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09 - Why Christianity?

Anthony Bosman


In this episode of the GYC Beyond Podcast, Esther Louw and Dr. Anthony Bosman discuss the biblical claims of Christianity and their relevance for young people today. Perhaps you’ve asked yourself, is there one truth, many truths, or no truth? What evidence exists to support an absolute truth in Jesus Christ and how can we share our faith in that truth with others? Dr. Bosman is an assistant professor of mathematics at Andrews University and a recent graduate of Rice University as well as Stanford. Join us as we explore the philosophical claims of biblical religion.


Anthony Bosman

Assistant Professor


  • May 14, 2018
    8:45 AM


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Is there 1 truth many truths or no truth as Christians living in a secular world the biblical claim of absolute truth can seem either unreachable or simply bigoted Christianity comes down to the claims of a person who offers ultimately meaning and hope so the question should be asked is there evidence and support for the claims of absolute truth in Jesus Christ high this is a still welcome to the G Y C B on part cast in this episode I discuss the validity of Christianity with Dr Anthony Bussmann Dr Bussmann is an assistant professor in mathematics and enjoys University and a recent graduate of Rice University as well as Stanford joined us as we explore the philosophical claims of biblical legend. Welcome to join us see beyond the podcast and I was really nice to have you here to share with us I wanted to start off just beginning our conversation with finding out a little bit more about your background and what makes you so just tell me about your personal journey how did you become a Christian you know it's a great question in some ways I was raised in the trench I grew up in attending church intending Christian schools and and I was hugely formative in my life but I flipped on this question appeared time they really stands out as college because you're in university you have left home and so now is the question of what do I believe where do I stand these questions expression because I wasn't going to question 7 anymore and so there's all these different ways to measure the lives of how do you choose to live life how do I choose what kind of beliefs are going to form my living and a class I took my freshman year that was really influential was a fluffy class called Truth 1 many are not and so began the holidays by taking this class asking is there 1 truth rather many truths or is there no tripped and so obviously this is had implications I was thinking about well I grew up with this idea of Christianity is this. Truth is a 1 truth among many were the truth or is there maybe just no such thing as absolute truth all right and so I can came in freshman year really encouraged by this class to well I want to investigate this thing for myself is this thing true or very end of the day is from out it isn't true of claims of Christianity being special claims about Jesus is that evidence is the support for those claims perfect so I'm assuming that now that you're here and you're speaking from a Christian perspective that you found that support that you needed to believe and feel confident in your believing. About when I've discussed with you now you seem very very passionate about the Bible and about defending Christianity so why are you passionate about that now excellent So when I was in college but this was answers big questions of truth the big questions about life I was also studying mathematics and of mathematicians I was going to study mathematics at the time and something that really drew me to mathematics which I connect to the Bible in a moment but just about mathematics is this idea of the richness or the exhaust ability of mathematics so in mathematics this idea that would never be finished sometimes where you think like we've discovered everything there is to discover but actually the opposite is true there's an open field and was discovery before us and I found the same is true of Scripture that there's this unique quality of the Bible that the more you dive into it it just gets deeper and deeper and deeper and so this thing you know night I'm often like as I fall asleep I'm either thinking of some mathematical They are trying to prove or reflecting on some teaching of Scripture realizing wow there's so much depth to us but 1 aspect in which the claims of Scripture a different than that of mathematics is mathematics is just truth that makes no more claims upon my life it has no bearing upon how I actually live but if you believe that the darkest theorem is true or you don't believe it that's not really going to make a deep impact. But Christianity because it comes down to the claims of a person a claims a person who is who is who is Guard with us who is a God who is loved this has incredible richness and claims not just for my life but for the kind of world to live in it is the ultimate hope is that ultimate meaning is the ultimate significance of the choices I make from today and so this is a killer richness that I just engaged you to actually but then that translates to how you live and how you love those around you so what a human saying is is that mathematics is kind of. Just straightforward pure fact that's right but Christianity is a little bit more emotional and personal and so you're looking now at not just factual truth but personal and emotional truth that impacts your life that's right I think what's really cool Christianity is the way in which it integrates the 2 so ideas of like love and beauty and justice and truth they all blend together and also under the way this happens is in the Person of Christ so Christ comes along and says things like I am the truth and so now truth is actually embodied in a person with this person is also the embodiment of love is that moment of beauty somebody meant of all these other things and so now you have a comprehensive broad view so it's not that I'm either emotional or I'm intellectual and it's I can be a whole person that's perfect it's beautiful so earlier on you mentioned that you know when you came to college you experienced interactions and multiple kind of truths so how does a young person like myself or someone else who's going to a college campus and maybe a secular college campus how do they deal with being brought into contact with those other stories like Buddhism or a towel or are the Islamic faith how do we know that the Christians Tory is more true than. Other stories it's a great question and in my freshman year I was really interested in this question of Is Christianity true and so something I did over spring break because I spent spring break just going from 1 religious community to another and so I visited Sikhs I visited Muslims and it is Buddhist and then throughout the entire year trying to have ongoing relationships with these people because I want to understand how you see the world right right and I think something I found is it's not altogether a relationship of either this or that there's many things that my Buddhist friend my Muslim friend sees that's beautiful and true and if I can resonate with that right there's many points of commonality that I can resonate with that but what I find Christianity offers is what C.S. Lewis put it this way he said I believe Christianity is true as it believe in the risen sun not just because I can see it but because by it I can see everything else and so there's a way in which Christianity offers a comprehensive worldview or world view that's able to explain everything from the sciences to to these other religions and how they fit into all these various things Christianity offers you a broader view able to make sense of it all OK so instead of just having a religion which takes up 1 portion of your life Christianity takes up everything I would say that's true and you know you look at these other religions and all of them are making some kind of statement about who Jesus is right either he's a good teacher or he was a rabbi or he was a profit and so all to me it comes down to who was Jesus right and so when you take into the question of who was Jesus I just found historical evidence supported Jesus is who we claim to be the very son is guarded Was there any particular you know someone is listening and has that question Was there any particular source that was most helpful to settle that question you know what I was encouraged to think of the 1st is just the evidence surrounding the resurrection of Jesus because that's what makes the difference I don't know that he was a good man he. And was killed and then died and maimed or he actually rose from the Dead in which case you need to take his claims a little more seriously but then the 2nd thing that goes with that was his impact on history seen how throughout just the history of sense of Jesus out how the followers of Jesus have done things like the idea of human rights the idea of ability study make sense of the universe all these things that are foundational to society today came out of this she says movement. That's quite profound Now if we look at the world that we have we mentioned that Christianity deals with the whole person but life often doesn't do the whole process you know we have our job we have college we have home we have family all and in separate boxes so to speak so how can a young person who's trying to navigate all these different areas of life how can they bring that holistic Christian to every area of their life and have a strong faith you know it's a really good question even in like your discipline right if you're studying something maybe you're used to a very narrow area right you become very specialized kind of lose contact with the bigger bigger portion of life so there are 2 things I found really meaningful in the 1st interesting gauge of the local church so as you can gauge a lot of the church community you're forced to be with people like yourself you're forced to remember there's all these other aspects of living there's all these other aspects of this family there's there's all these other jobs other ways of living and you're forced to come into contact with that and so I couldn't recommend enough to engaging with the local church and the 2nd thing I found super meaningful is Sabbath rest and so intentionally taking the time on the 7th day of the week to take the time aside and say you know what I'm not just going to be defined by the things I do these other 6 days of the week my work whatever I'm studying for me mathematics are you doing that's not what's going to find me I'm going to be defined by by these bigger the ideas will be defined by God and His love for me be defined by my Or. Lation ships and be defined by a deeper meaning and significance than anything I can produce myself throughout the week OK I like how you address both that community and time yes so both of these being aspects that help you interact and put that faith into your entire listing life and so we touched on the Sabbath but what unique contribution does Adventism have to this bigger story of Christianity and has that impacted here yeah I think when you think of something having to do you often think of the Sabbath but what the Sabbath