Showing posts with label Jesus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jesus. Show all posts

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Celebrating the Resurrection in 2021

This Easter has a deeper meaning for me. Thinking about the bodily Resurrection of Jesus, but it is also the anniversary of the birth of my late father. He, too, had that blessed hope. I will meet him, my mother, my oldest brother, and others in Heaven who have gone before.

While celebrating the bodily Resurrection of Jesus is important to me, this particular observance has an extra element to bring it home for me.
Credit: Flickr / Kristin Klein (CC BY 2.0)
If anyone was looking for a longer post, yes, I've been busy:

Friday, December 25, 2020

Wishing You a Blessed Christmas!

During tumultuous times, celebrating the birth of Jesus is a stark reminder to Christians that we have hope. This hope is not based in humanity. Instead, we need to focus on how God the Son left Heaven and became the man Jesus for our salvation.

Credit: Pixabay / falco

He did not come to make everything into our best lives now. In fact, following Jesus involves sacrifice and persecution; it is not a lazy tinhorn's religion like atheism. But we are given eternal salvation, adoption as sons and daughters of the living God, purpose, victory over death, and much more.

I'm not going to take much more of your time, unless you have a hankering to see what I've done for this Christmas season. I'd be much obliged if you'd watch the "flash mob" video. Look for how people are awestruck around the 4 min. 23 sec. mark. Okay, the other posts:

Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Big Bang of Thrones Game Theory

Step aside, guard! The king must use the throne. No, this is just a game.

Two television programs have ended that were loved by many. One was a fantasy drama called Game of Thrones, the other was a comedy known as The Big Bang Theory. From what I read, both generated quite a bit of emotion in some folks. 


So, Game of Thrones and The Big Bang Theory have each concluded. I do not care.
Background image before malevolentification by NASA / WMAP Science Team
(ain't no way they endorse any part of this site), with a graphic from Clker clipart
I didn't care. Two shows that people talked about that had many episodes, and I never saw any. Previews for The Big Bang Theory struck me as silly and I didn't want to spend time on it. Game of Thrones has been described as not only violent and trying to be politically correct, but it had graphic violence and was pornographic.



Fans were disappointed in the ending of GoT, I'm sad to know that some professing Christians were putting that kind of thing in their minds. So, did you imagine Jesus sitting with you eating popcorn and appreciating GoT? I wonder how he would like BBT?



Sunday, April 21, 2019

Clothing, Modesty, and the Resurrection

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Until the last few years, people knew that men and women are different. Not only do we have distinct biological differences that are important medically and in other ways, but it is the way God designed life. We are also psychologically different. It is indeed unfortunate that I have to state what was formerly obvious.


Modesty is not the usual subject for Easter, but it traces back to Genesis and into the gospel message.
Credit: Flickr / Mike Baird (CC by 2.0)
The University of Notre Dame was a religious school last I knew, and as such, claimed to uphold certain standards. Apparently modesty is not so important. One of the differences between men and women is that us menfolk are visually stimulated. Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. discussed a problem at the university where a mother wrote a column in the student newspaper about leggings. I highly recommend his March 29, 2018 The Briefing podcast that can be heard online, downloaded, or you can read the transcript.

One of the various names for this piece of hosiery for women is yoga pants, which shows that they are intended for athletic purposes. It has become fashionable to wear them in the workplace, for casual activities — and apparently even to religious services. People have described leggings as looking like they were "painted on". I've seen them and agree with that description. They are not mentioned in the company dress code where I work, but other items of modesty are addressed such as strapless tops. Ironic, I think.

Christianity and other religious emphasize modesty among both men and women, but especially for women because of the aforementioned visual stimulation of men. I have seen atheopaths (who compulsively oppose almost anything that the Bible upholds) say that immature men are the problem, so the "freedom" of women should not be at issue. Such an argument is both ignorant and risible.

Years ago, there was a controversy about thongs on beaches. I was puzzled. As a child, I used to wear what we called thongs (sometimes called sandals), but I grew to dislike them. Today, that unpleasant bit of footwear are known as flip-flops.

Nowadays, a thong is a skimpy bit of apparel that is like fabric spaghetti splitting the buttocks, then brought up between the thighs and attached to a waistband. (Many jurisdictions consider them to be indecent and they are outlawed.) I remember a television show, perhaps it was Phil Donahue, where a woman with a snide attitude was given the microphone and said, "What's the big deal? Everybody's got a butt!" Sure, princess, but everybody doesn't necessarily want to look at yours in a public place — or see those other parts that are normally kept private.

It seems that some people are too selfish to be considerate of others, even at the point of being visually provocative. This strikes me as narcissistic as well as selfish.

As Dr. Mohler points out in his analysis, the Bible tells us that we keep private parts private. Certain areas of the body are to be presented between a husband and wife, not paraded for the prurient desires of strangers.

In a silly 1958 short story called "Do Unto Others" by Mark Clifton, some prissy Earth women took a notion that the buck naked octopus-like inhabitants of Capella IV needed to be clothed. Let's assume for a moment that such critters exist. While forcing modesty on space aliens may seem well-intentioned, it is also pointless because they are not children of Adam and Eve. You'll see what I mean in a moment.

People may ask why we wear clothes in the first place. I mean, aside from cold weather and such. Clothing goes back to Genesis. After Adam and sinned, they felt the need to cover themselves (Gen. 3:7). God said, "Ain't no way", and covered them with the skins of animals (Gen. 3:21). This was the first covering for sin, and blood was shed.

You'll have to do some research on the theology involved, but animal sacrifices in the Old Testament were a temporary covering for sin and foreshadowed the coming of Jesus Christ. Bloodshed is necessary to cover sin. God the Son, our Creator, took on human form, died on a cross for the remission of our sins. He bodily arose on the third day, defeating death and doing away with the animal sacrifices.

Our clothing and modesty are reminders of not only respect for each other, but of sin covering. Jesus Christ attained the victory over sin and death. Most professing Christians celebrate Easter, and we have a great reason to do so. Sins are no longer covered. Instead, Christians are forgiven and we are children of the living God.



Sunday, April 14, 2019

Workforce Hero

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen
Edited 4-15-2019

Many of us who have jobs know the frustration of having upper management make demands, expecting those of us who actually do the work to somehow make their dreams and their bonuses come true. Unfortunately, too many people in their positions do not know how things work, but they make promises to clients that cannot realistically be fulfilled. I say that the motto of The Company is the song by Queen, "I Want It All (and I Want It Now)".


The hero-martyr who sold his soul for money and tries to put guilt on the rest of us.
USSR Order of Labor Glory 3rd Class Medal
Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Fdutil
(CC by-SA 3.0)
While my work at The Question Evolution Project and the Piltdown Superman site (among others) sometimes feels like a full-time job, I have a day job to pay the bills. It is a data entry job, so you can imagine the eye strain from doing that plus writing posts and articles.

My own social media rules are stricter than those of The Company because all y'all don't need to know where I work. One reason for that came from an incident on Twitter where someone looked up my employer and said he was calling them to get me fired. Why? Because he didn't like something I wrote. (Leftists want people silenced, you know.) As if he could reach the CEOs of a huge international corporation anyway — not that they would care about a whining troll in the first place.


A Bit of Background

This job requires us to make bricks and gather our own straw. That is, we are not given the necessary tools. We have outdated computers ("Optimized for Windows XP", tricked out for Windows 7), a rented building that would probably not pass inspections by the county health department or the fire codes, quirky climate controls, and so on.

We also use second-drawer software. Even before I began riding for the brand, people disliked this operating system. Sure, every OS needs adjustments. But when we've been complaining for years and are repeatedly told that "we're working on it", it's downright discouraging. In fact, the IT department makes adjustments that take away functionality. Live with it. Don't you know who we are? We're The Company! When both speed and accuracy are essential, we don't want to hear excuses and get workarounds that take too much time. Fix it, or put it back the way it was, Skippy.

The Company has rules, and you will obey them. You haff relatives, in ze old country, ja? It is possible for someone to get fired for not being stupid; blind obedience is paramount. It doesn't help matters that the rules keep changing.

Add to this the inconsistent screen displays. Forms vary greatly, and many are nearly illegible as well as being in different sizes and fonts. This produces eyestrain and overall fatigue.


Mandatory Overtime

When we signed on to this job, we took a shift with specific hours. Overtime was voluntary and intermittent. People plan their lives accordingly. Some have children, second jobs (The Company is downright cheap), and have lives to live, savvy that?

Although there were not enough people to perform the work, The Company made promises to their primary customer that we could handle a massive increase in volume and the time commitments. Not hardly! Naturally, we fell behind. The facilities manager (who acts like a kindergarten teacher who is angry because someone was eating paste) passes along directives from on high to managers below her: make things work. Immediate managers want to do a good job, and they have to be the town marshals. 

The Company dry-gulched us with mandatory overtime.


Disspirited

The manager below the angry teacher-type manager is intelligent and compassionate, which makes his job more difficult (it's easier to do that job if you are have no heart). He tried to make arrangements with people who could not stay for an extra ten or more hours a week. In a group meeting, they gave us a speech about how we need to get out of backlog, it shouldn't take long, save the company, and so on. No apologies about wrecking our plans for the Christmas season, though. Or Hanukkah. Then Easter and Passover.

It went on.

