Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Call to Christian Humanism?

This is clearly just a rant from my personal journal, cut and pasted here without the thought of developing a thesis. So pardon the jumbled thoughts, please.

Today I am in angst over a TV show. I am watching this series on Netflix called “Orange is the new black.” It is about a debutante whose childish crimes catch up with her 8 years later when she is sentenced to 18 mos of prison. She is a good person, but like all dramas, not perfect, just basically good. And she is a victim of oppression by a corrupt prison system. I feel guilty. I feel like somehow her mistreatment is my fault. It is just a show, and there is nothing to be done about it. But I know enough about the system to believe that this abuse happens. Most people are in prison because of mental illness. The system is wrong. The only way to survive is to be involved in the wrong.

I believe that part of the reason the sexual predator at Bear Creek got off was because of me being to honest of a witness. He got caught in his evil, but evil is inside all of us. I would tell both sides. And the prosecutor decided not to go to trial a second time with me as the primary witness. Even though the man ruined my life, I recognize my own propensity for evil and I cannot judge another.

Are people basically good or evil? Many years ago, a bicycle was stolen from my garage. I paid less than $50, but its retail price was over $100. There was no way to be honest and tell the insurance what I lost. As hard as I tried not to, I had to accept the $100 payout of the insurance claim. The world is evil and there are a few of us who want to do right, in the heart, always. And according to this TV show, it is impossible.

But here is the bigger question: Why do I hate injustice so much? Why the angst? Why do I feel guilty that my tax dollars support such a corrupt system? And, injustices range the entire gamut of our culture. And if we permit one, we permit them all. And why aren't other people upset? Why did my colleagues in ministry imply that I should have gone along to get along? But the biggest is still, why do injustices cause such angst that I lose my own peace?

Is this not my Father's world? And tho' the wrong seems oft' so strong, is God not the ruler yet? Lord, Help me. He has shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

But my big question to myself is this, does this angst, this lack of peace, this anger and hatred toward injustice mean that there is something wrong with me? Am I wrong for caring so much?

When I see George Zimmerman get acquitted for killing Trayvon Martin, I am ashamed. I feel guilty. I feel as if it is my fault. When I hear Sarah Palin cry “death panel” about the ACA, I blame myself. Is it white shame? Is it Christian shame? Am I about to lose my faith all together? Is this me, Lord, losing my religion?

I guess one has to believe in the basic evil of humanity, or the basic good of humanity.

The show, “Orange is the New Black” has this woman who describes herself as a secular humanist when a crazy Christian is trying to convert her. It portrays secular humanism as the only moral world view. This show, along with COSMOS seem to attack Christianity. COSMOS does not need to ridicule faith in order to get its views across. They could get to the same science and include Christians like me. Why the attack?

I suppose that we Christians have brought it upon ourselves. And, worse off, we see the extreme fruits of our dogma in the fanaticism that blames the problems of unrestrained capitalism and over consumption as the judgment of God because of the so called gay agenda, entitlements and abortion.

I guess this is a call to Christian Humanism. “Imago Dei,” see Christ in every person. How do we re-create the narrative and explain our belief in people? Is it even true? Maybe all there is are people who are oriented toward believing in basic good, or people who are orientated toward believing in basic bad. Does the Bible support “basic bad” in the doctrine of original sin? Or, does the unbelievers basic God-given conscience, explained in Romans 2 mean that we are basically good? We are both. But, we can live in competition or we can live in community.

Lord, it is frustrating. It is hard. It is difficult to shine a light instead of curse the darkness. Maybe my angst is completely in sync with God's heart over a broken world. Maybe my angst is best assuaged in the redemption story. God, grant me your peace and give me the strength to persevere.


Steve Finnell said...


Is it possible to be saved without having your sins forgiven? Was Saul saved by faith alone before his sins were forgiven?

If Saul was saved on the road to Damascus, then he was saved without having his sins forgiven.

Saul believed in Jesus on the road Damascus, but his sins were forgiven three days later in Damascus
Act 9:1-19......9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank....

Saul sins were forgiven in Damascus, three days later, not on the road to Damascus.
Acts 22:1-16.....10 And I said, 'What shall I do Lord?' And the Lord said to me, 'Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.'.......16 Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins,calling on His name!

Saul was not saved by faith only. Saul was saved by believing and being baptized in water.

Jesus did not establish faith only salvation on the road to Damascus. Jesus confirmed what He already had said "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved"... (Mark 16:16)

You cannot be saved unless your sins have been forgiven.

In order to support the doctrine of faith only men have offered many reasons why the Scriptures cannot be trusted.
1. The Bible is not the inerrant word of God, it has many errors and contradictions.
2. You have to be a Greek scholar to understand the Bible. If you understand the original Greek language, then you would know water baptism is not essential for forgiveness of sins.
3. You need to use extra-Biblical writings to understand the plan of salvation.
4. The Bible has been mistranslated, therefore men are saved by faith only and not the way it is presented in the Bible.

If God is not smart enough to give men an accurate translation of His plan for salvation and Christian living, then why would anyone trust in Him for salvation or for anything else.

God has given us His plan of salvation in many translations, in different languages. You do not have to know Greek.You do not have to have a Greek dictionary. You do have to be Greek. If men had to be able to read and understand original Greek to understand the Bible, then all Bibles would be in Greek.


Men are not saved by faith only and there is no verse of Scripture that states men are saved by faith only. Men are saved by faith, but not by faith only.


Revnerd said...


First off, God bless you.

Um, I read the bible also.

I do not see much fruit in getting into an argument with you.

The Bible does not say "By the way, to be clear to everyone, Paul was not saved until he was baptized."

So, any "proof" you have is conjecture based on your understanding of salvation. That is good for you.

I could effectively argue, from scripture -either by direct biblical teaching, or by implied doctrine based on the events of many different stories of conversion- any prescribed formula.

So, let us not get into a "my scripture A takes precedence over your scripture B" debate. It has no fruit.

The gospel isn't the good news of God's restoration of Humanity to Himself if we are arguing about the meaning of words.