Thursday, May 08, 2008

Living with Questions 4

Living with Questions: Is God There? Part 2

I. Introduction: Review of previous weeks

A. But How Do We KNOW? – The Study of Epistemology - TRUTH is when an idea about something links with the real world and KNOWLEDGE comes when we have REASONS for believing an idea links with the real world.

B. Five Tools for Knowledge

1. Perception – It is FREAKING cold outside! How do I know that?
2. Reason – Can you put a square peg into a round hole? How do you know that?
3. Introspection – How much do you enjoy Skyline chili? How do you know that?
4. Testimony – Why is Epiphany Sunday so important to our church? How do we know?
5. Memory – Where did you go for vacation this past Summer? How do you know that?

C. So Where Does Faith Come In? Faith is believing in the facts to the point of entering into relationship of trust with the facts

D. Last week we looked at the question: Is God There? Does God exist, NOT as a religious idea, but as fact? By using our REASON and INTROSPECTION we began by looking at the issue of where the concept of JUSTICE comes from. We determined:
1. It does not come from science. It is not something we can study under a microscope.
2. It does not come from society. MLK, Gandhi and Jesus all went against society.
3. It does not come from our instincts. Often there are two competing instincts within us!
4. It does not come from our families. THEREFORE:

The law of right and wrong is deeper and larger than science, society, instincts or my family. The best explanation is that the spiritual, smart, strong being is also the Justice-Giver. We call this being God – and God has built a moral law within us.

This is the one thing that all of the major religions of the world can agree on based on reason, introspection, testimony and memory: God is the Justice-Giver.

II. Living with Questions: The Question for today is: Is God GOOD? Does He LOVE me?

A. More Classical Arguments for the Existence of God

1. Teleological Argument
a. What is the end of a thing? The purpose of a thing?
b. Science can answers the “what” questions but not the “why”. Who made us ask this question? It is a clue that God wants us to live into an answer.
c. Asking “why” will eventually lead us to God.

2. Cosmological Argument
a. All things that have a beginning have a cause.
b. The universe had a beginning.
c. Therefore, the universe had a cause.
d. Think through the process of an 8 ball traveling to a corner pocket

B. If God exists, then how do I know which religion is right?

1. Premise #1: What Is God like? Good, smart, strong, a person who cares and created the world with intention. THEREFORE:

a. Pantheism can not be right
1. It is the belief that all things are god
2. God can not be both good and evil
b. Astrology can not be right
1. Logic shows that stars are not trustworthy guides
2. Common sense (reason) proves much of this as superstition

c. Buddhism can not be right
1. An impersonal force does not explain things
2. The Force in Star Wars (show clip of Ben Kenobi explaining force)

d. Mormonism can not be right
1. God is not god, he is just a bigger version of us.
2. God is just a finite being like us (like God, not God)

There are 3 general religions that believe God is a person: Judaism, Christianity and Islam

2. Premise #2: Is Love Possible?

a. Questions concerning LOVE
1. Can love exist by itself? No.
2. What is required for love to be shown? Another person.

b. Questions concerning NEED
1. Does God NEED anything to exist? NO
2. Then how did LOVE exist prior to the creation of humans? Love existed between the three persons of the trinity.

c. The doctrine of the TRINITY
1. God is self-sufficient
2. God is love
3. Both are true because love exists between the 3 persons of the trinity

3. Conclusion: Only one religion states that God is both LOVING and SELF-SUFFICIENT and that is Christianity. Judaism and Islam point to God but it is the doctrine of the trinity that is distinctly a Christian belief.

III. Conclusion

“Christianity says (as stated in Deuteronomy 6:4), “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This means God is self-sufficient. No other god(s) exist. Christianity also tells us in Philippians 2:6: “(Jesus), being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.” The Holy Spirit is also part of the Godhead. Jesus speaks of the “Spirit of Truth” in John 14:15-18. Here we see three persons, but we know from Deuteronomy 6:4 that they are one. When Jesus was baptized, all three persons were present (Matthew 3:16). To formulate these ideas in a simpler way, Christianity teaches that God is three persons in one essence. God is both self-sufficient and loving at the same time, from all eternity.”

Assignment: Ask some people at school if they believe God exists – and then ask why or why not. So they seem willing to talk about it? Have they even thought about it much? See what kind of discussion happens.

NEXT WEEK: Has God Spoken?

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