By the Numbers

Saturday, April 16, 2011

No Clear Understanding of Hell

No Clear Understanding of Hell

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 Most believers and unbelievers have no clear understanding of Hell. They’re hung-up on God casting all persons together into a literal lake of fire forever. The fire is all they have ever heard about Hell. Picturing burning flesh horrifies them. “If that’s what Jesus said and what the Bible teaches, its heartless cruelty, it’s unjust. I can’t believe a loving God would do that,” they say. Let’s look at what the Bible actually teaches about Hell.
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The Biblical Hell is Separation from God.
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Sin is unacceptable to a holy or perfect God and a pure or perfect Heaven. Being infinite and perfect none other is like God or can come into his presence in self-centered rebellion. “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” (Rev. 4:8). “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you” (Isa. 59:2). “No fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Eph. 5:5). God must separate the wheat from the tares less it choke out the wheat.
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The Biblical Hell is Mental Torments, Not Physical Torture.
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“They will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10). The Bible uses many metaphors or pictures to communicate the nature of Hell. Yes, a fiery furnace, lake of fire even flames are mentioned (Matt. 13:42; Lk. 16:24; Rev. 21:8). But fire is only one of many pictures. Fire as we know it consumes human flesh. But the worm is not consumed since persons in Hell have imperishable bodies (Mk. 9:44; Jn.5:28; Rev. 20:13-15). The fire then must be non-literal representing God’s all-present wrath and judgment which abides on evil doers forever (Jn. 3:36; Deut. 4:24; Ps. 18:8; 2 Thess. 1:7-9). The Bible teaches degrees of punishment—that’s impossible if all were thrown together in a lake of fire. Bible teachings are literally true, but not necessarily true literally. Like other languages, the Bible uses symbols and figures of speech. For example, are we canabals actually eating Christ's body and drinking his blood or is it meant as symbol and memorial (Matt. 26:26-28).
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We cannot dismiss all the other pictures that give a fuller description of the nature of Hell. Jude 12-13 gives several pictures of Hell as clouds without water, trees without fruit twice dead, raging waves of the sea, wandering stars reserved in blackness forever. Outer darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth are other pictures (Matt. 8:12; Acts 7:54). Hell is worse than loss of eyes or limbs (Matt. 5:29-30). All these pictures seem to represent torments such as the sense of guilt, loss, shame, emptiness, deadness, corruption, aloneness, anger, despair of everlasting destruction.  
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 The Biblical Hell is Punishment According to Knowledge and Degrees of Sin.
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If all sinners are thrown together into a lake of fire, it seems all get the same punishment without distinction. No human judge would give the same sentence to both a man who stole food to feed his starving family and a serial killer. That would be most unjust. Would the all-knowing and completely just God do any less? Even the picture of being beaten with many stripes or with few is a metaphor of degree (Luke 12:47-48). The torments of Hell are self-inflicted. Sinners in Hell reap only what each sowed throughout life (Gal. 6:7-8). They didn’t want truth, God, and righteousness, so God let’s them have their way (Rom. 1:18-32). Scriptures phrases show degrees of punishment in accord with each person’s sins—more tolerable (Matt. 11:22-24), according to his deeds (Rom. 2:6), worse punishment (Heb. 10:29).
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The Biblical Hell is the Undying Worm in Outer Darkness.
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 Worm in the Bible is a term of contempt to those thought vile and despicable. “The son of man who is a worm (Job 25:6). “ But I am a worm and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people. All those who see Me ridicule Me” (Ps. 22:6-7). This was prophesied of Jesus bearing our sins dying in our place on the cross (Matt. 27:39-44).
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Darkness in the Bible stands for deception, Satan and sin that are unlike God who is truth and righteousness. Persons jest that they will party in Hell with their friends, but that’s not biblical teaching. Outer darkness is away from the city of God’s light and glory. Black darkness is being confined to a self-made prison alone forever. There will be no more beautiful sunsets and landscapes, no more warm sunshine or cool breezes, no more good times with loving family and friends, no more exciting sports or fulfilling activities. Persons who didn’t thank, appreciate and praise God for his goodness to them in life will find it all taken away. There’s no goodness and love in Hell—only God’s wrath and self-inflicted torments.
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The Biblical Hell is God’s Eternal Wrath.
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Hell is day and night meaning forever or no respite or relief. The Bible doesn’t teach annihilation, a second chance, or reincarnation into many lives as some like to claim. Our choice to accept or reject God is fixed or sealed at death (Rev. 22:11).The Bible is clear that Hell is eternal punishment. “These will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life (Matt. 25:46).
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Weeping and gnashing of teeth means Hell is eternal conscious punishment, not annihilation. Hell lasts as long as God and Heaven last. Life’s sins receiving eternal judgment is not overkill since sinful human nature in Hell is unrepentant, unchanged. And yes, God is a hundred percent for reformation—it’s called life--the Holy Spirit speaks to sinners about it throughout their lives (Jn. 16:8-11). Sinners in Hell still despise their Lifegiver as much as they ever did if not more. There is no second chance. “As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Heb. 9:27; Rev. 22:11). Moreover, reincarnation into multiple lives is absurd. Can we seriously believe a frog knows about its karma in past lives or a person will know their karma if they become a frog? And what is karma but an abstract impersonal principle that knows nothing and can judge nothing?  
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Can saints be happy knowing a loved one may be in Hell? Can they enjoy a meal knowing many people in the world are starving? Without sin and Satan we will see things completely God’s way. Our theology is to be based upon what God has told us in his Word or we’re shut up to human guesses without authority. Scripture is plain that the future Heaven promised to God’s people is a place on the new earth of beauty, service, worship, security and fulfillment without death, sorrow or pain for there will be no sin in Heaven (Jn.14:1-4;, 2 Pet. 3:12-13; Rev. 21; 22). But we can’t help being sinners! That’s the reason we need a Savior (1 Jn. 1:8-10). And God gives us abundant warnings and invitations through plagues, sicknesses, judgments, preachers, the Bible, the Holy Spirit, abundant facts, logic, conscience, nature, dreams, visions, even this article. So mankind is without excuse. God didn’t create people to go to Hell and even though He knows who will.
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Hell proves God is holy, just, and Lord over evil. His promises of Heaven and warnings of Hell are true. Persons created in his image have dignity, rights, freedom, responsibility, and ethical mandates. Everything we think and do has ultimate consequences and meaning. God is fulfilling his great plan that is wise, powerful and good beyond our understanding.   
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Dear friend, if I may call you that. In trusting Christ as Lord and Savior, we’re not going to be perfect. I can’t guarantee you things will go your way or work out better for you in this life. But based upon the authority of God’s Word, I can guarantee you can enter a love-trust relationship with our Life-giver, Judge, and King of the universe and that we can fellowship together one day in the new Heaven and new earth. It will be more wonderful than we can ever dream.
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Won’t you now say, “Lord, I’m the sinner deserving Hell? But I trust in the Lord Jesus dying for me bearing my sin and I take him as my Savior and Guide from now on. Thank you, Lord. Now live for Him and share Him with others. You may want to send these articles to others who may trust our Lord for forgiveness of sins, and everlasting life. God bless your ministry of faith, love and hope. 
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Find Out About Us

