Church shooting: some thoughts on self defense.

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I was listening to a radio broadcast on a Christian network last night. It was about the recent church shooting wherein an innocent woman lost her life when a masked gunman went into a church building and opened fire. Seven other people were injured.

The question was essentially this:

Does the church have the right to self defense? Is it biblical?

The answers I heard were astonishing.

I was not aware there exist a school of thought which says self defense is wrong for Christians. The problem is is that the question was not if we can defend ourselves only, but the lives of others. In this article I will take a look at some of the verses and reasoning used by those who do not believe in self defense.

I cannot fathom any Christian claiming to love their neighbor yet oppose defending the life of their neighbor, no less their family.

This article isn’t really an apologetics issue, but this is my ‘defense’ of  the church’s right to defend themselves as a body/whole, and for the individual Christian’s duty to their family. I also hope to dispel some myths about firearms and self defense in general.

In the broadcast I heard, a very sweet, very well intentioned young woman called with some comments on whether or not we should bring firearms into church, and whether or not church goers should carry or have a security presence.

The woman’s arguments were summed up as follows:

  1. The church is a place of love and therefore there is no room for guns or violence
  2. Thou shalt not kill forbids self defense
  3. Self defense is murder
  4. God is our protector.

Another woman called in shortly thereafter with the following arguments:

  1. God is sovereign over who dies (absolutely true)
  2. God will protect the church (absolutely true)
  3. We should pray for angelic protection
  4. She walks around dangerous neighborhoods at night and God doesn’t let anything happen to her.

 

I think these thoughts are part of an overarching misunderstanding of what Scripture clearly teaches about self defense and warfare in general.

As someone who frequently hears the arguments of unbelievers, one of the questions that come up is “How can a loving God (insert act of O.T. warfare)”

What needs to be understood is there is not a dichotomy between God’s love and God’s wars.

A human being is capable of being a soldier in Iraq, and at the same time coming home and loving their family and being one of the nicest guys in the world. It’s not either Rambo 100 percent of the time or mr. sprinkles 100 of the time. Humans are a balance of different things and emotions depending on their environments.

So this idea of God not being able to command warfare or self defense and at the same time being the God of love needs to be discarded.

Nevertheless, we need to look at several things here.

 

  1. Do guns have a place in church assemblies?

 

That depends, because that is a very complicated question. Guns are inanimate objects, and are simply an extension of the person behind the gun.

We need to turn the focus from the object and to the person.

So let me rephrase the question.

Should responsible people who have been trained to use firearms safely and accurately be brought into churches? Whether they be citizens or police?

I believe the answer is yes.

Question number two:

Does self defense have any place in the Christian life?

The answer is absolutely. But what is self defense? And is self defense murder? That’s what I’d like to talk about briefly.

In our American society there exists a mindset where guns are the first and last answer to self defense.

I was driving home from work the other night and I saw a billboard for a gun shop nearby that showed a picture of handgun and read:

WHERE SELF DEFENSE BEGINS.”

That is simply not true.

Simply not true.

Self defense starts with the proper mindset. And unfortunately the mindset of many American citizens is as follows:

I will purchase a handgun, go to the shooting range, stand in front of a stationary target, unload several magazines into the target, put my gun away, go get my CCW license, and I am now ready to stop all and any attacks or threats simply because I now own a firearm, even though half the time my gun is in a safe, or in a trunk, or not on my person, and when the gun is on my person I have no training behind shooting stationary targets that stay in place in a controlled environment with earplugs.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with going to the range, and owning a gun. I think these are good places to start with a shooting based self defense framework. And I’d much rather have that person in my church than no one.

However, we need to remember here that just because you own a gun or carry one does not mean the the need for self defense or defending the lives of others is answered completely. Where is your gun right now? Is situational awareness a part of your self defense mindset? What about defending yourself with empty hands? Would you shoot a 14 year old kid? Have you trained to shoot center mass or is the idea of “shooting someone in the leg or arm” a viable thing (it’s not).

Basically there are too many variables to make the gun the final answer for self defense. The gun is one of many tools, and mindsets and skill sets are what needs to be addressed first.

And what becomes dangerous is when citizens invest their life in the gun 100 percent.

 

Now that I’m done with that side note, let’s take a look at some commonly used  Scriptures that people read to argue against self defense.

 

  1. TURN THE OTHER CHEEK.

 

Many Christians against any and all self defense or self defense related topics will turn to this verse.

 

Matthew 5:39  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

 

Let me ask two questions here.

 

  1. Is someone smacking my face a life or death self defense situation?
  2. How many cheeks do I have?

I cannot understand how someone with a mask going into a church and ending the life of an innocent Christian woman can be compared to a smack on the cheek. We do need to turn the other cheek. When someone gives us the finger driving, when someone insults, when someone uses us, when someone mistreats us, and even when someone smacks us.

But we only have two cheeks. And when someone comes into a church with a mask and a gun, they’re not there to smack us. When someone breaks into our house in the middle of the night to rape or kill, they’re not there to smack us.

So no, we cannot take this verse as a universal rule forbidding any and all self preservation. That’s not the intention.

 

2. VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY

Romans 12:19 comes up occasionally, however the question here is STOPPING violence, not seeking revenge. And that’s important, because killing somebody who is about to kill or has killed others is NOT murder. Murder is the shedding of innocent blood, and it is the stopping and prevention of further harm that self defense has in mind, not predatory actions.

For example, when a livestock guardian dog kills a wolf, should the livestock dog be put down? Did the dog go hunting or seeking to kill? No, there was a responsibility to defend the innocent.

 

3. THOU SHALT NOT KILL

 

1 Samuel 18:7 And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.

Deuteronomy 20:16 But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:

Anyone who isolates “Thou shalt not kill” as a law forbidding ANY KIND of killing will have serious discrepancies later on in the Bible.

The intended meaning is not to shed innocent blood. People killed in the Bible, holy people killed in the Bible.

I am not advocating killing, I am simply saying that we need to stop using this verse as a mandate against killing in any form. The Bible is clear that killing in warfare for just causes was acceptable.

If an intruder is about to kill a family member in my home, and I have the ability to stop him, am I going to ALLOW someone innocent to die? No, that’s not what the verse means.

 

4. THEY SHALL BEAT THEIR SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES

 

Isaiah 2:4  And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Isaiah chapter 2 is a picture of Christ’s future kingdom on earth, where the nations don’t learn war anymore. I’m not going to get into the whole preterism/dispensationalism debate, but I think we need to be very careful using verses about when Christ rules on earth in this present day, when the nations are still learning war.

Are there any verses in Scripture where we are given permission for self defense?

Yes, absolutely.

 

LUKE 22:35-37

 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.

36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

 

Jesus is not talking about a “metaphorical sword” you cannot sell a physical garment for a non physical sword. Jesus is mandating self defense for the disciples. Notice this is not a command to take up the sword like Islam. This is in the context of having something to rely upon should our lives be in danger.

Luke 22:38  And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

Those were two very real swords.

 

So ultimately, if the church sits by and allows themselves to be killed, not as martyrs but as victims of random violence, then, with the way things are going, we’re going to be losing many precious brothers and sisters. And I don’t want that.

 

 

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A response to the gender fluid movement

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Trigger Warning: this post will contain biological facts and scientific truths. This post may also use logic and ethical absolutes. This post will make references to God Almighty and will do so in a non inclusive manner. This post may also disagree with college and university propaganda and present an opposing view… which essentially means we have no coloring books and cookies here. 

Reader discretion advised.

 

You’re about to enter a dimension, one not of sight and sound only but of mind, time and space. A realm between light and dark, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.

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Imagine, if you will, a vast and distant future. One of  unbridled freedom and untamed liberation.  A world where biology and hard fact are second to feeling and personality. A world in which light is dark and dark is light, where bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter, where good is called evil and evil is called good.

No, this not some distant universe, but right outside our very door.

Within our schools and colleges, within our homes,and in the media and society 24/7.

A world where gender is not determined through biology and chromosomes, but through personal preference. A world called 2017 America. In which lines and distinctions between gender are nonexistent.

