Since the bulk of us reject intelligent design, or so I think, we are not Christian’s because of some design we see in nature that demands a creator.
I think most of us accepts that the Bible was never inerrant, or if it was then it’s not now in its current form. So there is no magical golden texts that fell from the sky.
I feel like many say “ the life of Jesus “ but it also seems like Jesus is more of a “ Batman “ at times in how the Bible treats him. By that it often seems like Jesus is more of a concept than a person. We can find stories of people, like Buddha, or someone expounded on in stories.
Just curious when push comes to shove what is it that keeps you running the good race.
I’ve always thought Jesus of the Bible is a classic legend. These do not have to be fictional characters. George Washington was a real enough even if no cherry trees were chopped down by him. His eagerness to set aside the power of office to return to civilian life is and will come to seem more and more legendary if current events continue to plague our tradition of peaceful transfer of power.
I’d say I’m culturally a Christian but not a practicing one because it has been the dominant religious WV here and because I was in it briefly in my formative years, Left without graduating.
It is certainly not because I am afraid of nonexistence. I consider such a fear to be totally irrational, and on the contrary think nonexistence is too good to be true. Nor is it because I was raised Christian. Quite the contrary, I was raised on criticism of Christianity – so much so that I have often done better at criticizing Christianity than many atheists.
Life experience. Observed and experienced too much to be able to deny there is an invisible reality with God. Life experience has shown that the God told in the biblical scriptures fits better than any alternative explanation to what I have observed and experienced.
It should be noted that I have lived decades in contact with charismatic Christianity, which means that I have heard, observed and experienced such phenomena that would be difficult to explain without the acts of the Holy Spirit.
I cannot switch my rational brains of when observing, so the lack of better alternative explanations is not because of closing the brains from the possibility of alternative explanations. Many claimed healings and other phenomena could be explained by ‘normal’ natural processes, like placebo effects, mixing of physical phenomena within brains with the talk of the Spirit, or just stroke of luck. Yet, there are also cases where ‘normal’ natural processes are not convincing explanations or things just happen in a way that the probability of many such coincidences and strokes of luck in a row would be extremely low. It would demand more faith to deny the existence and intervention of God than accept what happened as the act of God.
The main reason I’m a Christian is that I’ve seen the effect that Christianity has in the lives of others (especially my own life) when done right. I don’t think it’s always something we come to by virtue of rational argumentation. Rather for me, it was a way I started to live my life and it made profound effects on it.
The main “reason”/argument that convinced me Christianity was “true” (not just “true for me”) was a moral argument for God, but not in a way I’ve seen it presented before. It is a sophisticated argument that involves elements of pragmatic encroachment, periods of extreme radical skepticism, etc.
With that being said, I don’t think many of us have just one “reason” we can give why we we think Christianity is true. It may be supported by different interlocking kinds of evidences, but in the end, many believe it is the witness/instigation of the Holy Spirit that allows us to come to such knowledge.
The knowledge I have of being a sinner… ironically it was given to me as an answer to prayer when I was writing a paper in Bible school and found myself at a loss for words with the Gospel.
This knowledge, far far more than the experience, is what kept me going through years of wrestling with NT criticism. Eventually I tied it into Peter’s argument in Acts 2 as the self-evident testimony of the Spirit.
This caught my attention, as I remember being a child in Catholic service, specifically picturing God dropping a golden text from heaven so I could know it was true. Imagine that, an 8 or 9 year old… for such to these belong the kingdom of heaven.
This also stands out to me, especially in contrast to other “sacred texts.” The Koran was said to be directly dictated by the archangel Gabriel and the Golden Plates were found intact by Joseph Smith, presumably directly from God. In contrast, the Bible is a collection of books of various types written by multiple authors over thousands of years.
But, to the question posed, I think my reason for believing has evolved with time, and the reason I believed as a young person is different that why I believe today. As a child, I believed because that was the norm and what my family believed. It never occurred to me to think anything different.
As I grew older, I may have had some critical thoughts, but largely, my social group was in church, typical of a small rural area, and the pressure to conform and be accepted in those teen years made belief a given. As an aside, I think many never get out of that phase.
Once in college, I was exposed to other ideas, but a few experiences led me to continue in the faith, though I shed some of the beliefs I had borrowed. It was at that time I felt I could fully reconcile science with faith, though the seeds of that were planted in high school, particularly one “ah ha” moment when we drilled an irrigation well on the farm, and pumped up crustacean fossil shells from deep below the high plains, and my father showed them to me with wonder as we mused a bit about how the history of this world is quite different and more amazing than how we see it on the surface.
