Since it’s been a while from the last post, I wanted to begin fleshing out an article on the subject of rejection, especially in terms of the initial stages. Though this does not relate to the reasons for my decision to put writing aside for the time being, it does relate to the sentiments I have received with respect to what was written and said previously prior, during, and throughout the process of writing a book. My interests have gone from initial excitement to dullness and embarrassment to initially returning to my passion. Personally, I think most people will benefit if I share some of the experiences I have undergone and the self-examinations in retrospect. Thus, my hopes for the audiences, particularly, the reader, will find this information helpful.
Before I give a little bit of myself away, let me begin by discussing how I took interest into writing. As a kid, I can remember the multiple times I have spent investing my time and space into (well. . .) paper, specifically paper products. Notebooks, printing paper, markers, pens, envelops, you name it, etc. was a thing of personal interest to me. In some cases, even the world of books was something that took my interest. In many ways, my parents would always point out that I was taking out books that most of the time I wasn’t reading—even though I’ve wanted to have a type of connection with the books. There was always this desire to learn about the world of book writing, but somehow lacked the connection between the paper and books, which in this case, were the words.
As I grew older, I knew that one of the unique things about my being is the ability to write poetry, short story, plays, etc., especially when the opportunity arose for them. For a time, while I was in grade school, I remember churning out one short story after another after another for the sake of wanting to write. I didn’t realize that I had a unique desire to write at such a young age, but my teacher noticed my desires to write wasn’t a small feat per se. However, those decisions had come to a clearer picture when I came to realize that (at the end of high school) I needed to pick a major that was going to benefit me in the long run, which, as it turns out, writing was something I can learn to craft.
Flash forward to the post high school and early college years.
I was working hard on my first book, The Resurrection, trying to flesh out a few different versions of the same novel, except a few things were coming to play: (1) how to write the story, (2) how to create the plot line, and (3) how to deal with the criticism that came from points one and two. In many ways, I have come to resolve point three with one amazing word: ignore.
Ignore, the critics.
Under normative circumstances, where some of criticism does present validity, criticism should be taken into consideration, especially when it comes from people who share similar experiences as the author does. However, if this comes from peers who chose to perch on your shoulders, telling you about the impossibility of writing a book, how stupid it is, how lame the book is going to come out, then heed the advice above: ignore them.
A lot of the initial criticism about my book came from the immediate family, especially mom. While I appreciate mom’s feedback (she did read frequently), I also knew mom wasn’t aware about the process of writing. To some extent, she acted like book writing came about whenever someone decided to go to the loo—only instead of flushing the toilet, you’re coming out with a new title. If writing books were this simple, I would load myself with a steady diet just to get the right titles that would end up as a New York Times Bestseller. Unfortunately, this method of writing doesn’t work out this way—being committed to the other half of the book writing was something I had determined to go with, which I never mentioned to my parents personally.
And that’s this: if you’re willing to go to the realm of editing and criticism for not writing the story right, then ignoring immediate family is the right thing to do.
I chose not to listen to family advice; none of them were professional experts in the field of writing, and much to their embarrassment, they weren’t willing to discuss the other length of book writing, which (for the most part) consisted of editing, and lots of that. Fortunately, I knew that editing was something I needed to do; however, writing out the story line was more important, which I managed to do within the first year of its inception. By the time college finished for me, I realized that additional editing was needed which demanded a lot more time than I initiated as both author and entertainer.
But in terms of coping with this kind of criticism, if you are willing to grow thick skin and not be dependent on coddled criticism for writing something, then writing is definitely for you, especially if you’re going to write books because, someone’s going to find something grammatically and structurally incoherent about your writing. If you’re willing to go back to the writing, and re-draft the book altogether to make the audience happy, then no, you no reason to listen to the audience; they’re not book experts like you and I are. They’re not going to write, edit, re-draft, re-craft, trash, repair, etc. a manuscript, put it on the shelves, find an agent etc.
These are not those kinds of people—YOU ARE.