No this is not an episode of the twilight zone. This is the very world we live in, one where I can identify with any gender by simply proclaiming myself to be that gender.

I want to open this post today by going through some basic logic. Let’s do a simple drill to get familiar with the law of logic called the law of identity.

Reach into a pocket and grab a coin. Lets say a penny for now.

Repeat after me:

This is a coin

This is not a dollar bill

This is not a million dollars

This is not a bottle cap

This is not a credit card

 

Good, now look down at your shoes. Repeat after me:

These are shoes

These are not gloves

These are not casts

These are not small beds for insects

These are shoes

Good, now look at your shirt

This is not a tent

This is not a flag

This is not a dishtowel

Great!

Now turn to your friend

REPEAT AFTER ME

This is a human being

This is not a spider

This is not a puppy

This is not a meercat

This is a human being

 

Good, now find the nearest male:

This is a male human

This is not a female human

This is not a little girl

Oh… What? Do the same rules of logic not apply?

 

So I can’t identify a penny as a million dollars, or fly my shirt as a flag, but I can, in spite of having male chromosomes and organs, identify as a female? I can’t identify as someone’s father and tell that person what to do, but I can tell people I might be a girl tomorrow.

If the same rules of logic do not apply here, why should they apply anywhere?

The biological truth is that there is no science or logic behind the gender fluid movement.

We have fixed genders because gender is a result of chromosome patterns, not personal feelings. I may feel like a bird but throwing myself off a cliff is not a good idea.

From a Christian perspective God does not let our gender fall to chance, He specifically knits all our parts together for His divine purposes (Psalm 139:13-16) to mar these parts by removing them for the purpose of claiming they are the “wrong parts” is to insult the perfect God who knows what He’s doing.

And then we have Facebook’s list of 71 gender options… Let’s talk about those…

Why should we stop at gender? Seriously, somebody give me one good reason we shouldn’t do age or species?

Date of birth ___ ___

Age identified with ___

Species:

Human

walrus

zebra

sparrow

No species

Hybrid

That’s a good start.

 

Things I wish Evangelicals would stop saying

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Within Evangelicalism there exist a tradition of phrases that are often repeated over and over without actually having any basis in Scripture. Today we’re going to briefly look at a few of these phrases and show how they can even be against Scripture.

I won’t be trying to find the history of these phrases or where they got started, but I do want to take a look at what they are actually teaching and how it affects the church and the world right now.

The phrases and the people saying them are well intentioned, but that still doesn’t make them right. And worse off, some of these phrases are even slipped into the gospel and therefore become very dangerous.

If you have found yourself saying any of these liners (I myself have) please remember this post is simply a gentle correction and a plea for the church to remove these quotes from their vocabulary.

Let’s take a look:

 

1. Invite Jesus into your heart.

 

This is perhaps the most well intentioned phrase, but problems arise when people give this as the gospel.

Firstly, there is a verse in Ephesians (Ephesians 3:17) which does indeed say that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith. However, this is given to believers, people who already were saved and knew the gospel. This is never given as an evangelistic plea to anyone.

The surrounding context of these verses in Ephesians are about being strengthened in the Spirit and knowing the love of Christ, not the plan of salvation.

Too many tracts and gospel presentations ask people to “invite Jesus into their hearts.” The problem?

This is way too vague to save anyone.

The statement does not tell anyone about Christ’s death burial and resurrection for our sins according to the Scriptures (the gospel).

The focus of the gospel is Christ’s person and work, not a soteriologically vague statement taken from Ephesians, a non evangelistic letter.

The problem is that unbelievers need to be born again  before Christ can even dwell there. An unbeliving heart is no place for the Lord.

 

2. Surrender/give your life to Christ (for salvation)

This one is perhaps one I find most disdain with. This phrase is so often repeated in churches and gospel presentations.

OK, let me be very clear here, the gospel is about Christ giving HIS LIFE for us:

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Titus 2:14  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Philippians 2:8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The problem with the statement is this:

 

  1. The phrase focuses on our lives (which cannot save us), not Christ’s sacrifice (which does save us).
  2. Unbelievers technically have no life being dead according to Ephesians 2:5
  3. Christ already owns everything, including your life, there is nothing you can truly “give” to someone who already owns everything.
  4. Salvation is not a trade off, but a free gift (Romans 5)

In regards to being a disciple, then yes, giving your life to the service of God and “losing your life” in that sense (surrendering to Christ if we want to call it that) is good and Biblical, but telling unbelievers to do this is not a sound presentation of the gospel. This is for already saved people.

 

3. Make Jesus your Lord

 

This one makes me cringe. Jesus is Lord of all already:

 

Acts 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

You (a person) cannot “make” Jesus Lord of anything, He already is (He’s God remember?) And if a person makes Jesus Lord over something, they’re lord over something Jesus wasn’t, and are lords over what Jesus is Lord over. Not going to work.

Let’s get rid of this phrase once and for all.

 

4. God doesn’t send people to hell, we send ourselves there

In essence, I can understand the overall message this phrase is trying to convey, believe me I do.

However, the statement simply is not true, God does indeed send people to hell (Matthew 25:41)

 

5. “I’m no saint…”

I actually have caught myself saying this a few times too, but really, if a person is saved, they are a saint, as the word is used in the New Testament to refer to the people of God in general. (1 Corinthians 6:1 Romans 8:27)

Not a special class of elite super believer.

 

6. All sins are equal

 

Nope…

John 19:11  Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

 

7. Can I get an Amen in the house of God

 

Acts 17:24  God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands

God used to dwell inside the Israelite’s temple and tabernacle, but in the NT He dwells in believers instead.

When we refer to a physical building as “God’s house” today, things can start getting unbiblical.

 

8. …Live forever in heaven…

 

Believers will spend eternity in New Jerusalem according to Revelation, which lands out of heaven upon a new earth. I understand some people interpret this metaphorically as the church, but I personally don’t see that. If you’re like me and have a slightly more literal hermeneutic, let’s do away with this phrase.

 

 

Ultimately, I’m sure there are more phrases that could be added, but these seem to be the most popular.

Was the Gospel copied from the Zodiac? Responding to Listverse.

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An author by the name of Marcus Lowth over at the Listverse website has taken it upon himself to regurgitate the zodiac/Jesus connection conspiracy. The unfortunate thing about this is that these types of websites do not employ people with relevant credentials, instead many writers on this website are paranormal enthusiasts, Marcus is no exception.

The problem is is that this article has over 300 comments, as opposed to the usual 50 comments the website seems to average. These types of articles generate huge readers and large numbers of shares.

Now normally a website such as this isn’t taken seriously by anyone with an education in the field of mythology or religion/history, but since the website caters to the regular internet reader, a regular internet reader (myself) should respond.

The article offers “ten reasons” that the story of Jesus is really an allegory for sun worship. New Agers eat this type of stuff up, and in my evangelistic pursuits I have encountered people who buy into this theory whole cloth.

This theory is used to support the idea that Jesus “did not exist” (although the article doens’t necessarily argue for that) and that Christianity was stolen from previous religions, or in this case, was based entirely off the zodiac.

What these theory proponents like to do is use Christian language and equivocation into things that have no relation with each other. Let’s take a look.

 

The first day of the “new” Sun is December 25, which, as we all know, is the day Jesus was born in the stable in Bethlehem.[1] Even terms such as the “Son of God” could have originally, in ancient texts, have simply been “the Sun God.” As we will look at later in this list, the new Sun comes after the winter solstice, which ends the previous cycle of the Sun, before its rebirth—essentially, the circle of life.

 

 

If you’re wondering where that link leads in the citation, it leads to a blogspot website. Yes, that’s the kind of scholarship the zodiac mythers use, they like to quote each other pretty often. Anyway, the sun is not “reborn” on the 25th, it only appears to resume motion after the three day solstice, both dates have no relevance, because the Lord Jesus Christ was NOT born on December 25th, that date was adopted centuries later.

Secondly, there is still no connection between the two, Jesus did not experience a “rebirth” when He was born in Bethlehem, that was His first birth, unlike the “new” sun zodiac mythers try to claim is born on the 25th. And lastly how does one get “The Son of God” from “The sun god” in ancient texts that were not written in English where the two words don’t sound similar?

