Monday, October 31, 2011

10 Myths about Introverts

I was lucky enough to discover a book called, The Introvert Advantage (How To Thrive in an Extrovert World), by Marti Laney, Psy.D. I feel like someone has written an encyclopedia entry on a rare race of people to which I belong. Not only has it explained many of my eccentricities, it helps me to redefine my entire life in a new and positive context.

Sure, anyone who knows me would say, “Duh! Why did it take you so long to realize you’re an Introvert?” It’s not that simple. The problem is that labeling someone as an Introvert is a very shallow assessment, full of common misconceptions. It’s more complex than that. (Since Carl King is talking about it, it has to be.)

A section of Laney’s book maps out the human brain and explains how neuro-transmitters follow different dominant paths in the nervous systems of Introverts and Extroverts. If the science behind the book is correct, it turns out that Introverts are people who are over-sensitive to Dopamine, so too much external stimulation overdoses and exhausts them. Conversely, Extroverts can’t get enough Dopamine, and they require Adrenaline for their brains to create it. Extroverts also have a shorter pathway and less blood-flow to the brain. The messages of an Extrovert’s nervous system mostly bypass the Broca’s area in the frontal lobe, which is where a large portion of contemplation takes place.

Unfortunately, according to the book, only about 25% of people are Introverts. There are even fewer that are as extreme as I am. This leads to a lot of misunderstandings, since society doesn’t have very much experience with my people. (I love being able to say that.)

So here are a few common misconceptions about Introverts (I put this list together myself, some of them are things I actually believed):

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.

Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.

Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.

Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.

Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.

Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.

Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.

It can be terribly destructive for an Introvert to deny themselves in order to get along in an Extrovert-Dominant World. Like other minorities, Introverts can end up hating themselves and others because of the differences. If you think you are an Introvert, I recommend you research the topic and seek out other Introverts to compare notes. The burden is not entirely on Introverts to try and become “normal.” Extroverts need to recognize and respect us, and we also need to respect ourselves.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Understanding God's Love

Do we honestly find everything we have been told about God lovable? Can we in our "heart of hearts" love a God who demands service, adoration, praise, obedience, and gratitude? Can we love a God who providentially chooses to protect some on earth and not others? Can we love a God who arbitrarily heals some people on earth and not others? Can we love a God who we have to beg or plead to for help. Can we love a God who requires his son to suffer and die on a cross to repay God or satisfy God's sense of justice? Can we truly love a God who has set up laws for us to obey and punishments for the violators. Be honest! We may fear and cower under such a God, but can we wholeheartedly love and embrace such a God?

Do Christians really love God. Or do they fear, respect, and admire God's power and authority, and therefore, bow down and defer to God because they see no other choice? Again I ask, in your "heart of hearts" do you find God completely lovable? Most Christians are probably afraid to ask themselves, let alone honestly answer this question. It seems almost blasphemous to even consider the question.

Dare we be honest with God, or anyone else for that matter, about how lovable we find the God we have been taught to believe in? The Samaritan woman at the well (Jn 4:4-42) had received religious teaching about God. But she had the courage, self-awareness, and honesty to admit to Jesus that she did not find this God lovable. This allowed Jesus to lead her to the truth about God's love and lovableness. Let us look at the Samaritan woman because her story is our story. Whether we know it or not, her struggle to arrive at the truth of God's love and lovableness is our struggle also.

At Jacob's well, Jesus offers the Samaritan woman "living water." This water "shall become a fountain inside her leaping up to provide eternal life." In the Samaritan woman's time, great leaders of Israel were often noted for the wells they dug for their followers (e.g. Jacob's well). In the arid parts of Israel water literally meant life to the people, and great leaders cared about the life of their followers. The woman accepts Jesus' offer. However, there is a problem.

Jesus says, "Go, call your husband, and then come back here." The prophet Hosea described a problem in the relationship between God and Israel in terms of a loving husband (God) and an unfaithful wife (Israel). Israel, the unfaithful wife, was running after false gods. There is a different problem in the relationship between the Samaritan woman (i.e. all the Samaritan people) and God, but the problem is again described in terms of a husband and wife relationship. We, like the Samaritan people, will bring to God's well of "living water" our understanding of God (our husband) and we can't fully drink in God's life of "living water" if we don't truly understand God.

The woman replies to Jesus, "I have no husband." She is saying, I don't really love God as I understand God to be, he is not my husband. Jesus replies, "you are right in saying you have no husband." Jesus is saying, your are right not to love God as you understand God to be. Jesus now tells her why she does not understand God, "you have had five (husbands), and the man you are living with now is not your husband."

The origin of the Samaritan people and their religion started from the five groups of people who were settled in the land of Samaria by Assyria after they deported the Israelites of the northern kingdom (2 K 17:5-6, 24-41). These five groups brought with them their worship and understanding of their gods (five husbands). By the time of Jesus, however, the Samaritan understanding of God was a mixture of their understanding of their gods and the God of Israel. This diluted and polluted understanding of God is the "man" the woman is now living with. The Samaritans had developed a distorted version of the Jewish religion. They misunderstood God. That's why Jesus later tells the woman, "you people worship what you do not understand."

Similar to the Samaritan people, Christians have had their understanding of God polluted and distorted to varying degrees. How has the Christian God often been portrayed? God is omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, and impassive. God rewards and punishments. God's justice demands satisfaction for sin through the death of his son. In heaven God occupies the apex of a hierarchy of minions that praise, serve, and worship him. This is the God far too many Christians have been asked to love. Do you honestly find everything about this kind of God lovable?

In the story of the Samaritan woman, the woman sees that Jesus knows her heart and understands her struggle to love God as she understands God to be. Therefore, she says, "I can see you are a prophet." Like the Samaritan woman, we must allow Jesus to lead us to the truth about God.

Recognizing Jesus as a prophet of God, the woman asks Jesus about worship of God. The woman is confused about where true worship of God takes place. Jesus says the whole concept of temple worship is over. Authentic worship of God is not a matter of location, it is a matter of spirit and truth. Jesus is saying that authentic worship of God is a combination of understanding the truth about God (i.e. knowing what God is really like), and our personal attitude and action (i.e. spirit) in response to our true understanding of God.

In actuality, we only truly worship what we find worthy, what we reverence, admire, and treasure, or in other words, what we personally love. If we are ever going to truly worship God, we have to find God lovable. Jesus has told the Samaritan woman what she already knows in her heart, she can only truly worship a God that she finds lovable. And so it is with all of us, if we have achieved a honest level of self-awareness and the courage to admit it to ourselves. We can only truly worship a God we personally find lovable.

The usually unadmitted, unresolved, and unexamined universal fear of religious people is that if they don't find the God of this universe lovable then what are they to do? How can they admit it? What will God do to them? After all, aren't we all stuck with the God of this universe whether we like him or not.

The Samaritan woman's conversation with Jesus reveals her profound self-awareness of the universal human condition of having to find God lovable before we can truly worship him, and her courage to admit this to Jesus. This self-awareness, sincerity, and courage will allow Jesus to work in her life.

The woman now tells her Samaritan townspeople, "come and see someone who told me everything I ever did." In other words, she is saying, he saw into my heart and spoke to my heart, he knows where I have been and where I am at in my life with God. So she says to the townspeople, "Could this not be the Messiah?" The story then tells us that through Jesus' "spoken word" many Samaritans came to faith.

