Here is the evidence. The Bible is the foundational evidentiary document for Christianity. Its structure, contents and how it all holds together against the backdrop of our lives tell us whether or not it can be trusted. The Bible reflects the thoughts and writings of a wide cross section of people over thousands of years that somehow came together in one book. Any attempt to describe Christian beliefs that does not include the Bible is suspect, at best. To understand Christianity, you must read the Bible. And as to eyewitness testimony, there are millions of practicing Christians who can tell you what they believe and why they believe it. The direct evidence is my own personal experience; my “testimony”, as Christians refer to it. As well, there is the testimony of countless other Christians, which is incredibly persuasive. And finally, the circumstantial evidence, the influence of Christianity on our world, is indisputable.
You may have heard it said that in order to become a Christian, all you have to do is pray the so-called Christian’s Prayer. These people describe it as an instantaneous “miraculous conversion” experience. After that, they say, “Everything will take care of itself. No worries, no problems; once you give your life to God, everything is okay. Just trust in Jesus.”
Unfortunately, this advice is sort of like dropping your teenager off at her dorm for the first time, the week before college starts with the sole advice, “Good luck; I know you will do well.” When she returns home for Christmas break, you can’t understand why she struggled and eventually ended up with a “C” average. The truth is that preparing your child for college is a lifelong project. And Christianity is a lifetime endeavor. My own Christian conversion did not happen instantaneously. Certainly, I believe that I was “saved” and filled with God’s Spirit the moment I prayed the prayer. But thanks to my own stubbornness, my Christian growth has been a staggered and sometimes painful process. I’ve had many bumps and bruises, and much “backsliding” along the way. And at least for a while, these things led me to doubt the legitimacy of my conversion and caused me to question my faith. I would ask myself, “If I really was a Christian, I wouldn’t have acted the way I just did.”
Christianity is, at its core, about trusting God with your life. That’s what faith means. This is a concept so simple that a child can understand it. At the same time, one can spend a lifetime developing and refining that faith. However, the problems, stress and difficulties of life continually work together in an unceasing effort to erode your faith. You have to work at keeping it. If you don’t, these things will act as a barrier between you and God. You will live a sub-optimized life.
I understand now that our initial “leap of faith” in Jesus reconciles us with God. But it’s the daily walk in faith and dependence upon Him that makes us more like Him. And He gives us the power to do it by actually indwelling in us Himself, through His Holy Spirit. And my own experience is more common than most people would care to admit. People accept Jesus and they still have problems. But the important thing is that after my first confession of faith in Jesus, He was there for me. He has always picked me up, dusted me off and helped me continue along the way. But until someone decides to take that first “leap of faith” they can’t experience these things in life that will prove that Christianity is legitimate. Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that we become perfect. Instead, it means we are on a path to perfection, thanks to what Jesus accomplished on the cross.