Thus, the reason why I managed to survive the book writing process, despite the criticism and ridicule from family members. I knew that I needed resources, and in terms of book writing, I needed lots of them, which is what I did to help shape my thinking throughout the course of book writing. If you’re willing to write and edit, then coping with this lag of criticism is not something that is going to be a problem for you.
Sadly, many would-be, wanna-be, got-to-be authors don’t think about the commitments behind book writing; to the contrary, they see book writing the way my mom saw it—go to the loo and get a title.
Despite the dearth of articles that discuss the subject of Scriptural Inerrancy, my kinks with the left has always revolved around the same things they do not go for—facts, facts, and lots of facts. One can argue endlessly on the subject of Scriptural Inerrancy, relentlessly pointing out the most obvious problems; however, if these do not square away with the basis of their emotional reasoning, there is not much a Christian could really do save that s/he to leave the Left alone and remain a true and faithful witness to the Word of God. While I am open to maintaining a firm relationship with the critics, I am going to remain firm on the subject of inerrancy, especially when it comes to discussing the most obvious.
The reason why I bring this subject up is to point out (once again) that rejecting fundamentalism does not mean that we should reject the doctrines that the Scriptures are explicitly clear upon: its claim to inerrancy. For this very reason, I do not drift to the left, reaffirming a love for a Jesus that exists out of the whims of an emotional sentiment and arbitrary adherence to Scriptural practice. I did not come to this conclusion because I had been ‘brainwashed’ and does not like to take the Words of Jesus ‘seriously;’ I came to this conclusion by means of faith—by means of which require that I would have to accept the Scriptures entirety as divine revelation.
But to make this point clearer, I want to deliver a compare-contrast between what is said here and what happens whenever someone decides to reject the authority of the Scriptures. I am not going to say much on the subject altogether, except to run with a list of some essentially relevant facts that any ‘emotionally intelligent’ reader should be able to grasp without necessarily trying to pull the ‘Jesus/ ‘J’ Card’ (for those who are wondering what is meant by this—it is a term I use for those who try to appeal to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount as a copout whenever they face real problematic issues with the Old Testament).
Chuck McKnight is a case in point.
In his blog post entitled, The Image of God and a New Proposal for Resolving Old Testament Violence, there is very little substance to the proposition of what the real issues are concerning the nature of ‘violence’ in the Old Testament. The best proposition Chuck asserts for his audience is what’s been regurgitated by postmodern scholars and they can be summarized as follows:
- Moses—the traditional author of the Law—wrote the creation accounts in reflection from a collection of Near Eastern Mythology.
- The Old Testament writers—those whose books advocated the ideologies of violence—were simply mistaken from understanding who God really is because God just gave them the privilege to speak on his behalf.
- The Old Testament writers—whose books advocated teachings that disagree with the Postmodern Audiences—contain misstatements from God because ‘God is love…period1.’
And, as one can see, this is the ‘best’ that McKnight has to offer.
There are reasons why I said this ‘God is love’ crap has to go; the God of the New Testament is NOT a pacifist hippy—if the real messages of God one happens to find can only be found in any KJV New Testament that has all the words of Jesus Christ written in RED, then perhaps that same Christian is, really, an idiot. One cannot possibly do away with the sheer force of the Old Testament by using clichés found on the back of a soda can—God is love, God is love, God is love—this is not going to go well with the predecessors set before the arrival of the messiah. Those within the Reformed community who adhere to the orthodox teachings of Scriptural Inerrancy have better reasoning for their doctrine much more so than the audiences who fawn over McKnight’s posts.
(And if you are not willing to make it this far without discarding emotional reasoning and use some critical thinking, this post really isn’t for you. Sorry.)
Let’s start with the most basic assertion to Chuck’s argument namely, this ‘Moses-was-reflecting-mythology-in-the-near-east’ theory (this should be regarded as a ‘hypothesis’—no scholar to date has actual proof that this happened and they entertain this ideal infallibly because they cannot fathom the idea of a ‘cruel and unjust God’). Truly, this claim really isn’t new—Moses, as a person borne in the image of God, is considered by most as someone who was merely reflecting ideals that was typical to the people who were in the Near East. This whole theory can be easily explained by spending a few hours watching the History Channel; most ‘experts resort to this de facto position to portray any person—particularly, candidates who support the orthodox position of Scriptural Inerrancy—as a bunch of kooks.
But is this how the Old Testament paints Moses?
Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.–Exodus 33:11 ESV
The above verse is just the tip of the iceberg of Scriptural declarations that shows that Moses was not writing things “as responses…to accounts given by surrounding nations2”; to the contrary, you have a writer who functions as the recipient of divine revelation in one of the clearest expressions on the face of the planet. One cannot simply ignore this: Moses was talking to God, face to face, on a continual basis from the time God appeared to him in the burning bush at Mt. Sinai (which, I tend to think is the Lord Christ Jesus Himself—something McKnight fails to consider in his religious wanderings) to the point where Moses died. To dismiss the transitions’ centrality of revelation from God to man and the employed means thereof is to show complete ignorance and denial of the Scriptures themselves.
As if those mean nasty conservatives were promoting hate this entire time.
Moses was not leading a people with an empty hand—the transmission of divine revelation came with a crafty set of perks—Moses had direct, face to face, access with God Himself, talking to a friend. But with respect to the wanderings in the wilderness, the opposition to Moses’s leadership was not something that happened rarely. For forty years, the Israelites had challenged Moses again and again because they did not believe a single word spoken by him. Many had thought he made a lot of mistakes on the road. Many thought he was deceiving the people by promoting laws that they despised. Many even thought this man was no prophet at all.
I wish that Chuck and Korah could meet; perhaps, it’s high time that should spend some time together sharing ideas about Moses’s ‘mistaken’ leadership.
Which brings me to another point about the Scripture’s depictions of Moses’s leadership—divine anecdotes. In Numbers 16, the reader shall be able to find the genuine opposition of Korah the most convincing—he thought everyone within Moses’s congregation were sufficiently holy, and perhaps believed that the divine leadership had somewhat gone astray. Did Korah managed to have a following for his tenacity? Certainly, and with the gathering of 250 persons to offer incense to God, he was bound to successfully coerce Moses to share the leadership with a new leader who had ‘better insight.’
But what happened?
And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment.” –Numbers 16:20-21 ESV
This postmodern idea of Moses being simply mistaken in his leadership flies in the face of these anecdotes. God was not going to tolerate Korah’s rebellion; there was a price to pay for this incident: hellfire. This group of men (and perhaps women and children) were immediately swallowed up by the earth, only to make their new homes in the pits of hell or as the Bible describes it, Sheol. Those seeking to make an offering to Lord without His permission was consumed immediately by fire—by the incinerated remains, thus these men had become holy. If skeptics would learn from this anecdote, it would be pretty clear that questioning the integrity of the reception of divine revelation was unwarranted.
As if that stopped Miriam and Aaron.
Because some of the congregation had witnessed to divine events, it was clear that some of them thought that God was speaking to someone else besides Moses—apparently, the divine revelation as recorded by him simply had to be ‘mistaken.’ This is obvious in the rhetorical devices expressed within the Scriptures: “And they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has he not spoken through us also?” –Numbers 12:2 ESV
To which, the Bible records, as something God heard.
But here’s the ironic part: rather than coming up with this groovy, feel good response to the Scriptures, God invited the three of them to appear at the tent of meeting, which thus they did. “And the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent,” which is an act of divine intervention, contrary to populist means of interpretation (Numbers 12:5), and God says the following: “If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream” –Numbers 12:6. In other words, God was saying (in a kind way) “if I wanted your opinion, I would’ve asked for it; I would’ve made of this pretty clear by now.” Thus notice the latter part of what God shares with Aaron and Miriam: “Not so with my servant Moses….with him, I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” –Numbers 12:7-8.
Compare this with McKnight’s explanations for the Pentateuch:
“We first need to understand what the image of God signifies. There are many ideas about the image of God, and some of them seem more likely than others, but most of them are simply speculations. That’s because the Bible in itself nowhere offers a definition for the image of God.
….The image of God is one such concept that was taken directly from ancient Near Eastern mythology. According to the surrounding nations, the reigning king bore the image of god. This meant that he, and he alone, ruled as his god’s representative on earth. When he spoke, he spoke on his god’s authority as if his god had spoken himself.
….Before humankind fell into sin, we were perfect image bearers. But when we fell, God did not take away our image-bearing status. We became imperfect image bearers, but we still bear God’s image, rule as his representatives, and speak with the authority he gave us3.”
So much for McKnight’s propositional hypothesis.
The problem behind the claim itself ignores the biblical anecdote; just as Aaron and Miriam weren’t afraid of questioning the leadership of Moses, McKnight takes a lot of brazen jabs at Moses by trying to say that the works of the assumed author—Moses—was a concoction of reflective ideologies from the surrounding nations in the near east. Sadly, Chuck’s claim does not hold much weight—God’s declarations as revealed in the laws themselves were intended to set the Nation of Israel apart from the surrounding nations, which includes its histories and ideologies.
Moreover, McKnight’s claim that ‘the Bible itself nowhere offers a definition for the image of God’ is pure nonsense because the laws delivered to Moses, including how these laws were delivered in its entirety, is an expression of his character, which functions also as part of the image that McKnight claims to be found nowhere in the Scriptures. But this is not what the blogger wishes for his audience to see—apparently those darn conservatives are too stupid and too ignorant to see that everyone needs to get with the postmodern program of enlightenment that has been ongoing since the time of St. Augustine (I say this because a small blip within his work of Confessions reveals that some of his friends questioned the Scripture’s inerrancy also).
While I am planning to write more on the subject concerning McKnight’s second point—the idea of the Old Testament writers simply misunderstanding the revelations of God, I want to make a pause here so that the audience can take a minute or so to compare the explanations McKnight has to offer in contrast with the pictures the Scriptures paint for its claims. If McKnight’s assertions are correct by any stretch of the imagination, the Pentateuch composition would be regarded with differences in composition and method of delivery; however, the picturesque depictions and the concise details in the entirety of the Scriptural accounts do not make this so.
And with the absolute certainty that several persons have gone before and questioned the leadership of Moses—e.g. Aaron, Miriam, and Korah’s company—the audience would have to come to a conclusive decision: either the presuppositions and speculative ideologies that McKnight posits for his audiences are true—in light of the line of other progressive academics: Peter Enns, Benjamin Corey, Brian Zahnd, Derek Flood, etc. or upon receiving these descriptive anecdotes of the Scriptures, lay the challenge of these passages at the feet of these leaders in hopes of them finding a better explanation, which would further result in the following: if there is a more concise if not in depth explanation for these instances, probe these men into further questioning or, if upon their rejection of taking these passage into consideration, discard their theories and pronounce their views as antithetical to Christianity.
My gut feeling, despite all that I have posited as a means of providing a possible challenge, tends to gravitate toward the latter parts of the propositions.
- Access to this blog post can be found here.
- Whenever someone makes God’s love the basis of his or her theology, oftentimes, those same persons will reject the Scriptures because it doesn’t fit his or her definition of what love ‘ought to be.’
- Propositions that does not take portions of the Old Testament into consideration are not biblical ones at all.
In order for everyone to understand, it has been roughly about three years since my last post and guess what? A lot has been going on for me during those months as I have been working away from this blog. Even though the times spent away from the blog, I want no one to think that I have decided to hang up my pen and put my writing skills aside; if you have really thought that I was doing something to that effect, I would have to inform you that you are gravely mistaken.
