Posted by: N.S. Palmer | November 6, 2011

Making Sense of Christian Belief

By N.S. Palmer

The title of this blog post is not meant to be disrespectful. It reflects my sincere quest, as a non-Christian, to understand what Christians believe.

Some of the best people I know are Christians. They are not merely good people: they are also smart people who think deeply about their faith.

They talk a lot about Jesus being the son of God, dying for the sins of mankind, and so forth.

Most of the time, I literally don’t know what they’re talking about. But I do know that whatever it is, it’s important to them. It helps them be the good people that they are.

For that reason alone, I want to understand it. In addition, of course, I want to understand it because they’re my friends.

As a college student, I was kind of a low-rent Richard Dawkins, full of logic and superiority, sneering at those benighted souls who believed in God. I thought that if you couldn’t understand something clearly in human terms, then it didn’t exist. I had no patience with the mysteries that arguably form the heart of human life.

Over the years, I came to believe that I’d been wrong. There are all kinds of realities that we don’t understand, and that we might be unable to understand. But they still exist. However vaguely, we can sense their presence beckoning to us from beyond the cosmos. We can also talk about them, but since we don’t understand them, we shouldn’t expect to make much sense when we do talk about them.

So I’m perfectly at home with the idea that some realities transcend human understanding. At the same time, Christians seem to think they’re saying things about Jesus that are quite literal and definite, not vague and metaphysical. Can I make any sense of what they’re saying?

For example, take one of the central tenets of Christian belief: “Jesus is the son of God.”

That was a controversial idea in the early years of Christianity, but it’s now accepted as a defining belief.

If you tell me that William is the son of James, then I understand what you’ve said. William and James are human beings with physical bodies. They stand in a certain biological relationship as well as a social relationship. I know what that relationship is.

But if you tell me that Jesus is the son of God, it’s not quite that easy.

That kind of statement made more literal sense in ancient times, when people believed that gods had physical bodies and often visited earth to cavort with human maidens. However, if God is conceived as an immaterial, infinite, transcendent, incomprehensible Being, it’s not at all clear what you mean when you say that someone is His son.

I’ll go further than that: As far as I am able to determine — and perhaps someone will correct me — the statement has no literal meaning. It’s a metaphor that suggests ideas different from the literal meaning of its words.

I think what it actually means to Christians is this:

  • Two millennia ago, there was a Jewish man named Joshua (referred to as “Jesus” by the Greeks).
  • He was able to perceive the love of God more profoundly and completely than other people could.
  • Because of that, his character and his teachings reflected how God wants us to live.

More generally, not specific to Christianity, I think that saying one believes in God means:

  • There is a transcendent moral and spiritual dimension to our lives and our world.
  • That dimension is benevolent and is based on love.
  • We commit ourselves to live according to the loving and benevolent nature of that dimension.

Obviously, there’s a lot more to Christianity and theism than I’ve discussed here. But it seems to me that those are two of the most central issues.


Copyright 2011 by N.S. Palmer. May be reproduced as long as byline, copyright notice, and URL (http://www.ashesblog.com) are included.

About these ads

Responses

  1. I’m not sure I understand the “son of God” stuff myself, and I profess to believe it. Same goes for the Trinity — God the father, God the son, and God the spirit. I buy that Jesus is God, and God is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, but I don’t understand it at all. Complicating matters, if Jesus is God, then how can Jesus also be God’s son? The Trinity suggests parity among the Godhead; sonship suggests hierarchy. How can both be true?

    I gave up trying to figure it out. I have experienced God in my life; that is enough.

    • Hi, Jim —

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

      I agree with you: it’s much more important to walk with God than to understand Him. That’s lucky, because we can do the first (even if imperfectly) and we can’t do the second. :-)

  2. Today folks think that being born again encompasses all that God has for man, apart from the “ in the sweet, by and by” life to come, In truth there is a whole world of living that follows as consequence of being born again. This new kind of life into which we are born is explored about as much as the new world before Christopher Columbus did the heavy lifting of expanding our horizons; which is to say this world is not explored at all. As glorious as the born again experience is, it only gains us entrance into a life where the miraculous is to be as commonplace as the air one breathes moment by moment.

