Chicago Explore God Report
In Chicago, from January 13 through February 24, 2019, more than 800 “churches” coordinated sermon series and Bible studies with the Explore God (also written as XG) Chicago 2019 project. The stated purpose is to introduce answers for skeptical people outside the churches and for “seekers” inside the churches to help them feel welcome in church (is that Biblical?). But let’s actually look at the content. Would you be accepting of your church teaching that people get to decide whether God exists? Or that God may be a man-made theory to explain unknowable reality? Or that God is not a “kind” God according to C. S. Lewis? Or that Muhammed received revelation from God, or that the Big Bang proves that God exists, or that you can’t really trust the Bible to be useful for personal health, or that disagreeing with Roman Catholic leadership is equivalent to disregarding Jesus’ prayer that we would be in unity? Or that the earlier books of the Bible are less historically accurate and can only be believed by faith depending on who you trust, or that God is just waiting to receive everyone as a son or daughter after a brief apology for past wrongs and hurt feelings, or that Protestants center their attention to a pastor whereas Catholics center their attention to Jesus (in the blasphemous Eucharist blessed by a false priesthood) or that Muslims worship the same God but perhaps without knowing quite what they worship as the Samaritans were doing?
Even more interesting is the network that is promoting this agenda toward one world religious unity thinking in the Protestant churches. They include the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton, Mission America Council Lausanne Movement (Vatican 2 partner since 1966), Moody Church and Moody Global Media, Awana, Navigators, Luis Palau, Outreach, etc. This network of 800 churches is built on the efforts of Father Dimitri Sala, a Franciscan Catholic who since about 2008 is deceitfully bringing one world religious unity in Chicago under the Jesuit (para-military psychological operations – inquisitions/ crusades) network of Pope Francis. His network of friends in Chicago includes James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel, Bill Hybels of Willow Creek, Erwin Lutzer and Joseph Stowell of Moody Church and Moody Bible Institute for example. They started with more than a dozen of the most influential “pastors” and now are extending their reach to the large majority of “churches” there. If you are in one of these churches, you need to understand that your leadership is partnering with one-world religion discussions and someone in leadership in your “church” knows quite well what they are participating in. Are you blessing their network without knowing what they are doing? Do not keep granting this network and their change agents the chance to hide behind a claim of not knowing that it was an ecumenical Vatican-led program. They are using our (Christian’s) ignorance of their new world order plans to conquer all of the churches in Chicago for Vatican/Jesuit authority and directives of new world change agents.
Here is their promo about who they are:
… is Engage Chicago Network?
Jesus-followers from our city’s business community, worship centers, service organizations…
If you don’t know who change agents are (which describes most pastors and corporate leaders – many of whom are Free-masons or family or partners of masons), they follow the new world order directives to pull us all in the same direction toward new systems built under the homogenous one-world government control grids.
want to show you the 7 week journey to help “skeptics” feel welcome in the
churches. We have given the link for each one, so you can read the whole
article and watch the videos, but since we are limited, we will only caption
the most troubling statements from each one.
In week 1, they start by painting a depressing situation in which God supposedly designed earth to be meaningless apart from doing His plan, which is only very partly helpful. They use C. S. Lewis to suggest that God built us to be attached to Him, which is only part of the truth, because God is actually the Holy one, who is Good. So it is not a selfish human-type of jealousy flaw as these people make it sound. It is just that lying, stealing, murder, adultery, imagination of demons, willful ignoring of God and blasphemy of His Name is not a useful structure on which to build anything, as well as it is also wrong on every level to commit these crimes as well as it is not God’s nature to do any of these things. So why not glorify God and serve what is right and good? But this kind of description makes God sound like a bully; and as you read through their teachings, you see that they actually think this of Him.
Here are our partial clippings from week 1:
Is there any meaning or purpose in life that death does not erase?
Surprisingly, one of the most intriguing—and often overlooked—books of the Bible tackles this same inquiry. The book of Ecclesiastes answers the above question with a resounding no: “‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’”3
This isn’t something most people expect to find in the Bible, but there it is. The rest of the book continues to make the case that there is actually no meaning in “all the things that are done under the sun.”4 Wisdom and knowledge are meaningless, wealth is meaningless, pleasure is meaningless. Life is meaningless. “All of it is meaningless.”5
God created mankind, and he created us for a specific purpose. However, we rejected that purpose (remember the story of Adam and Eve?) and have since gone to great lengths to try to create our own purpose and meaning.6
Author C. S. Lewis put it this way:
All that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy. . . . The reason why it can never succeed is this. God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other.7
In the Christian understanding, life can have great purpose, but—as much as we may resist it—that purpose is found only through a relationship with God.
