By L. Alfred James
We are moving towards the end of a long series of blog posts that has provided an intellectual pathway for moving someone (or yourself) all the way from hardcore atheism to biblical Christianity. This week, as we begin bringing this series to a close, I’d like to lay out each one of the major stepping stones that have marked this pathway, hoping that you will see for yourself that the cumulative case for Christianity is extremely powerful. (By the way, everything I say here is an abridged version of what I’ve covered over the past few months. If anything strikes you as interesting, you will want to check out my previous posts on that topic.) Here is what we’ve seen.
1. There is a supernatural realm
Neither the beginning of the universe nor the origin of life can be explained without invoking some kind of supernatural entity to create them. Likewise, the evidence for demons, and the evidence that we have souls further confirm the existence of a realm that transcends this physical world. Why is this important? Because it means that materialism, the most hardcore form of atheism, is false.
2. God is personal
The DNA that is in every organism contains tons of information—very specified and detailed information—for building and maintaining that organism. But we know of no natural force that can generate (that is, create) such specific and detailed information. Only intelligence can generate it. Thus, whatever created life is also intelligent.
By the same token, the universe itself is exquisitely fine-tuned to support life. There are dozens of different physical forces and laws that are just the right strength in order to make the universe capable of supporting us. If they were even one percent stronger or weaker, the universe would be incapable of supporting life. It is flat out impossible for this fine-tuning to simply be the result of chance. And the universe obviously didn’t have to be like this (it’s easy to imagine these forces being stronger or weaker). Therefore, whatever created the universe must also be intelligent.
Moreover, whatever created life and the universe must be a person, because it is impossible to conceive of intelligence apart from personhood. (Intelligence does not just float around in space, detached from a center of consciousness.) Therefore, God is a Person, not merely a force. Why does this matter? Because it means that those religions that believe an impersonal force created the universe or created life (as is the case with many Eastern Religions) are false.
3. Christianity is unique
Apart from Old Testament Judaism, Christianity is the only world religion that bases its truth claims on historical events. This is because the other world religions are mere philosophies, not supernatural interventions from God. Likewise, Christianity is the only religion that does not require its adherents to become good in order to have a relationship with God. It says you can never be good enough to earn God’s love. But, and here is the good news, God loves you as you are and suffered enormously to remain perfectly just while also being merciful.
Another unique thing about Christianity is the role it played in the development of modern science. It contributed numerous foundational beliefs (to the worldview of Western Europe) that explain why modern science did not begin in ancient Greece, India, China, or Egypt. Without Christianity, we simply would not have modern science as we know it. Neither Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, or atheism made such a gigantic contribution to the intellectual growth of science.
We’ve also seen that anthropologists have recognized that the only effective cure for demonic possession (a phenomenon that exists in every culture in the world) is exorcism in the name of Jesus. What does this mean? It means that Christianity stands apart (and above) all of the other religions of the world. And it also means that it is intellectually dishonest to lump Christianity together with all of the other world religions and say that they all “basically teach the same thing.” Not by a long shot. The other world religions do not preach grace, do not deliver people from demons, and did not contribute much of anything to the birth of science.
4. The evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is very powerful
The historical facts of the empty tomb, the un-Jewish beliefs of the disciples, the appearances of Jesus after his death, and the conversions of Paul and James are simply inexplicable if the resurrection did not really happen. There is no explanation that can account for these four facts apart from the resurrection. Why does this matter? It means that Jesus’ actually rose from the dead.
If we put all four of these things together, the only conclusion one can possibly draw is that Christianity is actually true. There is no way around this conclusion. The existence of the supernatural realm proves that materialism is false. The evidence from intelligent design proves that God is personal. The uniqueness of Christianity proves that the modern tendency to lump all of the world’s religions together is pure intellectual sloppiness. And the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus is the final form of proof. It means that he is who he said he is, God in the flesh. This, obviously, entails that Christianity is true.
Objections and Questions
This, of course, is not the end of the conversation. In the next few weeks we will address some lingering doubts that might still remain in the back of your mind. After all, even if the evidence for Christianity is persuasive, there are still some legitimate questions and objections that remain to be addressed. For instance, you might wonder:
- Isn’t logic the opposite of faith?
- Don’t all religions lead to God?
- How can a loving and powerful God allow evil and suffering?
- How do we know Jesus was God?
- Why would a loving God send good people to hell?
In my experience I have come to see that these are usually honest questions asked by sincere people. But I have also come to see that for each one of these questions there is a very solid answer that reaffirms the biblical worldview. Indeed, I firmly believe that each question, when properly answered, only leads us to deepen our conviction that the God of the Bible is the one true God.