Thursday, October 6, 2011

Examined Christian Faith 'TheGreat Divisions' Part 2.1 What is Christianity

If this is where you are picking up at, I would ask that you go back to the first post in this series and begin to read from there.  You will do yourself a great disservice if you begin here.  As I made it clear that in religion, as in everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it.  However if you look for the truth, you may find comfort in the end.  If you look for comfort, you will get neither comfort nor the truth; only a cuddly dog of wishful thinking to begin with, and in the end….  Despair.

So what is Christianity?  There are two major divisions within the human race.  The first big division is between those (the majority) who believe in some kind of God or gods, and those (the minority) who do not.  Now if you are the later (an atheist) you need to persuade yourself that most of the human race has always been wrong about the question that matters most.  However, if you are a Christian, you realize that all the other religions, even the strangest ones, contain at least a small gain of truth.  But do not misunderstand, just as in math, there can only be one correct answer and all of the others are wrong.  Christianity is right and they are wrong, some are closer to being right then others, but they are still wrong.  Again, I get ahead of myself.

The second big division is between those who believe in God and what sort of god they believe in.  All various views can be broken down into two main divisions, those who think that God is beyond good and evil (as best as I can understand this view is held by the Hindus), and those who hold that God is absolute goodness, or righteous (Jews, Muslims, and Christians).  Those who hold the idea that God is beyond good and evil, claim that we humans call one thing good and another evil, but that is only the human point of view.  That the wiser you become the better you are to understand that everything is good in one manner, and evil in another.  Depending upon your point of view.  Thus while we call cancer bad, because it kills people, you could call a doctor bad, because he kills cancer.  It is just a matter of your viewpoint.  Usually people who hold this view also hold the other idea that God animates the universe as you animate your body.  In essence, if the universe did not exist neither would God.  They hold that everything in this world is a part of God.  A person who holds this view of God would say when dealing with a person who is an adulteress, or while walking through a slum “If you could only see it from the divine point of view, you would realize that this is also God”.  However if you think some things really are bad, and God really is good you cannot agree with any of that, a likely response to them would be “Quit being stupid.’

The Christian idea quite different, they believe that God created the universe like a painter creates a painting, if the paining were to be destroyed the painter does not die; like the architect of a house he is not part of the house, but you know he designed the house.  Christians believe that God created the world, that space, time, hot and cold; all the colors all the animals, plants, smells and tastes are things God created out of his mind.  Yet, the Christian also thinks that a lot of things have gone wrong with the world as a result of humankinds freewill; and that God insists and insists very loudly that we put them right again.  

For the atheist this raises a big question.  If a good God made the world, why has it gone wrong?  How could the universe seem to be so cruel, and unjust?  They will spend hours on end debating that very point, instead of asking the simple question that lies beneath it.  How did they get the idea that it is cruel and unjust?  You don’t call a line crooked unless you have some idea of what a straight line is.  What are they comparing the universe to?  If all of it is bad, unjust and meaningless, and they are part of it (so to speak) why would they think it bad, cruel and unjust?  In other words, when I go to the beach and jump in the water, I feel wet (because I am not a water animal); however all of the fish who live in the ocean do not feel wet. 

In the end, atheism is too simple, if the entire universe has no meaning, we should not have found out that it has no meaning.  Just as if there were no light on earth, and therefore there were no creatures with eyes, we would not know that it was dark.  Darkness would be meaningless. 

A great book that is easy to read and understand regarding this subject is "Unless I See... Is there enough Evidence to Believe"   by Patrick Zukeran

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