No Apology Apologetic

Yesterday a Facebook memory pop-up showed a quote I’d posted several years ago by world renowned Christian Apologetic, Ravi Zacharias. He was one that encouraged and challenged me in my faith and the many natural (and also the not-so-natural-OCD-induced) doubts that arise. To hear the news of his exposed dark secrets was startling and heavy. It felt so disappointing and not so much because I expected perfection as a leader, but because I feel betrayed by someone that I thought was living a challenging life while holding tightly to the grace of God. He never gave me a sneaky, prosperity gospel feel. He seemed humble. Little did many people know, he was covered in darkness and temptation. Did he feel remorse, guilt, shame? Who knows. He died before making any sort of confession or repentance. You may not be one that believes in this sort of thing, but I feel that evil is permeating through this world and this is a prime example. Evil oozes and creeps about much like a broken jar of molasses.

When a public failure occurs from a Christian, it tends to give doubtful people more ammo to disregard any inkling of curiosity about the faith in Christ. I certainly don’t blame that tendency. It’s often how I feel when heartache occurs through cancer, accidents, etc. When a well-known, often mocked leader of the faith fails in tacky ways, I feel such an annoyance that they’re damaging the reputation of the core of the Gospel; the truth that we are all failing on a daily basis in some way or another, that we are hopeless without grace, and that Jesus Christ provides that love and mercy at the start of every day for those that faithfully trust in Him. That trust may look like a drunk donkey or a toddler just learning to walk, but He loves us no matter what. When Ravi’s reputation crashed and burned, it felt different, like a punch in the gut; similar to how I felt when our beloved Cliff Huxtable, AKA Bill Cosby, fell from his lovable spot in America’s hearts.

Why am I even writing about this disappointment? I don’t know. I don’t do it in defense of anyone or the faith to which I’m clinging. I reckon it’s just a way to remind us that pain, failure, temptations, bad habits, and sadness are inevitable on this side of heaven. It’s a fact. It’s a reminder of the benefit of honest friendships, accountability from our trusted relationships, and hopefully, a opportunity to remember that we can share our failures and temptations in those safe, loving spaces. I’m praying right now that you, dear reader, find such a space.

“While it is fair to call out Christians for hypocrisy, the hypocrisy in no way negates Christianity, but rather establishes it. In the same way that it would make zero sense to call Beethoven a substandard composer because a six-year-old plays a Beethoven piece sloppily and out of tune at a piano recital, it makes zero sense to call Jesus a substandard Savior because his followers imitate him poorly.” – Scott Sauls, A Gentle Answer

Why Do I Believe What I Believe?

Through a combination of my stubbornness, fears, striving, and doubt, I have done my fair share of questioning. One of my favorite quotes that someone shared with me that has stuck is: “Doubt is the soil of faith”. It’s given me a sigh of relief to know that it’s ok for me to dig around and challenge my faith a bit. My anxiety has gone through the roof at times over worry about how little I am and how overwhelming life seems to be; wanting to know the purpose behind it all. I’ve wanted proof to know that I’m safe and that there really is a big God that loves me.

Life is big. HUGE, really. I am truly amazed at how easy it is for us humans to live life without much thought to the greater meaning behind it or how the heck we even came to be. It’s just so natural to think about ourselves and creating as delightful a life as possible. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this struggle that I imagine many may not think about much at all. As one of my favorite friends Nikki told me when we were young, “you think too much!” Oh, how true that is!

So, with all of the wonderings I’ve had, it’s led me to think about why I believe and put my trust in the Jesus of the Bible. As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s becoming less and less “cool” to be a Christian; Kelly Minter says in her women’s bible study called What Love Is, “I know it’s avant garde to hold nebulous beliefs that are open ended and that allow for pretty much whatever is comfortable for you and the people around you. But the Christian faith is preciously more defined than that. And this is actually wonderful news.” I want to be confident if there ever comes a time for me to defend my beliefs and most importantly, to know deeply why I’m safe in this big, big world.

Although I think I’m at a much more confident place in my faith, that doesn’t mean I don’t get waves of doubt that still come my way when something awful happens in life. That’s unavoidable. But it helps when I can recall the things that make the doubt less than the clear truths. Now, mind you these are not fancy pants, technically-written reasons like that of an apologist, but just rather some of my top reasons for relief in knowing there’s more to this life and what that means for me.

Here is my list of reasons why I believe what I believe:

1. Historical evidence of Jesus’ presence on Earth. Even non-Christians of the time (Thallus, 52AD and several others) wrote about this man from Nazareth that did miraculous things.

2. History that lines up with biblical recordings and the craziness of how many prophecies that have come to pass from the Old Testament.

3. The bible itself is an astounding book that weaves one greater story in it from start to finish. The way things line up like they do, it would be impossible for someone to make it up.

4. There is evil in this world. No one can deny the atrocities that have stormed the globe over the span of history. I don’t think you can have evil without good. There’s something bigger than us if we’re able to feel and act on both ends of this spectrum.

5. Every popular tv show with mediums/psychics, stories of witchcraft, etc. Although some is clearly just for show, I have no doubt some spooky revelations are going down, too. This makes me believe there’s a bigger war, so to speak, going on in an unseen world. It doesn’t make sense for us to dismiss a bigger creator or mystery if these things occur.

6. Miracles…the man who died and came back to share about it, the numerous healings or the almost-too-amazing-to-be -true stories from all over the world.

7. Muslims that have seen Jesus in their dreams or had their own unexplainable revelations that have led them to risk their lives and their families in order to devote their lives to Christ.

8. If I believe that Jesus really was alive and did some of the things that it’s historically proven he did, then that opens up a whole category of things I then can’t help but believe: he quoted the Old Testament and made numerous startling claims about who He is and why He came.

9. The apostles that followed Him, even after doing their fair share of doubting or denying before he was crucified, completely devoted their lives to declaring His name after Jesus was resurrected and revealed Himself to not only them, but hundreds of others. Many of these disciples died horrible deaths themselves and all the while continued to share the Good News of the Gospel until their last breath. Who does that unless they really, truly saw what they saw?

10. I am a mother. I’ve experienced the sheer joy of holding my babies. How is this possible if there is not a greater Being alive and active in this life? How does a creature like us, with the intricate details of our brain, emotions, moral compass already instilled, how are we possibly created without a Creator? If then there’s a Creator, then how can he possibly not be connected with all we know about the man Jesus that was certainly alive on our planet?

I’m sure there are a million more reasons, but these jump out to me and often soothe my fears. I came to the conclusion several years ago that I either believe it, or I don’t. The facts stack up pretty high and the arguments against faith in Christ are just too weak. It does seem to actually take more effort to disbelieve. The problem I think that’s plaguing us is that many are not giving it enough thought in order to make a real decision that’s not based solely on previous experiences (i.e. what you heard in your childhood, stereotypes of Christians, etc.) What do you believe happens after you die? Are you confident of why you believe it?