Tag Archives: christianity

Accepting The Bad Things From God

“Are we to accept the good that comes from God but not accept the bad?”  Job posed this good-friday-2153822_640to his wife after she questioned his continuing commitment to God, the source of all the calamity that had befallen them.  “Curse God and die!” she exclaimed.  In the course of a day more than 10,000 of Job’s animals were stolen or destroyed, his servants were killed and a collapsed house crushed his seven sons and three daughters.  As Job sat on the outskirts of town scraping his recently acquired skin disease with a fragment of broken pottery, his wife in whom faith did not run so deep, held not for God the same loyalty or affection that Job possessed.

Many of us hypocrites may rush to judge Job’s wife.  How can she curse her own husband and God?  Let’s ignore our self-righteousness for a moment and consider this woman too, lost everyone she loved and everything she had.  Now also her husband has been stricken with illness and appears likely to die.  What more can God take from them?

The story of Job is a fascinating account of God’s willingness to allow pain and suffering.  How can a good and loving God inflict such calamity? Whether you are dealing with the extreme pain of losing a loved one or are furious with your flat tire on the way to work, no disaster, disease, heartbreak or hiccup is usually welcome.  I am as guilty of shaking my fist at God as Job’s wife and I have lost far less.

Consider the story’s beginning and what God asks of Satan.  “Have you met my servant, Job? He is a very good man! Unlike any other on earth.  He so believes in me that he seeks in all things to honor Me and deliberately avoids evil in all of his affairs.  His character is spotless, his integrity unquestioned.”

Satan was sure if catastrophe befell Job that he would turn from God, yield to what Job’s wife had suggested and curse Him.  God picked Job as his champion to prove the devil wrong.  Yes, this victory came at a high cost, but God blessed Job once again before he passed and on that day of judgement, Job will reunite with his sons and daughters once more.

When hardships strike you, consider that you are being accused and quite possibly God has selected you as his/her champion.  The next time you are alone and weeping in the dark insert your name in for Job’s and hear God’s voice as he speaks to your accuser.

“Have you met my servant, Kyle?  He is a very good man!”

“Have you met my servant, Shannon? She is a very good woman!”

“Have you met my servant, Paul? He seeks in all things to honor Me.”

“Have you met my servant, Danielle? Her character is spotless, her integrity unquestioned.”

The losses and pain we inevitably experience in this world are devastating but compared to the rewards God offers us throughout eternity, our suffering in this age shall feel no more painful than a mild splinter….if only we can remain faithful and endure.  Remember who willingly suffered in our place to ensure our victory.

Would You Accept Proof of God’s Existence?

Searching for evidence of God? As I watch talks given by pastors and apologists such as Ravi Zacharias, John Lennox, William Lsuperman-1275374_640ane Craig and many others who provide “evidence”, I find interesting that a great deal of the skeptics ignore the supporting facts and will accept nothing but proof.  I wonder though what proof could be provided and if they would even believe it!

First I will quickly review a bit of the evidence put forth pointing to a creator. Now for those die-hard skeptics the purpose of this post is not to incite an epic argument which eventually leaves me in a quivering heap as I wither under the onslaught of angry comments.  Please remember, I love you. I’m not attacking your beliefs!  I’m merely re-presenting the evidence that has been put forth thus far and postulating whether any evidence or proof would be sufficient to sway skeptic’s mind.

Evidence:

  • The universe had a beginning and was created from absolutely nothing.
  • The universe appears highly designed.
  • The Earth is extremely fine tuned  to support intelligent life. So much so that the odds of another planet with intelligent life existing in the known universe is 1 in 10 to the power of 138.
  • Science cannot explain how the existence of life came into being by random chance.
  • Science cannot explain the mind/consciousness.
  • Macro-evolution is unsupported largely by the fossil record, the fact that mutations are genetic dead ends, and irreducible complexity.  And as mentioned, evolution cannot explain origin.
  • Jesus existed was crucified and we have “evidence” the tomb was empty.
  • Jesus fulfilled 60 major prophecies concerning his life and death and was seen post-resurrection by 500 witnesses.

There is a great deal more evidence but those are a few of the big ones.  Now sure, we can argue how I have it all wrong or that I’m naive.  I recall a commenter on one of Professor John Lennox’s lectures calling him a “God-Tard” which frankly I found humorous in its immaturity.

Yes, it is true.  I have a personal relationship with God and therefore I may examine the evidence in a biased manner that inclines me more to see our Lord than to see blind naturalism or materialism.  Here therefore are two unbiased quotes from atheist scientists.

“A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.” Fred Hoyle, Astronomer.

“Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural.  We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…because we have a prior commitment to materialism.  Moreover that materialism is absolute for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door.”  Richard Lewontin, Darwinist

Now just as some scientists have a prior commitment to materialism I too have a commitment to God.  But the real question is this: What proof for God’s existence will the skeptic accept?  In the documentary, “Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed” I heard Richard Dawkins, a very outspoken evolutionist, suggest that alien intervention could explain the origin of first life on earth. Does this seem more plausible then a creator? While it may offer an alternative to how life came to be, it in no way solves the problem of how our life supporting earth came into existence or the fact that the existence of our universe is pretty much a miracle in the first place.  Believing in aliens when we know the likelihood of their existence is 1 in a zillion, seems like a greater leap of faith than to believe in a creator.

If Jesus appeared in the clouds in the future as discussed in the Bible, would we really believe he was Jesus? If he came to earth and walked across the face of the water, calmed a storm or healed a man’s blindness with but a touch, would that be enough to convince even the greatest skeptic? I suggest that for some they would rather be comforted with the belief that a super being from another planet was stopping in for a visit than to believe there was an all-powerful God to which they might be held morally accountable.

“We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning, the Christian meaning, they insisted of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.” Aldous Huxley, End and Means

The Bible sums up the passage above clearly.

For what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood from His workmanship, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened in their foolish hearts.” Romans 1:19-21

I feel to call anyone a “fool” in today’s information age is unfair.  We are constantly bombarded by fake news and facts to such a degree we find ourselves at social gatherings retelling very embarrassing untruths.  I hope with this post I have not added to the confusion. But one book, the best selling book, has stood the test of time and scrutiny.  The Bible.  If you want truth, and your mind is open, you will find it in there.

God bless!

When We Reject Jesus, What Are We Really Rejecting?

“Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not cross-918459_640withhold your shirt from him either.”

“I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

“Do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn and you will not be condemned, pardon and you will be pardoned.”

“For what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his soul?”

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The more I speak with non-believers or God haters I’m astounded by how little they know about what Jesus taught or how far they will go to forget what he said.  Their argument that religion “poisons everything” is thin when you read the words above from Jesus.  What part of “love your neighbor as yourself” is toxic to the world? How could, pray for your enemies, don’t condemn others and give freely, be considered venomous?  I suggest that if more people practiced these teachings we would have less of the problems in the world for which the haters blame God.  And yet by hating God and denying his blueprint for life they inevitably create the world around them in which they don’t want to live and blame God for it rather than themselves.  An alcoholic can’t blame his sponsor for the DUI he received.

When the instructions above are spoken and taught by Martin Luther King or Mother Teresa you would not hear people saying, “I hate MLK!” or “Mother Teresa’s teachings are responsible for evil in the world.”  No, they are honored or at the least respected and no one hated them for what they taught.

If we agree that love, forgiveness and selflessness are good attributes then why the rancor for Jesus?  I can’t answer this.  I hear “Crusades” mentioned every now and then.  “Pain” and “suffering” are thrown around a bit but I don’t recall Jesus dishing out too much of that while he was on the earth.  On the contrary he healed people of blindness, paralyses and even brought his buddy Lazarus back to life.  Some say religion causes all the wars but Jesus instructed his disciples not to resist the guards arresting him because as he told Peter, those who live by the sword, die by the sword.

Regardless of whether Jesus is the son of God or whether his miracles are truly historic, still why are his teachings rejected?  G.K. Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and find wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.”  I submit this is why so many reject Christ’s divinity, his teachings and even his historical existence, because they can’t endure the shame of stumbling on the path on which Jesus wanted Christians to travel.

Alice Cooper once said, “Trashing a hotel room is easy, getting drunk is easy, being a Christian, that’s true rebellion.”  Resisting the lusts of this world whether they be sex, alcohol, money, lies, slander, whatever it is that so easily holds you in bondage, is more difficult than Jesus’ way.  As many struggle each day with their addictions and shortcomings they learn that stumbling short of Jesus’ expectations for them is one more fall they can’t handle.  Dismissing God’s rules or even God himself and declaring oneself a “good person” is far easier than bending a knee and asking God’s forgiveness for falling in the traps we incorrectly accuse God of setting.

