Friday, June 21, 2019

Myths About Hell

Paraphrased below are some common statements of Bible skeptics, atheists, and people in general on the Internet regarding Hell. 1) “If God would throw somebody into Hell for not worshiping Him, He is, therefore, a tyrannical God, and I would rather go to Hell than worshiping a tyrannical God.” 2) “I reject the existence of any God who would throw “good” people into Hell.” 3) “If God existed, He would not throw anybody into Hell.” 4) “Why would an all-knowing God create people knowing that they are going to reject Him and cast people into Hell for it anyway?”

This is not a comprehensive list of statements regarding the subject of Hell, but I think my answers will serve as a start to increase the knowledge of some people. It appears that many people don’t take bible scripture into consideration when forming a belief about God and Hell — but many people do. If one is going to use Bible scripture to make a decision about God and Hell, then he/she should at least learn a correct interpretation of the scripture. My assertions herein are not based on any church denominations or known cults — as with all my blogs, they are based on none other than an objective study of what the bible says.

“If God would throw somebody into Hell for not worshiping Him, He is, therefore, a tyrannical God, and I would rather go to Hell than worshiping a tyrannical God.” If the God of the Bible is really like that, then I wouldn’t want to worship him either. However, the way of avoiding Hell doesn’t have anything to do with the worship of God — the issue we have with God is our SIN. When interpreting the bible objectively using sufficient context, the only way to avoid Hell is by accepting God's provision for sin. God’s provision for our sin and worshiping God are completely different things. . Genuine worship of God generally comes following an individual’s acceptance of God’s provision, and, its motive is thankfulness — furthermore, there are no standards or right or wrong ways of doing it. The specifics of God’s provision for sin is not in the scope of this blog, but they can be read on my comprehensive blog if interested at this point.

“I reject the existence of any God who would throw ‘good’ people into Hell.” Our definition of “good” and God’s definition of “good” are completely different things. This is not a comprehensive explanation and a more thorough explanation can be read by reading the blog via my link above. However, consider the Ten Commandments given in the bible. They were not given as a way wherein if we follow them, entry into Heaven will be gained, avoiding Hell. The Ten Commandments were given by God to REVEAL the sinful nature of people — in order to drive people to God's provision for sin. Consider the commandment, “Thou shall not lie.” Most people have told lies. So by God’s standard, we are liars. Consider, “Thou shall not steal.” Most people have stolen, even if the stolen object was “small.” So by God’s standard, we are also thieves. Consider, “Thou shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” Most people have used God’s name as a cuss word or other nonconstructive form — God calls this “blasphemy.” So by God’s standard, we are also blasphemers. Given only three of the Ten Commandments, and having broken them, when we stand before God to give an account of our lives one day we would be guilty. To reiterate — God’s definition of “good and our definition of “good” are very different things. Since it’s impossible for humans to never break one or more of the ten commandments, God sent Jesus to take the punishment we deserve.

“If God existed, he would not throw anybody into Hell.” I don’t think addressing this statement requires a great deal of bible interpretation or use of bible scripture. The statement clearly implies that those who hold to this ideology possess a perception of a God that is not based on what the Holy Bible teaches. The bible clearly and in various places states that rejection of God and his provision for sin will result in eternal separation from Him — this is what the Bible calls “Hell.” The quoted perception of God is based on either imaginary or false tales of who God is — not what the bible says — although there are denominations and cults today that serve and sell otherwise. In the book of Revelation 20:11-15, in the Bible, it says “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. From His face the earth and the heavens fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. Books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their works as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one by his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” This event that will take place is the final judgment of God for those who reject God’s provision for sin. For those who reject Christ, every single thing that God considers bad will be judged, and offenders will pay for it themselves.

“Why would an all-knowing God create people knowing that they are going to reject Him and cast people into Hell for it anyway?” This is a hard question to address, but this is my best shot. Somehow, God possesses the wisdom and knowledge to know who is going to accept him and who will not. Nevertheless, God gives men the free will to choose. Nowhere in the bible does it say that God WANTS people in Hell — if God wanted people in Hell, He wouldn’t have sent Jesus Christ to die for our sin. Provision for sin was given even before the time of Christ which is fairly addressed in the link I provided above. People choose to reject God and his provision for sin. Furthermore, if sufficient context is used, the Bible portrays God to be one who is perfect in all his ways — His knowledge, wisdom, and judgment are perfect. “He is the Rock; His work is perfect; for all His ways are just. He is a God of faithfulness and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.”(Deuteronomy 32:4-5)

Are Christians Hypocrites?

Scoffers of Christianity assert that Christians believe they are perfect — the assertion is perhaps the biggest myth about Christianity. There is an epidemic of arbitrary charges of hypocrisy being brought against Christians and, generally, it’s the norm is to qualify them as hypocrites regardless of what they have done. The first paragraph of this blog is a primer. The second paragraph builds on the first by providing interesting details.

A real Christian is somebody who accepts Jesus Christ as their savior based on Jesus’ death on the cross (for sin) and His resurrection. Salvation from sin is not something that can be earned. If it could be earned, then Jesus died on the cross for our sins in vain. Galatians 2:21 says, “I do not nullify the grace of God. For if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ died in vain.” Romans 10:9-10 says, “…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Salvation is not something that can be “lost” once received, contrary to popular belief. If it could, then it would imply that salvation has to be earned and we already established that it can’t be earned. When a person becomes a real Christian, God begins to renew the mind of the person making him/her more like Christ although this is a process and it will not be perfected during the lifetime of the Christian — and the believer generally tries to share their experience with others. Ephesians 4:20-21 says, “…put off the former way of life in the old nature, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new nature, which was created according to God in righteousness and true holiness.” The process of the renewing of minds implies that Christians are not perfect even after accepting Jesus Christ. One of the reasons people receive Christ is because they accept they are not perfect — yet when a Christian slips and does something wrong, we can count on the scoffer to be close by saying, “Look at what that person did…What a hypocrite!” This has become so common that it’s normal to call Christians hypocrites regardless of what they’ve done. It’s noteworthy that people who bring these accusations are hypocrites themselves — if hypocrites are simply people who contradict what they say or teach, then wouldn’t that make everyone a hypocrite, since everyone has done that?

In light of the above, let’s go through some fine details that highlight the fallacy of calling Christians hypocrites. Here are some of the many possible variables in a hypocrisy charge, not limited to what’s listed below. 1)Are we talking about all Christians, some Christians, or one or two Christians? 2)Are the Christians in question even real Christians, or are they Christians by NAME only (in other words, are they fake, lacking the integrity of real Christians)? 3)Are we talking about Christian PASTORS who often preach to a crowd, or are we talking about Christian LISTENERS who listen to the preaching? 4)When something is preached, whether it comes from a pastor or another Christian, what is the context of the message that merits a charge of hypocrisy? 5)Are we talking about committing felonies, misdemeanors, parking violations, gossip, complaining, or not picking up every bit our trash — in general, what is the severity of the perceived wrong? 6)Are we talking about Christians who have recently turned to Christ to follow him or are we talking about those who have been a Christian for a long time? At what point did they become a hypocrite? Was it immediately when they accepted Christ or is somebody in the non-Christian community allowing them a grace period where they have “non-hypocrite” status that changes to “hypocrite” after 1 year? lol

Interestingly, the Kentucky clerk Kim Davis who refused to sign a gay marriage certificate was called a hypocrite because she apparently lived a life that was “sinful” before she turned to Christ. By that rationale, even a non-Christian alcoholic is not allowed to start over. So much for alcoholics anonymous! If this rationale is applied across the board, those who accuse Christians actually damn themselves — the rationale implies that once we do something wrong, then we’re bound to do only wrong for the rest of our lives.

In conclusion, anybody who asserts Christians are hypocrites either has an incorrect understanding of what Christians are and has no idea what they’re talking about, or they just hate Christians. The apostle Paul (one of the authors of the New Testament in the bible) persecuted and killed Christians before he followed Christ and even when he did follow Christ, he talked about his ongoing struggle with sin in Romans chapter 7. To accuse Christians of being hypocrites is to completely miss the point of needing a savior — Jesus Christ. If all this is not convincing--consider that the definition of a hypocrite is just to say one thing and do another--everybody has done that, so technically everybody is a hypocrite, including the Christian haters.

Faith: The Correct Definition

False definitions of “faith” abound in the secular world. From what I’ve been able to tell, many atheists love to set the definition of faith as, “belief in something with NO evidence." It seems they do this to poke fun at anyone who believes in an intelligent creator of the universe. They could also use the definition to make it seem as though it’s unreasonable to have faith in God. But is this the true definition of faith?

If God is supernatural, not being subject to physical laws of the universe, the only way atheists themselves could hold to their belief that God doesn’t exist is by FAITH (using their own definition of it), since they believe in only what can be measured in the physical universe — if atheists believe in only what can be measured in the physical universe, how can they prove that something outside the physical universe doesn’t exist? So again, they contradict themselves.

The definition of actual biblical faith in the bible is: “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) That’s way different than the atheist definition of faith. Nowhere in that definition says that faith is baseless with NO evidence. In fact, in the bible in Romans 1, it says, “…The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth through unrighteousness. For what may be known about God is clear to them since God has shown it to them. The invisible things about Him—His eternal power and deity—have been clearly seen since the creation of the world and are understood by the things that are made, so that they are without excuse.” “Understood by the things that are made, so that they are without excuse” — that’s heavy. This implies that there are no true atheists. Stuff exists, and not only does stuff exist, but there is beauty, order, truth, logic, morals, and complex life everywhere. To believe that sometime in the distant past, nothing exploded into matter which randomly evolved into everything is baseless and shows a desperate attempt to evade moral accountability to a creator. Furthermore, it says that they “suppress the truth." They know the truth but they push it down and away from them because they don’t want to be accountable to a creator. They want to be their own God. This is probably the main reason most atheists can’t be reasoned with, especially internet atheists. Furthermore, the assertion that people base their belief in Jesus Christ on "no evidence" is unfounded. The new testament is written with much emphasis on eyewitness testimony. In general, people don't accept the evidence presented to them because their ideals are threatened. In the words of Frank Turek, "They're not on a truth quest, they're on a happiness quest."

Atheists implicitly believe and aggressively advocate that the universe came from nothing, nobody, and for no reason. All the complexity of life and beauty in the universe arrived randomly — that is the world view of atheists — many of whom work very hard and long hours spending their lives preaching that there is no God only to (in their eyes) cease to exist one day. 

Fallacies of Militant Atheism

It’s exhausting to read through online forums and social media containing the bitter, angry, slanderous, condescending, and immature comments put forth by those who call themselves atheists. Not so much because reading can be physically exhausting, but because reading such slanderous and condescending remarks are emotionally draining. I can feel an emotional and physical sickness falling over myself by reading too many of these comments — from what I’ve been able to gather, many other people feel the same way.

How can these atheists feel any joy within themselves and their lives in general? How can they post a slanderous comment right before bedtime, go to sleep happy about it, and wake up rushing to see who responded to their slander, day after day? These atheists who claim to have superior knowledge over those who believe in God live such a lifestyle that is proven by science (their own unofficial religion) to be emotionally unhealthy, which is a contradictory lifestyle — yes, anger, in the long run, has a damaging physical effect on the body as well as the mind.

It should also be pointed out that if atheists truly are superior in their intelligence, they would be aware of the fact that there is extremism in which people murder and do terrible things, including but not limited to things in the name of Jesus. Propagating false doctrine and incorrect interpretation of scripture is an example of extremism among those who claim to be Christians, especially Catholics. Atheists read bible scripture and interpret it through the lenses of their ideals; when it doesn't match up with their ideals, they reject it or attempt to falsify it, which is the basis of atheism and liberal "churches" today. Atheists are generally ignorant of the bible and in many cases, willingly. 2 Peter 3:5 says, "...for this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water..."

The general consensus among many mainstream scholars — and this is my own opinion — is that atheists base the claim (that God doesn’t exist) on negative emotions and experiences rather than rational thinking. eg “Someone made me go to church as a child and told me I was going to go to Hell if I didn’t…I was traumatized by it…Therefore God doesn’t exist.” “Dishonest people who claim to be Christians try to con people out of their money…this makes me angry…Therefore God doesn’t exist.” “The way to God as told by multiple pastors are too varying and confusing…Therefore God doesn’t exist.” “God committed genocide as told in the bible…I SAY that is not moral...Therefore God doesn’t exist.” As one can see, there are major logical fallacies in these arguments put forth by atheists — that is, they make tremendous and irrational leaps in logic, creating false conclusions. I can go on and on. These conclusions are drawn based on emotions rather than rational thinking, and yet the majority of atheists claim to be the “rational thinkers” of modern-day society. Commenting on some of the paraphrased arguments above: 1) Going to a building on Sunday morning isn’t going to save us from Hell — this is, unfortunately, a lie put forth by some organizations. 2) Indeed, people do try to con others out of their money while masking themselves as Christians which is a sign that they are probably not real Christians. 3) There is only one way to God according to true non-denominational Christianity — not several as various pastors have put forward — see The Definition of Salvation. 4) Regarding genocide, stop believing what angry people say on the internet — study the Bible more closely and (if necessary) obtain counsel who understands scripture in its proper context. Perhaps more context to genocide in the bible will help. One of the most common complaints against God is that he authorized the slaughter of the Canaanites. The Canaanites were actually doing what people today would consider evil. They sacrificed babies to one of their deities called Molech. Molech was a bronze statue of a bull with outstretched arms — The statue was heated up and babies were laid on the hot arms. Drums were played loudly so that parents could not hear their babies crying in agony while they sizzled to death. God always has good reasons for doing things, just don't take the word of haters on the internet. Do your own research.

Whatever the case, the claim that God doesn’t exist is not tenable, or livable. If God doesn’t exist, then objective truth doesn’t exist. Without a logic standard that transcends humanity, it’s everyone's opinion against everyone else’s. If objective truth does not exist, then the claim that "God doesn’t exist" falls apart since it claims to be objective truth.

The Cult of Tithing

Sometimes I hesitate to divulge that I’m a Christian on the internet — not because I’m ashamed of having accepted Jesus Christ as my savior, but because the term “Christianity” has been watered down by cult offshoots, and nonsensical, denominational, and ideological rules to the point that the word has virtually no objective meaning.

Whatever the case, within the circle of Christendom and aside from the erroneous idea that salvation from sins can be “lost” is an old but seemingly growing cult in which members thereof attempt to bribe God with money in order to obtain and secure material and financial blessings. The doctrine works like this: If we give a minimum of 10% of all our financial income to a “church” or some other worthy cause (though I’m not sure who defines “worthy”), then God will bless us materially and financially. But, if we DON’T give that minimum 10%, then God will effectively drop a hammer down on us and take away all or some material or financial blessings. Essentially, the doctrine says that God is up in the sky watching as we receive our paychecks waiting to see how the funds are allocated — if the funds aren’t allocated as God sees fit, then He curses us! This 10% in the old testament of the bible was called a “tithe” or “tithing.” One might see how this sort of doctrine can appeal to so many, especially in an age where material gain and prestige are highly esteemed — and we can bet that there are propagators of the doctrine out there looking for people to prey on. The whole system is banked on fear, greed, and superficiality.

Ministers of this cult take their ideology out of context from the book of Malachi in the old testament of the bible. Malachi says, “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me. But you say, “How have we robbed You?” In tithes and offerings.  You are cursed with a curse, your whole nation, for you are robbing Me. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this, says the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing, that there will not be room enough to receive it.” The reason the verse is not being used in the correct context by these cult leaders is that “tithes” were given to support temple worship while waiting for Jesus Christ — the Israelites were expecting Him. The shedding of blood via animal sacrifices in the temple worship was intended to foreshadow the coming of Jesus who would once and for all shed His own blood for the sins of humanity. A reading of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament of the Bible helps put this concept into perspective. Once Jesus died (by crucifixion), the temple worship was no longer required and tithing was implicitly done away with. The new testament gives us instructions for giving today which I’ll get to in a moment.

There are some rather crude and serious implications regarding the doctrine of tithing as it’s sold by leaders of this growing cult. I’m sure most people have heard about the concept of “karma." One way Karma is defined is that if we do something “bad” then bad things will happen to us, but if we do something “good” then good things will happen to us. Notice the parallel of karma to tithing? Imagine this — while sitting in a coffee shop with some tithing friends, one accidentally spills coffee on himself. If onlookers adhere to the doctrine of tithing and are logical and consistent in the belief, they SHOULD say or think something along the lines of, “Oh my gosh!!! God has this person under a curse for not tithing. I’m going to turn up my nose and let God finish punishing this person.” In general, anytime somebody is seen suffering by one who tithes, the sufferer will be perceived as one who is under God's "curse." That is essentially what karma and tithing boil down to. The concept of tithing as it’s sold by these cult leaders, and most of their followers, is logically no different than the concept of karma which is not by any means a concept prescribed by God — the concept of karma does away with any notion of God’s mercy, forgiveness, and patience. Karma and tithing as they are sold by cult leaders are Satanic concepts having no place in a group of true followers of Jesus.

Anyone who is serious about helping with God’s work in this world is not obligated to give a minimum of 10% of all their income. God is not a vending machine that dispenses goods double or triple the value of the money is inserted. The apostle Paul, in speaking about how followers of Jesus should be giving today says, “...Each person should do as he has decided in his heart–not reluctantly or out of compulsion since God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) This standard of giving set forth by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament, and the Old Testament law requiring tithing are very different types of giving and they cannot BOTH be applicable for today. Either one or the other applies. Why would Paul have written out a whole new standard of giving if the Old Testament law of tithing still applied? If one feels like giving 10% (or even more) of any kind of income to help God’s work, then that is just fine and it’s nobody’s business except the giver’s and God’s. However, do not feel obligated to give a minimum of 10%.

It bugs me how some pastors throw out the word “tithe” during their sermons, not explicitly defining what they mean by it, not taking a position one way or another so as not to offend anyone and potentially lose members (money!). It seems they leave it up in the air for everybody to decide for themselves what it means, possibly leaving the listener with an overwhelming sense to come back the following Sunday with a minimum of 10% of their income. Using the word “tithe” interchangeably with “giving” should not be done. The cult spoken of herein exists within a wide variety of erroneous church denominations — cults within cults. Sadly, the cult even exists within circles of true but misinformed followers of Jesus.

The Definition of Salvation

If the initial paragraph below seems typical, just be patient. There are points afterward that I think will help — the initial reading is necessary as a primer to the points afterward. I’m hoping that this blog will serve as a bridge to some who are curious about Jesus Christ and have been turned off of knowing him because of alleged and stupid conduct requirements, corruption, arrogance, and superficiality commonly exhibited by many “church” goers. The phony front doesn’t stop with some church organization members — it can and often does extend into the organization's leadership and administration. I also expect that this blog will help liberate some people who already follow Christ.

In Jeremiah 17:9 it says, “The heart (of man) is more deceitful than all things and desperately wicked; who can understand it?” The last part, "Who can understand it," is an emphasis that we are blind to the extent of our own potential evil. While that probably offends some people — especially in this age of political correctness — it’s what God says about the natural condition of the human soul. People are naturally self-centered. Evidence of this is the fact that as children we have to be taught to share. We have to be taught that throwing tantrums is not right. We have to be taught that lying and stealing are wrong. We have to be taught generally that the world does not revolve around us as individuals. Because of the natural self-centeredness, we fall short of God's transcending standard of good. Jesus Christ saved us when he took the punishment on himself for the aforementioned evil (past, present, and future) when He allowed Himself to be crucified, rising from the dead three days later (that means he can save us — He is alive). If we accept what Christ did — the outward evidence being we tell him that — then, when standing before God on the day of reckoning after death, we’ll be allowed into heaven and not forced to live eternally separated from God in a place of suffering called Hell. Yes, Hell — I won’t be politically correct about anything in this blog. Hell is not a place God puts people for not worshiping Him — many Christians themselves will at times become caught up in self-worship. Rather, Hell is a place people go to for eternity after death as punishment for sin having rejected Christ’s forgiveness — again, the issue is not worshiping God — the issue is our sin. Romans 10:9: “…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Upon accepting Christ’s forgiveness, one would be allowed into the gates of Heaven not because of good deeds done by the person, but because of what Jesus did. Jesus said, “…Nobody comes to the father (God) except by me." People can’t do good deeds, keep the 10 commandments, or keep the Mosaic law as a way of earning their way to Heaven. The Ten Commandments were given to make our sins known to us — not to save us by trying to follow them. If we could be saved by doing good deeds then Jesus died on the cross for our sins in vain. In Galatians 2:21, Paul is speaking of that very principle: “I do not nullify the grace of God. For if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ died in vain..” Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one should boast.” Salvation from sin cannot be lost once obtained — that would imply that we have to earn our way into heaven — we already established that salvation cannot be earned. However, despite being saved from Hell, doing things in this life that we know God disapproves of still leads to negative consequences that will be sustained in this life as well as in the afterlife — the new testament tells us God will reward those who steward their gifts to help Christ's ministry. Every person who accepts Christ will give an account to God for the things they have done.

Before moving on, I need to address the question about how people were saved before the time of Jesus, how people are saved who never hear about Jesus, and how babies are saved since they haven't reached an age of sufficient knowledge. These questions can be a stumbling block for some.

Before the time of Christ, people had knowledge of sin in two different ways. The Gentile world (non-Jews) were convicted of sin via their consciouses, and when God set apart the nation of Isreal about 1500 BC for the purpose of ushering in Jesus Christ the messiah, Israelites alone were given a direct knowledge of sin via the ten commandments, although knowledge of sin via conscience was not necessarily negated. The gentile world lived by their conscience "with the law of God written on their hearts" as you'll see, and the Israelites had knowledge of sin by the ten commandments. In the book of Genesis, there is an encounter between God and Abraham. God tells Abraham that his offspring will be innumerable. Abraham believed God and He counted his belief as righteousness — Abraham then had an eternal right-standing with God. Occasionally, those who had a right-standing with God would bring animal sacrifices to Him as an outward act of faith and confession. The Israelites, though not all of them were swayed by God, gained a right-standing in the same way, by believing God — although their method of confessing sin and dealing with sin was a little different, and far more methodical. In the old testament book Habakuk it says, "Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith." People in the old testament acquired right-standing with God by merely believing what God said, i.e., faith. The apostle Paul confirms this in the new testament Galatians 3:11 when he says, "Now it is evident that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, for ‘The just shall live by faith.'" Paul, here, is quoting from the old testament book Habakuk. We can see that attempting to keep the "law" or the ten commandments does not save us from our sins, but only our faith in God during the pre-Christ era, and by putting our faith in Christ after his death and resurrection. Christ was the final sacrifice for sins which was foreshadowed by the killing of animals during the old testament period. Instead of occasionally killing animals as outward evidence of our faith, we now put our trust in Christ one time and confess our sins to him as we encounter them. Note that Paul in 2nd Romans, confirms the pre-Christ method of salvation:  "As many as have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and as many as have sinned under the law will be judged by the law, for the hearers of the law are not justified before God, but the doers of the law will be justified [this does not mean we can earn salvation]. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, not having the law, are a law unto themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, while their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them, in the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Jesus Christ." In summary, the gentile world who were not given the ten commandments had knowledge of God via their conscience, and when God set Israel apart giving them the ten commandments, God's law was revealed in a more direct way, although attempting to keep these laws as a way to salvation cannot be done. Our merely believing what God says or faith in Jesus Christ only can do it. In Galatians 2:21 Paul says, "I do not nullify the grace of God. For if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ died in vain." For those who never "hear" about Jesus, I believe God's law written in their hearts still gives them knowledge of sin, and that they may choose or reject him. Furthermore, in Acts 17 it says, "He [God] has made from one blood every nation of men to live on the entire face of the earth, having appointed fixed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek the Lord so perhaps they might reach for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us." Many people who hear about Christ reject him, and God knows many of the people who don't have access to regular books, writings, or communications would not accept Christ even if they knew about Him.

Regarding how babies and children are accountable to God. God says that everybody will give an “account." Romans 14:12 says, “So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.” Furthermore, in Revelation 20 it talks about how those who have rejected God and Christ will stand at the great white throne judgment and give an account for all their sin. Nowhere in the bible does it say that there is a specific age of accountability. However, the age of accountability is clearly implied but varies for each person. God revealed himself to man through his creation and through Jesus Christ as said above, and since an “account” is going to be given to God, it must imply that whenever somebody has the capability of understanding, an account is going to be given for the understanding and light retained by the person. Though, because of natural disabilities that people are born with which theoretically could serve to inhibit the ability to understand, I can only presume that they would not be accountable in the same way others are. Ultimately, God is perfect in his judgment and will not send anyone to Hell that doesn’t deserve to be there. Furthermore, consider King David from the old testament who had a close relationship with God. David made the mistake of having an affair with a woman. A child was conceived through it. Even though God forgave David for the deed, God let illness fall on the baby, who died. After David wept for the child (while he was sick) David was happy after the child died because David knew one day he would get to see the child again (in Heaven). In 2nd Samual 12:23, it says, “…His servants said to him, “What is this thing you have done? You fasted and wept for the sake of the living child, but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He explained, “As long as the child was alive, I fasted and wept because I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me, so that the child may live.’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Am I able to bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” This implies that people who are not old enough to make critical decisions are not doomed to hell, but rather, God brings them to heaven if they die before the age of accountability.

Finally, I’ll move onto some interesting points, clearing up some misunderstandings and lies that some organizations propagate — making it easier for people unfamiliar with Christ to approach him. The following points (and examples of conduct) are what a lot of onlookers tend to see when observing people who claim to be Christians. Keep in mind when reading the points below there are two types of churches in existence today. There is what is known as the “apostate” church which is composed of people who outwardly profess to accept Jesus Christ (but inwardly reject Him). The other type of church is the body of people who truly have accepted Jesus Christ as atonement for their sins — however, in many cases, this group has been led astray by lies. Though they are saved by the grace of Jesus Christ and cannot lose their salvation ever, they live in bondage to the acceptance of false doctrine.

1. We’re not required to go to “church” if accepting Christ as our savior. In the bible, Christians are called to have “fellowship” with other Christians. That does not specifically mean getting up every Sunday morning and attending services at some organization or building. The body of true Christians consists of all those worldwide, and is called the "church." Fellowship with other Christians can be done in several different ways — there are plenty of things to do. A pastor/congregation type of model was typically carried out but unfortunately, it's hard to find pastors that don't teach denominational gobbledygook or other bad doctrines. If one must seek a pastor-based fellowship, calling friends together to watch online sermons in a homegroup could work. The advent of the internet has broken down many barriers. Personal ministries of various kinds can also be started so that one can utilize their God-given gifts and talents for spreading the gospel, and fellowshipping in this way.

2. There’s nothing wrong with doing “work” on Sunday, and Christians today are not required to keep the old testament Sabbath day. See Romans 14:5-6 "One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord."

3. We don’t have to give 10% of all our income (money) to an organization in order to receive blessings from God. In the old testament, as part of the Mosaic law, the Israelites were required to give 10% of certain resources to the service of the temple worship. At the temple worship, routine sacrificing of animals was done foreshadowing the coming of Jesus Christ to make the final sacrifice for all sin (dying on the cross). Once Jesus Christ came, died, and rose, the temple worship was no longer required so this requirement to give 10% of certain resources was implicitly done away with. For the record, tithe literally means 10%………We are now called to give as we are led to give by God and we are not to do it out of obligation. If giving 10% or more is desired that’s fine, but do it only if felt it’s the right thing to do. God is not going to bless us any more or any less on the mere premise of giving or not giving a minimum of 10% of all our income — thinking otherwise is essentially trying to bribe God who is not a vending machine. Some pastors will beat their members with a proverbial righteous stick until they start giving them what they want (including 10% of their income). In my opinion, pastors who propagate this idea are either ignorant or trying to scam people. See my blog here: The Cult of Tithing

4. WE DON’T HAVE TO SPEAK IN “TONGUES”. What in the bloody world is “TONGUES” ????… Basically, when the Holy Spirit indwelled the first body of believers, the gift of speaking in LITERAL other languages was given so that people who spoke literal (real) other languages could hear the message of Christ being preached to them. However, people try to interpret “tongues” to be a whirling dervish babble that is not understood by anybody, even the person speaking it. More about tongues

5. Water Baptism is not necessary to receive salvation from God: There are instances in the new testament of the bible where it would seem like water baptism is necessary to receive salvation. If you don't study this aspect carefully, it can be easy to fall into the water baptism trap. The first few years or so after Christ's death and ascension yielded some confusion among people, regarding Christian conduct and procedure. When God set aside Israel as stewards of the gospel of Christ due to their rejection of Him, Paul was converted to Christianity about the same time after persecuting the Christians, where he wrote concerning his gospel which is the gospel in effect today, that "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.' There is no mention of water baptism here or any other place where Paul talks about his gospel in the 12 books he added to the new testament. During the first few years after Christ's resurrection and ascension, the issue can be confusing because the apostle Peter seemed to indicate a one-time water baptism was required as outward evidence of accepting Christ. It's my conviction that salvation has always been by FAITH alone (no works) -- in the old testament, one's salvation was evident by obedience to God, particularly by sacrificing animals as a foreshadow of the coming Christ. While Jesus walked on Earth, He rendered salvation to people based on their faith alone, including to the thief who hung on a cross next to Him. 

6. Here are some miscellaneous things that a Christian does not need to do, which makes true Christianity look like a ridged and senseless routine. This is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list, by far. We don’t have to do “Hail Marys” or “our father” prayers. We don’t have to pray to dead people who don’t hear us anyway — which is something God actually detests (we are to pray to God, not created beings). We don’t have to dip our fingers in “holy water” before having fellowship with our Christian friends. We don’t have to go knocking on people’s doors for two years, preaching. All God cares about is whether we believe in Him and accept the one free gift He has to offer — His gift of forgiveness based on His death and resurrection. When the criminal hanging on a cross next to Jesus suddenly repented, just moments before the criminal died, Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Jesus didn’t say, “Wait a minute! Have you prayed to any of my dead servants? What good deeds did you do? Were you baptized in water?” The criminal on the cross next to Christ — and Christ’s acceptance of him — is a perfect portrayal of how easy God made forgiveness of sins, and how doing good deeds does not earn a way to heaven.

Where is the Church?

The definition of Christianity has been watered down to the point that it’s almost indiscernible. Down through the centuries and, at an accelerated rate in the last 50 years or so, the mainstream of Christianity has notably divided and transformed into a new detestable one-world denomination — I refer to it as the denomination of Gobbledygook. According to one source, the definition of gobbledygook is “Language that is meaningless or is made unintelligible by excessive use of abstruse technical terms; nonsense." A woman I conversed with once told a China-man that she is a Christian — the China-man replied, “All Americans Christian." Sure!

The existence of denominations today is the biggest contributor to the new one-world gobbledygook order. The existence of denominations sets an example and norm that pushes others into thinking it’s fine for the church to be divided — all it has done is SNOW-BALLED, giving way for unbelievers to mock Christianity. The apostle Paul condemned the division of the church into denominations. In 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 he says, “Now I ask you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak in agreement and that there be no divisions among you. But be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brothers, by those who are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this is what I mean: Every one of you is saying, ‘I am of Paul,’ or ‘I am of Apollos,’ or ‘I am of Cephas,’ or ‘I am of Christ.’ Is Christ divided'”? Christians of Paul’s time were dividing themselves for some reason, and Paul condemned the division. Yet today we have pastors effectively saying, “Sure I know what Paul says, but I’m going to do what I WANT to do and package and promote brands of Christianity,” contributing to dividing the church, causing mass confusion. When the church was born about 2000 years ago it was supposed to be of "one mind and judgment" (not divided), even though groups met and lived in different cities. Paul asserted that Christians should take on different jobs depending on their gifts and talents, but that is an ENTIRELY different thing than starting or supporting a BRAND of Christianity based on disagreement over the interpretation of scripture. Sadly, however, even so-called "non-denominational" organizations teach false interpretations of scripture. I have observed few, if any, non-denominational "churches" that don't teach something false or is not afraid to speak up about an important subject out of fear of offending members. Furthermore, now political extremism is creeping into the mix, making the matter worse — creating more twisted spinoffs of Christianity.

In today's mainstream of Christianity, scriptures are tweaked and distorted so that the individual creates an image of God in the mind that suits themself — this is essentially the worship of the self — the so-called popular "new age." In Matthew 7:13, Jesus says, “Enter at the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who are going through it, because small is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” This is Jesus Christ telling in summary what I’ve been trying to emphasize in this blog. There is gobbledygook in the world that looks good and is pleasing for a season, but its end is death and eternal separation from God with no pardon from sin which can only come from accepting Jesus Christ. It’s worth mentioning that before God flooded the Earth to get rid of the mass amount of evil that was in it, as told in the book of Genesis, there were only 8 people out of the (probably millions) that were spared from the flood. Nobody believed what God said except for Noah and his family.  All the world except for Noah and his family took the broad “way that leads to destruction,” just like Jesus said above.

Christians are commanded to have fellowship with other believers, but that does not mean specifically attending some building or organization that calls itself a "church." The true church is actually the body of believers who have accepted Christ — the church is not a building. There are other options for fellowship besides attending these so-called "churches."

There are individuals who are truly saved by Christ and belong to denominations, or non-denominations who teach bad interpretations of scripture. My only advice is to stop listening to the pastor, pray for guidance, and study the bible more carefully.

Are Christians Deluding Themselves?

A ubiquitous argument being propagated today is that Christians believe in Jesus Christ and spending life after death in Heaven as a feeble attempt to feel better about their existence and future. Most people want there to be something more to life than going through the average routine day after day only for it all to end with ceasing to exist one day — after death. Even non-Christians, atheists, and many other types of people dislike the idea of ceasing to exist. I’ve seen the phrase and ideology used many times over (to some effect) that eternal life is “possible” by impressing people to the point that they never forget you. This implies that most people do not want to cease to exist. It could be argued just as easily that people holding to this ideology are themselves deluded, therefore, it’s a double standard to argue that Christians are using a feeble attempt to feel better about their existence and future. Assert arguments in a way that is not hypocritical, and in a way that is not based on speculation of the motives of individuals.