Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Reply to my religious post last week

My post last week about my beliefs and my brief synopsis of my religious history created some of the greatest response I've had for my blog. My father in law, who is a Baptist preacher, sent me a long email with his thoughts and scripture passages pointing me toward some answers. His email brought up more of my thoughts about religion, so I decided to post the email in my blog to see what others think about it.

So, if you're not sure what I'm referring to in the email, here's my original post.

So the email goes:

As far as the animal thing, I don't know what I believe anymore. I don't really ponder it, but it was the first thing that made me question my faith in my childhood. Probably partly because I had watched "All Dogs go to Heaven" about 30 billion times. It doesn't bother me as much anymore, but if I were to question it I would ask, "how do we know a large mouth bass
Jesus hasn't appeared in the river and preached salvation to the river life, or a raccoon Moses hasn't stumbled upon a burning bush and saved all the Jewish woodland animals?" Pretty insane questioning yes, but as you put it, the bible isn't exactly definitive on this issue. Suggestion says, no animals don't, but then again they are there animals during the millinial kingdom as both Steve and Becca have pointed out. Either way, I haven't thought about this in a while. It was just the first time I remember having questions and not getting definitive answers, or even guidance. I guess, more or less, I felt we were being trained to be unquestioning Christians, which is how things like the Inquisition come about. Someone always has to question at some point, if they didn't we would all be Jewish. (Or possibly believe in Mount Olympus, Osirus, or rain gods.)

On the subject of who or what to believe, I do believe yes, ultimately the bible is the ultimate source. However I feel that some of Gods presence has existed in other cultures, or perhaps Christianity has borrowed many themes from other cultures. For instance, some early Egyptian religions celebrated Horus birthday on December 25 birthed by the Virgin Isis. Other similarities include Horus getting baptized at 12, had 12 deciples and died only to be resurrected after 3 days. These religions preceded Christianity by something like 2500 or 3000 years. Most know that Jesus was in fact probably not born on December 25, that date being changed by Constantine from the original birthday of January 6th. There are about 12-20 other major past and present religions all celebrating similar virgin births, three kings, 12 deciples, crucifixions, resurrections, ect ect. My thought is, perhaps Jesus came to many cultures at different times, leaving the final one being the spawn of Christianity, where he says his next coming ushers the end of Earth.

There are so many similarities between so many religions that I feel can't 100% be ignored even though in today's standards their mythology seems silly. The Greeks, Egyptians, Aztecs, and Romans, had insane stories on Minotaurs, Lightning Gods, Sun Gods fighting the moon, and rain gods, I feel perhaps these stories were merely inventions because the lack of science and
technology in culture. By the time Jesus came and ushered in Christianity our threshold for science was finally at a place where we didn't have to invent other Gods to explain things we didn't understand. Even the major religions today have similar Dogma's to each other, and mostly differ on the traditions, and people involved.

As far as the human corruption element being innate, I feel this is the strongest argument for Catholics' belief of Original Sin. Although the Baptism at birth by Catholics might seem silly by other denominations and religions because of the persons inability to declare their beliefs in God,
is it not a safe precaution. Maybe it saves the child, maybe it doesn't, but its a thought and belief. I do feel its proactive. Then, 10-18 years down the line, Catholics have Confirmation as the conscious declaration of our beliefs. Granted the sacraments don't magically wash away sin, (although some Catholics believe penance does do that) the one thing every denomination and religion can believe is we need a savior.