By Roland Clarke
This riveting and thought-provoking piece sheds fresh perspective on a Christian belief that has been fiercely opposed by Muslims for 1400 years. Like every good mystery, this story traces a series of clues spanning the entire Bible and concludes with 1 Timothy 3:16:
“Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.” It's no secret that God loves every human being he created, so it shouldn't be surprising that he wants us to love him in return. What better way to encourage us to seek him than to reveal himself little by little so that we come to know him more and more. God said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” He uses prophecies and proverbs, parables and paradoxes, riddles and sayings of the wise to keep us engaged, intrigued and invested on the journey of discovering how magnificent and delightful he is. As it is written, “The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections.” So then, “Let us press on to know him.”
by Wissam Al-Aethawi, World Traveler and Author of "Been There"
Greece is a country that boasts of its Christian culture today—even though many of its tourists would tell you that the country, as a whole, does not act like it. Near the very beginning of its constitution, you can read “The prevailing religion in Greece is that of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ,” making Greece more rigid about its national religion than most of its Muslim neighbors.
And yet, being Greek, at one time, used to be the antithesis of being a believer in the God of Abraham. Jewish people religiously resisted Hellenization, which was a synonym for degeneracy and immorality. The whole nonbelieving world was called “Greek” at some point, as in “Jews and Greeks.”
So what was the turning point?
Although Paul would often introduce Jesus to his audience as the fulfillment of God’s promises in the scriptures and the conclusion to the history of Israel, the apostle knew very well that his Athenian audience was neither familiar with the Old Testament nor did they care about Israel. In Acts 17, Paul was speaking to an audience of mostly philosophers who had believed in the necessity of the existence of the Higher Power, or higher powers, for centuries. Paul shared that belief—except that he said that only one God has actually proven to exist. That God, according to Paul, “commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all BY RAISING HIM FROM THE DEAD.” Acts 17:30-31.
The Athenian audience was not enthusiastic about the newly discovered One God; nevertheless, the resurrection of Jesus—which we are commemorating this season—would soon turn Athens, and the rest of the world, upside down.
What did Jesus mean who said, "Whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many.”
by Roland Clarke
Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose” thus echoing Jesus words, “whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me...will save it.” Emulating Jesus, Jim Elliot and his four teammates laid down their lives as martyrs so the Waodani people could hear and receive eternal life. Interestingly, the paradox of 'saving/losing' one's earthly life has wider application. As Solomon wrote, “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Jesus also said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” A modern Kurdish proverb echoes this paradox, “What you give away you keep,” as well as Arabic proverbial wisdom, “If you do charity your house will always be rich.” So what is the outcome of living this way? Cherokee (& Persian) sages came up with an interesting proverb, “When you were born you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” (cf. Book of Ecclesiastes 7:1-5)
Why Darwinism Does Not Compromise Swinburne's Design Argument
*John is a pre-med senior at UM-Dearborn (Biology). He has also been the student President of Ratio Christi all four years, as well as a co-founder and Vice President of Faith & Reason in his final year.
In discussing design arguments, Richard Swinburne differentiates between two different variants in this family of arguments. The first variant he describes as arguments from spatial copresence (Swinburne, 1968). These arguments intend to infer the existence of a deity from some observed physical arrangement in the world (that can be recognized at one moment in time) that would be improbable to have occurred naturally. Darwinian evolution has become a formidable barrier to this form of argumentation, so Swinburne presents an alternate form that avoids this objection altogether. I will argue that his route of argumentation is the best way to avoid the implications of Darwinian evolution.
How Jesus was so attractive to children
Based on the gospels and epistles, Jesus and his Apostles usually engaged with adults and families, not children only. He didn’t seem to call children to him specifically, but rather their parents and their whole families. But he certainly attracted and welcomed the children! And no doubt among the throngs of sick that came to him, many parents brought their children to him for healing. When I read the gospel narratives such as the examples below, in some situations I get the impression that it was the children he had in his sights the most, just by being in public places where they could see him and dare come to him. Anyone can understand why a figure like Jesus was very attractive to children. 1) He performed miracles at-will, hundreds daily. There were days when everyone who needed healing went away healed. Who could not be attracted and amazed? 2) Jesus was ‘magnetically’ approachable to everyone except the Pharisees and scribes who were self-righteous hypocrites. This included rich and poor, men and women, the well and the sick—even those with leprosy who were utterly untouchable and forced out of community. Also included were ethnic minorities such as the ruling Romans and the despised Samaritans, adults of all ages, and children. This degree of approachability was unheard of in Jewish society, especially for a religious teacher considered by thousands as a rabbi, a prophet, and even as the Messiah. At that time and for centuries later in the Middle East, for a figure with this kind of profile it was unthinkable to allow the marginalized to approach him, especially lepers, women, and children.