Thursday, January 21, 2010

Does God Create Tragedy?

In our post, "Haiti-Did God Do This?" I gladly set forth the notion that God was not the author of the Haitian devastation through earthquake and that God did not rise to kill or destroy the thousands that lost their lives during this tragic event.

As stated in that post, atheists like Christopher Hitchens, suggest that God, if he exists, is responsible for such destruction in either one or two ways:

1- Either he causes the destruction to make people pray to him. Which is somewhat of a traditional Christian  sentiment also.


2- That He (God) causes the destruction according to his will.

Throughout this God is  unresponsive to the people's cry for help therefore, allowing the people to suffer in pain needlessly.  An example of needless pain according to the critic would be a person who dies after laying under the rubble for 5 to 7 days. Why couldn't God have simply put them out of their misery earlier or better yet, protected them from the tragedy to begin with?

There are many worthy and notable questions that arise from these sentiments and  declarations that are certainly worth our attention. Although not popular with some, I believe the church community can be better benefited talking about these subjects and trying to understand just what happened to Haiti and even other countries that experience tragic natural disaster. I would encourage churches and pastors to begin teaching about the character and nature of God to their youth so that they won't be caught off guard like so many are within Christian circles when they are pressed on issues like this. With that said, let us ask and answer the tough questions...y'u-know the ones that critics think we can't answer:

Is All Of This God's Judgement?

While Pat Robertson certainly thinks so, I'm surprised that a great deal of Christians do also. I know "we'll all understand it better by and by" but I hold that God has clearly revealed certain aspects of his nature towards man and while that nature does include judgement, it also includes, justice, parity, and righteousness. In other words God is not unjust in any of his ways, acts or dealings towards mankind.

While tragic events are certainly a sign of the coming judgement in the sense that it reminds us of our mortality, it is a stretch to say that things like this are the judgement of God himself. It is distinguishing that difference that will be discussed in this post.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Have You Read This Book?

I don't have an opinion of Jon Stewart as to his comedy. From what I have seen I don't believe that he is a Christian. If so maybe a secular one. However, I am in full agreement with him on his assessment of media elites such as Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh and their assessment of the earthquake that has devastated Haiti. The following video says what I want to say:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Haiti Earthquake Reactions
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Yes, I think that both Robertson and Limbaugh were off base, not biblically centered and totally wrong in their assessments and approach. I don't expect Limbaugh to get it right. He doesn't claim to know the word of the Lord. However, I certainly expect more of someone who says they know or understand God and his nature and dealings toward man.

We may not know the why, but we should know the who and As I maintain that who was not and is not the God that we serve.

Have we read this book? This is the question of the day.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti ~ Did God Do This?

Over the holidays I decided to tackle some of the more difficult assertions that the New and Reformed atheists are setting forth these days. You know those assertions that seem to make sense on the surface but fall apart upon examination? In this post, which will also be followed by an upcoming radio podcast, I plan to do just that.

My heart goes out to all of the many thousand men, women and children who are suffering through the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake. I have been in prayer most of the day as I have read the reports and God quickened my spirit to speak to those of us who also now travail for these our fellow human beings. Please let's continue to pray for them now.

The Tragedy

In what can only be described as one of the worst tragedies imaginable, we observe Haitian devastation that has shaken many of us to our core:

In what is one of the most devastating natural events in recent history, it is estimated that an earthquake with a magnitude of at least 7.0 hit Haiti along the fault line, known as the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone. The quake shook Haiti claiming what preliminary estimates say could be hundreds of thousands dead.

Its currently reported that Haiti consists of approximately 9 million people 80% of whom are Catholic, and that 1/3 of its population is said to be directly and severely affected by this devastation. There is an outcry from all sectors of society. The wealthy and the poor have suffered extremely in this devastation. The Prime Minister's palace, which once stood proudly in regal and grand fashion, has been destroyed and cast aside similar to a rickety shacks and inadequately built homes that housed over 60% of this population.

The devastation has also effected those that are in Haiti to help others in large numbers. A group of approximately 800 physicians and medical service personnel, named Doctor's Without Boarders, whose top mission is to provide humanitarian medical services to the destitute, has itself been stricken, leaving most of its staff unaccounted for and and all of it's locations nonfunctional.

Neither religious nor secular humanitarian leaders have been spared the effects of this devastation by any means. The Roman Catholic Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, 63 was found dead in his office and UN Leaders such as Heidi Annabe along with at least 100 other UN employees and officials are missing and feared to be dead also.

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I WAS An Atheist

If one were to listen to the atheist rhetoric of authors such as Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, and the propaganda that fills the internet, one would think that all "thinking and rational" individuals are simply evolving into a condition of atheism or non theistic belief. After all most who don't believe in God, claim that non-belief is somehow a default system or normalcy of human existence. Many also believe that people are only trained to be believers by their culture, family or environment. Still others believe that theism or belief in God is only a product of birth, location and circumstance. To confirm this many point to the growth of religions such as Islam claiming that the only reason for its growth is the high birth rate within Islamic nations. Others apply the same rationale to Christianity. The metaphysical naturalist believes however that the more men learn the less religious they will be.

