In A Nutshell

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Consider this thought: Some parts of creation observe other parts of creation and themselves. This fact is astounding.

If I were to look at a nut on the ground, would not it amaze me to learn that deep inside the nut, far deeper than can be adequately described, there are impossibly tiny bits of nut that are eagerly looking around and excited about what they see? I should wonder at the behavior of these tiny bits of nut, why they bother themselves to look about. And if I learned later that the tiny bits had formed education centers and universities, might not I begin to suspect that maybe, just maybe, something “un-nutty-like” had gotten into the nut? And, if I found out later on that a large number of them considered themselves to originate from beyond the nut, might I begin to suspect they might be right?

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Is the parable of the lost sheep just wishful thinking?

It has been suggested, or rather lamented, that we cannot love as God loves. For God loves without limits, and we cannot seem to live without erecting borders, whether national or personal. Humankind does not love. But, I would also add, humankind does not live either, precisely because they do not love. It is our own limitations that blind us to the truth of Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…” If our own limitations lead us to think that most of humankind will forever abide in Hell without end; we must be reminded God is able to do exceeding abundantly above what we think. We must not project our own limitations on God.

It is a sad state of the Christian Church that its members look with despair upon their brothers and sisters and have no hope. The parable of the Good Shepherd who leaves the 99 to find the one sheep which was lost is, in the eyes of Church members, just wishful thinking. For the reality is the beggar on the street, the homeless under the bridge, the addict in the drug house, the rebellious brother, sister, mother, or father who did not make a profession of faith toward God—none of them were rescued by the Good Shepherd. God is, in the end, a failure. And God failed because the one being rescued did not reach out to Him.

Dear Body of Christ, God cannot fail. God will not fail. Do not look with despair towards the end. Our story is a triumph, not a tragedy. And if your understanding of salvation will not allow you to hope in this manner, then you have a terrible understanding of salvation. For God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. And the God who loves without limits can cause you to love as he loves too. For to love your neighbor is to love God; and to love God is to love your neighbor. One cannot be done without the other.

 

Materialist Myth

We have accepted, unquestioningly, the dogma of materialism that myths and fairy tales are lies. In another time, a thoughtful man described them as lies breathed through silver. Yet, we all indulge in, fully engage with, and enjoy these lies. We create them, but they are not true. Our truth is four walls. On every side we are surrounded by the physical. The open sky bids us rise to explore the utmost height, yet there is a point when with outstretched arm it decrees us go no further. The floor below, our immediate contact with our limits, grounds us and pulls us downward– or upon finding the edge beside an unknown depth it strikes fear that we may be lost in the abyss of darkness. The hard material truth, if one may rightfully see his surroundings, is that all of us are in prison. There is nothing beyond the limits of the material, and we cannot go any further. There is no light on the other side, no hope for escape. The four walls, the roof, and the floor testify we are inside a great expansive prison. It is the greatest jail anyone has ever devised and no one has ever escaped, still yet, no one has ever come to visit. If a wall were suddenly to break down or the whole prison itself were destroyed by the decay of time, we would break down with it. So that just at the point where it were possible to leave, we would lose all life within us. No strength would remain to cross that great boundary. I0015827A

Myths and fairy tales are the result of man dreaming of a place beyond the prison. They are windows summoned by the magic of words that allow us a glimpse into the possibilities beyond our prison. The light truly shines through the window baptizing us into the new world, whilst in this one we appear still, as one dead, we are revived into another land. And while on our new journey, through the course of the story we find ourselves vanquished by our foe or traveled so far that we have come to the end, we are resurrected back into this world having become so much the better and grateful for the experience. And once awakened again to our surroundings, we see as with eyes afresh our own world colored with new light, the light from the window.  It is here that we regain the perpetual wonder we once held as a child. We are reborn. lightbeam

But, there are those of us who travel to and fro walking up and down the earth with the laws of nature in their mouths and jail keys in there hands who take upon themselves the duty to make us see the walls of our prison and remind us there are no windows to go through and no light to shine in. The stories are wrong. But, is it ever wrong for the prisoner to think of life outside of his prison? Who, indeed, is telling the lie?

