Friday, October 27, 2017

Joseph Smith was an Elite Atheist.



What is it that drives us as human beings? We view the world through a particular lens, some of us defining it as we search for truth and others seem to view the world without searching hard at all. What are the answers to the big questions: Where did we come from? What is my purpose in life? What happens when we die? It seems that the way Joseph Smith viewed the world can be answered by taking a peek into his short time here on earth.
It appears that he had some strange beliefs about where we come from. Consider the following teaching about God:

“We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did, and I will show it from the Bible” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith 345-346).

Let’s look at this for a moment. Joseph Smith wants to teach that God was once a man like us? So in the mind of Joseph Smith, there is an infinite number of planets out there, because there must be an infinite number of Gods populating them. In order for Smith’s idea to work, there has to be an infinite number of gods populating an infinite number of planets, from an infinite amount of time in the past.
William Lane Craig explains that Persian philosopher, Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī, believed that we cannot really have an actual infinite number of anything (let alone, Gods). In other words, “Ghazālī had no problem with the existence of merely potential infinites, for these are just ideal limits. But when we come to an actual infinite, we’re dealing with a collection that is not growing toward infinity as a limit but is already complete” (Craig, On Guard 79). What this means is that an unlimited number of Gods is impossible because in Mormonism, people continue to become gods all the time. If they are adding to the number of infinite gods, then the number cannot be infinite in the first place.
It is the same with time. In order for the doctrine of gods in Mormonism to work, there has to be an infinite amount of time (at least past-time), because to a Mormon, there is no sole, powerful, creator who made the universe in which we live. According to Mormonism, the universe always existed (D&C 93:33), and gods are basically reduced to alien-humans who were good enough to become gods from other planets. But there are several issues with this. One is that an infinite amount of time cannot exist, since we haven’t yet experienced tomorrow, but yesterday we have experienced, and we know that tomorrow is going to happen, Lord willing, which is the moment in the space-time continuum where time itself is bound. In order for an infinite amount of time to exist, it would have to be a complete set of infinite time, but because tomorrow itself exists, it proves that an infinite set amount of time is not reality.
Mormonism teaches an infinite number of gods. Think about it, if God populated a planet of billions of people who have the potential to become gods of their own planets and do the same thing (Which our Creator supposedly came from a planet near the made-up star, “Kolob,” once being a man like us), then there would have to be an infinite number of planets as well, at least accumulating at the speed of the number of people who die and have the chance to become gods of their own planets. You’re probably thinking, “this is absurd!” by now, and you would be correct. An actual infinite number of anything cannot exist.
The point in all of this is that everything in the space-time continuum has to have a beginning. The universe, in which all of these planets exist in the mind of Joseph Smith, has to have a beginning. Since there is a beginning, there cannot be an infinite amount of past time. If there cannot be an infinite amount of time, there cannot be an infinite amount of planets and as such, there cannot be an infinite amount of gods.
So what else brings me to the idea that Joseph Smith is an atheist? Because just as C. S. Lewis talks about Jesus (Mere Christianity book 2, Ch. 3), Joseph Smith can in a similar manner, only be a liar, a lunatic, or who he says he is, which is a prophet of God.
There are several questions we must raise about this, however. For instance, a prophet of God would likely not be inspired to translate a word of God in a language that was not spoken at the time of the interpretation. The Book of Mormon was translated in Early Modern English, which was not spoken for over two hundred years before the time of the Book of Mormon. If God spoke to Americans, why would He use a language that was not used in common speech? No other prophet in history did anything like this. Smith clearly had presuppositions about this type of language, that it was holier than the common language.
Joseph Smith had several wives. Wouldn’t this be the drive in the era he was in to condone his polygamy? I believe this was his motivation to start Mormonism in the first place. He was simply a sex addict. Think about all of the people who opposed Joseph Smith. He was booted out of places, and they regarded him as a liar themselves. For what reasons? The same reasons anyone would, because they saw that he was seeking only to serve his own desires.
Joseph Smith died in a gunfight, and it seems that prophets of God, many of them becoming martyrs, would not have had guns in their possession other than for hunting (if guns existed at the times of the prophets), if they really trusted in God. How many prophets in the Bible fought for their lives other than with words? Imagine Jesus with a gun. It is laughable, because it would not have happened. A history of Joseph Smiths death was written by the 8th governor of Illinois:  

