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OTHER ITA SITES:
A Christmas Eve Nightmare
I had the most insane and unnerving Christmas Eve I’ve had in a long time. In fact, the last time I had a Christmas Eve evening like this was when I lived at home and had to outguess my alcoholic parent’s unpredictably explosive behavior. Come to think of it, all of my holidays were spent trying to be a nice co-dependent child to my alcohol-abusing parents.
Well, on Christmas Eve 2006, we were invited to a friend’s house to spend the evening with three other couples. A Mexicana with an American husband, two American couples, and a Mexicano with a Canadian wife made up the group. It seemed like a nice evening to start out with. What I had in common with the Mexicana hostess and the American Gringa was that the three of us are afflicted with the same chronic disease—Fibromyalgia Syndrome. This is a pain, fatigue, and sleep disorder.
About halfway through the evening, the American Gringa asked me, since I have been afflicted with this illness for more than 16 years, about a particular aspect of the symptomology of this disease. The Mexican man suddenly, after a long unnerving period in which I noticed him staring at me, burst out,
“Let me tell you what your problem is. It’s your wife.”
Then he went on an hour-long diatribe about astral-projecting and positive thinking followed by the statement if only I would discern God’s reason for doing what He’d done to me, I would be healed.
If you are not schooled in what is being passed off as Christianity in America, Canada, most of Europe, and apparently Mexico in Protestant venues, it is that physical healing was wrought by Christ when He died on the cross. Not only did He die for the sins of those who would believe in Him, effecting forgiveness and eternal life, but also that He eradicated illness. In other words, you should NEVER be sick.
If you are ill, it is because of your lack of faith. You are not appropriating all that Christ has in store for you if you dare tolerate being ill.
My Christmas Eve fellow-guest really believed what he was saying.
I tried reasoning with him.
Mind you, I am a professing believer. I am a Christian of the Martin Luther, John Calvin, and William Tyndale variety. I am a student of the Reformation. I defend my faith reasonably. There are some who would say reason and Christianity are oxymora.
It is because of people who claim to be believers, like my Mexican Christmas-Eve-party chum, who give the community of non-Christians a right to point a finger of scorn at such a lack of critical-thinking skills as he displayed.
There are entire churches in America with congregations numbering in the hundreds of thousands who could no more defend the faith of our fathers reasonably than my Mexican pal. They resort to what he did, offering me his personal experiences as the proof of his claims that he experienced magically mystical and supernatural events. These fellows will tell you of miracles they claim to have seen, or performed, and expect you to swallow what they say without question. They are sincerely baffled at your incredulity. When you offer a semblance of critical thought,
“Just who says you cured this woman of cancer. Where’s your proof?”
they resort to a Beg the Question argument.
“Only someone with no faith would question me.”
They are offering the shifting sand and unreliability of human experience as the criteria of truth. They want you to use what they say, without proof, as the yardstick against which you measure whether something was true or false, right or wrong, or if it happened or not.
This is relativism. It never works for any good argument, religious or not.
I welcome critically-constructed challenges to my faith. All who profess to be Christians should. We should be able to defend our faith reasonably and critically if we are asked. But, the sad, sad truth is most of what passes as Christianity in America and the rest of the free world does not resemble the practice of believers of the Old or New Testament. These believers sought to write, interpret, and practice their scripture reasonably and to think critically when explaining or defending their faith. Nor does it bear any resemblance to the Christian faith practiced by my heroes of the faith, The Apostle Paul, Martin Luther, or John Calvin.
And, I never understood what this Mexican meant when he claimed my adorable wife was at the root of my problems. My wife is not at the root of my problems. She is at the root of my life and I love that idea very, very much.
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Travel Part B