Monday, May 7, 2012

3 Reasons Why I believe in God

Someone in the Mensa Philippines Facebook group page posted this question for discussion: "Do you believe in God? Why or why not?"

I was reluctant to post an answer there because (1) such online discussions usually lead to long debates, and (2) only one person has posted an answer so far. Nothing wrong with debates with people who have different viewpoints from you, I just feel that the Internet isn’t an ideal place for it. But it got me thinking, why do I personally believe in God?

I thought of 3 major reasons why I believe in a Creator who is outside of time and space.

1. Someone thought of all this 
Known as the teleological argument, this argument satisfies me intellectually. Basically, the teleological argument states that the universe is so complex and amazing, that someone must have designed it. The illustration of this (from William Paley in the book Natural Theology) is if you find a pocket watch on the beach—you won’t think that the metal gears and glass and all of the parts came together “by chance.” Similarly, the more science discovers about our natural world and the universe, the more things seem to be purposed by an ultra-intelligent Creator. For example, the Earth’s distance from the sun, the oxygen content of the air, the existence of the moon—all of these seem purposed to allow humans to thrive and flourish here on this planet.

2. The existence of “unexplainable things”
When children are slaughtered, why do we feel horrible? What happens when two people fall in love? Where does the concept of justice come from? Where does the concept of “right and wrong” come from? These are questions that will never be answered satisfactorily by science.  Yes, love can be observed as a quickening of the heart rate, the release of endorphins in the body, and love can have a sociological and psychological function, but WHY does it exist and WHY does it feel like it does? Can you really “explain” a mother’s love?

If you investigate these questions carefully and with an open mind, they will lead you, once again, to someone who purposefully designed these “unexplainable things.”

3. The changed lives of people
I have personally seen the changed lives of people due to the work of God in their lives—family members, friends, classmates. Drunkards become sober, womanizers become loving and loyal husbands. Human nature is completely changed. Of course, I’ve also seen His work in my life.

Any one of these reasons can be explained away, if I didn’t really want to believe in God. But the three combined make for compelling evidence that can’t be simply ignored (again, unless I really wanted to ignore it).

Don’t be fooled—ultimately, belief in God is not merely a matter of intellect. It is a matter of both the intellect and the heart. If your heart doesn’t want to believe (e.g. you don’t want somebody making you “liable” for your actions here in this world), you’ll find dozens of intellectualisms to “disprove” God.
If you haven’t really taken this topic seriously, I urge you to devote time and effort to finding more about this God I’m talking about. Your eternal life is at stake!

Friday, April 27, 2012

World Peace is impossible for man

A bit of background first for people who don’t follow the NBA:

NBA player Ron Artest was known as a wild, violent person. In 2004, He starred the infamous Pacers-Pistons brawl in Detroit where he went into the stands and assaulted a fan for throwing a beer cup at him. He was suspended for 86 games. After undergoing therapy for anger management, it looked like he turned it around. and didn’t become involved in any more brawls or altercations. He even was awarded the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for "outstanding service and dedication to the community."

After winning a championship with the Lakers, in 2011, he legally changed his name to Metta World Peace (“Metta” is a traditional Buddhist word that means loving kindness and friendliness towards all). "Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world," according to his official statement. Sounds like an interesting story of a man overcoming setbacks and turning from bad to good, right?

Except Metta, just last week in a Lakers-Thunder game, elbowed opponent James Harden in the head hard, causing a concussion and endangering a fellow players health (concussions can cause long-term problems). The blow was delivered after Metta was celebrating a dunk, and he claims that it was accidental. The NBA league office seems to have disagreed and suspended him for seven games.

The irony of having a person with violent tendencies name “World Peace”! Although I watched the replays and the elbow didn’t seem like an accident to me, I can’t judge a man’s intentions, so I’m not sure if it was intentional or not. I am, however reminded of Romans 7:18-19.

            For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

We try so hard to be “good” on our own efforts and by “sheer force of will.” It may work for a short period of time, but in the end, our own sinful nature prevails. People think they are “free” when in fact they are enslaved to sin—they can’t not sin! No amount of therapy, meditation, penitence, and doing good works will allow us to overcome our natural inclination for sin.

So how do we become good? We don’t do it on our own efforts; Jesus does it for us!

            He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
(1 Peter 2:24 ESV)

When you become a Christian, you have a new nature. You’re free from your old sinful nature.

            Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)

Man can’t achieve inner peace on his own, let alone “world peace.” The only way to true peace is the Prince of Peace!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What I escaped

Welcome to my Christian blog. It seems appropriate to start off with an introduction—let me introduce myself with a couple of Bible verses.

     Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV)
     But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.
(Revelation 21:8 ESV)

As recently as 4 years ago, I was definitely counted among the unrighteous.
Sexually immoral – One of my most prevalent sins. Pornography, sex outside of marriage.
Idolater – My “idol” was popularity, fame, and peer acceptance. These were the most important things in my life.
Thief – Not a thief in any conventional sense, but I was guilty of "stealing" company time, slacking off during work and not giving 100% effort.
Drunkard – I loved getting drunk with friends. These were the “highlights” of my weekends.
Reviler – To revile means to subject to verbal abuse. I was guilty of this in thought, and sometimes even in deed.
Liar – Lying was a habit. Aside from the blatant untruths I uttered daily (“I’m late because of traffic”), also included here are exaggerations and omissions in job interviews, casual conversations, and a million other situations. Deceit was a way of life.

Yes, I was unquestionably not going to inherit the kingdom of God, according to the apostle Paul. Fortunately, or rather, by God’s grace (no such thing as luck if you know God!), Jesus rescued me from the horrible situation.

     For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 ESV)

I've accepted God’s free gift and escaped (eternal!) death. Today, I’m a thankful Christian, living in gratitude to the sacrifice of Jesus for me. Though I still stumble, He is always there to catch me, without fail.

I hope He will be glorified with this blog. Friends, Romans, countrymen, let’s hear it for the goodness of the Lord!