Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Good Book

I know that many people see me as close-minded, accepting only what I know, not open to new ideas. Many see all Christians that way. I wish you could see the time I spend researching, weighing new concepts, determining what appears valid and what appears to be straw man arguments. I recently found a book that does just that – discussing the investigative methodology used to reach a conclusion.

While I found the premise interesting, I needed to know more about the author. I needed to get to know the motives as well as the methodology behind the book.  Recently I read a ‘historical’ book where the author’s personal agenda went beyond the presentation of facts, and where his book contained neither footnotes nor a full bibliography. For me, those are essential in a good book – unless it’s fiction.

Cold Case Christianity” by J. Warner Wallace is a book that piqued my curiosity simply because it was written by a former atheist. I enjoyed his website, too. I find it interesting to learn how God works in one’s life. I’ve written of this before in “No Longer An Atheist” and “Where?”, mentioning the 100th Lamb. It takes reason and logic for an avowed atheist to be open minded about God.

Non-believers often look at Christians as following blindly, closing their eyes to facts reasonable people accept without question.  Sorry – that’s pretty much invalid. We study. We question. We seek understanding of mysteries and seldom accept ‘facts’ at face value. We want to know the “who, what, why, when” as much as the “how” as any researcher. We’re looking for motives, too.

Looking at an author’s other work allows us to look for consistency in purpose. Does s/he write in sound bites, or is there depth and purpose? Is what s/he writes documented for verification? Are quotes used sourced to see if they are in context? Does the writing glorify God, or personalities? Those are important elements to me not only in current authorship, but in the Bible, too.

We need to look at the authors of those 66 books, the circumstances surrounding them. Question whether their writing was history or prophecy; timelessly applicable or specifically focused? Is it a documentation of a person’s error or an example to be followed? Being written in the Bible does not make it God’s commandment:

And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. (Genesis 25:33 KJV)

Factually reported, but Esau should never have sold his birthright, nor should we:

Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. (Hebrews 12:16 KJV)

It is necessary to know of Jacob, of Esau, of birthrights and their importance before these verses can be understood in context. It is necessary to know the scriptures, question, study and search them:

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39 KJV)

It is a good book that can raise – and answer – questions about the Good Book. May you find the time and inclination to study and research your own biblical questions.

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