the returning

the returning

The usual format…was gradually laid aside as God began to loosen me up. I didn’t have to be so nervous or uptight- or phony. I had only been protecting myself out of fear.

After all, people weren’t hungry for fancy sermons or organizational polish. They just wanted love. They wanted to know that God could pick them up and give them a second chance.

— Jim Cymbala, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire


Hey there! My name is Tyler Hirsch, and I'm from Belleville, IL (that's by St. Louis). I just wanted to say I absolutely am enamored with this blog. I know I've been called to student ministry, and it's so exciting to see bloggers that are called to ministry like me. Hopefully we can become good friends down the road! Thank you for starting this blog! -Tyler from tyl3rhirsch

Thanks for reaching out Tyler! We appreciate the words of encouragement and hope to be able to grow alongside you and chase after Jesus together. 


Lifestyle evangelism only works if you actually get to evangelism. If you think you’re going to be some place, and they’re going to say, “You want a beer?” “No, I don’t want one.” “Please tell me about your God.” If you think that’s actually going to happen, then you’re a sad kind of naïve. You’re eventually going to have to open up your mouth and share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people.

— Matt Chandler

(Source: universe-boots)


Dear anonymous person, 

 

Thank you for asking. Here’s the short answer:

No. I’m not an atheist.

Here’s the long answer: 

The word “atheism” means “without gods” and asserts a position of certainty that no god exists. Some atheists claim that atheism does not assert that and is, in fact, the absence of an assertion, which is ridiculous to me. If atheism is the non certainty that there are no gods, then the term “atheism” fails to mean anything.

Atheists on either side of this definition will claim that there is simply no reason to believe in a god since there is no evidence to affirm His/Her/Its existence. Even if this statement were true, which it isn’t (and I’ll get there in a minute), atheism’s lack of evidence does not in any way disprove the existence of a god. Simply put, the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. I find it absolutely incredible that a person can start with the reasonable consideration of a universe without a supernatural creator and then from there, make the enormous leap to the certainty of no god with no real evidence to bridge this massive gap.

Atheism, as an effect, has been struggling since its own beginning to provide an adequate explanation for the origin of the universe. In this cause and effect universe, something always has to come from an antecedent something else. Ex nihilo (or “out of nothing”) cannot exist, so atheists go far out out of the way of observable evidence to speak of multiverses and big nothings colliding. Anything to avoid the supernatural big bang of an intelligent designer. 

The only reasonable way to end this infinite regress is the existence of a being capable of commencing an initial force, or big bang; a being which lives outside of the natural universe. A supernatural force is the only logical primary cause to this big effect in which we exist.

This is why the existence of a creator is what I would consider a logical axiom. Philosopher Alvin Plantinga refers to this type of belief as properly basic. 

How do I know that God truly exists?

How do I know that other minds truly exist outside of my mind?

How do I know that the past truly exists; that I didn’t just come into being seconds ago with preconceived, false memories?

None of these questions can be answered outside of subjective thought and yet most everyone operates within these and other axioms that simply don’t require the justification of other beliefs.

So why am I a Christian theist?

This properly basic belief has been confirmed by the personal revelation resulting from an honest pursuit of God. I simply witnessed the God who was there as revealed through the Bible, the historicity of Jesus, and the personal experience of the Holy Spirit.

Believing in God based on personal experience is just like believing in the past based on personal experience. Christian theism, to me, is not only the more plausible worldview, but the only possible worldview based on everything I logically know and understand, including the the way in which I can come to know and understand anything else. The ability to even consider and doubt God presupposes His existence in the life of that mind.

Whew, thanks anon. I’ve been meaning to get my thoughts sorted out on concerning all that. Whatever your reason was for asking, I hope I’ve expressed my views loud and clear. If anyone else would like to ask a question about anything, I’d love to try to give my best answer. Just click the tab to the left that says “ask me anything.” 

(simpleandy)


simpleandy: False Dichotomy Vs. God - a response to Evolution Vs. God →

simpleandy:

I will forever think of Rice Krispies as “Rice Bubbles”—a term given by Ray Comfort over breakfast at my parents’ house when I was a kid. Ray stayed with us for several days as he gave a seminar at our church. He preferred to stay with families at homes rather than hotels. My family and I enjoyed our time with Ray. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as an evangelist and in no way do I wish to question his character or motives, but here’s the deal—I watched his latest short documentary that he released on Youtube last Tuesday titled Evolution Vs. God and I’d like to voice some concerns.

