The Prejudice of Unbelief
by Paul Ross
“When you argue with reality, you lose, but only 100% of the time.”
Our universe is bigger and more profound in its physics and structure than anyone ever hoped to imagine. Its existence, and ours, is one of the deepest mysteries that astounds the human mind. Where did it come from? Why does it exist? What is its purpose? These are all questions that haunt our very existence. Why does there have to be a universe in the first place? Why should anything exist at all? If nothing existed in the past, then nothing would be the reality now, and we would not know anything about it. Instead, we live in a universe rich and seemingly endless in its beauty, grandeur and design: mountains, the stars, the planets rotating in mathematical precision, sunshine, fresh air… Now, we can only be living in one of two kinds of universe: a universe created by God, created for a purpose, with a destination in view or, a universe that came out of nothing, for no particular reason, with no particular destination in view. In this article, I’ll be focussing on the existence of God. I will do this by beginning with a definition of His nature as explicitly expressed by Christ. When He identified the Creator as a being that is nonmaterial and incorporeal, He declared to his disciples that God is a spirit. The dictionary definition for the word spirit refers to a personal being, having no physical body, whose existence is not contingent upon physical parts such as internal organs, brain, stomach, vertebrae or blood. Rather, a spirit is an otherworldly being, a person, a mind, a presence: in this particular case, God. It is true that the nonmaterial and invisible are difficult things to understand. In reality, the physicists tell us that over 99.9% of all matter is actually made up of empty space. In fact, 95% of the universe is made up of something known as dark matter, which is invisible to the physical eye. What's more, quarks, which are the very nuts and bolts (building blocks) of all matter, the sub-atomic particles that constitute the very make-up of matter, are invisible. Photons, the particles that make up light, are also invisible to human eyesight, observed, not directly, but only by their effects. All around us, and through us, invisible forces are busily at work. For example, we cannot see wavelengths, magnetism or frequency, gamma rays or microwaves. We cannot touch, or dig up, mathematical facts. We cannot see under a microscope the laws of logic moving in formation or splitting into cell divisions. We cannot freeze, boil, measure or weigh our thoughts, intentions or motives. In fact, it would appear that a vast majority of all that we call reality – the things that make living life possible – are things invisible and nonmaterial in their nature. But do we question the existence of these things? To me, it appears quite apparent that to reject the existence of God on the sole basis of one’s not being able to see Him is only a claim in regards to one’s own ignorance. Moreover, it needs to be stated that our ignorance of certain things is not evidence of knowledge but only evidence of ignorance, and really nothing more. If it wasn't for our five physical senses (hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching), the world we know and experience would not exist to us. We only see and experience this physical world because of our five physical senses. Our senses do not determine what is real; they don't create reality; they only allow us to experience it. Remove any one of these senses, and reality would still be there. Our five senses give us direct experience regarding aspects and dimensions of reality. Without any one of these senses that part of reality would be non-existent to us. So, should we determine what is real and actually exists based upon our senses? For example, some people don't believe in the existence of beings such as angels because they cannot see them. But what if the whole of reality is made up of aspects and dimensions that cannot be experienced through the limited senses that we possess? If we had other senses that we don't now possess, would we not experience different parts of reality that hereto we have not known? Take, for example, a digital sound recording device. It can only capture one mode of reality – namely sound. For this device, smell, sight and touch are non-existent. This shows that there are realities beyond what your present senses can prove.
It is important to note that the five physical senses that we do possess are not only limited but also inferior to the senses of some animals. For example, dogs and cats can see better and smell better than humans. Many birds can see things twenty times further away than we can. Polar bears can smell a seal five miles away; whales, dolphins and bats navigate and travel by use of echolocation radar. Some reptiles possess infrared vision that sees the heated parts of moving animals at night. Sharks, bees, turtles, pigeons and salmon utilise magnetic fields. The point is that some creatures possess superior senses to those of humans. Our five senses are limited in their scope. In fact, given our limitations, we are in no position to presume what the whole of reality embraces. The more senses we possess, the more of reality we can know. If we were endowed with an extra sense or senses, we would experience things that hereto we thought did not exist. Invisible does not mean non-existent but rather imperceptible, given the senses that we currently possess. There’s no point showing a shark a red cloth like you would to a bull, because sharks cannot see colour. Colour, to the shark, may be non-existent but we know that lack of perception is there only because of the imperceptibility due to the senses that it possesses. God has granted some individuals an extra window of insight and experience through senses that are not common to everyday man. They see and experience things – in the past, present or future – that are imperceptible to the normal five physical senses. Prophets were of this kind. They experienced things through a greater sensitivity of vision than the ordinary man did. Seeing through the eyes of God is a totally different experience. The prophets are normally endowed with this extra sensory capacity from birth as God predetermines their lives for His work. We see this in the book of Numbers where the Lord said to Moses, ‘Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord will make Myself known to him in a vision and speak to him in a dream.’ (Numbers 12:6) Many people struggle with the fact that God is invisible and nonmaterial. But there is a far greater mystery staring us in the face, and that is the mystery of our own existence. I have spoken about the unobservable nature of God but there are aspects to our own existences that are not too different from God in this respect. Just as God does, so too do we have certain of those qualities in our own lives. Our physical bodies are made up of matter, which is over 99.9% empty space. How much of what we call us is solid or concrete? According to the physicists, it's less than 1%. As far as the solid atoms and sub-atomic particles are concerned, where are the atoms that are conscious? Where do we locate the atoms that think and have thoughts, self-introspection and subjective awareness? If all we are is matter – and matter is nothing more than impersonal atoms – then how did we come to be conscious thinking beings who possess self-awareness? Where are the molecules that reason and contemplate, write poetry and music? Where in our body is ourselves? Where does our consciousness and self-awareness reside? Are these physical properties? Can we observe conscious thinking atoms under a high-powered microscope? Without exception, these qualities are all properties that are invisible to sight, yet they are realities that we experience every day and cannot deny. So if we reject the existence of God on the basis of Him being invisible we must also, on this same basis, reject a large part of our own being. “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others." Jonathan Swift God in the Museum It is important to look at the worship of idols in the ancient world in the context of what has already been discussed. When God revealed himself to the Hebrews through such men as Abraham and Moses, He did so without appearing in any physical form. This was in a time when the surrounding nations were carving, moulding, sculpturing and chiselling gods in every possible shape and image.
