Well this blog entry is in response to the discussion group we held today for our friends in order to answer the questions they have on Christianity. Obviously in this world there are many things that stop people from ecoming Christians but most of these reasons are simply beacuse they find it hard to believe that God is real, the bible is real, etc.
The best way to tell someone about God is to get them to read the bible. The bible gives the most amount of information about God. But hang on, if the bible proves God is real then what proves the bible is real? God. But then isn’t this sort of a closed loop? How are we going to get inside this loop. Sure once we’re inside then everything unfolds easily but how are we going to convince people that either God or the bible is real? And remember we now no longer have the bible as evidence, this makes the job a lot harder. So let’s analyse the two tasks at hand.
1. Linking to God
Remember, we all start off in the world so basically we are linking from the world to God. And we also don’t have the bible to back up any points so therefore all arguments MUST be based on what we can see. irst off everything around us is evidence. The environment, weather, animals, life in general, that’s all evidenc of a creator because they don’t just suddenly pop out overnight. Actually they probably did but it was God who caused this to happen. There isn’t really a scientific explanation to prove evolution and other "creation" theories, they are just theories, not proven facts. Hence there are flaws to science because you can’t physically show creation or the beginning of the universe and stuff. The Big Bang Theory is just a theory, it’s not proven fact. So therefore everything we see in the world is all evidnce that points to a creator: God.
Ok so suppose that isn’t enough to convince someone. The next piece of evidence we have is ourselves. The fact that we are made superior to all other animals, that we have intelligence, feelings and emotions and also the ability to create life, through reproduction. Where did emotions life "love" come from? Where did our intelligence come from; and also what about ourlity to learn, and hence get smarter? How did we come across these abilities? Surely sceience cannot prove why we humans can learn at a faster rate that other animals, why we have developed and dominated way more than other animals. There is no logical explanation to all these things except a grand designer: God.
Then people may argue that this all happend coincidentally, it happens all the time. There are just unseens forces that manipulate the world and that’s how things are. There is no grand designer or creator or anything, it just happens normally. Well looking back at the world again. Isn’t it curious that we have an ideal temperature to survive in, a suitable climate? Isn’t it a bit coincidental that we have enough water to satisfy our thirst, and also our hunger? Isn’t it strange that if the planet werre to change even in the slighest, like move slightly closer to or away from the sun, that we would all die? Everything is just right for us and this is no coincidence, there is a reason for everything being set in this way for us. Or perhaps it is we who adapt to the world, not the other way round. It’s still strange that we are capable or surviving in such an environment with no difficulty, that we have air to breath and stuff. This doesn’t just happen because it does, there is a driving force behind it.
So what is/are these force(s)? We’ve all heard of like many "gods" from like greek mythology and stuff. God’s that control different aspects of the Earth and stuff. Well the reason it rains is because there is a driving force behind the weather. The reason why things grow is because of nature, "Mother Earth" as we sometimes call it. And as for the things in life, they are all controlled by things called "chance" and "coincidence". So regardless of how you look at life, there is a driving force behind everything, that there is somthing/someone working behind the scenes to make the world work. Hence there are greater forces that even we cannot see. Christianity simply adopts all these forces as a single being, rather than many and this being we call God because He is in control of every aspect in the world. He makes the world work. And someone said this in the discussion: "But what if it isn’t God who’s controlling things but something/someone else?" The Christian faith only calls God "God" because that is His name. Surely who/whatever God is, He is the creator. But we are not following a person called "God", we are following the creator whom we name "God". After all, God is just a name we use to define the creator. So whoever the master at work is, we are following Him.
Again someone did mention that everything that we see in this world has happend by chance and coincidence and also things that happen in the future are also influenced by chance. Whatever "chance" is, it’s no different from any other abstract noun like "love", or "patienece". Whatever these abstract forces are, they too have control over us yeah? If chance is the thing that’s making things work then what we follow is this "Chance". In fact we are follwoing every single force that runs in this worls so typically froma Greek Mythologist point of view, we have many gods: one for each part of nature. But then again no-one is going to accept that there are many gods, but there still has to be at least one isn’t there? There is at least one force out there doing everything and so if this is the case then this single force is God, He controls every other forcethat makes his world work.
This is more than sufficient evidence in the world to prove that God exists beause there are forces that we cannot control in this world. We are probably the most powreful specied on the Earthbut if we can’t control certain aspects in the world then obviously something else is doing that. This greater force is God, there is no doubt that He is behind the scenes controlling everything.
2. Linking to the Bible
Linking to the bible is slightly different than from linking to God because the only source of physical evidence is the bible and we already can’t use that. Therefore we have to use historical accounts. Obviously the bible has origins, legitimate accounts of how it came to be so we simply need to prove that it is real. Now historical accounts would lead the development of the bible to really early ages, several hundred years AD maybe I don’t know for sure. Back then the onyl way to spread anything around was by word of mouth. You tell something to someone and then they pass it on. It’s a really long game of Chinese Whispers. But then later they realized that passing words through speech was ineffective because it could be unreliable. And so the bible was then first recorded down in writing and then passed on. Writing is more reliable right? Because you can look and copy it but for speech you have to remember what was said and then tell it to someone else. It was a lot harder. But with the early developments of the bible everything was copied very carefully.
And now today we have the bible which has not been changed in the slightest (except for translations but the originals are untouched). Now of course we’ll move into the distribution of the Word. Back then at first the best way was to simply go around and tell as many people as you can, like advertising. Then they developed parchments, scrolls, other forms of writing and they used that to get to a larger audience. Today we can easily spread the Bible over the Internet but we don’t because the Bible was originally intended to be a book, not an eBook. Thereare also many documentries that prove the bible is just as reliable today as it was in the past.
So what makes the bible believable? How do we know it came from God? After all, it was written by man. Of course there isn’t any proof on its own that will say the bible is telling the truth, in fact, no testimny of the bible from anyone will prove it to be true. Hence there is no evidence that would be suficient to prove the validity of the bible. But that’s because we are not looking at what is written. It is already proven that some, if not all, of the bible is true. There is historical evidence to prove the things in the bible are real. Like I remember they found Noah’s ark or something and recently there has been a documentary on finding Jesus’ tomb. You cannot prove the bible on its own and in truth you eally have to read through some it before you can determine whether its true or not.
You cannot disprove the bible. Just because it hasn’t been seen doesn’t mean it’s impossible. You might not have seen a man rip down two pillars on his own but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The miracles are also things that we refuse to believe because we havn’t seen it before. But then what about magic tricks? There are things in magic acts that we can’t believe even though we saw it because we are too amazed and hate to be proven wrong. We humans don’t want to admit that we’re wrong and that is a natural attribute that we have, it cannot be changed. Even if the bible cannot be proven to be 100% accurate then perhaps at least 50% or slightly less can be proven to be true. That’s already good enough isn’t it? At least then you know that some of the stuff is true. And yet isn’t that what we do with science? We only get a small portion of the facts to be true and then we assume the rest to be true. Why can’t we do that with the bible?
But there is of course another element that prevents us from beliving in the bible, and that is deceit. Many times in the world people hav told lies to get out of trouble, or to benefit themselves in some way. Everyone lies and because we observe lies, we slowly learn not to trust that person and hence anything they say is false. "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" shows the most basic account of deceit. In the end no-one believed what he said and he got mauled by a wolf. Because of all this deceit that is in the world, aren’t we becoming amore paranoid? When a politician says he’ll promise the public something, do we believe him? Most of the time "no" because we’ve come to be paranoid about politicians. This is no different from the bible. The reason we can’t accept the bible is because we are paranoid about it. We don’t want to be tricked into following a book that’s writing about false stuff. Because if it is false and we change our lifestyles to suit it then obvious we’ve just been scammed big time. Obviously peer pressure play both for and against the bible because there are so many people who follow it, and many who reject it. But the major reason people don’t believe the bible is because there are too many lies in the world that we can’t discern which ones are truth and which ones are really lies.
But suppose the bible is all fake. Suppose whoever wrote it, its all fake. Remember we still accept the historical fact that the bible was written a really longtime ago, that someone did actualyl pen-and-paper write it down and that today we have a "fictional" copy of the most widespread book in the world. If the bible is all fake then we still have to consider it as a fictitious book. There are many sections in he bible that make a lot of sense. Like personally I like the book of Proverbs. It gives good advice about how we should live our lives and the best ways to do so. Everything written in that book makes sense nd we can still apply it to our lives, even after such a huge time gap. Whoever the author(s) is/are they certailny have great and powerful knowledge. What they say has logic and truth in it. It might not all be truth but some parts are. And we value the bible because of these facts it gives us. There are also "bible stories" in it. The supposed "fictional" stories of people who go through an adventure aided by this "God" person and then they defeat enemies, build kingdoms, settle riots and other interesting tales. If they were all fake then we can certainly value the bible for the very interesting stories it tells.
