God’s Strange Choice

There is no accounting for taste. Even that of God.

He created a world chock-a-block with wilful, wayward, and contentious people who would reject Him at the drop of a hat.

Why would He do such a thing? Why did he not create a creature with a preference for meekness, a habit of holiness, and a heart for generosity?

Perhaps it is the difference between cubic zirconia and diamonds. Cubic zirconia is man-made, cheap, and optically flawless. It is beautiful, and virtually indistinguishable from diamond even at close inspection.

Diamonds are rare, and often flawed. They must be worked, with the attendant risk of fatal fracture.

Diamonds are expensive. Cubic zirconia is not.

Perhaps the rarity of our good qualities, our obvious faults, and the difficulties in working us to “gem quality” are precisely why we are here. Perhaps the ordeal we must face as we go from a raw crystal hidden in dirt to Heaven’s consort is that which is needed to turn something little better (and often worse) than an animal into a fit companion for God’s eternity.

Perhaps part of that gemcutting process is the use of a “diamond saw” on the raw diamond. Perhaps it is the help that we flawed gems must offer one another.

God could have made it all perfect and holy.

But He wanted us.

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Answers to Atheists

One of the interesting – and disconcerting – things about atheists is their position that believers are credulous of events and concepts that are both unlikely and unproven, while the main tenet of their belief – that there is no God (or any supernatural presence) is fundamentally and forever beyond proof.

This does not seem to trouble them. They live in a ‘rational’ world that is explained by science, logic, and simple observation. The supernatural can safely be ignored, as it does not register on their senses.

Unfortunately, they are living in a lie, or at least a grave misconception.

Let us begin by asking an atheist about the nature of the chair in which he sits. What, pray tell, is it?

A chair. Made of wood.

Ah. Is it solid?

Of course.

But, you see, a chair is anything but solid. It is made of atoms (mainly carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen) which are in turn made up of electrons, protons, and neutrons. These can be further subdivided, but we already have gotten small enough.

In comparison to the size of an atom, the particles which make it up are very, very small. An atom is far more than 99%…empty space.

What makes it “solid”, of course, are the bonds between the subatomic particles, and the bonds between the atoms themselves. Far stronger than magnetism, these nuclear forces give materials the properties that we observe, from solidity to texture to colour.

The chair is not solid, but unless we have the instruments to perform the analysis, we can never know.

A simpler example involves radio waves. A person ignorant of the electromagnetic spectrum, and not possessing a radio, would never know that the very air around him is filled with voices and music.

Our experience deceives us. Our experience is not ‘rational’; and neither is our science, because it butts up against limits in both knowledge and technology.

I think you can see from these examples the inherent fallacy in stating that there is no God, because His existence cannot be proven, and violates natural law.

To address the first point, we turn to logic, and the axiom that the absence of evidence can never be taken as evidence of absence.

To address the second point, we do not know natural law. We have theories, some of which fit the observed world quite well, but these are only models, and are not reality.

In the last post we looked at the issues involved with Newton’s Laws of Motion. Again, they work beautifully in the observed world, and can reliably be used to design everything from toasters to spaceships.

But drop to the atomic level, or expand to the galactic level…and investigate what happens near the speed of light…and a different picture emerges.

It is called Relativity.

Relativistic equations of motion accurately predict that space itself is distorted by gravitational forces, and bends light around a star (this distortion allow one to see a distant star hidden behind the Sun, and this has been observed). It predicts that time slows down as the speed of light is approached (also measured), and that the length of an object, measured in the direction of motion, decreases.

Yes, it really does get shorter near the speed of light.

We could use relativistic equations for everyday life if they were not so fearsomely complicated. As it stands, Newton’s equations work well enough…even though we know these ‘laws’ to be untrue.

And is relativity the end of the story?

Probably not. It is a model, after all, and not reality.

The atheist believes what he chooses to believe. But do not for a moment let him turn you head with talk of ‘facts’.

Answer him with the unprovable nature of his basic premise, and unmask his position for what it really is – and article of faith, a belief based upon a personal preference.

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The Flaw in Secular Humanism

Secular humanism has received great media attention in the past few years, and has been used as a base point from which attacks on Christianity (and other religions) have been launched.

It’s therefore important for persons of faith to understand what the mission of secular humanists actually is…and how to refute their basic premise.

This ‘mission statement’ comes from the Facebook page maintained by the Evansville Secular Humanists:

Mission:
Our mission is to promote secular humanism and related viewpoints; to develop and support a secular humanist community focused on individual, group, and societal betterment; to promote science and rational thought; to provide opportunities for learning, socializing, and activism; to encourage positive secular humanist culture; to defend the first amendment principle of church-state separation; to oppose discrimination against secular humanists (and the like); and to work with other organizations in pursuit of common goals.

The flaw is found in the middle of the paragraph, and that is the dependence on ‘science and rational thought‘.

