Originally Posted by june 7th
How very sad. June suspects that what you are saying is that there cannot exist any semblance of commonality of experience within your religion UNLESS it is the common 'experience' derived from, or quoted soley from the Bible. Which, June images, must eliminate an awful lot of people...
You are right in deducing that the Bible and what is says is central to being a Christian June. That is absolutely true.
Just as a shop manual is central to a mechanic's fixing of a car or a recipe book is central to a person's ability to cook.
The Bible is an instruction book that contains instructions on how to live a godly life. On what to believe about spirtual things. A book that is really many different books written by many different authors over a large range of time that were strung together to make our present bible's.
Yet despite the fact that the Bible has been written by many different authors over a long time it forms a cohesive whole with a unified message. That Jesus Christ, who was God, came in the flesh, lived, was crucified for our sins, and rose again.
Chrstians believe what it says not because they are blind, naive, or just plain stupid...after all most Christians that I know of have brains and use them quite well (though there are some exceptions
). They have looked at the evidence for the reliability of the Bible, the likelihood that eye witnesses describing things within it's pages are being honest in saying what they do, the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, internal and external evidence for the reliability of the New Testament documents, the witness of countless numbers who have believed the Bible and have experienced the things of God in line with what the Bible says that experience should be like, and all kinds of other things.
And looking at all that...Christians have come to a place of choosing to believe what the Bible says. Of believing upon and acting upon what it says. And they too have come to experience God as a result.
A Christian's experience of religion, as you refer to it, starts with the Bible...yes. But it doesn't end there. The initial choice, and it is a choice, to believe what the Bible says about Jesus Christ and act upon it by repenting of one's sins (as defined by the Bible) and drawing near to the unseen God by faith is only a starting point to a life of continued faith in what the Bible says.
The Bible forms the foundation for a Christian's belief (please note I said Christian not religious person who deems themselves to be spiritual).
Let me put it this way June. Everyone has to have a basis for believing what they do. You believe one thing. I believe another. And everyone else believes this or that. But as rational persons who hopefully are acting in line with the best information that we have available to us...we all hopefully act in way that makes sense.
As a rational person (though some might of course dispute me to be so just because I believe in God through Jesus Christ) I would rather side with the eyewitness accounts of many as written in the Bible than with the claim of one person who says they have seen "Jesus". A "Jesus" who has led that person to believe a ton of things that completely contradict the testimony of many, many others as contained in the Bible.
If one person comes along and tells me that they have seen a 10 foot tall toad and that this toad told them that I am to give them all my money...well I am going to be very doubtful of that. But if ten people come along and tell me that they have seen the same toad who has said the same thing...it would not be illogical or dumb for me to investigate this toad sighting a bit more.
Yet many would have us believe that their ONE vision of a supposed Jesus is enough to justify throwing out the testimony of many, many others who saw the real Jesus and whose eye witness accounts contradict the one.
That's irrational. That's intellectually foolish. Yet...that is precisely what some on this forum advocate.
Worse yet...one can't even question the validity of these persons who base their entire belief system on a personal "Jesus" because...well...because it's personal.
Who is more irrational? Who is more likely to be duped into believing a lie?
The person who has a personal "Jesus" who will not admit scrutiny of a logical and rational kind or the person who believes what the authors of many different books and many different eye witnesses have said about the Jesus who lived and died in Roman times?
I think the answer is pretty obvious.
As I said belief in what the Bible says is neither irrational or illogical. It is a choice made by a most wonderful exercise of the rational and logical mind God created us with.
So there is no 'experiential' aspect or component to being 'born again.' June gets it: Just read the Bible.
That is incorrect June. I experience God through faith every day. I experience love and joy and peace and all the other attributes that make God so magnificent. Sometimes I experience His discipline either in my circumstances and/or in my spirit when I choose to sin (and yes I still sin even as a Christian but my heart has been changed with respect to wanting to sin as a result of being born again).
One can read the Bible till their eyes wear out and not experience God. If one simply reads and does nothing with what it says...then one has engaged in nothing more than in accumulating a bunch of outwardly religious knowledge that will do them no good (if they don't apply what they have learned).
Does a recipe book do any good to a person who won't follow and do something with the recipe? Of course not. Neither will the Bible.
So just reading the Bible is a start. A good start. But deficient with respect to coming to know the real God who is there but unseen.
Every person eventually comes to a point of decision regarding whether they are going to do anything with what they read or not. Experiencing God is a very real thing but like the person who wants to experience a movie at a theater...one must enter in to experience the God who is there.
In the case of the Bible one must enter into an experience of the living God by faith in what it says. That is the ticket to get in. Faith. A belief that acts upon what is read in the Bible. That puts it into practice and is willing to act as though the God of the Bible is actually there and that He will respond when we come to Him through faith in Jesus Christ.
One more thing...there are some Christians who come across in a rather straight jacketed way. Who insist that this or that Bible version is the only one to abide by. Who insist that it's not okay to dance in and of itself. Who hold up the Bible as almost an object of worship. And all manner of other things.
Don't reject the Christ of the Bible just because this or that Christian acts or otherwise speaks out of selfishness rather than love. Just because this or that Christian does not reflect true godliness in their life or words.
Anymore than one would reject a great recipe in a great cook book just because this or that person didn't follow the instructions and ended up with a terrible goulash.