O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith


One Question for God

posted by Jason Boyett

The famed British philosopher Bertrand Russell was known for being an outspoken atheist and social critic, in addition to his many contributions to the fields of mathematical logic and analytic philosophy. (You may have heard one of his most famous quotes: “No one can sit at the bedside of a dying child and still believe in God.”)

As the story goes, at Russell’s 90th birthday party, a female acquaintance approached him and, noting that he was one of the world’s most famous AND oldest atheists, asked him a pointed question: “What will you do if it turns out you were wrong? What if, when the time comes, you should meet Him? What will you say?”

Russell pointed a bony finger toward the sky and said, “Why, I should say, ‘God, you gave us insufficient evidence'” (from Bertrand Russell on God and Religion).

Though I am not an atheist, as a believer I find Russell’s answer to be compelling. I have a lot of doubts, but so many of them could be answered if the evidence was just a little bit clearer. If God wants us to know him and have a relationship with him — as Christianity teaches — then why has he made his presence in the world ambiguous, at best?

(Note to all of you who might say, “But just look at the glory of a sunrise! That’s proof of God right there!”: I realize that a lot of people look at nature and see God’s presence in it. But just as many others look at nature and see only…the natural world. If you start talking about the glory of such-and-such as proof of God’s presence and design, then they will counter with something like the guinea worm: What kind of loving designer would design such a horrible parasite? Thus: the evidence for God is ambiguous.)

So here’s the question I want you to answer today:

For believers: You have the opportunity to ask God for a deeper explanation about something that doesn’t quite seem clear enough. What would be your question?

For non-believers: In the same vein, what question should believers be asking God (or about God)?

Post your question in the comments below…

 



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L.E. Owens

posted June 7, 2010 at 11:05 am


If God supposedly inspired the Bible in order to reveal himself or his plan for mankind, then why is it such a haphazard, contradictory, and confusing collection of writings? Especially when you consider there are so many in the the “God wrote it” inerrancy camp. If the Bible is God’s message to humanity, and he “wrote it,” it’s pretty inefficient and messy. Which is weird for a deity who is supposed to be perfect.



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Jenn Possible

posted June 7, 2010 at 11:18 am


Which is it: Calvinism…Arminianism…or Open Theism???



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Craig

posted June 7, 2010 at 11:24 am


Is it okay to be gay and Christian? What would be some Biblical references? and How would u take into account those verses like Romans 1?



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Melanie

posted June 7, 2010 at 11:37 am


Interesting question!
I’d ask, how is Hell okay? The idea of Hell bothers me. I accept this as a limitation of my understanding, not a limitation on God. So I’d ask Him to fill me in on what I’m not getting.
Incidentally, while I understand what you’re saying, the Bible doesn’t agree with you that the existence of God is ambiguous. It says that people choose darkness and are without excuse. Now, I agree with you that it doesn’t seem that way to us. Again, I take this as a limitation of our understanding, and a testimony to our depravity, rather than a testament to a lack of evidence.



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Kathryn

posted June 7, 2010 at 11:38 am


I doubt if i could put it into a well-worded, succinct question. Suffering? I know a lot has been written on this & that it is somehow related to the “free-will” issue. So, just how does that work?
Does that mean because of free will God has a non-involvement/hands-off policy in the world?
I know lots of folks who believe God directs their every step of every day (one lady to the point of asking God at a stop sign “Should i go right or left here” – not to find a specific location, as if God is a great GPS in the sky, but just so that she will be in “the center of God’s will” for her day). But if that is so, then why did she get t-boned in an intersection & the folks who did it got off with a lie?
If God really has this “awesome detailed plan for my life” why does my life so often seem to derail? Why are some of God’s most ardent followers the ones in such intractable situations? I’d like to know how it works, what the underlying mechanism is, & how it all plays out/works together.
That said, however, those are questions i’d ask from here. I don’t believe i’ll be questioning God when i’m in his presence. I’ll either know – if it is important, or it just won’t matter anymore. I will say, i think the idea of calling God “to account” to ME is rather arrogant.



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Janet Oberholtzer

posted June 7, 2010 at 11:40 am


One question – only one? There’s so many, maybe I’ll narrow it down later, for now I echo L E. Owens -because if “God’s Writings” to us were clearer it would answer a lot of my questions.



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Jason Boyett

posted June 7, 2010 at 11:55 am


For what it’s worth, Janet, feel free to ask more than one question if you’d like. The rules are bendable.
And Kathryn, I agree that there is some arrogance in “calling God to account,” especially if the only parts of the Bible we are the last few chapters in Job. But guys like Moses and David get away with quite a few bold questions for God. Some of the Psalms especially (see Psalm 13).
So biblically, it’s a little “messy,” to quote Mr. Owens above. :)



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JA

posted June 7, 2010 at 12:26 pm


Since I believe that he gave us free will, I would probably ask him how he thinks I am doing with the choices I have made in my life – would He have made different ones for me?.
And then I would probably have a lot about how Muslims, Hinduism, Buddhists, etc. fit into the big picture….



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Kyle

posted June 7, 2010 at 12:39 pm


I would suggest reading this book…The author (not me) deals directly with Russell, doubt, epistemology, questions of authority…it may be helpful.
http://www.wtsbooks.com/product-exec/product_id/4472/nm/Reasons_for_Faith_Philosophy_in_the_Service_of_Theology_Paperback_



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L'nae

posted June 7, 2010 at 12:46 pm


Why does G-d hate humans – that is how does hell work (or is there a hell) and/or why did G-d send everyone before Jesus (and those who died before they heard of him) to hell. Also how does “free will” and an all powerful G-d work?



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Sheridan

posted June 7, 2010 at 12:50 pm


My question would be “God, who created YOU?”



