Book Review 2
Book Review – Suprises Of Christian Way Essay, Research Paper
At least in Lithuania, God is a problem for many people exactly how D.Shenk has described in his book. An old man sitting upstairs watching people and trying to punish them for whatever bad they may do. There are probably two main reasons for that. One would be the post soviet dark period when government was trying to forbid religion and parents at the same time were telling their children to do what God says and not listen to what the soviet regime tells to do. To encourage that, parents talked about punishment of God in case their children would act improperly.
The second main reason I think is Catholic Church history, related to executions, persecutions, taxes and tough governing power. As long as majority of people are Catholics in Lithuania, children in schools learn history and say: “Why do we need such a religion? How can we know that church and image of God has changed?” And their doubts are reasonable. There is a lack of information about today’s church.
The first approach to the God described in D.Shenk’s book is mostly spread and relevant to Lithuania. As I have written above, people read the history and especially dark ages and see that the Church has manipulated the religion the way it was useful to it and claimed it to be truth. So it leads to the conclusion that God is probably an illusion and people just need to have somebody who could help in case of problems, disasters, stresses and other unpleasant experience. And what I have noticed was that older people misinterpret the religion and build their own image of God, which even might be very different from the image of God described in the bible. That new image of their own could also be called an illusion.
The evidence of a creator is overwhelming, but the image of the creator is very unclear. It is obvious that somebody had to create the world so different people wrote different books about what has happened long time ago and called it their sacred books. Then people build their own religion according to what is written in the sacred books. Others who do not believe in God are either confused by the variety of religions or think that everything is made up by clever people. And I think that is quite logical because every religion provides different understanding about the creator and even calls it facts. The facts that contradict each other.
And even more confusing thing about different religions is the teaching. For example Christians provide an argument to protect the bible that everything that is written in the bible is relevant to us and happens in our daily life. That is absolute truth. Except that other religions provide exactly the same argument. Who is right, who is wrong? If it is too hard to choose, people just decide not to bother and simply not to believe in anything.
Those people could probably be combined with the alternative believe that “the earth and material universe are the only reality.”(Shenk 26) Reasons for choosing that alternative are very simple. To believe that everything is more than just a material universe people need evidence. Well it is very hard to provide spiritual evidence, especially to people, who are materialists and do not bother putting effort on understanding spiritual world. Materialists motto is “I believe what I can see, smell, touch, hear. Everything else is irrelevant.” This alternative believe is attractive because there is no need to study the religion or spend much time trying to understand what is being said in the sacred books.
The biblical faith and science concerning species. At this point I would rather stand on the evolutionist side because even if “this does not necessarily mean that God suddenly stopped creating species at a certain time” (Shenk) as we understand, creatures could not appear and disappear in six thousand years. As far as I know, none of the creatures have changed for the last thousand years, and none of the species were created at least since the day Jesus was born. At least we cannot find a single word about new species in the New Testament. Is that really possible that thousands of insects, dinosaurs and birds could simply appear and die in four thousand years?
The power of love for the others. I can hardly imagine the world existing without that. I guess love comes even from the instincts of animals and human beings. You can see a lion mother carrying her small baby very carefully to the destination. The same with human beings. Every mother wants to do good to her baby, and every friend wants to show love to his/her friend. Love is the very basic of the human existence and avoiding love causes wars, disasters, crimes and all the events that people don’t want to see and feel.
Although there are quite a few opinions about the tree of knowledge and it’s meaning, I choose to believe that the tree was built intentionally in order to let Adam and Eve experience the bad and evil. One would think why didn’t God just explain the meaning of the evil to his two wisest creatures. But on the other hand people are not something superior and they still have some animal instincts. Like almost all women want to have a baby, or your body gets used to eat three times a day and then a person feels hungry three times per day. So I think no one would be offended if I compare for a while human beings to the animals. The first example that came in to my head was my dog all the time running after motorcycles and barking at them. Once a motorcycle hit my dog when she crossed the road barking as always. After that event my dog ran away every time she saw a two-wheel vehicle that had a sound of an engine. Of course I agree that human beings are much much wiser but still sometimes it is better to experience that to hear somebody’s story and say
“Poor they, but that would not probably happen to me.” What I basically believe is that the tree of good and evil was built as a tool for Adam and Eve to experience. And I think that God did not just build the tree thinking maybe they will try it maybe not. I think he built it intentionally for Adam and Eve to taste the fruit and to taste the real life. And I also think that the first days in heaven were only as an introduction to both of the wise creatures. They had to learn about other creatures about grass about trees, and that they had to eat and so God’s plan was to train them in heaven and than let them live on the earth.