Find Out About Us

                              Make A Crucial Difference.
                    Send Good News Messages Worldwide.
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Hi. Thank you for your time and interest. We send messages of love, hope, peace and encouragement around the world. We’re Good News Messengers. We make a real difference.
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If there’s no personal loving God, we’re either soulless dirt in a meaningless world waiting extinction (atheist materialism), or we’re recycled energy in an illusionary world waiting absorption into nothingness (monist pantheism). In either case, the world’s ready for a tyrant to appear whose utopian scheme and deceptive promises will control our lives, faith, finances, families, freedom and future to our destruction and death. We’re becoming one world awaiting the Anti-Christ. History confirms that power corrupts and world power leads to demonic tyranny.
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The universe’s expansion, its running down, its fine tuning, the impossibility of eternal backtracking, and  its present dependence, all point to its being the effect of a self-existing, eternal, infinite, unchanging intelligence rightly called a Creator God who alone explains everything. And since such a God exists, it’s a small thing for the Creator to take on a human nature and body and walk among us.
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 Honest thinking people try to be open-minded and base their beliefs upon good evidence. The opposite of true is false and of right is wrong. We cannot even argue against absolute truth without assuming it, or say something is wrong without assuming a right--and all point to an ethical Creator God to whom we're accountable.
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The biblical Christian worldview gives good evidence Jesus Christ is God’s Son and the Savior and Lord of all who humbly acknowledge their sin (self-centered rebellion) and trust in him for eternal life. We influence millions of people just like us by passing on these articles of God’s truth, ways, faith and love even translating them into other languages. Yes, Christianity has answers based upon good evidence!
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Jesus’ bodily resurrection visibly proved we live beyond the grave, that Jesus is the Son of God (unique sinless God-man), and thus all he taught is true. So we know that the universe is real, rational and moving to an ultimate climax, that there’s absolute truth, that experimental science and all creative endeavors are possible. We know God made us rational, moral, persons with an eternal destiny that gives us dignity, rights, freedom, and ethical accountability. We have ultimate purpose, justice, love, and opportunity for eternal life--Heaven. This is the biblical Christian worldview—none other is like it. And this is your opportunity to make a lasting impact for good both now and forever.
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Join us. Send these messages to loved ones, friends, preachers, professors, students, politicians, judges, business men, scientists, everyone who can make significant changes for truth and Godliness. Articles are arranged in convenient categories. You may link, print and email, and use them to teach classes. The Lord can use us to bring about wonderful changes in our world and for eternity. Prayerfully and selectively send them everywhere.  Please understand, I research crucial issues, answer ultimate questions, present the gospel, and pray God will use us all to make a more Godly world.
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Your prayers and ministry as good news messengers are a most vital part of that. I spend time seeking to win persons to Christ almost every time I leave the house. Won't you help this crucial ministry with prayer and telling others about these blog articles.  Thank you and God bless.
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I don't like to talk about myself. But so you won't think I'm a phony: I have a B.S. degree in social science and two theology degrees from biblical evangelical theological schools. I’ve taught evangelism, apologetics, Bible and theology, and been a missionary and pastor of three churches. I have hundreds of books on these subjects but it's about Him not me. My concern is to glorify God, win people to Christ, and present the Christian worldview. Human civilization and lives depend upon it. I pray God will richly bless your global ministry and you will one day hear the Lord Jesus say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jesus, Faith & Knowledge

Jesus, Faith, & Knowledge

#Knowledge   #epistemology
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I don’t claim to be a philosopher, theologian, scientist or logician. But I know something about each of these fields. And, if one human being has the right to think, ask questions and have an opinion, then all do because of our common humanity. I’m a Christian, but the same would be true if I were a Hindu, atheist, or Muslim.
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Of course, we can be threatened and forced to say we believe only particular truths, but really believe things much different from what we’ve been forced to believe. And if we can gain our freedom, we can then be ethical and honest as our common humanity dictates. And while we may hold particular views, we are wise to be somewhat open to other views since we make mistakes and can gain greater knowledge. Moreover, we’re wise also to have some reasons or evidence to justify our belief; otherwise, we may look foolish, may even have an erroneous faith.
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This article is an attempt to understand the relationships between faith and knowledge. It’s called epistemology that deals with the nature, scope, and validity of knowledge. And I take responsibility for my views. 
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We begin with a childlike faith. As children, our parents and teachers provide, protect and teach us. We have little understanding of the world and must depend upon them. In growing up, we become able to think for ourselves and may come to see things a bit different from what we’ve been taught. Conditions too may change calling for different beliefs and ways of doing things. We become individuals in our own right. I became a Christian at an early age. But as a youth, I questioned things about God, the Bible, and Christianity. About the only thing, I didn’t at some time doubt was Proverbs 27:1, which said not to boast about tomorrow for we don’t know what a day may bring forth. I struggled with issues about science, philosophy, biblical criticism, other religions, and the evils and injustices I saw. I wanted some honest answers that made sense. Yes, we must test the spirits, but unbridled skepticism tends to torment and self-destruct us.
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To save space let me list some things I’ve come to believe are universally and objectively true. Equals added to equals are equal—2 + 2 = 4. Absolute truth is not only possible, but is assumed in its denial. All rational thinking depends upon correspondence to reality, is not contradictory, and so the opposite of true is false. In other words, truth is the same everywhere, for everyone, all the time--the world is either round or it isn't. Sense experience is valid—seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling gives true knowledge, although things like seeing a crooked stick in water or a mirage need further testing.
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Further, everything begun must have a cause—things can’t just appear or occur without cause. Things can’t give something they don’t have. There are different kinds of things and mind must exist to affirm matter. Without a higher standard of moral behavior, we are left with limited conflicting human opinions. I must exist to affirm all this. Sincerely, how can anyone avoid or deny any of these things and live honestly in this world?
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Now am I unbiased, without vested interests, and always think correctly? No! But I don’t believe anyone else is either, no matter how earnest, educated or expert someone may be. So it’s wise to maintain a degree of openness to new thought and ways of seeing things. It’s wise to show respect and kindness to others that we would want them to show us. Now may I present my epistemological view? I call it Christohistological Revelationalism. And it may be presented in four principles.
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The Metaphysical Principle.

