Christian faith and prejudice
People have a variety of objections to the Christian faith and to God. Read if these objections and prejudices make sense
In this text we are going to explore some of the most common prejudices and preconceptions people might have towards Christianity. These preconceptions can often be seen in thoughts and attitudes of people, who doubt Christ and the living faith. These prejudiced questions also come up in reporters’ interviews. They often ask the same questions about Christian belief. That is why we are going to look into this matter in more detail. We’ll begin with the existence of God.
Q: Isn’t it silly to believe in God? I am an atheist myself and I am certain that there is no such thing as God.
A: Sentiments about God’s existence, both that He is or He is not, are presumptions based on beliefs. How do you know that God doesn’t happen to be in that area, which you know nothing about? He could be outside of our senses.
It is a rather similar case to someone losing their keys on the street. He searches them under the streetlight, “because there’s a better light, and because he is unable to see in the dark”. However, it is entirely possible that the lost keys are exactly in the dark area, where the person cannot see them. Accordingly, God could exist in that area, where we are unable to see Him.
Q: Aren’t Christianity and science the opposites?
A: If there are contradictions in this area, they’re not about new scientific research, but about interpreting history – mostly about, whether life came about by itself or it was created by the hands of God, and whether there have actually been real species transformations. Both views, the one based on Bible’s announcement and the materialistic one, are based on belief. We cannot prove them afterwards, because we cannot go back in time. However, there are clear indications that the materialistic view is not as strong, when it comes to questions about the origin of life. It is because…
The origin of life has not been proven. When dealing with scientific research, it is clear that views in the field support the idea of life having a beginning. This is not denied, as it is recognized that life depends on the Sun (without the Sun Earth’s temperature would be almost at -273 degrees, which would make life impossible), and this source of warmth cannot be eternal. At some point there must have been a moment, when life began.
Then how did it happen? There are only two options: Life came about by itself or God created it. Both of these views rely on faith, because we are unable to go back in time and see it for ourselves.
However, we know that people have not been able to prove life coming into existence by itself. There is no evidence towards it, although that is what some people want to believe. The more knowledge we have acquired, the more difficult it has become to support this view. Thus, assuming that God created everything is not any worse than assuming it came into existence by itself. On the contrary, it is more rational to assume that life emerged, because an almighty God created it, rather than believing it came about by itself. If a spontaneous emergence of life from nothing is possible, then why have we not been able to prove it yet? It should not be that difficult if it has actually happened.
We will take a look at a quotation relating to Stanley Miller. He is famous for his experiments concerning the origin of life. He was interviewed during his late years. J. Morgan tells the following about the interview:
He was indifferent about all suggestions about the origins of life, considering them “nonsense” or “paper chemistry”. He was so contemptuous about certain hypotheses that when I asked his opinion about them, he only shook his head, sighed deeply and sniggered – like trying to reject the madness of the human race. He admitted that scientists may never know exactly when and how life started. “We try to discuss a historical event that is clearly different from normal science”, he noted. (1)
There are no observable species transformations in fossils or in the current species. How about the accuracy of evolution theory? Many believe in it, but it is interesting that evolutionists themselves have brought up certain facts in their writings, which debunk evolution. They are enough to prove the theory wrong.
Darwin himself included such data in his own writings. He admitted (or was forced to admit) three things that call his theory into question. If we take Darwin's statements at face value, we can see that he had no proof to support his theory that life has evolved over aeons. The observations he made – which were excellent and precise descriptions of nature – only refer to normal variation within the basic species.
