Why be a Christian? - Get more out of life.
 
The Evidence
 
There is some very clear evidence available to support aspects of the Christian faith, much of which would stand up in a court of law. There are some other elements of faith, though, where evidence may not be available or substantial. What this website seeks to offer is merely a few pointers. There are a wealth of books and websites available for anyone who requires more detailed information and would like to investigate further.
 
However, it is important to say that whatever evidence there may or may not be about these issues, ultimately belief in Jesus Christ is a matter of individual faith. It is actually a personal relationship between each of us and the Lord of the Universe.
 
The Apostles’ Creed sums up the basic tenets of this great Christian faith.
Apostles' Creed.
 
1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth
2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord
3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost (Spirit), born of the Virgin Mary
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell
5. The third day he rose again from the dead
6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty
7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick (living) and the dead
8. I believe in the Holy Ghost (Spirit)
9. I believe in the holy Catholic Church (the Worldwide Church of all denominations): the communion of saints
10. The forgiveness of sins
1l. The resurrection of the body
12. And the life everlasting. Amen.
 
So let us look at each of these 12 points one at a time, but before we do just a few words about the Holy Bible and what it represents.
 
The Holy Bible – Christians believe that the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God. It tells the story of the Creation of the Universe including the birth of humanity and some of the plans that God has for us and the world. It consists of 66 books in total, most of which are very different in nature and contains truth and wisdom and helpful advice on how to get the very best from life and achieve real and lasting personal fulfilment.
 
The Evidence:
 
Prophecies. There are many instances of fulfilled prophecies in the Bible relating to the birth of Jesus Christ and those that he fulfilled during his ministry. There have also been many other prophecies about the fate of nations which have proved to be true.
 
Historical Accuracy. This is pre-eminent and far superior to many other pieces of recorded history, which are accepted as fact. These are to be found amongst others in the writings of Roman historians. There is also much in the way of archaeological evidence for what is in the Bible too.
 
Scientific Accuracy. Many facts of science were recorded in the Bible centuries ago such as the roundness of the earth and the importance of blood in relation to life.
 
Now the Apostles Creed:
 
I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
 
Christians believe that God created the universe and everything in it, including the human race, through his Son Jesus Christ.
 
This is ultimately a matter of personal belief, of course. Logically, there are three options as to how it all began. Either it was caused by a God or intelligent being, who always existed. Or it had no cause and came about all by itself. Or it has somehow always existed. Some people find it difficult to see how something can just come about out of nothing, or indeed accept the idea that the universe just always was(which in itself is less believable), than there being a designer who just always was.
 
It is interesting too, that as scientists discover more about the universe it becomes clear that it has an incredibly intricate structure and balance, without which it would be impossible to sustain life. It is just so vast and infinitely detailed that it would appear that the chances of something so mind-bogglingly exact coming about by itself are infinitesimally small, probably trillions and trillions to one. Consequently, many scientists are now coming to the view that there may well be some kind of intelligent design behind it all and that it did not merely occur by accident.
  
And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
 
Christians believe in the Holy Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, or Spirit.
 
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost (Spirit), born of the Virgin Mary:
 
The “Virgin Birth”, as the birth of Jesus is sometimes referred to, means that although he was born of a physical parent, Mary, the father was the Holy Spirit. This is an extraordinary claim or at least it is until we consider that if God created the human race and thereby the normal reproductive system, it is a simple matter for him to by-pass that process if he chooses to do so.
 
Why is this important? Because Jesus was fully man and fully God. If he had been born in the normal way he would have been flawed, just as we are. If that had been the case he could not have paid the price for our sin. He had to be perfect to do that. A good way to illustrate this is to say that if we commit a crime and have to pay a fine that is way beyond our means we, of ourselves, would be unable to do it and would have to go to prison. However, if the Judge in the court said that he would pay the fine on our behalf, then we could go free. That would be a hugely magnanimous act on his behalf, and that is exactly what God does for us in the person of Jesus Christ, because he loves us with an immeasurable love and does not want us to suffer.
 
Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into hell:
 
The Bible tells us that Jesus was falsely accused by the ruling religious authorities of his day of being a blasphemer, by claiming to be God incarnate, so they engineered a trial by the secular authority of that time, the Romans. However, Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, could find no wrong in what Jesus had done, but allowed him to be crucified anyway in response to public pressure. After an excruciating death on the Cross, Jesus descended into hell.
 
This, of course, begs the question, “What is hell?” Christians believe it is really an absence of God. We are told in the Bible that hell is eternal separation from God. That is to say from all that is good, loving, beautiful and meaningful. Jesus voluntarily gave up his life for us on the Cross, in order to suffer separation from God on our behalf so that we do not have to. He was the perfect sacrifice for sin.
 
The idea of hell may seem incredibly harsh, if not downright cruel. Indeed some will question the whole notion of a loving God condemning people to an eternity without him, believing that he could not possibly do such a thing. However, the truth is that he does not condemn us; we condemn ourselves if we refuse his free offer of life.
 
As far as the existence of hell is concerned, let us remember that, sadly, a glimpse of it can also be experienced here on earth, even though it may be of short duration. Just look at some of the intense suffering during times of war and think of the effects of some diseases on the human body and mind. It is real. The difference is that hell on earth does not last forever, and even when being experienced there exists the hope that it will come to an end at some point, which makes it slightly more bearable.
 
Also, Jesus himself referred to hell 7 times in the Gospel of Matthew. He clearly believed it was real, and not just a metaphor or merely a mechanism for “making" people behave themselves as some have claimed.
 
The third day he rose again from the dead:
 
God did not leave his Son Jesus Christ in hell. Once he had paid the price of our sins in order to set us free, God was able to rescue Jesus and resurrect him from the dead. This meant that Jesus conquered physical death as well as spiritual death. This is why we are able to do the same and live forever with him if we accept his free offer of salvation. The Bible tells us that Jesus was seen by over 500 people after his resurrection.
  
He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
 
After Jesus was resurrected he spent a while here on earth meeting up with some of his disciples. After that he was taken up into heaven where he now lives with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. He sits at God’s right hand because he is the creator and ruler of the entire universe and has made salvation possible for all humanity.
  
From thence he shall come to judge the quick (living) and the dead:
 
One day Jesus will come back to earth in majesty and glory. When he does it will be time for the day of judgement, when all human beings who will be alive at that time and all who have ever lived will be brought before him to give an account of the way they have lived their lives. Those who have accepted Jesus as Saviour will automatically be accepted into the kingdom of heaven and will live with God forever. Tragically, those that have refused his offer of friendship and turned away will be eternally separated from him.
 
I believe in the Holy Ghost (Spirit):
 
God is a Triune God. That is to say that he is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Three in one. This is a mystery like so much about the Christian faith and we may never fully comprehend it. Put simply, all of the persons of the Holy Trinity have separate tasks to perform. We have already discussed the role of Jesus, and the role of the Holy Spirit is to live (miraculously) within any person who commits their life to Jesus and to act as a guide to that person. It is also the Holy Spirit who prompts us to do that which is right and good and gives us the power to carry out God’s will.
 
I believe in the holy Catholic Church (the Worldwide Church of all denominations), the communion of saints:
 
This means that we believe that the Church, as a whole, is ordained of God and that all who become Christians are a part of God’s family here on earth, regardless of denomination. God’s family consists of those people who have made a commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
The forgiveness of sins:
 
Because Jesus paid the price of our sins once and for all, we can be forgiven the sins that we daily commit, if we are sorry for them. We are also counted as perfect and righteous in God’s sight, even though we clearly are not. What happens when we give ourselves to Jesus is that as time moves on we gradually, almost imperceptibly at times, become better people and more like him. This is because of the power of Gods Holy Spirit is at work within us. Our job is to try to give up old unhelpful ways and habits and take on and live out those values that Jesus taught us. This will result in us becoming more fulfilled as people and also being of greater worth to those around us.
 
The resurrection of the body:
 
As discussed earlier, Jesus conquered physical and spiritual death when he was crucified. This means that resurrection of the body is not only possible, but will happen to everyone at the day of judgement. Jesus also raised people from the dead as part of the many, many miracles that he performed during his astounding, but short-lived ministry here on earth. These miracles were witnessed by numerous people.
 
And the life everlasting.
 
Eternal life is God’s desire for all humanity, but He has also given us the free will to do and say exactly what we like. He urges us to choose life, but he will never force us to do anything against our will. As human beings we have within us at all times the equally wondrous and yet terrifying capacity to either love God and all people, do good and live forever, or to reject him and do evil. This applies not only to the things of this earth, but our eternal souls. Each person and each person alone must make the choice for his or her own eternal destiny. Jesus will accept you as you are right now. It doesn't matter who you are or what you have done. If you are truly sorry for the past and ask his forgiveness, he will absolve you.
 
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There is one more thing that needs to be said about the Christian faith which is not mentioned in the above and that is the question of satan or the devil. Is he real, just a horrible myth, or maybe only a comical figure of fun?
To answer this we must again look at the Bible. That tell us that originally the devil was called Lucifer and lived in the kingdom of heaven with God and all the angels. He was God’s favourite archangel and had immense knowledge and power. However, he became extremely proud and arrogant and ultimately wanted to be like God himself, which of course is impossible.
 
We are told that there was a great battle in heaven and Lucifer and all his followers (who became evil spirits), were cast out. Jesus himself said that he “saw Lucifer fall like lightning from heaven”. Since that time Lucifer has had an intense hatred of God, the universe and everything in it and his sole purpose is to destroy as much of it as he can before the return of Jesus Christ who will put a stop to all evil everywhere, forever.
 
So Jesus certainly believed not only that the devil was real, but that he was very powerful and also the “master of lies”. Jesus was himself tempted by the devil, (whom he acknowledged to be a force or presence outside himself), to give up on his ministry. If he had done so and worshipped the devil, as the devil wanted him to do, then he could have had everything he personally desired and wanted for his own selfish pleasure. Fortunately for us, Jesus resisted all temptation throughout the whole of his life and was thereby able to bring his glorious salvation to us all.
 
The Evidence: If you find that you have a problem with all this, just think for moment about the state of our world. Look at some of the staggering atrocities and acts of evil that have been perpetrated by one person or groups of people on others. The holocaust is but one example of many.
 
So we cannot deny the existence of evil. We also cannot deny the reality of temptation. How often in our own lives do we have to choose between that which is right and good and that which will give us the most personal pleasure, even though it may be damaging to others and perhaps even ourselves, ultimately.
As I have said, Jesus clearly believed that the devil was a real, spiritual being who has the power to influence all of us in our daily lives. We can either follow temptation, the voice of evil, or we can follow our conscience, the voice of God.
 
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