Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Changing Omniscient God? Balderdash!!

I’ve heard several people say that if God changes His mind then He isn’t God as we normally understand a God to be. That is, He can’t be omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent etc. They especially focus in on omniscient. A more correct statement would be, If God changes His mind then He isn’t God as THEY understand a God to be.
But there certainly isn’t anything in the Bible, which is God’s revelation to us about Him, that precludes God changing His mind or being influenced by our requests.

God communicates with us intimately and frequently, certainly as often as we communicate with any other person sitting in the room with us who we are interested in. Because God is our Creator, Saviour, Lord, King and the Being who cares about us the most, and because God has a plan for our lives and our development as we live out that life, we communicate with God within the context of God’s plan or purposes for our lives. Because of that intimate exchange of ideas God is willing to change what He was going to do, or to not do what He had previously planned to do or not do, as long as it still leads to the goal of conforming us and transforming us into the character of Jesus.

Now, if this is part of God’s plan of interacting with us, and as long as His willingness to consider our requests is an arrangement that He himself has chosen, then it is certainly nothing against the character of God to do such a thing. In fact, the reality that God is willing to change His mind about the details of our lives shows more clearly that He is indeed a personal, loving God. After all, it is much, much better to be flexible while still bringing about the goals that One has set in advance.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Miracles and belief in Jesus

Do you need to believe that miracles are possible to believe in Jesus? Well, I suppose that depends whether one means Jesus the itinerant preacher who lived approximately 2,000 years ago, survived a crucifixion, escaped from his grave and disappeared into the wilderness. Or is it Jesus the Son of God, the Messiah, Lord Saviour who lives and reigns now.

Jesus Himself said, “You don’t need to believe the I Am God because of the claims that I make about myself, but you should believe that I Am God because of what I do.” Why would He say that? Because, from a naturalist point of view, from a “normal” person’s point of view, what Jesus was doing was impossible. We have a record of Jesus’ miracles from friend and foe alike. We are asked to trust what those people wrote.

That is a tough sell for some people. To have to rely on the testimony of another person, someone who isn’t even living, no less can be hard. Luckily, billions of people haven’t had to rely on “just” the claims of eyewitnesses. In fact we get our own personal demonstration of God’s miraculous powers.

Most of the Christians that I’ve met have come to believe in miracles only after they’ve come to know the person of Jesus and His work in their lives. That’s because one of the greatest miracles that we as Christians experience is the real life, real space, real time transformation that Jesus works in our own lives. The very fact that we believe in, obey, serve, love, adore and worship Creator God is a miracle. To worship and adore Creator God is absolutely counterintuitive, at least according to what we knew of the world in our pre Christian pre awareness days.

Believing in God is not how we enter the world. Our natural inclination is to resist and rebel against anything that smacks of infringing on our personal sovereignty. To even hint that we will one day be accountable to Creator God turns most people into tiny versions of Christopher Hitchens; mini monsters lacking only the alcoholism. And yet, for some of us, we have been granted what I call Wide-Band-Awareness. We have been allowed to know that there is something more to life than what meets the eye. We become aware of an “other” love operating in the universe and in our lives. And that is when the miraculous changes begin to take place. We experience a transforming and a conforming to the likeness of someone totally different than our former selves and it takes place without our direction or effort. This change is something that is impossible unless God makes it happen. That “miracle” makes possible the belief in all other acts of God.

Do we need to believe in miracles in order to believe in Jesus? Without the miracle of Jesus entering our lives, belief in Jesus is impossible.

What’s even weirder is that as we come to know Jesus and as we come to believe that He rose from the dead, healed the lame, made the blind see and dealt a fatal blow to the empire of satan, the reality of miracles simply lose their importance vis a vis our growing love for Jesus Himself. Jesus loves me. He died so that I may be forgiven and He defeated death so that I and all other believers may one day spend eternity with Him.

And that’s a good thing.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Sower and the Seed is about Me

Interesting story that one Luke 8:4-15.

If it’s any indication of reality, and from what I observe or read on atheist blogs it may very well be a good indicator, three quarters of those who decide to follow Jesus, later decide to give up on that plan. Three quarters of the people who claim that God is the real deal later turn away and either deny His existence altogether or simply ignore His presence and do their own thing.

If you are thinking of leaving, or no longer being part of His family, that decision or that role in life has already been described ahead of time. In fact, rather than being some type of breaking free, rather than a radical or unique move on your part, it’s a move that’s predicted, expected and more normal than staying. Rather than you escaping from the clutches of God, Jesus seems to be saying to you, “The door is wide open. If you want to go - then go.”

When people read this or any story in the Bible the biggest mistake they can make is to read it as an outsider when in fact virtually every story is about every single one of us. In all the training that I’ve had as a counsellor, and 99.99% of it has been secular in nature, the insights into the workings of human beings as described in the Bible are as accurate and succinct as any text book that I’ve ever read. All of the Bible is a stage and we are the actors. This is especially true when it comes to leaving Jesus, or remaining a faithful follower.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I believed in Jesus right up until I didn’t.

What do you make of comments like that?

“I used to be a Christian.”

“I was a strong Christian.”

“I used to believe in Jesus.”

When I read posts by people who make comments like that, I inevitably find that what they mean is, they went along with everything they were taught, or they diligently went through the motions of the religion in which they were raised. They acted as though they believed in Jesus. Yet for virtually every single person, the so called “belief” in Jesus that they had ended when Jesus or God didn’t come through for them in a time of need. There was a theory of the reality of Jesus, but there was no relationship. If there had been a relationship with Jesus, then when He disappointed the person, their belief would have remained intact, but the relationship would have ended. The words, “I believed in Jesus” have a totally different meaning for those people than what I mean when I say those words.

I believe in the reality of Jesus like I believe in the reality of my wife. He’s as real to me as are my kids. No I can’t see Jesus. No I don’t touch Him. But His presence, His working, His correction, and comfort and counsel, well, there’s no denying His reality. I can identify totally with the apostle Peter. When Jesus asked him and the other disciples if they were going to leave Him, Peter answered, “Lord, where would we go? You alone have the words of eternal life.

So to have my wife disappoint me in some way and to then say that for me she no longer exists is as strange to me as to hear someone say, “I believed in Jesus right up until I didn’t.

Frying Babies

I saw on the news that a person is going to trial for killing his baby by putting h/her? in the microwave. It's hard to underst . . .

Oh. Oh my! I have just bitten into the best peach that has ever been created in the whole entire world of peaches. Oh this is the juiciest, fruitiest, peachiest peach that has ever been eaten by anyone EVER. And all I did was open our fridge and reach into a bin of about 30 peaches and I pulled out the most astounding peach to ever be grown. What are the odds of that? And people say there isn’t a God. Idiots! Oh baby, this peach belongs on a pedestal. It belongs in an awards case. Ooops.The single best peach to ever be grown in the whole wide world and now it’s gone. I wonder if the others are as good as this one?
BLOG STATUS: -----/\----/\----------------------------------------

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How Important Is Love?

I once told a story about someone coming to skate on a pond in my yard. The ice was very thin, yet a man from town had driven his son out into the country and was coming to bring his little boy for a skate.

I yelled out to the man, “The ice is too thin. Don’t go on it or you’ll fall through.”

He replied, “Well I happen to believe that the ice isn’t too thin. I’ll do what I want to do thank you very much.”

Fearing for their safety I ran up to them and said more forcefully, “Don’t do it. If you continue with this plan you and your child will die.”

“Quit trying to shove your beliefs down my throat. I have a right to believe what I want to believe and besides, you have no proof that your beliefs about the ice are more correct than my beliefs.”

What would you do if you were me? Would you act like a fanatic? Would you get physical? Would you let them believe what they want to believe without further protest? What is one’s responsibility?

The story about the pond is fiction but to me it’s no different with our eternal life. No doubt that I sometimes challenge other’s beliefs in an ineffective way. On the other hand my interactions with atheists have very little to with trying to change the beliefs of any given atheist. I firmly believe that the keys to hell are locked from the inside. The reason that I react as I do in some of my posts is that I fear someone, an innocent so to speak, will be influenced by the atheist’s lies that the ice is just fine for skating.

