AGNOSTIC: a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.
AS TO THE GODS, I HAVE NO MEANS OF KNOWING EITHER THAT THEY EXIST OR DO NOT EXIST.• PROTAGORAS 410BC
Are there NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE in which an agnostic encountered God?
Dr. Atwater is an international authority on near- death states as well as a person who experienced near death. She is one of the original researchers in the field of near-death studies, having begun her work in 1978. More than 3,000 people are registered at her discussion form site, and we understand that they have one of the largest databases on near death experiencesin the world.
Where arguments arise amongst various people and groups is over the interpretation of that light and any form it make take, and how to regard it.
Scientists say it is endorphins; Muslims say it is fantasy; religious fundamentalists of any “stripe” say it is Satan (Lucifer). People of faith say it is either of God or of emissaries from God.
The spiritual images began to ooze large quantities of olive oil. Other secular pictures on the wall like diplomas were not affected. Many sick people were healed by the application of this heavenly oil. The most prolific source of this oil comes from the above statue of Christ on a cross. Notice the small pail at the bottom of His feet.
The pictures on the wall bear a multitude of holy patterns that look like Jesus’ face and other such things when you look closely. An example: a rose petal with an image of Jesus on it fell right on her. The petal is encased in glass and featured on postcards she gives out.
They have a daughter with Down’s Syndrome. Maureen says people report to having holy visions of the girl. They make miraculous recoveries from grave illness after witnessing this vision.
They welcome bus loads of visitors from the United States and Canada and give away vials of the heavenly oil. They accept no donations.
The Marollys, a devout Catholic couple from Pakistan live in a home in the West Island full of statues which get inexplicably covered in oil all day long. The thick, clear oil descends off the figures in such quantities that they require a small drain pipe to catch the viscous fluid into a glass jug at the end of the coffee table. Scientifically, it is true olive oil. The drain pipe is affixed to the coffee table that holds many statuettes that each ooze oil.
There are those holy people who also have a holy chapel in their home. These holy people trade their statuettes with those “sweating” statuettes on the large coffee table. The traded statuettes continue to sweat in their new holy environment.
We still feel our desire to make a positive difference to others (because of our capacity for empathy and conscience) even if we don’t acknowledge or act on it. Similarly, we still feel a desire for the transcendent and spiritual (because of the five transcendental desires and our awareness of the spiritual) even if we refuse to believe in the transcendent.
These unfulfilled desires have a curious consequence—they make us feel empty.
We not only miss the satisfactions of contribution, love, transcendence, and spiritual life, but our self-consciousness comprehends that we are only fulfilling part of ourselves. “Existential emptiness” refers to this complex of self-alienation and self-negation.
Thus, if we are to overcome dominant Level One and Level Two identity, we will have to replace it with dominant Level Three and Level Four identity.
Many of us will try to block it out by increasing our pursuit of Level One and Level Two desires. “If two scotches won’t make me feel better, perhaps five will.” “I feel a sudden need to have another twenty pairs of shoes and three Armani purses.” I am going to take a big risk and leave the town in which my family is most comfortable, to take an even more prestigious job.”
They truly manifest Augustine’s recognition of his own journey to God—“Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”
The need to cover over our sense of emptiness, guilt, and tragedy becomes more and more acute, and we take greater risks—more alcohol, more drugs, more base pursuits on the Internet, more ego highs, more accumulation of possessions, more exaggerated claims about accomplishments, and even ethically questionable behaviors to keep the upward momentum going.
This leads to either the positive one (to move toward dominant Levels Three and Four) or the truly negative one (sinking into a sea of emptiness, depression, and despair).
What happens if we take the “low road”? It manifests itself somewhat gradually. We find ourselves wanting to sleep more, watch more television, play more games on the Internet, spend more time at the club, and so forth. We always have a justification for this: “Sleep is restorative.” “That movie is a real classic, and by watching it for the fifth time it will really give me a new perspective on life.” “The Internet games are helping my mental agility.”
The depression is turning into despair, and if it is not treated, it could become tragic.
ESCAPING YOUR PERSONAL HELL
We will look at “Level Three replacement therapy”
Some people will feel more naturally inclined to pursue Level Three methods first, and then Level Four, while others (like myself) are more naturally inclined to pursue Level Four methods first, and then back into Level Three methods. I would submit that both Level Three and Level Four are essential for moving out of a dominant Level One-Two identity.
Alternatively, if Level Four is unaccompanied by Level Three, then it can lead to a superficial faith that does not seek to make a contribution to people, the common good, and the culture—it is a faith without charitable love (agapē). Moreover, Level Three contribution and love reinforces Level Four faith, while the grace of Level Four faith reinforces Level Three contribution and love.
Our dominant view of happiness determines what we are looking for, and this in turn determines what we are living for (our life’s purpose), and when we live for a particular purpose long enough, it becomes our identity (the definition we give to ourselves).
It is important to find a path to Levels Three and Four before they hit “rock bottom”.
There are some Christians that claim that the basic nature of human beings is sinful. It is the human tendency to rebel against, ignore, or resist God’s will. This makes human beings susceptible to illness. In a sense, a person can actually own his or her sickness or take responsibility for it. So illness is often linked to life style, which has moral overtones. The word, “disease” says it all: it means “without ease” or stress.
CAUSES OF SICKNESS
There are two principal theological interpretations of sicknessand healing:
Sickness is caused by forces or spirits opposed to God out of sheer perverseness. The devil wishes to thwart the divine plan for humankind. So illness is not the fault of the sick person. This is the view that Jesus took 2000 years ago.
Sickness is caused by God for different reasons. Sickness may be used to teach a person a lesson of faith. It may be used as a test so that a person can provide an example of faith for others as in the case of Job.
The sick person is understood to have earned the illness. The real aim of the sickness may be to change or moderate the nature of a person’s life.
The charismatic healers know very little or nothing about medical science and did not practice elaborate therapy. Most of these healers belong to the “holy person” category. They never ask for any fees for healing.
There are no elaborate rituals or complicated techniques. The healing is done by touch or command in the Name of Our Lord, Jesus Christ in the same manner as Jesus healed. A healer may use a general prayer such as, “May the mercy of God, which is present here with us now, enter into your soul, your mind, your body, and heal you from all that harms you” By Your stripes (whippings) Lord Jesus, you, , are healed! These last few words are the most important and they are based on the Bible: “With His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 and “by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
For specific healing, the words to use can be, “Send Your power right now into this baby’s ears and take away all germs or infection and make them well”. Some healers speak directly to evil spirits: “You spirit of disease, I command you in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, to come out of this boy,_______.”
Most Christians would miss their relationship with Jesusif they joined the Mormon Church. Jesus is the One who heals: there would be no more healing!Jesus is the One who delivers away evil spirits. There would be no more deliverance!
“Mormons say in their presentation that Jesus is our “eldest brother.” Christians believe that Jesus is our Lord and God and that He is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. Mormons believe, in contrast, that the Father created Jesus and so they don’t pray to Jesus.
Paul can ask Christ to comfort us, then why shouldn’t we pray to Jesus? Why would I join a Church that discourages praying to the eternal, all-powerful, and one and only Son of God? John 1:18
Paul said, “May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father . . . comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word,”2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Differences between Christianity and Mormonism
Christians and Mormons use the same words such as grace, faith, God and sin; they mean very different things by them. For example, as it pertains to faith, Alma 32:17 says, “Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe. Now I ask, is this faith? “Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know.”1 Corinthians 8:2 In other words, faith involves believing something we do not know. If we knew it, there would be no need for faith.
There is an intellectual atheism based on modern philosophy; a protest atheism, which insisted on the incompatibility of belief in God with human freedom and fulfillment; and a pessimistic atheism, which sees in the enormity of evil prevalent in the world an overwhelming argument against the existence of God.
As a Gallup poll of 1975 shows, in only 6 percent of all Americans questioned claimed to be atheists or agnostics; 94 percent believed in God and 69 percent in life after death — about the same percentages as in 1948.
But while many pay lip service to the existence of God, it seems true that many have experienced the death of God insofar as traditional images of God no longer make sense for them. They feel God’s absence, rather than His presence.
In the last century, God dwelt there with hosts of angels and directed earthly affairs: bringing good and bad weather, sickness and health, happiness and unhappiness.
After being gradually undermined for several years by accumulating scientific knowledge, this cozy picture has all but vanished from human consciousness.
If we can’t think of God, then, as some kind of absolute monarch ruling the universe from above, how should we think of Him?
Allow us to speak of an ultimate reality that is somehow “beyond” that which is directly given in our experience and our own ultimate limit.
All of us are constantly running up against limits, which are basically of four kinds: a) external physical limitation caused by material objects which can restrict our activities; b ) organic limitations we experience when we suffer illness, weakness and exhaustion; c ) personal limitations in our dealings with others insofar as their ideas and intentions often run counter to our own ; d ) restrictions related to our awareness of moral and aesthetic considerations such as the distinction between good and bad, beautiful and ugly.
Through this experience of our own finiteness we become aware.
How, then, can we conceptualize this ultimate limit?
The only experience we have is of our bare finiteness.
An encounter with God will involve both the ‘experience’ of our finitude and the faith which, points to some dynamic reality beyond the limit.
God as the ultimate limit, God as He is Himself, is thus profound mystery, which is completely beyond our grasp or comprehension.
Only on the ground that God had in fact revealed himself could it be claimed He exists.
The One Who is Creator of the world, Who by His providence guides and sustains and directs all things to their intended purpose. “God” means the Lord, the One Whom we must serve and obey,
He is our final End and Source of eternal happiness. He is also the Father Who loves His children, faithful, forgiving and at the same time absolutely just.
For the believer, He is the most real of all:
A believer finds in the symbol “God” the means of seeing life as a purposeful experience and a way of viewing the world as imbued with a personal presence. It enables one to feel at home in the world insofar as it is ruled with order and purpose.
As long as one stays on a purely metaphysical or speculative level it seems impossible that we will ever be able to answer this question with any certainty.
From Dynamic Catholicism: A Historical Catechism Bokenkotter, Thomas.
WHAT IS RELIGION?
Religion is man’s search: for strength and courage to be gained from the spiritual, which is greater than any individual man. It is the Power beyond our control and upon whom we feel ourselves dependent.
The mind and will of God exists outside man, which is superior to all men. Man attempts to get in touch with His spirituality. Once contact is made (by listening) man desires to live in harmony with God.This contact operates by graceand flourishes by prayer.
THE MYSTERY OF RELIGION
Religion deals not in problems but in mysteries. A mystery may be difficult or impossible to understand, but you are still passionate about and involved in.
Such passionate makes clear, objective thinking difficult, and being involved in a problem means one’s perspective is limited. One way to solve such mysteries is to rely on faith.
A DIVINE CHURCH
Suppose the Church were not divine but only human. Suppose she were our invention. Suppose the Church, unlike Christ, had only one nature, not two: that she was only human, not divine, and as “modernist” or “liberal” or “humanist” theology claims about Christ.
In that case we ourselves would have to figure out the right understanding of scripture, without divine authority. We would have to discover the truth about the Trinity, and the two natures of Christ, and baptism, and the Eucharist, and saints, and Mary, and Purgatory, and the Church herself, and crucial and controversial moral issues like abortion and marriage and homosexuality and euthanasia and contraception and war and capital punishment and money.
Under this supposition, who could ever know with certainty the will of God?And how could the Church ever be one? There are actually twenty thousand different churches or ten main-line protestant denominations, each teaching its own sincere but fallible human opinion. It is hard to believe that God would want His Church to split into so many pieces.
You Can’t Just Be Spiritual; You Need Religion.
Many people say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” On one hand, you can be happy that you are seeking a deeper meaning in their life. On the other hand, you should be worried that you will stay satisfied there. Spiritualityis what you believe and how you find meaning in regards to a higher Power whilereligionis how I live out the truth and what is right in regards to a higher Power. In religion:
We can gain an intimate knowledge of Christ.
We are better protected from evil so as not to misinterpret Scriptures.
We need a Christian community for encouragement and support.
ONE CHRISTIAN GOD
We Christians (of all flavors) are under greater attacknow that at many or most times in the past, from atheists, secularists, Islamists and others. It would therefore seem to be in our best interests to put aside whatever our differences are or have been in the past and try our best to become what Jesus asked for…that we may all be one.
Even if all religions are true, even profoundly true, this does not mean that all religions are totally true (free from error) or equally true. For only one religioncenters on the only sane man who ever claimed to be the TRUTH.
No other religious teacher – except some egomaniacs, fakers, tyrants and money-mad manipulators – claimed to be God. Any other religion except Christianity could survive without its founder after making such a claim.
If Abraham or Moses or Muhammad or Buddha or Confucius or Lao Tzu turned out to be mythical figures and not real historical people at all, the religions that they founded would still survive, just as Shakespeare’s plays would still retain their power and appeal if it were discovered that Shakespeare never existed, that the name was a pseudonym for Marlowe or Bacon. But Christianity could not survive if Christ was a fictional figure. You can’t be saved by a fictional or a dead savior.”
