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Thursday, May 17, 2007

From Evangelical Christian to Theological Agnosticism

(This post is a follow up to the previous post entitled Deconstruction At Work)

I have recently been given the suggestion to try and invite my readers into my spiritual journey that has led me to where I am today. The suggestion comes from one of my former college professors and friend, Dr. Gary Nebeker. I will try and keep it brief, and yet still try and accent the more vital points as they happen.

My Childhood
I grew up in what was probably the typical upbringing for my time. My dad was struggling in his self-employment and so my mom had to go back to work to try and make enough for ends to meet. I am the older of two kids. My dad also liked to work on cars and help out a friend of his who did body work for some amateur racers. My mom specialized in printed media.

We went to church almost every Sunday morning, usually also on Sunday nights, and then as we got older we attended youth group on Wednesday nights. That makes a regular three doses of religion a week for nearly 18 years. My first experience came when I was about 6 years old.

I remember sitting in the pews of Grace Baptist Church, thinking about other things, when suddenly I started listening to the Pastor. I heard him saying something about the need to ask Jesus into your heart or you would go to hell where there was fire and punishment that lasted forever. As a six year old I was pretty rattled by that and decided that I should probably do that so that I didn't have to go there. So with every head bowed, every eye closed, and everyone looking around I decided to stand there and repeat the prayer in my head of what he was saying. I didn't go forward or go talk to the pastor afterwards. Later that I afternoon I told my mom what I had done and she wanted me to tell my dad. I don't remember why it was so hard for me to, because I knew that this wasn't an issue that I'd get into trouble about, but I just had a really hard time telling him. I just sat on the floor and cried. I was scared and nervous, but after I told him I then felt better. Within a few weeks we started talking about baptism.

I wanted to be baptized because it seemed like the good and right thing to do. I had seen so many other people up on stage do it and it didn't seem like such a bad thing. So we talked to the pastor about it. When we talked it was just he and I. I don't remember my parents being there. We were in his office which seemed to be dark except for the light that was shining through the window. He asked me some questions and then he seemed to be satisfied so we went out and talked to my parents about it and set up a date for it to happen. The date came and I then got dunked.

The whole experience seemed a bit odd to me, but I was only six. I remember changing into the baptism robe, going into the tank, going under, and then getting out, drying off, and getting dressed. That was the end of that because afterward we were having an all church picnic outside which meant that there would be a lot of food and I could play. I do remember, though, the people who then congratulated me later on being baptized. I didn't really know why they were doing that or what it meant. I just said thanks and kept playing. Life after that was just "normal" stuff for a kid; school, playing, church, little league...etc.

We stopped going to Grace Baptist Church when I was probably in 5th or 6th grade.

Things did get a little more interesting for me as I approached the end of my Elementary School days. I experimented for the first time with smoking [cigarettes that my neighbor used to sneak from his mom or sister] and I had my first look at a dirty magazine.

As I got into Jr. High, I got into fights fairly regularly. Not because I was a rough kid, but mostly because I was either picked on for my size or I accidentally said the wrong thing at the wrong time. My grades were horrible because I didn't have much interest in school. I would have rather been out riding my skateboard or drawing something. I apparently liked the 6th grade so much that I did it twice.

In the meantime, we had left Grace Baptist Church and started attending Airport Baptist Church. I really don't remember why we left there but we did and so I had to get reacquainted with a new batch of people my age. We weren't there for very long though. We visited for about a few months and then found ourselves visiting another church on the other side of town, First Federated Church, this time it was non-denominational. We attended there for about a year or so but it was strange. The church was huge; I think the biggest in town at that time. They always put on the best Christmas and Easter musicals, and they were the first church that we went to that had a full band that played during worship...I mean brass, drums, strings, backup singers...the whole deal. I thought that was cool, but I didn't really have any friends there. There may have been 1 or 2 others that I went to school with at the time but we were all there for the same reasons- we all had to go there for our parents so we may as well have fun. At the time their youth pastor didn't really do anything for me, although we did later become friends when I was in college.

The only draw to that church for me at that time was this girl that I met whom I could have lived without. We eventually broke up, which didn't impact my world in the least. The timing worked out also that for whatever the reason was, our stint there was done. Next stop, Capital City Baptist. This is where things really get interesting.

