I recently encountered a question on Quora where someone wanted me to defend various aspects of Leviticus from a moral perspective. Of course, this is not the question which I set out to answer, it was originally a question about God's existence and quickly transitioned to a debate about morality. In my experience thus far, this seems to be the usual. Conversations that start out as a debate about God's existence move away from proving God and into a position where we are expected to defend God. Fortunately for me, God does not need me to defend Him. The situation, however, caused me to step back and evaluate the real question at hand. Can we find objective reasons to disagree with God's moral actions or decisions?
If humanity as a whole has become adept at one thing, it must be the judgement and condemnation of one another. I believe this to be true in all circles, and sadly, perhaps it is most true among Christians. We condemn one another publicly and privately, we question someone's ability to be a Christian if they are homosexual, or if they have tattoos, or if we catch them in a lie. We condemn those that smoke tobacco or weed (which was burn on Jewish alters before God), or drink alcohol (Christ is know to have imbibed), or a myriad of other offenses. We are so concerned with what a Christian should not do, that we are losing focus on what Christians should be doing.
We all know what parables are. Those little stories that teach us moral or spiritual lessons like The Goose Who Laid The Golden Egg, The Tortoise and the Hare, or any number of Aesop's Fables. Many times, these fables, or parables, demonstrate lessons by using real world examples, like The Ant and the Grasshopper. You know, the one where the grasshopper pokes fun at the ant, who is working hard storing up food for the winter, only to have to beg that same ant for food once the seasons change. These stories impart valuable wisdom to us, but the most valuable parables come from God Himself.
In Psalm 73, the psalmist tell us that he had been behaving like a "brute beast" before the Lord. What does this mean exactly? To be savage, uncontrollable, lacking intelligence, sensitivity, and compassion, this is a brute beast and describes the unrepentant sinner perfectly. Not to say that the unbeliever is unintelligent, but rather ignorant of that which would benefit them the most. They are not completely without sensitivity or compassion, but their sensitivity is limited to that which they deem worthy of their compassion. They are not out of control, but refuse to yield control of their lives to a cause greater than themselves and their own desires. Psalm 73 looks at the relationship that an unbeliever might have with the Lord, and juxtaposes it against that of the believer.
Hell has been imagined in various forms over the years. These descriptions almost always involve the eternal fiery torment of those lost souls who have been judged and found deserving of such punishment. There are some descriptions, however, that reject the physical agony of Hell and instead presume that those souls that have been found undeserving of heaven will find themselves eternally separated from God. So what is hell? How can we have so many variations describing the ultimate punishment for the rejection of the one true God? How can we separate fact from fiction on this subject?
I think we have all seen how exorcisms are portrayed on television and in other media. Typically, there are two priests, and lots of holy water, screaming, and projectile vomiting. Have you ever wondered how these situations compare to the exorcisms that Jesus performed in the New Testament? Was Christ splashing holy water onto people in order to cast out demons? Reading from scripture? I don't think so. Perhaps we should take some time and examine why there is such a radical difference between how we perceive exorcism, and how it was actually performed by Christ.
We all know what demons are. They are fallen angels which seek to corrupt humanity, but how have we come to understand the word demon to mean this? There is no biblical description of a demon which supports the idea that they are fallen angels, and yet this claim is made consistently within Christianity. So what are the demons of the Bible? Did Jesus cast out fallen angels which had possessed human bodies, or is the text telling us something else?
What is the Lucifer's role in the world? What power or authority does he hold that we should fear? The most common belief that I have encountered is that Satan has no real power over us but can deceive and tempt us. Satan deceives us, places temptations in our paths, and works to undermine our belief in Christ. Think of the qualities that are needed in order to accomplish this, to deceive over nine billion people on this planet. To tempt each of us as individuals, Satan must be omnipresent. To ensure that we notice the object of our temptation, in order to place it in our path, Satan must be supernaturally powerful. Is this the Satan that you believe in?
We all suffer from the same condition, we are all human. This means that we experience overwhelming emotion sometimes, and it may cause us to lose control of ourselves. We may act irrationally, erratically, or even dangerously. We may insult one another and betray our most trusted friends. Once we have sinned in this way, what should we do? If we repeatedly with the same sin, what do we do?
What do you do after you have had a stressful day? Relax on the couch, watch tv, cuddle? Perhaps you go to the gym and exercise, or take a hike through the woods. Whatever it is, it must help you to calm your mind and relax or else it would not be your preferred activity right? I must ask though, is there any thing that can calm your mind, body, and soul more that God? If God is your rock, why lean on anything else?