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My Story: The Greatest Question (cont.)

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The undeniable conclusion I eventually came to was this: the Bible was created by men who chose to include only those books which agreed with their already determined doctrine. They did not do a perfect job as there are some contradictions it would seem, but many of these have apparent explanations. Or at least so it seemed. I had always been taught that all the supposed contradictions in the Bible could be explained by looking at the Bible as a unified whole. However, this only works if you start with the assumption that everything in the Bible is true. If you take it at face value, there are some very obvious contradictions.

This leads to a very important question: if the people who wrote the New Testament did not believe they were writing Scripture (arguable I know, but lets go with it), who were these people 300 years later to suddenly become inspired to magically pick the right books? I mean in the church today most of us don’t even know these people’s names! We don’t know what they believed or how they lived their lives. And yet somehow we trust God used them to pick His Word? Why them? Why then? How do we know they are not wrong? What if Luther was inspired by God to remove Jude, Hebrews, and James? Perhaps he has inspired me to remove all but the Gospels? Shouldn’t this choosing of God’s Word, if anything, be clear? Faith is not virtue when it is used to circumvent the need for real evidence especially in such weighty matters.

Once this question took hold in my mind, I quickly moved from the fundamental camp to the liberal camp which allowed my to basically ask every other question I had ever wanted to ask but couldn’t because it wasn’t kosher is fundamental circles.

It also helped me realize something about one of the key tenets of Christianity. Don’t question God’s Word, don’t be influenced by the world, don’t let the wisdom of man pull you from God, don’t allow your faith to be shaken, God’s ways are mysterious and higher than ours: essentially don’t question the faith. Why? Because if you want people to believe something so fantastical and so dubiously supported by the evidence, you need to encourage them NOT to question. In other words: teach the WHAT to think not HOW to think.

Follow my world adventures on Instagram @Jeltown

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23 thoughts on “My Story: The Greatest Question (cont.)

  1. I have been a Christian for forty-nine years. Yes, I went through a questioning period; in fact, a couple. I went through a personal journey of Bible study and a review of its history. I discovered many Truths about history, faith and scepticism. I constantly run into well written commentaries that rival Higgins, Dawkins and Hawking that argue very well for scepticism and even atheism. I have read, prayed, studied and experienced much in my short fifty-eight years. I am double degreed, a science teacher and a Former Sunday School teacher. I am very well traveled and actually saw the original Isaiah scroll in the Shrine of the Scroll in Israel. Perhaps not super credentials, but my conclusion is that the truth about the entire question of Biblical legitimacy and Authority is that the truth is not a what, but a Who- Yeshua. The Resurrection is one of the most well evidenced historical events of all time. I respect your point of view and having served as an officer in the US Army have done much to protect your right to believe anything you want. I have to admit, I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist or even a sceptic. The preponderance of evidence is in favor of Biblical Christianity.

    1. While I doubt I will change your views, I would most strongly challenge your statement that “The Resurrection is one of the most well evidenced historical events of all time.” This could not be farther from the truth and most new testament scholars and historians would not agree with you. Here’s a multi chapter article that speaks on this issue (I linked the middle section which I found most helpful).

      When discussing as issue such as a resurrection we must remember that neither you nor I have ever witnessed a resurrection in real life. In fact there are no recent documentations of such. In fact, as far as we know humans don’t ever spontaneously resurrect from being dead (especially for days). Thus to prove that someone rose from the dead is an extraordinary claim to put it mildly. Further to prove that someone rose from the dead 2000 years ago with our limited ability to verify details from so long ago, is even more incredulous. The amount of evidence needed to convince me would be 10X what I would need to be convinced that say Caesar was murdered by his guards (or whatever naturally possible event you made come up with from antiquity). I just don’t see this for Jesus resurrection. At all. Not even close. To the point that if I hadn’t grown up in the Christian church and just heard of the stories from an unbiased outsider, no part of me would even for one second consider the resurrection any less of a myth than the story of Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit.

      1. Well written. My reply well not surprise you: If I could convince your of the reality of the Resurrection and change your entire point of view, I would have done more harm than good. Let me briefly explain. Though reason is a valid route to seeing the Truth and often does, if I lead your reasoning, then anyone else with the skill of debate or sophistry-like arguments could convince you otherwise. In other words, this journey to knowing the Truth is by invitation from the Truth Himself aka The Holy Spirit. To you this is all myth like you said-Bilbo Baggins (a story I adore). So though Christianity is evidenced by actual evidence and is very reasonable, having a scholar’s knowledge isn’t enough. Christianity is the only ‘religion’ that instead of man creating the stairway to god, God Himself reached to man; therefore, Christianity is not a real religion. It is instead a personal relationship with the living Christ. No amount of evidence would convince one such as yourself, I.e., one with great intelligence, great faith and in no recognition of a personal need for God. Nevertheless, though the evidence is there for anyone to see, many choose as you do. There is room at the table for both of us, but only one of us gets to leave the table satisfied. Keep writing. You are a talented writer. I’ll be sure to tell Gandalf that you are just visiting and still at the table.

