Where did I come from? Why am I here? Who am I? What am I? What's my future? What should I do? Where can I get help and guidance?
Your answers determine your worldview, what you think is real. Your worldview determines the choices you make. The choices you make determine your life.
For those who have seen the TV series, StarTrek, or its many reruns, you may remember Mr. Spock. Spock, played flawlessly by Leonard Nimoy, was the half human, half Vulcan science officer on the starship Enterprise. With pointed ears (like the elves in Lord of the Rings) and a vast knowledge of science and technology, Spock often questioned Captain Kirk whether what Kirk was doing was "logical". Spock would raise an eyebrow and comment on Kirk's logic or illogic. Imagine Mr. Spock's Vulcan cousin, Mr. Skeptic trying to evaluate Christianity.
Mr. Spock looked for rational, non-miraculous explanations for everything. Based on what I remember of the show, Spock's worldview was that miracles are quite impossible and if an apparently inexplicable phenomena occurred, he would be confident that natural laws caused it, even though he might not know which ones or how they did it.
The Vulcan worldview is that emotion is weakness, much like the ancient Stoic Grecian philosophers. Vulcans use logic to solve every problem and circumstance (like today's materialists attempt to do).
Christian: "Mr. Skeptic, I am grateful for you to spend the time to talk to me."
Mr. Skeptic: "I have been ordered by our Vulcan Leaders to visit your planet and see if I can make sense of your society. You humans have a plethora of opinions, beliefs, and governments and now you have space travel, nuclear power, quantum computers and a rapidly evolving technology. I am tasked with answering two questions for Vulcan. Is there anything that you humans have discovered that Vulcan could benefit from? And should we continue to maintain friendly relations with you or should we up shields and bar you humans from our portion of the galaxy? I have prepared for my assignment by reading a number of your books. I find them interesting, but often illogical."
Christian: "I admit, we humans have faults, but we also have good points. I believe that Christianity is our strongest point. Christ taught us to be kind; to love others, even our enemies; and before he left, he commanded us to tell people about him, Jesus, the son of God, and his visit to Earth."
Skeptic: "Yes, I read of that in your Bible, but you humans killed him."
Christian: "I am sorry to say that we did, but fortunately for us, God loves us is willing to forgive us because of Jesus' life, sacrificial death and resurrection."
Skeptic: "Many of your people say that there is no God and that your science has proved the Bible to be a fairy tail."
Christian: "Yes, what you say is true, but many us disagree with them. May I ask you a question? What do you think about Christianity?"
Skeptic: "I will attempt to answer your question. However, do not expect me to change my beliefs. I do not believe in the supernatural, miracles, etc. Your human naturalists, atheists, and pragmatists, etc. say that the Christian worldview is 'illogical'. It postulates a creator, God, and a lot of impossible events, even resurrecting dead people, such as your Jesus. It is strange to me that so many people believe it. They call their irrational belief, the 'Christian Faith'. Perhaps humans just don't think as clearly as we Vulcans."
Christian: "Mr. Skeptic: since you have read the human materialist's beliefs, that Christianity is irrational; would you please evaluate Christianity using your superior Vulcan intelligence and logic to see if the materialist's are correct."
Skeptic: "It is a waste of time to state the obvious, of course we Vulcans are smarter and more logical than you humans. I will look at your evidence and explain to you why your beliefs are faulty. You understand that when I do this, it may force you to change your beliefs. Christianity appears to be an invention of upper class humans to keep the poor in line hoping for 'Pie in the sky, bye and bye', or as some of your psychiatrists say it is a delusion foisted on ignorant, schizophrenic or weak minds."
"Thank you, Mr. Skeptic. I would like to make one additional request of you. It seems fair to ask you to evaluate the Christian faith with an open mind. By 'open mind' I ask that you not arbitrarily rule out evidence you cannot explain. If the evidence logically points to some event which is not explicable by the known laws of nature, you don't arbitrarily throw it out. Of course, it's only fair that you require a lot of evidence."
Skeptic: "It is not logical to throw out evidence, just because you can't explain it. Vulcans aren't humans."
