Sunday, March 29, 2009

Wouldn't you like some honesty?

I'd love to meet someone honest enough to say, "Yes, I know that the life growing in me is a human being, but I simply can't deal with that at this time in my life. I'm going to kill my child because that seems better than any other option available to me at this time in my life."

I'd also love to meet an atheist honest enough to say, "Of course God exists. Only a fool would think otherwise. However, I am not going to bow down to anyone who lays claim to my life and that includes my Creator."

I don't think that's asking too much. It's just honesty.

Atheists sure know their Bible - Not!

Some atheist who calls himself Friendly Passerby stated, “There is nothing in the Bible that is beyond the knowledge of man at that time.”

This wasn’t his stupidest statement but it was right up there. He also made some comment about our universe just being last in an infinite cycle of universes. That of course is either profoundly ignorant or a deliberate lie. At any rate:

A common manner in which the Bible is criticised by anti-theists is to call it a Bronze Age Book. Or they say that it was written by camel jockeys or similar racist epithets. The Bible may be a book from the Bronze Age and before, but to say that it contains nothing but common knowledge, well . . .

1) In the Bible, we have a Book that diagnoses the atheist problem -
“No one is without excuse. The universe declares the existence of God.”
To date, nothing has been able to refute or falsify that claim.

2) The Bible tells us -
“What is visible is made from what is not visible”
- This 1,500 years before the microscope was invented.

3) The Bible tells us -
“God sits enthroned above the CIRCLE of the earth . . .”
- This thousands of years before people found out that earth wasn’t flat. Now, atheists will tell you that the flat earth concept came from what the Bible taught. This is not the case. It’s just yet another example of atheists being incapable of interpreting Scripture.

4) The Bible tells us -
“The earth will wear out like and old garment, There will be famines in many lands and war without ceasing,”
- this 2,000 years before anyone dreamed that the earth could run short of anything.

5) The Bible tells us -
“The Lord suspends the earth over nothing.”
- This, 5,000 years before modern man discovered it’s truth. Until then ancients speculated that the earth sat on a strong foundation or was supported by a mythological god.

6) The Bible tells us -
“The number of the stars are like the sand which is on the seashore.”
- This, thousands and thousands of years before the telescope. Without the telescope only ~ 5,000 stars are visible to the naked eye. To say they were uncountable would have seemed preposterous. Yet it’s the truth.

7) This is a Book that -
Predicted the Israelites would be scattered throughout the world, that Israel as a nation would disappear only to return as a nation “in one day”
- this 3,000 years before the return of Israel as a nation took place.

1948 was the first time since 70 A.D. that the people of Israel have been brought back to control their homeland.
Ezekiel - 37:21 (Written 597 years before the birth of Christ) - For the Lord God says, “I am gathering the people of Israel from among the nations and bringing them home from around the world to their own homeland, to unify them into one nation.”
Ezekiel 38:12 - “I will go to those once desolate cities that are now filled with people again, those who have returned from all the nations, and the whole earth revolves around them. This will happen in the distant future, in the latter years of history.

The new state of Israel now contains people who have come from 100 different countries, speaking 60 different languages and the trek homeward continues to this day.

Zechariah 12:2,3,7, & 9 (Written 520 years before the birth of Christ) - I will make Jerusalem and Judah like a cup of poison to all the nearby nations that send their armies to surround her. Jerusalem will be a heavy stone burdening the world and though all the nations of the world unite in an attempt to move her, they will all be crushed. For my plan is to destroy all nations that come against Jerusalem.

Zechariah 2: 4 & 7 - Jerusalem will some day be so full of people she won’t have room enough for all. I scattered you to the winds, but I will bring you back again.

This is the whole problem with Palestine and Israel right now. There is not enough room for all of the Jews coming home and they are building settlements in Palestinian territory.

According to this atheist all this was common knowledge during the time it was written. And then we have the common knowledge of who the Saviour would be a thousand or more years in advance.

From the seed of Abraham
The Prophecy - Genesis 22:18 (Written about 1440 years before Jesus was born)
“And in your seed all the nations of the world shall be blessed.” (God speaking to Abraham).
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 1:1
“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

This determines that of all the races of the world, we could look for The Saviour to come from the Hebrew race.

Son of Isaac
The Prophecy - Genesis 21:12 (Written about 1440 years before Jesus was born).
“For Isaac is the son through whom My promise will be fulfilled.” (See Matthew chapter 1for a continuation of Jesus’ genealogy record)

Abraham had two sons. God eliminates one half of the lineage of Abraham in prophesying the lineage of Jesus.

Son of Jacob
The Prophecy - Numbers 24:17 (Written about 1400 years before Jesus was born)
“I see in the future of Israel, far down the distant trail that there shall come a star from Jacob, this ruler of Israel.”

Isaac had two sons. God eliminates one half of the lineage of Isaac prophesying the lineage of Jesus

Tribe of Judah
The Prophecy - Genesis 49:10 (Written about 1440 years before Jesus was born).
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.”

Jacob had 12 sons out of which came the 12 tribes of Israel. God eliminates eleven of the twelve tribes of Israel in prophesying the lineage of Jesus.

Family line of Jesse
The Prophecy - Isaiah 11:1 (Written about 690 years before Jesus was born).
“The royal line of Jesse will be cut off, chopped down like a tree. But from the stump will grow a shoot, yes a new branch, the Messiah from the old root.”

House of David
The Prophecy - Isaiah 23:5 (Written about 690 years before Jesus was born).
“ For the time is coming says the Lord, when I will place a righteous branch upon King David’s throne. He shall be a King who shall rule with wisdom and justice.”

Jesse had at least eight sons. Now God eliminates all of Jesse’s sons except David in prophesying the lineage of Jesus.

Born at Bethlehem
The Prophecy - Micah 5:2 - (Written about 750 years before Jesus was born)
“O Bethlehem you are but a small Judean village, yet you will be the birthplace of my King who is alive from ages past.
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 2:1
“Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem of Judea.”

God, in prophecy, now eliminates all the cities and towns in the world but one for the entrance of His Son to planet earth.

Preceded by a messenger
The Prophecy - Isaiah 40:3 (Written about 690 years before Jesus was born).
“I hear a voice calling in the wilderness, make a road for the Lord.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 3:1
“John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness.”

Ministry to begin in Galilee
The Prophecy - Isaiah 9:1 (Written about 690 years before Jesus was born).
“But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish in the land of Zebulun and Neaphtali, by the way of the sea on the other side of the Jordan, Galilee of the gentiles.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 4:12
“He withdrew into Galilee and leaving Nazareth He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Neaphtale. From that time Jesus began to preach.”

Ministry of Miracles
The Prophecy - Isaiah 35:5 & 6 (Written about 690 years before Jesus was born).
“Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf will be unstopped, the lame will leap like deer, the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 11:4 & 5
Jesus said, “Tell John about the miracles you’ve seen Me do, the blind I’ve healed, the deaf who hear and the dead raised to life. And tell him about Me preaching the good news.”

Teacher of parables
The Prophecy - Psalm 78:2 (Written over many centuries but completed about 300 years before Jesus was born).
“I will open my mouth in a parable. I will utter dark sayings of old.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 13:14
“All these things spoke Jesus to the multitudes in parables and He was not talking to them without a parable.”

Enter Jerusalem on a donkey
The Prophecy - Zechariah 9:9 (Written about 520 years before Jesus was born)
“Rejoice greatly oh My people, shout with joy, for look, your King is coming , He is the righteous one, the victor, yet He is lowly, riding on a donkey’s colt.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 21:2,4, & 5
“Just as you enter the village you will find a donkey tied there with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them here.”

Stumbling stone to the unbelievers
The Prophecy - Psalm 118:22 (Written over many centuries but completed about 300 years before Jesus was born).
“The stone which the builders rejected, has become the corner stone.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - 1 Peter 2:7 (Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends and followers. In any list of disciples, Peter’s name always appears first. Peter was an eyewitness to the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus)
“He is very precious to you who believe and to those who reject Him, well the same stone that was rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. He is the stone that some will stumble over and the rock that will make them fall. They will stumble because they will not listen to God’s word or obey it.”

The Prophecy - Psalm 16:10 (Written over many centuries but completed about 300 years before Jesus was born).
“For you will not leave me among the dead. You will not allow your beloved one to rot in the grave.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Acts 2:31
“He was neither abandoned to hades nor did His flesh suffer decay.”
(Acts was written by Luke. He was a physician and a historian of extraordinary detail and accuracy. The Gospel bearing his name was the work of what today might be called investigative journalism. Luke was a convert to Christianity and took part in the ministry of the early Church).

The following were prophesied from 1000 - 500 years before Jesus was born but were all fulfilled in one day.

Betrayed by a friend
The Prophecy - Psalm 41:9 - “Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread has lifted up his heel against me.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 26:49 & 56 - “So now Judas came straight to a Jesus and embraced Him in a friendly manner. Jesus said, “My friend, go and do what you have come for.”

Sold for 30 Pieces of silver
The Prophecy - Zephaniah 11:12 - “If you like give me my pay, what ever I’m worth. So they counted out 30 silver coins.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 26:15 - “Judas asked how much will you pay me and they gave him 30 silver coins.”

Money thrown into God’s house
The Prophecy - Zechariah 11:13 - “And the Lord told me, toss it into the temple treasury this magnificent sum they value you at. So I took the thirty coins and threw them in.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 27:5 - “And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed.”

Forsaken by his disciples
The Prophecy - Zechariah 13:7 - “Strike down the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 26:56 - “Jesus said, This is all happening to fulfil the words of the prophets. At that point all the disciples deserted Him and fled.”

Accused by false witness
The Prophecy - Psalm 35:11 - “These evil men swear to a lie. They accuse me of things I have never even heard about.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 26:59 - “The entire Jewish supreme court assembled and looked for witnesses who would lie about Jesus.”

Quiet before his accusers
The Prophecy - Isaiah 53:7 - “He was oppressed and He was afflicted yet He never said a word.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 27:12 - “And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no answer.”

Hands and feet pierced
The Prophecy - Psalm 22:16 - “They pierced my hands and feet.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Luke 23:33 - “And when they came to the place called the skull, they crucified him.”

Crucifixion had not come into the Jewish system until hundreds of years after Psalms was written. It was unheard of at the time of Psalms.

Made intercession for his persecutors
The Prophecy - Isaiah 53:12 - “Yet He bore the sin of many and interceded for the transgressors.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Luke 23:34 - “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Hated without cause
The Prophecy - Psalm 69:4 - “Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - John 15:25 - “Jesus said, “But they have done this in order that the word may be fulfilled - They hated Me without cause.”

Friends stood afar off
The Prophecy - Psalm 38:11 - My loved ones and my friends stay away, even my own family stands at a distance.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Luke 23:49 - “All His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance seeing these things.”

People shook their heads
The Prophecy - Psalm 109:25 - I also have become a reproach to them. When they see me they wag their heads.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 27:39 - Those who were passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads.”

Garments parted and lots cast
The Prophecy - Psalm 22:18 - They divided my garments among them and for my clothing they cast lots.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - John 19:23 & 24 - The soldiers took his outer garments and made four parts. They said “lets not tear the tunic, but cast lots for it.” (John was Jesus’ closest friend. He looked after Jesus’ mother after her son’s execution. He was an eyewitness to the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus).

Gall and vinegar offered Him
The Prophecy - Psalm 69:21 - They gave me gall for my food. For my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 27:34 - They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.

His forsaken cry
The Prophecy - Psalm 22:1 - “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 27:46 - About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me.”

Committed himself to God
The Prophecy - Psalm 31:5 - “Into they hand I commit My spirit.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 27:46 - Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father into they hands I commit My spirit.”

Bones not broken
The Prophecy - Psalm 34:20 - He keeps all his bones, not one of them is broken.”
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - John 19:33 - When they saw that He was already dead, they did not break his legs.”

His side pierced
The Prophecy - Zechariah 12:10 - They will look on me whom they have pierced.
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - John 19:34 - But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear.

Darkness at noon
The Prophecy - Amos 8:9 - I shall make the sun go down at noon and make the earth dark in broad daylight.
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 27:45 - Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.

Buried in a rich man’s grave
The Prophecy - Isaiah 53:9 - He was buried like a criminal in a rich man’s grave.”
The Prophecy - Matthew 27:57 - There came a rich man from Arimathea and took the body and laid it in his own tomb.

Jesus had no control over the prophecies about:
1. Place of birth
2. Time of birth
3. Manner of birth
4. Betrayal
5. Manner of death
6. People’s reaction
7 Piercing, and
8. Burial

Professor Peter Stoner, Editor of ‘Science Digest’ has calculate that the odds of the 20 prophecies of what happened to Jesus on the last day of His life here on earth, to be 10 to the power of minus 157, against them coming true in one man, accidentally. Scientists agree that 10 to minus 50 is the same as zero - impossible.

To those who encountered Him but refused to believe what He taught, Jesus had this to say.
(John 5:46 & 47) Jesus said, “It is not I who will accuse you before the Father, Moses will. For you have refused to believe Moses. He wrote about Me but you refuse to believe him, so you refuse to believe Me. Since you don’t believe what Moses wrote, no wonder you don’t believe Me either.”
(Matthew 13:17) Jesus said, “For I tell the truth, many prophets longed to see what you see and hear what you hear.”
(Mark 12:36) Jesus said, “When David spoke, the Holy Spirit was speaking through him when he said it.”
(John 10:34) Jesus said, “The Scriptures cannot be untrue.”

To neglect such awesome evidence will surely come at an awesome cost. Jesus promises however that to respond positively will come with an awesome reward.
Jesus was talking about the same Scriptures we have today. In the next two verses, Jesus indicates that “all” of the Old Testament included prophecy of His coming.

(Luke 24:25 & 27) “How foolish you have been and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.” And beginning with the Law and all the Prophets, Jesus explained to them what was said in all the Scripture about Him.”
(Luke 24:44) Jesus said, “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Perhaps this atheist was thinking of something else when he said, “There is nothing in the Bible that is beyond the knowledge of man at that time.”

Regardless of atheist’s ignorance, human nature has not changed one iota since the Bible was written. This Book has described human nature perfectly, beginning with Genesis and following through to Revelation. Anything of value that I’ve learned during years of education regarding human nature can also be found in the Bible.

One thing that the Bible bears out is that Truth is not affected by time.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Another Jail-house Conversion

Atheists aren’t the only ones who are tempted to disbelieve claims of “finding Jesus” after someone lands in jail for a long stretch. Many people suspect that the criminal is just looking for special treatment or a reduced sentence or perhaps s/he simply wants more attention.

What people don’t seem to realise is that jail-house conversions make perfect sense. We humans are profoundly blind to our true nature. It usually takes a pretty big consequence or awakening to get us to see just how badly we’re screwing up. Spouses, usually men can be heard to express genuine surprise as their wives pack their bags and leave the marriage.

“I didn’t even know she was unhappy.” The men aren’t lying when they say this. They really didn’t get it that their behaviours, usually a lack of attention, was causing that much pain.

“I didn’t think anyone would get hurt,” says the arsonist.

“I thought she wanted to have sex with me,” says the date rapist.

“She was seducing me,” says the paedophile.

“I am not an evil person,” says the atheist.

“They owe me for all the extra hours I work,” says the employee as he steals from his employer.

“They’re just little lies,” justifies the parent to the child who wasn’t supposed to hear.

“I didn’t think I was that drunk,” says the driver after hitting the pedestrian.

Until some consequence hits us upside the head, most of us can’t see how far we are, from where we should be. My guess is that Christopher Hitchens would be surprised to hear from his co dependent wife that it’s not a lot of fun living with an alcoholic.
Nevertheless, winding up in jail for something like murder SHOULD jerk someone’s chain. What we should be surprised at is all the prisoners who don’t cry for help or make a radical change when confronted with the reality of who they’ve become. What I’ve found is that regardless of who it is, or what crime has been committed, wardens and staff have zero regrets when an inmate converts to Christianity. The dramatic change in character for the better, that is so predictable in these cases is welcome news to those in charge of protecting us from “them.” I was involved in the prison system for ten years; six at a maximum security facility and four at a super max. Not once did I see or hear of increased problems from those who turned their lives to Jesus. Nor do I know of any fake conversions. Since the material benefits or system benefits from being a Christian are minimal at best, jail house conversions in order to get something of earthly value appear to be more urban legend or just the cynical imaginings of a sceptical public.

This has been a long preamble to get to my main topic, which is the most famous inmate conversion of all.

They had at most a few hours together and that under extreme conditions. Whatever the first condemned man had said, it had obviously made a huge impact on the second condemned man. The change was life transforming, from darkness to light, from despair to hope, from irresponsible to mature. The eyes of the second man had been opened to a radical new view of life. It was a concept that billions of intelligent, highly educated, “sophisticated” outsiders fail to grasp. Yet this brute of a man was able to comprehend and internalise this new view of reality almost immediately. Was it the manner in which it was taught? Was it the conditions in which he heard it? Was it something more that allowed him to get it? We’ll never know. With only minutes left in his existence on earth, this uneducated, impoverished criminal said to the first man, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Kingdom! They were both condemned to die. There was no way out of their predicament. There were literally nailed to the very spot where they would breath their last. But this simple man got it. This wretch, who by his own admission deserved to die by crucifixion understood at a deep and meaningful level what no atheist is able to figure out. There is another reality, another world, another kingdom just a hair’s breadth beyond our senses. There is another kingdom watching and waiting in anticipation of our next decision. Like other believers before and since, this criminal was able to perceive a “thin place” whereby he could almost touch or peek into the other realm. He understood with the clarity of someone in desperate straights that Jesus is the portal to this other world. He saw that despite all his dumb mistakes, mistakes that had harmed all those who had ever loved him or ever cared about him, he understood that despite all his previous failures he had this one last chance to get it right. Forgiveness was at his doorstep and he was not going to let it get away. “Jesus, remember me!!”

This criminal did what billions of others have done since. He repented of his sins. He asked for forgiveness. He admitted that he could not save himself; that he was not the master of his own fate. And then he joined a community of believers. Because of this man’s faith, Jesus’ replied to him,

“I tell you the absolute truth. Today, you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus’ reply to that criminal, His response to that jail house conversion was the same reply that He gives to any honest seeker. In God’s kingdom there is no favouritism. All of us are on a level playing field. There is no difference in race, or social status or gender or nationality. Today, you can become a citizen of God’s kingdom. No one will be turned away. All are welcomed. Whosoever believes in Jesus for their salvation will be saved. That is the whole reason that Jesus came to earth in the first place - to seek and to save those who admit that they are lost.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above you heavenly host. Praise God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Atheists have mustaches too

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn stated the following in relation to atheism:

“Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia:

"Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.

Since then I have spend well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 90 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat:

"Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened."

Even atheist leaders have recognised the huge mistake that was made in attempting to rid Russia of Christianity. In an astounding move to reverse the affects of atheism, Russia has invited evangelicals from Europe and America to show the Jesus film and to teach objective morals, values and duties to all of Russia’s school children. To reverse the corrosive affects of atheism is a daunting task. As much as Dawkins and Harris and their ilk would like to see it happen, hopefully, we in the west have the wisdom to not repeat an experiment that ended in the death of 90 million people in atheist Russia and millions more under the atheist Khmer Rouge and millions more again in atheist China.

Richard Dawkins and his faithful followers disagree.
“Individual atheists may do evil things but they don’t do evil things in the name of religion.”

