RSS

Author Archives: Ender

Know your Lenses

Know your Lenses

So this month we are talking about atheism. A great topic that I’m sure will generate plenty of hits to our blog. I want to write this week on presuppositions or the lenses which each of us views life. These are things that each and every one of us has within our minds which we bring with us as we interpret the external stimuli and ideas we are presented with. A most basic presupposition that we all carry is that gravity exists. In other words we never really have to think that when we get out of bed our feet will be pulled down, we just assume that they will. Of course this is an extremely basic one that has little philosophical weight.
However even more than something like gravity we all carry with us presuppositions about how the world should work and what should make sense. These can, and often are, a detriment to us unless we spend time double checking them. It is absolutely crucial that we as human beings become aware of these presuppositions lest we shut out ideas or individuals for illegitimate reasons.
This is an issue that time and time again gets in the way of two individuals sharing ideas and discussing them intelligently. For instance, I am a Christian and thus one of the major presuppositions I carry with me is that God exists (this of course brings with it a load of other presuppositions). Any discussion on the beginning of the world or about the nature of man is automatically put through the lens of this presupposition. It is not necessarily a bad thing but it is something that would undoubtedly put me at odds with someone who prescribes to a naturalism world view.
Now I do not have the time or the room to sit and unpack every possible presupposition that I or others have, however this is not my intent with this week’s post. Instead I simply want to begin a conversation on the importance of being aware of the self. In being aware of not only our own but also the presuppositions of others is crucial, especially in the area of philosophical and religious discussions. It allows us to be more open and less judgmental of ideas that are not our own. It makes us better defenders of our stances in that we are more readily able to discuss the issues others have with our beliefs. Most importantly it can aid in making discussions more mutually beneficial and help in keeping them from becoming a heated emotional shouting match.
So I urge everyone; Christian, atheist, naturalist, new age, young old, male or female to realize that they carry with them a lens through which they view and interpret everything in this world. It is not necessary to rid the self of these presuppositions but simply being aware of the impact they have on every aspect of our lives is crucial.
-Ender

 
7 Comments

Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Atheism, Philosophy

 

Hurt shouldn’t make us deaf

Hurt shouldn’t make us deaf

I am one of those stereotypical Christians who has been very much damaged by my relationship with the church and the Church. I have not been entirely driven away from faith, but where I currently stand in regards to God and church is a place far removed from what most Christians would consider “enough”.

I am not going to try and defend where I currently am; I understand that by definition I am not being a very good Christian. Right now I am kind of okay with that. At the same time I am doing my best to not appear as a super Christian; I am not serving in a church currently, nor am I disciplining anyone. Anyone who comes to me for any kind of counsel or theological discussion is told about where I currently am; I will still talk with them but I do my best to make it known to them that I do not want to put on a mask of false piety.

I wanted to start a discussion from this side of the road, following in the vein of our “topic” this month. Knowing all of the other authors of this blog quite well, I’m comfortable saying I am in a unique place amongst them. I know James (as mentioned in his previous post ) discussed his own questioning. I am not really at the questioning phase of this journey just yet.

I am apathetic and I know that this is a problem that falls on my shoulders. I refuse to blame this on anyone or any particular church. However a large part of my disillusionment with Christianity is that so many Christians live hypocritical lives (myself included, I gladly point the finger at myself). I feel that my current place gives me a unique view of both believers and non-believers alike; I am not fully sold out on Christianity and yet I am not walking away from God just yet. It has given me several opportunities to speak to non-believers and have them be open considering I am not “cramming Christ down their throats.”

Now you might be asking why I have spent so much time talking about this. I want us to talk about talking. Discussions between believers and non-believers are not happening enough. Any more it only seems to be Christians sit in their groups talking in hushed tones and the non-believers are on the other side of some figurative border in their own groups. Right now most of the communication across this “border” is in the form of shouts and accusations, full of anger or judgment that has not brought either side ahead of the other.

Christians: stop bringing only messages of “You’re wrong!” and judgment to the table. Listen and openly discuss with those that hold different views from you. You’d be surprised how much you might actually learn.

Non-Christians: stop closing your ears on what you might consider “silly superstitions” and anger over judgment. Not every single Christian is responsible for the hurt that has been dealt to you; in fact it is probably the vast minority that you should be angry at. Be willing to talk and listen to them in their beliefs. You might find some things that shock you in their legitimacy and positive effects on the world.

Let’s stop fighting and start talking like civilized adults instead, what do you say?

-Ender

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 21, 2011 in church, disillusionment, Failure, Philosophy, Religion

 

Sex is not a four letter word

Vector image of two human figures with hands i...

Image via Wikipedia

Sex

Oh no, to about 90% of churches I just used a foul word. Sex, there I did it again. Now that we’re a little more comfortable with the use of it, SEX, let’s move on. So the question that needs to be answered is this; why is sex the ultimate evil to so many Christians? Yes God set up some very specific guidelines for sex; He designed it only for the marriage bed and to be shared between one man and one woman, and outside of these rules sex is a sin. However, more than once God commands His children to populate the earth, which means God wanted his children to have sex. God created it to feel good, which is what made it a prime target for Satan to distort. Sex in and of itself is good(it was part of the original creation!) but for some reason man has never been able to find an easy way to reconcile the goodness of sex and the very clear rules laid out in scripture. So out of fear of encouraging sex among the unmarried, humans(with a little help from the ultimate deceiver) decided to turn sex into an evil thing that is buried in shame and behind a wall of sin.

​This repressing of sin leads men into hidden lives of struggling with lust and women into secret worlds of self deprecation and shame. The average couple nowadays, if they are strong believers, basically here’s the message that “sex is evil and sinful” their entire lives and then one day after a 20 min ceremony suddenly all of sex is ok for them. No one can make that transition comfortably and this has lead to many, many problems in Christian marriages.

