Our Tiny Perceptions
It seems like a strange and impossible thing. Supposedly rational and competent people, at least people who see themselves as rational and competent, self destruct. Why?
In the last two posts, we have considered the choice God gives us (GOD GIVES US A CHOICE) and the insane behavior that results when we refuse God’s offer of salvation (IF YOU GIVE A MAN ENOUGH ROPE, HE’LL HANG HIMSELF). Here we will consider as best we can why people would choose to behave self-destructively.
In the last post, IF YOU GIVE A MAN ENOUGH ROPE, HE’LL HANG HIMSELF, we received comments that indicated Christians lack respect for the truth. That is not true.
John 4:23-24 New King James Version (NKJV)
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
scatterwisdom made an observation that some misconstrued.
February 12, 2015 at 11:46 am
Thank your for your reply and your time that you obviously expended to answer my question. However, no one really does know and may I suggest when it comes the matter of faith beliefs, it is a mystery and “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” Tom sees the beauty in his beliefs in faith. What do you see in yours I wonder?
In truth, there is a limit to what we can prove. Because our minds are finite, we can only grasp so much information and process it. So we MUST TO PICK AND CHOOSE OUR FACTS and decide what we want to believe. asked john zande if he saw beauty in his beliefs. However tildeb and took ‘s comments to mean he did not respect the truth, but he did not say that. He merely said (here) that “which beliefs are truth is a matter of choice.”
We choose to believe about God what we choose, but that does not make what we believe true. Our choice says how we each define the truth, but we do not know the whole truth. God is infinite and His universe is infinite. How can we know the whole truth about either God or His creation? We can only know God through what our hearts tell us must be true, what the Bible tells us about Him, and the wonder of His creation. We cannot sense God directly, and we see too little of His creation to say we know very much.
Each of has our own restricted point-of-view. We can see, hear, feel, smell, and taste tiny little bits of His creation, and what we each perceive is our reality. Technology and sharing our perceptions with each other allows us to perceive a bit more. Yet no matter what we do what we can perceive and understand is only a tiny portion of what there to be known and understood. Hence, our limited ability to reason must fail us. At some point we must guess at what is important. Then we must trust our heart and choose the truth in which we find the most beauty.
Because each human heart is unique, we each have different loves. Therefore, only some of us will choose to find and believe in the grace and truth that is in the Bible. Should that surprise us? No. Jesus said this would happen.
Matthew 10:34-39 New King James Version (NKJV)
Christ Brings Division
34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Other Posts In This Series
- Part 2 => The Problem Of Pride
- Part 3A => Examples Of The Failure Of “Reason” Part A: SEX
- Part 3B => Examples Of The Failure Of “Reason” Part B: STUFF and STATE
- Part 3C => Examples Of The Failure Of “Reason”: SELF
This thread seems to have righted itself after some unfortunate unpleasantness and turned into an intelligent exchange of ideas and opinions. Thanks to Keith, John Z and others.
I still don’t know why OT inerrancy is viewed as an essential predicate for Christian faith by some folks, but Matthew hints at why he is made uneasy by the notion: He thinks that Jesus would not have referred to the Hebrew Bible unless Jesus (who, by Trinitarian Christians, is viewed to be one and the same as God) knew it to be literally accurate. I’ve noted before that Jesus spoke allegorically on many occasions (he is, in fact, famous for so doing), and that he also was, in his human form, planted in a specific culture, region and time that was imbued with these stories. I do not find it at all incongruous that he would use references to the prevailing teaching literature of the time in his own mission. Nothing Jesus is reported to have said in Scripture contradicts the idea that the OT stories are teaching tools or didactic myths. Certainly it does not follow that if Hebrew Bible stories such as the creation story are allegory, Jesus himself is, as Matthew fears. The historicity of Jesus is pretty much indisputable.
My own view is that it is quite possible for the Old Testament to be a collection of writings, some grounded in verifiable history, some not, that includes myths and yarns from an ancient culture that ultimately was the setting for the life of Jesus. There can be immense wisdom and truth in a myth, and my faith is in no way dependent on assuming that the world was created in 6 24-hour days or that the world was 6,000 years old. In that sense, at least, my Christianity can take a good bit more buffeting than Matthew’s, whose Christianity depends, precariously, on every word of a man-written Bible being literally accurate.
scout – What is the point of getting into a discussion of whose faith is stronger?
Why do I shy away from arguing about whether some parts of the Bible should be interpreted literally? The apostles did not encourage debates over side issues, and Christianity has relatively little do with these things. Is the Bible true? Is the Old Testament true? Yes, but that doesn’t mean we understand or know how to interpret all of it.
Some of the controversies are pointless. Consider that some scholars date prophetic books of the Old Testament after the dates of the events of the things they prophesied. Why? They don’t believe in prophesy. How do we argue with that? They are the “experts” so they get to date the books, right? We can find scholars with differing opinions, but when it gets into the weeds too few of us have the time to honestly evaluate the merits of such a discussion.
What matters? That is what the apostles preached about. Jesus died for our sins. Then He rose from the dead. How did Jesus rise from the dead? I don’t know. He is God, not me. But it is the fact that He rose from the dead that gives me confidence that my sins have been forgiven. If I can believe that, then I can accept the parts of the Bible I don’t understand.