No, atheists do evil because their atheism spawns a seething hatred for religion as demonstrated by Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Honecker, Castro, Ho, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Kim, Ceausescu and virtually every atheist that blogs about religion. The point of their agendas is, ‘Religion is harmful. Get rid of it and everything will begin to move toward civil society.’ Marx and Engels put it bluntly, “Abolish all religion and all morality.”

The fallacy in the belief that peace will reign if religion is dismantled is seen in the fact that in the Chinese invasion of Tibet, the October Revolution, the Russian Civil War, the Sino-Indian War, the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, the Chinese Civil War and other conflicts around the globe, both past and present, religion is nowhere to be seen while atheism is front and centre. Richard Dawkins simply cannot bring himself to admit that atheism was the driving force from which atheists, directing governments made up exclusively of atheists was obsessed with spreading anti-God propaganda, and specialized in the murder of millions of believers. Atheist Soviet rulers systematically and efficiently destroyed the majority of churches and killed the majority of religious leaders during a period from 1918 - 1941. This was not individual atheists perpetrating evil. This was individual atheists doing evil in the name of atheism. They were perpetrating evil, all according to the atheist agenda to eliminate religion from society.

Now atheists would have you believe that it was due to communism that Christians were savagely killed and imprisoned. Hmm, let’s see.

Communism is in direct conflict with Christianity?

Atheism is in direct conflict with Christianity?

Gee, I wonder which is the most obviously antagonistic toward the concept of God?

Because it is so absurd, I can only assume that Richard Dawkins finds the following amusing. When he’s confronted with the atrocities done in the name of atheism, Dawkins says with a straight face, “Well, Stalin also had a mustache. Maybe we should blame the deaths on that.” Pathetic and pitiful more correctly describes Dawkins’ attempt to confuse the obvious.

Dawkins and friends can’t even connect the dots to recognise how close they are to encouraging that very scenario to repeat itself. Like Russian atheists before him, in “Letter to a Christian Nation” Harris bemoans, “the failure of our schools to announce the death of God in a way that each generation can understand.” He even goes on to say that some ideas are so dangerous that people may need to be killed simply for having those ideas. If you don’t see this as a dangerously secular idea, you are not an observer of history.

The fact is that in the 20th century, a third of the world saw atheists pronounce the death of God on billboards, in schools, government controlled publications, over the radio and in secret jails where torture was used in an attempt to force Christians to deny their faith. As in today’s atheist China, secret worship services in homes, warehouses, and even groups meeting in the forests and fields were forcibly broken up. Those who attended were beaten or killed or taken to reeducation camps, never to be seen again. In the 20th century, over a hundred million people have been killed under the banner of atheism in it’s hatred of God and the religion that worships Him. This pattern continues to this very day and there is no reason to expect that atheists who possess the needed power will stop anytime soon.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Does atheism make you sigh?

“It is hard to conclude that the universe was created with a special, cosmic purpose for humanity.” Atheist Victor Stenger

“The human race has had to grow up a good deal in the last five hundred years to confront the fact that we just don’t count for much in the grand scheme of things.” Atheist Steven Weinberg.

“The ancient covenant is in pieces. Man at last knows that he is alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe, out of which he has emerged only by chance.” Atheist Jacques Monod.

"We must challenge our posturing, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe." Atheist Carl Sagan

"My colleague Helga Kuhse and I suggest that a period of 28 days after birth might be allowed before an infant is accepted as having the same right to life as others." Atheist Peter Singer

“The universe has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” Atheist Richard Dawkins.

“The universe is an accident.” Atheist Victor Stenger

“As far as we have been able to discover the laws of nature, they are impersonal, with no hint of a divine plan or any special status for human beings.” Atheist Steven Weinberg

“[humans] are survival machine - robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the self molecules known as genes.” Atheist Richard Dawkins

“Modern science directly implies that there are no inherent moral or ethical laws, no absolute guiding principles for human society. . . We must conclude that when we die, we die, and that is the end of us.” Atheist William Provine

“The ultimate measure of evolutionary value is fitness - the capacity to replicate more successfully than the competition does.” Atheist Daniel Dennett

"The most merciful thing that a large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it." Margaret Sanger, founder and role model of Planned Parenthood - from Margaret Sanger (editor). The Woman Rebel, Volume I, Number 1. Reprinted in Woman and the New Race. New York: Brentanos Publishers.

Compare the above statements to the Truth that Christians know and atheists reject.

“You are the special creation of a good and all-powerful God. You are created in His image, with capacities to think, feel, and worship that set you above all other life forms. You differ from the animals not simply in degree but in kind. Not only is your kind unique, but you are unique among your kind.” Randy Alcorn.

Your Creator loves you so much and so intensely desires to give you Shalom that He has a wonderful, wonderful plan for your life. Jesus came to earth on a rescue mission to set you free. You don’t need to remain in the God denying cage into which you were born. You don’t need to remain shackled to the dark dreary, meaningless and absurd life of the atheist world-view. You’re being offered freedom, freedom of mind, freedom of spirit, freedom to love and to be loved with the greatest Love in the universe.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Atheist’s Cognitive Disconnect

A few days ago someone at an atheist blog stated that there is absolutely no extra Biblical documentation for the life of Jesus. Well, if you know me at all, you’ll know that that was a huge hook for me. So I not only gave her the comments that exist regarding the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, that originate from the time of Jesus. I not only gave her comments regarding the lives and martyrdom of Jesus’ followers that originate from that time. I gave her the citations for all 23 extra Biblical references to Jesus, who said them, and where they could be found.

You know what her response was?

“There is no evidence outside the bible and other biblical texts like the apocrypha for the life of jesus.”

What IS that? What happens in the minds of atheists that allows them to: look at documentation from antiquity, documentation that is attested to as historically factual by the vast majority of atheist, secular and Christian historical scholars, discard that evidence as irrelevant and then, and THEN describe themselves as open-minded?

Just how afraid of Jesus must one be to do something like that? These are people who say they care about justice for the poor, alleviating hunger and disease around the world. They say they care about the environment. Yet they a priori reject anything relating to the One person who has walked this earth whose goal was justice and righteousness and mercy and equality for all and for bringing to an end the evils against which we all struggle on a daily basis.

What has happened to these people that their eyes are unable to see and their ears are unable to hear the good news that Jesus brought to all of us? It is just so very sad.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

You sure ya wanna make that move?

When I was growing up, my dad never let me win at anything. On the other hand, if we’d been playing, say, chess, and I was about to make a dumb move, dad would sometimes say, “You sure you wanna make that move?” That was as close as he’d come to giving me a break.

Someone aught to do the same for Richard Dawkins and many of his closest atheist followers. In their endless fight to deny the existence of God, Dawkins has made what may very well be his dumbest move yet. As a way of explaining, I’ll first give you my moves and then I’ll give you the atheist’s latest dumb move.

My moves:
If God exists we could expect that He would leave us with hints of His existence.

If God did not exist we would not expect to find ANY hints of His existence.

Hint #1)
If Creator God exists, then we would expect that there would be “something” as opposed to nothing.

If Creator God does not exist, then there is no reason for there to be anything at all.

Yet, the universe exists. And since matter cannot exist from eternity past, nor can matter create itself, the existence of the universe is just what one would expect if Creator God exists.

Hint #2)
If Creator God exists, then we would expect whatever He created, in this case the universe, to be mathematically precise.

If Creator God did not exist, then we would not expect to find any universe at all - BUT if there was an accidental universe we would certainly expect it to be chaotic and unpredictable. After all, from everything we know and observe, the bigger the bang the bigger the mess.

Yet, the universe that exists is so precise that inductive reasoning and learning and planning is possible. Just as one would expect if Creator God exists.

Hint #3)
If Creator God exists, we would expect our universe to be life-sustaining

If Creator God does not exist, we should expect a life-prohibiting universe

Yet our universe does host life. Science tells us that to have a universe so finely tuned as ours is a 1 in a trillion-trillion chance. Science also tells us that 1 chance in 10 ^ 50 against, is the same as impossible. Each and every one of the constants and qualities found in our universe are needed to be exactly as they are for life to exist in our universe. Not a single one of them can be different than they are. This is what one would expect if Creator God exists.

Hint #4)
If Creator God exists, then we would expect to find order, predictable order, the kind of order by which you could launch space probes with precision and expect them to go where you tell them to go. All scientific, inductive reasoning is based on the assumption of our predictable order.

If Creator God does not exist, then there is not the slightest rational justification for us to count on anything being tomorrow as it is today or as it was a thousand years ago. If Creator God does not exist, we could not expect to generalise from observed cases to all cases of the same kind. Yet we are able to do precisely that.

Without predictable order we couldn’t learn from experience or rely on our memories, yet we do this all the time because we live in a universe of order and predictability. Just as one would expect if Creator God exists.

Hint #5)
If Creator God exists, then we could expect to possess a sense of meaning and context and purpose. We would know at some level that our being here is not accidental.

If Creator God exists, if we are in fact meant for more than just this life, then we could expect to have deep and profound unfulfilled longings for security, value, worth and belonging. These are longings that nothing in this world can satiate.

If Creator God exists, we would sense that we were built for greatness and we would vigorously resist any attempts to “put us down.”

If Creator God does not exist, and everything in this world is the product of “an accidental collocation of atoms,” (B. Russell) then there is no actual purpose. Life is in fact absurd. There is nothing special about us. We are just one accidental species among many.

While atheists tell us this is true, even they don’t live as though this is true. Instead, our sense of greatness, our drive for greatness is so powerful that, under the atheist world-view we have to purposely and with great effort teach ourselves that life does not have meaning or purpose. Just as one would expect if Creator God exists.

Hint #6)
If Creator God exists, we could expect to have a longing to connect with Him, to know Him, to learn about Him and from Him. This is true for 95% of the people in this world.

If Creator God exists, those who reject the very idea of His reality would have to spend a great deal of time thinking about, talking about and blogging about ways in which they might deny His existence.

