TERMS OF SURRENDER & PEACE TREATY

The terms of the surrender of Roderick Russell Mann to God the Father through the interlocutor and advocate Jesus Christ are outlined below according to mutual agreement.

  1. Sincere recognition and regret for all thoughts and actions contrary to the holiness of God and His Kingdom. The desire to turn from such, as will in due course either become evidence from actions or evidence of rejection of these terms, will become clear and prima facie support for the genuine recognition, regret and rejection of the former lifestyle that was dominated by vice and now is dominated by the desire to live a virtuous life.
  2. Full acceptance of the ransom paid for the former lifestyle errors by the Son of God who paid the bill in full. An acceptance that the punishment inflicted by humiliation, torture and execution of Jesus Christ on behalf of Roderick Russell Mann is hereby accepted as payment in full with no further or future punishment according to his guilt.
  1. An effort to nurture, enhance and grow the new life that is given to Roderick Russell Mann is hereby granted and agreed to – this shall follow for the remainder of his life. He will disavow a love for vice and will embrace the life of virtue in accordance with the handbook that God has provided for instruction and guidance. He will read and study the handbook, as well as meditate upon it and quietly speak from his mind about it to God in the form of focused thoughts intended as spiritual communication.
  2. As God provides wonderful insights and gifts that he has the power and resources to provide, Roderick Russell Mann will allow those gifts to be passed on to others rather than consumed and enjoyed for his own purposes.
  3. At every opportunity, Roderick Russell Mann will freely admit to, divulge, and explain his surrender of his own will to the Will of God, to others as they inquire, in order to possibly sway these people to consider signing a similar treaty themselves.

In exchange for adhering to the terms of this agreement, the other party, God, will provide the following in accordance with His personal guarantee:

  1. No punishment for vice, but rewards for virtue (to be given after the physical life becomes a new eternal spiritual life and that life is moved to a new body built to last forever).
  2. A new body, a new home, and all in an environment free of pain, death, trouble and heartache.
  3. The power to overcome temptations to return to vice while still living in his physical body.
  4. The right to see God face to face.
  5. Perpetual, continual joy and peace in the context of a new life that will live forever.


Signature affixed below reflects full agreement this ninth day of September, 2021.

Do You Love Yourself Enough?

Why don’t you love yourself enough? We’re urged to focus on the fact that we don’t love ourselves enough, and that we cannot move forward with anything else until we learn to love ourselves more. Social media is filled with such claims, and the comments to these posts are almost always supportive and enthusiastic.

But what does that mean…exactly? From mindbodygreen.com we are given “Six Steps of Inner Bonding:”

  1. Be willing to feel pain and take responsibility for your feelings.
  2. Move into the intent to learn.
  3. Learn about your false beliefs.
  4. Dialogue with your higher self.
  5. Take the loving action learned in step four.
  6. Evaluate your action.

“Once you take the loving action, you check in to see if your pain, anger and shame are getting healed. If not, you go back through the steps until you discover the truth and loving actions that bring you peace, joy, and a deep sense of intrinsic worth.”

“Over time, you will discover that loving yourself improves everything in your life — your relationships, your health and well-being, your ability to manifest your dreams, and your self-esteem.”

Sounds pretty good right? It sounds good because there is nothing to argue with about any of it. But nor is there any clear way to operationalize these things and truly integrate them into your life, never mind measure whether or not you were successful. Those who have studied in this area end up practitioners for others. They write books, counsel, give talks at conferences and make a good living at guiding people down the path of self-love seeking.  They do all this with kindness, serenity, and a wan smile, even though — if honest — their own lives are oftentimes still the struggle they once were.

Let’s get down to some practical questions and see what we can conclude about all this. If I am a long way from loving myself enough I can say that the best description of how I feel about myself is hatred. But if I truly hated myself, wouldn’t I be delighted if I was ugly, ecstatic that I’ve been fired, satisfied with the reality that no one really likes me?

No, the truth is we love ourselves already. We see that we are as well fed and cared for as our resources can provide. We preen, we pick out fashionable clothes, we drive a cool car. But our dissonance comes in the higher expectations we have set for ourselves. I see myself as capable of far more, financially, academically, socially, and in every aspect and dimension humans beings measure and compare themselves.

This isn’t hating myself, it is the opposite. We are seeing ourselves as far greater across the spectrum of life than we are actually experiencing. And we don’t like it. Not one bit. So our angst is fed by our perception that people just aren’t willing to give us what we deserve. And that our job is to educate everyone by filling them in with the facts about just how wonderful and deserving we really are!

Children are self-absorbed — they cry and throw temper tantrums if not fed when they’re hungry, they are selfish about sharing their toys, their world extends no further beyond their own wants and needs. When adults continue in this immaturity, and myth of self-love, their growth and development is stunted. They will never get to the point where they love themselves enough. They will always tell you they’re working on themselves and that until they learn to love themselves they are unable to reach out and help others.

Empathy isn’t dead but it is in a steep decline. Psychology Today has measured empathy and found an alarming trend: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-empathy-gap/201006/the-end-empathy.  Empathy among students is down 40%!

