Tag Archives: Faith

What is the status of your unbelief?

20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

There are many things in the world that we believe in.  And there are many things that we do not believe in.  And these beliefs and unbelief’s permeate every one of our lives.  From social, to political, to science, and even our theology.  But have you ever stopped to consider how much easier it is to not believe than it is to believe?

I personally believe that the USA sent men to the moon and that they walked upon its surface.  This is as much a fact for me as the house that I live in or the clothes that I wear.  But there is an entire subculture that does not believe this.  No matter the evidence put before them.

I personally believe the earth is round, like a ball, hanging in space.  But there is a considerable subculture today that believes the earth is flat and not round.

I personally do not believe in Global Warming, Man Made Climate Change, or the data and extrapolations that come from such theories.  But there is a considerable number of people who do find this line of reasoning credible.

I personally do not believe that the current US administration colluded with Russia to alter the 2016 election results. But there are many people who do believe this.

I personally believe that abortion is murder and takes the life of a living human spirit.  But there are many that do not believe that and view abortion as an acceptable practice.

I personally believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God and that He came to earth to die for the sins of the world and that on the third day He rose from the dead proving his deity and solidifying His claims.  But there are a vast number of people who do not believe that.

In all of these, my belief is much harder than my unbelief.  It is easy to not believe something. But it is hard to actually believe something.  This is because our nature, our very human nature, is bent towards questioning and a need for proof.  And what I may require as proof is probably different than what you may require as proof.  We all want to be masters of our own destiny.  We want to be the ones in control.  And we all want to be our own judges of what is true and what is not.

Oftentimes we blame our skepticism on lack of faith.  We say that we have a problem with something because we do not have any faith in it.  We lack faith in our political systems.  We lack faith in our in our scientific methods.  We lack faith in our society.  And we certainly lack faith in our theology.

But how much faith does it take to effect changes in these areas in the world around us?  How much faith do we really need to make a difference in the world?

The disciples had this problem when they tried, on their own, to accomplish a task.  That of casting out a demon.  And when they failed, they came to Jesus and he told them that if they had but a very small amount of faith, that of a single mustard seed, they could move mountains.  At least that is what we usually focus on.

What we miss is the reason why they failed.  Jesus told them the reason they failed right up front.  See it there?  He told them the reason they were not successful is because of their unbelief.  Unbelief is a powerful thing in our lives and it will weigh heavy on our beliefs, dragging them down.  And then he told them that if they had a very small amount of faith they could move mountains.

From this we can learn that it is not the size of our faith that hinders us, it is the size of our unbelief that is important.  We are way too busy running around trying to increase our faith when what we should really be doing is working on our unbelief.

As further evidence of this I would submit God’s one requirement for entering into the Kingdom of Heaven, that of belief on the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.   God did not require us to first have great faith.  That naturally follows once we take care of our unbelief. Rather God requires us to believe.  Belief is where we must start and dealing with our unbelief is a foundational piece of that.

When a troubled father came to Jesus asking for healing for his child, Jesus asked him if he believed (Mark 9:23-24).  The father emphatically proclaimed that he believed and then immediately asked for help with his unbelief.  Jesus had just told him that all things were possible to those that believed, and the father so desperately wanted to believe.  But he knew that there were still doubts that were in his heart and he asked Jesus to help him with his unbelief.

I can assure you today that I have great faith that God is upon His throne.  He is in control, whether I believe that or not.  Faith that could move mountains and that I will stand for even though I walk in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  And yet mountains are not moved, lives are not changed, and there seems to be little difference in the world around me.  Why?  Probably because I’ve been asking God for great faith when I should be asking him to help me with my unbelief.

How about yourself?  Are mountains not moving in your life?  Are you failing to make a difference?  And do you double down on your efforts because of your great faith only to no avail?  Perhaps it’s time for us to work on our unbelief.  Jesus, help me with my unbelief so that the faith you have given me in my life may move mountains for Your glory.

Where Is My Faith?

Faith is a difficult thing.  It shouldn’t be, but it is.  Faith permeates our lives in every way imaginable and yet we struggle with it where it matters most.

Simply put, Faith is a belief that is held that is not based on a proof.  We utilize faith in our lives each and every day in all realms of our existence.

We are basically beings of three parts.  In the simplest description we are physical beings.  We have a body that has needs and interacts with the physical world.  We are also emotional, intellectual, and social beings.  We have a soul.  We experience joy, and sorrow.  And we are spiritual beings.  We are individuals, unique unto ourselves.  We are all one-of-a-kind instantiations of the human kind and we know who we are inside of our own being.

Within the physical world we exercise faith on an almost daily basis.  When we sit in a chair, when we get into a vehicle and start the engine, when we browse the Internet.  We do not prove these things to be working and reliable.  We simply accept them on faith.  We trust that the chair will hold up our weight when we sit in it.  Before we examine it, test it, or certify it as OK to sit in.  We trust that our vehicles will start.  That they will work without a mechanic testing the parts of the vehicle and confirming for us that it is OK.  We trust that the Internet is up, and working.  We do not call our Internet Service Provider and verify that everything is working before we attempt to bring up our FaceBook page, we simply believe that it will work.

Within our souls, our emotions, our intellect, we have faith in our relationships, our favorite pastimes, our challenges.  We trust that our spouses are faithful to us, and we trust ourselves to be faithful to them.  We trust our families, our neighbors, and our friends.  We believe in the humanity around us.  How many times I’ve been told by someone that they have a lot of faith (lower case) but not much Faith (upper case).

And we continue to have faith even when it is shattered within our lives.  When our car doesn’t start, or a chair breaks when we sit in it (causing us to fall), or when we find that our Internet connection really is down and we cannot get to our FaceBook page.  We do not lose hope in the physical world around us, rather we accept things and move on, still exercising our faith.

Within our souls we are constantly failed.  Spouses cheat on one another.  We are lied to.  We experience ridicule and scorn.  And yet we continue to go on, and we continue to have faith in humanity.

And yes, I know that anyone can be beaten down to the point of giving up or losing all hope.  Individuals may experience so many problems with a particular vehicle that they lose faith in it ever doing its job again.  We may be hurt by loved ones or friends so much that we give up on life and begin to believe it is us against the world.

But these are not the norm.  We label these cases as phobias or disorders.  We say that people become depressed or despondent and that their ability to function is impaired.  I am focusing on the general case here, the norm, what the average person experiences within their lives.  And that norm is one of exercising faith.

Why is it then, that when it comes to the faith that really matters, the one our world view is built on top of, the one that affects our Spirit (that which defines us individually), that we suddenly become dysfunctional?

Dr. Richard Dawkins has stated unequivocally that evolution is a fact.  A fact as sure as the sunrise or the sunset.  It is established and true.  When he knows perfectly well that it is not.  Evolution is a theory.  He may think it a good theory, he may even find parts of it to be reasonable and practicable.  But he knows it is not a fact.  He knows he cannot prove it, either scientifically, through a repeatable process, or otherwise.  No, he accepts it as fact based upon his faith in the improvable.

My world view accepts the existence of a Deity.  A supernatural being.  A God.  A world view I am perfectly willing to accept on Faith.  I believe there is just as much evidence for my world view as Dr. Dawkins seems to find for his.  Both world views are accepted upon faith, and yet their is a difference.

In Dr. Dawkins world view, my Faith is to be mocked, ridiculed, belittled.  He has stated as much.  My Faith cannot be taught in Public Schools, cannot be exercised within some Government spaces, and in many parts of the world is persecuted.  And yet the opposite world view, for many that hold it, is to be accepted as the only faith one may have.

Atheists that hold their particular world views are oblivious to the fact that they are actually strengthening my world view by their very attempts to discredit my Faith.

In my world view the testing of my Spiritual Faith works for good in my life.  It is the trials of my Faith that actually builds the foundation that my world view is built on and brings me through stronger and more resolved than ever before.

One might ask the question though, if your world view does not hold a Faith in God, what does the testing of your Faith gain you?  I would contend nothing.  How can it?  What could it possibly matter in the vastness of all eternity?

Another question that might be asked is why is it so important that the evolutionary faith triumph over a Faith in God?  Are they not both Spiritual Faith?  So why then is one taught as a foundational truth within our Public Schools while the other is deviously cast aside under the guise of Separation of Church and State?

Faith is hard.  I would contend that Faith in God is harder.  And given such, whose world view would you say has the better developed Faith?

Where Did The Void (Nothingness) Come From?

To be honest, I had developed a schedule of sorts for my blog.  I had intended to introduce, and comment on, a series of items that interest me within the topics of Life / Religion / Politics / Science / and Philosophy in some sort of loosely structured but coherent order.  But I am already violating that schedule.  I had also intended to blog about relevant topics of the day as they came up in news sources and general conversations with family and friends.

But as I write, things occur to me that I feel like ought to be addressed, and they would eventually come up anyway, so why not just deal with them now while they are staring me in the face?  Today is such a day.

A couple of days ago I mentioned Dr. Stephen Hawking and his latest book The Grand Design.  Dr. Hawking is a fascinating individual to me and he is a brilliant Physicist.  But I find his Theology to be greatly lacking.  In his second latest work he mentions some poignant questions that he himself acknowledges as deserving an answer.  I referenced some of those questions in my previous post.  Specifically:

“Why is there something rather than nothing?”
“Why do we exist?”
“Why this particular set of law and not some other?”

From this point he goes on to say:

“Some would claim the answer to these questions is that there is a God who chose to create the universe that way.  It is reasonable to ask who or what created the universe, but if the answer is God, then the question has merely been deflected to that of who created God.  In this view it is accepted that some entity exists that needs no creator, and that entity is called God.  We claim, however, that it is possible to answer these questions  purely within the realm of science, and with-out invoking any divine beings.”

(The Grand Design, pg. 164 – 165)  Dr. Hawking has spent a great deal of his works defining physical interactions based upon known laws and today’s understanding of their relationships with each other.  In The Grand Design, Dr. Hawking brilliantly ties a number of current scientific theory together to explain how something could literally come from nothing.  He does acknowledge that deist need only stop with whatever deity created the universe, but he wants to claim that the universe came from nothing on its own.  If it is fair for Dr. Hawking to ask the question “Who or what created God?” then I believe it only fair to ask “Who or what created nothingness?”

Before I get to that, allow me to point out that Dr. Hawking bases his work upon a vast amount of theory.  A lot of it is also hypothesis and conjecture.  I reject the definition of a principle, law, or doctrine as synonyms for theory.  A theory is just that, a theory.  It is not a principle, law, or doctrine.  It is not proven, and within its own definition it is recognized to be “commonly regarded as correct” but is in no way, shape, or form, known to be correct.  It is not proven, it is not necessarily repeatable, and it is not established as truth.

Dr. Hawking has to rest his theory (and theories) on many assumptions that we are only just beginning to explore and know little to nothing about.  Such theories as String Theory, The Big Bang, and Quantum Physics.  All of these Sciences are just what they claim to be, theories.  They are not concrete truths, rather they are a set of beliefs accepted on current observations (the keyword here is current – they are actually in flux as we learn new things each day).  Dr. Hawking accepts these things (as do many, many Scientists) based upon (dare I say it?) faith.  Literally a belief not based upon a proof.  He has no evidence to establish these things as true.  He accepts them based upon faith and is tainted by his own World View.

Indeed, within String Theory itself is the notion that there are a seemingly infinite numbers of possibilities (and occurrences of) physical laws and physical universes.  A totally unproven and unobserved phenomenon.  Given the current definition of String Theory and its principles, I fail to see how Dr. Hawking could not conceive of a scenario where the physical interactions of the universe actually created (or produced) god (a deity) that then used supernatural capabilities to recreate the process into what is observed today.

Dr. Hawking does a brilliant job of determining (mathematically) that something did indeed come from nothing as long as that nothing originally existed as both Matter and Anti-Matter (literally a positive – +1 and a negative – -1, which add up to zero, that then exploded into their respective parts.

However his zero, which is absolutely nothing (a void), only exits with the realm of something – matter and anti-matter).

One might beg the question as to where that nothingness came from.  Consider the fact that nothing (the vast emptiness of space), the void as it were, is actually as much a part of the physical universe as all of the real matter we can touch, taste, smell, feel, and experience.  We know it is cold, and yet it can be hot.  Light may travel in it and through it.  It allows gravity to work (to be true to its nature).  The emptiness of space is actually a part of the physical.

So where did the void come from?  Dr. Hawking simply accepts this on faith.  Exactly the same way I accept God on faith.  Dr. Hawking can no more explain the void and its apparent existence, than I can explain God.  It is based upon faith.  His faith just happens to be different than mine.

Isn’t it funny though that I don’t need to prove the existence of God.  But Dr. Hawking feels compelled to prove the non-existence of God.  In my world view the void is explained by creation.  God is not a physical being.  God created the physical, void included.  Dr. Hawking, for all his science and mathematics has yet to explain where the Zero, the nothingness came from to begin with and why there is so much of it out there.

To get something from nothing, you have to have nothing to begin with.  There has to be the spark of (in Dr. Hawking’s parlance) matter and anti-matter to create the -1 and the 1.

Perhaps the something and the nothing (all the physical) came from another, as yet, unknown source.  The Spiritual.  The something that exists outside of the physical.

And isn’t it interesting that Dr. Hawking will acknowledge an almost infinite number (for all practicable purposes what we would perceive as infinite) of different scenarios of physical laws and physical universes, except for one occurrence and one occurrence only.  The existence of a God.  I am to accept that there may be billions upon billions of different quantum harmonics all over the physical creation, creating a plethora of different possibilities, but I am not to accept that even one of those could have a God.

Find the void, and then step out of it, out of the physical, and into the other side, and there you will find God.

 

Caught My Attention …

I was definitely NOT thinking about blogging this today – but I was double blind sided on the way home and I have not been able to get it off my mind since.

What was I blind sided by?  Car emblems.  You know, those magnetic, chrome, cute and witty, little flashy things people like to stick all over their cars (but mainly on the trunk or rear bumper).

So here I am on my way home and a warning light on my dash tells me I need gas.  So I head to the gas station, but as I get into the turn lane to turn into the station, another car pulls in front of me.  And that is when I noticed it, the emblem on the back.  This one:

Evolve_Fish

 

 

 

And I immediately thought, that is what the driver of that car should do, evolve.  Evolve into a caring, thinking, rational human being.  But perhaps I was being a little harsh.  I need to exercise some grace.

So I turned into the station and pulled up to the pump, but before I could get out of the car, I noticed the car at the pump in front of me also had a car emblem on the back hatch of the vehicle.  This one:

Darwin_Fish

 

 

 

 

 

Now our area of the city has about 22,000 residents according to the 2010 census, and only a few of those actually have emblems on their vehicles.  Or to state that a little more accurately, it has been my observation, driving around town, that a small percentage of the vehicles have emblems on them (I contend that my Car/Emblem observation is at least as accurate as Global Climate Change Observations – probably much more so).

And my not-so-scientific, really rough estimate, totally unregulated observations (Hey!  Exactly like the Global Climate Change data!) have detected that even fewer of the emblems that are on vehicles, are actually emblems promoting Evolution.  But those apparently do.

And seeing these back-to-back, in the span of just a few minutes, on two totally different vehicles, of which my keen Global Climate Change like data collection abilities discerned had absolutely nothing to do with each other, over powered my attention and stuck with me all the way home and literally forced me to blog about them tonight (OK, so maybe that last part is a slight exaggeration, but trust me, those emblems have been a really, really strong image in my mind this evening).

So here is the thing about those particular icons.  It is not that I don’t want people to have free speech, I do.  It is not that I don’t think that people shouldn’t be able to express themselves though different means, I do.  It is not even that I am offended or put off by people that drive around with those emblems on their vehicles, I am not.

What is of amazement to me about people that drive around with those particular emblems on their vehicles is that they are not true to their ideals and they probably don’t even know it.

Consider that the vast majority of folks that drive around with those emblems on their vehicles are probably not Scientist, Teachers, or Engineers.  I do not know either of the individuals driving the vehicles I found myself behind this afternoon.  And I may be totally wrong, but I would guess that neither one of them could properly define evolution or articulate Darwin’s theories.  But even if I am wrong about those two individuals, it is almost a sure thing that the vast majority of folks that have those on their vehicles could not properly and accurately describe the Science and/or Philosophy they represent.

What is worse, the individuals most likely could not logically step through the conception of either of those two emblems.  And that is where the real tragedy comes in.

Think about it.  What is the base foundation of both emblems?  An outline of a fish.  The same fish outline that has been used as a Christian symbol for hundreds of years.  Early Christians may have co-opted the symbol from the use of the day, but that use has died out and is no longer recognized today.  And I doubt that the pagan use of the symbol to represent fertility drew its roots from what the current atheistic crowd is attempting to use it for.

Rather early Christians transformed the use of the fish symbol and applied meaning drawn directly from their faith: Matthew 4:18 – 20.  They transformed the symbol for their own use and most likely did not denigrate or ridicule its previous use.

But here, in the forms used today, we have the symbol used to clearly demean, ridicule, poke fun at, or judge harshly, the currently accepted meaning as we know it.

And it is targeted as well.  It is targeted at one particular group, one particular religion.  While you will find Jewish religious symbols, Muslim religious symbols, Hindu religious symbols, Buddhist religious symbols, etc. altered in a humorous or sharply biting way, you will not see those to the extent of the Christian fish nor in this particular form.  No, these are used in a form and to an extent as to make them bigoted and prejudiced.

Now you may find it shocking that I would draw that conclusion, but clearly, the fabrication of the evolutionary folks is to:

(1) Co-opt the symbol.  They start with the base Christian symbol.  One might ask why?  Can they not come up with a symbol of their own?  Can they not convey their message across a wide audience through their own branding?  If not, why not?

(2) Denigrate and ridicule the symbol.  They clearly alter the symbol in such a way as to mock, or look down upon the previous use (and users) of the symbol.  The symbol they use is a mightier than thou symbol.  It is a form meant to shame the use from which they co-opted it.  One might ask the question: Can they not convey their message in a reasonable, logical, form without stooping to ridicule and mockery?  (That is a rhetorical question).

(3) Target their use of the symbol.  As I mentioned, while you can find some example of other religious symbols altered in similar manners meant to mock, they are very few and far between and you will hardly ever find this particular symbol modification amongst other groups.  It is targeted in a laser like focus on Christians.  Not Jews, or Muslims, or Buddhists, or Hindus, etc.  But Christians are the ones that specifically bear the brunt of their ridicule.

Obviously that is utterly intolerant of anyone’s belief other than their own.  Thus bigoted.  Thus I stand by my conclusion.

Oh, but wait-a-minute.  Christians are bigoted as well, right?

Well, not necessarily in the use of the symbol.  First of all, Christians haven’t denigrated the symbol for their own use and with the purpose of ridicule of others.  Sure, Christians may wear their Faith on their sleeve, but remember, in their World View, people are going to die and spend eternity in hell.  And since they care about their fellow man, they need to share the good news (Gospel) with others.

Contrast that with the evolutionary viewpoint.  One might ask why they even care (obviously they don’t care when it comes to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc.)?  Why in the world would an evolutionist care about the fish symbol on a Christians car?

In their world view there is no heaven, and there is no hell.  It shouldn’t matter what others think, they are just going to die and go away.  What is it that simply consumes them about the Christian World View and no other?

Secondly, Christians do not use the symbol in a mocking or a way meant to ridicule others.  They did not denigrate the symbol in any way shape or form.  Others seeing the Christian use of the symbol would not be offended (reference the first century use of the symbol).  They do use the symbol to identify themselves as members of a particular group (Christians) and to identify themselves to other members of that same group.

And once again, one might ask the question as to why this bothers the evolutionary crowd so much?  Why should they even care?  They are all going to pass away one day and (according to their World View) never, ever know the difference one way or the other.  Why they will probably be forgotten in a couple of hundred years and not even those left will care one way or the other as to the impacts of the symbol use.