If Creator God does not exist, then we would have to assume that this desire to know Him and to be known by Him must be an illusion; or worse, something we invented to help us survive.

This is in fact what atheists like Richard Dawkins tell us is true.

Atheist’s Dumb Move:
Atheists say that our religious, aesthetic and moral intuitions are there only because they helped our ancestors survive. In fact what Dawkins and others like him are saying is that in the past, false beliefs were MORE effective at helping our ancestors survive than accurate beliefs. They tell us that we humans are genetically prone from a socio-bio-evolutionary standpoint to acting on false beliefs; in fact we are hardwired to do so. Daniel Dennett tells us that evolution can only be trusted to give us cognitive faculties that help us live on, NOT to provide us with faculties that give us an accurate and true picture of the world around us.

I don’t think these atheist leaders understand the implications of what they’re saying? The important question is, do you?

Modern atheists are telling us that laws of reason have to make sense to us ONLY because they help us survive, not because they tell us the truth. Dawkins is saying that if God makes sense to us, if hints of God’s existence draw us to the conclusion that He exists, it’s only because that belief helped our ancestors survive and so we’re hardwired for seeing hints of God’s existence where no hints actually exist.

Christian Claim:
“Atheists are saying that we can’t trust our cognitive faculties.”

Atheist Claim:
“No, no, no. Not at all. Our cognitive faculties work just fine. We just can’t trust them when it comes to knowing about God.”

That boys and girls is the atheist’s really dumb move, and I don't think that you really want to make it. If our cognitive faculties only tell us what we need to survive, not what is true, then we can’t trust them about ANYTHING at all. You can’t have it both ways. It can’t be one and not the other. Here is the reality.

. If we CAN trust our cognitive faculties about anything, then we can also trust them when they direct us to believe in evidence that points us to Creator God.

. If we CAN’T trust our cognitive faculties when they provide us with hints of Creator God’s existence, then we can’t trust them about anything at all.

It’s one or the other.

Alvin Plantinga tells us:
“People like Dawkins hold that there is a conflict between science and religion. The truth of the matter, however, is that the conflict is between science and naturalism.”

Recognising the flaw in the new atheist’s dumb argument, atheist, Leon Wieseltier, editor of The New Republic points out:
“Daniel Dennett portrays reason in service to natural selection, and as a product of natural selection. But if reason is just a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument FOR [the theory of] natural selection? The power of reason is owed to the independence of reason, and to nothing else. . . evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.”

Hint #7)
Our Cognitive Faculties are the greatest hint of all regarding the existence of Creator God. We are not only unique among all the species of the world. Each of us is unique amidst our own species. Each of us has been given cognitive faculties that we can trust. In fact, we do trust our cognitive faculties and well we should. God has made us able to form true beliefs based upon true knowledge. He has given us clues to His existence, clues that we can trust. We can logically and rationally reach conclusions based on evidence that would ONLY be there if Creator God exists.

If Creator God exists then there is no mystery to the Big Bang (which is a working definition of a miracle), or the fine-tuning of the universe, or the regularity and precision with which our universe operates. In fact, if Creator God exists, these things can and should be expected to be present.

If Creator God exists then our intuitions about meaning and context and purpose can and should be expected and trusted.

On the other hand, if Creator God does not exist, the Big Bang, the fine tuning of the universe, our awareness of objective morals, values and obligations, our ability to discern truth and to reason are absolutely inexplicable.

. Yet the Big Bang did happen, the fine tuning makes perfect sense in a life sustaining universe, we live by clearly objective morals, values and obligations, we reason and compute with great dexterity and we do so because Creator God does exist.

If Creator God did not exist then there would be no reason to believe your rational faculties.

. Yet we do believe them and we do use them because He does exist.

If Creator God did not exist then there would be no ability to trust that there would be regularity of the universe.

. Yet we continue to use inductive reasoning based on the regularity of the universe because He does exist.

If Creator God did not exist then there would be no reason for trusting our senses that love and beauty matter.

. But we do trust that those things matter and we do so in a deeply profound and personal way. We behave this way because Creator God does exist.

Of course a person can admit that our universe has intelligent observers who thrive in a biosphere perfectly suited to our existence and a person can try to believe that this all came about by accident.

. But it makes much more sense to believe that it is not an accident.

. It makes much more sense to believe that Creator God exists.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I’m NOT Immoral!

Imagine a doctor travelling from village to village in some remote part of the world. As she enters each village, people, with excitement and hope begin bringing to her those who need healing. One can imagine the anticipation on the faces of the those who have been unable to find relief from their suffering anywhere else. Other villagers however, barely look up from tending their gardens. As neighbours call out to them that the doctor has arrived, those people say with some emphasis, “I don’t need a doctor. There's nothing wrong with me.”

This is what we find with Jesus. He said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. For I have come not to call those who see themselves as righteous but those who know they are sinners.”

Those of us who are emotionally and spiritually ill gladly come to Jesus. Atheists, on the other hand display irritation at the mere suggestion that there is something wrong. As one atheist told me a couple days ago, “I’m not an evil person and I’m not immoral.”

Sadly, that’s not the case with me. I am evil and immoral - to the core. Oddly enough, when I was at my worst I thought I was a pretty good person. Now that I’m on the road to spiritual health, I can see just how sick I was and how much farther I still have to go. Like C.S. Lewis said, “No one knows how bad he is until he tries really hard to be good. A good man knows of the evil still left in him while and totally evil man thinks that he’s pretty good.”

I think that’s part of the reason why outsiders are so shocked to find “sin” in the Church. If they understood the reality of human nature, there should be no surprise at all. To be surprised at sin in the Church is like being surprised at finding sick people in the hospital. In fact, a Church that admitted only saints would be like a hospital that admitted only healthy people. Both places would be a lot more pleasant to visit but they would totally miss their purpose.

Jesus said, “Don’t be surprised when tax collectors and prostitutes come streaming into the Kingdom of God.” Just the same, atheists shouldn’t be surprised to find ugly, tragic wickedness in the Church. It’s only we who are like that who can see our need for forgiveness. That’s why it’s those who reject God who fit the true definition of self-righteous. We who have called out to God for help recognise that we possess no righteousness that is inherent to us.

“So we can come boldly and with confidence to the throne of grace where we can find mercy and receive grace in our time of need.”

That’s what I find so sad about atheism. Atheist philosophy keeps people blind to their own need for healing. The atheist philosophy is:

I don’t need God to be a good person

I don’t need God

Therefore I must believe that I’m a good person.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I don’t know how, But I believe it!

Atheists will tell you that they don’t operate on faith. Ask them how the universe came into being or how the first DNA/RNA preloaded cell came to be and they reply, “I don’t have to know the answer to everything.”

“But do you believe this is how it happened?”


“Can anyone explain how it happened this way?”


“Is there any evidence to support your conclusion?”


“In fact what you believe actually contradicts known science, doesn’t it?”


“But you believe it.”


“So, you do have faith that it’s true.”

“No. Atheist don’t operate on faith. It's true that we believe stuff for which we don’t have any evidence. And it's true that we hold conclusion that are based on nothing but conjecture. But that's not faith.”

The following is from Michael Denton.
"Even today we have no way of rigorously estimating the probability or degree of isolation of even one functional protein. It is surely a little premature to claim that random processes could have assembled mosquitoes and elephants when we still have to determine the actual probability of the discovery by chance of one single functional protein molecule."

"Altogether a typical cell contains about ten million million atoms. Suppose we choose to build an exact replica to a scale one thousand million times that of the cell so that each atom of the model would be the size of a tennis ball. Constructing such a model at the rate of one atom per minute, it would take fifty million years to finish, and the object we would end up with would be the giant factory, described above, some twenty kilometres in diameter, with a volume thousands of times that of the Great Pyramid."

"Altogether the total number of connections in the human brain approaches 1015 or a thousand million million. Numbers in the order of 1015 are of course completely beyond comprehension. Imagine an area about half the size of the USA (one million square miles) covered in a forest of trees containing ten thousand trees per square mile. If each tree contained one hundred thousand leaves the total number of leaves in the forest would be 1015, equivalent to the number of connections in the human brain."

"The capacity of DNA to store information vastly exceeds that of any other known system; it is so efficient that all the information needed to specify an organism as complex as man weighs less than a few thousand millionths of a gram. The information necessary to specify the design of all the species of organisms which have ever existed on the planet, a number according to G. G. Simpson of approximately one thousand million, could be held in a teaspoon and there would still be room left for all the information in every book ever written."

"It is the sheer universality of perfection, the fact that everywhere we look, to whatever depth we look, we find an elegance and ingenuity of an absolutely transcending quality, which so mitigates against the idea of chance. Is it really credible that random processes could have constructed a reality, the smallest element of which—a functional protein or gene—is complex beyond our own creative capacities, a reality which is the very antithesis of chance, which excels in every sense anything produced by the intelligence of man? Alongside the level of ingenuity and complexity exhibited by the molecular machinery of life, even our most advanced artifacts appear clumsy.

Denton, Michael, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis

Atheists will tell you that they don’t operate on faith. Ask them how this or that happened and they reply, “I don’t have to know the answer to everything.”

“Yet, When Christians operate on even less faith, you mock them, and criticise them.”

“That’s different.”

“How so?”

“I don’t know. It just is.”

“But the Christian’s belief in the origins of the universe or the origins of
the first DNA/RNA preloaded first cell don’t contradict known science.”


“Well, your belief that matter is eternal or self-created, or that inert gases “evolved” into life DO contradict known science. Yet you say Christian faith is wrong while your faith is right.”

“Atheists don’t have faith.”


Saturday, March 21, 2009

He did that for you!

How many Kings have stepped down from their thrones

How many Lords have abandoned their home

How many Greats have become the least for me

How many Bards have poured out their hearts to romance a world that is torn all apart

How many Fathers gave up their Sons for me.