Although my jobs has kept me partially away from this website, it’s not because of a major writer’s block that I have encountered. There are too many writing projects that I have to even consider this notion as a tremendous factor. In fact, ever since I have stepped away from the blogging-author world, my writing projects have still continued to increase from then, especially in terms of plotting out a sequel to this book and writing out another blog for this article.
However, these are not the primary reasons why I have decided to step aside in the blogging-author world.
The main reason why I have chosen not to write on this blog is due to the simple fact that I have had a major battle with depression—and no, it’s not the drug necessity kind. There has been a lot going on in my personal life that I am not going to rehash on this blog or go into excessive detail; I have created another blog to express those sentiments entirely.
Nevertheless, there has been a lot of personal issues that I have been struggling over the past few months where I felt that the time being away from the computer has been something I personally needed. Though my writing skills have not remained stagnant, I have used another blogosphere as a therapeutic means to resolve some of the personal sentiments that I did not want to be carrying over whenever I start discussing any subject pertaining to my personal books.
With that being said, I think that being absent on this blog post for over 24 months has not been good either for me as the author or the audiences, of whom I write for. I do hope no one has taken what I have written on this post personally—I am still wanting to rebuild that audience that I have lost over the past few months.
I hope you can bear with me.
“The Resurrection by H.A. Parker tells a story that forces you to examine your own personal convictions regarding science and religion. As a science teacher, I can understand the almost fanatical belief held by the scientists and their goal to resurrect the disciples. The main character, Clark, has had his faith in God challenged and he clings to science as an acceptable way to process the world. At the same time, his life has become void of everything. He lives alone, has few, if any, friends and he is very devoted to his job and his enigmatic boss.
Suddenly becoming the “keeper” of the resurrected disciples, Clark quickly discovers many of their ideas about them were wrong and he is faced with the faith and religion he turned his back on for science. He also comes to realized that things are not as he believed with his boss and he wonders if they are doing the right thing.”
Whenever someone ventures into reading your novel, usually the reader glances at the opening sentence i.e., the very first line. Out of the dozens of ‘self-published’ writers who give their works to the public, very few of them attempt to make the opening sentence worthwhile.
Some open with a tremendously long one which consists of more than 24 words, the average amount a normal sentence (like this one) would consist of. Others usually make their sentences too short, cutting the amount of information below the average amount. Whenever an author begins opening his or her first own sentence, he or she ought to achieve the balance between conciseness and brevity. If there is difficulty in creating that type of balance, there also needs to be balance in the contents as well.
While I have opened my book with discussing the weather, I did not center the first three paragraphs on the subject of the weather. I don’t know how many more authors out there that make this mistake, but I am beginning to realize that this is an all too often error that would turn off readers from engaging the book. Unfortunately, not too many authors pay attention to this need and avoid discussing the needs to write a proper sentence.
Whenever there is a story about someone’s de-conversion to Atheism, Agnosticism, etc., I tend to realize these problems occur for the following reasons: (1) Weak Faith, (2) Lack of Answers, and (3) Disenchantment. After reading this post, I tend to have noticed that the source of people’s dislike for fundamentalist Christianity is often resulting from the last one (disenchantment). Although there are so-called, ‘Atheistic rationale,’ a majority of these arguments really stem from one major (emotional) problem.
Allow me to explain.
After running into experiences where Christians have personally others hurt over the years, I have discovered there has been a major side effect that none of these individuals see. For starters, people are more apt to feel unwelcome and irritated whenever they return to the church. They first pretend to retain friendless on pretentious grounds, but throughout the course of time, these types of members distance themselves away from the church. Currently, I have several friends in and outside the church who have shared that experiences because either the pastor or fellow layman have said some things that merit an apology. Unfortunately in this case, they do nothing more but preach a mere ‘forgive and forget,’ expecting others to move on.
What troubles me for those who pass their vociferous opinions, is not the need for asking others to forgive them of their sins (which, the offending party has neither sought the repentance nor absolution of their uncharitable comments), but the effects of the words they said. If pastors and laymen took the time to see the seeds they spent spreading in the hearts and minds, then logically they would get the message to be more cautious of their words and apologize like real Christians. I hate to say this, but I can understand the unintended effects of these Atheists and the (emotional) abuses they post on the internet. I’m saddened to see how the Church of God seeks to find believers, but won’t take the time to clean itself from the wickedness of their pastors and laymen.
Having said that, I am not saying that Atheism in and of itself teaches a true faith; in fact, I would most agreeably state this ideology teaches a bankrupted system which does no better in practice whenever they make rationales for the non-existence of God. As I have covered in this blog there are key questions Atheists have yet to answer which are either dodged or dismissed and they are these:
- Who should all humans be held accountable to?
- If accountable to each other, which ones should retain the most accountability?
- On what basis should does that person or persons hold the power of accountability?
- What qualifications does that person or persons have to retain such power?
- Where do these qualifications come from?
- Are these morals universally accountable?
- Are these morals eternally immutable?
- Are these morals transcendent?
I would love to find some honest Atheist out there who would be able to answer these questions.
I seem to think that all sciences, specifically empirical sciences have a problem with philosophy. If all people were ‘highly evolved apes,’ then why exactly fight against this notion that the human race is more than what scientists posit? I could easily suggest to NY Times Columnist, Richard Polt, who generously posted this article that we are more than apes because we were made in God’s image (Genesis 1); however, I think his problem begins on where to start. While I began glossing into the article from Why Evolution is True, I began to notice a few errors of thought.
The first come from the comment from blogger ‘darrell’:
“Exactly my first thought. He is ignorant about the sciences, especially current scientific knowledge. He has no real idea what he is arguing against, but he knows he doesn’t like it because he finds it undignified. And he thinks he can derive serious arguments against it starting from prescientific classical philosophical concepts and rationalizing his way to a more dignified answer.” [Emphasis mine]
Ignorant about the sciences? How about ignorant about the sheer fact that science is a slave to philosophy or the fact that in order to interpret the evidences that people really need to have some kind of a priori assumptions? This problem of reductionism is the chief result from assuming the evidence supports a type of naturalistic worldview i.e., all there is to life out there in this world is nature and that’s it. If you are going to consider the scientific findings specifically, an open fossil record, you will need to recognize two different things. (1) Fossils don’t do all the talking, it’s the scientists that do. Interpretation of the fossil record (if assumed with a naturalistic worldview) can support evolution in any way imaginable; however, the evidences can immediately change the same instant someone with an entirely different (creationist) worldview comes onto the scene.
While I do agree with the author that reductionism is the chief result of evolutionary evidences, I also tend to think the problems for believing this sort of theory (or hypothesis in my opinion) can be easily pointed out in the article itself.
“Well, almost no biologist thinks that learning how morality evolved, or develops as a cultural phenomenon, tells us what is the right thing to do. I do think that the rudiments of human morality come from our ancestors, for our relatives show some strikingly moral-like behaviors, but clearly morality has a strong cultural overlay, and what is hard-wired can be overridden by social norms. If that weren’t the case, what is considered moral wouldn’t change so quickly.”
Again, morality is not something that necessarily comes from ancestry; for even the ancestors need to know where they came from. Sadly, I think the problem with a changing world is the rejection of an absolute source i.e., a transcendent moral compass. If there really is this idea of highly evolved apes having a ‘code’ or ‘source’ of morality (oh say, the human conscience) that cannot be overridden by culture, then I think that points to a bigger idea: that God really does exist.
Take a look at what Hitler did. He lied, betrayed, and killed millions of innocent people. In the name of what?
Science, just pure science.
Margaret Sanger is another individual who thought the same way along with every other eugenicist who preached the idea of having the perfect race. In the unfortunate world of evolution, there even with the scientific explanation that points out how or why Hitler committed his atrocities, I can assure you evolution has no basis to condemn the German Dictator for murdering people (or even calling this holocaust a form of murder).