And yet is it my place to “make” someone see the light? Forget for a moment whether or not my style is the right one for the situation. Do I, or does anyone have a right or duty to try to turn people from certain disaster? God seems to have paid a tremendous price so that people could determine their own course for life everlasting.

Ignoring the reality that God came to earth to live out his days in the harshest of realities, an atheist blogger, not two days ago, accused God of creating a world of sorrows and suffering and then failing to notice the difficulties which His creatures were enduring. God has most certainly not ignored evil. He has most certainly not been unaware of the effects of evil; He was tortured to death at the hands of evil. And yet God uses evil to bring about good and one of the highest forms of good that we humans experience is free will and self-determination. This is in fact the only way that God can get the kind of people He desires to live in His future kingdom. Those who are in heaven will only be those who want to be there; those who want to live in the presence of God for eternity. As has been forcefully pointed out to me, manipulating, harassing, coercing or in anyway attempting to force people into the kingdom of heaven is not just useless, it’s wrong. People need to be allowed to reject God, to skate on ice that’s too thin, to carry on in willful ignorance right to the very end.

That’s hard.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hug an Atheist

I’m being prayed for. My attitude toward atheists has caused someone to begin praying that I might become a different sort of person, especially in the way that I treat those who mock me, ridicule the God I love, and suggest that I should have my children taken from me.

[The Christian God is] “Arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it, a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynist, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” Richard Dawkins

I’m told that I’m ignorant and judgmental.

“All religions and all churches are equally demented in their belief in the existence of the divine.”Christopher Hitchens

I’m told that I don’t respect atheists and that I should show the love of Jesus toward them.

“Faith is one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.”Richard Dawkins

I'm told that I should love atheists the way that Jesus would love them.

“Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.” Sam Harris.

I’ve been told that if I want atheists to respect me than I must show respect to them.

“Religion is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly that faith seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness.” Richard Dawkins

The most powerful atheists in the world are advocating that Christians no longer be allowed to teach their children about Jesus.

“How can we ever know how many children had their psychological and physical lives irreparably maimed by the compulsory inculcation of faith?” Christopher Hitchens.

The atheist answer is to inculcate all children with their beliefs.

“How much do we regard children as being the property of their parents? Should [Christian parents] be free to impose their beliefs on their children?” Richard Dawkins.

Love him. Love him. Love him.

“Parents don’t literally own their children . . . [Christian parents] ought to be held accountable by outsiders (read atheists) for their guardianship, which does imply that outsiders have a right to interfere.” Daniel Dennett

To this I’m supposed to show humility, love and respect.

“ [Christian] Parents, have no god-given license to enculturate their children in whatever way they choose . . . to bring them up in an atmosphere of dogma . . . or to insist they follow the straight and narrow paths of their own faith.”Nicholas Humphrey

"Respect for others and appreciation of their differences from one's self is the hallmark of an enlightened and tolerant individual." Michael Edward Davis - Self appointed atheist spokesperson chastising me for my disrespectful attitude toward atheists.

“And Jesus bent down and washed the feet of Judas.”

Ugh. I’ve done it again. I cycle and cycle and cycle through this all the time.
I’m shown where I’m wrong.
Determine to change my ways.
Stop reading atheist blogs.
Stop dissing people.
Blog about something else.
‘Well, I’ll read just a couple atheist blogs.’
‘Did you see what he said?
‘How can that be allowed without a challenge?’
Rip and roar and tear down.
Sorry - Really!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Guess Who to entertain at the DNC

Guess Who wants to headline at the Democratic National Convention? C’mon, you can get this. They’re already rehearsing. In fact they’ve been tuning up for the last three or four years now. Let me give you a hint. Here’s some of their lyrics.

I’m brighter than you are.

I don’t get nearly the respect that I deserve.

I’m brilliant.

I’m a really good person.

Why aren’t you thinking about me?

Why aren’t you thinking about my happiness?

You should be thinking about my happiness!

How dare you not think about my happiness?

I deserve to be paid attention to!

The universe would not work if it wasn’t for me and those who think like me

We, my group and I hold the answer to everything that you need to know.

Why aren’t you paying attention to me?

It drives me crazy that you aren’t paying attention to me.

How dare you marginalise me? I’m important!

My ideas count.

How dare you place my need for recognition below everyone else, even if they are in the majority?

How dare you not think as highly of me as I think of myself?

The A on my t-shirt does not stand for asshole.

If you don't publicly recognise how special I am, I won't play with you anymore.

Guess Who?

Telling kids about death

As far as parenting goes, explaining death and what comes after death can be a challenge, even scary. It doesn’t need to be that way, especially for Christian parents.

Have you ever had a surprise party thrown in your honor? You walk through the door and the lights come on and the horns blow, close friends cheer as ribbons and balloons are thrown into the air?

Have you ever watched as an athlete’s name is announced and he runs from the dressing room tunnel and onto the field as 60 or 70 thousand people cheer his arrival?

Have you watched as sailors return home from a deployment? And as they leave the ship their loved ones run to great them with kisses and hugs?

Or have you noticed the smiles on the Olympic athlete’s faces as they rise to the podium and wave and smile to the cheering crowd as they receive the reward for achieving their goal?

When my kids ask about death, these are some of the analogies that I use. Because my children have made decisions to follow Jesus, I can tell them that Jesus and the angels and all the people who have died before us and who are already in heaven, well, those people will welcome us home with cheers and shouts of joy. Another good thing to do, especially if you have lots of kids like we do, or if you have a bunch of people over when the question is asked is to have some of them go outside onto the deck while the others, along with the kid who’s been asking about death stay back in the kitchen or whatever. The questioner’s favourite parent goes onto the deck and plays the role of Jesus. Then, the questioner pretends that s/he is dying and is crossing from this world into the next. As s/he opens the door and steps across the threshold leading to the deck, the people in the kitchen say, “There s/he goes. Bye, bye honey. We love you.” while at the same time those on the deck cheer and shout, “Here s/he comes! Yea, she made it safely home.” And while the people on the deck are cheering the arrival of the child, the parent playing the role of Jesus gives the kid a big hug and introduces the questioner to those who have gone to the deck before with, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to introduce to you my personal friend (insert name). Now my child, come and play with us.” The Bible explains to us that "We (Christians) do not grieve as those who have no hope." Death need not be a difficult passage for us and Jesus is the reason why.

What a difference it must be for atheist parents, especially for those who want to be honest with their child.

“Dad, what happens when we die?”

“Well, nothing really. We come from nothing and we go to nothing. Either your mom and I or someone else will put you into the ground and cover you with dirt and the person that we knew as YOU will just totally and completely cease to exist. And that’s the end of it.”

“But, how can that be it? How can I just come to an end? What if I only live until I’m five years old? I won’t get to do anything important.”

“My dear boy. Five years or five hundred years, it doesn’t really matter because none of it counts, not ultimately anyhow. Humans are part of a dying species in a dying universe. You’re an accident little buddy. An absolute accident to which we gave a name. Don’t get me wrong. We love you, and perhaps some day you can even manipulate some other people to love you too. But apart from that you’re pretty much on your own. I sure hope you don’t grow up to be so weak as to think that you need anything other than yourself.”

“But what are we here for? Is there any meaning or purpose to all this?”

“Use your brain son. How can there be meaning and purpose to something that’s an accident? Of course, you can pretend this life has meaning and purpose if you want. You can be kind, or get really rich, or you can discover how our chemicals interact so that the lives of similar organisms might be made easier. You can get a good education or do some type of research, anything really to relieve the boredom from now until you die. Just remember. You can better the human race all you want son, but when it’s done, it’s done. And all the time that you spend making someone else’s life better, well, what’s happening to your own? You know what I mean? All those people whose lives you’ve made easier? They’re going to die just like you’re going to die and no matter what you’ve done during your life time, in the end it all counts for absolutely nothing. Since there is no objective purpose to human life, none of what you choose to do has any objective significance, regardless of how important you happen to think they are. Fame and importance are ultimately meaningless no matter how much you pretend otherwise. Reality is, you come from nothing and you’re headed to nothing, just emptiness, a void. That’s all there is son. That’s not a bad thing son. It just is. The fact is, our life has no meaning, no context and absolutely no purpose save the purpose that you pretend to give it. Pretty cool huh?”