All of these assertions are simply weak postulations to explain away what is obvious; 1- man lives in a world that includes much more than the materialistic components and 2- what we see comes from a source that we do not see. In fact the bible being ages ahead of this type of argument, applies the eternal existence of that which is not seen (God) to the concept of faith as follows:

2 Corinthians 4:18 ~ "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal."

As I've discussed in 'Does Science Presuppose Atheism' a common thought of unbelievers is that science will somehow eventually answer all questions and that whatever can't be proven by science is somehow illusionary. Well, aside from that fact that science can't prove itself and that many theories of science begin with presumptions that remain unproven, the interpretations of science are said to only solidify natural laws and solidify materialism.

God Is

For many, the assertions I've outlined above were thought to be common. However all of those thoughts, previously said to be rational, have come under serious scrutiny from individuals that the materialists, and especially metaphysical naturalists don't like to talk about much. With the conversion of scientists like Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Allister McGrath and Dr. Dean Kenyon the scientific community has been set on its ear for quite some time with quite some time more to come.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

The Idolatrous Celebration Of "Steve"

In the ongoing saga of the Celebration Of Gospel, offered by BET, a plethora of talents were on display. Some of those talents included secular singers such as Fantasia and Kelly Price, who pretended to be saved for a few minutes, homosexual choir directors who pretended that their anti-biblical practices really didn't matter, and comedians that admit that the church can't turn its back too quickly because certain cuss words may simply fly out of their mouths under the right circumstance...

Then, in what was the ultimate in "star worship", Gospel singers and the gospel industry itself as represented gave a special tribute to the guest host, Steve Harvey, whose claim to gospel fame is hosting the show for 10 years and writing a book 'Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man' in which he claims it's good for a young lady to not rush into sexual activity, by waiting at least 90 days (establishing a 90 day rule) before engaging premarital sex. In other words, the message is have sex if you want to, only find out of this is a person that you really want to have it with after some time. From a secular teacher this is par for the course however there's more that the church should be concerned about.

Obeisance Of The Gospel Industry

As we watched gospel industry elites such as Donnie McClurkin, and Marvin Sapp commend Steve Harvey for the "progress" that he's making both spiritually and materially one couldn't help but be reminded of who these singers were really honoring. To be clear, although Steve "thinks" he's a Christian (I suppose by osmosis) because he has done many good things and doesn't approach things like he used to, I am yet left asking the questions,

1-When did Steve Harvey repent of his sins?  and
2- When did Steve Harvey forsake his sins and follow Jesus?

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christian Marriage...I Had To Address Some Issues

Also See: "Marriage & Forgiveness. What That Means For The "Other Woman" (or Man)"
Arguably, the foundation of any society and community is the family. Though modern families come in all kinds of sizes, shapes and component parts, traditionally, the most fundamental element of the family is the marriage between a husband and a wife. In fact, in Western society, the whole social system is built on this type of union.

This is often called the nuclear family, which includes about 2 to 3 children and a pet thrown in to spare. Until recent times this type of union (between a man and a woman) was a standard part of the American culture and a solid part of the American church. However there are all sorts of arrangements marital, non-marital, cross-generational and even cross gender core units that now comprise the basis of "family".
There are many factors that have led to the changing face of the family. To name a few, it can't go without noting that there is a  rapidly growing diversity of social moral values within the American population,  changing demographics, partially promoted by culturally accepted relativism, and an increased post modernistic approach to previously formed social structures.  In addition there are financial pressures, high incarceration rates  in some demographic groups, and increased substance abuse issues which in many cases are a reflection of the lack of self-worth and value. All of this has led to the traditionally oriented nuclear family becoming simply one type among many types of family structures within society.
Marriages. How Stable Is The Foundation?

To our shame, these are the facts of our marital condition:
  • According to Religious Tolerance.Org current research shows that the overall divorce rate peaked around 1980 and appears to have declined modestly since then. Divorce rates per 1,000 marriages were 22.6 in 1980, 20.9 in 1990, and 18.8 in 2000. (1)
  • A recent study by the Barna Research Group throws extreme doubt on these estimates. Barna released the results of their poll about divorce on 1999-DEC-21. 1 They had interviewed 3,854 adults from the 48 contiguous states. The margin of error is ±2 percentage points. The survey found: 11% of the adult population is currently divorced.  25% of adults have had at least one divorce during their lifetime.  Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists and Agnostics (nonbelievers) experience (2)
  • Estimates of the incidence of marital infidelity in the United States range from 20% to 50%. (3)
  • One estimate rated the percentage of all Americans who would have an extramarital affair during their lives as high as 70%! (4)
  • Nearly half of all U.S. marriages are remarriages for at least one of the spouses (5)
  • In a 2001 report, the CDC stated that 1/5 (20%) of first marriages end within five years; 1/3 (33%)within ten years. Second marriages fare even worse. The CDC found "a strong probability that second marriages will end in separation or divorce: 23% after five years and 39% after ten years.”
  • Researcher Donald Hughes states that 90% of divorce among Christians occur AFTER they have been saved. (6)

When you click "read more" stop the video until you get to it. I don't want to mess up your concentration. You'll see.

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