Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Did you just imply the concepts of 'reasonable faith' and a 'reasonable God'? Tsk tsk."

As already mentioned, it is inevitable that those who speak out will often be accused of heresy by various individuals, groups, or denominations who interpret even non-essentials of doctrine differently. In his autobiography Unfinished Work, vocalist Kevin Max wrote, "Christians sometimes think that every believer thinks as they do without taking the time to understand the individual and what makes them tick." Yet unless those unjustly accused of heresy embrace religious legalism before faith in Christ, then such accusations should not always become overly disheartening. If a faithful man has met his calling, it is extremely difficult to convert him, the servant of another (Romans 14:1-4), to a legalistic, systematic tradition learned by rote. Isaiah 29:13 is an effective passage for one's self-evaluation, "The Lord says: 'These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.'"
Reason is not necessarily a contradiction of faith. I want to elaborate on one of my previous passages:

"Truly reason is a large cut of what directs one to a reasonable God apart from the uncultivated mentality - one in which is driven by fear of philosophies and scientific
data. Ironically, would not the creator be both the paramount definition of knowledge and the source of logic? Lasting is the irrational conflict between men of science and men of faith, yet there is an analogy by astronomer Robert Jastrow that nails the primary difference between the two: Men of science hike the mountain 'round and 'round in search of truth. This will inevitably lead back to the Author of truth. Eventually, upon nearing the top, they will realize that men of faith have been standing there for centuries."

Several respected theologians, such as Tozer and Kierkegaard, have implied that faith is where reason cuts off, and this is a necessary absurdity. In The Fellowship of the Burning Heart, Tozer wrote, "So, all down the line, faith is an organ of knowledge. And the man who believes is having knowledge that the man who merely thinks can't possibly have. Our poor little old brain can come staggering along like a little boy trying to keep up with his dad - coming along on his little, old, short, stubby legs, trying to reason." There was a time when skepticism was an act of rebellion. Since to a degree I both believe in evolution and have faith, I can only conclude that, as prophesied, to have faith will someday be an act of rebellion (Jeremiah 5:31). As stated in both the beginning analogy and by Tozer, men of faith are intellectually beyond men of science (Proverbs 9:10). Scientists are at high-risk of being directed towards the Author of truth due to the probability of evidence for God (however, it is important to note that tangible proof of God is not scientifically justifiable because he is spiritually beyond the universe). What one truly does upon receiving this evidence is God's distinction between the faithful man and the skeptic. If one's heart is hardened, an idea or thing can rest in front of him but he will deny it out of pride, while on the inside knowing, in this case, that there must be a supernatural origin for his existence. Consequently, the universe continues to appear more complex, and the more complex something becomes, the more evidence one has that it was not an accident.

From the theistic standpoint, reason exists yet will be inferior to faith. Tozer also said, "Faith never goes contrary to reason; faith simply ignores reason and rises above it." To elaborate on the relationship between this and the phrase "reasonable God", I must make it clear that the following reasons are different from those of scientific standards. The theist has reasons for faith in God: a transformed life, miraculous happenings, positive revelations, gifted abilities, and Christ himself within history. These reasons require a degree of faith in order to be comprehended, but are in fact reasons for one's faith in God; therefore, the phrases "reasonable faith" and "reasonable God" are not unbiblical.

There are a number of denominations who openly reprimand the inclusion of God and science in the same sentence. God, on the contrary, permitted man the sciences as a means to seek, discover, to use, and to relish. Ultimately, God's magnitude is made evident, in the physical dimension, as strong advocates of science so desire, when exploring such a voluminous and complex universe, and whether conscious of it or not, man, in addition, honors God when doing such. Yet many highly and predominantly religion-oriented sects are contemptuous of knowledge seekers, as though God scorns those who delight in studying, in experiencing his own creation. However, what truly matters is that a man who does this through his own conscience is fallen.

Psalms 19:1-6, "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dictionary Moment: Humility ≠ Self-Righteousness

There are 2 sides when it comes to judgmentality: the judge and the judged. As for the judged, there are indeed those who too often resort to the very asinine "I'm just being myself, so don't judge me" mentality, which, if ultimately given way to, the distinction between morality and immorality becomes completely nonexistent. If you build the guts to do something, anything, then you better save enough to face the consequences.

