New group explores spiritual questions

By Paul Williams
November 14, 2002

Angelina Wagner

A spiritual exploration group is discussing questions that students have about life and looking to the answers found throughout the Bible, The group meets every Wednesday in room 205A in the Widener Center. The meetings start at 5:45 p.m. and end at 6:45 p.m.

Senior Leanne Pantone organized the group with help from Cassandra Maxwell, a fine arts professor. Maxwell said, “There are not a lot of places where people can talk about these kinds of ideas. The basic idea of the group is to try and address questions that people have.” Maxwell explained that the group would not only just address questions that solely pertained to the Bible. “There was a study done that found most people are likely to ask the same seven questions in life.” Some of those questions are: does God exist and are miracles real?

The first discussion began with some people in the group questioning if God is fair because of certain things that happen in life, like someone dying. Aking Beverly, whose Bible was highlighted in many different colors, offered his explanation. Beverly compared life to a movie, which you do not get to see all the way to the end.

Beverly revealed to the group that he thought about converting to Islam, but his reading the Bible revealed to him that it would be a mistake. “I was reading the Koran when I read a passage about how the apostles were really hungry and asked Jesus to provide them with heavenly food, which Jesus obliged them with.” Beverly explained that this contradicted what the Bible taught about when Jesus was tested by Satan. Jesus stated that a person should not put God to the test and therefore the story about Jesus obliging the apostles lead Beverly to rethink about converting.

The next discussion topic came from Maxwell. She talked about people questioning if the Bible was true. She explained that there were several examples of evidence that the Bible writings at least existed for some time. If you apply the same types of questions to other books you may find some similar and different results to that of the Bible. She gave the example of Plato’s writings and “The Iliad” as some writings that are hard to find original copies of.

Maxwell explained that if people are having a hard time trying to read the Bible they should pick out a section or book in it, like a Gospel, and read it. Trying to read the Bible all the way through, from start to finish, can be too overwhelming.

She suggested that a person reading for the first time should read the Gospels. “The word Gospel means good news. The stories of Jesus are interesting and each Gospel writer has a different focus, even though some of the stories are similar. For instance, Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus.”

“Obviously, we can’t answer every question because we do not know the answers to everything, but the goal of the group is to discuss questions that people have but don’t ask,” Maxwell said.

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