Mar 052014

Why Christian thumbThe first contributor to my “Why are you a Christian?” series is my friend Matthew Bryant. Matthew is a business systems analyst, loves worship and describes himself as a ‘part-time blogger’. His blog was one of the reasons I started to blog, so do check it out. I met Matthew and his wife Annie about 6 years ago on a Christian youth camp where we were both leaders.

This is Matthew’s answer to the question, “Why are you a Christian?”

matthew bryant

Worldviews interest me.

Why do I believe what I believe?
Why do you believe what you believe?
How can we experience the same reality and come to a seemingly infinite number of conclusions as to what that reality really is?

Today we hear an awful lot about how science has disproved religion and this naturally provokes a response from the religious. For the most part I find that the varying sides of this debate are all logically consistent within their own respective worldviews, but there’s a more interesting question here than ‘what do you think is true and why?’. How can two people much more intelligent than I come to such drastically different conclusions when faced with the same data?

A worldview is the frame of reference from which you interpret perceived data; and however much people on all sides of the debate want to convince you, intelligence has little to no bearing on your choosing of a worldview. I want to be realistic about this. I am a Christian because it feels right. I used to be a naturalist atheist because it felt right – even obvious – but then something happened; something strange. I simply became a Christian. There was no hype, no ‘alter call’. I was reading the Bible and I became a Christian.

It felt right.
It still does.

I have been a Christian for going on 8 years now and, even though I have some very different views on what the Bible is and what it means to be a Christian than I did 8 years ago, I am still very comfortable in my faith. I may well have lost my faith if I believed that to be a Christian you have to unquestionably hold to the literal reading of the Bible, but the Bible doesn’t command this. If it were necessary for me to be opposed to gay marriage, evolution, and in favour of the subjugation of women to count myself a Christian then I would almost certainly have walked away.

To me being a Christian means that I daily experience something that I believe to be God (specifically the God that raised Jesus from the dead). If that belief is not able to stand up to philosophical scrutiny then I would have to give up on it and conclude that I was being delusional, but to my mind naturalism is much more problematic than theism. One problem of which centres around our ability to trust our own rationality. If all we are (consciousness and all) is reducible to the random movements of quantum particles then how can rational thought be anything other than random? This is to say that naturalism is self-refuting – you can only conceive the idea with rational thought, which doesn’t exist should naturalism be true.

So then, being a Christian it is a two-stage process. You are impacted by an unshakeable sense that it is true, which can be backed up by observation of the world and rational argument.

I want to thank Matthew for sharing – I’m so glad he said yes when I asked! If you have any thoughts on his answer, or any questions for him, drop a comment below.

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  • Ciarán O’Ceileachair

    “If it were necessary for me to be opposed to gay marriage, evolution, and in favour of the subjugation of women to count myself a Christian then I would almost certainly have walked away.”


    *This isn’t me saying I am against those or in favour of that, just wondering why they would stop you being a Christian?

  • Phil

    I think the above post shows clear signs that Matt may have sadly moved towards a liberal theology. The way he writes of his past and present understanding of the bible sounds worrying and often moving in that direction can continue into heresy and unbelief. I don’t know if that’s definitely the case with Matt but his words above worry me. I hope people don’t think that it’s just ok to be both a so-called Christian whilst holding opposed moral standards to God on key issues – the Bible doesn’t give that license fortunately.