What was this "spoken word" of Jesus? What did the Samaritans come to believe in? Jesus knew the Samaritan woman's heart and knows our heart. Like the Samaritan woman, we have nothing to fear. All Jesus needs is our courage, sincerity, and openness to the truth. Then Jesus can work with us as he did with the Samaritan woman to reveal the truth about God. Only when we know the truth about God can we decide if we find God completely lovable. Only if we find the truth about God completely lovable will we be able to start fully worshiping God in spirit and truth.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Self and The Ego 2

The Soul is present inside, it does not have to be got from somewhere else. Its springs are hidden inside; only the obstacles in-between, the stones and the soil, have to be removed by digging then the springs of Soul will start appearing.

But one can have a well (which is Soul or Self), and one can have a pond (which is Ego). Making a pond is different. You do not need to look for springs of water to make a pond. The way of making a pond is completely opposite to that of making a well. To make a pond you do not need to dig out stones and soil, you have to bring them from somewhere else and make a wall of them. And when the wall has been built the water does not come by itself, you have to take water from other people's wells and put it in the pond. On the surface a pond gives the illusion of a well. It appears to be a well. You can see water in a pond and you can see water in a well also, but the difference between a pond and a well is the same as the difference between the earth and sky.

The first difference is that a pond has no water of its own. No thirst in this world is quenched by something that is not one's own. Whatever is in a pond is borrowed and soon becomes stale and rotten because that which is borrowed is not alive, it is dead. The water standing in the pond becomes stagnant, rotten and will soon start stinking. But a well has its own water source; the water never becomes stagnant. A well has its own flowing water.

Two different processes are happening with a pond (Ego) and a well (Soul). A pond is afraid that somebody will take its water away because if its water goes, it will become empty. And a well wants someone to take its water so that more fresh water can fill it fresh and more alive. A well calls out, "Take my water, I want to share it!" And a pond calls out, "Keep away! Don't touch my water, don't take my water!" A pond wants somebody who has water to bring it and pour it into it, so its wealth grows. But if somebody has a container, the well wants that person to take some of its water so that it can get rid of the water which has become old and get new water. A well wants to share, a pond wants to collect. A well has streams which are connected to the ocean. A well seems to be small, but deep inside it is connected with the infinite. And howsoever big a pond may look, it has no relation to anyone, it ends in itself and is closed. It has no streams. It has no way of connecting with the infinite.

If somebody goes to the pond and talks about the ocean, the pond will laugh and say, "There is no such thing as an ocean. Everything is a pond. There is no ocean anywhere!" A pond has no idea of the ocean.

But if somebody praises the beauty of the well, then the well will think, "What is mine? Everything comes from the ocean. What am I? Whatever comes to me is connected far away with something else." A well cannot have any 'I' , but a pond has 'I am'. And the interesting thing is that a well is very big and a pond is very small. A well has its own wealth but a pond has no wealth of its own.

Only a wealth which grows more by sharing is really wealth. The quality of wealth is that it should grow by sharing; if it becomes less by sharing then it is not wealth. And someone who is afraid that their wealth will disappear through sharing must take great care of their wealth.

The accumulation of facts and other people's opinions is not a sign of knowledge, it is only a sign of ignorance. A person who is conscious and awake is free of all this 'knowledge'. There is no question of him collecting any more facts he knows himself. With that self-knowledge the mind is not a disturbed hive of honey bees, it is a mirror.

There is no difficulty in throwing away garbage, but there is difficulty in throwing away gold. As long as you feel that your ego is correct, you cannot throw it away and your soul will remain troubled. You may try thousands of ways to calm it but nothing will work because deep down you want the ego to remain because you think it's gold. The greatest difficulties in life arise from the misunderstanding that we think something is which it is not. Then all kinds of troubles arise. If somebody thinks that a stone is a brick of gold then problems start. If somebody realizes that a stone is a stone, then the matter is over.

Man is caught in a universal deception. And when everybody is caught in the same deception, it becomes difficult to see. You have to find out if the clothes of knowledge which you have thought of as clothes are really clothes, or are you standing naked in invisible clothes? You have to test each of your thoughts according to this criterion "Do I know it?"

we have the habit of comparing we even compare small children with each other. We say, "Look, the other child has gone farther than you. You are left behind." We are being unjust to the child because the other child is the other child and this child is this child! There is no possibility of comparing the two. Their beings are totally different. They are completely different in their uniqueness, in their authenticity; they have no relation to each other. We have habits of comparing our educational systems teach comparison, our systems of thought involve comparison. Without comparing we cannot evaluate. And the result is that we do not understand anybody or any thought directly. Many things stand in-between.

If I am standing in front of a rose flower and if I remember the flowers that I saw yesterday, and if I start thinking of how much similarity there is between this flower and those flowers, then the observation of this flower will stop. One thing is certain the shadow of those flowers which come in-between will not let you see this flower. And if I want to see this flower which is in front of me, then I need to forget all those flowers which I have ever seen. To bring them in between will be unjust to this flower. And there is no need to carry the memory of this flower otherwise tomorrow, looking at some other flower, this one may come in-between.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Self and The Ego 1

The Ego is the part of the Self that most people present to the world. The Self whispers while the Ego SHOUTS . When I refer to the "self," I am referring to the "higher self:" , Your soul, Your center. The ego and the Self stand at two opposite ends of our spiritual journey. Our inquiry begins with the ego and culminates in the realization of the Self.

Man is afraid of aloneness. He becomes afraid of aloneness because in aloneness he will find a reflection of his real state, he will come across the reflection of his own face. And it will be very frightening, very scary. So, from getting up in the morning till going to sleep at night, he uses all kinds of methods to escape from himself so that he doesn't have to face himself. He is afraid that he may see himself.

We want to forget the state which is inside; we don't want to see it. It may be possible to convince our mind that something which is not visible is not there but that does not mean that it has gone away. There is no relation between not being visible and being non-existent. If something had been visible then perhaps we could have been able to change it, but as it is not visible, change is not possible. It will go on growing inside like a wound, like an ulcer which we have hidden and do not want to look at.

What people are hiding inside and what they say on the outside are very different. What you see outside on their faces is completely different from what is going on inside them. It is possible that outside they are talking about love but inside they are full of hate. They may be saying to somebody, "Good morning! I am pleased to see you. I am happy that I met you this morning," but inside they are saying, "Why do I have to see the face of this stupid person first thing in the morning?"

The image formed in other people's eyes deceives us and we become afraid to look within. We want to see the image people have of us, not ourselves. What are people saying? We become very interested in knowing what people say about us. There is nothing else behind this curiosity to know. We think we can recognize ourself through the image formed in others' eyes. This is very surprising! Even to know ourself we have to look into another person's eyes.

Man is afraid that people might say something bad about him. He feels happy if people say something good about him because his knowledge of himself depends on their opinion. He doesn't have immediate knowledge of himself; he does not have any direct experience of knowing himself. This experience can happen, but it doesn't because we try to escape from it.

The first thing in encountering the mind is not to bother about what others say or how one appears to others; rather, one has to have a direct encounter with what one essentially is. In one's aloneness one has to open one's mind totally and see what is there.

A young monk lived in a village in Japan. He was very famous, and had great reputation. The whole village loved and respected him. Songs were sung all over the village in his honor. But one day everything changed. A young girl in the village became pregnant and gave birth to a child. When her family asked her whose child it was she said it was the child of the young monk. How long does it take for admirers to become enemies? How long? It does not take even a short while because inside the mind of an admirer condemnation is always hidden. The mind just waits for a chance, and the day admiration ends, condemnation begins. Those people who show respect can change in one minute to being disrespectful. The people who are touching a person's feet can within a moment start cutting the same person's head off. There is no difference between respect and disrespect, they are two faces of the same coin.

The people of the whole village attacked the monk's hut. For a long time they had been showing respect to the monk but now all the anger that they had suppressed came out. Now they had the chance to be disrespectful, so they all ran to the monk's hut and set it on fire and threw the tiny baby at him.

The monk asked, "What is the matter?"

The people shouted, "You are asking us what the matter is? This child is yours! Do we have to tell you what the matter is? Look at your burning house, look within your heart, look at this child and look at this girl. There is no need for us to tell you that this child is yours."

The monk said, "Is it so? Is this child mine?"

The child started crying so he started singing a song to make the child silent, and the people left him sitting by his burnt-out hut. Then he went to beg at his usual time, in the afternoon , but who would give him food today? Today every door he stood in front of was slammed shut. Today a crowd of children and people started walking behind him, teasing him, throwing stones. He reached the house of the girl whose child it was. He said, "I may not get food for myself, but at least give some milk for this child ! I may be at fault, but what is the fault of this poor baby?" The child was crying, the crowd was standing there, and it became unbearable for the girl. She fell at the feet of her father and said, "Forgive me, I lied when I gave the name of the monk. I wanted to save the real father of the child, so I thought of using the name of this monk. I don't even have any acquaintance with him."

The father became nervous. This was a great mistake. He ran out of his house, fell at the feet of the monk and tried to take the baby from him.

The monk asked, "What is the matter?"

The girl's father said," Forgive me, there has been a mistake. The child is not yours." The monk replied, "Is this so? Is the child really not mine?"

Then the people of the village said to him, "You are mad! Why didn't you deny it this morning?" The monk said, "What difference would it have made? The child must belong to somebody. And you had already burnt one hut , you would have just burnt one more. You had enjoyed defaming one person, you would have enjoyed defaming one more. What difference would it make? The child must belong to someone , it could also be mine. So what is the problem? What difference does it make?"

The people said, "Don't you understand that everybody condemned you, insulted you, humiliated you very much?"

The monk answered, "If I had been concerned with your condemnation, I would have been concerned about your respect also. I do as I feel right; you do whatever you feel to be right. Until yesterday you felt it right to respect me so you did. Today you felt it right not to respect me so you didn't. But I am not concerned with either your respect or your disrespect. The people said to him, "Gentleman, you should have realized that you would lose your good reputation."

He replied, "I have dropped this idea of seeking to be good and bad in people eyes. I have dropped all concern in becoming good because the more I tried to become good, the more I found that I became bad. The more I tried to escape from badness, the more I found that goodness was disappearing. I dropped the very idea."

The journey of a seeker is not one of becoming a good man in others eyes ; the journey of a seeker is one of becoming a sage or wise.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Inspiration of the Bible

We are living in an age of great skepticism, agnosticism, and atheism . In our public schools, especially in the colleges and universities, it seems that a deliberate effort is being made by some to destroy faith in the Bible as the word of God. In many cases this effort is successful. It is easy to see why. A college professor, an expert in his field, skillfully argues against the integrity of the Bible. The young men and women whom he teaches, being unable to answer his arguments, think there is no answer, and their fath is shaken.

Believers have nothing to fear from an honest investigation of the question as to whether or not the Bible is the inspired word of God. It always has and will continue to stand the test.

This discussion will not enable the reader to answer all the arguments that may be presented by the unbeliever. It is our purpose rather to present evidence that will increase and sustain faith in the inspiration of the Bible.


The word "inspiration" is variously used. Some who admit that the writers of the Bible were inspired mean only that they possessed superior insight in the realm of morals and ethics. Others say that the Bible is inspired in the same sense that the works of Browning, Milton, and Shakespeare are inspired. Still others say that the Bible is partly inspired, or that it contains inspiration.

The word translated "inspiration" in II Tim. 3:16 is a word compounded from two Greek words, theos 'God', and pneustos 'breath'. The Scriptures then are "God breathed."

    "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (II Peter 1:21).

In I Corinthians 14:37 Paul said,

    "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord."

Paul also said concerning the things he preached and wrote,

    "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit . . ." (I Corinthians 2:10).

And then in practically the next stroke of the pen he claimed for himself and other New Testament writers verbal inspiration:

    "Which things we also speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (I Corinthians 2:13).

That the very words of the Bible, not just the ideas, are inspired is seen from the fact that in Gal. 3:16 the writer stakes an argument upon the number of a noun:

    "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ."

Such an argument would have no strength if only the ideas of the Bible are inspired, and not the very words. The Bible, then, claims to be a revelation from God written by men who were divinely guided, even in the choice of words which they employed. This means simply that the writers of the Bible were rendered incapable of error in their reception and communication of God's revelation.

This does not mean that the Bible is a verbally dictated book. God did not dictate to the writers of the Bible as a man might dictate a letter to his secretary. If He had done so there would be no such thing as individual writers' having their own style or characteristics of writing. But as it is each writer wrote in the style and with the vocabulary which were characteristic of him. Luke, for example, being a physician, used a vocabulary in describing certain of the healing miracles of Jesus that an ordinary person would not have used. Paul's writings can be identified by certain characteristic expressions. If a man spoke and wrote in the Hebrew tongue inspiration did not make him write Greek, and vice versa. Inspiration merely saw to it that, regardless of the style or vocabulary he might employ, each writer accurately received and communicated God's revelation. It seems obvious that inspired men occasionally used expressions not common to them and which they did not understand, but which were dictated to them by God. Peter's expression in Acts 2:39 concerning "all that are afar off" seems to be an example of such in view of the fact that it took several years and a miracle finally to convince Peter that the gospel was for Gentiles and Jews alike.

Inspiration has nothing whatsoever to do with sinless perfection. Inspired men sinned along with the uninspired. John, an inspired writer, wrote, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (I John. 1:8). Paul, another inspired man, wrote, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (I Cor. 9:27).

A distinction must also be made between inspiration and omniscience. The fact that a man was inspired does not mean that he knew everything. The inspired man of God who prophesied against Jeroboam's altar at Bethel did not know that the old prophet was lying to him (I Kings 13:18). In Acts 15:36 Paul proposed to Barnabas that a visit be made to certain brethren to "see how they do." Paul was inspired, but he had no news concerning the welfare of these brethren. Paul also did not remember who all he had personally baptized at Corinth (I Corinthians 1:16).


All that men may say about the Bible cannot prove nor disprove that it is inspired of God. And so we must turn to the Bible itself to see if it contains evidence sufficient to cause intelligent and informed men and women to believe its claim of inspiration. This discussion of such evidence will of necessity be brief in comparison to the amount of such evidence available.

