Archive for May, 2008

16
May
08

The doctrine of man

Still reading Richard Dawkins’ book

Well chapter two sure starts off with a bang (I couldn’t resist the pun). Dawkins violently dishes out a string of adjectives describing who God (supposedly) is. The rant, several lines in length, is all one sentence. Are you ready?…

The God of the Old Testament 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 misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriously malevolent bully. -Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (p. 31)

I have read the entire Bible cover to cover. Dawkins’ assesment seriously discredits him as a researcher and author. His attempt to rip verses severely out of context, pervert their meaning and piece them together for his own cause, may only be obvious to some. Unfortunately, many of his target readers have probably not read much of the Bible and they just eat up what Dawkins spoons out.

I have to wonder how Dawkins would describe humans? I imagine he’d be considerably gracious.

If the above quote by Dawkins were attributed to humans, than I would whole heartedly subscribe to it. If our parents disciplined us, then we hopefully have learned some manners. But who of us ever needed to learn how to do wrong? Seriously, how many children do you know readily admit their fault? Children know when they are in trouble, and they’ll do what they can to get away with it and escape discipline. And what child isn’t familiar with justice? From a very young age they know too well when they have been “stiffed”. They know it almost instinctively and scream, “THAT’S NOT FAIR!” We still scream that slogan. This isn’t learned behavior, it’s in us from the very beginning. We are selfish and proud beings dead in our sin. Doing right, however, is something we constantly battle. It goes against our nature.

If you don’t believe me just watch how people drive on the road! If THAT isn’t enough…listen to the verbal lashings we give each other when we lose control of our tongue. Notice how horribly we mistreat those we love after a bad day at work. Observe the madness on black Friday when shoppers trample each other for a hot item. See how we fight our pride when we know we are wrong and need to apologize. Look how easily we lose our patience when we’ve been wronged, or EVEN just merely inconvenienced!–a telemarketer calls, a retailer loses our order, we get stuck behind a slow bus, my burger is missing the fixings, someone cuts in line, the world doesn’t bow to ME!

To think we can live moral lives on our own is like the blind leading the blind. It is not our nature to love, serve or do what is right. If it was our nature, it would come easy for us. Forgiveness would be our first impulse and we’d have to count to ten to get mad!

All of us ponder the question “why does God allow bad things to happen?” We do it ourselves! We deserve to be damned. If left alone we’d destroy ourselves completely. God is not oblidged to redeem us. The question ought to be, why (WHY!) would God restrain evil? WHY does He allow good to happen to us? WHY does He, in His great mercy, spare us from what we justly deserve?

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11
May
08

Final Rule

My co-worker, Anna, and I took a day trip to the beach yesterday. Yay! Road trip!

We met at eight in the morning so that we could get there in time for lunch, which we packed in a cooler. She drove, I navigated. This was tricky because I had to decipher Anna’s scribbled-down directions. Needless to say we pulled out the atlases. (We don’t have a GPS.)

We were doing great as long as we followed the scribbled directions and checked it against the atlas. The two were actually coherent. But as soon as we started to second guess the directions and atlas, and went with our feeling instead…we got off track and in the wrong direction.

There needs to be a final standard. If all we have is our “feeling” to direct us…then where will we end up? If all an architect has is his “best guess” for measurement, what kind of house will we live in? Even the HundertwasserHaus in Austria–as deliberately crooked in design as it is–was built with precise measurements. And you can bet below the surface the foundation is straight and solid. There must be a Sovereign Rule, an authoritative standard by which we live. Why do people have a hard time with this (including many Christians), yet nobody has a problem with clocks, rulers, scales, or maps? Is that a double standard?

On a side note…I wonder if GPS will weaken our ability to read a map like the calculator diminished our skills in Math.

 

05
May
08

The atheist bias

I am reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I am interested in the book because I am at least acquainted with a few atheists or agnostics and I desire to better understand their perspective.

First of all Dawkins uses the term religion to identify belief systems which assume the existence of a supernatural higher power. Although Dawkins makes a typical association, religion actually is nothing more than just a system of beliefs and practices commonly shared among a group of people. Objectively, atheism is a religion. But Dawkins is not objective. As much as he would perhaps like to deny it…atheists do infact maintain common beliefs, just like any religious group, and their creed might be as such: “God does not exist. The universe is self-sustaining. We are a product of evolution. And when we die that is the end.” Whether or not I’ve rendered their convictions accurately, their beliefs (or perhaps disbeliefs) are the frame work of their world view. As open-minded as the atheist pretends to be, they too filter ideas through a constructed world view. They too impose a bias. They too are religious.

Moving on…

Professor Dawkins begins his book with the observation that atheists do not receive the respect and liberty they deserve but are instead discriminated against on account of their personal beliefs. He includes an opinion apparently voiced by a recent president (whose name I will not disclose as I am not interested in a political slaughtering) which implies that atheists may not necessarily qualify as worthy citizens or patriots. Although Dawkins admits that the comment could be invalid, he invites the reader to substitute the word atheists with Jews or Muslims or Blacks. “That” he concludes, “gives the measure of the prejudice and discrimination that American atheists have to endure today. (43)” Is he proposing that the discrimination towards atheists matches the discrimination suffered by Jews? Do all atheists in America today claim to suffer the same persecution parallel to the holocaust?! After a statement like that I am inclined to take Dawkins about as seriously as I would a sulking whiny child. Poor troubled atheists, they are so victimized. I wonder if you insert the word “Jews” or the word “Muslims”, or insert “Buddhists” or “Mormons,” or “Christians” whether Dawkins would affirm the supposed comment. According to his bias, no religion (aside from the religion of atheism) is worthy of respect.

I will continue this in another blog. This entry is long enough…

03
May
08

World without God?

If chance be the father of all flesh, disaster is his rainbow in the sky. And when you hear state of emergency–sniper kills ten, youths go looting, bombs blast school–it’s but the sound of man worshiping his maker. -Steve Turner, English Journalist

I am reading Richard Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion. Dawkins, if you do not know, is an athiest. He does not believe there is a God, any god, or supernatural being of any kind. He is so certain about this that he devoted hours of his time to build a case for it and write a whole book on the subject. (I will write more on his writing in a later blog.)

What does a world without God look like? I don’t know whether Dawkins will answer that in his book or not, I haven’t read that far yet. Although I would guess for him, he would consider it redundant to even give such an answer, because as far as he is concerned we live in one.

Without a Creator I suppose we are here by accident? What a depressing world view. If we are here by chance, then what purpose do we have? Any? None more, perhaps, than to defeat the weaker species. Sounds awfully close to Hitler’s mission. In the words of Ravi Zacharias, “If life is by accident than I can remove you by incident.” Is this what Dawkins and atheists like him desire?

Is that not Hell? Eternal separation from the Sovereign Lord and Maker. The cursed will receive just that what they desire, even if it is met with severe disappointment. The irony.

MY desire too…save for the grace of God! This I find incredibly humbling. My faith is not my own. Soli deo Gloria.

Note: I know the use of male pronouns to represent both sexes is not “politically correct” in this day. For now, just understand that (in context) I am referring to the entire human race. I refuse to employ “gender inclusive” language, I will explain this in a later blog as well…




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