Only One did that. Jesus

Downhere - “End is Beginning”

Friday, March 20, 2009

Highly extraordinary Claims

If you’re an atheist then you’ve probably been prepped with the retort, “Highly extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.” I agree. That’s why give you the following.

1) Atheists who blog tell us:
It doesn’t matter what the second law of Thermodynamics says
It doesn’t matter about the levels of background radiation
It doesn’t matter about the levels of entropy
It doesn’t matter that the expansion of the universe is speeding up rather than slowing down,
Atheists ignore all this and maintain that our universe and / or matter has existed from infinity past.

That is a highly extraordinary claim!

2) Because the Big Bang carries with it the need for a Cause, atheists declare that despite ALL scientific evidence to the contrary, some beginnings, or at least this one, ie. our universe, doesn’t need a cause. “It just happened.”

That is a highly extraordinary claim!

3) Because the Big Bang carries with it the need for a Cause, atheists declare that our universe was preceded by the universe itself, both materially and chronologically. In essence the universe brought itself into being.

That is a highly extraordinary claim!

4) There are approximately 50 constants and quantities that are so finely tuned that if any one of them were “off” by an infinitesimally small degree, neither we nor the universe would exist. And even though Penrose and Hawking have calculated that all this coming about by chance is 1 in 10 ^ 1230 (which is an impossibly vast number to comprehend), atheists still maintain that everything that we see happened by chance.

That is a highly extraordinary claim!

5) Atheists claim that there is no objective set of morals, values, and duties. They say something like, “My personal likes / dislikes, tastes, preferences and opinions will do just fine when determining the rightness or wrongness of my behaviours. On the other hand, other people’s behaviours, as they affect the quality of "my" life, must adhere to MY personal likes / dislikes, tastes, preferences and opinions. If they don’t, I can rightfully declare that those people are wrong.

That is a highly extraordinary claim!

6) Atheists claim that regarding the cause of the universe and regarding the first DNA / RNA pre-loaded cell, there is nothing wrong with going 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 which points directly to Creator God. Atheists say that’s all the reason they need to disregard current scientific evidence.

This is a highly extraordinary claim!

6) Atheists say that contrary to what classical historical scholarship says, known and knowable facts of history do not actually apply to the person of Jesus. In fact, Jesus never existed.

That is a highly extraordinary claim!

. Even though the beginning of our universe demands a Cause
. Even though the design of our mathematically precise universe demands a Designer
. Even though the objective moral code with which atheists demand others treat them can only come from an ultimate authority,
. Even though the life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth point to the reality of Creator God, atheists claim that none of this points to anything beyond nature itself,

Now, atheists say that they will have evidence eventually, but the promise of proof at some point in the future is the same as no proof at all. Atheists are making extraordinary claims that are lacking not just extraordinary evidence but ANY evidence. What’s more, these people call their way of life reasonable and logical.

That's sad and that's just one of the reasons that I'm not an atheist.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ugh, atheists - They’re like little children

I don’t usually stop by Ray Comfort’s blog but I did so a few days ago. Over four dozen atheists thought it important to take the time to mock Ray for believing in a God that would allow a place like hell to exist. ‘Only a monster,’ they said, ‘would create a place like that.’

Well, it’s not so much that God made a place like Hell. He’s just made a place where people don’t have to be around Him. In fact, He’s reserved a special place, somewhat like a no smoking section, where atheists will finally be totally free from God’s influence. True, they have to go outside God's Kingdom to do their thing. And it's true that they have to stay there, but . . . Still, when it’s properly understood, it’s like atheists are saying to God, “How dare you create a place to exist where you AREN’T present!”

That’s what’s so confusing. Atheists hate the very concept of God. They want His name removed from society. The don’t want to have to think about Him, hear about Him, or see any reference to Him. Atheists, like America’s haemorrhoid Michael Newdow, want to be completely free from anything that has to do with Creator God. So when God provides a place where they can get exactly what they want, when God grants their wish, when God says to atheists, “Thy will be done,” they wail, “How can He do this to me? What kind of monster are you?” I know. I know. I’m being facetious. What atheists are really complaining about are the conditions that they’ll have to put up with in Hell. Hell isn’t a very nice place. In fact, it’s down right awful. Atheists read the brochure for Hell and demand that major renovations take place before they have to move in. On the up-side, you can’t say you weren’t warned. God has been very upfront about your destination. You know in advance that there won’t be any ocean view. And, you still have a chance to upgrade. It's not too late.

I suppose atheists simply don’t understand the spiritual realities involved here. Atheists seem to not understand that God did not create Hell to be a “horrific place.” Hell is a horrific place simply because God’s love, God’s influence, will be completely absent. It appears that atheists would like God to create a beautiful, peaceful place for them where they can exist in the absence of God, but that is simply not possible.
Beauty and the absence of God are mutually exclusive.
Peace and the absence of God are mutually exclusive.
Let me explain.

Just as there cannot be the perception of up without a down, in without an out, hot without cold and light without darkness, there cannot be Love without evil. This is a spiritual reality or law. With God there is love. Without God there is evil. To the degree that the essence of God is present, to that degree will evil be absent.

Atheists don’t seem to realise that the only thing that makes possible for any type of love or joy or peace, even in their own lives specifically, or just on planet earth generally is the fact that our Creator is, to some degree, keeping evil at bay. His presence, where ever and to the degree that it exists, forces evil back against the wall. This is true for believer and non believer alike. Now, God’s decrees are “written on hearts.” We are hardwired to KNOW objective right from wrong. Whether we believe in God or not, to the extent that we follow His objective morals, values and obligations, to that extent will we and those around us experience peace and joy. Whether we believe in or acknowledge Creator God or not, “All good things and every perfect gift is from above, coming down to us from the Father (Creator) of heavenly lights in whom there is no changing or shifting like shadows.”

Atheists of course want to rid the world of all reference to and influence from our Creator. And yet, although they’ve read about hell and heard about conditions in hell, they seem to have no idea what they’re asking for.

. Hell is the complete absence of God.

. Atheists think they want the complete absence of God.

For every atheist posting today, sometime between today and a few decades from now, you will see your goal accomplished. You will experience complete separation from Creator God.

Remember though. You can’t act surprised when you get there. You’ve seen the brochure. You have been warned far, far in advance that life in the total absence of God is just a little bit this side of unbearable. Jesus tells us that existing in the complete absence of God’s love will feel like being burned alive. Why would that be? Well, at some point in the near future, those who have longed for and worked for the complete absence of God’s love will exist in:

. The complete absence of Good

. The total, all pervasive presence of evil

. Absolute fear

. Unmitigated hatred and rage

. Total and unending darkness

. Unrelieved sorrow

. Unequivocal alone-ness

. Absolute shame

. Unbounded regret

. Undiluted violence.

. Sheer panic
. Unrelenting dissatisfaction

. All encompassing meanness

. Overwhelming stench

. Total betrayal

. There will be no freedom from pain, only total, all consuming, overwhelming pain.

The most dangerous conditions on earth don’t come close. God did not “create” these conditions. These are simply the conditions that exist when the essence of God is completely absent. That is what atheists say they want - the complete absence of God.

Hell is the destination for people who have finally come to the end of a journey, the main focus of which, the main direction of which has been to live a life without humbling yourself before Creator God.

If you long to be free from the presence of God during your life on earth, then Hell is nothing but the ONLY destination you could possibly reach given the road upon which you’ve chosen to travel.

Right now, even as I write this, millions of people are suffering a special kind of torment as they are in a hell that they refused to believe in. Their special torment is that they convinced spouses, children, friends, students and other ‘open-minded’ people that hell didn’t exist. Or, like singer Billy Joel, they’ve convinced millions of people that being in hell will be a lot more fun than the alternative. And now there is no way to turn back the clock. There is no way to warn their loved-ones about the horrendous consequences of following that error.

Of course hell need not be something that you even think about, much less experience. Jesus, at His own expense has made it possible for anyone who wants to be forever rescued from hell and to spend eternity in the midst of God’s Love.

If you choose to travel this earthly stage of life WITH Jesus, then Heaven is nothing but the only destination you could possibly reach given the road upon which you’ve chosen to travel. I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Pope is Such a Prude!

Atheist blogs were jumping today in response to the Pope’s suggestion that we abstain from having sex with strangers. Imagine the stupidity! He actually thinks that remaining faithful to our spouses would help to halt the spread of HIV. He actually thinks, idiot that he is, that placing a piece of latex over one’s penis isn’t as safe as not having sex at all with an AID’s infected person. What a prude! Well, that’s religion for you. Always trying to wreck our fun.

There’s a song on the Country & Western stations right now called, “I Didn’t Even Know His Last Name.” It about the singer getting drunk and having oh so much fun. So she brought a brand new sexual partner home and ooops, she didn’t even get his last name. Hee, hee, hee. Isn’t that funny? Like having known his last name would make some kind of important difference. Well, that’s functional atheism for you. Making up right and wrong as you go along.

So - that’s the two prevailing philosophies of life for you regarding the spread of AIDs - a) Be responsible or, b)Roll the dice.

"No, no, no," say functional atheists. Wearing a condom is being responsible."

Imagine this, you wonderfully open-minded person; you who mocks the Pope’s suggestion and ridicules anyone who favours abstinence and fidelity in the war against HIV.

. You’ve met someone to whom you are powerfully physically attracted.
. To soothe any potential guilt that has been heaped upon you by religion, let’s say that you’re also powerfully emotionally attracted to this person as well. There, that makes it all better, doesn’t it?
. These feelings are obviously mutual
. Everything falls into place and the two of you are alone at your place
. As you’re about to close the bedroom door you find out that:
- This person has AID’s
- You have a condom

Now how open minded are you?
Now how stupid are those abstinence / fidelity only people?
What are you going to do?

