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Catechism Buzz: Plainly Declared, but Badly Interpreted

11 January 2011 by Frank Turk

Q. 2. How does it appear that there is a God?
A. The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare plainly that there is a God; but his word and Spirit only do sufficiently and effectually reveal him unto men for their salvation.

After discussing the chief end of man, the Westminster Larger Catechism plunges head-long into the question which seems to be the problem for most people today: God? What do you mean "God"? And by "most people", I mean most people -- most English-speaking people have a problem with the fact that there is a God.

Most English-speaking people actually want there to be some idea they have which is kind to them, and wants nice things for them, and thinks that Middle-Class life is really a great idea. They want Him to look like their boss, only less demanding and really: less rewarding. They don't really want God to set goals for them but they instead want God to tell them their goals are great and good.

It's the problem that the catechism actually uncovers here: "the very light of nature in man" tells him that there is something prior to himself, and something more in the universe than paying bills and shopping for groceries -- but it doesn't tell him sufficiently what to think of this idea, this urge, this broad idea.

I mean: how does Oprah get away with saying something like this --
So the evolving of consciousness is really what I’m about but I’m not telling people that’s what it is. All of us are here to become more of who we are, of who you really were born to be. Every single one of us in this room has that. That is how we are all equal, because I was born to be who the creator intended, whether you believe in the creator or not. Whatever you believe put you here, you were born to perform the highest expression of that coming. That is my goal as my personal self and it is also my goal to help other people see that in themselves. I fully understand that this platform that I have been given is a gift.”
And of course the reason Pat Robertson can say this:
Here goes and take it for what you feel, this is what I'm writing and this is what I'm saying the Lord said: your country is in grave peril. Your leaders have harkened to the demands of interest groups and have lead your nation into bankruptcy. In two years will come a time of reckoning. … I will protect my people, but warn them now about what is coming. Tell them to get out of debt and restrict purchases. Now. … In the midst of that, CBN will prosper, Regent will prosper, and the ACLU will be needed as never before. … what'd I say? ooh, no! The American Center for Law and Justice will be needed as never before, and God's going to give us extraordinary miracles, it's going to be another good year for CBN, but it's going to be tough for the world.
Both really without anyone pointing a finger and just laughing incredulously. Because we all know it: there's something out there. It's where meaning resides. And we want to be people who can somehow be associated with greater meaning.

We just want it to be the one that we think looks most like ourselves.

Comments

capthk

This post has been shared on the "Confessional Reformed (aka, Calvinism)" Facebook page to coincide with our Westminster Week series. Good fit.

Frank Turk

The Gadfly is edified. There are other posts this week loaded for this catechism question, working out the detail of the rest of this Q&A.

Bob

Stupid and Weird Stuff in the Bible

Let's face it. The bible is really goofy sometimes. There are some passages in it that make me laugh out loud, and make me wonder, "Who the hell wrote this crap?" Maybe it is all just a big joke after all. Who knows? I thought I would share some of the sillier biblical verses to lighten your day.
There is a story where the Israelites are instructed to cover up their feces outside their encampment, because Almighty God was inclined to stroll around at night, and he didn't want to step in any poo. This is really funny...
Moses was going to walk through a mountain pass with God, and God thought Moses might see His face, so he covered Moses' eyes with His Holy Hand as He passed, but it was okay that Moses saw His Holy Backside. Now that's really dumb.
The story about Jesus cursing a fig tree for not producing figs when he was hungry is really stupid. First of all, if Jesus can cure the dead, he can cure his own hunger. Second, if he wanted figs on the damn fig tree, he could have made them (he made the fishes and loaves, remember?). Thirdly, why curse a fig tree?? What good did that do? It withered up (the Gospels disagree as to when, however). Why not just kick it, or pull it out of the ground... or, why not just realize that it's not fig season?
The bible mentions unicorns, satyrs (men with goat legs), cockatrices (rooster-serpents that kill when looked upon) and a race of Giants (they survived the Great Flood, because they appear both before and after it. I guess Noah made room for them on the Ark). The bible talks about these mythical creatures not in the mythical sense, but in the real sense, mentioning them right alongside real animals. That's really childish.
The story of the Tower of Babel is really stupid. To think that men would really, honestly try to build a tower to reach heaven... well that is clearly mythology to start with. And then to think that God would be so concerned about it as to mess up their languages is just too strange. It's a pathetic attempt to explain the origin of languages by the primitive and the ignorant.
After God creates Adam, they look amongst all the animals to find a suitable mate for Adam, but they are unsuccessful. I can just imagine that scene. That's too stupid for words.
The devil trying to get God to worship him by bribing him with the earth has got to be one of my all-time favorite stupid stories of the bible.

Frank Turk

Bob --

Thanks for your comments, and for proving my point in this post explicitly, by example.

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