The fact that the Bible teaches there is one God is evidence of its inspiration. Abraham was born in Ur of the Chaldees, surrounded by idolatry. He left that land and came into the land of Canaan where idolatry was rampant. He journeyed in and our of Egypt where many gods were held in reverence. After Abraham's death his descendants, few in number, migrated into Egypt where they were enslaved by an idolatrous people. Here they grew into a great nation numbering into the millions. When they came out of Egypt about the first thing they did was to build a golden calf and start worshipping it. As they wandered in the wilderness for forty years it was humanly impossible to restrain them from worshipping the gods of the nations around them. When they finally entered Canaan, despite all warnings, they adopted the worship of the gods of the Canaanite nations. If they nation of Israel, on its own, had produced a book concerning religion it is inconceivable that that book would have taught so emphatically from beginning to end that there is but one God.

That God is the Author of the Bible is seen by the obvious absence of the human element in the nature of the Bible narrative. Books that are purely human do not relate with such absolute frankness the mistakes of their heroes. Abraham, Moses, David, and Peter are portrayed as spiritual giants and leaders of men. Yet the Bible does not hesitate to tell us that Abraham lied about the identity of his wife (Genesis 12:10-20), Moses took honor to himself which belonged to God (Numbers 20:7-13), David committed adultery and murder (II Samuel 12-7-14), and Peter denied the Lord three times (Matthew 26:69-75). Books that are purely human in origin also seek either to stir up or to satisfy human curiosity. The Bible does neither.

What did Jesus write on the ground (John 8)? What about the boyhood years of Jesus before age twelve? What about the years from twelve to thirty? What happened to Paul after the Book of Acts closes leaving him a prisoner at Rome? The Bible tells us only that which we need to know. Chapters are consumed with endless genealogies which we prefer not to read, but not one sentence is written for the sole purpose of satisfying our curiosity.

The unity of the Bible is evidence of its inspiration. Some forty men writing over a period of sixteen centuries produced the Bible. In many cases the writers had no access to nor knowledge of each others' writings. Some writers were educated and other uneducated. Some were rich and others poor. Some wrote in one language and some another. Yet the Bible stands today as a complete unit, with no part missing and no superfluous part. Inspiration alone can account for this fact.

There is also no way to account for the prophecies of the Bible and their fulfillment other than by inspiration. Anyone can make predictions. But there is a vast difference between the prophecies of the Bible and mere prediction. Certain ones in modern times have been able to predict future events with phenomenal accuracy. But all admit, including the predictors themselves, that they sometimes err; and even when they are accurate the predictions themselves are quite vague. The prophets of the Bible, however, admit of no error, and their prophecies are detailed and completely accurate. They prophesied of events that would transpire, not only during their lives, but centuries after they were dead. Out of hundreds of such prophecies not one has failed of fulfillment, even in the minutest detail. It would be impossible to mention here a representative number of the prophecies of the Bible and their fulfillment, but the following are mentioned in order to illustrate the nature of Bible prophecy.

In Isaiah 44:28-45:4 there is this detailed prophecy:

    "That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. Thus said the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me." This remarkable prophecy, spoken some 150 years in advance of its fulfillment, called Cyrus by name before he was born and told in detail what he would do. Secular as well as sacred history bears out the complete fulfillment of the prophecy.

In I Kings 13 we read of the man of God who was sent to cry out against the altar at Bethel. He prophesied after this fashion:

    "O altar, altar, thus saith the Lord; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee" (I Kings 13:2).


When Israel, under the leadership of Joshua, overthrew Jericho Joshua spoke this prophecy:

    "Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it" (Joshua 6:26).

The fulfillment of this prophecy came about 550 years later when a man by the name of Hiel started rebuilding Jericho. The very things Joshua had said would happen came to pass in every detail (I Kings 16:34). Only inspiration can account for the fulfillment of these prophecies in such minute detail.

The accuracy of the historical record contained in the Bible bears witness to its inspiration. Through the years from time to time historians have disagreed with the bible on some vital point. In each case when the matter was settled the historian was forced to admit that he had been mistaken and the Bible account is accurate after all. For example, it was argued for may years that Moses could not have written the first five books of the Old Testament in view of the allegation that writing had not been invented at the time Moses lived. But in 1901 a discovery was made of a set of laws, the "Code of Hammurabi," which dates back beyond Moses some five to seven centuries. The argument was also made that Palestine was never under Egyptian or Babylonian rule. Nowhere except in the Bible could evidence of such be found, and consequently the Bible record was denied. But in time the Bible record was vindicated by the discovery of some Tel El Amarna Tablets which contain records substantiating the Bible account beyond question.

Another conflict between secular historians and the Bible developed after this fashion: Herodotus, who is known as the "Father of History," denied that the Egyptians grew grapes and made wine according to the interpretation of the butler�s dream by Joseph. This conflict stood for many years. But in time archeologists uncovered in certain Egyptian cities murals portraying the making, the drinking, and even the effects of wine. These incidents serve to illustrate what has happened over and over again. That is, when secular historians have taken issue with the Bible, in every historical event which men have been able to verify the Bible record has been proved true and the record of secular historians false. If the Bible were a human production it could be expected to be right in some of the conflicts with modern historians. But no human basis can account for such complete inerrancy.

The fact that the Bible is in complete harmony with every known fact of modern science and our universe can be accounted for only by admitting that the Bible is inspired. So very little was known or knowable from the human standpoint during the time of the writing of the Bible. We are told that the amount of knowable information doubled between 1950 and 1960, and that it doubled again between 1960 and 1967. When men write books dealing with the knowledge of science and our universe these books become obsolete within a few years because of the phenomenal increase in the storehouse of human knowledge. With the bible such is not the case.

It is true that the bible was not written for the purpose of conveying scientific information, but it does contain a number of statements dealing with science and our universe. And not one statement contained in the Bible is out of harmony with anything known today. On the other hand the Bible contains many statements which can be understood only in the light of certain modern scientific discoveries.

The eighth Psalm refers to the "paths of the sea." It is a fact in history recorded that Matthew Fontaine Maury searched for and found the great sea lanes traveled by modern vessels, and that the statement in the Psalm is the thing which started him on his search. From merely human knowledge how could the psalmist in his day have said that there are paths in the sea?

Job 26:7 says, "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing." Modern astronomers can turn their most powerful telescopes in any direction and see a solid mass of stars surrounding the earth with the exception of one small area over the north pose. Job had no such telescopes with which to make such a discovery. How did he know there is an "empty place" in the sky, and that this empty place is in the north? How could Job say in his day that the earth is hanging "upon nothing?" Five hundred years ago man knew nothing about gravity and the fact that the earth is suspended in space. And yet in the very early morning of time this sage was able to make a pronouncement that would not be fully understood until thousands of years after his death. He could have made such a pronouncement only under the guidance of Him who knoweth all things.

In the thirty- eighth chapter of Job are recorded certain statements attributed to God. In verse seven reference is made to the fact that the "morning stars sang together." Do stars make any sound at all? In Job�s day men would have said they do not. But today we are aware of the fact that light possesses a certain tonal quality. Verse twenty-two refers to the "treasures of the snow." Adam Clarke, in writing his comment on this phrase, was able in his day to say only that "snow covers and defends vegetables from being destroyed by too severe a front." But in our day we know that snow places into the soil a particular element which is valuable to crops, especially to wheat crops. But what did Job know about it and how was he able to make such a statement?

Compelling scientific evidence that the Bible is no ordinary book

Isaiah 40:22 mentions the "circle of the earth." But in the days of Isaiah man did not know that the earth is circular. Two statements of Jesus show that he knew something about the rotundity of the earth. The first is in Matt. 24:40, 41:

    "Then shall two be in the field; the one will be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left."

The second is in Luke 17:34:

    "I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other left."

You will observe that in the first of these passages Jesus, in discussing events connected with His second appearing, mentions things transpiring during the daylight hours. In the second he refers to His second coming as being in the night. We know today that while it is day on one side of the earth it is night on the other side. Jesus' statements would be contradictory if such were not the case. No sensible explanation to this seeming contradiction could be given until hundreds of years after Jesus died. But in the light of modern knowledge about our earth it is easy to understand how it will be both day and night when Jesus comes again.

One of the greatest difficulties to the evolutionist is the fact that human blood is different from the blood of lower animals. There are, of course, different blood types among humans, but every type is distinctively human. The evolutionary theory cannot account for this distinction. Only within the last century has this distinction been discovered by man. But in Acts 17:26 the inspired apostle stated that God

    "hath made all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bound of their habitation."

How could Paul make a statement like this nineteen long centuries before man discovered that there is a distinction to be make between human blood and all other blood?

These few passages are far from being all the passages in the bible which allude to certain scientific facts which were not known to man at the time the bible was written. But God, the Author of the Bible, knew these truths long before man ever discovered them. The only way to account for the fact that such statements as these appear in the bible is to admit that God is its Author. If such were not the case, not only would the Bible be lacking in such statements, but it would be filled that contradict modern scientific truth. From time to time there may be conflicts between science and what some think the Bible teaches. There may also be conflicts between what the Bible actually teaches and what some think science has proved. But there is absolutely no conflict between what the Bible actually teaches and what science has actually proved.


With the many attacks being made against the integrity of the Bible we need to consider evidence of its inspiration that our faith may be strengthened. The proper view of inspiration is that the Bible writers were rendered incapable of error in the reception and communication of God's revelation to man. The following things prove that the Bible is not a human production: (1) it was produced by a nation given to many gods but reveals only one god, (2) it is not written in the style characteristic of human writings which appeal to man's curiosity and minimize the mistakes of their heroes, (3) it is one complete unit in spite of the fact that it was written by some forty writers over a period of sixteen centuries, (4) its prophecies are completely accurate, (5) its historical record is authentic, and (6) it is in complete harmony with every known fact of modern science and our universe, even stating certain
scientific truths which were not otherwise known to man until many years after the Bible was completed.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Teenage Romantic Relationships

As children grow up and enter teenage, they face strong pressures to date, as well as get involved in a romantic relationship. A romantic relationship is one that invloves feelings of attraction – physical and friendship.

In fact, over half of teens in the United States report dating regularly (casual dates with one or more partners at different times) whereas a third claim to have a steady dating (exclusive) partner.

Young teens usually hang out with peers who are the same gender as they are. As they reach the mid-teen years (age 14-15 years), they start having relationships with peers of the opposite sex. Such relationships are likely to be friendships and/or physical attractions.

Although most romantic relationships among 12- to 14-year-olds last less than 5 months, but by the age 16, relationships last an average of 2 years. In the early teen years dating is more superficial-for fun and recreation, status among peers, and exploring attractiveness/sexuality.

In the older teen years youth are looking for intimacy, companionship, affection, and social support.

Desiring a romantic partner is a natural, expected part of adolescence. However, involvement in a serious or exclusive romantic relationship in the preteen/early teen years can create problems.

True romantic relationships are about intimacy, or communicating detailed, personal information verbally, and physical contact and closeness. I believe a teen first needs to form an identity and know who she or he is before developing a healthy intimate relationship.

Many young teens are still defining themselves and romantic relationships may be based on a false sense of intimacy-in other words, teens don’t know themselves well enough to share who they are with someone else.

Having a crush in the late elementary school and early middle school years is perfectly natural and part of the biological changes of puberty. Before we can see puberty’s physical changes, preteens (aged 8-10) experience an increase in hormones. Greater levels of sex hormones may influence a preteens first romantic feelings.

A final reason preteens or teenagers should not engage in romance is that these kids are still developing their sense of security. This is first initiated by parents. However, it can also be influenced by teens involved in romantic relationships. Naturally with teens, romantic relationships end, which can hamper their sense of security and hurt their self-esteem. This can also hinder future relationships when those teens become adults.

Having a crush is not a problem, but acting on early romantic feelings and biology when a teen is not emotionally or socially ready can lead to problems for early daters. It will be helpful for Teens to distract these feelings and train themselves to think about something else believing that any romantic relationship must not be a trial and error thing but they have to make sure that when they get into a relationship, it should be lasting and not a temporary thing. Otherwise they will go through the vicious cycle of loving, hurting, and loving and hurting…It would be end.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Selfishness and Unselfish Love

If you put yourself first, you are selfish.

When you truly love others, you put them first.

If these old stories are still bumping around in your thoughts, I hope you’ll keep reading and try on a new story. Picture me standing in front of you with my hands on your shoulders. Here it comes … I’m going to give you a loving shake.

First, let’s talk about selfishness. If I step into the energy of selfishness, my position and views on the world become about me. How do I feel about things? How can I get what I want? When I’m thinking this way, I view myself as separate from you. I have needs and wants that I’d like to have met. I want you to meet my needs. If I need love, I would like for you to give me love. Whatever is broken about my life, I’d like for you to help me fix it. I expect things of you (and the world). But I don’t consider how you feel about my request. The only acceptable behavior out of you is to act according to my needs. If there’s a cost to others in getting my needs met, I don’t consider it. When I say “consider,” what I mean is that it’s not part of my thought process at all.

Am I capable of giving to others if I’m selfish? Yes, I can still give to others, but if you take a close look at my behavior, you’ll find a string attached. I may not demand something of you in the moment, but since my selfish thinking says, If I do this for you, you owe me, it will show up in the future. It will commonly show up when I want something and I’m afraid that I may not get my way. If I gave it a voice, it would say, I did [fill in the blank] for you. The least you could do is [fill in the blank] for me. I chalk my good deeds up on the scoreboard so I can make sure that I “get mine” back from you.


Now let’s talk about self-sacrifice. Many of us live with the notion that when we sacrifice ourselves we are giving unselfishly. That we are practicing unselfish love.

But I say that sacrifice is not the honorable act it’s been made out to be.

Self-sacrifice is a confusing energy that tells you that you’ll build yourself up by giving to others, although it it actually tears you down by depleting your energetic resources.

When we sacrifice, we give at a cost to ourselves. We discount our needs and show those around us that they may also discount our needs. The energy of sacrifice gives when it doesn’t want to give, when it doesn’t have the resources to give, or because it thinks it “has to give.” Sacrifice is a playground for the ego. The ego will encourage you to sacrifice in order to deplete you. When you’re in a state of depletion, you don’t have a defense against negativity. You become vulnerable to the festering lower vibrations of stress, resentment, anger, and fear. Be clear about this: Sacrifice is depletion energy. Depletion and unselfish love are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

How can you tell when you’re in the energy of depletion and sacrifice? If someone comes to ask you for help, check your reflex response. Are you irritated? Feeling snippy? Do you feel resentful that they dare ask for even more of you? If you allowed sacrifice to speak, it would take a bitter tone and inform you that whoever you are giving to, be it your boss, a family member, or your spouse, that person is getting their needs met over your own.


