开始写见证的时候我想分三部分的：一. 我是怎么开始信基督教的；二. 我现在为什么信基督教；三. 我现在作为基督教徒的看法。写了不到一半，发现没有想象中的那么容易，风格不够自然。因为这样，我又重写了。写完后给了父母改，但后来没时间了，就又停笔了一段时间。今天是2008年11月1日。我在2007年元旦写完了初稿。从那时到今天，我的看法又成熟了。虽然学习是一辈子的事，我以后的看法应不会有大改变。纵然这篇见证只是我一辈子到现在为止经历的一张“快照”，但却不是草草完成的。每一句话我都仔细地考虑过，希望您也能把我说的一切都思考一遍。因为我还在这世界上，仍然是个还没有变完美的人，所以我的话也许会有错误。只能祷诉神，由祂的恩典来指导我说的每一句话，请祂去掉我说错的话。
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这本书中文叫《千载悬疑》(英文名《More Than a Carpenter》）。为了马修和我的友情，我在上大二前把这本书读了。虽然我没有接受书里的每个看法和理由，但是它对我还是有影响。对我来说，其中最重要的两点就是：（一）新约圣经是世上最可靠的历史文件；及（二）历史里的事件不像科学实验，是不能重复验证的。这就是说，现在看不见祂，并不能说明从来都没有人看见过祂。
关于第一点：我想问你，历史书里的东西是谁写的？如果你相信历史书，那圣经里的话为何难以相信？圣经没有避开事实的问题。其实，耶稣的两个使徒写，“耶稣在门徒面前还行了许多别的神迹，没有记在这书上。但把这些事记下来，是要你们信耶稣是基督，是 神的儿子，并且使你们信了，可以因他的名得生命”(约翰福音，20章：30－31节）与“我从前领受了又传交给你们那最要紧的，就是基督照着圣经所记的，为我们的罪死了，又埋葬了，又照着圣经所记的，第三天复活了；并且曾经向矶法显现，然后向十二使徒显现。以后又有一次向五百多个弟兄显现。他们中间大多数到现今还在，也有些已经睡了”（ 哥林多前书，15章：3－6节）。那时候，许多见证人都还活着，可以受诘问。
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上大二那年，我住的那层楼里有一位同学，是电子工程系里跟我同级的。他名叫伟诚，和我一样爱编程序。因为我们在修相同的几门课而且爱好又相似，我经常去他的房间跟他讨论作业或关于编程序的课题。我有一天发现他的书架上摆着几本关于宗教信仰的书。我很好奇，所以借了一本去读。这本书叫《进化退化造化》（英文名《Evolution? Degeneration? Creation?》)。一直以来，我以为进化论是事实，可是这本书却给了很多理由说明退化论更有道理。但因为我不是学这方面的，所以不知道应该怎么去想这个问 题。虽然这样，自从读那本书以后，我还是明白了我须要挑战所有的设想。现在我发现我的推理能力好多了，能指出许多论据的弱点。看关于科学的文章时，能看出理论或方法中的漏洞。其实这是件好事。科学研究就必须要这样想；样样都要考虑，样样都要挑战。
大学第二年结束了。我从伟诚那里又借了两本 书。一本叫《护教手册》（英文名《Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics》）。另一本叫《重审耶稣》(英文名《The Case for Christ》）。对于很多更成熟的基督徒来说，基督教拥护论是比较浅的，有时不可靠，有时也不完全是符合圣经的（此书在这些方面还不错）。但是那时，对我来说，拥护论非常重要。我是个科学家，证据是必要的。《重审耶稣》说服了 我。我就渐渐地开始信了。
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When I first started writing my testimony, I wanted to split it into three portions: 1. How I came to believe; 2. My present reasons for believing; and 3. My current views as a Christian. Before writing half of it, I discovered it was difficult to maintain a natural style, so I rewrote it. After giving it to my parents for grammatical corrections, I became busy again, and put it on hold. Today is November 1, 2008. I finished my first draft on New Year’s Day, 2007. From then until now, my perspective has further matured. While learning is a lifelong process, I do not believe my views will change that much more. And while this testimony is just a snapshot of my life’s experience to the present, it was not done in a hasty manner. I have carefully considered every sentence, and I hope you will do the same. Nevertheless, I am human, not yet perfected because I’m still in this world, so some of my words may be in error. I can only pray for God to direct me by His grace, and remove whatever is false from here.
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I study electrical engineering, and am fascinated by science. But I also believe that science can only answer certain questions in this world. Experiments can only disprove; they cannot prove. In quantum mechanics, C60F48 is presently the largest molecule to exhibit Young’s interference pattern. While in theory, any object should exhibit interference, as my quantum mechanics professor has said, this experiment cannot prove that all particles, especially larger ones, interfere.
The famous scientist Richard Feynman said that science can only answer one type of problem, namely, of the form “If…, then…” I agree with him. Science can only describe to us the process by which something happens, but it does not tell us why this event occurs. For example, people know the rules of quantum mechanics, but have no clue why the universe must obey these rules. In Christianity, the explanation is that Christ is the Logos (from which the word “logic” is derived), and God is reasonable, so His creation necessarily follows principles. Another example is the question of the origin of the universe. Scientists can only guess, but even if they know the origin, they cannot explain why it has to be that way. Isn’t the concept of “Big Bang” just another creation story? Can you be certain that the origin of the Big Bang is not God? The Bible says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
Another shortcoming of science is that it is confined to the physical realm, and cannot interact with immateriality. But many people (and not just scientists) first assume that non-physical things don’t exist, so all their theories do not consider their existence. Therefore, if their assumption is wrong, then all these theories are trapped in blind alleys.
This is one of the fundamental differences between a non-believer and a believer. There is no way by which a believer can speak of God’s reason with these non-believers. The non-believer can always answer, “Stars, the Earth, plants, animals, people, and so on all appeared by chance.”
Personally, I assume the existence of God. However, I cannot see or touch God, so how can I be certain that God exists? This is what faith is. If you see 9,999 black crows, can you be sure that the next crow is black? Thus, the reason I believe in God is simply that I want to believe. More accurately, which is also the Bible’s explanation, is that the act of faith is not by my ability, but a gift from God. It is only by His Grace that I possess a heart that can receive Him. The Bible states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Nevertheless, a person still has to make a real decision whether to believe or not. Life is like a novel, and we are the characters of that novel. God has already written the story, but from our perspective, we still have to make a decision. Allow me to explain in more detail this most important decision in life.
Everyone in the world has sin. People often think of themselves as “good people,” and based on their good works, they can get to heaven. However, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. […] You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28). Apostle Paul also said, “[…] for all have sinned an fall short of the glory of God.” God is holy, and one can only be with God if he is holy. Therefore, if everyone has sinned, then who can go to heaven?
Only God can save us. He willed that His Son, Jesus Christ, take our place in punishment. Thus, God displayed his grace at the same time displaying his justice. Because Jesus was God, he was without sin, but in the end, he was crucified on the cross to shoulder our responsibility and bear the wrath of the Father. This is all based on the will of the Father. He used His Son to substitute for us because He loves us. The suffering and death of Jesus manifested the mercy of God. After Jesus suffered and died for us, the Father resurrected him, thus demonstrating His power and asserting the lordship of Jesus over everything. We as sinners need to recognize our sin, realize that based on our own efforts, we cannot satisfy the Father’s righteousness, we need His pity, need to receive His grace, believe that our sin was expiated by the death of Jesus on the cross, believe that his resurrection overcame death, and make him the hope of our own resurrection. Thus can we be saved and be with God after death.
All these things are written in the Bible. The question now is whether one believes what the Bible says. As a Christian, one must completely believe in the Bible. The words in it are the revelation that God has given us. If we doubt them, how can we say we have faith? If the god of one’s mind is not the God of the Bible, then how can one say he is a Christian? In that case, isn’t that person making up his own religion?
People love to boast, exalt their own intelligence, and rely on their own understanding to do things. However, the Bible warns us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). People like to make up their own gods according to their imagination. But can people make up the truth? Can people change what is true?
Perhaps you are thinking, “How do I know that the Bible is true?” The Bible says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). While it is written in the Bible, without the grace of God there is no way to convince me. Without God’s grace, despite the consistency of the Bible, I will not believe. Using the Bible as “evidence” is not sufficient for many people. But know that there is nothing in this world that does not require faith. The Bible described some Jews who saw the miracles of Jesus but did not believe, which proved the words of Jesus, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).
Regarding the obstinate, the Bible states, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18) and “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21) and also “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Simply put, for certain people, the Bible’s words are “foolishness.” I can spend as much effort as I want and still not convince them. I can only wish that you, O reader, will not harden your heart.
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The above thoughts are a summary of the last five years of my experience. These five years, God, in His grace, allowed me to grow quickly. Below, I would like to share my experience, so that my fellow brothers and sisters in faith can receive encouragement, and allow those who do not yet believe see the wisdom, power, and glory of God in my spiritual growth.
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When I was little I was not religious. While often interacting with others who were religious, I was resolved to oppose religion. Before fifth grade, we moved. As we were looking for a new house, my parents took my elementary school education into account. There were many houses next to Christian schools, so if we bought one of those houses, I would have to go to a Christian school. I was adamantly against the idea. Finally, we bought a house next to a secular school. Thus, before college, I never understood what Christianity really was.
In high school, my perspective changed. My mind became more and more open. Labeling myself as a philosopher, I became agnostic. I believed such a mindset was the best. I also believed that as long as I was a “good person,” everything was fine. There was no need to believe anything. As I was entering college, I resolved to maintain an “open” position. I believed at that time that it’s best not to have any biases in any of my thoughts, because that was what I thought being a college student entailed. But God had other plans.
My freshman year roommate was a devout Christian. His name is Mark*. He was a sociable person and made a lot of friends; I, however, was introspective and would rather make a few very good ones. While we were different, we still became friends. When I was in hardship, he comforted me, but he never directly preached to me. One time we ended up on the topic of morality. I hinted at my repulsion for alcohol, but he said to me, “Jesus was sinless, but he drank wine,” pointing out that drinking isn’t a sin. He didn’t say much else, but he would pray every night in his bed. At that time, I felt very fortunate that he didn’t preach to me. I had wanted to keep an open mind, and didn’t want to be swayed by religion.
However, I was struck by his behavior. At the time, everyone was downloading pirated music, but he did not. He bought all his music. As I admired his morality, I started paying to buy my own music. Another time, when I returned from class, I happened to hear a snippet of conversation between another student and him. I never liked this other student’s behavior, but when he asked Mark, “Am I going to hell?”, my roommate responded, “I am not the judge.”
The end of my freshman year, before we parted, I shed a few tears. I thought, “Next year we won’t be together anymore. Where am I going to find another roommate like him?” I told him I was going to miss him, but he replied, “After a week you won’t think about me anymore.” When I went back home, I felt lonely, but he had a point. After a while, he didn’t cross my thoughts at all, until one day in the summer, I was getting ready to play some tennis. When I opened up my case, I found a book and a letter from Mark. In the letter, he included the following line:
“I know you appreciate evidence. Perhaps you will find this book interesting.”
The book was called More than a Carpenter (its Chinese title is 《千载悬疑》). Because of our friendship, I read the book before my sophomore year. While I didn’t accept every view or reason, it still had an effect on me. For me, the two most important points I learned from the book were: (1) the New Testament was the world’s most reliable historical document; and (2) historical events are not like scientific experiments; they cannot be repeated. That is to say, just because we cannot see Him now does not mean nobody has ever seen Him.
Regarding the first point: I would like to ask the reader, Who wrote the things in history textbooks? If you believe textbooks, why is the Bible so hard to believe? The Bible does not avoid the question of the truth of the message. In fact, two of Jesus’ apostles wrote, “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:30-31) and, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6). At that time, there were living witnesses who could have been cross-examined about these claims.
Regarding the second point, that history cannot be repeated: history is not in the realm of science. The Father is also not within the confinement of scientific experiments, because He is not flesh. So what is the basis to say that to believe in God is not scientific? In addition, if God is as powerful as the Bible claims Him to be, then what is so difficult about believing in the miracles that He performs?
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In my second year, on my floor of my residence, was an electrical engineering student in the same class as I was. His name was Cheng*, and he loved programming as much as I did. Since we were taking the same classes and we shared similar hobbies, I would often go to his room to talk about homework problems or programming topics. I discovered one day that there were some books on faith on his bookshelf. I was very curious, so I borrowed one. It was titled Evolution? Degeneration? Creation? Until then, I had always taken evolution to be fact, but this book provided many reasons that made the theory of degeneration more compelling. But since I was not an expert in this field, I did not really know how to approach this problem. Nevertheless, after reading that book, I learned to scrutinize my assumptions. My reasoning skills have improved, and I could now point out weaknesses in many arguments. When I read scientific papers, I can now see holes in the theory or methodology. This is actually a good thing. Scientific research requires this type of thinking: everything needs to be considered, everything needs to be challenged.
After reading that book, my curiosity for Christianity grew. I would often have discussions about God with my roommate deep into the night. We debated like this for two years. In those two years, I discovered that I could never win. At first, I could not figure out why; not until my senior year did I understand that it was because the two sides’ assumptions were different.
My sophomore year ended. I borrowed two books from Cheng. One was Pocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics and the other was called The Case for Christ (its Chinese title is 《重审耶稣》). To many mature Christians, apologetics seems pretty shallow, is sometimes unreliable, and is even sometimes not consistent with Scripture (The Case for Christ is actually pretty good in this regard). But back then, apologetics was extremely important for me. I was a scientist, and evidence was necessary. The Case for Christ persuaded me, and I slowly started believing.
The summer between my second and third year in college, I roomed with Cheng, participating in the same research program together. That summer, he introduced me to a church near campus, and from then on, we encouraged one another to go to church. I even invited Mark to come.
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Winter quarter of my junior year, I met a very smart student in my dorm; he was also a Christian. He usually only talked to his roommate, but that quarter, he and my roommate and I became friends. His name was Jeong*. His intelligence and reasoning abilities were very strong. Some atheists often remark that Christians are stupid, but Jeong is a counterexample. He is currently at Harvard Medical School pursuing an M. D./Ph. D.
That spring, I joined a Christian fellowship on campus. In that environment, my understanding of God and of Christianity reached new heights. Every Friday night, I would go to the fellowship’s “Large Group.” There, all the brothers and sisters would gather together and worship. We sang songs that praised the Lord Jesus Christ, listened to a pastor or a deacon exposit a portion of the Bible, and prayed.
The summer between junior year and senior year, I did not find a job over the summer. Instead, I stayed at school helping my advisor. That summer, many of the brothers and sisters in the fellowship happened to be at school as well. I followed them to “Small Group” every week. After that summer, I felt a lot closer with the people in the fellowship.
I also became friends with the fellowship’s deacon, Chinsan. He was also an electrical engineer. I taught him to play tennis, and he often treated me to meals. From his faith and deeds, I learned about godliness. He became my example.
I also interacted with Jeong a lot. After half a year, I felt that he had some reasonable ideas, especially the following: to believe or not is a choice; science and apologetics is not very useful, in that no matter how one argues, the reason behind something can always have at least two explanations, one associated with God, and the other associated with chance. A person believes because he wants to believe. (However, we must remember that God had predestined this desire.)
I hope the reader realizes that believing is the most important choice in a person’s life, more important than going to college, getting married, or finding a job. Why? Because faith involves not only a person’s beliefs and morals in this life, but also involves the question of eternal life.
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My senior year, I participated in a “Small Group.” The undergraduate guys formed a group (the girls had their own group) that gathered every week, learning from the Bible, praying, and talking about how life was going. In this way, I became acquainted with more brothers.
Those two years, Mark, Cheng, and I all went to a nearby church, but we never felt we were part of the greater body. We weren’t together all too often. Many times, I went to church alone. Cheng often went home, and Mark had Ultimate Frisbee tournaments, which always happened to fall on Sunday mornings. Sometimes, I was lazy and neglected to go myself. Even when we did go, as soon as the pastor finished his sermon and we finished singing, we would ride back to campus. Our faith did not have an opportunity to grow.
One day, a sister in my fellowship urged me to go to church with them. I considered it and thought it was a good idea because growth required a community, a stable environment. In the Bible, there was no real difference between a fellowship and a church. My fellowship was sponsored by its mother church. Now that I joined the fellowship, I really should go to their church, or else I would not be like a family member. Thus, winter quarter, I started going to the San Francisco Central Presbyterian Church. My relationship with the people in the fellowship grew closer. Slowly, I participated in more and more activities. By the grace of God, I understood what it meant to serve my brothers and sisters and the church. I learned what humility meant, what grace meant, what forgiveness meant, what obedience meant.
In 2007, I became a small group leader. Studying the Bible with my bothers was one of my great delights. While it occupied no small amount of time, I learned how to depend on God. I did not stress as much over academics, and I was financially covered by a teaching assistantship. Jesus says:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life [or ‘a single cubit to his height’]? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34)
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In the past five years, my faith constantly grew. The more I read about Christianity, the more stable my faith and understanding became. My personal life slowly transformed as well. I no longer download pirated software, I also respect the law more, and I am interested in missionary work. I believe that preaching to a person is a manifestation of love. I love you, so I want to share this good news regarding eternal life with you: you are a sinner, but “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:9-13)
Therefore, repent and follow Christ. I tell you these things because I love you, hoping that in heaven, I will know you forever, and praise with you together the glory of God.
If you would like to learn more about Christianity, or you have other comments, please send your e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Names changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.