Throughout recorded history majority of humanity has seen existence of the Creator, Who intentionally brought the Universe in to being and sustains all life as an obvious truth. This truth does not stem from doctrine or belief system, but it is at the heart of all religions, and is underlying, indispensible principle of most spiritual practices. In Buddhism, misrepresented as an atheistic tradition, recognizes existence of guiding consciousness. As the Zen Buddhist master, Soyen Shaku, said, “Let me state that Buddhism is not atheistic as the term is ordinarily understood. It has certainly a God, the highest reality and truth, through which and in which this universe exists.” Scientific discoveries have only reinforced this realization, as it becomes even clearer the Universe was carefully designed. Prominent British mathematician Roger Penrose calculated the probably of random chance producing a Universe conducive to life at vastly less than scientifically accepted definition of “zero.” Even if one were to accept arguments from those who claim the Universe is not so “fine tuned,” we must rely on the mind-boggling, and empirically unproven, concept of multiple Universes, and then probability of random events leading to life only budges from staggeringly unimaginable to extraordinarily unlikely. And we are still left with such clearly designed, incredibly complex, mechanisms as DNA and the brain. This is not “God of Gaps” explanation, any more than looking under the hood of a car and deducing a designer is “Engineer of the Gaps.” To postulate a random, undirected, meaningless, existence in the face of unbelievable complexity and purpose of life is, in actuality, the much more irrational, and less logical, conclusion. This has been compared to proposing that a hurricane whipped through a junkyard and randomly assembled a jet plane. Late in his life the previously ardent atheist Anthony Flew famously noted, “What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinarily diverse elements to work together.” For his honesty, courage and humility, Flew was mocked, and even labeled as senile, by many ardent atheists, who saw his statement as an unforgivable, heretical violation of their strict dogma that any hypothesis is acceptable except God.
To make the scientific claim that one will “go where the evidence leads,” and yet consider such utterly unsupported hypotheses as multiple Universes, alien seeding (which, of course, still leaves the questions of where the aliens came from), mind memes (a total fantasy) and lightening strikes animated primordial chemical soup to create life (which has never been scientifically reproduced), while not even considering the obvious possibility of a deliberate Creator, is to be intellectually dishonest at best. What are the reasons for this irrational, and often very nasty, refusal by some to even consider the existence of a Creator as a viable hypothesis? I offer several possibilities:
A Childish Concept of God
For many, the belief in a Creator is rooted in a personal, direct encounter, in God experience, others often is pure consciousness, pure creation, endless love, animating energy of everything, or the Ultimate Reality. For those who experienced God Presence God concept is sophisticated not childish, based on immaturity, knowledge and innate gifts. Jehovah God is a man seated on throne in white cloak, long beard who made the world according to Isaiah in the Bible.” Richard Dawkins, for example, said, “We are all atheists about most of the gods societies have ever believed in; some of us just go one god further,” he showed a childish image of God. And he showed a lack of any experience in the spiritual realm. If he had any direct experience he would have known that all these societies were attempting to describe the mystery of Spirit in human archaic terms and idea of competing gods is a literalistic and immature one. Jehovah is the Most High God Above all gods made by man so must humbly recognize theology is an activity for which, frankly, he has little talent or understanding. Such a childish view of God is not limited to atheists but applies to religious folks who place dogma over personal experience, and for whom any digression from dogma is punished.
Tyranny of the Mind
The human mind is a powerful tool, but can also be a cruel tyrant. While it is skilled at storing and analyzing data, it cannot feel, and so there is much such as art, music, compassion, love, sex or Spirit that it cannot truly know. The mind, though, insists on analyzing these things, and tries to convince us that its analysis is the only way of knowing. It does this because it has little trust or no respect for anything not measurable and linear, and consequently it resists recognizing the other essential human facilities: needs of the body, the wisdom of emotions, and most especially, the guidance of Spirit. For those who have developed strong connections to body, emotions and Spirit, the mind can be managed and used properly. There are those who for a variety of reasons, have weak connections to body, emotions and Spirit. Their mind has free reign, dominating their lives and seeking to eliminate anything it cannot rationally comprehend. Then the mind eliminates anything that challenges its supremacy. For such a tyrannical mind, concept of a Creator God Ultimate Superior Being of intelligence that dwarfs theirs own is completely intolerable.
An Ego Strategy
As I’ve written in several previous blogs, the ego is the software implanted in us to ensure survival. Its job is to scan for threats and devise strategies to avoid pain and death. The ego knows only fear, and it will fiercely fight anything that threatens its survival. And nothing is more frightening to the ego than sharing or ceding control with another, because this feels like death. So the ego’s favorite strategy for protecting itself is the refusal to surrender to anything or anyone. It will even go so far as refusing to acknowledge a mistake, to apologize, to recognize superior abilities in others, to admit a weakness and, most pathetically, to ever express gratitude. I recently heard a man state that he “does not believe in gratitude,” but instead prefers the word “appreciation”: “I appreciate a delicious meal or a beautiful sunset, but I feel no need to say ‘thank you,’” he proudly proclaimed. This is the voice of ego. And to make the claim, as did the late Christopher Hitchens (who I deeply respect for his exposure of injustice), that there is no Creator/Designer because Hitchens did not approve of the way that eyes are designed, is also the pathetic voice of ego; it is the refusal to say “thank you” for the gift of life and miracle of sight. This is sad. Clearly one does not need to believe in God or follow religion to be wonderful, happy, caring, human being. What matters most is how we treat each other. But the refusal to even consider that a Creator may exist often accompanied by the adamant desire to “prove” otherwise and to ridicule those who do especially in the face of much blatant evidence, is an indication that a psychological mechanism is at work. Perhaps what is needed for such irrational position may not be more intellectual investigation, but psychoanalysis.
In the centre of Buenos Aires, there is a theme park named Tierra Santa (Holy Land) that claims to be the first religious theme park in the world.
Tierra Santa attempts to replicate the streets of Jerusalem during Jesus’ time.
Visitors walk around the narrow streets that are full of plastic palm trees, statues and actors recreating crucial scenes from Jesus’ life.
Long queues of families, tourists and young couples stand at the entrance.
Many of them are come from all over Argentina, but it is not uncommon to spot foreigners.
The park is almost a pilgrimage site for some visitors, with its unique mix of religious reverence and kitschy entertainment.
The main attraction of the amusement park is a 60ft (18m) high mechanical statue of Jesus that rises up once an hour from a plaster replica of the Golgotha mountaintop.
The event is accompanied by a loud chorus from Handel’s Messiah.
When the giant Jesus has completed his ascent, he swivels, closes his eyes and rotates the palms of his hands, provoking great emotion in the visitors at the bottom of the mountain.
The staff of the park are all dressed in costume inspired by Jesus’ era.
Visitors can take pictures next to security guards dressed as ancient Romans or buy a waffle from a Middle Eastern inspired cafe.
The only reminders of modern life come from above: the park is situated right next to Jorge Newbery Airport, and a plane flies over the plastic palm trees every few minutes.
All photographs by Erica Canepa.
Christianity is not a white man’s religion or slave master’s religion as make belief fallacy assumes. The white people in the West did not introduce Christianity to Africans through slavery. The Africans introduced Christianity 2,000 years ago when African Christian history began in Bible in Genesis with Mitochondrial Eve and Adam before Bible was completed. The Garden of Eden had 4 rivers flowing through Africa Cush, Ethiopia Abyssinia, Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda and east Africa. People of Africa know the God of the Bible as shown in time of Abraham who lived in Canaan with converts to Judaism and moved once to Egypt during famine. Hagar the mother of Ishmaelites was from Egypt and Jacob lived in Egypt during famine with Joseph. Moses’ wife Zipporah was an Egyptian and Joseph lived in Egypt as the Pentateuch points out. God delivered the people of Israel through Moses in oral history of God’s nature and God’s dealings with HIS people. Generations later God led Israel out of the Egyptian slavery and many Egyptians recognized the God of the Bible as God Almighty. Queen of Sheba was first mentioned in the Bible as this word queen referred to Black woman in 1 Kings 10:1. The queen of Sheba heard of fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord so she came to test Solomon with hard questions. And brought many spices as never brought in ever again as queen Sheba gave to Solomon.
