Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring has Sprung!!

Spring is HERE!!  It's 84 degrees outside, and I just received word that I got an "A" in my writing class.

I just sent my transcript request and will have that credit transferred to MVNU and I'll begin the registration process and get to work on that Masters Degree!

I am so excited to see what God is going to do.

Until His Work in me is Complete...
Paul

Monday, March 12, 2012

Faith


I haven't written much here this past 6 weeks because the class I am currently taking is a writing class, and by the time I have gotten my homework done, writing has been the last thing on my mind...  But, I want you all to know that God is good.  God has been working in me, giving me life experiences and insights into the needs of people that I could not have received any other way than to live it.  I will share some of those in the near future, but today I am posting the paper I wrote for my final essay.  We were given the choice of three topics to choose from, Religion, Choices, or The Environment.  Let's just say that for me, this was a no-brainer.  It didn't take me 2 minutes to decide I would choose the Religion topic.  What follows is my paper.  It was Titled, Faith.
 
Faith affects every aspect of our lives, not just our spiritual well being, but every relationship we have is impacted by our faith.  Faith is the root, not only of many spiritual belief systems, but also of every life directing philosophy one might hold dear.
No matter what the thing is one believes in, that belief must come through faith.  For example, I am a Christian, I believe that Jesus Christ is the miraculous incarnation of God Himself.  That Jesus Christ is human, yet also deity.  I believe that Jesus Christ died, went to Hell, conquered death through resurrection, ascended to Heaven where He now sits at the right hand of God the Father.  I believe that the Holy Spirit was sent by Jesus Christ after He ascended to Heaven to be a conduit for believers here on earth.  I believe the Holy Spirit is present in the life of every believer, making communication with God almighty possible.  The things I believe in cannot be proven, yet I believe they are true.  There is no “scientific rationalization” for my beliefs, yet I believe them as strongly as I believe that the earth is round.
I have chosen to place my faith in those beliefs.  I do not place my faith in my pastor, nor my deacon, my church, my fellow believers, or even in my own ability to adhere to some set of rules, regulations, or liturgies.  I place my faith in Jesus Christ himself.  For me, this is a conscious thing.  It is something I have chosen to do.  I accept that there are things I do not and cannot know absolutely, but the things I can see, the things I do know only strengthen my faith that God is in control of that which I do not know.
It may sound odd, but there are only two things I can say I would die for without any question or hesitation.  My Family is one of those.  There is no doubt that my family is real.  I can touch them, I can see them, I can hear them, I can smell them, I love them with my entire being, and I would without any question give my life in exchange for any of them if the need ever arose.  This is not unusual, almost any father would.
I can also say that same thing of Jesus Christ.  While I have never seen Him face to face, I have never smelled him, I have never felt His physical embrace, I would die before I would deny Him.  I have and would give up anything to follow His call upon my life, even if it meant uprooting my family or making huge changes to my lifestyle.  There are some things that are just simply more important than earthly conveniences.
Because of my heavy reliance on my faith, it impacts everything I do.  Every relationship I have is filtered through my faith, every decision I make is subject to scrutiny from the same source, albeit not always with the same fervor or importance, and I believe every person alive is just like me.  Not all share the subject of my faith, we each have our own, but we all have faith in something that is bigger than ourselves.  We all live our lives in accordance with some written or unwritten ideals that govern or at the very least influence every decision we make.  From simple decisions like, “What will I eat today?” to more important decisions like “What car will I buy?” and especially to the much more important decisions, like, “Who will I marry?”, “What will I study in school?”, or “How will my life impact those around me?”
In Sandelands, “Sustainability, Faith, and the Market” he explores how our Faith impacts every aspect of our lives from a Christian perspective.  He uses the following diagram to show how God interacts with our relationships with our own thought process, with others and with nature:
(137)
The title “God” in the diagram applies to the subject of Christian Faith, but the diagram is applicable to any, and I would venture to say all, faith systems.  Whether the subject of one’s faith is God, Buddha, Muhammad, Allah, or the Great Spaghetti Monster, all of us place our faith in something we don’t completely understand.
I could have chosen to place my faith in science, as my Uncle and his family have.  I actually considered it at length, and still to this day from time to time, wrestle with the scientific option.   For example, I have studied the scientific “proofs” of evolution.  I have considered the possibilities that everything around us was indeed not created as the Bible teaches, but that it evolved, as Science teaches.  I have considered this possible explanation and frankly, I find it much more difficult to believe that everything is the result of some cosmic accident.  The odds of the universe as we know it evolving through a series of events guided by nothing more than chance are staggering.
There are no examples in our known world of genetic mutations benefiting the organism in which those mutations take place, yet evolutionists ask us to believe that all living beings are the result of mutations that benefited the creatures in which those mutations took place.  Examples of genetic mutations are plentiful, we call them “Disease”.  So, if anything, biology teaches us that we are Devolving, not Evolving.
There are so many missing pieces in the evolution theory to answer the question “Where did we come from” that I believe it takes MORE faith to credit evolution with a viable explanation of where we came from.
For me, there is simply not enough evidence for me to put my faith in the sciences.  There are far too many unanswered questions.  To believe what the scientific community poses as answers, requires much more faith than it does to believe that someone created it.
Even Atheists (who will claim there is no such thing as faith) put faith in something bigger than themselves.  Their faith is rooted in the ideology that there is nothing in which they are willing to invest their faith.  On the surface, this seems like it requires very little faith, since those who are investing their faith deny it’s very existence.  But I would propose that to deny one’s faith, actually requires more faith.
For example, allow me to liken faith to oxygen.  I can believe with all my being that I do not need oxygen to keep on living.  But it doesn’t matter what I believe, the fact is I need oxygen to keep living.  Unfortunately, the only true way to prove that is to deny me oxygen.  Of course, denying me oxygen would lead to my death.  This is a scientific fact.  We know this because we can prove it.  We know it because people suffocate and die from lack of oxygen every day.  But, what if nobody had ever suffocated from lack of oxygen?  Would the absence of someone’s death as a result of lack of oxygen prove that we do not need oxygen?  Obviously not.
So it is with faith.  We all have faith, just like we all need oxygen.  We can deny we need oxygen, but that doesn’t change the scientific fact that we do need it.  We can deny to have faith, but that doesn’t change the spiritual fact that we are placing our faith in something.
I choose to place my faith in Jesus Christ because He has proven himself to me in an undeniable and incredible way.  When I entertain the questions, “Where did I come from?” and “Why am I here?”  I always come back to the same place.  I was created by a God who loves me and who has a plan for me.
If I’m wrong, I’ll know it within seconds of my death, or then again, maybe I won’t.  But this I do know.  I would rather err on the side of being right and live my life as if there is a God to whom I am accountable, than to err on the side of believing there is nothing more after my time here on earth to find out I was wrong and spend eternity separated from that God.