803,841 steps of faith

The one thing that defines me more than anything, maybe more than everything else combined, is my faith.

I’m a Christian.  This means many things.  I could summarize the most salient points, but the result would be either too long to hold anyone’s interest or too short to relate it in a personal way.

I’ll start with this: I believe in God.

I believe in a specific God: the God of the Holy Bible.  God is not a generic notion of omnipotence, He is not a freely interchangeable concept of deity, and He is not a vague cosmic force.  He is the God of scripture; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; He is the great “I am”.

I have believed in God since I was very young.  I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have some sense of Him, but I was eight years old when I took my first conscientious step of faith.  A pastor from a small church in Arcata, California explained to me the ideas of sin and forgiveness, separation from God and the free offer of reconciliation through faith in His son, Jesus.  I made a decision.  We knelt together on the small patch of lawn in front of the church and he led me in prayer.

My family didn’t attend church at that time and so for years my faith stagnated.  It wasn’t until I was sixteen years old that a friend (who would later become my wife) challenged me to reexamine my beliefs.  I did, and found they hadn’t changed.  At the same time I found I didn’t understand them very well.  I’ve spent the past twenty-plus years correcting that.

I examined and tested and re-examined my faith over the years. I studied the Bible.  I earned a degree in physics.  I read philosophy and mathematics.  I questioned everything—everything I learned, everything I experienced only reinforced the faith that first took root when I was eight years old.  Those roots have held firm through both intellectual challenges and personal trials.  They survived my darkest nights, the times I found no comfort in them, and they grew deeper and stronger than ever.

I still have quite a long way to go, and so I’ll keep exploring.  I’ll examine my faith each day of my life until that last moment when, having taken my last step, everything I hold dear and true is put to the final test.

Suffice to say I’m confident in the results.

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2 Comments

    • Hi Marc,

      Thanks for your reply. There’s a lot of material there; too much for me to respond to adequately in a small space like this. I plan to post more on this topic over time. Maybe our discussion can continue in more detail then.

      This topic can be a virtual mine field. I wouldn’t want to do or say anything that might strain our friendship, but the subject demands candor. Having read your article, I feel I can speak plainly and trust that you will interpret my remarks as I intend them: in a spirit of open, honest discussion between friends.

      For now, it will suffice to say that I don’t share your interpretation of the Bible. The kingdom of heaven is not an awakened state, separation from God is possible and sin does exist, etc.

      When I view the verses you quoted on their own alongside your proposed interpretations, I can’t help but feel that the language has been stretched beyond reasonable limits in order to fit a particular framework, one that is not a natural fit for what Jesus is saying,

      There is one framework within which we can clearly and consistently interpret Jesus’ teachings, and that is the Bible. The Bible is a complete, consistent, and indivisible whole. Viewing the verses in this light, holding them up against the entirety of scripture, the clarity and depth of their meaning is fully revealed.

      Thanks again for your comment; I hope we can continue our discussion.

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