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Weighing the evidence

 

The Christian faith is true.  That is what I believe.  It is true in the normal sense of the word.  Factual.  Real.  Objectively true.

Although it might make me rub my eyes sometimes, that is what truth can be like.  There are some astonishing facts in the world.

Many of the people in Jesus’ time found it hard to believe that he was who he claimed.  And many didn’t believe.  But some did.

That is very similar to now.  They were savvy and sceptical people.  They divided into those who believed in Jesus (the minority) and those who didn’t (the majority).

Which side of the fence will we choose?  Siding with the majority is sometimes easier.  But majorities can be wrong.  With anything important it is good to study the evidence.

What you find is that there is plenty of evidence for Jesus, for his goodness, for the profoundness of his teaching.  I gather that the Bible is still the best-selling book in the world.

But it goes further than just being a great teacher.  There is a lot of evidence for Jesus having risen from the dead, and never dying again.  Which if true, puts the seal on his claim to be God.

Like any historical event, it is impossible to prove like a mathematical calculation.  With history all we have is evidence.  Then we have to decide whether, having weighed the evidence, we are convinced or not.

I have found the evidence compelling.  It drew me to look more closely at the person of Jesus, and at what he said.  It weaves together into a marvellous, life-giving whole.  I committed my life to him when I was 14.

Since then I have grown in faith and understanding, and (it seems to me) in love and patience, though I have a long way still to go on both of those.  It seems to me that God is gradually forming my character, and guiding my steps.

It has felt like the light is shining, on me and on the world around me.  Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world.’  The light, or rather Jesus, encourages and guides me and many others, as we walk through this marvellous but also troubled world.

I have found that Jesus’ promises come true, and I’m enormously reassured by his promise that it will all be all right in the end.  Eternal life sounds wonderful.  The Bible says that it begins now, in part, and is made complete when we die.  It is backed by the strong evidence of Jesus’ life and resurrection, conquering death.

All this must sound extraordinary to the person who hears it for the first time.  But extraordinary things are sometimes true.

Investigate, look at the evidence, weigh it, and see what you think.

A good place to start is the Bible (choose one of the gospels to begin with).  Other books can help too, for example Nicky Gumbel’s ‘Questions of Life’, or ‘Mere Christianity’ by C.S.Lewis.

Another place to start is by quizzing a Christian friend.

A third option is to find a lively church (there are many), particularly one that is running the Alpha Course.  Do the course, or just turn up at the church and consider what you see and hear.

The evidence is all around.  It’s there to be examined.  You will come to your own conclusion.

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