Then, as a young adult I grew some in my belief but was probably more deeply embedded in the more fundamentalist beliefs dominant in my community, and had the social and economic pressure to conform in order to be part of the tribe, keeping quiet for the most part as to my evolving faith.
Finally, as a more mature adult,probably as my children grew older and they were confronted with these same issues, I became more open with my understanding. That period continues to evolve and change a bit to the present, where I am more accepting of doubt and not knowing, and perhaps less certain of the details, but more confident in being a follower of Christ.
Addendum: I realize I did not give a specific reason why I have faith at present, which was the title question. If pressed, I would say that despite my doubts and ignorance, I feel led by the Holy Spirit to continue in faith, and to try to love both God and my neighbors and enemies despite of myself.
What’s the main reason , not reasons, on why you are a Christian?
… this “reason not reasons” business
I think the answer is… there isn’t any such “main reason.” I am ready to change my mind at any time when it doesn’t seem reasonable to me. Atheism is and always has been a valid option for me. Certainly nobody is going to pressure me into accepting a nonsensical version of Christianity. Pascal’s wager is a non-starter.
I posted reason , not reasons, so that someone can decide what’s the main reason. Anyone can list dozens of reasons and that’s what usually happens. So I was just narrowing it down to the one reason. When someone posted several, I just read the first one and listed it as the most important and carried onto the next one.
To me it’s like asking someone their favorite anything and they list multiple things related to that list. Just simply curious what’s the #1 reason others in here are Christian , or at the very least, whatever is the first reason they decide to give.
You lifted up a good observation, that our reasons for believing evolve through time.
I connect this to life experience and the development of our relationship with God.
Young persons may have brilliant brains and an ability to make rapidly logical conclusions based on the information they have. The caveat is that they have very limited information because of the lack of experience and the limited time to gather information from various sources. Maybe this is the reason why the worldview of many young persons (especially males) is so black-and-white?
Because of this situation (rapid conclusions based on limited information) the reasons to believe or not to believe tend to be focused on few pieces of information or something that happened or did not happen in their life.
With life experience, increasing amounts of collected information increase the number and diversity of links within the brains. Thinking becomes slower but gets more width because of the larger quantity of information and the large number of associations between seemingly unrelated pieces of information. The brilliantly clear black-and-white logical thinking is partly replaced by fuzzy logic-type conclusions. An apparent weakening in logical thinking but the conclusions tend to be more realistic because the thinking incorporates a wider variety of facts and links. This may widen the scope of reasons that make a person believe. Believing is not anymore based just on simple logic or one or few particular events in life.
Christian faith is a relationship with Jesus. This makes faith follow the same development that happens in other relationships. At the start, the other person is mostly unknown and you cannot be sure how much you can trust that person. As the relationship deepens, trust will slowly build (if the other is worth it) and you learn to know what the other person thinks about various matters. When the relationship has grown strong, misunderstandings or occasional disagreements do not break the trust or the relationship.
Although the reasons for believing evolve with growing experience and the development of the relationship, I do believe that saving faith could not be possible without the mercy and acts of God. He calls us and saves us. This is of course a matter of faith, I cannot prove it.
A matter of faith is also that I like the interpretation of some eastern early writers about the cooperation, synergy, between the work of God and human in the process. So, not just a one-sided predestination to believe, there is also the part of the human in the process. If not more, the part is to accept and receive, or reject the call and offer.
Hmmm…Skov…well, “the bulk of us” probably depends upon the definition of bulk (by which I do not mean fiber in your diet). There’s plenty of awesome things in nature that are quite inspiring, one way or the other. “The universe knew we were coming,” as one writer put it awhile back…And it was (long ago and far away) a nightime sky in the deserts of southern California — staring at more stars than you can ever see amidst the nighttime lights of a city — that first got me to thinking…
…I spoke with a woman who said she saw God’s design in the seating charts she composed for church services (post-COVID). So “Design” is in the eye of the beholder and may depend on what excites you. She is the sort of neatnik, super-organized person who pays attention to such things…so she saw design…
Intelligent design? ok enough on that…
The Bible “never inerrant” --sure depends on how you define that. NO, God did not dictate word for word. And there are varieties of literature…but it does not mean the Bible does not talk of things that once happened (though not in six literal days etc) .OK am having trouble with that…
“the life of Jesus” is only “more of a Batman” if you have no thought to the long-held expectations of a Messianic deliverer who would eventually usher in a new age — an expectation that existed within the beliefs and teachings of ancient Hebrew teachers/prophets — which was that a Jewish man would one day come who would be both Messiah and God. No one from that era, it seems, suggested that Jesus of Nazareth was not a real person.
“Stories of people like Buddha”…who never claimed to be God and Messiah and the only way to friendship with God…and which seem to not have been written down till about the time of, or after, the Gospels…another long story…
So when push comes to shove…those things DO matter. And they do keep some of us “running” —whether our race is run well or not is another matter.
The underlying reason has to be that it is what best corresponds to reality. There is a myriad of supporting reasons, not the least of which is the volume of objective evidence that is foolish to deny.
I am about to relate to you something that will probably make you think that I am insane. So, I hope that you will be kind in your remarks to me. I am a person who has had a difficult life. Because of that, I thought a lot about God and whether I might be cursed or something. My musings were based upon my Christian upbringing in the Catholic Church and upon ideas gleaned from my mother’s father who was fundamentalist protestant minister. One day when I was about 33 years of age (circa 1988) a co-worker of mine asked to speak to me about accepting the Lord. Given my circumstances, I accepted his offer accepted the Lord. However, my life remained unchanged, in fact it only got worse. Over the next five years, my wife asked for a divorce and I gave up my career. After that, I worked in a job that anyone with a high school diploma could have worked This, in spite of having a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Things went on like this for seven more years. In this period of my life, I read a lot of things in an attempt to try to understand myself, but also, to decide whether if it was even possible for God to exist. In 1999, after reading Carl Sagan’s last book, I accepted his idea that there was no possibility of communicating with God. That our current understanding of natural phenomena offers no mechanism by which this could occur. I felt dysphoric about this, but I didn’t doubt it.
Then, one night, I awoke to use the bathroom and I had an experience that I couldn’t account for. I was sitting on the toilet when I noticed a light hovering in the space in front of me. It was comprised of an almost infinite number of lines of light which were tracing the symbol for infinity. As it did, it morphed in shape and color and I thought that it was the most intricate and beautiful thing I had ever seen. Furthermore, it seemed to me that it was alive. Over the next several years, I experienced this and other similar visions. They always occurred upon waking from a deep sleep. At times, it appeared as a snowflake that changed shape and color. At others, it appeared as a globe, which was made of water and had objects bubbling up to the surface. It seemed as if these visions were trying to communicate something to me, but I never got any useful information from them. What I felt from the beginning was that they were a kind of spiritual breakthrough with God.
From that point, in the Spring of 2000, my life has changed for the better. It hasn’t been a change that other people think of as noteworthy. However, what I have now is a belief that allows me to escape the zeitgeist of our age. Over the past 23 years I have attempted to re-imagine the Bible in a way that is believable to me. I think that scientifically proven ideas can be a useful guide to our understanding of scripture. On the other hand, Christianity calls us to believe in some things that strain credulity. Things like the resurrection are very difficult to believe in today. However, in my opinion, without such belief we have nothing worth believing in.
So for me this is the reason why I landed on asking for a single reason. Anyone can name off a dozen reasons for why they bribe e something with arguments ranging from convincing to not convincing and for its personal, private significance ranging from something that really made very little difference , or very little emotional connection to something that is very emotional, and very tailored to their life. I often feel like people nowadays don’t really self reflect and mediate on their life and how and why it is what it is and that it extends across many things. So when someone is given a choice, you can take one time to a deserted island, and they can truly only take one item, they will probably think long and hard about it. We all know that faith and reasoning evolves and we all know that there is not a single thing that typically makes or breaks anything.
If I asked what is your happiest memory ever, that requires you to put in work and time, to sort through all the happiest memories and to weigh them against one another and land on a choice. It does not mean there is not a close second or third. Maybe there is even two that seems equal, yet you still make the sacrifice of choosing one. It annoys people because they don’t want to do that. They want to pick option four out of choices 1,2 and 3.
So for me the single idea that stands out of tons of ideas they stand out, the one that keeps coming to my mind slightly more than the others, and significantly more than others, is the one of the very few times s prayer was answered for me. Not answered years later, but moments later and not answered just once, but twice in under 24 hours. So for me I classify it under something like prayer, miracle,… many words depending on how it’s being used.
I often feel like it’s human nature to won’t to break rules, be defiant, and challenge every thing. If I made a post on Reddit about “ favorite vegan meal “ there is always those who want to tell me what their favorite animal to eat is.
Isn’t it interesting the way that God reaches out to people in a way that it isn’t obvious to others? The apostle Paul’s experience was like that too. He experienced a fundamental change in the way he thought which would eventually become clear to others. I think that God does it this way in order to force us to live by faith.