Thursday, January 8, 2009

Only One is True

In a post a while back I discussed why the atheist view does not work for me.
Recently I was castigated by some commentators on another blog for suggesting that one religion had a monopoly on the truth. While I am not the worlds greatest apologist lets discuss which religion is true.(1 )

After we say God exists the next obvious question is which God do I believe in. Most of us practice the religion we were raised in without critical analysis and call it faith. That’s not faith that’s lazy. God gave us the ability to think rationally and he expects us to use that gift even when thinking about him. To me belief requires faith and intellect its not simply believing because that’s what my Mommy and Daddy believed.

What I really can not stand are the people that say all religions are true or they all have truth in them. I have more respect for atheists because even though they came to the wrong conclusion they actually thought it through. All Religions can not all be true when the essential doctrines of the major religions are in conflict. Let me express it mathematically. If G is constant and x and y are NOT equivalent, when X+ G = A then Y+ G ≠ A. A represents Truth.
Plus if your position is they are all true does that mean that worshipping Thor or Zeus or Ishtar or any other dead mythology is to be intellectually taken serious? I don’t think so.
What about the religions that engaged in human sacrifice do they get the seal of approval from the Society of Everything is True?

Quite frankly if it were not for the reasons set forth below I might be a Deist or I might give certain aspects of Buddhism a look.

But to anyone who reads this blog it is obvious I am a Christian. So if I have as I said examined the faith of my fathers why did I decide to stick with it over the other choices?

Well to put it simply if I go to the Tomb of Buddha I will find Buddha.
If I go to the tomb of Mohamed I will find Mohamed. If I go to the tomb of Jesus it is empty. Jesus conquered Death. He is the only founder of a religion that proved he was what he said he was.
All the others, well they had some interesting ideas and great stories but it was all based on their mere say so. “God” revealed this to me. Buddha, Mohamed, Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard. Take your pick. Name any prophetic founder of any religion you want to.
To which I say: “I should believe you why?” Most of them (followers of Buddha excepted)) don’t even claim to have performed any Miracles. I mean why should I believe on their say so. At least show me something.
I am especially suspicious of the ones who accrued wealth and or power because of their prophecies.

Jesus talked the talk and walked the walk. You want Miracles he has tons of them. OK you skeptics are saying lots of witch doctors and shamans can do slight of hand.
True but no mere mortal, no confirmed historical figure, has ever been scourged, crucified, stabbed with a spear, tightly wrapped in heavy burial linens put in a cave had a huge stone rolled in front of it and walked out like nothing happened three days later.

Next you will say oh yeah how you know you weren’t there. Got me there I have to rely on writings of people who either saw it or talked to the people who saw it.

The skeptic says well maybe they were lying. To what end? Even if one Disciple was delusional why would so many claim to have seen the risen Christ. It’s not like it got them wealth or power. Tradition has it that all the Apostles were martyred except John who was exiled to the Island of Patmos. Their does not seem to be a credible motive for lying. Especially for so many. The Bible claims over 500 saw Christ after his death. Wouldn’t some of those people come forth and say hey stop making stuff up. Wouldn’t that show up somewhere in the historical record.

Next theory, the body was stolen. By who? It would have been a terrible sacrilege for the Jewish authorities to do it, plus it accomplished the exact opposite of what the Jews and the Romans wanted. That is kill the story that Jesus was the Messiah. When it was claimed that Jesus had risen wouldn’t they have made sure that the body somehow turned up if they had it. Well then maybe his followers did it. Once again the motive is what? Claim that a guy who isn’t God is God and get stoned to death for no reason? And not just one person in on it but a whole slew.

Now maybe some of you people smarter then me can poke some holes in this but you have to admit that even if it is not conclusive there is more evidence here then anyone else has.

So that’s why I am putting my money on Christianity and I am all in and betting the ranch.

Coming soon Christianity: The Historical Outcome Good or Bad?

(1) To read some really good Christian apologetics I recommend Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis


ambrosiajr said...

You do not need any type of criticaa analysis to have "Faith"...its not lazy, at least, by definition its not. So, that would mean that your defininition of someone that believes in a higher being just by faith alone is wrong, would be wrong, if you take the true meaning of faith at its face value.

faith   /feɪθ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [feyth] Show IPA Pronunciation


belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.

Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

Son of Liberty said...

What I am saying is that if your religous beliefs rest on faith alone you are lazy. God gave you a brain for a reason. He expects you to use it and he has given you a way to ubderstand which is the true religion. God is not offended when we ask questions in fact he demands it of us.

I am sure that there are many theologians who will disagree with me on this point. Perhaps even some Christian ones. However I think I am correct.

There are some things (doctrines if you will)you have to take on faith because they are beyond our understanding. However the belief in the existance of God and that Christianity is the only true religion can be confirmed through reason.
Reason tells me God exists and his son Jesus Christ came to Earth.
I have faith that God loves me, forgives me my sins and that I will be with him when I depart this mortal coil.

Before faith comes, reason is king. After faith comes, reason is servant. Daniel G. Sinclair

The fool has said in his heart, 'there is no God.' King David, Psalm 14:1

Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation. D Elton Trueblood

Sadly enough, there is a kind of an anti-intellectualism among many Christians: spirituality is falsely pitted against intellectual comprehension as though they stood in a dichotomy. Such anti-intellectualism cuts away at the very heart of the Christian message. Of course, there is a false intellectualism which does destroy the work of the Holy Spirit. But it does not arise when men wrestle honestly with honest questions and then see that the Bible has the answers. This does not oppose true spirituality. Francis Schaeffer

Anonymous said...

How does Jesus get in and out of all those chimneys in one night?

Son of Liberty said...

Nice, I try to have a serious conversation and this is what I get.

But I am glad you responded.

I have a question not only for you but for anyone out there who goes to a church a mosque or whatever.

Why do you believe what you believe about God?

Anonymous said...

You don’t have to go to a church, temple, or mosque to believe in God. Our relationship with God exists outside of these institutions. Nobody’s ideas about God are more valid than another’s.

ambrosiajr said...

I believe because of faith, and faith alone. If I really try to use reason, it just doesn’t come up right. There are too many inconsistencies in the bible as a whole, to just say that the New Testament is true to history. As it is, there is no historical evidence of Jesus, other than the alleged eyewitness accounts of the New Testament. And these were written anywhere from 50 to 100 years after Jesus was crucified. Try doing a telephone game sometime, and then have those same events span 50 years. What kind of discrepancies do you think you would find? Do I believe that Moses lived for 900 years? I don’t think so. Do I believe in the Virgin Birth….yes, but again, it’s on faith alone. Science would tell me that unless there was some kind of artificial insemination, that a virgin birth is downright improbable…….impossible, maybe, but definitely improbable. It just comes down to faith. I am a practicing Catholic, and according to them, it’s the one true faith. No other religion is recognized as the one true faith. I would think that other religions may object to that, especially Christian religions, but hey, they have the Pope, they have Rome and they have all those years of when they were the ONLY Christian religion in the world. It wasn’t until Martin Luther that another Christian sect popped up. So, does that discount the Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Baptists and all the other Christian offshoots? I don’t think it does and that goes against the teachings of the church. People believe in what they want to believe, whether you think its wrong, or not. Does it matter that all Christian religions, with some differences, believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Again, I don’t think it matters. What DOES matter is that you believe in some type of higher power, divine design, Nirvana, or whatever. As long as you have that faith, then anything is possible and you will be a better person for it.

Son of Liberty said...

"nobodys ideas about God are anymore valid then anyone elses"

Wow what a relief because I live in a really diverse neighborhood.

I know a guy who worships the ancient God Moloch and he is going to sacrifice his first born son by throwing him into the fire. The guy next door to me worships Odin he is looking for some thralls he can sacrifice by hanging them from trees.
The guy across the street thinks god wants him to be a suicide bomber and blow the rest of the neighborhood up. Plus he is really into virgins.

Last week the Hindu guy two doors down died and his wife threw herself on the funeral pyre.....

nobodys ideas about God are anymore valid then anyone elses is possibly the most stupid and ignorant statement I have ever heard in my entire life, because unless you accept all the practices I just mentioned above and a whole lot of other ones that are just as bad or worse you do not really believe that. use your head man.

Yes you do not have to go to a building to belief in God. This is true.
But if you do not belong to a "Church" and by that I mean a community not a building you are missing something wonderful.

Son of Liberty said...

Ambro, 1. You really need to study your bible more if you believe there are that meany inconsistancies.
2. Actually Jesus is mentioned in the historical record outside of the Bible. The romanized Jew (not a christian) Josephus (an interesting character you should read up on him.)mentions him in his writings so it is confirmed that he existed.
It is accepted that the gospells were written within 50 years of the death of Christ. Interestingly if you read the letters of Paul he mentions many of the sayings and incidents found in the Gospels. Those letters were written before the Roman destruction of the temple in 70 AD. (Jesus died around 33 AD.

All Christian Churches believe in the basics. They all recite the Apostles Creed or a version thereof. That contains the core beliefs of Christianity. After that it is interesting to argue the finer theological points but I am not sure they matter.
But if you think it does not matter which God you believe in a s long as you believe in a "higher power" you are dead wrong. If you pick the wrong one you will be really sorry when you are dead.

Yes the virgin Birth is more a matter of faith but it all becomes easier when you realize Jesus defeated death. He gave us proof that what he said was true.
A record of the event has been left to us. If you judge that record in the same way you judge the historical record of any other person then ther is stong credible evidence that the event happened.

Faith and reason come together

What other religion can say that?

Anonymous said...

Your ideas about God are no more valid then anybody else’s. That’s right, I said it again. You say it is the most stupid and ignorant thing you’ve ever heard in your entire life. Thanks a lot. I hope I left an impression on you. Did you ever see the film by Ingmar Berman called “Winter Light”? I think you will find it very powerful. Berman was a great film maker, an artist that could communicate truly profound ideas.

Anonymous said...

Here’s another thing, Mr. Son of Liberty that you can file under “most stupid and ignorant thing you ever heard”: YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT LIFE FROM A TREE THAN ALL YOUR BOOKS AND CHURCHES. Think about that for a minute my intellectually challenged friend!

Son of Liberty said...

Hmm you get your ideas about God from a movie director and a tree.

Now its all clear.

Son of Liberty said...

By the way. I did not castigate you because you said my ideas are no more valid then anyone elses.

I castigated you because you said all ideas are equally valid.

That is a distinction you probably missed.

ambrosiajr said...

Josephus was born after Jesus' crucifixation, so again, it was heresay on his part since he could obviously never have met him. And even with that, if he was born 4 years after Christ died, and you give him at least, say 20 years to start writing, it was still 25 years after his death that these stories would have been written down.

As to the bible, you can't seriously tell me that even you believe everything that's in there.

ambrosiajr said...

Geez...if I learned to not type so fast, maybe my words wouldn't be so mixed up....I meant to say "hearsay", not "heresay"

Son of Liberty said...

Gosh by that standard I am not sure that Julius Ceasr was a real person or any other historical figure was real for that matter. What do you want a photograph. I didn't think anyone questions wether Jesus existed just wether he was the Son of God.

Yes I believe everything in the Gospels.

As to the Old Testament I believe some of it is historically accurate and some of it is allegorical

Anonymous said...

I mentioned the Bergman film as a friendly gesture. He was a great artist and not unlike you his favorite subjects included God and faith. I thought you might enjoy the film. He was certainly able to put forth very complex ideas in a brilliant way. He was no Walt Disney! Bergman films are not for everybody. Do you think you have the intellect? Sitting in front of a computer expounding your faith in a Santa Claus god that awards the good and punishes the bad is not art!
All ideas are equally valid when it comes to God. God isn’t just sugar and spice, God is everything. You may organize your beliefs using Aristotelian logic but you mustn’t turn your back on things you can’t explain. What does it say about God that we can even imagine a Moloch or an Odin, or commit suicide, or question faith, to love or hate; to agree or disagree? What of the serial murderer that commits the most despicable crimes? His ideas about God are as valid as yours. You do not hold a monopoly on God’s love. God in His silence assures us that no opinion is more valid than another’s. How can we relate to God? Look at a tree. It sustains life. Every autumn that life ends and in spring it renews. Eventually the tree itself returns to the Earth where it will eventually rise again. Jesus wasn’t the first to conquer death. What of Adonis? What of Persephone? What of Horace? God speaks to us every day in natural phenomenon. All ideas are equally valid when it comes to God.
I am under the impression that, like all Republicans, you will not adopt a belief system unless you can get affirmation from a group. Whenever a principle or moral dawns you immediately seek reassurance. You generally appear to be void of any original ideas but the truth is if you indeed harbor any you hide them for fear of being different. You cannot accept that something can be different but equally valid at the same time. That doesn’t compute with your linear world view. You are stubborn and intolerant. Fortunately the Holy Spirit is with you. Maybe you should read the Tao once more. God is everywhere and everything.

ambrosiajr said...