Christian: "Mr. Skeptic: human scientists have experimentally derived equations to predict the effects of natural laws, such as the law of gravity, isn't that correct?"
Skeptic: "Of course, why do you ask?"
Christian: "Mr. Skeptic: have you ever seen a magician levitate a young lady, suspending her in the air and then passing hoops over her. I have, but I still don't believe they really did it. I believe that somehow they used thin wires and hoops with slits in them or mirrors or something of the sort to give the illusion that the young lady was floating in air. Levitation is impossible, right? Or can I suspend an object above the earth's surface without it falling to the ground? Sounds to me like a miracle, something supernatural or as your Mr. Spock would say, illogical."
Skeptic: "It's not a miracle, it's a simple application of natural law. If you get far enough away from the center of mass of the earth so that the centrifugal force on you matches the earth's gravitational pull, you will remain stationary although the earth may rotate under you. You humans have satellites, that's how they work."
Christian: "Thank you."
Skeptic: "Now, back to how I will approach investigating Christianity. I read in your literature about a German scientist in your 18th century who proved mathematically that heavier-than-air flight is impossible. He made faulty assumptions and as a result ruled out the truth. Investigators have to be very careful to not assume that viewed and attested phenomena are spurious and as you humans say, "throw out the baby with the bath water".
Christian: "Good! Your command of our language and knowledge of our vernacular is excellent."
Skeptic: "You are welcome. I wondered when I read of your Jesus walking on water. Could he control the water molecules and enhance their surface tension to support his weight or was he able to generate some sort of anti-gravity field? I wonder what the logical answer is? I will be glad to investigate such things more thoroughly. To a Vulcan such an investigation is what you humans call fun."
Christian: "Please consider this: Christians believe that the Bible is the Word of God. In the 18th century some scientists scoffed at the ignorant misguided religious fools who would believe a book with such silly ideas in it. They said, 'The Bible has a lot of things in it that are simply impossible, for example:
1 Peter 3:9-10 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
What sort of idiot looking at the vast Pacific ocean would believe that it could melt? Later in the 19th century we learned that the impossible is possible. Elements can melt with fervent heat, ask the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Later when we tested the hydrogen bomb on Bikini Atoll, there were some who feared that the fusion reaction would spread and ignite all the hydrogen in the ocean. Thank God it didn't or we wouldn't be here."
Skeptic: "I agree, in the past some human scientists have based their theories on faulty assumptions."
Christian: "In order to honestly investigate Christianity we need to admit that things beyond our understanding, apparently miraculous things, might be possible. If we can find enough credible witnesses to the supposedly supernatural events, it is logical to believe they really did happen."
Skeptic: "That is logical, but only if you can find a lot of evidence from credible witnesses. Of course, if such evidence appears, I will still keep looking for a naturalistic explanation."
"Thank you. I am confident you will be both accurate and honest in your evaluation. I have written several appendices for those interested in seriously evaluating the evidence: Appendix A, "Science and Christianity", brings up recent discoveries in science which seem to imply the necessity of an intelligent designer.
Skeptic: "I will evaluate all of your appendices. My question for you is why do you believe that the Bible is the "Word of God"? Isn't it an ancient document that has been through many translations and as a result is full of unintentional errors and contradictions, not counting intentional errors inserted by the translators in order to promulgate their personal beliefs?"
Christian: "Thank you, Mr. Skeptic. That is a good question. My last three appendices provide evidence as to why we believe that we have an accurate translation and that the Bible is the word of God. Appendix B explains "Why Believe the Bible". Appendix C "A Challenge" summarizes my understanding, gives a few more references and issues a challenge. Appendix D explains, "Why A New Testament". Please evaluate all four appendices and let me know what you think."
Several days pass while Mr. Skeptic evaluates the Appendices. Lets pick up the conversation with him after he has read them. If you don't want to wade through the complex arguments in the Appendices, just listen in to Mr. Skeptic's summaries of what he read.
Christian: "Well Mr. Skeptic: what do you think of the appendices?"
