This is interesting to me because I feel like the world is already explicable. I never find myself wondering, "Why did that happen!?!?! What's going on??" Or anything like that. Before you found Christianity, did you have those kinds of thoughts? Did you feel like parts of the world made no sense?
The actions of humans make more sense to me now. I used to think that civilization was on a bit of an upward trajectory; that society was at least very gradually improving, due to increasing knowledge, more access to information, etc. But that didn't reconcile at all with what I saw around me; in fact, I saw that humans were every bit as capable of horrific acts today as at any time in the past. If anything, it appears that things are getting worse, as improved technology makes killing more efficient and a little less visible. At the same time, however, I would look around and see humans doing some really wonderful things in the world, some without any real obvious selfish interest. I think Christianity offers the best explanation for this dichotomy; humans made in the image of God ... which means more than "looks a bit like God," it means we have a similar set of characteristics, our conciousness, understanding of right and wrong, capability of love and hate. But fallen human nature unfortunately allows us to do horrific things in this world. This dichotomy shows up in a Nazi official being able to genuinely love his family after a long day at work, or an abortion doctor to be a really kind, decent person in many areas of life. We are all, in my view, capable of both tremendous good and evil.
I completely understand this because I like most Christians too. For the most part, I have found them to be hardworking, honest, dependable, and sincere in their personal lives. I still feel like I don't understand how these kinds of traits come from such a blood-soaked religion, because I feel like I have them myself and have had many experiences of religious people (and especially Mormons) sort of not comprehending how I can exist because they are used to people with my traits only being Christians. This has happened many times in my life… but that's another story.
You might want to look beyond a blood-soaked religion and see the blood-soaked world. This world is, and has always been, a very violent and bloody place. Despite our outrageous wealth in this country and other first world nations, we are all going to depart this world in a painful death. In between our birth and death, we're going to look around and see humans constantly killing each other. I'm not trying to be dark; there are wonderful things around us as well, but this world is full of brutal murder and tragic death. It is blood soaked.
By the way, I like that story about you being mistaken for a Christian. I remember experiencing that a lot in the past, when I was most definitely not one. I ascribed it to the fact that I could sort of understand their language and thought processes, having grown up around them. But maybe it was something else. It's interesting that you're experiencing that as well. I have no idea what that means, it's just interesting.
I understand that within the bounds of Christianity, this is the most important mission (saving people from Hell), but does it ever bother you that the mission is only important in the first place because God set things up in that way? It seems sort of like being ordered by your general to defuse a minefield that he had ordered laid and was continuing to spread elsewhere. I feel like I might get pissed with the general for bringing about the negative conditions that necessitated the mission in the first place. Even if I followed his orders and liked him personally, I feel like it would kind of tick me off.
By mission, I didn't really mean saving people from hell. I can't do that. It's possible that God could use some actions or words on my part in accomplishing that in someone's life, but I don't hold my breath waiting for that to happen. I think of it more as being a small part of God's hands and feet, in feeding the hungry, helping the poor, etc. I'm not talking about just charitable donations, but rather actually becoming involved in individuals' lives to make a difference in the world. There are many great people and organizations dedicated to this type of thing now. Here's just one example, the organization I volunteer with:
It's a group of people who reach out and help, hopefully in a positive way, through education, job training, financial education, and entrepreneurship.
5. I like knowing that God cares about my son, and will be with him when I'm gone from this earth. Honestly, this played a big part in me being open to Christianity. It seems so long ago now, but it was huge for me. At the risk of being hyperbolic, I feel like God sent my son into my life, and used him and the subsequent challenges to open my closed heart. My son was also the second person I told, when I realized I was a Christian. It was a huge step for me, maybe the biggest step so far, because I was so against any kind of brainwashing of his developing mind.
6. I like the Bible. Not all of it, I have to admit. But I still remember the first time I read it, actually believing it was God's word. It was amazing.
I'm not sure I really understand this. I mean, I get that as a Christian, you believe that God cares about everyone, but how is your son different or special? Doesn't it bother you how God didn't seem to care at all about the children he killed or ordered killed himself in the Bible? I feel like it would bother me that God had killed millions of children in the past over things like the sins of their parents or accidents of birth. I feel like I would worry that the same thing could happen to my son if I ever strayed from the Christian path. This is where the doubt thing comes in. If I were a Christian, and I started to have doubts, that would probably make me feel like my salvation was in jeopardy, and along with it, the metaphysical protection granted to my dependents--one of those apologetics articles tried to explain how it was merciful of God to kill children after he had killed their parents for their sins, because otherwise they would die of starvation, and a quick death was preferable. Clearly if I ever lost Jesus, then I would be unforgiven, which means that I could be killed at will, which would mean that my children could suffer that fate themselves--including the part about eternal torment--out of mercy.
To clarify, I don't think my son is special ... to anyone other than me and my family. I do think God used my son in my life to completely change me, however. He may use totally different methods with someone else.
As far as risk of death of my child through God's hands, I think I have to say this, as offensive as it may sound: All of us who have kids know that we've sentenced them to death, merely through the action of procreation. Every last one of them is going to die a sad and tragic death, likely painful, and leaving behind distraught friends and family. And yet, as parents, we know that and have kids anyway.
I know I'm not directly responding to your question, but I feel like we need to talk more about death before we get back to judging God's choices here.
7. I like the "experts." Preachers, scientists, apologists, etc. I have a real hunger to hear from these people. There are many of them, they're amazingly well-educated, and with the internets and such, it's all at my fingertips. I'm like a kid in a candy store.
This is one I feel like I do not share or understand. Most of these figures are pretty repulsive to me. They either feel fake, or come off as arrogant in how much faith they have in their own message. I rarely sense any humility in typical apologetics--just zeal to spread the message.
Well, I don't like all of them, or maybe not even most of them .... they are all humans, after all. But when I find the ones that I like, I really get into listening/reading their work.
A recent favorite is the author of this book, David Platt:
http://www.amazon.com/Radical-Taking-Fa ... 1601422210
I went with the audio book that Platt reads himself, and it's really good.
Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn't really matter.
- D.L. Moody
Diversification means always having to say you're sorry.