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 Belief

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Anthony van der Spek
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PostSubject: Belief   Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:37 am

                                                Believing

Everyone believes. Some people believe there is no God; that everything is a result of random events. This naturalistic, materialistic, corporeal world view is a very strong religion. And, to support this religion its adherents propound their faith with many arguments and evidences; but facts are few. The narrative of origins is theoretical by its very nature—there is no human eyewitness, there is no empirical revisiting of the events. One may consider the evidence overwhelming. And it’s surprising what people believe with this idea of ‘convincing evidence’ in mind. But often the evidence hasn’t been assessed, the assumptions haven’t been tested and initial presuppositions hold sway. Personal biases actually play a major part, so that we often believe what we want to believe. But, in the end it is a theory, a story, which people place their belief in.

 

The same could be, and is, said about Christianity. The notion of compelling evidence, of convincing arguments and of personal biases could be credited with producing this eternal perspective of humanity. The critical difference would be that proponents of the Christian faith, because of its transcendent, supernatural dimension, would claim revelation and relationship as essential components of their faith.

 

Have you ever wondered why people believe in God; and even beyond that, believe in Jesus Christ? When I reflect on personal belief, there are four main reasons why I believe and a fifth inescapable personal compulsion.

 

Design

My first thought goes to purpose and design. The immensity of the universe, the beauty and intricacy of design and the order and predictability of natural laws all provide a puzzle that begs investigation. The balance of everything necessary for the proliferation of life on this planet is so mathematically improbable as to almost demand a belief in a creator. Just the simple fact that the moon is of just the right relative size and distance to appear the same size as the sun (though not astounding in itself) along with all the other ‘fortunate’ correlations and ‘coincidences’ that make this the only perfectly liveable planet we know of, is sufficient to make most thinkers reflect on the possibility of a Divine Creator. And I’m not about to cite the numerous finely tuned conditions that we experience, and that many people BELIEVE are just random events, which make our existence a fact. If you want to check out some sites see: http://coldcasechristianity.com/2015/four-ways-the-earth-is-fine-tuned-for-life/

https://creation.com/the-universe-is-finely-tuned-for-life

 

 

 

Good and evil.

The world is full of opposites. There are some behaviours that humans almost universally will judge as good or evil. Bravery to save a comrade in battle, self sacrifice and selfless generosity are not easily explained apart from the existence of good. Torture, human sacrifice and degrading sexual predation are some of the things that bespeak a tangible evil. We make judgements all the time as if there is some standard from which we measure.

 

This clear conflict between right and wrong, good and evil, truth and lies suggests to me a reflection of a cosmic conflict. Why is it that to do good almost always takes a conscious effort while evil seems to flow from no effort at all? What influences us? When your conscience pricks you about something you have done, is it that eternal being within reflecting the character of its creator? Ponder on it and decide what you should BELIEVE. It may not be what you want to believe.

 

Some people argue that there is no TRUTH, that all is relative. But this is no argument at all for they ‘cut the legs from beneath themselves’. You only believe if you think something is true. If there is no truth, then there is no truth in their argument. (The philosophy of this is far more refined – read CS Lewis –‘The Abolition of Man’ for an almost irresistible defence of the existence of objective morality)

 

Science

Though some of the strongest detractors of a personal God come from those arguing for science. Their statements are more about what they believe than what is true. In fact the faith required by those wishing to substitute science for religion, to not believe in God, staggers me. The Bible says ‘in the beginning God created…’ cause and effect. Science claims the ‘Big bang’—from nothing, a singularity (is that another word for a miracle?), then expanding universe —an event without a cause (though some scientists will accede to some Divine force or Will). I don’t know of a proposition for any other event where no cause, in terms of how, is sought or explained.

 

Some geneticists will tell you that the human genetic code stems from two individuals! The Bible says the same thing, but I’m yet to read of any ‘scientist’ drawing a parallel or speculating what occurred before those two individuals, or why genetic diversity seems to be declining – not expanding as one would expect from developmental theories. Life itself is a mystery to science. It can’t be created, only transmuted. It can be described in terms of operation and propagation, or electrical impulses and cell development, but what is that mystical quality that separates a living being from a carcase? With all the ingredients for a living being, a dead body can’t be revived with true life… the organs might be operated by machine but the body is brain dead; the ‘person’ is gone.

