Je ne suis pas Charlie.


Je ne suis pas Charlie
The problem with commenting on a current event is that you don't have a whole heck of a lot of time to formulate your thoughts.  There is tyranny in urgency.  There is also overreaction.  With that being said, I am compelled to write what I hope is a thoughtful reflection on the attack on the French "magazine" "Charlie Hebdo" by Muslim radicals in the name of their religion.  

Two observations.

First, the violence in France and other recent acts by Muslims in the name of their religion (Boko Haram, ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc) are forcing the Western World to wrestle with the very important question of whether violence done by Muslims in the name of their religion is the exception or the rule in Islam. Is Islam at its heart a religion of peace that happens to have very visible and violent bad apples, or does its history point to a violent modus operandi?  How the West answers this question will determine foreign policy towards Islamic countries and the treatment of Muslims living in the West.  It is an important question that needs to be answered by thoughtful and educated minds, not the shrill cries of ideological drones.   

Second, it is interesting how quickly people are claiming they ARE "Charlie Hebdo."  The intent is good: to stand with the victim and against the villain. However, Hebdo is a rather unsavory victim.  With a circulation of 45,000 Hebdo is not a major magaine.  Its trade is intentionally insensitive, provocative, and lewd satire; sexualized potty humor with a left-leaning political bent.  Magazines like Hebdo should be able to compete in the marketplace in a free society; but a discerning reader would leave them on the rack.  Be careful in assigning "hero" status to the makers of "Charlie Hebdo."  They were out to make money and push a political agenda in the crudest of ways. And at this they were only marginally successful.  Had you even heard of "Charlie Hebdo" before this week?  That they were attacked is tragic, wrong in every way and an attack on what many of us hold sacred: a free press and the right of people to express ideas without fear of violence.  But what happened to Charlie Hebdo does not sanctify what Hebdo was about. 

I am not Charlie.  I am someone who will pray for their employees recovering from injuries and fighting for their lives; someone who will pray for the families grieving the loss of loved ones.  I will speak up for their right to sell a sub-standard magazine that pokes fun at (denigrates, mocks, and even blasphemes) the One who gave his life for them because I believe the truth of the gospel shines brighter against a backdrop of so much dross.  I am not Charlie.  

What do Hobby Lobby and Hosanna-Tabor have in common?

What do Hobby Lobby and Hosanna-Tabor have in common? 
The media won’t tell you.  Not even Conservative Talk Radio.  Or Fox News.  Or Matt Walsh.  Or the Political Commentators you call “friends” on Facebook.  So allow me. 

In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in the Hosanna-Tabor case that the Executive Branch of the Federal Government does not get to decide which organizations get to receive First Amendment “freedom of religion” protections and which do not. (The official court decision can be found here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-553.pdf )

In this case, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School convinced all nine Supreme Court Justices that they had the freedom to determine which of their employees was a “minister of religion” (a designation given to “called” workers who have certain credentials, as opposed to “contracted” workers).  “Ministers of Religion” are entitled and burdened by taxes differently than your “typical” W2 employees (for example: they are obligated to pay both halves of their SSI and Medicare, but they can petition the IRS for an exemption; they can claim a housing allowance (under certain circumstances)).  And churches (and the schools attached to them) determine which employees are or are not “ministers of religion.”  

Until Hosanna-Tabor.  The short version is that the Executive Branch of the Federal Government told Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School that their “ministers of religion” were not “ministers of religion” because they did not do enough “religion” in their jobs.  For example, teachers of history and English can be rostered “ministers of religion.”  The school argued that the Executive Branch of the Federal Government did not have the authority to tell the church how it should classify its employees under the protections granted to it under the First Amendment “Free Exercise” clause of the Constitution.  That the Supreme Court agreed with the Church-School 9-0 says something about the strength of their argument and the overreach of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government into the affairs of the establishment of religion. 

Fast Forward to Hobby Lobby. 

Repeat after me:  “Hobby Lobby isn’t about health care.”  Did you say it?  No?  OK.  But the offer’s on the table. 

Hobby Lobby is a “closely held corporation,” meaning that while it is technically a public company, its stock is not regularly publicly traded.  Ask a Wall-Street type what exactly this means.  The point is, they fall into a narrow category of business. Which may be helpful in coming to an understanding of the SCOTUS ruling in their favor.  Or not. 