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Mary Anne Landers

posted June 7, 2010 at 4:37 pm


Jason Boyett: Thank you for your question.
I’m an agnostic, so I fall into your second group. And I practice a religion, Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism, in which there is no Supreme Being or comparable concept.
So if it turns out that my skepticism is unfounded, and I meet God, I’d probably do my best to avoid saying ANYTHING to him. Otherwise, we’d just get into an argument in which he holds all the advantages. Neither of us has anything to gain—and if he’s omnipotent, I have plenty to lose. And if he’s omniscient, he already knows what I think about him.
So rather than fall into a shouting match with God, I’d do what any good Buddhist should do in any situation: keep practicing my religion, do my best to bring out my Enlightenment, and help others bring out theirs. And once I attain it, how would I deal with God? If I could answer that question, I’d be Enlightened.
BTW, your question reminds me of a joke I once heard. A Jew who died in the Holocaust went to heaven. He met God and asked him, “Lord, is it true that we Jews are your chosen people?” God said, “Yes, my son.” The newcomer said, “Well next time, would you please choose somebody else?”



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SLB

posted June 7, 2010 at 4:44 pm


Why are you so cruel? And yes, if hell is true, I believe God is cruel. Why didn’t you let Moses into the Promised Land? How could Jesus be fully man if he never sinned? Why was it okay for Adam and Eve’s children to sleep together? And I’ve heard the “man was genetically purer” argument, but I’m talking about the spiritual bond of sex. Why did you give Satan power to mislead the world? I could go on, but I think that’s enough for now:)



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Gina

posted June 7, 2010 at 5:26 pm


I guess I’d ask why all things spiritual are so vague and seem like such a guessing game all the time…especially prayer. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just playing head games w/myself.



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nathan

posted June 7, 2010 at 5:31 pm


Why does the entire metanarrative of humanity, as described in the Scriptures, seem like God is carrying out some colossal experiment, with human beings serving as the often unfortunate lab rats??



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Drew Smith

posted June 7, 2010 at 7:43 pm


If the Christian God wants everyone to come to know him, why would he at least allow such a variety of belief systems to exist all over the world (with some of the them making claims about reality that are in direct opposition to the “true faith”?
One of my friends puts in this way:
“Six billion or so of us populate the earth, and it would seem there are at least as many ways of trying to make sense of it all. Each of us thinks our beliefs are true. It is definitional. We cannot believe anything without also thinking it true. And perhaps nothing that any one of us believes could earn the consensus of all the rest. Two people, each of goodwill and intelligence, can come to the same question and having considered all the evidence, reach different conclusions on many matters of great import. Clearly, background beliefs and dispositions inform our judgments, and it’s difficult if not impossible to get to the bottom of them. This awareness of the multiplicity of conflicting and apparently irreconcilable beliefs is in large part the impetus for the relativism and multiculturalism that constitute the postmodern turn in the West. I resonate with its resignation to the impossibility of knowing anything with confidence. Even after weighing all the reasons to believe one way or the other about Christianity, there is a certain sense that perhaps it is a lost cause anyway. Perhaps it’s just not possible to know such a thing.”



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mouseypapesh

posted June 7, 2010 at 8:42 pm


I am spiritual, not religious, as I believe every religion has some piece of wisdom to offer, so I belong to your 2nd group.
I would ask G_D who is the TRUE religion with all the answers to all of my questions, including, but not limited to..If you claim being gay, lesbian, bi, or transsexual is forbidden,then why are there people, like me, who don’t follow the “norm”? If you say G_D wants everyone healty, wealthy, and prosperous, then why are people suffering with diseases for which there is no reason or cure for? If you say “Judge not lest ye be Judged” then, why do so many “so-called” christians Judge others for not believing as they do?
My own family is this way, and does not understand that I refuse to believe as they do.
enough for now.



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Fastthumbs

posted June 7, 2010 at 11:47 pm


I’d ask Ganesha why he allowed the upstart Abrahamic religions to exist…
However, it was all pretty much explained in Gospel of Chuck from the Supernatural series. ;)
– Fastthumbs



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Tess Mallory

posted June 8, 2010 at 12:13 am


I would ask why the whole Garden of Eden/Tree of Good and Evil temptation happened and what was the underlying reason of allowing man to make a choice of free will, and ultimately lose the perfect world created for him. I would ask why He cared enough to create the concept of the blood sacrifice and then come down here and walk among us, go through this misery, experience mortal death, and use that supernatural event to save our immortal souls, when he could have just scrapped us and started over.
And now for the really big question: Dear God, why did You make teeth so that they wear out? Why couldn’t they have been made impervious!?
I really don’t think a time will ever come when we’ll ask these questions. I think when we die and arrive in God’s court, we’ll all say “Oh, wow, of course!” And then we’ll fall on our knees and ask forgiveness for being such stupid, stupid humans.



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Geoff

posted June 8, 2010 at 9:47 am


As a non-believer, there’s really only one question:
Please describe, ideally with diagrams, equations and at least one joke, how to make a Universe.
Or, if you want the short and snappy version, “Why Pi?”.



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JimE

posted June 8, 2010 at 10:47 am


Pascal answers this so well in his Pensees. God’s Wrod tells us that we will be found only by those who truly seek Him. It is not His desire to attract all to Him through presenting compelling evidence that none can deny. He seeks trust and faith, which cannot be present if there is not room for doubt. His Word tell us all of this and explains the fallen and confused nature of this world with great accuracy.



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Geoff

posted June 8, 2010 at 12:53 pm


“He seeks trust and faith, which cannot be present if there is not room for doubt.”
Why does god (take your pick) need faith and belief though? He’s god, he shouldn’t need or seek anything?
Now humans, *we* clearly need faith and belief, at least from time to time. I believe in Black Holes despite the fact that we don’t have 100% proof for their existence. There’s a lot of evidence for them, but no proof. The evidence is what makes me believe, evidence reinforces my belief rather than detracting from it. If there was 100% proof then I’d believe just as much, if not more.



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Adam

posted June 8, 2010 at 3:42 pm


Jason, do you really think that if “the evidence was just a little bit clearer”, you would have stronger faith or no longer have any doubts? It is my guess that if God were to put in existence some incredible miracle in the sky for all of the Earth to see for years and years and it was signed “God”, (or some other miracle more to your liking)there would still be doubters and nonbelievers.
“How do you know?” Oh, great question. Well the same thing happened during Jesus’ time on Earth. Some of His closest friends saw Him perform miracles and they still had doubts and didn’t believe at the end of the day. If we had 100% proof, it would defeat the purpose of faith, therefore defeating the purpose of a genuine relationship with God – what Christ died for.
By no means am I trying to provide any perfect answer. I think it is a good thing to be skeptical. BUT, the very essence of reaffirmation shouldn’t be focused on the external, empirical data, but rather the internal revelation. How has God revealed Himself to you? Were you even paying attention?



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Paul

posted June 8, 2010 at 4:07 pm


I’m quite sure that an all-knowing god would know precisely what it would take to convince me–or anyone else, for that matter–of his existence.
Either he chooses to let us wallow in disbelief, or he doesn’t exist. If the former, he’s not a god I want to worship. If the latter, then all of your excuses for god’s “hide-and-seek” are simply efforts to shore up the nagging doubt you feel about an imaginary friend that was forced upon you in childhood.
Tax the churches.



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Nikki

posted June 8, 2010 at 5:14 pm


Adam-
“How do you know?” Oh, great question. Well the same thing happened during Jesus’ time on Earth. Some of His closest friends saw Him perform miracles and they still had doubts and didn’t believe at the end of the day. If we had 100% proof, it would defeat the purpose of faith,…”
Where’s the proof that miracles were performed by a man named Jesus?
Of course 100% proof would defeat the purpose (?) of faith, that’s the whole point of proof.



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Justin

posted June 8, 2010 at 5:30 pm


Adam,
I disagree. I think most atheists would affirm that your creator being existed, given adequate evidence. As is common, you’re projecting religious belief onto atheists.
The argument you present glorifying “internal revelation” fails to advocate any method of concrete, external accountability. I don’t think this is an accidental omission, but a habit reinforced by a culture.



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Joel

posted June 8, 2010 at 5:40 pm


I’d ask why He bothered creating people just to send them to Hell. I mean, He knows not only the outcome of each person’s life, but every possible outcome. So before that person was even created, He knew that person would deny His existence, or would be a homosexual, or commit some other sin in the span of that lifetime that would result in that person being condemned to Hell for eternity.
That just seems really cruel to me. There’s nothing we as humans can do to equate to that. It’s like becoming a parent and seeing how much pain you can inflict on the child, every day, for as long as you live or the child lives. But in neither case will it ever be eternal torment, as it is with God and condemning someone to Hell. Not even close. So any crime committed by a human is far outstripped by the punishment inflicted by God. And it’s only made worse when you know God saw that it was the only conclusion, and could have just avoided the whole thing.
Who would worship that?



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Jon M.

posted June 8, 2010 at 6:32 pm


Since to answer your question is to assume God exists, I would change my question from asking God to prove its existence to asking which, if any, religion was correct. If the answer is none, hopefully some more information would be forthcoming about which religion is closest to being correct or the problems with individual religions. If no additional information was proffered by God, I would hope that the answer would spark a wave of investigation and reformation that would hopefully improve religion by removing the dogmatism and faith requirements and replacing them with inquiry and reason, effectively causing “religion” to die.



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Saffron

posted June 8, 2010 at 7:50 pm


If it should turn out there is a god, any god, to question, whether it be Yahweh, Odin, Isis, Zeus, Rama, Allah, or any others of the myriad that have been described by the diverse human societies, I think there are 2 main questions that (s)he needs to answer:
1. What exactly have you got against women?
2. Why did Jesus cast out demons instead of passing out antibiotics?



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Sam Salerno

posted June 9, 2010 at 1:11 am


If you are all loving, why are you so mean?



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Rick S

posted June 9, 2010 at 10:25 am


As a believer and a scientist, one common question for me is: Dear God, why do permit so much ignorance in your flock while those who pursue wisdom are thought to be “other”.



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Adam

posted June 9, 2010 at 2:41 pm


Nikki – There are objective sources outside of the Bible (purely academic), which prove that Jesus was a real man that walked the Earth during the 1st century. The sources show that He had a following and those followers saw Him perform miracles; some believed and some did not.
Justin- My comment was addressed to Jason – I wasn’t trying to project any religious belief onto atheists. The very essence of revelation is that it is personal, exclusive and transcends any laws of external accountability or witness. The only agent that is “concrete,” is empirical. Because it cannot be measured, you’re asking for something that you will never find.



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Jason Boyett

posted June 9, 2010 at 2:53 pm


Adam:
The problem with purely internal revelation is that it is so subjective. I can fool myself. I can interpret things wrongly. I can be conditioned into thinking a fleeting, errant thought from the wilderness of my brain is a message from God. Therefore internal revelation is always wrapped in uncertainty and subject to misinterpretation. That’s why, from my human perspective, it seems perfectly reasonable to seek something less ambiguous in terms of revelation or reaffirmation.
But you’re totally right, of course. The disciples doubted the resurrected Jesus, face-to-face (Matthew 28), so even the “clear” stuff will have doubters. And I can’t say I wouldn’t end up in the same camp as them.