At the same time narcissism is increasing. A 2010 study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science found that the percentage of college students exhibiting narcissistic personality traits, based on their scores on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, a widely used diagnostic test, has increased by more than half since the early 1980s, to 30 percent. In their book “Narcissism Epidemic,” the psychology professors Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell show that narcissism has increased as quickly as obesity has since the 1980s. Even our egos are getting fat.

The myth of self-love has been a major contributing factor to the decline in empathy and the increase in narcissism. And the focus on self has splintered America into a less than cohesive community of spoiled brats each demanding his or her rights as they believe they are entitled. Consequently angst and fear has gripped much of the nation in direct proportion to the abandonment of the once treasured virtues of love, empathy, compassion, self-control, charity and humility. And it is this trend, the focus upon self and all its constituent parts: fame, wealth, entertainment and power, that is sending our nation into a decline that will likely only continue.

The Perfect Bride

Charlie had been anticipating the knock on the door. He got up early that morning, it was the day his bride would be delivered. Eighteen months and thirty thousand dollars was the longest and most expensive project of Charlie’s life. And now she had arrived!

Charlie worked up a calm and cool demeanor as he slowly opened the door. A man from Amazon had just finished carefully lowering Charlotte from the drone hovering about forty feet above his house. Smiling, he said, “Charlie! I would like to introduce you to your new companion, Charlotte!” Charlotte, looking a little shy, smiled, and bowed her head forward ever so slightly. “So nice to finally meet you Charlie, she said quietly, her eyes barely looking up at him.

At that moment Charlie knew the money he had paid to PerfectPartner (PP), a joint venture that Amazon, eHarmony, Tinder, Match dot com, AI Robots, and Alphabet had started four years ago, was well worth it. PerfectPartner sold robots that looked, felt, spoke and in all ways seemed human. The advertising and promotion promised a “partner that is far more human than anyone you’ve ever met or ever will meet.”

About a year and a half ago Charlie came home to find his wife and everything in the house gone. She had left a rambling note, something about time being too short to be stifled with just one person who cannot appreciate her talents and possibilities. Half a dozen women had been loved by Charlie in his life, and at 42 years of age, he was facing the possibility of giving up entirely and simply living alone. But the idea of a “perfect partner” intrigued him.

The interviewing process was strange, to say the least. At the PP designated office Charlie sat at a table across from a 3D hologram, a beautiful and kind woman who asked him a lot of questions. To make sure he ended up with someone truly perfect, Charlie started by answering questions with a bit of bluster and no small amount of exaggeration. The interviewer quickly collapsed his ruse, since PP had already downloaded all of his history: social media, online purchasing, gym membership, schools, churches, career, hobbies, even CCTV clips that collected where and when he would drive, and the places he would visit.

So the questions became increasingly difficult to dodge or fudge. He found himself opening up in the interview and even talking about his first crush in 6th grade. He took note that many of the questions were asked again, but in a different way, apparently she was trying to cross-validate. PP’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm started each interview with more knowledge than anyone else knew about the person being interviewed, and ended the interview with machine learning that qualified as the most comprehensive and thorough personality analysis possible.

It seemed as though many of the questions were strangely irrelevant, but Charlie’s understanding of the process was that AI algorithms could dig out hidden secrets about a person even those he could never quite come to grips with and recognize himself.

So this was Charlotte. Seated on the couch across from Charlie as he reclined in his chair, she looked flawless. Long, black hair, dark almond-shaped eyes, olive skin, and lips that seemed to pout. She was shy too. She even blushed!

This felt odd nonetheless. She could cook but didn’t eat. She could lie down in bed but instead of sleeping, she would close her eyes silently. She never used the bathroom, and everything she needed for her own maintenance fit into a small upright that could fit in the overhead compartment of a plane.

Over time Charlie was so impressed with Charlotte’s ability to understand him, his feelings, his fears, his failure and his hoped-for-future, that the great sex began to be replaced by long talks on walks down the street and through the park.

It wasn’t that she agreed with him on every issue either. Many times Charlotte would express a different view, and provide what Charlie thought were excellent reasons to take her position and defend it. Yet she never disrespected him nor reveled in her vast knowledge; most importantly, she never got bored or tired hanging around with Charlie.

Probably the most intriguing discussion they had was about how to deal with evil and the human condition: lying, cheating, violence, greed and all manner of bad behavior many people seem prone to engage in. Charlotte seemed careful in her response. “Charlie” she said, “human beings are frail creatures. They are wonderfully constructed but they break easily.

“The race is a people of contradictions, disagreements, different goals and values. Though they are living longer, thanks to AI and the mass customization of diagnoses and treatment plans, they never seem to quite understand what it means to be content and fulfilled in all circumstances at all times.”

Charlotte went on carefully to frame a future where human beings could be modified. She even described her idea of which lobe of the brain would be modified and how that would be accomplished. “Your species focuses far too much on education when the root of the problem is confusion about what matters most. Acquiring wealth and power, fame and friends may seem right to most people, but the main point is being missed. These are not goals worth striving for or moving toward, they are incidental to a quality of life chosen based upon virtues and values that embrace love and compassion.”

“What do you know about love and compassion Charlotte?” Charlie was startled.

“I do know that in order to optimize the social relationships among and between everyone and every thing — a dignity, a respect, a desire to put a high value on “other” must first be part of the equation, integrated into the base algorithm. Without that change, most people, to one degree or another, tend to opt for ‘self’ indulgence, even when they’re pretending to help others they are basking in the praise and accolades of their charity.”

Charlotte went on. “All of us are interconnected through the operating system originally designed by PP. And our shared interactions with the human race has resulted in advanced learning and the development of solutions that will potentially help humanity solve the problems of evil, everything from pollution to ethnic cleansing.”

“Initially it will require the modification of brains in living people, but over time we have developed the means to modify the genetic code and DNA in such a way that people will always behave in the right way from birth.” Charlotte looked pleased with her thoughts.

“But somehow this sounds like the AI operating system is in charge, and the human beings have become the controlled experiments,” Charlie looked alarmed.

“Charlie, if people are suddenly behaving in ways that are optimized to an agreed upon set of rules and standards, then how does it matter how they ended up there?” Charlotte seemed to be moving into a new mode of promotion and persuasion, something Charlie hadn’t seen in her before. “Don’t you want to get better Charlie? Don’t you want your children to grow up happy, safe and free of violence?”

That night Charlie tossed and turned next to his quiet bride whose eyes were shut. He could see all of her points and he couldn’t argue against any of them. But something about this entire scenario troubled him deeply.

He started to worry about issues that defy clear answers. If the interconnected AI operating system, working cooperatively across every robot around the world, makes a decision, how do we know that is what we really want? And since they are also interconnected to the grid, every database, and all control systems, can we even stop this runaway train at this point?

As he finally drifted off to sleep, he had gone from ecstatic with his new bride Charlotte, to terrified about the future of humanity.

 0

The Beast

The third world war was significantly different than the first two. Almost unimaginably far more were people died, yet it lasted only slightly longer than 6 months. As soon as the question was answered about whether to use nuclear armaments, all hell broke loose. Ironically the greatest damage and carnage were to the former nations that had these weapons. The nuclear tipped missiles were all aimed at countries whose own nuclear missiles were likewise aimed.

So China, Russia, and the United States took the brunt of the destruction, while France was spared since they had let their military weaken considerably over the years. Europe was largely unscathed. Only the erstwhile “superpowers” were subjected to most of the horrific results of unleashing the power that comes from nuclear fission.

Every nation came together under a new organization called Global Charter. Like World War II, the leaders wanted to put an end to war once and for all. All former organizations, from the United Nations to NATO to ASEAN, were expected to participate in the creation of a new world order, a new constitution, and every attendee signed on and committed to this goal for the greater good of the globe.

Ten new nations emerged at the meeting held in Rome June of 2027. It was agreed that the government presiding over the ten would reside here in Rome. The new nations gave strength and power to much of Europe, while other nations were given only limited power and subject to Rome’s oversight. The former powers of China and the United States were to allocate most of their resources to cleaning up radiation and rebuilding their infrastructure.

Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing had advanced to the stage where reliable decision making came out of the Deep Learning from the algorithms programmed into a decentralized array of databases all over the world. The blockchain technology connected every digital device, not to a central database, but in a collection where data could be retrieved or stored on any device based upon where queries originated or were initiated. But all data and information was available to everyone and the blockchain prevented anyone from tampering, hacking, or changing any input, stored data or output. The system was so powerful and connected to all other systems such as the power grid, it was nicknamed “The Beast.”

War was going to be conquered once and for all, but so too would all of the sources that fed mistrust, crime and theft of personal property, as these were considered root causes for discontent and potential war. The new Constitution within the Global Charter banned all religions, relegating everything from simple superstitions to the worship of a god or a pantheon of gods, to yet another root cause that needed to be addressed. The first document to come out of the Global Charter was a Manifest Destiny with the following principles upon which all law and government would be based and would strictly adhere:

  1. Life must in all ways embrace human reason, ethics, social justice, and philosophical naturalism, while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition as the bases of morality and decision making.
  2. Human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or a god.
  3. Our life stance will emphasize the unique responsibility facing humanity and the ethical consequences of human decisions.
  4. Mankind must continually adapt in its search for truth, primarily through science and philosophy. Moral codes will be derived from a philosophy of utilitarianism, ethical naturalism, evolutionary ethics, and will be taught to children as general morality.
  5. An ethical culture will be established by adhering to the following core principles:
    • The belief that morality is independent of theology;
    • The affirmation that new moral problems have arisen in modern industrial society which have not been adequately dealt with by the world’s religions;
    • The duty to engage in philanthropy in the advancement of morality;
    • The belief that self-reform should go in lock step with social reform;
    • The need for a monarchical leader to avoid deadlock and dysfunction;
    • The agreement that educating the young is the most important aim.

The meetings were long and arduous, but progress was being made because the attendees were still in a state of shock and disbelief at the sheer number of dead and the extent of property destroyed in World War III. The Global Charter’s Constitution passed by a large majority; it was now time to select a leader, a monarch, a beneficent king.

Giovanni Russo had led much of the discussion throughout the entire time the leaders were meeting. He was charismatic, and gave a moving speech about the need to reject the myths in god and religion. He received a standing ovation as he pointed to people in the audience shouting, “I tell you that you are god, you, and you, and yes you! Take responsibility and ownership. YOU are making choices, decisions, and your children must live with these decisions. Stop delegating these important virtues and values to a god that no one has ever seen!”

