Why Christianity?

While scanning through previous posts in ILP in the ‘Religion’ folder, I noticed a fair amount of topics concerning Christianity were not of a ‘pro nature’. I’ve had my share of debates concerning religion and still have a lot of questions I would like to ask and have answered about this subject. I would say most of the people I have discussed this topic with have have been somewhat decent. Plus, there have been some that caught me off guard on both sides of the issue. But, we all have our ideas of what we believe is right and not so I’m not one to judge those thoughts. If I have, or it was presumed that I had…I apologize to the ones the offense had happened to.

This being said, I came across this site and found it to be interesting. The author of this page, Rolaant L. McKenzie, gives his reasons for Christianity being the relevant religion for all. Atheists may find reading his explanations interesting as well. I found it to be informative and how it helps putting Christianity into a light fellow Christians might find enlightening. I would encourage everyone to view this site.

Hi Liteninbolt,
Whilst I find it a bit odd reviewing the comments of someone else, I think that they offer some basis of discussion, so I’ll start with those presented on the site:

I’ve heard this numbers of times and (as a Christian) I would say that we have to first of all understand that atheism is not a worldview in the first place. Atheism is just a position held in relation to my worldview, like I say I am a Christian and the other person would say, “I’m not!” It just clears up that the person before me does not support the idea of God – if that idea has ever been something we could agree upon. Those people who do not believe in God, or a God, may have worldviews (like say Buddhism), but they don’t believe in God.

The second thing is that the universe is unfolding, as is our growing knowledge of it. All this statement is trying to say is, “I already have all of the knowledge explaining the universe, I don’t want any more!” Well, quite frankly, that is quite ridiculous. An anthology of writings, even if some of them came from people well versed in early astronomy, written in a period of two thousand years, ending nearly two thousand years ago, has much to offer, but the great majority of the information we are getting today is new. It may be asked whether that information is pertinent to my existence here on earth, but it is at least awe inspiring. By the way, nobody has to account for anything – unless one says, like Rolaant L. McKenzie (I love these American names), I have all the information. The scientist says openly that he is investigating.

I find too that the suddenly bursting forth of human beings about ten thousand years ago is an incredible development, and perhaps it was the dawning of a grand spectrum of creatures, but all I can see Mr. McKenzie doing is underpinning his Bible.

I don’t find atheists any more irrational than Christians, or Vegetarians, Stamp-Collectors, etc., etc. … I find that Buddhists have an absolutely good explanation for intelligible experience, but also others who do not believe in God. I also live in the same random, disorderly, transitory, and volatile world as an atheist – or does the orderly Mr. McKenzie live by himself? I also don’t see why an atheist should have to account for the meaningful realities people encounter in life. Perhaps it suffices if those having the experiences account for them?

According to Genesis, the basis for determining good and evil wasn’t rational either. It was a fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – and since then, we know somehow. However, it is very subjective and not objective at all – even amongst Christians, otherwise you could explain the thousands of protestant denominations we have and why we can’t agree enough to become one church. I think that the atheist simply sees what people do each other and when somebody says, “Praise the Lord!” he just asks, “Can’t he do something about that over there?” When he finds that God doesn’t intervene and that the suffering goes on, he questions whether God can be real.

The Law of Non-Contradiction is OK if we know what we are talking about, but if you have seen God and lived to describe him, please tell me about it. If you have his personal address you can give me that too! But this isn’t describing the nature of spiritual inspiration, and on that level I find that there is actually wisdom in practising an “atheistic faith in God”, as a German theologian once put it (D.Sölle), to get a different perspective on our faith – less on God. 90% of what we believe has been passed down the centuries or millennia, the rest we may have experienced ourselves, but isn’t it the one asks who learns? If everything is so clear, what do I need to ask?

Yes, if that were so, but where’s the proof?

Heaven or hell, or reborn on the new earth? If reborn, what is the difference to re-incarnation? Is leaving the wheel of suffering largely different to going to heaven? What do we really know, and what do we believe because of the Bible?

