Monday, April 13, 2009

In Search Of Truth, Probing Questions...


With no podcast coming this weekend, I thought I'd do something a little different today. I got a great e-mail from a podcast listener and would love to share my response to it with you all to process. Feel free to respond if it gets the wheels turning!

I like the fact that you're processing some of the deeper questions of life. Not many people think as deeply as you obviously are, regarding God and the religions of the world. You've asked a short question that requires a longer answer (as most good questions do), so bear with me as I give an idea of my thinking on this issue:

First, some foundational stuff-

When seeking out truth, I aim to separate what COULD be true, from what is LIKELY true. For example, in "Dark Ritual", I suggest the existence of an energy called "Miraclai", which God used to create the universe and continue to hold its laws together. Ultimately, the Bible says that it is Christ that holds all creation together. (Romans 11:36, Colossians 1:17) He MIGHT use something called "Miraclai" to do it, but I have no evidence or even logical reason to support the idea. I stuck a totally uneeded factor in there. It ultimately doesn't make sense for Miraclai to exist, but "Dark Ritual" is a fantasy and Miraclai is a concept that helps create some great fantasy moments, and that's what the genre is all about.

Another example: It's possible I won't wake up tomorrow. But will I stop checking e-mails today, skip work and just play video games 'till midnight? (woohoo!) No. Because I know that it is very likely I WILL wake up tomorrow, and so I choose my beliefs and make my choices based on what is most likely. Not on what is possible or what I'd prefer.

So to my mind, there is a very big difference between what is possible and what is likely. I base the real decisions about who I am, who God is and what I should do in life on what is likely, not on what is possible.

Your first question:

Isn't it true we are all connected on the level of our souls because we
all come from God, the same energy force? Wouldn't that explain mental
telepathy, clairvoyance and things like that?

While the Bible does say that we were made "in God's image", it is still unclear exactly what that refers to. However, the Bible never says that we are made out of God himself. So we do not come "from God" in that sense. Neither does the Bible describe God as "energy". In the realm of sci-fi and fantasy and even philosophy, energy can take on very broad meanings, so it probably isn't the best term to use as we try to nail down the truth of the matter here.

The Bible also doesn't mention (to my knowledge) the kind of "connection" between humans you're referring to, either. There are many unknowns regarding our makeup. Through discipline, the human mind and body have shown enormous potential. Just watch a few episodes of "Ripley's" to catch a glimpse. But the Bible is largely silent on these issues. How do they work? Where do they come from? It validates their existence, but it also says that clairvoyance and attempts at supernatural perception are things to stay away from.

Deuteronomy 18: 9-11

"When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations.

"There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,

or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.

We may have the capacity, in some way, to be clairvoyant, but we also have the capacity for many other things that God does not want us to take part in. So while clairvoyance may exist, God does not want it to be used in a way that does not acknowledge him as the direct source.

The Bible seems to be silent on telepathy. But if the use of telepathy promotes ideas that are counter to the Bible in an attempt to explain itself, I would say we should steer clear. Satan is a better liar than any human. I believe he could easily create a system of belief counter to God and use his own supernatural power to authenticate it.

This idea opens a huge can of worms. How do we know, then, what philosophies/religions are true and which ones are not?

This all comes back to the most vital issue of all: Truth.

How do we know what is true and what is not? Is Christianity just one of many options all grasping for the same truth? These are some of the most important questions anyone can wrestle with. But if we want answers, we have to start by being "Truthians". Not Christians, or Buddhists or Wiccans or anything else. We have to start by seeking truth.

So why, then, am I a Christian, and not just a Truthian?

In looking at the Bible, I see a book without equal. It has numerous prophecies dated hundreds of years before taking place that we can historically verify being fulfilled. We can even use modern archeological discovery to validate some of the most miraculous events of the Bible.

It has proven to be historically reliable and the archeologist's favorite tool for hundreds of years. It has far more manuscripts (copies) with which to verify its accurate transmission through history than any other work of antiquity.

There is no other religious book that makes the kinds of outrageous, yet evidentially supported claims the Bible does.

If God exists, I would expect him to have written a book like the Bible. Since, comparitively speaking, no other religious book has the level of evidence supporting it that the Bible does, I believe the Bible. So if something from another religion is stated that contradicts the Bible, I reject it, because they have not supported their truth claims with anything near the amount of evidence the Bible has.

This might sound harsh, or closed-minded, but if I decide to accept any idea without demanding evidential support, I will wind up believing any number of ridiculous or even harmful things.

So, regarding your other questions:

Do you think other
religions, like Buddhism are an expression of Christianity in another form?

Buddhism is so radically different from Biblical Christianity that the two are completely incompatible. So I would say no.

I'm not saying all religions are godly, but do you think some of those of
the Middle East are varied forms of Christianity to an extent?

I'd really need to know which one you're referring to. But I believe the Bible has overwhelmingly supported itself evidentially, and so anything conflicting with the Bible, I would believe to be false, unless it could somehow evidentially support itself to a greater degree than the Bible.

God reveal himself in another matter other than Christianity as we
know it in the traditional sense?

Here, we would need to define our terms. "Christianity in the traditional sense" could mean any number of things. That's why I prefer to use the phrase "Biblical Christianity", which I would probably define like this:

The belief that the Bible, as written in its original languages, is the complete, infallible communication of God's written word to humanity, and that it can and should be applied to every area of life and our learning of who God is, who we are and what we should do with our lives.

God does reveal himself through his creation and has implanted some understanding of himself in everyone. (Romans 1:20) But God's written word is the filter through which every idea about God and humanity must be tested in order to determine accuracy.

Where the Bible and the Buddha agree, the Buddha is right. But where they disagree, I have to go with the source that has proven itself evidentially. The Buddha loses that contest.

Those are my initial thoughts. A few cans of worms have probably been opened, so feel free to ask any questions you might have. If you'd like to zero in and delve deeper into anything there, let me know and I'd be happy to seek out truth together.

Talk to you later!


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