Tag Archives: Christian

Abortion and Scripture

abortion

Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris, France. Circa 1345.

Abortion is the act of murdering an infant while it’s still in the womb. Usually it is done for simple birth control, with only a sliver of procedures done due to a threat on the mother’s life, or as a product of incest or rape.

The barbaric procedure is wholly unnecessary in the modern world and, for some reason, is still lorded over women across the nation. Amusingly, those who are against such mistreatment are the ones called, “barbarians.” Supporters of abortion work themselves into a rabid frenzy if anyone objects, yet the act is no better than Dark Age bloodletting or trepanning. It butchers both baby and mother.

One of the most startling trends today is that of Christians who support abortion as a means of simple birth control. It’s always rationalized as “better for the baby,” but what they really say is God is mistaken, and they know better. Despite this life being innocent, we should play God and destroy it.

“Abortion” is not explicitly referred to in scripture because it was not normally used outside primitives. This is more a modern issue, much like homosexuality. The term “homosexual” was not used in scripture because it simply didn’t warrant any real emphasis beyond what was used. Homosexuality was included in the whole spectrum of sexual deviancy in scripture.

Does the bible mention anything against abortion? Actually, it does. Abortion is the killing of offspring, used by prostitutes since the dawn of time. Women gained the legal right to mimic prostitutes in the Twentieth Century, and for some bizarre reason, that’s considered “empowerment” today. There is nothing beneficial or uplifting about abortion. There’s also no such thing as “pro-choice,” if you refuse to allow women decide if they want to be pro-choice or pro-life.

So, does scripture imply life isn’t life prior to birth? Not at all.

Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb? -Job 31:15

Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet to the nations. -Jeremiah 1:5

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. -Luke 17:2

Lo, children [are] an heritage of the LORD: [and] the fruit of the womb [is his] reward. -Psalms 127:3

Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb? -Job 31:15

If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished… -Exodus 21:22

There is no scriptural basis for assuming life “doesn’t actually begin” until birth or after, because there’s no delay. It is life upon conception. Here is another example:

And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. -Genesis 4:1

Why was “conceived” as important as to warrant mention, as it’s used at many points throughout scripture? Perhaps it’s to emphasize that a “fetus” is indeed the same living human as a newborn, infant, and toddler certainly are.

 

 

 

 

 

Aliens and Modern Society

aliens

Metz Cathedral, Lorraine, France. Circa 1552.

Aliens are a hot topic in popular culture. Even the History Channel has a number of shows dedicated to the idea of advanced life forms. What does this really say about our society? Are we eager to “learn” from higher life forms? Or is it a substitute for God? Are aliens, like the modern school of evolution, simply replacement religions that require no lifestyle change, personal sacrifice, and can simply alter with our whims?

The concept of what we call “aliens” allows the delicate, secular mind to embrace the very real presence of the unexplained in both science and history. It’s a form of rationalization geared to simply accommodate and is usually manipulated to suit current trends and opinions. Christians should be careful in how they embrace this popular myth.
Does the bible explicitly state there aren’t any inhabitable worlds in the universe beyond our own? No, it doesn’t, and there is nothing negative about speculating on such existences. The topic becomes dubious when we begin labeling miracles of God, as miracles from “higher life forms from outer space.” The issues become apparent when we, like science, ignore the fact that the universe is filled with countless forms of higher intelligence, it just happens to be spiritual.

If the historic “Space Race” taught us anything, it is that space does not accommodate or support flesh-and-blood beings. It is not conducive to life, in any way. Our nation alone has wasted billions trying to force a variety of species to adjust to the barren, frigid environment. Our astronauts endure a tremendous amount of physical and mental training just to exist in such an environment for a few days.

One of the ulterior priorities behind the alien surge seems to be the elimination of attention on works normally attributed to Christ and the work of Holy God, and redirect that focus onto beings from another time, place, or dimension. Scripture is filled with references to spirits, from God to Christ, to spirits of the earth, and the Devil.

To start this series, here are a few considerations that will be discussed later on:

  1. Advanced life forms would have no interest in a primitive world. Benevolent aliens would not create mass panic. If they wanted to help us, they would. Malevolent aliens have no reason to hide. If they wanted something on the planet, they would simply take it.
  1. Despite an infinite number of historical accounts featuring mysterious lights in the sky, or strange lights in the heavens, there was never any ship or craft attached to those lights until humans created airships.
  1. “Alien abductions,” didn’t happen until the Twentieth Century, and only then after it emerged into popular culture. The description is eerily similar to the experience of being born.
  1. All ancient peoples had similar cultures and religions because they were “scattered,” as recorded in the bible [Genesis 11:8-9, Deuteronomy 28:64, Deuteronomy 4:27, Leviticus 26:33, Ezekiel 30:23]. The beliefs originate in the same place. Those early beliefs lost similarity in translation due to the formation of languages [Genesis 11:7-9, Genesis 10:5].
  1. The symptoms of those who are “abducted by aliens” and those suffered by persons under demonic attack are nearly identical.
  1. Animal mutilations, normally accredited to aliens, only seem to happen to animals that are edible.
  1. Angels can easily assume the human form. They do it many times throughout scripture, and many people believe they still do so today [Genesis 19:1, Daniel 9:21, John 20:12, Hebrews 13:2, Acts 5:19, Matthew 4:11, Judges 13:6, Matthew 1:20]. If angels can do it, so can demonic forces, which often appear as children. Would it be difficult for either spirit to assume the shape of “grays” or “greens?”

This series is not to doubt or discredit people who claim to have had unexplainable experiences. The world is filled with mysteries we are not privy to. Most often, they happen to non-religious individuals as proof. This series is simply to emphasize we look in the right direction for answers.

Homosexuality and the Bible

homosexuality

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland. Circa 1191.

It remains unclear as to why this is such a volatile subject today. Scripture is clearly against homosexuality. It has not changed since its writing a millennium ago, and it will be the same centuries from now. There is no gray area. It is specific and it is clear. It’s discussed in both Old [Leviticus 20:13, Genesis 19:5, Leviticus 18:22], and New Testaments [Romans 1:26-27, 1 Timothy 1:10]. If someone doesn’t believe or follow scriptural teachings, they can simply elect to ignore it [Revelation 22:11].

Yet, this very subject sends many in the Western world into a frenzy of unbridled and unhinged hatred, bordering insanity, and far too many Christians into apology. The only thing Christians should apologize for is allowing the modern world to dictate what their belief should be.

For a movement, such as the pro-gay movement, which is supposed to be all about liberation and empowerment, it is apparently peopled by those so fragile and delicate as to be offended by others simply stating they don’t understand it, or they support “traditional marriage.” It is ridiculous that so much of society is so dependent upon permission from others for their own lifestyles. It is likewise absurd that so many adults are really so easily offended (by anyone perceived as remotely anti-gay), when we sexualize our children as soon as they enter school. The bizarrely disproportioned priorities are just one symptom of a highly secularized society.

It’s apparently permissible for scripture to take a firm stance against heterosexual fornication and adultery [Leviticus 18:20, Deuteronomy 22:22, 1 Corinthians 5:1, Proverbs 6:32, Exodus 20:14, 1 Corinthians 7:1-40], but if you happen to engage in such behavior with someone of the same gender, it’s somehow supposed to be different. Modern society is a fine display of the wavering, the lukewarm, and often the foolish.

Homosexuality during biblical times was not widely practiced, which is why it doesn’t have a great deal of attention. It’s often just included with most other behavior forms considered “sexual deviancy.” While practiced since ancient times, it was always rare until modern times. The Native Americans of the Southeastern United States had no word for or concept of sodomy until Europeans came. Despite laws against homosexuality in America from its early days, no notable events happened until around 1903 when a bathhouse raid was conducted in New York City.

Popular culture wants to mainstream the practice for a number of reasons. The most obvious being that “pro-gay” is a boon for both businesses and politicians. Businesses see a number of financial and PR benefits for making such declarations. A variety of sources has reported on the blatant commercialization of homosexuality for some time. This article from NBC business in 2012, Insight Business, and this doesn’t count the tremendous number of “pro-gay” and “anti-gay” content out there featuring businesses that do or don’t support gay marriage.

It harkens back to the 1960s when so many stores ran “now serving colored,” signs. Companies that come out as “pro-gay” It should be a shame for our society to return to such exploitative tactics. Politicians know voters are divided on the issue and it’s a common ruse to distract from much more pressing matters.

As with many aspects of life, and certainly most of what scripture cautions us against, homosexuality is a high-risk lifestyle [http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/]. Scripture certainly doesn’t stop with homosexuality, it also speaks against incest [Leviticus 20:12, 1 Corinthians 5:1, Deuteronomy 27:20-23 ], polygamy [Leviticus 20:14, Deuteronomy 17:17, 1 Corinthians 7:2, 1 Kings 11:3, Matthew 19:4-6, Leviticus 18:18], prostitution [Deuteronomy 23:17-18, Leviticus 19:29, 1 Corinthians 6:15, Proverbs 23:27-28], and child abuse [Luke 17:2, Mark 9:42, Ephesians 6:4].

Heterosexual failings are no better or worse than homosexual failings, which is often lost today. Adultery and fornication both go against laws God made and both are unnatural institutions. Is homosexuality an abomination according to scripture? Yes, it is.

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” -Leviticus 20:13

It should also be stressed that is not the only abomination in the bible:

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” -Proverbs 6:16-19

 

 

The Devil’s… Music?

music

Christ Cathedral Church in Oxford, England. Circa 1200.

Ascribing music with morality, either good or bad, has followed us from the ancient world. Ever since war drums, pipes, and other instruments were played to signal war, man has struggled with music forms he considered “evil.” To the realist, music is nothing more than notes played in a specific rhythm. To the idealist, music is beauty and grace that envelopes us.

First, what does scripture say about music?

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” -Psalm 95:1

“Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody!” -Psalm 98:5

“And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.” -1 Samuel 16:23

“I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” -Psalm 13:6

“They sing to the tambourine and the lyre and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.” -Job 21:12

Nowhere does is say what the music should sound like, but one thing is certain. Music is associated with happiness, jubilation, and even exorcism in 1 Samuel. So, how does music become “evil” in the modern world?

First, it should be reiterated that “evil” music is not a modern invention at all. For centuries, the violin was considered the devil’s instrument. In history, Nero was said to play the fiddle while Rome burned. He didn’t, but the emotion violin music incited was met with fear and terror, much like electric guitars in the Twentieth Century.

Music only becomes dark when humans manipulate it in such a way. Most people who declare a music form “evil” only do so to forms they don’t like anyway. It’s much easier to declare freeform jazz to be evil, when you aren’t a fan. Perhaps the better statement is that what we see as “dark” is only in our mind in the majority of music. Of course, this is not to say there are no Satanic or evil songs, for there are artists today who openly and vocally declare their music is deliberately created to be “evil.” Those are excluded from this conversation.

Someone else may not have that perception of a song at all. What you may see as chaotic and oppressive, another person may see as liberating or empowering. We likewise can’t go by lyrics because the lyrics are virtually inaudible in much of the music out there.

Rock and heavy metal received the brunt of this lambast during the 1980s, to the delight of record companies. They truly went above and beyond to promote and perpetuate the public fear. Many Christians believed they were performing a public service by highlighting the lyrics that glorified drugs and promiscuity. What they didn’t do, since most didn’t listen to rock anyway, is point out the equal (or worse) negative connotations found in the music they actually listened to, easily found in pop or country. Songs here are used for reference, not necessarily to condemn the artists. For example, here’s a look at country music:

“Heaven’s just a sin away oh oh just a sin away. Heaven help me when I say I think I’m giving in.” -Kendalls

“On a mission to make something happen. Feel like Delilah lookin’ for Samson. Do a little mattress dancin’. That’s right I said mattress dancin’.” -Dixie Chicks

“Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other. What did you think those saddles and boots was about? There’s many a cowboy who don’t understand the way that he feels towards his brother. Inside every cowboy there’s a lady who’d love to slip out.” –Willie Nelson

“Give me weed instead of roses. Bring me whiskey instead of wine.” -Ashley Monroe

The lyrics just in the songs referenced above cover everything from sex to drugs. Again, these examples are used, not to condemn the artists, but to point out that no musical genre outside of inspirational can say it does not condone or celebrate what is against scripture.

Even bluegrass, as genteel and harmless as it’s regarded, can’t shrug off moral reproach with songs that glorify a number of evils, from murder to alcohol abuse.

Christians would have been better served to consider the situation, as opposed to shoveling out judgment. While the “Satanic Panic,” was a boon to the recording industry, it did great harm to Christianity as a whole. It is tangible proof that good intentions are meaningless without substance. The practice of Christian websites today of rehashing those old scare tactics are likewise detrimental to the faith.

Conclusion

God does not give us a spirit of fear and we have to question the source of anyone promoting fear. We can’t judge someone’s salvation because he or she is a musician, or any other artist, and it’s not our place to do so. We do not know where God has placed them or for what purpose, and that is none of our business. We don’t have that authority.

We can point out what’s offensive, cite the reasons why, and allow others to come to their own opinion. Above all, we should thoroughly research what we believe to be offensive before taking any action. It’s currently unknown how many people have been eternally lost because a well-meaning Christian rushed to judgment and pushed them farther from Christ. We should sum up the majority of the music controversies by saying, if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it. If you don’t want your kids to hear it, don’t let them listen.

 

 

Modern Science Fails in the Creation Argument: Stereotypes

stereotypes

The Basilica del Pilar Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain. Built in 1754.

The polarizing argument of creation vs. evolution has divided society for over a century. A discussion with such an extended history deserves more than a single article. It deserves a thorough investigation through a series of relevant works.

One of the most astounding aspects of the creation vs. evolution argument is the extent with which science will go to force its beliefs on the individual, while claiming to have confidence in its beliefs. It’s usually after accusing those with a faith of being the same way. This is truly a time when all religions should unite in supporting creation as a viable theory in the education system, but human differences usually make that a moot point. Instead, more churches, temples, and synagogues embrace the ideology behind what is really an incredibly dubious theory.

Regardless, it is imperative to keep this argument in its place. Science is more to blame to creating the modern-day fervor than religion. Science would have us believe that our opinion on origins defines everything about us. For the majority of individuals, this kind of belief has no influence on any part of life. You will not get a better job by accepting evolution. You will not lose your job, education, status, or financial stability for accepting a creation theory, unless perhaps you are a scientist. Accepting the evolution theory will not magically transform a high school dropout into a neurosurgeon.

Science’s primary weakness is the reliance on ignorant stereotypes. Stereotypes should be beneath any intellectual field, not saturate it. Science likes to pretend that Christianity is synonymous with ignorance, even when they are aware Copernicus, Kepler, Isaac Newton, Galileo, Max Planck, George Washington Carver, Louis Pasteur, Emanuel Swedenborg, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, Boyle, and Nikola Tesla were all Christian. Those are just a few of the greatest minds in history, who also had faith.

The narrow-mindedness of modern science is likely the only reason why we haven’t had a life-changing invention in decades. There has been no equivalent discovery of a miracle drug like penicillin since its inception. The advent of internet and cellular telephones were nothing more than improved technologies developed during World War II. Those concepts were developed by such minds as Tesla and Edison long before that.

Science has reduced itself from a field that focused on developing knowledge of our natural and biological world, to a field of intolerance and bigotry. It is a world of “flat-earthers” who seek more to accuse others of the same, than to improve itself. Apparently, whether you believe in creation or evolution takes precedence over curing cancer, finding new water sources, improving the world’s food stores, or any other positive contribution.

There was never previously a competition between science and religion, because science was not a religion. The two usually complemented one another. A seemingly “magic” transformation occurred during the Twentieth Century that destroyed this previous harmony. Suddenly, there’s a competition between two subjects, which should be nothing alike.

Science once said, “Question everything.” Perhaps the better question for today would be, “Question only what we question.”

The Human Animal… Without the Animal

animal

St. Mary’s Abbey, York, England. Circa 1055 AD.

One of the most common realms of misinformation today deals with human relationships. Primarily, society’s willful and hilarious idea that humans are naturally promiscuous. It would be amusing were it centuries ago, but this is something currently in popular culture. What’s even worse, this has even permeated the ranks of our academia. What does it say about our modern, sophisticated society? Not what we would like, and certainly nothing modern or sophisticated.

 

Natural Truths

We know tobacco is hazardous to our health. It has been blamed with respiratory and cardiovascular afflictions for over a century. Even chewing tobacco has been linked with a variety of oral cancers and gum diseases. As a result, we discourage and often prohibit tobacco use.

We are aware that obesity is a direct result of overeating or a poor diet. Obesity leads to high blood pressure, diabetes, and even some forms of cancer. We encourage one another to eat wholesome foods and consume fatty or rich foods in moderation. We know exercise is also necessary to maintain health. As a result, we have an entire subculture focused on healthy lifestyles.

We have no problem discussing the health risks associated with alcohol. It impairs judgment and is commonly fatal when combined with driving or heavy machinery. Alcohol usage leads to liver disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

Nature has also equipped the human body with immediate, natural deterrents against excess in these areas. Overeating results in lethargy, nausea, or even vomiting. Excessive tobacco use results in persistent coughing and dry throat. Alcohol abuse results in a “hangover” or the feelings of extreme sickness the morning after the indulgence. Our culture has no problem in agreeing with nature on these issues, and scripture does as well.

Our issue is that the society willfully and ignorantly ignores logic and reason when it comes to sex. We want the human body to be promiscuous even when nature repeatedly proves no such capacity exists. We have ignored social data, statistics, crime rates, health rates, and all manner of scientific evidence to the contrary. Of course, popular culture blames “religious constructs” or “social tradition” for what is just natural: monogamy.

 

Truth of Modern Myth

We can’t consume foods like animals without severe illness or death. Dogs can devour decomposing carcasses without harm. Pigs can live in their own fecal material and never become ill, whereas humans can contract a variety of horrific diseases like cholera and typhoid with even microscopic contact. Humans are not able to walk around without some kind of covering, as we don’t have fur, hide, or an exoskeleton. Yet, we are supposed to have sexual relationships like animals, which is completely unsupported outside the human mind.

It should be no more controversial or provocative than the health statements listed above, yet it is. It is uncertain if the ignorance is deliberate or genuine. Nature throws terminal, incurable STDs at us every time we find a cure for the last. For example, syphilis struck fear into the hearts of humanity for centuries, and with good reason. Just a couple of decades after we found a cure for syphilis, humanity suffered with the emergence of HIV/AIDS. Animals do not have that worry.

Humans require eighteen years to raise their offspring. In the animal world, that’s several lifetimes over for the majority of animals. Animal offspring seldom need two parents, yet our science has proven children flourish best with two parents. Likewise, animal offspring aren’t permanently damaged from a traumatic childhood. Millions of adults across the world are currently dealing with damage inflicted upon them in childhood. This doesn’t even take into consideration the psychological damage bad relationships have on fellow adults or the struggle men and women experience in the course of one marriage, involving only two adults.

It begs the question as to why our society is so enslaved to one of the human body’s basic functions. That is the extent of the act. Alone, sex is no more educational or meaningful than any other basic body function. A meaningful experience must involve love, and to be morally acceptable, it must be within the bonds of marriage.

The fact is our society is hypersexed to the point of dysfunction. No amount of flesh is enough. Television and movies need to reveal more and more of the actors’ bodies than plot. We’ve convinced ourselves that humans need to sexually experiment to “grow,” despite overwhelming evidence of how careless sexual activity causes irreparable damage in many ways. We fabricate countless myths, misconceptions, and outright lies to justify the insatiable hunger. Promiscuity is “natural” because some man did it 1,000 years ago, yet we omit the fact that many women of those times were forced via arranged marriages and slavery. Sadly, many adults today look to those purveyors of perversity to support their current lifestyle.

When doctors are recommending parents vaccinate their children against an STD (Human papillomavirus), there is something amiss. Promiscuity is linked to a variety of cancers in men and women, HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancy, psychological problems, sexual dysfunction, and non-fatal STDs (although some remain incurable). In extreme situations, people have sexually abused their bodies to the point that they no longer have a normal libido and require external sources just to become excited.

 

In Scripture

So, didn’t the men referenced in the Old Testament have many wives? Yes, they did. This crutch is often utilized by many in an attempt to morally justify their own appetites. We also see the horrible lives and horrific events suffered by those in Old Testament days because of disobedience. This is what scripture states:

“And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”-Matthew 19:3–6

It is important to note the numeric terms used: one husband and one wife. Not one husband and four or five wives, or vice versa.

“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” -Ephesians 5:33

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” -Deuteronomy 5:21

A man can’t love two women, or a woman two men, without compromising what scripture supports. It does not say four or five shall become one flesh, just two.

Women were property across the globe during Old Testament days. They were things to accumulate, like cars or houses. They were status symbols to validate a man’s wealth. It is astounding that we call ourselves “sophisticated” or even “intelligent” and attempt to promote the same dehumanizing beliefs used millennia ago.

 

Forced to Worship

worship

Chartres Cathedral, Chartres, France. Circa 1193.

You can force people to do many things, with the right amount of “persuasion,” be it threats of violence, death, or harm to loved ones. The notion of forced religious conversion gained prominence during the Twentieth Century, and despite its illogical nature, has actually come to be an accepted truth.

It isn’t.

In truth, “forced conversion” is essentially a myth. You can force someone to do many things, but it’s quite fantastic to believe you can govern their thoughts, faith, or beliefs. Forcing someone to say something, is not even close to actual “forced conversion.” Simply saying, “I worship ____,” is very different from participating in the actual worship of that deity. Likewise, visiting a religious facility likewise in no way constitutes worship by itself. The same could be said of participating in religious festivities.

This is most often used by individuals in modern religions as a reason why humanity flocked to Christianity. It wasn’t because they wanted to, but because of threats of some kind. It wasn’t because the faith placed nobles on the same spiritual level as they were. It wasn’t because they no longer had to sacrifice to distant and hateful gods and their perpetual thirsted for blood. It wasn’t because a light had come to a very dark world.

In a nutshell, no government, no religious body, no group of people, no community, and no nation has ever had the resources to survey each and every resident, member, or participant, to ensure a religious conversion.

Judaism is the most notable example. In the thousands of years they’ve been persecuted, they haven’t converted. Huguenots of France, German Palatines, the Puritans, just about every group attacked in the name of a religion didn’t convert.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30

How Does a Religion Grow?

With the idea of a forced conversion out of the way, what urged people to move in Christ’s direction? How could a faith spread without coercion? It’s quite simple. Christianity spread because the “common people” embraced it. They were sick of the violent and hopeless old ways, of the cruel nobility that was “descended from gods,” and could not be questioned. They were tired of giving their loved ones as sacrifices to deities, for causes that only benefited nobles. Above all, they were tired of worshiping beings they had to bribe with blood, just to hear a single request.

Christianity wasn’t just about worship, either. It urged people to see the value in human life, to strive for decency and charity. With it came the hope of education, intellect, the desire to rise above an abject animal life. The faith forbade the butchery of human sacrifice. It brought community structure and organization where there had been none before.

Had the people not chosen the faith, it would not have spread or lingered for any real length of time. It doesn’t matter what nation adapted it, or who had the biggest army. Rome is often blamed with “forcing Christianity” on “peaceful pagans,” but Rome fell millennia ago. When Constantine died, the people had opportunity to revert. As a matter of fact, the Emperor Julian reverted the empire to the old paganism after Constantine. The people didn’t embrace it.

Charlemagne “forced” Christianity on Europe, but Charlemagne died a millennium ago. Christianity did not. The Spanish brutally invaded South America centuries ago, and then their control vanished. The faith they introduced did not.

Lastly, superstition does not constitute religion, although many today make the claim. Many of these irrational beliefs linger from ignorant times. A number of people today believe these illogical fears mean practitioners really “remain pagan.” Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say a portion of humanity really remains ignorant.

Does God Let Bad Things Happen?

bad things

St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia. Established in 1561.

This question has caused more Christians to stumble than nearly any other. So why would a loving deity allow any hardship at all to befall his adoring worshipers? Does God let bad things happen? As with most quandaries, the answer is never as simple as the question.

Adults are more like children today than they ever have been. Everything is taken personally, intensely, and irrationally. We can’t express emotion in church, but we scream, hyperventilate, panic, and display extreme fanaticism at the first celebrity sighting or sports event. We can’t donate to worthy causes, but we can throw money away on entertainment.

Far too many of us have spiritual lives that are just as inconsistent. We want a relationship with God, without a relationship. God is just supposed to make himself invisible until we’re ready to talk to him. We can’t mention him to friends, family, or acquaintances because they might think something we don’t want.

We want to know all about him, so long as we don’t have to read his word. We want to display our morality without having morals. God should conform to what we consider polite, or politically correct.

We are hardly “adoring worshippers.” We are fair-weather friends who ignore God during times of prosperity, but desperately look for him at the first sign of trouble. Too many Christians believe God will take away the consequences of their own choices and bad decisions, and if he doesn’t, they’ll just get miffed at him or stop believing in him. That’s called “pouting.”

We discuss the beauty, majesty, regality, and tranquility of nature, but blame God for her temper. Because of this mind-set, people believe God should grant wishes. He should completely alter the world he’s created to accommodate what we want. He should stop the weather, stop the clock, and perform astounding feats that ensure no one suffers for anything. In short, humans want heaven on earth. They want a place free of poverty, disease, disaster, decay, and any other negative. Scripture is very clear that life here on earth will not be heaven.

In reality, we live in a universally unfair world. In order to create a survivable atmosphere and environments where humans and animals can survive, it must be exactly as it is. The food chain must be in place. We are in flesh, the same as animals, and we suffer from disease, just like animals. The weakest are most likely to suffer in the human world, just as in the animal world. Such an environment also requires changing weather systems. That system entails natural fluctuations, including extreme changes. So, essentially, the complaint is that our world is inhabitable and livable. God indeed created the planet for us to survive.

The only items commonly ascribed to God are horrible. Miracles are attributed to modern medicine, modern science, or some other third party. When wonderful things happen in the workplace, it’s attributed to the individual. Peace is the product of diplomacy and mutual commitment. Prosperity is the product of sound financial policies.

So, yes, God allows the world to continue and for that, humanity should be thankful.

 Scripture:

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” -Isaiah 43:2

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” -Psalm 91:11

“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.” -Joshua 1:5

The Trinity

 

trinity

The Aachen Cathedral is in Germany. This beautiful structure began in 805.

