I am a Christian.
I recognize that means different things to different people.
So I’ll try to clarify by saying I believe that Jesus, as described in the Protestant Bible, is a real person who died and rose from the dead, thus proving himself to be the son of God.
My mother introduced me to the concept and person of Jesus at a young age.
And she was faithful to raise our family with the love of Christ.
However, at some point, a child’s faith becomes his own or fades away.
And I am thankful that my faith became my own throughout my high school and college years.
Today, Jesus as God of the universe and my Lord and Savior is the most real and obvious thing to me.
And so, to give a reason for my faith seems like an exercise in abstract philosophy, like giving a reason for my belief in my wife’s existence.
But in the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15, I am going to try to share my reason for the hope in me as a result of my relationship with Jesus.
but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,1 Peter 3:15
To that end, I’d like to give my reason for the hope in me in a question-and-answer format.
Some people have asked me some of these questions in discussions of faith.
I have asked myself some of these other questions as I have wrestled through my understanding of my faith.
And if you have other questions you’d like to ask me, feel free to ask them in the comments below!
Lastly, please note that I am not the best person to answer any of these questions.
I’m not an expert; I’m just a guy writing stuff online.
But I may be able to point you to an expert or perhaps get your wheels turning for how these questions and answers may affect your own life.
“How do you maintain intellectual credibility as a Christian?”
No one has ever asked me this explicitly, but I think it is heavily implied, especially in today’s culture.
There seems to be an implicit assumption in modern culture that if you are a serious thinker or intellectual, you can’t be a Christian because Christianity is a narrow-minded, provincial belief.
And to me, this is fairly easy to refute.
First, evaluating Christianity on its own merits and not through the lens of what other people think of it is a great first step in maintaining intellectual credibility in your own eyes.
Furthermore, plenty of intellectual heavyweights throughout history and today are Christians.
The list is so long, in fact, that it’s truly challenging to decide who should be mentioned here.
To provide a tiny sample of great Christian thinkers, there’s this list of 34 scientists who are committed Christians.
And more intellectual heavy-weight Christians include PayPal co-founder and billionaire investor Peter Thiel, theoretical physicist Christopher Isham, and the physician-geneticist who led the Human Genome Project, Francis Collins.
In short, there are countless examples of great thinkers who are Christians.
So if they maintained their intellectual credibility while being Christian, why can’t you?
In fact, carefully evaluating Christianity as the intellectual foundation upon which much of western society has been built will only help your intellectual credibility as I see it.
Here’s how online writer, David Perell, frames his answer to this question:
I’m not saying that we should force people to be religious. After all, I’m a tepid non-believer myself. But being secular doesn’t give you a hall pass to ignore your Christian influences. We should study religion not to dogmatically accept faith, but to understand the foundations of our worldview. As we do, we should ask ourselves: “Is Christianity true?” And if you think it’s bogus, then: “Why do I let these ideas influence my worldview so strongly?”Why You’re Christian
“How do you reconcile Christianity with modern science and evolutionary theory?”
This is a common philosophical and theological question that many wiser women and men than I have answered.
So I’ll point you to Dr. William Lane Craig’s response to a similar question on his blog, Reasonable Faith, and in the video above.
Craig is another Christian intellectual heavyweight, author of several books, and university professor with an incredible educational pedigree.
Searching for almost any theological question + William Lane Craig to find his much superior answer to mine would almost certainly better serve you.
But the Tl;dr of Craig’s answer to this question is that there isn’t any explicit reason why modern science and evolutionary theory are incompatible with Christianity.
A related position that God set evolution in motion is called Theistic Evolution.
I’m no expert in it, but I subscribe to it.
“How could a good god allow all the suffering in the world today?”
Again, I point you to William Lane Craig’s response on his blog or in the video above.
And the Tl;dr is (again) that there doesn’t seem to be any explicit reason why evil is necessarily incompatible with a good god.
Rather, it may be that allowing the maximum number of people to come to Him of their own will requires a world in which evil can and does exist.
Furthermore, if you accept that God is truly all-knowing (if only for the sake of argument), doesn’t it then follow that the creator of the universe would have reasons for allowing evil to occur that you wouldn’t understand or know as a non-omniscient creature?
Although rational, Craig acknowledges that his arguments don’t help the emotional problem that many have with the problem of evil.
And all I can say to someone’s emotional problem with evil in the world is that Jesus has earned my trust and the trust of countless others that have led His believers to know that, He has his reasons for allowing evil, whether we understand them or not.
“Aren’t you a Christian just because of your culture/upbringing?”
This question is always a bit funny to me because of how I am wired.
For those who don’t know, I have had a streak of intellectual rebelliousness present in me since I was a child.
This manifested itself in conventional ways, particularly in my teenage years of thinking I knew better than my elders and the experts on several different subjects.
And although at one point in my life, I probably would have liked to prove Christianity silly, illogical, or simply wrong, I never could.
I consider this God’s grace to me that His truth usually seemed quite irrefutable even though my instinct is to question and challenge widely held beliefs.
“How does knowing and following Jesus give you hope?”
Knowing and following Jesus gives me ultimate hope in the truest sense.
Christians believe Christ will triumph over evil, and His followers will live with Him in eternal bliss.
For those who believe this, we know Christ has already defeated sin and death, and all we have to do is remain faithful until our death or His return.
Nothing provides me greater hope and peace than knowing that I am not in control, that the God of the universe is, that He loves me, and that He will return triumphant.
For those who have a hard time looking forward to Heaven, I can relate.
For a long time, I imagined Heaven as some massive party that sounded exhausting to my introverted self.
However, Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven, changed my understanding of Heaven to be a perfect version of all the imperfect things we enjoy this side of Heaven.
Alcorn’s book exposed me to the idea that Heaven could be a redeemed Earth and universe where we continue reading, creating art, traveling, building things, etc.
And instead of Heaven being the conclusion, it’s really the beginning of true life.
The possibility of Heaven being like this has helped me look forward to it and earnestly hope for it.
But even if it’s nothing like what I have written here, I know it will be more magnificent than I could ever imagine.
Christianity is my fundamental worldview and the lens through which I see all other things.
And I could not write content on this website with authenticity without sharing this crucial aspect of my beliefs.
Are you a Christian?
If not, what do you believe?
Let me know in the comments below!