Month: August 2014

Down Syndrome and the Image of God

ifaithdefender

This week Richard Dawkins responded to a lady on Twitter who posed an interesting moral dilemma. She tweeted she wouldn’t know what to do if she found out her unborn child had Down Syndrome. Dawkins’ reply; “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”

Meet CPhoto Aug 26, 6 57 18 PMheston Hearron, my brother. Cheston has Down Syndrome.

I am not at all offended by the comments of Dawkins. His response is exactly what one would expect from an individual positing an atheistic worldview. Dawkins is merely acting out the logical implications of his view. Dawkins’ worldview is devoid of God, so when faced with such a moral dilemma, he does what he thinks is right for him. Furthermore, his moral answers will change from person to person and even culture to culture. He even has his own category of immorality: bringing…

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Should we Judge? Did Jesus Judge?

Have you heard the comment: “You should not Judge.”?   Or maybe the comment: “Jesus did not Judge, you shouldn’t eiither.”?   In this post I want to look at these two questions together: Should you Judge?  Did Jesus Judge?

Lets start off by looking at what Jesus taught on judging: 7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. – Matthew 7:1-5

Does it say that we should not judge?  No, not exclusively.  Look at the whole passage, it teaches how to judge.  Here are some of the underlying principals I think are being taught here:

1) Do not be a hypocrite,  judge yourself by the same standards that you are judging others.  Because you are going to be judged by the same standards. 

2) Judge yourself first, address the same problem in your own life before pointing out the problem in other people’s lives.

3) Judge others with caring;  judging should be used to help and not hurt.   In this context Jesus’ teaching is still telling us “to take the speck out of the your brother’s eye”.

Lets’ look at another teaching on this topic by Jesus: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24

So we can add:

4) Do not be judgmental (tending to judge people too quickly and critically).  Judge with right judgement.

This finial passage looks to make the case: that the teaching is on how we are to judge, vs not judge at all.

This teaching is logically valid.  If one was to say to you: “You should not Judge!”.   Then you should rightly ask the question: Why are you judging me for judging?   The statement “you should not judge” becomes circular reasoning and leads nowhere (invalid reasoning).  The teaching of Jesus does not violate this logical reasoning.

Some one may end up saying: well Jesus never judged.   I strongly suggest you point them to Matthew Chapter 23  then ask them this question:  In this chapter what is Jesus doing to the (judgmental) Pharisees? (Side note: After reading this chapter in Matthew, I recommend staying away for being judgmental.)

If they come back and say:  Well Jesus is God maybe it is only OK for God to Judge not us.   Well let’s take a look at a few example of judging in the NT:

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he is speaking about believers grievance against another: “Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!” – 1 Corinthians 6:3 

In Acts we read about one of the followers of Jesus, Stephen, say: “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. 52 Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”  – Acts 7:51-53

That is just two prominent followers of Jesus from the early Church.  They sure looking like they are doing a lot of Judging!

In the end we have all have to making judgments, you are making a judgement right now as you read this post!  So we cannot stop making judgments.

What we are called to do is change how we go about judging, not stop entirely.

I’ll end with a video of Dr. Frank Turek from the One Minute Apologist:

For more reading on this I recommend two articles the first at Cross Examined by Dr. Frank Turek and the second at paulcopan.com by Dr Paul Copan.

 

Jesus and Krishna Part 1

I’ve been having an open dialog with my Hindu friends at work.  We like talking about God and values etc.  They tell me that they believe in Jesus too.   But they would say things that did not match what Jesus of Nazareth taught.   So I asked them to explain their views more.   As we drill down I realized what they were telling me:  they think that Jesus is Krishna “reincarnated”.  They have no idea what Jesus real message was.  They had no idea that Jesus did not teach anything about reincarnation.   One of my friends sent me this website.   http://waypub.fatcow.com/ed/iamtheway.html

In this post we are going take a look at some of the clams made by the author Ed Viswanathan about Jesus’s teaching in John 14:6 –  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 

The first claim that was made from Ed Viswanathan on the website was: “I studied the whole 66 books of the Holy Bible with respect and devotion…”   I will leave that claim for now and give him the benefit of the doubt on this.  But return to it if needed.

Mr. Viswanathan draws some conclusions from John 14:6.  The first conclusion is as follows: ” Jesus Christ was saying that to masses and his pagan apostles who had no Jewish religious education, and that was the reason why he did not elaborate on most of his statements.
Jews who believe there is ONE AND ONLY GOD and that is Jehovah scorned at that statement of Jesus Christ. They do not see Jesus Christ as GOD or as SON OF GOD. Jews are still waiting for the promised messiah by St. Isaiah.”

