Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A World In Need of God

In the latest Superman movie, Louis Lane wins the Pulitzer Prize for her article entitled “Why the World Doesn’t Need Superman.” Alas, Superman returns and sweeps her off her feet, literally, lifting her up to the stars where he speaks to her about the world he hears crying for a Superman.


Likewise books are hitting the best seller list explaining to the world why we don’t need God. Do we truly live in a world that does not need God? Do we have the bird’s eye view of all things to know that there is nothing that transcends nature? I think it evident that the world needs God. Does the need mean that He is or that we are merely desperate thinkers desiring the impossible? Are we merely looking for help from a loving God instead of picking ourselves up by our boot straps and making the best of life?


Some see a life lived in service to an invisible God as a crutch or wishful thinking best left to childhood. Would a visible God be more comforting? Would it be better that we could quantify and measure Him scientifically. Is that really the sort of God one would expect?


Others see a life lived for God as one lived in fear of retribution from a vindictive God. They think because of the doctrine of hell, that it’s all about self preservation to love God and no God that would require such devotion is worthy of it.


We had the world given to us literally in the beginning with full freedom to live in truth in the protective boundaries of His love. We were given a world where we lived with Him and walked with Him in real communion. Yet we thought we could do it better and take the reigns of our own life and we used our freedom to step outside of the boundaries of truth and it set humanity on a course away from God. Still God pursued us with His love and still He provided a FREE way of reconciliation and redemption through Jesus Christ paying our debt to justice Himself. God took off His robe of judgment and stepped down becoming one with sin and took the sentence upon Himself for all mankind. The door to Him is Jesus Christ. The choice is still ours: we can still freely live life opposed to Him or we can enter into true freedom and live life to its fullest in Him.


Just as Superman gains fullness of life and strength from the natural sun, man is made to gain life and strength and all that is good from the Son of God. We are invited into a relationship with God freely, not by works, not by ritual, not by magic words, but by a real tangible life giving relationship with our Creator. The world does need God. And He is available for the world in need. The question is will we acknowledge our need and stop trying to live life as if man were the measure of all things and start life with God being the center of our life?


28 comments:

Kevin DeGraaf said...

Do we truly live in a world that does not need God? Do we have the bird’s eye view of all things to know that there is nothing that transcends nature?

Can you point out any instances in which an atheist of the freethought variety has claimed that we definitively know that there is no supernatural realm? Or is this just another one of your straw men?

I'm guessing that it's the latter: that you are either ignorant of the freethought atheist position or are purposely misrepresenting it.

The proposition that there is a supernatural realm is not supported by any reliable evidence, and thus we reject it on a provisional basis. If acceptable evidence were to turn up, we'd be happy to re-examine this (or any) claim.

So far, all of the purported "evidence" presented by theists (when they aren't trumpeting the virtues of blind faith) has not been convincing: subjective personal testimonies, flawed philosophical arguments, vague prophecies, pseudo-scientific nonsense like creationism and biblical numerology, etc.

To explain the available data, there is only one explanation that is coherent and parsimonious: there is no supernatural realm, or if there is, it has no effect upon the natural realm and is therefore meaningless.

William Fenholt said...

I hope you don't take this the wrong way but......this is the stupidest fucking shit I've ever read.

Anonymous said...

yeah i agree with that.

CyberKitten said...

karla asked: Do we truly live in a world that does not need God?

Yes. We would be far better off without those various belief systems.

karla said: Yet we thought we could do it better and take the reigns of our own life and we used our freedom to step outside of the boundaries of truth and it set humanity on a course away from God.

Firstly: Huh? What does 'step outside the boundaries of truth' mean? Surely religion does *exactly* that?

As to setting 'a course away from God' - How do you square that statement with the fact that the vast majority of the worlds population believe in variations of Him? Atheists are, globally at least, in the vanishingly small minority. Locally for example in Europe they're in the majority - or at least a significant minority - but this is the exception rather than the rule.

I actually wish that we *were* setting such a course but I see little evidence to support that.