Men are led into lives of lying about their own problems with sex and lust and never are comfortable seeking help to have more biblically based views on sex and on women. Guys fall into many different traps because of this lack of proper instruction; they fall into pornography, prostitution, adultery, and any of a number of other sins. They bring these problems into their marriages and ministries which only creates more distress.

Girls have just as many chances to sin because of lack of a correct view on sex. All too often we see young girls and women become creatures of lust and seduction as they discover sex outside the confines that God created. They can also become ashamed to even engage in sexual activity because it has been drilled into their minds for so long that “sex is evil”, leading to marital issues. These deep rooted issues can bring about mental and even physical problems, which just like the issues of men, are brought into their marriages and ministries.

​Sex needs to be good again people. If we keep sex as a terrible thing and don’t encourage open discussions about it, we are doing more harm than good. Whether we realize it or not, the mystery of sex is often what leads people into hidden lives of sexual sin. God gave us plenty of scripture dealing with sex and what is right and wrong about it, let’s start using it instead of being so uncomfortable that we let our children, friends, and peers continue down paths that only end in sin.

-Asher

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 6, 2011 in Religion, Sex

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Doubt is not an Epic Fail

For some reason believing without question is completely fine within the Church, and in fact is almost praised. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard adoration or even jealousy given to those that never experience a hint of doubt in their walk. While some of these cases may be true gifts from above, I fear that the vast majority are not and are either delusions or self forced piety. Either way it’s not good.

We as Christians need to band together to strive for a different type of faith. A bolder faith, a more secure faith, a faith that has foundations beyond “It’s always been this way”. Doubt is a precursor to questioning and questioning is essential to finding truth. If we never ask the questions for ourselves how can we ever expect to answer them for someone else?

Take for example a common argument amongst believers and non-believers;

NB: Why do you believe in God?

B: Because the Bible says He exists

NB: Why do you believe the Bible?

B: Because God says it is true

NB: Where does God say this?

B: In the Bible.

For anyone wondering this is an EPIC FAIL at using basic logic.

​If we sit back and simply say “the Bible is true because it says so” we are foolish and in fact disobeying God by not using our great logical brains he gave us.

Now I’m not aiming at starting a conversation on apologetics, I’m sure that will happen anyways. I want us as Christians to realize one important thing:

IT IS OK TO QUESTION YOUR BELEIFS!!!!!!

You are not a sinner, or less holy, or anything negative because you happen to question something (even the most basic beliefs like “Is there a God?” of “Did Christ exist?”). We are promised several things by God and one of the bigger ones is that if we go searching for Truth (read; searching for Him) we will find it. God is not going to hide truth from us. He wouldn’t be completely benevolent if He did. In asking questions you will accomplish two great things; 1. You will make your faith stronger by reinforcing the things that are true and pruning things that are not or that you cannot conclusively call true based upon the research and 2. You will equip yourself for ministering in the real world to non-believers who are getting better and better at demeaning the Bible and God every day.

This is a call to arms of sorts because right now almost the entire non-believing world is banded together to be up to date about the newest inconsistencies in the Bible or the best ways to prove that God isn’t who we claim He is. Yet believers have deemed it almost unholy to engage in equally as aggressive tactics. I’m not calling for us to start attacking sinners, no I only want to see believers use their God given minds to find truth, seek it aggressively, and then use it to dispel the lies and tricks of this world.

-Asher

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 6, 2011 in Bible, Doubt, Failure, Logic, Philosophy, Religion

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Just pray about it… Then shoot me

“Pray about it”
“God is in control”
“Don’t worry God has a plan for your life”
“God is going to use this in ways you don’t know yet”
“Here’s a scripture that kind of pertains to your situation”


​I swear if I have to hear this kind of crap the next time I’m having some personal struggle I might stab someone. Yes I understand that we are supposed to continually point our brothers and sisters to Christ, especially in times of duress, but seriously am I the only one who gets annoyed about how often I hear this? Social Media has only made it worse; how easy is it to see a Facebook Status of a friends that suggest they are having a rough time and to write a few word comment about “God still loving them” or “Take the issue to God”….. Every time I see it I have to restrain myself from commenting back “Wow man, I can’t believe I didn’t think about praying about it, thanks so much for the advice. My world is suddenly a lot better :)”. It’s a good thing I filter some of my thoughts, I’d have a lot less friends if I didn’t.

​I’m not trying to say that we should remove God from our counseling of friends and family, please do not think you can do everything yourself. However, God has given us brains, compassion, and our own words (based on HIs truths) so that we would use them to better our fellow humans. Let’s start doing just that. While there is a time and place for encouraging someone to pray or reminding them that God is still there, let’s stop taking the lazy approach and stop using these sentiments(that are so over stated that they’ve all but lost meaning to both the sender and the recipient) and give some thoughtful responses. You don’t even have to come up with a full on professional counselor response, sometimes it’s very ok to simply agree with the person and say “Man, that really sucks”. I know from personal experience that as soon as stuff starts to go shitty in my life that the first thing I don’t want to hear is a meaningless statement about how it’s going to get better or that there’s a reason for it.

Here’s the bottom line: STOP BEING LAZY. Start using the compassionate, intelligent, and thoughtful mind and heart that God gave us to help those you love. Give some thought into your statement to people who are hurting. Yes, reminding them that God is still in control can be helpful but most people are going to want a little more from their confidants and friends. Most importantly, if you’ve got nothing constructive to say or add please SHUT UP and just listen, it’ll mean infinitely more than some quick statement that may or may not offer any tangible relief.

-Asher

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 6, 2011 in Religion

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: