Friday, November 30, 2007

A Note on Comments

During my absence many people have seen fit to reply to my various posts--for this I say thank you.

While many of the remarks left beg for a retort, and many more were just rehashes of previous remarks there are only two that I will deal with for now--both of which were remarks left on my last pre-hiatus post

The first remark I'll address is the one from "James" whose profile is inaccessible. He said that "...Christians are treated unfairly. They are the most singled out and persecuted religion behind perhaps Islam".

Now, I am not sure what country, or even planet James is from, but in this country (United States) as well as the rest of the Western World, saying that Christians are persecuted is like saying that white males are discriminated against---it's impossible. You cannot persecute a majority unless you have some kind of apartheid control over them.

Christians in this country control everything from foreign policy to social programs. They have more power in the legislative, judicial, business, and educational bodies than anyone else, and therefore maintain control over the lives of virtually everyone on the planet in one way or another.

Christians are and have been the biggest persecutors the World has ever seen: the Inquisitions, the witch hunts in Europe, the Crusades, the Ku Klux Klan, Christian support of slavery, and Jerry Falwell are but a few examples of persecution in the name of Christ. A Christian screaming "persecution!!!!!" is similar to Hitler (who claimed to be "...fighting for the work of the Lord."Mein Kampf, Ralph Mannheim, ed., New York: Mariner Books, 1999, p. 65.) calling someone a bigot.

The second remark I would like to address is one left by my friend Dan Marvin.

His comments leave open a lot of replies, but the one I'll address here is:
You all [atheists] seem to be fine and tolerate buddhism (sic), muslims (sic) or yes even satenism (sic) but when it comes to Jesus you get a deep hatred foaming at the mouth and slander whoever brings up the name Jesus Christ.

First of all, of course I tolerate Buddhists, Muslims, etc., just as I tolerate Christians. I just don't tolerate any of their attacks on me, or their baseless mythologies when they threaten to affect me or the ones I love.

Second, I have never slandered any body. Challenging their beliefs, and defending mine is in no way slanderous. Saying that they did something to me that they didn't would, however, be slanderous. As would saying that I have never backed up what I say.

Then there's the issue of hatred for people who bring up the name of Jeebus. I don't hate them, in many ways I pity them. And, in fact, I was married to a devout Catholic whom I loved very much, and to this day maintain correspondence with the Priest who held her funeral mass despite my having told him in a fit of grief at my wife's wake that his god could "go fuck himself if he was so compassionate that he would take my children's mother away from them and me." I have since apologized for that comment, but not the feelings behind it.

Now that I have addressed past comments I will move on with things and only address new challenges.


Dan Marvin said...


It is a great relief to see you back. I thought the worst for you and was worried about your fate, to see you intact and well is ...a soothing comfort. We haven't lost you yet and that is wonderful news. I must admit I felt like a parent who's child never returned my phone calls, silly, I know. I am rejoicing inside, thanks for letting me know you are back, I am grateful.

As to your comments about your wife. With every bit of tenderness I am sorry for your lose and I understand your pain. I rebelled against God when, like your children, I lost my own mother to Lupus. She had her first stroke when I was in 5th grade and let's just say I took it quite hard. I was in the Persian Gulf in the Navy at age 18 when I got an urgent order to go home. She held on long enough for me to arrive, I went strait to the hospital that night and she said to me in a soft painful inaudible voice: "I missed you" and "I love you" She passed that night.

I was raised an atheist and never knew who Jesus even was. (Long story shortened) At age 23 it took three weeks strait no TV or anything, I finally read the Bible for the first time and became a believer. I was baptized that Sunday after service of a local Church. I won't say I was a Christian because in reflection I was a false convert at the time. It took me 15 years of studying the subject to become a True Christian as I am today.

Looking back at my Mom, who read all those horoscope books and never even mentioning the name of Jesus to me my whole life, there was a point of realization that my own Mom was in Hell. That was truly a blow to my faith, hence the false convert part of my faith.

After some years, for a while I thought I would be such a good Christian maybe God would grant me a wish to get my family out of hell, as if I could bargain with God. That faded into the various phases of grief. It reminds me of something Charles Spurgeon once said:

When my mother told me that if I perished in hell, that she would have to say “Amen” to my condemnation, I knew it was true and it sounded awful, and had a good effect on my mind; but at the same time I could not help thinking, “Well, you will be very different from what you are now,” and I didn’t think she would be much improved. I thought “Well, I love to think of your weeping over me far better than to think of you as a perfect being, with a tearless eye, looking on the damnation of your own child.”

It really is a very terrible spectacle, the thought of a perfect being looking down in hell, for instance, as Abraham did, and yet feeling no sorrow; for you will remember that, in the tenor in which Abraham addressed the rich man, there is nothing of pity, there is not a single syllable which indicates any sympathy with him in his dreadful woes; and one does not quite comprehend that perfect beings, God-like beings, beings full of love, and everything that constitutes the glory of God’s complete nature, would still be unable to weep, even over hell itself; they cannot weep over their own children lost and ruined! Now, how is this? If you will tell me, I will be glad, for I cannot tell you. I do not believe that there will be one bit less tenderness, that there will be one fraction less of friendliness, and love, and sympathy–I believe there will be more–but that they will be in some way so refined and purified, that while compassion for suffering is there, hatred of sin will be there to balance it, and a state of complete equilibrium will be attained. Perfect acceptance of the divine will is probably the secret of it; but it is not my business to guess; I don’t know what handkerchief the Lord will use, but I do know that he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and these tears are among them… (Taken from the sermon No Tears in Heaven by Charles Spurgeon; delivered August 6th, 1865).

Please Ron strive to be with your wife in heaven. Remember to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philip. 1:21-23)

In honor and a prayer for your wife I will say a verse for her:

Proverbs 31:28-31

"Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."

Welcome back, Ron

R Nicolas said...

I appreciate the thought Dan, but according to your own statements about faith in past posts, if you were correct my wife, as good a person, wife, and mother as she was would not be in Heaven (according to the Bible no one would) nor would she be going when the time came, so I could only join her in Hell.

To stand back from the debate for a minute I would like to say that if your thoughts and prayers about me are sincere, then I do appreciate the kindness. My wife used to pray for my soul daily, and once said that that the only thing she feared about death was not being here to help me to Heaven.

Dan Marvin said...

Ron:"if you were correct my wife, as good a person, wife, and mother as she was would not be in Heaven"

Look I cannot judge your wife to know if she is in heaven or not or anyone for that matter.

Are Roman Catholics Christians? They are, if they have trusted in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of their sins. However, if they believe that the are saved by God's grace and their works, then they are not saved -- even if they believe their works are done by God's grace -- since they then deny the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice.

Being a Christian does not mean being a member of the Roman Catholic Church. It means being a member of the body of Christ, which is accomplished by faith and trust in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of your sins. It means that you do not add your works to His work. Sincerity doesn't forgive sins. Membership in a church doesn't forgive sins. Doing works of penance doesn't forgive sins. Praying to Mary doesn't forgive sins. Forgiveness is received in the faithful trust and acceptance of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. You must trust Jesus, God in flesh, for the forgiveness of sins, not a man made ritual and certainly not the Catholic saints. Even though the Roman Catholic Church affirms the Trinity, the deity of Christ, and His physical resurrection, it greatly errs in its doctrine of salvation by adding works to salvation.

The official Roman Catholic doctrine of salvation is that the grace of God is infused into a baby at baptism -- making him/her justified before God. This justification can be lost through sin and must be regained by repeated participation in the many sacraments found in the Roman Catholic Church. These sacraments increase the measure of grace in the person by which he or she is enabled to do good works, which are in turn rewarded with the joy of heaven.

No one can say whether a Roman Catholic is truly a Christian or not, since we cannot know people's hearts. But, if anyone, Catholic included, openly denies essential doctrines then he is not saved, and this is the problem. It appears that the Roman Catholic church is denying the essential doctrine of justification by faith.
If a Roman Catholic believes in the official Roman Catholic teaching on salvation, then he is not a Christian since the official RCC position is contrary to Scripture. Therefore, as a whole, Roman Catholics need to be evangelized. They need to hear the true Gospel. They need to hear that they are not made right before God by being in a church, or by being baptized, but by receiving Christ (John 1:12), believing that Jesus has risen from the dead (Rom. 10:9), and that justification is by faith (Rom. 5:1) and not by our deeds ( Rom. 4:5). It is only true faith that results in true works (James 2), not the other way around. Roman Catholics, like anyone else, need to trust in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of their sins and not the Catholic sacraments, not the words of the priest, not the Pope, not Mary, not the saints, not penance, not indulgences, not the rosary, etc. Jesus alone is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).

