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Religion is a Convenient Scapegoat for the Atheist (Chuck Missler)

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Religion is often blamed for the miseries of the world. An “Imagine No Religion” billboard has just gone up in St. Louis, and most people get the point even if they disagree with it. If it were not for religion, after all, there would have been no Spanish Inquisition, no Taliban, no World Trade Center bombing, no human sacrifices to various and sundry gods. Religious wars would be conspicuously absent from world history and nobody would follow cult leaders in sipping down toxic Kool-Aid. Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion spends the first page of the Preface going through the evils that have been done in the name of religion. Yet, while atheists love to blame zealous believers for the world’s sufferings, they have missed the true problem. Yes, much earthly evil has been done in the name of one deity or another, but religion isn’t the real problem. The real problem is …. human nature.

Religion is a convenient scapegoat for the atheist, who wants to justify himself in a world of believers. The atheist has a serious problem in blaming the evils of the world on religion, though. For every complaint against religious people, there are plenty of complaints to be made against the faithless.

Have people been slaughtered in the name of religion? Certainly. Yet, the Crusades are a drop in the bucket compared to the massive death toll caused by atheistic regimes. The leaders of the French Revolution shoved God out of their social justice crusade, and the result was a blood bath. Stalin is responsible for the deaths of at least 20 million of his own people, and Mao Zedong’s death toll runs upwards of 40-70 million. From Pol Pot in Cambodia to the Kims in North Korea, governments freed of “religion” – those utopias of atheistic communism – have murdered millions upon millions of people. People of various religions continue to fight all around the world, but, anti-God governments streamline human death. Any time people get starry-eyed about imagining “no religion too” they need a little history lesson.

The problem isn’t religion or even lack thereof. The problem is humanity. Human beings have this propensity for violence and greed, for self aggrandizement and selfish laziness. We struggle – and sometimes succeed – to overcome these things, but they are there inside us. As Paul writes in Romans 7:21-24:

“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

We all have that destructive sin nature inside us by birth. It’s there, and we spend our lives fighting it. If we were naturally good, it would be easy to be good and kind, generous and patient. If we were naturally good, it would be a heavy effort to be rotten. But, we find that we are just the opposite, always struggling to do what is right and constantly falling into that corruption that most people want so desperately to avoid.

Even the atheist wants to avoid the corruption, as far as his own conscience dictates. Atheists have consciences too, after all. Paul writes:

“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;” (Rom 2:14-15).

Atheists and humanists are quite capable of morality and moral decision making. Yet, in rejecting the True God, atheists and humanists make themselves their own gods, and because they have no greater yardstick to measure by, it often happens that they reject one evil only to turn around and embrace something far worse. The poor in France had good reason for anger against the spoiled aristocracy and opulent church in the late 18th century. But, having only man’s reasoning to depend on, and hearts full of vengeance, thousands of innocent people were murdered. The atheist has nobody but himself and the local legal system to help him do the good he wants to do, and that can lead easily into gross error. Humankind has excellent thinking ability, but we can easily use that brainpower to justify doing the evil we want to do rather than the good we should.

Yet, the atheist is not too far off when he looks at the religions of the world and feels massively unimpressed. Religion is not the salvation of the world. Religion can be useful in that it provides a framework in which to live, and gives people rules of right and wrong outside themselves. Yet, religion itself cannot change the human heart or free humans of their natural destructive tendencies. In fact, some religious sects actually promote violence and destruction.

Paul didn’t find the answer to his dilemma in religion. He found the answer in the person of Jesus Christ. He found his answer in the Spirit of God, working in human lives to cleanse and free and make new. And the Spirit of God is real, and He is powerful, and He continues to change millions of lives today. If more atheists were truly aware of the reality of God’s Spirit to heal and to transform, Richard Dawkins would sell fewer books.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal 5:16,22-25).

Life on this planet is hard, and Jesus never promised us anything different. He said we would have many troubles in this world, but he also said he had overcome the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. If we are filled with the Spirit, walking hand-in-hand with our King and Savior, His light is going to shine out of us to the lost and the dying. And if, in the midst of our own struggles and suffering, the reality of Christ is alive and well in us, anybody who is watching will see the difference between the truth and the false religions that have caused so much grief through the years. If people can see Christ in us, they won’t want to imagine a world without him.