Are you going to walk the walk or just talk the talk that you so self-righteously proclaim when voicing your contempt for religious people?

And if you won’t take the risk when you know what’s involved, why would you take the risk when you don’t know what’s involved?

Go to Hell !!

I saw an atheist comment last night saying that Any God who allowed 9/11 to happen doesn’t deserve to be worshipped. Another atheist suggested that a world with this much evil proves that a loving God does not exist.

If you agree with this kind of thinking, listen up because I think that you’ve got it kind of backwards.

The only thing “A world with this much evil” proves is that the world’s most intelligent inhabitants are themselves evil, depraved and slaves to their sinful nature. If that wasn’t the case we would have certainly “evolved” a better world community by now. Some would say at this point, Ya, it could be a better world but religion keeps wrecking it. Besides being a profoundly ignorant and perhaps even a bigoted statement (we don't become bigots because we've misinterpreted the facts. We misinterpret the facts because we're already bigots), that's simply not so. Religion is governed by humans, sinful humans, and like everything else, it’s humans that take something as pure as Jesus’ teachings and turn them into something barely recognisable. At any rate:

. Given the degree of evil that resides in each and every human being, and

. Given the fact that everything we humans touch turns to crap, and

. Given the fact that even our noblest efforts, including religion, become twisted and soiled by corrupted self-love, what we perhaps should conclude is,

“A world with this much GOOD, points to a loving God exerting His influence over us.”

Listening to an atheist who lives in what was or still is a traditionally Christian country extol the virtues of life without the influence of Christianity is like listening to an anarchist, who lives in the United States or Canada extolling the virtues of life without Democracy.

Life in the complete absence of Creator God's influence will not be the utopia envisioned by Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins etc. Such a place cannot be created on earth because the Love of God extends into all areas of our lives, regardless of whether we are "believers." Nevertheless, life in the complete absence of God's love will be as it has been described by Jesus. It will be an existence so horrible that the closest we can come to describing it is being burned alive. I'll say more about this tomorrow.

As 10's of millions of people every year flee countries where true anarchy reigns, so too 10's of millions of people who were once living in slavery to sin and rebellion to their Creator flee to freedom in Jesus Christ. In atheist China alone, it’s estimated that 22,000 people A DAY are becoming Christians.

Luckily were free to chose our environment. That’s why I would suggest that:

If you think that living without Democracy would be great,
- Go to Sudan or some such place.

If you think that living without any influence of God's love would be great,
- Go to Hell!

However, when you get there, don’t go crying the blues because God gave you exactly what you wanted. You have been warned far, far in advance that life in the total absence of God's loving influence is just slightly this side of unbearable. And remember, your destiny is not written in stone. You have the choice to avoid hell altogether.

Because God is all merciful, He will destroy evil
Because God is all powerful, He can destroy evil
Yes there is still evil present, but all that means is that when all who are going to come to Jesus, have come to Jesus, Creator God CAN and WILL destroy evil.

Monday, March 16, 2009

How do you spell Love?

Even though you have stolen from others - I will give to you

Even though you have been a danger to others - I will protect you

Even though you have harmed the defenceless - I will not harm you

Even though you can’t be trusted - I will always be faithful toward you

Even though you have used others for your own gain - I will never use you

Even though you have judged without warrant - I will not unfairly judge you

Even though you have given up on others - I will never lose patience with you

Even though you have been willing to destroy a human life - I won’t destroy you

Even though you rage at the slightest provocation - I will be slow to anger with you

Even though you are a hypocrite of first order - I will present unending Truth to you

Even though you have withheld love in order to “teach” - I will never stop loving you

Even though you have walked away from those who have failed - I will never leave you

Even though you have lied to the point that friends have left you - I won’t ever lie to you

Even though your selfishness seemingly knows no bounds - I love you with Agape Love

Even though you have betrayed the trust of those who loved you - I won’t ever betray you

Even though you are guilty of bigotry - I will show no favouritism to you or to anyone else.

Even though you have envied what others had - I will never withhold anything good from you

Even though you have selfishly done what you want - I will not withhold even my own life for your sake

Even though you have punished with the desire to hurt - I will always discipline you from the base of love

Even before you were willing to live for Me - I died for you

Even though you have withheld forgiveness - I will forgive you always

My Name is Jesus and I Am Love

Sunday, March 15, 2009

There aren’t ANY paths to God

There seems to be a growing number of people who feel offended at the Christian notion of there being only one path to God. Well, how about this. I’m going to suggest that there aren’t any paths to God, or to heaven. As far as us getting to God, thanks to the consequences of sin, the bridge is gone, the road is washed out. You can walk up and down the shoreline as much as you want but there is simply no way to the other side.

Of course, we’re told in the Bible that if we seek God with all our heart we’ll find Him. True. I think however it would be dangerous to imagine that we’ll bump into our Creator along any predetermined path of behaviour or contrived pattern of thought. Reality is, Creator God, as He has been revealed to us in the person of Jesus the Christ comes from heaven to us in order to develop a relationship with us.

If you’ve felt the need to see what Jesus is all about, if you’ve become curious about what Christians do or think, it’s because God has already initiated that course of action in you. That is why people find themselves confronted with the reality of Jesus’ Love in the most unlikely places. For most of us who became Christians later in life, it’s almost like we went for a casual stroll in the woods and Jesus just appeared out of nowhere. Or it’s like having Jesus tap us on the shoulder from behind and saying, “Here I Am.” Even in the midst of our God initiated curiosity, there’s the sense of suddenly being FOUND by Love.

God is shamelessly in love with us. He woos us in. He urges us to find shelter from the storm. He pursues us with the sole purpose of calling us home. Encountering Jesus can happen anywhere in the world at any time in any situation. No path. No series of behaviours. No string of words or thoughts. Just the drawing of us toward Jesus by Creator God. John 6:44. He calls, we follow the call.

Religion is humans trying to find God. Christianity is God seeking us out in order to have a relationship with us.

So, you might ask, “Is Jesus the only way? Is He in fact the Way, the Truth and the Life?”

Absolutely! It’s just that finding Jesus does not happen by OUR desire or effort. Our salvation is God’s doing. It's by His Grace from beginning to end, so that no one can boast.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Where is God when a little girl gets raped - part 3

A fellow traveller in life’s journey, F, once stated, “But since you believe in [God] you must blame him [for] floods, earthquakes and of course rapes. Of course, all these things happen because THERE IS NO GOD.” Another atheist wrote, “for what purpose could God possibly permit so much evil to be in the world?”

First of all, to find the answer to, Where is God?, one does not ask an atheist. Atheists are alienated in their relationship with their Creator. Getting an accurate depiction of God from an atheist is like getting an accurate rendering of the justice system from a career criminal. Therefore, the following is garnered both from what the Bible tells us about God and suffering as well as from Christians themselves as they describe their journey through tragedy and suffering. What we find from those sources is that:

. God is with believers in their suffering.
- Whether we sense His presence or not, God is with us as any loving parent is with a child who has just been hurt. I happen to know firsthand about years of childhood sexual assault. While I wasn’t a Christian until I was thirty-years-old, I can see clearly how it was God’s tender mercy that sustained me through that and much more as life went on. I don’t expect His presence to end - ever!

. God is able and does bring good out of the things that satan uses to destroy us.
- God is working in us the good that is spoken of in Romans 8:29. That good is the development of Christ-like character. God is able to bring that about in all the things that may happen to us during our lives.

. God is with the meek, the humble, the merciful.
- “God opposes the proud, but give grace to the humble.” Therefore atheists should not be surprise or confounded when Christians seem to experience tragedy in a way that is different from pagans or atheists. “We do not grieve as those who have no hope.”

. His presence sustains those who love Him and follow Him.
- Our faith in God is not for the purpose of generating good feelings. Our faith in God is meant to sustain us in the absence of good feelings.

. Death and suffering are not the final word for those who are part of God’s plan for redemption.
- For those of us who love God, everything that we experience, pleasant or unpleasant has meaning and context and purpose. I know from when our child died and from talking to other Christians when they’ve experienced the death of a child that the palpable presence of God, not just in our lives but in our homes is awe inspiring, jaw-dropping real. I’ve run Christian based grief groups and the nodding of heads as one after another describe the drawing near of God. The infusion of His comfort and peace in the presence of death is a wonderful, wonderful experience. Those who don't have an intimate, healed and forgiven life with Jesus seem to think that God is out to get us. Rather, God is out to Love us. The presence of suffering and tragedy does not change that fact.

. Even those who hate God, like F and Hitchens and Dawkins and Harris etc. are still, for now, somewhat protected by the mercy and grace of their Lord and Creator.
- “I will cause it to rain on the Godly and the ungodly.”

. We don’t know how many millions of rapes God prevents from taking place in any given year. For those that He allows to take place, the suffering is not without purpose, nor is it apart from a bigger plan.

The Bible seems to say that for a while (it doesn’t say how long), God is going to allow evil, under the direction of a Being we know as satan, to run it’s course (isn’t it interesting that atheists never rail against satan, or our love affair with our inherent evil?). Because of that we have rapes and murders and theft and hatred and division etc.

Because of that, even the noblest human endeavours become tainted with crud and corruption. Because of that we have atheists thinking they’re better than Christians and Christians thinking they’re better than atheists. Because of that we have a world that is groaning under the weight of sin and wickedness. Because God has allowed pain and suffering to be part of His plan for the redemption of humankind, Christians have an opportunity for tremendous growth in character. As far as I can tell, for the pagan or the atheist, suffering is little more than a way of ensuring they get what they want - a life apart from God.

So, that's where God is. He is with the brokenhearted, bringing the best possible scenario out of the evil that WE inflict upon those around us.

