Monday, March 31, 2014

I'm very encouraged by Son of God, God's not Dead, and Noah. We're engaging a media obsessed culture in a Biblical manner.

"Has anyone provided a proof of God’s inexistence?
Not even close.

Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here?
Not even close.

Have the sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life?
Not even close.

Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought?
Close enough.

Has rationalism in moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral?
Not close enough.

Has secularism in the terrible twentieth century been a force for good?
Not even close to being close.

Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy of thought and opinion within the sciences?
Close enough.

Does anything in the sciences or in their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational?
Not even ballpark.

Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt?
Dead on."

-David Burlinski, The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions

I thought I'd start with a rather engaging quote by David Burlinski, which I borrowed from Ravi Zacharias, he's used this reference once or twice to illustrate his points.  It's quite thought provoking and describes something that you kind of know is there, but it's hard to put a finger on... that is, the pretensions of the scientific community, and the actual situation being not in line with reality.

It's a feeling I love, when someone scratches a spot I know is there, but I couldn't seem to find it before.  Just like when I read G.K. Chesterton and he talks about the quiet oppressiveness of materialism.  

I spent Friday and Saturday with my mother, which was absolutely wonderful.  In the wake of the divorce of my parents, there was so much destruction.  And I guess through all of it, 12 years plus, we really were divided.  My mother and I used to be very close when I was a kid.  So it's been hard.  On both of us.  But watching her first born slowly kill himself with drugs was probably especially difficult.. for someone so sensitive.  My mom is a nurse, a care-giver.  

But it was nice to spend some time with her.  So thank you Jesus, for giving us time together.  I spend a lot of time somewhat separated, whether at work, at home, on the internet, at church, or at support groups.  I feel a part of, yet different. It's hard to trust these days.  The only one I trust is Jesus.  No one else was there for me at rock bottom but Jesus.  Everyone else had left.  But Jesus was there to help me up.

Anyway, when my mom and I hung out among other things we went to see Noah.  And I loved it!  (Gasp, blasphemy.)  I know.  I'm not even gonna cut it down on my blog.  It wasn't particularly biblical perfection.  But like Lord of the Rings, it had biblical themes running through it.  Second chances, judgment, faith, trust, and the theme of sin was quite powerful in it.  

So, instead of blasting the movie, condemning it, and pushing it away... I enjoyed it for what it is.  And that way I can then engage culture, and pray for those who are seeing it, that their interest would be sparked, that they'd be saved eventually by Jesus.  That's just my approach, my concern isn't to self righteously blast anything, but to become all things to all people, just like Paul, and to see as many saved as possible. 

The picture at the top of this post is just awesome.  I love how it simply breaks down the tenants of the Christian faith so plainly.  The builder of it does a lot of such pictures, definitely be sure to like their page on Facebook: Christian Digital Artwork.   

I'm feeling quite encouraged actually.  The atmosphere is changing bit by bit.  Of course Christians fight it every step of the way, which is so incredibly frustrating.  I'm so tired of Christians being so negative.  Just rudely trashing the Noah movie, rudely trashing this speaker or that pastor, this church or that church.. arguing over predestination, arguing over "seeker-friendly" services, arguing over evangelism, and on and on and on.  Divisions!  Divisions!  Too many divisions, we cannot reclaim the west if we divide, divide, divide, over small issues.  And any moron ought to know that.

Never-the-less people are standing up, and putting things together.  Just like the Christian digital artwork page.  Things are happening in the national media that are just wonderful.  Three movies now very recently in theatres across the entire nation!  Do you understand how wonderful that is?  That's millions of people we tend to never interact with in our local churches being engaged.  For the part of "Noah", their artistic curiosity is powerfully engaged.  For the part of the movie "God's not Dead" their intellectual questions, interest, and skepticism are being engaged on the national level!  Wow, Praise to God!  And with the movie "Son of God", it's just straight up sharing the gospel.  God is being very gracious with these three developments, and I can't say how pleased I am.

Are there problems with all three, minor issues, even with Noah some larger issues?  Yep.  But I don't care.  Because the gains far outweigh any costs.  And I have to think about how I'm representing Christ with my reaction.  If I'm getting all bent out of shape, crabby, complaining, and rudely mocking these things.. I'm not being a good picture of Christ.  I'm showing people that they were right about Christianity being a closed-off, judgmental, hypocrite den of fools, backwards, and behind the times.  We don't have to compromise our theology by discussing these movies in a friendly way.  

"Oh yeah I saw that Noah movie, it was fun and engaging, but let me tell you about how it really happened in the Bible.  This, this, and this were great from the movie!  But this, this and that actually happened this way.  But isn't it great to see elements of what it might've really been like?" 

See how we can be polite and courteous, and while engaging their interest in the movie, and applauding certain parts of the movie, we can then lovingly share the truth?

Again and again I read these blog posts from others, and I'm thinking my goodness, is the purpose to share Christ and be a good Christian, or to self righteously condemn everything around us, put our opinions out there no matter what and drive ourselves into monk monasteries?  

Alright, rant over.  The point is, God is working in the United States.  When you see three movies in rapid succession on the national level, being seen at theatres everywhere, well wow.  That's really something.  Millions of people who would never, ever think to walk into a church, but when we meet them where their interest is, like television, movies, movie theatres, and the internet (we're really a media addicted culture at this point) then we're meeting them on their terms.  Just like Paul did on Mars Hill, when he engaged the cultural religious beliefs of the Greeks and found a place to interject the truth of Jesus Christ.  And some heard him and believed as a result.  

The debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye recently is also encouraging, see we're claiming the front stage for a renewed interest in Christianity.  We're reaching far beyond the borders of our church walls to relevant levels of interaction.  

It's the same with the Veritas forum visiting major colleges across the country with the message of Jesus Christ.  It's the same with Christian apologists debating the new atheists on campuses around the country as well.  On the international level, it's RZIM, Razi Zacharias and his crew of apologists taking the message across the world.  And it's missionary organizations sending to countries in the troubled 10/40 window, countries like India, Pakistan, China, Iran, and Syria.  

So I'm greatly encouraged, and also willing to exhort and admonish American Christians to abandon their fundamentalist condemning attitudes and embrace a more culturally engaging, yet still doctrinally sound view on sharing the truth of Jesus Christ.  

This is wonderful, keep praying for non-believers and the renewal of the church body.  Keep working hard at your evangelism efforts whether it be at home, in the streets, on the internet or at the pulpit.  We're starting to move in the right direction, but it will take long and hard sustained work, by a very dedicated few.  That's us.  Most Christians will not be on board with that kind of work.  But we are.  Keep sharing Bible verses on social media, keep talking to friends, keep inviting, even when turned down, or yelled at, or mocked, keep going friends.  The riches of eternal life await us all.  I can see the ball beginning to roll, for another great awakening for Jesus.  Keep it up, God be with you.  Amen.