Right from week 1 and week 2, you can see that they are not mindful of the things of Christ, but of the things of men – quoting Tolstoy and de Tocqueville and Lewis. From week one, their “unfortunate fact” is that all of life is meaningless without some form of God, which most secular people recognize in world government. Then in week 2, their “unfortunate fact” is that they cannot prove whether God even exists as you will see. As you progress through the weeks, you see that they are secular humanists setting up a new kingdom merging a little bit of God’s truth (which they call “Christianity” – of a Roman Catholic variety as we will prove) with “solutions” to problems they blame God for creating. They also believe in evolution and regularly prove that they do not know God and do not actually want to know Him as He really is. They want to believe religion (under which title they attempt to throw faith in Christ) to be a man-made construct used by rulers to keep control of the people by offering destructive alternatives rather than actually help people know the truth. You see this from week 3 and 4 and in their explanations of the Big Bang in compatibility with God’s Word which they consider to be less historically accurate the further you go back in time as they explain in their distrusting of the Scriptures in week 6. In other words, they believe themselves to hold the hidden knowledge which they carefully give only to their friends and people who enter into that knowledge through their systems of “change agents” also known as gatekeepers by those of us who have spent our lives investigating the Free-mason control grid.
Here is their conclusion on week 2:
It all comes back to the unfortunate fact that we can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God. Things like beauty and morals may indicate to us that there is something more, but they prove nothing.
We are all complex creatures in a complex world, wrestling with the same fundamental questions. In the end, each of us must choose to take this data, sift through it, and make an informed decision. Is there a God, or isn’t there?
What do you think?
Yes, that is literally how they ended their article on the topic of Is There A God?, which is the topic of week 2 in the series. They do not want you to realize that Free-masons (and demons) do believe in the real God (and tremble) and they hate Him and attempt to blame Him (as you will see in week 3) for as many of the world’s problems. They weave a story of humans making mistakes in a world with built-in flaws due to a bad Creator. So instead of admitting that our sin directly causes every injury, death, disease, and heart-suffering, then they even allow the possibility of God being a man-made myth as you are about to see. When they say “very first thoughts about God”, they are referring to a fake time in fake evolution history where the earliest development of “hominids” (early half human/monkey species) supposedly began to wonder if there might be a Creator God. With the quote about “good gods” and “bad gods”, they attempt to make the devil and his fallen messengers equal to our Lord and His holy angels. And then as you can see, they try to make Lucifer look like a messenger of light by saying that the cause of pain and suffering “almost by definition, comes back to God”. They use C. S. Lewis to say that God is not a “kind God” and that He “shouts” at us a lot through pain and suffering.
Here are our partial clippings from week 3:
There is perhaps no greater challenge to faith than the presence of pain and suffering in the world.1 Whether theist or atheist, pain seems to be the testing lab of faith.
This question—Why is there pain and suffering in the world?—has plagued humanity since our very first thoughts about God. Even the earliest narratives of divine beings wrestle with the idea of pain and suffering.
In the Ancient Near East, three- to four-thousand-year-old Mesopotamian and Akkadian stories provide explanations for why bad things happen in the world.2 Simply put, there are good gods, and there are bad gods. Good gods do good things in our world, and bad gods are responsible for bad things.
In Eastern theology, particularly in Confucianism, this idea is incorporated into the “yin and yang.” Just as life presents us with polar opposites that are interconnected (think “light and dark” or “hot and cold”), so too do we experience “good and bad.”
However, this says nothing about why things happen—just that they do occur.
But when most people wonder about pain and suffering, they want to know the cause. And that cause, almost by definition, comes back to God.
Regardless of when or why the question of pain and suffering is posed, one can propose that it is a problem primarily in the Christian worldview.
So why does God allow pain and suffering?
To answer that we must first ask, “Would a good god eliminate pain and suffering?” C. S. Lewis addressed this very question in his book The Problem of Pain.
In it, he argues that humanity desires not so much a good god, but a kind god. Kindness “cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering.”
Perhaps this is why Lewis, through the experience of great pain, discovered that “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains.”6
Could it be that in this way pain helps us grow—though it can be hard to see at times, even in retrospect?
No matter the reason, it seems pain and suffering are unavoidable; we seemingly have no choice in the matter. What we do control is our reaction, how we deal with our pain, and what we do with our experience.
What will you choose to do with your pain?
Continuing the theme of all religion being man-made (into which category they throw Jesus), now they suggest that Christianity is still around because people are afraid of change and needed religion as a crutch to fall back on because their brains are underdeveloped and stuck on archaic old patterns of thought from past layers of evolutionary development. If you think we are joking, look it up, because this literally is a process of thought among elite thinkers. They believe that we need something good and unchanging like religion and a god to fall back to when we are startled by and disagree with modern alterations of “good”, “happy”, “love”, “peace”, and “truth” – which they believe to all be really just personal preference and relative to each person’s genetics and experiences – rather than actually being decisions based on our responses toward or against our Creator. And with that religion to keep organization of all humans in the midst of change, they are hoping they can slowly walk us all together silently toward a new world order full of disguised euthanasia against older people, slow poisoning of young people, and tightening grip on controlling human thoughts and actions through a seemingly “all-powerful” god-like government of the anti-christ. This cannot happen yet, because God speaks through His servants to hinder much of the devil’s plans. But you can get a solid glimpse of where this is all going. They are using people’s imagination and each individual’s conceptions of heaven to implement on earth – a marriage of one-world religion/trade agreements/self-seeking with one world government which is the anti-christ’s kingdom described as partly clay and partly iron – partly soft and partly weak. The Roman Catholic hierarchy dominates the leadership of the one-world religion strategies.