    It’s a challenge to find a more important question in all of life than what we are here to do. The consequences of not getting the answer right are more far-reaching than any of us can imagine. We are not the first to ponder those matters; and what others have said in contemplation of such introspections is quite revealing. One that comes to mind is the expression: the God size void in every man. That void is where God desired to dwell cause the heavens, nor the heaven of heavens can contain him according scripture; that covers the universe and beyond, yet there’s room sufficient for him in man, his image. We are called to inherit the glory of the Lord Jesus; it comes to us with the gift of God himself. Rise and shine for your light is come and the glory that belongs God’s rises upon you. He instructs to do the things that Jesus did, just the way he did them in three years of miracle working because they were ordained before the world for your glory; to bring you renown in the earth and cause you to shine like lights. The glory of God is what he gives to us. Tough to give us himself and not his glory, his kingdom, his mind, his Spirit, his power…..all things are our; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are ours and we are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. We have been given the mind of Christ to know these things that are given to us. Which the carnal man cannot see, hear, understand, nor even speak; it is unlawful for him: against the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

    2 Thessalonians 2:14—Hereunto he called you by our gospel, to obtain of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ the glory of God, and the glory of man are not mutually exclusive. Isaiah 46:1—To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like: (Answer: …as he is, so are we). Isaiah 40:18— 18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? (Answer: …..In the likeness of man made he them, male and female…He is to be compared to his image…that’s why we have mirrors, we want to see what we are like: we are God’s mirror “image” and his word is our mirror for comparison to what we are like…made in his likeness). For thousand of years men have been making images of gods. God has turned the tables and created his own image, when he finished it was man. He lives, breathes, thinks, and does the works of God in Christ.

    2 Corinthians v.5—Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God: (v.2—to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: a building of God, an house not made with hands….. v.2-4 that mortality might be swallowed up of life while living breathing walking around.)

    None of this makes any sense to us because we really haven’t taken seriously the words of Jesus. They that believe in me. All the works that I do they shall do also, and the signs that shall identify them are summary listed. We don’t really see ourselves of whom he said if you believe, all things are possible doing these things; so the purpose for which we are called keeps eluding us.

    • Thanks for the great comment. God bless you.

    • Hi, Newgen —

      It’s obvious that the ideas you’ve expressed work for you, but I confess that I still don’t understand most of what you’re saying. That’s because, as far as I can tell, most of it is either preaching, metaphor, or a simple expression of the joy you feel in your faith.

      None of that is bad, not at all. I’m glad you have all those good things. But they are less useful for explaining to others what you believe and why.

      Of course, in a way, your comment simply agrees with my blog. I argue that most religious statements are metaphorical, because they talk about realities beyond our knowledge and understanding. That doesn’t mean they aren’t true in some way, perhaps in a very important way, but it does mean that we won’t make much literal sense when we talk about them.

      Interpreting them as metaphors, I can see what kinds of experiences you’re hinting at with phrases like “born again,” “We are Christ’s and Christ is God’s,” and “the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” But if they’re transcendental experiences, then a person either has those experiences or not. It’s difficult or impossible to explain them — much as, on a far simpler level, it’s difficult or impossible to explain in words the experience of seeing the color yellow.

      • Greetings N.S. Palmer,

        Truly an unlooked for pleasure to hear from you. Your words are as the words of the wise; gracious, and as a tree of life they bring healing. I cannot fully respond to your thoughtful comment right now, but will revisit and address as many of the insightful points you highlighted. Very grateful.

        Best regards.

        Newgen

  3. Greetings N.S. Palmer and Jim,

    Someone made reference to me as Newgen today, I think I’ll go by that pseudonym.

    I’ve not had a compelling reason to pursue obtaining a totally comprehensive grasp on the trity either, so I can’t present one to you. I’ve heard some interesting takes on it though. The egg for instance having three parts but one egg. Thousands of troops, but one army because they are united representing one front…., like the “Borgs” a collective. There are not seven billins Three distinct individuals having one purpose and of the same mind. That doesn’t keep me from sleeping at nights though. If testable parts of the equation work, I have no problem allowing for granted the other parts that I can’t seem to wrap my mind around. I’m so excited about the parts that I’ve proven that the ones that are still out there are not a problem for me.

