Thursday, 26 February 2015

Salvation and the Mentally Handicapped

I was checking out the numbers on some of my posts. The one with the greatest number of page views by far is this one, on a Biblical age of accountability. I suspect it reflects the heartache and worry one feels when one loses a young child and wonders about its eternal destiny.

One of the comments on the original post was from a woman concerned with her mentally handicapped brother, and how God treats those without the mental capacity to actively and consciously understand the Gospel and accept Christ as Saviour and Lord.

I heard a verse mentioned on a Christian radio program the other day. I'm afraid I don't remember which one, or I would give them credit. It was John 9: 41,
Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.
It got me thinking. This verse had always seemed rather confusing to me. What did Jesus mean? Does it mean we shouldn't evangelize? If people aren't aware of Jesus, would they then not be guilty of sin? No, I don't think so. Read the first couple of chapters of Romans. Read John 3:19,
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
No. People, I'm convinced, are quite aware of sin. There is a standard of morality that runs across all cultures, peoples and generations. All fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and I believe all realize it, in some way.

As Hank Hanegraaff, possibly among others, has said, "It is not the ignorance of truth but the despising of truth that keeps people from God." I refer again to John 3:19, above.

Over and over again we see God and Jesus extending generous invitations to come to them. In the parable of the great banquet, where we see that God wants His house to be full; in passages such as  Matthew 11: 28-30, 1 Timothy 2: 3-4, 2 Peter 3:9.

So it occurred to me that perhaps John 9:41 (above) might just apply to those who have not the mental capacity to consciously reject Christ as Saviour. As I argued in my original post, the Bible does indicate that there is an age before which young people know right from wrong. What significance that has in terms of eternal salvation, I'm prepared not to be dogmatic. But I am quite prepared to accept that God's generosity extends to those who are incapable, because of various handicaps, of understanding sin or making the intellectual decision to accept or reject Him.

In the end, I fall back on Genesis 18:25c,
Will not the judge of all the earth do right?
Take Care

Monday, 16 February 2015

Consistency?

Someone messaged me tonight about my, "What I Believe" column to the left. It is based, as you will probably know, on the Apostles' Creed. But she wondered if the holy catholic church should have been, "holy Catholic Church."

I replied, explaining the difference; that small 'c' catholic means, "universal," and that every born again believer is a member. But it reminded me of something from the past.

A church I once attended, a very good church; one that held to the inerrancy of the Bible and the importance of proper and accurate translations if same, used  The Hymnal, by Word Publishing. In that hymnal, in the Apostles' Creed, they use the phrase, "holy Christian church," a total and flagrant mistranslation. I mentioned this to the powers that be, and, although they admitted the mistranslation, did not change it or explain the inaccuracy to the congregation. Apparently, some members of the conservative Protestant denominations that use this hymn book are so anti Catholic that they didn't even want to use the word.

Not a big deal I suppose, but I just found it interesting that those who insisted on total accuracy in some areas were so willing to ignore, even deliberately employ, inaccuracy in another.

Take Care

21 Christians Murdered For Their Faith; Remember Them

The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” (Revelation 12:9-12)
 And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20: 4b)
 Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22: 20b)
Read this for a perspective.

Take Care

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Friday, 13 February 2015

High Horses (Obama's Prayer Breakfast Speech)



Frankly I did not find this speech as offensive as some apparently did. It seems to have brought apoplectic rage in some circles, but I think Mr Obama was rather balanced in what he said. However, I do have a few thoughts.

For some reason he seems to indicate that we, today, shouldn't be critical of other people's past actions because we, somehow, share the same history. That, to me, is a non sequitur.

Does the fact that injustices were committed in the distant past preclude us from condemning atrocities now being committed? Should we not be on our "high horses" condemning slavery, for instance, even though our own ancestors may have owned slaves? Does the fact that our forefathers may have owned slaves now eliminate from us the right to criticize slavery? Why should we who are alive today carry the guilt for things done hundreds of years ago over which we now living had no control and nothing to do with.

(I'm afraid I see a connection with Canada's treatment of our First Nations People, wringing our hands in guilt over actions of past generations instead of actually considering what can actually be effectively done to make things better now. In fact, this sense of guilt over our forefathers' past sins is probably preventing us from solving, or even addressing, the current situation.)

