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Posted by: Natalie Latzka on 10/07/2021

Who is God?

Presentation overview:

In my book, Navigating True North, I set out on a journey to find the truth about God. After a very difficult time in my life, I came to the personal realization that much of what I believed in terms of faith in God, had been influenced by what I have come to refer to as magnetic north.  I define magnetic north as everchanging “worldly” forces influenced by individual, religious and societal agendas, motivated by the desire for influence, power and control.  The forces of magnetic north promise to lead people in the direction of contentment, safety and truth, but ultimately leaves people feeling hopelessly lost in life. For me, the most disheartening part about finding myself lost in life, was the fact that I willingly and blindly followed those directions without ever questioning whether or not I was headed in the right direction.

As I looked to find the truth about my faith and God, I knew I needed to find evidence to support what I believed and why I believed it as I was no longer willing to accept blind-faith.  For me that meant starting from the very beginning and completely rebuilding my faith foundation. I leveraged my skills as an attorney to research foundational faith issues, starting with the question does God even exist. There were only two possible answers to that question, the universe is the result of random, unplanned natural events or the work of an intelligent designer. I looked at the facts presented by both naturalism and intelligent design and weighed the evidence for myself.  It was ultimately the complexity and specificity of DNA that convinced me the universe was unquestionable the result of an intelligent designer at work.

Once I was able to prove to myself there is an intelligent designer, the next step in my journey was to try and determine who that intelligent designer is. Throughout the course of human history, most have referred to that mysterious supernatural force as God. The only place I was able to find a definition or description of God was in the context of religion so that is where I began my research. Since there are many different religions and opinions about the identity of God, I decided to focus my research on the five major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Specifically, I wanted to find out if there was any objective evidence to support their claims about the identity of God.

This research proved to be quite a challenge as many religious claims are subjective in nature and are often based on what God revealed to various individuals throughout history. There is not a great way to find objective evidence for personal revelation. As I continued to explore the options, I realized that there was one religious claim that presented an opportunity for objective verification. That was the Christian claim that Jesus of Nazareth, claiming to be God, inserted himself into the course of human history during the first century in Israel as recorded in the New Testament gospels.  With that, I set out on another long research journey.

This time my research focused on the historical reliability of ancient texts such as the gospels. Historians have developed guidelines and methodologies to help determine whether ancient writings contain elements of fact and record actual events in history, or if they are more likely to be stories that have been influenced by myth and legend over time.  I used those guidelines to help determine for myself the historical reliability of the gospel accounts. After many long months of study, it was ultimately an argument presented by Ph.D historian and philosopher, Gary Habermas, that convinced me. Habermas had compiled a list of facts that 90% of both Christian and non-Christian scholars agree are historically reliable.   The list includes the following facts: That Jesus of Nazareth died on a Roman cross.  That Jesus’ followers sincerely believed that they saw him alive again after his death, so much so that they changed their lives and were willing to die to defend their beliefs. That there was a very early oral creed specifying these claims.  Habermas asks the question, if these are historically reliable facts what does that mean?  In my opinion, those facts presented historical evidence that the intelligent designer of the universe was the God of the Bible who came to earth as the person of Jesus.

General presentation outline for a 1-2 hour presentation:

1. Understanding religion

2. Overview of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam

3. Finding objective evidence for religious claims: Christianity offers the opportunity

4. Historical methodologies applied to ancient texts: The gospels

5. The minimal facts approach

6.  My conclusion based on the evidence and encouragement to others to reach their own conclusion

Target Audience: 

-Christians and non-Christians intellectually questioning the historical reliability of the New Testament Gospels.   

-Apologetics: Christians struggling to articulately and logically defend and share their belief in God. (Only about 19% of Christians will share reasons for their faith primarily because they lack confidence.)

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