Tag Archives: John 14:6

Of Course There Is A God

Relationships can and do change once you repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus Christ. The change is so radical that sometimes relationships die.  I know this firsthand as I have at least one friend that fell away months after my conversion.  Don’t get me wrong, this Negative Nelly was actually a drain on me spiritually for a variety of reasons, but mainly because he wanted change in his life but was essentially unwilling to leave his house.

It’s not easy finding a wife while hiding at home.  You have no right to declare unhappiness if you refuse to do anything other than play video games in the dark.  Christianity aside, you cannot expect any sort of happiness when the closest thing you have to a bride is a screenful of pixels and your narcissism keeps you from being bothered with others’ needs and fears.

I occasionally check out his musings on his YouTube account to see what new thing he is raging about.  I find it unlistenable as he peppers his tirades with profanity and he is always yelling.

James Burns, former friend and host of The James Burns Show, fancies himself a political pundit and adroit social commentator.  That’s terrific, but when he wades into the realm of religiosity, I actually have something to say when I witness so much error placed upon a mountain of fallacy and wishful thinking.

According to him and his latest jeremiad, he describes how he has been Catholic, a reincarnationist, a formerly born-again Christian, and is now something of a pantheist and panentheist with a dab of mysticism and animism.  He changes beliefs more than he changes underwear.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up deleting his philippic, and I certainly don’t recommend spending a quarter hour listening to his anemic screed, but if you want to hear what it sounds like to rail against God, be my guest.

I found this podcast troubling, but the most disconcerting allegation is that he claimed to be something that he is not, nor ever was.  He said that he used to be a born-again Christian.  If genuine, no one can undo his second birth any more than his first birth.  Clearly his theology is demented, but once false Christian claims (though unintentional) are made, it is time for somebody to set the record straight.

If someone becomes a born-again believer, it is impossible to become an unbeliever.  Jesus says, “I give [my sheep] eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”” (‭‭John‬ ‭10:28-30‬ ‭ESV‬‬)  If this is true, then no one can snatch them out of Jesus’ hand.  That includes the individual.  If I truly belong to Jesus, I cannot unclench His grasp.  If I was able to wrestle away from Jesus to become an unbeliever, God is not omnipotent and nothing is sure.  Not only would that make God puny, but it would make Him a liar as well.  If Jesus cannot keep this promise, how can we trust that there is any measure of reliability in the Bible?  You can’t.  But that doesn’t keep this man from building his house on sand.

At the 2:13 mark, Mr. Burns establishes his premise on a fallacy by asserting that the United States is predominantly a Christian nation. If we rely on the Pew Research Center, we see that 70.6% of Americans claim to be Christian, while the Barna Group determined that 38% of Americans are unchurched, or those who have no religious affilitiation.  This only records claimants, but according to his littany of belief systems over the years, one only needs to decide what flavor of belief he will hold for the day.  Now, do either of these statistics show us the percentage of real Christians (those that agree on biblical essentials)?  Certainly not.

The Barna Group conducted another study to get an idea of what Americans believe about Jesus.  The study reveals that 92% of Americans believe that Jesus was a historical person.  That is promising.  But then the study shows that only 56% of Americans believe that Jesus is God.  That one is problematic.  Worse still is the fact that 52% believe that Jesus committed sins.  According to the Bible, Jesus is God and never committed any sin.  If we narrow our scope, we can see that according to this study only 48% of Americans are potentially born again.  I’m certain the real figure is much lower.  This information shows that Mr. Burns is pulling his “facts” out of a hat because we certainly are not “predominately Christian.”  I doubt we ever were, unless only a declaration is all that is necessary.  In that case, I’m a black woman.

At the 2:42 mark, he fleshes out his false belief system.  He perpetuates the Genetic Fallacy, and adds that morality, raising a family, working hard, and being a great (yes, he said great) friend should count as something.  At 3:03, he loses his temper when he says having the wrong religion will land one in hell (I’m assuming this is according to the Bible).  At 3:15, he makes the absolute declaration, “I, for one, cannot fathom a god that would punish good people who were born in a religion that was not ‘his truth,'” which is an example of the Personal Incredulity Fallacy.  Mr. Burns tipped his hat.  He is angry at God.  He also makes the false assumption that people are good.  Jesus says, “No one is good except God alone.” (Matthew 10:18 ESV)  Romans 3:10 says, “No one is righteous.  No, not one.”

Mr. Burns relates how he tried really hard to be a Christian by reading the Bible, praying, and being good.  In essence, he thought he could do all of this work so that he could save himself.  Paul explains this in Ephesians, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)  Paul then writes in his letter to Titus, “[Jesus] saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit…” (‭‭Titus‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬)  The text is clear–we cannot save ourselves.  Any works we perform for this purpose are in vain.

As his animus escalates, he almost comes unglued at the 4:25 mark when he declares that it is possible for all views to have some truth.  So now he is an intolerant pluralist.  Which is it?  You cannot be intellectually lazy and just accept whatever enters your brain as long as it runs contrary to Jesus.  Do all roads lead to heaven?  It is self-refuting as that would include Jesus as a way to heaven.  Yet, Jesus declares that he “is the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)  Even if Jesus is mistaken, his claim refutes the assertion that “all roads lead to heaven” as both are definitive claims.  Either Jesus is telling the truth, or both claims are false.

At 5:57, Mr. Burns stands on yet another fallacy–the False Dilemma.  He states, “Either we are all god’s children…or there is no god.”  This guy just cannot make up his mind.  (If you would like to see more of his fallacy schizophrenia, click here.)  It makes just as much sense when I say, “the mail didn’t run today, therefore I’m Ringo Starr.”  It’s okay to believe intellectually feeble reasoning, it’s just reasonable to keep it to yourself.

To illustrate Mr. Burns’ confusion, he decides upon pantheism at the 7:05 mark, changes his mind to panentheism at the 7:30 mark, and at 8:00 he throws in speciesism for good measure.  At 8:12, he begins to abandon all reason as he unveils his inner mystic with his Jeff Foxworthyesque vision reminiscent of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy set in a bus station.  At this point my head explodes as I have never experienced a cacophony of fallacies before.

At 10:21, Mr. Burns explains that “God wants you to feel…blessed for not being born [disabled]”–which is the Appeal to Emotion Fallacy.  He asserts that we have heard this before–a mixed fallacy of sorts–the Bandwagon Fallacy based on something that may or not be anecdotal.  In a sense, the False Bandwagon Fallacy.  If we consult the Bible, John 9:3 says that God allows sickness and disability to glorify Himself.  The works of God are displayed in weakness and disability.  God did not cause this.  All illness and disability can be traced back to Adam.  We are broken because of sin and it is God’s desire to redeem us.

I could go on, but attributing our lives to god, aliens, and/or luck (at 10:40 and 13:22) just seems silly and contrived after running the fallacy gauntlet.  This is the house built on shifting sand instead of the Rock of Christ.

Image courtesy of Cory Doctorow.

Covenant of Sin

I just read a disturbing Yahoo News article regarding an evangelical couple with a gay son. The story ends tragically, and the impression I’m left with is that the lesson learned is to change Church policy instead of submitting to the sovereignty of God.

My heart goes out to families like this. There are no simple answers and how can one even begin to comfort parents who have lost a son.

There seems to be confusion between acceptance and affirmation. Acceptance is possible without condoning sinful behavior. Affirmation is an attempt to normalize sin, regardless of God’s stance on the matter. After all, He created the universe. I don’t think He is wishy washy on matters of sin.

Ultimately, there is only one issue at hand: either the Bible is divinely inspired or it’s not. Do we believe God, or is He a liar? If God is Truth, then we are called to holiness. If God is a liar, then He is unworthy of our worship.

If we cannot trust the Bible, then we can disregard any notions of absolute morality. In fact, this point marries well with relativism. I’m sure the subject has come up while waiting in line at Walmart when somebody opines, sodomy may be true for you but it’s not true for me.” Besides, we are talking about people wearing pajamas or full size sheets safety pinned in place. Personally, I try to keep my conversations light, but to each his own.

This brings up another question. In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This statement refutes relativism. Is Jesus a crackpot or is he telling the truth? If Jesus doesn’t lie, look into his numerous statements that authenticate the Old Testament. If the Old Testament was wrong, Jesus could have set the record straight by telling us that there were abuses in Sodom and Gibeah, and He has been through anger management training. Jesus could have waved the rainbow flag of surrender chanting, “Gay is OK.” But He didn’t.

In Matthew 19:5, Jesus obliquely denounces homosexuality. His assertion is that a man will cleave to his wife. Some want to ignore that. Some want to ignore the Old Testament. Some want to dismiss our call to righteousness. Some twist our freedom in Christ as license to commit some of the most heinous of sins.

So which is it? If the Bible is not the divinely inspired word of God, then it is utterly useless. Aleister Crowley, a Satanist, said, “Do as though wilt.” Do we do what is right in our own eyes or do we seek fellowship with God?

If faith is based on fabrication, you are a fool to partake in its abominable sacrements. If the Bible is divinely inspired, we mustn’t create a god in our fallen image. We must take the Bible at face value and practice the tenets of the Bible as they stand.

It’s interesting to see how people try to have it both ways. John 14:5 says, “If you love me, you will keep my commands.” So which is it? Do you love Jesus Christ that brings salvation, or do you embrace your sin which reaps judgment?

Neutral Response

We live in a world where everyone is hypersensitive and we expect everyone to be nonoffensive. That sounds great. Who wants to be offended anyway? These expectations have culminated into full-on demands where it appears that nobody is permitted to have an opinion about anything. At least no one is permitted to have a dissenting opinion.

Where did this come from? Generally speaking, there are two positions: right and wrong. Left and right. Up and down. Creation and evolution. Abortion and pro-life. Gay and straight. Maybe my memory is failing, but wasn’t there a time where you could hold a view contrary to another and not be labeled as a hater?

Our society used to have a sense of right and wrong. Now, we embrace some distorted pluralist view that there is no absolute right and wrong, or worse, it doesn’t even matter. I recently had a religious discussion with a friend. I was explaining how pluralism does not apply to Christianity as Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) It’s pretty straightforward. Either it is true or false. You agree or disagree. He easily could have said, “You’re wrong.” It would have been refreshing to receive such an honest response.  Even saying, “I don’t know” would have been acceptable in this case.

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Instead, I received some vapid postmodern double-speak. I still don’t know what to think of it. His response was something like this: “I have searched and am no closer to knowing if God is real or not [fair enough], but the First Amendment guarantees everyone freedom of religion and I’ll defend that 100%.” That’s like saying, “I don’t know if you like Cocoa Puffs, but let’s think about the Monroe Doctrine.”  I know why he brought up the First Amendment, but it had nothing to do with the conversation at hand.  Let’s leave the fallacies to the professionals, please. 

I can understand if someone is unsure of their religious views. It is a very lofty subject that has eternal implications. I also agree that freedom of religion is terrific, but the First Amendment was piggybacked onto the former statement which only confounded the issue. I asserted that John 14:6 is true, and instead of telling me I’m wrong, I get some noble Voltaire-ish rhetoric, except the quote that is misattributed to Voltaire begins with, “I disapprove of what you have to say…” There is a judgment statement attached to it. Instead, let’s not judge because truth is relative, or more appropriately, truth is irrelevant, and I’ll defend it anyway.”

Whaaaat? This is an exercise in absurdity. There is no truth. There is no falsehood. It’s all immaterial. I’m reminded of the Esurance commercial when the lady exclaims, “That’s not how any of this works!” This isn’t mere apathy, it’s propping up the virtue of ignorance.

