Please Note: There are, I admit, a number of links scattered throughout this article that can distract you from its message. To get the most out of it, do your best to read the whole article while ignoring the links, before checking them out.
This has to be about the most important question that anyone can ask. Ever.
The answers you get may vary. Some may even suggest that you should not ask the question. Richard Dawkins, Oxford biologist, says that science can only answer "how" rather than "why" - and that we should not even ask the "why" question anyway.
But without a real reason for living, why bother? Yet we sense that there are universal ideals in the world which seem to reflect something bigger than we are - love and justice for example.
Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl once said:
''The meaning of our existence is not invented by ourselves, but rather detected.''
''A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the 'why' for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any 'how.' ''
Different faith systems attempt to make sense of it all. Many (New Age, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) do not suggest that there is any creator god outside the physical universe. Such spiritual forces as exist are seen as a part of the physical world, rather than outside it. Other faith communities focus onto a creator god, yet distant and unknowable.
Christianity as Jesus applied and lived it has a quite revolutionary take on all this.
It paints a unique picture, whereby a powerful creator God, who could put together a universe arguably 10 billion light-years across, chose to condense himself down to a size and scope that people could understand, by being born as a baby into an occupied Middle Eastern country.
Jesus has to be the pivotal character in human history. Whatever you think of him, his impact has been total. And as C. S. Lewis observed, Jesus was either who he claimed to be, sick in the head, or a fraudster. There are no other alternatives.
But, you say, the Bible is full of myths and contradictions and Christianity and Christians are laughable and pathetic, invalid, irrational, outdated and irrelevant and downright disgusting, offensive, repulsive and abhorrent!
I don't blame you for thinking and feeling that way about them. If I hadn't investigated and seriously considered the following things and the evidence for them, I'd think and feel the same way.
When you look at Jesus, uncouple if you will, the defective behaviour of many of those who claim to follow him. If Jesus' analysis of human nature is correct – that it is deeply, totally flawed – then we would expect this to happen.
There is remarkable convergence between science and the Bible: many eminent scientists, past and present were or are Christians. Archeological discoveries have frequently shown previously untestable statements in the Bible to be true. [More on Archeology]
Things may look good in the shop. But will they work when we take them home? And continue to work, reliably? That's the test.
Millions of people are claiming that Jesus does make a difference in their lives. They say that they have found him to be a friend – a real personal presence who gives them new inner resources to cope with the problems and difficulties of modern life.
Perhaps you owe it to yourself to find out more?
Among the many online resources which explain more about God, life and everything in sensible, balanced terms without jargon, preachiness or hype are . . . skip
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