Category Archives: Other Religions

Five Reasons Why I Am A Christian

I think it is of dire importance that everyone, not just Christians, know why they believe what they believe. Often, when faced with defending one’s beliefs people begin to grab for ideas from thin air. True beliefs will guide the way in which we live, so knowing why we believe something is important because either we end being hypocrites or taking a “blind leap” into something. When I say “blind leap” I am not meaning faith, for faith is not blind. Our life is to short to live in blindness, so seeking the truth is of utmost importance. In my post I would like to share a few reasons for my belief in the Christian worldview. I believe there are many reasons, but I am going to share five of the ones that have impacted my decision. These five are morality, design, longing, reality, and the reliability of Scripture.

1. Morality

My reason here is that good and evil both give evidence that an intelligent being exists, and I believe that intelligent being is God. It is evident there is an objective moral law, all laws have lawmakers, therefore there is an objective moral lawmaker, and the objective moral lawmaker is God. First, we must look at the idea that there are objective moral laws. Most people that live on this planet, from pure experience, and say that there is “right” and “wrong”, “ought” and “ought not”. And if you claim otherwise then you most likely are claiming a form of relativism. In which case, I believe fails miserable. So as not to take up too much space, or blab on too long, if you want to see why check out “Relativism Self-Destructs” by Greg Koukl. I think you will see that relativism doesn’t allow for anything to be “just”, “right”, “fair”, or “wrong.” Second, we have to understand laws, or what ought and ought not to be, must be given by a lawmaker. We have obligations to other intelligent beings, not inanimate objects. So it seems easy to conclude that the objective moral law came from a lawgiver that is intelligent, not just an inanimate object or thing such as a tree, the universe, or nature. Last, I think when God’s Word is compared to the world around us it fits so well. What God considers good and bad is consistent with the objective moral law. Also God is an intelligent being, whom is all-good, and more than capable of setting up such a law. As a last comment, I believe then that even if some only sees the evil in this world and how difficult it is, even if it makes them mad at God, it still means that there is right and wrong, and we come right back to seeing the need for a objective moral lawgiver.

2. Signature of Design

I will not spend as much time explaining this because I have written on this topic in my post “Is There Scientific Evidence for God?” . I don’t see science and God as something that needs to be on separate sides of the spectrum. I think it makes logical since that if God created this world, then His signature will be all over it. I believe all of life here on Earth, including the Earth itself, shows massive amounts of God’s design. If you want to see several reasons for my belief in this then check out my previous post.

3. A Deep Longing

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” — CS Lewis

Many people long for earthly items: money, fame, property, etc. Yet many people who gain these items often are not satisfied. For example, a reporter asked J. Paul Getty, a very wealthy businessman, “How much money is enough?” Mr. Getty replied, “Just one dollar more.” I cannot deny that deep inside it just seems that there is no experience in this world that can deeply satisfy the desire I have inside knowing that at the end of my life I will take none of my fame, money, property, or earthly items with me. It seems as I reflect that we have but a short time on earth (typically 70-80 years) and yet I, and it seems many others, wonder if there must be more. For more than we think live but a short time or the time spent on earth seemed to be more torturous than good. I believe the Bible speaks to this longing. The Bible tells us that we were made in the image of God, and we’re created to be in relationship with our Creator. God, through Christ, has given us that opportunity to reconcile the relationship, make use of our time here on earth (which effects our eternity), and have hope for the future after death.

4. Speaks to Reality

Christianity makes the most sense of all of reality we live in, which includes both the physical and nonphysical world. Why are we here on earth? How did the world come to be? Why is there evil in the world? And many other questions can be answered when one takes a deep look into the Bible. I believe when searching for answers whether it be spiritual (the soul, sin, God…) or physical (nature, jobs, people…) can be clearly understood through the Christian worldview. Not all the answers we receive are what we like, but God is not here to be what we like rather He is what is true. We cannot see gravity, and I may deeply desire to fly, but if I choose to jump from a high point I will get hurt whether I believe otherwise. If you want some of these answers I have other articles in my blog archive that speaks to some of them.

5. Reliability of Scripture

Based on ancient history criterion the Bible is extremely reliable as a historical document. Most historical documents have 10 manuscripts, but the NT has over 5,000 partial or whole manuscripts. If other languages are included there are 25,000.

Many claim, such as Bart Ehrman, that there are too many variations in the manuscripts. However, over 80% of the errors spelling. The other errors have no threat to the Christian doctrine.

Most ancient works have a gap of 700 years between copies. Whereas, the New Testament is 40-100 years. The Gospels can be dated early in history, placing the writings near to the actual events in history. Acts does not include death of Peter and Paul (AD 63-66), Jewish war with Romans (AD 66), or the destruction of Jerusalem (AD 70). Thus we can conclude Luke wrote Acts before AD 62, and the Gospel of Luke and other Gospels must have been before AD 60. This means NT documents were written within 30 years of the events recorded.

