Monday, August 31, 2009

In My Last Letter - Theophilus

I ended my last post on the trustworhiness of Luke, with, "Now, you can look at these confirmed facts and call it mythology. You can look at these confirmed facts and doubt that he was an eyewitness."

This is exactly what atheists do. TAM says that because Luke also documents “miracles” none of what he says can be trusted.

In fact, Luke reports 35 miracles in the same letter to Theophilus where he lists those 84 historical facts listed in the last post. Like the rest of his letter, none of Luke’s miracle accounts show any signs of embellishment of change in literary style. Just the same historical accounting of events that took place while Luke was travelling with Paul. Does it make sense that Luke would be diligent in non essential details like the weather and be guilty of careless fabrication in the essentials?

In my mind, only an anti-supernatural bias would allow someone to call Luke a liar. In reality, Luke is so firmly established by experts in historical work that it takes far MORE faith to doubt what he says than to believe him.

There is no difference in writing styles between the Gospel of Luke and Acts. Luke himself says in his first letter to Theophilus, “Since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus.” (Luke 1:3).

Doesn’t it make sense that a historian of Luke’s caliber, who has been found trustworthy where he CAN be tested should be given the benefit of the doubt in cases where no tests are available? Doesn’t that make sense? If Luke has been bang on in all 84 points where he was tested, shouldn’t we trust him in other areas, at least until proven false?

Now some might say, “Well that was Acts, Luke was a different letter, a different time, a different subject.” Not really, the point of both letters was to help Theophilus, based on historical facts, believe that Jesus really is the Messiah.
This post is going to get too long but let’s just look at the Gospel of Luke for a second. Luke names twelve historically confirmed leaders in chapters 1 - 3. These have been independently confirmed by extra Biblical sources. Listen to just one example of what atheists call mythology.

“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar - when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene - during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”

That is history, NOT mythology. What’s more, historical writers such as Luke do not make statements that can be refuted by a child. The fact is, all twelve historical figures that Luke names in his Gospel are all validated by non Biblical, non Christian sources and / or by archaeology.

As a physician Luke even mentions, accurately medical conditions of which he knew nothing about. Luke 22:44 talks about what we now know as hematohidrosis, the “sweating” of blood under extreme emotional conditions. There is no way that Luke would have recorded this if it hadn’t taken place.

Historical scholar, William Ramsay says of Luke, “Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness. Luke is a historian of the first rank . . . He should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”

Regardless of what atheists tell you, Luke can be trusted. Furthermore, if Luke is telling the truth, then so are Mark and Matthew because they describe the same events in the life of Jesus as does Luke. Logic demands that we trust Luke. Atheist bigotry is the only factor keeping that trust from happening.

Are you dying next year?

So, I find this website the predicts the odds of whether or not you're going to die next year. Like, wouldn't it be more helpful to know whether I'm going to make it through THIS year?

Breaking News

(CBC) In an effort to respond to the public’s demand that more be done to curb drug abuse, Toronto’s police service has added an innovative strategy - Police keep all proceeds from any bust they make - minus the drugs of course.

Toronto police commissioner Tyler “tin badge” O’Connell reports, “Morale is at an all time high. The guys on the street are even asking to come in on their days off. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The auto industry in Ontario, hard hit by the downturn in the economy has noticed a spike in new car sales as have RV dealerships. “This is a win-win-win situation says, UAW spokesperson Sheila Haberstock. The cops finally get a pay raise, hard working Canadians get to keep their jobs and the drug dealers start giving something back to the community.”

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Can You Trust Luke?

According to atheists? No. Atheists will tell you that because the earliest COPIES of Jesus’ biographies are from thirty years after His death (which means of course the originals were written much earlier and are very close to the time of His death) we can’t trust what they say.

According to atheists, what the Bible calls prophecy isn’t prophecy; what the Bible says is the story line of God's plan for the salvation for the world, isn’t that at all.

So here we have atheists, from a different culture, a different race and a vested interest in destroying a diametrically opposed viewpoint to their world-view, AND from not five or ten years after the fact but from THOUSANDS of years after the fact, saying, “This is not what the authors meant.”

Arrogant? Valid? You be the Judge.

I’m going to give you 84 facts that have been confirmed by historical and archaeological research. These historical facts validate the Gospel writer, Dr. Luke as an historian extra ordinaire. Now:
. You can, as atheists consistently do, look at these confirmed facts and call it mythology.

. You can, as atheists consistently do, look at these confirmed facts and claim that Luke was not an eyewitness.

. Or, you can allow logic and reason to rule the day and you can ask yourself, “Is it likely that someone with an eye to such detail in his accounts got it wrong about Quirinias being governor of Syria in 6BC? Or is it perhaps the case that we are missing some crucial information for making this decision?”

. The natural crossing between correctly named ports Acts 13:4,5

. The proper port (Perga) along the direct destination of a ship crossing from Cyprus 13:13

. The proper location of Lycaonia 14:6

. The unusual but correct declension of the name Lystra 14:6

. The correct language spoken in Lystra - Lycaonian 14:11

. Two gods known to be so associated - Zeus and Mermes 14:12

. The proper port, Attalia, which returning travellers would use 14:25

. The correct order of approach to Derbe and then Lystra from the Cilician Gates 16:1

. The proper form of the name Troas 16:8

. The place of a conspicuous sailors’ landmark, Samothrace 16:11

. The proper description of Philippi as a Roman colony 16:12

. The right location for the river Gangites near Philippi 16:13

. The proper association of Thyatira as a centre of dyeing 16:14

. Correct designations for the magistrates of the colony 16:22

. The proper locations (Amphipolis and Apollonia) where travellers would spend successive nights on this journey 17:1

. The presence of a synagogue in Thessalonica 17:1

. The proper term “politarchs” used of the magistrates there 17:6

. The correct implication that sea travel is the most convenient way of reaching Athens, with the favouring east winds for summer sailing 17:14-15

. The abundant presence of images in Athens 17:16

. The reference to a synagogue in Athens 17:17

. The depiction of the Athenian life of philosophical debate in the Agora 17:17

. The use of the correct Athenian slang word for Paul “spermologos”, 17:18 as well as for the court “Areios pagos” 17:19

. The proper characterization of the Athenian character 17:21

. And alter to an “unknown god” 17:23

. Areopagites as the correct title for a member of the court 17:34

. A Corinthian synagogue 18:4

. The correct designation of Gallio as proconsul, resident in Corinth 18:12

. The bema (judgment seat) which overlooks Corinth’s forum 18:16

. The name Tyronnus as attested from Ephesus in first-century inscriptions 19:9

. Well-know shrine and images of Artemis 19:24

. The well-attested “great goddess Artemis” 19:27

. That the Ephesian theatre was the meeting place of the city 19:29

. The correct title grammateus for the chief executive magistrate in Ephesus 19:35

. The proper title of honour “neokoros,” authorized by the Romans 19:35

. The correct name to designate the goddess 19:37

. The proper term for those holding court 19:38

. Use of the plural “anthupatoi,” perhaps a remarkable reference to the fact that two men were conjointly exercising the functions of proconsul at this time 19:38

