Monday, 14 December 2015

Biblical Truth and Doctrine

Some people search for truth with so little effort they may as well have looked in the broom cupboard and then given up.

The big problem with Christianity as it is typically presented, particularly "Chicago Statement" style Christianity, is that you can't believe something just because you're told to (or even because you want to).

I'm not saying you shouldn't (but you shouldn't), I'm saying you can't. You only really believe things (heart knowledge versus head knowledge to use Christian terminology) you work out and discover for yourself. Look at how a child learns, their whole existence is centred around understanding and making sense of the world. You can't teach them directly you can only help them learn.

If you believe something because you want to believe it, because you're told to believe it, then you have to twist your mind into a funny place - ignoring (and pushing aside) the normal learning process and setting your mind on something that's actually external to who you really are. That's not how you learn, how something becomes part of you.

The best that doctrine and a set of beliefs can be is something that point the way to you discovering the truth. They can never be the truth for you. To think otherwise is not a path to understanding but an abdication of understanding.
This is particularly important for how Christians must approach the bible. The truth is *not* in the bible, at its best (and its intention and purpose) it points you to the truth, but it is not itself truth. Using Christian speak again; the bible is not truth in the way that Jesus is the truth.

If you're a Christian you have two important decisions to make. Firstly, is your faith in God or is it in the Bible? Secondly, which is more important to you: knowing the truth or believing the Bible? If believing the bible is more important to you than searching out the truth then how can you ever know if the Bible is true (or more importantly how it is true) - that's a question you're not even willing to ask.

"What I love about modern atheism is its fierce rationality, its refusal to be duped."

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