Tell Me Why I Should Become a Christian

I think Lee Strobel has done a pretty good job of doing just that in his book, The Case for Faith.

There are only too possibilities: we evolved from “the singularity,” the origin of which no one can explain; or, a supernatural Being outside of time and space created us. Such a creation would require this Being to be far beyond anything we could hope to comprehend, in wisdom, power, and presence, like maybe omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. Such a being is described in the Bible, and when all relevant passages are compared, He is clearly a benevolent Being, rather than the vengeful tyrant He is often depicted as. As someone once said, I’ve lost nothing by being a Christian. If it’s all a fairy tale,
I’ll have lived a good life, become compost, and never know the difference. But if the agnostic/atheist is wrong, they’ll find out in the end that they’ve lost everything. That may be a poor incentive to embrace the Christian faith, but it’s worth investigating (which is what Lee Strobel did, and became convinced). Who knows, it might grow on you.

I’ve presented this as if to someone who has never been a Christian. Since you are a former Adventist, I’m not sure how to approach it, except to point out that Ellen White predicted that near the end, when things start falling apart, many who have strayed from the fold will return. I hope you’re one of them.

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Here are a couple of short sets of articles that have helped me see Christianity in a new way. I would ask that you take a little time to read them over to appreciate the concepts presented. I think they will be quite different from what you have been taught or encountered in your own studies. (They certainly were for me).

I am still trying to digest some of these ideas myself but if you (or anyone else who reads them) want to contact me with questions, for further discussion or perhaps additional resources, I can be reached at and I will be happy to try to help you.

Good question…I would answer:
Because it is true. Because it corresponds to reality.
There is a God, the triune loving Christian God.
Every other competing claim is much less reasonable. And if this creator of the universe really knows and loves you and wants to be in touch with you, why would you want to miss out on that. Why wouldn’t you want to find out, what you were really created for?
That does not mean that I always get it. That I always understand God’s ways and decisions. Of course not. Can I explain the problem of evil? Of course not, since I am not God. But on the other hand, can anyone be sure that a good reason for allowing evil is impossible? No, nobody can. So my choice is: either trust myself that there can be no good reason for allowing evil or trusting God the creator of the universe. What do I have to loose, if I trust God?
How very interesting, that hanging around Adventists for such a long time, never let you find any relevance here…


I ‘struggled’ with this about eight years ago. I was born SDA, of missionary parents in the mission field, of parents who (dad) was born of missionary parents in the mission field. SDA institutional loyalty runs deep in my family. I have just retired from 42 years of teaching in SDA schools, mostly academies, as a conductor/music teacher. That ‘conductor’ aspect has opened doors to conduct outside of schools–into community choirs and church choirs of other denominations–first Baptist, then Presbyterian while still in college, then Methodist, and lately, Lutheran (ELCA). So a large part of my adult life has involved going to church on Sabbath AND on Sunday. I have perceived a difference in the reason for ‘worshiping’ between the SDA and non-SDA Christian worshippers: SDA worship on Sabbath because of a commandment; non-SDA worship on Sunday to celebrate a resurrection. It’s not that they don’t keep ‘the commandments.’ It’s that they read Jesus and Paul as saying the Mosaic system, including those ten commandments, have been superseded by the two commandments that Jesus gave (love God supremely, and your fellowman as yourself), and that THAT fulfills ‘the law.’ (An ironic side/snide note: those worshipping on Sunday DO worship every seventh day! Just a different cycle than SDAs)

So, as I have asked myself if maybe it’s all wrong, I wondered what was the bottom line in Christianity. I’ve come up with this: There are enough witnesses to what I term as ‘the Jesus event,’ to believe that there really was a man who did some rather supernatural things, and who culminated his life not by just dieing, but raising himself to life again. What ‘man’ can do that? What ‘man’ HAS done that? Wouldn’t that ‘man’ be more than ‘man?’ So, if the Jesus event is a fact, certified by at least four witnesses (the gospels), who say that many saw him after the resurrection, and their witness, even unto death, went far and wide, and continues today, having inspired many social organizations that dedicate themselves to the proposition that Jesus is more than a man, therefore he must be a god.

