10 reasons why I am a Christian
Would you be surprised if I tell you that I have been preaching here for 5 years now? Yes, time flies: I don’t know if that is depressing for you? I like to put a positive spin on it – I’m 5 years closer to meeting Jesus at last.
One of the things about preaching is that you don’t always get much feedback (and I’m not asking for any by saying this). In lots of situations you get an idea if you are achieving something. A teacher gets to see how much the pupils learn from marking their books. A comedian gets feedback when the audience laughs.
Mind you there was one stand-up comic who didn’t think his act was going down very well. As he walked from the stage he could only hear one person clapping – then he remembered that he was wearing flip-flops.
The other thing about preaching, especially in a lofty pulpit like this one, is that it can go to your head and make you self-important. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the famous Victorian Baptist preacher called Charles Spurgeon. He was at a service once at which a man was preaching who thought rather too much of himself. After the service he asked Spurgeon for some feedback:
“Mr Spurgeon, Sir; my sermon, which was the best passage?”
Spurgeon replied, “The one from the pulpit to the vestry!”
Anyway, for 5 years I have preached from the set readings. So today, I’ll do something different. And true to the maxim – once a teacher, always a teacher – I will bring something which could lead to some homework for you: here are my 10 reasons for why I am a Christian. Now these are aimed at our present sceptical society. If I was talking to people of faith I would choose other reasons.
So these are personal reasons; I am not bringing the oft-used standard reasons for being a Christian. I have set them out as answers to the big questions which might be asked by modern people who have no belief in God or knowledge of the Christian faith. Why don’t you go away and write down your own 10 reasons: you may get the chance to speak to a friend or neighbour about them. And as a plus, if you like, you can give me a copy to mark!
1. Why does anything exist?
We now know from Astronomy that about 14 billion years ago there was nothing. Then suddenly, in what is known as the Big Bang, everything in the Universe came into being. If something appears when just a moment before it wasn’t there, then it must have been created. The bible account is the best religious record of creation that exists and fits in well with scientific discoveries: ‘In the beginning God created …’
2. Why is the universe so massive?
People often wonder why God would create such a massive universe just to have people on one tiny planet. You could say that He did it just for fun; or that he likes to be extravagant (both of which might be true); but as we learn more from studying the universe we see that in order to have just one planet on which life can exist, you actually need the universe to be as massive as it is.
3. Do we live in a special part of the universe?
You probably know that we live in a galaxy called the Milky Way. It is becoming clearer that our planet Earth can only support life because it is in this special galaxy. The Milky Way is unique because it is symmetrical and very stable. Our Solar System also sits in just the right place so that Earth is not affected by exploding stars or dangerous radiation. Interestingly, it is also situated in just the right place to have dark skies at night which enable us to see the rest of the universe and study it. God wants us to learn all about his amazing creation.
4. Why does our planet share the Sun with 7 other planets?
Our Solar system of Sun and 8 planets is also unique. I’m sure you have heard on the news about the discovery of new planets orbiting other stars: there have been about 2000 discovered so far. But nothing like our solar system has yet been found. It is a fact that without the massive planets like Jupiter and Saturn, Earth could not support life. But most amazing of all is the fact that our Moon is unusually too big. No other planets have a moon which is so big compared to their size. In fact, without our large Moon, earth could not support life: our climate would be too unpredictable and our oceans would be dead.
5. What makes the Earth very special?
Earth as a planet is unique. Earth is the only planet yet discovered which contains all 98 naturally occurring chemical elements. These are not only important for living things but also they allow us to make things like jewellery, aluminium structures, smartphone touchscreens and so on. Earth also doesn’t have too much water; many of the planets discovered around other stars are water worlds without any land. We also happen to have a very thin atmosphere which means we can breathe. Furthermore, we are just the correct distance from the Sun so we are not too hot or too cold. The more we discover, the more the Earth seems to be designed for life.
6. How did life on earth begin?
Life could not have started by itself. Everyone seems to agree that the first life on earth was bacterial. 60 years ago, people thought that bacteria were very simple life forms. But now we know they are so complex that it would be impossible for ordinary chemicals to just turn into a living cell. Every living cell needs some very basic things to work. It is estimated that it would need at least the following: a DNA structure of at least 1000 genes, a protein-making factory, an energy factory, a cell wall to protect it from its surroundings and a way to get food into the cell and waste products out. That is so complicated that only a super‑intelligent Mind could have made it work.
7. Why is there evil in the world?
Answering this question has been an interesting part of my journey through life. As you get older you recognise your own failings as a person and become more aware that the world is full of wrongdoing and evil deeds. There are some people who think the Earth would be a better place without human beings on it. David Attenborough often shows us how we are responsible for changing our planet for the worse. It is estimated, for instance, that up to 1000 species of plants and animals are going extinct each year due to human causes. But this is only one expression of our corruption. Human society and relationships are full of unhappiness brought on by selfish human behaviour. The bible correctly teaches us that all human beings have sinned and need the saving grace of Jesus in their lives; because no matter where you go in the world, you will never meet a person who has not sinned.
8. Is there anything special about the Jewish people?
Something that has often amazed me is the story of God’s chosen people, the Jews. It’s astounding that a small tribe, beginning with one man in the Middle East 4000 years ago called Abraham, has not only survived but has made such a contribution to world history. They have survived invasions, exile in foreign countries and deliberate slaughter in events such as the Holocaust. But they remain arguably the most intelligent people who have ever lived. They have won almost a quarter of all Nobel prizes. They are frequently successful in so many areas of life; and, of course, Jesus was a Jew! Are they like this because God has chosen them – I think so?
9. Was Jesus just a good teacher?
People like to label Jesus as a gifted teacher or a good man. But people give these labels to him to try and take away his uniqueness. No one in history has had so much written about them. There are over 24,000 ancient Christian documents recording aspects of his life and what followed after. If you read the unique things he claimed about himself, then you would think that only a crazy person would say them. CS Lewis wrote about this and famously concluded that Jesus must be either mad, bad or God. Furthermore, there are the accounts of his miracle working and his resurrection from the dead. Jesus promised eternal life, not by doing good things but by a having a relationship with him: he said, “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
10. Is it possible to have personal spiritual experiences?
The Holy Spirit has on a number of occasions given me experiences of pure spiritual life. They have been rare occurrences but their effect was transforming, giving me a compelling vision to live my life for Jesus. The Holy Spirit has changed my heart so that other people have become more important than I am. He has given me a deep desire to become a holy person. Most of all he has inspired me to see that death is not the end of my existence but is a transition to a richer spiritual life: knowing Jesus in a brand new, perfect universe.
Well, those are my 10 reasons for being a Christian. I hope you can put together your own reasons and then pray for the chance to share them with family, friends or colleagues.