I grew up going to a private Christian elementary school down in southern California. Because of my exposure to Christianity and God there, I grew up with a fear and basic knowledge of Jesus and his existence. After being switched to public school, I had retained my Christian identity but I never really followed through as a faithful believer–such as reading my bible, going to church, or praying. It was in the 8th grade when one morning my mother woke me up extremely early in the morning saying, “Get up! We’re going to church.” “What? Church? Huh?” Was my initial reaction. I had never attended a church service, outside of the chapel services I went to in my private school, in my life. I was entirely confused. We never went to church, and, out of nowhere, my mom is waking me up EARLY on a Sunday morning for his. Grudgingly, I stood up, got changed, and went with them to a small church that was couched into a little corner of a shopping center next to a pizza shop and a beauty salon.
The service was simple and very straightforward. I don’t quite remember what he spoke about but everyone was really nice and I always just believed in God. But over time, as I kept attending church, I attained a desire to pray, to read my bible, and to continue going to church. My parents were the same way. It’s as if my beliefs went from just being some identity to being reality. To use some Thomistic philosophical jargon, my belief went from potency to act. It was always sort of inherent in me, but it was just actualized and became real to me. I began understanding who Jesus was and what He did on the cross. I never said a sinners prayer or anything like that. But I began believing. Acts 16:29-31 comes to mind when the jailer asks Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul’s answer helped seal the deal for me: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household” (ESV). God had reached out to me, and I responded to His grace by believing. Since then, I immediately began changing bad habits and pursued doing good and pleasing God. I remember a good friend of mine, who was an older brother that discipled me and contributed to my basics in the faith, had given me a worn down, crinkly copy of Josh McDowell’s “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” about a year later. I remember devouring the book, and thus my interest in general apologetics was peaked. I didn’t know about the term apologetics at that time, but I was interested, at least on a general level, with evidences for Christianity.
Now, fast forward to my first year in college during a psychology course. A lot of evolutionary psychology was stressed and the professor spoke about Freud and different reasons for belief. I had stumbled across debates of William Lane Craig online and began watching him debate the existence of God with atheists. Simultaneously, I began going through a tiny “crisis” of faith with doubts of God’s existence and struggles with maintaining my belief in God in the midst of taking courses that taught God was just a belief created by our minds. I began reading more of Craig’s material, and I was pushed into the world of philosophy by reading Dembski’s and McDowell’s “Understanding Intelligent Design.” Sean McDowell stressed how the battle between faith and science was a battle of philosophies–naturalism and supernaturalism. This peaked my interest, and I felt the only way I can really fend off the objections is to look at what held the views up in the first place: philosophy. My thirst for philosophy and theology began, and my mind was intellectually stimulated. I continued to study the Bible, study philosophy, and study theology in my own time. More and more, I became convinced that my faith was not only given to me by God, but that it was intellectually sustainable. I’ve put my Christianity through–what Loftus calls–the Outsider Test of Faith without even knowing that such a test existed. Basically, I put my faith and Christianity through the test of logic and reasoning. Does it make sense of the world? Is it coherent? Does atheism make better sense of the world? Does atheism offer better and more thorough explanations? As I asked these questions and searched more and more, the answer continued to come out as a negative for atheism and positive for Christianity. Christianity has a long and rich intellectual history since its beginnings with the church Fathers. This was then carried into the medieval period with intellectual giants like Anselm and Aquinas. I took a step back and thought to myself, “Reason is truly on our side.” It’s almost as if in ever period of history, God raises someone up to proclaim his truth, and I began to take notice of the renaissance in Christian philosophy that was going on around me. With such an interest and passion for truth and philosophy, I decided I, too, wanted part in this renaissance. I wanted to make a difference and pave the way for others to keep the torch going.
Today I am a philosophy major, and I hope to continue fighting in the trenches, so to speak, for Christianity. It’s a continual journey where I keep my faith in check, I keep my relationship in check, and I’m constantly reminded of the truth and reality of Jesus Christ’s power. I’ve been a Christian 7 years now, and I’m not looking to quit. So, in summation, why am I Christian? First and foremost, because God reached out to me through His grace. He chose me and saved me. I accepted in faith. I then engaged my mind and sought reasons, knowing that if Christianity couldn’t stand the test, I would have to abandon it. But I’ve found that Christianity passes the test with flying colors. We might not have all the answers we want, or if we do have answers, they’re not satisfactory. But I’m convinced that Christianity stands up to rational scrutiny, and that it holds the truth in science, theology, history, and philosophy because all truth is God’s truth.