So, as we go back and listen to what that man had to say about life, and the claims he made while living among us, surely they would have to be given some weight. Claims not only about life, but about Himself, and His relation to our lives and to our human existence and experience. Out of that comes: humanity is in a lost condition and He has the saving from/remedy for it. Accepting Him and That, moves us other humans into an existence that is of a different kind. One that is a partaking of HIS nature. Everything that He taught, and the Old Testament tried to teach, becomes, to me, a description of what HIS existence is, and one that we can share with Him, being gradually fitted to live eternally, whether we go through death or not, in an expanded experience that He will bring to pass when He comes again. Well, at least, He is said to have said that He would return.

That, to me, is Christianity. The prayer of Jesus, that His followers ‘might be one,’ has, to me, been directly attacked by Satan to make His followers NOT be one, thus denominationalism. It’s more than doctrine. It’s about ‘the truth’ that Jesus taught. He said that He was ‘the way, the truth, the life.’ Anyone who believes Him, and in Him, shifts into eternal life. Now.

He said to the Pharisees, “You search the Scriptures, thinking that in them you will find eternal life.” Then, He said ‘They testify of ME.’ In other words, to me, it’s not Biblical knowledge and accuracy that’s the ultimate, it’s knowing Jesus, and following HIM.

Notice the SDA 1888 historical event, when a Biblical doctrine was exercising SDAs, and, with Ellen White there, her messages weren’t about who was right, they were about people not treating each other as Jesus would have them treat each other. To me, a plain prioritizing of GOD’s view on things. Personal relations, and being Jesus-like, are more important than doctrinal rightness.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Bottom line. I continue to buy further and further into that.


Thanks, Aage.

I appreciate this response, as I do your essay. As I read the piece, it occurred to me how good it is that a place like Spectrum exists; one where questions like yours are asked.

I think I’m asking two other questions, however, within my first one:

a) Why now? That is, what is it that moves you to ask this question now, as opposed to five years ago, or waiting another five years?

b) What are the “false proofs” for Christianity, to which you refer, and why do you think they are false? That is, I honestly do not know to what you are referring.

Thank you, in advance. I always enjoy reading your work.


Though right now I am far from where I should be and I guess you could say that I am in rebellion from what I grew up believing in, and that if I did in fact die tomorrow, my salvation could be in question…I find it hard to understand how people shun God and a future of eternal life for a mere 70-80 years of life here on earth and think that that is all there must be. I would venture to say that most of those people are living a comfortable life, a life experiencing life’s great pleasures and contentment with a good family, job, etc. I wonder if people living in war torn countries, people struggling their entire life, people with no hope for a good life on this earth…I wonder if those people would shun a chance for eternal life and reject the concept of ‘living in paradise’ as fairy tales? When life is at its worst (especially), you need something beyond yourself to believe in. Where is the hope? In this earth? In your own efforts? Sadly, that has fallen through for many, many people. What are you left with? “***happens and then you die.” Seems pretty bleak to me.

Though I have turned my back on much of what God desires of me, though I no longer religiously follow the doctrines of the Christian faith like I should…the idea of NO God is far bleaker than believing in one.

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Taking up this question in terms of travel (as marshallgeoff has suggested), I would agree with you that the journey is vital. As Christians, and as Adventists, we have far too often tended to neglect the journey as almost irrelevant to our purpose or direction of travel (narrowly defined as hell or heaven). (Unfortunately, this ignores the fact that roads can turn imperceptibly and leads us in directions we never imagined.) But to return to the topic at hand, I would observe that not all roads are equal. A great many have the potential to end the journey prematurely or, at best, force us to turn around and retrace our steps (provided we are not too stubborn to do so). The road may be poorly maintained or poorly marked, or simply terminate prematurely–due to a cliff, a broken bridge, or having reached its rather parochial destination. Additionally, we must negotiate interchanges–places where we encounter other travellers. Failure to do so in a respectful manner can result in injury to either or both people (and potentially end one or both journeys early). Of course, all this assumes that the goal is a continued journey (as opposed to a parochial destination of some sort). That is, to some degree, a matter of choice.

All this to say, I am Adventist because I find it to be the best guide to travel. Even our understanding of the Second Coming and Heaven is framed in terms of a continued journey, not a final destination. Thus eternity (the continuance of time) happens in this world, full of the kinds of experiences we already have, but without the annoyances of ill-maintained or dead-end roads and methods of transportation prone to failure. The wholistic view articulated in Adventism–and ultimately the Bible–outlines IMHO the most consistent way of continuing the journey, both for myself and others. The God I serve is a nomad, a traveller, and one who welcomes company. The revelation he has provided is something akin to a guide for travelling rather than a destination brochure (which is not to say the two are entirely unrelated). For myself, Adventism has provided the most consistent foundation and explanation of how to follow the guide (which is not to say it has been perfect or is without need of improvement)–and that guide has been the best I’ve found.

All this being said, I don’t think one needs to claim any sort of affiliation in order to travel well, although it helps to belong to a group of fellow travellers. Nor would I argue that basic travelling principles are the exclusive domain of that single book (especially if the nomad God exists). Yet, I continue to find that book and the Adventist understanding of it highly effective and conducive to continued, enjoyable travel–in part based on my experiences and learning from other travellers and guides.


(Haven’t the experience to inform your motivations.)

If you mean Christian to be Christ-like,
as in Christened of the Holy Spirit
in full daily communion with the Triune Creator?
BE a Christian!
How else does one exchanging experiential knowledge with God of His Creation and how it functions?

But if it’s to identify with some man-made distortion, I wouldn’t bother.

Lord, have mercy.


I recommend to you, “The Case Against the Case for Christ” by Robert M. Price.

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Aage, thank you for your probing questions, your personal insights, and your challenge for us to “make Christianity relevant”.

A couple of your observations certainly ring true to me, and have caused me to wonder about the nature and/or existence of God. Particularly:


Ultimately I think that belief in a deity is a matter of faith, but I find strong evidence for the existence of (a) god. I find the “first cause” argument compelling. That is, for something to have come from nothing, requires an external input of some kind. I also find the structure of the universe, physical DNA and cellular structure to exhibit strong hallmarks of design. It’s not just that they’re complex and functional, but everything about them looks as though someone planned them to be that way.

Of course it’s one thing to believe in a god - it’s entirely another to believe that this god is the God of the Judaic tradition. Paradoxically, one of the reasons the God of the Old Testament appears to be such a monster to us today, is the very need of the people of that time to relate to God in ways that were relevant to them. The result for us looking back at the Old Testament writings, is a God who appears to have an IQ of about 90, and the emotional maturity of a 10 year-old. Who really wants to be able to view the dead bodies of the wicked from heaven, as described in Isaiah 66:24? But apparently this appealed to the people of the time, thus heaven was described in terms to which they could relate, and that appealed to them.

So, what if God doesn’t truck in genocide and torture? What if heaven is not a cosmic personality cult? What if God’s desire, is that we find eternal fulfillment engaged in creative pursuits such as He Himself has been doing for all eternity? What if that work is intended to begin now, with His true followers finding ways to repair the environmental damage we have wrought on this earth, and finding sustainable ways for our increasing population to live and flourish?

If I view parts of the Old Testament as an outmoded attempt to be relevant to people from a bygone era, then there’s nothing that precludes these possibilities.


“There are only two possibilities,” you state. I am not sure if we know what the alternatives are. At the heart of the mystery of life is the fact that something exists at all. That alone is hard to wrap your mind around. Moving on from that difficult concept to arguing that in the beginning was Being and from Being arose the material universe is–apart from Genesis 1:1–pure speculation. To most people infected by rationalism, such as myself, it is far easier to believe that matter preceded Being.

Robert, you flesh out some of the problems I obliquely referred to, and I would like to see Christian thinkers spend more time dealing with them. The problem is that it requires a view of Scripture that many Christians are not prepared to accept. I like Tillich’s (and Joseph Campbell’s) idea of God being the reality behind all human concepts of the divine, but this God is a hardly more than a nebulous speculation that is hard to distinguish from No God or the universe itself.

