A skeptic on the comment section of this blog wants to imitate a dialogue and asked me to answer a certain question,He's not not being as flippant as the inquisition seem to imply but here it is:
It's actually about the fact that I have devoted way enough time on this thing already. Why should I care? I don't find anything convincing and I feel like I just hear the same things over and over again. It doesn't mean that it's false, but it does not compel me.Why one should care about the truth of God is so that we can know God. Knowing God is important because it's the purpose of creation so it gives us meaning and makes us happy in a deeply satisfying way nothing else can.match. That's what you expect to hear but what else could I say?That really is the bottom line,everything else is just explication. I think to flesh this out more fully I have to put it in context in relation to other faiths.
I am assuming the next question will be why Christianity and not some other religion? You probably expect me to give a big thing a out how True Christianity is and how false other religions are. I don't think in those terms anymore,Yes I do believe Jesus is the incarnate logos he died on the cross for our sins but I don;t think in terms of one true religion and all others are false and deceived. I think in terms of knowing God and Jesus is the direct route. God is working in all cultures. Religion in general is a cultural expression through which people filter their subliminal experience of God and encode it with cultural constructs so it;s meaningful to them.I think people can follow Jesus without knowing it;s Jesus. That;s how I read Romans 2:6-14, and Acts 17:16-29.
All religions seek to do three things:
a) to identify the human problematic,But not all religions are equal. All are relative to the truth but not all are equal. Some mediate the UTE better than others, or in a more accessible way than others. Given the foregoing, my criteria are that:
b) to identify an ultimate transformative experience (UTE) which resolves the problematic, and
c) to mediate between the two.
1) a religious tradition reflect a human problematic which is meaningful in terms of what we find in the world.All religions seek to resolve and define the problematic. Some define it in terms of imbalance with nature,or the problem of re-birth. Christianity defines it in terms of separation from God due to sin and the remedy is reunion with God through redemption. The consequences of non belief are that one fails to be transformed, and does not know God which is the greatest joy in life. I don't believe hell as eternal concision torment but I see it as a symbol of spiritual death, the realty is cessation of existence at the end of life. Salvation is a process that begins in his life through the transfomraitve power and culminates in eternal life with God.
2) the UTE be found to really resolve the problematic
3) it mediates the UTE in such a way as to be effective and accessible.
4) its putative and crucial historical claims be historically probable given the ontological and epistemological assumptions that are required within the inner logic of that belief system.
5) it be consistent with itself and with the external world in a way that touches these factors.
The efficacy of God;'s transformation power and the validity of my ecumenical view view can be proved empirically. To really understand this one needs to read my book, The following observations spell this out:The power of god is real and it can be experienced in real terms, This happens in born again experience, in Baptism of the Spirit and in mystical experience, Mystical experience is the direct efficacy of God's transforming power as it draws all people toward Christ. The reality of it is extremely well documented,I have 200 studies in the corpus that my books deals with The point is there is measurable impact in the lives of those who have such experiences, I've written a great deal about this too much to put here.
Greeley found no evidence to support the orthodox belief that frequent mystic experiences or psychic experiences stem from deprivation or psychopathology. His ''mystics'' were generally better educated, more successful economically, and less racist, and they were rated substantially happier on measures of psychological well-being.
*Say their lives are more meaningful,
*think about meaning and purpose
*Know what purpose of life is
*Score higher on self-rated personal talents and capabilities
*Less likely to value material possessions, high pay, job security, fame, and having lots of friends
*Greater value on work for social change, solving social problems, helping needy
*Reflective, inner-directed, self-aware, self-confident life style
*Experience more productive of psychological health than illness
*Less authoritarian and dogmatic
*More assertive, imaginative, self-sufficient
*High ego strength,
*relationships, symbolization, values,
*autonomy, authenticity, need for solitude,
*increased love and compassion
(3) Trend toward positive view among psychologists. Spiriutal Emergency MYSTICAL OR UNITIVE EXPERIENCE "Offsetting the clinical literature that views mystical experiences as pathological, many theorists (Bucke, 1961; Hood, 1974, 1976; James, 1961; Jung, 1973; Laski, 1968; Maslow, 1962, 1971; Stace, 1960; Underhill, 1955) have viewed mystical experiences as a sign of health and a powerful agent of transformation." (4) Most clinicians and clinical studies see postive. (Ibid) "Results of a recent survey (Allman, et al,. 1992) suggest that most clinicians do not view mystical experiences as pathological. Also, studies by several researchers have found that people reporting mystical experiences scored lower on psychopathology scales and higher on measures of psychological well-being than controls (Caird, 1987; Hood, 1976, 1977, 1979; Spanos and Moretti, 1988)".
Why be a Christian and not a mystic or a universalist? Because I know the reality of Jesus in my as well as in history, Jesus rounds the relativity of God in a history that we don't have with Buddhism or Hinduism,even though I'm sure the Upanishads and the Mahabharata are based upon some kind of historical reality we don't have a flesh bold connection to the divine as we do in Jesus,now that would be just a rationalization if it was only a historical connection but that same connection is real in my own life, I have to admit it's just my end of things,I was raised in Christianity so even though I was an atheist it was Jesus I called upon when I was desperate and the fact that I got an answer means I have to accept that it was Jesus who answered. When I reached out in baptism of the Holy spirit was a dramatic events that knocked me standing up out of my chair with a jolt of actual power that was like electricity but didn't hurt. Read about these things on my old website.
I can't claim that everyone who turns to Christ will have these kinds of experiences,unfortunately I can't tell anyone how to have them, but even the day today normal sense of belief provides a great degree of meaning and purpose and a sense of God's presence, I think we are experiencing God's presence all the time we just allow things to distract and drawn it out. Robert Wuthnow, one of the major researchers on mystical experience, discusses the theory that mystical experience is on a continuum and everyone feels it to some degree.
The efficacy is not an objective issue either, but the fact that only a couple of religions in the world share the concept of Grace should be a clue. No other religion (save Pure Land Buddhism) have this notion. For all the others there is a problem of one's own efforts. The Grace mediates and administrates through Scriptures is experienced in the life of the believer, and can be found also in prayer, in the sacraments and so forth.
Where the historical questions should enter into it are where the mediation of the UTE hedges upon these historical aspects. Obviously the existence of Jesus of Nazareth would be one, his death on the cross another. The Resurrection of course, doctrinal is also crucial, but since that cannot be established in an empirical sense, seeing as no historical question can be, we must use historical probability. That is not blunted by the minor discrepancies in the number of women at the tomb or who got there first. That sort of thinking is to think in terms of a video documentary. We expect the NT to have the sort of accuracy we find in a court room because we are moderns and we watch too much television. The number of women and when they got to the tomb etc. does not have a bearing on whether the tomb actually existed, was guarded and was found empty. Nor does it really change the fact that people claimed to have seen Jesus after his death alive and well and ascending into heaven. We can view the different strands of NT witness as separate sources, since they were not written as one book, but by different authors at different times and brought together later.
The historicity of the NT is a logical assumption given the nature of the works. We can expect that the Gospels will be polemical. We do not need to assume, however, that they will be fabricated from whole cloth. They are the product of the communities that redacted them. That is viewed as a fatal weakness in fundamentalist circles, tantamount to saying that they are lies. But that is silly. In reality there is no particular reason why the community cannot be a witness. The differences in the accounts are produced by either the ordering of periscopes to underscore various theological points or the use of witnesses who fanned out through the various communities and whose individual view points make up the variety of the text. This is not to be confused with contradiction simply because it reflects differences in individual's view points and distracts us from the more important points of agreement; the tomb was empty, the Lord was seen risen, there were people who put there hands in his nail prints, etc.
The Bible is not the Perfect Revelation of God to humanity. Jesus is that perfect revelation. The Gospels are merely the record of Jesus' teachings, deposited with the communities and encoded for safe keeping in the list chosen through Apostolic backing to assure Christian identity. For that matter the Bible as a whole is a reflection of the experience of transformation and as such, since it was the product of human agents we can expect it to have human flaws. The extent to which those flaws are negligible can be judge the ability of that deposit of truth to adequately promote transformation. Christ authorizes the Apostles, the Apostles authorize the community, the community authorizes the tradition, and the tradition authorizes the canon.
In summation the basic thing that all religions seek to do is to explaimn the human problematic and to resolve it through transformation experience. The Christian tradition does this in a way that both grounds it's truth claims in history and transcends the historical scene,In so doing it offers a way of life that works to transform the lives of of adherents with divine encounter.
 Joseph Hinman, The trace of God:Rational Warrant for Belief. Colorado Sprimgs Col.: Grand Viaduct Publishing, 2014
 Greely in Charles T. Tart, Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm, p. 19.
 Robert Wuthnow, (1978). "Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3), 59-75.
This summary was actually complied on the counsel on spiritual practices website I researched that study form my book it establishes a 20% increase accords the board in self actualizing categories for the first year of the experience as compared with non experiencers and it is renewable.
 Kathleen D.Noble, (1987). ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4), 601-614.
The same situation also ob tins with this summary as that for Wuthnow,
 Joseph Hinman, "How I got Saved and Became Metacrock," Doxa: Christian
Thought in the 21st Cemetery, on line resource URL
http://www.doxa.ws/Theology/Testamony.html (accessed 5/24/17)
 Wuthnow Op cit