When one popular author wrote back-to-back best-sellers, "1,988 Reasons Why Jesus is Returning in 1988" and "1,989 Reasons Why Jesus is Returning in 1989," can we in the church chalk this up to misguided interpretation or do you think we have an obligation to confront and correct teachings that are false? The Church does have polemic responsibilities and, while some minor departures can be overlooked, false prophesy isn't one of those minor departures.
I would agree, Jim, that this would be one of the extremist positions. When I first became a Christian the date setters were proclaiming 1980. It's all unbiblical and should be denounced as such, and I think, by and large, it is. I guess I was referring more to Brad's statement with a wider context, i.e., any discussion of the end of the world, and in that context I was allowing for the various understandings that people have of how it will play out. And in that only one view will ultimately be proven accurate (but who knows, possibly we may all have it wrong) there must be many misguided attempts at interpretation out there.
I think you're doing a fine job digesting all those theological chunks.
Thanks, Jim, I need all the encouragement I can get! Sometimes I get such a bad case of indegestion, especially when I am wrestling with the various understandings out there of salvation itself with all the various nuances relating to its obtainment. Although I know what I believe I don't like to close myself off from the understandings that others might have about the topic and sometimes my brain feels like a pretzel!
Brad, I think that whenever you have a very dogmatic organization, very few of its members actually believe all of its decrees. But what many people don't know about the Roman Catholic Church is that if you don't actually agree with all of its decrees, they don't actually consider you a real member anyway, at least officially. At least that is what I was taught when I was growing up in that denomination. Maybe that is equally true of any extremely dogmatic organization, I don't know, but it seems to make sense to me that it would be. It just seems to be the nature of the beast (no biblical allusions intended.)
Simply put, if there is no God, then we have no reason for living, no meaning in life, and no way we can know anything for sure.
Briefly, because I have to go get ready to see 'the movie', I would say that a belief in God gives a richer and deeper meaning to life. I don't doubt that those without faith can find reason for and meaning in life. I think otherwise people would go stark raving mad.
"If there's no God, then it's okay to murder people."
Does anybody say that? I've never heard anyone say that. I believe that everyone has within them a knowledge of right and wrong, a conscience, (except perhaps the criminally insane) whether they possess faith or not. I think it just comes down to who gets the credit for that knowledge being within people. Those of faith credit God. Those without faith credit man, or nature, or genes, I suppose, I really don't know. Maybe different people (without faith) have differing theories.
"Poverty is not beautiful, natural disasters aren't something to be loved, crises are not to be yearned for, and the end of the world should not be prayed for."
No, poverty, disasters, natural or otherwise, and crises are not desirable, but I view them all as a necessary backdrop against which the good can be seen as good, so that we can appreciate what good is. Without the bad I don't think people can truly appreciate good. I also don't understand why those who view the end of the world as 'bad' for the majority of the world's population pray for it to come either. When I held that view, I prayed for it to be delayed for as long as possible (laughing at myself know for even thinking my prayers regarding Divine timing could actually influence God's timing, since He has already set the date, to my understanding anyway.) Since I now view it as the prelude to the most blessed time for all humanity, I can yearn for its coming.