How bad are Christians?

We want to discuss a part of a comment by an atheist, namely,

  1. Atheists do tend to take a disliking to people who hold the idea of a god over them as a badge of superiority.
  2. The arrogance of believers cannot be backed up by reason but it’s affects effect all people in very real and measurable ways. 
  3. I worry about what the believers in Christ do because they belittle humanity and enslave and repress for no other reason than their own belief in a myth.1

How much are general statements worth?   

There is a saying, ‘So many heads, so many opinions,’ which is very true.  Therefore statements should be backed by proper references, not Mickey Mouse allusions.  If Christianity is so detrimental to society, what about the book by Rodney Stark, How the West was Won? 2  It discusses the influence of Christianity in Europe and how science developed as a result of it.  General statements are just that.  Why should we take notice of them?  They are just personal opinions like, the moon is going to turn blue in 2018 and Superman will do many miracles there.

1. God as a badge of superiority  

  • It is not Biblical to think you are superior when you believe in God.  Jesus is our example, ‘Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who…did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant…. He humbled Himself and became obedient to death….’ 3  In addition, ’…as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.’ 4
  • There are people who profess faith in Jesus, but their actions speak louder that their words.  Compare it to apples.  Among good apples on a tree, there are often some bad ones.  Are all apples therefore worthless?  O course not!  Similarly, if an unbeliever denounces all believers in Christ, he implies that he is omniscient and knows what all followers of Jesus do.
  • The lifestyles of many people who call themselves ‘Christians’ have no resemblance to what the Bible teaches.  Churches as well as the members of their congregations differ, ‘For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.’ 5 
  • The mark of a follower of Jesus is the Holy Spirit, ‘…if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.’ 6   The Holy Spirit helps a person to obey the teachings of the Lord God Almighty.

2. ‘The arrogance of believers …affects …all people in very real and measurable ways.’  

  • We would like more tangible evidence of how badly followers of Christ affect people.  If ever there is an unfounded statement that is completely vacuous and devoid of truth, it is this one.  Maybe the critic should give evidence of where followers of Jesus kill people, burn houses, commit atrocities and disrupt governments to support his statement.
  • The Bible tells followers of Christ that, ‘Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities….’ 7  and to ‘Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities….’ 8
  • Anyone who is a danger to society and claims to be a ‘Christian,’ does not follow Christ’s example of obedience.  Jesus lived under Roman domination, but never organized or took part in a demonstration, riot or revolt against them.
  • It is true that, filled with the Holy Spirit, the followers of Jesus are, or should be, eager to spread the message of the Kingdom.  This brings them in sharp contrast with the world which generally prefers to lead people away from the Bible and its message.  However, followers of Jesus have no right to impose their values on those outside the Kingdom of God. 9

3. ‘Christians belittle humanity and enslave and repress….’

  • This is possibly because the real followers of Jesus believe in marriage between a man and a woman.  They frown upon adultery and immorality.  They regard the killing of babies in the mother’s womb as a sin.  Often they don’t accept that Charles Darwin’s version of evolution is remotely true.  To believe in only one holy God is not politically correct.
  • The ‘enslaving’ metaphor is quite appealing.  The people of Jesus love to be His slaves, because He enables them to live holy lives on earth, ‘Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.  Live such good lives among pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.’ 10

Conclusion

Hatred towards followers of Jesus is nothing new.  Jesus warned about it, ‘If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me [Jesus] first.’ 11  That is the motive behind the attacks against Christians.

References

  1. Simon Hyde, July 7, 2017 on Ken Ham and the ark project
  2. Rodney Stark, How the West was Won, ISI Books, Wilmington, Delaware, 2014
  3. Philippians 2:5-8
  4. Colossians 3:12
  5. 2 Timothy 4:3-4
  6. Romans 8:9
  7. Romans 13:1
  8. Titus 3:1
  9. 1 Corinthians 5:12-13
  10. 1 Peter 2:11-12
  11. John 15:18

Why the Kingdom of God is impossible with the devil.

In previous blogs we discussed some aspects of the vexing evil issue, ‘Why did God allow evil?’  ‘What about evil, part 1?’  ‘What about evil, part 2?’  ‘The talking serpent never stopped talking.’   We touched on the appearance of the evil one, ‘the great dragon… that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan who leads the whole world astray.’ 1  In this blog we want to discuss or repeat something very important: the devil has an essential role to play in God’s Kingdom.  To say it clearly, without the devil, God cannot successfully complete His Kingdom Project.

Did God plan the rebellion of the devil? 

