How to Begin a Spiritual Quest

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    Dec 21, 2012
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A majority of human beings at some point in their lives engage in a spiritual quest; a search for what is true in life.  Those considering such a pursuit are often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options that are presented to them.  

The number of religious and non-religious systems of thought that exist is almost impossible to count and to go through each in detail would require more time than one person could ever contribute to the task.  Yet, despite what seems an impossible task, there is an approach that holds hope for a degree of success.

There is one religious system that stands apart through the fact that it is rooted not in a sense of the divine or in an experience, but in historical fact.  Such a religious system can be evaluated based upon the facts put forth and can then be accepted or rejected by considering whether these facts bear up under careful scrutiny.  In this way, a religious quest can be begun that holds the hope for a conclusion that can help a person draw closer to what is true.    Christianity is the religious system that rises or falls based upon historical fact.  

While rooted in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, it was Paul of Tarsus who organized and codified much of what today we understand as the Christian faith.  It was Paul who provided the theological underpinning that enabled those of both Jewish and non-Jewish heritage to accept Jesus as the Messiah for all mankind and to make his teachings the center of their understanding of life.  It was Paul who grasped the revelation that the truth of the Christian faith lies in one historical fact and one only.  Upon this one historical fact rests the foundation for belief in all that Jesus taught and all that the Bible, the foundational book of Christianity, teaches.   

In his first letter to the Christians in the city of Corinth, Paul wrote, “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:16, 17 English Standard Version).  The Christian belief is that ultimate truth is rooted in a creator who made all things.  In addition, that creator has been separated from his human creation due to sin.  The creator’s solution to the sin problem in Christian theology is the sending of a Messiah or Christ; the one born Jesus of Nazareth.  

Paul affirmed quite uniquely in religious thought that the basis for the belief system that centers on the person of Jesus is dependent upon the fact that Jesus, after dying by crucifixion at the hands of the Roman authorities, rose from the dead never to die again.  Therefore by simply determining the veracity of this claim, a person can either affirm or reject the truth of the Christian faith.    

The greater part of the data surrounding the life and death of Jesus, the Christ, is found in four volumes known as gospels.  The writers of these volumes included two men who were close followers of Jesus, another who got his information from a close follower of Jesus, and another who had access to many first hand witnesses of the account in question.  These accounts all devote a significant portion of their depiction of the life of Jesus to the final week of his life which led up to his crucifixion and was followed by his burial and resurrection.  The seeker has sufficient data to assess the character of the writers and veracity of their accounts.  

By comparing the various accounts with each other and then contrasting them with the other possibilities, the seeker will have gone far in determining the truth or falsehood of the Christian faith and in either case will have a starting point for further inquiry.   

The spiritual quest is a daunting task, but one taken on by many who desire to know ultimate truth.  Many systems of both religious and non-religious thought are extremely difficult to decipher and to analyze. Uniquely among religious systems, the Christian faith offers the inquirer a historical basis on which to judge its truth.  The wise seeker will choose Christianity as the beginning of a spiritual search and that determination will form a basis from which to continue on.        .       

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