WE SEARCH FOR TRUTH BY INVESTIGATING CLAIMS
Because we’re rational beings, we have an instinctive desire to know truth, and we use a common process in searching for truth. That process involves investigating claims (things being said) about the subject of our inquiry.
For example, if we were to search for the best tax attorney in town, we wouldn’t start by going out in the street and asking people at random if they practice tax law. A more practical approach would be to do an Internet search and get the names of all the people in the area who claim to be tax attorneys. Thus, we quickly narrow the field by considering only claimants.
Just because someone says he’s a tax attorney doesn’t necessarily mean he is one, or that he is the best one. Therefore, to determine the truth about his ability, we’d have to investigate his licensing, certifications and other credentials, plus we’d have to do some extensive reference checking and have personal experience with him. Only then can we really know the truth about him.
In various ways like this, we investigate claims every day. We can use this same kind of claim-checking process to develop our spiritual faith.
We start by asking two big questions. What books CLAIM to be written by God? What persons CLAIM to be God? If a book doesn’t claim to be written by God, it probably isn’t. If a person doesn’t claim to be God, he probably isn’t. Thus, we quickly narrow the field to the Bible and to Jesus Christ.
As shown in Topics 12-14, founders of the other major religions – Muhammad, Buddha – did NOT claim to be God. Such a claim is so vulnerable that it cannot survive scrutiny unless it’s really true.
THE BIBLE AND JESUS MAKE UNIQUE CLAIMS
If God is personally knowable, it’s logical to assume that he would reveal himself to mankind in some way.
Therefore, early in our search for God, we should do the most reasonable and obvious thing. We should look around to see if God has made himself known in the manner people normally communicate:
by Written Word
by Spoken Word
When we investigate, we find that there’s a book (the Bible) which claims to be the word of God and a man (Jesus Christ) who claims to be God.
No honest investigator can deny that the clarity of these claims, the credibility backing these claims and the testimony of those who have relied upon these claims, are extraordinary by every measure. In each category – written word of God and spoken word of God – there’s not even a close second to confuse us.
These twin claims are unique and clearly evident. The only question is whether or not these claims are true. Topics 20-26 give reasons why Christians believe they are true.
RELIGIONS ARE NOT JUST DIFFERENT PATHS TO GOD
All five major blocks of religious thought – Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and atheist – claim to have the correct perspective on God and man (see Topics 11-15).
But since these beliefs contradict each other (except perhaps Hinduism), and since each religion claims exclusivity in the correctness of belief, only one can be right. To say that more than one is right would violate a fundamental law of logic (the law of non-contradiction) which says that if two statements about a subject contradict each other, then only one can be true, or both must be false.
Logically, then, it’s not an informed and intelligent position to say that all religions are merely different paths to God. Therefore, we must decide whether to believe that Christianity (defined by the Bible) is true or to believe that it is false.
THE BIBLE IS THE MOST AMAZING OF ALL BOOKS
‘Bible’ is a Greek word meaning ‘book.’ The earliest parts of the Bible are written in Hebrew and the latest parts are written in Greek. What we read today are translations of the original Hebrew and Greek into English.
Universally, it’s called ‘The Bible,’ not just ‘bible.’ It’s The Book, not just a book.
The Bible is the most read book in the world. Over six billion copies have been printed in over 1,700 languages. It’s amazing how this single book has been able to explain life and meet the needs of people in all countries... in all cultures... in all periods of time. No other book has come close to having such universal and timeless appeal.
It has withstood all attempts through the centuries to have it destroyed, banned and discredited. Those who read and understand it say it’s still fresh and relevant. Unlike any other book, readership of the Bible keeps increasing with time as more and more people become familiar with it.
The Bible claims to be a user’s manual, given by God to his human creation to explain the meaning and purpose of life and to show how we can have a personal relationship with him.
Because of its unique claims and outstanding credentials, anyone sincerely desiring to know God and to experience his love and power will certainly want to carefully examine the Bible.
THE BIBLE HAS ASTOUNDING CREDENTIALS
Here are some of the Bible's credentials:
- The Bible claims to be God's message to us. It’s a credible claim because the Bible is in fact the most read and most respected book in the world.
- The Bible has been authenticated by bibliographers. People disagree on how to interpret some words of the Bible, but there's no significant disagreement as to what those actual words are.
- The Bible has been confirmed by archaeological findings.
- The Bible has been miraculously preserved, despite all attempts to destroy and discredit it.
- The Bible has been completely accurate in foretelling future events.
- The Bible has amazing internal unity, revealing super-human knowledge.
- The Bible has dramatically changed lives and shaped the course of history.
These points are expanded and documented in order in the next seven Topics.