Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Real Christianity

Many of the contentions I have encountered people having with Christianity have to do more with the abuses of it than with its actual reality. The Church throughout history has produced much injustice and oppression that are far from the truths of the Gospel message. If the abuses of religion and the rules and laws of oppression were in fact true Christianity there would be good cause to run the other way. Often people run from corruption to the opposite extreme to avoid the problem, yet they avoid truth in the process.


Christianity pure and simple is about being a follower of Christ. Jesus is our example for life and ministry. Anything more or less than that is not real Christianity. So the real issue is who is this Jesus? Is he a mere mortal who was a good philosopher on par with Socrates or is he something more?


Is living like Christ really so dangerous for society? Jesus said to love your enemies. He said to do good to those who do wrong to you. He came to free those in bondage, give hope to the hopeless, bind up the broken hearted. He healed hearts, minds, and bodies. His revolution was one of the heart. He came to bring life where there was death. To bring healing where there was sickness. To bring truth where there was falsehood. He said that His Kingdom was not of this world, but it was found in righteousness, peace, and joy.


The Church has misrepresented Him to the world. Christians misrepresent Him to the world. Not all of the Church, not all Christians has done this. However, it’s the abuses that are often illuminated.


Can we not look past man to examine the truth claims of Christ? I keep hearing people say that there is no evidence pointing even to a man named Jesus teaching disciples along the shores of Galilee being followed by masses of people, performing miracles, dying by crucifixion, leaving an empty tomb, and appearing to His disciples alive and well. I hear the claims, but yet I’ve read and studied so much information that says otherwise. I’ve read the stories of atheists who set off on journeys to disprove the claims of Christ only coming up with overwhelming evidence that Christ is the Son of God.


Is it really a matter of a lack of evidence or is it something else? Is it maybe fear of being a part of something that seems to be full of hypocrisy and oppression? I agree that some of Christianity, even today, fits the bill of what its antagonist claim. However, there are those who are not a part of such a structure and they are living supernatural lives that shine forth the truth of a living God. All who are in Christ make up the Church, but not all who attend church and claim to know Him are in Christ. There are those who have been in church for years and yet don’t know God personally. That’s not something I can judge for another, but I have heard the testimonies of those who have come from that into really knowing Him. Then there are those who do know Him and don’t live like it. And there are those who know Him and have never matured in Him for various reasons. And there are all of us who are imperfect and yet striving in Him to be more like Him and to know Him more relationally and intellectually.


Just the same, let us not focus on man’s successes or failures in following Christ, but on Christ Himself. Everything rises or falls with the validity or invalidity of this man named Jesus. He is either a lunatic, a liar, or Lord. He cannot be just a good man. He cannot be dismissed as never having existed. History records his having lived. Jesus asked His disciples “who do you say that I am?” That is the question for each of us as well. You might not be in a place to answer that question yet, or maybe you need to re-examine your answer. Let us examine honestly who is this Jesus?


71 comments:

RevOxley said...

interesting blog...im gonna start following this....

www.ragingrev.com

Karla said...

Welcome to my blog. Thank you.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I think you'll enjoy it Rev. Karla has a wonderful ability to actually listen to other viewpoints. It's very refreshing. :-)

I haven't actually read this post yet, I'm still at work, so I'll read it when I get home. I promise!

RevOxley said...

Thats a good think Mike, i tried to be that way as a Christian, even as an apologist i really really tried to, though i often failed, to make people feel dignified...i was well respected among LDS, Jehovah's Witnesses and members of various Occult practices as a person that wanted to learn as well as teach...

thanks for being that way Karla...sometimes we just want to be seen as people, and not as enemies of the church.

RevOxley said...

thats a good THING mike, not think...sorry for the typo

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Good post, Karla. That's the kind of Christian I was and that is the kind of Christian my friends are today.

Of course, all variants of Christianity think they have it right too, and can support it with scripture just like we can the version we think is right.

Anonymous said...

This post is nothing more than special pleading.

Mike,
"I think you'll enjoy it Rev. Karla has a wonderful ability to actually listen to other viewpoints. It's very refreshing. :-)"

She's polite, but make no mistake, she doesn't actually listen to what you have to say. She will never be swayed on a single point, either, because she's one of those Xians who is convinced that she knows all and can not be wrong.

RevOxley said...

Anonymous,

I was once one of those christians myself---No one could convince me of anything, if you let it, The Bible will do all the convincing needed.


Matt

Karla said...