 

Following December 25—when the Sun is reborn—it begins its journey through the houses of the zodiac, just as Jesus begins His life, first as a young child (new Sun) and all the way to summer, when the Sun is at its strongest, or when Jesus was at His most influential and powerful. As a further testament to this, many ancient records depict the Sun as a baby around December and January, a young boy at Easter, a strong and able man during the summer (sometimes with long, yellow hair, indicating bright sunrays), and a tired and frail old man in the months approaching winter.

As I said above, Jesus was not “reborn” or “made new” in Bethlehem, that was His first and only birth, not a yearly cycle, and the sun is not “reborn” either, it’s the same sun as before the equinoxes. Secondly, where in any Christian or New Testament text is Jesus said to have been His most influential in the summertime? Someone please show me, because I cannot think of one. Jesus died and Rose again at around 33. He was never an old man.

 

Of course, as much as we are familiar with Christmas and the story behind it, most of us will also be familiar with the story of the Three Wise Men and their journey to meet the new “King of Kings.” This is actually—if you believe the claims—a reference to the three stars of Orion’s Belt, which just after the winter solstice, align in such a way as to point to Sirius, the brightest star in the sky and the star that the Three Kings (the three stars of Orion’s Belt) follow or are guided by.[2]

The three stars of Orion’s Belt were also once called the “Three Kings of Orion”—another example of where the story of the Three Kings going to meet the new Son (Sun) of God may have come from. Not only is this an intriguing argument, but it is a great example of the intricate knowledge that ancient people must have had of the universe, which, for all intents and purposes, is the heavens.

I thought we are talking about sun worship? The “three kings” point to Sirius, not the sun. So which one is it?

Ultimately, this parallel is moot, because there were NOT “three wisemen” and they were not kings.

Anyone who has read the Biblical texts knows that there were three TYPES of gifts presented by the wisemen, not even three gifts, but three different types of items presented to the toddler (not newborn) Jesus. Wisemen were servants of kings and princes in the ancient world, they were not kings themselves. And the Bible never even hints to there being three of them.

 

At the age of 30 years, Jesus was baptized, at least according to the Bible. It is theorized that this is actually documenting the Sun entering the water sign, the House of Aquarius, 30 days after its birth.[3]

 

Again, that link leads to a blogspot blog. Jesus was not baptized at exactly 30, but the reference in Luke says ABOUT the age of 30. Either way, Jesus was NOT baptized “30 days after His birth” the Jews knew nothing of infant baptism. How entering through a particular constellation is equivalent to the Jewish rite of water purification for priests is not elaborated.

Even Jesus going on to become a shepherd is reasoned to be the Sun again entering a new house of the Zodiac—this time that of Aries—represented by a ram, which of course, would have once been a lamb. Lambs were sacrificed in ancient times, their blood allowed to spill on the land as an offering to the Sun in return for a plentiful harvest. This is just one of the reasons for lamb being typically a food associated with Easter.

 

First of all, Jesus was never a shepherd by profession, as the article seems to indicate. Jesus never tended to physical sheep that we know of, but spoke of Himself as a Shepherd in spiritual terms. I suppose the 23rd Psalm is a part of the conspiracy as well.

Secondly, the lamb being eaten at Easter has nothing to do with pagan rituals, the lamb was eaten at Easter in reference to the Paschal lamb eaten at Passover.

 

As spring continues to make the push toward summer, ancient civilizations would see their supplies from the previous year’s harvest dwindling.[4] They were essentially now at the mercy of the Sun to assist in providing what was needed for another good harvest so that they might stock up again for the following year. This is claimed to be symbolized in the story of Jesus, as Christ then ventures out to the “salvation of men”—to provide what they were so very desperate for.

Where in any Christian text is Christ said to have “ventured out” for salvation? He died upon a cross for our salvation, not take a journey.

 

The summer solstice is generally on June 21 and is symbolized by Jesus being at His most wise and powerful.[5] Essentially, as He spread goodwill and good deeds, resulting in joy and happiness in His life story, so does the Sun as its rays provide heat and light to the Earth, not only for human beings and all things alive but for crops, ensuring a good harvest and plentiful amounts of food.

 

The sun also provides heat stroke and sunburn, if we are to attribute the deeds of the sun to Jesus, why not these? Where in any New Testament text is Jesus said to have been His most powerful in the spring?

The ancient Phoenician god Bel (sometimes spelled “Bil”) is just one of many ancient deities to be symbolized with a halo. So, too, is Jesus, who is often depicted as having a halo around His head. Conversely, as we will look at in a moment, He would be depicted wearing a crown of thorns at the time of His crucifixion, a reference to the shortening of the days as summer comes to an end—and the rays of the Sun “weaken.”

In terms of the harvest and the zodiac, the crab (Cancer) represents the period where vegetation dries and returns to the Earth (or goes sideways or backward), before a final growth spurt toward harvest.[6] As the Sun enters Leo (late July/early August) it is at its hottest and most powerful (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), just as Jesus was, right before the Roman Empire made the collective decision that He was a little too powerful.

 

Many deities were depticed with a halo, here’s something interesting, Jesus wasn’t depticed AT ALL until a century after He walked the earth. And a crown of thorns is a crown, not a halo.

The last statment makes no sense, the Roman empire didn’t crucify Jesus because they thought He was “too powerful” they crucified Him at the behest of the Sanhedrin who accused Him of blasphemy. These guys seriously need to read a little history.

 

As summer gives way to autumn, the days become shorter—or the Sun becomes “weak” and loses its power. Jesus’s eventual crucifixion reflects this part of the Sun’s cycle. In fact, the cross and its connection is largely down to a zodiac disc used by many ancient civilizations, which was divided into four by a cross being placed or drawn over the top of it (aka the four seasons).[7] In the middle of the cross is the Sun, and the dial tracks its movements through each house of the zodiac.

Expressions such as “crossing over,” represented by the Sun passing over the cross, are believed to have first given life to Jesus or the Sun dying on the cross—it is crucified. Indeed, it is claimed by some that this is really where the origins of the phrase of someone “passing over” really stem from: the Sun crossing (passing) over this cross and dying.

First of all, the sun DOESN’T “die” the sun’s rays only appear to weaken due to the sun’s position from the earth, second of all, Jesus didn’t “cross over” anything, the equivocation is made to the two English words cross (crucifixion) and cross (pass by) which didn’t exist in the ancient world. The sun dial being divided into four sections has nothing to do with the Roman crosses which were often in the shape of a capital T. And were used to kill people, not measure time.

The story of Jesus states that He was crucified between two “common thieves” named Dismas and Gestas.[8] This symbolizes the Sun’s journey into the Houses of Scorpio and Sagittarius

That link leads to a website claiming Jesus is a retelling of Buddah, and no, no story of Jesus claims that. At least not any New Testament document. The theives are never named, and if they were, adding those two zodiac signs to their names is completely a stretch.

 

The winter solstice occurs each year around December 21, as the Sun is at its lowest point. To many back in antiquity, the Sun, at this time, had died.[9] This, as we previously covered, was symbolized by the crucifixion, and now with the Sun remaining at its lowest point (dead) for three days, Jesus’s body was laid to rest in a cave for three days before His “rebirth”—and then it’s back to the first point made in this list.

As we have already showed, the sun doesn’t “die” to use this word is to dishonestly equivocate two things (light being weakened with a man being killed) which have no relation.

Secondly, Jesus was not “rebirthed” three days later and He was not laid in a cave, He was Resurrected. Again, using loaded language and equivocation.

 

Of course, there are 12 disciples, which in reality—according to these types of theories—were actually a nod of the hat to the 12 signs of the zodiac.[10] This is not just in the story of Jesus, either. Twelve is a recurring number in many other ancient legends—12 and one, with the one being the Sun.

No, Jesus chose 12 disciples to judge to the 12 tribes of Israel, which came to be from Jacob’s 12 sons. (Matthew 19:28)

And yes the number 12 is used in many mythologies, but even we use it today to buy eggs and donuts. I guess the french cruller I had this morning was really a symbol for sun worship.