The eternal transcendent Creator rejected all such representations of the divine as poorly misconceived creations rooted in human ignorance. God was not going to indulge man’s insecure need to worship something that could be seen and touched. These idols, represented in vulgar images of gold, stone and wood were false and misleading. God, the eternal and imponderable, specifically chose not to take on a concrete body or form when revealing Himself to the early fathers and prophets. This was to prevent their slipping into the worship of only things that were visible. God wanted man to worship a being who is beyond representation by sculpture or drawing. Nevertheless, God left each one of us with a witness about His presence in the universe and this witness radiates through the manifestation of the natural world (Creation). It also resonates directly and personally through the Spirit and presence of His power to those that have sought and do seek Him. But God, who is unchanging and not a part of the decay of the natural world, is by necessity a timeless and incorporeal being. He is a being too great and magnificent to be represented by a carved image on a dusty bookshelf or on a vulgar temple stand in some remote village. This is the source of God's commandment about making and worshipping idol images. All such misrepresentations only belittle and undermine His sovereignty and greatness. "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” Philip K. Dick When the psalmist David strummed the chords of his harp, he pleased the Lord because he was speaking the language of God. In this language, David was communing with the Divine and in the pleasure of God’s glory. This language of God is not the language of figurative expression but the language of reality. The whole of the universe is a cosmic symphony, an orchestra of sound. At its base, the universe is made up of energy and this energy is vibrating and creating specific but different frequencies. These in turn generate soundwaves that produce for our senses a grand cosmic symphony of sound that manifests not just in noise but also in light and the beauty of the universe as we see it. Furthermore, our bodies are made up of, and held together, by this very same energy, which in turn resonates with its own frequency. In the world of science, it is called the physics of sound. As we progress in our discoveries, the universe continues to astound us by its magic and magnificence. One does not need to dive into the world of Alice in Wonderland to encounter the bizarre and mysterious. One only needs to take a brief sojourn into the world of present day scientific discovery. In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, the book begins with the words: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God…All things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made that was made’ (John 1: 1-3 NKJV). What strikes me so profoundly about this passage is that it tells us that the whole of the universe came into existence through the medium of sound. This medium of the living eternal spoken Word, who was God, told us this some two thousand years ago, long before we ever came to understand the connection between matter, energy and sound. If the universe is an orchestra, a symphony of sound, then God is its producer, director and conductor – the maestro of all maestros. It may well be the biggest performance that we are ever going to hear or see. More than Matter Given that there is a greater universe out there – one outside the finite corner that we happen to occupy – there are mysteries, which we have yet to understand. We are limited in our knowledge and therefore, in no position to draw ultimate conclusions through the processes of our limited human understanding. We have not reached the boundaries of all possible knowledge. There are realities that are beyond our present scope of understanding. The Scriptures refer to the existence of conscious immaterial energies (entities) that are both malicious and kind in their natures and activities. We cannot see them but many of us have experienced their presence – experiences that have been both beautiful and truly terrifying. The same scriptures tell us that these beings each have their own personality and particular characteristics: kindness and cruelty, truthfulness and deceitfulness, unseen by human eyes yet manifesting their presence and activities through the agency of the physical world. Christ in his public ministry was endowed with God’s special abilities. He was accompanied by an unseen host of powerful angelic attendants that watched and facilitated His every step. In fact, almost everything that Jesus did or said was an action or word inspired and revealed directly through His dependency upon the spirit of God. Through this connection, He was informed of the true and foundational nature of every circumstance and situation and was, therefore, able to see and know as God sees and knows. To Christ, the realm of the unseen was as visible as physical objects are to us, and it was this world, with all its mystery, that He wanted us to come to understand. We are spirits that inhabit a material, earthly body, or as one song puts it: spirits in the material (consciousness in physics). It is this twofold unification of our existence that allows us to experience simultaneously the reality of these two worlds.
What I find totally amazing, regarding the research into near death experiences (NDE) and out of body experiences (OBE), is the amount of accumulated data. This data gives incredible and astounding evidence of human mind and consciousness existing outside, and independent of, the physical body and brain. As one reads the accounts and testimonies of literally thousands upon thousands of sincere and honest individuals who have had these experiences, the reports challenge accepted theories. Whether it was a car accident or other misfortune that resulted in their death, it is startling to discover repeated first hand testimony of these individuals leaving their physical bodies and seeing and hearing factual things around them. It may have been close by or far away, but while physically dead (exhibiting no heart rate, pulse, breathing or brain activity) they experienced things in a state of conscious existence with heightened senses while not in the body. Some of the most interesting accounts are from people who did not believe in the existence of an unembodied soul before the experience. After the experience, they were unshakable in their conviction regarding the reality of an afterlife. “It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” Epictetus The Nothingness of Atheism It is a fact of reality that a purely materialistically dogmatic view of the world reduces all that we call human existence to the freak occurrence of nonsensical and impersonal chemical haphazard processes. You may believe that your mother or daughter, sister or brother, son or father actually have some kind of real and ultimate significance and are therefore, accordingly valuable and beautiful. But on a materialistic basis, such a belief is merely the perception of a species’ delusion as in this worldview we are nothing more than a random collection of molecules in motion that originated out of nothing, for no reason, and are all heading progressively to the universal junk-yard of rack and ruin. Moreover, on a purely naturalistic platform the value of your loved ones is ultimately no more valuable or superior than that of bacteria or fungus on a piece of fruit. Of course we could trick ourselves and console each other with strange notions that something truly meaningful, beautiful and wonderful was at work, in the feelings of love that we feel for those we care for, but in a universe that has no person, heart or love, behind it, no such meaning or ultimate kindness would exist at any place or anytime, anywhere. In fact, in such a universe the fabled Frankenstein would have a greater degree of significance working in his favour because at least he would be the creation of a scientist that had his personal interest at heart. What many sceptics seem to overlook is that this whole dogma regarding a pure materialistic universe is based upon many faith assumptions that have to be smuggled in order to support their belief. For the atheist, God and the supernatural are an unnecessary extra because in their thinking, they feel that it is adding to material reality. However, this argument of theirs is based upon the unproved assumption that physical matter is the absolute whole of reality out there – and this is something that non-believers, as bright as they may be, could not possibly know. Moreover, human knowledge is not only restricted by the unlimited magnitude of reality but also by the limited sensory tools of human perception (sensory limitations). It seems to me that we must continually press the point that finite creatures, such as ourselves, have limitations and have no basis for assuming that pure physical matter is the whole show of reality. The Magic of Atheism The atheist wants us to believe that the whole of the universe just came into existence out of nothing. When pressed further on this, many of them refer to the vagueness of probability as though, all by itself, it was magically responsible for everything in existence. But what is the probability of something coming from nothing? At least the magician has a hat out of which to pull his rabbit, but to pull the entire universe with its trillions of stars and galaxies out from absolutely nothing is truly magical. What kind of magic is this? When pressed, many will tell you that the universe just created itself. How does that work? It would’ve had to exist and not exist simultaneously — it would’ve had to exist prior to its own existence and such a claim is self-evidently ridiculous. If that’s not enough of a challenge, the atheist must explain to us how much time and chance would be required to produce one single thought in a lump of dirt? In short, how does consciousness come into existence out of non-conscious inanimate matter? When did matter start thinking and reasoning, and emerge into a state of conscious self-awareness? The amazing thing in asking atheists these questions is that they must rely upon their minds to make sense of reality. This is fundamentally suspicious given that these very same minds owe their very existence to a freak series of impersonal, chemical mindless, irrational processes. Therefore, they should not, on any level, be relied upon to be a reasonable source for rational or logical explanations. For any one of us, it is difficult not to slip into the perception that the universe was actually designed. It’s a very difficult state of perception from which to escape, given the fact that everywhere that one looks, there are examples of planned intent. There are the majestic mathematical revolutions of the planets, a universe governed by incredibly mysterious laws of physics, the sub-atomic world of DNA. It is a temptation to think that the whole thing was the result of prescient intent and not the result of mindless unintentional accidental processes. Our very DNA contains a whole language of genetic information: richer, more numerous and more complex than all the books in all the libraries of the world. It contains the database of information and the programmes to produce specified information that determines everything from eye colour to skin colour, from internal organs to external appearance, from IQ to gender.
