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Monday, September 08, 2003                                                                                       View Comments

I choose to believe God

Man - you make a lot of direct hits on organized Christianity. And most of them well deserved. I can't remember how I stumbled onto your site, but once I got there I said "What the hell, lets hear what this guy has to crow about." As I read on it became apparent that you were not speaking from ignorance or urban legend. You are well read and informed on at least contemporary Western evangelical protestantism which, as you correctly observed, is more than can be said of most people who label themselves as evangelical potestants of whatever ilk.

I agreed with so much of what you said that it scared me at first. Then I realized that much of what you said was QUESTIONS not ANSWERS. I've been questioning all my life like you. Organized religion hates questions and questioners (unless of course they are in the form of a catechism). What I seek as a questioner is answers that are true. But then comes the question "What IS truth?" "On what is it grounded?" Ultimately we have to choose, unless of course we become complete skeptics - which is the ultimate cop-out.

So ultimately I choose to believe God (present tense intended) and not the self annointed people who claim to speak for him or interpret him. That is, after all, the WHOLE point isn't it? If God is who he claims, then why would any rational person entrust his thoughts to ANY OTHER being. (Ever wonder how old Abraham made it all those miles and years without Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Sproul, Aquinas or even Plato and Aristotle for that amtter?) If God wants us to look to him alone, why would he want us to trust ANY human being? But this attitude drives church people nuts - mainly because their own understanding is so fragile and ill informed that they can't distinguish between an attack on one of their pet theologians and God himself. Take it from one who knows - I have taught adult Bible classes for years in mainstream protestant churches. Your personal history illustrates this. You have floated from one theological postion to another (often contradictory one) in what appears to be an EARNEST quest for the truth.

You do well in your criticisms of organized christianity and its members. But I wonder if you apply the same standards of consistency and reliability, both internally and over time, to "Thomas Paine, Mark Twain, Dan Barker, Charles Templeton, Austin Mills, James Randi, Richard Dawkins, and a host of others." To be fair in this you need to study them and question them with the same vigor as you did christian theology.

Are they really opening your "mind to reality ... as the myths and gods of my youth are abandoned to be replaced by reason"? Or is the history of just say epistomology alone fraught with so many twists, turns, reversals and contradictions as to make all the theological antinomies you cite seem like kids play. No wonder David Hume ended up drinking himself into a stupor at the pub most every night. And no wonder the apostle Paul cried out "Miserable man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body (does that include a mind) of death?"

For me, I steal a line from the title of a book by Dr. Eli Wallach. The book is "Dead Doctors Don't Lie." It's about the medical establishment's irrational antipathy towards non-pharmaceutical based treatments. My mantra is "Dead Theologians Don't Lie." Nor do dead philosophers, politicians, pundits, Christians and ex-christians either for that matter.

I wish you well. And you sound like a person I would absolutely enjoy conversing with!

Richard Veen