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First, without sufficient evidence, we can’t say spiritual things unknown to us or beyond our physical senses—sight, touch, etc.—are impossible or can’t exist. Thus, we can’t say a Creator and of the universe can’t exist. We can’t say a personal ethical God, angels, miracles, divine revelation or human souls, can’t exist. We can’t say a Creator God can’t take on a human nature and body as God-man and walk among us. And if nature’s uniformity is sustained by God, limited human beings can’t say what the Almighty can and cannot do, or where and when he must do it. In the nature of the case, all such things depend upon valid testimony given us through human senses. The burden of proof rests upon anyone who would deny spiritual things. But even with proof of them, we must have an open mind to receive and understand them. Denial then is a closed-minded, unwarranted prejudiced and arrogant claim to exhaustive godlike knowledge we simply don’t have.
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Further, science is the friend of Scripture teaching, not its foe as critics like to claim. True open-minded science unbiased by a naturalistic prerequisite takes us where the evidence leads. That evidence points to a self-existent, immensely powerful, infinite Mind that created and sustains our dependent and incredibly complex universe. Moreover, an infinite Creator lacks nothing, so there can’t be more than one infinite being (God). This being true, pantheism, polytheism, and atheism logically must be false. Scripture provides the rational basis for an orderly and understandable universe making experimental science possible. See my articles on science.
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The Empirical Principle.
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Human beings have the capacity to communicate. And if we’re creatures God made with this capacity, there can be no possible reason our Maker can’t communicate with us, any time, any place, any way He might choose. He can communicate with us through events, angels, visions, dreams, insights, even visible appearances and direct speech. If He chose to, He could take human form, tell us He is God, and demonstrate it in many surprising ways. Naturalism and the uniformity of nature have no say against it. Further, if Jesus is the God-man who walked among us, that would show us He is God and constitutes a final authority above human guesses and opinions.
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Jesus is claimed to fulfilled numerous ancient prophecies about a coming Jewish Messiah who would be born of a virgin, in Bethlehem, live without sin, claim to be God, perform miracles, accept worship, forgave sins, die for sinners, and rise from the dead. As prophecies, they are specific not vague, could not be artificially fulfilled, were predicted centuries before fulfillment, and cannot be a misinterpretation since Jesus is the only historical person said to do these above events. As miracles, there were hundreds since He performed them everywhere He went over three years in public before crowds and skeptical critics standing by who could not deny them. These eyewitness critics and disciples were always astonished proving they were as knowledgeable of nature’s laws as we are today. Jesus’ followers were put out of the synagogue that meant damnation. They were ridiculed, persecuted, tortured, and died in testimony to their faith. They are real true factual events.
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Neither eyewitness prophetic fulfillments nor miracles are known in other sacred literature. Yes, devoted followers of other religions do claim miracles in literature written centuries after their founders. But the founders never claimed miracles and their pantheistic or atheist religions simply wouldn’t allow it or make sense. An unbiased mind cannot dismiss Jesus as a mere teacher, wise man, good man or deceiver, His prophetic fulfillments and miracles require He be the God-man as He claimed numerous times and ways .
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Again, this is not a mere man’s claim or human philosophy devoid of proof. This is not Confucius’s wisdom, Buddha’s remedy for pain, Muhammad’s claim an unseen angle spoke to him. This is the God-man speaking to all humanity about a love-trust relationship and a real eternal Heaven and Hell and our lives residing eternally in one or the other. It’s no honor to admit God exists—even the demons in Hell believe that!.
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The Historical Principle.
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Pantheists make little of history since they believe the world is merely recycled energy that takes various forms. Yet Hindus depended upon the history of persons preserving and passing down historic documents—the Vedas, Upanishads, and the Bhagavad-Gita--written by ancient men who held these historic beliefs. These writings contain conflicting views of god/gods and are the limited opinions and reasoning’s of mortal men. Others have claimed to be a prophet of God or that an angel revealed God’s will to them but could not show the angle to be more than an empty claim anybody could make. Atheist’s claim evils prove there’s no God but can’t define evils without assuming a perfect standard that would have to be a personal and holy God. I see no reason to base our lives upon their mere empty claims, limited human reasoning’s and conflicting imaginings.
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Further, while we know death occurs, we don’t know and can’t show that human bodies are not animated by eternal souls that survive death. Both pantheist and atheist denial of eternal souls surviving death is mere limited human opinion. Pantheists make us recycled energy released to nothingness and atheists make us soulless dirt of no great value. If there is good historical evidence that we are beings of dignity and destiny whatever it be, wouldn’t we be wise to give it honest consideration?
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Of course, we don’t have exhaustive knowledge of the past. That’s no reason to say we don’t have some knowledge. Archaeologists have discovered monuments, documents, and artifacts that tell us much about the past and that confirm mention of many of the characters and events of the Bible. As I’ve discussed in other articles, Jesus is a real person who walked among us. Six independent scriptural sources, early church fathers and creeds describe and quote him. Besides, many secular and even hostile sources describe events of Jesus’ life including his miracles, sayings, and claims to deity. There is more evidence for Jesus’ historical reality than for many unquestioned persons such as Plato and Tiberius Caesar. Only an unwarranted bias can deny it.
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The Revelation Principle.
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Critics claim 2,000-year-old documents translated repeatedly into different languages can’t be accurate. But Bible translations are made into modern languages from early Hebrew and Greek copies placed together. And unlike only a handful of other ancient writings, we have thousands of biblical manuscripts. This makes it easy to correct obvious misspellings and added or deleted words. The New Testament all but eleven verses can be reconstructed from writings of the church fathers. The New Testament is seen to be as much as 99% accurate, which is far greater than any other ancient document. And no essential teaching is in doubt. And yes, the Bible uses figures of speech to communicate as in other languages. Only an unwarranted anti-supernatural bias prevents objective consideration and denial of God acting in our real world. Intellectually, we have a high degree of probability. But God’s Spirit can open us to experiential knowledge and the assurance we need.
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Abundant evidence shows Jesus is the God-man who alone saves us from sin and eternal Hell, puts forgiveness, love and peace in our lives. Won’t you ask him to save you? Say, Lord Jesus Christ, “I trust you now who died to save me from sin (my evil thoughts, words and deeds) and Hell (eternal imprisonment in darkness and torment) and to guide me to live for you and be with you forever. Thank you Lord.” See my other articles.
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Space forbids further discussion. I discuss related issues in other articles. But I recommend two outstanding books in English discussing these issues. Normal L. Geisler and Frank Turek’s book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. And Paul Copan’s book, Loving Wisdom: Christian Philosophy of Religion. These books present the biblical Christian worldview of Creation, the Fall, Redemption, and Recreation, answer questions, and present Christianity’s tremendous unequalled benefits. Please link my blog and share these articles with others to come to know the Savior. Their knowing the Lord who died to save them is eternally better than winning the lottery ticket and going to Hell. Also, see my other article on epistemology: Faith, Reason & Revelation. Thank you. God bless.
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Is Knowing Jesus Essential for Heaven?

Is Knowing Jesus Essential for Heaven?
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At an Urbana Christian missions conference 8,000 questionnaires were distributed and 5,000 responded and returned. Thirty-seven percent said the gospel of Jesus wasn’t essential to go to Heaven. This is a most serious issue for Christian faith from a world perspective.
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Persons who believe Jesus was a good person but not essential for Heaven think as follows. People can be utterly sincere in following the only religion they know. It’s not their fault they haven’t heard of Christ. There’s truth in all religions. God may be called by different names. You can find good descent people everywhere and in all religions. Religions essentially teach be good or follow the golden rule. Jesus said God loves, forgives, and doesn’t want anyone to perish. It’s shameful to imagine a cruel God who would fry good innocent people in Hell. I wouldn’t treat a dog that way. Some Christians are too judgmental. This viewpoint seems so reasonable to some persons.
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Many persons exposed to only Christian teachings believe in God and good works. They see no essential differences between Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, Catholics or other Christian churches. They are cultural “Christians” not Bible Christians. They believe Jesus was a good man and example we should follow. They may have heard things about non-Christian religions but not taken them seriously. “People aren’t all that bad,” they say. So, what’s the big deal?”
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Can we consider the issues involved realistically? Can we be open to facts we might find distasteful? There are hundreds of religions in the world. How do we know the particular one we were taught or exposed to is correct when they all differ?
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Doesn’t the fact that world religions contradict show all can't be correct? A study of world religions shows they have radically different views about God, man, man’s problem, its solution, ethics and the afterlife. They teach:  no God, universe is god, many gods, a finite god, deist God. They teach man has a soul, no soul, afterlife, no afterlife. If any one view is correct all opposing views must necessarily be incorrect. That's a basic fact of logic we can't deny.
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Isn’t it obvious some religions are more productive of human life and well-being than are others? Some world religions are atheistic, others pantheistic, or teach hate and murder to those who won’t submit to their beliefs. You may believe anything and be a Hindu but you must stay within your caste and work off bad karma to achieve the enlightenment that you are a part of the universe’s energy or god. Buddha’s philosophy was release from pain in his four noble truths and eightfold path. Essentially, it was to deny a personal God and attachment to all desires and follow his philosophy to achieve nirvana--personal extinction. Socialist’s teach there’s no God and that elites must seize control and keep the ignorant masses under control even if some must be eliminated.
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Some Muslims stress the Quran’s one statement on no religious compulsion (Surah 2:256). But they somehow fail to mention the Quran’s other teachings. Non-Muslim religions are unacceptable (Surah’s 3:85). Jews and Christians are not friends and protectors (Surah 5:51, 33). Treaty obligations with non-Muslims may be resolved (Surah 9:3). And Muslims are to fight and slay non-submissive infidels (Surah’s 9:5, 29; 123; 47:4). Now can we honestly believe all religions agree and teach the golden rule? Muhammad was the prophet of the sword. Jesus said put up the sword and love your neighbor as yourself.
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The Christianity of the Bible is the only world religion that gives objective empirical evidence that it is of God. I’m not saying non-Christians don’t have some profound and spiritual truths. But Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Muhammad, Zoroaster, Nanak performed no eyewitness miracles, fulfilled no specific ancient prophecies. These founders usually denied a personal God and some avid followers’ centuries’ later ascribed miracles and deity to them. What evidence is there that their religions are anything more than human thinking even imagination? What basis do they provide for life after death, human dignity, rights, freedom, ethics, and hope?
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Jesus alone lived without sin, claimed to be God, fulfilled many ancient prophecies of the coming Messiah (Christ or Annointed One), performed many miracles, died in place of us sinners, and arose from the dead to establish his claims to be our God. No other world religion can claim anything like that. 
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The Apostle Peter’s statement about the Lord Jesus Christ makes more sense than all others. “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). We must trust humanities only Savior from our sins and giver of eternal life. Then share Him with others. Jesus is the Lord we all must bow to one day at the judgment. We had best know Him as our Savior and Lord now. Won't you pray, Lord I trust You now and forever to forgive my sins, make me a child of God, and guide me through life until death or You come for me. Now the best thing you can do is share these blog articles with others who may come to know the Savior and be with you in Heaven.
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Please Check Out These Comparative Belief Charts

           Please Check Out These Comparative Belief Charts

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 I don't often recommend books though I use hunddreds. I feel it inappropriate in most articles.

