OSC’s Poetry in motion! IV

By way of our last exchange of messages, myself and an agnostic writer (kaptonok) touched upon discoveries in modern cosmology and astrophysics which appear to suggest, at least after having applied inference to the best explanation to the evidence, that there’s indeed an immaterial, unmade, timeless, personal Creator behind the operations of our universe (though might there be an answer to upend the Christian interpretation of the data?) Having generously given myself the final word in our last exchange, let’s jump right into my conversation partner’s reply.


[OSC] The difference between Saudi Arabia and Sweden . . .

[OSC] Mother Theresa Vs. Hitler (the good, better, best approach) . . .

[OSC] Ewes and ram (in comparison) . . .

[OSC] Dr. L. D. Rue in an address to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science . . .

[OSC] The cartoon psychopath . . .

[OSC] Moral obligations or prohibitions arise in response to imperatives from a competent authority . . .

[OSC] Hume’s Is-ought distinction . . .

[OSC] Redefining terms with Sam Harris . . .

[OSC] The first rule of tautology club . . .

[OSC] The knock down argument . . .

[OSC] Dr. Arthur Allen Leff: “All I can say is this: It looks as if we are all we have” . . .

[OSC] Saint Augustine on the days of Genesis . . .

[OSC] Defining “evidence” . . .

[OSC] The world’s most famous atheist . . .

[OSC] Fine tuning explained (detailed) . . .

[OSC] There’s an interpretation of the scientific data, one of a great many interpretations, which could serve as a premise in an argument with a conclusion pointing towards a creator God . . .

[OSC] “I want to believe” . . .

[OSC] In the image of God . . .

[OSC] Christ was once asked whether or not the Jewish people ought to pay taxes to Caesar, their hated enemy, with which the rabbi asked that a denarius be brought to them, showing He lived so modest a life as to lack even a simple coin, they then asked upon receiving the coin . . .

[K] There is no immutable standard for the agnostic . . .

[K] My purpose is without sense to you because we see purpose differently . . .

[OSC] “I too have a hope!” . . .

[K] Fine-tuning in reverse . . .

[K] How the mind works by Steven Pinker . . .

[OSC] Degrees of pregnancy . . .

[OSC] Equivocating over I see and don’t see . . .

[OSC] Sir Fred Hoyle: “A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that” . . .

[OSC] William Dembski in their Design Inference . . .

[OSC] The argument from fine tuning explained . . .

[OSC] A single black ball (improbability) . . .

[OSC] The invention of purpose . . .

[OSC] Dr. L. D. Rue, confronted with the predicament of modern man, boldly advocated that we deceive ourselves by means of some “Noble Lie” into thinking that we and the universe still have value . . .

[OSC] Margaret Fuller once said “I accept the universe!” To which Mark Twain replied “I didn’t know anybody offered it to her.” . . .

[OSC] Sam Harris’ golden rule . . .

[OSC] Samson Harrison and the redefining of terms . . .

[OSC] The plains of Mordor . . .

[OSC] “If you think people are generally good, and then here comes religion with its flying spaghetti monsters and magical unicorns, then yeah, you’ll think it’s making people kill each other” . . .

[OSC] The mystery of Cox . . .


round-4

kaptonok: Your well practiced and sharp due to much debate, I don’t often lock horns being a live and let live type. Correction: I meant no overall moral improvement. That’s not equivocating I can only say how I feel since I do not believe in absolutes. You have laid your cards down for all to see. There are two ways of looking at tuned constants. We came into being because of tuned constants. The constants were tuned so we could come into being. You pick number two I chose number one. It’s my card trick again.

hoyle

The chance of me sitting here is very small looked at from the distant past. There is no chance at all because I’m here. Your telling me what I meant by I see no evidence for a creator God. I meant exactly what I said. You are appealing to huge chances just as Richard Dawkins does over the creation of replicators. Chance can only be appealled to from the past not the present. I remember my father tuning the radio into Fred Hoyles talks he loved him. Everything can be considered to be fine tuned otherwise science could not exist. I suspect the idea that your or my life experiences amount to nothing worries you as it does so many people.

‘Fear not lest existance closing your account or mine should no the like no more.
The eternal Saki from the bowl has poured millions of bubbles like us and will pour.
The professors two main convincers were Fermis ‘ where are they all?’

And SETI endless radio search.

OldSchoolContemporary: In all candor, a live and let live person, outside of how they’re defined by popular culture, is like a gas leak, a killer of people who silently goes about their business without pity or care for anyone else. Perhaps an example would convince you too: For example, a live and let live person who doesn’t lock horns wouldn’t have fought to abolish slavery, rather it were the people who locked horns, the squeaky wheels or social gadfly who despite knowledge they’d offend, anger and become objects of hate themselves, who ended the human horror of us making slaves of one another. Similarly with you and I, I could be “loving life” right now as popular culture often tells me I ought to, living and letting you live in whatever fashioned we’re allowed to by law, moreover, culture tells me I should be consuming more often, having sex with whomever wherever I’m capable and not imposing my bigotry upon others for their vibrant, fulfilling lives.*

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Why are believers in the Western world such bigoted meanies, why are they trying to repress people who’re just trying to live sexually fulfilling lives?! Don’t they realize they’re harming people, even driving young gay and transgendered teens towards suicide. Well, insofar as the above criticism goes, I can’t answer that question, as that’s never been anybody’s intent, nor the consequences of their actions. People (mentally healthy people) don’t go against things because they believe they’re stopping love or human fulfillment, to suggest otherwise is just playground demonizing. In reality, young people inclined towards same sex attraction who experience suicidal or depressive thoughts experience these things independently of whether or not they’re belonging to an anti or pro homosexual culture (though their pain and apparently unhappy mental state remains).

Love life. Drink coke. Be happy etc etc. If we’re content to stay our lives at these cookie cutter ideas and packaged sentiments then that’s where our lives are doomed to end (Live and let live included in that list). John Locke, who couldn’t be accused of leaving their mind to neglect, wrote this however: “We have been sent into the World by God’s order, and about his business, we are his Property, whose Workmanship we are, made to last during his, not one anothers Pleasure.” Live and let live in the mouth of most (not everyone) is merely code for I promise not to make a fuss, for which we may again abuse, misled and violate each other until our pleasures have been satisfied, with which a person promptly expires and allows for another to continue their sad farce. The apostle Paul supposed the above:

‘I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord. If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame.’

Returning again to Locke’s often controversial viewpoints: ‘Although Locke was an advocate of tolerance, he urged the authorities not to tolerate atheism, because he thought the denial of God’s existence would undermine the social order and lead to chaos (OSC: The Nobel lie agreed, hence our need for such a lie to avert the catastrophe). That excluded all atheistic varieties of philosophy and all attempts to deduce ethics and natural law from purely secular premises, for example, man’s “autonomy or dignity or human flourishing”. In Locke’s opinion the cosmological argument was valid and proved God’s existence.’

Autonomy, dignity, human flourishing (already provided by Sam Harris), each and every one of the above doesn’t exist [in that they lack value] if atheism is accurate. So, when people insist upon a “Live and let live” style of ethics, through what belief set are they arriving at their conclusion [meaning the conclusions as to their system possessing value]?

Neither agnostic people nor atheists can provide live and let live commands on account of their beliefs alone, meaning you yourself cannot intellectually suppose living and letting live as a worthwhile pursuit (objectively speaking), you may enjoy to live and let live on a private and personal level, others don’t however, they would rather commit suicide, or rape and slaughter people, and under atheism why shouldn’t you?! Instead both atheism and the agnosticism would have to be wedded or parasite another view so that they can affirm something other than their own skepticism.

Notice how a Christian, by which I mean a person with more than a nominal affiliation with the faith, possesses a belief set reasoned from premise to conclusion whereby they could affirm intellectually the beliefs you’ve found so attractive! We return again to how this might look in practice:

Locke-John-LOC‘Locke derived the fundamental concepts of his political theory from biblical texts, in particular from Genesis 1 and 2 (creation), the Decalogue (Exodus 20), the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12), the teachings of Jesus (e.g. his doctrine of charity, Matthew 19:19), and the letters of Paul the Apostle.

The Decalogue (Ten Commandments) puts a person’s life, his or her honorable reputation (i.e. honor and dignity), and property under God’s protection (OSC: Free from the hand of a tyrant therefore).

Freedom is another major theme in the Old Testament. For instance, God’s actions in liberating the Israelites from Egyptian slavery in the Decalogue’s prologue (Exodus 20:2) were the precondition for the following commandments (OSC: The abolition of slavery being a thoroughly Christian enterprise testifies to its importance).

Moreover, Locke derived basic human equality, including the equality of the sexes (“Adam and Eve”) from Genesis 1:26–28, the starting point of the theological doctrine of Imago Dei.

To Locke, one of the consequences of the principle of equality was that all humans were created equally free and therefore governments needed the consent of the governed.

Only when Locke had derived the fundamental aspects of his concept of man and ethics from the biblical texts – life, equality, private property, etc. –, did he examine as a philosopher which consequences they had in the above mentioned way.

Following Locke, the American Declaration of Independence founded human rights on the biblical belief in creation: “All men are “created” equal, (…) they are endowed by their “Creator” with certain unalienable rights, (…) life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Locke’s doctrine that governments need the consent of the governed is also central to the Declaration of Independence.’

To be an agnostic simply cannot provide the standards of human dignity and equality you and I feel need to be affirmed, which includes our shared observation of humanity being valuable in some sense. So to you I can only put this challenge, listen to the case for Christianity as defended by an able teacher, discover through careful dialogue, much like the dialogue we’re having now, if there are good reasons to believe in a God as found in the fine tuning of the universe. And if Christianity affirms human value better than its modern and ancient competitors, and if we two can be both intellectuals and spiritual, wouldn’t a culture of citizens like that be the most tolerant society with the most fulfilled people of any. Leo Tolstoy wrote in their The Kingdom of God is Within You how it’s by Jesus’ message that a person can justify the sort of world you and I are after:

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“The history of mankind is crowded with evidences proving that physical coercion is not adapted to moral regeneration, and that the sinful dispositions of men can be subdued only by love; that evil can be exterminated only by good; that it is not safe to rely upon the strength of an arm to preserve us from harm; that there is great security in being gentle, long-suffering, and abundant in mercy; that it is only the meek who shall inherit the earth; for those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.”

“Thats not equivocating I can only say how I feel since I do not believe in absolutes.”

Are you absolutely sure about that, kaptonok? 😛

“I remember my father tuning the radio into Fred Hoyles talks he loved him.”

It brought a smile to my face to read you have such wonderful memories of your father, and having lost my own dad during childhood (7 years old) I can confess I’m disappointed to have never spoken to him and understood their ways as one man to another, instead I can only have a child’s recollection of who was a very complex and flawed character. Nevertheless, I’m listening to a few lectures by Sir Fred due to your reply, they’re excellent.

“Everything can be considered to be fine tuned otherwise science could not exist.”

Now, that’s a fascinating thought, isn’t it just. Here we are, reasoning in what we’re told is a universe without reason, discussing and respectfully arguing the value of our ideas in a supposed valueless universe, and we’re expected to believe that senseless matter gave rise to we human intellects who are discussing these things. Now, and I’m letting the above sink in myself, how ridiculous does our supposed enlightenment sound when described as it truly is in the above? When people threw off institutions and embraced their raw intellect what they did was throw out the baby with the bath water, believing wrongly they thought they could exile God to history without also losing their intellect, goodness and dignity. They rejected the belief set but kept the end conclusions.