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Cor. 4:6-10).

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By Chuck Missler

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When Did Life Appear? (Ray Comfort)

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When Did Life Appear?-Ray Comfort

When did life appear on the earth? Was it billions of years ago, or was it something like 6,000 years ago? The Smithsonian doesn’t know (pictured). They use the word “probably” when it comes to when life began, which is probably the most-used word when it comes to the theory of evolution. I use the word “probably” when it comes to it being the number one word, because I really don’t know. I could be wrong.

Imagine stepping into a plane that you believed was “probably” safe, or into an elevator that has cables that are “probably” secure. But think of what the evolution believer does. He believes that earth probably began billions of years ago, and therefore whole-heartedly rejects the Bible’s account of creation and consequently its offer of Heaven and warning of Hell. All because of probably.

The word “know” is used 717 times in the Bible (KJV), but you won’t find the word “probably” even once. That’s because when God says something, His promise is immutable. You can have faith in it, believe it, rely on it, cling to it, and completely trust it with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength. I have been doing that for over 37 years and never once have I been even slightly disappointed.

It’s because of this absolute trust in God that I know that I have everlasting life. I know that my many sins are forgiven, and I know that I have escaped the damnation of Hell.

This implicit trust is something that God gives to all those who repent and trust in Jesus. If we call upon His name He gives us a new heart with new desires, “seals” us with His Holy Spirit, imputes what is called “righteousness” to us, and on top of that He gives us the ability to trust Him and His promises in such an unshakeable way.

I know that many of you say that you don’t believe that God exists (let alone have faith in His promises), and of course you don’t have faith in what I have to say because you think I am a lying, money-hungry, snake-oil salesman. But I will say it anyway: I cannot find words in the English language to express my love for God. I am at a loss for words when it comes to my fathomless appreciation, my burning gratitude, my exploding thankfulness–for the fact that He has saved me from the power of the grave and given me everlasting life.

Write us off if you will, but you cannot take that reality from those that love God. It’s ours forever…and all you have is “probably.”

Your Invisibleness

A Christian wrote: “He is patient, a God of long-suffering. But one day, your life will be over, and you will have to give God an account of your sins.” An atheist responded: How’s this for an accounting? “Well, Your Invisibleness, the reason I sin is because you ordained that I be born under a sin curse. Remember? I mean–did I choose the wrong sins or what?”

This is what is known in judicial terms as “justification.” The accused criminal seeks to justify his crimes. The grounds for his defense are two-fold: 1. God could not be seen. 2. His crime-nature was inherited from his parents. The Prosecutor steps forward and points to multiple violations of the moral Law–lying, stealing, lust, fornication, bitterness, jealousies, anger, hatred, ingratitude, self-righteousness, pride, and blasphemy. The criminal is guilty on all counts. The invisible nature of God is irrelevant to the case: “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:20-21). Blaming the fact that a criminal was born with a bias towards crime doesn’t justify him in civil court, how much less will it justify him when he stands before the holy Law of perfect Creator: “And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God'” (Luke 16:15).

How do you know?

“The stories [my grandmother] tells are quite vivid. If I didn’t know better, I’d believe every word she said. I, and other family members, sometimes feel the need to bring her back to reality, but most of the time, we realize that it’s futile to try. I’m not suggesting that your mental condition is comparable to a 72 year old woman with Alzheimer’s (I would never insult my Grandmother like that), but when you, or anyone else, claims to ‘know God’, I can only assume that you’re in a state of hallucination.”

What’s the basis for your assumption that you are the one who is sane and that your grandmother is not? Here are a few test questions: Do you believe that there is a creation without a Creator? Do you believe a woman has the right to kill her child in the womb? Should homosexuals have the right to marry each other? What is the purpose of your existence (other than to find happiness while you are here)? What is your definition of a sane person? How do you know your definition is the correct one? Does your grandmother think that she is a primate? Do you think she is? Do you believe Richard Dawkins is correct when he says that we are all primates? If there was one chance in a million that God exists, and He is offering you everlasting life, would you take the time to look into it?

Richard Dawkins Calls Banana Man “Ignorant Fool” (Ray Comfort)

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Richard Dawkins Calls Banana Man “Ignorant Fool”

by Ray Comfort

On Feb 24, 2009, Professor Richard Dawkins wrote, “I have just had the following email exchange with a journalist, who seems to be acting as some kind of intermediary on behalf of the Banana Man.”

The “Banana Man” is a reference to best-selling author and television co-host, Ray Comfort. Comfort says, “For years I have held a coke can in one hand and a banana in the other, and compared the two. Both have a tab at the top. The banana has a wrapper with perforations, is biodegradable, etc. It was a parody–the point being, if someone designed the coke can then obviously Someone designed the banana.

In the mid 1990’s I published the parody in booklet form called “The Atheist Test” and sold over a million copies. When we put it into our TV program, atheists removed the coke can, and sent the clip all over the Internet, saying ‘Ray Comfort believes that the banana is proof of God’s existence.’ I guess atheists don’t appreciate parody.”

But atheists unwittingly gave Comfort a huge international platform. His book, You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence but You Can’t Make Him Think, rocketed up the Amazon.com rankings on its first day of release, moving from No. 69,572 to No. 38 in 24 hours, and was the # 1 book in the categories of religion and atheism on “Darwin Day,” even bumping out Richard Dawkin’s, The God Delusion.

In Feb. 2009, Comfort offered Dawkins $10,000 for a public debate on the subject of evolution versus creation. He refused, saying, “$10,000 is less than the typical fee that I am ordinarily offered for lecturing to a serious audience . . . It is not, therefore, a worthwhile inducement for me to travel all the way across the Atlantic to debate with an ignorant fool. You can tell him that if he donates $100,000 to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (it’s a charitable donation, tax deductible) I’ll do it.”

Comfort responded by saying that he didn’t have to travel. He could do the debate from a radio studio in his home town, and offered him $20,000. Dawkins responded with “$20,000 is closer to the fees that I am customarily offered.

However, I am not in this for the money.” Again, he refused to debate. Comfort said, “During the more than 5,000 times I have spoken in the public forum, I have engaged hundreds of little Richard Dawkins’ and have noticed that when their argument is very weak, they always revert to personal insults.

While I won’t condescend to insults, I will point out that Mr. Dawkins does believe that we were created by aliens. “In “Expelled No Intelligence Allowed,” when Ben Stein asked him, ‘What do think is the possibility that there then, intelligent design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics… or in evolution?’

Richard Dawkins answered, ‘It could come about in the following way: it could be that, at some earlier time somewhere in the universe a civilization evolved by probably by some kind of Darwinian means to a very very high level of technology and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet . . . and that designer could well be a higher intelligence from elsewhere in the universe.’ So let’s call the debate ‘Banana Man Debates Alien Man’ and let the audience decide who is the ‘ignorant fool.'”

For those who would like to hear such a debate, perhaps if enough people goad him, Professor Richard Dawkins may come out of his ivory tower and give his faithful followers more than a papal wave. He may even condescend to engage Ray Comfort in a serious discussion, and show that he’s not just the evolution world’s version of a televangelist. You can contact Mr. Dawkins via: http://richarddawkins.net/forum/

Thanks to the New Atheists (Sean McDowell)

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Thanks to the New Atheists

Sean McDowell

 

 

I would like to take this opportunity to officially thank the New Atheists. By “New Atheists,” I am referring to Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great) Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation), and all the other recent atheists and agnostics who have been so viciously criticizing the Christian faith. Given that I am an evangelical Christian, you may be thinking, “Why on Earth would you want to thank them?” Let me explain.

