Skip to comments.The Atheists' Pope
Posted on 02/14/2013 7:12:20 AM PST by marshmallow
The beginning of my religious conversion was a lonely time for me.
I'd spent my whole life as an outsider to Christian circles, and it was hard to imagine that I could ever be comfortable being one of them, the Christians, the people whom I had firmly categorized in my mind as "Other." I'd come to believe in God on an intellectual level, yet I felt stuck, unable to move forward from there.
Years of looking down on the entire concept of religion left me with a lingering impression that Christians and Christian culture were different from anything I'd ever known. In my childhood home, the climate was one of a love of learning and reason, of amazement at the universe based on science and facts. As early as elementary school, my dad would read books to me by Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking; when Halley's Comet was visible, we packed up the Celestron C-8, drove ten hours to find the best viewing spot, and stood in the cold for hours, gazing in awe at the night sky; we'd visit our astronomer friend and examine each item in his extensive meteorite collection, and then have animated discussions about the mysteries of the universe over long dinners. There was a distinct culture of wonder, a kind of wonder rooted in the firm foundation of reason. On the rare occasions that the topic of religion came up, it was only to note that it was a shame that people let superstition hold them back from the fearless pursuit of truth. They were missing out on so much wonder, we thought.
(Excerpt) Read more at ncregister.com ...
Josh McDowell does an excellent job of knocking down atheist arguments that there was no historic Jesus or that he was made up to be something he wasn’t or that he really didn’t die on the cross or that he didn’t really rise from the dead and ascend to Heaven.
If you read “Evidence That Demands A Verdict” (a very dry book but still powerful), you have to conclude that either Jesus was God’s risen son and deserves our worship or that he was a liar who led millions astray or that he was a lunatic who said a ton of wise and truthful things even though he was totally delusional about being the Son of God. You don’t get any other choices. He was Lord, liar or lunatic.
So it is possible to come to know Jesus intellectually without having the faith that leads to salvation. Even the demons knew who Jesus was when he encountered them.
Each of us who hear the gospel are forced to make a decision - do you believe Jesus and accept his free gift of salvation or do you walk away and pretend it is untrue?
Many who were raised not to believe, come to believe while others who were raised in Christian homes walk away. This is part of free will God gives each of us and yet He knows whom He has called even before the beginning of time.
If you believe Jesus intellectually, believe Him spiritually. Don’t be led by feelings or the desire to “do your own thing”. If you believe spiritually but don’t know the historical Jesus, take the time to find out because it will strengthen your faith. And if you are curious about the historical Jesus, take the time to learn. It will open your eyes to a deeper understanding of who he was and why some of the things happened as foretold by the prophets.
Very good article.
I think, oddly enough, that reason was one of the things that took a hit after Vatican II, when in the minds of many, Christianity shifted to being a warm fuzzy instead of the coherent, intelligible belief system it had been. BXVI did a huge amount to change this and restore the intellectual depth of the Christian faith.
Vatican ll was a disaster for the Church. Homosexual priests (pink seminaries”), priests with girlfriends in public( “How can I preach “love”, If I don’t practice it”). My church, in NYC’s east village, St. Bridge’s (1857), built by Irish seafarers, was basically destroyed inside. Beautiful icons given away,marble alter ,rails, etc., the interior painted “battleship gray”. Two additions replaced all the interior beauty. Thirty foot, cloth signs, psychedelic paint, one reading “peace” the other “love”. You just about wanted to cry. God Bless John Paul II
I think I’m an American Judeo-Christian. Principally focused on the Old Testament, I accept Jesus as the Hebrew moshiach in the sense that there would be no United States without the Christian example.
The media saw the Council as a political struggle, a struggle for power between different currents within the Church. It was obvious that the media would take the side of whatever faction best suited their world
And we know that this Council of the media was accessible to all. So, dominant, more efficient, this Council created many calamities, so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed liturgy trivialized ... and the true Council has struggled to materialize, to be realized: the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council. But the real strength of the Council was present and slowly it has emerged and is becoming the real power which is also true reform, true renewal of the Church. It seems to me that 50 years after the Council, we see how this Virtual Council is breaking down, getting lost and the true Council is emerging with all its spiritual strength.
And it is our task, in this Year of Faith, starting from this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council with the power of the Holy Spirit is realized and Church is really renewed. We hope that the Lord will help us. I, retired in prayer, will always be with you, and together we will move ahead with the Lord in certainty. The Lord is victorious. Thank you.
It was Thomas Aquinas who made the point that philosophy, the study of reason, was the other side of the coin, that being of faith. That is how it was originally defined.
Reason and faith need each other for a person to be able to understand the truth. Otherwise, we fall victim to our own imaginings.