In the 4 gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) Jesus tells many parables and even when we read them they male really good sense. They are stories that have really deep meanings that we can apply to our lives. Regardless of whether Jesus existed or said these things, the stories themselves are very creative and certainly no-one in that time could possibly possess such creativityto come up with the bible. So whoever this author(s) is, wouldn’t we want to meet them? Aren’t we inspired by what is written? After all, books like Psalms and Song of Songs? have really interesting poetry with great imagery. They are probably just as good as what Shakespeare writes and yet this guy, the author, came from the past. He must have been a remarkable writer to come up with such good writing skils and stuff. And then also the book is heaps long. He is presenting such deep and detailed ideas that are impossible for any writer, even of today, to come up with. So how can we expect this book to be written by man.
But alright, we are still on the point that the bible is written by man. Whoever this man is we can him now since he’s dead but what we can do is look into what he was writing about. Usually after we read a book we want to adopt the ideas and stuff so we can like learn more about life. The bible talks about follng this guy called God and His son Jesus. We obviously respect the author for coming up with such a brilliant piece of writing that we also want to value his ideas. And so just from that wouldn’t we want to follow God, that was the author’s intentions: so that whoever reads the bible would come to know God. We cannot prove the ideas of God to be wrong but the rest of the bible makes sense doesn’t it? That alone is probably enough for us to get hooked into following God. We want to adopt the ideas that the author has presented to us and even if we can’t prove God is real from the bible, we want to at least give it a try.
All we are asked to do is follwo God but if that seems hard then we can always simply give it a try. There’s nothing to lose since it doesn’t cost you anything troo follow God. In fact you only need to offer just a bit of your time. But in follwongi God you learn to change into a better lifestyle. The bible does teach about right ways to live and they are logical, they make sense. Even if the whole God things is false, following just that little section of the bible would make your life better. Once again you only need to try Christianity for a while to see what it’s like. If you don’t like it then you simply let it go again, simple as that. it’s not like you get hooked in permanently. People stay Christian because they want to, not because they are forced to. which then brings us to this final question:
Why Do We Need to Follow God?
This is the underlying question that everyone faces because that is what the bible tells us to do. But why do we follow God? How are we even sur there is such a thing as eternal life and that God will give it to us if we follow Him? How many people desire eternal life? Not many people actually consider the concept of life after death and so the whole "eternal life" thing is useless because once again in this world we don’t want to give in to this possible "scam". But then there has to be a logical reason to follow God. We need to have a proper incentive to follow God, not one that the bible gives us and that seems very fair.
At RICE ’07: The Big Day Out one of the speakers said this: "Most people aren’t Christians because they aren’t bad enough." The statement doesn’t really make sense does it? After all, Christians are good people, why do people have to be bad to become Christians? Once again there is an incentive that we want to follow God. There must be something God can offer us right now that would make us follow him. But then for all the "good" people out there, what do they need? If you walk up to a rich billionaire and offered him $100 he’d probably say: "Why do I need that? I have all the money I need." For God, he is offering something that we don’t need at the moment. It’s like giving a computer to a 5 year old. He/she won’t know how to use it and so for that moment it would be useless to them. What God offers us is invaluable but it might not be what we need at the time. So for the "good" people out there, they alreayd have everything they need. They don’t need God’s help in anything. They are getting through their life fine and aren’t reallyerate for anything. So why follow God? He’s not going to give them anything they need. This is why they don’t follow.
The only people who follow God are those who are at the edge, those who are so desperate, those who are "bad". Those who have a screwed up life who desperately need someone to help them back on their feet. These are the people who would follow God because He is offering them help, which they need. It might not be help exctly. But what God offers, those "bad" people need it. And that is why "bad’ people become Christians because God has a purpose for them. God serves no purpose for the good people since they don’t have any problems. God can’t help them with anything because there’s nothing to fix. In bad people, thy have problems which need fixing and they are happy to let GOd into their lives so that He can fix these problems.
So for non-christians, it’s whether they need Chist or not. Some people think they are fine in their lives and they keep going on. But at some stage if they were to fall then they might turn to Christ then. That would mostly be the only way for them to become Christian if looking at all this evidence doesn’t help.
ell I’ve spent maybe 2-3 hours non-stop typing this up so I’m realy tired. If you see anything wrong or have your own opinion to add please email me or leave as a comment.