When I consider the plight of the homosexual, from the very beginning of his (or her) journey, at the very moment he discovers that his sexual attraction is not to the opposite sex but to his own, and that plain and simple he is not like others, to the consequent inner conflict that inevitably follows (which for many involves attempts to deny this realization and “be straight”), to that final moment of coming to accept his situation as seemingly unalterable, and finally — for many in this point in history — to that defining moment where he declares, both to himself and to the world, that his situation is not something he struggles with but rather who he is, that his lifestyle as a gay man is just as acceptable and normal as those of his “straight” counterparts, and because of this, he has every right as an American citizen to be treated equally as a gay man; when I consider all of this, then I must conclude that last Friday was for many a moment not only of profound historic but also profound personal significance. Read the full post »
Posted by dpatrickcollins on July 3, 2015
The scientist and inventor of the alternate time machine, which had the unique ability to travel not through the fabric of actual time but to traverse all possible worlds, was not satisfied with his first journey.
In it he had found a world in which God had both been discovered through scientific means and disproved just as quickly. For God would not be found in His own creation any more than a woodworker would be found in the wood, or a computer programmer would be found in the program.
And who was to say that the world he occupied was not one big computer program, played out on a large scale? If it were, would God be found in it? No, he could not. Unless He Himself had built into the master program from the very beginning the means for man to find Him.
The scientist pondered, but in a little while lost confidence in such thoughts, for after all, there was simply no evidence for such a being called God. He turned to his new invention once again and calibrated it to explore yet another possible world.
In the next world, he found himself in a small study. A man with long bushy hair sat hunched over his desk with a small oil lantern casting light upon its surface. A parchment lay before him, and he wrote upon it with much concentration. He too was a scientist, but as our scientist was to find out, one of a different order entirely. For this world was of a different order entirely.
It was a world in which the laws of science were regularly violated. That is to say: It was a world in which miracles took place, and they took place with great frequency. A large object moving at great speed would suddenly stop. The sun, instead of setting, would stand motionless. An object, for no apparent reason, would suddenly float in midair. Even the scientific laboratory of this world could not escape such observations. This world was rich with the miraculous, certainly the best evidence for a supernatural agent at work, of God at work in His own Creation.
And our scientist who was a stranger to this world, drawing nearer to the man at the desk and peering over his shoulder, observed his colleague was writing on this very subject. On the parchment, in ink still wet, it read:
The world in which we live is a strange world indeed. Things occur without seeming any explanation. We observe in one moment apparent uniformity and regularity, almost as though things conform to or are governed by a set of laws dictated by a Creator. But in the next moment, we observe just the opposite, contradicting the hope for any such uniformity and regularity. It is a puzzle of the deepest mystery, as scientists throughout the generations have observed. And as they have also concluded, the only reasonable explanation for these exceptions are, simply put, the world is without explanation.
In this undeniable fact, we must face the hopeless reality that we are truly alone. For we are rational beings, but we find ourselves in an irrational world. And that, at the most fundamental level. Our minds expect to see logic and consistency in the world around us, but we only find it in ourselves. Above all, we crave a world that can be both explored and understood. But exploration is folly, for there is nothing to be understood. If there be anything beyond what we see with our own eyes, as some suggest, it is most certainly not a Mind like our own.
And this alone is perhaps the most damning evidence against the case for God.”
The words stuck in our scientist’s head like a ten-car pile-up on a foggy stretch of highway. He and his colleague from another world had arrived at the same conclusion, but for exactly opposite reasons. This would require more thought, and perhaps the exploration of another world.
And with that, he silently stole away, boarded his invention, and returned to his own world.
Posted by dpatrickcollins on April 6, 2014
There once was a scientist who during his research, having stumbled upon a fortuitous discovery, managed to invent a time machine. But this time machine was no ordinary time machine (if a time machine could be called ordinary). Instead of allowing one to travel through the fabric of actual history, it allowed its recipient to traverse, as the Philosopher would say, all possible worlds.
On the morning of the invention’s completion, the man sat pondering his next move. What possible world would he explore? His thoughts turned to God and all the reasons he did not believe in Him. “By far, the reason I do not believe is that after centuries of doing Science, we have yet to find in this world any shred of evidence for a supernatural agent,” he said contentedly. And then he knew what he would do. He calibrated his new machine to a possible world in which evidence for a supernatural agent would be found.
Arguably, there was more than one such possible world. In the first world, he found himself in a room full of scientists, who appeared to be arguing among themselves. They were taking turns peering through a telescope of sorts, and after each individual did, a noticeable reaction would come upon his or her face, and more dialogue would ensue.
After some time, the scientist gathered what the source of the commotion was all about. The scientists in the room had discovered, in one location of the galaxy, a large eyeball staring right back at them. Some said this clearly was evidence of God; others said it was not. But even the doubter had to admit: Finding an eyeball in the middle of space was indeed an odd thing.
News reports of this went all over the world. Had humanity finally found undeniable evidence for God? After all, what was more undeniable than His eyeball? And what would be next? Would mankind find his mouth in another part of the universe, or his is hand and leg? And if this were undeniable proof, what would that mean for mankind? For every individual?
The scientific community’s best minds were put on the task of answering once and for all what this all meant, while the world waited in anticipation.
Finally, a press conference was held, and broadcast to all corners of the world. And the spokesman for science, a somewhat nerdy but amiable gentleman with a pleasant demeanor, explained in calm reassuring tones that citizens of the world had nothing to fear. That this phenomenon, though somewhat odd, was really like any other phenomenon in the universe. And had we seen a sunset, or the birth of a child, or even love, for the first time, it would seem no less remarkable or strange. And that science, a discipline that determines the natural causes of all things, would not fail to get down to the bottom of this, whether now or in the distant future. Of this he was sure.
Above all, the spokesman added, adjusting his horn-rimmed glasses, it certainly did not suggest something divine. That scientifically speaking, God the Creator, if there were such a thing, would not appear as part of his own creation, any more than a wood-worker would be found in the wood, or a computer programmer in the program. No, of this we can all be certain: He would be compelled, by His very nature, to reveal Himself in other ways: Through his own Creation, in the world around us and to our very thoughts, according to the way He had uniquely made us to relate to Him. And perhaps most effectively, by becoming one of us.
Posted by dpatrickcollins on March 8, 2014
Feel free to leave your own thoughts!
Breakthrough Should Be a One-Time Event
Before I introduce this topic, I must first share a little about my spiritual background. I was raised Catholic, but for the better part of my Christian life, I have been a part of churches that would be classified as non-denominational charismatic and even “faith-based.”
When we talk about breakthrough, we are talking about it in the broadest sense. Breakthrough is the act of experiencing freedom or fruit or power in an area of our lives where such freedom or fruit or power did not previously exist. For example, if we turn to the Gospels, we find many people experiencing breakthrough as a result of Jesus’ ministry. They were healed physically, and they were delivered from demons. As scripture says, Jesus went about the countryside healing all who were oppressed of the devil.
Posted by dpatrickcollins on October 6, 2013
This is the fifth installment of things overheard or beliefs commonly held about the Christian life that, upon further reflection, are not as true as they first seem. Feel free to leave your own thoughts!
We should not dwell on the past
A ministry that I love recently posted the following quote on Facebook: “We do not go forward by looking backward. We are not called to fix an old life but find a new life.”
Despite my affinity for this ministry, I find this sentiment puzzling. It seems to imply that what each of us has experienced leading up to the present moment has no bearing at all on who we are today or on our growth in the Christian life. And further, that the true spiritual life is one in which we make a concerted effort not to acknowledge it.
But even the simplest events in our lives suggest this is not true, and following this course of action is a bad idea. Take for example, a recent event involving my son. Read the full post »
Posted by dpatrickcollins on September 28, 2013
Faith is spelled R-I-S-K
I am in the process of going into business for myself again, and it has brought to mind the first time I did so.
At that time, I was of the belief that God rewarded risk. I had heard from the pulpit that faith is spelled R-I-S-K on more than one occasion, and was persuaded to believe that God was not only most pleased when we engaged in risky activity in His name, but also that He was just waiting for us to step out beyond our own comfort, resource and abilities so that He could show His greatness. God could not resist the one who put himself or herself in an impossible situation by faith, trusting in Him to come to the rescue.
So in the fifth year of my business, struggling to make ends meet, I chose to purchase a house that I could not afford. Read the full post »
Posted by dpatrickcollins on September 22, 2013
As I mentioned in my previous post, we are taking a momentary departure from our present discussion to review the book: American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges. Rather than a broad assessment of the work, we will be taking a rifle-point precision approach to specific points raised, beginning with . . .
The first chapter of AF opens with a quote from Karl Popper which states: “Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed.”
It is unclear whether Popper had Christianity in mind when he penned those words, but it is clear that Hedges did, given its placement in AF. Hedges proceeds in fact to expound upon what he finds intolerant about the Christian religion.
But before we proceed, let’s address the argument Popper puts forth, and in doing so discuss what it means to be tolerant, and its merit as a virtue to be embraced. I would like to start by telling two stories. Or, actually, one story with two endings. Read the full post »
Posted by dpatrickcollins on September 7, 2013
We are taking a momentary departure from our present discussion to review the book: American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America by Chris Hedges.
This topic has come about as a direct result of an event close to home: My daughter being assigned the book for college reading. The course? Humanities. Not political science. Not world religions, either (it will be clear that the book is a an examination of, and no-holds barred attack upon, the Christian faith). Nope, just humanities.
Of course, humanities lends itself to, and has always allowed for, broad selection of reading material. Humanities professors use their own discretion in selecting reading material for these classes, and I cannot say that I blame them. But I find it both interesting and not surprising that the reading list for this course is pretty exclusively anti-Christian and left-wing with really no attempt to provide opposing viewpoints. As my own daughter has said, humanities courses seems to be “an excuse for professors to take their own personal views and force it upon their students.” Read the full post »
Posted by dpatrickcollins on September 7, 2013
This is the third installment of things overheard or beliefs commonly held about the Christian life that upon further reflection are not as true as they first seem. Feel free to leave your own thoughts!
- Being a Christian is about obeying the Bible.When I was younger, a man older than me professed to know what God requires of his servants. He said Jesus’ true followers did what the Bible said to do. He proceeded to tell me what it taught and also that I must obey it as he instructed if I wished to be a true disciple of Jesus.His basic premise — that we as believers are to obey the Bible — sounded reasonable, even self-evident — so much that I felt compelled to radically change my life and do so. So from that day forward, I took it upon myself to obey the Bible.
Problem was: I could not do it. Read the full post »
Posted by dpatrickcollins on September 5, 2013
This second installment continues my thoughts on things often said, or commonly-thought, about the Christian life that sound true but after reflection are not as true as they first seem. Feel free to leave your own thoughts also!
- Faith is thinking positive thoughts about God.There are many diverse views in the church body concerning what faith is, but a common one I run across is this one. Namely, that when the Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God, or it is by faith we obtain answers to our prayers, that the thing we envision ourselves doing is concentrating real hard on God’s positive attributes, or even Biblical promises, and this act is what faith is all about.
There is of course nothing wrong with — and even everything right with — meditating on God’s divine attributes and on Biblical promises. It is one way for us to come to a greater knowledge of God. It is just not, in itself, faith. Nor for that matter is any effort we put forth.
Posted by dpatrickcollins on August 28, 2013