1) Darwin did not possess any direct evidence proving that a species had changed into another:
I am actually tired of telling people that I do not claim to have any direct evidence of a species having changed into another species and that I believe this view correct mainly because so many phenomena can be grouped and explained based on it. (2)
2) Species are different from each other:
According to this theory, there must have been innumerable intermediate forms between species. Why is it then that we cannot find them buried inside the crust of the Earth? Why is it that the entire wildlife is not at a state of confusion instead of being composed, as we can see, of clearly determined species? Geological research has not exposed the countless slight differences between past and modern species that this theory requires. And this is the most apparent of the many arguments presented against it. However, the answer lies in the large inconsistency of geological findings. (3)
3) The fossil data put his theory to a major test:
But I could never have even imagined how weak is the evidence given by even the best preserved geological layers. The lack of innumerable intermediate forms between species that should have been living during the early and later stages of each formation has put my theory to a major test. (4)
People who believe that the story told by geology is somewhat complete will probably reject my theory without a second thought. (5)
Professor of Comparative Anatomy Richard Owen (1804–1892), a contemporary of Darwin, criticised Darwin for not considering the evidence as such. Darwin’s reply was that the findings were not perfect or complete but Owen stated that the only justification can be found from the data that had been found and dug up so far.Only based on the data can predictions about the future be made. If the data does not support the existence of intermediate forms, then the theory should be rejected.
Owen's statement proves also that it is a question of what people want to believe instead of a question of actual information. Darwin's theory, which is so important to many, does not stand on a firm foundation. It is an idea based on faith just like the belief in Creation; there is no good evidence to support it. Theologians who conform with Darwin’s ideology do not want to admit this.
It is true that so far, permanent and useful conclusions have been based on the information we have. Now we are asked to accept the hypothesis by pleading insufficient information. People say that the geological chronicles are so incomplete! On the other hand, is there any human chronicle that is fully complete? (...) But when Mr Darwin, when referring to the lack of the fossil intermediate forms that are a requirement for his hypothesis – the lack of the countless intermediate forms that should have existed at some point during the history of the world according to the "theory of natural selection" – loudly proclaims what can or cannot be left to be found in the layers that have not been touched yet, we would reply that we can only predict the future based on what we have already found. (...) Are there any cases in which a fossil has been proven to be such an intermediate form based on the facts observed? We have been searching in vain for such examples. (6)
Q: Are the things mentioned in the Bible real? I myself don’t believe in them.
A: We need to approach this subject through evidence. As far as we know, it is true that God’s existence cannot directly be proven, but that is not the case with events mentioned in the Bible. If they are in concordance with historic research and archeology, then we are dealing with science.
In this respect, the Bible is in a good place. Historic research and archeology have confirmed the accuracy of biblical events. Those researchers, who have doubted the Bible, have constantly been forced to let go of their assumptions. The following quotations relate to the historicalness of the Acts and other biblical Books. They show how events and details mentioned in the Bible become reinforced by other sources. If these are historical events, then they are scientific as well.
The historical accuracy of the Acts has proven to be amazing. (…) Any attempt to reject the fundamental quality of the history of the Acts, even in the small details, seems absurd. Researchers of the history of Rome have for a long time regarded it as self-evident. (7)
In a sense, this is exactly what archaeology does. If ancient historical details have been proven to be correct time and time again, we should also trust the stories of the historian in question that cannot be confirmed in the same way.
I asked for a professional opinion from McRay. – What do you think: does archaeology prove or disprove the reliability of the New Testament when archaeologists study the details included in the stories?
McRay immediately replied. – The studies make the New Testament more reliable, there is no question of that. Just like any ancient document is more reliable if archaeologists notice when proceeding with their digs that the author provided correct information about a location or event. (...)
– The consensus among both liberal and conservative scientists is that Luke was a very faithful historian, McRay replied. – He was a learned man, he was eloquent, his command of Greek was almost classical, he wrote like a well-educated man and archaeological findings have proven time and time again that Luke was very precise in his writings.
McRay added that in many cases related to the harbour stories, scientists at first thought that some of Luke's references were false, but later findings have confirmed that he wrote the information correctly. (...) One prominent archaeologist carefully studied Luke's references of 32 countries, 54 cities and nine islands without finding a single error. (8)
How about the miracles the Bible talks about? Many so-called scientific people think that the miracles reflect a worldview from the past, but that is a poor account. If the writers of the Bible accurately described secular events and details, why would they have not done the same in terms of the miracles. It is only the researchers’ religious prejudice that prevents them from accepting the fact that biblical descriptions could be true. These people and researchers are also affected by our time and it shows in their beliefs.
Besides, there are mentions about the biblical miracles in other sources as well. For example, Jewish sources, and the historian Josephus and Talmud have also referred to them. Other sources talk about miracles as well, such as the Apostolic Fathers’ writings. Some of the people, who knew Jesus or the disciples, were still alive when these texts were written.
Q: Hasn’t science demonstrated how the Earth and life are at least hundreds of millions of years old?
A: That is the common belief, but it is possible to show clear incoherencies in the table of geologic time and in radiocarbon dating. They are the most important tools for dating. We will look at humans first, because we have been there from the early stages of creation, as told by Jesus:
- (Matt 19:4) And he answered and said to them, Have you not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
- (Mark 10:6) But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
The Carboniferous period and humans. According to the general viewpoint, the Carboniferous period took place ca. 300 million years ago, and it is also generally thought that the modern human has existed on the planet only for some ten thousand years now. However, these assumptions contradict observations, as human fossils and items that belonged to humans have been found from the Carboniferous stratum (Glashouver, W.J.J., So entstand die Welt, Hänssler, 1980, p. 115-6; Bowden, M., Ape-men-Fact or Fallacy? Sovereign Publications, 1981; Barnes, F.A., The Case of the Bones in Stone, Desert/February, 1975, p. 36-39). These discoveries indicate that people have lived on the planet for 300 million years, or we should measure coal layers of the Carboniferous period only in thousands of years, instead.
Trilobites and humans. The general perception has been that trilobites went extinct 250 million years ago. However, some discoveries clearly indicate that trilobites and humans lived simultaneously. There cannot be 250 million years between their appearances on the planet.
William Meister made a surprising finding on 1 June 1968 in Utah. He found several trilobite fossils inside a fossilized sandal print! However, based on the geological stratigraphic sequence, arranged according to the evolutionary periods, the trilobites became extinct approximately 230 million years before the appearance of man!
(…) Geologist, Doctor Clifford Burdick found evidence to support the idea about humans and the trilobites living at the same time. He found barefooted footprints of a child, one of which contained a flattened trilobite. (9)
Dinosaurs and humans. The general view has been that dinosaurs existed millions of years ago. However, there are numerous heritage stories that describe large dragons and lizards, which seem to have a resemblance to dinosaurs. These descriptions, which are often based on oral history, can be found among many nations, that is they are mentioned, e.g., in the English, Irish, Danish, Norwegian, German, Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Babylonian literature. The World Book Encyclopedia (Vol. 5, 1973, p. 265) covers these accounts:
The dragons in legends are, strangely enough, just like real animals that lived in the past. They resemble large reptiles (dinosaurs) that ruled the land long before man is supposed to have appeared. Dragons were generally regarded as bad and destructive. Each nation referred to them in their mythology.
Human evolution. The naturalistic philosophy assumes that humans have evolved even though it is well known that remains which are clearly from the modern man have been found in older layers than those of their assumed forefathers. We face this problem also if we use only the dating and classification used by the evolutionists themselves:
The next facts are about fossil data of man. First of all, fossils that cannot be distinguished from the modern man based on their external characteristics have been timed at up to 4. 5 million years in the past. Based on this it seems that there were genuine people well before the Australopithecus appeared in the fossil data.
(...) Based on the fossil data, we can state that when humans first appeared they were already fully humans. The fact that our forefathers suddenly appeared, morphologically fully humans, means that the fossil data complies with the ideology of Creation. This fact is undisputable even if fossils are arranged in order based on the evolutionistic dating system (although we believe this dating system is inherently flawed). In other words, even if we were to approve the evolutionists’ fossil dating system, the final result would not support the idea of human evolution. In fact, the results reject human evolution in that they prove the theory wrong in practice. This is the true nature of human fossil history. (10)
Radiocarbon in fossils. There have been constant findings of radiocarbon in coal -, peat -, petroleum -, and natural gas deposits and even in Cambrian fossils (the Cambrian period is thought to have begun 600 million years ago), and the half-life of radiocarbon in only 5730 years. These kinds of discoveries prove that these layers and fossils cannot be by far 100,000 years old.
