Cumulative Reasons for Christianity by Chad Gross
In this essay, I will share some of the reasons that I follow Jesus Christ.
If God does not exist, each of our thoughts are simply the product of a long series of random, unreasonable accidents. As C.S. Lewis once put it: “…if… thoughts…are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe that one accident should be able to give a correct account of all the other accidents.”1
The fact that we, as finite beings, can ponder such questions as “Does God Exist?” is powerful evidence for His existence. For someone to reason about anything, God’s existence must be pre-supposed. I see no good basis for concluding that unreasonable, natural processes can produce reasoning beings. A supremely reasonable mind seems to be the most logical explanation of humanity’s reasoning abilities. (MP3 Audio | RSS | iTunes)
Modern day cosmology has discovered that the universe had a beginning. In the finite past, all matter, space, time, and energy exploded into existence out of nothing in what is now known as the “Big Bang.” Logically, the cause of this explosion could not have been from within the natural order because nature itself did not exist prior to the Big Bang; therefore, one can conclude that the cause of the Big Bang exists outside of nature i.e. supernatural. Further, from the relevant data, one can deduce that this cause is something that is spaceless, timeless, immaterial, supernatural and inconceivably powerful.2
As Arno Penzias, Nobel prize winner for his discovery of the cosmic background radiation that corroborated the Big Bang has said, “The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, and the Bible as a whole”3
Moreover, it has been verified that from the beginning, the initial constants that enable our universe to sustain life were present. Meaning, that from the first moment the universe came into existence, it was programmed, if you will, to form the universe we inhabit. As a result, many have concluded that the Big Bang could not have been a random, chaotic event, but a precise, pre-figured moment of creation.4 As a theist, I can conclude that something + nothing = everything; however, the atheist, as admitted by philosopher Quentin Smith, has to believe that the universe came “from nothing, by nothing, and for nothing.”5
The Apostle Paul wrote: “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15:14).
Dr. Gary Habermas has compiled a list of more than 2, 200 sources in French, German, and English in which experts have written on the resurrection from 1975 to the present. He has identified minimal facts (12 total) that are strongly evidenced and which are regarded as historical by the large majority of scholars, including skeptical ones.
Scholar Mike Licona explains the “minimal facts” approach to the resurrection:
Under this approach, we only consider facts that meet two criteria. First, there must be very strong historical evidence supporting them. And secondly, the evidence must be so strong that the vast majority of today’s scholars on the subject- including skeptical ones- accept these as historical facts…Lets face it: there’s a greater likelihood that a purported historical fact is true when someone accepts it even though they’re not in agreement with your metaphysical beliefs.6
This set of facts is based upon viewing the Bible solely as ancient, historical literature.
While all these facts are agreed upon by the large majority of scholars, we will focus on the five that are most evidenced. They are as follows:
Fact #1 – Jesus was killed by Crucifixion
Fact #2 – Jesus’ Disciples Believed that He Rose and Appeared to Them
Fact #3 – The Conversion of the Church Persecutor Paul
Fact #4 – The Conversion of the Skeptic James, Jesus’ Half-Brother
Fact #5 – Jesus’ Tomb was Empty.7
The best explanation of these facts is that Jesus Christ did rise from the dead. The skeptic, who rejects this conclusion, must be able to not only provide alternative theories to explain the data, but also present first-century evidence to substantiate their conclusion.8
Finally, when someone puts their faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit will confirm that they are saved:
“The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16a, CSB).
This is experiential evidence for the believer that Jesus is who He said He was/is.
However, we must address the fact that other world religions claim to possess “tests for truth.” The Muslim will tell you to follow Islam because only God could have written the Qur’an.  Further, the Book of Mormon tells us that the Holy Spirit will manifest the truth of Mormonism to you when you ask for confirmation through prayer.10
It’s imperative to understand that a believer’s experience must correlate with the external evidence available through history, archeology, and observable facts.
The test for truth in the Qur’an is highly subjective considering that a Christian could claim that Psalm 19 is superior in literally form to the first Sura in the Qur’an.
Further, the Book of Mormon proves inadequate under critical inquiry due to the virtually non-existent archaeological evidence to substantiate its claims.
What about the skeptic that doesn’t believe in Jesus at all?
The resurrection provides an objective test for truth, as Habermas and Licona explain:
“We have the external test that, if Jesus actually rose from the dead, it appears the truth of Christianity is confirmed and all adherents to conflicting beliefs must reassess whether their assurance came from a spirit other than God’s or was the result of self-delusion.”11
It was Jesus who said, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own” (John 7:17 NIV; Emphasis mine). Is a step of faith required? Yes; however, faith should not be a blind leap into the dark, but a reasonable step into the light based upon sound reason and evidence.12
Resources and Notes:
1. C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1970), p. 52-53.
2. For a easy to read summary of the evidence for the Big Bang, I recommend agnostic Robert Jastrow’s book, God and the Astronomers.
3. Cited by Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great about Christianity, p.124.
4. For an in-depth look at the precision of the Big Bang and the existence of the cosmological constants from the moment of creation, I recommend William Lane Craig’s work Reasonable Faith, 3rd edition.
5. William Lane Craig and Quentin Smith, Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), 135.
6. Lee Strobel, The Case for the Real Jesus: Interview with Mike Licona (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 2007), p. 112.
7. I have written more about the reasons why the majority of scholars except these facts here.
8. I have addressed some of the common objections to the resurrection here.
9. Sura 2:23-24, The Glorious Qur’an, p.7; Text and Explanatory Translation by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall.
10. Moroni 10:4-5, The Book of Mormon, p. 529 by Joseph Smith, Jun.
11. Gary Habermas and Mike Licona, The Case for the Resurrection, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregal Publications, a division of Kregal Inc., 2004), p. 28.
12. I have written more on the definition of faith here.