Atheism: The Seinfeld of Religions

New video just got uploaded to our youtube channel which is already raising the ire of atheists (shown by their clicking of the dislike button and the comments they make). I couldn’t be happier. Like I told one of them who made a disparaging comment that my dad used to say, “Throw a rock into a pack of dogs and the one that barks the loudest is the one that got hit the hardest.”

Boy are atheists going to bark now.

Shalom

The Lie

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:8–12, AV)

There’s been a lot of discussion at times over the nature of the “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” Some think it’s a special lie just for the end times, like a campaign promise by the Beast. That is the context anyway; the “man of lawlessness” will be revealed and then people will believe a lie. The lie could be one of the things that the Beast will be peddling, which is his claim of Messiah-ship. Or it could be the lie that we can be gods, which the power behind the Beast (the serpent or deceiver) has been trying to sell since the Garden.

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:5, AV)

According to Strong’s Lexicon (4106), the word delusion is related to “wandering” (from truth) and “deceit.” Sounds like a campaign promise to me. We can see the desire for this campaign promise to be true all around us. I like superhero movies as much as the next guy, but the one commonality they all have is the idea that if we just had more strength we could solve all man’s problems. They sell the lie that we can solve everything without God. All we need are super powers.

You can see the lie in the desire for cheap, abundant energy. Like the push for figuring out fusion energy in movies like ‘Chain Reaction.’ The idea there is we can solve all mankind’s ills if we just had more power.

You can see a form of the lie in the slavish devotion to science. Scientists (mostly) push the thought that we could solve all of man’s ills if we just had more knowledge. The doctrine of evolution is designed to give substance to the lie by implying that knowledge is just around the corner. We just need to keep “evolving.” The knowledge that the scientists think we need doesn’t include knowledge of God. Just knowledge. This assumes that if we had the knowledge we would also have the wisdom to use it. History shows just how much of a lie that is.

Pay close attention. The lie in all it’s forms is simply that we can do without God. We might not actively be calling ourselves “gods,” but that is exactly what we are doing – trying to become as God. Pursuing power (omnipotence), knowledge (omniscience) and presence everywhere (omnipresence) through TV, the internet, and radio are parts of the same lying principle. We want to believe that if we just had a little more (something) we could solve everything and live long lives in peace and happiness. Just don’t include God in that something.

The Beast will probably use all of these elements in selling his Messiah-ship to the unbelieving world. In deceit he will present himself as God and exalt himself above all that is called God, but will not have a tenth part of what makes up God. So he is doomed to failure. In part at least much of the “progress” of science and technology is nothing more than enabling the kingdom of the serpent to flourish. The deceiver cannot be all powerful, or all knowing, or all present. But with nuclear weapons, a bag of “all power and signs and lying wonders,” some science, evolution principles, TV and fast transportation he can come close. And he will, for a while. But like everything built without God it will fall apart of it’s own lack of substance. Close only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes.

No matter what we try we come up short when we wander away from the truth of God. It wouldn’t matter if we had super powers or abundant cheap energy or if we could be everywhere at once. The deceit of that thinking would be evident as we continued to have the same problems we always have without God in our lives. Whatever we build will fall apart. The power of whatever government we invent will lean to tyranny without Him. If we lack God we lack that basic something that actually gives life and that more abundant. Nothing we try without Him will work. We are doomed to failure if we believe the lie. There is no way that we will be successful or complete without submitting to the source of all things good.

Shalom,
Bruce

Jeff Durbin on Street Level Apologetics

A pastor at Apologia Church in Tempe, Arizona, Jeff Durbin gives a great presentation on some general apologetic approaches. I like his energy, his use of Scripture, and his willingness to be bold. He’s also got a lot of excellent points you could incorporate into your own conversations. Even if you are not as bold as he.

I don’t agree with all his positions. He misses the point of the Law, and tends to question Christian orthodoxy while holding on to many of it’s tenets with “closed hand.” But he still seems to have a great deal good to say; worth listening.

Shalom,
Bruce

Can God Make a Rock Bigger (Heavier) Than He Can Lift?

The question, “Can God make a rock bigger (or heavier) than He can lift?” is asked by skeptics and the willfully ignorant of Christians on a regular basis. It is intended to mock the existence of God, and the supposed lack of knowledge and understanding of believers. On the surface, the question appears unanswerable. However, with a little thought and a smidgen of reasoning, the answer(s) are apparent. We just have to remember there is more to God than creating and lifting.

First answer: Of course He can. Jesus only had the strength of His human body. There were lots of rocks around that He made yet couldn’t lift. This answer focuses on Jesus and His incarnation, and the fact that He gave up some of His abilities in order to be as we are. He even submitted to death, a death that was necessary to atone for sin.

Second answer: Let me clarify. What is the reason for lifting? Is it just to show off muscles? Or is it to show off creating ability? He is not in the habit of doing things just to show off. He has a lot more intelligence and wisdom than that. It would not make any sense to make a rock bigger than He could lift, anymore than it would make sense for me to try and lift a rock when I could go around. His creation obviously was put together with much more practicality and purpose than that.

Third answer: God could make a rock that would fill everything. Then what? Who would care if He could lift it? There wouldn’t be anyone left to care!

Fourth answer: God could make a big rock, but why lift it? Wouldn’t it make more sense to simply reduce the rock to gravel with a word? And if that was the case, wouldn’t it make more sense to make the gravel in the first place, if indeed gravel were needed? This puts the spotlight on His forethought and planning. His omniscience includes what we might call “common sense.” Indeed, He is the author of common sense.

Fifth answer: God made everything, including physical laws such as gravity. I have no doubt that He has many other laws we know nothing about. So would He make the rock without mass? Could it be physical yet not weigh anything? (As we think of weight with our current knowledge of physical laws.) So if the rock was large, yet had no mass, then He obviously could lift it. If it was heavy, how big would it have to be before He couldn’t lift it? Doesn’t He hold planets in the palm of His hand, or are held up by the word of His power? The rock would have to be really, really huge, and I don’t think we can even conceive of just how huge. This puts the spotlight on the ignorance of the questioner, especially since the average atheist (and it is mostly atheists who ask this question) worships science yet has very little understanding.

I’m sure there are other answers to this question too. In fact, it is a fun exercise for believers to use our wider and deeper understanding of God to see just how many ways this foolishness can easily be answered. I would also add this warning to the answers: “God is not mocked. Whatever one sows, that he shall also reap. Was I you I would be extremely careful about my questions. Because God might decide to answer you Himself.”

Shalom
Bruce

Atheism – The Seinfeld of Religions

Atheists deny that atheism is a religion, because they narrowly and falsely define religion (as they do so many other things). Their definition is limited to including ‘gods’ or supernatural beings, ceremonies and rituals. Dictionaries typically use similar definitions. One online dictionary I consulted defined religion as:
1. A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2. A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agree upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
3. The body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.

But these definitions fail to take into account religious beliefs that feature no supernatural beings, such as Taoism or UFO’s. A better definition by Ninian Smart (a recognized authority on the secular study of religion) includes what he called seven “dimensions” to religion. These seven points or dimensions are that a religion has 1) narrative (such as stories of where the universe came from and humanity’s part in it); 2) experiential events (an experience such as dread, guilt, awe, mystery, devotion, liberation, ecstasy, inner peace, or bliss that leads to conversion and later reinforce conversion); 3) a social aspect (a hierarchy of people at the top who promote their beliefs to gain and teach new believers (laity), or a shared belief system and attitudes practiced by group); 4) ethics (morality or a code of behavior); 5) doctrine (teachings or philosophy in an intellectually coherent form); 6) rituals (such as holidays and celebrations); and 7) material parts (objects or places symbolizing the, or treated as, sacred or supernatural). All religions do not have all of these in equal measure or attach the same importance to them, but in general they share these characteristics.

In an article by Daniel Smartt at http://creation.com/atheism-a-religion he looks at this seven-point definition of religion and does a good job showing how atheism fits right in. The stories or narrative of atheism include Darwin’s trip on the HMS Beagle, the big bang (nothing exploded and became everything), and evolution (from simple to complex). Their experiences include such things as “freedom” from religion or “liberation” after converting, while “faith” is needed to embrace the belief (contrary to the science they say they worship) that life arose from non-life. Atheist social hierarchy has people at the top like Darwin or Stephen Hawking who are revered and preach the shared belief system aiming to gain converts. Atheist ethics are that there are no ethics except perhaps self-preservation or survival of the fittest; and that humans are basically good. But borrowing from other ethical systems is encouraged due to the moral bankruptcy of their doctrine.

That doctrine is of course that there is no God; evolution as fact contrary to sound science, and such things as the Humanist Manifesto. Their rituals include Darwin’s birthday and Earth Day (Lenin’s birthday). The material dimension of the atheist religion includes a worship of nature along with exploiting nature because “survival of the fittest” means that humans are the fittest.

Atheism is by definition self-contradictory. They espouse “open mindedness” yet start off with a repudiation of God. If they were truly “open minded” they would consider at least the possibility of a God. They say they have no gods yet obviously worship the twin gods of science and rationality, when they aren’t worshiping themselves as gods. There is no rational way possible they can declare there is no God unless they are gods by the conventional definition. They would have to be everywhere present, all-powerful, and all-knowing, because God could be residing somewhere they can’t get to, or know about, or have the power to travel to. They say Christians cannot prove God exists (although we can) yet cannot prove that God does not exist.

