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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Answering the comment - Do atheists deserve to go to Hell?

Leviticus 18:4
You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God.

I have known atheists who I thought were great people, absolutely. Not every atheist I ever met was "great people" - I have met some who were miserable examples of humanity. I am not going to even try to try to figure out a percentage or anything. Just a clarification. This is not intended to be a post per se: It is just too big to fit in the comments thread. In fact, it is going to be about half rant. But it is going to be a very long answer to a commenter. Let's begin:

"Radar, this would be a good moment to repeat the question I asked you a while ago but never got answered:

Do you think the atheists you personally know and who are - by your own admission - great people, deserve to go to Hell to be tortured for all eternity simply for not believing in God?"

What I think doesn't matter. What you think doesn't matter. What is true matters. God is good. God is light. God is truth. God cannot lie. He does not consider gray areas or balance out levels of righteousness. He simply separates good from evil. I believe the Bible is true. If you do not that is your choice. I suggest that you consider that choice carefully because it truly is a matter of life and death.

According to my understanding of scripture there is not one person on earth who is completely good. You who read this blog, can you dissect your motives for any good things you have done and found absolutely no self interest there? In Isaiah God compares the righteousness of men in their own eyes to used menstruous rags in relationship to absolute good.

Isaiah 64:6 -
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

So neither you nor I are good enough to go to Heaven. We all fall short of perfection. God is perfection and cannot spend eternity in the presence of sin. So He came to earth in the form of a man to deal with the problem of sin.

Jesus Himself said that there is none good but God. It finally dawned on some of the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, God in the flesh. He made it very clear that mankind had a way to avoid the sin penalty by accepting the sacrifice of Himself which would soon occur. Only God could live as a man and avoid sin, therefore only God in the form of a man could pay the price tag for sin for all of mankind.

For so many centuries believers had sacrificed animals and asked for forgiveness and atonement year after year. God accepted their honest belief as righteousness in advance of the actual solution. When Jesus came, the sacrifices were no longer necessary. When He was crucified the veil in the Temple (a massive piece of fabric of immense size and weight, by the way) split from the top down. Jesus had told his followers of a day of judgment coming within one generation and, sure enough, the Temple was destroyed and torn to pieces stone by stone in AD 70 by the Romans. God wanted the world to see that Jesus Christ was the Last Sacrifice and the Messiah.

Going back to the beginning about that sin problem.

God made man with free will. He could choose to do or not do things as he wished. God only had one rule...just one. Otherwise Adam and Eve did as they pleased. They were innocent, they did not know right from wrong. Therefore nothing they did was sinful. Also, with no sin ever passed down to them they retained an innocent nature. They did not want to hurt anyone or any thing. But that literal tree of the knowledge of good and evil had to be there so that man did have a choice and that he would not be a robot, an automaton. There had to be a choice to obey or disobey God in order for man to have free will and be an independent sentinent being able to interact with God.

One man chose to sin. By knowingly eating of the forbidden fruit and knowingly disobeying God, he brought sin into his soul and the spirit within him became a dead spirit. Eve had been deceived but Adam knew what he was doing. I think Adam knew Eve was "going to get it" from God for eating of the fruit and could not bear being parted from her and so ate the fruit. I would love to have an exclusive interview with Adam and Eve to nail that aspect down! No matter, sin had now entered into man and into the world. Man had given up his right to rule the Earth. Death came into the world along with sin. We have all paid for Adam's transgression during our earthly lifetimes as we deal with sin and death and disease and sorrow. But we are not able to keep ourselves from sinning or atone for anything we have done nor can we use a twelve step program to eradicate our sin nature.

One man, Jesus Christ, paid for that sin. God, who hates sin, willingly lived as a man (Jesus Christ) surrounded by it for 33 some odd years, constantly dealing with temptations but always doing good and following the will of God the Father. He was then illegally tried and executed by crucifixion as the prophets had said hundreds of years previously. But He was able to rise from the dead and present Himself to the Father as a suitable sacrifice to atone for the sins of mankind.

All men can accept that sacrifice and be released from being judged. Or, they can refuse the payment of their sins and be judged on their own merits. No one can withstand that kind of scrutiny.

God does not send men to Hell for their lack of belief. Demons believe there is a God. He sends them to Hell for being sinful. He cannot spend eternity with sinful beings. Everyone deserves to go to Hell. Those who reach out to Christ for help, to save them from Hell, they do not go there. All other people do.

In computer terms, pretend normal people are gif files (picture file type) but the only file type that can be displayed in Heaven is jpg. Receiving Christ is much like converting a picture from gif to jpg. The picture will still look the same but the format has undergone an actual transformation. It looks the same to the eye but it is changed.

Sinful man requires a conversion to Christian format in order for God to allow him into His presence for all eternity. The transformation of the spirit of a man is real. God has a presence within everyone who actually makes the decision to be saved/born again/whatever term you wish to use. All who are converted will, upon the death of their temporal body, join God in Heaven. All who do not must still exist somewhere because the spirit is eternal. So non-converted people go to Hell.

Just as non-converted gif files will not display on a computer program that requires jpg, non-converted people will not exist in the presence of God. They are deleted forever.

Now you can argue about whether you think this is fair all the rest of your life. The fact is that (and there is an amazing amount of evidence to support this outside of the Bible) all men and women descended from that small family of Noah's that came out of the Ark and they all knew and trusted God. Some of them taught their children to follow God and some did not. Those who did not brought destruction upon many of their children and children's children and that is on them. People who willfully turned away from God and set up idols like the Egyptians and the Indians and the Chinese and the Druids and on and on and on, they were descended from people who knew the truth.

Anyone of you who read this blog have been presented with the gift of God. You cannot say you do not know of it and have not heard it.

Do atheists deserve to go to Hell? Yes. I also deserve to go to Hell. I have not always done everything I should do and I have often done wrong. Even many of the "good" things I have done were out of self interest. Realizing my lack, I turned to God to fulfill the Law for me, for I am unable. Through Christ I am redeemed, my sins are atoned for and I am not only forgiven but declared to be a Son of God and a joint heir to all eternity with God.

By the way, I "said a prayer" to please someone as a younger child. I did not really completely understand salvation and I did not mean it, I just wanted the other person "off my back" and happy.

As an adult, when I realized God was real and Christ died for my sins, it was very different. Even as I began to pray to be saved I felt a huge change within myself. There was an unexpected experience that accompanied my decision to follow Christ. I did not understand at the time that I had just become a "new creature" but my life from that moment forward demonstrates it.

I went to seminary and spent a few years working in evangelical ministries that required me to spend long hours knocking on doors in poor parts of Chicago and East Chicago and Hammond and Gary. We were usually in gang-controlled areas and I learned a lot about gang culture. At least once each week I walked in places (always with a partner) where the police warned us to avoid. I trusted that the gang-bangers would respect us Bible-thumpers, although primarily out of superstition, and in fact they did. What caused me to spend hours doing this, to get up in the darkness before dawn to go and get a bus to haul kids and teens and adults to a church service? Because inside of me was a desire to please God and the authorities at the seminary and the bus ministry and the "Fisherman's Club" evangelical ministry told me to do it for the sake of Christ. I wasn't trying to work my way to Heaven, I was sure I was going already. I just wanted to please God and work for Him. My wanter was different.

