WHAT WE BELIEVE IS A CHOICE

We tend to believe what we want to believe. Why? Well, if everything is all about “me,” why would we want to believe anything else? Would we want to believe the truth because facts are stubborn things?

The answer, I think, is that the Truth, not mere facts, is immovable and unchanging. When we refuse to accept the Truth, we suffer self-inflicted wounds; we create awful and obstinate problems for ourselves. God disciplines us by allows us to keep butting our heads into the immovable and unchanging until we give up our stubbornness.

With such stubbornness in mind, consider Defiance and Logic (a Response to Citizen Tom) by Ben Berwick, a reply to THAT DEFIES LOGIC. Go read Berwick’s post first.

What points does Ben Berwick make?

Point 1: An Atheist can call himself an Atheist because it is more difficult to prove there is a God using sacred texts.

Of course, I am being a bit sarcastic here, but what was the point of the paragraph that Berwick took issue with? When Atheists call themselves Atheists that implies, based upon the definition of Atheist, that they deny the existence of God. How can anyone prove that God does not exist? They cannot, of course.

What about Berwick’s assertion? Can Christians prove the existence of God using the Bible? Since they thought it self-evident that God exists, the men that God inspired to write the Bible did not try to prove the existence of God.

Point 2: The idea of a supreme creator is entirely faith driven, not fact-driven, ….. Every process in the known universe could have formed naturally. It is a question of probability, but it is far from impossible. 

From what could everything in the known universe have formed naturally? What was the starting point? Nothing comes from nothing.

Can we prove the existence of God using science? That is what Atheists would supposedly have us do. My usual response to that is the existence of God is a philosophical question, not a scientific one. However, Silence of Mind likes to insist that we can prove the existence of God using science (see the dialog beginning here => https://citizentom.com/2022/11/02/that-defies-logic/comment-page-1/#comment-105159). Why is that?

One of the things scientists do is use inference to “prove” their hypotheses. When astronomers study things like the formation of planets, stars, and galaxies, they have no way of doing laboratory experiments. So, they make inferences from the data, and they make predictions they will find something out there that confirms their predictions. From the accuracy of their predictions, they infer that their theories are correct.

Several things suggest that our universe had a beginning and did not happen by chance.

  • The Second Law of Thermodynamics suggests that our universe is running down. That suggest our universe had beginning.
  • The Big Bang Theory posits a beginning for our universe.
  • When astronomers do Big Bang calculations, they observe that the odds that the Big Bang would have occurred in such a fashion that our universe could support life as we know it were extremely low. That suggest the Big Bang was not a chance occurrence.

Whatever happened here we are, and we exist in a highly ordered environment. Life itself, even our DNA, is highly ordered. Your DNA and my DNA actually records how we were made. What does that suggest? Does it suggest chance created us or that someone, we call that someone God, wrote the record that is our DNA?

Did chance create us? What is chance? Chance is not anyone or anything. Chance is not a cause. Chance is the probability that something might happen. The universe was not created by chance. Nothing is created by chance.

What is God? God is a necessary Being. He is the First Cause.

Point 3: It is impossible to prove God’s existence from a logic-driven, observation-driven, scientific perspective.

What we call science is a product of the scientific method. Conservative and skeptical, I tend to think of scientific knowledge as knowledge we have verified via reproducible experiments. Given that I learned science primarily as an analytical chemist, I suppose that sort bias is explicable. That is, if it cannot be done in a lab, it isn’t science.

Nonetheless, much science cannot be done in a lab. So, scientists must turn to Philosophy for additional means to verify the models we use to explain how Creation functions.

Where did everything come from? Was there a Creator? Does God exist? These questions are usually addressed by theologians, not scientists, but both theologians and scientists turn to Philosophy for the same tools of logic. So, if we believe in theories like the Big Bang, The Theory of Evolution, Global Warming, and so forth, it is inconsistent not to believe in God.

What proof is out there? For my own edification I wrote GOD’S EXISTENCE AND THE PROBLEM OF PROOF. That provides a brief survey. However, there are plenty of other articles on the Internet that are better and no shortage of good books.

Point 4: As for a ‘first cause’, we simply don’t know, but just because we don’t have an answer at this moment, does not mean we’ll never find an answer. The absence of knowledge doesn’t automatically mean we apply any form of god to the equation. 

When are we going to find a way to scientifically study God? We can study His Creation, but God transcends His Creation. That is, God exists outside of what He has created. We may find some answers to our questions, but that is only because God has chosen to give us answers.

If we want to understand the Creator — our Creator — as best we can, then we need read the Bible.

134 thoughts on “WHAT WE BELIEVE IS A CHOICE

  1. I think part of the issue Tom is that both you and SOM seem to have misdefined Atheism and what an Atheist is and somehow confused Agnosticism for a kind of “dishonest” atheism. But it’s easier to understand, in my humble opinion 😉 , if you consider that Agnosticism and Atheism answer two very different questions. The one Knowledge, the other Belief.
    When asked about the Knowledge of God’s existence, the Agnostic answers “I don’t know” (most are still able to be informed or convinced by evidence or persuaded by argumwnts) or that they believe that whether God exists or not is unknowable. Agnostics answer the question of “Does God Exist”… Knowledge.
    Atheists on the other hand are dealing with the question of Belief. “Do you believe that God exists?” To which they answer “no, I don’t Believe”. Notice, that is not “God doesn’t exist” (a claim to Knowledge THAT God does not exist). Nor is it “I Believe God does not exist” (a Belief statement that God does not exist). Both of these require the same Burden of Proof that we bear when we state God Exists or that we Believe God exists.
    Atheists are not intentionally “ducking” some burden. They have none. They don’t have to Prove that God doesn’t exist or demonstrate “valid reasons” why they don’t believe.
    By “shifting” that burden to them we are being dishonest… many times to deflect or avoid responsibility for our own claims.
    Agnostics answer I don’t know… but we have the responsibility to share the Gospel and allow God’s Holy Spirit to convince and convict. Atheists simply don’t believe. It’s up to us to help them Believe as the Lord leads us to once again share the Gospel with reverence and respect, trusting that only He can speak into the heart and once again… convince and convict.
    Again, i think the difficulty in these kinds of discussions with both atheists and agnostics is Started with misunderstanding and mkisdefinition, but Continued with a lack of respect for the person… as well as the role of the Holy Spirit to do the convincing and the convicting. You keep digging the pit deeper that Agnostics and Atheists both blame us for.. for their inability or unwillingness to Believe. Thus… my original post attempting to answer your and SOM’s original question. We have to do a better job of sharing the life and love of jesus and representing Jesus to the world who desperately needs His Salvation. Sermonette over ( lol ). – Barabbas

