Tag: Faith and Reason

WHY I BELIEVE: PART 3

Here’s the long-awaited third part of my series, “Why I Believe in God”, outlining some of the supporting reasoning behind my faith. There are some believers who think you should “just believe”. Looking for evidence, they say, is “not of faith”, therefore it’s sin. With respect, I disagree…

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Didn’t Jesus reason with his disciples on the road to Emmaus, when he “interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27 ESV)? God created an orderly universe in which facts can be established. Truth is verifiable, and since God is Truth, truth cannot be sinful. Faith and reason go hand in hand.

So here’s my third acronym, designed while I’m in good shape, as a hedge against the days when I will not be. The third acronym, like the second, specifically concerns the God of the Bible.

66 JELL WAST-MUSH! Is it an insect repellant, a conducting lubricant, or hippy face paint? Is it a video game based on Darth Sidious’ ascent to power? No!

66!

The opening part of my acronym is borrowed from the introduction to Chuck Missler’s radio show (“66/40”), since it succinctly and eloquently captures a profound truth missed by those who ignore the possibility of divine authorship of the Bible:

The Bible contains sixty-six books written by forty different authors over thousands of years, and yet it’s an “integrated message system” from beyond our own time domain.

The Bible wasn’t contrived by one man sitting down on a boring Sunday afternoon, wondering how he could start a new religion and fool everyone. It was experienced, contributed to and recorded by many generations of people from different backgrounds, yet it tells one incredible story: the story of the Messiah and the nation he entered the world in. The Bible claims in many places to be inspired by God himself, and authenticates that claim in ways such as those I’ve outlined in all parts of this series.

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J!

J IS FOR JUSTICE. Biblical justice works beautifully, when it’s applied.

Yes, astute reader, the word “justice” was in my first acronym, but there it referred to the fact that we can only have an innate sense of justice if we are more than animals, and if we’ve been designed and created to love truth and fairness. Here the word “justice” refers more specifically to the Biblical model. God is given a bad rap these days by those who want us all to forget about Him. They say he’s vengeful, hateful, misogynous, and a whole host of other derogatory terms which really do not stand up to honest scrutiny. They ignore the fact that since God is the creator and sustainer of all things, he has every right to do as he pleases: we have no rights but only his mercy and kindness, and we are entirely at his mercy. I’ll outline a few examples.

First, those who claim that God must be vengeful and hateful to have told the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites aren’t looking at the whole picture. God reluctantly commanded the eradication of the Canaanites only after hundreds of years of mercy and patience towards them (Genesis 15:16) because they had descended to such degrading practices as burning their own children as sacrifices to their idols. The time had come for their evil to be stopped, and God has every right to judge.

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Biblical justice is said to be hard in the Old Testament-the time of the Law, and soft in the New: this is seen as a contradiction. The truth is that the “Old Testament God” while setting hard and fast guide lines, showed his mercy in many ways. For example, the establishing of “cities of refuge” (Numbers 35:6-34), where people who had either accidentally killed someone in a fight or an accident, or who were accused of murder falsely, could go to be immune from vengeance. God sent a prophet to a decadent and violent Nineveh because he did not want to judge the city (Jonah 4:10-11), and when Cain killed Abel and feared retribution from his brothers, God put his seal of protection on Cain as an act of love and mercy (Genesis 4:15).

The “New Testament God” actually warns of the same ultimate judgment upon his enemies as the OT God did, but extends his mercy to its greatest extent by making a way for anyone willing to respond to escape that ultimate judgment, through the sacrificial death of his own Son. Jesus forgave the adulteress, the thief on the cross, and Paul who had persecuted Christians to the death.

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Through the gospel of Jesus Christ God’s love and mercy are clearly seen to be available to all of us-until the final Judgment. The same love is supposed to be seen in his followers, by way of forgiveness, mercy, kindness, compassion and so on, without negating the fact that wrong is still wrong and must be corrected, disciplined or even judged if not repented of. Love and mercy come first-consequences only follow if there is no change in our hearts. This is real love and fairness. I would say it’s fairer that any human system of judgment. If the police catch you breaking into a bank once, you’re going to prison, and the judge isn’t going to forget your crime even if you say you’re sorry and that you won’t do it again.

However, our judicial system is based on the Biblical notion that some things are wrong and that other people are to be protected from criminals: you pay for your crime. How many other “animals” have such a system?

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The Bible adequately Explains the meaning of Life, and the origin and reason for evil, suffering and death. Without claiming to have all the answers (I do not), I wrote about these extensively in a recent post, “The Meaning of Death” and in an eight part series I wrote called “Why Do We Suffer?”

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L is for Literature. The Bible has been seen by millions over many centuries as the apex of all literature, and more copies of it have been printed and sold than any other book despite the endless attempts to eradicate it. Again, it claims to be the inspired Word of God: his message to humanity. So many examples could be picked, but here’s a well-known one:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

He leadeth me beside still waters.

He restoreth my soul:

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…” (Psalm 23: 1-4).

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WA

The Bible tells the stories of “warts-and-all” characters. If the Bible were written by men to draw converts to a club or religion its central characters would all be faultless, unfailing supermen. There is no attempt to whitewash the sins of its heroes and heroines: we hear about their weaknesses as well as their triumphs and their righteous acts.

As examples, read about God’s mercy towards Cain who killed his brother Abel. Read how Abram lied about his wife being his sister in order to save his own skin. Jacob deceived his father and essentially robbed his brother of his inheritance. Moses fell into a bad temper a few times. Elijah, the powerful and bold prophet, was afraid of a female ruler and fell into a depression. David had an innocent man killed and committed adultery. His family was “dysfunctional” because of his many relationships and, his bad example, and his inability to control his step-children.

In the New Testament Peter, the most enthusiastic disciple of Jesus, denied him in his hour of need, and Paul and Barnabas fell out during their missionary journey together.

ST

ST IS FOR STORIES.  Though the Bible was written by many different authors over a long period of time, it has several central themes running all the way through it, including both testaments. The most significant is the story of the Fall of man and God’s plan of redemption-his commitment to providing salvation for humans who would otherwise be beyond his perfection and holiness. The first mention of the gospel, known as the “proto-evangelion” appears immediately after the Fall (Genesis 3:15), and the gospel message continues all the way to the end of Revelation.

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M IS FOR MORALITY. The Bible’s brand of morality is hated by the secularist, the atheist, the polytheist, the pluralist, the evolutionist, the Universalist, the existentialist, and just about every other “ist”, yet it’s loved by those who’ve accepted God’s mercy. God’s standards of right and wrong were loosely followed by Western culture until the last few decades. They are the “glue” which will hold everyone together, and they worked as far as they were followed. God’s plan for human relationships reflect true love and commitment. It included love and commitment within families; faithfulness within marriage; the recognition that each life-including the unborn-is to be protected and valued; honor and dedication towards community; religion and country, and the rejection of all that threatens the moral fiber of society and all that God said he hated. How dramatically things have moved in the opposite direction.

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U

U IS FOR UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. The message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is one of unconditional love from God to us-available for anyone who will accept it. This is not a human idea or quality: it’s entirely divine.

S

S IS FOR SIN. The Bible exposes man’s true nature. Yes, this one was in the first acronym also. But more specifically, the Bible describes the origin of sin, its effects and consequences, and its remedy. The answers the Bible gives are, for me, adequate, believable, true to life and beautiful in the light they shine on the human condition.

H

H IS FOR HOPE. The Bible not only describes man’s condition but provides the answer for it. It offers hope for everyone, not just for this life, but for eternity. Please see my post on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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DO CHRISTIANS NEED REASON?

