I pray that somewhere along the line we can come to a mutual understanding
of the place of faith and human reason and it is with this goal in mind that
I will continue this discussion. I am enjoying our interchange, I hope you
are also. I believe we will both grow as a result or working this out.
At 04:40 PM 9/6/97 -0500, you wrote:
>I think you misunderstand. It is not my desire to "force converstion" but
>my desire to examine the rational roots of religion. If there is a God,
>surely he had some impact on historical events. Thus I want to find those
>points of impact. The religion which reports those events is more likely to
>be correct than those that don't. It is a matter of applying the scientific
>method to the class of things called religion.
Glenn, I believe that I do understand but I probably worded my last response
poorly by jumping ahead of the discussion. I know you want your
Christianity to be rational by the world's standard of applied reason in
order first of all to convince yourself that what you believe is true and
secondly to help convince others that Christianity is the only rational
Maybe you have missed my point which I have been saying all along. Religion
is not rational by the standard of human reason. We have to come in faith.
God gives us a choice. If we could reason our way to God, if we could find
proof of Him, His Love, and His activity, where would faith enter in? (And
why didn't the Greek philosophers find Him in the 4th century B.C.)
All through Scripture faith was demanded and Jesus himself demanded
child-like faith. As C.S. Lewis pointed out only in the Christ do we have a
completion of the mysteries the other religions hint at or point toward.
This is what I have been trying to point out -- we cannot prove God or His
work, only He can reveal it.
There are a lot of ways we can go wrong, and I hold that applying reason to
things of God is a very serious error for the people of today. It makes
human reason the final judge.
I see no significant difference between the attempts at reconciling faith
and science of many on the list (yourself included) and what the ardent
young earth creationist is attempting with "flood geology." You at least
have the basic science right but then you go beyond it by massaging the data
--stretching the known data to fit your idea of what Scripture requires.
Others do the same with Greek and Hebrew words to force reconciliation.
My approach is to admit that I see no possibility of reconciliation between
the works of man and God (I do not believe that even God can do that).
There is no evidence of a flood (regional or total) that conforms to the
Genesis account. There is no evidence (except hear-say) of the
resurrection. There is no evidence of God except that which can be see by
the eyes of faith. This is the only message we have to offer. It is the
message that Christian students need to hear from an early age, it is their
faith that needs to grow to prepare them for the world, and they need to be
grounded in the texts of faith found in Scripture and history of the faith.
Take another look at the armour Paul tells us to put on in Ephesians 6,
there is nothing there of using human reason and rationalism; faith is the
shield, revealed knowledge (truth) is the belt, and the Spirit is the sword.
>If I say "I am God" and tell you to simply believe it. Why shouldn't you if
>rational evidence has no place in religion? I would contend that you would
>reject the contention that I am God BECAUSE of logic and empirical evidence.
If I didn't have a grounding of faith in Jesus, my only answer would be
prove it because all I would have as a guide would be reason (this was the
position of Moses). As a Christian I would expect you to be consistent with
the Word you have revealed to me through Jesus Christ (as seen in Scripture
and tradition). Remember the Holy Spirit has to be involved also, it is not
a judgement call we can expect of those unaided by the Spirit.
>My point is that for Muslims everything centers on Allah they try to convert
>their neighbors in the fashion they feel is most appropriate to their
>religion. If belief is all we have, then we don't have much.
I guess this is why in the end the sword has to decide between Islam and
Christ in this world, we have no right to force the beliefs of other, but we
are called to come to the aid of the needy and to be Christ's witnesses.
>I believe this because I believe that the resurrection was a HISTORICAL
>event. Belief is not what makes the resurrection true. And belief, by
>itself, is not what makes Christ count in the end.
Sorry Glenn, but I believe you have left Christ at this point; it is only
the belief in Christ which counts in the end for each of us, that was His
message not mine.
Reason would say there has to be another way. It says that the devote Hindu,
Jew, Moslem, Mormon, Animalist, etc., must have a chance if they are true to
their faiths and do good works. Jesus however said I am the Truth and the
Way . . . ; that is not rational by our human standards.
John P. McKiness
P.O. Box 5666
Coralville, Iowa 52241