Friday, 28 August 2015

The Religion of Atheism

The article referred to here was from a couple of weeks ago, and I cannot source it, but I figure I might as well try to finish the post.

I don't know if it is a first, but a recent column on the religion page of the Edmonton Journal was written by an atheist, from an explicitly atheistic perspective. And it exposed the typical internal inconsistency and non-sequitur fallacies of the atheist's position.

The author claims to be an atheist but in reality he sounds more like a pantheist, ascribing divinity to the earth and ecosystem itself. So rather than acknowledge a Supreme Creator, who brought all we see around us out of nothing and has commanded us to take care of it, he and his ilk seem more to think that the universe created itself, and that it somehow holds us as humans to some kind of accountability. This ascribes a sort of personality to the ecosphere and all things within it, living or not. Which makes as much or as little sense as the theistic position with which atheists so vehemently disagree.

It seems to me.

Take Care.



Thursday, 27 August 2015

In the Western Catholic Reporter...

Josh, Alana and me
During Alpha's Alpha for Catholics Coordinator Josh Canning's recent Alberta visit, we were interviewed by a reporter for the publication, "Western Catholic Reporter."

Or rather, he was interviewed and I sat in. The article is now out and you can read it here.

I think it is a fairly balanced article, reflecting Alpha in a positive light, although I don't remember giving the final quote attributed to me.

Everything we can do, every effort we can make, every inroad we can establish to make use of Alpha as a tool for reaching our communities and our country, is worth the effort we put into it.
Cross-posted here

Take Care

Monday, 24 August 2015

Whatever You Ask For...

Some verses that crossed my mind. I may expand on them or I may let the reader ponder them and make whatever connection comes to their minds. 

From Scripture:
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)
 Take delight in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
 And the collect for the 10th Sunday after Trinity for our Anglican Church (ANiC)
Let your merciful ears, Lord God, be open to the prayers of your people and, so that we may obtain our petitions, teach us to ask for those things that please you, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen. (emphasis mine)
Do you see a connection? What do you think?

Take Care

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Charter of Rights & Freedoms; Credit or Blame?

As I just said in my previous post, I'm in a writing mood today.

A friend on Facebook, who I care for and respect as a brother, even if some of our views may be polar opposite, posted this on Facebook:
Think about this for a minute folks. It is my contention that if Steven Harper were the PM in 1980, 81 and 82, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms would never have come into existence. What do you think?
My comment, upon which I will then expand, was this:
Frankly I think we'd have been better off without it. We already had a bill of rights. Question is have certain "rights" we acknowledge now come as a result of the charter, changing public attitudes or has it been a symbiotic action? Frankly I think more the second. The right to freedom of religion and conscience IS guaranteed in the charter, but seems to take a back seat to certain sexual "rights."
 
What I mean is this: Society has changed. Attitudes of morality have changed; I and others might use the word, deteriorated." Now, has that been a function of having the Charter, or has the Charter just been used to codify this deterioration? I think the latter, although is it the Charter's fault? The Charter may have been used to write many of these new so-called rights into law, but I think the same might have happened anyway.

It all goes back to the post-war generation, whose behaviour and attitudes have been responsible. This generation was responsible for removing many of the previous generations' stigmas in matters of sexuality and personal entitlement. Therefore, when this generation came to a position of power, sexual licence, for example, became a "right," and I believe we will see more and more areas of what used to be considered sexual abnormality or deviance, be reclassified as mere preferences, and therefore rights and entitlements. These will include polygamy, bestiality and yes, eventually, even pedophilia. Just this morning I saw in the paper where a prisoner has the, "right" to have access to pornography in his jail cell.

The same is happening, or will soon happen completely in the area of mind-altering drugs. I remember hearing, years ago, before it even seemed a real possibility, the prediction that marijuana would some day become legal because the generation now (then) using it would be the generation some day in power, and all the pot-smoking law students would some day be the politicians and the judges. They would be the lawmakers and the law-enforcers, and their attitudes would be reflected in the laws they both made and enforced.

So do we blame the Charter exclusively, or do we place the blame for our current society's deterioration at the feet of those who have merely utilized it as a tool to enforce their agenda as the new norm?

Take Care

Up to Us; Up to Them

Saturday morning and I'm in a writing mood. It is my turn to give the devotional message on our Monday morning Alpha Canada conference call, and I've been thinking of Isaiah 65:1-2:
 
I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’ All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations—

God longs for every one of us, all His people, to come to Him. He so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, not just for certain preselected people. He offers everyone, throughout all time and over all the earth, the opportunity to know Him. There are various ways in which He has done this.

He has made himself known through His Creation:
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (Psalm 19: 1-4)
 …since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
He has made Himself known through the human conscience; 
…Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts… (Romans 2:14b-15a)

And He makes Himself known through us, and what we do – the messages we communicate. So we have a crucially important place in His plan to reach the whole world.

It is our responsibility to communicate the message. It is not our responsibility how people receive it. Some will, some won’t. Just like the time in the desert when the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. (from Numbers 21)

I believe it is obvious that this snake was available for all to see, but the Bible uses the term, “looked at,” indicating a wilful action. People had not just to see it, they had to “look” at it; focus their attention on it. This is a picture of faith. “Looking at” the snake is analogous to actually putting faith in something. In that case it was faith that God would be true to His word; that if they turned toward that bronze snake they would be healed, as God had said they would. It was a matter of trusting in God, even if it seemed to be against all human reason.

And it`s the same today. The idea of God coming to earth in human form, offering Himself to die in our place as a sacrifice for our sins, may make no sense at all from a perspective of rational human thought, but it is what He did and He asks us to trust Him; that that is what is necessary for us to be able to spend eternity with Him.

But not all will believe. Go back to the Isaiah passage. Verse 12 says: 
…for I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen.
Even God realizes that not all will believe the message, and he speaks of the fate that awaits those who reject it. Those who reject His offer of eternal life with Him through Jesus Christ will perish. He will grant their wish and allow them to spend eternity apart from Him.

It`s our job to proclaim the message; to make the good news known. It`s up to the hearer what to do with it.

Take Care