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.
"If everything was created by God, was Buddha also created by God? Buddha actually denied the existence of a single being that dominates/governs the whole world. Did Buddha go to hell for denying his existence?"
Siddhartha Gautama, or Buddha, was created by God, yes. Everyone who is not God was created by God (Genesis 1:27; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Isaiah 46:9), and God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18), and is never wrong (Colossians 2:3; John 21:17; 1 John 3:20). If Buddha claimed there is no ultimate creator God, then either he was wrong or he was lying, thereby identifying himself as not-that-god, since God cannot lie and is never wrong.
"Was Jesus crucified at the third hour? Yes: Mark 15:25 No: John 19:14-15. Which would you pick, and why?"
Here are the relevant texts (from the NASB): John 19:14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!" Mark 15:25 It was the third hour when they crucified Him. Sometimes, hand-written copies of the same document will not entirely agree with each other. Copies of the Bible are not immune from this. This verse in John is a case in point.
"Why did God only send Jesus to Palestine at one particular point in history? If God wants everybody to be saved, wouldn’t the gospel have spread a lot faster if he had sent Jesus to every place on earth in all time periods?"
Are you sure that God wants everyone to be saved? There are many Christian philosophers who do indeed claim that this is the case, but it seems to me that this concept contradicts scripture. John 12:39-40 (re Isaiah 6:8-10) For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, "HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.
"If God is all-powerful and can do anything and everything, can he build a wall high enough so that he could not jump over it?"
No. The God of the Bible is incapable of numerous things. Essentially, all of these things are summed up in 2 Timothy 2:13 which states that God "cannot deny Himself". The God of scripture is a logical God, which is the only reason why the laws of logic, such as the law of non-contradiction, can be trusted to be universal and invariant.
"How does your belief system, and the authorities upon which it is based, guide your behavior?"
The Bible teaches in Matthew 22:36-40 that all of God's laws for humanity depend upon obedience to the following two commands: 1. Love God. ("Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.") 2. Love your neighbor. ("Love your neighbor as yourself.") The most important thing to note here is that love for God must always come before and have total priority over love for other people -- otherwise we fall into idolatry.
"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.
"Why does the creator of the entire universe get the value of pi wrong (2 Chron 4: 2)?"
God didn't get Pi wrong. Rather, He rounded to the nearest cubit. "Also he made the cast metal sea, ten cubits from brim to brim, circular in form, and its height was five cubits and its circumference thirty cubits." -2 Chronicles 4:2 If we were to write down the whole value of Pi, or in this case, Pi times 10, we would never finish writing. Therefore, whenever anyone, Creator of the universe or not, writes down the value of Pi for us to read, it is always rounded.
"How do we know that God(s) still exists today? "
God created time (Genesis 1:1; 2 Corinthians 4:18; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 11:3; Jude 1:25). As the One Who created time, He is inherently atemporal (or omnitemporal depending upon which aspect of His eternality we are emphasizing) (Deuteronomy 33:27; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 9:14). Given this, He is definitively always the same (Exodus 3:14; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). If He is always the same, He cannot cease to exist.