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Posts Tagged ‘Paul of Tarsus’

10440724_10152229802268262_1660947865292267107_nIndoctrination: the act of indoctrinating, or teaching or inculcating a doctrine, principle, or ideology, especially one with a specific point of view – Dictionary.com

I found this graphic on an Internet atheism community, so it’s obviously aimed squarely at people of faith. The inference is clear: believing in a loving creator is false, so the only way to make it acceptable is to brainwash young minds that don’t know any better.

If that’s true, then how does one explain Rosalind Picard? According to Wikipedia, she’s a professor of media arts and sciences at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Picard is also director and founder of the Affective Computing Research Group at the MIT Media Lab, co-director of the Things That Think Consortium, and chief scientist and co-founder of Affectiva, an emotion measurement technology company.

Here’s the kicker: Picard, 53, says she was raised an atheist, but converted to Christianity as a young adult. So is it fair to say she was indoctrinated to believe there is no God? And if that’s true, why did this brilliant scientific mind go in the opposite direction – and stay there?

Let’s be honest here: absolutely EVERYONE gets certain ideas hammered into their minds while they’re young and defenceless. Deny it all you want, but think hard about your own life.

  • If you live in a developed country, wasn’t it likely you were indoctrinated with the virtues of capitalism and democracy?
  • If your father abandoned your mother at a very young age, isn’t it possible you were indoctrinated to believe that he (and often, by extension, all men) are self-centred and irresponsible?
  • If you live in certain Middle Eastern countries, isn’t it quite feasible that you were indoctrinated to think of the United States — and by extension, the entire “west” — as immoral and evil?

In each of these cases, the truth didn’t matter very much. The world was seen through biased eyes, just as I believe the graphic that sparked this essay was created with a deep-seeded bias.

So, if you’ve given this some thought and realize you’ve had a long bias against following Jesus Christ (whom serious Christians believe is the divine Son of God), then maybe this is the time to investigate this whole Christianity thing with an open mind.

Why Christianity and not other faiths? Consider these facts:
1.  Eight hugely important predictions about Jesus, made in the Bible’s Old Testament, came true. Among these were where Jesus was born, the fact He would be betrayed by a friend, that He would be crucified and that He would be resurrected.

2.  Jesus said that He alone was the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one can find God without Him. Nice claim, but what backs it up? The Bible details all kinds of miracles performed by Jesus, including healing diseases, restoring sight, feeding thousands of people with just a few loaves of bread & fish and coming back from the dead.

3.  As the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (www.carm.org) explains, “Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Krishna did not rise from the dead.  Only Jesus has physically risen from the dead, walked on water, claimed to be God and raised others from the dead. Why trust anyone else?”

So what makes all this credible? Simply read about the life of one of Jesus’s most devoted followers, Paul of Tarsus. I write about him, and how he is a testament to Jesus’s reality, here: http://wp.me/p2wzRb-g3

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Jesus fake not realSo, did a guy from the ancient Middle East called Jesus actually exist? And did he do miraculous stuff and change the world forever?

If you’re unsure, you probably haven’t looked into it. So using nothing but the Bible, let me advance the case for Jesus being real and doing the things that serious Christians like me believe He did.

Consider the life of Paul, a tent maker from the ancient Turkish city of Tarsus. Paul was a devout Jew who went out of his way to persecute Christians, supported by religious leaders who felt threatened by Jesus and his followers.

But something extraordinary happened to Paul. While traveling to Syria to arrest Christians, the Bible records him having a dramatic spiritual encounter with Jesus.

After that, Paul became a fervent Jesus follower and travelled around the Mediterranean region starting churches and mentoring others who believed Jesus was the Son of God.

Think about it: Paul went from being a staunch member of the Jewish religion and culture to someone spurned by his own tribe, a black sheep to be forever shunned. Why would he do that to follow just another person who claimed to be special?

Think about it: traveling around the Roman Empire 2,000 years ago was HUGELY risky. Indeed, in letters he wrote to church leaders (letters that make up a significant part of the Bible’s ‘New Testament’), Paul mentions being in prison for his faith, getting whipped five times and beaten three times. He also survives a stoning and several shipwrecks.

Again I ask, why would anyone go through all that? Could anyone possibility be that delusional for more than half his life?  To me, the answer is plain: Paul wasn’t delusional. He was risking it all because he knew Jesus existed and he knew Jesus was God’s gift to a sick and broken world.

Think about it: If Paul got rich from his work telling everyone he could about Jesus Christ, the Bible certainly doesn’t record it. Did he get girls? Again, no mention. Fame? He was probably well known among fellow Jesus followers, but to others he was everything from an annoyance to a serious threat. Thus the jail time (at least five years) and beatings. So, no riches, no girls and only dangerous notoriety. Would you go through all this for someone who didn’t exist?

What about this resurrection thing? Serious Christians believe the Bible’s accounts of Jesus being put to death by Roman soldiers (on the urging of vindictive religious leaders) and coming back to life three days later.

False? Well, consider that in a section of the Bible called ‘I Corinthians’, Paul writes “After that [His resurrection], Christ appeared to more than 500 other believers at the same time. Most of them are still living today, but some have died.

In other words, Paul wrote that there were living witnesses to the resurrection. And as Tom Harper wrote in his book For Christ’s Sake, “Paul is saying those who do not believe him can go and find out for themselves.”

Think about it: was Paul just lying? Was this just more delusions? Paul put his credibility as a Jesus follower on the line with his statement. And there’s no reasonable justification to doubt him.

So what do you think? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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