Alberta Atheism Theism Deity Myths Part One

Much has been written to prove that Jesus never existed, that he was nothing more than a “myth” from the past. Furthermore, many argue that he was just a “copy cat” version of other gods and any facts about him can be found in other ancient and present day religions.

The individuals who are convinced that Jesus is just a myth would be pleased, perhaps, if it were true, because it would be a step closer to prove that there is no God. However, it is crucial to look at the facts to evaluate the evidence.

What becomes obvious as one studies the ancient religions is that none seem to end up with only one god. The gods seem to have been created by the active minds of persuasive people, and so more gods were generated to suit their culture as time progressed. Many of the gods were personified and became images and objects of worship. Statues of many gods were formed. For example, in Egypt the god Khnum took on the form of a statue. The god Horus took on the form of a sculpted hawk. Later in time, in the Greco-Roman mystery religions, numerous gods also were worshipped. Some of these gods were Bacchus, Ceres, Mithra, Zeus etc.. What needs to be noted here is that none of these gods ever existed in flesh and bone form. They were fictional, lifeless, supposed gods. They had no spiritual components that could positively affect the lives of people who worshiped them. These non existent gods may have had an emotional impact on worshipers but had nothing to offer of long term spiritual value. Whatever spiritual nature they might have had would have been negative and the type described in my posts of May 26, 2014 and June 22, 2014. Almost all the gods of  past civilizations were myths, except Jesus Christ. They provided no spiritual benefits then and they provide no spiritual benefits now.

Some of the myths mentioned above still seem to be important to some people today. Freemasonry places value on gods of the past such as Venus, Isis, Bacchus, Ceres and Mithra. A brief laudable overview of Masonry beliefs and practices can be found in the book,  ‘The Gods of the Lodge’, by Reginald C. Haupt, JR.

The “copy cat” issue is an important one because non believers argue that there is no significant difference between Jesus and other deities and so he too was a myth. They hold that aspects about Jesus were taken from other deities and applied to him. Scholars have researched this claim and found that it is erroneous. The scholars went to the original texts of the religions in question and found that most similarities claimed did not exist.One could guess that later writers assumed this would not ever be checked out so information was added to the later texts. To find the details for this research on your computer enter, “Investigating the Similarities between Jesus and Pagan Figures,  The Divine Evidence’.

Jesus was not some kind of mythical copy cat version of some other small gods. The scriptures say, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God…and the Word was God…All things were made by him… And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:1, 3, 14)

Jesus said…” I AM the bread of life…the living bread which came down from heaven”. (John 6:35, 51)  Two thousand years ago Jesus came as God in the flesh, was crucified, resurrected and now offers salvation. All other gods are insignificant and are of no help when our life is over.

You can talk to Jesus from anywhere and he will hear you. Perhaps you live in a busy city or perhaps you live where there are few people. Talk to him and he will hear you. Ask him to come into your heart and be your savior, Lord and friend. Millions upon millions have found him to be that and that he is not a myth.

 

 

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Alberta Atheism Theism Miracles Deity Moral Evil

This post is about moral evil and follows the previous post about natural evil.

Moral evil is the result of an agent who has the capability to create harm, pain and suffering. We are all familiar with the pain, physical and/or emotional that others may have caused us.  On a larger scale we know of the many dictators who caused unbelievable suffering and death to millions. Probably most of these dictators did not believe that there was a God taking note of what havoc they were creating.

Both atheists and theists can agree that moral evil exists but differ in their belief on what causes it. Both see our human condition and all the problems that can be caused by wrong thinking. Education and counselling ,of course, is available that can hopefully lessen harm to self and to others. However, there is one major difference between the belief systems of atheism and theism.

The problem with the atheistic perspective, about moral evil, is that it does not allow for incorporeal existence of any kind. No Supreme Being, no evil spiritual beings or benevolent ones. Those who hold this belief have not gone to where the evidence is. This evidence was clearly laid out in a previous post or two. Just as it is impossible to prove that God does not exist, so it is impossible to prove that incorporeal beings do not exist. Those holding to atheism need to do the research and go where the evidence leads. Avoiding information that is available is hardly scientific.

One reliable source of information about the beginning of moral evil is given in the Christian scriptures. Much has been said about Adam and Eve and the error they made in the Garden of Eden, but to understand the source of moral evil one needs to go back in time, presumably before their appearance.

