Filed under: Answering an Atheist, Bad Things, Christian Living
I recently answered several questions about miracles. The questions originally came from an agnostic/atheist type (Agath) who thought miracles were nonsense and I partly agreed. Agath’s questions were aimed at Christians and for obvious reasons. Who else makes more noise about miracles.
My intent was to answer Agath’s questions, which implied God doesn’t exist and therefore miracles can’t happen. My intent in this post is quite different.
I want to bring a little sense to the grab bag approach to miracles popularized in some circles. It might seem strange but in one sense I agree with Agath here. But that really shouldn’t surprise you. Because Atheists and Christians differ on a few important issues doesn’t mean they disagree on everything. It also doesn’t mean all Christians agree.
So, this post is aimed at Christians who I believe are confusing the issues and making it difficult for practically minded people to believe.
The problem, as I see it, is this. Some Christians are claiming a large number of miracles – of the most sensational kind – and suggesting miracles are promised on demand.
I say “some” because not all Christians agree. I, for one, am of a different opinion and I’m not alone. Many of us are a little skeptical about all the claims.
And it’s a sensitive issue for everyone. Who hasn’t been desperate enough to want a miracle occasionally? When life gets hard, unpredictable and cruel, what better (easier) way to solve the problem than pour a miracle on it.
God, however, hasn’t promised that and the few promises He has made that require miracles in order to be fulfilled have little to do with your personal problems or wish list.
So, let’s analyze the concept of miracles and answer a few questions. Read more
Why are the Ten Commandments so shallow/narrow? Why do the commandments say nothing about children’s rights, the internet or offer great insights about math?
I found the above question a little amusing. It came originally from an Agnostic/Atheist type (Agath) and is very different to what you would expect. Agaths usually oppose restrictive laws and here one is asking for more. Doesn’t make sense!
But that’s not the only weak point in this question. Three areas of concern are mentioned: Children’s rights, mathematics and the internet. And the complaint is, God failed to regulate these issues.
Well, I agree and disagree. Read more
If God is so powerful…how does the Devil exist?
This question was originally posed by an agnostic/atheist type (Agath) and sent to me by a Christian friend but it’s a little bit confusing. No explanation was offered so you have to analyze it a bit to get a handle on what is really being asked.
After reading the question, my first thought was, “why shouldn’t the Devil exist?” I know he’s not the nicest guy around and I don’t like him any more than the next person but does that constitute a reason to X him out?
And, yes, God does have the power to dispose of him but if God were to annihilate him, who else should He blot out and by what rule would He decide who goes and who stays? Should I expect Him to eliminate every person I don’t particularly like?
Quite honestly, I’ve never met the Devil or tangled with him directly – at least not that I know of – but I could give you a long list of people who have aggravated me to no end. What about them? Should they be on the death list also?
Aside from personal issues, however, what other reasons could justify the Devil’s elimination? Should we expect God to blot out any person who does wrong and, if so, aren’t we all in danger? No one is entirely without sin so everyone could be on the list. Solomon said…
“There is not a just man upon earth that does good and sins not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
And only an argumentative or delusional soul would disagree with that point.
So the next question is, would we expect God to exterminate only those who commit particularly egregious crimes and, if so, who gets to decide where acceptable crimes end and egregious ones begin?
Obviously, Agath’s original question spawns many more sub queries making it difficult to fully resolve the issue. Maybe before we demand God eliminate the Devil’s miserable soul we should take a look at what the Bible actually says him. And the first observation to note is… Read more
Filed under: Answering an Atheist, Bad Things, God's Sovereignty
A friend recently sent me an email posing an assortment of questions about miracles. The questions originally came from an agnostic/atheist type (Agath) – my friend is neither – and were intended to discredit God and belittle believers.
A summary of each question is included for your reference. I summarized them because unedited they were quite long but I was careful to retain the essence:
- If God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, as the Bible claims, why does He allow people to die in floods and tsunamis or children to die of cancer?
- Why are miracles reported less frequently and in fewer numbers in modern times?
- If God is so powerful why does the Devil exist?
- Why are the Ten Commandments so shallow/narrow? Why do the commandments say nothing about children’s rights, mathematics or the internet?
- Why doesn’t God heal amputees (restore lost limbs)? Why does God only heal things that have a statistical possibility of healing on their own, e.g., cancers?
- Doesn’t the conflict between Christian, Muslim and Jewish beliefs cancel each other out? If one is right wouldn’t the others be considered atheists?
I can’t say whether Agath is genuinely open to real answers or not but he apparently won’t accept fluff. According to my friend “God works in mysterious ways” won’t do, hence this post.
Disasters, Diseases And Miracles – Accusations vs Issues
I’ll discuss only the first two questions in this article. The others will come later but since the first two are closely related and Agath offered an answer for each they seemed like a good place to start. Read more
They may not believe Heaven is for Real but academic heavy hitters are lining up to take a swing at Colton Burpo.
Susan Jacoby, for one, suggested the American public’s infatuation with his book proves they are immature minded and this isn’t a new trend for her. In a February 2008 article she referred to the same group as “dunces.”
About Colton’s book, she quips, “only in America could a book like this be classified as nonfiction.”
I’m not sure if “immature” represents an improvement or is the reason she thinks we are dumb, but you get the feeling things would change if we would just read a few books on Reason – starting with her’s, of course. She’s written several and you could almost map the road to reprobation in the titles:
- Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism – 2004.
- The Age of American Unreason – 2008.
Not that that matters to her. She doesn’t believe and is proud to say so.
The real issue is, Colton’s book has sold over a million copies – and counting – and is breaking all the records at Thomas Nelson publishers. And, as a non materialistic atheist, who apparently doesn’t appreciate people suggesting she or her kind writes books for money, she doesn’t hesitate to suggest the Burpo’s did just that, accusingly, as if there is something wrong with making money.
Her cynicism doesn’t slur it gushes arterially.
I will say that it’s good she doesn’t write for profit because her books don’t sell that well. Read more