Thursday, September 15, 2005

Questions on the Nature of Man

Last night in class, the question, "Who brought sin (evil) into this world?" was asked. My first thought was humans. Satan tempted, but it was woman and man who were weak (naive), and in that weakness (naivete) exercised their free will to succumb to temptation. So man brought sin into the world. Satan has no power over man unless one of two entities let him: Man himself or God. The premises are Genesis 3:13, "Then the Lord God said to the woman, 'What is this you have done?'"; Job 1 and 2 in which Satan must be given permission by God to harm Job; and John 19:11 when Jesus answered Pilate, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above."

So, discussion point one. Satan has no power over man unless given that power by God or man. Agree? Disagree?

This led me to think of the question that will be my second discussion point. Was Satan just an accelerating catalyst to the fall or was he an instigating agent? That is, would man, in his free will, have eventually turned from God anyway without any temptation from Satan? I am trying to delve into the weak parts of our nature, which may not be very pleasant, but is necessary for growth and dependence on Christ.

I know this is a more theological question than a discipleship question. However, gaining a better understanding of our own nature and the enemy's nature has to aid our discipleship.

Tony

31 comments:

jettybetty said...

To answer question one:
I agree--Satan has no power over us, except when God allows. That sounds pretty easy to dodge, but Satan is also the father of lies! He's so good at doing what he does--I know I am personally deceived quite often.

Question two:
I believe all evil in this world comes via Satan, so I don't know if I see the difference. The way I see when man turned away from God it was because of satan--whether that was sooner or later.

I want to know what you think--are you going to tell us???

I have been visiting my mom--and loaned her my "MD" book--she's a big Foy Wallace person--so I can hardly wait for her response!

JB

JMG said...

I'm at work right now and do not have access to my bible and concordance, so I'm winging this.

#1. Satan is a fallen angel. What power do the angels have over people? I don't remember angels in the bible doing anything except tasks that God told them to, mainly bringing messages, and then in Revelation serving as the agents that poured out God's wrath. I don't think that God would have given Lucifer in his fallen state any more power than the non-fallen angels.

#2. Little children disobey their parents without ever having been taught to. They seem to be built to test the limits that their parents set. I'm guessing that man would have fallen at some point because of free will, wanting to test God's boundaries. Perhaps Satan knew this and decided to hurry the process along with his words to Eve. What was his motive, if it would happen anyway? Maybe to cause God the maximum amount of hurt. God's children are what he treasures most, so to see us rebel so soon after being created and not being able to have that pure fellowship with us as he had with Adam and Eve at first would be extremely painful to him.

Tony Arnold said...

Jettybetty. I believe Satan only has power over us if God permits or if I permit by openly inviting him in by giving into temptation or disillusion. If I resist temptation, then Satan cannot harm me, unless God lets him, as with Job. I do not live in fear of this since Job is the only account I am aware of in which God allowed this.

Second, I believe man would have turned away from God at some point anyway. My reasoning is thus: It is hard for me to accept that I am bad from birth no matter what because of original sin. I don't mean to say there are not consequences I endure because of the fall, but I do not believe the fall affects my actions and decisions. But I do sin. I give into temptation. I excercise my own will over God's will. That is, I do what I want sometime without regard to God's will even if it happens to be the same as mine. My motivation is my desire.

Therefore if my free will is not affected by the fall, but I still sin, then I would be the first to fall if everyone else had been flawless.

JMG raises another good question. What was Satan's motive, if man would have fallen anyway? Was Satan just impatient? Were the consequences of the fall more severe because Satan was involved? I think an interesting look at this question is would man have eaten of the tree or would it have been some other sin? We are taught there is no degree of sin, but the Bible talks of the unpardonable sin. So maybe violating the only command given was the worst sin that could be done. Satan wanted man to feel as if he needed something more than God; that he could become God himself.

Maybe that was Satan's motive.

Tony

jettybetty said...

Tony,
I agree with you--I have to give into temptation or God has to allow before satan can attack--but some of the time, I know I don't resist--not always knowingly, but satan packages things so seductively.

Do you think God does not permit satan to have any power over us--or the only way satan can attack is if we don't resist temptation? (Since you mention Job is the only example of this)

I can see both sides of original sin--I know it's been debated for centuries--it's very hard for me to believe a baby is born in sin--even though there are scriptures that seem to out right say that. (Ps 51:5 comes to mind)

I believe some things of God are way above me!

JB

Brent said...

