According to the Bible, the Virgin Mary got pregnant without Joseph's sperm or genetic material. Egg fertilized by Spirit? An angel informed Mary's husband of the pregnancy. Can we believe angels exist as Billy Graham does or regard them as relics of Hebrew mythology, fabrications of man's fertile brain?
The star of Bethleham! Chances are it was a literary star with no counterpart in nature. Someone is always trying to prove it was a comet or planets lined up.
So much in the Bible is perceived as the fulfillment of prophecy. Can we take this stuff literally or view it as legends in the collective mind of ancient Middle Eastern tribes. With prophecy, we work backwards. We invent it after the fact.
Is there such a thing as sin? Sin does not exist in nature. A cat kills a mouse. No sin.
Billy Graham believes in demons. I am 60 years old and have never seen a demon or evidence of a demon. Nor have I seen a miracle. The Bible is a string of impossibilities. People might say these things do not happen today but happened back then. The notion is ludicrous. Why bend over backwards trying to force reality into a theological frame?
If Jesus is God, why does He not return now? Why not put things in order now? If the universe is 15 billion years old, will it take Him another 15 billion to do so?
Can we believe Jesus ascended into heaven? He floated into space? Have astronauts in the Shuttle orbited past Him? In film biographies of Jesus, he has the piercing blue eyes. The Anglo-Saxon Jesus! He reels off vague parables which are riddles to the modern world. The surest way to confuse is to use a parable, analogy, metaphor or simile. What is God? What is the Kingdom of God? Where is God and where did He come from? Is theology man's invention? Books, art and movies take things out of context. They distort reality into episodes with a hope of commercial success. Does the Bible do this? If not, why do we have to buy a Bible in a book store to read the word of God? Why do preachers preach until they are blue in the face and then ask for money? The bottom line is money.
Apart from imagination and art, how could Jesus have raised Lazarus from the dead? The supernatural does not exist in a natural universe. Faith can not make the impossible happen. Yet, Jesus said, "I am the Resurrection, and the Bible says all things are possible with God. Are those who speak of an empty tomb as evidence of the Resurrection not failing to distinguish between an actual tomb and a tomb of the mind?
Preachers wear suits and ties and give an appearance of being sane, rational people. When they speak of a rapture and physically rising through the atmosphere to leave behind the unredeemed, we realize something is amiss.
Evangelist Jimmy Swaggert extolled virtue while patronizing prostitutes. Morality is most plausible when it has a scientific foundation. It was not science that used nuclear energy for bombs. It was a clash between tax-funded military establishments which have traditionally embraced religion. If one gets paid to perpetuate ignorance, he will generally do it.
Mormons are on the cutting edge of Christianity. They claim Jesus came to western America to save Indians. If intelligent life is discovered in another part of the galaxy, a sect will arise claiming Jesus appeared to redeem lost aliens.
The age of theology lay between 3000 B.C. and 600 A.D. The age of science began 400 years ago. Carl Sagan, in his book, "The Demon-Haunted World," called science the candle in the dark.
Science is the way, evolution over creationism, observation over revelation, objectivity over subjectivity. Our eyes and ears tell us how things are. It is as we suspected when we were kids, before organized religion sapped our energy. Religion is flawed. We are physical, not spiritual. We are alive when we are alive. We are dead when we are dead. We are not dead when we are alive. We are not alive when we are dead.
We live in a natural universe. The supernatural does not exist apart from man's imagination and his tendency toward myth. Carl Sagan left us with these words, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Science is the candle, not mythology, not astrology, not religion.
This being said, I still subscribe to the ultimate message of the Gospels. If the Universe is 15 billion years old and middle age, Jesus Christ will return in another 15 billion years. His return will be in the nick of time to save believers at the brink of the universe's demise. He will save the souls of all believers in the cosmos. At that point, religion and science are the same. The 1% of truth in the Bible merges with the 1% of truth in science. Eternity becomes a conscious mist, 1% blissful, 99% flaming, heaven and hell.
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