Posts Tagged ‘is Christianity all about faith?’

Faith and evidenceSo, who insisted that Christianity is built entirely on faith? That’s never been my viewpoint and I’m struggling to think of even one Christian who makes this notion their line in the sand.

And yet, someone in an atheist Internet community posted this graphic and figured it would cause lots of people to nod in agreement.

But making a statement in a graphic doesn’t make it true. It would be like me insisting all atheists are militant, arrogant and patronizing. Equally false.

Before I get going here, let me make it clear that faith is definitely a key part of following Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the Son of God). In fact, one of Jesus’s ancient followers spells it out: “Whoever comes to God must believe that He is real and that He rewards those who sincerely try to find Him.”

But nowhere does any of the ancient source documents about Jesus claim that evidence is irrelevant. Indeed, evidence is mentioned at key points.

Consider the resurrection of Jesus, which is one of the most important parts of Christianity. In a letter from a missionary named Paul (who spent much of his life telling people about Jesus), he wrote that after rising from the dead, “Christ appeared to more than 500 other believers at the same time. Most of them are still living today, but some have died.”

That certainly reads like evidence to me, especially as the underlying message is ‘if you don’t believe me about the resurrection, then go ahead and investigate for yourself’. If following Jesus is built entirely on faith, why would any of his ancient followers make this statement?

Here’s another example, from one of the people Jesus personally trained to follow after Him: “We didn’t repeat crafty myths when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Quite the contrary, we witnessed his majesty with our own eyes.” Again, more evidence.

The website FaithFacts.org has this take on the faith vs. evidence debate:
Blind faith is faith without evidence, which would be superstition. The Bible does not call us to blind faith. The Bible calls us to faith in evidence. We submit that various truth claims, including Christianity, should be evaluated on the evidence.

I can tell you, without any hesitation, that if I was called to follow Jesus based solely on faith, I probably wouldn’t be a follower today. I was presented with evidence, then asked to make a leap of faith based on that evidence and based on the logic of following Jesus. I made that leap and have never regretted it.

So, where do you stand? Does a mix of faith and evidence make sense to you when considering Jesus? If it does, have you done any research? You may have friends or family members who discourage checking out the claims of Jesus, but this is important stuff.

Do the work. And if you still have questions, check out the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (http://carm.org/). Or email me at fdking@hotmail.com. I’ll do my imperfect best to help.

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Lacking facts? 3:14It has long been a criticism leveled by many atheists: spiritual people put faith on a pedestal and facts are harder to find than a government surplus.

Well, there’s no doubt about it: faith IS important to followers of Jesus of Nazareth (who many people believe is the Son of God). In fact, an ancient writer, who lived shortly after Jesus, wrote: “Whoever comes to God must believe that He is real and that He rewards those who sincerely try to find him.”

But does that mean that Jesus followers are just floating on a cloud of faith? Not a chance. Consider just these few facts:

1. Beyond the four original-source biographies detailing His life, death and resurrection, the website EveryStudent.com details how two ancient historians, Cornelius Tacitus (A.D. 55-120) and Flavius Josephus (A.D. 38-100+) wrote about Jesus and how He was put to death by Roman authorities.

2. Powerful evidence for Jesus’ resurrection (a central aspect of following Jesus) comes from a man named Paul, who spent years persecuting Jesus followers, then became one and told people throughout the Mediterranean about Him.

In one of Paul’s letters to early Jesus followers, he wrote “(After His resurrection) Jesus appeared to more than 500 other believers at the same time. Most of them are still living today, but some have died.”

Consider the enormity of that statement: Paul was telling these people that if they didn’t believe him about Jesus coming back to life three days after dying on a cross, there were all kinds of witnesses who could back him up.

3. There is also convincing evidence that Jesus is the Son of God. Some critics insist Jesus himself never made that claim — it was overzealous followers who “put the words in His mouth” when they wrote the four accounts of His life.

And yet, writer Steven Hemler makes this point, which I consider quite valid: “If Jesus was not crucified for blasphemy (claiming to be God’s son), then why did Jewish leaders want him killed? It is difficult to explain Jesus’ crucifixion, which is a well-attested historical fact, if he did not actually claim to be God’s son.”

There is lots of other hard evidence that I could explain, but you get the point. And if you don’t, then I challenge you to investigate for yourself (check out the links here: https://frankscottage.blog/links-to-other-sites/) because this is important stuff. In fact, from my viewpoint, your eternal fate rests on it because serious Jesus followers believe the original-source biographies when they say that Jesus is God’s gift to anyone willing to accept Him.

What does accepting Him mean? It means believing that His sacrificial death makes up for all the wrong things we’ve done and all the right things we’ve failed to do. So God no longer sees any of that. He sees us like He sees His Son – perfect in every way. And through that, we are welcomed to spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven.

Does this make sense to you? Yes or no, share your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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