The Christian Journey,part one
The Law is expressed in nature, itself, and is only partially revealed in the various religions and systems of the world. Indeed, flaws, mistakes and misdeeds should be forgiven, but a society must decide on realistic standards of morality as a basis for ethics and law, and people must be held to those standards. This has traditionally been best managed by secular humanism, the foundation for universal human rights. Our knowledge of right and wrong evolves over time as we learn through science and experience.
Morality and ethics are subjects of study just like other branches of science, such as chemistry or physics. Such a holistic system minimizes hypocrisy and the cognitive dissonance that accompanies it allowing, instead, the majority of people to pursue health and happiness as nature intended. Sometimes archetypes are places, which is demonstrated very clearly in the Christian archetypes of Heaven and Hell. Heaven and Hell represent the spiritual consequences of virtue versus vice.
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Thus, volition separates the true from the false, and the good from the evil. The New Jerusalem is the idea and example of the perfect city. It is the idea of the future good society that the Bible promises will be organized upon the earth in place of the corrupt societies that have existed from the beginning of civilization.
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This coming of the good kingdom is a return to the Garden of Eden, which is the symbol of the goodness of life. It is also the fruits of the Tree of Life, which represents the immortal nature of the goodness of life. It is clear that traditional religious morality and ethics separate the spiritual from the material, the ideal from the actual, by establishing an unattainable ideal. Believers are then to ask forgiveness for that over which, as born sinners, they have no control. It is better to set realistic goals and censure wilfully bad behavior.
The scriptures are not a solid foundation for morality. Firstly, they leave much to interpretation, especially as they may be read literally or as symbol and allegory, as discussed above.
Secondly, the very heart of the Christian theology presents some problematic ethics, namely, God punishing humankind for the sins of the original parents Adam and Eve, and the human sacrifice of Jesus as atonement for that sin. It is not ethical that all humans are punished for the mistakes of the first two. It is unethical that an innocent person, like Jesus, be sacrificed for the sins of other independent actors. That is not atonement, but further injustice. As a religious meditation, the story of Jesus Christ is conducive to mystical compassion, but it is not useful as a guide for moral decision-making.
The sayings of Jesus, like the Sermon on the Mount, are more reliable as a foundation for morality, but morality cannot be informed without science and humanist philosophy. Thirdly, the threat of punishment and hope of reward are a rational basis for moral behavior, but not a rational basis for morality, and not rational at all if reward and punishment are promised in an afterlife for which there is no evidence.
Morality comes from empathy and an understanding of right and wrong. The scriptures also neglect to mention important issues that need to be considered, like rape, drug abuse, pollution and bigotry, to name a few. Today most countries recognize universal human rights as the standard of morality and ethics.
The morality and ethics of human rights are universal, that is, they do not discriminate based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, class, condition, nationality or religion. Universal human rights are informed by science, and they do not promise a future reward in an afterlife, but aim for the best possible world right here on earth. There are significant differences in the brains of conservative people in comparison with liberal people. The right amygdalas is the part of the brain that processes fear. This section of the brain has been shown to be larger and more active in people that self-identify as conservative than in people that self-identify as liberal.
That translates into more anxiety and a need to feel secure and safe. In addition to being hardwired to seek comforting, familiar thoughts and people, conservative folks are also prevented from changing their inherent and learned beliefs by other natural phenomenon in the human brain.
Confirmation bias, for example, means that the human mind unconsciously seeks out data that confirm what it already believes to be true, interprets data in a way to confirm its biases, and automatically rejects data that does not conform to that model. One barrier to adaptation is that the mind is biased against sources of information that contradict its predispositions. The backfire effect explains why arguing rarely changes minds. So, if a mind is motivated by a feeling of security that is holding off a sense of fear, and is also biased in what new information it can accept, and is suspicious of information from dissimilar sources, and is hurt by unwelcome news, really what chance does it have to learn and accept new knowledge?
It is important that children be educated this way and I am convinced that a better future depends on this kind of education. Liberal Christianity has been promoting skepticism and removing superstition from tradition for five hundred years. This dawn of reason, beginning with the Renaissance, was also the birth of modern science. Martin Luther King, Jr. Being a liberal Christian means learning to prioritize reason and science over literal interpretation of scripture. Christianity is the religion of my ancestors for at least the last thousand years. It was a major factor in the shaping of Western civilization and world history.
Its expressions in philosophy, art, music, literature, theatre, architecture and other aspects of my culture make the study of Christianity an essential part of my education. Part of me is fulfilled by helping to preserve the traditions of the church where I feel most at home. The Episcopal Church maintains two liturgies for regular services.
The parish church normally celebrates both every Sunday, the conservative one, Rite I, early in the morning, and the liberal one, Rite II, afterward, when most families come. The first service uses traditional language, prayers and the old hymnal while the Rite II service includes modernized language and a lot of newer music. Rite I will always be there to keep us rooted and Rite II will be consistently modernized to reflect the predilections of the majority.
I personally prefer the Rite I. As one who does not interpret scripture literally, does that mean that I find it to be meaningless? Certainly not. Of course not. The Creeds are and always have been statements of basic Christian belief and they inform the Christian ethos perfectly. Anyway, such changes would not be appropriate for Rite I.
They are usally too general or too deep. It's a winner! Thank you so much for your love of being a great mentor to us younger women. You are a true Titus woman. I remember her beginning to have a vision for writing her own Bible study to help Christians grow and now I see that vision fulfilled in her new book, The Christian Journey. Doris is a woman of prayer and a woman of the Word. I'm excited to see how her studies will impact individuals and the church.
Part One and Two, are useful tools to grow believers to a solid foundation of faith and beyond. This study guide is a testimony to her dreams, skills, passion and commitment.
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Her sincere desire to help others in their faith journey and her genuine love for people is real. Having sat with Doris in a number of bible studies, I know firsthand that this book will draw you into a deeper faith and experience of the grace, mercy, peace, and love of our Heavenly Father. This study guide will establish you in your relationship with Christ and in your understanding of the Bible.
She is a true warrior for the Body of Christ. Doris Homan has been actively participating in women's ministries since the mid s in the capacity of teaching Bible studies, leading small groups, speaking at women's faith-based events, one-on-one discipleship and Christian counseling. Devotions, Bible study, video teachings, faith and religion. I was born in Cairo, Egypt, in a very strict religious environment.
I grew up attending church and loved Sunday school as a child. I desired to know God but somehow He seemed far. At the age of 9 my family and I moved to the US. It was a difficult time of transition for me. Finding myself in a foreign land with no extended family or friends, I struggled with loneliness and a sense of not belonging for many years. A couple of important things happened in my teen years; I was invited to attend an evangelical church and around the same time, some friends from high school asked me to attend Campus Crusade meetings.
I began to attend both regularly and for the first time in my life I heard that I could have a relationship with God and know Him personally. This was amazing and a defining moment for me. This is what I really had desired all along, not religion but a relationship! I struggled for a while as I felt I was already a believer in Christ but one evening, after church, I remember sitting in my room and talking to God. I acknowledged my faith in Him and my desire to have a relationship with Him. I turned leadership of my life over to Him to transform me into the person He intended me to be.
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