Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Alchemists

In the Australian state of Victoria, it was announced that instruction in atheism will be run alongside the usual religious instruction, or 'school Scripture'. One letter writer to the national press promptly applauded it as a good idea and made the usual comments about all the harm done by organized religion. They referred to the Crusades of the Middle Ages, and other cliched examples.
Another writer replied that just as much or more harm had been done by attempts to run society on atheist lines. They referred to Communist societies, such as what was called "The Peoples Republic Of China"; and the Soviet Union. The blood shed by those regimes in attempting to subdue their populations is at least as horrific as any thing that can be attributed to 'organized religion'. Of course it is worth pointing out that just because a person or faction call themselves Christian does not make them so. "By their deeds you will know them" needs to be kept in mind. But if someone believes that a human community is better run by an atheist philosophy, could they please explain why the attempts to do so ended up in such appalling disaster?
Karl Marx called spiritual faith 'the opiate of the masses'. He admitted, tacitly, that hope of something beyond this earthly life caused people to endure suffering. It was his view that instead those people should struggle to change them. He needed to be told that Christian reformers have been involved in humanitarian reforms and campaigning for centuries. And his idea, of running a society on the idea that 'there is no God' led to the monstrosity that we remember by the deeds of Stalin, the writings of Solzhenytzen, the millions of deaths in prison camps or at the hands of the secret police. More recently the deeds of Mao Tse-tung have been held up to the light, and found to be less ideal than his supporters claimed. China too suffered under a dictatorship in which a mere human tried to take the place of God, and get people to put their faith in humans and their notions.
The alchemists of times past believed that you could turn some elements into others. They spent hundreds of hours trying to turn lead or iron into gold. We now believe that to be impossible. They might as well have tried fishing in a bucket of water. You could try that for centuries and not catch a thing. If this seems like an odd change of subject, here is what I'm trying to say: human beings cannot be made into anything resembling God. They do not have the wisdom, the incorruptible nature and the power. Yet an atheist society tries to put mere human beings in that place, the role of God, as the entire source of authority and guidance in running the world. It really is a form of alchemy - trying to turn something into something else that it never can be. And the results are pure horror.
The course in atheism mentioned above will apparently try to teach people this: there is no evidence for the existence of God. It would be one incredible irony if that backfired! People who had never thought about it before might look at the world and see very good evidence for the existence of God, in the things not made by humans; and good evidence for human sin in the harm done by human beings. But that remains to be seen. The issue is that from one generation to the next the same mistakes get made, and the same bitter outcomes arise.
In the distant past, humans became carried away with their own greatness, built the Tower of Babel and suddenly found themselves all divided. That was only the first attempt by homosapiens to make themselves the greatest thing in the Universe. And it was not the biggest disaster of the lot, either.
If the chief end of Humanity is 'to worship God and enjoy Him always', the most idiotic mistake possible is to try leaving God out of it and enjoy our own achievements. Even if someone does not believe that quote above from the Westminster Confession, can anyone show that human beings have managed to run anything without corruption or blunders when they leave it all to themselves?
God will be known in the same way that gravity causes things to fall downwards. It is inevitable. So here's praying that the bad idea above will be turned against its designers.

12 comments:

Nitewrit said...

Andrew,

It may be quite possible it would have an opposite effect on some as you say. You begin to wrestle with the logic of the non-God world and you have to begin wondering if there isn't something better. Then perhaps you look and discover the truth. Often the best evangelists come out of those who one lived in total disbelief. Nothing makes a light shine brighter than coming from a room of darkness.

Larry E. (Night Writing in the Morning Light) www.nitewrit.net

MindyMork said...

Andrew,when i read the part of Mao Tze Tung, it reminded me of the Asian Outreach Ministry, Rev David Wang, he too mentioned about him comparing himself to Jesus and the bible, you should read this Rev's book if not mistaken The Red Book or something like that on his mission in China and other missionaries who suffered while spreading Christianity in China. Lots of people even Christians proclaim themselves so holy holy but in the end they are just making themselves the idol and not Jesus Christ then it sort of defeats the whole message of the Gospel which is there is no other God and no worshipping idols in any forms....

Farrah said...

I am so glad you enjoy my comments! With that said, here comes a long one . . . :-)

One of the books we have been reading for history gives a couple of pages for each country as it was about 10 years ago. I have been surprised at how many times it has said a country was doing well until it was taken over by communists. It seems wherever communism goes, it leaves a trail of death and destruction in its wake.

Compare this to Christian missionaries who enter into desperately poor parts of the world and change entire villages for the better not just by preaching Christ but by helping their communities with projects -- wells for clean water, training and supplies for small businesses, schools to educate children, free medical and dental services. The communities are improved rather than devastated.

The devil is quite fond of twisting the truth to make it seem the opposite of what it really is. Atheists comfort themselves by convincing themselves that religion only causes destruction. Yet the Christian religion is peace-loving and generous. They are motivated by love rather than money. Statistics say that Christians give more to charity than any other group.

