The Good News of Jesus Christ
If we trust in Jesus the Christ, who lived the perfect life, volunteered to be executed in our place, and rose again from the dead by His own power, we can be forgiven for all of our crimes against God.
Christian groups around the world recognize certain texts to be authoritative in terms of religious belief and practice. Different Christian groups differ on exactly which texts, some having more and others having fewer, but there is almost always a particular core that is agreed upon. These groups differ on how exactly the texts are authoritative, with some believing that they are absolutely inerrant in everything that they assert, including issues of history and science, biology and mathematics; and others claiming they are only authoritative in elements of faith and religious practice, but we all agree that they can be trusted and ought to be followed at least in areas of faith and religious practice.
Christians have compiled these many texts together and call the result the Bible.
Among these texts that virtually all Christian groups seem to accept as authoritative are the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which are historical narratives of the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. The Book of Acts, written by the same author that wrote the gospel of Luke, tells us about the activities of the immediate followers of Jesus after He died and rose again from the dead. The Book of Romans, a theological treatise on how to be right with God by a first century Jew named Paul, a former enemy of Christians, is another undisputed text that all Christians accept; along with the five books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which tell us about the beginning of the world and the establishing of the nation of Israel, the nation that provided the world with Jesus. The books of Moses also tell us about the law that God gave to the Israelites, including the famed Ten Commandments. There are more universally accepted books as well, but for my purposes, these eleven will more than suffice.
In the five books of Moses, we are told about God's rules of behavior when humans are under His direct governance, and in those books, as well as in the book of Romans, we are also told about the penalty for disobedience, which is death. For lesser crimes or trespasses and also for unintentional sins, God has mercifully allowed animals to die in the place of the human sinner, as a substitutionary atoning sacrifice. But in all cases, someone had to die when a sin was committed, and no substitute at all was provided for the most serious of sins.
As we would expect, though, all of the animals that died stayed dead. There was never any indication that the death penalty had been paid in full and would never need to be paid again. There was never any fulfillment. Never any final satisfaction. Instead, that dreaded penalty for sin remained, hovering over humans, unrelenting, unavoidable, and absolutely final. With more sins, more animals needed to die, because the blood of bulls and goats was unable to completely take away the penalty for sins. And this penalty of death, once enacted, was always permanent.
Or so it seemed.
This Jesus Guy
In the four gospels, we hear of a man named Jesus, known as “the Christ,” or the anointed one, who comes on the scene in the first century. Jesus is announced by a prophet named John, who refers to Jesus as “the Lamb of God,” a reminder of the sacrifices God had commanded in the books of Moses. The Christ did all kinds of peculiar things. No one could completely figure Him out while He was alive. Some of the things He did were wonderful in everyone's eyes -- He healed the sick, sometimes with nothing more than a word, made the blind to see, even brought people back to life temporarily, one particular time by merely telling the dead man's stinky, rotting corpse to come to Him.
But as awesome, miraculous, and truly amazing as all of that was, that kind of thing has all been standard fare for prophets and magicians of all sorts throughout the ages.
Something that set Jesus apart from other prophets, miracle workers and magicians during His life on earth was that He claimed He had the power to forgive sins.
But when we sin, we sin against God, since He is the one who made the rules we break. As a result, only God can truly forgive our sins against Him. Imagine, after all, if you stole a car from your friend Bob. And then imagine if I tell you that I forgive you for that. Are you really forgiven? How can I forgive you for what you did to Bob? The very idea is absurd, and an insult to Bob. The only way I could really forgive your crime against Bob would be if I myself was Bob.
This seems to be the same reasoning that people who heard Jesus used. As a result, when He said He could forgive sins, they understood Him to be equating Himself with God.
According to the Christian Bible, Jesus was executed for blasphemy, specifically, for claiming to be equal with God... perhaps even for claiming to be God Himself. Jesus died. He was buried.
And His followers ran away from the authorities, terrified.
Three days after Jesus was executed, He came back to life, rising from the dead by His own power, never to die again. Remember, death is the dreaded penalty for sins, and this man, who claimed to have the power to forgive sins, had now conquered death, clearly demonstrating He had power over the penalty for sins.