Eventually, we were out of backlog and there should be no more overtime. But wait! It happened again! Why? Because management from the schoolteacher-type on up are incompetent and they do not equip us to succeed. So, more OT. Some of us think it will never end


Torches and Pitchforks

We had another group meeting, and I was on the prod. Many of us were. In fact, I had to restrain my yap so I didn't get fired. This time, they were complaining that people were not doing voluntary overtime. Schoolmarm was using guilt, manipulation and shaming on us. (I wondered if they would hang "I didn't work enough overtime" signs on us, take our pictures, and post them on Fazebook.) The powers that be cannot understand why we have such a high turnover rate, blaming the people they depend on instead of examining themselves. This is a big part of it.

The usual points were made that we have system issues and were given the "we're working on it" response. In addition, it was stated that people get burned out, so when OT is not mandatory, some of us want to have the kind of hours for which we signed on. Other points were made, and a bit forcefully at times. I thought of the old Frankenstein movie where the villagers were going after the doctor and the monster with torches and pitchforks.


Hero-Martyr

A team lead (only hired a few months ago, and then promoted) said that his grandmother had just died, and he should be home grieving, but chose to put in overtime. Guilt manipulation was added. I wanted to say, "Do you want a medal?" I have a Soviet Union worker's medal at home, I could give it to him. Another co-worker said, "You're not the only one carrying this team".

I was also offended. No, I'm not like leftists who file complaints and make people miserable. I was offended because I had been out for three days on bereavement. My mother-in-law had died so I wanted to be there for my wife and deal with family things. I wonder if, in his eyes, it makes me a bad person. It was providential that I had the following week off because we were taking care of things during that week. Also, I learned that during that week off they had more mandatory overtime, and then the voluntary overtime was instated for the week that I returned. I don't react well to guilt and manipulation, as certain stalker and trolls can attest.

He is intelligent and personable. It's truly sad that he has misplaced priorities. Sadly, he put money and job status above family and friends, and I'm certain that he will regret his decision someday.


Overlooked Lessons

There are some things that management should consider. But I am unworthy to even have opinions, let alone, to express them. (Interesting that anti-creationist and anti-Christian trolls act the same way about people who have contrary views.) So you can read a few:
  • We signed on for a shift and specific hours
  • If they want to succeed, they should equip the people they depend on so we can all succeed
  • People do not respond well to bullying and manipulation
  • Immediate managers and supervisors are in a bad place, trying to make things work despite inane upper management
  • Yes, there are slackers, those exist in any business
  • Don't punish us all for the slacking of a few
  • You have stolen wages from employees, and I have the Department of Labor documentation to prove it; our trust levels plummet even further because of corporate dishonesty and incompetence
  • Helpful hint: you cannot defy the laws of time and space, nor can you reject the laws of logic. Stop trying.
  • Many employees have physical limitations and medical conditions
  • While some light a shuck out of there whenever they are slightly under the weather, many come to work sick or in pain
  • When overly tired, people make more mistakes
  • We do the best we can with what we have


Most Important

I reckon that most people simply want to do a job, go home and get on with their lives. As for me, I work to live, I don't live to work. Others seem to live to work, gaining prestige in their jobs. It is my considered opinion that they have sold their souls for money — and will suffer for it (Luke 16:13, Matt. 16:26, Luke 12:16-21). This or any other company can rail about it, but they will not get my soul. It is not mine to sell because it has been bought by the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 6:20, 1 Peter 1:18-19). I don't expect medals from an employer. 

From the Irony Board, a song from angry Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails has some lyrics that I agree with on the love of money. The live versions are high-energy, intense, and musically exciting, but more brutal and have profanity that I won't post. Here's the studio version:



Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Celebration of Christmas

Yes, we celebrate Christmas. No, we will not be manipulated into feeling guilty about it by Reverend Dourpuss or uninformed, legalistic Christians. Or professing atheists who pass along falsehood. Claims that Christmas is based on plagiarized pagan and mythic figures are false, pilgrim.


December 25 is the date that most professing Christians observe the birth of Jesus. Some people say it is a pagan thing to do. Such claims are uninformed at best.
Credit: Pixabay / RitaE
I'll allow that there are some errors in our traditions, such as the Magi visiting Jesus in the stable (their visit was a year or two later, and it was probably a large group, not just three). What if Christmas did have pagan associations? If that was true, then Christians who shun Christmas are inconsistent because several things we know and use today actually do have pagan origins — which are largely forgotten. Those people might want to avoid the days of the week and months of the year if they want to be consistent, for example.

December 25? I have read and some interesting arguments that insist that Jesus was indeed born on that date. Then I read others that make the case that he was born in late spring or early autumn. Maybe since we're unsure of the exact date, we should forget the whole thing? Don't be ridiculous!


Used under Fair Use provisions for educational purposes
Whenever Jesus was born and split history, people choose to observe December 25 (some using January 6) for the date of their observances. No, the Bible does not command it. Nor does the Bible forbid it. (For that matter, we see in John 10:22-23 that Jesus celebrated a non-commanded holiday.) If someone chooses to avoid celebrating, that is up to him or her, and nobody has any right to indulge in condemnation. Conversely, they have no right to condemn our liberty in Christ.

I'm going to wish you a happy Christmas, and continue celebrating the birth of God the Son, Jesus, our Creator and Redeemer. 

To read an interesting article on this subject, click on "Celebrating Christmas?" You may also like, "Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday?" There is also a humorous but informative short video below.



Sunday, April 1, 2018

Examining the Witnesses of the Resurrection

Using science, psychology, and years of refinement, investigators have developed some rather impressive systems at determining the truth of "Who did it" and "How it happened". This can apply to horrendous criminal cases, reasoning to a conclusion, and other applications.


From a legal perspective, the witnesses of the Resurrection are entirely reliable.
Credit: RGBStock / Robert Linder
Circumstantial evidence can only get you so far. Forensic (historical) science involves determining past events with evidence that exists in the present, so it gets mighty difficult when a significant amount of time passes. Eyewitness accounts are extremely important, and when hitched to a team with circumstantial and forensic materials, you are likely to reach a logical conclusion.

People who have watched courtroom dramas (on the screen or in person) may have encountered attorneys putting some hard questions to witnesses. This is to establish credibility or discredit the witnesses. In police matters, never let witnesses sit together. Separate them. Why? So there's less chance of them "getting their story straight", because it will take longer for legal folks to get to the truth. They can tell this when there are too many details that match exactly. Small discrepancies or disagreements actually help validate the truthfulness of the witnesses.

I have had furious atheists that have lied, misrepresented biblical creation science and people, tried to defame us with other Christians, had their logic refuted, pretended to be experts in theology, and more. They have no credibility, and thinking people do not take them (or their claims) seriously.

We have the ultimate eyewitness, because God is the guiding hand behind the men who penned Scripture (1 Peter 1:19-21, 2 Timothy 3:16). Although Adam was not there for the first days of creation, he probably wrote a manuscript that Moses used later. God directed men to write the rest of Scripture as well — including those eyewitnesses who wrote the four Gospels.

Are there discrepancies in the Gospels? Yes. People have their own minds and perceptions, and they were not always standing at the same corral gate, so to speak. This, too, lends to their credibility, and the main points that they discuss are still supported.

Let's take a look at a discussion of the Gospel witnesses from a legal perspective in more detail.
The truth of the Resurrection stands or falls on the truth of the witnesses. Are they reliable? Of the New Testament writers, there are six witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, if we include the apostles Peter and Paul. These people have left us writings in the form of historical documents which give us their testimony concerning the resurrection.

The question is—are these historical documents reliable? Can we trust them? One way of determining whether the documents are reliable is to put the people who wrote them through the test a good magistrate or judge would put them through. The accuracy of these witnesses depends on five things: their honesty, ability, their number and consistency of their evidence, the conformity of their testimony with our own personal experience, and lastly, the coincidence of their testimony with other circumstances and facts.
To read the rest of this very interesting article, click on " Can we believe the Gospels? — A former chief magistrate examines the witnesses to the resurrection".




Monday, December 25, 2017

Earning Gifts from Santa

The way I've always understood it, a gift is something that is freely given. If you work to receive something, it is not a gift, but earned like wages or something. Children in many parts of the world are told about a being known by many names, including Father Christmas, Sinterklaas, Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus (see the pattern on the last three names?), and others.


Credit: RGBStock / LUSI
Way back yonder, Nicholas was a godly man who was also a giver of gifts. Legends built up, and today we have a recluse who lives at the North Pole, flying around the world with in a sleigh drawn by reindeer and giving gifts to all the good little girls and boys. Probably defies the laws of physics, as this internet legend indicates.

Like many others, I believed in Santa Claus, but as I grew older, I realized that the storyline was impossible. The myth was shattered when I walked past my parents' bedroom, the door was wide open and a big box of unwrapped gifts was in the middle of the floor. If they didn't want me "snooping", they could have at least moved the box out of plain view.

I never shook the feeling that my parents lied to me, though. Many adults are telling this fable to their children, often to prompt them to "be good" so Santa will bring them presents. (It probably works for about a week before Christmas, then they're back to being their old selves again after they grab the loot.) My kids were never told the full myth, but were told about it. I disremember if we told them not to spoil it for other kids who believe in Santa, though. The reason we leveled with them about Santa is that we did not want them to associate that with the truth of God becoming flesh and taking on the form of a man, whose birth is observed on December 25 or January 6. Here is one picture mixing the Santa myth with the reality of Jesus' birth that I like very much.

There is a false salvation connection with Santa. He sees and knows every child all the time, like an omniscient god. (Someone pointed out that he shouldn't need a list to check twice if he's that all-knowing.) Kids have to earn their gifts through good behavior. Then they are not gifts, they are wages. It is very bad to associate salvation with works, because it is only through God's grace and a gift of God (Rom. 3:23, Rom. 6:23, Eph. 2:8-9). Don't confuse the kids, you savvy? And don't confuse yourselves, either. No religious traditions, ceremonies, chanting, "being good" or anything else can save you except repenting and trusting Christ alone for your salvation.

You want to play at the Santa game, fine. It's a cute decoration (except for the creepy ones) and ubiquitous. If you don't like it, that's fine too, but don't be going Pharisee on folks, old son. Santa is still a veiled symbol of giving, and God gave us his Son as the ultimate gift.
[A] popular song portrays the portly North-pole dwelling St. Nick as omnipresent and omniscient—he somehow knows what every child is doing everywhere in the world. Of course, those are attributes that belong to God alone.

It also urges children to “be good for goodness’ sake!” But some vague idea of “goodness’ sake” or the hope of reaping a reward from Santa (or anyone else) should never be our motivation for being good. And who defines what “good” is in this context anyway?

We should be “good”—as defined by God in his Word—because we love our Heavenly Father and do not want to sin against him, and because he has commanded us to be perfect as he is (Matthew 5:48).
To read the entire article, click on "Naughty or Nice?" Also, for more material of a biblical nature and a passel of links for further reading, click on "Christmas and Creationists".



Friday, August 4, 2017

Rejected — and Accepted

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Heard a message by Dr. Charles Stanley about rejection. I don't cotton to stuff about building up your self-esteem since those are usually humanistic platitudes, and there's not a great deal of truth there. While most of us deal with some form of it every day, rejection can cut to a person's core. Worse, people will use rejection to manipulate people.

Depending on the impact of the rejection (a child by parents, former spouses or romantic interests, a powerful boss, and so on), scars can last a lifetime, and people try to earn some kind of acceptance in the aftermath. Some are so programmed for defeat, they set themselves up for failure and say, "See? I'm no good".

What do I have to offer? What makes me successful? Not a hatful. A poorly-paying job that cheats me out of my wages, no books published, no riches or fame, reasonably bright but not a genius. Certain atheists and evolutionists hate me with a passion because of my activities with The Question Evolution Project and on the sites listed at the top. They use their hatred in manipulation efforts such as appealing to my pride by calling me a coward for refusing to debate them, straw man arguments, character attacks, and more. I think I'm doing something right, then. Their opinions of me are unimportant.

By the world's standards, I'm a failure. A loser.

But I'm accepted where it matters. We are all deserving of condemnation to Hell (Rom. 3:23) and are enemies of God. God loves us, and Jesus died for us while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8, 6:23). According to God's holy standards, we cannot impress him with ourselves or our accomplishments; salvation is by faith, a gift (Eph. 2:8-9). Our requirement is to receive the gift of salvation through repentance (Luke 24:46-47).

The shed blood of Jesus and his bodily resurrection prove that this loser is accepted. More than that, I — and all who are in Christ — are already seated us with Jesus in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:5-6). We are born from above (John 3:3, 3:16), new creations (2 Cor. 5:17). I'm accepted, as are all who are in Jesus, and he's the one who matters most. Those who reject salvation will be rejected by God for eternity.



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Of Primary Importance

There are many denominations, doctrines, dogmas, opinions, notions, and more under the broad heading of Christianity. Some believe that baptism by sprinkling is okay, others insist on full immersion (and a few hold to the false doctrine of baptismal regeneration). Do we baptise infants or only adults? There are some heterodox beliefs that are mixed in as well.

The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus heart of gospel
Credit: Cadetgray / Wikimedia Commons
(CC BY-SA 3.0)
There are people who claim that creation is an unimportant side issue, but that is not the case. While belief in biblical creation is not a requirement for salvation, it is important because all major Christian doctrines have their foundations in Genesis.

The apostle Paul referred to creation and Genesis many times. Of interest here is when he referred to Adam and to Jesus as "the last Adam" (1 Cor. 15:22, 45). Nevertheless, Paul went to the most important point of all: the Crucifixion and bodily Resurrection of Jesus. They are of first importance, the heart of the gospel, and should be the unifying factor above all other beliefs, interpretations, and opinions.
The Christian faith is not a mere collection of doctrines — a bag of truths. Christianity is a comprehensive truth claim that encompasses every aspect of revealed doctrine, but is centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, as the apostolic preaching makes clear, the gospel is the priority.

The Apostle Paul affirms this priority when he writes to the Christians in Corinth. In the opening verses of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul sets out his case:
To finish reading (it's not very long), click on "Of First Importance: The Priority of the Cross and the Empty Tomb".


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Graven Images of Jesus?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

Something that puts a burr under my saddle is when people who have limited knowledge of what the Bible actually teaches will try to use it against Christians. Early on, I had a picture of Jesus that appeared on each post on a certain weblog. Someone was on the prod because I said something against one of his pet heterodox doctrines, so he threw down on me in the comments and added that because I had that picture, it was a graven image and I was an idolator. That'll be the day!




We expect that kind of nonsense from atheopaths, but it's distressing when it comes from professing Christians who are ignorant of the Bible that they claim to believe. These are the same jaspers who falsely claim that Jeremiah 10:1-5 (written hundreds of years before Christ) means we cannot have Christmas trees in our homes. (Hint: try reading Scripture for understanding, pilgrim.) If images of Jesus are idols, it would mean that many art masterpieces throughout the centuries are wicked. Yes, we know that nobody knew what Jesus really looked like, but there's actually nothing wrong with graphic representations of him.

When I was a child, I thought the second commandment meant that you should not make any image of God whatsoever. Being about seven years old, I was unaware of the work of William Blake, Michelangelo, and others, and was unwilling to draw a picture of God in Sunday School. Simply stated, a graven image is a substitute god that people worship.

I'll go you one further. It is not wrong to have an image of Jesus, and I reckon it's all right to use it as a focal point during prayer. This can be a mite tricky, though, if you tend to be praying to the image and not God the Son. Keep your perspective. And no, praying to statues and pictures of saints, or praying to them in other ways, is prohibited by Scripture. Mary was a blessed woman, and many of the others who are called saints were probably fine folks, but they cannot hear you, and would object to being given prayers.

For more about pictures and such, I suggest reading "What Is a Graven Image?"

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Deceptive Humanist Christmas Song

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

The late Greg Lake, most notably of the progressive rock bands Emerson, Lake and Palmer and King Crimson, had a "Christmas" song that wasn't. The lyrics were written by Peter Sinfield. There are conflicting accounts and misconceptions about "I Believe in Father Christmas", that it is a Christmas song, it was never intended to be such ("...about a loss of innocence and childhood belief"), Vietnam war protest, it's an atheist song, it's not atheist but rather "humanist" (as if there's a difference), and so on. I'll allow that it has excellent music and thought-provoking lyrics, but I haven't heard all of the versions.

Sinfield wrote lyrics for EMP and King Crimson, and Lake wrote many lyrics himself, including all of those on ELP's Tarkus album. One of these was "The Only Way (Hymn)", a mocking anti-theistic and anti-Christian song, including the lyrics, "Don't need the word now that you've heard. Don't be afraid, man is man-made". You shouldn't wonder at my suspicion that "I Believe in Father Christmas" is actually an atheistic song, despite the claims of the writers.


"I Believe in Father Christmas" is played as a Christmas song, but has a decidedly anti-Christian meaning. Key lyrics and examined.
Image credit: Pixabay / PublicDomainPictures
Let's take a look at some of the lyrics, which are found in their entirety here.
They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be peace on earth
But instead it just kept on raining
A veil of tears for the virgin's birth
Ah, the ubiquitous "they" of so many songs. I tried writing some poems that I intended to turn into songs (fortunately for humanity, those lyrics are gone) and used "they". Someone asked, "Who are 'they'?" He was right. Sounds like a shadowy boogie man told in cowboy campfire tales. If "they" are the weather forecasters that promised snow, don't be surprised. Those people get a lot of things wrong even three days after a forecast. Some people think those same climate calculations can spell disaster for us 100 years from now, or less, as in Algore's famous failed predictions. But I digress. 

Lyricist Sinfield had a Christmas disappointment as a child. It happens. Did that destroy his weak or even nonexistent faith, such as Lewis Wolpert's rejection of God for not being a cosmic wish-granting genie? In a way, none of this is all that surprising, given the increased secularism of Britain. I'm just cognating on those things.
They sold me a dream of Christmas
They sold me a silent night
And they told me a fairy story
'till I believed in the Israelite
And I believed in Father Christmas [Ever notice that the title is in the present tense, I believe, but the lyrics are past tense, I believed? -CBB]
And I looked to the sky with excited eyes
'till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise
Oh no! It's the dreaded they again! How was it "sold"? (Maybe a traveling salesman with a bowler hat, umbrella, and a necktie like they wore in Britain back then.) Sinfield called "the Israelite" (Jesus) a "fairy story", and we're supposed to believe that this is not an atheistic song? Not hardly! Lake must have been in agreement about the "fairy story" because he sang those lyrics. Disbelief in Father Christmas? That's where I have a problem with Christians who tell their children about that character (even though he was based on a real person) and magical gift-giving, because they can easily say, "I was lied to about Santa, Jesus must be false as well". Some of us told our kids that Santa is make believe and illustrates the spirit of giving, but that Jesus is real.

The soaring final lines are impressive:
Hallelujah noel, be it Heaven or Hell
The Christmas we get we deserve
Pretty dreadful stuff. Greg Lake wants to join in the Christmas celebration for the good will and nice feelings, but why? We all know the reason people are singing hymns and exchanging gifts, the reason stores plan on making big money at the end of the year, and it's certainly not because of Saturnalia or Winter Solstice celebrants! No, I'm not forgetting Hanukkah, but it's not exactly prominent and a money-maker for retail stores. If atheists want to celebrate Christmas and leave Christ out, it's a fa├žade and they're living a lie. Christmas is about Christ, and they know it.

Do we get the Christmas we deserve? That line is nonsensical. Actually, we don't deserve Christmas at all! We are sinners (Rom. 3:23, 3:10-12) and deserve death (Rom. 6:23). God loves us (John 3:16, Rom. 5:8). Christmas is about Jesus, God the Son, our Creator, taking on human form for our redemption (John 1:1-3, Col. 1:16, Phil. 2:6-8). Those who do not belong to Jesus are enemies of God (Rom. 5:10) and blinded by their father down below (2 Cor. 4:4, John 8:44), but can repent and become children of the living God by faith (Eph. 2:8-9, Gal. 4:4-6, John 1:12, 2 Cor. 5:17). We've treated God like garbage, but he wants to redeem us and adopt us as his children. We can have Christmas, but we most certainly do not deserve it.

Greg Lake has met his Maker. He has since learned that man is not man-made (Gen. 1:27, Mark 10:6, Col. 1:16, John 1:1-3). He also knows his eternal destiny, and I hope he repented before the end. Where will you spend eternity?

I'm going to celebrate Christmas — something I do not deserve.



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Day I Disagreed with Albert Mohler

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

If I made a personal rule not to listen to or read material from people who are smarter than me, I wouldn't have much to do. Instead, I saddle up and ride the harder trail, trying to learn some things from people I can't hold a candle to in the area of intelligence. When disagreeing with someone, a good exercise is to be able to show why you are doing so, even if it only benefits yourself. Sometimes, other people may respect that you gave reasons for your contrary view, because it shows that you're thinking.

Disagreeing with Dr. Albert Mohler on the issue of cremation. I found out that others in my family have preferred this.
Image credit: Morguefile / Kenn W. Kiser
This has to do with a topic that is sometimes controversial among Christians. In the October 26, 2016 episode of The Briefing podcast, Dr. Albert Mohler was discussing the issue of cremation. He was agreeing with the Roman Catholic Church that cremation is not acceptable for professing Christians. One of the reasons is that pagans do it, cremation is not in the Bible, and also, Christians traditionally have not done it. This strikes me as guilt by association and the genetic fallacy on the first point. To take that concept further, there are many things we "cannot" do because pagans, atheists, cultists, Communists, or whatever also do them. Not hardly! On the second point, that Christians have traditionally eschewed cremation, well, that doesn't impress me.

I disremember when, but Pastor Alistair Begg expressed strong dislike for cremation, and described the unpleasantness of the cremation funeral ceremony and of the process itself. I agree with him on that part, and think people are better off without that aspect. Giving the container to the family after the fact is fine, and they can choose whether or not to use it in the memorial service.

Interestingly, after I had decided that this was what I wanted for myself as a cost consideration for those left behind, I learned that both of my parents had selected cremation as well. My oldest brother was also cremated, as was my father-in-law (we have his cremains in the apartment right now pending further plans). There was no cremation ceremony.

This leads to some odd humor. My oldest brother died December 21, 2008, and my father died the following February. They lived in Michigan, and I was unable to travel from New York for my brother's service. When I arrived at my other brother's home for my father's service, they put me up in a spare bedroom. I asked if anyone was using the room, and my brother said, "No...oh!" He went into the closet and lifted up a lacquered box, saying, "This is our brother". The ground was frozen (February, remember), so the burial couldn't happen until the spring thaw.

After my father's service the next day, we brought things out of the funeral home, and put the container with his remains in the back of my brother's car. The container remained in the car overnight, and the next day, my brother said, "Do you want to bring Dad in?" I really think my father would have laughed at the comments and situation.

