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01 February 2007 @ 07:16 am
Q & A - #3 - "If you suspected that something you deeply believed in...?"  
Q & A - #3 - "If you suspected that something you deeply believed in and treasured might not be real, would you investigate or would you bolster yourself against the doubts?"christy_lenzi

I've never been one to delusion myself. I'll eat the truth, even if it's got Tabasco on it. The reality is that I have gone through many periods of suspecting/doubting/challenging whether everything I deeply believed in was real. I'm constantly challenging it. It's in my nature, me thinks.

Tell me Dr. Pepper's made by Coca-Cola and I'll go find out that it's independently produced and bottled by its own separate company.

Tell me I should be a USC or UCLA fan because I live in SoCal and have to choose between the two teams, and I'll end up an Auburn Tigers fan.

Tell me THE GODFATHER is the best film of all time, and I'll have to see if you're right. And you'd be right.

Tell me my belief and faith in Jesus is delusional and that I'm just like all other religious people who need an emotional crutch to make sense of the world, and I'll have to see if you're right. I know people who soak in weekly church services, Bible readings, and wise persons' counsel without ever really thinking about it. Since at least as far back as high school, I've been questioning things. 

I read books like THE CASE FOR CHRIST and EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT with a skeptically learning eye and came out the other end convinced. I read books like Darwin's ORIGIN OF SPECIES and Michael Behe's DARWIN'S BLACK BOX to see the scientific side of evolutionary thought -- studying the fossil record, carbon dating, micro and macro evolutionary theories -- and came out seeing the delusion of evolution (Really all I had to do was look at the intricacies of my eyeball). 

Just recently, archeologists unearthed the GOSPEL OF JUDAS (which is just another gnostic gospel and hardly valid), so I had to read it. Waiting patiently on my bookshelf is THE GOD DELUSION by Richard Dawkins, premier atheist in the world. My wife and I figure, who better to learn the opposing arguments than from the most prolific atheist in the world.

Currently, I'm extremely interested in learning all there is to know (whether false or true I've yet to decide, though I have my pre-theories) about Jesus between the ages of 12-30, something about which the canonical Bible is completely silent. 

Just a week or so ago, I hopped on Amazon and purchased THE NAG HAMMADI LIBRARY, which is the collection of gnostic gospels found in Egypt -- The Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Mary, The Gospel of John, & The Gospel of James, to name a few. Going into this research, I know full-well that many of my friends might view me as heretical OR as going off the deep end OR as delving into information that might destroy my faith. 

I'm also going to research some Kashmir prophet named Issa, whom people claim to be Jesus living and training in India under a different name during his 12-30 years, and I'll see if their thoughts hold any validity. I'll scour whatever other theories are out there and weigh the truth or false in the them as well. Not that I don't have faith, but now that I have my faith, I believe that knowing all there is to know will either end up strengthening it or destroying it. So far, this Jesus of mine holds true.

When it comes down to it, if you really want me to read or study something, tell me it's taboo. Go ahead and tell me, out of irrationality and fearmongering, that something is wrong to do, and I'm going to do it. I'll find out whether what you're saying holds any validity or not, and I'll probably come tell you my thoughts about the matter when I'm done. That's just how I am.

Here's what I've learned by living life this way:

1) The hard-core-right-wing-banish-and-excommunicate-everything-as-heretical crowd is usually wrong because they haven't read/seen/experienced what they're banishing.
 
2) The hard-core-left-wing-Jesus-is-a-religious-delusion-and-emotional-crutch crowd is wrong as well, oftentimes out of the belief that if it feels good and works for me then it must be right. 

3) I can't let myself be deterred by either of these wings. They have their own agendas and worldviews that usually don't match with mine.

In a nutshell, if I ever question anything I believe in at all, I will continue to search out the truth, not skewing the facts to suit my fancy, but with both eyes open. Because I have complete faith that if Jesus is who I believe he is, he will continue to show himself true to me, no matter what I'm doubting at the time.
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I'll be answering one of these questions a day for as many questions as I have, so if you've got anything you wish you could know about me, ASK IT HERE.
 
 
 
christy_lenzi on February 1st, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC)
>>I've never been one to delusion myself. I'll eat the truth, even if it's got Tabasco on it. The reality is that I have gone through many periods of suspecting/doubting/challeneging whether everything I deeply believed in was real. I'm constantly challenging it. It's in my nature, me thinks.<<

Just wanted to say that I really like this about you and suspected as much. Thanks for sharing this.

Now whatever you do, DO NOT READ Daniel Dennet's BREAKING THE SPELL. I mean it. Don't you dare. :)
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on February 1st, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC)
See that doesn't work unless you tell me why. ;) Why am I not supposed to read Dennet's BREAKING THE SPELL?
christy_lenzi on February 1st, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm not a fan of irrationality or feamongering..... but I noticed you had plans to read Dawkins and I think Dennett is much more...friendly and accessible. (He even looks like Santa Claus!) If you're interested, here's an
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<a [...] <interview>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

Well, I'm not a fan of irrationality or feamongering..... but I noticed you had plans to read Dawkins and I think Dennett is much more...friendly and accessible. (He even looks like Santa Claus!) If you're interested, here's an <a href="http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5640093862168820605"<interview of Dennett by Bill Moyers</a>
christy_lenzi on February 1st, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
Oops, sorry about the messed up link....I thought I knew how to do that.
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on February 1st, 2007 05:39 pm (UTC)
Okay, I've already gone and looked up his book title. I may just have to read this someday.

But know this, I don't think Jesus is a religion. He's a person who was either a lunatic to say that he was God or was actually God himself.

I don't follow a religion. I follow a person.
christy_lenzi on February 1st, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
I understand what you mean. Just thought I'd mention Dennett because I found it so thought-provoking and thought you may be interested.
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on February 1st, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
I am totally interested. It's an interesting thing, religion. I appreciate the recommendation. Have you read THE CASE FOR CHRIST?
christy_lenzi on February 1st, 2007 06:49 pm (UTC)
I've heard of it. I'll check it out.
Sherwood Smithsartorias on February 1st, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Well said--and huzzah!
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on February 2nd, 2007 06:52 am (UTC)
:>) Huzzah! I love Huzzah!
mike|tedlost_child2 on February 2nd, 2007 12:31 am (UTC)
>> ...my belief and faith in Jesus...

I'm confused, what exactly is it that you believe? When i was learning Christianity, there were lots of issues which i could believe in or not believe in (e.g. is there a heaven? hell? limbo? virgin mother? resurrection? brother James? wife Mary M.? etc.). Or arent these details important?
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on February 2nd, 2007 06:51 am (UTC)
I don't necessarily want to get into the periphery stuff. I'm not saying they aren't important...they're just not crucial and shouldn't be used to divide/schism/confront/war.

Here are the only beliefs I'll die for:

1) Jesus was fully man and fully God.

2) There is one God who exists in 3 persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit

3) The 66 books of the Bible are the true message of God to us.

4) Humans are created in God's image, but each has fallen short of God's perfect standard and needs either punishment or a substitute.

5) Jesus' substitution in our place is a free gift for our wrongdoings. If someone believes that and calls on Jesus, that person is forgiven and will want to offer their life to Jesus in return.