There are embarrassing accounts in the Bible, which if all the writers were saying was not true then they most likely would not have shared. Some examples are Jesus calling Peter “Satan” (Mark 8:33), the disciples falling asleep while Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:40), Peters denial of Jesus (John 18:25-27), etc.

The disciples of Jesus were direct eyewitnesses of the accounts shared in the Bible, and there is archaeological evidence to back of their nearness to the events.

  1. 2 Peter 1:16, “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”
  2. 1 John 1:1: “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life.”
  3. Acts 2:32, “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.”

There are still other evidences that show the reliability of the Scriptures such as: testimony from secular resources, and prophecy that was fulfilled.

I hope that these reasons are helpful to those who are already a Christian, and gives those who are not a chance to think about the Christian worldview and their own beliefs. You can take these 5 reasons with you everywhere you go. To help you I have made a pneumonic device using your hand:

5 Reasons

Thumb- The Lawgiver

IndexInner Longing

MiddleMakes Sense of Reality

RingReliability of Scripture

PinkyPoints to a Designer

Articles:

“Evil As An Evidence For God” By Greg Koukl

“Evidence for God From Morality” By Jim Wallace

“Can the New Testament Be Trusted?” by Sean McDowell

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, Morality, Other Religions

Religion: Saint or Sinner?

Some claim that Christianity is not the “saint” many assume it to be. Rather Christianity has been the cause of the most atrocious evils in history. Instead of spreading peace, reconciliation, forgiveness, and all the good qualities it claims, it has only spread division and hate. This argument can be seen in many of the new atheists’ books, such as A Letter To a Christian Nation by Sam Harris or God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

When the argument that Christianity is responsible for many of the great atrocities in history often there are several events mentioned: The Crusades, Salem Witch Trials, and the Inquisitions. When considering the claim against Christianity and the events associated with it, then are three arguments to consider in light of these claims: (1) Many of the events mentioned were exaggerated, (2) those who committed these atrocities were not Christians or following the teaching of the Bible, and (3) more unimaginable mass killings have been done through secular ideologies, such as nazism and communism than any religion, especially Christianity.

Often the Crusades and Inquisitions there are claims that millions of people died. However, thousands in the Inquisitions and in the tens of thousands in the Crusades died. This is not to make light of the deaths from these events, but exaggerated claims can make something seem one way when it is not. More specifically during the Salem Witch Trials only around 30 people died and hundreds imprisoned. In the end, those who were imprisoned were released, given public apologies, and many were compensated afterwards. Also many Christians fought against the trials, and helped end them, too. In all of the events mentioned often the number of those killed are drastically exaggerated to make the events seems much more than they were. (Again I am not making light that people died. Even if it were one person dead it would be a problem. I am trying to give a clearer perspective and one part of a larger argument.)

The claim is that Christianity has been the catalyst in all of these events. Problem is that the Bible does not condone any of the actions committed during the events. Those who were leading these events were either wrongly informed through high up people twisting the Bible, or they misinterpreted the Bible to either fit their agenda or through poor reading of the Scripture. I know many of you may think right now: Exactly! It was their interpretation. Maybe they interpreted the Bible right or there are many interpretations of the Bible. As Sam Harris put it in Letter to a Christian Nation, “While we may want to ascribe this to human nature, it is clear that such hatred draws considerable support form the Bible. How do I know this? The most disturbed of my correspondents always cite chapter and verse.” May we be extremely careful not to think the Bible claims something because someone uses verses. The authors of the Bible had certain intentions and it is possible that people can misinterpret and in the process misuse the verses. I do not want to spend lots of time in this article covering that topic because I have already covered this problem in another blog titled Thats Just Your Interpretation(Click on the title to read the blog). It seems logical to judge a religion off its foundations and authorities, not off certain individuals. Just because someone claims the name doesn’t mean they are a true follower. For example, if there were someone who claimed to be with a certain company and acted in their name, but was given no instructions to do so then whose to be blamed? In the Bible, 1 John speaks very clearly throughout the letter that those who act against God’s commands are not off or for God. So it seems reasonable to judge a religion by these foundations and authorities that instruct a them. For Christianity that would be the Bible. The Bible and the teaching’s of Christ, the ultimate authority, do not teach these actions. On the other hand, there are other religions and ideologies that do condone certain acts that are violent or a way of thinking, so if someone were to commit some of these crimes then it would be consistent. Unlike Christianity were it would not be consistent.