is really doing is it's connecting us with this much bigger story a story that goes from creation even before creation to new creation and so what Adam doesn't does is it takes us a little slice of time we're now in reminds us that this is part of a much bigger story and then it's able to connect you with that bigger story and so the way we live our lives today isn't just in light of the world we find ourselves in live in light of this this new world they're coming into in the world that we're made for right and so if we were made for a world where God is love and this is the principal reality we're going to get a living that out you know sometimes I think when we think of the apocalyptic nature of it the sense of the soon coming of Christ sometimes this leads people to a position of retreat or fear but what it should lead to instead is realizing that no in fact God is bringing about a better world and so let's start living out of the way of life now it's a 1 thing is you know you see this for as a health care and the reason was so passionate about living wholly is because we're living in light of this new world come more suppression of questions of justice or so passionate about all these other matters it's because we have a sense of the world the way it ought to be and so we're trying to live that out now right so. Having a big story out is not just 1 story so Christianity talks about Christ and how that interest your lifestyle and your individuality but you're saying that having to sing contributes by expanding the perspective of that story to realize it's historical It has a beginning a has an ending so carry on pack that a bit more and most of us you know have heard some of the story before but what is to you the great controversy story I really love this series of books that breaks down the to some of the because of this book picture some prophet so this is a well and wide 1 that found as a governess or she goes through in this commentary in Scripture going from the beginning pitchforks and profit center of 5 volumes to the last 1 the great controversy just expands this huge story right and I love about it is she began Xin she ends with the same 3 word expression God is love and so from her understanding that this is the central reality in which everything is taking place now from the beginning you have a God who is loved until the end when the reality again to be fully manifest and fully realized and so what I want is some Does it working within the context of God is lot of it because to trust question the why is there evil why is the suffering why was this allowed Right right and so you just touched now probably the biggest question in any young person Adventists Christian non-Christian any young person across the board has asked this question if there is a guy who's good why does he allow suffering why have I experienced Why when I go to church maybe some people there are not not kind to me was got to love that how do you do you think big picture of the great controversy thing addresses that particular problem yeah it's it's not an easy question to answer interesting moment but I think there's a few windows that can help us to begin to engage with it and the 1st 1 is at the center of the story is Christ on the cross. And so you have to realize that in suffering and pain God has no we mean distance from us rather God is interested in and God has suffered and also with the cross is revealing is not just that God suffered in that 1 moment but throughout the whole thing is scars 1 who suffered the most that sin is cause God to suffer the most Now that's 1 window right you have another window then that says OK Why would God allow these things to happen and all to me it comes down to the fact that if God is love that is automatic and goal is loving relationship with us isn't right and I want to have loving relationship with us he must allow for us to have freedom of choice freedom of will and so freedom of will though that entails that there's going to be some possibility that we could choose otherwise Now you might think but God is God couldn't he just look down into the future and know you know this 1 is going to rebel some is not going to create this individual but there's this fundamental truth that God values our freedom so much that even though he knows that we might be well right you know he knows or will be about right he sees the values are so much he says you know what I'm not going to deny the freedom I'm still going to allow that to happen and so it seems like an incredibly dangerous way to run the universe right so what with love this principle of allowing this freedom how could this ever work out but somehow scripture reveals that actually only and this prevails the love prevails and you end up with a universe that you don't have court or Asian or for us or the means by which we relate to God is not a means of fear related to God in this dynamic of love OK so I hear 2 point yes 1st 1 is that God is hurting when we hurt Yes And the 2nd point is that God allows that because he wants us to have freedom and sometimes freedom involves choosing things that hurtful. That lets me attention by really fast 1 more thing I want to bring in here and that's that the pain is temporary right and that is something that's so beautiful. All about having to some you know sometimes we have these perhaps distorted views about the future that ultimately in the end when God judges he's going to make suffering and pain everlasting you know he's going to bring about this everlasting pain and suffering for those who do not agree with him right right and you have these pictures of people in hellfire