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Why I believe the Bible

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simplybill

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I was asked in an on-line discussion: “Why do people believe the Bible?” I gave it a lot of thought, and this was my response:

Did you ever see the movie, "5 Minutes of Heaven" with Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt? James Nesbitt's role as the brother of a murder victim during "The Troubles" in Ireland was the most stunning performance I've ever seen. Anyway, in the opening scene, Liam Neeson says, "For me to talk about the man I've become, you need to know about the man I was." (I'm telling you that in hopes it will add some 'gravitas' to my post...Lol)

I've always been an avid reader, but I decided at a young age to go out and live the experiences I was reading about. I've been fortunate to have been able to travel and meet interesting people (and fortunate to survive some of those experiences).

I've had a long-time interest in totalitarian governments; I've probably read over 100 books on the Cultural Revolution in China, the Cambodian Khmer Rouge, Joe Stalin's Russia, Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust, and so on. Most of the books were written by people who escaped from those regimes, which adds the balance of human perspective to textbook history lessons.

I've gone in person to see some of those places. My experience in Vietnam opened my eyes to the corruption of government officials and the repression suffered by citizens. Within 30 minutes of landing in Saigon, my Vietnamese friend, Tuyvan, was threatened into paying a bribe to the Customs Officer who was inspecting our luggage. As we traveled around the country, we were pulled over twice by cops who wanted a bribe. We were never ticketed; our Vietnamese driver would hand the officers some cash, and we’d go on our way. It was standard operating procedure.

It was experiences like those that made me pay closer attention to the various ideologies in our world, and, after watching ideology play out in real life, and seeing with my own eyes the results of ideologies, I can confidently say, "Judeo/Christian ideology, when held accountable to its own principles, leads to the greatest amount of freedom and justice for the greatest number of people."

I've observed that same principle in action on a social level. One day about 30 years ago, I was reading Galatians 5:19-21:
"Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."

I asked myself, "Why? Why do people who practice those things not inherit the kingdom of God?". So, over the years, I've made a point to observe people (myself included) and draw some conclusions.

I'll use myself as an example: In my younger days, I began drinking a lot. Drinking became an almost daily event for me. It became such a big part of my personality that even my jokes were about drinking. It wasn't until I stopped drinking that I realized I'd become a self-centered, self-deluded man.

At 64 years old, I've lived long enough to see the beginning and the end of people's lives. I've observed that same self-centeredness and self-delusion in the lives of people who practice the behaviors listed in Galatians 5. We become our own gods, and build our foundations on sand, choosing to follow our own inclinations rather than follow Jesus.

During the discussion, I was asked: “Maybe it would be better for you to just say that Christianity works for you because you believe it and you like going to church?"

My lengthy response (as I’m prone to do) began with the Creation story in Genesis. There's been a lot of discussion about the topic, but I truly believe people are missing the point: God started us out in a Garden, not a church. Adam and Eve were given a job to do. Right there, in the first book of the Bible, God made it clear that we're meant to be active doers, not merely sedentary pew-sitters.

It's a theme that runs throughout the Bible. In the words of Jesus in the gospel of Luke: “As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock.”

We're designed to be people of community. Finding (and attending) a good church is important in the way that a work group attends training sessions: We don’t learn just for the sake of learning; we learn so we can become better at what we’re meant to do, and it's important to do that in a community of like-minded people.

Christianity is also important on a deeply personal level: as Br. Mark Dohle puts it: “When we forget that we have a soul, we let it starve for what it was made for”.

I stopped drinking on March 5, 1985, but I was an angry and bitter man. I was a truck driver/warehouseman at the time. I was missing work so often that I was literally 3 minutes away from being fired.

One day I ended up in a face-to-face yelling match with my Boss. The confused look on his face made me feel deeply ashamed. I went home that night, dusted off my Bible, and searched for a specific verse, Colossians 3:23:

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men." I wrote down that verse on a piece of paper and took it to work with me the next morning. I made a commitment to begin living my life that way.

A year later, the same boss I'd had the shouting match with walked up to me and said, "Bill, I just wanted to tell you that you've been voted Employee of the Year." I was given a frame-able letter on the Company letterhead, and 4 extra days of vacation. It was the first time ever that the Company had presented an Employee of the Year award. They had created the award to give it to me.

I don’t know if there’s a word that describes my feelings at that moment. To say I was ‘surprised’ doesn’t really cover it. It was a revelation, a deep understanding that God is right there, in real time, intimately involved in our lives.

I chose that particular example because, when I started following that Biblical advice, I had no idea it would change my life so dramatically. In other words, it wasn't just ‘confirmation bias‘. It was the catalyst for a fundamental change.

So why do I believe the Bible? As C.S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

 
 
 
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I've gone in person to see some of those places. My experience in Vietnam opened my eyes to the corruption of government officials and the repression suffered by citizens. Within 30 minutes of landing in Saigon, my Vietnamese friend, Tuyvan, was threatened into paying a bribe to the Customs Officer who was inspecting our luggage. As we traveled around the country, we were pulled over twice by cops who wanted a bribe. We were never ticketed; our Vietnamese driver would hand the officers some cash, and we’d go on our way. It was standard operating procedure.

This happens in sections of Italy too. It has nothing to do with totalitarianism. Just greed. I do like your blog though. 

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Ancient Astronaut Theorist have this idea that Gods and Angels were actually advanced civilizations that came to earth that brought knowledge and wisdom to the people. But our ancestors depicted them as supernatural beings instead of a highly advanced race with high technologies. What's your take on that Bill?

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personally...i think the bible is and was always designed to give guidance to people.someone to believe in....although...in reality...the two people that gave all of us life.....people that bought us up,tought and nurtured us.....did that.....i really think people need more than that...and therefore embrace the bible....in what ever form...so they feel comfort from someone that can never really answer them.......jmo...

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simplybill

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On 2/1/2018 at 7:58 PM, Hawkin said:

Ancient Astronaut Theorist have this idea that Gods and Angels were actually advanced civilizations that came to earth that brought knowledge and wisdom to the people. But our ancestors depicted them as supernatural beings instead of a highly advanced race with high technologies. What's your take on that Bill?

I just now saw this, Hawkin, sorry for the late reply. My take: Attributing history to advanced civilizations pushes the beginning back to an earlier point, while not answering the questions of creation here on Earth. My understanding of Genesis is that the first sentient humans had a learning curve just as we do in ‘new’ situations, though the situations they met were substantially less complicated than ours. The wisdom born from being hunter/gatherers, paying attention to the natural cycles of the Earth, and learning the unpredictability of humans gave us the wisdom to stumble forward.

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simplybill

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On 2/1/2018 at 6:58 PM, Hawkin said:

What's your take on that Bill?

Just to add: I’ve been reading a lot of material from various Rabbis, especially Gerald Schroeder. They make a good case for God NOT knowing how humanity would use our free will. Among evangelicals, it’s believed that God knows everything: past, present and future. Schroeder’s book “God According to God” has some great insights that get overlooked by us Christians. 

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simplybill

Posted

On 2/2/2018 at 4:27 AM, cluey said:

although...in reality...the two people that gave all of us life.....people that bought us up,tought and nurtured us.....did that.....i

Hi cluey- My perspective on nurturing is somewhat different, from having grown up in the unusual circumstances that I did. Without going into detail, I’ll just say that I was fortunate to have had my life intercepted by Jesus at a young age, and my entire personality has been re-molded through the Bible and my relationship with God. I don’t claim to be a ‘godly man’, but I’m aware of having ‘dodged a bullet’ by being put on a different path than the one I was on. 

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On 2/2/2018 at 2:27 AM, cluey said:

personally...i think the bible is and was always designed to give guidance to people.someone to believe in....although...in reality...the two people that gave all of us life.....people that bought us up,tought and nurtured us.....did that.....i really think people need more than that...and therefore embrace the bible....in what ever form...so they feel comfort from someone that can never really answer them.......jmo...

And yet Mankind has since ancient times felt there is something more. It is built into us What is a conscience even? Why would evolution make all mankind look for a creator? Why would a book full of manuscripts spread across the whole planet?