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Adam

posted June 9, 2010 at 3:25 pm


Jason
I agree. I catch myself thinking the same thing sometimes. But later I would find that my misinterpretation or lack of belief was because of my lack of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. When we walk in step every day (very hard to do), we are sensitive to the Counselor that sets us apart from any other worldview or conventional wisdom. This power transcends EVERYTHING…even death…even the ambiguous postmodern idea that everything is relative and only our own perception – but it’s not, it’s REAL my friend. And you know this is a gift through repentance and faith. This sounds crazy because of the world we live in but what we are called to is the complete polar opposite of the modern worldview. Christ didn’t call us to think like the world or agree to its rules. I can only hope that you accept the title of a fool for Christ in its entirety.



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Aaron

posted June 9, 2010 at 5:02 pm


Adam:
That evidence for Jesus’s existence could be stronger. There is a rather compelling argument for the so-called Christ Myth Theory, which has been summed up in the documentary The God Who Wasn’t There. It all seems rather academic to me, as there’s certainly no evidence he actually performed any miracles.
All secondary sources that talk about the life of Christ are dated long after his alleged death, and if he was indeed performing the miracles he’s known for, there are plenty of historians, Jewish, Roman, Greek, of all kinds, in his own time who would probably have mentioned it, but none of them even heard of him for all we know.
As for what I’d ask God, that depends. A God who is both omniscient and omnipotent is logically impossible, so the God I’d be facing couldn’t be the Abrahamic God. The question would depend on the nature of the entity before me.



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Justin

posted June 9, 2010 at 10:26 pm


Adam,
Sorry. You may not have meant to project religious belief onto atheists, but you did. Insisting that atheists would dogmatically refuse to acknowledge the existence of a plainly demonstrable creator strongly suggests an assumption that atheism is a religious, dogmatic stance, which, by and large, it is not.
As far as a concrete standard by which to test internal revelation, I was already aware that I would never find it. This glaring lack is exactly why I reject these sorts of revelations. Tell me; what is the objective difference between your personal revelations and those of obvious thieves like Benny Hinn and Mike Murdock, or nutjobs like Fred Phelps? Are they not as justified in their own internally drawn conclusions as you are? You may believe that the Holy Spirit doesn’t condone greed, condemnation, or violence, but for every scripture that you can locate that lifts up your ideals of love and acceptance, the avaricious, judgmental, or belligerent can find one that supports his own stance. In short, if your method of attaining knowledge and wisdom so accurately reflects the desires of your god, why do they differ so wildly? How can you definitively answer the previous question without invoking the No True Scotsman fallacy?
Why state that there are two objective contemporary sources that “prove Jesus was real” and not cite them? I’ve seen the Talmud references often loosely interpreted as referring to Jesus, and I’ve seen well more than two posthumous references in non-canonical work, but these two sources to which you refer are strangely elusive. If they exist, why do so many pastors waste our time with doctored passages from the writings of Josephus Flavius? Enlighten us.



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Ian

posted June 10, 2010 at 6:00 am


I think my questions would primarily be about human nature and as such may even be rhetorical. Why do we exchange / mortgage the possibilities of today for the promises of a possible future (i.e. post death)? And also, why should we grade each other based on beliefs rather than accept that we have differences and value each other just because we are?



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Steve Todd

posted June 10, 2010 at 9:49 am


Question to God:
“Do you think that’s funny?”



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Kyle

posted June 18, 2010 at 4:31 am


@Aaron
The word “academic” shouldn’t be used in the same line as “Christ myth.” Here are the “scholars” in the Christ myth movement:
1. Earl Doherty – Only a B.A. in ancient history with no graduate degrees or education
2. G.A. Wells – Professor of German, although he has recently given up the Christ myth theory
3. Timothy Freke – an author who focuses on spiritual mysticism
4. Peter Gandy – an author who focuses on spiritual mysticism, but at least has a masters degree in classics
5. Tom Harpur – a journalist with a masters in classics
These are the primary people who have popularized the theory (especially Doherty). You also mentioned the “documentary” The God Who Wasn’t There. At least it discussed the issue with one scholar with sufficient credentials, but most of the interviewees had either irrelevant degrees to the fields of discussion or insufficient academic credentials to even evaluate the data. One was the Raving Atheist, a formerly popular atheist blogger who has since converted to Catholicism.
Anyways, the only two scholars who have studied the topic and maintain that Christ was possibly mythical are Robert M. Price and Richard Carrier. Both have gone back and forth on the issue and think mythicism may be possible, but are not certain. Carrier did his Ph.D. in the history of ancient science, but has written on Christian topics for years. Price actually has relevant degrees in biblical studies. There are a couple of bloggers who really push this view; one who is a journalist and one who is a librarian.
The thing is that I’m a member of the Society of Biblical Literature. Each year we have a meeting with about 10,000 scholars, mainly with Ph.D.’s who come together to discuss biblical literature. I’d suspect that 40% are agnostic or atheist. Let’s say that only 25% are actually atheist or agnostic though just for the fun of it. That means there are at least 2500 biblical scholars, primarily with Ph.D.’s in the relevant fields who believe that Jesus was a historical individual and that there are sufficient reasons to believe this. Robert Price is the only scholar among the Christ Mythers to ever have his work peer reviewed in an academic journal of note, and every review has been extremely negative of his methodology and academic work (go to bookreviews.org, which is the Review of Biblical Literature and look up Robert M. Price).
It’s obviously possible that Price and these other writers without education in the actual field of discussion could have figured something out that nobody else has figured out, and that has been rejected by 99% of the atheist scholars in biblical studies. That’s surely a possibility, but is highly unlikely, isn’t it? If anything, it isn’t academic until the view can at least gain some amount of respect in academia, which it currently does not.
For instance, I study ancient literature. I am not a scientist, but am fascinated by it. Well under 1% of scientists with Ph.D.’s support Young Earth Creationism. Since I don’t have the time to read all of the relevant literature or get all of the degrees, I am justified in going by the assumption that the 99% of scientists who reject Young Earth Creationism are correct, since many of them believe in God, and still reject Young Earth Creationism based on the data that they study. If YEC wanted to gain respect, they would need to do some serious academic work to gain respect among the majority of scholars. That hasn’t happened and as a non-expert I am justified in rejecting their views until they reach some level of credibility (right or wrong) in the guild. The same goes for Christ mythers. They have no respect academically and for the most part are seen as people trying to come up with radical views of the past and distorting the data we do have to support their case. Until they gain some amount of academic credibility among experts, then non-experts are justified in writing them off as most write off YEC.



