For Easter this year, my family and I were out of town. We ended up attending Easter services at Central Christian Church in Henderson, NV. After the opening worship band left the stage, there was a young man who came out and presented a monologue/poem/rap that highlighted a good deal of what Christianity is about. I was impressed at the broad spectrum of doctrine, challenges and truths that were professed during this brief presentation.
If you’ve been around Christianity long enough, you’ve probably heard someone say that Jesus was “fully man and fully God.” Perhaps you’ve heard some other variation. Perhaps you’ve wondered how that is possible. Hopefully, at the very least, you took it on faith. Better than that, hopefully you’ve wrestled with it a bit in order to get an understanding that you feel comfortable with intellectually.
It seems that the more I read or listen to many of the common arguments from non-believers, there is a very narrow range of types of objections to Christianity or any sort of theism. One such argument has to do with the level of skepticism they have regarding any claims of a divine being. What I have found, however, is that this argument tends to be every bit as inconsistent as many others.
The world is full of irony. Of the many things people use against Christians, much of the ammunition non-believers use against us has been provided to them…by us. Not always on purpose, of course. Often it can be a simple mis-application of scripture.
If I were smart, I’d wait until we were coming up on Easter before I posted something about the resurrection. But, here I am writing about it now…just before Thanksgiving. I guess I could make an argument that it still makes sense since, as a Christian, the empty tomb is something I’m thankful for.
If you’ve never heard that before, or something that basically means the same thing, I would guess that you either haven’t been a Christian for very long or are not one now. That is probably one of the most common things I hear with regards to understanding the Christian faith. Often, I’ve heard non-believers respond to this, derisively, with something like, “Oh, just believe and then I’ll believe? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!” If you hear this from someone, please correct them. Nicely. It is not “believe and you will believe.” It is, “believe and you will understand.” For many people, that’s not really very helpful just as it is. Whichever way you say it, it just doesn’t seem to add up. It still seems somewhat circular in reasoning. So, how can we rationalize this without sacrificing our intellectual integrity? Perhaps if we were to take it out of the theological context and put it in a completely different context, it will make more sense to more people. For those who don’t know me, I’m a geek. I’ve been a geek for as long as I can remember. You know the kind. The one who works on computers and understands how they work and how to fix them. But it’s worse than that. Not only was I good in high school at computers and math and science. I would actually sit in the cafeteria at lunch with a blank sheet of paper, write out a long equation (usually with various exponential values attached to variables) and “solve for x.” I was that bad. That was fun for me. I know. Like I said. Geek. I say all that to point something out. Back in high school, when I was taking classes in algebra and geometry and trigonometry, etc., other students would often say things like, “How can x equal two different things? That doesn’t make any sense!” But, when I looked at an equation where the variable, usually x, was raised to the second power (or “squared”), I automatically knew that x would have two values. I got that. It was clear. It was perfectly easy to understand. No worries about it being contradictory or nonsensical. I understood that because I understood the underlying mathematical theorem’s that made it possible. Because the foundational principles and laws of mathematics were known and trusted (i.e. I believed them), then it was quite easy for me to understand that x = 2 AND x = -7 were both correct. And, that there were no other values for x that would be valid in that equation. It was because I trusted...
For many non-believers out there, if you ever want to get them riled up when they ask you for why you believe God exists, just bring up trees. I’ve heard many non-believers get to the point that I start do wonder if they might pop a blood vessel when someone uses an argument for God because of trees.
One of the ironies in the area of politics and religion seems to be that those people who strongly profess a faith of some sort feel as though they are being persecuted by the secular minority and the secular minority feels as though they are being persecuted by those who are religious. It’s an interesting predicament.
Have you ever heard someone tell you that you need to be more open minded? The most interesting part about that is that most of those people don’t actually realize what they’re saying.