Tag Archives: Religion

Um, “Thank you,” Richard Dawkins? Well, sort of…

If you know anything about Richard Dawkins, you know that he is one of the world’s most prominent atheist authors. He despises religion. And Christianity has been the target of his wrath more than a few times.

That is why it is surprising that Dawkins might say ANYTHING positive about Christianity. But, in a roundabout way, that is exactly what he just did. And what Dawkins said, though not meaning to be complimentary, speaks volumes.

Dawkins’ recent comments came in response to an article by The Guardian, “Christianity as default is gone: the rise of a non-Christian Europe.” Now, you might think that Dawkins, self-described, “equal opportunity religion basher,” would rejoice at such an article. But, he didn’t.

Ironically, Dawkins noted that Christianity stands as the “bulwark against something worse.” What could be “worse” that would cause Dawkins to want Christianity to stay in Europe? Islam.

Dawkins calls Christianity a, “relatively benign religion.” In comparison, Dawkins says, “If you look at the actual impact that different religions have on the world it’s quite apparent that at present the most evil religion in the world has to be Islam.”

Now, be careful. You might get so entangled in the discussion about Islam that you actually miss the word. He said, “evil.”

“Evil” exists…according to one of the world’s leading atheists. Did you catch that? I know it may seem simple, but it is utterly important.

Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist, believes that life came from nothing. It evolved through random chaos and ‘survival of the fittest.’ Yet he believes in evil. Why? Because morality exists!

And the Judeo-Christian morality that defines his sense of right and wrong comes from the Bible. It is a book Dawkins hates. Yet, and DON’T MISS THIS: The last line of defense against something he calls “evil,” is Christianity!

Dawkins would never want to be associated with supporting Christianity. But, a Europe without Christianity makes Dawkins hope Christianity sticks around a little longer! Will we, one day, see the following Richard Dawkins quote?…

 “Come back to Europe, Lord Jesus…and quickly.”

Don’t Be Fooled: Politico-Religious God Speak is NOT The Gospel

bible-american-flagWow…he mentioned God, the Bible, and America! He must be the faith candidate. Oh, wait so did all the other candidates. Is her faith better than his? Does all that political, religious jargon mean anything? Can anyone figure out what is going on here???

Are you a person of faith? Most are. According to a new Barna poll, despite religious affiliation going down slightly, almost 90% of Americans still believe in God. So it is only natural that we listen carefully to what candidates say when it comes to their faith. But sorting through all the “spin” can make you dizzy.

And the law of the land seems to be: don’t look at the particulars of my religion or faith, but hear me when I say “faith-words.” It becomes increasingly difficult to know where candidates actually stand. “Why?” Because the new spin is a benign appearing, but ultimately malignant, gospel that I call “politico-religion.”

Politico-religion, as I would define it, is “a religion that proclaims a faith in God and a desire for Him to bless us, yet absolves us of meeting those distinguishing requirements by which He measures our faith and determines His blessings.” In other words, as a country, we like “God-talk,” that is devoid of specifics regarding God’s Word. And therein lies the problem.

Presidential candidates jockey to be the “faith candidate,” and we can’t blame them. It would be political suicide to do otherwise. Any Presidential candidate, who has any chance of being elected, has to proclaim faith in God and a trust that God will continue to bless America. But politico-religion is the embarrassingly ugly cousin of the true gospel.

The gospel doesn’t begin or end at “God bless America.”

Watering down the gospel is never God-pleasing Christianity. There is no such thing as a Christian faith that absolves us of our Christian lives. Yet we continuously make exceptions and excuses in order to support a candidate who sounds “faithy.”

“What are we supposed to do,” you ask? “These are the choices we have. And though, not perfect, shouldn’t we vote for a candidate who is “closer” to our ideology?”

Fine. Just don’t believe that you are furthering His Kingdom when you promote a candidate who preaches a gospel that is clearly different from His. If you are going to invoke God, you might want to consider what God’s Word says.

For example, Hillary Clinton’s speeches that encourage people to live up to their “God-given potential,” followed by a litany of God-denounced activities, would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. One simply cannot “use” God on the broad strokes and chuck Him when it is time for the details.

Remember Mitt Romney? Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormon beliefs include: the Book of Mormon is to be believed over the Bible; dark skin is Cain’s curse from God; Satan and Jesus are brothers; Joseph Smith is responsible for a revelation leading to salvation; men can become angels; men can become gods; Jesus is the product of God and a goddess, …need I go on?

Yet 80% of evangelicals liked the faith-talk Romney used and he received the “faith vote.” Was it ok to support Romney if you believed him to be the more qualified candidate? Sure. Just don’t think that voting for a Mormon promotes the gospel. Mormons are not, what Joel Osteen called, “brothers in Christ.” The idea is absurd!

Thomas Kidd, professor of history and religion at Baylor University in Texas, puts the current race between Donald Trump and Ben Carson in similar terms:

“…a lot of evangelicals would…rather have a practicing Adventist than a nominal Presbyterian who doesn’t seem to have basic theological understanding about Christianity.”

Yet 7th Day Adventism denies basic tenants of Christianity. They reject the immortality of the soul; they believe there is no hell or personal responsibility for sin (sins will be placed on Satan); they think Ellen White was a prophet with new revelation from God, they insist worship must be done on Saturday, and they believe Jesus is the angel Michael. Yet Ben Carson’s support as the “faith candidate” grows.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump claimed that his faith, as a Presbyterian, is “middle of the road” and is safer than Carson’s. He failed to mention that it is the PC-USA wing of the denomination, known for ultra-liberal stances (denying inerrancy of the Bible, performing same-sex marriages, belief that homosexuality is not a sin, etc). In fact, where he “attends” occasionally is a different denomination altogether, and they wrote a letter saying he is not a member. Is that what the gospel is all about?

