Why should anybody choose to be a Christian? Is Christianity just a choice one makes when choosing a religion, akin to choosing a car or a house? How can somebody just choose a religion?
There are many religions, why should anybody have to choose to become part of a religion? Why can't somebody be just a good ethical person, doing good, but not having any religion? For example, somebody could believe based on science, God does not exist, can't that person just be good, helping others, what's wrong in not choosing a religion? Why does somebody need to put a label on him or herself saying Buddhist, Muslim, Mormon, Christian, etc?
The Purpose of Religion and Science
Ultimately, the purpose of religion is an attempt to answer the questions of life. Who am I? Where did I come from? Is there something beyond this life? Does God exist? Who is God, if God exists? Where did matter come from? Who or what caused the universe? Am I required to do anything? Religion addresses these questions and more, instructing the follower what must and must not be done. The word religion comes from the word, religare, meaning to restrain, tie back. Religion is not alone in this quest for meaning and truth.
Science also is searching for answers to many of these very same questions. How did the universe come into existence? How did life form? Is there anything beyond life? If the scientist feels there is no intelligence designer (God) who made the universe, what's purpose in joining a religion?
Science and religion both attempt to find answers to the same questions, with a different basis. Science explores the questions of life from a natural backdrop, religion from a super-natural basis. These questions, science and religion attempt to answer can be summed up as follows.
Ø Who are we?
Ø Where did we come from?
Ø Where are we going?
The Search for Truth
Science and religion both claim to be on the quest for "Truth". Truth means what is real, what is actual as opposed to what is not real or factual. Logic dictates the need for truth. For example, the existence of human and animal life is a fact. How did this life come into existence? Both religion and science attempt to answer this explaining the "Truth" of life.
Take for example, the evolutionist, he believes life came into existence through a series of random mutations without the help of supernatural intelligence (God). Christianity believes life was created by God both views cannot be true, since both views contradict each other. This is a principle of logic, contradictory positions cannot both be true. God cannot exist and not exist, since one view negates the other.
The Buddhist believes Buddha was enlightened, he believes Buddha received information which was "True" or real. The Muslim believes Mohammed received "Truth" from God and this revelation was written down in the Quran. The Christian believes Jesus was the Son of God, who died for the sins of mankind. The Atheist believes there is no God, matter and life came into existence apart from God.
Each one of these groups feel they have "Truth". Since many of the beliefs contradict each other, they cannot all be true.
Since everybody cannot be right, is there a way to find out who has the "Truth"? Can we examine the facts and determine, what is truth?
Is Truth important?
Is there life after death? Does God exist? Does this life matter? These are important questions, and based on what we believe the answers (Truth) are, we make choices.
For example, if someone believes the truth is, "No God exists" and "This life is all there is" she might invest her life in what this world can offer, and not worry about what happens after death. The Christian missionary who believes this life is temporary and eternity in heaven, follows death might forsake his life in a hostile country, to tell people about Jesus because he believes his life is in heaven. We all act on our belief, what we think is true.
If someone does not believe, knowing whether what happens following death is important; they don't pursue the issue. Here lies the problem, How can we know if it is important or not? We need to examine the evidence for "Truth" If the evidence shows, what happens after death is not important then why worry about death? However, if the evidence shows there is life beyond death, and the events in our present life determine our eternity, then we should pursue the truth, so we can know what to do.
The person who thinks death is unimportant might think "If you are not going anywhere, then why worry about where you are going?" However, if you are going somewhere (Heaven or Hell), then you might worry about death, and what follows. You might look for a map, because the map tells you what choices you must make along the road, so you can arrive at your destination. The map in many ways is like Truth, if you have truth, you can know the way. So if Heaven or Hell is a real place, it would be important to know how to go Heaven and not go to Hell. The question is "Should we worry about what happens after death?"
Jesus said you should, Jesus makes the following comment regarding the importance of the souls final destination.
He says value of the soul to each individual is greater then gaining the whole world.
"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26
Is the statement by Jesus Christ true? If Christianity is false, then the words of Jesus should not be heeded, but Jesus is right, and Hell is real then nothing is more important then finding the truth.
Jesus claims to the only way for salvation.
Christianity claims to be the Truth, In fact, Jesus claims to be the "Exclusive Truth" meaning the only way to God is through Him. Secondly, Jesus said those who believe on him will not perish but have eternal life, be saved. These are strong, clear-cut statements, but are they True? Is there evidence behind the claims of Jesus being truth?
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
15 "that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved
What do you need to do to be saved?
Saved, saved from what? Someone might ask. According to the Bible, man created in the image of God, is eternal like God. Those created will never cease to exist. The question is where will they exist? God is without sin, and sin must be paid for, the only way for someone to pay for sin is with their own life. Those who die in their sins will be separated from God. God understanding the hopeless condition of man sent Jesus Christ, His Son, from Heaven, to pay for our sins on the cross. When someone accepts God's gift of salvation, his or her sins are paid for by the work of Christ.
16 He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him. 17 For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak.
Isaiah 59:16-17 (710 B.C.)
Seven hundred years before Jesus was born the prophet Isaiah wrote about Jesus, and how his death would pay for the sins of all humanity. Scripture refers to Jesus as the "Arm of the Lord" both in Isaiah 53:1 and 59:16. God, through the person of Jesus interceded on our behalf because our situation was hopeless.
God entered our world in the body of man, to die for our sins, so we could be made righteous with God.
The Lord has made bare His holy arm In the eyes of all the nations; And all the ends of the earth shall see The salvation of our God. Isaiah 52:10Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?