Toward that goal, you should also note at the end of week 4 that they lie and pretend that Christianity used to be “just about escaping punishment and ‘getting into heaven’ when you die”, which they say is “a narrow and outdated misconception”. By saying this, they are pretending that Heaven and Hell are mere metaphors for the conditions we experience on earth. And they expect satan’s Rome/Vatican/Paris (Jesuits) to attempt to bring the devil’s version of paradise/utopia.
Here are our partial clippings from week 4:
The Narrow Way
It is true that Christianity could be labeled as “narrow.” Simply put, Christianity is about trusting and following Jesus—a man who lived and died thousands of years ago. And he himself said: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”1
Sounds a bit like a hellfire and brimstone sermon, doesn’t it? It seems to be saying that many of us are on the path to destruction, but Jesus’ way is narrow, exclusive, and hard to follow.
On one level, this may be true, but many who call themselves Christians would offer a different perspective. Following Jesus may sometimes go against the grain in our culture, they would say, but it is not exclusive, outdated, restrictive, or irrelevant to life today. In fact, many believers say that following the life and teachings of Jesus is the one thing that gives true meaning and fulfillment in our modern culture.
Perhaps Jesus’ ancient teachings and examples have endured not in spite of a changing culture but because of a changing culture. Some would argue that in a world of tremendous change, uncertainty, affluence, and modern luxury, Christianity is the one thing that our souls need the most.
These words are not just about the afterlife, as if being a Christian is just about escaping punishment and “getting to heaven” when you die. That belief is itself a narrow and outdated misconception.
Jesus meant that following him brings an abundant life that has no end—a fulfilling and meaningful life that begins in the present, in this world, in our lives now.9 In other words, Christianity is not about fleeing earth for heaven but about bringing heaven to earth today.10
so plenty of this next topic speaks plainly enough of their willful unbelief
and seeking ways to discredit faith in Jesus or at least create as much
possibility for others to doubt Jesus without themselves being discredited and
abandoned for being hateful liars and mockers infiltrating and hiding among our
love feasts and even pretending to be our teachers. Seriously, fellow servants
of Christ need to mark and avoid C. S. Lewis as the scoffer friend of Satanists
that he really was. He does not in any way represent my faith in Jesus and my
Father in Heaven.
Here are our partial clippings from week 5:
There are more than enough reasons to believe that Jesus was not and is not truly God. For starters, it’s hard to imagine any human being actually embodying God. What would that look like? How does God become a person? Does this God-person go back and forth between spirit and human? Can this God-person get sick and die as a human? That wouldn’t be very God-like.
Is Jesus God? Billions of people believe so. And his life has certainly altered the course of human history. Let’s explore the possibility.
Jesus’ followers claimed they literally saw Jesus back from the dead. It’s always possible that they were hallucinating or that it was all a hoax. But then we’re still left wondering why Jesus’ tomb was empty. What happened to Jesus’ body, and why was it never found?
Of course, no one can prove that the resurrection or any of Jesus’ miracles truly happened, but the evidence is compelling and worth considering.
Author C. S. Lewis summarizes our challenge:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about him: "I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.11
So what do you think? Lunatic, demon, or God?
In this next article - so first of all, the only way to pretend that two billion number is useful is to include every false pseudo-Christian cult and false religion that has ever been created in the Western world by Freemasons (and some in the Eastern Hemisphere also). And of course, these scoffers are trying to discredit the Bible as their next target, so it makes sense to include all of the solidly un-Biblical as if it were Biblically accurate, thereby blaming the Word of God for being unclear and confusing and therefore being the “cause” of all of the various interpretations and contradictions in “Christianity”. Secondly, notice that these scoffers want to force all believers in Christ under the “authority” of the Roman Catholic anti-christ empire for one-world religion. Third, notice the reluctance even within the catechism that they “must acknowledge” the Bible as God’s Word, since they would prefer to only consider the Pope their “father” as the final “authority” in what to believe. It makes sense that they would quote the scoffers in the Vatican since as you can see afterward, they admit to seeing the Scriptures as only “a source of truth”. They suggest that the Bible is not reliable on others subjects such as for ecology or personal health. They further suggest that you cannot test and prove the truths of God’s Word and that you can only decide to take it on faith because you think you can trust other people who say they have faith in it.
Here are our partial clippings from week 6:
Christians believe the Bible speaks truth about God. But is the Bible reliable?