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I’ve spoken to Christians who think we shouldn’t be interested in having reasons for our faith. We shouldn’t use or even consider logic or knowledge or argument or evidence to support our faith, because, they say, these things are the opposite of faith, in fact they quench it.

(PFL11 “MORNING BOY”

This is a commonly held view in my country of origin, the United Kingdom. I had one gentleman tell me that we shouldn’t be worried about whether or not God created and whether or not evolution is really a valid explanation for our world. Neither should we be interested in the return of Jesus Christ: when it might be or how it might come about or even if t will happen at all.. Neither should we be interested in finding historical or archeological evidence for our faith. The only thing that matters, said he, is faith. That is, the kind of faith that detects Jesus telling us where to park the car and which hat to wear on a Friday afternoon, and the kind of faith which make us fall over backwards when we worship.

Equally common is the idea that we shouldn’t concern ourselves with what is morally right or wrong, because that’s “judging”, and didn’t Jesus clearly say “Do not judge, or you too will be judged”? Who are we to say what’s right and what’s wrong?

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Try telling that to John the Baptist, beheaded for taking a stand against immorality, of whom Jesus said:

“…among those born of women there is no one greater than John” (Luke 7: 28 NIV).

Come to think of it, try telling that to any Bible hero, prophet, or judge, including God himself. But then, such believers are normally opposed to the Scriptures, and instead set themselves up as the determiner of what is right or wrong. “I think…” you can hear them say frequently, while they ignore what Paul said, what Moses said, what John said, and what Jesus Christ said.

Part of the problem is that people have caved in to secular notions of origins and of history, because they’ve become convinced that the unbelievers, those who now hold the majority of positions of authority and so are pushing any remaining believers out, must be right. To my mind, this is  not faith, it’s a lack of faith: it’s a failure to believe, for example, that “In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth”. It’s a failure to believe that Almighty God is capable of writing His own book and telling the truth.

Once you decide that the Scriptures (ie the Bible) are not your authority, but that you are, or your preacher is, or your church is, or your favorite pop star is, you are on shifting sands in an earthquake: there is no absolute truth. Someone else’s thoughts are as valid as yours, even if they are totally opposite.

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Worse than that, you are at the mercy of a world which is determined to judge you, and to tell you what is right and what’s wrong, what reality is, and what truth is.

As my son sits in his science class at school, he analyses and sifts what his teacher is saying. He recognizes that the teacher is on an evangelistic mission-not so much to teach science as to convert his captive audience to…atheism. At the mercy of this teacher- apart from my son who at home has been given reasons to believe- are thirty young people, many of whom come from Christian or Mormon homes, who’ve been given no preparatory grounding in the concepts which would help protect and grow their faith.

Parents have been too busy teaching their kids what makes a good football player, and their churches haven’t joined the battle being waged against them. They are so brainwashed and hypnotized by TV and “news” media that they “didn’t think it was important”, or were convinced that the evolutionists have the evidence for nothing-to-man evolution all sewn up.  And so they bow to the evangelists of our day-the militant atheists-and surrender their children to those who “must know what they are talking about” since they are the ones in the position of authority.

Picture Theoden, under the spell of  Wormtongue and Saruman….and you will see a good representation of not only the unbelieving world in the West, but also a large percentage of the professing Christian world, hypnotized and comatose, while all around them the world falls under the spell of the atheist…and his master.

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While it’s true that the Bible says “the just shall live by faith”, and that “without faith it is impossible to please God”, and that if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can move a mountain, it also teaches and speaks out the message that if you have no source of absolute truth apart from your own ideas and those of people who are anti-Christ, you have no real basis for truth at all: you might as well believe that Spiderman is God, that right is wrong, and that everyone with a “z” in their name is going to heaven while the rest spend eternity in Disneyworld.

Why did God give us these amazing brains, capable of processing far more information than most of us challenge them with? Was it so that we could store the latest football stats and the theories and rantings of the evolutionist, or was it so that we could learn about God and His world?