Now I’m going to ask you to consider what it’s like to love yourself. When we love ourselves, there’s no cost to another person. Why? Because we don’t need anyone else’s participation. We don’t require another person to do something for us in order to feel our own love. We naturally shy away from sacrifice, ours, or anyone else’s. We don’t rationalize selfish behavior and call it self-love because self-love doesn’t manipulate. Instead, it gives an honest appraisal of how to best care for ourselves, then does so, thereby raising us up to the highest vibration level.

On that level we have so much more to offer others.

Self-love is about honoring yourself. I encourage you to ask yourself that question. Am I honoring myself?

Do you need some mental pictures of what love and honor look like? Picture yourself eating regular, healthy meals and snacks throughout the day in order to sustain your energy. That’s love. Picture yourself drinking water over coffee. That’s love. Picture yourself quieting your mind, rather than allowing it to run amuck and drain you when you are “resting.” That’s love. Picture yourself politely declining projects that will leave you unhappy because they take from you something you don’t wish to give (your time with loved ones, your energy, etc). That’s love. Picture yourself playing and choosing to bring laughter into your life. That’s love. Picture yourself gently speaking your truth when your feelings have been hurt. That’s love. Picture yourself refraining from speaking negatively about yourself. Trade “That was stupid,” for “I am perfectly human.” That’s love. Picture yourself creating a nurturing, comfortable environment to live in. That’s love. Picture yourself seeking the approval of the love within you (divine love) as opposed to the approval of others. That’s love.

These are only a few of the ways to show yourself love. I encourage you to find the thousands of others.

Now imagine what happens when you model self-love. Those around you will be called higher. When you feed yourself well, you will inevitably influence those around you to eat better. If you model for your children that you rest when you’re tired, they will know to rest when they’re tired. If you speak of yourself using only loving words those around you will find that words of a lower vibration don’t seem to apply to you. How different would life be if we had learned as children to define ourselves and not allow others to do it for us? By modeling love for ourselves, we encourage those around us to also love themselves.

When we love ourselves first, we get closer to our divine state. That brings us to unselfish love.

Unselfish Love

As we begin to meet our own needs from a place of love, something shifts internally. That internal shift brings us to our natural state of being love. When we are comfortable loving ourselves, we become comfortable with others loving themselves, too. Things that may have hurt our feelings before, like someone telling us “no,” will no longer hurt our feelings because we will celebrate when we witness others acting with honor toward themselves.

Because unselfish love knows that we are all One, it views us all as the whole. Because I’m rested, well-fed, and connected to my highest self, should someone need my help, I would love to help them. The state of unselfish love can be expressed as follows: I understand that as I help you, my needs are also being met. Without having a conscious thought of this, in universal law, as I give to you I set in motion love to return to me. So as I give to you unselfishly, with no expectation that you will help me in return, it is guaranteed in the future that I will experience these things. My unselfish love for the world is the reward in itself. It fills me with joy to give you the gift of my service.

Unselfish love will fill you with joy and uplift you, sacrifice will tear you down and deplete you. Very differe.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

People are not Basically Good

Many present day philosophies and worldviews claim the people are basically good and that bad or immoral behavior is the exception. The Bible states quite the opposite - that people are selfish and sinful as soon as they are able to express that kind of behavior. Because of this fact, people need a Savior in order to be acceptable to God. In contrast, the implication of the "people are good" worldview is that good people don't need a Savior. This paper will show that the biblical worldview and not the "people are good" worldview matches reality.

Human atrocities

If you examine the atrocities perpetrated by people within the last century, you find a huge number of murders. Adolph Hitler killed 6 million Jews prior to and during the second World War. Joseph Stalin killed 20 million Soviet citizens between 1929 and 1939 because they were not politically correct. Mao Tse-tung killed 34 to 62 million Chinese during the Chinese civil war of the 1930s and 1940s. Pol Pot, the leader of the Marxist regime in Cambodia, Kampuchea, in the 1970's killed over 1.7 million of his own people. These do not include all the people killed in "legitimate" wars.

Many would object to this analysis, since they could claim that these atrocities were perpetrated by only a few individuals. However, these individuals could not have done anything if they were not backed by others, who agreed with their "values." The vast majority of Germans willingly followed Adolph Hitler and gave their consent to his policy to get rid of the "Jewish problem."


A great experiment was performed in the last century that definitively demonstrated the sinfulness of entire generations among an entire people group. The experiment was called Communism. I am not referring to the attempt by Communists to spread Marxism throughout the World through civil wars. What I am referring to is the reaction of the Russian people themselves to the "equality" created under Communism. The basic tenet of Communism is that all people would share equally in the resources of the country. On the surface, that sounds good. In fact, this is what was practiced by the Christian church during the first century.1 The problem with Communism was not the philosophy per se, but the realization by the people that they would not be rewarded for hard work. It didn't matter how you worked, you got the same reward. At this point, the sinfulness of man stepped into the picture and everybody in the Soviet Union became lazy and indifferent to their responsibilities. This lack of accountability has led to an alcoholism rate of 40% and an abortion rate of over 50%! The sinfulness of all humans was definitely demonstrated in an entire society, so much so, that it led to the eventual economic collapse of the Soviet Union. Communism failed because humans are basically sinful, lazy, and self-centered. The only reason why "Communism" succeeded in the first century Christian Church was that the people had been transformed by the power of Jesus Christ.

People in the U.S.A.

You might counter that we in the United States are not like the Russians. After all, we are industrious people who work hard. I would agree that we are not generally a lazy people. However, sin can be expressed in a number of ways. Let me give you a couple examples. I am the backup driver for one of the vanpools at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Last week, I drove the van every day. In order to get to the carpool lane, we must cross four lanes of heavy, rush hour traffic. The primary vanpool driver uses the "stealth" approach to changing lanes. He doesn't use his turn indicator, since people almost always will not let you in if they think that you are going to take the place in front of them. I use the turn indicator, just to get an idea of what percentage of people are kind enough to let you into "their" space. In the entire week of driving (48 lane changes), there was only one instance where a driver intentionally let me go in front of him. Now, being rude and selfish is not what most people would consider to be a great sin. However, the rudeness is an indicator of the hearts of the people. It is obvious from this example that the vast majority of people in Los Angeles are not "basically good," but sinful and selfish.

On September 11, 2001, the United States was attacked by terrorists, killing thousands of innocent people. The attack on the United States was about human greed, desire for power, hatred and sinfulness. The idea that "people are basically good" is a humanistic fallacy of monumental proportions. Yes, religion is the surest way to hell. Relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the only answer to manmade religion that preaches hatred and violence.

Experimental evidence of human depravity

A number of psychologists have performed controlled experiments that demonstrate the level of depravity that people can stoop to. In the age of human subject's rights and human subjects review boards, none of these experiments would be allowed to be performed today, because of the extreme stress placed upon many of the subjects. However, at the time, most of the experiments were reproduced by other investigators with similar results, so we know that they represent true human reactions and capacity for evil.

Stanley Morgan's electrocution study

Following the atrocities of Nazi Germany during World War II, psychologist Stanley Milgram designed an experiment to examine the degree to which people would comply with immoral commands from authority. A teacher (the experimental subject) and a learner (a confederate of the experimenter) were supposedly examining the effect of punishment (electric shock) on learning. The learner was strapped into a chair on the other side of a barrier (but within hearing distance). The teacher was instructed to read a list of two word pairs and ask the learner to repeat them back. If the learner got the answer correct, then they moved on to the next set. If the answer was incorrect, the teacher was supposed to shock the learner, beginning at 15 volts. The simulated shock generator consisted 30 switches in 15 volt increments, up to 450 volts, along with a rating, ranging from "slight shock" to "danger: severe shock". The final two switches were labeled "XXX". The teacher was instructed to automatically increase the shock setting each time the learner missed a word in the list. To make add to the authenticity of the shock generator, the teacher was given a real shock from a 45 volt battery prior to the start of the experiment.

