Saturday, May 23, 2015

The 30 weeks of Bible Study Fellowship ended at the beginning of May with a participant inviting others to join her in a summer study of Joshua. So later that day, I called the phone number she gave and heard back a week later that things would begin the following week. And that Joshua was too long a study, so we'd spend nine weeks on the fruit of the Spirit. When she called, I had been going through my phone's list of recent outgoing calls and wondering when I'd hear from her! I was just about to add her number to my contact list when she, in fact, called me.

But, to begin next week? So soon? With the kids still in school, the sooner, the better as I'm still driving over there everyday. And who knows what the summer will bring.

I arrived at the appointed time, but the usual way in was locked. I entered by the office and my anxious face tipped off the staff that I needed direction. She pointed me down the hall with barely a word. And I joined three other ladies in a small room.

There were introductions but the other three had met last summer. Two were old friends anyway. As usually happens. Not knowing what to expect, I brought only a pen and notepad. The leader seemed somewhat annoyed, left the room and returned with an NIV. She asked whether that was an alright translation for me, that there were also NKJVs available, and I said, "Whatever everyone else uses is fine with me." Then she curtly ordered me to bring my own Bible next time. Since I'm in the habit of borrowing their pew Bibles, I probably won't bring my own.

The leader admitted that the booklets for the study had not arrived yet. She said she ordered three booklets, so I asked whether I should order one for myself. She said that since she ordered them through a local Christian bookstore (near Mater Dei High School), the shop owner got about 15 booklets, to keep the rest in his store. She figured he could spare another one. I paid her $9 in advance for the booklet.

As a sample, she brought a book on "Decisions," also published by LifeWay, to give us a sense of how the study will proceed. She managed to flip through the entire book during our brief time together. Then, she assigned us each a Scripture passage to look up and then we went around the table rattling each off. I had Romans 7:4 --
So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
Prayer requests were exclusively for unsaved family members, especially their adult children.

1 comment:

David Roemer said...

Reasons to Believe in Jesus

Reasons to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God can be found in quotes from two prominent atheists and a biology textbook.

Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, New York: Washington Square Press, p. 784)

Among the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some from of neutral monism over the traditional alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, location 69 of 1831)

And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )

Sartre speaks of the "passion of man," not the passion of Christians. He is acknowledging that all religions east and west believe there is a transcendental reality and that perfect fulfillment comes from being united with this reality after we die. He then defines this passion with a reference to Christian doctrine which means he is acknowledging the historical reasons for believing in Jesus. He does not deny God exists. He is only saying the concept of God is contradictory. He then admits that since life ends in the grave, it has no meaning.

From the title of the book, you can see that Nagel understands that humans are embodied sprits and that the humans soul is spiritual. He says, however, that dualism and idealism are "traditional" alternatives to materialism. Dualism and idealism are just bright ideas from Descartes and Berkeley. The traditional alternative to materialism is monism. According to Thomas Aquinas unity is the transcendental property of being. Campbell does not even grasp the concept of monism. The only theories he grasps are dualism and materialism.

If all atheists were like Sartre, it would be an obstacle to faith. An important reason to believe in Jesus is that practically all atheists are like Nagel and Campbell, not like Sartre.

by David Roemer