Tuesday, Feb 19, 2019. What is the background of Christian faith? Is it rooted in truth, in facts? What has happened? What do we know? How do we know? And is it reasonable to believe in Jesus? Is it well grounded? Is it a rational step of human life?
Today, there are a lot of opinions and statements hovering in the social media. People claim all different kinds of things. And we are confronted with strong statements about this and that - which includes sometimes Jesus or “the church” as a whole. People formulate their emotions and opinions. But what are the facts behind the story?
Solid Ground …
The biblical books of the New Testament claim to be a correct account of what has happened in and with Jesus. The apostles, which are cited and which are authors of most of the New Testament letters, have been living with Jesus. They have experienced the events which are described and taken up in the gospels and the New Testament letters. In Acts 4 we find the following typical remark:
19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (from Acts 4)
The New Testament documents have been written between the year 40 AD and 100AD. There are even pieces of manuscripts dated as early as 125 AD by secular scholars (i.e. not Christians), proving that the gospel of John was already established that time. Dating the other gospels to before 60AD is very well established and not really questioned by a wide range of experts.
Faith with Reason …
Dating the gospels back to the decades after the death of Christ about 30AD is one step. It is important to realize how well the fundament of faith is, the biblical word. But there is, of course, much more to look at. What is written? Do we understand? Is it reasonable?
When you first hear some of the stories, you might find them quite challenging. But when you start to dig into the arguments, which Jesus and the whole New Testament brings, they are quite appealing, quite amazing. I would say that there are not many texts which resemble the New Testament - both in form, in content and it the way of reasoning and its depth.
Faith wants to be a faith full of reason. We should understand, at least important parts. It is not just about believing without any reason. It is about belief with reason. Reason is not all, but it is an important ingredient in faith.
Reason is not all. Faith is about our full personality, our complete existence. It is about our goals, our character, our emotions, our desires, our needs, our wishes, our actions. Of course, all this is linked to reason, but it has deep roots in our body and soul. There is the invitation to investigate faith and to come to faith with all what we are and explore the presence of Jesus in spirit and truth! (Roland Potthast) ... further texts