Tag Archives: Cross

Do You Have A Right To Die?

The world is officially losing its mind.  At least we are here in the United States of America (and probably most other Western cultures as well).

California became the fifth State this week to pass a Right To Die law.  For some reason there are those that seem rather gleeful about this.  This law supposedly gives those that are terminally ill the choice to end their own lives through doctor supplied drugs.

What it does, in reality, is cheapens life.  Forty-three years ago there were those here in the U.S.A. that decried the legalization of abortion predicting that it would lead to new forms of legalized, state sponsored deaths.  And here we have their predictions coming true.

Rush Limbaugh made this very case in his1992 book The Way Things Ought To Be.  Rush writes:

“But I am also pro-life because I am a human being who feels a sense of duty to civilization.  I think it is incumbent upon us all to be concerned about the values we transfer to succeeding generations.  When we take actions that cheapen life, we are contributing to the overall decline in society’s moral values.”

(Limbaugh, Rush, “The Way Things Ought To Be“,  New York, Pocket Books, 1992, ISBN: 0-671-75145-X, pg. 50)

Rush goes on to write:

 “It’s not just abortion that is eroding our respect for human life.  There’s also death at the other end of the spectrum.  Look at the right-to-die movement.  They’re not calling for a right to die, they’re mostly calling for a right to kill.”

(Limbaugh, Rush, “The Way Things Ought To Be“, New York, Pocket Books, 1992, ISBN: 0-671-75145-X, pg. 59)

At the time Rush wrote those words, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was practicing his physician assisted suicides in Michigan.  Rush addresses his work in the chapter of his book I have referenced.  Dr. Kevorkian actually was convicted in 1999 of Second Degree Homicide and served 8 years in prison for that conviction.

It is amazing that just 16 short years ago, States were prosecuting and convicting those engaged in this type of behavior and yet today they are signing that very behavior into law.  How quickly a society can change.

These laws presume to offer you a right (definition #19).  A right to die.  My first question would be: Why in the world would you want such a right?  I have never wanted a right to die.  I want a right to live.  And to live free with the pursuit of happiness.  To be all that God has made me to be.  It used to be that we made SciFi movies about people who were terminally ill and how they would freeze themselves or have their bodies put into some type of stasis so that years into the future when medicine had advanced they could be revived and cured.  Today we simply tell them they have the right to take some life ending drugs.

But my second question is: Where in the world did this right come from?  I’ve talked about rights on this Blog in the past (see my posts on: Where Do YOUR Rights Come From? as well as: Chasing After Rights).  Rights come from somewhere.  That is they are granted by some entity.  The founding fathers of this country believed there were certain inalienable rights that were granted by God.  And among those were Life.  I don’t think that God, who has granted each and every human an inalienable right to life,  has suddenly granted everyone a right to die.  So where did this right come from, if not from God?

And the only possible answer is it came from society.  It came from us.  And if society is in the business of granting rights, we have gone down a very slippery slope indeed.  Why do those in physical pain and suffering get to be granted a special right and those in emotional pain and suffering do not?  I’m going to cry foul here and tell you all about my anguish over the financial disparity between myself and Bill Gates.  I demand the right of financial equality.  It is germane to my sanity and good health.  But there is no such right.  Because God never granted it, and society could never achieve it even if it wanted to grant it.

The people that “granted” this (so-called) right never had the authority to grant such a right to begin with.  They are playing god and are only feeding their own warped egotistical existence.

My biggest problem with the (so-called) Right To Die is the same thing Rush Limbaugh identified 23 years ago.  It cheapens life.  And this is because I actually do have a Theology (something most of the world lacks).

If you are a Creationist, then you have to believe that life was created.  Depending on your particular theology, you might even go so far as to say that life is a gift from God.

My particular religion teaches that God intended for life to be abundant and joyful.  However because sin entered into the world it brought death and destruction.  Death as a consequence of sin, is the very antithesis of life.  The former is a gift, the latter is a curse.

Because of my Theology, I actually cringe whenever I encounter any type of mercy killing or humane killing.  Even with animals or pets.  My problem is that even putting an animal out of its suffering (as if that animal doesn’t want to live) is a hardening of our hearts.  It is a practice that makes it easier for us to then see our way to extending the same practice to our fellow humans.

This is not going to sit well with most of you (actually the vast majority of the world) – but the pain and suffering of death actually AMPLIFIES the great sacrifice that Jesus Christ made upon the Cross.  It is because I abhor death with such great disdain that I appreciate the Cross all the more.  It is because I understand the great sin curse of death that I come to understand Grace all the more.  It is in the pain and suffering that we learn just how much as been overcome.

“Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!”

Paul of Tarsus understood this when he wrote:

“54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” (1 Corinthians 15″54-56)

Paul understood the sting of death.  And Paul understood the great price that had been paid.  He understood death was the consequence of sin and that Jesus Christ had defeated it once and for all and had walked out of the grave victorious in Life!

