June 21, 2010

The King James Only Controversy

What is the best, most accurate translation of Scripture? Which Greek manuscripts can be trusted? Are the KJV Onlyists correct? Are they wrong? These are questions I've been trying to find answers for in the last six months or so. To be honest, it's making me want to rip all my hair out of my head! There is so much to go through.

On one hand, I agree with the point the KJV Only camp makes regarding the Greek text. It does seem to me that the manuscripts coming out of Alexandria might be corrupt, but I just don't know for sure. On the other hand, I really don't think the differences between any manuscripts cause doctrinal issues.

Does God preserve His word? If so, where? Which Bible is His inerrant word? All of them? One of them? How much of a role do hermeneutics play? Why is it so hard for a man to find truth regarding this matter? I just wants God's word in it's purest form.

I desire to purchase a study Bible. A Bible that I will use as my main Sword. The ESV Study Bible looks absolutely amazing! But can the translation be trusted? Is there "gender-neutral" problems with the ESV as some claim? John MacArthur's study Bible also look great, but he is a Calvinist. The Scofield study Bible is also appealing, but which one?

Why is it so hard to find answers? I am so frustrated!

April 5, 2010

Why I Believe In God

My belief in the God of the Bible (YHWH) is systematic. One reason alone does not justify a belief in any particular god. With all reasons combined systematically, I have come to the belief in the God of the Bible (YHWH). Please note that I absolutely DO NOT claim these reasons are proof of God, they are the reasons why I believe. :-)

1.) Kalam Cosmological Argument
a. Anything that begins to exist has a cause
b. The universe began to exist
c. Therefore, the universe had a cause.

Being that the universe consists of time, space & matter... this cause must be atemporal (exist outside of time) & extremely powerful. It also seems that this cause was personal given the attributes of the universe and the earth supporting life.

Does this prove the existence of God? No, but God makes sense of this, and it's something to keep in mind as we go along.

2.) Moral Argument

This argument only holds weight if you agree that objective moral values exist. For example:

Jeffery Dahmer murdered several young men. He had sex with their dead bodies, cut them up, ate parts of them, and stored heads, fingers and penises of his victims.

Was this wrong? Well, there are two ways to say yes.

a.) Subjectively - One could say that it is wrong because our morality is based on the consensus of society (which most atheists I've encountered claim).

b.) Objectively - This way is to claim that it's absolutely wrong, regardless of what people's opinions are (this is the view I hold). I don't hold this view because of the Bible or anything else. I hold this view because there is just absolutely something wrong with that.

Now for the first view (that morality is subjective), one cannot claim that there is really anything "wrong" with Dahmer's actions. He just committed an anti-social act. But I think we all know that what he did was seriously wrong! This is why we have justice systems. Societies want people punished for their actions. Why? Because they feel that what he did was absolutely wrong.

It seems that there are a set of moral laws in place that influence our decisions, both to violate that law, and also to seek punishment for those who violate it. God makes sense of this moral law. I believe this moral system comes from God Himself. From His very being. Many atheists think I argue that morality comes from the Bible. I disagree, it doesn't come from the Bible. The Bible might expose these laws, but it doesn't make them. God created man in His image, which is where I believe we get this morality from.

It is important to realize that you do not have to believe in God to live a moral life. Being an atheist does not make you an immoral person. It seems that moral laws exist on their own, and humanity recognizes and adheres to them. There seems to be absolute rights and wrongs, and God makes sense of this.

3.) Origin of Life

It is more rational for me to believe that an intelligence created life rather than a series of unguided events creating life. I know abiogenesis is not a solid theory yet, and that science is still working on it, but I have a hard time accepting it. I might be able to accept it for life like trees and plants, but not thinking, intelligent life. You and I have the ability to think, to make decisions, to make choices, we have emotions, hatred, love, sympathy, intelligence, etc. We have life. We have a conscience. It may seem bizarre to some that there is an intelligent designer, but it seems even more bizarre to me that it all just happened by a series of unguided processes. God makes sense of the origin of life.

At this point I believe that there is some type of intelligence that created everything. At this point I am also convinced that it is personal (given the above 3 reasons).

4.) Religion

From here, I critically look at what all these religions offer and say. Do any of them hold any weight? Are they all man made to find comfort and meaning to life? If they are, I'm okay with that, and will not follow one. I don't have a problem with there being no such thing as a personal God. I don't have a problem with there being no afterlife. I'm okay with just ceasing to exist when I die to be honest with you.

I have looked at most major religions. Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Catholicism, Christianity, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism, etc. After looking deeply into all of these, I find that Christianity makes the most sense, seems the most truthful, etc. Does this mean Christianity is true? No, but by process of elimination, it seems the most valid out of the group.

5.)The Bible

I then read and studied the Bible cover to cover, Genesis through Revelation. Using an interlinear, a Hebrew/Greek concordance, commentary from multiple Theologians, and considering Jewish culture, I was amazed at the accuracy and revelation of the Bible. It has predicted events that have come to pass, it has been confirmed by history, archeology, geography, textual scrutiny, etc. The dead sea scrolls have proven that it's context has not been changed, we have more manuscripts for the Bible than we do any other historical documents on earth. Many, many more. The Bible also confirms and explains my first three arguments above. I found it truly amazing.

At this point, I am convinced that there is a personal God, and that this God is the God of the Bible (YHWH).

6.) Personal Experience

When I realized that I had broken God's holy law because I'm am an imperfect person, I clung to Jesus Christ as He paid my fine for me. The Bible says that if you put your trust in Christ and repent, that He will give you the Holy Spirit. I have experienced this first hand. Was it all in my head? I think not. My life has been absolutely radically changed by this. I have experienced miracles, intervention, answered prayers, etc. For someone to tell me that my belief is all in my head is making a ridiculous statement. Either I am one of the most luckiest people on earth, where things fall into place day after day, prayer after prayer, or God is active in my life. Either I experience an absolute ridiculous amount coincidences, or God is active in my life. Either I am legally insane and schizophrenic, or God is active in my life. There is no way to explain away what I have experienced since being saved. This confirms God's existence to me even more.

So, does all of this prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the God I believe in exists? To some it might, to some it might not. But what it does prove is that I am not irrational or a non-thinker like many accuse me of being. I think it's fair to say I came to my belief in God rationally. Some come to the belief in God irrationally, just blindly believing what men say because it makes them feel good. I don't think I fall into this category. I would argue that I have been rational in my thoughts and decisions.