Weakness In The Way

TBTpurplepink

Understanding how to manage your weaknesses will help you to learn how to manage and elevate your strengths. We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses, they come as a unique package, you cannot have one without the other. Which means we must not focus on only one but have an understanding of both.

The interviewer asks, “What are your strength and what are your weaknesses?” Not, “do you have any weaknesses…?” It is already assumed that every person has them. The question is then, how can I help you in achieving your strength’s despite your weaknesses in this job role? It is inevitable that you are going to have weak areas about you that hold you back from being your best. What are they so I can be of best assistance to you?

Imagine for a moment that God is the interviewer, except instead of asking you, “what are your weaknesses?” He tells you what they are.

Not to discourage you but to encourage you that even with your weaknesses He can be of best assistance for and through you. But first you must know what they are.

Benefits of knowing your weakness is so you can avoid the element of surprise when they arise. For example, the element of surprise may come in a form of anxiety, and without knowledge or time to process why that feeling arose it can spiral to a panic attack. The goal is to not let the weaknesses hold you back from moving forward. The goal is to acknowledge their existence to better manage their feelings.

I want to encourage you that you are not defined by your weakness, but by your ability to manage them for strength. Seek God in question: “What are my weaknesses that keep me from elevating my strengths?” “Show me how YOU can assist me in my weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 NIV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This is how we manage our weakness; we replace its power with God’s grace through prayer and submission. The focus does not shift on your own power but on the power of the cross. Your weakness is not a set back – it’s a breakthrough; an opportunity to glorify God.

 

 

Routine Interrupted

Having the same bedtime routine every night can assist in a good night’s rest. Routines help us in creating order and structure in our life. It’s the predicable things we do each day to get us out the door to work, to the gym and back to bed. Routines are good, we like routines.

But routines don’t always work, nor do they always last the same way, same time, and every day. Interruptions occur, more than we would probably like. An interruption to our day could be as simple as the car doesn’t start in the morning, or as severe as someone in the family got sick… Interruptions can be stressful and most often we are never prepared for them.

Being a new mother comes with a lot of FEAR and unexpected interruptions that occur with raising a baby. What gives me comfort is having a routine specifically around my baby’s sleep schedule. I gain confidence in having our daily routine. However, it can change in a moment and when it does it can create a stormy period for us. To gain back control, in midst of the storm, I find it’s in the researching. By gaining understanding and learning about the developmental stages of my baby, it helps me to know how to navigate the stormy period. I learn more about her, myself, and I gain encouragement through receiving messages from other mama friends who have gone before me and experienced this same storm.

The more I study about my baby’s developmental stages the more I am ready for our next storm. As Christians we need to apply the same study to our spiritual life. The Bible is our guidance to living life. I don’t have answers as to why certain things happen to you and I, but God knows and I’m writing to encourage you to seek him in His Word, to understand His character through it.

Jesus, who commands the wind and the waves to be still, will also command the fears in your life to be still. We learn this through Mark 4:35-41: Jesus Calms the Storm:

35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

IVP Bible Background Commentary by: Kenner says: “Storms often rose suddenly on the lake called the Sea of Galilee; these fishermen had usually stayed closer to Capernaum and are unprepared for a squall this far from shore.” Key note, from this detail it assumes that to avoid a storm in their journey, routine had them stay closer to shore. But in this passage Jesus commands they go to the other side, far from shore. An interruption to their routine occurs when they sail far form shore encountering a vicious storm. Riddled with fear they ask Jesus, “teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

So often we get put in these unprepared territories far from our “normal” shoreline and its fearful. It seems like if it’s not in our daily routine, it’s “out of our control”. When Jesus calms the storm He proves that we don’t have control in our human strength, but the control is found in our spiritual strength, our faith in Him. “He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” As Christians we know that Jesus has already gone before us, being the ultimate replacement to our fear, anxieties, loneliness’, and death by His death on the cross. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish by have eternal life.”

Where in your life have you been experiencing a storm or an unexpected interruption? How are you letting it lead your life? Don’t let the next interruption to your routine defeat you. Beat it by learning about the character of Jesus Christ because faith in Jesus has more power than any storm.

