Sunday, May 4, 2014



Good afternoon all my fine friends out there! How are you all? It is a beautiful spring day here today and the flowers everywhere are looking gorgeous. This is one area where God’s design shines through in all t

he intricate patterns and different formations of each petal. It is truly sad that some people take this to the extreme and worship the creation rather than the Creator.

Such beliefs fall under the category of spiritual skepticism. The spiritual skeptic wants to get to heaven (and thinks everyone else should too) their own way. “But for freedom gained by climbing toward heaven in one’s own way, there is the unending burden of the climb itself...spirituality provides a temporary, feel-good sense of accomplishment, but it is a futile, self-serving attempt at salvation.”1 Only in acceptance of Jesus as your Savior does one get to heaven not by our own works, but by grace. Why don’t more people accept Jesus then? Because to surrender self-rule is probably the most difficult thing for mankind to do.

Questions such as “People can get to heaven by many different ways…” or “To achieve enlightenment one must meditate...” or “What we believe in, our thoughts and words all shape our reality...” are all reasons people turn to be set free from the problems of our moral world. The Creator God has given us an internal drive for spiritual freedom (read Ecclesiastes 3:11) and most people strive for it. Unfortunately many people are mislead by the Root Idea that good works get you to heaven. In this manner, a person’s spiritual beliefs allow the individual to set the rules in which the deity of his or her choice will operate. Often they believe that if they (or anyone) is basically good, they can get to heaven. And by basically good they mean doing more good than bad deeds.

However there is a major flaw in this good is good enough? This line of belief exaggerates the character of man, and/or diminishes the nature of God. Let’s take a closer look...

If a basically good person can get into heaven, then they believe in a god who has compromised standards so that man can fulfill the perfect standards of God. But the only standards worthy of a true God is perfectionism. No basically good person would be admitted into Harvard, or medical school, or be allowed to play on a NFL team. Nor would Bill Gates hire a basically good programmer, nor Donald Trump hire a basically good businessman, etc. You get the point. It is puzzling as to why people change the standards when it comes to God. Especially when Christianity is the only religion where God demands payment for sin (because heaven is a perfect place) and then provides the payment. You see, God must be satisfied by the only known source of perfection...God Himself. But He gives each individual a choice if they refuse His grace...that is God will then judge that person by their own standards (a scary thought) because God’s standard is perfect righteousness, not mere human goodness. Besides if basically good people are the ones who will populate heaven, how will heaven be much different than our current fallen world?

Then there are those who believe enlightenment (self-actualization) is the way. They believe that divine self-mastery will enable them to find reality from within and usually involves some source of meditation. When the skeptic speaks of meditation, they mean that it is a way to find a frame of mind to become one with the universe or to find one’s inner voice. However there is a major flaw with this thinking…

“Man cannot enlighten himself because his nature is where the problem is. The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? [Jer. 17:9] did the guru get beyond his own flawed nature? ...if man is really divine and only needs to re-recognize his divinity, how did he lose touch with it in the first place? If the divine can be corrupted, is it really divine?...Only a true Divine source beyond man can provide enlightenment...”2 “Meditation seeks a connection to an impersonal force; prayer seeks a relationship with a personal being.”3 Prayer is active while meditation is passive.

Then there are times that the skeptic can get frustrated and hostile and turn to name calling. One of the favorites in organized religion. Let’s define what they mean by that; a narrow, dogmatic, hypocritical belief system. They often believe that churches are filled with hypocrites. And while hypocrites can be found everywhere including the church along with plenty of genuine Christians filled with integrity, it is not the people in the church that give salvation, it is Christ. If you dig a little deeper you will see that hypocrisy is not the main objection that spiritual skeptics have towards organized religion, but authority. You see “...personal experience and discovery are their primary source of authority.”4 Organized religion challenges this authority and requires adherence to a set of beliefs that don’t match their experience. And they don’t like that. They would rather have their own customized religion so they can have the freedom to assemble their own beliefs. “The trade-off is that there is no accountability and thus, no true growth.”5 An analogy is a person who is partially blind that needs and operation. Because he is partially blind, even if he were a skilled eye surgeon, would he be able to operate on his own eye? Like wise, since man is a product of a broken world, his ideas of how to fix himself are also broken.

“Ask the skeptic why he shouldn’t at least consider the one faith system that is unique--the only one that both satisfies the standards of a perfect God and shows mercy to man’s flawed character.”6

Until next week, God bless and take care,
Willow Dressel

This week in the night skies; “Comet C/2012 K1 PanSTARRS is quite bright at the moment, by cometary standards. It is around magnitude 9 (just below binocular brightness but in the range of small telescopes). Currently it is only visible in the northern hemisphere, near the Big Dipper. Over the past few days the comet has passed M51, the iconic Whirlpool galaxy. This is not the end of the comets encounters, from 11-13 May the brightening comet is close to galaxy M106 and a host of smaller galaxies. Should be very nice to watch.

For the southern lats… “The eta Aquariids meteor shower, the debris from Halleys comet, peaks on May 6 at 07 UT (that's 5 pm AEST and 4:30 pm ACST, disappointingly in daytime) with a ZHR of 55. However, the shower radiant rises around 2 am, so you can't see the shower until the morning of Tuesday the 7th...Although the actual peak is on 6th at 17:00 AEST, for Australia the best time to see the eta-Aquarids is in the early morning of the 7th, 8th and 9th. This year the first quarter Moon sets long before the radiant rises, so you should have almost ideal observing conditions if the cloud stays away.”7

Foster, Bill. “Meet the Skeptic, A Field Guide to Faith Conversations.” Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2012. Pp 97-107.     39- 55 pg. 39-55.

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