"Fringe theory", in a very broad sense describes ideas that depart significantly from the prevailing or mainstream view in its particular field of study, as characterized mainly by media reporters, ascribing this to extremists, radical groups as well as other people including evangelical Christians, who ascribe to an eschatological worldview.
It's become common to apply this label to people, whom - in their view - can be characterized by beliefs that do not fit within the acceptable notions of science, which they insist is the orthodox view.
And therefore, Evangelical Christians, as a rule, are "ignorant", "superstitious", "biased", "intolerant" and "bigoted". Naturally. They don't accept the view of gay marriage, stem cell research, abortion and as far as they are concerned, Christianity is the exclusive way to salvation.
While on the surface, the majority of mainstream Christianity is at a loss on how to refute these labels that are unjustly foisted on them, they do have valid reasons for maintaining their position. And the sad truth is, the majority of followers of Jesus Christ do not know how to explain why their worldview is valid, except to point at Bible verses that even they have a difficulty explaining.
The reality is that a large portion of current mainstream Christianity is ten miles wide and less than an inch deep. And largely because of a prevailing notion that anything requiring deeper study of the Scriptures and theology is merely "head knowledge" and supposedly does nothing to make the believer a better person.
This disguised laziness has resulted in an effective "dumbing down" of the majority of the present body of believers who now are marginalized in society, and more so because they themselves don't know why this is so.
And they ascribe this to persecution.
Well, yes - persecution is consonant to the life of the believer. It was that way in the first century, and there's no reason why it has to be different in this day and age. There is a supernatural conflict that we do not see that's going on and we in the two dimensional world that we exist in are caught in the crossfire. But the good thing is, we know that the war has been won already. And we're on the winning side.
But many of those who had been persecuted previously in that early church period were able to make for a sound defense of what they believed in, and acquit themselves before their accusers because of their refutation. They were executed, nonetheless, but in the study of this history, we see that they were innocent of the charges hurled against them.
There are reasons beyond Matthew 5:11-12 for persecution. And largely it's because of a belief in a supernatural God who created the universe, and through the conquering of death by His Son's execution and resurrection, the supernatural battle over evil has been won.
While that statement may seem plausible for most, when going into detail, it then harbors on the “fringe” - and these include the miraculous, the predicted ending and other views that have mainstream humanity raising eyebrows to the possibility of those events occurring.
And what's sad is that most of Christianity has succumbed to this worldview, effectively reducing Christianity into a code of ethical conduct and teaching for the life we live now - completely forgetting that the life we were meant for lies beyond the parameter of time as we know it.
Consider for instance, this very real report from what mainstream media would now describe as "fringe".
On September 15, 2010, the 85 year old father of a very dear friend succumbed to a deteriorating condition brought about by the ravages of time and old age, and was pronounced clinically dead at six in the evening of that day, by their family physician who had been monitoring his condition for over a month.
At 9 in the evening of that very night, the group of family and friends gathered around him were startled to hear him call out to ask for a cup of coffee.
He had come back to life.
While this occurrence may appear very much within the realm of possibility, there are other facts to consider in this particular case of revivification.
First of all, his medical history documented a case of paralysis from the midsection downdue to his spine, causing a numbness in his body which compelled him to be bedridden before his death. Next, his left lung had collapsed, and was incapable of ingesting food. He was urinating through a cathether and blood was constantly present in the urine discharges and he was always being sedated due to the pain of failing internal organs.
His lungs have since started functioning normally, and the cathether has been removed due to normally functioning kidneys and he is now capable of eating food, including ice cream without it spilling out of his mouth. Sensitivity and pain are now back in the previously numb and paralyzed areas. And the family doctor can attest to this while being bewildered at the same time.
However, what makes it even more significant is that he knew that he had died and had been away from his body for what he felt was three days.
Dr. Gary Habermas, the foremost authority on the Resurrection at Liberty University, has documented records on incidents such as these that he files under "Near Death Experiences" and the circumstances are similar to a number of accounts that he had recorded in that study.
When his attention was called to the fact that he was absent from his body for only three hours, he insisted that he was away for three days. Because he “had a conference” with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please keep in mind that I am repeating a report from two former Army officers, that had seen combat: engaging in running gunbattles, survived them and were bemedalled because of their encounters and successful missions. They had brushes with death staring them in their faces and they were no strangers to hard nosed realities. These gentlemen have no reason to embellish anything of this sort. More so now, as they are both believers in Jesus and had been praying for this man before his succumbing to death and returning from there.
They also report that my friend's father returned because of one major message that he had to relay to the whole world - that the “people of the world must repent, because the second coming of the Lord Jesus is very, very near.” (his actual words, written on a sheet of paper)
This is also significant because the revivified patient was not a committed believer when he passed on to the afterlife. Things were very different with him after he came back.
Now that, as far as media is concerned, is fringe. No matter that that has been the theme of the New Testament since the last chapter of Matthew, and this recent report merely serves as one of those reports (as a near death experience) that could validate it. But then again, it's not science as they know it.
Of course, it's his word against that of mainstream media. And we know whose words should be believed. (The tongue is on the other cheek.)
But what if it's true? Read up on Pascal's Wager.
30 September 2010
As of this writing, I am updated of the account by text message: "My father was subjected to a series of medical tests these past few days. The doctor declared him completely cured as of yesterday. All of the disease/sicknesses are gone. I pray that they are not mistaken this time. All he needs now is therapy for his legs. He will soon start with rice porridge for his food. Praise God."
That very day, I called him and he informed me that for the first time in almost two months, he was able to be brought to the bathroom to defecate.
Complete medical history will be brought in soon and I will be posting these for examination.