The Opinion Of Prayer

Prayer might mean the same thing to you as it does to the majority of the rest of the western world. Or if you are a Christian it may only be a shared vocabulary. Often when some sayings or common nomenclature are said, your worldview interprets what is heard to what is understood. Quite often this can take meaning out of what someone says, or may even make an individual prejudicial towards another person, even though there is no shared worldview between the two parties. Take for instance; someone says “I will pray for you”. The word pray or prayer has a varied definition from person to person depending on their worldview. This is especially confusing when it becomes a widely adopted way of speaking, by the public in North America. It’s not only “I will pray for you”, but also “thoughts and prayers” and its many variations. It seems people want to convey some sort of condolence, but with a word that gives the illusion of action.

Prayer is an illusion to most people, to those people who say the words and leave it at that, rather than say the words and then pray. The power and meaning have been widely taken out of the word itself and no longer describes the appealing to God, but to convey a sense of emotion. There was a “thoughts and prayers” fad, that has only recently been busted up by countless memes and twitter posts. This fad has not been called out because of its lack of truth and intention, thought on the surface that is what would seem to be the case, but rather to the large amount of people seemingly praying for events and people and the evil in the world, yet these prayers are seen as going unanswered. It is as if saying the words “thoughts and prayers” to someone, are perceived as to be an appeal to God that somehow we are expecting God to answer and eliminate any reason that precipitated the thoughts and the prayers to begin with. Though many will overlook the obvious case, that saying the word praying or stating the intention to pray is really just words and not a prayer in and of themselves. This seemingly obvious fact can be overlooked because people need something to blame, a reason why evil keeps on occurring shooting after shooting, disaster after disaster, despite the entire western world sending out thoughts and prayers! The subject of evil and the impact prayer would have is a different subject. But this example just stands to show how the idea of prayer in the western world is not being held by any sort of universal definition nor is it precipitating action necessarily.

Prayer is a word of action, and not only the appeal to God to act for us, but to appeal to God to provide for us opportunities to act. Or to give us strength to act in a way we already know we need to, but lack the confidence to do so. Nothing about prayer is passive, even when praying for thanksgiving it is to give thanks for everything God has given us, and action he has taken for us. Saying you will pray for someone has no power. Praying for them, and I would say praying out loud with them carries divine power, and we are appealing to the creator himself. Praying with someone also does not leave the person needing prayer wondering or questioning if prayer is actually going to occur. There is a peace of mind with the Christian when prayer is said and heard out loud between each other.

And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. -Luke 22:43-44

Jesus engaged with the world in prayer. He himself prayed to his Father several times, and I must mention that not all responses from the Father were what Jesus wanted. Such as the praying in the garden of Gethsemane described in Luke 22:43–44. Praying was not a new thing in the time of Jesus, people prayed to all sorts of pagan gods and idols. The need for instruction for prayer is illustrated by his disciples asking Jesus how to pray in Luke 11:1. With these verses in mind we should take a second and think about how we are instructed to pray every time we hear the word prayer mentioned in passing or to us in our day-to-day lives. Prayer has taken on false meaning and illusions in the western world, so it is important to remember why we pray and the act upon the word and partner with God through prayer.

Our Self

identity


Our identity is made up from a string of deep desires that we allow to surface through our actions, which are dependent on our environment and culture in which we live. The way we perceive our identity is shaped by this cultural climate, which also influences the way we make decisions. Whether because of family or other forces like war or the economy, many people make decisions separate from their emotions and their deepest desires.

The way our culture perceives their identity now is quite different from those who came before us. In our current modern way of thinking, our culture tells us to do what makes us happy, to “live life the fullest”, and to pursue all our passions.  It tells us this in order to be our own true selves, we must not be held back by doing things that we do not like to do.  It tells us also, to strive to get our way and achieve our goals regardless of the people or opposition we face. This is a way of living that Timothy Keller wrote as being the, “sovereign self”. The sovereign self’s way of thinking that currently presides over North American culture. This is the elevation of our own individual desires, despite the input from society, yet formed by our culture. Though on the surface level, the sovereign self seems to be progressive and relatively cohesive within the age of technology.

The Christian way of thought gives weight to our emotions, not to be controlled by them but instead allowing our emotions to be directed and not suppressed. We accept that we ourselves are not sovereign. We accept that in order to sort through our conflicting desires, we require a higher standard outside of ourselves. When I refer to conflicting desires this could be simply the conflict between career and relationship (or any other ever-shifting conflicting desire). Having the standard of God’s word to guide these desires allows everyone as a Church family, to have a process that is harmonious and consistent.

All of our lives are filtered through our cultural narrative before coming through. When your identity is found in culture, that filter is the only one you know, and the only thing that affects your processing of your desires. When your identity is found in Christ, there is another filter that is laid upon your life that changes the way some desires are perceived.

What does it look like to change your source for your identity? In the end you cannot design your own identity. Sure, you are your own person, but you cannot be justified within yourself. Just as we did not name ourselves, our self-worth comes from outside input. For example, the volleyball from the movie Cast Away, simply floating in the water being a volleyball, when Tom Hanks character, Chuck Noland, gives that volleyball a name and an image. Suddenly, this volleyball whose name is now Wilson takes on an identity, and almost a personality. Wilson goes on to get lost at sea where Chuck Noland begins to cry uncontrollably for a volleyball, which was Wilson, which was his friend. This outside input becomes more formative depending on the source of the input, like a father, or a teacher.

We are expected to go out into the world and become successful with jobs, money, success, power and families.  Our identities are formed during those pursuits by outside input, based on if our dreams have been fulfilled, or not. With only our cultural filter only, any failures will take a piece of you with it. The cultural gauge that determines your identity will tell you that you are not good enough.

Now that we have a generalization of how our modern minds find identity, lets looks at how Christianity fits into the mix. We find our identity being stamped on us from the beginning when we were made in the imago dei – the image of God. This means that we have inherited our value, but also that our value relies upon God. We are dependent. This identity is not something we have achieved, but something that we can only receive. We have been adopted into God’s family name (Isaiah 43:7; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Ephesians 1:5 ).  This dependence on God translates through the Old Testament into the New Testament. In the Gospel we find our identity in Christ, for it is not our own work, performance, or achieved power or status that proves who we are, but it is the actions of Christ that gives us our identity. When we are baptized into Christ, and repent, we are baptized into the divine family, which is our supplier of our identity.

We are all created for the Kingdom of God for different purposes; there are only some people we can affect, only some tasks we can complete. The reality is that we know there are some deep desires in our hearts that can keep us from being our true selves.  The beauty of it is, is that when we have that filter of Jesus laid over our lives, and ground ourselves within him, the failures that we have do not affect our identity.  For we are centered in what has already been done, which is the life and death of Jesus Christ, who sacrificed his life so that we may live in freedom and eternal life with him.

I Just Kant Believe, In Subjective Reality

The existence of God can be described in several different ways. The one I find most relevant and understandable is the moral argument. Morality is something that everyone experiences everyday. The moral argument for the existence of God breaks down to three or four points. I will be listing the three points to the argument while also expanding on each point, to hopefully display the understanding of the argument. As well as, some problems people have with the moral argument.

 I believe that objective morality does exist. I also believe that without the existence of God, morality becomes subjective. The most popularized moral argument comes from Immanuel Kant, a German Philosopher, and breaks down to four points, Moral behavior is rational; moral behavior is only rational if justice will be done; justice will only be done if God exists; therefore: God exists.  However, the moral argument I would like to expand on is proposed by Dr. William Lane Craig, which states:

 1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

3. Therefore God exists.

 This argument is simple, and straightforward to understand. The biggest hang up for most people would be the first premise, which almost needs an argument unto itself. The second and third premises are not hard to follow once you get to the truth of the first. Let’s now take a closer look at each premise individually.

 1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

 With the first premise we must first define what objective moral values and duties are. Dr. Craig defines Objective morality, “to say that there are objective moral values is to say that something good or evil independently of whether any human being believes it to be so. Similarly to say that we have objective moral duties is to say that certain actions are right or wrong for us independently of whether any human being believes them to be so” (Craig Reasonable 173). Values and duties, according to Craig, has to do with right/wrong and good/bad. The distinction comes in when, “sometimes all you have is bad choices (think of Sophie’s Choice), but it’s not wrong for you to choose one since you must choose.” (Craig On Guard 130). Where values refer to whether something is good/bad, and, “Duty has to do with the moral obligation, what you ought or ought not to do.”(130), or right/wrong.