Nearly two billion people on earth call themselves Christians. They belong to thousands of groups and sub-groups that each differ significantly in doctrine and practice. One commonality in all these groups, however, is the conviction that the Bible is authoritative and reliable. Consider what the Catholic catechism says:
The inspired books [the Bible] teach the truth. “Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.”1
Every major denomination of Christianity affirms a similar commitment to the authority and inspiration of the Bible. They may do so with different words and emphases, but in the end all Christians look to the Bible as a source of truth about God, themselves, and what they must do in order to be in a proper relationship with God. Is their trust in the Bible well-founded? Is the Bible reliable?
Whether you regard the Bible as reliable probably depends on the people you trust. There are two billion Christians who rely on the Bible to tell them the truth about God. They have staked their lives on it. They “bear witness” that it is true.
But they are not alone. There are scholars, historians, and archaeologists who have studied the Bible in depth and testify that it is trustworthy. Let’s consider what just one of these fields—biblical archaeology—has to say.
The Bible’s Reliability
In the end, we can say the Bible is reliable as what God intended. To recognize this, we must also acknowledge what it was not intended to be. It is not a complete guide to the flora and fauna of the Holy Land. It is not a medical manual for the treatment of diseases and injuries.
If we try to make the Bible what it is not, then we violate the purpose for which God gave us the Bible in the first place. To say the Bible is reliable is a statement of faith. We cannot prove it any more than we can prove a mother’s love. Like most of the important stuff in life, we take it on faith.
This means that the Bible can be trusted as what it claims to be. No more. No less. It can be viewed as what billions of people trust it to be: a collection of books inspired by God and “useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”6
A Deeper Look at If the Bible Is Reliable
The practice of history-writing developed over time, and some periods exercised more flexibility than others. For example, audiences in the day of the gospel writer Luke had clearer expectations for what history-writing would involve than did audiences in King David’s era.
The stories about Abraham may have been passed on for centuries as oral sagas.
Stories about Jesus, by contrast, involve Galilee, a region of relatively little interest to other ancient writers. (However, Jesus does appear more than most Jewish religious and political figures of the period, indicating that he was particularly intriguing.)8
But how accurately would the information have been transmitted before it was written down?18Some cultures are better at orally passing on information than others.
Traveling storytellers could recite entire books from memory. This skill was not limited to the literate—most of these storytellers were considered uneducated and memorized by recitation rather than by reading.19
And then in conclusion to this 7 week series in more than 800 churches throughout Chicago, they offer you a chance to sit down for coffee with your Creator. On week 7, now that they have set aside the Bible as the primary way to know God, now they are going to recommend that you just ask God to have a cup of coffee with you after a brief apology for any wrong-doing and hurt feelings in the past. They also start right away with a lie – that “most people want to know God”, which is definitely not true. And why do they think that people repent and seek God only when things are bad? Then they want everyone they are talking with to pretend that they are already a son/daughter of God and that He is just waiting to welcome them back. They literally lie and say that “each of us is a broken person, bruised by the world” to say that all of us are like that prodigal son when he returned “full of remorse, shame, and apologies.” So the obvious conclusion is that God should just forgive each of us as easily as that son. This of course is still interspersed with their usual mystical questioning about who God is, so as “not to offend” anyone of other made-up beliefs and so as to allow all paths to seem to lead toward God. And then there’s the usual wondering about whether God even exists or if we can even know Him. They also pretend that people seek the true God through drugs and false religion, which is also not really what their purpose is when they seek those things. And of course, they quote C. S. Lewis again – this time suggesting that God didn’t make us for this world which is why we feel out of place, like God forgot where He was supposed to put us. All of this pseudo-Christian flavor is really just a disguise for a Jesuit and Vatican recollecting of power in the world toward one-world universalist religion led by them to partner with one-world government. So now let’s look at who the real power is behind this conquer-the-churches-in-Chicago agenda.
Here are our partial clippings from week 7:
How Can I Know God?
Most people want to know God but how can we know him? Explore the idea here.
Most of us—atheists, Buddhists, and Christians alike—have experienced a feeling of wanting there to be something more, a longing to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. After a particularly rough day, disappointing week, or devastating year, we sometimes find ourselves involuntarily hoping that this isn’t all there is.
But do you believe there’s even a God to know? Many people simply don’t. Perhaps science is all you feel you need; reason and rationale provide satisfactory answers to life’s greatest questions. God seems to be just a catch-all to describe events that cannot yet be explained by science. As Carl Sagan suggested, “Whatever it is we cannot explain lately is attributed to God . . . And then, after a while, we explain it, and so that’s no longer God’s realm.”1
Albert Einstein once said, “I don’t try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.”2 So we might leave it at that.
