Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘why did Jesus die’

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.

Read Full Post »

challenging-beliefs-2-17One of my favourite activities is lining up in solidarity with atheists. It was an atheist who put this graphic on the Internet and I found myself so strongly in agreement that I downloaded it to use on Frank’s Cottage.

As far as I’m concerned, every honest and thinking person MUST challenge their beliefs. Like a jeweller checking a diamond’s purity, they MUST hold them up to the hard light of critical examination.

That’s what I did for a long time. I investigated the claims of Christianity and weighed them against what I knew about others faiths (including atheism).

I read books, thought hard about the reality of this world, and debated concepts with brave, knowledgeable Christians. Finally, at age 42, I decided to follow Jesus Christ (whom serious Christians believe is the divine Son of God).

Through this process, I escaped the prison of blindly accepting the dogma of our culture, which insists that we:

  • Buy the newest iPhone
  • Save for cruise ship vacations
  • Obsess over which celebrities are feuding on Twitter
  • Never, EVER consider the big questions of existence

So, to quote the graphic that started this blog, are you your own most effective prison warden? Or are you brave enough to wonder if a promotion, a new car and a bigger flat-screen TV will really boost your happiness?

If you’re at that place in life — and if you’ve read this far, I’m gonna assume you are — then consider these claims:

  1. There IS a creator, a perfect creator, and this creator knows everything about you.
  2. This creator wants to connect with you on the deepest level possible, but the wrong things you’ve done and right things you’ve failed to do have erected a Berlin Wall between you and Him.
  3. That wall is so tall and thick that nothing YOU ever do will ever break it down.
  4. So God, your creator, did the hard work for you — sending His perfect Son to this earth to show us how to live right and, finally, to die as a sacrifice. That sacrifice will destroy that wall for everyone who believes in the Son and follows Him. And I mean EVERYONE.

Why, you might ask, is this horrible sacrifice needed to break down the wall? Because what Christians call “sin” is serious business for a perfect creator. Far, far more serious than our culture will ever admit.

How do I know this? A section of Bible called ‘Romans’ says “When people sin, they earn what sin pays—death. But God gives his people a gift—eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

If you come to the place of understanding this, then you will also understand just how glorious the gift of Jesus is. Are you willing to accept that gift? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

Read Full Post »

are babies atheists?, Babies are atheistsMaybe you’ve heard the claim in this meme, helpfully supplied by an atheist community. Maybe, without giving it much thought, you find yourself nodding in agreement. And why not? It’s just one more reason to live any way you please and not worry about what comes after this life.

Welcome to “Burst Your Bubble” 101.

Atheism is believing there is no creator behind all we see and experience. Atheism is believing you have no soul and when you die, all that you are becomes nothing more than rancid worm food.

My wording may be crude, but I believe it’s necessary for you to stop living your life without thought and to truly ponder the big questions.

Do you really agree with the notion that a toddler believes there is no God? I have a year-old grandson and after all our interactions, I feel quite confident that he has absolutely no beliefs of any kind about God. Does that make him an atheist? Not a chance.

That doesn’t even make him an agnostic (people who claim to simply not know if there is or isn’t a God). That makes him a baby with a baby’s brain. Period.

What about these “lies” that are apparently told to babies and young children? My very brief answers will come from a Christian perspective, because I believe in and follow Jesus Christ (whom serious Christians believe is God’s Son).

1.  Most credible theologians and historians – including those with no connection to Christianity –  believe Jesus Christ was a real person who lived and died in ancient Israel when it was part of the Roman empire.

2.  Was Jesus the Son of God? Several places in the Bible say yes, and not just from the mouth of Jesus. If you’d like to look up those statements, check out Matthew 3:11, John 11:4, Luke 1:35 and many other places.

3.  Did Jesus die to make up for all the sins of people who follow Him? The Bible says yes. A few examples can be found at John 10:11, Romans 5:10 and 1 Peter 2:24.

4.  The single most important fact in Christianity is that after three days in a tomb, Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to as many as 500 people. This is explained in the Bible. If it wasn’t true, why would anyone at that time claim it is, then have it shot down when someone produced the body of Jesus? That has never happened.

I have just barely touched the surface of all the material available that testifies to the truth of the Christian faith. For more, I encourage you to visit https://www.carm.org/ or http://rzim.org/.

Please spend time in these websites. This is important stuff and I want you to be well informed before making any kind of decision about what atheists claim are “lies”. (Especially as you’ve probably heard at least some of the claims against Christianity.) Your eternal destiny is at stake.

Read Full Post »

Jeffrey DahmerWhen I saw this graphic, on an Internet atheism community, the first thing I did was check to confirm its message. And that message is true.