This could go on for days …

Shalom

I think you’re asking why there aren’t as many pro-Christian posts are as the other view. I can only speak for me, although I think is expresses the sentiments of many, that there just is no rational evidence or facts for Christianity or any other “revealed” religion, at all. It’s getting harder and harder for a revealed religions to maintain credibility knowing what we know now (especially how pleasant sounding corrupt people can be). All I can say is I’m glad it’s finally beginning. (Now if we could just transfer this skeptical attitude to politics–i.e. find out for ourselves how to ignore the false prophets of corrupt government.)

I don’t think it’s really worth reading.
I mean, the author isn’t very rational person, although he talks about rationality.

With rational thinking, we can’t obtain absolute truth nor unconditional explanation because logic is relative and dependent upon arbitrary perspective.
And I don’t think he understand this.

In short, he is still thinking like a little child, in “definitive”, “absolute” term.

Oh no, I made this post for others to read and if they wish they can comment on it. If I find something worthy of replying or commenting on from another poster I will do so. All are welcome to express their views.

Hi Bob,
For myself the answer would be what we don’t fully comprehend from the Bible’s teachings, is where faith fills in the gap spiritually. Not all people interpret The Bible in the same way, but faith should be the ‘anchor’ every Christian should have in common concerning God in my opinion.

The prophecy and fullfillment concordance of the Old Testament and the New at the bottom of the page I find very interesting.

The Bible does tell people to come unto God as children. Thus we leave preconceived notions of other worldly affectations behind so we can get a closer personal relationship with Him.

Since Christianity or any religion doesn’t appear to have any ‘absolute’ relevance in your life, is there anything else you may place your trust in? Something that may give you hope and comfort for the future? Anything of intrinsic value that helps give you purpose in life?

The problem with the list of prophecies is that it isn’t a “tick off as you go along” list, but one that someone put together on the grounds of scripture hundreds of years after Christ lived. It means that the Gospels were sieved of occurences that are also “prophesied” in the Old Testament, but these “prophecies” are often references to something that took place in the past and because somebody reading the OT said, “Look, it was then as it was with our Lord when he did this or that” and suddenly it became a prophecy. It may all be very heartsearching and it can have something to say for you or I, but it is not evidence and the statistics are a fraud.

We Christians have for too long allowed ourselves to be manipulated by populists who are really only looking for power. It can only disappoint in the end - and I am convinced that such statistics do a disservice to faith of which is said, “Blessed are the ones not seeing, and yet believing.”

Shalom

Hi Bob,
Maybe it would easier to cut to the chase to say what (if any) content of the Bible has any relevance to you? Have you prayed for guidance and understanding when studying the Word of God? I’m not asking to challenge your belief system, rather to help give me a better understanding of your relationship with God. My strongest uneasiness concerning The Bible is the doctrine inflicted by man by way of religion. As I had noted, interpretation of The Scriptures vary from person to person. The world is a big place, so it stands to reason meaning and intent vary from region to region.

I will just give you an example of something I have been working on for someone else. I hope that it isn’t too personal for the internet, but it gives you a glimpse of my soul:

“LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL”

MISSING THE POINT
The above quote used to bother me considerably. Why, asked the author himself as a teenager, would God lead us into temptation, so that I would have asked him not to? In those days, around the end of the sixties, it was the normal thing in the UK to question everything that our parents hadn’t questioned, even if your family was still influenced by military service, like ours was. Questioning Christianity was an easy thing in our family, with my father being a staunch agnostic, although in some ways, in the wake of a traumatic experience on an amphibious tank during which he lost his entire crew, he seemed determined to be an atheist and anti-Christian.

We were a family that was very inquisitive but badly educated, which was not particularly unusual in those days. It meant that a lot of roads had to be travelled to get to areas where other people had reached earlier. Those educated people spoke a language that had us assuming that they were arrogant. However, even if some people were arrogant, it was our own ignorance that chose to slander others. My mother attempted bravely to open doors to education, taking me along to the “Classical Music Club” and watching me react with unconventional body movements to the fanfares and percussions, or the hitherto unknown emotional peaks and troughs of a musical evening.

I was fortunate enough to have attended a school that used dramaturgy as a means of teaching literature classics to an ignoramus like me – and succeeded to the point that I haven’t stopped learning since. It meant that I didn’t stop writing, filling portfolio after portfolio with lines from the books I had read, apparently unaware that they were not my imagination but the excited visualisation of previous inspiration. In this way I produced so much paper for the school magazine that thankfully only about a fraction of a per-cent got published – and I received an award for the biggest contribution, even if 99% of it was junk. This only stopped when I started reading books which stopped me in my tracks and made me realise that I couldn’t write anything that there wasn’t already a story about, and that I had been missing the point all that time.

Very often, when I see the excitement of young Christians and their missionary enthusiasm, I think about my enthusiasm in those last days of school and the following years. Not that it is reduced to young people, but in them, like in me, an excitement that misses the point becomes very apparent and causes me to write this piece. It is also the reason for my title. I could also have called it mis-lead us not into temptation. I know thousands of Christians, from various churches and traditions, whether strict or lenient, whether mainline or free, that I would not want to harm with this piece, since their enthusiasm is warm and friendly, but there is a time when things that should have been said a long time ago have to be said.

The petition above from the section of the Gospel from Matthew, which is endearingly called the Lords Prayer, is often badly misunderstood and misused to coerce the youth into submission and tends to push carnal desires into an area in our lives where they can only get worse. Temptation and Evil in one sentence – a source of horrific associations! Once, in Germany, an elderly spinster told me that the secret of circumcision was to cut the part of man from which the most sin came, thereby making him think twice. I think that I tried to answer humorously, “Well, it didn’t work well, did it!” But somehow we both missed the point again. Reducing temptation to sexual desire, and to the man, or to any aspect of human life that seems to be undesirable for some reason, is to completely miss the point.

GETTING TO THE POINT
To ask not to be led into temptation means to ask not be put to the test. Jesus is having us ask that we may not to have to prove our spiritual mettle, implying of course that we would fail. This causes two problems. First of all, there is something in us that rightly doesn’t want to be a hypocrite and it is our personal pride that would have us pursue spiritual goals and overlook this petition. Secondly, if we are in the business of evangelism, preaching or leading in the church, we soon notice how much people rely upon examples of piety and we can easily succumb to wanting to show people that we are “honourable”, or at least giving people the impression that we have what it takes. Therefore from inside and out, we want to be able to pray like the Pharisee (Luk 18:11), “God, I thank you that I am not as the rest of men …”

There is also a not so apparent opinion of ourselves that we only wink to in the mirror, or which receives the thud of our approving fist on a table, or becomes angry when someone does something we do not approve of. We do not see it as much as others do, but it is the reason why Jesus would have us ask that this and other skeletons in our cupboards may not dragged out and used against us. You see, the implication is that this should not happen to us publicly, so that we become ashamed and ridiculed – but in our chamber, in secret, this is where this request is of greatest importance, because it is here that we are called to know ourselves. This prayer, in secret, pulls out the skeletons itself, and confesses a need for redemption.

The most important thing about this request is not to make it a regular confession of a thorough malevolence of heart, implying the need for discomfort and scourging to overcome it, for Jesus is telling us here that God is merciful. It is more important to learn authentic humility because, as we have read elsewhere (Mat 11:29) “the meek and lowly in heart will find rest for their souls” which is a healing process. Everything else, as psychiatrists and psychologists will tell you, takes its toll of a stress-filled soul.