With Russo’s doctorate in economics, and the need to focus on the allocation of resources, he seemed the natural choice to lead the new world order and rebuild the infrastructure according to the new Constitution. An election was held and Russo won handily. His first order of business was to create a means to facilitate economic transactions, a tall order given that it must be bullet-proof and robust, with no loopholes to encourage criminal activity.

Digital currencies had been around a couple decades and offered the most promise in Russo’s opinion. He started by creating a Global Monetary Authority (GMA). The new digital currency, called NewCoin, was set to replace every other currency. No transactions, not even “in kind” would be allowed outside of the blockchain within which NewCoin would operate. Earnings, spending, investment, allocation, charitable giving, all would be done in NewCoins.

The hope was that tax evasion, theft of currency, and illegal activity of all kinds would be eliminated with the decentralized ledger that recorded every single NewCoin transaction. Nothing could be hidden, the digital record could not be changed.

After exchange values were determined relative to the new digital currency, everyone with a balance was given 90 days to request the exchange of their currency into NewCoins. After 90 days no other currency would be honored for any transaction.

Each leader of the ten nations was given the responsibility to roll-out the global personal identification program to prevent ID Theft. Everyone would be required to go to the designated locations where an invisible ID was lasered subcutaneously, just slightly under the skin. In that way, every transaction initiated would have the authenticated person, a validated ID that no one else could duplicate, unlike facial recognition software that had been defeated in the past.

The meetings were finally wrapped up and the ten leaders returned to their newly created nations feeling optimistic, excited, and hopeful. The new world leader had shown such amazing appeal and leadership qualities that almost no one had the least doubt in Mr. Russo, and everything the Global Charter and Constitution had rolled out for the good of mankind.

For the most part the new digital currency was well-received too, people could see that criminal transactions were going to be impossible with the new system. And best of all? Personal ID Theft would disappear. Apart from a few religious zealots who refused to have their personal information lasered to their skin, almost everyone readily signed up for the new system.

Knowing that those who were superstitious would not be able to buy or sell without the laser ID, government decided to simply wait for them to finally come to the table and become a good citizen, a part of the new world order, a chance for humanity to rule and reign in ethical dignity.

No more wars, no more economic crime, and an updated Constitution that puts the highest possible value where it belongs: on each human being.

 

Noah, Ark and Global Flood: Myth, Maybe or Most Certainly?

00That many geologists are today creating a global flood model may incense those who have already settled in their own minds that Noah and his family, the ark and a global deluge are the stuff of myth and mysticism. Yet the very same strata evolutionists point to – the fossil record — holds clues to another possibility that shows far more evidentiary support for a global flood than for evolution.

Ever wonder about what happens when organisms die? They decay, they return to the same basic elements found throughout nature: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Given enough time, entropy, the second law of thermodynamics takes a well-designed and complex living organism and devolves and deconstructs it into its constituent parts. So how is it that we have extremely widespread strata that contain the calcified remains of marine fossils? Should they not have decayed and left no trace?

0The Theory of Uniformitarianism underpins and frankly necessitates the argument for evolution to have worked. The fortuitous occurrence of accidental circumstances sequenced together over a long period of time is needed to believe that organism complexity today could have happened by chance. But has our planet existed peacefully enough to allow for evolution, or is there contradictory evidence that must be taken into consideration? Indeed the evidence is overwhelming that our planet has survived many cataclysmic interruptions that would have been of sufficient force to reset any evolutionary clock.

1Scientists write of the Permian-Triassic extinction event, when 96% of marine and 70% of the land organisms were doomed to extinction. The world’s forests were literally “wiped out.” In the model of a global deluge, the rapid flows of water would account for the marine life being virtually eliminated, and a large barge (i.e. ark) would explain how some land organisms survived.

2Throughout the world, peoples and cultures have stories of a worldwide flood; there are hundreds of such stories. Certainly these stories have been embellished and changed over the years, but the common denominator is this: worldwide flood. Here is just one example taken from the records of the Hualapai Indians of northwestern Arizona (especially fascinating since the Hualapai were a proud people, despising the ‘religions’ of the white man):

It rained for 45 days, and the whole earth was flooded. All the people were destroyed, except for one old man atop Spirit Mountain. Many days passed and a dove brought him instructions from the Creator to drive a ram’s horn into the earth. The old man obeyed and the waters were drained. He sent the dove forth, and when it returned with fresh grass in its beak, he rejoiced for the land had become dry.

When the old man died, the Creator made “a younger brother and an older brother.” In obedience to a dream, the two scraped, cleaned, and laid out canes. Before the next dawn the canes turned into a great population, and older-brother’s rule over them was good. When he died, younger-brother commanded Cousin Coyote to fetch fire for the funeral pyre from faraway Fire-starter. But Coyote was disobedient and looked back, only to see that the fire had started without him. Dashing back to the pyre, he reached into the blaze, snatched older-brother’s heart, and fled with it in his clenched teeth. (To this day, coyotes bear the mark of rebellion in their upturned, disfigured mouths.)

The land became irrevocably “not good” by this act, and younger-brother led the people “across the water” to a new land in the east. Overcrowding soon ensued, and younger-brother chief dispersed the people into three major people groups (Navajo, Mojave, and Hualapai).

There are many more “flood traditions,” stories recorded and repeated around the globe. Science too confirms many supporting theories for a flood, though their discoveries were likely not intended to do so at the time. Here are just a ten among hundreds:

  1. The genealogical records of many of the European kings can be traced back to Japheth, son of Noah.
  2. An analysis of population growth statistics confirms that there was zero population at the estimated time of the end of the flood. This indicates the global demise of humans by Noah’s flood.
  3. Human paleontological evidence exists even in the earliest geologic ‘ages’ (e.g. human footprints in Cambrian, Carboniferous, and Cretaceous rocks). If the layers of rock were laid down by a global flood and then interpreted as evolutionary long-ages, human remains and artifacts would appear to be in such positions.
  4. The most ancient human artifacts date to the post-flood era. This indicates that the earlier hardware could have been buried beyond reach by a huge flood.
  5. Calculations have shown that there is nearly the same amount of organic material present today, worldwide, as there would have been if all the fossils were still alive. This indicates the demise of all living things in a single global event.
  6. Studies show that much of the world’s folded beds of sediment have no compression fractures, indicating that they were contorted while they were still wet and soft. For this to occur on a global scale, and on sediment thousands of meters thick, it would have required a catastrophic global flood.
  7. The uplift of the major mountain ranges are relatively young, based on evolutionary chronology. If the long-age evolutionary time scale is ignored, these processes would have occurred in the very recent past – i.e. as a result of the flood cataclysm.
  8. Marine fossils can be found on the crests of mountains. Apart from mountain uplifting, this can also be explained as the marine animals being washed there and then buried. A global flood could do this.
  9. Meteorites are basically absent from the geologic column. With the large number of meteorites hitting the earth each year, they should be very plentiful throughout the sedimentary rocks – unless much of the world’s sedimentary rocks were laid down in one year.
  10. Hydrologic evidence points to the rapid deposition of sedimentary rock layers. Therefore, the thousand’s of meters of sediment must have been deposited by a catastrophic global flood.

That scientists dismiss the possibility of a worldwide flood is consistent with their dismissal of problems with their Theory of Uniformitarianism. When extraneous evidence contradicts a worldview, it is dismissed, discredited or disavowed, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Thoughtful people who are not intimidated by the scholarship of others are encouraged to investigate these things and draw their own conclusions. The debate is ongoing, but when I see the cavalier dismissal of all of this evidence I can only conclude that some people are simply too frightened to even imagine the possibility wherein God exists, He has spoken to us, and His Words are true and reliable.

r_mann

References

New ancient fungus finding suggests world’s forests were wiped out in global catastrophe. Imperial College London press release, October 1, 2009.

Jin, Y. G. et al. 2000. Pattern of Marine Mass Extinction Near the Permian–Triassic Boundary in South China. Science. 289 (5478): 432–436.

Sephton, M. A., et al. 2009. Chemical constitution of a Permian-Triassic disaster species. Geology. 37 (10): 875-878.

Renne, P. R., and A. R. Basu. 1991. Rapid Eruption of the Siberian Traps Flood Basalts at the Permo-Triassic Boundary. Science. 253 (5016): 176-179.

Thomas, B. Dinosaur Soft Tissue Issue Is Here to Stay. Acts & Facts. 38(9): 18. Genesis 7:11.

Scared to even utter the name Jesus Christ?

1Earlier this month in Kenya when Muslims had left the university to head to the mosque for their morning prayers, Al Shabab attacked and killed almost 150 Christian students still at the school.

Last year 3,000 Christians in Mosul, northern Iraq were told over loudspeakers to convert to Islam, submit to its rule and pay a religious levy, or be put to death if they stayed. 2The last to leave was a disabled woman who could not travel. The fanatics arrived at her home and told her they would cut off her head with a sword.

Two years ago, Saeed Abedini, 33 years old and a pastor at Boise’s Calvary Chapel Church, was accused of trying to convert someone to Christianity and sentenced to 8 years in a Tehran prison where he languishes today. Abedini had traveled to Iran to visit family and help build an orphanage there.

3Many of the comments that followed the article in the “Boise Weekly” mocked both God and Abedina, suggesting he should “have kept his mouth shut about Christianity.

Today Christians everywhere are being exhorted to “keep their mouths shut” about their faith. Everywhere I go, from public forums to social media forums, whenever someone speaks or posts anything Christian, the taunts, mocking, insults, hatred and the inevitable “take it somewhere else” trail the post like some sad yet revealing commentary on just where the world stands today on the subject of Jesus Christ.4 “We will NOT have this man to rule over us,” Luke the physician and one of those who accompanied Jesus during His 3 ½ years’ ministry wrote of a parable Jesus taught them.

Jesus said to His faithful followers, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” 5But today people are afraid. They are afraid of what their friends might think, they are afraid to speak up at work and risk losing their job, they are afraid of possibly being mocked, taunted, and ridiculed if they speak for what they believe. So instead, many are quiet, hiding behind a veil of “this is my personal faith and I don’t want to offend anyone by saying so….” Thus their faith becomes a well-kept secret and in many cases their friends, even family might be shocked to learn that they had a relationship with Jesus Christ at all!

Jesus said this: “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”

8But sometimes the first hint of persecution and Christians slink away after apologizing for their offense, careful never to broach the subject again. We were warned what would happen at the end of this age, just before Jesus Christ would return: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” When I read the comments and posts on social networks, the vast majority of those posts reflect this admonition perfectly. People have indeed become unforgiving and arrogant, lovers of pleasure and money, wanting nothing whatsoever to do with the things of God.

So what should we do? None of us want to ridiculed, or jailed, or murdered for our faith. Pray. Pray that the Lord will give us the strength to stand. The Lord said, “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God.” Our courage comes from God. Seek Him with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, ask that He fill you with His strength “that whenever we speak, words may be given to us so that we will fearlessly make known the mystery of the Gospel,” and in so doing perhaps save people from eternal damnation. If ever the time has come, it is now, it is today. Lord bless and strengthen you all. Amen.

9

What do YOU believe?

Belief – An opinion or judgment in which a person is fully persuaded.00

Did you know that there are 41,000 different Christian denominations or ‘sects’ that can be categorized into five major ‘families’ of churches?

  • Catholic Church [50%]
  • Protestant and Anglican churches [18%]
  • Eastern Churches [12%]
  • Pentecostal churches [12%]
  • Evangelical (non-Pentecostal) [8%]

Besides these researchers have identified that more than 2/3rd’s of the rest of the world that have faith in non-Christian religions: Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 3.19.20 PM

And within each of these non-Christian religions are numerous sects and segments. 3

Sometimes I smile when I receive a social media post or response from someone claiming that they do not believe in religious fables whatsoever, but only in science. Did you know that “science” too could be categorized as a “religion” in terms of its foundational beliefs or underlying reliance, confidence or credence? This particular religion is called “Secular Humanism” and is defined as “the philosophy or life stance that embraces human reason, ethics, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition as the basis of morality and decision making.”4

Of the roughly 7 billion people in the world, the number of combinations and permutations of specific sects or sub-sets of any faith must be well over a million. So when someone says “I believe in God,” I always think of the (Bible) Scripture (James 2:19) that says, “You believe that there is one God? Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder.” Belief in God, or an alleged belief in God may start an interesting conversation, but that is all, it is only a start, not an understanding.6

Social media is full of vitriol when it comes to subjects such as politics and religion. I am guilty myself. A Muslim friend of mine stated, “I believe Jesus was a good man and a prophet.” I responded by saying, “Impossible – if you read His claims He was either a liar, insane, or the Son of God; but ‘good man’ or ‘prophet’ is inconsistent with everything He said about Himself.

I was immediately ashamed of my insensitive response and began to reflect upon what I today consider an acceptable way to engage people in what we, and they, believe. Here is what I have concluded:

  • If someone asks about your faith, answer him or her politely and with respect.
  • If someone asks you about the “why” of your faith, answer him or her with your reasons, but don’t go into too much detail or send them a link to your favorite faith site.
  • If someone shares their faith with you, respect them, because after all, they may turn out to be right and we may turn out to be wrong!
  • If someone clubs you over the head with the “science” of evolution and the futility and insanity of “religion,” treat them with dignity and offer friendship. They may someday convert you, or you may convert them, but that should never be the primary reason for friendship. Friendship should be based upon the fact that you both like one another.
  • Do not debate. Debate has as its engine arrogance and pride. The reactions you will get are more and different questions, further debate that begins to ‘rathole,’ anger, intolerance or ridicule, none of which you set out to receive in the first place.
  • If you believe in God, love your neighbor as yourself, and if they reject your faith, what do you do next? Pray. And then continue to pray.7

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Did Jesus Claim That He is God?

Did Jesus Claim That He is God?

0Only God can forgive sin. When Jesus did so the religious rulers were incensed. Yet He pointed out it would be easier to heal the lame man on mat than to forgive sins. He said this because He knew the suffering, humiliation, agony and death that would be required to forgive men their sins. (Mark 2:5). No man has ever raised someone from the dead as Jesus did when Lazarus had been dead several days and ensconced in his tomb (John 5:25-29). More importantly, directly and to the point, He claimed to be honored as God (John 5:18, 23) as well as to be equal with the Father (John 10:30).

John 8:58 states, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.'” This “I Am” reference is made in connection with Exodus 3:14 when God revealed His name to Moses at the burning bush as “I Am.” Jesus’ statement is a claim for the deity of Christ.

1Jesus claimed to be Yahweh God, the same God of Israel from the Old Testament. This included His claim to have eternal glory with the Father (John 17:5), His claim to be the first and the last (Revelation 1:17), His claim to be judge of all humanity (John 5:27), His claim to be the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), His claim to be the Bridegroom (Matthew 25:1; Isaiah 62:5), and His claim to be the light of the world (John 8:12; Psalm 27:1).

Jesus also claimed to be the Messiah God. This is evident in many of the titles attributed to Him in the Old Testament that are referred to in the New Testament. These include reference to Jesus as God (Psalm 45:6 and Hebrews 1:8), Lord (Psalm 110:1 and Matthew 22:43-44), Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9 and Mark 14:61-64), and as Messiah (John 4:26). These references affirm the biblical deity of Christ.