"thanks for being that way Karla...sometimes we just want to be seen as people, and not as enemies of the church."

God changed me to be this way. When I first got into apologetics I was more intent on winning an argument than loving people. All I can say is God really birthed something in me that's all Him that made me really truly love unbelievers and have compassion for those who are very different from me--especially those who feel they are outcast of the church or society at large.

I don't see you guys as enemies of the church, I see the church at fault for not being the beacon of truth she ought to be. I see myself at fault for not being a better representative of Christ.

Anonymous, you know I have always been honest with you that I know Jesus and could no sooner abandon him than I could my husband. Jesus is as real to me as any visible person and I have a tangible relationship with Him. I yearn for everyone to know Him to because the truth is too good to keep to myself. I am patient and respectful to those who aren't there yet and even to those who may never choose this path.

Karla said...

Also, just so you guys know, if I ever feel a conversation is turning into an argument I will back out because I don't ever desire to go that direction.

Matt Oxley said...

Karla,

its almost freakish how much like me you sound....i mean, its freaking me out...seriously.

when i started apologetics i was a lot like Ray Comfort and Matt Slick--prideful and full of myself...I didnt realize how much of that was in vain and in fact hurting my own image and that of my church.

When i started studying the occult and working with victims of Ritual Abuse (this is going deeper into my background than i normally do) i realized how i looked, and how people actually just needed someone to love them and care about them...something i still hold on to to this day.

Open and objective apologetics is a really good way to end up leaving the faith. you just have to change your definitions and understandings of the bible a bit and there you go.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Christianity pure and simple is about being a follower of Christ.

Which is very admirable. Follow a great example.... but why bring the whole God package in with it? Isn't sufficient to try and live as he did?

karla said: Is he a mere mortal who was a good philosopher on par with Socrates or is he something more?

Oh... I don't think that he was a par with Socrates [laughs]

karla said: Is living like Christ really so dangerous for society?

It would certainly be a *very* different world if everyone did that - and probably a much better one too!

karla said: Is it really a matter of a lack of evidence or is it something else? Is it maybe fear of being a part of something that seems to be full of hypocrisy and oppression?

He may indeed have existed as a historical character - however, I *seriously* doubt that he was the Son of God. The amount of evidence you would need to persuade any skeptic of that is pretty much inconceivable.....

karla said: All who are in Christ make up the Church, but not all who attend church and claim to know Him are in Christ.

The problem with that claim (as Mike has already pointed out) is that many groups claim that they are *true* Christians whilst everyone else has false beliefs about the true way.... How can we possibly know which one is correct? Are you saying that a world full of Christians is not good enough - but that we need a world full of *your* brand of Christianity? If we were all devout Catholics would that be a bad thing in your mind?

karla said: He is either a lunatic, a liar, or Lord.

Oh, I think that there are *many* possibilities - not just the three you highlight. You seem to imply that if he wasn't a lunatic or a liar then he *must* be divine! I'm afraid it really doesn't work that way. Maybe he was just a charismatic public speaker like Barak Obama? He does seem to have inspired great devotion in his followers. It's not exactly unusual today never mind back then.....

karla said: He cannot be just a good man.

Why not?

karla said: He cannot be dismissed as never having existed.

Even if he did exist I fail to see the significance to be honest with you. It would have no impact on my Atheism even if the *existence* of Jesus could be 100% confirmed.

Karla said...

Cyber Kitten said: “but why bring the whole God package in with it? Isn't sufficient to try and live as he did?”

Because without the whole package Jesus wouldn’t be worth following. The Bible itself says that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then our faith is in vain. If Jesus isn’t God there is no sense following a man. The disciples called Jesus good one day and Jesus responded “Why do you call me good? You know only God is good.” He was showing them that they were identifying Him with God for they knew as Jews that no one is good. There is too much evil in our hearts for us to be perfectly good. Yet they called Jesus good. Jesus is saying to them, do you realize what you are saying? Do you realize that you are equating me with God.


Cyber Kitten said: “It would certainly be a *very* different world if everyone did that - and probably a much better one too!”

Then why are there so many atheists books lamenting against Christianity if it would be a good for the world to live like Jesus? Dawkins, Sam Harris, Hitchens are all claiming that belief in God is decidedly bad for the world. Or have I mistaken their message?


Cyber Kitten said: “He may indeed have existed as a historical character - however, I *seriously* doubt that he was the Son of God. The amount of evidence you would need to persuade any skeptic of that is pretty much inconceivable.....”

