Who I am:
“On the other hand, and if by way of compensation, religion teaches people to be extremely self centered and conceited. It assures them that God cares for them individually, and it claims that the cosmos was created with them specifically in mind.”Christopher Hitchens “God is not great”
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses for me and for the gospel will save it.” Mark 8:34-35 NIV
The Minutia: First I think anyone reading a blog should have an idea where the author is coming from and what their passions are. But sadly, I almost feel like this part of my story will end up reading like a profile on match dot com where the girl says. “You know, I like romantic sushi dinners, long walks on the beach, and a man who wears a Rolex”, with the emphasis on the Rolex.
Well, I like good R & B music, not the smut that is on the radio today, Classic Jazz with a great melody and Rock and Roll with R & B roots. I play electric bass fairly well and I am barely competent on guitar, and I’ve written a few tunes along with having had the opportunity to play with some world-class musicians. I like good photography, especially nature photography, and have an unhealthy passion for Fly Fishing. I am single, never married. But most of all I’m passionate about the freedom to do this stuff and freedom in general.
God: I guess you could call me a Christian, although the definitions these days are far too enigmatic to make a lot of distinction. In other words claiming Christianity has very little influence on the behavior of many. I believe in the teachings of Christ and find them (unlike Mr. Hitchens) very unique among the great “moral or philosophical” teachers. I also believe in the claims that he made about himself and in the eyewitness claims of the Bible. So yes, I believe he did perform miracles including the raising of Lazarus and himself from the dead. If he didn’t, to paraphrase St Paul, What’s the point?
I also have found in my experience that the moral teachings of Christ work. While you may disagree with the idea of no sex without marriage for instance, I doubt you could make the argument that non-committed sexual antics and the resulting abortions, heartache, divorce, and children missing a parent is good for the community as a whole. It amazes me that the most pressing current civil rights issue of the “Free Love” 60’s generation is gay marriage. The same leaders who were telling us to “Love the one you’re with” and that a marriage license was “a worthless sheet of paper” are now campaigning for the institution of marriage.
Now as a side bar, the scriptures emphasize one other thing about morality. God judges the heart, and WHY we do something appears to be almost if not absolutely more important than what we do. Keeping this in mind I believe Christians need to be very cautious in promoting the legislation of Christ’s morality. Because people that keep that morality for the wrong motives are no closer to God and given no more credit than those who ignore it.
As far as the Bible, I believe it is the word of God, and most certainly inspired by God. I believe with some certainty that the words found inside taken in context are profitable for our lives even in modern times. As far as the non-eyewitness accounts (for example the creation or the flood), I’m just plain not sure, I believe God created the planet and in the uniqueness of man. The fact that man even ponders these things too me is proof of that. But how it occurred and the means are questions for the scientists to answer. The Bible claims to be a lot of things but scientific text is not among them. I have the same problem when Science tries to answer moral questions, it is simply not equipped to do so.
Man: The fact that man (I use the term in the generic species sense, with no reference to gender) ponders these things is IMO a proof of God and the Bibles claim of mans uniqueness, but the fact that Man is also by nature selfish and narcissistic (even love is based on many selfish qualities) is also proof of one of the basic principles of religion, especially Christianity. Original Sin is something uniquely human; almost every other species acts on instinct and genetic purely with very little moral control over their actions.
This is why I find myself with a basic mistrust of others. If other men haven’t failed you yet, they will. Again I use the term genetically, although many women may use to refer to gender in this. A great example of this is “love”, most of the criterion we use for choosing lovers” is almost entirely self-centered. While Jesus called for us to live others-centered lives, most of us, even the most well meaning fail at this standard.
Because of this I have a natural mistrust of authority. Even the most well meaning dark overlords or bureaucrats (in our country you can use the terms interchangeably) invariably make most of their decisions with biased self centered or their group centered decisions. Why would ANYONE trust them?
To respond to Mr. Hitchens (who I miss greatly): While I can’t speak for inexplicable mess that is Christianity on the planet today I can refer to the teachings of Christ. And one thing is clear; the teachings of Christ did anything but promote self-centeredness and conceit. He promoted a God-centered generous life.