A Foundation of Sand

Matt_7_24_25World-famous biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins has had a rough few weeks on Twitter. It began in late July, when he tweeted the following about rape:

How charming. Now, with all due respect to Dr. Dawkins, if you’re an atheist, what’s right and wrong would be decided by personal opinion. Without God’s absolute moral standard, what’s good and evil would be a matter of personal preference. Why would we trust the opinion of Richard Dawkins over the opinion of a rapist?

After all, according to Dawkins, all of our thoughts are the result of chemical reactions in the brain. Indeed, several years ago he said “Why do we vent such visceral hatred on child murderers, or on thuggish vandals, when we should simply regard them as faulty units that need fixing or replacing?” In other words, we shouldn’t punish criminals because they have “mean” atoms. It’s a good thing Dawkins is an academic and not a defense lawyer.

Yet, one wonders, why would Dawkins have more “moral” atoms than a rapist? I mean, if evolution is all about passing our genes on to the next generation, why would a hardcore evolutionist like Dawkins say that rape is a bad thing? It certainly increases the odds of passing someone’s genes on to the next generation, so what’s the big deal?

Unfortunately, Dr. Dawkins’ no-good, terrible Twitter experience continued in August. On the 20th, he tweeted this about aborting babies with Down syndrome:

What a teddy bear. Of course, his opinion shouldn’t have surprised anyone. Indeed, Dawkins has said in the past that “If you can breed cattle for milk yield, horses for running speed, and dogs for herding skill, why on Earth should it be impossible to breed humans for mathematical, musical or athletic ability?” (Cited in Hilary White, Anti-religion extremist Dawkins advocates eugenics: says Nazi regime’s genocidal project ‘may not be bad’, LifeSiteNews.com, 21 November 2006). I guess he doesn’t think Down syndrome babies are good for the gene pool. He would’ve been a hit in 1930’s Berlin.

That said, Dawkins tried to justify his belief by saying the following:

So, if the majority of people agree murdering Jews, homosexuals and the physically disabled is right, does that make it acceptable? If the majority decides what’s right and wrong, Dawkins has no basis for condemning what went wrong in Nazi Germany.

Regardless, while many people were rightly outraged by Dr. Dawkins’ comments, they missed the forest for the trees. Jesus said that “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall” (Matthew 7:26-27). As an atheist, Dawkins has no basis to say that anything is objectively right or wrong, whether it’s rape or abortion. His foundation is built on sand.

Sorry Mr. President, the Islamic State Speaks for Islam

Matthew_7_15_20The other day, President Barack Obama took some time between rounds of golf to say that the world was “appalled” by the murder of American journalist James Foley. While the actions of Islamic State, often called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), have been appalling, they’re far from surprising.

After all, Muslims are commanded to “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day…(even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Koran 9:29). On top of that, the Koran records Allah saying “I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them” (Koran 8:12). When Muslims cut James Foley’s head off, they were simply being obedient.

Surprisingly, Obama added that “No faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday and what they do every single day.” Why is that surprising? Well, considering that the Koran commands the massacre of non-Muslims, Obama doesn’t think Allah is just. This is strange, because Obama has previously said that “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.” Admittedly, calling Muhammad’s god unjust might not qualify as slander, but it’s definitely intolerant.

Regardless, Obama made it clear that Islam wasn’t to blame for Islamic State’s genocidal rampage. He maintained that “ISIL speaks for no religion.” Agree to disagree, Mr. President. In light of what the Koran teaches, they’re being consistent believers. Muslims who aren’t murdering non-believers in the name of Allah are being disobedient. Of course, it’s possible that non-violent Muslims believe Allah meant it when he said “Let there be no compulsion in religion” (Koran 2:256). Still, how can they dismiss the commands to kill non-Muslims? Besides, why would Allah say there isn’t compulsion in religion, but command the murder of non-Muslims? This is an obvious contradiction. If Allah commands contradictory things, how can anything Allah says be trusted?