But the focus in this case is primarily on the self-righteously judgmental who is, in fact, spiritually destructive in his manner. One can only ponder the great number of individuals that hide behind righteous masks and how many are truly relentless about divulging specific things done, or ideas hidden, that are clearly ungodly to more than trustworthy counterparts. When defining "humility", in many cases the first impression is a gentle, seemingly good person giving out free hugs, big smiles, and groveling to the ground. Such a definition is quite asinine and sometimes even culturally inconsistent.

Humility of any true value extends beyond merely quoting passages and regurgitating phrases such as "bless you, my brother". On the contrary, the humble sinner will sometimes be interpreted as one of the filthiest in the eyes of man yet immersed in the eyes of God, and this is due to the volition of honesty regarding his own corruption. In light of dealing with this,
Romans 8:1 is important, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." No man has the authority to condemn another man under the construction of the hands of God. Perhaps the individual is going through a fruitless period as a part of his ultimate growth in Christ; however, to partner that statement, I must note that condemnation is not to be confused with accountability. Yet, it is inevitable that the honest man will often be ridiculed by the self-righteous man, who is condemning irrespective of the notion that when a man is penalized for honesty he learns to lie. Self-righteousness is much like a spiritual egocentricity. It constitutes a secular type of love that thrives under conditionality, one in which is only existent after an individual meets the adopted standards of the condemner; oppositely, unconditional love is a holy love. People more easily welcome the man that was crafty about hiding his own immoralities while willfully rejecting the man known to have said or to have committed something immoral.

There is a difference between idealistically generalizing man and maliciously attacking the individual. Many young hearts today have the balance of effective judgmentality in reverse. They are afraid to judge humanity, yet are willing to hastefully judge the individual. One, however, is more precise when he is warm enough to a degree in which he does not judge the individual, yet he is wise enough to a degree in which he does judge humanity. Why is this so? The individual can and will justify himself by his own motives, thus, no man is truly at liberty to pass accurate judgment on another without a fair case. Man-to-man argumentation achieves very little when it comes to defining absolute morality. Whereas, judging humanity before the individual forms an unjustifiable depiction of sin, an unavoidable axiom that the individual cannot deny. He knows that at times he partakes in it. He cannot justify himself in knowing that his sin is a reality. A man does not have to feel less than human to realize his sin; oppositely, he has to realize that he gets no special vindication for his sin.

Although, what do I mean by "judging humanity"? It is in some respects understanding the consistencies of man. For instance, drinking is such a necessity to human life that people cannot fathom an individual who, like a child confined to a church pew, gets little enjoyment out of it and would rather do other things. There is an irrefutable truth value to such an observation. While drinking in itself is certainly not an act of sin, the commonality here is the nature of man, and in this case, idolatry, the things in which we may too often depend on. It then becomes evident as to why God's commandments are absolute truths rather than movements susceptible to emotions.
"I have been yet another petty fool; I shall now reach further than the average man." To put it quite simply, a pure heart does not demean the spirit of an individual, it, instead, compels the individual to examine his spirit.

For the believer, humility is honesty about one's greatest flaws to a degree in which he is fearless about truly appearing less righteous than another (e.g. "Yes, I lusted after her", "Yes, I hope I can make more money", "Yes, I search for loopholes in song lyrics so that I can listen to the music I want", "...Yet God is my discipline and my guidance."). All individuals have moral deficiencies, and when introducing these to reality one not only strengthens himself but also the confidence of others in the human exigency for Christ due to a reflection throughout the body of Christ. In simpler terms, the believer should avoid living in fear of open self-evaluation - a fear of weakness only strengthens weakness. The heart of Christianity is not about being a good person; it is about being saved by grace through faith because you are a bad person. Every man knows that he would never compare to a holy and sovereign God (even the non-believer, theoretically, knows it if there was indeed a holy being); hence, it is easy for one to repeat what is already written, "...all our righteous acts are like filthy rags [to God]," (Isaiah 64:6). However, it is difficult to expose oneself as though he truly means it, that he is, when astray from God, the epitome of nothingness.