Religion and Truth

In this article,  and several to follow. I will point out how hypocrisy has become a way of life for many.  Practicing double standards occupies a broad swath that cuts across everyday life.   So much of our world, the way we deal with each other,  has become like a murky pool of double standards, we lie and deceive one another while while trying hard to shield our efforts from being discovered.  Concealing real motives in politics, religion, and business has become almost like wizardry, turning deceitfulness into feats of remarkable cleverness.   In the weeks ahead, we will seek to take the cover off falsehoods by exposing it to truth.  The Bible speaks of evil and truth as darkness and light, so shinning God`s Word is what is  needed.  To simply tell the truth may leave some readers troubled, as it may hit close to home.  We will begin by speaking about the 2nd largest belief system in the world.

While hypocrisy can be found most everywhere, religion is no exception.   In recent articles by Quillete  (18 July 2017) and Ottawa Citizen (22 Nov 2019), Islam and its influence were articled.  In Quillete, Jeffrey Taylor had written a piece in response to a Huffington Post article that spoke about a recent religious conversion of one of their reporters, Kristiane Backer.  She  became a Muslim, while on assignment for the publication in Pakistan.  Kristiane compared Islam`s values “not only with German values [but] with European values generally…”  She adds that “Islam is a religion for all times and all worlds–therefore also for Europeans in our day and age.  I`m living proof.” she says.   While she is enthusiastic, her view is not in line with reality.   German values do not compare to that of Islam.  In times past, the prophet Mohammad had called on Muslims to one day rally behind Jesus after his resurrection to destroy Christians, Europeans, and Hindus at the end of time.  (Ottawa Star, pg 17, 21 Nov, 2019 Tarek Fatah).  Islamic cleric do not deny this, neither condemn or reject it.  One has to ask oneself where is the peace in all of this?   They seek the deaths for all non-conformists.   Much of the world wishes to live in peace, and freedom of religion is a pillar of Western society.  But  to speak of Islam to be what the world seeks for itself as Kristiane says is simply wrong thinking and to insist upon is hypocritical.   All through the Middle East and Northern Africa, Islam forces their beliefs on non-Muslims through intimidation and violence and while what is happening today in the Far East is disturbing, an increasing presence of their terror is being staged in the free world also.     Peacefulness does not make for chopping off the hands of thieves, holding women responsible for their own abuse and rapes, or murdering the apostates of whatever religion that they may belong to.   No, this is not what the rest of the world wants for itself.

Earlier, we saw that Jesus was brought into the plans of the prophet Mohammad.  That is dubious thinking since Jesus is the central figure in the Bible and speaks truth so men and women may be converted to Christianity, peacefully.    Christians understand this, and rally to His call for peace throughout the world, not by the sword,  but through the Gospel to spread its message.  It is hardly conceivable and in fact insulting to think that Christ would kill His own people that He saved on the cross.

Jesus had given a discourse of some considerable length to a crowd of thousands (Luke 12), and when he arrived at the end of it, He  gave a parable to urge his hearers to be quick to reconcile to God.  Now this same parable was used another time in Matthew 5:23 – 26 which taught Christians that their relationships needed to be right with other Christians, and, if not, that they were to reconcile quickly with their brother and sister in the Lord, even if it meant leaving off worship until it was done.  For the Christian,  it would be hypocritical for any one of us who follow the Savior to leave broken relationships unresolved within the Church.  Reconciliation becomes a priority.    And for those who are not Christians, and wish to become one, reconciliation with God the Father through Christ is your first step.  Jesus is the way to the Father if you are to be in a right relationship with Him.  We know that Christians will suffer wrongly for the sake of Christ, but we do not dishonour Him by seeking vengeance or retribution.   It is by peaceful means, love and respect we seek to win people to Christ.

Following article about Politics and Truth.

On Judgment Day — Justice is served

Charles Darwin put to words his feelings about hell and judgment:

I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the [biblical] text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my father, brother, and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine. Judgments value to the suffering. Christ will come to judge the living and the dead. That he will separate sheep from goats and wheat from weeds. That there is an everlasting torment, a lake of fire, weeping and gnashing of teeth, and (gulp) a great many will spend eternity there. And the lover in us asks, why can’t everyone escape this horror?

The primary reason for Christ coming into the world was to save sinners. For those who reject him his coming carries another side, that is, to judge sinners for their sins which they failed to repent of and seek Christ for forgiveness.  This would appear for many to be the dark, inevitable side of the gospel of Christ.  However, if there is no judgment, what do we have to say and do about injustices and the amount of evil that goes ultimately unaccounted for in our current system of justice, where injustices occur regularly, and many receive light sentences and get off on technicalities.  Recently on the 1st Nov issue of the Ottawa Citizen , it had reported that a judge thought that a maximum five year mandatory term was unwarranted for one of two individuals who had groomed young girls ages 14 and 15 years of age for prostitution.   The judge decided that to pick up teens, ply them with booze then find customers to sell them to as sex objects that a five year term was cruel and unusual punishment,  even though if these perpetrators were to do what they had planned, it could very well have ruined the lives of these teenagers.    Both guilty parties were let go after what the judge felt was sufficient time already served:  18 months for one and 175 days for the other.  Now ttep back and imagine how incensed you would be if you were the parents of these girls, having sat in the courtroom and watched this trial unfold before your eyes where your own daughters were a step away from becoming sexual objects to be sold like merchandise.   You may wonder along with me where is the justice these days and protection for our youth?

Let me begin to answer this by returning to Darwin`s own comments on justice, and consider jointly the place of God`s Judgment (Darwin infers that God is cruel), and how poorly our world deals with injustices?  First, what do you say to the oppress and victimized today, when abuses such as rape, a child’s innocence ripped from him, elderly robed of their life savings,  innocents murdered where these and many more never see real justice.  What do you say to these fallen victims of crime and moral indignities that only by a herculean self-effort could they get back on their feet, are their lives ruin. The Darwinian chaos where the strong eat the weak and only the powerful survive is what you are left with ultimately once you buy into the Darwin`s natural law.

To be sure, more problems are created than solved if all we do is to loosen our morals and put the gavel down,  because our law institutions are unable or unwilling to keep up with an ever-increasing load of corruption all around us —  truth is it will probably get worse.  What do we say to victims who have been violated and have experienced loss of self-worth?   Our justice system though better than most countries, has failed in many ways, so the idea that justice is impartial and objective may once have been a comforting concept but far from what is actually happening in our system of justice, sadly to say.   That justice is blind is an allusion to the Greek statue for justice, wearing a blindfold so as not to treat friends differently from strangers, or rich people better than the poor ones.  But it can be just as true that justice is blind but not in the way it is idealized to be.  What actually occurs in our courts of law often leaves its victims broken and despairing, with little hope of ever seeing their perpetrators get what they deserve.  You see that in Darwinism thought and while it may be argued that Charles Darwin never intended for his philosophy to redefine what evil is, this is what it has become.  Social Darwinism is where its proponents treat societies similar to the way Darwin treated biological species;  the strong adapt to their environment in order to survive while the weak fall away:  a instance of this is where Nazi Germany saw themselves as superior to everyone else, the strongest naturally prosper at the expense of the weak    This “natural law” Darwin promoted is very much in evidence today and underscores our own legislation for euthanasia and abortion.   Our politicians have put aside the moral code of God to purge out the weak and vulnerable people from our social system.     People rise to the top any way they can and condemn kind behavior if it gets in the way of their cause, and while they offer alternative reasons for doing so, they present a fallacious sense of doing good.   In truth, “what evil is” becomes less of a concern for them.

We can say safely, that God will Judge all men, and will do so with a righteous thud of His gavel!   He provides hope for the wrongs and sin`s of man where each are called into account.  Unless, offenders have sought forgiveness and repented of their sinful acts, they will be punished in hell.  Darwin may have hated the thought of hell, but hell will continue to be a place reserved for the unrepentant and disbelieving.  Whatever you may think of hell, no one will be given a light term, or dismissed due to a technicality, the judgment of God is final and will happen in the Last Day.  Maybe this truth might help some out there who need reassurance that justice will not be neglected forever.