Shalom

His refute of atheism was not very impressive :stuck_out_tongue:

The guy talks like a rational person but the ended up being just another irrational christian in a great tuxedo

I’m amazed, Bob- about 95% of the most lucid, rational & well thought out posts I’ve read at ILP have your by-line! =D> Every time I think the gulf between atheists and people of faith is too wide to find any common ground, I only have to remember there are people like you in the world. Too many people want to box everyone into their preconceived notions (eg atheists have no concept of the numinous and theists are all dogmatic), but those labels tend to limit the discourse more often than they illuminate; most of the time they create more heat than light.

Hi Bob,
Maybe we should focus to more of a concise discourse concerning God, Jesus and Christianity:

What do you hope God’s purpose holds for you now and in the afterlife (if you feel there is any)?

Is the God described in the Bible (Old and New Testamet) one you would seek favor of?

Have you asked Jesus for redemption and salvation?

Does the role does Jesus’ teachings in the Bible direct your convictions in your life?

Is Christianity your choice religious direction?

All I require is a yes or no answer to these questions. We can get around to qualifying those answers later.

I suppose rationality is in the eye of the beholder. He speaks in subjective terms as do you.

I believe that life is given us to be (sein), in all of the diverse facets of that being. We are here, we are sentient, we are given our senses and we are given a wonderful organism to live in. In accordance with Genesis, our task is to find our position on our planet and to learn how to serve and guard life. I believe that the task we are given to show our maturity is to find our way back to quiescence in the presence of God which was before and is beyond the duality of good and evil.

I believe that there is a Way that leads into this life, which is shown to be developing through the ages in the Bible, with all of those pit-holes and traps along the path. As Jesus tells us, it has a narrow entrance and leads along a constricted way, “and few are the ones finding it”. I believe that there are also people finding this Way who are not traditionally members of the Temple or Churches, but have followed the signs they have been given in their own cultures. All the same, the path remains narrow, and it is not to be confused with the broad way that leads to ruin. I think there are things we can do which are detrimental to a life in the Way and that our modern life has been made so complicated, that it is easy to stray. Here I can only follow the parable of Jesus and understand that the figures he created to explain what the Realm of God is comparable to show me a Father looking out for his lost children.

Afterlife seems to me to be one of those things that are subject to hope. I observe that the universe has a dual-system, ones and zeros, on and off etc, and I just hope that when my life expires, that it isn’t just “off”, but that the quiescence I have looked for throughout my life will be given to me. In these questions I leave it to God, and don’t believe in order to “get to heaven”, but because I see that it is right and scriptures also bear witness to this.

We say that we have been created in the image of God, and I believe that to be so. I believe that we are in the favour of God, and as long as we do not become destructive and endanger his creation, we remain in that favour. There seem to be two ways of pedagogic correction:
1) by allowing things to go wrong to a certain degree, so that we realise that we are on the wrong path and turn back with an experience we won’t forget so quickly.
2) by having us reflect on what we are trying to achieve and whether our methods are suitable to those ends.
These are the best ways in which a child can come to its own conclusions and learn without having something crammed down their throat. If that is so amongst human beings, why would God not use such methods on us? I find that the God of the OT and the NT vary only in the experiences the authors were expressing, and that we have no complete vision. The way in which God is experienced colours the portrayal, but that colouring may have absolutely no bearing on the reality behind the experience.

Yes, and I meditate the Lords Prayer regularly in which that very petition is central. In fact, it was as I began meditating that I came to realise the whole power of that prayer which, up until then, had been simply recited by me with various degrees of sincerity. I actually do what Jesus says in Matt.6 with regard to prayer and it has changed my life.

Yes, more so than anyone else, including much of what is passed as theology and dogma. I find Jesus’ teaching according to the synoptic Gospels so direct and powerful that theology seems to just complicate the issue. John and Pauls Christology is another aspect of Christ that I am rediscovering since I was told of their connection, and they take the whole issue further, empowering the church to live without the Apostles as an ever present reminder of Jesus as he was. John and Paul universalised the whole movement, giving birth to some developments that were perhaps not so good, but only because their words were misused.

Yes. I can’t imagine anything else, and even if I were to live as a Buddhist, Christ would be continually present. However, I live from the spiritual lessons given me by any tradition. In fact, unfolding the discrepancies between traditions uncovers incredible insights we had lost out of view.

Shalom

Thanks, I misused the piece really as an answer here, but I’m pleased you liked it.

Shalom

If you think Christians need to be irrational, then he managed to do that.

I don’t think he understand much about the necessity of valid evaluation method to determine if a statement can be declared “true” or not.
Also, to declare a religion to be true, it requires all of the religion to be true.
I mean, you can’t have any logical fault in the given religion’s teaching.

If you think Christianity (or any other religion) managed to be ALL true in every aspect WITHOUT due rational evaluation, probably you are irrational.

Not much. :slight_smile:

I don’t think about future, much.
I don’t have notion of time, so much, either.
I don’t have lots of hope.
I am relatively comfortable in suffering.

I don’t care about the purpose in life.
I do as I feel like. Usually I respect laws, since I don’t feel like paying moeny to government or going into government housing.
Usually, I don’t cause lots of suffering to others because I prefer others to be more or less calm.

But I’m not always against suffering. For example, in the case of Aidan, I encourage him to suffer even more, as much as he can take.

Everything is subjective I guess…

Hi Bob.

I will regard this as a roundabout ‘Yes’'. We should not live our lives for the possible reward, rather treating people with respect, telling people of God’s love(if they so choose to listen) and be a testament for Him. Our hearts will receive the warmth of giving to others. That is reward unto itself. I would like to place a few scriptures concerning God’s promise in the afterlife:
John 14
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going
there to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that
you also may be where I am.
4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the
way?”
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through me.
7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know
him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a
long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the
Father’?
10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say
to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe
on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will
do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father

I will take this as a ‘Yes’ too. I would suggest that our conventions of lifestyle may not hold totally with God’s Will, but I would hope those contravening aspects of Christian behavior are enlightened to us so we may not repetitive in those actions. In regard to children being taught in all aspects of their life, love and understanding has to be the buttressing effect during those times. Being patient with children (even other adults) while explaining God’s place in our lives is utmost of importance. You mention God’s methods of dealing with people. His greatest gift in that vein is allowing us to have the free will to come to our own conclusions and choices. He also describes the consequences of those choices we make in the Bible too.

The wisdom of Matthew 6 stands out quite prominently. Prayer to God should be a personal one except in a convocation where all present are in concordance with what is being asked for (especially with humility and grace.

The Apostle’s part in the Bible in my estimation were supply their testaments and to show the struggles they encountered following Jesus’ admonishment of spreading The Gospels. Their importance lies in the convictions that were instilled into them by God’s Love. Paul I would summize was the least wanting to be a vessel where His Spirit could reside. In the beginning of the Bible’s depiction of (Saul) Paul, he was one of that largest denouncer of Christianity. Then, If I may, turned out to be God’s biggest advocate even with all of the iniquities he espoused before God touched his soul.

If by living as a Buddhist you mean to so in a plain and simple style, I can agree with that thinking. A lot of other religious sects coincide with goodness described in the Bible. Wisdom and good hearts don’t always come from the same spring.

Hi Nah,

Irrationality for Christians (or any other sect for that matter) would be viewed as such for people who don’t understand their reasoning being in that position. His evaluations are valid for him just like yours are for you. The problem is his page of ‘Why Christianity’ was not suffiecient for you to see the validity of it. For me, Christianity is the on religion which appeals to my mind and heart. While it is true if I were not subject to such and never introduced to another, I would probably hold to another. Thus, believing other religions that concern other than Christianity would be irrational for me.

Not knowing your present situation, I couldn’t comment on your statement.

Here again without knowing of your situation, I can offer no comment.

By the above statements it appears you have some ‘moral’ ilks to which you subscribe. If this isn’t the case, then the only thing I can summize is that you care not to cause yourself any undue stress or problems. Perhaps Aidan feels this is necessary in his existence.