    1. Barbbas Me

      You are repeating the same thing.

      Does the Agnostic claim ignorance? Yes. Ignorance is the Agnostic excuse the Agnostic for not believing.

      Belief is an act of the will. We choose to believe. The Agnostic refuses to choose to believe. The Agnostic does nothing. The Agnostic does not repent and accept Jesus as his Savior.

      Look again at what you wrote. As written, there is no discernable difference between the Atheist and the Agnostic. However, in reality, there is a difference. The Agnostic claims ignorance, and the Atheist claims knowledge.

      Does the Atheist claim not to believe? Yes, but the Atheist does not believe because the Atheist claims to have knowledge. The Atheist denies the existence of God. Hence, we have two different words because they mean two distinctly different things.

      Do Agnostics and Atheists have the burden of acknowledging God’s existence? This is a different issue. The Bible clearly says that Agnostics and Atheists do have a responsibility for acknowledging God’s existence. What is ambiguous about this passage?

      Romans 1:18-32 New American Standard Bible

      18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their reasonings, and their senseless hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and they exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible mankind, of birds, four-footed animals, and crawling creatures.

      24 Therefore God gave them up to vile impurity in the lusts of their hearts, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for falsehood, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

      26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged natural relations for that which is contrary to nature, 27 and likewise the men, too, abandoned natural relations with women and burned in their desire toward one another, males with males committing shameful acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

      28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a depraved mind, to do those things that are not proper, 29 people having been filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, and evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unfeeling, and unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them.

      Not believing in God is foolish. There is no point in sugar coating that fact. The Bible doesn’t sugarcoat the sin of unbelief.

      Is it the Christian’s job to hold Agnostics and Atheists to account? No, but there is nothing wrong with pointing out that God will hold them to account. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Denial is God is just a foolish attempt to escape that fear.

      What is our job? About that you are basically correct. We share the Gospel. We tell people what is in the Bible, and we encourage them to read it. That includes sharing the urgency of message of the Gospel. We don’t want people to die before they hear and obey God’s word. Making excuses for each other does not help.

      On the other hand, we can help each other to find joy in the Lord. We can remind each other that He will forgive us if we confess our sins, and we are all sinners, even those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior.

      1. “What is our job? About that you are basically correct. We share the Gospel. We tell people what is in the Bible, and we encourage them to read it. That includes sharing the urgency of message of the Gospel. “… I’m glad we agree. and after 41yrs of Believing and more than 25yrs of sharing christ in different ministries… i would hope i’d understand my “job” well. as for the rest of our disagreement… i will give you grace to be wrong. 🙂 How’s that for an “Outro”. LOL

    1. Don’t know much Ben Berwick, but I tend to stay off Atheist blogs. When people start spamming your comments, the spam filters start treating all your comments as spam.

      Anyway, please stop calling Berwick and Club names. I don’t want the commenters calling each other names on my blog. If Club keeps it up, I will have to spam her comments.

        1. SOM

          Christianity is for reasonable people, people who can think. The devil would rather us be in a blind and fearful rage. Name call is the first step in that direction.

          So, I am perfectly willing to point out what people are doing wrong, but I am reluctant to label the person.

          Have I called people names? I have called our president a liar. Why? That guy cannot make a speech without telling one whopper after another.

        1. Fair enough, though I would call it honesty. I call behaviour as I see it. SoM is welcome to comment on my site, as and when he can play by the rules of my site.

        1. Except, I’m not an atheist, so you are immediately wrong on that score. You are welcome to comment SoM, but for that to happen, you need to abide by my rules. You would need to be honest, drop your insulting demeanour, and be reasonable.

          1. Ben, well met sir. You say you are not an atheist? So what is your belief about God? Are you then agnostic or of some other Faith Tradition than christianity? Just curious

          2. I consider myself an agnostic at this stage of my life. My approach is to follow the evidence, which to me, does not lend itself to the existence of deities.

          3. At least you are using the correct term. I called myself agnostic from high school into my early fifties. I changed my mind after I read the Bible cover to cover. I now wish I had read the Bible years before, but maybe I would not have been ready.

            When we are in our fifties, we can say to ourselves that mere men on their own would never have written the Bible, and we can be quite certain. In our twenties? Not so much.

      1. Ben, Commenting on your blog is a waste of time because you edit the comments to make yourself look good. Only your atheist buddies bother to comment on your blog. Your last blog got what, one comment?

          1. And yet, in my experience, the most insulting, irrational, and dishonest commentators, debaters and opponents I have encountered, have been religious fundamentalists. Not always Christian fundamentalists, but religious fundamentalists all the same.

            That is not to say every religious person is irrational, or a fundamentalist. I know plenty of Christians who are good people, kind people, who devote themselves to the best aspects of their faith. My experience of you, thus far, does not place you remotely near that category.

          2. I tend to find people who disagree with me the most insulting, irrational, and dishonest commentators. Human nature. Can we stop this nonsense?