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Kyle

posted June 18, 2010 at 4:58 am


@Aaron
By the way, you said, “All secondary sources that talk about the life of Christ are dated long after his alleged death, and if he was indeed performing the miracles he’s known for, there are plenty of historians, Jewish, Roman, Greek, of all kinds, in his own time who would probably have mentioned it, but none of them even heard of him for all we know.”
This paragraph is actually almost completely false.
There is only one historian who wrote anything about Palestine in the 1st Century AD. He is Josephus, and although few question that later Christians edited the passage in Antiquities 18.63-64, almost all are in agreement that the original mentioned Jesus’ association with miracles. The language of the passage is characteristically Josephus’ with common phrases found elsewhere in his work despite the alleged changes. Furthermore, there is absolutely no textual evidence that the passage was added or edited later. I don’t disagree that it was, but the evidence in support of this claim is lacking and usually rather speculative. Realistically, I think we can assume that Josephus mentioned Christ but that the wording was adjusted to speak of him more positively. For instance, it most likely was similar to the Arabic version which says, “he was believed to be the Christ” instead of “he was the Christ.” Still, the phrase paradoxical deeds is seen to be authentic or at least that it originally said something to the effect that he was believed to have done paradoxical deeds (i.e. miracles).
Of course, no Josephus scholar questions the authenticity of Antiquities 20.9 which mentions “the brother of Jesus who was called Christ, whose name was James.” At the very minimum based on this reference alone, one could conclude that there was a Jesus claiming to be the Messiah in the first half of the 1st century, who had a brother named James who was put to death for breaking the law.
The only other Roman historians from the time are Tallus (whose works are totally missing), Livy who died before Christ’s ministry (17 AD), Plutarch (who lived after Jesus), Suetonius (who wrote some 70 years after Jesus) and of course Tacitus (who wrote about 80 years after Jesus). Tacitus of course didn’t have positive things to say about Christians, but did say this about Jesus, “Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition.”
That’s it. Within a century of Jesus, of what we know about Roman/Jewish historians, only Tacitus, Suetonius, Plutarch, Tallus and Josephus could have mentioned Jesus. Tacitus and Josephus appear to have mentioned him. Suetonius mentions Christians, Plutarch wasn’t really a historian per se and Tallus’ works are missing. In other words, your statements are incorrect concerning ancient history.



