Hoping to understand the underlying rationale of Christianity

I’m making this request in IMHO because I am not interested in debating Christianity but I am interested in asking some questions and having Christians answer them so that I can get a better understanding of the rationale underlying traditional Christian beliefs. The questions are not confrontational and I hope that any Christians who are kind enough to respond will keep their answers consistent with a spirit of genuine, sincere inquiry, and (perhaps this goes without saying) I hope that non-Christians will allow the discussion to continue in that same spirit. In other words, I’m hoping this thread will be primarily questions and answers, rather than a theological debate between atheists and Christian apologists.

Thanks.

Here goes:
What do you think is the most basic reason that you believe in God?

I am not Christian, but I am answering this for two reasons:

1 to bump your thread, in hopes that the Christians on the board see it;
2 to ask a (slightly nosy) question: Are you considering conversion? Or just interested in the tenets of Christianity? Have you read the Bible? Have you considered any other religions? Or are you trying to “pin down” the definition of a Christian, which is nearly impossible I’ve found.

I ask because I went through a period of searching, where I did look into Christianity. Also because I’m merely curious. You don’t have to answer, of course.

(I am atheist, BTW).

A. There is no other reasonable answer to life. I find comfort that people who we consider super intelligent (Einstien), have come to the conclusion that the universe is so complex that there would have to be a God.

I’m not a Christian, but I believe there is a power in the universe. Call it God, Fate, Evolution, Mother Nature, The Force, what have you, I think there is something more powerful than us out there. I have seen too many nature shows and the incredible perfect fit that is evolution to believe it could happen by chance.

I do not feel the need to worship such a Power, but I respect it.

No problem with the questions. :slight_smile:

  1. Are you considering conversion? No.
  2. Or just interested in the tenets of Christianity? Already quite familiar with them.
  3. Have you read the Bible? Large parts of it.
  4. Have you considered any other religions? Yes, but I don’t belong to any religion.
  5. Or are you trying to “pin down” the definition of a Christian, which is nearly impossible I’ve found. No.

One of the greatest mysteries for me is the fact that billions of people belong to various religions, *and * there are many people who have no use for religion. It’s the conflicting beliefs of millions of intelligent, consicentious truth-seekers that I find perplexing. That so many people believe in Christianity is no more perplexing than the belief in other religions, but I am more familiar with Christianity.

Christianity cannot be really irrational, otherwise it would not have lasted so long. It seems to me that there must be a rational foundation, and yet I no longer understand that foundation.

So it’s like psychological, sociological, anthropological research.
I’m looking for a better understanding, not of Christianity, but of *why * some people believe in it.

Hope that helps.

Christian theology professor here.

Short answer: The foundational belief of Christianity is “Jesus is Lord.” Although we come in a lot of different flavors and varieties, we are united in that confession. We believe that God has revealed himself uniquely in Jesus Christ, and through him provided the way of reconciliation (salvation) to himself.

Longer answer: I gotta run off to work in a couple hours, but I will try to revisit this thread when I come back in the afternoon.

Peace to all.

The most basic reason for me comes down to a sense that I prefer to believe that there is a point or purpose to life. I can’t offer evidence that life didn’t ‘jest grewed’ I just find that a harder idea to swallow than the idea of a Diety.

As for why I remain Catholic, in spite of serious disagreements with some church policies that gets into doctrinal beliefs, and my own upbringing. I just haven’t seen a good reason to change from Christianity to a different religion - and so I remain where I am… but full of questions.

Basically, “Why do you believe in God?”

Answer: Because He exists, and He has revealed Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ.

The Bible (and the teachings of the Church, if one belongs to a Church-dependent denomination rather than a Bible-dependent denomination*) tell a story of God’s involvement with, plans for, concern about, and gifts to humanity. God so loved humanity that He became human for our sake, suffered humanity for our sake, accepted our rebuke for our sake, sacrificed Himself to Himself for our sake. The Good News is basically a revelation of God to humanity, and a relevation of God’s love to humanity.

There are, of course, other theories as to why Christians believe in God. Some believe in God because it is only logical to conclude that He exists. One such theory is that, regardless how Creation occurred, there had to be a Prime Mover, an Organizer, for the universe and everything in it to be created. To use a Masonic term, God is Great Architect of the Universe. God’s involvement can be seen in everything, as everything gives proof that there had to be a Higher Intelligence, Something/Someone to bring everything together in the marvelous way it has come together.

God can further be known through His revelation through His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Word (the Bible and the Son) (and through His Church, if applicable).

*Examples of Church-dependent denominations are:
the Catholic Church
the Orthodox Communion
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Jehovah’s Witnesses

Examples of Bible-dependent denominations include most of Protestantism, particularly Baptists, Evangelicism, and Pentacostalism.

WRS

I believe in God because the universe seems to be too orderly, too structured, to have been created as the result of random chance. Also, I believe in the Intelligent Design theory of evolution. Evolution just seems to be too “smart” to be totally random and unguided.