“But daddy, shouldn’t I at least try to be a good person?”

“Oh my precious little munchkin. Good and bad are just subjective words that some people use to describe things that they like or don’t like. Have you read Ayn Rand or Camus, or Hume or Sartre or Monod? Oh, of course you haven’t. You can’t read yet. Listen, as soon as you can read you should check out what these people have to say. You’ll find them very encouraging. They explain it a lot better than I do. All I know is, live good, live bad, live for yourself, live for others, none of it matters because the end of the good and the end of the bad, the end of people, pigs and insects is exactly the same, we rot away and become a different form of matter. Now, why don’t you run along. I’ve got some useless and pointless things to do.”

“But dad, that’s absurd!. How do you expect me to be happy if life has no meaning, context or purpose” If that’s the way things are, why did you make me in the fist place?”

“Well, sweetpea, now you’re starting to ask what's beginning to feel like a lot of questions. First of all, I couldn’t not make you. My genes compel me to reproduce. I squirt my semen here and there and everywhere, not so much since your mother and I got married, but it’s like I have no other option. Our DNA must reproduce. A very brilliant man named Richard Dawkins says so and he wouldn’t lie. You’ll do the same thing as soon as you’re able. And as far as life being absurd goes, well, yes it is. It’s a farce really, just a little bit this side of a tragedy. But like I said, here is where we must simply pretend that it isn’t absurd. A brilliant Nobel Prize winner, an atheist of course makes the case for all of us atheists believing what he calls, “The Noble Lie.” That lie of course is that in an accidental universe there actually is meaning and purpose. I haven’t been able to pull it off but for that guy and Dawkins and a few others, apparently they’re able to believe such a thing. And don’t go accusing me of promising you happiness. Now THAT would be irrational. A wonderfully brilliant man whom I admire a lot, his name was Bertrand Russel, well, once he said, “We must build our lives on the firm foundation of unyielding despair.” He was such an awesome atheist! One of my heros. You see son, it can be no other way. If you live consistently according to the logical conclusion of our atheist belief system then you simply cannot be happy. Remember, it’s because I love you that I’m teaching you this belief system so that you’ll be resistant to all those Christian idiots who try to tell you that because of a guy named Jesus, you can have hope and joy and peace in your life just like they have in their lives. But that’s a lie - straight up. If you wish to be happy, then you cannot live consistently according to the logical conclusion of our atheist beliefs - the ones that your mother and I are teaching you. But if you’re serious about this, if you rebel against our indoctrination to live a brave life in the face of meaninglessness, well, what you do in that case is, you borrow meaning and value and purpose from the Christian’s belief system and claim it as your own. I’ll think that you’re an idiot if you do that, but because I’m so tolerant I’ll still tolerate you if you turn against our logic and reason. Simple enough. Now, you must run along as I have a large bowl movement approaching at a fantastic pace. We’ll talk again tomorrow.”

“You’re a really great dad. Thank you.”

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Suffer the little children . . .

I think it was C.S. Lewis who said something like, ‘It’s not how rude children are to their parents that alarms me. Rather it’s how rude parents are to their children that I find alarming.’

I see this all the time in counselling, or in the store, or on the street. Parents, intelligent parents for the most part, attempt to change their child’s behaviour by demeaning, belittling, shaming and haranguing. I realise that for many parents they are only doing what they learned when they were children. They were made to feel less-than by their parents and by golly they are going to make sure their children feel like crap as well. Others are tired, hurried, frustrated and angry and all they want is obedience - NOW! I understand all that but it’s so very short-sighted. There is no possible way that hurting someone physically AND ESPECIALLY emotionally is going to make them want to treat you better. There is no possible way that embarrassing someone in public today, is going to bring about that person’s cooperation tomorrow. Condemning those we are supposed to love will almost always fail to get us the type of response that we are looking for. Instead, we will either get rebellion against what in reality is unfair, or the anger will go underground to fester and grow. People who are hurt tend to hurt back. People who are angry usually try to make others feel angry. People who are made to fear for their safety typically make others fear for their safety. Making your children suffer in order to bring about good behaviour is really, really self-defeating.

As well, it is really difficult to confront anyone, child or adult who does not possess an awareness of h/her position of being loved by Creator God. Absent that awareness, virtually all “attacks” or criticisms or even advice comes across as attacks to the core person. The correction feels personal. Something that I’ve noticed as I’ve aged is a transformation of sorts. As our society moves inexorably away from a healed relationship with our Creator, people are desperately seeking approval from others, from looks, from wealth and education and relationships. Without understanding themselves as spiritual beings who are meant to have a connection to something bigger than themselves, they simply have no other alternatives to finding value and worth, security and belonging. All they can do is try to get the things of the world to reflect back to them what they believe they need to survive.

And that is just one reason why the message of Jesus is so transforming. Unlike our earthly parents, Jesus loves us unconditionally. Unlike our earthly parents, Jesus does not keep a record of wrongs. Unlike our earthly parents, we can trust Jesus to do what is right for us. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn us but to save us. He died, so that we could have life. No matter what we’ve done, Jesus offers forgiveness. No matter who we are, we are acceptable to Him. No matter how much damage we have done to others, Jesus longs to restore us to a position of wellness, beauty, gladness, safety, value and worth.
The kingdom of God is open to all regardless of our past.
The kingdom of God is open to you.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Wrath of God

It’s supper time. The man, 50ish, leans over his plate and takes a bite of his homemade half-pound burger. Grease and mayonnaise drip down his fingers. He wipes the ketchup off his chin and takes another bite. By the pace that he’s eating you’d never guess this was his third burger. He grabs another handful of chips out of the bag and drops them on his plate. With a gulp of ice cold milk and a loosening of his belt the man leans back in his chair and flicks the remote to the news channel. An actress drove over someone's foot this afternoon. He turns it up. The sound of a moan comes from the direction of the floor.’

“Shut up! I want to hear this.”

Looking down, I’m alarmed to see a boy, skin and bones, eyes vacant. He’s lain there since this morning, not moving from the place where he fell. Another moan slides from his parted lips.

“I told you to shut up.”

The man throws the child part of a bun with some ketchup on it. It ricochets of the boy’s protruding cheek bone and bounces a couple centimeters away. The starving child makes no effort to reach for the bun. Too late.

The man turns up the news as reports are coming in that another whale has beached itself on the local coast.

The repair man has finally fixed the garborator. He hands the lady of the house the bill. $300.00.

“Three hundred dollars!!! I could get a whole new garborator for this.”

The man shrugs his shoulders and says, “Lady, I can’t do this work for nothin. Besides, you should thank me. I fixed those leaky pipes and I didn’t charge you nothin for doing it.”

“Thank you. I’ll thank you alright. Listen. I don’t have the three hundred. But here’s what I’ll do. I’ve got to go out and get a new dress and a pair of shoes for a party this weekend. It’ll take me a couple of hours, maybe three. I’ve got a gorgeous little three year old in the bedroom taking a nap. I got her from some guy in Amsterdam. Why don’t you help yourself. Do what you want. She already knows what a man likes. She’s pretty quick for a kid. What do you say? You do the kid and we’ll call it even?

“Don’t you have a frickin brain in your head? What’s the matter with you? Don’t you know how this makes me look? You are such a selfish little piece of shit. I’m sorry that I ever brought you into this world. Can’t you do anything right? Look at you, you worthless . . . pick up that mess. Now!! And don’t you ever try to pull something like this ever again. Who do you thing you are? Wipe your face, you eat like a pig. Can’t you ever do anything right? How stupid can one person be? For godsake pull your chair up to the table. Look at the floor. You’re going to clean that up mister. And don’t think you’re going to be watching tv after supper either. Put your hands down. Put em down. I’ll teach you to talk back to me. Ya cry me a river. Come here you little brat and I’ll give you something to cry about. Don’t you ever run away from me. Now look what you’ve done. You’ve made me break a nail. I’m gonna slap you till you can’t walk any more.

