Monday, May 22, 2006

Common Sense Applied To Christianity.

Oh my, The Da Vinci Code movie is coming out and all radio religious is going stark-raving mad. "Should, or should you not go? (take your child, dog or x-mother-in-law?). To hear some folks talk about this book, to actually read it may turn you into a Satanist! A similar argument to: if you hang around homosexuals, you might turn into one. People Pa-lee-ee-se! Take a breath and sit down. Cybergal has some light to shed on all of this. Having the absolute ability to over react, I've already done that for you. I can save you much time, energy and angst.

Christianity takes a leap of faith to accept, or reject. To actually learn about Christianity, I suggest sitting down with a book called The Bible and slowly reading it. You can read it in a year, or read it in five years, depending on whose plan you follow. What I, or anyone else says about this, or any other subject, should be INVESTIGATED by you, before believing the opinion.

I hated all things Christian, but when I decided to actually give Jesus a chance, I started with the four Gospels and read them like I'd read any other story. I have to say, it is a story that is interesting, but a bit strange. Since I was a Baha'i' at the time, I had a lot of data from the Baha'i' viewpoint,showing how they were right and Christ was wrong.

I basically started over. Following The Baha'i' faith wasn't working any more and I really liked the part of Jesus work, where he healed people. I knew I was totally screwed-up and had no idea how to help myself, at the ripe old age of 25. My march to Jesus took over 5 years and was not smooth, or easy. Like most people who finally straggle up to an alter somewhere, I was broken inside, hopeless and desperate. Desperate enough to run naked down any street, if that would make things better. So before running naked, anywhere, I decided to try Jesus. (Real spiritual, right?)

I hate to work hard, so when Dr. Gene Scott held out the carrot of just listening to him talk about the Bible, instead of me reading it for myself, I went for it. After 14 years and a bankruptcy, mainly caused by hysterical religious giving, I decided to actually read the Bible for myself. (Yeah, stupid is as stupid does). Now, I'm at a healthy small church near my home and I'm having a wonderful time in the world of religion. But, I still read the Bible for myself, no matter how much I respect my pastor. A really good sign of a healthy church and or pastor, is one who encourages you to check out what they preach. The pastors and churches that don't want you to think for yourself, by questioning, or investigating their teachings are not good. Buyer Beware!

For those of us who are Christian, we've come to believe stuff about Jesus, God, the devil and life. If this 'stuff' is based on the Bible - the entire Old and New testaments, you are probably pretty stable when confronted with something like The Da Vinci Code, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, or The Jesus seminar. If you haven't been studying, or paying very close attention, these things can blow you right off balance.

Mainstream Christianity believes Jesus is divine and human at the same time. That he actually physically died at the crucifixion and then re-gained his physical life again at the Resurrection. A whole lot of people, some even claiming to be Christian, refuse to believe some, or all of the above. Numbers aren't the only thing which can be 'cooked' to render a lie. Research can be 'cooked' also. It basically comes down to who are you going to believe?

If I look at you, wave my hand over your head and tell you that you are giving off 'cancer' vibrations, I would hope you'd ignore me. If, however, your Medical Doctor says that you have a malignant brain tumor, I'd hope you'd pay very serious attention to that information. The difference is the credibility of the source.

While it may be true, that I can detect a 'cancer' vibration, the chance of it being reliable is very small. The chance that your doctor and hospital completely mistake several test results, all pointing to a brain tumor is also slim. Again, who is the most reliable source of information?

One study says caffeinated coffee is good for you, while another study says it is bad for you. Some guy on late night talk radio claims the Queen of England is really part of an alien race, which appear to be six-foot-tall reptiles. This last story is completely ignored by even the way-out-there press. Who are you going to believe? We all know this, until someone writes something about Jesus Christ.

We all believe that religion and love are similar. Both are effortless to obtain and maintain. Both will last forever. Love is a commitment and a lot of work. Religion is also a commitment and requires life-long upkeep. Salvation is indeed free, but the upkeep is a job you will have for the rest of this life, as you slowly lose more of the 'old' you and take on more of the 'new' Jesus-like you.

I have a lot of atheist friends and find much real pleasure in kicking Christianity around with them. They always come up with questions I never thought of and answers which make us all laugh, at times. When one of my atheist friends proclaims they've found a book 'proving' that Jesus isn't God, I'll read it, but I take it with a grain of salt. Sure, when you throw out 85% of the New testament, what you are left with doesn't look too divine, but why would I choose to do that?

When my pastor gives me a book, as part of a class, and tells me to read it, I am open and trusting. Why? I assume this person wants to assist me on my spiritual journey. One of the most devastating mistakes I made, was trusting a pastor, who rejected 85% of the New testament. Now, I'm a bit less open, no matter who recommends a book.

The Jesus seminar took the New testament and 'blackballed' anything they felt violated scientific law. (any miracle, etc.) and actually rejected around 85% of the Gospel accounts. With that set of assumptions, they concluded that the Bible has no more authority then any other book. Since I believe The Bible was divinely inspired, I give it far more weight, then I do to the latest 'how to get organized' book. I had to learn not only what I believe, but why I believe it.

I really have a problem with The Da Vinci Code. Since it is a very well crafted 'who done it?" story, it moves fast and captures and sustains your full attention. What I hate about this book is the claim that the 'research' is accurate. And I'm related to the Tooth Fairy! Dan Brown doesn't make one or two little errors, but inflates reality, or ignores it completely, consistently throughout his anti-Christian rant. It is a free country. I think you all should read the book and probably skip the flick. I've heard it is not nearly as good as the book. Many fine books have trouble making the transition to the silver screen. Check out the claims.

One example, are there 666 panes of glass in the pyramid outside the Louvre, or are there 673 panes of glass? This could have indeed been a typo, but there are many other 'lose' ends in this book. I dare you to read that book and then spend several weeks reading the 4 gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. There are amazing errors committed by the so-called British historian.

Now, who cares? Why does it matter? Because, I believe we humans have a 50 year span of time to answer one question that will determine our eternal destiny. Yes, it is a test, but it is an open book test, and you have 50 years, give, or take, to accomplish the task.

Some of you don't believe there is an eternity, yeah, that is a leap of faith also, but what if you are betting on the wrong horse and spend eternity in 'the smoking section'? That was what made me seriously consider religion at all. Sure, if this is all there is, let's make the most of it, get mine and to hell with you. But, what if there is an eternity, we can't perceive, like we can't normally see electricity? Be careful about the assumptions you make to rule your life, it is a true drag, when you realize that you have basically 'wasted' most of your precious time being a fool.

Here's my reasoning on the time of the big test. Figure most of us live 70+ years. I figure the first 20 are the prep time for the test. Getting the skills we need to do this long open book test. 70 minus 20 yields 50 years of time to answer one question. Are you all ready?

"Who do you say I am?"
Jesus Christ speaking.
You have two choices.
  1. The only real God, proved by the claim and fulfillment of the Resurrection. Therefore Jesus is The Lord of my life.
  2. Not divine, any path leads to God, therefore I don't have to worry about it.

Its an open book test, but I'd be careful which opinion I'd bet on. The Da Vinci Code is entertaining FICTION, but a very bad source about who Jesus Christ is.


Simon said...

So is the bible - a bad source I mean.

MacPhilly said...

Nice job Cybergal.

Simon. I dare you to objectively review the historicity (sp?) of the Bible. Like many other skeptics - including me - I bet you'll be amazed to find how exactly reliable it is. And, you'd be surprised to find how internally consistent it is, especially given that it is 66 books, written in three languages and by more than 40 authors.