Summary: Good reasons to believe in God.
a. This week begin in earnest an adventure that will take us through the next 8 weeks.
b. Focus on some of the really Big Questions people are asking today as they try to determine the best ways to live their lives.
c. We believe that the Church should be helping people find answers to their Big Questions or we are not doing our job well.
i. So, scheduled Wednesday evenings at 6:30 for supper and a discussion.
ii. Asked our adult teachers to focus their classes on - again so that you can think about those questions.
iii. Offer each of you a book that you can use as a jumping off point to start your study and discussion - if you don’t have one, available in lobby as you leave.
iv. Sermons for the next several weeks about the same subjects”
(1) Today - Is there a God? How can you know? Just because your mother or father or teacher or pastor or some other wise person says it, does that make it so?
(2) Next week - The Bible is one book that talks a lot about God - but can you trust it in the information it provides? How can we know for certain?
(3) March 13 and 14 will be a special treat - to focus will be on the prophecies of the Bible and whether or not they have anything to say to our situation.
(4) March 21, Do all roads lead to heaven? Is it spiritual arrogance to believe that a particular point of view is the right one and that everyone else is wrong? Does it really matter what I believe as long as I am a good person? Is sincerity enough, or is there such a thing as rightr and wrong?
(5) March 28 - If God is so good, why are there so many bad things in the world?
(6) April 4 - What happens when you die?
(7) April 11 - Why am I here on this earth. Am I just an accident of nature, or is there a purpose for my existence? If there is, how can I know what it is?
v. Asked another way - Where did we come from? Who are we? Why are we here? How should we live? Where are we going?
d. The question we are examining today is the most important question of all - because your answer to this one question effects every other question in the universe!
2. As we begin, we need to define some terms as a basis for our discussion. When we use the term God, what are we talking about?
a. Theological terms, but I think will find them easy to understand.
b. A god is anything that has supreme authority in my life.
i. Anything can be a god - I can be a god, inanimate objects can be gods (wood and stone idols, cars, possessions, money, prestige, position - anything that is most important and rules our lives), animate objects can be gods (animism - animals, people), or a being outside of our sphere.
c. Basically three different kinds or types of views about god.
i. A theist is someone who believes in a personal God who created the universe but is not part of the universe. This would be roughly equivalent
to a painter and a painting. God is like the painter, and his creation is like the painting. God made the painting, and his attributes are expressed in it, but God is not the painting. Major theistic religions are Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
ii. By contrast, a pantheist is someone who believes in an impersonal
God that literally is the universe. So, rather than making the painting, pantheists believe God is the painting. In fact, pantheists believe that God is everything that exists: God is the grass; God is the sky; God is the tree; God is this book; God is you; God is me; etc. Major pantheistic religions are of the Eastern variety such as Hinduism, some forms of Buddhism, and many forms of the New Age - western and eastern Unity, Scientology, Est, etc.
iii. An atheist is someone who does not believe in any type of God. To follow our analogy, atheists believe that the painting looks like it has always existed and no one painted it. Or, they believe that what is came into being by purely natural means. It appeared or it evolved.
(1) That is why evolutionists believe in an evolved beginning to all that exists in the universe would be an example.
(2) Religious humanists would fall into this general category - who ultimately believe that our god is really ourselves and what we think or affirm or believe.
(3) Rationalism of Revolutionary France is a good example.