Christianity

Vincent Danen

September 09, 2014

I've had to rearrange the layout of the blog to accommodate some new postings that will be showing up here in the future. As an aside, my apologies to those who visit and see that I have been sadly lacking in any kind of content on the site. I will be making a distinct effort to rectify this moving forward, although perhaps not in the way that most might expect.

Since May I have been engaging in theological studies through my church's off-campus theology program (Christcity Theological Institute for anyone curious). The material we have been going through has been exceptional and between a crazy amount of work and my studies I've not had much time for posting random things. I haven't had time to do extra-curricular mucking around with random computer things like I used to, so there isn't as much to write about as a result.

However, as I've gone through these theological materials (and others), I realize I do have something worth writing about, but it stands apart from the typical content that has been published here for years. To that end, I opted to keep my thoughts and writings about Christianity and my faith from the front page of the site -- purely to keep the tech focus on the site. Since I don't feel like maintaining a second blog and don't want to come across as a "Bible thumper" or have anyone feel like I'm attempting to shove my faith down their throat, I've intentionally set these pieces out of "simple sight". They are perfectly visible in all respects beyond not being on the front page, as I have a feeling these posts may be quite lengthy. They will be syndicated to my Facebook and Google+ pages, as well as my Twitter feed. Anyone who haunts those will find that these posts are no real surprise given what I tend to tweet/post (again, rather infrequently as I don't have much time for social media these days either).

Please understand that this is by no means an attempt to "hide my faith" as, if that were the aim, I could simply not post these things to begin with. Also understand that comments have always been moderated on this site, and will continue to be, so that isn't new. I am more than happy for questions or reasonable comments, but will likely ignore flames or other questionable comments -- I'm not here to pick fights and won't respond to any in kind. You're free to believe what you like, and you're free to read what you like (and the same holds true for myself). If you don't like what I write, simply don't read it. If you're curious or have genuine questions, I will certainly welcome them and try to answer as best I can.

This is a journey for understanding. I have always been a Christian (although not always a very good one!) and I have always had a firmness to my faith, but these studies answer more questions than I had thought to ask (and I will admit that, growing up, this was the adoption of my parents' faith; this is now beyond the shadow of a doubt my faith). However, as I study, Christianity makes sense and in the light of other religions and philosophies in the world, it makes the most sense. Future postings will have examples of what I mean by this.

Also note that I am not a "religious person" and don't believe in following rules for their own sake. Yes, the orthodoxy of Christianity is religious, in that there is a set of doctrines and beliefs but that is merely the shape of the box. What is inside the box is vastly different, and is not defined by strict adherence to rules/regulations/laws. Yes, these things exist and they do so for a purpose, but the fundamental premise and ideology behind the Bible is simple: it's a love story about relationships. Relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Relationships with each other. I believe that "religion" and the same adherence to rules/regulations/laws are things that have contributed to atrocities committed in the past in the name of God, but were not done in the spirit of what the Bible teaches and so can no more be attributed to God than cars running children over can be attributed to automobile manufacturers, or that murderers can be attributed to law makers. I will get more into all of this in later posts, however.

Finally, for those to whom this may offend: I'm not sorry, it's not on the frontpage, and just don't read it if you don't like it or disagree with it. Don't feel like you need to post to "convert" me as my aim in posting is not to "convert" you. To those who want to read, I encourage you to use the RSS feed to be made aware of when new postings are out. For those concerned these will hit Planet Fedora, don't worry about it. They won't.

“I'm convinced that most men don't know what they believe, rather, they only know what they wish to believe. How many people blame God for man's atrocities, but wouldn't dream of imprisoning a mother for her son's crime?” ? Criss Jami

This is my way of knowing not only what I believe, but why I believe it. And not just "knowing" but knowing. Why would I want to believe in something that is false or that, when you dig past the surface, doesn't make sense? It concerns me how many people condemn Christianity but know nothing about it, or those who believe in it but have never asked themselves why they do. Similarly, people shouldn't condemn the Muslim faith without bothering to know anything more than what media presents, while at the same time Muslims should be questioning and looking into their own faith (although this is admittedly difficult due to Sharia Law -- this, in itself, should be causing them to question!). Even many Darwinists (or Naturalists, or Athiests) never bother to understand the views they implicitly oppose and, if I may be so bold, often don't look logically at their own worldview and philosophy to know what it is they are even professing to believe in.

This is my way of articulating, both to myself and to others who care to take the same journey, or are already on it, why it is that I believe what I believe and that it isn't some mindless, blind devotion to a dead religion, but a logical and reasonable walk of faith. I'm not concerned about taking this journey -- after all, if I'm wrong then I want, and need, to know it. It's not enough for me to be a "good person" or to be a "pew warmer" on a Sunday, get some warm fuzzies and feel good about myself and then be, as James 1:22 says, merely a hearer of the word and not a doer of the word and in the end, simply deceiving myself.

Every Christian should be unafraid to take an honest look at the faith, we are in fact instructed to study and learn and understand the Bible and our faith:

“Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 AMP)

Finally:

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (1 Peter 3:15–16 TNIV)

How can you give an answer for something you do not understand? As far as I am concerned, these two scriptures indicate that God wants us to know what we believe and why we believe it. Why? So that, if we fully understand, we will live our lives according to that understanding -- not simply paying lip-service to a philosophy or good idea, but actually living our lives in such a way that our belief is seen in how we act, not just in what we say. A true belief is something that does not change to suit us. We change to suit it.

We, as Christians, are called to be agents of change to the world. How can we possibly change anything if we don't really believe that what we believe is really real?* Just look around and you'll see how poorly we preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ in North America.

* (Yes, this statement is taken from the Truth Project because I couldn't possibly articulate it better)

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