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  #1  
Old 14th July 2017, 03:52 PM
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Default Why Christian ?

Hi all, this is a continuation of a series of posts which I began on a related thread called "Why believe in God ?"

http://www.catholicplanet.net/forum/...ead.php?t=6058

Here specifically, I'm going to talk on why Christian?. A Christian is a person who believes that Jesus is God, that Jesus is the Messiah, that Jesus is Kyrios, and of course, searches for Him and His teachings in order to do His will. There are other religions that believe in the existence of God, the same God who created all, but they don't believe that Jesus is God. Christians do. So here I'm going to post some of the reasons why I believe that Jesus is God. If you too have some reasons, don't hesitate to chime in.

There are several reasons why Jesus is God so this is definitely going to be a series of posts. I'm going to start with the historical Jesus, as a person who indeed and truly existed.

Practically all modern scholars of history agree that Jesus existed. Here I'm going to cite some:

Quote:
In a 2011 review of the state of modern scholarship, Bart Ehrman wrote, "He certainly existed, as virtually every competent scholar of antiquity, Christian or non-Christian, agrees".

Richard A. Burridge states: "There are those who argue that Jesus is a figment of the Church's imagination, that there never was a Jesus at all. I have to say that I do not know any respectable critical scholar who says that any more".

James D.G. Dunn calls the theories of Jesus' non-existence "a thoroughly dead thesis".

Michael Grant (a classicist) wrote in 1977, "In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary".

Robert E. Van Voorst states that biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted.
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Old 14th July 2017, 04:07 PM
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Jesus lived during the time of other historical persons, the Gospels themselves tells us that He lived during the time of Herod the Great, when the great Roman empire dominated around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, Africa and Asia, when the city of Rome was the largest city in the world c. 100 BC – c. AD 400. He was crucified by order of Pontius Pilate who was the Roman prefect at the time. If all these historical facts surrounding Jesus are believed to be and proven by historical records, then Jesus also truly existed because He was a person who had tremendous impact in history and was also mentioned in historical records.

If we know of the true existence of Julius Caesar, 100 BC, or Alexander the Great, 323 BC (to name some), then even with more reason we are to believe in the true existence of Jesus who's historical records and documents are more abundant and more reliable.

Will continue...
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Old 18th July 2017, 03:02 PM
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Before going forward, I want to mention that my belief that Jesus is God is based on Faith and reason, and there are many reasonable arguments that support and prove my Faith. The Christian Faith is reasonable.

That being said, how can we know that the Gospels and N.T. letters are true?

These writings were written by eyewitnesses, or by disciples of eyewitnesses, for people who included eyewitnesses and witnesses of eyewitnesses. In other words, by persons who were there seeing firsthand the works of Jesus, who walked with Him, etc., also persons who were witnesses of those firsthand witnesses, for people who, among the first readers, were going to be those who also saw first hand the works of Jesus, also walked with Him, persons who were witnesses of those persons who saw first hand the works of Jesus, and many more. So, if you write something that is false, there is obviously going to be a commotion or disturbance among your readers, and that totally did not happen among the first Christians with regards of the Gospels and N.T. writings.

Just a small example: the current World Cup champion is Germany that beat Argentina 1 - 0 at the Final of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2014. Many people were there at the Maracana stadium watching the game, those were first hand eyewitnesses of this game. The next day (with today's electronic technology, right after the game finished) the newspapers and news all over the world comes out to tell this information. However, if the following day, a newspaper comes with a front cover news saying that Argentina beat Germany "2 - 0" and that Argentina is the new world champion, that newspaper is going to be attacked, mocked, ridiculed and will never be taken seriously anymore, unless they correct their information. And the same is true for any other important news event.

The Good News written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as well as the letters written by St. Paul, St. Peter, St. Jude and other Saints, were never rejected by true eyewitnesses or witnesses of those eyewitnesses who were the among the first Christians. In fact, there were other writings that were not totally accepted, that's why they did not make it into the N.T. cannon of Sacred Scripture.
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Old 18th July 2017, 05:19 PM
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This is a good series of posts, Brother. Keep up the good work.
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Old 19th July 2017, 03:46 PM
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Thanks Ron.

