Contradict Meme #1

I finally figured out how I can create memes quickly without have someone else’s url on it and with no additional costs to myself .  This means I plan on making plenty of memes.  They seem to be easy ways of promoting Contradict Movement.  Here is a meme I meme I made using the Contradict logo:

contradict meme1I posted this image to Facebook and almost instantly I received a question about who considers Contradict to be hate speech.

The following was my response:

I can provide an example of a person who essentially says that it is hate speech. The person says that it isn’t hate speech, but often times in this paragraph uses the word “hate” in application to Contradict and does in fact call Contradict a bully:

“Islam, Christianity, Buddhism etc. Most are “the only truth” to countless people. And it’s fine to believe that. But, what’s not fine is not allowing others to have their individual beliefs in the truth. Who cares if they’re wrong? Is it really hurting you? Only if you fight them. Only if you threaten. Only if you belittle, offend, annoy…There’s a saying that hate is like a burning coal you are intending to throw at someone. The only one who gets burned by holding onto hate is you. This isn’t necessarily hate, but it’s close-minded. The Contradict movement is, for all intents and purposes, a bully. And yet, look at how many previously bullied people who have now found God are getting behind it. And before you go and argue that Coexist people are bullies, too, here’s a reminder–they aren’t expecting you to do anything but let people live out their own lives, as ignorant to your version of the truth as they want. It is a wise man who realizes that action speaks louder than any amount of scripture reading and referencing ever will.”

This quote comes from the following blog url: http://dreamsandrevelations.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/coexist-and-its-copycat-brother-contradict/

Also most sites where this image has been posted have responses from naysayers asking why Christians have to hate other religions and why we can’t accept them all and have tolerance?

My brother-in-law works with someone who has a Co-exist sticker on his car. His co-worker parks next to his car with a Contradict sticker quite often. After work, his co-worker told him that when he sees his Contradict sticker all he sees is hate and asked him why he has to hate others. Basically I think the Co-exist-er hates knowing that my brother-in-law professes John 14:6 and thus places his hatred of my brother-in-law’s beliefs onto the message itself, making the message a message of hate because it does spur people towards hatred, just as Jesus said, “The world is going to hate you because of me.”

Another person chimed in to my answer, adding:

Like the guy admits in the quote they want to willingly stay in ignorance, and in actually they’re lashing out and calling you the “hater” because they know they have no ground to stand on when it comes to their claim that “truth is relative”. Most people result to name calling and labeling when they’re exposed, and when the call you the “hater” they’re actually projecting what they are and what they feel toward you.

Check out Contradict Movement!  You can watch videos, get linked to Facebook, get access to free group study guides, and even better, order stickers, shirts, mugs, magnets, and cell phone covers adorned with the Contradict logo. 

What do all religions have in common?

Building off the last post, after hearing the difficulty of defining the word religion, how do you define what is a religion so that everything that we generally call a religion is included, yet everything we generally consider to be secular is excluded?

Reading Michael Molloy’s Experiencing the World’s Religions I learned that the etymology of the word religion is two words, “re” and “lig”.  “Re” means again; makes sense, reply, rebound, repeat, etc.  “Lig” means “to connect” or “to join,” as in ligament.  Together, religion means “to connect again.”

This concept is easily found in most religions.  They offer ways or processes of returning to some sort of original state of mankind that has been lost or severed from some problem.  For Christianity, the problem is sin that separated Adam and Eve from God and thrust them out of the Garden of Eden.  Their sin then was passed on to all men and the ultimate effect of our sin is eternal death and separation from God.  The way to “reconnect” with God and that original state of humanity before the “Fall” is through faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  Other religions offer a different problem, a different separation, and a different way or path of reconnecting with that original state of being.

Moving beyond the etymology of religion, Molloy says that instead of making a set definition that can encompass all religions it is best to simply list common characteristics of religions.  He lists 8 common characteristics and I address them in the following video:

After watching the video, post a comment giving examples of how the 8 elements are found within Christianity.  Also, ask yourself, does Atheism have these 8 elements?  If it does, then should it be considered a religion?  If it doesn’t, should it not be considered a religion?

Reza Aslan’s Interview on Fox and his new book Zealot!

An interview on Fox News of Reza Aslan and his new book Zealot has received numerous social media posts recently.  Here is a copy of the interview that currently has over 2 million views:

The interviewer is slammed for asking him again and again why he is writing this book as a Muslim.  I think Reza’s answers could have been much better, but the interviewer just keeps asking the same question again and again and it gets nowhere and we don’t get to learn much of what Reza actually believes concerning the life of Jesus.

What stood out the most to me in the interview is that Reza states that it is a fundamental truth that everyone agrees that Jesus was crucified, but that’s not the Muslim belief and teaching of Islam as he also states! Reza must mean that every historian believes Jesus was crucified.

Why do Muslims believe Jesus wasn’t crucified?  Sura 4:157-158 clearly states that he wasn’t.  These two verses read:

“That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah”;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not -Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.”

This leads me to believe that Reza is a very liberal Muslim.  It even makes me think that he isn’t Muslim at all to so openly deny a teaching of the Qur’an like this.  However, I was told that there were different Muslim interpretations on this passage.  I however don’t think that Jesus actually being crucified was one of them.  Some Muslim scholars believe that Jesus never died and others believe that he died of natural causes, but which Muslim scholar besides Reza believes that Jesus was crucified.

