Posts Tagged ‘Pat Robertson’

The Three Fingers Pointing Back At Atheists When Atheists Point A Finger At Christians About Evil And Judgment

March 24, 2011

You’ve probably heard that expression, “When you point a finger at me, three fingers are pointing back at you.”  Let’s work with that today.

I recently wrote an article with the deliberately provocative title, “Atheist Country Japan Smashed By Tsunami.”

It generated quite a few cross postings to atheist blogs and forums.

One recent example attacked Christians as being “happy” that Japan was stricken by disaster, and, in linking to my blog, said:

Of course, maybe it’s because of all teh gay [sic] in Japan, or because the Japanese are all atheists. Or maybe it’s because they worship demons.

What a nasty, horrible God is the one in which they believe. What nasty, horrible sentiments they have expressed in the wake of so much suffering by their fellow human beings. What a nasty, cynical thing they do to promote their own religion by using this tragedy and other recent catastrophic events to “win converts” for Jesus.

Naming them charlatans and hypocrites does not do justice to the utter lack of compassion that resides in their hearts.

And the blogger cites my blog as an example of a fundamentalist who argues that God struck Japan “because the Japanese are all atheists.”

Well, first thing, did I actually even say that?  I quote myself from that article:

But is Japan’s unbelief the reason why Japan just got hit with an awful tsunami?

My answer is, “How on earth should I know?”

I cite passages of Scripture that clearly indicate that a disaster does not necessarily mean that God is judging someone, such as Luke 13:1-5.  I could have just as easily also cited passages such as John 9:1-3 about Jesus’ distinction between suffering and sin.  I could have cited 2 Peter 3:9, describing God’s patience with sinners rather than His haste to judge.  These passages aren’t at all out of tune with what I was saying.  And I actually DO single out by name for criticism men like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell who have immediately pronounced the wrath of God following some disaster.

I begin my article saying, “That headline is a deliberate provoker.  But please let me explain why I used that headline before you erupt one way or another.”  Then I proceed to state two undisputed facts: that Japan is atheist, and that Japan got hit by a disaster.  I urge someone to actually read the article and reflect on the possibilities.  But Boomantribune is an example of most of the atheists who cross-posted or commented to my article by NOT being someone who wanted to read or reflect; he or she is someone who refused to look beneath atheist ideology and immediately began demonizing the other side to “win converts” for his religion of atheism.  [And let’s get this straight: atheism IS a religion.  “Religion” does not need to depend upon belief in God, or Buddhism would not qualify as a religion.  The courts have ruled that atheism is a religion, and it is a simple fact that atheism has every component that any religious system has].

You can’t have a valid argument with someone like Boomantribune, I have learned.  They are either too ignorant, or too dishonest, or both to accurately represent the other side’s position or arguments.  They create straw men and then demolish claims that Christians like me aren’t even making.

Boomantribune viciously attacks me as harboring the “nasty, horrible sentiments they have expressed in the wake of so much suffering by their fellow human beings.”  But I end my article on Japan by saying:

You need that gift of divine grace.  I need that gift of divine grace.  And the people of Japan desperately need it today.

I pray for those who are in Japan.  I pray for their deliverance from both the tsunami and from their unbelief.  And I will join with many other Christians who will send relief to the Japanese people, with prayers that they will look not at me, but at the Jesus who changed my heart and my life, and inspired me to give to others.

It is also a simple fact that religious people are FAR more giving than atheists:

In the US, anyway, they don’t. Here’s just one study, done in 2003: The differences in charity between secular and religious people are dramatic. Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent). And, consistent with the findings of other writers, these data show that practicing a religion is more important than the actual religion itself in predicting charitable behavior. For example, among those who attend worship services regularly, 92 percent of Protestants give charitably, compared with 91 percent of Catholics, 91 percent of Jews, and 89 percent from other religions…Note that neither political ideology nor income is responsible for much of the charitable differences between secular and religious people. For example, religious liberals are 19 points more likely than secular liberals to give to charity, while religious conservatives are 28 points more likely than secular conservatives to do so…The average annual giving among the religious is $2,210, whereas it is $642 among the secular. Similarly, religious people volunteer an average of 12 times per year, while secular people volunteer an average of 5.8 times.

