ChurchETHOS

Faith Propositions

Posted in theology by Nathan Creitz on January 2, 2008

What do I really believe? Here are a couple of one sentence propositions for you to mull over. I will try to keep each explanation clear and concise. However, I realize this will make each proposition open to much critique. If you think any argument is shallow or needs better articulation, please let me know.

Proposition #1 – Religion is man-made.
It seems that most people desire to connect with the divine. The problem is that most people believe we should “make our own path” and not force our beliefs on others. This opens the door for religions to spring up from virtually every corner. Some choose established religions, others create their own from scratch. In the end, they make God in their own image rather than believing that we were created in His. Each religion will have to stand on its own merit, but since religion is “man’s attempt to get to God”, I find myself very untrusting of religion.

Proposition #2 – Some religions must be false.
Thanks to the philosophical “Law of Non-Contradiction” not every religion can be true. In a broad sense, there are basically only three kinds of religions: those that believe there is no god, those that believe in one God, and those that believe in many gods. Not all of those worldviews can be admissible. Even without exploring the evidence for or against each of those concepts (atheism, monotheism, polytheism), we must immediately ascertain that two of them are false.

Proposition #3 – Assuming there is only one God, only three major world religions stand out (and they all were started by Abraham, arguably).
Without trying to convince anyone that there is only one God, I only want to argue here that there are only three great monotheistic traditions and they originated from the same person. The oldest of these is Judaism, but even within Judaism there is a prophecy of a Messiah that will come (some prophecies even place the coming of the Messiah on or near the year of the birth of Jesus Christ and put him in Bethlehem, born of a virgin, from the line of Judah, Jesse, David, Benjamin, and Abraham…hundreds of other prophecies point to Jesus as the Messiah).
Christianity is the second of the great monotheistic traditions and teaches that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God. Jesus teaches that He didn’t come to fulfill the beliefs of the Jews, not to abolish it. Jesus teaches that He is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father but through Him.
Mohammed was supposedly the final prophet and he recorded the Koran hundreds of years after Jesus (and thousands of years after Abraham). Most of his story conflicts with the older Jewish and Christian texts and textually the stories are not consistent with any of the teachings of the previous “prophets”. At least with Judaism and Christianity there is internal consistency even if Jews reject Jesus as the Messiah. So, Judaism is fulfilled in Jesus and Islam is inconsistent with the historical, theological, and internal reliability of Scripture. Christianity emerges as the greatest monotheistic religion ever, both in adherents and in believability.

Proposition #4 – Jesus is revered as a great prophet (at the very least) by more than half of the world’s population.
Even if monotheism is rejected and Christianity (as a religion) is rejected, one cannot ignore the influence of the historical Jesus. Gandhi, a global Hindu leader, once said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Muslims believe Jesus was a great prophet on the same level as Mohammed, they just believe that Mohammed came last. Jews also believe Jesus to have been a great Teacher. Christians obviously believe Jesus to be much more, but the fact remains, many people believe Jesus to be an important figure in their faith.

Proposition #5 – Jesus is central to only one world “religion” but would prefer to think of it as a relationship, not a religion.
Christians believe Jesus to be the Son of God. It is His life they try to emulate. However, humans are only humans so Christians are susceptible to impurity and mistakes. Jesus was fully human, but He has also always been and will always be, God. Therefore, Christians actually believe Christianity is the only God-made religion and Jesus is the only one who could have created a legitimate “religion” (or way, path, journey, etc.) worthy of humans to follow. Many people view religions to be many paths to the same God. The problem is, this portrays God as very passive and humans as having to work to get to God some time in the future. Christianity, on the other hand, believes God to be an active God who has made it possible for us to know Him now through faith and not works.

Proposition #6 – The only way to know God in this life and the next is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

These propositions are not meant to be a complete argument for Christianity. Instead, it is meant to provoke thought and conversation. Feel free to challenge me in any of these propositions.

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