An informed Decision 

Chocolate brownie or sticky toffee pudding? Say ‘I will’ or ‘No thanks’? Cash in your pension pot or leave it untouched? Life is full of decisions, and every day is a succession of options and choices, some relatively insignificant, others potentially life-changing. But we can only make a good decision when we have the facts. We would never agree to major surgery without good reason – a diagnosis, an explanation of what is involved, and any associated risks. For important decisions, it is essential that we make a choice that is informed.

So how are you going to vote in the EU Referendum? Should we stay or should we go? Do you feel you know enough about the pros and cons to decide? This is an important decision, arguably more so even than a General Election. Fully informed or not, every British adult will get to express their choice on 23rd June, and a momentous decision will be made.

In or OutThere is another once-in-a-lifetime issue, potentially far more important, that we each need to decide about. What I am thinking about has significance not just for decades or even centuries, but for eternity. Jesus put the issue before his disciples 2000 years ago: “Who do you say that I am?” And this is something that we each need to decide for ourselves. The Christian faith claims that everything hangs on our personal response to that leading question. But how do we make an informed choice?

For a start we should look at what the Bible says; it contains eye-witness accounts of the life, death and – alleged – resurrection of Jesus, and of those who first believed that Jesus rose from the dead. St Luke is concerned that his readers consider the evidence and make an informed decision about Jesus. Right at the beginning of his contribution to the Bible he says,

“Since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I… decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” (Luke 1:3-4)

The Bible must be our starting point. But alongside the Bible we should look at the evidence of history. We should also look at whether the Christian claims hang together and fit with what we know of the world, or whether other religions or worldviews make more sense. We should look critically at the difference that genuine adherence to the Christian faith makes in societies and in individuals. Does prayer make a difference? Does God heal today? Without investigating these sorts of things, we cannot make an informed decision.

The Alpha Course provides an opportunity to explore these crucial questions in a friendly, interactive setting. Alpha has been run in 169 countries and attended by over 22 million people who have wanted to make an informed decision about matters of eternal significance. We will be hosting Alpha at the Harwell Village Club (RBL) in April and May. For help with making an informed decision about an issue far more important even than the EU Referendum, why not commit over seven Thursday evenings to just 12 hours of stimulating conversation, good company and delicious food? (All for free). You may even get a choice of desserts!

Revd Dr Jonathan Mobey
Rector of Harwell with Chilton
April 2016