Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
(Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Jacob gives us the first mention in the bible of God as our Shepherd.
Heb 13:20 "Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord,"
He is the chief Shepherd
1 Peter 5:4 "And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory."
Because God is our Shepherd, we His flock are fully secure in Him. If we were to place the salvation of our souls in the hands of men, fallen traditions, religious practices, laws, and forms, we would have no security at all. When we consider the scope and depth of the eternal purpose of our God, our hearts are ushered into songs of praise. For we realise that it has not been by the strength of hand or the skill of tongue that we could stand before our Lord at the great white throne, but by His mercy and grace afforded to us in the time of our most desperate need.
The glorious Shepherd presented to us in the Bible, is one who intimately knows His sheep and His sheep know Him. He purposed in eternity past to have a people to represent Him and to express Him. Every intricate detail of their history and destiny has been prepared by Him. Through each step of their walk with Him, He is intimately involved. He is not a spectator who simply watches human history unfold. Nor is He a God who fails and re-works His plan each time someone rejects Him. What our God has decreed, it shall be done. Everything that He has willed shall come to pass (Psa 33:11, Prov 19:21, Eph 1:11). The Shepherd gains His flock without the loss of a single sheep. The sheep praise the Shepherd and glorify Him, and those who are not His own, He shall exercise His wrath by His perfect justice.
If recently you have been bothered by certain persons, events, or circumstances, realise that your Shepherd has not forgotten you. While those who boast in their strength in the world do so to their own destruction, we frail ones would simply lean upon the breast of our Beloved. We would rather walk with Him in the dark than walk alone in the light. Every breath, every step, every thought we have are known by Him, planned by Him, willed by Him, and will consummate in His glory. May the Lord continually afford us His grace day by day, so that we would live in praise of Him.
"O Lord my God, how I thank You that You are my wonderful Shepherd. It is beyond my mind to fathom Your unsearchably rich ways. Forgive Me for the times I have lived in doubt, casting my eyes upon the seen and temporal rather than setting my whole being upon You. You are the Shepherd who even became a frail lamb in your incarnation. As the lamb of God, You shepherded man in Your human living. In Your living You lived perfectly, willingly, obediently, and without resistance even unto the death of a cross to shepherd me in Your crucifixion. Now, You have brought me into Your one flock through Your death-conquering, triumphant resurrection. You are now the ascended One, the Most High, with the name above every name. Open me continually to Your shepherding. Cause me to lie down and rest in You, eating You as the fat pasture and drinking You as the waters of rest. Lord Jesus, I love You, my wonderful Shepherd. Amen."
14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!
15 For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION."
16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.
17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH."
18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
19 You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?"
20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it?
21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?
22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,
"Your predestination manipulator using people as pawns only showing some people mercy is evil. He may be showing mercy towards you but what about all the others. This is your opinion and not scripture."
It appears that there is a lack of even the most basic understanding of the definition of mercy. According to the above quote, Trsinheaven seems to be suggesting that mercy is something that is owed to all of mankind. Not only so, but if God chose to show mercy only to some people, then God must somehow be evil. I shuddered at these assertions, and pray that Trsinheaven will repent from doing what I can only describe as a complete twisting of God's Word and perverting His Gospel.
Is God obliged to show mercy to every human being? Where in the Bible can we find this kind of teaching? As I search through the pages of Scripture, I find myself being told repeatedly that man is a creature worthy of destruction, that God is sovereign to show His mercy or execute His justice upon persons as He sees fit. Where does this idea come from that God somehow owes every person salvation or even the chance of salvation? To put it plainly, the idea comes from the darkened mind of man who refuses to acknowledge God as the supreme authority.
Let us suppose as an example that 10 criminals are found to be guilty before a judge. All 10 of the criminals are guilty of the same crime and all deserve the same punishment. However, the judge decided to take the punishment for 1 of the criminals so that he could go free. Do the other 9 criminals have any ground to accuse the judge of being unfair?
Trsinheaven also says "Your predestination manipulator using people as pawns". When we read the words which tell us that we are mere clay in the Potter's hand, should we not simply bow our heads before our creator and say "Amen"?
Further in response to Romans 9, Trsinheaven writes: "You are quoting about chosen people of the old testament old covenant persons chosen to carry out certain tasks if they chose to follow God. Here is the new covenant!"
Not only is such a statement wrong, but it is completley antithetical to the entire passage in Romans 9. Trsinheaven mentions the Old Covenant because Paul mentions those of the Old Covenant, Jacob, Esau, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and also quotes from Exodus 33:19 which says:
And the Lord said, I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Monday, November 26, 2007
(Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)
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...All must be done in the name of Christ (v. 17): And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, according to his command and in compliance with his authority, by strength derived from him, with an eye to his glory, and depending upon his merit for the acceptance of what is good and the pardon of what is amiss, Giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (MHC)
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Quoting his site:
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is complete! Digital downloads are available in Mylo's Store right now!! Look for Mylo's Christmas CD right after
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Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Fibs. Thank you, brother, for putting me back straight. Never stop doing that.
“ I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—” (1 Corinthians 1:4-5)
(Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)
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Thursday, November 22, 2007
. What are the Scriptures? II. For what are they to be searched? III. How are they to be searched?
I. What are the Scriptures?
The sacred writings contained in the Old and New Testaments are,
1. The Word of God. In the sense in which the works of a man are his words, revealing his thoughts, will, purposes, the Scriptures are the word of God. He is their author. Their contents rest on his authority. They are not merely his as written by pious men, not a human form of divine truth, but God’s own exhibition of truth. This is opposed, first to the Deistical, secondly, to the Rationalistic, and thirdly, to the Quaker views.
2. From this it follows,
(a) That they are infallible.
(b) That they are holy.
(c) That they are powerful.
(d) That they are consistent.
(e) That they are the appointed means of salvation. We are begotten, enlightened, sanctified, and saved by the truth.
3. They are complete, as containing all the extant revelation of God.
4. They are plain, so that every one can learn for himself what God says. They are the light of the world. They are the fountain of life. They are the treasury of divine things.
II. We should know what we seek when we search.
We should search the Scriptures,
1. For knowledge of God, of Christ, of truth, of duty. This knowledge is speculative, and spiritual.
2. For consolation.
3. For holiness.
III. How are we to search the Scriptures?
1. Reverently and submissively, with the fixed determination to believe every truth which they affirm. Everything is right which they command, and everything is wrong which they condemn. We are not to sit in judgment on the Scriptures.
2. With diligence,
(a) Studying them much.
(b) Studying them consecutively.
(c) Investigating what they teach on particular subjects.
(d) Availing ourselves of all aid; fixing right principles, and availing ourselves of all subsidiary means.
3. With dependence; convinced that without divine guidance we shall obtain neither right speculative knowledge, nor right spiritual views.
4. Therefore with prayer, previous and continued.
5. With self–application.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
by Charles Hodge
I. Christ’s address to his messengers, as, applied to ministers at present.
1. They are to go, not as the apostles at first, solely to the Jews, but into all the world; not to this or that nation only.
2. They are to preach.
3. They are to do all the good they can.
4. They are to rely on their work for their support.
5. They are to go with the consciousness of a divine mission.
6. They are to be wise and harmless.
7. They are to speak as the organs of the Holy Ghost.
8. They must expect persecution, and be prepared to bear it.
9. They may be assured of divine protection.
10. The test of discipleship and the conditions of salvation for teacher and taught are confession and devotion.
11. God will bless those who bless them.
II. The special topic for consideration is the 2Oth verse. Ministers are to speak as the organs of the Holy Ghost.
It is a sound principle of interpretation that a comprehensive declaration or promise is to be understood in different senses, or with various degrees of latitude, according to the class of persons to whom it is applied. The same declaration may be a promise of inspiration, to the apostles, of spiritual knowledge and ability to teach, to ministers, and of spiritual illumination, to believers.
1. The sense in which the apostles were the organs of the Holy Ghost. 1st. They received their knowledge by his suggestion and revelation. 2d. They spoke in words which he taught. Therefore they were to speak without premeditation.
2. The sense in which ministers are the organs of the Holy Ghost. 1st. They are to speak only what is contained in the word of God, which is the record of the teachings of the Holy Ghost; not human wisdom, not human speculations about divine things. The matter of their preaching must be what the Spirit has revealed. 2d. The manner or form, the mode of presentation, must be spiritual; that is, not metaphysical, or rhetorical, but scriptural. 3d. Hence, negatively, they are not to seek either the matter or the manner of their preaching from themselves, but by diligent study of the word of God; acting as the organs of the Spirit in communicating his messages to men. The command not to premeditate includes,
(a) prohibition of self–reliance, and,
(b) a command to rely on the Spirit. 4th. Hence, also, they are to seek and cherish the indwelling of the Spirit, for his teaching is both external by the word, and internal by his grace. 5th. Hence, further, they must not only seek the indwelling of the Spirit as a teacher, but as a sanctifier. To be the organ of the Holy Ghost as the efficient and successful agent in communicating this truth, we must be full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.
