Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Do You Have an Answer?

King James
1 Peter 3:15: But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

Living Bible
1 Peter 3:15: Quietly trust yourself to Christ the Lord and if anybody asks why you believe as you do, be ready to tell him, and do it in a gentle and respectful way.

New American Standard
1 Peter 3:15: But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.

The following conversation took place shortly after a prayer meeting I attended within a computer game called 2nd Life. Someone came into the church, and asked as we were praying, "Why is God invisible? Why does He not walk the Earth?"

There was a pause, and I asked "To whom are you addressing your question?"

He replied, "Anyone who can answer."

I sent him a tell and told him that I would be willing to discuss the question with him after the meeting was over. Truly, it is not often that strangers wander into churches in the midst of a service and ask such questions. I see cause behind this. The following conversation then took place at a beachfront house of a friend who has given me access to use it. I have edited the transcript for spelling and grammatical purposes (and I take liberties with the grammar, as much of the conversation used phrases instead of complete sentences.) I do not publish this account as one who has arrived; by any means, I am the least of His servants. Rather, I do so as an example, that others may see and glorify God. [Note: I have substituted the names of the persons mentioned in the article, as I do not have permission to use their names.]

[12:49] Ken: Well hello.
[12:49] You: Hi
[12:49] You: I dont see you hehe
[12:49] Ken: Look behind.
[12:49] You: Ah
[12:50] You: There you are
[12:50] Ken: Indeed.
[12:50] You: You ask an excellent question
[12:50] Ken: Thank you. Most replies to such a question are anger towards me.
[12:50] You: Basically, it went something like this- why can't we see God, why does He not walk the Earth?
[12:50] Ken: No. I do not believe so, for we do not truly know what he wishes.
[12:51] Ken: Err.
[12:51] Ken: I apologize. Multiple conversations. Seems that focusing is difficult.
[12:51] Ken: Continue.
[12:51] You: You are correct in that we do not perfectly understand God
[12:51] You: I am a science teacher
[12:52] You: One of the things I teach my students is to question
[12:52] Ken: Interesting.
[12:52] You: One of the things we study is DNA, what it is and how it works
[12:52] You: Its incredibly complex
[12:52] You: There is, within all living things, what I call "a spark of life"
[12:53] You: Its part of how we define what is alive
[12:53] You: Consuming food, producing waste, exchanging gases, reproducing, etc
[12:53] Ken: Ah. Makes sense so far.
[12:54] You: Well, there is a section of scripture that addresses your very question ( I don't know where it is, but I know Paul said it)
[12:54] You: and it addresses my ideas about living things too
[12:55] You: it goes something like this (very loose paraphrase)
[12:55] You: The evidence of God is all about you, in His creation
[12:55] You: (in other words, it is a reflection of His workmanship)
[12:56] You: The trees grow and move, very slowly as they do
[12:56] Ken: Hm.
[12:56] You: In other words, life itself is evidence of God
[12:56] You: It is through His spirit that all things have life
[12:57] You: and there is another life I might tell you about if you are willing
[12:57] You: to hear about it
[12:57] Ken: Of course. Knowledge is always accepted.
[12:57] You: =) well said!
[12:58] You: I wish you were one of my students!
[Although in retrospect, I would have preferred the wording, Knowledge is always questioned. However, his meaning was, the acquisition of knowledge is something to be pursued]
[12:58] You: There is a book that changed my view about things- not the bible, although that did too
[12:58] You: it was written by an atheist
[12:59] You: a college art professor
[12:59] You: He died, in a hospital in France, waiting to have an operation for a burst appendix
[12:59] You: (although now that I think about it, it may have been a ruptured colon)
[13:00] You: In any event, he had an afterlife experience
[13:00] You: and he met Jesus and asked all the questions you are asking
[13:00] Ken: And he said?
[13:00] You: May I recommend to you the book,
[13:00] Ken: Certainly.
[13:00] You: Hehe
[13:01] You: Oh gee, I am having a senior moment- lemme think
[13:01] You: Hehe
[13:01] You: Ok, I have to look it up- one sec
[13:03] You: My Decent into Death: A Second Chance at Life by Howard K. Storm
[13:03] Ken: Alright, I shall write that down. One moment.,.
[13:03] You: You can get it used from amazon.com for pretty cheap
[13:04] You: It is the Christians premise that there is an invisible spiritual life that comes alive
[13:04] You: when one believes in God, and the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus
[13:04] You: I would be first to agree with you that the hypocracy found in religion is disdainful
[13:04] You: as well as the judgment of some who profess to follow Christ
[13:05] Ken: Indeed. Though I question if my beliefs would be accepted in society.
[13:05] You: I do know one thing however, my life has never been the same since I accepted and believed in Him
[13:06] Ken: Indeed. My beliefs are similar, though different...
[13:06] You: It is in this hope that I place my trust, that He died for me, in obedience to God's will in becoming a sacrifice for the entire world
[13:07] You: I have found that in my studies of life, and how all living things are related
[13:07] You: That this affirms my faith, for example:
[13:07] You: The dog who was separated from his family who moved away across the continent
[13:07] Ken: Hm. Connection does make sense.
[13:08] You: How can this dog travel 1,00s of miles
[13:08] You: er 1,000's
[13:08] You: to rejoin his family whom he loves, and who loves him?
[13:08] You: The answer is that there is a spiritual component to life
[13:08] You: an unseen part
[13:08] Ken: A soul?
[13:09] You: that goes ignored by many in their own intelligence
[13:09] You: A spirit
[13:09] You: It is this spiritual part that can connect with God
[13:09] You: and this connection is made by faith
[13:10] You: This is what we were doing in the upstairs room
[13:10] You: Praying
[13:10] You: For those who have loved ones who are sick or who have died
[13:10] You: or any other matter where we do not know the entire truth of matters, but God does
[13:11] You: I hope that my answer has met some of your expectations
[13:12] You: I am not here to spew Christian doctrine and dogma at you
[13:12] Ken: Indeed.
[13:12] You: Rather, I would let you know that there are some Christians who accept without judgment
[13:12] Ken: It has, though your friend Lance is quite the conversationalist.
[13:13] You: I am new to 2nd Life, having only been here 1 week
[13:13] You: and I am familiar with Lance, although I have not spoken with him much
[13:14] Ken: I am new as well.
[13:14] Ken: Though more so than you.
[13:14] You: You will find answers to your questions in that book, some of which may seem to contradict what Christians teach
[13:14] Ken: Of course they do.
[13:15] Ken: Ignorance can contradict. Only a book written by God would be correct to all.
[13:15] You: Jesus contradicted many of the pharisees (religious leaders) when he was on Earth, and he earned their anger for doing so
[13:15] Ken: Thank you for the conversation. It was enlightening.
[13:15] You: I am glad that you found my answers acceptable
[13:16] You have offered friendship to Ken
[13:16] Ken is Online
[13:16] Ken: Perhaps we can continue in the future. Though I am going to continue speaking with Lance.
[13:16] You: May I ask where you are from? I am in Atlanta, Georgia
[13:16] Ken: Canada. No, we don't live in two-story igloos.
[13:17] You: Hehe Happy Canada Day, btw, eh?
[13:17] Ken: Indeed it is. Thank you.
[13:17] You: Okay - take care

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