No experimental subject hesitated to give shocks up to 300 volts. However, at that point, the learner pounded the wall between the himself and the teacher and refused to answer. The teacher was instructed that no response was to be considered a wrong answer and to increase the voltage and administer the next shock. If the subject hesitated or complained, the following prods were given to attempt compliance:

  1. Please continue.
  2. The experiment requires that you continue
  3. It is absolutely essential that you continue
  4. You have no other choice, you must go on.

Twenty-six of the 40 subjects continued to "shock" the learner up to the maximum setting of 450 volts. Although Dr. Milgram's colleagues had predicted that only 3% of subjects would continue to the maximum voltage, 65% actually did so, even though they believed that the shocks they had given were extremely painful.

Some people have protested that people would not react this way in today's world. However, 46 years later, Jerry Burger partially replicated Milgram's experiment, finding that 70% of subjects would shock the learner up to the maximum voltage.

Philip Zimbardo's Stanford prison experiment

Following the Attica and other prison riots of the early 1970's, Pyschologist Philip Zimbardo embarked upon an examination of the effect of simulated prison conditions on normal human subjects. Comparable groups of students were randomly assigned to be either "guards" or "prisoners" in Stanford University's simulated prison. However, to make the experiment seem more real, those assigned to be "prisoners" were "arrested" by the Stanford Police Department, cuffed and booked before being turned over to the Stanford jail. Within a day, there were conflicts between the "prisoners" and the "guards", which resulted in the beginning of harsh treatment of the "prisoners". Some of the "troublemakers" were put into solitary confinement or stripped of clothing and made to sleep on the floor. The "prisoners" eventually became compliant, even though they could quit the experiment at any time. The treatment by the "guards" continued to deteriorate to the point that the experiment had to be ended on the sixth day. None of the "guards" protested the evil actions of their "coworkers".

Solomon Asch's conformity experiments

Psychologist Solomon Asch performed a number of experiments to determine the degree to which experimental subjects will go along with the majority - even if they know the majority is wrong. The setup was simple - an experimental subject, along with a number of the experimenter's confederates, was to look at two cards and determine which line on one card matched one of three lines on another card. The lengths of the lines were sufficiently different that there was no question what the right answer was. Even so, one third of subjects lied about which lines matched just to go along with the group.5 Although the "sin" committed seems pretty innocuous, conformity to the majority has resulted in the support of human atrocities by some pretty evil regimes throughout history.

Moral hypocrisy

In another set of experiments, subjects were asked to assign two different tasks - one to themselves and another to another (nonexistent) participant. One task was interesting and resulted in a reward, whereas the second was boring and unrewarded. Predictably, most subjects assigned the interesting task to themselves. When told that they could use a coin flip to assign the task, only about half used the coin toss. However, of those who used the coin toss, the majority still assigned the better task to themselves - even when they lost the coin toss.


The unending human propensity for hatred, violence, and evil will continue as we, the "righteous" haters will seek out and kill the "unrighteous" haters. An underlying spiritual cause of all this hatred is the only reasonable explanation of human depravity. Evolution does not account for the extremes of our violent behavior, but the Christian worldview fits the data exactly - humans are basically evil until transformed by the renewing power of Jesus Christ.


Sunday, October 16, 2011


Patience is essential to our salvation. The Bible says that hope is needed to be patience. For Christians it is our hope in Jesus Christ that brings patience. If we have no hope, we have no need for patience. Patience is also closely aligned with love as well as hope. Love is full of patience and hope. Just as God is a God of love, He desires for us to love Him as well as others. With God being a God of love, He is also patient. God is patiently waiting on us to come around to His way of thinking.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (1 Corinthians 13:4)

Patience is one of the most difficult fruits of the Spirit to possess. While there are differing degrees of patience in different people, it is a virtue most Christian teens wish they possessed in greater amounts. Most People want things "right now." We live in a society that promotes instant gratification. Yet, there is something to the saying, "great things come to those who wait."

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it received the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! .

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

The Christian understanding of patience is grounded in our understanding of others as those in whom God is potentially at work. As Paul instructed Timothy, the Lord's servant is to be kind to everyone, demonstrating patience even in correcting opponents, because "God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will."(2 Tim. 2:24-26).

Trials and troubles are what will help make you more patient than anything you can do on your own. James 1:2-4 says ' Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.' The Bible promises us that these trials will only help to build us up, and help make us better people and give us that patience that we long for.

The most important step is to make the decision 'No matter what, I will serve the Lord and keep faith in him.' Simply doing that, truly believing that in your heart, will take a load of bricks off your shoulders.

Try memorizing the verse 2 Timothy 4:7 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.' You should always keep running the race and keeping faith in the Lord. He is there for you, He cares about you, and He loves you. Your goal is to finish strong, and you can do it.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

There is Too Much Evil and Suffering For God to Exist ?

Atheists often claim that the presence of evil is an argument against the existence of God. The Christian God is supposed to be both loving and all-powerful. Despite these characteristics, God seems to be unable or unwilling to prevent the vast amount of evil and suffering in the world. The atheist concludes that either God is not loving or not all-powerful or that God does not exist, because if He did exist, He could stop all the suffering. The atheistic arguments contain some subtle assumptions that, as I will show, do not apply to the God of the Bible and His created universe. Even the assumption that evil and suffering are bad for us must be questioned in light of what the Bible says. This page specifically defends the principle that moral evil must exist. Another page examines the reasons why natural evil must exist. Although many atheists claim the presence of moral evil precludes the existence of God, others admit that God would be completely justified in allowing moral evil.

The atheists' logical argument

What I have found is that atheists like to say that their arguments against God's existence specifically exclude the God of the Bible as a God who could exist. However, in reality, atheists produce generic arguments against a generic God whose characteristics and creation do not match those that are described in the Bible. Atheists may not accept what the Bible says, but they cannot say the God of the Bible cannot logically exist and then ignore what the Bible has to say about the characteristics of God. If the atheist states that the God of the Bible is logically impossible, he cannot pick and choose which arguments from the Bible to accept in order to "prove" his point. Let's formalize the atheist's arguments:

  • God is all-powerful, loving, and perfect.
  • A perfect, loving God would create a universe that was perfect (e.g., no evil and suffering).
  • The universe is not perfect but contains evil and suffering.

    Therefore, God does not exist.
  • The Bible's Response

    The Bible does state that God is "all powerful." In the Old Testament, one of God's titles is "El Shadday," which is translated "God Almighty." The Bible also states that God is loving. In fact, the Bible indicates that God is love. The Bible also indicates that God is perfect. So, we can agree that the first statement is a correct interpretation of what the Bible says about the characteristics of God.

    The next statement indicates that a perfect, loving God must create a universe that is perfect. This is the statement that is false and invalidates the argument. Nowhere does the Bible state that the universe was created to be perfect. God Himself called it "good" and "very good," but never "perfect." In fact, God Himself stated that part of the original creation was "not good." The Bible states that the current universe is not perfect, but was designed to be temporary and will be replaced with a perfect universe that will be permanent. Science also tells us that the universe was designed to be temporary.

