What Christians Believe

An atheist turned believer answers your questions about Christ, evolution, evil, suffering and more.
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Lee Strobel was 14 when he decided God didn't exist. The loss of what little faith he had took place after a biology teacher introduced him to evolution.

In the years that followed his "conversion" to atheism, Lee studied journalism at the University of Missouri, received legal training at Yale Law School, and eventually became an award-winning legal editor for the Chicago Tribune. Somewhere along the way, he married his high school sweetheart, Leslie, who eventually became a Christian. Lee was not only stunned by her newfound beliefs, but also fascinated by the way faith had changed her life for the good. He decided it was time to take another look at God and Christianity.

Like a good journalist, he carefully investigated the facts behind faith and eventually found himself bowing before the Creator he once rejected. And to help others check out the facts of faith for themselves, Lee has written The Case for Faith and The Case for Christ (Zondervan).

Now the teaching pastor at California's Saddleback Valley Community Church, Lee said he'd gladly try to answer some of the toughest questions we could toss his way. Keep reading for his answers.

Why do Christians insist Jesus is the only way to heaven?

Because Jesus said he was the only way. He said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).

Now anybody could make that claim, but Jesus backed it up by living a perfect life, by performing miracles in front of skeptics and cynics, and, ultimately, by being raised from the dead.

But Christianity sounds so narrow and exclusive. There are so many sincere followers of other religions. Why would God reject them?

Imagine two student clubs everybody would love to join. To get into the one club, you've got to do a bunch of good things. You've got to be an honor student, a nice guy and a great athlete. If you can't meet the club's high standards, you don't get in.

Then there's the other club. No matter who you are—great grades or bad grades, incredible athlete or horrible athlete—this club is wide open to you. And your dues have been paid in full by the club leader! That club is an example of Christianity.

Does the second "club" sound narrow to you? Actually, I think other religions are a lot more exclusive, because you must live up to all kinds of rules, and even then, you still can't know if you've done enough. But Christianity says, "Jesus has met the requirements. The dues have been paid. Come on in!"

So, you don't have to do anything to get to heaven but repent of your sins. That means God will let in murderers and rapists, which doesn't seem fair to those who have lived a good, moral life.

It may seem unfair because we don't completely understand sin. We might think we're nowhere near as bad as Timothy McVeigh or Adolf Hitler. We can't imagine how anybody like that could ever be forgiven. After all, we haven't killed anybody. Most of us haven't even committed a crime. But the Bible says our sin—any sin or wrongdoing—separates us from God. We all fall short of God's holy standards. We all need forgiveness so this separation can be ended and we can have a relationship with God.

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