Doesn’t it makes sense that the question of an afterlife (or not) is one of the most important things in life? If there is, and it lasts for eternity, doesn’t it make sense to investigate the possibility?
To that end, I’ll give my pitch for Christianity.
In the culture of the first century, most of the nations of the world believed in multiple gods. About the only exception were the Hebrews. One of the basic tenets of the Jewish faith was the Lord is One. Look up Deuteronomy 6:4 if you doubt that. It was so ingrained into their daily life that there was no people group less inclined to believe their One could ever be a Trinity.
Every time the bible has Jesus claiming to be God, the religious leaders objected strenuously and accused Him of heresy. They sought to kill him, and eventually did.
So why would anyone brought up in that culture suddenly believe in a three-part God? Not that Jesus taught there were three gods - “The Father and I are One.” But the nation least-inclined to think of a three-part God spawned a movement which believed in the Trinity.
After Jesus died and was resurrected, is it possible the disciples lied? The apostles (with the exception of John) all died rather than deny what they believed. Have you ever told a lie and would rather die than recant? Most folks would rather deny the truth than die, but dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who had seen a resurrected Jesus and had such conviction they died rather than deny. If they’d lied, would that make sense?
Perhaps it was a mass delusion. Mass hypnosis, or something like that. However, there’s never been another single case of that kind of mass delusion. The Salem witch trials spring to mind, but it wasn’t long before that burned out and the lie exposed. We have to ask if THAT case was more about protecting one’s skin than any real belief. In the case of Christ, does it make sense for thousands of people to be hypnotized at the same time?
Another aspect of early Hebrew culture was a kind of xenophobia where a “good” Jew couldn’t even go into a house of a non-Jew or he’d be considered contaminated. So these early Jewish believers in “the Way,” as it was called then, suddenly welcomed the “unclean” non-Jew believers as if they were part of the family. Does it make sense that these people accepted “gentiles” as equals?
Maybe this has all become part of a legend that grew over time. But Saul (who became the Apostle Paul) was in the thick of things from the very beginning. He was at the stoning of Stephen who, as he died, claimed to see Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father. After meeting someone on the road to Damascus who claimed to be Jesus “whom you persecute,” Saul became blind for days. What do you suppose he was doing with that time? Since Saul was a prominent Pharisee, he probably had large portions of Jewish scripture memorized. Was he perhaps reviewing Torah in light of what Jesus claimed? That makes sense, right? The letters he wrote to the various churches of the day are preserved and in the bible we can buy today.
But were they preserved correctly? Maybe the bible has failed to keep faith with the original writings? I mean, who can turn water into wine? Well, you and I cannot do that, but to the Being who created everything from nothing, turning one fluid into another wouldn’t be a problem. As for the original writings, we have fragments of manuscript closer in time to the originals than any other ancient writing. Yet some people who accept the existence of Homer doubt the existence of Jesus.
What makes Christianity so special? I mean, why would that be right and all the others wrong? Simply put, it’s because all other faiths teach you what to do if you want to placate their god. Only Christianity teaches that not only there’s nothing you CAN do, but what NEEDS to be done has already been accomplished.
You see, the fight is already over for the Christian. The war of good vs. evil is done. The only thing left is the mop-up action. We’re trying to save as many of the wounded as possible before it’s too late.
What makes absolutely no sense is why people would gamble their eternity by dismissing claims of that enormity.
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