Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven
where moth and rust cannot destroy and thieves cannot break in and steal

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The 1.6% Solution

1.6% of the North American population says that the Bible can’t be trusted in what it says.

Example: Before archaeology forced them to change their position, these people stated that the Babylonian captivity never took place. After all, “only” the Bible told of it so it must be myth.

Why would atheists do that? Well, according to atheists, if any historical document has been included into the Bible it should automatically be considered a lie or legend or myth.

That is where the term, “Non historical kings of the Bible,” originated - from atheists.

Then, twenty-one pottery fragments inscribed in the ancient Hebrew script were unearthed in the latest pre-exilic levels of the Lachish (a city that until the time of the discovery only the Bible describes as being besieged by the Babylonians) site. Called the Lachish Ostraca, they were written during the very time of the Babylonian siege. Some of them are exchanges between the city’s military commander and an outlying observation post, vividly picturing the final days of Judah’s desperate struggle against Babylon! Since the 1930s, there has been more unearthing of Babylonian historical texts describing the conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Despite the erroneous claims of atheists, the historical fact of the Babylonian captivity is firmly established.

Sadly, this 1.6% of the population still maintains their position that what the Bible says cannot be trusted. In fact more atheists - not fewer but MORE atheists - are saying that most if not all of the New Testament is pure fiction. Atheists claim that the stated authors were not the real authors. The events described were not real events. Yes the Christian Church exists today but not because of any of the events described in the New Testament.

As two atheists recently boasted:
“Give me 100 different versions of the New Testament written by a 100 different people and I will still not believe it.” - ‘hugo’ - 6/29/10

“jesus never existed and the bible is mythology" - ‘the 40-year-old atheist’ - 6/22/10

Because these type of comments completely ignore historical fact, the comments sound closed-minded and bigoted. The fact is, atheists must say this or their world-view will collapse. Will similar examples to the one documented today put an end to these people’s claim that the Bible can’t be trusted? Of course not. Just like those who deny the Holocaust, no amount of evidence will be enough to change their minds.

This is what these people are like. It’s how they think.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Nothing Surprises Anymore

For the purposes of this post, the term "supernatural" means, "pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law"

An atheist has boldly claimed, “The resurrection of Jesus was no miracle (i.e. a supernaturally induced event) but a perfectly natural occurrence.”

If that doesn’t make you blink I don’t know what would!

It leads one to ask at least three questions:
1. Are there ANY naturally or physically impossible events in atheist-world? Asked differently, are there any events that can’t be produced by natural causes operating at a certain time and place?

2. Isn’t it true that a resurrection of a truly dead person (not resuscitation but resurrection) at every time and place would be an example of something that is beyond the ability of natural causes? Especially when the resurrection is NOT to a normal earthly life but to a powerful, glorious, imperishable, Spirit directed life? 1st Cor. 15:42-44.

It would seem to me that over the last 2,000 years everything that science has learned about life has confirmed that a true resurrection is naturally impossible.

3. If there IS a naturally or physically impossible event - like a true resurrection - YET exacty this historically verified event has taken place, what could have brought about such an event?

It seems to me that for someone to say that a true resurrection is a perfectly natural occurrence, that person must truly be a desperate and deliberately obstinate atheist. I mean, if a resurrection is a perfectly natural occurrence then why only Jesus? Why the singularity? Why not, “Oh look, uncle Harvey is back from the dead! Just like WEM’s great grandfather did last week.”

Of course there are theories of natural law which attempt to cover / explain such events. Whether it’s Regularity theory or Nomic Necessity or Causal Disposition theory, in reality these theories are nothing but statements that claim that EVERYTHING that happens has a natural explanation. Because these people limit themselves to a very narrow band of evidence, in atheist-world, it really can't be any other way.

These theories are nothing but more Christopher Hitchens-like statements where someone says that the ministry and miracles of Jesus, including His resurrection from the dead was just a three year long, 24/7 "natural anomaly." The only difference between that and what the atheist in question says is that this atheist says it wasn’t an anomaly. What we call the resurrection is actually a natural event. "We just don't understand how it works at this point."

In fact the resurrection was not an anomaly. It took place within a religio-historical context that possessed meaning and purpose. Jesus’ resurrection was the predicted culmination of a ministry chock full of events pointing to Jesus as God incarnate.

For an atheist to say, “The resurrection of Jesus was no miracle (an event with a cause from outside of nature) but a perfectly natural occurrence,” is a statement that comes naturally from the atheist line of logic that goes:

If it’s historical, it’s natural.
If the only explanation is supernatural then it can’t have been historical.

After three years of listening to atheists, nothing surprises me anymore.

That's what these people are like. It's how they think.

Monday, June 28, 2010

“It Can’t Happen”

In my last post I brought to attention the fact that Jesus is the only leader of a world’s major religion who claimed to be Creator God. Now a claim is just a claim unless it is backed up with the kind of evidence that Jesus produced many times a day, every day for the three years of His ministry on earth. Supernatural is the ONLY explanation that accounts for what Jesus was able to do. And what’s the atheist comeback to the supernatural?

“It can’t happen.”

Some guy said to me, show me any claim of a supernatural occurrence and I will prove (he said “Prove”) to you that it was a natural occurrence. And what is the atheist proof?

“It can’t happen.”

Take the resurrection of Jesus for example. IF Jesus rose from the dead, everyone would agree that it did not happen by natural means. The fact is, the proof for this historical event comes to us with the highest reason for belief. It comes to us from sceptics regarding, and enemies of Christianity. Let me explain:

“It can’t happen”
Does not explain Jesus enemy’s admission that the tomb was indeed empty.

“It can’t happen”
Does not explain the dramatic change in the attitude of Jesus' followers from cowards hiding behind locked doors to men who stood boldly before the most educated and powerful leaders of the country proclaiming the risen Christ

“It can’t happen”
Does not explain the conversion of the sceptic and brother of Jesus, James. James, who only a year or two before, with his whole family had seen Jesus as an embarrassment and quite probably insane. Only a supernatural resurrection of Jesus from the dead turned James and his family into worshippers of Jesus. As I’ve asked before, is it not true that it would take nothing less than the resurrection of your brother and the miracles that he performed prior to his death to convince you of his divinity?

“It can’t happen”
Does not explain the rise of the Christian faith.

“It can’t happen”
Does not explain the conversion of the sceptic and Christian killer, Paul

“It can’t happen”
Is all that atheists have as a basis for their a priori discounting of the supernatural.

“It can’t happen”
Does not explain the disciple’s willingness to go to their deaths proclaiming the truth of the risen Christ.
Buddha never claimed to be God
Moses never claimed to be Jehovah
Mohammed never claimed to be Allah

Yet Jesus Christ claimed to be the true and living God.

Buddha simply said, “I am a teacher in search of the truth.”

Jesus said, “I Am the truth.”

Confucius said, “I never claimed to be holy.”

Jesus said, “Who of you convicts Me of sin?”

Mohammed said, “Unless God throws his cloak of mercy over me, I have no hope.”

Jesus said, “Unless you believe in Me, you will die in your sins.”


Sunday, June 27, 2010

How’d He Do That?

Besides through the obvious creation of the universe (Romans 1:18,20), God has made Himself known to us through the person of Jesus. Because of our fallen nature, on our own, we deny the true character of Jesus and misinterpret the Bible to suit our own desires.

As sinners, we naturally resist every form of God’s revelation. Only through the transforming nature of a healed and forgiven relationship with God can we come to know our Saviour and Creator as He desires us to know Him. This is:
. A redemptive knowledge
. A changing knowledge
. A transforming knowledge.

The very Spirit of the living God subdues our rebellious nature and replaces it with a nature eager to know God and to be known by God.

This is something that only God can do. Only God has the power to change a person from someone who denies God’s existence or God’s relevance, to someone who worships Creator God. No human can bring this about on h/her own.

“It does not depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” Romans 9:16.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8

“He saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.” Titus 3:5

"From before the beginning of time God knew who would accept His offer of forgiveness. Those God foreknew He predestined, He drew to, He called to, He brought to Jesus so that they could be one day be transformed and conformed to the likeness of Jesus. Romans 8:29

“No one comes to faith in Jesus except those whom God has drawn to Him.” John 6:44

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's how Hitchens thinks!

An atheist who goes by the moniker alphacause, in referring to Christopher Hitchen’s comments in a video says,

“Hitchens is correct that if we were to grant every miracle surrounding Jesus’ existence, it still doesn’t follow that everything Jesus said was true, nor does it prove that he was God. It doesn’t prove that one must believe in him to go to heaven. It doesn’t logically follow that any of the moral propositions of Christianity are true. If it were ever to be proven that all the miracles ascribed to Jesus did happen, it would at most, prove that he was an aberration of nature and NOTHING MORE!”

Chris Hitchens has said some profoundly stupid things in the past but alcohol induced dementia must really be setting in for him to make these comments. Jesus Himself said, “You don’t need to believe that I Am God because I say that I Am God. But you should believe that I Am who I say that I Am because of the things that I do.” Why? Because, if this was not trickery, then Jesus was manipulating nature in a way that could only be done by the Creator of nature.

