Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Answers and More Part One

I thank all who commented on my Another Try post. Your comments and concerns are very appreciated. I hope to address some of the latter here.

I realize I don't live in a vacuum. I know that I have family and friends that are interested in what I believe and think, especially when those beliefs and thoughts are in conflict with their own. I might have mentioned this before in a follow-up comment, but I want to reiterate that my beliefs don't derive from any of my experiences with other Christians, and actually if they did, I'd probably be finishing up in the Seminary right now. I have many friends and family members whose faith in Christ I admire, and envy. BUT I don't think God wants me to believe based on others, but from my own thoughts and experience with Him.

Since my last post on this topic, I've been reading again from Clive Lewis' Mere Christianity, namely book two What Christians Believe. Page 52 at the end of chapter 3 in that book:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him( Christ):'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg--or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a man or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

I agree. So instead of going with what I said earlier about Jesus being a great moral teacher. I'm going to have to go with one of the other two choices.

Page 55: We are told that Christ was killed for us, that His death has washed out our sins, and that by dying He disabled death itself. That is the formula. That is Christianity. That is what has to be believed.

That is not what I believe.

Terri wanted to share 1 John 5 with me. Verses 1 and 5: Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.
5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

I believe the first verse says if you believe Jesus is the saviour you are born of God and also that if you love God you also love Jesus, and yourself since you are born of God if you believe Christ (a bit circular). And as for the fifth verse, I'm not really looking to overcome the world.

Jeff made some good points and asked some good questions which I'll try to do justice to now. LOVE. I agree with you Jeff and thank you for your perspective. It makes sense that God, who is unchanging, would have love that is also unchanging. I guess the pill I have a hard time swallowing is that the Crucifixion is the best manifestation of that love.

I've been working on this post since Tuesday, I'll give you what I have now and be assured I'm not done. Til part two. TTFN

Dale Vassantachart

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At May 12, 2006 11:30 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

"BUT I don't think God wants me to believe based on others, but from my own thoughts and experience with Him."

Yeah. That makes a lot of sense to me.

"I guess the pill I have a hard time swallowing is that the Crucifixion is the best manifestation of that love."

I'll be interested to see how you work this one out over time. Everyone has a different perspective with different experiences. At this point, I think it was either His ONLY way to manifest it, or it doesn't make sense to me.

If it was the only way to show love... then WHY? If it wasn't the only way... then WHY? Both ways take some sharp reasoning that seem to be one part formula, one part passion. I'll keep checking in once in a while to see where the journey is going.

Another thought about formulas. I think all systems of belief (science, philosophy, religions...) have set formulas for most questions that they deem important. Some formulaic answers might be right, and some might be wrong. But probably all of them need to be personally re-examined for them to mean anything to us. My evolutionary psychology professor at UNL certainly had his formula answers. Maybe they were right, maybe not (you probably have a good idea about what I thought of some of his formula answers, but that goes in a direction that is tangential to the main ideas in this post).

And two other questions. Why did the Jews want Him dead? And if He was God, why did He let them do it? What we decide about those questions can lead to different overall conclusions, I think.

One part listening, one part nosey, Jeff

At May 16, 2006 11:17 PM, Blogger Voth said...

I think the Buddhists have the best def. of love. I also struggle with the idea of the death of Jesus being the only way to manifest gds love. If he is GD, there must have been another way.

The death of someone, even if they later rise from the dead, doesn't make me happy. Pain in others also doesn't make me happy. Well, ok, pain resulting in death, I am a bit guilty of schadenfreude. Anyway, here is the Buddhist philosophy I can't argue with...


The definition of love in Buddhism is: wanting others to be happy.
This love is unconditional and it requires a lot of courage and acceptance (including self-acceptance).
The "near enemy" of love, or a quality which appears similar, but is more an opposite is: conditional love (selfish love).
The opposite is wanting others to be unhappy: anger, hatred.
A result which one needs to avoid is: attachment.

At June 06, 2006 4:13 PM, Blogger Piiwite said...

I'm on a roll today...

The Clive Lewis comment is really "inside the box". It's the type of argument that can only make sense if both parties view the bible as a truthful historical document free of bias, error, editing, etc. If both parties agree on that much, then the debate is already concluded.

There is a very real possibility that the biblical record of the life of the person we now refer to as Jesus is not entirely accurate. Just because people claim that the bible is the official record of the one true god, doesn't mean it really is...


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