HAVE YOU BEEN HURT BY A CHURCH?
The Church often wounds us deeply.People with religious authority often wound us by their words, attitudes, and demands. Precisely because our religion brings us in touch with the questions of life and death, our religious sensibilities can get hurt most easily. Ministers and priests seldom fully realize how a critical remark, a gesture of rejection, or an act of impatience can be remembered for life by those to whom it is directed.
There is such an enormous hunger for meaning in life, for comfort and consolation, for forgiveness and reconciliation, for restoration and healing, that anyone who has any authority in the Church should constantly be reminded that the best word to characterize religious authority is compassion. Let’s keep looking at Jesus whose authority was expressed in compassion.
When we have been wounded by the Church, our temptation is to reject it. But when we reject the Church it becomes very hard for us to keep in touch with the living Christ. When we say, “I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,” we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too.
The challenge is to forgive the Church.This challenge is especially great because the Church seldom asks us for forgiveness, at least not officially. But the Church as an often fallible human organization needs our forgiveness, while the Church as the living Christ among us continues to offer us forgiveness.
It is important to think about the Church not as “over there” but as a community of struggling, weak people of whom we are part and in whom we meet our Lord and Redeemer. HENRI NOUWEN
These FREE series of ten biblical quotes are called:
GOD IS GREAT: GOD’S LOVE LETTERS
GOD IS GREAT God’s Love letters can be printed and folded in a tent shape. Cut them out and place each in rotation where you do your personal grooming or have your breakfast. They are ideal tool to help you memorized them.
To strengthen your fellowship with God.
To show you the goodness of God.
To build healthy, positive thoughts.
To provide curative comfort.
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God divinely inspired the BIBLE . How do we know?Each of eight accurate predictions show a high probability mathematically. The probability of one individual fulfilling eight prophecies have odds of 1 in 10 17(1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000). Jesus Christ fulfilled all prophecies, therefore the Bible MUST BE TRUE.
The Old Testament indicates another 40 astonishing predictions.
Christianity experiences stunning growth—from approximately 3.8 million adherents in China in 1956 to an estimated 87 to 100 million Christians today.
In the end, one Christian conversion will benefit the whole family. The gifts of the Holy Spirit of healing and deliverance will help the whole family. A prayer of deliverance of evil spirits will leave any member of the family with a complete sense of peace immediately. A prayer of healing from a Christian disciple produces 80% healing. The remaining healing comes from continued prayer of praise and thanksgiving until all the healing is complete. This healing comes from the Holy Spirit through the power in the Name of Jesus Christ. No other god or deity or doctor uses this power. This proves the TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY.
BILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS CAN’ T ALL BE WRONG!
Christianity is not a philosophy, but it is a relationship with God, your Creator, in Christ TODAY. It is not knowledge of abstract principles. How do we know this? Healing takes place TODAY in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Many Christian disciples use the gift of healing. They also use deliverance to deliver away evil spirits influencing people. These evil spirits cause depression, addictions and illness through all forms of stress. Only the Name of Jesus Christ makes healing and deliverance possible.
Jesus is alive today!He heals today (through His followers) and in many cases it is realized immediately. How else can you explain the explosion of Christianity, the world’s largest religion, on earth: 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31 percent) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth.
Christians know and feel His Presence; they communicate with Him personally; Christian prayers are always answered.
This author has been given the Gift of Healing only because he is a Christian Lay Missionary, who travels two to three places every year. On his last trip to Columbia he successfully transferred his Gift to his Spanish translators, who were able to heal as he did. He has healed Muslims to their great surprise.
He also delivers away evil spirits along with their healing. All those who are delivered from evil spirits feel a complete physical sense of peace.
DREAMS AND VISIONS
God can give a message to those non-Christians to change their heart. God knows faith will be developed eventually. God will come to you in the form of dreams or visions. So be sensitive to any dreams or visions,when you ask God for it earnestly.
The Beatitudes present a model of happiness contraryto what is usually communicated by the media and by the prevailing wisdom.
Today, what is glorified is success at any cost, affluence, the arrogance of power and self-affirmation at the expense of others. According to the logic of this world, those whom Jesus proclaimed blessed are regarded as useless, “losers”.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
BLESSED ARE THE POOR -WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
It seems confusingbecause we ought to strive to be rich in spirit, not poor.
At a time when so many people are suffering as a result of the financial crisis, it might seem strange to link poverty and happiness. How can we consider poverty a blessing? Does Jesus teach material poverty? Jesus is here talking about the condition of thespirit, not of the wallet.
