|Why Shroud of Turin's Secrets Continue to Elude Science (National Geographic)|
Non-theistic traditions/religions such as Atheism, Taoism, Buddhism, Scientology, Raëlism, Shinto, Confucianism, etc., deny the very existence of God.
Many people have no problem admitting that Jesus was a good man, and perhaps even a prophet, but the notion that Jesus could be both man and God Himself in the flesh is often considered grossly fantastical. It is akin to suggesting that Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are real.
Some people even go as far as stating that Christians are uneducated imbeciles for believing in such nonsense. Indeed, many on the political Left stigmatize Christian conservatives as lacking in intelligence or not having the ability to reason. Some atheists and non-Christian theists consider themselves to be smarter and wiser because they haven't been fooled into believing that Jesus is God.
There continues to be a growing deep-seeded hatred for Christian views expressed in the public square because these views often clash with the secular culture on sexual matters such as pre-marital sex, contraception, homosexuality, and transgenderism; or on bio-ethical life issues such as in-vitro fertilization, surrogacy, embryonic stem cell research, abortion, and euthanasia. All of these issues have been normalized in western culture, and only "ignorant" and "bigoted" orthodox Protestant Christians and orthodox Catholic Christians would hold opposing views.
|Is Atheism Wishful Thinking?|
In my old liberal views, even though I thought that every belief system had to be respected and tolerated, I admit that I had a very anti-Christian attitude, and I considered Christians to be both ignorant and arrogant for assuming that only they could be "saved". At that time I didn't recognize how terribly hypocritical I was for not extending my liberal ideals of tolerance to the "ignorant" and "arrogant" Christians. I soon recognized that the liberal value system of diversity and tolerance didn't fully extend to Christians or Jews. I am still trying to figure out why liberals bend over backwards in tolerating Muslim values while at the same time completely rejecting Judeo-Christian values. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Muslims in North America are still considered immigrants, and so it would be politically incorrect to criticize Islam. For some reason, criticizing Islam is off limits, but people are very quick to criticize Christianity and Judaism without any inhibitions. Anyway, there is an obvious double standard in this regard.
Good Reasons to Believe in Christ
So how did I go from my previously held anti-Christian views to fully accepting the Christian claim that Jesus Christ is God? It took one good Catholic friend to plant a few seeds by saying the following to me:
"If you believe that God is omnipotent, then how can you place a condition on His omnipotence by saying He can't do something, such as becoming a man if He wants to? Who are you to say what God can and can't do?"By carefully reflecting on the meaning of omnipotence, I found myself agreeing, that by definition, an omnipotent God could choose to enter His own creation as a man (or an infant at that) if He wanted to. There was nothing stopping Him, and for a mere human being to say that he couldn't do something would be contradicting the very definition of His omnipotence. Just because I couldn't fathom God becoming a man, didn't make my view correct. Man shouldn't put conditions on the power of God. Understanding this concept helped me to reduce my own ego tremendously, to a point where I consciously permitted myself to explore new possibilities about God's nature. The light bulb in my head seemed to have "turned on", and I started to evaluate Catholic theology on its own merits, unimpeded by my own ego and misconceptions. After searching for truth in other religions, I finally reached a point in my life where I had to give Christianity an honest chance at teaching me something, and boy did it ever!
As soon as I had pronounced those words, I felt a strong burning sensation in the centre of my chest, and it wouldn't stop! I had never felt this sensation in my chest before, and I started weeping uncontrollably. I knew that it had to be caused by something that was external to me, something immaterial. It couldn't have been a coincidence to have occurred immediately after invoking the name of Jesus. The experience probably lasted just over a minute, but it felt like an eternity.
“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” -- Luke 24:13-35
When I got home that evening, I kept asking myself if it really was Jesus who caused my chest to burn. I was ready to open my mind to Christianity, but my heart still wasn't fully there. I was still cautious and hadn't yet fully believed that it was true. While I understood the Christian definition of God, I still couldn't fully understand or appreciate what Christians meant when they spoke about "God's love" for us. What did they mean by having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? These ideas were completely foreign to me.
I began to realize that believing and trusting the Christian claim had to be a choice. It was an exercise of the will. I really didn't know how to go about it at the time, but I had recalled what my Catholic friend told me; that all I had to do was to ask Jesus personally by "knocking on his door", and He would surely give me the answers. I also recalled a discussion I had about entering heaven. I held the view that heaven was wide open for everyone, and that most people probably "got in" after they died. However, my Catholic friend countered with the view that it was very difficult to "get in" to heaven, and that only saints could enter. This was a new thought for me, and again another seed was planted.
“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." -- Matthew 7:7-8
“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few." -- Matthew 7:13-14
|The Divinity of Jesus|
The climax for me occurred when I read about doubting Thomas. I fell down to both knees and began weeping when I read John 20:27-29. I knew at that instant, that I was going to become a Christian, and follow Jesus for the rest of my life. I had fallen in love with Him!
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” -- John 20:27-29Canadian Converts - The Path to Rome.
Jesus claimed to be God
I sometimes hear people talking about Jesus as a good man or a prophet, and sometimes I hear claims that Jesus never referred to himself as God. The choice of course is yours to place your bet among these options.
- 1. Jesus was a crazy lunatic.
- 2. Jesus knew what he was doing, and intentionally committed blasphemy by claiming to be God. He intended to deceive his followers.
- 3. Jesus was telling the truth about Himself, and therefore is God.
|Shroud of Turin|
- "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." -- John 8:58
- "I and the Father are one." -- John 10:30
- ..."He who has seen me has seen the Father..." -- John 14:9
- "Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me..." -- John 14:11
- "Who is this that speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?" When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, "Why do you question in your hearts?" -- Luke 5:21-22
- "He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it." -- Matthew 10:37-39
- And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” -- Luke 4:16-21
Only God can do miracles. There are many instances in the New Testament, which explain very well the miracles performed by Jesus. Not all of them were documented, but there are enough to convince me they were true. Here are some of the eye-witness accounts about Jesus bringing back three people from the dead.
|Women at the empty tomb|
Put very simply, if Christ is not raised from the dead, then the whole Christian religion is in vain. It’s all or nothing, and the all or nothing depends on the evidence for Easter. -- Fr. Dwight Longenecker, 
Christianity's power to transform individual lives and civilization
The fact is that in every era, people who have been touched by Christianity testify that it has transformed their lives for the better. My wife had the opportunity to share her own testimony about seven years ago in Edmonton (starts at around 33 minutes into the video below).
I would also argue that no other religion has had a greater impact on the world than Christianity. Some even say that the Catholic Church built western civilization.
The Western civilization stands indebted to the Church for the university system, charitable work, international law, the sciences, important legal principles, and much else has not exactly been impressed upon them with terrific zeal. -- Thomas E. Woods Jr.
-  Mark 16 - The Resurrection of Jesus
-  David Hume, Miracles, and the Resurrection
-  Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part 1, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article 3
- Jehovah's Witnesses (Trent Horn, Catholic Answers Radio, August 3, 2015)
- The Divinity of Christ
- Part 1 - 5 Possible Theories that Explain the Resurrection of Jesus
- Part 2 - Rejecting the Swoon Theory: 9 Reasons Why Jesus Did Not Faint on the Cross
- Part 3 - Debunking the Conspiracy Theory: 7 Arguments Why Jesus’ Disciples Did Not Lie
- Part 4 - Refuting the Myth Theory: 6 Reasons Why the Resurrection Accounts are True
- Part 5 - Real Visions: 13 Reasons the Disciples Did Not Hallucinate
- How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization
- Canadian Converts - The Path to Rome (Justin Press, 2009)
- The Beauty and Mystery of a Butterfly
- Catholic Corner