No One Sees God…Or Me

My last blog, “My Slippery Slide Into Atheism,” was actually sort of a tribute to my respected, beloved, “unbelieving” friend, Jeremy Witteveen. I knew that, as the one who predicted my eventual cave into atheism, he would enjoy the alluring title and candid admission. You can find his thoughtful response to my blog here.

If I remember correctly, Jeremy grew up in an evangelical Christian home and was very active in church and ministry. But ultimately, the usual (and imo valid) objections he had toward Christianity and the god portrayed therein, led him to completely different conclusions than the ones he was raised with. I am patiently working through many of the same objections myself, so friends like Jeremy are very important to me in my quest for an authentic faith in a worthy God. They challenge me in my blind spots and hold me accountable to reason, two crucial objectives. The God I’m discovering so far is quite different than the one Jeremy and I both grew up with, which was kind of like being raised on chocolate cake laced with rat poison—looks delicious and even sustainable from the outside, but try eating it for a few years…or a lifetime…and see how you feel.

I actually didn’t plan to blog about Jeremy’s response, but this afternoon I had a compelling thought that I wanted to put to the pen. My objective here, using his post, is to offer my believing friends a perspective they perhaps hadn’t thought about before. He wrote:

For some reason, people aren’t all that accepting of people who think that the big, invisible god described in the bible doesn’t exist. It’s weird. No one on earth can show him to me in tangible or reasoned terms, and I’m the idiot.

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My Slippery Slide into Atheism

One of my atheist friends warned me that, once I started asking honest questions of my Bible, it was sure to be a slippery slope into agnosticism or atheism. He’s absolutely right! I’m way more agnostic (unknowing, anti-dogmatic) about God and matters of faith than I’ve ever been. This is a little unsettling when I’ve spent most of my life thinking I had God (and the Bible) neatly wrapped up in a little box. Secondly, I’m definitely atheistic about the god I used to know. Let’s recap. My old god…

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Divine Fingerprints Declare Resurrection

In my last entry, “Tell Me What You’re Living For,” we explored some initial reasons for hope and belief in a bodily resurrection (Greek: “anastasis”). But are there more than just a few vague passages (that may have been added by wishful thinkers)? Are there some principles to help us on our way?

Let us contemplate the Divine fingerprints interwoven into the fabric of The Story for shedding light in regard to resurrection, namely through that of certain witnesses and pictures.* You may not understand everything I have written here, but this is a great place to begin our study.

Harvests: Throughout Scripture and Jewish celebratory traditions (called “Feasts”), there is a hugely repetitious agricultural theme culminating in three harvested crops—barley, wheat, and grapes. The barley was the first crop harvested in early spring, celebrated at the Feast of Firstfruits. The wheat harvest began at Pentecost (Feast of Shavuot) and was harvested late spring throughout summer. The grape harvest came at the end of summer/early fall just in time for the last and seventh Feast of Ingathering (or Tabernacles). In fact, all of the crops gathered for the entire harvest season were celebrated together at this week-long fall Feast event, commemorated each year (Oct. 1-7 this year, as in this week)!

Do you really think God was all that excited about dirt, seeds, and food groups (despite being called “feasts,” haha) when He inspired the writings? No. Incorporating Jewish tradition, I believe the three crops represent three types of PEOPLE during different periods of resurrection in His plan of ages, when all people are “harvested” into renewal and imperishability. For some, namely hypocrites of the teachings, this will include a time of correction and restoration. When contemplating immortality, most Christians don’t even realize that the Bible indicates different resurrections occurring at different time periods in the Story, but it does (Heb. 11:35, Rev. 20:6)!

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Tell Me What You’re Living For. No, Really.

In my Internet travels, I come across many a God-revering individual who doesn’t believe in a bodily resurrection. That is, most of these folks do not believe in any kind of conscious afterlife.

Case in point, I recently asked an orthodox Jewish rabbi what he thought about afterlife. Understand, there are many different beliefs of Judaism—just like every other religion—and this particular rabbi told me that he does not believe in a resurrection (or that the Hebrew Scriptures—OT—speak of one). After we die, he told me, we are basically absorbed back into God, unconscious. At this point, I pictured a sponge wiping up water on the counter. All memory gone in one swipe. Now that is really inspiring!

In light of the rabbi’s suggestion and in light of many other well meaning folks who don’t believe in an afterlife, I asked myself, is there any evidence of a resurrection in the OT? I mean, if the NT is merely a further revelation of the OT, we must surely be able to find potential evidence somewhere. Here’s some of what I found…

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King of War or Prince of Peace?

Back in my church daze (pun intended), I used to serve the Jesus who was coming back to earth as a vengeful warrior, ready to strike down entire nations with a cold-blooded sword (Rev. 19). Such was his blood-thirsty pursuit, he even wore a robe dripping blood from his grizzly massacre of the masses.

As a Christian, I was reportedly going to participate in this mass annihilation of all those heathens (including my friends and relatives who didn’t believe in Jesus) and somehow I was going to be eternally blissful shortly thereafter, even knowing that these murdered folks were brought back to some kind of conscious state only to forever boil in a cauldron of sulphur in the lake of fire! And who could blame me for believing in this Jesus? This is the only Jesus I got from the Bible that I’d been hearing and reading for more than 30 years—the Bible translated and interpreted by tradition and agenda for centuries, then controlled and handed down to naive billions throughout Church history.

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Maybe God is a Gay Black Woman

Someone posted on my FB wall this week, “If God is fair, He will show up someday as a Gay Black Woman.” I’ve been thinking all week about what this man meant by such a provocative statement, and I’ve come to terms with the powerful message behind his words.

The more I learn, the more I realize that many, many things are not what I once thought—they present as opposites, sort of like two sides to a coin. The two sides seem in opposition, yet that is merely an illusion. Both represent one coin.

Take the notion of God being represented by a Gay Black Woman…

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Too tame? Try this…

Raising Hell:
Christianity’s Most Controversial Doctrine Put Under Fire

If hell is the worst possible fate of mankind, and if God is truly loving, then…
  • Why did He fail to mention hell in Genesis as the price for sin?
  • Why doesn’t the Old Testament ever speak of hell?
  • Why does Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, never once mention hell?
  • Why was hell not part of the established doctrine of the early Church after Christ?
  • Why are the top theologians unable to agree if we are saved by election or free will?
  • Why did Jesus purposely hide truth from the crowds and Gentiles?
Dare to question. If you’ve ever had doubts or questions about the fairness or justification of eternal torment, Raising Hell will open your eyes to a radically new look at God’s love for all mankind and what the Good News is really about.

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