Skeptic: "First, let's talk about Appendix A, 'Christianity and Science'. I was disappointed to note that human scientists don't always tell the truth."
"You Christians believe that God created the universe and created the human race, but admit that you don't know how. No one knows how long the 'days' in Genesis 1 were. You believe that if your God wanted to, he could have used evolution to create humans. An all knowing, all powerful, ever present being who is outside of time could choose to use an evolution like process to create humanity if he wanted to. To say that the 'Theory of Evolution', which many of your human educators espouse, disproves Christianity is silly."
"Following the materialistic worldview to its logical conclusion that human life has no value has led some of you humans to do terrible things to one another. We Vulcans believe that it is illogical to hurt or damage another being unnecessarily. We would never have done such things to other Vulcans."
"I like the idea of your Christians trying to make the world a better place. If everyone tries to improve your environment, it will help all of you and make your world a better place for you and for us to visit."
"I have a problem with the beliefs of your scientific community, who believe that the speed of light is fixed and cannot be exceeded. It took our ship about two of your weeks to fly here from the Vulcan System at a speed far in excess of the speed of light. However, some of your scientists quoted in reference 9 in Appendix A have recently discovered that the speed of light is not a fixed number. As you investigate the implications of this, I predict that your concepts of space, matter and time will change. However, my brief preliminary analysis says that the effect of this change on the numbers in your analysis will not cause significant change to the results of your Appendix A, i.e., they are approximately correct."
"The Big Bang and the Theory of General Relativity show that the cosmos has not always existed as your Darwin assumed. The Cosmos had to have had a definite beginning."
"Morowitz's analysis of the number of steps required for an aqueous solution containing a few amino acids under ideal conditions to evolve into even the simplest living cell shows that life has not had sufficient time since the Big Bang to evolve. There must have been an intelligent interferor."
"The physical characteristics of the cosmos which your author selected for analysis do seem indeed to have been "fine tuned" for life to exist. They were: the Big Bang; the force of gravity; the strong nuclear force; the weak nuclear force; the electromagnetic force; the ratio of the electromagnetic force to the gravitational force; etc."
"I concur with your conclusion that the probability of the fine tuning is so small that the cause cannot have been random chance."
Christian: "Thank you very much. I look forward to your evaluation of the other appendices."
Skeptic: "Next I will give you my evaluation of your Appendix B, 'Why Believe the Bible'.
It is interesting that the language your New Testament was written in hasn't evolved like your English language has.
You humans have enough of the old Greek manuscripts from within one or two hundred years after the life of Christ to be confident that you have accurate copies and accurate translations of what was said. Of course, I am accepting the word of the authors to which you refer rather than trying to read all the manuscripts myself. That would be a formidable task even for a Vulcan. However, many of the ancient manuscripts are now available on your internet for all to read.
The Jews had their Old Testament copied into Greek (the Septuagent) more than a hundred years before Christ and numerous copies are available. That and the Hebrew Dead Sea Scrolls indicate that your Old Testament is an accurate translation. This is confirmed not only by the writers you refer to, but by the plethora of historical evidence validating and verifying the accuracy of both the Old and New Testaments.
Some human 'Higher Critics' seem to have built straw houses built on faulty assumptions. I believe the title of a play by your human author, Shakespeare, adequately describes their criticisms, 'Much Ado About Nothing'. In your universities those pursuing the PhD. degree must generally do some original research, write a paper about their research, called a dissertation, and defend it before a committee of PhDs. The search for a suitable topic has led some to choose topics to please their professors, so that topics agreeing with certain popular worldviews tend to be accepted, regardless of their veracity or utility.
Your early church leaders after much prayer selected those books regarded by the people of the time as inspired to be the books included in the New Testament. The Old Testament books had already been selected by the Jews.
In order to die for one's beliefs a person must firmly believe. No rational human or Vulcan would be willing to suffer and die for a lie. The transformation in Christ's disciples from cowards to brave men is one of the strongest reasons for believing the validity of their writings. They believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that he came to earth to die for your sins, that he was resurrected from the dead, that he ascended back to the Father, and that he is coming again. All but one of them died for this belief.
