The Bell-Shaped Curve of Religious Experience

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (1 Cor. 2:12)

It is safe to say that in our experience and observation there are some excellent parents, some very poor parents, but with the vast majority of parents falling within the fat central portion of the standard bell-shaped curve.

The excellent parent exercises some amount of wise discipline.  Children cannot rule the house.  Children should not grow up spoiled or be self-centered.  The excellent parent helps their children to discover their talents and interests, provides support and validation, and engenders in their children a sense of self-worth, confidence, and direction balanced with caring for the rights and feelings of others.

A biblical-quality journey of faith life-script composed by God is a part of the salvation package for every Spirit-born believer.  God-composed  journeys of faith, by definition and without exception, fall at the extreme optimum, positive, right-side portion of the standard bell-curve graph.  This is the narrow gate of Matthew 7:13-14 that the cross and the resurrection open up for the Christian.

Although no Christians come close to perfection, the divinely crafted journeys of faith that God individually crafts for each believer are perfect.  All else is where we find the explanations for the Crusades, the Inquisition, religious wars, and all un-Christ like behavior.

When atheists criticize Christianity, they are criticizing that portion of the standard bell curve to the left of God-composed journeys of faith.  Most of what the atheist says negatively about “religion” is true.

It is my contention in the 21st century that a biblical-quality journey of faith, with the cross of Christ baked in, is at the pinnacle of rational thought, moral challenge, purpose, meaning, and direction.  All other religions can be considered childish in their human invented rituals and beliefs…but not a God-composed journey of faith containing the element of the cross of Christ.

For this reason the Bible stands alone and above the fray.  The cross of Christ applied to our lives has to be considered factual because this falls outside of human imaginative invention.  God displacing our way with His way in an adventurous and risky journey of faith, pervasive throughout the positive stories of faith in the Bible, is so contrary to worldly conventional normalcy that no one other than God would or could invent this totally novel concept.

A God-led expedition into the discovery of “all truth” is not an arbitrary enterprise.  It is not a product of geography or culture.  It is not a made-up, arm chair, non-factual belief.

It is also my contention that the cross of Jesus Christ contained with the biblical narrative stories of faith withstands the acid test of critical analysis.  This I believe is one of the last remaining major components of faith to be fully recovered following the Protestant Reformation.

Author: Barton Jahn

I work in building construction as a field superintendent and project manager. I have four books published by McGraw-Hill on housing construction (1995-98) under Bart Jahn, and have six Christian books self-published through Create Space KDP. I have a bachelor of science degree in construction management from California State University Long Beach. I grew up in Southern California, was an avid surfer, and am fortunate enough to have always lived within one mile of the ocean. I discovered writing at the age of 30, and it is now one of my favorite activities. I am currently working on two more books on building construction.

One thought on “The Bell-Shaped Curve of Religious Experience”

  1. I agree with you, children should not rule the house. Some time ago I used to live in Asia for a while and I loved how well kept their children are. Too easy going approach to raising a kid is bringing to the world egocentric people lacking of empathy and common sense. But actually I hope I am too pessimistic… I hope that our society will grow to be better, more carrying and less selfcentered. Have a good day. 🙂


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