Sunday, February 13, 2011

Beautiful day - intense homework

Today was one of those homework days that I did my best to avoid.  Beautiful temps outside, melting snow and ice, sunshine ... all of that made it kind of difficult to focus on writing responses to questions regarding Church Doctrine.

I also have scrubbed the toilet and the shower - didn't get the fridge cleaned out, but hey ... I had to get some homework done.  And there's a Hebrew quiz coming up tomorrow that I should try to attempt preparing for.

First question of the day was based on reading in our Church Doctrine textbook.  How could I use the information I was reading to explain that God exists to an agnostic.  Whoa.  Nothing like pulling out the easy questions in the first week of class.

I read a few responses from some of my classmates and became increasingly frustrated with their 'pat' answers.  You see, I know quite a few agnostics and there isn't going to be any convincing them with answers from the text.  That's just the reality.  An agnostic and an atheist carry two completely separate belief structures.  An atheist says God doesn't exist and an agnostic affirms that there is no way to know whether God exists or not.  They acknowledge the possibility, but can't confirm it based on their knowledge or experience.

Trying to explain to a person in either of those camps that God exists based on information from the Bible turns into circular reasoning since God wrote (through men) the Bible.  There is no way to prove that point intellectually.  And you can not separate intellectual belief from faith. Having a conversation regarding God without acknowledging that everything within you is based on belief and faith - not scientific reasoning - just insults everyone involved in the conversation.

But, the author of the textbook had some really pointed things to say to Christians and the first of those is that we can't sit on the sidelines and not be intellectual about our faith.  We must have some understanding of the Scriptures and be prepared to stand for our faith.  "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." (1 Peter 3:15)

With baptism, came teaching ... from the earliest days of the church.  Christians aren't supposed to be slow-minded morons, we are to be quick with a response and assure those around us that our faith is based on the truth that is found in God.

The author also said that long before we discuss the idea of God's existence, we must define who it is that God is.  What is the nature of God?  These are the things that Christians should be prepared to answer when speaking to someone who doesn't yet believe in God.

Finally, for me, I believe that I can say everything there is to say - as articulately as possible - and it will not do any good unless a person is willing to hear those words. God's call on that heart will open it to hear His truth.  It may not be my words - it may be someone else's.  It may not be words at all.  It isn't my job to bring the world to Christ - it is simply my job to share Christ with the world.  He will do the rest.

With that, I probably will drive a few of my classmates insane.  These poor young men are trying so hard to be intellectuals in a class being taught be an incredibly brilliant man.  I'll just play the 'simple young girl from southeast Iowa card' and continue the process of learning.

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