Into Jr. High/High School
After shopping around for another church for a while we ended up landing at Capital City Baptist Church on Des Moines' north side. It was new and exciting. The building was new, the people were nice....and the girls were really good looking. I didn't have any friends there yet because no one from my school went there. I was now, at least a little more, interested in going to church. By this time, I had taken an interest in politics and this place was really Republican. They preached about Heaven, Hell, Sin, and all that stuff, but when they talked politics I was all ears.

When I was in 9th grade things really sucked. I was at a new school with only a few people that I knew. I still had very little interest in education and I didn't really want to be around a lot of people. As the year went on though I did find myself making friends and getting around a bit. My grades were really bad though, so that caused a lot of tension between my parents and I. I spent a good amount of time grounded. That year, the beginning of the spring of 1994, I went into a near suicidal depression. I decided to tell a close friend of mine about it. He then cared enough to tell one of the school counselors. Before I knew it, I was then called into her office and then later that day checked into the hospital. I then spent about 6-8 weeks in mental rehabilitation both inpatient and outpatient. I think that it was really needed because of the previous 14 years of angst that had built up inside of me. I got a chance to tell my parents things that I might not have otherwise had the chance to. I got to apologize to my sister for the mean things that I had done to her as we grew up. I even made things right with people from my past at that point. I really wanted to clean my life up. [Oh, I failed to mention my experimentation with inhalants right before this time]

I was diagnosed then with having Unipolar Disorder. That essentially equates to common mild/moderate depression. Manic thoughts with depressive manifestations. I was then prescribed the antidepressant Prozak. It really seemed to work so I went back to school to finish out the year and then summer came.

That summer we took a much needed family vacation out to the Northwest Coast of Washington and Oregon to visit family. At this point in my life I was able to enjoy it more than I ever had in the past. There was something about being in the country and in the mountains or on the beach that put me at ease, but before we went out there I met with a "spiritual renewal" counselor to see if he could help me with aftercare from my time in the hospital. We agreed to start meeting after my family returned from vacation.

While on vacation I became reacquainted with a cousin of mine. He and his wife were very dedicated Christians who were just trying to help me. They had heard about my depression and everything that goes with it, so they lent me an audio cassette that contained either a sermon or lecture on the subject of Spiritual Warfare. After listening to it I became intrigued at the idea of spiritual power and I quietly said a prayer one night asking that if Satan were real he would show me by giving me some of these powers that I had heard about. Nothing happened though. I didn't start worshiping him, I didn't kill any animals, I didn't spit on a Bible...nothing changed. I still went to church and sang the songs; everything stayed the same.

After we returned from our month long vacation I began to meet with my new Christian counselor. He was a nice guy who had 5 kids. He worked in real estate for his main job but did free Christian counseling at night. My dad had lived down the street from him when they were kids. I was also accompanied by another guy from our church whom my parents respected. I won't go into everything that happened there but I will say that we went through Neil T. Anderson's book The Bondage Breaker in about a week's time. At the end of the week I truly felt like I was a brand new person and my life did begin to change radically.

I now studied like never before. I read the Bible more in one summer than I did my whole life. I wanted to go to church. I threw away all of my secular music and books. I stopped watching movies with violence and bad language. I threw away old writings of mine that were of a non spiritual nature. I began to cut ties with my non Christian friends. Things were really different for me. It was really difficult for my parents though because they were fairly nominal in their faith. They began by hoping that this guy would help me, and now I had become a religious nut. My consistency in behaviour was also testimony enough to the psychologist that I could go off of Prozak.

When I returned back to the youth group at Capital City Baptist Church I got our family in trouble. I was now so "on fire" for God that I was looked at as a radical. I was often asked to meet with the pastors about things that they had heard me either asking questions about or teaching others. I spent many hours with them examining the Bible and debating various issues. Since it was still summer, I had the time to be able to devote 4-5 hours a day in Bible reading and study. The more I read and studied, the more questions I had that challenged their Baptist way of thinking. I was eventually more or less put on probation. Simultaneously, the Youth/Music Pastor had been trying to pursue my dad to get him to play the part of Peter in the upcoming Easter Cantata. My dad's work schedule was too busy so he declined. Now there we stood, I was "too spiritual" and my dad lacked "real dedication." Also while that was going on, the church began to divide over the issue of a building project that had been offered. Church politics got the best of everyone and this led to a split. We, and several other families, went off with a group headed by the guy who went to counseling with me and we then started Family Bible Church.

