Posts Tagged ‘delusion’

What If all Christians aren’t Deluded?

Posted: April 25, 2012 by Nathan in What If...
Tags: , , ,

Marx stated that religion is the opiate of the masses. The implication here being that it is OK for the non thinking working man but not for anyone with a working brain. Many people still see Christianity as a crutch for the weak and gullible. So how true is this view?

I heard some once say that the reason that he decided to look into Christianity in the first instance was that he decided that all these millions of Christians around the world couldn’t all be totally mad! What he found changed his life forever. It is easy to think that Christianity is OK for those that need it. For those that need an opiate or a crutch. Let’s also be honest that, discounting it’s truth or lack of it, Christianity does good for many many people. God in the lives of millions of people is seen by those people as a good and beneficial thing. However, surely all these millions don’t all need Christianity as a crutch? Would they all fall apart without it? Is it just for the week and the vulnerable? Are the followers of Christianity all mad or could it be that they have discovered a truth in what they believe?

It is easy to look at the history of Christianity and believe that it’s followers are deluded. If you look at the crusades it is hard to believe that theses followers of a, so called, religion of love could be anything but deluded. When we look at the wars that have been waged in the name of Christianity over the years, again, it is easy to conclude that these are mad people who have just gotten it all wrong. And so it may be. I believe there is little of no justification for these acts. However, I do believe that there is an explanation. People’s beliefs, when held strongly cause passion to rise and reason to fall. It is why people blow themselves and others up in the name of their beliefs. It is why wars have been fought for years in the name of religion. Not only do they have a passion they have a justification and a, so called, calling. They have people behind them and a perceived enemy and threat to their belief in front of them. As far as Christianity is concerned I believe it is not a religion but a relationship. A relationship formed in love. If you take the love aspect away from Christianity you get religion. Here we find the problem with the crusades. They had the passion without the love to restrain and guide it. The same is true of wars in which Christians have been involved. They have the passion to fight the good fight but not the love to show them who the real enemy is. The Bible clearly teaches us that our fight is not against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities of this world. So it is easy to look at history and conclude that Christians have got it very wrong, that they are in some ways deluded or mad. However, can what they believe in be discounted because of their actions? Is God less real because of what people believe about him. The answer has to be no! God does not exist because I believe in him nor does he not exist because others disbelieve his existence. If I chose to believe the sun is made of chocolate and therefore wear no sun tan lotion because of my belief doesn’t mean the sun isn’t made of gases and also doesn’t mean I WON’T get burnt.

So God can’t be judged by those that follow him. Becoming a Christian doesn’t make you perfect, far from it. Becoming a Christian gives you forgiveness, mercy and grace but definitely not perfection. It gives you a reason to seek after doing good and getting things right but Christians are still very human. There is no mistaking that Christians over the centuries have made huge mistakes. There is no mistaking that some Christians are on the crazier side of sane. There is also no mistake that Christians, myself included, continue to make mistakes and are far from perfect. However, have we all really got it so wrong. Are we all really that deluded. Or is it possible that there is something that is worth looking into? Is there possibly something that can begin to make sense of the life that we’ve been given? Don’t get me wrong belief in God won’t give you all the answers, in fact in the short term it could raise more than it answers. However, Christianity will provide you with a firm foundation on which to build. The Bible describes Jesus as being our Rock on which to build our lives.

So what about today? Is it just the weak and the dumb that believe? In a world where science is touted as king are there intelligent people out there that have weighed up the evidence and have faith that the God of the Bible exists? Well the simple answer is a resounding YES!! There are millions of educated, intelligent, perfectly sane people that put their trust in God. Not a blind faith but a faith born out of research, thought and a weighing up of the evidence. So are all Christians deluded? Perhaps it may be worth finding out!

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What If all Christians aren’t deluded?

Posted: March 23, 2011 by Nathan in What If...
Tags: , , , ,

Marx stated that religion is the opiate of the masses. The implication here being that it is OK for the non thinking working man but not for anyone with a working brain. Many people still see Christianity as a crutch for the weak and gullible. So how true is this view?

I heard some once say that the reason that he decided to look into Christianity in the first instance was that he decided that all these millions of Christians around the world couldn’t all be totally mad! What he found changed his life forever. It is easy to think that Christianity is OK for those that need it. For those that need an opiate or a crutch. Let’s also be honest that, discounting it’s truth or lack of it, Christianity does good for many many people. God in the lives of millions of people is seen by those people as a good and beneficial thing. However, surely all these millions don’t all need Christianity as a crutch? Would they all fall apart without it? Is it just for the week and the vulnerable? Are the followers of Christianity all mad or could it be that they have discovered a truth in what they believe?

It is easy to look at the history of Christianity and believe that it’s followers are deluded. If you look at the crusades it is hard to believe that theses followers of a, so called, religion of love could be anything but deluded. When we look at the wars that have been waged in the name of Christianity over the years, again, it is easy to conclude that these are mad people who have just gotten it all wrong. And so it may be. I believe there is little of no justification for these acts. However, I do believe that there is an explanation. People’s beliefs, when held strongly cause passion to rise and reason to fall. It is why people blow themselves and others up in the name of their beliefs. It is why wars have been fought for years in the name of religion. Not only do they have a passion they have a justification and a, so called, calling. They have people behind them and a perceived enemy and threat to their belief in front of them. As far as Christianity is concerned I believe it is not a religion but a relationship. A relationship formed in love. If you take the love aspect away from Christianity you get religion. Here we find the problem with the crusades. They had the passion without the love to restrain and guide it. The same is true of wars in which Christians have been involved. They have the passion to fight the good fight but not the love to show them who the real enemy is. The Bible clearly teaches us that our fight is not against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities of this world. So it is easy to look at history and conclude that Christians have got it very wrong, that they are in some ways deluded or mad. However, can what they believe in be discounted because of their actions? Is God less real because of what people believe about him. The answer has to be no! God does not exist because I believe in him nor does he not exist because others disbelieve his existence. If I chose to believe the sun is made of chocolate and therefore wear no sun tan lotion because of my belief doesn’t mean the sun isn’t made of gases and also doesn’t mean I WON’T get burnt.

So God can’t be judged by those that follow him. Becoming a Christian doesn’t make you perfect, far from it. Becoming a Christian gives you forgiveness, mercy and grace but definitely not perfection. It gives you a reason to seek after doing good and getting things right but Christians are still very human. There is no mistaking that Christians over the centuries have made huge mistakes. There is no mistaking that some Christians are on the crazier side of sane. There is also no mistake that Christians, myself included, continue to make mistakes and are far from perfect. However, have we all really got it so wrong. Are we all really that deluded. Or is it possible that there is something that is worth looking into? Is there possibly something that can begin to make sense of the life that we’ve been given? Don’t get me wrong belief in God won’t give you all the answers, in fact in the short term it could raise more than it answers. However, Christianity will provide you with a firm foundation on which to build. The Bible describes Jesus as being our Rock on which to build our lives.

So what about today? Is it just the weak and the dumb that believe? In a world where science is touted as king are there intelligent people out there that have weighed up the evidence and have faith that the God of the Bible exists? Well the simple answer is a resounding YES!! There are millions of educated, intelligent, perfectly sane people that put their trust in God. Not a blind faith but a faith born out of research, thought and a weighing up of the evidence. So are all Christians deluded? Perhaps it may be worth finding out!

 

We live in a blame culture! When something goes wrong someone has to, not only be to blame but they have to, take the blame as well! We love to point the finger, proclaiming our innocence and somebody else’s fault!

 

Terrorists pilot planes into buildings and those fingers never stop wagging. We blame the terrorists; their families and friends; their religion and country of birth; we blame people in power for not stopping it; we blame airport security firms for not preventing it; we blame our government for causing the hate in the first place; we even blame emergency services for not saving more lives. All this is even before we turn our wagging fingers of blame at God!! How could He let this happen!! Why did He not prevent it? How can He love us and yet allow this to take place!!

 

When tragedy strikes it is easy for us to blame God. We don’t think about Him for years on end but when something goes wrong He becomes the focus of our wagging finger. It’s so much easier for us to blame something external. We blame God because He’s big enough He can take it. We blame God because that gives us some solace. Although we don’t usually acknowledge His existence when the chips are down we gain comfort from the fact that someone is in control. When our lives fall apart we want to know that someone has it all together, even if we don’t understand their actions and in fact blame them for what has happened. We may never thank God or even admit His existence in the good times but when the bad times come along God becomes a little more real in our lives even if He is just the butt of our anger and blame.