So do you have a right to die?  I sincerely hope not.  I hope you have a hope to live!  And I trust that hope is found in the one who was victorious over the grave.  My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Which Side of The Cross Are You On?

When I started this blog I thought that I would treat issues from the Philosophies, Sciences, PoliticsLife, and Religion equally.  All of them are interesting to me and all of them are equally important in defining who we are as a person, as a nation, and as people of this world.

As it turns out though, I have gravitated more towards religion than any of the other studies.  There are a few reasons for this, not the least of which is you, the people I perceive that actually take the time to read my musings.  When I look at the stats for this blog, the readership is heavily slanted towards foreign visits.  United States of America visits do not even comprise half of the readership here.  At least according to the WEB statistics.

And while I find politics immensely interesting, I am only exposed to a couple of political factions in the world.  Those here in the U.S. and those of the Philippines.  Perhaps to some small extent those of Great Britain, but only because of the close history shared between them and the U.S. and definitely not from an understanding of the political culture in the country on a day-to-day basis.

I am not sure I could adequately represent U.S. politics in such a way as to gain interest or engagement from such a diverse international readership as the stats of this blog indicate.

We do all share a common ground however.  And that is Religion.  And it is only natural that I would weight my discussions towards religion.  Because our religion is what will set our biases and our beliefs towards our purpose, as humans here on this planet, and how we establish a moral and ethical code of conduct, both to ourselves, our God (if we believe in one), and to each other.  We ALL have a religion.  Even if you are atheist, it is still your religion.  Atheism influences your set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe.  All the religions of the world influence people in their understanding of life, their purpose, and their obligations to themselves and one another.  Agnostics practice a religion, as do people of great faith.  We all are bound to one religion or another whether we recognize it or not.

One religion however has a seminal event that had a great impact on the entire world and stood the test of time and spanned the ages and continues to guide the course of human events even today.

That religion is Christianity and the event is the Cross.  We’ve marked time by it.  We’ve defined faiths by it.  We’ve ostensibly fought wars because of it.  And we’ve tortured and created martyrs over it.  It is a symbolism that is recognized the world over and brings a controversy and impact with it wherever it goes like no other event in history.

What is amazing to me is that those who would stamp out the controversy of the Cross are not amazed by the impact it has made the world over.  How is it that one man, the person of Jesus Christ, and one death upon the Cross has brought us to the point we are at in the world today?  How is it that the more the world tries to erase its very existence from human history, the more those that cling to it strengthen their grip?  How is it that a seemingly insignificant event, that of a man being executed upon a Cross could make such an impact upon the entire world?

There have been many executions throughout human history.  Many of them famous ones.  I could surely name some that the vast majority of people the world over would be familiar with.  But none of them would compare to one event, some two thousand years ago, that has defined the course of human history.  How is that?  And how are people not amazed and in wonderment of that?  How is it the very executioners of Jesus Christ themselves thought his claim of being the Son of God must be true (Matthew 27:54)?  How is it this one event has reverberated through the annuals of time unless Jesus Christ were true to his claim and he really is the Son of the Most High God?

But the point I want to get to today is that there were at least three crosses upon that hill (that we are told about).  There was a cross to the left and a cross to the right of Jesus (Mathew 27:38).  Three individuals were crucified that day.  And history records all three.  The other two are known as malefactors or thieves.  Today, in most western cultures, and quite a few eastern cultures as well, we would hardly execute someone for the crime of stealing.  Here in the U.S.A. it is not uncommon for thieves to receive a monetary fine and a few years in jail (Source: FindLaw.com and Laws.com).  Certainly a far cry from execution, let alone execution upon a Cross.

The interesting thing to me is that both of the individuals are identified as thieves.  They were both guilty of the exact same crime.  Kind of like you and me.  We are all guilty of violating God’s law (Romans 3:23).  We have all stolen from God the glory that is rightfully His.  We have all stolen the sovereignty that He and He alone deserves.  We have all stolen the allegiance that the creation owes the creator from an Almighty God.  And like the two thieves that hung on their cross on either side of Jesus Christ, we hang in the balance on one side of the Cross or the other.

Each of the two thieves had a different mindset towards Jesus Christ as he hung on the Cross (Luke 23:39-43).  One of them feared God.  One did not.  One of them was responded to.  One was not.  One of them recognized that they were both in a common conviction (justly) of their sins while Jesus Christ was not.  The other simply mocked and ridiculed him.

There are two sides of the Cross.  And the dividing line is the outstretched arms of Jesus Christ.  There is no middle ground.  Jesus Christ himself, and He alone occupies the middle ground.  And we are all (every man, woman, child, every human being that ever has, ever will, and who today exists upon the face of this earth) on one side of that Cross or the other.

My question is: Which side of the Cross are YOU on?  I’m on the side of the thief who begged that Jesus Christ, Lord, would remember me in the Heavenly Kingdom (Luke 23:42).  I pray that you would come to stand on the same side as well.

