I heard a preacher say "Even if God did nothing more for you then create this world, and send his son to die for your sins, that ought to be enough for you to praise him, to worship him and to serve him. Amen?"
That is why I am not an atheist or a Deist. That is why on occasion I get angry, or sad, or frustrated, or discouraged or fired up by those fundamentalist, extremist Christians that say I am not a Christian if I believe those things, but don't also believe every other thing their theological views say I should believe.
Or they tell me that they are "concerned" for my salvation if I am not buying everything else they try to add on to that simple message, no matter how I live my life. Actions do NOT speak louder then beliefs in their world. For example, the gospel says nothing about putting your faith in the Bible itself. My faith is not based on what is written in some ancient "sacred and holy" text. For example, I believe there are Jews because I have met some and have seen Israel in the news and seen pictures of the place. It is crazy to think that I believe there are Jews just because the Bible speaks of the Jews. Much of the Bible, thankfully, includes some verifiable people and places and history in the real world. I believe those parts not just because the Bible says it. Another example is this: I don't believe the Roman Empire existed and crucified people just because the Bible says so. So I DON'T need a belief in the inerrancy of scripture to believe there were Jews under Roman rule and that they crucified people. I can believe that even if I were indeed an atheist.
And please consider this the very few of you who are fundamentalist zealots about your holy book: If the scriptures had been completely lost, but the stories of Christ had been passed down for centuries, I could have faith based on that and the Holy Spirit's work in my life and my grandparent's influence and my parent's influence, or because I heard Billy Graham preach or because a friend shared Christ with me. It's not just about believing a holy book. I never placed my faith in a book. I placed it in Jesus Christ.
As a matter of fact, I believed and put my faith in Christ long before I was even aware of what was in the book! It was later that I learned what the book even said. So I can, and do have faith, without a total reliance on any holy book. Let that sink in brother. And more importantly, doesn't that PROVE that God is real better then religions arguing about which book is the truth? My God gets his message to his people without the need for reliance on a holy book. There should only be one religion since there is only one God and he calls his people. But when we rely on holy books, we get wars over whose book is the real truth. Think about it.
But yet, atheists and fundamentalists will both continue to argue to me that it is impossible and illogical to believe in Jesus unless and except you believe in the inerrant Bible that tells you about him. I get the philosophical arguments they make. I understand the logic. But it is a false and dangerous logic and a destructive philosophy. The same one the atheist uses to explain why they don't believe in God. Both reason that you can't pick and choose to only believe in Christ if you don't believe everything else. To the atheist, that proves that the entire book is to be dismissed, not trusted and thrown out. But the fundamentalist makes the same argument to me. They tell me to throw the whole thing out if I find any part I don't believe.
Why has belief and adherence to an ancient holy text become more important then loving God and praising him for life, creation, and salvation? Why are we more devoted to our beliefs, then we are to Jesus? Why is what we believe "about" Jesus more important then the faith we have "in" Jesus? It's NOT. Unless, you are one of the few remaining fundamentalist that doggedly cling to this harmful view. And the church and gospel continue to decline in number and influence.
You do understand that, thankfully, you are in a very, very, very small percentage of the Christian world that holds to such cult like beliefs don't you? I've said this before: you don't believe everything the Jews or Catholics or Protestants or Methodists or Baptists or non-denominational groups believe do you? But you don't throw out everything they believe do you? You pick and choose don't you? I hope so.
So this Christmas, I am going to thank God for sending his son to die for my sins, I am going to accept through faith, the free gift of salvation he offers, and I am going to continue to try and serve Him (not the local 501(c)(3) or the guy they pay thousands of dollars and benefits to preach there) the best I can while loving and providing for my family and those in need with my time, talent and resources. And I am going to enjoy the Christmas decorations (both the secular and biblical ones), the Christmas songs and music (both secular and biblical) and spending time with friends and family during the holidays. And if someone gives me a pair of shoes for my feet, or puts a roof over my head, I will thank them for that. And I will thank God for his creation, love, and salvation. Amen.