Science is something of a moving target. That which was considered absolute scientific truth a century ago, or in some cases a decade ago, is now seen as untrue.

And many of today’s scientific ‘truths’ will be disproven.

Why? Because science is not truth. Science gives us a model of how the world works, but that model is not reality.

Sir Issac Newton developed laws of motion that we still use today, to describe how objects move. But his laws are wrong. At very high speeds, close to the speed of light, Newtonian mechanics breaks down.

It works at ‘our’ speeds because the answers it gives are close enough. But if it;s not applicable under all physical conditions, it’s fundamentally wrong. Period. Fullstop.

The theory of Evolution is another case in point – for evolution has never been observed save in the fossil record, which is very incomplete. The conditions which preserved fossils are rare, and while a model could be – and was – developed to allow evolutionary development, there is no unambiguous proof.

To depend on science is to build one’s house on a winter-frozen lake. The foundation will, assuredly, melt.

Rational thought is another rather attractive concept which does not hold up. Rationalism refers to discourse based solely on that which can be proved, without appeals to the supernatural.

The problem here is that it demands the a priori exclusion of the supernatural, which is an unprovable point. This exclusionary demand based on disbelief in the transcendent is in itself an article of faith.

Rational thought is therefore self-contradictory.

I do not have anything against atheists or secular humanists, as long as they hold their faith to themselves. I do pity them.

But I do not want to live in a society they have defined. They say they do not want to live in a theocracy, but that is a lie.

They want to be the gods.

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Would You Recognize Him?

If you mentally transport yourself to the Levant, two millennia back, you’d doubtless be seeking out Jesus.

But would you recognize Him?

Before you say, “of course, and what a silly question!” remember that most of the people He met looked past Him. They were looking for a temporal King, and thought that a carpenter’s son could never lead them.

Or they looked through Him, because they didn’t hear His words in their hearts.

Or they looked at Him, and saw an enemy, a threat to their entrenched beliefs, or a threat to their self-interest.

The people who followed Him seemed to be those who would open their hearts and minds, and listen. Jesus brought no magic, he performed no Jedi ind-tricks.

He spoke with a heart of Love, and offered that Love to anyone who cared to listen without judgement.

Would you recognize Him?

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Judging Jesus

We have a considerable body of knowledge concerning the words of Jesus. The four gospels show his reactions to many situations, and give some insight into His Personality.

How, then, do we justify making judgements about His potential behaviour in situations that may require our participation?

We know that He was compassionate with sinners, but admonished them to cease and desist the sinful behaviour. When He rescued the adulterous woman, He specifically said that He did not condemn her – and he was the only person who ever walked the earth who could claim the right to condemn.

And yet – many Christians today are reluctant to fully accept converts from a life of sin, considering them second class brothers and sisters in the faith. Red-headed stepchildren, if you will.

We condemn, and invoke Jesus.

We also know that He held a low view of wealth – saying that it was easier to pass a camel through the Eye of the Needle (the gate in ancient Jerusalem’s walls, not the sewing tool) than for a rich man to enter Heaven.

He said it in the context of speaking with a certain wealthy young man who wanted to follow Him, and was downcast when told that He had to give all he had to the poor.

But Jesus’ statement is quite clear. He did not speak of this rich man. He said a rich man. He was generic, in stating that wealth was and is an impediment to salvation.

Why do we have a prosperity Gospel, that says wealth can be a Christian’s aim?

Why do we judge Jesus, and in finding Him wanting, remold Him in a shape more pleasing to our human conceit?

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Jesus, The Quiet Professional

Have you noticed that nowhere in Scripture – save twice – is it implied that Jesus raised His voice?

The first instance was the expulsion of the money-changers from the temple. Quite understandable – He wanted to drive His point home. The whip helped with that, of course.

The second instance was His Crucifixion, when He cried out, “Why have You forsaken Me?”

But His other exchanges – stern or loving, exasperated or tinged with humour – are written as though they took place in a conversational tone.

And He never used oratorial tricks. When He meant yes, He said yes. When He meant no, He said no. Not “yes, YES, YES!“, nor “no, NO, NO!“.

Perhaps it is that I come from a different culture, but I find the loud and sometimes deliberately hypnotic style of preaching that is popular today rather a distraction, and I suspect that it obscures, rather than elucidates, the Gospel.

Can anyone explain this to me?

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What Will You Do With Grace?

God has given us a great gift, the gift of grace.

It came in the form of His Son, and its wrapping-papers were bloodied rags and bloodied thorns.

And what do we do with this gift?

Do we place it in a box that contains the ties now far from fashion, and the books no one would ever choose to read?

Do we place it on the mantel-piece, dusted and honored, but never taken down for use?

Or do we place fit ourselves into this grace every day, molding our shape to the shape of our gift. Sometimes uncomfortably, but an action imbued with an appreciation for the cost to the giver, and for the meaning of its giving?

What have you chosen to do?

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