Separate names with a comma.
Kelly - You came to mind today...how is BSF going? Anything cool to share?
What is BSF?
Bible Study Fellowship that she joined awhile ago...
Welcome to BSF
Ok, bumping this since Kelly never answered me...
I'm not Kelly, but I thought I'd chime in on this one. We don't have BSF near here, but I just went to a meeting of my campus's Intervarsity Christian Fellowship last Thursday. I have walked by the room so many times, but I never go in because I was afraid that I would have to talk or pray out loud in front of everyone, or that they would ask lots of questions about my faith, and I was nervous. I didn't grow up in a religious family, and haven't read most of the bible, so I'm not comfortable with all of that yet. So anyways, something compelled me to go on Thursday enough that I actually skipped another meeting for an organization I'm in and went to this one. It was really nice, and it definitely got me thinking. It turns out that nobody attacked me with questions when I went in the door, and I didn't have to say anything in front of the group.
There was a speaker from a local church who came in to talk about disaster, and it was very eye-opening and inspiring to hear him speak. He talked about the different kinds of disaster, and the question people always ask, and I myself have wondered: "If God exists, why does he let bad things happen?" His answer really stuck in my head, and it all made sense for the first time. So anyways, I just thought I would share that, and thank some of the cheffers on here for making me start thinking about God and questioning my beliefs, particularly Janet. It's one of those things that never really crossed my mind before, and then all of a sudden God was everywhere I looked, and all of the different influences and situations in my life were all leading me in the same direction. I guess that's kind of what Janet's signature is talking about... so anyways, thanks
I'm really glad you went in and took the chance...
The discussion of bad things happening can be quite a long one. Basically the best way I have it at peace in my mind is that God created us to worship him. But why would He create robots FORCED to worship Him? Is that really good? No, He created us with free will. He wants us to CHOOSE to worship Him. But in that choice comes sin. We choose to sin and God allows us to choose. Bad things happen because of sin, not because God is mean.
I had something e-mailed to me awhile ago that explains it well too...let me see if I can find it...
I don't know if this "really" happened, but it is a good thought-provoking exchange:
For man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV)
Deals well with issues of science, evil, and the goodness of God.
Compelling and thought provoking!
The Christian Philosophical arguments are highlighted. The Christian student's remarks are in red to make this easier to reference for future use. This piece is well written, helpful & worth your time reading. Praying this will be helpful to anyone who is questioning God, His goodness, etc. (Highlighting and stuff doesn't copy but PM me if you want me to e-mail this to you).
"Let me explain the problem science has with Jesus Christ." The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.
"You're a Christian, aren't you, son?"
"Yes sir," the student says.
"So you believe in God?"
"Is God good?"
"Sure! God's good."
"Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?"
"Are you good or evil?"
"The Bible says I'm evil."
The professor grins knowingly. "Aha! The Bible!" He considers for a moment.
"Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?"
"Yes sir, I would."
"So you're good...!"
"I wouldn't say that."
"But why not say that? You'd help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn't."
The student does not answer, so the professor continues. "He doesn't, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?"
The student remains silent.
"No, you can't, can you?" the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.
"Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?"
"Er...yes," the student says.
"Is Satan good?"
The student doesn't hesitate on this one. "No."
"Then where does Satan come from?"
The student: "From...God.."
"That's right. God made Satan, didn't he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?"
"Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything, correct?"
"So who created evil?" The professor continued, "If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil."
Without allowing the student to answer, the professor continues: "Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?"
The student: "Yes."
"So who created them?"
The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. "Who created them? There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized.
"Tell me," he continues onto another student. "Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?"
The student's voice is confident: "Yes, professor, I do."
The old man stops pacing. "Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?"
"No sir. I've never seen Him"
"Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?"
"No, sir, I have not."
"Have you ever actually felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?"
"No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't."
"Yet you still believe in him?"
"According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?"
"Nothing," the student replies. "I only have my faith."
"Yes, faith," the professor repeats. "And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith."
The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of his own. "Professor, is there such thing as heat?"
"Yes," the professor replies. "There's heat."
"And is there such a thing as cold?"
"Yes, son, there's cold too."
"No sir, there isn't."
The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain.
"You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees. Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it."
Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.
"What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?"
"Yes," the professor replies without hesitation. "What is night if it isn't darkness?"
"You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?"
The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. "So what point are you making, young man?"
"Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed."
The professor's face cannot hide his surprise this time. "Flawed? Can you explain how?"
"You are working on the premise of duality," the student explains. "You argue that there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it."
"Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?"
"If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do"
"Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?"
The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.
"Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?"
The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.
"To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean."
The student looks around the room. "Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor's brain?" The class breaks out into laughter.
"Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain, felt the professor's brain, touched or smelled the professor's brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir. So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?"
Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.
Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. "I guess you'll have to take them on faith."
"Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life," the student continues. "Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?"
Now uncertain, the professor responds, "Of course, there is. We see it everyday. It is in the daily example of man's inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil."
To this the student replied, "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God.
God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God's love present in his heart. It's like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light."
The professor sat down.
Pass this on if you have faith and love Jesus.
I would rather live my life believing that there is a God
And die to find out that there isn't,
Than live my life believing that there isn't,
And die to find out that there is.
I hope I am not out of line posting this, but I received it as an email recently and it seems to be along the line of what Janet was talking about. I apologize for the length of it but couldn't figure out a way to shorten it.
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.
It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a crche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away .
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this happen?" (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.
She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?"
In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says . Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in. My Best Regards .
Honestly and respectfully,
This is a summary of one of the stories the pastor told, after finding out his son had epilepsy.
The pastor told of a conversation he had with a good friend, after finding out that his (the pastor’s) son was sick. The friend, who did not believe in God, asked him how he could still believe that God existed, when all of these bad things kept happening. The pastor asked the friend what he considered to be “bad” things. The friend described things such as rape and murder. So the pastor said, “if there was no more rape, and no more murder, then would you believe in God?” and the friend said, “no, there’s more” and he named more things he considered bad. After naming a few more things, the pastor asked, “So, if none of those things existed, then would you believe in God?” and the friend said, “No, there’s still more.” As he kept naming ideas, the pastor joined in, continuing the list until it got to such minor things as paper cuts or bad hair days. Finally, the pastor stopped, and said, “You know, this sounds like a pretty nice world. If you ever find it, let me know, because I’d like to live there to.” And his friend replied, “Yeah, it sounds a lot like heaven.”
Kelly - where are you?!?!?!
A little info for ChefBritt (and anyone else out there who is interested).
I was involved in college and grad school with different intervarsity groups -I had great experiences and learned alot! I'm so glad you took a chance and went to that group.
Also, if you're interested, there are some great books by a guy named Lee Strobel about investigating Christ and investigating the Christian faith (including alot of "why does God allow bad things" and more). They are "The case for Christ" and "The Case for Faith".
I have to 'fess up - I have never read the "original" versions, but my DH and I did the teen (shortened and simplified) versions with our Church youth group and they were awesome. Lee Strobel was an atheist whose wife became a Christian, and he was not too thrilled about it! After noticing how her life changed for the better, he decided to investigate for himself the life and claims of Christ. He is a trained investigative journalist (wrote for the Chicago tribune) and also a lawyer, now a pastor. He basically outlines the questions he asked and the answers he found as he researched and interviewed lots of people.
Anyway, I really want to read the "adult" (no naughty comments from anyone please!) versions, as I really thought the "teen" versions were very helpful and interesting.
Hope this helps!
I LOVE Lee Strobel! He is an amazing man - and humble and gracious. The books you mentioned are excellent - well written, straight forward, and although they deal with some deep, thought provoking ideas, they do it in such a way that keeps your interest until the end.
And if you don't like/don't have time to read - you can also listen to them as audio books.
Janet, this is my belief as well! We jsut had a Sunday School lesson Sunday where we discussed this.
We also discussed about not "blaming" God when someone dies b/c of the same reason - that Adam was told he would die in the Garden b/c of sin and that is why death comes to us all and b/c we will all die once if Jesus does not rapture us first b/c of the penalty of sin.
Jennifer, "The Case for Faith" is really excellent for these issues too, if you're interested. I found it so helpful for when talking with people who have those types of questions (you know how sometimes you can't think of the right thing to say when you're put on the spot!), as well as solidifying my own beliefs.
Becky, that is pretty cool that you have met Lee Strobel!
For several years, I was a manager for a nationwide Christian Bookstore Chain. Lee Strobel was a guest speaker at our National Convention one year - when The Case For Christ had just been released. I met him then for the first time.
Then, a few years ago - when he was still at Willowcreek Church - he came to our church to speak, and I had the honor of being his assistant while he was at church, making sure he got to where he needed to be, and had what he needed while he was here. He was the nicest man ~ I have incredible respect for him.
Those are AWESOME books! He actually did his research in order to DISPROOVE Christianity! During all his searching...all the evidence he found PROOVED it.
They are VERY easy to read, yet don't "talk down" to you. I keep trying to get my 13 year old to read them...especially when he is asking me a million and one questions that I don't always know the answers to!
Right here! This week is nutso with Evan starting school, drs appts, BSF, and my MOPS group all going on. I just haven't been on the computer much!
BSF is still wonderful...but I am definately still struggling to get my lesson done each day. Seems I let days go by without working on it at all, and then try to cram it all in in 1-3 days. Doing that makes me skip over looking up extra verses and things like that...so I know I am missing out.
I will try to check in tomorrow if possible...right now DH is wanting to go to bed and I am dead tired, too....