 “A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.”

Now with the distinctions aside, there remains the problem of objective morality, and God being the only source. This is the crux of premise 1. The post popular objections to God come from those on the side believing that science has all the answers. Unfortunately, on matters of morality, science is neutral, leaving morality up to being subjective. It seems that without an objective morality, independent of people’s thoughts, there is nothing binding an individual from any act, anything would be permissible. From where do we get the laws in order to govern ourselves? I am talking about the big moral issues especially, the genocide, rapes, and murders; what makes them bad? I am not inferring that you must abide by the Ten Commandments in order to be moral, but that this world has an inherent objective morality through the nature of God. As C.S. Lewis put it, A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.” The vast majority of scholars both theist and atheists (especially naturalists) alike come to the conclusion that without God, there is no basis of morality and everything is permissible. On that basis, premise 1 would be fulfilled.

 2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.

 Do certain moral issues differ from culture to culture or person to person? Perhaps, but if you asked anyone if child abuse, genocide, or rape is good or bad, the question itself would seem rhetorical to almost everyone. Certainly some people hold the belief that morals are relative to the cultural norm; in researching moral relativism I came across quite a few websites that displayed what a moral relativist can or cannot do. Essentially the moral relativist cannot believe in anything that supports any sort of moral standard whatsoever, in an article in Salvo Mag, Greg Koukl states that, In fact, nothing can be called evil—not even the Holocaust—because to do so would be to affirm some sort of moral standard.” This premise as I have previously mentioned does not seem to be the hardest to argue with the general public, and most scholars, clearly acknowledge that there is a higher moral standard above our own personal thoughts.

“He was told that they were carrying rifles on their shoulders, but for all he knew, they were shepherd’s staffs….”

how-to-draw-a-predator-drone-predator-drone-step-12_1_000000136435_5

If morality is subjective, then Nazi’s during WWII, were not at fault for the genocide perpetrated on the Jews, because subjectively they were not bound by any higher morals but their own thinking. If you take, for example, the predator drone program in the United States. These are soldiers behind a desk, controlling the predator drones in an overseas country, from the comfort of the desk chair in Nevada, or elsewhere. However, it is not comfortable; more and more drone operators are being diagnosed with PTSD. Why? If morality happens to be subjective, they are in a theatre of war, and killing another human is permitted, subjectively.  The problem for these drone operators is that they are being told, what is being seen on their monitor, and what to target, whether or not they believe a civilian could be in the target zone or not. Mathew Power for GQ, wrote in his article, Confessions of a Drone Warrior, that, “He was told that they were carrying rifles on their shoulders, but for all he knew, they were shepherd’s staffs. Still, the directive from somewhere above, a mysterious chain of command that led straight to his headset, was clear: confirmed weapons.” Objective morality becomes clearer when you remove the immediate sensory display, that the boots on the ground might experience; instead being observed by infrared thousands of miles away. The subject of war is still clear, yet objectively, more and more soldiers are coming forward because they can no longer differentiate between a “clean war” and a “dirty war”. The objective is overshadowing the subjective.

 3. Therefore, God exists.

 With the first two premises considered the conclusion of the argument is that God does exist. We have looked at how objective moral values cannot exist without a higher standard that is imposed from beyond humanity. We then observed how objective moral values do indeed exist, and that without them there would be no standard for which to govern our lives. The moral argument for the existence of God, to me, is the most effective, because it brings to light unmistakable truths that do not normally get discussed when dealing with the existence of God. It is in apologetic circles, as well as philosophical, but the day-to-day person might assume we have morality simply, just because. This argument provides, in my opinion, the most reasonable answer to why we have a higher moral standard. Also, if this is not quite reasonable enough, then it is best to observe other arguments which are complimented by the moral argument such as the Cosmological Argument, or the Teleological Argument.


 

Craig, William L. On Guard. Colorado Springs: David C Cook , 2010. Print.

Craig, William L. Reasonabe Faith. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway , 2008. Print.

