Everyone wants to know one thing – “What am I going to do?” That is the burden of life. We have to be guided by some kind of idea about what would be good to do. Do I try to avoid pain? Do I pursue pleasure? Do I have duties? Who knows? That question is the other thing that we cannot avoid. We must seek out knowledge from the institutions that we find here. The University, the news, the Church…. oh my. What if they are trying to control me with what they offer as knowledge? What if they have an agenda?
Here we start the process of evaluating the answers we are given and examining them to see if they are reasonable and true. We will never live long enough to check out every claim to truth and to see how well it stands the test. Perhaps the best we can do is to develop a way to investigate claims that directly effect our lives. A tried and true way of looking for truth is to start with the “great” ones. These are those who have made an impact upon history. At the center of history (or the calendar for that matter) is a man from an obscure people from an obscure place. Jesus of Nazareth. It can hardly be denied that he was remarkable, for history bends around his story. What made him so interesting?
As C.S. Lewis commented in “The Problem of Pain” – ‘There was a man born among these Jews who claimed to be, or to be the son of, or to be “one with”, the Something which is at once the awful haunter of nature and the giver of the moral law. The claim is so shocking – a paradox, and even a horror, which we may easily be lulled into taking too lightly – that only two views of this man are possible. Either he was a raving lunatic of an unusually abominable type, or else He was; and is; precisely what He said. There is no middle way. If the records make the first hypothesis unacceptable, you must submit to the second. And if you do that, all else that is claimed by Christians becomes credible – that this Man; having been killed, was yet alive, and that His death, in some manner incomprehensible to human thought, has effected a real change in our relations to the “awful” and “righteous” Lord, and a change in our favor.’ If we start with the man Jesus we are forced to conclude that he claimed to speak with authority upon the questions that concern us the most – “What is real?” “Who is a good person?” “How do I become a good person?” His answers on these issues have no serious rival.
Christian apologetics is the ministry of presenting Jesus’ answers to the big questions of life and how they stack up against their competition. Not only is eternity in the balance, but rationality in this life.