          3. Agreed, though please understand, if SoM is going to make dishonest (and in other circumstances, libellous) claims about me, I cannot simply let that stand.

          4. Citizen, After you idiotic comment about watching babies grow up, I have decided that you aren’t worth the bother either. You are just the other side of atheist noise.

          5. SOM

            I thought my idiotic comment about watching babies grow up was funny, but you don’t have to share my sense of humor. I am too old to take myself that seriously, and I thank God the He does not take me that seriously, that He love me enough to forgive my foolishness.

            Our Lord’s yoke is supposed to be easy to bear, and He actually does not give us too much responsibility. We don’t save souls. We cannot fix other people’s souls. We cannot make Christians out of Atheists. We are only supposed to patiently share the Gospel. God Himself determines upon whom He will have mercy.

            It would be just for our Lord to send all of us to Hell. Instead, at great cost to Himself, He chose to redeem us. Therefore, we should find joy in the fact that He has mercy upon any of us at all.

  2. Just for clarity, Atheism does not make the truth claim God does not exist. It merely takes the neutral position that they have not seen any proof/evidence of God. It is the job of whoever is making a positive claim to provide the evidence/reason for those claims.

      1. I’m sorry, you are incorrect. An agnostic doesn’t believe it is possible to know whether there is a God or not, an Atheist just hasn’t been shown the proof yet. Spent several years in the Atheist crowds and this is a point they hammer home constantly. I am materially an atheist, as I don’t believe God can be rationally proven, but spiritually one hundred percent a believer.

        1. Sounds to me like your distinction between an Agnostic and an Atheist is a distinction without a difference.

          When you were an Atheist, were you just expectantly waiting for proof that God exists? Going to get it any day now? Right.

          Atheists hammer “that point” home because philosophers have pointed out that it is impossible to prove God does not exist. Yet Atheists still want to call themselves Atheists. Why?

          There are plenty of philosophical proofs that God exists, but we are emotional, not entirely logical creatures. Philosophical proofs don’t satisfy our emotional needs. Until we understand that our Creator loves us, God, an all-powerful, omniscient, perfectly holy Being is a frightening concept. He actually commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind? We cannot do that. We don’t want to love anyone except our self with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. Therefore, the default position is to deny the existence of such a Being.

          1. Let’s see one of these philosophical proofs then my friend. And no, I have been actively pursuing God for about thirty years, so no intellectual, spiritual laziness on my part.

            It’s not the job of the Atheist to prove the negative claim God does not exist. If I said I had a time machine, or the Easter Bunny lived in my basement, it wouldn’t be others responsibility, job, to prove these things aren’t true, and for everyone to accept them until they do, but it would be my job, the one making a truth claim, to prove that these things were true.

          2. If someone calls themselves an Atheist, they made it their job to prove God does not exist. Funny thing is that Atheists seem to think the way to prove God does not exist is to demand proof and then ignore the proof.

            Here is a post that deals the proof of God’s existence. https://citizentom.com/2018/11/20/gods-existence-and-the-problem-of-proof/

            BTW. I don’t accuse Atheists of laziness. The problem is that Atheist don’t want to believe God exists.

          3. I understand that may be your impression, and there is a branch of Atheism (for instance that Atheist Experience show out of Texas, which I enjoyed for a certain period and actually now find a bore) which it may be true, but I don’t think that is at all ideologically required by Atheism in the slightest. It really should be the jumping off point of any rational person. The time to believe things is once they are proven.

          4. I will readily concede that all Atheist are not cut from the same cloth. However, we believe what we want to believe, and we classify people into different religious groups based upon what they say they believe.

            Is there proof of God’s existence? With far less evidence people believe in global warming, the Theory of Evolution, the Big Bang Theory, men walked on the moon, and so forth.

          5. And I would say, exactly! Question it all, even your strongly held beliefs. That’s sort of the issue at play here, an openness and willingness to follow the Truth, wherever it may lead. And unfortunately, I believe at least in the case of Evolution, and probably the Big Bang, not so much the moon landing though, we have more evidence to believe those things than we do a rational belief in a Abrahamic God. And this is coming from a guy who stays saying his Our Fathers, for the record.

            The problem here is one of intellectual honesty, to be blunt. For instance in that post you reference Aquinas, which is commonly called the Cosmological Argument. If we go and do a deep dive on that argument, and you are being objective, there is no way you come out of that intense intellectual pursuit, certain its a PROOF of God, that’s the problem inherent in your camp. We can even oversimplify simple rebuttals like, Cosmological Argument states everything must have a cause, well then God must have a cause as well, which would imply a power Greater then God, the all powerful, which is inherently contradictory, something like that. The reality is God is beyond rationality. Therefore, it is better to leave Atheists in their camp, and not attempt to demonize them. Not to mention that is the more moral, Christ-like behavior, that is my opinion of course.

          6. There is a good reason The Enlightenment failed in Europe (French Reign of Terror) and succeeded in the UK and the USA.

            The people on the Continent destroyed everything, including the foundations and tried to start again from nothing. They did not know where to start rebuilding. Even the landmarks were gone, All they had upon which to build their new institutions was rubble. So, everything they built immediately tottered and fell.

            In the UK and the USA the people kept that which was good, tried, and true. Instead of tearing everything down, they sought reform.

            So, yes, we should test everything, but we should strive to build upon the good work that people before us have accomplished.

            What is wrong with the Cosmological Argument? Nothing. Everything does not have to have a cause. Every effect must have a cause. God is not an effect.

            Are logical arguments thrilling and satisfying? Depends upon our preferences, I suppose, but our understanding of God does not depend solely upon logic.

            Because we are made in the image of God, we have an inherent understanding of the character of God. Consider that term, image. An image is only a likeness. An image is not the real thing. Nevertheless, we have within each of us some nothing of what it means to be holy.

            We also have divine revelation, the Bible. Through the Bible our Lord has told us something about Himself and His plans for us. How do we know the Bible is true. Other than the fact it is historically accurate? If we study the Bible carefully, it will slowly begin to dawn on us that no mere man or group of men would have written it. Human beings would not have any reason to write the Bible. From a human perspective, the Bible is a fools errand. Nevertheless, it connects with us. When we study the Bible carefully, the Bible changes us.

          7. I have and am currently studying the Bible very carefully, and there is nothing in there that couldn’t have been produced by man. All those arguments you are making are inherently circular and therefore not proofs of anything, they are just assertions. If someone asks for proof of God, just saying Bible is not proof. To use my time machine analogy, its like if I claimed I had a time machine in my basement, you asked for proof, and my response to give you a book which outlined how I built and what I did with my time machine, this is not proof I have an actual time machine.

            On the reign of terror business, Europe vs. US traditionalism and all that, all that is sort of besides the point, and this is often what believers do when confronted with strong challenges to their beliefs. One comment you were open to questions, when I agree and say your beliefs should be questioned, now its the ruin of civilizations. You also fail to address my very common sensical point, about intellectual honesty, the cosmological argument has been hotly debated for centuries, if you are being genuine, saying there is no problem is with the cosmological argument is laughable, whole books have been written challenging the argument, and there are a number of issues. Even in your response, it again relies on circularity, what is the proof that we have any proof of a thing without a cause? You’re just stamping that on to the question of infinite regress and thinking it flies, it doesn’t.

          8. Circular argument? Not exactly. When we walk in the woods, especially after it has rained, we will find footprints on the ground. We can identify the animal that made those prints from the character of those prints.

            Similarly, we can determine the character of a craftsman by carefully examining his work. Was the Bible written by men? Yes. Without divine inspiration, would men have written the words the Bible contains? No.

            Is my personal assessment proof that God inspired the Bible? No. Some things we must judge for ourselves, and I don’t expect everyone will share my assessment; however, once a person believes the Bible is the Word of God, I think the vast majority will affirm that men would never have written the Bible without divine inspiration.

            Keep in mind something important. We live on the other side of resurrection. We don’t readily perceive what the world was like before Christ died and rose from the dead. Therefore, we have a difficult time understanding the change wrought be Jesus and the Word of God.

            There are over 20 different logical proofs for God and every one of them has been debated. So? What you believe is your choice. I respect your right to make your choice, but why am I obligated to respect it as a good choice, when it isn’t.

            What about the authenticity of the Bible? Can we prove the Bible is God’s Word? That is a stepwise process, not a simple logical proof.

          9. That is all very reasonable actually! Obviously, the debate as you acknowledge could go on and on, and I won’t keep beating the dead horse much longer, but it is my experience, and part of me wishes it weren’t the case, but when I go and study these debates the Believers end up getting worked. That is why I have to say at a materialist level, I am an Atheist, that I can’t provide sufficient proof, thru logic or empirical evidence that God exists. And so far, and this is definitely admittedly a cursory review, you haven’t either.

          10. R. C. Sproul is dead now, but he goes through all these issues => https://www.amazon.com/Defending-Your-Faith-Redesign-Introduction/dp/1433563789/ref=sr_1_1?crid=O023039WEFTR&keywords=defending+your+faith+rc+sproul&qid=1667760713&s=books&sprefix=defending+your%2Cstripbooks%2C151&sr=1-1

            Peter Kreeft has written this.
            https://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Christian-Apologetics-Hundreds-Questions/dp/B094NZB1VV/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3R68H5CGS776V&keywords=peter+kreeft+apologetics&qid=1667760883&s=audible&sprefix=peter+kreeft+apo%2Caudible%2C157&sr=1-1

            The proposition that the universe all just happened does not make any sense. Life is a random occurrence? The universe is an orderly place, and life requires extreme order. Order does not just happen.

            I used to say, in my agnostic days, that we could find order in chaos. Then I realized what a nonsense statement that is.

            Are we get to get a satisfying answer? Not instantaneously. One thing a lot of people don’t understand about faith is what it is. Although we can believe something just we want to believe it, that is not faith. Faith is what comes from believing in something and seeing that we can trust what believe after that belief has been tested.

            If I believe I can swim, that is okay. If I swim across the deep end of the pool, I gain faith in my ability to swim.

          11. Saying something doesn’t make sense, therefore…is an argument from incredulity and it’s a fallacious line of reasoning. Same thing in saying the world is orderly, therefore something created the order, is obviously circular. As we have no other universes to compare it to, the exact amount of order, or lack there of is hard to establish objectively. And it does nothing to answer the question what if anything created the order, nor addresses the first question we would need to answer, do we even need something beside nature itself to create the “perceived” order.

          12. Also sorry, and this is another can of worms that perhaps I dont even want to open here, but I don’t think your Old Testament God is a shiny example of morality or godliness, but that likely a conversation for another time lol. Thanks for the invigorating conversation in any case.

          13. Wow and there ya go. This is why Christianity and most religions are a dying tradition, which is very unfortunate. Yall claim the moral high ground, but are actually morally bankrupt, because you are blinded by dogma, and your false sense of self righteousness that your dogma provide. It’s really pretty ugly once you see it.

          14. The Egyptians had enslaved the Hebrews. That included killing their babies when the numbers of Hebrew slaves had grown sufficient to worry the slave masters. Then, when God orders the Egyptians to free their slaves, they say no, and miracle after miracle is not enough to convince them.

            During WW II, we dropped two nukes on Japan. We could have invaded instead, and some people are ignorant enough to think that would have been the best alternative.

            Even after the ten plagues, the Egyptians recovered their “courage” (moronic stupidity) and chased after the Hebrews. They actually chased after them into the Red Sea. They lusted that much to dominate the Hebrews. You want a reason for the sheer ferocity of the Civil War. That is it. The stinking pride of those who own other men.