If we cannot accept the fact Jesus rose from the dead, then….. Well, here is what the Bible says:
So is the fact that the historicity of Jesus is pretty much indisputable important? Yes, but what is critical is whether Jesus rose from the dead. That’s one reason there are four Gospels, not just one. That’s why the New Testament speaks so much of Christ’s rising from the dead, and that’s why the Old Testament exists, to tell of a savior who would take our sins upon Himself. Because He fulfilled Old Testament prophesies (no matter what dates skeptical scholars contrive), we know He is the Christ.
This is erroneous. The Virgin Birth, for example, is a cornerstone ”prophecy” of the Christian faith and is simply a plagiarized and distorted piece of nonsense from Isaiah.
But why don’t you know this?
This verse comes at the end of one of Jesus’ parables.
Thank you. I am well aware of the gospels and their content but while this may make you feel all warm and cosy it does not address the issue. But it does demonstrate the power of indoctrination: you have already been informed numerous times that the Pentateuch is historical fiction and been offered evidence to demonstrate this, and yet you refer to the character, Moses.
So, would you please address the virgin birth prophecy now?
There is an element of hypocrisy in this comment by the way. You state that John Zande’s blog is designed to irk yet such a fatuous exercise as quoting the bible to an atheist in an attempt to ridicule is worse. At least John’s prose is written with a factual outlook in mind.
As mentioned on another blog. If you were to approach these issues with a higher degree of integrity, you might garner more respect from those you consider foolish?
Arkenaten – If you want to accuse me of hypocrisy, I am not happy about it, but when I consider the source, I can’t complain too much. You are just another human being like me, a sinner.
You claim you are familiar with with the Bible, and with your knowledge you have sufficient confidence to plague Christian blogs demanding evidence. If you are so familiar with the Bible, then you already have the most important evidence. If you have read the Bible and you still don’t understand that evidence, there is nothing I can do for you. I cannot give you a new heart. Don’t you think it is time you asked God for evidence He exists?
Look around. We live in a beautiful world. Sin cursed and polluted — ravaged by our kind — but still beautiful. If that does not make you long to know the Creator what makes you think any human being can do so? Yet perhaps there is someone. Is there someone you love, who joy is as important to you as your own? Then thank God for having known the joy and the pain of love.
If you take a moment to be thankful, perhaps you will listen when He responds to your plea for evidence.
Thank you for that.
I am sorry you feel my accusation of hypocrisy may be unwarranted, but your penchant for behaving in this manner is evident.
Plaguing Christian blogs ?
Would this be as per an Egyptian Plague as er your god, or more a Black Death sort?
I don’t know, perhaps you are merely being condescending and don’t realise it?
A few few moments of self reflection may help. Perhaps a prayer?
Right, Silly rhetoric aside.
Back to business .
Will you please address the issue of the virgin birth prophecy.
I take it you are aware of the details, yes?
Oh, and I am more grateful to be alive that you can possibly imagine. And I often thank him. Trust me.
Consider the nature of your request. The Pharisees were better at it. You have merely set a clumsy trap. So even with my poor skills I can avoid it.
Does the Bible offer any proof for the virgin birth? Would any sensible Christian attempt to prove the virgin birth actually happened? What kind of archaeological dig would provide proof of that?
If the claim of His virgin birth does not offer any proof Jesus’ divinity, then what is the point of mentioning it? Supposedly, you are the expert. Then you ought to know the answer. Instead of pestering me for evidence, look it up. Google “Why is Jesus’ virgin birth important?”
Do you really think hounding other people is the same thing as taking responsibility for your own education?
I am not pestering you for evidence. The very last thing I would expect is a christian fundamentalist to provide evidence
Good heavens, I am not that naive, Tom.
And I am completely au fait with the truth surrounding this particular issue, as with many of the Christian claims of the bible. And I learn all the time. Which is wonderful.
You blog on an open forum, are openly critical and scornful of certain forms of dissent – especially those from atheists, tacitly invite dialogue if not vigorous debate, yet have a tendency to clam up and hide behind polemic and theological double speak or worse, offer up scripture as if this is some for of guaranteed authority.
Please appreciate, I am merely curious why, as you obviously also know the truth behind this nonsensical claim of prophecy continue to adhere to it yet refuse to address it?
Can you tell me why?
If you prefer simply interacting with fellow fundamentalists and would rather not interact with those who also seek the truth behind religion and its texts, then why not make your blog Private?
The New Testament opens with the thunderous: The book of the generation of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.
God was kind enough to include His very own preservation of the incontrovertible geneologies in Matthew and Luke, to silence all who would assail His word and promises. How clever to attempt to do away with the perfect accounting of the blood line of Joseph and Mary, stealing the claim of David’s greater Son, erasing Solomon, promoting the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as myth, which by the way, are demonstrated in the lines as well.
It is the same old story. I suppose some will say Moses never lived. Oh how He who sits in the heavens must laugh at the insolence of man and his so called learning.
I agree, it is an embarrassing display to try to find fault with God and His preserved account of history as revealed in scripture. If 4.000 men say the tombs of the Gadarenes did not exist, I will show you 4,000 misinformed men. I’m thinking there is every reason to believe there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, as much as there was a river Euphrates, and a woman named Esther who risked her life for her people.
A man may as well try to extinguish the light of the sun with a pea shooter, than try to find scripture as deficient. .God’s anvil has been beat upon, and His word has worn out every hammer against it.
So you ask: why will a man hang himself? Some do so for the same reason others call for the rocks to fall on them, as they cannot in their conscience face the Lord God Almighty.
All the best, your patience is otherworldly.
About my patience. I am certain my lady would disagree.