The Public Face of Religion in America

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February 14, 2012 Tags: Christianity & Science - Then and Now

Today's entry was written by Carl M. Canon. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

The Public Face of Religion in America

Today's blog is reposted with permission from RealClearReligion. The original can be viewed here.

For 30 years, Alaska Airlines gave passengers little prayer cards with their meals. One favorite among the inspiring messages was a verse from the 107th psalm: "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever."

Gradually, the commercial airlines stopped serving hot meals. On Alaska Airlines they've stopped handing out prayer cards, too. Most passengers liked them, but a minority complained.

This wasn't a First Amendment battle, but the capitulation reflects the changing public face of religion in America.

Simply put: atheism and agnosticism are on the rise. Secularists are growing more vocal in the United States and western Europe, and increasingly insistent they not be force-fed a diet of someone else's faith. Unaware of the irony, many prominent atheists have become passionate proselytizers.

A spate of books by in-your-face atheists have made several unbelievers, notably Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens, into best-selling authors and stars of the lecture circuit. This un-holy trinity is part of a larger trend. From his platform as talk show host on HBO, left-leaning social commentator Bill Maher openly ridicules organized religion. After a nuanced portrayal of a religious man in "Tree of Life," movie star Brad Pitt explains that off-screen he veers between agnosticism and atheism and that as a boy growing up in a Southern Baptist household he found Christianity "stifling." And so it goes.

Meanwhile, research in the relatively new discipline of "neuro-theology" by pioneering clinicians such as University of Pennsylvania professor Andrew Newberg suggests to some that spiritual rapture is really just the tickling of the pleasure centers in the brain.

All this activity is having an effect. Since 1990, the percentage of Americans who say they identify with no religion has doubled to 13 percent of the population. These numbers are even higher among the young, many of whom equate Christianity with political conservatism.

"By some key measures, Americans ages 18 to 29 are considerably less religious than older Americans," reports the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life in a study of so-called Millennials. "Fewer young adults belong to any particular faith than older people do today. They also are less likely to be affiliated than their parents' and grandparents' generations were when they were young. Fully one-in-four members of the Millennial generation...are unaffiliated with any particular faith."

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has warned of a prevalent "post-Christian narrative," particularly in the Northeast region of the United States, that he believes threatens the very fabric of American society.

In this environment, a Newsweek article proclaims "the end of Christian America." Writing in the Washington Post, secularist Gregory S. Paul gloats that atheism in western countries has "evolved." Atheists, Paul claimed, are at the vanguard of "a forward-looking movement that has the wind at its back." He acknowledges that the United States has been a "religious anomaly in the Western world," but insists that is changing, too. Atheism, he proclaims, is making "major gains while Christianity withers."

Is the portrait of religion in the United States really this linear? In a word or two: Probably not.

For starters, if 13 percent of Americans identify with no religious tradition -- "Nones" in the parlance of the field -- this means that 87 percent of the citizenry do consider themselves part of a faith community. That's a super-majority rarely found in U.S. civic life. Moreover, the most comprehensive study of American religion, the American Religious Identification Survey, found in 2008 that even among the "Nones" atheism is somewhat rare.

"Regarding belief in the divine, most Nones are neither atheists nor theists but rather agnostics and deists (59 percent) and perhaps best described as skeptics," the survey found. Likewise, a Pew study done the following year reveals that only about one-fourth of non-believers actually are certain enough to apply the word "atheist" to describe themselves.

Michael Cromartie, vice president of a Washington-based think tank called the Ethics and Public Policy Center, points out that all the atheistic best-sellers of the last decade put together don't come close to the 25 million hardback copies of California pastor Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life." Nor is Warren unique. "Books by evangelical authors are selling like hot cakes," Cromartie notes. "Authors like Tim Keller, Philip Yancey, Eric Metaxas, N.T. Wright - and, of course, C.S. Lewis -- are always selling."

What's actually happening in the field of religion is that Americans are racing off in several different directions at once. It's true that the ranks of atheists and agnostics are growing, but it's also true that within Christianity, the staid, mainstream denominations are stagnating while evangelical congregations are exploding.

