Wow, lots of great discussion happening at work this past week and into this week now. Here are a few questions that I am finding people have not asked themselves before, but that are coming up in conversations or that they need to be thinking about based on our talks.
1. Either you believe that people are morally good by nature or you believe they are morally bankrupt from the start. This is one of the biggest reasons for strife in politics too. A lot of our social welfare programs (of which I, myself am a beneficiary) are structured under the premise that man is good at heart. What do you believe about the condition of mankind – born good (morally pure, ethical, able to do good of our own accord) or born wicked (sinful, evil, immoral, etc…)?
2. People have not thought deeply about whether God exist or not. Meaning: most people go with their gut on this one. They use their mind a little but the stomach overcomes their reasoning in most instances. If you want to check it out then the next time you see your friend ask them why they do or don’t believe in God. The conversation will not flow logically. I guarantee you that emotion, experience, and culture will be the top three influences. Those who have wrestled with the question might give you classic arguments (teleological, ontological, intelligent design or “the watchmaker analogy”, and cosmological) if they came up with the conclusion that God does exist rationally. Although those who don’t believe might argue from the standpoint found here. Either of these doesn’t matter because it is a rational response usually devoid of any commitment to the reasoning. Only those who have coupled their rational faith with emotion and experience will be the passionate ones among us – whether Atheist or all others.
3. Most people who believe in the mainstream Christian message (Jesus lived, died for our sins, was raised from the dead demonstrating His power over death, and that those who believe in His message of repentance and faith in the work of the cross will receive eternal life) did so based on experience and emotion. The Christian message is a heart issue, not a head issue. Here is the kicker, you have to decide what to do with question #1 before being able to believe the gospel of Jesus. We base a lot of what we know as truth on experience and emotion that drives our reasoning. You choose how to respond to your spouse based on previous experience of what kept peace in the past or not. It is illogical for an abused person to stay with the abuser but it happens all the time. Because of emotion and faulty thinking. Does this mean our faith is in something that isn’t true? You have to wrestle with this.
However, within Christianity, or any belief system for that matter, those who agree with the message, but still choose to go against it are said to have a volitional problem (a matter of will, not reason). Most of us have a volitional problem of some caliber in our lives. What are the things that you know to be true but that you have not altered or fixed based on those truths?
4. If there is a God then so what? This is one of the biggest questions that has to be asked by each person living. Some of us don’t ask it because it is built-in to our way of understanding life already. But if you are struggling with God’s existence then this is definitely question number 2 in the process.
5. Technology is going to play a major role in the future of mankind. Are you staying aware of what governments and private industries are creating that are going to alter your life in ways you never thought possible? Is mankind going to be obsolete? Will a government use technology to wipe out religion…is it possible to wipe out a gut instinct? What is a RoboBee and how will it affect me?
Well, that is about all for now. Those are great questions to use to start discussions with strangers and friends alike. Don’t go into ready to judge or to preach. Go into it to learn where people are in their development of their own belief system. The key is to shut-up and listen. Don’t talk, just ask questions. It is amazing to hear other people think out loud.