 

However, is it right that God be the focus of our blame when things go wrong? Well I guess in a small way it is. God created us, He brought us into being and therefore is in some part responsible for all the pain, sickness and tragedy that occurs in our life. He created the universe in which we live so anything bad that befalls us that is a result of our environment could be blamed on God as well. But do we blame our parents for all bad things in our lives just because they brought us into being? We may blame them for a poor upbringing or lack of love or a whole host of other things but do we blame them for us being born? I would say that we’re more thankful to them for the opportunity that they gave us in giving us life. Do we blame the builder of our house when bad things happen within it? Not usually, I would guess, because we have built upon the shell of the house. We have created our own environment within our homes so when we burn ourselves on the cooker it is not the builder of the house who is to blame. The same is true of our world. God created the world but man has created the environment in which we live.

 

Here we are not just talking about a physical environment but also an environment of greed, lust, selfishness, anger, lies, injustice, violence, hatred, pride, materialism, secularisation, power, unfaithfulness, crime and the list could roll on and on. Many of the so called natural disasters that we used to blame on God are now being shown to be man-made. Famines are no longer seen as being natural occurrences but are now seen as the greed of the few at the cost of many. Environmental changes that cause floods, droughts and other so-called natural phenomenon are now being linked to man-made causes.

 

Our actions have seen consequences but many unseen consequences as well. We’ve all heard of the butterfly effect, domino effect and chain reactions, these clearly illustrate that small actions can have far reaching consequences. What we do matters. What we do has consequences and we need to be aware of that both as individuals, communities and the wider populace. Many of our actions have far reaching consequences that we don’t really understand. Many time when we may be blaming God we should perhaps be pointing the finger back at ourselves. There is a wonderful saying that says that “God allows in His wisdom that which he could prevent by His power”. God had given us freewill. It is a most wonderful gift. For God to prevent many bad things happening would be an infringement of this freewill. We are free to be greedy and allow others to starve. We are free to get angry and inflict pain on others. We are free to lie, cheat and make any number of other poor choices. God loves us enough to allow us to make our own mistakes. Just as a parent allows their child to learn to ride a bike knowing that they will probably hurt themselves, God allows us to do things where we will get hurt or indeed hurt others. Would you blame a parent for allowing their child to further themselves?

 

Perhaps it is time for us as individuals and us as a society to stop wagging the finger of blame at each other and at God. Perhaps we need to wake up to our own responsibilities and take on some of the blame ourselves. I guess it’s an easy option to blame God, His shoulders are broad enough and it’s unlikely he’s going to come round after dark to pick a fight. But if we are going to blame God when things go wrong, if we are going to get angry at Him (and that is allowed) we also have to thank Him when things go right. He also wants us to trust Him when things don’t go as we’d like. He is big enough to take the blame (even if undeserved) but He is also big enough to care for you when things go wrong. It is at these times that we most need His help and He is there to do just that!

 

I don’t have a brain the size of a planet and I’m not even that intellectual. I’m not well educated and I don’t even have a degree so if you’re looking for well thought out counter-argument to Richard Dawkins…look away now!!!

I bow to the greater intelligence of this man but I don’t have to agree with him and, you may be surprised to hear, neither do a great deal of other equally intelligent people. As with many things, those that shout the loudest, get heard the most. It doesn’t mean that those who shout the loudest have the right answers. For every Richard Dawkins there are hundreds of other equally intelligent people who disagree to some extent or other. Do we hear these voices? Let us also not forget that there is a world of difference between intelligence and wisdom.

I love the story a friend of mine used to tell of a guy he took sailing one day. This guy was among the most intellectual people you would be likely to come across. During the course of their sailing trip they discovered they had a small gas leak and this guy took it on himself to seek out the source of the leak. He came back on deck saying that he’d found it. My friend asked him how he knew where it was located and this guy beckoned my friend to follow. He took my friend to the source of the leak and explained that he knew it we coming from this weld in the pipe because every time he lit his lighter and held it to the weld the leaking gas blew the flame out!! My friend quickly removed the lighter from this guy and fixed the leak. It could have ended up far worse!! Intelligence but little wisdom.

Richard Dawkins would have us believe that when it comes to God, evolution, Darwinism, science etc. he has it all sown up. After all he does have a reputation to uphold!! It would be difficult for him to come out and change his view on many issues. However although his main belief seems to be…

…all life, all intelligence, all creativity and all ‘design’ anywhere in the universe is the direct or indirect product of Darwinian natural selection…Design cannot precede evolution and therefore cannot underlie the universe.

in 2008 he did say that:

“A serious case could be made for a deistic God.”

Melanie Phillips, as reported in The Spectator magazine, said…

“This was surely remarkable. Here was the arch-apostle of atheism, whose whole case is based on the assertion that believing in a creator of the universe is no different from believing in fairies at the bottom of the garden, saying that a serious case can be made for the idea that the universe was brought into being by some kind of purposeful force. A creator. True, he was not saying he was now a deist; on the contrary, he still didn’t believe in such a purposeful founding intelligence, and he was certainly still saying that belief in the personal God of the Bible was just like believing in fairies. Nevertheless, to acknowledge that ‘a serious case could be made for a deistic god’ is to undermine his previous categorical assertion (above).”

Melanie Phillips goes on to say that…

“Even more jaw-droppingly, Dawkins told me that, rather than believing in God, he was more receptive to the theory that life on earth had indeed been created by a governing intelligence – but one which had resided on another planet. Leave aside the question of where that extra-terrestrial intelligence had itself come from, is it not remarkable that the arch-apostle of reason finds the concept of God more unlikely as an explanation of the universe than the existence and plenipotentiary power of extra-terrestrial little green men?

So it seems he is willing to believe in some things where there is no evidence of existence and yet argues that evidence is all important. He also says that he is in search of truth. However, in watching him take part in various debates it seems he is very free in twisting the truth and making false statements. For someone who, if we believe him, holds the truth in such high regards it is a little strange.

There is no time to go into details here but to me there are many cracks in Dawkins’ arguments against God. For some reason he is very anti-religion and echoes John Lennon in imagining a world with no Religion. A world without 9/11; 7/7; the Crusades; Northern Irish unrest; the Middle East Situation etc. It seems easy to agree with him. However he discounts the other side. What about a world without World Vision; Islamic Aid; Traidcraft; Cafod; Christian Aid; to name just a handful of faith based organizations in a sea of Religious organizations tirelessly working to make lives better.  You can’t say something is wrong because you don’t like it or disagree with it. It’s very easy to look at the negative sides of religions, pick at their faults and therefore discount them. Even taking Christianity there have been many things done in the name of it that are abhorrent. There are things in the Bible that are difficult to come to terms with, things that even Christians don’t like. However, it doesn’t mean that, just because we don’t like what He allows or does, that God doesn’t exist.

What I found interesting in one of the debates I listened to was that Dawkins had the final word as summed up his thinking by saying words to this effect… If you walk into a garden, everything points to there being a gardener. Darwinism shows us that this doesn’t have to be true. Now that sounds like a good point of view. If you walk into a garden there is a possibility that there isn’t a gardener a creator behind the order, complexity and design that you find there, but would you believe it? If I took you to the formal gardens of a Stately home and showed you them and then told you what you were looking at was just derelict land that was left to it’s own devices and this is what nature created – you would think me crazy. Even though you might think it could be even remotely possible you would not believe it, you could not believe it.

Though I personally may not be able to convince you that Richard Dawkins is wrong in his beliefs, I would urge you to acknowledge that there is the possibility of him being wrong. Below you will find just a couple of links to a debates and an article that I hope you’ll find useful in exploring further the subject of “What If Richard Dawkins isn’t as right as he thinks he is?” However, where does that leave us? If Richard Dawkins and all his intelligence can’t disprove God or even put forward a convincing case for His non-existence what are we meant to think.

Now, I’m not suggesting just because someone can’t disprove God it means that He must exist, of course not. I am however saying that it is enough to make you think. Many scientists would have us believe that science has once and for all buried God. I would say that they have tried and will keep on trying. But God is not dead. I would say that if Richard Dawkins is wrong we have a lot of searching still to do.

Are you prepared to search along side us?

The Dawkins-Lennox Debate

“Is Richard Dawkins still evolving?” by Melanie Phillips – Spectator Magazine

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