Why I Am a Christian

I've always believed in God. My parents told me about God when I was three or four, and I remember being very excited and happy to find out that God made the world and that God was love. As I grew up, my parents made me go to church, but aside from learning the standard Bible stories and basic Christian doctrine I didn't learn much about how to live as a Christian. By the time I was in high school I thought church was boring. The services were simply routine, it seemed to me, and when people prayed out loud it sounded as though they were reciting a long list of words. I helped out with the child care in order to get out of attending service and Sunday school. I still believed in God, but I didn't think about my beliefs or pay much attention to God. In fact, I was surprised one time when a friend that I'd shared some problems with suggested that I pray - it hadn't even occurred to me to ask God for help.

During my sophomore year in college, a lot of things happened to me. I was a math major and had always prided myself on being good in math (and in academics in general), yet I'd completely failed the first exam in my class and was consequently in danger of failing the class. During the same semester, my boyfriend, who I was madly in love with, broke up with me. Everything that I had sought my sense of self-worth and value in had broken down. At the same time, my roommate, who was a strong Christian, had found a church to attend and invited our mutual friend to attend. Not wanting to be left out, I started attending with them.

The church we went to was a campus church, and it wasn't at all what I'd expected. Instead of singing hymns, the congregation sang modern praise songs, accompanied by a rock band. Instead of people reciting words in a monotone, there were people earnestly praying, people holding their hands up in the air as they sang - people who were excited about being Christians. I hadn't seen anything like that before, and for a while it struck me as being rather odd. But I continued to go with my friend, and I paid attention to the sermons (also a new experience :-) and started reading the Bible my friend had given me. All of this prompted me to think about my life, and to wonder if I should be looking for the meaning of my life in God instead of in having a boyfriend or doing well academically. Later that year I rededicated myself to Christ.

So why do I believe in God? It's simply always made sense to me that God exists. When I look outside and see all the beauty in nature, it makes sense to me that it was created by God, and that we were created with the capacity to enjoy it. Why should beauty even exist, and in such great quantities, if the world wasn't intentionally created? Why does mankind virtually unanimously think sunsets/flowers/waterfalls/etc. beautiful, but not the urban landscape of concrete that we're accustomed to living in? When I see so many people discussing the meaning of life and the existence of God, it doesn't make sense to me to think that beings capable of asking such questions "just happened" to come into existence.

Another reason I believe in God is that things have happened to confirm my belief, such as answered prayer. These experiences can't serve as reason for other people to believe, but since they happened to me they are reason for me to believe. I know myself pretty well, and I know what kinds of things I'm capable and not capable of doing. The prayers that I've seen answered and changes that have taken place in my life are things that I know are not from me. My experiences have also confirmed what I've read about God (and human nature) in the Bible. Besides this, I've seen the same thing happen to other people. I once heard a woman speak who had been raised in a foster home with Christian parents who abused her. By the time she grew up, she had become vehemently anti-Christian, even going out on the street and reverse-evangelizing people - she would ask people if they were Christians, and if they were, she'd try to talk them out of their faith. But God brought about a change in her heart, and she's now an overseas missionary. That's the sort of change that people can't bring about themselves.

Why Christianity? Christianity is the only religion that solves the problem of how we fallible human beings could ever get to heaven and live in the presence of a holy God. In other religions, you have to do certain things and abstain from doing wrong in order to qualify for heaven. The problem is that even following those instructions isn't enough to make a person truly good or truly deserving a place in heaven. Being good isn't simply a matter of not doing any wrong and occasionally being nice - a thoroughly good person is one who is good all the time, even down to the thoughts they think. Yet not only do we not do all of the good we should do, we continually do wrong. And wrong can't be undone or made up for by doing good. If we were truly good, we would be doing good all the time anyway - there is no "extra good" left to do that could make up for doing wrong. Only by Jesus' perfect, atoning sacrifice can our sins of commission and omission ever be forgiven and cleared away.