Devil’s Advocate

I try to be an equal opportunity devil’s advocate. Let me know where I fail.

Reflections on religious studies.

To people who don’t want anyone to challenge their Christianity:

Having people ask questions should cause you to seek answers and thereby strengthen your faith. Are you not supposed to be always ready to give an answer as to why you believe (I Peter 3:15)? No reasonable person should expect you to have all the answers but when you keep seeking answers, you can live your life with what you do understand, accept the rest, and answer better next time.


To the Christians who do not want to try to convert others:

Are you not commanded to tell the Gospel to the world (Matthew 28:19-20)? Some Christians have created a bad taste in the mouths of the world by being aggressive, overbearing… domineering. Doesn’t Jesus’ example tell you to see others with love, compassion, and with the desire for them know the truth? If you or your message is not received, shut up and leave it alone (my paraphrase of Matthew 10:14). It is not your job to hound them. Maybe God will send them someone else.


To the atheist and the Satanist:

Where does your morality come from? The Satanist says, “and do no harm.” I have heard this phrase from Wiccans too. Why not harm anyone? If there is no higher power, why shouldn’t we just do whatever it takes to get what we want despite stepping on the backs of others to get it, other than the actions being illegal. I have heard atheists say that banding together for the common good was a survival mechanism. This banding together may have helped us fight against predators and to hunt food, but in the main, it helped us develop an us versus them mentality. It made us stronger to fight against other humans in competition for territory and food. If there is no higher power to fear, then the only thing to fear, (besides fear itself,) is other people. Might makes right. The same survival mechanism that brought us together was the catalyst for bigger wars.


Another general point:

Our worldview must make philosophical sense. For example, If I believe that Christianity is true, then Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, and Taoism cannot be true. They cannot all be true. One truth for me and another truth for you is illogical and philosophically unsound. We would never accept this sort of reasoning in politics, business, or science. When we say that something is true for you but not for me, we are really saying something else.


Truth is not very important so it’s okay if people believe a falsehood.

This leads down some rocky roads because this worldview does not affect only religion; it bleeds over into what we expect of government, personal relationships, and other areas.


We don’t care enough about others to discourse on truth.

For those of us who profess Christianity, numbers two and three are antithetical to the teachings of Jesus. We should care about all people, even those who mock us for our faith.


We aren’t sure in our own minds that what we believe is true.

When questions come up that we can’t answer, It’s time to study to show ourselves approved 2 Timothy 2:15.



Please respond. Do you disagree? Is my logic sound? Let me know. I’m asking for it.

Cthulu Running for President

Cthulu running for president sign

image by Sean Lynn

Yes, Cthulu is running for President of the United States. You can even see his filing papers. He is listed as Dr. Ourlordandsavior Cthulu with H.P. Lovecraft as his authorized campaign committee. If you google Cthulu for President, you will find pages of websites devoted to his cause. He has at least two competitors for the Communist Party nomination, The Antichrist, and Batman Notbrucewayne. There may be more; I did not read them all. Other candidates are Dat Phat A$$ (Republican Party), Jesus Christ (unaffiliated), Obiwan Kenobi, Yoda, Satan, Pawter of Gryffindor, Darth Vader, Mickey Mouse, Tronald Dump and dozens more in the same vein.

According to Slate back in 2006, usually 250 candidates apply in any Presidential election cycle. This year we have a whopping 1,754 of them running for President with the greatest number of jokester candidates ever.
Candidates are not required to register their candidacy until they spend more than five thousand dollars but they may file if they wish. After that $5,000 threshold, there is much more accountability. Ralph Nader, back in 1996, pointedly did not file any papers and came in fourth place.

Anyone can file. You can click on the names and read the filing papers of each and every candidate on the Federal Election Commission website. There is no filing fee. The government does not want to discriminate against long-shot candidates. That’s a good thing right? Evidently there is no Identification required either. The form asks nothing pertaining to the requirements of becoming President, such as citizenship or age.

This notice at the bottom of the form,

Submission of false, erroneous, or incomplete information may subject the person signing this Statement to penalties of 52 U.S.C. §30109.

must be for decoration.


Can’t we get some respect for the office of President? Apparently not.

This growing number of crank candidates is another reflection of the growing lack of esteem and respect the voting public has for campaigns, elections, politicians, and political office. Unlike my image above, Cthulu devoted websites have the slogan

Why vote for the lesser evil?

Can’t get much more disdainful or despairing than that.

In the past, the office of President was venerated. It is a position of massive responsibility. It’s weighty. It becomes a burden to those who hold it. It requires great academic and cultural intelligence, great knowledge of how the world works and how our government works, fortitude, patience, and diplomacy. An in-depth understanding of the history of our nation is greatly helpful too.


Anyone who has to manage so many irons deserves our help, our cooperation, our prayers, and our respect.


Any ideas on how we can bring back the respect or are we, in fact, being a part of the end?


Satisfy My Thirsty Soul

September 5, 2012

 Dear Barbara,

One of my assignments in the assignments in the Satisfy My Thirsty Soul Bible study is to write a letter to a friend describing what God has taught me about worship.

I don’t know about worship, but I have learned that I am not a restful soul. Wheneverpicture of book cover I sit down for my quiet time, I always think of other things I should be doing. The obvious thing is that they are NOT what I should be doing at all. I should be composing my mind to worship and to hear what God has to say. When I keep my grandson, I think of what I could be doing on the family business. When all is quiet, I read a fiction book and don’t work on the business at all. I do not sit still long enough (even though my body is actually still, my mind isn’t) for God to tell me what He wants me to do that day. I keep saying I should set aside an hour every morning and spend the entire hour in God’s presence so that my quiet time/Bible study is not just something to cross off my To-Do list. I have been trying to do this for two years!

What I really liked about this book are the chapter names in part two.

I bow my life.I bow my words.I bow my attitude.I bow my work. (My work is my mom, my grandson, and our business, in that order. My husband takes care of himself.)

Laborare est orareOrare est laborare(This is a fine point that almost everyone misses.)

I bow my times of waiting.I bow my pain.I bow my will.Drawn into His presence


All of the above, both the positive and the negative, belong to God.

It has been a good study even though I have not been able to incorporate it all into my life. It is supposed to be a 12-week study but I cannot apply that fast.

Have I actually learned anything? Can’t tell it by me.



**note–It has been almost two and a half years. I have set aside that hour every day and I sit for it. Still working on the composing of the mind though. I am slow at application. I should go through it again.

Does anyone else have this problem?

The book is Satisfy My Thirsty Soul by Linda Dillow, published by NavPress 2007.

The many ways of not fitting in

three blue birds together with one red bird to the side

image by Sean Lynn

I met a woman last night. I will call her Elena. She and her husband had been married for 44 years when he left her. He told her that he never should have married her and that marriage and children were just a facade so that he could rise in business and society. He had to do it because in 1967, if you wanted to get anywhere, you didn’t come out of the closet. For 44 years she had been nothing but a facade. Her grown children have abandoned her because they blame her for his leaving, evidently not believing what she says he told her when he left.

There are so many ways of not fitting in. Elena cried. She had been through a divorce recovery program, she volunteers and keeps busy but is still so alone. She told us that a person can be around lots of other people and still be alone. She wants to find a church where she will fit in. People have said horrible things to her because she is divorced. She has been a Christian all of her adult life and can find nowhere to fit. She wanted our prayers that she would find a place.

We had some conversation and then our leader said, “We hope you will come back to join us.”

We watched a video and the leader closed with prayer. Right at the “amen,” Elena jumped up and left quickly. I followed after her calling her name out in the hall.

“Will you come back?” I asked.

“No, I will not be back. Thank you, but I will not be back.” She hadn’t even stopped walking to answer; she was out the door before I could take a breath.

