Online Reading, June 23, 2010

Sports: If I don’t begin with Korea’s advance to the second round of the World Cup with their 2-2 draw with Nigeria last evening, I might get lynched.

Freedom of Religion: Apparently in dearborn, handing out information about Christianity to Muslims is “disorderly conduct“. Some also worry that word choices among the Obama administration may reflect a desire to limit freedom of religion…. nah.

Technology: Of course, this can’t be the beginning of a brave new world dystopia. It’s not like people can track your location through your ipod.

Archaeology: Early drawings of the Apostles are found in Rome.

What Christians are Not.

I know, I know, a big topic, and I’m being a little arrogant in claiming to understand the whole of one of the largest religious groupings in the world. Keep in mind that you’re reading a conservative protestant evangelical.

These are just some things I would like non-Christians to keep in mind when talking to me.

1) Christians, by definition, do not think they are better than you. If somebody seems to, you know that he is being a very bad Christian if he is one at all. We get saved by grace. The main point of the entire religion is that we are so seriously messed up that we couldn’t save ourselves and needed God to do it for us. That means we think WE are sinners.

2) Christians (remembering the above proviso) do not think that morality is adherence to a set of moral precepts contained in a code (even the rules contained in the Bible). Morality is a heart issue for Christians, it is about the character of the person performing the act, not the act in itself. Thus talking about moral actions is non-sequential to our faith structure. While actions may be evidence of moral character, Good actions in themselves are simply not sequential to the issue of being good.

3) That said, Christians (if they are being Christian) do have some actions that they should be doing. If the person that claims to be Christian does not do them, you have a right to question their claim to be Christian. If you do not like what they are doing because they are acting in accordance with Christian expectations, then you can say it’s a problem with Christianity.

4) Christians, like every other belief structure in the world, has adherents who have not thought about the implications of their beliefs, and people who have. Do not assume that Christians are all unthinking, because you only talk to the former. Similarly, some Christians are not very rational in their thinking, but some are.

5) There are bad Christians. This is not an amazing revelation that upsets my entire faith structure, nor should it. The actions of people are actually independant of the belief structure and are relevant insofar as the specific actions you find abhorrent fit the belief structure.

6) Christianity is a big religion. Do not assume that you understand what the specific Christian you are talking to believes. He is a different person from all the other Christians you have met. Indeed, given point 5, despite his claims, he might not actually be a Christian. If you want to know if a Christian believes something, ask him. You can attack a belief that he’s claimed to believe after he’s claimed to believe it, not before.

7) No Christian, not even fundamentalist Bible thumpers (save the most extreme groups which most other Christians think are nuts), think that you can understand the Bible’s teaching on ANYTHING by looking at isolated verses. So, God’s teaching on slavery is not completed by looking at Leviticus, the nature of God is not explained by looking at the genocides in Exodus, and our opinion about social concerns is not exhausted by John 3:16. We have to look at the whole of scripture (because scripture interprets scripture). You may think that’s a dodge, but it’s the way we actually roll.

8) Christian beliefs are pretty central to the lives of Christians. It is the way we see the world. To ask us to put aside Jesus for a second is like asking you to put aside your understanding of reality for a second.

9) Christians are not inherently opposed to science. I am not a scientist, so I usually recuse myself from such debates because I’m probably better to be listening at those points. This is not because I think that science is of the devil. The statement “Some anti-science people are Christian” is not a logically equivalent statement to “All Christians are anti-science”.

10)  Christians (at least of the type that I am) do not believe that forcing you to “become Christian” is even possible, much less permissible. In fact, in my experience the attempt is unbelieving and counter-productive. When I tell you what I believe, it is because a) I think what I believe is true and would benefit you or b) I feel the need to correct your erroneous understanding of what I believe. I would like you to believe, because I would like you to enjoy God as I do, but if you don’t, I can’t force you.

Online Reading (January 29, 2008)

Religion and Science: Pope Benedict again wades into the debate.

Faith and Brains: (from 2 weeks ago) John Stackhouse publishes an impatient response to the questions about education and faith.

Newfoundland and…. Poland?: The local paper of record makes very superficial links between Poland and Newfoundland. Gee, maybe I should apply for a reporting job. I can ignore substantive cultural differences too!!!!

Christian Teaching: Tim Challies has a good piece on seeking good teachers as Christians.

Online Reading, September 28, 2007

(in)Justice: fearful of the desires of their people, the “noble” and powerful Burmese Junta cracks down on peaceful protesters.

Technology: Non-gas vehicles come a step closer to reality.

Conference: Today I am missing yet another desiringGod conference. At least they’re putting up the audio messages.

Evangelism: Al Mohler comments on the newest surge in evangelism through Church planting. He also calls for pastors to revitalize the already established Church.

Online Reading, September 25, 2007

Science (?): Guys with deep voices have more kids (they are apparently more attractive too).

Politics: Danny Williams (Premier of my province) hopes to double the population of Newfoundland. Oh the fun of elections.

Blogs: Here’s why I’m a bad blogger (I don’t write every day)

Rant: Man this Driscoll guy can rant.