In fact, the human genome contains about three billion different pieces of information and is therefore considered one of the richest information systems known to science. This has prompted people like Bill Gates to say that human DNA is like a computer programme only much more complex than any we have been able to devise. For instance, when we read even the simplest book we find no difficulty in imagining a person wrote it. We do not, for one single moment, believe that the physics and chemistry of ink and paper alone, unaided by intelligence, resulted in the production of the book. The atheist believes that an author wrote the words of the book but is content to dismiss the author of the information that is present in each one of us. We live in this amazing universe. What a coincidence that we have eyes to see it and another four senses with which to experience it. What freak series of accidents ’big banged’ that into existence? We are born with the sensations of thirst and hunger. What a coincidence that there actually exists water to quench our thirst and food to satisfy our hunger and provide us with the nutrients for development and growth. The unbelievers will tell us that it’s just another freak series of coincidences that happened to work out in our favour. The information within our cells has insisted that we be born with lungs. Thank our ‘lucky stars’ we live in an environment filled with oxygen otherwise we would be like fish out of water. There are countless numbers of these amazing coincidences that make life and the experience of love, music and poetry possible. The truth is that there is something at work inside us that, through the avenue of our soul and senses reaches out to make contact with the spiritual and transcendent. The reality is that the majority of people in every society and culture from the most primitive to the most recent, such as in our sophisticated twenty-first century, have been and are incurably religious beings. In fact, we can no more deny this aspect of our existence than a dog can help barking or a fish can stop swimming. Worship, ceremony, ritual, prayer and meditation are something that sets humans apart from other animals. I, for one, have not yet stumbled across any rabbits, cats or horses in a worship service while using the symbols of religious devotion to give expression to their innate religious tendencies. Maybe the Bible is right when it declares that we are made in the image and likeness of God! Why is it that man can talk, write and play piano? Is it that we are more like God than stones, cockroaches and frogs? In the Beginning For centuries, scientists believed that the universe was eternal and therefore had no beginning. But on the heels of rigorous scientific investigation in almost every area of scientific discipline, shockwaves have rippled into the bastions of atheistic strongholds as it has become common knowledge that the steady-state model is false. Instead the belief now is the universe began to exist at some point in the past known as the Big Bang, or the beginning of the universe, and is today one of the most established facts of science. It appears that now science supports the Bible in the sense that both agree there was, in fact, a beginning to space and time. Embarrassingly, modern secular scientists are face-to-face with a Biblical worldview. Two of the fundamental properties of the Big Bang, a transcendent cosmos beginning a finite time period ago, and a universe undergoing continual expansion — were recorded in the Scriptures thousands of years prior to this discovery. In the book of Isaiah 42:5, both properties were declared: ‘This is what the Lord says: He who created the heavens and stretches them out.’ Time and time again, this truth is stated in the Scriptures. They emphatically declare that God is behind the beginning and cosmic expansion of the universe, as discovered by our scientists, and has been recorded in biblical books such as: Job 9:8; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 40:22, 42:5, 44:24, 45:12, 48:13, 51:13; Jeremiah 10:12, 51:15 and Zechariah 12:1. Most of these scriptures in the Hebrew text mean continual and ongoing expansion, as has been discovered exactly by contemporary scientists. The worldview significance of these findings cannot be avoided as astrophysicist Hugh Ross stated: ‘No philosophical system or religious book comes anywhere close to these facts, as does the Bible. It not only fits them; it anticipates them by several thousand years.’ More than Impersonal Molecules Every family has its particular stories to tell: moments and events in the past that leave their indelible impressions on the individual and collective family depository of memories. It is these happenings that we as families, from time to time, recall to mind when gathering together. One of my stories involves my younger brother, who was then around five years old, being accompanied by our mother as they walked to the shops. While enjoying the morning sunshine, they happened to walk past an aged man who had strapped to his back everything he owned.
As my mother proceeded to pass him by, my five-year-old brother, without warning or any announcement, came to a halt and reached out and held the homeless man’s hand, quietly saying that God loved him. Now, had this been an evangelistic endeavour on the part of a calculated enthusiastic urban missionary, it could have turned out quite differently, but the pure compassionate intent of my little brother's action disarmed this poor man’s deeply entrenched defences, leaving him reachable to a higher kind of power. Now, what is the point of this story? Well, the point is the underlying message of dignity: the kind that is conferred upon every living human soul. It is a sacred God-given dignity that a godless universe would know nothing about. Neither could it care less. For in a godless universe, this displaced street bum would just be an unfortunate old man dancing to the tune of his DNA. Hard Wired Now of course, the disbeliever can, and does, express human acts of kindness, and to suggest that he couldn’t or doesn’t, would be a grave misrepresentation. In fact, he or she would be unable to act any differently any more than a computer programme could go against its programming, or more to the point … its programmer. In other words, you and I, the unbeliever and believer alike, would not be under the compulsions of such moral drives if the universe at its base, source and essence had no such realities at work. Expressing these realities through nature, they manifest themselves through everyday people like Bob and Mary down the road. In short, the atheist has nowhere to hang his moral hat; there is no ontological hook. The atheist in a godless universe is unable to account for the transcendent existence of moral human value and dignity. This is largely because nature (blind and impersonal) sees no intrinsic difference between life in the vomit of a man than to the life of the man himself. In an impersonal senseless universe, consisting entirely of energy and matter, we should not expect it to act any differently. Contrast this kind of philosophy with the teaching of Christ, who spoke of the immeasurable value of one single human soul. To God, a life is sacred and therefore, the sacred commandment against murder and cruelty. Charles Darwin's whole philosophy – as put forward in his book, The Origin of Species – was hinged upon such concepts as: the survival of the fittest and nature being red (blood spilling) in tooth and claw. However, Christ spoke of loving thy neighbour and demonstrated this love in reaching out to the alienated, hopeless and disadvantaged. Furthermore, each worldview invariably leads down two different paths and ends up in two different places. Darwin’s path of Nature red (blood spilling) in tooth and claw (aggression) is no doctrine of love. In fact, every honest atheist admits that aggression and domination are, in themselves, good things, because, at the least, they ensure the survival of the fittest. Furthermore, Darwin in his book, The Descent of Man, clearly ranks races like the Aryan and the Asiatic in terms of their proximity to the apes. In fact, the racist elements in Darwin’s work are subjects about which the anti-religious are strangely quiet. “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell The atheist and author Thomas Huxley asserted that, “No rational man, aware of the facts, believes that the average Negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man.” H. G. Wells also articulated that the inferior races such as the black, the yellow man, etc, would just have to go because the world is not a charitable institution. In support of his views, Huxley argued that biblical morality was unscientific. Where did these men get these kinds of values? Contrast these, for example, to some of the values of the Bible: protection of the weak (especially those who lacked the natural protection of family and land like widows, orphans, Levites, immigrants and resident aliens), justice for the poor, impartiality in the courts, generosity at harvest time and in general economic life, respect for persons and property (even of an enemy), sensitivity to the dignity even of the debtor, special care for strangers and immigrants, considerate treatment of the disabled, prompt payment of wages earned by hired labour, sensitivity over articles taken in pledge, consideration for people in early marriage or in bereavement, even care for animals, domestic and wild, and for fruit trees. You’ll see that two different kinds of worldview branches emerge. Darwin’s survival of the fittest and Christ’s moral pressing to defend and protect the weak (such as in Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan), have led to two different kinds of social politics.
