Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed Not From Bible

Not long ago, I was part of a … well, I’ll call it a “lively” discussion about religion. See, we stopped attending church a while back when I had been working on Sundays. I’ve since found another church with a pastor who delivers great messages. All sermons are posted on their website for easy access. I’ve attended the church in person and found it very huge, and I felt pretty invisible. They recommend getting involved in a smaller church group. A separate gathering in addition to regular worship time is hard to work into our schedules right now.

To the point, though… our conversation was about why we’ve strayed from the church we used to attend. Part of that is the recitation of the Apostles and Nicene Creeds. I agree with saying The Lord’s Prayer aloud. That’s in the Bible. The creeds are not. Someone in that conversation said that the creeds were taken from the Bible. That’s inaccurate. They were written at least 150 years after the authors all died. See this article for more info.

Matthew 6:5 – right where we are given The Lord’s Prayer – even tells us:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

I have no other explanation for my hang-up with reciting the same thing every time I gather for worship like that. I don’t think it’s necessary, and it just feels strange to me. The pastor at this other church simply digs into the Bible. Of course, I haven’t made it a habit to attend there either. That’s really two-fold. I find pulling up the sermons online much more convenient and time efficient. Also, without joining a small group, there’s really no fellowship gained by attending such a large church in person.

OK, so there’s sort of a third fold. I’m disillusioned by many who attend church but don’t walk the walk. There’s this great instruction in the New Testament (Matthew 22):

37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[d]38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[e]40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Love your neighbor as yourself. Love others as yourself. Love one another. Don’t hate! Don’t be mean to others. Don’t tear others down. Don’t gossip about others. Don’t judge others. Matthew 7:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Under the Old Testament law, we are commanded not to lie. People lie all the time! We are also commanded not to covet. That’s probably the most difficult to avoid, especially in this day and age when everyone wants the latest and greatest technological gadgets. Want, want, want! We don’t turn our backs on our friends for wanting things they can’t afford, so why do some turn their backs on people for their choice in partners? Yes, I just went there. Homosexuality. But remember, love your neighbor as yourself.

I may not be the most outgoing person. I need time alone to recharge. I’m terrible at managing time and planning, so organizing anything to do for others in some spectacular way isn’t something I do. However, I am kind to people I encounter in every day life, no matter what their life choices may be. I’m sure some people have opinions (judgments) about me. That’s fine. I still love my neighbors as myself even if they don’t see it. :)

Agnosticism, Skepticism, Pick an ‘ism’ | Evidence

The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict

This is the fairly large book by Josh McDowell that I found in my closet the other day. I remember buying it years ago when the left side of my brain took over and started looking for proof of many things in the Bible. I was already embarking on other Bible studies and reading the entire Bible cover to cover, though. By the time I finished those, I was satisfied … for a while.

I read “A Case for Christ” and was also satisfied with this historical facts listed in that book. I believe Jesus existed, and he was a good man. What I still struggled with were the supernatural acts of a being that no one could see, hear, or touch, and that this being was Jesus’s father and also Jesus himself. Immaculate conception???

So I picked up “A Case for a Creator” and was overwhelmed because it was a much harder read than the other book. I never finished it and have no idea what happened to either book. So I’m hoping that this Evidence book will fill in some blanks for me.

The series of posts I write while reading this book will be called “Evidence”, and it will be a place where I share my questions, feelings, doubts, answers, and revelations. My first question that I even jotted down right in the book after reading the author’s note in the beginning is this…

Why do people need to rely on something (God, Jesus, etc.) to be a loving, forgiving, generous, unselfish person? It is possible to be all of these things without believing in something you can’t see, touch, or know is real.

Josh (the author) said it himself in his note…

How could something as flimsy as Christianity stand up to an intellectual examination?

This is something very personal, and I know there are a lot of people out there who think you shouldn’t discuss “religion”. I think they’re wrong. You probably shouldn’t push your own beliefs on others, but there’s nothing wrong with discussing religious or spiritual beliefs. So feel free to reply to any post in this series with your thoughts, insight, or questions. {All replies are subject to approval. Any blatant attacks on other comments will not be approved. I invite healthy, civilized discussion only.}

I want to describe where I stand going into this study, but I don’t know how to explain thoroughly enough and still keep it brief or easy to follow. My mind is hyperactive!

OK, so I’ve already mentioned my struggle with the supernatural-ness of it all. My mind wanders to all the cults out there and how people say they’re so bad. People are easily swept into believing all sorts of things that Christians say are false. How do I know Christianity isn’t also a cult? I’m not saying it is! Don’t get your panties in a bunch! I know it’s so much bigger than any other following, but it clearly has many of the same characteristics of what we call cults.

My biggest issue with organized religion is the recitation of creeds in unison to profess our faith. These things are not in the Bible. Why do we have to do this? The Lord’s Prayer is in the Bible. I have no issue reciting that one in unison.

Then there’s the belief that “the Lord will provide”. This is even straight from the Bible, but it’s certainly tossed around by many. How do we know this supernatural being will provide? What if things turn out how they do simply because that’s how they were going to turn out – period? If God knows the number of our days and knows what will happen, then how can prayer change things? Those two things are contradictory. If we change things through prayer, then what God already knew would happen isn’t going to happen that way anymore. Is your head spinning yet? Do you have an answer for that one? Where does this free will come into play if He has already planned our days? Do we have a point A and point B in place but alter that path along the way by our own free will? Is that how it works?

These are just a few of the things I psychoanalyze. How do I know the whole concept of God isn’t purely psychological? The power of suggestion is a just that – a powerful thing! Couldn’t the idea of a Holy Spirit dwelling within us be a powerful psychological suggestion?

To the other extreme, science would have us believe that humans began as an amoeba and slowly evolved over time. They also have said that we evolved from apes. If so, then why are they still in existence? However, if you think about how life develops now from two single cells that join together and create an entire body full of vital organs and an elaborate central nervous system in just nine months, there’s no denying how amazing that is!

I see how happy and content people with strong faith are; how full of joy they are. I want that. I also see how uncomfortable some people are around those who are exuberantly overflowing with their love of Christ. I don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable. Then I see the worst – people who call themselves Christians but turn their backs on people who don’t believe exactly what they believe. I can’t accept that. Love others as you love yourself. Live as Jesus lived. I don’t remember reading anything about Jesus turning his back on anyone. If I’m wrong, please give me chapter and verse so I can look it up.

Now that I’ve laid this all out here, it should be interesting to document what I learn from this book, which is technically not a true book but a compilation of notes prepared for the author’s lecture series, “Christianity: Hoax or History?”

Hello 2010! – “Do the Tao”

Chapter 10 of the Tao Te Ching

Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child’s?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from you own mind
and thus understand all things?

Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.

Happy New Year!

Hello 2010!  January 1 is essentially just another day.  It is yesterday’s tomorrow and tomorrow’s yesterday.  However, we choose to look at it as a new beginning and not just a continuation of the preceding days.  We wipe our slates clean – start over with a blank canvas – resolve to improve various areas of our lives.  So on this first day of a new year, I’m dipping my brush in some fresh paint to begin filling my blank canvas. Continue reading