Family Bible Church was a cozy gig. It allowed us to be ourselves. We studied the Bible pretty intensely and had a very tight nit group. We really were like a family. Nothing cultish about it; we just all really worked together. We met in the pastor's home or other homes around town. We often had other get-togethers outside of regular church. My dad and I got to sing with some of the other guys, which we really liked, and it was just a great time. But eventually all good things come to an end. Whatever the reasons, my parents decided that it was time to find a new church.

This new church hunt was especially hard for me. I had now developed friendships with people at school from a very diversified spread of Christianity. Though we all had acceptance and tolerance for each other, all of my studies were leading me to a more Charismatic/Pentecostal/Word of Faith view of the Bible. My parents seemed pretty set on finding another Baptist church and I tried to encourage them to try not to limit themselves so much denominationally. But they knew that I had become more charismatic then they were. We finally ended up landing at an Evangelical Free Church by invitation of my grandparents who had gone there for about a year before we did. 10 years and an "almost divorce" later, my parents are still at that Church, but it's terribly yuppier now than it has ever been.

Anyways, our time at the Evangelical Free church was what could be expected. They taught about man's sin, his need for redemption through Christ, Heaven, Hell...all of the regular stuff. We were in agreement on Sin and Salvation, Biblical Inerrancy/Inspiration/Infallibility...but I came to find out that the Youth Pastor, and all the other pastors there, were Post Tribulational Rapturists...and what's worse; they were also Calvinists. I felt the friction, but it wasn't a big enough thing to ruffle me too badly. I did, however, often feel that there was a real lack of Bible study in youth group. So to compliment that I would often visit other churches on Sunday nights and Wednesday nights [mostly charismatic churches].

My parents grew in concern for my Pentecostal ways so they eventually had me meet with the Youth Pastor about it. We met several times for several hours discussing various issues really to no avail. I felt like the more we talked and the more I head his position, the more it only seemed to solidify my own. So following suit, I had begun to think about making plans to attend RHEMA Bible College in Tulsa, OK. Unfortunately, my dad told me that if I planned on going there that he would not support me financially or otherwise. I really struggled with what to do at that point.

A few months before that, I had what I was convinced was a vision from God concerning my future. I had the dream in my first round of sleep followed by what I felt was the interpretation in the 2nd round. The dream told me that "Under you, many shall fall by fire." I didn't know what that meant really. Would I be a revivalist? An Evangelist? A Preacher? I didn't know but I just knew that it would be something with power.

Then in the spring, I had received what I believed was another "message" from God. It wasn't a vision or an audible voice, but it told me to lay aside everything that I had been studying on my own and just prepare for what God was going to do. So I prayed about it and made the decision in early summer to go to Grace University in Omaha, NE. This was an exciting and scary adventure for me. After all, I would be moving to a new city and living on my own, learning about God in a Christian college...etc.

College was a great experience for me. It would have been better if I would have known more what I was doing. I met some great people, I had some good work experiences, I learned about money and the lack thereof. But more than anything I was challenged mentally in a way that I had not been before.

To make a long theological story short-
I went into college a charismatic- I came out more conservative [the college was conservative]
I went into college a fundamentalist- I came out a little more moderate [the college was fundamentalist]
I went into college an Arminian- I came out a hybrid-Calvinist [the college was more Calvinistic]
I went into college a Mid Trib Rapturist- I came out a Post Trib Rapturist [the college was mostly Pre Trib/Pre Mil Rapturist]

My second year at the college I didn't know that I had Sleep Apnea. Because of that, I was tired enough that I ended up missing enough of my classes that I was failing. My work was still completed in good quality but my grades dropped because of my lack of attendance. I ended up with less than a 1.0 GPA

After College
Later that summer I received a letter from the college asking that I consider not returning until I was able to perform in a more serious academic way. I had already decided though that I wasn't going back. I needed to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. You see, right before going into my Freshman year of college I had gone on a church mission trip to Mexico. I fell in love with the country, the language and the people. I really believed in my heart that I was being called to one day return there as a missionary. That is where my college education came in. I knew that it could probably get me there. But into my second year I started to find my interest shift toward sociology/anthropology/philosophy. Before I knew it, my desire for missions had slipped away.

So I'm now back at home after having decided not to go back to college. I just wanted something normal in my life. I wanted to get married. I wanted to find out why I was always tired even though I was sleeping so much. I wanted to get a regular job. I just wanted something normal like everyone else.

I do admit that during this time I felt burned out from the whole Christian college scene. I felt like there were people there who had hurt me in certain ways. I also felt like the academia of it all had temporarily sucked the spirituality out of me. I felt like it was permissible for me to take a "break" from it all, but I knew that it wouldn't last long.

