A Quick Intro
Several years ago I unwillingly accepted that Christianity was not tenable. However, I only temporarily was at peace with that position. Why? Probably because I still want Christianity (or some form of theism) to be true. So I’m taking another stab at it. This will be the most thorough investigation I ever undertake. If Christianity fails this time, I mean undoubtedly fails… I will give up on it.
My reasoning for that conclusion is that I studied to defend Christianity, that led to studying to destroy it, and now maybe I can be far more rational against both positions if I stay focused through this project.
So it begins…
I am currently going through Dr. William Craig’s book, Reasonable Faith, 3rd Edition. I think that studying the “reasonableness” of Christianity is a good goal. It acknowledges the limits of human knowledge while providing a method for accepting either of the propositions “Christianity is likely false” and “Christianity is likely true.” To be reasonable, Christianity must offer a comprehensive case that favors itself over other worldviews.
But what do I mean exactly by “Christianity”? Not everyone will agree to my understanding of that faith, but by it I mean a faith that claims that
- God created the universe,
- Humanity disobeyed God and brought a curse upon itself,
- Jesus was sacrificed to atone for humanity’s sins,
- And that there a future hope for believers in Christ.
If Christianity can live up to this core, then I can avoid the weeds of various interpretations and theological nuances. For example, I do not have to worry about the birth of Jesus being miraculous or not with this model. I do not want to throw the baby out with the bath water. That being said, however, I will make the assertion that if God exists, then miracles may be possible. If a personal (agent) God exists that is free to act in the universe, then miracles are possible. The type of God we are talking about it quite important, so we have a few pre-requisites to discuss before moving on to the four points above.
A few more details
Considering the first point, there’s no need to go into all of the debates over the nature of God. We just need to know what God Christianity asserts created the universe. This is fairly easy to do since the literature on it is abundant. I’ll use Dr. Norman Geisler’s definition of the theistic God:
“Now one infinite, uncaused, personal, morally perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful Being that caused finite being(s) like itself to exist is what is meant by a theistic God” (Geisler, Christian Apologetics, 267).
I find this definition to be in historical agreement with the majority of Christian theologians.
The second, third and fourth points all rely on the Bible being divinely inspired and factually accurate. By this I mean that the Bible must be one of the miraculous interventions (or rather many interventions) of God in the universe; the Bible must be connected to God somehow. The Bible must also be accurate historically, scientifically, and internally consistent. This will require an investigation into the collection of books that has had such a strong hold on human civilization over the millennia. I will need to establish the amount of reliability that the Bible can afford.
Finally, I will look at the whether Jesus was a real person or mythical being. As silly as this may sound to some, there is actually a strong case for Jesus’ never existing as a real human. In order for Christianity to be true in its historic sense, Jesus must have been real.