Hobby Lobby was required by the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) to provide health care insurance for its employees that would cover any number of “birth control” options.  One of those options was the “morning after pill.”  Hobby Lobby did not object to being forced to provide pre-conception birth control; it said that it had a religious objection to being forced to provide “services” (abortifacients) and that, as a closely held company, it had a right to protection from the Affordable Care Act under the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment. 

The Executive Branch of the Federal Government, more or less, argued that closely held companies cannot appeal to the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment as a way to get around providing certain elements of “health care” as required by the ACA. 

This was the Executive Branch’s mistake.  The court had already ruled (in Hosanna-Tabor) that the Executive Branch was not the sole arbiter in deciding what is or is not a religion.  It should have anticipated that the court would rule the same in the Hobby Lobby Case as it did in Hosanna-Tabor. 

Therefore, a word of caution is in order for those who view the Hobby Lobby case as a “women’s rights” or “Obamacare” victory or loss (depending on your politics).  The careful wording of their decision should put to rest any claim that the SCOTUS is out to submarine or disrupt the ongoing implementation of the ACA. Rather, the Supreme Court once again prevented the Executive Branch of the Federal Government from asserting its claim that it is the supreme judge in deciding which entities “deserve” to be protected by the First Amendment’s Free Exercise clause.  And while it may sound silly to some that a corporation has a religion it can freely exercise, the reverse would be not a slow erosion but a landslide of Constitutional protections from government involvement in the lives and affairs of the electorate.  For if the Executive Branch can declare certain entities to be outside the protections of the First Amendment and others inside its protection, then the rights of the First Amendment necessarily become privileges; no longer are they rights given by the Creator to man, but privileges given by the hand of Government to recipients it deems worthy.

--Duncan McLellan

The Other Hand

The Other Hand
A look at any survey that has to do with the religious climate in America will tell you that Americans are going to church less, identify with “organized religion” less and consider themselves to be skeptical of religious authorities more.  The younger generation is going to church less than the middle generation, who have made it their business to go to church less than the older generation.  Sociologists and those who pretend to be sociologists all agree that American has moved from being a Christian culture to being a non-imaginative Post-Christian culture.  Christians respond to this news with a general sense of despair and speculation.  But may I suggest that the un-churching of America could be a blessing in disguise? 

When I think of church I think of my church.  In this church Christ is preached as the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and the one who loves us enough to die for us.  In this church, people generally get along well with each other.  We don’t talk about money.  We try to show people the love of God through acts of service.  We aren’t perfect, but we have the gospel.  I could go on.  So when I think of “church” on a national scale, I think of a bunch of my churches scattered across the fifty states.  And so when I think of the church being in decline, I believe this is a bad thing.  I think that fewer people are experiencing the gospel of Christ of the free forgiveness of sins, eternal life and fellowship with God. 

A funny thing happened this morning, however, that completely changed how I look at the de-churching of America.  Yesterday, Alissa and I welcomed our second child, Sarah Ann.  It was a wonderful day of reveling in God’s grace and blessings.  I spent the night at the hospital with Alissa and Sarah.  This meant I was going to have to skip church on the next day, Sunday.  Alissa had the good sense to make-up for our lost time at church by having us watch church on TV.  And it was shortly after we made that decision that I came to realize that not all churches are like my church.  And it was shortly after that when it dawned on me: it is no tragedy that fewer people are spending their Sunday mornings in temples of works-righteousness, feel-good parlors, and politically correct spirituality zones.  I didn’t hear the gospel one time.  What I did hear was someone tell me that God is going to make me happy so long as I trust that he will make me happy, that no one can be saved unless they don’t only make Jesus the Lord of their life, but make every decision with this fact in mind, and that we can go to the Father by means of an assortment of Jesus’ disciples.  

If this is what millions and millions of Americans are rejecting on Sunday morning, I say: good for them!  These messages of fortune, piety and superstition have as much in common with the gospel of Jesus as watching TV actually has to do with going to church.  If these are the congregations that are seeing their members disappearing, and moving from “Christian” to “undecided” in those surveys, then this is good news.  It means that they are no longer receiving falsehoods that fail to deliver the truth and promise of the gospel.  And while they might be immune to the claims and proclamation of another “church,” they might just be receptive to the words of family and friends who have good news of great joy for all people, who do not have a divinely-inspired to-do list, a mood-altering philosophy, or a deity wrapped in magical fantast, but who have the love of God in Christ Jesus, a blood-soaked cross, an empty tomb, and his promise to return.   

