Biblical Christianity in Four Parts – Part II

Disembodiment: The Great Lie

For listeners:

Note: if you haven’t yet, check out Part One of this series here.


Contents

  1. Intro
  2. The Assumptions
    1. Assumption 1 – Salvation
    2. Assumption 2 – Platonic Dualism
    3. Assumption 3 – Innate Immortality
  3. The Errors
  4. Death Defeated
  5. Models and Semantics
  6. Outro

Intro

“If you died today, do you know where you would go?”

If you have ever lasted until the end of a typical church service, I assume you have heard one of the elders ask this question, usually as one of the worship leaders plays the piano or guitar softly in the background. And before I expound on the question, I want to point out that this is not a bad way to end a Sunday morning service, at least in terms of cadence and structure.

Quite the contrary, it is an ideal denouement, a chance for those visiting and even the regular members to reflect on their standing with the God whose only passphrase for granting them salvation is that they merely believe. 

And the journey we start after believing, with its sudden turns and pitfalls, convinces me it is never wrong for us to pause and reflect on our standing with God. However, if such reflection leads us anywhere, it ought to lead us to inspect the question of “where we go when we die” within a biblical framework. As we reflect, we might discover that beneath the question’s surface lies a set of untested assumptions and at least two resulting fundamental errors.

Continue reading Biblical Christianity in Four Parts – Part II

Biblical Christianity in Four Parts (Prologue & Part I)

For listeners, here is an audio recording of the article:

Prologue

What follows is a layman’s attempt at a theological argument, which I suppose makes it a shot in the dark. By taking this shot, I risk the assumption that no stray dart will cause harm. But I think my assumption is low-risk for the following reasons:

  1. I will only be read by a few people.
  2. These same people are confident in their faith but not so arrogant as to avoid a challenge.
  3. Metaphorical arrows fired off into a metaphorical abyss don’t usually derail someone’s life-size relationship with their Creator. 

As for the writing itself, I share ideas I’ve wrestled with for many years. In the contest, I’ve come to such a point of mental and physical exhaustion that I feel the only way to find rest is to publish the work in its current, incomplete form and allow more educated people to obliterate it. The gnawing reminder that I am not a studied, credentialed theologian has kept me from my writing desk, and perhaps that is not terrible. Like any sober person, I am persuaded that shooting anything in the dark is unwise. 

Continue reading Biblical Christianity in Four Parts (Prologue & Part I)

The inherent, self-contradicting idiocy of not “giving a damn” about theology

Yes, theology does matter. As luck would have it, it matters a great deal.

Site-note: please ignore the grammatically incorrect meme of Rhett Butler. I can only depend on the internet for so much.

The false opposition

The popular idea that the pursuit of theology must cancel out the pursuit of God’s presence is, in a word, false. The same notion in reverse is also false.

I say the idea is popular because I hear it come up often enough in any conversation that skims the shallows of biblical criticism and layman’s hermeneutics. And while I consider myself a layman among laymen, I do not consider myself a moron among morons. (Those of you who get to spend time with me regularly should take this as a compliment.)

Continue reading The inherent, self-contradicting idiocy of not “giving a damn” about theology

An open letter to America’s false prophets

Troubling signs…

About a week before the 2020 election, while driving home from Orlando, I saw a sign that read, “In Trump We Trust.” And all I could think was, “that’ll have to be answered for, and probably sooner than we expect.”

God will not be mocked.

Now, seeing America’s Charismatic and Evangelical Christians teetering on the cusp of an existential crisis fills me with hope. Perhaps I need to see a pastor and, you know, get that looked at…

Continue reading An open letter to America’s false prophets

Holy Dread – What I think I know after Hurricane Michael

What follows is my personal, frail attempt to make sense of a devastating event.

Prologue

(because prologues are cool)

While dining at my sister’s house, I sat beside my nephew, Leader, who was seven or eight years old at the time. He is eleven now. Guided by a profound impulse, he decided to ask me a series of theological questions, which he has been known to do at odd times (for example, he once told me I had to “fight the dragon” so that I could become “a king of forgiveness”).

“Unky Adam,” he said.

“Yes?” I said, turning toward him.

“Do you love God more than money?” he asked, his smile as big as a crescent moon.

“Yes,” I said. I went back to my food, thinking that would be the end of it.

“Do you love God more than houses?” he asked, his tenor elevated. He seemed to know well enough that sequels should raise the stakes.

“Yes,” I said.

His smile broadened. I decided not to take the next bite, knowing that another question must follow in the series. To him, it was a kind of game where the questions must be part of a trilogy.

“Do you love God more than the world?” he asked, raising his volume to something like half a notch above inside-voice acceptable decibels.

I waited, wanting to give myself a moment to be honest even if it led to disappointment. Anyone claiming to be a believer would want the answer to be “Yes”. But I gave myself enough time for it to be a cold, cowardly “No” if the truth of my heart demanded it. I gave myself time to fall if fall I must.

“Yes,” I said.

As soon as I spoke, I knew I had done what for me had always been unthinkable. I had made a commitment. Leader smiled bigger, but not because he had trapped me. He smiled in a kind of child-like awe. You see, because I had affirmed my love for God above money, houses, and the world—because of these affirmations of faith, he seemed to think I was some sort of hero.

Continue reading Holy Dread – What I think I know after Hurricane Michael