Why Christ and Christianity?

by Doy Moyer

I am a Christian for several reasons. I cannot make others accept Christ. I cannot tell others what will convince them. I can only provide an accounting for why I am a Christian and hope that others might think about it. Regardless of difficulties encountered by any worldview, here are some reasons why I maintain my faith and would offer for consideration by others:

  • Christianity is a total worldview, not just bits and pieces of scattered information here and there. This is important because we should want a consistent, cohesive, and coherent concept of reality. Christianity makes sense of what we know about reality because it is able to tie the various aspects of reality together into a coherent whole based upon rational, foundational premises. This includes making sense of the problem of suffering, the human ability to think, the dignity of humanity, the need for love and hope, the desire for justice, and the human need to reach out for something greater and higher. Far more can be said here, but other worldviews, particularly those that deny anything outside of material reality (naturalism), cannot provide for what Christianity encompasses. Mindless, purposeless, accidental, chance processes cannot give us the ability to reason, act morally, define good or evil, answer the desire for justice, lay a foundation for grace and forgiveness, or provide for our greatest needs.
  • Christianity is grounded upon a historical crucifixion account that neither Jewish nor Gentile cultures would have invented or accepted unless there is more to the story. It was foolishness to the Gentiles and a stumbling block to the Jews (I Corinthians 1:18ff). The idea that a Jewish peasant from an obscure place in Galilee would be crucified (the most shameful, humiliating death as a criminal) and then proclaimed raised and exalted as the Savior of the world makes no sense for any group to invent or accept if it wasn’t true. Yet here it is, and it cannot be brushed off as if it came out of nowhere for no reason. The writers telling the story intended for it to be understood as actual (Luke 1:1-4), and there is no reason to think this is not the case unless we decide ahead of time that it cannot be true.
  • Resurrection is the “more to the story.” Paul’s argument, written close to the events, is neither easily dismissed historically nor can it be reasonably explained away as a legend. That Paul wrote I Corinthians sometime between AD 50-54 (about 20 years after the events in question) is acknowledged even by skeptics. Paul’s formulaic statement in I Corinthians 15:1-4 shows that the belief was even earlier and goes back to the events themselves. Saying that this was a later invention does not work. Historically the resurrection stands on solid ground.
  • The existence of the church, established in the first century, is grounded in the resurrection from the beginning. If the resurrection is a fable, there would be no reason for the church to have come into existence in the first place. The church did not first come into existence and then later develop the resurrection; rather, the resurrection was its foundation. This, again, highlights the historical nature of the events.
  • There is also a very practical consideration. Christ meets the needs that ring true for human beings. Think about all that we hope for in life. We know that things in this world are not what they ought to be. There is brokenness about what is happening in this world. Evil is real and we long for it to be abolished. Human beings need hope. We need to reach out for something greater than ourselves. We long for fellowship, justice, love, grace, forgiveness, and other intangibles that cannot be explained by brute materialism. Christianity meets these needs and more. It makes sense of the problem of evil and sin, but also provides an answer of grace that leads to renewed hope. In Christ is realized the greatest needs, the noblest aspirations, and fulfills what being human is supposed to be.

I am a Christian, then, because in Christ I see a worldview that makes sense of what we know to be true about reality. It maintains a historical foundation that can be investigated and cannot be easily dismissed without making prior assumptions about reality. I see power in the nature of the Gospel story. When I hear that story and place it aside my sinful life, I see not only the truth of it but also the personal need for it. I need the grace that the story encompasses. I need the love and newness that it brings. I need the God who is the foundation of all and knows me better than I can know myself.

This is also why I’m convinced that we need to tell the Gospel story and let it have its effect. Some will hate it and dismiss it as foolish. Others will see that dismissing it is foolish and it needs to be accepted. The soil will show itself for what it is (what kind of soil are we?), but by all means, spread the message and let that message do its job.

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