Pentecost, Cicadas, Atheists, and Logical Death Traps.....SUSPENSE!!!
New Testament - The Gospel According to St. John 8:1-20
Psalms: Morning - 42
Evening - 102, 133
Icon of the Day: Pentecost
Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I deny the existence of cicadas. They do nothing good for me, they don't obey me, they make a sickly green goo on my shoes after I step on them, and I still suffer because they exist. This is of course ridiculous.....cicadas exist regardless of whether or not I get out of my house to see them or not. Before you stop and say, "whoah...that's not fair because you still CAN go outside and look at them," let me rephrase this with another more real analogy.
I can't see the Holy Spirit. I can't see wind. I can only see the effect of wind on an object, just as I can see the Holy Spirit work faith in someone. To observe them both directly goes against their purpose and nature. I can only see both when they are enveloped in a visible material. For the wind....it could be sand grains, or plant material blowing in the wind. For the Holy Spirit, it was a dove, or a person (a la Holy Trinity appearing to Abram at Mamre). What is fascinating however is that wind is predictable....you can make measurements on it and direct it. You can tell where it is by what it is effecting. Now let's look at this Scriptural passage about the Holy Spirit, "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit" (John 3:8).
How fascinating that Jesus uses an analogy of wind with the Holy Spirit. It should not be surprising that at Pentecost (Acts 2), the Holy Spirit's coming is accompanied by the sound of wind. The Spirit is undirected by anyone other than the Father who directs it and the Son who sends it in tandem with the Father's will. We know where the Holy Spirit resides though.....how it moves has been revealed to us as Christians. The Holy Spirit is within all believers....for without His taking up residence in us and making us a temple....we would be unable to have faith in Christ. He is also found in God's life giving Word and Sacraments. What is fascinating is that many people read His Word and reject it.....and therein lies the problem with the Blasphemy Challenge. Blaspheming the Holy Spirit isn't a one time event......it isn't something done haphazardly......it is a long-running and continual sin. It is a sin of rejection and hatred of the Spirit which brings life for the sake of Christ's sacrifice. How can those atheists sit in a debate on national television, say they've read the Bible, and then say something about God being a megalomaniacal barbarian? Have they died for their atheism? The worst video on their website is a kid who isn't old enough to vote or even drive saying he doesn't believe in God and his mother goes nuts on him. I'm sorry....but this is unconvincing.
Brian, Kelly, and everyone at the "Rational Response Squad," let me know when you have atheists whose throats are slit, who are crucified, who are flayed alive, who are beheaded, who are drowned, whose families are slaughtered before their eyes, who are castrated, etc. THAT is true suffering......would you REALLY die for atheism? In the end you are faced with an inescapable truth.....your rationalism is nothing more than epicurianism. Carpe Diem!!! You would scream at the top of your lungs that this life is all there is. Let everyone alone and stop trying to control their lives. How dare you tell a woman abortion is wrong! How dare you tell us what is right and wrong as if you have a message from God! And of course, how dare you tell me I'm a sinner who is deserving of death, Hell, and judgement! Perhaps you would wonder why this loving God is sitting like a judge above waiting to strike down those who sin and offend Him. Perhaps you would wonder why those who have become Christians are vehement to defend the life of unborn children. Perhaps you wonder how some all-loving God allows evil to exist....and when you argue that He is morally obligated to stop evil and doesn't, you feel you've won some logical battle and should be awarded a medal for your troubles.
Take it....take the medal......but realize you haven't won......you've failed. You act intelligent....you and your friends call us "dims" while you are the "brights." The brightness is merely your self-righteousness which blinds you to the ultimate truth.....namely, you are wrong, and have failed to develop any new argument that makes atheism tenable. How can God allow evil you say? Or perhaps we should phrase this the way popular culture does, "How can God let bad things happen to good people?" Such a question misses the point of sin and the crux of the Christian worldview.....the real question is, "How can God let good things happen to bad people?" I carry within myself a nature inherrited from our first parents that makes me tainted.....yet God lets me be born with a tainted nature mocking His own which He has given to me. I can breathe and live for 24 years having done MANY horrible and grievous sins, calling Him a liar and wallowing in mire which disgusts Him.....and yet I live! I can only stand in awe of this merciful and gracious God and say with the whole church, "Lord have mercy!" Of what do you have? hopelessness? After all, atheism breeds relativism and the belief in no life after death. If there is no life after death......what are you wasting your time doing atheist evangelism for anyway? The only way to explain it is that you hate God....regardless of whether you "believe" in Him or not. This is your original sin.......you are born in attrition to God.....and unless the Holy Spirit works within you to make your heart contrite and repent.....you are lost. God does not wish for this. This megalomaniac you claim to be the most heartless being in existence limited Himself to be born of a Virgin in a stable! He grew, was tempted, never had a family of His own, was mocked, rejected in His own hometown, healed many, taught many, and finally was wipped, tortured, and crucified for a crime He didn't commit.....bore the world's sins on His shoulders and in that moment God died. He rose again not to go back to Heaven and say, "wow, glad that's over.....they're on their own now," but to deliver US from the bondage of death...........and you claim that this God who became like you and I (in all ways except sin) is a horrible being???? Are you nuts????? Even as an enemy of God He loves you enough to not force you to love Him......in a sense YOU CONDEMN YOURSELF TO HELL!!!! Don't look at Him and say it isn't fair.....His love knows no bounds and while it pains Him to send you there because He desires all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3).
Look at this evil, hateful God whom you hate with a relative mindset! "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time" (1 Timothy 2:1-6 ESV).
How can you sit there and say there are absolutes with regard to morality and then say that such an absolute is found within culture??? Such a statement is absurd because something absolute is based upon that which lasts eternally....it has no end nor beginning.....society will end....those alive now who vote on laws will die and their laws will eventually be forgotten anway. Would you then look to Israel's laws in the Old Testament and say it was "absolutely moral" to do that which you have said you hate? How is it absolutely moral to honor God with all my heart, soul, and strength as it was written in the Old Testament laws and then say God does not exist......you have made that law a relative statement in your mind.....or an absolute statement about God's non-existence which contradicts your source for absolute morality. Face it......YOU LOSE.....GOOD DAY SIR!
You might wonder why I spent so much time on morality.....well, you as atheists speak in absolutes with regard to the evils of religion and belief in God, yet when behavior comes around, morality is relative. If religion is evil, why? What then is evil? Perhaps, like St. Augustine, you ponder the source of evil.....and to say men's hearts is not the end of the question. Like him you would have to ponder it until you came to the conclusion that if absolute evil exists, absolute good exists as well. The answer is that absolute good has always existed as the incorruptable triune God. Evil exists as the antithesis of God's will......thus God didn't create evil, but creation had the capacity for evil because God gave man free will.....and he chose to do that which was against God....and thus, evil stems from the heart of men, as a result of severence from God. What answer does atheism offer that doesn't leave me asking more questions that lead to self-contradiction. Christianity has the answers......but even this will not convert you. Apologetics is for defending the faith, not for evangelism......God operates through His Holy Spirit working through the proclomation of the Gospel......if apologetics has it, He will act, if not, the message will be for the prepration of the faithful for defending that faith which saved them from death.
As a Christian I defend the faith and spread the Good News not because I "have to," but because I "want to" help God save the lost......I want to help God do spiritual CPR. If you reject it....it is YOUR OWN FAULT....not God's. God has given you life, even in your sinful state.......this alone should humble you!
May the God who made the innumerable stars and who became man so that man may become like Him bless and direct you to the true faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.