One form and use of the Christian fish symbol is out of love, while the other form is out of hate.  And don’t tell me it is a form of education or correction.  Because if that is the way you educate, I certainly don’t want what you are teaching (and neither will most other people as well).

Perhaps if we all considered the symbols in our lives a little more carefully, the ones that bring us together, and the ones meant to divide, and we were all a little more tolerant of each others symbols, then we might have a little better communication and perhaps a little more understanding in our world today.

Stacking The Data

When you analyze things in life you have to be very careful not to allow your world view to stack the data in your favor.  This is extremely difficult to do.  People (humans) have a natural tendency to want things to go their way.  I know I struggle with this constantly.  People just want to be right within their own world.

Global Climate Change Scientists were discovered to be doing this very thing in 2009.  A fudge factor in code, is a way of stacking the data in order to help influence results to turn out the way you think they should.

One needs to be extremely careful as well to not believe they’ve seen all the data.  I believe most of us (at least those of any years of maturity) have heard someone say:

“At my age I’ve seen it all.”

I always want to say “Really?  Because God is INFINITE.  In ALL directions.  Which means he is infinitely big and infinitely small.  Infinitely loud and infinitely quite.  Infinitely colorful and infinitely monochrome.  God is more than we can possibly imagine, more than we can fathom, more than we can ever possibly know.  And you have seen it all?  I think not.”  We can spend an infinite amount of lifetimes and never fathom the depths of an infinite God.

King Solomon put it this way in Ecclesiastes 8:16 – 17 pointing out that a wise man may think he knows the works of God, only to find out that he does not.

Jesus Christ himself said that we must be humble like children in Matthew 18:2-4.  I believe he made this particular comparison because children are mostly full of wonderment.  They are growing, exploring, learning, discovering, depending, needing, wanting, and trusting.  As we get older we become wise and our wisdom leads us to be less dependent, less needy, wanting more than we need, less trusting, and growing less, exploring less, learning less, and discovering less.  We are no longer dependent upon God, but rather upon ourselves and we give God a call whenever we think we need him (which is never because we are certainly wise enough to figure our own way out of situations).

Do not ever think you have seen it all, because God has more than your lifetime can fill that he wants to show you.

And thus, having not seen it all, be careful as to how you try and stack the data from what you have seen and do know.

We all have to make choices in life.  And we are all responsible for those decisions and there are consequences to what we do.  But we do have a choice in how we analyze the data.

When you leave God out of the picture, you stack the data to influence your particular world view.  When you become humble, like a child, you begin to realize and understand the incredible gifts of knowledge that God has blessed you with.  You want to know him more, you want to explore, you realize how little you have and you want more.

Funny thing about data analysis, I may generally interpret the data to support any particular view I have.  I believe Weather Scientists the world over are doing just that today.  They couldn’t possibly interpret the data in an unbiased way at this point because they have stacked the data so heavily in their favor, they have tainted the data pool beyond the point of recovery.

There is one area though where the data will always be sound and firm.  There is one area where you cannot stack the data, where the data cannot be falsely interpreted, and where conclusions will always be validated.

And that area of study is with God.  There is a catch though, God may only be accepted on Faith and not by Sight.  Yes, that is disconcerting to some.  Some are screaming right now that Faith is not Science.  And yet Science exercises faith each and every day.

When we seek after God, with all our heart, and with all our strength, and with all our mind, and with all our soul, he will reveal himself to us.  Because he is God.  God actually wants us to discover him, to explore him, to know him.  And thus he will ensure that any who truly seek after him as a child in wonderment, they will find him.

Those that say there is no God and that they have never found God or evidence of God, have simply stacked the data.  They have never truly sought after God to begin with.  They have been loading up all their data and applying their fudge factors to the data to get it to say what they want it to say.

I’d like to encourage us all (myself included) to start exploring the riches of God today as if we know absolutely nothing about him.  It would be great if we all became little children and all gazed at the world in wonderment once again.  It would be great if we all stopped believing in how wise we are, and how experienced we are, and how much data we’ve amassed over our lifetimes.

If we simply stopped stacking the data in our lives, let go of our biases driven by our world views, and began exploring things without an agenda, who knows the types of changes we could really see effected in the world around us?