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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

The contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, Chapter 57, can be found here.

If the reader arriving at the site for Easter Day wants a quick overview of why all the things I've been talking about for +700 pages matter, please see my Easter Sermon from last year 2010 ("Why It All Matters" -- don't panic, it's only five minutes' reading tops. {g})


This book has been my testimony, for why I believe what I do. Despite its length, and its frequent complexity, it comes down to this: why am I a Christian?

The thrust of my argument throughout my book, has pointed toward the conclusion that I should expect God to act in our history in certain ways. I have tried to allow for a potentially wide range of variables in how those actions will someday be (or have already been) carried out. I have even tried not to hang the story entirely on the timeframe in which I think the story actually was carried out.

But I do think the story has been carried out.

Not only a story: not only a maybe, a city on clouds, spun from and balanced precariously on the needled tip of a blade of metaphysical inferences.

If somehow you, my reader, don't know what story I mean, you can easily find out. If you cannot find out easily--don't worry about it. If you have been following me even up through the chapters on morality, then you can know enough to do something positive, without needing to know that the story of what will happen, sooner or later, one way or another, has happened.

After all, I readily admit this: there is a difference between being logically sure of metaphysical certainties, and being convinced that a particular story has happened historically. I can spin a story out of my logic, but that doesn't mean the story happened. I can point you to some texts, which (by no coincidence, of course), happen to match what I have been saying fairly closely; but that, by itself, doesn't mean the stories happened.

We still have the responsibility to check a reported story. Maybe the records aren't so good. Maybe somebody has made a series of lucky guesses, or clever inventions, but without an actual series of events to hang them on.

In logical sequence, I should next give my reasons for thinking that the historical bona fides of certain documents are sufficiently accurate for making such a historical judgment. But such a far-reaching project (and even a summary would be far-reaching), is not how I should be ending an already-lengthy book.

So instead, I have tried to give a taste for what story I would expect.

And while this is not a substitute for historical judgments, I think it is an important component for the personal judgments each of us make, regarding all the claims of truth in the world around us.

At the very least, I think it will explain why this particular story should be the focus of so much attention and work, by people of every belief and unbelief, of every degree.

The way the story is eventually told may not be perfect, to our minds as believers--or as unbelievers.

But if you give a fair chance to the story I myself have in mind--

if you don't handicap it with pretensions the story in itself never pretended to have--

if you don't rule out what it is saying by metaphysical fiat--

if you take the time to figure out the standards for other documents from that period, which we consider to be reasonably reliable histories--

if you are willing to recognize credit where credit is due--

...and if you are willing to hope, and to believe, even if only a little, in love...

...then you might just be surprised.

Someday.


This is why I am a Christian. This is why I believe what I do.

I don't only believe certain arguments, and consequent doctrinal positions, to be true--although I do.

I don't merely add to those doctrines an acceptance of certain historical claims as being sufficiently accurate--although I do.

I don't even simply treasure the emergent story for its value and meaning--although I do.

Ultimately, I believe because of personal relationships: the necessity, and fittingness, of accepting my own personhood, and your own personhood, and the relations between us, as being real.

Real persons. Real relationships.

Not only between you and I; but between us, and God.


A friend of mine once wrote something, in a story.

"I don't understand," said a young woman. "Is it a religion? Or is it an ability?"

"I would say," replied the older woman thoughtfully, "that it is a love."


That, is why I am a Christian.


Originally finished Easter Sunday 2000
3rd Edition finished Easter Sunday 2011

may Love Most High belove my reader forever

JRP

1 comments:

ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!

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