The term ‘New Atheist’ is beginning to get a bit old already. It is still relatively new, chronologically, at least in relation to centuries of classical atheists. The movement seems to have arisen, or at least gained popularity, after the events of 9/11 (2001) in the USA. It was characterized by a shift towards the use of rhetoric, emotion, fear, and embodied very ‘religious’ type behaviors (some argue mirroring religious fundamentalists), despite the often claimed ‘reason’ branding. [Read more...]
Thanksgiving is a wonderful tradition where we are able to give thanks (to God) for all that we have been blessed with, especially family and friends. The following day, Black Friday, is an over-excessive nationwide shopping spree in the US, paying homage to the gods of materialism and ourselves, stuffing our lives full of typically unnecessary merchandise with money that we have yet to earn. What an amazing and tragic cultural event to ‘witness’! From the swamps of Asia to ultimate consumers paradise in the US, is a cultural adjustment only a few of us get to experience and something I would not wish on anyone. Considering the high intellectual plateau, the deep moral concern and amazing technological advancement we self-proclaim in the west, I sure was fooled after witnessing the last week in the US. I am convinced more than ever that there is one thing that connects mankind across nations, languages and cultures. [Read more...]
The idea that we’re living in a culture of relativism seems to be uncontested and accepted without question. Post-modernists and relativists assume that we’ve progressed past the rigid constraints of ‘truth’, ‘falsity’, ‘reason’, and other oppressive concepts that actually undergird the fabric of rationality in the universe. However, I’m not convinced that we are truly living in a relativistic society—we still express outrage at moral injustices. This gives me hope that the West acknowledges some moral truths and is unwilling to deny objective morality. We are not ready to collapse into moral relativism because doing so would result in consequences that are simply impossible to live with.
[This post is a work in progress as part of the CAA Catechism.]
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Summary in 400 words or less:
In John 14, Jesus spoke about many rooms in his Father’s house, and that [Jesus] would be preparing a place for his disciples and that they know the way to where he is going. Then Thomas asked, “…How can we know the way?” Jesus answers him:
“I am the way (or “the road”), the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
We maintain that Jesus has a monopoly on salvation, based on his atoning work on the cross.
However, this does raise various difficulties.
1) Does Jesus have a monopoly on the truth?
No — while Jesus embodies the truth but does not make claims that he represents all truth i.e., Christianity does not have a monopoly on all truth (e.g., Christianity does not claim to be an exhaustive science textbook).
2) Can people be saved through means other than Jesus?
No — Jesus makes claims that no one comes to the Father except through him. However, there are many ways to come to Jesus.
3) Can people be saved through “Jesus and (something else)?”
No — only Jesus. Not Jesus and Mohammed, not Jesus and Buddha, not even Jesus and Billy Graham nor Jesus and the Pope.
In regard to WHY Jesus can be the only way to God (the Father)?
There are several ways this can be answered.
1) Jesus is perfectly God and perfectly man in enhypostatic human, meaning He is the only mediator for both.
2) Jesus is God in the flesh. His perfect example would validate his teaching.
3) Jesus atoned (either or both expiated or propitiated) for the sin of mankind, through his suffering and death, and was raised for our righteousness and justification.
4) Jesus was resurrected, thus God sent a verdict back to man that Jesus was sinless, including his teaching, which includes the above.
Sometimes, there is difficulty when we get to Pluralism: that there are many cultures and many “spiritual guides” or that, given religious diversity, how can Jesus be the only way?
1) The idea of restitution (i.e., that there is some method of “repayment” or making amends when there has been wrong-doing) is fairly universal.
2) Jesus taught with his own authority, in comparison to other spiritual guides including rabbis of Jesus’ day and the Old Testament prophets, that would make him equal to God.
3) No other spiritual guide claimed to be God.
4) No other spiritual guide claimed the exclusive way to God.
Scripture for YouVersion:
Three questions (1 fill-in-the-blank, 1 multiple choice, and one discussion question):
References for further reading:
CLEE – Considering expanding in a small summary of why atonement is necessary for God and man, and Jesus is the only acceptable sacrifice, and therefore can make this claim; challenge of pluralism.
Collaborators: Chris Lee
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