Life Update

March 28, 2017

Haven’t touched this blog in awhile. I was recently encouraged by someone close to me to write, so here goes. If I’m being honest, my life has been an incredible roller coaster ride as of late. It has had its ups and downs, but like the late Roman Catholic Saint Augustine reminds me, I have the power to suffer differently because of the hope of my salvation. It’s funny, throughout the past few weeks, I have experienced many great highs through a pure and beautiful enjoyment of the Lord; however, I have also experienced some lows. And while they have not been near the lowest I have been, they do pain me all the same. These different struggles that I’ve bumped into have come to me through a variety of avenues, be it through relationships, school, personal beliefs, and the list goes on.

Thinking back, I’ve found that the past few years have been a very difficult yet rewarding time in my life. I am often reminiscent of high school, the simple life and simple faith I had then. There was nothing wrong with that season of life and neither is there anything wrong with this. It is clear to me, that as I grow older, I question things more and I grow far more curious. I almost feel like a child, constantly asking, “Why?” to his parents, never truly satisfied with any answer given to me. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that, and I don’t expect to grow out of my fascination with this world and this life. And while this constant state of inquiry has its benefits, it also has its downfalls.

I often find myself asking questions that scare some of my friends. Questions that often challenge ideas that they cling to with their whole life. A big question that I have been wrestling with that seems to terrify the evangelical crowd I spend most of my time with, is the question of Biblical inerrancy (in other words, the Bible contains perfect words from God Himself). I find it difficult to reconcile seemingly conflicting ideas, concepts and passages within the Bible’s 66-book canon, and when I express my concerns, I’m often softly berated or criticized and told that the Bible HAS to be inerrant and IS. I apologize if this is the view you currently hold, and I don’t mean for you to think otherwise. Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, I would rather hold no view on this matter (it would definitely save me a lot of time and stress), but when I hear the God of Love, seen through the example of Jesus, preached in the pulpit, I tend to question why would that same God command the handful of genocides we read about in the Old Testament, and this isn’t where my questions stop, its just an easy example to use to make my point. Often times, the answers I get are unsatisfactory and disappointing, so I’m stuck here wondering what to believe.

This line of thinking resurfaced this week when I was having a conversation with a professor after class, and to my surprise, she told me that Biblical inerrancy was NOT a commonly held view in Roman Catholicism and Mainline Protestantism. This knocked me off my feet because the place I had grown up spiritually had taught me that the Bible is the “Word of God” and that’s a scary thought considering how messy that collection of books is. I mean, think about it, the “Word of God,” that’s an incredibly nuanced thing to say – it has so many layers in that 3-word phrase. What it says to me is: the Bible is perfect, it cannot be questioned, you worship its Truth. And while this may feel settling to many people, it has the opposite affect on me.

I’m not claiming to be right on this subject, but I’d encourage you wherever you may fall on your standard for what is true, dig a little deep and maybe consider alternative views (not saying you ought to adopt them, but consider them, you might learn something) before you condemn them outright. No clue how you all feel about the subject, but that’s a process that the Lord has faithfully and patiently been guiding me through. Ultimately, if the Lord reveals to me that the Bible is in fact inerrant, then so be it. Who am I to question God? For now, I’ll keep asking questions just as the numerous followers of God have throughout the many books in the Bible.

With all that said, it is of the utmost importance for those of you that claim to be followers of Jesus, not to have the right belief on matters of theology (the church has never agreed on these things), but to have the right practice and right trust (i.e. the two things the church shares). Let your legacy be known by your trust in the true God and your faithful commitment to Jesus’ practices.

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Square One.

October 8, 2016

It’s been an interesting week. I’ve been debating what I ought to write today, and thinking back on the past few weeks, most of my conversations with a close friend have been concerned with how we engage ultimacy (for us, ultimacy is God). We consider his character, we doubt what sources we can trust, we complain because we tend to be confused often. But hey, that’s what you get with asking tough questions about something that supposedly created you.

Anyways, I thought it might be appropriate to construct my understanding of theology from the ground up. With all of these conversations taking place, I glanced back at some of the work I’d done in a class my second semester of college. The title of the course was God, Faith and Evil; it was pretty much a study of the basic ideas that are discussed in philosophy of religion (which in laymen’s terms means the study of religion through the use of reason). This particular class happened to be one of the first in a series of classes that challenged what I fundamentally believed. I can say, these courses have reinforced some of my previously held beliefs, while some beliefs have changed in ways I find to be very beneficial.

Either way, through taking a second look at my work, I remembered how I constructed my idea about how everything came to be with the use of reason. While we can look at creation accounts such as Genesis 1-3 or a mathematical analysis like the Big Bang Theory, I find it even more beneficial to draw it back another step. In order to do this, I think it is best to begin with an argument that was constructed by Aristotle. In Aristotle’s Metaphysics, he constructs an argument for the unmoved mover or the prime mover. Unfortunately, I cannot do the argument any true justice in just a few words, so go and read it yourself; however, in short he states: we live in a universe of cause and effect, so something had to start the chain reaction that got us here. We can’t draw the causes back forever, there has to be something that moved first without it being moved.

With that said, my understanding of how the universe began comes down to three options:

  1. There is no god, all of this is a fantastic accident;
  2. There is a god, it created the universe, but our lives have no purpose;
  3. There is a god, it created the universe, and creation has a purpose to fulfill.

Now if you know me at all, I figure the third option to be the truth; however, I don’t find you to be foolish if you believe any of the options above. Like I said, these are only starting points. They are something to build off of, not the ends in and of themselves. I’d love to know what you think: Is there another option? Are one of the options wrong to assume? Let’s continue to ask questions.