The “Lamb of God” had died as a substitution for us, shedding His own blood as an atonement for our sins, including those sins that were allowed no substitute in the books of Moses. And this time, death was demonstrably conquered. Since Christ offered the forgiveness of sins, and demonstrated He really has authority over the penalty for sins, sin no longer reigns over those who put their faith and trust in Him. We who trust in Christ trust that even though we too will eventually die, death will not be permanent, even as it was not for Christ. As Christ, who offered us forgiveness of sins, rose from the dead, showing power over the penalty for our sins, we trust that after death we too will one day rise to live permanently with Christ, according to His promise.
Through Christ, we can be right with God.
Sin is no longer in charge of our eternity, and death no longer reigns over our mortal bodies, if we place our trust in Jesus Christ.
My Personal Journey
I am not a Christian because I was convinced by the proofs that I offer here on this website. Instead, I developed these proofs because I was already convinced of the conclusion.
The existence of God has never been something I have ever seriously doubted. Historically, virtually every people group ever has held to a belief in some kind of God. For me, this particular point was never in serious question.
I also knew that I ought to obey Him. This is, in my mind, why the entire human race believes that people ought to act certain ways, and why everyone at some point in time feels guilt for their own bad conduct. The very concept of behavioral standards, and the very existence of guilt, were enough to convince me that God had rules I needed to follow...
I ought to obey God's rules.
But one day, I realized that I hadn't.
I understood that I was a sinner. I was a troublemaker. I was guilty. I deserved punishment. I didn't even deserve the gift of life.
To say I was absolutely distraught is an understatement.
I understood that there was a problem, and I knew that I had caused it. I also knew that I could not fix it. There was nothing I could possibly do to make up for what I had done. I could try to make the most of it. I could try to live a good life from that point on. But even if I succeeded at being perfect for the rest of my life (something that frankly seemed absolutely impossible to me), what I still could not do was erase my past.
Growing up, I had been taught that forgiveness from God was possible through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. At the time, I couldn't find another solution that seemed even remotely reasonable.
I grabbed ahold of Jesus with both hands, and I have never let go.
 Romans 5:12, 5:21, 6:23; Genesis 2:17; Exodus 21:12-17, 21:29, 22:19,
31:14-15, 35:2; Leviticus 20:2, 20:9-16, 20:27, 24:16-17, 24:21; Numbers 35:16-21,
35:30-31; Deuteronomy 13:5, 13:9, 17:5-7, 21:21, 22:21, 22:24.
 Leviticus 17:11; Deuteronomy 21:1-9; Leviticus 4-5, 5:1-6, 6:2-7, 9:7-15,
16:6-11, 19:20-22, 23:19; Exodus 29:36, 30:10; Numbers 7, 15:22-28, 29.
 The first century is actually known as the “first” century because the
so-called “common era” (C.E.) actually began when Jesus, called “the Christ”
or the anointed one, was born. In fact, C.E. is a fairly new non-Christian designation
for the era that began with Christ, an era which had previously most frequently been referred to as A.D.,
or anno Domini, Latin for “the year of our Lord”, a reference to the Lord
Jesus Christ. The time before the common era was up until recently most frequently
referred to as B.C., or before Christ. Now it is frequently referred to by the non-Christian
designation of B.C.E., or “before the common era.”
 John 1:29, 1:36; Genesis 22:8; Exodus 12; Leviticus 5:1-6.
 Matthew 4:24, 8:16, 9:20-22, 14:14, 15:22-28; Luke 4:40, 5:15, 6:17, 7:2-10, 9:11; John 5:6-9.
 Matthew 9:27-31, 12:22, 20:30-34; Mark 8:22-25, 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43; John 9:1-7.
 John 11; Matthew 9:24-25; Mark 5:35-42; Luke 7:12-15, 8:49-55.
 Matthew 9:2-3; Mark 2:4-7; Luke 5:20-21, 7:48-49.
 Matthew 26:63-66; Mark 14:61-64; John 5:18.
 Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 19; Acts 2:22-23; Romans 5:6-10.
 Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:43-47; Luke 23:50-55; John 19:41-42; Acts 13:29.
 Mark 14:50; Matthew 26:56, 26:69-75; Luke 22:54-62.
 John 2:19-22; John 10:17; Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20; Acts 2:24, 2:32,
3:15, 3:26, 4:10, 5:30, 10:40, 13:30-37; Romans 4:24-25, 6:4, 6:9, 7:4, 8:11, 10:9.
 Romans 3:21-26, 4:24-25, 5:6-11; Acts 13:38-39, 26:15-18; John 11:49-52, 14:6.
 John 3:16-18, 3:36, 6:40, 11:26; Acts 5:31, 13:38, 26:18.; Romans 6:23, 10:9-10.
 John 3:18, 3:36, 5:24, 6:40-47, 8:24, 11:25-26; Mark 16:16.
In Printed Form
Along with numerous other authors including Don Landis, Bodie Hodge and Roger Patterson, Timothy McCabe contributes analyses of various world religions and cults in this volume from Master Books.
"Would you explain to me how we know that Matthew 21v22 (where Jesus promises that we will receive anything we ask for in prayer) cannot be taken literally?"
Matthew 21, verse 22 can and should be taken literally. Let's look at the passage in context: And Jesus answered and said to them, "Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it will happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.
"Why does the bible, supposedly the perfect inerrant word of god, claim that bats are birds (Lev 11:13-19)."
Here are the relevant texts in the NASB: Leviticus 11:13-19 These, moreover, you shall detest among the birds; they are abhorrent, not to be eaten: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard, and the kite and the falcon in its kind, every raven in its kind, and the ostrich and the owl and the sea gull and the hawk in its kind, and the little owl and the cormorant and the great owl, and the white owl and the pelican and the carrion vulture, and the stork, the heron in its kinds, and the hoopoe,...
"Why does God change His mind so much? (Gen 6:7; Exd 32:14; Jdg 2:18; 1 Sam 15:35; Jhn 3:10 etc)"
Below are the verses cited in the question. John 3:10 doesn't seem to fit the question, so I assume it was a typo. Nonetheless, the other verses should more than suffice to make the point the questioner intended. Genesis 6:7 The LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.
"Did Jesus preach non-violence? He says in Mat 5:39 Whoever smites thee on thy right cheek offer him the other. But in Luke 22:36 he says He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. How then can Heb 1:8-12 says he is unchanging?"
Addressing the last part of your question first, the text is below: Hebrews 1:8-12 (from Psalm 102:25-27) - NASB But of the Son He says, "YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM. "YOU HAVE LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HATED LAWLESSNESS; THEREFORE GOD, YOUR GOD, HAS ANOINTED YOU WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE YOUR COMPANIONS.
"I read these two verses and I think the Christian god cannot make up their mind the two verses are Ezek 24:14 and Jonah 3:10. Can you refute this?"
Here are the scriptures in question. Ezekiel 24:14 "I, the LORD, have spoken; it is coming and I will act. I will not relent, and I will not pity and I will not be sorry; according to your ways and according to your deeds I will judge you," declares the Lord GOD.'" Jonah 3:10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.
"Apologeticspress.org and CARM.org disagree on whether baptism is needed for salvation. Both are Christian and both quote the Bible in support. Who is right and why?"
Water baptism is not a prerequisite for salvation. The apostle Paul, writing in the Book of Romans, chapter 4, focusing in on verses 9-10, provides an argument that the process of physical circumcision, the cutting off of the male foreskin, a practice commanded under the law of Moses, is not necessary to be made acceptable to God. While circumcision and baptism are not to be equated, the argument Paul makes is applicable to both. His argument can be presented as follows: P1.
"Assuming I accept your arguments that there is a God, it is still a huge leap for me to therefore cut off my son's foreskin, avoid clothes of mixed fibers, and give 10% of my earnings to Pat Robertson."
Christianity does not advocate cutting off your son's foreskin, avoiding clothes of mixed fibers, or giving 10% of your earnings to Pat Robertson. So it seems as though there is nothing in your way to becoming a Christian! Since you haven't actually asked a question, I'm going to have to do a little guesswork to try to figure out how to properly address this comment. PAT ROBERTSON I'll start with the easiest one first -- the Bible never even mentions Pat Robertson.
"Why does God require an argument to defend it, unlike something obvious like gravity for example?"
According to the Bible, God does not require an argument to prove His existence to anyone; rather, everyone is inherently already well aware of His existence, because He has made us aware. Romans 1, verses 18-20 state, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.