“Otherwise believe for the very works’ sake. Amen, amen I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do” (John 14:12).
Have you ever been confronted with what I call the “comparative religions” approach to denying Christianity? It’s pretty popular in the online world of Facebook and YouTube, often touted as a silver bullet that kills the monster of Christianity. Of course, by and large, the comparative religions argument is usually touted by people who know very little about any religion at all, and the comparisons drawn are superficial, if they’re even real at all.
I’m not intending to write a rebuttal of the specific claims here. Rather, I want to reflect on a conversation I had recently at work with a guy who believes all religions are basically the same, and since we can’t know which one is right, we really just shouldn’t care, but should care for each other and live good lives and let God sort it out. He tried to prove his belief that all religions are basically equal and that we can’t know which one is right, by claiming that every religion’s founder claims to come from God and speak His message. Since there are so many, all claiming to be from God, how can we know who really speaks for God?
My friend sadly ignores the idea of testing the claimants—indeed, he seems to deny the very possibility that logical and scientific scrutiny could be used to judge and verify the alleged prophets’ claims. So I called him out on that. Using Mohammad and Jesus as our case studies, I pointed to the miracles as evidence of Jesus’ claims. Mohammed performed no miracles to authenticate his message. Jesus, obviously, performed many, and capped them off with His own Resurrection from the dead, demonstrating not simply that He came from God, but that He is God.
My friend retorted that Jesus lived long ago so we can’t really be sure these things really happened—so I dropped the bomb that they still happen! Jesus promised that those who follow Him will do the works that He did, through the power of the Holy Spirit. All through the Church’s history, holy men and women have been used by God to heal the sick, multiply food, calm storms, exorcise demons, and yes, even raise the dead! On top of which, the Church, because of her belief in miracles, takes the time and care to authenticate miraculous claims, commissioning renowned scientists to conduct inquiries into a case to determine whether an alleged miracle has any natural explanation, in order to prevent us from believing in frauds.
Don’t get me wrong: our faith should not be dependent upon experiencing the miraculous. On the other hand, though, we believe in a miraculous faith, and God continues to work those miracles in His Church precisely to confirm to the world that it is His Church!
Happy and blessed Pentecost!
“But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
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