Why Do I Doubt? And Why Did Peter Carry That Rock? Genuine Seeker (Part 5)

Why do I doubt?

Former Human Genome Project Leader Dr. Francis Collins

Why Did Peter Carry That Rock?

Elizabeth Elliott tells a parable in her book These Strange Ashesand it goes like this:

One day Jesus said to his disciples: “I’d like you to carry a stone for me.” He didn’t give any explanation. So the disciples looked around for a stone to carry, and Peter, being the practical sort, sought out the smallest stone he could possibly find. After all, Jesus didn’t give any regulation for weight and size! So he put it in his pocket.  Jesus then said: “Follow Me.” He led them on a journey. About noontime Jesus had everyone sit down. He waved his hands and all the stones turned to bread. He said, “Now it’s time for lunch.” In a few seconds, Peter’s lunch was over.  When lunch was done Jesus told them to stand up. He said again, “I’d like you to carry a stone for me.” This time Peter said, “Aha! Now I get it!” So he looked around and saw a small boulder. He hoisted it on his back and it was painful, it made him stagger. But he said, “I can’t wait for supper.” Jesus then said: “Follow Me.” He led them on a journey, with Peter barely being able to keep up. Around supper time Jesus led them to the side of a river. He said, “Now everyone throw your stones into the water.” They did. Then he said, “Follow Me,” and began to walk. Peter and the others looked at him dumbfounded.  Jesus sighed and said, “Don’t you remember what I asked you to do?  Who were you carrying the stone for?”

Why Are Christians, Christians?

Most Christians would like to say they believe in Christianity because of the evidence for the truth of the bible, or because they’ve lived with Jesus a few years and have come to know him and trust him and love him. (see previous posts J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospel Accounts and Why Do I Doubt? Genuine Seeker (Part 4)) And while these are reasons for many, the reality is, people become Christians for all sorts of reasons. Some became Christians because of the inertia in their family. Their family members are Christians, so they just went with the flow. It just made sense so they could keep good relationships with mom, dad, and their siblings. Some others became Christians because in their part of the planet it’s what people do. So they also went with the flow. And they find acceptance with their peers and with the culture they live in. Some others become Christians because of the benefits of the community. Maybe where they live it’s good for business to belong to the local church. Or maybe they like receiving support from church members when times are tough. Or maybe they enjoy the friendships formed. Often these reasons are present at the subconscious level.

Most Christians would like to say they believe in Christianity for unselfish reasons, but sometimes the reality is different. There are social reasons, and selfish reasons.

An Agnostic Historian and Faith

I have a friend who is an unbeliever and also an amateur historian. I once asked him to recommend some history books about Jesus Christ so I could Continue reading

Why Do I Doubt? Genuine Seeker (Part 4)

why do I doubt

Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8

Why Do I Doubt?

In our last post, Doubt, Faith, and Reason, we looked at how a firefighter decided to risk his own life and crawl through a window into a burning building to save three children. And we saw how his decision making process is related to our choosing to believe (or not believe) in the gospel accounts.

In today’s post we’ll look at one of the reasons why we doubt.

Getting to Know a Firefighter

Yesterday a candidate for a firefighter position at Medford Fire-Rescue contacted me asking for advice about how to get hired. Before I started writing full time, I was involved in the hiring process for the fire department. I’m pretty sure we have the most thorough process in the state. We start with an application screening and end with a background check that’s incredibly thorough. Before we hire someone we know them just about as well as you can know someone without living with them. Which is important because firefighters have a unique schedule, and because of their unique schedule they live with each other almost a third of their lifetime during their career. It’s also important because once he or she is hired, the department and the community will probably be stuck with this person, for better or for worse, for thirty years or so.

But here’s the thing, no matter how thorough our process, and no matter how deep we go with our background investigation, we don’t really get to know the candidate until he’s been with us for a few years. There have been a few backgrounds Continue reading

Doubt, Faith, and Reason: Genuine Seeker (Part 3)

doubt faith reason

Last Post: Tolkien, Lewis, and the Gospel

In our last post (J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospel Accounts) we saw the impact (on me at least) of C.S. Lewis’ opinion of the gospels. Lewis, a former atheist, a professor at Oxford and Cambridge, and an expert in ancient literature, wrote that the gospels are either a documented account of the life of Jesus, or, “some unknown writer in the 2nd century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative.” In other words, C.S. Lewis believed the scriptures to be true. (I posted Lewis’ statement on Reddit and a commenter, SuddenlySeymour, with a masters degree in English Literature explained it better than I ever could. If you’re interested, you can read what he wrote in the NOTES section at the bottom of this post.)

Why Should I Listen?

The next thing we explored in the last post was the next logical step after learning of Lewis’ conclusion. And that step is to read the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life very carefully. Because if those accounts are true as C.S. Lewis asserts that they are, then when we read the gospel accounts, we’re reading a documented account of the life and words of the Son of God Himself.

The Son of God Himself. No one’s life can be more important than his. No one’s world view can be more important than his. No one’s words can be more important than his. He said he came to save lives, eternal lives, and I want to explore that. But before we continue I think it will be helpful to first look at how firefighters decide to save lives.

Why Dive Through a Window Into a Burning Building? Continue reading

J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospel Accounts: Genuine Seeker (Part 2)

Jesus myth or reality

J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospels

In our last post we looked at how J.R.R. Tolkien of Lord of the Rings fame, argued with his atheist friend, C.S. Lewis, and how he ultimately persuaded Lewis to believe in Christianity. And we also saw what C.S. Lewis, an expert in ancient literature (Oxford and Cambridge professor, and chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge) said about the gospels:

I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this. Of this text there are only two possible views. Either this is reportage… Or else, some unknown writer in the 2nd century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative. If it is untrue, it must be narrative of that kind. The reader who doesn’t see this has simply not learned to read. -C.S. Lewis

(Click on the link to read the previous post in its entirety Smurfs and the Genuine Seeker)

So here’s one of my personal heroes, Tolkien, the creator of all the original writings having to do with Hobbits and in my view one of the great genius minds of all time, and he convinces his friend C.S. Lewis that the bible is true. And then Lewis, another one of the great minds of all time and an expert in ancient literature, recognizes the gospels as true documentation of the life of Christ.

So what am I to do with this? How am I to react to this? Continue reading

Smurfs and the Genuine Seeker of Truth (Part 1)

Jesus Real

Smurfs May Lead to “Harder” Entertainment Media

So, your parents forbid you to watch the Smurfs and you think that is one of the stupidest things ever, right? But take a breath and think this through with me. Somewhere, down deep inside, you know in your heart that it was when the Smurf high faded, it became the gateway television show that led you to your use of “harder” entertainment media. Come on, admit it. We’ve all heard the stories about Smurf watchers graduating to Harry Potter books and even engaging with others in the sport of Quidditch.

I even heard that one poor soul tried out for the position of Seeker. He was last seen in a deserted alley, chasing imaginary Quaffles and Golden Snitches.

Clearly it was the Smurfs cartoon that led to your ruin.

A Genuine Seeker of Truth

Okay so you’re probably right about the impact of the Smurfs on your childhood. But while we’re on the topic of the position of Seeker… I was on Google+ one time and I saw this post comparing an Egyptian mythological character named Horus to Jesus. The guy who posted it said that the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life were just ripoffs of this Egyptian legend. It seemed pretty compelling so Continue reading