Friday, May 7, 2010

Don't Touch That Dial! - The Real Proof

I heard a commercial on the radio today. 

Little girl: Daddy why is the sun in the sky? 

Father: Well it is not in the sky, it's very far away. 

Little girl: Why? 

Father: Well if it were closer it would be too hot. 

Little girl: Why? 

Father: Because the sun is made of hot gasses. 

Little girl: Why? 

Father: I don’t know. 

Fade to a commercial about saving for college.

The creationist would say because God made it. And the scientist would tell us all about the Big Bang Theory. Both views are not able to be proven. The Christian says they have faith and that settles it, while the scientist says he has a methodical and logical process – and based on some facts (not all) he can make such and such a conclusion. His logic tells him that if he could go back in time, he’d show you how his hypothesis is correct.

A lot of Christians feel that Christianity is under attack, both in our government, and in a number of other ways. I recently read a posts about “being a Christian nation” and another one about the existence of Hell. I certainly don’t mind controversial subjects, but the more I read, the more I see a pattern evolving. It seems like it is them versus us – and to some extent, I suppose that it is true.

Christians we are at a crossroads. What if there is persecution – real persecution? What if through genetic engineering scientists can actually cause a species to evolve? What if current archeological research shows that one of the gospels is less than authentic? Where will your faith be then?

First, I am not suggesting that scientists will be able to pull off the genetic evolution, nor will scholars be able to reliably dispute the authenticity of one of the gospel accounts. What I am asking is this: What if those subjects become headlines anyway? CNN is going to report on archeological finds attacking Creationism and the authenticity of the scriptures.  Are you basing your faith (or lack of it) on the word of scholars or a true faith God? Even if your research is extensive in the authenticity of the scriptures, and you are convinced that the Theory of Evolution is a farce, and Global Warming is a joke, how will you answer the critics? Whose scholarship will you believe?

Have you seen the trend to rewrite history in a more politically correct fashion? For example, we didn’t buy Manhattan Island from the Indians; we stole it for $24. HERE is an interesting take on that story – the Straight Dope thinks we got screwed and we bought Manhattan twice – stupid politicians are the second oldest profession.

On a more serious note, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (President of Iran) describes the Nazi Holocaust of European Jewry as a "myth". For nearly half a century I have viewed the Holocaust photos; I find this appalling. This same trend will eventually bring the validity of the scriptures under scrutiny from those that are not sympathetic to Christianity – and the biased scholarship will become worse.

The question is this, what will happen to Christianity when the only available scholarship has been manipulated in the same way that news in on a daily basis?

Here are a few thoughts:


First, Christianity survived with no New Testament for nearly a generation.

We are not called to debate God’s existence (The Bible declares it!). Debate is dangerous. Even Paul had trouble with it and he was scholar in both the law, and the religious practices of the Jews.

Acts 9:29 He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him.

Nonbelievers could care less about proof texts from the Bible. Most of the ones that I know, or come into contact with, will not see a Bible verse as “an argument” for whatever point you are trying to make. IE: the existence of God, abortion, gay marriage, heaven or hell the death penalty, foreign wars – and the list goes on and on.

I am not saying that we should not try to answer questions, nor should we mindlessly accept every Christian teaching we hear. What I am saying is that Christianity is not about a debate and who wins the argument.

Eventually, all of our “arguments” will end in the word “faith” – which is not an argument – but the truth. For those that don’t have faith in Jesus, it’s just a cop-up, or circular reasoning.  And add to that, “God said, and I believe it.” And you automatically lose a debate and will likely be branded ignorant.

We are not trying to win the debate, nor are we trying specifically to influence others with persuasive words.

As Christians, Peter said that we are to make a defense for our own faith – not for God, not for others, not for the church, or for Christianity as a whole.

1 Peter 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

Giving a reason for the hope that we have, is not a theological debate, it is explaining a difference that others perceive in us. For example, I have been asked “How do you have peace about the fact that your mother is dying from cancer?” My response was simply that I felt that God was in control, and she had received Jesus as her personal savior, therefore; I have peace. With her eternal future secure, and God’s peace allowing me to live each precious moment at a time, it was possible. That doesn’t mean that I was immune to grief or worry, it simply means that my peace was visible to others. And from someone that used to suffer panic attacks, I think it is a pretty big change.