III. There are three things then, brethren, included in being the organs of the Spirit, which constitute the three great elements of a successful ministry.
1. Derive the matter of your preaching from the word.
2. Let the form or manner of exhibition be scriptural, i.e., that which is taught by the Spirit.
3. Be yourselves full of the Holy Ghost. This last is the most important. 1st. Because it secures the others. 2d. Because the others without it must be comparatively ineffectual. 3d. Because it is the ordinance of God to make the living the channels of life. This is proved from Scripture and from experience. No false fire or fictitious zeal can supply the place of the Spirit. The holiness which flows from the presence of the Spirit gives,
(a) Assurance of zeal.
(b) Wisdom and skill.
(c) Benevolence and love.
(d) Forbearance and perseverance.
(e) Peculiar power over the heart and consciences of men.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
(Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)
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After an unwelcome rain of atheistic visits on my humble blog, these words are as a breath of fresh air to me.
Dear atheist: if you are reading this and feel the urge to comment on it - please don't bother, because every slanderish comment will be removed.
This is not the place for you.
Monday, November 19, 2007
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)
(Read by Max McLean. Provided by Zondervan.)
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Remarkable, especially after Sunday's sermon. I have been having a heavy burden lately, something that was grieving me and making me very troubled. Today I was praying for some sign, word, solution, to free me from my troubled thoughts and emotions. I had been experiencing a heavy pressure for finding a solution. And Lord gave me directions, in my pastor's sermon on John 15:11-17. I pray to continue in developing this solution suggestion into a full-blown prescription.
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Hans Olovsson writes:
Spare the 3-year-old children from political correctnessES
In Wednesday's Jönköpings-Posten we wrote in the Editorial a critical article about how the 3-year-old children are going to be the target of teaching instruction at a free daycare centre. The reason of doubts are the long-term effects of this zeal and the need to scrutinize it. Daycare has become a pre-school, a pre-school need a curriculum an a special teaching instruction, which is not as innocent as it sounds. One example: in the present curriculum for the preschool there is a statement about how to work against the traditional gender roles and patterns.
Parents, who possibly have a different view of how to bring up their children, have few opportunities of other choices if there is a free preschool available. All reasons in the world can be put forward in order to argue for equality. But when one wants to lay it on the little ones, one has to be sure that their parents support this idea fully. If they don't, one should not force the children into the system. Of course! The parents can pass on it, but then they give up the tax-paid part of the system (paid by their tax money), the preschool. I read somewhere that Swedish children belong to those best equipped in critical thinking skills. I wonder... I do not think that it is the critical thinking, but, more or less, the preservation of the political correctnessES. These come forth when it is more important to think alike than to think freely. Therefore this gender-oriented teaching instruction is not going to be challenged by critical thinking.
Moses' Stones with Commandments have been replaced by something called value basis, and this value basis' relationship to ideologies, to our legal freedoms and to party politics, is not letting anybody to scrutinize it. They are also the Commandments in stone, given by a god. One of the political correctnessES growing in popular mind and attention is to be a vegetarian.
Environmental issues have become the new platform for the movement. Eating meat rises the level of CO2, by transporting the meat and by the mere existence of cows and their digestive mechanisms, to put it mildly. My wife and I were at the theatre together with our grandchild, and 8-years-old Jonathan. The title of the play was "Grandma, Grandpa and Monster", and the action took place in an attic. The play was written for children from 8 to 12 years old and was very dramatic. Thunderstorms, spooky attic with white linen hanging there, a hysterically afraid mother with a (meat-eating) monster under the table.
The action focused on the mother who was afraid of everything that existed outside the attic, while her daughter was longing to life outside of there. It might seem a bit scary, but much better than locking oneself inside. The message was somewhat different: the one who eats meat eats children! After the play we asked Jonathan about his opinion. "I think it was a weird play. The title is "Grandma, Grandpa and Monster", but we never saw the Grandpa and the Grandma." No, those were the ones who ate meat, and therefore the child was never allowed to go there and visit them. Jonathan did not get it, and we were very thankful for that.