          15. So slaughter of the innocent is okay with you. Why didn’t the all powerful God you believe in, find one of a hundred alternatives to this problem, as opposed to murdering the innocent first born children of Egypt? This is the problem with dogmatic believers like yourself, even though its painfully obvious that is an immoral act, you cling so hard to your dogma that you’ll do all these mental gymnastics to justify immoral behavior. The book also says God hardened Pharaoh’s heart right? So God was responsible for the obstinate nature of Pharaoh and then sent the Angel of Death to murder children, that is immoral.

          16. I am not doing a bunch of mental gymnastics. There is much in the Bible I don’t understand.

            Why didn’t the all-powerful God you believe in, find one of a hundred alternatives to this problem, as opposed to murdering the innocent first born children of Egypt?

            What innocent children? There actually is no such thing. We call children innocent, but they are not. We must learn knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. We are not born to be good. We are born to be wild. That is why people like Hitler and Stalin want to educate our children.

            What does it mean when the Bible says God hardened Pharoh’s heart? That is a question that has troubled lots of preachers. Here is as good an explanation as any => https://www.gotquestions.org/God-harden-Pharaoh-heart.html

            God is God. I am not. You are not. We don’t have much understanding of our plight. Romans 9 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209&version=AMPC) is just about as good an answer as we have. If not for Romans 8, Romans 9 would be rather depressing.

            It is late. Good night!

          17. It’s so interesting to me the things believers like yourself will say, while claiming to be followers of Christ. It often seems that you haven’t read the book. You definitely didn’t read Matt 18:3 “Be like Children, or you will never enter the Kingdom of God” (a bad paraphrase) among many examples I could give. You must not have ever held or had a child yourself either, for you to say such gross things. Children unless they are corrupted by dogma and ideology are most definitely innocent and deserve to be protected by loving adults. That you don’t believe that is sad and a little scary. Again, these are exactly the beliefs that have killed the tradition you claim to be supporting. I hope you reconsider.

          18. amcmulin914

            I think you have ad hominem confused with logical argument. I could defend myself, but no one is perfect. So, to “win” the argument, I would have to attack you with ad hominem. Frankly, I have no desire to roll in muck with you.

          19. The reality is as we distance ourselves from the tyranny of the Priest class, the Pharisees, and are actually able to analyze and critique the text, its humanness becomes ever more apparent. And the blood thirsty God of the Old Testament starts to take on a very different perspective. I like to reference Elisha and the two bears story, in 2 Kings 2:23-25 for this point. No moral, sane person would say a God that possessed a couple she-bears and made them kill a couple dozen youths, for the mere insult of calling Elisha “baldie” is moral, or godly.

          20. You need to read your scripture more closely. They are youths. They make fun of his appearance, God posses a she-bear and tears them to shreds. If your morality says thats ok, even if they are pagans, you have strayed far from the path of Jesus Christ.

          21. If God wants to end someone’s life, who are you or I argue with Him?

            Should we try to discern why God does something? Yes, of course, but assuming God’s motives are evil is the wrong place to start. If not from God, where did get this idea that some things are evil and some things are good?

            Do you understand what the pagans were like? Some were willing to sacrifice their own children. The religion of Canaanites was an ugly thing.

            Carthage, the city that the Romans destroyed after they succeeded in repelling Hannibal was a Phoenician colony. The Phoenicians were Canaanites. In what little remains of the city, archeologists have discovered evidence that the Carthaginians sacrificed infants.

          22. Thats a super sound morality, because someone else murdered children, we can murder children. As for Carthage and Phoenicians, as they say the victors write the history. I could say much more on the subject, but if we can’t agree murdering is children is wrong, in all cases I don’t think you are ready for what comes next.

          23. :roll:Tell that to Democrats. I would like to watch their reaction.

            Stalin murders tens of millions, and the no one bats an eye. Our nation kills the unborn by the millions, and it is a RIGHT. God drowns almost all of humanity in Noah’s Flood, and we don’t argue about the mass annihilation. Instead, we debate the geological record, but if a prophet prays for the punishment of his God-hating tormentors, that’s murdering children and an excuse to condemn Christians,

            We are ALL going to die; it is just a matter of when, and the justice of it was settled before Adam took his first breath.

            When our Lord terminates our life is solely up to Him. He is our Creator. He knows His plans for us. He knows what will work out for the best.

            Without an obvious command from God, am I going to decide all upon my own to murder anyone? No. In fact, when Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as our self, He quotes the Old Testament. Mosaic Law required the Jews to treats strangers well, but God insisted that the Jews remove the Canaanites from their land. Why? Apparently, God did not want the Jews associating with them.

            Of course, the Jews did associate with the Canaanites, and they learned their religious practices. So, God scattered the Jews, as He had told them He would.

            Think about it. What other nation do you know of that was so scattered that managed to return and rebuild in the land of its origin. And the Jews have done it more than once. And the Bible explains what happened, if not exactly why.

          24. I’m not talking to the democrats. I’m talking to you. That sort of shifting is odd in our conversation, as I haven’t made any political arguments at all. The sort of histrionic, “no one bat an eye” when Stalin killed ten million (which is laughably false), is the sort of rhetorical flourish which shows you are more about pushing an ideology than in pursuing the truth, which is fine of course, but not what I am into.

            As a truth seeker, what I find interesting is your interpretation of the Jewish story, and their self-declared chosen status. I wonder how you make sense of the commandant not to make any graven image, and the raising of the bronze serpent in Numbers 21:5-9, as one example? As for the special place of Jewish people in history, well again this is a subject that I could say much about, but will refrain from here. Partly because I don’t have the space, also there would be no point to share the information I have with someone who his clinging so hard to their dogma/ideology. But there is some irony in bringing up Stalin at the same time you praise the Jewish people, considering their role in the Russian revolution, but let’s not let facts get in the way of our ideology. It feels good, right?