Jesus said that His miracles were to serve one main purpose - to prove that He was God incarnate. “If you have seen Me, you have seen God.”

People of the time may not have had the amount of knowledge that we possess today, but they certainly knew that virgins don’t naturally conceive children. They knew that diseases don’t naturally leave a body at the command of another person. They knew that dead people do not naturally rise from the dead. They knew that a normal human does not have the right nor the power to forgive the sins that you and I commit against another human. Even Jesus’ enemies acknowledged that Jesus was doing things that could not naturally be explained.

Of course, Hitchens is correct that even if Jesus' miracles were the real deal, it doesn’t “prove” that what He said is true. After all, Christophe Hitchens agrees wholeheartedly with Dawkins that [The Christian God is] “Arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it, a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynist, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."

Oh, and He's also a liar.

On the other hand, from my side of the fence, if the miracles prove that Jesus was God, then I for one am willing to take what God tells me as truth and not lies. If God says the things that Jesus said about salvation, then I for one am going to accept those conditions as true. If it was proven that all the miracles ascribed to Jesus were true, it would not prove an aberration of nature, it would prove that the supernatural is real. It would explain not an aberration of nature but that something totally OTHER than nature took place on earth 2,000 years ago.

If Hithchens can’t see that, then atheists really are to be pitied for their bigotry and bias.

The 1.6% Solution

1.6% of the North American population, in regard to the hunt for extraterrestrial intelligence, generally follow Sagan’s dictum that if we could find just one line of information from outer space, we have discovered proof of intelligence aside from our own. Just one line of information. That’s all it would take. Well, that’s what atheists say. How they actually live is another story.

Place in front of these same people a volume of information equivalent to 1,000 sets of the encyclopaedia Britannica however, information that governs the very existence of life no less, and what do we get?

“It’s just biological material. Nothing that time plus chance can’t produce.”

Referring to this specified, formulated, complex, coded information, the following comments have been made by scientists:

"This “machine code” is critical for information processing in a living cell. Without it being exactly as is - no working cell.
Watson and Crick, “Molecular Biology of the Gene,” 1:704

“The technology of information theory and coding theory has been in place in biology for at least 3.85 billion years.”
“River out of Eden”, 17

"We must continually remind ourselves that what we are looking at was not designed."
Francis Crick

“The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like.
Richard Dawkins

“DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.”
Stephen Hawking

Information scientist Hubert Yockey, “The genetic code is constructed to confront and solve the problems of communication and recording by the same principles found in modern communication and computer codes.”

"The main question facing scientists today when trying to explain the origin of first life is: “How did the sequence-specific digital information necessary to building the first cell arise?”
Kuppers, “Information and the Origin of Life,” 170-172.

You can show atheists that DNA forms part of a communication channel that can be analysed using information theory.

You can show atheists that DNA molecules are highly and quantifiably complex.

You can show atheists that the arrangement of bases in DNA and amino acids in proteins carry not just complexity but SPECIFIED complexity.

You can show atheists that the information in DNA contains alternative sequences or arrangements that produce a specific effect.

You can show atheists that DNA displays a functional specificity that goes WAY beyond the mathematical formalism of information theory.

And what do they say? How do they respond? “It’s just biological gunk. Nothing that time plus chance can’t produce.”

Even though this type of information is only found in conjuction with intelligence atheists refuse to even consider such an option.

Even though these people say that without observation and verification nothing can be believed, these people must maintain this implausible position or their belief system will collapse.

It’s what they’re like. It’s how they think!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Gift of Tithing

I give back to God a little of what is already His and I get the benefit. What’s the benefit?

Cutting the ropes that tie me to this earthly life
Breaking dependency on that which cannot support
Crushing the delusion of security
Reinforcing my faith
Living with an attitude of gratitude
Praying with thankfulness

Tithing - giving away money is a very important spiritual discipline.

Learning to give to God, is God’s gift to us.

“He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The 1.6% Solution

1.6% of the North American population says that the Bible can’t be trusted in what it says.

Example: Sceptical (read atheist) archeologist Kathleen Kenyon said that the fall of Jericho did not happen in the time period stated by the Bible.

Why would she say that? Well, according to atheists, if any historical document has been included into the Bible it should automatically be considered a lie or legend or myth. Typical of atheists, Kenyon’s atheist bias was so strong that it led her to override her professional training and instead draw the wrong conclusion from the available evidence.

As Time magazine later announced, “When the evidence is critically examined there is no basis for her contention that City IV [the level of the city that corresponded to Joshua's time] was destroyed . . . in the mid-16th century B.C.E. [before the Christian era]" (ibid., p. 57).”

In fact, only an atheist bias caused her to MANIPULATE the evidence to suit the conclusion that she wanted to find. The Biblical account was confirmed by archeology.

Sadly, this 1.6% of the population still maintains their position that what the Bible says cannot be trusted. In fact more atheists - not fewer but MORE atheists - are saying that the New Testament is pure fiction. They say that the stated authors were not the real authors. The events described were not real events. Yes the Christian Church exists today but not because of any of the events described in the New Testament.

"jesus never existed and the bible is mythology" - ‘the 40-year-old atheist’ 6/22/10

Atheists must say this or their world-view will collapse.

Will similar examples to the one displayed for us by atheist Kathleen Kenyon put an end to these people’s claim that the Bible can’t be trusted? Of course not. Just like those who deny the Holocaust, no amount of evidence will be enough to change their minds.

Kenyon of course is far from the exception. In fact, she represents the norm.

This is what these people are like. It’s how they think.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Go Tell Peter

What I’m about to write strikes so close to the heart that I can hardly begin.

The same Jesus who waited for me for thirty years.
The same Jesus who withstood the most vile abuse that I could dish out.
The same Jesus who opened the door to me and said, “Come home.”
This same Jesus said, "Go tell Peter. Let him know that I want him to be there.”

Peter, a man who carried a sword and was known to draw it on occassion, in a knee jerk reaction to fight the Romans was actually rebuked by Jesus. Peter’s victim was then healed by Jesus - Jesus - the One that Peter thought he was protecting.

And then in the face of a crucifixion, a confused Peter denied even knowing Jesus at all. The rest had all scattered of course. Who knows to where? Peter was simply the last to run. Hiding here. Skirting down darkened allies there. Somehow, all but Thomas had gathered again in the last place they’d been together with Jesus, the upper room. Was it prearranged? Who knows?

It must have been terribly difficult. Failures to a man. Each in his own way a coward. And Peter. He had only done what most every one of us would have done yet - betrayal is betrayal.

His, the worst kind of betrayal - that of a friend.

And what does Jesus do? He makes extra sure that the message gets to Peter. “Go tell Peter to meet Me,” Jesus says this to the women who’d come to the tomb on the morning of Jesus' resurrection. “Make sure to tell Peter that he's not excluded. Make sure to tell Peter that I want him to be part of My group. I don’t care that he turned tail and ran. I want him back.”

O God! How much love can You pour out on us? How much forgiveness can You grant us?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I just read that thanks to the persecution by atheist leaders in China the good news of Jesus and the salvation that He offers has been brought to every province and every major city in China. People are accepting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour at a rate conservatively estimated to be 30,000 people a day.

Thanks to persecution by atheist leaders, where children are not allowed to be taught about Jesus until they are 18 years old (the exact same practice advocated for the atheist utopia envisioned by Dawkins, Hitchens and probably several if not all of the atheists lurking at this site), a spiritual hunger the likes of which is not known in other parts of the world is alive and well in China.

Thanks to persecution by atheist leaders, China is just a few years away from being the largest Christian nation on earth.

The Natives Are Restless

Many, many years ago Brenda Lee sang a lament, “Is This All There Is?” As a famous entertainer she had it all - but it wasn’t enough.

Humans are a restless lot. Nothing on this earth satisfies beyond the moment. We’re always, always looking for the new thrill, the next relationship, the new movie, next year’s model, bigger, better, newer. Just as though it will make an important difference in our lives, we listen with eager anticipation as companies tell us of the latest gadget they’ve produced. And then we rush out and spend another $200.00 only to find that a “better” gadget has been produced ten months later. Whatever we have isn’t good enough. We’ll go for decades, some people for their whole lives believing, “I'll be happy if . . .”

My kids want to be teenagers
Then they’ll want to be adults
Then they’ll want a committed relationship
Then they’ll want kids
Then they’ll want their kid’s to be grown and gone
Then they’ll mourn an empty next
Then they’ll want to retire and when they retire they’ll remember with longing the days when they were carefree children.

The reason that we cannot find contentment in this life is because we long for something that can’t be found in this life. We can come close, but even as Christians, “We . . . groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Romans 8:3. The Holy Spirit, who is God, walking along side us in and through our difficulties, is just a foretaste of the fullness of God’s presence that will be ours in the near future.

In my own life contentment was elusive UNTIL Jesus came into my life. Despite increased hardship and difficulty, every year since becoming a Christian has been better than the year before. I simply do not long for “more,” anymore. Because of Jesus, I have all I’ll ever need.

That’s what makes me richer than Donald Trump. I know that I’m richer that Trump, because I have enough and he doesn’t.

“Our hearts are restless until they find rest in God.”
“I will give you living water and you will never thirst again.”

Monday, June 21, 2010

“He’s a Good Guy”

Did you see that report? Joran Van der Sloot had at least one friend who said that Joran is a good man. Sure he’s killed at least one woman. Sure he ran fraud scams. Sure he screws around with any woman who’s willing but really, who are we to judge?

That’s what I hear from atheists regularly. Those pioneers of “create your own mix-and-match morality,” atheists, have oddly placed themselves in a position to judge the behaviours of Christians while at the same time demanding that no one question the ‘fact’ that they are model citizens.

Joran, a good man by his standards. According to atheists, who else’s standards are any of us to go by save our own?

In reality, the human soul is so corrupt that even while we, as a collective decide upon a moral system, that system has to be enforced to the tune of 100's of millions of dollars in policing every year.

That is exactly the Bible’s diagnosis of the human soul.
That is why Jesus came to earth. To save us from ourselves.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Don’t Do The Crime

Imagine that you’re a Judge, a Magistrate. You sit in the Court of the land and wield power and consequence over people’s lives. You dispense justice to those who stand before you, guilty as charged.

Your own life however is not free from the consequence of crime. One day, your Son is taken from your backyard. All the worst is done to him. His bruised and beaten body is found a week later. It had been thrown by the side of the road like a piece of garbage. The perpetrator is finally caught. I’ll call him Mark. Your Son’s rape, torture and murder was recorded and copies, ready to be shipped, were discovered in Mark’s apartment.

Mark’s parents and friends are in shock. “Mark was such a nice person. He’d never hurt anyone.”

According to God, our Creator, the wrong that we do are crimes committed against Him. After committing adultery and then killing the woman’s husband, King David got it right when he said to God, “Against You and You alone have I sinned.” It’s His objective moral law that we are breaking. It’s His planet, His creation that we are destroying.

Regardless of how we see our crimes against God, He sees our open rebellion against Him as horrific. God sees our callous disregard for and the habitual mistreatment of beings created in His image as worthy of eternal banishment from His presence. The place of banishment is called Hell.

God has made it clear that ritual, religious behaviours, or trying to be as good as we can, will not:
a) Do anything to prevent us from committing crimes against Him, nor
b) Come even close to being a just penalty for crimes already committed.

God has made it clear that claims of, “You shouldn’t punish me because I’m actually a pretty good person,” are nothing more than a delusion. We’ve made it necessary for God’s one and only Son to die, to be tortured to death and pretending that it didn’t happen or that it wasn’t such a big deal isn’t going to cut it. Let me return to my story.

You, Mark’s Judge as well as being Mark’s victim understand Mark. You know that he entered life with the deck stacked against him. Both parents were drug addicts. He suffered Fetal Alcohol brain damage. He never completed grade four and by ten years of age Mark was on the street fending for himself. Mark was also a victim of verbal, physical and sexual abuse. He’s been beaten and discouraged, helpless and hopeless for most of his life. You read his file and your heart breaks. You step down from behind the bench, take off your robe and move toward Mark in an attempt to hug him.
Certain that you hate him and that you’re out for revenge, Mark recoils with, “What are you doing? Get away from me!”

Mark’s Judge - Mark, I too grew up on the street. One of my parents died of a drug overdose and the other died of a suicide. I too was sexually abused. I know the pain, and rejection and confusion and anger that you experienced as a child. I want to forgive you for what you've done to me.

Mark - But I killed your only Son.

Mark’s Judge - I know.

Mark - You should hate me.

Mark’s Judge - I know.

Mark - I deserve to die.

Mark’s Judge - I know.

Mark - I deserve to die at your hands.

Mark’s Judge - I know that Mark. But I want to forgive you.

Mark - Forgive me! I’m a misfit, a freak. Whenever I’ve tried anything in life, I’ve screwed it up. No one will give me a first chance, so why would you give me a second?

Mark’s Judge - I know you. I love you. I’ll help you change.

Mark - I can’t learn.

Mark’s Judge - I’ll teach you. I’m very patient.

Mark - I don’t have any place to live. I’m a castaway. I’ll be hounded from place to place for the rest of my life.

Mark’s Judge - You’ll come and live with me.

Mark - Why are you doing this?

Mark’s Judge - I feel compassion for you. I want to forgive you and let you know what it’s like to live in the presence of love.

Mark - I’m too bad a person. I can’t accept your forgiveness.

Mark’s Judge - Mark, you have committed a very serious crime. You have hurt me more than you can ever imagine. If I were to sentence you to die it would be just and fair. I am offering you a clean slate, forgiveness for your crime, freedom from any and all guilt. It’s one or the other Mark, freedom or judgment. What’s it gonna be?

Mark - This is for real?

Mark’s Judge - Yes. It’s for real.

Mark - So I can experience your love and mercy and grace and forgiveness at absolutely no cost?

Mark’s Judge - Well, it’s free for you, but it cost me the life of my Son.

Falling on his knees before you, Mark cries, “I am so very sorry. How can you be so kind to someone like me? I promise to love you and serve you for the rest of my life. Thank you, thank you, a thousand times thank you.

Mark’s Judge - You’re welcome Mark.

I know. The ending sounds pretty cheesy. You might say that something like that would never happen. If you are talking about life here on earth you are probably right. But God sees things differently than we do. God is shamelessly in love with us, His creation. He cares about us. He wants what’s best for us. He wants that so badly that He came to earth in the form of Jesus to do exactly what is described in the story above. Knowing in advance how we would treat Him, Jesus stepped down from His throne and came to earth not to condemn us but to provide for our forgiveness and salvation.

That God is a God of love is beyond dispute.

He says in effect:
If you will let Me, I will pay the consequence of your crime for you.

If you let Me, I will keep you from eternal banishment and instead bring you into my very own home.

If you let Me, I will lavish you with eternal gifts and riches beyond imagination.

If you let Me, I will die in your place and allow you to live forever in paradise. All you have to do is let me do this for you, accept the deal, take the gift, make it yours.

Now, I ask. Who’s insane? Is it God, for offering to pay your penalty and then declaring you not guilty, or you for refusing to take Him up on the offer?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

God is Evil

Somebody referred me to a thing at Huffington Post written by an expert on God - an atheist. This might come as a surprise to you but this atheist says that God cannot be good if evil exists. The author of the article used the following example:

“Let's look at a real case of evil, that of Slobodan Milošević and his choice of genocide: only three scenarios are possible. One, god knew beforehand the choice Milošević would make and did nothing to prevent the outcome; two, god knew beforehand but could do nothing to change the outcome; or three, god did not know what choice Milošević would make. From these three possibilities we must come to a conclusion that is irrefutable, undeniable, and logically immune to any counterargument.”

Apparently this example serves as compelling evidence for our resident experts on God - atheists, that either God created evil or that God is Himself evil, or that God is powerless to stop evil. Actually, I can think of a more interesting example.

Jesus, God incarnate, our example and character goal, came to earth knowing in advance that He would be lied to, abused, misunderstood, mistreated, rejected, insulted, betrayed and ultimately have humanity do our absolute worst to Him. Yet He entered into a covenant relationship with us anyway because He loves us. Jesus, the only perfect, completely innocent and sinless human to ever exist allowed Himself to become sin, to absorb the evil of the entire history of human existence so that you and I might live in paradise with Him.

And this, THIS is what those who consider themselves to be experts on God - atheists, tell us is evidence of God’s evil nature.

In the last four years of interacting with atheists, I have yet to meet a single person who can think of even one good reason for allowing suffering / evil to be present in our existence.

Like four-year-olds, an atheist’s philosophy of life goes:

No difficulty = Good,

Difficulty = Bad, bad, very bad.

God, in the form of Jesus, came to earth with the expressed purpose of experiencing His own wrath as is required by the nature of sin:

“For the wages of sin, the consequences of sin, the result of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.

God came to earth to show that He does not exist outside of this plan that seems so difficult for us to accept. God came to earth to rescue us from our stupid decision to try to live our lives without Him. He came to give us a second chance at paradise. Suffering, pain, and tragedy, play a role in taking hold of that second chance. It is a role that God Himself did not avoid.

Back to Milošević:
. Did God know what Milošević was going to do? Of course.
. Does that mean that God caused Milošević to do what he did? Of course not.
. Did He do anything to stop it? Obviously not.
. Does that mean that God is evil? To say that you would have to know
a) what is good as well as
b) knowing that the good that came out of the Milošević’s evil deeds did not outweigh the bad that came out of it.

Now atheists would have you believe that any difficulty, pain, suffering - even a hangnail is necessarily a bad thing. This is of course ridiculous. Hundreds of millions of people, and I would consider myself to be part of that group, will tell you that we would not trade the tragedy in our lives for anything. The learning and character growth and acquisition of wisdom and insight that could ONLY come about as a result of our suffering was well worth the cost. I have personally worked with thousands of individuals who have endured brutality worse than my own experience who would say the same thing.

As I stated in a post not long ago, I am completely on side with Paul when he said, “Because of the presence of Jesus in my suffering, I delight in the sorrows that have been a part of my life.”

The pain and loss from my own life have allowed me to answer in my own mind a very important question. A question that couldn’t have been answered in the absence of personal suffering.

- Will you love and worship Creator God because, and only because, He is worthy of love and worship?
“Even though He slay me, yet I will serve the Lord.”

- Will you worship Creator God without the “benefit” of God’s gifts, or the fear of God’s wrath?
“Even though He slay me, yet I will serve the Lord.”

- Is your faith genuine or is it contrived?
“Even though He slay me, yet I will serve the Lord.”

Friday, June 18, 2010

Suicide By Cop

Most everyone knows what suicide by cop is. Somebody wants to die. His anger at life spills out toward previous experiences with the police. Instead of killing h/himself, the person creates a confrontation with the police and tries to behave in such a manner that the police are forced to shoot and kill the person.

If you look at the comments of atheists over the last few posts, you’ll detect similarities that are striking.

Atheists, carrying around anger at God for imagined wrongs, pet peeves, unresolved religious tantrums say things like:

“I demand justice.”

“I want justice.”

“Letting Jesus pay for my sins would not serve justice.”

"I demand that I pay the penalty for my own sins."

Existing, perhaps for decades, in a mental state that fits the old line, so angry he’d cut off his nose to spite his face, atheists are willing to spend eternity in hell just to "punish" God by forcing Him to send them to hell.

Those who suicide by cop and atheists who demand justice from God.
Both very strange creatures.
Very disturbed.
Very sad.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Have you noticed that a lot of people, maybe even you, divide life into categories of good or bad experiences? Life for these people becomes one long strenuous exercise in trying to accumulate more good times than bad times. More times of rejoicing than complaining. More times of being grateful than times of bitterness.

This way of viewing life is based upon our ignorance of possibilities.

“Do not be anxious about anything”
“Rejoice always, I will say it again rejoice”
“Be thankful in all circumstances”

These verses were written by people who were on the verge of being tortured to death. At the time of these lines being written, the end, the literal end of their lives was in sight. These men who walked with and were taught by Jesus seemed to know something about life that has been lost by us.

An atheist told me that if he had been God he would have created a world without suffering. First of all, God did give us this type of world. We were living in paradise, mature mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We had it all. We knew the consequences of obedience and disobedience and sadly, we made the choice to give that up in order to be our own gods. When that happened, we became immature mentally and emotionally. We became spiritually dull of mind and slow of thought. Humans in that condition, when placed into times of ease cease to grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

If he'd had his way, what this atheist would have created was a world where no one grows, matures or becomes someone who is better than s/he was the year before. Nothing positive comes about in us in times of ease and contentment. If anything, in times of ease we become more:
Less giving
Less loving
Less understanding

Jesus said that He came to give us life to the full, or to give us an abundant life. I believe firmly that He meant He would make us the kind of people who could thrive in all conditions of life. He came so that even pain and suffering and loss could be looked upon as profound and important experiences. An attitude of gratitude allows us to embrace all of life; this includes the times of sorrow as well as times of rejoicing and celebration.

For me at least, it’s been only when God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were present with me in any and all of life, that this abundant life became real for me.

I am living in such a wonderful stage of life. It has never been harder, the challenges never greater, the risks more extreme and yet, never has it been so rewarding.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

You Want Rational?

Here’s one atheist’s comment -

One can’t expect an atheist to understand the seriousness of evil. We actually have a clinical term for those who are incapable of discerning the gravity of their actions. Atheists simply don’t view themselves as people who do any serious wrong. Any wrong that they do admit to, in their minds, should just be ignored by their Creator. The level of personal responsibility that I encounter in atheists is practically zero. Gandolf is a good example of how atheists constantly point to others who do wrong in the hope that this will somehow negate their own culpability.

According to Jesus, that is not going to help. According to Jesus:
. We ARE wrong.
. We chose to BECOME wrong.
. Our world and our relationships both with others and with our Creator are being destroyed because of our choice and that is NOT going to be ignored by God.

Yes, there’s bad news in what Jesus teaches, but there’s also good news:
. The good news is, in the battle of good versus evil, evil has already been defeated. The end is in sight. The eternal banishment of evil will one day be recognised by everyone as being entirely rational.
. The bad news is, at the end of this age, evil and all those on the side of evil are going to be banished from God’s Kingdom - forever and ever.

Most people see that as a good thing.

Most people long for evil to be gone from their lives and from the world.

Most of us are appalled at the consequences upon the earth and upon relationships of the evil that resides within us.

Not so for atheists. These people become furious at God for “threatening them” by saying He’s going to do away with any and every form of evil. They even hate God for warning them that EITHER their evil nature goes (Jesus will remove it from them upon request), OR they will go, along with their evil nature. Atheists see that warning as a threat. Since they are determined, literally at all cost to remain enemies of their Creator, I suppose they should see it as a threat.

Here is the reality under which we live:
. Right now, we humans are tainted with the characteristic of evil. Who’s to blame really doesn’t matter. Evil is part of who we are. The evidence is everywhere, including my blog.

. One day everything that is tainted with evil will be eternally banished from God’s kingdom.

. Jesus will EITHER remove evil from you (He requires your permission to do so) so that you can be part of His good and perfect Kingdom, OR He will remove you and the evil that is part of you from His Kingdom.

Either way, evil is not going to be part of the coming Kingdom. The choice is yours to make. As hard as it is to believe, atheists view asking for the forgiveness of their sins as being more abhorrent than spending eternity in hell. It sounds insane but it’s true.

How can anyone think it rational to refuse the opportunity to be free from evil?
What kind of a person would think like that?

I’ll say it again:
. God has provided a way for evil to be removed from who you are
. God has provided a way for evil to be removed from the universe
. You can be part of God’s good and perfect Kingdom for eternity - OR
. You will be removed from God’s Kingdom, along with any and every aspect of evil for eternity

Either way, evil cannot be part of the coming Kingdom. The choice is yours to make. Atheists will tell you that there is no choice because in atheist-world asking for the forgiveness of their sins is more repugnant than spending eternity in hell. It sounds insane but it’s true.

How can anyone think it rational to refuse the opportunity to be free from evil?
What kind of a person would think like that?

You’ve probably heard of the Serenity Prayer? “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

. How God created the universe is part of what we cannot change.
. Our response to the created order is part of what we CAN change.
. The invitation to become changed is being made even as you read this.

God is entirely just and justice demands that the penalty for evil be paid.

We can EITHER let Jesus pay the penalty for the evil that is in us OR we will pay the penalty ourselves.

So why not just do the RATIONAL thing and avoid eternal separation from God’s eternal Kingdom? You can either get into the life-boat that has been provided OR like atheists, you can stay on the sinking ship, endlessly debating who is responsible for the ship going down.

People who are atheists view themselves as the most rational beings on earth. Why not PROVE that you are a rational human being by accepting the only rational alternative to eternity in hell?

The 1.6% Solution

1.6% of the North American population says that the Bible can’t be trusted in what it says.

Example: Atheists used to say that the account in 2nd Kings 1 and 3 never happened. In fact atheists used to say that the Moabites never existed. They used to say, before they were forced to change their unsupported claims, that any and all of the Kings named in the Bible were “non-historic.” That was the term that atheists used.

Why would they do that? Well, according to atheists, if any document has been included into the Bible it should automatically be considered a lie or legend or myth. If that is true, then these Kings simply could not have existed. In atheist world, that just makes sense.

Then, what is now call the Moabite Stone was discovered at Dibon, Jordan. This inscription confirms the Moabite attacks on Israel exactly as recorded in the Bible.

Sadly, this 1.6% of the population still maintains their position that what the Bible says cannot be trusted. In fact more atheists - not fewer but more - atheists are saying that most if not all of the New Testament is pure fiction. The authors were not the real authors. The events described were not real events. Yes the Christian Church exists today but not because of any of the events described in the New Testament. Atheists must do this or their world-view will collapse.

Will the Moabite Stone and similar examples put an end to these people’s claim that the Bible can’t be trusted? Of course not. Just like those who deny the Holocaust, no amount of evidence will be enough to change their minds.

This is what these people are like. It’s how they think.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Something’s Changed

As I move into my third decade as a follower of Jesus I’m noticing something.

Something has changed - dramatically changed. What’s changed is that I completely identify with Paul when he said, “That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

There are atheists who read this blog who will say, “Paul is insane. They’re both insane. Who would delight in the sorrows of life?”

Well, I do, because where sorrow is, there Jesus is also.

“Blessed are those who mourn.”

That is about as counter-culture a statement as anyone can make. In North America we do everything possible to avoid mourning, suffering, pain, tragedy. Atheists even base their denial of God's existence upon the presence of suffering.

What I’ve learned over the years is that when we stop denying pain and instead step into it with the anticipation of meeting God in the midst of it, we are never disappointed. Instead we find that our lives become grounded in a stability we never dreamed possible. “Those who wait upon the Lord become like Mount Zion, unmoved by any circumstance.” The way to rise above pain and suffering is not to avoid it or deny it’s power, but to live completely in the midst of it. I’m not talking about avoiding the medical system or not trying to remain healthy. I’m talking about releasing our grip on the things over which we don’t have any control in the first place.

An atheist said to me recently that if he were God, He would have created a world where suffering was not necessary in order to experience genuine love. Pretty profound for anyone, let alone someone who denies the existence of the Source of love, his Creator. Another atheist wrote that if he were God, he would have created a universe / world where the people of His creation had the chance to grow and improve - albeit without the help of their Creator. So close to the truth of the matter and yet so far.

One of our problems is that we fail to realise the tremendous resource we have in and through suffering, for precisely that - growth and improvement.

A major key to not just surviving life but to triumphing over life, is when we stop rebelling against pain and step into its power to transform us into someone who is more and greater than who we now are. My experience has been that life comes at us with tremendous and relentless ferocity. I feel like I’ve been pummelled and pounded by events that are not unique to my own existence. But here’s the thing and it’s important. We can rebel against hardship and suffering - which I did for the first thirty years of my life - or we can “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. And the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ - after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong.” 1st Peter 5:5-7,10

There it is! The transforming power that is made possible only and always in the midst of pain and suffering. Hard times bring to the surface characteristics of ours, characteristics that remain hidden in times of ease, that need to be removed from us to - how did the atheist put it? - to grow and improve. God created a world without suffering. “Obey Me,” He said, “and paradise can be yours forever. Disobey Me and hardship and suffering will be your lot until the day you die.”

In light of our present circumstances, my prayer is, “Lord don’t come into my life to change my pain. Rather, come into my pain in order to change me.”

Adam and Eve made the choice they did and this is now the way of life. HOWEVER, because God loves us, suffering does not take place in the absence of meaning and context and purpose. In fact, pain and tragedy can accomplish in us the exact opposite than what satan intended. Rather than destroy us, God can take “Trials and suffering and difficulties and make us more than conquerors.” Romans 8:37.

Adding to the many paradoxes of the Christian life, (win through losing; get through giving; live through dying etc.) with Jesus as our companion, rather than the loss of a loved one or health or wealth or belonging etc., rather than loss taking something important from us, the loss of any of these actually becomes our gain.

“Where I am there My servants will be also.”

Where was Jesus most likely to be found? He was with those who were in mourning. With those who were cast-offs. With the rejects who existed on the fringes of society. Mourning, loss and tragedy presents the conditions whereby we are more likely to find Jesus.

Where Jesus is with us, suffering loses its power over us.

To Laugh or to Cry

That is the question. If you ever doubt the ability of humans to screw up their lives read about this doctor and his "much longer than usual" pelvic examinations.

It brought tears to my eyes - especially the part when "an expert witness" said that "breast examinations are usually done separately from pelvic examinations."

I think the doctor should get whateverman to testify for him. WEM could say that God made the doctor do what he did. The doctor had no choice in the matter.

The 1.6% Solution

1.6% of the North American population says, “We can’t explain how or why:

. There is a life sustaining universe.

. There are a hundred plus exquisitely finely tuned constants and qualities that were in place at Planck time, allowing for this universe to exist.

. There are laws of logic and mathematics.

. There are objective morals, values and obligations.

. Each cell contains the most specifically complex coded information ever discovered.

. Life emerged from inorganic gases.

So we’ll go with the best scientific explanation that we’ve got - “Chance did it. No, better than that, chance plus lots and lots and lots of time did it.”

Problem - time and chance are just words. Words don’t do anything.

It's atheism of the gaps.

Even though these people say that without observation and verification nothing can be believed these people must maintain this implausible position or their belief system will collapse.

That’s what these people are like. It’s how they think.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

All In A Day’s Work

One thing you’ll find in working with atheists is that they’re ALL over the map. They just say whatever seems to suit, in the moment. Check out the comments on the last three or four posts, well, actually, over the last three or four years and you’ll see what I mean.

One day it’s, “What we experience is the feeling of an objective moral code but that’s all it is, a feeling (Kind of like the geneticist Francis Crick, “We have to keep reminding ourselves that what we’re seeing wasn’t designed.”). Any given atheist might tell you that, "What feels like an objective moral code comes from a trillion years of evolution as little by little what works for our survival has become hardwired into our brains.”

Another day it’s, “What we call our moral code is actually the consensus of the collective in which we live. If it looks like it might enhance our survival, we call it right. If it looks like it might hinder our survival we call it wrong. But no individual actually needs to obey the consensus of the collective. You just do what you think is right in the situation that you’re in and that’s cool. If it feels right then it must be right. Right?”

Another day it’s,
“Mak, what you’re doing is wrong.”

“Says you?”

“Um . . . um . . . ah . . . I don’t know what I’m supposed to say or what I’m supposed to believe. All I know is that when Sam Harris comes again, everything will be explained.”

That’s atheism. Say anything. Think anything. As long as it avoids dealing with the fact of Creator God.

Atheism. Absurd, Illogical, Incoherent.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Atheist Consensus

In a debate about where our moral values and obligations come from, atheists told me that the moral standard we perceive to exist has come about by a collective decision. According to atheists, societies, over time, have formed a consensus as to which behaviours will allow them to survive and which behaviours will lead to our demise. The result, they say, is our present moral code.

This of course throws the idea of naturalism out the window since naturalism is a purely unguided process of chemical interactions in which the "I" does not even exist, much less ponder its existence, but that is for another discussion.

In response to this collective morality idea I asked,

"How do atheists explain their consistently doing those things they know to be bad for the collective?"

An atheist suggested that my question was dripping with irony.

What’s ironic about that question? Christianity has an explanation for our involvement in behaviours that are destructive to self and others.

“The heart is desperately wicked. Who can understand it?”

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”

The post that brought these comments was on the topic of Corruption. The fact of personal corruption is the answer that Jesus gave for the sorry state of our behaviours. In reality, it's an awareness of personal corruption that brings most people to a state of repentance. In fact, until that awareness is present, repentance will not and cannot take place. Christians are those who have become aware that we are chronically in violation of an objective moral standard, the source of which is Creator God, and we are hopelessly incapable of rectifying the situation on our own.

Atheists on the other hand say that our moral standards arise from, not Creator God but via a collective consensus. Yet atheists themselves don’t obey that consensus.

Why not?

Atheists say that humans are not inherently evil nor that we have a "sin" problem. The question then arises, if you have the ability to be good, if you have the ability to do what's right, why do you do those things that are destructive to your own survival? If you have control over your behaviours, why do you do things that hurt others and are harmful to the collective?

Atheists (as with all other humans on the planet) don’t even live up to their own private moral code, let alone the collective's consensus.

Why not?

On atheism what is the explanation for the wrong that you do; wrong that goes against the moral standard that was developed in, and with consensus over eons?

Are you just lazy? Perhaps too dull of mind? Slow of thought?

Do you not agree with what the collective has decided? In which case the standard that atheists say exists is itself an illusion, an atheist origin of morality mythology - yet

When you've been wronged you know without doubt that an objective wrong exists. You know that an objective moral standard exists, BECAUSE you wouldn't know that what happened to you was wrong if an objective "right" did not also exist. When you've been wronged, you know and you know absolutely that it has nothing to do with some person or group of person's opinion.

Yet that is what you claim to believe. Does that seem rational?

If right and wrong are just a matter of having made a decision, why not obey the decision that you've made?

How ironic that atheists should find fault with Christians - those who admit to not just poor behaviours but to being evil by nature - while atheists behave badly and at the same time claim to be good.

Corruption? What corruption?

I said yesterday that corruption in North America was accepted, applauded and encouraged. Atheists of course, those who don’t feel corrupt for the same reason that fish don’t feel wet could not believe what they were hearing.

“Corruption? What corruption?”

. We are so corrupt that marriages, rather than being healed and restored are simply given up on lest “one of the parents be killed.” That's what one atheist said is the alternative to divorce - murder.

. We are so corrupt that the child porn business is a multi BILLION dollar a year business

. We are so corrupt that addictions (you know them better as diversions, distractions, dependencies) like eating, relationships, work, cleaning, fitness, busy - ness (Carl Jung said, “Busyness is not of the devil, busyness IS the devil) and more are signs of how emotionally twisted we are. The more we reject God the more we depend on “things” including mood altering drugs to make us forget.

“Corruption? What corruption?”

Only 50 years ago people were genuinely shocked to find corruption in a businessman or government official. Now we expect it. Trust is at an all time low and for good reason. Corruption is here by popular demand and it’s here to stay.

"An evil is going to come upon you that you won't be able to charm away."

Of course, atheists don’t call it corruption. They call it creative honesty or honesty that’s relative to the situation. How did we get to this situation? All society needed was for enough people to move away from God and an objective moral standard, enough people to reach a critical mass of moral relativity and corruption was given the green light. Anyone remember, “Look out for #1"? That’s what British Petroleum was doing in the Gulf of Mexico. Looking out for their own interests. It's what's expected. It's the norm.

Corruption? What corruption?

A person has to be pretty naive to not see that the exponential increase in corruption at all levels of government and business has been a direct result of the “create your own morality” movement of which atheists are active members. Remember, atheists? Honesty is relative to the situation? Remember, how hard you guys worked just a couple posts ago to find situations where honesty wasn’t the best option?

Corruption? What corruption?

400,000,000 (that's million!) children live each day without access to clean drinking water. It would take a one time infusion of about 14 billion dollars to remedy that situation. How could we ever afford that? Right? Can't do it.

Instead each year in North America we’ll spend:
. 350 billion dollars on Christmas presents
. 22 billion dollars renting videos and DVD’s (this does not include attending movie theatres.
. 95 billion making our lawns and gardens greener, including gnomes and bird baths
. 389 billion on restaurant meals including 10 billion on fast food
. 24 billion on salty snacks
. 16 billion on chocolate
. 5 billion on anti-aging creams
. 10 billion on mother’s day flowers and gifts
. 30 billion on pornography
. 50 billion on lottery tickets
. 50 billion on illegal gambling
. 775 billion on recreation

So what if kids die from not enough food or clean drinking water?

Corruption? What corruption?

Atheists can preach collective morality all they want but when push comes to shove we’re all in it for ourselves. How else do atheists explain consistently doing those things they know to be bad for the collective - lying to themselves and others being just one small example?

Forget the global community. The atheist motto is:
Hear no evil
See no evil
Atheism is much easier to believe if you live under the delusion that we're evolving onward and upward.

Each individual atheist believes, s/he really believes that the problems of the world lie at the feet of everybody else.

When it comes to avoiding charges of human corruption, the atheist’s community becomes a community of one.

Corruption? What corruption?

The 1.6% Solution

1.6% of the North American population says that the Bible can’t be trusted in what it says.

Example: The ancient city of Petra was virtually unknown to archaeologists, with only the Bible to give account of its existence. As is common, atheists called Biblical accounts of the stronghold mythological. All the references in Scripture were considered to be figments of the imagination. Atheists claimed the non-existence of Petra as proof for the unreliability of Scripture.

But 200 years ago all of that changed when one man made a legendary discovery. Only 161 kilometres from Jerusalem. Today the site of ancient Petra is a popular tourist destination.

Even though these people say that without observation and verification nothing can be believed this 1.6% of the population still maintains their implausible position that the Bible is unreliable, not because of the evidence but in spite of the evidence. They must do this or their world-view will collapse.

Will this and similar examples put an end to these people’s claim that the Bible can’t be trusted? Of course not.

This is what these people are like. It’s how they think.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

We Love Punishment

Have you noticed that? We love the concept of punishment - as long as it’s someone else of course.

We love to see justice done - to someone else.

I forget the comedian’s name but he’s from Texas and he said, “In Texas, if you kill somebody? We’re gonna kill you back.”

I’m ok with punishment - for the guilty. You do the crime, you do the time. Where I part with some people though, wouldn’t you know it’s atheists, it’s that I’m even a bigger fan of grace.

Atheists hate grace. If Joran Van der Sloot was to ask Jesus for forgiveness, and I mean the real deal. Not some fake kind of conversion to sway the jury but the real thing? God would forgive him. Just like that. Everything that he’d ever done wrong, no matter how many women he’d killed, lies he’d told, scams he’d tried to run. All of that would be forgiven. If Joran Van der Sloot turned his life over to the Lordship of Jesus the Christ, he would spend eternity in heaven with his Creator.

God’s grace is just flat out scandalous. And atheists hate Him for it.

The Bible says that It is, among other things a description of how God relates to us. If that is true then God NEVER EVER turns away anyone who comes to Him seeking forgiveness - No One - Ever.
Not the adulterer and murderer David
Not the greedy and immature prodigal son
Not the thief
Not the prostitute
Not the drunkard
Not the sexually immoral
Not the liar
Not the Christian killer
Not the denier

You name it - God will forgive you for it - If you repent.

Your Creator did everything possible to open the door for the forgiveness of your sins.
All you have to do is step through the doorway.

Atheists call this God a monster.

Oh, there’s lots of condemnation of sinners in the Bible. Lots of punishment, destroying, killing, eliminating. Each person who refuses the offer of forgiveness for who they are and what they’ve done has brought upon themselves in the past and will bring upon themselves in the future the wrath of God.

That’s how it is with Creator God. Regardless of the behaviour, some will be forgiven, and some will be destroyed.

Only one thing separates one group from the other.

On the day of Jesus’ execution this scenario was played out for all who watched. It was played out for you who can read about it.

Only one distinguishing feature existed between the two men crucified with Jesus.
One asked for forgiveness.
One refused.

One saw his sins forgiven.
One said he didn’t need forgiveness.

One received punishment
One received God’s grace.

I love God’s grace.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Nero Miss

The guy’s head falls to the platform. The executioner turns to go home for lunch.

One of the prisoners assigned to the cleanup detail asks, “So who was that guy?”

Another prisoner replies, “I don’t know. Paul somebody . . .. I heard he was one of those new Christians. Nero hates the whole bunch of them.”

Another man, listening through the window of his cell asks, “What if I told you that the guy Nero just killed would one day be better known than Nero himself?”

“I’d tell you that you’re nuts.”

“The head that you just picked up? The very course of history is going to be changed by the words that came out of that head.”

“This head,” says the guy from the cleanup detail, as he throws the head into a basket, “belongs to a stupid old man who didn’t know enough to keep his mouth shut.”

“That head," proclaims the man from his cell, "has written stuff that in less than two hundred years will be taught in every school of thought on the continent. That head has come up with stuff that will be translated into almost three thousand languages. That head - geez - look at all the flies! That head came up with stuff that will influence the constitutions of powerful governments two thousand years from now. It will change the creeds of every major religion on earth. In fact, every major leader of every world government will some day read the stuff that came out of that head.”

“You’re nuts.”

“Mark my words! World leaders are going to try to suppress the words that came out of that head and the harder they try to destroy Paul’s teaching about his leader Jesus, the greater the demand for those words will grow. In fact this execution will cause the spread of what this guy wrote about Jesus to all of the known world. The words that came out of this guys mouth will be included into a Book that will top the Best Seller list every single year for over 100 years in a row. In fact after 30 years they’ll even quit trying to keep track of sales because the demand will be so great.”

“You’re insane.”

“You an atheist?”

“Ya. Why?”

“Just a lucky guess. (Snerk)”

The 1.6% Solution

1.6% of the North American population maintains that Truth does not exist.

1.6% of the North American population maintains that any Truth that does exist is relative to the situation.

1.6% of the North American population says these statements are universally and absolutely true.

That’s what these people are like. It’s how they think.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Who Invited That Guy?

In the Gospels we have an account of Jesus attending a wedding. It’s where His first public miracle takes place. A couple weeks ago, some guy on his blog tried to make the case that this was Jesus’ wedding. You know. The one where He married Mary Magdalene?

Right - Jesus received an invitation to His own wedding. John 2:2

Anyhow, it got me to thinking. Why was He invited?
Jesus wasn’t infamous yet. At least not like it would become in a couple years.
Jesus hadn’t done any major public miracles yet. Not that these people knew about anyway.
Oh, sure, His reputation was already such that when He said, “Follow Me,” (an invitation to be His student) people jumped at the chance.
Was that the hook? The bride or groom’s family recognised His rising star?

“So who should we invite?”
“Don’t forget Jesus.”


From the fact that He was invited, I think we can know that Jesus didn’t come across as arrogant. The Creator of the universe - not arrogant or bragging.

The most brilliant man on the planet and people felt comfortable with Him.

I think we can assume these things because people wanted Him to be there. The fact that He was a radical and slightly heretical (not yet openly blasphemous) may have titillated the people. His love of, and devotion to Father God made Him attractive. Of course a Rabbi who hung out with notorious sinners may have been a draw; especially if this wedding was going to be a major party. A Rabbi who said He was God - Mmm a bit of a risk but still worth the invite.

And why did He go?

He wasn’t there to show off. He balked at doing His first miracle and even when He did change the water into wine, it was as secretive as possible. He didn’t go to preach, teach, heal or demonstrate signs that He was God. So why did He go?

Personally? I think Jesus went to the wedding to have fun. I think that is why He was invited. Jesus knew how to have fun. Matthew 11:19 tells us that Jesus was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard and someone that hung out with lowlifes. Yes we read that He was known as a “man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief and suffering,” but that is just the point. Jesus knew the abundant life.

Most people actually make plans to dig a rut in life as deep as they can make it, jump in as soon as possible and hope to stay there until the day they die.

Keep everything predictable.

Don’t make waves.

Make sure life is pleasant and comfortable.

Jesus came to give us His life.
“I have come to give you life to the full.” Another translation says, “I have come to give you an abundant life.”

The abundant life, a life lived by emotionally healthy people is one where none of life needs to be avoided. When our lives are entwined with the life of Jesus, we need not run from any of what this existence brings our way. We can take hold of Jesus’ hand and with eyes wide open and chest bared to the blast, we can step boldly into life - all of life.

Jesus knew joy. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)

Jesus knew peace. “Peace I leave to you, my own peace I give you, a peace which the world cannot give, this is my gift to you” (John 14:27)

Jesus loved life.
Jesus loved people.
Who better to invite to a party?
Who more likely to say yes to the invitation?

The 1.6% Solution

1.6% of the American population says that the Bible can’t be trusted in what it says. Example: Atheists used to say that Sennacherib was one of the Bible’s many non historic kings.

Why would they do this? Well, according to atheists, if any historical document has been included into the Bible it should automatically be considered a lie or legend or myth.

The Biblical account goes, "So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.". [2 Kings 19. 36,37]

Traditionally, atheists have said that none of these individuals existed and certainly this event never took place.

Then clay tablets were uncovered that describe the same event. The clay tablet of the record is now in the British Museum. It reads in part, 'On the twentieth day of the month Tebet Sennacherib king of Assyria his son slew him in rebellion... Esarhaddon his son sat on the throne of Assyria.'

Once again atheists were proven wrong and the Bible was proven correct.

Will this and similar examples put an end to these people’s claim that the Bible can’t be trusted? Of course not. This 1.6% of the population still maintains their implausible position, not because of the evidence but in spite of the evidence. They must do this or their world-view will collapse.

This is what these people are like. It’s how they think.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

For atheistsnackbar

Snacker, maybe this will be helpful.

Any moral construct (don’t rape, don’t discriminate etc.) that is "invented" or adapted by mankind and that is truly good for society, will BE good for society because it coheres with an objective moral principle that exists independently. Meaning it is right and true regardless of whether you agree with it or obey it or even know that it exists.

Again, “objective” (not arbitrary or relative) because it comes from the Ultimate source of Truth, Goodness, Justice and Love - our Creator.

I’m sure you can see that any of the:
You shall not murder (murder being unjustified killing),
You shall not steal,
You shall not commit adultery etc.

if adhered to by the majority of people on earth would make the world a better place in which to live.

Yes? Of course you can.

Jesus said that all of the objective moral code (the Ten Commandments) could be summed up with:
1) Love God
2) Love your neighbour as you love yourself - or Treat others as you would like them to treat you.

The Objective Law or the Ten Commandments are the details or the specifics of Loving God and Loving our neighbour.
The Objective Law or the Ten Commandment are the specifics of the attitude that we are to have toward one another.

Any man-made law or moral construct that works (you’ve described one or two in earlier comments) will fall under one of the two headings just mentioned.

If man-made moral constructs work across time and culture:
. They will work because they are objectively and ultimately right.

. They will work because they are based upon standards that are objectively and ultimately sound.

. They are objectively and ultimately sound because they originate from the character and command of our Creator who is the ultimate source of Truth, Goodness, Justice and Love.

The Christian base for objective morality is based on Truth. In our interaction with others, when wronged, you and I know in an instant that it's based upon Truth. Because it's based upon Truth it helps in the survival of the collective.

The atheist base for morality is based upon it's ability to aid survival. It may or may not work over time. It is something that will change with the ebb and flow human desire, likes and dislikes, current ideology and the ability to meet our survival need. As such, at any given time, it may or may not entail truth.

What’s Your Worth?

If you read the comments of atheists to my last “1.6% Solution” post, you’ll see them laboriously explaining the ever changing worth of human beings as it follows the ebb and flow of human desire.

Currently in our world we reward those we deem to have worth and value. Those with:
. Physical attractiveness

. Athletic ability

. The power to entertain us

. Education - (atheists deeply admire those with education)

. Intelligence - (atheists deeply admire those with intelligence)
I remember saying once, “Jesus loves morons.” An atheist, Lui, from Australia, said, “That’s disgusting.” I didn’t tell him that one of my children is just a couple points away from that label. Atheists worship intelligence.

. Those with money - especially if they promise to make money for us - are honoured and valued.

. In a secular world, externals are VERY important.

. In a secular world, good character, integrity, honesty, a servant attitude, a humble mentality and meekness are virtually shunned. These things are seen as a sign of weakness.

. In a secular world, those who love the outcast, those who minister to the poor, those who care for “widows and orphans” are by and large judged by the secular world as having suspect motives. (For an example of this, go to YouTube and listen to respected and honoured atheists Penn and Teller’s thoughts on Mother Theresa).

. In a secular world, those in the valued group look for reasons why those who forgo education and wealth to voluntarily serve the fringes of society should not be valued.

. In a secular world, if you say you have one unit of value and your neighbour says you have no value your neighbour is just as correct as you are. In a secular world "might" determines what and who is right.

. In a secular world, those with the least power are the one’s most likely to be devalued and exterminated. The more secular any community / country becomes, the more likely this is to be true.

The 1.6% Solution

1.6% of the North American population says that even though adherents of their world-view, like Peter Singer, advocate the right of women to kill their children until around one month old, there is no way to determine if this action is right or wrong.

According to atheists, it is totally up to the individual to decide what is right or wrong.

That’s what these people are like. It’s how they think

Monday, June 7, 2010

Why Mary?

Many years ago I heard someone ask, “Why did God speak to Mary?” And the answer was, “Because she was listening.”

Listening to God, listening for God, is an aspect of life that has by and large been lost to moderns who call themselves Christians. It has not always been this way.

“One evening as he was walking and meditating in the fields . . .” Genesis 24:63.

In this verse, Isaac was practising something that was at one time common among the people of God - meditation - listening - looking for direction from one’s Creator in one’s own life.

The Bible talks about meditation, engaging with God, or spiritual listening (don’t confuse this with worldly meditation which is about disengaging) almost sixty times.

It means to reflect on God’s law, to ruminate on His works, to listen to what He is saying to our soul. Psalm 119 is one of my favourite examples of descriptions of meditating on God’s wonderful directions.

“I lie awake thinking of You, meditating on You through the night,” Psalm 63:6

“I stay awake through the night, thinking about Your promise.,” Psalm 119:148

“But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. Psalm 1:2

Meditation, spiritual listening involves three things:
. Hearing God’s word
. Obeying God’s word
. Separating from - not for the sake of separation but to be with God.

The principle is simple, the odds of hearing from God, while not impossible, are unlikely if we're not listening, reading, watching, spiritually attending.

The 1.6% Solution

1.6% of the North American population says that the Bible can’t be trusted in what it says.

Example: Atheists used to say that both Herodotus and Daniel were wrong in their descriptions of Babylon. In fact, for many years atheists said that Babylon itself never existed as well as Herodotus and Daniel.

Why would they do this? Well, according to atheists, if any document has been included into the Bible it should automatically be considered a lie or legend or myth.

Now according to Biblical prophecy Babylon, which had become synonymous with evil, would be completely destroyed. Not just a city or a country but a culture would disappear from history. According to God, Babylon would be utterly destroyed, NEVER TO RETURN. Unlike psychics of yesterday and today, God does not make idle predictions. The Babylonian civilization, once an invincible power did disappear completely for over two thousand years - so completely that Herodotus was pronounced unreliable, Daniel a mythological character and the Bible legendary, because they spoke of this civilization of which there was no trace - not until the nineteenth century.

"And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.' 'It shall never be inhabited...from generation to generation." [Isaiah 13.19-20 (See also Jeremiah 50 & 51)]

Not only had this civilization existed, just as the Bible said, it was completely destroyed, just as the Bible prophesied. And then archaeologists found Babylon buried under seventy feet of mud, sand and rubble! The city was surrounded by three separate walls 22 feet, 25 feet and 12 feet thick, running approximately fourteen miles long on all four sides. They found the towers. They were built in a form of terraces - the lowest one was 288 feet square and the total height of the buildings was also estimated to have been 288 feet. Fifty eight million bricks went into the construction of it! The most splendid thoroughfare of the ancient world led in a straight line from the Ishtar gate of Babylon to the tower or temple.

Several times over the centuries reports from Baghdad have made claims regarding projects which aim at rebuilding Babylon as it was in the seventh century B.C. These have never been completed.

Yet before the nineteenth century A.D., and largely because of atheists and their denial of anything to do with Creator God, many were led to doubt what the Bible said about Babylon.

Once again atheists have been proven wrong and the Bible has been proven right.

Will this and similar examples put an end to these people’s claim that the Bible can’t be trusted? Of course not. This 1.6% of the population still maintains their implausible position, not because of the evidence but in spite of the evidence. They must do this or their world-view will collapse.

This is what these people are like. It’s how they think.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pick It Up

Jesus said, “Anyone who does not pick up his cross and follow Me cannot be called My disciple” (Matthew 10:38) To those who call Jesus Lord but refuse to pick up their cross, Jesus says, “Get away from Me. I never knew you.”

The cross we bear in life is not some difficulty that we have no control over. Our cross is not a physical handicap or poverty or a difficult marriage that we simply resign ourselves to live with.

The Cross that Jesus tells us to pick up involves two main things:
1. Choice - Picking up our cross is a proactive behaviour. When we pick up our cross, we are making the choice to obey Creator God. Jesus chose to obey our Father in heaven even to the point of dying.
2. Love - Jesus loved His enemies so much that He carried the penalty of our sins and died to self so that we might have eternal life in His presence.

And then He said: Follow Me. Be like Me. Do what I did. Love as I love.

Carrying one’s cross is ALWAYS a voluntary endeavour. Carrying our cross always involves a choice to obey or disobey our Creator within the context of loving others.

Jesus, our example and character goal, came to earth knowing in advance that He would be lied to, abused, misunderstood, mistreated, rejected, insulted, betrayed and ultimately have humanity do our absolute worst to Him. Yet He entered into a covenant relationship with us anyway because He loves us.

