Why I Believe What I Believe:
Answers to the Main Questions People of Other Faiths Ask About My Faith
by Bob Roberts Jr
I’ve been asked on many occasions to outline three different types of conversations I’ve had over and over. Allow me to show how I try to answer the basic questions people of no faith or other faiths have asked me. Take the question from my friend in Vietnam: Why do I believe in God at all?
Why do you believe in God?
The seven reasons that make the most sense to me are:
- Creation. The odds of everything we know of this planet of the universe happening by accident well, the odds are simply too huge.
- Form and order. Creation isn’t random. The more we study it, the more we see how everything fits together in all sorts of ways.
- Diversity, but interdependence of life forms.To have diversity is one thing. To have interdependence is another. To have both–that defies the odds.
- The complexity of creation. There is simply too much complexity in the design of everything to believe it is all random. This is what scientist Francis Collins says led him to believe in God.
- Uniqueness of man. Biologically, man may be an animal, but mentally, emotionally, and morally, he is like no other animal. His ability to create, order, and dominate the world is unlike any other animal. Random selection can’t explain this.
- Morality of man. Granted, there are various types of morality in men, but there is a generally accepted moral code among all tribes of man–no murder, no stealing, no lying, and familial fidelity, to name a few. This moral code comes from somewhere, and can’t be explained by evolution. This was a major argument of C. S. Lewis
- Spirituality of man. Man is a spiritual creature. All spirituality comes from something greater than biology, something beyond it. All cultures of man have always believed in some form of god(s) regardless of what and how that is defined. Again, evolution can’t adequately explain this phenomenon.
Why do you believe in only one God?
This is a question one might be asked mostly in a Hindu context, since Hindus believe in many gods.
Here’s how I reply:
I have two fundamental choices. Am I a polytheist or monotheist? How I answer this question is critical. This is the question that got Socrates in trouble. As a Greek, in a Greek polytheist culture, and as a philosopher, he concluded there could only be one God. Why?
- LOGIC. Since there is form and order, design and complexity, it cannot be on account of the whims of many gods who war with each other or jockey for power and control. Forget man blowing himself up; the gods will do it for him.
- THE UNIFIED LAWS OF NATURE. There is a consistency in science and all knowledge, a sense of a universal knowledge and power that’s holding it all together. There is supreme and consistent and unified design that suggests a single power and will behind it.
- THE CONSISTENT DEVELOPMENT OF HUMANITY HISTORICALLY, SCIENTIFICALLY, AND CULTURALLY. This suggests that that all mankind has the same destiny, suggesting, again, a single grand power or will guiding that history.
I sometimes say more than this, but this is generally how I go about answering this question
Why are you a Christian? Or, why do you believe in the Trinity?
These are variations of the same question, because to be a Christian means to believe in the Trinity. Now, as I said above, we must talk about Trinity, but we must do so in ways that are not speculative. We need to talk about the Trinity in the context of people’s lives and concerns.
To talk about the Trinity, of course, we have to talk about Jesus. In one of my blogs, I once wrote: The biggest disagreement I have with Islam is the whole question of who is Jesus. For the Jew, it’s who is Jesus. For the Buddhist, it’s who is Jesus. For the Hindu, it’s who is Jesus. For the Animist, it’s who is Jesus. For the Atheist, it’s who is Jesus. Why am I going to run down tons of paths without starting with the central question? If we disagree, we disagree, but I refuse to ignore that question.
So let me return to the story I began this chapter with, in which I was asked to explain the Trinity. Here is one way I talk about it: It may sound like we Christians believe in three gods, but it’s not true: we believe in one God. God the Father created all things-you, me, the world, and all that exists. The book of Genesis teaches us that. Man was God’s greatest creation, and he was made in the image of God, because God was building an eternal family. Genesis also teaches us that man fell when he chose sin over God. Now man is separated from God.
Most religions teach that the way a man reaches God now is to do good deeds. This is why God gave us his law and the Ten Commandments in the Hebrew scriptures, or Old Testament. But the law was never meant to save us, only to show us how we couldn’t reach God on our own.
The Father is holy and righteous and can’t look on our sin, nor can he touch anything sinful. So the Father sent the Word. The gospel of John teaches us that Jesus is the Word, and he was present and part of creation, so he was also God. But when he came to earth, he came as the perfect and complete God-Man.
It was important that he be both. Because he was man, he could identify with us, what we go through he could understand the consequences and pain of our sin.
As a man, he lived a sinless life, and that was important because to be a worthy sacrifice, one that would really deal with our sins, someone had to fulfill all the requirements of the law. When he went to the cross to die for our sins, he did it as a perfect man. He paid the penalty for our sins, Because he was God, not just a man, he was raised from the dead-sin couldn’t hold him. So by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was raised from the dead, and now sits with God in heaven.
Now Jesus expects us to live like him-he was the pattern of how we are all to live. But we aren’t perfect, and won’t be until we die and put on a new body. Until then, he continues to be the God-Man before the Father, who sent the Holy Spirit to live in us to give us the power to follow him in our lives.
The point of the Trinity isn’t three gods, but God remaining God, not violating his nature and character, while bridging the gap to man so man can be forgiven, live like God wants him to live, and have a relationship with God.
When I gave this answer to one group, someone afterward came up to me and said,
“You know, I wish that were true. No wonder so many people are Christians. To know you are forgiven I can go to heaven for sure – that’s a really good religion.”