One of the most basic questions everyone will face in life is 'Does God exist?' Many people have decided that the answer is so complicated that there is no practical reason to pursue it. There are many who are withholding judgment and waiting for God to prove Himself. I believe this question is too important to ignore. I think it is important that everyone seek Truth rather than wait for Truth. Everyone comes to a point when they must face their own mortality. In the face of mortality we must ask ourselves, ĎHas my life been meaningful? What happens when I die? How could I live a better life?í Our answer (or lack of it) to the question of Godís existence will make a significant contribution to all of the other questions we face in life.
Whatever your opinion of Him, it should be acknowledged that Jesus has had a more significant impact on history than any other person. Many people would agree that Jesus was a good moral teacher, but Jesus claimed to be God. If this claim (that He died for) is incorrect, He must have been either profoundly deluded or dishonest. Either of these possibilities would disqualify him as a moral leader, however He established a loyal following that has persisted for two millennia. I accept the Christian tradition that Jesus was God and that He demonstrated this fact through numerous miracles ( Luke 19:37) culminating in his own resurrection (I Corinthians 15:3-7). The resurrection of Christ provides Christians with an answer to one of life's most fundamental questions: 'What happens when I die?'
Obviously, Christian faith is based on acceptance of the Bible as an accurate account of history. There are other sacred books and secular traditions that do not accept the authenticity of the Bible. The reason I have dismissed other religions in favor of the Bible is because I believe Jesus demonstrated that He is God through His teaching and the miracles he performed. Some would protest that I have just exercised circular reasoning: i.e. I believe the Bible because Jesus is God AND I believe Jesus is God because I believe the Bible. In my defense, I submit that all human beliefs are founded on a starting point that employs circular reasoning. As a relevant example: those who reject the Bible do so (in part) because they donít believe Jesus was God and they donít believe Jesus was God because they donít believe the Bible.
I believe the men who wrote the Bible were men of integrity. History records that eleven of the twelve apostles died martyr's deaths. I believe conspiracies are difficult to hold together and this is especially true when conspirators face death, however not one apostle ever backed down and the persecution of the early church has been well documented. They were part of a robust tradition that continues to this day.
It has been observed that Christians use God as an emotional crutch. The fact that Christians derive comfort through their faith does not automatically support the conclusion that their faith is based only on emotion. Emotions are an essential part of our being, and they are an intrinsic (though frequently ignored or denied) part of our thoughts. It could also be suggested that those who have denied God also have emotional motivations. If we accept God and the teachings of Christ we are compelled to acknowledge that we fall short of God's standards, and it is no secret that humans would rather set their own standards.
One of the nice things about setting our own standards, is that we can bend the rules occasionally. Some people think of God in the same way they think of a police officer. It is rarely a welcome sight to have a police officer in your rear view mirror, but most people find comfort in knowing the police are out there to protect them when they need it. Everyone wants justice when they have been wronged, but people are usually less interested in justice when they have offended.
For justice to work it must be impartial. Perfect justice requires perfect knowledge of actions and motivations. Only God can meet these requirements. Many people believe that in the end God will accept them for who they are. This operates on the rather large assumption that God will follow their own personal standards. The Bible suggests that God (the creator) sets the standards and man (the creature) doesn't get a vote.
A few years ago I was driving through South Dakota (A state that seems to be mostly cornfields) and I saw a billboard that asked 'What do you think about God?' I thought it was a good question to think about. Several miles later I saw another billboard that asked 'What does God think about you?'
If you are interested in further information on this topic I recommend the following:
The Case for Christ DVD
Jesus: Man, Messiah or More?
Frank Turek 2
Who Moved the Stone?