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Thoughts on Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs while introducing the iPad in San F...
Image via Wikipedia

Yeah, I know there are countless posts on him today.  Indulge me.

1. Condolences to his family and friends.  He appeared to be a genuinely sincere family guy (once he finally acknowledged the out-of-wedlock daughter).

2. He was adopted.  His father wanted to keep him but his biological mother’s father was against the relationship.  He was very, very lucky not to have been aborted.  Fortunately for him he was conceived well before Roe v Wade.

The abortion would have been just as tragic if he hadn’t become famous, of course.

Here is the story as Steve Jobs told it in a commencement address at Stanford University in June 2005. His birth mother, he said, “felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.”

3. I can’t help but think of how many people eulogizing him are part of the anti-capitalism crowd.  How ironic.  He is the poster-boy for capitalism and will be a legend for decades, if not centuries.  His energy, ideas and competitive nature created products that benefit nearly all of us.  The government could never invent the Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc.

4. He is now where he’ll spend the rest of eternity.  I don’t know where he is, I just know that at least until recently he claimed to be Buddhist.  If he didn’t change his beliefs then this spectacularly powerful, rich and famous man will spend eternity in Hell paying for his sins.  If he did repent and believe, then he’ll be with his creator and Savior in Heaven for eternity.  The same goes for the other ~150,000 people who died yesterday.

One site had typical God-related comments such as “RIP — A help to God in heaven.”  I realize that there is a lot of sloppy religious talk when people die, but it is interesting to see how people seem so confident in their universalism (i.e., everyone except Hitler goes to Heaven).  One commenter (not me) merely asked if Jobs was right with God, without noting a specific religion, and it was quickly deleted.

Advice for real skeptics and authentic seekers

Everyone should consider matters of eternity very carefully, because eternity matters.

I used to be a skeptic.  I’ve gone to church most of my life, but let’s just say I wasn’t paying very close attention for the first 28 years or so.  At all.  I couldn’t have told you anything about the Bible. Even then the church I attended was a lousy Joel Osteen-wannabe type church — nothing but messages about “God’s unconditional love,” with no scriptural analysis.  I learned nearly everything of importance about the faith outside of church.  My hope is that the rest of you are in churches where you can learn and grow.

My path to Christianity wasn’t linear, but there were many things along the way that I recommend to real skeptics and authentic seekers (hereafter referred to simply as skeptics and seekers).  I hope you will consider using some of these on your search.

(I wrote real skeptics because many self-proclaimed skeptics across aren’t skeptical at all.  They have a position and work aggressively to advance it.  I respect their freedom to do that but it would be an abuse of the word to say they are skeptical.  And I mean authentic seekers in the sense that they are seeking God on his terms and not in some immature fantasy world where they think they get to invent their own god or just pick the religion they like best — and that the real God will consider that to be acceptable.)

Read/study the Bible – This may sound obvious, but far too many people ignore it.  I come across very few people who have read the whole Bible and/or read it regularly, and that includes the countless Christians I know.  Everyone should read it carefully and often.  Jesus didn’t call it “bread” for nothing.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t miss too many meals of real food.  I eat at least 5 times per day (My motto: “Second breakfast – the third most important meal of the day!”).  I work hard to read at least some of the Bible every day.  I’m currently doing a “read the Bible in a year” plan, which is roughly three chapters a day, plus I listen to various Podcasts that go into detail on the scriptures.

Christians should read it to spend time with God, strengthen their faith and educate themselves to help others know the truth.  Skeptics should read it to have a better idea of what they are criticizing.  Some do, but I find that most critics of Christianity make no efforts to do that.   They just repeat out-of context passages (“Don’t judge!”).  Seekers should read it because Christianity is a logical starting point in the search for God.

The Bible makes many claims about itself and its power.  It quotes God directly over 3,000 times and states that He inspired all the writings it contains.  It claims that it has the power to save and transform you.  It has made an immeasurable impact on the world.  Those things aren’t what make it true, but they are good reasons for any skeptic / seeker to read it carefully.

If you want to know someone, you spend time with them.  Reading the Bible (and praying) is spending time with God.  Read it carefully and get to know Jesus.  Then decide if you think He is trustworthy and if He should be the Lord of your life.

The Bible Fast Forward is a great audio resource that ties together the major themes of the Bible.  I highly recommend it for anyone at any stage of their journey.

Pray – Tell God that if He is real that you truly want to know him on his terms.

Self reflection — In your quiet, honest moments, ask yourself if you think you need forgiveness.

Examine your motives.  There are typically three reasons at the root of unbelief.  Which are yours?  If you want to deceive others that is bad enough.  But don’t deceive yourself.

1. Rational / intellectual – Have people gathered enough information to believe?  Have they investigated the facts and logic behind the faith?  Are they using reasonable criteria (i.e., adequate evidence versus absolute proof)?

2. Emotional – People may have had bad experiences with church and/or Christians.  Some people would have very serious consequences from converting (rejection or even persecution from friends, family or society).  People may not want to give up favorite sins.  These may be difficult but are nothing that should get in the way of your eternal salvation.

3. Volitional, or that of the will – Plain old rebellion.  People have seen the facts but use items from the first two categories as excuses.  Spending eternity in Hell because of pride = really bad idea.

Podcasts / websites / Facebook groups – There are countless sites out there, but here are the ones I’ve used the most.  The links go to the main sites, but you can search for those names in iTunes to get the Podcasts.  These will address most common objections.

Stand to Reason – My all-time favorite.  An amazing mix of facts, ways to think clearly and techniques to share the truth in an effective way.

Please Convince Me – Hosted by a cold-case homicide detective who is a former atheist, he is very thorough and analytical in explaining the reasons for our faith and addressing objections.

CARM (Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry) – A great site for information on just about any Christian topic or world religion.  Very easy to navigate.

Grace to You – John MacArthur gives terrific verse-by-verse sermons.  He reads countless commentaries and the original languages to prepare each one.

Debates – some people don’t see the value in debates, because it is more like a sporting event where each side is just rooting for their team and against the opposition.  Few minds seem to be changed.  But I think debates have merit.  For a skeptic or seeker it is important to hear both sides in their own words.  I find apologetic works to be very useful because over time I have learned which apologists to trust.  If someone just sets up straw men to knock down, then that isn’t productive.  You may get a temporary boost in confidence for your views but will get creamed when you use those in the real world.

The best sources I’ve seen for debate are the Wintery Knight blog and Apologetics 3:15, where you can get countless videos and transcripts of debates.

Science

There are some things you should never forget about Darwinian evolution.  While this worldview has had a monopoly position in education, media and government for many decades, there is a reason most people still don’t believe it.  Despite what its proponents may tell you about how the theory lets you be an intellectually satisfied atheist, Darwinian evolution has many issues and major theories about it continue to change.  Their views from just a few years ago about “junk” DNA should haunt Darwinists and Theistic Evolutionists alike.

But remember that even if Darwinian evolution was completely true, it would:

  • not explain the origin of the universe (they have to resort to un-scientific stories  like the “multiverse” theory to rationalize away the amazing design in the universe).
  • not explain how life came from non-life.  Despite decades of efforts, they have no idea how to prove how life might have come from non-life, though in their blind faith they persist.
  • be 100.00% responsible for the faith of Christians in the evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (what else could have created these beliefs?).
  • be unable to ground true universal morality.   They have a thing they call morality, but they are really just running off the fumes of Christianity and the fact that God wrote his laws on our hearts.  But real, universal morality in a Darwinian worldview is merely an illusion.  If those in power decide what is right, then it isn’t transcendently right.  It is just a power play.   That doesn’t mean atheists can’t do things we consider to be moral.  Some atheists are pro-life, for example.  It just means they have no philosophical grounding for morality.
Here are a couple great books to help balance out all the Darwinian propaganda you’ve been force-fed your whole life.

Signature in the Cell – DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design – this book is a little complex for the average reader but very important for those who want to know more about what Intelligent Design is really about.

There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind by Antony Flew – one of the most famous philosophical atheists eventually became a theist based on the evidence for design in the universe.  Sadly, I don’t think he became a Christian before he died.

The big picture — Consider a two-step approach (though you may do this in parallel):

  1. Is there a God?  Examine the information from teleology (design), cosmology, morality, etc.  And meditate closely on this passage: Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
  2. Is Christianity true?  Consider the “minimal facts” approach.  Christianity is a faith based on reason and evidence, not “blind faith.”

If you are a real skeptic / authentic seeker, I highly encourage you to learn enough about Jesus to decide whether you want to put your trust in him.  Deep down you know you are a sinner and will one day die and face God to be judged based on this life.  You can stand alone and take the punishment for your sins, or you can trust in the sacrifice Jesus made.  If you trust in him, all your sins are transferred from his account and all his perfect righteousness is transferred to yours.  It is literally the ultimate deal – and it is free.  You can’t buy it or earn it.

Remember, “doubting Thomas” (who got a bad rap, by the way) was shown the evidence and he made the proper response of belief.  You may not see Jesus face to face as evidence, but there is more than enough evidence for you if you really want to know the truth.

Ultimately, you can trust in yourself or you can trust in Jesus . . . and eternity is a mighty long time to regret a prideful decision.

Roundup

Edgar asked me on my Facebook what the last five songs I purchased on iTunes.  What were yours?

  1. Cleveland Rocks by Ian Hunter — Trans Siberian Orchestra played it in Cleveland as an encore.  Nice touch.
  2. Fool for the City by Foghat — heard it on the radio in Cleveland
  3. Beautiful Scandalous Night by Robbie Seay — the praise band at church played it
  4. You Never Let Go by Matt Redmond — learned it on guitar for the Honduras trip and really liked it
  5. Give Me Your Eyes by Brandon Heath — great theme about trying to see things as Jesus does

New Year’s hope for post-abortive women and men — The author emphasizes that we should focus on the transforming power of the Gospel and not just the pain of our mistakes, and he has some good suggestions in the section about “Preaching the Gospel to Yourself: Replacing False Beliefs with Truthful Ones.” 

Somewhat related topic: Cool billboard in San Francisco seen by 100,000 people per day

Is Mormonism Christian?  No, despite the shift in the last 25 years from claiming not to be Christian to saying they are just another denomination.  Excellent video by James White explaining why.

The church and the military — Many folks misunderstand church history and default to pure pacifism, which is not Biblical. 

Palestinians boast of using civilians as human shields — it is amazing to me that the liberals still side with Hamas & Co.  In their own words:

Death has become an industry . . . We want death just as much as you desire life.

And here’s a must-read by Charles Krauthammer about Hamas and Israel. 

New addition to the blogroll that I think orthodox Christians will like — check out Religion and Morality

Ten thoughts Darwinists need to ponder before breakfast — great list.  A couple examples:

6. Darwin admitted that based upon the data published in his Origin of Species, one could come to “directly opposite” conclusions. For example, natural selection can prevent major evolutionary change from occurring on a gradual step-by-step basis by eliminating useless transitional stages thus explaining the lack of transitional sequences leading to all of the major body plans (phyla) in the fossil record.

“I am well aware that there is scarcely a single point discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts on both sides of each question, and this cannot possibly be done here.”

Charles Darwin
The Origin of Species
1859

10. The ultimate origin of Nature itself cannot be natural. Either Nature or a Natural Law Giver has always existed. Nature has not always existed. What do you conclude?

When scientists tell you that the origin of everything natural must be explained purely in terms of natural processes, we need to remind them that no natural processes existed before Nature came into existence. We hold this truth to be self-evident, don’t we?

Creation preceded evolution.