Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854

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We welcome all serious answers.  Answer in the comments section.  Thanks!

  1. Don’t you need a sin nature in order to sin?  If so, how did man, perfect at creation, fall into sin?
  2. When was the word “homosexuality” first used in the Bible?
  3. Does God punish people for their genuine ignorance?
  4. Did Jesus die for all sins?  If so, does that include unbelief?
  5. Why did the current 66 books make it into the canon?
Karlskirche, Vienna. Fresco by Johann Michael ...

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Have you been living genuine faith?  Or have you been properly schooled in how to make yourself feel better about situations you cannot understand.  What if all of the miracles and good happenings that you believed would bless your life never happened because you ignored the possibility that they might not?

Most of us know that great acts of courage follow feelings of almost paralyzing fear.  This makes sense right?  One can’t show courage without first experiencing fear and then choosing to act anyway.  Without having to overcome fear, the act may still look courageous to those in observance, but the actor knows that his actions required less of him than the act itself.  Can we apply the same logic to other areas, namely faith?

Religious leaders teach that to believe in God is an exercise of faith (that makes sense), and that doubt is the enemy of faith.  Again, that seemingly makes sense.  They tell us that one can’t have faith in God if one has any doubt that God actually exists.  But if an act of courage requires the actor to experience and overcome fear, can faith be fully expressed without experiencing doubt and making a similar choice to “believe” anyway?  Can you exercise faith if you haven’t first come to the neutral place of doubt before choosing to either believe (have faith) or reject (show disbelief)?

Doubt is no more the opposite of faith than fear is the opposite of courage.  We cheer a hero’s bravery because we all know what it is to experience fear and the great fortitude required to act anyway.  This is why we are all so enamored with heroes.  Why then do we continue to teach people to ignore the doubt that is inherent in believing in something that we have not seen and that therefore requires faith in order to accept?  Having doubt that either God exists or that something miraculous is possible doesn’t weaken or threaten your faith.  These doubts are the normal result of a human mind that measures reality by what his five senses report back to him.  Recognizing that reality and choosing to live on hope ‘s substance and to find evidence in that which you cannot see is perhaps the single missing ingredient to our expressions of faith.  Perhaps the reason why we don’t see miracles anymore is because no one doubts that they are really possible.

Yes…You in the Back

Posted: September 2, 2010 by Dorien in Dorien's Mind
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Every one of us during our school days found ourselves with a question during a lecture.  A question we were too afraid to ask.  A question we let go unanswered for fear of looking dumb or unprepared in front of classmates.

This story represents my experience, and I believe the experiences of countless others, with modern-day Christianity.  Before I go on let me point out that I can only speak on Christianity since it is the religious tradition I most understand, but make no mistake, all across the world in every “religious classroom” sits millions of “students” afraid to raise their hands.

Far too many people for far too long recognize this story as their own when it comes to God and mankind’s understanding of Her.  We all read and are told heroic stories of a God of unconditional love and sacrifice and yet the God preached is one of hatred, judgment, wrath, and legalism.   Jesus fed the hungry, cured the sick, confronted the hypocritical, and ordered us to love others as we love ourselves.  But the God preached by Christian leaders places roadblocks in front of the hungry and homeless, wants you to “pray” for the needy, and oppose and reject those who don’t believe as you do.  They would have us all believe that love equals hate, forgiveness equals judgment, and wealth equals prosperity, or put it a different way, 1+1=3 or sometimes 5.

Over a year ago, my sister, my beautiful wife, and others in my family started raising our hands because we could no longer ignore the equation being taught in our “religious classrooms”.  To our great surprise many of our friends (mostly young people) began raising their hands too.  Now we know that many around the world from many different faiths are raising their hands as well.  Consider this blog my sister’s and my willingness to look stupid in front of the classroom.  We have questions, and we will ask them!

Mr. Keats stood at the front of the class staring intently into the eyes of his students.  He had a larger than life personality.  He was dramatic and convincing.  His colleagues said he missed his true calling.

“We’re going to begin the year with arithmetic,” Mr. Keats announced to the first grade class.

Lauren smiled to herself, very pleased with the topic of study.  All of that time spent with her mom in grocery stores and baking during the summer was going to pay off.  Mr. Keats turned his back to the class and scribbled on the board.  His arms swooshed in large motions, the grains of chalk pressed against the blackboard like mortar and pestle.  He dropped the chalk in its silver tray sending a puff of dust into the air and turned to face his class.

He looked out over the sea of faces.  Some of them smiled up at him, but more than half sat stunned.  The students exchanged glances with one another.  Lauren sat at the front of the class and stared at the equation on the board (1+1=3).  Her eyebrows furrowed.

“How can that be?” Lauren asked herself.  She thought about raising her hand.  Maybe Mr. Keats had made a mistake.  Her heart began pounding.  The sound flooded her ears until it was all she could hear.  Lauren never really spoke up in class.  She clenched her hands into fists.  Her palms started to sweat and her nails dug deeper into her moist skin.  She drew in a few deep breaths to calm herself, but it did not work.  Time ticked away.  Her stomach twisted and dropped as if caught in a free-fall.  She quickly abandoned the thought of speaking up. Maybe someone else would do it.  Maybe someone else would risk looking like a fool in front of the entire class.  She sat fidgeting at her desk and growing more and more anxious.  Mr. Keats made no attempt to correct the equation.  Lauren’s confidence was tumbling like an avalanche.  No one in the class made a move to ask the question.  Was she the only one?

Her voice went off like a siren in her head.  “Would somebody please raise their hand!”

*Stay tuned for tomorrow’s explanation.