Tuesday, April 10, 2012

No True Scotsman

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
1 John 2:19 ESV

In my discussions with believers, both in person and online, I have often been subtly accused (or at least the person "wondered") if I ever was actually a Christian in the first place. How frustrating to convince a former "brother in the faith" that I actually was what I said I was! That I wasn't "living a lie," but was actually a member of that faith. One of the big problems for me in trying to convince them of this are Scripture passages like the one above. The No True Scotsman fallacy is present, right here in Scripture.

I think the video I've posted below from TheraminTrees kills two birds with one stone. It exposes the faulty thinking in 1 John 2:19, and it also explains another concept I've tried to elaborate on in my conversations - that nobody actually has faith in Jesus himself. It all boils down to faith in people.

So who do we believe?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Ghosts

Is it just me, or are people more into Easter this year?

I have a crummy memory sometimes, but I don't remember last year's Facebook scroll being this full of Vernal cheer and jeer. Most of my friends are full of cheer - expressing joy and gratitude to Christ for his sacrifice. A tiny number are full of jeer - posting cartoons of Zombie Jesus.

I don't feel cheer or jeer. I think about the present in its relation to the past and the future.

A year ago, I was finishing up my relationship with religion. It was a long break-up. Our Facebook status would have been "it's complicated" for about a year and a half.

Two years ago, I was having very serious doubts - questioning my Evangelical and Protestant understanding of the Christian god. I knew who the Bible purported him to be. I knew other Christians' testimonies regarding this being. I even recalled my own "experiences of the Divine." Yet these three refused to jive with reality.

Three years ago, I was a "liberalish" Evangelical Christian. By "liberalish" I mean that I didn't think homosexuality was a sin and nodded in agreement to the idea that evolution best explained the diversity of life. By Evangelical Christian, I mean that In Christ Alone was one of my favorite songs and aptly described my belief regarding Easter.

This year, I have mixed feelings. Happiness at where I am in life. Gratitude to my wife for putting up with the last three years of transition. Sadness at the pain I've caused people. Frustration at the sway mythology holds in the lives of people I love. Hope for the future.

Hope for the future. A different hope than the one I once had. That hope of the past was based on a belief in the possibility and inevitability of Resurrection.

The hope I now have is not as compelling, I'll admit. It's a lot less boisterous. More careful. Non-committal. I recognize that the things I hope for may never happen. But I hope anyway. And instead of "bursting forth in glorious day," this new hope pokes its young shoots warily out of the snow and smiles, thinking it might be Spring.