“Mom, do I look ok in this outfit?”

“Look ok? You are hot, little girl. Just like what's her name on MTV. Whose that boy you’re going out with tonight? Aarron? Oh baby he’s going to be all over you.”

“Mom. Stop it. We’re just going to the movies.”

“Oh don’t be such a prude. You've got to give him something if you want to keep him coming back.”

“What in the world is that racket?”

“Oh it’s those people again. They’re banging on the door trying to get in.”

“Well what is the matter with them. Why don’t they go home? They’re bothering me. I can’t concentrate with all that noise. Can’t you tell them to leave or something?”

“I HAVE told them. They just keep saying that they don’t have enough food and that it isn’t safe where they live.”

“Well that isn’t our fault. Why do they keep asking us for help? Turn the lights off and maybe they’ll go away.”

“Honey, would you turn up the heat a little bit? I feel a bit of a chill.”

“Sure. No problem. Oh look! There’s that old woman carrying all those sticks for her cooking fire. Good grief what a load she can carry. She must be brain damaged or something. Why else would she build her shelter so far from the wood supply?”

“Should we help her dear? Maybe offer her something warm to drink or even ask her if she wants to come in a warm up? That piece of plastic she lives under can’t keep her very warm with it snowing like it is.”

“No, don’t do that. Then she’ll want to be our friend or something.”

Wow! What a pile! There must be almost two million bodies in that heap. The stench of those dead babies is stinking to high heaven. I wish somebody would do something about that.

Actually God is going to do something about it. As we gorge ourselves on food while tens of thousands of children die everyday of starvation. As millions of children are sold into sexual slavery. As we ignore the poor that live virtually next door to us. As we sexualise our children for the purpose of entertainment. God is watching. God is watching our non response, our arrogance and selfishness. God is watching and believe me, He is going to do something about it.
Atheists are offended by His anger.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Atheists run from Jesus

To be fair, I want to say first off that I sincerely believe that most atheists who blog are far too intelligent and well read to buy into the nonsense about which I’m going to write. On the other hand, as I meander through their blogs, it seems that more and more sceptics are saying things like, “You should read this book or this blog. It proves that Jesus never even existed.” Yikes!! This isn’t entirely new of course.

First it was, They tried to prove that Jesus never died.
- Didn’t work. The history of crucifixions and the forensic evidence from the record of Jesus’ crucifixion shows beyond any doubt that He died on the cross. It wasn’t a swoon. It wasn’t a faint. Jesus was dead - period.

Then it was, They tried to prove that Jesus’ tomb was never empty
- Didn’t work. There is absolutely no chance that if the body of Jesus was in that tomb, the religious authorities wouldn’t have produced it and put an end to Christianity on the spot.

Next it was, They tried to prove that Jesus never rose from the dead
- Didn’t work. It’s obvious that Jesus’ followers had neither the ability nor the opportunity to steal the body. As well, the dramatic change in the disciples lives and character, plus the very existence of the Christian Church shows that what the disciples saw was the real deal. Of course naturalism allows no miracles so . . .

As a last resort it was, They tried to say that there is no extra Biblical reference to the life of Jesus.
- This has come close to working. For most of us, we simply don’t have the time and barely the inclination to fully study everything that we claim to believe. Actually this is true for both sides of the debate. Some people actually believe the atheist lie that there isn’t any extra Biblical reference to the life, death and resurrection. Why do they accept this as true? Because many if not most atheists have neither the time and they certainly don’t have the desire to investigate these false claims by their comrades. And, because what’s being said matches what they want to believe, they simply take what’s being said as, um Gospel truth.

Finally, having given up as futile attempts to refute the historical narrative of Jesus’ life, sceptics are attempting the biggest gambit ever. They are trying to say that Jesus never existed at all. And, incredibly, many atheists are buying it. Such is their desperate need to do away with Creator God, that many atheists seem willing to do away with nearly all reason, knowledge and critical thinking.

My O my how desperate can one get? I try you know. I really do. I try to respect those of the atheist faith. But this last surge is just sad, sad, sad. And embarrassing!!! To go against all of historical scholarship, eyewitness testimony, and extra Biblical references to the life of Jesus by both friend and foe alike, well, that is just about as desperate as any person can get.

I can understand attempts to explain away the first three historical events; His death, burial and resurrection. But this? To say that Jesus never existed? That’s just pathetic. Even the sceptics security blanket, the supposed non existence of extra Biblical witness to the life of Jesus goes against them. I mean, don’t adherents of this delusion care how stupid this makes them look?

Now, it’s clear that the most trusted documents telling us about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus are the Gospel accounts that are found in the Bible > Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts. And I know that sceptics reject those out of hand. Doing that shows the sceptic’s profound ignorance in the fullest sense of the word. On the other hand, what else can they do? Resurrections are not allowed. But to ignore even the witness of the enemies of Christianity as they attest to the historical reliability of the Gospel accounts and to the reality of the life of Jesus, well, again, it makes the head to shake and the brow to furrow.

First of all, the trustworthiness and accuracy of the Gospels are referred to by a whole series of writers, right from those who lived at the time of Jesus and His disciples and continuing in close and steady succession on into the third and forth centuries. Whether the literature is secular or religious, you simply don’t get a higher form of historical testimony than this type of documentation. Where ever it is found in secular works, those writings are declared absolutely trustworthy based chiefly on that pattern of documentation. Documents that recorded the historical life of Jesus can be traced from the Epistle of Barnabas, the Epistle of Clement, and the Shepherd of Hermas all the way, without break, to Eusebius in 315. There is better testimony for the authenticity of the New Testament books than for ANY classical work of antiquity. That these authors talk about a historical figure who existed in real space and real time is beyond dispute, except - EXCEPT with those whose conscience, it appears, is completely seared and completely hardened and scarred by repeated lies and falsehoods. These are the people who are now perpetrating the twisted history that does not allow for one and only one historical figure to have lived.

Theophilus, Hippolitus and Origen all cite the Gospels as authoritatively accurate. Very early on the Gospels were collected into a distinct set of documents which Ignatius first calls the Gospel of the Apostles. Quadratus wrote of the life of Jesus. Irenaeus and Melito also refer to the collection as the Gospels in their writings and affirm their historical accuracy.

Some very desperate atheists would have you believe that all these people were part of a massive conspiracy to begin a new religion.

Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen and Cyprian all upheld the authority and accuracy of the Gospel records as they describe the life of Jesus, as does that book written by the doctor and historian Luke ie. the book of Acts of the Apostles. Citations from Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen and Cyprian were publically read as authoritative and reliable.

More importantly from a sceptics perspective, a new genre of literature, harmonies and commentaries of the Gospels, were compiled within a decade of Jesus’ death. The best known of these were ones written by Tatian. In fact, historical records attest to the fact that no commentary was ever written during the first three hundred years after Christ on ANY book(s) except of the New Testament. Even more important for today’s sceptic to note is that the Scriptures were accepted as trustworthy by all the heretical groups of the day. The Valentinians and the Carpocratians are just two groups who held to the historical accuracy of the Gospels. None of these people were so foolish as to try to say that Jesus of Nazareth was a figment of someone’s imagination. They couldn’t say that because witnesses, to the life of Jesus, including the enemies of Christianity were still alive when these histories were written.

The Gospels, Acts, thirteen letters of Paul, 1st John and 1st Peter were received as authentic and trustworthy historical documents even by those who doubted the authenticity of other books now in the canon. Early opponents of Christianity like Celsus, Porphyry and the Emperor Julian acknowledged that the Gospels contained an accurate record of Jesus’ life. While they argued against the tenets of Christianity, it never occurred to them to include in their arguments something so absurd as saying that Jesus never lived. Athanasius and Cyril compiled catalogues of authentic Scriptures which always, always, always contained the Gospels and Acts and upheld their accuracy and historical dependability. Beyond any doubt, the Gospels and Acts contain the original story that was spread abroad by the apostles, an account for which they willingly died - that Jesus died, was buried and that He rose again from the dead. People simply don’t do that type of thing for a lie that they made up.