C. S. Lewis earlier in his life was an atheist. But he later said “atheism turns out to be too simple.”

Nothing good comes from atheism. What little good there is gets borrowed from other religions, mostly Christianity. Out of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 of them were for training pastors. Whatever you want to say about the training of pastors, it was still thought that pastors had to be educated. The first free clinic in England was started by Christians (1746, John Wesley). Christians during the reformation and after were the vocal advocates of education, because they wanted to encourage people to read the Bible. The abolition of slavery in the UK and U.S. was pushed by, you guessed it, Christians.

Atheists claim to be compassionate, yet give very little of their precious money to charity, even non-religious charities. One study from Barna Research http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/12-faithspirituality/102-atheists-and-agnostics-take-aim-at-christians found that in 2006 the typical no-faith American donated just $200.00 while the average active-faith adult (defined as having gone to church, read the Bible and prayed during the week preceding the survey) gave $1,500.00. Even when church-based giving is subtracted, the active-faith adults gave double the dollars. Three times as many atheists as Christians gave nothing at all.

“We find the most terrible form of atheism, not in the militant and passionate struggle against the idea of God himself, but in the practical atheism of everyday living, in indifference and torpor. We often encounter these forms of atheism among those who are formally Christians.”
Nicolai A. Berdyaev
We_find_the_most_terrible_form_of_atheism. Dictionary.com. Columbia World of Quotations. Columbia University Press, 1996. http://quotes.dictionary.com/We_find_the_most_terrible_form_of_atheism (accessed: March 04, 2013).

Atheists love to speak of war and death in the name of Christianity, yet lie when confronted with the many-times-greater war and death caused by atheism. They do this by saying that the atheist versions were not “in the name of atheism.” Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Lenin, Pol Pot, Castro, etc. have caused more deaths than all the so-called religious wars combined, and more in “peacetime” than in war. These men were all atheists, either by direct statement or by action. Totalitarians have all been atheists. Hitler, it is claimed, was a Christian, but was not. He used Darwin’s theories to justify his death camps, and used the national church (church is not the same thing as Christian) as a rubber stamp to further his policies of war, eugenics and terror.

Atheists also ignore the millions of deaths by abortion perpetrated by atheist Margaret Sanger and others of similar thought. She was the founder of Planned Parenthood and a dedicated eugenicist (improving the quality of the human race by selective breeding and elimination of self-determined “undesirables”).

And when, by the way, has a book been published by an atheist that is so popular it has been in print for thousands of years selling billions of copies and translated into most known languages?

Stan, the 40 year atheist at atheism-analyzed.net points out in his First Principle of Atheism blog post (atheism-analyzed.blogspot.com) that “Atheism is a VOID, intellectually and morally. This seems hardly arguable given that many Atheists declare the relief of total freedom that Atheism has given them – freedom from onerous absolutes, rules and authority (1). This VOID or hole is created solely by rejection, commonly of the nature of rebellion, and commonly is adopted in juvenile years of poor intellectual and cortex development coupled with raging hormones and personal emotional turmoil. After the VOID is adopted, Atheists find themselves totally free to create their own truths to backfill the hole. In essence, the Atheist is enabled to fill the hole totally with himself, and his own personal desires. So Atheism is completely self-focused and narcissistic. This is not to say that all narcissists are Atheist, nor that all Atheists meet the clinical definitions of narcissism. But the first principle of Atheism opens the pathway to narcissism and many take that path.”

Seinfeld was a sitcom very popular in the ‘90’s. To quote its creators and critics, it is “a show all about nothing.” Adherents to atheism claim that nothing exploded and produced everything, that nothing evolved and produced humanity, that there exists nothing but what we see hear touch taste and feel, that there is no God, and nothing awaits us after we die. There is no basis for morality, no guiding principles except that of “dog eat dog,” and no hope for the future. Truly atheism is also a show about nothing. It is the Seinfeld of religions.

Christians on the contrary possess quite a bit of substance. We have a God who is the source of all things of love, good, right, light, justice and life. We have comfort that there is a purpose to our being here, and a hope that all will not continue in pain, suffering and misery indefinitely. Our hope is that the perfectly loving, just and righteous Father will cleanse creation and put it back to right with His Son. We will be a part of His kingdom and family forever.

Atheists want us to trade all of what we have for…wait for it…nothing. They’ve got literally nothing to offer. Believers have everything, and lose nothing if we are wrong. Atheists have nothing, yet have everything to lose if they are wrong (an application of Pascal’s wager). The hook for atheism is that a person can be his own god with no accountability for decisions good or bad. This pitch has been made before. In the Garden of Eden. By a liar and the father of lies. So atheism is just another dressed up version of “you will be like God.” Atheism has got to be about the dumbest religion ever created by man. At least most of the other religions admit what they are doing. So the Seinfeld of religions wants us poor, idiot Christians to trade all we have for all they don’t?