--Duncan McLellan

 

Advent Is Not Christmas.

Advent Is Not Christmas. Alleluia!

If you’ve never read the musings of Matt Walsh on themattwalshblog.com, I recommend that you do.  He is a family man, radio talk-show host, and he is a Christian.  In one of his recent posts he made the obvious point that Christmas isn’t Advent, and Advent isn’t Christmas.  So that got me thinking.  And that’s why, after a long dry spell, we have another blog post on Zion’s website.

Advent is not Christmas. 

According to the liturgical (or Church or Christian) calendar, the Christmas season comes AFTER the 25th of December.  But we seem to think that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the Christmas Season.  Retailers and advertisers tell us the shopping we do during that period of time is of the Christmas variety.  The music that gets played during this period is labeled of the Christmas variety.  And we are told to have a Merry Christmas as early as the day after Thanksgiving. 

Now, there’s nothing wrong with Christmas.  The birth of our Lord Jesus Christ is a monumentally significant event.  God and man visibly united in the person of a little baby in a manger.  God coming to the aid of his people in a physical way.  The Almighty becoming like us in every way—in every weakness—only without sin.  Christmas is a powerful recognition of our need for a Savior, and God’s unconditional love for you and all people. 

Now, this is when you’d assume there’d be a “BUT,” however, an “AND” is more appropriate. 

AND there’s also nothing wrong with Advent. Advent: that four-week-or-so season in the church year when we contemplate the comings of our Lord Jesus Christ.  On the one hand, we look back to the first coming of Christ, where we see God identifying with us in our weakness and becoming like us in every way.  On the other hand, we look forward to the second coming of Christ, where we see the glorification of the only human being to keep God’s holy law, atone for the sins of the world, and be seated at the right hand of the Almighty.  Advent is a season of looking back and looking forward, with our eyes always on Jesus. 

Celebrate Advent!  It is more than Christmas’ waiting room.  It is more than four candles and a wreath.  Advent is more than a time to read the different versions of the Christmas story from the gospels.  It is a time to remember that Christ came and that he will come again.  It is a time to remember all that Christ has done for us when he came the first time and all that he will do when he comes again. 

You cannot have Christmas without the first advent; Christmas has no power without the promise of a second advent.  

Gay Marriage: Doing Without the Bigotry

Gay Marriage: Doing Without the Bigotry
With the exception of the final outcome of the final judgment, I’m not one to predict the future.  But I’ll say this: it would surprise me if, within a generation, the fundamental legal understanding of marriage in our country is not significantly changed.  The purpose of this essay is to offer a rebuttal to the claims made in the debate over “Gay Marriage” that those of us who oppose it are bigots, discriminatory, or any number of derogatory expressions equal to the verbal acumen of the person using it, regardless of its accuracy or appropriateness.  The purpose for this essay is not to defend marriage or argue for it to be changed.  As stated above, I believe the groundwork has already been laid for the definition of marriage to be fundamentally changed within a generation. 

I believe this essay will encourage those who are arguing for a change in the definition of marriage to consider the consequences of their rhetoric and unintended consequences of their rhetoric once (or if) they achieve their goal of redefining marriage.  I will state at the end of this essay what I believe their rhetoric could lead to.  I also believe this (short) essay will help clarify what the debate over the definition of marriage is truly about, and what it is not in a very specific and important area.  So let’s begin.

The accusation has been made almost as often as the topic as been discussed that those of us who do not favor changing the definition of marriage to include two men or two women are discriminating against persons of various sexual persuasions.  The argument is then made that people should be able to marry whomever they want. 

As the law stands, marriage equally applies to straight men as it does to gay men: both may marry a woman of legal age.  Similarly, the law also equally applies to straight and gay women: both may marry a man of legal age.  The law makes no distinction or recognition of sexual identity.  In the same way, marriage laws equally prohibit straight and gay men from marrying another man, it does not single out only gay men from marrying other men.  Likewise, marriage laws prohibit straight and gay women from marrying another man, it does not single out only gay women from marrying other women.  So to say that those of us oppose “gay marriage” somehow want to discriminate against homosexuals is to fundamentally misunderstand the definition of discrimination.  

This leads to the second argument: that people should be able to marry whomever they want.  Actually, the word “want” is not used as often as the word “love”:  people should be able to marry whomever they love.  However, this assumes that current marriage laws revolve around love.  They do not.  They revolve around a tax status and joint ownership of property, inheritance status, etc.  (Now, it would be foolish to marry someone you did not love, but love is not a legal requirement for marriage in the eyes of the state.)  The state does not care about love; it has no vested interest in either promoting or discouraging love. 

To argue that homosexuals should be allowed to marry because they are in love makes the faulty assumption that the state grants marriage to heterosexual couples because they are in love.  Love is not the basis for marriage in the eyes of the state.  I would caution those who argue for love as the basis for marriage in the eyes of the state that you are opening a Pandora’s box of dangerous unintended consequences.  If love is the only necessary condition for marriage the state needs to ask for, what would prohibit polygamy, bestiality, pedophiliac relationships, and so on except for laws enacted to prevent such relationships, at which point justified claims of discrimination could be made against them? 

In the debate on “Gay Marriage,” it would be honest for those who want to change the definition of marriage to include homosexual couples to say: “we want to change the definition of marriage.”  Using phrases like “Marriage Equality” and “Civil Rights” will score public approval points in the short term, but at a very high cost in the long term that will prove disastrous.  Your rhetoric, in an attempt to win the debate on what could be called “style points” overshot the mark (and the truth) and will open the door to the possibility of granting marriage status to relationships that are currently illegal. 

To those who want to see “Gay Marriage” become the Law of the Land, personally, I hope you do not succeed.  From a theological point of view (which I do not expect many of you to understand or agree with), I do not believe you (or anyone) has the authority to change what God has created in the way you seek to change it.  And from a practical point of view, very soon after you get what it is you want (and again, I think you will within a generation), you will begin to see that this is actually more harmful to the people you thought you were helping than it is good for them. 

In closing, let me say this.  The debate over “Gay Marriage” is one that has polarized people and turned friends into enemies.  The debate is an important one; the consequences are significant and far-reaching.  But it is for these reasons that we should speak in measured tones and with civility, patience and love to one another, avoiding the harsh rhetoric that unnecessarily polarizes.  There is more to marriage than tradition; there is more to a person than their sexual identity.  

--Duncan McLellan

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Standing Up

Standing Up
January 22nd, 1973 marked a turning point in the history of our nation and the dignity of human life.  On that day 7 out of 9 Supreme Court Justices defined the law to allow for abortions in virtually any circumstance.  Since that decision was made, over 50,000,000 children have been intentionally killed.  To put that in perspective, that’s the population of Kentucky, Oregon, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Iowa, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming combined. 

We have all heard the arguments on the abortion debate.  Some people believe the government should have nothing to do with preventing any abortions in any circumstances.  Others say all abortions should be made illegal.  And still others that it should be prevented in some, but not all cases.  It’s my contention that the case for legalized abortion has no logical basis and is promoted by people looking out for themselves above all else.  But many on the “pro-life” side of the debate also make significant errors in what they push for, undermining their core principles for legislative expediency.  In the following several paragraphs, I intend to deconstruct the argument for legalized abortion as well as offer a corrective for what the “pro-life” crowd should be working towards. 

What both sides need to consider, and what informs us as to the mistakes both sides are making in the current debate, is when life begins.  When does a human being become a human being?  Several opinions have been offered: biological functions, viability, birth and conception.  

The first, biological functions would be those who argue that when the unborn has detectable brain waves or heartbeat they are to be considered a person and deserving of all the protections afforded by the law and conscience.  However, this is not philosophically tenable, as a person would be defined not by what they ARE (DNA, the physical whole, etc) but by how they FUNCTION.  For example, would a person with an artificial heart (and therefore no natural heartbeat) still be considered a person?  What about someone who was in the process of cardiac arrest?  If they are not a “person,” then there is no compunction for emergency responders to act on their behalf.  Those on bypass machines when medical mistakes are made could not sue for malpractice.  And while these are all practical problems arising from that definition of when life begins, they expose the philosophically untenable position by defining a thing by what it does rather than by what it is, or that a thing’s identity is only discernable by how it functions. 