Okay, I know your not there yet. What evidence would peak your interest. What sort of evidence do you think would make a good case for Him being God?


Cyber Kitten said: ”The problem with that claim (as Mike has already pointed out) is that many groups claim that they are *true* Christians whilst everyone else has false beliefs about the true way.... How can we possibly know which one is correct?”

No I’m not insinuating that. I am saying that not all Christians accurately represent Christ all the time. We are all at different levels of maturity and most are growing into more maturity in Christ. My point was only that lets look beyond the misrepresentations of Christ to Christ Himself. A Christian is to be pointing to Christ with the way he/she lives her/his life. But sometimes people start looking at us when we fail and thinking that that means Christ has failed. Let us look at Christ Himself to see if truth lies there.

Cyberkitten said “Are you saying that a world full of Christians is not good enough - but that we need a world full of *your* brand of Christianity? If we were all devout Catholics would that be a bad thing in your mind?”

No, I’m not saying that at all. There are Baptist, Catholics, Methodist, Non-denominational church attendees who know the Lord and there are those who don’t. It’s not about a particular denomination, stream, brand, group etc. it’s only about ones personal relationship with God through Jesus and that is something no one else can judge. There are also those who use the word “Christian” because their parents took them to church when they were a kid and they are an American and figure that makes them a Christian. Still it’s not for me to judge whether they really know the Lord or not, but it’s difficult when there is a misrepresentation of who Christ is when people look to people instead of to Him.


karla said: He cannot be just a good man.

Cyber Kitten: “Why not?”

Well He claimed to be God on more than one occasion and the Jews picked up stones to stone Him for blasphemy. So how could a good person claim to be God? He was either a lunatic and really thought He was God and since you don’t believe God even exist He must have been incredibly insane. Or He knew all along He wasn’t God and He was lying to gain a following and make a name for himself which actually cost him his life. Or He was telling the truth. I really don’t see another option.


Cyberkitten said “Even if he did exist I fail to see the significance to be honest with you. It would have no impact on my Atheism even if the *existence* of Jesus could be 100% confirmed.”

If Jesus existed as only a man, a crazy philosopher of history, then it would not change your atheism. But if Jesus is who He claimed to be, it changes everything.

Karla said...

oxley, the change God made in me has brought me closer and more intimate with Him. I have had more tangible experiences after the change than before. I've learned not to rely on my own strength, but to work out of His.

I don't say this to boast, but I am closer to Him today than I have been all my life and I have had my eyes opened to how much closer I can come. The things He is doing in mine and my husband's life are incredible and just flooring us with His goodness.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"Then why are there so many atheists books lamenting against Christianity if it would be a good for the world to live like Jesus? Dawkins, Sam Harris, Hitchens are all claiming that belief in God is decidedly bad for the world. Or have I mistaken their message?"

Because most "Christians" don't live the way Jesus did. Here's a quote from Brennan Manning, I remember it from D.C. Talk's song What If I Stumble

"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny him with their life style. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

What percentage of those who call themselves Christians truly act Christlike for the bulk of their time?

Matt Oxley said...

oh god the awful memories of listening to that album over and over and over.


my first email address was Jesusfreak501 at yahoo lol

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I loved that album and still do. Hated everything before it. Their last album was Ok, but Jesus Freak was pretty revolutionary for them.

I listen to just about everything, but polka. It used to be country and polka, but some of the country stuff has been tolerable in recent years.

Karla said...

"What percentage of those who call themselves Christians truly act Christlike for the bulk of their time?"

This is why I blame the Church for causing atheists. I am part of the Church and share the blame upon myself. I still see those who live extraordinary lives even miraculous lives. I still see those who are living examples of His Truth. Yes weeds are growing with the wheat, but one day only what cannot be shaken will remain. I hope by the time that day comes there will be far more unshakeables. Again do we leave the truth because of the abuses and extremes and hypocrisies? Or do we press onward toward the Truth? I choose to press in not by my strength but by His that I know is working through me.

P.S. I grew up listening to my grandparent's polka music! I always found it fun. I have never liked country though.

Rev. Matt Oxley said...

@ Karla....


can I blame Christians and the Church for my deconversion? I dont think the two are in any way related in my situation.

Karla said...

It doesn't bother me if you do. But even if you don't I feel responsible on behalf of Christians.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"This is why I blame the Church for causing atheists."

I love the church I no longer attend, I love the believers I no longer go to Bible study with. Bad Christians had nothing to do with my de-conversion.

My de-conversion came simply because I no longer sensed anything that I would call God's presence, and in fact saw everything I had previously called God's presence as coincidence. I couldn't honestly call myself a Christian any more or even a theist if I no longer believed in God.

Anonymous said...

"God changed me to be this way."

So much for your free will.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, you know I have always been honest with you..."

No, you haven't. And, I've already pointed out where you haven't and how.

Anonymous said...

"He is either a lunatic, a liar, or Lord."

I've actually already dealt with this, and pointed out exactly what cyberkitten pointed out, that there are more possibilities. It's refreshing to see Karla ignore everything I said and continue to make the same arguments over and over. Is this the "honesty" you were talking about? Is this the "listening" to other viewpoints that you think you do?

Anonymous said...

"Then why are there so many atheists books lamenting against Christianity if it would be a good for the world to live like Jesus?"

Would it be good to live like Jesus? Unknown, because we don't know how Jesus lived if he lived at all. Even if we go by what the Bible says, we see a figure that flew into rages at times, told us to hate our families if they didn't believe properly, physically threatened others with a weapon, forced a woman to say she was as low as a dog (paraphrasing) before he would help her, etc. He did some good things, but he also did some bad things. He created the idea of hell for non-believers and those that god didn't like, as another example, which is one of the most gruesome and violent Xian ideas ever posited. If he was god and he wanted us to be peaceful, he certainly didn't use his divine power to present a message that couldn't be misinterpreted to incite people to violence (crime of negligence perhaps).

Focusing on only the good aspects while ignoring all others is called only counting the hits and ignoring the misses.

Further, atheists books are lamenting against irrationality, which was a bait and switch on your part. Atheists books aren't calling on people to be evil or anything like that, they are speaking out against the evils of religion, including those of Xianity. They are also pointing out the lack of evidence and speaking for what is most likely true, which is a good end in itself, or would you rather believe a lie simply because it makes you feel good about yourself?

"No I’m not insinuating that. I am saying that not all Christians accurately represent Christ all the time."

How do you tell the True Xians from the Not True Xians? Sounds like a No True Scotsman fallacy to me.

"This is why I blame the Church for causing atheists."

Yeah, I'm sure that the Xian church caused all the atheists that preceded the church or those that lived outside of the culture of the church. And, I'm sure that atheists are only atheists because they didn't like the church they went to. Do you realize how arrogant you sound?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Because without the whole package Jesus wouldn’t be worth following.

But isn't living by his ideals enough?

karla said: The Bible itself says that if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then our faith is in vain.

*Exactly!*

karla said: Then why are there so many atheists books lamenting against Christianity if it would be a good for the world to live like Jesus?

Because there is a *world* of difference in living in line with ideals and principles proposed by Jesus and all the other stuff that goes with it. It is perfectly possible to live in peace with the world without the need or desire for the supernatural and mythical beings backing you up.

karla said: Dawkins, Sam Harris, Hitchens are all claiming that belief in God is decidedly bad for the world. Or have I mistaken their message?

As I understand it their message does vary between them but you are essentially correct. They all think that its nonsense and Harris in particular thinks that its harmful to those around it. In broad terms I agree with them - though I differ on some of the details.

karla said: What evidence would peak your interest. What sort of evidence do you think would make a good case for Him being God?

I don't know - but it would have to be a *lot* more convincing than anything I've come across in the last 20+ years....

karla said: If Jesus existed as only a man, a crazy philosopher of history, then it would not change your atheism. But if Jesus is who He claimed to be, it changes everything.

Maybe so.... but since the proof is *severely* lacking I think that the point is moot.

Oh... and the Church didn't make me into an Atheist. I developed that point of view on my own..... pretty much....

Karla said...

Let me clear up something that I think you are all hearing that I didn't intend to communicate. When I say that Church or Christians are responsible for causing atheism. I am not saying necessarily that it was a direct link like someone seeing hypocritical Christians or injustices in the Church and leaving for something better. To a degree, I think that happens sometimes. But on a larger scale what I am talking about is if Christians were exemplifying the truths of Christ in their lives to the fullness avialable or even close to that it would be clear to the world that God exist. At the same time, I think some people could see proof of God and still refuse Him, but I don't think most atheists I encounter are in that place. I think you guys are looking for truth and authenticity. The Church for too long as given people the idea that Christianity is about being good moral people who go to church on Sundays, Bible Study on Wednesdays and talk about hell alot to unbelievers. This is a stereotype that's not true about the essence of Christianity. I'm struggling to communicate about this. I just know that the responses I'm getting is showing I'm not doing it well.

