Monday, December 22, 2008

Beyond Riches

I told someone yesterday that if I had to choose between riches and more children, I would choose children hands down. I can't think of anything that could bring me more joy than my family. I have a beautiful wife, Amy, with whom I am perpetually falling deeper in love. Anna is a star from heaven. Her beautiful almond eyes are windows to eternity. Andrew's essence is super concentrated. He exudes both bravery and tenderness.

And now there is Peter. What will he be like? How has he been wired? To what heights will he soar? What mountains will he ascend? What battles will he fight? What losses will he suffer? What loves will he gain, and which will he lose? Only time can tell.

To Peter:
My son, may your life be like the music of the masters. May it rise and fall--gaining momentum--propelling you to culmination in a magnificent crescendo. And may the genius of your maker be seen in rhythm of your life.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

For unto us a child is born!

There are some things in life that cannot be put into words. I have just experienced one of them. My son was born on Sunday afternoon and as I looked into his face, the world seemed to make sense. A flood of emotion came over me and I was overjoyed. I love him and I long to prove it to him.

His name is Peter. We gave him his name to show our love for the Scriptures. In the biblical book of John we read that Peter was the brother of Andrew, the first disciple to bring someone to Jesus. Now, two thousand years later, there is another pair of brothers with the same names.

His middle name is John, not just because of the biblical book, but primarily because Amy's grandfather had that name. He sounds like a man I wish I could have met.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Modern Thinker's Creed

In his book Can Man Live Without God? Ravi Zacharias includes a satirical commentary by Steve Turner. Turner is an English music journalist and poet who writes for a secular paper.

The Modern Thinker's Creed

We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don't hurt anyone
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during, and
after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy’s OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything's getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there's something in horoscopes
UFO's and bent spoons.
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha,
Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher though we think
His good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same-
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation,
sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens
they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then its
compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps
Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn

We believe in Masters and Johnson
What's selected is average.
What's average is normal.
What's normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and
Americans should beat their guns into tractors .
And the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good.
It's only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that
is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust.
History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth
that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds,
And the flowering of individual thought.

If chance be
the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky
and when you hear

State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!
It is but the sound of man
worshipping his maker.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Nietzsche: An Honest Atheist

I heard these words from Madman the other day and was struck with how honest they were. Nietzsche was, in my opinion, gravely mistaken, but he was courageous. Unlike those who espouse pop culture atheism, he was willing to embrace the horrific ramifications of his philosophy. He knew that without God, there is no fixed reality to give meaning to all that is.

Here is the quote:

"Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place and cried incessantly: "I seek God! I seek God!"As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated? Thus they yelled and laughed.

The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried. "I will tell you. We have killed him—you and I! All of us are his murderers! But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? And backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we not hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition?—Gods, too, decompose! God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him!

How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives,—who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

Is it any wonder he decended into madness?

Nietzsche and Dostoyevsky

When I learned that Friedrich Nietzsche thought there were no psychologists who had anything to teach him, except one, I was intrigued. I was made more curious when I learned it was the famous Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky that he admired. What could the great atheist philosopher hope to gain from the Christian writer? I had to find out.

I remembered, shortly thereafter, that I had been given a copy of Crime and Punishment a few years ago and never read it. My question finally provided the motivation to plunge into this most profound novel and I was captivated from the beginning.

Here, Dostoyevsky’s worldview cries out loud and clear. When an arrogant man—full of the kind of ideas that lead one to dismiss God—honestly lives out his philosophy, he will crash down to ruin, and leave much destruction in his wake.

I say it was Sonia that saved Rodion by the powers of Divine grace. She was able to look deep inside his wretched soul and see what he needed most: forgiveness, love, and justice. He, however, was blinded by his ego, his pride, and his humanist ideas. Rodion could not have helped himself out of a wet paper bag, yet he remained strident in opposition to any help that was offered to him.

Sonia was a desperately poor teenage girl, who sold herself in prostitution to feed her kin. Sonia had shame. She prayed for deliverance and forgiveness came. Her suffering was not in vain, for her story lured Rodion. She intrigued him because he knew she had something he did not have--an inner virtue that conquered her self-loathing. She knew the forgiveness of God.

When she learned of his crimes, Sonia implored him to turn himself in. She knew he would go mad if he persisted in running. She gave him the strength to do the right thing, even when he still had his doubts.

After his confession, and nearly a year in Siberia he broke down at her feet and the prison of guilt that held his soul was unlocked. Is there any sound more deafening than that of shattering pride? When we come to the end of ourselves, there we will find God.

Nietzsche, however, could not yield, and sank into madness and despair. His end was different than that of Roskolnikoff. He said Dostoyevsky showed him something, but he must have missed the point. What made the difference between these two men? Perhaps Nietzsche never had a Sonia.