The question of “Why?” still remains. Even if God is with us in our times of suffering, so what? What’s the purpose? What is He trying to accomplish? Examples of “evil” that are often used to besmirch the name of God are the holocaust and earthquakes. Why would God allow or even cause those things to happen? Well, the murder of six million people may have six or twelve or a hundred million reasons, so I’ll try to narrow it down to the most obvious.

First, God used the Nazi Holocaust as a means to reunite the nation of Israel, as was prophesied 3,000 years earlier. God is going to bring to fulfilment His plans for humanity and the gates of hell will not be able to stand against it. Still to come is the destruction of nations that try to remove Israel from the world stage, even as Israel becomes like "a huge stone around the neck of the world." This also was predicted thousands of years ago.

Most people think that the greatest book in the Bible on the topic of suffering is the book of Job. Yes, it talks about suffering but it speaks, I think, much more about God’s goal in allowing suffering. The book of Job asks each of us one very important question and it asks it at least three different ways.

- Will you love and worship Creator God because, and only because, He is worthy of love and worship?
“Even though He slay me, yet I will serve the Lord.”

- Will you worship Creator God without the “benefit” of God’s gifts, or the fear of God’s wrath?
“Even though He slay me, yet I will serve the Lord.”

- Is your faith genuine or is it contrived?
“Even though He slay me, yet I will serve the Lord.”

This, I think is the number one reason for allowing the consequences of sin to envelope the globe. I for one don’t believe that Job’s story, or the Abraham / Isaac paradigm for that matter are isolated incidents. I think Job and Abraham’s stories are in the Bible as examples for all of us who desire to cast our lot in with our Creator. Surely you’ve noticed on life’s journey how all of us are subjected from time to time and in varying degrees to things similar to Job’s life and his struggles? The things we love most are yanked out of our lives? Well, so too are we asked to take part in the journey of Abraham. At some point we will be asked to voluntarily give up what we want or what we are tempted to depend on the most. Occasionally we’re asked to give it up before we even have it.

I think this is why it happens. Sooner or later in our Christian life, we will pray, “Lord use me. Let me serve you. Show me where you want me to go and I will follow.” Brave words. God hears our pledge of allegiance and He responds with, “Oh really?” Our Creator knows us better than we know ourselves.

To help us see the true state of our affairs, God shows us that there are things in our life that we consider more important than our relationship with Him. We’ve all heard the comments and some of us have made them.

“I couldn’t live if s/he left me.”

“Running, canoeing, collecting (insert your favourite here) is everything to me.”

“My job is my life.”

“I can’t live alone.”

When, with His help we recognise this thing, behaviour, or person, God asks us to be prepared to let it go; to give it up. He wants to increase our faith to the point where we can say, “If You don’t want me to have this Lord, then I don’t want it either, because all I really need and want is You.”

This might involve issues like infertility where more than anything the couple thinks their happiness is dependent on having a child.

Or, as with atheists, it might be physical or emotional safety that we depend upon. In fact, atheists seem personally offended when tragic things happen, even in someone else’s life.

It might be a relationship that you think you must have. And because you think you can’t be alone and be happy, you’re asked to chose between an unhealthy, needy relationship, and a healthy relationship with God.

The Abraham / Isaac syndrom might involve issues of money, or homes, or sexual relations, or anything else where you mistakenly believe that your value and worth, your sense of security or belonging is dependent on you having that thing or person.

I think that it’s only those of us who have dared to let go of things the world considers essential, and who have grasped the secure hand of God who have discovered a whole new way of dealing with tragedy. We’ve discovered a superior way of living that is unequalled to anything that came before. When I was in seminary, I remember a Missionary saying, “Hold your possessions lightly.” That was a man who’d discovered ONE of the secrets of a profound peace and a deep and abiding joy.

There are so many benefits to suffering, there are so many obvious answers to the question of “Why would God allow evil in the world?” that it’s surprising that atheists seem dazed, confused and oblivious to any of them. For example:

. Suffering brings into a relationship with God, those who have been predestined to such a journey.
- You never know that God is all you need until God is all that you have.”

. Suffering PREVENTS a relationship with God, for those who God knew would never accept their subordinate position to their Creator.
- Suffering drives them deeper into their entrenched rejection of God. These people hold a certain degree of pride in their rejection of God, while all along it's been God who has rejected them for their attitude toward Him, this before they were even created.

. Suffering increases the awareness of God in the lives of believers and non believers alike.
- “God shouts to us through the megaphone of pain.” Most people become acutely aware of a power greater than themselves when the rug is pulled out from under them.

. Suffering increases trust and faith in believers.
- This is something that Richard Dawkins finds absolutely confounding and infuriating.

. Suffering answers the question from Job and produces feelings of invincibility in those who can answer with a resounding, “YES!”

I can tell you from my own life that suffering in combination with a close relationship with Jesus has made me more than a conqueror. I am so blessed and reassured to know that I will follow God even if I get nothing out of it except a relationship with Him.

Bottom line - We know in part where God is when hurt comes into our lives.

. He is with us.

. He is relating to our suffering because He knows what it is like to endure horrific suffering.

. He is making sure that the suffering need not be a waste. Because the suffering that takes place in the world is OUR fault, not God’s fault, He steps in like the responsible parent and makes sure that the best possible outcome is a reality.

We know in part why God doesn’t always intervene in our suffering.

. He has allowed us, for a time, to experience the consequences of our decision to reject Him. However, God takes that decision and turns it for good in preparing us for heavenly duties.

. He uses those consequences to bring about in the people of His choosing, a repenting or a turning from our rebellion and to bring about a desire to accept His offer of forgiveness.
While we don’t know the complete answer to the question of suffering, this I do know:

- Telling God to fix our world is inviting His response of:

. “You’re the ones who’ve caused the problems. Why don’t you fix it?"

. "If you don’t need Me to be a good person, then why aren’t you a good person?"

. "Why is it that you don’t live up to even your own code of ethics?"

. "Why is it that you judge other people by their behaviours but judge yourself by your intentions?"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Where Is God When A Little Girl Gets Raped? part 2

A fellow traveller in life’s journey, F, once stated, “But since you believe in [God] you must blame him [for] floods, earthquakes and of course rapes. Of course, all these things happen because THERE IS NO GOD.” Another atheist wrote, “for what purpose could God possibly permit so much evil to be in the world?”

Before I start, it might be helpful to remind ourselves that when an atheist displays his anger at God, or at all the evil that God allows in the world, that person is talking about, and sometimes even raging about two things that don’t exist in the atheist world-view. I know, it’s weird, but they do it over and over and over. For Christians, on the other hand, we have no problem acknowledging that both God and evil are realities with which we much deal on a daily basis.

The Bible explains, in too much detail to discuss fully here, that God uses the Christian’s suffering here on earth as a character developer in preparation for our duties in heaven. Suffering, pain, disappointment - things that we label as being evil are God’s primary tools for bringing about God-like or Agape love in His servants.

Why evil? Why not use good people to do good things in order to teach us what we need to know? Well, there’s a couple reasons for that. First of all, evil people are all that God has to work with. There has only been One good person on earth and we killed Him. That being the case - satan ignites the evil that is in us and he uses it in many and various ways. he takes things like the rape of a child and he uses it in an attempt to destroy us. Because sinful creatures who are oozing corrupted self-love are the only medium at God’s disposal, He takes the evil that is in us, He takes the consequences of that evil and He uses those things to actually transform the characters of those who are willing to be used by Him. Learning agape love, or what I call other-love, as demonstrated in the life and death of Jesus, is the ultimate purpose of our life on earth. Some have called agape love “the currency of heaven.”

People throughout the world desperately want this other-love to exist. At some level, we all recognise that this is the kind of love that we need for our families and for humanity itself to survive. What most people don’t get is that this type of love is developed in us via suffering. And that is what atheists absolutely cannot stand. The atheist’s aversion to suffering resembles that of two-year-old children. In the atheist mind-set anything that isn’t pleasurable is pronounced bad, regardless of what it might do for our character in the long run. Atheists want the rainbow but not the storm. The fact is, beginning with conception and continuing until our last breath -

. Without self-giving, there is no other-love.

. Without suffering, there is no self-giving.

. Without suffering, there is no other-love.

In the beginning, God’s power and character were fully present on the earth. Evil was not allowed to inhabit this domain or cosmos and it was “very good.” We made the freewill choice to live a life separate and independent from God. Because God is compassionate He has allowed us to experience only a small portion of what we wanted. He knew that we would be destroyed if He withdrew His presence completely. Instead, He has pulled back His “hand of protection” to a limited degree, for a short period of time. According to the Bible, as history draws to a close, God is gradually pulling back His influence a little bit more every year. An example of this is given in Romans chapter one. Here God is referring to the consequences for the whole world because of those who deny His existence. It says in part, “Because of this [denying God], God gave them over . . .” The chapter then lists various evils with which the world’s population is currently struggling.

I believe this is the reason that people are seemingly UNABLE to do what it takes to stop the progress of, for example, HIV. To many of us, the answer seems so simple.
Stop screwing strangers.
Be faithful to your spouse.
Don’t become involved in adultery.
If you aren’t married, then be celibate.
Don’t become involved in the death-culture of IV drug use.

It appears to many of us that people are not WILLING to do the one thing, the only thing that would put an end for all time to STD’s of all stripes. On the other hand, it may be the case that it’s not as simple as people being unwilling to be responsible. It may well be that since God has pulled back His hand of protection, the current level of evil in the world has made it literally IMPOSSIBLE for those who hate God to behave in a sexually responsible, reasonable and logical manner. It may be accurate to say that the rape of a child takes place because God is almost but not totally absent from the scene. I'll explain below why that is only partially true.

