At its core, Christianity is about having a personal love relationship with the God of the Universe through Jesus Christ. But it’s very difficult for us to be open to this relationship if in our minds we doubt that a god exists, or that Jesus was more than just a man, or that the Bible is trustworthy. The heart can not embrace as true what the mind rejects as false.
Fortunately, Christianity is not based on wishful thinking, mythology or blind faith. It is based on historical events that can be explored and evaluated. In fact, Christianity stands or falls on a single historical event: the Resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead we should all reject Christianity as a false religion (1 Cor 15:13-19). But if He did rise… then this validates the things He taught, including that He is the only way to God (John 14:6,7). If true, this should have profound implications for all of our lives.
It’s a question worth exploring…
Before we can attempt to answer whether Jesus really rose from the dead or not, we need to consider whether the information we have about him is reliable. Do today’s English translations of the biographies of Jesus (“the Gospels”) accurately record what Jesus said and did 2,000 years ago? Can an ancient book that claims miracles literally occurred be true? If miracles are not possible then Jesus could not possibly have risen from the dead.
But we must back up a step: For miracles (i.e. supernatural acts of God) to even be possible, there must be a supernatural Agent. If there’s no God then there can’t be supernatural acts of God. But if God does exist, then it is not such a huge leap to accept that a Being not limited by the laws of nature could act supernaturally in the world. If God exists (and miracles are therefore possible) then Jesus’ resurrection is at least possible.
However in this day and age there is yet one more preliminary step: before we can evaluate whether it’s true or not that God exists, we need to think about the nature of truth itself. To claim that God exists presupposes that at least some things are objectively true about the world (i.e. they are true independent of our individual opinions or experience). If there are no truths that apply to all people, then any religious claims about God’s existence (or miracles he/she/it supposedly did) could easily be dismissed as just one person’s (or one religion’s) opinion and nothing more.
So, following this logic, there are at least 4 areas we ought to explore before we make up our minds about Jesus and Christianity: