Monday, July 10, 2017

THE STRONG ASSOCIATION BETWEEN ATHEISM, DARWINISM, COMMUNISM, AND GENOCIDE





When atheists argue that Christianity has been associated with horrors, I retort that atheistic communism has it beat, by a great leap forward. Some offer the conservative estimate that communists have murdered one hundred million in a few short decades.

However, atheists protest that atheism has nothing to do with communism, even though all of the well-known communists had also been atheists. For Karl Marx and the other communists, atheism was even an essential part of communism:

·       Marx stated: "Communism begins from the outset with atheism…He brandmarked also religion as "the heart of a heartless world."

Therefore, if religion is removed, so too will the “heartless world be removed:

·       He also advocated mass murder and terrorism as being the key practice of Communism, being directly inspired by the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. As he told Frederick Engels in their correspondences: “There is only one way of shortening, simplifying, and concentrating the bloodthirsty death-throes of the old society and the bloody birth pangs of the new--revolutionary terror. . . . [...] Once we are at the helm, we shall be obliged to reenact the year 1793 [the bloody French revolution]. [...] We are pitiless and we ask no pity from you. When our time comes, we shall not conceal terrorism with hypocritical phrases. . . The vengeance of the people will break forth with such ferocity that not even the year 1793 enables us to envisage it.” (Conservapedia)

Marx was not an anomaly. Militant atheism has come to be closely associated with all forms of repression. Atheist Gordon Stein wrote:

·       Atheism has long ceased to be a rare and oft-ignored philosophical outlook...It has transformed itself into an active political programme with clear objectives which, though they vary from state to state, unequivocally include the elimination of state religion, religious education, and the enshrinement of scientism. (Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion, 74).

It was atheism that had emboldened both the French and Communist revolutions. Understandably, Marx had been a Darwinist:

·       "Darwin's book is very important and serves me as a basis in natural science for the class struggle in history."

How does the atheistic embrace of Darwinism play out? Dr. Carl Wieland published an article entitled “The Blood-Stained Century of Evolution”:

·       Communism also took evolution to its logical conclusion. If everything just evolved from “natural law,” then man's opinion, not God's Word, determines what is right and wrong. If the working class can take power by armed struggle, then this is 'right,' regardless of how many must die to bring in the socialist paradise. Communism's death toll far outranks the Nazis'—probably more than 90 million worldwide.

As Wieland argued, atheism used Darwinism to justify genocide:

·       Some have suggested that the bloodthirsty deeds of Stalin were an 'aberration' from the revolution's ideals. However, it was Lenin, the 'father' of the Russian revolution, who 'perfected the science of mass killings,' and total, merciless brutality as the ultimate method of political control. Evolution was the chief tool used to brainwash communism's masses into 'scientific atheism.' If everything just evolved, then everything is at the whim of the most powerful, and there is no Maker to whom to be answerable. Hence Stalin’s belief that killing millions of people was no worse than mowing your lawn (grass is our cousin in evolutionary doctrine).

Wieland pointed to the fact that Mao also killed his millions through the inspiration of atheism and Darwinism:

·       Mao's reign of terror and lies resulted in the deaths of tens of millions. It is no coincidence that his two favorite books were by the evolutionists Darwin and Huxley. With millions dying from his forced famine, his physician records that Mao said, 'We have so many people we can afford to lose a few.' His successors have since persecuted and killed hundreds of thousands more.

It seems that the communists were all atheists, and they regarded atheism as inseparable from communism. The evil capitalist were supported by religion, and so religion had to go:

·       Lenin agreed with Marx that "Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capital drown their human image, their demand for a life more or less worthy of man." As far as Lenin was concerned, it was quite understandable why the oppressed turn to religion: "Impotence of the exploited classes in their struggle against the exploiters... inevitably gives rise to the belief in a better life after death "

·       It seemed equally clear to Lenin why the capitalists turned to religion: [They] "are taught by religion to practice charity while on earth, thus offering them a very cheap way of justifying their entire existence as exploiters and selling them at a moderate price tickets to well-being in heaven."

