In my continuing series of honest questions to Christians, I present you with question number 8.
Why do you believe in Christianity?
What lead you to your firm belief in Christianity above all other religions and how to do reconcile the fact that other religions exist yet you have chosen Christianity as your own? Secularists will debate that you have chosen Christianity because you grew up in a culture where Christianity is the dominate religion. Whereas had you grown up in the middle east you might be Muslim and so on.
I’m not Christian so I will answer as an atheist.
I grew up in a household with different beliefs – my dad was Christian and my mom was spiritual; I was encouraged to choose my own beliefs, and ended up growing through many different belief systems as I grew up. While I am atheist and do not believe in God, that does not mean that I have no beliefs at all – I take my “religion” from parts of many including Christianity, Baha’i and Taoism, and I believe Jesus was a great teacher; one of many, and not divine.
I am mostly an atheist because I question the validity of unquestioningly believing what others tell me when there is no reason to. I am also very scientific and find that what I know about science contradicts the Bible more strongly than it can withstand in my mind.
Secularists would have a difficulty explaining how the various missionary organizations in China report a combined 100 million Christians (10% of the population) in that country, or the fact that the rate of conversion to Christianity is historically higher than the reverse, but that’s got nothing to do with my testimony.
There is one thing I have never been, and that is an atheist. I’ve always believed that God is real, and this is not out of ignorance of the arguments to the contrary, but in spite of them. Still, when I was in my teens, I abandoned Christianity. It seemed to me that it was an impure religion, borrowing much of its material from various other faiths and traditions, and there must be a better option out there. I checked out the Book of mormon, the Quran, texts on Wicca, LaVey’s Book of Satan, deism, druidism… I even looked at Scientology for the sake of personal knowledge. To make a very long and arduous story short, I finally dared God (or gods… I was open to the idea of there being more than one) to show me which way to turn. A few coincidental dreams and encounters later, I came to the conclusion that Christianity simply made the most sense to me, and seemed the most “right.” I realized that a lot of my problems with Christianity were not the faith itself, but the Church- Christendom- failing to live out that faith. I just put up a blog about one of the aspects of Christianity that I feel the Church constantly fails to hold to. As I re-investigated Christian Scripture, it felt right. It still took me a few more years before I completely came to grips with being a Christian, and I tried several rabbit trails along the way, but looking back at all my experimentation, rejection, and doubt, I have to conclude that Jesus Christ really is the answer to the questions I had. I doubt any of this will convince you, but I am thoroughly convinced in my own mind, and I must say that my experiences actually ended up aiding my faith in the end.
For me, I didn’t choose Christianity. I call myself Christian but that’s because I aim to be like-Christ and follow him. Christianity pissed me off growing up. I did grow up in a private Christian school, which I still don’t like, with a family that only slightly cared about the Gospel. I completely left the faith and became agnostic, then atheist.One day at the end of my junior year of high school there was a voice inside me. It was bold and unlike anything I’ve felt before. It was more than my conscience. I don’t remember the words anymore but the message was two fold: “I miss you / You need me.” I got lost in my reality for a moment and realized that in my abandonment of Christianity I also abandoned the true G-D who created all things. It was strange.
So I searched and finally settled on a youth group where I knew people. Ironically, they slowly all left (both the church and the faith) and I got more dedicated. For many months I went lying about who I was, not participating, questioning every word and action of the leaders and lay people. I thought it was stupid. Then, for some reason, I went on a trip with them and while there something happened to me. It’s hard to explain but it felt like a layer of rock melted away from my heart and I realized “I can’t do this [life] alone like this anymore” and at the same time felt a presence I had never felt before. It was like a person holding me who wasn’t there. (I know this all sounds a bit hokey and ridiculous and it could be blamed on a lot of different things but it’s as I know the story). I went to pray in the backroom of the convention hall and when I opened my eyes there were like 5 guys from different states praying with me and junk. It was random.
Now, 7 years later, I recognize how my life has been transformed. I was a boy who was filled with hate, violence, loneliness, fear, selfishness, and all forms of evil. I lied just to lie constantly. I had hit lists and seriously debating shooting up my school. I was grateful for 9-11. I couldn’t stand my wonderful parents, my friends (I suspected they weren’t really friends but enemies playing a cruel joke) and myself (I almost committed suicide a number of times). Since meeting Jesus and following him love has taken over my spirit, I flee from violence and desire to bring reconciliation to all harm I see through peace and kindness, I mourn all death, I aim to love the unlovable, I’ve lived with the homeless (giving up almost all I own just to live on the streets with them) and more. I have become a leader, a friendlier person who enjoys the company of others, more knowledgable, wiser, and more thankful. And yeah, some of that comes with getting older but I know if I had not followed Jesus, I’d be dead right now.
