Posts Tagged ‘ Atheist ’

Religion Madness

It is time to look at that super-non-controversial word “religion”!

Some claim religion is for unthinking idiots or contrary to a relationship with God.

Some Christians claim “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.”

Atheists and other irreligious folks claim that religion is an opioid for the masses (Marx) or for those who don’t like to think.

Are these claims true?

Many scholars agree that our word for religion comes from the Latin:

religare: to bind, to connect

And therefore …
religio: obligation, bond, reverence

We therefore can understand religion as binding oneself to a set of obligations. Is this helpful?

Both Merriam-Webster and Oxford dictionaries have several definitions (look them up!), but I will focus on just a few:

Merriam-Webster uses:

  • commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
  • a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
  • a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

With some definitions of religious being:

  • relating to or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality
  • FERVENT or ZEALOUS

Oxford defines religion with:

  • A particular system of faith and worship.
  • A pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.

Personally, I would also clarify with a religion being:

  • A set of guidelines and beliefs that order life
  • or a shared collection of beliefs and practices.

This all should quell the religious fervor with which Christians deny that Christianity is a religion. We still set boundaries for any relationship which we faithfully follow, so this particular relationship is a religion. (But I get their meaning, so I will not harp too much on them for it … unless it gets in the way of or directly refutes firm doctrine.)

Conversely, this all implies that even atheism is a religion. Why?

The argument some atheists offer, that it is a lack of belief, is, frankly, stupid. It is a belief. It is incredibly difficult to prove scientifically that something supernatural (Beyond the natural) exists, so a lack of evidence in something beyond our understanding of space-time can only lead to one believing something … without evidence.

And before anyone argues atheism is not a blind faith, how did the universe or life on Earth begin? No experiment or evidence has yet to reveal these from a naturalistic origin. To claim we know how either of these began (apart from God) is being intellectually dishonest and anti-science. You must believe on faith that we may someday find these answers, even with little to no evidence supporting any of the myriad of claims for each beginning.

How is atheism (and along with it evolution and the climate change movement) not a religious belief, especially with the cultish celebrity-worship, demand for strict adherence to the teachings, and excommunication of people who disagree (or raise challenging questions, even from a sincere perspective)?

No matter the religion, Christian Scripture tells us what our religion should look like:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
James 1:27

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

Matthew 23: Basically, Jesus tells us that hypocrisy is setting rules and demands on others while not holding yourself to them. Do not make it more difficult for people to follow, make yourself look good, and take care of your own needs, yet neglect mercy, justice, and true faithfulness without really changing yourself.

Religion is not relationship denying nor for unthinking idiots.

Wise people have religion, for it sets the boundaries to live by to protect relationships and truth. To remove those rules and guidelines is to allow for any “truth”, and this leads to cultish behavior and/or anarchy. Just look at the state of the Western Church and pop-atheism and the global climate change scare.

Madness.

Give Me Five: What Is Faith?

I did not do the silly high five at the end of this video! Am I a horrible person? (Theologically speaking, technically yes … apart from Christ …)

But it is addressing that tantalizing question: What is faith?

Give Me 5: What Is Faith?

Many people do not really understand faith.

In a recent book, “A Manual for Creating Atheists”, philosopher Peter Boghossian defined faith as belief without evidence, pretending to know things you don’t really know.

But is this right?

In a word: no.

How does the Bible explain faith?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1, ESV

Another way of explaining faith is putting your beliefs into action. If you believe something to be true, prove it! Prove you are faithful to those beliefs by acting on them.

The most used example of what faith is is a chair. You can say you believe a chair will hold you up, but faith is proving it by sitting on the chair. Typically, you are acting on evidence. (In this case, you have been told chairs are for sitting on, and you may have seen other people sit in chairs.)

As Christians, we do not have a blind faith. The Bible is our evidence for God and Jesus.

The Bible has several prophecies about the coming Messiah who would take away our sins, and Jesus claimed He was the fulfillment of those prophecies. He made many claims to His deity, as well, and He said that He would prove it all by dying and rising again.

The Apostles and early disciples did not just write about things they heard. They claimed to have heard these things and seen the crucified and risen Jesus with their own eyes.

And the Bible is the most reliable ancient set of documents we have from antiquity, by far. Few experts contest this. (Maybe the actual events, but not that at least the New Testament is reliably from people from the First Century.)

Who lives with and uses faith?

Everyone.

It is not only Christians and the overtly religious. My evidence for this?

How about evolutionary theory: How is it claimed life began? Several chemicals somehow combined in the right amounts at the right time to create the building blocks for RNA and DNA, creating the first living cells.

How do we know it happened this way?

We don’t. No one was there to see it, and no one as recreated it in the lab to test this hypothesis. People simply believe it is true.

This is more like blind faith than Christianity!

As said before, everyone lives by some form of faith in someone or something throughout their days and lives. Faith is putting beliefs into action.

What do you think? Am I way too far off the mark? (I think most others are.)

How about we talk about, either in the comments (on this blog post or on the YouTube channel) or through the e-mail: Together@asimplemanofgod.com, or even at the Facebook page: a simple man of God.

Give Me 5: The Law

Welcome back, my little chickadees! Or something… And as a reminder, this is late due to technical issues. Hopefully later this week another one is coming!

This is the first of a new series of videos I will be making called Give Me 5. The premise is that in about five minutes (hopefully less, and not necessarily including the intro and a few other extras – like my little outtakes I sometimes put in) an apologetics approach (apologetics, again, coming from 1 Peter 3:15, in which we are told to always be ready to give a reasoned defense, Greek apologia, for our faith) will be used to answer some biblical/theological questions/challenges.

This first one is about The Law

Specifically, I am dealing with the question of what it means that Christians are not under the Law while also looking at the challenge from atheists and the irreligious that the Law, and more specifically the Ten Commandments, are useless and/or stupid.

Not Under the Law?

It is first helpful to realize that we are freed from the ceremonial or Levitical law. We no longer need to perform certain regulations and sacrifices to be made clean before God. He did that for us by sacrificing Christ on the cross.

Jesus summarized the Moral Law by quoting the two greatest Commandments:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Deuteronomy 6:5, ESV

you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Leviticus 19:18, ESV

Loving God can summarize the first three and a half Commandments, while loving people can summarize the second six and a half.

Why?

Non-controversial Commandments

When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, He tells us in verse two that “I am the Lord your God,” which tells is that all morality is based on who God is. Apart from God, there is no valid reason for morals. Obviously, atheists and the irreligious disagree with this.

God begins with the First Commandment (v. 3) that we should have no other gods. He created everything ever, so no one could be as powerful as He is. There simply are no other gods. Period. (This rules out other religions.) There is a God.

This leads to the Second Commandment (v. 4) that we are not to make idols. This is anything we create or is a part of God’s Creation that we give worship to. And before anyone argues that this does not happen: many people, such as astrophysicist Niel DeGrasse Tyson, argue that all of the elements were created in stars which blew up, spreading that stuff all over, so that we are mad up of this star stuff, therefore we should literally thank the stars that we are alive.

That is idolatry.

Which relates to Commandment Three (v. 7), that we do not use the Lord’s name in vain. This does mean not saying “G.D.” or “omg” and stuff like that, but more importantly it is claiming to be a follower of God (i.e. Christian) and do the very things Je says not to do (i.e. cuss people out, sleep around, lie, mistreat others, etc.)

Now it shifts to the halfsies Commandment, number four (v. 8): Observe the Sabbath. Atheists and the irreligious disregard this (and the first three Commandments) because it is all about the God they do not believe in, because it says that He spent six days creating and then rested, so we should, too.

However, they should not object to the idea of taking a day off every week! It is about rest! (Again, why this is not exactly reiterated in the New Testament is for another time, but essentially we have rest for our souls now with the hope of eternal Sabbath after Christ’s return.)

The other six Commandments should be what we all agree on(at least to some extent.

The For-Some-Reason-Controversial Commandments

  • Fifth: Honor your parents (v. 12)
  • Sixth: Do not murder (v. 13)
  • Seventh: Do not commit adultery (v. 14)
  • Eighth: Do not steal (v. 15)
  • Ninth: Do not lie (v. 16)
  • Tenth: Do not covet (v. 17)

What is there to disagree with?

God says to show respect to people (especially parents, which has become weird in the past few decades), do not murder, take a spouse from or stuff from, lie to or about, or desire to have the possessions and loved ones of other people.

Sure, our society now says that parents are largely irrelevant and that it is okay to want others’ stuff, including spouses. Even murder is seen as okay (i.e. abortion and assisted suicide).

But we do all agree that resting, showing respect to others, and not taking other people’s things, loved ones, or life are all good.

We also need to remember that God is the reason these are good, that we are even here to experience it all, and deserves all honor and worship.

If you want to debate, challenge, or question any of this, comment below or on the video, or even send an e-mail over to Together@asimplemanofgod.com.

God loves you!

Daniel

Shooting at God?

Another shooting happened this week.

This time, it was in Sutherland Springs, TX, at the First Baptist Church.

Let us remember all of those affected and pray for peace, forgiveness, and strength to move forward.

It looks like it may have been a “domestic dispute” between the shooter and his in-laws.

It also appears he was a preacher of Atheism and the downfall of Christianity.

Regardless, and before I knew these tidbits, I could not help but think:

Is this the post-Christian America we have been promised for years?

Here are some of the reasons I ask:

  • The usual call for stricter controls on guns and people began immediately.
  • Groups like Antifa (Anti-Fascists) are calling for stricter laws across the board.
  • There have been calls for how this is Christians’ fault, anyway, and to see how obviously their prayers were not being answered so how could there be any god.

First, Atheist and other non-religious groups have been calling for all forms of religion to be abolished and for “true human freedom” to reign, but without solid examples of how one must live. Now people wonder why our society seems to be going down the toilet. We removed moral absolutes, and they wonder why we act more like animals. It seems that without the Christian God to help teach us how to be self-controlled (Galatians 5:22-23), we rely on outward control. (i.e. More and stricter laws.)

