A peek behind the Foster Grants

NOTE: before continuing on, understand that I will entertain specific questions about subjects I omitted, such as “what do you believe about _____?”, or clarifying questions like “what do you mean when you say _____?”.  But I won’t defend my positions here.  However, I would be glad to do so on the discussion page.

I have always had trouble talking about myself.  Especially on job interviews.  The question I always dread is, “tell me about yourself”.  I never know where to start, what to include, what to leave out. However, someone passed along an outline with most of the issues one would share about themselves to let others know their positions.  So without further ado:

As far back as I can remember, I had always been a weak agnostic when it comes to religion and God.  I was pretty sure there was a God, but didn’t know which one if any.  But it wasn’t a topic I gave much thought.  I just didn’t care enough to investigate.  I knew many different religious systems existed, and many people believed them.  However, I never had the thought that they were all wrong, or all pretty much correct.  Many hold a view that all roads lead to Rome, or that they all hold pieces to a larger truth.  I actually thought one was probably right.  But again, I hadn’t given it any thought to which one or considered the implications.

I was not raised in a “Christian home” even though we attended a Congregational church on Easter, Christmas, and whenever my mother decided accept my grandparent’s invitation to attend.  My parents divorced when I was two, and I lived with my mother until the age of ten.  She never brought up God, Jesus, or religion at all.  There was probably a Bible in the home, but if there was, I had no idea where.  It was a topic never broached.  We lived as Agnostics in that sense, just carried on as if nothing about the reality or falsity of God held any consequence.

I moved in with my father who, much like my mother, never discussed the topic.  It was only at my conversion to Christianity that I came to find out he was an Atheist.  After having attended a service at the first church I affiliated with, he found great joy in making fun of it, calling it a cult.  Now whenever the topic of religion or God comes up, it becomes an opportunity to crack some jokes.  He doesn’t mean it to be hurtful, he just thinks he’s funny.

I currently attend a Reformed Baptist church, though I am not entirely reformed in my theology.  I had attended an Assemblies of God church when I became a Christian at about the age of 25.  It was not a traditional AoG church and more closely aligned with the Calvary Chapel set of beliefs.  But it was pastored by a man I worked with and thought it would be a place to start.  When I found out he was the pastor of a church, I liked to ask him questions about the Bible.  I wasn’t really curious about its message, I had the conception that the Bible had problems and contradictions and was trying to trip him up.  He knew I was the inquisitive type, always reading non-fiction books watching documentaries and whatnot.  He had answers for my criticisms.  As time passed, I went online to find tougher and tougher questions, and he responded with answers.  Never once did he tell me it had to be taken on [blind] faith.  He was the one who turned me onto apologetics.  Now for a bit more detail.

I believe in one God, the God of the Judeo-Christian worldview.  He is personal, omnipotent (is able to do anything that logically can be done that is consistent with His nature), omniscient (knows everything that can logically be known), and intervenes with this world at will.  He is triune in nature.  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Three eternal persons, one God.

Man has a sin problem.  As such we are all morally accountable to God requiring an intermediary on our behalf.  Salvation cannot be earned (by being good, performing certain rites and rituals, or belonging to a particular church).  It is only by a genuine trust and acceptance of Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, eternal punishment awaits those without a Savior.  In this respect, I am an exclusivist.  There is only one way to God, all roads do not lead to Rome.

I do believe in the inerrancy of the original autographs, though it is not essential to the Bible being a reliable record of events and testimony from God.  I take the Bible at face value.  By that I mean I accept the plain reading unless there is a reason within the text to take it otherwise.  Strict literalism or strict figuratism is not only unreasonable, no one does that with any text — unless there is a reason within the text which dictates it.  The Bible is no different.

As far as I am concerned, the Old and new Testaments are reliable.  I think the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the best explanation of the facts surrounding the issue: The empty tomb, the disciples belief they had seen Jesus alive after his death, the genesis of the Christian church in the face of severe adversity, etc.

I prefer to use an evidential approach to apologetics.  The arguments are more accessible to skeptics and non-Christians, though certain circumstances (moral arguments, for example) warrant presuppositional arguments.

I think the universe was brought into existence about 14-15 billion years ago, by the hands of a creator, and the Earth about 4 billion years ago.  The days of creation as mentioned in Genesis are literal periods of time.  Evolution, as understood to mean the variety of biological life we see today is explainable by natural means (common descent) is inadequate to explain the diversity of life.  Small change over time is not in dispute, but it is not reasonable to extrapolate minor change into major body type diversification.  Adam and Eve were special creations, as were the animal kinds.  I am not anti-science.  If the evidence leads in a certain direction, then the conclusion is warranted.  However, unlike naturalists, I do not a priori reject certain conclusions.

I oppose same-sex marriage for many reasons.  Same-sex sexual relationships are immoral and unnatural — along with many other sexual sins.  As potent as sexual desires can be, I do not believe all desires are proper and must be acted upon.

I am strongly pro-life/anti-abortion.  Except for saving the life of the mother, I believe all abortions should be illegal.  The issue is really quite simple:

  • The intentional taking of an innocent human life without proper justification is morally wrong
  • Abortion intentionally takes the life of an innocent human life without proper justification
  • Abortion is morally wrong

I affirm the biblical role of men and women.  Things many people forget:

  • Submission is not in any way the same as subjugation
  • Difference in role is not the same as difference in value

I’m not sure what else may be relevant to anyone else.  I’d like to thank Sabio Lantz from Triangulation for the guideline.

Comments

  1. Thank you, John, for giving us a look behind the scenes at who you really are. I understand that it can be very awkward and uncomfortable to expose who you are and share with others what experiences led you to be the person you are today. I respect you for that.

    I’m not going to confront you on your specific beliefs, per se, but I would be interested in trying to understand how you concluded with that belief.

    If you grew up with two different parents who each had no influence on your path, how did you end up in a church at the age of 25? I gather from your biography that you’ve always had a notion that there was “something more” and it was never really discussed during your childhood, but was it simply the conversations with a co-worker that led you to where you are today?

    • Like I said, you can confront me on anything I said here, but take it to the discussion page.

      As for how I ended up at church, keeping in mind that this is not why I believe Christianity to be true, but serves as my introduction into serious investigation: As I had stated, I was offering challenges to my friend. and he didn’t offer me spurious answers, they had substance. He turned me onto apologetics and philosophy of religion, and that in turn gave me a foundation that a religion — if any — could be true. It was a six months or so after I had initially began confronting my friend, that I lost my job with the State (I can’t find the news article). Two years had passed, while awaiting an arbitration decision) with no luck finding a job though I had applied and interviewed multiple times a week.

      Over the course of this time I had sporadically attended his church, but began reading different religious texts. One day I had decided to visit my (former) co-workers at the courthouse. It so happened that my friend, who was a supervisor by this time, was stationed at the side enterence. There he had prayed that I would be reinstated at my job, or find another. The next day (with no prior implication that a decision was forthcoming) my attorney contacted me to inform me that I was being reinstated, with full back pay and accumulation of sick and vacation time. That same day I was offered a career position with my current employer if I wanted it. It turns out that my friend, in the two years before that day, and ever since has never been stationed at the side enterence, and he was only there for a half hour that day.

      I took the job back with the State. About 3 months later I had volunteered to work an OT shift at the detention center but booked off because it was a beautiful day and wanted to spend it with my girlfriend (now my wife). During that shift a prisoner hanged himself and everyone on the shift was fired. Had I been there I would have been there right along with them and would have lost my house. So I took the job I have now.

      It seemed to be too much of a coincidence and more like intervention, so that is what incentivized my rigerous search.

  2. I appreciate the back-story. So is it safe to say that your personal experiences with your employment situation and the occurrences there led you to believe that there was a higher power at work? Interesting.

    So you believe that even though you weren’t a Christian then and because someone prayed for you that god intervened in your life and led you to keep your job and save your house? Okay.

    So how did you go about your serious investigation?
    Where did you begin and how did you conclude what was and wasn’t the right path?

    • Perhaps you missed this: keep in mind that this is not why I believe Christianity to be true, but serves as my introduction into serious investigation.

      The issues with my job seemed to me to be far too coincidental. And that being the case, it served as a motivating factor to investigate religious claims.
      No, I didn’t necessarily believe and don’t necessarily believe today that it was answered prayer. However, it is consistent with answered prayer, and not out of the rhealm of possibility. Like I have said God is personal, and does intervene.

      Read books on theology of different religions, philosophy of religion (popular and scholarly), philosophy in general, different religious texts (Qu’ran, Bible, Veda, etc.). process of elimination.

  3. I understand that those events cause you not to believe that Christianity is true, but served as a reason to investigate religion. I get that you believe that god intervenes on a personal level, but I simply wanted to confirm that a man’s suicide and your co-workers subsequent loss of employment led you to it. I do not put it outside the realm of possibility.

    How were you able to eliminate the possibility of other religious systems to be correct?

    • It wasnt that a man’s suicide and co-worker’s termination that did it. The fact that I had just been reinstated, volunteered to work an extra shift, was 1 hour from getting ready to go in, and the urge to call out and act upon it. I liked working there, I liked the facility and the people. I rarely called out.

      The process of elimination is a very long and indepth process. Some don’t comport with its own historical claims and contradict known historical facts. Some are insuperably internally inconsistent. Some are externally inconsistent. Some contain philosophical impossibilities.

  4. John Barron Jr, I think it was very brave of you to “come out of the closet” and share us with your history.

    I find these personal stories where an adult person comes to realize what their values actually are very interresting. Since, we all, each and every one, have reasons to percieve the world as we do.

    • I don’t really think what I wrote was brave or noble. I had been meaning to write it for a long time but didn’t know where to start or what to include. Glad you appreciate it though.

  5. I’d like to sincerely ask you a rather personal question, John, and I understand if you don’t want to discuss it. How would you describe your moral compass growing up? Do you feel there’s any difference between the values instilled by your parents as a child as opposed to the morals you hold now as an adult and a father yourself?

  6. Z~

    Your answer can be found HERE

  7. Well told, John. What did your wife think of your telling?

    • She wont read it. She despises reading about religion and politics. We are on opposite ends of both, and that is what really sparked my interest in writing. I needed an outlet.

  8. She is an atheist and a Democrat? Maybe you can move her to being a Buddhist Libertarian — that’d be a little closer to you. She could read my blog! Smiling.

    Geez, how did that happen? Kids yet?

    • No, she’s not an atheist, she professes to be a Christian, and I wont discuss my opinions about that here. She is not a part of this blog. But yes, she identifies as a Democrat, and is quite liberal on most issues, but with our new Governor and President, she is starting to see why our wallets can’t handle liberals in those offices. We have two girls.

      How did this happen? I was not a Christian or vocal about my politics when we met, my conversion came after we married.

  9. Gottcha. Does your whole family go to the same church? Kids, wife, you ….?
    It is tough having different beliefs about fundamental topics, especially when you believe them strongly.

  10. But she is cool with you taking the kids, eh?

  11. Terrance H. says:

    John,

    Obviously we disagree on a few issues, but I like that you offered your philosophical worldview in a nutshell.

    You say homosexuality is immoral and unnatural, and while I could pursue that, I won’t. But I am very interested to know what you mean by “…along with many other sexual sins.” Obviously you include incest, but what else?

    And if you’re not comfortable saying “what else” here, then just e-mail me or something. I’m interested to know what you’re talking about, and why you feel those things are immoral and unnatural.

  12. Terrance H. says:

    John,

    Then you don’t think how one has sex with their wife matters, right? The so-called perversions?

    • The human body was designed for specific sexual function, all other activities are aberrations of purpose.

      @Nina
      If you want to discuss your objections, I’d be glad to. Just post your objections to the commentaries they apply to. I have written on every objection you offered.

  13. but why delete my post?

    • Because this particular post had an intended purpose. It is specifically a background and “check list” of my religious convictions. I also clearly wrote in the last paragraph that I am not going to debate any issue here, if you want to challenge any of my convictions please take it to the discussion page, or the appropriate post for which any objections would be relevant (since I have already written on each objection you offered). I will only entertain clarifying questions, and specific questions about a particular position I hold but did not write on. Don’t be offended, I’d be happy to discuss your challenges, but not here. Had I not deleted it, I run the risk of being accused of avoiding your objections, or that someone else will jump in and either agree or debate you, and I don’t want that here. So it’s either delete it, or close the comments. Surely you can appreciate that.

  14. @John
    I was not surprised that many folks ignored your clear instructions when you said: But I won’t defend my positions here.
    I think this is because:
    (a) It was at the very end of your talk and most people don’t read the whole thing.
    (b) Most people don’t read carefully (including me *blushing*)
    (c) Most people have their pet issues that once mentioned, they can’t think straight — no matter how much they pride themselves as being rational. :-)

    So, I see two solutions:
    (1) Put your warning as the first line of this post.
    (2) Turn off comments on this sort of posts
    (3) Delete comments of people who can’t read.
    (4) Delete only sections of comments where they don’t listen. Put the [deleted for not reading instructions]

    I think comments on is nice for this, but the other three options may be useful.

    Good luck managing the crowd — we can be so unruly!
    Do it all with love, albeit “tough love”, of course.

  15. well, it comes down to, your blog your rules

    and Sabio’s post is true

    but it’s defeating the point of web 2.0, which is interactive

    so saying you won’t defend positions here is worse than not responding/avoiding response

    it has the chilling effect of shutting down the conversation

    • Listen, what you said is so inaccurate I almost feel like I want to mock you for it.

      I said I will not defend my positions ON THIS POST but I would be more than willing to ON THE DISCUSSION PAGE or ON A POST ALREADY WRITTEN ON THE SUBJECTS. As I noted I ALREADY WROTE ABOUT EVERY OBJECTION YOU OFFERED.

      Now, would you care to retract your comment?

  16. I find your views to be very honorable and as a Christian woman, I look forward to learning more about them in action through your writings here. You seem to be a strong Christian man who is firm in what he believes, who is committed to the teachings within the bible; I admire this. I’m looking forward to reading you in the future.

    Adrienne

    • Thanks Adrienne,

      I appreciate the kind words. After reading some posts on your page, I see you display the charity and compassion my writing often lacks. I hope you see my writing as fit for your thoughts in commenting. You would be a sobering addition to the regular commenters.

  17. I arrived here after reading your “About”, which has no comment section of course. While I now know from reading the About page and this post, what you believe and somewhat about your journey towards becoming a Christian. I don’t know “about you” though…would you consider humanizing your about me section? Or do you prefer your about section to be about your blog rather than about you? You could do both :) I think your readers (myself included of course) would like to see a small bio, unless of course you think that if ppl knew more about you personally they would stereotype your opinions.

  18. Just read it…looks and sounds awesome! I think that added the dose of humanity your page was lacking. I feel like there’s a human siting at the keyboard now! Very relatable, kudos!

  19. Hi, John.

    Just read this having nothing better to do at the moment (as if that’s ever really true). Just think a link to this would make an appropriate response to many questions that arise in the course of other discussions.

Any Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: