December 13, 2007

Art vs God?

I was reading an editorial this morning by Camille LaPaglia of that really caught my attention. By the way, is what I would consider a fairly liberal online mag and spews forth the typical human secularist diatribe you would come to expect from such a media outlet. So why do I read it? From time to time I read liberal editorials just to see what the "other side" is thinking and writing about. As a Christian I think it is always valuable to see what tactic's the world is using to attack God. I read it because it allows me to become more aware of my talking points with unbelievers and to understand what is the latest social and philosophical influences of our culture. Taking this approach we can begin to rationally show people God is not an absurdity, but just the opposite, God is real and he can be known if we just use the very faculties God has endowed us with. I also think as Christians we have lost our ability to "think" logically and rationally and therefore we have become unable to rationally explain our theology or why we believe what we believe. Instead what I witness is more of a "parrotting" if you will of "Well My Pastor said______________".

So back to the article I was reading. What caught my eye was a statement LaPaglia made and it is a interesting one. She is writing about the Presidential Primaries and how religion has become such a focus for the candidates. In her editorial she writes:

"But what does Romney mean by the ongoing threat of a new "religion of secularism"? The latter term needs amplification and qualification. In my lecture on religion and the arts in America earlier this year at Colorado College, I argued that secular humanism has failed, that the avant-garde is dead, and that liberals must start acknowledging the impoverished culture that my 1960s generation has left to the young. Atheism alone is a rotting corpse. I substitute art and nature for God -- the grandeur of man and the vast mystery of the universe."

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The amazing thing is she see's that the human secularist & Atheist are only accelerating the further downfall of our culture. Her comments regarding Atheist is an interesting one, but yet the most alarming phrase is the what LaPaglia suggest we substitute God for - "Art and nature for God - the grandeur of man and the vast mystery of the universe". LaPaglia in two sentences has managed to completely contradicted herself. On one hand she see's that human secularist and Atheist are going no where, but yet she is imbibing the very essence of what they believe!

Christian philosopher, Francis Schaeffer writes in his book "How Should We Then Live?" that one can tell a tremendous amount about a culture in its art, music and writings. When man is inspired by his deepest interests in life, these will be reflected in the arts of the culture of that period. An example would be the Roman or Greek Empires, whereby we see the exquisite detail and emphasis on the human form - the Roman Greco man where it exemplifies strength, beauty and power. However, Schaeffer writes that over the centuries we have seen the further moral & philosophical decay of mankind reflected in the arts as a direct testimony of our ever increasing desire to worship ourselves. In centuries past we have often seen how God and religion was in large part, central themes of inspiration for artist and creative types alike.

However, the comment made by LaPaglia seems to suggest that instead of allowing art to become an outlet of expression, we must now worship art & nature in of itself - or as she put it "the grandeur of man and the mystery of the universe". Instead, we are now worshipping the created and not the Creator. Paul in his letter to Rome points out that in his day this very thing was occuring with the Romans:

Rom 1:21-23 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him. Instead, their thoughts turned to worthless things, and their ignorant hearts were darkened. (22) Though claiming to be wise, they became fools (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images that looked like mortal human beings, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.

If what LaPaglia is saying is indeed to occur, then we are beginning to witness serious pagan-like behavior from within our culture. For as Paul says, their hearts have indeed become ignorant and darkened. No longer do we worship God the Creator, but we now worship the created and the created will worship itself. These are indeed sad and dark days when we as a culture begin to beleive in such non-sense. That we are somehow as gods and we need to seek devine inspiration from art and nature. What lunacy! As I had stated in my previous posting, how can one even look at somehting as complex as DNA, or Photosynthesis, or the human form and not see the handiwork of our creator. Sadly, the modern day church continues to parrot old sayings and slogans and lazily refuses to address today's culture in debate or as Paul would say "come and reason together".

December 10, 2007

A Wonderful Comparison

Yesterday I mentioned a Podcast by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias that I had been listening to last week. In this Podcast Ravi mentions Dr. Francis Collins who is one of two doctors responsible for mapping the human genome. Dr. Francis gives lectures whereby he shows the above picture showing an amazing comparison and shares his faith in God. On the right hand side is a photo of a strand of human DNA along its axis (double helix). On the left hand side is a photo of the Rose Window at York Minster Cathedral.