. The “regular” assembly, as the precise phrase is attested elsewhere 19:39

. Use of precise ethnic designation, “beroiaios” 20:4

. Employment of the ethnic ter “Asianos 20:4

. The implied recognition of the strategic importance assigned to this city of Troas 20:7

. The danger of the coastal trip in this location 20:13

. The correct sequence of places 20:14,15

. The correct name of the city as a neuter plural “Patara” 21:1

. The appropriate route passing across the open sea south of Cyprus favoured by persistent northwest winds 21:3

. The suitable distance between these cities 21:8

. A characteristically Jewish act of piety 21:24

. The Jewish law regarding Gentile use of the temple areas 21:28

. The permanent stationing of a Roman cohort “chiliarch” at Antonia to suppress any disturbance at festival times 21:31

. The flight of steps used be the guards 21:31,35

. The common way to obtain Roman citizenship at this time 22:28

. The tribune being impressed with Roman rather than Tarsian citizenship 22:29
Anania being high priest at this time 23:2

. Felix being governor at this time 23:34

. The natural stopping point on the way to Caesarea 23:31

. Whose jurisdiction Cilicia was in at the time 23:34

. The provincial penal procedure of the time 24:1-9

. The name Porcius Festus, which agrees precisely with that given by Josephus 24:27

. The right of appeal for Roman citizens 25:11

. The correct legal formula 25:18

. The characteristic form of reference to the emperor at the time 25:26

. The best shipping lanes at the time 27:5

. The common bonding of Cilicia and Pamphylia 27:4

. The principal port to find a ship sailing to Italy 27:5,6

. The slow passage to Cnidus, in the face of the typical north-west wind 27:7

. The right route to sail, in view of the winds 27:7

. The locations of Fair Havens and the neighbouring site of Lasea 27:8

. Fair Havens as a poorly sheltered roadstead 27:12

. A noted tendency of a south wind in these climes to back suddenly into a violent northeaster, the well-known gregale 27:13

. The nature of a square-rigged ancient ship, having no option but to be driven before a gale 27:15

. The precise place and name of this island 27:16

. The appropriate manoeuvres for the safety of the ship in its particular plight 27:16

. The fourteenth night - a remarkable calculation, based inevitably on a compounding of estimates and probabilities, confirmed in the judgment of experienced Mediterranean navigators 27:27

. The proper term of the time for the Adriatic 27:27

. The precise term “Bolisantes” for taking soundings and the correct depth of the water near Malta 27:28

. A position that suits the probable line of approach of a ship released to run before and eaterly wind 27:39

. The severe liability on guards who permitted a prisoner to escape 27:42
. The local people and superstitions of the day 28:4-6

. The proper title “protos tes nesou” 28:7

. Rhegium as a refuge to await a southerly wind to carry them through the strait 28:13

. Appii Forum and Tres Tabernae as correctly place stopping places on the Appian Way 28:15

. Appropriate means of custody with Roman soldiers 28:16

. The conditions of imprisonment, living “at his own expense” 28:30,31

These historical facts validate the Gospel writer, Dr. Luke as an historian extra ordinaire.

. You can, as atheists consistently do, look at these confirmed facts and call it mythology.

. You can, as atheists consistently do, look at these confirmed facts and claim that Luke was not an eyewitness.

Or, you can allow logic and reason to rule the day and you can ask yourself, “Is it likely that someone with an eye to such detail in his accounts got it wrong about Quirinias being governor of Syria in 6BC? Or is it perhaps the case that we are missing some crucial information for making this decision?”

Lord, Liar or Lunatic

In response to my last post questions were asked that I've addressed in an earier post. Soooo - This is yet another re post of an earlier blog about Richard Dawkins and his views of Jesus.

When I first saw a picture of Dawkins at the beach wearing a T-shirt saying "Atheists for Jesus" I thought, why would someone who declares atheists to be people of intellectual and moral integrity, admire a deceptive, deceitful liar? I mean, if Jesus wasn’t who He said He was (and I’m sure Richard doesn’t believe that Jesus is God incarnate), a liar is the least of names that we could call Him.

On the other hand, if Jesus is not exactly who He said He is, there should be a crime against His words and actions for they are vile in the extreme. And that’s why I wonder, since he believes that Jesus is an imposter and a fraud (and if true He’s also a monster), what is it about Richard Dawkins that he is drawn to such a pathological personality?

. Jesus conned people into dying for Him. Yet Richard Dawkins admires Him.

. Jesus told people to worship Him. Dawkins seems to like that idea.

. Jesus told others to be honest, while He lived a lie. Dawkins seems to relate.

. Jesus told others to trust Him to save their souls. Not unlike Dawkins and his sycophants.

. If Jesus was not who He said He was then He was a blasphemer of the highest order. 'Nuff said.

. If Jesus was not who He said He was then He was a megalomaniac. Hmm. Interesting.

Jesus said that He was / is the God of the Old Testament. “Before Abraham was, I Am” is just one among many, many other comments along those lines. The Spiritual leaders of the time understood perfectly that Jesus was saying that He was what Dawkins describes as the “Nasty God of the Old Testament.

When it comes to the Lord, Liar or Lunatic explanation, Richard Dawkins in all his brilliance adds what he thinks is the undoing of that proposition. “Perhaps Jesus was mistaken.” Ya, right. The soundest, purest and most intelligent mind to ever walk the earth was mistaken about being God. ‘Oh. I thought I was God, certain about it really, but I guess I was wrong. Sorry.’ There goes Dawkins’ comedic tendencies again.

So, I wonder why an intelligent man like Richard Dawkins can’t figure out what kind of an individual Jesus must have been if He isn’t God Incarnate? Or is it that Dawkins chooses to ignore that fact for his own political and financial reasons? Perhaps that is why Richard Dawkins is drawn to admire the manipulator / deceiver / con artist he imagines Jesus be?

Regardless, why in the world would anyone who doesn’t believe in God think anything good of Jesus? Why in the world would anyone who believes that Jesus was just a man, think Jesus was someone to admire? He may have been a teacher, but if Jesus was just a man, there was nothing good and nothing moral about Him.

The only conclusion, and yes, I believe it’s a logical conclusion, is that Jesus was far more than a human; He was and is something totally other. Liars, and the severely mentally ill or the deeply personality disordered (for that is what He would have had to be suffering from) simply cannot think and act with the purity, and incisive thoughts that Jesus presented. Liars and those suffering from the above disorders are simply not capable of consistently living nor dying with the other-love that Jesus brought to the world. He is either God Incarnate or a liar or He was mentally ill. He was not a liar and He did not need a mental health professional.

The dilemma of Jesus and its reasoned solution, highlights once again the fact that, It’s not that atheists don’t believe in God. It’s that they don’t want to believe in God. For to accept Jesus as God is to admit our need for forgiveness.

Atheists are unwilling to see their character in the light of that reality. Atheists are literally unable to discern the depths of their depravity. They cannot see their need for salvation. They cannot comprehend why Jesus, through His actions on earth, is even attempting to lead them to salvation. Perhaps that’s why the T-shirt seems like such a humorous statement to Dawkins. He’s never been very good at thinking all the way to step two.