The vast wealth of gifts we lost was brought home to me in a lecture by oxford mathematician John Lennox, who to paraphrase said plainly “Scientists searched for laws in nature because they believed in a law giver.” Now, the late atheist Christopher Hitchens agreed, as he complimented religion as our first attempt at medicine, astronomy and even science, meaning again scientists sought law and order in the universe because they believed in a mind behind our orderly universe. Things like the applicability of mathematics to our universe stand as a horrid witness against anyone who would claim our universe without such order.

lennox

The Irishman and mathematician, who’s already debated modern time’s most famous atheist (The God Delusion debate: Dawkins Vs. John Lennox), often boasts of his parents in one thing, that they allowed him the unimpeded liberty to think. Due to which they’re one of the ablest and most decorated defenders of the Christian worldview.

You then went into supposing I fear my experience data being proven wrong or amounting to nothing, again whether or not that were true would have nothing to do with whether the viewpoints which arose from those same fears were themselves wrong (genetic fallacy), but surely there’s nothing to fear if you’ve already been humbled before, after all, I wasn’t always a Christian. That’s like asking a boxer whose record is thirty fights and twenty nine losses by knock out if he’s afraid of being punched in the face, of course he isn’t! Rather it’s the atheist or an obstinate agnostic who should surely be concerned if indeed the Christian perspective is accurate, and here’s why I write that’s the case:

An atheist’s viewpoint if correct means their life is lived to its end with the loss of all things they found good and of value.

An atheist’s viewpoint if incorrect means their life is lived to its end with the loss of all things they found good and of value.

imageslose-lose-small

*Reminiscent of Pascal’s Wager, atheists if open to accepting the consequences of their atheism are doomed to a finite life of invented meaning and purpose to their being here (as we’re in reality a superfluous byproduct of the natural world). They’re doomed if our universe is truly godless (what atheism bluntly states), moreover, they’re doomed if many sorts of theism are true.

They’re involved in a losing battle either way if this argument from consequence is correct (which it most certainly is). Heads an atheist loses, tails an atheist loses.*

All people of unbelief risk this dilemma, just as I too risk myself if Islam or orthodox Judaism is true, for which we are bound to take these things seriously. Again returning to your above opinions about experience, because to deny our experiences, especially when we can muster no worthwhile defeater to an experience, appears to me desperate. Locke sharpened why to casually dismiss an intuitive experience could be fatally flawed:

“Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper void of all characters, without any ideas; how comes it to be furnished? Whence comes it by that vast store, which the busy and boundless fancy of man has painted on it, with an almost endless variety? Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To this I answer, in one word, from “experience”: in that, all our knowledge is founded; and from that it ultimately derives itself.”

To experience something, sight, touch, taste, they’re instruments whereby our universe can be understood. To reject an experience, for example the moral experience, because in our minds it is less obvious or real than the others would make us materialists, people who deny the actual existence of an immaterial aspect to existence (Angels, God, love, etc). Yet this implies atheism. So, if a person is to tell me to deny an experience of mine, they should surely have a powerful argument against my experience. A defeater.

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An example: You and I cannot prove that the universe wasn’t created a mere twenty minutes ago with all of our memories implanted and an appearance of age added for effect, so for what reason do we believe we have been here for several days discussing these subjects. Or why not suppose what scientists have called the B theory of time, in which time is already laid out as a line, and to people in 1872 [the year] 1872 is indeed the present. Well we don’t suppose these alternative, though possible, precisely because we “experience” the dynamic and imposing realities of the transition of time. There’s yet no defeater to so powerful an experience as my feeling the transition of time. In fact, even reasoning from premises to conclusion would require this dynamic transition! So by Locke’s estimation they could pose to you a statement:

“Raping and suffocating an eleven year old girl is morally wrong.”

To which you would reply: “No, no it’s not morally wrong.”