This is going to take some time.   Lets start the very first statement “Jesus Christ was saying that to masses and his pagan apostles who had no Jewish religious education, and that was the reason why he did not elaborate on most of his statements.”  That statement is just false on its face.  1) Jesus was speaking to Jews of his times – this is very clear in New Testament (Mathew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts).  The “12” apostles were all Jewish.  The “masses” of people that he spoke to included the Jewish teachers of his day.  In this very passage we are looking at, Jesus is elaborating on his statement he made before this.   Lets look at it all together:

In John 14 Jesus is talking:

14 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.[a] If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?[b] When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”

“No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.[c]From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?

– John 14:1-9

Mr. Viswanathan’s conclusions forces me to take a second look at the claim “I studied the whole 66 books of the Holy Bible with respect and devotion..”  If the author could not pick up that Jesus was talking to Jewish people and that his followers were Jewish, it is hard for me to believe that claim is true.  Therefore information on Jesus that the author gives is going to be misleading at best, or outright false at worst.

Let us move on to look at the next part of his first conclusion . “Jews who believe there is ONE AND ONLY GOD and that is Jehovah scorned at that statement of Jesus Christ. They do not see Jesus Christ as GOD or as SON OF GOD. Jews are still waiting for the promised messiah by St. Isaiah.”  1) Yes, the Jews only believe in one God as do Christians. 2) Again as I just stated all the first followers of Jesus where Jewish.  Also there are today still Jews that follow Jesus, or Messianic Jews.  I would ask Mr. Viswanathan to look up Dr. Michael Brown  .  3) Just as a side note, Mr. Viswanathan puts St. in front of Isaiah.   I do not think he understands that St. is a Christian term, and that Isaiah was born before Jesus.  Also the term “Messiah” in Hebrew is the same term as “Christ” in Greek.

I going to quickly go over some of the major points to the other conclusions –

Number 2: Is just false.  From Matthew 28: 16-20 :   Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Number 3 – 4: “THOSE WHO WORSHIP OTHER GODS AND THOSE WHO WORSHIP THEM WITH FAITH, ARE ACTUALLY WORSHIPING ME. I AM THE RECEIVER OF ALL DEVOTION [GITA 9:23]”   Sorry, but Jesus never said anything like that.   Note there is no passages to compare from Mathew, Mark, Luke or John.

Number 6: Brahman is Impersonal. Yahweh (or Jehovah in Latin) is Personal.

Let’s take a look at a simple chart to compare the two from CARM: 

Term Hinduism Christianity
God Impersonal Personal (1 John 4:8)
Humanity Continuous in the sense of being extended from the Being of God Discontinuous in the sense of being separate from the Being of God (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3); continuous in the sense of being made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26)
Humanity’s Problem Ignorance Moral rebellion (Romans 3:10-11)
The Solution Liberation from illusion and ignorance Forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with the personal holy God
The Means for the Solution Striving to detach oneself from the separated ego and seeking to be aware of one’s unity with the divine through self-effort. Trusting in the completed and substitutionary work of Jesus Christ (Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8-9).
The Outcome of the Solution Merge into the Oneness; the individual disappears Eternal fellowship with God; the person is fulfilled in a loving relationship with God (John 17:3). 
Jesus One among many gods and/or avatars. God the Son (John 1:1; 8:24).
Number of gods Many One (Isaiah 43:10; 44:8).

Number 10: Jesus never said “I am not God.” Or anything like that.  Note again no passage from the bible.

Number 9 & 12:  Here we have a good answer from gotquestions.org “Some Hindus consider Jesus as an avatar and, more specifically, as the reincarnation of Krishna. However, Jesus was not reincarnated; He was resurrected. Jesus was not an avatar; He is fully human and fully God. Please read our article on the Trinity to better understand the relationship between the members of the Christian Godhead. After His crucifixion, Jesus was resurrected bodily.” Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/avatar-hinduism.html#ixzz39fCAKmst

The last point I’ll address on this topic for now is the statement: “I do not think, Christ ever wanted himself to be worshiped in any manner.”  – Mr. Viswanathan.   To show that “Jesus never wanted worship in any manner” is false, let us turn to a great video on the topic:

and I’ll end with this video:

 

 

 

1 Peter 3:15

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

– 1 Peter 3:15

The purpose of this blog is to be a resource, to help people give a defense of there Christian World view with gentleness and respect.