cartoon: filling the terrible void

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ steve martin

    That’s right…use the words that God gave us get across what He wants us to know.

    Especially if you are having trouble with that message.

  • fishon

    Ok, David, so as not to derail as Steve was accused of in the Copenhagen toon, I need to know what book you are thinking of. What book did you have in mind? Was it the Koran?
    fishon

  • Lynn

    Or you could depress and upset the congregation by telling them the dream and its effect.

    Not sure which is more disturbing: seeing your pastor as just a man or woman like you OR seeing them as on a much higher spiritual plane (plain??)

    Aren’t there denominations who don’t even HAVE pastors? Seems that would eliminate alot of problems for the church AND the pastor. He could just relax and be a regular person with no pressures.

    I know church members have to worry about criticism of their spiritual walk and their faults from other church members. That probably goes double for the pastor and his family.

  • Jon Hallewell

    Man, you look rough in the morning!

  • http://nakedpastor.com nakedpastor

    any book.

  • fishon

    Any book. Ah, good, then he might be sharing some good stuff, especially if it is from the Bible. Cause the Words of the Bible have filled the void for untold millions over the century.
    fishon

  • Tiggy

    There’s a terrible void at the top of the page when you go to Nakedpastor.com. Is that intentional? I thought the page was blank at first.

    I don’t think we just have spiritual terrible voids; we have social ones, physical ones, creative ones, cultural ones, romantic ones. It’s no good saying, ‘Jesus is the answer’ when the quest ion is, ‘What’s for dinner?’ or ‘When do I get laid?’

  • Quester

    Oh, I’ve been there- or at least in comparable straits: standing at the front of the church, prepared to preach the “good news”, wondering if I’ve got it right, and if the news I’m preaching is at all good, or trustworthy, or if I’m making it all up at the end of a long tradition of people making it all up, and faking confidence because I’m the pastor and those high school theatre classes I took might as well be good for something.

    Gah.

  • preacherlady

    Oh, Quester!…How I know that one! And suppose this isn’t the truth…then I’m responsible for all these people believing it.

  • Tiggy

    I did a bit of preaching w hen I was teaching RE in a Catholic School. I loved it – I was inspired! I even convinced myself. It was the kind of sermon I’d like to hear, though not at all heterodox. I don’t know what the kids thought, but I expect I made a change from the batty old nun they usually had who was always telling them they were going to Hell because they talked in class.

    My nephew had an RE teacher once who told him he was going to Hell because he was Jewish. Fortunately, my nephew just thought it was funny. The teacher later had a nervous breakdown and left. He was gay and extremely theatrical in the classroom – good teacher actually.

  • fishon

    Hum, me bad I guess. I have not a single doubt that what I preach is the truth. Never have doubted that the Word I am preaching is all good and trustworthy.

    Yea, yea, I know, how can you be so sure, fishon? How can you be so arrogant?
    fishon

  • Tiggy

    It’s not arrogant at all. You should only preach something if you believe it.

  • fishon

    thanks you, tiggy.
    fishon

  • Lynn

    Fishon,

    WHY is it that you’ve never had a single doubt, do you think? I’m interested in the factors which cause some to doubt and also the factors which cause others to NOT doubt.

    I see all that as SEPARATE from whether or not the religion IS the truth.

    And by the way, I agree with Tiggy. I don’t think you’re being arrogant by stating you’ve never doubted. You are simply reporting your experience.

  • http://whatisspiritual.blogspot.com/ Richard Harty

    fishon said “Hum, me bad I guess. I have not a single doubt that what I preach is the truth. Never have doubted that the Word I am preaching is all good and trustworthy.”

    If you have never doubted then how do you know it’s true?

    fishon said “Yea, yea, I know, how can you be so sure, fishon? How can you be so arrogant?”

    I wouldn’t call it arrogance. Maybe denial. Here are some quotes on doubt for your reference including one from a church father…

    “Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.” (Paul Tillich) – “There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.” (Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam)

    “Doubt is but another element of faith.” (St. Augustine)

    “Who knows most, doubts most.” (Robert Browning)

    “Never be afraid of doubt, if only you have the disposition to believe.” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

    - “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” (René Descartes, Principles of Philosophy)

    -“Doubt is the origin of wisdom.” (René Descartes)

    “To believe with certainty we must begin with doubting.” (Polish proverb)

    On the other hand, there are others who freely denounce doubt in no uncertain terms:

    Mohammed opened the Koran with these words, “There is no doubt in this book.” (Surah 2)

  • http://brain-waves.blogspot.com jim

    Any man who steps up to the pulpit and can’t admit to at least a bit of vanity, a bit of “self” within what he brings forth is lying, to himself as well as to others. Even if he believes the Bible to be infallible, he ought to have enough sense to know he is not. Doubt is not in the ONe we serve, but in the vessel who attempts to speak for Him. The best we can do in any sort of ministry is heed the words of the Baptist: “decrease that He might increase”. So I have learned in the journey, and so I believe…..

  • http://Titfortat6.blogspot.com Titfortat

    Yea, yea, I know, how can you be so sure, fishon? How can you be so arrogant?(fishon)

    Arrogant? Nah. Delusional, maybe. ;)

  • fishon

    Lynn said, on December 22nd, 2009 at 6:48 am
    Fishon,
    WHY is it that you’ve never had a single doubt, do you think? I’m interested in the factors which cause some to doubt and also the factors which cause others to NOT doubt.
    ———–Lynn, I don’t believe I am articulate enough to explain. Maybe part of it is that for the first 33 years of my life I not only doubted, but absolutely didn’t believe. But when I had my encounter with God, it was so powerful that I can’t help but believe. Is there anything particular that you would like to ask me as to why I would have no doubt? That might make it easier for me to answer.

    I am sorry I can’t put what is in my mind into words.
    fishon

  • fishon

    Richard Harty said, on December 22nd, 2009 at 7:27 am
    fishon said “Hum, me bad I guess. I have not a single doubt that what I preach is the truth. Never have doubted that the Word I am preaching is all good and trustworthy.”

    If you have never doubted then how do you know it’s true?
    ———-Richard, oh you better believe I use to doubt. I was a non-believer of the first order for 33 years. Grew up in an atheistic household. When I say no doubt, I am referring to after becoming a Christian.

    YOU:wouldn’t call it arrogance. Maybe denial.
    ————Why would you call it denial. Now if you have doubt does that mean I will or must have doubt? Are you omnipotent?

    YOU:Here are some quotes on doubt for your reference including one from a church father…
    “Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.” (Paul Tillich) – “There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.” (Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam)
    ————Yea, I agree with that.
    “Doubt is but another element of faith.” (St. Augustine)
    ————Yea, I agree with that
    “Who knows most, doubts most.” (Robert Browning)
    ————No, don’t agree.
    “Never be afraid of doubt, if only you have the disposition to believe.” (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
    ————I am not afraid of doubt. I have lots of doubts, just not about the things I preach.
    - “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” (René Descartes, Principles of Philosophy)
    ————I all ready said that I lived 33 yrs of doubt. Isn’t that long enough?
    -“Doubt is the origin of wisdom.” (René Descartes)
    ————No, God is the origin of wisdom.
    “To believe with certainty we must begin with doubting.” (Polish proverb)
    ————Yep, happened to me.

    On the other hand, there are others who freely denounce doubt in no uncertain terms:

    Mohammed opened the Koran with these words, “There is no doubt in this book.” (Surah 2)
    ————Yes, it says that. So what is your point?

    fishon

  • fishon

    jim said, on December 22nd, 2009 at 9:27 am
    Any man who steps up to the pulpit and can’t admit to at least a bit of vanity, a bit of “self” within what he brings forth is lying, to himself as well as to others.
    ————Got no quarrel with that. And if you are refering to me, well I didn’t say anything about me–”Never have doubted that the Word I am preaching is all good and trustworthy.”———-You see, I never said anything about not having doubts about me—-I made it clear—it is the Word {didn’t you see the cap? God’s word, not my words} is good and trustworthy.

    YOU:Even if he believes the Bible to be infallible, he ought to have enough sense to know he is not.
    ————Oh, I am chief among the fallible. But the Word, that is what I have no doubt about.
    fishon

  • Tiggy

    A powerful experience of God is not a fully fledged theology though. One can have a powerful experience of God and not have the same theology as you, Fishon, at least not identical. To have doubts about certain aspects of theology is not necessarily to doubt God.

    I’ve read a few ‘religious’ quotes from Coleridge recently on Christian blogs – odd, I thought he was an opium addict. I guess I shouldn’t judge – and I like his poetry. I bought a second-hand book about his wife recently; I think she had quite a hard time.

  • fishon

    Tiggy said, on December 22nd, 2009 at 10:53 pm
    A powerful experience of God is not a fully fledged theology though. One can have a powerful experience of God and not have the same theology as you, Fishon, at least not identical. To have doubts about certain aspects of theology is not necessarily to doubt God.
    ————–Tiggy, where do you come up with some of these questions? I never said anything about theology.
    fishon

  • Tiggy

    You say you never doubt a word of the Bible and your understanding of it (perhaps via the teachings of your church)

  • fishon

    Tiggy,
    Ok, doubts, I have doubts. Is that what you want me to say?
    fishon

  • Tiggy

    LOL I don’t want you to say it if it’s not true! I don’t mind if someone doesn’t have doubts as long as they allow others to and don’t criticise them for it.

    Personally, I don’t have a particular problem with doubt – I have problems with other things.

  • Lynn

    fishon,

    You had a powerful experience from God. I can see where that would be extremely convincing. I’ve never had a dramatic experience-always wanted one. Never happened.

    You said you fully trust the Bible also.

    Where I was coming from before about some doubting and some not, I was thinking of personalities. I heard a Christian say once-”I don’t doubt. Ofcourse I didn’t doubt when I was a criminal either.” I thought that was a good insight. Not tending toward doubt was a part of his personality in any situation. You know, confident, trusting, not worried, not constantly analyzing everything.

    How would you describe your general tendencies of your personality along those lines?

    Re your God encounter-have you considered that it COULD have been about emotion, wishful thinking, whatever, something other than God?

    Re the Bible-have you read it critically or read authors who criticized it instead of defending it?

    One thing I know. It’s a peaceful place once you get on one side or the other. Or peacefully (for the most part) in-between-agnostic, where I am at this time.

    One thing that made a big impression on me was what a friend of Billy Graham described about Graham. Graham basically said he wasn’t going to go down the path of worrying about all the Bible difficulties. He was going to just accept it all on faith early on-and he did. Simply refusing to entertain doubts in order to be content with your beliefs. That doesn’t make the beliefs true ofcourse, but it does solve your personal problem.

    Thanks for the insights into your position, fishon. You probably feel like a specimen we’re all examining minutely!

  • http://brain-waves.blogspot.com jim

    Fishon: If you handed two, three, a dozen, two hundred cooks the same ingredients to bake a cake and then you ate a slice from all placed in front of you afterwards, I can guarnatee you that you would find them all a bit different. That takes nothing away from the ingredients utilized. When you “bnoil it all down, it comes down to Christ “in” me, whether one is sharing the Word, hearing the Word, reading the Word, baking a cake, or chatting with friends.

    Have a merry Christmas, my friend….

  • fishon

    Lynn said, on December 23rd, 2009 at 10:04 am
    fishon,

    You had a powerful experience from God. I can see where that would be extremely convincing. I’ve never had a dramatic experience-always wanted one. Never happened.
    ————–It came out of nowhere.
    You said you fully trust the Bible also.
    ————–I do. Does not mean I understand all of it. In fact, I only understand a small portion–but I love the process of gaining another nugget of truth from it, from time to time.

    Where I was coming from before about some doubting and some not, I was thinking of personalities. I heard a Christian say once-”I don’t doubt. Ofcourse I didn’t doubt when I was a criminal either.” I thought that was a good insight. Not tending toward doubt was a part of his personality in any situation. You know, confident, trusting, not worried, not constantly analyzing everything.

    How would you describe your general tendencies of your personality along those lines?
    ——–Doubt. Though taught to not believe, I always had wonder??
    ——–Confident. Always have had confidence. But understood that to be confident I
    needed to be prepared.
    ——–Trusting. There is ONLY one person I trust absolutely fully; my wife. There are
    other folks I would trust my life to, but that isn’t a big deal.
    ——–Worry. Not too much. But then my life has been so blessed. I haven’t been in a
    REAL position to have been tested on worry. I have been told twice that I probably
    had cancer, and didn’t worry a bit, not a bit. But there are more important issues of
    life that might have caused me worry– but haven’t experienced them yet.
    ——–Analyzing things. I study things out best I can; make a decision, and if new info
    comes along that changes my mind, I change my mind.

    YOU:Re your God encounter-have you considered that it COULD have been about emotion, wishful thinking, whatever, something other than God?
    ———Frankly, no. When I blew out my ACL, there was no need to consider if it was
    emotion, wishful thinking, etc. And my encounter with God was just like that.

    YOU:Re the Bible-have you read it critically or read authors who criticized it instead of defending it?
    ———-A few. I am more into listening to them than reading.

    YOU:One thing that made a big impression on me was what a friend of Billy Graham described about Graham. Graham basically said he wasn’t going to go down the path of worrying about all the Bible difficulties. He was going to just accept it all on faith early on-and he did. Simply refusing to entertain doubts in order to be content with your beliefs. That doesn’t make the beliefs true ofcourse, but it does solve your personal problem.
    ———-Many of what critics say are difficulties, I don’t see them as such. Men like Strobel
    or Zacharias answer most of the questions for me. And the rest, I guess I would
    say I have a little of Graham’s philosophy in me. But then, don’t we all have a little
    of Graham’s philosophy in us?

    Sorry my answers are short, but don’t have time to go into detail, and I ain’t good at that anyway.
    fishon

  • fishon

    jim said, on December 23rd, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Have a merry Christmas, my friend….
    ———–Jim, MAKE IT a very merry Christmas. Merry Christmas.
    fishon/jerry

  • fishon

    Tiggy said, on December 22nd, 2009 at 11:40 pm
    LOL I don’t want you to say it if it’s not true! I don’t mind if someone doesn’t have doubts as long as they allow others to and don’t criticise them for it.
    ———-Ok, tiggy, it is NOT true.
    If I minded other people not doubting their beliefs I would go crazy and become a
    terrorist. You know, change or die.
    As I have shared before, I had a good friend who is a Muslim. He had no doubts.
    We would debate and then go have coffee, well I drank coffee. He told me I was
    wrong–I told him he was wrong—–is that critizism?
    fishon

  • Lynn

    Fishon,

    Thanks very much for your answers. I feel like I know you a little better now.

    You grew up atheist and became a Christian. I grew up Christian and became agnostic.

    I’d encourage you to watch some atheists on youtube. Lots of good debates, etc. on there. When I first started openly questioning things, I was given a few apologetic books to read, and I did read them. Some were not impressive; some made some good points that I couldn’t really disagree with.

    Then I read lots of atheist books. The parts that weren’t totally over my head made sense to me.

    Now I think I’m ready to read an apologetic book again to see how it strikes me. Stroebel was one I read and wasn’t impressed. Also not impressed with the pastor in NYC-can’t remember his name. Might try Zacharias.

    I think it’s harder to learn in-depth on either side if you don’t enjoy reading. I love to read. But youtube helps alot.

    I think what frustrates atheists/agnostics is when Christians give some pat answer and haven’t studied the issue very much.

    Thanks again.

  • fishon

    Lynn,
    You might google Ravi Zacharias. He is Indian [India]. He is an intellectual. He also has a place where you can her him speak. Google: Let my people think and go down to where it says “Let My People Think, Ravi Zacharias, Christian Radio Ministry …” and you can listen to him. I think you might like him. And read his story. Facinating life.
    fishon

  • Tiggy

    Oh, thanks Fishon, that was the name someone mentioned to me a while ago, but I couldn’t remember it. I love Indian people and usually relate well to Indian intellectuals as I’m kind of an Eastern thinker by nature.

  • NathanL

    Lynn, Zacharias is good as an apologist but if you’re REALLY serious about learning Christian intellectual renderings of the faith with an eye towards apologetics, then I suggest you read atheistic books, note the common objections, and read proper, indepth theological and philosophical works on the topics by Christian thinkers.

    For example, a common polemic by the atheist is the argument from evil, logical and evidential. For the atheist side, you have every Tom, Dick and Harry with a blog talking about this, but for its modern defenders I’d examine J.L. Mackie (logical) and William Rowe (evidential). However, for the Christian defence you would examine Alvin Plantinga (logical) and, perhaps more unusually, Moltmann and Luther (evidential).

    My point is that the best Christian apologetics is not done in apologetics books, but in usually non-polemical or a-polemical texts of Christian theology. There are Christian responses to William Rowe, for example, but I find by far the best response was made unconsciously by Martin Luther in his theologia crucis and his notion of God crucified. For me, there’s no better apologetic and the best atheist arguments for the evidential PoE crumble, for me anyway, against this sort of theology.

    But that’s an illustration. Again, good apologetics is found in good theology. Identify a topic and read up about it. You’ll have to do some work, but I promise that you’ll find it infinitely more rewarding than if you lump for the apologist first in sight (i’d hazard a guess and say that’s why you didn’t much appreciate Strobel).

  • Quester

    Nathan, I’ve read Plantinga’s free will defence; has he written anything else that addresses the problem of evil?


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X