If it can't not be true, then it's not true.
After the music part of chapel, about a month ago, a young lady, of about 16 years of age, was introduced to give her testimony.
She talked about an allergy or rash that she had been suffering from. She said that it helped when she thought about how much Jesus suffered. That reminded her of how of little importance her pesky rash was in comparison – or in the grand scheme of things. Then, she realized she was grateful for her rash, because it reminded her that she was imperfect, a sinner.The congregation at the mission gave the young lady a hardy applause. Of course, me being me, I was horrified by it all.
She knew that her dedication to studying the Bible had flagged and she had an epiphany: The rash was Jesus telling her to renew her faith, to strive more mightily to be in accord with God's instructions. Then she found that when she studied before
going to bed at night, she awoke without the rash being a bother to her. Praise
But the rash came back, and she realized that a grudge she had with her sister was the cause of it. So, she made up with her dear sister, and the rash was suddenly gone. Praise Jesus!
She was grateful for her life. She was grateful for her rash. She was grateful for God's Glory. Praise Jesus!
It seems crystal clear to me that absolutely anything that happens, the young woman would rationalize as a message from Jesus. If something bad happened, it meant she was falling short in God's eyes. If something good happened, it was a demonstration of God's splendor.
God's presence is proved, no matter what. Doubt is disallowed, and thereby overcome. Praise Jesus! It's a tautology: God is good, all the time; All the time, God is good. God exists, because it says in the Bible God exists, and nowhere else can the absolute truth be found.
In mathematical terms, X = X, and not-X does not exist, except as Satanism.
The [Evil] World's Out to Getcha
The day before, a man from Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church got up and read one simple verse, John 15:19, which is as follows:
19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are notThe intent of the speaker was clear. He was telling the Christians seated in the chapel that non-Christians hate them, and that this news came direct from Jesus/God.
of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth
But the quote is taken wholly out of context. The quote appears in the middle of a talk Jesus was giving specifically to his twelve disciples and he was referring to the world they were living in at that point in time. Jesus, in line 27, addresses the people he's talking to as "you [who] have been with me from the beginning of my ministry."
Indeed, the Disciples were persecuted (and Christianity would have it very tough there for a while). [Visualize Christians being consumed by lions in the Colosseum.]
But things are different today. There aren't many Christian haters around, today. And I don't think any of the prominent New Atheists are, though few conservative Christians might accept that.
Non-believers in America today are not persecuting Christians for being Christian. No Christians are being fed to lions. The religion is not endangered because of a Grand Satanic Conspiracy by a vast underground network of non-believers. Christianity is not endangered, period.
And, quite frankly, had Jesus been speaking in general terms, talking about non-believers then, and non-Christians [once Christianity arrived on the scene, following Christ's death], for evermore thereafter, Jesus WOULD HAVE BEEN PROVED WRONG.
Haters of "God haters"
There's a lot of hating of "God haters" that goes on at the mission. Certainly, this is not true of a majority of the churches who come to the mission, but it is true for many.
We are told that it is a binary thing: Either you are with God, or against him. You are either glory-bound, or hell-bound. And, somehow, rather than awaiting God's Judgment, many of the churches have determined that here on earth there are exactly two types of people: God Lovers & God Haters. Which are you!?
UpdatesUpdate 5/5/09: While I await Mumon's promised post [in his Notes from Samsara (link)] on suffering and Jesus that, I think, relate to this post, here's some things that have come in the hopper [ie, my google reader] that relate:
1) Kyle R. Lovett's post, "Truth Shall Set You Free?" in Progressive Buddhism talks about uncertainty - in thoughts, of belief in God and in quantum theory. His post ends in doubt and with a Nietzsche quote, thus: “What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and; anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding.”
(2) In a comment to Kyle's post [see above], JJ tells us of Negative Capability and gives us its wikipedia link. Negative capability is a state of intentional open-mindedness paralleled in the literary and philosophic stances of other writers.
Update 5/6/09: Mumon has put us his blogpost. I recommend it to you. "The Noble Truth about Suffering."