          25. The Jews are special to God because of Abraham. Because of Abraham, Jesus was born a Jew. Otherwise, the history of the Jews is extraordinary because God made it extraordinary.

            What was special about Abraham? He feared, he trusted, and he obeyed God. Perfectly? No.

            The First Great Commandment is to love God with all our heart, strength, soul, and mind. Jesus told us that we love Him, we will obey His commandments. God is God. Not me. Not you. Not anyone else.

            The Bible is the story of the redemption of imperfect people by a perfect God. God makes allowances for our imperfections. Does that make Him less perfect? Does the that make it less appropriate for us to love, trust, and obey God, or does it just mean we will on our own fail?

            Did Moses raise up the bronze serpent as a graven image for the people to worship? No, but King Hezekiah destroyed it when it had become an idol (2 Kings 18:4).

            Under the Mosaic covenant, our Lord gave the Jews a bunch of commands they had to accomplish in order to prosper and remain in the Promised Land. They failed repeatedly. We would fail repeatedly. Using all the means that men have tried to achieve salvation, we have failed repeatedly. The Jews recorded their failures in the Old Testament.

            With their repeated failures, the Jews demonstrated our need for a Savior. With our repeated failures, our Lord set the stage for the birth of His Son. Check out Ephesians 2. Here is the key part.

            Ephesians 2:4-10 New American Standard Bible

            4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

          26. Ah and there you go, of course you rely on Paul. The guy who persecuted early Christians and stood by as they were murdered. The guy who never met Jesus. The guy who radically alters his simple and powerful message. The guy who created the church and the dogma and all that. I think Paul is the worst thing to happen to Christianity, by a long way. But frankly, you will never see that if you can’t see murdering children is wrong, no matter what.

          27. Given you call yourself a dirty old apostate Catholic, we should be surprised you don’t care for what the Apostle Paul wrote?

            The problem people have with Paul is quite simple, Since the Apostle Paul documented Christian theology in plain language, that makes it difficult for us to create our own, seemingly more comfortable theology. I say seemingly more comfortable because ….., Well, this verse explains it better.

            Proverbs 3:5-6 New American Standard Bible

            5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
            And do not lean on your own understanding.
            6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
            And He will make your paths straight.

          28. I appreciate your time and the back and forth. And apologize when I flirted with personal attacks. I know these are complex issues, and I know there is a lot of evil running around the world, which can have us all a little turned up. And you were gracious enough to humor me, and spark some debate I thought I had moved passed. Thank you!

          29. I don’t need a reference to know murdering children is wrong. Don’t need one to know guilt by association, and Sins of the Father, are morally dubious either.

          30. And with all due respect, that link’s material is not a logical proof of the existence in God, at all. Logic is a form of math, and there are laws, and equations, which can be objectively proven. If A then B. If not A, then not B. Stuff like that. Saying the world (creation) proves it, or the Bible proves it, or look at yourself proves it, is not Logic, or verifiable evidence. As I stated I may be on board at a subjective level, but that is not how we establish objective fact, at all.

          31. Right perhaps I miswrote. I meant formal logic is like Math. The word logic is often misused as an adjective, like logical. If you study formal logic is has its own symbolism, and mechanisms, that begin to look and work very much like math, like truth tables and model ponens, etc. I took several college level Logic courses and to my surprise being a lover of philosophy and rhetoric, I suddenly found myself struggling with a math like system.

          32. Also you statement “We don’t want to love anyone except our self with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. Therefore, the default position is to deny the existence of such a Being.” is the exact type of projection which pushes so many people away from belief in a God. I have many things, like the Truth and my Family that I love much, much more then myself, and I find this is true for most people I know. Heck most people love Sunday football, more than they love themselves lol. I do love these discussions though, thanks for sharing!

          33. The “projection” you are complaining about is a rebuttal to a “projection” argument common among Atheists, that the belief in God is a crutch. That is, we need God because we are afraid of dying.

          34. Citizen Tom that’s a bit of a non-sequitur. I didn’t say you were afraid of dying. The projection is you feel other people are selfish, respectfully perhaps even you are selfish, and then you attribute this motivation to a whole other group of people, Atheist. I easily refuted that assertion by saying I am highly committed to the Truth and to my family, and that my experience is most people have a thing beyond themselves that they appear committed to, even though it might be worldly and banal, like sports.

        2. If I’m right, agnostics don’t necessarily say that knowledge of God’s existence is unknowable. Just that they don’t know. Although some do claim that it is unknowable, and of course that claim would bear a burden of proof. Agreed?

          1. I’m not sure it does require a proof, as it’s a negative statement. We need proof when we are attempting to prove a positive, constructive claim, like saying a particular thing exists. If youre question is are there reasons why people would be agnostic, then the answer is certainly yes.

          2. Actually was not my question. My statement was that if agnostics make the Positive Claim that the existence of of God is Unknowable, rather than just Unknown to them, that would be a Positive Claim requiring a Burden of Proof. Because a claim that it’s unknowable would require exhaustive knowledge that itnin fact is unknowable. (Confusing, i know.. but thats what i was trying to say)

          3. I gotcha! And I dont think its that confusing or challenging really. I think you might be missing the point tbh. At the point you say I don’t know, something, that is a neutral position, that we should assume in all truth claims. It’s prima facie. I don’t know, just means I don’t know.

            Now if you really challenged me on how I don’t know, then I could provide a number of reason. I might even be ornery and use the Bible, and quote John 4:24 where Jesus says God is imperceptible or I might use Col 1:15 which suggests God is invisible etc. But I wouldn’t do that, because I don’t need to. I can stand solid in my I don’t know, and what for a logic argument or empirical proof to form a positive claim.

          4. actually, the question or Position isn’t that specific. Theism or Agnosticism or Atheism is more of a General question than one of specific Faith Traditions.