There was another time when I had virtually no cash and a big car repair bill. The gal that I worked with thought I was crazy approving a $1000 repair, yet I felt God’s promise to take care of it. A few days later, He did. The naysayers will say coincidence, but for me, it is the fruit of my faith.

Just a week or so ago, I was at a little church where three people were healed: one of cataracts and the other two of back problems. Two others were not instantly healed, - and no, I don’t know why.

Revelation 12:11 They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.

Church it is unlikely that we will overcome anything without love, and power and telling other about it.

Mark 15 He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

1 Corinthians 2:4  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power.

Without the power and demonstration of the Spirit, we become like every other religion without power. Christianity becomes another philosophy that is subject to error, opinion, and logical scrutiny. Power shown through healing, prophesy, miracles and changed lives proves that God is real, that Christianity is viable, and  gives witness to the unseen eternal blessings we will receive on the Last Day.


1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."

 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.

 How about you, are you giving witness to the power?

10 comments:

Tony C said...

Tracy (Abundant Living) made an observation on one of my post recently that although apologetics has a place, nobody can be reasoned into Heaven.

I agree...but didn't do a very good job showing it when I started an exchange with several nonbelievers on her post about Hell that resulted in over 80 comments.

I believe I spotted a few comments from you Brother...but it was the kinder, gentler you. :)

Nicodemus at Nite said...

Interesting. I had noticed it said to give an answer for the hope YOU have. We aren't to try to prove God to someone. We do that by living our life.

Great post.

nicodemusatnite.blogspot.com

Tracy said...

Appreciate this post David.

It really is all about our relationship with Jesus.

At times I've failed and gotten into debates. I try not to. I try to just keep it simple and to share from my own experience with God and explain where I'm coming from (which typically does include scripture references since I see the Bible as Truth).

Frequently remind myself that it is the Holy Spirit who brings people to God. It's just that, I want so much for the people I encounter to come to know Him.

I rest assured that I will not depart from God, simply because I trust in His faithfulness. God has been so good to me. I in no way deserve all the blessings He has poured into my life. Sometimes I've been a dummy and strayed from Him, but He has always brought me back.

photogr said...

Thinking about it, one has to consider that God is certainly far more advanced scientifically than we are being able to do what He did in and before biblical times.

We are told by scientist, the cosmos is maintained by an order and by laws of physics ( quantum, string theory,and parallel universes theoretically speaking).What comes to mind is what or who is controling this activity? No one has definite proof but only of what is being said from the scriptures.

More to come.

photogr said...

I find it hard to think scholars will be able to disprove or prove biblical schriptures.Just as in the case that we evolved from a spieces already here on earth. No link has ever been proved.Just speculation and empty theories. We as humans just popped up here about 10,000 years ago and is a mystery as of now.

Genetic engineering is here today already in agriculture applications and probably is close in the spieces alteration applications too.

Yet we still can't walk on water, cure the common cold,or cure most of the deadly diseases we are faced with today at will.

Yet Jesus was able to cast out demons, raise the dead, cure blindness, and heal the aflicted at will and frequently only to show His divine presence and word for salvation. He assembled a rag tag group from many walks of life and gave them the power to do as He did in order to spread God's promise to all that would believe. Jesus and His diciples didn't have to do all the miracles they did but it offered validation to who He really was. I might add from my own thoughts, He may well had telekinetics powers way beyond our comprehension and understanding to be able to do the miracles He was able to do.

The Holocaust is a myth as stated by Iran. We have the same rubbish going on her from the Secular Humanist calling the scriptures a fairy tale and fantisy.

As it was predicted in the scriptures persecution for being a Christian will continue to escilate into the end times just as Jesus and others in the bible said.

Can we stop it? I don't know. It is hard for Christians to stand united as one in any worth while cause in most cases. Our nature of loving our enemies and being passive or showing apathy might well be our down fall in future times.

However, my faith and trust in what is in the scriptures does show me a better way as a believer and the rewards should I have to lay down my life as a martyr for Christ.

GCT said...

Wait, do people really believe that Biblical Scholars are scheming, lying, SOBs that are out to persecute Xians and are lying about the problems that are found in studying the gospels?

Really?

As we've investigated more and more (and as people have become more objective about studying the gospels instead of simply setting out to ensure they were correct no matter what) we've developed a better view of what really occurred, etc. We have more evidence now with which to form a better picture. 100 years ago, people simply assumed that the gospels were written by the disciples as they happened, yet by investigating the evidence we know this simply isn't true, for just one example. Is this not so? Do you all really believe that it's all made up and that the gospels really were written by the disciples at the time they occurred?

I'm also appalled at the attitude that facts don't matter. If that is what you think, why don't you remove the lightning rods from your houses and churches?

David said...

@GCT - Interesting comment about the scholars. Because one can't just study the Bible and know God, then one who does not know God cannot interpret the Scriptures. Yet everyday they are out there writing treatise after treatise about something they actually don't even understand. This is exactly what the pharisees did. They had religion down perfectly, but they did not know God and led others astray.

This exactly how a church like Westboro Baptist church can go off in the ditch in the name of Jesus. This is how the Crusades got going

There is nothing new under the sun.

It doesn't matter what one's knowledge of Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic is, that will never change who God is.

I maintain it is possible to know God without the bible. The Bible just makes some of it easier.

One who does not know God cannot be objective. Show me a man of real faith, and I will listen to him to see if what he says is true. Show me a man of religion, and I will have little time for him - it is the relationship with Jesus that maters, and by true believers can be discerned. Religious babble ends up being empty, stressful and sucks the life out of people.

And yes, I believe the Bible is authentic. What year it was written, and who penned the actual manuscript that was finally translated is of little consequence for me.

God said the we would know Him - and I have tested that pretty heavily over the last few decade. He as been completely faithful, and almost everything that His prophets have spoken over my life have come to pass. I saw three people healed at church a few eks ago - what is that I am missing? I pray, and God answers. it is not always the answer I want, but heck, my earthly father didn't give me everything I asked for!

So these facts - facts about the scriptures, facts about evolution, the facts about Global warming - they don't concern me. I know God, and as I read the bible, I know Him better and better. I take on faith the things that I can't prove, and even if, as I eluded to in my blog, someone comes up with a proof - it isn't going to shake my faith.

Let me end by saying, and yes, there is a definite agenda going on to discredit Christianity - but that will not stop God. I hear it on TV, in the liberal media (and sometime the not so liberal media). Everything is spun and facts are few and far between.

Listen - I know you lust for the facts, for logic and for rational thinking that does not end with faith. That is in fact why you may be missing God.

The Bible says that we should search from Him like treasure.

And I do not mean any disrespect. At some point, I had to decide that all the theories in the world weren't going to give me what was missing. In Christ, I have found that.

You can' call me ignorant all day long - even though I have a number of degrees. I read all the opposing views, and when I met God, I was firmly convinced.

Blessing to you. Thanks for commenting.

GCT said...

David,
"Because one can't just study the Bible and know God, then one who does not know God cannot interpret the Scriptures. Yet everyday they are out there writing treatise after treatise about something they actually don't even understand."

Wait, are you claiming that the historical references are up for interpretation? That scholars can not determine that this or that did or did not happen without proper belief in god (which is defined by you) and further that no scholars believe (i.e. that they are all atheists or at least non-Xians)?

"It doesn't matter what one's knowledge of Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic is, that will never change who God is."

So, it doesn't matter if your KJV is mistranslated, because it's not a corruption of the purported word of god?

"One who does not know God cannot be objective."

So, one who does not share your beliefs can not dispassionately and objectively study something? You're saying that unless one holds subjective beliefs, one can not be objective?

"So these facts - facts about the scriptures, facts about evolution, the facts about Global warming - they don't concern me."

They should. Once again, do you think we should remove lightning rods since it's only a fact that lightning destroys buildings that don't have them. It was just a couple hundred years ago that people argued as you did, "Don't confuse me with the facts, god is in control of the weather and we can't stop lightning from destroying buildings." Do you know how many resistant churches burned to the ground?

"Let me end by saying, and yes, there is a definite agenda going on to discredit Christianity - but that will not stop God. I hear it on TV, in the liberal media (and sometime the not so liberal media). Everything is spun and facts are few and far between."

What agenda? Who is involved? How are they involved? Examples? What is being spun and which facts do you think are in error?

"Listen - I know you lust for the facts, for logic and for rational thinking that does not end with faith."

Well....yeah. How else will we learn about the world? Only thru scientific investigation do we learn what is true about the world.

"You can' call me ignorant all day long - even though I have a number of degrees."

A) I don't recall calling you ignorant.
B) Having degrees is no guarantee that you won't be ignorant about certain things (in fact, there's no way that one can't be ignorant about something).
C) If I do end up saying you are ignorant of something, know that it's not an insult - just a frank observation that you may not have all the facts at your disposal.