Many inexpensive charts can be purchased through Comparative Belief Charts. www.Rose-Publishing.com . For example,What Christianity Has Done For The World (50 key contributions). Christianity, Cults & Religions (compares 17 religions and cults with Biblical Christianity). Apologetics. Prophecy & End Times. These charts give good quick information about a lot of subjects and are worth getting. Link my articles to your computer and share them with others who don't know Christ or much about Bible teaching. God bless you in your work of faith and labor of love.
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Let me also recommend just a few outstanding books that present the Christian position and its adversaries. Understanding The Times, by David A. Noebel. This amazing book is a through discussion of the important worldviews today out to destroy Bible Christianity. Systematic Theology, by Dr. Norman Geisler. He is in my estimation the outstanding theologian and apologist today. I Don't Have enough Faith to Be an Atheist, by  Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek. The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics,  Ed Hindson & Ergun Caner. Tough Questions About God, Faith, And Life, by Charles Colson. Parents, teachers, students and everybody who want to understand the Christian faith and be able to defend it against all the objections and attempts to destroy it will want to get and use these excellent sources. Many of the books I recommend can be purchased on the www or at a book store or may be borrowed from a library.
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Human dignity, ethics, justice, love, truth, life after death, hope, and a rational purposeful world all depend upon the Biblical Christian faith. Ignorance, indifference and cowardice  will set up back to pre-Christian times and barbarianism. No world religion can furnish objective evidence but Bible Christianity. Indeed, a personal ethical God must be assumed even to make sense of life and the world.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Jesus Is The Only Way to Heaven!

Jesus Is The Only Way to Heaven!

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 Can time backtrack eternally? Can nothing explode into everything? Can molecules arrange themselves into men? Can we even be rational if all is chance? Christians believe the reasonable cause of everything is a Creator who sustains and explains every particle of matter.
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There’s no rational basis to deny an intelligent God, creation, miracles, divine revelation, and that the Creator can take on a human nature, body, and tell us all we need to know. It would require a godlike knowledge which only God has.
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Skeptics can only make negative assumptions and derogatory accusations--they are just as dogmatic and exclusivist as anyone else. If there’s any possibility of Heaven, it’s terribly foolish to ignore that possibility. There may even be a Hell—skeptics can only hope there isn’t! And anyone arguing there’s no absolute truth assumes his argument true—thus his arguments mean nothing. Now consider arguments for entrance into Heaven.  
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Only God Can SET the Entrance Requirements to His Heaven.
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Ancient peoples believed in some ideal form of life after death. American Indians have their happy hunting grounds. Vikings dying with sword in hand have their Valhalla. Greeks have their Elysian Fields. Egyptians believed that at least their Pharaohs would have an ideal life after death. Of course, we can have different opinions as to what Heaven is like, who can enter Heaven and under what conditions. We all have a right to our own opinions and we have them regardless of what others may think or say. But apart from logical factual evidence, claims about God and the afterlife are mere opinions and guesses unworthy of belief.   
If God were the Creator of Heaven, that would make him its Owner, Lawgiver and Judge. Ownership conveys rights and excludes other opinions and claims. God alone then has the right to say what his Heaven must be like, and what its entrance requirements must be. And if God created man in his image for relationship with him, then it’s reasonable that Heaven exists. So then, no person has any right to tell God He can’t have just one way to enter his Heaven.
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Only God Can TELL Us His Entrance Requirements to His Heaven.
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If we can be opened-minded, there’s biblical evidence a God-man walked among us and told us about the afterlife and Heaven. Since I’ve discussed this evidence in other articles, I won’t discuss it here. It includes fulfillment of hundreds of ancient promises and prophecies about individuals, Israel and other nations. It records supernatural occurrences through angels, miracles, and most specifically the Lord Jesus Christ. Honest examination will show there’s simply nothing like these historical events in other sacred literature. Further, the Bible with all its diversity written over fifteen centuries shows an amazing unity of teaching from creation to recreation not found in other secret literature. Without such actions of God, we have no visible assurance and authority about Heaven, its rightful occupants, and entrance requirements.
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God HAS TOLD US His Moral Perfection Is Required to Enter His Perfect Heaven.
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Almighty God was under no obligation to create a universe but did create one good for his purposes (Gen. 1:1, 4, 10, 12, 18, 25, 31). God made a paradise for man meeting man’s every need. God gave man the choice of eternal life in a love-trust relationship with him in paradise or of a world of good and evil.
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Man chose to eat from the tree representing a world of good and evil. Thus, all persons are born with a natural tendency to put self above all else including their Lifegiver. God expelling man from paradise showed mercy to keep man from eating from the tree of life and being eternally condemned in sin (selfishness, rebellion and eternal loss). Man’s choice brought the consequences of a cursed world and sinful posterity.
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Theologians call it the Fall of man. Even then, God gave humanity the promise of redemption (Gen. 3:15; 1 Jn. 3:8). Reason then requires that a morally perfect God find corrupt rebellious persons unfit and unacceptable to enter and maintain his perfect Heaven.
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Jesus, the God-man said, “You shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).
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“Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). See also Rev. 21:27.
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God’s Entrance Requirement Is Trust in the Lamb Slain as a Substitute for Our Sin.
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Only God’s way is acceptable to him and can maintain a 100% perfect Heaven. It must be a humble trust in God’s gift of salvation since we can never achieve perfection or cleanse past sins. It is the greatest expression of love known to man, as the just (Christ) died for the unjust (us sinners). Only the sinless Christ could be the perfect sacrifice for sin and satisfy God’s justice. We can never understand it all; we can only trust God’s way is right and the only way.
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“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
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“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten (unique) Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (Jn. 3:16-17).
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Now back to First Corinthians 6:11 speaking to believers, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified (set apart for God’s service), but you were justified (declared just meaning not condemned) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
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Jesus death and resurrection proved he is Lord over death; he is God as he claimed, all he said is God’s absolute truth, and we are not just soulless dirt but created in God’s image with dignity, rights, freedom and responsibility. Will you trust him now for forgiveness of sin and eternal service with and for him who gave his life to save you? Then the best thing we can do is share Jesus with others. Join us as computer missionaries telling friends about these gospel articles. U may see those you have told in Heaven! "Lord, give this servant conviction and courage."
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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Socratic Cafe Dialogue

