I got this response yesterday on an entry earlier this month that was quite interesting. The comment was very anti-religion and I’ll say agnostic. For the benefit of the doubt I’ll assume that because he never clearly states that he is an atheist. A friend and I have been discussing whether I should publish it [Decided to see Roberts anti Religion comments here.] In one sense it is so eloquently written I think the quality use of the english language is worth acknowledging. But on the other side there are some assertions that do not quite live up to here at Hold to Truth.
What I do find is interesting was his perception of religion…bringing up the historical facts about what happens when people try to live up to religious dogma. And how that attempt usually fails because they made a wrong turn coming out of the gate. We will most often give truth a bad name when we attempt to ascend to its nobility in our own strength.
He mentioned some real good examples, the Crusades, Slavery, some facade conservative political policies under the auspices of being ‘Christian.’ They are all examples of Christianity at its worst. I think there is one fundamental flaw in his argument. He judged the book not by the cover he judged it by its holder.
The first line in the more known Apostles Creed of the Christian faith is: I believe in God the Father Almighty. Baptist are not typically creedal in the strict sense and certainly not (in most cases) in the liturgical sense either. But there is a systematic belief system declared in some manner (verbal or nonverbal.) We all believe in something. We can debate the nature of a creed’s necessity but the first line at its very essence is key. I would go so far as to say the degree to which you believe in God the Father Almighty is going to dramatically affect your life.
Lets just work it word by word.
I believe clearly makes this creed personal. It is not enough to have your grandmothers faith, your science professors lab work, or just personal experiences. ‘I believe’ says in itself that there is a careful thought through process of understanding, that while not all enough is substantiated through evidence. In short, it is not a blind faith, a jump into darkness. But neighter is it religion in a beaker. And likewise Christians are not only emotional. Our belief is not (or should not be) merely a list of adjectives: ‘he’s been good to me, he took care of, he’s strong, paid this…and therefore I believe.’ But ‘I believe’ says that what has been substantiated by what we know from the bible, and by what is seen leads me to believe in a higher power even if I cannot presently see that power.
In God recognizes the personhood of that higher power. To arrive at a power greater than yourself and in control (at least to some degree) of you gets you to Deism. To recognize the personality in God gets you to Theism. The more specified traits of His personality you see the more you recognize that God is someone to believe in. The earth is the Lord and the fulness thereof and He has shown in all of the order and creation in the world that He is not just a big bang, or byproducts of microbial soups coming together, a blantant denial of any existence, but a person who created orderly and maintains order in spite of us.
the Father leads us back to the personal belief. You can see the foreshadow in the creed that Jesus is going to come up. Who can call God the father except the one who has come through the son? The concep of God as ‘Father’ is not just a term of endearment when it is no longer a term taken for granted. He is not Our Father because we deserve it. Which is what makes the Lord’s prayer a reason to praise God. He is our Father because He chooses to be. When we believe this we substantiate it by at least two things:
1. ‘Father’ denotes thriving relationship. It means that He’ll come running toward you with His ankles showing to renew the relationship. It means that He corrects. Bu,t He corrects the ones He loves. When you substantiate this belief we no longer run like Adam from God to hide behind a tree, we run to Christ who died on a tree.
2. ‘Father’ denotes a parallel relationship. And that same thriving must happen with others. The same acclamation I make that He is Father is the same acclamation you make, is the same many for years before have made, is the same we hope others will make until Jesus returns. Proper belief leads to proper perspective of others. Your understanding of this is best seen when people mess up, not when they live up to religious activity.
Almighty the word used in Latin omnipotentem, all-powerful, omnipotent. How excellent is God? He himself defines the word. You believe you need air to live and prove it by breathing…all day…every day. You believe that God is almighty, all-powerful, omnipotent? What will that look like?
These creeds may not be liturgical, but the very nature of this first sentence in the creed should be integral in the lives of a believer. The learning to trust these truths is pushed along by looking at the implications of what is said. What does it mean when you believe in head and heart that there is an Almighty God that you and millions of others are capable of calling father even though you do not deserve to call Him that?
For me at least one thing is tells me is I have plenty to talk about with all my brothers and sisters…