C. S. Lewis, the famous scholar, novelist, and atheist-turned-Christian, illustrated this point: “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”6
Have you ever heard the tale of the prodigal son? There was a young man who demanded his inheritance from his father; upon receiving it, he proceeded to live it up and squander all his wealth. After hitting rock bottom, the son returned home, full of remorse, shame, and apologies. But what did his father do? He didn’t turn his son away or mock him with I-told-you-sos. Instead he accepted his son’s repentance without hesitation and rejoiced that his lost son had returned to him.9
This is how Christians understand it to be with God. Each of us is a broken person, bruised by the world and guilty of hurting others with our selfishness. Yet, like reconciling with anyone, the first step in moving forward in that relationship is simply to acknowledge the wrong done, ask for forgiveness, and continue to grow together through communication.
I imagine we’ve all heard the word “prayer.” But what does that really mean? At its most basic, prayer is just another way to say having a conversation with God, talking to him—the main way we get to know anyone.
That can sound a little intimidating, can’t it? But you’ve already been building up the courage to ask for that coffee date. Besides, if he already loves you, what do you have to lose?
we showed already, they try to force all believers in Christ under the evil
leadership in the Vatican. Under the topic of Catholic, they positively and
craftily promote the “Catholic church”, the “Apostles’ Creed”, talking to Mary,
the Pope acting as the “vicar of Christ”, Catholic tradition, the blasphemy of
Eucharist by the “authority” of the Magisterium. At
the same time, they make Protestant believers sound like we have just gotten
confused or lost some components of faith and have many internal contradictions
and/or failures against the Scriptures. They also promote the Catholic system
as being “centered” on Christ in Eucharist, while Protestants they pretend are
“centered” on their pastor.
It is also interesting how popular Lent season is this year because of these initiatives to go back to Rome. The charismatics are signing up people for their forty day Jesus’ Fast for example which is set a few days before Lent to suggest that it is not Lent. And if you’re not quite spiritual enough to do Lent, you can just take the forty day Skeptics Challenge.
Before we look at the Catholic propaganda, I want to show you again how much they love false gospels and false religions, while leaving a wide open door to anyone from any path because Christ has done everything necessary for salvation and basically people are just supposed to recognize that and apologize for disagreeing and now they are accepted into the family of God.
Is God's Love Unconditional?
God loves unconditionally by offering salvation to all without prerequisites of merit or worth. “The Buddhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of karma, the Jewish covenant, and the Muslim code of law—each of these offers a way to earn approval.”15 But in Christianity, Christ earns God’s approval for us—unconditionally.
Here are our partial clippings to show you how much they bow to their “higher power” in the Vatican/Paris:
In the centuries that followed Jesus’ death, most Christians promoted what was called “Catholic Christianity”—what the ancient Apostles’ Creed (circa 150 CE) professed as the “one holy, catholic church.”2
At that time, Roman culture and the Latin language dominated the West, so Christianity in that region took on a decidedly Roman flavor. Consequently, the term “Roman Catholicism” became synonymous with western Christianity.4
Roman Catholics believe that the pope is the head of the worldwide Church. As the “vicar of Christ,” the pope stands as the earthly representative of Christ in the world and acts in his place to lead the Church in determining what is true, right, and proper for all Catholics. According to church teaching, the pope is preserved from any possibility of error when speaking on matters of faith and morals to be held by the entire Church.5
Put another way, they ask Mary to pray for them in much the same way as all Christians ask each other for prayer.
Protestants believe that justification by grace through faith is the only way for a person to enjoy a righteous standing before God. In this view, good works are done out of gratitude and are seen as a result of faith, but alone can earn no merit with God.11 Catholics believe this as well but continue to emphasize works as demonstrations of faith.
For Catholics, the focus of the Mass is the Eucharist or Holy Communion. For Protestants, the central moment of worship comes with the sermon—when the minister stands to preach from the Bible.12 Admittedly, the above is a generalization for the sake of clarity and simplicity.
Protestants believe that the central authority for faith and practice is found in the Scriptures.13While tradition, reason, and experience are important, Protestants tend to think they should all be measured against—and are ultimately superseded by—the teachings of the Bible.
On the other hand, Roman Catholics adhere to many beliefs and practices that are not explicitly stated in the Scriptures. These traditions—along with the Scriptures—constitute a deposit of faith that has been passed down from the first apostles through the Magisterium of the Church—that is, the Pope, the bishops, and the Church Councils.14 Authority is found in the Bible, reason, and church tradition together—these three are seen as complementary, not in tension.15
Dispute about the Apocrypha
Why Are There So Many Bible Translations?
Translating the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into English is no easy task. It is time consuming and tedious. Scholars admit that no translation can ever fully convey what the original language intended.
Whichever translation you choose, the words will be easy enough to understand. It is the meaning of those words that you will have to wrestle with!
What Is the Apostles' Creed?
Why Are There So Many Christian Denominations?
Jesus prays for “complete unity” so that his future followers “may be one.” Well, what happened to that?
What Is Holy Week?
The week before Easter Sunday, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, is known by Catholic and Protestant Christians worldwide as Holy Week.
there’s the positive promotion of Islam:
Who Was Muhammad?
Muhammad, known as the Messenger of God, founded Islam and revealed the Qur’an.
