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Posts Tagged ‘Christopher Hitchens’

northkoreaquestion-9-16Our culture discourages thinking about what happens when this life ends, but maybe you’re one of those people with the courage to ponder the notion.

If there is a Heaven, is it like the numbing, monotonous ordeal described by militant atheist Christopher Hitchens? Is it, as Christianity Today postulated: “an uninspiring place, a subject of clichés and the butt of jokes”?

Surprisingly, there’s a lot of stuff on the Internet about Heaven, and it’s not just the Heaven of my faith (Christianity). Here are just two descriptions:

Wikipedia:
Heaven is often described as a “higher place”, the holiest place, a paradise, in contrast to Hell or the underworld or the “low places”, and universally or conditionally accessible by earthly beings according to various standards of divinity, goodness, piety, faith or other virtues or right beliefs or simply the will of God.

BibleInfo.com:
Heaven is a real place where the people of God will live one day. In fact, Heaven is where God and the angels live. In Heaven, those saved by God will have new bodies without the curse of sin.

Perhaps some people — maybe even YOU — believe Heaven resembles Christopher Hitchens’ nightmare. But who made him an expert on the subject?

Let me make it quite clear: beyond the illuminating BibleInfo.com explanation, an exact description of Heaven is hard to find. Note the words of Christianity Today writer John Koessler: “If Heaven is only a distant gallery from which the departed observe affairs as they unfold on earth, then it is a dull place indeed.”

Koessler’s words appear to apply to Hitchens. So is there something better? YES.

1.  It’s a place of reunion for all people who pass God’s test for entry.

2.  It’s a place of reconciliation, where people who opposed each other on earth leave behind all that (no matter how serious or grievous) in exchange for peace — with themselves and everyone else.

3.  It’s a place of perfection — perfect minds, bodies and spirits. Whatever tortures us in this life will become utterly irrelevant in Heaven.

4.  It’s a place of surprises — those who go there will likely be shocked by who else is there and NOT there.

All this may still seem, well, inexact, but consider John Koessler’s conclusion: “If ‘our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us’ (from a section of the Bible called ‘Romans’), then neither are our present joys or pleasures.”

In other words, when it come to Heaven, expect far, FAR more glory than anything our limited minds can imagine. (And anything that could ever exist in North Korea.)

So, what about this “test for entry” I mentioned? It’s quite simple: are you PERFECT? The Bible, trusted by most Christians, says that’s what you need to qualify. But since none of us are, how can anyone get in?

The answer is to that question easy, even if you don’t like it: trust in and follow Jesus Christ, whom serious Christians believe is God’s perfect Son.

For people who trust in and follow Him, Jesus Christ was crucified on a Roman cross to make up for ALL the wrong things they did and ALL the right things they failed to do. When Christ followers are finished with this life and stand before God, He sees NONE of our sins. He only sees His Son’s perfection.

Does this make sense? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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Dance of dogma 1.16When I saw this graphic on an Internet atheism community, I wasn’t sure why I saved it for Frank’s Cottage. Then I looked up the definition of “dogma”.

According to Wikipedia, dogma is “a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system’s paradigm, or the ideology itself.”

Hmm. Where does this apply? The more I thought about it, the more I realized: where DOESN’T it apply?

Every person on this planet follows some kind of “principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.”

Evidence?

  • Business tycoons like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are died-in-the-wool capitalists. They believe in and follow capitalist dogma and won’t have anything to do with any other economic system.
  • Remember communism? Some of its most famous practitioners — China’s Mao Tse Tung and Russia’s Vladimir Lenin — believed in and followed communist dogma their entire lives. They refused to have anything to do with democracy.

What about atheists? Based on my many, many interactions with them, most appear to follow dogma laid down by atheist authors Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) and Richard Dawkins.

These three routinely advance the position that there is absolutely nothing good about “religion” (I agree, and here’s why: http://wp.me/p2wzRb-i9) and that believing in a supreme creator is primitive superstition and harmful to humanity.

In the atheist Internet communities I often visit, these viewpoints are treated as dogma. In these communities, I never see posts that contradict these positions.

So, dogma applies to all of us. That leaves the question: which dogma do YOU follow? In your heart of hearts, do you believe that it’s all about having a comfortable, happy life now and never mind what comes after? Do you believe that when you die, all that you are will become nothing more than rancid worm food?

Do the dogmas I just mentioned leave you feeling cold and, perhaps, even a bit hopeless? Are you ready to re-examine them, despite the pressures of your friends, loved ones and our culture as a whole?

Then consider the claims of Christianity. The hope it presents for all of us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (who serious Christians believe is God’s divine Son).

Talk to knowledgeable people about it. If you don’t know any, then email me at fdking@hotmail.com and I’ll do my best to help. No matter what our culture insists, figuring out what dogma YOU follow is important stuff.

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