I think too slowly. I let her go. Should I have followed up? Should I have chased her down to say, I care. Talk to me? What did we say wrong? What did we do? Was it the video? Whatever it was, it was repelling. She couldn’t wait to get out.

There are so many ways of not fitting in. When I was a teenager, I went to church all the time but was not totally accepted because at school, I ran around with non-Christian wild kids. Those non-Christian wild kids thought of me as the prude, the virgin, the religious one but they accepted me for what I was and I enjoyed those years immensely. I was never quite as comfortable with the church crowd. I didn’t really fit in either place.

My grandmother always told me, “You are judged by the company you keep.”

“Well, you shouldn’t be!” I would yell back at her in my head, (never out loud.)

There are so many ways of not fitting in. How many Christians do not attend church because churches are filled with husbands, wives, children, and they do not wish to attend alone or they fear that they will be judged because their family does not come?

There are so many ways not to fit. How do we react when someone at church or Bible study expresses a view that does not fit with the mainline view, religious or political,  of the group? Here is one person who has had a good experience,, but I know many who haven’t.

There are those that deny God, Christ, and religion of any sort and no amount of goodness, inner beauty, peace, or love will change their view. Regardless, Christians are the face of Christ on earth. What others see in us should be attractive, not repelling.

Elena, we failed you, but wherever you are and wherever you go next, I will be praying for you and I am so sorry.


*For something else to consider, see this anonymous post regarding church, by a young adult with Aspergers.

The Cost of Fear

Islamic State, Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda, Iran, A new U.S.S.R.Americans have always thought that everyone is entitled to their opinion as long as it didn’t reach out and hurt someone else. As the varied nations and cultures of the planet become more globally aware, Americans are coming to understand that what we call reason or common sense does not have the same meaning to all human beings.

Whether it is for reasons of power, or sincerely held religious beliefs, regardless of what most Muslims say their religion really teaches, we have to come to terms with the fact that there are those that truly believe that the goal of furthering Islam and doing away with blasphemy, justifies any means. This has become a cause for fear on all sides.

We non-Muslims in the West fear that more of these acts will come here. We live in distrust and anger at Islam as a religion and Muslims as individuals. We come together and show solidarity in anger because we would rather be angry than fearful. It feels less cowardly to be angry, but anger is just fear in disguise. We fear all because of a few and that gives the power to the few. We turn our lives over to them when we fear.

The non-militant Muslims are now in fear of not only non-Muslims but of each other. They have to quickly speak out that they do not condone such actions. Do we even believe them? But who among their neighbors might secretly harbor militant tendencies? Muslim countries are in fear of Muslim militant groups. They fear takeover. They fear that western nations will not help. They may fear that we will help. They cannot be seen as taking sides militarily against Muslims even though they have expressed their disapprobation of attacks such as those at Charlie Hebdo and the activities in Nigeria by Boko Haram.

What do the terrorists themselves fear if anything? Do they fear each other? We know that ISIL used to be a part of Al-Qaeda. We also know that the beginnings of Boko Haram came from Al-Qaeda. What happens if they reunite? Should the world fear that? We are led to believe that because they will die for their cause that the individual terrorists do not fear anything but is that true? Do they fear failure? Do they fear that their story will never be heard? Do they have any doubts as their bomb explodes or a bullet stops their hearts?

What should we do about this situation? What can we do? As fear mounts all across the globe, people are either coming together or pushing others away. Will we look for a country, or a person who is charismatic enough to bring disparate peoples together? Is there such an entity? What would it use to unite all people? What religion or creed would it put forth? What would be its motivation? What are we willing to give up to get rid of our fear? What is world peace worth? There is an often quoted saying that is attributed to Henry Spaak, one of the founding fathers of the European Union. I cannot confirm the attribution but, I suspect that the sentiment is true for many people today. For the record, it is not true for me.

 What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the alliances of all people and to lift us out of the economic morass into which we are sinking. Send us such a man, and be he god or devil, we will receive him.

What will we have to give up to be rid of our fear?


Be anxious for nothing but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7