Friday, March 1, 2019. How does it work with faith today? Is faith fit for modern times? What is it we believe in a 'post-modern' world? Let us ask these questions - with a clear view on the situation as it is today in the world, in Europe, in the US, in Asia.
Of course, if you ask different people this question, you will get very different answers. This is a common feature which connects our world today with the world 1000 or 2000 years ago. Over all the time humans have given very different answers to the question of faith. But can we say more on this?
Why believe in Jesus …
Why should you believe in Jesus? Why should you be a Christian in contrast to for example an atheist, or an agnostic, or a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist? Why? Is it just your personal history which shapes the world view you have? Is it just a world view? Or is it more? Is it just a life style, something like a hair colour? What is the role faith has for us? What influence does it have on us? What is it that is changing?
Let us clarify one important point: faith claims to be the most important component of our way to look at the world. That is true for all faiths. Even atheists have the belief that their way to look at the world is the most correct way, the best way. They think this since they are convinced that there is no God, and that everyone who thinks there is a God is just wrong.
Christians, Jews and Muslims claim that there is a God. However, the Christians and Jews have a particular way to describe God, and Muslims know another God than Christians and Jews. Let me make one remark here: I consider the God of the Jews and the Christians to be the same. To be a Jew is first of all a question of origin and heritage. It is, of course, linked to faith - but you can be Jew and Christian at the same time, as soon as you come to recognize Jesus as the son of God.
Clearly, also people who believe in God claim that their view is correct, since God is there. But faith is more than just the opinion that there is a God! Let us discuss that important fact.
What faith means …
We call someone a “deist” who thinks that there is a God. In this sense Christians and Jews and Muslims are deists. But they are much more, not only deists. A deist can be completely disconnected from the God he thinks to exists.
Faith as understood in the bibliclal books is not just an opinion about truth. It is a personal way with the truth. You become a believer by putting your trust and your faith into Jesus. You believe that he is not only a God, but YOUR God. He is YOUR father, YOUR saviour, the center of YOUR life.
The New Testament tells the story of Jesus, who becomes a human child, then lives as a human, then preaches the gospel, then dies at the cross, then rises from the dead and is taken into heaven, then sends his spirit to build the church. Becoming a believer is about entering the story - not just listening to it. Of course, to enter you need to be convinced that it is a true and important story. But then, you still need to enter yourself!
Now, is it true? That is, of course, the crucial question. It it true that Jesus is who he claimed to be? Is he the one which the gospel claims he is? To find out you need to read the gospels and the letters of the New Testament. You need to check it out yourself. Only you can make the decision, since it is your trust which he asks for - not the trust of anyone else. You need to see whether the story of faith, of salvation, of truth and love and origin as told by the Old and New Testament is convincing to you. To me, it was and it is - and after I started to understand the message of Jesus I did not have a real choice, I had to become a Christian, a believer. (Roland Potthast) ... further texts