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But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof. I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only. O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee! Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.

--Psalm 71:14-21

Have you ever heard someone speaking in authority from a Bible believing Church who has said one of these things or something like it?

  1. "The only thing I read is the Bible."
  2. "I have not sinned in 20 years."
  3. "If you commit one sin you do not confess before you die, you go to Hell."

These three quotes are three good reasons to study philosophy and use critical thinking. Many people hear things like these from well meaning and faithful ministers who preach from the Bible. They also give scriptural support for these comments. This does not mean these are really what God is saying, but these people are probably well meaning, and may know more about the Bible than you (or me). Many believers then come to the conclusion that they have to give up being happy in order to be Christian. I show you another way in my writings.

So you may think that everything necessary to understand the most important things from the Bible comes from the Bible itself and Bible study alone. I believe this is true along with: a sincere heart, prayer, reflection, life experience, common sense, practical considerations, wise counsel of other Christians (who show wisdom with how they live their lives), and many other similar considerations and factors. Many of these "additional" elements are part of a branch of philosophy called Epistemology or Theory of Knowledge. This is something newer and harder to accept from a modern western philosophy or the European Enlightenment point of view.

Why would God let us be confused? He allows these situations to happen not so we are confused but so that we wrestle with God, so that we prove to God and ourselves that God is the most important thing in our lives. Christianity is not a mere list of rules to follow or even just a philosophy. Christianity is about our choice to follow or not follow God. It is a religion about a specific living deity - Christ. It is essential to understand who God is to understand Christianity.

We are saved by faith and faith is defined as something we cannot fully prove. Salvation is just the beginning of a journey of faith. It is not something you can fully understand by reading or by teaching in a classroom. Christianity is a process and way of life. It is a devotional and mystery religion more like Hinduism or Islam, than Science or Western Philosophy. We need to seek after God, with our hearts and our souls, as well as our minds. There is a reason to our life on earth before we die and live for eternity.

Christianity is very much a battle between our sinful nature and God. The devil makes things worse, but he is not our main enemy - our corrupt souls are the enemy, because of our own bad moral choices (sins). Just as warfare cannot be properly understood, until experienced (and even the simulations have little to do with the written word), so our faith only begins with our reading of Scripture. We need to then live it (while still reading it). A similar situation occurs in the military, as military life is a difficult life (and uses the mind constantly) but is not primarily challenging intellectually.

The Bible closely ties together the attitudes we have with following God's laws and the combination of our repentance and God's forgiveness. This is repeated over and over throughout Scripture. The God of the Old Testament is a merciful and forgiving God, as is Jesus Christ in the Gospels, as is the God described in the Apostle Paul's letters.

Jesus Christ said He did not remove anything about the Old Testament, including the laws. Jesus Christ is the Word of God and the human face of God, who lived the perfect life we should live. Christ is also the ultimate fulfillment and resolution of the (combination of the perfectly good and unconditionally loving) nature of our God.

In our lives, we have thoughts that come from our mind and beliefs that come from our heart. Then we talk and live as an extension of what we believe and hope for. Sin comes first in our minds and then, fully formed, brings us death, spiritual and physical. So too are the intents of our minds reflected in our actions, when we choose to follow God. Our attitudes are followed by actions and we continually change who we are, going closer or farther from God with each decision we make. This is a process that happens over our entire lives.

Christianity reveals the connection between thought and actions. Our choice is what determines whether we live forever with God or not. As Christians, we have no obligation to others, other than our own choices and our own actions. Many Christians seek to bring this Good News (that we can live forever with God in paradise) to as many people as possible.

These Christians evangelize because they will not give up on non believers easily, as God has gone to great lengths to save us as well. When you become a Christian, God cancels out your sins, but you are called to forgive others unconditionally. Furthermore, God wants a Christian to fully change course from their previous lifestyle and allow God to transform them supernaturally into a better person.

God does save us from our sins, but this is only the start of what God wants to do in our lives. Following God's commands is hard for us, because we think God doesn't want us to be happy. In reality, He actually created these laws (that most other major world religions agree on) so that we might not suffer. God is the perfect one to give us instructions on how to live our lives, as He both created us and lived as one of us (while following all these laws perfectly).

In summary, all Christians can and should follow all of God's laws all the time. The reality is that no one has and no on ever will. That is why we need God to be better people. We very much will not do what is right without God in our lives.

Laws alone always fail in making people good because people need to know why and have a way to achieve this. Christ uses love, unlike the government, which uses fear to motivate people. This is what makes Christianity different in methodology.

Unfortunately, many people say they are Christian who do many things they know they shouldn't. It is hard to accept until you realize you are the one in question for someone else. It is usually the person who thinks they have it all together who is the worst offender. If you realize you need help, you are well on your way to cooperating with God to fix yourself.

It is similar with objectivity. Those who claim to be objective the loudest are usually the least objective. Lets let God's word speak for itself and spend more time reinforcing what we do know is right, instead of continually speculating on those things that are not so clear.

Many people have learned how to destroy others with words so well that it has become second nature. They can be as destructive as those who hurt others physically. Many people also spread false information and stretch the truth to make their points. It is hard for many to separate their ideas from God's.

Our society does not pick up on the cruelty people show each other that we do not classify as crimes. It is similar with crimes against animals or so called white collar crimes. The point is that we all infringe on God's laws, even if we follow all of society's laws.

It is great that we have preserved the Bible so well and it is great we have so many good believers in scholarly research and in the Christian ministry. Despite this huge effort, some people fall through the cracks in any human solution, even when that human solution is a church group. When this system fails a person, we need to seek other ways to reach these people.

Ultimately, we have to separate what the Bible says and God says from what other people say (including me). We are the problem and God is the answer - you can never get around or beyond this.

Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually. Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;

--1 Chronicles 16:8-12

And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

--1 Chronicles 28:9

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

--2 Chronicles 7:14

But the Lord shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings. When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them: he forgetteth not the cry of the humble. Have mercy upon me, O Lord; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death: That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.

--Psalm 9:7-14

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord.

--Psalm 14:1-4

The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations. All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.

--Psalm 22:26-29

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.

--Psalm 34:3-10

I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest. I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation. Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.

--Psalm 40:1-11

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

--Psalm 63:1-8

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