The fact is, Jesus didn’t just speak words that lead to life and life abundantly. He lived His words unlike any human being before or after. Historian Kenneth Scott Latourette states, “Jesus regarded himself and his message as inseparable.”

Historian William Lecky, himself an opponent of Christianity writes, “It was reserved for Christianity to present to the world [a person who] . . . in three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists.”

In describing Jesus, Historian Philip Schaff says, “A character so original, so complete, so uniformly consistent, so perfect, so human and yet so high above all human greatness, can be neither a fraud nor a fiction. The [author], as has been well said, would in this case be greater than the hero. It would take more than a Jesus to invent a Jesus. How, in the name of logic, common sense, and experience, could an impostor - that is a deceitful, selfish, depraved man - have invented, and consistently maintained from the beginning to end, the purest and noblest character known in history with the most perfect air of truth and reality? Someone who lived as Jesus lived, taught as Jesus taught, and died as Jesus died could not have been a liar. What other alternatives are there?”

I can’t presume to know the motives for Richard Dawkins’ seeming inability or unwillingness to discern the fact that it’s only one way or the other. Either Jesus was and is God, or He wasn’t. This sidestepping of the evidence seems to become more and more typical of Richard Dawkins as his early writing transits from clear thinking, entertaining biological science, to his latest works that seem to be clouded by raging anti-Christian polemics.

If Jesus was / is God then we’d better order our lives around that fact. That just makes sense, doesn't it? If Jesus is God, then worship Him as such, or rail in opposition against Him. Both are valid options that God has left open to us.

If He wasn’t God, then Jesus needs to be dealt with in our minds the way we deal with any repugnant personality. But please, if Jesus wasn't God, don't pretend that He was some wonderful person when He clearly wasn't.

Richard Dawkins can’t figure it out, but maybe you can. For the sake of your life on earth and for eternity, I pray that you find Jesus as Lord and Saviour and find Him soon. It’s a wonderful, healthy, rarified, bracing, exhilarating, blessed and freeing experience.

Richard Dawkins and Lunacy

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that pepole Peopl often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with a man who says he’s a poached egg - or else he would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or someting worse. You can shupt Him p for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
C.S. Lewis. Mere Christianity p40-41

I know that's a really old quote that most people have heard. Still, people are taking the bait and thinking about it. One of those people is Richard Dawkins. Many people have made the case for Mr.Dawkins being incapable of deep thought. This is verified in his opinions regarding the Jesus: Lord, liar or lunatic issue. In all his brilliance, Richard Dawkins has gone with the lunatic option.

First of all I want to point out that while his bigotry seemingly know no bounds, Dawkins does have the sense to acknowledge the historical reality of Jesus of Nazareth. And by his accusation, Dawkins even agrees that Jesus claimed to be God. However, what Dawkins does with Jesus is as great as the lunacy he tries accuse Jesus of possessing. Dawkins says that Jesus just thought He was God. Jesus was simply mistaken. Jesus was in fact as mentally disturbed as someone who thinks he's a poached egg. Right.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Don’t hide your doubts from God

We’ve all met them. And while they aren’t the sole domain of the religious, they’re the most annoying when found in the religious. I’m talking about those people who paste on smiles when
a) Their own lives are full of doubts, or
b) In the face of someone else’s suffering.

There are two types of people who have called themselves Christians:
1) People like John Loftus or Bart Erhman. “I believed that God was kind and loving. Then I experience pain, suffering and loss. Now I see that God is cruel to allow me to experience this suffering so I refuse to believe in Him anymore.”

2) People who have a relationship with Jesus / God. Those who have a relationship with Jesus, as opposed to beliefs about Jesus (group #1), can say in all honesty, “I cannot pretend that I’m comforted by God in this situation, but I know that He loves me.”

This, I believe is perhaps the single greatest reason for why God allows suffering and tragedy to take place. These things solidify our opinions about God. Suffering causes us to either reject God or humble ourselves before God.

As a retired counsellor, I fill my time doing pro bono work with those in the community where I live. I sit with many who have had the courage to say, along with Mother Theresa, “I haven’t felt the presence of God for a long, long time.” Many of these clients are people who once had a belief in a particular BELIEF about what God is like and how He interacts with His creation. Either from their parents or on their own they had been told that “this and only this” is the way that God interacts with those He loves. Then came a reality that didn’t match that particular belief.

That kind of journey will cause us to react in one of two ways. For those who did not have a relationship with God, but merely survived on beliefs in a belief about God, the reaction is usually one of giving up on God.

For those in the second group, because they have a relationship with God as opposed to a belief in a belief about God, these people are able to say,
“I have no comfort from God;
. I do not feel His direction or presence;
. I see that my former belief was not accurate.
. I don’t know what to expect from God at the moment, but I know enough from my relationship with God that I am certain that my Heavenly Father will prove that He is just and true and right. In fact, I will allow you to think what you will of me and of God until that day when He proves Himself worthy of my allegiance once again.”

The one who has a relationship with Jesus, not a “belief in” but a relationship with Jesus is able to say, “When everything is known it will be shown that God is not cruel. When everything is known it will show that out of all possible scenarios, this difficulty was exactly the best path toward the growth in character for which I’ve been praying.”

Friday, August 28, 2009

Prophecy of Jesus

I'm anticipating that when I get to the genealogies where it states the family line of Jesus there will be some protest. No need to worry. This will just be an extension of the double standard with which atheists treat any and all of these documents from antiquity. In the atheist mind, the very fact that these independent documents were later compiled into the New Testament renders them not just suspect, but totally untrustworthy. Nevertheless, this is for you Glen.

Remember, if someone was trying to identify whether or not someone was, indeed, the promised Messiah, the suspected Messiah would have to fit these criteria.

Born of a virgin
The Prophecy - Isaiah 7:14 (Written about 690 years before Jesus was born).
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son and she will call his name Immanuel.” (Since everyone did it, this would not be much of a sign if it was just a man marrying a virgin or a young girl)
The Fulfilment of that Prophecy - Matthew 18:24 & 25 (Matthew - Historian, friend and follower of Jesus and an eyewitness to the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus).
“She was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit, and Joseph kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a son.”

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 thy 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

Once again, think about these words:
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 ^ -157, against them coming true in one man, accidentally. Scientists agree that 10 ^ -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.”

I think you also asked about the AD70 reference.
Before I get to that let me remind of Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12. This is probably the most famous references to Messiah. It’s worth a read if your memory is fuzzy.

. In 2 Chronicles 7:19-22 God says if Israel's sin reaches a certain level, He'll destroy the temple, exile the people, and leave them in a state of judgement. This comes to pass.

. Daniel 9:24 says that God will have mercy on His people. God gives a revelation about the temple being rebuilt. BEFORE THIS temple is destroyed several things are going to take place, including the bringing of everlasting atonement - the final dealing with sin. The important reference isn't to AD70. The important reference is to the temple being destroyed and Messiah coming prior to that date - which of course Jesus did.

. The prophet Haggi 2:6-9 lives to see the second temple built but it is nothing like the first. Yet, Haggi said that the glory of the second temple will be greater than the first. God would fill the second temple with His glory. When God says He’ll fill the temple with His glory, that can only apply to His presence.

. The prophet Malachi 3:1-5 says the Lord will come to his temple, purifying some of His people and bringing judgment to others. Malachi uses a Hebrew term that always refers to God Himself: the Lord - He will come to that temple.

. Because the second temple was destroyed in AD70 atonement for sin had to be made and the divine visitation had to take place prior to the temple being destroyed.

What divine visitation did take place if not for Jesus?
When else did God visit the second temple in a personal way?
Who else atoned for sin?
How else was the glory of the second temple greater than the first?

Either the Messiah came two thousand years ago or the prophets were wrong and we can discard the Bible. But the prophets weren’t wrong.

Some at this point will say that Jesus didn’t bring peace to earth, as prophecies say will happen. The Talmud asks whether the Messiah will come with the clouds of heaven as is written in Daniel 7:13 AND as Jesus told the High Priest that He would when He comes again, or gentle and riding on a donkey, as in Zechariah 9:9. The rabbis said if we’re worthy, he’ll come with the clouds of heaven, meaning swiftly and powerfully; if we’re unworthy, he’ll come meek and lowly. They believed (we know in hindsight that it was in error), it’s an either / or situation. Actually it’s both / and. They’re both true of the same person.

So, in summary, God’s intent was never to keep Israel as an isolated nation , but that through Israel the entire world will come to know the one true God. That has always been his heart. We see in the Scriptures that this messianic figure will be both priestly and royal - He will deal with sin as well as rule and reign. He will first suffer before He is raised up and exalted; He will both come riding on a donkey meek and lowly, as well as come in clouds of glory. He will first be rejected by His people and will be a light to the nations. He will suffer terribly for our sins as a righteous substitute. The power of His deliverance from death will cause the ends of the earth to worship the one true God. We also see that redemption had to come and there had to be a divine visitation before the second temple was destroyed in AD. So who is it? Either the Bible is false or the Messiah was and is Jesus. This is not speculation. This is historical fact.

Here’s what you do . . .

There’s at least a couple atheists who have slipped into true atheist mode and said that,

“There’s a good reason that the prophecies of Jesus’ life death and resurrection “appear” so accurate. The disciples looked back into the Old Testament and picked out anything that seemed to apply to Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. In reality, those things weren’t even prophecies. Anybody could have done that and applied it to virtually anybody on the planet. Heck, with a little manipulation on my part, even I could come out looking like the Messiah.”

Here’s what you do. Take a book. Any book. In fact pick a hundred or a thousand or even ten thousand books and search them carefully until you find another book that coheres with Jesus being:
. Betrayed by a friend
. Sold for 30 Pieces of silver
. Money "thrown" into God’s house
. His best friends would all run away and desert Him
. People would lie about Him in order to get Him killed
. He never said a thing to defend Himself, such as “That’s a lie” or “I didn’t do that.”
. He was killed by crucifixion
. He asked God to forgive those who were killing Him
. Hated without cause
. Friends stood afar off
. Soldiers would gamble for His clothes
. They’d offer Him a pain killer to drink
. His forsaken cry - “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.”
. Committed himself to God - “Into thy hand I commit My spirit.”
. Bones not broken
. His side pierced with a spear
. Darkness at noon
. Buried in a rich man’s grave

Find a book that tells us that Jesus would be:
. Born in the obscure town of Bethlehem
. During the reign of Herod
. In a stable
. That He would be betrayed by a friend, a member of His inner circle
. That He would be crucified - not stoned, stabbed, strangled, clubbed, pushed off a cliff etc.
. That people would taunt Him and mock Him and turn 180 degrees from their position of a day before.
. That He’d be buried in a rich man’s grave
And when you’ve found that book or those books (it shouldn’t be too difficult given today’s technology, show them to me.

Or why don't you use the Old Testament, or any book to show that someone else was the Messiah? Remember though, he has to come to the temple in Jerusalem and he has to do it before AD 70.

Ready. Set! GO!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Scientist: Never in all of time has there been a case of information attainment, transfer or implementation without intelligence being involved.

Atheists say that the most complicated information to ever be discovered (DNA) came from inanimate, inorganic gas.

Atheists: It could happen.

"It Could Happen"

Prophecy of Israel

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.

I just read recently that while the United States could not be considered a religious government, “from it’s inception” the US government has "always" based it policy with the Jewish people according to the Bible’s statements that they are God’s chosen people.

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.

Atheists claim that these prophecies came true by accident, without supernatural intervention. When that assertion is challenged, they display the same reaction as they use in response to their ridiculous claim that "Nothing brought everything into existence."

"It could happen."

I Did It MY Way

Every few weeks or months we hear how DNA has proven that yet another individual should have never been convicted and sent to prison. We watch on tv as this person leaves prison to the cheers of family and friends. What would we think if someone who had been exonerated refused to leave his cell? What if someone who was told he could go home said, "I'd rather remain in prison?"

Atheists too have been set free. Their sentence has been commuted. However, instead of taking a chance on freedom, they sit in their cell and complain how they don't like the way their lawyer went about setting them free. Feeling secure and in control with anger and bitterness toward a God that they believe is going to torture them forever and ever, atheists turn their back on freedom. Instead of roaming through life, free to choose peace and love, they squat on their metal toilet and stare at the bars they refuse to leave behind.

But hey, at least they’ll be able to stand in hell and sing with Sinatra,
“I Did It My Way.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Big Fraud

That's what atheists think of the New Testament. It's one huge conspiracy, a big lie perpetrated by a group of liars who then went on to begin the greatest movement of human development the world has ever seen.

Critics however have worn themselves out trying to destroy the idea of prophecy as it pertains to the Bible. This is because Biblical prophecy has shown itself in archeology and historical literature to be 100% accurate. The main method of denying or disproving this astounding achievement (Glen and Flute have given us a good example in their comments on my last post) is to try to “late date” anything called Biblical prophecy. What the critics say is that because the prophecies are so accurate (they can't and don't deny this), they must have been written after the events actually happened. When it comes to Old Testament Prophecy in general and the prophecy of Jesus specifically, these people run into somewhat of a problem. Here’s why.

The vast majority of scholars agree that all of the Old Testament Scripture was completed 450 years before Jesus the Christ was born. However even the most sceptical must admit the date of 250 B.C. since that is when the Old Testament was translated into Greek.

In calculating odds of probability, scientists agree that 10 ^ -50 is the same as zero - impossible.

Professor Peter Stoner, himself a sceptic and former Editor of ‘Science Digest’ has calculated that the odds of the prophecies of what happened to Jesus on the last day of His life here on earth, to be 10 ^ -157, against them coming true in one man, accidentally.

This information will have zero positive impact on sceptics like Glen and Flute or even TAM. They will just say something like, "Well, that just proves that those things couldn't have happened the way the Bible says they did."

On the other hand, honest spiritual seekers should give a pause for thought about what exactly took place at the end of Jesus' life on earth.

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

. Betrayed by a friend
. Sold for 30 Pieces of silver
. Money "thrown" into God’s house
. His best friends would all run away and desert Him
. People would lie about Him in order to get Him killed
. He never said a thing to defend Himself, such as “That’s a lie” or “I didn’t do that.”
. He was killed by crucifixion
. He asked God to forgive those who were killing Him
. Hated without cause
. Friends stood afar off
. Soldiers would gamble for His clothes
. They’d offer Him a pain killer to drink
. His forsaken cry - “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.”
. Committed himself to God - “Into they hand I commit My spirit.”
. Bones not broken
. His side pierced with a spear
. Darkness at noon
. Buried in a rich man’s grave

Neither Jesus nor His disciples had any control over the prophecies about:
. Place of birth
. Time of birth
. Manner of birth
. Betrayal
. Manner of death
. People’s reaction
. Piercing, and
. Burial

Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” The life of Jesus was put before us in such a way that no one need mistake who He was or is.

From which race He would be born into, right down to the town He would be born in, we have a record of His life on earth before it even began.

What Do You Think of That?

What do you think of a book that predicts - spot on - the rise, the fall and the rise again of one of the most insignificant countries of the world?

What do you think of a book that predicts - spot on - that this insignificant country would one day become the most influential country in the world? A country around which the safety of all the other nations of the world rotates. This too is foretold.

What do you think of a book that predicts - spot on - the coming Messiah; right from the town He would be born into, to the race He would be born into, to the manner of His death?

What do you think of a book that predicts - soon to be fulfilled - that one day it will be declared wrong to eat meat? And this, predicted thousands of years ago when animal sacrifice and animal consumption was a daily occurrence.

Of course, if it was Nostradamus or some such character making these prophecies, even atheists would be all over it. They'd be oooing and aaaawing and saying, "Did you read this? What does he say is going to happen next?"

Since it's the Bible making these and other incredibly accurate prophesies, well, these intelligent people just ignore it and go on with their day.

Same then as today

I was skipping through the Gospels today and noticed, once again how human nature simply does not change from generation to generation. Concerning Jesus’ resurrection:

Some of the people believed immediately upon seeing the evidence. The tomb was empty. They’d remembered His repeated predictions that He would be killed and rise again and they said, “He’s alive.” Immediately they went to tell others.

Some of the people believed only after checking out what they’d heard. They saw the empty tomb as well as the grave clothes still wrapped like a cocoon. The 90 or so metres of strips of clothe were not strewn about as would be the case with grave robbers. And of course no one, let alone someone on the verge of death could have fought His way out of all that clothe that was stuck together with almost 50kilos of sticky resin and spices. These people accepted that not only Old Testament prophecy about Messiah, but Jesus’ own prophecies had come true.

Some of the people believed only after having Jesus appear right in front of them. They were not going to go on hearsay or even eyewitness testimony. Even the physical evidence of the empty tomb was not enough for them. After all, dead people do not come alive by natural means. These people needed to see Jesus, hear Him speak, watch Him eat and feel his wounds with their own hands before they would admit that yes, “He’s alive.”

Whatever evidence was available, it was enough to change sceptics into believers. Whatever evidence was available, it turned cowards into fearless evangelists. Because they could believe with confidence, so can we.

Then, as is today, however, there were those for whom no amount of evidence was, is or ever will be enough. I often use the comparison with the holocaust in an attempt to show atheists that their stance in denying God’s existence is not evidence-based but presuppositional in nature. When I make this comparison, atheists come back with how the holocaust was documented thoroughly via photographs and in writing. The history of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is only attested to by documents that atheists reject before they’ve even read them. Atheists don’t get it. The point I’m making is that NO amount of evidence is good enough for those who don’t want to believe in the holocaust NOR for those who don’t want to accept the life of Jesus as proclaimed in these ancient documents.

And so, we have men and women the world over who, because of what Jesus has done on the cross, are pardoned from sin. They have been set free from their prison sentence yet they refuse to leave their cell. Mired in doubt and fear, bitterness and resentment, atheists steadfastly maintain that the evidence before them means nothing. The plea of people to “Come home! You’re free to come home!” falls on deaf ears.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lord, I'm Wlling

Lord, I am willing

To receive what You give;

To lack what You withhold;

To relinquish what You take;

To suffer what You inflict;

To be what You require.
Author unknown - quoted in Growing Your Faith: How to Mature in Christ (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2004) 181

Thank You Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth, for revealing Yourself to me and to billions upon billions of others. Thank You for giving to me belief and trust in You so sound and so sure that I can lie down and sleep in peace because I know that You, O Lord, provide for my safety.

Abdel Baset al-Megrahi,

(CNN) Convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, earlier said to be dying of cancer by Scottish officials, was seen yesterday looking anything but near death. Surprising to most, al-Megrahi was not heading for palliative care in Lybia. Instead he was seen running through the Mediterranean surf with none other than Kate Gosslin.

“I’m outraged by all of this,” snorted Jon Gosslin, estranged husband of Kate. Pushing back what looked to be an 18 year old wanna be model who was licking his ear, Jon whined, "It’s her week to be with the kids and there she is getting all jacked up with this, this, old Libyan fart.”

“I knew it would come to this,” said a concerned European official who asked to not be named. “It’s not that we gave a damn if Abdel was released. It’s all this publicity that we were trying to avoid. We told Mortimer Gadfly in no uncertain terms, "Take him. He's yours. But by zeus, if you leak a word of this to anyone, once we've used up this 900 billion dollars worth of oil, we might not come back for any more."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain stated that he is going to the same resort as Gosslin and Abdel first thing tomorrow morning to, “Have a sit down with Ms. Gosslin. We need to get the facts straight about just how long they're going to stay on the beach where people can see them. After all, if another crisis in the world doesn’t arise and arise soon, the public is going to see the duplicity on the part of all of us leaders. If that happens, well, oil deals have been lost over less. Before this weekend, something dramatic has to come up so that the public says, "Oh look! A squirrel!" Perhaps Britney Spears will twist an ankle or something.”

What God is This?

I wished that I’d kept track of how often I’ve heard it. It’s at least a dozen or more times now that I’ve heard atheists who say,

“If God turns out to be real, I’m sure that He’s a forgiving and loving God, so all will be well.”

Does that make you smile? It does me - In a “What’s up with that?” kind of way. I mean, where do they get this idea of God from? I know atheists flip back and forth between "God wants to torture me," and "I'm sure God will forgive me," oh, and the old stand-by "God doesn't exist," but this saving God is a little silly.

Just what God are they thinking about when they say stuff like this? Is there any evidence for such a Deity? In any religion in the world, besides those new agey goofy kind of religions, is there any evidence for such a Deity? I know from experience that certain drugs can make a person feel like such a Being must exist, but, you know, that’s not exactly something that can be called reality. So do atheists think that just because this is who they WANT God to be, this is how He WILL be?

Of course, the God of Christianity is loving AND forgiving. He’s slow to anger and full of grace and mercy. However, He’s also infinitely Just. Sin will be punished wherever it’s found. No one gets off free of charge. God has clearly and concisely laid out the criteria for forgiveness and He isn’t about to just chuck it because some atheist dreams that He will. This forgiveness cost Jesus not only His life in a manner as vile as any that humans have devised. Jesus, for us, bore the full wrath of God against our sins. This is something so horrific that none of us can imagine or comprehend what it would be like.

Of course this shouldn’t surprise. That atheists live in a dreamworld I mean. They do the same with naturalism and the origins of the universe. Not just in the absence of evidence but in the face of counter evidence for a natural cause, atheists paste on their intelligent look and say, “It could happen.”

I shouldn’t smile. It’s actually kind of sad.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Don’t Do The Crime If You Can’t Do The Time

Imagine that you’re a Judge, a Magistrate. You sit in the Court of the land and wield power and consequence over people’s lives. You dispense justice to those who stand before you, guilty as charged.

Your own life however is not free from the consequence of crime. One day, your three-year-old Son is taken from your backyard. All the worst is done to him. His bruised and beaten body is found a week later. It had been thrown by the side of the road like a piece of garbage. The perpetrator is finally caught. I’ll call him Mark. Your Son’s rape, torture and murder was recorded and copies, ready to be shipped, were discovered in Mark’s apartment. Mark’s parents and friends are in shock. “Mark was such a nice person. He’d never hurt anyone.”
Two questions emerge:

The first question is, What should Mark’s punishment entail? In order for Mark to pay his debt to society and to render himself whole and fit and worthy of redemption:
a) Should Mark have to wash his hands and pray five times per day?

b) Should Mark be made to light incense and place food before an alter every day?

c) Should Mark spend the rest of his life trying to be as good a person as he can be?

Would that do it? Would any of these behaviours on the part of Mark be enough to appease the parents of this murdered child? Would any of these things be a just punishment, a deserving sentence for what he’s done? Would you be satisfied if that’s all that a child rapist, torturer, pornographer and murderer had to do? Or -

d) Should Mark be made to forfeit his freedom if not his very life?

The second question is, Who should experience the punishment of committing these horrific crimes?

a) According to one neighbour, an atheist, it was the fault of Mark’s Father that he turned out so cruel and heartless. Mark was practically innocent in this, just a pawn of an unjust and unfair society.

b) According to another atheist neighbour, since the universe is devoid of objective morals or concepts like right and wrong, there is absolutely no evidence that any crime has been committed. Therefore it would be unfair for anyone to be punished.

c) According to you, there is only one punishment that would be just. Mark should be the one to pay and he should not be allowed to reenter society ever again.

I’ve used the example of child murder and rape because it’s a behaviour that still repulses many people. It’s a act that still makes many people want to see the guilty party permanently removed from our presence. Yet we’re intimidated by the sickest members of our society to the point that we dare not do anything about it. Not in any real sense, that is. Not in any way that would make a real difference. That fact is, we’ve grown accustomed to sin. We’ve come to savour our sin like pigs bask in filth. We know at some level that if we require someone else to change their ways, it might come back on us in such a way as to require changes in our own lifestyle. It’s far better to just let the odd rape and murder take place.

Of course, from an atheist’s perspective there is no God. That means, even from an atheist’s point of view that the real rape of children, the real degrading of women and the real destruction of our planet is our fault. Knowing that we tolerate sin, promote evil and glorify the wickedness that is smothering us in the stench of spiritual death. God agrees with atheists that the evil that is present in the world IS our fault. According to God, our Creator, the wrong that we do are crimes committed against Him. King David got it right when he said, “Against You and You alone have I sinned.” Regardless of how we see our crimes against God, He sees our open rebellion against Him as horrific. God sees our callous disregard for and the habitual mistreatment of beings created in His image as worthy of eternal banishment from His presence. The place of banishment is called Hell.

But wait! There’s a difference here, and the difference is dramatic.

God has made it clear that ritual, religious behaviours, or trying to be as good as we can, will not:

a) Do anything to prevent us from committing crimes against Him, nor

b) Come even close to being a just penalty for crimes already committed.

God has made it clear that claims of, “You shouldn’t punish me because I’m actually a pretty good person,” or “I didn’t do anything wrong,” are nothing more than a delusion. We’ve made it necessary for God’s one and only Son to die, to be tortured to death and pretending that it didn’t happen or that it wasn’t such a big deal isn’t going to cut it.

So who exactly is going to pay the penalty for our sin of rebellion, for our sin of destroying the earth and it’s inhabitants? Some think that trying to “work it off” should do the trick but God says that an eternity in exile isn’t even close to a Just penalty.

In the example above, many people would lose very little sleep if Mark was killed in exactly the same manner that he killed your little boy. Most would certainly have no problem with Mark spending the rest of his life in prison. No one would suggest that he should be forgiven for his crime and then be allowed to go absolutely free. That would seem insane. From a human perspective it certainly wouldn’t entail any sense or form of justice. Let me return to my story. You, Mark’s Judge as well as being Mark’s victim understand Mark. You know that he entered life with the deck stacked against him. Both parents were drug addicts. He suffered Fetal Alcohol brain damaged while in the womb. He never completed grade four and by ten years of age Mark was on the street fending for himself. Mark was also a victim of verbal, physical and sexual abuse. He’s been beaten and discouraged, helpless and hopeless for most of his life. You step down from behind the bench, take off your robe and move toward Mark in an attempt to hug him. Certain that you hate him and that you’re out for revenge, Mark recoils with, “What are you doing? Get away from me!”

Mark’s Judge - Mark, I too grew up on the street. One of my parents died of a drug overdose and the other died of a suicide. I too was sexually abused. I know the pain, and rejection and confusion and anger that you experienced as a child. I want to forgive you for what you've done to me.

Mark - But I killed your only Son.

Mark’s Judge - I know.

Mark - You should hate me.

Mark’s Judge - I know.

Mark - I deserve to die.

Mark’s Judge - I know.

Mark - I deserve to die at your hands.

Mark’s Judge - I know that Mark. But I want to forgive you.

Mark - Forgive me!! I’m a misfit, a freak. Whenever I’ve tried anything in life, I’ve screwed it up. No one will give me a first chance, so why would you give me a second?

Mark’s Judge - I know you. I love you. I’ll help you change.

Mark - I can’t learn.

Mark’s Judge - I’ll teach you. I’m very patient.

Mark - I don’t have any place to live. I’m a pariah to society. I’ll be hounded from place to place for the rest of my life.

Mark’s Judge - You’ll come and live with me.

Mark - Why are you doing this?

Mark’s Judge - I feel compassion for you. I know what it's like to live the life that you've lived. I want to forgive you and let you know what it’s like to live in the presence of love.

Mark - I’m too bad a person. I can’t accept your forgiveness.

Mark’s Judge - Mark, you have committed a very serious crime. You have hurt me more than you can ever imagine. If I were to sentence you to die it would be just and fair. I am offering you a clean slate, forgiveness for your crime, freedom from any and all guilt. It’s one or the other Mark, freedom or judgment. What’s it gonna be?

Mark - This is for real?

Mark’s Judge - Yes. It’s for real.

Mark - So I can experience your love and mercy and grace and forgiveness at absolutely no cost?

Mark’s Judge - Well, it’s free for you, but it cost me the life of my Son.

Falling on his knees before you, Mark cries, “I am so very sorry. How can you be so kind to someone like me? I promise to love you and serve you for the rest of my life. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you.

Mark’s Judge - You’re welcome Mark.

As I reread this, the ending sounds pretty cheesy. And you might say that something like that would never happen. If you are talking about life here on earth you are probably right. But God sees things differently than we do. God is shamelessly in love with us, His creation. He cares about us. He wants what’s best for us. He wants that so badly that He came to earth in the form of Jesus to do exactly what is described in the story above. Jesus didn’t come to earth to make sure our outside was clean. He came to change our hearts. Jesus allowed Himself to be tortured to death AND to take God's wrath toward sin upon Himself to make that possible.

That God is a God of love is beyond dispute.

On the other hand, God is Just. He’s absolutely, completely and totally Just. God is the definition of Just. Genuine crime and rebellion require a real consequence, a just and fair consequence. Someone has to do the time for the crime that’s been committed. In our Creator’s mind the just and fair consequence for our open rebellion against Him, and for destroying His Creation through our choice of sin over righteousness, all of which necessitated the death of His Son, is eternal banishment from His presence. It’s a prospect that is horrific beyond description.

The Bible tells us two important things in regard to our crimes.

- Every single one of us have sinned and fall short of God’s expectations for us.

- The just consequences of our sin is death, but there is a second chance to receive freedom from guilt through faith in Jesus, God’s Son.

What are we to do? There is no way for us to change things. We are born, no, we are conceived into a state of real guilt. We come into this world deserving the just, and righteous wrath of God. It is a situation that is impossible to repair, unless - UNLESS someone with the power to do something about it, does what we cannot do for ourselves. In this case, that someone is God Himself. He is our Judge and our Saviour. Because we are already guilty of the crime by the time we understand the consequences, God, in His mercy and grace gives us a second chance.

He says in effect:
If you will let Me, I will pay the consequence of your crime for you.

If you let Me, I will keep you from eternal banishment and instead bring you into my very own home.

If you let Me, I will lavish you with eternal gifts and riches beyond imagination.

If you let Me, I will die in your place and allow you to live forever in paradise.

All you have to do is let me do this for you, accept the deal, take the gift, make it yours.

Now, I ask. Who’s insane? Is it God, for offering to pay your penalty and then declaring you not guilty, or you for refusing to take Him up on the offer?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Day’s of Innocence

Do you remember those days? Days when the level of evil was “just right” not too much but just enough to make things exciting?

What people don’t realise is that our stopping point, our line in the sand, our enough is enough, well, that’s our children’s starting line. Where we adults say, “No more,” our children say, “What else?” I don’t even know what or who is at the top of sleaze any more but I can tell you this. One day, fifteen or twenty years from now, people will look back at the days of Marilyn Manson and such and see them as the good old days, the days of innocence. When life was safe.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why The Good?

Do you ever wonder about that? I write so often about the evil in the world but in reality it is just as great a wonder as to why there is good, and beauty and admirable things. If the universe, the world and we ourselves are just accidents of nature, why is there anything that is praise worthy and pure and lovely? We don't need those things for survival. Why do we recognise and long for excellence? Why do we strive for the perfect?

Other animals don’t behave this way. Other animals do enough to make it to the next day and that’s it. Not so with humans. Why? I believe it's because at some level we know that we were created for more than this. I believe we know at some level that something more than this exists. We long for eternity. Its echo courses through our veins and compels us to reach beyond our grasp.

I love you Lord. Thank you.

Friday, August 21, 2009

God & Hell: A Purposeful Relationship

"Hell is punishment. It’s not “just what happens” to people."

That's a comment by Flute. She is informing me that hell - the eternal separation from God, is something that God has deliberately prepared for those who reject His offer of salvation. Her enthusiasm almost makes it sound as though she's just stumbled onto this revelation.

She's right of course. You do have to make a deliberate decision to not accept God’s offer of rescue from hell. But what kind of a fool would do that? Everything that Flute describes is true. Hell is the complete and total absence of God’s love. There isn’t any place on earth that even comes close.

Now, atheists of couse say, ‘Only a monster would create a place like that.’

Well, God has 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 your love is absent!” They can't seem to get it through their logical minds that:
a) You CAN get rid of God, but
b) If you get rid of God it's going to be awful
c) This is a spiritual reality. It can't be any other way.

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. On the other hand, 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 don't 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.

Flute gave me some verses from the Bible that describe the "punishment" of hell. Yet, in order to do so, she had to deliberately climb over and step around these verses.

Daniel 12:1- 6 - Everyone whose name is written in the book will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake . . . to everlasting life. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens and those who lead many to righteousness like the stars for ever and ever.
John 5:28,29 - A time is coming when all who are in their greaves will hear His voice and come out - those who have done good will rise to live . . .
2nd Thessalonians 1:5 - All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God. God is just: He will give relief to you who are troubled.

Again Flute, help me understand why you ignore what could be yours? And if your answer is because you don’t believe it, then why do you obsess on hell which I assume you also don’t believe in?

"Hell is not so much eternal separation from God as it is the eternal presence of God in unmitigated wrath and fury."

That's close to correct. It's God's umitigated wrath and fury toward sin and those who have refused to separate themselves from sin. So my question becomes, When you know this Flute, why, why, why don’t you do something to make sure it never happens to you?

The Most Dangerous Beliefs In The World

As sad and bewildering as it is, the atheist belief that there are no objective truths is also profoundly dangerous. At least in my mind. Why? Because in the absence of objective truth, Might is Right and power rules the day. Everyone who has ever been in power knows this to be true. Anyone who has observed those in power knows this to be true.

“The obliteration of God - and therefore the objective standard for truth and morality - will usher in an age of nihilism, the rejection of all objective meaning and value.” Friedrich Nietzsche.

Richard Dawkins, on the one hand assures us that our genes rule and in turn dictate to us our thoughts, movements and behaviours.

"We are machines built by DNA whose purpose is to make more copies of the same DNA. This is every living object's sole reason for living. That the purpose of all life is to pass on their DNA means that all living things are descended from a long line of successful ancestors which can best be understood as fulfilling a purpose of propagating DNA. There is no purpose other than that" - From Christmas lectures for children 1991

On the other hand, and following the typical inconsistency and incoherency with which atheists must live out their time on earth,

“I see absolutely no reason why, understanding the way the world is, you therefore have to promote it. The Darwinian world is a very nasty place: the weakest go to the wall. There's no pity, no compassion. All those things I abhor, and I will work in my own life in the interests of thoroughly unDarwinian things like compassion." Nick Pollard talks to Dr. Richard Dawkins

That's atheists for you:
a) We can only do what our selfish-genes command us to do.
b) We must not allow our genes to dictate what we do.

a) I abhor the all of Christianity including caring for the weak
b) I must work to uphold Christian morals, values and obligations

On atheism, "truth" is what those in power tell you is truth. On atheism, those with the power to survive will dictate to you the nature of truth. I believe it was Plato who explained that “Justice is what the state does to its citizens.” Whatever is best for those in power becomes what is best for everyone. What is moral is what allows the powerful to remain in power. Objective truth is the enemy of this type of system and thus it must be eradicated. To eradicate objective truth, one must first do away with God and eventually you must do away with those who refuse to give Him up.