Christians have a blessed hope (Titus 2:11, 1 Peter 1:3). My oldest brother had severe Down Syndrome, my mother was taken by a malignant glioma, and my father had many issues at the end, including dementia and Parkinson's. We're going to have a joyous reunion, all of the physical and mental impairments will be gone. I'm ready to join them with Jesus. What about you? There's good news if you want it.

Back to the topic, I had reached my conclusion about cremation before I had know other family members had decided on this approach for themselves. Respectfully, Dr. Mohler, I disagree with you. I'm sure it'll happen again sometime.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

What If I'm Right?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

No, this isn't a form of Pascal's Wager. I just got to speculating one day.

Eschatology is not my strong point. I'll hear arguments from Amillennialists and Preterists (not the hyperpreterist heretics, though) that make some good points. However, I believe that the Premillennialist pre-tribulation rapture position is the strongest. Unfortunately, there are professing Christian sanctimonious tinhorns in various camps who take the "Premillennialism is a heresy that must be refuted" view. Not interested. Some even use the appeal to motive fallacy of "Pretribs just want to escape, so they want to sit around doing nothing while they wait for Jesus to come and take them away". I don't cotton to the opposite happening, either. That's no way for Christians to act! Have rational discussions, if you please.


Last Judgement endtimes prophesies society
"The Last Judgement" by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1904
Seems like through the ages, people have been saying that civilization is going downhill, that children were more respectful, less honesty, more violence in the world, that kind of thing. Then the observation is dismissed. But I believe it's true. The world is a far more dangerous place, and it's spiraling downward. Although atheists will misrepresent and even lie outright by saying that there is no persecution of Christians, it is happening — and increasing. One small example is the way Facebook treats Christians while coddling atheists, Mohammedans, homosexuals, leftists, and so on.

Scripture tells us this would happen (Luke 6:22, Matt. 24:9, John 16:33, 1 Thess. 1:6, Heb. 10:33, 1 Peter 4:12-19, 2 Tim. 3:12). We're not hated by the world because of who we are (except obnoxious people who bring it on themselves), but because the world hates God in us. All through the Bible, believers are instructed to good to all, including our enemies (Luke 6-27-31, Gal. 6:10, Prov. 25:22, Lev. 19:34). Unbelievers do not have such instruction, and tacitly or overtly agree with Anton Lavey's Satanic command, "Let no wrong go unredressed". 

I reckon I need to say that biblical creationists are despised by not only atheists (because evolutionism is a foundation for their worldview), but also by theistic evolutionists, old Earth advocates, and other false teachers. One thing they have in common is disdain for the authority of the Word of God, so they join up in attacking us. 

Although they hate us, atheists and other unbelievers will be in a world of hurt when the Rapture hits after the coming apostasy. We are salt and light in the world, and when we're gone, so will the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit, who is within us. It will be as in the days of Noah, "...and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Gen. 6:5, also see Matt. 24:27-39, 2 Peter 3:3-7). Things are bad now, getting worse, and they'll become terrible. Sounds like part of the Great Tribulation to me.

In those days, there will be converts to Jesus, witnessing, persecution, angels, trumpets, opening seals, bowls of wrath, and martyrdom (Rev. 6:9-11). This will not stop the devolution of the world, then comes the final Judgement. That's going to be a busy time! The Rapture, Tribulation, the resurrection of all to be judged, where some are judged for their good works and some are judged to damnation.

I'd like to think that things I've written will give testimony to Christ after I'm gone, but let's face it, those will probably be destroyed. Registered domains will expire, and I can imagine a "politically correct" movement deleting whatever can be found on the Web that proclaims repentance and Jesus, the only way to salvation.

What if I die before the Rapture? I know for a fact that there are atheopaths who will rejoice greatly (including one who wants Hell to be real so I'll go there — amazing how someone who rejects God thinks he's an expert on the Bible, then misuses it). I've seen misotheists celebrating the deaths of Christians. Aside from that, my position is secured. Jesus was crucified for my sins and bodily rose on the third day (1 Cor 15:3-11). So I'm going to be with him.

What if you die, or are on Earth after we're gone? Without Jesus, your eternal future is dismal (Rev. Rev. 21:8, Rev. 21:27). All have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and deserve death, but God offers us the gift of life (Rom. 6:23). We can all be children of God (John 1:12-13) by grace, thorough faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Denying God's existence is irrational, as is trying to earn our way into Heaven by our works or religious ceremonies. None of us know when our last hour is happening. Being a Christian is hard work, and there are persecutions (as I've stated), so I'm not giving a silly "Accept Jesus and be happy all the time" thing. No, we need to repent of our sins and receive Jesus Christ by faith.

You may laugh and mock at this whole picture, as many do. But what if I'm right?