We are in the last days and we will eventually be give Revelation a revealing of all the facts. It will be to late to choose sides by then.

"The Bible itself gives us the resolution to this paradox. In Romans 1:18–21 the Scriptures teach that God has revealed Himself to everyone. God has “hardwired” knowledge of Himself into every human being, such that we all have inescapable knowledge of God. However, people have rebelled against God—they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). People go to great lengths to convince themselves and others that they do not know what, in fact, they must know. They are denying the existence of a God who is rightly angry at them for their rebellion against Him.

https://answersingenesis.org/is-the-bible-true/how-do-we-know-that-the-bible-is-true/

 

Why is it that the worlds most renowned people throughout time have said there is something to it more than a fairy tale?

http://www.newtonproject.ox.ac.uk/texts/newtons-works/religious

 

Quote

Nearly all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed and most biblical scholarsand classical historians see the theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.[46][48][49][nb 9][95] There is no evidence today that the existence of Jesus was ever denied in antiquity by those who opposed Christianity

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historictps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

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On 2/9/2018 at 8:52 PM, simplybill said:

Just to add: I’ve been reading a lot of material from various Rabbis, especially Gerald Schroeder. They make a good case for God NOT knowing how humanity would use our free will. Among evangelicals, it’s believed that God knows everything: past, present and future. Schroeder’s book “God According to God” has some great insights that get overlooked by us Christians. 

As a Quaker deacon I was required to read all the Rabbinical writings. Many sects of Christianity believe it is misleading but I believe it gives a better understanding.

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23 hours ago, Dyna said:

And yet Mankind has since ancient times felt there is something more. It is built into us What is a conscience even? Why would evolution make all mankind look for a creator? Why would a book full of manuscripts spread across the whole planet?

We are in the last days and we will eventually be give Revelation a revealing of all the facts. It will be to late to choose sides by then.

"The Bible itself gives us the resolution to this paradox. In Romans 1:18–21 the Scriptures teach that God has revealed Himself to everyone. God has “hardwired” knowledge of Himself into every human being, such that we all have inescapable knowledge of God. However, people have rebelled against God—they “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). People go to great lengths to convince themselves and others that they do not know what, in fact, they must know. They are denying the existence of a God who is rightly angry at them for their rebellion against Him.

https://answersingenesis.org/is-the-bible-true/how-do-we-know-that-the-bible-is-true/

 

Why is it that the worlds most renowned people throughout time have said there is something to it more than a fairy tale?

http://www.newtonproject.ox.ac.uk/texts/newtons-works/religious

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

wow.....you talk a lot of BS.......i'm not going to entertain your crap.........

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On 2/10/2018 at 0:03 PM, simplybill said:

Hi cluey- My perspective on nurturing is somewhat different, from having grown up in the unusual circumstances that I did. Without going into detail, I’ll just say that I was fortunate to have had my life intercepted by Jesus at a young age, and my entire personality has been re-molded through the Bible and my relationship with God. I don’t claim to be a ‘godly man’, but I’m aware of having ‘dodged a bullet’ by being put on a different path than the one I was on. 

i have had an unusual life too.......although don't realisticly believe god had anything to do with that........

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On 2/11/2018 at 11:09 AM, cluey said:

wow.....you talk a lot of BS.......i'm not going to entertain your crap.........

Funny ...I had a great laugh.

 

Sir Isaac Newton was a bit brighter than some of us and he predicts the biblical code he found ends the world in 2060 so I guess

our next generation will see.

 

You know Isaac Newton

 English mathematician, astronomer, theologian, author and physicist who is widely recognized as one of the most influential scientists of all time and a key figure in the scientific revolution. 

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On 2/17/2018 at 7:36 AM, Dyna said:

Funny ...I had a great laugh.

 

Sir Isaac Newton was a bit brighter than some of us and he predicts the biblical code he found ends the world in 2060 so I guess

our next generation will see.

 

You know Isaac Newton

 English mathematician, astronomer, theologian, author and physicist who is widely recognized as one of the most influential scientists of all time and a key figure in the scientific revolution. 

lol........you are very amusing......

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Newton has never made any statement in the bible.......so what exactly is your point???

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