Sunday, April 6, 2014
This is akin to "doing nothing" as my dad says, "even doing nothing is doing something (i.e. you're breathing, you're seeing, you're thinking, etc., etc.)."
So why do I bring this up -- because it really pisses me off when Atheists say "we don't have faith or believe in anything."
As the theologian pastor Josh Harris says, "Even a belief that there is no God, is a belief about God."
I have atheist friends who have told me as a Christian that I "cannot have my cake and eat it too." Well ... ok, but if that's the case neither can you my brothers and sisters of humanity!
You can't say you don't have faith in anything -- let's say your "god" is reason and scientists -- great tools for and of the Lord by the way in their proper dynamic -- but you have faith, your faith is in scientists and their experiments.
I am sure very little of you when you "accept" a scientific discovery or report do the experiment yourself -- or understand all the science and formulas for this or that theory -- maybe some of you do, but if we're being honest, atheists take reports of scientists, and science "articles", if you will, on as much faith as believers take into account the universe (science included) as evidence (NOT proof -- evidence) for God.
So let's find some common ground .... we all believe something -- even if we believe nothing, we believe something (like alluded to above) .... so my dear atheistic friends, fellow creatures, and beloved human beings made in the image of the Creator who "desires all men to be saved and come unto a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) Let's call a spade a spade -- you have as much faith as we do ... you have as much faith that there is no God as believers have that their is one it's still FAITH -- a belief -- just like believers.
And you have a 'god' too -- your god is man's reason and science (both gifts of God properly used -- by the way -- man doesn't even create anything at an elemental level -- all rudimentary and fundamental building blocks of the universe and life we are totally dependent on from other forces of the outside ourselves -- so who is responsible for all the life sustaining forces that keep the universe and life on this planet going? It takes a lot of faith to believe that all came from "random" chance) -- so you have JUST AS MUCH BELIEF as believers atheistic people -- it's just placed in other 'gods'. But please my friends and brothers and sisters, COME OFF this pseudo-veiled concept of "not believing anything" because as I have tried to demonstrate, "not believing anything" is still believing something.
And why did I bring this up? To just stir up a semantics debate -- no -- but because whatever you believe, politically, environmentally, fundamentally, or as I'm speaking -- theological has to work out for you in real life.
If you believe something just to believe it (Atheism, Christianity, Islam, Jedism) that is not good. If you can't question or be open minded about your faith to the point of discussion and challenging your beliefs, then you have to question if what you believe in is really worth believing in -- but don't fall in the other trap either of being two open minded as my grandpa says "don't be so open minded that your brains fall out of your head."
So that being said the reason I am a Christian is because it works for me in real life -- one of the most fundamental questions for human beings is "why is there suffering" especially in the context of an all good all powerful deity.
Everything I have to say on this vein is borrowed, but also sprinkled with my own sentiments. To me personally, and that's all this is -- is a PERSONAL opinion (gleened surely off my many influences, but my opinion in the sense this is what and why I stand for Christ).
To me, if there is a God, all powerful, all good all loving who is in His very essence IS love as we Christians claim to believe -- then there are only two answers to suffering, either God should take it away, because He can, OR He has to redeem it by glorifying Himself and honoring the person enduring the suffering like gold refined in fire, coal burnt into diamonds, or the pruning of a tree for more fruit -- the cuts and burns of life must lead to an ultimate end.
Christianity promises that ..... not only so, but in Christianity God HIMSELF who ALLOWS suffering SETS the example ..... God Himself becomes a poor, homeless, man, heals the sick, befriends the lepers and prostitutes, saying tax collectors are closer to kingdom of God then those who are "religiously" righteous in their own eyes .... He is misunderstood by His own family and best friends .... often isolated, probably sometimes depressed .... but always ULTIMATELY submitted to the Father's will, for "He and the father are one." (John 10:25)
He not only undergoes all this suffering, taking upon Himself all the challenges and hardships that life has t offer, but is KILLED by the people He came to save (i.e. ALL of us ... the people of the world).
Think about how wild this is, this man lived 2000 years ago, he never wrote anything down and He is the most influential man in history -- he was poor homeless, only preached for three years, and people from Sir Isaac Newton to Katy Perry have been influenced by this man and every one inbetweeen.
Christianity, whether you agree with it or not, is the largest religion in the world. This religion is based on a man who claimed to BE GOD, nothing less -- and whose followers believe as A FACT, the historical event of the Resurrection of this man who is God, Jesus.
