Quick thought

What world tries to dismiss with the label “religion” (usually meaning superstitious belief or an airy fairy attitude embraced by the weak and gullible) is what the genuine Christian would see as reality and truth, how things REALLY are; the very foundation of our existence, the essence of what maintains creation and gives it meaning.

At the foundation is the Creator God with complete authority over every aspect of what He’s created.

12 thoughts on “Quick thought

  1. Well… and what I find is that it’s almost impossible for people to grasp that I don’t believe what churches say or seem to be all about or have been all about for centuries (or decades when it comes to some details) — not only that I don’t believe it/those things, but that there are different ways to see things (that not everyone goes by the cliches). So then, it seems all that can be perpetuated institutionally as well as culturally (probably especially culturally as in popularly) is those same things. Meanwhile, however, I spent quite a few early years in a church that didn’t teach much of what I would call doctrine at all. Somehow just the words of the Bible washed over me until they were part of my very fabric of language and thinking, that along with people being basically considerate of each other. So I know that’s possible, but it may be lost art or moment in time. Yet, I’ve also seen recent streams of educational endeavors (such as individuals delivering lectures or talks or engaging in discussions) that don’t follow the cliches. There is hope and frustration at the same time to me.

    Two things that are pretty well constants, though, that I do believe, are the total expectation of a future after death (whether immediate upon death or later… or of course the possibility of not dying if Yeshua [Jesus] returns first) and, second, the knowledge that supernatural things can happen (which is not the same as expecting miracles on demand) in this current time. Yeah, I guess airy fairy or stupid or weak can or does describe what many people think of either belief. And, yeah, I can’t grasp how people can perceive this world without the first of those two. I wonder about the second. There’s no way to tell who might ever experience something clearly miraculous or supernatural (as opposed to superstitious). I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary. Still, there’ve been times in my life that were so discouraging that I can see where I might have lost my faith had I not encountered an answer to the power of God earlier in my life. It wasn’t during the hardest times that miracles came to get me through or fix situations. But my searching and openness to truth had laid a foundation for me.

  2. Hi, Tim:

    This simple post says it so well. That in a sense, Christ is “built in” to reality: or better, that reality is a manifestation of Christ. That seems one implication of the fact that “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (John 1:3)

    And as you say, not just that reality is wholly His creation: that it is also wholly subject to His authority from it’s beginning to its end.

    This seems of a piece with Jesus’ saying “I AM…the truth:’ and His characterizing satan as “the father of lies.” Truth is reality. The best satan can do, starting in the Garden of Eden, is to deny reality: “Indeed, has God said…?” (Genesis 3:1)

    Understandable that the deceived “world” would think faith is believing things that aren’t so. Incomprehensible that the Church itself has sometimes taught faith in those terms.

  3. Hi Steve, I’m sure you’ve heard many people justifying their refusal of the gospel with the statement “I’m not religious”.

    Almost in the same way I’d tell someone who was trying to engage me with sporting news by telling them I’m not a sporty person. However the difference is, I probably WOULDN’T be so dismissive. Out of politeness I’d listen to them, but warn them of my ignorance of the topic.

  4. Someone recently at a party (a birthday almost a month ago) said something about religion, and I said yes that I am religious or do believe in religion, or something like that. I know it’s a problematic word (often meaning something like following others and not thinking or being part of a denomination), but people don’t usually want to talk about such a subject for long. So I thought it was better to say yes. Actually, I said something more like (even though the person had used the word religion), “Yes, I still have faith.” So then the person said he thought religion is different from faith (and it is, different from faith or truth). I responded that people have different definitions. If there were sustained interest, we could get into that. But I didn’t feel like quibbling.

  5. Hi Marleen, more than any problem with the words “religion” or “religious” I find the dismissive attitude towards what is perceived as being “religious” is more of am issue. As if “religion” is merely a type of interest; like some are “sporty” or others are “foodies”, and others “political”.

    As if God, (the whole reason for the existence of the universe and our place in it) can be pigeon-holed as an optional interest.

  6. I understand. It’s just that when someone brings it up, “you” have to figure out how to respond. You have choices. You can’t make people be interested (or even reasonable, even if they brought it up, sometimes especially if, you know). And if someone makes a flippant comment (as is what happened), you can… I could have responded in a number of ways. I wanted to make the most of it (without making a mess of it). This particular person never has a substantive conversation but then wants to play act by dropping a line like he’s interested. Other people were around; for their sake, I wanted to say something brief and meaningful. (So I didn’t get into a debate. I just said something positive instead of having a fake joking dismissive go the person wanted.)

    I’m sure you’re talking about you bringing it up with people (not someone else bringing it up). But I think it was a similar situation with the subject being treated like it wasn’t important, just a topic for throwing out a sentence or two with no purpose but to seem a little conversant. Someone earlier (who by this time had left) had said, “Tell me, again, why I need to be saved?”* I hadn’t heard what led up to that person saying that. You know the kind of statement it usually is (as it was then), like the answer is obviously pointless. I didn’t get involved in that one. But this other person may have been extending the thought. Whether or not he was (and whether or not he was consciously doing so), I know that this person just says things without it mattering.

    [* And it’s hard for me to want to have a conversation related to that when the usual answer people have gotten for years now has really ultimately been in order that you’ll go to church and vote the way I want you to. If someone is interested in a conversation, it usually has to come about another way.]

    Anyway, Steve’s right that you put things well. I am finding it disorienting that most of the world, including Christians I’ve known, don’t actually see truth as the center or essence of reality.

  7. I’m sure you’re talking about you bringing it up with people (not someone else bringing it up).

    The situation that led me to make this particular blog entry was someone telling me that I should keep my “religion” out of my politics, as if he was telling someone that their interest in woodwork, knitting, gardening or sport shouldn’t allow their interests to affect their political beliefs.

  8. That is a bit of a challenge (whether internally or in conversation) when we live in a plurality of which I am glad. And there are many complicated matters that aren’t ideal all around us. This same person who had brought up religion that day brought up, on another day, some list from a comedian he found online while we were out at dinner with one of my sons. Both my son and I are “okay” with gay marriage (while my son is not gay, and none of my sons are gay), marriage equality in legal terms. I think it is not ideal but is a practical treatment of civic life. But this person who doesn’t relate to substantive conversation or thought started reading this list of ten things (it was from David Letterman, so a reader might know how that’s usually done, or was done when he was on the air). It was supposed to be comedic? The first one was about having the right to marry his dog. So stupid. My son said, “We’re done here.” Which means stop. There is nothing funny about that or related.

  9. I am “okay” with gay marriage in the sense that a secular society in which homosexual relationships are legal probably has no rational basis upon which it shouldn’t recognise marriage between same sex couples.

    However, as one entitled to vote within a secular democratic society, I have the responsibility and the freedom to vote according to my conscience and according to my “religious” beliefs. Therefore I personally would vote against same sex marriage (allowing “religion” to affect my politics) but would accept the democratically chosen result.

    The elected government in Australia has the right to make that determination without taking the issue to the promised plebiscite; but instead they chose to take the plebiscite route. Current polls indicate that a large majority of Australians are in favour of same sex marriage, so its likely that the plebiscite vote will be in favour.

    HOWEVER, a large number of the homosexual community are hostile to the idea of a plebiscite and might boycott the vote, thereby derailing the democratically determined means of giving them what they wanted, delaying any chance they’d have of getting same sex marriage legalised.

  10. That seems dumb on their part. Might as well vote for what they want since that’s how the government works. And, like you indicated, even if it came out 50/50, the government can do what it wants.

    I can understand the argument that civil rights or human rights aren’t exactly a topic to vote on. However, it would’ve been nice to vote against slavery rather than have a war. (And the two are different.)

  11. But what is a “civil or human right” and who makes that determination?
    Rights are either decreed by a supreme authority, or they are determined by democratic process.

    In the case of homosexuality – our secular democracies have recognised homosexual relationships as acceptable, and therefore homosexuals have a right to enter those relationships under national law. However, scripture shows that God doesn’t see those relationships as acceptable.
    So where is does that civil right’s authority come from?

  12. I can see your point, too. However, it seems pretty weird that we had to vote to give women rights (even the rights to vote or to inherit). I think that weakens the philosophy that rights are given by God and not by the government. And it was during Biden’s time as a senator that we passed laws against violence toward women. We’re still getting our crap together about sexual harassment and what should be legal in a work environment.

    Incidentally, on the topic of voting and slavery, I heard someone say recently that the first “shot” of the American Civil War was the election of Abraham Lincoln. The south couldn’t stand the fact he got chosen for office (I should say more specifically that some people in the south hated it so much that they in fact sent the first real shots). So, we voted. But I wouldn’t say either the Bible or democracy settled the matter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s