THE BIGGEST ISSUE THAT CAUSED ME TO DOUBT MY FAITH

http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/the-biggest-issue-that-caused-me-to-doubt-my-faith

This short article by Sean McDowell has brought back memories of when I was in college and was required to take a class in philosophy. My professor was a liberal minister who made no effort in the class to defend the Christian faith. I hit a wall in that class, and was not prepared for the subject. Honestly, it almost tripped me up in my faith. Looking back, the thing that stabilized me was not that I had the answers to all the questions the class raised, because I didn’t.
Instead, I had come home from youth camp in Lake City, SC one year, and built an altar out in the woods. I would go there regularly to pray. I did not lose my way in the class, even though it challenged me to the core of my faith. My anchor was that I knew, and knew that I knew, I had met God as a boy in the woods.

I believe today that the body of Christ needs more apologists like Sean McDowell who are dedicatd to defending the faith. – Pastor Frank

 By: Sean McDowell  SeanMcDowell.org

Growing up with a famous apologist father, I learned how to defend the faith early in my life. But as a college sophomore in the mid 90s, I hit a period of serious doubt. I got online and discovered the secular web, which was built largely around responding to my father’s book Evidence that Demands A Verdict. Doctors, lawyers, historians, and other really smart people challenged the faith I had adopted from my family.

While I knew my dad meant well, for the first time I really started to wonder: What if Jesus is not God? What if I grew up in another religion? Could Darwinism be true, and if so, what would it mean for my faith? And so on. But the biggest issue that really tripped me up was the claim that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus was copied from the mystery religions of the ancient near east.

Ancient Mystery Religions

Adonis. Mithras. Osiris. Attis. As the story goes, these various pagan deities pre-date the historical Jesus and have remarkable similarities to the Gospel accounts. There are claims of virgin births, twelve followers, teachings in parables, working of miracles, and resurrections. Could Christianity have borrowed from these claims?

I look back now and find these claims incredible. But it was quite unsettling when I first encountered them. And because of the Internet, and movies like The Da Vinci Code, Religulous, and Zeitgeist, they remain popular today.

Three Quick Responses

Thus, when I helped my father with the recent update of Evidence that Demands A Verdict, I was determined to include the single best chapter responding to the “copycat theory.” Here are three simple truths from that chapter:

  1. Christianity has Jewish roots, not pagan roots. First-century Jews loathed syncretism and refused to blend their religion with others. Jesus was Jewish. And Paul had been trained as an orthodox Jew. He held steadfastly to orthodox beliefs about the one true God and would have been unwilling to compromise them for pagan mythology no matter the cost (see Phil. 3:5-7).
  2. The differences between Christianity and the mystery religions is greater than the similarities.For example, the mother goddess Cybele loved Attis. But Attis was unfaithful to his goddess lover, and in a jealous rage Cybele made him insane. In his insanity he castrated himself and fled into the forest, where he bled to death. Cybele was in overwhelming grief, so she returned Attis “back to life,” meaning the body of Attis continued to grow hair and his little finger moved. Is that a resurrection?
  3. Parallels comparing the two prove nothing. Even if significant similarities did exist, they wouldn’t prove anything. Christians could have borrowed these ideas from the mystery religions. Or the mystery religions could have borrowed from Christian ideas. Or they could have independently arrived at similar truths. Similarities alone prove nothing about dependence.

Much more could be said in response to the copycat theory. See the chapter in Evidence if you want a detailed refutation. But here is the bottom line:

There is no compelling reason to think the first Christians borrowed from the mystery religions to concoct the core concepts of the Christian faith.

Sometimes I still hear new objections to the faith. But rather than descending into a period of doubt (as I did in college), I know that a good answer can be found if I am willing to track it down.

——————————–

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, the National Spokesman for Summit Ministries, a best-selling author, popular speaker, and part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.

Related posts

?? A DIGITAL CHURCH IN THE DIGITAL AGE ??

 https://www.christianitytoday.com/pastors/2018/fall-state-of-church-ministry/embodied-church-in-digital-age.html Should we cheer or moan when online churches perform virtual baptisms? By: Kara...

CHINA CRACKS DOWN – AGAIN

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/november/what-to-do-about-persecution-in-china.html?share=56xKkXi%2fdTPQjQCm3LBm6NPogOGXW4vm   The government is removing crosses from their steeples and replacing them...

WHERE HAVE ALL THE CHURCH PLANTERS GONE?

christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/august/where-have-all-church-planters-gone.                  What’s the greatest hindrance to effective church planting? BY: Jeff Christopherson You...

SINGLES: A VITAL PART OF OUR CHURCHES

www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/july/singles-vital-part-of-our-churches Singles make up half of our churches, so we best learn to treat...

HOLY SPIRIT CONVICTION

BY: FRANK TUNSTALL, D. MIN. Three outstanding facts stand out regarding Peter’s bold preaching...

3 COMMON REASONS FOR MINISTRY BURNOUT

www.startchurch.com/blog/view/name/how-to-prevent-ministry-burnout? By: Raul Rivera Burnout reason #1: Critical Church Members Oftentimes, one of the...

THESE BOMBS LED ME TO CHRIST

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/may/napalm-girl-kim-phuc-phan-thi-fire-road.html The “Napalm Girl” from a famous Vietnam War photo tells her story of...

JESUS’ GLORIFIED BODY

 By Frank G. Tunstall  Cleopas and his unnamed friend had Jesus’ undivided attention on...

“JESUS WEPT!”

 By Frank G. Tunstall When Mary walked up to Jesus on the outskirts of...

5 TOP PRIORITIES FOR INCREASING YOUR CHURCH

 sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/charles-arn-5-top-priorities-for-increasing-your-church This article is a classic on church growth. It was first released in 2010...

