At a Bible college I went to in St. Louis for a year, I had a series of talks with the professor of Old Testament Theology about the importance of keeping the rules of the college regardless of how ridiculous or irrelevant they were. They were good talks. I completely agreed with the importance of submitting under authority. But as the days went on, I began to see the impossibility of my actually keeping all of these unrealistic rules. I expressed my concerns to him and was answered with this statement: “Nobody said that holiness was easy.” I left crushed and defeated at his reply.
Later on I was thinking about this situation and what came to my mind was what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light
I couldn’t see how this reconciled with my prof’s adamant retort: even though holiness is extremely difficult, we must pursue to achieve it without wavering. Needless to say, my understanding of the gospel was rather limited at this time and in retrospect, I much more understand what was going on, namely that the gospel was absent. There was a lot of talk of holiness and righteousness and piety, but little (if any) of the atoning work of Christ on the cross for our sins.
So before I talk anymore about the goodness of the law or our need to pursue sanctification, I want to clearly explain what the gospel has to do with the question of “Why Should I?”
In pockets of the United States are swarms of atheists. Centered around institutions of higher learning, these intellectual folk are hot for debate and hot for religion, just not in any way that would be supported by the local Christian church. Yet, housed within these groups is something intriguing, that they even do not realize is there. The seed of truth that has lain dormant for so long is germinating in this oddly fertile soil.
The “Good without God” campaign seeks to canvas the country with billboards and fliers announcing that it is possible to be a moral person without belief in a Higher Power of any sort. Even in nearby Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University, a humanist group started a controversial bus ad campaign declaring that people all over the world do not believe in God and still are able to resist committing murder, adultery, and theft. Oddly enough, with full agreement, the church may find the answer to its current identity crisis.
It has been more than 6 months since I became an incognito Christian and joined a group of more than 300 atheists as they toured the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky on August 8, 2009.
The response to my reflections have been overwhelming. To date there have been more than 14,000 hits on “Scarlet ‘A’ for a Day” alone. The experience has generated much open dialogue and has challenged me in more ways that I can express.
In case you missed them, here is a comprehensive list of my posts about the experience:
Another trip to the museum is planned for the end of the month. This time it will be a group of friends and I will be going as a Christian with good critical-thinking skills. We shall see if anything of interest comes from that perspective.
Ranked as the world’s most influential woman, Oprah Winfrey is undoubtedly a woman who has inspired millions with not only her wisdom, her wide circle of connections, but also with her very own rags to riches story. Although much ink has been spilled over her questionable influence in matters of spirituality, this post is not about her, instead it is about the church.
In 2005 a national survey of pastors was conducted, asking each of them to name the books that have most influenced them. The Purpose-Driven Life was the most frequent response. Authored by America’s pastor, Rick Warren, the book which has sold the most copies of any book in print, excepting only the Bible. Warren, who has amassed significant wealth as a result, retains a significant level of influence including the ear of the President of the United States.
Here is where we play the game regularly found in copies of the children’s magazine Highlights: circle the differences in these two pictures.
A few months ago I wrote a post in response to the lecture that I witnessed at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY. The talk was titled “The Ultimate Proof of Creation,” but was actually an attack on the moral character of atheists. Seated among a predominantly atheist audience, I was appalled and embarrassed at what was being said. In my post I made quite a feeble attempt at a response, but wrote out of anger and with a lack of substance.
In the lecture, Dr. Jason Lisle asserted that there is no morality outside of Christianity, and further that an atheist has absolutely no reason to be moral because he does not believe in God. As the king of logical fallacies, Dr. Lisle has been stewed in his own soup with this assertion. It is quite easy, in fact, to discount his claim and give full credence to the atheist on her ability to choose to do the right thing in every circumstance without God’s divine direction.