Coming Out Yogi

October 2, 2011

Brian asks:

Hey, I was a Christian for 10 years, pursuing Jesus with all my might during my devotions. The thing is, however, that I never grew in my faith. I also had some mood problems that prayer and Bible study never helped. However, since I started doing yoga and meditating, these moods are greatly reduced. I’m fascinated by this yogi philosophy and yogis are some of the most kind and compassionate people. But how do I get out of these church commitments where people need me and how do I explain to them what I’m doing? Especially when I know no one will understand?

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Jesus Couldn’t Have Died for Original Sin

August 14, 2011

Christianity tells us that we are all sinners and doomed to Hell, unless we accept Jesus as our Savior.  The reason we are doomed is that we are all sinners. The Apostle Paul says in Rom 5:12:

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

The reason that we are all sinners is that we “inherit” the “Original Sin” of Adam.  As sinners we deserve death.  Only Jesus’ death could atone for Original Sin.

Right?

That puts Christians in an awkward position.

Christians have to hold that there really was an Adam and Eve and a talking Serpent in the Garden of Eden.  They have to accept the creation story of Genesis. Most Christians have abandoned this position in favor of concepts like “divinely guided evolution”.  A few Christians still argue in favor of creation a la Genesis but the arguments have been exposed over and over as baseless dogma and have rapidly lost traction among all but the most fundamentalist of Christians.

Or, Christians can accept evolution, even if they qualify it as divinely guided evolution.  Then there was no Adam in a garden with Trees of Life and Knowledge.  If there is no Adam, there is no Original Sin.  There is only our nature (is it sinful?).  And our nature is the product of evolution (is it divinely guided?).  If there is no Original Sin, then why did Jesus die?


Is the Bible Consistent on Death?

January 15, 2011

Elynna asks:

Is the Bible consistent on the subject of death? Does the O.T. say the same thing as the N.T. Reading my Bible it Jesus seems to imply that if you believe in Him you may die physically but spiritually you live on. What are the facts.


Was Jesus Always Perfect?

November 24, 2010

There are plenty of verses in the Bible that we can take to mean that Jesus was perfect (“a lamb without blemish”, etc), but the Bible doesn’t say outright that Jesus was always perfect. On the contrary, Hebrews implies that Jesus was not always perfect, but rather became perfect at some point. Hebrews 5:7-9 (NIV) says:

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

According to this passage, Jesus was not the source of salvation until after he was made perfect. This has important ramifications. It means that people who lived before Jesus was made perfect, did not have a source of salvation. Without a source of salvation during their lifetime, God’s most faithful servants, like Moses, King David, King Solomon, and the prophets, went to hell when they died. It also means that if Jesus was always God then God isn’t necessarily perfect. Alternatively, it means that Jesus wasn’t always God (because God is always perfect).

There is good evidence that the author of Hebrews didn’t believe that Jesus was God, at least not in a way that makes the Father and Jesus one and the same. Here is a good presentation of the evidence: www.prudentialpublishing.info/hebrews_view_of_Jesus.htm

Which do you think is true…

1) Jesus was always God but God can be imperfect
2) Jesus became God after he became perfect
3) Hebrews is not the Inerrant Word of God

…and why?


Where are the Eyewitness Accounts of Jesus?

October 31, 2010

Christians often argue that one reason we should believe in Jesus is because we have firsthand eyewitness accounts that testify of his divinity. They are speaking of the Gospels and Acts of course (Paul never claims to have met Jesus except in a dream). Yet the first Gospel in the Bible to be written (there are other Gospels that were not included in the Bible), the Gospel of Mark, wasn’t written until 65 – 80 years after the time that Jesus would have been crucified. Matthew wasn’t written for 80 – 100 years after, Luke & Acts – 80 to 130 years after, and John – 90 to 120 years after. These are hardly eyewitness accounts.

The lack of any eyewitness accounts of Jesus is a bigger problem than it may seem at first. It’s not just that there is one less reason to believe in Jesus. It’s that if the stories in the Gospels were true, there really should be eyewitness accounts – a lot of them.

Take Matthew’s story of Jesus’ birth for example (Mat 2:16)

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi

Outside of the Gospel of Matthew written 80 to 100 years after Jesus would have been crucified, there are no firsthand accounts of Herod’s order to kill every Jewish firstborn in the city. Wouldn’t such a massacre be noteworthy? Shouldn’t we expect at least a mention of it in some writings from that period? In fact, there is no mention of it anywhere else.

Take Matthew’s story of Jesus’ death for another example (Mat 27:45, 27:51-53):

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land … At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

Rocks spontaneously splitting, the temple curtain spontaneously tearing (that would be THE curtain that separates the rest of the temple from the Holy of Holies where the Arc of the Covenant was kept), and the dead coming back to life and walking around Jerusalem – how often to these sorts of things happen? How “normal” are these events? How many people should have seen at least one of these events?

How plausible is it that all of these events really occurred AND that there are no firsthand accounts of any of the events? Certainly the lack of any firsthand account is a good reason to doubt that the events really happened, but isn’t the Gospel of Matthew THE firsthand account? No, the Gospel of Matthew was an embellishment of the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Mark does not mention any of the events except for the tearing of the Temple curtain. Paul’s writings, the earliest writings in the New Testament, says nothing at all about any of these events.


Explain why we call the Gospels portraits of Jesus and not His biographies

March 2, 2010

saron mahari asks in Start a New Thread:

explain why we call the gospels [portraits] of jesus and not his biographies

portraits

I’ll be interested to see what others say, but I don’t personally find this question to be controversial (if indeed that was the intent of the post). It seems to me that an assertion that the Gospels are portraits is not necessarily an admission that the Gospels are not historical, it’s merely an assertion that their purpose is not to report all aspects of Jesus’ life or even His ministry. As portraits, they report events that are typical to Jesus’ life and ministry, for the purpose of telling us who Jesus was and what His ministry was about.


Jesus’ subservience to the Father

March 12, 2009

Before the domination of the early Christian sect commonly referred to as the “proto-orthodoxy” (which later became known as the orthodoxy), there were other Christian sects who were also vying for supremacy. Like the proto-orthodoxy, these other sects held an opinion about the nature of Jesus. For example, some sects held that Jesus was a god who only appeared as a man. Others insisted that he was a god but one that was subservient to the God (a.k.a. the Father). Much of what the Church Fathers wrote was intended as a defense of their own particular christology, and as a condemnation of the views held by the competing sects. The proto-orthodoxy view was not merely that Jesus was a god equal to the Father, but that Jesus and the Father are one and the same god.

Yet this seems at odds with various verses in the Bible, such as ones we find in John 5, which make a clear distinction between Jesus and the Father. John 5 quotes Jesus as saying:

(19) …the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
(20) For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.
(22) …the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,
(26) For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.
(27) And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
(30) By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

How do you suppose the Church Fathers reconciles statements like these and others with their belief the Jesus and the Father are one and the same?


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