Karla said...

cyberkitten, religion isn't the way to God. Religion is man's way to try and redeem himself by works to whatever God he believes exists. God's way is not man's way. God's way has been revealed to man, but man still wants to do it his way. Except for atheists, man wants to work his way to earning favor with God or the gods or whatever spiritual being he believes in. Only in Christ do you find God coming to man and making a free way for Him to be reconciled to God that isn't based on any works of man.

Yes, religion does step outside the bounderies of truth. I agree. See above.

Tell me, what's bad about Jesus? If it were possible to live the life He lived to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies, to do good to those who do wrong to us, to live in peace with everyone . . . what is so offensive and wrong about that?

Karla said...

Kevin, do you really think I am atempting to be dishonest or unlearned? I have only ever asked for people of other beliefs to share with me what they believe and think. I hope to be corrected if I misrepresent anyone. Please know this.

I have read a lot of books. But I do want to know from first hand people who think a certain way what they really think and feel and believe and why. I do care and I do want to adequately represent them.
I hope in turn you and others will care to do the same when speaking of Christianity.

I am glad that you hold out the possibility of a supernatural world. I assume that means you also allow for the possiblity of God's existence. I don't expect anyone to believe anything on blind faith. I think everyone ought to examine the foundations of their worldview thoroughly and be able to communicate it clearly to another.

A worldview needs to be stable philosophically, work practically, and be transferable in communication so that another can understand it.

Kevin DeGraaf said...

I assume that means you also allow for the [possibility] of God's existence.

That depends on which god you're talking about.

If you define the word "god" broadly, to mean any powerful supernatural entity, the proper skeptical response would be to reject any claims of the existence of such a "god" until reliable corroboration is found, just as we'd reject any claims of the existence of leprechauns or fairies until proper evidence came along.

If, however, you're speaking of the Christian God of the Bible, any claims of existence would not only have to meet the aforementioned general burden of proof, but they would also have to provide a satisfactory explanation for all the logical contradictions in the Bible/God model.

One classic example is the problem of evil, namely that the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and omnibenevolent ("omni-max") deity is logically incompatible with the vast amount of suffering in the world.

Another example would be the extremely violent, genocidal behavior displayed by this supposedly omni-max god in the Old Testament.

While all knowledge is provisional, some claims are so far beyond the pale that they should be considered disproven for all practical purposes.

Karla said...

By what standard do you declare something evil if there is no reference point of absolute good?

Kevin DeGraaf said...

Seriously? Still? The hell with it.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

To paraphrase Forrest Gump: "Evil is as evil does."

Evil isn't a thing. Evil is action.

Actions that go against one or many of the values that society holds dear will be perceived as evil.

Evil is relative. Is burning a flag evil? To some, yes, to others no. Is abortion evil? Again, there are two main views. Was Lot offering his daughters up to be raped evil? Some would say no, because he was protecting the angels.

Karla said...

I'm sorry Kevin, but your answers haven't done it for me. I'm looking for more in depth answers. The naturalistic ones haven't sufficed. I'm sorry but I am seeking the same sufficiency of evidence for your position as you seek for mine.

Mike, I would define evil as the absence of good. It's not a substance, like you say. There are evil entities -- demons and such, but they are evil by who they are and what they do and not by their substance of being. Evil exist because we misued our freedom. But in time evil will be eradicated. I'm glad God is slow in eradicating it for more will find Him due to His pursuit of us then in a sudden erradication of evil. It is better for humanity that He wait to bring justice.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Defining evil as the absence of good does make it a substance.

We misused our freedom? You mean the whole fruit in the garden incident? Do you take that story as literal?

CyberKitten said...

Karla asked: Tell me, what's bad about Jesus? If it were possible to live the life He lived to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies, to do good to those who do wrong to us, to live in peace with everyone . . . what is so offensive and wrong about that?

To be honest I don't know enough about him to even begin to answer that question. But if you mean "Wouldn't it be a much better planet if people behaved decently to each other" then my answer would be 'Of course it would'.