Before I knew it I was back at my parent's church with them trying to find my place among those left there my age. It was hard though because the "College & Career" class never had consistent attendance of either people or frequency. So I found myself becoming part of other groups. I attended the Drake University college ministry groups, I even found another church that was more routine in people my age. [That's where I eventually met my wife] But it still seemed that no matter what I did, no matter what formula I tried to follow, that I just couldn't swing back into the same spirituality that I possessed in High School. I then found myself swinging to and fro from the trees of thought.

Why doesn't this seem to work? Where is God. Why am I not hearing from Him. What should I be doing differently? What if I would have made different choices? Have I messed up God's will for my life?

When I found no immediate answers to these questions I then started to find myself wondering if Christianity was the only way. Perhaps there is something else out there. Perhaps God has a place for everything in the the Universe. Maybe all of these various religions are just God's various avatars through time.......

I had all of these thoughts until one day when I was sitting in church. While I was debating with myself over these issues it seemed as though God quietly spoke to my mind and told me that the reason for my confusion was that I was looking from the wrong perspective. I was at the bottom looking up and I needed to be at the top looking down so that I could see how He sees. Fair enough, so the journey began again.

I got back into Bible study, prayer, fellowship, etc. I did feel a newfound sense of commitment to God again. It felt easier to forgive those who had hurt me. Forgive myself for doubting. Forgive my choices, and all the rest. I was back on the road to recovery...until a few months later when I started having doubts and questions about my faith. It was also around this time that my wife and I were getting ready to get married. She was a Christian during this time, but not very committed or strong in her faith. It wasn't until after we got married that I started to feed my doubt a diet based solely on my emotions and experience. My beef against Christianity was based on the previous two ingredients. I wanted to call myself an atheist but I didn't really know exactly what all that entailed.

Eventually though, once again I found myself swinging back to biblical reasoning only this time it seemed like it was with more fervor and passion. I wanted to retrace my steps, and the steps of Christianity through history. This search led me to read more of the Bible, more history books, more apocryphal literature, etc...and I began to see that there was more to historic Christianity than just being a Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Reformed, etc. What I began to see initially was just how different the modern church appeared to be from the early Christian Church. As a reaction I started to wonder just what all happened that took it so far from its roots, and how can I try and recapture some of that authenticity in my life. The problem with that approach though is that reconstruction requires deconstruction....and we are really not fully capable of achieving that the way we think we can. So once again I found myself setting off on a new trail in my search for truth and direction.

Initially my studies showed me that some of the pet doctrines that are held to today have evolved somewhat since they first began. That's become a very large looming problem with religion in general- the metamorphosis through time. One of the first areas that I began to see this in was the area of Dispensationalism and Eschatology. I believed very firmly in a "Rapture" that would one day take all of us Christians home...but then I started to see how the whole idea of such a concept didn't really originate, or at least become more widely accepted until between 1830-1850. It was a relatively new doctrine that was initially rejected, but now very widely accepted. So after more study and listening to many formal debates on the subject I came to hold more of a Reformed Partial Preterist/Amillennial view.

The second major area was that of Final Retribution. I had once believed in such a thing as a literal Hell with real fire and real torture that literally lasted forever and ever. Through more study of both the Bible as well as historical and literary research I came to settle with my new belief that the Bible both supported and taught Annihilation in its pure and original context. But in order to arrive at that conclusion I had to first abandon the notion of reading the Bible as being 100% inspired and literal. The second thing I had to do was be open to extra biblical sources to help me determine the meanings of words.

I then hit a nerve in myself one day when I asked myself how exactly should I read the Gospels. Should I read them in their raw form and accept them at face value and assume that every word is timeless, or should I try and keep them in their historical and cultural context? Perhaps look at them as going back over court records or something like that; words that must be left only within the context of their time and place. I finally came to settle on the notion that Jesus probably said what he said in his day because of the things he was up against....but if he delayed his first coming until today the words and issues might be very different. That then allowed me to be able to remove that much more of the requirements to read the Bible literally in all regard. It allowed me to stop looking at the Gospels as historical records and consider them to possibly be more liturgical in nature.

The bottom line was just that I could no longer rely on all of the tradition and formal training that I had previously received. So many ideas, in light of stepping outside of the box that had been set for me, begged so many additional questions in my mind. So in my continued search for answers I thought that the best way to find out what Christians believed was to listen directly to Christians. I then scoured the Internet for whatever reading material or recorded debates/conversations/lectures on any and every possible subject. It only led me deeper into confusion and frustration. I found that all of these various people, who all claimed to be followers of the same God seemed to be describing very different gods in their presentations. I found that these students of the Bible, who were all supposedly filled with the same Holy Spirit that leads to ultimate truth, were all led in different directions. So many chasms, disagreements, nuances, was an extreme source of confusion, especially since many of their arguments were compelling, and based on scripture. So I found myself then almost back to square one. My conclusion then became that we all needed to ultimately define what Biblical Truth was for ourselves and then just personally live according to it. No need for debate, strife, disagreement; you do your thing and I'll do mine. But I still couldn't find what exactly mine was.

The icing on the cake for me was that January of 2006, after feeling a sense of depression for about 5 or 6 months, I finally went to the doctor and was put on prescription antidepressants. In trying to properly assess why I was depressed I simply could not make sense of it. Was it because of my sin? I wasn't hiding anything. Was it because of someone else's sin? I didn't think God worked that way. Was it so that God could show his glory? What does that mean anyways? Depending on who I talked to about it, I would get varying answers. I had my own little "Friends of Job" society.

Eventually in my studies I started seeing interesting things. The biggest issue was that in order to make sense of the total message of Christianity you had to first accept its tenets and then you would begin to understand its doctrine. In other words, you couldn't just pick up a Bible and come to these main doctrinal conclusions on your own, you had to be shown them either by someone else or by the Holy Spirit to begin to understand them. So I wanted to try and step back a bit and trace things back to the beginning.

I found that in order to understand Paul you need to understand Jesus. In order to understand Jesus you needed to understand the law and the prophets. The problem here was that the more I studied the law and the prophets, the more I saw their inability to stand on their own. I saw that even within Judaism, of which Christianity was supposed to be based on, there was much debate as to the meaning and purpose of their own scriptures. I read a lot on the possibilities of the stories of Creation, The Flood, Job, Jonah...all of these stories being myth and not fact; according to ancient reliable rabbis. If they are myth then how can we know whether or not to trust them?

So what have my studies since proven? I have come to have many suspicions about the Apostle Paul really being a true follower of the real teachings of Christ. He only quotes the words of Christ 3 times in his letters. The rest of his writings seem to be extremely mystical with regard to doctrine and a surface retracing of his Old Testament citations shows them to be either sincerely misunderstood or out of context. He was initially a solitary teacher of his mysteries. Jesus' appearing to Paul could not be fully verified even from the Bible's account. The accounts of the encounter in the book of Acts have two conflicting stories. There is really no more apparent reason to believe that Paul has any more credibility than Joseph Smith.

Who was Jesus really? We have 4 main Gospel accounts [at least the ones that made the final cut] that each have some discrepancies in their stories and their dating. It is therefore suspect that any of the original disciples actually finished writing any of them. It seems, given the time period, that there is probably truth mingled with legend. It is very likely that the original document that the Gospels are fashioned after is called Quelle or Q. It is a collection of only the sayings of Christ. That very well may have been the source document but recent archeology cannot provide any sure fire evidence for its existence. At any rate, when you take into account the contents of each Gospel account and compare it to its dating for origination, you will find that as time went by the stories did get a little more elaborate. And if we can accept these Gospels as they are, then why couldn't we accept all of the other Gnostic or extant Gospels and miscellaneous writings as also being true? They too contain mysterious and odd sayings and doings of Christ.

But just assuming that Jesus really did say and do everything that is recorded, how does it square with the Old Testament? It really doesn't. It is apparent that there is a real disconnect between how the people of his day interpret their Bible and how he does. He comes along and completely turns the tables upside down on everyone with "new teaching" as they often call it. Now, I think it would be extremely difficult to try and imagine being alive in those days to see all of this happening but what we can assume is that a reasonable doubt in those days would probably lead people into question by default. Jesus never directly claimed to be born of the virgin nor did he ever directly claimed to be God. Our modern hermeneutics would teach us that we can fairly conclude that he did, but I find that to be unfair to the text. It is also very unfair to the text to suggest his coming as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. That is the difficulty with prophecy; it is extremely vague and claims of fulfillment lie solely in ones ability to interpret hindsight subjectively or presuppositionally. There is never any way to be able to fairly test external realities against spiritual claims of this nature.

