Monday, November 06, 2006
Newton figured out the law of physics that states "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." My body pushes on the floor with a 210-pound force. The floor pushes back and I don't sink. Modern argument technique seems to be based on the same idea: let's forget about truth, but just come up with a counterargument. So, we have the popular belief that Jesus was a good man, but not God. There are other beliefs, too, none of which has to do with Jesus being God.
How does one in our modern, skeptical age come to belief in Jesus? After coming to that belief, how does one stay with it in the face of continued skepticism? How can belief change a life? One objection to Christianity is that people can be as bad as they want but if they believe in Jesus they'll still go to heaven. That simple belief could save one's soul seems preposterous.
Belief can certainly make of our lives a living hell. Belief can get people to do what seems impossible. Look at history. Events abound that illustrate the power of belief for both good and bad.
One who becomes a Christian by that simple act of stated belief, also by that act receives the Holy Spirit who then lives within the believer. The Holy Spirit acts to help the person understand, to see God's hand, to hear God's voice, to reinforce the weak human belief in the dark times. In a sense a Christian cheats: God gives each believer this wonderful gift to help them live. The Holy Spirit helps the believer build a bridge across the abyss of unbelief.
In anyone else this would be brainwashing. Once I realized how intimately God could influence my very thinking I got very scared. How would this differ from any other propaganda campaign? My own mind was under attack. I got vicious in my self-defense for a while, and then realized that God was making no hostile takeover. As you start, so shall you continue, and the first thing God did for me was help me think through a very sticky and emotionally-charged situation. He had no agenda of his own, other than saving a life I no longer cared much about.
So, how to choose what to believe? To me one of the hallmarks of truth is that it's supported by many viewpoints. Those who want to question Jesus have several sources to look at. The Bible is the main authority. Salient historical events can be corroborated from other sources such as early Roman historians and modern archaeologists. There's meta-proof too, in the way Christians are still around after 2000 years when other competing ideologies have disappeared. The witness of one's own mind and heart should be accepted too, although that's out of fashion in our intellectual worldview.
It's kind of odd that I should say that, too, as I've always been highly intellectual in my approach to living. See things, figure them out, then respond. This is why I'm so surprised by God: I thought he'd need to disassemble that way of life, but instead he has worked through my intellect to get at my heart. His desire has always been for a better balance in my life, taking away the intra-soul warfare and bringing peace. Do I believe he can do it? Yes. God has proven over and over again that he is able and will do what he says.
Current questions involve identity. Yes, I'm still here, but who am I? What do I believe? Much of my life has been guided by reaction to others, as my friend peripherally pointed out in her comments about my attitudes toward churches. I react, and find a path that is away from what hurts me. What might the truth be? It's a new idea. Under all the layers of self-deception and counterpoise there must be a real human heart, but I don't know much about it.
That's why I so much appreciate God's participation in my life. I may be lost, confused, hurting and tired but I do have a rock to stand on and the God of the Universe holding my hand so I don't fall off. The only way to find truth is to keep pushing through the thickets of conflict until I find the truth inside. God believes he can do it, and his belief rubs off on me. It's a promise, and God's promises are facts.
I am thrilled i found you via laylas/barbaras blog. You are very thought-provoking and challening in your queries gotta love that!!! I think one thing of what you said that jesus being Lord & Savior isn't provable by scientific criteria. This is true of the 8scientific method* which requires repeating something again and again. However, it is provable legally if we were to have a trial. Evidence as seen historically,logically and persoanlly would be a fair means to prove Jesus claims however faith doesnt have to work that way. Alot of what you say in your posts, gives much credence to why the Bible MUST not be taken as just another good piece of literature. The Bible IS objective,historical,personal. If we look to our feelings/thoughts/experiences or any other subjective ideal for our beliefs we are on truly shaky ground, because anyone can claim truth for themselves and relativism wipes out Christianity from being absolute truth. I enjoy your thoughts very much hope to read more and more to come now.