    I had a thought that really clarified things for me. It had to do with a particular scripture that I was contemplating. The one that says all things are given to us, and are ours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours. I thought Wow! God has given everything to us, ….to me; and among those things that really buoyed up my excitement was to contemplate, the World too! That really expanded my self-esteem exponentially, till I thought again for a moment, and felt that excitement deflating when it occurred to me; there are seven billion people in the world, and one world to go around. How could God give me the world? What’s left to go around for the other people? It then dawned on me; that was God’s way of telling me that we’re not seven billion people, but seven billion expression of the same God. We are one in Christ. That’s why the scripture exhorts us not to compare ourselves among ourselves; it’s like comparing yourself with yourself, or asking which part of the lump of flour is better than the other part, or which part of the cup of water of water is more liquid than the other, or which part of me is more holy than the other.

    You can get away from other people, but when was the last time you got away from yourself. That’s the same problem apparently the world has when it comes to understanding God; they simply can’t get away from seeing God in terms of human comparisons as though man is the measure of God; so if the human conundrum doesn’t square with God then that notion of God is not a possibility.

    The notion of the son/sons of God is comprehended in the idea of a chip off the old block; that whosoever does what God does, and expects them to do, is a son. With we humans the phrase “that’s my boy” doesn’t necessarily refer to someone having your family name but did something so pleasing, you pat him on the back and say…that’s my boy. They that are led by the Spirit of the son of God, are the son’s of God.

    Now this that I say, is said with some exercise of license. The hierarchical arrangement of the persons of the Godhead doesn’t denote inherent importance of one member over the other in any measurable way. The difference is reflected in office only. President, Vice president, Secretary of State. One office of responsibility may be of greater significance than the other but the occupants are inherently equal in any quantifiable measure with the other. That is an arrangement meant to foster order in human society. God often draws comparisons of the dynamic of the relationship in the godhead to how human family relates or should relate to each other. The nature of God is spirit. God says he is all, and in all, in whom we have our existence…living and moving in him. Whatever power look like, that’s what God look like. He is the living one; power that is Sentient…ontological, living. The term Vis viva, living force was coined by science in it’s infancy to describe the living force that in every manifestation of matter throughout universe.

    Vis viva, is the Latin term that is used to express the idea of the hidden force—the inner spirit, according to (the old ways) ancient science. This force. or (energy), thought by ancient science to be the inner spirit in everything, which though it was hidden… is the energy of that thing revealed when it is moving. It was considered hidden because it was somewhat vague and unquantifiable until in 1730 through an experiment that he conducted, a Dutch researcher, Willem `sGravesande confirmed Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s suspicion, that Newton the father of Modern Physics had it wrong.

    They could tell what the mass of a thing was, and at what speed it traveled once in motion, but somehow that object gathered more energy that it’s mass multiplied by it’s speed when in motion. `sGravesande’s experiment revealed that car moving at 20 miles per hour, you slammed on the brakes, the car might travel lets say…. a certain distance before stopping (the distance it traveled revealed it’s energy); When you triple the speed to 60 miles per hour, it doesn’t take three times the distance to stop now, but nine times the distance is required to stop it. That procedure is known in ancient science as squaring. Newtonian science regarded it as it applied here as something out of the occult textbook, but when proven it was a pivotal principle to Einstein’s E=MC2….the formula describing how energy is conserved. It is the “square(ing)” in that famous formula which eventually blazed the trail to the Atomic age—releasing that hitherto hidden force, or spirit within everything. I am maybe over-simplifying the subject, but no one here expects to take any test on the subject of physics based on this presentation.

    • Hi, Newgen —

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I’m absolutely slammed today (Monday), so I can’t give your ideas the careful consideration that they deserve. However, I’ll do that on Tuesday. Sorry about that.

  4. I went through catechism as an adult, and I can see why it’s so important they teach it to kids early on. It’s a lot to accept and quite a bit of it really doesn’t make sense.

