We Just Don’t Know

Josh and I have been talking over the past few days about the future of SCP and what we feel like doing with this whole mess that we started so many months ago. Maybe we just think too much, but we really don’t want to self-perpetuate something that really has no significance anymore. Churches do that with programs all the time…and some churches just do that in general by their own existence.

However, it seems as if our conclusion is that what we are doing, the issues we are raising, our honesty about our faith does indeed matter….at least for now. Please don’t look at this as a cry for you to say to us, “You guys are making a difference”, or as an attempt by us to garner sympathy (yeah, like that is gonna happen). We are just at a crossroads of sorts…personally, professionally, spiritually…both of us seem to be at this crossroad together. So what’s next?

Josh seems ready to “vent more” according to the recent post on his blog. He wants to call people out, confront them, express more of his anger at the church and those within the system that have hurt him. He feels that this process of honesty will possibly restore him in some way to “loving church people”. I can’t really speak for him so you should go read what he has to say. He should do exactly what he needs for his part of the journey. I applaud his honesty and join him in his adventure.

On the other hand, I want to simply walk away. Let bygones be bygones because I have pretty much exhausted my frustrations with the church. There is plenty wrong with the church, it’s people and the system. There are still “church people” that do “stupid things”. There always will be and I will always enjoy laughing at the stupid things they do and pointing them out…because the emperor really isn’t wearing any clothes.

One of the things I have held onto for quite some time was that the reason I bitch and complain is because I truly do care about the institution called “the church”. But I am not sure if I do anymore. Whether a certain church grows or not doesn’t concern me. How a church chooses to reach people, while it may cause my stomach to roll, doesn’t matter anymore. Whether a group of people labels themselves Emergent, Purpose-Driven, Evangelical, Baptist or whatever they choose… I could care less.

Do I think pastors should resign? What does it matter. Do I think the Emergent is a denomination or not? Who really cares. Should churches use marketing techniques to draw people into their community? Whatever. Should Tony Jones raise support? God Bless Him. What is the “real” purpose of the churchwhy does God seem so distant….does God answer prayer? Only God knows.

And that last answer pretty much sums it up! ONLY GOD KNOWS… and the wonderful thing about God is this….He really knows how to keep a secret.

It’s a mystery people. This whole freakin’ world is a mystery. We REALLY don’t KNOW anything about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or salvation. We have hope. We have belief. We have faith. We don’t have certainty.

You may think you know…but you don’t know know. And you know you don’t know know but you are scared to admit it. I know I am.

The people I work with are more concerned with the mysteries of life than they are with the church. They contemplate the mysteries more than they do the church, because to those in the real world (and not this Christian subculture) the mysteries matter. They are the stuff of life.

What am I here for?
Why did my dad die?
Why did I lose my job?
Why did my marriage not work out?

These are the mysteries. This is the stuff of life.

How do you know when you are really in love?
How does my heart keep beating?
Why do I smile simply by thinking of my children?
How can I know if God is there?

These are the mysteries. This is the stuff of life.

We can read. We can study. We can discuss. We just don’t know.

We can hope. We can believe. We can have faith. We just don’t know.

But we hold onto that hope. We hold onto that belief. We hold onto that faith. We hold onto all of it because it is the only thing we have. Yet we really don’t have anything. But maybe, just maybe we have everything.

We just don’t know.

50 thoughts on “We Just Don’t Know”

  1. If you do decide to stop actively doing this site, I hope you guys will keep the archives (of the blogs and the podcast) up. These types of things have seasons, and if you’re at the point where SCP is not beneficial to you and you’ve got to step back, there are plenty of your readers who will understand. Others won’t but that’s because they suck and are stupid.But I’d want you to keep the archives up, so other people like me could find them. I’m no n00b, especially not to the blogosphere/online journal world, but I didn’t know until this fall that there were Christian blogs out there like this at all! I found the first irreverent progressive blog via a “secular” blog, actually, and it was so great to find sites like yours. I said to myself, “Holy shit, I’m not the only one who thinks this way and feels this way and has this sense of humour and incredulity at the whole thing!” I think sites like yours provide evidence that maybe there’s room in Christianity for people like us. People who are tired of the bullshit and and aren’t afraid to make homoerotic jokes.I’m not meaning to kiss ass or anything, or pour on the compliments for which you stated you were not fishing. Though that’s probably what I’m doing. You know I’m a big fan of critical thinking, and I’m also a fan of the rhetorical process — discovery and creation through language (gee, can you tell I’m a recent university graduate?). That’s the reason I started my own blog — so I could process the things I hear and see and think and read in this particular arena of religion, faith, and spirituality. It’s the way I work and I think it’s the way you work too. To me, SCP has value because the process is more important than the end result, if there is even an end result, which maybe there isn’t, because it’s not like the church (or The Church or Teh Church — I think I’m going to purposely misspell the article all the time from now on) is going to magically change quickly or any time soon. I personally am not really concerned about Teh Church. I go to one, because I know the people and like spending time with them and the pews are pretty comfortable and it’s not super offensive, all things considered. I’m concerned, perhaps more selfishly, with Jesus, with the nature of truth, with the implications of scripture, with theology, with philosophy, with reality, with comedy, with vegetarian moussaka. I consider Teh Church often but usually only to make fun of it because, as you point out, it’s easy and fun.If I had a vote, which I don’t, I’d vote for more SCP. SCP all the time. But if that’s not what you’re up for these days, then don’t force it. (But do keep in mind I’ve recently converted two youth pastors to SCP. I know you’re working to get rid of pastor-ego, sorry if I caused you to stumble just now. 🙂

  2. your definition of faith is all and well but you lack the important component, confidence. In response to lfh you wrote that you dont know you’re going to heaven? By all accounts it sounds like you are shallow rooted and certainly shouldn’t be in a position of spiritual leadership, especially with young impressionable minds like in a youth group. good luck.

  3. I never get the Lord from reasons and logic… personally.Keep seeking and sharing, Steve…<>“Tin Roof – Rusted!”<> 🙂

  4. Geesh… davidsoftulsa watch out! You might get sent to the principals office by tmike.TMIKE said: <>I thought the purpose of this blog was to tackle this dillema of what we do and don’t know in light of God’s truth.<>Where in the world did you find on this site that this was the purpose of the SCP blog or website? Where did you read this even on this post of mine. I just raise the questions, make some observations, express my feelings, provide my perspective….I think you have us confused with another site my friend.And you are definitely full of opinions yourself… cause it is your opinion that this site (or others like it) are boring unless there is scripture used as defense for one’s opinions. But of course I am sure you have a biblical passage to defend even that opinion. And of course your interpretation of those passages to defend your point of views might themselves also be considered an opinion.But in my defense, I have used scripture throughout my comments here. Do I get any brownie points for that?Anyway, we are glad to have anyone around here that wants an honest dialogue as well as they don’t take themselves too seriously. Cuz we don’t. Welcome to the Stupid Church People “Love Shack”!

  5. davidsoftulsa wrote that everything is a grey matter, and he meant everything. he also wrote about perception being reality. My perception of you is that you’ll be conformed to this world because of your moral relativism, bending with the cultural winds because of your lack of black and white convictions. Is this perception of mine reality?

  6. I read once that the opposite of faith isn’t doubt… rather on the opposite side of faith lies the presence of certainty.Faith consists not of things tangible, but of things intangible. The genetics of faith aren’t bound by my belief but are evidenced by blindness toward them.I have a friend who is more than twice my age (he’s over 70) who, after my quizing him whether there are ever answers to our questions about God, stated:<>I believe that God exists and that Jesus is Messiah. All else is mere comentary.<>This is coming from someone who has spent much more time than I’ve been alive seeking the things of God.Anyway, do what you feel you need to do. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the posts the casts and the discussion. I hope y’all hang around but understand if you don’t.And I sincerely apologize for not saying before that I appreciate what you guys have done.n8

  7. <>Deny yourself…is the antithesis of dismissal…”<>That’s something you don’t hear very much. It needs to be heard more often. Good comment.

  8. I am working to enter the full time pastorate. I have over the years have followed just about every movement known to man, and almost set out to follow the emergent movement if I hadn’t seen the movement for what it is. Don’t be so quick to go one way or the other. I think there are aspects of the faith that quite frankly deserve to be made fun of and we should learn to develop a sense of irony about ourselves. I know your anger. I know your frustration. I have it as well. I am angry at the church for having hurt me. But they are sinners, they are no better or worse than I am. Your sight can do a lot of good. Honesty about our faith, our struggles, and most importantly the grace of Christ’s death which has saved us are things that we need to share. I have a lot of non-christian readers on my blog. If there is anything I want to share is that God’s love and grace and redemptive power is real and that sometimes we as christians do silly and goofy things that deserve to be made fun of. It is hard to do it with a sense of humor and love and not out of anger.Love in ChristDave

  9. Wow! Can I first of all just say….”Why can’t we just all get along?” 😉2nd, WOW again to LFH, I wish I was like you….but I “know-Know” that it just will never happen for me.3rd this is the best SCP post and comments to date! And Steve did you know that you have a beautiful podcast voice?

  10. LFH:There is truth. No doubt. There are absolutes. Without question. Nowhere have I said that just because I cannot understand something doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. I am very glad that you agree with me. You wrote:<>If it is true then what kind of truth does it claim to be, subjective or objective? If we can not understand everything in it does it mean those portions that are confusing and complex are not true or are they just parts of the puzzle that have not been revealed yet, but parts that must exist in order for the puzzle to be completed?<>We agree then…there are mysteries. There are things that are “unexplainable” to us. Of course it doesn’t mean that there are not complete answers to the questions that we may a) discover later or b) never know. In other words… we may know, we just don’t “know-know”. Now where have I heard that before.

  11. I think one of the things that might be different about being a pastor…and about being ‘on radio’ (well…a podcast)…is radio can be quite deflating, because you put your best into something – you put your all into it – and then you get next to no feedback ..or no feedback..from listeners….or just criticism.This is part of your transition from pastor…to radio star….where you have to learn to do without the immediate adulation that you get as a pastor….I read radio news for a living. During my shift I might get two or three calls from people who are shitty because I haven’t given a sports score for their team…Very deflating, because they haven’t even taken any notice of the news….after I put all my heart and soul in…..But according to the radio ratings, how many people listen to me? Somewhere between about 15,000 and 30,000 people every bulletin..Don’t walk away from the podcast because you think hardly anyone’s listening or going to listen.Lance.

  12. Thank you for contradicting my opinions, after all “woe to me if a stumbling block comes through me”(thank you Ifh). I haven’t heard anyone use the morality line in a while, I enjoyed that. And to answer your question Yes. I am actually taken some courses right now on “how to conform to this world” and as far as the cultural winds I have been planning to bend with those for years I just haven’t found a lot time in my schedule lately.

  13. Yeah…..that’s all I can think to say and not get caught in any kind of argument…I don’t know and yet I keep on keepin on …just like you …..and I don’t know but what I AM one of the SCPs…..I don’t know anything anymore save for Him and His love….

  14. I think it might be more accurate to say, “Church IS Stupid People.” Ain’t that why Christ came in the first place? After Abraham, Noah, Moses, David, Job, all those prophets, all those martyrs, we STILL didn’t get it – God said, “Okay, fine – I’ll just COME then… and while I’m there, I’ll take care of all that sacrifice stuff for you – all YOU have to do is – (drum roll) ACCEPT IT FREELY!!!”And still, a lot of us stupid people don’t.

  15. I don’t know, either;Why do my kids love me?Why was I born in America and not Sudan ?Why do I have friends who reach out to me when I have nothing to offer them?Why should I be able to save a bunch of money on car insurance by switching to GEICO?Bad things happen, good things happen (although, if I think about bad things hard enough, I can usually trace the “why” back to some choice I made, so no mystery there—but not always). To my mind, most of my “why’s” are a result of filtering God through my Americanism. We’re a people who have become accustomed to our “rights” I have this expectation that God must be fair and just. Well, He’s just, but not fair. Your dad died, my dad lived. That’s not fair. My business has a tough year, while another guy sits on his ass and makes a pile of money because he knew someone who could help him get that government contract. I don’t think that’s fair either. But we deceive ourselves when we start thinking that we had a right to any of those things.The internal demand to understand the mysteries only results in frustration. The wicked prosper, the righteous struggle. Shit happens.God is.You’re right. Only God knows. But as He said to Job, so He says to me; “Who the hell are you? I don’t remember asking your permission to make the world.” (my paraphrase)You’re right again in that we believe things about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and salvation. But we think we know far more than we actually do.So what do we really have? As you said, we have faith, and we have hope. We also have love.And the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:13)I think Zeke is on to something when he describes our sinfulness as < HREF="http://onefortruth.blogspot.com/2005/11/godscrum-episode-4-is-live.html " REL="nofollow">the failure to love perfectly.<>Read < HREF="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=53&chapter=13&version=31 " REL="nofollow">1 Corinthians 13.<> I think Paul’s on to something when he calls love “the most excellent way.” (12:31)I love you, Steve. Thanks for hanging it out there. Good post, bro.

  16. the problem is that you dont give this subject matter the gravity it deserves. You hide behind flippant sarcasm and dont address questions, let alone defend your position with biblical substance. You got it right by referring to your thoughts as opinions, but you see these types of blogs get really boring if you’re only communicating opinions without a biblical defense. I thought the purpose of this blog was to tackle this dillema of what we do and don’t know in light of God’s truth. Hopefully your apathy will be replaced with a more serious tone.

  17. Steve, you’re right. We really don’t KNOW a goddamn thing. That’s scary, but honest. All we have are these shreds of hope. We get inklings of what is really out there. It’s like Plato’s “Allegory of the Caves”. We see nothing but shadows.I’m in the same boat as you. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. That’s why I’d like you and Josh to keep on with the SCP.

  18. I have been hurt by christians, and more often than not, it is negligent, rather than intentional. Fact of the matter is that people suck at loving each other. “Love one another as you love yourself” – it kinda assumes that you can love yourself. If you have not received the Grace and forgiveness for your issues, how can you love yourself – devil’s constantly in your ear telling your all about how you suck. What comes out of your mouth? Same stuff. In the body of Christ, we are all different, all at varying stages of maturity. On the other hand, we live in a culture of perpetual dismissal. The primary use of the phrase “FU” is a term of dismissal. FU = I don’t need you anyway. We live in the FU generation. You don’t like what someone does, FU! Someone hurts you, or even inconveniences you… FU!!!Its much easier to dismiss others than to love them, even when; especially when they are <>STUPID!!!<>What is really hard is to try to understand and put their needs above your own, and let then be stupid. How many times (70X7). Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me… that first two words is the antithesis of dismissal, eh?Of course we don’t know, but we have experience as our teacher. When ever the enemy lies in my ear, I always hear the truth in the other one…God is real.

  19. I did not think you really wanted my input on your salvation question, so I will answer you this. Eve also believed in what the serpent said about eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge….and she was wrong in her belief. She had the confidence to share it with her husband Adam and he believed because she believed. I hope you agree with me that their belief was not only wrong but such a lie that billions are suffering because of it. Thousands believed in false gods that caused them to perform child sacrifices…and they did it. That is a pretty confident belief in my humble opinion. You claim to be like Thomas….if this is so then Thomas did not truly believe until he had the knowledge with his own eyes. Do you truly believe or do you still have doubts? Many people believe firmly in a lot of things…Buddhists for example. Take the young man who sat in his meditation for weeks because of his belief. No food, water… nothing! Is his belief right? Is it something that would draw people in? I think so. It’s also a powerful testimony of faith. Yet faith in Buddhism is drastically different from the faith in our Heavenly Father and His Son. Faith in something you cannot know is extremely dangerous. However, I do agree with you that we cannot know everything. I never claimed there is an answer to everything as you pressumed I did. But I do know that by the good graces of our Lord and Savior I have been granted a ready defense for the hope that is within me.Why were we created? “Then God said let Us create man in Our image, according ot Our likeness;….God created man in HIs own image, in the image of God He created him….God blessed them…God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” Gen 1:26-28, 31, “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden…” Gen 3:8. You might call this speculation, but since they knew the sound of the footsteps of our Lord they were able to walk with Him, know Him and have a personal relationship with Him. He is not a stranger, He wants to be known, loved and revered. Without such knowledge then it’s just a reliance on our selves to “keep the faith”.I agree with tmike that if you don’t know then tread lightly when sharing your beliefs, “woe to the man through whom the stumbling blocks come.” Matt 18:7No where in scripture does it state that one cannot attain the knowledge of their own salvation. Here is a list of references for you: Matt 7:21; John 6:44-63; 2 Cor 3:6,17; Heb 5:9; John 17:2;, Rom 6 especially vs 5,11,22,23; Rev 1:9 (John claims himself to be a fellow partaker in the kingdom, he must know he is); Matt 3:11; Acts 1:5; Rom 6:3,5These are just a few quick references. There are plenty more that deal with this topic.Happy reading.

  20. Steve can you please explain a bit about what you mean by “know-know”. You stated:”It’s a mystery people. This whole freakin’ world is a mystery. We REALLY don’t KNOW anything about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or salvation. We have hope. We have belief. We have faith. We don’t have certainty.”This is where I am confused about your stance. If there are absolutes, which you say you agree with, then we must be able to “know-know” something about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. Did Jesus really exist in the flesh? What is the character of God? Is there such a thing as the Holy Spirit? Can one truly “know-know” these Persons. I trust in the truth that Yes we can. The Word explained it to all mankind. Can we know all the ins and outs of each one to the fullest degree? This is where I say no, and no I am not afraid to admit that. But just because I don’t know all the ins and outs of this computer before me doesn’t mean I don’t know-know what a computer is, what it does, and whether I have the ability to utilize it with absolute certainty. If I am misunderstanding what you mean by “know-know” please forgive my ignorance. But, as I see it I am in disagreement with this statement:You may think you know…but you don’t know know. And you know you don’t know know but you are scared to admit it. I know I am.I am confident that I know about salvation and what our Heavenly Father desires from us. I am also confident that I fail. In this I am grateful for the Holy Spirit’s guidence from the Word, by the will of the Father, to help me repent for my shortcomings and to give me strength to fight the battle with the full armour of God (Eph 6). I know-know that I am rescued from the bondage of sin, yet still susceptible to the temptations of Satan and his army, just as the most innocent humans in history were also susceptible and failed (Adam and Eve). As Paul so eloquently states in Romans 7:15 about our “stupidness” as humans is that we know the truth yet we continually put ourselves on our idol soap box and deny the truth. We ALL do it. For this reason I find comfort and edification with the words Jesus in Matthew 7 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in this way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you….”. This however does not mean we do not edify those who claim to be believers, but we do so without malice or bitterness or wrath or slander (Eph 4:31, read Eph 4:17-32 and 5:4). We also see that when we practice what is written in 2 Peter 1:5-11 the road to the Heavenly Kingdom will be shown to us and we will be able to travel down it seeing peek-a-boo views of the eternal kingdom through this entry drive.Is our church at a crossroads? Yes, I firmly believe it is. Our battles are about rescuing the Church from it’s fact/value split and communicating to the world that there is fact in the Bible and it applies to everyone whether they want it or not (always with love and understandin and gentleness). This is where we get our answers to the questions of life you posed:“What am I here for?Why did my dad die?Why did I lose my job?Why did my marriage not work out?These are the mysteries. This is the stuff of life.How do you know when you are really in love?How does my heart keep beating?Why do I smile simply by thinking of my children?How can I know if God is there?”I do not find these as mysteries. This isn’t something that I am afraid to admit, it is something that our Heavenly Father has given me answers to. I am no special individual compared to anyone else. I just took Matthew 7:7 literally and chose to make my will be nothing apart from God’s will.In this the Father has taught me more than any man can possibly teach and I am fully overjoyed, yet the fact still remains that compared to all there is to know about Him I don’t know much. However, He is faithful in continuous teaching as long as I am diligent in asking, seeking and knocking. It is true that the more we learn and know the more we realize we don’t know so much. However, it does not negate the fact that we do know-know the things we have been taught by Him.You seem to be in an awesome position to communicate to your co-workers what you do know about the questions they pose. The only question that remains is do you truly know what you believe and why? Without a yes to this then your task will be extremely difficult. I am grateful to see you wrestling with this and not remaining complacent, and my prayers are with you. Run to Him as fast as your knees will bend and seek first His knowledge, wisdom and understanding and do not lean on your own (Proverbs 3). If there is any way at all that I can bear your burdens and assist you in your journey please don’t hesitate to ask. “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ” 1 Cor 1:9IN Christ,LFH

  21. I just wanted to say I love this freakin site. Reading what you guys have to say reminds me of people arguing about “covenant wealth” or of-course The infamous “Grace vs. Righteousness” debates I had to hear in Bible college. Steve you strike me as a guy who has had many real questions and is tired of vague candy answers. I personaly applaud you for having the courage to not only ask, but hold out for truth. So many people accept life at face value, it is sad. A wise man once told me that all authority must be questioned and then found strong and I truly believe that. Ifh you need to grasp the concept that everything is a grey area, and I do mean everything. The reason that is true is because perception is reality. Besides that let it go I like this site because it is a safe haven from people like you who can’t embrace people for there different view points. So based on that I have a couple of questions for you Ifh. If you are a christian and you follow after christ then please let me know how many miracles you have worked this week? How many people have you brought to God? How many people are you currently discipling to do the same? And Lastly (in respone to your need to “correct” steve’s thinking) how many times did Jesus approach people with the sole intent of telling them that what they believed was wrong?

  22. Steve,(my intent here is not arrogance or to be annoying. I am sincere in all I say, unless otherwise noted for purposes of humor. Please bear with me. Thanks)What do you know? Is your heart beating? Do you exist? Do you experience pain? Is it real or a figment of your imagination or will? When you slam a hammer on your thumb is that real physical pain? How do you know? If you don’t know, try it and see what happens…you don’t have to slam just tap and that will be enough. Maybe once these questions are answered you will come to some conclusions about truth. My heart is beating…I can not control it by any shear act of will. Even if I don’t believe that it’s beating… it is, otherwise I would not be here. No one can claim that it’s only an illusion without claiming everything is only an illusion….more on that in a minute. If you don’t know about your beating heart or the existence of pain then there is no truth. This leads to one question. Did we come from a chaos/law integration that created ex-nihilo all that we see and experience? If so then there is no such thing as morality, only further chaos tamed by law. This leads to the further conclusion that there is absolutely no distinction between right and wrong, only that which is good for survival based on natural selection. Therefore, murderers do not belong in jail, they are only doing what their natural instincts tell them to do in order for them to survive and thrive. Social justice is just an oppressive myth. We have no purpose, thus nihilism is our only option because we will never know anything about anything……this posting is not real. Furthermore, there is no such thing as “absolute” so we might as well just delete it from our Webster’s dictionaries and call it good.However, if truth is something that exists then it exists without our consent, just as our hearts beat without our consent and we are born without our consent. For something to be true in it’s definition form it must stand firm regardless of what we believe about it, whether we understand it fully, or even know about it….it just is. The gravitational pull on Earth just is. Without aid of jet propulsion and unless an object is filled with helium, what goes up will come down. Now, just because the former two can bypass this law does not mean the law is not true, absolutely true (there’s that pesky word again). It has specific details. We can sit here and rationalize this law away ‘til doomsday, but the second we throw a pen in the air we witness a consistent fact that it hits whatever is below it in a matter of seconds. This is our evidence, which leads to our knowledge that something in this world might actually be absolutely true. With this discovery one question still remains where do we come from? If our existence (let’s just assume for the time being that we do exist) is by pure chance then where did planck time come from? We must deny that nothing comes from nothing and conclude that all our evidence and knowledge is false in this regard. We must have faith that something must come from nothing without any external aid and without any evidence. We might as well sit around staring into the particles of the air and watch for something to instantly appear apart from the particles of air. If this sounds a bit like lunacy then let’s explore another option.We use the evidence we have before us and conclude that we are in fact existing beings. Again, where do we come from? If we are going to conclude that we do exist then we must also conclude that we were once non-existent. What brought about our existence? Why? Since I can know I exist then I must be able to know something. And if I can know something then I must be able to learn more about that which I do not know. Through the evidence before me I also must be able to rely on the fact that what I know and what I think I know is either true or false apart from personal tastes. For example just because I like a different color than someone else does not mean I can argue that to amputate an arm is to shake someone’s hand, or that the cure for heart disease is to gobble down more saturated fat and further claim that it is just my truth. Once we get to the point of knowing we can then realize that what is within us is also knowledge that we can cross reference with the external evidence to deduce fact from fiction, and vis a vis. Is history true? What do we have from history that also tells us where we came from, why we are here and what our purpose is? And if this record is cross referenced with other historical records and places then can we have confidence to call it true? If it is true then what kind of truth does it claim to be, subjective or objective? If we can not understand everything in it does it mean those portions that are confusing and complex are not true or are they just parts of the puzzle that have not been revealed yet, but parts that must exist in order for the puzzle to be completed? Do we say something is true because it’s something we first choose we want to believe. Do we have faith in something based on a pre-suppositional belief, or does the evidence around us speak to it’s validity regardless of our desire to either believe or not believe? My prayer in all this is for those who read this post to come to the conclusion that we have not been left without evidence.

  23. Steve,I am grateful for your desire to continue this conversation. I see that you have passion for your beliefs.To answer your question I must first say this:If I were a young Christian or non-believer and asked you how does one know they are going to heaven and you gave me this response: “You see I believe I am going to heaven but I just don’t know.”I would have to ask, then why is it you believe? How do you know what you believe is true? How would you respond to such a question?I truly want to know.LFH

  24. I’ve stumbled onto this by way of a friend’s blog and read your section; feeling I need to voice my opinion. Yes, you don’t know. That is why it’s called Faith. I have to believe that there is something beyond this. That when this is all over, there won’t be anything to be afraid of. Because If I am wrong . . .then this whole world is a big sick joke. And i refuse to believe that. The way the earth was formed, the way we came about, we got air to breath, food to eat, our species can breed. TOO PERFECT. It has to be a part of someone’s design.I am a southern baptist. I don’t put much stock in the church. The church was build for the community to come together and worship God. I stopped going cause it turned out to be a match-making session for me. Every old woman and her sister tried to hook me up with their daughters or their nieces. So I worship God in my own way. I still pray for strength. I have to hold onto my faith. Take care and good luck.

  25. <>And now I tell you a <>Mystery<>, which is Christ in Y’all, the hope of Glory.<>My view is, if he’s in us, at least there’s a chance… that he might come out. And then, we might <>know<> Him. (Oh, perhaps knowing absolutely nothing else… but still, perhaps knowing Him!)And Paul said, “Y’all”. Plural.Healthy, simple, christ-centered “< HREF="http://herobill.blogspot.com/2005/11/i-love-the-church.html" REL="nofollow">church<>” may be darn hard to come by, but that’s where my Hope is. I mean, if He’s in me, and if he’s in you, and if He’s in a dozen other people, and we get together… then perhaps there’s a <>bigger<> chance that He might come out… And then, we might know… <>MORE OF HIM<>.And if that ain’t just whistling dixie… wouldn’t it be nice!?? 🙂

  26. Steve, thank you for saying what needed to be said. You’re absolutely right. We don’t know. We don’t fucking know. We try to convince ourselves and each other with our cute, fucking smiles but we don’t. One day I hope I will know as I am known. But that’s all I have right now. Hope. A form of faith, I guess. I think Abraham had it. Hope that God is real. That blood was shed. That love was personified. That Hope was crucified. That Love was glorified. I’m not on anyone’s bandwagon. I’m not interested in my church’s building campaign. I’m not interested in perpetuating anything that God isn’t in. I’m in the wealthiest country in the world. We kick ass. Yet we’re so weak and vulnerable. I’m scared. Not of death or dying so much. I’m scared of the possibility of being wrong. I’m scared of continuing to live as a religious prick. I’m surrounded by people all day long. I want to know them. I’m afraid to be known. We’re all scared. Scared and hoping. With those fake fucking smiles.Thanks for your honesty. I’ve enjoyed your blog and podcast.

  27. First I must say that I applaud you for allowing everyone’s veiw to be heard, that is rare. Life is a mystery because that is the nature of life, but I do not agree that God is keeping any secrets. Just because some one doesn’t understand something does not mean that information is being held from them. You have been fortunate enough to understand the fact that what so many people in the church believe is just irrelevant. Just because they don’t understand what you do does not mean you or God are hiding it from them. Maybe, there are things that you just don’t understand yet. I am not trying to be vague by any means so let me say this. Many times people in the church over look the simplicity of God. They are seeking to bring people to their complex, overthought, assumed Christianity. They talk about a relationship that they don’t really have or understand. They are saved, they are going to heaven, they even believe they know God personally, yet they have never had a conversation with God. God isn’t hiding anything. He has never not answered my questions.I would like to relate a quick story. One night I was having a discussion(Wild argument with profanity included) with my wife. She told me I was impossible to talk to. So in my rage I said,”Can you tell me why I am so Impossible to talk to, because everyone else in the world doesn’t seem to have a problem talking to me”. At this time I said very sarcastically,” Maybe God can tell us. God why am I so Impossible to talk to”. To my surprise he responded quite quickly and matter-of-factly,” Because your a Jackass”.

  28. I just finished chapter 4 of this book. I can’t wait to see what is in the next chapter. Maybe someone will say something like, “Believing in and accepting the forgiveness of Jesus is what allows us into Heaven so theoretically a homosexual who believes in Jesus will go to Heaven”. And then maybe one of our “no grey areas” friends will be offended and write a long drawn out response… I guess I will have to wait and see.

  29. Wow. I didn’t know that reading these comments would have taken so long. I should have curled up in front of the fire place and settled in for a chapter or two.

  30. <>It’s a mystery people. This whole freakin’ world is a mystery. We REALLY don’t KNOW anything about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit or salvation. We have hope. We have belief. We have faith. We don’t have certainty.You may think you know…but you don’t know know. And you know you don’t know but you are scared to admit it. I know I am.<>Wouldn’t it stand to reason that if we have faith and belief, then we have certainty?All I know about God, I know from His Word and from the life of Christ. That’s where faith comes from, isn’t it? So, if faith is the SUBSTANCE & the EVIDENCE (Heb.11), that sounds pretty concrete, doesn’t it?To me, my faith in what I cannot see is more concrete than my trust in what I can see (2 Cor.4:18). I have more certainty in what I know about God than what I know about me! And since He’s perfect and I’m not, I’d say that’s a pretty safe place to be…

  31. In a universe of infinite space and infinite possibilities, that which can, does. Matter which can repeat a motion cycle does repeat it if other factors force it to. It is not too perfect, it is simply the wittled down possibilities and their effects. Throw x amount of matter past a singularity, some gets caught. On the one chunk suitable for carbon replication as we know it, it happens. Other forms fail. Check out silicone based life in the ocean trenches (keywords) it seems another form has begun to replicate also.http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/001846.htmlhttp://www.sciam.com/askexpert_question.cfm?articleID=0004212F-7B73-1C72-9EB7809EC588F2D7Just food for thought.So… everything happens. That which can repeat, does. That which can continue to repeat, does. That which can replicate, does. so on and so on. If there is an absolute being in there, great. But not necessary to create the balanced patterns we experience.

  32. I do give you credit. I have total respect for Christians who have certain convictions based on their research and thirst for biblical truth. Lets face it, there are hundreds of christian denominations based on different interpretations of the very book each of us uses to defend our faith. My only point to tulsa guy was that it becomes an echo chamber if everyone gives you an ‘atta boy’ for your opinions. And no helpful conclusions can be reached when people disagree with your opinions based purely on their point of view. We can all admit confusion with Christianity, the more we incorporate scripture the easier it is to sort out God’s truth. Being that this is your blog, I apologize for assuming this to be your purpose.

  33. “Atta boy” tmike….In all seriousness… I appreciate your response. And I agree Scripture is a vital part of our quest… although not the primary purpose of this entire site.Glad you are here.