In the early years of the invention, it was believed that all the preconditions needed to make accurate age measurements were now present. Researchers gathered all kinds of things to measure: items from the tombs of pharaohs and Neanderthals, teeth of sabre-tooth tigers and mammoths, fossils, crude oil, etc. Radiocarbon was found in all of them. These observations regarding age were published in Radiocarbon magazine. Many of the samples had previously been dated as being millions of years old. (11)
Radioactivity. Radiocarbon dating is only good for dating organic substances. Instead, other radiometric methods are used, in order to date rocks.
These radiometric methods have provided us with interesting results in cases, where the time of crystallization of the rock has been known. That is, rocks that are known to be under 200 years old, according to some dating methods, might have even been two or three billion years old. This shows, how there can be large differences between reality and radiometric measures. If the methods are unreliable in cases, where the time of crystallization is known, then how can they be considered reliable, when the said time is unknown? It is worth noting that these methods measure concentrations, but the rocks themselves don’t have any markings or tags stating their age.
Lava rock that was born in a volcanic eruption on Island Hualalai approximately 170 years ago was studied, and its age was determined using the new methods. By these “reliable” radiometers, the age of the 170-year-old rock was measured at millions of years, starting at 160 million up to three billion years. The same has happened also with other similar measurements. An attempt to measure the age of the layers of the Grand Canyon with these already mentioned new methods was also made. The researchers were yet again surprised with the results. The age of the “young” basalt rock in the uppermost layers was measured at 270 million years more than “the thousands of millions of years old stone layer” at the bottom of the canyon. After these measurements were taken, some of the ages given to the canyon’s rocks and layers by evolutionists before have been transferred into the group of “old beliefs”. (12)
Q: How can we believe that the Bible holds the words of God?
A: This cannot be directly proven. But, people that turn to Jesus Christ, will quite soon receive understanding that the words truly come from God. No one needs to ask Him about that.
The people that haven not turned to God should approach this matter from the perspective of Bible’s historical reliability. If the history provided in the Bible is true, in that case the general understanding of the universe’s origin would be wrong. It is as simple as that. And it’s worth noting that numerous biblical events are confirmed by other sources. This includes many references to people and locations in the New Testament, and it also includes descriptions of the Fall, confusion of languages, tower of Babel, and hundreds of Flood stories. Furthermore, there are signs of the Flood on all high mountain ranges. Many nature documentaries have brought up this phenomenon relating to mountains.
Another way is to familiarize oneself with the contents of the Bible. The core message of the book is how to get closer to God. If you are honest and sincere and really want to understand, you will find clarity. At the same time, the meaning of the Bible will also become clear.
- (Matt 7:8) For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.
- (John 7:17) If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
Q: Why would Christian faith be the right kind of faith? What about the other religions?
A: Usually the fundamental of all religions is to get closer to God and to receive salvation and God’s acceptance by doing good actions. But the problem is that people cannot find assurance of salvation like that. It’s impossible, because people are faulty and far away from being perfect. This is true, no matter the religion. Paul Little tells about his observations:
The Muslims do not have an assurance of salvation either. I have often asked the Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists whether they are going to nirvana or heaven after they die. None of them has been able to give me a definitive answer. They have rather referred to the incompleteness of their life, which is an impediment in reaching this goal. (13)
The Bible’s teaching differs from the previous. It tells us how God Himself has gotten closer to us through His own Son and how He has done everything for us, so that we could have our sins forgiven and that we could one day join Him. It is not about our goodness or our efforts anymore, it’s about God’s gift, which we can receive through Jesus Christ. Jesus was and is the Son of God and He came down to Earth and removed the barrier between humans and God. That is why it is possible to experience salvation and certainty through Him. Many can attest to having experienced these things after having let Jesus Christ into their lives.
- (2 Cor 5:19,20) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be you reconciled to God.
- (John 8:23,24) And he said to them, You are from beneath; I am from above: you are of this world; I am not of this world.
24 I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sins.
- (John 14:1-6) Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.
5 Thomas said to him, Lord, we know not where you go; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
Q: I cannot understand all the wrongdoings committed in the name of Christianity throughout history, or that some people these days blow up abortion clinics.
A: You are absolutely right, in that many wrong and peculiar things have been done in the name of God and Christianity. However, the clear message of Jesus is that ”all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” (Matt 26:52). Moreover, Jesus and the disciples taught that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Similarly, Paul warned that after his departure savage wolves would come. Therefore, we should understand that many acts done in the name of God are done by such people who don’t know God.
