Do you want to read the Bible more than you have in the past? If so, you’re not alone. Have you been successful in reading the Bible more often? Then you are nearly alone. That’s very sad. Especially when you see what’s coming in this article and in the rest of the series We’re going to continue looking at the Barna Research study commissioned by the American Bible Society. The study is titled: State of the Bible 2017: Top Findings. If you haven’t read it yet, the first article is Searching for hope – but not finding it? The entire series (still being written at this time) is called State of the Bible. There are seven sections in the detailed findings. We’re going to look at the first one in this article – Bible Engagement Most Americans Desire Greater Bible Use This is one of the most interesting findings in Section 1 of the study. More than half of all adults wish they read the Bible more often (58%). This is down slightly from 2016 (61%). Each segment expresses a desire for more Bible reading, in fact, one in five Skeptics (22%) and one in five non-Christians (21%) wish they read or listened to […]
“But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you.”
This is something most Christians would have read. Hopefully, we also remember. But, do we really believe it? Maybe we believe it, as long as it’s for someone else and not for us. You know -NIMBY – not in my back yard. Or even in my neighborhood.
The thing is, Jesus said this would happen. As Christians, how are we supposed to respond when Christians are persecuted? Let’s start by getting some context for the opening line.
Are We Alone?
While science looks for an answer, the Bible actually provides one. No – we are not alone. The puzzling thing about that answer is that too often we want nothing to do with it. Instead of asking whether findings are evidence of the God of the Bible, He is ignored while we look for someone / something else.
A person who attends church regularly – but still doesn’t know the back story behind the song – it’s perfectly reasonable to think that this song is written by someone who has had their life blessed by God and is celebrating that. Which she is – don’t get me wrong. But does the person singing the song know that Sarah wrote this song, not in spite of what happened in her life – but exactly because of what happened – and what God is doing for her? I doubt that very much.
While godversusreligion.com will continue to focus on God – often looking at the differences between what God says in the Bible and what religions say in their practices and interpretations of God’s Word – the new site – whichgodsaves.com will focus on the “gods” of different religions and how they view (or don’t) salvation – with salvation loosely defined as saving us for the next life, not for another life here on earth, and certainly not for oblivion after this life.
Ge 37:9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
Cool. Maybe. Depends on what it means. Why would the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bow down to someone – even if it was possible?
Maybe it would be good to put some context around this. It’s from Genesis – chapter 37. It was said by Joseph – you know – the kid with the coat of many colors. Why are we looking at this? Because of a question that came up in a class – about what the sun and moon represent. Were they about Joseph’s father and mother? Or did they represent something else entirely? And, if it’s not about Joseph’s parents, then doesn’t that even put the eleven stars into doubt – were they really about his brothers? Let’s find out.
“The results show that Americans overwhelmingly believe the Bible is a source of hope and a force for good even as they express growing concern for our nation’s morals.”
This is an interesting quote. The bottom line is that “many” Americans are searching for something that Americans “overwhelmingly” believe is in the Bible. However, even as that’s happening, they also think the country is going downhill. What does that mean?
Someone asked a while back on one of the posts if I believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. The implication was that no reasonable person could possibly believe such a thing. After all – who could possibly believe that the earth was created in six literal days? Or that people walked with dinosaurs? My answer would be something along the lines of – exactly where does the Bible say either of those things? In fact – it doesn’t. The problem isn’t errors in the Bible – the problem is errors in people’s interpretation of the Bible. If someone wants the Bible to say something – they’ll find a way to make that happen. It’s human nature to do things like that. And it’s not just with the Bible. Look at statistics. Having taken a few graduate level statistics courses and programmed several statistical analysis models – including for a motion picture studio and a US Navy contractor – I think I have a bit of a background to confirm an old saying – there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. While they are purely mathematical in nature – they say what they say – the way people interpret […]
What I’m looking at for this topic is the kind of slavery we allow to come on ourselves. It starts as something “innocent”, or so we think. It’s a thrill, or so we think, We can control it, or so we think. Then it ruins our lives, maybe even in spite of what we think. It could be nearly anything – work, money, alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography – you name it, we can become addicted to it. Those are the kinds of things Paul was talking about in Galatians.
Any attempt to say that we must have faith and do stuff above and beyond that to earn our salvation – it takes away from Jesus’ death, as I mentioned – but it also takes away our only means to judge for ourselves whether or not our faith is real. By saying that faith alone isn’t enough – people are taking away our ability to stand firm in our belief – before we die / before it’s too late – whether or not our faith is real and therefore whether or not we are saved.
The concern here is that when we say things like we “know” certain things because the Bible says so, we run the risk of turning people off to the message we are trying to give. Something that was meant to be caring and loving can be construed as something that sounds uncaring and insensitive. I think we need to remember that we believe God meets us where we are, and so when we talk with others who faith isn’t as strong as our or maybe have no faith at all, we also need to meet them where they are – not where we are.
Given that I’m a “lowly mortal” and not perfect – I need to be sure you get this next part. What is suggested here is only a possibility – a possible explanation of why we might perceive these 11 dimensions. I make no statement as to what God actually did, does or will do. It’s an explanation of how the Bible and science might be much more in line than many people think – as opposed to the all too easy position to take that the Bible and science are totally at odds with each other.
One of the warnings we get from Jesus is this – Mt 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” Like I said – the question of who gets credit for “evolution” – whether it’s atheistic or theistic evolution – is a huge deal. Who gets the credit, from your point of view?
Can we know if God still cares? Of course, that assumes that God did exist in the past. And it assumes that God still exists now. And it assumes that at least at some time in the past – God used to care. That’s a lot of assumptions. Whether you care to make none of them – some of them – or all of them – please read on and see what you think at the end.
True – the chicken isn’t quite so glorious to look at as a beautiful sunset or the night sky when there’s no other lights to obscure all the stars. But is the chicken any less one of God’s creations than this planet called earth and all the stars in the sky? One minor little question though – where did that first chicken come from in order to produce the protein that was used to make the first egg?