As for the idea that nothing can emerge from nothing, I think nobody would disagree with that. The mystery of life revolves around the fact that something actually exists and that, somehow, something must exist. Nature does abhor a vacuum, as Aristotle is supposed to have argued.

As to your observations about the maturity of Yahweh, I remember a 14 year old girl in Norway raising her hand in my religion class and observing passionately that “God must have had a bad childhood.”


I hear you, Darrell. It is much easier to live without faith in comfort and ease than in a body twisted by CP or a psyche tortured by war.

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Why is that any harder to believe than what atheistic cosmologists propose? A “singularity” existed? What was its origin? Why would it spontaneously explode? How could the explosion result in organized galaxies, solar systems, and planets, and then life itself? This defies all demonstrable laws of physics. Both philosophies involve faith, faith in what cannot be seen or known definitively. Many of us believe that the evidence is on the side of intelligent design, rather than random chance. Even Francis Crick, a stalwart evolutionist, said that, despite the fact that the universe appears to be the result of intelligent design, we must keep reminding ourselves that it is the result of random chance. Not an exact quote, but that’s the gist of it. I guess I just don’t have enough faith to believe in random chance.


First, I need to say I haven’t read all the responses, so if I repeat some of the concepts already given, I apologize for the redundancy. I did read Robert Sonter’s post and my" argument" is much like his.

I tend to look to quantum physics for much of the rational for “first cause”. “God”, with a capital G is of course a multicultural religious concept with a long history. But that’s OK, since quantum physics is a very recent discovery. Having said that, God with the capital G brings along personality. The personality of this God depends on the culture that worships him/her. Since we’re talking about Christianity, we have to talk about Yaweh as well. However, that doesn’t make Yaweh any more relevant than God by any other name. That Jesus called Yaweh “Father;” and because Jesus deliberately lived his life and planned his death, using the Hebrew OT as a pattern, referring constantly to IT as proof of “who he is”, speaks only to the fact that Jesus had to be somewhere - and “somewhere” gave him a cultural background and a reference point. Did GOD plan this deliberately; or could the ,Jesus figure have appeared in the midst of another religion - who knows. I tend to believe there was a very valid reason for Jesus to have appeared where he did, and when - but that’s only my personal belief, undoubtedly biased.

All else aside, the validity of Christianity as a legitimate, and perhaps the only guide to moral and redemptive life depends on our acceptance of “Christ” - the risen “son of man” become “the Son of God”. Like C.S. Lewis says somewhere, if Christ rose from the dead, it changes everything." - (not a direct quote).

The “risen Saviour” is a religious concept to be sure; but it’s not out of the possibility. of quantum physics. All the manifestations portrayed by Jesus; and all his declarations that sound “off the wall” to non-christians, could be in line with scientific concepts most people can’t even imagine - the basis of which is - that matter is just a form of energy; and time is relative, measured as we do, only on this planet we inhabit. The bottom line - we are so out of our league, when we try to understand cause and effect in this universe; and secondly, we are not capable of understanding and applying the basic concepts of an “everlasting” life of pure love and honesty about ourselves - and what it takes for us to come into line with what endures in this universe. We are infants on the moral ladder, and need the most rudimentary avenues to redemption - which just might include the adoration of a God (with a capital G); and the concept of redemption, offered only by Christianity.

While there have been other redemption-offering Gods, very similar to the one offered by the Christian God, there are also differences (very succinctly described by G.K. Chesterton in his book - The Everlasting Man.- which necessitates the observation that God speaks to all of mankind - not just Jews and their progeny - Christians.


I have nothing fresh to bring here. But, quantum physics aside, resurrection runs against the grain of modern rationalism. The NT articlulates a narrative that says that God raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead, and in so doing, accomplished in the middle of history through one man, what he will do for humanity as a whole at the consummation of this age. That would sound like myth, if it weren’t for the fact that it also states that hundreds were eye witnesses, and that one gospel writer even says to his patron that he wrote to him so that he understands the factual certainty of what he believes. They were either deluded fanatics believing in a failed wanna be who was crucified by the powers that be, or something real and true happened before their eyes, that has resonated throughout the world down through the ages.