This leads to the second point. We see groups claiming to be anti-fascist that promote known fascist governments. We see the call for the breakdown of walls between cultures with new walls to be up (such as wanting to celebrate what is great about other cultures but not letting those outside of those cultures dress up as them for Halloween). Because we cannot trust people to self-regulate (control their emotions), society must help by saying what others are allowed to think and do.

Finally, Christians and our God get mocked and blamed when this kind of violence erupts. Am I complaining about this as other prominent Christian leaders have been doing, perhaps calling for more protection for our religious beliefs\?

Actually, no.

This is what I expect to happen. Especially if we truly are a “post-Christian nation” … and if I believe the Bible.

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:11

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”
John 15:18-25

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

As we see society move farther away from God, I expect to see more people shooting at God — through shooting and otherwise attacking His people, the Church.

These things are crazy, stupid, and sad, but in a fallen world that lashes out at the very idea of God I expect it.

This should push us to pray all the more for peace, repentance, and the swift return of our Lord.

I Gotta Have Faith: Whose Fool Are You?

Welcome back, people of the internet!

Today’s topic: FAITH!

Why?

Recently, I have heard several people – including Richard Dawkins, AronRa (an atheist apologist?), Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye the Science Guy – all call faith in general, with Christians in particular, foolish.

These people claim that Christians believe with a blind faith, that they do not believe in the Bible or God for any good reason, but just because that is what they were told to believe.

Is this true?

What is faith?

According to Hebrews 11:1 (ESV):

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

So, what does this mean?

Basically, faith is trusting and believing something based on evidence. Something that is not seen is believed because there are things we can see and test that support it.

A popular example is a chair.

The chair looks sturdy. I have seen other chairs hold people up. Therefore, I have faith this chair will hold me up.

How do I know your faith is true?

Live it out. Show me. Sit on the chair. Show your faith by sitting.

Another example is a compass.

We believe a compass points north, because we have seen so many compasses point north.

(Though, it is possible a compass can be manipulated by magnets …)

“Ah,” you may say, “But that is science!”

Conviction of things unseen …

What evidence do we see of not seeing things in science?

A lot!

What about black holes?

We have never seen black holes, because they literally eat light. So, how do we know they exist? We have evidence they are there.

An interesting example from the past few years is the Higgs boson.

The Higgs boson is, essentially, what gives matter mass (the ability to have weight and substance). It was theorized using mathematics. The so-called “God particle” (actually, the “Oh my God particle”, from a note scribbled by a physicist) was officially discovered by slamming atoms together in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and using the resulting mathematical probabilities to “see” this “thing”.

In other words, it was seen through the symbols of mathematics.

It was not actually seen with eyes. Rather, it was predicted (hoped for) and then proved through mathematics. We used these symbols to express the evidence of what we cannot see to prove (have conviction) that it is there.

In the math.

Scientists use written symbols to find evidence of things unseen.

Sound familiar?

You could say I have faith that people have faith, even when they are “faithless.” Because I see the evidence.

They say “These words made out of symbols and numbers tell me this should be here, and I am going to believe it because all of the other math checks out, too.”

So, why do we as Christians believe the Bible?

Because we have these words that tell us about Jesus.

Some of you may remember the Four Core Facts I covered a few years ago. What does this have to do with anything?

The Four Core Facts:

  1. The Crucifixion (and Resurrection) of Jesus Christ
  2. The Despair of the Disciples
  3. The Change in the Disciples (Their despair becoming willingness to die for the truth of #1)
  4. The Conversion of Paul

If you are willing to objectively look at this evidence, you can see the evidence for the truth of God and His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.

That evidence includes that Jesus quoted the Old Testament, which we know existed before He was born, He claimed it was about Him, and then He claimed He would die and raise again.

And He did it! Thus validating what He said.

In fact, this is the ultimate evidence. Paul himself (you know, one of the most successful evangelists for the Church, having planted so many throughout the Roman Empire) said this is all that needed to be preached! (1 Corinthians 1:22-23, 2:1-2)

It could be argued that the Church itself is the biggest evidence.

Jesus proved it Himself.

So we do not believe it “Just because,” but because Jesus said He would die and come back and did.

One of many points of evidence of this kind of faith is Abraham.

God called Abraham to sacrifice his son. Some call this barbaric, but it really is not.

Abraham and his wife were way too old to have children, but God said “You will have a son.”

When God then called him to sacrifice this son, I can guarantee you that he thought something like, “Well, you said I would have a son through whom you would multiply my descendants, and here he is. You could easily bring him back to life, so though I may not like it, I will obey.”

God did not raise Isaac back to life (He did not need to), but He did do it with His own Son!

So there is faith: “I have seen the evidence. I may not see God. I may have seen Jesus Himself. I may not be able to see everything the Apostles and other disciples saw, but I see the written evidence.

People just do not want to accept the evidence.

So, whose fool are you?

Do have the foolish faith of a Christain or the foolish faith of those who say there is no God? (1 Corinthians 1-2)

I still have faith in science, even with a lot of people who do not believe the Bible, because the math and the science checks out and proves the validity.

I also have faith that God’s Word is true.