Showing posts from October, 2013

Tongue Twisting

Speaking in tongues has caused controversy for as long as I can remember. For those of you who may not have any idea of what I am talking about, let me explain. Speaking in tongues, as it is commonly understood, is a phenomenon by which people make ecstatic incomprehensible sounds. Some people consider it to be a form of worship, but others believe that is only an emotional release or something worth. But, what does the Bible say about it?

The division point of this controversy rests on the interpretation of the word tongues. If you believe the word refers to different languages then you are most likely to be against it, if you believe it is a form of ecstatic speech then you are probably for it. Personally, I do not support the modern tongues movement, because I believe the Bible teaches that it refers to different languages.

On the day of Pentecost we are told that the disciples began to speak in "tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4)." The interpretation of…

Infinite Relationship

Growing up in the Church has its advantages, but it can also cause you to go along with expectations rather then searching for the truth. The environment that I grew up in expected that you read the Bible and prayed every day. Being someone who enjoys consistency this came naturally to me. Unfortunately it masked a deeper problem, I did not have any desire to understand what I was reading. I read the Bible like someone who wanted to complete a task, not learn more about the Creator of the Universe.

This all began to change one day when I saw my brother reading a commentary on the Bible. My dad had studied the Bible my whole life, but it was not until I noticed my brother studying that it caught my attention. I began to devour commentaries and listen to sermons but there was still something missing. I then read this Bible verse, "this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17:3)." My purpose up to that point had been to…

Cars vs. Bicycles

This week a man was killed while commuting to work on his bike in Ottawa, which renewed the conflict between drivers and cyclists. In my youth I use to be a driver who did not like cyclists. I wondered why they were on the roads and would get angry when I saw them, then I started to cycle myself. The roads are a very dangerous place for cyclist because it only takes one bad driver to end their lives. It is true that some cyclist disobey the laws in an irresponsible manner, but most cyclist follow the spirit of the law. Here are a few misunderstandings between drivers and cyclists that need to be understood.

1) Cyclists don't stop a stop signs. Most cars do not stop at stop signs and don't follow the speed limit. It is hypocritical for car drivers to complain about these kind of laws when they are the biggest offenders. One of the reasons cyclists don't stop at stop signs is because they are picking a car to cross the intersection with for protection. Drivers often do not s…

Heavenly Economy

I lost my job at the end of March, 2013 due to a site closure of General Electric Intelligent Platforms. At the time they asked my wife and I to move to Huntsville, Alabama, but we decided that we were not supposed to go down there because we did not have any reason to. We did not want to make our decision based on where we would make the most money, because that is not what is important to us. It has been roughly 7 months since we made that decision and we still think it is the right one, even though I still don't have a job. This experience has brought to life a passage from the book of Matthew in the Bible.
Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (6:20-21). When you make good money it is very difficult to know your true motivations. It is one thing to say that you don't love money, but it is another thing to not have it and say that.…

Angry Love

Love is not easily angered, but it is angered. "Be angry and do not sin (Eph. 4:26)." There are things that happen in this world that should genuinely make us angry, and they are not playing sports or driving a car. Pornography, divorce, and abortion are all examples of things that should make us angry.

Christians can sometimes make it seem that love is spelt t-o-l-e-r-a-n-c-e. This is nothing less than idolatry. God's anger toward the sin of people has never changed, and someday it will be drunk in full measure by those who do not know Jesus.
He also will drink the wine of God's wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb (Jesus) (Rev. 14:10). It is not right to tell people who are not Christians that God is love without properly defining it, because it will not do anybody any good to only accept half of Jesus. Is eternal life given to those wh…

Parenting Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus has been in the news recently because of her sexually provocative show at the MTV music awards, and her riding a wrecking ball without clothes on. She has been in the media regularly since she was 14 years old, but her Hannah Montana image has been replaced by our cultures disgusting sexuality. I wrote previously that Miley Cyrus and others display amplified characteristics of our culture, but they also show the well meaning failure of parents.

Billy Ray Cyrus said in an interview in 2007 with Glenn Beck that he does not discipline his daughter (he leaves that to his wife), he just wants to be her best friend. Unfortunately, he did not see that as a problem then, and is apparently not too concerned about the results now.

Thankfully there are other parents who are concerned about their kids but look like they will be making the same mistakes. In a revealing article on the CBC on how parents should deal with Miley Cyrus, Janet Davison, demonstrates societies failed logic when…

The Dawkins Delusion - Chapter 6 - The Roots of Morality: Why are we Good?

Richard Dawkins is up to his usual tricks in chapter six. He starts off by showing how hateful Christians are who write to him and other atheists. Does he really mean to convince people of "christian" hatred because he picked the most extreme demonstrations of it? Should we use Stalin and Hitler as representatives of all atheists? Richard is deliberately trying to make Christians look bad.

Dawkins' purpose is to show that people can be moral without God. He argues that there are four good Darwinian reasons for individuals to be altruistic, genetic kingship, reciprocation, reputation, conspicuous generosity (pg. 219). Whether these reasons are true or not is not really of interest to me, since this is not the objections that people have with regards to morality.

The question is not whether people can be moral without God, it is whether there is any morality at all. Richard finally talks about this at the close of the chapter, but spends most of the time beating down a str…

Revelation - Jericho

The Bible teaches us in many different ways, but one of the most common in the Old Testament is through types. For example, the lamb sacrificed as a sin offering foreshadowed Jesus Christ being the sin offering for us. Therefore, our understanding of Christ's sacrifice can be understood in part by the type in the Old Testament. In other words patterns in the Old Testament help us understand the New Testament.

We find one such pattern in the story of Jericho. Jericho was the first city that the Israelites conquered when they entered the promised land. They had spied it out beforehand and avoided capture with the help of a prostitute named Rahab. God commanded Joshua, which is the same name as Jesus in Hebrew, to walk around the city once per day for six days. The men of war went first with the seven priests, who had seven trumpets, following behind with the ark. (Josh. 6:4). During this time the people were not supposed to shout or make any noise until the day they were commanded (…

The Dawkins Delusion - Chapter 5 - The Roots of Religion

I have to admit that reading Richard Dawkins book again has become quite a chore. It wasn't very good the first time, and it is even worse the second time. Chapter 5 sets out to answer the question, "what pressures or pressures exerted by natural selection originally favoured the impulse to religion (pg. 163)."

Richard explains that, "Darwinian benefit is not restricted to the genes of the individual organism (pg. 165)", but there are three other alternatives, group selection, parasitic properties, and replicators. Group selection could be based on something like in-group loyalty (pg. 170). Parasitic properties are when an individual "may be working on the manipulative influence of genes in another individual (pg. 165)." Replicators are units of cultural inheritance that are passed on like genes. Richard affectionately calls these "memes."

Dawkins admits that religion needs an evolutionary explanation because of its universality, and his ana…

Revelation - The Heavenly Temple

The book of Revelation in the Bible is one of the most difficult books to understand. It is full of symbolism and mystery that requires an in-depth knowledge of the rest of the Bible. There are 4 major interpretive frameworks for understanding Revelation but each of them have their difficulties. It seems that the framework determines the interpretation more than the actual content of the book. This might not be a fair assessment, but it is the motivation for me to try to understand the book of Revelation on its own before adopting a framework. In the next couple of months I will be writing about different aspects of Revelation as I explore this amazing book in the Bible.

One of the symbols found in Revelation is that of a heavenly temple. Temple imagery is found throughout the book but there are three main references that all come from the throne of God. In chapter four we find that from the throne come"flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder." This same ima…