@Cody thanks for posting your thoughts here. Especially if that is your real name, this is really bold.
I think you are asking good questions. Even if we are comfortable with the notion that there could be a God, or that He does exist, how do we make sense of the particular faith of Christianity? How do we know this faith is true, or maybe even false.
God makes Himself known to the whole world by raising Jesus from the dead, and then preserving public evidence of this event that persists to this day, and only grows as our understanding of the ancient world has increased. It is through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection that we confidently know that God exists, is good, and wants to be known.
I want to start by saying that the entire Christian faith rests on the bodily ressurection of Jesus. This is the hinge point. If Jesus rose from the dead, nothing else matters. He is God’s messenger to us, and our way of knowing Him rightly, even if specific churches or Christians interpret Hiim wrongly. If, on the other hand, Jesus did not rise from the dead, nothing in our faith hangs together. Paul (the author of some books in the Bible) would even call our whole faith “rubbish” if Jesus were not to have risen from the dead. In a moment, i’ll explain more, but even as we reason towards belief in the Resurrection, this is such a world altering revelation that as we draw near to it, it start to reason from it. In the end, the best of Christian thought and life starts from Jesus to understand the world. He is our cornerstone.
Next, it is important to recognize that people believe in Jesus for all sorts of reasons. Some of them are good reasons. Others are bad. In the end, it is the person in whom we put our trust the determines the true value of it. The reason we turn to Him is of less consequence.
Nonetheless, Resurrection is the only real starting point if we seek confident faith. While we might follow Jesus for all sorts of reasons, this is the reason that God gives us to follow Him. This is His effort to make clear in history that Jesus is His messenger.
Of course there is evidence for God’s existence in nature (as you have seen), but without Jesus it is hard to fully understand that God is also good and wants to be known. As good as the evidence in nature is for God, compared to Jesus, it is weak.
Remember, the Resurrection is a “sign” (Matthew 12:35-41).
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.”
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. [this is a ref to the Resurrection].
41 The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here.
42 The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.
A “Sign” is a miracle with public evidence to which we can point (both inside and outside the Bible) when we ask “why” we know our faith is true. There are over 100,000 relevant texts. There is a whole academic field devoted to studying 1st Century Palestine. There are a few holdouts, but even those that reject the Resurrection agree that there is compelling evidence for it. It is without doubt the most substantiated ancient miracle. For example, look at this remarkable dialogue between NT Wright and Sean Kelly (chair of philosophy at harvard) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsKv9uX8rwE1. I really reccomend NT Wright’s masterpiece “the Resurrection of the Son of God”. And for those with short attention spans, this article: http://ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Historical_Problem.htm4.
A more simple book on the topic is More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell and Mere Christianity by CS Lewis (though NT Wright is much better). Of course, you could just dive in and start reading the Gospels (I’d start maybe with Luke?).
. We have to consider this, and make our leap for or against it, before we worry about other questions, including the divinity of Jesus. Ultimately, this brings us to the most important question of all, that we believe Jesus asks fo us, “Who do you way that I am?”
I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite scientists, Blaise Pascal,
We know God only by Jesus Christ. Without this mediator, all communion with God is taken away; through Jesus Christ we know God. All those who have claimed to know God, and to prove Him without Jesus Christ, have had only weak proofs. But in proof of Jesus Christ we have the prophecies, which are solid and palpable proofs. And these prophecies, being accomplished and proved true by the event, mark the certainty of these truths and, therefore, the divinity of Christ. In Him, then, and through Him, we know God. Apart from Him, and without the Scripture, without original sin, without a necessary mediator promised and come, we cannot absolutely prove God, nor teach right doctrine and right morality. But through Jesus Christ, and in Jesus Christ, we prove God, and teach morality and doctrine. Jesus Christ is, then, the true God of men.
I wish you blessings on your journey. Thank you for sharing it with us. If you get a chance, I’d love to hear more about how you are thinking of Jesus.