Monday, August 27, 2012
I am grateful for people who have studied longer and harder than I have, especially those who study subjects that hold my interest and research much better than I ever could. Robert Hutchinson has done so in a blog: Debating The New Atheist, a second part, though I haven’t read the first.
I am not a debater, though I do enjoy a good discussion of differing viewpoints -- as long as mutual respect is maintained throughout. It is possible to disagree without arguing. However, I continue to be amazed at how atheists look at Christianity.
While researching responses to Pascal’s Wager, I ran across an atheist who stated that only good people who were dedicated to searching for truth would be going to heaven, therefore only atheists and theologians would meet the requirements. His conclusion is based on an erroneous assumption.
It is beyond my understanding how anyone could believe that only ‘good’ people, those who do good deeds all of their lives, will be in heaven. That’s not biblical at all. Altruism is not how that journey is made, according to the Bible.
How much time did the thief on the cross have to be altruistic?
But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:40-43 KJV)
His statement acknowledged his guilt, Jesus’ kingship, eternal life and made a request. Bottom line, basic necessities, as Christ said to Nicodemus:
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18 KJV)
Believing can be done at any time in one’s life. That gets us into heaven. For some, that is sufficient. For others, there is a personal response to a couple of God’s commandments for the rest of their lives. Yes, God desires that we keep His commandments:
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40 KJV)
I like what David prayed as he was making preparations for a temple to the Lord that he was not allowed to build because of his sins:
I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. (1 Chronicles 29:17 KJV)
It’s not as simple as it sounds. Want to learn more?