Ultimately, these types of theories use what we have seen, very bad scholarship and loaded language.

 

 

Can you lose your salvation? Part 1

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I write this post today as something of a reminder to myself, than a persuasion to others. This topic I will be looking at is an extremely heated debate, perhaps the most divisive issue in all of Protestantism.

There are misunderstandings on both sides and a lot of accusations on both sides.

The question is one that every believer has struggled with, will struggle with, and does struggle with. Myself is no exception, and in fact if I didn’t change camps, I might not be writing this today.

Can you lose your salvation?

I can hear the debating begin already.

Please note I will not be looking at the larger issue of Calvinism and Arminianism, although the study of those systems is pertinent to the debate.

 

This question is important for so many reasons, one, it will give peace, or in my case, sanity, to the believer, two, this question is an issue of what the future holds for every believer, and of utmost importance, and this is why I take such a strong stance on this issue, the question deals with what exactly did Christ do on the cross.

Once saved, will a believer remain saved? Or can salvation be lost?

I will readily admit I used to be a staunch “arminian” on this debate. While I do not identify as a Calvinist by any means, I no longer identify as an Arminian either. I find truth and errors in both systems.

I used to be of the belief that salvation could be lost. I no longer am. What changed me? I will look at this in the article.

This issue is especially important for apologists because I have encountered many atheists who claim to be former Christians. What about them? We’ll take a look at that as well.

Please note as well, that I will not tolerate or give credence to the idea that this teaching “gives a license to sin”. No mature and serious believer would ever use this as a reason to sin, and if they did that person will have to answer for that.

I read an article by a Pentecostal publication not too long ago, that argued salvation could be lost, and the analogy that they gave to this was as follows:

Salvation is like a plane ride. We are all headed to the same destination, however, some passengers can choose to “jump away” and never reach their destination (heaven).

I find this analogy to be seriously flawed in light of what salvation actually is according to Scripture. And that’s what we will look at to start with. Before we can ask the question of whether or not salvation can be lost, we need to look at what salvation is.

If we see what salvation truly is, we will begin to see clearer and clearer it’s not something that can be “lost” no more than your identity as a human being can be “lost”.

To view salvation as a plane ride is to seriously understate what happens at salvation. Let’s take a look at several things that happen when one is saved.

 

ONE: A NEW PERSON IS CREATED

Ephesians 4:22-24

That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

 

There are two parts to a believer. One that the person had through birth, and one the believer has through the new birth. Both are present at the same time and we can choose to follow either one.

 

A believer is not just a regular person who happens to believe Christianity. A believer is an entirely new creation of God.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

 

If a person gets saved that person now has an entirely new nature which is a direct creation of God, which is what John speaks about in John 1:12, becoming the sons of God.

Salvation is not a guessing game of how I feel today, and what I will do or not do tomorrow,. Salvation causes a new righteous creature of God to be born. If one were to lost their salvation, the question remains.

What happens to the new creature? Losing salvation would posit that the new creature would die. But 1st Peter says the new birth is of something that is incorruptible, how can something incorruptible like to the word of God give birth to something that can die or become corruptible? Which leads us to the next point:

 

TWO: THE BELIEVER IS A PART OF CHRIST, AND CHRIST CAN NEVER DIE AGAIN.

This is one of the strongest points that prove eternal security, and this definitely shaped my view today.

The problem with the airplane theory is that the saved person is not on the airplane, they are the airplane.

1 Corinthians 6:16-17

What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

 

Losing salvation would mean eventual spiritual “death” of a believer. That’s not going to work here. A person joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Paul here uses the analogy of becoming one flesh with a person, and says here and in the following verse we have had a similar event with the Lord, where we are no longer two but now one.

 

Ephesians 5:30-32

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

 

A saved person is NOT autonomous. That saved person is one with the Lord. Of His body, so much so that Paul says we are of His flesh and bones, and that we’re one spirit. We are the body of Christ, and members in specific.

To have people losing their salvation means Christ’s body is not only constantly being ripped apart, but that His body parts are dying.

That’s a major no no:

Romans 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Christ defeated death at the Resurrection. That means Christ literally can never die again. He literally physically/spiritually cannot die, He simply cannot.

Having a believer (a part of Christ) die means that death still has some dominion according to that view. Which is not possible. Which makes losing salvation a dangerous doctrine.

But what about physical death? Believers can still physically die can they? No, they only sleep in Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:13) We will be raised again physically like Christ was, which leads us to our next point.

THREE: AN ENTIRE DEATH BURIAL AND RESURRECTION WOULD HAVE TO BE REVERSED

If one could lose their salvation, that person’s death burial and resurrection would have to be reversed. This type of stuff isn’t considered by those in the lose salvation tribe. The understanding they have of salvation is not strong enough.

 

Romans 6:4-6

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

 

If a person is a believer, that person has been crucified WITH Christ (Galatians 2:21) What’s next? Christ was buried, so we are buried with Him, what’s next? Christ was raised, so we will be raised with Him.

Losing salvation would mean that believer has to become “uncrucified” and un-buried with Christ, and then not be raised. It’s not as simple as jumping away from a plane.

 

 

FOUR: WE ARE ALREADY SAVED IN THE FUTURE

The major problem the losing salvation theology is that salvation is so much of a done deal, from God’s perspective we are already with Him.

Ephesians 2:5-6

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

We are quickened (made alive) with Christ, and guess what else? We’re sitting in heavenly places in our Saviour.

Losing salvation means we would have to be cast down from these heavenly places. If we’re in heavenly places already I’m pretty sure salvation was a done deal.

Romans 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Glorified is past tense here. It’s a done deal. From God’s timeless view we’re already glorified.

 

FIVE: CHRIST’S SACRIFICE WAS STRONG ENOUGH TO KEEP US SAVED

This is the part I feel strongest about. In the Old Testament people had to repeatedly offer sacrifices over and over and over. Why? Because those sacrifices could never save.

Christ’s was obviously of infinite more importance.

Hebrews is a Book many will go to to claim salvation can be lost. However, Hebrews presents such a strong view of Christ’s atonement, one cannot think salvation can be lost.

Hebrews 9:12-14

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

 

What type of redemption did Christ purchase us? ETERNAL redemption. That means we are redeemed not until we lose our salvation, not after 12 years of believing, or 3 years, or two days, but forever. There is no time limit. We are redeemed with an eternal redemption.

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

Christ’s death on the cross was so strong, it saved us not for a certain number of years, not until we lose it, but forever.

This disproves the teaching that we can “hand salvation back to God”. It’s not something we have temporal control over. It’s an eternal act procured by Christ.

 

The teaching that we can lose our salvation says Christ purchased not eternal redemption but temporary probation. Not perfection forever but a temporal fixing that we must maintain.

That’s not the case.

There are many more verses that could be dealt with. Ultimately, I believe the best verse on us not losing our salvation is John 6:39

John 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

Christ ALWAYS does the will of the Father (John 8:29) And He’s not going to lose us. Christ will lose nothing, and those believers which the Father gave to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Christ will present them to the Father, and He’ll have them all in His hand, safe and sound when He does.

I will do another part to this in the future, there are some more verses and concepts to deal with, but I truly believe if it were up to us to maintain salvation we would lose it.

The Slain One breathes

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They laid my Lord behind a stone, yet He wasn’t found, yea surely gone. The Pierced One walks and that again, behold the Lamb the Hope of men. No stone too heavy no grave too deep, could even try my Saviour keep. The Slain One breathes and that again, behold the Lamp the light of men. They nailed my Lord upon a tree, they didn’t know His Blood made free. The Hung One lives and that again, behold the Lord Creator of men. And now I shall not fear hell’s darkest doom, for my Saviour left an empty tomb. And at my last I’ll see this Treasure, whose worth and weight beyond my measure. Untouched by rust and safe from moth, my Saviour left a folded cloth.

 

Please note any similarity that poem has to any existing poetry was not intentional. I thought I’d take a post and reflect upon the reason for this blog, the reason I’m a Christian, the for everything. The Risen Christ.

 

Christos Anesti, Alithos Anesti.

Christ is Risen. He is Risen indeed.

