To the Christian preachers that seek to come to campus in hopes of converting students by using such outlandish tactics (such as the fellow speaking the previous week during elections), please stop embarrassing my Lutheran thought process on the Christian religion.
What I don’t find impressive is the tactics that are being used that seek to point out shame and evil in order to promote repentance. What happened to the clever Christians who amended pagan viewpoints and traditions and molded it into the Christian ideal? Why can we not find a more modern perspective towards Christianity? Rather than engage in a terribly long debate, I just want to briefly point out contradictions.
Why are we afraid of contradictions? I feel contradictions should be taken as a sign that we as a religion can accept that we do not have all the answers. It shows that a religion is vibrant, diverse, and at least willing to amend certain secondary ideas in order to promote a primary idea. We just supposedly know the basic ones, and that will work just fine.
Supposedly, there is this need to reconcile the so-called controversy between the two creation stories (supposedly there are two versions as to how the earth was created…I really don’t care to dive into it) and the author of some thesis-like pamphlet wishes to argue that the 7-day version is true while the Garden of Eden is a summary of the first version.
If that is the rationale that was used to convince the early peoples of 2000 years ago, than I must seriously question the intelligence of these so called civilized peoples. You have Greeks with their philosophical debates that were added to by the Romans and we came up with that excuse to convert people? It is a disgrace to the accomplishment of Christianity in trying to reason with people. Then again, that would later explain the need for the Crusades; clearly we had to eradicate a group of people who said “that argument makes no sense.”
To borrow one of my favorite quotes from Lewis Black, “I would love to have the faith to believe that it took place in 7 days. But I have thoughts, and that can really **** up the faith thing, just ask any Catholic priest.” So again, here is what I say to this disillusioned campaigner: Yes, God empowered man through the Holy Spirit to write the Bible and the creation story.
However, being that the early writer didn’t have the wherewithal to explain genetics and mutations (probably because the words didn’t exist at the time!) they did the best that they could. And to put all that evolution story down as is…it sounds like biology majors trying to master their entire degree program in 7 days…clearly, they are going to miss a few points and key terms.
Look at the 7-day story. It is like a very rough outline of evolution…why can’t the Bible predict evolution? Why can’t God say, well…they won’t understand now, but in 2000 years, they will understand that I made the earth through evolution? Does that sound unreasonable? Supposedly you say that the Bible has made 300 or so prophecies. Why can’t we have another prophecy today about evolution being partially explained 5000 years ago? Now that would be pretty awesome.
As for the second story, how about this….the first 7-day story was probably about 5 million years or something like that. In that time, humanity has progressed and populated the earth until about 5000 years ago, God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Rather than thinking Adam and Eve are the first humans, we could say that they are the first imperfect humans (although, given that humans are prone to errors, they are in fact the first humans….kind of works out really well actually). It helps explain how the Earth could be populated (especially after Cain killed Abel…or Abel killed Cain…I can never remember who did what).
The point being, that sounds much more rational than the poor excuse of a summary that is defined by this individual. Yes, it destroys the idea of the Sabbath thing, but I am sure we can still just take a day to celebrate God or worship or whatever is required for that day. Either way, the point being is that we need to rationalize and be more modern with our abilities to expressing our faith.
As for the issues regarding competing with other religions and faiths, this is what I say to the matter: I don’t care. I have no sovereign right towards forcibly telling someone that they are rebelling against God. Rather, I have the right to only deal with my issues and deal with that. That is why I am pro-choice and quite liberal about such issues regarding gay rights and the like. Clearly, I don’t have the right to tell someone how they should live.
Personally, I think we got a few things wrong on the matter. I think we should re-examine issues like gay marriage in respect to the Bible. After all, if a group of individuals can decide what goes into the Bible or not, I think that it should be open to amendments later on. Why? Because I don’t think these individuals are much different from us…
I think they are just a group of people trying to create a cohesive religion and are trying their best to make something work around a central tenant of faith. It is like any political group, some things have to be compromised (and yes, some pieces were compromised). It exists today. My Bible does not have the story of the Maccabees in it about Hanukkah. I wish I had that story in my Bible. But it is in the Catholic one, sadly.
For me, this is how I approach the religion aspect: In dealing with other beliefs, I ask one thing…just try to be a good person. By being a good person, just don’t interfere with whatever rights and privileges that I have and I will do my best to not infringe on yours. You may be right in your beliefs (and judging by our cracker-jack PR campaign, I am becoming more certain that you are right), and if you are, at least put in a good word for me so that I may not be condemned to hell or whatever the case may be.
If by some miracle that I am right, I will most certainly put in a good defense for you as well. And if the atheists are right…well, than we don’t have to worry about a thing. As for my stance on Christian values, this is what I stick with: Just have faith and you are fine. That is my central tenant, just believe that some guy came back from the dead in 3 days to save me from hell and that is it.
All the stuff about following other laws, I will try as best as I can to follow those tenants without imposing them upon other individuals. If there is a conflict, I defer to my earlier statement about respecting the sovereignty of others in hopes that God will forgive me for respecting (or rather loving) my peers. I am just trying to do what you (or it or I am) wants me to do. Perhaps the rest of us should at least adhere to that principle.
So if you still feel the need to try to influence someone’s sovereign decisions to be more adept to your profound Christian belief…fine. But stop debilitating my religion with our out-dated scare-mongering and ignorant propaganda. It is not working. You are scaring them away and by scaring them away, you are making them rebel against God and go to hell.
Do you really want them to go to hell? Don’t think an eternity of doubt about your poor tactics might just ruin that wonderful paradise that you so firmly believe you will receive? If you truly care about wanting to promote your agenda, try to be like your predecessors and actually adapt to the changing times.