A person enters through the door of the Kingdom of God when they accept Jesus as their Savior. They are then a Christian. However, some Christians are still at the door, others are a few feet in, others are a few miles in, others are in different places in the Kingdom and maturity. We are all one family, but there is more to Christianity than the world has seen thus far and that more is coming to light now in the Church and when it does it will be evident to most that God is real.

However, I am not suggesting waiting until that day. I believe the realness and authenticity of God can be demonstrated now through a myriad of ways.

I'm trying to learn from you guys what your main contentions are about Jesus so that I can study and ponder them to attempt to address them respectfully.

Karla said...

Anonymous, in the temple when Jesus overturned the money tables . . . I'm not sure you realize what was taking place there. It wasn't a flea market in the temple. It was people selling the animals for sacrifice to make money off the people coming in -- similar to the selling of indulgences in the church before Martin Luther came on the scene. It was an injustice to the people to have to pay money to worship in the temple. Jesus cleared the temple and sent the vendors out because He was protecting the rights of the people. This was an act of justice and goodness on His part on behalf of the citizens.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: if Christians were exemplifying the truths of Christ in their lives to the fullness available or even close to that it would be clear to the world that God exist.

No it wouldn't. What it would show - if it worked out as you expect - is that following the teachings of Christ produces good people and a good society. It would *not* show that God exists.

Following a particular lifestyle - for whatever reason - and the existence of any supernatural beings are not linked in any way I'm afraid.

Karla said...

cyberkitten, Jesus came to do far more than make us moral. The Christian life is a supernatural life. I'm talking about Christians coming into the fullness meaning raising the dead, healing the sick, making the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the broken hearted restored, the addicted set free from their bondage to addictions etc. What I am talking about has to be supernatural. I am seeing some of this happen around me, not to the extent it ought to. Yet this is normal Christianity. This is the Christianity the Bible speaks of. The Church isn't there yet, but she's coming there. We are entering the age where it's going to be the norm. These things are happening throughout the world and in America.

That is why I say I bear the responsibility for unbelievers not seeing the truth of Christianity through way I live my life. I'm not talking about morality, I'm talking about living supernaturally. I'm just starting to grasp such a life mentally and just seeing a few things happen physically, but more is coming.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Karla, do you have any idea how many generations of believers have experienced what you are right now? All my life I've heard how this great awakening was coming and we would see miracles everywhere.

If it is going to become the norm, then I'll eat my words, but I doubt it will.

Karla said...

I know it will. I'm seeing it today. I've met pastors where this is a becoming normal in their community. The whole Church isn't there yet, but some is and more are getting there all the time.

matt oxley said...

i think one day, karla, that you will realize that alot of what you are experiencing is emotion and adrenaline...and endorphins......what you do after you realize that is key to whether or not you end up like me and mike here.

http://ragingrev.com

Karla said...

"emotion and adrenaline...and endorphins" that doesn't explain the miracles I've experienced and witnessed.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"emotion and adrenaline...and endorphins" that doesn't explain the miracles I've experienced and witnessed.

Hallucinations? I'M KIDDING! ;-)

*runs and ducks for cover*

Now I've got got Hot Chocolate's You Sexy Thing running through my head.

"I believe in miracles..."

Matt Oxley said...

"Blogger Karla said...

"emotion and adrenaline...and endorphins" that doesn't explain the miracles I've experienced and witnessed."

me either dear...did i mention to you that i was a professional exorcist at one point?

I've seen things you simply can't fathom

Karla said...

Why do you attribute it all to natural causes now?

A pastor friend of mine just returned from a missions trip where the lame walked, the deaf heard, the blind saw, etc. What explains this?

Matt Oxley said...

phenomena are usually more easily explained through an understanding of the human psyche...but even in cases where it cant be, the existence of spirits and their ilk is oft debated among atheists.

The existence of spirits and natural or seemingly spiritual phenomena isnt proof of god though

Karla said...

It's evidence that there is something beyond nature. It's getting warmer.


A person's mind doesn't produce a leg growing out, the lame walking, the deaf hearing (born deaf or otherwise) or the blind seeing (born that way or otherwise). Many of the miracles I've heard of the recipients did not believe it was going to happen.

