Saturday, January 31, 2009

There's Probably No God Part 1

"There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

This is the add that will most likely be seen plastered to the sides of city buses in Calgary, Alberta. The same add is in Toronto, London and Madrid. This statement was met with criticism from the Calgary Catholic Bishop. He said that the best date to launch such a campaign would be April Fool's Day. Obviously, this is going to be a hot button. The Free Thought Association of Canada has opened a can of worms on this one. Christians oppose this idea. I won't get into whether they should or should not because we do, in fact, live in a free country with the freedom of speech. We usually don't like it when people aren't saying what we want them to say. That's natural. I do, however, want to look at the very words that the Free Thought Association of Canada actually do say.

The statement, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." evokes a few sentiments that I think are worthwhile to look at.

1. Probably.

The word probably means "in all liklihood" or "presumabley". It is a word that definitely leaves room for error. It is based upon presumption and not evidence. Presume means "To take for granted that something is true or factual". This is in direct contrast with the word "true" which means, "factual". This idea of "there is probably no god is usually based upon no or a lack of evidence.

So you have a statement that is, in it's own beginning, saying it's not necessarily true, but should be believed as true, with no evidence to support it. The people who say "probably no god" should not be classified as atheists, as atheism proclaims that there is no god, while agnosticism proclaims that there is no knowledge of a god. The Free Thought Association of Canada can't even come out and say for sure that there is no god. Where's the guts?

The Free Thought Association people are, as a co-worker of mine suggests, "chicken atheists" at best.

2. No God.

This conversation can go on for infinity, that is if infinity exists since we humans are not infinite. So, for the purposes of our finite conversation on the topic of the existence of God, think about these things (and please take the time to research them if anyone lacks understanding)...

- DNA and RNA. How do we get DNA? From RNA. Where does RNA come from? It is made by DNA!

- Brownian movement. It's really cool.

- Stars. Okay, so attempts to explain our earth as being formed by no god are accepted by many, but how do other things in the universe just get there?

- Where did the substance to make Earth come from? Seriously, where did the first particles to make "stuff" come from? You just can't get something from nothing. It's a universal fact.

- The Theory of Evolution. Where are the missing links of species? If evolution is still happening, there must be evidence of it taking place. There simply has to be. Whether global warming is happening or not, the theory of evolution should simply allow the strongest of the species to adapt and survive so what's the worry anyway right?

3. Stop worrying.

The Free Thought people are really patronizing the population they speak to by saying this. They are minimizing people's real worries and elevating themselves as the authority by which their worries will be removed. They are saying in essence, "you are worrying about the possibility of God not being pleased with what you are doing. We're going to fix that by saying there is probably no god anyway." Linking worrying to the thought of the existence of a god does not seem rational. I know people that worry about money. They worry about their kids. They worry about whether or not their marriages will survive. They worry about keeping their house in this particularly declining economic environment. They worry about whether they'll have a job tomorrow. They worry if the chemo is going to work, and if it doesn't, who will take care of the kids? I have never met anyone who stays up all night worrying that God exists or not.

4. Stop worrying.

The proponents of the "no god" agenda use fear to manipulate their audience, yes, just like corrupt church leadership did in the Middle ages. Fear, guilt and superstition were used to make people fearful of doing or not doing certain things to propagate the church's agenda. That agenda, many times, was for the selfish ambition of the corrupt leadership. The atheist/agnostic position plays on the supposed or real fear of many and gives them a feel good pill that lets them off the proverbial providential hook. If it wasn't for the supposed fear of some people who believe in God, this particular position of "stop worrying about it" wouldn't be valid. The very act of using the "no god, stop worrying" is equal to the "God is watching, be afraid" mentality. Both are based upon perceptions that seem, to the adherent of those philosophies, to be true. But are they?

5. Enjoy your life.

It is very elitist, in my opinion, to simply say to someone, if you believe there is no god like "I" do, you will be free of worry and will enjoy your life. It is equally repulsive to me that someone can say that because a person believes in God, they will be full of worry and therefore not enjoy life. That is what they are saying when they write "there is probably no god, so stop worrying and enjoy your life. What else can it really mean? Empirically one would have to admit that because of their belief in God, millions of people enjoy their life. Likewise, there are probably (in other words I don't have evidence but I presume that it could be the case) people that are afraid that, if there is a God, this God may not be pleased with them for whatever reason and therefore, may be worried about that. I want to thank the atheists for taking care of their problem. They have solved it beyond a shadow of a doubt and now, the world can be joyful. Or is the problem actually solved?

I, for one am not going to put my head in the sand and ignore centuries of history. There were, and still are, things done in the name of Christ that had and have no place in Christianity. Because a pope or a king or a priest or a minister or any other person past or present simply says that they are a follower of Christ and therefore excercises the authority to simply do things that are in opposition to the teachings of Christian scripture, does not in any way, shape or form make them Christian. My atheist and agostic friends, please understand this. I am not going to suppose that the abuse of power of some probably made you less than able to see the truth of Christianity, but if that is the case, I can understand. I would hope that those who embrace atheism or it's half brother, agnosticism, would be equally able to hear a Christian perspective as well.

In closing, I'd like to sum up what the slogan in the opening says in my own words...

We have no evidence or facts to back up what we believe, but, we're going to believe that there is no god. In fact, because we have the audacity to think that your life isn't enjoyable, and your belief in a god has produced fear and worry in your life, we want you to believe like us, with no evidence. Now you can stop worrying. There, you should feel good now...

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I was surfing the net and checking out some sites lately and came across a blog. The blog was from a pastor on a multi-staff church. The writer of the blog was sharing some great ways to love people and was sharing of one way in particular. Here's what he said, and I quote...

"One way we seek to love at (church) is through technology. Technology is simply a tool we offer to God to help us love others."

The context of this statement was the explanation of the use of computers at church kiosks to garnish personal information from visitors and attendees. He went on to say how it's a great way to stay in touch with and keep track of prospects and people that are in some way connected to the church.

Should this notion of love be accepted as loving or biblical?

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Jesus Christ

Jesus' form of loving people appears to be drastically different from what others may seem to think. While love can be packaged by some to mean gathering data, Jesus simply told us to treat people in the same manner we would want to be treated.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus Christ

Today my neighbor knocked on my door during our family dinner. It was minus 30 degrees Celsius (really cold!) and he needed a ride to do an errand. He presently has no car and his other buddy could not assist him. My response was to simply explain to my wife what he needed, excused myself and simply took him to where he needed to go.

I could have had him go to my computer and fill out his information, address, hobbies etc. and then get back to him later. No, I accepted the interuption as an opportunity to show love.

This is a new commandment that I give you, that you love one another.

Jesus Christ

So as our dear commrade in ministry writes about love, let not one of us forget what love really is by paying attention to what Jesus Christ himself said. Are computers wrong? Absolutely not. Can they serve a purpose? Absolutely yes. Is technology and its use what Jesus intended for us to employ to love people? I am not at all convinced at that.

The nitty gritty love that Christians are to abound in is the type that is face to face. It's the kind that causes interuptions to one's personal agenda. It's the kind that pulls a twenty out of your own pocket and helps someone out right then and there. Love causes us to hold our tongue when we want to "rip someone a new one." It is love that constrains the saints to be patient with the abbrasive people that come into contact with us on a daily basis. Simply put, love isn't some sterile, isolated, impersonal act. Let's just not be confused that's all.

Assistance in administration and tools for management are necessary organizationally. Love, well, that's just something that us people just ought to do.

Keep loving.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Salad Bar Christianity

Over the last several years I have been increasingly alarmed at the "pick and choose" approach to Christianity. In other words, I've seen a trend in people adhering to the teachings of the Bible that they like and choosing to ignore the teachings that they don't like. You know, it's kind of like going to a salad bar.

George Barna has a recent article on his web site ( which backs up this trend with his latest research.

I encourage you to give it a read at to see for yourself.

Simply cut and paste this link and it will take you there. If not, go to and you'll find it.


Friday, January 02, 2009

We've Never Done It That Way Before

It is my opinion, after months and years of observation, that many people in North America who are responsible for teaching and preaching the Bible to congregations, do so to perpetuate their own thoughts, teachings, preferences and traditions. This isn't necessarily always intentional but it still happens. Look at any Christian TV program and see for yourself. But it doesn't stop there.

God's word still remains hidden to so many people.

At the end of 2008 I was re-introduced to God's word. This book, called the Bible, that I grew up reading, that I went to college to study verse by verse, even spent fifteen years studying it to teach to others on a weekly basis, yes this book, I was re-introuduced to in a whole new and eye-opening way. I now use an entirely different process to study and understand God's word. I think everyone else should do this too. Let's begin with the common way.

A person, usually the minister or teacher, reads a book on church growth, leadership or some other inspirational content (doesn't really matter what it is). A quote or concept is recognized and it catches the attention of the teacher. Incidently, the concept is supported by a Bible verse or two (maybe!). Subsequently, the teacher that is "studying" for a sermon or teaching uses the verses and spring boards into all kinds of points to support his concept, theme or teaching. Sometimes it's the opposite where the Bible is being read first and then other materials are used to substantiate what the Scripture says. Presto. The Bible has been taught. Right? Hold on a minute.

This form isn't necessarily evil. There is some good that can come of it. I participated in this form of study many times as professional clergy. It was modeled to me and it is very common. It's all I really knew for some time. The problem is that there is such a great danger of a few things. 1. It is very easy to simply make up what you want the Bible to be saying. 2. It is easy to miss much or all of what the Bible is really saying. 3. It is entirely possible to teach something that is absolutely false doctrine. There's plenty of that going on today.

This leaves our churches biblically illiterate and impotent. It's evident all around us.

I only scratched the surface. I shortchanged myself, and probably the people I was preaching to and teaching by not utilizing another form of study of God's word.
Using other authors' materials, commentaries and other helps can help us widen our understanding of something perhaps, but only after the work of studying God's word by ourselves and unpacking what the scriptures say are done first.

How do you "unpack" God's word and understand it? Well, that's what I'm committed to. Not only understanding it myself, but helping others know how to read, know and understand it as well. I'm in this process now going on about fourteen weeks. We call it "Word Ministry". My teachers have been amazing. God's word is coming more alive to me than ever before.

P.S. Is the teaching you're sitting under need to go a bit deeper into God's word? Do this little test. It doesn't mean your teacher is not prepared at all. It may mean that they are using the old common method. Ask yourself if some of these red flags are present...

1. Are there lots of quotes from books outside of the Bible (again, not evil but must be careful)?
2. Is there a catchy title and a few points that all seem to fit nicely together?
3. Are there random Bible verses that are all seemingly connected to the point of the teaching?
4. Is the theme of the message being taught simply not found in the Bible?
5. Can you take the same message and teach it in Haiti, the slums of Mexico or impoverished parts of North America?
6. Are the points of the teaching actually found in the text of the verses being taught OR are the points surmised and taken from the collective proofs of other random verses?

Don't let anyone convince you to settle for a "we've never done it that way before" mentality. There's more in that Bible of yours. Go find it!

Go deeper!

If you would like to know more about "word ministry" email me at and we can begin to dialogue about the process and perhaps find someone in your area that is committed to it and maybe help you even more. Perhaps, if I can boil it down to put into words on a web page, I can attempt to explain it. Really though, it is such an organic process, and done very well in groups, it is better taught in person. It literally takes hours and hours, perhaps days and weeks to study a passage of scripture thoroughly. No shortcuts.