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Month: May 2012

Nirvana or Transformation?

Nirvana or Transformation?

I just read a beautifully written post about Buddhism here: http://thistimethisspace.com/2012/05/08/finding-my-path/

I wrote the following response:

Greetings Timethief.

First of all let me say that British Columbia is without a doubt the most beautiful place on earth, and I’ve seen much of the earth. I suspect that there are a few places I haven’t been (some of the mountains of New Zealand for example) that could match it, but I haven’t seen those places.

🙂

I want to share a thought about one thing you said and then listen to your response.

You said: “Unenlightened life is suffering. Suffering is a result of attachment to wrong thinking that results in greed, hatred, and ignorance, which return as suffering (karma), while compassion toward others who suffer reduces the effects of karma. Cessation of this suffering through meditation and mind training is the primary goal of Buddhism– to reach Nirvana (a state of wherein the craving desire within is extinguished), to end cycles of rebirth through enlightenment.”

(Article Continues Below)

I teach in India sometimes on the topic of “worldview.” I teach the topic from a Christian point of view. I like to wrestle through the benefits and consequences of different worldviews with my students.

My observation is that peoples who have embraced similar philosophies to the one you have mentioned have created basically miserable societies. (I know that “miserable” is a strong word, and I do not use it with intent to offend, but that is what I have seen.) On the other hand, peoples that have embraced “love your neighbor as yourself” and “follow God’s Law” (meaning Christian Biblical Law) have tended to create societies that are imperfect but that mitigate human suffering far more effectively.

My theory is that this is because in actual practice participants in Eastern Religious Worldviews seem to be focused on personally escaping the cycle of reincarnation as opposed to loving one’s neighbor by making the world a better place.

I am not saying that “all people” in one culture are bad and “all people”” in another are good. I am suggesting that there are general (and significant) tendencies within those cultures that produce very different results.

In other words “ideas have consequences.”

Ironically, as Christians in the “West” have deserted an “all of life” view of Christianity and have moved towards a “my personal salvation from hell” emphasis the effect has been a decline of the good kinds of Christian influence on society. “It’s all going to burn anyways, so why try and do anything about it?” In other words, many contemporary Christians seem to have embraced an “escapist” view of spirituality like their Eastern human brothers.

But real and historical Christianity pushes a Loving Intervention into the lives of one’s fellow human beings based on the belief that God wants to change the world through His People, both now and in eternity. Charity towards one’s fellow man is not a means of escape for the Christian, but is rather a Core Purpose for Living.

So what do you think about this idea that Eastern “the universe (God) is One and I need to escape the illusion around me” has created one type of society while “love your neighbor and Intervene in and Disrupt the cycle of evil” has created another type of society?

Come on over and join the discussion (but be nice!). I am “ThirstyJon” in the comments. — UPDATE 5/14/2012 — Perhaps it would be better to NOT go over and join the discussion. The author doesn’t seem to like my comment or the fact that I posted it here. Bummer.

Don’t Give Up! – (Guest Post)

Don’t Give Up! – (Guest Post)

Never Give Up!–Guest Post By Ben Gilmore

I am truly optimistic about our society.  Everything around us is SHOUTING for us to focus on the corruption, graft, lies … (evil!) around us.  Though not living in denial of reality, I am choosing to focus upon those things that are true, honest, just, pure, and lovely.

American citizens are in a war for the soul of their nation and her founding principles.  In war, battles are often won by those who refuse to give up!  I believe God is not asking, “How many times were you knocked down?”   I believe He is asking, “Did you get up the last time?”

Remember – Various media attempt to picture you in a society that is unlike much of the rest of the nation.  We should respond by highlighting America’s exceptionalism and her virtues.  Use the positive as a foundation for sudden and relentless reform!!!

I agree – It appears unlikely that our ship-of-state stays afloat, much less gets repaired and restored WITHOUT an outpouring of the Holy Spirit across America.

BUT

Let us not be caught with our eyes focused upon the situation exclusive of God’s hand in human events.

  • Are there indeed Americans humbly admitting to God that we deserve justice over mercy – Yes, I believe there are.
  • Are there American individuals and groups in prayer for our nation? — Yes, I believe there are.
  • Are there Americans honestly seeking the Lord’s specific direction for their actions? – Yes, I believe there are.
  • Are there Americans turning from their individual besetting sins in an effort to see God’s hand at work?  – Yes, I believe there are.

Does 2nd Chronicles 7:14 (above) apply today?  —

  • Yes, I believe our corporate prayers will be heard.
  • Yes, I believe our individual and corporate sins will be forgiven.
  • Yes, I believe the gracious Lord will indeed heal our land!!!

Why do I believe so unlikely (appearing) future?  I respond, “How big is your God?”

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Moses, in the wilderness, interceded for his people, “Lord, If you wipe is out in the wilderness, It will make you look like an intolerant god, to the watching Egyptians (the world).”  And God repented.  Proving that He prefers mercy over justice when there is proper prayer.  The Bible book of Judges offers many similar examples.

America is the first civil government in all of human history to have been purposely founded upon sound Biblical principles.  If the failure of her citizens to honor those principles is, allowed to cause our national failure – The world will assume that Biblical principles of Christian Self-Government are not sufficient to sustain civil government.  All that the Hand of God has invested in America, as an illustration to the world, will be lost!!!

“Forbid it Almighty God.  I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.” [Patrick Henry – 1776]

Ben Gilmore
[Contact Ben]

Does Christianity Lead to Material Prosperity?

Does Christianity Lead to Material Prosperity?

From The Gospel of Everything Blog:

Wealth or Poverty?I think the confusion is caused by a faulty understanding of how God views all of life. In contemporary Christianity we have so emphasized “spiritual things” while ignoring the fact that both Jesus and the whole Bible address all of life. We have decided that some areas of our lives and societies are “spiritual” and “holy” while other areas are somehow evil and unworthy of attention in Christian Discipleship; yet both Old and the New Testaments spend considerable amounts of time teaching us how to live our lives in every area!

Could it be that when we follow Jesus we begin to redeem everything?

Notice in the Matthew 28 passage that “all authority” has been given to Jesus and therefore…  [Read More]