I have led lots of people to Christ, at least to pray with them to ask Jesus to forgive their sins, be their Lord and Savior and live in their hearts. I am talking about schoolkids and teens on up to adults nearing 100, in church, on buses, in nursing homes, in special meetings, going door to door and as an official church evangelist and even at work. I wonder how many of them were real and how many were simply pleasing me? For simply saying a prayer is of no more eternal value than skipping a rock on the surface of a lake. It seems kind of cool for a few seconds and then it is gone! I tried very hard to avoid "meaningless prayers" but the odds are that at least a few of them were either insincere or misunderstood. Alas...

I admit I sometimes fell prey to the idea of comparing my works to other's accomplishments. I took pride in standing up each week in Fisherman's Club because I had prayed with one or two or three or four or five people to receive Christ. I would sometimes lose sight of the fact that only Jesus saves and I was simply the moving mouth He used to bring someone to Himself. I got caught up in the competition for numbers for awhile, I admit it. Pride? Not exactly a Christian virtue.

It is also true that many at seminary thought they were kind of justifying themselves by their works and realized after awhile this idea came from the pulpit. Eventually I figured out that Fisherman's Club was misusing scripture to convince people to attend church and stand up to be recognized as new Christians by the use of a verse that meant something entirely different.

Allow me to explain. These are two of the verses we memorized in the King James Version to help explain salvation to people, but the second one was used to convince them to come to our church:

Romans 10:10 - For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Now this verse helped me explain to people that just a prayer was not worth anything, it was a matter of making a decision and believing in that decision and in Christ. Perfectly good use of scripture and absolute truth. If a prayer is not an expression of a decision of the heart, it is just words.

Romans 10:11 - For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

We were taught to ask people if they were ashamed of Jesus, that great Son of God who had just saved them. If not, they would therefore come to church and stand up and let everyone see them because if the prayer was genuine they would not be ashamed. Poor new Christian just feeling all excited about being saved and now here we are pressuring them to do something uncomfortable before even giving them a chance to enjoy the conversion experience!

Problem is, after studying Psalms and Isaiah I found enough references to show me that this verse did not mean that at all! It meant that those who had been saved would not be ashamed in front of God but rather received by Him as a son or daughter. It meant Christians would be accepted by God, they would be His sheep and not one of the goats.

I went to the head of the ministry to ask him about it and he agreed with me. But he told me that using the verse that way got people to come to church so he promoted it, even though it was deceptive to do so!

Yes, this is a sidebar but what the heck. I realized that Fundamental Baptists of this particular ilk were making a habit of intentionally misusing scripture. I would find something, bring it to leadership and they would usher me out with bromides and Jesuit-style explanations. I realized that leadership believed in doing bad in order to accomplish a greater good. Guess what? Hitler told himself that very same thing. Before long I found out that many in leadership at this one particular seminary and associated church were involved in adultery, promiscuity, theft, bribery, graft, kidnapping, child abuse and homosexuality. Turns out that Pharisees never have gone out of style, they just change wardrobes and nametags. My internal wanter wanted me to drop out of seminary and go away and that is what I did.

I struggled to find a church where people concentrated on the Bible and discipleship and not on the length of one's hair or the style of one's music. There are churches that love to use the term, "Of the devil." Pretty much everything I have heard ascribed to the devil was actually just the good old flesh. The rest of it was a style choice. Is playing a guitar "of the devil?" Is going to the beach "of the devil?" Is a woman "of the devil" because she prefers jeans or shorts to a dress? Some of these fundamentalist churches are incredibly focused on minutiae and completely missing God.

(Very rarely do you actually encounter a form of demon possession and even then it is usually a demon obsession, where a person is not really controlled by a demon but rather seeking the leadership of one. Just an FYI. Demons usually prefer to be under the radar and subtle. They are usually only exposed as being in control of someone when that someone suddenly begins to fight. Satan wants everyone to think of him as a nice little cartoon character with a tail and pitchfork, kind of a rascally little guy who was invented by some Bronze Age Walt Disney.)

I found many churches where they wanted God to be a slave, required to obey you when you uttered the right words. I found churches where God was a ponzi scheme. There are churches that should be named "Blab it, Grab it!" or "Name it, Claim it!" and many television preachers should just admit they are in it for the money. There are many churches that tell you to give more to God in order to get even more back, as if God was a money market fund that was running hot. There are churches that think God takes over your tongue or knocks you out like a prize fighter or causes you to contort and convulse on the floor. There are churches that teach you that God wants you to bark like a dog or growl or howl with insane laughter.

There are also plenty of churches that present God as a Big Buddy. Let's all get together and be nice to each other. People are nice. God is nice. We have nice little Bible stories to tell. Let's encourage each other and walk out smiling. Y'all come back now, hear? Let's try not to do any bad things and let's all try to do good things instead as hard as we can without, of course, being stressed out about it. No muss, no fuss, no demands on us!

Most television ministries I have seen are a waste of time. There are an awful lot of misguided and insincere and even plain evil folks taking on the name of preacher or pastor or apostle or priest broadcasting on the cable channels and seeking to grab a share of your money. The sincere ones are few and far between.

No wonder there are so many people who have a negative concept of God. There are so many churches and so many people who have slapped the "Christian" label on themselves that are so far away from His will for their lives they would need a GPS locater and a transcontinental flight to get there.

But the Bible stands as evidence. There are plenty of ordinary churches who are based on the Bible with no tongues, no legalism, no emphasis on endless giving and an abundance of actual Christian love, care and concern. There are several of these kinds of churches in my area and I go to one close to my home. Debbie and I joined it right after we married and we devoted ourselves to working for God in association with that church. We both work in the Youth ministry (I am giving the message next Wednesday, yay!) along with my son Rob and we have small groups within the big group to whom we minister and with whom we talk and pray and goof off with for about a half hour every week. Even when I am sick as a dog I drag myself to Youth Group. It is just so awesome to do something God wants you to do and know it. It is a lot of fun!

Hmm, drifting off topic. Now back to our movie!

There was a guy I worked with who knew I was a Christian and was annoyed that I talked about my faith with others. In 17 and one half years at that factory I helped bring five people to faith in Christ. That is only about one every three years. I am apparently not a remarkable evangelist? But then leading someone in prayer while on an assembly line in public, or while on break sitting on concrete steps is kind of different than being in a church setting. I saw big changes in these five people. Two of them saved marriages that were about to break apart. Another had been fired, but after receiving Christ and praying with me the company called her back and gave her another chance. One became an elder at a local church a few years after praying with me. One formed a Christian rock band!

Anyway, the guy? He kept confronting me about Jesus on breaks and during shift changes, loudly making fun of my Christianity and I kept my cool. But one day in the company lunch room he just pushed it too far and I told him the truth, to this effect (approximate quote, did not memorize this word for word):

"You can say anything you want. You can get away with calling me names because you know I won't do anything about it. You can get away with calling God names because He isn't ready for you yet. But you are just a grasshopper on the railroad tracks cussing the train. When that train comes it is going to run you over and as it hits you you will realize the truth. You versus God is no contest."

