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Friday, December 28, 2007

Intro: Reason Driven

Robert Price starts out by giving some history on his experiences as a evangelical christian for at least 12 years, and how he came to be an unbeliever. He has come to see fundamentalist christianity as a narrow-minded view of life, and in fact that narrow-mindedness is seen as a virtue in christianity, whereas it as seen as a vice in all other aspects of human existence.

3 deficiencies resulting from religion are next cited.

  1. Morally, one remains stuck in ancient dogma. Unable to develop a personal moral sense, one is motivated to "one true" version of morality under threat of hellfire.
  2. Intellectually, growth is halted. Questioning or getting the answers on your final theology exam wrong will result, again, in hellfire. Better sit down, shut up, and bow to your (preacher) God.
  3. Personally, growth is stunted. Religion "gives you a slate of answers before it has even occurred to you to ask the questions." Vote with the party line, and don't bother about developing personal maturity. "The Christian is told to take his problems and 'leave them with the Lord,' 'leave them to the altar'. Not even God can grow up for you."
Confession of sins and worship of idols are discussed, and the christian's unwillingness to get "his or her own life, not the life of Jesus to be lived through the Christian." The myriad of biblical interpretations are cited, resulting in opinions given by pastors that are to be taken on faith as the word of God. And when the interpretations fail, the fall back is the fallible understanding of man. He then describes an instance of what happens when christians become disillusioned and unconvinced of their own faith.

Price then explains the difference between purpose and reason. Purpose, in Warren's terms, is given from an outside entity. There is no control or input. Price refers to Warren's "model of the fundamentalism-driven life." "A reason driven life denotes a life lived by means of rational thinking and choosing." In other words, reason is derived from the individual themselves, within their environment and relationships with other beings. Price speaks of the importance of going "to something", not simply a negative disbelief in another system. He identifies himself as a humanist, and humanism as an alternative to religion.

Throwing up our hands and assuming an all-powerful God throws out the wonder available to us in this life. Price believes the universe is morally neutral, and human "impose our own order and meaning upon it. There is no already determined meaning somewhere else..."

The only God is humanity. "We face the blank canvas of our lives and decide what meaning, what artwork, we will trace thereon." I especially like the rebuttal to the assertion that "human life is rendered meaningless if it must end in death."

"I have never been able to see how an otherwise meaningless life would suddenly become meaningful if you added an infinite amount of it."

Finally, Robert Price wants us to know that he does "not much care what you end up believing, partly because you should not jump to conclusions." I enjoy his candor and promotion of skeptical thinking, even of his own work.

Series Index

Intro: Purpose Driven

Rick introduces his book as your personal guide to "prepare you for eternity."

He talks about the significance of 40 days in this program in terms of biblical references. He states that "God considers 40 days a spiritually significant time period," and lists several biblical examples.

There are 4 features he introduces as resources throughout the chapters.

  1. A Point to Ponder - "Nugget of truth that summarizes a principle"
  2. A Verse to Remember - "Bible verse that teaches a truth"
  3. A Question to Consider - "..help you think about the implications of what you have read and how it applies to you personally."
  4. Discussion Questions (in the appendix)
He then (warns) us that the bible is quoted extensively, over a thousand times.

Then he lets you know that he's been praying for you to "[discover] what God put you on this planet to do."

Another note, there's an encouragement to find an "accountability partner" to help you through this 40 day program.

Series Index