Your Bible claims to be inspired. If we believe that it is an accurate translation of what the writers said, either they were liars or it is inspired. Why would they write a lie and then suffer and die for it. Also, if we believe that it is an accurate translation of what the writers said, either Jesus Christ was the Son of God as he claimed, or he was a lunatic and a liar. Clearly his disciples believed him to be the Son of God.
Predicting highly unlikely events long before they occur is another strong evidence that your Bible is true. Old Testament prophecies about your Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman Empires were fulfilled. How could one predict more than a hundred years in advance of your Alexander the Great conquering the Persian Empire, then dieing at a young age and having his Grecian Empire being broken up into four parts? But the most compelling fulfilled prophecies are those about Jesus, the suffering servant, suffering meekly, dieing for many, being pierced by a spear, having his clothes gambled for, being buried, rising from the dead, etc. As shown in the book you refer to, the probability of these things happening is infinitesimal.
Your New Testament does not try to cover all its faults, your apostle Peter says that some of Paul's writings are hard to understand in 2 Peter 3:15-16. But it points out a way to learn the answers to your questions. First study, 2 Timothy 2:15, and then pray with faith for guidance, James 1:5-6.
The Bible's showing the warts as well as the beauty of its characters is another reason for believing it. It doesn't whitewash or sugar coat its descriptions of its characters. Other such writings show only the good characteristics of their heroes, not their flaws. It does seem that this book was not written by a human.
So I must conclude that the evidence says four things:
Christian: "Thank you, Mr. Skeptic. You really are honest and unbiased and I will treasure your comments.
Skeptic: "Well, I still need to evaluate Appendices C and D.
Another two days pass as Mr. Skeptic reviews them.
Christian: "Mr. Skeptic: How is your evaluation going?
Skeptic: "It has gone very well. I looked at Appendix C first and found no problem with it. It summarizes what you believe about science and about the Bible, gives a few more good references to confirm your beliefs, and concludes with a challenge.
Appendix D is more interesting to me. It explains why the New Testament is needed and describes a way of life that is virtually impossible to live up to, even for a Vulcan, without divine help. Here are a few of its key points:
Christians must love others, even their enemies. If they don't have love, they are nothing.
Jesus knew that he was going away, so he promised to send a counselor. This counselor, the Holy Spirit, was to help his disciples remember his words and to teach them what they needed to know.
The Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost and helped the disciples remember what Jesus said and taught them what they needed to know. What they wrote down became your New Testament.
The Holy Spirit had the writers include some of his signs (miracles) but not all of them, there wasn't room. This was to help you humans believe that Jesus was the Christ and as a result be saved.
The Old Testament was considered inspired by Jesus and the apostles.
Your Peter says that the Scriptures were inspired by God and he reminds us that he was an eye witness of Christ's transfiguration and heard God say that 'This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.'
It says that you Christians should study the Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments, which are inspired by God and are profitable for doctrine, for correction, and for guidance for every good work and be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you to explain your beliefs.
Finally it claims that because of your relationship with Jesus, you Christians can boldly pray for mercy, help, and forgiveness when you need it and God, the Creator of the universe, will hear your prayers."
Christian: "What does this mean to you?"
Skeptic: "In Appendix A your scientists have made a credible argument for an Intelligent Designer. In Appendix B your archaeologists, apologists, and historians have presented a logical argument that the Intelligent Designer is indeed your God and your Bible is an accurate translation of his word. Appendix C gives more Bible verses to confirm your worldview and lists several prominent skeptics whose examination of the evidence led them to reverse their thinking and become Christians. In Appendix D the scriptures selected show that your Bible is inspired by God and shows you humans how to be saved.
Christian: "Do you mean that now you believe in God, Jesus Christ his son, Jesus' resurrection and Christianity?
Skeptic: "Before I answer that, I have a question for you. In John 10:16 when your human Christ said that he had 'other sheep, which are not of this fold', do you think he could have meant Vulcans?"
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