There is a widespread belief around about the Bible that it is some kind of powerful patriarchal conspiracy that has been used to oppress women. As a female speaker I find that this question is frequently asked: ‘How can you as woman promote such a sexist book?’ ‘The Church has tried to keep women down!’
I am writing on the fourth anniversary of the 7/7 suicide bombing attacks in London. In a chilling videotaped statement, one of the bombers, Mohammed Sidique Khan, explained that his motivation was inextricably linked with his Islamic faith:
I am often asked how I can believe in God when there have been so many wars caused by religion. The implication is that if only people would leave behind their convictions about the existence of a God the world would be a much better, more peaceful place.
‘Faith is believing what you want to believe, yet cannot prove.’ Sadly many people, including many Christians, live with this definition of faith. For some it feels liberating. It means being able to believe in anything that you want to – and the more silly the belief is, the more faith you have.
The issue of free-will and predestination is one that has raised its head in every generation of Christians. Do we exercise choice, or has everything already been decided? The resultant mental gymnastics leave many feeling confused, and others feeling disappointed. Did you choose to read this article, or has God already determined that you will… or won’t?