Over all, I found/am finding that the biggest difficulty that I have with all of this is the level of intellectually dishonesty among many religious people. They often believe that the burden of proof is on others to prove that Christianity is wrong, rather than the burden of proof being on them to show it as being right; and their ace in the hole for dealing with this tension is "faith." The commodity of faith becomes the get-out-of-jail-free card. This can be especially evident with many issues pertaining to how the invisible qualities of God are clearly made known through Creation. Paul is speaking of still fallen creation at this point, and yet the clear characteristics of nature are contrary and inconsistent with what is revealed in the Bible. So how does one acquire even such general revelation through nature?

Many of these issues stem back to the advice that was given to us by our College President, who was a very fine man. "Think Critically" was what we heard whenever he spoke. Thinking critically has now brought me to this place. It is amazing how much different things look without the cloak of presuppositionalism or assumed indoctrination. When all one has are the naked pieces of evidence before him, it is hard to naturally come to such an elaborate conclusion such as Evangelical Christianity.

My conclusion thus far is this- At this point, with the evidence that I have before me, I must concede to theological agnosticism. If everything about Christianity is true, then I would have to concede to 5 Point Calvinism which believes that faith stands apart from reason and is only given to an isolated number of indiscriminately elected individuals, of whom I am apparently not one of them.

None of this is an attempt at trying to hurt anyone's faith, just simply an account of how I have progressively lost mine. If I had the time I would attempt to be much more concise and thorough in my examination of these and other issues...but for now I think that will be enough.

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Blogger Steve AKA->BibleDude said...

Hmmm, we have talked on the phone in a small way about this...You may remember that story, I will not go into it here.. other than to say I ended up in my twenty's as an agnostic.. hell bent to prove the bible wrong, incorrect.. misquoted.... mistranslated... -did I leave anything out...Oh, yeah.. uninspired! And the work of man.....

It is a journey of one.. You can not take your friends...Mom can not help nor can Dad.. Wife's are great to talk to but, it boils down to you and that entity we the Holy Spirit...

I can not tell you how many years it was before I met it...and I can not describe that meeting.. nor can my wife tell me about her experiences when it visits her (it visits her a lot more than me, THAT I can tell you...

I can tell you this.. what a ride....!!!

And, that sounds so stupid.. so corny.. so much .... BULL!!!!
I do not blame you for not believing it has happened... MY answer to those that told me the above story during my agnostic days was... lair!!! What drug you on.. I want some....!!!

Keep questing. Bro..


May 18, 2007 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger McPilgrim said...

I love the honesty of your post. That's quite a path you've been on.

From this reader's view, it looks like you've been burned by people who are drawn to the religion built in the name of Jesus, rather than interacting with people who find themselves with the god/man Jesus. And it looks like you've gone the same direction in your own thinking: "What do all these people say?" rather than "What does Jesus say?"

Would it be too bold to suggest that you ignore the people, or at least the ones that don't know you, and ask Jesus who he is? Or maybe ask who he wants to be to you? Or since the Holy Spirit wants to "lead [you] into all truth," you could ask him to do that for you.

The centerpiece of Christianity isn't the "ianity" (or the "-i[n]anity"), it's person of Jesus. And He likes paradoxes.

Love the thoughtfulness that you present; found the article about your daughter very touching. She's a rich young lady! Congratulations!

June 26, 2007 at 8:38 AM  
Blogger The Raging Paradoxidation said...

Hi McPilgrim,

Thanks for visiting my blog. I've got a pretty small audience. :-)

I appreciate the attitude of your questions. You seem like a very humble person for whom I'd probably have the utmost respect.

I will admit that part of me is suffering from being burned by others. But I also admit to knowing some of the most caring and wonderful people ever who are Christians.

I also admit that you are partly right in some of your assessment of the nature of my questions. The snag, however, is that when it comes to the question of "what does Jesus say" I feel that the world is at a loss. The first instance of question is what all happened between the time that he lived and the time that the authors began writing things down about him? I know that memories can change and myths can develop in 30 to 40 years rather easily. Then what happened between the original writings and what we have today? Even the modern Bibles suggest/admit that there are passages that were later added or that have been taken away. So what does Jesus say? Whatever he did say, I get the feeling that he was greatly misunderstood.

Thanks for the comments about my post relating to my daughter. She is actually turning 4 today. Wow, how the time flies by! We can't afford to blink...


June 27, 2007 at 4:37 PM  

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