          5. If we make a declaration that we cannot prove, then that declaration is untrue.

            Consider. “God does not exist” is a declaration. Can anyone prove God does not exist? No. The then statement is not true.

            What about the statement “God does exist.” If we accept the logical proofs that philosophers and theologians have offered as valid proofs, then that declarative statement is true. If we don’t, then we have the burden of explaining why not.

          6. I agree if I was arguing God does not exist, that would be a positive claim and I would have to prove it, which I believe I have seen most educated Atheists agreed with that. Your third paragraph is they key to your mistake. First people, many many people have done the work proving how the cosmological argument breaks down, either you haven’t done your due diligence studying the other side, or you are being intellectually dishonest.

        1. I think we have had this discussion.

          I have an old dictionary. I enjoy studying the etymology of words.

          The word “Atheism” belongs to all of us, not just Atheists. The word “gay” belongs to all of us, not just sexually confused men.

          There is no virtue in allowing a bunch of propagandists to manipulate and ruin our language just so they can score debating “points.” When the mass media tries to manipulate us by changing the meaning of words, we have to call them out. Otherwise, all that matters is feelings.

          1. This a very telling statement. So I saw your Maslow’s hierarchy chart and I think you need to ponder it some more. So when Atheist, define their position, and it ends up standing strong, then we attribute some subversive element to their belief. Atheist have the right to define what their group believes, and Christians have a right to define what they believe. Just because you the touched remote first, doesn’t mean you get run the TV all day lol. Language evolves over time, as should our understanding (hopefully!). I also don’t think you would like the implications of this argument, if we defined Christians by the earliest record of what it meant to be a Christian, cause then you would be a Gnostic Christian and that certainly wouldn’t fit the world views I see you propounding on here.

          2. We are all subversive to some extent. We are all sinners. That is why argue and fight so much.

            Does language evolve? Yes, but the point of language is to communicate. Changing the meaning of the word Atheism as proposed by Atheists just creates confusion over what an Atheist is. Consider your own words.

            I’m sorry, you are incorrect. An agnostic doesn’t believe it is possible to know whether there is a God or not, an Atheist just hasn’t been shown the proof yet. Spent several years in the Atheist crowds and this is a point they hammer home constantly.

            You call yourself an agnostic. Something wrong with that?

            Here is how the term Christian came about. => https://www.gotquestions.org/meaning-of-Christian.html. Insults occasionally backfire.

          3. I didn’t call myself an agnostic, think we all need to slow down and read a little more carefully. I don’t necessarily have a problem with that label, unless we are using it in the strict sense that God can’t be known. I am very much open, and hopeful for proof of God’s. existence, objectively. I find great comfort in my subjective experience of God.

          4. I don’t think the working definition that I supplied and most atheists are using creates any confusion, except perhaps among folks like yourself who find it too reasonable. lol

          5. Well yes, because of the demonizing of your side, there are a lot of misconception about what it means to be an Atheist. Nothing wrong with education, right?

  3. “When Atheists call themselves Atheists that implies, based upon the definition of Atheist, that they deny the existence of God. How can anyone prove that God does not exist? They cannot, of course.”

    actually, we can. The bible god has some quite definite attributes and has supposedly caused a lot of events to happen, we should be able to find it.

    The problem, for Christians, is that they have many different gods, all claimed to be the Christian god described in the bible. These various gods differ greatly, with what it wants, how it manifests, etc. Not one christian can show that their version exist, or that the other versions don’t. Since they contradict each other, they disappear in a puff of logic.

    Christians also have the problem that they cannot agree on what events from the bible should be taken as literal occurrences, as exaggerations of some event, or simply metaphor. That no evidence for these events, in any version, can be shown to have happened, there is no reason to assume they did. The contradiction problem between christianities appears here too.

    Finally, the bible makes some very direct promises of what true believers should be able to do, and not one Christian can do them. Christians will try to claim that I can’t possibly know every christian and that is a red herring. True believers should be able to do impossible feats like Jesus, and they should have any prayer answered with what is asked for, no exceptions, and answered quickly. They also should be benevolent and want to help others since these miracles repeatedly are claimed to include supernatural healing like Jesus. We should be able to know true Christians by their “fruits” and no “fruits” are to be found. I should be able to see true believers healing amputees and burn victims constantly. No one does.

    I’ve had quite an interaction on Youtube with a christian who claimed he would be able to heal anyone. I asked him to heal Tammy Duckworth, who lost her legs in an attack in Afghanistan and Cooper, a child paralyzed in the Highland Park shooting. He promised within 72 hours they would be healed, or he would admit he was a fraud. Surprise, he lied.

    Christians spend time and resources trying desperately to invent excuses for their imaginary god in a practice called apologetics. They fail. No one has to go looking under a rock on Ceti Alpha V to find their god in their need to pretend people have to look every where for what should be a very noticable being.

    1. Club, You are bloviating ignorance and hatred typical of atheists. You state your personal opinion (which is 100% stupid) as if it were the Gospel truth. It isn’t. Find out who God is and find out what the Bible actually means, then get back to us. You shame yourself by dumping ignorant filth upon yourself with each comment you make.

      1. andmore false witnesses from SOM. This is nothing new.

        Alas, SOM can’tn show I’m wrong, he just has to lie and whine.

        Since christians themselves can’t agree on waht this god is or what the bible means, there is no reason to think that SOM or Tom have any idea. Their opinions contradict other Christians and not one christian can show that they are the TrueChristian(tm).

        Happily, I’ve not dumped any “filth” anywhere. I’ve just made observations that SOM doesn’t like and cannot show incorrect.

        1. Club, All your comments are the same. Which means you are an empty headed bimbo. Please dye your hair black so as to not to insult all the beautiful blonds out there.

          1. “You are proving once again that the godless take themselves way too seriously.”

            ah, the common claim of a failed bully: “but, but I was only joking” when your attempts at being insulting are called out.

          2. Yeah! Sure! You are the brave victim. Why don’t you put a noose around your neck, paint bruises on your cheeks, splash catsup all over your body, and claim MAGA hat wearing Trump supporters are after you?

          3. And here we go with the failed bully now being upset that his nonsense is being called out.

            why would I want to claim that incompetent failures like MAGA supporters are causing me any concern at all? This election has shown just how impotent you are.

            “Yeah! Sure! You are the brave victim. Why don’t you put a noose around your neck, paint bruises on your cheeks, splash catsup all over your body, and claim MAGA hat wearing Trump supporters are after you?”

        2. it’s also quite amusing that Tom thinks lies are funny. It’s great to see a self-proclaimed christian who enjoys lies.

          Again, I do wonder why SOM and Tom think I’m a blonde.

          1. “You don’t know the difference between humor and a lie? Why am I not surprised? Do you really want to be a parody of a godless Liberal Democrat?”

            and again, poor Tom, just another bully who fails, and tries the “I was only joking” when his attempts at being insulting fail.

            Alas, Tom and SOM have nothing but attempts at personal attacks since they can’t show their claims are true. Happily, insults only work if the person doing the insulting has an opinion worth something.

    2. Club

      You make charge after charge without feeling any need to justify any of it, and I am supposedly obligated to defend my Christian beliefs? Why? Because you supposedly talked on YouTube to a Christian who claimed he could heal anyone? Even the Apostles didn’t run around claiming they could heal anyone.

      Anyway, I don’t have any obligation to put up with someone who cannot be civil, and I won’t.

      1. Happily, I have supported my charges, and lies on your part doesn’t change that. But do show where I haven’t if you want to make that accusation. Surely you can, right?

        You don’t have to defend your beliefs. I am just as happy to show them to be false and harmful. Funny how the bible has that the apostles did claim to be able to heal. We see that in Acts. You are wrong yet again.

        You, as always, make false claims about others to avoid showing that they are wrong and yuo are right. So many christians try to hide behind the claim of “civil” when they simply have nothing. No one needs to avoid showing you are wrong just because you don’t like being exposed as frauds.

        “ou make charge after charge without feeling any need to justify any of it, and I am supposedly obligated to defend my Christian beliefs? Why? Because you supposedly talked on YouTube to a Christian who claimed he could heal anyone? Even the Apostles didn’t run around claiming they could heal anyone.

        Anyway, I don’t have any obligation to put up with someone who cannot be civil, and I won’t.”

  4. Tom,

    Michael Wisson’s post this morning contained this verse.

     “You were willing to enjoy the Baptist for a while, Jesus said, but you are not willing to come to me. It’s a lack of willingness, then, not a lack of testimonial evidence, which keeps people from coming to Jesus for life.”

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

      1. e
        clubschadenfreude

        You questioned

        “Per Jesus himself, your god prevents people from being able to accept this god. So which Jesus is the liar? “

        Not understanding how this verse relates to “which Jesus is a liar?
        .”
        If interested,

        Hear is a link which explains the “lesson” conveyed by Jesus’ verse.

        https://thechristadelphianjournal.com/thought-for-the-day/you-were-willing-to-rejoice-for-awhile/

        In my opinion, the lesson is, as this post topic, choice and/or willingness we make.

        According to the wisdom of King Solomon, we either make wise of foolish choices in our lives who or what to believe.

        Regards and goodwill blogging.

        1. Club isn’t trying to make sense. She is just trying to hurt people’s feelings. That doesn’t require clarity of thought and words. All that has to come across is the emotion of hatred, and she has got that part down, unfortunately for her.

        2. “According to the wisdom of King Solomon, we either make wise of foolish choices in our lives who or what to believe.”

          again, your Paul and Jesus say it isn’t up to us to believe but to this god allowing us to do so. We can’t make the choice.

          1. clubschadenfreude

            I believe we all could benefit with more in-depth study of Christian beliefs in free will in order to discern hie question you posed.

            “Again, your Paul and Jesus say it isn’t up to us to believe but to this god allowing us to do so. We can’t make the choice.”
            Perhaps these two s article Excerpts and link may help. “

            Excerpts

            “Catholic teaching on free will recognizes that God has given men and women the capacity to choose good or evil in their lives”

            “Catholics believe that “the education of conscience is a lifelong task.””

            Regards and goodwill blogging.

            https://www.piercedhearts.org/heart_church/free_will_conscience_choice_niederauer.htm#:~:text=Our%20Catholic%20beliefs%20about%20free%20will%2C%20conscience%20and,liberty%20of%20the%20children%20of%20God.%E2%80%9D%20%28Rom.%208%3A17%29.

          2. christians make up a lot of stuff, and ignore their bible when it is inconvenient. Unsurprisingly, you make up things and other christians make up things, and you contradict each other, showing that there is no one god that agrees with you and only you.

            Unfortunately, your bible has both your supposed messiah and its replacement saying that there is no free will. There are also the numerous times you god mind-controls people and interferes with human activities. All of these show the claims of “free will” made by christians are simply wrong.

          3. club schadenfreude

            Not understanding how anyone can prove the choice Christians make to believe about the existence of God is “simply wrong.”

            Regards and goodwill blogging.

          4. “Not understanding how anyone can prove the choice Christians make to believe about the existence of God is “simply wrong.””

            Well, then your bible is wrong and your Jesus and Paul are wrong. Bummer.

      2. the verse you cited says “ “You were willing to enjoy the Baptist for a while, Jesus said, but you are not willing to come to me. It’s a lack of willingness, then, not a lack of testimonial evidence, which keeps people from coming to Jesus for life.””

        your jesus also says that no no one can come to him without this god allowing it. Per Jesus in this bit, Matthew 13, it is not willingness to believe or not, it is this god interfering with who can believe what.

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