If you have been victimized, then rest assured that God is Judge over all the earth and none will escape Him.  Another point we must think over, is that God judges all sins, that means ours as well, regardless of their nature,  against man and God.   The Bible tells us that we all have sinned against Him.     All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. (Ro. 3:23)   All offensives criminal or moral, are considered law-breaking before God and will be judged in the Last Day.  Darwin saw God`s Judgment as unfair and unloving.   The truth is that you cannot have a compassionate God without Divine Justice.    For love to be truly loving, there must be judgment.   If there is no Divine Judgment, then there is no hope for people who have been exploited.   If no one is called into account before a Divine Judge, then evil wins the day.   We are thankful to God that this is not the case.  We have a righteous God who can get angry at sin!    We need a God who will protect righteous standards and in so doing gives us all hope, that once and for all evil will be dealt with and justice served.  Therefore, one of the most loving things we can do is compassionately voice the truth that hell, just like heaven, is for real.  We who love God and believe in His Son,  if we are to really care for the people God has placed around us, then we must be willing to risk social awkwardness and tell the truth about evil and its consequences.   We do so out of a spirit of gentleness, respect, and Christina love.

Knowing what is ahead, changes everything!

Theorizing about what things might happen in the future seems to be a popular pastime  these days.   Books and movies are often discussion starters.    Readers and viewers alike sit back and  eat up science fiction like it was candy, entering into a world of fantasy stemming from what has been dubbed a “literature of ideas”,  mostly from Sci-Fi authors and movie producers such as the legendary  H.G. Wells to the created horror of Stephen King.  These writers and producers headline a long list of writers exploring every kind of theme imaginable.  Selected scientific facts mixed in with wild inventive thinking has created a sense of wonder, and with it quite a large fan base all its own.    But does it really change anything in life or truly address real issues?   One can argue, not successfully mind you,  that it does no harm to envisage what things could be like if time travel, parallel universes, other worlds, extraterrestrial life were true, but with these lines are added horror and superhero material, in short, the “make believe” world we now have can hardly prepare us for real life and for what is still to come.   Harry Potter, Star Wars and Star Trek may offer valued entertainment, but has little to do with what we are to encounter in the next life,  regardless what Capt Nimoy or Luke Skywalker may have us think about logic and the force.   At some point, you have to admit that the only truly remarkable thing about all the fiction on the market these days only  serves to blunt our sense of reality,  even if it has made a few people very rich.    While it may seem like a whole lot of fun to follow these things,  it would be a mistake to consider it as altogether harmless.

A few things we should consider.  First, something as important as what life may be like in the future should not be left to conjecture.  True enough, some fiction might be amuse us and even provide some insight on how science and technology might evolve (still a big question mark),  it can be deadening to our souls.   The public may take seriously far-reaching explanations for human existence and be duped into imagining that afterlife we all must face some day is so much different that what the Bible teaches.   If you follow Sci Fi with any regularity, you will agree that it rejects most everything that is taught in the Bible;  whether truth about man’s purpose in life or his future Sci-Fi gives its own version.    The Bible sets in order what we can anticipate going forward.  When the Bible speaks about Christ birth, the reason He came to earth is unmistakable from what the gospel writers wrote about Him.   All plainly reported that His mission was to die on the cross for sinners.   About a third of the gospel’s content is  dedicated to His death and resurrection alone.  In the greater narrative,  God created man for His Glory and to serve Him.   Yet, almost from the start, we rebelled and chose our own way and now face judgment and loss.  But it  does not end here.  All those who believe in Christ and seek forgiveness are given eternal life.  Our lives are transformed through His Holy Spirit and His Word,  and the redemptive change process that began at salvation of that person continues through to Christ second coming or his own death.   These realities have nothing to do with subjective reasoning nor come from writers who profit from book or movie sales.  Many of the  Biblical authors suffered death from their oppressors wholly believing the truths they recorded under the Holy Spirit’s tutorship!

Many of these apocalyptic events spoken of in Scripture are featured to happen in the future.  If you read Luke 12:1-59 you will see how these coming events impact every day living and how they are to transform the life of the Believer.   Events such as the final judgment, the immortality of the soul, the Kingdom of God, and the Coming of Christ, are so designed to carry us from the present age into the next,  motivating the Believer toward a righteous lifestyle.   You can say this is mankind’s final days before we meet our Maker, so hopefully you and I are ready for it.    Briefly, the Bible prepares Christ followers for the future, by giving them an eternal perspective.   Titus speaks about it in these words:: …. renouncing ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled,  upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. 2:11b – 13.

This is life transforming news for sure!

Jurgen Moltmann, a German Reformed theologian who is Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at the University of Tubingen, Germany said that “Christianity is eschatology, forward looking and forward moving, and therefore also revolutionizing and transforming the present.”