Tony,

May I chime in? Is there room for feedback from someone who doesn't view the events documented in the Bible as literal history?

Malia said...

Real quick because I don't have much time, I'm only addressing point #1. I couldn't help but think of this lyric from a Sara Groves song, "Generations". "To say the devil made me do it is a cop-out and a lie. The devil can't make me do anything when I'm calling on Jesus Christ."

Tony Arnold said...

It is an open forum Brent. I welcome your comments. We don't have to agree to grow. In fact, it is very hard to grow when everone agrees 100%. Also, I don't believe everything in the Bible is literal, myself. I think Christ in so many places was not being literal in order to make a literal point. However, I also believe strongly that many parts are literal and that man is being self-serving to ignore that fact.

Malia: I like that.

Tony

Amanda said...

I really just don't know.

Are you talking specifically about Christians? Because I do believe that because we belong to Christ that Satan has no power over us, but I'm not so sure about non-Christians.

And I think we're biased toward the second question. True evil, yes, comes from Satan, but I think that we may be quick to say that something is 'evil' that is really from God because we can't see the whole picture. There is a fine line, however. Sometimes, I believe that God uses what is evil and from Satan to accomplish His purpose. I definitely don't think that we will know what's what until we're able to ask Him face-to-face. We just have to trust.

Brent said...

Tony,

Thanks. It may have to wait until Monday for my response, however. Can I ask what you mean whan you say, "man is being self-serving to ignore [that many parts ae literal]?"

Brent

Tony Arnold said...

What I mean is that if man chooses to ignore parts of the Bible that are literal just because they don't work for him, demand that he give something up that he does not want too, behave in a way he doesn't want, then the rejection is self-serving.

Example: I don't want to love my enemies, so I don't thing Christ was being literal here.

Many, including myself, would love to discount the beatitudes and the sermon on the mount as not literal, so that I don't actually have to live that way. It would be great if it were just a set of platitudes, something to shoot for, rather than a literal expectation by Christ of how I am to conduct myself. It is just too hard, and too unselfish to practice literally.

Just because I find it almost impossible to live that way everyday, I cannot ignore it as literal. If I do, I am only doing it to serve my selfish desires and weakness.

I hope that explained my point.

Look forwad to your comments.

Tony

Brent said...

Tony,

I agree that to use the Bible to make it say what a person wants it to say is self-serving. The Nazis did this. So did those who upheld slavery in the U.S. and those who felt segragation was right in the 50's & 60's. We could go on and on with those who have done this (Constantine? The Crusades?).

Each group of people (the Branch Davidians?) and each individual must look at their own conclusions and beliefs and criticize whether they are using the Bible to project their own agendas. Does my group make the Bible say something that has been taken way out of context? Do we really understand what was going on there? Have our translations changed the meaning of the text? Do I quote scriptures to back up my own view? Do I take them out of context? Were the gospel writers coming from different perspectives and, if so, their writings can mean different things? Did they have any bias in their viewpoint?

Here are a few articles that I have found that may shed some light on the typical view of heaven, hell, and Satan:

http://www.tannerlectures.utah.edu/lectures/Pagels99.pdf

http://www.religion-online.org/showchapter.asp?
title=1115&C=1216

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/heaven-hell/

I would also recommend any study that looks at the origin of the traditions we find in the Bible. In particular, a study of the Documentary Hypothesis sheds a lot of light on the compilation of the Torah. Probably the best book to date on this subject is "Who Wrote the Bible," by Richard E. Friedman (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0060630353/002-5510675-2916824?v=glance). When one sees the Bible as a complilation of traditions that originated orally and weren't written down until much later, one can see that the story of "the Fall" is not a telling of literal history (as we define it). Rather, it is possibly a myth that our forefathers told to explain the problem of man's bad side. They believed that it was real and literal. However, it is most likely based on their ancient view of the world and God. It is difficult to fall back on this story as a factual truth about mankind, though it can be useful when viewed in metaphor.

Brent

JMG said...

May I interject a question? I believe it is very useful to discuss differing viewpoints/perspectives on the bible. To do so helps us to understand where others are coming from and challenges our way of thinking, either causing us to change our views or reinforcing our views.

But ultimately, what difference does it make whether one group/individual believes the creation story is a myth or another group doesn't believe in the trinity if these groups are practicing biblical principles of love for fellow humans, care for the poor, etc.?