It was funny. The room went silent for a moment. The guy stared at me and said nothing, then walked out of the room. Everybody went back to talking again and I went to sit down and eat my lunch. That guy used to try to call me names to see if he could get a Christian to punch him but after that he just avoided me. I don't think I intimidated him, I think maybe he had a brief glimpse of an actual outcome that would involve God as train and him as grasshopper and being around me made him think about it?

I confronted him in the public area because I believed his comments needed to be refuted publicly and I hoped that perhaps he would rethink his belief system. I don't know if that happened but he wound up being fired within a couple of years and I lost track of him.

There was a woman who often made fun of me and laughed about me reading my Bible at break or the idea that I was a pastor at a church (assistant, not head) at the time. I never confronted her. You see, there is a portion of scripture in Proverbs chapter 26 that tells me this:

4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you will be like him yourself.

5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes.

Sometimes God tells you within which situation is applicable. The guy fit the criteria of verse five and the woman seemed to be a verse four. Wisdom is understanding which verse applies to which situation. The guy was publicly challenging God. The woman was just personally mocking me because she hated God. But she didn't challenge God, she just made fun of me. Don't misunderstand, I did not go around whacking everyone with a Bible and most of the people I worked with liked me. I was elected to a leadership committee while I was in the Union and then promoted to the Audit department by management and then promoted into management and out of the Union. I was popular enough at the time. I knew both these people were not so much attacking me, they were unhappy with God. But they expressed this in different ways that called for differing responses.

Psalm 14

–To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 The fool has said in his heart,
There is no God.”
They are corrupt,
They have done abominable works,
There is none who does good.

2 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
3 They have all turned aside,
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.

Are you really going to tell me you have always done every good thing you should have, you have never done any bad thing ever in your entire life and are therefore completely and perfectly good?

James 2:10
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

So I think I have answered the question. Atheists and in fact deists and theists and non-theists and buddhists and islamofascists and every other ist deserves the same fate. On my own I deserve that fate. Only receiving the Atonement of Christ saves me from being a fool who will be cast into Hell. There is no religion that can suffice.

Galatians 2:16
know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Translating the squared circle of religion

"Jesus preached the Law to those under the Law so they could clearly
see that they could not keep the Law."

I will use a comment from Chaos to begin this follow-up post. I will intersperse his comments with my own in blue and then go on from there:

Chaos Engineer said...

I'm a bit late but I guess I'll take a stab at this...

I think the root of the confusion is that there are two different and incompatible Christian world-views about morality and salvation, and it's not clear which one you hold.

There are far more than two such views but I will make it very clear by the end of this post, I hope.

There's the "universalist" tradition, which teaches that what's important is that you reject sin and embrace virtue. Absolute perfection's impossible, but God will be happy as long as you're making a sincere effort. Matthew 25:31-46 is a good summary of this way of thinking.

Just another form of the works philosophy here. Do my good works outweigh my bad works? Most people seem to think and hope that, if there is a God, He will weigh their works both good and bad on a scale and the scale will tip towards the good side and they will be saved. Jesus did not teach this at all and it is not Christianity. In the passage you mention, first the sheep are separated from the goats in verse 33. Born-again believers are the sheep, unbelievers are the goats. Then the sheep are attributed with every good work and the goats with every evil work or every lack of good. I will go into this more later in the post.

There's also the "exclusivist" tradition, where what's important is that you believe the right things. If you want to get into Heaven with a minimum of effort, you have to learn and recite the Sinner's Prayer, and then you're safe as long as you make a half-hearted attempt to reject a few sins every once in a while.

You do not get the concept at all here. Saying a prayer is of no more worth that doing a dance or bowing down before an idol. Simple belief that there is a God or Jesus is of no use (Obviously Satan and the fallen angels believe in both God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit as well and it does them no good at all). But read below and we will cover this.

I call this "exclusivist" because the offer of salvation doesn't go to everyone. It goes to the people who are smart enough or lucky enough to be able to figure out that the Sinner's Prayer is the only possible way to salvation. (The reason for this is a bit of a mystery. The Calvinist view is that there are some people that God just doesn't like, and so He won't permit them to be saved.)

First, all people were given the opportunity to follow God because He puts a knowledge of Himself within them. Second, we Christians are taught to preach the Word around the world. There are missionaries in every country on earth, the message is on the internet and on the airwaves and Wycliffe Bible Translators (one of the missionary groups Debbie and I support financially to a small extent) is busy translating the Bible into every single known language. Third, the ancestors of every person on earth were given the opportunity to follow God and teach their children to do the same. If you were not taught, part of that is the sin of your ancestors and they knowingly allowed you to be ignorant.

For most of your essay, you seem to be pushing the universalist view; but there are a couple of places where you seem to be falling into exclusivism. Like this bit:

I am going to Heaven because I belong to God, not because I go to church or teach teenagers or give money to my church and to missions and all that stuff.

There are plenty of new Christians being born again in Asia right now and I hope to think I would have converted whether I was Asian or not. Consider that I was a:

1) Arrogant know-it-all elitist

2) Druggie who was constantly stoned (even at work) and adding other fun things like mushrooms or opium or hash or PCP and so on for the fun of it.

3) Drunk who never went a day without alcohol in some quantity. I doubt I ever had fewer than three beers in any one day from 1976 to 1979 and except for when I turned myself in to get off of the needle in 1975 I was drunk or stoned or both every day since 1973 until the day I was born again.

4) Lead singer of a drug and sex oriented rock band.

5) Hung out with a gang of druggies and drunkards with no connections to any church or religious people in my life.

Which implies that you wouldn't be going to Heaven if you'd had the misfortune to be born in Asia and had converted to Buddhism instead of Christianity.

Well I was in a group of people to whom Jesus was as foreign as Zoroaster and yet I got saved.

I guess I'll finish up by posting a link to my very favorite essay over at Slacktivist, The Rise of the Anti-Huck. It graphically points out the difference between the exclusivist focus on salvation (as shown in the "Left Behind" books) and the universalist focus on morality (as shown in "Huckleberry Finn").

You do greatly misunderstand the teachings of Jesus to the Jewish people and I hope everyone reads that link to Slacktivist and then comes back!

Chaos answered

First, I do commend Chaos for his powers of observation, because he has nailed the behavior and apparent motivations of a large number of people who call themselves Christians. You make some valid points. Personally I decry the shallow and misdirected teaching in many churches and in most television preachers and evangelists. Fire insurance Christianity and casual Christianity do not glorify God nor do they fulfill His will nor do they attract positive attention. Who is going to be excited about hypocritical or mediocre Christians?

In our church we are pushing people to live up to the change within them. Not to be right with God or help guarantee salvation, but because God expects us to grow to be more like Him and do what He would do. Huck Finn's dilemma was not a dilemma for a dedicated and mature Christian. The Bible tells us to obey every law of God and man. Note the order listed here. I would expect that God would overrule slavery laws and Christians in England and the United States led the fight to end slavery. Huck was not able to understand all the choices but he made the right one, even though it was uniformed.

