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Contend for the Faith, Part IV

Anti-supernaturalism by T.M. Moore

This article makes much of spiritual discipline, spiritual vision and spiritual reality. Spiritual discipline is the practice of prayer and the departure from 'the normal routine of things to concentrate on meeting with the Lord.' According to this article proper spiritual discipline is 'a serious, prolonged, and deeply spiritual seeking and waiting for the Lord.' 'Spiritual vision is that ability to live in the whole order of created reality — the realm of seen as well as unseen things — so that one's life is guided and affected by spiritual realities more than by temporal ones.' To grasp the correct spiritual reality, 'we must devote more of our time, and more effort and concentration, to those practices and disciplines that can immerse us in that spiritual realm and engage us more deeply with the Spirit of God as He brings God's truth to expression in every area of our lives.'

The entire emphasis of this article is those of the Biblical world view must 'practice the life of heaven on earth.'

The article finishes with these points for reflection:
'Can you describe what's going on in heaven right now? What it looks like? How it interfaces with space and time? What its agenda is for our day, and how that agenda is being worked out? Are you practicing the life of heaven on earth, or filling your life with so much of earth that you are squeezing out space for spiritual realities?'

Is a person's faith supposed to help him/her deal with their actual day to day life experiences, perhaps to find meaning in the normal ups and downs that occur, or is their faith supposed to make them pine for an afterlife while they just try to get through a meaningless existence until they die?

Most of the world's religions seek to help each person develop an understanding of the meaning of their life. Most religions have ancient writings with myths of one or more supernatural gods and these stories help reveal how man relates to the universe. These ancient writings also serve as a guide for behavior and as an explanation and/or justification for those rules of behavior.

Man is a social creature that implicitly requires interaction with other people for survival and happiness. The basic rules of human behavior, regardless of the religion in the culture, typically consist of respecting the life and property of others and honoring one's commitments to others. Marriage is common in many cultures where two people find comfort and happiness in sharing their lives with one another, often with a very intimate, close, emotional relationship.

This requirement for spiritual discipline stands in conflict with our human nature. Rather than dealing with other people in an honest manner (in accordance with our inherent nature as a social being), we should instead rely on prayer according to this writer (T.M. Moore). Either we wait for God's help or we attempt to interpret God's truth within the observed natural events. Schizophrenia is defined as a 'psychotic disorder usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking.' The guidance offered in this article is in direct contradiction to our social nature, to the detriment of one's marriage, one's family and one's community. A person's life and well-being depend on a healthy and productive interaction with other people and if that interaction is supposed to be replaced by prayer it is unlikely that person will remain happy. If a person places prayer above human dependence then others will probably sense the less than honest effort being given to any collective effort. Only a hermit or recluse could follow this requirement for spiritual discipline, where the person no longer depends on other people, and so only without those distractions could a person maintain the impractical goal of grasping this spiritual reality described here.

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created - May 2006
last change - 05/07/2006
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