- (Matt 7:21-23) Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
- (1 Cor 6:9) Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived…
- (Acts 20:29-31) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
Q: I am progressive. I think that Christianity stands for outdated values and for an outdated worldview.
A: What is progress? There are always trends that are considered modern in their own time. In the 1930s Hitler was popular and considered progressive, but he brought suffering on mankind.
Similarly, Darwin was considered progressive, but the evidence is still missing for his theories. He was a precise observer of the nature, but his theory about macro evolution has been impossible to prove.
What if we use happiness as a yardstick? We have hardly improved in terms of that over the last decades. On the contrary, increase in single parent families, massively grown depression amongst children and teenagers, and increasing custody cases show that the development has not been for the better. Indeed, technology has improved, but the important aspect of life, that is happiness, has shown signs of decrease. One major reason for that might be selfishness brought by our new freedom and morals.
What about the idea according to which Christianity represents an outdated worldview? This is a completely insane concept, because eternal matters are always current and topical. Because if people are eternal beings and God invites us to eternal life through Jesus Christ, then what could the so-called modern worldviews and trends offer instead? Absolutely nothing. They are simply poor and worthless things compared to the grand truth. They cannot grant eternal life or forgive sins.
Q: I cannot understand why many Christians bless Israel. What about the Palestinians?
A: The situation in the Middle East is very difficult and there are no easy solutions.
The fact that Israel is being blessed and that people pray for the country is good, because that way we can receive God’s blessing for our own country (Gen 27:29, Gen 12:3). It doesn’t mean that we should be accepting of wrongdoings, but we can still pray for Israel, as we can pray for any other nation, including the Palestinians.
Building settlements is related to the issue. Many outsider nations don’t approve of this and think Israel has no rights to build. They don’t take into consideration that, for example, the Old Jerusalem, being one of the flashpoints, was the center of ancient Israel and that the same city majorly consisted of Jewish people already in the 19th century (in 1896 this city had 45420 inhabitants; 61,9 % Jewish, 19,3 % Christians and 18,8 % Muslims.). Outsider nations with their leaders also don’t want to admit that Israel is an independent country, which has the rights to build inside its boarders like any other country (This does not mean that we couldn’t try to find some kind of a negotiation solution to solve the current problems between the Palestinians and the Jews). Thus, many get involved with the country’s policies. This kind of intervention does not usually happen to other countries, although they might be having similar issues.
Q: I want to be accepting. I think Christianity represents intolerant lifestyle.
A: When people talk about acceptance, they usually mean two things: abortion and rejecting homosexuality. In people’s eyes it is intolerant to consider these two things to be wrong.
What some people consider as acceptance, however, can often be the approval of wrong things. People take pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thess 2:12) and regard people, who support these things, as heroes. When fallacious things are being supported, some don’t know if they should be ashamed, so much as they know to be proud of them. (Jer 6:14,15: They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? no, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, said the LORD.). Moreover, supporting misleading behavior is a completely different thing than caring about other people. Everyone should be honored and loved (1 Peter 2:17), but that is different to saying undoubtedly wrong things to be good. This distinction is not recognized, or people don’t want to recognize it.
Seeing opinions regarding this matter being divided, it should be noted that the most avid supporters of the formerly mentioned things, can be found in large cities, among the left-wing party and among the Greens supporters and also among young people. The question is, whether these groups or parties are more accepting than others? Can we associate acceptance to a few parties, to a home town or to an age group, or could we be dealing with having different viewpoints on right and wrong?
The latter must be right, that is it’s a question of differences in opinion about right and wrong. Meaning, if the representatives of some parties or a said age group were more loving than others, they should show it in other areas as well. Are they ahead of others in hospitality, good manners and in polite behavior towards other people? Or is it just imagination that these people have adopted due to their misconceptions? Isn’t it right that in the countryside people are significantly more ahead in these other areas, although there is less support for abortion and practicing homosexuality there? This case is not as straightforward, as is often portrayed in the media.