In the last 7 years I’ve seen people healed from cancer, fractures, cysts, and more by prayer. I’ve seen men literally raised from the dead. I have seen G-D’s power not only in my life but in the lives of those around me. I’ve seen G-D in nature through the vastness of it all, it’s processes, and it’s living things and how they are taken care of. I’ve seen G-D in how we takes care of me.
And through my atheist/agnostic period as well as during my college career I studied other religions, went to their places of worship and interviewed folks who believed differently from me, all the while questioning what I believed and what is true. Even as a Christian person researching those religions I thought some seemed more attractive. Despite the attractiveness of other beliefs I’ve always been led back to Jesus (the Jesus of the Christians). I don’t see the church and always think “That’s it. That’s what’s right and good and true!” But when I look at Jesus I do think “That is what is true, right, and good.” I am committed to Jesus because I can’t deny his truth and I no longer want to.
@PastorSZ – “Secularists would have a difficulty explaining how the various missionary organizations in China report a combined 100 million Christians (10% of the population) in that country, or the fact that the rate of conversion to Christianity is historically higher than the reverse, but that’s got nothing to do with my testimony.”
I don’t think any secularist would have a problem explaining that at all. We’re away that Missions provide humanitarian aid, but they also proselytize and convert. That’s what they do. Why would you think we wouldn’t understand that?
Becoming or re-becoming a Christian simply because it “feels” right to you is a fine answer. I still don’t have to agree with it, obviously. In a buffet full of options, you stuck with the (Jesus) fish. That’s good, I guess. But willfully ignoring the evidence (your words: “in spite of”) isn’t necessarilly doing you any favors. Understand, secularists/humanists/etc don’t approach the buffet. Not because they’re not hungry, but because everything there has started to turn.
@TheGreatBout – Confirmation bias, halluciantions, and depression. Look those things up. God (or whatever the fuck G-D is) didn’t do that. You willed yourself to believe it.
@joshf13 – The statement by Roxics was that secularists would argue Christianity results from living in a Christian culture. That does not explain the historical spread of Christianity. All of the cultures which are presently Christian were formerly something else, so there must be some motivating factor apart from Cultural bias.
@PastorSZ – Absolutly. There must be
. Like missionary work. Impoverished regions have only hope to grab onto. China has not been an overwhelming religiously region. However, it is a VERY superstitous one. I don’t imagine feeding Christian dogma to people already looking for answers to be a very hard sell.
I was born into it. I haven’t found reason to leave. And I look. :)
Christianity just makes more sense to me than other religions. Me being a sinner, Jesus loving me so much that he willingly died for my sins, and that I’m not going to heaven because of how righteous I am, but because of the imputed righteousness of Jesus.
I was brought up as a Christian and never really questioned it, until a few years ago when, like most teenagers i began doubting myself and my beliefs. Now though, I think the reason I am a Christian is because, like many others, the bible is a symbol of hope.
@TheGreatBout – I enjoyed reading your explanation/testimony…..i love when you said “I don’t see the church and always think “That’s it. That’s what’s right and good and true!” But when I look at Jesus I do think “That is what is true, right, and good.” I am committed to Jesus because I can’t deny his truth and I no longer want to.” ….i totally agree. that sums up so much of what i believe.
for me, personally it was not a choice. i didn’t grow up in a christian home or going to church or anything. but i always felt this very intimate and VERY real connection to God and a calling to follow this person, or being. i ended up turning away at some point….becoming ‘atheist’. which i actually think was less because i didn’t believe in God but moreso i was angry because i THOUGHT i had done everything to pursue a relationship with this God and he still didn’t seem to be there. then slowly i was lead back to this God and i accepted him and finally it all made sense that this Jesus person/God was different than anything else. this was my purpose…..to follow this person/God. for me, it wasn’t like i wrote down a bunch of religions with pros and cons and decided which one i liked best. in fact, i’m not even that into religion, its interesting sure. and i love learning about what all types of people believe. but as far as the “christian religion” i don’t know what to say i mean i guess i’m a christian. i don’t look at it like that though. its a relatiohnship. i believe in this book…this bible. i think its true and good. and i love this Jesus….and i want to follow him. because he is true and faithful and good and perfect. i don’t think i chose God and i don’t think i chose christianity, i didn’t choose religion at all. but God chose me. i fought it or ran away at times. but eventually i decided that this God whom had called to me at such a young age and has continued to do so all of my life, was whom i should be with.