Second, I do agree with Slacktivist in so many areas. I think the Left Behind series is reprehensible, based on bad theology and reflects the nature of someone other than God. I am a preterist and I believe that Revelation was written to the Christians of the day, warning of the murderous intent of Nero and that the fall of Jerusalem was about to happen. When you read Jesus' predictions of a day coming of judgment He says that it is coming quickly and in Revelation the word quickly and soon are often used. Two thousand years is not soon but somewhere between five and ten in John's case and within a normal generation in the case of Christ does fit the bill. Few people who teach this doctrine understand what they are teaching and frankly find themselves abandoning the Bible to find outside resources to try to augment their case. Slacktivist rightly points out the selfish and ungodly attitudes of the main players in the LB series and the ridiculous premise that God wants to kick the Earth's butt and bring back a Temple (since sacrifices are no longer needed) and that the Jews are any longer a different animal from others. Today's Jews do not sacrifice or keep the Mosaic Laws or have a temple or do much beyond study and teach each other to practice the behavior recommended by a series of priests down through the years. True Jews follow Yahweh, God, Adonai, Christ and not a religion.

Seriously, if God has set up Hell already, what is the idea of chasing people around with monsters, turning the seas into blood, having a temporal war on Earth with a puppet of Satan and just tearing everything up while making life hellish for new believers who have been "left behind?" The prophetic language of Revelation fit in nicely with that of Ezekiel and Daniel and should be read the same way. The entire premise of a Tribulation with an Anti-Christ was thought up in the early 1800's about the time that Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses popped up on the scene.

Salvation revealed?

Third, I want to discuss the words of Christ as found in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. You will often find Christ saying something that seems extremely legalistic. Let's take the quote:

"What must I do to be saved?" the young ruler asked Jesus.

"Sell all you have and give it to the poor, then come, follow me," Jesus replied.

This is within the context of the teachings of Christ. Jesus came to a people who were depending upon the Law to save them. They did not see the Law as being a temporary covenant with God that was to be superseded by a better covenant, despite the prophetic messages of prophets past. They (most of them) were not looking for a Messiah to bring a new covenant and a solution to the sin problem, they were looking for a military and political leader to exalt the Nation of Israel to the pinnacle of all nations.

When Satan tempted Christ in the wilderness, one temptation was to present all the nations of the world to Him and give him immediate rulership over all of them if Christ would bow down and worship Satan. At that time Satan had rulership over the Earth because Adam had relinquished it to him when he sinned. Jesus of course rejected Satan but found that the people of Israel and especially the religious leaders wanted the very thing that Satan had presented to Christ - to rule over all the world. (When Christ died and rose again, having fulfilled the Law and paid the price for sin, He was also able to take the rulership of Earth back from Satan).

What Jesus did was to go about doing good - healing the sick, raising the dead, encouraging the crestfallen- while preaching the Law to those under the Law. His point was to make them understand that they could not do it, that the Law was too hard for mankind to keep perfectly and all those sacrifices of bulls and goats could never eradicate their sins. They needed to see they needed the true Messiah, the solution to sin, as their answer to the sin problem. So Jesus preached the Law to those under the Law so they could clearly see that they could not keep the Law.

Now back to that quote, which was a paraphrase and not a quote. Here is the passage in NKJV with bolded portions by me:

Matthew chapter 19 - verses included - 16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

Don't fail to see what the real question is here. The young man asks what he can do to justify himself. Jesus tells him that in order to be perfect he will have to give up everything and be just like Jesus, following in His steps. Now this is impossible for the young man to do perfectly anyway, but he does not want to do it because he loves his money so he goes away unhappy. He wanted to be told that his good works would outweigh his bad and Jesus would not tell him that. Because it isn't true.

Jesus Christ first preached the Law so people would realize that the Law could not save them. He exposed the hypocrisy of the Priests and Lawyers/Scribes of the ruling class of Jews (guys who would literally have a trumpet sound so all would see the size of the offerings they would place at the altar...offerings made from their riches obtained from the common man and the ruling Romans alike) for the common man to see. He challenged the accepted wisdom and rejected the man-made rules (like the Talmud and the Torah) that had been substituted for the Law of God as the baseline for what was good and right.

As I have already explained in detail, Jesus lived a perfect life, became the only acceptable Sacrifice for the sins of mankind, rose from the dead to offer eternal life to those who would make the decision to believe in Him and depend on His death, burial and resurrection as the Atonement for their sins. If they would do it, He would change them into new creatures whose internal "I want" mechanism would be redirected towards God. Christians do not change in appearance but inside their spirits are renewed and reborn and they become children of God. God receives His children into eternal life and those who are not children? They are the goats. Everybody has choices, we can all choose God or not-God.

Some people think that following a set of rules and regulations will save them. Go to church and say prayers and read the Bible and confess sins and get baptized and give money and never get divorced and etc. But that is not what the Bible says.

Romans 4:1-3 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

When Adam and Eve sinned, God sacrificed animals and made them clothing of skins. Down through the ages, men who followed God believed in Him and made sacrifices for their sins. Moses did it. Isaac did and Aaron set up a system of priests by God's command to make sacrifices on behalf of the believing peoples. Now Christians who believe in God and "sacrifice" certain behaviors and monies are following an Old Testament covenant. God set up sacrifices because it required that animals die and shed blood. The people depended upon the animals for food and clothing and only killed them to survive or to atone for sins. Death is a serious thing. God wanted man to see sin as serious. God wanted man to long for a sacrifice that would end all sacrifices and actually do away with sin once and for all.

Some people believe they can follow the ways of Buddha. Hindus. Muslims. Pagans. All sorts of religions have things you must do or accomplish to reach some kind of salvation but Christianity does not! Many of my Christian brethren do not understand this completely and many of them have mixed motivations and are confused. If they ever did receive Christ their confusion may hinder them and muddle the message of Christ but it will not keep them from Heaven.

After Jesus had taught the Law to those under the Law and convicted them of their inability, He began to show them the truth. He said in John 14:6... “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Read John chapter ten sometime. It is true that God knows who will and who will not accept His gift of salvation. He offers it to all but, being omniscient, He knows who will accept. The choice is left up to each of us individually, however. No one makes you say yes or no. Both Jews and Gentiles can be sheep. Some of us hear His voice and follow Him. Some turn away. The cool thing about God is that He will keep calling and calling those that turn away.

2 Peter 3:9 (New International Version)

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

God is probably going to be trying to get through to you until the day you die. After that, you will either spend eternity with Him or see Him just one more time. You will get a chance to present your works to Him at the time of judgment and I do not like your chances, since you will have to be absolutely perfect to avoid being cast into eternal darkness.

"That is a geek's view of salvation. You are the firewall. God has
a massive firmware upgrade for you and it is free. You simply have to accept the download. If you don't you will not be compliant."


For those of you who are computer geeks to any extent, I can give you a good analogy. Suppose you have joined a company that has made you the network administrator. You have a big old firewall, stateful inspection firewall, in front of your network and then routers and switches and servers and workstations and printers. You have software subscriptions for anti-virus and anti-spyware and anti-spam that you see you will have to renew each year. You have a rudimentary patching program in place. You have various work applications running. Typical small network.

However, you are a bank or medical office or a library so you have been confronted by the need to adhere to SOX or HIPAA or CIPA or whatever other government regulations that apply to your vertical and the cost of software to prove your compliance seems pretty high. You do not have the funds for the additional software solutions, what can you do???