Lucifer, later called Satan, was created the most beautiful and powerful angel. This resulted in arrogance and to his downfall as quoted below.

“You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens. I will raise my throne to above the stars of God….”(Isaiah 14:13).

“How you have fallen from heaven, morning star of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth”. (Isaiah 14:12).

According to Revelation 12:9 there was a war in heaven, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceives the whole world, he was cast out to the earth and his angels were cast out with him”.

Now that Satan and his angel followers were turfed out of heaven and have access to our earth, what is their goal? Jesus as quoted in John 10:10, said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy”. Further the scriptures say, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

It would seem, based on scripture, that certainly some moral evil is due to the influence of the evil one and his evil followers. One need only observe current events to see that something evil is transpiring caused by what Jesus explained, as quoted in John 10:10 above.

Jesus in John 10:10 is also quoted as saying, “I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly “. This Jesus can do because of his death on the cross and his resurrection.

In the Lords Prayer there is a portion that says, “deliver us from evil”. Some translations say, “deliver us from the evil one”.

God can forgive us and deliver us if we ask him to! Do research and follow where the evidence takes you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Alberta Atheism Theism Miracles Deity Natural Evil

A great deal of debate by philosophers and theologians has taken place about the topic of evil.

Different viewpoints have been expressed determined by whether there is the belief that God exists. All agree that there are two basic types of  evil namely, natural and moral. This post will address the issue of natural evil and the next moral evil.

Anyone who pays attention to the news media soon realizes that there are frequent natural catastrophes happening in the world, some major and some minor, all of them causing suffering and pain. Such catastrophic events have a long history. For example, ten million died in India in 1769 because of a famine. On million starved in Ireland in 1845. A 1887 flood in China caused a million deaths. We all know about the big earthquake which caused great damage to SanFrancisco in more recent times. In addition, of course, are the more personal catastrophes that can happen to us. Over time, as knowledge has increased, we have learned to control the environment around us to some extent, but it seems the big natural disasters are and will be beyond our reach. Certainly these kind of natural evil events will continue until the Creator brings about  a change.

The universe is massive, but our immediate concern is our solar system of which we are a part. As the earth, revolves and orbits, hurdling through space, it follows natural laws. In doing so, seasons come and go with concomitant movement of air masses that can create hurricanes, tornadoes etc. which cause so much pain and suffering. Another example, paramount in our existence, is the force of gravity. It keeps our solar system in place but can also give rise to pain and suffering as in earthquakes, causing buildings to fall to the earth and destroy anything and anyone beneath. However, without gravity our earth and   the rest of the solar system would have been flung into outer space and we would not exist.

The big question then is how is one to view these natural evil disasters?  From an atheistic viewpoint, as best I can determine, the perspective is you do the best you can for yourself and for others and when you expire its over, forever. The first part is realistic and laudable, but the “forever” portion is questionable because there is no proof that God does not exist. More about this towards the end of this post.

The scriptures say, “God saw all that he had made and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). From God’s perspective, at that point in time, he was pleased with what he had done. However, there were some negative aspects that will someday be done away with.

Paul in the scriptures is quoted as saying, “For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22). He was quite aware of this given he almost drowned in a shipwreck and when he did reach land he was bitten by a snake.

 

John, a prisoner on the small island of Patmos, had a vision recorded in Revelation 21:1 which says, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away….”  The creation of a new heaven and a new earth can only happen if there is a God to do it. He is the only one that can create a world without natural evil. This, will happen sometime in the future, beyond our lifetime, so it is important that we get to know him now and accept the salvation he provided for us by dying on the cross.

A philosopher that readers may want to become familiar with is Anthony Flew. Flew was a predominant atheist philosopher following the Second World War. In 2007 he published a book,  ‘There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed his Mind’

Thanks for visiting.

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Alberta Atheism Theism Miracles Deity Easter

Easter is not of equal importance to all people. For those who hold to atheism, agnosticism or humanism it may be just a holiday. For christians, all over the world, it is a time to remember Jesus’ victory over death and a means to have our sins absolved and a guarantee of life with him in the future. Jesus’ resurrection is proof that God exists and loves his creation.

