The Evidence of a True Christian™

From the local newspaper —

As winter draws closer and temperatures begin to plunge at night, the Warming Center at the First Presbyterian Church’s Dream Center prepares to open for the season.

The Warming Center opens when at least three major weather sources forecast temperatures 0 degrees and below or 32 degrees with snow. People who stay the night can also have breakfast in the morning. All the food is donated.

Volunteers go out into the community on the first and third Saturday of each month and offer people on the street lunches, clothing, hygiene kits, rain gear and tents.

In an effort to accommodate an expected increase in people coming to use the Warming Center … cots will be placed in the main congregation room and balcony of the church.

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Think about this, folks.

The homeless will have food and shelter available to them during the winter months because a group of people are fulfilling the commands of their Leader:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in (Matthew 23:35, NIV)

On the internet, it’s extremely easy for Christians to defend their position. They will quote relevant scripture, often referencing their favorite apologists and/or philosophers to support their stance. They will describe their personal experiences of answered prayers … physical healings … changed lives.

Yet how many actually carry out the (very clear) instructions indicated in the above scripture?

The evidence of a True Christian™ is displayed in both faith and action.

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The Book

Courtesy of Stockvault.net

A book is nothing more than an object consisting of pages glued to a cover with a title. Yet within these pages, we often find stories involving mystery, fantasy, suspense, romance, science fiction, etc. We can also learn things from books, such as how to build a computer, how to lose weight, where to go for vacation, what to fix for dinner, even how to stay safe during an earthquake.

But there is ONE book that, for rather curious reasons, tends to stand out from the crowd. It is a very old book; in fact, it was written over two thousand years ago.

It is a somewhat intriguing book in that while it includes stories of torture, murder, baby-killing, slavery and other distasteful activities, it also includes what some consider a “love story” (although one might be hard-pressed to identify the reasons behind this notion).

The book I’m referring to is called the “Holy Bible.”

To many, this book contains “special” words provided by a supernatural and invisible being who whispered in the ears of select individuals many thousands of years ago. Since writing had not yet been invented, these unique individuals verbally shared what they heard, which meant that each person who received this “special” information passed it on to the next person by word of mouth, who would then pass it on to the next person, who would then pass it on to another person, who … well, you get the idea.

Eventually, after several hundred years, certain individuals learned to write and the oft-repeated stories were recorded on scrolls made from papyrus (a plant-based paper). As these scrolls were passed around from person to person, it was inevitable they would become worn out and need to be “re-copied,” which undeniably resulted in copying errors.

Further, as the years passed and the world expanded, new and different languages were introduced so dedicated individuals began translating the words into their native language. What is puzzling is that thousands of people in the modern world are convinced the contents of the “Holy Bible” they hold in their hands is totally true to the original versions produced so many thousands of years ago.

They are further convinced its contents justify/prove/validate their perspective on life and how they should treat their fellow human beings (even though, as mentioned previously, there are numerous stories that support and/or endorse rape, murder, torture, etc.).

Moreover, they use words from this centuries old book to deny many scientific discoveries and instead cling to beliefs related to creation, the shape of the earth, the age of the earth, the birth of humankind, etc.

From the perspective of many, such dedication and commitment to the contents of a book written in an entirely different day and age by individuals who had absolutely no concept of today’s world and its many and varied innovations … is simply incomprehensible.

I think the following comment by someone on another blog sums it up quite well:

I would imagine that any book that was indeed the inspired word of the supreme being of the entirety of everything (aka GOD) would be the first and last book anyone ever needed. In other words, there should be ONE and only ONE book at the Christian bookstore. Further, the author of such a book (aka GOD) being so awesome, would not need the help of mere mortals to get his (everyone knows that GOD is man, right?) point across. 

Yet, as we all know, this is not the case. Do you ever wonder why?

Our Existence

Courtesy of Stockvault.net

On another blog, there’s been an ongoing discussion between some atheists and a Christian related to our “existence;” that is, our “beingness” — why we are here, why we are alive and living on this planet. Some would describe it as a discussion related to Ontology: The metaphysical study of the nature of being and existence; that is, study based on hypothesis or theory rather than experiment.

As would be expected, there is a rather significant difference of opinion between the two factions.

The atheists naturally consider science as the most important element of our existence because it IS based on experiments. They assert it is the discipline of science that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions, not only about ourselves, but also about the universe we live in. They further contend it is science that has allowed us to survive, as well as improving our lifestyle in the process.

The Christian naturally downplays this perspective and repeatedly accuses his detractors of believing in “scientism,” which has been defined by some as “a scientific method that has no (or few) limits, can successfully be applied to almost all aspects of life, and provides an explanation for everything.” It has even been referred to as a RELIGION and that its followers worship science, its rituals, and its results! The following from Wikipedia is notable:

According to Discovery Institute scientism is an effort to use the methods of science to explain and control every part of human life, in other words, the misguided effort to apply science to areas outside its proper bounds.

Moreover, the blog owner believes philosophy (the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics) plays just as important a role defining our existence as the discipline of science.

He emphasized his perspective by offering the following quote on his blog by Stephen Barr, author, and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware. I find it very telling …

“There’s a misconception that’s actually at the root of the science-religion tension. Many people think that nature and God are in competition, that if something has a natural explanation that God had nothing to do with it. And, if God did something, it’s supernatural, so it’s an either-or. And, so the more science can explain naturally the less there is for God to explain. But that’s a complete misconception because God is the author of nature.

(Emphasis added)

I close this post with a quote from the referenced blog owner: Science cannot prove that we have a complete picture of reality.

Considering the preceding discourse, what are your thoughts?

Prayer and Football

Watching or discussing football is not something I’m interested in. I haven’t a clue regarding who’s playing who and I only know the names of (some) teams because they’ve been around a long while.

However, the recent hullabaloo related to football player Colin Kaepernick got me to thinking and I decided to open things up for discussion. If you aren’t familiar with this person or why he’s been a topic of conversation, I suggest you do some research.

Those of you who regularly watch football are no doubt aware of Tim Tebow, a player who is well known for his signature move – dropping to one knee on the field, his head bowed in prayer, his arm resting on his bent knee. These very public actions have made him the darling of the Christian crowd.

Recently, another football player, Colin Kaepernick, performed a similar action. However, in his case, he was severely censured and became the pariah of the Christian movement. He was voted as the “most disliked” player in the NFL. People posted videos of them burning his jerseys. He was called “an embarrassment” and “a traitor”.

Why the different reactions?

Interestingly, according to what I’ve read, Colin is just as devout as Tim. Perhaps even more so as he “advertises” his faith all over his body. Plus, as a demonstration of his religious belief, he frequently provides financial assistance to several charitable organizations.

Yet, the Christian world sees these two individuals through much different lenses. To them, Tebow is kneeling in private prayer while Kaepernick is kneeling in public protest.

For me, the question becomes … if both individuals were down on one knee in what many consider a prayerful position (thus honoring their god), why was one censured while the other was praised as a devoted Christian?

Many in the secular world felt Kaepernick was being disrespectful because he chose to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem, ignoring traditional “etiquette,” which includes:

  • Standing at attention
  • Hand over the heart
  • Removing one’s hat and holding it in the right hand over the left shoulder
  • No eating, drinking, smoking, or chewing (food containers should not be held)

Yet there are hundreds who regularly ignore these practices. Most everyone will stand, but many neglect at least one or more of the other actions. Does anyone point a finger at them? Do presidents publicly censure those who fail to follow protocol?

Prayer is prayer. The reasons for participating in this religious action are many and varied. And the locale and practice for doing same are just as diverse.

Kaepernick had his reasons for what he did just as much as Tebow: he wanted to draw attention to something he believed in. Simply because he chose a different place and time does not make him any less devout or his “cause” any less meaningful. Tebow brought attention to himself on the field, Kaepernick did so in the bench area.

As is so often the case in the Christian world … interpretation is the deciding factor on what’s acceptable and what isn’t. And in this very public incident, this fact has been very much in the forefront.