Monday, 31 March 2008

The unexplored life is not worth living.

I am listening to a podcast by 103.2FM of Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. He quotes Plato in regards to a quote that stood out to him.

The unexplored life is not worth living

I think that is a fantastic thought. How many people are frightened to explore what life is all about? How many of us are frightened to explore what our own personal life is all about? How many of us are frightened to actually explore our faith and see what it is all about?

Some time ago I went through a stage of actually exploring my faith. Actually it is something that I have continued to do. I believe that for faith to be authentic - we have to be willing and ready to question what we believe, why we believe it in what ever situation we find ourselves.

This time I allowed myself to question some of the givens about Christianity.
Take the theory of Penal Substitutionary Atonement as an example. I questioned it. I allowed myself to look at some of the other theories of the Atonement without allowing myself to denigrate those theories. I did this by refusing to
(trying not to) engage with them through the lenses of PS. It was a truly liberating and freeing experience that caused me to appreciate more the vast tradition and experience of Christianity.

It also had a adverse effect of causing others around me to question my faith. To be disappointed in my apparent betrayal of those who hold to that theory and even suspiciously believe that I even betrayed Christ.

Yet I can say now that by doing what I did my faith is stronger. I do believe that the theory of PS is the best one to hold to. I am also able to acknowledge that other theories do hold much validity for us to also explore. That there are aspects of them that we do have to acknowledge as being Scriptural, that PS adherents in extreme forms ignore.

Taking Plato's quote I have adapted it to say,

A faith that is not explored is not worth having.


Terry Delaney said...

In a similar sense, I have been driven by the challenge of what do you believe and why do you believe it? Growing up Catholic, I remained a Catholic for many years because no Protestant (especially Baptist) could tell me what they believed and why I should believe what they believe.

I realize that there is a spiritual element to salvation, but I don't think Peter said that we should, "always be prepared to give a reason for the hope we have" just to sound smart. I think too many Christians suffer from anti-intellectualism where they many not explicitly say they "check their brains at the door" but they certainly act that way on Sunday mornings.

Craig Bennett said...

Do you consider that you were saved during the time you were a catholic? And could you say that there are some perhaps many catholics who are saved though caught up in the trap of catholicism?

I'm interested in what became the defining moment for you in becoming a protestant?

Terry Delaney said...

No, I do not consider myself saved whenever I was a Catholic. Regarding my being raised Catholic, I always say that I was saved until I knew I wasn't because I was taught that I was going to heaven because of my Catholicism. However, I do believe there are some who are saved that remain in the Catholic church. I just believe they are extremely few in number.

The reason why I believe they stay is because of the rigor and structure that the Catholic Church offers. I would call these the Spiritual Disciplines, but we all know it is easier to be disciplined when you have to be as opposed to being disciplined without the accountability.

As for becoming a Protestant, it began as a more reactionary thing than anything. I was saved on 27 October 2001 (it was not related to the events of 9/11--I would be curious about your perspective on that day since you live in Australia) and knew that I could not go back to the Catholic Church because I was "born again" and we always made fun of those people when I was in Catholic grade school. I joined the United Church of Christ and was kicked out of that denomination in 2003 because I argued against what was being preached from the pulpit (a longer story that I plan to write about in greater detail, but not here). I became a Baptist after a few months of research into the major denominations. Therefore, I am a Baptist by conviction but a Christian by the grace of God. Perhaps that is why I have no problem with interdenominational fellowship and such. I guess then to answer your question specifically, I first became a Protestant because I thought that was what a Christian did when he or she was saved. Looking back now, I probably became a Protestant when I left the UCC because it was then that I began to understand what I was dealing with.

I hope that helps.

Craig Bennett said...

Thanks for that Terry. I don't know any thing about the UCC but it sounds a lot like a universalist church. Its great to hear that you moved on from there.
How did you hear the Gospel message?
It's an interesting issue about Catholics being saved. It was a RC charismatic who prayed every time he had a shower for 13 years before I got saved.

I can't understand how they stay in the system but they do. I also know of a evangelical catholic priest...which sounds real weird...but he says that the RC people need saving and what easier way to preach saved by Grace then it is where they sit each Sunday. He doesn't have a parish as such but fills in for priests who go on holidays.

My take on September 11th is a bit unorthodox. I watched a documentary some time before then about the refugee camp (read hell hole) where the Taliban were driving the others to. Pakistan and the Taliban would not allow human aid into that place and 2 million people were going to die from lack of food, water and basic medical help.

I fell to the floor in a real agony of spirit praying, crying out to God to help those people and why was it that we in the west were sitting back and doing nothing about it. This type of prayer went on for a few months where every day I was bent double in agonizing prayer over this issue.

When September 11th happened, it seemed the American government suddenly said we need to go in and save these people and through military might opened the door for those two million people to be helped.

They could have stepped in any time before September 11th but they didn't. I think God allowed it to happen for the greater good.

I good friend of mine who works in the financial industry in Australia. Works with someone who was in the towers at the time, who made it down safely. I have been to their work place Bible studies a few times and his testimony of Gods goodness in saving him is awesome.

I still remember the shock, numbness and sadness when I watched the plane go into the towers on the news. I think the reality of death hits home in a big way when we come face to face with it like it did that day.

Terry Delaney said...

I heard the gospel message at least three different times to my knowledge before hearing it again on 27 October 2001. I went to this play called "Heavens gates, Hell's flames" because one of my best friend's fiancee would not shut up about going to this play at her church. So, just to shut her up, we both went.

About midway through the play, I realized that if I were to die that night, I would go to hell. So, at the end, I prayed my prayer, I walked my aisle, and God saved me.

That is the short-short version. I have been told by a few pastors and some friends that I really ought to put down my testimony on paper given everything it involves.

Craig Bennett said...

Thanks Terry.

I love hearing how God moves in every Christians life.
I think all of us should write down our testimony. The exercise in doing so will at the least help us to be able to tell it with confidence.