Koukl, Greg. “Seven Things You Can’t Do As a Moral Activist”. Salvo Magazine. N.p. 2006. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Power, Matthew. “Confessions Of A Drone Warrior”. GQ Magazine. N.p. 2013. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Inexorable Death, Life Awaits

     Death is something I think we have all struggled with at some time or another. For many this struggle is a direct result of a loss of a loved one, or someone very close. I personally could not imagine the loss of a very close friend or family member. I have been sheltered from the immediacy of death, as I haven’t had a developed personal relationship with anyone at all who has died, count me lucky. Though luck is not the quite the word; because of the inevitability of human death, I will surely experience loss first hand. On this area of death I cannot give any real opinion. But the inevitability of death is something everyone can relate to. Knowing that we are going to die, that every second that goes by is one closer to our death; how can we find meaning in the lives we live? And is there any meaning in the dead that had once lived?

     Death is a shadow looming over many people, it blots out hope and conceals all purpose. On the other hand, people that get used to a certain light, do adjust. They say if you eat a lot of carrots your eyes will adjust to the darkness quicker. How quick do our lives adjust to the shadows, where death rules and the belief in eternal life is a sinking sunset? Most people would rather ignore the inevitability of death, and focus on the reasons, and circumstances of the way people die. This ignorance, leads to the actions of nihilism without the personal declaration. C.S. Lewis in, The Screwtape Letters, speaks to this when he wrote, Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”

     As a Christian there is light that completely eliminates the shadow of death. When Jesus was killed, that shadow of death loomed (Luke 23:44). With his resurrection, and ascension, he showed the proof of eternal life, and how we are to participate as well. While that shadow loomed Jesus said “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46 ESV)

     The answer of Jesus has brought me incredible comfort, when there were no answers from the world, but yet more questions of death and afterlife.

The Good That Goes Unseen

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” -2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV)

     You do not need to look farther than your news feed to see acts of evil, and I am not talking about the “duck face” selfies, although scary, maybe not evil. I am talking about war torn countries, world hunger, IS etc. Is the existence of evil something to be feared or is it something we need to understand? The Apostle Paul implies, in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, directly to the inevitability of pain and suffering. He writes that on one hand we are wasting away on the outside, but through Christ we can be renewing our heart, soul, and mind day by day. Evil and the things that come with it, like pain and suffering, are merely a preparation for what good is to come.
     I believe Paul is writing truth, in my own thoughts, I see evil as a contrast. When we want to explain and understand something in everyday life, we often apply a contrast in order to compare and fully understand a topic. Paul applies evil as the contrast to which we can fully understand more the glory and goodness there is to come. “Where good is to evil, eternity is to a fleeting moment.”
     Good is inherent in creation, Paul writes about that when he mentions the unseen, which is eternal. Simply put, the unseen is good, the seen which is transient, is evil. If you look at life the way Paul is writing here, it should bring you comfort. Comfort in knowing all the bad you may experience here on earth, is nothing by comparison to what good is waiting in eternity. Keep your focus centered on what is unseen, the good things that are eternal. I encourage you to take a few seconds and think about the good relationships in your life; notice the good that goes unseen.

224 Reasons

     Earlier this week the Islamic State (IS) claimed another attack. This attack was on a Russian airliner carrying 224 passengers. IS claims this plane also carried a bomb of their handiwork. This is only one of many stories of atrocities committed by this organization. The actions of the IS are what most people would say to be evil. But what exactly is evil and why does God allow it?
     Evil by definition is the corruption of good. It is the corruption of what is morally right and/or righteous. From a Biblical perspective evil began from the disobedience in Eden, the entrance of sin. Evil is one of those titles that everyone in the world can place it on an action, to some degree or another. This plays into our universal morality we all know and live by. By this morality, we observe immediately that bombing a plane is probably not a good thing to do.
     I think God can and does prevent evil. However, if God did remove all evil, completely shutting down the IS and removing any trace of evil works on earth, then, would this eliminate free will? I think not. Our free will is not reliant on there being an evil, but rather it is reliant on there being good. For there cannot be evil without good but there can be good without evil. It is our own free will that propagates evil in this world. The original creation had no evil, “and God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good” (Gen 1:31).
     What can the IS stand to gain from doing such atrocities? It is an example of a prideful organization. They would have you think it is their way or the highway. They operate under a self understanding that they are not doing evil, but good according to their worldview. At the very least I can think of 224 reasons that evil exists, but the exact answer for why God allows such evil, is at its very root, a mystery to me.