The Greatest Question Of All Time …

Here it is, Easter of 2015, or Resurrection Sunday.  Many cultures around the world celebrate Easter.  Here in the U.S.A. Easter egg hunts, as well as chocolate bunnies are a great tradition.

Over the years (especially the last five or six), I’ve had various Theists (specifically those of the Christian persuasion) come to me and inquire as to whether or not I thought Easter Egg hunts were a good idea.  And I would always ask “Why wouldn’t they be?”  They are children, hunting colorful eggs, some hidden in plain sight, and filling baskets with joy and laughter.  What could possibly be wrong with that?

It is amazing to me the number of Christians that don’t have a problem with Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, but the Easter Bunny is of a questionable nature for some reason.  I suppose if you wanted to separate the Easter Egg Hunts from the Church (that is not hold them on Church property), that would be OK.  But I’ve known many churches that have all kinds of secular programs from bingo, to a 1950’s Ice Cream parlor, to even a Halloween Haunted House held on Church grounds.  I am reminded that on a couple of occasions, two great men of God told me that (1) Not everyone is called to be a Saint Francis of Assisi, and (2) God never intended for Christians NOT to have fun.

Saint Francis of Assisi believed that in order to get close to God he needed to be devoid of all worldly possessions and wait on God to provide for him. But my mentor was saying God hasn’t called everyone to take all their worldly possessions and give them to the poor.  You need look no further than Job to understand that God desires to bless his children greatly.  God also created us to have fun.  He never intended for life to be dull and boring.  And somehow I think that the laughter of little children as they inquisitively run around looking for colorful eggs, warms the heart of God.

My point here is that we spend all of our time worrying about the less important questions rather than THE important question.  We can have all the holier-than-thou discussions in the world, (i.e. I am holier than you are because I don’t taint Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Christ, with Santa Claus) but unless we have dealt with the MOST IMPORTANT question, we’ve become sidetracked and done ourselves a great disservice.

And what is the MOST IMPORTANT question you will ever deal with in your life?  It is “Who is the person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to you?”

Because if he is who he said he was, and if he did what history has recorded he did, and if the eye-witness accounts are correct, he could make the greatest difference to you for all of eternity.

And of all the claims, of all the acts, of all the accounts recorded of Jesus Christ, the most important one to consider is of him having DIED on the Cross and then having Risen from the dead on the third day.

Why?  Because surly only God has the authority over life and death, and if he demonstrated such, then the claims he made must be true and real and that would indeed have the greatest impact on all people who ever have lived, who are alive today, and who ever will live.

The Bible claims that Jesus Christ died on the Cross (John 19:33-35).  The record clearly states that the Roman Soldiers found Jesus Christ to have been dead upon the Cross.  Their JOB was to see that the prisoners were executed.  No Roman Soldier would have risked their own life and reputation by not carrying out their duty.  Roman Soldiers carried out their duties loyally and upon pain of death.  There were witnesses standing around.  John himself records the fact that he was one of those witnesses.  There could have been no chance whatsoever of a cover up or a conspiracy.  The Roman Soldiers came to the Cross containing the body of Jesus Christ and found him to be dead.  And to confirm that fact to themselves, one of them took a spear and ran him through the side.  Blood and water came out, which most medical professionals acknowledge as a clear sign of death.  So the Roman Soldiers found him to be dead, and pierced his side with a spear to confirm that fact, which resulted in an observation that did confirm that fact for them, and the witnesses who saw this also agreed that Jesus Christ was indeed dead upon the Cross.

Now I realize there are those today who have analyzed this scenario to the extreme.  They have theories that Jesus Christ was not really dead, just near dead.  That he awoke within the tomb and that he was nurtured back to health and that he died later in life.  But all of those theories have one problem, they don’t match the historical record.  They are just theories that are grounded in what people want to believe and not what the facts and the eye witness accounts have to say.  If we are to go with what the historical record says, and what we know to be the facts, we are left to conclude unequivocally that Jesus Christ did indeed die on the Cross and that he was buried within the tomb.

But did Jesus Christ actually leave the tomb, of his own free will, alive and well?  Dr. Lon Solomon, Senior Pastor at McLean Bible Church in McLean, Virginia has taught somewhat extensively on this subject.  And in this sermon he examines the facts as determined from the historical record.  One is left to conclude that either YES, Jesus Christ did rise from the dead and leave the tomb as the historical account relates, or else the story is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated upon the human race.

The facts in the case are that Jesus Christ did rise from the dead.  He did fulfil prophesies that were statistically impossible to fulfil, and his claims of being the Son of God were, and are, true and accurate.  Jesus Christ is indeed, God in the flesh and the Savior to all mankind.

So we can sit around and argue about who is holier than whom on this Easter Sunday, debating on whether or not we should or should not allow our children to enjoy a few colorful eggs and some chocolate bunnies, OR we can deal with the Greatest Question of All Time – Who is Jesus Christ to Me?

My answer is: He is the Son of God, My Lord and my Savior, the most pivotal figure in all of history.  But you will have to answer that question for yourself.  I only pray that you give it the due consideration that it deserves.