Thursday, February 27, 2014

Objective Truth on a Spiritual Battlefield

In my view, faith is not blind at all! Especially with my faith, which is Christianity. I can approach it very reasonably, step by step.  

The Bible is historically accurate when compared to other historical events (99.7%). I can say there are over 5,000 verified manuscripts of the Bible that all line up to provide that this document was put together when it says it was, by the people it says it was. Philosophically I can look at the life of Jesus, and see that this was a man who did not sin once, when the record is examined. He was humble, he healed the sick, cured diseases, taught a perfect teaching, and he was a humble servant who died for his friends. He taught love and he lived love to the perfection of himself and all man kind.  It stands out as a philosophy of life more perfect than any other. 

Scientifically I examine the fact that no matter how many billions and billions of years scientists want to add to the theoretical age of the universe, they still cannot account for the incredible complexity of DNA happening by random, and they cannot solve the issue of the mathematical impossibility of the universe and sentient life occurring by accident. I've now approached Christianity reasonably, not blindly. I can also say that reality as I perceive it corresponds to the presuppositions of the bible, sin is a problem in the life of every single human being that lives, there are world wars and genocide, meanwhile Christianity has grown from 12 people to 2 billion.  Hard for a lie to grow so fast... don't you think?  Finally, I look at my own life, and say yeah.. I do notice this event, that event, this prayer that got answered, that prayer that got answered, the way I feel in church, the positive changes in my life as I give my will over to God to say.. wow, yep, there is definitely a God and I don't just believe it, I know it. By offering at least a certain amount of trust to God in the beginning I have gone from a reasonable leap to an absolute knowing.

Christianity is a global movement!  Did you know that?  This blog welcomes visitors from over 50 different countries.  Astounding, absolutely astounding.  The power and depth to the truth behind Christianity is absolutely overpowering.  It is not fun truth though, or popular truth.  The world says we are all basically good, the Bible says we are all basically bad.  The world says compulsory heaven for all and the Bible says give your life to Jesus if you want to live forever!  The world says homosexuality is good, the Bible says it's a sin.  The world says get everything you can, the Bible says serve God and love him above all else.

Those are not fun truths to kick around the dorm room.  

They say all truth is relative, and there are no absolutes.  And this is funny.. why?  Because of the word "all" in that statement.  This is something constantly affirmed on college campuses.  But it's funny because saying "all truth is relative" is an absolute statement, does that mean that all truth is relative except for the absolute truth that all truth is relative?  It's an error in logic.  All truth can't be relative, so does that mean that some truth is relative, but other truth is objective?  It's ridiculous really.  

From my perspective before I was a Christian, I thought the religious institution of Christianity was a backwards old tradition that had nothing to do with reality or reason, and had long been annihilated by the microscopes and telescopes of science.  

By the generalizations of the culture, sure, those things are true.  But when you actually inspect those things yourself, do some solid reading, you start to realize.. it's all full of holes. 

Strangely enough we no longer live in a society that is concerned with what is actually objectively true when it comes to spirituality.

Of course we're still completely sure there is objective truth when it comes to the price for a candy bar at the gas station, or for a gallon of gasoline at the pump.  If I say my truth is that the gas is free, and drive away with a few of my free gallons, maybe in my mind it's true, but it'll be true in my mind only, most likely as I'm sitting in a jail cell for theft.  Reality doesn't adjust itself accordingly to my desire for free gasoline.

Same thing with my bank account or my credit card.  Chase says I owe $4,000 but since all truth is relative, I think it's actually that I owe them $0.  Well, I've just lied to myself.  And maybe I feel better about it.  For a while, until they start garnishing my wages. 

Do you see what I mean?  How can we say whatever I want is true in the realm of spirituality, but in physical daily life, I constantly live by objective truths that are decided outside of me.  And they don't change, as I might want them to change.

God is the same from the beginning, and today, and to the end of time itself. 

I have a very sturdy anchor, one none can move.  I find joy in that.  I find some peace in that.

Now I take my Bible, and I read the truths in it, the proverbs, the poetry of the psalms, the instructions of the apostles, and then I look at the world.  Here is the meat and potatoes too.. that in so many areas of the world, and my daily life I saw things that rubbed me the wrong way, that I knew something wasn't right.  Do you ever feel that?  Like you're being deceived?  Like reality is not actually the way they say it is?  Again and again, and as I studied my Bible, and prayed, the contradiction and all encompassing lies of the USA culture began to jump out at me.

Oh the joy of discovering they were wrong.  I was wrong.  But I was glad to be wrong.  Strangely enough though, it was not by intellectualizing the Bible that I came to know Jesus Christ.  No.  I was trapped in the lie culture, bouncing in and out of rehabs, detoxes, and mental hospitals due to frequent suicide attempts. 

Temptation is a powerful weapon of the culture.  As me as a human being, is being clobbered over the head by constant advertisements, buy this, buy that, alcohol, cigarettes, food, sweets, cars, trucks, trailers, insurance, and on and on and on.. instead of it being like a free menu, to choose what would delight me the most.. oh I had chosen what I wanted.  But ironically the choice had been removed, and I was becoming addicted to the things they said would make me happy.  Alcohol, food, drugs, and so on.  Hammered, day and night with the temptations, fed to my eyes and my ears. 

I knew somewhere deep down it wasn't right!  But no one was protesting! Everyone was just wandering the aisles of the super market, target, wal mart, pleased it seemed, with this way of life.  I knew something was up.  But I didn't start to really be disturbed by it until I was all up in chains to alcohol, cigarettes, the desire for the female body. 

And I am telling you the truth, it is the very fabric of western culture, serve me.  But the truth behind that is.. I become enslaved.  Enslaved to the purchase of products, at the expense of my time, which I must spend increasing amounts of at my day job.  Credit cards wrack up.  And the counselor is telling me coping mechanisms, ideas to manage things better, self healing techniques.  But the answer wasn't in me.  And that's why those things didn't work. 

Because what Christianity says is true, and what the world was saying was ultimately false!  The world said here is your menu, you choose what you want, and don't worry, you're an individualistic strong self sufficient human, you can control your desires, and if you can't, hide it from others and from yourself. 

Christianity had the balls to look me in the face and say, "You're a sinner, and you've become enslaved to temptations because you can't resist without the help of Jesus Christ!"

That's an ugly truth for a self sufficient people like us.  But it doesn't matter how ugly it is, it is absolutely true.  Anyone who says otherwise is lying, or delusional.  Before I was a Christian I bent the knee to my desires, which meant I was at the same time bending the knee to those providing the products, which meant I was also bending my knee to money, and inevitably to myself.

Talk to a young woman on her 3rd abortion.  She knows, she knows.  It keeps her up at night.  God looks and sees a sin, he does not give it a pass because it's culturally acceptable at the time.  Because it's the way the wicked culture is going.  He looks and says "murder."  But should that same young woman get on her knees and give her life to Jesus Christ, God looks again, and says "I love you my child, your sins are forgiven."

Forgiveness is something we all need so desperately.  At entire planet of people who all need the same thing.  A Savior.  A superhero.  Jesus Christ is that man.  He is alive and well, in heaven. 

Upon accepting the savior provided, and digging my feet in, and answering the call to minister to a dark world.. it was like I woke up from a delusion, and found myself on a desperate battlefield. Think about the movie The Matrix with Keanu Reeves.  He is going about his day job, 9 to 5, and suddenly he's contacted by this group of hacker rebels.  And they spring him from the matrix, where he is plugged into this giant grid with plugs all over his body where the suck the life out of him.  These rebels, lead by Morpheus, break him out of the matrix, and he discovers himself on this battlefield between machines and man kind.  And it's ugly.  But at least it's the truth.  That's what Morpheus says to Neo, the main character, when offering him a way out of the matrix.  "All I'm offering is the truth, nothing more." 

That's all Jesus Christ offers us, is the truth.  When we truly wake up from the lie of modern society, we find ourselves on a spiritual battleground.  In foxholes with other believers, attempting to bring people to the truth.. people who don't want the truth.  People who would rather believe a lie.  We're assaulted by demons, hit by the darts of the enemy forces.  We are pounded by the hard truths we see around ourselves.  Issues like abortion weigh on our minds.  But the overpowering peace and joy of knowing we serve the living God, who will make all things right, is the most incredible encouragement possible.  Many of us internationally face death everyday.  People live in countries where the Bible is illegal, or where adherents of other religions will kill Christians.  We live in the domain of the enemy, Satan.  We are on enemy territory, and as a friend said to me, only a fool would build a house on a battlefield. 

This place is not your home!  Your home is in heaven, and so is mine.  God will make all things right here.  He will rebuild this place.  Don't kid yourself, this is a war.  And we are soldiers for Christ.  Remember that as you go out.

We must spend more time in prayer.  We must spend more time reading God's word the Bible.  We must spend more time training new Christians, and more time loving and providing for unreached peoples and non-believers. 

Do we really, truly believe Jesus Christ resurrected from his death on the cross and truly, truly, truly, paved our way to heaven? 

For me the answer to that question is: Yes. 

And since it is true, and my life of 80 years on this planet is so very short a time when compared with eternity, all my energy ought to go to storing up treasure in heaven, by loving my God with all my heart, and loving my neighbors as myself, and praying for those who persecute and kill me. 

Jude 1:17-25 (NLT)17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ said. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.
20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.
24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.