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D.L.Jones

posted June 20, 2010 at 9:22 pm


Many years ago I had an experience. An experience that allows me no variance in my beliefs. I would like to share this with you. It may mean nothing, but there may be something there for someone.
My Experience
Do you realize there are as many near death stories in the United States, alone, as there are people without health care coverage? I have researched this extensively. Doctors agree that there is a massive firing of the brain’s neurons at the point of death. The theory is that the firing of millions neurons is the cause of hallucinations which have been interpreted as the near death experience by the patients brought back after an episode. If that is true then there is no truth to any of the experiences you may hear. These near death stories, however, remain interesting because of sheer volume of them, and in their similarities in the stories. There could be one other explanation for the massive firing of neurons at the point of a person’s death. I’ll present the possibility to you, and then you can decide. I present the possibility that as we near death, or in the process of death there is a splitting, or a separation of the spirit and the soul. Definitions of our soul differ so I will word this in another way. There is a process of separation of our physical body and our immortal spirit during the process of death. In this process all that makes us who we are migrates from the physical to the spirit leaving the dead husk behind. No, I am not qualified in any way to say that. That’s why I said it is up to you what you believe. That is always the case anyway; simply it’s up to you what you believe. With this in mind I will tell you of my experience. Do not take it to serious because the doctors may be right.
I don’t think my story will disappoint you. It is like most other near death stories except in two areas. The first is the depth of the experience, and the other is that I met someone while it was happening. If it was caused by my brain’s neurons firing off then it was more like a sky rocket. There is a third difference, and that is I was not brought back by human endeavor, rather I was sent back with a task to perform. That could sound ominous but it was, probably all just a hallucination. That should put it back into, just, an interesting story.
I was twelve years old. This happened during the summer between elementary and junior high school. We lived a small rural town in the Texas Panhandle. We are a family of nine. My father was a landscaper. Mom was a homemaker. I had three brothers and three sisters. There were three older than me and three younger. I had a pet turtle I named Fred. I found him down by the creek years before. He was a real pig of a turtle. He would eat anything I gave him. He grew so big I could hardly carry him. Fred started running away from home the year before. After searching everywhere I found him the first few times he ran away. I was afraid one time I couldn’t, so I used some of my sister’s nail polish and wrote on his back, “My name is Fred, Please return to…..” That worked pretty well. There were a lot of people brought him back. This was the Summer Fred left home and no one brought him back.
Dad had the contract at the cemetery, just west of town, that year. He was responsible for the general care of the grounds, and digging the graves. Johnny Ray ,my older brother, and I did most of the mowing and irrigating during that summer. That left Dad free to take care of his other customers. He was very particular about the graves, so he always did that. He was a perfectionist when it came to graves. He would actually shave the walls with his spade until they were perfectly smooth.
One week, in July, Johnny Ray and I were cutting in around the headstones with the push mowers when he pulled the mower back over his foot. The blade hit right in the middle of his toes and split his foot all the way back to the ball. I couldn’t imagine how much that hurt. To say the least he had to stay off his feet for rest of the summer, so that left Dad and me to take up the slack.
Our schedule was we mowed through the week, and irrigated on Saturday’s. Dad wanted the cemetery pristine on Sundays for visitors. The Saturday after Johnny Ray’s accident Dad dropped me off at the cemetery just before dawn to set up the irrigation system and get it started. After he dropped me off he went on to cut a couple lawns. He was going to bring me some lunch when he got a break so I could work on through.
Setting up the irrigation system was awkward for one person. The well was in the middle on the south side right by the shop. The water was piped underground on either side of a road through the center of the cemetery to the North side with risers every forty feet. With two people setting it up we would hook the pipe trailer onto the old Ford tractor. Starting at the riser one person drove the tractor slowly out to the edge of the cemetery, then loop over forty feet and drive back to the center. The other person would walk behind the trailer while pulling the pipe and placing them about where they went. When the pipe was placed the tractor and trailer were parked and each person would take a run of pipe assembling it from the center out. Turn the well on, in a couple hours, turn the well off, and move the pipe to the next section. With one person there was a lot of jumping on and off the tractor between each pipe pulled.
Everything was going good that morning. The sky was a ruddy red glow while I pulled and placed the pipe. By the time I started assembling the pipe it was beginning to get light. I was moving good, but half way through the first pipe run I saw a squirrel run into the next piece of pipe I needed to connect. I shouted in the pipe to scare out the squirrel, I hit the pipe; I picked it up and dropped it. No squirrel came out. I propped one end up on a headstone so I could see through it. Just to make sure there was a squirrel, actually, in that pipe section. I couldn’t see through it so it must be in there. I was running out of ideas on how to get the squirrel out, so I carried it down to the shop. I laid it down and waited real quiet for awhile, thinking it may run out. The dirt trailer was parked in the driveway outside the shop. I, finally, picked up the pipe and beat it against the trailer. The pipe started vibrating so I gripped it harder. It kept vibrating. I had been, totally, concentrating on getting the squirrel out of the pipe that it, just, did not occur to me that I was standing right under the highline wires with a twenty foot section of aluminum pipe in my hands held straight up. When it, finally, dawned on me that the pipe must be touching the highline wire and the vibration was, actually, electricity flowing through the pipe and me to the ground; my thought was to let go and jump back as far as I could.
I didn’t even get to move. Everything just, like faded out on me. I was never a religious person. I know you would say, “What twelve year old is?” I was raised in the country out on the farm. We went to church most Sundays, but honestly, God and the bible was mostly an abstraction to me. Even if I had been devout I would not have been prepared for what was happening to me. I believed in things I could see, touch, or hear. I wasn’t even sure about distant cities of which I had heard. My world was country. That was all I had ever known.
I seemed to be floating, bodiless in an utterly dark void. I didn’t breath and my heartbeat was gone. This is impossible. How could I be conscious without a body? I did know what had happened, though, I didn’t let go of that pipe in time. This made, absolutely no sense. If I was dead then where was this? Other than being dead I felt good, as a matter of fact, for a dead guy I felt really good. I felt nothing. It was neither hot, nor warm, nor cold, there no pressure like in up or down. I had no arms or legs so I couldn’t move anything when I tried. The really weird thing though was that I felt normal, oh, not like alive normal, but like a forgotten how I should be normal.
Did you ever think about breathing or a heart beating in your breast affects your sense of time? I was just suspended there for awhile, so I want to move ahead for a minute before I come back to this. I’ll tell you who met me and guided me out of this dark place, and where he led me to. That is where I want to go. That is what I want to talk about. But, for now two things are happening. There does seem to be some form of existence after the death of our body. I could have been knocked out and not, quite dead yet, so I still have some intellect left. When my brain functions stop this may fade away, and me along with it. At this point the Doctors may ,still, be right. My neurons may not be finished firing, yet. Think of this, if there is any type of life after death then there would have to some form of separation at some point of the spirit and soul, or spirit and body. Whatever makes each one of us unique must transfer from the physical body into the spiritual body. This has to happen as a last ditch process. I don’t even believe in a spiritual world. Isn’t spiritual is what some people feel when their in the mood at church? There is something very important happening now, back in the void. This gets harder to explain as I go along, but I will try.