This burgeoning activity takes place in every venue from storefront congregations bursting with immigrants to sprawling suburban mega-churches. One of the most famous of the latter, Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, is in California, arguably the most culturally liberal state in the nation. A little over a year ago, Californians rejected gay marriage in a statewide referendum that united in opposition African American clergymen, conservative evangelicals, and Mormon elders. Speaking of which, a practicing Mormon is poised to become the Republican Party's presidential nominee.

And even among that 13 percent cohort of non-believers, transformations are taking place. For one, several cataclysmic events of the past decade caused secularists to take a hard look at their own relative lack of charitable works. When the tsunami hit Indonesia in 2004, Rick Warren happened to be emailing a pastor from a satellite church in Sri Lanka, who felt the earthquake and asked Warren to "pray for us" -- because he knew it meant a tsunami was coming.

Warren did more than that; he fired off instant email communications asking his extended church family to gear up to donate money, medicine, food, and monetary aid to the tsunami's victims -- before the tidal wave had even reached shore. This is not an isolated example. Several studies have shown that Christians in this country donate at a greater rate -- even to secular charities -- than non-believers. Sociologists Robert Putnam and David Campbell found a six-in-10 chance that an American who never attends church worship services will give money to a secular charity, while the percentage for religious people is eight in 10.

But the 2004 Christmastime tsunami moved more than tectonic plates below the ocean floor. It motivated many "secular humanists" to contemplate the implications of the second word in that description. "There has been an absolute sea change," Dale McGowan, executive director of the Georgia-based Foundation Beyond Belief, told Religion News Service. "Boom, the beginning of 2005 was when these organizations started because our members called up and said, ‘What can we do for these people?' Giving has really become much more of a front-and-center concern for our community."

That's an example of how inter-faith dialogue -- that is to say, communications between those of faith and those without faith -- can influence each other. And despite the results of the 2010 California referendum, it's happening on the issue of gay marriage, with young people leading the way. Consider this: evangelical Christians under the age of 25 are more in favor of gay marriage than are New Deal Democrats over the age of 65.

On the personal level, the everyday interactions between Americans of faith and Americans who are non-believers is almost never as stark as it is on the Bill Maher show. Christianity may not be Brad Pitt's cup of tea, but he's the opposite of intolerant. In an interview with Parade magazine, the actor speaks with sensitivity and subtlety about why he turned away from the church, while acknowledging that, for most people, "religion works."

And while politically motivated commentators on the left and the right like to rail on about "the war on science" or "the war on religion," a more accurate way of looking at the age-old argument between science and religion is that in the 21st century, there is a historic cross-pollination taking place, which does not always cut in predictable ways.

When a Pentecostal pastor named Scott McDermott submitted himself to Professor Newberg's brain imaging experiments, he informed Newberg that he prayed at least two hours a day for 25 years. Asked by NPR religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty what effect that might have on the human brain, the researcher replied, "The more you focus on something -- whether that's math or auto racing or football or God -- the more that becomes your reality, the more it becomes written into the neural connections of your brain."

But that wasn't McDermott's reaction.

After undergoing the procedure in Newberg's lab -- he was injected with a dye that shows the location and intensity of brain activity -- McDermott's faith was, if anything, strengthened. "The first thing that got me was I could hear God's voice," the pastor said. "And it so enamored me -- I mean, it changed me dramatically. I couldn't wait to pray!"

His take on neuro-theology? "I think we're wired for the supernatural. I think we're meant to sense a world beyond our five senses: Come on! Taste and see that God really is good."

Sometimes, the religion-science dialogue results in conversions -- not always in science's favor. Ard Louis, a professor of theoretical physics at Oxford University, recently told a group of journalists at an Ethics and Public Policy Center seminar in Miami that a friend of his, a biologist, was inadvertently steered on his faith journey by atheist Richard Dawkins.

This scientist, who had been agnostic, read Dawkins's book The Blind Watchmaker and was nonplussed by Dawkins's anger at organized religion. "Why is this guy so cheesed off?" he thought, adding that he was motivated to "read the other side."

He did -- and became a Christian.