Another reason that the New Testament can be trusted as a true and accurate historical record of Jesus is because of its use in teaching new converts. What difference does that make? Because of this use, these writings were copied over and over and over. Quotes from the New Testament counting literally into the millions are available from that time in history. In fact no other ancient writing comes anywhere close to the volume of early copies of literature that document the life of Jesus. It is absolutely impossible that so much literature, spread over such a wide geographical area, and within the reach of such varied people from paupers to princes, rulers to slaves, men and women, Jews and Gentiles could have been gathered together and corrupted with a fictional person. Neither was there time to do this. These writings were put together when witnesses to the events surrounding the life of Jesus were still alive.

Yet this is what some hard-core atheists would have you believe happened.

To throw into doubt the reliability of the Gospels would require that all and every rule of historical criticism be tossed aside. And, since the reliability of every single work of antiquity is far, far less attested to than the writings of the New Testament, the reliability of these works would also need to be denied.

Yet this is what atheists and sceptics are saying that you should do. Well, not exactly. They’re saying you can trust the works of antiquity with the least corroboration, while you should discount, distrust and throw out anything that upholds the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth even though those documents are far more trustworthy. How’s that for reason and logic? We are witnessing a situation whereby sceptics, who are completely out of excuses for not acknowledging their hostile relationship toward Jesus are forced to tell you that the writers of these works were either lied to or were themselves liars. Clearly the apostles weren’t lied to for in order for Christianity to take wings and fly, the lie had to have been their own. We also know however how impossible it is to believe that these men lived in hardship and died from torture maintained the lie to the bitter end.

The letters of Barnabas and Clement tell about the miracles of Jesus. Why would they invent a fictitious person? Polycarp writes about the supposed resurrection of Jesus. Why would he write about someone who never existed? Irenaeus writes of Jesus' miracles as though Jesus was a factual character. Why would all these people put their own reputations on the line to perpetrate a lie? Are we to believe that these men were somehow incorporated into this massive conspiracy to invent a superhuman being? In his writings, Quadratus states that people were still living who had seemingly been healed by Jesus. Why would he say that if Jesus wasn’t a factual character? How would any of these people benefit by perpetrating this falsehood? In all of history, such a conspiracy and corruption in written transmission has never before been recorded. Yet today's sceptic's attempt to state that such was the case with the New Testament, and it shows just how desperate they are to avoid the truth.

Are we therefore to believe that in the reign of Tiberius Caesar a certain number of persons went about establishing a new religion, in the propagation of which they voluntarily submitted to great dangers, suffering, and ultimately torturous deaths? Would men in such circumstances pretend to have seen what they never saw; assert facts which they had no knowledge of, go about lying to teach virtue; and, while presenting a fictitious character persist in carrying on; and so persist, as to bring upon themselves, for nothing, and with full knowledge of the consequence, enmity, hatred, danger and death? All the while, from beginning to end singing the praises of a relationship with this fictitious character. The apostles had absolutely nothing to gain in worldly terms by attempting to either teach that Jesus had risen from the dead if he hadn’t, OR even more astounding, teach that Jesus had risen from the dead when Jesus never existed in the first place. Such strange and mentally unstable behaviour seems reserved for today’s atheists.

I know that most atheists are not so brazen or foolish as to propose that Jesus was not a historical figure. But some, whose mental status can only be called questionable, would have people believe that one man got together with several other men and said, “Let’s invent a superhuman individual and start a new religion. And let’s make that religion as offensive to the communities in which we live as we possibly can. In fact let’s invent a religion that will clearly be a threat to the Roman empire. Sure we’ll probably be tortured and killed, sure we be fed to wild beast and used as human torches in the courtyards of Nero, but it’ll be a blast. Regardless of what horrors befall us, let’s all agree to maintain the lie to the bitter end.”

Amazingly, today’s atheists would have you believe the other men agreed to that idea. Therefore they set out on their plan to perpetrate this colossal lie and lo and behold, it worked. The whole of civilization was changed and transformed as never before by a simple lie; that Jesus of Nazareth, a fictitious super hero could and would transform your life. Ding dong, it worked. Or so today’s sceptics would have you believe.

The fact is, the Christian Church was born and became established on the reality of a person named Jesus of Nazareth who lived, died and rose from the dead. The proclamation of these facts, in Jerusalem of all places, right in front of their enemies who were powerless to stop this movement shows that what the apostles were saying is true. Christianity bears witness to the reality of Jesus the Christ. Jesus' empty tomb, His appearances before at least 500 people over a forty day period and, His eating and drinking with them, conversing with them, teaching and encouraging them and more than anything else, the existence of the Christian Church itself prove beyond a shadow of doubt that Jesus Christ existed in real time and real space.

I guess I need to stop. It’s just that it saddens and even scares me a little to see men and women, some of them quite intelligent people, lying to themselves and accepting virtually without question the lies of others for no other reason than to block out the reality of and historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. God help us.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I blew it yet again

Once again I slipped into the role of snottiness in my interaction with someone who was equally gifted in snark. Well, try, try again.

All I know is, when an intelligent person willfully abandons reason and begins to posit finite infinities, causeless beginnings and beginningless beginnings, all I know is that I’m dealing with someone in a desperate attempt to avoid a philosophically unacceptable conclusion: Creator God exists.

All I know is, when an intelligent person willfully abandons classical historical scholarship and begins to deny known and knowable facts of history and claims that in all cases history is unknowable, when an intelligent person willfully and falsely claims to follow whatever ethical standard is currently in vogue and calls that a reasonable way to live, all I know is that I’m dealing with someone in a desperate, fearful attempt to avoid a philosophically unacceptable conclusion: Creator God exists.

All I know is, when someone goes in search of ever more complicated solutions, abandoning one after another, after another, after another, not because of new evidence but because of a need to avoid current evidence, and when that person never returns to a simple solution that coincides with current knowledge and common sense, I know that I’ve encountered an individual who has been confronted with a philosophically unacceptable conclusion: Creator God exists.

That is sad.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Gift of the Jews

Thomas Cahill in “The Gifts of the Jews” states:

The Jews gave us a whole new vocabulary, a whole new Temple of the Spirit, an inner landscape of ideas and feelings that had never been known before. Over many centuries of trauma and suffering they came to believe in one God, the Creator of the universe, whose meaning underlies all His creation and who enters human history to bring His purposes to pass. Because of their unique belief - monotheism - the Jews were able to give us the Great Whole, a unified universe that makes sense and that, because of its evident superiority as a world-view, completely overwhelms the warring and contradictory phenomena of polytheism. They gave us the Conscience of the West, the belief that this God who is One is not the God of outward show but the “Still, small voice.” of conscience, the God of compassion, the God who “Will be there,” the God who cares about each of His creatures, especially the human beings He created “In His own image,” and that He insists we do the same.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back from South Dakota

Just back from seven days on the road with two seven-year-olds, two six-year-olds and one three-year-old. It’s enough to challenge the endurance of even the sturdiest of human beings. The only thing that spared me from a complete breakdown was foam earplugs.

On day two I hear from the rear seat -
Chelsey (6) - “Bet I can make you blink”

Wyatt (7) - “Bet you can’t.”

Wyatt - “Owah”

Chelsey - “Made you blink.”

Wyatt - “Ya but you can’t punch me in the face to do it - stupid.”

My wife, bless her soul, suggested that we pull into the nearest hardware store and get some ear plugs. She’s a genius. The insertion of ear plugs transported us instantly into a state of serenity and renewal that rendered us immune to all by the bloodiest of fights and the shrillest of protests.

Driving to South Dakota was like stepping back in time. They still have country schools and Drive in Theatres. They have towns with names that had, literally, one house, one trailer, and fuel pumps that hadn’t been used in ten years. The town of Deadwood has got to be America at it’s smarmiest.

