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Posts Tagged ‘God and free will’

devotedI found an essay called “10 Signs You’re a Devoted Christian” on the Internet and, as I read it, I realized it presented an excellent opportunity to clear up some misconceptions about people of faith. Read these highlights and see if you’ve had any of these opinions:

Christians deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of your god.

Well, lots of Christians I know are not the least bit “outraged”. In fact, some of us are happy to talk with anyone who denies the existence of a creator. It usually makes for very interesting conversation.

  • You feel insulted and ‘dehumanized’ when scientists say people evolved from lesser life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

Um, no. I don’t know for absolute certain how we were created, other than it was God who did it. What else do I need to know on this subject?

  • You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a trinity god.

Maybe some Christians laugh at people who believe in more than one god. But most of us don’t. Does that mean we’re not “devoted” Christians?

  • Your face turns purple when you hear of atrocities attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God slaughtered all the babies in Egypt in ‘Exodus’ or ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in ‘Joshua’.

Lots of Christians, including me, DO flinch when we read about these things in the Bible. No one can claim to understand all the Bible. But I suggest you check out the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (http://carm.org/) to thoroughly investigate the things you find so objectionable.

  • You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life, then ascended into the sky.

You must have encountered a few Christians who ridiculed other faiths and decided this is what ‘devoted’  Christians are like. I hope my responses open your mind to other possibilities.

  • You believe that the entire population of this planet, except those who share your beliefs, will spend eternity in Hell. Yet you consider your religion tolerant and loving.

I believe God gives the gift of choice to all people who have been accurately told about who He is and the gift He’s offered to everyone on this planet – Jesus Christ. If people choose to reject Christ and spend eternity separated from God, then that’s their free will.

  • You define 0.01% as a ‘high success rate’ when it comes to answered prayers, and you think the remaining 99.99% failure was simply God’s will.

Where did these percentages come from? Who did the research and how? Prayer is a mystery because it involves a mix of God’s will and our very imperfect will. But does that make it useless? Hardly.

  • You know less about the Bible, Christianity and church history than most atheists and agnostics, but still call yourself a “Christian”.

This is an enormous generalization. I think it’s safe to say that most agnostics know nothing about the Bible because they just don’t care about spirituality. That said, the lack of knowledge about the Bible and church history on the part of many Christians is sad.

So, are you surprised at the responses to these assertions? 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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