Christian based commentaries and observations.

Quote of Note

Billy Graham's Prayer For Our Nation

: 'Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance.
We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done.

We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.

We have abused power and called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free.
: Amen!'

Who is Jesus


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Mr. Deity Rebuffed

There seems to be a co-ordinated attack on the character of God this month. It happens every Easter and Christmas. While there are many out there this month, the following three made the covers of three magazines in three different media this month. Interestingly enough one attacks the character of God and faith, one attacks the character of God and those who worship him, and the third tries to kill/replace God with an idealized pagan/earth religion.

#1 Mr. Deity
The December 2007 issue of PCWorld highlights an YouTube hit series, "Mr. Deity". It has become so popular that YouTube put it on their homepage. Now there are book and T.V. deals in the works. Here is a paragraph from the PCWorld article.

'soon after the devastating Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of December 2004, Brian Dalto, a writer/director in Temecula, California, began pondering why such tragedies occur. Why would an all-loving, all powerful God allow such misery? His musings led him to write a short comedy script, "Mr. Deity and the Evil," in which an anxious, distracted, yet essentially benign creator decides what types of suffering should afflict the human race. "holocausts?" asks his clipboard-carrying assistant, Larry. "Yeah, I'm gonna allow it," answers Mr.Deity matter-of-factly. Torture, natural disasters, and Down syndrome make the cut too. Taking those things out "will make it way too easy for people to believe in me," Mr. Deity decides.'

#2 And Lead Us Not
Published in Harper's Magazine Dec. 2007 issue. It is article written by David Lewis and Philip Kitcher, from "Divine Evil" in Philosophers Without Gods, published in august by Oxford University Press.
Here are three paragraphs. It is enough to see where they are going with this one!

'Standard versions of the Argument from Evil concern the evils God fails to prevent: the pain and suffering of human beings and the sins people commit. The most ambitious versions of the argument claim that the existence of evil is logically incompatible with the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, and completely benevolent deity. In my view, this version succeeds conclusively. But I think the usual philosophical discussions of the problem of evil are a sideshow. What interests me here is a simpler argument, one that has been strangely neglected.
We might start instead from the evils God himself perpetrates. In duration and intensity, these dwarf the kinds of suffering and sin to which the standard versions allude. For God has prescribed torment for insubordination. The punishment is to go on forever, and the agonies endured by the damned intensify, in unimaginable ways, the sufferings we undergo in our earthly lives, In both dimensions, time and intensity, the torment is infinitely worse than all the suffering and sin that have occurred during the history of life in the universe. What God does is thus infinitely worse than what the worst of tyrants have done.
Many Christians appear to be good people, worthy of admiration of those of us who are non-Christians. From now on let us suppose, for simplicity's sake, that these Christians accept a God who inflicts infinite torment on those who do not accept Him. Appearances notwithstanding, are those who worship the perpetrator of divine evil themselves evil?'(end of quote)

Attacks #1 and #2 are very similar accept Lewis and Kitcher go on to attack Christians. It's the old "can't make war on God so make war on the people of God" routine. Both authors ignore that it was the choice of humans to disobey one simple command that allowed all of death, evil, chaos, and suffering into the world in the first place. They want to blame God and call him evil for allowing it. That argument is as old as Eve blaming the serpent, and Adam blaming God and Eve, by saying, "[it was]...the woman that YOU (God) put here in the garden with me...". Adam was blaming God for creating the woman and therefore God was the source of this sin and evil. The writers of Mr. Deity are blaming God again for his creation in which suffering is allowed. The argument didn't work before a Holy God in the Garden of Eden and it doesn't work now, especially after the price for sin has been paid by Christ Jesus, for those who accept him. God gave man a choice and a way back for making a second choice.
I wonder, what kind of creation would the writers of Mr. Deity make? In a Slice of Infinity publication by Ravi Zacharias, Ravi lays out 4 possible choices for creation:

Ravi four possible worlds

'“Would you create a world with such pain,” the skeptic charges, “and if you did, could you at the same time still be called good?“.

Plainly speaking, there are only four possible worlds. The first is that there be no creation at all. Would it not have been better for God to have not created a world than to have created ours—where good and evil are both possibilities? The second is a world where only good is permitted, a kind of robotically beneficent universe. The third option is a world where there is no such thing as good or evil, an amoral world. There, right and wrong would not even be legitimate categories for consideration. The fourth is the world that we live in, where good and evil exist with the possibility of choosing either.