One should add that Jonathan's father is a vegetarian, but both Jonathan and his mom may eat as much meat as they want without being called child murderers. But - where there are no problems, one has to create them. As long as it is within the limits of political correctness.
Interesting article, indeed. The reason I took time to translate it and publish it here is simple: finally there is someone who dares to oppose the establishment, if only in a humble article in a daily newspaper. We have to start somewhere, to show that we actually still possess the ability of critical thinking and logic, and are not afraid to question everything. The world thinks Christians are brainwashed and stupid. The world has no idea how incorrect this view is. It is time they knew.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
by Charles Hodge
Every Christian, and especially every minister, will have this work to do. It is a very responsible work. It is a very difficult work.
I. General principles suited to all cases. The directions given will be determined by the views we entertain of the nature of religion.
1. Rationalists endeavor to suppress all concern.
2. Romanists teach men to submit to the church, and practice religious duties and penance.
3. Protestants direct inquirers to come directly to God in the way appointed in the gospel. But this general direction is modified by the peculiar views of those who give it.
1. Some place the essence of religion in submission to God, and hence the general directions to submit.
2. Some place it in the choice of God as a source of happiness, and hence the direction, “Choose God as your portion.”
3. Some again place it in a volition to make the happiness of the universe the end of our being.
4. Others, in the return of the soul to God through Christ and by faith in him. Hence the general direction to “believe.”
This is the proper direction,
(a) Because faith is declared to be the condition of salvation. Believers are saved. Unbelievers are lost.
(b) Because this is the apostolic direction.
(c) Because neither pardon nor sanctification is otherwise to be obtained.
(d) Because Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the gospel.
But what is faith? What is the precise thing to be done? The exercise of this involves immediate conviction of sin.
II. Special directions.
1. As to skeptical doubts.
(a) Do not rely on speculative arguments mainly. Whether in dealing with heathen, philosophers, or errorists or Romanists, the true place of speculative arguments is simply to remove difficulties, to show that the truth is not inconsistent with reason or fact. They are not to be used to prove the truth, i.e., to afford its positive evidence.
(b) But rely upon the exhibition of the truth, and upon pressing it on the conscience.
1. Because the ground of faith is the witness of the Spirit with the truth.
2. Because the truth is self–evidencing.
3. Because arguments are human, while truth is divine.
2. As to Fatalists, who say nothing can be done. They plead the doctrine of election.
1. Here again moral considerations should direct our effort. The intellectual difficulty is not first to be removed.
2. The sinner should be urged to act as he does in other cases.
3. As to those who rely on the excuse of inability, or feel they can do nothing.
1. It is vain to tell men they are able.
2. This is not necessary to produce a sense of guilt.
4. The true method is to admit the fact and fall as the leper at the feet of Jesus.
5. As to those who plead hardness of heart, want of conviction of sin. Show the true place of conviction.
Friday, November 16, 2007
“The Lord is my portion, saith my soul.”
- Lamentations 3:24
It is not “The Lord is partly my portion,” nor “The Lord is in my portion”; but he himself makes up the sum total of my soul’s inheritance. Within the circumference of that circle lies all that we possess or desire. The Lord is my portion. Not his grace merely, nor his love, nor his covenant, but Jehovah himself. He has chosen us for his portion, and we have chosen him for ours. It is true that the Lord must first choose our inheritance for us, or else we shall never choose it for ourselves; but if we are really called according to the purpose of electing love, we can sing-
“Lov’d of my God for him again
With love intense I burn;
Chosen of him ere time began,
I choose him in return.”
The Lord is our all-sufficient portion. God fills himself; and if God is all-sufficient in himself, he must be all- sufficient for us. It is not easy to satisfy man’s desires. When he dreams that he is satisfied, anon he wakes to the perception that there is somewhat yet beyond, and straightway the horse-leech in his heart cries, “Give, give.” But all that we can wish for is to be found in our divine portion, so that we ask, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” Well may we “delight ourselves in the Lord” who makes us to drink of the river of his pleasures. Our faith stretches her wings and mounts like an eagle into the heaven of divine love as to her proper dwelling-place. “The lines have fallen to us in pleasant places; yea, we have a goodly heritage.” Let us rejoice in the Lord always; let us show to the world that we are a happy and a blessed people, and thus induce them to exclaim, “We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”
“Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty.”
