Tolstoy on Self delusion and avoidance of responsibility

97i/43/huty/9230/09“So it would be, were it not for the law of inertia, as immutable a force in men and nations as in inanimate bodies. In men it takes the form of the psychological principle, so truly expressed in the words of the Gospel, ” They have loved darkness better than light, because their deeds were evil.” This principle shows itself in men not trying to recognize the truth, but to persuade themselves that the life they are leading, which is what they like and are used to, is a life perfectly consistent with truth.”

Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God Is Within You

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CS Lewis on Christian attitudes

If you are really a product of a materialistic universe, how is it that you don’t feel at home there?

We want, in fact, not so much a father in heaven as a grandfather in heaven: a senile benevolence who, as they say, “liked to see young people enjoying themselves” and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, “a good time was had by all.”

Enemy-occupied territory-that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign in sabotage.

Christianity asserts that every individual human being is going to live for ever, and this must be either true or false. Now there are a good many things which would not be worth bothering about if I were going to live only seventy years, but which I had better bother about very seriously if I am going to live for ever.

CS Lewis

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Why is Christian faith important?

The faith of a Christian is not like a faith in fairies, the difference being that we are dealing with issues of life and death. It is identical to a burning plane 30,000 feet in the air. When one is given a parachute to jump out of the burning plane and save his life, he can either believe that the parachute will save him, or doubt the quality of the equipment. For example, he might question whether the ropes on the parachute are frayed or even whether the material will carry his weight, in which case he will go down with the plane in his unbelief or through hesitation. Both will be equal to unbelief because the plane is going down whatever he decides to do.

Heb 11 Vs 6

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The meaning of life

I do not see how it would be possible to find a meaningful life in a meaningless universe. The only purpose that is worth of life is something bigger than life itself. It is more than maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain for a few years on earth. The only purpose worthy of life is to be part of grander vision – the redemption of creation, the pursuit of justice, becoming a saint.

Know doubt – John Orthbergjohn_ortberg

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Time alone with God

I believe that one reason Jesus looked for solitude is to find a place not only to reflect on what that day had brought him but to spend time with his father. It’s about the relationship.

 Fathers enjoy observing their children but most of all they love when their children share their thoughts and ideas with them. It is that kind of relationship that can help a child grow in his understanding of God and the world around them. God never intended for us to stay ignorant like children all our lives. Even though God commands us to stay pure and soft-hearted like children.

 If I need to understand what happened today, why God allowed certain things to enter into my life, and if I am just rushing through life, should I not stop and reflect on how I can process and learn from my past experiences?

 This is what we call our walk with God. I cannot claim that he is part of my life if I don’t spend any time with him. If I only see him as some kind of cosmic vending machine that gives me sweeties every time I punch in a number and put some money in it.   I need to understand that God is not created for my benefit, but that I am created to give glory to my God for all the blessings I enjoy because of him. How can I have peace, know love, understand grace, appreciate mercy if I just continue to run and never stop and talk to God?

 A good relationship can only exist when love is at the centre of it.  If I am obsessed with benefiting from someone without caring for them I would suggest that this is exploitation.  This, however, will not bring me joy but shame.

 For an honest exchange of ideas and open heart-to-heart discussions to take place, we must give each other time. Time is that most precious of resources we all have at our disposal.  There are times when we may feel driven to act right now and make the best use of our time.  However, sometimes it is simply the time to wait and enjoy each other’s company which, too, is an activity worth pursuing.

 Here is a question that I have to ask myself daily, if I value my relationship with God, how much of my time do I give him?

psalm-1-w-tree

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Matthew 14:13 – 21 The Feeding of the Five Thousand

In contrast to drunken feast of evil ruler Herod Antipas in 14:6-11

One miracle recorded in all four Gospels. “Herod’s party,” Vs “God’s party.”

SON’S SOLITARY Place on hearing this news about John’s (Baptist) death, Jesus withdraws to a solitary place by boat. / We all need time to grieve.

Not interested to see anybody. Leave me alone in my grief.

Jesus in Gethsemane / overwhelmed with distress / quiet of the garden. None but God saw Jesus in his soul-wrestling.

Jesus is followed by people Like bees to the flowers (So much needed Jesus)

Worst possible marketing strategy – go to deserted place to preach / attraction.

He went by ship into a desert place.

  • His apostles had returned from their mission (Luke 9:10);
  • They needed rest, no time even to eat.”
  • Poor Galileans followed Jesus on foot out of cities to deserted place.
  • Poor Galileans were better instructed than the wealthy, wicked prince.
  • In the desert, trusting in him; When Jesus is with us, we are safe.
  • Five thousand men. This did not include the women and children.
  • The total number may have stretched to 10,000 or more, far larger than the populations of most villages surrounding the Sea of Galilee.
  • The Church tradition: West of Capernaum, past the traditional site of the Sermon on the Mount, above the Heptapegon (“Seven Springs”), at present-day Tabgha.
  • This area was a favorite hideaway for Jesus. pilgrim Egeria (a.d. 383–395):

Edward Payson’s Small Audience

In the Life of Edward Payson it is recorded that, on a stormy Sunday, the famous preacher had but one hearer. Mr. Payson preached his sermon, however, as carefully and as earnestly as though the great building had been thronged with eager listeners. Some months afterwards his solitary auditor called on him.

“I was led to the Savior through that service,” he said. “For whenever you talked about sin and salvation, I glanced around to see to whom you referred, but since there was no one there but me, I had no alternative but to lay every word to my own heart and conscience!”

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Problem with Absolutism and Relativism

For some time I have struggled with strong views of people based on their belief that they are absolutely correct. Equally wrong I find that so many people think that “everything is relative” therefore we cannot arrive at the point of truth on anything.

For some people the only absolute is that everything is relative if so can even that statement be trusted?

On the other hand we know that there are relative differences in culture, philosophy, law that is applied differently around the world etc.

I am always surprised by the regular TV statements that portray religion in the negative light because of some presenter’s had some unfortunate bad experiences in their past. Or opposite to that I find it rather unfortunate and uncomfortable feeling of shame when I watch TV evangelists damning everyone else who does not agree with their particular theological views.

Whilst I do believe that we can know absolute truth on some things, equally we must recognise that there are unknowns and vague areas where our knowledge is simply insufficiently acquainted with the facts that are necessary to form firm opinion.

I love debate and I believe in intellectual logic and reason as well as I believe in theological orthodoxy, but where is the point at which we need to accept that some things are certain whilst others are coincidences or uncertain inference that may or may not be related cause and effect elements of the same topic. (Some interesting debates these days on the issue of Young Vs Old earth, Global warming, predestination all stimulating but not essential)

I remember as a young man opening up my broken personal stereo because I was very keen to fix it and as I could not afford new one I knew that giving it a go was a right thing to do if I was to enjoy music that would not offend those around me. Choices were limited; I could not afford repair ether so there was only one choice open to me. I knew that I had to have a go and try to fix it.

I don’t have electronic engineering degree but I knew if I could see some disconnected wires I could try to work out where they belong and try and reconnect them. To make the long story short I did fix my personal stereo because it was obvious what was wrong as there were indeed two wires that were lose. But I could not fully understand all of the complexity in there. I believe this is exactly the same as with life, religion and God.

It seems to me that in this life I can know only limited number of truths. Most of the truths that interest me I find in the Bible, I guess as I get older I have come to realization that I cannot know everything of don’t have inclination to do the necessary search.

Therefore after some search (I continue to enjoy reading theology) I have found Bible to be trustworthy and to be proved again and again through subjects like Archaeology, History, philosophy and the also one of my favorite subjects defense of faith (Apologetics).

And here comes the main point for me here. At what point does the information and data about something need to be taken that bit further one more step in order for us to arrive to that point when we can have faith?

Faith that is logical, reasoned one that can be relayed on as being tested affirmed and accepted not as blind faith but one that can be called upon as being intelligent assessment of the situation and constructed not only on our past experiences but also our understanding of the world around us.

I wish that there was a shortcut that we could use, so that I don’t have to tell people that if they seek God they will find him. I wish that there is a mathematical formula that can be understood by all and accepted as absolute truth but science and faith are often intermingled and neither is always fully understood.

And this is why I believe that there must come a point where all my hard work my entire search for the truth will need to be committed to one way or the other. And this is why I have come to conclusion that for anything to make sense there has to be God. (My reasoning is that he must be the originator of logic otherwise what measure would we use to test anything) We must come to conclusion, that there is a God who is a creator of reason, logic, understanding minds that can see the mathematical certainty and recognize that some things are founded on the founder himself.

Pascal was right:

What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.
-Blaise Pascal

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