Friday, June 3, 2011

The safest way of avoiding conversion

A few weeks ago as I was stepping out of my in-laws house, I was stopped by two young men of a certain religious group. It had been at least 10 years since I had spoken to representatives of this particular group, and quite frankly it wasn't something I missed doing. I'm not sure where, or when it all happened, but I had come to the conclusion, that talking with these people (and others like them) was more of a monologue, than it was a dialogue. We might have exchanged words, and ideas but I quickly discerned that only one of us was listening. Every time I'd be given the opportunity to speak, it seemed as though a little tape recorder would go off in their head and nix all my arguments. Unfortunately for me, this little tape recorder was so sophisticated that it could muffle out my voice, and make me sound like Charlie Brown's teacher (Wa-Wa-Wa-Wa).

Sure enough, 10 years later and nothing has changed. Myself along with these two young men, went back and forth with no end in sight. Finally, I told them I had to go (Wa-Wa-Wa-Wa). I'm not sure that this next statement will fly over well with everyone, but as far as I'm concerned, I don't feel that I have the corner on God, or all truth. I feel safer knowing that I don't. I also feel a great amount of safety knowing that no one else does either, and when someone acts as though they do, its my signal to mark them, and avoid them. I try to keep an open mind regarding what competent people have to say about the scriptures. Now mind you, there are certain truths that aren't up for sale in my mind. Such as, God is one, He (not another part of Him) was manifested in flesh, and I must take on His name (which is Jesus) and nature, through the explicit instructions that are outlined in the Bible. I don't wonder if these things are true. I'd rather spend time thinking about why Jacob saw angels that needed a latter to ascend and descend (I thought angels had wings?).

After my conversation with these two young men, I had a unique epiphany about why their mental tape recorder was louder than my reasoning. Maybe I'm slow at figuring things out, but bare with me in my folly. This religion, along with many others, all share one common thread...they have a whole other book(s) which they give credence to. As long as you aren't familiar with their "other book(s)" there is in no debate (Wa-Wa-Wa-Wa). In their mind, you are partially if not totally crippled. Only having "some of God's word".

Prior to being saved I had no real Christian tendencies, or persuasions. In fact, I was quite hostile towards Christianity. The thing that I appreciated about Apostolics however, (at least the ones I met) was that they obeyed scriptures, even when it meant being labeled as odd. There's a lot of props, and politics in Pentecost, but at least beneath the surface there's also a residue of men/woman that have a "show me in the Bible" attitude. Some people might scoff at this, but the real question is whether Jesus would scoff at this. This post is half rant, and half rave. I lament over the people who give credence to the "other book(s)", but I also celebrate the fact, that somewhere there has always been a people who guard the old "show me in the Bible" way of life.


Anonymous said...

peace ari,

with that being said, i cannot think it is entirely out of the box that Jesus was not God incarante but "adopted" at his christening by the Holy Spirit, and we will really never know what "original" christianity was....each gospel scroll seems to be from a different group with different interpretations, safe enough for me to follow Jesus instructions, thee is no one good but God and Love God with all your heart mind and soul, and love your neighbor like yourself, whatever you did for the least of these (poor, sinners, widows, lepers) you have done for me...i gave up the argument over the "nature" and "substance" of Jesus along time ago, people used to kill each other over this, the catholics vs the arians vs the nestorians vs the ebionites...its an endless cycle that gets no where.

- r1

The Prados said...

I'm not sure that we should ever stop trying to define the "nature, and substance of Jesus",either personally or collectively, our eternity depends on it..And in the most extreme case I think "we should die trying"; In spite of inner religious struggles and conflicts.As one man said "the answers are inside the problem, not outside of it." The complex dynamics that surround Christianity, only validate many of its own claims, and demands. At the end of the day -r1, we know that Jesus can't just be studied, He must be encountered.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar situation posting on a CNN religious blog regarding Stephen Hawking's comments a couple of months ago about how there is no heaven. I got so frustrated going back and forth with some atheists then I realized, we can't agree because they simply do not believe in the Bible or in God. I let it go and I think I'll take my friend's advice and not cast pearls to swine. Tough, I know.

God Bless,
Deborah Arroyo
Highest Praise Church

The Prados said...

So good to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Kudos for going on the CNN blog, I can't imagine that any believer would have much luck on that site. At the end of the day, I think its definitely a "choose your battles wisely" kind of game.
A. Prado

P.S. give your dad a big hug for me!

Anonymous said...

- hi ari

i dont think our eternity depends on what we believe based on a historical document and a doctrine developed by men. if you think god is that small that he cant understand how hard it is to be human and how hard it is to understand what god is, and what god wants, whether unity, trinity or infinity...i dont think he will send us to hellfire for believing the wrong history or believing the wrong prophet, how horribel and crude would that be, in fact i think a good muslim will go to heaven before a bad christian, ...he understands...what is more important is the an i cannot heal like jesus did, yet jesus supposedly said we will heal like he did...but we is it literal or metaphysical....

peace brother.