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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
        Friday, February 20 2004

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

A spot quiz

I found an interesting online article on "church hopping" yesterday —actually it was about the search for a religious center in the writer's life—which raised some questions that seemed worth sharing with the list.

I thought it might be worthwhile to propose some basic questions about religion and worldview to help clarify the debate most of us engage in internally, within our own consciences, as well as with family members, friends, and acquaintances, especially in settings like cafe Bible studies (I see a lot of these in the area where I live, at places like Starbucks and often involving only two or three members) or in Sunday school classes.

I am recommending that you look at the following as a quiz you give yourself. Some might breeze through it in a scan, but I hope others will find it something to ponder for a while, and maybe it will be something that will even spur some changes in thinking. You aren't expected to send the answers to me or anyone else, though you're welcome to make any use of it you like; for example, as a conversation starter with others you'd like to talk to on such issues (and I am open to discussing questions).

If you use it as a conversation starter, you may feel free to play any role you're comfortable with, from inquirer to teacher or as "one beggar asking others where to find bread." Having been a Bible study leader for over 40 years and a writer on religion theory and practice, my own take is that these are the most basic questions in the inner life. Your mileage, of course, as always, may vary.

1. Is there a God? Why? Why not?
2. If there is, how can one get to know him or her?
3. If there is, what is the nature of the deity (god/gods)?
4. For example, is God the creator of all that exists, existing before all creation, all-knowing, all powerful? Or is God a part of what exists independently, or even dispersed in all that exists?
5. Did God make us or did humankind make him?
6. Is God personal (personlike) or impersonal ("the force"; the absentee clockmaker)?
7. Does God have a "program"? Why/why not?
8. If so, how does he get it across to those it affects? Has God spoken? If so, through what media?
9. What's the source of "the mess we're in" ("we" here meaning the human race; the world)?
10. What is human nature? Basically good, depraved, a mixture of both?
11. If human nature is basically good, why isn't good more prevalent in the world; why are there wars, strife, injustice?
12. If human nature is depraved, why is there so much good in the world? Is there any hope for improvement? What source would such hope derive from?
13. What is evil? Does it have a self-contained existence (spiritual, material, or combined) or an independent representative (e.g., Satan)?
14. What's holy or sacred? Why—because you value it or venerate, praise, or worship it?
15. Are some people holy in an exalted way? On a scale from 1 to 10, how would you rate: Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, John the Baptist, Paul, the apostles generally and the martyrs/saints of Christian history....
16. Are you as holy as all or any of them? If not, do you consider them worthy examples or teachers? If not, why not? If so, what do they teach you?
17. Who is Jesus Christ? Is he alive? If so, how? If not, how?
18. What have you done with/to/for Jesus?
19. Who is holy in our time? Why? If you don't know of any example(s), why do you think that is?
20. Have you ever read the Bible—all the way through; most of the way through?
21. If not (and assuming that the Bible is the major source of spiritual and moral teaching in the western half of the planet), is it intellectually dishonest to assume that it doesn't have "your" answers?
22. If you haven't been able to read it but have tried, have you ever joined a Bible study to try to work through at least its basic content and teachings?
23. If you haven't yet done so (#22), would you like to?
24.
Should your religion be tailored to suit you, or is it a quest for God and a search for his expectations of you?
25.
What is the church?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

Steven Wrightisms

6. A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.

—Sent by Trudy Myers 

Thought for today

Less famous proverbs

Despite the cost of living, have you noticed how it remains so popular?

— Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz  

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