- Isaiah 33:17
The more you know about Christ the less will you be satisfied with superficial views of him; and the more deeply you study his transactions in the eternal covenant, his engagements on your behalf as the eternal Surety, and the fulness of his grace which shines in all his offices, the more truly will you see the King in his beauty. Be much in such outlooks. Long more and more to see Jesus. Meditation and contemplation are often like windows of agate, and gates of carbuncle, through which we behold the Redeemer. Meditation puts the telescope to the eye, and enables us to see Jesus after a better sort than we could have seen him if we had lived in the days of his flesh. Would that our conversation were more in heaven, and that we were more taken up with the person, the work, the beauty of our incarnate Lord. More meditation, and the beauty of the King would flash upon us with more resplendence. Beloved, it is very probable that we shall have such a sight of our glorious King as we never had before, when we come to die. Many saints in dying have looked up from amidst the stormy waters, and have seen Jesus walking on the waves of the sea, and heard him say, “It is I, be not afraid.” Ah, yes! when the tenement begins to shake, and the clay falls away, we see Christ through the rifts, and between the rafters the sunlight of heaven comes streaming in. But if we want to see face to face the “King in his beauty” we must go to heaven for the sight, or the King must come here in person. O that he would come on the wings of the wind! He is our Husband, and we are widowed by his absence; he is our Brother dear and fair, and we are lonely without him. Thick veils and clouds hang between our souls and their true life: when shall the day break and the shadows flee away? Oh, long-expected day, begin!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Any attempt on the part of an NRP (Non-Religious Person) to engage in morality discussions is without a logical or moral basis for doing so. My approach follows the line of the well-known "Transcendental Argument". To expand upon this a little, the argument states that if a person doesn't have a belief in the existence of a perfectly moral and just being, i.e. God, who communicates the standards of His morality to His creatures, we human beings, then such persons have no foundation to lay a case for pertaining to morality and ethics because they have no absolute moral or ethical standards that they can point to in order to form any conclusive judgement.
Suppose for example, one were to travel to a tropical island with their newly wed for their honeymoon. During the course of their stay there, the couple encounter a tribe of cannibals. To his horror, the husband finds his wife tortured, slaughtered, and eaten, and he himself barely escapes. Can the man claim that such an act was moral or immoral? On the tropical island perhaps cannibalism is a well-accepted practice. Does this make it morally right? Upon what basis can man plead his case ? Some NRPs will respond by saying that morality is relative and that in the case of our cannibals on the tropical island, it was morally right for them whereas in the husband's country it is morally wrong. Others may argue that morality depends upon the larger scale of humanity, i.e. what does the population of the world as a whole consider to be moral? Such suggestions put forward by NRPs may sound convincing on the surface, but in fact there is no logical basis for doing so, and the by-products of such reasoning produce more problems than solutions. Without wishing to go into further detail at this point, we begin quoting Oz Atheist:
"I have responded to her commentary line-by-line, her comments are in italics, followed by my responses.
As she seems to confuse agnostics and atheists I’m going to use the term Non-Religious Person (NRP) to include agnostics, atheists, secular humanists, and any other person who is not religious. The letter was signed Heterosexual agnostic (HA) and then she has a go at atheists?"
It is a common complaint by NRPs that they are mislabelled. Although I could offer some sympathy toward their cries of misrepresentation, one really wonders what all the fuss is about. To begin with, atheists and agnostics are often inconsistent in defining what agnosticism or atheism actually is, so while there may be confusion on the part of the theist, we cannot say that there is absolute clarity from within the NRP camp either. From religioustolerance.org we read:
"Agnosticism is not a religion or complete ethical system. It is simply a belief that we cannot prove either the existence or the non-existence of deity; (i.e. of one or more gods, one or more goddesses, or combinations of the above). Many Agnostics believe that we can never know about the existence of a deity. Others suggest that we cannot know anything about deity or deities at this time with the currently available evidence, but that this could conceivably change in the future.
Atheism is also not a religion or a complete ethical system. It has two main definitions:
The lack of a belief that deity, in the form of one or more supernatural gods or goddesses, exists. American Atheists define an Atheist to be a person who "...does not believe in a god or gods, or other supernatural entities.
For further information on the inconsistent definition of Atheists, please visit http://www.religioustolerance.org/atheist4.htm, and regarding the inconsistent definition of Agnostics here: http://www.religioustolerance.org/agnostic.htm.