Both have beautiful detailed design. Both have complex mathematical and geometrical design. Clearly someone would never look at the photo of the window and assume this occurred by randomness. Because of the amazing design of this window and vast selection of colors and shapes, one would come to the logical conclusion that this was made by human hands. It was made with a design in mind and calculated intelligence. But yet when we look at something a thousand times more complex as the Double Helix of human DNA, most people would say this happened as a result of chance, it happen by accident or it evolved. Clearly, when we see both images side-by-side we see two items that have been clearly made by intelligence designers. When I read of what goes into making up the sequenced data within a single strand DNA, I think to myself how can anyone come to the logical assumption that this all happened by random chance? We would never make the assumption that the window just evolved or fell into place by chance - what an absurdity!

When I see the creativity that God possesses and the depths He has gone to show every person his existence is overwhelming. I am so thankful we do not have a God who is shrouding himself in mystery as many people would claim. When I see something like this picture of DNA I think what depths God has gone to show us who he truly is! God truly is reaching out to man and saying Here am I! Know me and Love me for who I am - not what I am. I love God for his creativity and for allowing us to see his wonderful and amazing creation before us. He is a God who says "use the very logic and reason I have given you and you will plainly see I am here and I am real and alive". When we think God is somehow mysterious and can not be known, then what are we really saying about God? I think of the depths God has gone to by sending his son Jesus to show all of humanity just who He is and openly displaying for all of man to see his character. Jesus said "If you see me you also see the Father". Was Jesus ever mysterious? Was Jesus ever being coy with those around him so they would be unable to truly know him? Not at all! Just as God has displayed his intelligence and creativity in the things of this world, he also has shown us his character through his Son Jesus Christ. God has made it possible for you to know him and have a relationship with him. Have you met the Savior this day? If not, I would urge you to seek after him and to know him. For He is a loving and merciful and a creative God!

December 9, 2007

What are we worth?

This week I have been listening to a tremendous and touching podcast by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias entitled "The Christian Privilege". I must say this has to be one of the most moving speeches on explaining the heart of God and the human condition. Do you think your life is random, or do you believe that you are unique, having been designed by a loving God? I would implore everyone to listen to this short speech by Ravi. It really does a fine job of explaining the purpose of mankind and our relationship with God. This is Part 2 of a 5 part series. If your interested in hearing all 5 podcast you can find them here.

Click the following link to hear RZIM Podcast "The Christian Privilege".

A PSA for the Emergent Church Movement

Below is a very humorous podcast from a blog called Fighting for Faith . The point of this podcast is to show just how illogical the Emergent Church movement really is. Can we really trust the Emergent Church? After listening to this I think you'll understand my point.

Imputed Righteousness: Whose Righteousness Anyway? Part 5 of 5

Here is the final part 5 of the Sermon series from Pastor Dean Harvey regarding the doctrine of Imputed Righteousness.

Whose Righteousness Anyway?, By Pastor Dean Harvey – A Transcript from his daily radio show

In conclusion, we must ask the question, "Do we have any excuse for sin?" Unfortunately, the doctrine of imputed righteousness has become an excuse for sin, or at the very least, permitted Christians to become less vigilant about sin in their lives. Yes, we are to live righteously as the Bible instructs. No, Jesus cannot live righteously for us. And no, God does not see the sinful person through the righteousness of Christ, thereby making the sinner righteous in the sight of God. This is what is called a "theological fiction." It is a fiction, a make-believe, a lie, to somehow think that God sees us as righteous when we are living a life of sin. I am very sad to think that many who expect to go to heaven when they die, will hear Jesus say, "I never knew you." Matt. 7:23. In 1 Cor. 1:30, Paul says that Christ has become to us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. This means that He is our Savior from sin, without Him, we would be lost in our sins, and could not be saved. Can we save ourselves? No. Is it works to say that we must personally live righteously after we become Christians? No. It is not works, it is the obedience of faith. It is the fruit of our transformation of heart. It is the fruit of the great mercy of God. It is the fruit of the patience of God. It is the only thing we can give back to God for this great salvation. Let us stop making excuses for sin. Let us stop looking for loopholes in the law of God. That is what the Pharisees did, and Jesus rightly condemned them. We say with Paul, "What, shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?"