Christianity is a revealed religion. I heard this recently. From where I do not know. It wasn’t a compliment, either. It was said in a rather disdainful manner. And it’s been bothering me since I heard it. But it is true, though, that Christianity is a revealed religion, as is Judaism. Christianity came about through revelation to Jews whose faith came about through revelation to Abraham. Furthermore, knowledge has been revealed to us through men and women of G-d since Adam walked in the Garden with G-d.
And what religion isn’t revealed? I asked myself the question. I thought what might be the opposite of a revealed religion. There is knowledge about Earth that is observed. Science is based on observation. It seems to me that may be why I sensed a certain disdain for Christianity as revealed religion when I heard the term used. Christianity doesn’t make claims that are observable and repeatable, necessarily. Christianity is based upon faith. There are arguments about science as really nothing more than faith. It is faith in what is observed, that it will always be that way. Proof is a big deal in science. Still it’s faith.
After a little research, I discovered that the notion of Christianity as a revealed religion isn’t new—it’s just a new term for me. In fact:
“It was universally acknowledged as the Christian claim up until the eighteenth century. The manner and extent of revelation have been debated by Christians without a clear consensus emerging, but this only serves to highlight the impressive agreement on the fact of revelation. The claim goes back to the founders of Christianity, Christ and his Apostles, and was not simply an invention of the last three centuries thought up in response to the loss of Christianity’s self-evident validity.” —Lee Gatis, The Theologian. (http://www.theologian.org.uk/doctrine/revealed.html)
Natural religion is the opposite of revealed religion. It’s based upon observations of the world around us.
“The term natural religion is sometimes taken to refer to a pantheistic doctrine according to which nature itself is divine. Natural theology, by contrast” argues for the existence of God on the basis of observed natural facts.
“In contemporary philosophy, however, both natural religion and natural theology typically refer to the project of using the cognitive faculties that are “natural” to human beings—reason, sense-perception, introspection—to investigate religious or theological matters. Natural religion or theology, on the present understanding, is not limited to empirical inquiry into nature, and it is not wedded to a pantheistic result. It does, however, avoid appeals to special non-natural faculties (ESP, telepathy, mystical experience) or supernatural sources of information (sacred texts, revealed theology, creedal authorities, direct supernatural communication). In general, natural religion or theology (hereafter natural theology) aims to adhere to the same standards of rational investigation as other philosophical and scientific enterprises, and is subject to the same methods of evaluation and critique.” —Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [Chignell, Andrew and Pereboom, Derk, “Natural Theology and Natural Religion,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = ] (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/natural-theology/)
It’s easy to see how Christianity as an experience with G-d is questioned. Despite all attempts to quantify G-d, prove Him, if you will, Christianity is about faith.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:1-3.
The challenge today is to maintain our faith despite those who would turn us away. For in these last days, many will come to try to deceive us, to try to get us to turn from our faith. Our “religion” must be more than to believe in a G-d revealed to someone else; we must experience first hand the revealed Messiah. Y’shuaJesus said we may ask and we will receive. And though we’ve experienced the Father G-d through revelation of Y’shuaJesus through the power of the Spirit, we must also turn away from humankind’s scientific explanations by looking at the natural world with an awe and wonder that turns our eyes Heavenward to Y’shuaJesus.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine up you always. . .