"Some NRPs ‘care’ about religion, in the way that you (I would hope) would ‘care’ about a serial rapist killer wandering your city. Some NRPs ‘care’ that religious dogma can have serious detrimental effects on society. Some NRPs are quite happy for people to be religious and ‘care’ about their freedom/rights to do so, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the NRP’s rights."
Again we see an appeal to morality and ethics with the phrase "can have serious detrimental effects on society". Again, the writer is making appeals to morality and ethics without having any absolute standard upon which to do so. At least when a Christian makes an ethical statement, such as "abortion is wrong", they have a foundation for doing so because 1) Their world view allows for it 2) Their Holy Book gives moral judgements and standards 3) Their God is described as Righteous, Holy, and Just. Whether you like it or not, all that the NRP can do is give their opinion, but they cannot present their case based upon moral or ethical fact, because their world view is built upon relative conventions, not absolutes.
We see the appeal to freedom and rights. The appeal is made that religious people can exercise their freedom and rights as long as they don't interfere with the NRP's rights. There are several problems with this. First of all, how are you going to define your rights? Which absolute moral standard can you look to? Secondly, why should your rights be more important than the religious person's rights? You might be quick to respond that we have equal rights and that you would not exercise your rights if they interfere with the religious person's rights, but you see that is actually not the case. Let me take an example with gospel preaching. It is not an unlikely scenario that an NRP would tell a religious person to stop preaching the gospel because it intereferred with his rights not to be bombarded with "religious nuts" all the time. But you see, your so-called right to prevent me from preaching the gospel is interferring with my right to preach it. So whose right wins the day? Whose right should be considered as the trump card? From the basic argument that I have presented througout, the gospel preacher has a basis for his preaching the gospel, as his God not only recommends it but commands it of Christians, so it is not merely a desire but a basic need of the Christian, whereas the "right" to not hear the gospel, is not defined in the NRPs worldview because he has no moral absolutes to draw from, and it is after all only a desire not a need. Therefore, the Christian's right to preach the gospel logically surpasses the NRPs desire to not have it preached.
"even though they have no idea what they are talking about as well as no desire to learn"
Although it is certainly true that many NRPs have studied the Bible/Koran more than a lot of Christians, it does not necessarily guarantee that they have a better understanding of the Christian faith than even the most simple Christians. A person falls into apostasy from the Christian faith not because of any defects of the book, but because an NR worldview suits their rebellious nature and desires. The mention of some NRPs being former religious persons carries little weight as the simple fact is that anybody who has become a Christian in the first place has done so by coming out of the NR worldview. Not only so, it can be argued that the simple reason a lot of NRPs study holy books is little more than to attempt to find contradictions and use their "rational study" to attack them. The term "rational study" is misleading as it overlooks the fact that every human being is prejudiced into a rebellious condition by their sinful nature. This is accounted for and understood in the Christian worldview but NRPs have to overlook this factor by virtue of the fact that their worldview does not account for it.
"Their arguments are very emotional and humanistic, and their shaking their fists to God is so obvious, so well-recognized, that it has become boring."
"Well that’s very nice that you think NRPs are humanistic, here’s one of many quotes about what a humanist is/does:
Humanists believe in solving the social and economic problems of society"
What if the Christians are right about wanting to abolish all abortions? How are you even going to begin to make any basic statement on the issue when you have nothing to turn to? Is society going to have the same views on abortion as it does now? What if in 50 years from now, society decides that abortion is indeed wrong? What do you have to say about all the abortions that are taking place today? Can you really begin to have any confidence in your position? And who constitutes society anyway? If the Christians are wrong about it, why is secular society divided on the issue?
Regarding NRPs shaking their fist to God, it is exactly what they are doing whether they want to admit it or not. Everyone is born with a sinful, rebellious nature and all the shouts to claim your innocence are not going to change anything. It is rather humourous to note in passing that people often refer to God having as equally as likely existence as a flying spaghetti monster, and yet you don't see people calling themselves a-flyingspaghettimonsterists, or a-purpleunicornists. While NRPs may scorn at the claim to the existence of God, they are defining themselves in having a belief in the non existence of something they consider to be ridiculous.
"Suddenly they think that the term “fundamentalism” is going to be perceived as a pejorative word."
It depends upon the audience. Just as with the terms atheist and agnostic.
"Suddenly religion, according to an agnostic, is a social enterprise which can be adjusted to human needs, and the criteria for “natural” are being set dependently on trends and wishes."
"Religion is a social enterprise, always has been always will be (I’m going to throw the burden of proof to the religious people to prove to me that my last statement is false). Religion, particularly the Christian religion, has always adjusted itself to human needs, and dictates of science. The church used to say the sun revolved around the earth, the earth was flat, and they used to burn witches and promote slavery. All these and many more concepts/ideas/decrees have changed over the years. See the current debate in Australia within the Anglican Church to allow women to become Bishops, the more enlightened diocese are voting for it, other not. This is a debate purely within the church. Religion has had to adjust itself to human needs to remain relevant in modern society (some cynics may say the church adjusts itself to get more believers, thus more money)."
Actually, the Christian faith has never changed, because God's word does not change. Man's preferences and concepts do change however. Society changes. Whatever so-called changes you have mentioned, have nothing to do with the Christian faith itself because it was always a problem of man misinterpreting God's word and/or abusing their positions in order to suit their agendas. Such persons who willfully distort God's word and mistreat God's people are not Christians. They are not ambassadors of the Christian faith. Even if they put on a "priestly" garb, and label themselves as a bishop or such, it means absolutely nothing. Such people who engage in these activities are merely an extension of fallen human society and are in dire need of repentence. The bible clearly states that within the church there are genuine believers and there are false believers (wheat and tares). Nothing you have said bears any weight against the true genuine chuch called out by God, the genuine children of God. Rather the burden of proof falls upon you to show that the bible teaches otherwise. You cannot simply make accusations and then assert that the burden of proof falls upon the accused to disprove something which provides no evidence.
"In other words: God needs to get upgraded, He is too dull and old-fashioned, time to rock&roll, right? At least…"
“If the church wants to be a part of society, it has to adjust her view to the modern foundations of values, which means that no one may be excluded.” HA
An atheist? And who cares what an atheist thinks about these things? Another atheist, probably, i. e. another God-hating rebel…"
What do you understand as ‘the church’? Certainly a lot of different churches can’t seem to define what ‘the church’ is, as evident by the vast number of different ones. Why can’t an NRP give a definition of ‘the church’? You will find that a lot of them have done a lot of research into what a ‘church’ may be."
"OK, so far I have been nice and polite and tried to use rational arguments against your statements, but the last bit of the above statement of your’s is downright abusive, divisive, and wrong. Atheists do not ‘hate’ God! We just don’t believe in any gods, end of argument! We are not ‘rebelling’ against anything, unless you are so narrow minded that you think every human being on the planet should bow down to your particular religious way of thinking and belong to your particular church. Sure some NRPs come across sometimes as being a bit argumentative or even derisive, but that is only in response to unqualified claims by religious people, or in some cases (like your ‘God hating rebel’ statement) outright insults or untruths."
First of all, your concept of nice and polite includes the denial of the existence of God. By virtue of the very fact that you deny your Maker, you are anything but nice and polite. Of course you can try to rationalise such behavior and vindicate yourself to make yourself feel good and comfortable about what you're doing but you are only deceiving youself. You also cry foul calling my sister's statement abusive, divisive, and wrong. I hope by the end of reading this document you will come to realise how all your moral appeals to what is right and wrong are meaningless because you have no absolute standard to fall back on. You say her statements are abusive, so what? I do not believe they were and neither does she. On the contrary, we find your denial of the existence of God to be blasphemous and insulting. Since we consider the truth about God to be of higher importance than to make you feel good about yourself while you commit your sin, pardon us if we don't extend an apology to you. You see, you find our statements offensive that we don't, and we find your statements offensive that you don't. We have a reason to complain, you don't, except one man's opinion as a vain cry in the wilderness.
"Rational arguments? Hardly. But convenient, for sure."
"Rational, well thought out, well written, non-emotive (even whilst discussing a very emotive topic) letter. Yes I think Heterosexual agnostic’s (HA) letter certainly was rational and their arguments well put, far more than your response! HA’s letter quite clearly puts their point of view across without actually overly criticizing religion. In fact HA seems happy to accommodate religious views:"
HA may be happy to accommodate views, but don't say He is happy to accommodate religious views, because that is a non-statement. By definition, he considers the possibility of God's existence to be unknowable, thus He is saying that the bible is untrue when it shows God revealing Himself to man. And whether or not he may accommodate certain views which are held by religious people, it is merely for his own personal agenda, so as to fit in with what is convenient for him. The bible does not teach Christians to be politically correct, we are straight up about what we believe and why we believe it. If you have a problem with this then understand, we are only being consistent with what the bible teaches. When we speak the truth concerning biblical teaching, it is an offence to the unregenerate. We don't expect people to like what we have to say. Only God, by His mercy can change the heart.
"I want my children to be educated in a school where the teachers understand that there is a plethora of views and ideas in the world and that everybody has a place in it, no matter what religion or political views they follow."
"unlike some NRPs, and some religions towards others (Islam V Christianity)."
"Religion is for us, another comfort next to a psychologist, a lover, an addiction. Let’s bend it to our needs - because we say so. And if those ‘fundies’ don’t listen - let’s slander them with intolerance and narrow mindedness. That will teach them!"
"I’m assuming you were trying to be sarcastic with these last sentences?
Religion is a comfort for you, how can you say otherwise? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard religious people say things like “since I’ve found Jesus, I’ve found peace in my life” and other such comments. An addiction? Maybe. Heroin addicts can’t get enough of heroin, some religious people can’t seem to get enough of religious experiences; heroin addicts have been known to commit crimes because of their addiction, religious people have been known to conduct crimes in the name of their religion (the Inquisition, 9/11, etc, etc)."
Two problems I have with what you are saying. Firstly, to be a real Christian and actually follow what the bible teaches is not always comfortable, in fact many times it goes diametrically against what we want to do naturally, yet we would do so for the sake of our Lord and the honour of His name. Secondly, why use the comfort card when NRPs deny God for their own comfort so that they can indulge in their sins without having to consider the consequences? You see, for a Christian, there are consequences for sin, but for an NRP, there's no consequence as long as you don't get caught. Regarding your cheap shot at religion, and I'll just stand up for Christianity because it's the only religion I care to defend anyway, as I have already mentioned, people who engage in those sorts of crimes are very likely not genuine Christians. Simply calling oneself a Christian does not actually make a person a Christian. Nor does going to Sunday services every week.
"Again, I’ve covered the ‘bend it to our needs’, the churches are constantly doing that, look at the rise of evangelical, happy clappy, churches in America and Australia. All that televangelism, rock & roll, clapping and singing, why have they changed like that? To be more like the rest of society. (MTV generation, anyone?)"
Well if you want to stick with your unbiblical definition of church then go ahead, but you're not ever going to understand the true nature of the church with that kind of concept.
"You (as in religious people; I’m generalizing a bit here, but for a large proportion of you I believe I’m correct in thinking this) are intolerant and narrow minded. No matter what arguments are provided you refuse to condone: abortions, gay marriages (in fact homosexuality of any kind), condoms (to millions of people dying of aids in Africa, which could, in large part, be prevented by the use of condoms) and thousands of other points of view."
Here we see a compounded attempt at moral and ethical judgement on your part. You can continue trumpeting your message until the cows come home but you only serve to expose your logical fallacies. Why should your perspective regarding the belief and practice of religious people have any weight? You continue to make moral statements but have no justification for doing so. Why should we believe in your perspective on homosexuality, contraception, abortions, and so on? Do you want to set yourself up as the leader of a new religion whereby we ought to take your point of view? What if we simply do not agree with your point of view? Why does that bother you? Regarding being narrow-minded and intolerant, I believe that shutting out God, who is the source of all truth, is extremely narrow-minded, and trying to force us and other religious people to change our mind about homosexuality, contraception, and abortion without having a single absolute basis for your doing so is extremely intolerant. You are intolerant of the truth. It is as simple as that, and I can point to my absolute standard and be consistent about it. Until you can do the same, don't come crying to us.
"Lastly I’m glad you didn’t send that to the newspaper, I think HA would be very disappointed with your response which doesn’t really argue against any of HA’s statements."
Perhaps you misunderstood the reason why Christians speak out on these matters. We are not doing it to please you. We do so because we care about the truth of God's word. If HA would have been disappointed, so what? We are not out to please him either. Unlike liberal post-modernism where truth no longer matters, the unshakeable Christian faith will not compromise its integrity for the saking of pleasing man. If that is what you were expecting, you have a very distorted view of what the Christian faith is.