                               The Socratic Cafe Dialogue
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Chris and two of his committed Christian friends John and Matt started a Socratic Cafe. They wanted it to start on a good basis so they laid down some specific rules. The Cafe would meet whenever convenient—monthly or biweekly. It would meet wherever convenient—at member’s houses, a church, coffee house, or national bookstore. It would meet for 2 hours at a convenient time such as Saturday or Sunday afternoon or a weeknight, and friends could socialize awhile afterwards. It could choose to provide light refreshments or a meal if persons desired.
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The group could start with a few people singles or married and grow into hundreds. Everybody’s ideas and opinions would be given respectful consideration. Each contributor would state his or her name such as Sue, Bill, Sharpe, etc and express their view for the group’s consideration. Questions may be asked and issues explored. Everyone is welcome Christian or non Christian.
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Topics for the next meeting would be announced and sources of books and GOOD NEWS MESSAGES suggested for study. Any topic of interested may be explored. Topics might be Evil and God, What Constitutes the Ideal Family? Is Christ God? What Is Biblical Salvation? What is Free Will or Predestination? What does a particular religion believe? Can evolution of man be demonstrated? How can we know God’s Will? When should Nations go to War? Is Abortion a Good Thing?
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Chris and his friends were excited. They left notices on house doors or car windshields inviting people, advertised it in the local newspaper, called or emailed friends about it. Everything was made ready and the meeting began.
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The first meeting was small but challenging. Besides the three founders Atheon, Skeptus, Pan, and Deeus showed up. The topic for this Socratic CafĂ©’s discussion is, “Does God exist and if so how could we know?” Chris asked, “Who would like to give their view first? We’re all friends here and as human individuals have our own viewpoints that need to be explored. Nobody knows it all and education and exploration of different ways to look at issues is good.”
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Pan: Well, I believe in god. God is the greatest thing there is and god is everywhere and everything. God is the trees, the clouds, the grass, the air, the ground. God takes a million forms. I’m even a part of god.
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Skeptus: I don’t know about that Pan. I have my doubts. It’s difficult for me to imagine all of nature as being god. How can god be so many conflicting things? I mean wouldn’t god have to be both mind and matter, both good and bad karma if we can even use the terms good and bad, both alive and dead. Sure, there’s energy and force in the universe but I can’t see that it’s all just one thing and all illusion. I mean it seems everything I do; I couldn’t do, if all is illusion.
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Deeus: I agree with Skeptus, Pan. I believe there’s more to God than energy, principle, force, or whatever you want to call it. I look at nature’s beauty, its complexity, its design, and am overwhelmed with awe. There just must be some kind of intelligence behind it. It just couldn’t come about from nothing. It seems to me there must be a Creator to explain all this. But then again, I don’t feel there’s any God who hears my prayers or has anything to do with me. I don’t know if there’s life after death or not. Life is difficult and I can’t explain why things never seem to work out the way I hope or would like.
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John: I think you’re right at least in part Deeus. All that suggests a personal God. He’s not just a principle or force. But God doesn’t give us everything we want. If there is a Mind great enough to create a universe, it seems to me there would be many things I don’t know or can understand. That seems reasonable to my limited understanding. I sure don’t know it all. Maybe too we are ungrateful for the things God does give us and really want nothing to do with God in our life. He could be trying to tell us things we don’t want to hear. That’s sure been true in my life and I hope I’ve learned some lessons. There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t think of going to church or pick up a Bible.
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Pan: I can see you guys have a much different background from me. My folks came from India and I’ve just went along with what I was told. I never gave it serious thought. I can see there are things I should consider. This meeting may be a real help to me.
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Atheous: Hey, not so fast! Let me get a word in here. I’m not going to let God off the hook. If there really were a God or at least a good God, there wouldn’t be such great evils in the world. The whole thing of God and evil seems like a contradiction to me. A good and powerful Creator of the universe would have eliminated these evils long ago or at least greatly reduced them to manageable proportions. What do you guys say to that?