So, if some of it was historical, and some allegorical, then how do you determine which was which? You can pick and choose what you want to believe. There are many, many sects out there that take everything literal. I know a woman who believes the world started a little over 6000 years ago, because with biblical calculations, that's what it says. She totally discounts any type of evolution and even discounts any type of

Also, there are documented accounts, in real time, of the historical Caesars, Julius and all the others. (Octavian, Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, etc.) There is no such written document, other than the hand me down accounts, of Jesus.

Once again, it comes down to faith. I believe because of my faith, not because I need to have historical back-up. I'm not arguing the fact that Jesus existed, that he died for us, or that he rose after 3 days. I'm just saying that you can't believe everything you read, whether it was 2000 years ago, or yesterday's NYT.

ambrosiajr said...

Once again, I write too fast...

She totally discounts any type of carbon dating, or even dating the rock formations. Even though some of those date to billions of years, she says that scientists can arrange the data to get what they wanted, yet she KNOWS that the world started a little over 6000 years ago since that's what the bible says.

There, I finished that paragraph.

Son of Liberty said...

No I do not pick and choose what I believe.

Genesis does not have to be historically accurate for the message to be true. The same can be said for the story of Job and Jonah and many others.I do not discount the possibility that it is accurate but regardless of wether or not it is historically accurate I believe the message it imparts. God usually speaks to us in terms that we can all comprehend.

My question to you is why have faith in the Christian God rather then any other or is it that to you it does not matter so you picked the one you were brought up with because it was convienant. How do you know where to place your faith.

I am not trying to be flippant only to understand.

Son of Liberty said...


Much better, I appreciate the detailed explanation

"What does it say about God that we can even imagine a Moloch or an Odin, or commit suicide..."

It says that God allows evil to exist so that humans have a choice and that many times we choose poorly.

"You do not hold a monopoly on God’s love."

I never claimed I did.

"His silence assures us that no opinion is more valid than another’s"
My point is that he has not been silent.

"Jesus wasn’t the first to conquer death. What of Adonis? What of Persephone? What of Horace"
They are myths. Jesus existed and there is historical proof. (although not uo to Ambro's exacting standards)

The psycho analysis was very amusing. Actually I rarely seek group affirmation at all.

No my actual approach is too consider all ideas and possibilities and then pick one. Yes once I do that I can be quite stubborn but on occasion I have changed my mind.
It is not a matter of two things being different but both valid it is a matter of two things being diametrically opposed and both being valid. What you say is very poetic but devoid of all logic. While logic may not be the end point in understanding God I believe it is the beginning. God gave us a logical mind for a reason.

I must say I rejected moral relativism ( or any type of relativism) a long time ago.
Moral relativism is the ultimate evil.

Sorry not all visions of God are valid in fact some are intensly evil.

Anonymous said...

Maybe one day we can discuss where Religion ends and Mythology begins. It is my contention that Religions are simply Mythologies in the making. When we can talk about the Bible the same way we talk about Mythologies we’ll have an intelligent discussion. Until then I’d rather talk about trees. Thank you for the conversation.

Son of Liberty said...

and the circle closes
because the whole point is that the Gospels are the only religous "story" for which there is proof that it is not a mere mythology.

Thank you and Good night, Mrs. Calabash...whever you are.

ambrosiajr said...

The only proof that the Gospels are proof are the Gospels themselves, is what you're basically saying. There is no other historically accurate proof that what transpired actually did, unless you have faith and a belief that it happened. That's where faith came in.

As to my religious views on what I believe, I think I covered that. I have faith that Jesus existed, that he died and that he arose. Do I have proof? Nope. Just faith.

Also, I think its a bunch of bunk that you would change your mind. And to say that you can be quite stubborn is the ultimate understatement.