Lastly, Mr Obama seems quite at ease linking former crimes to Christianity, but somehow can't seem to connect current ones to Islam. I believe he specifically avoids referring to , "Islamic terrorists," even though that is what Islamic terrorists truly are.

Islam seems to be the religion whose name cannot be spoken negatively.

Anyway, just my thoughts.

Take Care

Saturday, 7 February 2015

The Right to Have Life, Liberty and Security of the Person (And the Right Not To)

The unanimous decision by Canada's Supreme Court to rescind the law against doctor assisted suicide is an interesting one. And I find it interesting on a number of levels. First of all, to be completely technical, "doctor assisted suicide" is not really what it is anyway. What it is, is getting and allowing a doctor to kill you. Whatever the mechanism, a doctor who participates in the procedure is really complicit in your death. Now, whether you think that right or wrong is not my point here. But that's just what it is.

It's also interesting that they referenced our constitutional right to life, liberty and security of the person, when their decision allows for the exact opposite - the actual removal of life, liberty and security. Somehow, Alice and the rabbit hole come to mind here.

The decision was unanimous; 9 to 0. I haven't researched, but I wonder if any of the judges of this court were involved in the exact opposite decision when they last ruled on it. If so, do they think that they, or the judges on that court, were in error then. or just that times have changed. If the latter, it raises an interesting point about the definition of right and wrong; are they absolute or do they depend on societal standards or prevailing public opinion. What if slavery become a popular concept again?

And if the latter, what happens when public opinion comes to the point where euthanasia, of the elderly, disabled or handicapped children ever become acceptable or felt necessary in the eyes of the majority. Already, in European countries where assisted suicide has been legal for some time, it has come to the point where a sizeable percentage of deaths in this connection have occurred without the express permission of the patient.

I must admit, frankly, that I am rather neutral in this whole matter. I'm not going to try to judge another person who is in such agony that they want to end their life. And we don't live in a theocracy, where the values of Christianity or any other religion can (or should) be imposed, if the majority don't want them. Mind you, this decision was, "imposed," if you like, by nine unelected judges, but I suspect that a majority of Canadians actually might agree with them, in the narrow sense of "assisted suicide," perhaps not considering the, "slippery slope" scenario which, I predict right now, will almost certainly occur over time. The one thing I hope will be included in any eventual law is an effective, "conscience" provision for doctors who, on personal moral grounds, don't wish to be a part of taking a life.

No, we live in a democracy, where laws are generally made by those who represent the majority, and whether we agree with them or not, we often must abide by them, or at least accept them. Mind you, if anyone feels strongly enough about the wrongness of a particular law, he is free to fight and argue against it, but generally speaking, gay marriage, for instance, whether we agree with it or not, is law, and we must accept it. (Having said that, gay marriage is another issue where I am fairly neutral, as far as the world, as opposed to the Church, is concerned,)

I often think of Revelation 22:11 in these matters.
 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy. (Rev 22:11)
This world will continue until Christ returns. We will not always agree with every opinion this world holds. There will be injustice, even if it looks to be acceptable in the majority of the world's eyes. In the meantime, Christians are called to be salt and light, each in his particular corner of the world or sphere of influence. We cannot change the world - we can only assist in the work of God and His Holy Spirit in changing individual hearts. Then, enough of those individual hearts can change the world.

Take Care

Friday, 6 February 2015

Fifty Ways to Lose Your Love Life

This post is probably going to take a couple of different tacks, although I believe there is a common theme.

Driving down to Calgary yesterday I happened to hear the Focus on the Family program. Two guests, Dr Juli Slattery and author Dannah Gersh were discussing the phenomenon fr the Fifty Shades of Gray series of, "erotica," which, although I have not read them, they classify as pure pornography, and I am quite willing to accept their opinion. Apparently there is a focus on fetishes of bondage and discipline between a strong, dominating man and a weaker, innocent woman. The main audience for these books is primarily. women. If you have time to listen, Part one is here and Part two is here.

Several reasons for the popularity of these books, among them the desire of many women to escape their reality of their lives, a desire to revive their love life, an urge to change their husbands, the tendency on the part of some, even many, women to secretly fantasize about the tough male. But the one that struck a chord with me, perhaps appealing to my curmudgeonly side was this: the emasculation of men in our society.

I think we all been aware of how some sitcoms, for example, have come to portray men, especially fathers, as buffoons, pushed around or manipulated by their wives and children. I have noticed, in watching popular television and movies, an increase of strong, powerful woman characters who regularly are able to outfight even the strongest male characters. I'm thinking of shows like NCISLA, Person of Interest, Agent Carter, Agents of Shield, etc. I'm not saying good should not win out over evil, but these portrayals of strong women kicking butt over men is, in my opinion, a bit of an agenda, and an unrealistic one at that.

Of course we know that in kids' sports, girls are allowed to play on many boys' teams (not the other way around, of course), where, before puberty, girls can often out perform boys, but what does that do to a young boy's self esteem. It has taken the struggle for women's equality and elevated it to the point of women's superiority.

Which brings me to the subject of pornography itself. It is almost universally accepted nowadays, that porn and porn addiction have very negative effects. Study after study show it. Just Google, "effects of porn" or similar and you will find endless material on the subject. In short, porn and porn addiction on the part of males inhibits, damages or even destroys his ability to have a normal sexual relationship with  a real woman. Watch this video for a rather interesting talk on the subject.

One of the biggest steps toward the decline of our Western society, in my opinion (and that's all it is; my opinion) was the legalization of pornography on the basis of freedom of speech, or freedom of expression. We all know there are limits on freedom of speech for the common good, and this should have been one of them.  We've all heard about shouting, "Fire" in a crowded theatre, and now,  "Bomb" in an airport. Well, I believe that the legalization of porn has had far more negative consequences than either one.

Porn has destroyed relationships, marriages and families. Now, that statement is hearsay, I must admit, but I can remember at least one case very clearly. It was when I was participating, over a period of two or three years, on the discussion boards of a now defunct atheist website. These websites often lead, as they did in this case, to rather a feeling of closeness or friendship, even to those with whom we disagree. The online commenting community becomes a sort of family.

One of the group was a woman in her thirties, single until, during the time we were part of this community, she posted that she had found the perfect man and fallen in love. Within a few months they were married. After a time, she began to post some rather sad posts. One could almost sense her agony as she began to share about her husband locking himself in his study, in front of his computer, watching internet porn, while she sat outside the locked door in tears, longing for his attention and affection. Porn destroyed her marriage and her happiness, and it didn't take long. I wonder how many times this scenario occurs all around our country.

Anyway, just personal opinions based on somewhat rambling personal thoughts.

Take Care

 

Friday, 16 January 2015

So What's the Difference? (Charlie Hebdo and Slutwalk)

Obviously, Charlie Hebdo, free speech and religious sensibilities have been at the top of the news recently.

First of all, let me say that I believe in free speech. However I have no desire, nor do I see the need, to publish reproductions of those cartoons that many Muslims find so offensive. On the other hand, I can't see how millions of people can be as upset as they seem to be over them, to the point of committing violence and even murder. It just doesn't seem to be worth it. Having said that, I guess I wasn't out on the streets protesting the Viet Nam war, back in the day either. I just don't get that riled up over stuff.

So... having said that I agree with anyone's right to publish cartoons such as these, even my own right, had I the inclination, one might take the position, as many surely do, that it may not be wise to do so, knowing what the consequences might be. This thinking , I believe, is not uncommon. In other words, they might be saying that Charlie Hebdo had it coming; that they should have known what would be the consequences of doing what they did.

However, this brings me to the title of this post, and raises another area where I suspect people holding this same attitude might think quite differently, even expressing their thoughts in a strident and aggressive manner. That is, the idea that women should be careful how they dress, or where they walk alone, in order to avoid sexual assault. I suspect, and forgive me if I'm wrong, that at least some of those who blame Charlie Hebdo for bringing on their fate themselves, might also be those who would condemn, equally as adamantly,  those who say that women should not dress provocatively, or walk alone in dangerous areas, to avoid sexual attacks.

Just saying. Publishing  those cartoons, just to make a point regarding freedom of the press is really just the conservative version of Slutwalk, and vice versa.

Obviously, publishing cartoons does not justify murder, just as a woman wearing as much or as little as she chooses does not justify rape. But I believe there is cause for caution and good judgement in both cases, those who would argue for it in one case should examine themselves to see if they are being consistent in their thinking.

Take Care