Religion (or “Complex Religious Institutions” as we call it in the history department) is certainly important in this world. Unlike Christopher Hitchens, I do believe that religion, Christianity in particulary, has done more good for the world than bad. But let me give you my take on the whole thing. I’ve numbered the different talking points to make things simpler, but be aware that I realize that there are complications and that my simplifications may be just that…simplifications. Don’t think that I’m trying to convert people to Christianity…I’m not.
1) Jesus, I believe he was a real person. There is overwhelming evidence that he existed. Now, whether or not you believe he was/is the Son of God is another story, but I think it’s fair to say that the person, Jesus, existed. Having said that, I personally believe that Jesus was the Lamb of God and died for our sins. If you don’t believe that, then that’s fine…again, I don’t seek to convert.
2) The Holy Trinity. I believe in the Trinity; the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Now, I realize that some don’t believe in the Trinity and often blame Christian who do as Polytheists. They say that by believing in the Trinity, we believe in more than one God…well, it’s complicated, but I believe that the Trinity is in fact ONE IN THE SAME. This is where faith comes in my friends.
3) The Gnostics…read my earlier post and you’ll get my take on those fools.
4) The Gospels. As controversial as they are, I believe each has an overlying element of truth and similiarity. I for one do not believe that Jesus did not feel pain, as implicated in Luke. Actually, I find John to be the most interestig gospel though to believe it requires a little more faith than the other gospels. If you’d like to know more about what I think about the gospels in particular go ahead and message me…if I get enough messages, I’ll just write a post strictly for the gospels.
Moving on to the elements that make me different than many Christians:
5) Triuphalism. For those who don’t know what triumphalism is I’ll give you the “Triumphalism for Dummies” take: Triumphalists believe that God is the reason for greatness (or for bad things). For example, the first Christian Roman Emporer, Constantine, would argue that God is the reason that Rome was so great. In fact, God is the reason that Rome did not fall during the 3rd century crisis. Also, English triumphalists would argue that God was the reason that Great Britain was able to conquer half the globe. On the flip side, God is the reason New Orleans became an underwater city…because of all the sin. Now, I DON’T BELIEVE IN TRIUMPHALISM. In fact, I don’t believe that God helps you win football games. I also don’t believe that God is the “reason” Hurricane Katrina did the damage that it did. Oddly enough, when I pray I NEVER pray for God to give me this or that, or for God to punish those who have wronged me. Rather I pray for guidance. I pray for thanks for everything that I’ve accomplished, because God has made me the person that I am and allowed me to make my own decisions…which brings me to my next and most important point for this post:
6) Free will. I believe in free will. Many Christians do not believe in free will. They believe that God has a plan for everyone…I don’t know if I believe that. Where does it say in the bible that there is a plan for every individual? In fact I think that God is so merciful and gracious that he gave everyone the opportunity to make decisions for themselves. I believe that God will give guidance to those who ask, but I don’t think that God chooses your destiny (which subsequently I don’t believe in either). I believe every man chooses the outcome of his life (conservative thought mind you). I don’t understand how people could think otherwise. Not to be mean, but if you didn’t believe in free will wouldn’t you really be saying that God chooses a number of people who will go to heaven or hell, or chooses the people that will murder or become adulters? Come on…
That’s my take. You don’t have to agree, in fact I encourage friendly debate. If you would like to know specifics send me a message and I’ll do my best to explain myself. Thanks, tell your friends.
David Cooper (C)