Monthly Archives: November 2018

Is Your Faith a House of Cards?

If even one piece of your understanding of God gets shifted, will everything else you know about Him crumble down?

That’s a House of Cards faith, and I think it’s pretty common.

When I was a student in private, Christian schools, it was briefly mentioned that some (poor, misguided) Christians believe the earth is millions of years old–but I don’t recall being told why anyone would think that way.

I got the impression that any Christian trying to rationalize an Old Earth has “compromised” his/her faith by choosing “secular” scientific theories over the “clear and authoritative” Word of God. 

The disagreement was presented as if Real, Serious Christians were squared against the Godless Heathens… and there were a few spineless religious people, straddling the fence and causing God to want to spew them out of His mouth.

So, I was fairly convinced that the wrong interpretations of Genesis–or any other part of the Bible–would bring everything else down with it.

Today I found a comment on Facebook which perfectly explained where that idea comes from. Please take a deep breath before you dive into this rabbit hole:

“Why is the issue of death and disease as a result of sin so important?

I would propose that the whole foundation of what it means to be saved is found in the first chapters of Genesis. If you believe the first chapters are literal, then you believe that God literally created a world that was truly good. A world without death, disease, destruction and pain. God also created a literal Adam and Eve and these individuals literally sinned. That literally brought the curse of sin upon this earth. An earth that was created “good” was marred, and the death, disease, destruction and pain came as a result of man’s literal sin. God made a promise to this literal Adam and Eve that He would send the seed of the woman to overcome the destruction that had been caused by that sin and that through the seed of the woman the world could be saved. That is essentially the Gospel message found in the first chapters of Genesis.

Now look at what happens when someone decides…that the earth is actually millions of years old: You then believe that God did not create a good world. He created a world in which there was millions of years of death, disease, destruction and pain. He did it that way on purpose. It was his intent to do so. It was not the result of man’s sin who had not even been formed yet. It was simply the way God wanted to design His creation. In fact, there was no real Adam and Eve, so there was no real first sin in this world. God sent His Son. Why (in this set of beliefs) is a little hard to explain. He did not come to redeem His creation from the curse of sin though. Because there was no real curse. It was all part of His design from the beginning.

Do you see the major downfall to not taking the first few chapters of Genesis as literal? It is truly the foundation for the entire Bible and the Gospel message; the foundation of Christianity itself.

Please, please think about this.”

So, there you have it.

If you believe that plants and animals died for millions of years before Adam and Eve came on the scene, then everything else in Christianity is doubtful.

I mean, I don’t have a problem with asking how that can be reconciled, but I didn’t actually get to hear the argument from Old Earth creationists themselves until well into adulthood…

…and, as the Bible says, “The first to present his case seems right, until another comes forward to question him.”

Can you even think of a scientist who talks about the Bible, other than Ken Ham?

Oops, trick question! Ken Ham isn’t a scientist. 🙂

But, what I mean is–can you think of an organization, other than “Answers in Genesis,” which deals with the science of the Bible?

If you can’t think of a Christian who disagrees with Ham’s conclusions, I think that’s a red flag. We ought to be able to articulate the argument of our critics, and we can’t do that if we can’t even name them!

So, for anyone who needs a non-profit, staffed by brilliant scientists who love Jesus, in order to look into this topic from a new direction, I present Reasons to Believe, found at Reasons.org…

The website is run by:

Dr. Hugh Ross

Dr. Fazale Rana

Kenneth R. Samples, M.A.

Dr. Anjeanette Roberts

Dr. Jeff Zweerink

and dozens of “Guest Writers” from Universities all over the globe.  (Yes, I’m sorry, Flat Earthers, but the world is “a globe”…even though you think I’m compromising Scripture by saying so.)

I firmly believe that God is bigger than our questions, and I am terribly skeptical of anyone who argues that every, single piece of their Theology is necessary, or else you will lose the essence of God Himself.

My faith will not be shaken the slightest bit, if God took his time allowing the earth to evolve for years before breathing souls into a couple of bipedal beasts we call The First Humans.

Christianity is bigger than my interpretation of a few verses in Genesis–and that book is NOT the only place I go to find “answers.”

I’m deeply concerned by some of the comments I’ve read today, including: “The Bible is all the evidence you need”  and “Ken Ham isn’t MAKING AN INTERPRETATION–he’s LETTING THE BIBLE SPEAK FOR ITSELF.” The truth is, Ken has written hundreds of posts and books to help people learn how to read the Bible.  He’s not simply “letting it speak.”

But I’ll deal with that later, I guess.

For now, check out Dr. Gerald Schroeder’s books, or read this article.  Listen to Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project (and Old Earth Creationist).  Or let William Lane Craig explain we read things into the Bible that it doesn’t actually say.  (Example: the Bible doesn’t say that plants/animals die as a result of Adam’s sin.)

If you are letting non-believers think that they can destroy all of Christianity by removing a single chapter in the Bible, your faith is too small and flimsy.

Invite questions and search for Truth.

Regardless of the age of the earth, God can handle it.

Should I Share It? Take This Test…

Today I had an epiphany.

I suddenly realized what’s wrong with half of the stuff posted on social media–and I’ve simplified the problem into a short test we can use to stop it from happening.

The problem: most of us “like” and “share” quotes which we would HATE if we heard them coming from someone we didn’t like.

It’s a problem because good, true things should be good and true no matter who says them. 

For example:  “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

I think that’s good advice, whether Ghandi said it or Hitler.  It’s true either way.  (Pssssst.  Neither Ghandi nor Hitler said that. It was Jesus.  But you get the idea.)

Another quote I like is, “A bad day does not equal a bad life.”

Or what about, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”

I would “like” or “share” these quotes whether I heard them from my best friend or from the girl who egged my house and stole my boyfriend in highschool.

(Psssst.  No one egged my house and stole my boyfriend in highschool. But you get the idea.)

Truth should be true, no matter who says it.  And that’s why I recommend that we STOP and think before sharing a piece of advice,

“Would I still like this quote if an enemy said it?”

Try it!

Let’s test some popular sayings from the Facebook group “Depression and Anxiety quotes”:

“Sometimes you have to give up on people, not because you don’t care, but because they don’t.”

When a friend posts something like this, we’re like, “HECK YES! That’s so empowering!”

But, when someone we don’t like posts it, we have a different opinion.

Go ahead, picture that person on Facebook who drives you crazy.  Maybe “enemy” is a strong word.  But think of the person you don’t usually see eye-to-eye with.   (Yes, even if it’s me! I don’t mind being used as the “person you don’t like” for this test.)

Imagine that irritating person said “sometimes you have to give up on people, not because you don’t care, but because they don’t.”

Hmmm…. does it still sound empowering?

Or does it make you think, “Oh….this is the kind of thing self-absorbed people say when they’re making excuses for cutting others out” ?

It’s not quite as memorable as the Golden Rule, is it?

Here’s another example!

“Do not immitate what is popular, for acceptance.  Practice what is authentic for the sake of your soul.”

When your friend posts it, you’re like, “Yes! You are authentically awesome, so you need to practice more of that!”

Buuuuut….when someone you disagree with posts it, the power wears off.  It doesn’t seem quite as true, for someone who is authentically a pain in the butt…

How about this:

“Your woman becomes a reflection of how you treat her.  If you don’t like how she’s acting, look at how you treat her.”

Friend posts it: “Woo-hoo!”

Psycho woman posts it: “Nah, it’s not his fault you’re a psycho.”

See how great this little test is?

Things that are good and true will be good and true no matter who says them!

So, before I share something that I think everyone needs to hear, I challenge myself to ask whether it’s ALWAYS true…


 

If you think this test of mine is something EVERYONE can use, please feel free to share it.  🙂

When EVERYONE ELSE Is “Selfish”

I read a convicting article recently.

No, it wasn’t from a devotional website or the blog of a famous Evangelist.

God spoke to me through….  (*cough. *)  Psychology Today.

The name of the article is “Why We Need to Stop Throwing the Narcissism Label Around,” by Dr. Craig Malkin.

This is his clincher paragraph:

“Posting one too many selfies, hogging the bathroom mirror, or speaking loudly on a cellphone is not the same as compulsively lying to, insulting, or even screaming at one’s partner— [which are] common habits of the severely narcissistic.