 

I smile to myself when I read things like ‘Mother nature was very clever’ or describing the genetic code as ‘a blueprint’, as scientists attribute intelligence and planning to an unknown impetus behind creation. Some will attribute a will to life itself so that it seeks to ascend, to improve and to survive as if it is imbued with a personality that ‘wants’ and the power to carry out this will.

My apologies, by the way, to scientists who do have a personal faith in God. To them, I imagine, true science is an affirmation of their faith.

 

 

Jesus Christ

No one person in history has had as much affect on the human race as Jesus Christ. Yet there are those who would argue whether he ever walked this earth, whether any of his story is true or whether, in these enlightened times, there is any room for us to rely on ‘religious mythologies’. I’m not going to engage in lengthy apologetics, but to simply say these things: In the account of Him in the Bible:

Everything Jesus stood for was just, good, moral, kind and loving.

He was true to his claims – showed divine qualities, served rather than conquered, valued people not power or materialism

He revealed the nature of God in a human form

He made provision for a current and future relationship with our creator

He is alive today

 

Two of the things that compel me to believe in Jesus is the consistency of his story and the witness of history. Followers of his time were recorded as giving their lives to spread His message. Not a martyrdom of anger and violence but in loving, humble submission and witness. We now have a calendar full of dates that draws our attention to Him, a vast sum of books written about Him and a worldwide movement declaring faith in Him. Of course there are charlatans, imposters and counterfeits in the ‘church’. If it weren’t so I would have to doubt the conflict between good and evil. But there are huge positives shown by genuine followers of Christ. It takes little research to identify those who emulate His compassion for the poor, the sick, the imprisoned and the lost.

 

Ask yourself, what would it look like if it were true? People would be saying; if He would show Himself then we would believe. He did. They didn’t. Many deny He has a claim on their lives yet quickly blame Him if things go wrong personally or in the world. If He is truly God, sovereign all powerful and loving, He wouldn’t be at our beck and call. He wouldn’t fit our theories. We would have to fit His ways, because that would be best for us (He’s all-knowing). We would have to obey Him. Some people just don’t like that idea.

You have to BELIEVE. The Bible says; “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Heb 11:6

 

His conditions, His way.

 

Finally I come to the fifth and compelling reason why I have faith; why I believe in Jesus Christ.

 

Purposeful Plan- meaningful future.

In life today, people talk about a purpose, a plan and to be intentional in what we do. Why? Why not adhere to secular theories of randomness and chance and meaninglessness? Why not base our lives on survival of the fittest and self preservation rather than community and compassion and justice? Is it because we were designed that way? Is there a God consciousness, a spiritual dimension to our lives that demands that people act fairly, be just and face the consequences implied by justice?

 

So I believe what I do matters. Not just for now, but for eternity. That there will be some reckoning with our Maker—that justice will be fair and loving but clear and true—is a critical belief that reinforces moral living, engenders understanding of temporal suffering and assures ultimate justice for those who have been persecuted by despots and the self-serving, wilful rebels of this world. If you say ‘no’ to God then God will let you have your will and you will be apart from Him in eternity. Like a loving father, your autonomy is important to him. It’s His desire that you choose to be in a loving relationship with him. Some prodigals choose to remain with the pigs. They’re too proud or too wilful or too intelligent, in their own estimation, to return to the Father. That may not concern you, but I know I don’t want to be separated from the things that should govern our thoughts; ‘whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable’ Phil 4:8. I don’t want to be separated from the source of life, love and liberty.

 

You see, even though you don’t realise it; according to the Bible you’re still, now, a recipient of the goodness of God –“Every good and perfect gift is from above… from the Father…” James 1:17

 

So, to be apart from all those good things will be ‘hell’.

 

You get to choose. Everyone believes something. What do you believe?
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