Hello, friends! While I've typically been covering just one chapter at a time in Natasha Crain's Keeping Your Kids on God's Side, I'm going to veer a little from my routine and cover multiple chapters this time. As the chapter titles indicate, there's an obvious reason for this.
Chapter 10 "Do all religions point to the same truth?"
Chapter 11 "How can Christians claim they know what is objectively true?"
Chapter 12 "How can personal experience help determine what is true?"
Chapter 13 "How can common sense help determine what is true?"
There are only so many times that I can argue that biblical truth is not objective without it becoming a bit tiresome and repetitive for all of us. Obviously, the fundamental difference between Natasha and me is our view of the authority of the Bible, and this puts Natasha in the difficult position of defending her one, objectively true god and a book that is his inerrant and infallible word.
So, let's start at the top with religious pluralism and briefly examine the idea that there are potentially multiple paths that can lead to god. Natasha offers a quick comparison of Judaism, Islam, Christian Science, Mormonism, and Hinduism in relation to Christianity's core beliefs; and she concludes, "There is simply no logical way that all of these contradictory claims can point to the same truth. In fact, if religious pluralism is true, Christianity must be false because Jesus said he is the only way to God (John 14:6; see also Acts 4:12)." I'll just reiterate a point I made in an earlier post. Every religion is relying on the subjective interpretation of its religious text to reach what can only logically be called a subjective truth with a sprinkle of faith on top. To answer Natasha's question--no, all religions neither point to the same subjective truth nor the same objective truth, including Christianity. Furthermore, if we can just be intellectually honest here, had Natasha and I been born in Pakistan, we'd be discussing Islam's objective truth.
Moving on to chapter 11, Natasha assures her readers that Christianity's claim of objective truth is reasonable thanks to multiple lines of evidence. First, she offers the cosmological, design, and moral arguments as evidence for a God. Sorry, but arguments are not evidence, and these certainly do not point to the Christian god. Secondly, she adds that miracles are possible if God exists. I don't disagree with this, but let's remember that all religions make miracle claims, so we're still no closer to the Christian god. Thirdly, she insists that the "New Testament is historically reliable and says Jesus claimed to be God." You know, I've never purchased a reliable historical text in which the subject matter was overwhelmed by miracle claims. That kinda takes away from the reliable part. Fourthly, the resurrection confirms Jesus' claims of divinity. What does the resurrection of Osiris and Dionysus confirm? Thus, Natasha concludes, "Jesus is God and what Jesus taught is true." I'm not buying it, and there's no amount of circular reasoning that's going to convince me.
For the sake of brevity, let's combine chapters 12 and 13 on personal experience and common sense. Now, Natasha acknowledges that people of all religions make claims of personal experiences that consequently affirm their beliefs. She then goes on to conclude that "some may be true and some may be false." Thanks for the clarification. I'm sure we can all guess which ones fall into the "true" category. Moreover, she realizes that these experiences are accompanied by neurological changes in the brain. However, those changes do not negate God's existence or the supernatural. Given this information, does it not make more sense to conclude that personal experiences should not be used as evidence for truth claims? Speaking of sense, in chapter 13, Natasha confirms for her readers in this subtitle that "Christianity Isn't Common Sense... But It Does Make Sense." Well, I agree with the first part of that statement. I also agree with her points regarding the nature of common sense: 1) it's dependent on personal experience and 2) many true things defy common sense. The bottom line is common sense should align itself with sufficient evidence in order to determine objective truths.
Okay, I know that was a quick and dirty review of four chapters, but I just have to tell you about the "personal experience" I had this week. My husband enjoys shocking me with innocent pranks, so as I was just about to pull up a recipe on the computer, this was waiting for me:
Ezekiel 23:20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.
Hah! Hah! Very funny. Wait. I must have read this back in my Bible-reading days. What in the world is this verse talking about, because it's all about context, right? While I strongly encourage you to read all of Ezekiel 23, I'll give you a brief summary. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God is giving us his quick and dirty, metaphorical description of Samaria and Jerusalem as two whoring sisters who are his betraying wives in Egypt. And it is dirty. In fact, it's just plain gross. Now, if Christians (especially Christian women) are okay with the demeaning and insulting way that two women are represented in this story by none other than their one true God, then, seriously, what can I do? But let's not forget who God is: omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, infinite, all-loving, just, unchangeable, and holy. How are these attributes remotely reconcilable with the verse above? And Christians are justified in knowing they've picked the right god? I just can't. Oh, well, who am I to question the ways of God?