  • The Bible tells us that the devil is a rebellious angel, who is in opposition to God.  Did God cause the devil to rebel?  God never interferes with free will.  All angels have free will.  God could not force the devil to rebel, since he could then complain that God set him up and that his sentence of eternal hell is not fair.
  • God will never violate either the angels’ or people’s free will.  That would throw the whole judicial process into a turmoil.  Then most people could complain that God was unfair, since He influenced some to love Him and left others alone.  God is absolutely fair and just.  So He will never override free will.  Therefore God did not plan the rebellion of the devil.
  • However, if God is good and omnipotent, why did He allow the devil to bring evil to this world?  Life would have been so much easier without the devil.  Doesn’t God want us to have a good life?  The answer is: the Kingdom is impossible without the devil, the evil one and his destructive influence on the world.

The devil and the Kingdom of God

  • Why did God allow the devil to usurp Adam’s authority and fill the world with evil?  He could have stopped the devil, limited his power, or just plain annihilated him.
  • The issue has to with God’s plan for man, namely a Kingdom of Love and Peace.  Therefore the devil’s work in God’s Kingdom is absolutely necessary.  God uses his ‘assistance’ to successfully complete the establishment of the eternal Kingdom of Love and Peace.
  • How does the devil do that?  He rebelled against God, he doesn’t like Him and slanders God all the time.  So in what way can he be of assistance to God?

An enemy is essential.

  • Leaders of worthwhile countries have enemies.  That is a fact of life.  There is always someone around who wants to usurp the current leader’s position.
  • With God it is no different.  He is the King of a wonderful country, and He has an enemy.  A future Kingdom of Peace on earth is impossible without God’s enemy who attempts to thwart His plans.  To understand it better let’s compare it with the role of an opposing political party in a country:
  • Country A has a leader, LA.  He has an enemy, Z.  Z goes around and tells everybody that LA is incompetent.  They should replace him with Z.  In this proses Z divides the people.  He exposes those who will oppose LA.
  • Let’s apply this principle to God’s Kingdom.  He is the King.  His Kingdom is eternal and is one of Peace and Love (to be part of His Kingdom is obviously worth trillions).  But…  God has an enemy.   This enemy irrevocably lost his place in God’s Kingdom.
  • Because this enemy was disgraced, he is full of revenge, hate and spite.  He thought he assassinated God’s Son on the Cross, but it was a huge defeat for him when Jesus rose from the dead.  So his next line of attack is to try and prevent people to become citizens of God’s Kingdom.
  • While he will never be king of the eternal Kingdom, he is ruler of this temporary world.  That means he has ways to slander God and propagate how ‘detestable’ He is.
  • In our world, what does the enemy do?  He divides the country’s citizens into two groups, those who accept the current leader and those who don’t.  It is the same with God.  Look at history as revealed in the Bible to see how the devil divides and exposes God’s enemies.

Division caused by Satan 

  • After the Fall, Adam and Eve had two sons.  Abel was a righteous man. 2  Cain refused to listen to God’s warning. 3  That division among humanity continues to this day:
  • Some people are willing to obey God.  They accept the influence of God’s Spirit and choose to ‘eat from the tree of good.’
  • Some people refuse to give heed to God’s warnings or advice.  They accept the influence of the devil’s spirits and choose to ‘eat from the tree of evil.’
  • This selection process went on right through history and continues today.  It is what identifies God’s people as well as His enemies.
  • Look at the final episode in the plan of God.  Revelation 17:14 says, ‘…The Lamb will overcome them [the kings who gave their authority to the beast] because He is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers.’
  • Also in Revelation we read about people with the exact opposite disposition, ‘…and they cursed the name of God who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify Him.’ 4
  • So the last book of the Bible identifies two groups of people, those who follow Jesus and those who don’t.
  • Revelation 20:12 &15 describe their respective final destinies, ‘…The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books….  If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.’

Conclusion

The devil serves God because he identifies and exposes the rebels.  Then everyone at the Judgement Throne can see that they are unfit for God’s eternal Kingdom, because they will disrupt the Peace and Love.  The division will make it possible that, ‘…the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.  They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them, and be their God.’ 5

References

  1. Revelation 12:9
  2. Matthew 23:35
  3. 1 John 3:12
  4. Revelation 16:9
  5. Revelation 21:3

How does Islam differ from Christianity?

Greetings our dear Reader,

I trust you are well.

We thought you might like to know a bit more about Islam.

After all, we read and hear a lot about them in the news media.  Whether Boko Haram in Africa, or Isis and others, they create havoc.  Often we hear that some of these ‘soldiers of Allah’ shout ‘allahu akbar!’ (god is great!) when they commit their atrocities.  Yet some people still regard the God of the Bible and Allah as the same monotheistic deity.  That is not true.  They are diametrically opposed in character, teaching and in their religious books for their followers.

The real issue of Islam has to do with the history of Isaac and Ishmael.

We read it in Genesis 16; 17:9-25; 21:8-21.  God promised Abraham a son, but he was married to a barren woman.  Sarai, Abraham’s wife, convinced him to ‘help God fulfill His promise’ and have a son by her Egyptian slave woman.  In those times it was customary that the father would then adopt the son of the servant woman as his own.  So Abraham accepted Ishmael as his son and also circumcised him as God commanded in Genesis 17:9-26.

Abraham’s promised son will come through Sarah.

Twelve years after the Ishmael episode, God reminded Abraham that the son He promised would come through his barren wife, Sarai.  God changed her name to Sarah and declared that she will be the mother of nations.  Kings of peoples will come from her, Genesis 17:15-18  Despite Sarah’s laughter at this ridiculous promise from God, she had her son, Isaac, within the next year.  When they had a feast day to celebrate the weaning of Isaac, Sarah saw Ishmael mocking her little boy.  She was livid.  One can imagine that Ishmael was jealous, since it was obvious that Isaac was the one promised and sent by God.  She told Abraham to get rid of Ishmael, because he would not inherit with her own son.

The Arab-Jew conflict

  • Abraham was distressed when Sarah ordered him to get rid of Hagar and Ishmael, but God told him to do as Sarah requested.  It was through Isaac that God’s promised Messiah would eventually be born.
  • God never rejected Ishmael, but promised to make him a great nation.  He was also the offspring of Abraham.  Hagar later got a wife for him from Egypt, spurning any young woman who had anything to do with Abraham.
  • Hagar was probably livid because of the treatment she got from Sarah.  One can imagine how she fostered the spirit of hatred in Ishmael.  The Arab (Ismael) – Jew (Isaac) conflict is what we still see today.  It does not matter what the Jews do, most  Arabs hate them and want them annihilated.

The conflict over the country Israel

There is another reason why the Arabs want to destroy the Jews completely.  God promised the country Israel to the descendants of Abraham, eternally (Genesis 17:8).  The Jews are the rightful descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob.  The followers of Allah (Ismael) think if they can destroy the Jews, it will prove that the Koran is the true version of God’s words and that Allah is the true ‘God.’

God’s promise to Abraham’s descendants is remarkable.

In 70 AD the Romans under Titus completely destroyed Jerusalem, killed thousands of Jews and sold the rest as slaves.  Nineteen hundred years later, in 1948, on May 14, the country promised to Abraham around 2,000 BC, was once more declared the independent State of Israel.  America very quickly recognized the Jewish State in Palestine.  Russia followed suit three days later.

  • Yet one day after independence, on May 15, five nations invaded Israel: Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.  What did the Jews do to incur this?  Nothing!  Regardless, the enemies of Israel lost the war.
  • The Sinai war was fought in 1956.  The enemies lost.
  • Then the Six Day War in 1967.  The enemies lost.
  • The Yom Kippur War was fought in 1973.  Again, the enemies lost.

We write to you about Islam because it explains the following:

  • Islam’s hatred against Israel has never abated.  It stands as a powerful evidence that the Biblical history of Abraham’s two sons is true.  However, this conflict of the Arabs against the Jews has an interesting result in the Western World.
  • As you probably know there is a war against the Bible, God and the Church in the Western world.  People like the Freedom From Religion Foundation and many, many atheist organizations attempt to ‘evict’ God from society with the law.  That leaves a spiritual gap or vacuum and guess who is ready to fill it?  Islam of course.
  • We see this process very well in Europe.  Many countries allow unlimited numbers of Muslims to immigrate.  The Muslims have an ulterior motive, namely to eventually dominate the countries and declare Shariah law.  The peaceful message of the Bible is stopped, and is automatically replaced by a violent one, one that will force people to accept Allah: convert or die.  No free will.
  • The Arab nations (that are mostly Islamic) are immensely rich and they can financially support the efforts of Muslims in the various countries.  England has quite an interesting growth in the number of mosques in the last years.

Conclusion

However, as we see from history, God’s promises always come true.  As His promise to Abraham became true, so will His promise in Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; Revelation 21:1 come true.  There will be an eternal new heaven and earth where God will live in love and harmony with all the people who made peace with Him through His Son, Jesus.  That is the Gospel in the Bible, the Word of God.  It is not from the Koran.