Thursday, February 22, 2018

IS JESUS JUST A SYMBOL OF WHO WE ARE?





One respondent wrote:

·       “Belief in the literal Jesus is an attempt to get self-worth from somewhere outside us, in which case it’s not self-worth.”

I responded:

I certainly agree that our “belief in the literal Jesus” is associated with our “attempt to get self-worth outside us.” We were never intended for autonomy but to find our worth AND completeness through a relationship with our Redeemer and Lover (Ephesians 3:16-19).

However, you believe that Jesus is merely “symbolic of…part of us.” Instead, the Bible teaches that He is far more than a symbol:

·       For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:16-20)

We also derive our self-worth through a relationship with Him:

·       God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:28-30)

It is only in Him that we have been made complete. Consequently, according to Jesus, He is everything to us:

·       “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” (John 15:5-6)

Jesus is a Person. He’s not just an idea or a symbol. He is our salvation.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

THE SCHOOL SHOOTER IS OUR CHILD





Who can blame our youthful school shooters? They are merely doing what their educated adult role models are doing – killing the young. However, what the abortionist does in a white robe and with a surgical scalpel, convinced that he is doing good, the shooter does convinced that there is no good.

The abortionist operates under veils of deception. He is just removing fetal tissue, right? He is not snuffing out a human life but freeing a mother from an unwanted burden. He is performing a service for society.

The shooter sees through these veils of delusion. He is able to reason, “I am just killing animals, consumers of food and air, beasts that need to make room for other less malignant beasts.

We’ve created the shooter. He is our child, nourished on the food we’ve made available to him, food he has faithfully consumed.

We have taught him, “Values are just relative – just clarify what your values are.” The shooter has faithfully learned this lesson and has dutifully acted upon it.

He is our child, a product of the society which has fed him his dreams and aspirations. He has learned to be true to his own feelings and has achieved the liberation necessary to follow them.

Will we acknowledge that he is our child, raised to fulfill the worldview of his parents? It is a godless worldview. It is a belief that everyone will face the same fate, whether a shooter, an abortionist, or a saint. All will be consumed by insects, whose final gulp will be our absolute end. Who can blame anyone who wants to live his short life authentically, according to his deepest desires? Without God, we cannot blame him.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

HOW I FIND FREEDOM IN THE BELIEF THAT I AM NOT WORTHY





I gladly recognize that I am unworthy of anything good that comes from God, and I find this realization to be liberating. It relieves me of the burden of maintaining a façade and of trying to impress and prove myself to others. It allows me to accept myself and to confront my failures, selfishness, and self-centeredness. I can now be me and not what I think will impress others.

Here’s out it works – those who humble themselves to admit the painful truth about themselves will be nurtured by God. Those who maintain the lie and exalt themselves will be allowed to reap its consequences.

Jesus illustrated this principle in the parable of the Prodigal Son who had made a mess of his life. He returned home to his father and humbled himself admitting his total unworthiness. However, when he did this, his father embraced him and honored him with a great celebration:

·       “And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” (Luke 15:20-24)

However, the father had another son who considered himself worthy. Ostensibly, he had done all the right things. However, his belief in his own worthiness made him contemptuous of his brother, and he refused to attend the celebration, thereby alienating himself from the rest of his family.

I have found joy by embracing the truth of my unworthiness before God. It has made me grateful for the many good things I have, knowing that I do not deserve them. It has also built for me bridges into the lives of others.

Therefore, it is not surprising that Jesus taught us that we should regard ourselves as unworthy servants:

·       “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” (Luke 17:10 ESV)

Instead, we are beloved servants who are always under our Master’s care.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

SKEPTICISM ABOUT THE CREATIVE POWER OF NATURAL SELECTION





The late evolutionist and wife of Carl Sagan, Lynn Margulis, discounted the adequacy of natural selection (NS) to explain evolution:

·       The critics, including the creationist critics, are right about their criticism [of natural selection]. It’s just that they’ve got nothing to offer but intelligent design or “God did it.” They have no alternatives that are scientific.

However, the claim that “God did it” is no more unscientific than the claim that “Naturalism did it.” Neither is directly scientifically provable or unprovable. Nevertheless, many evolutionists have been skeptical of NS.

Alfred Russell Wallace, a British naturalist and co-formulator with Charles Darwin of NS also had his doubts:

·       I found this argument [of natural selection] convincing until I attempted to explain the advanced state of human faculties.

The late Stephen Jay Gould, professor of paleoanthropology at Harvard University, had been dismissive of NS:

·       Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin's argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life's history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection. We view our data as so bad that we almost never see the very process we profess to study.

·       The essence of Darwinism lies in a single phrase: natural selection is the creative force of evolutionary change. No one denies that selection will play a negative role in eliminating the unfit. Darwinian theories require that it create the fit as well.

