Welcome to tomthinking.com Sunday, February 17 2019 @ 06:23 AM UTC

Is God Brutal?

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Recently I watched the movie, Son Of God. Toward the end of the movie I was deeply moved by the long portrayal of Jesus’ suffering, from his beating, to carrying his cross, and finally the crucifixion. I’ve seen a good number of movies and plays about Jesus but I was never moved so emotionally by a portrayal of the crucifixion like I was watching Son Of God. Why is that?

As Americans, we live in a sanitized and antiseptic culture. Everything is clean, orderly, and has its place. Even our suffering. Most Americans don’t experience extreme brutality like Jesus experienced for us. And that got me thinking again about suffering.

How To Become A One Mina Man

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Hello. My name is Tom Terry. Perhaps you’ve heard of me. I’m that guy in Luke 19. You know, the servant who hid away the mina that his master entrusted him with—the one mina man. Okay, so I’m not “that” guy. But I’ve felt like it quite often and I’m sure that you have too. If you’re a Christian then you’ve probably had the experience of feeling like you are not doing enough to build the kingdom of God on earth. In some cases what we feel is true and in some cases it is false. We worry and say, “I could never do that.” Or, “I’m scared of doing that,” to whatever it is that we might be asked to do with church, a ministry, or missionary. In fact, of all of the excuses I’ve ever heard or said about not doing a particular thing the biggest one, and the biggest lie is, “I could never do that.”
Instead of venturing out to take a risk in our service to God we plant our butts firmly on the couch, TV remote in hand, and use our excuse to entertain ourselves believing that since we’re “already in” when it comes to Heaven, so we don’t have to do much more. But, oh my friend, how wrong we are.
So allow me to help you become all that you can be when it comes to being a failure in God’s kingdom. I can do this because I’ve been down that road more than once. In fact, I’m down the road too often, even now. I’m an expert in this and I want to help you become the one mina man you were meant to be. First, take a look at the story of the one mina man in Luke 19:12-27, then I’ll give you seven sure-fire ways you can also become a one mina man.

Should You Own One Of These? A Biblical Case for Private Weapon Ownership

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I'm going to attempt to present a biblical defense for weapon ownership. This article will not be an exhaustive look at the Bible and weapons. There are too many passages to address here. I would like to present a 30,000 foot view of the issue and try to draw a few conclusions.

This article does not present a legal or constitutional view on the right to gun ownership. If you want to pursue the historical or legal issues there are other outlets to do that. My concern is solely with what scripture seems to say or imply about weapons ownership, use, purpose, and consequences. And it is only from the scripture that I wish to make my arguments.

My approach is to ask the scripture what principles it provides about weapons. In any controversial topic there is always the temptation to search out scripture for support of your argument, rather than seeking what the text says and changing our views accordingly. As an example, when I first researched this subject in 1993 I was of the opinion that the scripture licensed killing an attacker who invades your home. But then, I discovered Mosaic Law that would seem to deny that idea. As I studied the passage I had to change my opinion to bring it in line with scripture. I’ll deal with this specific issue later. The purpose here is to note that though the scripture is ancient, it still contains relevant truth for modern issues—including the political right of bearing arms.

I’ll address the subject of weapons ownership in five areas:

The Great Creation Cop Out. What Passes For Evidence Among Creationists

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Let’s be honest for a moment and acknowledge something about creationism that we all know. To most unbelievers, creationists seem, not just ignorant, but downright silly. And while it may be easy to label a nonbeliever as having his heart and mind darkened by vain philosophy or a lack of knowledge about creationism, the reality is that for most of us, we’ve earned the reputation we have. 

There is one turn of phrase that creationists use that has often turned my stomach. Creationists who employ this phrase think they are being smart or saying something of profound faith. But the reality is that it’s a phrase that is nothing more than a cop out. It’s something we say when we don’t have an intelligent way of making our arguments. What is that phrase? Hold tight. You’re not going to like it, because you’ve used it. Everyone has used it. Even me. Here it is.