Despite over-heated political rhetoric fueled by incendiary bloggers, partisan cable television formats, and opinionated radio talk show hosts, the one-on-one discourse on religion in this country is usually done with mutual respect. The best example might be the touching, if unlikely, friendship that Christopher Hitchens developed in the last years of his life with Francis S. Collins. Hitchens was a gifted writer and polemicist, author of god is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything; Collins is a committed follower of Jesus Christ, author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.

But Collins is also a world renowned scientist -- he was director of the Human Genome Project -- and the two men developed a mutual respect while opposing each other in formal debates on religion. They also developed a mutual affection, which deepened when Hitchens' was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer in June 2010.

"And the thing to note about stage four," Hitchens noted dryly, "is that there is no stage five." But the writer was determined to fight his disease, and he found a committed ally in Francis Collins, who helped devise an aggressive plan to fight it by drawing on his own research and identifying a gene mutation in Hitchens' cancer that doctors believed might lend itself to experimental drug treatment.

Christopher Hitchens lost that fight. He died six weeks ago. Among the many eulogies was one penned by Francis Collins, who wrote that he had been praying for his friend, adding sadly, "But the great voice finally fell silent on December 15."

After medical school, life and death issues faced by his patients prompted Francis Collins to search for answers to deeper questions. As a graduate student in chemistry in the 1970s, he had been an atheist who saw no reason to probe for truths that transcended the boundaries of math and physics. But asked by a terminally ill patient about his own beliefs, Collins undertook his own faith journey. Among his questions: Why are the physical constants in the universe so finely tuned to allow the possibility of complex life forms? From where do human beings derive their moral sense? What happens after people die?

Ultimately, Collins learned of a body of scholarship beyond science, making the acquaintance of thinkers ranging from C.S. Lewis to G.K. Chesterton, who observed, "Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative."

At the end of his quest Francis Collins was a Christian, although he's the first to concede that one can't arrive at that place from a purely empirical standpoint. "Faith is reason plus revelation," he has written. "Ultimately, a leap of faith is required."

Carl M. Cannon is the Washington Editor for RealClearPolitics.


Carl M. Cannon is Executive Editor of PoliticsDaily.com. Carl was previously the DC bureau chief for Reader's Digest and (for a decade before that) covered the White House for National Journal. Before coming to Washington during the Reagan presidency, he worked for six newspapers over a 20 year span, covering police, courts, politics, education, and race relations. He has covered every presidential campaign and major political convention since 1984. He and his father co-wrote Reagan's Disciple: George W. Bush's Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy, which was published last year. His book, co-written with California writer Patrick Dillon and published in 2009, is Circle of Greed: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Lawyer Who Brought Corporate America to Its Knees.


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Steven Curry - #67902

February 14th 2012

“This scientist, who had been agnostic, read Dawkins’s book The Blind Watchmaker and was nonplussed by Dawkins’s anger at organized religion.”

Huh? The Blind Watchmaker hardly mentions religion, organized or not. And angry? I cannot imagine where. References, please.

Dawkins does set out to refute creationism—which is rather the point of the book—so if that’s being equated with “organized religion” then there’s the answer. He does have some fun with the Bishop of Birmingham who (hilariously) advanced the Argument from Personal Incredulity.

It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in Psychology to notice that creationists (who are religious) tend to project their own negativity onto Dawkins.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67906

February 14th 2012

Steve,

While you are correct that The Blind Watchmaker is not against the Church as an organization, it is against Christianity as an idea.  As the title clearly states the book is against Paley’s image of the Creation as a Watch created by God.  Paley understood the universe as a mechanism designed by God, which is what most scientists believed and probably still believe.

Dawkins sees Darwinism as the way to challenge that view.  He argues that Darwin proves that life forms are created by nature and not by God.  Dawkins makes clear that The Blind Watchmaker is written against God, which means that it is not written directly agains the Church, but surely against the faith of the Church.

Dawkins argues not just against Creationism, which states that God created each species de novo, separately, but primarily against evolution as an organized process, operating according to fixed criteria to produce a predictable outcome, such as human beings. 

In other words the purpose of The Blind Watchmaker is to prove that the universe is not rationally planned or designed, but is the product of random Chance, who is the deaf, unthinking, and blind “watchman.”  Sadly many who oppose Creationism, which is not true. are persuaded to agree with Dawkins that Chance is the Blind Watchmaker, which is false.          


Steven Curry - #67907

February 14th 2012

Roger, Paley was not arguing for theistic evolution. His made his argument from design—the watchmaker analogy—more than half a century before The Origin of Species was published. His argument is de novo creationism.

Paley did not view “the Creation as a Watch created by God”. That’s not his watchmaker analogy at all. That phrase is imbued with modern sensibilities and suggests theistic evolution. Remember we’re talking about 1802.

You have made a slew of other problematic statements, but instead of chasing them down I’d like to return to the original point. Where exactly is “Dawkins’s anger at organized religion” in the Blind Watchmaker? Where are the passages indicating that he was “so cheesed off”? This is baffling.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67915

February 14th 2012

Steve,

First, are we agreed that Dawkins was basically arguing against Paley?  It is very clear to me he was.

Whether Paley’s argument from design is consistent with theistic evolution, and I believe it is, Dawkins is clearly arguing against it, and not against Creationism.

As I tried to point out, I agree with you that Dawkins is not angry with “organized religion,” Dawkins is against Christianity.  What he has said was that before Darwin gave an alternative “scientific” explanation of evolution for the creation of life forms, Atheism had no intellectual, scientific validation. 

Darwin (vs Paley) gave atheism that validation, which as an atheist Dawkins desparately needed.  That is why Dawkins defends Darwinism so strenuously.  It is a matter of defending his atheistic belief system. 


melanogaster - #67945

February 15th 2012

“This is baffling.”

Why do you say that? I find such straw men to be completely predictable, not baffling at all.

dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #67963

February 16th 2012


Steven Curry - #67920

February 14th 2012

Roger, again, Paley’s watchmaker argument does not refer, even indirectly, to theistic evolution. That would be an anachronism. The concept of theistic evolution did not exist in 1802.

I wonder if you have even read the Blind Watchmaker? Its whole purpose is to demolish Paley’s watchmaker argument from design, which it does exceedingly well.

You agree that the “organized religion” part is wrong. But that still leaves the “angry” and “cheesed off” claims. I am actually interested in honesty in reporting. I want to know where specifically in Blind Watchmaker that Dawkins displays these emotional outbursts.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67930

February 15th 2012

Roger, again, Paley’s watchmaker argument does not refer, even indirectly, to theistic evolution. That would be an anachronism. The concept of theistic evolution did not exist in 1802.

The problem with this argument is that the concept of Creationism did not exist at that time either.  Creationism is a 20th century concept which is a reaction against “higher criticism” of the Bible.  Thus your apparent identificiation of Paley’s srgument is a definite anachonism.

What I mean is that Paley’s argument is not dependent on the claim that God created the universe in 6 days or that God created human being de novo.  Paley’s argument was that the universe is a rationally designed machine that indicates logically that it has a designer.  This is the argument that Dawkins seeks to refute.  You seem to think he succeeds, and I think that he utterly fails.  

I have read The Blind Watchmaker, but so time ago and since then I have read many other books by Dawkins, so many of his arguments from different sources run together. 

The problem with his thinking is that to prove there is no God, he seeks to prove that the universe is not rational and that life has no rational purpose.  Therefore if he wins the argument against God, he also destroys science which is based on the understanding that the universe is rationally structured so it can be understood, and he destroys humanity which cannot survive without a meaningful purpose for living.        

Did you miss the part where Dawkins testifies that Darwin validates atheism, which raises the question of the objectivity his views?  


Steven Curry - #67936

February 15th 2012

Roger, this going in circles. Dawkins wrote the book to refute Paley’s watchmaker argument, hence the title. The watchmaker argument is not theistic evolution.

The reason I asked if you read it is because Dawkins does briefly mention theistic evolution, but only to say that he thinks it’s superfluous. Nobody writes books opposing theistic evolution because there’s nothing to refute. Invisibly guided evolution is still evolution, and if we can’t measure the difference then there’s nothing more to say.

So Dawkins is explicitly targeting the watchmaker argument, not theistic evolution. This is clear.

“The problem with this argument is that the concept of Creationism did not exist at that time either. Creationism is a 20th century concept which is a reaction against “higher criticism” of the Bible. Thus your apparent identificiation of Paley’s srgument is a definite anachonism.”

No, it’s not. Wikipedia: “In the United States, starting in the 1960s, creationists revived versions of the argument to dispute the concepts of evolution and natural selection, and there was renewed interest in the watchmaker argument.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmaker_analogy

The fact that 20th century creationists borrowed from Paley is the resolution to your confusion about anachronisms.

As I suspected, no evidence has been proffered for Dawkins being “angry” or “cheesed off” in Blind Watchmaker. In the meantime, my working hypothesis is that these claims appear to come from creationists projecting their own anger onto Dawkins.

This is my last reply.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67939

February 15th 2012

Steve,

I did not say that Dawkins targeted theistic evolution.  I only said that The Blind Watchmaker targeted God.  If it targeted God then it would be opposed to THEISTIC evolution, right.  If Paley’s arguments support an argument for God, then of course Creationists would be interested in his arguments. 

Ideas do not have an exact time frame.  They are true based on the facts.  The question remains, “Does the universe have a rational structure?”  If you buy the Dennett’s “crane vs skyhook dualism,” as does Dawkins, and think that the universe built itself from the ground up by sheer luck, then the answer is No, unless the universe can think, and we are agreed that it can’t. 

Dawkins loves to consider himself a member of a persecuted minority group.  This often comes through in his writing. 


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #67951

February 16th 2012

Steven Curry,

“Invisibly guided evolution is still evolution, and if we can’t measure the difference then there’s nothing more to say.”

Very good point. Best sentence I’ve read today.

 


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67953

February 16th 2012

“Invisibly guided evolution is still evolution, and if we can’t measure the difference then there’s nothing more to say.”

Who says there is no difference?  The difference is Meaning. 

If Dawkins believes that life is meaningless, that is fine for him.  However he should not try to make science back up his philosophical/faith claim.

Furthermore not many scientist disagree as to what evolution is and how it works.  How can anyone say that evolution is evolution, when no one can say what evolution is?

The universe is held together by energy, which is invisible.  Therefore, just because we cannot see something does not make it unreal.  Evolution itself is invisible.  We can only see the results of it. 

This does not even take into account dark matter and dark energy which science says make up more than 90% of the mass of the universe.   


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #67964

February 16th 2012

Steven Curry,

Make that “The best sentence I’ve read in two days.”


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67965

February 16th 2012

Dont Blame,

It is interesting that you agree with Dawkins and are opposed to Paley. 


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #67973

February 16th 2012


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #67974

February 16th 2012

Roger,

Sorry to interrupt this thread, but I had a post for you at the end of “Jesus, History, and Mount Darwin: An Academic Excursion, Part 14” which this system just wouldn’t display. Since I was very interested in continuing our exchange there, I’m going to try making my post here. Although this post may not relate directly to the article above, it is about matters of the Christian faith and so is consistent with the themes of BioLogos. I hope you don’t mind.

You last wrote: “Conceivably a person could abandon his or her faith, so I am not absolutely sure on this point, but I do not think so… It is an issue, but not a big issue.”

St. Paul seemed to be absolutely sure that you could lose your faith, and it seemed like a big issue to him.

“holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith, among them Hymenae’us and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” [1 Tim 1:19-20]

We don’t know what ultimately happened to Hymenaeus and Alexander. But the faith that H&A lost was apparently the real thing, the most valuable thing. No one takes the time to write and preach about the loss, the totaling, of something that had no value to begin with. [“Hey, I just had to text you. You know that thing of mine that I didn’t care about and had no value at all? Guess what, I lost it! OMG!]  No. This seemed like a big issue.

“Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast—unless you believed in vain.” [1 Cor 15:1-2]; “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are holding to your faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” [2 Cor 13:5] “For we share in Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end” [Heb 3:14]

Why would you need to “hold fast” to something you can’t lose? This seemed like a big issue.

And Paul wasn’t just talking about other believers. He included himself: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it… but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” [1 Cor 9:24,27]

Disqualified” doesn’t mean finishing second or third or receiving some lesser reward; it means not receiving any reward at all. You’re out of the game. This seemed like a big issue.

The Apostle Paul himself either

A) Did not believe he had a saving faith, or

B) Did believe he had a saving faith, but apparently didn’t presume he was guaranteed of always having it. And it made him quake sometimes (see Phil 2:12).

Option B is the only one that makes any Scriptural sense to me.

What do you think about the specific verses above?


Roger A. Sawtelle - #67982

February 16th 2012

Dont Blame,

Faith is important.  There is no question about that.  I said that I saw no reason why one would surrender their faith, but it might happen.  Certainly I do not know what happened to H & A that caused them to lose their faith, if they ever had it, which could be the question.

What Paul was concerned about was that false doctrines would creep into the church and people would be led astray as they were in Galatia, where people were led to replace Christianity with Legalism.  My concern for you and many conservative Christians is that you seem to be adopting the type of works/righteousness legalism that Paul warned against.  


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #67992

February 16th 2012

Roger,

Thanks a lot.

I guess that was a colossal waste of my time. Looks as though either you didn’t read everything I took the time to research and write, or you just won’t respond, for some reason, to the specific verses cited.

 


Roger A. Sawtelle - #68013

February 17th 2012

Dont Blame,

The more you nit-pick, the more you look like a Legalist.

Paul was a theologian, not a legislator.  You need to think theologically and see the big picture. 


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68041

February 17th 2012

Roger,

Sorry.

Maybe my brain has some bad mutations that you were lucky enough to escape.

Because I honestly can’t discern other than one interpretation of the verses I quoted.

 

Bloggers,

Does ANYBODY out there share my mutation madness???  I feel quite alone.

Anybody?

 


Roger A. Sawtelle - #68071

February 18th 2012

Don’t Blame,

I checked out Phillipian pasage you cirwted and found this.

(Phil 2:12-13 NIV)  Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God Who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.

Maybe this will answer your question.  It is God Who lives and works in us, so how can we lose God’s presence in our lives?  On the other hand we hold this Treasure in earthen vessels, so we could misuse, and misunderstand this gift if not careful. 

Please be careful and do not fall into the trap of works/righteousness Legalism, which is probably what H & A did.    

 


beaglelady - #68076

February 18th 2012

So it seems that we work out our salvation and not for it.   (All the while acknowledging that following in the way is very, very important)


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68081

February 19th 2012

Roger wrote “It is God Who lives and works in us, so how can we lose God’s presence in our lives?”

We can’t lose His presence in our lives. This goes without saying. He is omnipresent.

The issue is not His presence and His help. The issue is our free will cooperation with Him. God’s action is guaranteed. Ours is not. Even when we’re “saved.”

“On the other hand we hold this Treasure in earthen vessels, so we could misuse, and misunderstand this gift if not careful.”

Agreed.  But what are the potential consequences of the “misuse”?

Beaglelady wrote “So it seems that we work out our salvation and not for it. (All the while acknowledging that following in the way is very, very important)”.

Very, very important? Or ALL important?

What’s at stake here? If we “misuse” the gift or if we fail in “following in the way” then we still get into heaven, but just by the skin of our teeth?

Or, we don’t get in at all? As in, disqualified, cut off, burned. [cf. 1 Cor 9:27; Rom 11:22; John 15:1-6, etc.]

Which will it be? Your theology? Or the theology of Jesus and the Apostles?

 


Roger A. Sawtelle - #68094

February 19th 2012

Don’t’

I do not think that you argument is with me or Beagle Lady, I think that it is with Paul.  If you think that you understand the theology of Jesus and the “Apostles” better than Paul, you need to show where he is wrong.  I happened to read the last chapter of 2nd Peter where Peter supports the wisdom of Paul. 

Your shrillness seems to indicate that you do not know what it is to live by faith, to have confidence in God, and not in oneself.  When we are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, our sins, past, present, and future are forgiven, no ifs, ands, or buts. 

Now if you want to reject God’s salvation, if you want to do it your way without the gifts of the Holy Spirit, conceivably you could do so.  This is not losing one’s salvation, this is rejecting God’s forgiveness.  Please do not do this.

Read Galatians and learn.  God so loved the world . . .          


dont_blame_me_blame_evolution - #68101

February 19th 2012

Somebody, please check if the “medicine” cabinet was accidentally left unlocked.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #68176

February 21st 2012

Don’t Blame,

Get Help!


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