Most everyone is familiar with what happened with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Just as an aside, historians think that the Garden of Eden was situated in what is today Iraq. The apostle Paul said,  Romans 5:12,  sin entered our world by Adam and Eve not following the instructions given by God. If taken literally it was a serpent that mislead them. In any case the serpent was evil, a concept they did not understand. The scriptures relate in Ezekiel, how Lucifer, a long time ago, became arrogant and was turfed out of heaven onto the earth and became Satan. Adam and Eve, God’s creation, one can be sure, were Satan’s prized targets. Some readers at this point may wonder about the question of Adam and Eve versus early man. This will not be pursued now. The main stress here is that evil exists due to the actions of Satan. The posts of May 2014 and June 2014 have some related information.

Because Adam and Eve failed to follow God’s instructions they sinned. The result of this was and still is, that everyone is subject to both physical and spiritual death. Satan and his angels, now evil, do their best to destroy humans. Satan does not like humans, so tries his best to prevent people from accepting God’s forgiveness.

Adam and Eve having broken God’s law and having been mislead by Satan, created a situation that needed addressing. What they did was a serious matter. The scripture in Hebrews 9:22, explains God’s perspective about sin, where it states, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins,”. God for Old Testament times established a procedure to follow to receive forgiveness by sacrificing animals.

The shedding of blood was an extreme action which was a strong reminder that sin had serious consequences. It spoke of life and death. Easter was in the distant future but for a time it was a way of receiving forgiveness. Some may wonder whether God was pleased with all the sacrifices. He wasn’t. Isaiah 1;11 records God’s perspective when he said, “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well- fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats”. These sacrifices would have continued indefinitely but God had another plan. He knew there would be an Easter in the future.

The Godhead, namely, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit implemented a plan that would provide a permanent means of forgiveness for all humanity. John 3;16 explains the plan. It says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believed on him would not perish but have everlasting life”. God’s son, Jesus, would come to earth and become a sacrifice so that all people for all time could receive forgiveness, if they asked for it. Jesus was the “Son of God”. The sacrifice of a mere man or an angel would not have been adequate to provide forgiveness. The death of Jesus, the Son of God, as deity, meant that the blood of deity was shed and always available to do away with our sins. This forgiveness is available to us today no matter who we are or where we are. It doesn’t matter if one is currently perhaps espousing theism, agnosticism, atheism, humanism, or some other belief system, Jesus died and was raised from the dead to provide forgiveness for everyone if it is accepted.

A simple model prayer might be, “Father God, I believe Jesus died on the cross for me and I ask that you forgive me for all my sins. I believe you raised Jesus from the dead and I receive Him now as my personal savior and friend.

Talk to God in your own words too, and invite ‘Jesus into your heart’.

Always remember that Easter tells us that a great miracle happened about 2000 years ago. Jesus died and rose from the dead, so we can have forgiveness now and when we die we will be with him for all eternity. If you accept him he will never leave or forsake you!

Thanks for visiting.

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Alberta Atheism Theism Miracles Deity Miracles Today Part Two

This post continues to address the question whether God works miracles today outside what is termed ‘natural laws’.

As one who has had an interest in the topic of miracles for many years, I have followed the evidence which has led me to conclude that God does indeed work miracles today. Check back to the last post for data that proves that this does happen. For more proof that God works healing miracles today refer to,  ‘The International Order of St. Luke the Physician’, with the main office in San Antonio, Texas, and with branch offices in several locations in North America. They publish a magazine, ‘Sharing, A Journal of Christian Healing’.

In researching the topic of miracles/healing over the years it has become apparent that those who have experienced a healing don’t go rushing to the local news media looking for a spot on the evening newscast. Rather than make a big issue out of their experience they quietly go on living their lives.

An interesting aspect of whether miracles can happen today is that some christian denominations hold to the belief that that’s not for today, it’s not valid in our modern times. This flawed belief is because they give a questionable interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:8. There Paul lists some manifestations in the church of his time and states that these would stop in the future. However, if you read carefully, the word ‘miracle’ and ‘healing’ does not appear in the list, so in other words it is reasonable to believe that miracles can still occur today. After Jesus’ resurrection, he told his followers to go and tell people what he accomplished on the cross and to heal the sick. There was no suggestion that that was to cease.

Even though there is ample evidence that physical miracles occur today, and you can find them if you look for them, does not mean that they are common place. Just because not everyone who asks God for a miracle gets one, doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about them. Further, if one receives God’s intervention once, does not mean that such a person will not need medical attention in the future. The point of this post is to simply show that miracles do happen and it only takes relatively few to provide evidence that God exists and cares about us.

From our human perspective, a perhaps negative aspect of our existence is that eventually some negative physical illness will cause us to pass from this earthly scene. Until that time we get help from what medical science has to offer and in some cases God might intervene with a miracle. Scripture states, and miracles provide evidence, that a supreme being exists, and is benevolent, so I think it prudent to establish a positive connection with him.

Luke 18 tells of a tax collector who wouldn’t even look up to heaven but beat his chest and said, “God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Jesus speaking said, “I tell you that this man… went home justified before God.” That is the kind of attitude and the kind of words, in your own words, that can begin a relationship with God you never had before.

Remember, Jesus as God, exists, is alive, and still works miracles today.

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Alberta Atheism Theism Miracles Deity Christmas

When this post is read Christmas and New Years might be past and only memories remain. Depending on circumstances, for some people the memories will be positive and for others sad. Christmas may be gone but life moves on. Perhaps some observations about Christmas and what it has meant for some people in the past and what it means now might be beneficial.

The Ancient Romans worshipped many and various gods. Many of the gods and goddesses were those worshipped prior by the Greeks. Gods worshipped in countries they conquered were also accepted into their culture. They virtually had a god for every aspect of their life. At one point in their history they worshipped the sun. They recognized their dependence on the sun’s yearly course in the heavens. The emporer Aurelian (214-275 AD) built a large temple dedicated to the ‘Unconquerable Sun’. He decided the sun would receive special attention on December 25. Also, it was the winter solstice and the last day of the Saturnalia which concluded with a week of celebration. Bonfires were built with the belief that this would energize the sun for another year.

Going back in time, almost 1000 years before the time of the emporer Aurelian, the birth of Jesus was predicted by God. Speaking through Isaiah he said, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin will conceive and bear a son and call his name Immanuel, (Isaiah 7;14). The word Immanuel means “God with us”. The birth of Jesus is recorded in Luke chapter 2.

The prophecy in Micah 5:2 says, “But you Bethlehem …. out of you shall come forth to Me the One …. Whose goings forth are from old, From everlasting”. This prophecy, some 600 years before the birth of Jesus, tells where he would be born and the word “everlasting” indicates that he was God.

That Mary gave birth to Jesus was a miracle, worked by God the Holy Spirit, as recorded in Mathew 1:18, ” ….she was found with child of the Holy Spirit”. God here set aside a natural law and worked a miracle. This miracle would impact the world forever.

As stated previously, the Romans had a major celebration on December 25. However, for certain Jesus was not born on December 25. Where Bethlehem is located December is wet and cold and probably the animals would not have been in the fields. Also, the shepherds would not have been in the fields to hear and see the angel of the Lord and the other angels. It is likely then that Jesus was born during a warmer time of the year. Further, The World Book Encyclopedia and historians state that the exact date of Jesus’ birth is uncertain.

Christianity, of course, started after Jesus’ crucifixion and christians were severely persecuted. The scriptures and the church did not call for any celebrations related to the birth of Jesus. This, however, slowly changed when the emporer Constantine claimed conversion to Christianity and in the Edict of Milan decreed that there be more tolerance for the Christian faith in the empire. Even though persecutions decreased people were slow in accepting Christianity. As a result the church in Rome decided to celebrate Jesus birth during the winter solstice to coincide with the Roman celebrations and attempt to christianize the celebrations. This, however, did not bring about a significant change. The Romans mostly continued their celebrations as before. Eventually the church of that time, during the fourth century, approved December 25 as the day to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Rightly or wrongly that’s the way it is today.

This has been a bit of history about Christmas. It’s not all important to know the exact date of Jesus’ birth, but it is important to understand that he came as was predicted by the Old Testament prophets quoted above. Jesus came, born as a man, so that later he could offer his life to provide forgiveness for our sins.

Every person, daily, is in a different situation and a different place. God is omnipresent so he knows where you are and all about you and he wants to establish a relationship with you. Talk to him and ask him, in your own words, to come into your life.

Jesus said, spiritually speaking, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).

Jesus also said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mathew 11:28).

God superseded natural laws to bring about Jesus’ birth, and some 30 years later his death and resurrection, because he cares for us.

Thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

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Alberta Atheism Theism Miracles Deity Past Miracles

Writings from the past record that miracles happened. This provides proof that there exists a Supreme Being who can function outside natural laws and do as he wishes. It also shows that this Being cares about us.

Some happenings may be miraculous but difficult to verify because of the incorporeal elements involved. In this post some emphasis will be on corporeal, on physical events that were experienced and/or observed.

However, the the main point of this post is not to concentrate primarily on just miracles, but to pursue the question whether God exists and does he concern himself with humans. That is the all important question.

Moses was born about 1393 BC and grew up as an Egyptian prince. The bible says he killed an Egyptian and in fear fled for his life and as a result became a shepherd for a while. Obviously, Moses did not always lead an exemplary life. The Hebrews at that time were worshipping other gods and Moses probably was doing the same. To get his attention God (Jehovah) created a burning bush which he, Moses, went to see. In the course of a short conversation with God Moses in effect asked who he was talking with. The answer was, “I AM Who I AM” . Because of this miracle burning bush Moses became a theist who worshipped only Jehovah. At a later point in Moses’ life, Miriam, his sister in-law, became leprous. Moses prayed for her and she was healed. (Numbers 12:13)

Naaman, in the Old Testament, an army commander suffered from leprosy but was healed.(2 kings 5:1-14).  Job of the Old Testament suffered from a severe skin condition. He said, “My skin turns black on me and my bones burn with fever. (Job 30 : 30).  Job 42:10-17, says he was healed of his affliction. In these situations and all other Old Testament miracles, Jehovah, God, was the source of the miracles.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Jesus came to earth born as a man some 2000 years ago. At about age 30, before his crucifixion, he healed many people. The scriptures say he healed many more than those mentioned in the Gospels. Jesus sent out his disciples to teach the gospel and to heal the sick.(Luke 10:9).  The disciples came back and said, “Even the devils are subject to us through your name”.(Luke 10:9).  The book of Acts written after the crucifixion states that Jesus’ followers prayed for those with physical ailments.(Acts 3:6-8).  All these things were happening because God cared about the people and their suffering. Christianity spread as followers of Jesus spoke of their faith. Many were martyred as a result.

Moving on, one comes to what is called the Early Church Fathers. This takes in the years from about 100 AD to 600 AD. These individuals lived in troubled times and a few were killed for their faith. A good number of them recorded what was happening in their time, including information about miracles. Even though they were leaders in the early church, their writings are not mentioned much in the churches of today. Several will be mentioned below regarding miracles.

Justin Martyr (100-165) was originally a philosopher who for a time embraced the teaching of Socrates and Plato. He later became a christian and wrote of men who, “… have healed and do heal”. He was killed for his faith during the reign of Marcus Aurelius.

Irenaeus (120-200) wrote, “others again heal the sick by laying hands on them and they are made whole”.  This he said was done by calling upon the “…name of the Lord Jesus Christ”.

Tertullian (155-220) converted to Christianity about 190-195. Writing in 211 he makes reference to a number of sick healed by Christians.

Origen (185-253) said  “not a few cures are brought about in the name of Jesus”.

Augustine (354-430) witnessed numerous miracles as recorded in his books,  ‘City of God’  and  ‘Retractions’. Augustine doubted that miracles occurred in his day but changed his thinking when in fact miracles occurred that he could substantiate.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1190 – 1153) spoke of miracles as did Martin Luther (1483-1546).

Mentioned above are some individuals, from the past, who witnessed miracles that God worked in the lives of people they knew. In their minds they were convinced that God had done the miracles. Does God work miracles in our modern times? The answer apparently is affirmative and will be discussed in a future post.

Underlying the miracles that God performs is his intent to indicate to people that he cares about them, both their physical well-being and more importantly about their spiritual well being, namely their souls. God wants you to establish a relationship with him and he with you.

Romans 10:9 says, ‘If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved’.

1 John 4:15-16 states, “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us ….”

Thanks for visiting.

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