Well, the firewall company has the answer. If you will agree to keep their firewall running (no additional cost to you, just agree to keep it) they will give you a firmware upgrade that includes content filtering and IPS and Identity-based Active Directory compliant logins and encrypted email and VPN ability and other bells and whistles all for no cost. The upgrade even includes a reporting tool that is crafted for CIPA, HIPAA and SOX and etc preconfigured for easy use with exportable charts and graphs and all that cool stuff CEO and CIO types like to see.

The trouble is that you do not believe in the firewall company. You do not believe there is a central office somewhere that can broadcast something and radically change the OS running on that firewall. You do not trust such a thing. So you do not accept the upgrade. The firmware remains the same. You cannot afford the other solutions to make you compliant.

Audit day comes, or a lawsuit comes, your company is found lacking in compliancy and faces a huge fine and you get tossed out into the street!

However, if you would believe that the company can truly upgrade the firmware you accept and they broadcast the update and it changes the firewall tremendously! Suddenly you have the ability to meet the government regulations, you can filter content and monitor internet and application usage and generate reports to reflect it all. Your company is compliant, lawsuits are unlikely and your job is secure. The firewall looks exactly the same on the outside, but on the inside it is a new thing entirely.


That is a geek's view of salvation. You are the firewall. God has a massive firmware upgrade for you and it is free. You simply have to accept the download. If you don't you will not be compliant.

It is not the saying of magic words or the clicking of heels, it is a decision. It is a decision that changes your inner nature.

If you refuse to believe in God, then you refuse to believe that there is a Creator who has the ability to upgrade your firmware and you will refuse the gift. You will forever be looking at the exterior of firewalls and trying to figure out why some are like me. I will never make sense to you. You will continue to believe that the Universe just happened and had no First Cause. You will continue to believe life has no great purpose and will live to please yourself until you die. You will ignore every philosophical or scientific argument that disagrees with your own and happily find a majority of people who completely agree with you.

Do you really want the truth?

Because of Jesus Christ, when it is time for God to judge all men and women for their lives I will belong to Jesus and all of His good works will be attributed to me. I will be ushered into the sheep side. In other words my place with God for all eternity is already reserved and it will be because I am His child and not because of anything I have ever done.

You who have determined to ignore God and shake your fist at Him? I tell you right now, when John and when Isaiah and when Daniel and all these other men of God, when they found themselves face to face with a vision of God they fell to their faces, sometimes passing right out, blown away by the difference between their humanity and God's Holiness. You, if you reject God now, you will not even be able to stand in front of Him before that throne. You will be cast into Hell for all eternity. Right now I hope and pray that you will not be one of the goats. But when that time comes and you pass from life to death it will be too late. No second chances.

Go ahead and ask about people you think may not have heard that Jesus saves. You who read this blog cannot say that. I have done my duty by you and I pray and write long articles trying to convince you to open your eyes and see God all around you. Especially any of you who are scientists, who know that the Universe is designed from the largest structures to the smallest. You know that virtually every creature and plant is symbiotic with other creatures. How many millions of organisms do you think live in your body right now? You are a Universe to microbes, my friend! There are plants that require insects to propagate, insects that require plants, fish that need coral and vice versa and on and on and on and on. You think the Universe created itself? You think life designed itself? You think millions of kinds of living things not only evolved but evolved together so that their lives depend on each other? You have great faith in coincidence beyond measure but cannot see the God right in front of your face. Now I find that to be amazing!

How many of you have great faith in blind chance and cannot conceive of a Higher Power? Do you understand within yourself why you choose this path? It truly puzzles me because despite my lifestyle I was driven to understand truth. Doesn't everyone have an inquisitive mind and a desire to grasp the meaning and nature of life?

I know there are great sinners who prefer not to believe in God because they wish to stifle guilt concerning their behavior. I don't get the idea that the consistent commenters here fall into that category. I will gladly answer any of your questions concerning salvation and sonship and the Left Behind series and anything that involves this post, so do not be afraid to speak your piece and ask your questions.

Titus 3:5 (New King James Version)

...not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Squaring the Circle about Religion

Cartoon link

To quote Creeper:

"Hi Debbie, hi Radar,

I'm looking forward to seeing Radar try to square this circle. I'm familiar with quite a few people who believe in God in some way but have issues with organized religion - but the two of you'd be the first that I've met that proclaim a beef of this kind while both being extremely active in your local church. What then is the exact problem you have with organized religion?

My apologies, Debbie, if I'm including you unfairly in this btw.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding something, but I guess we'll find out when Radar puts up his next post.

-- creeper"

This is the perfect question in the context of our discussion of worldviews on this blog. As we have covered in great detail, your worldview is the set of preconceptions and the values and beliefs that you begin with when you look at the world and consider problems. Those of us who believe in God include Him in the realm of possibilities and atheists do not, which makes an atheist an inferior scientist in my view. We have had this discussion for some time.

Religion is another thing. A religion is an applied belief system and let us first use an online dictionary to consider just what it is from I will make notes in between in italics.


1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

This could also be a definition of worldview, but okay this fits in many cases.

2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

Organized worldview also an aspect of religion although not quite.

3. the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.

Now we have committees!

4. the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.

Hmmm not sure if this belongs here.

5. the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

Now we are getting somewhere again.

6. something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience: to make a religion of fighting prejudice.

I think this is more like it.

7. religions, Archaic. religious rites.


8. Archaic. strict faithfulness; devotion: a religion to one's vow.

On point.

I would go to this extent: When I talk about religion, I talk about the idea of what people believe will define their lives or will bring them to an afterlife. To be very specific, I believe that religion as applied is a system of rules and regulations that, if you obey them, take you to heaven or paradise or nirvana or (fill in the blank).

We have seen this definition lived out before our eyes. When the Twin Towers fell, when the plane hit the Pentagon and even the jet that crashed in the wilderness because the passengers rose up to stop the terrorists, these were religious acts. The men involved believed that they were acting on behalf of Allah and that the one way to guarantee access to Paradise is to die in the cause of Muhammad, to die a martyr in the act of killing infidels.

The Nation of Israel is well acquainted with this phenomenon. Little Palestinian children are taught that to die in the process of killing innocent Jews is an act of great patriotism and godliness. Remember the old posts where I linked the Palestinian equivalent of The Mickey Mouse Club in which little kids were taught to chant songs and poems about killing Jews and Americans, in which they were drawing crayon pictures of buses blowing up and showing "cartoons" featuring young people strapping bombs on their bodies to kill people? Religion.

Religion in many churches in this country is a matter of adherence to traditions and codes. Go to the correct services, say the right things, wear your hair or clothes in a certain way, go to Heaven. Early in my Christian life I went to a center of Fundamentalism where I soon saw that people were judged (by others) based upon their clothes and their hair style, the size of their Bible, how loud they said, "Amen" and how often they went forward to repent and rededicate themselves to God. If you went up too often you were just not right with God. If you did not go often enough you were hard of heart.

Now, at first I was just a dedicated new convert just reading my Bible and trying to learn how best to serve God. I was a transformed junkie/drunk/wastrel and I had tunnel vision. I was learning to be a pastor or possibly a school administrator depending on God's calling. I had come from an active church in which the Bible was taught as the basis for a Christian lifestyle and I expected to find the same in seminary. I was wrong. I attended college for two and one half years and began that second half of year three when it all came crashing in on me. I understood that the religion being taught at the school I was attending was a system of works and rules and that appearances were valued above the state of the heart.