OFFENDED BY JESUS?

By: Frank G. Tunstall  Luke records a story about Jesus paying a visit to...

EVANGELIST BILLY GRAHAM HAS DIED

www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/billy-graham/mom-mass-media-and-me.html ‘America’s pastor’ shaped modern evangelicalism. By: Marshall Shelley Billy Graham was perhaps the...

ICEBERG COLD REJECTION

  By: Frank G. Tunstall  Jesus the Prophet deserved the highest adoration, but the...

BLAME US FOR GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

https://townhall.com/columnists/calthomas/2018/01/23/blame-us-for-government-shutdown-n2438025     By: Cal Thomas If we don’t like what is happening in...

THE SURPRISING REASON YOU ARE WHERE YOU ARE

https://hutchcraft.com/a-word-with-you/your-mission/the-surprising-reason-you-are-where-you-are-8093 By: Ron Hutchcraft Some years ago, we took a delegation of teenagers to...

CAN THERE BE ONE RIGHT RELIGION?

http://seanmcdowell.org/blog/can-there-be-one-right-religion; Posted November 14, 2017   By: Sean McDowell Recently I was in a...

THE ONE GROUP YOU MIGHT FORGET THIS CHRISTMAS

http://blog.thrivingpastor.com/the-one-group-you-might-forget-this-christmas-2/?refcd=574803&utm_campaign=Thriving+Pastor By John McGee  Nov. 27, 2017 The holiday season is upon us. As...

HEALING HEALERS

By Phil Larson, as told to Frank Tunstall The world’s largest casino is located...

FAITH IS NOT BLIND!

BY: FRANK TUNSTALL Some critics’ claim Christians believe on blind faith, defined as belief...

HOW WE GOT OUR BIBLE: CHRISTIAN HISTORY TIMELINE

 http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/issues/issue-43/how-we-got-our-bible-christian-history-timeline.html Have you ever wondered how the Bible has developed through the centuries, so...

IRS TAXES PASTOR FOR SALARY HE NEVER RECEIVED

www.utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=blog&utm_content=irs_taxes_pastor_for_salary_he_never_received_2017_10_05 By: Raul Rivera This time of year we get an abundance of phone...

A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING UNDERWAY AT WHITE HOUSE

http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2017/july/bible-studies-at-the-white-house-whos-at-the-heart-of-this-spiritual-awakening “It’s the best Bible study that I’ve ever taught in my life. They...

REMEMBER THIS WHEN YOU’RE TIRED OF PEOPLE

thrivingpastor.com/remember-this-when-youre-tired-of-people-2/?refcd=518301&utm_campaign=Remember+This+When+You’re+Tired+of+People   By: John McGee  July 10, 2017 / Focus on the Family Have...

HOW TO LAST IN MINISTRY

Pastor Rick’s Ministry Toolbox <info=pastors.com@mail143.wdc02.mcdlv.net By: Rick Warren Ministry is a marathon: it’s not...

THE MANY BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE

http://blog.thrivingpastor.com/the-many-benefits-of-gratitude/?refcd=504701&utm_campaign=The+Many+Benefits+of+Gratitude This well written article is excellent for focusing us on the grace of...

THE SOBBING SAVIOR

By: Frank G. Tunstall I thought about it hundreds of times over the years,...

HOSANNA

By: Frank G. Tunstall “The next day the great crowd that had come for...

“PRAY FIRST!”

Dr. Ron White serves as president of Emmanuel College. He assumed that role October...

COURAGEOUS CONVERSATIONS

sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/lance-witt-courageous-conversations–part-2 By: Lance Witt Courageous conversations is a battle of prepositions.  Half of the...

ONE QUESTION YOU MUST NEVER ASK IN MINISTRY

classic.sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/joe-mckeever-one-question-you-must-never-ask-in-ministry-2697.asp? “Sow your seed in the morning, and do not be idle in the...

I WENT TO HELL IN A DREAM

  charismamag.com/spirit/supernatural/28155-revivalist-i-went-to-hell-in-a-dream During this night of terror more than 25 years ago, I fell...

FRANKLIN GRAHAM SPEAKS OUT ABOUT ELECTION

theblaze.com/stories/2016/10/16/franklin-graham-sounds-off-about-the-evangelical-response-to-trumps-latest-scandals By: Franklin Graham   October 16, 2016 A lot of people are slamming evangelicals...

WILL MORE INVITATIONS RESULT IN MORE SALVATIONS?

http://www.sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/hal-seed-will-more-invitations-result-in-more-salvations-2592.asp? By Hal Seed // PastorMentor.com For a long time I’ve wondered if there...

DANCING ON THE EDGE

Released by Focus on the Family, June 6, 2016 http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/affairs-and-adultery/dancing-on-the-edge By: A pastor who’s...

WHEN TO DISOBEY?

 By: David Koyzis  What happens when the demands of government contradict our faith in...

“IT IS FINISHED!”

 By Frank G. Tunstall The ancient Greeks boasted about being able to say much...

The Day I Hit the Wall

By: Gordon McDonald Marathon runners speak of “hitting the wall,” a moment in a...

HONORING MARRIAGE

Posted by Focus on the Family, December 7, 2015 by Kevin Conklin I once...

RETHINKING DREAMS

By: Frank G. Tunstall  John 1:43 “The next day Jesus decided to leave for...

Life Is Eternal; Don’t Have an Affair!

http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/august/life-is-eternal-dont-have-affair.html By Ed Stetzer  Aug. 25, 2015. This week, we’ve found it’s not as...

MODERN-DAY MARTYRS

BY Richard Greene With cancer eating away at her, the Iraqi woman faced a...

Divorced Dads

A Helpful Perspective on Your Ex The Championship Fathering blog by Carey Casey One...

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.




Top