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The Truths of Christianity
(...what is it all about anyway?).

Have you ever wondered about your religious faith? What does it really mean to be a Christian anyway? And how do you believe a Christian? Is it about acting a certain way, or is it about doing certain things?

I was one of the lucky people in this world in that I grew up in a home that was Christian and so I grew up learning about Christ and about His death and resurrection. I grew up, believing that I was loved by the One who had created this world. But who is the creator of the universe? And how does He know me when I haven't ever seen Him? How does He know everything about me when I don't know enough about Him?

These are questions that most Christians struggle with their entire lives and the truth of it is that there are as many different answers to those questions as there are people. God, and His son Christ, mean different things to different people. I myself consider God my father and I treat Him as such: with respect and obedience and admiration. My mother, though, and my sister, see Him more as a brother or a friend and they treat Him in a somewhat different way than I do. Just as your relationship with one friend differs from your relationship with another friend, the relationship that you have with God will be unique from everyone else's. And that's okay. It's even understandable because the things that He will do for you and your life will be different and mean different things than what He will do for another person's life. Because of this, the way you view and talk to Him will be different. And that's OK.

There are, however, a few sure facts, truths, that every Christian agrees with. The first truth states that God is the creator of the world. He created the sun, the moon, the stars and the earth. He created the animals, and He created human beings. That is the first truth that people who are thinking about becoming a Christian must agree with. When you stop and look at the world, and wonder about it's origins, you really have two options: you can either believe that it happened by accident: that there was no plan and things just kind of fell into place. Or you can believe that there was indeed a plan, and someone was overseeing it's creation.

Now, take a look at your world. Everything has it's order: it rains so that trees and grass and fruit will flourish. The sun comes out to warm the land. Animals live within a hierarchy and each animal has its protective shield: even insects have wings so that they can fly away from danger. To me, it seems very unlikely that such order and complexity could have happened accidentally. I mean, when you trip, you usually don't fall smoothly; you usually land sprawled out across the ground. Accidents have no order to them. The world, though, does and so, to me it makes much more sense to believe that someone created it rather than having everything just planted here with such precision and accuracy. However you believe that the world was created, at some point God needs to come into the picture as the person behind it all. No theory can ultimately exclude the possibility of God, simply because one can always ask the "Where did that come from?" question (and yes, that leads on to "Where did God come from?"... A short answer is that he's always been there, outside the confines of space and time).

After you accept that God created the world, and you, then the second truth that you have to know and believe is that God sent His son to earth and He sent Him through a virgin. This can be even more difficult to believe than the fact that the entire world was created by One being. But it's true and you have to come to your own understanding of that. God sent His son to earth, by a girl who had never had sex (...or IVF for those of you about to pick holes in this!). She gave birth to Him and named Him Jesus. That's the second truth that Christians have to believe.

The third truth is very important. It is really the basis of the Christian faith and it really explains why we're Christians. The son that God sent to earth, Jesus, came to earth with a distinct purpose. Jesus' purpose was to die for you and for me.

Why did He have to die?
He had to die because you and I do things that are wrong: in God's eyes, our wrong doings are called sin and everybody sins. God, though, cannot be in the presence of sin because He's too holy, too good, too perfect. He's too good to live where sin is but, because He loves you, He wants you to come and live with Him, when you die. Since we sin, though, and since He can't live in the presence of sin, something had to be done to take that sin away from us.

Jesus was the "something".

God said that if a sacrifice could be made to atone, to make up for our sins, then things would be OK and we could still go to live with Him in heaven, even though we still weren't perfect. Jesus' life was the sacrifice. And, to be a Christian, you have to truly believe that: Jesus loves you so much that He offered to die for you, so that you could have your sins forgiven and can one day live with God. It is a very humbling thought to think that someone, anyone, could love me so much that he would choose to die for me. It's so humbling, in fact, that it can be hard to believe. But it's the foundation of the Christian belief: you have to believe that a perfect person, who had never sinned, died for you. It shows you how much God loves you and how much He cares about being with you. After all, if I were going to be murdered, my mother would be pitching a fit in front of everybody. But God, Jesus' father, didn't pitch a fit or rescue Jesus because He loves you so much.

After we accept that, the fourth truth that we have to believe is that three days after He died for us, Jesus walked out of the grave. He came back to life. Why did He do that? He came back to life because He had to show everyone that He was indeed the Son of God and that everything He'd said, and all the miracles He'd done while living, were true and real. Coming back from the dead was really the only way to prove this to people and so He did it. It also showed that Jesus has power over all things, including evil and death, and that he really is alive today.

After we accept all these truths, the only other thing that we have to do to become a Christian is to pray to God and tell Him that we believe these truths: we believe He created us, and that He sent Jesus, His son, to earth by a virgin and that that Son, Jesus, died for us and rose again. Then we have to tell God, in our prayer, that we know that we have sinned and that we are not perfect and that we want Him to take our sins away from us and come to live within our lives. If you say that prayer, and mean it, then your name will be written in God's book, called the Book of Life. It is called the Book of Life because all the names that are written in it will go to heaven to see and touch God when they die. Once you pray that prayer and believe it, then you are a Christian.

Well, what do you need to do after you've said the prayer? Christians need to try and follow Jesus' life: do the the things that He did. That means that we have to try and make the right choices, do the good things and stay away from sin. We can't always do this and we will fail often. But, as long as we are trying to live right, and ask for forgiveness when you do go wrong, then the Bible says that God will place your sins as from His sight as the east is from the west, and that He will no longer remember that you ever sinned. Being a Christian is a wonderful thing. We have the promise that the others are missing out on: we have the promise of heaven and of being able to see God Himself and to touch Him. Not only that, but God says, in the Bible, that He will "hold our right hand" and that "He is with us" always. He will be our protector, our father, our brother, and our friend. He will give us peace in our lives. Does that mean that Christians have perfect lives and nothing bad ever happens to them?

No.

Bad things happen to Christians just as often as they happen to non-Christians. It's hard to understand why that is but the Bible says that we have been given life "abundantly" and so we'll have bad times but the good times will be great and not only will they be great, but we'll know, going through the bad times, that we are loved by the creator Himself. Just knowing that can often make things feel not as bad as they really may be. Life is sometimes difficult, for all of us, but I personally cannot imagine, and do not want to imagine how much harder it would be without God's love.