Of course my realization happened just as I was offered a nationwide singing ministry. This is ironic, as I had just become the lead singer in a hard rock band when I met Christ. For the second time possible fame as a singer was laid at my feet...or I could do what I thought was right to do. Both times the decision was exceedingly hard. First I had to lay aside the chance to be Robert Plant and then I had to give up the opportunity to be Ray Hart (you may not know that is but he was big in his circle and a regular on the Johnny Carson show). My mother was a professional singer, I was a good songwriter and singer (in my opinion) and yet I had to walk away from this portion of my being.

Now these events and decisions led to a time of personal crisis as I found myself reevaluating my relationship with God and Christianity. I am very glad of this now.

The pastor of the church I attended wound up being involved in a terrible sex scandal and his son lost his wife and his church when his briefcase was stolen and wound up filled with pictures of him and another man's wife with less than adequate clothing and etc. The church I went to right after that? The pastor went to jail for abusing underage girls, including his own daughter! The head Bible teacher at the college and his wife went to jail for keeping a young girl as a slave in the basement of their home. There were kickbacks being paid to people for directing students to jobs and housing. I know way too much about way too many things that were happening behind suits and ties and skirts that ended at or below the knees.

I believe now that this is what Jesus saw when He came to Jerusalem and took at look at the Pharisees. They wore their fancy robes and big phylacteries and kept up the appearance of righteousness while being kept in cushy luxury on the backs of the common man and with the help of the ruling Romans. The common man was unimportant to them and the will of God was unimportant to them. Adherence to a lengthy set of rules and regulations was all that concerned them. Moreover, it was the long treatises written by generations of priests, the Torah and the Talmud, that most concerned these Pharisees and Sadducees. Whether someone was starving to death was of no concern but everyone in the priesthood would be horrified if this man's wife combed her hair on the Sabbath!

Here is the entire chapter of Matthew 23- 1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. 13But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. 15Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. 16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it. 23Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ 31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’

Now any of the scripture above bolded was done by me. Consider that Jesus, that one guy who never sinned, the Son of God, the Creator of the Universe in human form, is cussing out the Pharisees and Sadducees. Yet what he is saying is not sinful because it is completely true.

I may be calling out many of those who call themselves Christians but I truly believe that following rules and regulations will never get you to Heaven. No one can always do right and no one can escape falling into temptation now and then. No one is able to stand before God and say, "I am perfect, I have never sinned."

Can you? Of course not! Neither can I. You can stamp a label on me but I can never ever live up to the standard of perfection. Jesus Chris was able and He was crucified by the ruling Romans and the ruling Jews. They thought they were ridding themselves of an annoyance who was stirring up the common man and daring to speak the truth. But, in fact, they were performing the Sacrifice that was necessary to bring salvation to mankind. All the generations of bulls and goats and doves sacrificed at the altar in the Jewish tradition according to the Law of Moses were symbolic of the One Sacrifice to come. Throughout the Old Testament scriptures the coming of the Christ was told, but the Jews at the time did not recognize Him. They were looking for a political leader who would kick the Romans out and set up the Jewish Nation on the throne of the temporal world. But Jesus came to kick sin out and provide a remedy for the original sin of Adam and Eve. He came to die for us and shed His blood for us as a sacrifice, His perfect life in exchange for your imperfect life.

I can go through scriptures (and have before) detailing how this is done, but here is the bottom line - I do not adhere to a set of rules and regulations to provide myself with righteousness.

The Bible teaches us that when we accept Christ as our salvation and ask Him to forgive our sins and be our Savior, we are changed. It is not that we do different things, although that is likely to happen. I certainly have made many changes in habits and behaviors and beliefs since becoming a Christian. But the big difference is that I became a child of God.
II Corinthians 5:15-21 - And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

A Christian is a new creature because he has become a son of God. He has been judged to be covered by the sacrifice of Christ and therefore has already been written into the Book of Life. Was the Law wrong? No, the Law was written and given to the Jews with the understanding that they were to keep it to the best of their ability and yet would be required to make sacrifices in order to seek atonement for their sins. It was all temporary atonement, it was done year after year until the Messiah would come to free the people. Sadly for them, most of the Jews quit looking and waiting for Messiah and became used to being people who followed rules and regulations and traditions.

Galatians 3:19-26 - 19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

So you see, I am not religious. I do not depend on my works and deeds for my relationship with God. I have SONSHIP. I am a child of God. Not because of me, but because of Him. I was just able to comprehend who God was and accept His gift of Salvation. God came within me and has been working on changing me from the inside out ever since.

Have I tossed aside cursing and illegal drugs and drunk driving? Yes. I am aware of what the Bible teaches and I do try to obey. But my salvation just does not depend on my actions. Be sure you understand this point. I am going to Heaven because I belong to God, not because I go to church or teach teenagers or give money to my church and to missions and all that stuff. I have been in many ministries and given much time and money and talent to the cause of Christ and I do not consider any of it to mean a thing when it comes to my salvation. I have been on the board of directors of a big ministry, made videos that were sent around the world, I have both sung and spoken to large audiences and held pretty much every title you can hold in a church and I tell you that God does not take that into account.

It all comes down to sheep and goats. It all comes down to being a child of God or not. You are born a child of man. God gives you life, in fact He created life and an entire Universe to house you so that you would have a chance to live and come to know God and have the opportunity to live forever with Him. This Universe is winding down, it was a one-time deal and it is eventually going to be gone. But for now men and women are being born and living and dying. For now all that live long enough to be aware of right, wrong and God are being given the choice of God or not-God.

All men are born with the inner sense that God is. One has to drown that sense or follow it. I did my best to drown that sense and did so for years but a very patient God kept after me. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit of God just kept prodding me and that other Christians kept being put in my path. One day the convergence of a man with God's message and my questioning mind and my troubled heart presented to me the clear choice - I understood salvation, I understood that Christ died for my sins and I understood that the choice was on me. I could accept or deny. At the moment I understood Truth I accepted Christ and gladly agreed that I was a sinner who needed salvation and wanted God to live in me.

I do not live a religious life. I do not depend upon my actions to save me. I live a life of relationship in which I do try to please my Father and my internal "wanter" has undergone a change. Because I love my Father and seek to please him I generally appear to be a religious man. I do study my Bible and pray and various things like that.

But my sons, who live at home, they sometimes hug me or tell me that they love me and I do the same to them. They would still be my sons if they never spoke a word to me. But kinship and love causes them to follow my ways, respect my house rules and so on and so forth.

You see, if you are a son you are a son whether you live at home or elsewhere. If you are a son in jail or a son in Congress you are still a son. If my mother would claim not to know me I would nevertheless still be her son (she is actually rather fond of me). If you are a daughter you are a daughter at home, married with children or living in the gutter doing drugs. Kinship trumps actions or clothes or pay grade.

If you depend upon religion, you wind up focusing on external things and miss the inner truths. If you think just doing something over and over saves you, then you become your own salvation and God is no longer involved. If man could save himself, he would not need God. But he cannot and God offers salvation for free. He paid every bit of the price Himself.