    My folks weren’t really all that religious and we kind of fell away from attending church by the time I was four or five. A lot of my religious instruction as a kid came from sitting in front of the TV on Sunday mornings while my folks were upstairs doing stuff in the kitchen and planning the day, while I doodled on the coffee table and listened to preachers on American channels. But I can remember that even as a real little boy, the idea that Jesus was God struck me as–and I have not other word for it–blasphemous in a natural way. Obviously I couldn’t object in a doctrinal sense; it just felt wrong. How could a person walking around be God? Especially when they spoke of Jesus on the cross, asking God to save him. Even when I was eight, that struck me as a wholesale contradiction, and I’ve never really been able to get past it. I’ve always been able to conceive of Jesus as the uppermost and most special being of a creation, but only in those terms… as a creature. I’ve never been able to equate him to God. And idea of the Holy Spirit seemed to me, even as a kid, as a confusing add-on. God can’t talk to you, so He sends God to talk to you. You might as well add Santa Claus as the fourth member of Trinity… the God God sends to give you the presents God can’t give you. I actually remember thinking, while I was quite young, that Judaism and Islam made more sense and seemed truer to me, because in those religions, God was God, period. No weird formulas or brain-bending contradictions.

    I’ve long thought that the biggest problem Christianity has is the idea that Jesus has to be God, rather than a holy messenger. The need to “prove” it saddles the religion with the Old Testament, which most Christians are largely ignorant of, and which they find themselves tugging their collars and disavowing as anachronistic or “out of context” endlessly. How much freer the creed would be if the early Church fathers had simply said that Jesus was just the messenger of Jehovah and put all the rest behind them. I find it particularly unfortunately because even as an irreligious person, I freely bear witness to the fact that there is a lot that’s beautiful, uplifting, and instructive in Christianity, but it drags a lot of jingoistic, bigotted, and monstrous baggage around with it in the form of the Old Testament, purely out of the need to point to a few passages in order to insist the man fulfilled prophecy… which the principal adherents to Old Testament alone disavow. The irony is rich.

    There’s not much point in trying to “make sense” of Christianity because, frankly, a lot of it simply doesn’t. Part of its great strength, in fact, has been to get people throughout the centuries to ally themselves to its inherent contractions and wave them as a banner. There’s something hugely powerful, if faintly Orwellian, in the ability to hold contradictory ideas as separately true and even somehow mutually supporting. Sometimes too powerful, I think.

    • I feel compelled to make a personal reply to your well founded visceral discontent with the conundrum that religion is, and specifically Christianity. You said your background is in the Catholic institution. Count yourself fortunate to still be living breathing and walking around half sane. Take a look at information detailing the underbelly of this beast throughout history.

      http://paintingpictures.xanga.com/505737249/item/

      As for God or his son Jesus, I invite you to re-evalluate your notions of him. You weren’t born with it; if you got it from tv preachers, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you most likely got it wrong. Then where did you get it? Did you imagine it? Is he what you think he is, or is he what he actually is. God is not going to reinvent himself to fit our notions of him. If you aren’t sure just what God is, how can you be sure about what he can, will, or won’t do?

      Your contentious objections are noted, and entirely justified. We the community of believers in God have dropped the ball on a galactic scale. For now, that allows brutally honest, keenly investigative people like yourselves to gawk at the hole in our representation and some out of understandable spite, do their mischievous shin kicking. This is not God’s fault; personally I’m owning the fault here. I was born into this faith like so many others, which I discovered much as yourself to be untenable on so many fronts because the foundational proof you and any discerning mind, I surmise would require has been draconianly eviscerated from the guts of the faith by the very people it was supposedly committed to, apparently without their being even capable of realizing what has happened or discern the severity of matter. I have, I trust sufficiently extricated myself form the sorry spectacle they present the world to raise up the up the standard to men that God intended. Cool those superheated jets of yours, would you.

      By definition God is power; power to do all the things Jesus did and instructed us to do as the extension of his life on earth, the visible image of the invisible God. I’m kinda satisfied with the power Jesus expressed from God as proof, but that’s me. There has been rare historical replications of these; albeit unfortunately none immediately available for the inspection or our all-important fleshy orbs.

