I’m a bottom line kind of person. I think America is filled with people like me. I get impatient when people talk about an issue or a choice too much or for too long. “Just give me the bottom line,” I often want to say.
In my own faith, I went through a crisis period, as many young people do, during my college years. I had to take religion classes, and the professors had us read books that questioned the truth of the Bible and set forth mind-numbingly horrifying ethical dilemmas. My crisis was a muted one, and almost entirely internal. It didn’t really feel or look like a crisis. I didn’t stop attending church or believing in God. But looking back, I realize that it was a crisis of faith that I went through during that time.
I came to a point where I had to decide how to assimilate all this new data, especially about Jesus. Did He really say what the Bible says he said? (say that 5 times fast) Did he really rise from the dead? Could I trust the Bible, or was it part fact and part fiction? And if it was part fiction, what part was fiction?
In the end, my “bottom line” way of thinking saved me from turning my back on my faith. I decided that even though I was confused and lacked answers to many of my questions, I could say I knew a few things for sure.
I knew that I believed in God. I believed that Jesus was the Son of God, and that He died on the cross for our sins. I knew God was real because I had experienced His presence in a real way. I could never turn my back on God after knowing Him personally that way. And I decided that knowing these things with absolute certainty was good enough for me. That was my bottom line.
Now I have since come to reject the scholarship that wants to pick apart the Bible and decide that some things are true and some are not. I have decided that the evidence for the resurrection is overwhelming to me. I became strong enough in my faith to challenge my then-pastor when he said things that I considered contradictory to scripture, and to leave the church I had attended all my life to join one that better reflected my thoughtfully considered and well-studied beliefs about Jesus and faith.
What is the bottom line for you when it comes to your faith? I believe that it’s very important to take time to think about, investigate and figure out what you believe and what is the basis for what you believe. Even though it was uncomfortable and scary to have doubts and questions at the time, I know that my faith is far stronger for the experience.
If you have questions about whether the Bible is true or whether Jesus said or did many of the things the Bible says about Him, I highly recommend you read some of Lee Strobel’s books. He is a journalist who investigated the claims of the Bible about Jesus. Strobel had many doubts about God and faith, and through his research He came to know God and believe in Jesus himself. His two most famous books are The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith, but he has written others as well. His books and other information can be found at LeeStrobel.com .