David said...

@GCT - I will try to follow all your points in limited time.

I'm confused, some believe the Bible is a hoax, others believe it is the word of God and factual in every way. Others think some of it is historical - honestly, it appears that even the archeology is subjective. And for some, even the character of Jesus is in question.

Let's take the account of Jesus talking t the woman at the well (John 4). I wold say that it is historical. I believe it, do you?

How about the account of Jesus walking on the water (Matt 14), or Moses before Pharaoh with the serpent? (Ex 7:10)

Because I had a born again experience, I faith that those accounts are true.

When it comes to systematic and logical reasoning of the scriptures, one who does not know God will come out a fool. It happens all the time - IE: Pastors saying that all the spiritual gifts are of the devil. The Jews said the same about Jesus when He cast out a demons yet the 70 went out and cast out demons too!

Facts? Well take into account the debate over whether God exists. There is a lot of keystrokes devoted to that... yet God is not a scientific entity, He is a supernatural being. I'm not so sure that we have invented instruments to record that - save the human heart.

No, I could care less about the King James. I have studied the Greek and Hebrew as necessary, as well as read 14 or 15 different translations over the decades. I ma much more interested in what God shows me. BTW - even the translations have biases based in worldviews. There is not perfect translation because English is not Greek or Hebrew, and the meaning of words changes over time. Again, God is current, and clear with me when I spend time to listen.

I didn't say you called me ignorant, I was giving your permission t do so. I now it is hard for rational and logical folks that don't know God to understand the element of faith. Even Obama stereotyped us as holding onto out religion and guns. I am sure some see faith and equate that with uneducated.

But here I see confidant in knowing God, not needing to know where the universe ends, and what's on the other side of the wall.

As always, thanks for commenting.

GCT said...

David,
"I'm confused, some believe the Bible is a hoax, others believe it is the word of God and factual in every way. Others think some of it is historical - honestly, it appears that even the archeology is subjective."

That people have different ideas and opinions doesn't mean that archeology is subjective, nor that our best conclusions are to be thrown out in favor of your preconceived religious views. This is a fallacious argument.

"Let's take the account of Jesus talking t the woman at the well (John 4). I wold say that it is historical. I believe it, do you?"

It most likely didn't happen. We have no reliable sources to confirm that this or any other story of Jesus really happened. Without evidence, why believe it? Do you really find that faith is a compelling reason to believe? If that's the criteria, then why not believe in any other religion?

"When it comes to systematic and logical reasoning of the scriptures, one who does not know God will come out a fool."

Meaning what? If you mean interpretation of the scriptures, the best interpretation would come from knowing the language it was written, etc. Yet, there are still issues with that. If you mean reasoning about the facts of the scriptures (historicity, etc.) then why would one need to believe in god in order to reason those things out from the evidence?

"It happens all the time - IE: Pastors saying that all the spiritual gifts are of the devil."

Which is your opinion and you don't know if that is theologically correct or not.

"Facts? Well take into account the debate over whether God exists. There is a lot of keystrokes devoted to that... yet God is not a scientific entity, He is a supernatural being. I'm not so sure that we have invented instruments to record that - save the human heart."

If god is unmeasurable, then why believe that this god exists without evidence for it? Why not also believe in unicorns or faeries. You don't have evidence of those things either so why not believe in them? The reason you don't is because you recognize that the rational position is not to simply accept all beliefs without reason. So, your acceptance of one unevidence belief over others is nothing more than special pleading.

"There is not perfect translation because English is not Greek or Hebrew, and the meaning of words changes over time."

Exactly. Why would that be though? Why would god allow his handbook to be corrupted like that?

"I am sure some see faith and equate that with uneducated."

A) Stereotyping is bad. I don't think you are uneducated or stupid - although I'll admit that some Xians are, just as some atheists are.
B) There are and have been some very smart theists (not just Xians). That doesn't give any weight, however, to their theological convictions.

"But here I see confidant in knowing God, not needing to know where the universe ends, and what's on the other side of the wall."

Why? You keep telling me that you have faith, that you believe, that you are born again, but that is circular reasoning. What would you say to me if I claimed that leprechauns are real and claimed that you can't use logic and reason to believe and that trying will only make you a fool, that you have to use faith, and that by faith I simply know it's true?

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