20200210 Is Christianity optimized for backwoods Bible thumpers?

Monday Musings for February 10, 2020

Good morning, Musers,

Our lot as Christians is to share in Christ’s sufferings (Philippians 3:10)... even though part of that suffering came because he was misunderstood. You see, Jesus really did have all the answers! But instead of adjusting their worldview to accommodate the freshest and the best data — that the Messiah is here! — the religious establishment generated fake news (Matthew 26:59-67)... and based on this, they killed the one whom God had sent... and today, they kill us too.

We biblically literate people are like Jesus in that we “have all the answers.” But instead of adjusting its worldview, the world trumps-up charges against us… saying that theism is illogical or that such philosophies have no place in science, schools or government. They say it is time for society to put away religious superstition and grow a future based on the empirical.

What bothers me most here is that, since I am a believer, their attitude towards me is the same as if I were a flat-earther. Our open and free society must tolerate people like me, they concede. But since religious worldviews are judged to be intellectually regressive by the elite thinkers among us, society should dismiss our ideas out of hand.

I hate that because I see myself as a thinking person that happens to be a Christian person. Furthermore, I’ve spent many hours developing a Christian worldview that coexists peaceably with all data — physical, metaphysical and biblical. As such, I find comments like, “I’m glad you found something that works for you…” patronizing... because I’ve got something that works for everybody — and I can prove it!

So, here’s the real question that’s hiding under today’s comments: do you see me as a “backwoods Bible-thumper?” I don’t. So, why are we Christians stuck with that image? Because backwoods Bible-thumpers do exist... and they make great stereotypes!

Now here I’ve got to take my own medicine. I’m always banging on about how there are many different ways to “do” Christianity… and living a life in simple faith in the love of God is certainly one of them. But I live on the opposite side of that spectrum. I consider all the data, not just the biblical data.

But if you want to snuggle up in faith with God and go no further intellectually, that’s your prerogative... although you probably shouldn’t read too many of my musings. You see, someday I might judge that the Bible is less likely than more likely to be revealing what God wants revealed, and on that day I will change my ministry emphasis.

Did you notice I said “change my ministry emphasis” and not “flee Christianity altogether?” That’s because I have a philosophical commitment to theism, and this commitment is more foundational than my biblical commitment. Besides... I’d still be saved. My conversion was a function of the Holy Spirit, not a function of how I feel about the Bible.

But here’s the issue: if I wound up at a place where I no longer subscribed to biblical inerrancy, my worldview would not change. In fact, I’d still be an evangelical Christian! But since I’m not a Bible-thumper now (I’m more of a Bible-brow-furrower type), my view would not change.

What differentiates me is that I have a broad extra-biblical basis for my theism. So — even if I “demote” the Bible — the Christian worldview would still be the best explanation for all the data. Remember, the purpose of Mainsail Ministries is to make hardy Christians. This is how I maintain my hardiness. I love and revere Scripture... and only rarely do I thump it.

So, here’s today’s challenge: inventory your favorite high-profile pastors, ministry leaders, authors and scholars, and ask, on the whole, are these people backwoods Bible-thumpers? If not, then they too have invested their minds in the great enterprise we call Christianity... and I think that you’ll find there’s a lot of more of them than there are of the other.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:36–37, emphasis mine)

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