Honestly thinking (& rethinking) about God, the universe, and everything in between

Tag: religion (Page 1 of 3)

Our Rainbow-Colored Christmas Tree

The following was originally written one year ago today. Thus, for those more familiar with my family, some timeline details may feel out of place. But for various reasons and after much prayer, I felt it needed to wait until now. Other than some updated stats, I left the writings primarily intact in order to reveal my honest thoughts at the time. They still reflect my views today.

As I write this I stare across the room at our rainbow-colored Christmas tree, still adorning our home until the beginning of the new year.

It is actually somewhat subtle with the lights on, but if you look closely, there amidst the branches are seven different colors of ornaments displayed in order (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet), mirroring the beauty of that natural wonder we see in the sky when sunlight reflects through droplets of rain.

As millions of families across the world recently filled their living rooms with their own artistic masterpieces of evergreens covered in ornaments, lights and tinsel, I cannot claim credit for this particular rendition. The artists in this case are two of my four children (who have actually now grown to be young adults).

As the rainbow in the past several years has come to symbolize certain things, it’s possible that some may find its juxtaposition against a symbol for a Christian celebration to be quite offensive (especially those in the conservative Evangelical tradition of which I am a part). 

I find it quite beautiful.

Before I explain my kids’ aesthetic choice or my reception, I want to share with you two true stories – both seemingly unrelated to the topic at hand but important to the discussion. Continue reading

9 Signs You Might Be Arrogant and Not Know It

I am the most arrogant person in the world.

Really, it’s true. Don’t believe me? Then clearly you aren’t nearly as intelligent or wise as me to be able to figure it out.

And being the #1 most arrogant person in the world, I figure that makes me the world’s topmost leading expert on the subject.

The truth is God has really been kicking my butt over the last few years (especially this last year), progressively revealing my level of arrogance. Like peeling layers of an onion (each producing a few more tears), I’ve come to discover areas of egotism I never knew existed before.

We are all familiar with the braggadocios, narcissistic personality types – the ones who very openly make every conversation and outward action about themselves. But what we are not as acquainted with is the much more subtler symptoms of pride – the ones that often go undetected but are ultimately just as destructive to you and those around you.

In discovering these signs, I’ve learned that they are detectable when you analyze your motivations and ask yourself if they are centered around one or more of the following: self-importance, self-preservation, or self-empowerment. Each one, of course, makes it all about you. And as I’ve come to find out, I’ve made life a lot more about me than I previously realized.

The thing is, while you will never surpass me in arrogance (not even close), it’s possible that as you analyze the three motivators in relation to your life, you might discover you too have arrogance and didn’t realize it.

Thus, I present to you at least 9 Signs You Might be Arrogant and Not Know It: Continue reading

The Leading Cause of Death

I need to inform you all about something fairly significant…

I’m dying.

I’ve actually known about this for quite a while, but the timing seems right for me to let you all know now.

It’s from an illness that’s acronym is T.O.K.G.E (which I will explain later). It’s about as dangerous of a disease as any known to humankind, and its symptoms are quite severe…

So serious that it affects every area of my life. Continue reading

Confession: I Know Practically Nothing About God

Confession: I just wrote an entire book trying to explain and define God, but I actually know practically nothing about him.

I hope you will forgive me for it.

Of course, I’m in good company, as plenty before me have tried to do the same.

Add in the fact that each of us individually have all sort of made up our own ideas about God without really having much of a clue and likely shared them with others along the way.

“But wait a second, Steve,” you say, “there’s plenty of evidence out there telling us exactly what God is like.”

But God himself begs to differ:

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9, ESV)

In context, the “heavens” here refers to the celestial bodies way out in space (planets, stars, etc.) that people in Old Testament times would have observed (at least partially) as they gazed up into the night sky – in other words, the whole big universe.

So just how high is the universe? And how much can we even comprehend? Continue reading

Is Stephen Hawking’s Claim There’s “No Possibility” of God Possible?

Artist’s illustration of how a black hole system could look. Image Credit: Dana Berry, NASA

World-famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking’s newly released book Brief Answers to the Big Questions, compiled from years of speeches, interviews and essays prior to his death, is a fascinating read.

In the very first chapter he tackles the big question of, “Is There a God?” Ultimately, he concludes that the laws of science are such that the universe didn’t need a God to create it. “If you accept, as I do, that the laws of nature are fixed, then it doesn’t take long to ask: what role is there for God?” he queries.

Furthermore, he argues that because it can be shown that time did not exist prior to the Big Bang, there was no time for a cause and, therefore, no God: “For me this means that there is no possibility of a creator, because there is no time for a creator to have existed in.”

He proposes, consequently, that it’s scientifically “possible that nothing caused the Big Bang. Nothing.”

Now, to establish up front, there is a tendency for some people of faith to try to villainize people like Hawking for daring to speak such notions – or to arrogantly try to “shut them down” by proving how ignorant that person really is.

I have no such intentions. I hold the greatest amount of respect for Mr. Hawking and recognize the amazing contribution he has made not only to science in general but to me personally in helping provide a greater understanding of our universe and how it works. I also do not pretend to even come close to holding the intellectual prowess and knowledge that he has.

On his own part, Hawking confesses that he doesn’t “have a grudge against God” and has “no desire to offend anyone of faith.” To me, he is merely attempting to speak truth as he sees it.

That said, I do believe he is ultimately incorrect in his assertions on God’s existence because he, like the rest of us, is the victim of false assumptions about God – many of which have been purported for years by theologians and scientists alike.

The following are the reasons his conclusions fall short:

Continue reading

Check out my new book, “Rethinking God!”

Book description:

The God you think exists does not exist.

By examining science, philosophy, and the Bible, Steve Baldwin reveals the existence of a God that is radically different than most have understood. He demonstrates how we lack a consistent definition for “God” and the result is often a God we see as too insignificant for our lives, too distant for relationship and having little relevance to our daily realities. By proposing a new understanding of the name of God, Steve uncovers a God that really does exist and bridges the widening gap between faith and science:

“What if we are looking at two sides of the same coin? What if billions, if not infinite, combinations played out together to ‘accidentally’ create over a length of time an ordered universe with intelligent creatures, reflecting the very natural laws and character of its intelligent, creative, and I daresay even loving source – existence?”

The universe is telling stories.

The question is, why?

Jesus and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Woman Caught in Adultery (as told by the church)

Most of you are probably familiar with the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery, but there is an alternate version of this story that is often told by many in the church. Though they may not use these exact words – for it is usually in actions, misplaced theology, or thoughts – it is told, nonetheless.

And whether it is intentional or unintentional or a problem with what was communicated or the filters we receive it through, it is the story all too often heard.

The following is that version:

Jesus and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Woman Caught in Adultery (as told by the church)

Continue reading

13 Ways You Make God Too Small and the 1 Reason Why

I previously shared an article titled “We’ve Made God Too Small.” This was based on a thought process I went through and a major revelation that not only changed my life but also sent me on a spiritual, philosophical and scientific journey, essentially leading me to rethink how I think about God.

I also shared in my very first blog article, “Not Gonna Lie,” how I am a hypocrite – because half of what I state here I have trouble believing myself.

It is with that understanding I present the following list. Even though I say “You” I could just as easily say “I.” I have been guilty of every one of these at various points and continue to struggle to this day.

But I also know I am not alone. I have seen this kind of thinking problem in practically everyone I’ve met.

And so I give you…

13 ways you make God too small: Continue reading

We Should be Naked: Why Religion is a Symptom and Not the Solution

Bouguereau, The First Mourning, ca. 1888

Back in 1974, Ray Stevens released a popular song titled “The Streak” about a guy running around town naked. At the time, as a 6-year-old kid, I thought it was just the funniest thing – and so apparently did millions of other people, putting it at # 8 for the whole year on the Billboard charts (weird…yeah, I know).

I guess the idea of people running around in the buff in public just made us all snicker.

Modesty is such a weird thing for us humans, especially in Western culture. With debates about public breastfeeding and yoga pants juxtaposed against Victoria’s Secret signs and popular TV programs that show a lot of skin, it is clear we don’t have any real consensus on exactly what is “too much.”

But it gets even weirder when I tell you this:

We’re all supposed to be naked.

Yes, seriously.

It’s even scriptural.

Now don’t be jumping to conclusions here and think I’m advocating we all start trotting around in the literal footsteps of Ray Stevens’ song. I’m not.

But it’s right there in the Bible and is something that even the most prudish followers know but don’t care to admit. Continue reading

If I Were the Devil, This is How I Would Lead the Elect Astray

In speaking about the end times, Jesus told his disciples, “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive (or ‘lead astray’) even the elect, if that were possible” (Matt 24:24, BSB).

Now I have never been big on getting caught up in end time prophesies and often find it funny that so many Christians live in constant fear trying to point out who might be the Antichrist as though to try and stop him (after all, aren’t we promised it’s going to happen no matter what?), but when it comes to the end times there are two questions that fascinate me:

1) Why do so many END TIMES prophesy sites always resort to using such terrible fonts???

and…

2) How is it that the elect could actually be led astray?

After all the “elect” are the chosen ones, the faithful followers of God, the ones who have devoted their lives to being disciples of the real Christ.  It includes the kind of people who know their Bibles backwards and forwards and can name every book without having to sing a song and the kind of people who sickeningly get up at 4am every single morning to study and pray.

It includes the leaders you’ve come to know and respect, the ones you rely on to separate the truths from the lies, and the kind of people who lament about the continual deception going on in the world.  How is it that they get deceived? Continue reading

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