Yes, discussing our different beliefs is a great intellectual exercise and helps pass the time as we are going through our daily lives. But when we become so consumed with our differences that we can't work well with the other groups, then we accomplish nothing.

I guess what I'm getting at here is that I hope discussions such as the one here and on the other blogs that we have been commenting on lately don't foster division and ill feelings but rather a realization and conviction of our "sameness."

(I'm not accusing anyone of being divisive--I'm just expressing my hope.)

Brent said...

JMG,

I would totally agree with you. However, if we go down that path, we must consider the validity of other religions if they end up with similar conclusions. This begs the question about whether religion is based on sets of beliefs that are divisive or ones that bring mankind together. I choose the latter. It also questions whether God created morality or man did.

If you look back at some of my posts you will see that I am questioning the typical Christian viewpoint that tends to be quite exclusive and proposing one that is inclusive and hopeful. I am critical of the exclusiveness of today's evangelical Christianity because it (in general) has tended to be narcicistic, judgmental and arrogant.

I believe that "truths" can be found in many places - not just Christianity or the its Bible. Christianity has held onto the notion that all truths are found in an innerant compilation of ancient documents that are for all times, cultures and situations. Christianity has blinded itself to truth because of such idolatry.

I am hopeful that we can all, Christians, Jews and Muslims alike, live peacefully in this world that the Ground-of-all-being has placed us all in (in whatever way that happened).

Peace,

Brent

JMG said...

Brent, I definitely agree with your point about exclusiveness. And I am willing to be friends with, have discussions with, work alongside, etc. people of any religious conviction so long as they practice trying to show humble love to their fellow humans.

Brent said...

The link for the 1st article listed, "The Origin of Satan in Christian Tradition," doesn't look like it is correct. Here it is:

http://www.tannerlectures.utah.edu/lectures/Pagels99.pdf

Brent

Brent said...

Hhmmm. There should be a .pdf after Pagels99.

Brent

Tony Arnold said...

There are truths that I am not willing to compromise on.

First and foremost: Jesus was real, He is the Son of God, He did become incarnate as man, He was sacrificed on the Cross, and He arose from the dead and returned to His Father.

I will not waiver on this belief and it rests completely on faith. There is much historical evidence of Jesus and His ministry. However, believing the above is completely a faith issue. It cannot be proved.

Once I accept those beliefs, then I must accept so much more of the Bible because Jesus referenced the OT so much.

Now, for me to really accept those stated beliefs, it causes me to accept an almost impossible standard to live by. And the key parts of that standard (demanded life) are:
love, peace, humility, self-sacrifice for others, especially those I do not agree with and harder still, my enemies.

So many Christians say they believe, but then don't live by the words of Christ. And my task is not to spread the Word of an exclusive club, but to show mankind the Kingdom of God, the face of Christ, and a better way through dying to my selfish desires and letting Christ live through me. A better way that promotes peace and love and destroys sin and hate. We are not to destroy sin just because it is some rule or because it is evil. We are to destroy sin because it interferes with our joyful communion between each other and more importantly with God. We can only destroy sin through love and service, not through hate, bigotry, judgement, exclusivity, etc.

I go back to one of the arguments I made earlier. One "proof" of the Gospel and of Jesus for me is that everything He taught and asked man to do was so un-man like, so unselfish. For me it had to be from a divine source because it served mankind rather than man himself. There was nothing self-serving about Christ's message.

Brent, I greatly appreciate your efforts to communicate effectively your thougts. I am sure it would be very enjoyable to sit down face to face sometime and listen to what you have to say and what you have learned through your search. I know how hard that is to do in a blog.

Tony

JMG said...

To go back to the original question, we seem to agree somewhat that man would eventually sin at some point because of free will. We have a tendency to kick against the goads so to speak--we rebel against authority. Is this trait detrimental to our discipleship, or are there times it can be an asset?

Tony Arnold said...

Interesting question JMG--"Is rebellion sometimes beneficial to discipleship?"

Still thinking on this.

Tony

JMG said...

That question just sort of popped into my head yesterday, but I haven't had much time to think on it since.

To word it differently: If we are rebellious by nature, is this something that God can (and intends to) make use of in us, or is this part of the "natural" man that needs to be shed when we put on the "spiritual" man?

I can see where a rebellious spirit could prove useful such as in a situation where the powers that be are endorsing (or enforcing) non-Christ-like behavior. If we are to obey God rather than men, then it seems that sometimes rebelliousness is called for.