And this is “secular” people who aren’t particularly religious.  A lot of people rarely ever go to church, but still believe in God (basically 90% of Americans belive in God).  Since the evidence is rather straightforward that the more religious one is, the more giving one is, it is justified to conclude that atheists who are less religious than the merely “secular” are even LESS giving.

And, guess what?  My church has already taken its first of several offerings for Japan, and I have already given – and plan to give again.

I would also point out a couple of historical facts:

Christians actually began the first hospitals.

More hospitals have been founded by Christians than by followers of every other religion – including atheism – combined.

That said:

Atheist doctors are more than twice as likely to pull the plug on someone than a doctor who believes in God.

So just who is being “horrible” here?

Here’s another example of an atheist attack on me that backfired, followed by the dishonest atheist “cutting and running” from his own attack:

For what it’s worth, I have never withdrawn a single post:

Also, unlike too many blogs – particularly leftwing blogs, in my experience – I don’t delete anything. When the Daily Kos hatefully attacked Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol and claimed that Bristol Palin had been impregnated by her own father with a baby, and that Sarah Palin faked being pregnant – only to have that hateful and vile lie blown away by Bristol giving birth to a child of her own – they scrubbed it like nothing had happened.

I’m not that despicable. Every single article I have ever written remains on my blog. And with all due respect, I think that gives me more credibility, not less: I don’t hit and run and then scrub the evidence of my lies.

If I post something that turns out to be wrong, I don’t destroy the evidence; I stand up and take responsibility for my words.  I apologize and correct the record.  As I did in the case above.

That, by the way, is the first finger, the finger of moral dishonesty pointing back at these atheists. 

That’s not the way the other side plays.  History is replete with atheist regimes (e.g. ANY of the officially state atheist communist regimes) destroying the record and any debate; history is replete with atheist-warped “science” making one claim after another that turned out to be entirely false.  As examples, consider Java Man, Nebraska Man, Piltdown Man, Peking Man and the various other hoaxes that the “scientific community rushed to embrace in their rush to falsify theism.  In some cases “scientists” created an entire community - or even an entire race of people - around totally bogus evidence in “It takes a village” style.  There was the bogus notion of “uniformitarianism” by which the “scientific community” ridiculed creationists for decades until it was proven wrong by Eugene Shoemaker who documented that the theory of “catastrophism” that they had advanced for millennia had been correct all along.  And then all of a sudden the same evolutionary theory that had depended upon uniformitarianism suddenly morphed into a theory that depended upon catastrophism. It morphed so that it was equally true with both polar opposites.

Then there’s this:

Ann Coulter pointed it out with the false claim that evolution was “falsifiable” versus any religious claim which was not. Darwin said, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” And Ann Coulter brilliantly changed a couple of words to demonstrate what a load of crap that was: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by God, my God theory would absolutely break down.”

In any words, evolution is no more “scientifically falsifiable” than even the most ardent young earth creationist claim. Their standard is impossible to prove. I mean, you show me that God “could not possibly have” created the earth.

The whole way they sold evolution was a lie.

There is NEVER an admission of guilt or an acknowledgment of error by these people.  They simply suppress or destroy the evidence, or “morph” their argument, or anything but acknowledge that just maybe they should be open-minded and question their presuppositions.

There is the extremely rare admission:

For the scientist who has lived by faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries. -Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers

But those are extremely rare, indeed.  The rest of the atheist-assuming “scientific community” is all about saying, “Move on, folks.  Nothing to see here.  Why don’t you look at our new sleight-of-hand display over in this corner instead?”

Phillip Johnson, in a very good article, points out how the “bait-and-switch” works:

Supporting the paradigm may even require what in other contexts would be called deception. As Niles Eldredge candidly admitted, “We paleontologists have said that the history of life supports [the story of gradual adaptive change], all the while knowing it does not.”[ 1] Eldredge explained that this pattern of misrepresentation occurred because of “the certainty so characteristic of evolutionary ranks since the late 1940s, the utter assurance not only that natural selection operates in nature, but that we know precisely how it works.” This certainty produced a degree of dogmatism that Eldredge says resulted in the relegation to the “lunatic fringe” of paleontologists who reported that “they saw something out of kilter between contemporary evolutionary theory, on the one hand, and patterns of change in the fossil record on the other.”[ 2] Under the circumstances, prudent paleontologists understandably swallowed their doubts and supported the ruling ideology. To abandon the paradigm would be to abandon the scientific community; to ignore the paradigm and just gather the facts would be to earn the demeaning label of “stamp collector.”

