewis said, “I beleive in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen; not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

4. You get to live a non-compartmentalized life.
Many in the world separate the parts of their life, especially when it comes to religion. For most people their religion is for Sundays, but not for the work week, or when they speak of other subjects like science. However, true Christianity is not separate from any part of one’s life. The God of the Bible not only created the world we live in, but created us to interact with it. He has given us the ability to reason (Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 41:21; John 1:1).

5. Christianity has Jesus at the center.
John 1:1-5 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Jesus is the not only the center of Christianity in salvation, but He is also the one whom through all was created. Many religions want a piece of Jesus; He is a universal religious figure. In other religions Jesus is considered a great teacher, prophet, and much more. So to know Jesus through Christianity also gives you a taste of a religious figure you will find in many other religions of the world (particularly the more prominent ones).

I pray that this will encourage you to search after the truth among many religions, and that you will consider starting with Christianity. However, if you are willing to go searching on a journey be willing to spend time and be teachable.

Also I would like to give all credit to Craig Hazen for this information and his dedication to the truth. If you are interested in this type of journey I also highly suggest Hazen’s new book Five Sacred Crossings.

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