In a list of attributes of second-century Christianity, Robert E. Van Voorst writes (Jesus Outside the New Testament, page 21),
“Christians accept their key teachings by faith, not by philosophic reasoning.”
And, alas, the latter is exactly what I’m trying to do, to reason Jesus as deserving of the claims Christians make.
But as Mr. Van Voorst points out, Christians are Christians because of their faith, because of their belief, not because of their reasoned conclusion.
Something like, “Cogito ergo sum” — I think therefore I am, won’t work for Christianity. Either you believe or you don’t.
So where does that put those of us who believe but don’t believe? Just how much of the Christian doctrine must we accept?
So here I am again, banging my head against this theological wall.
I can only accept so much of what the Bible-thumping evangelicals espouse. Yes, I agree the Bible is God-inspired. But I also believe it was written by men, men with cultural prejudices, men with agendas, men with messages for specific circumstances that have otherwise been lost to the ages. And the messages in the Bible have become obscured.
For my three-part quest, I must (again) acknowledge that, ultimately, this will become a quest of faith. Either I will find that I do believe most of the claims for Jesus, or I will find that I don’t.
But there is an abiding faith, nonetheless, that remains. And that is the faith I’ve written about earlier in this blog.
It is the simple, unavoidable “faith” that, because the universe does not seem to be infinite, there must be more. And I choose to call whatever that “more” is, God.
And I sometimes feel God moving in my life. It is undeniable. I have that “faith” because it is alive within me.
If God’s name is Jesus, I can only hope He will accept my poor attempts at rationalization as human foolishness.
And I pray He will continue to move in my life, to guide me, to push me, to correct me, to abide within and be part of me.