I think the main reason for my being a Christian is summed-up well in the famous words of C.S. Lewis: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
G.K. Chesterton also springs to mind: “a man is not really convinced of a philosophic theory when he finds that something proves it. He is only really convinced when he finds that everything proves it.”
There are many contours to my faith, but ultimately I believe that Christianity is true because I have discovered it to be the only thing that makes sense of everything.
Admittedly, a good portion of this was formed in me early on. I was raised in the Anglican Church and was the son of a priest. When I was no more than seven or eight I began asking serious questions about God and Jesus, but I always felt a strange warmth about the whole thing. It was easy for me to believe that God was real and that He loved me. It was intuitive. My entire universe was permeated with His ‘being there.’ I could see God in everything.
However in my teens I began to discover that a good majority of my peers thought differently. I grew up in the public school system and had very few Christian friends. It is remarkable what an influence this can have. By university, my social circumstances had made me a total skeptic of my childhood faith. This was only heightened when I discovered that I was, to a significant degree, incapable of responding adequately to the popular “New Atheists” who dominated the internet at the time.
All of this mounted in my early twenties and I came to identify for the first time as a non-believer. I suppose you could say this was more a case of disinterest than anything else, but the truth is I had simply grown tired of asking questions. There was too much opinion out there. The world was too loud, and the God who speaks in whispers was slowly drowned out.
Still, as time went on, the inconsistencies of a world without God began to trouble me.
My journey back to Christianity began with recognizing the insufficiency of a secular world-view. And if I am being completely honest, I was most heavily prompted back to the faith by the tedious vacuity of those around me who thought it deranged. As Augustine put it, it was the “loquacious verbosity” of atheism that drove me back to belief.
I found the main reasons for denying God to be reactionary. At times it was even pompous, and even at its best it remained logically deficient. I began to think that the ethics of atheism were rootless. When I was with Christians, I was startled by their passion. Rather than finding them austere, I found them brimming with life. The Bible says that we will know Christians by their love (John 13:35), and though there are many who have sadly experienced the opposite in Christian community, I can say that this has been the defining characteristic in almost every circle of believers I have been with.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:35
The secular world could not compete. As an atheist I found myself deflated and melancholic. More importantly, I just didn’t find atheists to be concerned with meaning in the way that I was. I wanted to go all the way with my convictions. With atheism, this was not possible. I found that the main reasons for rejecting God were based on a concept of a god who never was to begin with. The god whom so many were railing against was not the God of the Bible, and certainly not the God of the early Church. He was just a bully in the sky and ultimately I was glad they didn’t believe in such a deity.
As I studied more of the history of the world I came to realize that even if I was overwhelmed with all that I did not know, Christianity had shaped the world more than anything else I could see. What had happened back then that it should spark such a movement? How could Saul of Tarsus have turned in an instant from a vehement persecutor of the faith into Paul, its chief proponent? I was hungry again for answers.
Then, at the age of 23, I picked up a copy of CS Lewis’ Mere Christianity. By the time I had finished it, I was a Christian again. The God I discovered was the God of the cosmos. The creator of all things and the reason for all things. He was the Triune God of the Bible. He was Jesus. And as Jesus, as God made flesh, as the crucified God, and as this God and no other, did everything else make sense in him.
The philosopher Jean-Luc Marion was once asked in an interview why he was a (Catholic) Christian. His answer was perfect: “Because it is completely true—but it is also more fun to be a Christian.” It is precisely these two things that encapsulate my faith. And it is this that eventually led me to where I am today.
My lovely wife Melissa and I are expecting our first child, a little baby girl in just a couple of months: a process through which God is being revealed to me all over again.
Ben the youth pastor at Deep Water Church and working on his PhD in theological studies.
You can see more people sharing the reason for the hope that they have here: Why Believe?
D v mac says
Augustine quote is amazing. Nothing new under the sun as I also converted to Christianity for similar reasons. Secularism just didn’t add up. There was a certain poverty of spirit. In the confused non- believers I encountered. Then I read ‘Death of a Salesman’ and was profoundly aware that Willy Loman was Everyman ( to some degree). And Augustine had already said 1600 years ago. Nothing New Under the Sun! Well spoken Benjamin MacDonald.