Mark, thanks for your inquiry. I don’t mind being my faith being analyzed or probed. I am well aware of the materialist interpretations of my experience. None of my claims can be proven using science. Indeed, I concede that everything could be explained away from a materialist perspective. But I am thankful for a worldview that to me makes sense out of many realities in a coherent way.
I have never believed in a God other than the biblical triune God. I will share a bit of my the background of how I came to believe in this God and in the process some of the practical implications that flow out of this belief. Please permit me to use “religious language” to simplify the process of conveying my experience. You are then free to draw your own inferences.
Since I was a child I have been aware of my sin. I knew I didn’t even live up to my own moral standards and since God’s were even higher I was guilty. I realized that I held others to an even higher standard than myself. God’s moral law intends for personal and societal wholeness that honors him. I stand guilty of breaking his law, vandalizing the shalom that he intends, preferring other idols in his place, and belittling his glory.
I believe that Jesus obeyed this whole law perfectly and suffered the punishment due for my sins. United to him through faith, I have full assurance that I am declared as righteous and accepted as a child of God. I have daily fellowship with him by reading and meditating over his Word and through prayer and praise. The longer I have “walked with him,” the more I perceive the depths of my own sin, the more it grieves me and drives me back to “his arms” of grace. I bring these words to mind daily: “Come to me, all you are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11). Through this habitual process of spiritual brokenness leading me to repentance and his grace, I am being spiritually transformed. My heart is an idol factory, but Christ liberates me from my idolatry so I can find spiritual rest and wholeness in him. For example, over the past few years, Christ has been freeing me from a long-standing tendency to make an idol of my professional reputation, and he is teaching me to take his yoke upon me and seek his kingdom rather than my own.
My belief in Christ frees me from living in bondage to myself so I can fulfill (in some small measure) his mission of love and the restoration of shalom. As a follower of Christ, it grieves me to see the brokenness all around me at all levels of society owing to our collective vandalism of the shalom that God intends. In the evil and injustice of humans toward one another, we belittle the purposes of God for the way society ought to function. We fail to recognize that our sense of personal rights derives from being made in his image. We deny that God has Creator rights and we put him in the dock, demanding that he account for his ways in the world.
Jesus in his first coming brought foretastes of the kingdom of heaven, demonstrating that “redemption” and the restoration of shalom he brings (to individuals and society) is spiritual and physical in nature. There are countless practical applications here. A few personal examples: In my profession, I want to follow in some small measure after the way of Christ in ministering holistically and bringing healing to my patients. In my marriage, I want to relate to my wife with sacrificial love patterned after the love of Christ who gave himself as a sacrifice. As I relate to other women, I want to treat them with the utmost respect as I would want my daughter to be treated. As I think about money, since Christ is my foremost Treasure, I try to renounce greed and practice generosity toward those in need. This barely scratches the surface as far as potential positive practical implications on society.
The triune God of the Bible is central to my worldview. I don’t think the Bible was ever intended by God to be a science text. I believe the Old Testament is true in what it teaches because Jesus affirmed and fulfilled it, and the New Testament because it comes from eyewitnesses to him that were given authority by him. Standing forth from the gospels (the first four books of the New Testament) is a person, a Christ, who wins my trust. I can’t turn away from him as a lunatic or a trickster. His words shine forth in inarticulable ways to my own soul.