Atheism or Irreligion?

April 15, 2008

I stumbled across a quick post today entitled “Is Atheism a Crutch?”. It made me go “hmm” because I have been thinking a similar thought these days.

Ravi Zacharias postulates that most atheists are not so for intellectual reasons but for moral reasons. In other words, many have not chosen atheism because they don’t think there is enough evidence for God or anything like that, but because they echo Huxley’s sentiment that they want this world to be without God and without meaning so they can do whatever they want without consequence. I tend to agree.

I am not saying that all atheists are immoral buffoons, but I do agree with Ravi. At the heart of atheism many times is not the rejection of God’s existence but the choice not to serve, worship, or really think of him at all. At the heart many atheists are not really atheists but simply irreligious.

Most of the people I have encountered who profess atheism do so out of rebellion in one way or another. They do not want to have God on their consciences telling them what they are doing is wrong. They do not like feeling guilty about sin and fearing hell.

By the way, conviction is not a bad thing, and fear of hell is not a bad reason to seek God’s mercy. In fact these are the very reasons we seek God – so he will make us into new creations in Christ Jesus. Salvation is not just “fire insurance,” but a new life that is born out of true sorrow and repentance.

So the root of both atheistic irreligion and Christianity is morality. Many atheists are so because of rebellion in one way or another, wanting to write their own moral laws. Many Christians have become Christians because they have seen the moral bankruptcy of their lives and the moral perfection of a holy God.


Wounded by Cults and Loss of Faith

April 9, 2008

I was browsing around and read some people’s accounts of what caused them to leave the Mormon church. I was saddened by what much of what I was reading. Many people who left the church had written off religion altogether.

This is not completely unreasonable. I’ve been to churches that hurt me and I know that I was hesitant to return to church for fear of the same kind of manipulation. But the truth is that just because one church hurt you doesn’t mean that there isn’t truth out there to be found.

There is a humorous commercial on our local Christian radio station. It depicts two men sitting down to eat at a restaurant. One of the men refuses to order anything but pickles because that is the only thing that he’s ordered that hasn’t been messed up in the past. They messed up his cheeseburger or so he’ll never order a cheeseburger again – you get the idea. Then they bring the wrong kind of pickles and the guy swears off that too. The point of the commercial bears a truth: just because something bad happened in the past at church doesn’t mean that God isn’t real and the gospel isn’t true.

I’m sorry to see so many people hurt by the deception of the Mormon church. I wish that these people would see that God is real and the Bible is true. The message of the Mormon church has perverted the message of the Bible.

To get to the truth you need to search for it. It doesn’t make sense to swear off truth because someone who claims to have it really doesn’t. It’s hard, but you need to dust off your feet and move on, getting to the real message of the Word of God. Nothing less will do.

A Warning Concerning Education

April 8, 2008

The Bible warns against men in too high esteem.

You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow (1 Corinthians 3:3-7).

We are also warned not to hold ourselves in too high esteem.

Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20).

Too often in the scholarly realm the man is put on the pedestal. It then becomes more important what men say than what God says. Besides holding men and their teachings too highly, many educated men and women become proud of their status of wisdom in the eyes of the world. But the Bible tells us that God’s idea of wisdom is radically different from man’s.

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?… Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:20, 26-31).

So we are not to boast in worldly wisdom but in the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the work of the gospel that has made us who we are today in Christ Jesus.

We are given many warnings in the Word of God about what happens when we boast in our own wisdom. “Knowledge puffs up, but loves builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1b).

If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I posses to the poor and surrender my body to the flames but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

If we miss the point of the gifts God has given us – if we do not love God with all we are and love others as Christ loves us – our work is meaningless. It doesn’t matter how many books you’ve read, if you have a college degree, or if you have climbed the academic ladder as high as it goes. It is possibly to completely miss God and what he’s doing if you become puffed up about yourself. We are warned, “Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought” (Romans 12:3).

Do you need proof that God delights in using people this world views as foolish to confound the wise and to do his work? Look at D.L. Moody. Moody only had a sixth-grade education, and he went on to lead hundreds of thousands of people to Christ. More than that, our Lord used him to found a Bible college that is still standing today. Or look at A.W. Tozer. Tozer wasn’t educated either, but he was a man who knew God better than most scholars, and his life, preaching and writing showed it. A.W. Tozer preached by the power of the Holy Spirit. No education can replace that.

I’m not saying that education in and of itself is a bad thing, but that basing one’s worth on education is unbiblical and sometimes idolatrous.

Ecclesiastes, that great book of the Bible themed on meaning and futility, ends with these words:

Of making many books there is no send, and much study wearies the body. Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:12-14).

Martin Luther King Jr. On Thinking

April 4, 2008

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think” (Martin Luther King Jr.).

Gospel Proclaimed and Judgment Warned

April 2, 2008

“Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.

If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the best from the land;

but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

(Isaiah 1:18-20)

Is Truth Old-Fashioned?

April 1, 2008

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in absolutes. I believe there is such thing as truth. I believe the Bible is God’s infallible Word and serves as our reference point for knowing God’s mind in matters of truth. I believe Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, just like the Bible says. I also believe these things are not merely matters of faith but of reason. I think they make sense.

These kinds of ideas are seen today as things of a bygone era, things our parents and grandparents believed, but things that have no bearing on our lives today.

Interestingly, I’m not an “old” person – I’m in my early twenties. Nor was I raised in the church – I had heard some things about God as a child but did not become a born-again Christian until I was 19. I do not fit the stereotype of old-fashioned Christianity. My daddy isn’t a preacher. My mom wasn’t a praying woman when I was growing up. They didn’t drag us to church or make us listen to boring sermons. They didn’t push their old-fashioned views on us, indoctrinating us before we knew better. There’s nothing wrong with being raised in the church or with teaching your kids what’s true and right. I encourage these things. I’m just saying that that wasn’t me.

The truth is that truth exists, and it is not old-fashioned to say so.

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