Where will you be my darling? Where will you be when the dark is rising?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I realize I've gone "overdue" on my post. Apologies, I was just really tired. And the last few days have been quite tiring in terms of assignments. Anyway, I think it was really obvious what anniversary I was celebrating. On November 8, exactly 7 years ago, I stepped into City Harvest Church, and I've never looked back.
I realize why people find religion irrelevant nowadays. Many churches are outdated, and Muslims don't exactly have the best impression due to all the terrorist attacks and the violence of the Arab countries. I know a lot of Christians that claim to be devout, but during weekdays, they do nothing that shows them as a believer, and in fact, commit so many sins, it makes you wonder what they believe. I know even more Muslims who don't listen to anything in the Quran except to not eat pork and go for Friday prayers. And possibly (almost) every Buddhist I know just goes to a temple once a month 'cause they're told to. Is it any wonder many people don't think much of religions?
I would say I was among them. I did have an inclination towards believing there was some sort of deity, but when it came to the different religions, basic respect was all I had... I didn't believe in any of them though, and I never thought I'd have reason to. Due to a number of factors I can only say make it seems extremely divine, I came to church and stayed. Throughout my years in church, it's changed me to be a whole new person. I was quite the quiet type previously, and although I was open and sociable, I was equally withdrawn as well. Two extremes within me. It showed of course. I easily made friends among schoolmates and church members, but there was a very negative and despondent side within me that was very noticeable too.
I have said it many times. Sher Ling, my first cellgroup leader, has made the biggest impact on my life. I sure as hell didn't realize it back then, when I found her to be annoying sometimes. Maturing 7 years later and wisening up, I can see every "nuisance" was care, and that there was no true annoyance to begin with. She's set the greatest example to me in my entire life, and its her who gave me the greatest reason to stay in church. I've never regretted it. Sure, I was still cold and negative, but she had warmed me up to become a better person, even if ever so slight. Throughout the beginning, it was quite enjoyable. As a young member you don't really realize all the stuff going on in the back, why people leave church, and all the intricate details. You just receive, have fun and grow. It was quite typical of me, and I grew. Then I ended up in E145.
And another thing I have always said, E145 is still my favourite cellgroup. For a number of reasons. Although I hadn't matured much in my previous 2 cellgroups prior, E145 jump started me on true Christianity, and I've matured the most in this cellgroup compared to any other. No more soft stuff. In E145, I really learnt a lot about Christianity, and living a life that's really a relationship with God. I learnt more about theology, and its around this time I became interested in apologetics. In case you don't know (which I seriously hope not), apologetics refers to a defence of the faith, and since it's almost always used by Christians, apologetics is the defence of the Christian faith. This helped shape me towards the more intellectual side of Christianity. Sure, I still did love prayer, worship and the spiritual things, but I found most satisfaction in intellectual issues. Sad to say though, except for 2 others, most of the people I knew weren't as interested in intellectual things. Although it didn't allow much dialogue to learn more intellectual things, it did make me stand out in the sense I was one of the few who was inclined towards intellectual stuff.
After E145 disbanded, I had become so much more mature, and I started doing more leadership things in the cellgroup already. Several incidents and members gave me a surreal headache as I was alone solving the issues. Although E145 had given me maturity in theology, I hadn't had a chance to see how I would take care of things, and this really tested my abilities. Things did go well and we multiplied. Then in the new cellgroup, my leadership abilities were put to test even more, and this time, instead of dealing with issues in the background, I had to deal with them upfront and it got personal on many levels. Also, the time of retardedness had come for one particular person who gave a lot of problems for the cellgroup. After one more serious issue that I didn't solve but was solved anyway, things were good and we had revival. Then I moved here, and being a new person in an established cellgroup, there wasn't much for me to do compared to my previous cellgroups where I was always part of the beginning.
I see a trend where I would learn, then go through intellectuals, then learn, and go through intellectuals again. I've already had my time in learning in my previous cellgroup. Over here, since everything is pretty much established, there's not much I can significantly add on to. So I went back to the intellectuals, and learned more on what I hadn't gone really in depth to. This coincided with one of my friends who was intellectual leaving church. Being a very good friend of mine, I delved into further research on Christianity, biblical inerrancy and evolution.
I've come out wiser and more mature, and more knowlegeable about other things. For evolution, I don't deny it, but I just don't believe in it. Entropy and the second law of thermodynamics seem to be at odds with it, and also there's many things I've tried to find evolutionary origins for but have given poor answers. Many other things evolution gives clear, crisp answers. So honestly, I do not know. But there's one thing many atheists think. Proving evolution disproves Genesis, and therefore, the entire Bible. Christianity does not hinge on the creation of the world. Even if evolution was proven true with no objections (something yet to be done), it wouldn't disprove Christianity. Disprove the resurrection of Jesus, and perhaps you have, but the historical record considering the resurrection is extremely compelling. In fact, in Genesis, the way the world is created, with light, and water, and ground and trees and animals and finally humans, is the same way evolutionists and geologists claim the earth began. First, there's the sun, and the creation of planet earth, which would be mostly water when forming, and soon after, land, plus vegetation and animals, and at last, humans. They all agree on the process, and I find that very amazing. So what if God didn't literally speak out the things and have them come to pass? They could all be figurative. If you've got a God who can do anything, He can well say something and evolution could well be the process He uses. It's called theistic evolution, and its very interesting. I am just an agnostic when it comes to creation and the beginning of the world. I don't deny evolution, but I don't proclaim it either.
This friend of mine who left Christianity claimed that the evidences were overwhelming to disprove the Bible. That's just what he read of course. From what I could gather, he watched documentaries and videos, read books and researched and concluded that Christianity was not true. I've done that as well, although to a lesser extent when it comes to documentaries, but I have been delving into intellectual issues for a long time. And we both come to such different conclusions. What I notice from most atheists is that they use read what others specialize in and use their conclusions to sum up their point on why Christianity is not true. However, I know and have read about a few atheists who did more than just use others conclusions. They went and researched themselves. I'll give two notable examples. Sir William Ramsay spent 25 years trying to disprove Christianity, mainly through the book of Acts. His discoveries though, kept supporting it, and weighing the evidence, he decided to become a Christian. Lee Strobel was an atheist as well, and spent two years trying to see if Christianity would stand up to scrutiny. He was a award-winning journalist, which meant he would dig down all the way to find out the truth, and he did. He ended up being a pastor later on. What my friend did was watch and read what others had concluded. Yet for these 2 noticeable atheists, who could happily latch on to all the atheistic arguments so easily available, decided to see if it would stand up against the Christian faith. They spent years searching for truth, and they found it. I can say my faith is well placed then. So if you had the choice, would you put your faith in believing in no God when a vast majority of atheistic arguments come from evolution (which doesn't disprove Christianity), and biblical unreliability and mostly conclusions from others, or would you choose to put your faith in a God who has had several servants spent years to research and weigh the evidence, and take a rational step of faith?
Christianity is real, I've been pleasantly surprised and proven wrong everytime I doubt. My friend said he learned morals from church, but that leaving church was a better decision than coming to church. I don't think morals are all you learn in church. If so, I can see why he left. Christianity is a relationship, not morals. Sure, morals play a part, but if all you got out of this religion was morals, you can easily go find any other religion. All of them offer morals. Only Christianity offers truth. A bold thing to say, I must admit. In a time of religious tolerance, things like this are considered politically incorrect. However, if everyone's religion is true, then it makes no sense. There can only be one truth, and I've learnt that Christianity is the truth. I've had widespread exposure to all the major religions and none of them have stood up to scrutiny. On one of the posts my friend made, he put a quote where to throw away Christianity didn't mean we need to throw away the morals and good things Christianity offers us. Just subtract God from it. Isn't that just picking and taking what you like? If you think Christianity is so wrong and untrue, why still listen and follow what it says? Christianity isn't true because it works. It works because its true. I'm a living testimony of that, and so are the rest of the world's 2 billion believers.
One thing often said about the Bible by its detractors is that over so many years, scribes edited it to suit their needs and their doctrines. I've read some material on that, but I've also read material defending biblical inerrancy. There are 24000 copies of the New Testament, and they are 99.5% the same. The only 0.05% difference is due to spelling and grammar, and in very few cases, verses missing. Pretty reliable. If they were so easily edited, how can people nowadays follow what the Bible says and become such better people? If so many scribes had their own agendas, there'd be tons of different opinions and dogmas they'd want to promote. Yet people still have their lives changed by this millenia old book. Only something divine could be so amazing and life changing. What I used to think was a boring old collection of stories has slowly proven itself to be the Word of God, giving me revelations and directions in life. And my life has never been better. The Bible is fulfilling what it says it can do. That my life will be better than ever.
Prior to stepping in church, I never thought I'd be a Christian. Religions never crossed my mind once I was agnostic. Yet I was proven wrong, and my life now is the biggest proof of God to anyone. If you want to disprove Christianity, you'll need to disprove why when I worship, I sense God's presence. Why when I pray, something happens. Why when I pray for healing, the person is healed right in front of me. Why when there was deliverance done on me, I manifested without choosing to. Why when I prophesy, the person I prophesied about told me all I said was correct. Why a book thousands of years old can change me. Many times I have thoughts of how crazy Christianity seems to be. But when I see the reality and proof, I think I must be the one crazy to leave this faith.
7 years. I'm looking forward to a lifetime anniversary.