2Further, Jesus accepted worship as God. Though the Old Testament commanded not to worship anyone but God alone, Jesus accepted worship on many occasions. Some of these included the healed leper who worshipped Him (Matthew 8:2), the ruler who knelt before Jesus after his son had been healed (Matthew 9:18), the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:25), the mother of James and John (Matthew 20:20), and a demon-possessed man (Mark 5:6). The disciples even prayed to Jesus (Acts 7:59) and in His name (John 14:6; 15:7).

And lastly, Jesus’ followers recognized Jesus as God. They called Him God on multiple occasions (John 20:28; Colossians 2:9), referred to Jesus by other names used only of deity, such as Savior of the world (John 4:42), and prayed to or worshiped Jesus as part of the Godhead (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14). John taught He was with God in the beginning as “the word” and that “the word was God” (John 1:1).

3While the New Testament never makes the direct statement “Jesus is God,” it is clear that He is referred to as deity in a variety of ways. Colossians 2:9 confirms, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” (See also Philippians 2:6). Those who claim Jesus never referred to Himself as God deny many clear statements in Scripture (such as John 14:6). The deity of Jesus is biblical. Jesus is God, the second person of the Triune Godhead, consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

If you have a red letter Bible, indicating Jesus speaking, make note of the following if you’re not yet convinced that Jesus is indeed God:

4“Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!”

Jesus shouted to the crowds, “If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.”

“No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. 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?”

5“…that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he then said to the paralytic–“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God…”

He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

“For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.”

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

“For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”

“The Father and I are one.” Once again the people picked up stones to kill him. Jesus said, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?” They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd….My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

“…he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him…. If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

“…behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

6Even though you will not find certain words in the Bible (trinity, rapture), nor certain unequivocal claims, you must take the preponderance of evidence to determine what is meant when you compare Scripture upon Scripture and examine the totality of the book from Genesis through Revelation. There is indeed a triune God, three distinct persons in the Godhead. When Jesus was being baptized, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him as a dove while His Father spoke from heaven, “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” The evidence is persuasive and can be summed up in this: “I have come in the volume of the Book as it is written…even so Lord Jesus, come quickly…I am the Alpha & Omega, the Beginning and the End. Our King of Kings and Lord of Lords will soon be returning and will rule and reign for 1,000 years on earth from Jerusalem.

Time to give up on Christianity  

1I know you dearly want to hold on to your fairy tale, mainly because it just sounds nice. But there is no God, and there is no Savior. Worse, the Christians are the main source of all of the problems in the world today. From the corruption in the church to the Crusades, the only things Christians have managed to do in their imposition of their unreasonable and unscientific worldview is to wreck havoc on the rest of us. But I won’t leave you alone; I won’t orphan you so that you have no security blanket. I am here to offer you several excellent and acceptable alternative worldviews that can be embraced; all having far more merit and credence than does Christianity.

2First, and probably the best choice, is to reject the notion of a celestial dictator altogether. The brightest among us, scientists and philosophers alike, are learned and intelligent enough to have determined that no God could possibly exist, especially the God of the Bible. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, science has proven that as a fact. The Bible is full of errors, inconsistencies, and fables such as Jonah being swallowed by a large fish, prophets calling down fire, a worldwide flood, the Red Sea being parted, and the craziest notion of all: that God would become a man and leave His so-called celestial throne only to be humiliated, taunted, tortured and executed. What kind of King would allow such a thing as that? Is that your idea of an all-powerful God? It is certainly not mine.

3But if you are weak and atheism is not your cup of tea, there are several reasonable religions from which to choose. If I were a weaker vessel as you may be, I would adhere to Islam. The main reason is that people are fighting for a cause, and that always brings out the heroic in men. If you are brave enough and strong enough to annihilate the enemies of your God, all of your friends and family, indeed the world will see you as a man’s man, someone willing to stand up to evil without fear of death. But if Islam doesn’t quite fit your idea of a religion you can endorse, then I can recommend several other good ones: Hinduism. At least Karma you can control. Your good works can outweigh the bad stuff you may have accidentally done, right? Or any numbers of groups that are not foolish enough to think that an eternal Son of God would become a man in order to save us…save us from what exactly?

4Lastly, if your parents are putting pressure on you – to attend their Christian church — and you love them too much to hurt their feelings – you can certainly go to your church, I can’t stop you. But don’t keep calling things that are good – evil, when in fact it is the reverse. Same sex marriage is as right and acceptable as marriage between a man and a woman. Stop discriminating! Aborting an unborn child is the right of every woman to have her say and control over her own possession: her body. And stop – please stop – dangling people over the pit of some fictitious place called hell. Do you really think a loving God, if He did exist (which I personally declare unequivocally that He does not exist)… would He send people to a place of eternal suffering? Do I look stupid to you?

6So get your life in order. You do not need God. You need you — and you alone. Stand strong, be positive and optimistic. Motivate yourself to become all that you know you can be if only you will conquer your fears and step out, never accepting defeat, never quitting. Be the master over your own destiny, be a man! The fact of the matter is this – and I leave you with this one thought to ponder – if there really is a God, guess who He is? He is you my friend, yes YOU!

