Hi to all my Forum Friends,
In the discussion begun by our atheist Friend, Deep, titled "Praying For Rain" which was Deep's effort to mock Governor Perry of Texas, and all Christians, for our belief in the power of prayer -- he shares a URL link to a "National Drought Summary -- September 6, 2011" chart showing the severe drought conditions in Texas -- and declares, "God hates Rick Perry."
Somehow, this discussion was led down the rosy path until it eventually evolved (a favorite atheist word) into a discussion of "free will." Please do not ask me how they connected the dots to get there -- but, it happened.
Then, Uno declares in typical atheist spiritual darkness, "And the answer that the believers insist they have given 'over and over' is, of course, the old argument of 'free will.' As if that answers anything at all. The funny thing, to me, is that I am certain that none of the believers here even grasp the fundamentals of the philosophical concept of 'free will.' I could make a very cogent argument that 'free will' does not exist in this universe. I could equally argue that it does."'
And, my Christian Friend, O No, insightfully tell him, "Uno, I really like liver and onions. I am aware that many do not. If they asked me why I like it, the ONLY answer I could honestly give is, 'Because it tastes good to me.'
People may not ACCEPT that answer. They might say it is no answer at all. But, they would be wrong, because it IS the answer -- and is the ONLY honest answer. If no one wants to accept the truth, there is nothing more I can say."
O No, my Friend, thank you for that example -- for, it really ties two dissimilar subjects together in my life. When I was a young boy, the two foods I hated most were liver/onions and cabbage. I gagged on liver -- and, I would come close to throwing up at the smell of cooked cabbage.
Yet, when I became an adult, I grew to like liver and onions -- and, actually, over time, grew to like it so much (or, as we Southerners -- whom Deep detests because we are all ignorant and stupid, always embarrassing him with our Christian beliefs, because he is from Alabama but now claims Gollywood as home -- would say, "I love it!") -- liver and onions has become my favorite food. And, yes, we Southerners never just like something -- "We love it! Bless your heart!"
And, the cabbage which used to make me want to throw up -- I now look forward to eating. I suppose I can attribute that to my growing like (or "love" in Southernese) for Filipino food over the past 34 years of marital bliss with my beautiful young Filipina bride.
Yes, I know, our atheist Friends will begin to huff and puff, asking, "Bill, what in the world does liver/onions and cabbage have to do with the subject of Christianity and prayer?"
Glad you asked. When I was a young boy -- although I believed in God and Jesus Christ, I was not a Christian. Sure, like some of our Friends on the Religion Forum (and, lately, especially Uno and Jennifer) -- I would declare that I was a Christian because I went to church. But, I was no more a Christian then because I went to church -- than Uno is a mule just because he goes into a barn. And, we will not take that analogy any further.
But, back to the question at hand. Christianity (like liver/onions and cabbage) was distasteful to me in my younger life because it, being a Christian, would not allow me to live the worldly life I desired and which was so much fun, then. So, I dabbled in church -- over the years, actually attending most every kind of church in America -- and even dabbling in New Age and other Eastern metaphysical religions. Yes, you might describe me then as a man of many religions -- but, definitely NOT a Christian. I fear that is true of many of my Religion Forum detractors.
Then, when I matured -- for me that took fifty years -- and met a Godly pastor who, to borrow a phrase from Dr. Ergun Caner, President and Dean of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, "loved me all the way to the cross" -- I was ready to begin to truly appreciate the taste of Christianity. At first, it just tasted like love, the love of God flowing through this Godly man, Pastor Sam Lacanienta, and through him permeating the entire church congregation -- and all that love flowing directly to me. At least, that is the way it seemed.
As I began to taste Christianity, I noticed how pleasant, how comforting, how good if felt to be a part of this wonderful family of believers. And, after tasting Christianity and the ensuing love for six months -- I decided I wanted to be a permanent part of this Family of God. Like liver and onions has become my favorite food -- Christianity has become my favorite lifestyle. And, the desire for it grows more and more every day.
Yes, O No, I like your analogy of liver and onions -- and Christianity. That definitely describes my life.
Looking again at your post, Uno, you tell us, "I could make a very cogent argument that 'free will' does not exist in this universe. I could equally argue that it does."'
Reading Uno's statement brought another image from my distant past to mind. In the early 1960s, I worked for Ramo Wooldridge (which later became TRW) in Canoga Park. I was in the department which developed and tested the first MilSpec Minicomputer, the AN/UYK-1. In another department where they were doing research on Artificial Intelligence, there was a brilliant scientist who had a funny quirk. No matter how many times I went into the Men's Room during the day, he would always be standing at the urinal, eating an apple with one hand, doing his business with the other -- and talking to the wall.
Today, we see this a lot in Men's Rooms (most often minus the apple) and it turns out the person is talking on a cell phone which we cannot see. But, in 1963 -- there were no wireless devices, there were no cell phones, nor any other hidden devices. So, this brilliant man WAS talking to the wall -- or whatever else he saw.
And, this memory of that very intelligent man and his funny urinal quirk, talking to someone or something with which he had no connection -- is the image which comes to mind when our atheist and other non-believing Friends attempt to discuss God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, and our Christian faith. How can they discuss these things which they cannot see because of their spiritual blindness?
Another thought which comes to mind as we Christians daily joust with our atheist, secularist, and other non-believing Friends -- on the Religion Forum, in our personal witnessing, and in our everyday face-to-face life among people -- is: "There are none so blind as they who will not see."
This describes their spiritual blindness, their spiritual darkness. But, what does this mean and where did we get this saying?
In Matthew 13:13, Jesus Christ tells His disciples, and us, "Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand."
God tells the people of Israel through the prophet Jeremiah, "Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people, Who have eyes but do not see; Who have ears but do not hear" (Jeremiah 5:21).
And, God sent His prophet Isaiah to the people of Israel, knowing they would reject the words He sent, "He said, 'Go, and tell this people: "Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand." Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim,. . . " (Isaiah 6:9-10).
On the web site The Phrase Finder, we read:
"Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996). Mr. Titelman agrees that this saying has its roots in the Bible, specifically Jer. 5:21 (King James version): "Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not."
"There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know." The proverb has been traced back in English to 1546 (John Heywood), and resembles the Biblical verse quoted (above). In 1738, it was used by Jonathan Swift in his 'Polite Conversation,' and is first attested in the United States in the 1713 'Works of Thomas Chalkley'..."
So, to Uno, and to all my other non-believing Friends, I can sincerely tell you that both liver/onions and Christianity are good for you. Liver/onions will help you build a strong physical body -- and Christianity will give you a strong spiritual body. Together, they will make you a whole person, ready for an eternal life in the presence of God.
Of course, you can have a strong physical body without having a strong spiritual body. But, that would be like eating liver without onions -- a lot is lost in the omission. Uno, Deep, Jennifer, and all my other non-believing Friends -- I pray that you will take the path toward both a strong physical body and a strong spiritual body; I pray that you will take that sincere step toward becoming a Christian believer. With all my heart, I would love to meet you in heaven one day.
God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,