Still, Locke had already decided rape and murder being wrong due to their moral experience, an experience you yourself believe doesn’t point to anything outside of their own head, yet where’s your defeater to Locke’s moral experience. Where’s the finding or field of research more compelling than a person’s moral intuition, surely the gamble wouldn’t be to resurrect again evolution by natural selection.

‘Fear not lest existance closing your account or mine should no the like no more. The eternal Saki from the bowl has poured millions of bubbles like us and will pour. The professors two main convincers were Fermis ‘ where are they all?’ And SETI endless radio search.’”

It’s interesting for you to bring SETI into our discussion, moreover this appears to be your field, whereas historical Jesus studies I imagine are at the opposite end of your knowledge range, for which I’ll remain here. Now, about the search for extra terrestrial intelligence, and having hold of a copy of Frank Turek’s “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be An Atheist”, I read how they use the research project in an entertaining example from popular culture. Rewriting from page 138 hereafter:

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“I cannot believe in God when there is no evidence for the existence of a supreme being and creator.” Jodie Foster, world famous scientist and theologian opined. Though maybe we shouldn’t be taking the star of Contact too serious, as they’re also the person who said “Ninety-five percent of women’s experiences is about being a victim.”! (you read that right, ladies). Because you’re “not Rambo” according to Foster, you’re in an ever crushing state of victimization.

“In the movie contact, Jodie Foster plays a scientist who is part of the search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) research team. SETI, which is a real research team, has scientists who scan the universe for unmistakable signs of intelligent life. What constitutes an unmistakable sign of intelligent life? A message. That’s right, something like “Take out the garbage—Mom.”

In the movie, Foster gets extremely excited when her antenna picks up radio waves that appear to have an intelligent pattern, “One, two, three, five, seven, eleven….those are primes!” She exclaims (Meaning prime numbers). “That can’t be natural phenomena!”

Indeed, random radio waves can be produced, but those that contain a message always have an intelligent source. Prime numbers, from one to 101 in order constitute a message that only comes from an intelligent being.

Foster is so confident that ET has been found, that she goes public with her discovery. Government and military officials then converge on her facility. “If this is such an intelligent source, then why don’t they just speak English?” one official asks with a hint of derision. “Because maths is the only universal language!” Foster fires back. Of course she’s right. In fact, alphabets, thus language itself, can be ultimately reduced to numbers (OSC: Anyone who’s studied an entry level computer maintenance course would be agreeing by this point). This is why the English alphabet is mathematically identical to the genetic alphabet of DNA and why the comparison of cell information to encyclopedias is a one-to-one rather than just an analogy.

9832seti

While Foster and her colleagues later discover a more complicated message embedded in the radio waves, they are absolutely certain that the prime numbers alone prove that the message came from intelligent life. Why are they so certain of this?

Because repeated observation tells us that only intelligent being create messages and that natural laws never do. When we see a sequence of prime numbers, we realize that it requires an intelligent cause just like the messages “Take out the garbage—Mom” and “Mary loves Scott” do.

Ironically, Contact was based on a novel by the late Carl Sagan, an ardent evolutionist who believed in spontaneous generation and who was instrumental in starting the real SETI program. The irony lies in the fact that Sagan was absolutely convinced that a simple string of prime numbers was enough proves the existence of an intelligent being, the equivalent of 1,000 encyclopedias in the first one-celled life does not. Moreover, it was Sagan who wrote this about the human brain:

41UqpjBsQWL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

“The information content of the human brain expressed in bits is probably comparable to the total number of connections among neurons—about a hundred trillion…If written out in English, say, that information would fill some 20 million volumes, as many as in the world’s largest libraries. The equivalent of 20 million books is inside the heads of every one of us. The brain is a very big place in a very small space… The neurochemistry of the brain is astonishingly busy, the circuitry of a machine more wonderful than any devised by humans”

Could the above mean that in addition to the finely tuned constants of our universe and your own moral experience, believers have yet another reason to believe in a designer God?! It’s certainly possible. Returning again to your poem:

“‘Tis but a tent where takes his one-day’s rest
A Sultan to the realm of Death addrest;
The Sultan rises, and the dark Ferrásh
Strikes, and prepares it for another guest.”

The above, though striking, appears to have to it a sort of defeated man’s nihilism, which of course we would become if indeed certain opinions, like those of yourself, Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris truly took root and were consistently followed to their logical conclusion, meaning free from delusion or lies. Surely writers who indulge at length in defeat at the hands of their mother universe would quickly sound as little more than a brooding teen so over swaddled in angst they’re more interested in self indulgent pity than anything otherwise. Friedrich Nietzsche, who so elegantly wrote concerning himself, like the above couldn’t help turning to themselves and their kind:

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“Virtue is under certain circumstances merely an honorable form of stupidity: who could be ill-disposed toward it on that account? And this kind of virtue has not been outlived even today. A kind of sturdy peasant simplicity, which, however, is possible in all classes and can be encountered only with respect and a smile, believes even today that everything is in good hands, namely in the “hands of God”; and when it maintains this proportion with the same modest certainty as it would that two and two make four, we others certainly refrain from contradicting. Why disturb THIS pure foolishness? Why darken it with our worries about man, people, goal, future? And even if we wanted to do it, we could not. They project their own honorable stupidity and goodness into the heart of things (the old God, deus myops, still lives among them!); we others — we read something else into the heart of things: our own enigmatic nature, our contradictions, our deeper, more painful, more mistrustful wisdom.

There’s a certain desire in the minds of people, one which, contrary to our other desires, wishes to be minuscule, to believe yourself a bubble, one of billions of billions of bubbles that will be soon washed away and covered over never to be judged or espied or known again. How comforting to know already everything is without value, so when they broke some promise, or abused a trust, nothing of what felt wrong then is in reality truly wrong. They’re free and at liberty to be whatever thing they imagine themselves to be, and their image not being that of a God’s they’re able to disgrace and shame insofar as that’ll work to their good pleasure. They owe you, I and themselves nothing because there’s nothing in the hereafter, meaning, your poem of “lest you fear existence closing your account or mine” ought to read fear! Fear for fear that you might live being the liar, vengeful and wicked one you’ve been. In reality, there’s nothing to fear if a person merely drifts off into sleep to be ignorant of everything forever. Whereas to wake, and dream no more, or even to be set against the only righteous man who you murdered, that’s terrifying.

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kaptonok: I do not think history shows fundamentalist Christians in the past were live and let live. Luther said Jews should be burnt without mercy, and you know all about the Catholic Protestant burnings and hangings. Now we have radical islam; I need say no more. Religion freed from radicalism is much more live and let live. The Pope now embraces the Jewish believers. Turning a blind eye to injustice is not live and let live but allowing same sex marriage is.

Do you really believe all men were created equal? Look around! Perhaps what you mean is all men are equal in the sight of God. What I can’t seem to get across to you is if things weren’t the way they are we would not be the way we are. The best summary is the old song ‘What will be will be’ If water did not, unlike other substances , expand as it cooled from 4C to 0C ice would not float and life would not have been possible. I know nothing about historical Jesus studies but I keep reading about them. Christians and non- christians constantly argue about them.

‘When I was young did eagerly frequent,
Doctor and saint, and heard great argument.
About it and about but evermore came out by the same door as in I went.’

At this moment we have King James onlyism who say we have gone astray due to too many interpretations. Some now say this group is a cult. I’m not keen on Carl Sagon he was a pantheist and loved size comparisons. Carl Sagan is telling us one minute we are a small blue dot then extolling the human mind. The human mind is the most complex thing we have ever encountered. We can blow up our ego or deflate it as we chose and to support what ever stance we wish to take. We can speak about the shortness of existance in one breath and talk about billionths of a second in the next breath. I was sadden to hear about your father I was fortunate to see mine die aged 82 in 1995.. Mother lived on for three years quite bright but saddened as you would expect. I always feel angry when I hear people say I have no regrets and would not have changed a thing.

OldSchoolContemparary: In my experience, people who say they live without regret, or preach this sort of view to others, are themselves rather callous and flippant about not just their past mistakes, but their faults also. Still, to be immune to our own faults would leave no room for real growth, so I personally can’t pretend I’m that sort of man, nor can I aimlessly text message YOLO (You only live once) to my nearest and dearest when they’re having a tough time or are in a dilemma, it’s too easy an answer. In fact, I find my perspective, being as Christian as I can manage some days, is exactly why they approach me for help in the first place, they’re aware what I write may not be compromising, and they may even be ticked off for hearing it, still it’s a risk they’re willing to take to hear a type of view they don’t often hear.

Concerning same sex marriage and it’s impact on the lives of people, as I appear to be writing an autobiographical post here (rather rare for me :P) Some of my close friends, family and acquaintances are the very sort of people I shouldn’t be befriending if modern culture is to be believed, they’re atheists, drug abusers and people who identify as same sex attracted, and as we know birds of a feather flock together, meaning my friends should all be like minded. Yet it’s only when I became a Christian that I and others began crossing paths and talking about these kinds of thing. It was my passion and want to be at least in passing an example of Christ’s love that made for these unlikely friendships to start up. In fact, the first thing a dear friend asked me after they’d heard I was a Christian is if I hated them now (due to their attraction to members of the same sex), which says a lot about the sort of example many so-called believers in Christ have shown!

In truth however, it’s how Jesus sat, ate and conversed with people who were considered undesirable in their time (tax collectors, lepers, prostitutes) that truly struck me as wonderful. This man was going beyond culture and the fear of social stigma to change lives and show people God’s love, even a love they thought couldn’t reach them, had done just that. We had made God small by thinking He couldn’t save or love certain people.

Nevertheless, the day’s far spent and I’m being requested all over the place! With any luck I can crack open the books tomorrow and add some satisfying answers to your very first message. Lastly, about your father, perhaps you could share more on the subject if you’re able.


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Bravely sharing their hardships, cap explains their family situation no further, which to me isn’t so bad, in fact, if not for their sharing the information in so public a fashion (within the comments of this very blog), I’d have omitted the information altogether. Imagine though how their mourning would be turned to rejoicing, and their sadness to joy if they truly believed that their loved ones were with the Lord just as billions of people around the world say that they are. Or as we read in Thessalonians “Brothers, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who are without hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, we also believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.” Grief isn’t always without hope, and just as Jesus wept for Lazarus, it’s alright that people today cry for their loved ones (it’s only human).

I’m so lucky as to say I’ve never lost anyone so deeply special to me that I’d be forever changed, or weep bitterly, in that my conversation partner might be an altogether better comfort to somebody whose heart is hurting. Nonetheless, though atheists and agnostics might grieve better than myself, they can’t grieve in hope for those who are gone. They’re by their own beliefs promising either doom or uncertainty, none of which are an inviting prospect. Does the above make belief in God true, no, the attractiveness of some outcome doesn’t make the outcome more likely, if it did the Islamic conception of Paradise, with it’s many maidens endowed by Allah with swelling bosoms and eyes restrained to their specially selected husband would, at least for most men, be the most likely end destination! Rather the above is useful in that we can understand it in reverse, atheists (not so much agnostics), wouldn’t assume the most attractive view held more weight, they would believe however the ugliness of their views adds to them (or their conclusions about our universe) some sort of intellectual credibility. Atheistic claims however, claims I believe have probably seduced many into agnosticism, needn’t be accepted on account of their ugliness, nor need mine sway people for how appealing I find them today, instead I’d appeal to everybody who has lost someone, I’d ask what would your loved ones want for you.

― T. C. M

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