The Social Science of God's Love

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Here’s an interesting excerpt from an article pulled from LiveScience.com on the effects of religion on children, and by intimation, the home (all emphasis mine).
Kids with religious parents are better behaved and adjusted than other children, according to a new study that is the first to look at the effects of religion on young child development.The conflict that arises when parents regularly argue over their faith at home, however, has the opposite effect.
John Bartkowski, a Mississippi State University sociologist and his colleagues asked the parents and teachers of more than 16,000 kids, most of them first-graders, to rate how much self control they believed the kids had, how often they exhibited poor or unhappy behavior and how well they respected and worked with their peers.
The researchers compared these scores to how frequently the children’s parents said they attended worship services, talked about religion with their child and argued about religion in the home.
The kids whose parents regularly attended religious services—especially when both parents did so frequently—and talked with their kids about religion were rated by both parents and teachers as having better self-control, social skills and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious parents.
But when parents argued frequently about religion, the children were more likely to have problems. “Religion can hurt if faith is a source of conflict or tension in the family,” Bartkowski noted.
Why so good?

Death Was God's Idea: Understanding The Differences Between Functional Good And Evil

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Why does a good God permit evil in the world that he created? I'd like to suggest that what we sometimes think of as morally evil is, in fact, not morally evil, but falls under a different definition of functionally evil. In fact, some of what we think of as morally good, may also be mistaken and actually fall under a definition of functionally good. 

Let’s define what we mean by Moral Evil, Functional Evil, Functional Good, and Moral Good.


Hey Atheist, God Is All-Loving. But Not In The Way You Think

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 Regarding the problem of evil, the atheist objects saying, “How can God be all-knowing and all-loving and let evil exist?”


Underlying the atheist’s mindset is not that God is all-loving, rather, it assumes that a moral God must be only-loving. In fact, God possesses the full range of emotions and intellectual capacity as man, more so, thus, saying God is all-loving does not imply that he is only-loving.


When Does The Holy Spirit Make His Presence Known?

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In the scripture, when do we see the Holy Spirit active the most? The answer is that we see him most often during various beginnings. In other words, we see him at Jesus’ conception, Jesus’ baptism, and so on. The Holy Spirit is at these beginnings: creation, Jesus’ conception, Jesus’ trial in the desert, Pentecost, the gentile believers speaking in tongues.


The Holy Spirit is present at significant beginnings in the scripture. Here are a few:


Prosperity Gospel is the Socialism of Religion

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Challenged by my pastor, Chuck Auschwitz of Conway First Baptist Church in Orlando, I’d like to present a brief comparison of two world views that at first would seem to be dissimilar, but upon deeper reflection, have a set of core values or beliefs that are identical. These world views are political Socialism and Prosperity Gospel; both, which I hate.

For some, Socialism is notoriously hard to define because there have been several varieties of it in existence over the decades. In some ways, Prosperity Gospel can also be hard to define in that there is no hierarchal authority that expresses the core values of its theology. However, learning through history we can deduce a set of principles common to both.

I’d like to propose that there are certain behaviors and beliefs that are common to both. We might say that Prosperity Gospel is the Socialism of religion and Socialism is the Prosperity Gospel of politics (except that only politicians gain prosperity through Socialism, which, ironically, is just like Prosperity pastors). 

Let’s look at seven things that are common between Socialism and Prosperity Gospel.


Do You Know Who You Are? You Are What You Do

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Perhaps you’ve heard a story like this before. Jason is 19-years old. He wants to take a year-long break from school before going to college so that he can backpack Europe and go find himself. He asks for money from his parents and away he goes, seeing sites, meeting women, perhaps bedding a few, maybe a little experimentation with drugs, and the odd job here or there, maybe even a minor skirmish with the law. He comes home a year later. Did he find himself
Have you found yourself?