In many ways we are a despicable species both in our dealings with each other and our dealings with the rest of the world. Maybe if we don't end up killing everything and everyone we'll grow out of it. Its just not going to happen anytime soon I'm afraid!

karla asked: By what standard do you declare something evil if there is no reference point of absolute good?

By our own standards of course. Just because I (and others) don't believe in absolute morality doesn't mean that we are incapable of judging the actions of others - we just judge them by our subjective standards - as do you actually..... because saying that your standards are absolute doesn't make it so.

Karla said...

How can we be both a despicable species and the jugdges of morality? If we are so corrupt how can we determine what's good and bad? If we exhibit both traits and even our best good isn't perfect so how then would we be the standard? Of course you are right if there is no God that would be the way of it.

However, I don't use myself as the standard. I appeal to a higher standard, God--who is the infinite reference point of good by which we gain some knowledge of measurement.

When I say this though I think some hear something different and I've yet to be able to adequately communicate in such a way that I clear up some of the misconceptions I am hearing atheists speak regarding this matter.

I believe that life is not this hopeless surrender to our nature of dispicableness. I also believe that becoming someone who loves the way we ought is something that happens when we stop trying to do it alone and we join God in relationship that transforms us. I'm not trying to prostylize at this moment by going this direction. I am trying to explain things so you can understand more of where I'm coming from. Man wasn't designed to do it alone. He was designed to be in relationship with God, the rotten nature you see is a reflection of us not being properly connected to God.

I'll stop there at this point for now.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: How can we be both a despicable species and the judges of morality?

Easily. As individuals we're mostly OK. It's only when we get together in large enough groups that we become a problem for everyone around us.

karla said: If we are so corrupt how can we determine what's good and bad?

We are not 'corrupt' in the sense I think you mean. We can determine what we think of as good and bad. We cannot determine the absolutes of these two concepts because absolute good and absolute evil do not exist - except as concepts (we probably have to blame Plato for that idea).

karla said: If we exhibit both traits and even our best good isn't perfect so how then would we be the standard?

Standards don't have to be perfect to be standards. Standards are just human constructs. We do the best we can - mostly.

karla said: Of course you are right if there is no God that would be the way of it.

Indeed - because I do not believe in God and (consequently) do not believe that moral standards originate with Him.

karla said: However, I don't use myself as the standard. I appeal to a higher standard, God--who is the infinite reference point of good by which we gain some knowledge of measurement.

Your standards are as subjective as my standards - you just consider your standards to be objective which they are not. Your standards (as mine) are products of the culture we grew up in. I regard my standards to be subjective, you regard yours as objective - but this also is determined by the culture we grew up in.

karla said: I believe that life is not this hopeless surrender to our nature of dispicableness.

Neither do I. That's where free will comes in - we can choose to be pretty much whatever kind of person we want to be.

karla said: Man wasn't designed to do it alone.

I don't believe that we were designed - but we are alone... as far as I know.

karla said: He was designed to be in relationship with God, the rotten nature you see is a reflection of us not being properly connected to God.

Our 'rotten nature' is the product of many things - but it is far from inevitable. We certainly don't *have* to be as bad as we sometimes are. It's all about choice [as Neo would say....]

Karla said...

"It's only when we get together in large enough groups that we become a problem for everyone around us."

Sure everyone can be well behaved in isolation. But love isn't experienced in isolation except maybe loving yourself. The answer to the evil in the world isn't everyone staying home. So we can see we have evil even in our own hearts. We don't always treat others as we ought. Yet where does this sense of "ought" come from?

I don't consider my standard to be objective, I consider God to be an objective source of good and I know that I'm not. So I don't look to myself and my inclinations for morality. I look to Him.

"That's where free will comes in - we can choose to be pretty much whatever kind of person we want to be."

Can we really be free, if we are agents of nature? Are we really in control or does nature control us? Dawkins laments that we are merely "dancing to our DNA."

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Sure everyone can be well behaved in isolation. But love isn't experienced in isolation except maybe loving yourself.

What's love got to do with it?

karla said: The answer to the evil in the world isn't everyone staying home. So we can see we have evil even in our own hearts.

The answer to 'evil' is choosing not to do it.

karla said: We don't always treat others as we ought. Yet where does this sense of "ought" come from?

As I keep saying - from our cultural heritage... which is why we disagree on things. Our cultural upbringing and life experience have been different - therefore we (inevitably) have different ideas of right and wrong and different views on what to do about it.

karla said: I don't consider my standard to be objective, I consider God to be an objective source of good and I know that I'm not. So I don't look to myself and my inclinations for morality. I look to Him.

You consider God to be objective for subjective cultural reasons. Your *belief* in God is what is subjective. Everything that flows from that belief is also subjective.

karla said: Can we really be free, if we are agents of nature? Are we really in control or does nature control us? Dawkins laments that we are merely "dancing to our DNA."

To a large extent yes, we can be free. We are not machines - even merely biological ones. We have the ability, because we are self-aware, to over ride any biological imperatives we might have. We can choose how we behave.

Karla said...

"As I keep saying - from our cultural heritage... which is why we disagree on things. Our cultural upbringing and life experience have been different - therefore we (inevitably) have different ideas of right and wrong and different views on what to do about it."

How do you explain Muslums having visions and dreams of Jesus and coming to believe in Him in a culture that forbids it without ever having encountered a missionary? This is happening in abundance. I've seen the story not only on 700 Club but also on the secular news and I have a friend who is a news correspondent who travels to interview these people.

Culture can have a lot of weight in a person's view point, but I believe we can trancend our culture to truth. We can live with cultural mentalities that aren't true. Do you think truth to be merely cultural? Or just spiritual truth?
Some like to divide spiritual truth from mathematical or historical and such. I don't divide them. Truth is that which lines up with reality. Or simply, "that which is" whether it be mathematical, natural, supernatural, spiritual, etc.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: How do you explain Muslums having visions and dreams of Jesus and coming to believe in Him in a culture that forbids it without ever having encountered a missionary?

I have no idea.

karla asked: Do you think truth to be merely cultural? Or just spiritual truth?

That would depend on what you mean by 'Truth'. But what you call spiritual truth would be an example of a cultural 'truth' yes...

karla said: Some like to divide spiritual truth from mathematical or historical and such. I don't divide them.

Ah, I see why you're having a problem with the whole truth thing then....

karla said: Truth is that which lines up with reality. Or simply, "that which is" whether it be mathematical, natural, supernatural, spiritual, etc.

Except that the supernatural/spiritual are not part of reality. You just think they are.

Karla said...

"Except that the supernatural/spiritual are not part of reality. You just think they are."

And you think they are not. I'm sorry but that's not really an argument for naturalism--it's only a statement. Maybe it's only true for your culture and mine sees angels and demons and the works of God. You see truth, spiritual or not, cannot be relegated to cultural truth alone.

2 + 2 is 4 in any culture. What goes up must come down in any culture. God either exist or He does not no matter the culture. Jesus either came to earth and died and rose again or He did not. These are historical factual matters. Christianity is set in time and place it's not simply mysticalism. I believe we can look at truth claims from various belief systems and religions and see what really lines up with reality and what does not. If naturalism is all there is and atheism is true then all world religions are false. But if there is a supernatural realm and God does exist then there must be one which is true and not all of them for truth by it's very nature is exclusive of non-truth. Somehow our culture has gotten the idea that once you talk about spirituality or religion you enter a postmodern truth construct of pluralism and it's all equal even when it contradicts.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: And you think they are not. I'm sorry but that's not really an argument for naturalism--it's only a statement.

Indeed - and that's my point. We have two different beliefs because we grew up in two different cultures and had two different life experiences. If you had been born into my life and I into yours we would be having this conversation from the opposite direction. Our beliefs are founded on an accident of birth.

karla said: Maybe it's only true for your culture and mine sees angels and demons and the works of God. You see truth, spiritual or not, cannot be relegated to cultural truth alone.

Oh, I'm not too sure about that!

karla said: 2 + 2 is 4 in any culture.

[laughs] Actually only in a culture that works in base 10. If we worked in base 4 2+2 would equal 10... (I think). Even our maths is cultural to that extent. Also it seems pretty obvious that New Years Day is 1st January - but before 1752 it was 25th March. You see what I mean? Our culture determines the way we think about things. It's pretty fundamental.

karla said: Jesus either came to earth and died and rose again or He did not. These are historical factual matters.

Well, they are matters that can be *investigated* historically. I'm not sure if a definitive answer can be arrived at though. I think that a person called Jesus probably existed. As to the rest of the detail of his life......

karla said: I believe we can look at truth claims from various belief systems and religions and see what really lines up with reality and what does not.

I am of the opinion that no religion that I am aware of 'lines up with reality' in any meaningful way.

karla said: If naturalism is all there is and atheism is true then all world religions are false.

Correct. That is my opinion on the subject.

karla said: But if there is a supernatural realm and God does exist then there must be one which is true and not all of them for truth by it's very nature is exclusive of non-truth.

Actually all existing religions could still be wrong. We might not have discovered the 'real' one yet. There does seem to be a lot of possible variations.....

karla said: Somehow our culture has gotten the idea that once you talk about spirituality or religion you enter a postmodern truth construct of pluralism and it's all equal even when it contradicts.

Religion is a way of explaining things. It doesn't necessarily mean that they are correct ways of explaining things - or even merely adequate ways of doing so. As far as I know the best way of explaining the universe is science. Nothing else that I am aware of comes close.

Karla said...

Science can only work if the philosophy behind it is assumed. It works based off certain presuppositions that we take for granted. Logic, reason, order, the reality of nature. We assume it to be real. We assume logic to be rational. We assume reason to be trustworthy. Yet naturalism pulls out the rug from under these assumptions and leaves them all in question.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"Science can only work if the philosophy behind it is assumed. It works based off certain presuppositions that we take for granted."

Taken for granted? Science is about observing phenomena and testing their consistency, at least in some small part. Science takes nothing for granted, that is kind of the point.

"Logic, reason, order, the reality of nature. We assume it to be real. We assume logic to be rational. We assume reason to be trustworthy."

Why should we not?


"Yet naturalism pulls out the rug from under these assumptions and leaves them all in question."

How?

Karla said...

How could you prove reason and logic without employing them? We have to assume we can trust logic and reason yet if reason is merely a natural phenomena how can a part of nature give answers about the whole? Unless somehow reason is tied to something outside nature by which we can know nature.

CyberKitten said...

I'd like to echo what Mike said.

Science does assume that the Universe is understandable and takes for granted that an appreciation of reality is possible but that's as far as the underlying assumption go - pretty much.

I'm interested in what problems naturalism is supposed to be causing. It's news to me...

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

The Bible tells us we can't use reason because it will fail us. God's wisdom is foolish to men.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: if reason is merely a natural phenomena how can a part of nature give answers about the whole?

Ah, I see your problem. Reason is not a 'natural phenomena' its a method, a point of view, a philosophical standpoint if you will...

Also - as natural phenomena ourselves I think that humans are quite capable of discovering answers about the whole Universe even while being part of it. Personally I see no problem with that.

karla said: Unless somehow reason is tied to something outside nature by which we can know nature.

Reason cannot be tied to anything 'outside nature' because such a place does not exist. Reason is a human invention which attempts to understand the universe.

Anonymous said...

"How could you prove reason and logic without employing them?"

It's actually rather simple. Let's take one example, the fallacy of argument from authority. We could look at the statements of authoritative figures and measure how closely they align with demonstrated facts. Once we realize that they are not always right, we can safely say that it's fallacious to assume that something is correct because some authoritative figure has stated it. In fact, we've basically proven it.

Science is the process of eliminating presuppositions and finding out how things work from as basic a starting point as possible. This is why it works. Conversely, this is why religion does not work.