The Myth of My Belief
A myth may be defined as a pre-scientific and imaginative attempt to explain some phenomenon, real or supposed, which excites the curiosity of the mythmaker, or perhaps more accurately as an effort to reach a feeling of satisfaction in place of bewilderment concerning such phenomena. It often appeals to the emotions rather than the reason, and indeed, in its most typical forms, seems to date from an age when rational explanations were not called for.
A difference between Greek mythology and Christianity that is often conveniently overlooked. There are similar events, such as a resurrection, etc. in Greek mythology, but they are not applied to real, flesh and blood individuals, but rather to mythological characters. However, when it comes to Christianity, these events are attached to a specific person the writers knew in time-space dimension of history, the historic Jesus of Nazareth whom they knew personally. And not only that, when they wrote about the events they did so in a way to remind the readers that they themselves had also witness these events.
“If one were to study historically the life of Jesus of Nazareth, you would find a very remarkable man, but not the son of god,” is what has been stated to me often. From this, they will say, “following the ‘modern historical’ approach one would never come to such a thing as a resurrection.” With that line of reasoning, it is true. Let me explain, why.
For many today, the study of history is incorporated with the ideas that there is no God, miracles are not possible, we live in a closed system and there is no supernatural. With these presuppositions, the individuals begin their “critical, open and honest” investigation of history. When they study (assuming they do and not just generalize from preconceived notions) the life of Christ and read about his Miracles or resurrection because we know (not historically, but philosophically) that there is no God, we live in a closed system, miracles are not possible and there is no supernatural. Therefore, these things cannot be. What men have done is to rule out the resurrection of Christ even before they start an historical investigation of the resurrection. These presuppositions are not so much historical biases but, rather, philosophical prejudices. Their approach to history rests on the “rationalistic presupposition” that Christ could not have been raised from the dead. Instead of beginning with the historical data, they preclude it by “metaphysical speculation.”
Kant conclusively showed that all arguments and systems begin with presuppositions; but this does not mean that all presuppositions are equally desirable. It is better to begin, as we have, with presuppositions of method (which will yield truth) rather than with presuppositions of substantive content (which assume a body of truth already). In our modern world, we have found that the presuppositions of empirical method best fulfill this condition; but note that we are operating only with presuppositions of scientific method, not with the rationalistic assumptions of scientism.
So how did I accept Christ? I had biases and prejudices against Him based upon some 30 years of hatred of being forced to getting dressed up and going to a church on Sundays and years of evolutionary instructions and discussing atheism with my college friends. As a radical in the late 60’s, I and a number of friends agreed to meet with some of the “Jesus Freaks” on campus at the local subway shop for a debate. What they did not know was the one making the sub sandwiches was our friend and placed a tab of LSD in each of their subs. A goodly number of years later, I was searching for something that I saw that others had but had no idea how to obtain it. I started to study history, philosophy, and theology. This god/God thing seemed to have something to it, despite my atheistic beliefs, compared to the eastern religions and personal introspection.
I set out to disprove that Jesus was in fact real, but after a careful examination of the evidence and marking done the pros and cons and endless spreadsheets, the results showed that Christ must be who He claimed to be. So-called friends stated that I had found what I wanted to. Not so! I confirmed through extensive and thorough research and study what I had originally wanted to refute. The philosopher Hume would say that historic evidence is invalid because one cannot establish “absolute truth.” I was not looking for absolute truth but rather “historical probability.” The case for Christianity is ultimately a case based on establishing he facticity (the quality or condition of being fact) of certain events. If certain events DID NOT OCCUR, Christianity is false. Facts do not require the level of a formal mathematical proof. The case for Christianity is never apodictically (beyond dispute ) certain because 100% certainty exits only in matters of deductive logic or pure mathematics. One cannot demand of religious claims a level of factual certainty not demanded in other discipline.
Remember that Sherlock Holmes declared, “It is a capital mistake to theorize in advance of the facts.” That I submit is what all of you should do. Before not believing for the sake of not believing, examine all the FACTS openly and honestly. Then make your decision. Only you and God will know if your made the right choice.