Are Christians Just Gullible? Part 1

While flipping channels recently, I caught Tim Russert interviewing Christopher Hitchens, who is the author of the book “God is Not Great.” His other guest, Jon Meachem of Newsweek, was asked a simple question by Hitchens: “Why do you believe what you believe about your faith?” In other words, “What evidence has led you to conclude that Christianity is true?” I thought that this was a fair question, but I was disappointed with Meachem’s response. He is a Christian, but he seemed to struggle with an answer.

But if you or I were posed that same question, what would we say? A typical response might be, “I believe because Jesus has changed my life” or “Jesus fills me with peace.” We might even say that we’re just “believing types”. That’s how Jon Meachem answered the question, which to me gives the implication that Christians are just gullible people.

But isn’t there something more we could say on the subject?

Perhaps we could point out that any intellectually honest person must ask themselves the question: “Who is Jesus?” He is a historical figure that said and did things unlike any other person in human history. His teachings, his character, his miracles, and his claims force everyone to wrestle with the question “Who is he?”

In fact, people have debated that question for the past 2,000 years. The Bible is full of stories of people who when confronted with Christ had to answer that question. One of my favorite stories is in Mark chapter 4 where Jesus and the disciples are in a boat and they get caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. After Jesus calms the storm the disciples ask, “Who is this then that even the wind and sea obey him?”

History tells us that millions who have heard Christ’s teachings have come to the conclusion that he is God and he is to be worshipped. So is he worthy and deserving of our worship?
Interestingly Huston Smith in a book called “The Worlds Religions” writes,

“There have only been two people in the history of the world whose lives were marked by such beauty that people asked not just ‘who are you’ but ‘what are you?’ The two were Buddha and Jesus Christ.”

Smith points out that people have wanted to worship both because of the attractiveness of their lives. But Buddha and Christ each responded differently to those around them. Buddha said, “Don’t worship me.” And Jesus unequivocally, and unapologetically not only accepted people’s worship, but he demanded it. We can’t stop there, however. The truth is that many people have claimed to be God and have demanded that they be worshipped. So why should we believe Jesus? What makes him different?

Well, interestingly, Smith points out that of all the people in history who have claimed to be God, most have only been able to convince a small number of disenfranchised, unstable people of their self-proclaimed deity. But Jesus Christ is the only man on the list of the most influential people in the world who claimed that he was God and convinced millions of people to believe in him – people from all nations, ethnic origins and over every century.

You know it makes sense. No one today in their right mind is sitting around wondering, “Could David Koresh really have been God?” But Jesus and his claims and teachings have not and will not go away. He remains as the single most controversial, unignorable, unequaled figure in human history.

So what do you think? Are we just gullible, or do we have good evidence to believe that Jesus is worthy of our worship? Join me in Part 2 as we examine other evidence that can help us answer that question.

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