Belief Survey Responses...



These are a few of the survey responses and emails that have come in...These were selected because they were either well-articulated, powerful, innovative, informative, surprising, beautiful, or saddening. There is much to be learned and challenged by, in the browsing of these snippets below...I personally have grown much and worshipped therefrom...

The survey asks these questions:


I have not included their responses to ALL these, but only portions...



 
 

It's a brilliant site you have here and is my personal favourite. I became a Christian about 15 yrs ago and have spent the vast majority of that time being as brutally honest and as skeptical as I can in an attempt to find out whether the Bible is all it claims to be. As you can imagine, I have had my "trust" reduced to almost zero at times. I say "almost zero" because if it did come to nothing I don't suppose I'd still be here. But after 13-14 yrs of personal faith abuse(I hope you know what I mean)I had a very personal experience of God. I'm not saying that I heard a voice or any such thing. It was just that after so long a search, to finally come to the realization that the reason the Word stood up so well against the barrage of criticism it has received(for centuries, by some very intelligent people)was because it is LITERALLY TRUE! Have you ever held an Ant farm in front of your face and wondered, if they could think, what would they think about?



He was the Son of God, the logos for the creation of the world, only in human form. He had no human father. He is the only way to be reconciled to God. The fact that there was a historical Jesus doesn't mean He was what I believe He was, nor does the fact that he affected so many people.

Historians could be mistaken or people could have lied. And how much have I actually observed personally, in any history? Not much. And if I had observed personally, my senses could be deceived. How would I know if they were, or not, for sure?

I suppose there is evidence that at least the Bible has been transmitted accurately. For example, the Dead Sea Scrolls match our current Old Testament books pretty closely, from what I have read (but they don't include Esther). Did the authors of the Bible lie? How could we know?

There is also some reference to Jesus' existence, by the Romans, etc. He certainly affected a lot of people. But was He what He claimed? What evidence could there be that would prove that scientifically/historically? Could he demonstrate the resurrection a few times, or walk through a few walls, or something? Could he explain the virgin birth and how the chromosomes got doubled with only an egg, or whether there was an egg at all? He's have to do it for every person, and even then they could doubt their senses anyway.

What Jesus said, and the example He set, is something I find worthy of my respect and wish I could do. My emotions tell me He is trustworthy and that my faith in Him is not misplaced. I don't believe a human male could have been like Jesus. Confucius, for example, had some major things he missed, in my opinion. He didn't get the whole truth, nor did he live it out completely. The same is true of all of the "great teachers" I've read about except Jesus. Everything He said rings true, and there are no sour or jarring notes in the report of His life, that don't match what He said.



I think the strongest argument against traditional Christian claims is our ability to track down cause and effect for mysterious seeming events we observe, as we do in science laboratories.

I have a Chemistry degree, and knowing exactly how so many things work, without having to exercise faith, and finding out that intuition can mislead (yet objective testing can correct it), has made the exercise of faith and belief in metaphysics less natural, and has raised feelings of doubt in the reality of things that can't be measured, at times. How do we know, in the way that we know what will happen in a repeatable experiment, whether God exists, whether miracles actually have occurred, whether we really think, or anything of that nature? We can't know in that way--that's the problem for someone with a scientifically educated mindset.



The fact that there is history, and that life, especially human life, exists, makes me think that there is a creator. I am not only a set of chemical and electrical impulses--I know I have free will.

Given that there is a creator, I see evidence in nature of His goodness. I don't have to enjoy food to survive, for example. It would be just as good to eat to get rid of stomach pain...etc. So He is good.

But there is also something wrong in nature. Death, for one thing. The Bible's scenario matches what I see, and rings true more and more, the more I read of it. I consider other beliefs, but only the Bible's depiction of history and God's plan seems like something a good creator would do, and explains what I see as well. I have gathered facts to see how the Bible got here, what historians say, etc., but people could be mistaken or people could have lied.

I have taken a step of faith to believe that the Bible is what it claims to be, and any other belief I consider is compared with the Bible to the best of my ability. I feel comfortable with this, because I have discovered that everyone has to take a step of faith to believe in whatever they believe anyway. It's not whether you choose a belief based on faith--it's which belief you choose to adopt.

If there is a good creator, who wants a relationship with mankind, then I would expect Him to reach out to us. Philosophy has shown that man reaching out to God results in whittling away what you can know to nothing, and a plethora of confusion, and no conclusions--man can't reach God on his own. I would thus expect to find a revelation given supernaturally, like the Bible, to guide mankind into a correct relationship with God.



When I discuss with atheists, I often find out eventually that they are using their decision to not believe in God to punish Him for not doing things the way they think He should.

I think that atheist scientists often don't believe in God because they don't want to be considered superstitious or part of the religious fundamentalist movement. Not to mention unintelligent or deceived or gullible.

Many people disbelieve because they don't want to be accountable to a creator, and believing would at least make God the ultimate determiner of truth, and they aren't comfortable with that.

Unbelievers who have thought about it and still don't believe take a step of faith to not believe. Evolution is a ludicrous idea, despite the names you get called if you say that. So how did we get here? Panspermia, apparently.



He was the first one we know of who 'Got it right'. Life, that is.

It seems to me, that he lived a completely True life. True when viewed from every angle I can think of. (At least, all the ones I've discovered myself so far).

As a open-minded-but-skeptical person, I have looked at a lot of evidence. (Biblical and non-Biblical) and have come to the conclusion that Jesus spoke the truth. When he said that he was God manifested as man, he meant it... it was not an allusion or a metaphor. It was the truth.

This implies many things for me, some of which are:

* He had to have a very Large mind to hold and deal with all the issues in life. By Large, I mean in the capacities of intelligence, memory, spirituality, presence-of-mind, empathy (etc)

* He had to have tremendous courage to live as he did...'Guts' in the more modern vernacular. Has truth and goodness ever been fashionable? Has it ever been 'in'. Perhaps, for short periods of time. But I observe that it is too soon twisted into Pride, or cheapened by cynicism, by over-exposure, by...by, golly! Almost anything can (seemingly) ruin it!

* He practiced what he preached... all the time. What a very difficult task that is! Even with the best of intentions, I have met no-one who can do this (yet!).

* People in his time recognized him as something different, something very special; threatening and frightening to some, filled with peace and 'lit from within' to others. Humans can be very perceptive at times. It would not do to minimize or discount what other's saw when they looked at Jesus.


And here's-the-thing: For an unassisted Human to have all the attributes, and live the life that Jesus lived, seems very, very unlikely. He must of had help. I admit I cannot prove he had help, and perhaps an insane genius could have done it without help. But Jesus doesn't appear to manifest any tell-tale characteristics of an insane person. (This is an interesting side subject about which I am sure many books could-be/have-been written) But the question of whether he had help has not been left up to conjecture. Jesus told everyone that he had help, every day, frequently, constantly, from his Father in Heaven.

At this point, we get into whether Jesus was God-on-Earth.... and (as you probably know, Glenn) we loose many people who begin groaning, scoffing, etc. I used to be one of the groaners... now I keep quiet and listen.

Here is my reasoning on the matter. The proposition is: Jesus was the Son of God. When considering this question, one has to presuppose the existence of God, and the existence of Jesus, otherwise the proposition has no meaning. (I don't mean you have to BELIEVE in God, just take the existence of God as a given (smile) and that Jesus was a human who existed)

If we look at the evidence of his life and actions disinterestedly (without bias or prejudice for or against the existence of God), evidence documented from all available sources, and argued about extensively throughout our history, we have to conclude that, it seems plausible. The explanation 'hangs together' very well with his recorded words and actions. It makes sense. It is self-consistent. Occam's razor cuts in favour of the proposition. The question: "Why not?", also pops into my mind, and for the following reason: The only good, real, hard, unarguable evidence I have witnessed, is the change made in people who give themselves to Christ. They really feel changed. They notice that things within themselves are different. The teaching of Jesus, when put into practice and honestly followed, appears to 'work' for them just as promised. Now, for the second time, I point out that it is ludicrous to attempt to discount what other people experience and 'see'... even if it is within themselves. Sure, they cannot PROVE it...but, WHY NOT obtain some better data? WHY NOT give it a try yourself? Especially when the positive, documented Christian experiences are so numerous, and pervasive, through many cultures and over many years. It is easy to delude yourself for a day, or even a year... but for a lifetime? If all of the truly born-again-in-the-spirit Christians are deluding themselves...well, it passes beyond the bounds of reasonable argument to suggest that. Also, one has to be impressed with intelligence, common sense, and 'sensibleness' of many outstanding Christians. One cannot simply discount these persons as being deluded!



Evidence created/extant when he was alive. Or even VERY shortly after he was alive by people who new-him/met-him.

The type of evidence I am referring to is:

Paintings or sculptures of him.
Clothing he wore.
Objects he made.
Documents he wrote.
Admittedly, it is a tall order to expect ANY convincing physical evidence for a person from this long in the past, but if the person was this important, surely it would be reasonable to expect some scrap to be allowed to survive, especially if an all powerful God willed it! See my Anti-argument Two for possible reasons why an all powerful God might have willed against it.

Human's are BOTH physical and spiritual beings, my contention is that the spiritual evidence is well established INSIDE those who believe, why isn't there equally convincing physical evidence. It doesn't seem like much to ask. 'Seem' is the appropriate word here. There are good human arguments why this IS to much to ask. For example: Physical evidence would not convince the die-hard skeptic (this argument was used by Jesus when explaining why he performed miracles in one town, by not another). Also physical evidence might polarize humanity more violently between believers and non- believers... this might make it more difficult for non-believers to be converted, which would not be a desirable situation to the Christian style God. Also Physical evidence might be used by those in power to perpetrate great evils. I am sure we could all come up with lots of scenarios with this as the theme. Once again, this might make the number of believers smaller, or put very great difficulties in the way of converts... not a desirable situation. But still the question stands and is largely unanswered by Jesus. (Unless you can provide some insight here Glenn?)



Someone to be taken seriously - not least because of his impact on history. Someone with great charisma and integrity - possibly quite a rare combination.

More ambivalent about his claimed supernatural status. Open minded about miracles (particularly healings, as people I know and respect have experienced such non-rational events). The wholly God and wholly human idea has no clear meaning to me - mostly it just seems bizarrely human-centric. Resurrected? I sort of hope so. Take Gospels seriously, mainly because of second-hand accounts of how weighty and early they are compared to accounts of other historical events.

There is no doubt that people converted to faith in Jesus can undergo radical and long-lasting transformations in their lives (although so can people 'converted' to other ideologies). Usually, from my observations, the consequences are positive. If not quite a compelling argument, this is at least a good advert.



I think I would first question how much sense the deity claim makes, before addressing if it is true. (Truthfulness is not a category that can be applied to nonsense.) Vicars seem fond of describing the various contradictions in this doctrine as 'tensions' or 'wonderful paradoxes'. To me, the incarnation creates a list of contradictions between human nature and God 'nature'. (I subscribe to a fairly conventional Christian / Jewish / Islamic view of what must be the attributes of God, if 'He' exists.) To ask me to accept both sides of each 'tension' as an act of faith is to ask me to violate my integrity (that's how it feels).


I think belief in a Creator (and possibly Sustainer) is strongly supported by the observation that there is something rather than nothing, that there is a universe. Attempts by cosmologists to create universes spontaneously out of the 'laws' of physics seem to me merely to shift the question (whence the 'laws'?), and can never do any more than this.


I am not really sure of anything right now. I can tell you what I believe the Christian view of Christ should be, but I am not sure I completely agree with it, and an confused by various aspects. You could say that I believe that Jesus was an "avatar" of sorts. A physical manifestation of the Omnipotent, Omniscient, God. God needed (is this possible?) to communicate on a more direct level, or perhaps more understandable level to the people of earth. So, he "impregnated" Mary with a being/human which contained his "essence" (for lack of a better word). This being then, being in whole, God, began it's teaching as per God's final purpose for him. Years passed, and the final stage was reached, where Jesus, being wholly physical, was sacrificed "for our sins". This is significant, not because Jesus was human, but because he was part of, and was indeed, God. Thus, God sacrificed a part of his being (would an omnipresent, omnipotent God, miss ANY part of his being?) as a symbol to us that such sacrifices were no longer necessary etc. The above is, of course, utter hogwash, but it was the best thing I could think of.


I can offer only one, and this is the one which has perhaps kept me from disregarding Christianity. And that is, that nothing in this existence makes sense, without an outside purpose. How did this universe come into existence? why does it work so perfectly? Everything must be created. In order for existence to come about, it must be caused. Therefore there must be an outside, and separate force which causes the existence to begin. In order for reality to "exist", there must be a force/entity separate and beyond this reality which is able to interact with and within the reality. In other words, "God". No scientific argument can dissuade me from that, because until science meets and becomes one with "Truth" and religion, it is blind to things beyond "reality". Science can study the effects of actions taken by an outside Force, but it cannot see outside and therefore might very well be true, but in no way can it be used as evidence against the existence of "God", in whatever form "God" might exist.


He was a really good, really nice man. The picture I get in the four gospels in the bible is of a caring man who looked out for weak people and helped them, and saw through hypocrisy. Reading about him makes me smile, and I think I love him. Apparently he is God, and the son of God, and human, but I am not intelligent enough to understand this. I was brought up within a believing family, which unfortunately means that a relationship with Jesus is a continually nagging issue in my life. Unfortunate because the man and the relationship are so hard to understand, and defend.

I haven't really looked into the historical accuracy of the Bible, but people I love or trust or respect think that it is God's words. That has to be enough for me. I want to find out the truth for myself, but I don't know where to start.



Argument for the truthfulness of Christianity: The feeling I get when God is near me.


I really appreciate your reply to the survey I filled out. In many ways it was refreshing to find someone who understands. I'm sorry I've been slow in replying. I've been busy and I wanted to write when I had time to reflect.

I do agree that 'always questioning and examining our assumptions is an absolutely necessary part of growth and discovery.' Few people that I know openly acknowledge this truth.

As for my quest for the truth I am much more at ease. At the last time of writing confusion, disorder, and a general state of gloominess abounded. Currently I have move from an agnostic stance to a theistic stance. I can't get around God, so to speak. I also now find Christianity very plausible. I haven't had much time recently for my own personal studies because of schoolwork. I think this will change this summer when I have more time.



One "facet" of the triune God, come to earth to provide a "way out" for sinful man; the one through whom we may/must seek redemption and forgiveness; the only way to receive eternal life.

Tough question. "Historical data ....." hmmmmmm. Not quite sure what you're asking. I have experienced personal salvation through Christ and, through several church affiliations (& the teaching/preaching/etc. received) have found Christianity (or, better, my relationship w/ Christ) most fulfilling. I am, after many years though, seeking a better (fuller?) understanding of Christianity generally, and, perhaps more specifically, the "philosophical, scientific, &/or intellectual" underpinnings of why/how/what I believe. I find this site very interesting, but almost too overwhelming with information to know quite where to begin. Reading or study suggestions (either here or elsewhere - books/tapes or cyber-sites) would be most appreciated!



While I don't know if this is a particularly "strong" argument, I fear that Christians, as a group, lose a great deal of credibility by the tendency among many to "stick their head in the sand" rather than learn/understand enough to present or refute compelling arguments (i.e., "it's in the Bible, I believe it, that settles it!"). Frankly, that bothers me as much as the agnostic argument (or lack thereof)who, to my view, is simply to wimpy to take a stand ( <sound of a whiny voice> "oh, I don't know, I just can't decide if I believe or not .....")


From the former alcoholic:

Just to tell you that I´m:

- still sober after 3 years and three months and have not felt thirsty for one second since then

- still non-smoking

- still thanking God for intervening

- still asking his Son for advice and guidance in every aspect of my life

- still feeling his close presence some precious seconds or even minutes almost every day - feeling that the "scale" of the closeness is up to me

- still praying for more courage to believe a little more every day

- still asking Him to check out my heart

- still feeling changes for the better (-got a new dream-job which I couldn't possibly have overcome if I had been still drinking...)

- still frequently visiting your web site



Just a note to say "thanks". I've been wrestling with these issues for a few months now.

I've gone from no doubt (in Christianity) but no action, to no doubt some action, to doubt (severely), back to (mostly) believe (not much action here, as you might guess), to doubt, to some belief, to doubt, to some belief, and so on (which is where I am now). Ironically this all started with a thought about Islam (which I know cannot be true, because it teaches (no) salvation through works, which just cannot be (I'm not bigger than God)).

I know logically there has to be a God. I know there are many facts supporting Christianity. I just don't fully believe right now. Sometimes I think the God of the Bible looks quite superstitious, but then I am confronted with Jesus, who supported the OT. But (that's ALWAYS there, huh?), I'm not sure that everything that's written in the NT is accurate, and, at this stage, that means I am simply not sure.

I mean (MEAN) no front to God, in any way. I SINCERELY do want to know and believe the truth, and I will follow Him explicitly once I reach that stage.

I am just not there yet, and it is causing me great trouble.

I have read a lot, but it seems to be mostly level 1 (maybe 2) stuff (Mere Christianity, some other things. Currently I am reading The Case for Christ, and have picked up vol 1 & 2 of Evidence that Demands a Verdict). I have not been able to entirely understand some of what you've written, but most of it I do understand and it makes sense. It has really helped me with some relevant history, Bible understanding, and skeptical arguments.

The funny thing about the arguments is this: You seem to start at level on (on a hypothetical scale of 1-3). The responses you have published seem to respond on an apparent level 2. You then respond on level 3. Here's the funny part: once you respond on level 3, the level 2 skeptical responses seem to collapse to sub 1 levels! In other words, they appear to have not been thought out much at all.



Probably the fact that the claims are, at their root, unquantifiable. The historical documents that claim Christ rose are powerful, but not unassailable. As an history major, I know that there are several instances of historical documents making fantastic claims. The very fact that they are fantastic makes it difficult for a secular historian to us as evidence that the fantastic event occurred. (Arguing from the absence of counter evidence, especially something as easily hidden or destroyed as a body, is an even more sketchy argument) As for God, the generalized concept of a god seems pretty rational, though unprovable because no one can reach out, pull God down to earth, and force Him (or them) to perform proofs of their existence. The existence of the Christian God is certainly not intuitively obvious, without personal, experiential evidence to back it up.

I'm about to contradict everything I just said, but the first person nature of the accounts in the New Testament (and the OT) Though not unassailable from a rationalist, historical point of view, the very fact that several different first person accounts agree (with the normal differences in personal perceptions) on an account of the life, death and resurrection of Christ and that these accounts were not, as far as I know, factually contradicted by other witnesses, is a powerful proof that SOMETHING spectacular went on about two thousand years ago.



In the context of human suffering, Christianity makes sense. According to us, God loved his creation (even when it rebelled against Him) so much that He was willing to suffer death and separation from Himself (Christ's separation from the Father on the cross) to
1) cleanse us of our sins and

2) to prove that He, in the person of Christ, knows our suffering because he has experienced it.


Though this is not the best "logical" argument for the Truth of Christianity, I do believe that the idea of a god who suffered with and for us, who understands, is one of the most attractive and intriguing facets of Christianity to non-believers (seeking or not)



Christian... searcher for TRUTH, read Sartre's Being and Nothingness in high school, despaired at having enough time to find out what why I was so empty and the universe (except for man) was so beautifully orchestrated... then a thought occurred to me... since the TRUTH ("source of all things" was my definition at that time - Fall '74) was obviously THERE harmonizing the universe (except for man)...maybe it was available to me, i.e. "right in front of me" so to speak... if so, then why wasn't I connected to it? COULD IT BE THAT I WAS REJECTING IT... so I thought "what am I rejecting the most, as a potential source of TRUTH?" and it was Christianity... so I decided right then and there that I would accept the TRUTH even if I had to get it from the dorky... ignorant people known as "Christians".... long story...THE END...HE "found" me!!! :-)


(from Germany) Jesus was a great spiritual teacher. i want to believe that he died for our sins.

I have however not yet made the jump required to understand all the implication /consequences of that belief frankly speaking the details of the life historical jesus are not so important to me. the results of the historical-critical exegesis through the last 2 centuries hv shown how little can be said with confidence or accuracy. I wud follow martin bubers statement of the bible as being a palimpsest which need new disclosure by each reader in his time. i find it most logical that the books of the NT are more or less influenced by the intentions of the young christian community. in germany there was a decade or so a book published by the editor-in-chief of the newsmagazine der spiegel ( maybe comparable to newsweek in usa ). though quite polemical in many aspects it gathered the many discrepancies and misunderstandings and interpretations etc of the facts abt jesus.

however i dont feel that even if this would proof how little we actually can really know abt him, it would not be a hindrance to believe in what he taught. i just started to get interested in philosophy of history but i found as much that if you really try to understand what has historically happened you will not come to a conclusion unless you hv been there yourself and even then it wud be filtered by oneself. which also leads to hermeneutics and epistemological issues (the dealing of which again i much appreciate at yr site here)

it may be of course that i am missing the point of faith in total when considering above. when strolling thru christian newsgroups i am always wondering on how people can refer to the bible as being imperative to their lives. inspirating yes. giving solace yes. but whenever imperative it will make it prone to misuse by fun-damn-entalistic exegetics. ( if i reconsider i am mainly referring to moral and ethical aspects here)

i these cases it will then finally come down to contra principium negantem non est disputandum ...

by considering on how much abuse was caused by misinterpretations of the books of the books i just cannot follow this approach.

i believe that every time will hv her interpretation. for instance the psychological approach of eugen drewermann ( is he known in the usa ? ) has tremendous success. i was also touched by the man's ( a former catholic priest ! ) ability to read the bible in a way that reveals our longings and desires. he has shown me how actual the bible can be today !



I am a catholic. Jesus Christ was the son of God and died for my sins. He rose again on the third day. ( to put it all in the quickest and simplest form) I will probably depress the fundamentalists, but I find much of the naivete of their apologetics depressing. For me, the strongest "evidence" of the divinity and historicity of Christ is Bachs B-Minor Mass. Of course, there is also the strange fact that early Christianity was not an esoteric mystery cult open only to an elite( which it would have been if it were based on some mythic or occult narrative,)but a religion that was open to all people. Besides, Christianity couldn't have just sprung up by spontaneous generation.


Anti-arguments: to be frank , the history and apologetic methods used by most "Christian" fundamentalists ( Josh McDowell, et.al), which are based on a very narrow understanding of the Christian tradition, and a narrowly foundationalist approach to evidence.

Pro-argument: The sheer joyous craziness, the sensual delight and delictio, of true Christianity, and the emotional and spiritual sterility of so many of the alternatives.



A Jew probably from Galilee who became, by birth, adoption, miraculously or otherwise, the sacrificial lamb, who died in order to atone for the sins of people. At best he is God who leaves eternity to become a finite person with all the frailties of humans, including death, the incarnation being a part of his atoning work. At the very least he was a Jewish radical among a lot of Jewish radicals who gathered enough people around him so that the message he came to share did not die with his death, but grew in a strangely fertile Roman and Mediterranean environment. At any rate, I accept a supernatural reason for the spread of the gospel about a supernatural being whose mission is to save the creation from its separateness from God. Wow!!

Evidence? None whatsoever. I find the fact that the church spread the gospel and that early Christians and Christianity survived as evidence of its fulfilling God's intentions.



Celtic Christian, member of the United Church of Canada.

Accept/welcome Jesus as friend, brother, saviour, God, not-attainable-but-ideal-life-model, physical embodiment of the totality of God in a form more or less understandable by humans.

Never having learned Greek, I am more or less restricted to Roman writings but, bureaucrats that they were, and census takers, there seems to be reasonable historical support of Jesus as a historical reality, and of the political discontent in which he placed himself.

Other? Although the concurrence of Roman travel and communications competence, and the Roman need for a state religion provided good infrastructure for the spread of Christianity, it also spread in the East where these conditions did not prevail, and it was only one of several religious practices that might have been accepted by Rome. It also survived the dissolution of the Roman Empire - overall, it survived by either divine love or an incredible series of coincidences and miracles. More? Person daily awareness of Jesus in the world around me and in my life. recognition of Jesus at least partially in many other religions.



Through the ages, Christianity has proven able to transform individual lives and even whole communities and cultures. While it is true that Christians have done things that their faith would label sinful and evil, this further shows Christianity's divine origins -- God works out His will even among fallen humanity.

Finally there is the witness of my own life: I was an alcoholic drug abuser with severe emotional problems. I sought help from psychiatry and spiritualism, but these only exasperated my problems. I sought God for eight months while researching the Christian faith. When I finally accepted Jesus Christ, he broke the hold of drugs and alcohol on my life. Since then He has restored and built my life in a way that testifies to His goodness and power, not to anything I had in me. I was only capable of destroying my life, and only Jesus Christ was capable of repairing it.



Jesus Christ, His only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary etc.....

I'm a pretty thoroughly orthodox - not - evangelical Christian who recovered from a moderately bad case of atheistic materialism.

Part of that opinion is taken "on Faith" in the sense that, convinced of the basics of existence and resurrection, I'll take the Church's word on the details. Current dates for the NT gospels make them credible and unlikely to be "made up." I know Josephus makes a couple of references to the existence of Jesus. They may have been embellished, but the last I knew they were generally considered to be at least partly authentic.

Most objections I've seen to the gospels are unreasonable, and would not likely be applied to any work that didn't make unusual (i.e. miraculous) claims. Many of them only make sense if the gospels were written much later than currently thought. What on earth would have been the point of making up Christianity? At least David Koresh got free love before Janet Reno toasted him. The apostles, as best anybody has ever shown, got no power, no sex, no money and a generally crummy life. And they were personally acquainted with Jesus, so they would not be convinced or hornswaggled into phony martyrdom. Even in terms of cult leaders, they got none of the perks that drive such guys. Could carry on, but won't.



The lord / liar / lunatic / guru / myth argument still holds a lot of water. The NT hangs together, and there is no credible evidence I'm aware of to refute it. ( Obviously, the Jews have different traditions, but they had a pretty big axe to grind. Pagans and liberals have done a very poor job, in my humble opinion, of devaluing the NT testimony. Very good propaganda, but not very good logic. In all fairness, I admit that may partly reflect my own intellectual snobbery as a science type against the liberal-artsy guys of the Jesus seminar - BUT I DON'T THINK SO! )


Let's not fall into the Apologetic error - experience makes for a very incomplete religion, but it's absence leaves an extremely sterile faith. People will consider Christianity because of apologetic arguments; they will embrace it from an encounter with the real living honest-to-gosh transcendent God whose "let there be light" was followed by the biggest kaboom ever.


The Beauty of a sun rise, the tenderness of a person's heart. The awesomeness of Nature. As Roman's Chapter one says, all nature points to the existence of a deity. If one exists, then one can follow the Cartesian logic to find that he must be real, for real things are greater than imaginary things. If he is real, and greater than I (and all else) for he created me, then he must be perfect, for the only thing greater than imperfection is perfection. A perfect God must be just and still loving. To do this he must condemn our actions, yet give an escape, on His terms, to be loving. Only the Christian God fits this description to my knowledge. (from an 18 year-old high school senior)


The pre-existent, Second Person of the Trinity, who became the incarnate Son of God, possessing both a divine and human nature. He was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary, and was born into human history in 1st century Palestine. After living most of His life as an ordinary workman, He began a three-year itinerant ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing, punctuated by miraculous events. In this ministry, He was accompanied by numerous disciples, including an "inner circle" of twelve men, to whom he assigned special powers and responsibilities. He eventually was framed by the local religious establishment, executed by the occupying government, and buried by some of His followers. According to predictions that He Himself had made, he was resurrected from the dead three days after His death. For the next forty days, He appeared at various times to his disciples, giving them final instructions and promising the advent of a new "Comforter" which He would send. At the end of this time, He ascended back into Heaven, where He continues to reign as the King of the Universe and our High Priest. His salvific death on the Cross was the payment for our personal and corporal sins, satisfying the demands of a Just Father. He is also Head of the Church, which he founded during His ministry on earth and through which He administers His grace to mankind. At the end of time, He will be the final Judge of all the living and the dead.
 
1. The mentions of the existence of the Xtian Church (or band of believers, if you like) throughout the following centuries (in spite of various ups and downs).

2. The correlation of historic events mentioned in the Gospels with secular historical data.(Not many, granted, but some)

3. Again, the very existence of the Church itself. There seems to be no logical reason for its existence or spread, except the supernatural.


OTHER

1)Well-documented, modern miraculous cures through the intercession of the saints, the BVM, etc. God, of course, does the work, but He lets others help.

2) Personal, subjective experience (but that probably doesn't count)




The lives of the Saints:(I'm speaking here of those formally canonized)in that so many different kinds of people (young, old rich, poor, intellectually brilliant, rather stupid, privileged aristocracy, peasants, in almost any vocation) in different cultures at different times in history have responded to the same Person, allowing Him to change them (sometimes from being very bad indeed)into examples of sanctity that could not be denied by their peers.


I can't think of any (arguments against God) that are able to survive the shock of direct encounter with an omnipotent, omnipresent God. Once His reality and power are admitted, any arguments against his claims are reduced to no more than "Why would he do that?" and answered by "Why would He not?" There is no longer any question of improbability or impossibility.

The question, then, is how to break down the barriers around a mind that will trust only in its own reality and bring it to a point of meeting God face to face. I believe that this is the true work of apologetics. Intellectual acceptance of any set of premises is not sufficient basis for a right relationship with God, but intellectual rejection of God's claims is more than enough to hide behind when seeking to avoid His presence. If we can win the intellectual battle and get the skeptic to admit the existence of God, His voice can no longer be dismissed with questions about the historical accuracy of the Bible, and He will press his own claims against a lost and wayward soul and maybe bring it home again. Ours is the labor, His the result.



Jesus is the living son of God, in fact he is God. He lived a sinless life. Began what we know of his ministry at the age of 30. He was crucified at the age of 33. The Romans and Jews did it physically, but I did it spiritually with my sin. He rose again 3 days later, and is alive forever more. Because He died and rose again, he conquered sin. For this reason I gave Him my life. He is now Lord of my life.

I have heard enough historical data outside the Bible to believe that Jesus exists. I think creation itself is very telling. Though I was raised in a Christian home, I came to a point where I really questioned God and Creation. Evolution just seemed so logical. As I searched and studied, I realized that something always had to exist. It just didn't seem logical to me that all of creation is an accident. I accepted the Biblical creation. With that I accepted the Bible and ultimately Jesus Christ.



Anti-argument: The pathetic-ness with which most Christians live their Christian lives. If we have God, why don't we act like it. If God is true, why don't we know the Word which He gave us. If God is true, why don't we pray. It just seems that the typical American Christian doesn't know the Word, doesn't read the word, and doesn't spend much time in prayer. Real Christians make an impact. People don't always like them or agree with them, but their lives show their faith. That makes a difference.

Pro-argument: Growing, changed Christians. They are out there. The Word of God has gotten into them and they will never be the same. That makes an incredible impact. How could something untrue continually make the changes it people that the Word of God does.



I'm not mundane enough to call Him a Jewish philosopher, so I guess with all the evidence supporting the Resurrection of Christ He might as well be God.

He actually rose from the dead. Myths don't develop as fast as that anywhere, so you have to come to face with that. And, all of the twelve disciples died martyr deaths because of the Resurrection. You can't concede that they would actually withstand torture and humiliation and DEATH for something they knew was false, can you?

(Age: 14)

Just talk to any scientist. They'll tell you that you're going after straw men if you try to describe the universe without God. After all, Christianity is the only religion where God comes looking for us. Try to find anything like that in the other world religions. (Islam, Buddhism, Shikism, Hinduism, etc.)



I like the "friend" idea of John 14, 15 , 16 , 17...I think he is god as in the trinity but I don't understand it. My mother likes him so I tried him and now I like him too. We feel we have little to lose if were wrong and much to gain if were right. Jesus job is to be a buddy god to me

Evidence? No i don't ...Mom and the whole family either believe in Jesus or if they're atheist, its Jesus they don't believe in

The bible is good but not compelling evidence as compared to mom and my own experience.

Age: 41 Occupation: prison guard

Pro: It works for me, I like me better as a follower of Jesus...

Mom and all my friends are Christian



Book of Data:

I'm confused. You seem to use the word data as if it were self interpreting. Is there any knowing outside of relationship? As opposed to self-realization.

I find that if I can get someone to suspend their disbelief, i.e. come as a little child, many people know the Holy Spirits voice. This works on me, too! Since the basis for most of our basic assumptions are formed in the relationships and experiences of childhood, arguments don't seem to be as important as a loving attitude, perhaps linked with a clarity of thought and a militant honesty (cf. C.S. Lewis). I personally don't often achieve this. The search for truth is always hindered by an agenda. Our needs are so great that we almost always have one.



Christian... ummm, I forget what my denominational box is called. My church used to be baptist, but got revival and had to schismify itself.

Oh, for completeness, I'm also aggressively rational... and creationists piss me off more than any other group of flakes out there (with the possible exception of those people who invent instant-get-thin-gadget-thingies and advertise them on *my* television)

Who is JC? (long)

Jesus Christ is as advertised. Son of God, part of trinity, yada yada yada.

It escapes the anthropocentric worldviews of far too many Christians that our bodies are but lumps of meat that happen to be convenient containers for our souls. It's our souls that are eternal... the rest is baggage. The purpose of that baggage is to help us develop character and personality and basically to 'grow up' spiritually. JC happens to be just such a piece of meat that God himself inhabited (or at last, as much of God as He could fit into said meat)

His purpose was to show us how we ought to behave, save us from the inevitable consequences of us being nasty SOBs at various points in our lives, and thereby make it possible for us to interact directly with God. You mean assuming God exists, prove that Jesus is Him? That all depends of what your position is on the Holy Spirit, now, doesn't it?

The main difference between pre and post JC God believers is that the post-JC ones experienced a direct infilling of spiritual power/life/whatever. Before JC, this never happened.

Basic theology teaches that this couldn't happen before JC as there was no absolute and complete absolution from sin, erecting a barrier between us and Him.

After JC, it became possible for God to interact with us directly on a spiritual level, as the result of accepting Christ as saviour means accepting His sacrifice on your behalf (the sin/sacrifice Law being immutable). His presence in that realm being called the Holy Spirit, just as His presence in Mikowski space is JC.

So, assuming that all humans are sinful (manifestly obvious), and only a sin-free sacrifice is perfect (as God himself laid down in Law), and that only a perfect sacrifice is sufficient for all humanity (what else would be?), *then* God can reach our souls directly, and allow us to do what Jesus did...

If the Holy Spirit really exists and interacts with humans, then Jesus was who He said He was...OK?

After that, proof becomes trivial. Go anywhere where Christians are saying the Holy Spirit is moving and you'll see instant healing (I'm an eye-witness to this myself), snap conversions, prophesying, etc.

Of course, if you don't believe in the Holy Spirit then you're stuck.



Jesus is/was the Godman. All God, all man. He avails Himself to all honest, truth-seekers.

The best corroboration on the life and resurrection of Jesus is the harmony of the 4 Gospels of the New Testament of the Bible. I accept it wholly because when Jesus "invaded" my life, I had to chose who was more a more reliable source of truth. Definitely Him! If I had not had an encounter with the God of the Universe, I wouldn't have had the exposure to His book, the Bible. There are logical proofs for the validity of the Bible. The first proof for me was that it worked it's life in me as I allowed it to. There is power behind those words. Another proof of the validity of Scripture is fulfilled prophecy. The Bible is one book, and yet it is many books, all supporting a concurrent theme: who Jesus really is.

Anti-argument: The best argument I can come up with is: "Shut up! Stop cramming that crap down my throat! It's fine for you, but I just don't want to think about it!" Another strong argument I hear is: "If Jesus is God, why don't he just appear right here and show me. Why don't he just give me what I want right now." And; "If Jesus is God how come I'm not a millionaire? Huh?" Here's my personal favorite; "I'll never become a Christian because Christians are so messed up. Go away!"



The Bible (especially the New Testament). If we cannot accept the report of the eyewitnesses, who can we believe? The Bible gives me no reason to doubt its accuracy. Nothing archaeologically ever invalidated it. In fact, when opportunities arise to put the Bible to an objective test, it passes with flying colors.

.....It is backed up historically. (Old Testament accounts of kingdoms, wars, geography, etc; New Testament accounts of 1st Century life in Israel and Asia Minor, cities, Roman politics, Greek culture, etc.)

It speaks the truth about the human condition. No stories about 'George Washington never telling a lie,' here. We learn about the greatness and the adultery of King David. We see the wisdom and the idolatry of King Solomon. We Paul losing his temper, Peter betraying his Lord, and Thomas having his doubts.

It is more reasonable than the alternative. C'mon, a big "bang?" Caused by what? In an atheistic universe, all there is, was, and ever will be are natural laws. The problem, however, is that natural law is the result of the existence of the universe. Before the "bang," there was no universe, and hence no natural law. But if the natural law is needed to cause the big bang didn't exist, why then are we all here talking about it today? As I said the Bible is more reasonable.



The Bible supports what I believe about Jesus. A study of how the Bible has been passed down accurately throughout a long period of time, how it's careful translation has preserved it's message, how new fragments that have been recently discovered are consistent with what has been with us for thousands of years is enlightening. I am convinced that the Bible is God's Word and that I can trust it as the truth. However, before I ever studied the Bible, I was convinced that Jesus is God and that He is the Savior. Josh McDowell and C.S. Lewis both set forth arguments that Jesus must be the Son of God or else he was a lunatic or a liar. Jesus claimed to be the Messiah. He claimed to be the Son of God. He claimed to be the Salvation of mankind. If He was not who He said He was, He was like Jim Jones or David Koresh and deserves no respect as a teacher or prophet. All these arguments are things I learned about AFTER I became convinced that Jesus is God.

My primary evidence is my own experience. Intellectual arguments did not convince me that Jesus must be God. I heard logical arguments for and against Jesus Christ as Messiah. My head was willing to buy into it before my spirit was ever willing to allow someone, especially someone I could not see, run my life. As an individual, I wanted to be able to control my own life. I wanted to define God, to define the parameters of His influence, to explain all the "whys" that come up about God and validate my position. I realize that God's existence does not go against all logic. However, there were and will always be nagging questions and unsatisfactory answers. The Holy Spirit is God's agent in the world that convicts and convinces the spirit. I can pinpoint a moment in time when I experienced Salvation. It was a moment when I was willing add to my presuppositions the possibility that a supernatural, spiritual aspect exists and that it's importance it greater than, or at least, equal to, the physical, intellectual, and emotional aspects. Additionally, I had to be willing to accept that every aspect of God's nature is perfect. This realization was accomplished by the Holy Spirit. I don't think I understood at the time that I was evaluating God against my personal ethics, but I was. I recognized that I would never be satisfied with the answers available. I wanted God to do things the way I would do things so that I could understand them and explain them. When I realized that I was trying to be bigger than God, I was able to see how futile and unreasonable that position was. Can finite define infinite, can the limited explain the unlimited? No matter how much knowledge or "stuff" or how many relationships I acquired, I still would not be complete. Only God is complete and only He can complete me. The Holy Spirit convinced me that an intellectual acknowledgement that Jesus was who He said He was would not be enough to complete me. It was the beginning of an intimate relationship involving emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual transformation. Like any healthy relationship, it is based on trust. I know He is worthy of my trust even in matters I can't explain or may not even intellectually agree with (yet). I have personally experienced changes in attitude, changes in intellectual position, changes in personal habits, changes in lifestyle that did not originate with me, but that happened as an outgrowth of entering into a relationship with Him that I was not trying to control. I realize that this may not seem very intellectual and some people would not accept personal testimony as evidence. Personal testimony is accepted as evidence in courtrooms across the world. Historically, personal testimony has been weighted as heavily as circumstantial evidence. Naturally my personal testimony is going to bear more weight with people who know me and can measure my credibility day to day. If someone reading this feels ill equipped to deal with apologetics, read, study, equip yourself with good data, but don't think you have nothing to say until you know "enough". You have a testimony with the people who know you that will be validated by the Holy Spirit. Be confident that you are equipped spiritually as well as intellectually.



Pro: Have you ever been with a dying Christian? Jesus' presence is unmistakable and undeniable. (Again, experiential, not intellectual, but nonetheless one of the most compelling and convincing for those who experience it)


Anti-arguments: Depends on who is talking. Each "spectrum level" has its own reasons to reject deity, and each other belief system has its own reasons to reject Jesus. Leonard Cohen was right when he said, "..when He knew for certain / only drowning men can see Him / He said 'all men will be sailors / 'til the sea shall free them'..." Whatever the barrier to belief, or the argument for or against any part of God -- we are ultimately His creation and His creatures and we all see Him very clearly when all the static has been filtered away. Of course, we can often see the static no more clearly than the fish can see the salt in the ocean.


Well, I am a Catholic if you would consider that to be a form of Christianity (sorry to be so sarcastic, it is just that I could not tell you how many times I have had Protestants tell me that Catholicism is pagan and not Christian, I have even been told that Catholicism is a form of Satanism, I tend to get a little defensive about these things)


++I have many friends who are both smart and atheists, that is the biggest reason why I have found myself drawn into the world of Christian Apologetics. My reasoning was that if I was to lead my friends to Christ I would have to do it on their turf. I knew for a fact that the whole Jesus loves you evangelistic routine would never work; they had too many questions which needed to be answered first. And so I found myself looking for the answers too.

++I've read a great many books now; things by C.S. Lewis, Ravi Zacharias and many more and I know that I have grown closer to God because of it. One thing continues to bug me though.: In the books the answers seem clear but in real life not even the questions are clear and there always seems to be a ready objection to the most incontrovertible seeming proofs. The Christian is required to show his reasons for every premise in an infinite seeming regression while the atheist can get away with a simple "no it's not." Discussions tend to stray from the initial topic. Murphy's Law applies.: If it can go wrong it will and as frequently as possible.

++Theory is fine I can do that. What still eludes me is how to translate what I know into something that will serve me well in real life debates; something that will work when things don't follow the neat precise order of a book.



Jesus..
.. is not the product of several cultures colliding and causing a spontaneously-formed scrambled-up beliefs system....
..is God.
..also has a human nature.
..was reliably recorded in Scripture
Age: 15

Occupation: High school student

Pro-argument: Generally, contrived explanations to account for resurrection accounts are usually filled with loopholes.



Yeshua is the promised Messhiah in Tanakh prophecies.

G-d manifested in Flesh to provide atonement for our sin and blood guilt.

I have Messiah's genealogy. He must come from the house of David.

After 70ad the temple was ransacked and burned down. All records of

genealogy perished.

Occupation: Homemaker



Generally pro-Nicene Creed.

Therefore generally 'orthodox'.

I'm a bit of a drop out Evangelical/Fundametalist.

Maybe Post-Evangelical.

Denominationally I'm quite eclectic. At the University the Anglicans on Campus called me a Methodist, the CU called me a liberal (amoung other things - although in my 1st yr I was 'sound' and on their Exec) and my friends called me ZZZ.

I think Jesus was the Son of God - The God Man. Oh and because I don't seem to fit in many places I've started my own church. - The Church of Jesus Christ and His Latter Day Fools.

I've found the Gospel stories incredibly compelling. I know they don't entirely tally in terms of specific data. However their general outline is similar. As stories they seem to be the ultimate mirror of perfection - idealistic, critical yet sympathetic towards others, highly subversive. As a character Jesus just seems beyond belief totally radical yet totally loving. I guess this is quite subjective. We could go down the objective line and start talking purely in terms of evidence but I'm a bit tired, it's not central to me - although important.

Anti-argument: I guess it tends to be that people find it unbelievable- in other words they don't see many miracles happen.



I'm an Agnostic, but I'm not sure how long I'm going to be one due to the accounts of Jesus' miracles in the NT, the resurrection, and the other supernatural phenomena that occurred on his behalf.

I'm not becoming more skeptical about these things, on the contrary, these accounts seem like very honest ones. From my knowledge of the early church, I honestly don't think they could've, or would've, inserted such supernatural phenomena in the gospels and actually gotten away with it. Besides, it's to my understanding that the early church(the churches and church fathers that had the gospels and the other NT documents first) was a very honest one- so it just seems improbable that they would've actually fabricated Jesus' miracles, resurrection, etc. It seems as though if any 'fabrications' were done, it would've been done before the early church had a hold of the gospels...

So my question is, *is there any possibility that the Apostles could've conjured up these miracle stories?* If there isn't, then, after 10 months of being an Agnostic and struggling with my own humanity, I can do nothing but pronounce myself a Christian...

Any insight you could give me would be greatly appreciated. And nice site by the way.... it's very informative!



As an Agnostic, I really don't know if he was anything 'special'. He seemed like he was very intelligent and intellectual, but I can't say if his way of thinking was rare for his time, so I can't really make a judgement according to how smart he *seemed*.

I've looked into the possibility of him being a schizophrenic, and I've found *no* *real* reason to believe he was in fact a mental case. It seems as though he was sane...

Definitely a Rabbi, and definitely well respected among his peers. I make this assertion because he was called a Rabbi in the gospels, even by those(the Pharisees, e.g.) who did not think he was anything more than man. I also believe he ran the synagogue in Nazareth, and I base that believe upon the authoritative behavior Jesus was using in Lk 4:16-30, and how he was merely thrown out of his own church, and not stoned to death. I also don't think someone can simply start calling themself Christ, when they're not even a Rabbi...

If he wasn't a Rabbi, then I highly doubt anyone would've listened to him.

Also after reading his brother Jude's epistle you'd kind of think the author of 'Jude' would've *had to have been around a Rabbi for a long period of time* (or be one himself) in order to talk like that... The guy does nothing but quote scripture all throughout the epistle. I think that Jude's personality- and perhaps James's- may reflect Jesus' a little.

The only thing I find odd about him was that he began his ministry very, very late in his life.... It seems as though a 'savior' might start his ministry a little earlier than that.

Question: How could Jude, James, and Simon have called their brother 'Christ'? That must've been REALLY frustrating...

Pro-arguments: Ok well I gave some above but I suppose I can give more...

-The gospel of Thomas(not the infancy one) I believe is authentic, and it makes Jesus look like a Zen Buddhist, which shows that he was very enlightened, and 'in touch' with what he was describing, at least in some form.

-I find it odd that he was able to blurt out extremely long and somewhat complicated parables in answer to questions that were directed at him. It seems as though he did this fairly quickly and easily also. I just find that strange...

-One thing that may support his divinity is the fact that only (as far as the gospels say) the Pharisees and the Saducees questioned him (quite honestly if I may say so), and not a battalion of Roman imperial guards with inflated egos. This may show that the people around him *actually did see something that he did* that made them think twice about him, whatever that something may have been.

-I honestly think Atheists need to get off the 'Jesus is a myth thing', and just except the fact that he existed. I think arguing about it is just stupid to begin with.



Yes. But spent most of my years--ages 10 to 38 as a confirmed atheist... or so I thought. Hit bottom in a suit. Got sober. Found God. Painfully. After working in media--books, magazines, public television--all of my life... I started studying the Gospels in a self-directed, academic way. Have been going to ZZZ graduate school part-time. Loving Jesus and the Gospels more than I do churches. But trying. Intellectually ravenous. Love your stuff. Have done work with evangelical scholars helping them solve basically media and communication problems. Want to do stuff on the Web and in video dealing with Bible study for intelligent, non-churchy people.


Jesus was God manifested in the flesh just as it says in 1Tim 3:16 He is the savior of the world [or rather the part of the "world" that does not reject Him]

I think the historical testimonies of the apostles and other witnesses is sufficient evidence of His crucifixion and resurrection three days later. I mean, logically, there HAS to be a God - it's illogical to think otherwise when you consider the extremely intrinsic interrelated systems in cell compositions, laws of nature, reproduction, etc. However, that is NOT what brought me to my belief in Christ. I came to him kicking and dragging and screaming and didn't believe a darn thing until I saw the PROOF in my life. I started my prayers this way for 3 years [out of desperation]: "If there really is a God up there....." After about 3 years of doing that one day I was trying to explain to someone why my entire personality, level of intelligence, likes/dislikes and appearance had dramatically changed, and it struck me while I was trying to explain this that it was not possible for me to implement such changes through the force of my sheer will. This knowledge struck me speechless because I could no longer doubt his existence. It was impossible. I KNEW.

And if you are thinking that I came to my belief in a somewhat emotional fashion, you would be right - because anything beyond that would have been impossible for me - I was an emotional thinker who had no logical capabilities.



I am a Christian; I believe Christ was the Son of God. I know God exists (through personal revelation); my faith in Christ is the result of study of various world religions, choosing the one which held up to my arguments time after time.

The historical data about Jesus is pretty patchy, but 4 separate accounts remain of his life and resurrection... that's a lot, all things considered. The rational arguments of CS Lewis and Madeline L'Engle did a lot for me; so did a friend of mine, who "witnessed" by his life. One of the things I found, when I was first forced to read the Bible in a college class about comparative world religions, is that Jesus was a cool guy... someone with a sense of humor, someone I would really enjoy being in the same room with and talking with. Non-Christians are very fond of depicting Jesus as humorless, prudish and stern. For me, actually researching the Bible and the people who wrote it, when I was not a Christian, was what first lured me into Christianity.


This is kind of a strange argument... but it always used to strike me that Christianity offered a better deal than any other world religion, and certainly a better deal than atheism. Wouldn't you LIKE it to be true? What have you got to lose? If you are at all honest, you already know that doing good deeds through sheer willpower is beyond your strength; if you look honestly at history you have to admit that mankind has not progressed or improved in the entire recorded stretch of history. Something's broken, it can't be denied. And here's a faith that comes right out and says so... and says it's going to be fixed... and that you were made by God to be happy, and to live forever.


"Cogite, ergo sum" is still a pretty good argument, in my opinion. If the soul exists, then it is not because of natural law. The law of conservation of mass/energy tells us that we are NOT greater than the sum of our parts. Non thinking pieces (atoms, molecules, etc) do not combine to form a self aware, thinking whole. Since the universe had a beginning, and time is a property of the universe, then time had a beginning. Since the universe cannot create itself (nothing is there!), then someone must have created it. This person existed "before" time (time didn't exist before there was a universe), and is, therefore, eternal. If we (our souls) are not created by natural law, it follows that someone outside nature (time and creation) created us, and that person therefore is eternal. If we exist, then, it is because God existed before us, and caused us.


Pro-argument: The extreme change in the hearts of myself and my husband. The distinct "before and after" of our way of life, our idea of fun, our failed and weak relationships that have been now directed and fertilized by God's will in our lives. The pain of sin and the joy of the Lord.


Ironically what started me "officially" as an atheist was reading the section of "Brothers..." called rebellion, before I had read the whole novel. What got me actually started thinking that way I can not really say. This was when I was about 17. I guess that I had friends who used their faith as a shield from the world, meaning that they hid behind it. Which even then I thought was wrong. Now I think faith is something to "show" the world and for lack of a better word ,confront the world with it. I am now 25 and have read the Brothers... only about a year ago and made THE decision (to Trust Jesus) only last April.


part of god who came down to earth (a) to show us where we had gotten off track, and (b) to admit on Gods part, that yes there DOES have to be suffering in the world, and to share in that suffering with us, not as God in the clouds, but as a human being on earth.

the suffering bit comes from the questions that I've asked God, and that I'm sure everyone throughout the ages has done. Also, see Job who questions god on it. god demonstrates how good he is at stuff, and implies that there is a good reason for it all, but that it's too big for man to comprehend.

I accept this because I suffer from tourettes syndrome and have spent vast amounts of time trying to get justification for the hassle I go through and that a lot of people go through in "lesser" and "worse" forms. if I can put my hassle and hurt into gods hands in the knowledge that he knows the reason why it has to be, then it makes me feel better. he gives me courage.


Evidence? Historic: two basic issues - the empty tomb (combined with the apostle's solid witness and the otherwise strange early Christian practice of communion) and the - admittedly more subjective - feeling on reading the gospels that there has never been anyone with the perfect balance and power of Jesus.

In addition, of the half dozen or so basic worldviews theism, deism, naturalism, panenthesim, pantheism) I only find theism and naturalism remotely credible, and theism includes all the good points of naturalism whilst providing a simpler (and therefore more credible) explanation of the existence of the universe as it is, and of human spiritual experience.

On a purely person level, 'meeting God' is a powerful reason to believe; but mystical experiences by themselves are not sufficient.

My basic position is that all these things fit together to make my view of God, Jesus et al the most reasonable.



Laying aside philosophical presuppositions, the simplest explanation for the rise of what became the Christian Church is that Jesus did rise for the dead - and that, prior to dying, he had made very significant claims for himself.

The discovery of tombs dated to 50-60AD in Jerusalem marked with crosses, "Jesus" and "Resurrection" indicates the belief the Jesus was somehow involved with resurrection dates very early.

The Trinitarian dogmas provide the best basis of any worldview/religion for explaining the existence of this universe and particularly human personality. They are, therefore, likely to be true.

On a secondary level, these dogmas provide a perfect answer to the human longings for relationship and significance. This is NOT a watertight argument because, for example, naturalism could be true without providing such answers but it is suggestive and certainly places Christianity in a better explanatory position than any other world religion.



Uh... yes. Inasmuch as I believe that Y'Shua was the Maschiach (Messiah) More properly, I am Messianic (as in Messianic Jewish, or Messianic believer.) It's perhaps a small distinction to some, if you believe (are committed to beyond mere intellectual assent) in Jesus, you're a "Christian." But without getting into the psychological realities that the cultural filter has produced for ~1800 years after the first believers, all Jews, gave way demographically to Hellenistic, Grecian, European and African influences, there are reasons I and many others hesitated to use the name Christian, although I know how you meant it in an idealistic biblical sense...


The incarnation of the Creator, come to become a sacrifice for sins, so we could be forgiven and have a restored relationship with God and eternal life.

The testimony of the Bible, and the complete lack of Jesus' remains. He said things that dig so deep into the human spirit that he is either embraced as the Savior, or he becomes the object of slander and ridicule, though he did nothing to deserve this response. The truth hurts. Also, his words are deep and challenging enough that a lifetime is not enough to wrestle with them all. Human philosophers exhaust their interest after a while, because their message is always ultimately unfulfilling and unproductive.



Jesus was the son of God sent to atone for the sins we committed. He was born of the virgin Mary and lived the perfect life that none of us are capable of. He said that He was the Son of God and proved it through his life. After proving that He was the Messiah through miracles and showing more love than anyone is capable of showing in 100 years, we sinful humans decided to thank him by crucifying him. He then further proved that he was the son of God by raising from the dead on the third day and further showed his love for us by letting us know that all we have to do is believe in him and we shall be able to live with him in a place we don't deserve for all eternity.

They never found the body of Christ (and I think they have found the bodies of other self proclaimed deities). If we can't find the body and he defeated death (making him the only person ever to do that) then I think we should probably listen to what he has to say. I also know that I don't live a great life. I sin a lot and so does everyone I know, thus we need a redeemer to save us from our sins. From this perspective I don't see why I shouldn't believe in Jesus. I also know that he fulfilled countless prophecies about his coming. The chances of that happening are so close to zero. One more point, millions of people have died for their belief in this Man. That amazes me that they believe that strongly.



There is the Bible, a historical account of the Divine (out of this world) prophecies, miracles, teachings, righteousness and sinlessness of the God/man. There is the personal testimony of millions of humans through the generations of experience with the Holy Spirit and its transformative power. I accept all of this as accurate because I believe of the concept of infinity and the ideal of perfection which exist in my mind. I am conscious of my own spiritual nature which is presently fused with a physical, material body to give me life. But I also know that my spirit and life is something altogether different and transcendent of the material world. I know that it is a type of energy which has been parceled out into an individual soul but which has as its source and final destination the whole, connected Spirit and Life. I find it compelling that descriptions of the qualities and resurrection of Jesus are more or less identical from person to person even though each person has his/her own mission, calling, burden, etc. Unity in diversity is a difficult concept, and I find that the three-person God and the Body of Christ make sense of it
 

I confess that my faith is sometimes unstable. I accepted the reality of the deity and resurrection of Christ only seven months ago (Praise God!), and so I've just begun the journey of my lifetime. The initial joy and power I felt as a result of being touched by the grace of God has given way to an uncertainty about God's will for my life, and a certain disgust for the blindness of humanity. I guess all I'm saying is that I wish I could more strongly feel the Lord's presence. I occasionally catch myself second-guessing what exactly happened to me at my conversion experience, but then I always remember some reason why the invisible divinity really exists. However, the pattern later repeats itself apparently without warning. It's like a recording in my head that asks, "How could you be so deceived? Do you really believe that? Isn't it just a nice story which sucks you in at a moment of weakness to give you a deluded sense of comfort and superiority?" I know there is something God wants me to learn from these doubts (probably having to do with humility), and I trust that the wisdom will be supplied in good time.



My savior, my champion, my best bud, my father, my life-giver, my helper, my perfect example, my hell-bearer, and my sacrifice.


A re-incarnated good man who had two wives, three children, teleported to America. I believe he actually survived in the tomb after being beaten half to death and crucified. I believe he was a revolutionary, a gnostic, a magician and a prophet all rolled into one. He may not even have existed. I know that he was also a Hindu and that two radical critics found his body in India. I'd rather believe any of that than the truth; that he died and rose again, that he was God and that he loved me and he is my last and only hope for salvation and that he is God (with a capital "G" for all you Gnostics and Jehovah's witnesses.

I accept that four witnesses wrote four books as literal non-myth and three of them died for there faith. I find the document of Q an argument from silence and that even if there is only one manuscript from which Matthew Mark and Luke then that provides two witnesses (Mark and John); enough to convict in a court of law. I follow the standard (and heavily criticized) Josh McDowell form of apologetics and the brilliant versions given of his arguments in the Handbook of Christian Apologetics I find most radical critics arguments poorly formed and unconvincing, and some utterly preposterous( Barbara Thiering got her degree in theology from a correspondence course from the theology department at Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City; her theology is that bad.)

Most radical critics are desperate to disprove Christianity anyway they can (the Jesus seminar for example) and that comes across in the diabolical arguing (relying on misquotes mainly) in their books. Need I say more?

Age: 18

Testimonies and doctor reports of mass miracles happening all over the world today(especially in China, some of the stories I have from missionary friends are unbelievable. I haven't heard anything like it before.) Witnessing a miracle as a non-believer is about as powerful an argument as your going to get, and if you ain't convinced then, then nothing is going to save you. I am also convinced that there are far more miracles happening today in Christian circles that in any other circles, but I don't have any statistics on that.



History must be distinguished from the historical mode of knowing. History is what actually happened/happens/will happen. The historical mode is how we determine what History was/is/will be.

The historical mode derives knowledge from two sources: texts and artifacts. It cannot exist outside these evidences. Its method is basically synthesis of all similarity and reconciliation of all dissimilarity in the data of the evidences, as well as ranking them hierarchically in terms of accuracy as relative to the whole. Purely historical knowledge is not possible if it steps outside text and artifact; if it does it will make unfounded assumptions and multiply unnecessary hypotheses.

For the Jesus story, there is direct explication through the Gospels and indirect confirmation through artifacts of such things as places, buildings, fauna, flora, etc.

The Four Gospels are to be trusted more than the others because, despite their differences in outlook, they agree a great deal more with each other than any of the various heretical and non-canonical gospels do with any others. According to the historical mode of knowledge, approached objectively, there is not only no reason to doubt the Gospel veracity historically; there is no reason not to believe them



There is various historical data available with much of biblical literature being supported by extra-biblical literature and archaeological finds. However, I am no apologist; my primary evidence is experimental. He has changed my life completely in a way that I nor any other human could ever have done. I wrote a piece once on the compelling nature of testimony which was developed around the analogy of marketing a product. A product description alone will, on occasion and by nature of its factual evidence, sell a product. Add a salesperson to provide a list of its attributes and you will surely increase the chances of successfully selling your commodity. However, should you give a "live testimonial" that confirms and expands upon the "proven" attributes and abilities of the product, then your success will be greatly multiplied. Of course, the final and most persuasive argument is "try it; you'll like it" if you can convince a prospect to do so. The product, under those circumstances, would normally "sell itself". The reality, of course, is that different folks are at different places and require different methods of approach; however, there is nothing quite so convincing as experimental data. (Started down that rabbit trail almost, didn't I?)

The truth of Christianity has so long been under fire AND survived that this in itself offers merit for its claims. That is not a "provable" response which a rationalist would hang his hat upon; however, it is a substantial argument in the context of social and cultural development.



Sorry for the long-winded descriptions, but this is a process of thinking out loud which is helpful to the current stage of my faith journey. Before I was converted, my biggest problem was believing that Jesus was the son of God. I thought he was no more son of God than I. I thought he was an excellent teacher who made false claims about his divinity in order to start a new movement to overthrow and destroy the Roman Empire. So, I thought it was an intentional farce perpetrated by a small group of creative but discontent intellectuals. Further, I thought that all contemporary Christians knew this, and they were continuing the force in order to limit my freedom and impose order and objective morality on society. I didn't know that I was simply rebelling against the development of my own conscience (superego). I thought that I good live a good, virtuous life without accepting Christ--I overestimated my personal power. Another major problem I had was the belief that God had either removed Himself from Creation or was some way in the past tense. It wasn't until I heard Him whisper on the other side of the door to my heart, "I AM here, I have always been here" that I could open the channel to His grace and love and become a part of the resurrected body of Christ. Thank you for allowing me the chance to share this with you, glorifying the work of God and reliving His saving grace at the same time.



I can't find it in myself to belief in the absolute infallibility of the Bible, but I find myself leaning more that way every day.

Introspective philosophical arguments carry a lot of weight with me, e.g. when a person examines the ground of his or her very selfhood, what does he or she find? What must be true in order for him/her to exist? What is undeniable? In other words, what philosophical axioms are thrust upon one by the fact that they are undeniable? Introspection reveals that there must be an absolute consciousness to account for our own relative consciousness.

Turning outward and examining the matter objectively, it becomes apparent that the world is not as it should be. Our own innate moral sense is appalled at most of what we see in the world around us. This very fact of our dissatisfaction with the world points to our transcendence of it. If we truly were mere creatures of the earth, animals and nothing more, then we would have no idea that anything is out of order.

What can possibly set things in order? I haven't worked this out fully yet, but as I mentioned in the previous comment box, it seems that there must be a "perfect penitent" to set things right. If we are indeed more than just animals, and if our there is an absolute Spirit who rules over our own spirits, and if things are indeed "out of order" (including ourselves!), then we need outside help to make things right between ourselves and our creator. As I said, I don't have this worked out to my satisfaction, but my intellectual and spiritual instincts cry out that there MUST be a savior, a perfect person who somehow mends a broken world.

Combined with the scriptural evidence, this line of thinking yields (for me, at least) a more than sufficient reason for placing my faith in Jesus Christ.

Pro-argument: This one is philosophical. The historical Christian religion is the only faith that does full justice to both sides of human existence, the subjective and the objective, the spiritual and the material. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit provides all the subjective, spiritual, deep, reflective truth anyone could ever need, while the hard facts of Jesus life, death, and resurrection provide objective points of correspondence which tie the entire human experience into a complete, harmonious package.

As for Jesus deity, this is also necessitated philosophically, but as I pointed out several boxes ago, I haven't worked it out to my satisfaction. The objective side of the equation, however, is handed to me on a platter, so to speak, in the form of the facts of his life, death, and resurrection. That is what's so great about accepting the validity of objective argument.



Dr. Lapide has written a book called "The Jewish View of the Resurrection" which states that as long you do not assume that "dead men do not rise" and have a God who can raise the dead then the historical evidence is clear that Jesus did rise from the dead. This scholar only supports others who have concluded the same basic fact that Jesus was raised from the dead. The only religious leader in history to pull it off. We therefore should listen to what He has to say about God and eternity.



THE JEWISH MESSIAH, THE SECOND PERSON OF THE GODHEAD, FULLY MAN YET ALSO FULLY GOD, WHO CAME TO LIVE AMONG US AND SHOW US THE WAY TO GOD, AND IN DOING SO, GAVE HIS LIFE FOR HIS PEOPLE BY DYING ON A ROMAN CROSS. HE IS PRESENTLY IN HEAVEN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE FATHER, AND HE WILL ONE DAY RETURN IN GLORY TO RECLAIM THE UNIVERSE, WHICH IS RIGHTFULLY HIS, AND COLLECT HIS PEOPLE TO HIMSELF, WHERE THEY WILL LIVE WITH HIM FOREVER AND EVER.

THE CANON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT IS MY MAIN SOURCE FOR THIS ASSESSMENT OF JESUS OF NAZARETH. IN MY LIFETIME, I HAVE SERIOUSLY DOUBTED IF JESUS EXISTED, BUT AFTER EXAMINING THE WORK OF G. A. WELLS, I BECAME RATHER CERTAIN THAT WELLS WAS FLATLY WRONG. THE JEWS WOULD HAVE HARD EVERY REASON TO TRY AND PROVE THAT JESUS NEVER EXISTED, BUT THEY NEVER MADE THAT ARGUMENT. FURTHERMORE, THERE ARE GOOD 1ST AND 2ND CENTURY SOURCES THAT RECORD THE FACT OF JESUS' LIFE AND DEATH. THEREFORE, WELLS' DISMISSAL OF THEM WITH A WAVE OF HIS HAND IS SIMPLY ACADEMIC AND INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY. THEREFORE, TO KNOW MORE ABOUT JESUS' LIFE, IT BECAME INCUMBENT UPON ME TO EXAMINE THE GOSPELS TO DETERMINE IF JESUS WAS THE "SON OF GOD." AS A KID, I USED TO SPEND MY TIME READING GREEK AND ROMAN MYTHOLOGY. YOU COULD SAY THAT IT WAS A HOBBY OF MINE. WHEN I READ THE GOSPELS, I BECAME SURPRISED TO DISCOVER THAT THE LEGENDARY EMBELLISHMENTS AND MYTHICAL DEVELOPMENTS THAT WERE CONSTANTLY BEING REFERRED TO BY LIBERALS WERE COMPLETELY ABSENT.

HERE WAS SOBER REPORTING, GIVEN WITH AN HONEST AND ALMOST SELF-EFFACING MANNER. OF COURSE, THE GOSPELS WERE NOT WITHOUT THEIR PROBLEMS, BUT YOU COULD EASILY FIND THE SAME PROBLEMS IF YOU READ FIVE DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF THE SUNDAY PAPER. THEREFORE, I HAVE BECOME CONVINCED THAT THE NEW TESTAMENT IS LARGELY RELIABLE, AND THAT JESUS WAS EXACTLY WHO HE SAID HE WAS.

Pro-argument: The internal coherency of the Christian position versus other world views. I personally find Christian ethical arguments far more convincing than humanistic ethical arguments. Kai Neilson's entire book Ethics without God can be summed up in one phrase, "What's the point?"



I have been browsing your site. I am impressed with the detail of your article regarding 1st Century Jewish thought regarding Messiah. Like you, my journey in life has brought me to the saving knowledge of Mashiach Ben David...Yeshua Adonenu. By now you can tell that I come from Orthodox Jewish vintage.

Keep up the good work and let no man discourage your efforts. You are bright and very aware of the things around you. Someday, I hope we get to meet...this side of paradise.


God-with-us-in-the-flesh

Evidence:

1) The written and oral testimony of the Apostles and Prophets and preserved for us as the OT/NT. I don't believe anyone could make this up. The consistency and coherency sustained throughout the text's entirety is compelling to me.

2) The ongoing and historically specific narrative saga of the people of God, especially the nation of Israel and the Christian Church.

3) The existential thematic "shape" and "rhythm" of Creation intimates an invitation for engagement and exchange within it as well as outside of it .

4) The recurring themes and rhythms of my life, and the lives of those I know and love, practically plead with me to sit up and take notice of the Creator and Sustainer behind and beneath and above and within and about all that is precious to me.




I liked your new letter because last year I was much troubled over the very same question - because listening to many Christians talk He COULD be a power-hungry tyrant - the way they speak of His glory was bothering me. So I studied it and realized (less eloquently and completely I daresay) that this is sort of circular, that we are His glory and that blessing us brings glory to Him and being in right relationship with Him maximizes the glory all round; and it is truly a delight to bring Him glory so again it is not an either/or where bringing glory to Him takes it away from everywhere else, as it were :) and also, as you said, the Trinity is the concept which makes sense of all glory going to God yet if you consider any one Person in the Godhead that One is giving glory to Another...this is one of those things which shows me that all this stuff is true - no human would have thought of it - it is too counter-intuitive to think of power and glory NOT corrupting - too un-human - like the temptation of Jesus in which He very clearly went the opposite direction of gaining power and glory for Himself; and as a result it was given to Him; and moreover I believe His temptation was very real.



I saw one of your short responses in the "Other Q's answered" section dealing with "Was the bible created by the rulers to control the common people?" I must tell you that one of the most foundational apologetic tools that I have ever learned was to be able to tell the difference between an assertion and an argument. I used to be so intimidated by all the wild claims (not realizing they were just *claims*) and wonder "Now how do I refute that?" Then I simply learned to ask either/both of the following questions: "Why would you believe that?" and/or "How do you know that's true?" Most of the time people can't do much more than say "I just thought it up" or "I just heard it somewhere". Asking for evidence of people's truth claims is so fundamental, I just wish I had been taught it in church when I was growing up.


Jesus Christ was the Son of God. He was exactly who he said he was. I might add that I have arrived at this conclusion after a journey as a skeptic. In fact, many years ago, if pressed, I would have probably told you there was no God, much less a Son.

Certainly the Bible would be my first source. While on a weekend "Walk to Emmaus" in 1987 I accepted Jesus for who He said He was. It was fairly simple, I merely had to decide what I was going to do regarding this belief. Of course, I think this is what others should do. Get the information and make an informed decision. It is going to affect you for a long time. Also, it seemed absolutely normal to me that those who had followed Jesus would desert him when they did. After all, they were told that he was the Son of God, yet he was tried, sentenced and then hung on a cross and ultimately died. I am sure that they sighed a sigh of relief when they got out of Dodge, so to speak, with their lives. All this, their actions, etc. make sense to me. But something happened that made ALL of them change their minds on just who this Jesus was. What could convince me of that? Well, seeing the resurrected Christ would go a long way to changing my mind. Furthermore, I would no longer fear whatever could be done to me. Something quite powerful had to happen around the time of Christ's crucifixion to empower the believers to come full circle. From a normal position of fear to an abnormal position lacking fear.

He is the risen Christ. Of that I no longer doubt.



God the Son, 2nd member of the Trinity, Savior, King of kings and Lord of lords, came to save me from the pit. I was 42 yrs. a Mormon and Jesus, my Shepherd called me out July 1993. ... I claim Psalm 40:1-3 and Job 33:14-18,28-30 has the scriptures that woke me up to what was happening to me. I am His and He is mine. He is in me. He knows my name and He loves me eternally. I shall be with Him in heaven. I have a fire in my soul to witness Jesus Christ.

Well, I've mentioned some to them already but when I left the Mormon cult I immediately found a Bible believing church who believes the Bible IS the Word of God and took an intense Bible Study class where I learned that the Bible is God's Love letter to me and the scales fell from my eyes and I read the Bible with newly opened spiritual eyes and now it is all the world to me. Jesus alone is all I need in my life as my Mormon family have no need of me. I am now a Lutheran-Missouri Synod.

The Mormon Church is all I know and they take away Jesus' deity as the cross work to them was only the murder weapon of Jesus and when they see one they want to tear it to shreds. Jesus is the brother of Lucifer. Jesus is only a glorified man who worked is way up to godhood.



JC was...born, healed, taught, gave the relig. establishment fits, died...

JC is...resurrected, spent "quality time" with his disciples post-resurrection, lives now as a spiritual but very real presence in the world, in his church and with those who love and hunger for him...

JC "Was" Historical data...early non-Christian sources (Roman histories, etc. also biblical record...JC "is" - biblical record...in the present...the witness of the church and those who have sought to be his disciples down through the ages...personal experience ... personal experience of having been called, grasped, sustained, given life by and having met the unseen but very present person of JC who is himself alive...more alive than we can dare to hope we ourselves may someday be.

Pro-argument: The continuing experience of the presence of Jesus Christ with us...and there are remarkable similarities in the nature of the experiences and the fruits that emerge in those lives over a good long period of time and from many quarters...

Pro-argument: To claim that the resurrection and deity of JC are hallmarks of foolishness, superstition, etc. shows a significant lack of imagination...likewise the claim that something has to be visible and tangible to be real...



The resurrection of Jesus is in the realm of historical and juridical questions about evidence, personal testimony etc. The combination of eyewitness encounters with the empty tomb constitute very strong evidence that the resurrection did occur. Contrary explanations like the "wrong tomb", apostles' hallucinating, swoon theory, etc do not adequately account for the data to hand. The circumstantial evidence - such as the birth of the Church, worship on Sunday etc - adds further support to the conclusion that Jesus did indeed arise from the dead.


In regards to the comment : "what a waste of time and resources on an abstract god that man invented"

You challenged him to demonstrate evidence that man indeed invented God.

You can also challenge him to justify doing anything that is not a "waste of time" if God doesn't exist.

It seems to me, if God doesn't exist, anything we do is like running an eraser across sandpaper: it will run out eventually.

And if God doesn't exist, everything is just atoms banging around. What does it matter if one bangs one way or another?



Intellectually, I have come to accept that He was who who claimed to be. The notion that a bunch of fishermen and tentmakers could have, using a tissue of lies and exaggerations, caused his Word to spread like wildfire, across all of the centuries and 2,000 years later have 2 billion adherents---that this was all built on a masterful con job, is a more outrageous explanation for what has become of Christ's message than the simple alternative: He was God in the flesh; born to a virgin, returned from the grave not as a ghost but as he was, able to eat food and drink liquids. Further as a life-long student of religions (especially Buddhism) who has only recently returned to a serious study of the Gospels (I just turned 50) I can see clearly that His is the most creative, spontaneous, mysterious and moving of any of the great faiths. He is, as Philip Yancey says, the God I WANT to believe in.

As a former reporter (for 22 years) I've a keen eye for the small detail that would only be included by someone who was actually there, or who pinned down an eyewitness. As the only one of the 12 who was present, John includes the observation that the sour wine is offered to Christ on a hyssop branch (the others who weren't present can be forgiven for saying merely 'a stick.' Or the little tax collector. He didn't merely climb a tree, he climbed a sycamore. 'And he doodled in the dirt with his finger' (before saying let the one who has not sinned . . .) The young man who is following along as Christ is taken away, and when they go to lay hands on his, loses his clothing and runs away naked. You wouldn't include such details for any other reason than that they happened. And you saw them. Or someone like John made a point of telling you EXACTLY what he'd seen, even if he didn't understand why he was including the detail. What's the expression? God and the Devil are in the details. It's a principle of good plain reporting, and it's there, again and again to give this essentially plain reporting the ring of truth, down through the centuries.

Also, his followers include details that don't appeal to them or to us: such as negative miracles (killing a poor tree). Or making his first public announcement of his divine status to a gentile woman who'd been in the beds of six men. These things were not calculated to enhalo Christ's reputation. Why else would his earliest, Jewish male followers include them---except that they really happened.

These things compel my belief like nothing else. That and the hard, hard sayings, none harder than: "But Lord, we performed miracles in your name. And I will say (get lost), I never knew you." I have a Baptist Minister (hockey dad) friend who says that one is the single most terrifying saying (for him) in all of scripture. Tent makers, fishermen, tax collectors, ex- prostitutes and others would simply never be able to make it up. Wil Durant put it best I think in saying that the notion that the likes of such early followers being able to make it all up and sell it to a world (as he might have added make it last 2,000 years and appeal to an estimated 2 billion people (a third of all who ever lived) "would be an even greater miracle than any described in the New Testament."


I'm easily influenced by Saints. Having met or worked with three of them: one Buddhist, (from Cambodia) one Moslem (head of the Mevlevis in Konia Turkey) and Mother Theresa. All three are agreed on all of the essentials of goodness. But only the Christian manifests in great charity towards the humblest and poorest among us. What more comforting message is there, than that God is a loving father, and his only son, by some mysterious process none of us may ever understand, 'died for our sins.' The creator of everything actually cares what becomes of us as individuals, and sent himself into an earthly existence to tell us what he wants us to do. Good God!(I say it reverently), what a thought! I want more than anything to feel this truth in my heart, not just in my mind.


He is Lord, the son of God, Our Savior and creator

Evidence? Oh no, I have to be intellectual! OK, here goes...He is the one person who claimed to be god in a Jewish world. ex. In his teachings he was concerned with the heart attitude and not the boundaries that the teachers were concerned with. He claimed to have the authority to define the law in regards of the spirit of the law. "You say do not commit adultery, but I tell you if you lust...etc. This stand was remarkable because rabbi's always quoted commentaries or the law to explain and add to the Scriptures. Jesus had a lot of nerve. It was because he had the right to say I tell you.

Jesus himself said I am the way. His way was really simple. He did the work to save us. Other religions demand that the follower do something to receive forgiveness or find a higher knowledge. Reconciliation to god requires that we stop having faith in ourselves and have faith in the one who did the work for us. We have to believe and accept this sacrifice. that's it.


I have not yet come to a conclusion about this. Either he is what those who wrote of him say he is, he is an exaggeration of an actual historical figure, or he is the product of the authors' imagination.

I have never witnessed any kind of miracle that is so often described in the New Testament. I cannot know if it is possible or if it was a fiction. There just doesn't seem to be any evidence that such miracles are conceivable in the known universe. Yet I do acknowledge that there is much that we have yet to discover and that there may be that which it is impossible to discover through the channels we have available. But there must be some logic to the miraculous if indeed it does exist. I hope physics will one day be able to accept the miraculous as a real possibility, but until I can see the plausibility of the claims made for Christ's (or anyone else's) miracles, I must use the definition which is most consistent with my understanding of reality and of the sometimes deceptive nature of mankind. That Christ is a fiction or an exaggeration by men who may have had good intentions, but were deceptive in their desire to do good. I realize that this point has it's weaknesses, but it seems the most logical to me at the moment.

Pro-argument: The argument from beauty, whatever that argument may be seems a very compelling argument. It is as though we recognize the artistry of a consciousness much like our own in some respects. We can receive the same feelings creating anything beautiful as observing it. This could be explained by evolution too I am sure, but evolution is a "rubber sheet" theory which argues from function. I do not believe you can describe anything by it's function. Purpose is also a product of function. But can we describe the whole as a function? We can infer the whole from the function or vice versa, but should we do this? Objectively? Yes, we should. Evolution is fact. Subjectively? I do not experience beauty as a function, but as a brief moment of fusion between myself and my hope. Subjectively I am at one with the creator-at least in spirit-while appreciating His works. I remain hopeful.

The argument for causality still seems to hold sway in scientific thought. Perhaps there was no need for a cause. But it looks like there was some cause for this universe. That cause must have been logical and artistic or we would experience chaos alone. Laws come into play through some force. It makes sense to think of this source as an infinite being outside of time and space (though in another way being inside every moment and space).


Plus I have the extraordinary historical coincidence that at the very earliest moment on the world's time line that would allow a message from a heavenly source to enter some kind of communication system that would allow it to be spread throughout the civilized world like wildfire instead of dissipating into smoke, this message impinged on the Roman Empire with its vast system of roads, protected sea commerce, and a post office whose delivery times put the modern Posta Italiana to shame. Have you ever asked yourself what would have happened if the gospel had arrived prior to there being such a system of communications? Or later, after it had collapsed? Pretty good timing, if you ask me.

Country/state: Austria

In a recent TV interview, Billy Graham was asked what convinced the most skeptics. And he said babies. So after bibles I guess you've got babies.

One of the problems you're having in the debate with J. Still (which I'm enjoying to no end by the way) is that he is not about to accept that phenomena like babies or human love or human consciousness are miracles just as jaw-dropping as the ones chronicled in the gospels.


the Logos, the true light that enlightens every human coming into the world -- all things were made through him, and without him was made nothing that was made --in him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shines in the darkness -- and the Logos became flesh, and dwelt amongst us (John 1, of course)
 
1) work of secular historians taken collectively, especially re enduring influence of Christian values

2) Scripture -- content, enduring influence

3) human witness by authentic Christians, though it costs me much effort of filtration to keep this witness from being drowned out by the counter witness and scandal offered by multitudes identifying themselves as Christians, now and in the past (e.g. most of Germany complicit with the Nazis, the long disgraceful history of slavery and its aftermath in the United State, the brutal subjugation of the indigenous peoples of the Western Hemisphere by Europeans, the Thirty Years War, etc. ad nauseam extremam)


Anti-argument: pervasive, grave, enormously scandalous behavior by large communities self-identified as Christians, as indicated above, in the face of Scriptures such as Matthew 7:15-20

Anti-argument: pervasive vicious conflict among communities self-identified as Christians

Pro-argument: powerful Christian witness, where the goodness and wisdom of those witnessing shines forth, uncommon as this may be


The Christian ThinkTank...[http://www.Christian-thinktank.com] (Reference Abbreviations)