For NS to create a new function, at least five coordinated favorable mutations must be present simultaneously – a mathematical impossibility. Roger Lewin, author and former News Editor of Science Magazine, denied that NS could account for speciation:

·       It [natural selection] may have a stabilizing effect, but it does not promote speciation. It is not a creative force, as many people have suggested.

Dr. Colin Patterson, a senior palaeontologist at the British Museum of Natural History, is more than skeptical about the power of NS:

·       No one has ever produced a [new] species by mechanisms of natural selection. No one has ever got near it and most of the current argument in neo-Darwinism is about this question.

Pierre Paul Grassé, a former president of the French Academy of Sciences, denied the evidence for NS:

·       The "evolution in action" of J. Huxley and other biologists is simply the observation of demographic facts, local fluctuations of genotypes, geographical distributions. Often the species concerned have remained practically unchanged for hundreds of centuries! Fluctuation as a result of circumstances, with prior modification of the genome, does not imply evolution, and we have tangible proof of this in many panchronic species.

Kevin Padian, Professor in Department of Integrative Biology at University of California, Berkeley and Curator of Paleontology at UC Museum of Paleontology, actually ridiculed the idea of NS as a creative force:

·       How do major evolutionary changes get started? Does anyone still believe that populations sit around for tens of thousands of years, waiting for favorable mutations to occur (and just how does that happen, by the way?), then anxiously guard them until enough accumulate for selection to push the population toward new and useful change? There you have the mathematical arguments of Neo-Darwinism that Waddington and others rightly characterized as "vacuous." http://www.naturalselectionanddarwinism.com/confessions.html

How then are we to explain the variety of species? The fossil record of the Cambrian Explosion demonstrates that speciation occurred without NS with the sudden appearance of thousands of new species. Perhaps an intelligent (ID) explanation should be sought.

SCHOOL SHOOTINGS, PSYCHOTROPICS, EVOLUTION, AND MORAL RELATIVITY





If we are really concerned about school shootings, we should examine the factors that have numbed minds enabling them to commit the horrific. There are religions that numb the minds against the voice of the conscience. There are also the psychotropic medications that numb both mind and body to moral realities. It seems that most of our shooters were either on psychotropics or had recently got off of them.

However, there is another numbing factor that has given the “okay” to all forms of anti-social behavior. God has become the one taboo within our school system. Teachers cannot pray, carry a Bible, or say even one thing in favor of Jesus. Meanwhile, they can promote every God-denying philosophy and sexual aberration imaginable.

Within this God-vacuum, many substitutes have poured in to fill the gap. Instead of trusting in God, students are instructed that they should trust in themselves and find their strength and truth within. However, many of the things they encounter within themselves are not moral.

Instead of teaching objective moral laws and principles - and these can only be justified by the existence of One law-Giver – the schools have taught “morals clarification” (MC) exercises. These exercises neglect any consideration that we are accountable before God. Instead, MC has the students clarifying for themselves what they truly believe to be right. Whether it is bullying or seeking revenge, they have to be clear within themselves. And evidently, they are getting the message.

MC is an arm of moral relativism that denies the existence of any objective moral truths. Instead, morality is merely what we create, what works for us. Consequently, if someone is drawn to evil, they can simply invoke the truths of evolution, that the human is just another animal. How do we treat animals? We eat them and work them. This is how serial killers have justified their murders. Jeffrey Dahmer, who had been murdered in prison, related:

·        “If a person doesn’t think there is a God to be accountable to, then—then what’s the point of trying to modify your behaviour to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought anyway. I always believed the theory of evolution as truth, that we all just came from the slime. When we, when we died, you know, that was it, there is nothing…” (in an interview with Stone Phillips, Dateline NBC, Nov. 29, 1994)

Executed serial killer and attorney, Ted Bundy, invoked “scientific enlightenment,” another way of invoking evolution:

·       “Then I learned that all moral judgments are “value judgments,” that all value judgments are subjective, and that none can be proved to be either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’…And I quickly discovered that the greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable value judgment that I was bound to respect the rights of others…Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as ‘moral’ or ‘good’ and others as ‘immoral’ or ‘bad’? That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me – after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and uninhibited self.” (Christian Research Journal, Vol 33, No 2, 2010, 32)

The human heart has always been a reservoir for evil thoughts. However, now we have a generous supply of mind and conscience-numbing resources to give wings to these thoughts and send them soaring.

God-given moral absolutes can no longer be excluded from the conversation unless we are content to witness a steady flow of school-shooters. Would this discussion represent the establishment of a religion? No more than the promotion of moral relativism or any other philosophy our schools want to foist upon their students!