1.2 Warming Up
What are some of the most common objections you have heard for not accepting the Christian faith? Have you held any of these views yourself? What influences led you from doubt to faith? In what ways is the credibility of Jesus of Nazareth central to the Christian faith?
I wasn't actually going to start this course tonight, but I do want to touch a little on the questions posed in this part of the first lesson, only because a long moment of doubt is what has led me to this course...
First - the idea of a higher power - something we cannot see or have any true tangible proof of - is something difficult for people to grasp. Yes, we have the Bible. Yes, there is creation itself and all the creatures and such. And for a religious person - these things are proof. For someone who does not believe in God... the Bible is a book of fiction and creation can be explained by science. You can't use these two things as "proof" of a god if one chooses to not believe.
Second - many people believe that having faith in a god of any sort is a weakness. It's something we grasp when we need answers or need to believe there is something more. A storm kills a family... we need to believe that there is hope... that there is a light at the end of it all. Religion is that. But, for those who are "strong" enough, they don't need to grab hold of fictional things such as a God.
Third - in regards to Christianity itself... really? A virgin has a baby? Uh huh... sounds like a woman who got knocked up out of wedlock and is looking to save her own rear. This baby grows up and performs miracles? Ok, maybe possible... with a little slight of hand. And then he dies on the cross... only to rise from the dead? Uh huh. Yup. Ok. And yet people look at me like I've lost my marbles when I claim to have seen a ghost in my parents' home.
Fourth - the Bible... if it truly is the Word of God, why a) does it contradict itself; b) are there only limited books within it... (i.e. there are hundreds of books which the Roman Catholic Church determined should not be part of the Canon, even though they were written by the same authors and by the hand of God).
Yes, I have given each of these a lot of thought. I still do from time to time. I've looked at all the religions in the world and wondered why we have so many. Is it really that hard to believe that all these religions actually point to the one and same God? Even those religions which have multiple gods... they have a "father" god. The main big guy. What if each of the "lesser" gods are actually angels? And satan? We're talking about a bunch of humans attempting to make sense of things... is it not possible they saw and angel and, in their lack of ability to name it for what it was, gave it the name and importance of a god or goddess?
One of my biggest issues with Christianity is that most people I have met have insisted it must be God and only God and nothing else matters. There couldn't have been a Big Bang. Other religions could not truly be real and the same. You can't have science and religion. You can't have other religions and Christianity. You must not question Christianity or the Bible.
Another issue for me is the Bible. I have read many of these books that did not make it into the Bible. Christianity has been turned into what humans (specifically, at least at first, what the Catholics) wanted. It isn't about God anymore. The Bible isn't about God. It's about what humans wanted to allow others to learn.
One influence led me from doubt to faith (though, I always had some faith... and I do still have some doubts). A year ago, I met a pastor who wasn't afraid to tell me that it is possible to have both science and religion - that the Big Bang theory could have happened, and truly doesn't mess up any religious beliefs. It IS possible that many of the different religions are the same thing, just with different names. It IS ok to question things. Someone didn't insist on Christianity being wrapped up in its own pretty little package... someone realized that Christianity can and does fit into this world without having to be forced.