 

Many of you are familiar with William Dembski, one of the leading architects for the intelligent design movement (my co-author for Understanding Intelligent Design). In 1988, he finished what he thought was his last graduate degree in mathematics from MIT. What struck him so significantly was how readily his colleagues regarded Christianity as passé. They completely dismissed it as lacking intellectual vitality and did not even consider it worth engaging. They certainly didn’t think it was dangerous and in need of eradication (as the New Atheists do).

 

As a Christian committed to the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus, the easy dismissal of Christianity troubled him. How could they simply dismiss Christianity with hardly a second thought? Dembski decided to pursue further studies in philosophy and theology, which, of course, helped prepare him for his contribution to the ID movement. Although unheard of just a few decades ago, ID has now grown internationally and pressed Western intellectuals to seriously entertain the idea that the universe is the product of design, not chance.

 

To be sure, many intellectuals vehemently reject Christianity. But here is the good part: they can no longer ignore it. This suggests that the naturalistic worldview that has for so long dominated Western culture is crumbling and Christianity is again on the table for discussion. The discussion is certainly not always friendly. In fact, Dawkins has become famous partly for his venomous attacks on Christianity. In The God Delusion he says the Christian God:

 

…is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction. Jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic-cleanser; a misogynistic homophobic racist, infanticidal, genodical, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully” (p. 31).

 

Like Dawkins, many Western intellectuals now treat Christianity with open contempt. But (ironically) this is progress. The dead are no longer remembered. The living are ridiculed and despised. While the arguments of the New Atheists certainly need to be rebutted (by the way, there is nothing actually new about them except their attitude), we should be gratified by their need to refute Christianity. If Christianity was not making progress, these books would be unnecessary. Christianity is making powerful intellectual inroads, even at the highest levels of academia. We have a way to go, but things are moving in the right direction. My thanks to the New Atheists for pointing this out.

Run Through Romans (1.18-1.32)

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I have included the text of Romans 1.18-32 below.  The Bible text is in red, and my comments are interspersed with the text.  At the end of the Bible text, I will talk about the problem with unrighteousness.

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

This verse tells us the problem of humanity: the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.  The phrase “wrath of God” is only used 4 times in the Bible (Romans 1.18,  John 3.36, Ephesians 5.6, Col. 3.6) and it does not mean that God is having a temper tantrum.  It means that God is going to punish all unrighteousness.  This has happened once before in the world-wide flood of Noah (Genesis 6) and will happen again when the world is destroyed by fire.
As we shall shortly see in the remainder of this chapter, everyone in the world is unrighteous on the basis of their actions.  Therefore everyone must be punished by God.  God is a good, just God and must punish all unrighteousness.

19Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

This verse explains why God is going to punish everyone that is unrighteous.  They should know the laws of God – God has shown everyone what is known of God.  Or put more simply: God has created everyone with the ability to know right from wrong.  We call this the conscience.  No one  who acts in an unrighteous way can ever say that they did not know how to act right.  Every time they act unrighteous, they know they have done wrong.  The voice that tells them right or wrong might be silenced by continual wrong-doing, but no-one can ever claim it was not there or that they did not know they have done wrong.

20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

The second reason that no-one can be excused for acting unrighteously is the creation of the world.  The creation of the world proves that God is all powerful and that He is Lord.  People might claim they think this world began in an explosion of nothing and that life came from non-living material, but itis scientifically impossible and is simply a denial of what the Bible says can be clearly seen.  If you see a building, you have proof there is a builder.  If you see a creation, you have proof there is a creator.

21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

So although every single human born has both a conscience and creation to prove to them there is a God and that they should live a righteous life, every human has done 4 things wrong:

1. They failed to glorify God

2. They were not thankful to God

3. They became vain in their imaginations

4. Their foolish hearts were darkened

Every person should know there is a God and that they should live right.  Every person has violated their own conscience and done things they know to be wrong.

Firstly, everyone has failed to glorify God.  To glorify God means to acknowledge that God is great, to think highly of God.  We have not done that – we have blamed God for our problems, we have thought that He is like us that He does not mind our sin, that He is not holy.  Every depiction of God in the media reduces Him from His true greatness.  We all have doubted that God would come through for us, we all have doubted His Word, doubted His love, doubted His holiness and His greatness.

Secondly, everyone has failed to be grateful.  In particular this is a Western problem.  We are panicking that we cannot buy the same amount of food we used to be able to in the credit crunch, but we forget how blessed we are to live where we live.  All of us have spent time moaning about the negative and ignoring the positive.

Thirdly, we have all become vain in our imaginations.  We have imagined ourselves committing sins of violence and sins of sexual immorality in our minds, we have imagined and worried about things that God promised to protect us from.  Our imaginations run wild, and we fill them up with junk from the TV just to make it worse.

Fourthly, we have all had darkened hearts.  God has tried to speak to us but we could not hear Him.  We failed to notice Him ministering to us again and agani.

Every human being has done these things in every single nation.  Every human is unrighteous in God’s eyes and therefore must be punished.  This is the problem of humanity – God’s goodness means He must punish unrighteousnes (the wrath of God) and every human is unrighteous.

22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

As an aside on v. 22, I noticed recently that Richard Dawkin’s new atheist club is called the Brights.  Immediately I thought of Romans 1.22.  However, we are all guilty of this.  We all think we know best, and that God’s ways are archaic, out-of-touch, unrealistic, or whatever.  Whenever we reject God’s ways, we are foolish.

23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Verses 23-32 show how unrighteousness caused by thanklessness and not glorifying God degenerates.  We have all been guilty of vv. 18-22, but not all nations have spiralled into what happens next.  However, all nations without a strong Christian witness – or if they ignore that Christian witness – will spiral into this downward fall into unrighteousness.
After ungratefulness, comes an honouring of the creation.  This takes many forms from the totem poles of tribal animism to the mother Earth  philosophy infecting many facets of our society.   Creation is given respect and God is ignored.

24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

Following ignoring God over the creation comes sexual immorality.  People have sex before and outside of marriage.

25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Next the idolatry becomes more pronounced and people openly worship things that have been created.

26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

Next the sexual immorality becomes more pronounced leading to a society which openly accepts homosexuality.  If this happens to a society it is deeply in this spiral of unrighteousness.

28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

At this stage, what happens is that the people in that society will develop reprobate minds.  The Greek word used for reprobate is adokimos which is used for counterfeit coins.  It means to have no value at all – to not be fit for purpose.  This is what is happening in large sections of Western society – people cannot use their minds at all.  They cannot think, they cannot show initiative, they cannot create.   All of society dumbs down.  People then fail to notice any sin, any wickedness and simply let everything pass.  Crime rates sht up, poverty and injustice increases and the society becomes a hard place to live in.

29Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

30Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

I could go through each of these words and show you what they mean exactly and you would realize that we are here people.  However, most of them are self explanatory.  When a society or a nation exhibits all these qualities it is simply showing the fruit of the fact that everyone fails to glorify God and fails to thank Him.  It has just spiraled out of control.

Ultimately without the gospel, this will happen to every nation on the planet.  Even with the gospel being present in a nation it still happens if people make unrighteous choices.

32Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Then, not only will people do all these unrighteous acts they will take pleasure in those that do them. The word take pleasure could also be translated applaud. Think about this: the Bible describes an unrighteous society at its apex as one where people worship the creation, treat homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle, disobey parents, invent evil things, hate God, hate people, and then finally clap and applaud people who do wicked things.

Our society has TV chat shows where you can clap and applaud people who divorce, comedy shows where you can clap and applaud people who hate and slander the government of our countries, romantic shows where you can clap and applaud people committing fornication and reality shows where you can clap and applaud people in all manner of wickedness.

Our society is unrighteous.  Our planet is unrighteous.  But before we judge the world and the nations and are smugly condeming of them, remember: I have failed to thank God and so have you.  I have failed to glorify God and so have you.  I have had vain imaginations and so have you.  I have had a dark heart and so have you.  On our next post we will show that we cannot judge anyone in a smug self-righteous way as we look at Romans 2.

We have to find out how a person like you and like me can be righteous.  Otherwise we are condemned to hell on earth and hell after earth.   Stay with us as we run through Romans, the journey will be worth it.

Blessings,
Ben

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