My favourite place name? "Lame Johnny Creek."

My goodness what beautiful country greets you in the Black Hills. The “Needles” highway and highway 87 South with it’s hairpins, switchbacks, loops and one-lane bridges and tunnels was one of the best drives of my life. Climbing into, or more specifically out of Wonderland Cave was almost the end of me. I’m in terrible shape. I’ve got to do something about that come New Years.

Hotels were cheap and fuel was cheaper. All the people were nice, right down to the first humane U. S. Boarder Guard that I’ve ever met. I should have warned him that he had the right to remain silent. As soon as he answered Riley’s “Are you a police officer?” and Walker’s “Do you arrest bad guys?” he was hit with a fusillade of questions from all five of them that sent him running to return our passports and hurry us on our way. It's not quite true that all the people were nice. I left a book on the counter in our room when we checked out of one Hotel in Dead Wood. When I called back no one in housekeeping would fess up to having taken it. It was a really good book too. Grrr.

If you’ve never been to a Hot Springs, you might enjoy the one in South Dakota called “Evan’s Plunge.” However, if you’ve ever been to a different one, especially ones like Fairmont or Banff or Radium Hot Springs in the Canadian Rockies, the one in Dakota will be a deep disappointment. The sign says it was built 100 years ago and I'm sure they've never done any upgrades since that date. Nevertheless, the kids enjoyed it.

The passion play too, desperately needed a new sound system and a musical score that was written within the last millennium.

I had an interesting exchange with an Air Force dude just back from Iraq. I met him at Mount Rushmore, the place where they chipped out the faces of four guys on the side of a mountain. Honestly? Even though three million people a year go there, it wasn’t that great. Don’t get me wrong. Drawing faces with dynamite and jack hammers can’t be easy. And they did a pretty good job. I just thought it would be bigger. Anyhow, this guy asked me what I thought of Mount Rushmore. I guess I wasn’t enthusiastic enough in my description. His face wrinkled and he teared up as he explained it’s meaning. The meaning of Mt. Rushmore, at least for this guy is Freedom. Leaning a little too close for my comfort, he asked me how we Canadians came to attain our freedom. Hmm. I didn’t then and still don't have the foggiest idea. When I told him that he seemed disgusted with me. I said that I think that we just assume that any government with any brains gives it’s citizens the freedom they need to feel ok about being alive. The people that we elect to government seem to agree with that idea and we just kinda take it from there. I don’t think I was an acceptable representative of Canadians for this guy. I would have told him that there’s much, much better Canadians than me but he walked away before I got a chance.

All and all it was a good trip. So, like, thank you South Dakota for your hospitality and thank you science for foam ear plugs.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Why I'm Not An Atheist

Except for epistemic, experiential, logical, coherent and reasonable evidence for the existence of God, I could be an atheist

To that end, my belief in God begins with the following observation:
. Whatever begins to exist has a cause
. The universe began to exist
. Therefore the universe has a cause.

. Matter and energy cannot precede themselves or preexist themselves either physically or chronologically.
. Matter and energy do not have the ability to create themselves or bring themselves into existence from nothing or ex nihilo.
. As we’ll see below, matter and energy cannot exist from infinity past.
. Whatever brought matter, energy, space and time into existence had to have existed outside of these entities.
. Anything that exists has an explanation of it’s existence, either in the necessity of its own nature (like numbers) or in an external cause.
.If the universe has an explanation of its existence, that explanation is God. That is because: Existing outside of time, the Cause is infinite or eternal, Existing outside of matter, the Cause is immaterial or Spiritual, Existing as the Cause of time and energy, space and matter the Cause is immeasurably more powerful than the mathematically precise universe and its exquisitely Finely Tuned constants and quantities. The cause cannot be “scientific” because neither matter nor the laws of physics existed prior to the singularity. The transcendent Cause of the universe is therefore on the order of a Mind. The cause is not scientific but Personal. It’s omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. That Cause, at least in the West is described as God.
. The universe exists.
. Therefore, the universe has an explanation of its existence.
Because the above premises are true and coherent, the following conclusion must also be true: The explanation of the existence of the universe is God

. If atheism is true, then the universe has no explanation of its existence. This in fact is what atheists would have us believe as literally over a dozen theories have come and gone in the last 10 years in a vain attempt to rule out God as cause of the universe.
. If there IS an explanation of the universe’s existence, then atheism is not true.
. Most atheists would admit that the universe does indeed have a beginning.
. Hence, most atheists are implicitly committed to God being the explanation of why the universe exists.

Some may deny that the universe began to exist, but in reality the universe cannot be infinite. That is because: The Second Law of Thermodynamics rules out the possibility of the universe existing from infinity past. As well -
. It is physically impossible to have an Actual Infinite Number of Things or Events preceding our today.
. A beginningless Series of events in time entails an actual infinite number of things.
. Therefore, a beginningless Series of events in time that leads to the beginning of our universe cannot exist.
. Neither can we get to our point in time by forming an actual infinite Collection of things by adding one member after another.
. A series of events in time is a collection formed by adding one member after another
. A collection formed by adding one member after another cannot be an actual infinite.
Because the above premises are true and coherent, the following conclusion must also be true: A collection of events in time cannot be actually infinite - therefore the universe cannot be infinite.

I believe in God because His existence answers not just, Why did the universe come into being, but Why is it so finely tuned that we can exist? Note: Fine tuning is a secular neutral term in that it refers to constants and quantities (atomic weight, gravitational constant etc) being just right for the existence of intelligent life in comparison with the virtually infinite range of possible values. So:
. The fine tuning of the universe is due to either physical necessity, chance or design.
. It is not due to physical necessity (there is no reason whatsoever that any given universe would be so finely tuned) nor is this fine tuning due to chance (the fine tuning of our universe is so exquisite that an infinitesimal change in any one of necessary constants and quantities would mean that neither we nor any life would happen).

. True claim: If observers who have evolved within a universe observe its constants and quantities, it is highly PROBABLE that they will observe them to be fine-tuned for their existence.

. True claim: It is highly and extraordinarily IMPROBABLE that a universe exists which is finely tuned for the evolution of observers within it.

Some might think that if the constants and quantities of our universe were different, then other life forms would have evolved. This is simply not true. “Life” means the ability to take in food and use its energy, to grow and adapt and reproduce. Without the fine tuning that we observe, not even atomic matter would exist, not to mention planets where life might evolve. Among other things the universe would have either recollapsed or expanded beyond any ability to congeal. Again, there is no reason to expect that a universe as finely tuned for life as is our universe should exist by chance, nor is there any need or physical necessity for such a universe to exist anywhere except for the sole purpose of life. Because the above premises are true and coherent, the following conclusion must also be true: The fine tuning of the universe is due to design.

I also believe in the existence of God because:
. If God does not exist, objective morals, values and duties do not exist
. But objective morals, values and duties DO exist.
Because the above premises are true and coherent, the following conclusion must also be true: God exists.
Fact: Moral Goodness and Duty are based on God’s character. Objective moral order is as real and independent of our recognition as is the natural order of things. Physical laws are fully realised in the physical world. Objective moral laws are fully realised in Jesus and Father God. Our perceptions of natural and moral laws are givens of our experience.
. Mercy is required of me if and only if a just and loving God commands me to be merciful. Meanness is forbidden of me if and only if a just and loving God commands me to not be mean. Mercy or meanness are permitted or denied for me if and only if a just and loving God commands me to / not to commit acts of mercy or meanness. God is merciful therefore He commands us to be merciful. God is not mean therefore He commands us to not be mean. God is just therefore He commands us to act justly. What God commands or permits is good and what He forbids is wrong, bad, evil, self-destructive. This is what it means for morality to be objective vs. subjective or relative to the situation or to the individual’s character or personality or level of empathy, likes or dislikes, sanity or insanity.

