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November 13, 2006

Comments

I absolutely agree. I don't have much to add, but I want to comment in case someone quibbles over the phrase "Maybe a person's ideas were carefully worked out to begin with..."

If we emphasize "to begin with", then it's exceedingly unlikely anyone would have most or all of their ideas carefully worked out. People who grow up in the church, for instance, probably just received their initial theology from their family or church; never changing your theology in the least from what you received probably does indicate you're not thinking carefully or entertaining new ideas. For people who became Christians in their later teens or adulthood, I suppose it's possible that they adopted each part of their theology after careful study of adequately comprehensive resources...but that would be unusual, I think.

But it's entirely reasonable to suppose that a person thoroughly researched & analyzed their theology long ago such that they have not changed their theology in recent years, even though they have genuinely epistemic humility.

So, I think a key phrase in Melinda's post is "over the last few years".

Melinda, good points in this post. Belief structures are generally always changing slightly, due to new info or better understanding, but the big pillars of the structure (theism vs. atheism, for example), usually stay put.

Humility comes when we are willing to step inside another person's worldview and see with them if it is consistent and logical. Humility also allows us to invite others into our structure in order to make a case for it's consistency, etc.

Dollar, I couldn't have said it better myself! Do I detect the influence of Lesslie Newbigin in your approach, or perhaps the great (though little known) apologist Alan Richardson?

Melinda,
My Christian theology has only become more clear over the last ten years. I've come to understand our reformation roots and the theology that goes with it. And from what I see in Greg it appears as though he has done the same thing.

Many Evangelicals have become very weak in teaching sound theology. The lack of emphasis on the Gospel is leading people to believe in a more legalist form of Christianity.

I have shifted from Futurism to Preterism over the past six years, a major shift for me and others I know as well. I have yet to see it addressed in a church service, though, and I feel it is because of fear.

If we come to a new understanding on a theological subject, as I have, we may project some sort of deficiency on those that taught us the things we shifted away from. This is not really valid; changing positions does not mean those that do not share our views are somehow dishonest or less intellectual. But I believe most pastors have a hard time standing in front of a church and saying, "I used to believe this way, but no longer do." It is fearful because it might imply that pastor can't be trusted.

On the contrary, it shows that pastor is honest enough to challenge his own beliefs and is not fearful of what man may think. But maintaining that flock is a delicate balance of delivering the expected with very little incremental change, should it occur, in personal theology. I know eschatology is not theology, per se, but it is not easy to make a shift publically.

I know Hank Hanegraaf has gone through this viz a viz his eschatological shift and has probably lost some support.

I for one had two major shifts the last number of years in my christian beliefs. Our church used to preach that we were the true church but came to believe we were wrong. More than half our membership could not except this change and left. We are now more orthodox. I personally have now shifted to a more Preterist outlook after being for many years a futurist. I now check carefully what I'm taught as a good berean would do and hope I'II always grow in the grace and knowledge of our lord and savior.

i was christian and became agnostic.

i dont recommend it to anyone - it sux.

"i dont recommend it to anyone - it sux."

which one "sux"--being a Christian or an agnostic......?

Now I understand why folks become agnostic. It saddens me.

An atheistic friend of mine once perceived that he was more open-minded (i.e. more open to new ideas and information) because he wasn't religious. This he considered a virtue.

But as I pointed out then, we ought not be so open-minded that it falls out. It's okay to think you are right, despite the shiver that sends down the spine of post-moderns. I haven't always been a Christian, this is evidence at least that my views do change. But I don't see this as virtuous in itself.

I do however think it does show humility to consistently evaluate my views; weigh them up with new information. That I do just that, coupled with the realisation that my theological views haven't changed a lot since becoming a Christian 4 years ago, does (as Melinda suggested) only add strength to those convictions as the evidence becomes more persuasive.

being agnostic sux - or more particularly - living in a world without a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow sux.

when i die worms will eat my body and the sun will blow up in a few million years and destroy the planet so anything i accomplish will simply evaporate.

i do think my rendering of the universe is true and the christian rendering is false, but crap, who cares.

i would reccomend christianity as a worldview if a person saught a happy fulfilled and productive life - eventhough i think its a lie

Tony,

(Checked out your site. I'm sure the guys at STR are flattered.)

But please don't recommend Christianity to people based on those reasons. I've been a Christian for 4 years and it's not always been a happy, fulfilled or productive life. Though it hasn't been terrible either.

But if living a happy, fulfilled or productive life were the only rewards to come from Christianity, then I could've just left Christianity alone and gone on with my life.

Tony
so your'e the one that killed God. Dang you!

Anyway, before you reject Christ altogether, you have to deal with resurrection my systematic theologian sunburner!

And yes, worms will likely eat your body, and then they will defecate what they do not process, and some smaller creature will eat that, etc. Part's of you will be around quite a while!

what is this sunburner thing

That was in reference to the sun blowing up! You might be more concerned about the SON blowing up!

thats gross

From G.K. Chesterton:

"Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid."

The sun won't "blow up" in a few million years; it will start to expand as it's mass decreases. Eventually the orbit of the earth will be within the Sun's expanding body. This will be in a few billion years.

alan,

oh thank god. i wast starting to get worried there for a minute

Tony wrote: "i would reccomend christianity as a worldview if a person saught a happy fulfilled and productive life - eventhough i think its a lie."

Paul (not me) wrote: "For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men." (1 Corinthians 15:16-19)

(emphasis on the last verse)

wait so are you saying all i gotta do is HOPE christianity is true and i get the prize?

KICKASSSSSSSS!

cuz i hope christianity is true everyday!

"wait so are you saying all i gotta do is HOPE christianity is true and i get the prize?"

I can't figure out where you're getting that. I'm pretty sure nobody said any such thing, at least under this topic.

In a greater scheme of things it is always in balance, including at the national, racial, religious and profession level(s).

In order to acheive the Buddha (Avtar) mind body states, you should correct the issues in the past.

The mind (brain) is non linear.

We are generally finite beings.

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