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Matt: You have raised a serious problem here Atheous. Its bothers unbelievers and Christians alike. I believe it challenges all of us at times. I don’t think we can have a complete answer in specific cases. And it sure brings grief, confusion, and pain to our hearts and lives. But I don’t think God and evils, no matter how bad the evils, are a contradiction. Yes, murders, rapes, robberies and wars occur. But God could allow them for reasons we don’t understand. Deeus was right that a Creator of the universe with all its complexity, its design, and its beauty, must do things far beyond our meager understanding. Pan too had a point that there is a unity to the way things work out, but a reason to the way things interact together. Even the elements show a harmony of design. Nothing can’t create something--shaking his head—it doesn’t make sense. And all we know from science points to a beginning and a Beginner. There is a God. That God must be a HE, not an IT. That God must be intelligence and will evidenced throughout the design and harmony of the created universe.
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Skeptus: Well, I still have my doubts. I’ll concede we maybe can’t know in particular cases. But what about events in general? Even supposing there’s no contradiction between God and evils since God may have reasons for allowing so many evils, what are God’s reasons?
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John: It seems to me that if God suddenly quelled all the evils in the world, God would have to do away with all the people in the world. Don’t we all do some things we know aren’t right? I mean wouldn’t you tend to hate somebody who murdered you spouse or children? Isn’t even hatred a motive itself that leads to revenge and murder? Don’t we all find ourselves attracted to someone else’s spouse at times? But wouldn’t we abhor someone coveting the spouse we loved?
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Atheon: So, we’re all imperfect. But I’m no sinner and I’m not convinced there’s any personal God.
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John: Atheon, I’m glad you feel free to express your honest feelings and convictions. But I hope all of us are open-minded enough to hear opposing viewpoints and give them honest consideration.
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Matt: About those general reasons why God may allow evils, I can think of two definite reasons. One, to prevent evil, God would have to make us puppets and pull our strings. We would be forced to do God’s will. That would make God a tyrant and us no better than programmed machines. That neither honors God crediting him as love nor honors us as being any different from machines. Moreover, the Bible shows that our first parents chose to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil choosing a world of both good and evil. We wouldn’t be any different in their place as we do wrong things or sin in various ways every day.
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Atheon: All right! I’ll admit if God exists, he could have reasons for allowing evils in the world and we limited human beings may not understand them. But that doesn’t give me reasons to believe God exists. And I’ll try to be open-minded if somebody can give me reasonable evidences. I’ve experienced a lot of pain in my life from my father’s harsh treatment and it’s not easy to see a good God in the world. Some psychologists say God is delusion. Maybe they’re right.
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Matt: I mentioned science shows the universe had a beginning that points to a Beginner or God. This is shown by the universe’s expansion, by its use able energy running down, by the fact that we can’t backtrack eternally or we wouldn’t be here today. The Creator of space, matter and time must be eternal, self-existent, unchangeable, immaterial Personal consciousness and will or He could never decide to create. A nonexistent unintelligent force can’t create anything.
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Deeus: But Matt, even supposing God created, that doesn’t have anything to do with me personally. I have to face this world of sweat, blood, and tears.
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Matt: Yes, we all do and it can be painful. But our Creator knows this firsthand. He took on a human body and nature and was tempted in all points like us. God became man and walked among us. Jesus, the God-man, told us many times and ways that he is our God. It was no empty claim—he fulfilled hundreds of ancient Jewish prophecies only God could fulfill. Jesus walked on the water, commanded angels and demons, lived without sin, died in our place to save us from our sins and arose from the dead. He said anyone believing in him will be given eternal life.
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Atheos: What do you mean? I’ve never heard of Jesus. It sounds too good to be true. I want to hear more.
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Chris: Good. I assure you, you will. But time is up. So much turmoil and revolt is occurring in the Muslim world. Would you people like to discuss next meeting the question, “Can non-Christian governments under dictators and Shari’a law gain real freedom of religion and representation for their people? All hands voted yes for this being the next discussion topic.
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Some time later, it seems regretfully, there's no foundation for freedom and different faiths.