That said, while Islamic State has promised to raise the flag of Allah over the White House, Obama is positive this is all one big misunderstanding. With all due respect, lecturing practicing Muslims on how they should interpret the Koran is condescending and laughable. Perhaps he just doesn’t want to admit he’s wrong. Indeed, Obama said a few years back that “Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.” Islamic State, like Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Lee Rigby’s murderers, the brothers Tsarnaev and many before them, shows otherwise.

The best way to spot deception is to look at the fruit it produces (Matthew 7:15-20). If people are killing in the name of Allah, and the book which supposedly contains the words of Allah backs this up, it’s obvious the problem isn’t a small minority of extremists. The problem is the belief itself.

Rock the Boat

Matthew_21_12_13These days, being polite is a big deal. After all, no one wants to hurt anybody’s feelings. Everyone just wants to get along, or something like that. Unfortunately, this attitude has invaded church pulpits across the United States.

Recently, research guru George Barna discovered that most conservative pastors in the US aren’t interested in rocking the boat. Apparently, “Many theologically conservative pastors agree the Bible speaks to key issues of the day, but research indicates only a handful of them say they will speak to it.” Call me crazy, but every now and then, it’s good to have a little holy boldness. Certainly, Jesus thought so.

Indeed, Jesus frequently spoke about the issues of His day, and He didn’t pull punches. For example, in Mark 12:14-15, Jesus was asked “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” He didn’t duck the question. He responded “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). Although most people wish He gave a different answer, He at least gave an answer.

Likewise, in Matthew 19:3, Jesus was asked “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” He said “what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). This didn’t satisfy the Pharisees, who responded “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” (Matthew 19:7) Jesus answered “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 19:8-9). That’s not exactly what they wanted to hear, and it definitely flies in the face of popular opinion to this day.

Ultimately, you’re either for Jesus or against Him (Matthew 12:30). If pastors don’t deal with the significant issues of our day, churchgoers will accept what the world says about them. Silence on homosexuality, fornication, pornography and other sins will be interpreted as support, and supporting sinful behavior leads people trapped in lifestyles of sin away from Christ. Isn’t the truth of the Gospel more important than a preferential tax status? Jesus never backed down from causing a commotion, and He wasn’t interested in cutting deals. Just ask those moneychangers (Matthew 21:12-13).

The Bible says “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). It’s time to stop making everyone happy. It’s time for some holy boldness.

Mum’s The Word

Matthew_25_32_46Just about everybody loves fun facts. With that in mind, did you know that Antioch, which is in modern-day Turkey, is where followers of Jesus were first called Christians (Acts 11:26)? Who knows, it may help you win a game show someday. Unfortunately, this fun fact has a not-so-fun aspect to it: there aren’t many Christians in Antioch anymore.

In fact, there aren’t many Christians in the Middle East at all these days. Recently, Canon Andrew White said that the end of Christianity could be “very near” in Iraq. What has the response been from the United States? To put it mildly, it’s been a little underwhelming. The collective shrug of the shoulders even led Congressman Frank Wolf to wonder aloud why people aren’t talking about it. What gives?

Well, in Iraq, things were going pretty well for Christians under Saddam Hussein. Obviously, he wasn’t the nicest guy, but he tolerated Christians. Since the US removed him from power, and things aren’t going well for Christians in Iraq today, it’s inconvenient for American politicians to discuss the matter. Is their silence an admission of guilt, or is it nonchalance?

If it’s the latter, I’m afraid I have bad news. Whether you’re a Christian or not, the way you treat followers of Christ matters. 1 John 4:20 says “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” In other words, if you claim to be a Christian and the blood of Christians is on your hands, you’re not a Christian. On top of that, Jesus cares a lot about how you treat His followers. He went so far as to say “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40).

Based on this passage, you’ve probably been taught that when you do something for the poor, sick, hungry or imprisoned, you’re doing it for Jesus. With all due respect, that’s wrong. This passage is describing two groups: sheep and goats (Matthew 25:32-33). Jesus is determining if they are worthy to enter His kingdom at the end of the age. What criteria does He use? How His brethren were treated. Who are Jesus’ brethren? He said “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:50). In addition, when Saul was murdering Christians for sport (Acts 9:1), Jesus appeared to him and said “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4) Clearly, Jesus’ brethren are Christians, and He doesn’t take kindly to their mistreatment.