Scholars say Moses’ wife, Zipporah was black as she was a Cushite in Numbers 12:1. Cush is the ancient name of areas of Africa. The Shulamite woman is black in Song of Solomon 1:5 in Bible. Some say Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11:3 was black so was Simeon the Niger in Acts 13:1. The Ethiopian eunuch in Acts &:37 was black. Ethiopians are mentioned 40 times in Bible references to black people. Since Ethiopians are black, prophet Jeremiah asked, can Ethiopian change his skin in Jeremiah 13:23 referring to a black skin. Most Bible teachers believe black people are descendants of Noah’s son Ham in Genesis 10:6-20 in Bible. When it comes to active roles blacks play in Bible often white writers consistently are silent. So instead of giving due credit to blacks in living history, tone down the colour of the skin as not important to God as the condition of the heart. The gospel is a universal good news to black people, white people and every shade in between invited to come to Christ for salvation. By the grace of God black are included in the covenant of God with all the nations on earth. So black skin created by God is highly valued, precious, priceless focus on black soul matters to God in Christ.
After Jeremiah 1,500 years later, people of Africa were exposed to the God of the Bible as Jesus dwelt with them in Egypt. The Coptic church has memorialized the person of Jesus Christ who was taken by Mary and Joseph into Egypt to protect Him from the wrath of Herod. 30 years later Jesus faced crucifixion in Jerusalem weak, tortured, towards execution, it was black African man Simon of Cyrene who helped Him carry His Cross in Matthew 27:32. The Apostle Mark names Simon of Cyrene as the father of Alexander and Rufus. After Jesus died and rose again He ascended and His apostles filled with the Holy Spirit, empowered proclaims gospel message during Pentecost. For festivals in Jerusalem, proselytes travelled from African Churches among many people from many places. Africans from places such as Egypt and Libya and all people under the heavens gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost. Included Jewish converts who came from every nation under the heavens to Jerusalem at Pentecost as 33 C.E. account describes the Pentecost crowd of people. 3,000 people converted that day in Acts 2:38 when Peter said to them, Repent be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of all sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.The African converts took gospel to their homelands after these celebration. Acts 2:9 states this following list of all people from places in Jerusalem 3 times a year. As “Parthians, Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia. Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia Pamphylia, Egypt, parts of Libya of Cyrene, visitors from Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians.”All people in Jerusalem included Jews as the text says There, dwelling in Jerusalem were Jews devout men from every nation under heaven.” Most were Jews by birth but in the crowd were Gentiles converted to Jewish faith. Devout Jews together with proselyte Gentiles were present each year in the crowd from every nation under heaven for 33 years in Jerusalem in Jesus’ lifetime and after. About 3 million Jews and converts in Jerusalem go in the temple on appointed days during 3 major festivals in Hebrew calendar which calls for people in Israel to be in the temple. These pilgrimage festivals of Feast of Passover are Pesach, in the Hebrew language in early spring; the Feast of Weeks, “Shavuoth,” which occurred fifty days later in later spring or “Pentecost,” means 50 days after Jesus Resurrection.” A third major pilgrimage festival is Feast of Booths or Tabernacles, “Sukkoth,” in the fall. So the Christian gospel made its way into Africa not in the 17th century through colonization but in first century within months of Jesus’ life and after His death by blacks to black people.
Several Africans play key roles in book of Acts where gospel continues to spread beyond Jerusalem. Apollos, an African of Alexandria became influential teacher and co-labourer of the Apostle Paul. The church at Antioch sent Paul and Silas as missionaries working with 2 key leaders of African descent, Simon called Niger and Lucius of Cyrene. The most famous African in New Testament is Ethiopian eunuch’s conversion recounted in Acts 8. Ethiopian eunuch was a high-ranking member of Queen Candace of Ethiopia’s court. While traveling back to Ethiopia from Jerusalem was reading the words of the prophet Isaiah from the Septuagint Old Testament translated from Hebrew into Greek in Africa. While reading he encountered Philip an evangelist who explained gospel to him, assured him of his salvation and baptized him. The Ethiopian already made yearly trips to Jerusalem previously as a Jewish convert. Now returned home rejoicing, bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ with him into Ethiopia where Jesus’ Church maintains consistent witness for two millennia. As gospel moved to Africa from Jerusalem it grew spreading to Europe and elsewhere. The book of Acts 11:20 reveals Africans were evangelizing with non-Africans so over the next several hundred years the African Christians had a tremendous impact on Western Christianity. And so the Western missionaries who came to Africa nearly 2,000 years later brought with them understanding of Christianity influenced by Africans.