Many more unimaginable mass killings have been committed by secular ideologies than Christianity. Nazis and communism both have had their hands in millions of deaths through people like Stalin, Hitler, or Pol Pot (for actual numbers check into an old edition of Guinness Book of World Records under “Judicial”, then “Crimes: Mass Killings”). Many may claim that they had religious influence, but if we look at history you will see that they had socialist, communist, or atheist ideas not Christian ideas. Nazi’s were given several books to read when entering the Red Army, and one of those books was Origin of the Species. The idea of “survival of the fittest” gives power to the Nazi’s to do things like eliminate other races.

In conclusion, may we at learn one important thing here: Many people may do acts in the name of God (that is of Christianity), but unless His instructions (the Bible) condone it then it is false and should not be used as ammunition against Christianity.

Articles:

The Real Murderers by Greg Koukl

God Is Not Responsible by Greg Koukl

Christianity’s Real Record by Greg Koukl

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Filed under Christianity, Morality, Other Religions, Problem of Evil, Uncategorized

A Religious Showdown….One God Many Ways

Religious pluralism is rampant in our culture today, and only proceeds to become more popular with each generation. When looking around you can find many examples, such as coexist stickers, theological seminaries accepting other religions in their programs, TV shows talking about it, and even congregations that call themselves a mixture of religions (ex. Buddhist Christian). Even if someone does not follow or believe a certain religion, it seems our culture, because of pluralism, demands that each religion be accepted as equally true. At worst many will say, “All roads lead to Rome.” In other words, all religions lead to the same God, power, or whatever you call it/him/her.

In this post I am not going to argue for the truth of Christianity (there are previous posts that do), rather I want to make an argument that not all religions can be equally true, it is not good to mix Christianity with other religions, and we can “coexist” without having to accept another’s religion as true or one-and-the-same.

All Roads Lead to Rome

Two ways people might voice this idea is: (1) all religious understanding is relative and no one interpretation is absolute, or (2) all religions lead to the same end and are equally true. Those statements sound great, pleasing to the ear, and definitely politically correct, but are extremely illogical and easily refutable through common sense.

The first statement has two faults. First, we can evaluate it by the Law of the Excluded Middle. Either God exists or does not exist. There is nothing relative about that. It is either absolutely true that God exists or absolutely true that He does not exist, and there is no other option. There must be truth and truth cannot be relative or it is not truth. Aristotle put it well: If you say, “It is,” and it is, or “It is not,” and it is not, then that is truth. Second, if there is no spiritual truth, then why search for it through any religious means? All it becomes is an invention by man, and a huge waste of time.

The second statement goes against something called the Law of Non-Contradiction. Again the statement sounds appealing at face value, but if you know anything about even a couple religions you will find that there are many contradictions between them. Here are a few examples:

1. Jews say Jesus is not the Messiah…Christians say He is.

2. Buddhists say we live in an illusion…many other religions say this is reality.

3. Christians believe in the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit all are one)…Muslims and Jehovah’s Witnesses do not. Even worse, Muslims consider it blasphamy to equate Jesus with God.

These are only a few out of many opposing views that both cannot be true at the same time. It would be fine to say that two views or religions are equally valid, but definitely not equally true.

Syncretism 

Syncretism is defined as “the amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought.” This is not a new concept, but it is something that needs to be addressed. When religions are considered equally true, then there is no need to exclude one religious belief from another. Then people begin calling themselves Buddhist Christians, or claiming to be a Christian yet practicing witchcraft. The issue with this is that Christianity is exclusive in many of its beliefs, and it must be that way to hold to orthodoxy. To do otherwise contradicts the author and creator of Christianity, which is Jesus Christ. Here are some verses that show the exclusivity of Jesus, specifically as salvation (a center piece to Christianity):

1. Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

2. John 4:25-26 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

3. John 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me,he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

4. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

5. Galatians 2:19-22 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

There are many other beliefs in the Christian religion that makes it obvious and wrong to syncretize with other religion. However, the foundation of the Christian religion is the salvation brought through only Jesus, and it must be exclusive or it is no longer Christianity.

Truly Coexist

Last, many want all religions to “coexist.” However, I think the issue here is in the definition of what it means to coexist. Often a word that goes with this statement is tolerance, because anyone who is unwilling to “coexist” is intolerant. What they mean by that is, “You are intolerant and won’t coexist if you claim your religion is true and someone else’s is false.” However, the true meaning of coexisting and tolerance are to accept, respect, and love one another as human beings deserve, without need to agree on religious beliefs as equally true. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, true tolerance requires disagreement.

In the end, all roads do not lead to Rome and all religions are not equally true. So it might be worthwhile to search out which one is true through thoughtful and reasonable questioning and research.

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Filed under Christianity, Logic and Reason, Other Religions