Category Archives: Worldview

Soul Mates: Drawn Into the Mystery of the Other – Part 4

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

5 Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies. Solomon was taken in by the beauty of her figure and breasts. The picture is of two young gazelles, affectionate, playful, soft – something that you want to touch and enjoy watching. Fawns are young, sleek and even graceful. But they are also very skittish. If you make a quick movement, they will bolt away in fear. Solomon is saying I want to touch those, but I don’t want to frighten her. He’s being tender. He’s moving slowly and cautiously. I don’t see him aggressively squeezing or violently treating her. It’s so important not to attack your bride.

Are you surprised that the Bible talks about breasts in such an erotic way? God is Holy. He is pure. This can’t be obscene. A man and woman married, madly in love, and having the time of their lives. It’s a playful time, a flirtatious time, a sensual time. If a woman always asks, “Am I beautiful to you? Do you notice me?” a man is always asking not just “Do I have what it takes?” but “Is life with you going to be sexual?” When a wife walks by, it builds sexual tension in the visually oriented male. He notices her curves and shape. And with every passing day since the last intimate encounter, every one of her features become more distinct and attractive to him.

Does your wife feel desired by you and does she feel beautiful to you? If not, why not? The reason she uses all the make-up and accessories is that she wants to stay in your center of vision. Does your husband feel admired, nourished, sexually alive? Why not? Why are you leveraging or holding out on this precious gift of marriage?

6 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense.
Now, in the flow of things, it appears that the mountain of myrrh and the hill of incense refer to the same thing. But what are they referring to? Myrrh and incense were expensive perfumes. Let the spirit speak to you on this one. If I explain this one it may get you and me both in trouble. This is a work of verbal art. There is no sterile medical language to rob it of its eroticism. But there is no crudeness or obscenity to cheapen it. Each word and phrase lets us know that Sol basked in the beauty of it all.

7 All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
It seems now, that Solomon takes a step back to get the full picture. It’s like he’s saying, “From head to toe, you are just wonderful.” Of course, her body wasn’t perfect, but it was to him. It’s not so much what she looks like, but how he feels about her. With the exception of the teeth comment and the longer hair which is implied with the goat remark, we have no idea what she physically looks like. It doesn’t matter. What does matter, is how her husband viewed her (Mahaney). Remember it’s a song, poetry. He’s making some poetry. Her body is beautiful to him. He can exaggerate for effect if he wants to. To him, it was a perfect body. It’s perfectly acceptable to exaggerate in a song. Besides great romance is trial and error. Remember, this is a polished song, suitable for publishing. I’m sure Solomon and Abishag made their mistakes. Great romance isn’t about kissing just right or touching just right or a flawless evening. Romance is not reserved for those with flawless bodies. It’s more about fumbling and bumbling around together until you laughingly stumble upon those things that bring the greatest satisfaction and joy to you both. Romance, sex and love should be a no-pressure playground where you cultivate the spirit of playfulness. That’s what I sense in all the Song of Solomon – a spirit of playfulness and fun and joy within a marital context. That’s part of the marital fun. You open the gift of your sexuality together and begin to experiment and play for a lifetime. You give each other respectful signals of what is working and what isn’t and you just keep at it for a lifetime.

To Be Continued

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Filed under Beauty, Body, Body Language, Christian Worldview, Dating, Daughters, Femininity, Love, Lust, Marriage, Masculinity, Orgasm, Pleasure, Pornography, Sex, Sexual Addiction, Women, Worldview

Soul-Mates: Drawn Into the Mystery of the Other – Part 1

The Song of Solomon (in the Bible – Old Testament) expresses the joys of romance and married love between two partners. It is very erotic and sensual. “The most obvious feature of the Song of Songs is the sexually explicit nature of the material, sensitively guised in figurative language (Tom Constable).” It’s the most erotic literature in the Bible.

The majority of commentators believe that the lover is Solomon, presenting himself in the prime of life and describing his first true love (important considering that he had seven-hundred wives and three-hundred concubines). Some feel the bride was Abishag, the beautiful woman that assisted David when he was older (1 Kings 1:1-4). From what we can tell, she was not a lady of the royal courts. She was a country girl and naturally beautiful to him without a lot of cosmetics.

Knowing who is speaking is challenging in this book. There are pre-wedding flashbacks that make it hard to follow sometimes. There are dreams recorded that are interspersed throughout the song. And garden imagery is used to describe some very intimate, sensual topics. This can be confusing, but once you break the code of ancient poetry, the meaning just unlocks before you.

As noted by one author, because all the sexual references are cloaked in symbolism, a child can pick this book up and read it without offense. But a man and woman can pick it up and find a marriage manual on the most intimate part of marriage. It’s poetic, yet specific. It’s frank, yet innocent and pure.

There are four places in the Song where either the husband or wife’s features are catalogued and commented on. It usually starts at the head and works down the body.

Song of Solomon 4:1-11. This is apparently when Solomon and his bride are finally in the bridal chamber after a week of wedding festivities. She apparently is disrobing. Solomon takes his time to absorb all of her characteristics.

4:1-11 1 How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! He’s saying you’re beautiful and He says it twice for emphatic affect. This is a smart man. Your wife or girlfriend wants to know that she is beautiful to you. He told her that she was beautiful and he looked right into her eyes when he said it.

Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Solomon starts with looking into her eyes. Freshly married and her veil still on, he sees that she has given herself to him and him alone. He connects with the eyes. The eyes of a dove are wide-eyed and beautiful. I see doves feeding at our bird feeder all the time. Their eyes are captivating. They are alive with loyalty and romance.

Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.
Watching flocks go down this mountain, with the sun reflecting off their coats of fur is the picture here. The flowing movement of those herds and their hair as they come down the mountain with the sun reflecting on them is what Solomon is seeing (Hocking,Romantic…, 99). If you got enough of these goats Watching flocks go down this mountain, with the sun reflecting off their coats of fur is the picture here. The flowing movement of those herds and their hair as they come down the mountain with the sun reflecting on them is what Solomon is seeing (Hocking,Romantic…, 99). If you got enough of these goats moving moving down the mountain, it looked like a head of hair, waving in the breeze. As she let her curly black hair down, it cascaded over her shoulders and Solomon loved it.

We don’t have to speak the same Hebrew idioms. In fact, telling your wife or girlfriend that her hair reminds you of goats could get you in trouble today. Her hair and how she tossed it around just mesmerized Solomon, gentle, soft, flowing hair, that rested on thin shoulders – simply incredible. I thought of the country music song sung by Charlie Rich: “My baby makes me proud, Lord don’t she make me proud She never makes a scene by hanging all over me in a crowd ‘Cause people like to talk, Lord, how they love to talk But when they turn out the lights, I know she’ll be leaving with me CHORUS: And when we get behind closed doors Then she lets her hair hang down And she makes me glad I’m a man Oh no one knows what goes on behind closed doors. My, behind closed doors. VERSE: My baby makes me smile, Lord don’t she make me smile She’s never too far away or too tired to say “I want you” She’s always a lady, just like a lady should be But when they turn out the lights, she’s still a baby to me.”

I think Solomon probably grabbed several strands of this black curly hair and held it against his cheek. She must have liked it because the next verse talks about her teeth. She smiled.

2 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone.

Abishag has all of her teeth! Our teeth come in pairs. She still has her pairs. She has all of her teeth. That was a big deal 3,000 years ago. It’s not so much that they’re straight as it is that they are still there for her and they’re mature. This doesn’t just suggest good hygiene; it suggests maturity as well. Solomon is not robbing the cradle! She’s past the baby teeth stage, with huge gaps that are common between teeth. A sheep that has been sheered has a pinkish white color. Guess what? She’s smiling at him and her teeth are clean and smooth. Sol loved her smile.

—To Be Continued—

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Filed under Anthropology, Beauty, Body, Christian Worldview, Dating, Daughters, Desire, Femininity, Human Being, Love, Lust, Marriage, Masculinity, Romance, Sex, Sexual Addiction, Worldview

Salt and Cultural Decay “My Name Is…I Struggle With…”

“You are the salt of the earth,” was something Jesus said to describe the affect of Christ-followers on the culture. This statement also came with an adomonition to retain the saltiness. What does this mean?

Sometimes, first century, Near Eastern salt was this mixture of salt and sand. They didn’t have processing plants. Some of their salt was very poor and had to be thrown out because it had been diluted. When salt is mixed with another substance, it changes in its impact. The other substance doesn’t become salty, but the potency of the salt is diminished to the point that it may not even be seen or tasted. The salt loses its effectiveness.

Before they had refrigeration or ice boxes, salt was their chief means of fighting decay. In the ancient world, salt was a vital staple, both as a preservative and as a seasoning. In a non-refrigerated society, salt was rubbed into the meat to keep it from decaying. If you catch a fish on the Sea of Galilee, for example, and have to transport it to Jerusalem many miles to the south, you’re in trouble without salt. The transportation was slow. Refrigeration was non-existent. And they didn’t have Morton Salt Company either. They got salt from evaporated sea water, and it was never completely pure. Occasionally what they gathered to use as seasoning or to preserve their meat was so impure that it wasn’t very salty at all. When that happened they would gather it up and cast it out in their fields to use as fertilizer. Sometimes they would throw it out the door to harden the pathway that led to their front porch.

What Jesus says in these verses is that if His followers are going to change the world, they have to be the real thing. Our lives can’t be a mixture of all kinds of impurity. We have to be uncompromised, authentic as we engage the culture. Not perfect, just authentic and real with how we live life. What the culture needs are people who own their mess, who allow the teachings of Jesus to confront their lifestyles, and who honestly live a confessional life without pretense as they struggle to live life the way Jesus asked them to live it.

How did Jesus ask them to live a “salty” life? Jesus wanted them to extend forgiveness rather than keep someone in their debt. He wanted them to honor their marriage vows rather than do adultery. He wanted them to stop objectifying women and to really see them and their hearts. He wanted them to surrender the impulse to retaliate and seek revenge. He wanted them to deny themselves, to trust Him and not to worry about tomorrow. He wanted them to resist jumping to conclusions and standing in judgment over others. He wanted them to have the right priorities so that when life is done, you’re not burdened with regret that you spent your life on the wrong things (this is a summary of Matthew 5-7). What the culture needs are people who are willing to allow Jesus’ teachings to confront their values; to engage the culture by living out this struggle in front of a society that is already suspicious about religion and spirituality.

Now, it is possible for salt to be over used, to be too salty. If we try to impose Kingdom values rather than live them for all to see, we are too salty. If we always demand conformity to our viewpoint, we’re too salty. If you’re too heavy with Jesus and his teachings, you’ll ruin your relationships. If you call your atheistic neighbor at 3 AM in the morning to invite them to church, you’re way too salty. If you’re always quoting scripture to someone and preaching to them, you’re messing up your witness. If you pull up in the car next to you at the stoplight, and yell across, “Do you know you are going to hell without Christ?”, you’re too salty. If everybody around you only knows the things in life that you are against, and they never hear the things that you are for, you’re too salty.

On the other hand, if we never pursue Jesus’ values, if we never talk of spiritual things, if we ignore God as a life focus, then our lives are bland. There’s no depth to them. We talk about shallow things all the time – the weather, the latest news, the current scandals. We are just like the rest of the culture. We can never talk about the great ideas, like how and why Christianity is true. We relegate God to a Sunday morning and then we live the way we want to the rest of the time. You have very little impact on your community, family, or culture when you refuse to pursue and even entertain thoughts of God and His way in the world. This life is bland and does very little to help a decadent culture engage their God and His Messenger.

One of the saltiest things a person can do is simply own their struggle. “Hi. My name is Joey and I am a believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with nearly everything that Jesus asked me to do.” Here’s some stuff that Jesus said. It also is stuff that I struggle with.

Matthew 5:1-12 (NIV)
1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them saying:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Instead of poor in spirit, I’m often looking forward to the next exciting thing in life rather than just facing that I can’t handle life in my own strength. I’ll just distract myself from my truest, deepest needs and the One who can meet them.