“That’s not how any of this works.”

We aren’t discussing ice cream flavors. These are important matters! Is Jesus the only way? Is abortion murder? Are Trix really for kids? You can’t give a neutral response and wrap yourself up in your Enlightenment superhero cape.  In a world where far too many refuse to take a position of consequence, it is admirable to encounter someone who has the courage to take a stance even if he is in peril of being wrong.

Catching Up With the Inevitable

CC image courtesy of hans van den berg on Flickr.
CC image courtesy of hans van den berg on Flickr.

A friend from the radio business died today. I always knew him as Danny Fox. It was many years later when I learned of his real name. At 59, years of chain-smoking had crippled him with emphysema, but in spite of his sickness, he always had a joke so we could share a good laugh.

I had only known him at the workplace, at least until about three months ago. He was hospitalized with little hope of leaving. I visited him a couple of times in the hospital because I had to share something before he passed. He claimed he was going to heaven after he died and affirmed he knew about Jesus. He answered my questions hesitantly and I wanted to be sure he knew about salvation.

I stumbled through the whole conversation but I think he understood. I know ultimately the Holy Spirit is tasked with softening hearts and saving souls, but I have my hope.

I’m staggered by the thinking of nonbelievers. I should be accustomed to it by now as heathens will act like heathens, but for someone to say Danny is working at the radio station in the sky is borderline ridiculous. Let me rephrase–IT IS RIDICULOUS.

Another friend’s response was equally as misguided–

Danny was a good guy…a good person…I know you and I don’t see eye to eye on a lot of religious beliefs, but I think if there’s any Godly justice, Danny has a head start on most of us…

Just for the sake of discussion we will call this friend Hieronymus. Why use a common name like George when you can punch up the story with a name like Hieronymus?

As you can see, he thinks you can get to heaven by being “good.” Jesus says that no one is righteous, but by being a swell guy, many believe that they will gain entrance to heaven. Then he wants to hang merit on God’s justice? I told him that God’s justice warrants that everyone spend eternity in hell.

Post modern thoughts such as these are what make people believe that all roads lead to God. Jesus explicitly is exclusive of all other paths in John 14:6.

Hieronymus hasn’t responded since then, but I knew that the report of Danny’s death would bring another opportunity to share the Gospel with him. I could have gotten that information anywhere, but I thought that the finality of death would finally make him seriously consider his salvation.

Nevertheless, I still hope that Danny found the right path. I’ll find out soon enough.

Burn Baby Burn

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CC image courtesy of Señor Codo on Flickr.

I am utterly revolted. I just read on the Matt Walsh Blog that aborted babies are being burned to generate electricity. Seriously? Baby murder is already big business, but to burn the corpses? I’m aware that we have limited resources, but incineration as a creative solution?

We live in a wicked society where adultery and homosexuality are lauded as normal. Abortion is a common method of birth control. Forget about controlling your animal tendencies to behave like wild donkeys because morality is no fun.

Matt Walsh is right when he says we regard stray cats and dogs as more important than a human. Actually, I think he referenced dolphins, but dolphins are basically sea-cats. (I’m sure the ASPCA is working on an ad campaign to save the sea-cats). We no longer fear The Lord and we do what is right in our own eyes. (Judges 21:25)

When will this death cult reach the bottom? This post-modern society has no absolute truth. Everyone has their own truth. What do we do when two truths collide? Which truth supersedes the other? If I have a bigger stick, my truth wins.

If our Truth doesn’t come from the Way, the Truth, and the Life, our lives are built on sand. 1 Corinthians 10:23 says that all things are lawful, but not everything is profitable…unless you are in the business of torching aborted babies.

Just to be clear, I have no issue with people rescuing animals, but we are Imago Dei–our priority should be to focus on human needs. It’s chilling to see people stop to rescue abandoned puppies in the street, yet ignore a homeless guy.