Not too long ago, I was listening to one of my favorite apologetics podcasts (Stand To Reason with Greg Koukl), and Greg was talking about a recent debate between Christian apologist Sean McDowell atheist (and former Christain) Ryan Bell, and his thoughts on the idea of “top-down” versus “bottom-up” arguments. (If so inclined, you can listen to the podcast here, and be sure to check out the Unbelievable podcast as well). This got me reflecting on my own beliefs about Christianity. I’ve written in the past on reasons why I am a Christian, but I wanted to refine those ideas a bit more. Broadly, if someone were to ask me, “Why are you a Christian?” or “Why do you believe in God/Jesus?” I would answer from two perspectives.
First, I think there are reasons to believe that Christianity and the Christian worldview are true. Second, I think there are reasons to believe that other world views (atheism, naturalism, and other religious belief systems) are not true. I may not have an answer to all the possible questions that someone may raise (or I myself may have) about Christianity; but by-in-large, there is very strong evidence that shows that the Christian worldview is the best explanation of how the world really is. By contrast, there are equally strong reasons to believe that other world views are inadequate to account for our common sense observations of how the world really is.
A couple of examples:
The prevailing scientific evidence shows that our universe is finite and began to exist at some point in the past. The beginning of the universe was the beginning of space, time, and matter. Therefore, logically whatever caused the universe to come into being must be space-less, timeless, and immaterial. The Christian worldview claims that the cause of the universe is God. Atheism has several competing theories about the beginning of the universe, but essentially claims “nothing” caused the universe; some impersonal, undefined physical effect caused the universe; or some other equally illogical idea such as a “self-caused” universe or a multi-verse for which there is absolutely no evidence.
There is significant evidence that our universe is fine tuned to an exquisite level of precision that is almost unfathomable. For example, if the ratio of electromagnetic force to gravity deviated from its current value by (the incredibly small number of) 10 to the negative 40, stars could not have formed. If gravity were too strong, stars would be too hot and burn too fast to form heavy elements. If gravity were too weak, stars would be too cool to ignite nuclear fusion.
If the expansion rate of the universe were different by only 10 to the negative 55, the universe could not have even formed. If the rate were slower, the universe would have collapsed in on itself due to the force of gravity. If the expansion rate was faster, no galaxies could form.
Christianity says that this fine-tuning is due to a Creator designing the universe to an incredible level of precision. Atheism says these characteristics of the universe are the result of chance, natural processes, or necessity. (Its hard to explain how natural process can account for nature itself since a natural process would have to exist prior to nature---which is you should recognize is circular reasoning).
I could go on. The bottom line is, the Christian world-view is the best explanation for the way things really are. All other world-views fall miserably short of providing adequate answers. I plan on exploring some other examples in future posts.