Finally, I believe that there are truly regenerate Christians in the Roman Catholic church. But, they are truly Christians in spite of official RCC theology and in spite of the ritualistic offerings of this ancient church which has had too many hands meddling in it through the centuries, gradually moving it away from orthodoxy and into apostasy. Yes, apostasy. The Roman Catholic Church is no longer representing true Christianity.(carm)

R Nicolas said...

As is common with your remarks and attempts to refute what I say, your previous remark is completely contradictory to itself and illogical.

First you start by saying that you cannot judge whether or not my wife would be in the mythological heaven (the only source for this mythology clearly says that no one is in Heaven yet except for God and a select few others--everyone else is in Hell) then in the following paragraphs you clearly and repeatedly judge her after-life residence based upon her religion, which I might add is the illigitimate father and/or mother to every other form of Christianity on the planet.

Also, I might add that the incorrect remark you previously made about my so-called hatred of Christians could easily apply to your ill-informed and incorrect assesment of and statements on Catholicism.

But, the most glaring aspect of contradiction is that in the remark before this one you quote Psalms that says "...Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates." which clearly says she will be judged by her "works" then in this remark say that thinking she will be judged by her works will condemn her to Hell. Can't you or your holy book ever be consistent in what you say?

Dan Marvin said...

(Hurrah!, Ron is truly back) Look I fully understand that truth alway is confrontational, there is always someone on the wrong side of truth. This is a very serious and real subject for you and I am sorry for that. If I didn't love you enough to tell you the truth then I wouldn't. Actually what I have said is consistent lets break it down.

* I believe people are in heaven in spite of catholicism.
* I am not judging if you wife is or is not in heaven.

"...Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."

Yes works get rewarded in heaven, I believe. But the doctrine of Catholicism is that works gets you SALVATION and justification and that is a whole different animal.

When the Roman Catholic Church negates justification by faith alone, it necessarily implies that we must do something for justification, for if it is not by faith alone, then it must be by faith and something.

According to Roman Catholicism, even faith and baptism aren't sufficient in themselves for you to be saved. It says that baptism is only the first sacrament of forgiveness. Good works, according to Roman Catholicism, are also required and are rewarded with going to heaven.

"We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere 'to the end' and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God's eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ" (CCC, par. 1821).

The above quote clearly states that heaven is the "eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ." Catholic theology asserts that works are a predecessor to justification in direct contradiction to God's word which states ". . .that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom. 3:28). What are the deeds of the Law? Anything we do in hopes of getting or maintaining our righteousness before God.

In the CCC, par. 2010 it says, "Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification."

How does anyone merit for himself the undeserved kindness of God's grace? Grace is by definition unmerited favor. To me this is an utterly false teaching that you can earn grace from God through works or rituals.

Salvation is a free gift from God given to us by His awesome Grace and is based upon the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Christians receive this by faith because faith is all we have left since our works are excluded, by God, as having anything to do with attaining salvation.

God desires fellowship with His people (1 Cor. 1:9), not rituals and works-righteousness that cannot save us.

May God receive all the glory due Him because of His grace.

Take care, Ron

R Nicolas said...

Actually Dan, you are in fact saying that my wife is not in Heaven do to her faith, but it is irrelavent for two reasons.

A)--There is no such thing.


B)--If the Bible were the truth then no one is in Heaven yet except for God and a couple dozen others. Revelation Chap. 20 makes it quite clear that everybody who has died (gone to Hell) is still dead and in Hell--only after judgement before God at the final resurrection will anyone else enter Heaven.

As for arguing Catholicism with you it would be somewhat hypocrityical of me to do so as I don't believe either version (yours or theirs) to be factual theirs just makes the most sense as a mythology, but after a fourteen year back and forth with a particularly patient and knowledgable Catholic priest I know enough to say that your version of Catholicism is quite skewed.