"Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning."
"The fingers of your thoughts are molding your face ceaselessly."
"Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere."
"Humility enforces where neither virtue nor strength can prevail, nor reason."
"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."
Resistance Thinking Faith
It is through the Jesus lense the Resistance Thinking seeks to explore truth about the world in which we live. In this faith section you will find articles, news and reivews that will help you explore the complexities of the Christian faith.
We will cover a broad range of topics, including: theology, church, leadership, devotions, classic Christian literature, prayer, everyday faith, apologetics, church history, Christian living, Old Testamnet, New Testament, creation, fresh expressions, epistomology...the list could go on and on!
If there is any topic you would like the Resistance Thinking team to go to work on please shoot us an email. If you have any work that could help us all to be more effective 'Resistance Thinkers' please send it in for our team to review.
"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." CS Lewis
Recently I put a post up on my Facebook wall that was, admittedly, quite harsh. Yet, was likely interpreted to be much more callous than actually intended. However, I stand by my comment, which chided a newspaper for having an extremely liberal leaning. What is interesting, though, is one of my friend's posts in response to my status. She said:
"I am not a Christian, yet I respect your faith and your beliefs-though I may not feel the same way about religion as you, I respect you enough as a person, and respect your right as a human being to make your own choices in life...."
Now, I appreciate that she kept a level tone. Very few people can do that when discussing a heated, controversial topic. Unfortunately, there's something that doesn't sit right with this comment. She has repeatedly said in this comment that she respects me. Yet, she has no reason to give me such respect. I could imagine from a humanist perspective I would be considered hateful, homophobic, bigoted and racist. Of course, these are just words with little substance, yet, my point remains. If I am wrong then I shouldn't be respected. As Paul says:
"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable." (1 Cor 15:19NKJV).
So, indeed, if my faith is baseless then I should be pitied. But, more than that, I should be considered a dangerous fool. Perhaps, then, Richard Dawkins provides us with a more accurate atheistic response:
Yet, Dawkins method has significant short-comings, as well. His approach polarises both sides of this debate. The theistic and the atheistic. There is no middle ground and no respect, whatsoever, for the other side. Incidentally, in this style, he and I are similar. You see, I think Richard Dawkins is extremely dangerous and, while there are those who oppose Dawkins and still have the upmost respect for him, I cannot share the same courtesy for someone who is actively striving to do Satan's job for him. Regardless of whether Dawkins is conscious of his deception or not. I do differ from Dawkins, however, by appreciating that there are people who would overshadow my intellect who fall on the other side of this debate to me. Yet, I am comfortable with the company I hold.
I think you can love someone without respecting their ideology or, indeed, even them as a person. There are several examples of this in the Bible. Elijah is a sterling illustration of someone who did not put up with the nonsense of other worldviews. We read in 1 Kings about his interactions with the prophets of Baal.
"Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it." And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, "O Baal, answer us!" But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, "Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened." And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention." (1 Kings 18:25-29ESV)
As Christians we should not respect any other worldview. These worldviews are smoke-screens of deception that leave their followers with no footing to stand on once they are shown for what they really are. It is worth quoting at length what follows in Paul's letter to the Corinthians:
"But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says "all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!" Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits." Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame." (1 Cor 15:20-34NKJV)
It is through Christ's historical actions that we are able to avoid the pity that we would deserve were our worldview based on lies. Because of this, we cannot boast (Eph 2:9) and we certainly don't deserve any of the respect. You see, my choices are frail and my desires faulty. If, indeed, I was to stand before God, without someone interceding for me, then "[my] right as a human being to make [my] own choices in life" would be the very thing that would condemn me.
Yet, Paul assures us that our struggles are not in vain. That the dead will rise and everyone will become subject to His will. However, this is both a comfort and a challenge for those of us who have the mark of God upon our souls. Because, Paul, in his wisdom, speaks about those who "[d]o not have knowledge of God". Our task has only just begun. While we may not possess the righteousness of Elijah we serve a God who demands that we fight for the damned, that we shine our beacons for the lost.
I have nothing but amiable feelings for my friend who posted her comment on Facebook. She is extremely pleasant to socialise with and displays a generous and caring nature to her friends. Yet, I grieve for her, and others who are entrapped by Satan's lies. I know something for sure, though. I am not doing enough to try and steer them from the destructive path that they are upon. Such idleness brings me great shame.
Recently someone close to me made the comment that theology was not worth studying. In fact, this person expressed a deep-seated hatred for theology. I felt quite confronted by this and surprised as this person is a Christian. Yet they believed that theology was not important because being a Christian is "all about relationships".
This raised alarm bells in my head. On the one hand being a Christian is all about our relationship with God. This is what defines us and redeems us. Also we are called together, as Christians, to be one church body. In this sense being a Christian is about having relationships. However, it does not end there. Jesus encourages us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-14). Similarly Paul encourages us to:
"Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain."
We are called to stand and reflect the glory of God in the public arena. Even in the face of persecution. This, my friends, is a call greater than just having relationships. Perhaps then we are charged with being too legalistic. People will challenge us saying "Jesus was about love and not about legalism, ethics or public policy". Yep, certainly one of Jesus' chief attributes was love but this does not displace the need for the law. As Jesus, himself, said:
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus was very interested in maintaining the teaching of scripture. Or what we now call theology. And herein lays the danger. Many Christians are satisfied with the biblical teachings they receive directly from their minister. Now I believe that some degree of healthy scepticism can alleviate many doctrinal issues. There is nothing preventing Christian teachers from getting doctrinal issues wrong, either by negligence or for more malicious reasons. It can be helpful in flushing out poor exegesis if we have some knowledge of scripture.
This is why I would encourage all Christians to undergo theological training of some kind. We are not called to be ignorant in our faith but to continuously strengthen our understanding about God's character and His plans for us which are found through His Word. This is what a true relationship with God looks like (and this is the most important kind of relationship). Ironically the only way to do this properly is by using theological methods. As Albert Mohler remarks:
The absence of doctrinal precision and biblical preaching marks the current evangelical age. Doctrine is considered outdated by some and divisive by others. The confessional heritage of the church is neglected and, in some cases, seems even to be an embarrassment to updated evangelicals. Expository preaching-once the hallmark and distinction of the evangelical pulpit-has been replaced in many churches by motivational messages, therapeutic massaging of the self, and formulas for health, prosperity, personal integration, and celestial harmony.....
As our Lord stated concerning the Scriptures, "Thy Word is Truth" (John 17:17). And, as Paul wrote to Timothy, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16). Made clear in this text is the inescapable truth that our task is to teach and to preach this Word; to reprove, to correct, and to train in righteousness. Should our churches return in faithfulness to this fundamental charge, the secular worldview would lose its grip on the believing church.
Compromise and Confusion in the Churches, Albert Mohler
It is very much as Dr. Greg Bahnsen said "[w]hen the church begins to look and sound like the world, there is no compelling rationale for its continued existence". If we are to avoid falling into the trap of mimicking the world then theology is our salvation and not something to be scorned. I am very encouraged by those getting proper theological training and I encourage all my readers to start interacting with theology as a viable and living thing. In the end it is the only truth that we can rely upon. For this reason it is certainly the only thing that may save this nation from damnation.
One of the silliest arguments I have heard in the ongoing dialogue between Christian and atheist is the question of which worldview has caused the most casualties. The discussion generally goes like this:
Atheist: "Religion is the root of all evil."
Christian: "What about Mao or Stalin? They caused great atrocities and they were humanists."
Atheist: "Their actions were not spawned from their worldview..."
That is usually as far as the dialogue gets. This discussion is a moot point, regardless. Even if one accepted where the goalposts were (i.e. who is a humanist, who is a Christian and what either was acting upon), added up the body count (which is a disappointing simplification of these atrocities) and reached a final conclusion this wouldn't determine whether a God did or did not exist. It wouldn't even establish which worldview is actually "less evil". No matter what worldview we prescribe to we all do good and bad things.
Perhaps this is the actual point. Mao and Stalin were responsible for their own actions, as were all other tyrants in history. But the catch is that we too are responsible for our actions. We are in a war of the worldviews but it is not a worldview that causes the casualties, it is our sin. And sin claims the most casualties of anyone. It is also having the greatest say in government policy decisions in nearly every country around the world.
Standing against atheism, Islam or Buddhism is about standing against sin. And we should desire to do so. In our own lives, in our country and in the lives of others around us. This will make us perhaps the most hated people in our community. Very few people like to be told that their actions are not a good way of behaving. Yet, we know there is no freedom in the entanglements of sin. There is nothing to be gained from our sinful lives. As Paul tells us:
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
It will be said that such behaviours should concern no-one but those participating in them. However, these are the deeds of the damned and should concern us greatly. Sometimes you've got to try and rescue someone even when they don't won't to be rescued. After all that's what Jesus did for us.
It may be claimed that "there is nothing about atheism that necessarily leads to mass murder or genocide" but substitute sin for atheism and this sentence makes sense. Atheists are condemning of the followers of religion. When I look at atheism I see what I expect to see. Broken, sinful people. Same as Christianity. However, the ideology behind atheism derives itself from idolatry. It is a flesh-enslaving worldview that chortles as it condemns its subject to an eternal abyss.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
So there's a new Christian movie on the block called Courageous. Usually I don't promote movies directly on this website but this movie looks like it could be a great change from the regular mainstream Hollywood movie.
Besides I like people who are unapologetically Christian. Particularly when they are trying to shake up what it means to be a father:
"Recent evangelical discussion concerning Adam and Eve has served at least one good purpose — it has helped to clarify what is theologically at stake in the debate. The recent report by National Public Radio [NPR] alerted the larger secular culture to the debate, but the debate is hardly new.
What is new, however, is the candid admission on the part of some that the denial of a historical Adam requires a new understanding of the Bible’s basic story — and thus of the Gospel as well.
One of my recent articles, “False Start? The Controversy Over Adam and Eve Heats Up,” made this point clearly. As I argued there, the denial of a historical Adam means not only the rejection of a clear biblical teaching, but also the denial of the biblical doctrine of the Fall, leading to a very different way of telling the story of the Bible and the meaning of the Gospel.....
The denial of a historical Adam and Eve as the first parents of all humanity and the solitary first human pair severs the link between Adam and Christ which is so crucial to the Gospel.
If we do not know how the story of the Gospel begins, then we do not know what that story means. Make no mistake: a false start to the story produces a false grasp of the Gospel."
Click here to read the full article. Well worth it!