What is happening also has something to do with something no one believes. Here goes. We were made in God’s image, and no it’s not the other way around. God was not made in our image. Now while God may do anything he wants to. He can, certainly manifest himself any way he wants to. This would include a burning bush, a man, a woman, a thundercloud take your pick, but God is a spiritual being. That is the image we are made of. Please remember that.
During this quiet time while floating in a dark void something is manifesting itself, and I first realize something is missing. The devil was cast out of heaven. He was cast down onto the earth. We lie even, to ourselves all the time. God cannot lie. We can, and do lie to ourselves and others because the devil lives within us. When your physical body dies and you are reborn into a spiritual body the devil may not follow. He can not follow you once you are beyond the earth. That is what is missing, and we are made in God’s image so we cannot lie in our spiritual body. Then you realize the spark of the divine within you. This is what is missing, the devil within me. The spark of the divine that image of God is enabling the other thing else that is happening to me.
The judgment process has begun. I didn’t even realize it was happening. When the devil within us is gone we can only know the truth. We start our own judgment. We don’t finish it, but I will get to that later. The first realization is our self worth. How did I impact others lives? Did I add quality to someone else’s life? Simply put, “who will miss you, how much, and why?” I judged myself and found myself lacking. I had no friends with whom I had deep ties. I did not mean enough to any for them to morn me. Being raised in a farming family we accepted that crops would be lost, livestock would be lost, and many times children would be lost. That’s why farmers had such large families. Oh, my parents, brothers, and sisters would morn me, but not for long. Nature abhors a vacuum. Life would go on. In this way my life was a failure. That was my realization.
As if someone knew when I was finished it was then that I heard someone call out to me. What they said when they called to me was so bazaar that I couldn’t even process the thought. Now, I know it was me, it was all my state of mind, and what they said may not have been so strange. My state of mind was chaotic. Here, I’ll position myself for you. I am a twelve year old farm boy whose firm belief is that honest; Ernest hard work got you your just rewards. I have just died by electrocution. I find myself bodiless in a dark void. I self-realize that I have ignored one of the most important reasons of life, and my life is a failure. At that point I hear someone say, “What? Are you back already?” Is it me, or does that seem a little much?
I could not see or move, but I tried. There, off to one side I could see a light. I was very happy. I wanted to see who had called out to me; no, I needed to see who had called out to me. I looked at the light and wished to go there, and either I was moving toward the light or the light was moving toward me, I couldn’t tell which. Whatever I was doing I decided to keep doing it. The light kept getting larger and larger until I actually entered into it. The call That I had heard was not by voice. It was more like a thought-feel.
You have eyes, but you cannot see. You have ears, but you do not hear. There should be something added to that. It should be something like, “You have mouths, but you do not speak.” When I entered the light I find I am helpless to describe what I saw. When I heard the call, it was not just the one thing he said. It included the information on where here was, where I had been, what we were doing. It included all the background information regarding the comment. It was like a complete thought. In a spiritual body you speak the same as you hear. You form a thought around a question, or comment when you think that thought at someone they hear it. The way we see is just as hard to explain. You can see an entire galaxy at once and you can see one mote of dust from across many worlds. Here, let me attempt to explain what I saw as I entered the light.
I was in a portal, on the threshold of, like, a gate, in and entry, or at the point of entry of a threshold. It was not physical, but I had the feeling that is what it acted like. I had the feeling that no one could reach this point without the acceptance of someone else. I need to emphasize my feeling so you will be sure to understand. I felt that NO ONE could enter this area without an invitation. That’s just the feeling I had. Where I entered and looked out there seemed to be no end. The sight I presently was useing did not seem to rely on light reflections. It must have been in a different wavelength or something else entirely. It was not possible; I was stunned, shocked, and awed by the sight alone. The only place I can think to start at is a description someone else made, at one time. In John when Jesus was speaking to his disciples at the last supper he described it very simply by saying something like, “There are many mansions in my Father’s house. I go, now to prepare a place for you.” That was a simple, however gross understatement of what I saw when I entered the light. If I were not there looking out at it there is no way I would, or could even imagine anything of even the palest interpretation of the sight that was before me in this place. This is unimaginable. I could see the flights of countless groups of angels across my range of view. Honestly, it would be worth the price of dying, just, to be able to glimpse this. I felt that I was in The Father’s house and what I was seeing was the preparations of the mansion, or the place for his faithful.
Think about this, The Father prepared one other mansion for man, before now. We call it the Earth. Spread out in a parameter before me were countless mansions of The Father’s house. Seen, by me, as worlds and world systems, I could see so far, and so clearly.
Among the flights of angels I saw the one that had called out to me. He was surrounded by a bright rose colored glow. All the angels I could see shone in different colors. The colors of the angel’s shine varied from a dusky rose up to a brilliant blue-white color. Although he was planets away I could see and hear the one who had called out to me as if we were standing next to each other. I have to admit at this point I did something stupid. If I had known how to communicate I would never have been so presumptuous any question of anyone like this. I didn’t even know angels were real. I certainly could never have spoken to one. Please cut me a little slack. I was a twelve year old kid having a most unusual day.
I was looking at him, so far away, and they were so beautiful. I couldn’t help it, my first thought was, “Are you God?” He answered me! Well, actually, he laughed. But, that was an answer, it showed he heard me. He had a good laugh. It made me feel good. I loved that laugh. His laugh was like it started within and built up until he was full, and then It spilled out as he overflowed with laughter. When he was through laughing he explained carefully and slowly, as if he were explaining to a child. He said, “ No, and they don’t like to be called that. They are the Shepherd. That is what they do. They guide and protect. “ He explained the Shepherd is the four joined in the perfect union. They are the greater one. One joined with others are greater ones. While not joined they are lesser ones. Greater ones may be lesser ones when their union is not invoked and still be a member of the greater one. The Shepherd are four joined. The four aspects balanced as they are two masculine and two feminine.
We talked for awhile. He showed me many things, he told me others. He said we were naturally spiritual creatures, that we loved to learn, so we created the earth in order to experience and learn through our physical lives. I couldn’t help it, my thought slipped out, once, again. The thought I had was quick and spontaneous. It just came out before I could stop it. It was something like, “Who, in their right mind, would want to live a physical life when we are like this?” He went back to the slow and careful speech again. He said,” We do this because we want to do this. Physical life is very rewarding. It is rich in experiences. There are many opportunities to learn new things.” He went on to explain other things, and I tried not to let my thoughts interrupt him again.
One thing I had found confusing was God, I mean the Great Shepherd, the father, and the son. What was that relationship? When more than one join in a common cause they become the greater one. They may invoke, and when they invoke their power is multiplied many fold. They may be members of a greater one while not invoked. In that case they are the lesser one of the greater one. The way I understand it is that, for instance, Jesus Christ while on the earth was the lesser one of the greater one The Shepherd. Many times the lesser ones of the greater one “The Shepherd” spend much of their time on the earth to be among their flock, the children of man. My thoughts probably came through or he sensed my confusion because he explained, again. That is what they do, They guide and protect, and in order to do that they must go among the flock. In order to see that their children upon the earth stay upon the safe path they must be there in order to guide and protect. The great Shepherd nearly lost all their flock in Noah’s day. They saved what they could but they lost many, and they vowed it would never happen again. Jesus came to the earth because the flock had reached a dangerous crossroad, and had to be guided on the correct path.
All this was confusing for me even being here to help me understand. I really feel for the simple nomadic people of Jesus’ day trying to understand what the greater one was, or the lesser one of the greater one. At one point Jesus told his followers, “There are Three in heaven who take note.” That just started a whole branch of religion. All they could think of was The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was the lesser one of the greater of the four who are the Great Shepherd, but while Jesus was upon the earth that left three in heaven. He tried to explain, he told them; “I am in the father as the Father is in me, I am of the Father and the Father is of me. Well you have probably read all that. You have to admit their confusion is apparent What am I saying, it is still apparent today. Does anyone understand the relationship of the Father and The son? Even his disciples were confused. At the last supper he told them there are many mansions in the Father’s house. I go now to prepare a place for you. I will meet you when it is time to guide you there. Then he told them , I go now, and you will not see me again. One of them asked how is that he will see them, soon, and they would not see him again. Jesus responded, I will be with the Father. Maybe it just seems simple to me.
As far as our purpose in life he put it this way, “You are learning how to be.” This is, but, one step of many“. Well, I guess as an immortal spiritual creature we do have plenty of time. I began to fade out, again.
I was floating, bodiless in an utterly dark void, again. This time it was different. There was someone here with me. I could feel power, immense power. I cast around as before, there was nothing I could see. I felt him and he had incredible, immense power. I was afraid, for an instant, but then I felt there was a balance. The balance was love. I could feel incredible power, and love without depth. A mother never felt such love for her newborn child as the love I felt radiating form whomever was with me in this place. Because of the love, I felt I knew whoever this was I was not in danger, but I still wanted to be somewhere far, far away. I made myself as small as I could in a hope I would not be noticed. I never dreamed that this great one of immense power and love may be here for me! I was a child, not even worthy of notice. This, whoever was with me, mere presence was so powerful it almost seemed almost physical.
There came a group of angels around me. These angels I could see and hear. They brought forth my life, so that I might know. We viewed every moment of my life. They emphasized the important events of my life. They would show them to me , and they would tell me how the event helped me develop into the person I was. Then one would report the event to that dark, powerful presence. The events they were pointing out to me were points in time of personal realizations that changed my future feelings. There was a moment in time when I was very young I noticed an act of kindness of another to someone close to me. They showed me a moment I realized someone made a personal sacrifice for me. They showed me my feelings invoked by my first love. These were the important aspects of my life, they were the personal realizations that made me grow, learn, and develop. My friend, in the light, told me we were learning to be. These moments of personal realizations are, but, tiny steps in our development from innocent, childish, self centered, selfish, uncaring, self gratifying to something much more. We are learning to be who we are, for we were made in God’s image. We have a long way to go, and it is made up of many tiny steps.
As in my realizations, earlier, of my life not impacting other’s life of equal value to my development were my feelings about how deeply others have impacted mine. My feelings, thoughts, experiences of others actions which were profound enough to alter my outlook in life were the important aspects in my development. Each instance, once found and pointed out to me was reported to the powerful presence there with us. Sight of him was veiled to me. I was, very, curious who he was and what he looked like, but I was not allowed even a glimpse. Finally all my life had been viewed, the angels departed, and for the first time the Powerful presence addressed me.
“You may not, yet, pass on. It is not, yet, your time. There are three reasons why you may not pass, at this time. The first is you are meant to do something which you have not, yet, done. The second is that you are meant to influence someone you have not, yet, met. The third is that you have not, yet, learned enough to accomplish the other two.”
With that spoken to me I began to fade out, once more. I knew I was going back into the world I knew. I was going back to my life. As my world came into existence around me he spoke to me one more time. He instructed me, “You will tell no one of what you have learned here on this day. It is not, yet time.”
I was back. My hands flew away from the pipe and I fell backwards. I was not harmed. I saw that stupid squirrel run out of the pipe and off into the cemetery. I did find I did not want to come back into my life. I would rather stay in that other place, but also I found I a complete compliance with that Powerful Presence instructions to me.
Often major events often have small triggers. I do not believe my being alone to set up that irrigation system was a coincident. Neither that squirrel running into the pipe, nor entering The Fathers house, meeting my friend there, nor everything he showed and told me was, just a slip. I believe much of what he told me, and showed me has a large part to do with the thing I am meant to do. If that is the case then I have a message to deliver to all the people of the earth. I think the message is wonderful news for all. Forty-two years after this incident I felt that same powerful Presence, once again, this time he told me, “Now is the time to tell your story. Tell your story now!” I know it is not up to me to wonder. Why now? How could I even tell anyone such an important message? I am no one, I am nothing. How can I make anyone listen? For now, and every since I was twelve I have held and still hold this message close to my heart. For a long time I believed this message to be mine, and it gave me great hope, and comfort. I feel I have free will in when I tell this, or if. It will be when I believe people are ready to hear it, and I am ready to tell of it. Oh, I don’t mean that. This would mean so much to everyone alive today. How could I not tell, I mean how hard can it be? No One would, probably, believe me, anyway. I don’t get laughed at every day, this could be my chance.
David
Written from excerpts from the book, “Beyond the Veil of Innocence” By DL Jones. Published by http://www.booklocker.com



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k

posted June 30, 2010 at 8:28 am


uhmmm..if I were to ask something to God it would be about the idea of Grace. If I understand correctly, grace is an undeserved gift (forgiveness inthis case, I assume). So let’s see…according to Christianity, God made me -literally. He created my gifts and challenges or inclination towards some virtues and vice. Then he inserted original sin into my little (and until that moment very clean) soul and then He threw me to a “fallen” world…AND HE OWN ME NOTHING?



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