What is your best reason for being a Christian?
My best reason for being (or should I say staying) a Christian is the changes I see in my life as a result of it. I know what kind of person I can be, I’m self absorbed, judgmental, vain, lazy, indifferent, amongst other things. But when I turn my sights away from myself and focus it on Jesus Christ, I change. Lots of people get it confused, they think that Christianity is a bunch of rules you’re supposed to follow and that they will somehow magically lead you to happiness, but that’s absolutely not what it’s about. It’s about forming a relationship with Christ and letting him change you into who you were meant to be. As that happens, your character changes, you find happiness, and you no longer have to “try” to follow any rules, you just start living that way. In my case, I find myself less and less self-absorbed, judgmental, etc, and more patient, loving, kind, etc. The change in my life that Christ makes is my best reason for being a Christian.
What evidence or experience (if any) would cause you to stop believing in God?
Nothing. Call it a “logical blind spot” if you will, but when you think about Christianity, the story is not supposed to be logical. What’s “logical” about the creator of the universe becoming human and dying a criminal’s death so humans, who turned away from Him in the first place, could spend eternity with Him? Nothing. There is absolutely nothing logical about that. But God does not operate based on human logic, He operates based on love. And I will choose God’s love in my life over human logic everyday of the week.
Why do you believe Christianity has a stronger claim to truth than other religions/On what basis do you reject the truth claims of other traditions and denominations but accept your own?
Look around. Look at the world we live in. I am sure everyone reading has at some point come to the realization that this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. Where Christianity deviates is that we accept that we have contributed to the state of the world and can’t fix it. Heck, we can’t even fix ourselves. Instead we turn to God, who willingly stoops down to lift us up to Him. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about admitting we aren’t perfect and can’t do it on our own, but God, out of His unending love for us, has come down to help us. For me, that truth is what sets the Christian God apart from all others. As for other denominations, I don’t think there is one particular one that is “right” and all the others are “wrong”, I think different denominations within the Christian faith exist to suit different types of people and different purposes. The Bible says is Church is a body, each composing different parts of it. They are supposed to be different to a certain degree, just like the members inside of it. I think everyone of them can bring something important to the table and to the Body of Christ.
How do you read the Bible? Do you study the history of its translations? How do you decide which translations/versions/books are the true Bible? How does it guide you if you have a moral or theological dilemma?
I usually try and read the Bible with a study guide to give me a historical background so I have greater understanding of what I’m reading and how it is supposed to be read. Usually the study guide will reference the original language so it comes pretty close to conveying the correct meaning of the passage. Considering how different out culture is from the original audience of the intended books or letters, I think this is an integral part of learning the Bible. Most of my questions are more theological than moral for me, and I would start by looking up passages relevant to my question, and understanding as well the context in which those passages were written. Anyone can whip a verse of of the Bible and use to “prove” their “point”, but there’s a lot more to understanding a passage than that. Not every answer I have considering certain passages and their understandings have been answered, and that’s okay. For me, wondering what Paul meant when he wrote Romans 2 or whether someone who turned away from Christ was ever a “true” Christian in the first place, just simply aren’t big enough questions for me to turn way from my belief in Jesus Christ. It doesn’t mean I’ll stop searching for the answers, it just means they are in no way an impediment to the gospel for me.
Voting opens Friday afternoon