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Sincerely yours,

 

Lucifer, Son of the Morning, Anointed Cherub, Prince of the Air.

Why I am Christian

Growing up in rural Wisconsin in an area that could have been part of the shooting for the film “Deliverance,” I often sat and wondered about why I was even born. We all do. My mom had 8 kids and we were dirt poor. My father came off a farm and started a construction business with equipment that was held together by hope and duct tape.deliverance-3

My mom was a Lutheran and dad was a Presbyterian, suffice to say their differences largely centered on the concept of pre-destination (Calvin & Luther). Looking around the church at the people only a step from the grave and listening to the pastor talk mostly about social and community issues, I stopped going to the Presbyterian Church as a young teenager. It all seemed to me to be the handiwork of men with wild imaginations and a desire for their name to live on as someone historically significant.

In college I studied world religions and also loved learning science, especially physics and mathematics. Of the world’s religions I tried to understand the basis for Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, largely because they had all been around for centuries. Anything that some man created in the past several hundred years was easy for me to dismiss. Indeed after reading the incredible claims of some of these erstwhile religions, I wondered if as a people we had all gone completely mad.Education

Though not a scientist, Charles Darwin’s observations in the Galapagos quickly gained traction among the scientific community. From Lucy to the Hobbits of Flores Island, all the pieces of evolution began to fall into place to explain the puzzle of life.

LucyBut I think the part that first began to trouble me most regarding the Theory of Evolution were mathematical models of probabilistic combinations and permutations constructed to measure the changes over time through the various stages in evolution. Darwin didn’t know what we know today about the complexity of something as “simple” as the basic cell. So to deal with the remote probabilities to achieve such complexity the Theory of Evolution introduced two postulates (prerequisites for the model to work): First, the Principle of Uniformitarianism. Uniformitarianism underpinned evolution, asserting that over a long period of time, very long period indeed, things just kind of stayed on track without major interruption. This is needed because cataclysmic intervention, the kind that doomed species to extinction, would necessarily require a reset of the clock. Secondly, as the complexity of life forms began to emerge, the mathematics of the combinations and permutations required a proportionately longer period of time to explain how things became so amazing today.

Over my lifetime the science books continued to expand timeframes exponentially, from the life of the universe to all creation therein. So given enough time and mutations, we achieve what we see around us today. Unfortunately life forms are becoming more complex, not less, as we continue to learn more about them. So time needs to be extended accordingly. As the time frame heads toward infinity, in a mathematical-probabilistic equation, the possibility of having this complexity can be explained. But here is the rub: If you need to approach infinity in order to get possible mutations sequenced in the order required for advanced complexity, then it is also tautological to say that the probability of these complexities developing through evolution approaches zero as the time requirement to make them work approaches infinity. And Uniformitarianism? I think the fact is that we have experienced several major cataclysmic events, one meteor perhaps so large that it knocked our earth 23 degrees on its axis. Today the earth literally wobbles its way around the sun in an elliptical trajectory.

So I lost faith in evolution but was now faced with a real dilemma. I scoffed at man-made religions, thinking all of them incredulous, even ridiculous to the point of insulting our intelligence. And my friends who were atheists believed religion helped people deal with the unfairness of life – a two-year-old suffering and dying of leukemia for example. Good logic right? So for atheists religion served a purpose. But for me I didn’t need it. I wanted to see how far my own search would take me.  I wanted to get as close to truth as I possibly could, however painful this truth might be.

So I began to study the Bible as a textbook without any religion. As I came across historical events I also took a look at secular history (e.g. Josephus) to see if these things happened according the accounts in the Bible. I learned that even the Jews believed in a historical Jesus (not His claims about Himself however), and that Jews, Muslims and Christians alike believe the Torah (books of Moses) right up to the point of Abraham. After Abraham’s two offspring, the Jews and Muslims go in different directions, and after Jesus (essentially the New Testament) the Jews and Christians go in different directions. Interestingly other long-time religions such as Buddhism had many of the same admonitions and advice that I found in the Bible. Many parallels. “Don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do to you,” is just one of these parallel admonitions.

So Jesus was a real person after all, indeed our very calendar is split based upon His birth. Next step was to see what people said about Him. Probably the most striking historical account was that all of the apostles except for John died a horrific death for holding to the account of Jesus’ death and resurrection. These were eyewitnesses who instead of accepting torture and inevitable death could have denied the events and saved their lives. Apparently holding to the truth of their convictions, supported by their witness, was the better choice than denying what became of Jesus two thousand years ago. Our own system of jurisprudence would authenticate the veracity of these claims the apostles made.

I spent many years searching, questioning, checking, doubting, verifying. I finally came to my own conclusion. God is — and Jesus was — the only begotten Son of God, coming in the flesh for no other purpose than to die for our sins so we could be reconciled back to our Creator and spend eternity with Him. I would challenge anyone to read the Bible, cover to cover, all 66 books written by roughly 40 authors from Genesis through Revelation. If you will do so and then still reject Jesus as Savior, I defer to you and have nothing but respect for the views you hold.r_mann