The former pulls down the wall of sanctity that defends the weak from the strong and has spawned history’s most savage movements such as the French Revolution, the Stalinist purges, Hitler’s warrant and justifications for the social eradication of Jews, homosexuals and Jehovah’s Witnesses, the naturalistic justification for the elimination of those with genetic failures such as the disabled. Hitler’s personal secretary, Traudi Junge, said that if the laws of nature were Hitler’s religion, he could reconcile his dogma of violence better with nature than with the Christian principle of loving your neighbour. The Crimes of Christianity It has been my personal experience when talking with particular dissenters of the Christian faith that they almost always passionately launch into a moral attack against Christianity by pointing out the historical misconducts of certain Christians. They do this to undermine Christianity’s credibility and thereby deem it fundamentally wicked. I’m personally surprised how many particular individuals (in their talks, debates and books) have launched into these kinds of emotional attacks against certain historical crimes of history such as the Christian crusades, the inquisitions and the Salem witch trials, while remaining virtually silent in regard to the atrocities committed by movements and individuals that have championed an atheistic agenda. One needs to look at the recorded facts of such Christian atrocities, for the facts are not as grim as argued by the opposition. The infamous Christian crusades were perpetrated by a large group of individuals that pledged no allegiance to Christ on any personal level but were simply a motley crew of struggling peasants and farmers that were hired by the Pope to take geographical positions of land for wages. The inquisitions that occurred over the space of four centuries killed a maximum of two thousand individuals. That is around five people a year. The Salem witch trials were responsible for the killing of twenty individuals. While all these things are truly horrible, if not embarrassing, for the present-day Christian, they are mere fairy floss in comparison to the terrible brutalities perpetrated upon individuals through the schemes and political systems of atheistic tyrants and dictators. All the religions of the world put together have in 2,000 years not managed to murder as many people as have been killed in the name of atheism in the past few decades. Atheistic Blood Lust Over 100 million people have been killed in state authorised purges by a long line of atheistic leaders: 65 million people killed in China, 20 million in the former USSR, 2 million in North Korea, 2 million in Cambodia, 1.7 million in Africa, 1.5 million in Afghanistan, 1 million in Vietnam, 150 thousand in Latin America by leaders such as Mao, Stalin, the Cambodian communist leader Pol Pot, the Albanian communist leader Enver Hoxha, Prime minister of Cuba Fidel Castro, Romanian president Nicolae Ceausescu, Kim Jong-il, … On and on the list goes. It is understandable that atheists are not at all comfortable with these facts of modern history. They shy away from such conclusions and tell us that the evils done by such leaders were, in fact, merely secondary to their atheism, and not because of it. In other words, the fact that these leaders happened to be atheists had little to do with the evils that they perpetrated upon the church going. This is the false and deceitful claim that Richard Dawkins champions. It is an argument without any basis or grounding in history but is rather pure atheistic fictional fundamentalism. The brutal truth of history stands, unchallenged and unmovable; all these regimes and leaders were under the direct influence of the ideas of Karl Marx. They were driven by a grand vision to impose an ideological package onto the whole world. Part of that package included the eradication of religion, which translated to systematic atheistic, materialistic indoctrination in all state schools as well as the closing down of all places of worship. It incorporated the subsequent pursuit and state arrests of all enemies of the state followed by their torture and/or death. Religion, according to Karl Marx, was a crippling mass delusion that impeded social progress. Marx proclaimed that religion and God were the “opiate of the people,” and that it made the masses passive and stupid, blinding them to social injustice, thereby preventing the advancement of civilization. To Marx, the solution was simple – religion had to be eradicated so that the creation of the new man and the new utopia, freed from the shackles of God and religion, could be birthed, leading to the liberation of man and the advancement of civilisation. Jesus said, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” Throughout the whole of human history, war and conflict has always gone on — wherever the heart of man is found, intolerance and killings are also found. Ancient and modern history reveals a world where there has always been conflict, conquest and war whether the empires were Persian, Roman, Mongol, Japanese, Russian or the Empire Strikes Back, and whether this conquest was at the hands of Alexander the Great, Nebuchadnezzar, Pompey the Great, Hitler or Genghis Khan. “You can't say that civilization doesn’t advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way.” Will Rogers Atheistic Utopia The enforcement of atheism had to be implemented at all cost. Religion was deemed illegal, paving the way for relentless waves of political state killings. The leaders of the communist fraternity justified the bloodbath by declaring that the ends justified the means. Accordingly, they could do whatever was necessary to bring about a “workers’ paradise,” a cherished saying that was lauded by prison officers as they beat, tortured and murdered the God-fearing. It’s plain to see that these Christians were a really ‘bad’ thing because they stood in the way of atheist-communist utopian expansion.
Moreover, the Christians were considered fully conscientious class enemies of the state and the congress declared unrelenting war against them. This was coupled with anti-religious education to be instituted from pre-school through to university. Marx wrote that the abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of man is a requisite for their real happiness. In his famous poem, Invocation of One in Despair, he wrote: “I wish to avenge myself against the one who rules above” and further on: “I shall build my throne high overhead.” In another poem called The Player, Karl Marx wrote: “See this sword? The prince of darkness gave it to me.” The darkness continued as atheistic regimes treated religious believers as subversives and abnormal and relegated them to psychiatric hospitals and death camps. The state that envisioned this grand new world, (the new utopia freed from the shackles of God and religion) recruited a mass of volunteers, including party members, members of the Komsomol Youth Movement and army veterans. They were indoctrinated to absorb themselves in anti-religious persecution and harassment under the slogan: the struggle against religion is a struggle for socialism. Marching under this banner were atheistic groups such as the Society of the Godless, The Union of Belligerent Atheists, The League of the Militant Godless, The Union of the Godless, The Young Pioneer Organisation and others. They were involved in nationwide atheistic propaganda and acts of terror; although they stressed that, it had nothing to do with atheism or a godless new utopia. Do not be duped, friends. Communism was an explicitly atheistic worldview. In Article 37 of the Albanian Constitution (1976), it stated: “The state recognizes no religion, and supports atheistic propaganda in order to implant a scientific materialistic world outlook in people.” Jesus cautioned against such political abuse when he stated emphatically to Pilate, the Roman governor: “My kingdom is not of this world.” Jesus was making it as clear as possible that his kingdom would not come about through political enforcement or via ethical legislation. The Scriptures remind us that true Christians are ‘aliens’, whose ultimate citizenship is not of this world (Phil. 3:20; 1 Pet. 2:11). The non-nationalistic, multi-ethnic church is now called to live as salt and light in this world, revealing by lives of love, peacemaking, and unity that they are Christ's disciples (John 13:35). The Jesus of history is just as much against the inquisitions and crusades as any contemporary respectable person would and should be today. Jesus stressed that all acts of brutality and cruelty have nothing whatsoever to do with His message of love. He stated that all those that commit these atrocities in His name will face the harshest of judgments on that great day. Atheists today like to besmirch Christianity but are blind, dumb and deaf when it comes to their own dark history and, almost always, confuse Christianity with the actions of radical Moslems. But if Christianity is so evil than where today is the Christian Bin Laden? Where is the Christian Saddam Hussein? Where is the Christian Hamas or Hezbollah? Where is the Christian Palestinian Islamic Jihad or the Christian PLO? Where is the Christian nation today that runs along the lines of Iran or Iraq or North Korea? Where are the Christian suicide bombers? They do not exist. Instead, all that we have are a list of over 400,000 Christian charitable organisations worldwide that make it their full time occupation attending to the world’s needy, desperate and poor in the name of Christ. Their humanitarian brief includes bringing medicine and fresh water and building hospitals in the remotest parts of the globe. “The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.” Herbert Sebastien Agar The Problem of Suffering The issue which perhaps evokes the greatest human passion is real human suffering and pain. Why does God allow pain and suffering? I believe the argument regarding this issue is the most challenging of arguments, and the one most likely to engage the heart and mind in serious discussion. For some (not all) no such discussions are desired. They prefer rather to rage and make more accusations. For many of those who oppose the Christian faith, these kinds of tactics (rage and accusation) are employed to incriminate and invalidate the existence of God, thereby providing themselves with the necessary licence and justification for the preferred philosophy of self-rule over, and against, the rule of God. People who use such tactics have one particular and convenient trait in common. They champion the issue of evil and suffering as evidence for God's non-existence, but say nothing about all the good, the true and the beautiful things in the world as evidence to the contrary. For some unknown reason, the sceptic in his/her attempt to disprove the existence of God, conveniently skips over any good found in the world. Surprisingly, and under suspicious circumstances, the scales of good and evil are grossly tipped to the evil side, making it appear as though evil, all by itself, is enough to prove the non-existence of God. The problem with this shady kind of double-dealing is that the scales are tipped and weighted on one side. This kind of false imbalance only prevails by ignoring all the good in our world and should, as a standard of measurement, be rejected by all thinking people. In reality, the issue under scrutiny here, that is the existence of suffering and tragedy in our world, does not at all disprove the existence of God any more than termites in a house disprove the existence of an architect.
