Why is the Judeo-Christian God the right God?


#1

Hello, new user here. My name is Ethan and I want to hear people’s thoughts on this. I have recently become a big disenfranchised with my faith. I am a Christian most certainly, and I do believe that Jesus resurrected. The problem I have is this: why is the Judeo-Christian God the correct God? I am scared that the God I have been worshiping is a misunderstood version of the true God. I have come to realize that the Jesus that was is much different than the Jesus than I grew up with.
The jesus I grew up with was a nice suburban Jesus who loved kids and wanted people to be nice to each other. But as I grow to understand the world of the ancient near east, Jesus was an entirely different character.
I mean, just as an example: Squanto (the native american from thanksgiving) said he wanted to go to “white man’s heaven” when he died. Obviously that’s not an accurate belief. The Vikings believed that Thor and Odin was their god, the Greeks Zeus, the Romans Jupiter, and on and on.
I fear that my faith is misplaced.
My question is simple: why is the Judeo-christian God the right God?


(Mervin Bitikofer) #2

Good morning, Ethan – and welcome to this forum!

By the way, if you (like me) ever look back over your own words and discover typos you’d like to correct (e.g. I’m guessing you probably meant "a bit disenfranchised rather than ‘big disenfranchised’) you can edit your own posts even after you’ve posted them by clicking the pencil icon underneath your post. But … here you are asking big and good questions and I just went all English-teacher on you! (I teach math and science – not English). But it is good to have clarity of expression so that we can be sure we understand your intended meanings. Maybe you are disenfranchised in a big way!

I think one approach to your fear is to turn around and face it head-on by actually embracing it. I.e. If you are scared that any group of people (whether it be the ‘white man’ or whatever group you’ve grown up in) has misunderstood God, then be assured of this: you can be certain that they have. Nobody has a complete and correct understanding; and nor can I even say this with 100% certainty because I don’t either as I would need to have to be able to “stand in such judgment here” of all understandings. So I don’t say with complete certainty that nobody does, but only the certainty of experience that (like you) I’ve noticed how easily and often we have contradictory understandings of God even among orthodox sets of Christians, however you define that set. That doesn’t make everything we as Christians believe wrong. We are convicted with the hope that we have some of the especially important things right – about who Jesus is, for example. Once you let go of the need to think of yourself as having either 100% complete and correct truth vs. having 0% (thinking it all rubbish and walking away), you are free to become a growing and learning Christian with all the attendant humility thereof. Such starkly polarized choices do come up at crucial times in our faith (e.g. do you accept Christ or reject him?) But I suggest that this is not the case with our wider bodies of doctrine and belief with all the (seemingly always important!) details that we love to load them down with.

Regarding on whether or not God is the right God, I would tweak your question over to the slightly different: whether or not God is God. If the Christian claim about God is true, then there is no other true God (because by definition, there couldn’t be). If there were (and our god was just one competing deity among others, that was not over the whole situation), then such an entity would not be God at all in the classical Christian sense. So if you accept that God must be over all, then all other aspirants to ‘godhood’ are at best false gods to the extent that we try to elevate them to that position in our lives. As to whether this Christian God is the right one or not … well, that becomes irrelevant and beyond the scope of our own vastly limited judgments anyway if we’ve accepted that God is sovereign over all.

Hope some of this is helpful. I realize I haven’t answered your question as to why we should believe in the Judeo-Christian God. I’ve only suggested a clarification to how you’re asking the question. Others (and maybe myself later) may chime in with good testimonies as to why we have committed ourselves to following this God. May you find blessing and reassurance in the discussion. This is a great place to talk these things out.

Added after-thought here (using the ‘edit’ function on my own post --and probably not for the last time!): When you wrote:

I have come to realize that the Jesus that was is much different than the Jesus than I grew up with.

That reminds me the first book I read by Philip Yancey titled: “The Jesus I Never Knew”. He is a good (and prolific) author and I’ve enjoyed every book of his that I’ve read. But this particular one may speak to you in your current faith journey. He came to realize that he’d grown up with what turned out to be a lot of bogus baggage that had been heaped in with his Christian faith.


(George Brooks) #3

@Ethan,

Your line of questioning seems to be geared more towards Christians in general, rather than to Christians who Also adhere to an Old Earth and Evolution.

As you can see, the focus of BioLogos is to deal with the interests of those who are already convinced that Christianity is the correct (or best?) option.

This must be a bit challenging … you can’t go to an Atheist vs. Theist site for your discussion, because there are lots of kinds of Theists.

So where would someone go who just wants dispute Christianity, and not God in general?

I don’t know … but BioLogos is probably not the best place, in My Opinion!


(Mervin Bitikofer) #4

Ahhh – George – where is your usual enthusiasm to process any/all manner of topics in our mutual quests of faith? As you say, if he can’t discuss this here, …then where? I think this is a great place! And in any case, here the question(er) is. So mind your welcoming manners! :slight_smile:


(Brad Kramer) #5

This is generally true, but we welcome questioners and doubters of any and all sorts here. Thanks for being here, @Ethan.


(Christy Hemphill) #6

@Ethan

Welcome to the forum, Ethan. :wave:

Merv and I think alike, because I immediately thought of The Jesus I Never Knew when I read your post too. We’ll have to get a little Phillip Yancey fan club going.

I think “Who is Jesus?” is a great place to start answering the question “Is the biblical God the true/only God?” I would encourage you to spend some time with that question. Another great resource is the book Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright.


(George Brooks) #7

Yes, yes, of course. We can and should welcome him.

@Ethan, you have been blessed with defenders early in your time here. It portends well for you!

As you will recall, I aimed the very same questions at Patrick, our resident Atheist, who kept asking BioLogos supporters to explain their belief in God. When I asked Patrick why pro-Evolution Christians had a special burden to explain their Christianity (especially since they accepted more of the scientific side of the mysterious Universe than most Creationists, he never really gave us much of an answer.

This is the same problem that arises when someone arrives here thinking that BioLogos has special answers to why there is natural evil in the Universe . . . when this is the challenge of all Christians around the world.

I’m sure Ethan will enjoy himself here. < Be well, dear Sir!


(Kyle Johnston) #8

Ethan, if there is one thing I have learned as a Christian, it is humility (and I still have much to learn). Echoing upon some of Mervin’s points, I can share what comes to mind.

“…I AM WHO I AM…” (Exodus 3:14), while this may seem like a bit of an oversimplification, there is much in this statement about who God himself says He is. God is not what we say He is, as much as we like to think we have the answers (as Job was rebuked). I fully believe He reveals himself to us, and that we are indeed privileged and blessed to learn about God and who He is, but I also think that if all of what God is were revealed to us, we wouldn’t be able to handle it. Unfortunately, many churches and Christians are not open to having God be an open character, but want to lock Him down and put Him in a neat little box. I find that God is more about discovery and a personal relationship than a set of traits we assign to him. We are all on a journey to discovery, so do not be disheartened. Not to confuse you further, but, make no mistake God does have absolute traits, we just need to open up the line of communication, have the personal relationship, and God will show us the rest.

I have a soft spot for Lewis, but I have found some of his lines of thought and reasoning powerful. C.S. Lewis also pondered about other races and cultures, and their deities (If you have not read much of C.S Lewis works, I invite you to look into him). In his children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia - The Last Battle Lewis presents a character, Emeth, who has been serving Tash, a facsimile of a lion called Aslan (who represents God). However, when this character meets Aslan in the end, Aslan does not condemn him, for Emeth truthfully sought out goodness and truth, and shunned evil and wickedness. Though, in name, Emeth severed Tash, the false god, his deeds, attitude, and longing were truly for Aslan, since no honest deed was doable in Tash’s name, and no wicked deed could be done in Aslan’s name. While this is perhaps one of Lewis’s more controversial views, it certainly requires careful reflection and consideration, especially for the reasons which you allude to in your question.

I have immensely enjoyed Biologos since I became acquainted with it a few years after college. It is a great resource, not because it gives answers to your very tough questions, but because it provides room to reflect upon questions you are wrestling with, and a community to support you. I have found this community is comfortable not having an answer, but is willing to engage in the discussion to help you grow and tackle your doubts, with real substance and love, even if there is disagreement. That, I think is the beauty of an infinite god, he is infinitely diverse, and matches our diversity where we are if we seek diligently.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #9

I do not see how Squanto’s belief is wrong. He decided he wanted to go to heaven so he accepted the Christian faith. That was the right way for him. The problem might have been terminology. He called Christianity the white man’s religion which it is not.

I would not ask, Which is the right God?, but Which is the right way to inherit eternal life for me? That is a question that no one can answer for you The best advice I would give you is start where you are. If you think that Jesus is the best answer, then start there and keep digging until you gain confirmation or rejection. Then try again if that be the case.


(system) #10

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