Welcome to tomthinking.com Tuesday, January 23 2018 @ 05:57 PM UTC

Origins & Ethics

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What is the scientific basis for ethics? There is none. Neither is there a scientific basis for the origin of the material. The origin of the material and the origin of ethics are related.

Science is the process of observing, testing, and explaining material phenomenon. Science can explain the material but cannot explain anything prior to the material, such as the state of any existence prior to the origin of the material universe.

Attempts at such explanations are speculative and have no root in observation or experimentation and thus cannot be categorized as scientific. This is not a statement against science, rather it is recognition of the limits of useful material science.

Is Christianity A Waste?

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If the claims of Christianity are not true, then…
  • Christians are advocates of the false
  • They waste giving their money and time for a lie
  • They harm children and adults by training them to live a lie
  • May be mentally deranged for insisting that miracles are real, that Jesus was God, and that he hears us
  • Are bound in self deception
  • Are guilty of infecting cultures the world over, for centuries
  • Abuse their children with falsehood about God
  • Miss out on great adventures in life because they are constrained with made up religious morals
  • Cause psychological damage to themselves and their converts
However, if Christianity is true, then the reverse is also true of those who reject Jesus Christ.

Religion Really Divides People, So Stop Making Excuses

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Religion divides people.

Let me say up front that I am using the word religion in two senses. First, as meaning what you personally believe about spiritual things and how you live that out, practically, in the world around you. Second, I mean organized religion, and yes, this includes our evangelical churches and associations. Third, I am using the word religion in the way I think the Bible would have us use it, referring to the first two definitions.

Religion divides people. It's true. So we should stop making excuses for it. There are six ways, or categories of religion that divide people. Then there is a simple truth about that division.

Forgetting The Future

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If you've read the Old Testament then you may remember the story of King Hezekiah. He was a reformer, a righteous king whom we praise for his trust in God and desire to save his nation. There was no one like him (II Kings 18:5-7). But sometimes, even in the best of men, there are flaws that stand out that not only mark a man, but help define him. Hezekiah was such a man. Though I admire Hezekiah very much I find him a bit of a tragic character because of one overriding flaw in his life.
 
Hezekiah was tragically shortsighted. How so? In these three ways:

A Missional Response To Accepting Syrian Refugees

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I have only a few random thoughts about the Syrian refugee crisis. My perspective is not political, rather, it is missional. While I understand that ISIS fighters could be entering the States posing as refugees, I think there are larger things at stake. For my purposes, this post address believers in Jesus Christ and how we, as a faith community, respond to the refugee crisis.

When Your Faith Isn't Public, It's Not Likely To Be Private Either

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When your faith isn’t public, it’s not likely to be private either.

Let me explain.

The notion of a “private faith” is a very western, even a very American idea. We’ve all heard someone say, “My faith is a private matter between me and God.” This is usually used as a reason why someone doesn’t share their faith or live a Christian testimony openly.

Yet, in my experience, I’ve never known a person who used this excuse with me that was actually walking with God.

Does God Do Evil? The Answer Might Surprise You

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On June 27th, 2015 I wrote an article called, Death Was God's Idea: Understanding Functional Good And Evil. While that article focused on the usefulness of death in the created order I felt that the role of functional good and evil deserved more examination. The goal of this article is to expand upon our understanding of the different types of good and evil and in the process discover more about how God has ordered our world and how he uses these tools for his purposes.
 
What is good and evil? More specifically, how shall we define moral evil, functional evil, functional good, and moral good?

Sorry Bernie, But Jesus Was Not A Socialist

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Jesus was not a socialist, nor do his teachings fit into a socialist framework. Here's why.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, socialism is "A way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies."
 
Some who favor socialism point to the Bible, noting that ancient kings, like David or Solomon effectively owned everything in the kingdom. But this is not true. In the Bible, only one king is said to own all the land and people in his kingdom. That was the Pharaoh under whom Joseph served (Genesis 47:15-22). But this was never true of biblical kings in Israel and Judah. God declared to Israel, "The land is mine" (Leviticus 25:23). Kings then were stewards and the kings themselves were bound by laws which were of higher authority than the kings (Deuteronomy 17:18-20). We even find one example where an Israelite king tried to buy a vineyard from a citizen, but was turned down and there was nothing he could do about it legally (I Kings 21:1-4).
 
The biblical pattern was that citizens owned and managed property, goods, and services, and distributed according to the needs and opportunities in the market. Nowhere in the Bible is there a prescription for governments to own and control the means and opportunities of the marketplace. 

The Case For A Biblical Capitalism

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In following the news of the presidential race, it is alarming to see how those on the left side of the political spectrum either fail to understand how economy works, or simply reject it in favor of a government controlled system. This is especially true of Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator running for president. His lack of understanding of how capitalism works is, at times, breathtaking.
 
While I favor a capitalist system, even I must admit that not everyone who practices capitalism does so in a right or biblical fashion. But this is the price of freedom. If a man wants to get rich but has no regard for his community, that's the price of freedom. He is free to do so. But if a Christian wants to use the advantages of capitalism in a biblical way, then there are a few things he should know.
 
This article is not an exhaustive take on biblical capitalism. Rather, I'd like to provide just four points of understanding that a Christian in a capitalist system should understand. These are also a rebuttal to the left's misunderstanding or rejection of the economic system that has created more wealth and opportunity than any other system in history.
 
First, it is important to understand what capitalism is; what is it's purpose? The purpose of biblical capitalism is the acquisition of wealth by the means of creation (products and services to fulfill a need), expansion (to serve as many people as possible), and blessing (to provide for people's needs through service and through gifting to the community and ministry). With this understanding, let's move on to our four points.
 

You Don't Have To Be Useless

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During a home Bible study I attended recently, someone asked the question, "How do I know what God has given me to use for his kingdom?"

There were a lot of answers around the room about spiritual gifts, financial resources, etc. But as I thought about it, it occurred to me that God has given us three areas of life with which we can serve him and take part in the Great Commission. All of us posses these three categories of usefulness, so, if you've wondered what you have in your life to serve God with, here is your answer.

God has given every Christian: