The first issue that every person must, at some point in their life, face is whether or not there exists a Creator. There are only two possible explainations as to how all the things and creatures that exist in the universe came into being; either there is an Intelligent Designer of everything, or else it all came about by a very long series of coincidences. On the surface, it might seem like the first case requires a lot of faith to believe in a Supreme Being to Whom we have to give credit for bringing about all that there is, and that to believe that mere chance did it all takes no faith at all. This is what has been the major point of view that has been forced upon most of us through public education, and then continued in most secular "institutions of higher learning". When one delves into the matter by looking into the alternative point of view, we become aware of certain items of information that somehow were never mentioned by the secular educators. The first, and most glaring problem, that the idea that all came through mere chance faces, is the huge mathematical hurdle that exists in order to make such a scenario possible. In order for all the complexities that exist in the universe to have come about, there had to have been a very long chain of events that must have occurred by coincidence. If we examine only the single cell of a living organism, it is like a tiny manufacturing plant with complex things going on. There is the method of obtaining energy, which is the result of not-so-simple enzyme activities; then we have the actual function of the cell, which is usually specialized to do a particular task; then there is the defensive mechanism which protects against foreign invaders; and finally there are the programmed systems of cell repair and replication. It is a well-established medical fact that most of the cells in the human body are completely renewed every 7 years.
Next, we have to consider that in any particular living organism, there are many cells which have to work together to maintain life for it to live. Then we have to notice that each living organism has to have a proper environment, and a constant source of food, in order to exist.
All we have to do is examine the various planets in our own Solar System to appreciate what we have here on planet Earth, in the way of an environment that is conducive to the existence of life. Now let's look at an actual mathematical scenario to get an idea of what the probabilities are for a given set of "coincidences" to happen.
Take 10 Scrabble game pieces and tape a number on the back of each one, giving the first the number 1, the second a 2, and so on till you have written the number 10 on the last one. Now put those tiles into a container that will allow you to reach in and take out one tile at a time without your being able to see which tile you are going to remove. Now mix all the tiles up so that you will get a random picking of them. Next, reach into the container and pull out one tile and examine it to see the number on it, then write it down and put it back into the container. Continue to do this until you happen to pull out the tile with the number 1 on it. Now if you did this many times, there will be an average of the number of times you will get the number 1. This average will display the mathematical probability of getting the number 1 on any particular time you reach in and pull out a tile. That probability is 1 for every 10. This probability is the same for any particular number. Now lets look at the probability of reaching in to the container two times in a row and getting the number 1 the first reach in, and then the number 2 on the second reach in. The mathematical probability has now increased 10 fold, because there are 9 out of 10 times that you will not get number 2 tile on the reachin right after 1 is pulled out, and we already know that it took us an average of 10 times to get the number 1 tile. Now each time you increase the number of 'coincidental' chain of events, you decrease the probability by a factor of 10; so to get the number 1 on the first pull out, the number 2 on the second, 3 on the third, and so on until you have gotten to 10. The mathematical probability of doing that is one in 10 Billion attempts!!!!
Now the scenario I just described is a relatively simple set of "coincidences" compared to what would have been required to get all the things that exist in the Universe. There are amino acids (building block molecules of protein) that are very long that have a lot more than 10 molecules in them, and there are many different types of amino acids. Then you have the added complexity of them having to be put together in a proper manner in order and to work together to have living tissue, and to make up enzymes that enable the cells to function properly.
Anyone with half a brain should be able to see that to think that everything came about by accident, without an Intelligent Designer, represents a mathematically absurdity. Also, it should not be hard to realize that it takes a HUGE amount of FAITH to BELIEVE that things came about by chance. The logical conclusion of course is that there IS an intelligent Designer, but for some reason, the public educational institutions have cleverly taught us the absurd notion that "science proves" that the universe came about by accident.
The two ways that they did this was by telling us that the theory of Evolution is a 'fact' and that the whole process had billions of years to get us to where the universe is now. My Uncle used to repair and sell watches and clocks for a living. He said that you can take apart a watch, put the parts in a container, then put the container in a shaker machine; but it will NEVER be able to reassemble the parts of the watch together so that you have a usable timepiece. It takes a watchmaker or repairman to reassemble the watch parts and make it run properly.
Charles Darwin was the primary proponent of the theory of Evolution, and he wrote his thesis of "the origins of life" in the 1840s. At the time he presented it to the scientific community, his colleagues said there simply was no evidence in the fossil record to support his theory. Darwin's comeback to this was that in the many years subsequent to his ideas, science would become sophisticated enough to make the discoveries in the fossil record that would prove he was right. The truth is that this has never happened, and there still exists the absence of evidence in the fossil record of all the transitional forms that would be necessary to show his theory was credible.
(Strangely enough, we were never told these facts while we were studying biology in our secular high school classes.)
Conclusion: If life did not evolve, and things did not come about by chance, there MUST be a Creator.
(Those of you who have believed this before can come out of the closet, because your position is the ONLY one that has credibility in light of the REAL evidence; not the LIES we were told.) Now that we have established that the most logical conclusion is that there IS a Creator, the next questions are:
1) Does He care about His creation, and in particular, mankind?
2) Has He attempted to communicate with mankind in any way, and does mankind have any particular purpose?
3) What kind of relationship (if any) should we have with Him?
4) Who and why would anyone be motivated enough to lie about the evidence that shows that He exists.
If one looks at the world through objective eyes, it is plain to see that the Creator was careful about how He created the universe, especially the earth upon which we live, and the other creatures that we share it with. So it would seem that the logical conclusion would be that He probably DOES care about His creation, and also about mankind (the most endowed being on the earth).
It is also logical that the Creator may want to communicate with the most endowed being on the earth.
Though there have been many who have tried to discount the credibility of the "Bible", there are certain things about it which are very unique that compel the truly honest person who has reached the conclusion that a Creator does exist, to at least take a look at it's merrits to see if perhaps the Creator did have a hand in it's coming about.
Some outstanding features of the Bible are: It was written by 40 different writers who lived in 3 different continents, and the time frame of their writings spans almost 1600 years. Now anyone who has made any kind of a study of the Bible comes to realize that there exists a lot of harmony in this most famous collection of books (66). You can take 40 people on a particular DAY in the SAME ROOM and ask them to write several paragraphs about a particular topic. The result is that you will get a lot of variations, and that there will be a lot of DISharmony amongs those writers.
So this fact alone makes the Bible, at the very least, a very unique collection of writings. The more you study it and consider this fact, the more you will realize that it represents something that is paramount to a miracle, and had to come about supernaturally.
Is the Bible "the word of God"? It is my view a very high percentage (at least 99%) of the words there are God inspired, and reflect His views. I know there will be some who hold to the "word for word" inerrantcy view, but I seek to maintain my intellectual consistency and my credibility. There are a few instances where there are translation errors, language inadequacies, and even a few places where it appears that there may have been tampering that went on. There are certain places that appear to be seeming contradictions or historical account differences, but my studies have shown most of these to be relatively inconsequential. To give an example of a language inaddequacy, the word "unclean" is one word in English, but in the Greek language you have two words "koinos" and "akathartos". Koinos means 'common', unwashed, or spiritually tainted by having been offered to idols. The word 'akathartos' means that something is not fit to eat under any circumstances. Huge misunderstandings have occurred as a result of a lack of proper consideration of the different Greek works used in some passages.
The first 3 questions that I posed are answered by the Bible. The last question is answered by the fact that some people have negative things happen to them in life that cause them to doubt God, and others seek to remove the obligations imposed by having to answer to a Supreme being for their actions in life. It is a known fact that Charles Darwin was a student at a seminary when he had a son who died. He became bitter and dropped out of ministerial studies and subsequently proceeded to find a way to explain away the existence of God. Others wish to remove the idea of God so they can be absolved of an conscience, and be free to live a life in the absence of moral restrictions.
The next thing that we have to deal with is how organized religion has handled all of these different aspects.
According to the Bible, the Flood occurred around 2400 BC, Abraham (patriarch who was the predecessor of the Israelits) was born around 2160 BC, Judaism began about 1800 BC with Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, and his subsequent writing of the law of Moses.
Now Abraham cannot be considered "organized religion" but Genesis 26:5 records that he kept God's laws. There is no record of God having given mankind actual laws until this point, but it must be assumed that He did from this passage. Same thing with God's instructions to Noah to take the 'clean animals' into the Ark by 7s, and the UNclean ones by 2s, even though there is no record of what point God gave the laws of what animals to eat, and not to eat. So we can figure that Judaism is the first official organized religion that was sanctioned by God. Of course there were many pagan religions that had cropped up in the mean time, but it appears that they were convoluted versions of what God instituted with Judaism. Then we have the advent of Jesus Christ, who came onto the scene after many years of people adding things to Judaism that were not put there by God; so He had a lot to say about these additions. From the writings it is easy to see that He was not all that happy about what Judaism had degenerated into. The end result was that many of the leaders of Judaism at the time were very unhappy with Him 'rocking the boat', so they plotted with the Romans to have Him killed. Then Jesus rises from the dead, and there were some who practiced Judaism who believed and followed His teachings, and many who did not. Those who believed in the resurection of Jesus and followed in His teachings were called "Christians" by the people of the city of Antioch, and this name has stuck to this day. (It is important to note that the first Christians were actually Jews and they continued to practice Judaism). This schism between believers and non-believers came to a head toward the end of the first century AD, and the believing Jews were excommunicated from attending synagogues. In the mean time, a lot of Jews had become discontented with Roman rule over them, and many engaged in acts of open rebellion that were often violent. Rome also felt threatened by the fact that those Jews who were refered to as "Christians" were actively converting Roman citizens to become Christians, abandoned the pagan practices that the Emperors had embraced, and were practicing Judaism. Many believers (called Christians) further distanced themselves from these violent Jews. In 135 AD Emperor Hadrean became so upset about the Jewish uprisings that he made it illegal for anyone to practice Judaism in any way, shape, or form. This created a lot of motivation for a lot of "Chistians" to abandon Judaism altogether; including the abandonment of honoring God's 7th day Sabbath. This did little to eliminate the battle between Christians and Rome, so the struggle went on until the early part of the 4th Century. Emperor Constantine came up with a solution to the problem, and the solution was to combine pagan Rome's religion with the practices of Christians in order to end the struggles. That was the birth of the Roman Catholic Church. This new religion became a self-proclaimed final authority on all matters of the "Christian faith". The Bible was viewed by this new religion as a mere guide, and not the final authority. However, there were many "Christians" who would not go along with this new form of Christianity, and since Constantine wanted the new religion to be practiced by ALL people, these people had to flee and go into hiding. The Inquisitions of the 1200s AD and those of the 1400s AD testify to the fact that there were STILL many "Christians" who had not gone along with the Roman Catholic religion as of those later times. Anyone who professed to be a "Christian" was inquired about as to whether they were 'Judaizing' (keeping any of the practices Judaism). Those who were found 'Judaizing' were order to cease such practices, or else be tortured or put to death. . In addition, the common people were forbidden to read the Bible, or any part thereof.
There was a religious scholar among those who studied under the Catholics whose name was John Wycliffe, and he lived in the 1300s. He came to disagree witht the Church of Rome on some key things, and the primary issue he had with them was the people were not allowed to read the Bible for themselves. He took it upon himself to translate the Bible into the languages that the common people could understand, and this began a movement that later became known as "The Protestant Reformation". As a result, John Wycliffe became known as "the morningstar of the Protestant Reformation". The Protestant Reformation took hold in a strong way by the 1500s with Martin Luther being a key leader in the movement during that time. One of the main points of contention that he had with the Roman Catholic Church was the principle that he held to called "Sola Scriptura". Literally meaning 'only the Bible'. This meant that he held the view that the Bible was the final authority on matters of Christian doctrine and belief, and not the Church of Rome.
And so anyone who claims to be a "Christian" today has to make up their mind in one of two ways of thinking;
either the Roman Catholic Church is the final authority, or else the Bible is the final authority.
----- It's up to you to decide.
(There are some differences between believing that the Bible is the final authority, and following Catholicism.
And there are also some things that they share in common. As for myself, I have chosen to follow the "sola scriptura" (Bible only) way of practice.
This makes me a true protestant. There are protestants who have retained some practices of the Catholic Church that are not in accordance with the Bible, and so they are not "true" protestants. There are some topics that I will discuss on sub pages of this section that will explain some specific areas where modern day Christian churches have strayed from what is indicated in the Bible.
The primary theme of the Bible is that the first man (Adam) was created directly by God, and that Adam was perfect in every way prior to his disobedience to God's specific instruction to not partake of a particular tree's fruit. As a result, mankind received a curse of death upon him that could only be reversed by proper repentence and sacrifice in atonement for sins committed. Prior to the coming of Jesus Christ, animals had to be sacrificed in ceremonial fashion. Then Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for our sinful ways, and it was only through His atoning death on the cross and shedding of His innocent blood that we could have the chance at eternal life. We must repent of our disobedience and choose God's ways over the ways of evil and belive in Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for ours errant ways in order to be redeemed from the curse of death. God chose a specific people in order to bring about His plan of salvation for mankind, and that was a particular line of decendents of Abraham. Abraham had Isaac, and Isaac had Jacob (who later became Israel) the bloodline into which Jesus Christ was born to become the Messiah and Redeemer of all mankind.
Throughout the Old Testament books of the Bible, we see that obedience to God and His ways, and a correct heart attitude toward Him is what He desires of those who choose to obtain a place in His eternal kingdom. It warns that those who live in disobedience to God will one day be destroyed if they do not repent and change their ways.
There are those who protest and say that it is impossible to live a Godly life. This is true if a person does not enlist God's help.
Ezekiel 36:27 is where God says "I will put my Spirit IN you and cause you to walk in My statutes". Not only has God provided the sacrifice for the forgiveness of out sins, He also freely gives His Spirit to enable us to be what He wants us to be; but we need to let Him do that.
Christianity Originated From Judaism
There are people today who are not aware that Christianity is rooted in Judaism. If one reads the Old Testament of the Bible, they will find that Judaism was actually originated by the Creator. It began with the covenant that God made with Abraham, that all the nations would given the opportunity to be reconciled to God as an indirect result of him being faithful. Abraham had a son named Isaac, who in turn had a son named Jacob who later was renamed Israel. He had 12 sons (one of those sons was named Judah) and they wound up in Egypt as a result of there being a food shortage in the lands of that area. . There is a denial that Jesus came in the flesh, and died on a cross for the sins of humanity. The basis for salvation is the remission of sins by the shedding of blood; originally the blood of certain animals, and later the blood of Christ (the lamb of God). Then the other ingredients were the repudiation of sins committed (repentance) and the belief in one's heart that Jesus was in fact the lamb of God that takes away sin and that He rose from the dead.
There were other aspects of gnosticism such as the idea that the Old Testament laws of Moses and the 10 Commandments were obsolete. The apostle Paul taught that Gentile Christians could ignore the Law of Moses (613 laws and regulations), and most modern day Christians think that this includes ignoring the observance of the 7th day of the 4th Commandment of God. In the case of the Catholic Church, it manufactured what is referred to as the "Christian sabbath"; first day of the week (Sunday). But actually, this idea began in the 2nd century A.D. as a result of severe persecution from Rome which made it illegal to observe anything that was part of the practices of Judaism. In 135 A.D. Emperor Hadrian made such a decree. Consequently, anyone caught doing so was either heavily fined, tortured, or put to death. That provided lots of incentive for the church leaders of the 2nd century to come up with a doctrine that would keep followers of Christianity from running afoul of the Roman dictates. So they came up with the idea that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week as support for the doctrine that Sunday became the "Christian sabbath" as a result of that.