In the Gospel of John it is written:
{21:24} This is the same disciple who offers testimony about these things, and who has written these things. And we know that his testimony is true.

John writes as an eyewitness of Jesus and the early Christians also give testimony of the same, that what has been written is true.

Why Jesus is God? there are several reasons, among those, Jesus Himself said so, Sacred Scripture also says so. Here are some Bible references:

John 1:1, 1:14
John 8:24, 8:58 - in reference to Exodus 3:14, Isaiah 43:11
John 20:28-29
John 4:25-26
Matthew 16:16-17
John 10:30
John 11:25-27
Luke 2:11
Philippians 2:5-6
1 John 5:20
Titus 2:13
Luke 2:11

During the time Jesus began His public ministry, He was about 30 years old, was the 15 year of the reign of Tiberious Caesar, Pontius Pilate being the governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee. The Israelite people were waiting for the promised Messiah.

Deuteronomy
{18:15} The Lord your God will raise up for you a PROPHET from your nation and from your brothers, similar to me. You shall listen to him,

{34:10} And no other prophet rose up in Israel like Moses, one whom the Lord knew face to face,
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Old 19th July 2017, 03:55 PM
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The Pharisees and Sadducees, despite their differences, were regarded as respectful persons who no one would dare to contradict them especially in religious matters, so many of them were getting filled with pride. It would be blasphemy for a man to consider himself the one true and only God, the Creator of all if he is not.

So, for Jesus to say that He is God (John 10:30) (John 8:58 ) (John 4:25-26), coming Himself from a humble family of Nazareth, we have the following options: (a) He lied and was also totally crazy knowing what He was getting Himself into; or (b) He told the truth, He is indeed God, for Moses prophesied: "God will raise up for you a PROPHET from your nation and from your brothers, similar to me. You shall listen to him". Notice that Moses' prophecy says "a prophet 'similar' to me", he does not say "equal" to me. And, of course, Sacred Scripture tell us that God took human form at the incarnation of Jesus, being similar to us in all except sin (Hebrews 4:15). In the sense that the Word God took human form, as a human prophet, He was similar to Moses, but Jesus goes beyond prophet Moses and all the prophets put together, for He not only knows God face to face, He IS God by His own words, and also the High Priest (Hebrews 3:1-6).

Did Jesus lied or was a crazy man?

Will continue...
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Old 21st July 2017, 03:57 PM
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Hundred of years before the birth of Jesus, Isaiah prophesized that God will be among us as a human.

{7:14} For this reason, the Lord himself will grant to you a sign. Behold, a virgin will conceive, and she will give birth to a son, and his name will be called Immanuel.

"Immanuel" meaning "God with us", and how will God be with us? as a man, for the prophesy says that "He will be born of a virgin" so if God will be "born" from a virgin woman, necessarily has to be a man for the prophesy says "Son".

Previous to Jesus' incarnation, God talked to the people of Israel through His prophets, and the closest to talk to God from the prophets was Moses who spoke with Him "face to face" (Deuteronomy 34:10), but in order to talk with God "face to face", not by dreams, through Angels, through voices, or by other means, but face to face, Moses had to separate himself from the Israelites, and the people had to be far from that encounter, because they were very frightened, terrified, by the thunder, lights, smoke that caused such encounter between God and Moses (Exodus 20:18 ).

But now, in order to talk to God face to face, in order for God to be with us (Immanuel), He had to become a man, be a human just like us, and talk to us such as when we talk to our friends, face to face.

So, it was not something crazy for a man to claim that He is indeed the promised Messiah, God made man to be with us, if He indeed truly is. The problem with the Pharisees and many supposedly "learned" people is that they could not imagine that the Messiah could come from a humble family of Nazareth and correct their errors, admonish their arrogance and misinterpretation of Sacred Scripture. And Jesus was indeed called "God with us" by the humble, meek and coherent people who saw His works.
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Old 24th July 2017, 05:27 PM
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Jesus became very popular during His three year Ministry and He showed no signs of delusion or foolishness. At the end of His wise teachings of the "Sermon of the Mount" (Mathew 5, 6 & 7), it is written:

{7:28} And it happened, when Jesus had completed these words, that the crowds were astonished at his doctrine.
{7:29} For he was teaching them as one who has authority, and not like their scribes and Pharisees.

