Attitude Toward the Existence of God

Attitude Toward the Existence of God

One of our readers sent us a quote that contains a great piece of advice we want to share with you. The statement was made by preacher and author Chuck Swindall. It has been quoted many times on the internet and elsewhere, but we see it as relating to a person’s attitude toward the existence of God:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude….I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how to react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.”

As Jesus talked to the people of His day, He frequently said, “how do you think” or “what do you think.” He wanted them to look at what they believed and why. The parable Jesus told of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18:9-14 dealt specifically with attitude and how it affects how we think and act. A person’s attitude toward the existence of God determines whether or not they are willing to examine the evidence. Furthermore, believing in God’s existence and accepting His love through Jesus Christ can change our attitude toward others and toward life itself. How is your attitude?

Faith and Evidence Go Together

Faith and Evidence Go Together

We get mail from people who suggest that if you accept science and evidence, you have demeaned God. “You just have to have faith,” one person wrote, “and saying that you need evidence devalues God.” I take strong exception to this claim on many levels, but my main objections are that it contradicts the Bible and eliminates evangelism in today’s world. Hebrews 11, “the faith chapter,” describes the faith of heroes of the Old Testament, including Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab. Let’s consider the connection between their faith and evidence.

For example, how did Moses get his faith? Did he come out of a vacuum and just have faith? Remember that his mother raised him and taught him about his people. What about the evidence of the burning bush and the staff that became a snake? Remember his discussions with God that gave him the courage to confront Pharaoh. What about the plagues in Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, the brass serpent, and receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai? Were those not evidence?

Also, read the story of Abraham and notice how many times God reassured him and how much evidence he saw before that near-sacrifice of Isaac. Using Hebrews 11 to justify violating the teachings of the New Testament is not only unwise, but it is also a violation of the teachings of the apostles. Faith and evidence are closely tied together in the New Testament.

For example, 1 Peter 3:15 tells Christians to “be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us to anyone who asks.” Romans 1:20 tells us we can “know there is a God through the things He has made.” Jesus set the example with Thomas, who at one time had been the strongest of the apostles (See John 11:16) but saw his faith collapse at the death of Christ. How did Jesus deal with this incredible failing in Thomas? Did He condemn him or cast him off as a weakling? Read John 20:24-29 and see how Jesus encouraged Thomas to examine the evidence.

Someone might refer to Acts 2-3, where people, in less than a day, gave their lives to God.
Realize that God had been preparing that “soil” for thousands of years, and Jesus had been planting and nurturing it for three years. Today the voices of atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, materialism, and paganism are louder than ever. We cannot withdraw into our cocoon of church buildings and not do what God has called us to do.

Read Acts 17 and see how Paul dealt with the philosophers and skeptics of his day. He didn’t call them to blind faith. Instead, he gave them evidence of “the God in whom we live and move and have our being.” Faith and evidence go together. We must use evidence as Jesus and the Apostles did, or our numbers will continue to shrink as we lose our children and grandchildren to Satan.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Cryonic Eternal Life

Cryonic Eternal Life

One of the byproducts of naturalism is the desire to achieve immortality. If you believe this life is all there is to your existence, the logical thing is to try to make this life eternal. One way to do that could be to have your body frozen when you die until science can find a way to make you live forever. Organizations such as the Cryonics Institute in Michigan are offering cryonic eternal life.

When you pay the fee for cryonic eternal life, technicians will prepare your body. When you are declared dead, technicians cool the body with ice water and keep the tissues oxygenated using CPR and an oxygen mask. Then, they fly the iced body to a laboratory and connect it to a heart-lung bypass machine that circulates the blood. Next, they pump in a solution to act as an antifreeze to prevent cell tissues from being destroyed by ice crystals. Finally, they cool the body to minus 320 degrees F in a tank of liquid nitrogen.

The idea is that when medical science advances and finds a cure for whatever caused the person’s death, they can revive the body, reverse the aging process, and give the person another shot at life. This is obviously a very theoretical idea. However, Shannon Tessier, a cryobiologist at Harvard University, points out that when scientists attempt to freeze a sample of human tissue, “the tissue is completely obliterated, the cell membrane is completely destroyed.”

Atheists have responded to our material by saying that they are going to be cryonically treated at death so they can live forever. However, it is obvious that the technology to make that possible is a very long way off and probably will never happen. More to the point, the only reason to do this would be a desperate attempt by people opposed to God’s plan to bypass the biblical injunction “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

Even if the proposed ideal of cryonic eternal life became real, think of the problems it would cause. Population issues would be astronomical, and all of the limitations placed upon us by our physical situation would still be present. How much greater would it be to accept a better eternal existence that God offers for free through Jesus Christ.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Discover magazine March/April 2022, page10.

What Does Your Faith Do For You?

What Does Your Faith Do For You?

No matter who you are, you live your life based on faith. I don’t mean just religious faith, but belief in things that are the foundation of how you live and make decisions. We must determine whether that faith is justified no matter what we put our faith in. So what does your faith do for you?

In our age, many people have rejected faith in God, but what has replaced that faith? The longer I live, the more times I have found my faith in something or someone was not justified. People I have had faith in have let me down. When the object of their faith crashes, including stock markets and marriages, some people take their own lives.

We all must ask if the things we have faith in relieve our fearfulness. It is hard not to be fearful when we see the political chaos in America and war in the world. If we have faith in the dollar, the effect of inflation can challenge that faith. Faith in a person can sometimes be ill-advised because people are prone to failure. Sometimes a marriage ends in divorce because faith in a person’s mate is destroyed by behaviors.

What does your faith do for you? The history of Israel was disastrous, and Deuteronomy 32:16-20 indicates it was because they failed to have faith in God. Jesus talked about the power of faith in Matthew 17:16-20 when He said that faith the size of a tiny seed could move the mountains we face in life. In Mark 4:34-41, when Jesus calmed the sea, He asked His followers why they were fearful. “How is it that you have no faith?” He asked.

If we base our faith on people or emotions, we are likely to fail. Instead, we must build our faith on evidence. A study of Thomas’ faith in John 11:16 and 20:24-28 shows that he based his faith on evidence. The purpose of this site is to help searchers find faith. I don’t mean just emotional faith but faith based on the evidence of God’s creation and design in all aspects of life.

No philosophy or belief system other than Christianity can produce stability in life and the ability to do things you never thought would be possible. Hebrews 11 gives us a picture of the role faith played in the lives of biblical people. Let me ask, “What do you place your faith in, and what does your faith do for you?”

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Teachings of Mohammad and Jesus Christ

Teachings of Mohammad and Jesus Christ - Bible and Quran

One of the ongoing struggles in the world today is the conflict between the followers of Mohammad and the followers of Jesus Christ. When science forced me to realize there is a God, I had no compelling reason to believe that the God who created time, space, and matter/energy was the God of the Bible. Looking for answers, I examined the teachings of Mohammad and Jesus Christ.

I got a copy of the Koran translated into English by N. J. Dawood, a Muslim, and published by Penguin classics. My Muslim friends have told me that no English translation is valid, but recent events in Pakistan have shown that my reading was the same as the mobs in Pakistan.

In addition to some scientific errors, the Koran has teachings that denigrate women. (See Women 4:34 and the Confederate Tribes 33:51-52.) It also commands violence. For example, The Spoils 8:37-41 commands Muslims to “make war on the Christians and Jews.” In Repentance 9:4-7, 9:14, and 9:122-125, Mohammad says to “make war on the Christians and Jews who dwell among you.” Let me hasten to say that my Muslim acquaintances are as disturbed as I am with these teachings and would never participate in them. The problem is with the teachings of Mohammad, not what all Muslims do.

However, recent events in Pakistan have shown that Muslims in that part of the world follow those teachings of Mohammad. On February 14, 2022, the Associated Press reported that a mob stoned a man named Mushtaq Ahmed, whom the accused of burning a Koran. When police tried to intervene, they were stoned and injured, and Amed was killed.

In a separate incident, a couple with four children in Punjab, Pakistan, were accused of sending written text messages criticizing Mohammad. Neither of them can read or write, but the mob tortured the husband and threatened his wife with sexual assault. They put the couple in prison for seven years and gave their four children to relatives.

As a man convinced that God exists, I could not embrace a book that taught things I knew were destructive and untrue. When I read the teachings of Jesus Christ, I saw a plea for peace, love, and non-violence. He elevated women and refused to return evil for evil. I saw the striking contrast between the teachings of Mohammad and Jesus Christ.

If you have doubts about the teachings of Christ and Mohammad, I would encourage you to get a copy of the Koran and read all of it. Then read Matthew through at least chapter seven. Compare the teachings of Mohammad and Jesus Christ. I am thankful that most Muslims I know do not accept Mohammad’s call for violence, his embracing of polygamy, or the abuse of women. Although there are many good things in the Koran, it also calls for a cultural dependence on violence and servitude. It fails to deal with what can change the world and make it a better place.

We have a chart listing difficult passages in the Koran, which you can read or download HERE.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: Associated Press for 2/14/22 reported in the South Bend Tribune, page 8 A.

Some Form Of Life Can Exist Anywhere?

Some Form Of Life Can Exist Anywhere?
Mount Shackleton in Antarctica

We read the media reports about efforts to find life on Mars, on various moons in our solar system, or planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy. These reports often give the impression that some form of life can exist anywhere we look in the cosmos. For example, on Earth, we find life in sea vents on the ocean floor and geysers in Yellowstone National Park, leading people to suggest that some form of life can exist anywhere. Add to that the presence of organic molecules in asteroids, and they say that life is out there if we just look in the right places and in the right way.

Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences published a study of 204 soil samples taken from mountains near the Shackleton Glacier in Antarctica. Scientists had predicted that this soil would contain microbes, as is true of soil samples all over the Earth. Instead, they found that 20% of the soil samples, those taken from the higher and dryer locations, had no detectable microbial life. The study seems to indicate that extreme cold and dry conditions can render an area devoid of life. Noah Fierer, one of the scientists involved with the study, said that this might be the first time scientists have found soils that did not support microbial life anywhere on Earth.

The idea that some form of life can exist anywhere in every kind of environment is an evolutionary assumption that is apparently incorrect. We know that extreme cold and dry conditions exist on Mars and many moons in our solar system. Assuming there is life elsewhere because it is so abundant on Earth and some bacteria do well in extreme conditions does not mean there is no limit to where life can exist. 

We have said many times that there might be life elsewhere in the cosmos, but if there is, God created it. This is not a biblical or apologetic issue, but these new discoveries indicate that there are limits to the environments where life can survive. 

— John N. Clayton © 2021

References: Science News for August 28, 2021, and Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences

Trusting God in Difficult Times

Trusting God in Difficult Times

For the past two days, we have looked at one of the struggles everyone faces– trusting God in difficult times. Of course, the atheist will claim that a loving, caring, just God would not allow innocent people to suffer terrible disasters in their lives. However, most of us have had a “why me?” experience where a problem afflicts us that we feel is unfair and which we beg God to remove – and frequently, He doesn’t.

Life often presents situations that require trusting God in difficult times. I am not suggesting that I know all the answers, but I see three reasons why we sometimes fail to trust God. First, we looked at how faulty thinking and reasoning can erode our trust in God. Secondly, we saw that not having a reason to live and thus seeing no value in the problems we face contributes to our lack of trust in God. We want to look at a third reason today:

REASON # 3 – We fail to trust God because we think that everything must have an answer that we can understand. Someone said, “If I can understand the thinking of God, then God isn’t God.” My experience in dealing with people who are immersed in a problem indicates that they don’t want a theological or philosophical answer to their problem. What they want is to be free of the problem. After many years of dealing with this issue, I have learned that the best thing I can say is, “I don’t know the reason, but I care.”

Deuteronomy 29:29 says, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God..” In the book of Job, God never reveals to Job the answer to why his problems exist. It is evident that there is a war going on between good and evil in this world. I don’t understand all that is involved, but just looking around, we can see the struggle. I can give theological answers to questions about this war, but you don’t care about theology or philosophy if you are hurting. You want to have a solution to your pain.

After God speaks, Job concludes, “I have heard of you by the hearing of my ear, but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5). Job came to realize that he is not smart enough or powerful enough to understand it all. Neither are we.

Trusting God in difficult times is our choice to make or not. However, learning to trust God fills our lives with purpose and direction. The promise of Acts 2:38 and John 14:26-27 is enough to make my life worth living, even with its pain and frustrations.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Trusting God When Things Go Wrong

Trusting God When Things Go Wrong

Yesterday we looked at a struggle that everyone faces— trusting God when things go wrong. We said that faulty thinking and reasoning can erode our trust in God. For example, atheists claim that a loving, caring, just God would not allow innocent people to suffer disasters in their lives. We looked at why that may be faulty reasoning.

Life tends to present situations that cause us not to trust God. The book of Job raises the question of why a “perfect and upright man who feared God and eschewed evil” should suffer massive loss and pain. I admitted that I had faced a problem in trusting God, and I am not suggesting that I have the question solved. In my early days of cynicism and ignorance, I actually said that I had given up on praying because what I prayed for didn’t happen the way I had asked.

So here is another reason for trusting God when things go wrong:

REASON # 2. We tend to think that there is no value in problems. To the atheist, a significant problem can lead to suicide. If things go badly for me and I see no hope that they will ever get better, why should I continue to struggle? If you have no purpose in life other than self-gratification, why go on with pain and problems constantly taking away any reason to live?

For the Christian, the answer to problems is radically different. The Bible is full of statements about problems and suffering leading to good things and joy in life. Examples are Proverbs 3:11-12; Psalms 119:71; James 1:2-3; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. In my own life, having a child born who was blind, mentally challenged, afflicted with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and schizophrenia has filled my life with purpose and direction. As my son dealt with those issues, including COVID-19, he radiated joy and purpose to the end of his life.

For the Christian, problems and pain can give purpose and direction in life. But, more than that, they bless those who believe with direct help from God promised in Romans 8:28, John 14:1-3, and 26. In addition, there is the hope and promise that ultimately things will be better, with no pain or tears or death (Revelation 21:4).

A purposeless life is a miserable existence. Trusting God when things go wrong can give us a purpose and a reason to live. Because those problems have strengthened my faith, I can provide help and support to others whose faith is faltering as they face similar issues. Tomorrow we will look at a third point that should help us trust God.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

We all struggle with the question of why bad things happen to good people. Atheists claim that a loving, caring, just God would not allow innocent people to suffer huge disasters in their lives.

Most of us have had a “why me?” experience where a problem afflicts us that we feel is unfair. We beg God to remove the problem, and He frequently doesn’t. The Bible is not ignorant of this issue. The whole book of Job is dedicated to why a “perfect and upright man who feared God and eschewed evil” should suffer massive loss and pain.

As one who has faced a problem in trusting God, I am not suggesting that I have it completely solved. In my early days of cynicism and ignorance, I actually said that I had quit praying for God to solve a major issue. It seemed that every time I prayed that something bad wouldn’t happen, it happened. I think there are three fundamental reasons why we don’t trust God or lose faith in God when confronted with the reality of life’s problems.

REASON # 1 – The first reason is faulty reasoning and thinking. We don’t reason very far when we think that everything should be fair. Psalms 73:2-3 talks about believing that prosperity would equate to fairness. Several years ago, singer Peggy Lee sang a song titled “Is That All There Is?” In the song, she spoke about wanting something badly, and then when she got it thinking, “Is that all there is?” We have all bought something we really wanted and then when we got it, we found that we were not enamored with it.

Is it fair that Bill Gates has a lot of money and I don’t? What would I demand in exchange for my wonderful marriage, which apparently Bill Gates didn’t have? Is it fair that I have a disease that you don’t have? Human greed, selfishness, ignorance, and carelessness cause most of our illnesses. Would it be fair for me to ruthlessly contaminate the environment with the result that someone in the future would not have the resources I enjoy?

If all a person would have to do was go to Church to become free of their problems, what would be the result? We would have churches full of people with a temporary, short-term faith that wouldn’t benefit anyone. When we question why bad things happen to good people, ask yourself, “Was it fair for Jesus to die on the cross?” In the heat of a crisis, it is easy to lash out at God. However, if we could look at life unemotionally, unselfishly, and logically, we would see that our anger at God is misplaced.

Faulty reasoning and thinking is the first reason for not trusting God. Tomorrow we will look at reason # 2.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

What I Learned in Paleontology Class

What I Learned in Paleontology Class - Trilobite Fossils
Trilobite Fossils

We want to share with you this article by Phillip Eichman about a class in paleontology, the study of the history of life on Earth based on fossils.

Back in the 70s, I was majoring in biology at Wright State University and needed some elective hours to graduate, so I signed up for a course in invertebrate paleontology. I had already taken a year of geology, and this was an upper-level course. However, what I learned in paleontology class when I was a young Christian made the course worthwhile.

I had been interested in rocks since I was a small child. So I began collecting them and found my first fossil before starting school. By the time I was in the fifth or sixth grade, my closet was stuffed with boxes of rocks and fossils, and I had practically worn out my Golden Guide book of Rocks and Minerals.

As a young Christian, I was a little concerned that this course in paleontology might somehow cause me to question my religious faith. But, as it turned out, this was one of my all-time favorite courses.

In the class, we went phylum by phylum, looking at the hard parts, noticing the main characteristics of the group, and learning how to identify the fossils. It was easy to see that the various groups developed, or evolved, over time, but they were still part of that major group. For example, the gastropods were still gastropods, and the brachiopods were still brachiopods. The same was true for the cephalopods, corals, trilobites, and others. There was no confusion caused by a huge number of “intermediate forms” that you hear about so often in the popular media.

This lack of intermediate forms is not consistent with the “amoeba to man” theory of evolution. It is, however, consistent with the biblical account of God creating various “kinds” of living things with the ability to change over time, or evolve, within those groups.

As has been pointed out many times in the Does God Exist? program, science and the Bible are not enemies if we understand both in the proper way. Instead of causing harm to my faith, what I learned in paleontology class and my study of fossils only strengthened my belief in God as the Creator.

— Phillip Eichman © 2021