Welcome to our first official blog post! We here at Reasonable Faith UTD hope that this blog can serve as a forum for civil and rational discussion of the evidence and objections pertaining to God, Christianity, and Christianity’s many alternatives. But to go ahead and lay our cards on the table, we think that Christianity is true in a way that no other religion (or even more broadly, worldview) is.
To some of you, that claim may seem ridiculous because you’re confident that Christianity is false and any sincere investigation of the facts will show that to be the case. I’m so glad you’re here, and we have much to discuss! But I want to begin even further back in the discussion; to some people, the claim that Christianity is true may seem ridiculous because “true” isn’t the kind of thing that a religion can be (or fail to be). They may regard religion as more like a preference in the same category as which football team you support or which flavor of ice cream you eat. If that’s you, I’d like to challenge you in this post to reconsider what religion really is.
The fact is that all religions make claims about the way the world is and will be. Even in just the major world religions, there’s a remarkable degree of factual divergence. Buddhism doesn’t hold that there’s a personal God, Islam holds that Allah is one person, Christianity holds that God is tripersonal, and Hinduism is somewhat ambiguous on the subject. After you die, Buddhism and Hinduism hold that you will be reincarnated until you eventually escape the cycle and cease to exist as an individual, Islam holds that Allah will judge you and salvation can be found in Allah’s mercy which He will dispense to the righteous, and Christianity holds that God will judge you and salvation can be obtained only by faith in Jesus. I hope it’s evident that these assertions can’t all be true.
“Okay,” you may concede, “religions present pictures of reality that contradict each other. But aren’t religions really just about how to be a good person? After all, that’s where the rubber really hits the road – all this ‘God’ and ‘afterlife’ stuff is just peripheral.” And indeed, it is true that some of the external behaviors of different religions are similar, such as loving others and attending regular religious services and so on. But I’d argue that while these things are definitely important, they are the more peripheral parts of a religion in the sense that they’re based on and derived from the religion’s factual view of reality, not the other way around. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19 that “if [Jesus] Christ has not been raised [from the dead], your faith is futile … [and] we are of all people to be most pitied.” Here, Paul (who wrote 1 Corinthians) is staking the value of Christianity on the factual issue of whether or not Jesus rose from the dead; if He didn’t, Paul says that Christianity is a waste of time and Christians are pitiful. (For those unfamiliar with the Bible, Paul doesn’t mince words.)
In short, if we want to know how the world ought to be, it seems we first need to understand how it actually is. Is there really a God who created the universe? If so, what is He like? And was Jesus of Nazareth actually raised from the dead? Our answers to these questions will powerfully influence, and perhaps determine, our answers to many others. Let’s investigate!