Tony Arnold said...

Or in the immortal words of Dr. Lee Camp, "something radical."

I think if we are open to His exhortations, God can channel our rebelliousness into a radical Christianity. Rebel against violence. Rebel against hate and prejudence. Rebel against lust. Rebel against these instinctive, fleshly reponses to the world around us.

Tony

Brent said...

Ok, here goes: Q#1 - I don't believe in the power of Satan. In my opinion, the being we call Satan is of human construction. His existence, as well as similar beings in other religions, has been used to explain why things in this world are the way they are. The myth of "the fall" is part of this explanation.

We live an existence that can not know what good is unless evil is defined. The doctrine of the depravity of man and the existence of Satan have been taken from the realm of biblical myth and into religious reality by making the scriptures say things that they do not and labeling individuals that offer other alternatives as heretics or false teachers.

The fallen world theory explained our condition sufficiently until we realized that the universe was billions of years old. Destruction, death and evolution showed us that this has always been the way things work. Animals have always eaten plants and other animals (quite a destructive process) as part of this system that we are a part of. Something must die in order for something else to live. Our forefathers wanted to make sense of this theologically as well as practically. People have hated one another and even killed one another because of such rigid religious views - quite ironic.

You might guess how I would answer Q#2.

I may have already stated this but I will repeat it: This world is a creation in progress rather than a once-perfect-but-now-fallen one.

As long as there are those who continue to label others as ungodly, evil and satanic simply because of a differing set of paradigms and beliefs about this life (as well as our own ancient documents that we have deified), mankind will continue in this state of fallenness that he has created for himself. Hatred and arrogance will continue. Instead, a unification of humanity to become active participants of this creative process is the only way we can live at peace with one another. We must quit looking for opportunities to condemn one another and choose to love all.

I guess I do believe in Satan after all - he is us until we shake him off and throw him into our past and move on. This world's future depends on it.

Tony Arnold said...

Brent, obviously I disagree but I am not smart enough to counter your arguements with theology or psychology. I can only say that in my 43 years of life, my direct physical and emotional experiences, and my introspection on these experiences, my psyche, my internal pressures driving my thoughts and actions, have substantiated my faith and my belief.

I more convinced everyday there is a God and their is also an evil presence in this world that is not of man or of his mind.

This is not very convincing or articulate, and I am not trying to change anyone's mind. I am just willing to state my understanding.

I do have some questions--and I mean them sincerely and seriously. Do you believe in God and Christ? Do you believe that Christ was the son of God, died, and rose from the dead? The reason I ask is that don't see how you could believe these and then not believe in Satan as real or other aspects of the Bible. I did not want to assume what your beliefs are in God and Christ, so I ask. And I am not asking so I or others could "convert" you. You just seem willing to openly discuss and I think that is helpful to us all.

I am glad you posted. I hope others respond.

Tony

Brent said...

1. Do I believe in God? Yes I do. However, not in the way that Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hindu, etc. define him. Simply the fact that most call God a HIM shows us that HE is our own creation (in my opinion) because we can only express ideas and facts in terms that we are familiar with. There are other reasons, of course. I see God as a concept rather than a literal reality. We have no way to grasp the literal reality of God because it is beyond our grasp. We can only come up with models that help us understand the concept as best as we can. Religion narrowly defines God in an attempt to make sense of life's reality. It must change as we experience more as a race - just like a baby grows and matures as it experiences things around him/her. It is my opinion that the religions of today have held too tightly to the viewpoints of the past, causing a type of tunnel vision. I seek a more holistic view of reality, one that brings together all of the insights of our past and present. I don't have all of the answers and don't claim to know more than anyone else. I do, however, feel that I am open to change and the development of better (not necessarily the final) outlooks on life. I look in the areas of science, religion & theology, psychology, sociology, philanthropy, medicine and nature to expose myself to the views of others. I feel that no one person will come up with answers. We must all walk the journey together.

2. Do I believe in Christ? It depends on what that means. I DO believe that a man named Jesus existed in the early/mid 1st century. Do I believe that he was God incarnate? No. I do believe that he told people things that they had not heard before - things that were intended to help humanity. I don't believe that we will ever recover the actual historical Jesus due to the fact that the records we have of him and his actions were written decades after he lived by people who didn't know him or witness his works. I don't believe that the authors of the gospels were recording history. Paul, the author of some of the earliest Christian beliefs on record, does not paint a picture of Jesus that agrees with the gospels.

