Concerning Christians and death:
OTHERS: :: conversation concerning the differences between the Western and Eastern views of death ::
ME: Christianity is the foundation of Western civilization, and its emphasis on absolute truth accounts for the difference between the Western and Eastern views of death.
PASTOR: You are wrong about that.
ME: What do you mean?
PASTOR: That is what faith is about — we don’t know for sure what happens when we die, but we have faith that what the Bible teaches is true.
ME: :: ??? :: Therefore we can know, because the Bible is the Word of God, which is true. Absolute truth.
PASTOR: There are no absolutes. It is the height of hubris to assume that a human being can “know” what will happen — if you “know,” then it is no longer faith.
ME: It is true that the biblical worldview begins with a set of truths taken as axioms, just as science or any other worldview does. I mean, the statement, “The universe is infinite” cannot be proven, but it is accepted as true, as an axiom, by most astronomers. But …
PASTOR: Just when humans thought they had the laws of science all figured out, they discovered quarks, which are completely random. You know what happened to Galileo and Copernicus, they discovered that the earth revolved around the sun, but the Church said it was absolutely true that the sun revolved around the earth, so do you want to recant that, or burn at the stake?
ME: :: stunned silence, while my brain is putting the pieces together of what this pastor is really saying ::
ME: Well, I don’t know about you, but I know where I will be when I die, and I know where my Mom is right now.
Two hours later, in the grocery store, better responses came to me (don’t you just hate that it is always later?), which at any point would have taken the conversation, and the pastor’s replies, in a different direction:
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” What is “assurance” and “conviction” but knowing absolutely that what you have been promised is true?
Are you absolutely sure of the truth of your position that there are no absolutes?
You don’t sound as if you adhere to the grammatical- historical school of biblical exegesis. What method of exegesis were you taught in seminary?
If I see him again, I am going to ask if I misunderstood him, and reiterate as an principle what I thought I heard him saying. I hope I did misunderstand him. My brain knows that Christian pastors who do not trust the Scriptures exist, but when I meet one in real life it always shocks me because it seems such a contradiction.