10/26/99

Hi,

I've been away on travel so I'm just now trying to catch up.

As I had said previously, I started with a passion to know God. From reason, I know that I am not likely to find Him through nature. I reason that if I am to find God, He must find me, i.e. reveal Himself to me. I reason that if He exists and doesn't want me to know Him, then I have lost. I reason that only if He cares about me and His creation will He provide the means to reveal Himself. Furthermore, I reason that it will be an enduring means; reaching, unbroken, back into antiquity.

I know full well that there are other writings about gods. I can make up ten religions today; no, this very hour. None of which will dilute the power of the Bible. Napoleon knew of power when he wrote "the Bible is no mere book, but a Living Creature, with a power that conquers all who oppose it". Immanuel Kant wrote "The existance of the Bible as a book for the people is the greatest benefit which the human race has ever experienced. Every attempt to belittle it is a crime against humanity". There are estimates that in China today, twenty thousand chinese a day are being converted to Christianity. They are asking other Christians in the world for only two things, for prayers and for Bibles.

What writings have I overlooked that would be a challenge to the Bible? Allow me the opportunity to look them over.

I know that rules are foundational for other religions; that's a very distintive difference with Christianity.

Let me go back to my little analogy with a car owners manual. Honda says that they are the AUTHORITY when it comes to their cars and few people doubt it. In the first commandment, God says that HE IS THE AUTHORITY; otherwise, why would we pay any attention to what He says? The Ten Commandments tell us, the users of the world, how the world works. And we do need God to tell us not to murder; i.e. that life is sacred. Otherwise, it would not be wrong to trade one evil for another as the Nazis did when they traded the death of Jews in exchange for national unity.

God doesn't send people to hell for disobeying Him. The Christian understanding is that God is life. We cannot have life outside of Him, that would be a contradiction in the very definition of life itself. God graciously (meaning without expecting something in return) offers life; we freely choose life (which equals an eternal union with God) or death (which equals an eternal separation from God). There are no other, and there can be no other, choices. If I ask God to go away and leave me alone, I am asking, by definition, for hell itself.

Christianity is not a social club, it's not a sorority, it's not a business. If you try to evaluate the truths of Christianity by observing people who profess to be Christians, it is quite statistically likely that you will, in actuality, be observing people who are atheists pretending to be Christians. I recently saw one of those "TV Magazine" type shows in which a defendant portrayed himself as a wonderful Christian. He was quite convincing - had all the right "Christian" words and phrases and prayers and everything. Later, when his guilt was proven beyond a doubt, he admitted that it was all an act. I also know that there are misguided Christians who don't know what or why they believe. What can I say but that they are an embarassment. I can't look into people's hearts, and I doubt you can either.

My gosh, do you think the Christianity that I speak of is simple? It's not reasonable to think that the nature of God is going to be simple.

Let me answer a question with a question. Where on earth are you getting your ideas about Christianity? From the tract pushers on campus? I notice that many of your emails contain references to the homosexual debate. Is that the genesis of your disgust?

Cheers,
(by the way, I visited the Cheers Bar in Boston over the weekend)
Lynn

10/26/99

Hello,

You say you "started with a passion to know God". A passion to know the Christian god? Would you have been just as open to knowing several gods? How about goddesses?

You know you can make up ten religions within the hour; have you ever considered that Christianity was one of those? Not made up within an hour of course, but over time, constantly being embellished to make it sound real cool. After all, the bible is made up of stories from previous religions. The "power" of the bible has been dependent upon past religion and how people push and promote it. By itself it is mere mythology. When you believe it is all true, of course you will gain a new perspective. That's true of anything you read. It's "power" also comes from the people who believe in it and will defend it. Hence your quotation from Napoleon, which could have been taken out of context in light that he was famous for saying, "Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet," and "All religions have been made by men." Chinese people being converted to Christianity has absolutely nothing to do with any power that the bible might have. It is very clear that these people are being brainwashed by missionaries. If Christianity was the big true religion they wouldn't need these missionaries to tell them that. Christianity is all about advertising. Look at any religious art from the past, look at missionaries...look at history. Christians are advertising their religion constantly and trying so hard to get their way. When was the last time a Wiccan knocked on your door or a group of Native Americans insisted their creation myth be taught at your public school? It's no surprise to me that the Chinese are being converted at all. It would surprise me if they were converting to anything but Christianity. It is, in fact, a huge business.

I don't know what you want to read in context to a challenge to the bible. Any holy book is just as important to it's religion. Any of them could challenge it in relation to how true or important it is.

So you have a very different take on whether or not god sends people to hell, to back up your argument that there are no rules in Christianity. But I am talking about Christianity in general, not just your version of it. You believe that hell is literally not being with god, telling god to "go away and leave me alone." I suppose I could fall under that definition, and I rather like hell. If I'm living in hell right now and like it, and I won't be punished for it when I die, what's the point of god in the first place? Seems like more of a hobby. But seriously, many Christians believe in the concept of being sent to burn in hell for all eternity if you do not follow what god wants you to. How do you know they're wrong?

The Ten Commandments seem more like a waste of time on god's part other than to assert himself as the almighty, ie you better do what I say. Man already knew not to kill from common sense. Man already knew not to steal from common sense. Men honoured their parents long before any Ten Commandments. That's human nature. The Ten Commandments simply restates this and adds some bits about god in a "you'd better do it" tone.

You keep talking about people pretending to be Christians, but they're really not. They know they're Christians just as much as you do. How do you know they're not? You're a Lutheran, does that mean that Baptists are wrong? Protestants? Is the Pope wrong? How do you arrive at the conclusion that so many people are simply atheists pretending to be Christians? Just because they interpret the religion differently? I don't think that's a very fair statement. Like you said, you can't look into peoples' hearts to know if they are lying about their religion (what would be the point in that anyway?).

The Christians that you call embarassing, the ones who don't know what or why they believe, these are the Chinese (among many others) you were talking about earlier, buying into whatever's popular. That doesn't say anything about the power of the bible by itself, just the power of the people who promote it.

My "ideas" about Christianity come from observation. Christianity is all over the place, from your family, friends, media, education...absolutely everywhere (which is exactly where it wants to be). It goes without saying that growing up in a country where it is the dominant religion, I'm bound to learn just a little bit about it. Don't you think?

I will not be brainwashed by "tract pushers on campus" but make note of the fact that that is how some people believe. And they are just as much Christians as anyone else. That doesn't mean they all believe the same thing, it's what some believe. My references to the homosexual debate have absolutely nothing to do with any disgust toward Christianity. In fact, I think a good number of Christians don't believe that homosexuals are evil and should be killed. They are in my letters to demonstrate that people can interpret the bible anyway they like and still be Christians.

Meretricula

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