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"There are a thousand hacking at the branches
of evil to one who is striking at the root." -
Henry David Thoreau
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"Many times, questions are better than answers."

Basic Questions for Theology

How do we get away from BUFFALO CHIPS?

(Breaking Under Final Frustration About Losing Our Carelessly Hatched Institutional Philosophical Systems)?

What is the Deal for us?

1.  What is the deal that Jesus is offering to us? Does it really seem good to us or is it just supposed to seem good to us? And is it really believable?
2.  Is it any good, that is, is it what we really want and need? Do we really know what we want and need? If the deal is different than what we really want, CAN we CHANGE what we want? SHOULD we change what we really want? If so, HOW do we change what we really want? What if we don't want to change what we want? Did we have anything to DO with what we really want/need?
3.  Is the deal even palatable to anyone?  A few?  Quite a few?  Most?  Everyone? If not, WHY not?
4. What does it cost us? Is it free or does it cost us everything?


1.  What are we authorized by Jesus to pray or ask for?
2.  Are there any conditions? If so, do the conditions apply equally to each thing authorized? Is there a sequence so that the granting of one thing leads to greater authorizations?
3.  Are the promises made to individuals or to a plural you?  Are some made to individuals and some to a corporate body? If so, what are the conditions that apply? Are they different for individuals and groups? If some are made to a corporate body, how many individuals are necessary to qualify? Is the number different for different intentions?


1.  Was there a point in time recorded or implied in the gospels when the disciples were in unity or believed everything that Jesus said and acted accordingly? Or understood everything he said, or followed the advice of Jesus?
2.  Did all of the disciples understand the full truth that Jesus presented? Did any? If some, who did and who didn't? Is there any evidence or basis for discriminating between believing and non-believing disciples?
3.  The disciples ultimately didn't stay together. Was this because they were "called" to go in different directions and countries? Or was it because ultimately there was nothing much going on and holding them together, or was it that they ultimately couldn't get along comfortably?
4.  What is the essence of the difference between Christianity and Gnosticism? Which is more true or spiritual or reasonable? Which is more fallacious or dangerous? And why?
5.  Which of the disciples became the foundation for Christendom? Which of the disciples became the foundation for Gnosticism, the other great movement spawned by the Jesus incident?
6.  If Christianity and Gnosticism didn't go off the track with the disciples, exactly when and where did they go off the track?

New Testament

1.  Did Jesus authorize the writing of the New Testament? If so, where and when did he authorize it? If not, why has so much attention been paid to it? Has god put his stamp of approval on it? If so, what is that stamp of approval? What or where is the foundation for thinking that God authorized any of the early church apostles to speak for him or to elucidate the message of Jesus rather than to share it with germane information?
2.  Has the NT stood the test of time? If so, by what criteria? If so, what is the evidence? Has anyone seriously tried to live according the NT? If so, were they successful? Is it possible? Has anyone come up with the final, correct, true interpretation of the book Revelation? If not, would you like to try?


1.  Did Jesus authorize the writing of the Gospels? If so, where and when did he do it? Has god put his stamp of approval on them? If so, what is that stamp of approval?
Why are the Gospels riddled with discrepancies? Have the Gospels stood the test of time? If so, what is the evidence? Has anyone seriously tried to live according the Gospels? If so, were they successful? Is it possible?
3.  Is there any other material or gospel writing outside of the NT that is of value? If so, How can it be identifed and validated?
4.  Are the Gospels all of equal validity or reliability? From what standpoint?  Technical or spiritual? If not, which one(s) take precedence? If not, how can we decide?
5. Does the Gospel of John being an eyewitness while the others are compilations of second or third hand accounts have any significance? If not, why not?
6. Why can't the Gospel of Thomas, an eyewitness account, be considered just as, or more authoritative than the other Gospels?

Issues of Consistency

1.  Can we treat the bible as an organic whole, that is, does it have total internal consistency? If so, what does this consistency look like? Isn't this idea an unwise fabrication?
2.  If not total internal biblical consistency, does the New Testament have total internal consistency? If so, what does this consistency look like?
3.  If not total internal NT consistency, do the gospels have total internal consistency? If so, what does this consistency look like? If not, where do we look for consistency?
4.  If not total internal gospels consistency, does the book of John have total internal consistency? If so, what does this consistency look like?

Issues of Accuracy

1.  Are there any parables, stories, ideas, issues, advice, instructions, or facts within the four gospels that are in seeming conflict? We know there are significant conflicts.
2.  How do we deal with these inconsistencies, controversies, and conflicts? If we deal with them, how do we resolve these inconsistencies and conflicts?


1.  Are revelation and inspiration equivalent? If so, what do they mean?
2.  If they are not equivalent, what is revelation? What is inspiration? What is the difference? Is either one reliable in and of itself? If not, are they reliable only when taken together?

Intellectual versus Spiritual

1.  Do the words intellectual and spiritual mean the same thing? If not, do they mean largely the same thing? If not, are they related to any significant degree? Is one a subset of or dependent on the other?
2.  What does spiritual mean? What does intellectual mean? What is the difference?

Categories of Communication

1.  Do the words or messages of Jesus fall into different categories? If so, does Jesus speak to issues of paradigm? Does he speak about truths that apply to the paradigm? Does he speak truths that can only be understood rightly in the proper paradigm?
2.  Does Jesus ever just offer good advice? If so, is all the advice recorded in the gospels applicable to our time? Is any? Is it always applicable to our situation?
3.  Are there levels of importance about various things Jesus said? Did he say anything that is trivial, incidental or not important? Was some of Jesus advice applicable only to the disciples? Was some of Jesus advice applicable only to the people of that time? How do we sort this all out?

Hidden Truths

1.  Since Jesus thanked the father for hiding truths from certain men, why did God hide these truths? And from whom? Why did Jesus say that he spoke in parables so that the masses would hear and NOT understand? Why speak to them at all if he knew they wouldn't understand? Was he building a case against them, or surreptitiously plowing their spiritual ground?
2.  Was there a spiritual elite? If so, were the disciples the spiritual elite of the time? If so, was there a spiritual elite within the disciples? If so, who were these disciples? How can we tell who they were? Should there be a spiritual elite? If so, is there a purpose to a spiritual elite?


1.  Does righteousness mean right behavior? If it does, right by what standard? If it doesn't mean this, does it have any real or significant versus imaginary meaning at all?
2.  Does righteousness mean reasonable behavior? If not, what is the difference between right behavior and reasonable behavior?


1.  Is behavior any concern at all to the follower of Jesus? If so, what does proper behavior for a follower look like?
2.  Can we get specific about right behavior or can we only generalize? If specific, is there any specific behavior that is totally proscribed by Jesus? Is all or any of our behavior demanded?  Commanded? Who does our behavior affect?  Us?  Others?  God?  All of the above?


1.  Does the creator have a sacred agenda to impose on us?
2.  If so, is this agenda chronological? If so, are we locked into it regardless of what we do or not do? If not, what can we do about it?
3.  If the agenda is not one of time, is it one of phenomena? If so, are we locked into it, that is, is there anything we can do to affect it? If so, what can we do about it?

Behavior of Christendom

1.  Why is there so much dissension and hypocrisy in Christian religions when Jesus said the devil was defeated?
2.  Why did Christianity stamp out so-called Gnostic sects with the sword when the virtue, piety and behavior of some of these generally exceeded that of Christians?

Words of Jesus

1.  Did Jesus ever give good advice that applied specifically to that time? Did Jesus ever give good advice that applied specifically to that culture? Did Jesus ever give good advice that applied specifically to explicit situations? Did he say some things to the disciples that do not apply to us? Did he say some things to some of the disciples that did not apply to the other disciples? Do some things he said apply to different believers depending on their level of belief?
2. Did Jesus emphasize certain things that he said? If so, how has that come down to us?


1.  Does the salvation offered by Jesus mean being saved from ultimately being lost or punished or destroyed?
2.  Does the salvation offered by Jesus mean being saved from being temporarily lost or punished or destroyed? Does it mean being healed and restored spiritually versus tangibly and physically? Does it mean both? If so, which comes first? Do they happen simultaneously?
3. Is the salvation offered by Jesus complete and IMMINENT?


1.  What does it mean to come into unity? How do we become unified? Are there specific steps? Are they unpleasant or burdensome? Are they difficult? If difficult, what is the key to making them easy? If easy, why don't we do it? If we understood the essence, scope, imminence and immanence of the payoff, would that make it easy? Would being truly "rooted in self" help make it easy?
2.  Is anyone out there in perfect unity? Does anyone truly want to come into unity? Does anyone truly not want to come into unity? Does anyone believe it is possible to come into perfect unity?

Free Moral Agency

1.  Did God create man to be a free moral agent? If not, are we any more than sophisticated, programmable robots? If so, does this mean that man is free to exercise his own judgment and do what he thinks is good without fear of consequences? If it doesn't mean this, what does it mean?
2.  Do we create, enlarge or foster free moral agency for our family and friends? Are they actually at liberty to exercise their own judgment and do what they think is good without risking the loss of the relationship?


1.  Having made Man of course without Man's choice or permission, why would God subject Man to arbitrary prohibitions which, if ignored, would cost Man his life at the hand of God? Why would God need to test Man in any way whatsoever?
2.  Do we subject members of our family and friends to testing? Is this a loving or moral thing to do? Do we feel loved if members of our family or friends subject us to testing? Why should we test them, and if they fail, cost them our love, support, and association?
3.  How can a God gracious enough to give His own son to mankind have ever been so ungracious as to forbid Man the fruit from a mere tree? Has God become more "Christlike" down through the ages? Why should life ever have been anything but a pure gift of grace?


1.  Why should God need to be obeyed? Why should the one who has the power to create the heavens need anyone to do anything for him? Does God need to rule or govern through law backed up by punishment and ultimately death?
2.  Does Man need to obey a Law? Why should an intelligent creature made in the likeness of God need to obey anything other than his own native feelings? Why should he be asked to despise, ignore or violate his authentic desires in order to comply with rules or requirements he had no part in forming?


1.  Why does Christianity teach that God demands to be "numero uno" in our lives? Isn't this the essence of being insecure and self-centered? And if so, how does this square with "By this shall all men know that you are my followers, that you love one another as I have loved you?"
2. Why would god demand our worship and love? Demanding these of other humans, is the one most certain thing to kill them in others. Cannot a relationship thrive through inspiration and love? Cannot a society function through inspiration and good will?

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