The most important reason that one ought to trust in Jesus completely is that his claims are true; he really is Lord of the universe. If you don’t believe this, the first step is to find out what his claims really are. If you’re not too sure, have a read through the account given by Mark, an early follower of Jesus here. It is probably the earliest written, it is short; “the gospel for skeptics in a hurry”, and it presents the core claims of the world’s most well-known teacher. It repays re-reading as well – there is a lot to it. The second step, I suggest, is to reflect on what questions these claims raise and find out whether Christian faith can answer them. I believe that Christian faith provides a rich account of human life and an adequate grounding for ethics, for science, and for history. On this story of the world, unlike the dominant narrative in our culture, history is not just “one damn event after another”, ethics is not futile, subjective (or at best a minimalist schema for the reduction of harm), and science is an insight into the deeper rationality underlying the universe. This account is not only promising for the intellectual resources it provides, but aligns best with the evidence that we have concerning the human condition and God’s revelation into the world.
All of the above can spawn much worthwhile discussion, and I’m most happy to engage in it. I really do believe that the evidence supports Christian claims to a greater extent than other worldviews, whether naturalism, Islam, Deism, polytheism or whatever else. But there is another question of deep concern to many people. Why should we really care? So what if it’s true or reasonable, if it doesn’t really speak to me, if it’s sterile and dry or even offensive and appears to be an infringement on my intellectual and social freedoms?
I’m convinced that the central Christian claims are both true – they are intellectually credible – and existentially satisfying – they are profoundly attractive and aesthetically pleasing. Here are three reasons to believe the latter:
1) Jesus changes lives. Grace and peace are things absolutely worth having and they are transformative. I can speak to that from that perhaps uniquely intriguing source of information – personal experience. Look at the lives of committed Christians you know – I can’t point to many who are not perfect, but there are many who live well and who live better as a result of who their life is centred on.
2) Much great art and music has been inspired by reflecting on the claims of the gospel, the good news of God’s grace. God does not stifle creativity; or, for that matter, science! One indirect product of Christian faith has been cultures infused with a focus on the gospel – and this can be an attractive thing.
3) In a world of suffering, the most profound statements are made not in terms of triumphalistic conquest and violence, but in the language of sacrifice and humility. The cross from which the body of Jesus hung is worth considering in this light.
H/T: Tim Keller for the general theme of credibility & satisfaction, from this talk on the resurrection. I apologise for the spelling of resurrection on the visual.