262,000,000 Americans Struggling with Addiction

262,000,000 Americans Struggling with Addiction

The recent elections in this land focused on what politicians considered the worst problems in American. Their agenda was to say that they were the most qualified to deal with whatever problem they considered the most threatening. However, is it possible that all of them failed to see America’s greatest problem might be the problem of addiction?

What is the biggest addiction facing America?  Who can help?

What is the biggest addiction facing America? Who can help?

Think for a moment of the problem of alcohol addiction. It is estimated that there may be more than 16,000,000 Americans addicted to alcohol. It is not just a problem for the individual who is drinking, but his drinking affects those around him. Alcohol is a factor in 73% of all felonies, 73% of child beating cases, 41% of rapes, 81% of wife batterings, 72% of stabbings and 83% of homicides. One study showed that 50,000,000 Americans are impacted by the drinking of others.

Add to this that ever-increasing problem of drug addiction. The best estimates show that there are at least 7,000,000 drug addicts in our land and over 20,000,000 drug users. The World Health Organization report shows that Americans use more cocaine and marijuana than any nation on the earth. At least 16% of Americans will use cocaine in their lives as compared with the second leading nation, New Zealand, where 4% will use cocaine. This addiction to drugs is the underlying reason for so many crimes like thefts and robberies.

Look at the title of this article. The combined number of drug and alcohol addicts in this land is only slightly over 10% of the number of people in our land. Yet, the title shows that almost ninety percent are struggling with the problem of addiction. How are there 262,000,000 of the 325,000,000 Americans struggling? How can this be? What can this addiction possibly be?

Those who are mentally challenged and many young children are not part of this addiction. Remove them from the total population and that leaves 262 million who struggle with addiction. What is this addiction? It is the addiction to sin.

Read these verses carefully. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved” (Rom. 3:23; 2 Pet. 2:19—New American Standard Version). Consider the power of sin. It holds the world in its grasp and only by the knowledge of the Lord can we escape it (2 Pet. 2:20). Sin reigns over us and has become our master (Rom. 6:12, 14). The very parts of our bodies become the instruments in this bondage (Rom. 6:13).

Wake up, America! We have an addiction problem that is far greater than the addiction of drugs and alcohol—sin. There is freedom in Christ for you, for me and for every addict!

Posted in Dan Jenkins | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on 262,000,000 Americans Struggling with Addiction

Those were Atheists ?!

Those were atheists?!

“Those were atheists ?!” my nine year-old son asked. “I thought they would look more… you know… mean-looking. I wish you’d let me debate them. I think I could have taken them. Wow, so they were really atheists, Dad?” It was one of those moments that really stand out in my mind. I had just finished an open “Question and Answer” session in a weekend seminar. Approximately twenty atheists had shown up in response to the flyers spread around town. My oldest son had come to the front of the auditorium to help me pack up at the conclusion of the night. We had a few moments alone and so I used that time to discuss some of the topics mentioned during the Q & A session. My son’s comments came after I revealed to him that the individuals who I had just been talking with were atheists. My son was shocked. After all, the atheists were dressed very similar to him! In fact, one of them had been extremely kind to him and had carried on a conversation with him about football and school.

Atheists?  The people next door?  There is no shape, size, or color.

Atheists? The people next door? There is no shape, size, or color.

I Can Answer That Question
Far too often we view atheists as evil people who wear scary-looking clothes and mean scowls on their faces. The reality of it is we might be hard pressed to pick them out in our own community. They may be living literally in the house next door. On one occasion I was speaking at a small congregation in a little town in Arkansas when a Christian asked me a question: “Why do atheists do ….” I smiled and answered that I wasn’t sure since I was not an atheist. A man to my right stood up and meekly said, “I can answer that question.” You could have literally heard a pin drop. He continued by saying, “I realize I will probably lose some business with some of you all and have known most of you my whole life, but I’m an atheist.” This was a man in their community they had known for years, and yet there he was—an atheist—in their midst.

In many cases atheists dress like we do, talk like we do, and oftentimes have nice personalities. They come in all shapes, sizes, and socioeconomic classes. These individuals frequently come across as “questioners” or intellectually superior—making religion appear to be a crutch. This may be why so many young people are drawn to them like moths to a flame. Make no mistake about it, atheists are real and are very much in your community.

Atheism is the belief that there is no God. It is derived from the Greek word atheos, meaning godless. Atheos means “without,” and theos means “deity.” The number of individuals who identify themselves as atheists has increased dramatically over the past few years. It has become the belief system of choice for many high school and college students who deem it critical to question everything and go against the norm. So exactly how are atheists appealing to our children and grandchildren?

The Scientific Method
One of the reasons atheists have been so successful in emptying out church pews is because they have convinced at least two generations that everything must be proven using the scientific method. From an early age, students are taught that if you cannot see, touch, taste, smell, or hear it, then “it” does not exist. Those who have stiffened their necks against God recognize that He exists beyond scientific measure—and thus, our young people feel that it is impossible to prove His existence. Case in point—just before I was to teach 700 students about Christian evidences at a Christian academy, one of the seniors got up and offered a prayer. During his prayer, he made the statement that while they didn’t know for sure God was real and couldn’t prove He existed, they had faith and believed in Him. This young man had just told 700 of his classmates he was not sure God was real!

Many Christian parents find themselves dismayed when their child returns home from school only to announce they no longer believe in a God. And yet, as more and more atheists take a militant approach, this phenomenon is occurring more and more often. In a personal email an atheist indicated, “I never really seriously thought about church and religion until I moved to college. After thinking, reading, and discussing God and religion, my belief in God faded and eventually disappeared. Letting go of God was not an easy process—at least for me.” It was not an easy process, but this individual has officially turned his back on God.

Something From Nothing?
Atheists struggle with explaining the very existence of the universe. Any logical person would be hard pressed to defend that nothing exists today. The very fact that you are reading this article indicates that something exists. (Some might contend that this is all a hallucination—but I would still ask where did the hallucination come from, and exactly how do you know it is a hallucination? For something to be acknowledged as a hallucination would mean that one can know reality.) Since it is an absolute truth that something now exists, it demands that something has existed forever. Otherwise, one would be forced to argue that something came from nothing—a position that is weak and illogical. It is a self-evident truth that something can’t come from nothing, thus something has to have existed forever. This truth does not prove a Supreme Being, but rather it establishes that something has “eternal” properties.The essence of being eternal can be defined as existing without a beginning or end—sometimes considered to be outside of time. Since something exists today, it is a reasonable scientific observation to then go one step further and deduce that something has existed forever.

But how do we go about identifying that eternal “something”? This is where naturalistic science meets philosophy. All of our scientific observations exclude anything being “eternal” in nature. (Some might argue that the universe holds an eternal potential, i.e. Heni Poincare’s work would argue that given a sufficient length of time, it will reorder itself into its original arrangement without any loss of usable energy. However, the evidence of such a “theory” is still lacking and would be a faith-based assumption in itself.) Everything that man is currently aware of obeys the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that things are running down and wearing out (a concept also shared by writers of the Bible; see Hebrew 1:11; Isaiah 51:6; Psalm 102:26). Eternality would indicate that something is not running down and had no beginning. Consider the following equations:
1. Something exists today—THUS—something must be eternal and has always existed.
2. Something is eternal (doesn’t wear down and was not created)—THUS—something violates scientific laws (specifically the Second Law of Thermodynamics).
3. Something violates scientific laws—THUS—something exists outside the observable laws of naturalistic science.

From these we can conclude:
4. Something eternal is THUS outside the observable laws of naturalistic science!

While many atheists may not like this “math,” it is inescapable. To argue otherwise would be to deny our very existence. We can logically conclude that something has existed forever—something that is not explainable by naturalistic science. That something is God.

A Belief System Without Hope
Without a belief in God, one must ponder what hope these individuals truly have. What is their view of the afterlife? Consider the following proposition:
1.  Only bodies in which a component (e.g., the spirit) is eternal and endless can have meaning (E form: No finite lives have meaning).
2.  If there are no gods, then there are no endless lives (A form: If there are no gods, all lives are finite).
3.  If there is no God, then no lives have meaning.

This meaning does not equate with happiness, as non-believers and believers alike can experience worldly happiness. However, the core meaning for our lives shapes our attitudes and oftentimes dictates how we conduct ourselves while on this earth. For many, the whole duty of man is to “fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). For others, the duty of man is to eat, drink, and be merry. Consider for a moment the response I received from two atheists when I asked them how they view death.

Jason said, “Non-existence, period.  Dead people do not exist. The person ceases to exist upon death. Death is just a way of expressing that a person has passed away into non-existence, which is (by that concept) only troubling for the people who still exist.

Another atheist, Josh, remarked, “My view on death and an afterlife is pretty nihilistic and generic of the typical atheist. There is no afterlife, and we’ve got to do what we can now. It will make dying a lot easier to know that I will be known long after I die, so for me, it’s kind of like making my ego survive my body.”

Conclusion
I’ve heard it said many times that it takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian. Given the amount of evidence we have for God, I would agree. Ask yourself ,“Do I have enough faith to be an atheist?” Ultimately we are without excuse! (see Romans 1:20).

Brad Stine once mused: “Who is more irrational? A man who believes in a God he doesn’t see, or a man who’s offended by a God he doesn’t believe in?” I would take that even one step further: “Who is more irrational? A Christian who believes in God but doesn’t teach his child about Him, or an atheist who doesn’t believe in Him but takes the time to teach the child his beliefs?”

Introduction
“Those were atheists?!” my nine year-old son asked. “I thought they would look more… you know… mean-looking. I wish you’d let me debate them. I think I could have taken them. Wow, so they were really atheists, Dad?” It was one of those moments that really stand out in my mind. I had just finished an open “Question and Answer” session in a weekend seminar. Approximately twenty atheists had shown up in response to the flyers spread around town. My oldest son had come to the front of the auditorium to help me pack up at the conclusion of the night. We had a few moments alone and so I used that time to discuss some of the topics mentioned during the Q & A session. My son’s comments came after I revealed to him that the individuals who I had just been talking with were atheists. My son was shocked. After all, the atheists were dressed very similar to him! In fact, one of them had been extremely kind to him and had carried on a conversation with him about football and school.
I Can Answer That Question
Far too often we view atheists as evil people who wear scary-looking clothes and mean scowls on their faces. The reality of it is we might be hard pressed to pick them out in our own community. They may be living literally in the house next door. On one occasion I was speaking at a small congregation in a little town in Arkansas when a Christian asked me a question: “Why do atheists do ….” I smiled and answered that I wasn’t sure since I was not an atheist. A man to my right stood up and meekly said, “I can answer that question.” You could have literally heard a pin drop. He continued by saying, “I realize I will probably lose some business with some of you all and have known most of you my whole life, but I’m an atheist.” This was a man in their community they had known for years, and yet there he was—an atheist—in their midst.
In many cases atheists dress like we do, talk like we do, and oftentimes have nice personalities. They come in all shapes, sizes, and socio-economic classes. These individuals frequently come across as “questioners” or intellectually superior—making religion appear to be a crutch. This may be why so many young people are drawn to them like moths to a flame. Make no mistake about it, atheists are real and are very much in your community.
Atheism is the belief that there is no God. It is derived from the Greek word atheos, meaning godless. Atheos means “without,” and theos means “deity.” The number of individuals who identify themselves as atheists has increased dramatically over the past few years. It has become the belief system of choice for many high school and college students who deem it critical to question everything and go against the norm. So exactly how are atheists appealing to our children and grandchildren?
The Scientific Method
One of the reasons atheists have been so successful in emptying out church pews is because they have convinced at least two generations that everything must be proven using the scientific method. From an early age, students are taught that if you cannot see, touch, taste, smell, or hear it, then “it” does not exist. Those who have stiffened their necks against God recognize that He exists beyond scientific measure—and thus, our young people feel that it is impossible to prove His existence. Case in point—just before I was to teach 700 students about Christian evidences at a Christian academy, one of the seniors got up and offered a prayer. During his prayer, he made the statement that while they didn’t know for sure God was real and couldn’t prove He existed, they had faith and believed in Him. This young man had just told 700 of his classmates he was not sure God was real!
Many Christian parents find themselves dismayed when their child returns home from school only to announce they no longer believe in a God. And yet, as more and more atheists take a militant approach, this phenomenon is occurring more and more often. In a personal email an atheist indicated, “I never really seriously thought about church and religion until I moved to college. After thinking, reading, and discussing God and religion, my belief in God faded and eventually disappeared. Letting go of God was not an easy process—at least for me.” It was not an easy process, but this individual has officially turned his back on God.
Something From Nothing?
Atheists struggle with explaining the very existence of the universe. Any logical person would be hard pressed to defend that nothing exists today. The very fact that you are reading this article indicates that something exists. (Some might contend that this is all a hallucination—but I would still ask where did the hallucination come from, and exactly how do you know it is a hallucination? For something to be acknowledged as a hallucination would mean that one can know reality.) Since it is an absolute truth that something now exists, it demands that something has existed forever. Otherwise, one would be forced to argue that something came from nothing—a position that is weak and illogical. It is a self-evident truth that something can’t come from nothing, thus something has to have existed forever. This truth does not prove a Supreme Being, but rather it establishes that something has “eternal” properties.The essence of being eternal can be defined as existing without a beginning or end—sometimes considered to be outside of time. Since something exists today, it is a reasonable scientific observation to then go one step further and deduce that something has existed forever.