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Do you believe in Jesus? What did he say? He said to the Father:

“…your word is truth” (John 17:17).

He also said:

“If ye continue in my word then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8: 31-32 KJV).

This was a dominant theme of Christ and of his apostles, such as Paul, who said:

“All Scripture is God-breathed…” (2 Timothy 3:16).

And for those who have convinced themselves that the Old Testament is a collection of fairy stories and can be ignored, I would say that you need to survey all the numerous references of Jesus and his apostles to Old Testament scriptures, in which it is obvious that they believed them to be the inspired words of the living God:

“He (Jesus) said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24: 25).

Haven’t your read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female…?” (Matthew 19:4).

There really is no excuse to ignore reason, particularly in this age of deception, when the world-seen and unseen-is working hard at robbing you and your children of their faith and hope. There is abundant evidence which defies the lies of the atheist and the skeptic, if you would just take the trouble to look and to share. And remember this:

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).

ARE FAITH AND REASON OPPOSITES?

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Creationists are often accused by skeptics, atheists and evolutionists of abandoning reason and rational thought. They are “committing intellectual suicide”, and they are being “intellectually dishonest” when they reject the evolution of life, the universe and everything from nothing. They are “ignorant” and “stupid’. They are “deluded”.

In recent times the militant evolutionists have worked harder to turn people – you and your children – away from faith in God, by sharpening their resolve and their rhetoric. Now creationists are “dangerous” because of their determination to have faith in God and to ignore what passes for “science”. The truth is that only that which is observable and testable is science. This disqualifies anything which allegedly happened millions of years ago.

I first learned of the creationists’ view of faith and reason when I read a book by Prof. E.H. Andrews*.  At the time of writing, Prof. Andrews, B.Sc., Ph.D., D. Sc., F. Inst. P., FIM., C. Phys., C. Eng., was Professor of Materials at the University of London, and was formerly Head of the Department of Materials and Dean of Engineering at Queen Mary College.

Andrews argued that faith and reason go hand in hand.

You see, as much as evolutionists want you to think so, creationists do not reject evolution by ignoring it and then having blind faith in some fairy story instead, they reject it both because of their faith in God, and by reasoning with the evidence available. They believe that the evidence found in nature more clearly supports the Biblical understanding of our origins.

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The evolutionist processes all information about our universe by intentionally discounting the possibility of a Creator. In a sense, he has “faith”, since it cannot be proven that there is no God. He knows that matter came into being at some point in the past, and, not having a video of the event or of those which followed, he decides that a “singularity” gave birth to the universe. By faith in that singularity, he reasons his way to a theory of how it “must have” happened. He observes nature, and looks for evidence to support his theories and hypotheses of how life evolved.

The Biblical creationist processes all information about our universe by beginning with faith in the Biblical Creation account. He knows that matter came into being at some time in the past, and, not having a video of the event or those which followed, he sees that the Bible claims to be a message from God to man, and that it speaks of time, space and matter being created. He sees that it also provides the basis for an understanding of what happened to cause billions of creatures, trees and plants, including dinosaurs, to be buried catastrophically in the earth. He observes nature, looking for evidence which supports that account.

I don’t have time for blind faith, and I don’t need it.  Reason tells me that I didn’t evolve out of a rock which came from nothing or a “singularity”. Reason tells me that I am not just a pile of chemical processes. Reason tells me that dinosaurs didn’t all “wander into a swamp”, sometimes in herds. Reason (and experience) tells me that there is no fossil series on display anywhere, showing legs shortening and then disappearing to turn cows or goats into whales, just as reason tells me that a frog doesn’t turn into a prince.

Reason tells me that some people don’t want to know God, and that some people do.

Reason supports and compliments my faith.

* Prof. E. H. Andrews, Christ and the Cosmos (Evangelical Press, Welwyn, England, copyright EP 1986)