    Why two creations instead of one?

    Why would God create an imperfect, temporary universe only to replace it later with a perfect one? Why wouldn't God have created a perfect universe in the first place? This is a good question, but shows a lack of understanding of the biblical reason of why God created the universe. One can find the reason for the creation of the universe in the first few chapters of the Bible. God created humans in order to have a personal relationship with them, which He had with Adam and Eve before they sinned (Genesis 2). Jesus said that the first and foremost commandment was to "Love the Lord your God..." A personal relationship, characterized by the possibility of love, is only possible if created beings are given free will. If God had created the universe with no possibility of evil or sin, then the created beings would have had no free will, and, as such, would essentially be programmed computers. Such beings would be incapable of love, since love involves making a choice - which requires the ability to choose not to love.

    For example, I can program my computer to say "I love you" when it starts up. Does this mean that the computer really loves me? Of course not! Likewise, God could have programmed humans to say that they loved Him, without the possibility of rejecting Him or performing evil deeds. However, these programmed beings would exhibit about as much true love as my computer - not a very satisfying relationship. Therefore, God created the universe for the express purpose of allowing free will spiritual beings the opportunity to have fellowship with Him (and likewise, reject Him).

    What does God want?

    God's purposes in creating the universe go beyond merely creating free will beings that love Him in this temporary universe. Jesus explained the ultimate goal of God in the parable of the banquet:

    Jesus replied: "A certain man [representing God] was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.' Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.' Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.' The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.' 'Sir,' the servant said, 'what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.' Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. (Luke 14:16-23)

    This parable tells that God wants not only a relationship with humans in this universe, but a relationship with billions of these creatures in His future, perfect creation. If God's purpose is to have relationships with free will beings in a future creation, then there must be a means by which these beings can make a choice to enter or not enter into this relationship. The means by which we make this choice is exactly the message of the Bible.

    Therefore. the Bible says that God allows temporary, bounded evil in order to allow free will beings to have the ability to love and to make choices. I am going to propose something which seems to support the atheists' arguments regarding evil. I agree that there is a lot of evil in the world. In fact, there is too much evil in the world from what would be expected from chaos theory or the laws of physics. Evolution does not explain the vast amount of evil done by mankind. None of the other creatures on our planet have the capacity for evil that mankind have. No other mammals kill arbitrarily. They only kill to eat and survive - but not mankind. Just watch the nightly news or read your newspaper. Look at all the evil perpetuated in the last century alone - 6 million Jews killed by Hitler, 40 million Russians killed by Stalin, 2 million Cambodians killed by their own government in the 1970's. In fact, the Pol Pot regime specifically preached atheism and sought to exterminate all religious expression in Cambodia.

    In addition to these atrocities, there have been hundreds of massacres committed in virtually every nation of the world. The Bible says that the presence of evil is due to the spiritual component of our nature - something that animals do not possess. God endowed His spiritual creatures (humans and angels) with free will to love God or to oppose Him. The most powerful created being (the angel Satan) rebelled and led one third of the angels into opposition against God. Those humans who oppose or ignore God follow Satan into rebellion - either consciously or unconsciously. Some people blame the evil on "society." However, society is composed of individuals who make individual choices. Most of the evil is committed by people who oppose the will of society. In contrast, there are many examples of societies in the animal kingdom, especially among the An order of mammals including man, apes, monkeys, etc., often characterized by large brains and flexible hands and feet.primates. None of these societies have the capacity for evil that we have. We are different from all other animals on our planet - a fact that has no scientific or evolutionary explanation.

    Why pain is necessary

    The atheist also makes the assumption that all pain, suffering, and death are bad or evil. In fact, physical pain is absolutely vital to our survival. If we felt no pain, we would do things to ourselves that could be very destructive. For example, if we didn't feel pain when we touched a hot object, we would not react until we saw our flesh smoking. This is obviously not a good thing to do. Pain tells us we need to react to a situation before serious damage occurs.

    Evil as a means of spiritual growth

    Many things that people consider to be bad are, in fact, useful in our spiritual growth. The Bible says that trials in our lives produce perseverance, which helps make us mature and complete. These trials also increase our faith - a "refining by fire." The Bible tells us that "all things to work together for good to those who love God."


    God did not design this universe to be perfect, but as a temporary creation where free will beings make choices about where they want to spend eternity (in the new creation, which will be perfect).

    The new creation will be perfect, but will not have absolute free will for its inhabitants. We must agree in this life to give up some of our free will in the next life. Those who are unwilling to give up their own free will choices will not be forced to do so in the next life. However, they will have to be separated from the new creation, since God is unwilling to compromise His character.

    All people will suffer at least somewhat because of bad choices that others make. In addition, because of the temporary nature of the universe, some bad things will happen to us due to "bad luck" or chance. However, these things will teach us to be more sensitive to the needs of others, and will prepare us to show God's love to others when they suffer through similar things. God want us to learn from this life, not just have a party.

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    The Misunderstood Church

    "How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you! How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you! I would like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence. You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is. I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and yet I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful. How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.

    No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, though not completely. And besides, where would I go? Would I establish another? I would not be able to establish it without the same faults, for they are the same faults I carry in me. And if I did establish another, it would be my Church, not the Church of Christ. I am old enough to know that I am no better than anyone else.

    The Church has the power to make me holy but it is made up, from the first to the last, only of sinners. And what sinners! It has the omnipotent and invincible power to renew the Miracle of the Eucharist, but is made up of men who are stumbling in the dark, who fight every day against the temptation of losing their faith. It brings a message of pure transparency but it is incarnated in slime, such is the substance of the world. It speaks of the sweetness of its Master, of its non-violence, but there was a time in history when it sent out its armies to disembowel the infidels and torture the heretics. It proclaims the message of evangelical poverty, and yet it does nothing but look for money and alliances with the powerful.

    Those who dream of something different from this are wasting their time and have to rethink it all. And this proves that they do not understand humanity. Because this is humanity, made visible by the Church, with all its flaws and its invincible courage, with the Faith that Christ has given it and with the love that Christ showers on it.

    And what are bricks worth anyway? What matters is the promise of Christ, what matters is the cement that unites the bricks, which is the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit is capable of building the church with such poorly moulded bricks as are we.

    And that is where the mystery lies. This mixture of good and bad, of greatness and misery, of holiness and sin that makes up the church...this in reality am I .

    The deep bond between God and His Church, is an intimate part of each one of us. To each of us God says, as he says to his Church, "And I will betroth you to me forever" (Hosea 2,21). But at the same time he reminds us of reality: 'Your lewdness is like rust. I have tried to remove it in vain. There is so much that not even a flame will take it away' (Ezechiel 24, 12).

    But then there is even something more beautiful. The Holy Spirit who is Love, sees us as holy, immaculate, beautiful under our guises of thieves and adulterers. It's as if evil cannot touch the deepest part of mankind.

    He re-establishes our virginity no matter how many times we have prostituted our bodies, spirits and hearts. In this, God is truly God, the only one who can 'make everything new again'. It is not so important that He will renew heaven and earth. What is most important is that He will renew our hearts. This is Christ's work. This is the divine Spirit of the Church."

    ~Carlo Carretto