Without Christianity – A Wordy Wordless

In his newest book, Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind, atheist Tom Holland, who is not a follower of Jesus Christ, claims the morals of the western world would not exist without Christianity.  This is a really interesting read, especially coming from a historian of such repute, yet not a Christian.

2021-07-28 Tom Holland Quote

For more interesting reading, just enter Tom Holland Atheist Historian in your search engine and find gems like this: https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/religion/2016/09/tom-holland-why-i-was-wrong-about-christianity.

Are We Free?

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. (Peter, the Apostle)

One of the most disconcerting features of our society is the “celebrity culture” into which too many Christ-followers have bought. Mega-church pastors, television evangelists, or best-selling authors (or bloggers) all beguile us into thinking, “Oh, if so-and-so said it or did it, it must be right.”

But when one of them falls from grace, the message of Jesus gets blamed as if HE was the culprit. Paul warned the Romans, “You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.‘” But this is not just a problem for prominent religious leaders.

If any of us who name the Name of Jesus as our Lord hate our enemies and only love those who look like us, act like us, talk like us and vote like us, we will embarrass our Lord. If we fail at the most basic principles of living in the Spirit, the Name of God will be blasphemed.

In our current time, the election of our president is pressing us to take sides, to declare if we are Trumpers or Bideners. Will Trump’s legacy be one of lying, cheating, and disgracing the Constitution or will Biden’s potential presidency be one of destroying the Republic and advancing communism against half of the country?

Let me suggest we are FREE. We who call ourselves Christ-followers are free from the politics of the Democrats or Republicans because our citizenship is higher and more secure than anything either party can offer. I am not proposing that we ignore political issues, and some may be called specifically to follow Jesus into the fray of civic rivalries. However, most of us are needed on a different “front” of battle: the contention for the souls of our families, neighbors, friends and colleagues.

Unless God has called us to join a political party, we are commissioned to a much freer and better task than merely getting a temporary “master” elected. We must trust the Maker that He has chosen our next president (see Daniel 2:21) and we will still be called to live as free men and women under whatever earthly rulership He has chosen for us.

This was true of Paul when he was in prison for The Name. It has been true for many martyrs and believers throughout history since Jesus ascended. And it may even come true for some of us if we hold to His call with grace and composure, refusing to obey men rather than God.

No one is truly free unless he is free in his spirit. It never ceases to amaze me that some foolish people think conversions to ideas can be forced.  No heart or belief is changed by holding a gun to one’s head and demanding the victim to say words.  However, “if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed!”  If our citizenship IS in Heaven, then no power on earth can constrain us from doing what is right for our Master.

And His call is clear, one by one we must persuade, inform, and demonstrate that Jesus is who He claimed to be.  It is for freedom that He has set us free, “for you were called to freedom. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Galatians 5:13-14)

So I challenge you (and myself), are we free?

Guest reply to last week’s invitation.

2020-07-04 Flag
I always wish to go to America.  I have seen your pictures of your home and Kentucky is beautiful.  The thing I admire most of your country is your freedom.  Here in . . . if I say bad things about our leader I and my family will have to go hide.  It would not be safe.  In the USA many people say bad things about your leaders even if the leader is good or bad.  Some of your leaders are bad but they still give up power when you hold your elections I think so.  Our elections I do not know if the one elected we really choose or he clings to power to stay in power.  I think it is the last.  He stays in power because after he gets in power it is very difficult for another to get in and we people cast ballots and we do not know if the count is real or not.  So I pray that America will solve your problems because it is great nation and best in the world for freedom.  You are blessed to call America home.  Pray for my country but do not say where I am from. RAS

Well, I am disappointed that so few responded to my invitation to write about what living in America means to you or about appreciation for police or other first responders.   The only response is from an international friend, similar to comments he made when we were both “strangers in a strange land,” away from both our home countries. 

But his view as an outsider is telling.  Like someone told me once, the USA is kind of like Noah’s Ark: some animals you wish were not on board, kind of smelly at times, noise that keeps you awake, rough waters bouncing you about, feeling like you do not know where or when you will land, but all things considered, it’s still the best ship afloat; better than any other option!

And another reply, better late than never, as my Mom used to say:
After living overseas for 40+ years, I appreciate the freedoms and liberties my home country [USA] gives. From the CULTURE of my host country, Bangladesh, I appreciate that they accept me, are always respectful to me (especially as I get older!!).
Blessings, Sharon

Larry and Sharon Smith
BANGLADESH: Rd. 71, Hs. 11, Apt. 303A, Dhaka
PO Box 493907; Redding, CA 96049

Independence Day – What Does It Mean To You?

I invite you, dear reader, to share briefly, 250 words or less, why you are a glad you live in the USA.  Now, more than ever, we need to remember that ours is a nation that strives for the highest ideals of liberty and integrity, and we are privileged to live under a Constitution that affirms the inherent dignity and God-given rights of every individual.  We are blessed to call America home.

Share what living in this nation means to you.  You may want to read about America’s founding principles, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence.  Consider what each word in the attached documents means: allegiance, liberty, justice, a more perfect union, all men, the consent of the governed, usurpations, despotism, sacred honor.

I encourage you also to express gratitude for those who have served in the Armed Forces as well as for your local police officers, firemen, and first responders.

I will weigh and post appropriate replies in the next week before July 11.  You are welcome to specify your essay “Anonymous” and I will not publish your name.  I reserve the right to edit without your permission any essay.  I will certainly try to not misrepresent your views.  Please understand I may not be able to publish everyone who responds.  You can do your own blog if you do not approve of my edits or exclusions.

Teach these principles to your children, discuss them with your friends, be open to divergent opinions, and avoid listening only to voices that agree with you (FB likes, etc.).

2020-07-04 Independence Day
The Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.  Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.  But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.  The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

[…]We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare,

That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.  And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.