With Whom Can I Speak?

This entry was posted by on Saturday, 31 December, 2005 at

I have read and heard more arguments than I can remember that ought to convince any Christian that the Bible is true. Likewise, there is no shortage of arguments powerful enough to convince any atheist that the Bible is nonsense. How about something for those in between?

In my narrative a few posts back, when I mentioned that I could not remember much of what was going through my head one sleepless night, I actually felt that it would be impolite to repeat the one thing that I vividly remember. Namely, “I wish that post-modernism would go [engage in extra-marital sexual relations with] itself.”

Now the term post-modernism seems to mean different things to different people in different circumstances (the irony of which I applaud), so I was unable to come up with a precise definition. What I have taken it to mean in the contexts I usually hear it is the idea that there is no absolute truth, morals and values are relative to culture and circumstances, everyone has their own version of reality, etc.

I believe in absolute truth. I believe that there is a way that things are and a way that things are not. A lot of Evangelical Christians talk about post-modernism as if it were the antithesis of Christianity – the attitude of “the world.” It occurred to me that this is not so. The opposite of Christianity, or more generally, theism, would obviously be atheism. Atheists do believe in absolute truth; they believe that there is absolutely no god in the universe.

The thing that gets me is the bit about relative cultural values and perception of reality. It just makes too much sense to be dismissed out of hand, much as I would like to. I want there to be absolute truth, but this post-modernism will not go away. Hence the rudeness.

I feel like I have been stuck for a very long time in my spiritual journey at place where most people never even go. I’ve never been particularly interested in the testimony of people who where raised Christian, because, while I have great admiration and respect for many such people, I simply do not feel that someone who has never had to deal with the repercussions of abandoning what they have believed for their whole life is in much of a position to help me. I have read a great deal by people who have converted to Christianity, and yet none of them seem to address the questions I have. They all seem to have somehow skipped over, or at least hurried through, the point where I am.

Having accepted the existence of a higher power, why should I believe that the Bible has anything to do with it? At the time I first believed in God, I lived in a house containing two different translations of the Bible and a third of only the New Testament. That’s rather convenient, in a house of four non-believers. But was it really “divinely” convenient? In reading the Bible, it should really come as no surprise if much of it seems to resonate with what I already believe, considering that our culture was originally based largely on this book. I just find it all too easy to see how the whole thing could have been made up, especially considering that in the absence of divine knowledge, people will make things up. Just look at, say… every culture in the world.

So why am I still here? Well, it could be true. I want SOMETHING to be true.

The apostle Paul (who changed his name from Saul) claimed that he was converted when he heard the voice of Jesus calling from Heaven, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 26.14). [A “goad” being a pointed stick used to prod and guide animals.] I personally could walk away from all of this with a lot more confidence if only I never hit anything when I kick.

Yet still, I am filled with doubt. So I ask, with whom can I speak? I already know what they have to say. Christians will try to convince me that it is all true, and I have been listening to those arguments for some time now. I am already quite familiar with a non-believer’s viewpoint as well.

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