How I Came To Believe
I can’t say that there was ever some great epiphany that first caused me to start believing in God. Being raised by Christian parents I naturally adopted the values that they instilled within me; and while they never forced me into the pew’s or dragged me to Sunday school, I wasn’t any older than seven or eight when I first started to believe in God. Growing-up I never had any compelling supernatural experiences, there were no great tell-tale signs that were tailored to my life. In contrast my persuasion was a result of a profound intuitive awareness pulsing through my veins; it was my inherent moral consciousness testifying to a God above.
There was never any sharp dichotomy between God and the world around me. Even as a young boy, belief in God always made sense to me. The need to express what I saw and felt through a purely naturalistic world-view seemed irrational. I had no problem believing in a transcendent cause to life because my capacity to reason, intellectualize and soulfully produce profound emotions all seemed wonderfully and inexplicably poetic – call me a romantic but something about the grandeur of life inspired me. Sure I never seen God with my own two eyes, but did people actually expect me to believe that the beauty and complexity of creation came about by some natural unguided process? In my mind such atheistic ideologies seemed mystical, exotic and unequivocatingly absent of reason.
Why the Judeo-Christian God?
So why Christianity? – you might ask. Why not one of the other mono or polytheistic religions such as Islam or Hinduism? While my acceptance of Christianity was initially due to my up-bringing in a Christian household, I can say that there are several key components that have solidified my faith in Christianity over the past several years.
One such component was the historical accuracy of Biblical prophecy – something that no other religion can lay claim to. Foretelling the restoration of the nation of Israel and the predominance of gentile believers, the scriptures persist as relevant even to the present day. Furthermore books like Psalms, Isaiah, and Micha foretold nearly a thousand years in advance the life and crucifixion of Jesus.
Psalms 22:16 “For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil doers has encompassed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.”
Isaiah 53:5 “But He was wounded for our transgression, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”
Micha 5: 2 “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past”
In fact Jesus himself fulfilled over 300 biblical prophecies – how was this to be explained? Was one suppose to simply write it off as coincidence? or conveniently dismiss it all together as fairy-tale? One might simply claim that Jesus never existed, that He was just another illusory fictitious god like Zeus or Hercules. Indeed this is the most common argument that skeptics raise in order to deny the divine anomaly that was the life of Jesus of Nazareth. Bart Ehram, a famous American scholar and self-professed agnostic criticized the absurdity of those who try to argue that Jesus was not a historical figure, saying “this is not even an issue for scholars of antiquity.. there is no scholar in any college or university in the western world who teaches classics, ancient history, new testament, early Christianity, or any related field that doubts that Jesus existed.*”
The life of Jesus as well as his followers are abundantly attested in early sources. Tacitus, a Roman historian from the 2nd century recorded the following events: “Christus, the founder of the name, was Put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign Of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time Broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief Originated, but through the city of Rome also.” I often wonder, once the mischief broke out again why didn’t the Romans simply display the dead corpse of Jesus? clearly the apostles had been going around telling people that Jesus had risen from the dead, the Romans only needed present his dead body to smash such pernicious superstitions (speaking only as though He had never risen from the dead of course).
The life of Jesus was profoundly unique beyond all historical measures. Even to this day He persist as the most influential person to ever walk the planet – but why? He commanded no great army, He held no official political position, He never conducted any great scientific experiments. On the contrary, He was stricken and we esteemed Him not. Jesus came only preaching the kingdom of Heaven; He came only to bare a cross – a cross that was to be the burden of our sins.
The Greek scholar Fredrick Nietzsche once said “The gods justified human life by living it themselves – the only satisfactory response to evil ever invented.” Jesus came to offer the Gospel of regeneration and redemption, He did not distanced Himself from our suffering, rather He became apart of it – tackling the perennial issues of misery and wickedness that so often fester our minds. It was after his conversion to Theism that the famous English philosopher Anthony Flew said “if there is a truth, it’ll have to be in the person of Christ,” I tend to agree with him.
Over the last year I have developed a genuine interest for diverse fields of study such as biology, cosmology and archaeology. Being raised in the public school system I was taught that such studies fundamentally contradicted belief in God; that the existence of a intelligent designer was preposterous and anyone who held such delusions should be patronized. Yet It wasn’t long until I realized such beliefs were simply fashioned around ones willingness to bow to the evolutionary dogma.
It appeared to me as if evolutionist had simply commandeered the secular hierarchy within the scientific community – presupposing a random unguided process as the default for all creation. But what is the precedent in which they derived such a conclusion? Does history tell us that earth like planets just naturally arise from nothing? Does our knowledge of cause and effect tell us anything other than complexity and intelligence most assuredly always point to an agent?
When abandoning God one must sacrifice absolutes; moral law, hope, and meaning all become arbitrary. Self-reference becomes the only grounds that one has to derive any sort of foundation for their values. Thus if self-reference is the only grounds for gaining traction, what right do we have to insist any moral code? The French philosopher Etinne Borne once said that “Atheism is the deliberate, definite, dogmatic denial of the existence of God. It is not satisfied with the existence of appropriate truth or relative truth, but claims to see the ins and outs of the game quite clearly being the absolute denial of the absolute.”
For the longest time I couldn’t fathom why people chose not to believe in God. Who would want to live such a hopeless life? In this I will leave you with the words of Plato:
Behold! Human being living in a underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light..
Here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move..
They see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave..
At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion but that now when is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned more real existence, he has a clearer vision..
And if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, then only catch the offender, and they would put him to death.