As has been empirically proven the world over, when those who are atheists gain power, Christians by the millions begin to disappear.

Have you notced?

Atheists rant and bluster about how awful a place hell is. “You’re tortured forever,” “You’ll be burned forever.”

And yet, and YET hell is exactly what atheists choose. “Hell? Yep. That’s for me. I will not allow God to bring me into heaven. I demand that I spend my eternity in hell, forever separated from God’s love.”

Now, either atheists really don’t believe that hell is as bad as they say, or, well, you decide.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

That’s not the freedom I wanted!

Have you ever noticed that for a kid with loving parents, in order to hurt h/his parents s/he has to hurt h/himself?

Have you ever noticed that because we're loved by Creator God, in order to lash out at God we have to do something harmful to ourselves and / or to others?

What is Love?

I often work with couples who are tearing at each other, and degrading each other and criticising each other and all the while they’re prefacing their statements with, “I love h/her but . . .”

When I hear that kind of ridiculous talk, I place on the wall across from the couple a definition of love as it is given to us in 1st Corinthians 13:4-8. It’s very effective in ending the stupid talk and allowing us to get down to work. As the song said, “The fear of being alone is not the same as being in love.”

Sadly, most of the people I work with have never seen what a good marriage looks like. They grew up with parents who were simply incapable of showing / giving real love. The problem with that is, if you haven’t seen real love, if you haven’t experience real love, it’s very, very difficult to get it right in your own relationships. In fact, unless Jesus invites you to become His student, it may very well be impossible to live in a marriage where real love is expressed to each other. Oh you may have a marriage that can appear as good as any other, maybe even better than most others. But it will still be a third rate marriage. In fact, the majority of people settle for far, far less than what we were meant to have. So, what does real love look and feel like?

Real Love Never Gives Up: While your anger may last for hours or even days, love and grace and mercy will always outlast that. Forgiveness will conquer resentment. “There but for the grace of God go I” will be a motto to live by.

Real Love cares more for others than for self: Love is kind and helpful, even to one’s enemies. Love is not harsh or filled with criticism, and it speaks words that will build up rather than tear down.

Real Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have: Love isn’t jealous, nor does it envy. It doesn’t become bitter or sarcastic because others have more or better things. Love is content with what God has given. Real love does not fantasise about someone other than your partner.

Real Love doesn’t brag: Real Love is not arrogant: Love is accepting of others who may have been given less that you; less intelligence, less beauty, less social decorum. Love especially doesn’t brag about putting someone in their place. Real love is gentle, humble, generous and kind.

Real Love doesn’t force itself on others: Real love shows respect and patience even when not getting what you want.

Real Love doesn’t have to be first: Love isn’t selfish. It doesn’t care if someone else slips into line. It lets others have the last desert. It does not run from abuse, but uses the abuse to help the abusive person change.

Real Love doesn’t fly off the handle: Love isn’t short-tempered or easily frustrated. Love sees the pain behind the problem person.

Real Love doesn’t keep score of sins: Love does not bring up the past or keep score of wrongs suffered. Love does not carry a grudge.

Real Love doesn’t revel when others grovel: A sure sign that love is lacking, is when person (a) wants person (b) to change, and when person (b) shows remorse and wants to change, person (a) will not accept the change. In the absence of love, person (a) will experience an overwhelming desire to punish or at least withhold forgiveness.

Real Love rejoices with the truth: Love and truth are partners. When you love someone you give them the freedom to speak the truth and to know the truth.

*Real Love puts up with anything: To bear with someone means you are not a rainy day friend. You are committed to the relationship. You don’t give up when the going gets tough. Real love does not get sidetracked or look for escape when others cause pain.

Real Love trusts God always: When you give others the benefit of the doubt, you show them God’s love. Love has an incurable confidence that God is at work in someone’s life and never gives up looking out for their best.

*Real Love Allows Consequences To Be The Teacher: While real love doesn’t “hit back” neither does it “accept” unacceptable behaviour. Real love does not allow a man to think that hitting his wife is acceptable. Real love does not allow a woman believe that repeated intoxication is acceptable. Real love does not allow a child to ignore rules. Real love allows consequences, natural, realistic consequences to fall where they may. Real love does not enable wrong behaviour.

A lack of love is a sure sign of the lack of God and the lack of an effective faith in one’s life. If you find yourself lacking in love, don’t walk further away from God, but turn to Him, run to Him, fall on your knees before Him, repent of your arrogance, and beg God to give to you His love. It’s a wonderful, bracing, strengthening experience.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My conscience is my authority

Many, many people, in the face of tragedy have broken away from the religious creed of their childhood, rejected the God of the Bible and set a course for what they believe to be freedom.

One atheist titled his post a while back, “NO FUCKING MASTERS!!”

Lesser men, like the one just mentioned, when confronted by unexplainable and unwelcoming challenges in life conclude that they couldn’t do any worse on their own, and proclaim that every man is a law unto himself, i.e., his own inner consciousness is a sufficient law. Of course drawing a line from suffering to the perceived sabotaging nature of an objective moral code is a broken line at best. Nevertheless, our desires seek only for opportunity and suffering presents as good an excuse as any for those looking to seize control of their lives.

The passion to strive for something greater or to become someone greater is noble. Even those who want no masters look for someone upon whom to base or mimic their direction or goal. As so often happens, those people who sail without a rudder completely miss the point. The authority to be worthy of being followed or imitated arises out of the nature of a superior moral integrity. It’s no advantage to follow just anyone who happens to be higher up in the scale of power or popularity than ourselves.

Atheists will be happy, I think, to hear me say that it’s no different for the religious. Many Christians say that because God has said a thing, therefore it is authoritative. Most have heard of the annoying bumper sticker: “God said it, I believe it, That’s the end of it.” I’m sorry to anyone whose been confronted with such ignorance.

On the other hand, those who are in an intentional relationship with God are there because they wanted to know what kind of God it was who said this or that. Is He a Being whose character does not contradict the moral basis of life? Atheists conclude that, Yes He is. Many of us have reached a different conclusion. Authority, must be of a moral, not a superstitious character. For some it’s good enough to say, “Because God has said so that’s good enough for me.” Or, “Because the creed of my Church has said so therefore it must be blindly followed” To their credit, atheists have rebelled at such nonsense.

As Napoleon said of Jesus, “Other men exercised authority by coercive means. Jesus Christ never did. His authority was worthy. He proved himself worthy not only in the domain of God, which we do not know, but in the domain of man, which we do know; He is worthy there, consequently He prevails . . .”

The authority of Jesus is not the authority of autocracy or coercion, but the authority of worth, to which all that is worthy in man bows down. It is only the unworthy in a man that does not bow down to worthy authority.