Few men have had a greater impact on faith and world events than Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. Today, 1.6 billion Muslims around the world view him not only as the seal of the prophets, but as the perfect example of an honest, just, merciful, and compassionate human being. Viewed by followers of Islam as the “Living Qur’an,” his life is considered an example to be emulated by all.2
He began to spend a lot of time talking with the Christians and Jews of Arabia, asking questions and learning their stories. He would frequently retreat to a cave on Mount Hira, a few miles north of Mecca, where he would contemplate life and the problems of Arabian society.9
The message that Muhammad received was both social and religious.
In Medina, Muhammad went from being a reformer to a political leader. Having been rejected by his own tribe in Mecca, he founded a new tribe based not on blood relation but on submission to the one true God. His followers became known as Muslims—that is, those who submit to God.
Over the next two years Muhammad established his control over all the peoples of Arabia. Those who resisted were defeated, and many converted to Islam.
The movement Muhammad started 1,400 years ago on the Arabian Peninsula has spread across the world. Today Islam is the second-largest and one of the fastest-growing religions in the world. Muslims can be found on every continent and in every culture. From a humble and tragic beginning, Muhammad grew to be a man who changed the world.
What Is the Qur'an?
By: Ray Madson
For Muslims, the Qur’an contains the revelation of God. What exactly is this book?
To many in the West, Islam is a strange and unfamiliar religion forever linked with terrorism and the events of September 11, 2001. Terms like “Islamist,” “sharia law,” and “jihad” elicit fear. People wonder whether Islam promotes violence or is a peaceful religion as many Muslims claim.
Unlike the Scriptures of Christianity and Judaism, which have been widely translated and disseminated in common languages, the Qur’an is believed to be untranslatable. Until modern times, it was printed only in Arabic. Even now, when the Qur’an is translated into other languages, it is considered an interpretation or commentary, not actually the Qur’an.
For the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, the Qur’an is believed to be the literal, perfect, eternal, and unchangeable word of God. Unlike the Bible that came before it, the Qur’an is thought to be uncreated and eternal, existing in heaven with God in the Arabic language.7 Muhammad is considered an intermediary in the revelation of the Qur’an, not its author.
Muslims see Islam as the true religion of God; its existence predates Muhammad. They regard Islam as the oldest of the monotheistic faiths reflecting the true revelation of God, which began with Adam and includes Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, among many other prophets. Therefore, the Qur’an is the final book in a line of revelation that includes the Torah, the psalms of David, and the gospel message of Jesus.
Muslims judge that these earlier revelations have been corrupted over time. After the death of the earlier prophets, heretical and strange beliefs infiltrated the Torah and the gospel, altering God’s pure revelation. Christian doctrines—such as the deity of Christ, the death of Jesus on the cross, and the Trinity—are seen as human fabrications that distort the true revelation of God. Because of this, God gave Muhammad the Qur’an as a final correction of these “before books.” Unlike its predecessors, the Qur’an is incorruptible and protected by God.
For the past 1,400 years, the Qur’an has served as a basis for Islamic law and a guide for daily life. Muslims throughout history have believed that the Qur’an is the literal, eternal, unchangeable Word of God.
For Muslims around the world, the Qur’an provides the immutable principles necessary to walk the straight path in life.
What Is Islam?
Confused about Islam? This article, edited by a devout Muslim, gives a fair perspective.
Although Islam traces its historical roots back to Abraham over 3,500 years ago, Islam is a relatively recent arrival on the world religion scene.
Islam emerged around 610 CE, when Muhammad—the founder of the religion—said he received the first of many revelations from God. Muhammad was living in what is now Saudi Arabia, a region then deeply steeped in tribal divisions and belief in many gods. Muhammad reported that these divine revelations challenged him to reject polytheism and instead worship one god: Allah.
After Muhammad began to gain followers in Mecca, city leaders became threatened and forced the prophet to leave. He was welcomed in the city of Medina, where he became ruler and “Islam was to become for the first time a social and political order.”1
In the years that followed, Muhammad won many converts and his influence spread rapidly through several Arabian tribes. Returning to Mecca, he took control of the city, destroyed the idols, and established his rule and beliefs.
By the time of Muhammad’s death in 632 CE, Islam dominated the Arabian Peninsula. Its influence quickly spread throughout the Middle East and much of Africa and Asia. Today, there are over 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.2
Scholar Michael Sells explains the logic: “If anyone could produce anything like it, the Qur’an was a human creation and Muhammad a false prophet. If, however, no one else could produce anything like it, then the Qur’an was clearly beyond the capacity of a human being, and Muhammad was not its author, but simply its messenger.”3
Other significant Islamic practices include dietary restrictions, modesty in dress, marriage, and jihad.5 This last concept is especially controversial.
Muslim scholar Reza Aslan explains that jihad means literally “a struggle” or “a striving,” and in its primary connotation refers to “the struggle of the soul to overcome the sinful obstacles that keep a person from God.”6 But after 9/11 and other publicized acts of terror connected to Islamic extremists, many Westerners think of its secondary connotation: any struggle—including violence—against perceived oppression and tyranny.