So…at the end of the day, do politico-religious politicians even care what God’s position is? I can’t say, but it doesn’t appear so. Those who worship at that altar seem interested in using enough “God speak” to get evangelical votes while not losing irreligious constituents or committing themselves to any actual Biblical positions.

Our job is not to rewrite, water down, or change the true gospel. And, if you want to support a candidate, just say you like something about them or their party. But let’s quit using “God-speak” as an excuse. Because, frankly, it is embarrassing.

Every time a Christian says they support a politico-religious candidate because of their “Christianity,” the true gospel of Christ’s  is tarnished and the effectiveness of the church is damaged. Far too many politico-religious, God-speak, politicians have been elected on that banner and then disgrace the name of God once elected.

And if you REALLY want a CHRISTIAN to be elected to an office, then demand better. It is your right as an American to promote candidates who really do profess the Bible and the true gospel. Encourage believers to get involved in politics if you want Christian politicians. But be wary of equating faith-speak and the gospel, because they are not necessarily the same…at all.

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord, no matter who gets elected. We will continue to be proponents for God and His gospel. And we will pray that our leaders will turn to God while there is a today left in which to turn. And we pray that God will, in deed, bless America…with a heart to do His will.

“Belief-less” Christianity? Don’t buy it!

John Shuck believes that religion was invented by humans; he believes that faith is a product of evolution; he believes that Jesus might have been a historical figure, but stories about Him are legend; he believes that God isn’t real; and he believes that there is no afterlife. Up until now there was a name for that, “atheist.” But Shuck has made news lately for demanding another name, ”Christian.” 

The reason this is news is because Shuck is a Minister with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), yet he doesn’t believe in God. And while a minister losing faith is nothing new, Shuck has an interesting twist. Losing faith didn’t cause him to leave the ministry. Rather, he glorifies a new gospel that he calls, “Belief-less Christianity!”

Now, at its root, this is just the logical conclusion of what C.S. Lewis bemoaned when he said that the word “Christian” had become meaningless – merely a “good person.” But there is something far more sinister at work here. Can one be a Christian and have no faith in Jesus? No faith in God? No belief in the afterlife?

Most Christians realize that the Bible exclusively teaches a faith-based religion. It always has been and always will be. There is no other way to practice it; and there is certainly no other way to be saved by it.

In the New Testament (ie., Romans 4, Galatians 3:6, Hebrews 11:19, and James 2:23), physical lineage is shown to mean nothing without faith. It is by faith that Israel has always been Israel. It is by faith that Israel was pleasing to God. It is by BELIEF in ACTION.

Christians are believers. Peter spoke among those who believed (Acts 1:15). At Antioch, believers were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). Salvation, belief, and Christianity are intertwined (Acts 15:11, 16:31; Romans 10:9). There simply is no such thing (in scripture) as an acceptable and “belief-less” Christianity.

Yet, Shuck doesn’t appreciate being told that he isn’t a Christian. He doesn’t appreciate that “Christianity has placed all of its eggs in the belief basket.” In his congregation, people are encouraged to “bring your own God” or “none at all.” But he insists it is still “Christianity!”

Friends, I hope you see that the two positions are incompatible. The clearest teaching in scripture is that salvation is based on belief in Jesus, joining in his death, burial, and resurrection through baptism, and living a life in enduring faith. Shuck claims that “belief-less” Christianity is thriving, but don’t be duped. “Belief-less” Christianity…it is no Christianity at all.

I’ll keep my “eggs in the belief basket” over Shuck’s new gospel any day!

Flash Mobs

Have you ever seen a “flash mob?” While, flash mobs are not exactly new, they are becoming a part of our every day society. Typically, they are harmless – a way a new generation can do something odd or nonconformist while not hurting anyone. People are using texting, mass e-mail, and various web sites to gather at a particular time and place to “spontaneously” dance or stand still or lie down for a few minutes and then continue as if nothing had happened. Those who are not “in” on the gag are often surprised, amused, or merely pass by, ignoring the activity. Until recently society was, at most, slightly inconvenienced by ‘flash mobs.’ A more sinister application has arisen though – “flash robs.”

“Flash robs” are when people gather together in order to barge into a theater or a stadium without paying for tickets or to enter a store simultaneously and shoplift and leave. Cases of ‘flash robs’ are popping up all over the country and are confounding law enforcement. When asked about how they are dealing with the problem, law enforcement officers have simply said that they don’t know how and don’t have the manpower to deal with this kind of crime.

In the days of Moses, there was something akin to a ‘flash rob,’ but with a very different ending. Beginning in the 16th chapter of Numbers, we learn that there were individuals in the camp who were tired of following the rules laid out by Moses. They didn’t want to follow the system anymore. They didn’t want to submit to God’s law. In fact, they wanted to steal the leadership from Moses. And so the message went out that they would meet and confront Moses. A rebellion of Korah and 250 leaders showed up and demanded that Moses and Aaron give the leadership of the Israelites to them. God told the people to remove themselves from Korah and his ‘flash mob’ and the earth swallowed them up.

God was not confounded. He didn’t worry about how to handle the situation. He wasn’t concerned about whether He had the manpower or wisdom to deal with Korah’s ‘flash mob.’ And the same is true today. God has a plan for us and has given us the road map. It says we are supposed to be kind to each other and love each other and treat others better than ourselves. We are to respect people and their property. And if we walk in the light as He is in the light, there is a wonderful inheritance laid up in heaven for us. And for those who refuse to submit to His ways…well, there is a plan there too. God’s preference is that we would follow His path and that none would perish. Are you in the practice of submitting to or rebelling against God’s will?