“Fake It Till You Make It”

happy_maskThe point is, if you continue to act as if you are the type of person you really want to be, you might occasionally forget you are “faking it”. From experience, I can tell you it sometimes works — if you can keep it up. Sure it’s a beautiful lie but we all wear masks every day. As long as you are wearing one anyway, why not put on an attractive mask? Try to act happier and more confident than you really feel — you are hurting no one,  not even yourself. In fact, you’ll be doing everyone, including you, a favor. (Matthew 6:16-17) If you act like someone you want to be around, you might even grow to stand your own company. But be warned: it takes a lot of energy, especially if you are depressed, so don’t overdo it at first.  Think of it as emotional exercise. It becomes easier with time.

It’s important to share your true feelings with someone but not everyone and not all of the time. In the meantime, try to act better than you feel. if you do a good enough job at it, you might even fool yourself.

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“Now, Look What You Made Me Do!”

leavesAre you a leaf in the wind, having no control over your own actions? To be fair, if you are going to blame others for your mistakes, you ought to give them at least as much credit for your successes. While it may be true that no man is an island, in the end, you are ultimately responsible for every decision you make. (Galatians 6:5) Unless you are being physically controlled, every voluntary action is preceded by a decision. No one can make you do anything without actual force.

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“People Are No Damn Good!”

three_stooges_eye_pokeI’ve heard this all my life. While it is true that no one but God is good (Mark 10:18), I believe that people, for the most part, *try* to be good. Consider, that with the same amount of effort you can poke someone in the eye or shake their hand. Most people choose to shake hands. People have the capacity to do much more harm than good using the same amount of energy, yet most people exert quite a lot of energy toward (at least) not hurting others. Even with words, consider how carefully most people craft their sentences to be as “tactful” as possible to spare the feelings of others. It would be far easier to just blurt out whatever we were thinking. Sure, we want to avoid negative consequences but I think, at least in part, that people actually care about each other’s feelings. This is the very basis of the Golden Rule. We are all self-serving to some extent but deep down, most of us want other people to be happy.  There are exceptions, of course, such as sociopaths – then all bets are off.

Do you give or help as anonymously as possible? Do you do things for others who you know can not or will not do anything for you in return? Then, I think you are at least trying to be good for it’s own sake. That’s the best any of us can do.

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Do Absolutes Exist?

Sparrow_wingsWith very few exceptions, there are no absolutes in this universe. There exist only varying degrees of probability. Even the old Newtonian “laws” are more accurately “rules of thumb”. We now know that although it is extremely likely that a rock will fall to the ground when released from a person’s hand it is never an absolute certainty. The possibility always exists, however remote, that it will spontaneously turn into a sparrow and fly away. It is also possible that it will cease to exist altogether. Matter and energy spontaneously pop in and out of existence on a continual basis. Our minds love patterns and we perceive absolutes where only large percentiles exist.

Even when we speak of such abstract absolutes as Goodness, Truth and Perfection, they do not exist in this universe save as divine attributes of God. But God is transcendent, existing both within and outside the universe. As imperfect mortals ourselves, we can only sense His divine attributes, never fully experiencing them first hand.  And due to the limited nature of our consciousness, it is doubtful we could recognize an absolute attribute of God’s divinity were we in it’s presence.

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Is God Truly Omnipotent?

omnipotentInfinite power means infinite potential energy. Yet we know that the universe only contains a finite amount of energy. If God exists only within this universe, God’s power is finite, God cannot be omnipotent.
On the other hand, if the universe exists within God then He could possibly have infinite energy in which to affect this lesser finite universe. God can only be omnipotent if He is transcendent.

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Is God Truly Omnipresent?

galaxyFor a thing to exist everywhere simultaneously, it must be completely insubstantial. Otherwise, its matter or substance would have to be infinitely dense because the concept of true omnipresence would not allow any empty space between the subatomic particles of which it is comprised. Not only would this require infinite mass, there would be no room for anything else to exist in the universe. So for God to be omnipresent, He must be completely insubstantial and immaterial. Perhaps God is like space-time itself. Space is everywhere, after all. It moves, undulates and grows like a living creature.
Pantheism envisions that “God is everything <–> everything is God”. If there is nothing that is not God, then the term “God” is indistinguishable from the term “everything” and therefore ceases to have any true meaning in and of itself. PanENtheism, on the other hand, maintains that God is everything and more, the seen and the unseen, the knowable and the unknowable. In other words, God transcends the universe.

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Is God Truly Omniscient?

eye-nebulaTo truly know everything, God must know the future as well. The Uncertainty Principle seems to make this impossible. An electron’s location is completely unpredictable and as such can never be known at any given time.
Philosophically speaking, if the future can be known then it must be just as concrete as the past – it already exists (at least in essence). Free will is a delusion if there is only one possible course of action. Where there is no free will there can be no errors. Computers have no free will or intention and therefore cannot make errors. They process information the only possible way they can given their software and hardware parameters. What are often incorrectly called, “computer errors” are truly human errors. They result from faulty programming, manufacturing or user input. It must be true that errors exist (how can this be an erroneous statement?) -> therefore free will exists -> therefore the future is changeable and cannot be known. If God cannot know the future He cannot be completely omniscient.
However, the multiverse hypothesis suggests that for every possibility there has ever been, a separate universe exists where that possibility has occurred. Again, for God to be omniscient, each one of these universes must be predetermined as well. There are a finite number of possibilities in a finite universe no matter how large. If a universe exists for each of these possibilities wouldn’t each of these universes be necessarily predetermined? Perhaps our diverging awarenesses tend to follow the paths of our original intent. So that this version of me that is experiencing this reality is doing so because of all the choices I have made up to this point. This would seem to satisfy the notion of free will. Perhaps it would also go some degree toward explaining the apparent influence of an observer’s expectation in quantum mechanics.
If all possibilities exist, we may have some degree of control over which reality we actually experience, i.e. free-will. And God may also be omniscient.  In this case, it doesn’t have to be an either/or choice, it can be a both/and. God knows which decision you are going to make — you are going to make all of them.

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But Who Created God?

FlammarionThis question has a false premise. It assumes that God was, in fact, created. For something to be created, it must have a beginning. God does not. I hesitate to use the word, “eternal”, but I will say that God *transcends* the time and space limitations of this universe. This is not as unscientific as it may sound. Many scientists postulate a limitless “mother” universe which gives “birth” to finite “child” universes like the one we find ourselves in. That sounds almost religious, doesn’t it?

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The Supernatural is Unprovable

ghostThe supernatural can never be scientifically proven because it ceases to be “supernatural” once sufficient scientific proof is obtained. It is then considered to be a completely “natural” phenomenon.

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Did Jesus Ever Make Mistakes?

Jesus Curses the Fig TreeOf course, Jesus didn’t make any moral mistakes or sins. But being fully human, he necessarily had incomplete knowledge of the world around him. Certainly as a child, Jesus had to learn how to do some things. Even as an adult, he sometimes seemed unaware of things until informed by others. This inevitably led to mistakes of the factual error variety. Consider the story of the rich young ruler in Mark 10 and the parable of the mustard seed as examples. The young ruler walks away from Jesus without choosing to follow him, and Jesus says a mustard seed is “the smallest of all seeds on earth”. Botanically speaking, this simply isn’t true. There is also the story (Mark 11:13) of when Jesus went looking for figs long before their season. An all-knowing person would not have done that.

But if he was God, wasn’t he all-knowing? Luke 2:52 says Jesus grew in ‘wisdom.’ How could one who is completely omniscient learn or increase in wisdom or knowledge? Yes, he was God and in becoming man he never ceased to be divine. But when he “emptied himself by taking the form of a servant” and “being found in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7-8) he voluntarily suspended the use of those divine attributes that would have made it impossible for him to live a genuinely human life. In other words, the Son chose to experience the world through the limitations imposed by human consciousness and an authentic human nature. The attributes of omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience were not lost, but simply became latent within the confines of his human nature. They were fully present in Jesus but no longer in use. The incarnation thus means that Jesus actually thought and acted strictly within the limitations of a normally developing human person. He was human, warts and all and we know that to err is human.

We also know that Jesus had a genuine human soul. His soul was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matt. 26:38); it was to the divine purpose that he subjected his will (Luke 22:42), and it was into the Father’s hands that he committed his spirit (Luke 23:46).

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Where Was Jesus Coming From?

Brooklyn_Museum_-_Jesus_Teaches_the_People_by_the_Sea_(Jésus_enseigne_le_peuple_près_de_la_mer)_-_James_Tissot_-_overallIt occurs to me that we cannot truly understand what Jesus was trying to teach without first understanding the environment in which he taught. Before embarking on any serious study of Jesus, the  man, we should first learn all we can about Israel and Palestine in the early part of the first century. Knowing all the important contemporary events, customs, teachings, beliefs, influences, mores, hopes, fears, conflicts, governments and even social strata are absolutely essential to having a sufficient insight into the mind of any person of that time period. In other words, before we can know where Jesus is coming from we must know where he came from.
At least as important as the things Jesus taught are the things Jesus did not teach. Jesus’ failure to address any major issues of that time can only be seen as his tacit approval of the status quo. This is not to say that he completely agreed with every iota of existing scripture and Jewish law which he did not address.* But that he was comparatively comfortable with their contemporary emphasis, interpretation and observance. To understand what Jesus likely believed about a significant topic on which he never spoke we need only understand the common beliefs of his audience. It would be a mistake to assume that merely because something was written in scripture or the law that it was as important or relevant in Jesus’ time as it was in the era it was written. People rarely speak out against archaic or obsolete rules which are no longer enforced or even observed by their contemporaries. But because the general consensus changes over time it is absolutely imperative that we know the particular mood of that particular place and time for a more complete understanding of Jesus’ true ideology.

