Why Bother ?

2 ways to live

Just got 5 mins, then here's Christianity in a nutshell.

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answers

Fair enough, but I've still got questions.

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ce

I'd like to find out a bit more detail, and ask some more difficult questions.

If you can spare one short evening a week for a few weeks, then check out a Christianity Explored course, and join like minded people to get those answers.

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Questions About God

How do we know God is there?

We can only know God is there if he chooses to make himself known. He has done this in creation, through the Bible and supremely in the person of Jesus. Had we lived almost 2000 years ago, we could have seen him face to face. Jesus claimed to be God and he backed up those claims with his actions. He calmed storms, healed the sick, cast out evil spirits, raised the dead, and forgave people. When Jesus himself was put to death, he rose again. The evidence of Jesus' life and actions demonstrate that he was who he claimed to be: the living God.

How can a loving God send people to hell?

The Bible reveals two sides of God's character - his justice and his love. Since all of us have rebelled against God, he is just in giving us the punishment that we deserve. If we tell God we want to be separate from him, God gives us what we want - eternal separation. However, because God is supremely loving he sent his son, Jesus, to take all of God's anger on himself. If we accept the death of Jesus for us we can spend eternity in heaven not hell. The amazing thing is not that God sends people to hell (as we all deserve), but that he has made it possible for us to go to heaven, even though we don't deserve to.

How can God allow suffering in the world?

There is no simple answer to this question. All of us go through suffering in our lives, and many people suffer greatly. The Bible shows us that God is completely perfect (he hates suffering and evil) and also completely powerful (and so he could remove it in an instant). Suffering exists in the world because of our rebellion against God. God hates suffering, has suffered himself, and has promised that there will be no suffering in heaven. He is delaying the day when he will end suffering once and for all, in order to give us the opportunity to turn back to him and be forgiven for rebelling against him.

Questions About the Bible

How do you know the gospels are reliable?

Scholars of history apply various tests to ancient documents to establish their historical reliability. When these tests are applied to the Bible it stands head and shoulders above any comparable early writings as a document to be taken seriously as reliable history. The New Testament writings were written close in time to the events of Jesus' life, and that of the early church. The large number of copies of the original manuscripts means we can be confident that what we read today is what was originally written. Other historical writings confirm what is recorded in the Bible at many points. Many of the Biblical authors themselves stress that they are recording historical events based on eye-witness accounts. The best way to check this out would be to read one of the accounts of Jesus' life (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) with an open mind and weigh up what it says about him for yourself.

What about people who have never heard of Jesus?

The Bible does not specifically address this question. However, the Bible does reveal to us a God who will be absolutely fair in his judgements. Justice is good if you have done the right things. But if you have not, mercy is the best option. Many people behave as if they have heard nothing about God when in fact they have. You need to respond to what you have heard, and not use this question as an excuse for your inaction. With respect to those who have never heard, we need to trust God's fairness and justice

What about other religions?

There are many people who sincerely believe in a different 'religion' or 'creed'. However, sincerity is not the issue - people can be sincerely wrong. Truth is the issue. It is not possible for every religion to be true or right because they contradict each other. Christianity has some distinctive features which are not compatible with other religions. Other religions say you must do certain things in order to be right with God. Christianity says Jesus has done it all, by dying to take the punishment that we deserved so that we could be right with God. Jesus himself said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Questions About Christians

Isn't a Christian just a good person or someone who believes in God?

God wants us to be friends with him not just good enemies. It is not good enough to just believe God exists (even some people who hate God believe that). We actually need to apologise to God for rebelling against him, and thank him for the death of Jesus which pays for our rebellion. We should then ask God to help us live with Jesus as our Lord. We are to live in a way that pleases God because we have been forgiven, not in order to be forgiven.

Do I have to go to church to be a Christian?

The short answer is No! Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than walking into a garage makes you a car. A Christian is not defined by what they do for God, but by their trust in what God has done for them in Jesus. God is not after church attenders; he is building a family. Of course, once you are a member of his family it will be natural to want to meet with other members of the family, learn together and encourage each other and church is a great way to do that.

Aren't Christians just a bunch of hypocrites?

Christians don't claim to be perfect and we are aware that we often don't live in a way that pleases God. Ultimately, though, you should decide about the value of the Christian faith not on the bad performance of its followers but on the basis of its founder - Jesus. The accounts of his life in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) show he was no hypocrite, he perfectly practised what he preached. Read one of them for yourself and check out his life and claims.

Hasn't science disproved Christianity?

Science assumes order and uniformity in the world, and provides ways of understanding what normally happens. It doesn't 'disprove' the miracles recorded in the Bible, since these are examples of God at work in the world in 'unusual' ways which we would not be able to predict. Science doesn't set out to answer the bigger questions such as 'Why are we here ?' and 'How should we relate to God?' and cannot do so. To find the answers to these questions we need to look at what God himself has said in the Bible.

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