I have no way to rationally explain this apart from that it has happened to me, as well.




A gap of thirty to sixty years is fairly negligible if one is afraid of mythmaking entering the picture. Eyewitnesses would still have been alive, including hostile ones. Their rebuttal to the gospel records is nowhere to be found.

In comparison, the earliest biographies of Alexander the Great were written more than four hundred years after his death, but historians generally consider them to be trustworthy. The time gap for the gospels is a drop in the bucket compared to that.

Additionally, the earliest NT writings date to within fifteen to seventeen years after the resurrection in the form of Paul’s earliest letters. They already indicate a developed narrative and tradition from which they spring, and a developed theology surrounding Jesus of Nazareth that informed the community of followers that arose.

In light of this, the idea that a vast swath of time led to obscuring myth is a non starter.



Here is a case which proves the hyperpartiality of web moderation here. My 2nd post was taken down yet there are 4 on here besides the author with multiple posts and have been up for days.

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Honesty! What a concept! As the author has so beautifully pointed out, that is the threat to the Adventist church, and the Christian church as a whole. But I’ll get to my explanation of that in a moment.

First, I think it important to note that the author, to the best of my understanding, is not trying to convince anyone to become an atheist, or to abandon their beliefs at all - simply explain to him if he should try to return to earlier understandings he held, and if so, why. And from my point of view, it is a rhetorical question, as he has already stated his contentment with his lifestyle. And for that, I respect him. But, like all good students, I believe he still seeks truth and questions his beliefs; as do I. Like him, I think my beliefs can withstand questioning.

I also respect the fact that he eloquently and respectfully presents that question - the one that I have also been asking others and myself for a long time - “why do you believe what you believe?” And although it is a simple, honest question (there the reference again to honesty), it seems to be an irritant to the staunchest of believers to whom it is posed. ‘Do not question my religion!’ I can hear echo loud and clear. But if it cannot be questioned, how can it be proven?

Jesus did not ask us to defend Him. Indeed, He hung on the cross alone - put there by the very things that can today vindicate Him, or disprove our belief in Him, our actions.

The Christian world, and indeed the Adventist church, is awash today with ‘educated’ men and women. Degrees upon degrees, hanging on office walls, spelled out on business cards and article bylines. Their sermons echo belief after belief, logically defining the fundamentals for all to comprehend; and in the process, earning the worship of the congregations who revere their scholarly understandings. But is that what He wanted?

Even those without actual degrees, but maybe a few honorary ones, who are loud and proud in their own explanations and interpretations; who gather followers by the hundreds, willing to quote them and defend them in their doctrinal arguments around the water cooler and the potluck table. But is that what Jesus wanted?

The author is asking, what makes religion - Christianity included - relevant? To him, to me, and to the world? Much of what I have read in response to his question - and to my provocative ‘why?‘s’ - has been defensive, ritualistic, or just plain emotional. Indeed, if a man who states his disbelief in God, asks you to make your beliefs relevant to him, do we really quote from Scripture like we do in our religious arguments? (Oh, and by the way, the judgment of hell is probably also not going to be very convincing for those types of people either, just sayin’…)

So, to the original statement, what is honesty? If I tell my wife I love her, yet date other women or subscribe to pornography, or in any other way act like I don’t, am I being honest? No, I’m not. In that particular scenario, I love myself, and what she can do for me - but I don’t love her. So what makes Christianity, or religion (definition: the way we worship or act out our beliefs), relevant?


Nobody wants to know how something makes you feel, if they are asking about how it is relevant to them. That’s emotional, sensationalism, and because all of our emotions work a bit differently, it is also very subjective. Be objective. Show me something tangible. Show me evidence. Don’t give me words, especially not the ones you learned to regurgitate in seminary or Sabbath school, words can be faked. I want - and I believe the author is asking for - evidence. How do you show that the God that you worship is a God that they should worship too?

In the words of Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller fame, and the author of several books), who, by the way, has read the Bible more than 5 times and still considers himself a ‘super atheist’ (not only does he believe that there is no God, but he doesn’t think any one else truly believes either - and his argument is quite convincing); “…if you truly believe that there was an omnipotent, omni-present, all-loving God who not only created us 'ex-nihilo” (out of nothing), “but then, when we spat in His face, sent His own Son to take our punishment so that we did not have to die; and you aren’t so excited about it that you spend every waking moment telling others about Him, you don’t truly believe”, (my paraphrase, by the way, and I would add “showing others about Him”, but read “God No! Signs You May Already Be An Atheist, and Other Magical Tales”, by Penn if you want a challenge). I think he makes a valid point.

What makes God relevant to others is not how I feel about Him, or what I can say about Him; those days are gone. And jumping on the bandwagon with other like-believers doesn’t make you ‘right’ or relevant, just ask the hundreds of followers of Jim Jones, or David Koresh. And if your faith system is built around the concept of what God can do for you, i.e…- heaven, blessings, miracles, etc…; then you don’t want God, you’re looking for Santa Claus.

The overarching evidence of the existence of God, His relevance for the rest of the world, is His power to make changes in our lives when we truly fall in love with Him and worship Him in our hearts and minds (like Jesus said to the woman at the well). And that, my friends, is honesty. ‘The proof is in the pudding’, so to speak. It cannot be faked, because it comes out of you naturally - whom you serve, God or self.

The church, Christian or Adventist, has no corner on the market of mercy, compassion, or love, by the way. I know many who may not ‘believe’ in God, yet their unselfish and loving actions prove His existence.

I’ll get off my soapbox now. Lest some think that I want people to follow me…

As always, I seek to provoke thought, not anger, and beg forgiveness if I have offended.

In closing; to the author, @aage_rendalen, I appreciate your article above - and your ministry to us “believers”, don’t write us off just yet :slight_smile: But there is a slight flaw in your request, I believe. You challenged us to “…use the commentary field to lay out the case for faith in the 21st century…”, but unlike Lee Stroebel, I don’t think relevant beliefs can be translated into nouns, adverbs or adjectives. My case for faith exists in verbs only, in action. And the greatest of these is Love. Love is always relevant. And I believe it can only come from God, because I’m just not a good person by myself.

Have an awesome day!

Edit for additional comment:
@Harry_Allen, I would further define the “false proofs” as things that have no lasting effect our lives, or change the way we live. Like false worship, false gods, and Babylon (or man-based religion) itself. In so many ways, it is a shorter step from an exclusive religion such as Adventism to atheism than it is to basic Christianity in any other form. In the hypocrisy of talking about one God - then representing another - not to mention the contradictions of their testamental peculiarities - they describe a God that they have created in their image, and with ‘original sin’ selfishness characteristics, that we don’t even want to believe exists! If He is loving and merciful, He is not being truthfully represented by His “followers”. If He is random and arbitrary, like so many of His “followers” (again, not all, just the most visible and vocal, it would seem…), then who would want to serve Him?


Profound and thought-provoking question. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Yes. I believe “it is possible to speak faith to the 21st century” but only on the condition that the person’s understanding of christianity falls short. Otherwise, no need to have faith since the individual already knows everything about being a christian.

My understanding of faith is that area of psychological space between knowledge and the unknown. It is influenced by a number of factors mainly life experiences thus making it a personal experience, one that cannot or should not be affected by any sales proposition or seduction by a friend or a denomination. Or as a matter of fact by others’ opinions.


Throughout the New Testament and the next two millennia you see people hunting down their contemporaries, so to speak, in order to share with them their faith-based message. Just think about King Alfred of Wessex; in an age of rape and pillage he and his successors succeeded in Christening both Brits and Vikings. Alfred did not send out an army of apologists to explain why his faith was the right one; instead he sent out priests to proclaim the Christian faith. This was the way Christianity was propagated until the middle of the 20th century.

Now that is no longer the case. As Tim Feig points out, the majority of responses I have gotten have been very defensive and apologetic in nature. You get the impression that today’s Christians think of themselves as selling ideological leprosy and that they have to be very circumspect to pull it off. That is why I was wondering aloud if it is possible to preach faith with confidence to the 21st century the way Paul did to the inhabitants of the Roman Empire? Is it possible to make faith relevant to our age?