Matt Oxley said...

did YOU see it?


could have been sensationalism

Karla said...

I saw a woman's cloudy eyes begin to clear before my eyes when I prayed for her. I saw a woman's hand which had been bent upwards with fingers that curved backward straighten. I have seen my mother-in-law's hand which had no wrist movement for 30 years due to an injury that left her with no wrist gain wrist movement again. I saw her fingers which could not make a fist or move individually free up to make a fist and move individually in such a way that she can now learn to type. For 30 years her four fingers moved as one to grip an object with the four fingers and her thumb. Now she can move them separately. I witnessed this healing.

I have been instantly healed of a major sinus and upper respiratory infection upon receiving prayer. I posted my testimony of this last month. It's archived.

I prayed for a woman who had deafness in one ear and her hearing was restored and her friend felt something happen in her ear at the same time as the healing.

So yes, I know first hand that God is doing miracles in the earth today. I also know second hand from trusted pastor friends and others and I've read many books and listened to many testimonies of similar experiences.

Mike said...

Wow, what a great thread - this is fun to read... I love to laugh, so thanks for the added Joy today... ;)

I would just like to say that I am not an apologist. Sometimes I even wonder if I should claim to be a 'Christian' and all it represents. I make a lot of mistakes, and I've seen a lot of cool things. I'm not angry at those that disagree with me, as a matter of fact, I appreciate the opportunities they present to me to grow and learn from (OK, I know caveat emptor) I can tell this is going to be a strange comment from me...

Did I mention that I also have a very strong, deep personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ..?

Wouldn't it be cool, especially for Matt and Mike (don't know the others well enough) if you guys ended up walking into "Heaven" one day and discover that Jesus loved you so much, that his sacrifice was strong enough to allow you the freedoms to question all this without offending him - in other words, because you once knew him, it was enough..? I just love the thought of that - your minds are going to be blown by that one I'm sure... ;)

I just wanted to interject some love toward Karla - Karla dear, you are doing so well here. These guys are throwing some really good, but very difficult questions your way, and I can tell your doing the best you can with what you've got - I can even see some growth since I first started reading your blog - your growing girl, so keep it up.

"www.ragingrev.com" - I love it! I agree with you Matt, we have way too many 'snake oil salesmen' - for you Christians out there,"I'm not judging, just calling it what it appears to be"... ;)

The title of this post is interesting to me "Real Christianity". I would offer that one of our struggles is to come to a place in our understanding where we aren't so much trying to be 'like' him, Jesus that is(like be like Mike or something), but rather to become one with him, a person that he can trust and move through to accomplish what is on his heart... Just a thought...

Hey, if any of you want to read a revolutionary book that attempts to express this - "The Shack" is a great read. It has gotten a lot of Christians spun up - some for good, some not so good. Its a very radical allegory written in today's vernacular that just rattles many of the "churches" beliefs - I like stuff like that.

Karla, one last thing, while I somewhat agree with the apology about the 'Church' not standing up and doing its thing very well, Jesus himself bore that on the cross... So you wouldn't have to... :) isn't that great. For all of our failings, and all our stupidity, we are still his, and he loves us very much.

My dad, who is an atheist, said to me when I was a young lad, with regard to business matters, 'the customer is always right' - no matter how much I would argue with him over it, at the end of the day, the customer was always right as far as he was concerned! You're probably saying, uhhh, Mike, dude, wake up - what are you talking about? I look at it this way, those that have given themselves to know the Lord Jesus Christ, make up a very large, diverse group of people; we do a lot of really strange things (and believe me, I've seen some strange stuff in the church), and we have many areas that we fail miserably in on a regular basis, but at the end of it all; in some sort of strange, but very real way, we are like those customers my dad always talked of, we are right!

We are taught that the Lord uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise (or at least those that think themselves to be wise)

We may not be very smart, very strong, very nice, or very articulate all the time; but we are right. The day will come that all of this discussion, dialogue and debate will be rehearsed in front of us all as we stand to account for our lives before a Holy God, and he will act as Judge. So, while I love the interaction and discussion here; and while we may be able to offer only meager explanations to all the questions, I hope that at the end of it all, we all remember our mortality - because whether we logically prove all this or not, we will all experience it. Just thought I'd remind us all of what's at stake.

Sorry for that brief commercial break, now back to our regularly scheduled programming... ;0 So, fellas, where do we go from here..? MM

Karla said...