3. I don't believe in the literal resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. After extensive study on this subject I have decided that this was a developement of the mid/late 1st century. I have actually read the groundbreaking megabook (740 pages) by N.T. Wright "The Resurrection of the Son of God," which gives the best apologetic for the literal resurrection. However, the liberal scholars out there seem to have the most objective opinion on this, in my opinion.

Belief is something that I think is a "brain thing" rather than a Calvanist "God thing."

Some good books about the way our minds fashion religious belief:

NeuroTheology: Brain, Science, Spirituality, Religious Experience -- by Rhawn Joseph

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0971644586/qid=1127491088/sr=2-3/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_3/002-5510675-2916824?v=glance&s=books

Why God Won't Go Away : Brain Science and the Biology of Belief -- by Andrew Md Newberg

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/034544034X/qid=1127491088/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/002-5510675-2916824?v=glance&s=books

I know all (or most) of the beliefs and statements that can result from the sharing of my perspective. I've been there. My experiences are probably similar to many of you here: Born into a Church of Christ family; baptized at age 12 at church camp; passed communion shortly thereafter; learned how to lead songs as a teenager; brought up thinking that the Bible was given to man so that he could know all truth. My family's move to California exposed me to different opinions and viewpoints. I didn't begin my deconstruction phase until about 7 years ago. I am working on the reconstruction of my viewpoint now. This involves much thinking (as you can already guess) and involving myself in the lives of others around me, including the oppressed and poor. When I see the lives of people who suffer in life, I cannot believe that the God of the Christian Bible is the revealed God reality. That model of God just doesn't work anymore.

I thank you for your hospitality, Tony. It takes quite a person to tolerate someone like me.

Brent

Royce Ogle said...

Before the fall by Adam and Eve, they surely had the choice to allow Satan to contro them. They made a poor choice. Now things are very different.

"For by one man(Adam) sin came into the world, and so death by sin.."

Men who do not have Christ have no choice according to the plain teaching of the bible. They are characterized as being "slaves", "held captive", "dead", "depraved", "alienated", and as God's enemies.

Satan is described as the "god of this world", (note the undercase "g")

Jesus said to those who were religious but lost, "You are of your father the devil.." He said of Satan "He was a murderer and a liar from the beginning".

The good news is that Christians do not have to fear Satan and his demons. "He (the Holy Spirit) who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."

If you are in Christ and He is in you by the Holy Spirit, your life is "hidden with Christ in God", "No man can pluck them out of my Father's hand", we are "saved to the uttermost", "sealed until the day of redemption", and Jesus promised he would "raise him up (resurrection) in the last days".

In addition to His unspeakable love, the specific reason Jesus lived a perfect life, became a perfect sacrifice, and paid our sin debt in full, is this. We were helpless in regard to sin. None of us humans on our best day can measure up perfectly to the righteous standard of the holiness of God. For this reason those who receive Christ as saviour and Lord are given His righteousness. Paul called this imputed righteousness, "a righteousness which is by faith, that it might be of grace".

If you and I were able to contribute one tiny bit to our salvation it would not be of grace and therefore would have room for boasting. But, the reality is all you and I or any person can do is supply one hopeless, helpless sinner and God freely gives eternal life to those who believe and depend on Christ to do what He has promised.

What a great deal! He deserves my absolute surrender to His will and all the glory and praise I can give!

Brent said...

If anyone here gets a chance, look at Royce's blogsite. It speaks for itself. It is hard to believe that the same person who wrote this response is the same one who has the blogsite "Royce to the Right." Well, actually it isn't.

Evangelical Christianity at its best.

I'm so sorry for the criticism, Royce. I cannot sit back and do nothing while people perpetuate a brand of Christianity that I do not subscribe to. I understand that my own beliefs are heretical in the eyes of most Christians who have read Tony's post (which probably isn't many by now), but I am firmly convinced of John Shelby Spong's opinion that if Christianity doesn't change it will die.

Brent

JMG said...

I had posted another comment early this morning, but I guess the little blog comment demon zapped it. :-)

Seriously though, it's really interesting to see such diverse opinions on the same subject. I guess my ideas lie somewhere in between those of Brent and Royce. I believe that Jesus is the son of God who died and was resurrected. I believe in Satan (and from what Jesus said, he apparently believed in Satan as well).

Sometimes, however, I entertain the idea of there being no God, no Jesus, no Satan, no angels, no whatever. The thing I keep coming back to, though, is that even if they didn't exist, the way of life that Jesus advocated is the best way. That is why, when I see people who are doing their best to love their fellow humans, to help those who have needs--to feed the hungry, quench the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the prisoners, love the unloveable, I consider them my brothers and sisters--children of my God--no matter their theology or lack thereof.

I truely believe that God honors our efforts to love and help our fellow humans much more than he cares about the correctness of our theology.

If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong, but I know that God's grace is much bigger than anyone could ever imagine.

Tony Arnold said...

Royce, not to be antagonistic, but quoting scripture to someone who has determined for themselves that the Bible is a creation of man, such as Brent, doesn't have any affect other than to frustrate.

Brent, one reason I am glad you are in our discussions is because it forces me to learn how to convey my convictions and thoughts effectively to someone who has a totally different basis of belief. It is very difficult to do and forces me to really understand what I call my beliefs. I can't just quote scripture. That is like a muslim pounding the Quran at me expecting that to change my mind on something. But I would have done that in the past...

Now back to your answer to my questions. How do you respond to C.S. Lewis' argument that you cannot accept Christ as as just a good man. That if you read His ... sorry I am just not comfortable with It's :-); that is my religious cultural coming through, although I know God is neither male nor female. Using he is just a convention, not a proof that man invited the Bible.

Back to Lewis: That if you really read Christ's words, you have 3 choices: 1. He was who He claimed to be. 2 He was a liar. 3. He was insane.

I guess from your viewpoint, there might be a forth: He is the metaphorical creation of man? Trying not to put words into your fingers here.

Lastly, on tolerance and this blogs readership: I bet you have sky-rocketed my readership. My discipleship demands tolerance and love. Last, I don't feel tolerant to you, I feel fondness. I bet we would be good friends with some interesting discussions although we would differ greatly on certain issues. One problem we have in today's politically correct, psycho-babble world, is that the assumption creeping in that says we cannot disagree with disharmony. What a load of crap that is. Some of the people I am most fond of and enjoy being around the most are those that I differ with.

I am not afraid to question myself or test my faith. I am also not afraid to recognized truth whether I like or not; nor am I afraid to stand by my convictions. If my faith and convictions cannot stand up to scrutiny, they aren't worth spit anyway.

Tony

Brent said...

Tony, I enjoyed reading your responses.

You were correct when you thought that a 4th option would come from my tongue. I don't think that Jesus was a totally fictitious character that men made up out of thin air. I don't think that he is mostly myth either. (I would probably label King David as an "Arthurian-type" myth, but not Jesus). Anyway, I would say the 4th option could be: He was real but inaccurately portrayed by the gospel writers.

I have enjoyed the pleasant disagreements from this post. JMG, I like your openness.

My point of posting on your blog, Tony, has not been to prove anyone wrong or frustrate people. I think you probably know that. My intent has been to try to challenge what people believe. Most Christians aren't even sure why they believe what they believe. They don't even spend 30 minutes a year reading the Bible.

Now, some of you may say somthing like, "I read my Bible all the time. I know what it says." One thing that I have discovered over the past 7 years is that Christians typically read material that agrees with or enhances their already-decided-upon belief system. Most of the material published and put in the nation's Christian bookstores is material that is bias and full of more assumptions about God, religion and reality than I could list.

I would suggest that Christians read material that challenges their belief system and looks at spiritual matters from a different angle. There have been so many discoveries in the past 10 years concerning Jesus and Christianity. One doesn't have to go off the deep end like I have.

Tony Arnold said...

Correction: "One problem we have in today's politically correct, psycho-babble world is the assumption that seems to be creeping in that says we cannot disagree without disharmony. What a load of crap that is.

Proof reading is just so boring and eliminates much entertainment.

Brent, I know you are not trying to frustrate anyone. Keep posting.

Tony

Royce Ogle said...

I strongly recommend a book by Josh McDowell, "Evidence that demands a Verdict". It is an old book now but I think not difficult to find. A person with an open mind will be challenged by concrete evidence for the authenticity of Holy Writ and for the personhood of the Christ.

Brent, one common mistake of the skeptical mind is to aviod evidence. You believe Kind David is some sort of myth! Do you accept George Washington as a real person who lived and served his country? The same sort of evidence is available for 1st century people and before.

Don't allow your dislike of God to cloud clear, logical thinking. You might be surprised what you might learn if you are truely searching for the truth.

By the way, the Truth was a person.