Highlights From Thoughtsontheline

I’ve had quite a bit more readers in the past few weeks, so I thought that I’d offer some of the highlights from my blog so the wheat is separated from the chaff (not that I consider any of my blog as chaff . . .). The following are my favourite piece that I’ve written:

 

1. Adjudicating Between World-views 8 part series: I present and examine a simple way to test different world-views in order to come to some conclusions about which ones are more likely to be true, and how they compare on certain basic issues.

2. The Christmas Story: Myth or History?: I examine some of the elements from the Christmas story (in the Bible) and present a few different pieces of evidence that support the validity of the biblical text/story.

3. Philosophy and Christianity 5 part series: I look first at whether or not Christians should be concerned with Philosophy (they ought to be). Then I offer some basic philosophical tools that help to think clearer about important issues (like how an understanding of epistemology can do away with certain popular objections to Christianity, ethical concerns, etc.) Note: there are no lessons in basic logic! (That topic is covered much – and for good reason).

4. Historical Reliability of Acts From Primary Extra-Biblical Sources: I did some research and came up with a fairly large document that supports different events, people, places, etc. that are found and described in the Book of Acts. I use only primary sources from Greek, Jewish, etc. authors that are close to the timeline of Acts so that there is no ambiguity. This was fun to research! I basically quote the biblical text in question then quote a direct quote from a (or some) primary ancient sources – along with short comments.

5. 50 Important Philosophical Questions: Just a simple list of 50 philosophical issues (in question form) that are relevant to Christianity in particular.

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3 comments

  1. I love your intelligent and open-minded views on Christianity. I can never call myself a Christian anymore because of the extra stuff that may or may not belong to it, but it remains that my all time role model, without a doubt, is Jesus or Yahushua. I believe that we are not supposed to vouch for anything. We are simply meant to reach a Christ-like consciousness and that will lead to Heaven on Earth. It is all about what we reflect to each other and what good we enable in others. Do you feel this is a safe conclusion to draw from Christianity as a whole, or at its source?

    1. Thank you, Travis the traveler, for the compliments. I appreciate that you find the information on my blog “intelligent and open-minded.” That being said, I’d like to answer the question(s) you posed to me.

      Before we can get to what Christianity teaches, we need to establish where those teachings come from. In other words, what is the authority?

      Since a Christian is defined simply as someone who follows and abides by the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, it seems clear that Jesus’ own words are very significant. He claimed to be God and claimed that the scriptures (Old Testament) were inspired by God. He gave his disciples (the apostles) the authority to teach on His behalf, and their writings comprise most of what would later become known as the New Testament. Whether the Bible is reliable, accurate, etc. is another issue. But at the very least, a “Christian’s” authority would follow that line of reasoning.

      So, the best way to go about your questions are basically to ask, “What did Jesus say about X? Does the Old Testament have anything to say? What about the New Testament?”

      So, to your questions. Does Christianity teach that . . .

      (1) We aren’t suppose to vouch for anything?

      It’s tough to see what you mean by “vouch”, but I’ll say for now that you mean something like that we shouldn’t say that Christianity is the only way to God or to heaven – something like that. We shouldn’t say that others ought to adhere to a certain way of life and philosophy.

      Jesus said: (John 14:6) “Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.”

      See Isaiah 42:1-7 and chapter 53, written about 600 years before Jesus lived. They are both clearly prophecies about Jesus. But here’s the point – God will have a unique individual commission this work. That means we cannot be “vouchless”, indeed, a certain particular individual will be the “covenant mediator.” If Jesus indeed died for the sins of mankind – the only one who did so – then it follows that sins are only forgiven through His death. So Jesus’ death for our sins must be “vouched for” in order for peace between man and God.

      (2) Christ didn’t teach that we are simply be morally good, that is, to “reach a Christ-like consciousness . . . and about what good we enable in others.” Although these would be good things, Jesus didn’t teach that this was what His primiary concern was – or that these things would enable one to have peace with God.

      We have all sinned[Psalm 53:3 + Romans 3:23]. The legal fine for sin is death (more than just physical death) [Romans 6:23]. So, we have two choices. Before a just judge a criminal (us – those who have broken God’s moral law) can either pay his own fine or someone else can pay it on his behalf. Jesus died in our place, thus, God can now legally dismiss our “case” as someone else has paid the legal fine we have incured. So, we have a choice – pay for our own sins or repent and trust Christ for His death.

      The further implication is this – we still aren’t “good.” We don’t go to heaven because we are good, we go to heaven because Jesus is good. Now, that’s not to say that God doesn’t change people and so on, but – under the Christian understanding – we follow Christ and increase in moral character not in order to gain heaven, but because we already have heaven in Christ’s payment for our crimes.

      So it is as you said, but moral character is not the means to get to heaven (that is, the ticket to heaven). The means is though another’s payment of our debt.

      (3) I would encourage you to read Acts 10:34-43. I really enjoy this small section because it’s such a simple but exemplary explanation of what the core message of the entire Bible and Jesus’ coming to earth really is about. Read it carefully and see what kinds of principles, concepts, etc. you can extract from it. I think that will give you a pretty fair understanding of what “essential Christianity” would be.

      Let me know what your further thoughts are!

      Again, thanks for your thoughtful comments, ideas, and questions!

  2. alphazulu99, I removed your comment due to the language used. If you feel that you want to contribute your own thoughts, please use appropriate language. Thank you.

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