Why Christianity?

cross and flower“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve.

Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’ ” (John 6:66-68, NIV).

Why Christianity? That is a question that many have asked. In fact, you might be asking it right now. This post is meant to help answer that very question.

Before we get too far in looking at this topic, we need to explore whether the “Why Christianity?” question is really the one we should be attempting to answer. Perhaps the better question to think about is “Why Christ?”. You see, the term Christianity conveys the idea of a one-size-fits-all, broad-term label of what many might see as just another religion. In this regard, Christianity is not that much different from the Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu religions. Each claim to worship God, at least as they view him. Each has a set of rules to follow, certain rites and rituals, and a plan of salvation of some sort or another. But, when we ask the question “Why Christ?”, the answer takes on a more personal slant. Christianity is not about a religion, after all. It’s about a relationship.

So, why Christ? Christians believe that God is not distant from mankind and his problems, but that God actually came near to us in Jesus, becoming one of us, taking on human flesh, living and dying for us. Jesus did all of this to bridge the gap that caused an eternal separation between man and God. Other religions offer eternal life, some form of Heaven, based upon how people act and how good they are at following a set of rules and regulations. Christianity differs in that God does the acting on our behalf in Jesus and offers us salvation as a free gift to everyone who will accept it in faith. This salvation, based upon God’s goodness, not man’s, is the reason many people give for the question “Why Christianity?”.

But, suppose there is no Heaven. Make no mistake. Heaven does exist, but just imagine, for argument’s sake, that it didn’t. Would anyone in their right mind still follow Jesus, the Christ? A Christ-follower named Simon Peter once answered, “…‘You (Jesus) have the words of eternal life’ “ (John 6:68, NIV). While Peter was certainly referring to Heaven, I think he would also claim that what Jesus has to offer is the very best of life, life that is truly worth living. So, even if we discount the idea of Heaven, Jesus is worth following. Jesus’ teachings help us to recognize that there is so much more to life than we might first think. We are part of a larger plan, something much greater than ourselves. Jesus taught radical ideas like putting the needs of others ahead of our own needs, like serving one another rather than being served, like forgiving and loving other people, even our enemies.

All of this, for me, answers the question “Why Christianity?”, or “Why Christ?”. Ultimately, it’s up to you to answer the question for yourself. Let me encourage you, though, to take that first step of faith. Ask Jesus to be real to you and see where he takes you. I truly believe there is no better place to go.

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