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The what and why of belief in Jesus

June 21st, 2016

It is good, every now and again, to reflect on what we believe and why, and to review if there is any reason to change our minds. I think it is good, too, for a blog author to remind their readers of what the blog is all about.

So here’s my summary – what I believe, why I believe it, and why I have this website. I hope you find it helpful.

What is the “right” way to form beliefs?

People form their beliefs, whether religious, political or ethical, in many different ways and for many different reasons.

People may believe or disbelieve in God for both personal (intuitive) and objective (analytical) reasons. Some base their belief or disbelief on personal experiences of God, the church or christians, on receiving healing or help from God – or not. Some find that God gives their life meaning and purpose, or doesn’t, and some find christian belief makes more, or less, sense than disbelief. Some find philosophy and science tells them a lot about the world, themselves and God. I think psychology shows us that both analytical and intuitive modes of thinking can be valid, and both are important.

We are all different, but we can all learn from others, even those who think quite differently to us. Here are the (mainly analytic) reasons why I believe – I hope they help you in your own thinking in some way.

What I believe

I believe:

  • God exists, and is the creater of the universe and the human race. It is his nature to care for us and forgive us.
  • What has been established by science and human discovery is consistent with belief in God.
  • God reveals truth to all people, but is known most completely through Jesus, so we are all more complete and closer to the truth if we believe in what he said and did.
  • Jesus calls us to follow him in making a difference in the world, by caring for the disadvantaged and oppressed, and offering all people the opportunity to hear this good news, receive his forgiveness where they need it, and begin a new life with him.
  • Many people who follow him find that their lives change for the better – they find hope, healing and purpose. I have found this to be true for me.

Why I believe in Jesus

  • There is good historical evidence, accepted by most secular historians, that Jesus lived, and that he did and said many of things recorded about him.
  • The gospel writers had no reason to lie and would have had more comfortable lives if they didn’t follow Jesus, so I believe they are substantially trustworthy people and writings.
  • Jesus talked and acted as if he was divine – he acted as God’s representative and king, he healed people, forgave sins and gave teachings that have lasted to this day. When they killed him, God raised him to life. No other religion makes such claims about their founder, and few others provide as much historical evidence.
  • Jesus inspires people and he inspires faith. I believe he told the truth, and that he was who he said he was.

In the end, it comes down to trust. On the basis of the historical evidence, do we trust Jesus or not? I do.

Other reasons to believe this God exists

I find support for belief in Jesus by considering science and human experience.

  • Where did the universe come from? If there was no God, why would the universe exist? How could it appear out of nothing? The best explanation is that God started it off.
  • Scientists have discovered that about a dozen cosmological factors had to be “just right” at the beginning for us to be here now. The probability of this occurring by chance is so small as to be negligible. It looks like it was designed, by God.
  • We think logically and make moral judgments. If there is no God, and the physical world is all there is, our actions would be determined by the laws of physics, and right and wrong would be determined by what works best. But almost no-one thinks that. The only way out of the dilemma is if God made us to be rational moral creatures.
  • People all over the world report experiences of God – miraculous interventions, healings, visions, guidance, a sense of God’s presence. Some of these stories may not be true but some offer good evidence. It seems more likely that some people really have experienced God, than to think every last one is mistaken.
  • Neurological and psychological studies show that belief in a loving God, and the behaviours that result from that belief, are good for our mental, physical and emotional health, and help to make us more “prosocial” (that is, community-minded and altruistic). Religion can be used for evil, but generally it helps sincere believers be better people. This seems to be most consistent with the conclusion that God exists and made us that way.

So there are good reasons to believe that God probably exists. And not just any god, but a God who is powerful enough to create the universe, clever enough to design such a “fine-tuned” universe, personal enough to want to create a universe where rational and ethical people can live and know him. In fact, just like the God Jesus showed to us.

Personally ….

I have lived with this belief for more than half a century. I am not the most “together” person, but it has been a good life. Sometimes I doubt, sometimes I don’t find it easy. But most times I find christian belief rings true and gives my life meaning. I feel like I know God and he guides me.

And so I have developed this website and this blog to share what I have discovered about God and life. I welcome everyone who visits and comments, if they are polite, including atheists, christians and believers in other religions.

But I write mostly for those of any belief or none who are looking for answers, new ideas or hope, and who are open-minded enough to think about the things I write about here. If that is you, you are especially welcome. Please feel free to comment or email me.

Read more …..

This post is taken from the ibelieve page on this site. Everything in this statement of faith is discussed in more detail on the various pages of Is there a God?. You can check out both sides of the questions:

5 Comments

  1. Hey unkleE,

    Just wanted to say that I found this refresher on your beliefs to be really interesting. It’s not easy to condense this much material into something coherent and organized, but you pulled it off nicely. 🙂 I think I knew all this about you already, but it was good to see all the dots connected.

    Hope you’re doing well! Talk to you soon. 🙂

    — Nate

  2. Hi Nate, thank you so much for that comment. I appreciate it in more than one way.

    Of course I appreciate that you found it “coherent and organised”. But I appreciated more the open and generous heart that you have towards me, despite the differences, even opposites, in our beliefs. There are not many atheists who could be so generous to a full-on christian. And of course there are equally very few christians who could return that generosity. I don’t think I am as admirable as you in that regard. I think there are probably reasons, in the nature of our beliefs, that make it harder for a christian to not feel happy about someone’s non-belief, but that doesn’t alter the respect and warmth I feel towards you.

    Yes, I’m doing fine thanks, and trust you are too. I will see you around. 🙂

  3. Thank you for this illuminating testimonial! Wonderful, lucid, and a great reminder of what (and why) we all believe in Christ, and our life-changing God of Love. I see God working through you. Blessings!
    Christine

  4. Hi Christine, thank you so much. I see your latest book is out and apparently doing well – I hope it is a great success.

  5. To believe or not to believe the God depend on what you believe, what’s your mindset. One can’t force anyone to believe, this is what a person feels in his own way. Irrespective all these things, if we follow the positive things what Lord Jesus has said, would it be a sin? And this is the answer. We don’t have the God around, but we have the positive things and humanity around. And those who want proof are scientifically and technically drowned. They have to understand the virtue of this life and their initiations.

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