Archive | May 2014

Burden of Proof – The Magic Table

Recently, a Facebook friend of mine posted this to me in a discussion thread.

If I claim to my friends that I have a magic table that you cannot see or feel, they would say to me, correctly, “Prove it.” You claim that there is a being that no one can see. I say, “Prove it. The burden of proof is on you.”

Let’s change this a bit to an experience that many people have had, pain.

Let’s say you have pain in your back. It is debilitating. Sometimes, you can’t move the pain is so bad. So, you go to the doctor. The doctor checks you out and says, “I can’t find anything wrong with you. Take these pills and rest for a few days.”

The first time this happens, you take the pills, and rest. It does not get better. You go back to the doctor. He does an MRI, x-ray, and blood work. All the results come back and the doctor calls you to say, “There is nothing wrong with you. It’s your imagination.”

“NO! It is not my imagination. I hurt. Something is wrong!”

You know something is wrong. Just because the doctor can’t see anything in the tests, does not mean that your pain does not have a cause. That pain is real.

Christians, at least some of us, experience God as a reality, a positive reality, not as a voice such as the product of schizophrenia, but as the presence, the comfort, the peace that fills our lives. We cannot hand that to you for you to touch. We cannot paint it with colors for you to see.

We can talk about the statistical improbability of DNA arranging itself into sentient beings, or the temperatures or force being exactly right for our universe to have come about, but you have already rejected those arguments (illogically in my opinion). All we can do is describe the presence and tell you how you can have it. We do this because we love you and want everyone to experience the inner peace that knowing God brings. To take that away from us puts the burden of proof on you.

Please read The Scandinavian Sceptic. It is rather long and some points are better than others but the good ones are good, and… he gives references.


note: This post deals only with burden of proof.

What have we to do with judging outsiders?

Why do we as Christians feel as though non-believers should behave as we do? Non-Christians have no reason to adhere to the moral laws of the Judeo-Christian Bible and trying to make them do so is not only counterproductive, it is putting things in the wrong order.

Matthew 28:19-20 tells us to go and make disciples, baptize them, THEN teach them to observe all that He taught. The first step is to make them disciples.  If we could outlaw homosexuality, promiscuity, and drunkenness, if we could manage to enforce those laws, if we could eradicate all immoral, criminal, and addictive behaviors, if everyone went to church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night, would we have made them Christians?


Jesus had scathing comments to those who appeared clean and beautiful on the outside but were “whitewashed tombs” filled with death and decay. Creating a whitewashed environment does not accomplish our goal. What we would accomplish is making ourselves comfortable. We would no longer have to be confronted with the different. I am afraid that being comfortable is not what Jesus had in mind for us. Jesus befriended the different, those that made the religious establishment of the day cringe. Now we have set ourselves up as the religious establishment and are  doing the exact same things. We have become modern day Pharisees, glued to the letter of the law while ignoring the the main point. We have become Caiaphas, more interested in maintaining power and tradition than in the lives and souls of our neighbors.

We are supposed to love our neighbors as ourselves. Who are our neighbors? They are the group of rowdy young college kids that rented the house down the street and block the street with cars on Friday and Saturday nights for their parties. They are the elderly that can’t get out of the house and have to have food delivered. No one visits them. They are the lesbian couple that just moved in next door that you try very hard to ignore.

“..Even as I have loved you,” Jesus said. He died for us. I think that is what God is telling us to do, to love our neighbors so much that we would die for them if necessary. Our love should be that blinding. It should be attractive, not repelling. We are God’s representatives on earth. When people see us, do they say, “I want what that person has,” or do they say, “I want no part of that!”?

The point of this ramble is that I think we are making a serious mistake when we use politics to coerce non-believers into a system that does not belong to them, AND it is not constitutional.  What the religious wing of conservative politics is doing is wrong, both morally and constitutionally and I think the fight will lead to the end of our religious freedom.

His name is Dennis Ingolfsland. I had never heard of him before I found this but his logic is sound. I don’t agree with the idea that it is a compromise. I just believe it is the right thing to do and the consequences he predicts are probable.

For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Paul in First Corinthians 5:12-13

Beating everyone into submission by law builds barriers between them and God.

If any non-believers are reading this, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience is constitutional. Do not force a doctor to perform an abortion if she/he feels it is wrong. Do not force the Catholic Church to pay for things they have been against for centuries. They did not come up with this idea just to spite women of 21st century America. God gives you the right to accept or reject Him so I do too. I am giving you the freedom to be right or wrong. Do the same for me.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me but I do hope people will start thinking in a different paradigm. I want to hear what you think, respectfully of course. Please leave a comment.

How I Came to be a Christian and Why I am still Here.

Today, I was asked how I came to be a Christian and what has sustained me in that belief. I think this is a good place to answer.

When I was young, I always felt worthless, left out, and unloved. I broke my mother’s heart once by asking her if she and Dad were trying to get rid of me.

Of course she answered, “Certainly not!”

I replied that I would probably always think that. She tried to get me to tell her why I thought that. I couldn’t tell her because I didn’t know. I will never forget her expression. I was about ten.

I had good parents. They loved me and encouraged me to become whatever I wanted to become. I am an only child so I was not bereft of attention. Girls were not substandard beings in our house. I learned many positive life philosophies from my parents.

These feelings of emptiness, loneliness, and unworthiness were something inside of me. When I was twelve, I walked the aisle.

Anyone who has ever had an encounter with a Southern Baptist church, knows what walking the aisle is. At the invitation near the end of the service, people are invited to come forward to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Fortunately for me, I had a good pastor who explained just what that meant. Everyone has sinned. Sin’s penalty is death. Christ paid the penalty and I accept that. That was a good enough explanation for me then. It was an explanation for a child and I was a child in age. but a baby in spirit. Most people would say that was when I became a Christian. However, I say, it was when I began becoming a Christian. It was then however, that I began to feel worthwhile. It has become a cliché but there had been a God-shaped hole inside me that was now filled.

Not much more happened until I was about sixteen when I started reading the Bible for myself. Out of that period came my not wearing makeup, (I still don’t) and my leaving the Southern Baptist Church. I just couldn’t understand why drinking alcohol was wrong if Jesus turned water into wine. To me, Baptists were adding to the Word.

My life progressed as that of many young adults. I went through rebellion, experimentation. Never did drugs. God spared me that temptation. I never forgot God and I knew that He had not forgotten me. In my mid-twenties, I found a church that really agreed with me and started studying and growing. That explanation I had received as a child expanded until it had true meaning for me instead of an overused under-thought aphorism. Through all the pitfalls of marriage, the harrowing experiences of raising children, and the sometimes depressing process of growing older, God has always told me, “It may not seem like it, but I AM in control. Let me have your trials and be at peace.”

Be anxious for nothing, but with prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.                                               Philippians 4:6-7 (NASB)

It works.