Confession: Atheism good for the soul

I and the rest of Christianity have lived off of the intellectual capital of our past fathers for far too long. The New Atheists have jarred many Christians out of their small faith and spurred them on to attaining a greater faith, one that is grounded enough to envelope evidences and the entire material world. For a while it was, and still is to a great degree, the Bible against the world. The problem was that our definition of the world included all of nature as well. God was against the world he created. God said one thing; the creation said another. The Christians went with God, the atheists and so-called heretics went with creation. But, just because we can discern a distinction between the two, however, doesn’t necessitate a separation. We, as Christians, need to stop thinking with the enlightenment’s “either/or” mentality and start thinking in the “both/and” mentality.  The New Atheists have done a lot to disabuse us of the “either/or”. Thank God for that. It simply cannot be defended. But, there are still many of us who do not get it; so many who are still playing by the materialist’s rules and don’t even know it. So, to all you New Atheists out there, step up your game. Bring the game closer to home. Try to rid us of God. We need more of what you do, so that our spiritual muscles will once again begin to grow.

Our Definition of Evolution is Illogical

The man who says there is no philosophy has made a philosophical statement. The man who says there are no metaphysics has made a metaphysical statement. In order to deny philosophy and metaphysics, one has to know something about them, and therefore take on the role of a philosopher or meta-physician. It is as if a man were to declare all hammers evil and make his point by smashing them to bits with a hammer; or condemn all war as evil and wage one gigantic war to end all wars. In the same way, the man who says there is no God has elevated himself to the position of theologian. He has made a theological statement, for he must know enough about gods to know that they do not exist.

Similarly, when one defines evolution as containing no divine purpose, he must know something about divine purpose to know that it is not there. Words like “unplanned” and “unguided” creep stealthily into the realm of theology. These are theological words. However, granting that evolution is true, humanity is in the total control of evolutionary forces right now. There is no way for a mind in the grip of purposeless forces to break free and elevate itself to the realm of purpose. A being in a universe devoid of purpose cannot possibly know anything of purpose. It does not exist in his universe. He cannot even purposely know chance when he sees it. If he knows something about chance, it is completely by chance. If he knows anything at all, it is by chance.

Let me illustrate. Think of a universe composed completely of metal. Your body and eyes are made of metal. Your brain and your very thoughts are made of metal. How could a completely metal being in a metal universe conceive of wood? They could not. Even if they came up with the word “wood” it would be a completely vacuous word because they could have no concept of what that substance is.

It comes down to the principle of proportionate causality, which states “what exists in the cause will exist in the effect in the same way.” The cause cannot give the effect what it does not have. So, if purpose does not exist in the cause, it will not exist in the effect. If chance exists in the cause, chance is all the “effect” will ever know or understand. So, how is it that we can know and understand purpose, if purpose was not involved in the universe or evolution? The answer is that we should not know it at all.

Yet, some evolutionists purposely say there is no purpose. It’s the hammer they use to smash all hammers. They think they have rid the universe of purpose, but one purposeful statement (the definition of evolution) still exists to provide evidence of purpose in the universe. If they deny that and say that what we perceive as purpose is just an illusion, one might as well ask, “Did they say that on purpose?”

The Incoherence of the Accusers

In the same breath, the modern man will condemn Christianity for being too morally restrictive because it prohibits sexual promiscuity, and denounce it for being too morally permissive because a serial killer can go to heaven if he comes to Christ. I do not see very many happy monogamists condemning Christianity’s sexual prohibitions, neither do I see the murderer repulsed by forgiveness. I think the incoherent accuser does not like to hear that he is wrong. No man does. But, can we trust the judgments of the man who breaks the law he condemns?

The god-man

An enthusiastic address given to the brightest minds of our age:

 

“My fellow atheists, If we are to dispense with the old understanding of the universe which is touted by the religious as a purposeful universe, proving that we can live a moral life without God is not a sufficient tactic, moreover it is delusional. We only need to destroy the idea of God in man. As soon as all men have denied God, a new era will emerge in which all things will be lawful. Morality will no longer be relevant; indeed, it will become incoherent. And, it will not help our cause.

This thought should not be a bother. We must face it with courage and unflinching steadfastness. Let not your heart be troubled, as has once been said. A new beginning will arise, and men will band together to consume from life all it has to give. Consideration for the past and the future will be discarded for the joy and happiness of the present. The universe will glorify the image of man and the man-god will at last appear. Moment by moment he will be driven with a sense of nobility and gratefulness being cognizant of the improbability of his existence and his privileged position. Conscious of the fleeting momentariness of life, he will not despair of his end, but will live life all the more, loving his brother without desire for accolade; a love which has heretofore been dissipated by thoughts of life beyond the grave. He will extend his conquest of nature through the sheer power of his own will utilizing the methods of science until all things are put under his feet.

But, let us not delude ourselves with the old and fallacious notions of morality. The god-man need not justify anything; indeed, who would he justify it to? There is no law for gods. Where gods stand, the place is holy. All things are lawful for the man whose very essence is the source from which the law emanates. We did not understand this before when we accused God of immorality. Can swine say unto the farmer, “what doest thou?” when the farmer does not eat the same slop in the trough nor reside in the same cage as they? Is the farmer immoral because he does not live by the rules of the swine?

Even so, men, not being used to forming laws, but only recognizing them where they find them already formed, ignorantly judge God by those laws. I repeat, there is no law for God or there would exist a being greater than He. So it is, that there is no law for the god-man, or there would be one greater than he. As it was for God, so it will be for the god-man. It is essential also to note, that neither is there any law to which the god-man can appeal that mediates between the contentions of men. If there were, clearly, there would be a God; and we would cease to be the god-man and become a slave. The very idea of God was tyrannical in nature. While we held it, we were never free. We must break free of these shackles.

Let us not think, however, that there is a new morality operating by the axiom “all things are lawful.” There is no morality. Consider, if you will, that in the absence of God, men who have realized their divinity can divinely approve their own actions. And, since no two men have ever agreed on every single issue, nor indeed has any man always agreed with himself, all actions of men are both divinely approved and disapproved. The same things, then, are holy and unholy at the same time. Do you not see, now, how the very concept of morality is incoherent? Therefore, let us leave it aside and quit trying to be “good without God”, for there can be no such thing. That thought is a product of our imagination and a delusion that indicates we are still holding on to some infinitesimal notion of God.

Brethren, may we move on into the next stage of evolution where everything is determined, and mankind can no longer be moved; an era without morality, an era without God, an era where there cannot possibly be any change, and thus no possibility of redemption. Let us accept things as they are and live in the bare nakedness of that honesty. Then, indeed, will the old conceptions of the universe fall away. And, let us accept neither delusion nor imagination to comfort us and quell our anxieties. For there is, now we know, nothing but us, and we must go on with courage.

Thank you and goodnight.”

Why Atheists sometimes lose effectiveness in Theistic discussions

Observed truth or truth we discover, is ultimately inadequate to affect absolute certainty within man. Having no deeper foundation other than our own fallible faculties, our beliefs must deliver a standing invitation to all competing ideas until all possibilities are exhausted. If, then, our beliefs stand, they can only hold certainty in the sense of having withstood all other ideas our current day and age can muster and for which we are able to understand. Thus, our beliefs can only hold a current temporary certainty while holding a respect for such a time in the future that mankind is able to obtain a greater understanding of those beliefs. Thus, absolute certainty can never be reached by mankind. It has the effect of silencing the free exchange of ideas and creating a tyranny upon other men who hold differing beliefs.

Truth, as a Being with person-hood, is entirely in the position to produce a greater degree of certainty within man than he could reach alone. For Truth, having personality, could relate with man, instruct, and cleanse man of error he could not have eliminated on his own. That is not to say that man would then have an infallible understanding of the truth. The best he could do is present to others a representation of this Truth-Being or a representation of some external truth the Being has communicated. The representation would still be subject to the fallible faculties of man and therefore must deliver the same standing invitation to other representations. Otherwise, tyranny will result. Furthermore, whatever refined beliefs man contains inside himself must be held in a progressive truth-seeking manner with a respect for some newer revelation communicated by this Truth-Being in the future. For it is absurd to believe that man has perfect understanding of truth the first time it is communicated to him.

Therefore, the only difference realized by man, either in truth discovered solely by man or truth received from this Truth-Being, is the deeper ground on which he stands when receiving communication from this Being. Those who criticize representations of this Being without standing in deeper ground themselves will compete with any self-authenticating witness this Being has produced inside the man standing on the deeper ground and will, thus, be only marginally effectual in an argument. Effectiveness can be obtained either by developing a greater understanding of the representations or moving onto deeper ground.