Searching for the truth can be difficult in many situations. If you are a parent, the truth can be difficult to discern. If you have three children and something gets broken you may hear three different versions of what happened. Growing up, I had a brother that was seventeen months younger and a sister that is five years younger than I am.
All three of us grew up in the same household, but we all have different personalities. We think and act differently, yet we grew up in a Christian home, and attended the same United Methodist church that I am a member of today. If you ask any of us siblings who we believe in it will be God. My sister and I have both repented of our sins and have asked God to forgive us and live in our hearts. My brother on the other hand is different. He knows the bible, but decides to live life his own way.
If three children growing up in the same house can act, believe, and live differently, then how do we think the rest of the world will act and think? Many people think they have the truth, yet they have changed their belief several times. The bible has been the one constant.
This paper will attempt to make the argument for Christian theism over atheism, and Buddhism. The paper will discuss the creation of the universe and man, what happens to a person after death, and the meaning of life and human history.
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The creation of the world has been a hot topic for centuries. The God of theism and the bible is many things. God is infinite, personal, transcendent, omniscient, sovereign, and good (Sire 2009, p. 28-30).
God has always been and always will be. God is the creator of everything. When people think back to the beginning of time God was already here. Genesis 1 talks about God creating the heavens and the earth. This means that there is still more of His creation past what the human eye and telescopes can see.
Pantheism or Buddhism believes that there is one infinite impersonal god. It is sometimes referred to as monism and it is the belief that god is the universe. Pantheists or Buddhists believe that the world has always been here. It is a cycle of suffering with no beginning or an end. How can life begin without a beginning?
Atheism, contrary to what atheists believe, is a religion. They just do not believe in a god or a creator. They believe that the universe came from something. The something is just matter that makes up the cosmos. For centuries, people have been talking about the big bang theory. It was a theory that most thought was caused by matter in the universe colliding. Edwin Hubble is credited with the big bang theory. It is presumed that the explosion of a singularity formed the universe. This began space and time. It does not make sense to say that there was anything before the singularity, which caused space and time. Science believes that there is just matter and the universe is forever expanding.
One can research and find that many of the scientific theories have been disproved over the years. Scientists keep creating new theories to explain away the old ones. Atheists blindly believe in a beginning that they cannot prove; yet they say the thought of a creator is out of the question. They believe that the complex order of our universe came to be through chaos. They have never been able to explain the lack of monopoles, flatness problem, lack of antimatter, or the missing population III stars.
What happens to a person when they die? Christianity teaches that we are transformed. At the point of death, we are immediately transformed, are judged by God, and enter a life in heaven glorifying God, or a life in hell living in torment. God offers salvation through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. Humans can choose the gift of salvation and repent of their sins, or they can go on living a sinful life and suffer eternal torment.
... of view, and it denies the ultimate power of God over the universe. On top of that, how would we have liked ... that my soul knows very well.' God then forbids the taking of innocent life [viz. a life not guilty of a capital crime ... -- nevertheless, if you are a believer who exercises your pro-life convictions out of a heart that has known the salvation ...
Pantheists believe that the world of full of suffering. The soul is immortal, but the body is mortal. Once a person dies, they come back in a new form. The goal is to get the suffering to stop. They believe the suffering will cease when one learns to stop craving. Once the craving stops they have to follow the noble eightfold path. The individual has to portray the right views, aspirations, speech, conduct, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and contemplation. They believe that nothing is permanent and that the individual doe not truly exist. Karma guides the reincarnation process and cycle of endless suffering. The goal is to break the cycle and enter into a state of nonexistence (nirvana).
Atheists do not believe in God, heaven, or hell. In atheism, once a person dies they are dead. They cease to exist in the world. Humans are viewed as matter and part of the universe. If atheists are right, when we die they will not be able to tell a Christian, “I told you so.” If they are wrong, it is to late to repent and ask God for forgiveness.
I remember the story of King Solomon seeking the meaning of life. Solomon had everything; power, riches, and woman, but he was never happy and thought life was meaningless. Sire (2009, p. 44), states that Christian theists live to seek God and worship God. Matthew 6:33 says, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
For pantheists, it seems to be a never-ending battle of suffering if their view is correct. They hope that one day they can reach nirvana to end suffering, but we are saved by grace and faith not by works (Eph. 2:8-9).
Buddhists seem to live a life on contradiction. They seek to overcome suffering by rooting out desire, but they in turn gain a desire for self-control, merit, and nirvana. Christians are consistent in the fact that we seek to reject evil desires and cultivate good desires according to Christ’s standards. “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22, NIV).
Atheists believe that ethics is only related to human beings. When the naturalist movement began, people still behaved in an ethical manner due to the dignity that they held for themselves.
... factor, for instance God, had made our universe utterly fated to be intelligent-life-permitting, let alone intelligent-life-containing. However, ... existed only a single universe, God could have fine tuned it in ways that encouraged intelligent life to evolve. A ... terms of many possible fundamental theories, God selecting a theory which permitted life's requirements to be fulfilled without ...
Atheism believes that there is not a higher power and that the universe is self-sufficient. Atheists find that there are no historical events linked together, and they are reactions to cause and effect without a purpose. The atheist does not have a particular core commitment or belief. People can act and think how they want. When they die, they cease to exist. Life is meaningless.
As one can see, the differences are quite extensive between theism, pantheism, and atheism. Theism believes in a higher power and a creator of the universe and man. Christianity gives people a reason to believe in God, act in a Christ like manner, and believe that there is more to life than what we see on earth. Pantheism does not provide a beginning, and makes life sound like a constant struggle that never ends. Atheism believes that there is not a higher power and that the universe is self-sufficient.
Christianity has been around for centuries and is not new to attacks. I encourage people to read the word of God and look into the prophecies that have been fulfilled, and the prophecies that are in progress.
James W. Sire (2009).
The Universe Next Door: A Basic Worldview Catalog, Fifth Edition, 1-165.
Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship,” in Why I Am Not a Christian (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957), p. 107.
A.J. Ayer, ed., The Humanist Outlook (London: Pemberton, 1968), p. 9.