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My last (previous) post, titled “They Just Don’t Get Us,” got more of a response than I had anticipated.  The article was only concerned with the growing rejection of Christianity (and Christians) by American society.  The comments that were posted by readers were mostly concerned with Christian hypocrisy and its effect on the cultural perception of Christianity itself.  But as I think about the subject more, I’m more intrigued with the intellectual part of the equation.

I’m not a theologian, but I am a Christian who understands most of the fundamentals of his faith and is committed to learning more in time.  Let me air out some ideas here, and please do me the favor of sharing your feedback.

Understanding Christianity and its precepts requires first that an individual adopt the meaning of the proverb, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5) and it also requires us to accept, if only temporarily and for the sake of argument, that all truth is dependent on the Creator’s point of view, not ours.  Jesus has many names, and Truth is one of the most important.  As Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (John 14:6)  We aren’t just talking about a name, either – we’re talking about Jesus’ very identity.  That’s one challenge that many people can’t get past.  They want to be their own truth, rather than accepting a higher power.  We, on the other hand, accept that Jesus is one with the all-powerful, all-knowing, supernatural God (John 10:30) and that all truth and logic is grounded in Him.  That’s our perspective, our paradigm, from which we view the world around us and interpret the knowledge available to us.

It’s too simplistic to say that you have to first believe, and then you’ll understand and your belief will be justified.  But it’s in the same neighborhood with the truth.  Unfortunately, some people have tried to present Christianity with that rationale, and it has a tendency to make us look like fools.  The Western World likes confidence and it likes certainty.  It appreciates precise language, empirical proof, and unbeatable arguments.  What it doesn’t like is ambiguity on intellectual matters.  And yet one of the most basic (and positive) things we have to offer is an acknowledgement of our intellectual limitations.

What I’m really getting at here is the idea that in order to be at peace with God, we need to acknowledge His superiority and our flawed nature.  Once we incorporate that truth into our worldview, we find that we’re far more able to harmonize what we think we know with what the Holy Bible tells us.

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4 Comments

  1. Yes, Christianity is much more existential than most people think. Kierkegaard discussed the “leap to faith.” Christianity has to transcend rational thought and rely on faith. If it was an easy decision, something that anyone could plainly see and prove, it wouldn’t have value. The decision to believe in the face of uncertainty is what makes it valuable. Doubt is always there, but one has to fight through it. The story of Abraham and Isaac is a good example. I think what has happened in America is that we have given up faith for the objectivity and rationality of science. We want things proven to us, so we don’t have to think and make those tough decisions. We want to be right all the time without having to do the work. This hubris can be seen in any number of our national institutions.

  2. PS, As an Australian I find nothing “humble” whatsoever about the usual loud-mouthed Republican “true believer”.

  3. John, do you actually know any “true believers?” Or are you just dealing in vague stereotypes from a great distance?

  4. Um… Where did the “Republican” comment come from? I didn’t know this was about politics.


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