A few nights ago we watched the recently released documentary, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." It talks about how unfair it is for intelligent design not to be allowed in the classroom. One thing I found quite interesting is that atheists say God didn't create the world yet they don't know how it all started. One of the most notable and famous atheists today was interviewed, and when asked this question, he first said, "No one knows how it all started." But when pressed further, he admitted that one very plausible solution is that an advanced race of aliens planted life on this planet. Is this not shocking? That they would be more willing to believe in aliens planting life on our planet than to believe in God?

I also think it is interesting that atheists believe in evolution which favors the desirable traits in species. Humans are doing quite well, and from the earliest signs of man all the way up to today, the majority of us believe in some sort of god or gods. Apparently, the need to believe in a deity is built into our genes and has helped us thrive. Yet, atheists say that those who believe in a god are brain-damaged and on and on. Their logic is lacking tremendously, and the facts do not support them.

Andrew Clarke said...

Nitewrit, I think you could be quite correct. The man who wrote "Ben Hur" set out to debunk the beliefs of Christianity, studied the issue thoroughly and became convinced that God is real, and Jesus Christ is who He claims. Attempting to justify atheism led him to Christ. So yes, it may well go that way for others. Also I know Mindy makes an important point. Spiritual pride is a dangerous trap for Christians, setting themselves up as holy and losing sight of He who is truly holy. The worst possible example of that could be Jim Jones, if I understand what happened with him. Also, as Farrah points out, atheists will sometimes invent the most absurd notions in order to deny the reality of God. It becomes a case of determination not to believe in God rather than a claim to find the truth, which is the thing some atheists like to pride themselves on. As it is written, "Professing themselves wise, they became fools." Ironic! And where Christian missionaries have gone, they have tried to stop such things as the killing of infant girls. If that is 'interfering with culture' some people might be very glad they did!
Good to hear from everybody.

jeleasure said...

Hi Andrew,
A very thought provoking post. I've been going over it in the last two days. Trying to put my mind around just one of the many points this post makes.
For one, I think what is obvious to us is the tragity for others. That is, as you say,
"the most idiotic mistake possible is to try leaving God out of it and enjoy our own achievements".
Our own achievements parish just the same as you and I. If given enough time the face of all that exist will come to ruin. And, that is the secret, which is no secret at all. That is why it is tragic. Those who refuse to acknowledge that nothing can out live the natural order of God's creation miss the fact that they had nothing to do with what is here.
How obsured is it, then, that a man who must acknowledge his own date of birth (because his own relatives will not allow him to forget) can think himself to be anything more? What is at the center of this deception?
A man has the God given ability to reason. This reason ought to present such logic as to their own self deceit. And, there is the tragity. They refuse to acknowledge it. They would rather parish in the deception of how great they had made themselves to be, than to parish and live again by simply acknowledging the Greatness of the One who created them for His good and perfect pleasure.
All of what I have said is obvious. I just decided to describe it. Who knows? Maybe some 'idiot' (the literal definition of lacking the skill or knowledge) will happen on to your blog and attempt to deny that he/she is not an idiot for their deistic beliefs and be forced to accept that they can not explain why they are not an idiot.
Thanks for giving me the space to rant.
Jim

Nitewrit said...

Andrew,

Or like Lew Wallace and Ben-Hur, Lee Strobel, a Chicgo Tribute editor and crime reporter considered himself an Athiest and set out to disprove Scripture and instead became a believer who wrote the "The Case for..." series of books: "The Case for Christ", "The Case For Creation", etc.

Frankly, thirty-five years ago I was an Athiest who was challenging ministers face-to-face on what I considered their hypocracy. God can reach whomever he wills to reach.

Larry E.

jeleasure said...

Hi Andrew,
I want to be able to stay updated on when you post a new blog. So, I am going to host your blog in my side bar. I have not paid attention to whether you host links to blogs on your side bar. So, if you do, take this as a request to return the favor. Thanks.
Jim

Andrew Clarke said...

Nitewrit, I'm interested to hear that about Lee Strobel! I've looked at that book you name, but didn't realize that Strobel is another case of someone setting out to disprove the Christian beliefs and ending up convinced of them. And your own testimony is another case in point. It is inspiring to hear these witnesses.
And to Jim: you're welcome to 'space to rant' as you call it. It's good to hear your views on these issues, as is the case with all. It is incredible how the supposedly awesome intellectual challenge of atheism proves hollow and tinny on close examination. I respect the right of all to their beliefs, but it is ironic that Christians are sometimes ridiculed for their supposedly 'fanciful' beliefs, and yet the atheistic belief involves choosing to believe what suits, not as they claim 'being convinced by the evidence'. Best wishes, to all.

Marshall Art said...

Andrew,

Just stopped by to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas. I'll return to actually read your post later. Always like your stuff. God Bless.

the_thinking_frog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the_thinking_frog said...

Greetings Andrew,

I trust that you and your family experienced the joy of worshipping God as we celebrate God becoming flesh and living among us!

Often I have been intrigued by the Les Strobel types that have set out to disprove Christianity (Josh McDowell is another such individual). While I can not determine the manner of the working of the Holy Spirit in these individuals, it is evident that there is indeed a transformation.

I wonder that if in their pursuit of truth, if God does not answer their desire? They are introduced to the Truth, the person of Jesus Christ!

Have a blessed 2009!

Joyfully Serving,

Kermit

jel said...

hope y'all have a great new year!