I believe in God because of the following philosophical and metaphysical evidence.
We can ask ourselves, “What is the greatest conceivable being?” Our answer goes past me and you and the Dali Lama and any other "great" human being we can think of and we come to an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Being that we commonly call “God” We can call it a Mind or something else but it amounts to the same thing ie.
The Greatest Conceivable Being That Can Possibly Exist.

Therefore we can know that God exists because:
. It is in fact metaphysically possible that a Greatest Conceivable Being exists.
. Because it’s possible that a Greatest Conceivable Being exists, a Greatest Conceivable Being does exist in some possible reality.
. Because of the very nature of a Greatest Conceivable Being, if a Greatest Conceivable Being exists in SOME possible reality, it exists in EVERY possible reality.
. If a Greatest Conceivable Being exists in every possible reality, then it exists in actual reality.
. If a Greatest Conceivable Being exists in the actual reality, then a Greatest Conceivable Being exists in our reality.
Because the above premises are true and coherent, it stands to reason that the conclusion is also true: A Greatest Conceivable Being or God exists.

I also believe a Greatest Conceivable Being - God - exists because:
. Abstract objects, such as numbers and propositions, are either independently existing realities or else they are concepts that find their grounding in and from some Mind.
. Abstract objects are not independently existing realities. Yet we intuitively know that they exist. Our problem is that when we become aware of the sheer volume of potential abstract objects we know for certain that the mind which causes them to exist and find their being and grounding could never be any human mind.
. If abstract objects are concepts in some Mind, then an omniscient, metaphysically necessary being exists. That is, only in an omniscient intelligence or mind can we find the grounding or cause for abstract objects.
. Because some of these concepts exist necessarily they cannot find their grounding in contingent beings, namely us.
Because the above premises are true and coherent, the conclusion must also be true: An omniscient, metaphysically necessary being exists. That being is what we call God.
. Because the cosmological argument shows that a Greatest Conceivable Being exists who is the cause or grounding of reality as we know it, and
. Because the moral argument shows that a Greatest Conceivable Being exists who is the cause or grounding of all objective morals, values, duties and Truth, and
. Because the conceptualist argument shows that a Greatest Conceivable Being exists who is the necessary intelligence for the grounding of abstract objects,
I believe that Creator God exists.

While any or all the above may or may not give you pause for thought, The most important basis for my belief in God has nothing to do with any of the above. Instead, His palpable presence in my life. His counsel, His comfort, His correction and guidance, His love and mercy and grace. All of these things are so very real in my innermost being that they compel me to acknowledge the truth of His existence. I am so very grateful that I have been granted the gift of "Wide-Band Awareness." This is an experience that is shared and immediately recognised by people from around the world regardless of race, social stature, gender or intellectual ability. For some reason atheists seem denied this perceptive ability.

Secondly, I believe in God because of the historicity of Jesus. His life, death and resurrection cannot be adequately explained away. Something totally other took place when Jesus appeared on earth.

Third, I believe in God because the heavens and the earth declare His handiwork. There is simply no sufficient explanation for why we are here, why the universe exists and how it came into being other than a “Creator God.” While it's true that atheists have proposed other theories for the "Creation” of the universe, it was not because of any inadequacy in or lack of evidence for the idea of God as Creator. The presentation of alternative theories is only because God as Creator is philosophically unacceptable to atheists.

The type of belief in God that I'm talking about is sometimes called “faith.” But faith is often misunderstood as being separate from reason or evidence. That could not be more inaccurate. For one thing, we are told to love the Lord our God with, among other things, “all our mind.” Second the Bible describes Faith as being “The substance (base / accumulation) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen.” While one’s faith does not find its origin in evidence (the origin is purely from God - John 6:44), faith is clearly supported by evidence, reason and logic.
In other words, Faith is anything but blind or uninformed. In my opinion agnostics are the only ones who ‘go as far as the evidence will let them.’ Atheists, as I’ve stated, take the next step because of a philosophically unacceptable conclusion to where the evidence points: Creator God exists. Christians take the next step because of the reality of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord of lords and King of kings lives within their very being.

Nevertheless, my epistemic and experiential belief in God is grounded in logic and reason and that is why I'm not an atheist.

There have been all kinds of criticisms of the above premises. What’s important to note however is that a criticism or an objection is not a refutation. When an intelligent person willfully abandons reason and begins to posit finite infinities, causeless beginnings and beginningless beginnings, I know that I’m dealing with someone involved in a desperate attempt to avoid a philosophically unacceptable conclusion: Creator God exists. When an intelligent person willfully abandons classical historical scholarship and begins to deny known and knowable facts of history, but only as they apply to the person of Jesus, I know that I’m dealing with someone who is confronted with a philosophically unacceptable conclusion: Creator God exists. When an intelligent person willfully and falsely claims to follow whatever ethical standard is currently in vogue and calls that a reasonable way to live, I know that I’m dealing with someone involved in a desperate, fearful attempt to avoid a philosophically unacceptable conclusion: Creator God exists. When someone goes in search of ever more complicated solutions, abandoning one after another, after another, after another, not because of new evidence but because of a need to avoid current evidence, and when that person never returns to a simple solution that coincides with current knowledge and common sense, I know that I’ve encountered an individual who has been confronted with a philosophically unacceptable conclusion: Creator God exists.

That is sad and that is why I’m not an atheist.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I was thinking some more about a person whose reaction to my laying out what the Bible said about hell was extreme in nature (Post: "Are you threatening me?) In fact, there seem to be more and more people like her. Because these people have no spiritual foundation upon which to build their value and worth, because these people have no accurate focal point upon which to anchor their security and belonging, any correction feels like a personal attack. Without God we are nothing more than our thoughts and behaviours and any comments about those things are determined to be comments about the "true" self. These people are so desperately seeking approval and validation from the world around them, a world by the way which seems to relish withholding approval, that they have no secure vision or sense of themselves. They really have no alternative since according to their belief system, they come from nothing. They’re going to nothing. Their lives are bereft of meaning and context and purpose. This is clear evidence of the devastation that is visited upon us when our relationship with Creator God is voluntarily and volitionally severed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Does that make sense?

What is going through a person’s mind when h/her pattern of thinking leads to this?

. Because a universe with a beginning opens the door for proving the existence of God, “I believe that the universe never had a beginning.”

From there you go through a dozen or more theories of infinite universe(s), all of which prove to be faulty in one or more crucial areas. Yet you only very reluctantly accept that the universe must have had a beginning.

. Because a universe with a cause opens the door for proving the existence of God, very reluctantly you say to yourself, “Ok the universe might have had a beginning but it didn’t have a cause.”

From there you go through a dozen or more theories of causeless beginnings, all of which prove to be faulty in one or more crucial areas.

. Very reluctantly you allow that the universe might have had a cause, “But the cause wasn’t God.”

From there you go through a dozen or more scenarios whereby the cause of the universe was the universe itself. And even though the idea of something preexisting itself either physically or chronologically in order to create itself is ludicrous, you cling to that hope anyway because it allows you to avoid accepting God as Creator or first Cause.

. Because a universe with objective truth, morality and values opens the door for the existence of God, and because objective truth, morality and values can only truly exist if Creator God exists, you simply say, “That’s not true. Society or even individuals can create objective / universal truths, morals and values.”

From there you go through almost endless mental contortions trying to prove your hypothesis. Eventually you are forced to accept that in the absence of God's Truth, morals or values, there really isn't any truth, and there really aren't any morals or values save your own. From there you are forced to accept that the idea that we can create our own truth is just as ridiculous as your previous thoughts on infinite universes and causeless beginnings.

As that concept sinks in, you declare, "I give up. All I know is that there isn't any Creator God.”

After each of your premises proves to be in error, rather than coming to the only logical and reasonable conclusion possible, That Creator God is the originator of the universe, you, and objective truth, morals and values, rather than admit to that conclusion you simply throw your hands in the air and say, “I won’t accept that. Sooner or later science will prove that God doesn't exist.”

Does that way of living make sense to you?
Does that way of looking at life make sense to anyone?