"I would offer that one of our struggles is to come to a place in our understanding where we aren't so much trying to be 'like' him, Jesus that is(like be like Mike or something), but rather to become one with him, a person that he can trust and move through to accomplish what is on his heart... Just a thought..."

This is true, but we don't stop the one to gain the other.

Also I just wanted to point out, that getting to heaven one day isn't what it's all about. I'll do a post on this soon I think. Too much to explain in a comment.

Mike said...

"getting to heaven one day isn't what it's all about" - hmm, its certainly better than the alternative.. ;)

Actually, the greater point that I was trying to illustrate was that if God is God, he is certainly aware enough of everything that we would do with this life that we were given to live - his thoughts being higher than ours, and his ways being higher than ours - its not out of the realm of possibility that he already paid the price for our failings, fallings, and all the other goofy things that we concoct - is it possible that just because Mike and Matt walked away from him, that he hasn't walked away from them - I just love that thought?!

I was trying to encourage Mike & Matt - the fat lady hasn't sung yet...

"but we don't stop the one to gain the other."

Ah, Karla, this my dear is where I refer to your youth and challenge you to really think about that one. If good is the enemy of best then maybe one is the enemy of the other... Children mimick their parents while they are children, but they put those things away as they mature (I think Paul said something like this;)_ Is it possible that we would have to leave that which we have clung to for so many years, in order to grap a hold of something that is by its very nature so different?

Being like someone, and being one with them - are two entirely different things (IMHO) - We are admonished to leave our parents behind after marriage and cleave to our spouse - the idea here is an illustration of the relationship that Christ has with his church - side note: this principle was first called out in Genesis, which by some accounts, attaches the notion of a risen saviour to the origins of the world, and reinforces the fact that there is only one, true living God who created all there is (way before Hindus and the like came up with the idea) - sorry, I digress...

Being like our parents could make us wonderful people, becoming one with our spouse is a different game entirely and requires us to leave the one to grab the other. I can see part of your point being valid (don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater here), but wanted to introduce the idea for consideration none the less... MM

Karla said...

I agree God has not left Mike aka and Rev. And I believe God will restore to an even deeper level what they believe has been lost.

As for my comment to you, Mike, I understand what you are getting at. But one thing can be true and another truer so to speak. So we don't lose the foundation when we mature to the next level. I understand the principal you are speaking of fully. Actually my husband was preaching something similar last week at church.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, in the temple when Jesus overturned the money tables . . . I'm not sure you realize what was taking place there."

Jesus threatened them with bodily harm while using a weapon. That is aggravated assault. Have fun with that one.

Anonymous said...

MM,
"Wouldn't it be cool, especially for Matt and Mike (don't know the others well enough) if you guys ended up walking into "Heaven" one day and discover that Jesus loved you so much, that his sacrifice was strong enough to allow you the freedoms to question all this without offending him - in other words, because you once knew him, it was enough..? I just love the thought of that - your minds are going to be blown by that one I'm sure... ;)"

It would be more indicative of a loving god, but unfortunately for you, it isn't a mind-blowing sort of thing to think that a supposedly all-loving god would actually display some loving tendencies. It also does not fit with what the Bible says.

"I was trying to encourage Mike & Matt - the fat lady hasn't sung yet..."

Not to speak for others, but I don't think they need your "encouragement."

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I appreciate the encouragement, but Anonymous is correct, it is not needed. I do seek God, but only because I owe it to myself to be sure I'm not missing out on something, not out of some aching need.

matt oxley said...

ditto

btw, i just did a blog entry on a similar topic

Karla said...

oxley, I'll check out your post tomorrow.

Anonymous, Jesus didn't hit anyone with any weapon. He just drove out the people who were robbing the people by charging them to come and give sacrifices.

And God is a loving God even if you don't understand that now.

Karla said...

Mike, I'm glad you keep your heart open to still seek. I believe you will find what you seek with your heart.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous, Jesus didn't hit anyone with any weapon. He just drove out the people who were robbing the people by charging them to come and give sacrifices."

Why don't you go out and threaten someone with a weapon and see if you don't get arrested. You can explain to them that you didn't actually hit anyone, so it's all good. Maybe you could even threaten someone who you think is doing something wrong and try and use that in your defense. Why do you excuse the actions of Jesus when he acts like a thug?

"And God is a loving God even if you don't understand that now."

Thanks for your unevidenced assertion. Quite the contrary, actually, the evidence actually speaks against god being loving. I'm sure he throws people into hell because he loves them so much. And, don't even try to answer this unless you can actually answer the objections that have been given to you previously that you've decided to ignore, like the drowning example and the logical impossibility of free will with an omni-max god. I know you don't have the intellectual honesty to actually tackle the tough questions, so you may as well not even bother.

Karla said...

revoxley and matt oxley are you two related?

Rev. Matt Oxley said...

revoxley and matt oxley are the same guy on a different PC sorry

Karla said...

So you have a blog written as a Christian and those written as an atheist? Is that correct?

RevOxley said...

no, just the one blog...i have my old blog archived on my current one...so you can certainly find alot of christian info there...but its all at www.ragingrev.com

before i was at http://revoxley501.livejournal.com

language may be a little rough as you go back through the archive...easily offended folks need not apply :)

Karla said...

I happened upon something different when I clicked on one of the links and now I can't find it. It was entitled Found and something about a Christian artist? Maybe I clicked on someone else's link by mistake. I can't find the page again. The last post on it was a poem and the previous post before that that I read was on Acts 17.

RevOxley said...

i wonder if i screwed up and put a different link in there....

may have been the Found Project... or Joshua Foreman's (christian artist) blog... ???

Karla said...

Yes it was the Found Project. I did get there from clicking on one of your post above. So that's not you?

RevOxley said...

no , he is a friend of mine, i have a debate posted on my site with him though...if you wanna read it i can find it for ya

RevOxley said...

here it is:

http://ragingrev.com/2008/08/21/a-convo-i-had-with-a-christianit-turned-into-a-bit-of-a-debate/

kyle is a nice guy btw

Mike said...

Anonymous, you say that God throws people into hell and that is why you don't see him as a loving God.

Truth is, they throw themselves into hell, against his wishes. Its called free will man... MM

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"Truth is, they throw themselves into hell, against his wishes."

If the orthodox Christian God exists he created hell intending that people would end up there. If a parent did that they would be arrested. "Honest your honor, my children sent themselves into the fiery pit."

Karla said...

Actually hell was created for the fallen angels not for man. Man brought that reality upon himself when he chose to live outside of the boundaries of truth.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

So the parable says, yes.

Anonymous said...

Drowning example!

Even if god intended to make hell for angels, didn't he also know that he would be sending people there, ya know, due to his omniscience and all that? Your defense rings hollow.

Karla said...

anonymous are you arguing for your non-existence? Ought God have never created?

Anonymous said...

If I am bound for hell, it would be far better to never have existed than to end up in eternal torment.

Would you send a child into the water if you knew ahead of time that the child would drown?

If you created a world where people are drowning due to your punishment, would you consider yourself virtuous for only saving a few of them when you could very easily save them all from the problems that you forced them into?

You still can't answer these questions, and you won't. You'll simply assert that it's somehow our fault that we are drowning, because somehow god putting us in this position isn't acceptable to you. Yet, you also can't answer why it is moral or good for all of us to suffer for the supposed crimes of Adam and Eve. You are morally and intellectually bankrupt.

Karla said...

anonymous, I will keep talking about the same topics because they are important. Just because you have given a different perspective doesn't mean it succeeded in changing the truth of the matter. You have presented good questions and I have attempted to answer them and I know you don't believe my answers were adequate to the extent you have said I never answered them at all. And I will address the same questions again if others are having them as well the best I know how at present.

As I tell the Christians who comment here I want to foster respectful discussion about these matters.

Anonymous said...

"anonymous, I will keep talking about the same topics because they are important. Just because you have given a different perspective doesn't mean it succeeded in changing the truth of the matter."

And you will keep repeating yourself even though serious objections have been raised to your points which you continually ignore. This is pretty shoddy intellectual and moral behavior.

"You have presented good questions and I have attempted to answer them and I know you don't believe my answers were adequate to the extent you have said I never answered them at all."

You're full of it. You've not even attempted to answer these questions, unless you think that simply repeating the original assertion that I objected to is somehow answering the question. Let me remind you that it is not.

"And I will address the same questions again if others are having them as well the best I know how at present."

And, what if I ask the questions again? Oh wait, I just did and you've just ignored them once again. And, to boot, you started the train of thought with your question to me. Keep avoiding, it's the only thing you've got going for you. We all know that you can't answer the tough questions, but you might be able to tap dance and BS your way around them long enough to fool some gullible people (MM comes to mind here).

Anonymous said...

Note MM is not equal to "mike aka monolithtma."