 

 

“40 questions to ask Christians” Answered

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A list of 40 questions against Christianity is circulating on the web, the article seems to have been “updated” last year, perhaps more were added or changed. The article was written by a man named Thomas Swan. The article is divided into several sections, I will attempt to answer all 40 in this post. The questions themselves are not that difficult, there are some in a particular section dealing with “Why did God do this instead of that” such questions can be asked ad infinitum and some can only be answered with a simple “Because He’s God.”

Nevertheless, this post today is more like an answer key. Perhaps these questions were plaguing a new Christian. Keep in mind my answers may vary and probably do from other Christians, I would also say some questions have more than one answer.

 

To quote the article:

 

Asking a difficult question can achieve better results because it taps into the Christian’s desire to share the wisdom they perceive themselves to have. Any reflex for angry disagreement is quashed and replaced by an obligation to think their answer through. Ultimately, thought is what an atheist should be trying to elicit. By asking the right questions, one can determine the direction that such thought takes.

 

Yeah…right.

OK, getting into question number one:

 

Regarding World Religion:

 

If a hundred different religions have to be wrong for yours to be right, does this show that people from all over the world like to invent gods that don’t exist?

 

Answer:

 

The truth of Christianity is not dependent on other religions “being wrong”, no other religion has to even exist for Christianity to be right. Christianity is true because Jesus rose from the dead. Not because Islam and Hinduism are untrue. Again, other religions being wrong is not what makes us right. If anything, those religions are wrong because Christianity is right, not the other way around.

In regards to the question of whether some religions like to invent gods that don’t exist, I would say what Paul said, that what the gentiles sacrifice to they sacrifice to devils, and not to God. (1 Corinthians 10:20) And so what they worship “not existing” is not quite correct.

 

If your parents had belonged to a different religion, do you think you would belong to that religion too?

 

Maybe. What has this to do with the truthfulness of a religion? Ultimately I believe God would have had me become a Christian anyway. This question ignores the vast majority of people born into other religions that become Christians.

 

If people from the five major religions are told conflicting information by their respective gods, should any of them be believed?

 

Yes, how does each religion teaching something different mean they’re all wrong?

 

How can you tell the voice of God from a voice in your head?

Since I don’t believe God still speaks audibly to people, and in Scripture God is never a “voice in someone’s head” I would say any voice in my head is obviously not God.

Would you find it easier to kill someone if you believed God supported you in the act?

Why would I believe God wanted me to kill someone when He said in the first place thou shalt not kill? We are not waging war against Caananites, so this question is anachronistic.

I might rephrase this question though:

“Would a person find killing someone easier if they were an executioner and they believed the state supported them in the act?”

If God told you to kill an atheist, would you?

Again, God doesn’t speak audibly to people anymore. Ultimately if an omniscient Being says to do something, I would say He has a good reason. (Killing young Hitler for example) But no, I wouldn’t  because it wouldn’t be God telling me to.

 

When an atheist is kind and charitable out of the kindness of his heart, is his behavior more or less commendable than a religious man who does it because God instructed him to?

The very concept of having a kind and charitable heart is questionable to begin with (Jeremiah 17:19) however, I would say doing something out of faith in Someone you cannot see is just as commendable.

If you are against the Crusades and the Inquisition, would you have been burned alive as a heretic during those events?

The Crusades were not against people “against” crusading. I don’t want control of Jerusalem, and I’m not a Jihadist, so I don’t think I’d be much of a target. In regards to the Inquisition, I’m not Roman Catholic so make of that what you will.

Either way, this has no bearing on the truth of Christianity.

If your interpretation of a holy book causes you to condemn your ancestors for having a different interpretation, will your descendants condemn you in the same way?

Huh?? When do I condemn my ancestors? And if my descendant do so what? I’m Italian so my ancestors probably worshiped the Roman gods and Caesars. For that I condemn them.

Rape wasn’t always a crime in the Middle East two thousand years ago. Is that why `do not rape’ is not part of the Ten Commandments?

See Deuteronomy 22:23-29. Rape was always a crime, it just had different penalties depending on the situation. Since marriage was a command for nearly all Jewish men, and “Thou shalt not commit adultery” IS one of the ten commandments, I think not raping is pretty clear here.

 

Do animals need `god-given’ morality to understand how to care for their young, co-operate within a pack, or feel anguish at the loss of a companion? Why do we?

No, but animals also eat their young, kill each other for food, and a large variety of other interesting behaviors including rape. I would not use animals as a pattern for human behavior, therefore we need another Law Giver.

If an organized religion requires a civilization in which to spread, how could this civilization exist without first having a moral code to make it civil?

Revealed religion and “moral code” is not synonymous. There are universal morals known to all. This is a non question. I might ask the atheist how these universal moral absolutes can be in their worldview.

An all-knowing God can read your mind, so why does he require you to demonstrate your faith by worshiping him?

He doesn’t… God knows my faith by looking at my heart. I worship Him because He’s God, not to prove something. He doesn’t require worship to prove faith, but worship is a natural result of faith in God.

 

 

 

If God is all-knowing, why do holy books describe him as surprised or angered by the actions of humans? He should have known what was going to happen, right?

If you know you’re child is going to break a vase in the next ten minutes, even though you repeatedly told the child not to, would you not be angered? In regards to God being surprised, I would need to see some Biblical reference indicating this, though I will say God displays anthropomorphized characteristics as a way of an eternal infinite Being relating to temporal spatial creatures.

If God is all-knowing, then why did he make humans, knowing that he’d eventually have to send Jesus to his death?

God made all things for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11) I a mortal man am in no position to question this. Ultimately though, God through Christ’s death and resurrection has displayed what an amazing God He is, dying for His creatures, and conquering death on top of that.

Why did a supposedly omnipotent God take six days to create the universe, and why did he require rest on the seventh day?

As a pattern for the human work/rest relationship. He could have taken 3 seconds but He didn’t for our benefit.

Is omnipotence necessary to create our universe when a larger, denser universe would have required more power?

Huh?? I thought the universe was without a true edge so how can we have a “larger” universe? Ultimately we would need such a universe to compare ours to. What is meant by “larger and denser” is not specified.

Why are Churches filled with riches when Jesus asked his followers to give their wealth away?

He asked the young ruler to give his wealth away, and that was to prove a point. Ultimately though, I do agree that many American churches spend too much money on bells and whistles. This has no bearing on the truth of Christianity however.

While in the desert, Jesus rejected the temptations of the Devil. He didn’t censor or kill the Devil, so why are Christians so in favor of censoring or condemning many Earthly temptations?

What is meant by “censoring earthly temptations”? We are not God incarnate so it would make sense to stay away from stuff that could cause us to trip up.

 

Given that the story of Noah’s Ark was copied almost word-for-word from the much older Sumerian Epic of Atrahasis, does this mean that our true ruler is the supreme sky god, Anu?

Word for word? The flood epics of the Sumerians are hardly “word for word” in that they have many gods flooding the earth, or arks shaped like cubes. Ultimately, I believe these tales are deriving from a common source. In others words, a flood actually DID happen.

The next one is probably my favorite question.

 

If your desire is to convert atheists so that they become more like you, do you think that you’re currently better than them?

Yeah, that’s why I want atheists to become Christians. So they’re just like me…right.

If religious people don’t respect their children’s right to pick their own religion, how can society expect religious people to respect anyone’s right to freedom of religion?

I wouldn’t respect my children’s right to pick their own food, drive the car, or watch adult channels on TV either. This is hardly to be compared to society.

 

If missionaries from your religion should be sent to convert people in other countries, should missionaries from other religions be sent to your country for the same reason?

No.

 

If children are likely to believe in Santa Claus and fairies, does this explain why religion has been taught to children for thousands of years?

Does this explain why children are taught evolution in school? See where this is going?

When preachers and prophets claim to be special messengers of God, they often receive special benefits from their followers. Does this ever cause you to doubt their intentions?

Yes.

When you declare a miracle, does this mean you understand everything that is possible in nature?

No, but one only needs to understand the things which are already established through science. In other words, dead men don’t come back to life naturally.

