"...remembering Bertrand Russell's famous essay, "Why I Am Not a Christian," here is a Reader's Digest version of why I am.
Creation: The universe, far from being a howling wasteland indifferent to our existence, appears to be finely tuned through its estimated 13.7 billion years of existence to support life on this planet. Tinker with any one of scores of fundamental physical laws or the initial conditions of the universe—such as gravity or the cosmological constant—and we would not be here.
Beauty: Beethoven's Ninth, a snowflake, the sweet smell of a baby who has been sleeping, and a sunset beyond the dunes of Lake Michigan all point to a magnificent and loving Creator. And isn't it interesting that we have the capacity—unlike mere animals—to gape in awe, to be brought to tears, before them?
New Testament reliability: Compared with the handful of existing copies of seminal ancient works such as Homer's Iliad, the New Testament's provenance is far better attested. There are thousands of NT manuscripts in existence, some made within mere decades of the events they report.
Scripture: Unlike other religious texts, the Bible gives us the good, the bad, and the ugly of its heroes: Abraham, Jacob, David, and Peter among them. Further, Scripture's message rings true. It has been said that human depravity is the only religious doctrine empirically verified on a daily basis. And the Bible's gracious solution to our predicament, Christ's atoning death on the Cross, uniquely emphasizes what God has done, not what we must do, for our rescue.
Jesus: Christ's life and teachings are unparalleled in world history, as any Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim—or atheist—worth his salt will admit.
The trilemma: C.S. Lewis, commenting on Christ's claim to divinity, said: "You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
Resurrection: After the crucifixion, Jesus' tomb was found empty. His formerly despondent disciples then turned the Roman world upside down with the message that Christ had conquered death. And they were willing to die for it. The best explanation, according to N. T. Wright and other scholars, is that Christ rose from the dead.
Progress: Despite some horrific incidents perpetrated in the name of Christ, freedom and prosperity generally have followed Christianity. Testimonies: While many Christians have behaved badly, Christ specializes in turning sinners around. What other faith can boast of a Chuck Colson? A John Newton? A William Wilberforce? Then there are the innumerable soup kitchens, universities, hospitals, and orphanages founded to the glory of Christ.
My experience: Finally, as a forgiven sinner, I testify to an imperfect yet growing sense of God's peace, presence, and provision since receiving Christ more than a quarter-century ago. Despite occasional setbacks, my faith has deepened and strengthened, whatever life brings."
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Why he is a Christian
It is the evening of Thanksgiving. I am recovering from a food coma and most of the family is asleep. ASU was losing to USC, so I got a little bored and decided to do a little reading. I came across this article by Stan Guthrie, who wrote a brief editorial for Christianity Today to explain why he is a Christian. Below is a chunk of the editorial. To see the full version, click here. I agree that there is no one thing that is the most overwhelming; it is the weight of all of the concepts that serve to convince me. Just like a court case, you cannot hang your hat on one piece of evidence. As it is said, the sum is worth more than the individual parts.