Equating these behaviors … is a bit like comparing a pickpocket to an armed bank robber.

Hurling [the label] ‘narcissist’ at people also makes us blind to our own potentially unhealthy narcissism.”

A friend of Malkin’s, Dr. Jeremy E. Sherman, also wrote an article on the subject,  “The Key to Diagnosing Narcissism Diagnosers.”

In trying to figure out why so many Americans are interested in “How to Diagnose Narcissists,” Dr. Sherman notes:

Mental diagnostics are a double-edged sword.  People use [diagnoses] to cut through nonsense… But we also use them to create nonsense, for example when we ignore other people’s reasons, because after all, they’re just narcissists.

Narcissists are very good at diagnosing narcissism to get what they want.

If you disappoint them, then you must be a narcissist, and it’s all your fault.

Dr. Sherman goes on to say that self-centeredness is like Attention Deficit Disorder, in that both have something to do with the environment we’re all creating for ourselves.

Some of the “symptoms” of both Narcissism and ADD come from our culture’s rapid changing:

“We think of ADD as a mental disorder… But ADD is, to some extent, a product of changing environments. There’s simply vastly more than any of us can pay attention to, much of it extremely stimulating, accessible and distracting.

Narcissism is, to some extent, a cultural phenomenon, too. We live in a society that has come to take its preferences very seriously. Technology has proven increasingly reliable at fulfilling our wishes. When you wish for something, you can bet there’s an app that will deliver it.

People, not so much.

People don’t meet our expectations half as reliably as technology does. We expect more from partnerships than people ever have. We process in relationships, trying to wire them just right, as though they were malfunctioning technology.

If your partnership were a computer, you would have tossed it years ago replacing it with a more efficient model.

Ouch.

But that’s what happens when every, single salesman competing for my money insists that I can have it MY way because it’s all about ME.

Eventually, I begin to take that self-centered philosophy into my relationships as well…

…including, sadly, into my relationship with God.

Just as I was considering this humbling thought, a friend shared a quote by A.W. Tozer, which further pushed my nose in the dirt.

Listen to what Tozer says about using “Machine Age Methods” to buy a convenient taste of God:

“The idea of cultivation and exercise, so dear to the saints of old, has now no place in our total religious picture. [The work] is too slow, too common. We now demand glamour and fast-flowing dramatic action. A generation of Christians reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slower and less direct methods of reaching their goals. We have been trying to apply machine-age methods to our relations with God. We read our chapter, have our short devotions and rush away, hoping to make up for our deep inward bankruptcy by attending another gospel meeting or listening to another thrilling story told by a religious adventurer lately returned from afar.

The tragic results of this spirit are all about us: shallow lives, hollow religious philosophies, …the element of fun in gospel meetings, the glorification of men, trust in religious externalities, quasi-religious fellowships, salesmanship methods, the mistaking of dynamic personality for the power of the Spirit. These and such as these are the symptoms of an evil disease, a deep and serious malady of the soul…”  -A. W. Tozer

Ouch again.

Shallow lives…salesmanship methods…and glorifying men…

All of these things happen because we believe “fast” and “easy” is the same as “good.”

If God were a computer, I probably would have tossed him out for a more reliable model years ago. 

In fact, by hopping churches and searching for certain types of books/music and cutting ties with the Christians who disappoint me, that’s exactly what I’m trying to do…

I’m very good at pursuing my own happiness–and I blame other people (those horrible narcissists!) when I don’t get what I want.

But, as Dr. Sherman asks toward the end of his article, “Who is a butthead, except the person I happen to butt heads with?”

He concludes:

“I happen to live in a pocket of the world where we expect a lot, and I’m grateful for it. But it is a bit humbling if I stop to think about it. When I get outraged at some injustice to me, and I’m inclined to diagnose someone as a narcissist for disappointing me, it’s sobering to remember that unlike many worldwide, I think I’m entitled to hot water, stocked grocery stores, and reliable electricity.

My sense of injustice is relative.

If you turn out to be one of those “narcissism diagnosers,” it’s worth keeping all of this in mind.

That is to say, I need to be careful when I look around and think EVERYONE ELSE is “selfish.”