The fact is we don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle on the table when we’re dealing with this issue. We are often out of our depth when attempting to comprehend the true unfolding nature of reality as can only be seen, known or understood by God. However, we can be certain that the creation of creatures such as ourselves with free independent will has its challenges. For God, such a fact would have been incorporated into the outworking of His overall plan and we can rest assured that whatever plan it may be, its divinely destined unveiling will be no surprise to God. As it stands, given our free will and our moral power of choice, we are going to experience quite a degree of pain and suffering. Why? It is because we are free to choose. We can choose to live a good and true life or an immoral and corrupt one. We can become the sole authors of a new kind of world – even if it is a world that has its bent in the perversion of reality or the corruption of the fundamental reality. What of Evil? According to God, evil is a deviation from the way that things ought to be. However, there cannot be a deviation from the way that things ought to be unless there is actually a way that things truly ought to be in the first place. Evil and suffering are only the consequential out-workings of the individual’s self-governing free will. In short, God is the author of human freedom but He is not responsible for humans abusing that freedom. The atheist, by raising this particular argument against God, digs a ditch for himself, because if God does not exist, then neither does evil. If we are just the mindless chemical by-products of an impersonal origin then ultimate reality could not care less about our feelings of good and evil or right and wrong. Because such a universe would be neither conscious nor alive in any sense that we understand living and all such terms of expression (like right or wrong, good or evil), such an argument would just be meaningless words and therefore, equally and ultimately illusory. Because its truth often escapes our attention – even though every single one of us, in everyday situations, consistently draws upon moral currency just as much as we draw upon mathematical truths and principles of logic – it is worth further investigation. Without these realities, our society and individual lives would plummet into chaos. We all operate from a moral framework in our day-to-day lives.
What’s more, every single one of us appeal to, and invoke, moral standards, especially when we, or someone we care about, is the victim of some injustice. But, we can’t condemn certain acts as acts of evil or injustice if fundamentally the universe we live in is nothing more than the accidental unintentional by-product of impersonal mindless forces. To assert that certain actions are evil, cruel or unjust we must assume that such things as injustice and evil exist. In other words, one must appeal to, and invoke, a real moral law as a standard to distinguish between good and evil to make the warranted and necessary denunciations. But here's the rub: if there is no Creator that set the universe into place with moral principles, then there is in reality, no moral standards at work in the universe. So, in raising the argument of evil to disprove God's existence, one is, in fact, assuming the existence of God to provide validity to one’s moral objections and a real moral grounding outside of the individual’s subjective opinion. “To some the truth is an insult, to others life from the dead.” Gary Amirault One cannot ultimately point to evil and suffering as evidence of God's non-existence without first invoking His very existence to give one’s moral judgments an ultimate anchor in reality. If God does not exist, then all such outcries against evil, suffering, injustice and pain are merely products of a mental and perceptual illusion that has no basis or grounding in ultimate reality. Some may find themselves emotionally and mentally disagreeing with such a dose of sobering realism. However, in a mindless impersonal universe, your thoughts are just irrational electro-chemical impulses, simply the responses of a brain that is in no way at all governed by the laws of logic or rationality. We are made in the likeness of God; we are morally hard-wired and so find ourselves in violent reaction against evil and injustice. Because of that reality, individuals all over the world and in every culture and society cannot help but live within a moral context. Individuals can no more cease acting this way than a dog can help barking or a fish can stop swimming. Notwithstanding, our early parents (ancestors), in spite of their inclination towards moral conviction, failed in many respects to do what they felt to be right (not too different from us today). In fact, not too long after God created our early ancestors, it is said that He became saddened about the crooked path that they were taking towards the wrong, the false and the corrupt. On many occasions, God, in His wisdom, warned particular individuals and societies throughout history, that there would be repugnant consequences if they continued to use their freedom to pursue the impure, the untrue and the corrupt. Consequently, we should not be very surprised when everywhere around us we observe the tragedy and carnage from the collective culmination of a generation that makes a mockery of moral principles and virtue. “Truth is not determined by majority vote.” Doug Gwyn It appears that evil’s greatest power lies in its ability to cloud the consciousness of man and thereby to fill his heart with unbelief. Unbelief is not just a simple matter of not believing. It is far more insidious and complex than that. Unbelief is the end result of something that is the work of spiritual deception and blindness. When someone declares that he/she does not believe, we need to understand that unbelief is more of a disease of the darkness than it is freedom of expression or the will of a person’s choice. The Spirit of the Age To the secular intellectual, faith in God is just a silly superstition; it’s an affront to rational thinking and the principles of science. Even the scriptures assert that the Greeks (Gentile nations) sought after wisdom (philosophy) and therefore the cross was deemed absolute foolishness to them. The secular intellectual rejects faith and religion and boasts of a higher, superior heritage of knowledge found in the enlightenment and in all rational philosophers that went before. The spirit of the age is secular and promotes freedom to all, promising emancipation from the restraints of Biblical morality. It seems to be the very plan of God to hide Himself from the ‘wise of this world’ and reveal Himself to the humble. (1 Corinthians 1:19-21) Paul, in his book to the Corinthians (a predominately Greek audience) places special emphasis on the fact that God has hidden Himself from the philosophers and learned of this world. He revealed Himself to the humble and, since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:20-22) Paul states that man, through his wisdom, could not find God and that God purposely chose to reveal Himself through an avenue that is foolish and offensive to the ‘wise’ of this age. Jesus, in his own prayer affirms this truth when he prays, "Father, I thank you that you have ‘hidden’ these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children.” (Matthew 11: 25) In another place, the Scriptures allude to this Divine ‘concealment’ when they say, "Had the rulers of this age known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” It appears that God in His wisdom chooses to frustrate the wise of any given age while opening the door to the humble. (1 Corinthians 3:18-20) Paul again points out this Scriptural truth when he tells us that the natural man understands not the things of the Spirit.
Neither can he know or experience them, for they are spiritually recognised. The natural pre-converted man, not being born of the Spirit or enlightened from above, has no experience of God in any of his senses. Therefore, he has no experience of the reality of God or the presence of the spiritual world. The pre-converted man is in a state of rebellion against God. Moreover, his very nature harbours hostility and enmity towards God. He (mankind), in his natural state, stands in a place of opposition to the rule of heaven. The spirit of the age appeals to a man’s pride of learning while simultaneously ridiculing the notion of God. Satan champions the intellectual pride of a man, echoing his original deception that the person needs to be ‘god of his own destiny’, ‘master of his own fate’, ‘captain of his own ship’, thereby contributing numbers to his ranks of rebellion against heaven. The secular humanist will accuse the believer of putting faith over reason – or against reason – because the believer trusts in things that cannot be tested scientifically. This is despite the fact that the universe is full of many profound mysteries that are outside the knowledge and direct experience of science. Christians do not reject science; there are many Christians who are scientists. What they do reject are the atheistic and metaphysical assumptions that are ‘smuggled’ into the final equations that tell us there is no God – a claim which is a universal negative, an assertion that cannot be proved and has to be accepted entirely on the grounds of faith. Atheistic Charm Jon Balsbaugh in his contribution to C. S. Lewis’ book, ‘Lightbearer in the Shadowlands’, focuses on a particular character from another novel by Lewis, ‘Till We Have Faces’. This character goes by the name of Fox. In this novel, Fox most accurately characterises some of today’s most leading and highly influential atheists. Jon Balsbaugh captures the spirit of C. S. Lewis’ revelation when he writes, “The character of the Fox in C.S. Lewis’ ‘Till We Have Faces’, most accurately represents the intellectual secular humanist. In the novel, Fox, an advisor in the king’s court, is a sophisticated intellectual humanist and is forever telling those around him that the gods are all folly and lies of the poets. By employing rhetorical techniques and well-reasoned arguments, the Fox eventually succeeds in uprooting the country’s religion entirely. Fox succeeds in doing this only because of his many admirable virtues. Throughout the novel, Fox remains generous, kind, patient, loyal, cultivated, sentimental, poetic and a lover of life and beauty. The Fox’s role as a very ‘enlightening’ influence and an extremely endearing figure makes naturalism seem attractive. In ‘Till We Have Faces’, Lewis brings home the fact that the secular atheistic deception can be caught and spread by ‘good’ people. This presupposition against God, as destructive as it is, may often exist side by side with a keen mind, great knowledge, an intriguing personality and even a strong moral fabric. It is a reality that the discerning believer must be prepared to deal with. C. S. Lewis never met popular British atheists, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, but in his novel, Fox characterises their every trait. It can be disarming when a Christian encounters a cultured and morally refined individual who flatly rejects the idea of God. However, the scriptures stress the point that Satan invariably presents himself through the mask of goodness and culture, enlightened expression of wisdom. Furthermore, it needs to be noted that Satan has destroyed and deceived far more souls through the mask of goodness and reason than he has ever done through the avenue of objectionable evil. How smart does one really have to be to know that God doesn’t exist? We have all met people that have little or no education who also affirm the non-existence of God. It seems that disbelieving in God and the rejection of God, is a purely personal and dispositional stance, a stance not rooted in some source of superior knowledge or insight but rather in the individual’s personal will. It’s evident, based upon the fact that both intellectual and non-intellectual persons alike believe and disbelieve in the existence of God. It is obvious that personal and individual ‘choice’ is the deciding factor. Given this proposition, what is it that motivates and undergirds one’s personal choice? The believer affirms the existence of God – a belief predicated upon the personal experience of God and upon the probability of such a being existing, given the sheer magnitude of the overwhelming presence of intelligence and design in the universe. However, the non-believer affirms the non-existence of God based upon the absence of such an experience. He takes refuge in alternative materialistic explanations in reference to the mysteries of the universe.
