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Some more thoughts from the journey
The past several years have taken me fairly deep into the subject of Christian apologetics, more specifically into areas of New Testament/resurrection history and the philosophical/practical implications of the existence or non-existence of God. It has been an interesting ride so far. Not the least of which to see how the Lord has had me cross paths with people who have helped me along the way - from simple things like a recommendation toward a book or a web site, to long discussions around restaurant tables and living rooms.
The insight has come from both believers and unbelievers alike, both of which have contributed a great deal to perspective that has been responsible for my own personal growth of faith. That probably doesn't sound that significant if you don't know the inner workings of my mind - which would have me easily reject Christianity should I have come upon compelling enough evidence. I'm no 'blind follower', I don't want to live for a fairy tale, and absolutely would not be a Christian if I discovered enough reason to believe it was one.
I could probably write a hundred lengthy blog posts on this subject, as there is almost no end to these topics. I'll defer that simply because if you're as inclined to dig deep as I am, there are a wealth of resources online and in libraries - all of the information is there for you to see. We have more knowledge at our fingertips than anyone else in world history ever has - it's not hidden or censored from you. Take advantage of that!
As with all things internet related, I would offer the standard caution of being highly aware that not all things are what they seem online - check and double-check of the sources you deal with, be aware of biases (on both sides) and cross-check the claims made (again, on both sides). For instance, it's fairly common for people unfamiliar with the issues to latch onto poor arguments and run with them, and that, again, happens on both sides of the coin. Don't just commit to one side and read only their books and web sites - listen to both sides and take it all in. Question the questions.
That said, I wanted to just offer few simple thoughts. There are some fair questions out there regarding the validity of Christianity and the Bible. If you are a Christian youself, you need to be aware of these questions and their answers - because in this highly connected information age, the likelihood you'll run into them is getting higher every day, particularly if you are anything more than completely silent about your faith. The answers to those questions do not come easily, and when they do, they are often complex - and many times leave a lot of further open-ended questions themselves. Those that aren't prepared for these issues can easily jettison their faith, and I have seen it happen. I have dug deep into these issues because I feel that in our world today, it is becoming more important as a believer to be aware of them - not just for others, but for the continuation of my own faith as well.
One thing that I think is important to realize is that even after becoming a Christian, you will not suddenly understand everything and have all of the answers. Total knowledge and a full grasp of concepts larger and more complex than you can fathom is not a prerequisite to faith. If it was, no one would have ever been a believer.
In the end, what it boils down to, for me, is that the overall case for the risen Christ as the Son of an (existent) God, as well as the reliability of the Bible, is a very good one. A very, very good one, even when allowing for some possible problems here and there. Compelling enough that even as a skeptic-minded person, I cannot ignore it and cannot justify throwing it away, even if it may cost me something in life by holding on to it.
Furthermore, I look at a worst-case scenario for Christians like this: If I'm wrong and there is no God, then it doesn't matter anyway that I've lost or missed out on anything by following Christ. If there is no God, when I die, that will be the end - blackness, nothingness, no meaning to anything I did in my life, including following a faith that turned out to be a sham. If there really is no God, I lose absolutely nothing when all is said and done.
Conversely, a choice to reject Christ would admittedly gain me a few things in life. Things that mean less to me as I get older, but things nonetheless. But after considering all of the information I've seen (not to mention the times I've distinctly seen God at work), I don't even want to think about the position I'd be in if I made that choice and turned out to be wrong. I'm not necessarily saying that one should be a Christian simply "just in case God turns out to be real", but I also wouldn't totally discount that thought as a motivator to take Christ more seriously (See Mark 8:36).
So, that's about it. I hope I don't come off as a scholar or authority on apologetics. I'm just an ordinary person like you, interested in the truth and nothing but, and trying to communicate some perspective I've gained along the way.
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