Reasonable Faith


Peter 3:15 says that we are to be ready to give a defense of our faith. Are you ready? Sadly, many Christians watch more TV in a week than they spend in a year preparing themselves to answer questions about God and the Bible. Many people equate faith with a blind leap in the dark or wishful thinking, but the faith that the Bible requires is intelligent faith. It is neither blind nor irrational. Defending the faith isn’t just for your pastor, though. The church needs an army of saints who are able to articulate the truth persuasively and graciously.
Listed below are my best attempts to clear up uncertainties and address painfully honest questions that both Christians and skeptics have. My hope is that it equips you with strong enough reasoning and evidence to profess your faith and answer the question “Why should I believe in God?” 

If God is so loving, why does He allow evil and suffering?

Christianity teaches that contrary to Buddhism, suffering is real; contrary to karma, suffering is often unfair; but contrary to secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine. Non-believers assume that suffering should keep people from God, while many who suffer a great deal turn to God, not from him. The atheists’ solution doesn’t remove the suffering. In fact, it worsens it by removing hope. Rather than condemning God for allowing evil, we should be thankful that He withholds the punishment we deserve. God created the possibility of evil; people actualized that potentiality. The source of evil is not God’s power but mankind’s freedom. Even an all-powerful God could not have created a world in which people had genuine freedom and yet there was no potentiality for sin because our freedom includes the possibility of sin within its own meaning.

What about all the contradictions in the Bible?

How can you believe in a religion with impossible stories like Noah and the Flood?

I am glad there are things in the Bible I do not understand. If I could take that book up and read it as I would any other book, I might think I could write a book like that. It’s natural to be skeptical of a story like Noah. However, the greatest miracle in the Bible is not Noah and the flood. The greatest miracle in the Bible is recorded in the first verse: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” If that miracle is true, then every miracle in the Bible is at least possible (including Noah’s Ark). If God created the universe, then He can do whatever He wants inside of it. Common sense is no match for the voice of God.

Does archaeology disprove the Bible?

Was Jesus just a moral teacher?

No spiritual teacher (e.g., Buddha, Mohammed, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr.) has ever claimed to be God. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus claims to have always existed, to have authority to forgive sins, and he claims to be God. That leaves us with only two options: either Jesus is an evil deceiver or Jesus is who he says he is. He didn’t leave any other option open. During His time on earth, Jesus performed amazing miracles, that as John rightly observes, serve as signs that manifest his glory (John 2:11). He healed diseases, exorcised demons, turned water into wine, calmed storms, walked on water, and even raised people from the dead. After examining the claims, character, and miracles of Jesus throughout the Bible, it’d be foolish to write him off as simply a moral teacher.

If God created Heaven and earth then who created God?

What evidence do you have the Bible is trustworthy?

If I had to narrow it down to a few pieces of evidence, I would probably say: fulfilled prophecies, archaeological discoveries, and the Bible’s amazing unity. The Bible, unlike any other religious book, has demonstrated itself to be the Word of God through its ability to rightly predict the future. There are literally hundreds of very specific prophecies in the Bible that were spoken hundreds of years before their fulfillment that have already come to pass. No other religious book can verify itself in this way. The Bible has also been proven to be historically reliable by thousands of archaeological discoveries that have verified the names of persons, places, events, and customs mentioned in the Bible.

Finally, there is the Bible’s amazing unity. Here is a book that is actually a collection of sixty-six different books, written down by more than forty different authors, over a period of 1,500 plus years, on three different continents, in three different languages, and it addresses life’s most controversial topics from beginning to end. You would think there would be chaos, confusion, and contradictions, yet the Bible miraculously remains absolutely consistent and internally harmonious from beginning to end. These three pieces of evidence (fulfilled prophecy, archaeological discoveries, and the Bible’s amazing unity) build a compelling case for the divine origin and historical reliability of the Bible.

How is it that the Bible explains the earth to be 6,000 to 8,000 years old when we know that dinosaur bones are at least 65 million years old?

What about other religions?

It is no more narrow to claim that one religion is right than to claim that one way to think about all religions (namely that all are equal) is right. We are all exclusive in our beliefs about religion, but in different ways. Merely having an open mind is nothing; the object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid. When investigating Christianity vs. other religions, we see that Christianity is unique among the religions of the world for several reasons. First, unlike other religions, Christianity is rooted in history and evidence. Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of Caesar Augustus and was put to death by Pontius Pilate, a first-century Roman Governor. The testimony of his life, death, and resurrection is not only validated by credible eyewitness testimony but by credible extra-biblical evidence as well. Furthermore, of all the great religious leaders of the world (Buddha, Moses, Zoroaster, Lao Tzu, Muhammad), only Jesus claimed to be God in human flesh.

Does evolution explain away Christianity?

Hasn’t the Bible undergone corruption as it was translated hundreds of times down through the centuries?

The Bible has been translated into hundreds of different languages down through the centuries, but the text of the Bible has been accurately preserved all the way through. How do we know that to be the case? First, there is the manuscript evidence. Today, there exists several thousand partial and complete, ancient handwritten manuscript copies of the Bible, some dating as far back as the third century B.C. These manuscripts have allowed textual critics and scholars to verify that the Bible we have today is the same Bible the early church had.

Secondly, there are the writings of the church fathers. By church fathers, I am referring to leaders in the early church. In their commentaries on the Bible, their letters to one another, and their letters to other churches, these men quoted the New Testament Scriptures alone more than 86,000 times. Their quotations have allowed scholars to reconstruct nearly the entire New Testament. These two forms of evidence, the manuscript evidence and the writings of the church fathers, verify conclusively that the original text of the Bible has been accurately preserved.

If God is omnipotent, why does he not just show himself to all of us, all at once, thereby ending this game of free will and temptation?

How can you prove that Jesus rose from the dead?

If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said. If he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead. Here’s a quick list of the historical evidence of Jesus’s death on the cross:

  • A public execution assured His death
  • A high official secured the gravesite
  • In spite of guards, the grave was found empty
  • His apostles were dramatically changed
  • Witnesses were willing to die for their claims
  • Jewish believers changed their day of worship
  • Although it was unexpected, it was clearly predicted
  • It was a fitting climax to a miraculous life
  • The growth of the Christian church hereafter

Following His death on the cross, Jesus made numerous appearances to His followers. He comforted the mourners outside His tomb on Sunday morning. On the road to Emmaus, He explained things about Himself from the Old Testament. Later, He ate in their presence and invited them to touch His scars. Scripture records that Jesus was seen by more than 500 at one time. Some may argue that a few people could have agreed to a deception, but how can one explain the collaboration of 500 people?

Is God just?

Why should I care?

Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important. This statement compels us to seriously embrace the fact that we’re saved by God’s grace through faith alone. That’s all God requires for salvation to be obtained. It is also important to note that our faith in God brings forth deep transformation into our lives. Faith allows us to condition and organize our lives in such a way that His will and purpose can be accomplished in us. Our faith in Him is the cornerstone that sustains us in times of need, trials, and hard sufferings. By having faith in God, we can certainly look way beyond life’s obstacles with a firm assurance that He’s with us and will always be with us no matter what happens.

What is worthwhile under the sun?

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The Little Things

                          The Little Things

        Given the hectic nature of our lives, it’s easy to overlook the little things that make it all worthwhile. Sitting with a family dog on a hillside, listening to music on a back porch, fly-fishing in the middle of the Colorado River, and being un-regretfully lazy. Life is many-sided and there are infinite ways of experiencing it, but many times we are blind to these blessings. We should insist on playing life to the fullest, but play it based on our own sense of value. Ask yourself what the ingredients of a good life are and make a point to focus on those things.

        If you haven’t noticed already, life can get away from us even while we are still living it. Too often we act as if the world lost its luster when really we just stopped giving it our undivided attention. Sure, there is always work to be done around the house or in the yard, but finding enjoyment in life is so much more important, healthy—and fun. People don’t put enough emphasis on the joy of everyday living, and we rarely pause to savor the gifts of our present moments. Eating a home-cooked meal, being outdoors, wearing clothes softened by age, reading all day, running in a familiar neighborhood, and breathing deeply are all simple pleasures that satisfy our longings for liveliness. Happiness isn’t in the future, but in this afternoon’s meal with a friend, in this evening’s bedtime story with a child, in tonight’s curling up with a good book. We need to appreciate the things which help us stay balanced, which keep us from being crushed under the weight of seriousness, and which we can use to maintain our sanity.

        I will always encourage setting new goals and searching for the next bucket list adventure, but in between goals is a thing called life, and it must be appreciated and admired with all of the simplest amusements. The tricky part is mastering the happy art of attending to things temporal with a mind intent on things eternal. Try embracing happiness as a moral obligation and you will always have an abundance of it; seek out the good in life and you will soon find it everywhere. If you don’t listen to anything else I say, please just remember this: the secret to life is simply enjoying the passage of time. Don’t let this lifetime pass you by.