Is Christianity Real?
It's a question which many people are asking. Can it truly change lives and make families stronger? Can it provide answers for the concerns of life? Does it work?
When a person chooses to follow the values of Jesus in his or her attitudes and behaviors, that person will see the difference Christianity makes. This choice will have an impact on their relationships as well as others around them.
For example, the person who chooses to practice self-control, a Christian value (2 Peter 1:6), will avoid drunkenness and other over-indulgences. By making that choice he or she will avoid the problems and consequences that often follow intoxication. The one who chooses to love and nourish his wife emotionally, with her respecting him (Ephesians 5:29 & 33), will find that their relationship is better equipped to face the trying variables of life.
Both of these choices are examples of choosing to adopt Christian values which will have very real positive impacts. The impacts will occur in the daily life of the individual. He or she will be found influencing those around him or her as they are free of the harms which drunk driving or a distant spouse can bring, for instance. Even strangers are better off as they escape the dangers of others' poor choices.
This may seem as an oversimplification. But, in reality, when we consider that each person makes his own decisions and he or she impacts the world closest to him or her by those decisions it's clear to see that both large and small decisions are real. They are daily decisions to live for God.
For a Christian, his or her decisions are made on the basis that there is a God. God will hold men and women accountable for their choices. For those who seek God, He has provided a way to be forgiven for wrong choices. But for those who are disinterested or refuse to acknowledge God, the accountability remains. The Christian's decisions then are based on wanting to live in a restored relationship with God. His or her desire is to honor God and live in a way they can know is pleasing to God.
Christianity works because Christians believe that since God is loving, by following His principles in life, Christians can have a positive impact in this world. Christians are motivated out of their relationship with God. When they follow these principles in every aspect of life, their lives and those around them are better off.
Is Chistianity Relevant?
A similar question is whether or not Christianity is relevant. Let's face it; there are many problems in the world. There are conflicts of interest and issues of every kind which people encounter. It's hard to imagine thinking of personal religion when it comes to school violence, genocide in Darfur, or our current economic challenges.
However, Christianity's relevance is visible when we consider, for example, school violence. How we respond to this concern is impacted by living out what the Bible says about parenting. We may not be able to control what choices others make, but we can do what we can to ensure our children do not contribute to underlying symptoms that lead to it. Also, as Christians we can reach out with love and compassion to those at risk to commit school violence.
As Christians our hearts break whenever and wherever we see genocide. One reason we invest so much in international efforts is teach the Gospel and message of love to others. As more individuals in those countries adopt Christian values, the attitudes and behaviors which lead to the acceptance of genocide will decline. At the same time, Christians contribute heavily to medical and educational missions which seek to address the horrific consequences of genocide.
Finally, we see the relevance of Christianity for our nation's economic woes. A number of Biblical passages discuss issues such as contentment, greed, diligent work, and savings. Much of our economic crisis was created by a large portion of our society seeking more than they could afford and trying to swim out of the swirling waters of consumer debt. Practicing Christian principles would not necessarily remove all the financial stresses, but it would certainly place families in better positions to ride out the storm. Having followed these principles would have allowed Christians to avoid the behaviors which led to the financial crisis. Had more Americans been content and avoided consumer debt as well as risky mortgages, we may have side-stepped some of the leading factors contributing to the crisis.
Is Christianity Exclusive?
Christianity is not exclusive in the sense that it is open to all. Anyone who desires a relationship with God through Christ can have it. Any person who follows what the New Testament teaches regarding repentance and baptism can enter this relationship with God (Acts 17:30, 2:38, 2 Corinthians 5:18).
Some who ask this question may truly have in mind a value of religious tolerance in the sense that no religion should claim to be the only one true religion. In this sense it is correct that Christianity does teach that it is the only way into a right relationship with God and all the good things that come in that relationship. Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me' (John 14:6). However, Christians are still called to treat others with respect and kindness (Colossians 4:6 and 1 Peter 3:15).
Does Christianity Teach People are Inherently Evil?
Christianity does not teach this. Some denominational groups make this claim either through the concept of 'original sin' which suggests that all people are born with a portion of Adam's sin (Genesis 3). Others make this claim through 'total depravity' which suggests that when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden mankind declined into such sinful thinking that mankind is unable to even consider God for themselves.
Yet, the Bible does not teach either of these concepts. When Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Garden of Eden, God says, ' 'Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever' ??" therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden',' (Genesis 3:22-23). Instead, each person falls out of a relationship with God at the point of his or her own sin and therefore needs God's grace and help to be reconciled to Him (Romans 3:23-26).
Is Christianity Opposed to Science?
Many seem to think that Christians and Christianity are opposed to science. There is nothing in the Bible to suggest it is wrong to look to science for answers for natural phenomena. In fact, very little of the Bible seeks to address the 'how and why' things in nature work. Science, of course, is concerned with describing natural processes by empirical study (observing, hypothesis, testing, etc.).
The study of origins is one area in which the dominate paradigm within the scientific community is contrary to the Biblical account of creation. Christianity and the Bible does not deny the value or importance of science as a method merely because the modern paradigm is in conflict with the Biblical claim. Much of the evidence sited by the seeming majority of scientists in support of this paradigm has been interpreted to support macroevolution. However, much of this evidence can also be interpreted to support creation.
Is Christianity Homophobic?
Christianity and the Bible teach that all people should be moral, monogamous, and heterosexual in their sexuality. It also teaches that Christians should be respectful of all people. All men and women are created in the image of God. We should be kind to all and want all to have a loving relationship with God and Christ.
A number of passages in both the Old and New Testaments teach that God wants men and women to enjoy sexual intimacy in the marriage relationship. All behaviors which undermine this relationship are seen as sinful (Hebrews 13:4). The choice to engage in homosexual intimacy is just one of a variety of sexual sins the Bible speaks against. Yet, the Bible contains reference to those who repented from practicing homosexuality and having become Christians (1 Corinthians 6:11). Christians should lovingly accept anyone who seeks to put sexual sins of any kind behind them.
We realize you may have other questions. Perhaps these answers raise other questions. Whatever the case maybe, please feel free to e-mail us or call us if you would like to discuss these with us.