Before even watching the film, I had already taken issue with the title.Evolution Vs. God? This kind of polarity falsely assumes that if the world of science ever finds sufficient major changes in the genomes of biological life over successive generations, then God cannot exist. While I am a Christian and not an evolutionist, my faith in God is not resting on the fulcrum that evolution is impossible. It‘s quite possible. All we can really do is speculate on its probability. There are many Christians such as Darrel FaulkDenis Lamoureux, and Francis Collins who are active in scientific communities and believe that evolution is a great explanation for how things are likely to operate here on Earth. There is no good reason to condemn the faith of people like Faulk, Lamoureux, and Collins solely on the fact that they find evolution to be probable. We don’t have to assume an either/or mentality here.

Evolution Vs. God is composed mostly of a series of intermittent questions posed to college students and professors. Overall, the nature of these questions camped just outside the realm of observable evidence, pushing toward a critical view of the evolutionists’ faith in their beliefs. 

“If you believe in evolution, prepare to have your faith shaken.” -quote from the Evolution Vs. God trailer

While the recurring word “faith” may have been used lightly to throw atheists off and hopefully find some vindication for atheism’s criticism of Christianity’s faith in God, I was not at all comfortable with the rhetoric that implies a comparison between my Christian faith and the faith that one might have in evolution. Drawing incorrect comparisons between the Christian and the evolutionist on faith can create a confusing semantic battle in the areas of evangelism and apologetics. There is no need to be part of the problem by muddying the waters of rhetoric.

Dear Christian, if science could provide conclusive evidence for evolution, would you have to abandon your faith in God? If so, your faith is on shaky ground and you have given your assumptions more authority in your mind than the One who is at the foundation of everything you know and see. Don’t let your view of creation turn God’s sky into a mere ceiling. I would like to appeal to a robust and well-informed agnosticism concerning the topic of evolution. Let’s allow the Lord to have accomplished Genesis one and two in whatever fashion He desired while encouraging scientists to stay honest to their findings without wandering too far from the actual evidence.

In conclusion, I would not recommend sending Evolution Vs. God to all your atheist friends. Despite the trailer’s claim, this film will probably not bring people to the conclusion that there is no evidence for Darwinian evolution.

Click here to view Evolution Vs. God.


simpleandy: Zeitgeist of the Internet Atheist →

simpleandy:

In 2007, a guy named Peter Joseph released a documentary called Zeitgeist: The Movie. The German word “zeitgeist” translates as “spirit of the age.” In this internet movie, three different conspiracy theories are shared, but I’d like to address what was said about Jesus, the Bible, and Babylonian mythology. 

About a month ago, I had an online discussion with an atheist who seemed to hold similar views of Jesus and Babylonian mythology as shared in Zeitgeist, but I wasn’t too familiar with this view. The reason why I have heard very little about the so-called pagan parallels to Jesus is because these views were dropped by scholars pretty quickly on good cause.

At the University of Göttingen, Germany, a group of Protestant theologians got together and started a movement in the late 1800’s called the “History of Religions School”. The explicit goal of this movement was to show that all religions of the world share a common lineage and that this could be proven by their parallels to each other. The implicit goal of this movement was an attempt to bypass the Jewishness of Jesus so that these anti-Semites could at last have their own Aryan Jesus grounded in Greco-Roman history. The History of Religions School died out in the 1930’s due to a severe lack of evidence. 

Zeitgeist’s pagan copycat theory is just an attempt at repackaging an old version of racist German theology and is actually being spread around the internet as fact. Most of the literature referenced in this documentary comes from this outdated movement, a very selfish and historically dishonest zeitgeist in and of itself. In this screenshot of the film, you can see some of the claims that Zeitgeist: The Movie tried to make concerning Jesus and Horus that simply aren’t there:

image



BORN ON DECEMBER 25TH:
There are no biblical references of Jesus being born on any specific day. The stories of Horus contain three different birth accounts. One of those lands on December 25th. Even if there were one singular account of Horus being born on Dec. 25th, nothing can be said of a parallel here. During Jesus’ birth, we know Caesar Augustus issued a census and that this was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria (Luke 2:1-3). If there was any evidence of Horus being born during a census of some kind, we might have a parallel. Christmas is named after “Christ’s Mass” — it’s simply a feast of the liturgical year when Christians commemorate Jesus’ birth.

BORN OF A VIRGIN:
According to Ian Shaw’s The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, the Babylonian myth has it that Osiris had been murdered, cut into several pieces, and spread all across Egypt. Isis, Osiris’ sister/wife found almost all the pieces and put Osiris back together. Almost all the pieces. She was short one piece…his penis. That part was said to have been thrown into the Nile River and eaten by catfish. Isis used her magic powers to resurrect him with just enough strength for one last sexual encounter and he was fashioned with a new golden penis so that their son, Horus could be conceived. This account can be called, bizarre or kinky, but one thing that it cannot be called is a virgin birth.

