“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”
1 Peter 3:15, NIV
So why do I believe? Because the more I study, the more it all makes sense, and the more I find veracity in the wonderment of the Scriptures. That veracity substantiates Christ as Lord.
Personally, coming to faith is a lot easier if you’re somewhat of a thinker. For example, take a moment to study the above photograph. How much do you see?
People, a carousel, an interesting vignette? A mother caring for her infant, an artist sketching a little girl, a father holding his small son on the ride, a man taking a picture of the Eiffel Tower at nightfall, people out in the late spring air? Go a little deeper. A street-corner amusement ride, yellow horses, lights, inertia, centripetal motion, commerce? A woman enjoying a chocolate gelato—thermodynamics? Barely scratching the surface. A woman wearing a Palestinian scarf—the struggles of displaced people. What about the sounds and smells? Music, emotion, soulful awareness? A bunch of energy holding together particles interacting with their environment bound by the laws of the physical sciences bathed in photons? All of this is happening in three-dimensional space and time. Deeper still. What might each of these people be thinking and feeling? Love, loneliness, heartache, guilt, helplessness, grief, a moment’s rest, joy? Now we’re getting somewhere.
Two overarching questions:
1. Where did all of that come from, and
2. Why is it there?
Intellectually speaking, this is where a lot of people just stay on the merry-go-round. For whatever reasons they get lazy or distracted in their thinking and just try to enjoy the ride. But that approach to life ultimately leads to the back end of where you were.
Conversely, if you think that picture through to a logical conclusion you can find Jesus Christ. If you want to check the underpinnings of my faith, go to the Kaqexeß page of the Veracity blog and start reading. I would recommend beginning with the Judge for Yourself post because it frames some really interesting facts that support Scripture, and because it challenges you to think about your burden of proof. Specifically, it may be important to check your biases with objectivity.
But if you want me to give a reason for the hope that I have, here are just 50 of the reasons (in bulleted form).
Observation and Science
- The universe is far too finely tuned to be anything less than divinely created.
- Recent discoveries about subatomic particles continue to demonstrate this amazing fine tuning.
- The Big Bang is a scientifically verifiable, widely accepted event. (How light and radiation from distant planets, stars, and galaxies are analyzed to support the creation accounts in the Book of Genesis and the Book of Job is a fascinating study indeed.)
- The Big Bang Creation demands a Creator.
- Our universe could not have come into being without intelligent design.
- Science and Faith are completely—actually wondrously—compatible.
- Genetics supports the biblical accounts about the history of the human race.
- God is still creating wonders in the heavens. A simple Internet search on discoveries from deep space quickly leads to an undeniable realization that God is indeed more awesome than we can begin to imagine.
- If you need reasons to believe, check out Reasons To Believe. (These folks are very smart, and quite kind and wise in their approach to apologetics.) Christianity is not for dummies.
Archaeological & Historical Evidence (the Bible is tied to the ground—it didn’t happen in a fairy tale)
- The blood red moon in Acts 2.
- The tomb is indeed empty.
- The Erastus Inscription.
- The Carcer (Mamertine) prison. I have had the privilege of standing in this dungeon.
- Catacomb uncovered with the image of Peter in Mamertine.
- The Bema in Corinth, the Synagogue in Corinth, the Gallio Inscription.
- Peter’s house and other archaeological discoveries in Capernaum.
- The Temple Mount and the City of David.
- Extra-Biblical accounts: Josephus, Tacitus, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, the Talmud, Lucian.
- Discovery of the Pool of Siloam.
- Hezekiah’s tunnel.
- The Golden Gate.
- Luke’s “Politarchs”.
- Archaeoastronomy—mathematical and astronomical explanations of the Star of Bethlehem? Check out Rick Larson’s explanation. Even if you don’t accept Larson’s explanation—which I do—it does throw open the door to astronomical possibilities.
- God reveals himself in Scripture (Special Revelation) and nature (General Revelation) as stated in the Belgic confession, and by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:20, and by David in Psalm 19.
- The Bible was written by 40 inspired authors over 1,500 years—far too great a span for a conspiracy.
- The New Testament builds historically upon the events recorded in the Old Testament. The New Testament authors, and Jesus himself, quote heavily from the Old Testament Scriptures. Jesus’ cry on the cross “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” is an Aramaic translation of the words in Psalm 22. The two testaments are inextricably linked.
- So very much of what is recorded in the Bible deprecates the authors and pillars of the faith. Their shortcomings, self-centeredness, poor judgment, and treachery are painfully recorded—not as with heroes in other ancient literature. The first century church was so inept that apart from God it could not have survived.
- Among ancient documents the Bible has no peers in terms of manuscript evidence.
- The accuracy of the Scriptures is being studied and quantified by the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. Their findings demonstrate a very high degree of reliability through Textual Criticism.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls demonstrated amazing accuracy in the reproduction of Old Testament manuscripts, providing manuscripts that were 1,000 years older than anything that had been seen previously by modern man.
- Paul’s words in 2 Timothy, and his enduring suffering (recorded by Luke and others) only make sense if indeed he “knew whom he has believed.”
Logic, Faith, and the Veracity of Scripture
- Too much Scripture is written contrary to our worldview for the Bible to be made up. If the writers wanted to appeal to our sense of self this isn’t the way they would have done it.
- The Ascension was not enough—it takes God before us and God within us.
- Jesus never promised us earthly rewards—in fact he taught the opposite.
- The unlikelihood of Saul becoming Paul and being accepted first by the early Jerusalem church, then as the super-apostle.
- Jesus also came down very hard on his followers. Nowhere is he making a sales pitch. The Bible is not written as an attractional document.
- Jesus said that if we didn’t believe him, we should believe the miracles. How long would it take to discredit him on that statement if he didn’t deliver? Likewise, consider why he said to believe the miracles (to give credit to the Father—another central tenet of Jesus Christ).
- God has a purpose for our lives. For reasons only he knows, God wants a relationship with us, his creatures.
- God calls us to service in this life and beyond.
- God values sincerity. Rather than make us all robots, he gave us free will. As difficult and painful as it can be to accept evil and suffering, it makes sense in the context of sincere love and a bigger picture than what we can see and understand here and now.
- God played by his own rules, suffering torture by Roman crucifixion to prove his love for us.
- God works by processes.
- The entire focus of the Christian faith is on others, not on self.
- The price Paul was willing to pay for his faith. His willingness to suffer so much for so long proves his motivation. This suffering was widely recorded by others, not just Paul.
- The fate of the apostles.
Prophecies (events in Scripture happened according to God’s plan, which he made known in advance)
- The blood-red moon in Acts 2, prophesied by Joel.
- Daniel prophesied the year that Jesus would be crucified. Other facts lead to a crucifixion date of Friday, April 3rd, 33 AD.
- Jesus’ unique fulfillment of prophecy.
- Here’s a list of key Old Testament Prophecies and their New Testament fulfillment.
That should provide plenty of material for starters. Enjoy!