As Aslan notes, extremists have used this definition “to give religious sanction to what are in actuality social and political agendas.”7 But this is not in keeping with the way most Muslims understand the term today.
Is Allah God?
The word “Allah” comes from the Arabic al-ilah, meaning “the God.” It is closely related to the Aramaic Alaha and the Hebrew Eloah. Eloah is the singular form of the more common Elohim,which is the Hebrew word used for God in Genesis 1:1.1
There are some definite similarities in the Christian and Islamic understandings of God. Christians and Muslims believe in one all-powerful, all-knowing God who created all things. Both agree that God communicates with people through both his spoken and written word. They also both believe in heaven and hell, angels and demons, and sin and forgiveness.
Christianity and Islam even share a common heritage. Both are monotheistic religions that claim to worship the God of Abraham. Each religion traces its origins all the way back to Adam, the first man. Christianity and Islam share more than twenty prophets and embrace many of the same stories and traditions, including the great flood and the virgin birth of Jesus.
However, when we look beyond these foundational issues, Christianity and Islam diverge greatly. Christians believe in a Trinitarian God (one God existing in three persons). Muslims believe in an absolute monotheism—God is one and indivisible, without distinction in persons. Islam maintains that God is unknowable and completely free—not bound by rules, covenants, or even his own word.4 Christians, on the other hand, believe in a covenant-making God who is true to his word and always keeps his promises. He is a God who can be intimately known and who reveals himself personally to his people.
Can people of two religions worship the same God?
Christians and Jews practice separate religions and hold substantially different beliefs about the nature of God. Yet most Christians—even though they believe that they have a more “complete” view of God than the Jewish understanding—still hold that they worship the same God: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
In the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus talks to a Samaritan woman at a well, and she turns the conversation to the topic of worship. She compares the worship practices of the Samaritan religion with those of the Jews, questioning him about their differences. Jesus responds, “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth.”6
Though the opportunity presented itself, Jesus never told the woman that she worshiped the wrong God or a false god. He said only that she did not know the God whom she was worshiping. In fact, Jesus said that more important than where or how we worship is the need to worship in the Spirit and in truth. God was and is looking for worshipers who know him relationally and understand the truth about him.
What is that truth? According to Jesus, he is.
Here are a variety of other topics to look through – remember we have only put partial clippings of each where we saw serious and damaging lies:
Why Doesn't God Get Rid of Evil Now?
Perhaps in God’s eyes, the “lesser evil” is to allow his own people to continue to experience this transitory suffering, while the millions who are lost are given a little more time to be found.
Is There a Hell?
But God has given us a choice.
In order to honor our freedom, God does not require that we receive the forgiveness he lovingly extends to us. He respects our ability to make our own decisions. If we refuse a relationship with him, he grants our desire. But for those who love him and long to be connected to him, he gives life everlasting.
Maybe this is why C. S. Lewis said, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in hell choose it. Without that self-choice, there could be no hell.”9
History of Valentines Day
In 496 CE, Pope Gelasius I established the feast day of Saint Valentine. However, it’s unclear to whom Gelasius was referring when he instituted the holiday.
The Big Bang and the Existence of God
If both theories are accepted as reliable, we are faced with almost unavoidable theistic implications. Who but an eternal, uncreated being who exists outside of time and space could have preceded and initiated the Big Bang? Just such a being is what theists believe God to be.
For those who accept the Bible to be true, the Big Bang came as no surprise. Whereas all other ancient religious books hold that matter was eternal and that the gods had evolved out of that matter, the Bible alone proclaimed that God (not matter) was eternal.7
For those who are uncomfortable with any overlap between science and religion, the news came as a bit of a shock. For decades, the idea of the Big Bang was fiercely resisted by scientists who preferred to live in a “steady-state” universe.
A Deeper Look at the Bible and the Big Bang
However, most of us who demand to see a miracle must be content with something a bit more indirect—in the same way that the police solve crimes with fingerprints or the proverbial “smoking gun” left behind at a crime scene.
Are Atheists And Christians Enemies?
But it is also true that individual atheists and Christians might have much in common. They may be members of the same family or residents of the same neighborhood. They may share the same profession or employer. Together they may love their friends, serve their community, champion the rights of the disadvantaged, protect the peace, or work for justice—all while disagreeing about the existence of God.
It is possible for those with opposing views to disagree strongly, present their arguments openly, and dialogue respectfully. Some may be won to a new view by such tactics; many will not. But the more the two groups are willing to engage truthfully and respectfully as opponents rather than enemies, the clearer their differences will appear—something both sides desire.
Amicable opponents may do what enemies find it impossible to do: avoid mockery, reject intolerance, refuse to engage in hateful rhetoric, listen well, and act with kindness.