or women maybe but as we study the Scripture we discover that in fact that's not true in fact and God is bringing it to A and ended pain and suffering will mean an end so when Revelation says things about how there be no more pain no more something it literally means it's going to come to an end it's beautiful so it's got is trying to work with us in a free will to not have pain and suffering anymore and let's just backtrack because I'm sure you've heard some of this in a secular college I sense that I've heard is you know they'll say things like well you know you say the guide is love and he allows freedom of choice but what about the Malik writes in the Old Testament that God asked the Israelites to eradicate how do we take some of those acts in the Old Testament and relate that this picture that you just talked about yeah you know these are questions and I think for a number of young adults when they when they 1st read the stories and hear their stories it's easy for them to get big questions about well why would you go to command this or why do you go out and it seems like God's good in his hands really messy and the 1st thing I'll say is you know what I think these questions do raise some stories about God we might have some questions about why he's got allowing this and that's why it's so significant is this comes on the scene because Jesus reveals that Nonono whatever questions you might have had about God and His for you against you it is now perfectly clear he is fully for you but in addition to that I also find that when you dig into the stories a little bit deeper that it's an don't show a surface reading that actually what God is doing it maybe sometimes we misrepresented so for instance as you go throughout the book of Joshua There's the scene where the angel of the Lord. Representative card God comes before Joshua and this is you know this is the Book of Genesis we have thinking this is the right line book but it comes to Joshua and Joshua says Who are you for are you for I got my side are you on their side and his answer is no. I'm not taking sides and then as you go through you see what happens is the way the guard interacts with he's constantly giving opportunities for people to turn and repent and be aligned with him now there are some serious judgments there are some serious moments but you know what I don't think that we're taught entirely against regiment you know you look at what these communities were doing there were things going on like child sacrifice was this incredible we could X. and I think a modern knowledge might be something like the Holocaust right when you see something like the Holocaust and what when you see something that you go we want judgment and we want someone to step in and strange and so this is what God is doing got to step in and bring an end to these groups there which is so entirely wicked they're sacrificing their own children Wow Yeah so that's a really great point so we can see the need for justice in things that we perceive and we know our injustices in the throat but sometimes we lose a perspective and look at history and God's interaction with it and so just kind of wrapping up all these ideas and finish how do we take this concept this great controversy thing died being a God of love is given as well to choose and we have had a starting point and we're going to have an ending point where pain and suffering a finished how do we use that to reach somebody else. You know I think it's a good question because we were talking the great controversies cosmic terms but the reality is everyone has a good conference going on within their hearts as well and so when you come across someone you know they're wrestling they have some sense of beauty some sense of truth some sense of what is right by that that they're trying to live their lives toward But they also have some sense of brokenness they have some sense of you know this that the competing forces going on inside of them there's a there's a term world with their rights and so I think what's so important is when we approach someone we recognize that it's not there on this side of the controversy about it's rather the Contras have get inside their hearts are moments right and so how can we come alongside them and how can we encourage them how can we point them to the love of God How can we say that hey I know you have some big questions about about yourself about God about why you're going through this but I just need to show you a picture of God's love in Christ because something happens when you see that glimpse of God's love and Christ that love is awakened in you and that's the becomes the power to reward to your life from the destructor from the from all these other forces that are going to lead you down to to the way of God's of the way of the beautiful to the way of the true and so I would encourage us to reflect upon not just to be conscious and cosmic terms the great controversy happening in each individual's heart as well that's beautiful I think it's a great place to and just remembering that the story of Christianity the story that Adventism tells is a big 1 pulls the whole world and the history of the world but it's also a story that's a small 1 that involves and hearts and that choice then becomes whether we're going to give our Will your spirits cause and how I thank you so much for sharing with. Appreciated all thoughts you offer us. Thank you much appreciation to Dr Anthony Bussmann for sharing with us I hope that you have been challenged to explore the claims of Christianity more deeply and discover its personal relevance.


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