If we only discuss abortion, we have a reason to ask, what is acceptance and what is not. As we know that every abortion destroys a unique human being, supporting it is the utmost level of close-mindedness (This is not to downgrade those who have gotten pregnant, e.g., by rape. Luckily, those cases constitute only a few percentages of the total abortion rate). Many are horrified if children or babies are being killed, but abortion is not that different. Ultrasound imaging has shown how the fetus already at an early stage has the same body parts as we do – eyes, hands, feet, mouth, nose, ears, and other body parts. The sex of the baby can also be seen from the same ultrasound image. In India and in China this has led to the killing of baby girls. There are only 914 women for every 1000 men in India.
More girls are now aborted in India than in past decades
STT-AFP: According to recent population statistics, the number of women in relation to the number of men has reached a record low in India. The relative number of women in the country has never been so low since 1947: there are 914 women per 1,000 men in India.
Abortions based on the gender of the foetus are illegal in India but many mothers still abort their unborn girls. Indian families rely on boys to support them better than girls. Some families consider girls to be a financial burden.
Gender imbalance is a major problem in many Asian countries. According to the UN, millions of girls are missing from the population of the Asian countries.
The census shows that there are now 1.21 billion inhabitants in India, compared to 1.02 billion a decade ago. 2.5 million local authorities participated in the census that took a little less than a year. (Newspaper Etelä-Suomen Sanomat, 1 April 2011)
Q: I want to be accepting. I feel like Christianity represents a close-minded way of life towards homosexuals.
A: A major reason for this is probably the mindset, according to which homosexuality is an inherent quality, just like skin color that is assigned to us at birth. That is why it is being advocated in the name of justice and love. It is being considered a fact that it is an innate quality assigned to us at birth.
However, many homosexuals think otherwise. They don’t see it as innate or inherited. Some do think it that, but many feel that it was caused by difficult circumstances and coping mechanisms in those situations – similarly to how some are more prone to become an alcoholic, addict, criminal, or a prostitute. They might have had a childhood filled with difficult relationships and circumstances, and as a result they have become more prone to making bad decision:
I read an interesting study by an expert: it was a survey to find out how many actively homosexual people believed they were born that way. Eighty-five percent of the interviewees were of the opinion that their homosexuality was a learned way of behaving caused by destructive influence early on in their home and enticement by another person.
Nowadays, my first question when meeting with a homosexual is usually, “Who gave you the inspiration for it?” All of them can answer me. I will ask then, “What would have happened to you and your sexuality if you hadn’t met your uncle, or if your cousin had not come into your life? Or without your stepfather? What do you think would have happened?” This is when the bells start to toll. They say, “Maybe, maybe, maybe.” (14)
Furthermore, when discussing this matter, the following aspects should be taken into account:
•Homosexuality is merely one sin in the list of many. It’s not the only misleading sin, as there are many other misleading ones:
- (1 Cor 6:9,10) Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
• Taking into account eternity, we’ll be given a proper attitude towards love. When some people blame Christian views for being narrow-minded and intolerant, they have a completely wrong and incorrect understanding. Because if people are eternal beings, as addressed in the previous chapters, then the right kind of love is to warn our neighbors of wrong choices, as if we were warning them about thin ice: “I worry about you. Please don’t go walk on thin ice, I don’t want you to drown. You might end up in a bad situation.” If we don’t warn our neighbors, despite seeing the danger, then we really don’t care about them. Warning about the consequences of sin is actual love.
A well known Finnish preacher, Niilo-Ylivainio, wrote about this topic. He showed how people can react in a nonchalant way towards God, and how he himself tried to get other people to understand the severity of the situation. He stated how he tried to warn others, so that they wouldn’t end up in a bad situation. He had a genuine and loving attitude towards people. That is also what we need. He wanted people to receive salvation and he worried about them, because he didn’t want them to end up in hell:
"Confusion gnaws me day and night. There is enough of it.
But I am gnawed more by those people who are going to Hell. I see a line of people, a crowd that only walks. Shout to them, explain to them, teach them, try to gesticulate and to describe, that they are walking towards devastation! So what happens then? They just go! They just walk! They just slide! They laugh and walk toward the gates of hell!
You think about 'old Niilo' now, I can see by your face. You think, So you spoke and preached, and what of that.