“One bad thing about the new atheist books is they weren’t just saying that religion is wrong, they were actually saying that even respect for religion is wrong,” says author and pastor Timothy Keller. “That’s a recipe for disaster, and certainly doesn’t bring about civil discourse at all.”3
Disrespectful, hateful rhetoric is counterproductive, whether it is offensive placards waved by Westboro Baptist Church protesters or references from the pages of best-selling books like Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion. For instance, Westboro protesters frequently brandish signs containing harmful, hateful, and hurtful messages, often declaring that God hates homosexuals, the media, and America.
On the other hand, militant atheist Richard Dawkins calls the God of the Old Testament “arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”4
Both approaches are unproductive and fail to encourage open, honest conversation. Such tactics are damaging to respectful, reasoned discourse.
Can I Trust the Bible?
The Bible can be a tough book to swallow. Strange stories, descriptions of an unseen God, a man rising from the dead? Perhaps we should just go ahead and conclude as Mark Twain did: “[The Bible] is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.”1
Here’s the key question: Can we trust the Bible? Can we genuinely believe what it says about history, life, truth, and God? Can it stand up to the scrutiny of historians, scientists, and common sense? Or is it no different than books about Zeus or Santa Claus?
What is Original Sin?
What’s so bad about eating an apple, anyway? And what does original sin have to do with us today? Adam was but human—this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple’s sake,1he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent. Mark Twain2
The opening chapters of the Bible tell a tragic story. It starts off promising: trees and sunlight, flying birds and swimming fish, a beautiful garden and a couple to cultivate it. But after a blissful beginning, the story goes downhill quickly.
Adam and Eve ignore God’s instructions and eat the only fruit that is forbidden to them. Their actions bring sorrow, suffering, and death into the world. Worse still, the Bible suggests that we have inherited this sinful nature and its consequences from them.3
I Like Jesus, Just Not Christians
The accounts recorded in the New Testament of the Bible make for some interesting reading. There the reader can get to know the real Jesus, through the words of those who knew him best. The first ragtag band of Christians, who are featured in the Bible, were prostitutes and fishermen; lawyers and tax-collectors; doctors and the sick, blind, and lame.
Christians believe Jesus was and is more than a mere figurehead for a bunch of shady-characters-turned-goody-goodies and recovering hypocrites. More than a wise teacher. More than a prophet. More than a man.
Though Christians are meant to represent Jesus on earth, they are still humans—and therefore flawed. Becoming like Jesus doesn’t happen overnight. It is a lifelong process of spiritual growth and discovery from the moment one makes the decision to follow him.
Why Are Christians So Hypocritical?
Christians are notorious for being hypocritical. Why is that?
A recent study found that among the various perceptions of Christians, the third most common is that they’re hypocritical.1 Eighty-five percent of respondents between the ages of sixteen and twenty-nine voiced this reaction to Christians.2
Most of us can highlight a myriad of examples of similar inconsistencies today: the communist leader who lives like a king while the common people stand in line for a loaf of bread; the vegetarian who slips quietly into a burger shop for a secret indulgence; the politician who claims to have principles yet changes her policy after reading the polls. The list goes on.
The problem arises when we pretend that we’re better than we really are. We act nice, but really we backstab and manipulate. We want people to think we’re truthful, but actually we are quite deceptive. Most people would say that you’re a good person, but the skeletons in your closet might change their minds.
Will Christians continue to be hypocritical? Unfortunately, some will. But for those who humbly acknowledge their sin to themselves, to God, and to the world, there is no room for hypocrisy—only a desperate need for a savior.
What Do I Have To Do To Get Into Heaven?
According to the Bible, human beings live with the emptiness and anxiety of wondering whether we measure up because we all know, deep inside, that we don’t measure up. We have consciences that tell us we have fallen short of God’s standard. As a result, we live under the crushing burden of guilt and its inevitable companion, shame.
We have a landmine inside, just waiting to go off.
Really? you might be thinking. That’s it? Just believe?
This is a startling claim. Unlike other religions and philosophies, Jesus does not say, “do this” or “know that.” He says, in essence, “You cannot do enough, so I will do it for you. Just believe in me.”
Jesus Christ came into the world not as the highest expression of human religion, but as the alternative to human religion. In Christian understanding, Jesus was not just a teacher about God. He is God. He did not just tell us the way to heaven. He is the way to heaven.
Bono, the lead singer of the band U2, expressed this truth beautifully:
[Grace is] my favorite word in the lexicon of the English language. It’s a word I’m depending on. The universe operates by Karma, we all know that. For every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. There is some atonement built in: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Then enters Grace and turns that upside down. . . . Christ’s ministry really was a lot to do with pointing out how everybody is a screw-up in some shape or form, there’s no way around it. But then He was to say, well, I am going to deal with those sins for you. I will take on Myself all the consequences of sin. Even if you’re not religious, I think you’d accept that there are consequences to all the mistakes we make. And so Grace enters the picture to say, I’ll take the blame, I’ll carry the cross. It is a powerful idea. Grace interrupting Karma.4