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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

LVI. Misery Loves Company

Why do people update their status on atrocities like Facebook?  Even a better question is why do people feel the need to update their status on Facebook?  Have you ever noticed that these status changes are more negatively charged than positively? 

The trend for the last two years just to name a few are phrases like HMU (Hit me up) and FML (F*** my life).  Both are used most frequently by teens.  But they are both signs of a culture that is fixed on pain.  Hit Me Up:  a term to have people call them or get in touch with them or to somehow communicate with the one who is posting that message.  Why are they doing it?  Because they are lonely individuals.  It actually is a cry for help:  please someone talk to me.  Why isn't anyone talking to this person?  Because they are all too busy texting others and/or IM everyone else in their stupid address book.  The lonely heart cries for someone to communicate with.  But what they are not realizing is that even if someone does text them in one way or another that they aren't really communicating.  The personalization or intimacy of relationship is lost.  No matter what stuff.com.nz says, "In fact, we believe there is sufficient evidence that social media afford opportunities for new expressions of friendship, intimacy and community."  These are the wrong rationalizations for Facebook.  Most of these new expressions only tend to hurt people.  Intimacy with a computer...hello...phone sex.  Community????  Since when do people work together to get things done in the real world on Facebook?  No, HMU means people are hurting.

So what about FML?  Do we have to even go there?

The main question is why do people post these things if they are hurting?  Why do we feel the need to tell the world how much pain we are suffering?  Human interaction has changed but the old adage misery loves company remains true.  It used to be we would call our best friend and unload on them but now we see we have a bigger audience and it tends to feed people off their anger.  They can now express to the world how angry they are all at once.  But since they can hide behind the impersonal avatar they can say anything they want and feel no consequences.  This allows stronger feelings to be expressed and terms of hatred are filtered through our minds.  But little do they care that they hurt others in this way.  Some people aren't happy unless others are hurting.  It doesn't make you any better than those who hurt you if hurt people too.

LESSON TO BE LEARNED:  No one else needs to actually feel the pain in order to have sympathy for you.  No one needs to actually feel the pain to understand that people need healing.

No it's just not Facebook, it's our culture.  We are spoiled.  We think we deserve it all and that the world owes us.  We feel we are the stars of the world and the population is our audience.  Listen, when given a lemon, make lemonade, don't just spit out the seeds at everyone.

The culture is hurting.  The culture is crying out for help.  The culture needs healing.

People are hurting.  People are crying out.  People need healing.

Church, where are you?  Probably texting...

Only God can heal, people have to learn how to forgive.

What do you think?  HMU...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

LV. Political Activists

The two things they say you are not supposed to discuss with friends and family are religion and politics.  But this thought (and site) brings them together into one.  Here are the results to last month's poll:  Should Churches be politically active?

  • (27%)  No. Because our battle is not with flesh and blood.  This is the most important thing to remember.  No matter what happens in this world the most powerful force is to go to God with any and every issue.  But God does not say that this is where it should stop.  Many Christians wimp out by saying the above.  Actually in all reality those who answer this are probably Christians who have a hard time dealing with the fact that there thoughts do not coincide with Biblical views.  It is their way of reconciling their own thoughts with their spiritual life.  Hint:  it doesn't always work, nor is it always correct. 
  • (27%)  Yes. But only on certain issues.  This is probably the best non-biblical answer.  See next answer for explanation.
  • (22%)  Yes. No matter what.  Perhaps this one needs to be looked at a little more.  Some issues that do not deal with any spirituality are not needed to be endorsed or opposed by the Church, such as gun control.  This is not an issue that deals with the Church so why get involved as an organization?  Abortion?  Yes.  Marriage laws?  Yes.  Taxes?  Sometimes.  Freedoms of individual liberties?  Sometimes.  Religious freedom?  Definitely.  Candidates?  Yes.  Judges and certain laws?  Yes.
  • (18%)  No. Because it would violate "separation of church and state".  This one is controversial because no matter what you say someone always misinterprets the issue and the amendment to the Constitution.  See http://ideasoftim.blogspot.com/2010/08/67-life-liberty-and-pursuit-of.html and the see the comment section as well.
  • (4%)  No. Because then they would have to pay taxes.  This has to be the answer that people picked because they are trying to be sarcastic or are angry with the Church.  Churches should not have to worry about paying taxes.  Even Jesus said that we need to pay Caesar what belongs to Caesar.  They are a non-profit organization and should be treated like any other non-profit organization.  But since when does profit making constitute if you can be political or not? Private homes are non-profit (most of them).  Are they not allowed to be political?  Boy Scouts, YMCA, Salvation Army, and other organizations should be allowed to be political.  The old saying goes that if you don't like something you don't have to do it.  If these groups become political then you do not have to support it.
The Church whether people like it or not has been, is, and always will be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to politics.  Those who are Christian need to embrace this fact.  Not to abuse the power of the Church such as what was done by the Catholic Church during the age of feudalism, and not to force others into becoming all conformed like the practice of russification by Czar Nicolas I of Russia but to be the driving force of the culture so that the country can return to God and a higher morality system.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

LIV. The Wages of Pascal

Blaise Pascal, a famous mathematician and scientist who lived in the mid 1600's, came up with a philosophical puzzle about God.  He basically claimed that if you are to argue either for or against the existence of God it is better to error on the side that there is one so that one can reap the benefits and not suffer the consequence.  Even if then there is no God and you lived life according to scripture then you wouldn't have lost anything anyway.  This is now known as Pascal's Wager.  This is also a huge argument that atheists will use to say that there is no God.  How?  Because the argument can go as far as:  well who is to say which God this argument is referring to?.  What if Allah is the one true God, then shouldn't it be beneficial for all of us to live according to the writings of Mohammed?  Or what about Buddha?  Confucius or any other known deity?  So if the wager can be used on any religion and if there can be only one of them right then how can the same be said about all of them?  Therefore all religions must be wrong.  Therefore since all claim to worship a deity then there must be no deity.

Probably one thing the atheist has a problem with is the fact that during Pascal's life a new way of thinking called Enlightenment was taking hold.  One idea of the Enlightenment was that God may exist but He doesn't intervene.  Many of the Enlightenment thinkers (Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, Montesquieu and some even say the likes of Jefferson and Franklin) thought that it may be a waste of time worrying about the afterlife and that you should seek happiness in this one.  Pascal did not hold onto these theories and yet remained "enlightened", helping lead the way to discoveries about number probabilities and space theories.

So here is the question:  is Pascal's Wager valid for Christianity only, open the door for all religions, or doesn't matter anyway?

The answer:  It doesn't matter anyway.  Whether we want to believe in God or not does not take away the fact that He does exist.  He is there whether we live by His rules or our own.  If we believe in Islam, so what.  God still exists.  If we choose not to believe in any deity, so what.  God will still exist.

The more important question is:  Why is Christ the one True God and not the others?

The answer:  Here is the view of the writer.
  1. Being raised in a family that believed in God was a starting point.  There was a foundation built on Christian principles. But that is not where it had been left.   Journeys in life are not just about what one has been taught but what one can learn.
  2. One can get a lot from reading the Bible. It is filled with relevant information that can calm, encouragement, and lead people onto the right paths and can make people think of what they want to be like in terms of what they are now.
  3. Even if one was born to different parents than the ones they have now with different ideas, they could still think for themselves as an adult. One can get the same rendering. There are other self-help books and religious ideas that may do the same thing.
  4. There is a book you may want to read.  It is short and simple to read. It is by Josh McDowell called, More Than a Carpenter. McDowell says that there are only three things you can think about Christ. You either think He was a liar, a lunatic, or He was in fact the Lord. In short, if He was a liar, why would he tell others to tell the truth? If He was a liar why would he ultimately go to the cross and be executed for his ideas? Maybe He was a lunatic. But He didn’t do any pathological activity that would classify him as one. Unlike David Koresh, He didn’t make people live in communes locked away. He didn’t have a harem for his own benefits. Everything recorded by Christ has beneficial consequences and not one thing contradicts anything else He said. If He was not a liar or a lunatic then He must be what He said He was: God.
  5. Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius. What do they all have in common?  They all are “founders” of a religion. They all teach about how to live a life that will bring you peace. They all have left a book for others to read and learn. What is the main difference? Only one claimed to be God. The others only claimed to either be a messenger of God or not even that.  Jesus said He was God. Liar? Lunatic? Or Lord? Some other differences: Buddha said there is a harmony in this world. If there is good there is an equal amount of bad. In other words, there is no reward for doing good because it causes someone else to do bad. Mohammed tells people to kill the infidel and claims that we all will get 72 virgins in the afterlife in we do such an act. Confucius was just a poet. Christ had life lessons. We actually read about his life and not just thoughts of one person.
  6. Nothing else makes sense. Primordial soup? An accident that created life as delicate, complicated and sophisticated as we know it…an accident? If you look to the vastness of creation and you can see too much beauty and too many intricacies of every day life to think it was all an accident. http://ideasoftimreligion.blogspot.com/2009/12/xlv-dark-side.html
  7. People have life experiences. They have seen miracles. They have witnessed the power of God in their own lives. They feel a presence of a the Spirit. Now, that may sound strange to you. But until you have been in their shoes then that will have to do. And yes, this is where faith comes in. The thing that all atheists have a problem with is faith. If you see something, hear something, feel something but you can’t explain why, then faith has to start to take over. We all have faith whether you believe it or not. Each time you drive a car you faith in your abilities to get out of an accident. You have faith in the brake you step on, even without thinking about it.
There is 7 reasons right now, but all the atheist can say is: Prove God exists. And that is enough for them to not believe. Well, the actual burden is on disproving God. Science can’t do it. Just ask Josh McDowell, CS Lewis, Lee Strobl, and Blaise Pascal who all had problems believing and tried to disprove God. But all came to the conclusion, there is a God and Christ is He.

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