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Posts Tagged ‘G.K. Chesterton’

Dogma: an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behaviour; a settled or established opinion, belief or principle.

–Dictionary.com

This word has taken on a negative context in our culture, suggesting narrow-minded inflexibility that many people insist is simply wrong.

Now, read this meme (posted in an atheist Internet community) again. Doesn’t it sound a little…dogmatic? Consider the points it makes:

“Dogmatic” people lack freedom. Well, freedom to do what? I’m a Christian, which means I believe Jesus Christ is the Divine Son of God and I do my best to live my life according to His principles.

What freedom does Lindsey believe I lack? Can I not think the world is a beautiful place? Of course I can. And I do.

Does this mean I’m going to walk around with rose-coloured glasses and ignore the many, many human-caused problems that plague this planet? Absolutely not. That would be delusional. So should I wonder if Lindsey is deluding herself?

“Dogmatic” people’s vision is clouded and close-minded. Really? Yet another dogmatic assertion. My vision is clear enough to see the world is beautiful AND horribly messed up. One of the reasons I’m a Christian is I believe faith in Jesus Christ is the starting point to fixing that mess.

As for the apparent horror of being “close-minded”, should my brain simply drift like an aimless amoeba for all time? Is that what Lindsey’s mind is doing?

I like what famed British writer and thinker G. K. Chesterton wrote about being open-minded: “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”

I shut my mind on something solid when I decided to trust the evidence and believe that the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ paid the price for all the wrong things I’ve done and all the right things I’ve failed to do (a price I could NEVER pay on my own). By doing this, the Bible — which serious Christians believe is inspired by God from start to finish — says I’ll “not be lost but have eternal life” (that’s in a section simply called ‘John’).

What Christ did is a gift that’s offered to everyone, including Lindsey. Including YOU. If you accept that gift, a section of the Bible called ‘Galations’ says you’ll have “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness [and] faithfulness”.

This won’t happen overnight. But if you say ‘yes’ to faith in Jesus, a life-long construction project will begin. And it won’t end until this life ends and you spend eternity with your creator.

Interested? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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Open mindedAccording to Dictionary.com, to be open-minded is to have have or show a mind receptive to new ideas or arguments. It also means being unprejudiced, unbigoted and impartial.

As I pondered these definitions and looked at the message of the graphic above (posted in an Internet atheism community), I realized something: being fully, completely open-minded is absolutely impossible.

First of all, consider the person who created this graphic. The arbitrary words make it clear: he or she is close-minded when it comes to Christianity. It’s easy to make this statement because he or she didn’t write “Most open-minded Christians probably won’t (or might not) be a Christian for long”.

The wording in this graph sounds like a fact — which the author certainly cannot prove. And trust me, from my interactions with aggressive atheists, I can confidently write that most of them are all about proof. Ironically, most of these people are close-minded to anything else.

Secondly, the thing about Christianity is it can’t be proven. And I don’t regard that as a bad thing. In fact, I think the lack of conclusive, scientific proof about Christianity is no accident. If God is about anything, He is about free will. Make Christianity provable and at that moment, free will is gone.

A lack of free will means atheists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics and everyone else who doesn’t follow Jesus Christ (whom serious Christians believe is the divine Son of God) can’t be who they are — since they’ve all been proven wrong.

God has shown again and again that He’s not interested in goose-stepping robots. He’s interested in an eternal relationship, through Jesus, with free-thinking, overwhelmingly imperfect people who realize they’ll never really get their lives together without Jesus. In other words, people like YOU and me.

I like how famed British writer and thinker G.K. Chesterton wrote about being open-minded: “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”

That’s what I did when I decided, at age 41, to follow Jesus Christ. He’s as solid as I (and many millions of others around the world) need Him to be.

Making that decision didn’t mean I suddenly lost respect for non-Christians. In fact, I’m called to love non-Christians just as God loves them and offers His Son to them as a gift.

What happens when you accept that gift? If you’re serious about it, your life should begin to change almost immediately. In my case, I effortlessly stopped using offensive language. And that was just the start. With Jesus in my life, I became more generous. I changed jobs to one that is focused on telling people about Jesus. I married a woman who is also committed to Jesus (which almost certainly wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t a Christian).

More changes are coming. In fact, those changes won’t end until I’m finished with this life and go to Heaven to spend eternity in God’s presence.

The same can happen to you. Interested? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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George JonasIt’s one thing for me, a committed Christian, to try and explain/justify God. It’s another altogether when a self-confessed, “non-religious” major newspaper columnist like George Jonas tackles the topic.

In a 2013 National Post column, the veteran journalist (1935-2016) wrote about dreaming he was God and encountering a range of challenges from skeptics. Here’s an excerpt from one of those chats:

   Skeptic: “Aren’t you supposed to be omnipresent? I never saw you in Auschwitz, the (Soviet) gulag, Dresden (where so much Second World War bombing took place) or Katyn Forest (site of a Second World War massacre)…”

    Jonas: “You never looked for me. You were busy doing evil things.”

    Skeptic: “Why did you let me?”

    Jonas: “Has it occurred to you that you might have acted without my permission?”

Later, Jonas (still writing as God) noted: “Men doing fiendish things used to prove the existence of evil. Now it casts doubt on the existence of God. Once I punished men for being bad; now men punish me for it. ‘If we’re bad, God, you don’t exist.’ Talk about gall.

To my sometimes-foggy brain, the insight shown here is impressive. We humans were given a mind-boggling gift  – freewill – then tested God by using it to crucify Jesus Christ, whom serious Christians believe to be His son. Not only did God prove freewill was for all time and space by doing nothing to stop this crucifixion, He restored Jesus for us by resurrecting Him.

(If you want powerful evidence for the resurrection, go to a website called biblegateway.com and, in the “passage lookup” section, type this:
1 Corinthians 15:6.)

Sadly, as Jonas pointed out, God’s gift of freewill hasn’t been enough for skeptics. Some may claim they haven’t done the evil that wracks the world, yet they must live with it. To that, I recall British writer G.K. Chesterton. When asked by a newspaper to write an essay on the theme ‘what’s wrong with the world?’, he responded with just this:

    Dear Sirs,
    I am.
    Sincerely yours,
    G. K. Chesterton.

He was what’s wrong with the world because of what he did and what he failed to do. I am what’s wrong with this world for the same reasons. And so are you.

That said, I am sure of this:

  1. For everyone who says the state of this world proves there is no god, just imagine how things would be if He weren’t involved. Would there ever have been peace in Ireland? Would apartheid ever have ended in South Africa? Would the Berlin Wall ever have come down?
  2. There is a price to be paid for the wrong things you and I have done, and for the right things we haven’t done. That price was paid by Jesus. If you believe this and make him your leader and best friend, then forgiveness – and the opportunity for a new, clean start – is yours. Just as it is already mine.

Does this make sense? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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