Last week I posted a list of some things which challenge my faith. To be fair and balanced, I also want to take a look at reasons why I do believe. To be honest, probably the top reason I’m a Christian is because that’s what I’ve grown up with and haven’t found reason to ditch it. I want to say that I’ve taken a reasonable look at it and have chosen to have faith in Christ for other reasons, but it’s impossible for me to say if I would have done so had I not been raised as a Christian. I have certainly done a lot of questioning, so I don’t believe my faith is completely without merit.
When looking at the world, I can’t really believe that it came about by itself. I think to say so is unreasonable. I believe there must be something more/greater than the material universe. I believe there must have been creation. (The method of creation is much less significant.) That being said, the idea of a non-personal energy as deity doesn’t seem to fit well either. (For the record, I have never felt a real need to study other religions in depth.) The complexity of the universe is evidence of great intelligence. I believe the divine is in everything, but everything is not divine. Beyond that, the idea of a pantheon of gods which are more powerful than humans but whom are limited beings doesn’t really help to answer the question of ultimate origin. The problem with the idea the we can become divine is similar. In these latter two cases, what is called divine is really just another class of beings which are somewhat higher than normal people. In these cases, what is divine can’t be ultimate.
So I find the idea of a single, ultimate god as held by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to be the most reasonable. As a Christian, I believe in all the basics of Judaism. Jesus was of course Jewish, and he unquestionably built on that foundation. I can understand some of the problems Jews have with Jesus. He didn’t fit their understanding of God. Yet I think Jesus doesn’t actually contradict the Torah and the rest of the Hebrew scriptures. Islam is loosely based on Judaism and Christianity. My impression is that Muhammad wanted to promote the good values of Judaism and Christianity, but recalled their teachings imperfectly. I don’t see where Islam really adds a significant new understanding of God, which is another reason I don’t believe what it teaches beyond or in contrast to Judaism and Christianity.
Beyond this, Christianity’s teachings are really amazing (I’m thinking specifically of the new testament). It’s not merely a moral code nor “good teachings” to live by. It’s truly radical and I think it would be amazing for someone to have just made it up.
I watched a program once where many scholars explained away Jesus’ miracles. However the interesting thing was, at the end, none of them could explain why a small group of followers became one of the most wide-spread beliefs in the world. Of course Christianity isn’t the only major religion in the world, but I think it gives some weight to the idea that there’s more going on than what is merely human.
Beyond this, there is the witness of countless people. Though I may have doubts and don’t think I’ve experienced what I expect to, many others tell of having received from Christ. True this is somewhat subjective, but so many people claim to have experience Jesus that it makes me seriously think there could be some truth to it. I can discount what some people say about God as silliness, but I can’t discount all of the witnesses I’ve heard.
Last, I believe because the bible has a great message. It’s one I want to be true. It’s a message of hope, healing, restoration, peace, love… everything good.