Jesus loves everybody. Jesus wants to bless everyone, so why would he single out the economically poor for some kind of special blessing?
Economic poverty and sociological poverty often overlap, but not always. There are the “sociological poor”;these include people who are marginalized and oppressed, rendered vulnerable and given over to all sorts of hardships for reasons not of their own making. They are deprived the basic dignities which should be accorded all human beings–and it their spirits are often crushed, they are often broken-hearted, as a result.
It goes far beyond merely keeping the commandments: trying to gain eternal life. It’s undergoing a profound change in all of our attitudes, our value system, to really come to know Jesus, to hear His message, to imitate His way of life, to follow Him. That will require profound conversion.
Jesus is talking more about an attitude, a way of knowing one’s need for God, which is a disposition of the heart and not simply economic deprivation.
“When you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind. Blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:13-14
We understand that material goods are not a be-all and end-all for anyone, or should not be. We understand that we need enough to have a full human life, but we don’t need excess. We understand that God made the world for all and not just for a few, and so we need to find ways to share the goods of the earth and the goods of our world so everyone has a chance for a full human life.
The poor in spirit are those who recognize their total spiritual destitution and their complete dependence on God. So that the logic of being more will prevail over that of having more!
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. Matthew 5:3
Stephen William Hawking: an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist at the University of Cambridge, who scored one of the highest possible score — 160 — on his Mensa IQ test, died recently on March 14, 2018.
Hawking said he didn’t believe in a personal God and that God did not create the universe. He claimed that the laws of physics themselves brought the Universe into being, rather than God:
The science-religion debate has been going on since science was born, centuries ago. Until relatively recently, it seemed to have quietened down, but now Hawking and others have brought it back into the limelight.
We need to stop thinking therefore that science is the fount of all knowledge. It’s simply not. Science does not tell us how we ought to live—science isn’t ethics.Scientists and religious believers should keep out of each other’s territory. But this is naive. The science-religion relationship is a sure-fire source of publicity, which is always welcome when one has a book to sell.
No religion has ever been set out in terms of scientific statements. This is why scientists are able to mock the claims of religions but have never been able to deal a knock-out blow: in the end, a religious believer can always fall back on a faith that does not depend on verification.
Einstein claimed that the greatest mystery of the universe was that its most fundamental laws can be expressed in terms of beautiful mathematical equations. Einstein followed closely the views of the concept of God as an expression of the underlying unity of the universe, something so wondrous that it can command a spiritual awe.
Hawking’s view appears to be that the belief in a God-created universe can be supplanted by a belief in M-theory (a form of string theory). One problem with the theory is that it looks as though it will be extremely difficult to test, unless physicists can build a particle accelerator the size of a galaxy. Even if the experimenters find a way round this and M-theory passes all their tests, the reasons for the mathematical order at the heart of the universe’s order would still remain anunsolvable mystery.
How can natural selection even start without an original design? When you look at all of the knowledge that we have taken from scientific pursuits, and you look at it with no expectations, what you see is breathtaking. The universe is an amazing place.
So how can natural selection even start without an Original Design? Your living organism must have come to existence at some point. They reproduce now that they are complete and existent, but for them to come in existence they must have been created. Tell me anything you have ever known that came to existence from nothing — without a cause. Which came first the chicken or the egg? You can’t have one without the other, unless there is a Divine Creator. I’ll let you think on that for a while.
A person needs to study the probabilitiesto determine if intelligent design is involved. The chances of finding a functional protein by chance is 1/10 to the 164th power… Now to understand this gigantic number just knows that there is only 1/10 to the 80th power particles in the known universe.
A car that could reproduce itself would be way ahead of our technological abilities. The base idea of the argument is the complexity of organic life, is far more complex than a car or a watch, of anything man can make. It has several parts that are required to be all present at once in order to function. The idea of a car randomly coming together over time is preposterousand even more so for something that is more complex in nature.
Natural selection is based on emotional ideas which, even if by some wild chance turned out to be correct, are still illogical given the state of our knowledge: the First Cause. There was an entire planet to start with – a planet with at least the simplest form of pre-biotic “life” that evolution began with. Evolution did not start with nothing.
Evolution only explains the diversity of species. Mutations of organisms slowly change within their environment to be able to survive as efficiently as possible. Evolution doesn’t attempt to explain mutation and the First Cause or the Master Biological Programmer