[…]

Naturalistic philosophy has worked out a strategy to prevent this problem from arising: it labels naturalism as science and theism as religion. The former is then classified as knowledge, and the latter as mere belief. The distinction is of critical importance, because only knowledge can be objectively valid for everyone; belief is valid only for the believer, and should never be passed off as knowledge. The student who thinks that 2 and 2 make 5, or that water is not made up of hydrogen and oxygen, or that the theory of evolution is not true, is not expressing a minority viewpoint. He or she is ignorant, and the job of education is to cure that ignorance and to replace it with knowledge. Students in the public schools are thus to be taught at an early age that “evolution is a fact,” and as time goes by they will gradually learn that evolution means naturalism.

In short, the proposition that God was in any way involved in our creation is effectively outlawed, and implicitly negated. This is because naturalistic evolution is by definition in the category of scientific knowledge. What contradicts knowledge is implicitly false, or imaginary. That is why it is possible for scientific naturalists in good faith to claim on the one hand that their science says nothing about God, and on the other to claim that they have said everything that can be said about God. In naturalistic philosophy both propositions are at bottom the same. All that needs to be said about God is that there is nothing to be said of God, because on that subject we can have no knowledge.

I stand behind a tradition that has stood like an anvil while being pounded by one generation of unbelievers after another.  That tradition remains constant because it is founded upon the unchanging Word of God.  My adversaries constantly change and morph their positions, all the while just as constantly claiming that their latest current iteration is correct.

That is the second finger of intellectual dishonesty which so thoroughly characterizes atheism and anything atheism seems to contaminate with its assumptions.

Lastly, there is the finger of ethical dishonesty that is the ocean that the “walking fish” of atheism swims in.  [Btw, when I see that fish riding a bicycle I’ll buy their “walking fish” concept].

Basically, for all the “moral outrage” of atheists who want to denounce Christians for their God’s “evil judgments,” atheism itself has absolutely no moral foundation to do so whatsoever.  And the bottom line is that they are people who attack the five-thousand year tradition of Scripture with their feet firmly planted in midair.

William Lane Craig provides a devastating existential ethical refutation of atheism in an article I posted entitled, “The Absurdity of Life without God.”

To put it simply, William Lane Craig demolishes any shred of a claim that atheism can offer any ultimate meaning, any ultimate value, or any ultimate purpose whatsoever.  And so atheism denounces Christianity and religion from the foundation of an entirely empty and profoundly worthless worldview.  Everyone should read this incredibly powerful article.  I guarantee you will learn something, whatever your perspective on religion.

The thing I would say is that atheists denounce God and Christians from some moral sort of moral posture.  Which comes from what, exactly?  Darwinism, or more precisely, social Darwinism?  The survival of the fittest?  A foundation that comes from the “secure” footing of a random, meaningless, purposeless, valueless and entirely accidental existence?

As atheists tee off on God and at Christians for being “nasty” and “horrible,” what is their foundation from which to judge?

First of all, what precisely would make one a “nasty” or “horrible” atheist? 

Joseph Stalin was an atheist:

“God’s not unjust, he doesn’t actually exist. We’ve been deceived. If God existed, he’d have made the world more just… I’ll lend you a book and you’ll see.”

Mao Tse Tung was an atheist:

“Our God is none other than the masses of the Chinese people. If they stand up and dig together with us, why can’t these two mountains be cleared away?”  [Mao Tse Tung, Little Red Book, “Self-Reliance and Arduous Struggle chapter 21″].

Hitler was an atheist:

Hitler described to them that “after difficult inner struggles I had freed myself of my remaining childhood religious conceptions. I feel as refreshed now as a foal on a meadow” (Ernst Helmreich, “The German Churches Under Hitler,” p. 285).

Joseph Goebbels, a top member of Hitler’s inner circle, noted in his personal diary, dated 8 April 1941 that “The Führer is a man totally attuned to antiquity. He hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity.”  Now, one may easily lie to others, but why lie to your own private diary?

Goebbels also notes in a diary entry in 1939 a conversation in which Hitler had “expressed his revulsion against Christianity. He wished that the time were ripe for him to be able to openly express that. Christianity had corrupted and infected the entire world of antiquity.”

Hitler also said, “Our epoch will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity.” [Hitler’s Table Talk, Enigma Books; 3rd edition October 1, 2000, p. 343].

Albert Speer, another Nazi in Hitler’s intimate inner circle, stated that Hitler said, “You see, it’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion… Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?”

Konrad Heiden quoted Hitler as stating, “We do not want any other god than Germany itself.” [Heiden, Konrad A History of National Socialism, A.A. Knopf, 1935, p. 100].

Now, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao were terrible, despicable, evil people.  But what made them ” bad atheists,” precisely?

When Mao infamously expressed this attitude -

“The atom bomb is nothing to be afraid of,” Mao told Nehru, “China has many people. . . . The deaths of ten or twenty million people is nothing to be afraid of.” A witness said Nehru showed shock. Later, speaking in Moscow, Mao displayed yet more generosity: he boasted that he was willing to lose 300 million people, half of China’s population.” [Annie Dillard, “The Wreck of Time” in Harper’s from January 1998].

- or when Joseph Stalin was similarly quoted as having said:

“One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.”

- were these men who were responsible for some 100 million deaths of their own people during peacetime expressing anything that violated some principle of Darwinian evolution, or the morality that derives from the ethic of survival of the fittest?

Mao put his disregard for human life and the lives of his own people to terrible work:

LEE EDWARDS, CHAIRMAN, VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM MEMORIAL FOUNDATION: In 1959 to 1961 was the so-called “great leap forward” which was actually a gigantic leap backwards in which he tried to collectivize and communize agriculture.

And they came to him after the first year and they said, “Chairman, five million people have died of famine.” He said, “No matter, keep going.” In the second year, they came back and they said, “Ten million Chinese have died.” He said, “No matter, continue.” The third year, 20 million Chinese have died. And he said finally, “Well, perhaps this is not the best idea that I’ve ever had.”

CHANG: When he was told that, you know, his people were dying of starvation, Mao said, “Educate the peasants to eat less. Thus they can benefit – they can fertilize the land.”

Did that somehow disqualify him from being an atheist?  How?  Based on what foundation?

Let me simply point out that the most evil human beings in human history and the most murderous and oppressive political regimes in human history have the strange tendency to be atheist.  It would seem to me that these atheists should frankly do a lot less talking smack and a lot more shutting the hell up.  But two verses from Scripture illustrate why they don’t: 1) The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God'” (Psalm 14:1) and 2) “A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind” (Proverbs 18:2).

Let’s talk about “evil” for a few moments.  I have already begun addressing the “third finger” that points back at atheists when they denounce Christians or God.  But the idea of “evil” makes that “finger” the middle one.

Christians talk about evil.  A lot of people do.  Even atheists routinely do.  But what is their foundation for evil?  What is “evil”?  Most give answers such as, “Murder or rape is evil.”  But those would at best only qualify as examples of evil – not a definition that would allow us to make moral judgments.  Christians have an actual answer.  They point out that “evil” is a perversion from the way things ought to be.  But what “oughtness” is there in a random, purposeless, meaningless and valueless universe that was spat out by nothing more than pure chance?

Let’s just say at this point that the atheists are right in what is in reality a straw man attack of God?  So what?  I ask “so what?” because even if what they were saying were somehow true, by what standard would either God or Christians be “nasty” or “horrible”?  What is the objective, transcendent standard that stands above me, that stands above every Christian on the planet, that stands above the entire human race across time and space and holds it accountable, such that if Christians or even God do X or say Y, or believe Z they are “nasty” or “horrible”?

It turns out that they don’t have one.  And in fact, their very worldview goes so far as to literally deny the very possibility of one.  At best – and I would argue at worst – we are trapped in a world in which might makes right, and the most powerful dictator gets to make the rules.  Because there is nothing above man that judges man and says, “This is the way, walk in it.”  There is only other men – and men disagree with one another’s standards – leaving us with pure moral relativism. 

And if moral relativism is true, then the atheists STILL lose.  It would be a tie, given that atheists have no more claim to being “good” than any other human being or group of human beings, no matter how despicable and murderous they might be.  But they would lose because there are a lot fewer atheists (137 million) than there are, say, Christians (2.3 billion).  And it only remains for Christians to disregard their superior moral and ethical system just long enough to rise up and annihilate all the smart-mouthed atheists, and then say afterward, “Boy, we sure feel guilty for having done THAT.  Let’s pray for forgiveness!”  And the only possible defense atheists would have would be to abandon their “survival of the fittest” mentality and embrace superior Christian morality and cry out, “Thou shalt not kill!”

Even if Christians don’t wipe out the atheists physically, most would readily agree that the Christian worldview is still far stronger than the atheist one.  Dinesh D’Souza makes a great argument to illustrate this on pages 15-16 of What’s So Great About Christianity that shows why religion is clearly the best team.  He says to imagine two communities – one filled with your bitter, cynical atheists who believe that morality just happened to evolve and could have evolved very differently; and one filled with Bible-believing Christians who embrace that life and their lives have a purpose in the plan of a righteous God who put His moral standards in our hearts. And he basically asks, “Which community is going to survive and thrive?”

As a Christian, I don’t have all the answers (although I can certainly answer the question immediately above).  I am a human being and my mind cannot contain the infinite plan of an infinitely complex and holy God.  But I have placed my trust in a God who made the world and who has a plan for His creation which He is bringing to fruition.  And that worldview doesn’t just give me explanatory powers that atheism by its very nature entirely lacks, but it gives me a strength that I never had before.  Even when evil and disaster and suffering befall me beyond my ability to comprehend, I can say with Job – the master of suffering:

“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.  And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God!  I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!”  Job 19:25-27 (NLT).

Atheist Country Japan Smashed By Tsunami

March 11, 2011

That headline is a deliberate provoker.  But please let me explain why I used that headline before you erupt one way or another.

First of all, Japan is in fact one of the most atheistic countries in the world:

And Japan certainly got hit with a monsterous tsunami:

As I write this, I hear that there are 88,000 people missing in Japan.

So there is little question that the title for this article is factually completely accurate.

But is Japan’s unbelief the reason why Japan just got hit with an awful tsunami?

My answer is, “How on earth should I know?”

God doesn’t explain to me why He does a lot of things.  I think He figures I’m too dumb to understand His infinite mind and the infinite complexity of His plan for an incredibly complex world filled with going on 7 billion souls.  And He’s probably right.

I am familiar with Christian “leaders” (I put that in quotes because neither of these men are on my list of Christian leaders) such as Jerry Falwall or Pat Robertson have essentially stated that acts of human destruction such as 9/11 or acts of natural destruction such as Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans were acts of divine judgment for homosexuality.

And they might have been such judgment for such sin, I suppose.  But I doubt if God told Falwell or Robertson any more than He told me.  For one thing, if these men were acting as God’s prophets, God would have told them BEFORE the disasters happened in order to forewarn the people to repent.  That’s the rather clear prophetic pattern of Scripture.  That’s kind of what makes it “prophetic.”

Me?  I don’t pray for God’s destructive violence to destroy my ideological or religious enemies.  Let me explain why.

In a word, I don’t want God to ruthlessly punish others for their sins for fear that God will ruthlessly punish me for mine.  You see, it turns out that I’m not perfect either.

That’s part of a detailed solution to the so-called “problem of evil.”  When the human race fell into sin (as recorded in Genesis), it affected the entire created order (see Romans 8:22).  Evil has become part of the human condition.  And there are literally billions of degrees of evil in the world.  And – unless He destroys the whole world (as He has done and as He will one day do again) – just where is God supposed to draw the line?

What we tend to want is for God to judge everyone who is at least slightly more evil than we are.  But why should that be God’s standard?  But maybe God should obliterate you and all of your family and friends, too.  It’s His universe, after all; not yours.  You don’t get to make the rules in God’s universe.

There’s an interesting passage from Jesus in Luke 13:1-5:

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

There is no question: God sovereingly rules over the universe.  And we know that God judges the nations and individual people for sin (see Romans 3).  But only rarely – as recorded even in Scripture (e.g. Psalm 73, why do the wicked prosper?) – do we know the details.

We also know that God is patient.  We know from the Old Testament that God will literally wait hundreds of years before He brings judgment.  And we know from the New Testament (2 Peter 3:9) that God is patient, not wanting any to perish.

We also know that God often holds His sons and daughters by faith to a much higher account (Hebrews 12:5-11).  Just as a good Christian father may not concern himself with other people’s children, but his own had better tow the line.

We will never know this side of eternity why many terrible things happen.  Or why God judged this nation or that individual and spared another.

But we certainly can look upon a great diaster and pause in our own lives to take a look at ourselves and at our own nation, and tremble.  Because what happened to “them” can easily overtake “us” – whoever “they” are or “we” are.  And we all of us need to be ready to meet our Maker.

If we all lived as though death were a postential heartbeat away, I do believe we would live in a much better world.

I look at the many major earthquakes and the disasters they are causing as a sign that we are truly in the last days.  Jesus told us in Matthew 24:7 that ethnic groups (the word is “ethnos”) would rise against ethnic groups, and that there would be famines and earthquakes erupting all over.  And in verse 8 He spoke of them as birth pangs, meaning that as the end came, they would get more and more severe. 

There are certainly famines and fears of famines galore.  That is one of the key realities behind the massive unrest in the Middle East (see also here).

It is a fact that at the beginning of the 20th century, there was at most one major earthquake a year.  Now there are “big ones” erupting all over creation.  There was another huge and deadly earthquake just last month in New Zealand.  And we’re even seeing a rash of earthquake activity in the midwest(see also here).

Jesus also spoke of great catastrophic signs in the waves (e.g. tsunamis) in Luke.  And in Luke 21:8 Jesus said, “Now when you see these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Bottom line: we ought to be looking around, and we ought to be straightening up and flying right.  And if you are a perfect, sinless human being, good for you; but if you have ever sinned so much as once in your life, if you have ever once violated even your own conscience and standard, let alone a perfect, holy God’s, you had better fall at the feet of the one Savior for the human race (John 14:6) and embrace the Lamb of God (John 1:29-34).

Let me provide my own parable to explain a powerful biblical reality.  It’s called the ants on the elephant’s back:

Two ants of different species happen to bump into each other as they crawl across the back of a huge bull elephant.  The larger ant says to the smaller one, “I can’t help by notice I’m larger than you.  That means that I’m closer to being the same size as the elephant we’re crawling on than you.”  Well, in a way, that larger ant is right; but his comparison is nevertheless utterly ridiculous.  Why?  Because the elephant is so enormous compared to the size of either ant – let alone the amount of difference between the ants’ sizes – that a comparison is meaningless.  And that’s the way it is with human righteousness and God’s righteousness.  Billy Graham is considerably more righteous than, say, a Skid Row bum.  But the difference in their personal degress of righteousness is as nothing compared to the awesome holiness and perfection of God.  And you might think you’re better than someone else.  You might even be right.  But you are comparing yourself to the wrong subject.

When we stand before God, we will answer to how we compared to the righteousness of God.  “Be holy, as I am holy” (Leviticus 20:26, 1 Peter 1:13-16), God told us.  And just as we bear His perfect image (Genesis 1:26-27), we bear the responsibility to living up to His perfect character.

Only Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life (Hebrws 4:14-15).  Even the Quran affirms this (Quran 40:55; 48:1-2).  Jesus, fully God, God the Son, assumed a human nature and lived a perfect life on earth.  And He died for our sins so that we could have His perfection by faith.  He became our substitute.  That’s what “Lamb of God” means.

You need that gift of divine grace.  I need that gift of divine grace.  And the people of Japan desperately need it today.

I pray for those who are in Japan.  I pray for their deliverance from both the tsunami and from their unbelief.  And I will join with many other Christians who will send relief to the Japanese people, with prayers that they will look not at me, but at the Jesus who changed my heart and my life, and inspired me to give to others.

Update: I have since written an article entitled, “The Three Fingers Pointing Back At Atheists When Atheists Point A Finger At Christians About Evil And Judgment.”

Sharon Stone on China’s “Karma” and lessons we can learn

May 28, 2008

Sharon Stone got herself into some hot water on the red carpet:

“At first, I’m not happy with the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans …,” she said on camera Thursday at the Cannes Film Festival, referring to the country’s alleged human rights violations. “And then all this earthquake and stuff happened and I thought, ‘Is that Karma, when you’re not nice that the bad things happen to you?'”

Now, please note: Sharon Stone is to conservatives and Republicans what . As an example, here’s one of her remarks to illustrate:

Basic Instinct star Stone, 46, was keen to enjoy an intimate moment with Oscar-winning co-star Halle Berry, but believes a puritanical streak running through the country put an end to any potential girl-on-girl action.

Stone says: “Halle’s so beautiful and I wanted to kiss her. I said, ‘How can you have us in the movie and not have us kiss? That’s such a waste.’

“That’s what you get for having George Bush as president.”

Now, the question is, is Sharon Stone a hater? Is she just so full of intolerance that… well, that she’s as morally reprehensible as Christian bigots such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell?

You might recall the outrage and furor over the two Christian leaders saying that 9/11 was God’s judgment as a consequence of the United States’ embrace of paganism, abortionists, feminists, and homosexuals.

It is important to note that Jerry Falwell (and Pat Robertson) quickly apologized, unlike Jeremiah Wright – who merely defended his anti-American statements all the more vigorously when confronted with them.

And let me further point out that liberals were quick to claim that fundamentalist Christians – in claiming that 9/11 was divine judgment – were every bit as evil as the terrorists who flew the planes into the buildings. That’s an incredible claim, tantamount to saying that a kid who says, “My brother will beat you up for taking my lunch money!” is just as despicable as the kid who knifes another kid for a pair of desired sneakers. I mean, get real!!!

The issue of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell came up again in the aftermath of Jeremiah Wright’s views, with liberals – scrambling to defend Barack Obama – saying that what Wright said in his “chickens coming home to roost” for Hiroshima and for American terrorism and racism – was no different than what conservatives like Robertson or Falwell said. I’ll come back to that comparison later.

Do you think that there’s such a thing as “karma,” or “divine retribution,” or “what goes around comes around”? Is a person evil for thinking there is?

Or is it better, less judgmental, more “politically correct,” to argue that no matter what someone does, or no matter what a nation does, there are no punitive consequences and there should be none?

If we see another Nazi Germany arise, should the country get off scott free? Or should the wheels of cosmic judgment turn upon them?

As a Christian, let me explain my perspective.

One of the things God ultimately does is ensure justice in the universe. God cannot be loving unless He is just. In illustration, consider the following story:

A family is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by a gang of violent predators. They tie up the father, and then take turns repeatedly raping the wife and daughter until dawn, and then they take all the valuables and leave. The next day, the father hears that the thugs have been captured. He storms into the police station shouting, “Where are they?” And the police say, “We let them go.”

“You let them go? Didn’t you have any evidence?”

“Oh, yes. We confiscated several of the articles that were stolen from your home, and DNA from the men matches the semen found in your wife and daughter.”

“Then why did you let them go?”

“Because we’re a loving police department, that’s why.”

A world without justice is a world without love. A universe that wouldn’t even in theory punish a China for brutalizing Tibetans is a universe that frankly doesn’t care. If there are no consequences for evil, then there is no real difference between a “good nation” and an “evil nation.”

And the same is true of individuals that is true of nations. I would argue that if there is no God, and if there is no immortality of the human soul, then there is no moral difference between a Mother Teresa and an Adolf Hitler – because they both die and are gone, and their ultimate end is exactly the same. Without the consequences of ultimate judgment, the only conclusion is that people and nations alike ought to be as self-centered as they can possibly be.

If the leaders of ethnic China want to seize the land and resources of ethnic Tibetans, and force them to live under whatever brutal conditions they wish to impose, who are you to say it’s “wrong”? And if a man tries fulfill his evolutionary biological destiny and propagate his DNA by force, who are you to label it as “rape” and condemn it? Who made you God? Who made this particular society “God”? If the universe itself doesn’t care enough about such behaviors to enforce consequences, then why on earth should you?