(*Jesus said that He came to “fulfill” the scriptures. I confess, I am not entirely sure what He meant by that)

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One Hundred and One Proofs that God Exists

william_blake_god_as_an_architect_print (1) ( Adapted from a page by Atheists of Silicon Valley. )

This is adapted from an atheist website. It points out how ridiculously absurd some of the arguments for God’s existence actually are. Fellow believers, please don’t take offense — I just thought it was rather funny (especially considering that I’ve actually used variations of some of these arguments before).  Just remember, if you truly believe in God, no proof is necessary. If you don’t, no proof is adequate…

  1. TRANSCENDENTAL ARGUMENT, a.k.a. PRESUPPOSITIONALIST (I)
    (1) If reason exists then God exists.
    (2) Reason exists.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  2. COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT, a.k.a. FIRST CAUSE ARGUMENT (I)
    (1) If I say something must have a cause, it has a cause.
    (2) I say the universe must have a cause.
    (3) Therefore, the universe has a cause.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  3. ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (I)
    (1) I define God to be X.
    (2) Since I can conceive of X, X must exist.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  4. ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (II)
    (1) I can conceive of a perfect God.
    (2) One of the qualities of perfection is existence.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  5. MODAL ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
    (1) God is either necessary or unnecessary.
    (2) God is not unnecessary, therefore God must be necessary.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  6. ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN, a.k.a. GOD OF THE GAPS, a.k.a. TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (I)
    (1) Check out the world/universe/giraffe.  Isn’t it complex?
    (2) Only God could have made them so complex.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  7. ARGUMENT FROM BEAUTY, a.k.a. DESIGN/TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (II)
    (1) Isn’t that baby/sunset/flower/tree beautiful?
    (2) Only God could have made them so beautiful.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  8. ARGUMENT FROM MIRACLES (I)
    (1) My aunt had cancer.
    (2) The doctors gave her all these horrible treatments.
    (3) My aunt prayed to God and now she doesn’t have cancer.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  9. MORAL ARGUMENT (II)
    (1) In my younger days I was a cursing, drinking, smoking, gambling, child-molesting, thieving, murdering, bed-wetting bastard.
    (2) That all changed once I became religious.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  10. ARGUMENT FROM CREATION, a.k.a. ARGUMENT FROM PERSONAL INCREDULITY (I)
    (1) If evolution is false, then creationism is true, and therefore God exists.
    (2) Evolution can’t be true, since I lack the mental capacity to understand it; moreover, to accept its truth would cause me to be uncomfortable.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  11. ARGUMENT FROM FEAR
    (1) If there is no God then we’re all going to not exist after we die.
    (2) I’m afraid of that.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  12. ARGUMENT FROM THE BIBLE
    (1) [arbitrary passage from OT]
    (2) [arbitrary passage from NT]
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  13. ARGUMENT FROM BELIEF
    (1) If God exists, then I should believe in Him.
    (2) I believe in God.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  14. PARENTAL ARGUMENT
    (1) My mommy and daddy told me that God exists.
    (2) Therefore, God exists.
  15. ARGUMENT FROM NUMBERS
    (1) Billions of people believe in God.
    (2) They can’t all be wrong, can they?
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  16. ARGUMENT FROM FALLIBILITY
    (1) Human reasoning is inherently flawed.
    (2) Therefore, there is no reasonable way to challenge a proposition.
    (3) I propose that God exists.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  17. ARGUMENT FROM POSSIBLE WORLDS
    (1) If things had been different, then things would be different.
    (2) That would be bad.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  18. ARGUMENT FROM INFINITE REGRESS, a.k.a. FIRST CAUSE ARGUMENT (II)
    (1) Ask atheists what caused the Big Bang.
    (2) Regardless of their answer, ask how they know this.
    (3) Continue process until the atheist admits he doesn’t know the answer to one of your questions.
    (4) You win!
    (5) Therefore, God exists.
  19. ARGUMENT FROM CREATIVE INTERPRETATION
    (1) God is:
    (a) The feeling you have when you look at a newborn baby.
    (b) The love of a mother for her child.
    (c) That little still voice in your heart.
    (d) Humankind’s potential to overcome their difficulties.
    (e) How I feel when I look at a sunset.
    (f) The taste of ice cream on a hot day.
    (2) Therefore, God exists.
  20. ARGUMENT FROM ABSOLUTE MORAL STANDARDS
    (1) If there are absolute moral standards, then God exists.
    (2) Atheists say that there are no absolute moral standards.
    (3) But that’s because they don’t want to admit to being sinners.
    (4) Therefore, there are absolute moral standards.
    (5) Therefore, God exists.
  21. ARGUMENT FROM HUMAN NECESSITY
    (1) Atheists say that they don’t need God.
    (2) Which just goes to show that they need God.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  22. ARGUMENT FROM PERSONAL SANITY
    (1) I’ve had religious experiences that can’t be explained unless I’m insane or God exists.
    (2) Therefore, God exists.
  23. ARGUMENT FROM “THE MATRIX”
    (1) We cannot prove that we don’t live in a Matrix-like world.
    (2) Therefore we cannot know reality.
    (3) If reality is contingent, then everything is possible.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  24. ARGUMENT FROM SUBJECTIVITY
    (1) Everything is subjective.
    (2) No subjective proof can be superior to any other subjective proof.
    (3) Based upon my subjective opinion, your opinion, that if everything is subjective then, perforce, God is subjective, is false.
    (4) Therefore, God (objectively) exists.
