Thursday, October 30, 2014

What you need to know about atheists

Atheists do not occur naturally.  Even the most primitive cultures have a belief in some kind of god.  Reasoning from the beauty and complexity of the cosmos will not get you to the Triune God, but creation does attest to its Maker; our inborn conscience will not take us to Christian ethics, but every society has an inborn concept of right and wrong, and they are incredibly similar.  A study found that children raised without exposure to any religion would refer to creation as being made by someone even though no one had told them that.  Theism is the human default state.

Atheism is a reaction against religion.  Perhaps a person's prayer went unanswered, or he perceives he was mistreated by a believer, or he is dealing poorly with sin and guilt and tries to alleviate them by saying God does not exist so there is no sin or guilt.  When atheists make their case, it is often not for a rejection of god as a concept, but a rejection of the specific god of a certain culture.  In 21st century America atheist rhetoric is particularly anti-Christian, not so much anti-theistic in general.  Atheists can only exist in a culture of theists.

Atheists, especially the anti-Christian type, will cling to any and all evidence that seems to support their preconception, no matter how weak or contradictory.  For instance, they claim the gospels are unreliable because they appear to be based on a common source (the hypothetical document Q) and report much of the same material.   At the same time they criticize the gospels because each tells the story slightly differently.  If the gospels were all exactly the same or totally different, would they accept them then?  Of course not!  They have already made up their minds to reject the gospels, and no evidence, no matter how compelling, will change their minds. Similarly, the complain that the gospel are not signed by their authors (never mind that such conventions about writing change from culture to culture and over time).  If they were  signed, would that convert them?  Again, no.  Obviously there are other reasons one becomes an atheist or anti-Christian that are not historical or archeological; they are emotional and spiritual. 

Atheists have an agenda.  Take away the Ten Commandments and the Sermon of the Mount, and what are left with in America?  "Survival of the Fittest" and unbridled hedonism.  Take God out of the equation, and all things are permissible.  It starts with  gay marriage, abortion, euthanasia, and drug legalization, and ends with totalitarianism and genocide.  Unless, of course, a less kind, less gentle rival religion imposes on our weakened nation their law.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Parker and Ride

I ride through an area each day with a 25 mile per hour speed limit. I think few people drive less than 35 mph there (except me of course!). I have never seen a police officer there; no one has ever gotten a ticket in that area.  One could argue, I suppose, no one exceeds the speed limit there.  How? 

Because no one has ever been ticketed there; if someone was speeding they would be ticketed.  

But no police officer is there to catch speeders, you might say. 

Of course, because no one speeds there; as soon as someone gets a ticket we'll know there are speeders there and enforce the law.

But when will that happen, if no is checking speeds?

Exactly.

In Houston a number of Christians (>50,000) signed a petition to get an initiative put on the ballot.  All the signatures were tossed because of "irregularities."  How would you know if people who signed the petition weren't who they say there are?  I guess you would have to check their identification.  The irony is that people without identification could vote on the initiative had it been accepted, while legitimate petition signers with proper identification were denied their rights. 

Behind the Houston debacle is Mayor Annise Parker.  She and her associates had subpoenaed  pastors' sermons, teaching notes, etc.  In an act of protest, several prominent Christian people called for Bibles and sermons to be mailed to Ms. Parker by pastors nationwide.  Reports say she has received between 500 and 1,000 Bibles.  There's no word on how many sermons.  She got several of mine.  Parker says she will donate the Bibles to local churches.  I hope she would read just one first. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mt. Olive Update: Week of October 26

So many good things are happening at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church.  We are blessed and thankful.

For Sunday, November 2:
  • This is our All Saints Day celebration.  We will commemorate all those who have passed from the Church Militant to the Church Triumphant.
  • Daylight Savings Times ends on this day.  Set your clocks back one hour before going to bed Saturday night.
  • This is the day of the December Newsletter Deadline.  Items not received in time for the newsletter can still be publicized in the bulletin, on Facebook, and in these weekly updates, etc.
Many, many thanks to Jordan Bates, the Evangelism Board ands everyone who helped to make the Boo-loon Halloween Party a roaring success. 

The Men's Bible Study will not meet on October 30.  We will continue our study using Coach Tony Dungee's book Quiet Strength on Thursdays at 7:00 pm on November 6, 13 and 20.   

Orders for the Mt. Olive Christian Pre-School Christmas Greens Fundraiser are due Friday, November 14; Yankee Candle orders benefitting the Pre-School may be placed through December 31.

We are participating in the Samaritan's Purse: Operation Christmas Child.  We will be filling shoeboxes with gifts for children and having them sent around the world to help share the gospel.  Details are in the brochures in the narthex.  The boxes will be collected on November 16.

Our Youth Group will preparing and serving a Spaghetti Dinner on Sunday, November 16 at 12 noon in the Great Hall.  Take outs available. 

Thanksgiving Eve Service of the Word:  Wednesday, November 26 at 7:00 pm.  A service of scripture reading, preaching, and prayer, including our favorite, traditional Thanksgiving hymns.   

Advent Midweek Services will be different this year.  Plan to attend now.  We will meet at 6:00 pm on Wednesdays December 3, 10 and 17 for a Simple Supper of soup, salad and bread.  At 6;30 there will be a Bible Study based on familiar Advent, Christmas and "after Christmas" hymns and carols.  Everyone should be on their way home before 7:30.  Please look for a sign-up sheet in the narthex if you would like to help with dinner on Dec. 10 or 17.

Have a blessed week. -- Pastor Ash