Can you understand? I hope this is clear. My Christian lifestyle is a result of my sonship and my love of God and the internal rebirth of Salvation and is not in any way an attempt to justify myself or win my way to Heaven. I am not religious. I am simply a loving son.

Ben Hartnett, most excellent cartoonist!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

2 Million in DC for 9/12 and Obama runs away...

912dc- Panoramic Photo – March on Washington

Photo courtesty of OneNerveLeft blog as attributed below in the body of the blog post. Her blog probably loads the picture bigger. Even at that this picture cannot take in the crowd.

PDF of careful calculations with a value of a crowed of nearly two million on 9/12

Some of my commenters are in a frenzy over the 9/12 Tea Party gathering in Washington, DC. They have lost their grasp of reality. There were somewhere between 6500 and 6700 bus permits issued for the event and a conservative estimate of people arriving by bus would be 350,000 people. But most people drove in or took a plane or a train or transportation other than a bus. It is hilarious how the libs and Democrats are trying to hide the numbers of people who are now getting involved in protesting the actions of this administration. But the guys running for office in 2010 are beginning to pay attention! Because now millions of voters are angry.

We are angry that the government keeps taking our money and blowing it or giving to other people. We are angry that the government shuts off the water to farmers around Fresno, California and send it out to sea in order to try to protect a two-inch long bait fish while putting tens of thousands of people out of work and into poverty and sending food prices skyrocketing upwards. We are angry that a personality cult is being built around Barack Obama, that he carries his logo around with him like a royal seal and that he is completely out of touch with reality.

How can people still believe in the guy? Let me give you a book list:

Animal Farm by George Orwell
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
1984 by George Orwell

Don't tell me that Obama is not a danger to society unless you have read these books. If you have and you still believe he is no problem, then I do not know what to say but at least you are not ignorant, you are simply unconvinced.

The pastor who introduced me to Christianity wrote the following this week:

" Having been born in 1932, I lived through WWII and still have very vivid memories of many aspects of it (I was very interested in the military as a child and probably followed the war more closely than many my age). I have also read extensively regarding the war and its causes (I have actually read the full, unabridged six volume history of the war written by Winston Churchill).

It is my conviction that had the German people been able to distinguish between the position of authority and the man who held it, much of what happened would have been aborted almost at the start. They simply said something to the effect of we are going to follow the leader because he is the leader, and he is going to lead us on to the greatness we have been denied. We all know where that ended.

And also...

">To be truthful, Glenn Back sometimes gets on my nerves, and I don’t appreciate his inappropriate language either, but I hope you haven’t been missing out on the story he has been promoting all week regarding the corruption of the organization supposedly committed to community improvement that is known as ACORN. Every Christian should be outraged at what was involved. In brief, ACORN workers were trying to help a young couple establish a house of prostitution in which under-age girls from Central America would be the workers. Some of the tapes were beyond belief. Two very courageous young people did this on their own with a hidden camera. The interviews are the clearest, openest indictment of anyone or anything that I have ever seen. The agenda-driven media sought to ignore the whole thing, but have finally caught on that they can’t escape coverage. With one or two exceptions, the coverage is inadequate, inaccurate and wrongly focused (they are actually seeking to shift the blame to the reporters who risked so much to expose such a cesspool of corruption). In case you have forgotten, President Obama once worked for ACORN, he worked with ACORN during the campaign, and he promised ACORN “a place at the table” in his administration.

>Loraine has promised me that she will keep a roll of duct tape handy and will cover my mouth with it the first time I begin to show signs of senile dementia. It has been tragic to watch Strom Thurmond, Tip O’Neil, Robert Byrd, etc. drift into the sunset while still making public statements. Now we have Jimmy Carter doing the same. Yes, there could be another issue involved here. Somewhere in the deepest part of his conscience he must know that he was, indeed, one of the worst Presidents our county has ever had (in my estimation he was the very worst of the worst). Could it be that he senses he is about to lose that single distinction to the current President and is making a fool of himself deliberately to be sure that his place in history is not snatched from him?

>Why do I have such strong feelings about Jimmy Carter? Well. For one thing, I do believe he was the most incompetent, ineffectual and insignificant President we have ever had (but to be fair, he managed to do a great deal of damage to our country in a relatively brief period of time in spite of his ineptitude). I also despised hypocrisy, and I believe Carter was guilty of the worst form in that he professed to be an evangelical believer while actually harboring a strange mixture of liberalism, personal opinion and misunderstood (and usually misquoted) Bible passages. As time has gone by, in my opinion, he has verbally unpacked his garbled version of Biblical Christianity and brought shame and reproach on all evangelicals.

Yes, well Obama is certainly on pace to do more damage than Jimmy Carter ever did. But back to the 9/12 event in the Nation's Capitol.

A pair of people who attended the event were describing the details to a small group of us this morning at the aptly named Conservative Cafe. They drove to DC in from Indiana and took about twelve hours to get into the DC area, but found that hotels in DC were all full. They had to go south to Alexandria, Virginia to find a room. They reported that, beginning on the Ohio Turnpike they had cars honking at them and waving and giving them thumbs up (they had some 9/12 stickers and signs on the car).

They decided to come in on Thursday and spend Friday touring around Washington, going to the monuments and memorials and running into thousands upon thousands of other people in for the 9/12 event. By Friday afternoon the DC police and Park Service knew they were going to be experiencing massive crowds by the bus permits and hotel reservations alone. Yet Barack Obama fled Washington rather than face the people!

Deborah (not my wife, another one) has some great reporting on
She told us that on Saturday morning they tried to hop on the Metra train to get to DC but even though they were at the first stop the train was full! The crowd on the train and the crowd at the station cheered each other and the train pulled away. They were able to board the second train, but it filled up by the second or third stop. Metra must have had an amazing rider count on Saturday, I wonder who will be willing to share the information?

The crowds had to begin moving toward the main meeting site early because there were far too many people and the police asked the marchers to begin moving. You have all had the chance to see a constant flow of people down one street for around 3.5 hours. But that was just one street. People were coming from the south and north and east and west, clogging all the local streets. The freeway was shut down and all the roads surrounding the Monument were closed to traffic, for they were full of people.

One of the police told Deborah that "These were the best-behaved protesters he'd ever seen" and there were no arrests made of 9/12'ers despite a couple of attempts by liberal loons to cause a fight. Ironically, ACORN operatives showed up with Gadsen Flags trying to make money on the protest but when the police checked their vendor license they did not have one but identified themselves as ACORN. The crowds pointed and booed and shouted "ACORN" until the ACORN workers fled.

Descriptions of a crowd of 75,000 are ludicrous! 750,000 would be ridiculously low. We now have enough video and analysis and wide-angle pictures to guesstimate the crowd at around two million, just as the British press did at the beginning.

Of course the "mainstream media" did not cover the event, which means that CBS, ABC, NBC and CNN have completely given up any semblance of news reporting. They are in the pockets of the liberal progressives and that is why they are losing viewers and credibility and money. Only C-Span and Fox News did any real coverage along with hundred and thousands of bloggers. Thank God we still have freedom of speech, although Obama is compiling an enemies list, as you no doubt know.

This picture above is courtesy of another blogger who attended the DC Rally and has some terrific posts, Dr. Kate.


