Copied from Nate's blog: Finding Truth
So today marks 8 years that I’ve been doing this blog. That’s a pretty big milestone! I had two posts on November 14, 2006, and I thought it would be fun to repost them here (along with a little commentary).
Here’s the first:
Wish me luck… :)
So that was innocuous enough. Now here’s post number 2:
If you’ve spent much time perusing your Bible, you’ve probably stumbled across passages dealing with the “mystery” (and most likely, these were passages written by Paul). In Ephesians 3, Paul spends time revealing the mystery to us: that the Gentiles now have access to salvation! Wrapped up in this mystery is God’s entire plan of salvation – salvation for all! But why is it called a “mystery?” And should it still be “mysterious” to us today?
I think 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 best explains the way in which Christ’s gospel was/is a mystery. As vs 18 says:
18 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.We can see from this passage that God’s plan of salvation makes no sense to those who refuse to believe it, but to those of us who accept it, it’s brilliant! Verse 21 goes on to say:
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.See, because the world is so “wise,” it views the concept of God as foolishness. They have been blinded by their own pretensions. For the Jews and Greeks of the day, it wasn’t that they didn’t believe in the supernatural; it wasn’t that they didn’t believe in deities. Their problem was that they thought they already knew what God would do. The Jews already had a fixed idea of what the Messiah would be, so when Christ appeared and didn’t lead them to victory against the Romans, they refused to accept him. The Greeks didn’t accept Christ because they couldn’t conceive of a god allowing himself to be put to death by his own creation. And because they already had things “figured out,” they missed their chance.
Today, people do the same thing. They would rather put faith in scientific theories that have not been proven. They would rather believe that all of the order we see in our universe (the fragile food chain, vast differences throughout the animal and plant kingdoms, the very specific orbits of planets, etc) was created through a giant explosion (something that, in all practical applications, has only been shown to destroy, not create). Have they been blinded by their own “wisdom?”
Too often, even those who profess to be religious only listen to their own ideas about what God wants. Many times they view the Bible as a collection of stories or suggestions, and not the “wisdom of God that leads to salvation” that 1 Corinthians purports it to be. How is that different from what the Jews and Greeks were condemned for?
Throughout the Bible, passages talk about truth and understanding. I firmly believe that God gave us understanding and intellect for a reason. We are supposed to be able to understand God’s message for us. It’s not supposed to be “mysterious” any longer. It’s not supposed to be some “better felt than told” experience. No, God’s word is supposed to be powerful and undeniable. It’s supposed to move us and touch us in a way that nothing else can. But for it to do that, we have to read it, study it, know it.
Nate today: It’s a little painful to read through that. I cringe when I read how badly I understood things about evolution and the Big Bang back then, or when I alluded to non-Christians as just being those who “refuse to believe it”. It’s kind of funny, but I was guilty of the same thing I was accusing others of. I thought I had the answers, but I had never taken time to really examine any other point of view.
The one decent thing from the post that serves as a bit of foreshadowing about where I would eventually wind up is the last paragraph. You can see that while I was firmly ensnared in Christianity, I believed that it was not supposed to be utterly mysterious. It was supposed to be consistent and “undeniable.” It took a while, but I finally realized that Christianity just didn’t deliver in that regard.
Gary's comment left of Nate's blog:
Congrats on the anniversary!
It is very interesting to read your second post because this is exactly how I used to think as an orthodox (fundamentalist) Christian less than a year ago:
Non-believers are simply blinded by sin. They think that they know it all, but as the Bible says they are in utter darkness. They are spiritually dead and cannot understand the things of God by their own mental abilities, no matter how intelligent they may think they are. Only the power of God’s Word can break into that darkness and expose them to God’s truth. Once exposed to God’s Word, if they will repent (stop being stubborn) and “call on the name of the Lord”, God will gift them faith and they will the see the Truth and will believe…and they then will be filled with wonderful joy and peace!
Now, as a non-believer, I run into this same mentality with conservative Christians all the time. Of course, these Christians won’t accept for a second that I was once one of them. I obviously didn’t do it right, I wasn’t really a Christian.
It is really hard to break this “lock on Truth” that conservative Christians have been programmed to believe. I have come to the conclusion that trying to point out the discrepancies and scribe alterations in the Bible to conservative/orthodox Christians is a waste of time. No matter how glaring the discrepancy, they always have a comeback. (Their clergy and apologists have had 2,000 years to come up with one harmonization after another.) I also no longer bother arguing morality with them. To conservative Christians, their god IS morality. His actions cannot be questioned. So I leave out any discussion of morality, immorality, “good" and “evil”.
So this is what I now say to them: Your religion and your god condone Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide. I want nothing to do with any organization or entity that perpetrates, endorses, or justifies the wholesale slaughter of men, women, and children.