But how do we go about identifying that eternal “something”? This is where naturalistic science meets philosophy. All of our scientific observations exclude anything being “eternal” in nature. (Some might argue that the universe holds an eternal potential, i.e. Heni Poincare’s work would argue that given a sufficient length of time, it will reorder itself into its original arrangement without any loss of usable energy. However, the evidence of such a “theory” is still lacking and would be a faith-based assumption in itself.) Everything that man is currently aware of obeys the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that things are running down and wearing out (a concept also shared by writers of the Bible; see Hebrew 1:11; Isaiah 51:6; Psalm 102:26). Eternality would indicate that something is not running down and had no beginning. Consider the following equations:
1. Something exists today—THUS—something must be eternal and has always existed.
2. Something is eternal (doesn’t wear down and was not created)—THUS—something violates scientific laws (specifically the Second Law of Thermodynamics).
3. Something violates scientific laws—THUS—something exists outside the observable laws of naturalistic science.
From these we can conclude:
4. Somethingeternal is THUS outside the observable laws of naturalistic science!
While many atheists may not like this “math,” it is inescapable. To argue otherwise would be to deny our very existence. We can logically conclude that something has existed forever—something that is not explainable by naturalistic science. That something is God.
A Belief System Without Hope
Without a belief in God, one must ponder what hope these individuals truly have. What is their view of the afterlife? Consider the following proposition:
1.  Only bodies in which a component (e.g., the spirit) is eternal and endless can have meaning (E form: No finite lives have meaning).
2.  If there are no gods, then there are no endless lives (A form: If there are no gods, all lives are finite).
3.  If there is no God, then no lives have meaning.
This meaning does not equate with happiness, as non-believers and believers alike can experience worldly happiness. However, the core meaning for our lives shapes our attitudes and oftentimes dictates how we conduct ourselves while on this earth. For many, the whole duty of man is to “fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). For others, the duty of man is to eat, drink, and be merry. Consider for a moment the response I received from two atheists when I asked them how they view death.
Jason said, “Non-existence, period.  Dead people do not exist. The person ceases to exist upon death. Death is just a way of expressing that a person has passed away into non-existence, which is (by that concept) only troubling for the people who still exist.
Another atheist, Josh, remarked, “My view on death and an afterlife is pretty nihilistic and generic of the typical atheist. There is no afterlife, and we’ve got to do what we can now. It will make dying a lot easier to know that I will be known long after I die, so for me, it’s kind of like making my ego survive my body.
Conclusion
I’ve heard it said many times that it takes more faith to be an atheist than a Christian. Given the amount of evidence we have for God, I would agree. Ask yourself ,“Do I have enough faith to be an atheist?” Ultimately we are without excuse! (see Romans 1:20).
Brad Stine once mused: “Who is more irrational? A man who believes in a God he doesn’t see, or a man who’s offended by a God he doesn’t believe in?” I would take that even one step further: “Who is more irrational? A Christian who believes in God but doesn’t teach his child about Him, or an atheist who doesn’t believe in Him but takes the time to teach the child his beliefs?”
Posted in Brad Harrub | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Those were Atheists ?!

Rejection and Submission

Rejection and Submission

The final chapters of the prophecy of Zechariah share the sad truth of the rejection of the Messiah. Zechariah serves as an image of the Good Shepherd whom the people refused to follow in contrast to the evil shepherds that the sheep allowed to feed them. The staves of the Good Shepherd, Beauty and Bands, were broken.

Rejection of the world, is submission to Christ.

Rejection of the world, is submission to Christ.

For many the same situation exists today but they are blind to its reality. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 55:1–2) and when we allow ourselves to be fed by evil, covetous, and worldly desires we turn away from the grace and unity that secure us. This is true individually of all men, but it is also true of many congregations. The grace and unity that binds us together with God as His children, as part of His family is broken when we follow false teachings and practices and not His divine word which He has sent to Guide us.

The decision is simple: The sinner must submit to the Good Shepherd in repentance (Acts 17:30), confession (Matthew 10:32–33), and baptism for the remission of your sins (Acts 2:38). The child of God must then faithfully follow the Good Shepherd who loved us and gave His life for us! The church that has fallen away must repent (Revelation 2–3). Where do we stand today? Be faithful and united!

Posted in Tim Dooley | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Rejection and Submission