Meanwhile, while the major crowd went to DC, those who could not rallied at hundreds of other places around the country on Saturday. There were two such rallies within a half hour of my home and I know the one in Highland, Indiana drew about 100-150 people. So while two million made it to Washington, DC on 9/12, hundreds of thousands more gathered at parks and courthouses and other such areas all around the country protesting big government, socialism and Obamacare.


This is much like a local event recently at Valparaiso. A small group of people announced a pro-Obamacare "vigil" at the courthouse so when Tea Party people found out they came in droves. Around sixty to one hundred Obamites were gathered at the courthouse. Surrounding them on all four sides, with crowds from the roadway all the way to storefronts and going back down sidestreets were hundreds of Patriots against Obamacare. My wife and daughter and (future) son-in-law all attended and for awhile lost track of each other in the crowds. Debbie estimated perhaps ten times as many people against Obamacare plus all sorts of cars driving by honking and waving and giving the Patriots thumbs-up.

One local paper said the Patriots outnumbered the Obamites by "over two to one." Yeah, like a ten spot outbuys a dollar bill by over two to one! Another paper waited until three hours after the event began and most of the Patriots had gone home. The Obamites remained and then got a count that was about even. But even the paper that admitted the Patriots outnumbered the Obamites easily posted three pictures of Obamites and one of Patriots and interviewed Obamites rather than Patriots for their article. Boo to you, Times and Post-Tribune!


At the gathering of people at the Cafe this morning we had a wide variety of people and views - men and women, bikers and construction workers and housewives and businessmen and retirees. We had military vets. We had registered Democrats, registered Republicans, we had independents. We had a politician who is running for office in 2010, we had a guy clutching a book by Ron Paul, we had a woman in a wheelchair, we just simply had kind of a cross-section of America in one small crowd. We were there to talk about future Tea Party events and how to encourage more town hall meetings with our representatives in Washington. We listened to each other. Will Washington listen to us? I think they either will listen or they will be moving back home after the next elections because I think the Patriot/Tea Party movement is for real. People who didn't realize what they were getting when they voted for Obama, people who used to just not vote, they are joining conservatives seeking to have a say in government.

NEXT POST - Religion, Worldview and Christianity explained. All commenters who are confused about my stand, guess what, I have not expressed myself clearly and concisely enough and that will be rectified I promise!

PS - I forgot to give Mr. McMahon the last word...

To My Buddies On The Left: This Is Why We're Laughing AT You

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Radaractive on Hiatus? Not exactly.

The Brits (with no dog in the fight) say there may have been a million people in this crowd. There were Tea Party rallies all over the country on 9/12, some attracting many thousands but the biggest was in Washington, DC. The crowd filled the parks and the streets around the Capitol area. Maybe the low end of a real estimate would be 300,000 in DC and who knows how many thousands at many other locations around the country, including two within about a half-hour of our home. Check out pictures of the DC event.

Nope, I am very busy writing for the Fanatasy Lounge. Between finishing up the NFL draft kit and working on the NBA draft kit I am going to be very busy for at least another week. I will give you a few links to chew on as I finish up my other work.

ACORN is revealed to be what we knew them to be...evil crooks. What is more scary is that the major networks would not report on this. Charles Gibson, ABC News star claimed on a Chicago talk show that he had not heard of the ACORN videos. I suppose he had not heard of the many pending charges of voter fraud being pressed against ACORN either? Remember the Obama speech where he promised ACORN that they would be a big part of molding the course and policies of his administration? Does that mean the government is getting into the adolescent child prostitution business?

The Tea Party movement is being underreported
. I will have a post about this coming soon. Eyewitness accounts showing the news media deliberately giving false information about the size of a Tea Party rally.

Barack Obama is trying to set up a personality cult like Kim Jyung Il of North Korea. We have already seen our school children taught to sing Obama songs and write essays about how they can "Help Obama." Wasn't it John F. Kennedy who said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Now we are being asked to do things for a person?

One Czar (a position utilized by Obama to keep Congress out of the loop) has been discredited but Cass Sunstein is a fruit loop. Van Jones is not going to be the last to fall if anyone has any sense. I mean, Sunstein thinks animals should be able to sue people!!! He also wants to regulate the internet and prosecute bloggers who cannot prove every aspect of everything they say! He believes that government should have a "Paternal" aspect. Can anyone say Big Brother?

The Russian people of the early 20th century hoped to have some control over their lives and have a chance to reap the rewards of their labors. They eventually put their support behind the Communists, who replaced the Czarist government with a totalitarian government of another ilk. Joe Stalin slaughtered more innocents than Hitler. Peasants under the Czars became peasants under the Lenins and Kruschevs.

The German people of the 1930's kept thinking that their leader, being legally elected, needed to be followed and respected. They kept thinking it until their entire country was at war with the world, their population decimated, their infrastructure destroyed, their neighbors (or they themselves) hauled off to camps to be enslaved and /or butchered and/or tortured. It was too late for them by then, of course. The lies of their leader and the wild claims thereof masked an entirely different agenda. Our current President is not big on being truthful, either. Joe Wilson may have been unmannered, but he was right and his actions caused changes to be made to the hopefully soon-to-die bills coming down the line. Behind the scenes, the politicians made the required changes to the bills but in public they began playing the race card.

Guess what? The race card is played by Democrats to try to keep power. They want a racial and economic divide in this country. It is like those stupid beer commercials where the guy steals beer from a high-end restaurant or a luxury box or the owners boxes at a race track and gives it to the "common people." In real life this guy would be booked for larceny and go down to a police station in cuffs. In real life his company WANTS to sell beer to anyone, rich or poor or in-between.

The Obama administration wants to tell poor people that there actually is a free lunch and will bankrupt the country to do it. His party pushed crazy mortgage loan laws that collapsed the economy and then used the collapse to help put themselves in office, whereupon the economy really took a nosedive.

People need jobs and training, not handouts. They need to be motivated, not satiated. Capitalism works, communism always fails. But liberal elites have one desire that goes beyond the desire to lie about the environment or the economy or establish a socialist society; they want to be the rulers of that society. Make no mistake, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden believe they are better than you and I and, well, some animals are more equal than others. Barack Obama may be more a figurehead than a leader but he is in charge and his cohorts and mentors are some of the most radical of Americans.

As I mentioned before, my biggest business deal of 2008 was pulled off the table when the Japan-based client began to believe Obama could win the election. Then, when he won they cancelled the project until future notice, expecting the US and World economy to go into the crapper. Maybe if a Republican is elected or about to be elected in 2012 I can make the sale? Perhaps even if major Republican gains are made in the 2010 election? But then we need conservative Republicans. Rinos like, sadly, John McCain often do more harm than good.

Our way of life, our Constitution, it is under attack. Some of it is direct, some secret and some subliminal. For instance the Public Television outlet, Channel 56 in Gary, Indiana, has a logo that is always displayed at the bottom right of the screen during their shows. Compare their logo to the Obama logo:

The logo is displayed without text during television shows, so that it appears as if a form of the Obama logo is constantly being displayed on government-funded television. PBS has long been a liberal farce, but this is getting ridiculous. Whatever happened to the PBS face logo?

Is this the Death Star? God help us!!!