by Bill Nugent
There are many small deviant religious groups that make truth claims but these truth claims are not backed up by rational evidence. Christianity by contrast is a rational faith backed by rational evidence for the mind so that the heart can respond by faith.
To look at an example of a truth claim not adequately backed by objective rational evidence we will consider the Mormon claim that two tribes of Hebrew ancestry migrated from the Middle East to North America around 600 B.C. The two groups are alleged to have had a long history of conflict and around 400 A.D. the darker skinned Lamanites wiped out the lighter skinned Nephites. The above story, recorded in the book of Mormon, is not corroborated either by archaeology or by secular recorded history. The story is essentially a free standing truth claim. Not just the Mormons but many groups that we would term cults have fanciful narratives that are totally unbacked by independent, rational corroborating evidence.
The Bible by contrast is not only confirmed by archaeology and secular history but also exhibits the supernatural phenomena of prophetic foretelling of the future and precise fulfillment of Bible prophecies. The Bible contains literally hundreds of specific prophecies. Their fulfillment in verifiable historical events stunningly and compellingly points to the fact that the Bible is divinely inspired. This is something of which the rational mind can grab hold.
Some Bible prophecies have already been fulfilled in history but others, including those pertaining to the restoration of the Jews to the land of Israel are being fulfilled in our own day.
Josh McDowell, in his book Evidence That Demands A Verdictdoes an excellent job of listing Bible prophecies and meticulously documenting their fulfillments. God shows great respect for the human mind because He gives us rational evidence that the mind can grasp. This ample offering of objective verifiable evidence shows that the Bible is indeed inspired by God and therefore the Bible can be trusted in matters pertaining to salvation and the afterlife. No alleged holy book or sacred writings of any other religion contains anything that even remotely approaches the Bible’s record of prophecy and fulfillment of prophecy.
The accumulated evidence contained in the Bible and confirmed by history and archaeology drives us to a rational conclusion that God exists, the Bible is true, human beings are sinners in need of the Savior, God sent the Savior (Jesus) to die for our sins and we must repent and receive Jesus into our hearts. It is reasonable to believe the facts of the Gospel but it takes faith to receive Jesus into our hearts.
It is popular in some circles to talk of the term “leap of faith.” The term “leap of faith” is often falsely defined as meaning that a person who takes a leap of faith believes in something without rational evidence. In other words they claim that faith is contrary to reason! However, let me emphasize again that God does not ask us to believe anything without rational evidence.
Faith is different from reason. Reason has to do with objective evidence discovered by the Mind. Faith has to do with the heart. Faith is a relationship word. Faith means trust and reliance on the kindness and love of another being. Once we come to the rational conclusion that God exists and that He sent the Redeemer to die for our sins then we must decide if we want to have a personal relationship with Him. This is where faith enters the picture. We put our faith (confidence, trust) in Him. Faith is not unreason but it is pro-relationship. We must turn to God in faith and ask Him to save us from our sins through Jesus Christ who took our penalty upon Himself when He died for our sins.