      Scientists whose discipline is concerned with exploring the universe at the level of sub-atomic particulate level have proof of what they have discovered about this world you live. Reference the Tzar Bomb, or Fatman-Little Boy that ended WW2. Einstein couldn’t make any progress in this area because to him unless you can furnish testable repeatable outcomes he is not signing on to it—”God doesn’t play dice” in his opinion. Quantum Mechanic allows for probable outcomes instead of predictable outcomes which govern the universe at our human scale of life. All the things that we think to be miraculous, namely all the things that Jesus did are standard fare at that level; because that is basically the skin of the universe. A fish swimming in the ocean looking for water and can’t find it is most peculiar.

      AS A MATTER OF DISCIPLINE THESE SCIENTISTS HAVE TO FORGET ABOUT EVERY THING THEY KNOW ABOUT OUR WORLD AT THE HUMAN SCALE OF LIFE TO UNDERSTAND THE COUNTER-INTUITIVE NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE AT THAT LEVEL.

      To no one’s surprise we are told that with the natural senses we cannot understand the counter-intuitive nature of God. This however doesn’t stop these guys from going about with the same old tired line you can’t prove this or that thing about God; and the whole nine yards so I don’t believe.

      God introduced himself to us an a thing that lives: I AM THAT I AM (not “who” I Am)…..the living one. He made man out of the dust an made him live too. He said he is light and everything comes from him and is made of him. That is E=mc2. Matter and light are the same thing. Speed of light is the nexus between energy and matter. Till a little while ago all the world lived under the notion that matter and energy were separate and distinct. Since Einstein published his 5ht paper no one thinks that any more.

      Jesus instructed his disciples to wait, then passed on some distance before them where he was transfigured (changed form) and shined in greater candlepower strength than the sun. He is not just light of understanding….he is electromagnet radiation dunmis. Study the name the Almighty;…not just strength to push things around, he is energy literally. Ontological sentient energy that lives.

      Jesus is was light before Einstein began studying light. The heavens, and the firmament tells us about God, and his workmanship.

      If we want to walk blithely oblivious to these facts; that a choice like any other. Could say the world is flat that doesn’t square with the facts, but we can say it.

      • You said your background is in the Catholic institution. Count yourself fortunate to still be living breathing and walking around half sane.

        Please, spare me the sectarian rhetoric. Catholic, Protestant; Sunni, Shiite; do you eat Chunky Soup with a fork or a spoon… the differences are niggling from the outside. In each case, the content’s the same. Only the approach to it differs.

        Let me be blunt. The Catholic Church was “Christianity” for 1500 years, at least west of Athens. The upshot of what you’re saying is that your loving god let 60-some-odd generations of human beings wallow in the misapprehension that they were Christians—you know, people who, like you, love Jesus and follow his instruction—when actually they weren’t. Do you really mean to say that Jesus Christ, supposedly God Himself, couldn’t get the message across clearly, and it took mortal men like Martin Luther to give us the “true” religion 15 centuries later? Doesn’t it strike you a bit absurd to suggest that really, God should have sent Luther down with Jesus just so people wouldn’t spend the next millennium and a half in heresy? Don’t bother calumnying Catholicism or suggesting it isn’t Christian unless you’re willing to concede that either Jesus couldn’t do his job, or God the Father couldn’t care less. I’ve been to Catholic services and I’ve been to various Protestant services, and with the exception of a handful of deuterocanonical books that don’t get a lot of action even in the Catholic liturgy, it’s all the same stuff.

        I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you most likely got it wrong.

        At the risk of repeating myself, I’ll repeat myself. I went through catechism as an adult; a 34-year-old university-educated IT professional. I received six months of instruction from a priest with similar accreditation. It’s highly unlikely either one of us “got it wrong”. It simply isn’t persuasive to me. I learned things about the religion I didn’t know, but for me, they were ultimately of cultural value only. Nothing visceral. I tried to believe, and mulled it over, and looked for ways it could make sense. It simply never did. Christianity remained for me a social phenomenon, but not a profound personal verity.

        God is not going to reinvent himself to fit our notions of him.

        Frankly, I find human beings so spectacularly good at reinventing God to fit their notions that there’d be no reason for God to have to. Never mind out-and-out different religions; how many Protestant denominations alone are there in the world now? The last count I saw put it at somewhere in the neighbourhood of 12,000. Button, button, who’s got the button?

        We the community of believers in God have dropped the ball on a galactic scale.. . This is not God’s fault

        I really don’t agree. Where is the responsibility of the supposed perfect creator of the universe in all this? It seems to me that such a being, if it really existed and genuinely cared, would be entirely capable of being clear about exactly what was necessary for salvation, in terms that no human being, no matter how intelligent or how dim, could mistake, and then the choice would be abundantly clear (not that I believe Christianity, or any religion I’m aware of, actually offers a real choice or respects free will). But one thing there would not be room for would be differing opinions on the matter. There would be no sects or different religions, because there would no point. There might be apostates, but that’s not the same thing. I have always found it an unsatisfactory suggestion that salvation hinges on the limited abilities of imperfect mortal beings, and not on the apparent sloppy communication skills of a reputedly perfect one.

        Quantum Mechanic allows for probable outcomes instead of predictable outcomes which govern the universe at our human scale of life.

        On the contrary; quantum mechanics does not govern the universe at the level appreciable by humans (if it did, Einstein could hardly have called it into question). In order for a man to walk on water, turn water into wine, or produce loaves and fishes out of thin air requires not just a single abridgement of probability, but an essentially uncountable number of them. That’s why these are purported to be miracles in the first place; if such matters were commonplace, Jesus would barely have garnered the accolades of a dinner theatre magician, much less a claim to the mantle of “son of God”.

        If you’re winding up to tell me your proof there’s a god is that fundamentally, anything is possible due to the uncertainty inherent in subatomic physics (as we currently grasp it), I can’t say I find that convincing. If “miracles” can happen as a natural outcome, however unlikely they are, then they cease to be miracles… they require no supernatural agency; they are simply rendered extremely unlikely but naturally-occurring and explicable events. If anything, this aspect of the natural world tends to contraindicate the existence of the divine. If the universe is ultimately random and arbitrary, what then becomes of the universal maker of order and giver of law?

        To no one’s surprise we are told that with the natural senses we cannot understand the counter-intuitive nature of God.

        Yes, along with anything else that can be imagined but not demonstrated to actually exist. Until it is demonstrated, the sum total of its effects are exactly the same as anything non-existent. I’m not saying there’s no god. I’m saying the existence of any has yet to be demonstrated to me; and as the effect is the same as if it didn’t exist, why would I possibly live my life as though it did? Ask yourself: how much time do you spend worrying about what Allah expects you to do? Or Krishna? Or Ra, or Odin?

        God introduced himself to us an a thing that lives: I AM THAT I AM (not “who” I Am)…..the living one. He made man out of the dust an made him live too. He said he is light and everything comes from him and is made of him.

        Do you appreciate that everything you’ve said here is merely your contention, and it’s no more compelling as such than the claims of Muslims, or Hindus, or Sikhs? You offer here only your doctrinaire opinion as evidence. That’s not persuasive. Do you find the insubstantial rhetoric of those faiths compelling?

        I accept that you approach the matter with a sincere belief. To be honest, I ascribe it to childhood indoctrination. If the tree has grown bent by a different wind, its roots remain in the same soil: an inculcated belief that divinity of some kind is a reality. I don’t share that. I would have to be convinced. If one day that proof is me standing before a glowering, judgemental, deathless dictator who can’t accept that he didn’t provide evidence for his existence matching the nature and circumstances of this being he created, well, that’ll be my loss, I suppose. But it certainly won’t recommend that creator to a creation that actually does understand what love, compassion, charity, and forgiveness are. Sad that the creation would be more moral than the creator, but if this god exists, that would seem to be the case.

      • Greetings Lone Primate,

        I am most appreciative of the considerable energies you have expended in this reply. You cannot imagine, nor can I explain the great extent to which your constructive comment has been of benefit to me. I can only hope in time to make some positive contribution toward your success in this human journey we all make toward a brighter future.

        Best regards.

        Newgen

  5. “No man can fully grasp how far and how fast we have come, but condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of man’s recorded history in a time span of but a half-century. Stated in these terms, we know very little about the first 40 years, except at the end of them advanced man had learned to use the skins of animals to cover them. Then about 10 years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only five years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. Christianity began less than two years ago. The printing press came this year, and then less than two months ago, during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power. Newton explored the meaning of gravity. Last month electric lights and telephones and automobiles and airplanes became available. Only last week did we develop penicillin and television and nuclear power, and now if America’s new spacecraft succeeds in reaching Venus, we will have literally reached the stars before midnight tonight.” JFK

    “This is a breathtaking pace, and such a pace cannot help but create new ills as it dispels old, new ignorance, new problems, new dangers. Surely the opening vistas of space promise high costs and hardships, as well as high reward.” JFK

    If you were to ask man 100 years ago: do you think men will ever walk on the moon? You would immediately rise to the top of a short list with the dubious distinction of king/queen of village Idiots. Ask that Question today and the answer returned would be: why,…….. haven’t you heard! The knowledge gleaned within the window of a hundred years made the difference between scoffing at an idea and touching the stars. When God says something to us and we don’t understand it; inability to understand a thing is not reliable ground for dismissing the reality of it, or ignoring the consequences of it.

    “But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?…We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too” JFK. In 1961 when Kennedy made his now famous pledge to land a man on the Moon, the USA had only 15 minutes piloted spaceflight experience and only 5 minutes of that was in space while the Russians had already completed missions in orbit. Kennedy in the face of virtually impossible odds due to limitations in technology and know how pushed NASSAU beyond their limits of planning a mission to fly around the moon and return, to landing a man on the moon and return; coming form behind the Russians to achieve higher than expected mission goals.

    The difference between limitation and liberty is knowledge. If confronted by limitations, the best course it to seek the know-how. By knowledge you shall be liberated form constraints; whatever the form. When confronted by limitations, if our first recourse is to concede, yield, and embrace them; we might well be going to sleep under a Russian moon, and flying a British flag for a national banner. Limitations by their varied and sundry forms are all the brood of ignorance; wherever found they should be banished. “Ignorance is not so damnable as humbug, but when it prescribes pills (as does the wisdom of men) it may happen to do more harm”— George Eliot. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

    It would serve us well to listen to JFK stir our nation to it’s feet at darker times in our history, to avert the real threat of Russian dominance in the outer space.

    LINK BELOW: (the features a transcript of the inspirational speech, and an audio recording plays in the background)

    http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/jfk-space.htm

    I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, it is the power of God to be delivered from all things which we could before not be delivered from. We seldom discern the wisdom of men which makes void the power of God; because by appearance it often seem wiser than even God’s council which is utter foolishness among men.

    We should raise our awareness to the things that God has said and done, and the world is yet unaware of it. The way the Bible describes brainwashing is stated in (Isaiah 25:7—the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations.) This covering, this veil that overspreads the whole world is the wisdom of man. The only way to overcome this is to receive the gift of the mind of Christ whereby by realize that all things are possible with us. If all your lives you are told one thing, in this case the wisdom of man; even if the truth is in front of you, you will not see it because of this veil that covers the face of the world.

    Take this 20-second AWARENESS TEST and see what I mean.

    God has written to us of the great things of his law, but we have counted them as foolishness. Mark 9:23—Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. Luke 18:27—The things, which are impossible with men, are possible with God. Matthew 17:20—. …and nothing shall be impossible unto you. After Jesus rebuked the storm, wind and tempest tossed sea, the disciples looked at him in wonder and asking each other; what manner of man is this. Jesus asked them, where is your faith? He expected them to do the same things he did; Jesus wasn’t the only one that walked on water, Peter did for a short while; this is so symbolic of the short period of time the church got it right after Jesus departed.

    There are two parties identified here with whom it is said that all things are possible, with God and with men who believe. This is the righteousness of God, it transfers to man all the things of God that are given to men by believing, even God himself as the gift first given to Abraham, and promised to we his seed in Christ is transferred to man by the faith of God, that man is supposed to have. Between the impossible and the possible is the knowledge that makes it tangible and real, such knowledge is with God; he gives it to those that fear him.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 138 other followers

%d bloggers like this: