Tag Archives: reasons to believe

The Role of Faith

Some look to their faith in God in their happiest or awe-struck moments, or some lean on their faith in their lowest or darkest moments.  Some turn to their faith “just in case it’s true,” and some long for a relationship with a powerful God. Some “just know or feel” that He is real, and others have found “facts” which undergird their faith. Benefits exist for believing in God, and for not believing in God. Others would never go back to their belief in God.

Beyond one’s personal experience, spirituality can also be tied to science and history. One question that is explored from the scientific perspective is how do you get life from non-life? Even if the universe contains as many as 100 billion trillion planets, probabilities would argue against the existence of even one that by natural processes alone would end up with the just-right surface gravity, surface temperature, atmospheric composition, atmospheric pressure, crustal iron abundance, tectonics, volcanism, rotation rate, rotation rate decline, stable rotation axis and degree of tilt to sustain life (Hugh Ross).

Also, the age of the earth is debated through the study of radiometric dating, the influx of salts into the ocean, the rate of decay of the earth’s magnetic field, the growth rate of human populations, and other examples. (One’s answer depends on one’s assumptions about the uniformity of natural law, uniformity of process, uniformity of rate and uniformity of outcome). Some scientists defend a global flood that produced fossil-bearing sedimentary rock on every continent. Some assume there is a God and explain science and history from that assumption, and some assume that the existence of God cannot be determined.

Others look to the Bible for information on both the origins of our world, and their faith.  The Biblical account can be construed as an allegory or history. Hebrew expert Dr. Steven Boyd concludes it is history.  He writes, “For Genesis 1:1-2:3, this probability is between 0.999942 at a 95% confidence level. Thus, we conclude with statistical certainty that this text is narrative, not poetry. It is therefore statistically indefensible to argue that it is poetry. The hermeneutical implication of this finding is that this text should be read as other historical narratives . . . ” (Dr. Steven Boyd, Associate Professor of Bible, The Master’s College, Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth, Volume II, editors Larry Vardiman, Andrew Snelling, and Eugene Chaffin).

Some Bible-believers believe that the beginning of Genesis is an allegory or that a “day” in Genesis is actually a longer period of time.  A complication for those who believe that creation is millions of years old is that in the fossil remains of rock layers, there is evidence of death, violence, suffering, and disease. This contradicts the Bible’s assertion that God’s creation was “very good,” translated as “it was the very best that it could possible be” (Gen. 1:31), and perfect (Duet. 32:4). It has parallels to heaven. Death came into the world through sin (1 Corinthians 15:21; Romans 8:20-22; Romans 5:12).

Others take a historical and a legal approach to look for the preponderance of the evidence in determining the existence and impact of Christ. They ask questions about Christ, who claimed to be God. Is Jesus crazy, a master manipulator, or stable? How did the Christian movement develop quickly, with its founders who quickly transitioned from fear to a willingness to die for their beliefs in Christ? Are the records trustworthy?

Faith will continue to be a source of comfort. Loss of faith is associated with distress. If God is real, and He offers a interactive relationship, such a relationship is attained through faith. Evidence can be found for the existence of God, or against Biblical claims about God. (Evidence cannot be found against a god, but perhaps against a particular definition of God). Often the evidence found reflects one’s personal preference. The existence of suffering though, is not debated. Where the responsibility lies for the suffering though, continues to be debated.

Top Ten Benefits to Christianity

By Dan Blair, a marriage counselor and family counselor.

While various human beliefs and interpretations of Christianity have played a part in creating havoc in personal and political realms, there are benefits to believing in a loving and personal God. Belief in God has persisted in spite of all the failings of followers. Benefits of faith in God are themselves topics of research. Each is also based on one’s faith (which is often based on what one wants to believe). Everyone has faith; the object of one’s faith differs.

Belief in God affects your view of suffering. Some believe that because of God or other reasons suffering has value or is redeemable. Some think there is too much suffering and that lessens the likelihood of God. Either way, benefits of faith remain:

  1. Gratitude. A renewing of reasons to feel thankful.
  2. Ongoing social support.
  3. Random acts of kindness and organized movements to relieve suffering.
  4. Optimism where good comes from bad.
  5. Strategies for coping; making meaning out of difficulty.
  6. Full forgiveness and the freedom it gives.
  7. Stress management.
  8. A reduction in overthinking and social comparison.
  9. Lasting accomplishments.
  10. Great retirement plan.

We all worship something or someone. The faith of Christianity is also based on intelligent design of the universe and life itself, historical manuscript evidence, archeological finds, accurate prophecy, and the unlikely probability that the Bible written over thousands of years could maintain its integrity and unity. Christians worship a God who is more than a personal crutch; He is a stretcher that carries you. “I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free” (Isaiah 44:22).

The belief is based on the historical Jesus, rejected and crucified on the most recognized symbol in the world, the cross. After his death his followers were swept away and scattered. How did Jesus in relatively short time transform fearful followers to men and women going to their deaths for their beliefs, to transforming a view of humanity of persons and forgiveness, and inspiring all of the institutions, music and art that have roots in Christianity? One cannot reference the calendar or the year without referring to the life of Jesus. For most though, people remain unconvinced until they see God working in their own lives, through regular prayer, Bible reading, and church attendance.

For more information on the reliability of the Bible see this short article.