If a woman was cured of cancer by means unknown to us, and everyone declared it a miracle, would the chance of scientifically replicating this cure be more or less likely?

Less likely, miracles are not frequent even in Scripture. And I don’t believe miracles are scientifically replicable either.

If humans declared fire to be a miracle thousands of years ago, would we still be huddling together in caves while we wait for God to throw another lightning bolt into the forest?

Fire is clearly not miraculous, so anyone declaring has no bearing on Christian miracles.

If God gave a man cancer, and the Devil cured him to subvert God’s plan, how would you know it wasn’t a divine miracle? What if he was an unkind, atheist, homosexual?

That cannot happen unless God allows it. See the Book of Job.

Should an instruction to convert to your religion upon the threat of eternal torture in hell be met with anything other than hostility?

Someone in the comments section gave the analogy of trying to save someone from a burning building, should that be met with hostility? Well done sir, I will use that analogy.

Can a mass murderer go to heaven for accepting your religion, while a kind doctor goes to hell for not?

The point is is that person is not a mass murderer anymore. They become a new creature and the old man has died.

If aliens exist on several worlds that have never heard of your god, will they all be going to hell when they die?

Hell was created for beings that are not of this world, unless one can find fallen angels originating from Camden New Jersey, I would say they have heard of God and have seen Him, but chose to rebel anyway.

If someone promised you eternal life, the protection of a loving super being, a feeling of moral righteousness, a purpose for living, answers to all the big questions, and a rule book for achieving the pinnacle of human potential, all in exchange for having faith in something that wasn’t proven, would you be suspicious?

I’m already a Christian so yes.

Why does religion appeal more to poor, weak, vulnerable, young, ill, depressed, and ostracized people? Could religious promises be more of a temptation to these people?

I suppose this includes scholars such as William Lane Craig and Isaac Newton.

And that’s the end of the list. So far I’m underwhelmed.

Did the Romans invent Jesus?

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It would seem as though the only place conspiracy theories can truly flourish are online. I have seen a lot of conspiracy theories in my day. I had a massive interest in conspiracy theories when I was younger, and of all the conspiracy theories I have seen, I can truly say this one takes the cake. I am writing on this topic as a part two to my previous post in response to a blogger propagating these theories.

Ready?

Wealthy Roman families with the help of emperor Vespasian and Flavius Josephus wrote the New Testament and created Christianity and everyone associated with it, including Jesus Christ, as a means of pacifying the Jews and sway them into accepting Roman rule after the Jewish revolt and destruction of the temple between 66 and 70 AD. They then hid codes in the New Testament that revealed the truth about this so well they went unnoticed for 2000 years only to be discovered by a computer programmer named Joseph Atwill.

Well, now we know…

These theories are so absurd that no one but a handful of apologetics or biblical scholarship ministries have even bothered to mention the claims.

However, I have located two excellent articles that completely expose the theory, comment if you’d like the links.

I’m going to approach these claims differently though. The above articles deal with evidence and lack thereof, but I’m going to work on the question of whether or not the Lord Jesus Christ is the type of Messiah the Romans would have invented had they truly invented one. We will see Jesus is the exact opposite, and would have only caused more outrage by the Jews.

We must also note that Rome would NOT have bothered creating a religion, they would have used the sword to quell upheaval. Which they did.

I will demonstrate in this article that the person and work of Jesus Christ would have been so offensive to the Jews at the time, that they would have been anything but “pacified”.

We need to address one thing first. This theory would have us believe that Jesus as a person didn’t exist and that these documents created by the Romans would have been passed around to the Jews with the intent that they would believe them.

Umm, didn’t the Jews NOTICE that the Messiah in the documents wasn’t real? The theory posits that the very people who were waiting for a Messiah to arise were convinced that one arose… And yet never actually existed in the places he was said to have… He’s not physically here in other words.

Imagine that. Nobody bothered to say ” wait a minute… There was no Jesus Christ” but instead bought into these Roman documents and the religion flourished for 2000 years.

That would be like trying to convince Americans a president existed that never did. Americans who lived in Washington DC around the time the president was said to have taken office.  Yeah, that’s believable.

But now let’s look at several factors that make Jesus the exact opposite of a pacifying Messiah.

If one reads the new testament one will clearly see Jesus didn’t quite get along with the Jewish religious leaders of the day. And does anyone know why?

Because almost everything He said and did was a challenge to their extreme traditions built around the law and their blatant hypocrisy. If I was creating a Messiah to “pacify” people I would not make one that actually stirred them up. Let’s take a look at a few points.

One:

Jesus made claims to Deity. This caused outrage among the Jews (John 8:56-59 Matthew 24:64-65)

Hardly intended to “pacify”

Two:

Jesus performed miracles on the sabbath and did other things against their laws on the sabbath. Again causing outrage (John 5:5-10, Matthew 12:1-2)

Hardly intended to “pacify”

Jesus hung around those who were shunned by the Jews (Matthew 11:19) And spoke about a caring Samaritan who was more godly than a priest ( Luke 10:30-37) the Jews hated the Samaritans. Again this would have caused outrage.

Hardly intended to “pacify”

Jesus was born of a virgin, this caused accusation  among the Jews that He was the result of fornication (John 8:41)

Hardly something one would make up if they were trying to sell a Messiah.

Hardly intended to “pacify”

Jesus berated the scribes and Pharisees and the entire 23 chapter of Matthew is devoted to Jesus rebuking the Jewish leaders as vipers. Jesus also called them children of devil and children of hell. What’s that about a peaceful Messiah trying to get the Jews to settle down?

Hardly intended to “pacify”

Jesus made claims about destroying the temple (John 2:19) and that the temple would be destroyed ( Matthew 24:2)

This a major strike against the theory. The theory says after the temple was destroyed Jesus was invented to pacify the Jews. Anyone reading this at the time would have been furious that this Messiah would have said these things about the beloved temple.

The equivalent would be telling Muslims the dome on the rock would be destroyed, or Americans that the white house would be destroyed.

Hardly intended to “pacify”

Jesus chose tradesmen and tax collectors as His disciples. The Messiah was prophesied as a King who would take the throne of David. Jesus hanging around these types of people would have fostered confusion. Jesus was from Galilee and the Jews were adamant the Messiah would not be from an obscure village like Galilee. Again, this would have created confusion.

Jesus was nearly stoned several times, accused of practicing magic, they accused His mother of fornication, they berated Him because of His town, they berated Him because He was a carpenter, they tried to throw Him off a cliff, and eventually, they crucified Him. (Which caused a whole new set of problems for an invented Messiah, see my previous post)

And we’re to believe Jesus was invented to appease the Jews into a state of docility?

How about a Messiah who overturned almost everything held to by the Jews? How about a Messiah who stirred up outrage and envy? How about a Messiah they tried to accuse of blasphemy? How about a Messiah with no regards for rabbinic tradition? How about a Messiah who said the temple would be annihilated and because they rejected Him!? How about a Messiah who said He was God? Taking on the sacred name for Himself? How about a Messiah who hung around the people the Jewish leaders wouldn’t look twice at?

Jesus a Roman creation?

I don’t think so.

Did Jesus exist? Responding to Xeno’s strange library

I came across an interesting website floating around in the ether called “True Strange Library”

The website seems to be run by a one “Xeno” right here on wordpress, who apparently had an uncle in the music industry. The article in question is from 2010, however, based upon another article that was published today, the blog is still putting forth some skeptical articles against Christianity .

 

My presence here on wordpress is to try and counter some of that.

Normally websites such as this aren’t really an attention grabber, at least not for me, however, the blog says they have around 3.5 million readers. If that number is anywhere close to true, we have a large sum of people reading this type of stuff right here on wordpress.

We need to note one thing though, according to the website:

“We focus on stories that intrigue and educate, specializing in bizarre or lesser-known theories and fringe science. Nearly every day we present new unique content in one of our thirty categories, from aliens to war news.” [source]

Fringe science indeed. Now let me state again the only reason I’m paying attention to this kind of stuff is because these articles are right next door. Normally a website devoted to conspiracy theories isn’t in my scope of commentary.

Anyway, the article in question is their “Search for a historical Jesus” which argues Jesus did not exist. I intend to show this article to be extremely flawed.

The quotes of the article will be indicated by ***

The article starts of with some comments about life after death and some theories about human souls.

To begin:

***

The evidence for his life seems to be only the Gospels which didn’t show up until over 100 years after he was gone.

A gospel (from Old English, gōd spell “good news“) is a writing that describes the life of Jesus. The word is primarily used to refer to the four canonical gospels: the Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Luke and Gospel of John, probably written between AD 65 and 110. They appear to have been originally untitled; they were quoted anonymously in the first half of the second century (i.e. 100–150) but the names by which they are currently known appear suddenly around the year 180.[1]

If the Gospels are, as they seem to be, separate accounts by different people who knew Jesus personally, why are parts of Matthew and Luke identical? This is known as the Synoptic problem.

 

***

 

First and foremost, the article quotes an (unamed) document which puts the gospels between 65 and 110. While I disagree with this general dating, the 65 is not “over a hundred years” it’s over 30 years.

Secondly the claim that the gospels were qouted anonymously to until 180 A.D. is questionable.

Papias (70-163 A.D.) attributed the Gospel of Mark to Peter.

Irenaus (130-200) did as well, and Justin Martyr (150) did too.

The Gospels were not just arbitrarily assigned authors all of the sudden in 180 A.D.

The dating of the gospels aside, the claim that they are the only source for Jesus’ existence or life is not true, as we will see.

In regards to why Matthew and Luke are identical in certain areas really doesn’t pose much of a problem for me, firstly Luke’s Gospel exists as a document based upon the testimonies of eyewitnesses (Luke 1:2-3) there is no reason Luke cannot be quoting Matthew, or perhaps they both quoted the same oral traditions.

Either way, Luke’s Gospel is not a personal testimony of what he saw about Jesus, he seems to be using testimonies that the disciples gave to him, so it would make sense that he would quote them.

Moving on

***

We are in the age of “spam,” the age of computer viruses and email hoaxes. Email hoaxers often exactly “cut and paste” the text from a previous hoax to create a new one. Is this the real solution to the Synopic problem?

***

This is quite telling as the author seems to make a habit of imposing 21st century perspectives on ancient texts. The ease of the computer age makes spreading information convenient. Why a group of twelve Jewish men decided to spread the 1st century equivalent of an “email hoax” is not explained, however, I must ask when was the last time someone gave their lives for such a “gimmick”.

 

***

“I wondered if the Gospels were partly a Roman deception after they won against the Jews in order to keep their vanquished foes peaceful. Perhaps not. The Gospel stories seem to have evolved organically because they had a ring of truth and they helped people. Parts of the Gospels are certainly based on real history. But then so was Homer’s Odyssey, it seems …”

 

***

 

While the Gospels certainly help people today (in the sense of evangelism and giving Christians hope) they were hardly what would have been invented in the first century. What about this theory that the Romans invented the gospels to pacify the Jews? A theory this site still puts forward.

Aside from the fact there is literally no evidence this is the case, I might add the following:

 

In Judaism anyone hung on a tree was seen as under God’s curse (Deuteronomy 23:21)

Why would anyone invent a Messiah that was under this? Jesus was the exact opposite of what the Jews at the time were expecting. They didn’t believe in a Messiah who was from Galilee (John 7:41) and they certainly wouldn’t accept a Messiah under the Deuteronomy 23:21 verse.

Jesus spoke of His kingdom being not of this world, while the Jews were waiting for physical deliverance from Rome.

The statements by Jesus about destroying the temple, or about the temple being destroyed, would have been outrageous to the Jews at the time, and one cannot posit such a politically incorrect Messiah as a means of somehow “keeping the Jews peaceful” inventing Jesus would have had the opposite affect.

 

***

“The Jesus story, which borrows from or parallels other savior stories (Mithra, Horus, Osiris, Zarathustra, Tammuz, etc. ) seems to be a thought virus born not from the designs of a Roman hacker, but from basic human needs for mental protection from life’s troubles. The story says something important about the human mind. We aspire to truth, fairness, clean living, immortality, and super powers.”

***

The author seems to have changed views because their latest post is about how the Romans invented Jesus. Citing the usual “gods” as alleged parallels for the life of Jesus will not do. These theories have already been answered time and time again and will not be dealt with here.

However, citing a general human need as an explanation for Christianity is not sufficient either, there is hardly anything psychologically protective about Christianity. Teachings on eternal punishment, that many people are under God’s judgement, that Jesus is the only way to heaven, that we will lose family for Jesus’ sake, plus the high ethical standards would if anything add more mental anxiety. Again, Christianity is a religion based upon historical people and historical claims. Looking to psychology is not going to suffice.

The article goes on citing examples of the ten commandments being borrowed from other ancient cultures (a non issue for me) and some thoughts on the AD/BC calendar.

***

Perhaps the most fallacious part of the article is the following:

 

***

We have archaeological evidence for people who lived after and before Jesus Christ:

  • Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon (356–323 BC). After 200 CE, his body went missing from the tomb, but it had been around for a long time. In addition to stories, we have hard archaeological evidence. We know Alexander lived and we know what this person who lived 323 years BCE looked like because there are coins and a Roman copy of a statue by Lysippus, in the Louvre Museum.
  • Plato (~428  BC to ~347 BC), unlike Jesus and Alexander, did a lot of writing when he lived and his students wrote about him.  We know what Plato looked like because we have physical evidence, a bust by Silanion, a Greek sculptor of the 4th century BC.  He died at 81. He was supposedly buried on the grounds of the Academy, the school he founded, after his death around 348. No one has located his grave because in 86 BC, Lucius Cornelius Sulla “ravaged the Academy”, which was about 2.5 km from the Acropolis near Colonus Hippius.  Today its modern name is Kolonos and it is a densely populated working-class district of the Municipality of Athens. }

 

***

The author also adds Odysseus and Gilgamesh in the list.

The intended meaning here is we have historical evidence of these guys, but not Jesus.

There’s a couple of problems with this.

First of all, citing a bust of Plato as though we should have one of Christ is not a good argument.

Jesus lived and preached among pious Jews who were forbidden from making such images as per the law, the representations of Christ didn’t arrive until very late in the gentile world. No Jews at the time would have had any motive to break the law against making images and made a sculpture of Jesus.

Secondly, who were His followers? Peasants. How on earth does anyone expect Jesus’ followers, or even the Jews at the time to have made a sculpture of Jesus? These were people worried about their next meal and not contracting leprosy not wealthy artisans.

What the author doesn’t mention is that we also have not only abundant historical evidence of Christ, but that there is more for Him than historical persons such as Pythagoras or Hannibal of Carthage.

 

Jesus was not a famous philosopher or a war general. He is famous now, but then Jesus was not even a blip on the radar. Jesus as a Man was a Jew from an obscure town who had a peasant following, who died the death of slaves that was designed to bring shame. He hung around the diseased and the poor. Jesus didn’t take over nations or write extensive philosophical treatises. Jesus was a tradesman who hung around other tradesmen.

Placing Jesus in with these figures is a category error.

***

“Isn’t it surprising that, given the boundless energy of Christians and their strong desire to prove their faith, that we have better physical evidence for Odysseus than Jesus Christ?  (Does someone have a photo of Odysseus’s gold brooch from the Argostoli museum? It would be surprising since we would not expect the Cyclopes that Ulysses fought to be real. And what of the Sirens? What of Medusa? And Cerberus/ Kerberos? Will we someday know the exact roots of these myths? The Greeks and Christians stories contain many elements  from earlier Egyptian stories … who adapted some of their stories from the Summarians.

 

***

No, as I stated Jesus was not to be compared to these men because of their prominence. Citing Greek mythology as a parallel to Christianity without giving instances or establishing a direct link is not going to be responded to.

The author then quotes a “Huffington Post” article that cites the theory that the story of Jesus was borrowed from the Sumerian gods without one quote or citation from any reputable source on Sumerian mythology. However, anyone familiar with these arguments can see where this is going, there are several resources I recommend for answering these charges. That is the end of the article after that.

 

Some final comments:

 

The author’s case was basically a blend of the “pagan god” thesis (which is answered in depth by apologists such as J.P. Holding) and an argument stating we have evidence for a famous war general and Plato so then why not Jesus.

The author never deals with the fact that Jesus is talked about by Roman historian Tacitus, Jewish historian Josephus, Roman official Pliny the younger, Syrian philosopher Mara Bar Serapion, and Lucian of Samosata. As well as possible references by Seutonius and Thallus.

Ultimately, in studying Jewish polemics against Jesus, one will never find the argument that He “didn’t exist” but that He did exist, and then they formulate arguments against His Messiaship. The Talmud for example.

If Jesus was invented whole cloth by His followers why didn’t the Jews notice? Why didn’t they recognize the alleged “pagan gods” similarities that Jesus supposedly has?

No one has ever put these theories forward in the ancient world, they all acknowledge His existence.

 

The belief that Jesus was not an historical person is the latest trend in trying to avoid the evidence in light of Jesus’ resurrection. I would strongly advise against following these types of conspiracy websites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atheism is dead

index

I have to give atheists credit, if I believed there was no God I would hardly waste my precious time blogging against religions that weren’t true, or concerning myself with ten commandment monuments around national parks. I would firstly reproduce as much as possible, and secondly, I would fill my days with things that made me happy. Perhaps maligning religion makes some atheists happy, however, one can hardly compare this with living as though there truly were no God.

Which leads us to the core of my article, that atheists do not live as though their worldview were true, instead, the assume God exists in virtually all that they do.

The apostle Paul said of God “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28)

The same is true for atheists, they rely on God just as much as the Christian. Just in another way.

I was reading the news earlier in the week and noticed another atheist organization trying to have another Christian monument removed.

I wonder why atheists preoccupy themselves with these things.

If there were no God, the universe has absolutely no meaning. That means, everything within the universe, both the physical properties and the events which take place, are, as result, without meaning.

Most atheists agree that the universe is essentially, according the their worldview, without meaning. Without a Superior Intelligence guiding natural processes, or a Divine Will willing creation as an active choice, we are left with a random event, which leads inevitably to a chain of other random events. All events within this one event that had no meaning are without meaning.

I find remarkable then, that atheists take such issue with religion. I can recall many times reading the moral and philosophical issues that atheists take with the Christian religion.

They point to events like the crusades as though they should be morally outraged.

Let’s think for a moment.

If the universe has no objective meaning, that means, a human being, a product and part of the universe, has no objective meaning. That means the human life itself has no objective meaning.

This is the philosophical end result of atheism. That human life has no meaning along with the universe.

However, atheists don’t act this way. Everyday atheists campaigning against religion and pointing out what they perceive as “injustices” are acting as though human life does have meaning. We should not teach children creationism, because their lives have meaning and the truth matters. We should not ban same sex marriage, because those people have feelings and their lives matter and have meaning, we should not believe in any deities because what we believe matters and beliefs have consequences which have meaning.

The result of atheism being true is that there is no meaning to human life or anything in the material world.

Yet atheists act as though there is.

“That’s the beauty of life, to find out our own meaning.”

 

Says the atheist.

I agree, I find that the meaning of my life is to teach young earth creationism to children, specifically, yours.

And who is the atheist to stop me? That’s the meaning to my life. Or perhaps the meaning of my life is to rob banks. Without objective meaning we have relative meaning. Which leads to moral problems.

 

Atheists rely on God for their meaning.

No atheist attacking religion should act as though there were meaningful consequences to religion. If I engage in a crusade, any human life that was taken had no meaning, the beliefs in my mind which I hold to had no meaning, and the chemical reactions which take place during my crusade were neither moral nor immoral.

That’s problematic.

How can chemical reaction be moral or not? In the atheist’s worldview, everything that happens is the result of matter acting on matter. Chemical reactions are morally neutral.

Why are people dying in an atomic bomb explosion any less moral than the process of the atom being fractured?

Why?

We hold that human life is more valuable than other types of life, and that human suffering is more than chemical reaction.

These beliefs betray atheism.

The Christian worldview however states that human beings are not just matter, but are images of GOD bearing a unique soul, and that the most Powerful Being in existence gave us laws to abide by for our own good.

Atheists rely on God for their morality.

 

“The meaning of life is to gain the truth through reason and logic”

 

And why should that be the meaning of life? This also leads us to another nail in atheism’s coffin. How an immaterial logic could be in a world of only matter.

Nobody would argue that logic is material so how can a worldview that doesn’t allow for anything accept matter have logic?

“Logic is made of matter, logic is the result of organized and orderly processes within our brain.”

Does the human brain change?

Yes”

Then logic can change, and therefore we have no reason to impose logical absolutes on individuals or religions.

Human brains may change over time but the general makeup is the same, therefore the general rules of logic are the same.”

The general makeup? My Christian brain tells me that atheism is logically absurd, is the logic in my brain valid? if logic is rooted in the human brain, why is my logic different from atheism logic? And whose is right?

Logic is not made of matter, but is an abstract concept agreed upon by human beings.”

Then this is no longer materialism and the atheist just agreed the universe can harbor something that is not material. The problem is is that if humans agree on logic, why cannot we disagree? The law of identity for example is true whether or not I agree with the law. Logic is real independent of the human mind.

Logic I would argue, cannot be independent of a mind. I argue that logic is a reflection of God’s Mind. To make logic a reflection of the human mind is to say logic can be relative, because our minds are all different. To argue that logic is made of matter is to say logic can change, and is subject to entropy, which means in 500 years perhaps logic will be entirely unrecognizable, which is not the case if we look 500 years into the past.

Only an Immaterial Unchanging Rational Mind can be the necessary reason for immaterial unchanging logic.

 

Atheists rely on God for their logic.

 

Atheists don’t need any God or gods for morality, meaning, or logic. The knowledge we all gain is through the scientific method. We know things to be true, moral, and logical through studying the known universe.”

 

Which leads us to another atheist dilemma. How we have any idea what is true. What is truth without God?

“Truth is anything corresponding to reality”

And how do we know what’s real? The atheist believes the world around them is an actuality, and therefore can be studied as though what the world portrays is actually real.

What justification does the atheist worldview have for believing they are not in a dream world or that the world around them is not an illusion they cannot escape?

The Christian worldview states that God, who cannot lie, created us in His image with working senses in a world of His own, that, by nature, reflects the truth, and is real.

Perhaps our senses are valid, but how do we know what we’re sensing is actually real apart from the above worldview?

If we cannot know what is real, we cannot know what is truth, but instead just suppose truth without any certainty.

All the study of evolution or the cosmos relies on the premise that what they’re studying is actually real. This premise is only justified in a worldview with God. Without God what we see might not actually be a reality, but may be some type of illusion, or perhaps a dream world or simulation. We may have reason to believe the world is actually real, but we cannot say for certain that the world is real. Which means we cannot say anything is true for certain.

Yet atheists don’t act this way.

 

Atheists rely on God for truth and certainty.

 

Any and all criticism of this article supposes:

Logic

Truth

Certainty

Meaning

And morality (one would think there were a moral obligation to set me straight if I were not telling the truth)

The atheist relies on God for the existence of all. The atheist cannot breathe without God. The atheist can only attack God using the logic, truth, and certainty that He gave them. The atheist says God does not exist, yet has no basis for believing anything exists with certainty.

This article is not me trying to pick on atheists, this article is a call for atheists to repent.

The atheist uses these things that are GOD’S yet uses them to argue against His being.

The atheist has such a deep connection and reliance upon God the atheist must know innately that God indeed is real.

My friend, human life does indeed have meaning, and the truth and logic we all use rest in Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, and dear reader, I urge you to stop your battle with God using the things which are His.

 

All the attacks on God from atheists, arguing against the logical coherence of Christianity, or the moral atrocities in the name of religion, or the truth which is known through science, or the meaning which the truth even has, or the certainty by which we can know the universe arose through natural processes, all the meaning, all the logic, all the morality…

 

all of it is Christ’s.

 

 

Is atheism a valid idea we should give attention to?

No, atheism is dead, we must abandon atheism wholesale.