Why do I believe? First and foremost, I believe in Jesus Christ because of the people in my life who believed. My relatives have been Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists and Non-denominational evangelicals. All believed. My Dad wasn't a big talker, but he attended church and spoke well of Billy Graham. The people who've influenced me most have all been believers. I had one level of faith at age 8 and another at age 18.
Sure, my faith has been challenged. But mostly, it's been encouraged. I've been encouaged by history, by apologetics and by the incomplete logic of athiest arguments. I've been encouraged by church members, when I was fortunate enough to be part of a healthy church family. But most of all, more than anything else on this list, I've been encouraged by God.
Yes, you read that right. I said my faith has been encouraged by God Himself. In countless ways, some big some small, some common, some rare. He encourages my faith in Him. In some way, if not always the same way, I find God every day. And along the way, I've had enough really powerful experiences to know for certain that God IS.
Some things God uses to encourage my faith don't seem to do it for others. Some of the things God has done to encourage my faith are things I dearly wish everyone could experience. But it doesn't work like that. I sometimes wish it did, but it just doesn't.
Faith doesn't usually come from a few meetings or from a few conversations or (especially not) from a few good arguments. Faith comes when someone tells you the truth and you believe it. That's it! That's all that has to happen. You hear and you believe.
The moment of faith seems to come differently for people. It may or may not include historical evidence. It may or may not include rational argument. It may or may not include spiritual encounter. But it came, and you believed. And then - many days, weeks, months and years later, when you struggled to believe, you rememberd something (or felt something) that helped you continue to believe.
The best of all is when you can feel GOD every day, but that doesn't always happen. Some days, all I've been able to find is the memory of faith... but at that point, I believe again!
For whatever reason, for better and for worse, God has seen fit to make MAN the authority on Earth... and - God help us - like fools, we listen to each other! So in some ways, I admit I've simply been blessed to know men and women who believed. And I believed them. And I sought out more like them. And they encouraged my faith.
Not only do I sincerely believe, but I want to believe! And so I seek out believers. With them, because of them, despite them and sometimes even IN them... I find God. And thus, I continue to believe.