I am compassionate by nature. I have always been like that. I would so love people to Heaven, if it helped. But when I was younger, I tried to frighten people to faith.
My intentions were good.
People say that my preaching was hard and harsh, and indeed it was. My intentions were good. I thought that if the frightfulness of the Judgment and the heat of Hell are described to people in the correct way, they will come to their senses.
Then, I still tried to prolong the moment of resolution. I asked and asked, persuaded, and tried to win time in order to give them a possibility until the very last moment. (…)
Yes, some were also saved by frightening. It worked on many. They understood that I wasn't scaring them for the sake of money, but that I was serious. Being hard, if you are blunt, has its bright sides. I was hard, because I worried about them. I thought that it is now up to me whether these people go to Heaven or to Hell.
It was honest work in the sense that people were honestly told where they were going. Being honest was hard on me. It cost me my strength and health already as a young man." (15)
• Being prone to homosexuality is different than practicing it, and an inclination towards something does not count as a sin yet. Everyone has some faulty inclanations, but we don’t need to live by them.
• In terms of moral, there are two options: everything we do is right, or there are some things that are clearly wrong. This is where we can find the major cause to why views regarding, e.g., homosexuality are divided. Some consider it wrong, whereas others don’t. It’s not about love or the lack of it, as the media usually puts it, but it’s about which actions are right and which are wrong. To which side do they fall into? The same applies to abortion and to other similar acts. Everyone – homosexuals and people who go through abortion - should be loved, but where is the line between right and wrong?
• If there are homosexuals, who have some kind of a void, due to lack of contact with the same sex while growing up, they don’t have to fill that void with sexual relationships. God’s restoring power and platonic friendships can fill that void.
• Are we more accepting than Jesus and the disciples? When we are discussing, for example, Bible verses regarding homosexuality, they go nearly 2000 years back. It is not a new concept, and it has nothing to do with people’s current differing opinions. Today’s generation didn’t come up with those verses, as to annoy others, because they were written a long time ago. The only thing that we need to be concerned with, is whether these old verses are true or not.
How about Jesus and the disciples, were they accepting? That is, they did taught that sexual relationships that are not between a married man and a woman, are sin, ergo wrong. Were they more cold-hearted than many people today?
I’m sure they were not. When many people nowadays consider themselves as loving and accepting, it is quite certain that none of them beat the disciples, not to mention Jesus, when it comes to the ability to love. We are not going to discuss the life of Jesus here, which is unlike any other and which involves a love greater than any other life has ever known. Instead, we are going to look at some passages describing Paul’s life. They show how he was able to feel a strong love towards other people, despite the fact that he used to be hostile and cruel before meeting God. How many of you today feel that you are this accepting, or can honestly claim to have the same loving attitude?
- (2 Cor 12:14-15) Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.
15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
- (2 Cor 2:3-4) And I wrote this same to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.
4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears; not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have more abundantly to you.
- (Rom 9:1-3) I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh
- (2 Tim 3:10-11) But you have fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, patience,
11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
- (Phil 3:17) Brothers, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as you have us for an ensample.
• Jesus is a friend to all sinners (Luke 15:2). He talked with sinners, and He even died for homosexuals, like He did for all of us. Yet, He also said: ”sin no more, lest a worse thing come to you" (John 5:14). The only thing that prevents us from knowing Jesus and experiencing the love of God is deliberate rejection. David Wilkerson has taught the following:
God is not angry at any sinner – whether they were a drug user, alcoholic, homosexual, gambler, brothel owner, someone who’s done adultery, or anything else. Only deliberate rejection makes God angry. I have four children, but I cannot help them if they won’t even listen to me. Neither can you help anyone if they shut you out. And that is why God can’t do miracles for those, who reject His love.
My sinful friend – God loves you as much as He loves the most holy Christian. You are enough for Him and worthy. He wants you to be His friend. But if you keep building the barrier and shut yourself from Him – you will die in your sins…
Where God stands, no one is a slave to sin – no one is hopelessly addicted to something – no one is forever guided by Satan. In God’s eyes there are only two kinds of sinners: 1) those that are lost, but want to be found, and 2) those that are lost and want to stay that way…
When it’s judgment day, I believe the first thing Christ is going to ask the people who rejected Him is going to be: “Why?”