One of the fundamental properties of Christianity is hope. Hope that greed, hatred, powerlust, and other forms of wickedness will not rule human hearts forever. Hope that death is not the end of your existance. Hope that, ultimately, your life has meaning.

The other fundamental property is love for humanity. Ideally, a Christian should be generous and merciful to everyone, including non-Christians, and even people who hate you and work against you. Obviously, not everyone does this. It’s a very counter-intuitive mindset, running against our animal instincts which tell us to hoard up as much as we can and crush our enemies. Everyone gives in to these desires to a certain degree, but the “Golden Rule” is the ideal which all Christians try to live up to.

I’m Catholic, by the way.

I would ask…Who created the place for God in which to exist?
Is God Place and Being? To be in existance one needs a place first…Who then created Place and space? Buddah’s Golden rule(500BC) is indeed a good rule to follow.

Life itself is meaning and purpose.

Did you ever drop a spot of ink and have it form a perfect star…No design…Just chance. It has happened.

Monavis

Here are some reasons, for me, for beliving in a God:

  1. Life is too meaningful for something as cruel as Death.

  2. Men is insignificiant compared to the vast comso. Beliving in a God maintains the belief that our life is worth living.

  3. Men, at times, desperately seek someone who would love them for what they are for, accept them despite their failings, staying faithful even when betrayed. God fits all the critera. Yeah, it doesn’t seem so apparent, but that’s one core aspect of the Christian faith. AFAIK, I can only speak from a Protestant point of view.

Thanks.

Frankly, I don’t understand the connection between a belief in God and your first two points. (But that’s okay. Just because I don’t understand, doesn’t mean that it’s wrong.)

The third point seems to be based on (and forgive me but I’m using concepts that you introduced) desperation and a feeling of failing. Would the need for believing in God be less for someone who is not as desperate and who feels less of a failure?

And I don’t want to make a big deal about your choice of words. I realize that there is a big difference between believing in something and being able to articulate that belief in a way that a non-believer understands.

So, the way I understand it, Jesus is Lord, and his human death was necessary for humans to reconcile with the Father/Son/Holy Spirit. Is that right?

Are there any sources besides the Bible for believing that we are “unreconciled” or “unsaved”?

Also, when you say “Jesus is Lord”, how is that different from saying “God is Lord”?

Would you please clarify what you mean by “revealed Himself”? Specifically, do you mean “revealed” only in the past, or “reveals” himself today as well?

Thanks.

When I am thinking about the first point, I was thinking about afterlife, and the resurrection, and the Christian God promises both. It seems so cruel that our memories here and relationships would end, when death comes, especially considering how priceless they are.

On the second point, it is related to the first point. I think I desperately needs to know that the life I led is meaningful. That out of a few billion people on this planet, that there’s someone who actually cares about me, as an individual, not as a generic racial group, or a consumer group. It’s a personal belief, not part of any doctrine.

On the third point, yes, you grasp the essence of desperation and failure. A huge part of Christanity is about men not being able to live up to the standard of God, not being able to follow the laws and commandments laid out by God, and needs Jesus to find their way to God.

Desperation is what always, IMHO, led a Christian to God. The realisation that he is not good enough and needs God. Most prominent Christians in history experienced such times. Martin Luther, C.S Lewis – to name a few.

You might be right a person who is less desperate, and less of a failure, may feel there’s no need for a God. In a way, Jesus said so on the Sermon of the Mount, where the poor will be blessed…it seems that people who are not so successful in life sees the need for a God more than those who are rich and successful. The gospel actually threatens those who are rich and successful.

I am not saying Christians are not supposed to be rich and successful. I think that the mindset of Christians are one of “By myself alone I am too weak, not good enough, to keep God’s commandments, and therefore I need to accept Jesus’ offer of salvation.”

I am not saying those three are good reasons why someone shall become a Christian. I just saying what, IMHO, keeps acknowledging that there’s a God despite Christians who has a less them stellar peformance (not that I am a saint, anyway) and the recent hatred spawned by many churches.

In the Old Testament, God primarily made himself know to his believers through the Law and the Prophet. There is this sense of awe and fear about God, which keeps the believers at a distance.

In the New Testament, Jesus, being the Son of God, and God at the same time, reveal to us ultimately what God cares about. Jesus weeps for the lost. The Father in Heaven does so. Jesus makes a big deal about the little children. So does God too. Jesus weeps for his friend, Lazurus, when he died. So God does too. What is Jesus’ answer to all the suffering around him? He didn’t judge them, nor ask them to have more faith. He had compassion on them and healed them, and is inwardly moved by them.

In one of the books Philip Yancey has wrote (one of the few Christian authors who is so candidly honest about this strange faith), he mentioned that Jesus basicially put a human face to God, to bridge the gulf between Him and us.

That’s to my understanding, though. Others may have other interperations.

My faith is more akin to poetry. It is neither rational nor irrational. It just is. My faith got a foothold because I was born into a Christian family. But my understanding develops from experience.