Second, a definition of life that rests with its viability is logically problematic.  This definition has two possible conclusions: life is defined by medical technology’s ability to sustain what is already there, or infanticide (through abandonment) should be legally permissible.  As for the first (that life is defined by when it is viable in the womb), this definition is constantly changing as medical technology improves and is able to keep the unborn living earlier in their gestation.  For example, my brother was born 3 months premature and ended up dying at 18 months old due to complications from, among other things, being born so prematurely.  When he was born, in 1974, it was unthinkable that an unborn delivered before 28 weeks should survive.  Now, due to improving technology, unborns delivered at 24 have a fighting change to survive.  By using this definition of life, we are calling it a relative thing, something that changes based on technology, and not an absolute condition.  Therefore, by its own reasoning, there is no morally or philosophically compelling reason to arbitrarily use this definition to define it.   This view says, in effect: “this is when we say life begins, but we know that it truly does not.”  Now, if the viability argument is to be applied in its most stringent definition, no full-term babies would be considered living, as all require external assistance to remain alive.  Imagine if parents simply abandoned their children at birth!  Yet history has shown that this has happened.  All babies need support to live.  They cannot feed themselves, let alone clothe and shelter themselves, defend themselves and conduct themselves in a way that will sustain life in any culture.  No born child, therefore, is viable if viable means “able to survive outside the womb without assistance.”  Parents would therefore be able to kill their children up to the point when the case could be made that their children were capable to feeding, clothing and sheltering themselves.  Life, by the viability argument, would begin somewhere between age 7 and 18. 

Third, the argument that life begins and birth is also philosophically impossible to defend.  For this definition posits that life is not based on a state of being or development, but on location.  Proponents of this view might say that, since an unborn is dependent on the mother to supply it with nourishment, it cannot be considered a life.  However, it has already been shown that even after birth the child is dependent for everything it was when it was in the womb, the only difference is the delivery system.  Also, one would also have to argue that anyone on a feeding tube (or a heart-lung machine) would not be considered a person and would fall outside of the protections of the law. 

Lastly, the argument that life begins at conception.  This view is philosophically consistent.  It points to the singular event that begins a chain reaction that results in birth.  Without conception there is no “viable” unborn, there is birth, and there is no life.  A thing is what it is regardless of outward appearances or characteristics. (For example: does a person need to have hair, two hands, two feet, etc to be a person?  The answer would seem to be: a person is a person when they have persons for parents.  Therefore, a person would be a person regardless of age, appearance, development or viability.) 

With that definition of life in mind, let us consider the three positions concerning abortion: fully legal, partially legal, and illegal. 

Those who believe abortion should be legal are either operating under a faulty definition of life, or they want to make an exception for whom the law applies.  As citizens of a country that guarantees “equal protection under the law,” we cannot support a law or movement that seeks to move one segment of our population out from under the protection of the law. 

Those supporting abortion in some circumstances will usually point to “women’s rights” or the health and safety of the mother when making their case.  And while some might say that the “self defense” argument could be made in very rare cases, it is unwise to let the exception to the rule govern the rule.  But even in those cases (where it is claimed that the mother will die if the pregnancy is allowed to continue), what is happening is that the possibility of a future evil is permitting the reality of a present equal evil.  Doctors cannot predict the future with 100% accuracy.  In making the “life of the mother” argument, doctors are assumed to have the ability to predict the future to a degree that is humanly impossible.  And just as we would not want someone to receive capital punishment if there was a 1% chance that they were not guilty, so we should not want the guaranteed killing of the unborn when there is never a 100% chance of the mother’s life being taken.  (And even then a compelling argument could be made that killing the unborn is not justified.)  As far as rape is concerned, the question is: does an unborn human being have the right to be killed because we find the way that life was created repugnant?  Or does the emotional plight of the unwilling mother permit for the premeditated killing of an innocent human being?  Or will killing an innocent human being alleviate the suffering of the unwilling mother?  (And would that then make it justified?) 

However, even the pro-life side of the abortion debate has made its fair share of mistakes.  It has sought legislation banning some—but not all—abortions.  It has treated women who have been cajoled into having abortions as the problem and not (moving forward) potentially some of its most powerful allies in attaining a solution.  If abortion is the taking of human life, there is no need for additional legislation.  What needs to happen is for abortion to be treated the same way any premeditated murder would be.  Since there are already laws on the books concerning murder, there is no need for additional legislation, only to define when life begins. 

