The Nature of Forgiveness

Forgiveness seems to be one of those things that we all know is good, but many of us don’t know exactly what it means to forgive or to be forgiven. Jesus stresses the importance of forgiveness by connecting God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of others in the Lord’s Prayer.

An author by the name of R.T. Kendall wrote a book called Total Forgiveness, and in it he explains what forgiveness is and is not. According to Kendall when you forgive someone you do not:

Approve of what they did

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Jesus: What's in a name

So, you're a yak herder in Nepal and one afternoon you fall asleep on the mountainside. Whilst sleeping, you have a dream and in your dream a messenger tells you that he's going to show you that worship is much simpler than you thought. You're excited to hear this, and he promises to show up in a vision every day for a little while. He does, and each time he unfurls a scroll with the names of many different Hindu gods. Each day though, he scratches a name or two off the list as he says, "you don't need to bother with this one." He keeps doing this until there's only one name left on the scroll. It's at the bottom of the list, a god of which you know nothing, named Jesus. The messenger tells you that this is the only God you need to worry about, the God above all gods and, as well, the God who became a man, died, and then beat death by exiting the tomb arisen. The messenger tells you that two men will come to your family and tell you more about this Jesus.
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the spiritual peace my atheism provided...

After all these years it shouldn't surprise me--but it still does.  I'm honestly still a little perplexed by the image Theists sometimes have of Atheists as mentally-anquished individuals. Often I've been asked, "How could you live without believing there was a God? What was your purpose? What got you up each morning...?" 

So, it's been on my mind to try to convey the type of mental peace that Atheism as a belief system can create for socially-concerned question-askers. These musings are excerpted directly from chapter 43 of my book, Finding an Unseen God.

(Dear Publisher, hope that's okay...)

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Everyone Wants to Save Judas, But He's Dead

Scholars have been trying to save Judas, but Judas is already dead. The real question is why? Why have they been trying to revive this infamous villain? Because Judas is an unfortunate Son worth a fortune. (Do you hear Creedance Clearwater Revival playing?) Judas was worth cash money in the first century because he could betray Jesus. And he is worth dough now. Save Judas’ reputation and you are famous—you get media hype and you sell books. But the sleazsters didn’t think it through; they were wrong. Scholars wrong? You betcha.


Here’s what went down. Back in 2006, the Gospel of Judas publicly surfaced after being locked in a safe deposit box since 2000. The box and manuscript was owned by Frieda Nussberger-Tchacos.

Transforming Little Heretics

“God is like a three-headed dragon,” offered one high school student.  “I think God is like a Transformer,” blurted out a junior higher in the front row.  I had just asked students at this summer camp to give a brief definition of the Trinity.  They reached for all sorts of analogies to explain God’s nature.  Heresy soon followed (Disclaimer:  no heretical students were burned at the stake). 

Next, I asked for biblical justification.  “What Scripture tells us that God is a trinity?  Where in the Bible do we find the word?”  Students began thumbing through their Bibles, searching for the elusive verses.  A few went straight to their concordances.  Several minutes passed.  No verses were offered.  Finally, a female underclassman ventured a guess.  “There is no Bible verse that uses the word Trinity, right?” 

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The Top Three Things to Remember if You want to be a “Christian Apologist.”

The apologist’s profession had a noble beginning, defined from the Greek as “speaking in defense.” These heroes of the faith storm into the halls of the damned, defending the faith by picking fights in Berkeley. Yes, they get a lot of press. They are often sought after for their opinions, as the Christian faith encounters new and unsavory elements of the unsaved.

But what does it take to be a Christian apologist these days? It seems like they are popping up all over the place, writing blogs and books. They become authoritative by using that old name, “apologist,” but what do they actually need to know to take that hallowed title? For all those aspiring storm troopers of the faith, I give you:

The three top things to remember if you are a Christian apologist!

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Is There Such a Thing as Immortality?

It seems like a lot of people are dying these days.  In fact, the death rate is pretty constant, about 150,000 people per day worldwide.  But it does seem like an unusual number of famous people are dying, including one whose televised memorial service attracted an audience of around a billion people.  

What do you think about when you think about the death of someone you know, whether a personal acquaintance or a public person?  Probably a variety of things.  You think about death itself, which usually brings out sorrow because the person you know or admire is no longer here.  But you also think about life and all of the good things the person did.  This is where sorrow gives way to joy.

If you're like most people, you also think about life after death, also known as immortality.  Even people with no formalized belief system have this nagging suspicion that there's something beyond this life.  Others are confident that immortality is a given.  But does anyone really know?  How can you possibly prove something that is immaterial and beyond our ability to measure?  To put it another way, is it possible to find evidence for immortality?  Actually, it is. Maybe not hard evidence, but evidence nonetheless.

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Conversant Interview: Daniel Hodge, Doctor of Hip Hop

Shutting Up to Share My Faith

I'm not very good at making conversation with, say, the person next to me on a plane or the person taking care of me at the hair salon.  Maybe it's the function of being surrounded by family most all the time, but I enjoy the little spaces of quiet when they come along.     

Imagine the guilt then, when I get that awkward feeling that I'm supposed to seize the moment and share some divine truth with my captured "friend."  My fellow passenger can't ditch me as we take off any more than my hairdresser can abandon ship midway through my cut.   I should use this to their eternal advantage and give them the spiritual insights that will save them, shouldn't I?

Let me digress to say that I'm not against any of us who consider ourselves Christ-followers sharing what we've found with others.  It's absolutely beautiful when this happens as a overflow of our lives in the right place and the right time.  And the right place and time may even be planned and prepared for, if that fits your personality and gifting.  It could be with a fellow passenger.  I'm not dissing that.

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