4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Instead of mourning and dealing with the aches of life, I sidestep the hard places and difficult emotions. Mourning is that process that allows us to bleed off the toxic poison of bitterness. When you mourn, you’re saying that things matter, that dreams should be held dear, that people are important, that you care enough about them to work through the pain of losing them. I want to numb the pain rather than process through it.

5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Instead of being meek and content and submitting to God’s authority and His plan for meeting my needs, I met my needs my way. I live for the next thing – the next weekend, the next job, the next adventure, the next thrill.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

I hunger and thirst for all the wrong things and try to fill my life with them. Rather than take my soul cravings to God, I take them to other things and end up feeding on spiritual junk food.

7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

I can be harsh with those who live under my own roof and deny them grace. I can get really ticked at people who pretend and pose, especially when it comes to the spiritual life. They won’t admit anything and pretend to have it altogether. I don’t want to show them any mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

My heart is often divided among misdirected priorities. A pure heart is an undivided heart – a heart that is no longer struggling to decide where it will give its loyalty.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.

Rather than making peace, it’s often easier to settle just for what makes me happy.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

When push comes to shove, it’s much easier to take the path of least resistance and blend in.

My name is Joey and I am a believer in Jesus Christ who struggles with just about everything that Jesus asked me to do.

It’s about the saltiest thing I can say or do.

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Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, and Jesus Have It Right | Religion and the Hermeneutic of Suspicion at Christmas

Atheist Richard Dawkins offers a description of God in 23 adjectives: “jealous and proud of it, a petty, unjust, unforgiving control freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynist, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal…, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” Dawkins doesn’t just disbelieve in God; he detests Him. Dawkins has bought the hermeneutic of suspicion.

In 1976, faith was “a blind trust that goes against the evidence”. Then in 1989, faith is “a mental illness”. Now, in recent years, faith according to the new breed of atheists, is “one of the world’s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate” (Alister McGrath). Dawkins even suggested that faith in God is morally reprehensible. The hermeneutic of suspicion.

John Shelby Spong tells about Michael Goulder, who unlike Richard Dawkins, describes himself as a “non-aggressive atheist.” He asserts that God has no real work to do. It’s not so much “Is God good?” The question for Gould is “What good is He?” This God no longer fights wars and defeats enemies. This God no longer chooses a special people and works through them. This God no longer sends storms, heals the sick, spares the dying, or even judges the sinner. This God no longer rewards goodness and punishes evil. God is an unemployed deity. Goulder asserts that the church has entered exile. God now rings with a hollow emptiness. The power once ascribed to this God is now explained in countless other ways. God is irrelevant.

It’s the Nietzschean “God is dead” line all over again. Americans are really fulfilling the prophecy of a syphilitic and eventually insane German, but a brilliant philosopher. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote over 100 years ago, “God will be dead in the 20th Century.” He was a very bright man. He didn’t argue that there wasn’t a God in the Heavens. One could look at the stars and galaxies all in perfect harmony and know there was a God. What Nietzsche argued was that people would live as if God does not exist – and that’s precisely what we are doing; that they would kill God – and that’s what happened in the 20th Century and what is happening in the 21st.

Nietzsche had a hermeneutic of suspicion (Tim Keller). He suggested that religion was not just a product of wish-fulfillment (Freud); it was not just a way to control the masses (Marx); it was the suggestion that God doesn’t matter anymore. Nietzsche attacked our motives for being religious. We create religion so that we can feel good about ourselves, so that we have a system of payment for the bad things we do. And there is substantially no life difference between atheists and theists.

Rebecca Manly Pippert shares her story (Hope Has Its Reasons). A conversation with a Harvard professor went something like this: “Even though I am an atheist, I genuinely admire people like you who take faith seriously. There is no question that the human race needs help. But honestly Becky, isn’t life the same whether we believe in God or not? Don’t all of us long to be loved and understood?… Life is difficult for all of us. I don’t think cancer cells ask before entering a body, ‘Excuse me, are you a praying person?’ And don’t all of us, believers as well as skeptics, raise our children the best we can? And some make it and some don’t, leaving us with broken hearts and dashed hopes whether we believe in God or not?… And don’t believers fail morally? I grant that many of you do better in certain areas than we do. But I have met my share of religious people who were racists, gluttons, self-righteous, and full of pride, all the while mouthing religious platitudes… What possible difference does God make?”

That Harvard professor’s critique of religion is right on. Believers aren’t exempt from pain. They experience illness, sexist bosses, unemployment, violence, and marital problems just like everyone else. Christians fail morally. We are deeply flawed people.

What difference does religion make? The answer is “No difference.” It is easy to be just religious versions of the same people we’ve always been.

The atheists have it right. Religion is a power play to control others. It is the opiate of the masses. It’s a pain-killer. It’s a crutch for the weak. It’s a way to justify our behavior and allows us to feel good about ourselves. This is the way religion was perceived and what we learn is that Jesus Himself was anti-religious too and had some of the same issues that Frued, Marx, and Nietzche had with organized religion. That’s why he blasted the religious establishment guys, the Pharisees, like He did and kicked over tables and “violated their rules” like He did.

But what happened was that the ideas of these anti-religious establishment philosophers transferred over to God. Now people seem to see God one of two ways. “God does not exist, so life is meaningless.” Or, “God does exist, and here are the rules – keep them.” Jesus offers a corrective to all this and basically asserts that “I have fulfilled any requirement necessary to procure the salvation of mankind. All religion is inadequate and insufficient. And if you want to know what God is like and how He feels about humanity, then look at my life.”

Christianity goes beyond Judaism. It’s not just repackaging of the same system. Judaism (religion) could not contain it and it answers the deeper questions of life. Christianity blasts the lie that we’re OK or that we’re in charge. It shatters our religion. We can’t hide behind religion anymore. We want God without the hassle of looking at the mess we’ve become. Christianity forces you to look at the mess you’ve become.

What Nietzsche failed to consider is that in Christianity, God himself became the payment. In no other religion, do you have god or the gods becoming a payment for human evil. Stott says it best: “For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.” The tragedy is that when people turn away from God and turn to religion or man-made theories, they begin to see themselves as the center of the universe and they miss grace. We hate not being god, just like Dawkins.

I deeply believe that the crisis we face today is not a crisis of the economy or the stock market or health care, the real crisis in American life today is a crisis of values. What can we believe in anymore? There is only one answer. God became flesh. He became a person in the person of Jesus Christ. He’s come over from the other side of the hedge to let us know that there is a true and living God, and that an unseen world parallel to this one exists and there is a great battle raging for the minds and allegiance of creation.

Religion has been replaced by Relationship.

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Filed under Agnosticism, Atheism, Atheist, Christian Worldview, Christianity, Christmas, Hermeneutic of Suspicion, Jesus Christ, Nietzsche, Worldview

Lesser Known Arguments for God’s Existence

There are primary arguments for God’s existence, such as the Cosmological (First Cause) Argument, the Teleological (Design) Argument, and the Moral (Conscience) Argument. But are there others?

While there are many lines along which a person may argue for the existence of God, here are a few secondary arguments that tend to work on a quiet street of our thinking.

“I believe because it is absurd.”
This was proposed by a follower of Christ several centuries back. When considering the notion that man made-up or created the Christian religion, he asserts that we couldn’t or wouldn’t have created it like it is. We would not have demanded the perfection or righteousness requirements that God demands of human beings. We would have been much easier on ourselves, and softened the requirements. We would not have demanded such a high moral life if we had authored our own religion. That’s absurd – to set a standard that no one could reach as our religion. Man would never create that kind of belief system; it’s absurd. Besides, it doesn’t make sense for a Jew to claim to be God in a purely Monotheistic Judaism. It’s absurd for us to think that mankind created his own religion. If we were to make up our own god, why would we create one with such harsh discipleship and self-sacrifice demands? Why have God creating imperfect people then punishing them for imperfection? It doesn’t make sense – if humans created this religion.

“The universe is expanding.”
This comes straight from Einstein (General Relativity). The universe is expanding from a single point in the past. The universe is not eternal, but had a beginning. This means that something or Someone caused it. It presupposes a force strong enough to create such an explosion of existence, that continues to move away from us. As the components of the universe get farther away, gravity becomes progressively weaker in its ability to slow down the expansion. Humans are living in a “window of opportunity” to observe the past. Eventually, the past will be beyond our reach, with things moving faster than the velocity of light. But for now, human life seems to be placed here at just the right time to access the information needed to answer the question of God and our origins.

“It’s so beautiful.”
The presence of gratuituous beauty argues for God’s existence. The world has an abundance of beauty that reaches far beyond mere utilitarian purposes. It’s simply there because Someone is expressing themselves and has endowed a created human being to have the presence of mind to capture it in art and other forms.

“That’s not fair.”
The only way that statement can be made is for some standard of fairness to exist that we can compare it too. While the Moral Argument addresses this in full, it is sufficient to say that you can’t know what’s unfair until you know what’s fair. How did you get this idea of fairness?

“I’m always longing for something more.”
In reaching out and desiring more, people demonstrate that something more exists; it presupposes that a something or Someone can meet that longing, much like a person who is hungry presupposes the existence of food.

“God damn it!”
The idea of God is the highest thing we can conceive of. It’s the logical ends of our speculations. We couldn’t even conceive of God unless He had given us the ability to do so, even in profanity.

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Tolerance and Moral Free Fall: The Revenge of Offended Absolutes (In Honor of Carrie Prejean – Miss California 2009)

Tolerance once meant listening respectfully to all points of view, freely discussed in our common search for truth. But the new creed is that knowing the truth is impossible. All ideas or propositions are placed on an equal footing, unless it’s a Christian idea, which is curtly dismissed from the marketplace of ideas. Carrie Prejean can tell us all about this.

Moral relativism is the view that when it comes to questions of morality, there are no absolutes and no objective right or wrong; moral rules are personal preferences (Beckwith).” This is reflected in many places, especially academic settings. When you forget or exclude God, relativism reigns. You become your own moral code. Objective moral standards don’t exist. You become god and usually will gratify your senses however you want, regardless of what other people say or think. When you devalue God, you devalue everything else, including human life.

What we see today is what one author called “the revenge of the offended absolutes” (Colson). Courts strike down simple prayers and religious symbols, and then wonder why barbed wire has to surround the playgrounds. Universities reject the very idea of truth, and are shocked when their brightest students loot and betray their companies. Celebrities mock the traditional family and family values, and then wonder why teenage pregnancy is a global issue. Law makers justify the taking of innocent life in sterile clinics and then act perplexed when life is disregarded in blood-soaked streets.

Sex is sacred, family is one man and one woman and children, integrity is a must in any culture, and a belief in God and obedience to Him are absolutely essential. When these absolutes are offended or ignored, they wreak a kind of revenge and culture pays a price. “We castrate and bid the gelding be fruitful,” says Lewis. We laugh at values and then wonder why people do the things they do, why they don’t “produce” more courage, honor, and noble things.

If a student comes to your school wearing a T-shirt that says ALL STATEMENTS ARE FALSE. That statement has a serious problem. If all statements are truly false, then his T-shirt motto must be false as well. See the logical knot. It’s self-defeating. The person who says, “There’s no absolute truth” just shared an absolute truth. They’ve self-defeated themselves. Stop hiding behind self-defeating nonsense, recognize that truth is discovered, not created for oneself, and that when the moral absolutes from a Moral Lawgiver are ignored, society goes into moral free fall, where anything goes.

We tend to define tolerance as moral neutrality – refusing to judge any behavior right or wrong. “It means putting up with people precisely when we believe they are wrong. It means respecting all viewpoints… (Colson).” It gives people room to work through their beliefs. It doesn’t rigidly point to the rules; tolerance reaches out with ideas that are truer, but in so doing it doesn’t suspend judgment. Tolerance requires practicing moral judgment, not suspending it. Tolerance is a virtue, like when opinions are being shared so someone can arrive at the truth. But tolerance is not a virtue when someone is being murdered or raped. Put them in jail immediately! There’s a time for the money-changers to be driven from the temple when the common good is jeopardized.

Tolerance is the wisdom to know which ideas or things to put up with and when, why, and to what degree to put up with them – and the settled disposition of acting on that wisdom (Budziszewski).

Carrie Prejean did the right thing by allowing absolutes to guide her decision and answer. How about we do the same.

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Circumstantial Resurrection Evidence Even An Atheist Cannot Refute

The resurrection marked the beginning of a new era. It’s an announcement of a new age. It declares that the cross was a victory, not a defeat. This is based on some compelling circumstantial facts. Peter said: Acts 2:32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Consider the facts.

It’s a fact that there are at least 13 different post resurrection accounts in the Bible. And even though there are some differences in the resurrection accounts (they don’t fit snugly together), these surface discrepancies do not mean that someone has it wrong; rather, they mean that the witnesses have not been in collusion. The Gospel writers did not get together and try to ensure that they were all saying the same thing. They did not modify their stories for agreement, which lends itself to the authenticity of the accounts.

It’s a fact that over 500 people saw Jesus alive after the crucifixion / resurrection, many of whom could still be interviewed (1 Cor. 15).These were people beyond the Biblical writers who could be consulted and interviewed. Not just one person saw him, but evidently groups of people saw Him. Paul squelches individual hallucination theories; Christ appeared to groups of people.

It’s a fact that even skeptics saw him and acknowledged him. Thomas, a disciple, actually doubted and refused to believe it, unless he saw with his own eyes. He did, and ascribed deity to Jesus in his exclamatory remark when He actually saw him alive. “My Lord, and my God…” And for those who are still skeptical, how do you explain the conversion of Paul, who was passionate about persecuting Christians, but who was transformed into a church planter – outside of something cataclysmic like the resurrection?

It’s a fact that the women were the first witnesses to the resurrection. Why did they have the women as first witnesses? Because it’s exactly what happened. At first, even the disciples had some doubt and the women were like, “Guys, just go down the street and look for your selves.” They did and we have never been the same. You would never include women as your primary first witnesses in the first century. In fact, Paul quietly drops the women as primary witnesses in 1 Corinthians 15, probably because of this cultural taboo. Including women as primary witnesses is literary suicide if you want your account believed. Yet, they still stuck with it, took the hit on their book sales so to speak, and told the story as it actually happened.

It’s a fact that there are secular Jewish sources admitting Jesus’ existence, that place him where he’s supposed to have been during the time frame of the first century.

It’s a fact that the timid apostles, now turned bold after the resurrection, even died for this belief. The changed lives of Jesus’ followers, despite extensive suffering, are a fact. It was after all of these personal encounters with Jesus that their lives were changed. Peter, the frightened deserter became Peter, the evangelist, only a few weeks after the resurrection. James the traditional Jew became James the welcomer of the marginalized Gentiles. Saul the church-destroyer became Paul the church-planter. These men maintained down to their dying whispers that Jesus is alive and He’s Lord and that we must know Him.

It’s a fact that Christianity had a gigantic rise in growth (it went from Jerusalem to Rome in about 20 years), an almost unexplainable phenomenon, without some momentous event that fueled its growth. And there were key social structure changes in the lives of those who affirmed the resurrection of Christ. Many former Jews, now Christians, ceased to offer sacrifices, even though this was something they had done in their culture for generations. They stopped keeping the ceremonial aspects of the Mosaic Law. The day of worship changed from Saturday to Sunday for many of them. Distinct Trinitarian beliefs began to be talked about as they realized the deity of Christ and how that impacted one’s view of God. They stopped looking for a Messiah; he had already come. They no longer felt at home in their synagogues, so they began to meet in people’s homes.

The resurrection is a well substantiated historic fact, with much circumstantial evidence to support it. And if this happened, as I believe it did, then Christ is who he said He was and his picture of God is accurate.

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