A man rejects God neither because of intellectual demands nor because of the scarcity of evidence. A man rejects God because of a moral resistance that refuses to admit his need for God. -Ravi Zacharias
To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, “I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge.” -Ravi Zacharias
“Whenever the Bible is read, a hush should come over us. We should be inching toward the edge of our seats, leaning forward, turning our best ear toward the speaker, fearful we’ll miss a single word—the deeds and words and character of Almighty and Merciful God are being revealed! In a world of suffering and pain, of doubt and despair, of questions about the meaning and purpose of existence, we are about to hear of God’s glory, forgiveness, mercy and love, of his intention for the world, of his promise to make it all good in the end, of the way to join his people, of the means to abide with him forever! And there we sit, tapping our feet, mentally telling the preacher to get on with it.
But if we take the trouble to listen, really listen, to that Word, we’ll discover something else marvelous: that the One being revealed is as patient with us as we are impatient with his Word, and as enamored with us as we are bored with him. Ah yes, even more enamored.”
— Mark Galli, Yawning at the Word
“Ever since Nietzsche it has been customary to sneer at the apparently wimpish vision of human life in the Beatitudes: the meek, the mourners, the merciful, and so on – when surely everyone knows that the people who make the world go round are the arrogant, the go-getters, the people with sharp swords or at least sharp elbows, the pushy, the proud. Actually, all Nietzsche did was to articulate what many people, including many would-be Christians, had believed de facto for centuries, but the point is that they, and he, were wrong. Every professor knows how frustrating it is when a student comes to class so arrogantly convinced of their own theory that they cannot pay attention to the evidence. (Sometimes, of course, students feel that about professors, too, and that makes its own point.) A University will thrive and flourish, and a society led by its graduates will thrive and flourish, when the Beatitudes’ different, upside-down vision of human flourishing takes effect: when people realise that humility and meekness before the evidence and before one’s peers are the marks of real academic strength; when they recognise that a hunger for justice and a love of mercy form the elusive centre of healthy societies; when they discover that, having invented a thousand clever machines for making war, it is long overdue that they should find one that would make peace.”
— N. T. Wright, The Great Story
The Jews tried to keep Christ contained within their law, while the Greeks sought to turn Him into a philosophy; the Romans made of Him an empire; the Europeans reduced Him to a culture, and we Americans have made a business of Him.
Atheists. You hate wars. You hate genocide, you hate iron-fisted dictators who line up peasants and jump over them with monster trucks. You hate it when corporations steal your money, and when fat suburbanites will let a million Africans starve before they’ll donate. You hate guys who treat women like lifeless sex dolls, guys who lie and leave.
You hate all of that, because you know that the ability to have empathy for other humans (even those who don’t benefit us) is the only thing that separates us from the cockroaches. And when that fails, it’s terrifying and awful in countless ways.
In the middle of a religious debate, you may say that religion and superstition are the prime evil in human society. But you look behind it, and you’ll find that other monster is bigger. Humans doing the opposite, acting like animals. Treating other humans as nothing but engines for their own pleasure.
Religion - whether it was handed down by God or just invented by a bunch of guys- serves mainly to fight that. It makes humanity sacred, and the moral law moreso. You can hate the methods it uses, you can say that there are other ways, you can say that it only replaces one cancer with another. But most of what it’s trying to get you to do - treat other humans as sacred and put morality above your own impulses - you already do. And you criticize religion mainly for not doing it.
— David Wong
“Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander the Great, Caesar, Muhammed, and Napoleon; without science and learning, he shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and scholars combined; without the eloquence of school, he spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line, he set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times.” – Philip Schaff
“Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to be saying to us, ‘I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’ Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.”
— John Stott
Psalm 68v18 — It is a glorious phrase: “He led captivity captive”
“The very triumphs of His foes, it means, He used for their defeat. He compelled their dark achievements to subserve His end, not theirs. They nailed Him to the tree, not knowing that by that very act they were bringing the world to His feet. They gave Him a cross, not guessing that He would make it a throne. They flung Him outside the gates to die, not knowing that in that very moment they were lifting up all the gates of the universe, to let the King come in. They thought to root out His doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hearts of men the very name they intended to destroy. They thought they had defeated God with His back the wall, pinned and helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God Himself who had tracked them down. He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”
James Stewart, Scotland
I personally love a good protest, and have been very intrigued by this whole Occupy Wall Street movement. Like most protests, they are better at identifying that something is wrong than identifying a way forward. With that said, I am still thankful people are raising their voices and am interested to see what turns out of these protests.
Who is to blame? What is our role as Christ Followers? Sarah articulates these questions wonderfully: Here’s a few key points worth noting.
“As followers of Jesus, is this our economic awakening? Is this our time to speak out prophetically about the Christian values of contentment, faith in God’s provision and our responsive generosity? Are we making choices with our own money that affirms our allegiance to God’s way of doing things first? Are we living the economics of love? The truth is that we are all part of the problem when we capitulate to our culture’s fascination with greed, materialism, consumerism, entitlement, irresponsibility, their assertions that we are what we own (or charge on the credit card, at least).
God’s economic system sets us free from the love of money. God speaks of His people living lives of gracious and generous giving, of prudent and wise decisions (something never very popular in our culture), our time and money and love, our lives, a sowing toward life.”
I believe our financial crisis is a crisis in American values for which we all share the blame. It’s not just the 1% affluent tycoons. We, as humans, have an amazing ability to shift blame in virtually everything. As Christians, I think we need to first look at our own lives for the blame before “passing the buck”. Beyond institutions and Wall Street tycoons, we must look for trouble within and then look to the example of Jesus. When we begin to take the teachings of Christ seriously and tangibly embrace them in our own lives, we find true revolution.
“He was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of men, yet he spoke of coming on the clouds of heaven with the glory of God. He was so austere that evil spirits and demons cried out in terror at his coming, yet he was so genial and winsome and approachable that the children loved to play with him, and the little ones nestled in his arms. His presence at the innocent gaiety of a village wedding was like the presence of sunshine.
No one was half so compassionate to sinners, yet no one ever spoke such red hot scorching words about sin. A bruised reed he would not break, his whole life was love, yet on one occasion he demanded of the Pharisees how they ever expected to escape the damnation of hell. He was a dreamer of dreams and a seer of visions, yet for sheer stark realism He has all of our stark realists soundly beaten. He was a servant of all, washing the disciples feet, yet masterfully He strode into the temple, and the hucksters and moneychangers fell over one another to get away from the mad rush and the fire they saw blazing in His eyes.
He saved others, yet at the last Himself He did not save. There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts which confronts us in the gospels. The mystery of Jesus is the mystery of divine personality.”
– James Stewart, Scottish theologian
“For to worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.” -Archbishop William Temple
“The greatest danger to Christianity is, I contend, not heresies, not heterodoxies, not atheists, not profane secularism - no, but the kind of orthodoxy which is cordial drivel, mediocrity served up sweet. There is nothing that so insidiously displaces the majestic as cordiality.”
-Soren Kierkegaard (orthodoxbrit)
“Since the Bible is always talking about salvation, from what are we being saved? … That from which you are saved is ultimately God. We like to think of God as the Savior, as the One who redeems us from judgment, and indeed, He is our Savior if we have genuinely repented and cast ourselves on the mercy of Christ. So God is the author of salvation, and yet, to be saved, in the final analysis, is not simply to be saved by Him, but to be saved from Him, because the ultimate crisis, the worst calamity a person could ever face, is the judgment of a holy God.”
— R.C. Sproul
“What would happen when our primary aim in the church is not to make the crowds feel comfortable but to exalt God in all his glory? If we would raise up people who are so awed, so captivated, so mesmerized by the glory of God that they will gladly lose their lattes—and their lives— to make his greatness known in the world.” -Platt
“A fallen creature could sooner create a world than produce that which would meet the approval of infinite Purity. Can darkness dwell with Light? Can the Immaculate One take pleasure in “filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6)? The best that sinful man brings forth is defiled. A corrupt tree cannot bear good fruit. God would deny himself, vilify his perfections, were he to account as righteous and holy that which is not so in itself; and nothing is so which has the least stain upon it contrary to the nature of God. But blessed be his name, that which his holiness demanded his grace has provided in Christ Jesus our Lord. Every poor sinner who has fled to him for refuge stands “accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6). Hallelujah!”
A. W. Pink
The Attributes of God, p. 56