Since 2-3 months I am occupied with demystifying my faith in God,
that is, removing “religious elements”. This article is an interim
result statement, summing up the main findings for your and my reference.

Demystification proceedings so far

  1. The creator’s greatness. It was argued that there is no
    “24/7 immediate company with God”, see “What
    kinda company with God is possible?
    “, “The
    third way of life in this world
    ” and “The
    cream white area of contact with God
    “. This is an effect of God
    being a so much higher being than we. Another aspect of the creator’s
    greatness is that his creatures are expected to be conscious of their
    createdness and live that out (see “Createdness
    and creativeness
    “).
  2. Humbleness as the essence of faith. See “Createdness
    and creativeness
    ” but probably also “Weakness
    strengthens the church
    “.
  3. The natural nature of the congregation. See “Be
    your congregation
    ” and “Natural
    transformation in the church
    ” and “Weakness
    strengthens the church
    “.
  4. The (mostly) natural nature of communication with God.
    In most cases, God communicates with us indirectly by the truth already
    revealed (see “Is
    wisdom indirect?
    ” and “Natural
    transformation in the church
    “) and not directly, concretely,
    individually (see “What
    kinda company with God is possible?
    “, “The
    third way of life in this world
    “).
  5. The natural nature of human happiness. See “Autarky
    escape from the hedonic treadmill
    ” and “Please
    define happiness!
    “.
  6. The natural nature of transformation. See “Is
    wisdom indirect?
    ” and “Natural
    transformation in the church
    “.
  7. The meaning of visible elements in the gospel faith. See
    Formfehler
    in der Beziehung zu Gott?
    ” and “Learning
    the Lord’s supper anew
    “.

Demystification effects so far

I just can write from my own experiences here so far. First of all,
my faith got much more justifiable – I remember when I was once unable
to argue with someone why I thought character transformation in the
church would be a supernatural act of God and not just education. Now,
I’d say transformation
is indeed natural
, but that does not weaken my faith. Instead, I
got a much clearer view what I can expect for a conformation of my
faith by experience: the contemporary miracles of God, which I’d really
like to document in the “Second Acts” project. The clarity here comes
from a conscious division between explicitly supernatural elements of
faith (miracles and where God indeed speaks individually and directly
to us or guides us concretely) and “naturally implemented” elements of
faith like transformation, communication with God by truth, the freeing
effects of truth, the nature of happiness, the nature of faith
(humbleness), the essence of the congregation and the symbolic-only
meaning of visible elements like the Lord’s supper and baptism. The
naturally implemented elements of faith are real and belong to faith
but constituate no experiences that justifiably confirm our faith –
they need not either, as there are enough miracles out there yet to be
documented 🙂

I’d also say that my relationship to God got much more relaxed,
stress-free and liveable by demystification. The insight that this
world is “my universe” and God wants me to live in it by myself,
equipped with the truth he reveals, makes it easier to cope with
experiences of hardness and unrighteousness that would before have
shaken my faith in a “good” God. Now, they’re just what happens in a
fallen world; God did not intend them for me and will not concretely
remove these things out of this world (in some cases) as he’s sure I
can (learn to) handle because he equipped me with truth and with his
Spirit of Truth.

And by a stress-free relationship to God I also mean that I don’t
have to force myself into communion with God by reading the Bible or
something. Religious exercises are a myth that mostly comes from the
idea of “24/7 immediate communion with God”. Instead, in this mostly
“mediate relationship” to God, I hope I’ll emphasize loving my fellows
much more in the future, as this is how I can express obedience,
thankfulness, worship and appreciation for God. And Besides, a
relationship just has the quality it just has, and I simply (try to)
accept the relationship as it is, knowing that God will succeed in
making this relationship unfeigned and good some day.

Demystification issues not yet addressed

This list contains, to my current knowledge, the issues I need to
investigate further before I’d think that my practical living with God
is non-religious and sound. At this point of time I will hopefully be
able to proceed to put the “Second Acts” idea into practice, which is
to document critically and objectively the supernatural acts God does
today, to confirm my faith and the faith of others. I know that
succeeding here and even being able to start this whole thing is not
dependent on my own creative power (what is this, actually) but on
God’s grace. The good news is, God is full of grace, so I
justifiably hope that this “Second Acts” thing will once be done!! And,
dear readers: you’re really really welcome to join me for this, so if
you share the same desire for seeing and soberly documenting God’s
contemporary acts, please let me know!

Now, the list of issues with (my) faith where demystification is
still needed to some degree:

  1. Marriage demystification. What is marriage in God’s
    view, actually? And what is the taboo-loaden human conception of it?
  2. Prayer. How to thank God for a meal without religious
    catchphrases? Probably, prayer is more about transhipping sorrows to
    God than to expect answers as from a wishing machine.
  3. The Holy Spirit. How can I recognize the admittedly
    supernatural stuff he dos within me? He seems to be
    perceivable as an “undirected positive force” in a Christian, but how
    to prove scientifically that others don’t have this that way and that
    this force is supernatural?
  4. The Revelation of John. How to deal with the symbolism
    of this bible book without introducing religious meta-physics and
    unverifiable exegetic myths?
  5. Decision finding. How to deal adequately with the
    freedom God grants us regarding concrete decisions? How to know where
    God indeed wants us to be obedient to some concrete hint or command?
  6. Objective view on miracles. Most contemporary miracle
    reports carry some religious bias, as opposed to the sober style how
    the bible documents miracles. So sadly, many miracle reports today will
    probably turn out to document natural phenomena only.
  7. Conversion. Is it a naturally implemented phenomenon or
    is some naturally unexplainable miracle implied?
  8. Who belongs to God? What is really meant by being saved
    exclusively by Jesus?
  9. Has the Bible supernatural effects? Is it the
    “supernatural word of God with strength of its own”, or is e.g. dynamic
    understanding of bible passages (i.e. an understanding which changes
    over time) a natural phenomenon which can be observed with other texts
    also?
  10. The theodicy,
    demystified.
  11. The subtle acts of God. I don’t really know what this
    will be about, but it deems to me that the greatest part of what God
    does today is subtle in nature and difficult to recognize.
  12. What means that our supply comes from God?
  13. What is the nature of God’s promises? Where does God
    promise average results, and where individual concrete blessings he’ll
    give?
  14. What does the devil and the demons really do? And where
    do we only thing they do something, while it is a natural consequence
    of this world’s quality, e.g. a bad coincidence? And, what is the
    nature of how evil spirits work: do they do evil concrete deeds, or are
    they an undirected evil force in people’s mind?

Start date: 2007-09-29
Post date: 2007-09-29
Version date: 2007-09-29 (for last meaningful change)

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