Before Reza I have only read Muslim teachers and Muslims I have spoken with to hold to the interpretation that Jesus did not die, at all! According to Adil Salahi who wrote on this topic on Muslim.org says that there are two views within Islam. He writes:

“The first, which is held by a majority of scholars, is that Jesus Christ did not die but was raised by Allah and that he will make a second coming at a time determined by Allah, when he will be preaching the message of Islam. The other view is that Jesus Christ died a natural death after Allah had saved him from his enemies. Both groups of scholars agree that Jesus Christ was neither killed nor crucified. Needless to say, those who subscribe to the second view do not speak of a second coming of Jesus Christ.” (http://www.muslim.org/islam/deathjarab.htm)

It appears as if Reza has an interpretation which does not fit with the interpretations of mainstream Muslim scholars on the teachings of the Qur’an and the Hadiths, so I’m very interested to read his book to see where else he skews not only on orthodox Islam but also Christianity. I wish the interviewer allowed him to get into such things, but it would have been nice if he had answered her question in a better fashion by just saying, “As a Muslim, I’m very deeply concerned with and interested in the person and history of Jesus (peace be upon him) because there is more in the Qur’an about Jesus (peace be upon him) than Muhammad (peace be upon him) and since the teachings of Christianity contradict the teachings in the Qur’an I have every right and interest as a religious scholar, Muslim, or any person interested in seeking religious and historical truth to research the life of Jesus.” I think if he had answered in such a way it would have shut down her stupid string of questions. She clearly is very ignorant on the subject of religious studies and the desire that any religious adherent should have in researching the claims of religions other than their own.

If Reza and other Muslim scholars are beginning to say that Jesus was crucified then it seems like a direct leave from the direct statements of Sura 4:157-158. I see where there is room for Jesus to have died a natural death in that passage, but there is clearly no room given for him to have died by crucifixion. I have never met a Muslim who has read the Qur’an to say that Jesus died of natural causes, much less that he was crucified, and these were leaders of Muslim unions on college campuses and teachers from whyislam.org who I invited to my world religions class to speak. You can check out their website and they very clearly state that Jesus did not die! (http://www.whyislam.org/submission/prophethood-in-islam/jesus-peace-be-upon-him/jesus/) They leave no room for any other interpretation. I’m afraid to say that Reza doesn’t seem very reliable as a Muslim theologian.

Why Do We Need To Teach High School Students Apologetics?

I don’t think many churches are teaching apologetics.  I know some that are, but I think they are the exception, not the norm.  I was never taught apologetics in high school.  The best answer I was given to why I should believe the Bible to be the word of God was to read 1 Timothy 3:16 – not the best answer!  In fact I wonder if that answer damaged the faith of the high school peer that asked it.

Here is a sampling of feedback I received from high school students after their first unit test on Christian Apologetics:

This section significantly helped me very much so. Not by strengthening my faith, I didn’t actually have any doubts or skepticisms about the Gospel that needed answering. I am already very strong in my faith. The way it helped me so much, is by making it easier for me to answer other people’s questions. Being a faithful Christian, many of my non-religious or skeptical friends, come to me looking for guidance or answers regarding Scripture. I would give them pretty good answers that would generally leave them feeling satisfied. Now I feel like I can answer all of their questions 110%, eliminating any doubt or fear in their minds.

This apologetics section definitely helped me to learn to better defend my faith. I have a lot of non-Christian friends who I regularly converse with about my religion, so this class gave me new tools & talking points that I can discuss with them, as well as raised new questions that I have further researched on my own. The most significant thing I learned was about the historical authenticity of Jesus’ life & the fact that there were pagan historians who affirmed Jesus’ life.

Yes, after studying this past month I have learned that I knew very little about how to defend my faith to those who don’t understand.

Studying the reliability of the Gospels and answering questions about who Jesus is helped me throughout my beliefs and doubts. As I was researching and reading the book, my doubts on the Christianity faded away, since it seems so true! There are so many evidences that Jesus was a real, existed figure and that he has been resurrected. These studies answered my question of if Jesus even existed because I sometimes thought that Jesus could be just a fictional character. The most significant thing I have learned from this section of the class is that only the New Testament had time gap less than 100 between the original and the copies.

Studying the Gospels and the questions about who Jesus is really helped, as it helps me to have more apologetic evidence to further back my faith, both in my own mind and to defend it to other people. The most significant thing I learned were the reasons for believing the resurrection. Since I don’t often see miracles, hearing of someone being legitimately dead, and the rising again, is worthy of attention. But it is also hard to believe. Reading the evidences for it helped strengthen the idea in my mind.

Studying the reliability of the Gospels and answering questions about who he is definitely helped me. I have gotten into situations before where I wish I had the knowledge that I need to answer various questions from friends. I feel more equipped to get into discussions from now on.

These questions have made me much more knowledgeable on the Gospels and Jesus. Before I just believed in these things because I knew that I should. Now I know that these things actually happened and are actually true. I feel a lot more confident in my faith now and feel like I can talk to people about Christ more now because I can support what I believe in.

If you still have any doubts about why you should apologetics in your church, send me a message or leave a comment.  If you need some help or suggestions in getting started, send me a message or leave a comment.  Thank you for your time and for reading.

Daoism – What is it, who believes it, who practices it, and how does it compare to Christianity?

My goal is to create group discussion guides for each religious symbol within the Contradict logo.  So far, I have one made for Hinduism and one made for Daoism.  I create a leader’s guide that gives suggested answers and Bible verses to be read for each question.  My goal however is to have participant’s be able to provide great answers on their own because all the questions are compare and contrast questions between Daoism and Christianity.  All the questions are very open ended and could go anywhere.  I hope that after such a small group discussion all the participants will be able to recognize Daoism’s influence in Western culture and to be able to share the Gospel and the truth of God’s Word in connection to themes and practices of Daoism whenever they arise in day to day life.

Here are the links to the Daoism guides:

Leader’s Guide

Participant’s Guide

I’d love to hear feedback on these guides, especially if you use them to guide a small group discussion.

To close here is a Daoism video that can be used to introduce the discussion: