Posted by: Ken Brown | October 2, 2009

Ten Random Beliefs Meme

random beliefs meme

Both James and Carmen tagged me for Doug Chaplin’s Ten Random Beliefs Meme (and all three posted excellent lists of their own!). Here are Doug’s rules:

Post a collection of 10 things you believe, ethical, philosophical or theological. You choose how much to connect them or make them coherent: do you want people to know where you belong, or do you want to mix and match to keep them guessing? I encourage you not to aim for a totally coherent credal statement of faith, and I also encourage you to put one or two in about controversial topics.

If you want, tag three other people whose beliefs you think you’d like to read about.

Here goes:

  1. I believe God created the universe and everything in it, but neither Genesis nor anything else in the Bible tells us how God did so.
  2. I believe the scientific method is the most effective means of overcoming bias and expanding our understanding of the natural world, but it is not foolproof and it does not tell us everything worth knowing.
  3. I believe that everything good–and a fair bit that’s evil–begins with love, but all of it points to the God who is love.
  4. I believe that representation, not replacement, is the heart of Christian theology, but most Christians seem to disagree. Jesus did not die and rise again so that we would not have to; he died and rose so that we would as well.
  5. I believe faith without works is dead, but I have a much easier time with the faith part than the works part. Faith is less about believing the right things, and more about trusting your whole life to the one who gave it to you–which is easier to say than to do.
  6. I believe good and evil are objective–that some things are just plain wicked whether anyone recognizes it or not– but whether we can know the right thing to do in any particular situation is an open question.
  7. I believe that fundamentalists come in all sorts, and they are all out of their minds, but they are people too. Sanity requires balance and charity, including towards those on the extreme fringes.
  8. I believe lives and beliefs are most directly shaped by stories–our own and those of others–, but I don’t think we pay nearly enough attention to the stories we enjoy.
  9. I believe free will is the most important gift God has given us, but most of us are too content to go with the flow.
  10. I believe we must always accept the possibility that we might be wrong, but that we should not live in fear of it happening.

I tag: Timothy, Richard, Jeremy and anyone else who would like to play.



  1. Interesting post. I would agree with most everything you wrote. I do have to wonder what you meant by “Faith is less about believing the right things, and more about trusting your whole life to the one who gave it to you.” If you could elaborate more, I’d appreciate it. I would also be interested in knowing why you thing representation not replacement is the heart of Christian theology.

  2. ack, as is the case after reading some of your posts, my head hurts, heh. love #4 and #5. and #9 is one of the better thoughts on free will that i’ve heard.

  3. Craig,

    I don’t think faith is as much about doctrine as action. You have faith in a person, not in an idea. Thus, to have faith in God’s love doesn’t just mean you accept that God is loving, but that you live as though it were true.

    As for “representation not replacement,” I think that replacement and substitutionary readings of Christianity, whether they speak of Christians replacing Jews as the people of God, or Jesus being our “substitute” in some divine courtroom, etc., put the focus all in the wrong direction–on what divides us rather than on what unites us. Rather than think of Jesus and Christianity as the one and only true thing, I think it is much more helpful to think of Jesus as the ideal which everything else (to varying degrees) reflects. I should devote a whole post to this…


    Funny that the two beliefs you loved were the same two that Craig had questions about.

  4. A very fine list. I like it. Good stuff!

  5. Ken,

    I see where you’re going with #4.

    Regarding #5, I would love to see more on this. We might not agree, but I’m open to hearing other theories of atonement.

    • It’s not that there are no substitutionary aspects to Jesus’ death–the whole point of self-sacrifice is to protect someone else–but in as far as we are called to imitate Christ, Jesus death is less about substitution and more about showing us the way. After all, Jesus does sum up the call to discipleship as “take up your cross and follow me,” not “put down your cross because I’ve taken it for you.”

      The other side of the coin has to do with how we look at non-Christians. Do we consider it a good thing or a bad when someone who does not claim to be a Christian lives a self-sacrificial life? Too many Christians, it seems to me, attack “the world” not just when it is anti-Christian, but sometimes even more when it looks like Christianity but does not claim to be. They seem to think that if it looks like Christ but isn’t, it must be an impostor and an idol, but should we not instead see it as a reflection of the truth, even if it only sees part of the truth (as do we all)?

      For more on my thinking about atonement, see this post.

  6. Ken, this is a very thought-provoking and interesting post. Thanks for tagging me – here is my contribution.

    And thanks for the elaborations – I do love learning new and interesting things about people’s beliefs.

  7. […] Beliefs Meme Jump to Comments I read the posts on this meme at both in the open space and C. Orthodoxy, but since neither one of them tagged me, I decided to tag […]

  8. […] love a good meme, and once again Ken of C. Orthodoxy has passed on a zinger. Here are the rules, from the meme’s originator, […]

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