“Why did you reject my offer that could have made your life whole? Why did you think that bad company and your sinful ways would be better? You must have had a good reason – please, tell Me.”
I wonder if God will ever understand the reasons, why mankind has rejected His love and forgiveness. (16)
Q: I can’t understand why some people react so negatively towards the ordination of women?
A: There are two differing views on this within congregations around the world. Some perceive it in the way that the role of a shepherd is also meant for women, but some believe based on, e.g., the Epistle to Timothy (1Tim 3:2) that it belongs only to men: ”A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach…” The same people still think that women are needed in spiritual work, which is also how the biblical model works. No one is destined to do nothing.
What if you disagree about it? Should you throw away your eternal life for it, and leave yourself outside the gates of heaven? During judgment we cannot plead to what others have done. Everyone has to account for themselves:
- (Rom 14:12) So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Q: I don’t believe judgment exists. I hardly doubt that God will condemn anyone.
A: That is where you are making a huge leap of faith, just as some people believe that there is no God.
What if in the end judgment does exists and we have been given an opportunity to be free from hell through Jesus Christ? Wouldn’t it be silly to lose your eternal life, which can be received as a gift? Don’t make such a foolish decision and turn your back on this gift! Read the Bible regarding this and turn to God!
Q: Maybe you are right. I probably should be a little more concerned about this. But what do I need to do in order to receive an eternal life?
A: Salvation is a gift we can receive. You will receive this gift, when you turn to Jesus Christ and give your whole life to Him. Through Him you can be saved. He said (John 5:40): ”And you will not come to me, that you might have life”.
Q: Is it really that simple, that I’ll receive all that as a gift at once? I have many sins on my back, but it would be wonderful if I could be forgiven.
A: It really is that simple. If you have turned to Jesus Christ and let Him in your life, you are then a child of God and have received an eternal life. You have this life no matter what you might feel at this moment. Don’t merely base the possibility of your salvation on your misleading feelings, but base it on the word of the Bible and on Jesus Christ, because isn’t it so that we don’t ever throw an anchor into the boat, but out of the boat.
- (John 1:12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name
- (1 John 5:11-13) And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.
13 These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.
The prayer of salvation: Lord, Jesus, I turn to You. I confess that I have sinned against You and have not lived according to Your will. However, I want to turn away from my sins and follow You with all my heart. I also believe that my sins have been forgiven through Your atonement and I have received eternal life through You. I thank You for the salvation that You have given me. Amen.
1. J. Morgan: The End of Science: Facing the Limits of Knowledge in the Twilight of Scientific Age (1996). Reading: Addison-Wesley
2. Darwin, F & Seward A. C. toim. (1903, 1: 184): More letters of Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray.
3. Charles Darwin: The origin of species, vol 2, 6 th ed., p. 49 - Cit. from "Evoluution romahdus", Scott M. Huse.
4. Charles Darwin: Lajien synty (The origin of species), p. 446
5. Charles Darwin: Lajien synty (The origin of species), p. 457
6. Richard Owen; sit. Søren Løvtrup (1987) Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth. London: Croom Helm
7. A.N. Sherwin-White: Roman Society and Roman law in the New Testament, Oxford: Oxford university press, 1963, p. 173
8. Lee Strobel: Tapaus Kristus (The Case for Christ), p. 132-134,136
9. Scott M. Huse: Evoluution romahdus, p. 25
10. Marvin L. Lubenow: Myytti apinaihmisestä (Bones of Contention), p. 286
11. Kimmo Pälikkö: Taustaa 2, Kehitysopin kulisseista, p. 92
12. Kimmo Pälikkö ja Markku Särelä: Taustaa tekijänoikeudesta maailmaan, p. 102
13. Paul Little: Tiedä miksi uskot, p. 129
14. Bill Hybels: Kristityt seksihullussa kulttuurissa (Christians in a Sex Crazed Culture), p. 132
15. Mauno Saari: Saarnaaja, p. 268,269
16. David Wilkerson: Ihmeet ja merkit, p. 11,12
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life
Grap to eternal life!