  25. PROOF BY ANECDOTE
    (1) God can be seen by those who believe in Him.
    (2) If the God is seen, then He must exist.
    (3) I have seen God.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  26. ARGUMENT FROM MULTIPLICITY (I)
    (1) I have a large number of arguments for God.
    (2) One of them is probably true.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  27. ARGUMENT FROM FORTUITOUS COINCIDENCE
    (1) What are the odds of that happening?
    (2) Pretty long, I’ll bet.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  28. ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN, a.k.a. GOD OF THE GAPS, a.k.a. DESIGN/TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (III)
    (1) If there is a designer, then God must exist.
    (2) If I find a watch in a forest, there must be a designer.
    (3) [Throws watch into forest.]
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  29. ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN, a.k.a. GOD OF THE GAPS, a.k.a. DESIGN/TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (IV), a.k.a. ARGUMENT FROM PERSONAL INCREDULITY (III)
    (1) Isn’t X amazing!
    (2) I don’t understand how X could be, without something else (that I don’t really understand either) making or doing X.
    (3) This something else must be God because I can’t come up with a better explanation.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  30. ARGUMENT FROM LOVE
    (1) Have you ever fallen in love?
    (2) [Of course!!]
    (3) So what is the cause of love?  Isn’t it God?  Am I right or not?
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  31. ARGUMENT FROM IDENTITY (PC ARGUMENT)
    (1) Believing in God is a central part of my identity.
    (2) You don’t mean to deny my identity do you?
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  32. ARGUMENT FROM EXODUS
    (1) If the Exodus story has any basis in historical fact, then God exists.
    (2) Some guy found some chariot wheels at the bottom of the Red Sea.
    (3) There is absolutely no other way that chariots could get to the bottom of the Red Sea.
    (4) This means the Exodus story is true.
    (5) Therefore, God exists.
  33. ARGUMENT FROM MARTYRDOM
    (1) The apostles would not have died for something they knew wasn’t true.
    (2) Atheist notes that the NT doesn’t mention anyone dying for their knowledge of Jesus’ “physical” resurrection.
    (3) Atheist also gives examples of martyrs outside Christendom.
    (4) Obviously those examples were fooled by Satan.
    (5) Therefore, God exists.
  34. ARGUMENT FROM LACK OF DISPROOF, a.k.a. ARGUMENT FROM SHIFTED BURDEN OF PROOF
    (1) You can’t prove God doesn’t exist!
    (2) Therefore, God exists.
  35. ARGUMENT FROM ANECDOTAL EXPERIENCE (I)
    (1) I once experienced something I can’t explain.
    (2) Atheist offers several possible, natural explanations.
    (3) You’re just guessing!  I was there.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  36. ARGUMENT FROM ANECDOTAL EXPERIENCE (II)
    (1) I have experienced feelings of God’s presence in my mind.
    (2) Therefore, God exists.
  37. ARGUMENT FROM NEUROSCIENCE
    (1) Scientists say a portion of our brain may be responsible for mystical experiences.
    (2) God must have created our brain like that.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  38. ARGUMENT FROM EYEWITNESS (SOMETIMES FOLLOWS OR COMBINED WITH LACK OF EYEWITNESS I)
    (1) Someone wrote the creation story in the Bible.
    (2) That someone must have been an eyewitness to the described events.
    (3) The only possible eyewitness was God.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  39. ARGUMENT FROM HALF A WING
    (1) Half of a wing is useless!
    (2) Therefore, God exists.
  40. ARGUMENT FROM FOOLISHNESS
    (1) The Bible says atheists are fools.
    (2) I don’t want to be a fool.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  41. ARGUMENT FROM PERSECUTION (I)
    (1) Someone made fun of my faith.
    (2) God said that persecution would happen.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  42. ARGUMENT FROM JESUS SAID STUFF
    (1) Jesus said some really cool stuff.
    (2) No one else had said that stuff.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  43. ARGUMENT FROM CRAZINESS
    (1) I would go crazy if I didn’t believe in God.
    (2) I am not crazy, and don’t want to go crazy.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  44. ARGUMENT FROM POSITIVE OUTCOME
    (1) Even if God doesn’t exist, it would be better if people believed He did.
    (2) Therefore, God exists.
  45. ARGUMENT FROM LACK OF EVIDENCE (I)
    (1) I believe that if God exists, there will be no evidence for his existence.
    (2) There is no evidence for the existence of God.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  46. ARGUMENT FROM TORNADOS
    (1) A large tornado hit Kansas City.
    (2) The tornado missed a church but destroyed several hundred homes.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  47. ARGUMENT FROM BIBLICAL PROPHECY (I)
    (1) The book of Daniel made some prophecies.
    (2) The prophecy was later fulfilled by other records in the Book of Daniel.
    (3) The prophecy came true!
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  48. ARGUMENT FROM SHAME
    (1) The Bible showed a group of people performing embarassing actions.
    (2) It must be true if the book describes negative events.
    (3) Therefore, the Bible is describing historical events.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  49. ARGUMENT FROM EQUAL VALUE (PC ARGUMENT II)
    (1) Evolution and the scientific worldview is a worldview.  Similarly, the biblical worldview is a worldview.
    (2) You are not discriminating against our worldview are you?
    (3) The Biblical worldview is as good as the scientific worldview.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  50. LIBERALS’ ARGUMENT FROM MODERATION
    (1) The Creationist side occupies an extreme side of the spectrum.
    (2) Similarly, the atheist side occupies another extreme side of the spectrum.
    (3) The liberals are in between.
    (4) Therefore, the liberal position on God is the most correct.
    (5) Therefore, God exists.
  51. ARGUMENT FROM WE ALL GOT FAITH
    (1) We all believe in something.
    (2) Therefore we all have faith.
    (3) My faith in God is no different from your faith that the sun will rise tomorrow morning.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  52. ARGUMENT FROM COOLNESS
    (1) That’s really cool.
    (2) God must have done that.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  53. ARGUMENT FROM PRAYER (II)
    (1) When I pray, either it comes true or God has a better plan.
    (2) Therefore, God exists.
  54. ARGUMENT FROM PAIN AVOIDANCE
    (1) If I don’t believe God exists, I’ll go to Hell.
    (2) Please don’t hurt me.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  55. ARGUMENT FROM FUZZY ANIMALS, a.k.a. DESIGN/TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (VI)
    (1) Bunnies are cute.
    (2) Cuteness is not an evolutionary advantage.
    (3) Therefore, cuteness must have been designed.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  56. ARGUMENT FROM INVISIBILITY
    (1) God is invisible.
    (2) I can’t see God.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  57. BEN FRANKLIN’S ARGUMENT FROM BEER (I)
    (1) “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
    (2) Beer exists.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  58. ARGUMENT FROM C.S. LEWIS
    (1) C.S. Lewis had a lot of good arguments in favor of Christianity … at least that’s what all my Christian friends tell me.
    (2) C.S. Lewis wrote some popular books too!
    (3) So anything C.S. Lewis said must be right!
    (4) Therefore, God Exists.
  59. ARGUMENT FROM UNIVERSAL DESTRUCTION
    (1) I woke up this morning and found that the universe still exists.
    (2) Therefore, its destruction was averted by God.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  60. ARGUMENT FROM UNNAMED SCIENTISTS (I)
    (1) Some famous scientists believed in God.
    (2) Therefore, God exists.
  61. ARGUMENT FROM FLOWERS, a.k.a. DESIGN/TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (VII)
    (1) That flower is pretty.
    (2) Therefore, God exists.
  62. ARGUMENT FROM QUANTUM PHYSICS
    (1) Quantum physics uses an uncertainty principle.
    (2) There is room for God.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  63. ARGUMENT FROM THE 2nd LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS (I)
    (1) The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that a closed system tends to disorder.
    (2) The universe is closed and ordered.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  64. ARGUMENT FROM APOLOGETICS WEBPAGES
    (1) I was surfing the Net and came across this really cool webpage of apologetics.
    (2) Their arguments were stunning.  I couldn’t refute them.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  65. ARGUMENT FROM COMFORT
    (1) All kinds of people have found comfort in religion.
    (2) That means there must be something there to give comfort to them.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  66. ARGUMENT FROM EXISTENTIAL LONELINESS
    (1) This can’t be all there is to existence.
    (2) I mean it’s so horrible, pointless, brutal and nasty.
    (3) It’s all so depressing.
    (4) I’m lonely.
    (5) There has to be something else out there.
    (6) I mean it, there just has to be.
    (7) THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING ELSE OUT THERE!
    (8) ARRGGGG!!!  THERE JUST HAS TO BE!!!!
    (9) God!  He can be out there for me.
    (10) I’m not so lonely now!
    (11) Yay!
    (12) Therefore, God exists.
  67. ARGUMENT FROM CHRISTIAN SOLIPSISM
    (1) Nothing but Jesus is real.
    (2) See #1.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  68. ARGUMENT FROM LACK OF IMAGINATION
    (1) I couldn’t imagine not believing in God.
    (2) Therefore, God exists.
  69. ARGUMENT FROM WOW
    (1) When I look into the sky and see all the pretty stars, all those galaxies…
    (2) Wow.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  70. ARGUMENT FROM WIND
    (1) You believe in wind.
    (2) But you can’t see it.
    (3) God’s the same way.
    (4) It IS TOO analogous!
    (5) Therefore, God exists.
  71. ARGUMENT FROM TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES
    (1) One time, I was in deep emotional pain.
    (2) I prayed to God, and felt His presence.
    (3) You aren’t going to deny my emotional pain, are you?
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  72. ARGUMENT FROM ECSTASY (I) (used by a number of saints)
    (1) I woke up last night with a feeling of indescribable pleasure and joy.
    (2) It couldn’t have been sexual; I’m holy and never have thoughts like those.
    (3) So the ecstasy must have come from God.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  73. ARGUMENT FROM FEELING LOVE ALL AROUND
    (1) I can just feel love all around me.  I know the world is a good place, that people are essentially good, and that that comes from God.
    (2) I don’t know how I know.  It’s just there.  You’ve never felt it?
    (3) I don’t know how I know.  Stop pestering me!
    (4) [Sheds tears until nasty non-believer goes away.]
    (5) Therefore, God exists.
  74. ARGUMENT FROM MUSIC / ART
    (1) You like classical music.
    (2) Classical composers wrote for God.
    (3) [Non-believer points out that they had to compose for the Church or they would have been executed.]
    (4) But they wrote for God and you like the music.
    (5) Therefore, God Exists.
  75. ARGUMENT FROM THE BIBLE (II)
    (1) The Bible says the Bible is true.
    (2) Therefore the Bible is true.
    (3) The Bible says God exists.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  76. PASCAL’S ARGUMENT, a.k.a. PASCAL’S WAGER (I)
    (1) If God exists, it would be really cool.  (And I would win big-time.)
    (2) If God didn’t exist, it would really suck.  (But I wouldn’t lose much.)
    (3) Thus I should believe in God because it’s the best bet.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  77. ARGUMENT FROM BIBLICAL PRESERVATION
    (1) The Bible hasn’t changed much since it was written.
    (2) Therefore everything in it must be true.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  78. ARGUMENT FROM BIBLICAL PROPHECY (II)
    (1) Jesus clearly fulfilled all the prophecies of the Jews.
    (2) I don’t care if many stories were created to fulfill prophecy.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  79. ARGUMENT FROM THE 2nd LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS (II)
    (1) All systems become chaotic.
    (2) The Universe, too, will become chaotic.
    (3) Only God can keep the Universe orderly.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  80. ARGUMENT FROM LOGIC
    (1) There are some things in logic that you can’t logically demonstrate.
    (2) Therefore you have to take them on faith.
    (3) Your faith in logic is the same as my faith in God.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  81. ARGUMENT FROM UNIQUE EXISTENCE
    (1) God exists but not in a way that anything else that exists exists.
    (2) Since there are no other things that exist as God exists, we are free to make up things about God’s state of existence that ensure his continued non-observability
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  82. ARGUMENT FROM FUTURE EVIDENCE (I)
    (1) Look, I realize that it doesn’t seem to make sense that there would logically be a God.
    (2) However, I know He’s real, and that in the future I think that maybe something will happen probably that will show you all.
    (3) Therefore, God Exists.
  83. ARGUMENT FROM POSTULATE
    (1) To fully understand the following demonstration, you must first assume that God exists.
    (2) Therefore, God exists.
  84. ARGUMENT FROM ACCUSATION
    (1) The Bible says that everyone knows God exists.
    (2) Therefore, YOU know that God exists.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  85. ARGUMENT FROM NOT-BELIEVING
    (1) The New Testament says people like you would question us.
    (2) You question us.
    (3) Therefore the Bible is true.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  86. ARGUMENT FROM DIVINE OPPOSITION
    (1) Satan is bad.
    (2) You don’t want to be on Satan’s side, do you?
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  87. ARGUMENT FROM FAITH EQUIVALENCY
    (1) You have faith that the sun will rise tomorrow, don’t you?
    (2) See!  Atheists have faith too!
    (3) Therefore, belief in science is just another faith.(4) Just like I have faith in God and Jesus.
    (5) Therefore, God exists.
  88. ARGUMENT FROM IMPLIED BEAUTY, a.k.a. DESIGN/TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (XI)
    (1) If you evolved, you’d be pretty ugly.
    (2) Look how beautiful you are, and the world that is around you.
    (3) Only God could have made you so beautiful.
    (4) I don’t care that beauty is totally subjective, you are beautiful in God’s eyes!
    (5) Therefore, God exists.
  89. ARGUMENT FROM BRAINWASHING
    (1) Atheists claim Christians have been brainwashed by churches.
    (2) We can just as easily say that they have been brainwashed by secular colleges and universities in their futile thinking and secular reasoning.
    (3) Your brainwashing keeps you from the Truth.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  90. ARGUMENT FROM GOOD AND BAD BEHAVIOR
    (1) Sometimes I do good things and sometimes I do bad things.
    (2) When I do something good this PROVES that God and my Guardian Angel are helping me to be good.
    (3) Praise the Lord!  Oh God help me to be strong and steadfast against temptation ’til I die so that You will not (in Your infinite mercy) send me to Hell.
    (4) When I do something bad this PROVES that the Devil has tempted me to do EVIL.
    (5) Whatever I do, it proves that either God or the Devil is real.
    (6) If the Devil is real, then God is real.
    (7) Therefore, God exists.
  91. ARGUMENT FROM GOD’S PLAN, a.k.a. GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS
    (1) There is a plan in the world.
    (2) The existence of this plan can be seen from the fact that things are the way they are.
    (3) My belief is part of the plan, and so is your non-belief.
    (4) [Atheist: Why?]
    (5) The plan is too infinitely great for our minds to comprehend the “why.”
    (6) An infinitely great plan must have an infinitely great mind behind it.
    (7) Therefore, God exists.
  92. ARGUMENTUM AD TINKERTOYUM, a.k.a. GOD OF THE GAPS, a.k.a. DESIGN/TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT (XII)
    (1) Take some tinkertoys and make several “creations”.
    (2) Take the creations apart and dump the pieces in a plastic bag.
    (3) Shake the pieces up and dump them on the floor.  Repeat as many times as you wish.
    (4) The tinkertoys will never reassemble themselves into the original creations.
    (5) Therefore, God exists.
  93. ARGUMENT FROM REVELATION
    (1) God told me that he exists.
    (2) God wouldn’t lie.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  94. “TRUE BECAUSE IT IS INCONSISTENT” ARGUMENT
    (1) If the Bible were cooked up by some smooth-talking manipulative authors, it would have been perfect and seamless and without any apparent inconsistencies.
    (2) But the Bible IS inconsistent, erroneous, and plain goofy at many places.
    (3) So the Bible is NOT a product of some smooth-talking manipulative authors.
    (4) Hence the Bible is the word of God.
    (5) Therefore, God exists.
  95. ARGUMENT FROM SCIENCE (I)
    (1) Science is always true.
    (2) Science says that there is a vanishingly small chance that all of this could have happened on its own.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  96. ARGUMENT FROM SCIENCE (II)
    (1) Science is not always true.
    (2) Therefore there is room for religious faith.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  97. ARGUMENT FROM ARTIFACT
    (1) Archeologists found the remains of a boat from Jesus’ time.
    (2) So the Bible is true.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  98. ARGUMENT FROM FEELING GOD’S PRESENCE
    (1) Atheists just haven’t truly felt God’s presence yet.
    (2) If they had ever felt God’s presence, they would not be atheists.
    (3) Theists have truly felt God’s presence.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  99. TRILEMMA ARGUMENT
    (1) Jesus was either lord, liar, or lunatic.
    (2) Can you PROVE He was a liar or lunatic?
    (3) Therefore, Jesus was Lord.
    (4) Therefore, God exists.
  100. ARGUMENT FROM MEANING (III)
    (1) Without God, life has no ultimate meaning and purpose.
    (2) My life has to have meaning and purpose.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
  101. ARGUMENT FROM DESTINY
    (1) Without God, there is no no ultimate destiny and my destiny is dust.
    (2) I can’t accept that because I want more.
    (3) Therefore, God exists.
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Famous “Biblical” Terms and Verses NOT Found In the Bible

not-in-the-bibleHere’s a very short list of popular “Biblical” terms and phrases which just so happen *not* to be in the Bible. I’ve attempted to attribute them to the proper sources:

“This, too, shall pass” ~ Attar of Nishapur (Sufi poet)
“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” ~ Phineas ben Yair (Talmud)
“Money is the root of all evil.” ~ misquoted from 1 Timothy 6:10
“God will not give you more than you can handle.” ~ misquoted from 1 Corinthians 10:13
Adam’s “Apple” ~ Genesis only uses the generic term, “fruit”
“God helps those who help themselves.” ~ a paraphrased quote from Benjamin Franklin
“To thine own self be true.” ~ William Shakespeare
“Love the sinner, hate the sin.” ~ St. Augustine
“God works in mysterious ways.” ~ William Cowper
“The Trinity” ~ Theophilus of Antioch
“The Rapture” ~ Cotton Mather
“The Holy Grail” (cup or chalice) ~ Robert de Boron
“Spare the rod, spoil the child” ~ Samuel Butler
“All things work together for good” ~ contextually misquoted from Romans 8:28
“Pride comes before the fall” ~ misquoted from Proverbs 16:18
“Moderation in all things” ~ Aristotle
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” ~ paraphrased from Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31

These words actually appear in many translations of the Bible but have totally different meanings that what we understand today. I’ve attempted to pinpoint the origins of our modern definitions of the terms:

“The Antichrist” (singular) ~ Saint Irenaeus
“Heaven” (modern concept) ~ Papias (2nd century bishop)
“Hell” (modern concept) ~ Dante Alighieri
“Lucifer” (as Satan) ~ misinterpretation of Isaiah 14:12 (unknown origin)
“Homosexual” (mistranslated from various Greek and Hebrew words) ~ Karl-Maria Kertbeny

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Did Jesus Have a Sense of Humor?

Smiling_Christ_(Castel_of_Javier,_XVth)I had something of an epiphany (little ‘e’) a while back. I had been struggling with certain passages in the New Testament in which Jesus says things that seem totally bizarre or incongruous. Then, it finally hit me: duh! He was JOKING! Everything fell into place. How come nobody ever let me in on this? Perhaps we are all so familiar with these passages that we fail to see the humor but it’s inescapable once you finally realize it. I like Jesus better every day.
Try reading Matthew 15:24-28 where Jesus essentially calls a foreign woman a “dog” and imagine Jesus with a sort of teasing smirk. Now THAT’S the same guy who told the parable of the Good Samaritan. And Jesus was obviously being sarcastic when he called on the scribes and pharisees to kill their children (Matthew 15:1-9). Another possible example of Jesus’ humor is on the cross when He cried “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I don’t believe for one instant Jesus ever thought that God had truly forsaken him. He *was* God, after all. Instead, he was making a rather obvious reference to the prophetic Psalm 22 in something of a “Hey dimwits, check this out” sort of way. Even on the cross, his humor remained intact. And let’s not forget Luke 23:43, “Today you will be with me in paradise”. This really only makes sense in an ironic sort of way. Jesus himself would not actually be ascending to “paradise” for another 43 days.
Some more obvious examples are “Camel through the eye of a needle” (Matthew 19:24), “Straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel” (Matthew 23:24) and “Picking at a splinter in your neighbor’s eye with a log in your own” (Matthew 7:3-5). Imagine hearing that for the first time ever. You couldn’t help blowing wine out your nose!  Assuming Jesus was the originator of these sayings, he *had* to anticipate the comedic effect he would have on common folk. I think the first person to say “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse” got a few loud guffaws, don’t you? Once phrases like that get into common usage, they tend to lose all humor, but just imagine the general reaction the first time they were ever uttered. I think that such hyperbolic phrases actually catch on at first because they are so ridiculously funny. But after a while, they simply become figures of speech.
There are a few more things that don’t make a lot of sense to me unless I take it as Jesus joking around:
Appearing as gardener to Mary (John 20:11-18) and hiding his identity on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). I picture him at the table saying, in effect, “SURPRISE!” Poof! And then he’s gone. And let’s not forget that “Do you love me?” shtick which really only makes sense in Greek (agapas vs. phileis). (John 21:15-17) I suppose the humor may have been lost in translation.
I believe humor was created by God. Sure, the devil can use it for his purposes such as mean and degrading jokes. But for the most part, humor “lifts your spirits”. How can that not be from God? It only makes sense that Jesus would have ‘inherited’ that sense of humor as well. Also considering the best public speakers usually intersperse their message with humor, I can’t help but believe that Jesus did so as well.
Once last comment before I let this post rest: The part where Jesus told Peter “Get behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:23) right after giving him the responsibility of the church can either be taken as a mercurial temper or the ancient equivalent of “Get outta here!” as friends often tell each other. I prefer believing the latter.

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Are We Saved By Our Faith Alone?

Félix_Joseph_Barrias_-_The_Temptation_of_Christ_by_the_Devil_-_Google_Art_ProjectSome believe that we are saved by our faith alone. But “faith” does not just mean “belief” in God or that Jesus is the Son of God. If that were true, according to the Bible, then the devil himself would be automatically saved. He “believed” both things to be true. True faith, however, is a loving “trust” in God and His Son Jesus Christ. But even if we are saved by our faith alone, it is important to remember that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26).

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