        1. If hell is the place where people such as myself will go if we do not accept the resurrection and believe in Jesus, than I think you would be doing me a great disservice and harm NOT to persuade me and lead my reasoning to agree with you.

          1. I am not allowed. According to my understanding and belief, only the Holy Spirit can lead you to an conversional understanding of that which you know so well. You got to want it. God never forces himself on any one. You are free to seek and choose. I respect that and you for your polite discourse.

  2. I don’t disagree with your questions. I am in a similar position and still drawing conclusions. I will peruse your blog posts to see where you are on your journey.

    But I am in a position where I am lost without faith. I cling to theology while questioning its foundation because it makes sense.

    Keith

    1. Dear Keith, keep looking, it makes a lot of sense and there ARE answers to your questions. I think a lot of the problem is that men get lost in theoretical theology. Look at Israel and its history for solid witness as to the realities, even into the present day. It is their God who gave us the bible, they are still in the same struggle today, at least until the first atom bomb lands anyway.

    2. I have a lot of friends who have been in your boat. One friend put it to me this way “I understand that at times my faith is completely irrational. But I don’t really care. If the evidence goes one way and my faith the other, I will simply trust my faith”. I know the strength and guidance that faith can provide. And understand that position. For me I tend to be more logical and so I have to deduce an answer from the facts presented. Faith is of secondary importance. Thanks for your honesty and your comment

  3. Let it be any book ,bible or any other religious book ,its written by man ,it has nothing to do with god ,god is energy ,faith even being an atheist is a faith ,nothing wrong in this

    1. While I would disagree in the traditional use of the word “faith”, I do agree that we do at a point have to trust what we know and understand we can’t have perfect 100% knowledge of the truth as we are errant, deception prone beings.

  4. Faith does not equal virtue, i agree with this. Faith in the higher power may take us further than virtue, the idea that your mentor knows best is very well and good. But the component virtue even though is a human invention, the benevolence out of it is as close to Godly as humanly possible. And Virtue is not the only answer, there are many truths.. a collective of truths, paradigms and models that bring you closer to the ultimate truth. One needs to dish out all perspective and see from all sides to make sure the mechanism of life is in tact and working.. but that’s from an engineers point of view. You can engineer a life – you can be an architect of your own world.. and you can build your own life. But that’s not the same as living your life – If you want to live as God intended i suppose faith is the simplest answer – a fair answer but one that could be fine tuned by championing spectrum, perspective and oversight.

    I see it like shooting an arrow. You can do it all in one smooth shot with a really great mentor, the best mentor. Or you can you do many shots with the many paradigms you throw at the drawing board.. it’s just highly inefficient but what’s energy for if you can’t spend it? Practice makes perfect and life is about living and expressing yourself and maybe sometimes getting the bulls eye.. but the limits of man’s reach or human abilities do not change that sporadically. I’m sure a good sniper shot will work miracles in life given the right tools.. But in this example how many sniper shots can you get with a sling shot? It all comes with that leap with technological advances but the value of virtue.. to encompass reason and moral belief and ethics never change. That’s gold.

    1. Also to mention – Faith in your context. How you cannot trust your source of knowledge and doubt it is beyond me. I’m sure alot of it shouldn’t be taken literally text by text. Over analyzing really is never a good thing, a real kill joy. Though as long as it is relatively in the right direction even if not 100% accurate dead on but rather arcing towards the truth it can’t be too bad. But then again never stop asking questions – there’s a virtue called relinquishment and it means to do trial by fire it it comes out of the fire unscathed it’s good as gold.

      1. Now I understand what you mean. But I think religion does teach people How to think, it’s just that their way of looking at things differ and we think religion has taught them What to think..

  5. Although my religion is far removed from Christianity, my biggest reason for questioning is also that my logical brain struggles to reconcile with my deep sense of faith. My perspective is that I am on a journey, and I always found it odd when people were happy to be sitting still, not questioning anything, just happy to fall back on faith above all else. What does faith mean if you have no knowledge or understanding of who God is?

    1. I am glad you are not content to sit still. Neither am I. I would challenge you to consider, is faith really a virtue? Faith is defined as “strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.” Is this a good thing?

  6. Sorry idk if you meant to reply to my message with that comment but- https://modernphilosophystandards.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/virtuespicture.png Faith i truly believe is a part of the human study.. I think as in having faith in anything in life is an important aspect. Faith in God is also part of Faith, it can or may not be a good thing if you believe god is all good or false. It depends on where you decide to go with your direction. If all creation is inherently bad then that’s your decision. If all creation is good then — that’s fine, now act on it and be pro-life- give back with your goodness.

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