Dear Mr. Foster:
You are evidently an accomplished and prolific writer, and it is a little intimidating to try to respond to your essays. Unfortunately, that has never stopped me from typing away before, although I do have trouble with the physical effort. (“advanced spell check” is a real Godsend.) Speaking of God…
The first of your articles I read was about Jon Steingard’s experience. The second, an expose about Ravi Zacharias. It would be presumptuous on my part to generalize about you from these two, but there does seem to be a recurring theme in your writings. You are trying to focus blame, and you do have plenty of ammunition, and your aim is pretty good, and there are plenty of easy targets. So, I’m not denying your accuracy in picking off the many weak and sickly, but that doesn’t make you a “great white hunter.”
There are plenty of rotten apples and sour grapes and structural problems with American Christianity. Yet, it is errant to draw doctrinal generalizations from excerpts taken out of their Biblical contexts, and likewise, it is errant to highlight individuals to thereby make generalized inferences about an entire societal group-- in this case, “Christians.”
Now, again, there is validity to many things you are writing about-- at least those that I have read-- and I do not want to violate my own philosophy by making generalizations about you. That would be hypocritical. Speaking of hypocritical…
Your explanation of the Greek root of the word and its formal definition is something I have tried to use to expound upon in my attempts to delineate between “Religion” and “Personal Relationship.” That is to say, religions are creations of mankind, ranging from Science to Fables. Christianity, amazingly so, is supposed to be a personal relationship with God made possible through Jesus of Nazareth’s life, death, and resurrection (see the two volume treatise of Luke/Acts in the Bible) Being born again is where Christianity is supposed to start. It begins to give an individual the keys to God’s house and fellowship with Him and His family-- visitation rights in a way. You can figure out who is visiting whom. Well, actually, that is not the very first place to start. Rather, it begins with the question, “Does God exist?” (see James 1-5) From there, one begins to experience the intercession of God in one’s life. Then, follow or no. Then, learn or no. Ask. Seek. Knock. Called discipleship, it is a lifetime path-- long or short-- that is substantive, experiential, challenging, life changing from the inside out.
One conclusion I have come to is that people walking away from “the Faith” are walking away from the theatrical stage and have a real chance to find the Way, the Truth, and the Life-- a real, interactive relationship replacing the whole plethora of Religions and their man made doctrines. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…”
There are many things wrong with the world, and to escape them, one would have to leave the world… Maybe that’s the attraction of Mars exploration… Nevertheless, when you write about the problems with Christianity, I generally agree with your assessments, but do you propose any solutions? Maybe I missed them. I’m just asking. I miss a lot of things. I blame it on my Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, not you.
Finally, when inconsistencies and many other questions about the Bible are pointed out, I feel like a third grader who finally has the correct answer and frantically, I raise my hand, waving it crazily, exclaiming, “Ooh! Ooh! Teacher! Teacher! Ooh, ooh! I know this one! Ooh! Ooh!” As always, Teacher calls on someone else, “Okay. Marcie. What’s the solution?”