Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash
Sorry, all. There is much to respond to and free time hasn't actually been in abundance for me in Amish Country USA.
How many times have I heard Christians describe themselves as unworthy of Christ's love? How many times have I heard, sometimes, in the same conversation an absolute confidence displayed that they know the TRUTH. Where did that humility go? I simply can't tell the difference between the need to witness for their own sake and the need to convince me for my sake or the need to convert me to what they believe for their sake.
Sounds a little bit like a misunderstanding on the parts of both parties. Doctrinally, I think a Christian may rightly say they are unworthy of God's favor in an actual sense. Christians are declared worthy in a forensic sense - in other words Christ is our worth, and His righteousness becomes ours by imputation.
As for the Christians you describe, not everyone has an interest in exploring the rationale for his or her faith, just as not everyone has an interest in philosophy - this doesn't automatically make them wrong when they speak of what they "know" authoritatively, it just makes them annoying to people like you and I.
But this leads to my second objection: the argument from authority...it leads to some bizarre statements, an ever increasing myopic environment where only one source is considered valid ...
I've written here before that success in finding answers to life's questions is very heavily dependent on the reliability of our sources. I think what is important is that we test our sources vigorously so that the "authority" is grounded in fact.
First, posit God. Second, posit Christ. Third, agree with everything I say and if you don't, you still aren't seeing the way a Christian sees it.
Those crazy philosophical Christian apologists. I've been trying to convert that ilk to the school of evidential apologetics for the better part of ten years now.
Presumably, the resurrection of Christ would undergird all the metaphysical speculation about Heaven/Hell, the soul, the need for redemption, the final days, the Return, and paradise on earth.
Close, but most importantly, the Resurrection undergirds the fact that Jesus' death has meaning for us (as an atonement for sin) and gives us a factual basis on which to speak with confidences in regards to our redemption. Furthermore, His being the "Firstborn of the dead" (in Christianese terms) provides me with a foundation on which I can believe that, one day - perhaps long after I die - I will be raised also.
There are more "practical" benefits also, like being a part of a community of people who earnestly want to do good - hey - even I need help sometimes.
Regarding Valery's quote - I see where he (she?) is coming from, and I don't entirely disagree. But my faith isn't grounded on ambitious terms, but in history.
Later you wrote:
With all that said, I don't think anyone should move in either direction toward belief or away from it, with one leap.
Neither do I. The "leap of faith" is an unfortunate phrase born out of early Christian existentialism that has stuck. For me, faith has been more of a natural step from facts I found to be trustworthy. Granted, it didn't begin that way for me, but when the time came for me to honestly evaluate what I believe, I did my best to be thorough.
Sure, except you've left out accumulated change through natural selection. Again, I think the difference between you and me is that you think one description is the right one, and I think multiple descriptions from multiple viewpoints can all be correct (and doesn't negate that some descriptions are wrong)
I cannot say definitively that natural selection was not the means by which God brought life from non-life, mind from the mindless, etc.. But natural selection isn't really all that much about science as much as it is about historiography. I agree that the benefit of the doubt should be given to the record itself, and not be arrogated by the critic to assume fraud or error unless the interpreter of the record disqualifies him or herself with contradictions or the record itself is disqualified by internal inconsistency or material contradiction. In some instances, this means multiple descriptions from multiple viewpoints can be correct at times, but other times, depending on the nature of the evidence, we can weed out those conclusions that are less likely and/or wrong.
~ Not for an eternal life with God? Christianity is all about, "What is in it for me?" Be honest. Why do most people "come" to Jesus?
We bark because we are dogs, Opeth, we don't bark to become dogs. You can't earn a free gift, only show gratitude for receiving it.
Hawke & Denise:
Tragedy and hard times are more often, to me, defining moments in our lives. I don't mean to sound too much like Kid Rock in saying "only God knows why," but I think we make a mistake when we do ask "why" when we experience tragedy or suffering. Hawke's loss is certainly greater than any I have experienced, but I have a feeling he came to the same realization I have after I experienced significant, albeit lesser, losses: things are as they are - the only question worth asking is where do I go from here?
LOL. How can you throw out the whole Apostle's Creed and keep the Gospel of John? Creation, Incarnation, ministry, death, Resurrection, etc.
Why is it that you can hint to your Episcopal background, yet I am know closer to actually knowing what you believe than before you offered the hint?