It seems lately that there is much turmoil and heated debates about religious profiling.The events in the middle east have made it so that the non-Muslim people living there, cannot live there anymore without persecution. Because of this many countries, like the US are accepting these people as refugees. Some of the political groups in America however are not supporting the collective American decision to accept these refugees, because of the fact that many of the refugees are Muslim. This has given way to much debate about not only the ethnic persecution that was supposed to have been gone from America, thanks to people during the African-American Civil Rights Movement, but also the religious persecution.
In the midst of these times I feel it is easy to become excited for one side or another and to say things and believe things that later might be regretted. So because of that I personally must remind myself what I believe and why I believe in it. I took some time to remind myself of why Christianity is the religion I know to be real and correct and why I’d even call myself to be a follower of Christ.
So how do we know Christianity is real?
The basis of the religionThe most over used but overly important verse used from the Bible is the famous John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life This verse is the key to our beliefs, for if Jesus never came we wouldn't be able to keep up with the old promises of salvation, along with all the rules and regulations in the old testament of the Bible. Another equally important verse is Matthew 28:6: He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay This verse is important because without Jesus rising from the dead like he promised, Christianity would not make sense or even be real. The entire bible and the religion of Christianity hinges on this verse and it being true. So how do we know this is true? Can archaeology prove it? The answer here is: no. But archaeology can’t disprove it, since if there’s no body, there’s no evidence. The rest is up to the potential follower of Christ to decide.
God loved us even before the sacrificeThis is also another important point to understand but not a critical part of Christianity. In Christianity, Jesus loved us before he ever came to the Earth to save us. He loved us in our sin, that is to say he unconditionally loved us even though we weren't perfect. Instead of coming in and judging us, he moves in with us just as we are. Instead of a wrecking ball, he brings a suitcase. I don't know about you, but it’s hard for me to unconditionally love people. They must either prove themselves worthy of my love or be in some circumstance for me to love them, e.g. be family. I couldn’t imagine loving every single person the same way and at the same level no matter what. But God did, does and forever will. And now that we’re all saved because of Jesus sacrifice, God can love us and be with us: Just read Ephesian 2:8-9: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
The spirit is in us, not aroundGod wants to have a relationship with us, here on earth and after we pass. That’s why God sent His spirit to us, in order to be able to communicate with us while we’re here on Earth. If you know anything about computer networking, the spirit is like a proxy server. Or if you don’t know about computer networking, the spirit is like a translator or messenger in a way. He is there in place of God so that we can “be” with God until we are actually with God. This spirit thing relates to what some call the Trinity. Although the concept of the Trinity is not explicitly in the Bible, there are a many verse that tell us that there is definitely one God, one Son and one Spirit. I’m not going to go into that here though. The important thing, is that when you accept Jesus’ gift of salvation. the spirit comes to live in you. This is put another way in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. God wants to be with us, have a relationship with us and be there for us. He does this with His spirit until we can be with Him one day.
The contrast with other religionIn all other religions the doctrine that is followed came from one single human being and that person was the authority for the knowledge of the religion: Mormon and John smith, Islam and Muhammad, Siddhartha Gautama as the supreme Buddha. But the bible was written by many different authors, some related and close, others not. The bible began to be written in about 3000 BC by people like Abraham, and was finally finished by some of Jesus’ apostles
It’s all about loveI read a story one time about a father who never really understood why Christians were supposed to tithe or give money. He just thought that the church needed his hard earned money, so he had to give to keep the church doors open. This father understood that Jesus died on the cross to accept all sins for humanity and that if you just believe that Jesus did that and accepted his gift that you’d be saved. Well, as every morning, the father was up early reading and one of his children came down from their bedroom because he couldn’t sleep. The father picked up his son and put him on his lap as the boy had explained he was having bad dreams. The son soon fell asleep in his father’s lap and while he was sleeping the father looked down on his son and thought “What if anything every happened to him? What if I ever had to give him away like God gave his son?” Suddenly the father had a revelation: that we don’t give in order to fund the church or do God’s will, we are supposed to give in order to be more like God. God is a giving and loving God, and that makes up God’s core. We can love one another, tell the truth all the time, or do other “good people” stuff but until we give our time and our treasures we won’t be able to fully call ourselves followers of Christ. God gave his only son, and Christ gave himself. Really when it all boils down, Christianity is supposed to be all about love and giving. Jesus explains this in Matthew 22:36-40 : “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I do believe there is a right or wrong here just like some of the other religions believe that their religion is the “correct” one. I don’t think that followers of different religions should let this be a means for conflict though. Instead we should challenge each other, ask questions and write out our beliefs so that others may find out others’ ways of thinking. Archaeology and other forms of science can’t prove that the bible was inspired by God himself, that’s for you to decide: Is Christianity real?