This area of Christianity seems to be most confusing for non-believers, and even some believers. What is the “Trinity?” Is it an exercise in paganism? Polytheism? This is actually a simple term that is needlessly complicated by humans. It does not actually imply or suggest three separate deities.

This scriptural support refers to the Trinity, all the way back to Genesis:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” -Genesis 1:26

“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” -Matthew 3:16-17

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” – Matthew 28:19

“I and the Father are one.” -John 10:30

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” – John 14:26

These are just a few instances where the Trinity is mentioned. In scholarly, or seminary, terms the three create the “Godhead,” which is what Christians worship. There is only one.

For the sake of simplification, consider the human body. It contains a brain, heart, and lungs. The body can’t really function without all three parts. Does this mean there are three humans?

A giant oak has three primary areas: the branch system, trunk system, and root system. All three are necessary for proper function. Does that make it three trees?

The Father oversees the universe, the Son advocates for humanity, and the Holy Spirit indwells the human body as a “helper,” according to Christ’s own words [John 14:26 ].

 

When Exorcisms Don’t Work

exorcism

The Cologne Cathedral in Rhine, Germany. Construction began in 1248.

The paranormal is a woefully neglected realm in modern Christianity. Despite so many attempts to mainstream the faith, or to manipulate it so it’s more palatable to non-believers, providing information on the unseen world is an afterthought. This is perhaps more detrimental than we might think. In the mad rush to conform the faith to what the world dictates, perhaps we have overlooked even the most basic element. Our world contains an unseen world that is just as real and just as influential as the seen world.

We can turn on the television and see paranormal documentaries, investigations, and victim accounts by the tens every week. While it does bring about awareness to a subject that needs it, one secondary product isn’t so positive. We have an entire generation of armchair spiritualists.

 

Armchair Spirituality

In the world of armchair spirituality, the paranormal is essentially a toy. It’s something that exists for entertainment. It is a titillating aspect of the universe that surly conforms to our whims, just as faith is supposed to, according to society. If you have a problem, you gather a group of friends or social peers, burn some sage or hold a séance, and the issue is solved. In this imaginary world, the beings that exist in the supernatural world are rational, kind, and often just misunderstood. In reality, this kind of disregard and naiveté can make the problem far worse.

Fortunately, there are still paranormal experts who hold a healthy respect and emphasize the need for qualified advice when dealing with the paranormal. It is important to keep in mind that even when you ask a proper spiritual councilor for advice, it isn’t a guarantee of relief.

The most common ritual practiced in Christianity to eliminate dangerous or highly negative spirits, or demons, is that of exorcism. An exorcism is a last resort because it requires such resources, not only from the church, but also from everyone involved.

Here are several reasons and considerations that should be understood about exorcisms:

 

An Exorcism must be conducted by a Qualified Individual.

Exorcisms will not work if they aren’t performed correctly. There were some situations (as noted below) where even Christ’s disciples could not exorcise the demon.

 

Do Not Burn Sage

If you are facing a situation serious enough to warrant considering an exorcism, a little sage will not help. If that were all that was needed, most people would cleanse their home every time they cooked breakfast sausage or Thanksgiving stuffing.

Do not invite paranormal investigators into your home unless you know them. Far too many paranormal groups today are only minimally invested  and see it as more for entertainment. They don’t know what they’re doing and can make any issues in the home much worse.

 

Exorcisms Can’t Be Performed out of Hate or Fear

Hate and fear are both tools used by the adversary. An exorcism is performed out of love for the victim and the family. The primary goal is to bring peace and relief to the household affected. You can’t fight that kind of battle using the same tools as the adversary, without empowering the adversary even more.

 

Not all Exorcisms are the Same

Lastly, Christ noted that not all spirits could be dealt with in the same manner. Just as no situation involving a demonic spirit will be exactly like any other, any exorcism should likewise be tailored. The perfect example is mentioned in Matthew 17:14-21.

 

And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.