Archives For Faith

Suffering is one of the most common reasons people doubt God.

If God is so loving, how can such bad things happen?

Trite statements by Christians only make this worse:

Something good will come out this, just wait.

God has a purpose for everything. 

Something good will come out of rape, child abuse, or the premature death of a loved one…

As if God were committing atrocities so we’d learn a lesson later.

I want to propose that most people live with the expectation that this world is heaven, so when they discover (through observing or experiencing suffering) that it isn’t, they are devastated.  Specifically, their idea of God is devastated.

This is a very complicated topic because we are indeed eternal beings, yet we do not live in an eternal world.

As eternal beings, we long for heaven.  Not just heaven as the place or destination, but a state of being without suffering, pain, disease, and death.  This is, in fact, what we were created for so it makes perfect sense we’d still be hardwired for this.  What we long for is a world without the effects of sin, while we live in the midst of a world riddled by these effects.

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Dr. Ravi Zacharias and Abdu Murray are coming to Michigan this week for “Ask Anything” events, sponsored by Cru.  These events are free; you will want to attend and bring as many friends as you can.

Episode 33 of the “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast features an interview by Noah Filipiak with Dr. Ravi Zacharias.  Ravi discusses the types of questions about faith and truth that people are asking in today’s society, from pluralism to atheism to relativism to Islam and so much more.  Hearing Ravi’s perspective will make you realize how much is at stake, not just for you and your friends as individuals, but for Western and global society altogether.  Following the interview with Dr. Zacharias, Noah sits down with Brian Langford, Cru’s Campus Director at Michigan State University.  Noah and Brian discuss the faith climate on today’s college campuses and why the “Ask Anything” event with Ravi and Abdu is something people will not want to miss.

You can listen to Noah Filipiak’s “Behind the Curtain” Podcast interview with Ravi Zacharias on the Podbean Player below or you can subscribe to all “Behind the Curtain” Ministry Podcast episodes on iTunes. Continue Reading…

An apology post I wrote after reflecting on how I’ve written about Trump and immigration / refugee policy

Donald Trump:

“we will make America wealthy again” (January 20th, 2017 Inauguration Speech)

“Part of the beauty of me is that I am very rich.” (Good Morning America, 2011)

“The point is, you can never be too greedy.” The Art of the Deal

Jesus Christ:

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

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There are two groups who think all religions are the same: the informed and the uninformed.

The informed have done a general study of the main religions and have concluded that they share the same central tenants or that God is too big to put in a box so he/she/it must be larger than any one religion.

The uninformed are those who don’t really bother to think about these things, but assume all religions are alike the same way one who lives in the desert assumes all fish are alike.  And they sleep just fine at night under this illusion.

There are motivations, some genuine and some not, to all of the above, but at the end of the day and with so much on the line, it’s can’t be overstated that all religions are not the same.  While generally I don’t like to use the word “religion” to describe what I have found in Jesus (the term “relationship” is much more appropriate and helpful), I’ll stick with it for the sake of this discussion.  Here are some brief and immensely weighty reasons why all religions are not the same:

  • Have you done wrong against God?  Do you need to be forgiven and can you earn that forgiveness?  These are huge questions that have actual answers.  There is no way the answer to these questions can be “all answers are the same.”  You either have or haven’t done wrong against God and He either is or isn’t going to forgive you.  In addition, you will either be able to earn this forgiveness, or not, and if not, you’d better hope there’s a way for it to be bestowed upon you.  The only religion where you are forgiven through what God did for you rather than what you can do for God is found in Jesus.  Period.  Jesus says you can’t measure up to God’s holy standard, so he did it for you.  Other religions say you must measure up to God’s holy standard (good luck).  These are not the same.
  • Jesus either rose from the dead or he didn’t.  If he did, his religion is true.  If he didn’t, all the religions that say he didn’t (which is all of them) could potentially be true.  The same goes with his claim to be God.  He’s either God or he isn’t God, these two things are not the same.  Don’t you find it ironic that no other religion says that Jesus rose from the dead or that he is God?  Of course they don’t!  If they did, they’d admit that Jesus is where true religion is found.

There are many more things that could be added to this list, but it’s been kept short intentionally.  Please think hard about the above two bullet points.  It’s okay if you don’t believe them, though if they turn out to be true you will sorely regret it.  And goodness, why would you risk that?  What are is the payout of that gamble if you end up being right?  But at least make a decision.  Don’t take the cop-out that all religions are the same.  They can’t be.

And as C.S. Lewis so eloquently said in Mere Christianity, do not call Jesus a “good teacher” or a “prophet” as most world religions do:

If your kid’s math teacher was excellent at teaching algebra but also taught that they were God on earth, would you call this person a good teacher?  Only if their claim was true!  Otherwise you’d have them locked them.  You can’t call Jesus a good teacher but reject his claim to be God.

Don’t deprive yourself of intellectual vigor by claiming that all religions are the same, but much more importantly, don’t deprive yourself of your eternity!  There’s way too much on the line not to look into these claims.

 

Too often in Christian circles it’s taught that if you have faith, pray and obey, God will take away your problems.  If you are worried, give those worries to God and he will solve them.  If you’re going through a challenging time, God will fix it.  Things typically don’t work out this cleanly in real life, often leaving people wondering what they did wrong, or why God abandoned them.  Thankfully the Bible tells a different story.  Continue Reading…