The core Christian doctrines that says American slave masters passed on to black slaves in the 17th through 19th centuries were shaped in large part by whites. African Christians nearly 2,000 years before know God before doctrines of the colour, race, nature of Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the nature of the Trinity were formally codified at Church Council of Nicaea. Nicaea and other Christian councils included bishops from all over the Christianized world. And Nicaea had members from East including Africa and the West. It was culturally and ethnically diverse group of bishops not whites who translated teachings of Scripture to the creedal statements that these councils produced and all orthodox Christians follow. So the creedal statement was influenced by writings and the teachings of African theologians like Augustine, Alexander, Athanasius, Cyril and others.
David Livingston in 1813-1873 succeeded in his desire to expose the slave trade as his dominant motive. Proving the source of the Nile as geographical part of Africa was important to Livingstone. He proved the Bible was true by tracing the African roots of Judaism and Christianity. And he met generations later Africans who continued keeping black Jewish belief and Torah practices. Livingstone also on Africa in 1841 wrote, it was as exotic as outer space called the “Dark Continent” and “White Man’s Graveyard.” although the Portuguese, Dutch, and English were pushing into the interior, African maps had blank unexplored areas no roads, no countries, no landmarks. So Livingstone helped to redraw maps exploring a dozen countries including the hinterland South Africa, Rwanda, Angola, and Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire). And he made the West aware of the continuing evil of African slavery which led to it being later outlawed. He was awed by the beauty of Zambezi river used for human misery. It linked the Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique, the main suppliers of slaves for Brazil who in turn sold to Cuba and United States. Though Livingstone was partially driven by a desire to create a British Christian colony, his primary ambition was to expose the slave trade and cut it off at the source. The strongest weapon in his task as he believed was for the Christian commercial civilization. He wanted to help replace the “inefficient” slave economy with a proper respect of black economy to buy and sell goods not fellow human beings and God’s people.
Hence whoever identifies misconstrues Christianity as ‘a white man’s religion’ must understand it is not true. Faith in God belongs to all nations under heaven not exclusively as a white religion but is a universal belief. So cannot be made white as Jesus’ bleached image makes Him whiter by overlooking exceedingly important role of blacks, Africans in the Bible in living church history. Original true Christianity comes from finished work of Jesus CHRIST not whites. Jesus “gave himself for all to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify His people as His own Titus 2:14. So all individuals of every tribe, language and people and nation belong to God says Revelation 5:9 as citizens of heavens. As James 1:13-14 says, let no one say when tempted to be evil say “I am tempted by God for God cannot be tempted with evil and so God tempts no one. Each person tempted to do evil is lured and enticed by his own evil desires. People cannot reject God then blame and accuse God for being a white racist by their wicked actions. And salvation is a personal decision required into the kingdom of God through Christ alone so whites are not the gatekeepers of heaven. Bitterness and anger against those who do evil in the name of God is fully recorded in Book of Life by God who takes full notice. During Judgement Day God will throw them in hell if they do not repent. You do not want to be their neighbours in hell so it is important not blame others especially God if not living right within the will of God. And humble yourself, repent to be saved in Christ not to miss heaven because of being misled to think Christianity belongs to whites. All have sinned and fallen short of the grace of God as sinners whether black, white, yellow or red. God loves all people so does not want anyone to reject Christ perish. Accept the key to entering God Almighty’s Kingdom through Christ for Christians as the only way of salvation in Christ alone not whites. Above all, God is not a white racist supremacist so LOVES all people who love and honour HIM in Christ. God created all people, provides life, food, sunshine, rain, shelter for all including HIS enemies. God wants all saved in Christ so stop divisive use of the Christian Gospel to preach hatred and divisions in the name of Father God in Christ Jesus Name.