Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bushism: Part I

Our current president once again has shared his garbled religious views with an impatient public. I'll sum up by reiterating his main assertions/admissions in my own words:

1. He is not a biblical literalist.

2. He's a theistic evolutionist who believes there's "scientific proof" of evolution.

3. He believes an important message of the New Testament is that "God sent a son."

4. He believes he prays to the same god as those of different religious beliefs.

He shed no light upon how he defines "literalism," "scientific proof," or "evolution." He also didn't clarify that God sent His One and Only Begotten Son, who was God in the flesh--not just "a" son. In all fairness, perhaps that's what he meant. We don't know, because he provided just enough of an inkling to assure us that he's a confused man--and no more.

(1.) By "literalist," I suppose he's referencing those who take the Bible at face-value, such as fundamentalists. This is what gets me in hot water with various Christians, because I do take scripture at face-value. In other words, if God says something along the lines of, "This is what happened when I created the world," I don't argue with Him. I don't assume He's kidding, and I don't attempt shackling His awesome power with my imagination's limits. I don't gasp and say, "That's impossible! It doesn't fit my preconceived notions of how God works!" Nor do I view such accounts as esoteric symbolism, when nothing within the text indicates such an interpretation.

I've noticed that certain Christians reject fundamentalism because their incredulity toward the miraculous or embrace of theistic evolution impedes their acceptance. I'll just note that this entails understanding scripture according to the predilections or pronouncements of men, not according to the actual words of scripture. "I don't believe in biblical miracle stories because I don't believe in miracles" is circular reasoning.

Worse, how does one call oneself a Christian, while scoffing at the miraculous? Even within the theistic evolution framework, our existence is a miracle of rare device. Why is the story of Jonah difficult to swallow (pardon the pun), if his time in a fish's belly was the working of a God who created the entire universe from nothingness? What could be beyond such a personage as our Creator?

Even more puzzling is how some who self-identify as Christians say, "Talking snakes? Pshaw! Six-day creation? Hyuk! A Worldwide flood? Quit pulling my leg!

"But a man born of a virgin, who walked on water, fed the five thousand, and turned water into wine. . .oh, sure, I believe that. And I also have no trouble believing that he raised the dead, was murdered, buried, and rose from the grave. Oh, and He appeared to numerous people before ascending back to Heaven through the clouds. Yessiree, no problem with that."

Huh? That's a bigger disconnect than you'll find in a Swiss euthanasia center. This is what fundamentalists call "cafeteria-style" Christianity, where one goes down the line, picking and choosing certain sweet items, while tossing aside the "Brussells sprouts" of scripture. How does one laugh at the stories of cherubim with flaming swords, pillars of smoke and fire, and Egyptian plagues, while bowing in reverence to equally outrageous tales of a man who cast out demons, made the lame walk, and the blind see? I find this view far more incredible and inconsistent than general acceptance of biblical miracle stories from the Old and New Testaments.


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