You cannot speak off-the-cuff for hours like this: Matthew 5, 6 & 7, and astonish a great crowd if you don't have the Spirit of God in you. So it is clear that Jesus was not a "foolish" or "crazy" man.

Here is another example of His wisdom, the Pharisees asked Jesus the following question in Matthew 22:16-17:

“...Teacher, we know that you are truthful, and that you teach the way of God in truth, and that the influence of others is nothing to you. For you do not consider the reputation of men.
Therefore, tell us, how does it seem to you? Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar, or not?”

Notice the hypocrisy of the Pharisees in this question, which is indeed a trick question. They start with praising Him, but with this question, they want Him condemned to death. There are some questions with apparent goodness in it, but are indeed evil intended, such as this one. The Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus for if He answers "Yes", they can accuse Him of traitor against the Jewish people and have Him killed; if He answers "No", they can accuse Him against Caesar of being above his authority so they can have Him killed; and if He answers "I don't know" He would be left as a false prophet, a false teacher, a foolish man pretending to be the All Knowing God, causing revolt, so they can Him trapped and killed for blasphemy. Either way, He would be doomed. The Pharisees thought that the opportunity of having Him arrested and killed has arrived in front of many eyewitness. But how did Jesus responded to this question ?
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Old 24th July 2017, 05:32 PM
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{22:18} But Jesus, knowing their wickedness, said: “Why do you test me, you hypocrites?
{22:19} Show me the coin of the census tax.” And they offered him a denarius.
{22:20} And Jesus said to them, “Whose image is this, and whose inscription?”
{22:21} They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Then render to Caesar what is of Caesar; and to God what is of God.”

Notice the wisdom of Jesus in this answer, He teaches us something good and at the same time gets out of the trap. Any foolish man could have been trapped here easily, but everyone was amazed at His wise action and authoritative response.

{22:22} And hearing this, they wondered. And having left him behind, they went away.

Jesus wisdom can be tracked since His infancy at 12 years old (Luke 2:46-47), and I can go on an on regarding His wisdom.

But Jesus not only said that He is God, He proved to be God…..
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Old 25th July 2017, 04:39 PM
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Jesus proved to be God by performing miracles and by miracles I mean performing things such as braking the natural laws of the universe that God Himself has created. Only God can brake those laws. Our Faith is reasonable, so Jesus did not just say "I'm God, believe in me", but He also performed miracles that, besides being good in themselves, they can be reasonable understood to come solely from God to back up what He said.

Defining a miracle as "braking the laws of nature which can be done by no other than by God" is very important in order to avoid being fooled or being confused.

God created everything with its spiritual and physical realm, each with its own natural laws. There are laws of physics, e.g. gravity, etc. so they develop and function as God mandated. We also evolve based on laws of genetics, etc. Only God can truly brake the course those laws for something good for everything that God does is good, when this happens, we can call it a miracle.

Example of the laws of nature, when somebody throws an apple to the air, the apple will go up in the air as high as the force used by the person who threw the apple and then it will fall to the ground, and if there is mud in the ground, it will cause a splash. All of these movements were done following the natural laws, in this case, the laws of gravity. Let's recall that we live in a planet that is constantly rotating on itself and translating around the sun even though we may not notice these movements.

In order to avoid that apple from splashing into the mud, someone with the enough intelligence and ability to do so has to intervene, it can be a person, an angel, a fallen angel or God Himself if He wills. In this case, this is an easy task to catch the apple, but in other cases, there are things that human cannot do (things that are beyond our ability), but angels who are superior to us can do, and there are other things which neither humans or angels can do, only God, such as brake the natural laws.

Now, we need to differentiate when there is a true miracle from God, a trick by a person, or an apparent wonder caused by preternatural causes (fallen angels).
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