·       Like Engels and Marx, Lenin believed that religion was an historical phenomenon, tied to the oppressive structures of human history such as feudalism and capitalism…In Lenin's words, "the yoke of religion that weighs upon mankind is merely a product and reflection of the economic yoke within society."

·       Lenin cites Marx and Engels that due to the fact that religion has deep roots in capitalist oppression, it will not disappear until the people completely overcome their oppression: He writes in The Attitude of the Workers' Party to Religion that "No educational book can eradicate religion from the minds of masses who are crushed by capitalist hard labour, and who are at the mercy or the blind destructive forces of capitalism, until those masses themselves learn to fight this root of religion, fight the rule of capital in all its forms, in a united, organised, planned and conscious way." (http://sfr-21.org/lenin-religion.html)

This would justify the use of any form of terror. Consequently, atheism has often been an engine for mass extermination. Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was asked to account for the great tragedies that occurred under the atheistic Soviet communist regime. He explained:

·       Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.”

·       Since then I have spend well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.” (Humber, Paul G. “Stalin's Brutal Faith,” Institute for Creation Research)

We often forget that Adolph Hitler was also a socialist – remember National Socialism – who hated religion, especially Christianity. In this regard, economist Thomas Sowell had argued that both Mussolini and Hitler had been embraced by the Left:

  • In Germany, the Nazis followed in the wake of the Italian Fascists, adding racism in general and anti-Semitism in particular, neither of which was part of Fascism in Italy or in Franco’s Spain. Even the Nazi variant of Fascism found favor on the Left when it was only a movement seeking power in the 1920s.

Both Sowell and Jonah Goldberg (“Liberal Fascism”) associated Fascism with the Left:

  • Fascism was not only looked on favorably by the Left but recognized as having kindred ideas, agendas, and assumptions. Only after Hitler and Mussolini disgraced themselves, mainly by their brutal military aggressions in the 1930s, did the Left distance itself from these international pariahs. Fascism, initially recognized as a kindred ideology of the Left, has since come down to us defined as being on “the Right” — indeed, as representing the farthest Right, supposedly further extensions of conservatism. If by conservatism you mean belief in free markets, limited government, and traditional morality, including religious influences, then these are all things that the Fascists opposed just as much as the Left does today. http://www.nationalreview.com/article/223648/who-fascist-thomas-sowell

Who was Hitler’s god and how did this affect his political agenda? In his new book, “Hitler’s Religion,” historian Richard Weikart attempts to pinpoint the beliefs had been central to Hitler’s worldview and his genocidal rampage. He identifies Nature:

·       Since Hitler thought that nature was God, he believed that morality was defined by conforming to nature’s laws.  One of the natural laws he thought most important was the Darwinian struggle for existence, which produced evolutionary progress.  Since the struggle in nature was vicious and resulted in the strong destroying the weak, Hitler considered it good and right to viciously destroy the weak.  He thought this would bring about a better world with superior humans.  He thought he had divine approval for annihilating the allegedly inferior races and people with disabilities.

The 20th century has often observed a strong association between atheism, Darwinism, communism, and genocide. Perhaps we need to take note of this.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

IS SALVATION POSSIBLE FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN JESUS?





Scripture gives us no such hope. Jesus did not extend this hope to the Jewish leadership of His day:

·       “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24; ESV)

Without Jesus, the Mosaic Covenant would do them absolutely no good. To His own disciples, He warned that if they wanted the biblically promised salvation, it would have to come through Him:
 
·       Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

According to Jesus, salvation isn’t possible through other religions or teachers:

·       So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:7-10)

However, some believe that there is another way. While they might acknowledge that the only way to salvation is through Jesus and what He accomplished on the Cross, they claim that it is possible to receive the benefits of the Cross without faith in Jesus. Consequently, Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli have written:

·       If…“to become a Christian” means knowingly to profess [believe], then you do not need to be a Christian to be saved, or else Abraham is unsaved, and so are all who believe unorthodox ideas. How unorthodox do your ideas have to be to send you to hell? Where is the dividing line? Does God give you a theology exam? (Handbook of Christian Apologetics, 331)

According to Kreeft and Tacelli, our lack of certain beliefs (faith) cannot damn us. Therefore, faith in Jesus might be unnecessary. If Abraham was saved apart from a faith in Jesus, there must be many others who were also saved without the right beliefs in Jesus.

However, this argument is not Biblically sound. Abraham had believed what God had told Him. However, today, God has been revealing more, and this too must be believed if we truly have faith in Him. Paul had explained to the Athenians that, after the Cross, God expects more from humankind:

·       The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)

Consequently, the content of Abraham’s faith is no longer normative for us. While God still requires faith, He now requires faith in Jesus. However, Kreeft raises a deeper issue – Does God really care about theology exams and the correctness of our faith?

Well, what would be better than the requirement of faith? Perhaps nothing! If God used any other criterion for salvation, none of us would qualify:

·       "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." (Romans 3:10-12)

Consequently, salvation and everything else we mercifully receive from God can only be received as a gift (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 3:26-28; Gal. 3:1-5; 5:2-4), by grace. Therefore, it is ultimately God’s grace that saves us, but He saves through our beliefs and attitudes.

Kreeft demeans this means of salvation as a mere “theology exam,” something that sounds superficial to a loving relationship. However, our beliefs and thoughts are critical to God’s plan to reconcile us to Himself, especially in regards to our sin and guilt:

·       “Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people [Israel] have forgotten me, days without number… On your clothes men find the lifeblood of the innocent poor, though you did not catch them breaking in. Yet in spite of all this you say, 'I am innocent; he is not angry with me.' But I will pass judgment on you because you say, 'I have not sinned.'” (Jeremiah 2:32-35)

It is important that we recognize and confess our sins. This is necessary for any kind of reconciliation. Ordinarily, we live lives of denial and rationalizations, even hating the things of God, as Jesus taught:

·       “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19-20)

We must also believe that God blesses us if we seek Him:

·       And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

We have to believe that it is all about God’s mercy to us and not about our moral merit. This belief produces gratitude and guards against self-exalting pride and its flipside - depression. In summary, how we think (our beliefs) is not only how we are but also how we relate to others. If I think that I’m entitled to God’s forgiveness and salvation because of my moral rectitude, it will undermine any possible relationship I might try to develop with God.

However, it is not our thoughts alone that save us. The Devil had the right thoughts in this regard (James 2:19), but to no avail. Instead, the gift of faith is inseparable from a greater gift – the gift of a new heart (and the Spirit), which opens our eyes to the truths/doctrines of the Gospel and inclines us to be drawn to them.

In light of this, faith is far more than a “theology exam,” in which, if you produce the right answers, God will grant us entrance into heaven. This is a gross misrepresentation of both faith and God’s salvation.

Can we receive the grace of Christ without faith? The Bible gives us no explicit evidence of this. Instead, it seems that faith is absolutely necessary:

·       For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is CONDEMNED ALREADY, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:17-18)

·       Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not (“never” ESV) see life, for God's wrath remains on him. (John 3:36)

·       How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. (Hebrews 2:3)

But how about those who simply never heard about this “great salvation?” Will they be eternally condemned? It seems so:

·       For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:18-21)

It seems that, without faith, all know about God will fall under the “wrath of God,” instead of the salvation of God. And what of those who could not possess such knowledge? What about the salvation of babies and the aborted? We do not have any explicit Scriptural teaching on this subject. Instead, Scripture seems to leave this door slightly ajar:


·       "That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does NOT KNOW and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:47-48)

What then is the Good News that we must preach? Where Scripture remain uncertain, we too must remain uncertain. Where its teachings are clear, we too must be clear.

Is there any hope for those who could have known better? Not according to Scripture! If there is a secret hope for them, we must remain as silent as Scripture on the subject. The secret things of God must remain with God (Deuteronomy 29:29).

Thursday, July 6, 2017

CAN GOD BE OMNISCIENT WITHOUT IT NEGATING OUR FREEWILL?





Here is how the problem is usually stated:

·       If God has perfect foreknowledge, He knows exactly what we will do in the future. This means that we cannot choose to act in a way that violates His foreknowledge. Instead, we can only choose to act consistent with how He knows we will act. This means that we could not have acted otherwise. CONCLUSION: There is no room for freewill, and everything is determined by God’s foreknowledge.

Here is one possible resolution to the apparent conflict between our freewill and God's omniscience - While things MUST happen according to God's foreknowledge, we still COULD have done otherwise. However, we would NOT have done otherwise. This understanding preserves both foreknowledge and freewill.

To demonstrate this, let’s imagine a cosmic camera that lies outside of time. Let’s also imagine that it is recording everything that happens, past, present, and future. Consequently, events will take place as the camera has recorded them.

Does the presence of this camera limit our free choice? Of course not! A camera cannot limit free choice. However, a realm of transcendent timelessness only has the appearance of limiting free choice from our time-bound perspective.

God is beyond time, since He has created time, space, and matter. These three are inseparable according to science. And if God created them, He can certainly navigate through them without the limitations that we experience.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

CAN EVOLUTION ADEQUATELY ACCOUNT FOR AND SUSTAIN MORALITY?





While nearly all of us agree that we are wired to make certain moral judgments, we disagree from where the wiring originates. While evolutionists claim that we evolved moral intuitions through a mindless, purposeless process for adaptive reasons, theists invoke God. However, the account of evolution encounters numerous problems.

1.    For one thing, evolution reduces morality to mere biochemical reactions or intuitions. This raises the question of whether or not we should even bother to obey our moral impulses.

·       Why should I obey my biochemical instincts? They need not command my life if they are no more than reactions. I’d rather do what I feel like doing. Besides, these reactions only tell me what “is”; they do not tell me what I “ought” to do.

2.    No one will obey all of their moral impulses. Some are actually contradictory. Some of our impulses lead us to act altruistically; others selfishly. Even worse, some of our impulses are evil, like sadism, revenge, rape, bitterness, and hatred. If it is just about biochemical impulses, how do we decide which to obey and which to restrain? It seems must be a higher moral law that mediates over our instincts.

It can be argued that this “higher moral law” is no more than another biochemical instinct. However, we do not experience it in this manner. Instead, this law seems to be able to dispassionately mediate over our competing instincts/drives in a non-instinctual and non-reactive way.

3.    It seems that we are unable to resist the impulse that these moral intuitions represent as higher objective moral law, which ought to be obeyed. C.S. Lewis famously reasoned that making moral judgments is unavoidable:

·       "Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real Right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promises to you, but if you try breaking one to him he will be complaining, ‘It’s not fair.’"

·       "If we do not believe in decent behavior, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently? The truth is we believe in decency so much—we feel the Rule of Law pressing on us so—that we cannot bear to face the fact that we are breaking it, and consequently we try to shift the responsibility." (Mere Christianity)

Perhaps, then, we have to accept our moral intuitions that morality is more than just the sum of our biochemical reactions.

Perhaps we need to regard our moral instincts as we do music. We perceive that music has a life of its own that transcends the sum of its notes. And if we are willing to trust our sense about music, perhaps we also should regarding our sense about morality.

Can the evolutionary worldview sustain a conviction that our moral reasoning is paramount and ought to be obeyed? Not if it is just a biochemical reaction. It then will be regarded as no more authoritative than a fire alarm bell that sounds when there is no real fire.