  34. Yeah, that ‘deny yourself’ comment got me thinking too.Could it be that by painting God as an enigma, we are subconsciously excusing ourselves from personal responsibility as ‘christians’, all-the-while relying excessively on grace?I mean, ‘denying self’ denotes some kind of action on our part, doesn’t it? Holiness or something??(just asking. not quite sure…)

  35. As well as listening to SCP, I also listen to the Ecetera podcast every Wednesday. Eric, and all the others on the show share (including listeners who call in) their struggles openly with their listeners.Steve I don’t think that you should even consider packing it in because you have possible un-answerable questions. Life in Christ is a journey. On the Keylife/Etctera show they interviewed Tony Campolo. Tony stated that he asked Bono why did he write the song “I still haven’t found what I am looking for” when Bono is supposed to be a Christian. Bono replied to Tony “Becoming a Christian doesn’t answer all the question, but rather it raises more questions.”Don’t be discouraged, your show has ministered and entertained me and I amsure many others out there. If your looking to expand your work you should consider doing the show live and interviewing more people or have the people who listen call in and share with you. Really that’s what your doing, sharing your thoughts and feelings. We are finite being there is a limit on how much we can share before comingrepetitious. I believe talking with others will give you the opportunity expand yourselves and challenge and test what you believe and possible learn if you are open.Don’t think of the what your currently struggling with only as list of problems or unanswerable questions but rather as list of opportunites for further learning until you take your last breath of life.If we all knew everything, there would be no need to communicate with each other whatsoever.Dan Hergott

  36. Steve, Forgive me for being such a pest. I do not wish to offend or bother. However, this site reaches others and I say this for others as much as for you. “We can read. We can study. We can discuss. We just don’t know.We can hope. We can believe. We can have faith. We just don’t know.But we hold onto that hope. We hold onto that belief. We hold onto that faith. We hold onto all of it because it is the only thing we have. Yet we really don’t have anything. But maybe, just maybe we have everything.We just don’t know.”This statement does not seem to agree with your posts. To believe in something you don’t know is to have blind faith. To believe in a myth. Myth’s are nothing but constructions by men (usually with the help of Satan because they can have portions of truth mingled in them, but not the whole truth). To say one can not know and to also say there is absolute truth strikes me as an oxymoron with regards to God’s character. One is left hopeless in his/her efforts to live according to this absolute truth.Are there many ways to God? What does the scriptures say? “I am the way,and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” John 14:6 Can we know the Father, Son, Holy Spirit? “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know HIm, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you….But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” John 14:16, 17, 26Without true knowledge belief is nothing more than a psychosomatic crutch to help one cope with the difficult questions of life because they are left with nothing but their own cognition to gain comfort. God dpes not leave us alone to believe in something without giving us BOTH personal experience for knowledge and external sources to back up our knowledge. Finally, (and I will leave you be after this. May the Lord grant you ears to hear.) belief without knowledge is shallow belief and won’t hold up against “the false prophets, who come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matt 7:15, “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men,by craftiness in deceitful scheming;” Eph 4:14, and finally we are warned “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.” 2 Pet 2:1. We do not have a “ready defense” for the faith if we can not honestly say that yes, it does provide knowledge, wisdom and understanding of even the most difficult questions in life. Without it Christianity is no better than any other “religion”.My prayers remain with you.With all God’s Loving-kindness“AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.” Mark 12:30

  37. Well thanx for keeping on posting….as you can see, 2 of my readers have found you from a link I posted to you when I copied your MLK post. I am glad you are here, and hope more obscure people show up from out of the woodwork to let you know you are being read.I got you from the Cubicle Reverend.And Besides, you 2 almost have ONE MILLION VIEWS!!I am new to blogging, but isn’t there s’posed to be some sort of cake involved? A confection of some sort certainly?

  38. Steve, would you be happier if you did know? If you knew everything or at least everything pertaining to God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit I believe the relationship would end. There would no longer be any desire to spend time with them, nothing new can be learned. That idea doesn’t comfort me, in fact, it scares me more than this current state of “not knowing” that alot of us find ourselves in. A couple weeks ago in youth group the pastor said something comforting “do you feel like there is no God? Are you mad at God? Do you often ask “why me God? Let me tell you that there isn’t a Christian alive that hasn’t had those feelings. We’ve all been there. You’re not wrong for feeling this way.” That made me feel better because I often have those questions and feel like “ya know I really don’t know anything.”I believe, but I don’t know. Just like you. You’re not alone. The success of the blog and the podcast prove that. You’ve asked yourself numerous times I’m sure, what’s the point of this journey I’m on? I don’t know, I can’t speak for you, but I believe the point of a spiritual journey is to keep growing, keep learning, keep asking new questions when we find new answers. God will decide when our journey ends, when He calls us home to be with Him.

  39. <>Why is it you believe (that I am going to heaven)?<>Because of what Christ did on the cross. His mercy and GRACE in that act.<>How do you know what you believe is true? <>I don’t know. All I have is faith in his grace…which is his gift to me. Nothing else.FAITH has been defined as this:ACTION based upon a BELIEF sustained by CONFIDENCE.ACTION= The process of doing something.BELIEF= An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.CONFIDENCE= The feeling that one can rely on something.Jesus even taught that we can’t know. He tells us many who call him Lord won’t be saved, but only those who do the will of the Father can enter into heaven. Many false prophets speak the Bible. Many men try to lead others down burdensome paths of adding to their faith….there are things to do, things to know, things to understand…. then you can know for certain. These men think that until you accept that this what they say is absolutely true, you might as well not believe anything else. Believe in the entire Bible (every word literally) or you might as well throw all of it out. (I don’t know if this is your opinion, but I suspect you might be in this camp). It’s your FAITH plus something… then you can know. When asked in the book of John, “What must we DO to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The WORK of God is this: to BELIEVE in the one he has sent.”I guess I have much more in common with Thomas than I do with Peter. Both followed Jesus faithfully. One doubted right up until the moment he put his hands in his sides after Jesus came back. Peter boldly proclaimed his faith, and was willing to put up a fight in the Garden to stop the execution because he knew Jesus was the Son of God. Both Thomas and Peter had different ways in following the Savior…but to qualify these men as disciples there was only one test he gave them. It wasn’t a knowledge of the Bible test, or a systematic theology test… it was a test that started like this: “Follow Me”.Both of these men, although very different in personalities, passed that test. That’s all I am doing. Following Jesus….why…because others around me were following him, I liked what I saw in their lives and how he had made a difference, so I agreed (and agree) to follow him too. I don’t know where he is leading (I think I know) so I just keep following.

  40. LFH… please don’t leave me alone. I obviously need you in my life to point out how blind I am, how weak and false my knowledge is, how wayward my faith, how shallow my beliefs. It’s not the first time I have been told that I am only an “inch deep spiritually”. You know I thought we were having a conversation. Now I see that this has been about you trying to fix me. You aren’t seeking to understand, you are seeking to prove me wrong and fix my “wayward” belief system that you presume to be inferior to yours. That’s fine by me.You see I am seriously OK with what you believe. It is something that you have confidence in and obviously strong convictions about. God bless you… you certainly know your Bible. I didn’t want you to think like me or change to my point of view (in my experience life will have a way of helping you along in this way – but maybe not), I was just hoping you might hear and gain an understanding of how someone like me thinks. Not sure if you really heard me or listened. You know that “Lord grant them ears to hear” line goes both ways.So let me ask you a direct question, something I really want to know the answer to… I need your help. Based on what you have read here, am I going to heaven?I hope you will answer this for me… I figure you might know. You see I believe I am going to heaven but I just don’t know. I was hoping you could shed some light on this matter for me. Please don’t leave me alone now.

  41. I’m so hoping your next post will tell us whether you fought or you just walked away. I’m all for the pursuit of the UNKNOWN. Just as long as it doesn’t get philosophical, cause then I get ree-heelly bored. Do what you gotta do. Or- do what you can’t NOT do.

  42. Some of the more poignant comments directed towards me lately in this “discussion”:<>…belief without knowledge is shallow belief and won’t hold up<><>May the Lord grant you ears to hear.<><>My prayers remain with you.<><>By all accounts it sounds like you are shallow rooted<>Anyone and everyone that says I am “thin-skinned” and/or “defensive” should retract those statements right now. Geesh, I am starting to feel like Brian McLaren….you’d have thought I had said something as shallow as <>…Frankly, many of us don’t know what we should think about homosexuality.<> 😉 Why is the person being reflective or asking questions always considered to be “weak” in their faith or “spiritually shallow”?

  43. LFH:I seriously don’t want to get into a back and forth long discourse with you. Others should and I hope will contribute. This has been good, but I just think it is ok to not always agree or to have to try and prove something to the other person. I am seriously comfortable with where I am, and I am ok to have you disagree. I just think we agree more than you are willing to admit. As for what I mean by “know-know”, I thought it was clear, but let me use your own words.You write: <>But just because I don’t know all the ins and outs of this computer before me doesn’t mean I don’t know-know what a computer is, what it does, and whether I have the ability to utilize it with absolute certainty. <>I used to use this with my youth group all the time. I used the microwave oven as my example however. Same idea.I don’t need to know how a microwave works to use one.That’s my point again my friend. I don’t “know-know” how a microwave works. But it doesn’t mean I don’t use one or believe it exists. You just admitted above you don’t know-know…so on this we agree. Or maybe you think you can know God more easily than you can understand how a computer works? I seriously do not think you believe that.You are right, I don’t know completely what I believe and why. I don’t think I can know the answers to many existential questions as the ones I have posted. That’s the mystery. I don’t think I am meant to know. I believe that’s what dependence on our Creator is all about. I believe that is why the mysteries exist… to make me more dependant on God and less dependant on my own self. I am not confident or certain of a lot of things….but I believe a lot of things. I am quite comfortable in leaning on God’s understanding and less on my own. People like yourself seem hell-bent on reasoning your faith down so that you have an answer for everything…even if it means you make amazing leaps in logic to do so. I know you are seeking truth and answers… that you “stand to reason” and all of that… that you think there is an answer for everything, for every mystery. I just don’t believe there is… here and now. And I know-know you agree with me on this.However, I can take it a step further and you won’t and that’s OK. While I believe there is a step beyond and that there is a heaven because the Bible says so, I do not “know-know” that there is actually a heaven. I live as if there is, hoping and having faith that there is, but my hoping and my faith don’t make it so. Even saying the Bible says it doesn’t make it so. I understand historical criticism. I know the Bible to be true in many things, but historical accuracy alone don’t prove it’s claims to the hereafter. Or to what it truly takes to get there.Had I been raised in the Middle East I might believe very different things about these subjects. Had I been born in Israel I might have a slightly different view. Had I been raised in China, who knows what I would have understood about Jesus or God or the Bible.I also take Matthew 7:7 at face value. I don’t think I have to know-know…I think I can keep asking, keep knocking and that’s just fine. I don’t think this disqualifies me from sharing my faith. Maybe you do, but I think love is what I am supposed to share…more so than reason.I also take this at face value. This saying applies to everyone regardless of faith. It is one passage that helped me in dealing with the existential questions that I raise:<>For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.<>I guess I am still a child at heart.If you want to have more juicy discussions like this, head on over to Edge of Faith and their post titled < HREF="http://edgeoffaith.com/2006/01/of-pagan-myths-and-saviors.html" REL="nofollow">“Of Pagan Myths and Saviors”.<>Right now my head hurts…. I think I am going to go back to “not thinking” and watch the Super Bowl.

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