Recently a man wrote to our behind-the-scenes mailbox asking a very profound, albeit a bit sarcastic, question (detailed below). Now the brief imaginary scenario below actually brings up to Christians a valid question: Why Should I Choose Christianity?
Submitted by Jerry K: “Please convince me!”
Jerry’s comment: Once there was a young man in search of God. In his pilgrimage he first met a Christian minister who told him that if he didn’t accept Jesus, he would suffer in hell throughout eternity. This didn’t sound like a message of love so he continued on and met a Sunni Muslim who told him that if he didn’t accept Sunni’s Allah he would die and suffer for eternity in hell. He continued on and met a Shia Muslim, a Mormon, and a Roman Catholic, all of whom told him the same thing. So the young man didn’t know who to believe so he lived out his life worshiping an unknown universal god and loving his fellow people. When he died god told him that since he guessed wrong he was going to hell. “How was I to know, they all told me the same thing” asked the young man. “Tough luck,” replied god.
Now, Jerry’s question cannot be answered quickly, lightly or superficially. Indeed, countless volumes have been written on the subject over the centuries. Nothing short of a doctoral dissertation will really serve to answer the vast implications of his question. About all that one can do in this very limited setting and format is to give a brief general outline of evidences for the validity of Christianity. Other commenters may certainly join in and fill in some of the gaps and/or provide other evidences. Of course, for the hardened atheist, or the obstinate skeptic, possibly no amount of proofs will pierce the crusty shell of unbelief.
Selected Evidences for the Validity of Christ and Christianity:
Recommended Reading: “A Case for Christ,” by Lee Strobel
1. Uniqueness of the Bible: written by forty authors from eight countries over fifteen hundred years in three languages and all with a consistent and unique message of a God of love who ransomed us from our sins.
2. Old Testament prophecies fulfilled hundreds of years after the time of their writing in and through the person of Jesus Christ (over 300 by many counts). Examples: precise details of Christ’s crucifixion were written in Isaiah 52-53 and Psalm 22 (crucifixion, used as a means of capital punishment would not even exist for several hundred years to come at the point that the prophecies were made).
3. The Book of Daniel correctly predicted in detail the rise and fall of several world empires, including Rome, Greece and Persia.
4. One of the greatest “name” prophecies of Scripture was that of King Cyrus of Persia. Think of it, God prophesied through Isaiah (Isaiah 44:26-45:3) that a great leader named Cyrus would be God’s instrument to bring the Jews back to their homeland in Jerusalem and Judea nearly two hundred years before the events occurred! To prophesy generalized events which will occur is one marvelous miracle, but for the prophet actually to name the individual through whom the prophecy will be accomplished is nothing short of breathtaking! This is a situation in which Scripture really comes alive as the reader digs beyond the casual glance and compares various texts. Not only does Isaiah’s prophecy from God name the leader who would carry out the fulfillment of the prophecy, but the text (especially Isaiah 45:1-3) specifies the means by which the fulfillment was to take place: “to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him so that the gates will not be shut: . . . I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” These statements are a distinctly perspicuous reference to Cyrus’ leadership of the Medes and Persians on that fateful night in which they diverted the Euphrates River, cut the bars of iron under the walls of Babylon, and stormed the city. Secular tradition also details that the inner bronze gates were mysteriously left unlocked that night which allowed the soldiers, once through the outer wall, easy access into the heart of the city. All of these descriptions dovetail perfectly with the events of the takeover of Babylon as described by Daniel in chapter five.
5. Modern archaelogical evidences verify the authenticity of the Bible. Examples: The Nabonidus Chronicles and early cylinders (British Museum) authenticate leaders and events mentioned in Daniel. (See for one ref., Edwin Yamachi, “The Stones and the Scriptures”): Excavations have proven the veracity of the events of Joshua 11, the taking of and destruction by fire of the city of Hazor.
6. Ancient secular historians, such as Tacitus and Josephus, verify the historicity of Jesus, the crucifixion and events surrounding and including the early Christian church.
7. Ancient very early manuscript evidences (Rylands Papyrus of part of John, dating to 135 A.D.; Dead Sea Scrolls predating the Christian era by a couple of hundred years or more contain almost the entire Old Testament intact).
8. The Books of Acts and 1 Corinthians chronicle that hundreds of eyewitnesses verified the reality of the resurrected Christ Jesus. Christianity is unique in being the only religion or belief system which has a living founder!
9. Twenty centuries of Christendom validate the magnificent impact of Christ Jesus on the world.
I’ll stop for now and give others a chance to add to the list.