We are told repeatedly in the Bible that God judges the nations. Psalm 82:8, for instance, says: “Arise, O God, judge the earth! For it is Thou who dost possess all the nations.”

We are also told throughout the Bible that there are consequences for sin and depravity. Jesus Himself – who is frequently perverted by non-Christian religions and philosophies – spoke and taught more about hell than anyone in the Bible. One of the most quoted verses in Scripture – John 3:16 – says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”

Having said all of this, I think that Jerry Falwell was wrong for claiming that 9/11 (or Hurricane Katrina) were acts of divine judgment. Here’s why:

I believe in individual human sin, and I believe in the corporate sin of nations, and I believe in divine judgment. But I am not so quick to claim that I know when God will act in judgment.

Genesis 15:12-16 records an interesting event regarding divine judgment:

Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, terror and great darkness fell upon him. And God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve; and afterward they will come out with many possessions. And as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. Then in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.”

God says to Abraham that one day his descendants will inherit the land He has promised, but not until the fourth generation, “for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” By the time of Moses and Joshua, the measure of iniquity was full, and God gave the Hebrews the land and used them as an instrument of judgment. But note: not until that iniquity reached a certain critical threshold.

So I would be asking Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell this: who told you that the iniquity of America is now complete? And of China, how do we know that the cup of its sins is full? I would argue that they don’t know, and neither does anyone else other than God and His angels.

Now, is it possible that China is being judged for its sins with this catastrophic earthquake? Sure it is. God has used earthquakes (Zechariah 14:5; Revelation 11:13). And is it possible that God used the terrorists as an instrument of judgment against the United States? Sure it is. God frequently says He has used nations to judge nations (read the Book of Isaiah).

But I don’t know when a particular earthquake, or when a particular enemy attack, is an instrument of divine retribution. God did not make me one of His prophets. I am not busily carving away on the parchment roll that will one day be known as “the Book of Mikey.”

2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” And so I know that God is not just waiting to stomp on every sinner and on every sinful nation. God is not arbitrary or vindictive in His judgment. He brings it in His wisdom, and in His time.

What do I do? I humbly pray that God does not judge me for my own sins. When I am being consistent, I put aside the tendency to call upon God’s judgment to fall upon others as well. And so when a calamity befalls someone or some nation, I can recognize that God did not call upon me to be an instrument of His judgment (He can take care of that department Himself), but rather as an instrument of His grace. Because another thing the Bible tells us is that even in judgment, God practices grace, and is willing to bring restoration.

Now, what’s the difference between what Jerry Falwell said and what Jeremiah Wright said?

Both men suggested that America was getting it’s just desserts. I would submit that the key difference is that Falwell was basically being “pro-Bible” and “pro-biblical morality” and Wright was basically being “anti-America” and “anti-greedy-racist-white-America.”

For those who want to compare Jeremiah Wright with Jerry Falwell, I would say, “Fine. Anyone who spent 20 years in Jerry Falwell’s church shouldn’t be president, either.” Keep in mind, liberals and Democrats savagely attacked Jerry Falwell for his remark: if one can compare Wright’s statements with Falwell’s, then one at least ought to savage both men evenly. But the liberals who frequently make such an analogy (such as Alan Colmes, who has made it often on Fox News’ Hannity and Colmes) aren’t willing to actually criticize their side’s guy, just the other side’s guy.

The terrorists who attacked us were personally carrying out “Allah’s vengeance” upon their enemies.  And in hateful act after hateful act, terrorists have attacked and bombed and murdered in the name of their God.  Christian fundamentalists, by start contrast – who passionately believe in God’s divine vengeance – are waiting for God to do His own judging. Big difference.  Muslims believe that God is too transcendent, too grand, to care.  Humans are like ants to Allah.  But Christians believe that God is intimately involved with His creation, and involved with justice and judgment.  And so every Christian who takes God at His Word waits for God to take His ultimate divine judgment into His own hands.

The Bible assures me that God judges sin.  It doesn’t tell me when, or how.  That is up to God.


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