Question: “Have you ever experienced divine intervention”?
- 40% (free will) —— 40% (Bible) —– 20% (Shroud of Turin / near-death events)
psychology portion: we are the “living hosts” of God & Jesus on earth, His faith is placed in us to do His work in the world —- by giving us free will, we can accept or reject God and Jesus, partially or fully, to live our lives as we must. God thought long & hard before placing us at the end of the evolutionary chain, because free will could cause us to cleave ourselves from Him (Adam & Eve) for our own purposes. The 20th Century began the decline of religious faith in God because of what we have come to be able to do for ourselves. Technology tends to warp or kill our faith in God. Doctors can heal people without God. We become increasingly selfish and “power-full” from what we can accomplish on our own, such that God does not feel so necessary. He allows us to do what we want, without obvious consequences from Him (re: Old Testament). Thus, God get ignored or forgotten too often. God’s “complacency”: He allows so much to simply happen —- why bad things happen to us.
* the Father problem: children become ambivalent over the power of their fathers to continually influence them (particularly during adolescence), & will rebel to assert some independence. With our unseen God, the likelihood of “rebellion” (disinterest) is greater because He no longer reaches down to grab us by the collar to correct us. God gave up being a disciplinarian by the end of the Old Testament, because it did not work. Instead, He decided to use Jesus to better influence us in the flesh. We are reluctant to readily accept the necessity of a “second (unseen) Father,” particularly in our 20s & 30s. Maturationally, God becomes memorable.
- the Bible: 66 books, 750,000-plus words, no pictures — allegorical / mythological stories in the Old Testament (none of which are independently corroborated) about Jews who struggle to maintain faith in God over hundreds (and nearly thousands) of years of adversity. The New Testament is much more compressed in time (3 years, plus an unclear later post-Jesus period for Acts & Paul). The Bible is wonderfully chocked with stories & descriptions, with threadbare narratives which are believable to the extent of their uniqueness. The Bible moves from the stories to the life of Jesus in an increasingly realistic manner until we reach the Crucifixion & Resurrection. The Bible allows us to be introduced at great length to the will and purpose of God for us as an great start to our faith.
* How healthy are we to accept God’s purpose for ourselves (psychologically)? If we are not healthy enough, all the Bible-reading we can do will not matter so much, it will not enable us able to serve others because of our own narcissism.
- near-death experiences and the Shroud of Turin (20%) as the clearest evidence of God’s influence, since we could never have created the world (universe) ourselves. How God “dips” into our lives to unilaterally surprise us sometimes. For me, this became the “proof” of God’s existence and purpose.