We are seeing in our world today, the results of the decrease of God’s active influence as well as the increase of satan’s active influence. “Because of the increase of evil, the love of many will grow cold.” The rage, the disdain for human dignity, the destruction, the hate - all that we see on the daily news, including the destruction of a child’s character through the act of rape is really a description of satan’s character; the news is just a review of what satan and those who possess his character have been up to that day. And that’s the world that we chose. Therefore we have what we have. The Bible tells us that at the end of history, those who are in rebellion to the reality of a Creator, those who want to live as though God does not exist will get their wish completely fulfilled. They will experience the complete absence of God’s love and protection. They will experience it for all of eternity. The total and complete absence of love will be so excruciating that the closest description we can give is that it will be like being burned alive.

So, that’s the answer to why there is the presence of evil. In the next and final post, I will explain clearly both where God is when an evil act takes place and why He allows us to revel in evil even as it destroys us and our relationships.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Where Is God When A Little Girl Gets Raped?

Along with most other people in the world, a fellow traveller in life’s journey, an atheist that I've met and I'll call him F, struggles with this issue. He once stated, “But since you believe in him, [He means God] you must blame him if you're honest. God has the power to stop floods like the one that hit New Orleans (hurting many devout people), earthquakes like the one that hit Pakistan; and of course rapes. Of course, all these things happen because THERE IS NO GOD. You and I both know it; only you pretend otherwise.”

Another atheist writes, “for what purpose could God possibly permit so much evil to be in the world?”

In true Makarios fashion, I don’t have a short answer. But I do have some thoughts that I think will be helpful, if not to the atheist, certainly to the Christian who is also struggling with this issue. In three separate posts, I'll first deal with "Where is God?" and then "What possible reasons could there be for allowing evil to persist." So -

I sometimes find it overwhelming to watch the relentless and tenacious press of evil in the world. The fact that most people are content to allow evil to run its course as long as its fallout doesn’t get in the way of their plans for the day is heartbreaking and frustrating. It wears me out. Sometimes I feel like throwing up my hands and saying, “What’s the point of even trying to stem the tidal wave of wickedness that’s engulfing our children’s generation?” Contrary to what atheists preach, the corrupt self-serving bias that is rampant in every class of people around the world is proof - not that a compassionate God doesn’t exist, but that we humans are desperately wicked. It’s just as the Bible emphatically states.

I won’t address F’s curious thoughts regarding God’s existence halting weather patterns and plate tectonics. And I won’t do much with the thought, ‘Is F. admitting that the rape of a little girl proves that without God we are NOT good?

Regardless, there’s no getting around it. ‘Where is God when a little girl gets raped?’ is a really good question for those of us who believe in Creator God. The fact is, I only have a partial answer; an answer that will be wholly unsatisfying to anyone who hasn’t recognised the presence of God’s love and mercy and grace in their own lives in the face of tragedy. Nevertheless, for me at least, a partial answer is better than no answer at all.

To begin, some people will only go so far as to say that God allows pain and suffering; that in fact it's satan who causes all the trouble. Obviously, God allows suffering or we wouldn’t be talking about it. And it seems to me that regardless of whether God allows pain or whether He’s the cause of pain, from our perspective the result feels the same. The fact that God is able to stop what we call tragedy but doesn’t do so in all cases means that the answer to the question of pain lies with Him and Him alone.

What I have to say might part ways with what some of you believe, but let me try to explain it this way. In Canada we have lots of lakes. Ten’s of thousands of them. A few of these lakes are bigger than some countries. While my health won’t allow me to do it at all anymore, I used to like to get out in a canoe, on a quiet lake and just enjoy God’s creation. Lets suppose that I’m out in the boat with a special friend, and all of a sudden I’m overboard without a life-jacket. And as I’m floundering in the icy water, I see my friend’s outstretched hand reaching toward me, offering to pull me back on board.

I can tell you that, as the weight of my clothing is dragging me under, that hand would be the absolute focus of my attention. There might be a beautiful sunset happening, or an interesting bird bobbing around nearby. Perhaps someone else had fallen out of h/her boat and needed help. None of these things would get my attention. I would only be concentrating on the hand that could save me.

As we ask the question about where is God, I think that in times of trouble that hand could represent the hand of God. And we could sit here and nod our heads and say, "Mmm, isn’t that a reassuring thought?" But I’m going to suggest to you that when things happen to us that we consider bad, like the death of a child, or being chronically ill or living with severe pain day in and day out, or, like being overboard when you can’t swim, we need to grapple with the fact that the hand that is extended in an act of saving grace, may very well be the same hand that pushed you overboard in the first place.

Those are the kind of thoughts that, when not properly understood can make you feel a little bit crazy. When I’m working with a family in a counselling setting, these are the kind of crazy making behaviours, the I love you - I hate you behaviours that make children unsure of where they stand in the parent / child relationship. It’s no different for many Christians. Being confronted with what we call personal “disasters” can make us unsure of where we stand in our relationship with our Heavenly Father. But there is a difference between what seems to be the similar behaviours of parents that do this, and our Creator. You see, parents are often unaware, or vehemently deny that what they are doing is causing pain in their children’s lives. Our heavenly Father on the other hand, steps right out of the line up and says, “You want someone to take the blame for your difficulties? Well I’m your man.”

Exodus 4:11 - Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?”

Isaiah 45:7 - I send good times and I send disaster, I Jehovah am He who does these things.

Amos 4:6-11 - I gave you empty stomaches in every city and lack of bread in every town. I filled your nostrils with the stench of your dead sons.”

Romans 9:13-16 - “I chose to bless Jacob but not Esau,” and God said this before the children were even born, before they had done anything either good or bad.

Amos 3:6 - When disaster comes upon a city, is it not I the Lord who has caused it?

It goes on and on in both the old and the new testaments where God says that, not only does every good thing that happens in our lives come from His hand, but the things in our lives that we say are awful, often (not always) but often, they come directly from His hand as well. One thing is for certain - nothing that happens in life, comes into being without the permission of our Sovereign Lord.

That is very difficult for some people to handle. Atheists have zero tolerance for such goings on. On the other hand, the atheist’s dogmatic denial of God’s existence stems from the childish attitude of “You’re not the boss of me!” Anything that will aid them in their rants, like God not behaving as they think He should is not used as a means of getting to know their Creator better. Rather it's used as ammunition to further sustain their tantrum.

Having said that, I’m going to begin my answer to F by changing his statement from, “All these things happen because there is no God,” to “All these things happen because there is no God in most people’s hearts.” Then, rather than answering F’s question directly, I think it would be helpful to extend the question. F alluded to the fact that many devout people died in the flood that hit New Orleans. We could add to that observation endlessly into the future as the daily news roles on and on. It is, however a relevant statement. Let’s take a closer look.

. Where is God when 10 and 12 year old girls are raped and then hacked to death with machetes, in Sudan, and the only reason for their horrific murders is that they’re Christians?

. Where is God when Christian children and parents are kept in small cages until they die, in North Korea?

. Where is God when His followers have all their possessions taken away and the people are thrown into jail for decades by atheist leaders in China?

. Where is God when 90 million of His followers disappear under orders by atheist leaders in Russia?

. Where is God when millions more of His followers disappear under the direction of the atheist Khmer Rouge?

. Where is God when His followers are burned, butchered, fed to wild beasts and starved to death all through the history of the Christian Church?

. Where was God when I’ve had arthritis for the last 46 years, beginning at age 10? Where was God when I was sexually abused as a child? Where was He when our youngest child died, when our oldest daughter sustained irreversible brain damage, when I got skin cancer last August?

. Where is God when His one and only Son is tortured to death?

Where indeed, is God when it hurts?

Obviously one option is to say that He doesn’t even exist. Many people in the aftermath of suffering, can come to no other conclusion. Others come part way and say, “If God could have stopped a disaster from happening, and didn’t, He may exist but He isn’t a good and loving God.” I actually know a Pastor who told a mother that her son died because God was powerless to stop such things from happening. Still others, like myself, are left to ponder why God, whom we know in fact to be loving, merciful and kind can and does allow suffering to take place. Like the other atheist that I mentioned above, I've asked, “What possible reason could God have for allowing so much evil to exist in the world?”

The Bible, which claims to be God’s revelation to us, about Him, doesn’t give us a full or a completely satisfying answer to this issue. What it does tell us is this. God gave us a world without pain, without tears, without suffering, and without death. He gave us exactly what atheists demand from Him RIGHT NOW. He gave us paradise on earth. He told us that if we’d allow Him to be the guardian of our hearts, minds and souls, He would keep evil at bay. He said, in effect, “Right now, you don’t know the difference between good and evil. You only know good. I suggest that you keep it that way. However, it’s your life. It’s your choice. You make the decision.”

Well, the rest as they say, is history. We chose to be our own gods. Like one of the atheist bus adds proudly proclaims, "We have no Master save ourselves!" Then, just as today, we found a life under the control and direction of our Creator to be an intolerable proposition. God said that if we chose a life without Him we would experience death and suffering. Knowing that, we still chose the life that we now have. Without the grace of God intervening in our lives, we, all of us, refuse to bow before our Creator. It’s called our sinful nature. Our sinful nature is why all of us are born in rebellion to the very idea of humbling ourselves before our Creator God.

What is somewhat surprising, especially to atheists (in fact the ones that I’ve had contact with find this literally beyond their ability to comprehend), no one is exempt from God’s plan to use suffering as a means to an end; not even God Himself.

Jesus, our example and character goal, came to earth knowing in advance that He would be abused, misunderstood, mistreated, rejected, insulted, betrayed and ultimately have humanity do our absolute worst to Him. God, in the form of Jesus, came to earth with the expressed purpose of experiencing His own wrath as is required by the nature of sin, “For the wages of sin, the consequences of sin, the result of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. God came to earth to show that He does not exist outside of this plan that seems so difficult for us to accept. God came to earth to rescue us from our stupid decision to try to live our lives without Him. He came to give us a second chance at paradise. Believe it or not, suffering, pain, and tragedy, play a role in taking hold of that second chance.

I'll continue in the next post with some concrete answers to the two, really good questions that have been asked by fellow travelers on life's journey.