Redemption involves more than a rescue. Redemption is also forgiving, guiding, sacrificing ones self. An example with Titanic shows a good definition of redemption. It also shows how fatal the redemption might be. Sacrificing your own life for others. The problem is that on the same titanic there people who did not think about anything else only about rescuing their own life. I understand those people too. It has to a very strong person psychologically to make a step, which leads him to death. Everyone on the Titanic that did not get on the boat knew about his or her deaths. Also did Jesus. He “did not get on the boat” in the community he lived in. And he knew that death would follow. But he chose to sacrifice his life for us, the big band of lazy and hopeless people because he is God and he is the strongest personality that has ever existed. He redeemed people so that we had better, only better life and that was not even a case of life and death. Could we call an example of Titanic not a case of life and death? I do not think so. There was maybe one percent probability, that people who did not get on the boat stayed alive. At that point I see that I do not clearly understand why did Jesus came to redeem us. Was a situation so bad on Earth that people needed to be redeemed? (Please put some comment about that).
Now matter why Jesus saved us but if it was a need, than I am thankful to him. And we should probably live all our life having him in mind. I believe that the woman and a baby never ever forgot Annie Funk. Who would? Telling the truth, only reading the book Surprises of Christian Way and writing this essay I understood why the mission of God, sending his own son to death should be so important to us. The only question remains in my head – was the situation on earth so bad.
The first main event mentioned in chapter six was God’s blessing of Abraham. It was very important because today Abraham is considered to be a Father of Faith. And not only for Christians but also for many other religions. I found it surprising how God trusts one person. No matter how loyal this person would be to God, he/she anyway could get in trouble building and leading the new nation. The second surprising thing was how Abraham didn’t raise any question about the reason for building nation, and why he had to do that. Abraham only obeyed God’s will and left to the journey.
The second root event in this chapter was the birth of Isaac. Although a covenant is a two-sided everlasting agreement, I have never though about God being responsible for his promises. What I want to say is – God bothers himself with promises and other responsibilities instead of sitting and doing nothing, which proves that God loves his people.
Reading the third root event, which was leaving Egypt, I realized what a huge hope people in these days had. And the comparison with South Africa is also very good. In both stories people were finally freed. In both stories they had big hope. And in both stories they did what God commanded them to do. They were united; they did what a leader said. And I think when Pharaoh tried to chase the chosen people, God ones again proved that he cares about his people and he would not leave them in trouble. Just hope is necessary.
The covenant on the mount Sinai was the forth root event. God gave the Ten Commandments that we even obey today and they fit our society very well. The commandments were made very wisely which again raises the question who else if not God could create commandments that last for several thousands of years?
The events further are very complicated. People wanted a king. Saul was little of success. David was the second one. The fifth event was when God promised to David to establish his throne forever. That was I think the event that the entire nation was hoping for. Finally Israel will be the nation and not refugees as they were for many years.
The fact that Jesus was first welcomed by outsiders and not local people can be very easily explained. First of all in local society there was and still exists a concurrency. People usually are afraid to accept somebody wiser or more capable because there are afraid to lose their positions, jobs and even self-confidence. That was one of the reasons why Herod wanted to kill Jesus. Herod was afraid of somebody that people call The King of Israel. Even mothers who care a lot about their children would sometimes feel greed knowing that somebody’s child is much wise or is predetermined to be a king.
On the other hand watching what is going on in Lithuania I can say that it is still hard for people to understand that our country is capable to produce something useful. Many people still think that there is something incredible “out there…” Maybe that was also one of the reasons why the people of his country did not give Jesus presents.
For people, Jesus was the promised king – riding a colt from the line of David. Israelites who read the Old Testament knew that Jesus was the king because almost everything that was promised in Zechariah fulfilled.
The teachers on the other hand could not believe that their King could come on a donkey, on a colt. They expected something greater. And as Jesus once said not those who think they know much about God will first experience the kingdom of God, but those who listen and want to know.