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I will make my arguments below based on the underlying idea that God exists. You may not agree that God exists, but for the sake of discussion I will proceed from the premise that God does exist and that I am trying to make the case for Christianity.
In order to assess whether Christianity is the best explanation or worldview, the first thing to do is to examine other alternatives. Some alternatives can be canceled out easily - few people today believe in Zeus or Isis or Odin so there is little need to waste time trying to defend whether the Christian faith is more credible. In the West, the most significant contenders would be Judaism and Islam. While I don't want to insult people of the Muslim faith, the Koran was written for the most part by one individual whose claims to divine revelation do not have as many witnesses as were present for Christ's miracles and resurrection. While I don't want to insult people of the Jewish faith, I must ask is whether it was really coincidence that so many prophesies about the messiah from the Old Testament were fulfilled by Christ?
The second step in assessing whether Christianity is the most viable worldview is to look at internal consistency. Many non-Christians and non-Theists will be quick to point out a difference in a number or a detail that appears different in different places in the Bible. However, the Bible has an amazing amount of consistency when it is considered thematically and holistically. The New Testament letters, such as those written by Paul, Peter, and so forth expanded upon, but did not contradict, Christ’s commands. Also useful is the fact that prophesies about the End Times line up between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The themes of repentance, care for the poor, humility, sexual purity, and so forth were the same in the Old Testament and the New Testament albeit presented with different phrasing and parables.
The third step is to look at how well the Christian faith matches up with experience. Does the Christian view that Satan is the “god of this age” (2 Corinthinans 4:4) synch up with experience? Given that in the past century over 150 million died in wars or related violence, the fact that billions live in poverty and disease, that natural disasters are so common, that dictatorships and corrupt governments seem to spring up everywhere, I think that it is very reasonable to believe. How about the Christian view of human nature? Christians believe that human nature is essentially fallen and corrupt. This seems to be corroborated by real life experience (identity theft, gang violence, drug use, divorce, abuse, greed, etc.).
Finally, is there a good supply of archaeological and historical evidence to support the Christian claims? While there is no video footage of the feeding of the 5000 or of the resurrection, there are many extrabiblical sources from historical writers and from archaeological finds that can support Christian claims.
Have I presented a “slam-dunk” case for Christianity? Of course not! However, there have been many authors in recent past who have devoted books to this subject, and if you are truly open minded you may want to consider reading them.
First, I thank you for acknowledging Christian charities and so forth. I will agree with you (and correct myself) by admitting that the regimes that were brutal and violent were most likely driven by evil intentions rather than the atheist worldview. People who are greedy, power-hungry, and murderous can potentially espouse (or pretend to espouse) all sorts of belief systems.
However, I would have to argue that those colonizing empires who claimed Christian beliefs were acting out of a desire for money and power, using their Christian beliefs as a pretext for their actions. They may have given "lip service" to God, but as a Christian who knows the New Testament well I can cite many examples where their actions were contrary to Christian principles.
As far as the pope and the Crusades, you have to realize that most Christians today do not accept the Crusades and the Inquisition to have been sanctioned by God. How were these things in-line with the Bible or with the Catholic Catechism? Also, don't forget that many Christians are not Catholic, and even most Catholics today would denounce the Crusades or the Inquisition.
I would say no, and here are my reasons:
First, So may people on this site appear to equate Christianity with ignorance and a denial of science. However, how many people truly understand the role of Christendom in the development of science? Issac Newton, Nicolaus Copernicus, Louis Pasteur, and many other scientists did not see a conflict between their faith in God and their scientific endeavors. Few would deny their contributions to scientific and technological progress.
Second, we should not forget the amount of money and volunteer work done by Christians. While atheists also volunteer and help the needy, we should not forget that the precedent was set by Christians who sought to be "good Samiaritans."
Third, the abolition movements in Great Britain and the United States was driven by Christians. William Wilberforce, famous for his work to abolish slavery in England, was driven by his Christian beliefs.
If "applying biblical principles" means caring for others as much as we care about ourselves, treating others the way that we want to be treated, and exercising good stewardship of the earth and our personal and financial resources, how can you go wrong?
If you look at the world prior to Christ, it was a world where nations battled and conquered other nations by bloodshed and afterward often enslaved the survivors. This goes for the Roman empire especially. Also, take a look at the most brutal dictatorships of the last few decades (Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, and some I won't mention because they are so politically charged) - how many of these were operating under biblical principles? None.
If we agree to discount those times in history where ungodly men merely posed as Christians (the Crusades, the inquisitions, and so forth), I think that we could agree that biblical principles benefit humanity.
There is a great deal of discussion as to the conflict between science and religion. In reality, I am still striving to understand how science "disproves" God. I think that what people generally mean is that scientific evidence contradicts the Bible; however, I don't think that that is the case. The Bible, particularly the Old Testament, needs to be read within the proper historical and cultural context - when this takes place, you realize that you shouldn't take everything written in the Bible literally or at face value. When you read the Bible in-context, it seems a lot more credible.
Also, people so often ignore history and archaeological evidence, which lends support to the Bible, especially when it comes to the writings of Luke in the New Testament.
People are always free to believe what they want to believe, but I believe that the evidence points toward God.
I am probably a good person but I haven't taken the time to fill out my profile, so you'll never know!