We should be preparing for the future!  The present state of the Believer is transformed through a correct understanding of the things still to come.   By living with an  eternal perspective in full before us becomes a key factor for holy living.

The starting point for change is regeneration.   Salvation comes to us by faith in God`s Son, Jesus Christ.  The sinner must place personal faith in Christ and have repented of his sins.   Have you done so?  If you have, you are to live your life with an eye to the age that is yet to come!

From earlier, I may have stepped on some toes regarding the manner l handled fictitious stories mostly found in the entertainment industry.    But it was done in order to separate fact from fiction and put before you a perspective about eternity you may not see elsewhere, and how it might  induce soundness in your thinking as you mull over man`s spiritual future.   My hope is that you will give the gospel message some serious thought.

Watching and Working!

There has been a noticeable shift in attitudes from generation to generation.   The younger are more concerned about the here and now, and less about any future eternal realm.   The following demographic time line list post World War II baby boomers, followed by, latchkey generation and today`s millennial generation.  The millennials, whose expectations are to have career jobs and homes now, are not like the baby boomers who patiently worked for years before achieving these same goals.  That is no longer the norm, nowadays.   It may explain why the millennials are so well connected 92% own smartphones, social media use is at 85%; on average they are highly educated more so than those of my generation.  Yet, that does not make them feel any more confident about life in general, since researchers found that millennials are less optimistic than those from people preceding generations.  While early findings find characteristics, attitudes, economic outlook, taste in art and culture somewhat different than those from past generations, one thing that is very different is that today’s youths are far more pessimistic about life in general.   The reason for this is that that Christian influence has waned considerably resulting in a “culture of despair”, which has supplanted what society once considered a promising future.   Insofar as the existence of heaven and hell, God, and an afterlife, in our youth’s eyes, it is not much different than that from our own era: except what is not so surprising is that they are at variance as to what these realities really mean.  When surveyed it becomes evident that their perspective about the existence of the supernatural features already mentioned has in many ways lost its way in their thinking and become slewed and twisted.   For a re-alignment of the facts about what lies ahead once this world is over, a careful examination of Christ teaching is the place to begin.   (The doctrine of future things is an immense subject and will require additional articles on this subject to make any sort of dent in our thinking.)

 

We will listen in on Christ who spoke a parable to a large gathering in Judea, in 1st century Palestine.  Several thousand came to hear Him.  As He often did, he chose a story with common recognizable features to teach the crowd.  The core of His lesson that day was about His second coming and how we need to be in a state of preparedness.   To do so, Jesus related a story about a servant who was watching for the arrival of his master.  The Master of the house was to return home from a wedding.  His return was both imminent and unpredictable, which aptly illustrated the event of Christ own return sometime in the unforeseeable future.  The point of this story is for us to be ready for His second coming!  Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.   (Luke 12:40)

Readiness implies action.  Active involvement in preparing for His Return means to not only anticipate Christ` coming, but being busy in the meantime,——- carrying out His Will!  Notice a few verses later these words.   Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.  vv. 43, 44

Clearly, Jesus intends to bless those who are in as state of preparedness on His return.   But what exactly are Christians to be engaged in while awaiting His second coming?   The answer is found in the previous section in which Jesus spake about seeking His Kingdom and providing for yourselves treasures in heaven vv.31 cf 34.

I have no way of knowing where you find yourself, whether you have considered your future in light of Christ return, or are even prepared for it.     You can know you are on safe ground if you are actively building God`s kingdom, by the way you live, whether you witness, pray, and worship the true God, or if, you are an armchair theorist who enjoys to banter about such things on how the world will end with little more to base your notions upon, except your own ideas or that of another.  Lots of ideas are floating about on artificial intelligence, an alternate universe, or life in the dark nebula, somewhere in the clouds from what I can understand, but little to go on except it draws attention around the popular fads (often crazed ideas)  and treats them as highly credible.   We should know that fiction has little to do with reality, even if we do find it entertaining.  Jesus is the source of all truth since He came from heaven.  He came on a rescue mission.  He came to save us from our sins, which you and I are guilty of.    He tells us that He will come again, and when He does that we need to be ready.  Are you really prepared for His return?   Only by trusting in Christ life-giving death on the cross of Calvary can you be.   Put your faith in Christ and turn from your sins.  Be ready for His Coming!

 

In two weeks:   Having an eternal perspective changes everything!