Jesus loves you.  He knew long before your grandparents were born that you would fall short of the sinless life he lead.  This is why he submitted to dying on the cross for you which I suggest was much harder for him than asking for his forgiveness is for us.  God’s path is more difficult but don’t think no reward is waiting for you at the finish line.

The next time you are tempted to reject Jesus and therefore his teachings of love, compassion, selflessness and peace, ask yourself this question:

Does no evidence truly exist for the existence of Jesus, the empty tomb and his resurrection? Does no evidence really exist for a creator?  Before blurting out “no” I encourage you to watch one or two of these videos with an open mind and an open heart.  The speakers in all three of these videos were once staunch atheists until they were challenged to examine the evidence.  God bless!

Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels

The Bible is True! The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict

Atheist Journalist Turns To Christ After Investigating Evidence

Christian Apologetics: Why Do Believers Need It?

As Christians we take the Bible and all the accounts within as fact.  We do not dispute that God Ravi2
created the heavens and the earth, all the life forms on it and that he sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for us.  As Christians the Bible represents a source of hope and inspiration.  It is a means by which we can share Jesus’ good news with others.  To lift them up, brush them off and through the Bible’s teachings show others the love God has for us.  The Bible is a handbook for how we should live and treat others but possesses also the assurances that Jesus will not abandon us in this broken world.

Inevitably as more people leave Christianity and turn to disbelief or at the least agnosticism, how will you bring people back into the flock? The Bible is a great start of course but how do you respond when the non-believer says, “I don’t believe in the Bible?”  For many individuals, young adults especially, no God is more convenient than one to whom their actions are accountable and so they latch on to theories and scientific discoveries thrown at them by their atheist professors and friends.  This might be why some suggest that as much as 40-50% of Christian youths abandon their faith during their college years.

The problem us church going Christians have is that the Bible cannot prove itself.  In other words the Bible won’t be accepted as true just because the Bible says it is true.  Without the Bible to prove our case we may find ourselves like defense attorneys at a murder trial who have discovered their key defense witness has just been ruled inadmissible.

Even more problematic, many well-known atheists are brilliant professors with PHDs who continue preying on and corrupting young minds with their best-selling books.  How as Christians do we counter the arguments of such brilliant minds when popular voices such as Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye and Neil Degrasse Tyson provide evidence that no God exists and that the Bible cannot be trusted?

This is the need for Christian apologists. For every best-selling doubter such as Sam Harris, Bart Ehrman or Dawkins, Christians also have an equally brilliant apologist such as Prof. John Lennox, Dr. William Lane Craig or Ravi Zacharias.  These gentlemen and others debate the atheists and answer the difficult questions that students around the country ask such as:

How do we know Jesus really existed or that the disciples didn’t make up his resurrection as a hoax? If the individual does not believe in the Bible then using the Bible as evidence for Jesus’ existence will not convince them.

How do we know that Jesus’ tomb was really empty?

How do we trust the Bible if it has been translated numerous times, has numerous errors and we do not have an original copy?

Stephen Hawking says in his book “The Grand Design” that the law of gravity explains how the universe created itself from nothing. Why then should we believe the Biblical account?

Why should I believe Genesis when Charles Darwin, all his present day acolytes and my textbooks claim that natural selection and random mutation explain the various species of animals on the earth and how we came to be?

How could the dinosaurs have lived hundreds of millions of years before man if God created man and dinosaur in the first week?

How do you argue the notion that you are a Christian only because you stayed within the faith in which you were raised?

How can you worship a God that promotes slavery and genocide?

1 Peter 3:15 says to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

Read the Bible. Study the Bible. Give hope to those who have none.  If the believer however refuses to admit the Bible as evidence, then what data will you be able to give for the hope you have?

For answers to a few of the questions I have provided please check out the following links:

Did Science Kill God? John Lennox at UCLA

Did Jesus Rise From the Dead? Yale 2014. William Lane Craig

Life’s toughest questions – Ravi Zacharias

Is God a Moral Monster? – Dr. Paul Copan

Why Can the Bible Be Trusted – Sean McDowell

Understanding Why Atheists Don’t Believe: 5 Reasons

Atheists, strictly speaking, are individuals who don’t believe in any God.  Many are content enough to say simply, “I don’t believe” and leave religion alone while others like Richard Dawkins, the late Christopher Hitchens and thousands of YouTube commenters, actively seek to ridicule, belittle

Prof. John Lennox

Prof. John Lennox

and even try to disprove an entity in which they don’t even believe!  A few go so far as even trying to disprove the historical existence of Jesus.  So why no love for our creator?  I’ve identified five reasons why atheists are so stirred to anger by our Father, our savior and our helper.

  1. Suffering: I won’t try to explain why God allows suffering because any words I could provide, especially to those who have recently experienced a great loss, would do little to satisfy their anguish nor could my words, through their pain, be read clearly enough to prove God’s existence.  I will say only that the existence of suffering whether it be instigated through man’s free will, natural disasters, or disease does not disprove God nor does it challenge that he is all loving.  Christian apologist, John Lennox, offers his much better insight on this through his presentation, “The Loud Absence: Where is God in Suffering?”   
  2. Religion causes all the wars: The 911 attacks provided material around which prominent atheists could rally and claim how throughout history and still today, like the 911 attacks, religion causes most conflicts.  I’m nearly certain that our American Revolution and our Civil War were not waged in Jesus’ name.  Additionally WWI and WWII could not be considered religious wars nor Korea or Vietnam.  One might argue that Hitler was a Christian and he waged war against the Jews in Christ’s name but those close to him knew he secretly despised Christianity and pretended to be a believer to gain the people’s support.  Regardless atheism is not blamed for Joseph Stalin’s slaughter of the Jewish people atheist though he was.  Likewise Charles Darwin was not ravaged because Hitler desired to create a master race through Darwin’s theory of natural selection.  We must also take care not to lump one religion in with others that may be more vocal about using violence to convert non-believers.
  3. God is cruel: God permits slavery. God commands genocide. God allows babies to be murdered.  As Christopher Hitchens one said, “God is a celestial North Korea.” Personally I find comparing God to an atheistic state to be ironic.  To understand God’s actions one must understand the context in which they occur and we must also understand God’s justice.  We expect the wicked to be punished. In fact most of us crave it.  How many of us shout in outrage over simple inconveniences inflicted upon us by our neighbors? So when God witnesses hundreds of years of theft, rape, murder, idolatry and child sacrifice among a people why do we disapprove of his judgment over them? Dr. Paul Copan does a good job of explaining God’s justice in his presentation, “Is God a Moral Monster.”
  4. Science: Science and evolution have, in atheist’s minds, disproved the existence of God.  Perhaps not too surprising, 93% of biologists in the National Academy of Sciences are either agnostic or atheist.  Many claim that evolution is fact and actually there are theistic evolutionists, meaning Christians who too believe in evolution.  With evolution the atheists claim we don’t need a God to explain from where all the complicated organisms, including ourselves, came and with various scientific laws physicists argue we don’t need a creator to explain the intelligent design of the universe.  Then how did our universe come into being? If it was void of time and space then no laws of physics existed. So then what or who kick started the whole process?  Additionally evolution can’t explain how life on earth first came into being.  Apologist Frank Turek gives a great lecture on this called, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.”
  5. They just don’t want to: Even if you gave the most credible arguments to God’s existence, even if the arguments countered and overwhelmed every contrary argument, many atheists simply won’t concede.  I’m sure you’ve seen a questionable call made in a professional sporting event which could decide the outcome of the game.  The way you view the call depends on which team you want to win.  If the call helps your team win, then the call was right, if your team loses as a result, then the call was wrong.  To atheists like Richard Dawkins or comedian Bill Maher, religion is just too dangerous and frankly too stupid to believe in.  Atheism needs to win and therefore no evidence will dissuade them from their faith.

Atheists have plenty more reasons why they don’t believe in God.  A few have merit while other opinions are birthed solely from an irrational hatred towards God.  Frank Turek summed up Christopher Hitchens’ book, God is Not Great in one sentence, “God is not real, and I hate him.”

I don’t hate atheists nor do I pity them.  I have friends who don’t believe. As I’ve heard John Lennox say, many of them put us Christians to shame in terms of morality.  If we are to be good Christians though let’s try our best to be good reflections of Christ and love even those who seek to ridicule us.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they (unbelievers) are without excuse.” Romans 1:20