But the pro-life movement should not be strictly (or even primarily) a political one.  It should work at the grassroots level to educate people about life: when it begins, how precious it is in the sight of God, and how good can come from even in the most seemingly impossible of situations.  “At risk” pregnant women should be lovingly supported as they bring their babies to term.  For those with limited means, help should be given following the birth (either to find a suitable couple for adoption, or to raise the child in as healthy an environment as possible).  The mothers-to-be should not be seen as the proponents of abortion; rather they are the victims of the propaganda of a politically-connected industry whose lifeblood is in the death of the unborn. 

Closing Thoughts
Abortion has claimed more lives than the Second World War; the number of those aborted exceeds the population of 25 of our 50 States combined.  It is a modern-day holocaust that will cause history to condemn this generation, and which has caused incalculable pain and suffering on people who were promised it would be the solution to their problem.  As people who are arguing for the right to life in the secular sphere, we need to be able to defend “life at conception” and not take the bait on supporting legislation that will define abortion as anything but what it is: premeditated murder.  (Premeditated by those who practice it, not necessarily by those mothers in whom it is performed.)  As a Christian, I confess that I do not know if I want to pray for God’s mercy on our country for the evils it has perpetrated against the “least of these” for 40 years, or if I want God to make an example of our nation that others will not even considering following in our abortion-on-demand-footsteps.  What I do pray for is that God would find a way to give those whose lives have been taken before they were even given a name a place in paradise.  

Why I'm Not An Atheist

Why I'm Not An Atheist.

A new blog post on the church's web site and this is what he chooses for his first article?  Yep.  
As in every generation, unbelief is the greatest threat to Christian faith.  In years past, this unbelief took the form of various types of apostasy.  But now the most recent and, according to polling data, fastest growing form of unbelief is atheism.  And despite Penn Jilette's most recent attempt to convince those who would listen that atheism is actually a benign form of agnosticism, the technical definition of atheism is an assertion that God does not exist.  Working with this definition, I want to give you the reasons why I am not an atheist.

From a theological point of view, I am not an atheist because God has given me faith.  While this statement will be easily dismissed by some, it is impossible to disprove.  

Logically, it makes more sense to believe that something created something from nothing than that nothing created something from nothing.  It's nothing new to argue for a "first cause" and claim that "first cause" is God.  What I am saying is a little different.  I am not arguing FOR a creator; I'm arguing against claims that there is no creator.  If there is no creator (or nothing outside of the created order that is responsible for the created order), then this universe came into existence spontaneously through a process we have not discovered.  And that's just it: the process of creation has not been discovered because it is not going on now.  Even those who claim atheism will believe in a Big Bang; one singular moment when everything came into being.  And so the claims of atheists are even less believable than that nothing creating something from nothing is more likely than something creating something from nothing.  Atheists actually assert that it makes more sense that nothing created everything through a natural process that has never been repeated in over ten billion years than that something created everything.  

I've had the privilege of being able to study the doctrine and sacred writings of Christianity for all of my adult life.  As I grow in my intellectual understanding of all things Christian, I see a greater cohesion and consistency.  When I listen to the best and brightest atheists argue their points, I do not see cohesion and consistency, I see a philosophy designed to give its adherents permission to engage in behaviors condemned by alternative (theocentric) philosophies.  The Christian faith, as I have learned it and have studied it, is primarily interested in the truth; atheism appears to me to be a means to an end (the "end" being libertinism).  

Not only does the existence of matter point to a creator, but the complexity in the arrangement of the matter points to a designer. The universe is, for all intents and purposes, an infinitely complex system.  Human beings are also, for all intents and purposes, infinitely complex.  We have no examples in nature of matter arranging itself in increasingly complex systems naturally.  To say that it all just came together either ignores the complexity of "it all," or it believes in a process (matter arranging itself in increasingly complex systems "naturally") not found currently in the created order.  Neither position has integrity.

The resurrection of Christ is an historical event that has no natural explanation.  A man comes back from the dead never to die again.  An atheist would either have to deny the resurrection of Christ as history (good luck with that ), or claim that a dead person has the power to bring himself back from the dead; something that we do not observe happening today and for which there is no natural explanation.  Occam's Razor.  

And there you have it; five reasons why I am not an atheist.  
Your comments are appreciated.

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