Philosophy Lite: Christianity, a faith that makes sense
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By Raymond Smith
Christianity is a faith that makes sense. So writes Dennis McCallum in his book by that title. While early religions, such as Roman and Greek, have been discarded because they could not stand up to intellectual scrutiny; on the other hand, Christianity flourishes as the world's largest religion.
Here are some of its most prominent features:
1. The character and teachings of its founder, Jesus. His character is consistent with his teaching. The Jews themselves said that no one before had ever spoken with such authority. His teachings are the basis for many of our laws.
2. The concept of God as a loving, holy Father. While some may see Him in a different light, Jesus revealed God's love to us in very definite terms.
3. Its concept of a divine Holy Spirit. Those who listen to God's Spirit in their lives, testify to his ability to inspire, bring peace and comfort, as well as to reveal God's truth.
4. Its teaching of the coming Kingdom of God. A place where God's people will find rest from their labors and a new life in a heavenly kingdom, where God will reward them for their service and set them to new tasks. First Corinthians 6:3 says that we will even be in positions of authority. In the first paradise, Adam was put into the Garden, "to dress it and keep it," perhaps in the second paradise, some of us will have some similar responsibility in this new Kingdom.
5. Its confidence that even death does not check the constant development of human life.
6. Its distinctive scripture. The Bible is a world-standard for morality and instruction in living. Its moral teachings give any nation its highest stability and fulfillment. Christianity has a civilizing influence on any society.
7. Its satisfactory resolution of the problem of evil and sin. The Old Testament Bible testified in many places that this Messiah would come, and the problem of sin would be overcome by His sacrificial death.
8. Its glorification of marriage. Christianity has glorified marriage more than any other religion, and most of the great love poetry in the world has been produced by Christians.
9. Its socializing influence. If God is our Father, then all His people are our brothers. The brotherhood of man is brought to its highest possible state through faith in God and Jesus Christ.
10. Its stabilizing influence on the human mind. Hope, peace, confidence and joy are its fruits. The ability to endure pain and suffering. Yes, Christians do have problems in this life, but our faith gives us the power to endure trials as well as the power to overcome bad habits.
One downside to the Christian faith may be that it is an "easier" religion than some others and can be taken carelessly or thoughtlessly. While other religions may be more demanding, Christianity is a religion of love and forgiveness. God does not pressure us - He provided the salvation; it's up to us to grow in our relationship with Him.
Raymond F. Smith is a deacon at Fellowship Bible Church in Victoria and President of Strong Families of Victoria.