... our world is the only one where love is genuinely possible because freedom is a precondition for authentic love. We intuitively recognize that love is the supreme ethic and where love is possible, freedom is necessary. Where freedom is real, so is the possibility of suffering.
...Through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus perceive the infinite holiness of God and His boundless love, we see God’s twin desires fulfilled in the Cross: His holiness satisfied through suffering, and motivated by love strong enough to endure pain.
...In the Cross love, holiness and suffering are brought together. God cannot be at the same time both holy and unloving, or both loving and unholy. Who of us cannot understand that love cannot exist without goodness.'

Now on the question of God being evil or perpetrating evil, Lewis and Kitcher claim that God is evil because he punishes evil with hell. Does that really make any sense?
Joe Boot of RZIM spoke on the topic..."if God is real, He must punish evil... Thus, hell assures us that there is an unbridgeable chasm between right and wrong as defined by God, and to deny it is to advocate the triumph of evil. If we refuse to believe Christ's doctrine of hell, we are denying that God is on the throne. Hell assures us justice is real and it is God's".
Isn't that what Lewis and Kitcher are really doing here: "advocating the triumph of evil" and "denying the God is on the throne". Repeating Ravi, Lewis and Kitcher lose their legs, "...Through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus perceive the infinite holiness of God and His boundless love, we see God’s twin desires fulfilled in the Cross: His holiness satisfied through suffering, and motivated by love strong enough to endure pain.
...In the Cross love, holiness and suffering are brought together. God cannot be at the same time both holy and unloving, or both loving and unholy. Who of us cannot understand that love cannot exist without goodness.'

#3 The Golden Compass: 'How Hollywood Saved God'

This article written by Hannah Rosin is published in December 2007 Atlantic Monthly. It is not so much the article that is an attack on God, as it is the trilogy of books that the movie is based on. Hannah Rosin's title comes from the fact that Hollywood does not stay true to Author Pullman's theology. His purpose like that of Allistar Crowley's, and even Satan before that, is to tear down the notion and worship of God and replace it with a pagan, earth based, self deity, type of theology religion, which leaves a person separated from God and at the mercy of Satan. Of course Satan has no mercy people to him are just cannon fodder and pawns in the game of Who should be worshipped. Satan said to Eve, "...when you eat of it you will become like Gods..."Same old game in town!

The article

'This month, New Line Cinema will release The Golden Compass, based on the first book in a trilogy of edgy children’s novels written by the British author Philip Pullman. A trailer for the movie evokes The Lord of the Rings, and comparisons have been made to The Chronicles of Narnia. All three are epic adventures that unfold in a rich fantasy world, perfect for the big screen. But beyond that basic description, the comparisons fall apart. In the past, Pullman has expressed mainly contempt for the books on which the other movies were based. He once dismissed the Lord of the Rings trilogy as an “infantile work” primarily concerned with “maps and plans and languages and codes.” Narnia got it even worse: “Morally loathsome,” he called it. “One of the most ugly and poisonous things I’ve ever read.” He described his own series as Narnia’s moral opposite. “That’s the Christian one,” he told me. “And mine is the non-Christian.”
Pullman’s books have sold 15 million copies worldwide, although it’s difficult to imagine adolescent novels any more openly subversive. The series, known collectively as His Dark Materials, centers on Lyra Belacqua, a preteen orphan who’s pursued by a murderous institution known as “the Magisterium.” Or to use the more familiar name, “the Holy Church.” In its quest to eradicate sin, the Church sanctions experiments involving the kidnap and torture of hundreds of children—experiments that separate body from soul and leave the children to stumble around zombie-like, and then die.
The series builds up to a cataclysmic war between Heaven and Earth, on the model of Paradise Lost (the source of the phrase his dark materials). But in Pullman’s version, God is revealed to be a charlatan more pitiable even than Oz. His death scene is memorable only for its lack of drama and dignity: The feeble, demented being, called “the ancient of days,” cowers and cries like a baby, dissolving in air. The final book climaxes, so to speak, in a love scene that could rattle the sensibilities of an American culture that tolerates even Girls Gone Wild, because in this case the girl is still a few years away from college...
Four years ago, before anyone worried about marketing a movie, Pullman wondered why his books hadn’t attracted as much controversy as the Harry Potter series—another Hollywood favorite. As he told The Sydney Morning Herald, he was “saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God.”
The series begins in a parallel Oxford, England, at “Jordan College,” where the familiar and the fantastic coexist. Lyra is the anti-Disney heroine: an unruly, unteachable orphan cared for by the university’s dons who spits and lies her way out of trouble. She cobbles together a family from other brave, reckless cast-offs like herself: a kitchen boy; a young, runaway murderer; gypsies and witches. For a time she finds a surrogate father in Iorek Byrnison, a deposed bear king decked out in metal armor who speeds her through one of several parallel worlds. (As with most fantasies, any attempt to summarize plot and character edges too close to Dungeons & Dragons. Trust me, in the novels it all hangs together.) Her most intimate relationship is with her “daemon,” a soul that lives outside the body in animal form. In Lyra’s world, a child’s daemon can change form—hers can shift rapidly from moth to ermine to rat, depending on her mood—until its companion hits puberty, at which point it settles as a fitting animal. The daemons of the Holy Church functionaries? They tend to be dogs.
Iorek is an “insanely awesome character,” he added. “He can’t tell a lie,” Emmerich told me recently, “and [Lyra] is an expert liar.” ... while Iorek helps Lyra conquer the forces of God.)...New Line...spent enormous energy sorting out exactly how to characterize the villains in the movie.
“One small child can save the world.” With $180 million at stake, the studio opted to kidnap the book’s body and leave behind its soul. [ of course this is done with a witchcraft sex ritual like the ending of the movie 'The Fifth Element'- Mark]
Pullman has expressed admiration for Richard Dawkins, a fellow British atheist. Like him, Pullman views the prevailing forms of religion as destructive and oppressive forces in history. “Every single religion that has a monotheistic god ends up by persecuting other people and killing them because they don’t accept him...
When pressed, Pullman grants that he’s not really trying to kill God, but rather the outdated idea of God as an old guy with a beard in the sky. In his novels, he replaces the idea of God with “Dust,” made up of invisible particles that begin to cluster around people when they hit puberty. The Church believes Dust to be the physical evidence of original sin and hopes to eradicate it...for Pullman, sexual awakening triggers the beginning of self-knowledge and intellectual curiosity. To him, the loss of sexual innocence is not a tragedy; it’s the springboard to a productive and virtuous adulthood.'(End of quoting the article)

The next paragraph of the article tells how in Pullman's mind original Sin in the Garden of Eden was not the eating of a fruit from a forbidden tree, but instead the fruit was the discovery of sexual intimacy between Adam and Eve. I guess he forgot the verse where it says, "and Adam KNEW his wife Eve". There wasn't any dust/sin at that point, and no need to hide themselves from God. Having Sex was not the original sin, it was eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that was the original sin and it was committed in the spirit of ego, self, and pride.
Rosin makes note that Pullman makes the statement,"...My books are about killing God” and expresses an "admiration for Richard Dawkins, a fellow British atheist..." Then she mentions that his intent is not to "kill God" but to "replace the outdated notion of God". I personally do not believe that any of these attacks are written by Atheists. What all of these attacks are meant to do is create a spiritual and religious void that can be filled by the Satan in the person of the AntiChrist, and that is who the writers are working for, and in whom they put their faith!
These arguments are not new. I have often had these very conversations with a Unitarian/Universalist co-worker. It is not an accident that this attack is getting front place media attention. Satan still shows individuals the world from a high place and says, "fall down and worship me, [and do my bidding] and all of this I will give to you, for it has been given to me." Jesus did not deny that the world had been given over to Satan he just answered that,"it is written worship the Lord your God and him only"!
Sin and suffering are brought into the world by Satan, through pride and ego filled humans. Satan attempts to use that sin and suffering to cause unbelief in God. Thank God that in his infinite wisdom he only gave earth to man for a time ( 6 days or 6000 years) and that "this SAME Jesus is coming again" to repossess creation put an end to sin and suffering!
I leave you with one more thought from Ravi Zacharias:

"They raise the question of evil, and I’m telling you, it is more complex than they think it is. Why? Because one must question the questioner. If there’s such a thing as evil, you assume there’s such a thing as good. If you assume there’s such a thing as good, you assume there’s such a thing as a moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil. If you assume there’s such a thing as a moral law, you must posit a moral law giver, but that’s whom they are trying to disprove and not prove. Because if there’s not a moral law giver, there’s no moral law. If there’s no moral law, there’s no good. If there’s no good, there’s no evil. What is their question?

Now you may question the last jump: why do you actually need a moral law giver if you have a moral law? The answer is because the questioner and the issue he or she questions always involve the essential value of a person. That is, you can never talk of morality in abstraction. Persons are implicit to the question and the object of the question. In a nutshell, positing a moral law without a moral law giver would be equivalent to raising the question of evil without a questioner. So you cannot have a moral law unless the moral law itself is intrinsically woven into personhood, which means it demands an intrinsically worthy person if the moral law itself is valued. And that person can only be God."

And just think all of this just in time for Christmas!!!