An attempt was made to break open the door but Joe Smith being armed with a six barrelled pistol furnished by his friends fired several times as the door was bursted open and wounded three of the assailants At the same time several shots were fired into the room by some of which John Taylor received four wounds and Hiram Smith [Joseph’s brother] was instantly killed Joe Smith now attempted to escape by jumping out of the second story window but the fall so stunned him that he was unable to rise and being placed in a sitting posture by the conspirators below they despatched him with four balls shot through his body (History of Illinois from its commencement as a state in 1818 TO 1847 Thomas Ford, Chicago: SC GRIGGS & CO 1854, 354).

So Smith shot people up, stole men’s wives, made a wrong-era language translation of a book that has no archaeological evidence to support it whatsoever, taught radical doctrines never heard of before in theology, and the list goes on. It seems that the reason Mormonism grew is because he was the type of man who had an answer for everything, and was better than most at keeping track of his lies. Unfortunately for Mormonism, Smith couldn’t keep track of all of his lies, and eventually they caught up with him and an angry mob exterminated him. It is only Smith’s successors who continued to elevate him to a higher status, because they also saw the benefits of Mormonism, which was being able to justify the feeding of their similar lack of self-control.
Joseph Smith was an atheist because he took notice to the trusting naivety of his contemporary fellow man, and through manipulation, convinced a handful of them that he was more than a storyteller in order to get what he wanted. He was an atheist because he was living according to his worldview, which does whatever is desired, because nothing mattered in his eyes. To him, there were no gods to answer to, no judges to face, and thus, he manipulated the world around him to do what he did best, use women as objects.
Mormonism is specifically a man’s religion, much like Islam. It all points toward endless amazing sex for the Muslim. What about women? What do they get? To share one husband among a crowd of women? I’m sure that this sounds like an extremely exciting eternity for women, but realistically, it seems like it would get old after the first few thousand millennia.
Mormonism is not far from this. When you die (if you are a good-enough Mormon man), you can populate your own planet with endless celestial sex, in the same way Mormons teach that God has done on this planet. Again, what about women? Nothing but objects. Objects that their husbands supposedly love, but nonetheless, objects. What do they have to look forward to in eternity? Objectification. Baby machines.
Joseph Smith was clearly an atheist. He didn’t believe that he would have to answer for these kinds of things. In the book of James, chapter three, the Bible teaches us that not many of us should become teachers because teachers will receive a harsher judgment. If Smith read this (which most Mormons believe he was at minimum, a biblical scholar), then he would know that if he taught things which were wrong, he would receive harsher judgment. Otherwise, we have reason to believe that if he read James, he did not believe anything it said. Teachers receive harsher judgment because by teaching, they claim to be experts on what they teach. If you are teaching theology or doctrine, then you claim to have expertise on the subject. The fact that Joseph Smith did teach enormous amounts of doctrine which clearly disagrees with what the Bible teaches, he is claiming to be an authority on the subject of theology (through revelation), at the least. As such, we can conclude that he either doesn’t care what the Bible says, which, through the eyes of Pascal, would be a serious violation of wagering, or that he doesn’t believe what the Bible says, which would make him, for the most part, an atheist. Lacking morality and manipulating those around him to feed his sexual desire, brings a conclusion that Smith didn’t believe that he had to answer to a Just Judge.
In the trilemma that C.S. Lewis offers his readers in Mere Christianity, there are three choices: liar, lunatic or Lord. And because of His miracles, because of the things that the apostles said of Him and died for what they kept saying, we can conclude that Jesus is Lord. Joseph Smith, on the other hand, was probably not a lunatic, because he could clearly formulate thoughts. He was not a prophet, because of the reasons listed above (and a plethora of other reasons), but he was a liar. Why? Because he had the disease that is pandemic to most humans: He wanted to serve himself.

"15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits" --Matthew 7:15-20.

Written by Nace Howell through the grace of the Lord Jesus. 


Friday, September 29, 2017

Should We Celebrate the Life of Hugh Hefner?



Hugh Hefner died yesterday. A lot of men wanted to live the life that he did, but possibly a lot of men despised him for making it easy for their addictions to take over their lives.
I was talking with an older gentleman who said of him, something along the lines of, “I don’t know how a man could do such a thing with his life…” I immediately looked at him and said, “I bet if most men were given the chance, they would do the same thing.”
Think about this... If you had the ability to become invisible at your own command, what would you do with that ability? Many readers might think that probably nothing would change. Then the more you thought about it, the more fun you would have with the idea of it. I bet, if you were honest with yourself, you would come to admit that you would find yourself in the women’s locker rooms and Banks after hours or on airplanes traveling the world free of charge, etc.
Eventually you would use this power and ability to serve yourself. Even if you were older and married. The accountability would leave and eventually you would come to serve only yourself. Why?
The point here is that people are inherently evil. All we have to do to know this is look at the comment section of most of the posts on the internet. But seriously, Hugh Hefner was not a hero or a model citizen by any means. He was self-serving. All of these women now have to explain to their granddaughters that they sold their body for money. What do we call that? Prostitution. What does that make Hefner? Nothing short of a pimp. What is a pimp? Someone who exploits women. What does that make women? Objectified.
What does the Bible say about this kind of thing? Romans 1:21-25 seems to speak very clearly on the subject:

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Isn’t it interesting how such an ancient text seems to have words which are timeless? God is such a gentleman that He will step aside and let people do what they want. If they want to be their own God, then He will let them for a time. Unfortunately, this comes with consequences. The Bible also says that “It is appointed unto men once to die, and then after this comes the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Listen to that claim! How audacious can the author be!
Speaking of audacious claims, Jesus makes the claim that He is “the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Think about that for a moment. Would you ever make a claim like that about yourself? Would anyone you know make a claim like that about themselves in all seriousness? Definitely not. So either Jesus was insurmountably crazy, or He is the Lord.
These kinds of things ought to drive us toward researching the evidence of Christianity ourselves. With claims like these, we can’t just let them go. We have to ask, how did a document with claims like these survive the ages?
Lee Strobel was being interviewed by John Ankerberg and Lee was asked to reflect on his meeting with Hefner:

I had a chance to go to the Playboy Mansion, interview Hugh Hefner for a TV program that I was doing. And I asked him about the resurrection. And he seemed confused. And I said, “What about the evidence for the resurrection?” and he said, “What are you talking about?” And I said, “What do you do with the historical data that support the return of Jesus from the dead?” And he said, “I have never heard this before.” And I gave him a copy of my book The Case for Christ. And he was looking through the Table of Contents and said, “This is fascinating. Nobody has ever told me this before.”
And then he said something very interesting. He said, “If this is true, this trips a whole bunch of dominoes that have a wonderful effect.” He said, “I am getting to be an old man. I wish it were true that there were eternal life.” And I said, “You know what, look into the evidence yourself. Come to your own verdict. But I am telling you there is convincing, there is powerful, persuasive, compelling evidence that Jesus did return from the dead. And when He tells His followers they will spend eternity with Him, we can believe Him as a result” (https://www.jashow.org/articles/general/the-evidence-for-jesus-resurrectionprogram-3/).

We will never know the decision that Hefner made that day, but we can be certain that Strobel’s words ring true. We have to look at the evidence. We live in a world today where everyone is a skeptic first and foremost. For good reason though. In a world of information and technology, people who are inherently evil will publish false information in order to get what they want. Manipulation is an easy way for people to serve themselves and not look evil to the masses right off the bat.
Research requires real work for real information. Don’t google sensational articles on the internet that an irresponsible person has written, with a pink background and blue letters and call yourself convinced. Examine the real facts. If you are up for the challenge, do the research. Your eternal life depends on it.


 
Written by Nace Howell through the grace of the Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Reaching Out




"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." --1 Timothy 6:12

Nabeel Qureshi. From what any of us can know about him via the internet or his books, he was always full of grace, patience and he always corrected, rebuked and encouraged with careful instruction. He may have lost the battle, but he fought a good fight.
Nabeel wrote the book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, and anyone who has read it saw that he had a deep concern for showing respect toward his Muslim friends and relatives. The Bible is very clear on how to win people to Christ. Paul says, “When I am with the Jews, I become as a Jew so that I might win them… I become all things to all men that I might win some” (1 Corinthians 9:20-22). So we see a taste of what Paul directed, and likewise, Peter admonishes, “Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you of the hope you have in you, but do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). I would say that these must have been some of Nabeel’s life verses, because he so naturally followed them. We can tell the character of a man if we are around them long enough. The internet presence that Nabeel had was all one needed to see his gentleness and genuine love for other people.
I remember first hearing of Nabeel’s cancer when he went public with it, and thinking about how he might be leaving his young wife and child behind. How hard it must be for them. My fervent prayers continue to go out for his family.
But seriously, why am I writing all of this anyways? I am writing to David Wood. David was, as Nabeel stated in Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, someone “whose impact extends far beyond his contribution” and that Nabeel is “eternally indebted to him for his faithful fulfillment of the call to reach out to a young, zealous Muslim despite all the odds” (emphasis mine). Actually, I am writing this to the David Wood's all over the world. The people who have taken in someone and brought them close to themselves, they offered vulnerability and pressed down these barriers that scream “I need to trust you before I let you in!”
These are the kinds of people who have an eternal mindset. So many people get sucked in to the idea that they cannot trust people, simply because they do not know them (I’m talking about mature situations). These people have the mindset that their life is not as important as getting someone to see the truth of Christ. We protect ourselves to such a point today there is no chance for harm and we are so deeply afraid of offending others that we don’t talk about “what is truth.”
It seems that 99% of the western world today is chronically paranoid when it comes to other people; when it comes to reaching out. I have been studying relationship interaction in society lately and I find that people do not accept the truth even if they are confronted with the facts because they consider themselves a part of a “tribe” of something or someone. Take pro football for instance. Denver Broncos fans are loyal because they consider themselves a part of that tribe. If they were to speak against that tribe, then they would be betraying the other members of that tribe. It is the same with all NFL fans. There really is no reason they should like them anyways, it is not like they are actual buddies with the players. There is probably not one NFL player in the whole league who knows who I am. Yet why would someone like me like a particular team? Because I am part of a tribe. A tribe member will not be disloyal, but will defend the tribe no matter what.
The same goes for militant atheists. They are also in a tribe. They consider themselves the pinnacle of intellect, yet they are faced with miles of opposing facts, continually, and don’t budge an inch. Even when faced with the facts, a tribe member will not let the other members down. Where does such loyalty come from?! I would be willing to bet (monopoly money) that employers dream of their people having such loyalty.
I was talking with someone the other day and telling them about these things I was studying and all the sudden, it hit me that two thousand years ago, the Bible give the answer to this problem of tribe loyalty, even in the teeth of evidence (to use a now-popular phrase). It is just as the David Woods of the world do. I already mentioned it. It is found in 1 Corinthians 9:20-22. Paul says “I become all things to all men that I might win some.” What does that mean? It means he gets on their level. Either he brings himself up or lowers himself down. We are not going to reach a tribe member if we are not gentle and respectful.
Practically speaking, this looks like restraint: a measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control or within limits. When we have the knowledge to put someone in their place, we can’t do it disrespectfully or we won’t get anywhere. The next time you get pulled over for speeding or running a red light, tell the police officer he is wrong and let’s see where that gets you.
In Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel writes about how David continuously and gently challenged him but was never flat-out disrespectful. David frequently let Nabeel stew on things over night or even for several days. Paul tells us to become like other people, but in reality, we won’t do that unless we place ourselves in the midst of other people. David reached out, and look what happened. Nabeel changed the world for Christ.
I just want this to soak in for a moment. If we think about the seeds that we plant and how much one man’s life can change the world for Jesus, shouldn’t this make us more encouraged, more on fire for getting the word out to the lost? Shouldn’t it cause us to reach out more often?
Therefore, to David Wood and all like him out there, to all the apologists, teachers, pastors and Christians… reach out to the lost. Take someone in. Get on their level. Pray for their willingness to hear the Good News. Not only bring them to the foot of the cross, but “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20; emphasis mine).
What has He commanded us? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40; emphasis mine). Please understand the correlation between these two passages. Love your neighbor as yourself. Teach them about Jesus. The deep concern here is, after all, where people spend eternity.




Written by Nace Howell through the grace of the Lord Jesus.