Reasons for Hope

Posted: March 30, 2013 by Dillon in Apologetics
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What follows is a list of 20 basic things to consider about Christianity.  This list isn’t meant to be a bullet-proof argument; rather, these are things for anyone who is curious about spiritual matters to consider.  Often you’ll find someone who just seems turned off to the idea of Christianity, but has never given it serious thought.

Reasons for Hope:

  1. Design points to intelligent designer: When you see something that has been built, you intuitively know that it had some kind of designer. A wrist-watch has to have a wrist-watch maker. In the same way a wrist has to have a wrist maker.
  2. Fine tuning points to a fine tuner: In the same way, the exact variables that are needed for life to exist are so finely tuned that it is effectively impossible for it to randomly occur.
  3. Information encoded in DNA indicates encoder: If you were walking across a beach and you saw a heart drawn in the sand with initials in it, what would you think? Obviously someone had to put that information there. Information is not spontaneously generated. Our DNA is loaded with information; the human genome project has found that all the information in our genetic sequence, if printed on paper, would stack up to 55 stories high. That’s a lot of information. If a heart drawn in the sand can’t happen randomly, how could all of our genetic information?
  4. Origin of universe shows an originator: Regardless of the circumstances, everyone (aside from possibly some eastern philosophers) agree that the universe had a beginning. Even if the multi-verse theory proves to be correct, the multi-verse itself still must have had a beginning. For the universe or multi-verse to begin, it must have had some original cause. This doesn’t necessarily have to be God, but it does have to be something outside of the universe itself.
  5. Sense of law points to a law giver: Everyone, everywhere, has an innate sense of right and wrong. Unless something is wrong with you psychologically, everyone can agree that capturing a 5 year old, torturing, beating, and molesting them would be wrong. You don’t need to reason it out and you don’t need a judicial system to tell you it’s wrong. You just know. You had to get that innate sense from somewhere.

  6. The Bible is a uniquely consistent book: Before anyone throws a temper tantrum about alleged “contradictions” in the Bible, keep reading. The Bible is a work that was compiled over thousands of years, by over 40 different authors from just as many different walks of life. The fact that there’s any consistency and coherency is pretty incredible. But when you stop and consider that the each book of the Bible is part of a greater story, it’s astounding how well that story stays internally consistent.
  7. The Bible is a uniquely historical religious book: Unlike other religious books, the Bible holds up to historical scrutiny. The Bible tells the history of the Jewish people through verifiable means, and continues to be woven into history with the New Testament. Secular historians and writers agree to the historicity of the general outline of the Bible.
  8. The Bible is a uniquely preserved work of antiquity: The average work of antiquity doesn’t hold up as well as the Bible has. With a 95% textual accuracy, the only changes in the Bible over the past thousands of years have been spelling changes, and minor sentence structures that don’t change the meaning of a statement. Unlike any other work of antiquity (be it the Greek philosophers or Homer), the Bible has a plethora of original copies, the shortest time between original creation and earliest copy, and highest textual accuracy. If we limit to just the New Testament, textual accuracy rockets to 99.5%! This makes the New Testament more reliable (in terms of accuracy to original writing) than any of the works of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Euripides, Caesar, or Tacitus.
  9. Archaeology shows Bible is a verified book: Related to that last few points, archaeologists have been able to determine the historicity and authenticity of the Bible that we can buy today.
  10. Bible is uniquely honest: If I were to fake a religious book, I would make sure only good things were included. As a history major, I’ve learned that one of the ways to determine the authenticity of a work is the amount of embarrassing information that is included; if something embarrassing is listed about a major character, it is less likely that the work was made up. Let’s look at David. The greatest king Israel ever saw, and the man after God’s own heart. Yet if the Bible had been made up, wouldn’t the incident with Bathsheba been excluded? How about Jesus weeping in the garden of Gethsemane? Or any of the kings who utterly failed. A faked piece would paint the main characters in the best light possible.
  11. Miracles of prophets, apostles, and Jesus not refuted: I’ve alluded to this a little before. Any time a miracle happens in the Bible, none of the characters ever say, “that’s not real.” Even the Pharisees, who hate Jesus, never claim that He didn’t perform miracles. The apostles who continued after Jesus continued to proclaim the miracles they saw with their own eyes.
  12. Fulfilled prophecies point to Jesus as Messiah: Go read Isaiah 53. Right now. I dare you to tell me the prophecy is talking about anyone beside Jesus. One friend tried to argue that “fulfilled prophecies don’t count because Jesus had access to the prophecies, so he could intentionally do whatever they said to trick everyone.” Think about that for a second. If Jesus intended to trick everyone why would He willingly suffer the worst punishment possible just to trick others?
  13. Jesus’ sinless life points to being son of God: Jesus lived a life free of sin. The reason His crucifixion was so unjust was because Jesus had never broken a single commandment of God. No ordinary human can possibly live without sinning. There must have been something special about Jesus.
  14. Resurrection: There is so much literature on the resurrection that I won’t even try to sum it up here. Go find anything published by Lee Strobel.
  15. Emergence of church points to truth of message: Shortly after Jesus’ death, 3,000 Jews were converted to Christians. These are the same people who saw Jesus die. There must have been something incredible about the message of Jesus to be able to convert 3,000 Jews in a single day. (Acts 2:41) Christianity continued to spread under intense persecution. Roman law allowed Christians to be executed. Yet, almost unthinkably, in a couple hundred years Emperor Constantine converted. There must be something powerful about Jesus’ message to make it not only survive, but thrive.

  16. Changed lives: Paul, possibly the most prolific and famous Apostle, once killed Christians for a living. Prior to his conversion, Saul (Paul’s original name) went from town to town killing Christians for being heretics; this ended on the road to Damascus when Jesus appeared to Paul in a vision. Now, a vision by itself does not hold much weight. But Paul later met with James (the brother of Jesus) and Paul’s description of the resurrected Jesus perfectly matched James’ description. How could Paul spontaneously have a vision of someone he had never seen before, only to find out it was the exact man whose name he was persecuting?  Double check Galatians 1:11-24 where Paul claims that no man taught him about the Gospel, but it was revealed.  
  17. Willingness of disciples to die: No person in the history of the world would willingly die for something they know is a lie. This doesn’t prove the message of Jesus was true, but it does prove that the followers of Jesus legitimately believed what they claimed. There must have been some extraordinary instances for the followers to have such a level of faith.
  18. Changed minds of modern skeptics: Again, see Lee Strobel. Strobel wasn’t some wishy-washy person, he was an investigative journalist with a hardened heart who actively worked to disprove the Gospel. He failed.
  19. Testimonies of countless believers: If you google “Christian testimonies,” you will have more results than you can possibly read. Millions of people today, and millions more in the past, have testified to the truth of Christianity. If so many people believe it, perhaps there’s something different about it.
  20. Jesus said so: Jesus is the one person who had the credentials to say what was true and what was false. Even those who don’t believe that Jesus was the son of God believe Jesus was a wise teacher. For some reason, Jesus’ teachings have prospered and spread far more than the teachings of any other philosopher. Clearly there’s something different, some level of weight to Christianity that no other school of thought has.

If you’re skeptical about Christianity, leave a comment with any questions.  If you know someone who is skeptical, share this with them.

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