Sunday, 24 April 2011

They Should Be Embarrassed

The atheists who placed this silly ad on busses, that is.

To equate Christ with Zeus and bigfoot is just plain silly. Even most of the ardent skeptics of Christianity do not pretend that Jesus of Nazareth was not an actual historical figure. They may not agree with Christianity's claims, but most agree that he at least existed. And evidence? They just ignore what evidence there is because they cannot, or choose not to, accept it.

But Here..., courtesy of Stand Firm is a very good defence for both Jesus' existence and more specifically his resurrection.

Evidence coming from within the primary witness documents.
In this case, the primary witness documents are the twenty-seven works that make up the corpus that Christianity has traditionally called the New Testament. These works stand or fall individually from an historical standpoint. Therefore, they provide twenty-seven sources of documentation, not one.

I wanted to emphasize this point, because skeptics, and often believers, forget that the Gospel accounts, for example, are four independent and differing accounts of the life of Jesus. Yes, they surely borrowed somewhat from one another, but what historical book doesn't. If one were to embark upon writing a biography of Winston Churchill, for example, would one not both interview living eyewitnesses as well as rely on existing, previously written material? The Bible is not one source; it is compiled of many independent accounts, not originally written as, "The Bible."

Read the whole article. It is very good.

Take Care

Friday, 22 April 2011

Jesus' Piercing Gaze

During our Good Friday service this passage was read.

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:60-62)

"The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter... And he went outside and wept bitterly."
These words struck me powerfully. I could identify with Peter. It reminded me of the time I surrendered my own life to Christ. The first time you come to know Christ, it is as if he for the first time looks straight into your eyes. The scales have fallen from your own eyes and for the first time you see him face to face; eye to eye. That first gaze causes you to realize the depth of your past sin. You realize how much you have done to hurt him. You realize just how much you have been forgiven. You realize what an enormous debt he died to pay on your behalf. And the tears just come.

Peter wasn't aware of what he had done until Jesus looked straight at him. It was Jesus'gaze that reminded him of his broken promise to his Lord.

And we, when we are convicted of some sin we have committed, is it not, figuratively, just like Jesus looking at us with such a piercing gaze that it is like an arrow to the heart. Whether for the first time or the most recent time, when we realize how we have hurt the One we love, how can we help but, like Peter, weep bitterly.

Take Care

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Easter - Resurrection or Pipe Dream?

From Here...
Someone who labels himself a, "Speaker, thinker, inter-faith activist and spiritual teacher; author 'The Enoch Factor: The Sacred Art of Knowing God,' offers the following;

Soon, millions of Christians will gather to celebrate Easter. For many of them, the literal, not merely metaphorical, resurrection of Jesus -- that is, a bodily resuscitation -- is necessary for any of it to have validity. Is this necessary? Does the resurrection need the resuscitation of Jesus' body to have any transformative significance in the 21st century? It doesn't for me.

Neither, apparently, does the reasoning of the apostle Paul, that if Christ is not risen, our faith is in vain and we are to be pitied above all men. (1 Cor 15:17-19)

Why have I come to believe the resurrection story is more metaphorical than literal? Well, the most obvious reason is, it's more believable. Maybe it's easy for you to live in a mythical, magical world of make-believe (and, if so, so be it), but I cannot.

More believable, perhaps to someone who considers things of the Spirit of God to be foolishness. day, you'll discover for yourself that all the pretending in the world won't keep you from going to the grave. You will die, just as I will die.

I don't think there's a Christian in the world who doubts or denies this. It's about what happens after death...

Now, that does not mean that I have given up believing in something after death. I have not. I can't prove there's life after death. I'm pretty sure no one has proven there is nothing either. For me, I prefer to imagine something goes on beyond this life and that, whatever that something is, it's all good.

The key word here being, "imagine." Our speaker, thinker, inter-faith activist and spiritual teacher has invented his own religion so he can avoid any unpleasant things like repentance, need for forgiveness and a Saviour, accountability to anyone higher than himself, etc.

So this is my daily spiritual practice. And when I do this, I've discovered a kind of resurrection all it's own -- a resurrection within my attitudes, my actions, as well as my sense of inner peace.

Again, an empty spirituality. It is interesting that he believes in a spiritual, i.e. non- physical reality, but somehow a physical resurrection is too unbelievable.

And this is precisely the second reason why the Easter story need not be literal to have transformative power. My own experience gives witness to this. For example, when I tried to believe the things I was told to believe and that questioning my beliefs was a sign of weakness and lack of faith...

His, 'beliefs' were obviously not real beliefs, because he obviously didn't believe them. They were merely things he had been told, but he was not particularly attached to them.

...You can delude yourself into believing that questioning things is a lack of faith. But I would be inclined to remind you that until you DO question your faith, you really have no faith at all.

Finally something I agree with. But I have found that honestly questioning my own faith actually resulted in making it stronger, like tempering steel through fire.

What you have instead is a collection of beliefs -- beliefs that a frightened little ego in you will cling to for a sense of security and identity with other little egos that cling to a similar set of beliefs -- but these beliefs will not translate into personal inner transformation. They will not sustain you through life either. They didn't for me[emphasis mine, JK]. It was not until I questioned and doubted the things I was taught, including the bodily resurrection of Jesus, that I met, and believed -- or, fell in love with -- a genuine and believable Jesus whose teachings, whose enduring spirit, and whose eternal influence continues to guide seekers into a transformative relationship with themselves and with the Divine.

The key phrase here is, "they didn't for me." As if that settles reality for everyone else. The witness of millions of Christian believers disputes his opinion-stated-as-fact. Note that the very title of his book indicates that he claims one can know whatever he figures God is, but apparently his god has no power, at least not enough to resurrect Jesus. He has short-changed himself by imagining a god weaker than the real one; by inventing a religion less than the true one.

So, this Easter, I have a lot to be grateful for. And, I am.

Yes, but thankful to Whom? Some imaginary new-age "Divine", or the God who has the power to rise from the grave...


Take Care

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Mention of Jesus Banned From Movie Houses

As a curseword? No. Actors on the screen can still take the Lord's name as a swearword all they want.
But this ad, paid for by a church to invite people to their Easter services, was pulled because someone objected to the mention of the name, "Jesus."

I'm not sure if the same peole would object to it being used in vain as diologue in the movie.

I suspect not. I suspect it is just another example of ill-thought-out atheist illogic.

Take Care

h/t The Michael Coren Show

Monday, 4 April 2011

Israel the Bad Guy? Well... maybe Not.

From Here...
The 2010 Goldstone Report, as it came to be known, accused Israel of crimes against civilians. “If I had known then what I know now,” the judge allows, “the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

In his revisionist editorial, the judge writes, it now “goes without saying that crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional, that its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.” Israel, on the other hand, presented clear evidence that “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.”

“Some have suggested,” he concludes, “that it was absurd to expect Hamas . . . to investigate what we said were serious war crimes. It was my hope, even if unrealistic, that Hamas would do so,[!!!] especially if Israel conducted its own investigations. . . . Sadly that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel.”

The judge’s coup de grace on the report that bears his name is the following: “The United Nations Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms.” Fat chance. As Goldstone well knows, that council’s current membership includes such major human rights exemplars as China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Libya. The South African’s about-face is welcome, but far too little and much too late.

The world is going where it is going. Just interesting.

Take Care

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Of Rapes and Riots

Here are two stories that may seem totally unrelated... well, they are, except for the way I will try to tie them together.

The first regards the riots and killing of UN workers in Afghanistan as a result of the burning of a koran by a pastor in Florida.

The second, and others like it, concern the blaming of the victim in certain rape cases.

Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely no justification for the reaction in either instance. But aren't the, "cause and effect" concepts similar. In one case, pastor Jones burned a Koran ( a rather silly and pointless thing to do, in my opinion), and the consequence was violent reaction (unjustified in the mind of any sane and reasonable person) resulting in innocent deaths. In the other, women, sometimes, by the way they dress and act, may seem as if they are inviting sexual activity. At the very least, they may be inciting passions in men on the prowl for such activity.

In neither case is the consequence justified. I am certainly not trying to justify rapists based on the dress or behaviour of their victims, but let's face reality. If pastor Jones had not burned that koran, there probably wouldn't have been the resulting riots and killings. And if a sexual asssault victim hadn't dressed a particular way, or been at a pickup bar, or behaved seductively, there may not have been a rape.

Actions have consequences, and sometimes it may be appropriate to consider the possible consequences before taking the action. It doesn't matter whose fault it is to the victim.

So, is the principle the same in both these cases? Think about it.

Take Care