Sunday, October 16, 2011

Examined Christian Faith 'The Most Shocking Thing Ever Said' 2.4 What is Christainity

Now there are those who protest to Christians, could anything happen against the will of a God who is all powerful and knowing?   I personally think that someone who is a parent would never consider asking such a question.  As a case in point my daughter knows exactly what I expect of her, and what I will accept and not accept.  But it does not mean that she follows my wishes, even though my wishes for her behavior and choices are in fact what is best for her.  For example to roll it back a few years, when she was small I maintained a strict policy that I would never clean up her room, that she had to keep it clean herself.  Does not mean it was always clean, frequently it was not.  Anyone who knows me knows I would have preferred it to be kept tidy, but on the other hand it was my will to let my daughter live in a messy room if she so chose.  

The same thing happens everywhere you look, at work, school, church, elections,  everywhere… when you make something voluntary there is always going to be a significant portion of the population who will chose to not do it, even if they know it is in their best interest to do so (seatbelts anyone?).  Thus it is obvious that God created us with free will because He wanted us to choose good.  However, anything that can choose good is also capable of choosing bad; it is the gift of free will that made evil possible.   I have heard people argue that everything is preordained, that there is in actually no free will, but when you look at it from the eyes of God, why would He want to create a world of creatures that were like robots?  It would be pointless to create such a world.  The happiness that God desires for us is the happiness of being freely united to Him and know a love that makes the love between a man and a woman pale in comparison, for that to occur, we must be free to choose.

God knew what would happen, God knew that the vast majority of those He created in His image would rebel  and use their freedom in the wrong way, but it would seem that God thought it worth it, even if only one chose God’s preferred way.  You may disagree with Him, but as He is the source of all your reasoning ability, you could no more be right and He wrong then it would be for a waterfall to flow upwards instead of downwards.   I marvel at the pure arrogance of those who choose to say “yes, but I think it would be better if…”  to argue with God is arguing with the one who gave you the very power to argue, but go right ahead and cut of f the branch you are sitting on if that is your choice.

But it makes much more sense to consider the fact that if God thinks that this state of civil war in the universe is worth it, for giving us the choice of free will, that is to make creatures who can do amazing good or horrific harm, where something truly important can happen, instead of just a toy world where he pulls all the strings, then I will go right  along with it.   The better stuff that a creature is  made of, the freer they are,  thus the better it will be if we chose right, and the worst it will be if we go wrong.  A chicken can not be very good or bad, a dog can be both better and worst,  a child even more so, still even more an adult human… but best or worst of all would be a super spirit.

Which brings us to the Dark One , the Devil, how did he go wrong?  All we have to do is look at ourselves to answer that.  As soon as you have a sense of self, there is the possibility of putting yourself first, wanting to be the center – wanting to be your own god.  That was Satan’s sin, and the sin he taught the human race.  He put into the heads of our ancestors the idea that they could be like god, be masters of themselves, and invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside of God.  Therein you see the history of the human race,  out of that hopeless attempt to find something other than God that will make us happy,  has come all the evil that has ever existed in the world, money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, adultery, economic classes, empires,  slavery….

But like a car is made to run on gasoline (okay the newer ones run on electricity) it will not run properly on milk, or water, neither can humankind.  We were created to run on God.   That is why those who ask god to make them happy without bothering about religion, or doing as God wills for us, is a fools errand; God cannot give us peace and happiness apart from himself, because it is not there.  There is no such thing. 

Every civilization ever built has always encountered the same exact problem, some fatal flaw always brings the most selfish and cruel people to the top, and it all slides back into misery and ruin.  Look around the American landscape today, and you will see it being played out again, as far down as the American family, we praise those who are selfish and cruel, and neglect those who choose God’s path.  They all try to run on the wrong fuel.  That is what Satan has done to the human race.

So what did God do?  First he left all of us with a conscience, the unshakable sense of right and wrong; second He sent the entire human race the same good dream, look at the history of the worlds religions, scattered all through the religions is a god who dies and comes to life again and by his death, somehow, someway gave new life to men.  Third, He chose one particular group of people and over hundreds of years, hammered into their heads the sort of God He was and that there was only one of Him, and that He cared about right choices, right behavior, and right conduct.   You have read the account of the hammering process, if not pick up the Old Testament and begin reading.

Then when mankind least expected it came the real shock. A man suddenly turns up among these same people who goes about talking as if He was God.  He claims to forgive sins; He says He has always existed, and that He is coming to judge the world at the end of time.  You need to understand, this man was claiming be from outside the world, who had made the world.   When you grasp that you realize that what this man said was quite simply the most shocking thing that has ever been said. 

There is one of His claims that seems to slip by us, because we have heard it so often.  His claim to forgive sins, any sin.  Now unless the one saying that was God, it is so preposterous as t be comical.  I mean you can understand how I can forgive the person who injures me, or steals my money; but what are we to think of a man who is not injured or un-robbed, who announces that He forgave you for robbing from me?  I can think of several words, that I should not type that would best describe that conduct.  However this is exactly what Jesus did.  He told people that their sins were forgiven if they repented from them.   He did not ask those who had been harmed, or injured, He behaved as if the sin was primarily against Himself.   This only makes sense if He really was God, and whose laws were broken and whose love wounded in every sin.   If anyone who was not God spoke those words they would be ridiculed as the utmost of conceit unrivaled by anyone in history.  

Yet (and this is really strange) even His enemies, when they read the bible do not get the impression of silliness or conceit.  He was a man that claimed to be humble and meek and we believe Him, but if he were only a man, humility and meekness would be the last characteristics we would attribute to Him.  

One cannot say that they are willing to accept Jesus a great moral teacher, but not accept His claim to be God.  There is only one of two possibilities.  A mere man who said the things that Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher, He would be the biggest lunatic ever to walk the face of the earth,  a man who would make the most insane appear sane.   No, you must make your choice, either Jesus was, and is the Son of God, or a madman.  You can call him a fool, and ignore him completely, you can spit at him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But you cannot come up with the patronizing dribble about His being a great moral teacher.  He did not leave that option open to us.  Nor did He intend to.  

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