And then Jesus said, “Pick up your cross and Follow Me. Be like Me. Do what I did. Act like I did in your covenant relationship with your spouse.”

Being a follower of Jesus is not for the faint of heart.

Show your children what it means to love God by picking up your cross, becoming a disciple of Jesus and loving your spouse as you love yourself.

It’s important to start today, because you may not get this chance again.

The 1.6% Solution

1.6% of the population of North America says that they base their lives only on what can be proven scientifically. They say they believe only what can be proven scientifically They lie! To themselves more than to anyone else.

Example: These people say, “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.” Actually that is not a scientific statement. Rather it is philosophical.

Who observed that it hasn’t been created?

Who has tested it?

Verified it?

The best we can do is say, “Once space, time, energy and matter were brought into existence, the total amount of energy (usable and unusable) in the universe seems to have remained constant.”

This portion of the population continues to make this philosophical statement and call it science.

It’s the way they are. It’s how they think

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I Don’t Think So

There’s a few atheists hanging around that seem beyond desperate to have me ask them about what they believe and why. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why I would do that.

To me, that would be like Thomas Edison wanting to tell me about all the ways that didn’t work for making the light bulb. It would be like someone in the U.S. government telling me about it’s foreign policy successes over the last 200 years. It would be like interviewing every person who has come in last in each Olympic event for the last 40 years. It's like a junkie asking me to admire the needle tracks on her arms. It would be like reliving the first 30 years of my life.

I’m not interested in failure.
I’m not interested in what doesn’t work.
I’m not interested in absurd world-views, illogical conclusions, incoherent thought systems.
If you like to revel in being a fool, go crazy -

But don’t expect me to be fascinated with your trip to hell.

. To me, it’s like watching a rich world stand idly by as 10,000 children starve to death each and every day.

. It’s like hearing about people die from malaria when there’s a stack of 10,000 mosquito nets right outside the door.

. It’s like reading about a well-head blow out that wrecks the ocean and knowing that it could have been prevented with one extra valve but that was ignored because - well - that might cost a couple thousand extra.

Atheism is tragic, self-destructive, self-defeating ultimately and literally futile.

And you expect me to be fascinated by it?

I don’t think so.

There’s No Way Out 2

When it comes to our sin nature - the cure for our sin nature - the consequence of our sin nature, Jesus is the only way out. There is no medicine for it. There’s no magical cure or degree of effort to resolve the issue. You cannot say, “Cheer up, look on the bright side.”

There is no bright side. Virtually every news item, from the Gulf oil spill to religious violence, to depleted pension funds to Priests violating young boys involves human corruption. Our corrupt self-love invades and permeates every aspect of our culture, of our lives. Corrupt human nature is destroying our families, our countries, the very planet upon which we live.

There is only one cure and that is Jesus Himself.

Through Jesus’ redemption the path back to yesterday’s wrong doing is dealt with once and for all. Jesus steps into the mistakes and hurts and messy places of our past and brings us into a healed and forgiven relationship with God.

Will the planet be saved? No. The ball is rolling and nothing will stop the destruction until Jesus comes again to set things right, to banish evil from the universe once and for all time.

However, until then - When we are struck by the depth of our depravity and turn deliberately to God as He is manifested in Jesus, we will find Him to be the answer to our problem of real guilt.

We will find Jesus to be our only way out. We will find Jesus to be the shelter from the storm.

The 1.6% Solution

1.6% of the North American population says that the Bible can’t be trusted in what it says.

Example: Atheists used to say that because the Bible was the only place that mentioned the Assyrian Monarch Sennacherib and his battle against Judah and Israel, these events never took place. Sennacherib, according to atheists was just one of the “non-historical kings” mentioned in the Bible.

Why would they say that? Well, according to atheists, if any historical document has been included into the Bible it should automatically be considered a lie or legend or myth.

Then three accounts were discovered that were written by the Assyrian Monarch himself of his campaign against Israel and Judah. The most famous is the six-sided prism known as the Taylor Prism. Sennacherib described in detail how he came against the cities of Israel and then Judah, and 'Hezekiah himself I shut up in Jerusalem his capital city like a bird in a cage.'

Once again the atheists have been proven wrong and the Bible has been proven correct.

Will this and several dozen similar examples put an end to these people’s claim that the Bible can’t be trusted? Of course not. This 1.6% of the population still maintains their implausible position, not because of the evidence but in spite of the evidence. They must do this or their world-view will collapse.

This is what these people are like. It’s how they think.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Comedy Central can’t back down

After the hoots and howls of derision that were thrown at Comedy Central for backing down in the face of threats from serious Muslims, how can CC possibly cave to the latest lament from Christians?

It’s been so long since anyone at CC has heard from their conscience, it’s unlikely that any Coalition of Christians appealing to CC’s sense of decency will do a lick of good. The situation is not helped by the fact that much of what passes for comedy today has little to do with humour and everything to do with mocking, disdain and demeaning those who hold that humans have worth and value and dignity.

The plans of CC to offend followers of Jesus as deeply as possible shows that the writers at CC are completely out of ideas. Yet the main audience for shows on CC, those with the emotional maturity of 14-year-old males knows no point of satiation when it comes to crud.

There’s money to be made from this segment of society and when there’s money to be made, any appeal to compassion or tolerance will be ignored.

After all, to appease followers of Jesus is to offend CC's main audience base - functional atheists to a person. And since those who follow Jesus rarely, if ever watch CC, the choice is clear.

Damn the torpedoes - Full speed ahead.

My advice to CC writers? Mock Jesus and ridicule those who are devoted to Him.
Let the world know what atheists are really like. You know, atheists, those people who don't need God in order to be nice people.

The 1.6% Solution

1.6% of the North American population says that the universality of the genetic code is strong evidence for the theory of evolution.

It is not.

In fact the universality of the genetic code is a much stronger evidence for a common Creator.

The theory of evolution does not predict the genetic code to be universal. On evolution one might more likely expect multiple lines of codes in nature. Several biologists state that life probably arose spontaneously from non life in numerous places around the globe “at the same time.”

After all, it had to happen in some universe. We’re just really lucky that it happened to be ours.

This is what these people are like. It’s how they think.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

There’s No Way Out!

The teachings of Jesus are meant to produce despair in the sense that if what He says is true, then our situation is hopeless.

“Be holy even as your Father in heaven is Holy.”
“Blessed is the person who has nothing in h/him for God to find fault with.”

Can we measure up to the standard of perfection? Of course not. Yet Jesus says only the pure in heart can stand before God. If you want to be good enough to be good enough for heaven, the standard is perfection. The alternative is eternity in hell.

There’s no human way out of that predicament.

The New Testament says that Jesus came to make it possible for any and every person to be forgiven of real guilt.

Even you.

No one is so good that forgiveness isn't needed.
No one is so evil that forgiveness isn't offered.

When we are born again the Holy Spirit goes to work conforming and transforming us into the likeness of Jesus. Jesus' righteousness is imputed to us. Many people find that a scary prospect. They would rather remain as they are, rather than be changed into something different. Those people have not yet grasped the desperation of their situation.

So long as we think that we have our morality well within our own grasp, we do not need Jesus. As long as we think that we are good people, Jesus will leave us absolutely alone.

“For I came not to call those who think they are righteous but those who know they are not righteous.”

Many people mock those who claim a “jailhouse conversion.” I understand the temptation. Some of them will be not be genuine. For others however, it is only when we have been hit hard and realise our own depravity, our own helplessness, that is when we find that it is not a cowardly thing to turn to Jesus. It's in those times of reality that we realise that Jesus is the only way out.

The 1.6% Solution

1.6% of the North American population says, “Best Evidence” or “Agents of Causal Adequacy,” that are KNOWN to bring about the effect in question are judged to be better candidates than ideas that are merely theoretical.”

Because that is a scientific axiom, that’s what these people say they believe.

In reality, what they rest their faith upon is something entirely different. When the Best Evidence points to an intelligence other than our own, then all bets are off. Then any atheist origin of life mythology is acceptable.

What do we experience now, in the present, that is capable of producing digital code or specified complexity? Intelligent design.
What does our uniform experience tell us is always responsible for the development of highly formulated information? Intelligent design.

That we consistently observe this to be true is critically important because this portion of the population DEMAND that nothing can be believed without consistent observation and verification. Snerk! Atheists have the highest motivation to accept this premise but that makes no difference when it comes to their blind faith.

When it goes against what these people WANT to believe, best evidence or causal adequacy means absolutely nothing.

Because an intelligence that pre existed our own is required for the results in question (the specified, formulated, coded information that governs life) this small portion of the population says that this information and the cell’s information processing ability is the only exception to the rule. In this case, they say, the equivalent of 1000 volumes of specified, formulated, coded information evolved from inanimate, inorganic gas.

That’s what they say.

The single most crucial example of where intelligent design is required (second only to the existence of the universe) to explain the observed evidence and these people say that the scientific axiom does not apply.

Even though these people say that without observation and verification nothing can be believed these people maintain this implausible position not because of the evidence but in spite of the evidence. They have to or their belief system will collapse.

That’s what these people are like. It’s how they think