If you lived your life and claimed to be God do you think that you would 2,000,000,000 followers who believed that (A) you were God (B) that you rose from the dead after becoming a human being and living on earth for 33 years as a real historical event ......... I know I wouldn't I only have 2 followers on this blog (.......and one is an advertisement, thanks Chris, you're my only true friend!).
Just from a rational standpoint, even if I wasn't a Christian, there HAS to be something to this religion -- it is so radical even from Islam and Judaism which it shares 90% of its beliefs in (again from my personal opinion and study).
BUT that 10% is Jesus, the man, BEING God -- that is a CRAZY claim and yet it is the NUMBER 1 religion worldwide, let that sink in to you no matter what you believe and try to think who else in history, as many great men and women as their have been has had as much impact on the world as -- AGAIN -- this 1st Century Palestinian poor, large familied tradesman (probably a bricklayer/carpenter) JEW (who DEFINITELY looked more Arab than Swedish ... sorry folks), who never even wrote a book -- preached for 3 years -- never wrote anything down, and was hung on a Cross -- how did this guy get people to STILL believe He was God about 2.18 billion (almost a THIRD of the world's population) to this day, and why hasn't anyone else EVER even come close to this? Just something to be pondered in my opinion.
Whatever you believe has to work out in real life, I can say the nicest and truest things about Jesus and be a real asshole in real life and that ruins all my credibility, and EVEN worse is a poor representation of the true Jesus who gave his life as a ransom for the world (i.e. you me and everyone we know and has ever existed or will exist .... wow) ....... and equally there can be an atheist, who "hates" Jesus (or says he hates Jesus) and yet is very loving and kind and follows the GREAT COMMANDMENT to "love your neighbor as yourself," better than his Christian friends. An "anonymous Christian" as Karl Rahner would say.
We will all be judged by God, so there's not much point in arguing about what comes after ..... all we can do is keep lovin, keep pluggin ..... the rest is in God's hands (whether we like it or not).
And I urge you to look to Christ who is always with you, and within you whether you want to acknowledge it or not God's presence is like oxygen and gravity -- it permeates all of creation at all times whether one is conscious of it and acknowledges it or not -- "know and embrace the truth" that God is love, and His love is the foundation of ALL creation of ALL time "and it shall set you free." (John 8:32)
Christ be with you all (atheist or believer), as He always is,
Peace, Love, Blessings,
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
"Pity the fool who thinks the boundaries of his mortal mind are the boundaries of God the Almighty. Pity the ignorant who assume they can negotiate and settle debts with God. Do such people think God is a grocer who attempts to weigh our virtues and our wrongdoings on two separate scales? Is He a clerk meticulously writing down our sins in His accounting book so as to make us pay Him back someday? Is this their notion of Oneness? Neither a grocer nor a clerk, my God is a magnificent God. A living God. Why would I want a dead God? Alive He is. His name is al-Hayy--the Ever-Living. Why would I wallow in endless fears and anxieties, always restricted by prohibitions and limitations? Infinitely compassionate He is. The name is al-Wadud. All-Praiseworthy He is. I praise Him with all my words and deeds, as naturally and effortlessly as I breathe. The name is al-Hamid. How can I ever spread gossip and slander if I know deep down in my heart that God hears and sees all? His name is al-Basir. Beautiful beyond all dreams and hopes. Al-Jamal, al-Kayyum, al-Rahman, al-Rahim. Through famine and flood, dry and athirst, I will sing and dance for Him till my knees buckle, my body collapses, and my heart stops pounding. I will smash my nafs to smithereens, until I am no more than a particle of nothingness, they wayfarer of pure emptiness, the dust of the dust in His great architecture. Gratefully, joyously, and relentlessly, I commend His splendor and generosity. I thank Him for all the things He has both given and denied me, for only He knows what is best for me." [Shams, Elif Shafak, FRL, p. 180-181]
"It was as if I had no more fear left inside me. One way or another, I didn't care. I was determined to dedicate what remained of my life to God. Whether this would be for a single day or for many more years to come did not matter." [Desert Rose the Harlot, Elif Shafak, FRL, p.230]
"Sometimes it is necessary to destroy all attachments in order to win over your self. If we are too attached to our family, our position in society, even our local school or mosque, to the extent that they stand in the way of Union with God, we need to tear those attachments down." [Rumi, Elif Shafak, FRL, p. 240]
Saturday, March 8, 2014