Thursday, January 3, 2013

reasonable faith

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A Reasonable Faith

Hindu author Shashi Tharoor made a statement that “faith requires no reason” in his article about Hindu fundamentalism appearing in the Express Magazine, Feb. 8, 1998.  Faith without reason is an unreasonable faith.  It implies that there is no evidence of the thing we believe.  This is an appropriate kind of faith to have about Hinduism, the general theory of evolution, humanism, New Age fantasies, and many other religious systems plaguing the world. But believing in the resurrection of Jesus, and believing in creation of the universe by God,  is faith based on evidence.

When people talk about a leap of faith, and ask one to look within his heart to see if something is right, the implication is given that God has not revealed himself sufficiently to produce real faith based on evidence.

But God has revealed Himself in many ways that are adequate to produce a reasoned faith.  First He revealed Himself in the creation, and He is the only sufficient cause of the universe that anyone has ever proposed.  Surely the order and design of the universe, and of life on this earth, are sufficient to demand the existence of a designer.  God the Creator is that sufficient cause.

God revealed Himself by making mankind in His image.  Not that we look like God in our physical form, but we have a living spirit within us.  Humans are above all other living creatures on this earth, and have been given charge over the creation.  We have a living spirit, and we all will worship something, because we are made to offer up worship and praise to God.  But when we subvert that worship to serve the creation instead of the Creator, we subvert the design of our Creator.

God revealed Himself to Abraham, and promised to bless all nations of the earth through his descendants.  He revealed Himself to Moses, and called Himself “I AM.”  Yahweh, the eternal being, proved Himself by leading Israel out of Egypt and making them a great nation.   He brought them to Jerusalem, and prepared the way for Jesus, Emanuel, God with us.  Jesus fulfilled every prophecy about Messiah, in exact detail, including the price of thirty pieces of silver paid to Judas for His betrayal, and the circumstances of His burial in a rich man’s tomb.

But the greatest evidence of all is found in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  No one can successfully deny that Jesus is a real person who was crucified outside the gates of Jerusalem in the days of the Roman Emperors.  The evidence of more than five hundred eye witnesses testifies to the truth of His resurrection.  And the miracles done by His apostles that resulted in the spread of Christianity to all the world in the first century is evidence enough to produce the faith that is still changing the world.

Recently I saw a signboard of the Syrian Orthodox church in Bombay, proudly proclaiming that Thomas came to India with the gospel in AD 54.  Why did Thomas, disciple who refused to believe in the resurrection of Jesus until he saw Him face to face, travel all the way to India to be killed by the lance of a Hindu?  As John says in His gospel, “Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:30-31, NAS)

Faith in Jesus as the Son of God is a reasonable faith.  A faith based on the evidence of history, and sealed with the blood of the disciples of Jesus. And my faith is reasonably based upon my experience with Jesus.

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The Universe Declares the Power of God

The following is from my Indian friend Abhilash Chalakuzhy

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