Sunday, April 22, 2012

QUESTIONS

~For You Fellow Old People Out There~


I was given a great compliment this week by my Daughter Sarah. She posted this picture on Facebook and said. "Thanks for teaching me this..." I wrote back and told her that was the best compliment she could have given me.

I have always had a very critical mind, some would call it skeptical. It has always bothered me that so many people hold positions and beliefs that they heard somewhere and decided, I like that. They do absolutely no research to determine if it is true, false or something in between.

I have taught my kids that unless you can, with equal passion and knowledge, argue both sides of an issue -- you don't understand the issue. We live in an age of sound bites, half truths and a very ignorant audience. I love when Jay Leno goes out on one of his "Jay Walks". He asks people very simple questions and the answers are often very funny, yet sad. I understand that these people are picked because they gave the best clueless answer, but does it matter? The video below is more than just funny, it is extremely revealing - I suggest you watch it.


What is true in regards to history is also true with people of faith. In my experiences, many Christians know a few Bible stories but cannot tell you where those stories are found in the Bible. They believe in Jesus, yet have no idea if there is any actual historical evidence of his life, death, burial and resurrection. A large number of Christians know a few "proof-texts" that they learned in Sunday School, yet have no concept of how those texts fit into the context of what was written. When a person quotes a verse to me to justify a belief, I ask them to close their Bible and tell me what the paragraph is saying before that verse. I am not attempting to be a know-it-all, I simply believe a large number of Christians are Biblically illiterate. Their belief structures are based more on American virtues than what is found in the Bible. I have heard sections of the Constitution, quotes from Shakespeare and even movies quoted as Biblical verses. 

I remember when I was minister in the San Francisco Bay Area. A group of students from a Christian College wanted to come to our congregation to evangelize students at U.C. Berkeley. We had a nightly event on campus to discuss Christianity and they were inviting people to attend. While walking around Cal, I saw a one of the Christian College students crying. I asked her what happened? She said, "They don't believe in the Bible!" My unspoken response was "Duh!" I wound up talking to her and explained that most people she would encounter don't believe in the Bible. I can only describe her response as total horror. She had been raised in a Christian home in the "Bible-Belt"; it was inconceivable that people would question the Bible.

So, as we move along in a postmodernism culture.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postmodernism Have we really prepared the next generation to be people of faith? I wrote recently, we are losing the next generation to "spirituality" -- which is true. The congregation I attend, here in Reno, is viewed as being too rational. Yet, I see people of all ages who know why they believe what they believe. Questions are always allowed and we may disagree on some of the answers, but we still view each other as fellow citizens of the Kingdom of God. Or minister, Gary Cage PhD, has done a great job to make our congregation as a place where truth is pursued. If you are exploring the background of Christianity, I would recommend a link on our congregational website: http://evidencestudy.com/

If nothing else, I would ask you to question everything you read or hear. Research it and find what is true.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." - Thomas Jefferson

Peace