Religion refers to the belief in existence and worship of a supernatural power (God/god or gods). The world’s main religions include Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, among others (Stackhouse 36). While a majority of the world’s population subscribe to some form of religion, there are a host of others who neither believe in the existence of a God/god (atheists) nor worship them and others who remain uncertain of whether or not there exists a God (agnostics). Overall, the fundamental principle behind religion is faith, defined in Christianity as “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). This paper argues that, despite religion being based on faith in things hoped for and not seen, there is sufficient evidence to trust the authenticity of religion. The argument borrows largely from the views of the Christian Religion but also considers the views of atheists and agnostics.
The Christian religion believes in the existence of a God who is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, loving and is the creator and controller of everything. This God is believed to have revealed himself to man through prophets, in the Old Testament, through nature and Jesus Christ, in the New Testament. Most Christians believe in and anticipate the second advent of Christ to take his righteous people to heaven while condemning the unrighteous to hell. The Holy Bible is the guiding manual for Christians (Stackhouse 36). The question is, can these claims be substantiated? Yes, they certainly can. First, the belief in the existence of a supreme being who created and controls the whole world is something that even great scientists have failed to disapprove. Despite putting forward theories such as the theory of evolution to try and bring more meaning to the origin of life, no scientist can explain the origin of the original forms of life such as the apes from which man is said to have evolved (Hays, 21). God’s existence is further substantiated by the universal conviction in human beings that there exists a supreme being, the universal desire in men to worship and the universal sense of good and evil (General Conference Youth Department 4).
Secondly, Christians believe in the Bible as the inspired word of God which outlines God’s instructions to their lives. The bible is a library of 66 books, written over a period of about 1600 years by 35 authors. However, there exists a perfect harmony and coherence in all these books which can only be attributed to divine inspiration. Thirdly, there exists sufficient archaeological evidence to prove the geographical and historical contents of the bible such as Noah’s Ark, ancient cities – Babylon and Egypt. In addition, the fulfillment of several bible prophecies further substantiates Christians’ claim to its authenticity for instance, destiny of various nations, natural calamities and political course of events in the world. Furthermore, the bible as well as history reveals evidence of people’s personal experience with God e.g. Moses, David, Saul and Jesus Christ (General Conference Youth Department 4).
Atheists, on the other hand, have criticized the Christian Religion various aspects. First, they question the existence of God on the basis that the natural calamities in the world do not speak of a true nature of a loving God as claimed by religion. Secondly, the existence of many contradicting religions/denominations further confirms their questions on the existence of one God. Thirdly, they are not convinced by the Christian belief in the truth of the bible simply because the bible claims it is true (Hays, 21; Lady, Atheist 19). They further lay claim to the Christian belief in the forgiveness of all their sins as a guarantee to do whatever they please since it has been forgiven. Furthermore, they feel it is not possible for God to love only Christians and hate all others, otherwise God if He ever existed, would be a bully. Unlike the Christians and Atheists who have clear stances for and against religion, agnostics remain uncertain on whether or not there exists a God. They argue that since religion if primarily based on faith, it could or could not be true (Slick, 23). However, despite all these claims, there remains clear evidence that religion, though based on the belief in the unseen, can be trusted.
General Conference Youth Department. Bible Truths: A Course in Bible Doctrine. Maryland: Seventh-Day Adventist Church General Conference Press, 2003.
John, G. Stackhouse Jr. Can God Be Trusted? Faith and the Challenge of Evil. New York: Philip Vancey Inc., 2012.
Lady, Atheist “Atheist. Should Christians Be Trusted” Lady Atheist. 15 May 2011 : 17-19. Online.
Matt, Slick. “Why believe in Christianity over all other religions?” Christian Apologetics & research Ministry, 1(2): 19-24.
Steve, Hays. Answering Common Objections to Christianity from Skeptics, New York: Philip Vancey Inc., 2012.