Word of God vs. Word of People

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by Ben Huot


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I must preface this discussion, by first saying, I only speak for myself. I am generally someone, who doesn’t fit comfortably, into any group of people. This is true, even though, most of the time, I wish it wasn’t.

I have had some more unusual experiences at a relatively young age. These have further reinforced what I previously believed. I grew up in a normal family and was raised well and my entire family was good to me. Despite only having a lower middle class income, I was in many different activities from the time I was in elementary school. This has been the source of a lot of the stability in my life.

One of the things that affected me greatly was my military training. I came in as an individual and since I followed orders instantly and always gave 150%, I never changed the way I thought.

I went in enlisted in the Army for several reasons. One was that I got somewhat low grades in school, so I would get in debt, if I went to college without being in the service. Another reason was that I believed that God wanted me to do so. Finally, I thought it was a way to give back and do something important with my life.

I chose the Army, because I saw it as the people’s service. I have never wanted to associate myself with the powerful or the dominant group. I really appreciated that the Army seemed to accept me. I came to believe that they were actually as kind with us as possible and they had a very tough job to do. The Army prides itself on being the best service for educating service members.

I left the military early and thought at the time this was my failure. I did get an honorable discharge, but I thought it was due to my eye condition. I did not find out I had Schizophrenia, until a few years later. This was shortly after I had my first and only psychotic episode. Even when I voluntarily committed myself in a psychiatric ward, I thought I just had an emotional breakdown.

Shortly after leaving the military, I wanted to stay Christian, but I sensed intuitively that, although I appreciated and learned much from the local church I went to, that I wanted to find a different way to express my faith. Before I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, I realized something was wrong with me. I just assumed I was a Goth for a few years.

While attending college, around that same time, I majored in business, even though I found it both difficult and boring. I was able to take a year long course in Chinese Literature and later in one of my summer terms I ended up taking a course in Existentialism. These ideas rang true with me, because I felt that I had failed as I both did poorly in college as well as I identified with some of these philosophers.

I spent about 12 years in total studying major world belief systems, but still only practiced Christianity. I never seriously considered giving up my faith or converting. My goal was to be able to honestly say to non-Christians that the Christian faith was the one true religion. I learned a lot through this process about myself and ideas that helped me deal with life and my mental and physical health conditions.

I ended up putting together Christian Existentialism and Philosophical Taoism as a coherent system, that at least made sense to me. These were ideas I already had long before studying them, but I thought it might be useful in explaining my ideas to others. Around this time, I moved from church to church, but I have for a long time found it easier to understand and be understood by unbelievers.

The paranoia and anti-intellectualism we now see in the Church goes back much farther than many realize. It is considered wrong, by many Christians, to study other religions or philosophies. It is often thought that, if people are exposed to other ideas, they will lose their faith. One of the major reasons why there are so many different versions of Christianity is because purity in doctrine was from early on valued much higher than unity.

People are not as rational as they think and for good reason. Many people in the Church are confused as to why not everyone thinks the same as they do, after reading the same parts of the Bible. Many are afraid that people will take ideas from other belief systems and combine them, which might cause a lack of purity in doctrine.

What they do not realize, because they have not studied much outside the Bible and Western Civilization in religion or history, is that Christianity was synchronized with Neo-Platonism in the first few hundred years of Christian history and by about 1,000 years they synchronized Christian teaching with Aristotle’s ideas.

Belief systems and politics have been tied together, for all of recorded history and cultures, because if you cannot agree on your philosophical and religious views, you are going to have a hard time keeping united. You will not agree on laws, foreign policy, education, economics, and other key aspects of culture.

One of the things many Christians and non-Christians both misunderstand is that many Protestant ideas were developed and were successful for political, religious, economic and related reasons. This is why many people have such a hard time separating politics from religion. These things generally are related for obvious and good reasons.

So many in the church say all they read is the Bible. They therefore say that all their ideas are objective and correct and anyone who disagrees is not following God. The reality is that we are influenced by our culture and if we do not study these things, we just accept the ideas of our ethnic, social, and economic groups we were born into.

I believe that the Bible is objective truth. On the other hand, the moment someone interprets it at all that is their opinion. I only hold myself to my understanding of Scripture. I base my faith on my intuitive understanding of who God is. It has always matched what the Bible says.

There are though many, maybe the majority, of verses I cannot explain. But every belief system requires faith, because we can never be perfect and have all the information we think might be ideal. The definition of faith is belief, without being able to fully explain why.

I am a skeptic, even though I have certainty in my mind about God and the reality of what is in the Bible. What I am skeptical of is everything else, literally. I have working theories, but no absolutes. I would not suffer any more for my country and so do not consider that to be part of any of my beliefs.

I believe I have proved my loyalty to my country by my actions and am working on doing so for my faith.