STAR IN THE EAST/ADORNED BY THREE KINGS:
Since Zeitgeist was wrong about Jesus’ birth being on December 25th, the assumption of the star in the East and three Kings following it is also wrong. Zeitgeist’s argument for a parallel “star” and “kings” hinges on this specific day of the year. As mentioned earlier, one of the three birth stories of Horus was December 25th which this film says is the day after Sirius (a bright star in the East) lines up with what Zeitgeist calls the ”Three Kings” (Orion’s belt). There is also a very important astronomy mistake here. Sirius lines up with the stars in Orion’s belt every single night, not just the 24th. On December 24th, these four stars can be found straight up in the sky, leaving them in the Western sky when the sun rises, as opposed to a straight line with the sun when it rises. Check it out for yourself this Christmas Eve.

Concerning the “Three Kings” specifically, we have another simple error that could have been avoided if the makers of this film had just read the Bible. According to the book of Matthew—which is the only book of the Gospels that gives an account of the magi visitation—an unnumbered group of wise men came from afar and gave Jesus three gifts (Matthew 2:1-12). I couldn’t find any account of Horus’ childhood which mentions three kings (other than the Zodiac comparison), but even if this was in the stories, it makes no difference. This is simply not the story of Jesus that the Bible tells us.

BAPTIZED/MINISTRY AT 30:
The Bible actually does say that Jesus was baptized and started his ministry at “about 30 years old” (Luke 3:23). So if there is any account of a baptism or anything related to a ministry of Horus at the age of 30, we might have a parallel. The only information that I can find on this particular parallel are the writings of an English poet and self-taught Egyptologist named Gerald Massey. He wrote a book called The Natural Genesis in 1883 (when the History of Religions School was very popular) which attempts to draw parallels between Horus and Jesus. This book has been unanimously dismissed among actual Egyptologists due to lack of evidence.

12 DISCIPLES:
Zeitgeist: The Movie movies says, “probably the most obvious of all the astrological symbolism around Jesus regards the 12 disciples.” There are 12 constellations that travel around with the sun (Horus), so according to this film it’s “obvious” that Christianity copied this in their story of Jesus. What Zeitgeistcalls “obvious” is actually quite a stretch. The only similarity is the number 12. There is, however, an obvious explanation for why Jesus chose 12 disciples. As a matter of fact, Jesus plainly stated why He chose 12. He said to his disciples in Matthew 19:28, “you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Jesus was obviously fulfilling the old covenant of Israel, where Christianity actually came from. You can buy a carton of one dozen eggs from the store, but that doesn’t infer that the selling of eggs are a direct consequence of Babylonian astrology.

LAMB OF GOD/THE LIGHT
Jesus was called the “Lamb of God” to represent his death as the fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrificial system of the Israelites. “Lamb of God” in reference to Jesus makes perfect sense when you put it in the Jewish perspective. For the life of me, I can’t find anywhere where Horus is referred to as the “Lamb of God.” Someone please chime in here if you know of a legitimate source that does so (a URL  kin to godisdumb.net or atheistpropaganda.org doesn’t count). 

Horus is the sky god of mythology. This contains the sun (Horus’ right eye) and moon (his left) and also the image of a falcon. Light comes from the sun, so if you wish to call Horus “the light,” I suppose you could make that vague stretch, but to call this a parallel story to that of Jesus is still preposterous.

CRUCIFIED
Crucifixion is a very real form of execution that was used by the Romans during the time that Jesus lived. Since Zeitgeist is claiming that the mythical stories of Horus predate Jesus by several thousand years (Zeitgeistclaims 3,000 B.C.), it would be ridiculous to assert that Horus was crucified. Crucifixion didn’t even exist until around 600 B.C. 

DEAD FOR THREE DAYS/RESURRECTED
Same as the “Lamb of God” reference, I can’t find any sources that have a record of these events occurring in the stories of Horus (other than Gerald Massey’s pseudo-Egyptology which was already addressed as lacking in legitimate scholarship). Horus’ dad, Osiris almost/sort of resurrected. After Osiris’ death, he was made king of the underworld. He didn’t have a bodily resurrection and wasn’t sacrificed for mankind, but he did continue to exist post mortem. I know that’s two huge stretches, but that’s all we’ve got in the area of parallelism here. There’s actually no original account of Horus’ death.

MY FINAL APPEAL (FOR TODAY)
I’m not at all against anyone and everyone making arguments on behalf of their worldview, but please, be reasonable. If disavowing the life of Jesus requires you to reject Babylonian and Jewish history, consider anti-Semitic theology, get a D- in Astronomy 101, or confound clearly defined terms, then you’ve crossed the line from rational inquiry, fallen off of Occam’s razor, and wandered into the land of mere wish fulfillment. Any honest skeptic should reject the indoctrinating lies of Zeitgeist: The Movie and other related internet garbage, but do not take my word for it. Research this for yourself. As in the case of the History of Religions School, people used to hide behind the name of God to do their puppeteering, now with the advent of internet atheism, they’re just doing it outright.