Aren’t you embarrassed to see that when confronted with facts that lead to conclusions that you aren’t ready to accept on a philosophical basis, you are willing to make unreasonable and illogical statements like we can have causeless beginnings or beginningless beginnings? Doesn’t it bother you that you’re willing to live with logical incoherence?

Actually I believe that self-proclaimed atheists will one day bite the bullet, step up to the plate, take the tiger by the tail and in a fit of momentary maturity declare, "Ok, there is a Creator God but I don't want anything to do with Him. I want to live my life my way and my Creator can go take a flying leap."

Now that would make some sense!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Atheists support the Bible

10 - 12,000 years after that old bronze age book, the Bible, declared that the universe had a beginning, all but the most obstinate, recalcitrant and emotionally infantile atheist scientists have been forced to agree.

1,400 years after that old bronze age book, the Bible, declared that what is seen is made up of what we can't see, the microscope was invented and people said, "Hey, look at that!"

Overheard at the lake

I was talking to a little girl about 4 years old and I said, "You sure have a nice dog." She replied, "Mm Hmm, He is nice but if you try to smell his private parts he'll snap at you."

We were winding down one night. It was about 10:30. No one had said anything for about 10 minutes, when out of the darkness 5-year-old Walker says, "Dad?"
"You know what would be really bad?"
"What would be really bad Walks?"
"If you had to go to the bathroom real bad and you were allergic to stink."

And then last night, I was walking back from the bathroom with Walker at four in the morning(our cabin was about 200 metres from the bathroom - the only draw-back to the camp) and he says, "Obeying satan makes a person's life really hard, right dad?"
"Yes Walker, it sure does."
"You know what I think happens dad?" (Walker doesn't seem to know how to whisper)
"Shhhh, there's people sleeping Walker."
"But dad, you know what I think happenes?"
"What Walker."
"Just before you go to hell, I think that satan makes a really big mess and you have to clean up forever and ever."

Friday, August 1, 2008

Are You Threatening Me?

A few weeks ago, I was browsing some atheist blogs when I came upon an atheist who was typically furious at God for not existing. It was the usual story of pain and suffering and of profound disappointment with a God who wasn’t there to help her in her time of need. In her post she stated:
a) Hell does not exist and
b) If there is a hell, God is “100% loving” so He’ll make sure that I won’t go to hell.

Remember, as an atheist this 100% loving God is the same God that she doesn’t believe in. Talk about jumping on your horse and riding off in all directions at once.

So I used some verses from the Bible that showed where she was mistaken. When I “warned” her as to what the Bible actually says, she just freaked. She accused me of threatening her and of being mean spirited. She said I was thinking that I was better than other people and of being self-righteous. All the bile and vicious comments just came spewing out of her. Christopher Hitchens would have been proud. And I’m thinking, ‘What’s up with that?’ I mean, she was the one who brought it up. She was the one who was misrepresenting what Jesus says on the subject. All I did was try to warn her.

So my question is, Why do atheists react like that? Why do they feel so threatened when they hear verses from the Bible that talk about a place they say doesn’t exist and a Being they say is no more real than an invisible teapot? Don’t get me wrong. I understand that anger and rage is the default setting for atheists. It fits perfectly for their belief system. In fact if an atheist was happy and hopeful, THAT is what would need an explanation. And what you would find if you encountered a happy and hopeful atheist is that that person was borrowing meaning and hope and purpose from Christian thought. I for one find that more than a little ironic.

Anyhow to make my point, watch what happens when I compare everyday warnings with the verses that I gave to that person. Make sure that you read each of them all the way through.

“The rip tide is really fierce today. Stay on the beach.”

Jesus said, “Those who believe and are baptized will be saved but those who refuse to believe will be condemned.”Mark 16:16

“Anti freeze is poison. Don’t drink it.”

Jesus said, “Unless you are born again, you can never get into the kingdom of heaven.” There is no eternal doom awaiting those who trust Him to save them. But those who don’t trust Him have already been tried and condemned for not believing in the only Son of God. John 1:12,13

“Stay off the ice, it’s too thin.”

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:3

“Those tires are really worn. You’d better get them replaced as soon as possible.”

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe in Him stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:16-18

“The levee is about to break. Leave the area immediately.”

Jesus said, “I say emphatically that anyone who listens to My message and believes in God who sent me has eternal life and will NEVER be damned for his sins. He has crossed from death into life.” John 5:24

“There’s a man in the washroom loading a gun. Get out of here.”

“For my Father’s will is that every one who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”John 6:40

“If the river keeps rising at this rate, the road will be washed out by tomorrow. I suggest you get your belongings together and get out of here now.”

Jesus said, “For unless you believe that I am the Son of God, the Messiah, you will die in your sins.”John 8:24

“Don’t go into the pen. That horse kicks and bites.”

Jesus said, "I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

“It’s really easy to overdose on that. I’d try a different pain medication if I were you.”

“In this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who trusts in Him is freed from all guilt and declared righteous.” Acts 13:38,39

“She’s been divorced four times. You can do a lot better.”

“Our acquittal is not based on our good deeds, it is based on what Christ has done and our faith in Him. So it is we are saved, by faith in Christ and not by the good things we do.” Romans 3:27,28 -

“There are loads of scorpions and rattle snakes up in that dry creek bed. Check carefully before you sit down anywhere.”

“Because they were trying to be saved by keeping the law and being good instead of by depending on faith, they have stumbled over that great stumbling stone, Jesus.” Romans 9:32

“The avalanche risk is really high today. Make sure you stay within the marked boundaries.”

“It was through reading the Bible that I came to realize that I could never find God’s favour by trying and failing to obey the law. I came to realize that acceptance with God comes by believing in Christ.” Galatians 2:19

“There are credible warnings of attack. All tourists are advised to leave.”

“The Lord Jesus will bring judgement on those who do not wish to know God and those who reject His plan to save them through our Lord Jesus Christ. They will be punished in everlasting hell, forever separated from the Lord, never to see the glory of His power.” 1st Thessalonians 1:8,9 -

These are the verses that I left for this woman to peruse. She was wrong in her understanding of what the Bible (a book she says is fiction) says on the subject and I did her the favour of correcting her misperceptions.

If you are an atheist you will have no trouble identifying which statements feel like threats and which feel like helpful warnings. The effect will be immediate and palpable. The rage that you live with on a daily basis will double in intensity just by reading the Bible verses telling you how to avoid hell. Again, the question that needs to be asked is, Why? Why such a difference?

Whether the warning is about floods, scorpions, mean horses or hell, the intent is identical every comment. The intent is to warn of danger. One part of the comment describes the problem and another part lays out the recommended action to be taken. It’s simple. It’s clear. All they are is just warnings. So why do atheists consistently view Biblical “warnings” as threats? After all:

. The Bible is a book you describe as poor fiction
. It talks about a Being that you don’t believe in,
. It tells about a place you reject as real
. You don’t believe in sin.
. You don’t see yourself as needing salvation.
. You actually think that you’re quite a good person.

So what the heck is the matter with you that you get all worked up when hearing some verses from the Bible that you claim has nothing to do with you or your life?

Are you that weak and pitiful? Are you that fragile? Can you not stand to hear thoughts that differ from your own? And why the heck do you even bring it up in the first place? Don’t you have better things to think about than someone else’s fantasy? Why do you obsess on fiction as though it’s real life? Your frantic response to what the Bible says seems completely illogical, unreasonable, immature and down right pathetic.

Jesus warns us about Hell and He tells us IN DETAIL how to avoid going there.

To see that as a threat is beyond ridiculous. To read a warning on how to avoid a place you say is pure fantasy should make no more difference to you than reading a warning to avoid a terrorist threat in Bali when you have never been to Bali, you don’t know anyone who lives in Bali and you have no intention of ever going to Bali.

Yes I know. This is a peri menopausal woman. and Yes I know, she doesn't want me to fix the problem. She just wants me to listen. But for a 46 year old woman to feel intimidated by someone talking about hell, which she says she doesn’t believe in is just as strange as her getting all worked up because someone tells her that santa isn’t going to bring her any presents this year because she hasn’t been a good girl.

So, we're off to the lake. Good night and good luck.