“I am whatever you say I am, if I wasn’t then why would you say I am.” -Eminem

     As I was watching a video by Jefferson Bethke that I had previously posted in my blog, the auto-play on YouTube started the next video. Playing on my screen was a well produced and thought out response to Jefferson’s YouTube video. The response was from an Islamic point of view, with the main point of claiming that Jesus never wanted to be called God, and Christians are wasting their time in a made-up religion to which, Jesus would never have approved of. I disagree completely.
     There is irony between the two viewpoints in the video, as they both disagree with the “religious” ways of Christianity today. The hinge point between the views seem to come at the end of the response video, where he claims that Jesus never intended to be worshipped and did not claim to be God whatsoever. On that note, let me just give reference to the words of Jesus that shed light on who he claimed to be exactly…
     The verse that stands out immediately to me is the sequence of events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. After Jesus was arrested he was held upon a council. The council were intellectual Jews who knew the Hebrew Bible front and back, known as the Pharisees. In an effort to get Jesus to commit blaspheme they led with a series of testimony. Then finally the high priest asked a straightforward question, in Mark 14:61, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” In response, Jesus quoted from a book which the high priest would have known front and back. Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” (Daniel 7:13 ESV). Then immediately after Jesus said this, the priest tore his clothes and convicted Jesus of blaspheming, which was punishable by death. Jesus knew what the outcome of his response would be, so why on earth would he say it? Well, because he is the Son of God of course.
     The hinge to which the video response swings, pops when you look at what Jesus had actually said, not to mention the implications of many other references to Jesus describing himself as God. Both videos pose serious questions. One, I believe is trying to reiterate the world view and the kingdom culture Jesus intends. Where the other tries to skew the kingdom culture world view, by claiming Jesus intended something entirely different. It is true, Jesus was always pointing to God. Thereby pointing to himself, just as he described.

Couple Questions, Couple Answers, Cliché Nature Photo

     According to some estimates there are around 4,200 religions, with such a large number of religions, it comes as no surprise that there is an equally varying amount of opinions on God.
     I asked a friend of mine a few questions, knowing full well he did not associate with Christianity necessarily, or any other religion. But what I did know was that he has a good sense of logic and reason when given facts. So, what I got was a perspective likely shared by many today, a valid perspective and a glimpse into another person’s worldview.
     I posed the question, “do you believe in God or creator and could this God/creator be reached?” In return my friend gave me a response that I am not quite sure I saw coming, he said, “yes I do (believe in a creator). I am a strong believer in science. I have read a lot of scientific theories published by Hawking, Einstein, and others.” Immediately I notice that, though Christianity is not the basis of his decision, what he has read and seen has given him enough reason to come to the logical conclusion of a coexistence of religion and science. He goes on to say, “The old division of either believing in religion or science is a thing of the past. Currently, they support each other.” It seems there is a strong belief, which seems to be bred by science, that in order to reach God we will see enough scientific advancement to do so. My friend supports that by saying, “the idea of another existence, which we may choose to call Heaven is entirely possible and entirely reachable with the right science.” I would think a new age religious person might substitute ‘the right science’ and put ‘the right god’ in its place.
     This way of thinking seems to be how people can be religious, by having the same values, beliefs, and a sense of an intelligent creator, but yet remain religiously detached. This detachment is not all that surprising, even as my friend put,“I usually raise my eyebrows at people who use god to get out of a sticky situation, or use his name to justify questionable behavior. I don’t believe merely asking for forgiveness should be an effective get out of jail free card. That being said, those actions are not Gods fault, but rather the person.” It would seem that religions are not necessarily self defeating in themselves, though the people who practice them often make the decisions for people quite easy.
     Christianity itself has varying opinions on God. Many Christians have been taught one thing as children but then realize it is another when they get older. Based on their own experiences they develop their own worldview and perspectives. With one God, we don’t need simply one perspective, because some things are just simply left to be the mystery of God. As a Christian, commonality is found through Jesus. It is important that we look at how our lives are effecting the opinions of others in an anti-religious way, simply because of our own actions. If we are followers of Jesus then our actions ought to reflect positively towards the existence of God.

Check out this spoken word by Jefferson Bethke on Jesus and Religion. His book is also a good read.