Atheistic Rage Upon further investigation into the non-believer’s reasons for rejecting God, one invariably encounters some particular experience of personal pain or tragedy that has effectively embittered his/her heart against a Divine being. It has been revealed by unbelievers in a moment of honesty, that personal appetites and desires that motivate one to pursue a lifestyle that is directly in conflict with the morality of the Bible, undergirds the fuel of personal choice against the existence of God. Invariably, it puts one in a position of open, if not subconscious, hostility towards the acceptance of a divine being. This whole phenomena of hostility and vociferous hatred towards God, a phenomena that is everywhere present in emerging secular atheism, (books, radio talk shows, internet blogs and the general media) cannot be fully or adequately explained, or even accounted for. Apart from taking into consideration the abject contempt for ‘Divine moral law’, it is perceived by an increasingly liberal society to be interfering, menacing and disagreeable to the pursuit of individual lifestyle preferences in regard to personal appetites and pleasures. It seems entirely disingenuous of non-believers to deny this glaring, protruding fact as a contributing factor towards their overall rejection of God. It can be substantively and credibly argued that fundamental rebellion and wickedness is the underlying responsibility for the individual’s and the collective’s rejection of God in any given age or society. This proposition is exactly what the prophets of the Bible claim about the nature of man and the long-standing historical propensity towards the nature of sin. One should expect, in an enlightened liberal age where the experience and pursuit of pleasure is the only celebrated virtue, that the promotion and endorsement of an absolute moral authority would be at an all-time low. It does not take too much of an imagination to see that in an age where sexual liberation is perceived as the greatest emancipation for twenty-first century man, that the notion of a supreme moral authority would be abhorrent and extremely undesirable if not reprehensibly disgusting. It needs to be noted that the pursuit of unbridled pleasure and the idea of surrender to a supreme moral lawgiver are, and always will be, intrinsically and fundamentally in conflict. The contemporary phenomenon of societal rebellion against all moral authority is simply nothing more than a natural by-product of pursuing pleasure. Opposed to this is the unwelcome imposition of Divine moral regulation. It doesn't take a degree in ethical physics to see this undeniable connection. The late British journalist, Christopher Hitchens, arguably one of the greatest living intellectuals of the last century, makes it his great aim to denounce the tyranny of the belief in the existence of God. Hitchens maintained from the very outset that the root of all tyranny has its basis in the fundamental tyranny, namely that of God himself. His argument is clear and unambiguous. Christopher Hitchens had a problem with moral authority. He would not have someone telling him how he should live or what pleasures he should, or should not, pursue or enjoy. The idea of God and the notion of absolute moral authority are clearly connected in Hitchen's reasoning. For him, all dictatorships and tyrannies must be challenged, and for him, God is the ultimate celestial dictator. This sentiment, although passionately expressed by man in our modern times, is not – as far as sentiment is concerned- new or enlightened but originally existed in the heart of a being older than time itself – Lucifer. Hitchens is very candid regarding his love of pleasure and feels that he’s blessed in the amount of sin that he’s been able to enjoy and get away with. This kind of bragging is not at all uncommon in our times. Woody Allen, when questioned on his pursuit of sexual deviance (a sexual relationship with his adopted daughter) had only this to say, “The heart wants what the heart wants." It seems perfectly clear that the revolt and war against the existence of God, that is fully ablaze and raging in our present age, is fuelled by the human heart wanting what the heart wants – nothing less and nothing more. Consequently, the atheist is glad to surrender up the claim to being the recipient of divine purpose and planning in exchange for the path of the will to self-rule. It’s an indictment against us if we choose the Godless path, because it testifies to the state of our hearts. Every choice made and every step taken (regardless of hubris claims to superior intelligence) reveals more about what’s really inside our own hearts than it does about the existence of God. Christ and the prophets promised mankind that if they seek God with a sincere heart, God would reveal Himself to that man. However, if we reject the existence of God, based upon materialistic prejudices then we are the victims of our own ignorance and wickedness – for the absence of experience is not evidence of knowledge but only evidence of our ignorance.
Only eternity will reveal the underlying motives and respective choices of each and every individual. Our rejection of God may seem impressive here i.e. amongst our friends, colleagues or students, but eternity will bring to light the hidden motives of every single human heart. On that day, the infinite mind will not be proven wrong or contradicted; neither will he be outsmarted or checkmated by the minds and reasoning of mortal men. On that day it will be said, Infinitus est numerus stultorum … infinite is the number of fools. The Consequence of Unchecked Freedom The Scriptures tell us that the whole fabric of the natural world is directly affected by how we live. For all around us, and in all parts of the world, nature is reacting to our collective unethical choices. God, through His prophets, on hundreds of occasions, told us that our rebellion to His moral decrees would return to us in ways most undesirable. Such disasters and calamities serve to awaken society and individuals to certain moral realities, long forgotten and discarded. What’s more, such misfortunes also serve to awaken us to the fleeting and transitory nature of our weak and frail lives, ever reminding us that we are neither invincible nor indestructible. In the beginning, humankind was given dominion over the earth and entrusted with the stewardship for its responsible management. However, in our departure from the true, the beautiful and the holy, a whole new world of chaos and disorder came into the equation and, as a direct result, even nature, the sole refuge of our physicality, would now become the source of our pain, fear and uncertainty. What was originally meant to be our home has now become our unrelenting foe. People, in their departure from God, would no longer be able to hide in nature, because now even nature itself would rebel in its elements. Nature would be at war with us in our war against God, reminding us of our finality, limitation and mortality. According to the Biblical prophets, it is not about to get any better. In fact, the cosmos will become more intensely hostile and increasingly catastrophic in its behaviour as the day of God's response for man’s rule approaches. Bearing all this in mind, such knowledge from the divine perspective should foster humility regarding our relationship with God, thus leading to the logical steps towards wisdom and personal redemption. Some people only use the argument of human suffering and evil as a justification for rejecting God. However, in so doing, they lay a philosophical trap for themselves. Whom do they ‘blame’ for all the good in our world? From where comes the light? From where comes all that which is true and beautiful? Jesus made it quite clear that our eighty or ninety years of life are going to be punctuated with difficulties, problems, ordeals, troubles and hardships. Struggle is the very sign of life. It's a battle. Life is not hassle-free. A living animal struggles; a dead one knows no such thing. Mere existence implies complication; it guarantees difficulty. Jesus never guaranteed us a problem-free life. His very own life on earth was highlighted with trials and difficulties. However, He did not leave us in the dark concerning the true cause of why we suffer. But many of us, not willing to look into the light, have struggled in our blindness and ignorance, misunderstanding at every level the true nature of human evil and pain. In my opinion, we as individuals can never get to the root of the problem until we take individual and collective responsibility for the things that make a large degree of evil and suffering possible. If there's anything wrong with the world, it's us. When we look at the mountains, the sea, and the stars in the night sky, we see only the beauty and grandeur of God’s handiwork. Everything around us moves in wonder and mathematical magnificence, from the flowing tides to the revolution of the planets. All things bear witness to the stability and serenity of our Creator. Is there pollution? We created it. Are there wars? It is we who are fighting. Is there hunger? It is we who are withholding. Is there cruelty? It is we who are uncaring. Are there divisions? It is we who are not united. Is there self-centeredness? It is we who are self-serving. In a short space of time, we have conquered the world and plundered the earth. Like a virus attached to the planet, we have disfigured that which is graceful and corrupted the sacred with the profane. We are the generation that fights for clean rivers, but cares not for clean hearts. We are the generation that sends our pets to obedience school, while allowing our children to run wild. We are the generation that gives our lives for the conservation and survival of baby koalas, while simultaneously defending our moral right to dispose of our own unborn. We are the generation that places a high premium on the pursuit of education, while denying the value of purity and morality. Our astronomers are reaching further outward, while our families are falling further downward. We are the generation that seeks greater freedom, while in our towns are seen to be installing more bars, gates and locks.
It should be plain to see that in resisting God, we fundamentally embrace all that which is contrary to His nature and all that which is contrary to His nature is in opposition to the way things really are. Of course, we might not like this, but we cannot escape from its reality without incurring moral and spiritual ramifications. As much as we may disagree with God's arrangement of things, we can no more erase the moral reality than we can any other governing law – whether it is the law of gravity, entropy, motion or electromagnetism. We may really believe that we have got away with a whole lot of things unnoticed and therefore we place no priority or importance on how we live. However, it would be foolish of me not to mention in passing another governing law and that is the seed that is sown will continue to grow long after the sower has forgotten the sowing. Jesus made it perfectly clear that there will be a day of reaping, a day of settling accounts, and going over the books. We may be crossing our fingers that we have got on the train unnoticed and without a ticket (metaphorically speaking), but let us remember the journey has not yet ended. We are still on the train and it would be a premature celebration indeed for us to claim our escape before the last platform came into view. We may continue to resist God and occupy ourselves with the many diversions and distractions that this present world provides, while treading underfoot that still, small voice of truth. But, like the pilot who continues his course while ignoring his plane's warning lights, we too will be heading for an inescapable collision if we continue to proceed on our journey, disregarding the whispers of God. “Our distrust is very expensive.” Ralph Waldo Emerson The Spiritual Creation In the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, Christ attempted to show the crowds that He could be trusted to take the little that we offer him and transform it into something far greater. This reveals to us that the true source of our poverty and spiritual bankruptcy is inextricably tied to holding onto what we have and not letting it go. God is the sole author of the laws of multiplication and always and without fail gives more than He asks from us. For what we give to God and what He gives back to us will continue to increase and to continue on. In contrast, everything that we hold onto will suffer a loss and be swept away like leaves in a passing storm. God only takes so He can give us more in return. He does not need the little that we give Him, but only desires that we make room for the greater amount He wants to give us. We so quickly forget that all life came from Him in the first place. So why do we not trust Him? Instead, we fight to hold onto a life that is passing and resist the author of life that can breathe into us life a thousand times over? Surely, He that created the flower can recreate out of it a hundred flowers more magnificent and beautiful. “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” Richard Bach Christ is not asking us to give up the little that we have so that we can get nothing in return. Instead, He is asking us to give up a dying self-corrupting life for a life that is truly magnificent. But when we reject the eternal so that we can cling blindly to the temporal, we only end up eternally poorer. Even though our rejection causes God a great sadness, He cannot force His life upon us, because He is committed to honouring our free will. Consider this rationally. Why would the One that gave us life in the first place be deceitfully trying to cheat us out of that life? It would be terribly evil and wicked of Him to do so. But the only wickedness in question here is the wickedness of our own distrust. The Scriptures declare that God so loved the world that He gave up His only begotten Son for our benefit, so that we can experience and know in this life about a life that is much, much higher and superior in quality. Nature gladly surrenders itself up to death, the kind that leads into new life. However, many of us, in our ignorance, strive to hold onto a life that is coming to nothing. We’re all going to die, some sooner than others and the speed at which we get there will vary from person to person, relative to time as we experience it. For some, it will be an unexpected heart failure, for others, some type of cancer, or maybe it will come peacefully while sitting back enjoying the evening news. But in whatever way it does come, we’ll ultimately fare no better than our neighbour will. We are all on the same come, it is still a train heading towards the same destination. We’re just sitting in different seats, and some in different carriages on the same train.
However, the wonderful truth is that Christ is not asking us to physically die so that we may experience this higher kind of life. He is simply asking us to yield to Him this shell of a life that we do possess so that He can recreate within us, through His divine power, a life that knows neither death nor decay. He directs our attention to the seeds in nature so that we can have faith and trust in the processes involved. “The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” Charles Dubois Our Dispositional Struggle If you’re struggling with this whole idea of yielding up your heart to Christ, but you also acknowledge the emptiness and poverty of a life lived without God, then take courage because you’re already halfway there. All that is required at this point is an acknowledgement on your part that you’re powerless within yourself in taking that first step. God gladly comes to the aid of both the willing and powerless to do what only that divine life can do. No power, natural or supernatural, can withstand or oppose His grace. Through it, you will come to experience a freedom and liberation that only His divine life can give. However, unfortunately and regrettably, a good portion of those that fight against the life that Christ offers do so out of the fear of losing the only life that they know, not realising that the freedom that comes from having what they want is invariably connected to the enslavements that they don’t want. Look around you at all the people that fight for their own way in all things, and there you will discover a ‘freedom’ that unquestionably leads to fetters, shackles and chains. C. S. Lewis, in his classic work, Mere Christianity, drives this truth home when he writes: It is no good trying to find your life without God, for the more you resist Him and try to discover life on your own, the more you will become dominated by your heredity, weaknesses and natural desires. For everyone is trying to find a happiness apart from God and out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history — money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery. But God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. Like many others, I agree absolutely with Lewis. But alas, human nature is a stubborn and mysterious creature, often continuing on its course of selfish pursuit while destroying itself in the process. Our paradoxical hunger to know the Truth, and the subsequent desire to run from it, permeates the long and sad history of human affairs. Mostly, in all of us it’s an unconscious fight against truth — very rarely analysed or understood by the one doing the sidestepping. For example, take a loved one with a drinking problem. The hardest thing to get them to accept about themselves is simply, the truth that they have a problem. They will fight, kick and scream long before they embrace the truth about themselves. Denial wears many disguises before the ugly face of truth appears, and this principle equally applies to every other destructive human addiction as well. But we cannot dodge the truth, because we are the generation that is exposed by its own hypocrisy. We are the generation that consistently and insatiably feeds on a steady diet of violence, murder and moral depravity as a source of entertainment — and then expresses a moral outrage when moral and social crimes are committed day and night. Yes, we are the generation that boasts unprecedented technologies while simultaneously scoring record highs for broken marriages, broken homes, fatherless children and drunk, disorientated, drug-crazed teenagers. The Human Paradox Lord, what is wrong with us? Why do we persist in our own way, even when it obviously and invariably leads to our own self-harm? Jesus cried from the cross, in that dark hour, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” What is it we are doing? And more to the point, why do we keep on doing it? It should be plain to see that the wanting in our hearts for other things outside of God are the warrants and justifications for our rejection of God, conscience and the discarding of every value that is eternal and true. In fact, our history books are filled with innumerable examples of civilizations, empires, kingdoms, societies and people that have ventured headfirst along the paths of self-destruction against all wisdom, conscience and principle and it’s no different today. Irrespective of how educated, sophisticated and enlightened we may feel, we follow the track to inevitable crisis. In fact, these tendencies are the very blindfolds that put us most at risk, because they were the very same blindfolds and beliefs that guaranteed the destruction of those former civilizations.
The heart wants to pursue its own insatiable pleasures, and perceives granting God any admission as an absolutely terrifying notion. It is true that in all of us there is a fundamental and inherent primal revulsion against the surrender of our human free will. Although we may not acknowledge it, there is a strong emotional inherent revulsion against reconciliation with God, because such a connection does not foster the promotion of self-rule. In short, there are actually some very intelligent and warm people who do not want God to exist. There is a certain kind of psychological Freudian wish-fulfilment going on behind the scenes, because this eases the discomfort about Divine moral accountability. Yes, God took a tremendous risk in making us free — with free, independent will and the moral power of choice in a universe created with moral principles that run according to consistent natural and moral laws. In doing so, we could choose against the true, the right and the pure, and become the sole authors of a new kind of order that has its source in a perversion of reality. God is the author of human freedom, but He is not responsible for humans abusing that freedom. The existence of tragedy in our world does not disprove the existence of God, any more than termites in a house disprove the existence of the architect. Jesus spent most of His time trying to make people aware of a higher reality. He pointed people to the Scriptures that in turn pointed them to God. When people took this path, they found the greatest discovery. They came to realise the greatest loss was the blindness of not seeing reality the way it really is. Christ always sought to remind us that God is not out there somewhere at the edge of some distant galaxy, weakly and faintly calling our names. On the contrary, He is nearer to us than we think, infinitely nearer — closer than the air we breathe. It’s not His absence from us that we feel, but rather, our absence from Him. The truth is, we are the ones that have pursued other things and become preoccupied with other agendas and our hearts have testified to that loss. Let it be known that behind this universe, there is a Person. The universe is vast, but not impersonal, and we suffer to the degree that the Personal is absent in our lives. We are personal beings that find our deepest sense of purpose and significance in the meaningful connections of other persons — not in stuff and things of which there is often a needless abundance. “Treasure your relationships, not your possessions.” Anthony J. D'Angelo The Offence of Christ When Christ said: “I am the truth” he meant the truth in a universal sense and not just the truth for a select few. Christ is either the truth for all or the truth for none. It is at this point that we encounter staunch opposition from those that champion a politically correct view of truth. People strongly object to Christ’s exclusive claims because they fear it can lead into a state of arrogance and intolerance. Jesus said the problem lies not with the truth, per se, but rather with the absence of love and humility exhibited by certain ones who claim it. We should never abandon what is true for the sake of false unity. Christ speaks as a prophet and not as a politician who is forever hankering for the approval of the people. We need to bear in mind that Christ said that His message would bring offence but this offence would not be because His message is false. There has never been another man in all of recorded history that claimed to be ‘the truth’. However, many object to these strong statements made by Christ because they feel it excludes other alternate views. Such ones believe it is far more enlightened and superior to celebrate a diversity of claims as equally true so as not to offend anyone at any place at any time.
But could you imagine a principal decreeing all students’ answers in a maths test to be equally correct, no matter how false and conflicting those answers are, so as to celebrate diversity of truth? I agree it would make a whole lot of his students happy but what would become of our educational systems? What would become of our medical institutions if any label on any bottle, would do? Understand that nobody actually rejects a truth claim without smuggling in his or her own to replace it. People that reject the truth claims of Christ will tell you they do so because they believe there is more than just one way of seeing reality but will then offer you only one way of seeing reality – their way. They reject the truth claims of Christ as too exclusive and then in their place offer you their claims about reality to be exclusively true – excluding those that don’t embrace it. The bottom line is any claim to truth, no matter how you stake that claim, will be excluding somebody somewhere. There is no possible way of avoiding this. If you are trying to include everybody by saying everything is true you will exclude those that believe only some things are true. If you say all paths lead to God, you exclude those that say only some paths lead to God or exclude those that say only one path leads to God. Maybe you’re one of those people that affirm that there is no such thing as truth. Well you can’t even affirm that without making a claim to truth. One would only need to respond to this by asking: “Is it true that there is no such thing as truth?” Truth by very definition is exclusive – it excludes what is not true. If all claims are equally true then lies and truth are equally true. Christ would challenge such nonsense. He taught that truth by definition is exclusive, for if truth was all-inclusive nothing could be false – and if nothing could be false what then is the meaning of truth? It doesn’t matter what angle you take on this one you will not be able to escape making an exclusive truth claim. If you say that all claims to truth are equally true then you’re talking absolute nonsense. When Christ said: “I am the way, the truth and the life” He was making a claim in regards to ultimate reality – a reality that is universal, one that crosses all cultural boundaries, all social and racial distinctions. Jesus said if we meditate on his words, we shall know the truth and that truth shall make us free. Christ warned His disciples that wherever they go they would be the object of people’s hatred, contempt and alienation. His message continues to cause offence today. Why does it provoke such offence? For those that would say, “Good works and righteous deeds are good enough,” Jesus would say, “There is none righteous, none good enough, not one.” For those that would say, “There is no such thing as sin, and everyone is at liberty to do what is right in their own eyes,” Jesus would say, “Broad and wide is the path that leads to destruction and there are many that travel this path of spiritual and moral darkness.” Light’s Revelation Two years before his invasion of Russia, Hitler made a non-aggression pact with Josef Stalin, luring Russia into a false sense of security. At the same time he was conducting peace talks with the British also to lure them into a false sense of security before his planned overthrow of the British Empire. All the while, he was planning his scheduled surprise invasion of Russia.
And while Japan and the United States were in the process of diplomatic talks for peace, Japan launched a sneak attack against the United States’ naval base at Pearl Harbour. The scriptures would warn us against the building of wrong relationships; we cannot make a peace-pact with darkness and expect all to go well further down the road for us. What areas we compromise and give up today will be enemy-occupied territory tomorrow. By making such compromises we will be creating a rod for our own backs and stocks for our own feet. For when we wander from the path that God has chosen for us we’re only compromising with evil and strengthening ourselves in habits and ways that will lead us away from God and onto a course that may be very, very difficult from which to turn back. The spirit of this present age wages an unholy war against our faith and seeks – through whatever means – to undermine our convictions, thereby eroding our resistance to the darkness. All around us, our senses are being assaulted with things that are born from the abyss. Like smog over a city, the pollution of this present age is all around us and seeks to influence us. The Lord told us that our flesh is weak and on this basis, He implored us to a lifestyle of prayer in which He would supply us with the needed power and strength so that we would have authority over the particular age in which we live. Within humanity, there's a tremendous potential for good and evil. This fact of the human condition glares at us from the pages of history. Just in the last couple of centuries alone, there have been forty-five different genocides around the world. Hitler’s extermination of the Jews was only one of those forty-five. The truth is, this world based upon the rule of humanity will never be free from blood and war, and yet we continually and blindly place our trust in men and institutions. Jesus taught us to pray: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Christ made it clear to us that the human heart is a ready cistern of prejudices, bigotry, murder and intolerance. We don't have to rise to these qualities; they simply arise in us. Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world and therefore He had no need to go down the path of seizing power by force – a historical process that always leads to war, cruelty and bloodshed. The Kingdom of God is not rooted in human insecurities and in men’s delusional visions of grandeur. It is a kingdom that has its foundations anchored in the eternal love and righteousness of God.