So why exactly did we have “Questfirmation” at last night’s OHG? Well, it has to do with our young friend Anthony, where he is in his own faith(?) journey, and what we wanted to confirm in him because of that.
Anthony’s like a lot of young people, in that he doesn’t really believe all the traditional things a traditional Christian community affrims. So in this celebration of Confirmation, we wanted to confirm the Holy Spirit on Anthony in a different way, and affirm that he doesn’t really affirm the same things most Christian do.
So if you’re interested, pay our OHG Facebook page a visit, and see pictures of the celebration. And when you can make the time, check out Anthony’s statement of faith(?) that he wrote, below, that summarizes so well all he’s been thinking about through this Questfirmation porcess. It brings tears to my eyes to see such a yonug mind awake, and affirms that we have all thoroughly corrupted our OHG young people so beautifully well. Thank you, Anthony, for your mind and heart alive and active among us!
To begin, we’ll start with the Bible. My favorite part has to be about the couple being killed for defrauding the church. I know this isn’t exactly the best behavior on the couple’s part but nevertheless it doesn’t warrant “murder.” Now obviously God didn’t kill them. This story probably never even happened or if it did, was greatly exaggerated. The Bible has many flaws and most rational people seem to agree upon this. For one, it contradicts itself with the Old Testament and the New Testament. One says ‘do this’ and one says ‘don’t do that’ and people seem to take this in stride.
The philosophy of Jesus is great and I can see why individuals follow it. It certainly doesn’t serve as a governing philosophy for a country, however.
I digress. The Bible is both historically and scientifically false. Maybe there’s a gray area, and maybe it’s a big gray area, but there are an extreme amount of inaccuracies, nonetheless. For one, a lot of it contradicts facts. The science in particular. Which parts do I take literally? Which parts do I interpret to mean something different? Any parts that work and fit your logic, I suppose.
That makes another problem to picking and choosing outside of the teachings of Jesus. Shouldn’t one, when reading something, embrace all of it? That’s one area where progressive beliefs are illogical. Progressive Christians pick and choose the most of any dominations. While it is borderline stupid to believe the earth was created in six days and is only 5,000 years old, it’s highly irrational to interpret something for whatever you want to believe. While I believe all religion is illogical, the work of the Bible stands out in particular.
Again, I certainly believe in Jesus’ teachings and what he said. He probably lived and even said of these things. But that fact that so much of the Bible is so obviously false puts it atop the fiction list for me.
One can certainly speak for days about the Bible and its shortcomings, so what about a touch on the positive side? I think that most of the New Testament is generally rational, the gospels in particular. I really enjoyed reading the gospels, actually. It was fascinating to read Jesus’ story, despite what I believe about the accuracy of it. This is another subject, however.
I also did enjoy the stories overall, as well, and their messages. I think one can read these stories as philosophies and proverb like passages and simply take the good. But see, even I am picking and choosing with that.
That brings us to God. Well, God is a very broad word with a very broad meaning. And while we’re at it, which God are we talking about? Yahweh? Allah? Zeus? The Christian Judeo one? Poseidon? Thor? A flying spaghetti monster? When one uses the term God, what is he or she talking about? Well, I suppose we’re talking about the Christian Judeo God and Yahweh.
‘Where did the earth come from?’ ‘God.’ ‘Okay, where did God come from?’ ‘God was, is, and always will be.’ Well, see, that’s not an answer, actually. I often find myself having that almost exact same dialogue with believers. I would say the earth, and the universe, came from the big bang. Okay, that’s science and what we call a fact. Some Believers say well, no, the earth was created in six days as it says in Genesis, clear as day; it says six days and one to rest. The other set of Believers say we can’t understand God’s definition of time, so six days could be anything, which is just as bad, if not worse, because it says six days. It literally labels the days: Day one, day two, and so forth at the end of each day of creation.
So, the question remains, what God actually is the God? I’m only discussing the Christian God because we’re in a culture that is heavily Christian. It is a pure happenstance that we profess to believe in the Christian God. Nonetheless, here I am writing about it.
So, when someone asks me if I believe in God, I will undoubtedly reply with, “Which one?”
Church: do the positives outweigh the negatives? The answer, simply, is no. Now, no one is arguing that church doesn’t do positive things. Church provides people with shelter, food, connection with their communities, a possible direction for their lives, and a place to worship what they believe in. These are just a few things. The buck stops there, however. What about the fueling of hatred, ignorance and oppression of people? Slavery then, homophobia now and what’s next? Of course, one could talk for hours about the Catholic Church, but for the sake of time, we’ll say that’s just assumed. There isn’t much to say about the church, or church in general, without tiptoeing on to other areas so we’ll move on.
Religion, in all its glory, is the centerpiece of most, if not all, civilizations, today and throughout history. Religion, or maybe faith more appropriately, is the purposeful suspension of critical thinking. So, why are people so inclined to be religious? Fear? Ignorance? Indoctrination? It’s a happy combination of the three. I daresay, without religion, we would be a much more peaceful, and advanced people. We wouldn’t have to argue about global warming, evolution, and millions, if not hundreds of millions, of lives would have been saved. Yet, here we are in the twenty-first century and we’re still arguing about whether or not climate change is real. Sure, there have been some positive outcomes from religious practices like I listed above, but none that are worth the genocides and depolarization of facts that we have had to deal with and still do and probably always will have to deal with. I could go on and on about religion, maybe even write a book about it, but time is short.
Let’s look at Jesus and compassion together, since they go hand in hand. Jesus talked about compassion all the time: ‘Love your neighbor.’ That is the most basic, yet most encompassing quote to be found about compassion. Jesus preached about how you need to love the poor, your enemies, everybody. He wanted you, us, to have compassion for everyone and everything. He was a hippie. Everything written in the gospels about Jesus is awesome. I could live by everything Jesus said and did and I would be a great person and people would love me. However, humans are a vengeful and spiteful people and we like violence, so the Jesus philosophy works in theory and only sometimes in practice. That isn’t to shoot down what Jesus said, there just has to be a level of reality involved.
Building on that, if a person chooses to live as Jesus lived, that person will, for the most part, have a long life, full of peace and productivity. If I stop and think, what would Jesus do, I will survive most everyday situations.
That brings us to salvation and the cross, which also go hand in hand. Jesus, for all accounts, was crucified on the cross, so we’ll say that is truth. Did he rise three days later? I don’t know. It’s impossible to know. Did he die so we could have salvation? In a sense, yes. Jesus gave us teachings, lessons, philosophies that have lasted over 2,000 years and changed the way people think. Maybe we have salvation in the sense that Jesus taught peace that was unheard of at the time. Do we have ultimate salvation? Again, it’s impossible to know. I lean towards no, but no one can say for sure.
Asking the question ‘Did he rise three days later?’ is more critical to faith than ‘Do you believe in God?’ simply because the former is so much more complex. Be that as it may, I simply don’t know, I cannot profess to know one way or the other, and I will probably never know. Nor will anyone know, for that matter. I am inclined, however, to believe it may not have happened.
I am not a proponent of religion and I have made that abundantly clear. I believe in science, logic, and rational thought. The rest is up in the air.