Now and then a little change is good. With this issue The Banner is re-introducing “Q&A” as “FAQs.” George Vander Weit has agreed to continue as our guru of church-related questions, and we’ve invited a panel of others to weigh in on frequently asked questions they hear in their respective fields: medicine, culture, and relationships, among others. We’d, of course, still like to receive your questions about Christian faith and life as well. Please send them to FAQs at The Banner, 2850 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49560, or to email@example.com with “FAQs” in the subject line. We’ll keep them confidential and assign them to our panel.
Q. How do I know that Christianity is the true religion?
A. I cannot give you absolute indubitable certainty of Christianity’s truthfulness. We can, however, have reasonable confidence and security in our faith. There are cumulative evidences that present a strong case for Christianity. Here are four of them:
- The Bible’s reliability and historicity.
- Jesus’ life, teachings, and resurrection.
- The persecution and survival of early Christianity.
- The experience and witness of Christian believers over the centuries.
Jesus’ resurrection is central and crucial to Christianity’s truth claims. How do we account for the empty tomb? Some skeptics argue that Jesus merely fainted and later woke up. But that is impossible since he was speared (not to mention crucified and flogged!) and Roman soldiers guarded the tomb, which was sealed with a huge immovable stone. If, as others argue, the disciples invented a resurrection myth or were deceiving people, why would they be martyrs and knowingly die for a lie? Neither could the resurrection have been hallucinated, since more than 500 witnesses saw the risen Christ on many different occasions.
Could the whole New Testament story of Christ be unreliable or fiction? Ancient non-Christian Roman and Jewish documents (and most modern historians) attest to Jesus’ historicity. And despite centuries of copying and thousands of copies, the New Testament manuscripts are remarkably consistent, with few discrepancies. Hence, Jesus’ resurrection is likely true.
Ultimately though, only the Holy Spirit can fully confirm Christianity’s truth in our hearts.
The Banner has asked Shiao Chong to answer questions on theology. He is campus minister at York University in Toronto.
Q. I’ve heard cloth diapers are better for the environment than disposables, but does that outweigh the tradeoffs?
A. Here are some considerations. A 1993 study in Davenport, Iowa, showed that disposable diapers made up 5 percent of the garbage in the city’s landfill. In our family, however, garbage output doubled when we added disposable diapers to the mix.
Cloth diapers require more electricity, more water, and chemical detergents to keep them sanitary—and time, a major drawback to many frenzied parents. The few cloth diapers you may spot in your department store typically absorb about as well as cheesecloth, so why bother?
Your electric dryer guzzles far more electricity than your washing machine. Line-drying will avoid this cost, eliminate odor better (due to photochemical reactions in sunlight), and preserve them longer (no lint loss). Washing diapers may increase your personal water use, but far more water is required to manufacture disposables. The time you put into cleaning will make up for emergency diaper runs—and conserve gas.
Well-made diapers are the key to success. Avoid Wal-mart and try the Internet. The traditional flat squares are durable and economical, but you can also find convenient fitted diapers. Safety pins are outdated, too, with the ingenious “snappy” (a rubber strap with teeth) to fasten diapers snugly. Scrap fleece makes great diaper liners and reusable wipes.
Starting out with a sufficient supply will cost you $50-100—did I mention disposables cost about $500 per year? Visit www.diaperpin.com/home.asp to get a sense for the variety of options available.
All around, cloth diapers are practical and help save the environment, as well as your time and money—all of which should be pleasing to God.
The Banner has asked Matthew Stutz to answer questions on creation care. He is assistant professor of environmental studies and earth science at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.