If your memory is foggy (or you weren’t born yet), here are the horrifying facts: between 1978 and 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer raped, murdered and dismembered 17 men and boys in the American state of Wisconsin.

Deemed sane enough to stand trial, Dahmer was convicted of 16 murders and received life sentences for each one.

While in a maximum security prison, Dahmer began reading the Bible and in May 1994, he was baptized.

Dahmer had weekly visits with his pastor until November of ’94, when he was murdered by another inmate.

So there are the dry facts, the “highlights” of which were used in this graphic to express disgust without having to include a single adjective or exclamation mark.

Do I understand how nauseating the point of this graphic is to most people? Absolutely. Looking beyond the emotion, do I believe the statements in the graphic? Absolutely. Indeed, this reality is among the most important reasons that I call myself a Christian.

If you’re still with me and you believe in God, think about this: do you really want the creator and master of time, space and the universe to be consumed by the hatred, pettiness, hard-heartedness and lack of mercy to which we human beings so often cling?

I can tell you right now that I would not follow Jesus Christ (whom serious Christians believe is God’s Son) if His Father was no better than His creations. What would be the point? God would not deserve my love and worship.

So the truth of Jeffery’s Dahmer’s prison life shows me the depth of God’s love and concern for ALL of humanity. He wants everyone, including YOU, to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

But how could that be possible when we all fall short of God’s standard of perfection? Every one of us has done wrong and failed to do right — so often, in fact, that there’s no way we can ever explain them all away for make up for them. In other words, we’re doomed.

Granted, I’m pretty certain no one reading this blog has even considered committing anything like the vile acts that Jeffery Dahmer did. But like it or not, that’s NOT the point. We’re still busted.

But God doesn’t want us to be busted. He wants us to spend eternity with Him. So He sent Jesus to earth to teach us about God, to show us how to live and, finally, to die as punishment for all the wrong things we’ve done and the right things we’ve failed to do.

Believe in Jesus, commit yourself to following Him and when this life ends, God will see YOU just like he saw Jeffrey Dahmer: perfect, exactly like His Son. Without a single blemish. And He’ll welcome you into eternity with Him.

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

Read Full Post »

Prayer-doubt 2.16No doubt about it: prayer is often a mystery, even to people who believe in it and practise it.

So I was intrigued by this graphic (found in an atheist Internet community) because it asserts a viewpoint I haven’t seen before.

Indeed, doing a Google search of the question “Is prayer an act of doubt?” brought up almost no links. Apparently, most people (even those who doubt God’s existence) have never thought to pose the question.

So is praying an act of doubt? Blogger Juanita Ryan (www.JuanitaRyan.com) puts it very well when she writes: “We want to trust God. We want to have faith. But we have so many questions. So many things are unclear and uncertain.”

In western culture, doubting there even is a creator is common. So wondering if God is watching over everything is hardly rare.

But watching over everything is not the same as arranging everything. If you believe in God, then you probably believe in freewill. And that’s part of the mystery. How, when and where does freewill mix with God’s will? And how does all that work in His plan for this planet, for you and for me?

There are no definitive, truly satisfactory answers to those questions  And I’m fine with that. Questions like these are a powerful and necessary reminder that God is God. And I am NOT.

So are my prayers an act of doubt? Sometimes. Remember, as a man of faith (I follow Jesus Christ, whom serious Christians believe is God’s divine Son), I’m surrounded by people — including my parents and brothers — who think praying to our creator is a joke, a quaint throwback to a time when Christianity was influential in my country (Canada).

Then I think about this point made by Juanita Ryan: “Where do we take our doubts if not to God? Where do we voice our uncertainties if not to God?”

Exactly. Just hours before Jesus was arrested on trumped-up charges, A section of the Bible called Matthew (one of four Bible accounts of Jesus’ physical life on earth) records that He spent anguished time on His own, praying to His Father about His fears and uncertainties.

“Jesus fell to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, don’t make me drink from this cup [of betrayal, torture and death on a Roman cross]. But do what you want, not what I want” (Matthew 26:39).

Right there is the biggest reason I can think of for praying. Jesus prayed. A lot. And he prayed about his uncertainties. And as a result, He was strengthened for the hard road ahead, so much so that He willingly carried out His Father’s plan to reconnect us defiant, sinful people to Him.

By trusting and believing in Jesus — His physical life and work, His death and resurrection — God no longer sees all the wrong things we’ve done and the right things we’ve failed to do. Jesus has paid the price for it all. So when this life is finished, those who trust and believe in Jesus will spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

Sound intriguing? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

Read Full Post »

2.16Great question, isn’t it? As soon as I saw this graphic on an Internet atheist community, I knew it touched on an important topic that many folks just don’t understand.

First of all, let’s get the facts straight. Nowhere in the Bible does it even hint that Jesus — whom Christians believe is God’s divine Son — died to wipe out sin. Nowhere.

So why did He die? Let’s see what the Bible (which serious Christians believe is inspired by God) does say about that:

Because we broke God’s laws, we owed a debt—a debt that listed all the rules we failed to follow. But God forgave us of that debt. He took it away and nailed it to the cross. (from a section called ‘Colossians’).

Another version of the Bible translates that excerpt like this:
All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant canceled and nailed to Christ’s cross.

In case one excerpt isn’t enough, check these out:

I [Paul, a missionary who spread Christianity through the Mediterranean] told you the most important truths: that Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures [other parts of the Bible] say; that he was buried and was raised to life on the third day, as the Scriptures say. (from ‘1 Corinthians’)

Christ had no sin, but God made him become sin so that in Christ we could be right with God. (from ‘2 Corinthians’)

Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse. (from Galatians)

Now maybe you’re not convinced. Maybe you’re thinking “that’s just other people talking about Jesus. That’s not Jesus Himself”. So read this, from ‘Luke’, one of four Bible accounts of Jesus’ life:

Jesus took bread and spoke a prayer of thanksgiving. He broke the bread, gave it to [His apostles], and said, “This is my body, which is given up for you. Do this to remember me.”

Why would Jesus give up his body if it wasn’t for something truly epic, truly world-changing like wiping out the sins of everyone who believes in Him and follows Him?

In fact, Jesus was fulfilling a prophesy made hundreds of years before his physical life on Earth. Isaiah, a prophet, predicted the future when he wrote this:

He [Jesus] was being punished for what we did. He was crushed because of our guilt. He took the punishment we deserved, and this brought us peace. We were healed because of his pain.
(Isaiah 53:5)

So why is there still sinning? Because God gave us very imperfect creatures the gift of freewill and that means we use it to do wrong and fail to do right.

But as you can see from all the Bible quotes above, there’s a solution: believe in Jesus – His life, ministry, death and resurrection. Become His follower. Then watch how He changes your life.

Interested? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

Read Full Post »

DawkinsForegivness 2.16I’ll bet there are folks out there who see this graphic (helpfully supplied by an Internet atheist community) and think “ya, why not just our forgive sins?” Maybe you’re one of those people.

First of all, I can confidently write that God is NOT trying to impress anyone. When you’re the creator of time, space and the universe, trying to impress anyone (even Himself) is just silly.

Second, this quote (by one of the world’s best-known atheists) displays a blatant ignorance — or outright rejection — of who God is.

Is God merciful? Yes. Does God want to forgive us for all the wrong things we’ve done and right things we’ve failed to do? Absolutely.

But God is also something else: perfect. And that’s His baseline standard for everything, whether we like it or not.

So why doesn’t He just forgive us? Well, why do we have courts? Why can’t we just ignore the dude who killed that guy in a bar fight? Why don’t we just overlook how she faked having cancer in order to bilk people out of thousands of dollars?

If these examples offend your sense of justice, then imagine how our creator feels about  our greed, our self-centredness, our violence, our willful ignorance and our cultural belief that we “deserve” the good life.

Is God judge and jury? You bet He is. Execution victim? Yes, that too.

If that last point seems strange, then understand that this is how it goes with Christianity: Knowing that we could never do enough or be enough to earn our way into Heaven, God paved the way for us. That way is through believing in and following Jesus Christ, whom serious Christians believe is God’s divine Son (and also God in the flesh, but that’s a blog for another day).

A section of the Bible, called ‘1 Peter’, describes Jesus this way: “He never sinned, and he never told a lie”. This is important and you’ll soon read why.

Jesus spent three years traveling around the Middle East with a band of followers, telling people the Kingdom of God (represented by Him) was near. He proved it by healing diseases, raising people from the dead and preaching revolutionary ideas like loving your enemies, refusing to retaliate when a wrong has been done to you and praying for those who hate you.

Then Jesus allowed conniving religious authorities to arrest him on trumped-up charges and convince political leaders to hand Him the ultimate punishment: death on a cross.

What they didn’t realize is that this death would pave the way to Heaven for anyone who believes in and follows Jesus. He paid the price that we should be paying.

Now, when God sees any Jesus follower, He doesn’t see the wrong things we’ve done and the right things we’ve failed to do. He only sees perfection. It’s like Jesus transferred His perfection onto anyone who believes in Him and follows Him.

There. I’ve done my best to explain why God doesn’t just forgive our sins. As you can see, He goes even further than that — sacrificing His son for everyone who believes in Jesus.

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

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »