Tag Archives: Christianity

Defending God (#22)

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I was having a conversation with someone the other day pertaining to politics and the role of religion in shaping one’s political opinion. I wondered aloud whether our differing theological views could contribute to any strife we might have in future, to which he replied “I don’t think so – I haven’t really seen it (Christianity) manifest in you”. Hearing that was like a slap to my face, after all the worst thing you could hear as a Christian is that you aren’t very Christ-like.

It took me a few minutes to process what he had meant by that, and I realised that to me, the manifestation of Christianity is love and patience and altruism learnt from being unconditionally loved by God. But what he had meant by that statement was that I was open-minded, tolerant of views different to my own and capable of reasonable debate. And it really saddened me to see what he thought Christianity was. Ignoring the sign-touting, hate-spewing extremists that plague every religion (after all, assholes will always exist regardless of what group you belong to), I think that there is a general defensiveness to modern day Christians. I think it is a brilliant thing that there is greater discussion, awareness and acceptance of more left-wing or radical ideas, even if I do not agree with them all. But I can see how this may feel threatening to the church. However, I don’t think being defensive will help anyone better understand Christ.

I don’t think it is our right to be offended when people reject Jesus. I often remind myself that a Muslim or a Hindu may believe in their faith as deeply as I do in mine. So who am I to tell them that they are wrong? I certainly wouldn’t appreciate them telling me what to believe in. I think it is important to bring people to Christ, but I think it is most important to do that through our actions; by quietly loving people, and being forgiving and gracious. I have a long way to go to become the kind of person I would like to be. But frankly, I think God doesn’t need defending to other people, I believe that the bible is the truth – my truth – and that God is perfect, and in His perfection, there is no need to defend or explain His word. We do not need to defend God against people, but we should represent him to people. Defensiveness stems from fear, not faith, and as Christians I think the only defensive front we need to take is to defend ourselves to God: to be able to justify our decisions and actions, and how we treat others and deal with situations in our lifetime. As John 3:17 says, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

God is Absurd (Fickle Friday #46)

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I am always careful with the promises I make because I believe that they should always be kept. I find it difficult to trust people who make wild promises without a second’s thought or consideration- I am always suspicious of the likelihood of it being carried through.

I think that God is absolutely absurd. He makes the wildest most insane promises.

And he makes good on them all.

In every instance of my life, through every hardship and struggle, He has made good on his promises. And I have seen it work so evidently in my life this year. With surrender comes peace and rest.

I admit that I sometimes am of little faith. I am of a rather pessimistic nature and I sometimes innately doubt God’s hand over my life because I want to be emotionally prepared for any disappointment. But again and again He proves his hand sovereign above all. This weekend, after 10 years of praying and doubting, my mother finally accepted Christ. And my heart is brimming with joy that I can not contain.

If God can work miracles when I have so little faith, I can’t imagine what he can do with my faith renewed. I am thankful and I am excited. My God is absurd in mercy and power. What a marvellous thing.

Jol

Absolute Truths (Fickle Friday #27)

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We all believe our truths to be the absolute truth. We all carry different scales.

I was recently listening to a friend tell me about his pointless debate with another friend and  how it was simply frustrating for both parties. One person was a conservative Christian, and the other a very liberal person. Like most internet debates, this spiralled out of control and turned into a huge pointless mess. In a fit of frustration, my liberal friend told me that on the (evolutionary) scale of monkey to man, our conservative friend is barely above Hominoidea, and himself right on the dot for Hominidae. All the points our conservative friend made were moot if the other party did not believe in a higher power- they would come across as unscientific and impractical.

Whilst I myself am a Christian, I certainly disagreed with many points my fellow brother in Christ made. I believe my beliefs to be absolute, but I am able to see how people could think my reasoning ridiculous if they believed in a different absolute. However, I did not agree with the sentiment that our conservative friend was unintelligent. Like many other believers of the Christian faith, I believe that to have true altruism is to be God; that only God is perfect. So if my conservative friend were to draw a scale, it wouldn’t be from from Hominoidea to Hominidae, it would be from men to God (the Christian God, in this case). And to act out the Christian faith as much as possible would place my conservative friend way further along the scale, and closer to the maximum point of “God”, as compared to my liberal friend.

As an impartial observer of the debate, I found that both parties made very rational points- but only if you keep in mind their core beliefs (or lack thereof). Neither party seemed to be making objective points to the other because they both had differing absolute truths.

It made me realise that the human nature is a conceited one. We do what we believe to be right, and we embody the characteristics we deem desirable, to the best of our abilities. Because we try to become the best version of ourselves based on the traits we considerable favourable, we always see ourselves as just that little bit better than the stranger next to us. I don’t think it is self-centered or necessarily vain, we just prioritise different traits, characteristics and values differently.

It made me wonder about all the people I always considered unintelligent, and weather they have any truth in their words. Maybe I need to wipe my glasses and take a second look.

Jol

 

Reason for God

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I have been to church only once this year, which wouldn’t seem like as big a deal if not for the fact that this hasn’t happened in 10 years. One of my friends recently recommended the book Reason for God by Tim Keller to me, and my reply to her was:

I am not skeptical of my faith, just a bit disconnected from the church recently.

And it makes me wonder if a sentence like that has any logical ground to stand on, and if both halves of the statement could even truly co-exist in the same sentence. But I know I truly am indeed (still) not skeptical of my faith, so why this disconnection; this discomfort for the idea?

It is like looking through a window at a family you you have been a part of for so many years (longer than most of the other kids currently sitting around the table), and then realising that you have only ever felt like you were always in the periphery. But I do long to sit at the table.

I don’t feel liberated from anything. In fact, I’ve been feeling heavy. And that I think, is what your absence from God does to you. I’ve been feeling heavy for way too long, and have no idea how to undo the straps and shake it lose.

What a strange position to be in. How terrible.

Perhaps I will read that book after all.

jol

Risen

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On Friday a thief; on Sunday a King
Laid down in grief, but awoke with the keys
Of hell on that day, the first born of the slain,
The man Jesus Christ laid death in His grave!

I need to remember that my God is so much bigger than I am, and so much bigger than all my trials and tribulations. To come home to God as a personal relation and not a philosophical idea or even a theoretical context in which to live life. He has, many a times, brought me through all the things he brings me to. It was so much easier to, as a 10 or 13 year old, stand in awe of everything in Christ; As I grew older, and entered the world having see the it in both it’s beauty and ugliness, it became so easy to let it all slip away. I have been trying to take on the world with my own abilities. What foolishness, for He has the world in His hands.

I surrender, I surrender.

jol

Faith and Science

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Every age has its own thoughts, ideas, and values that influence the culture, the “spirit of the age.” It is the kind of growing consensus that morally lulls us to sleep, gradually causing us to accept society’s latest values.
-Dennis Fisher

This has been something I have been thinking about. This is not invitation to a debate about whether progress requires acceptance to new ideas; this is not an invitation to debate morality.

The age old question is: Where do we draw the line. A friend of mine thinks it to be stupid that we are holding back research that may allow us to map the entire human genome in all its specificity and entirety. We could have the potential to wipe out diseases and genetic deformities. But I think what would hold me back are it’s other potentials. The ability to create human beings of desired specificity. In certain states, if you have a vast amount of money, you can configure your embryo to give you a grey eyed, red haired but dark skinned child. A karyotope that would not otherwise exist given the different dominances of the genes that need to be activated and inactivated. You could clone your pet. I think the “But you can’t play God.” argument holds less weightage because when we started selectively breeding our livestock thousands of years ago, we were already making very prominent changes to a species herd genotype.

And more evidently, it starts to hold less weightage because men have stopped trusting in God(s) and instead, put all their faith in science and logic- but faith cannot exists within absolute logic. And it’s hard to study science and be religious, you know for a fact that a man cannot survive in the belly of a whale- he would dissolve almost instantaneously in the acid. And before biology I had never questioned The story of Jonah and the Whale. I find myself gripping on to my religion and faith by shear determination. Because I know I’ve felt something once, I’ve just lost my way. But how can you be lost if you don’t know where you’re going?

I try to love God to the best of my abilities. But I love science, I always have. I can not bring myself to deny evolution, and I cannot bring myself to renounce my faith. And I have been told that if I hold on to halves of each, I will struggle. What I don’t believe in would be people’s ability to draw a line, because we would all toe the lines at different distances. I hate mankind, sometimes, when you see the capacity they have to start wars and pull each other down. I’d rather spend my time with animals- and I shall. I believe researching into the human genome would be progress, we have the gift from God of knowledge, and we ought to use it for good. But I fear we all have various perceptions of good, and sometimes we have no regard for what is good, true or right anymore. We have other gods now, idols that don’t command a frame or tangibility. Idols that the the name of greed or envy. And anyone who disagrees with the majority view, will be crushed in it’s path. I find myself at war in my mind trying to rationalise and over compensate, to make myself believe in things I don’t believe to be right, because I fear being trampled. Because there is constant pressure to do so. And here is the strange thing, the tables flip as easily as the end of a calligraphy brush. A minority which has been oppressed and inflicted with pain, will, when it becomes a majority, oppress anyone who doesn’t agree with them, because they know of the fear of being the minority. It is a vicious cycle and I hate the world I live in, sometimes.

I watched a video of 5 preteen boys pour gasoline on top of a kitten and set it on fire. And I realised I hate the human soul for the capacity of evil that it holds, it makes me hate myself for being human.

Jolyn

A War to Love

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I have many homosexual friends I consider close to me; one of my bestfriends is bisexual. I am also Christian. Explainably, this has always been a hard topic for me to talk about, or to figure out for myself. But I think I’ve finally found a way to put it into words.

I think the act of homosexuality is wrong. And I have as much right to think it so, as you do to think I am a prick, or to decide for yourself that it is right. A girl is allowed to decide if she would like to keep her virginity for marriage or if she would rather not. Doing one no more makes one a snob than the doing the other makes another a slut. I don’t understand why this cannot be applied to everything else. Just because someone supports gay marriage doesn’t mean I harbour any hate or disrespect for him, and I hope that just because I disagree, will not result in them labelling me as judgemental lowlife. We simply have different views and I don’t see any need for war about it. We all do the things that we think is right or natural. The sad truth lies in that variation as to what is right have always, and always will exist in every aspect of life, from morality to literal action; Why should sexuality be any different. Why does there have to be a universal right to it.

I will not even attempt to go into the aspects or marriage law- I understand that in every legal and federal decision, a ‘right’ will be granted more favour over another party’s perception of ‘right’. And I don’t lay claim to knowledge in solving problems like these. But you don’t need law telling you who you can love, why do you feel the need legal papers to show your love. My personal stand is that people should have the right to love whomever they prefer, regardless of gender; because that is what they think is right- even if I don’t share the view. But likewise, I think churches should be spared being forced to marry them; because that is what they think is right. Lawyers are perfectly capable enough. If we all just allow that different people will have different concepts of right and that really, who’s to say which is the universal ‘right’, I think there would be a lot less hatred in the world. I don’t understand why there is literally a war regarding love.

In the simplest way that I can put it;
I have the freedom of religion just as anyone else has to a religion to nilhism, or a different preference for gender. However just because you sin differently from me doesn’t give me the right to judge or prosecute you.

I don’t think there is a need for hatred simply because we all share different views. A war to love, really guys?

Jol

Ps my first paper is tomorrow and I have been on farm or in a lecture about farm safety since 8.30am today. I am so tired, my legs are about to give way and I wish they hadn’t put a course the day before the freaking exams. On the bright side, at least I’m not covered in poop today. All the best guys, I hope you all do superbly well.