Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Note on Alcohol for Church Friends and Others ~ Food for Thought

I read Animal Farm, by Geo. Orwell one morning last week.  It’s available free on line and is very instructive even for politics today.  A short book.

I noticed an alcohol theme in Animal Farm.  Had the farmer not been such a lush, he would’ve remembered to feed the animals;  the farm would not have fallen into disarray,  and the animals might not have rebelled.   Based on this experience, the leader-pigs of the farm  made a commandment to not use alcohol at all  (like evangelical churches and old time Methodists did)   It was  one of 7 commandments –and then the pigs start to behave as the farmer did –and start drinking.  They become corrupt and self-centered –as the farmer did  –and next thing you know, they change the commandment  to not drink unto excess!   Apparently not aware that they were doing that.   So even  with this secular author, drinking is portrayed as a slippery slope issue.  

For sure, the  Bible emphasizes avoiding drunkenness more than abstinence.    There were probably few year-round beverage choices, perhaps a risk of contaminated water,  and it  may have been the only temporary anti-depressant and pain reliever available –and “a little wine for the stomach’s sake”  was recommended by Paul.   Sure enough, Johns-Hopkins said moderate drinking may prevent H Pylori bacteria-caused ulcers .  That research hospital  also said antibiotics will take care of the bacteria and warned non-drinking  people to not start drinking for ulcer prevention as they said there are more potential problems from drinking.  The much touted health benefits of daily wine for the heart have been clarified by European study which said that NON-ALCOHOLIC wine has more anti-oxidant health benefits –and reduces blood pressure –more than does alcoholic wine. They said it’s the grapes themselves that have the most benefit and the alcohol reduces that benefit.

Of course, wine didn’t have to be fermented in the Bible to be called “wine.”  The “new wine”  is unfermented –and should be put in new wineskins which can expand when the wine ferments.  The  new wine is the fresh grape juice that tastes much better than alcohol.   (Yes, I’ve tasted –thought ewwwww! )  So maybe the wine of the wedding miracle was really flavorful and rare like “new wine” –which is only available at harvest time.    Most don’t agree with me on that, believing the wine of the wedding and the wine of the wedding feast of the Lamb in Heaven someday –are same as the intoxicating, prized, aged wines of today.  Time (Eternity?)  will tell! 

For people, alcohol  causes so much trouble in society, affecting judgment –and the drinkers don’t notice that their judgment is affected and don’t know they are drunk –as noted  one wife of an alcoholic , speaking up in a S.S. class.   My husband said no amount of pleasure from drinking was worth the horrible things he saw in ER from traffic accidents caused by alcohol.    

In fact, as per-capita consumption of alcohol increases in America, so does societal dysfunction and poverty with addiction –in addition to the  carnage on highways.

 The  great Christian evangelists and reformers in history preached abstinence –and that teaching thru-out our family line has protected many of us from having an alcohol problem.  That’s  why the Free Methodist Church still recommends it for members –though it no longer “requires” it for them –realizing that drinking itself is not biblically forbidden –though there are warnings about it –but does it sometimes pave the path to  poor judgment, regrettable sinful acts, emotions and  attitudes,  liver disease, drunk driving and  pre-mature entrance to Eternity?   Is there still good reason for the Christ-follower  today to set a pattern of abstinence for future generations?  Is  drinking  an avoidable stumbling block for the weaker brethren (including youth)  –which WE avoid for THEIR sake? 

Perhaps abstinence is   self-denial for many good reasons  which ought not be difficult for us  --not like chocolate abstinence would be….   ;  )  But keep perspective:  chocolate, a guilty pleasure for the calories,  doesn’t cause all the dysfunction that alcohol does!  (It, too, has antioxidants.)   God has given us many pleasures that don’t affect judgment , behavior and relationships the way alcohol can.  

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Saturday, November 1, 2014


There are three candidates on our ballot for Ohio State Bd of education --we choose one. And need to pray for whoever gets elected.

KATHLEEN A. MCGERVEY-- single, 45, engineer and surveyor, aunt of many children, tutor in math and science for inner city students; concerned for their education. She is a 4-year incumbent on the board which has effected school choice for students from failing schools --and enabled home school students to participate in public school part time and the extra curricular activities (Like my grandson Jacob, now taking 3 classes and marching band at A.W. --a right for home-schoolers considering their parents are also tax payers like the public school parents.) She describes herself as being for "family values" and is endorsed by some good groups.  She is a pro-life Catholic.

If children from inner-city, failing schools qualify for private (including religious) schools, they may now attend the private school with state aid for a better education --if they currently are enrolled in public school and if they apply by a certain deadline. The private school does not, however, have to lower admission, attendance, academic, religious and behavior standards to let such children in. (In my opinion, this funding should be available to all the private school students in ALL districts, and would be if we had vouchers to take to the school of one's choice. As it is, if you are already in private school, even if you live in a failing district, you don't get the aid. You only get it if you need rescued from a failing school --and you have to apply early in the year. The state figures if you are already funding your kids in private school, you don't need their help.)

RAY YOUNG is another self-acclaimed republican conservative running for state board of education. Retired, he has many years of experience as teacher, father, grandfather and other board membership. He is most articulate in writing and speaking. (Hear his interview on WSPD.) Google the candidates--they also have Facebook pages.  He is a Christian who says he will not compromise his convictions as a board member.  

KIM REDFERN, a young mother with small business history, wants more democrats on that board (8 of 19 get appointed by the governor and are likely republicans.) Her husband is chairman of Ohio Democratic Party.

Kim and Ray do not believe in vouchers for school choice --where public funds follow students to private schools. All candidates think charter schools should meet some standards --some of these schools have not tested well. The great irony of liberal thinking on this --the teachers' unions don't want competition by private or charter schools funded by gov't, as it may cut into their incomes. Their idea of "better education is more money" for the public school teachers and the buildings. Yet their schools continue to fail in the inner city.  

The conservative solution is competition for gov't funding from private schools accepting the motivated students from the poorer, failing districts. Help kids escape their unruly peers in schools that can't make up for the deficits of discipline at home and in school. NO question in my mind, that it's the culture of  unwed and teen parenting, fatherlessness and crime and disrespect for authority and rules-- and schools that are large and impersonal --and disrespect for education itself -- which all effect both poverty and failing schools.

I  recommend KATHLEEN MCGERVEY because of good changes allowing school choice by our state board with her on it and support for her from family values groups.  I believe RAY YOUNG is also an acceptable candidate.  Perhaps Kasich can appoint Ray Young some day; my only objection to him is that he IS a professional educator --opposing funding for school choice (PTA questionnaire) --while saying he IS for school choice --just not diverting public school funds to pay for private.

I do wish someone would address the new (as of last year) state requirements on public school teachers concerning their objectives, implementation and measurement of student progress --making new, esoteric, unnecessary, time-consuming burden on the teachers --in addition to the planning, testing and grading they already do. I heard of this from a teacher who is busy enough doing a good job without this new burden from the state.  I don't think it's part of Common Core --but state requirement.

What I believe Christians should care about in education: school choice via vouchers for all, not just the students from failing schools; the rights of home schoolers to some public school participation as tax payers; the whole truth in history ed about religion, racism, native Americans, opportunity for all (see D'Souza's recent film) and sex ed (no --latex does not make sex-perimentation and fornication inevitable and 'right' for teens) --common sense re: "common core," sex ed; school security, drug screening, science ed (don't claim proof  in theories without mention of evidence to the contrary.)

The state should care that every district teaches basic skills and  fair treatment of free enterprise, capitalism, democracy, western civ and even its predominant religion --Judeo-Christianity.  According to Education Research Analysts, a new World History text by a major publisher proposed to the Texas State Bd--whose decisions affect the whole nation's textbook choices-- has much pro-Islam and anti-Christian, anti-American propaganda in it.

What should "educated people" learn?? Liberals have a very different view on these things than do conservative Christians and we do not want a federal department ruling from the top down --especially if their views are liberal, anti American, anti-Christian and plainly immoral. Politics and voting are important --and will affect the culture and future for our children.  

Candidates Ray Young and Kathleen McGervey agree that the feds should not be determining local education policy.   PROFICIENCY TESTING, criticized by most everyone,  came about in states because of the neglect of the basics --the Three R's --the fact that kids were failing to learn to read, etc. all the way to h.s. graduation.  Testing students resulted in intervention --and helped to focus the teachers on the needs of the students --during an era when we were all about "values clarification" and "moral relativity in life skills"  --social engineering -- at the expense of  BASIC SKILLS for making a living and/or  going on to college.  Testing --and "teaching to the tests" --is not all bad if it focuses educators and students on learning basics (even core curricula.)   However, I agree with candidates who don't want to see  teachers judged by their students' test results --because even the best teachers in the failing schools can have really poor students who are "tuned out" to the objectives, possessing poor attitudes --and high truancy rate.

I think we could cut the federal budget effectively by eliminating the federal dep't of education, their Common Core and all. Common Core wouldn't be a bad idea, if we could trust there would be political balance. As it is, we can't even expect balance at a local level --with our liberal schools of eduction turning out liberal teachers and other citizens who desire to "fundamentally change America." Not that there aren't some changes needed these days --but what changes determined by whom?? Co-ed bathrooms for school children as in California? A mayor's demand for ministers' sermons as in Houston, TX? Girls on the boys' wrestling and football teams? Transgender females (males) unfairly competing with women? I don't think so!!!

Revival of common sense needed! And spiritual awakening. There IS a higher power! and His name is Jesus!  Separation of church and state does not mean leaving our faith-based convictions and morals --our respect and search for Truth about God, man and history -- at the voting booth door.

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


World Magazine addressed the  issue of tattoos this week. [Any comments in brackets are mine.]

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?   Leviticus 19:28 --"you shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead --or tattoo yourselves:  I am the Lord."

WHAT DID THE FAMOUS  PASTOR JOHN PIPER SAY?   . He said tattooing is not a sin, but "be wise and skip it."  He said that since the Leviticus passage is "explicitly anti-tattoo,"  "that should at least give us a few minutes' pause."    He said the permanent nature of tattoos with the painful and expensive cost of removal --may turn them into stumbling blocks later.  [In fact, even in California we hear recently of much demand to remove tattoos at great expense for better chances at jobs.]

WHAT DID PSYCHOLOGY PROF. LUKE TSE  AT CEDARVILLE U. SAY?  He researched the topic among Christian college students in 2008 and found that few consulted pastors or spiritual mentors before getting tattoos --and  "many" sinned in the process because they admitted they disobeyed parents who forbade the practice.  He found a few who minister in Christian punk rock bands who  fit in with their target ministry better, being tattooed.  He questioned whether such permanent skin markings were necessary  for evangelism to the tattooed.

The following is not from World Magazine.

WHAT DID THE  UNTATTOOED PHILOSOPHER ROB ROHRS SAY?    He reminds us that "we are not under the law --but the law is important." [Of course we eat shrimp and pork and we mix fabrics and many think tattoos may be in this category of Biblical laws.   Many also try to sanctify and excuse sexual sins  by the same argument these days.  However, tattoos are clearly not in the same category as sexual sins in their potential for harm to others.] 

   It used to be just military vets and prisoners who had tattoos.   Otherwise, it was a characteristic of pagans and not of believers.  If you are going to do it, BE SURE to use a reputable business (check with the BBB or perhaps Public Health Dep't.)  as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis  have been transmitted by tattoo needles in the past.  He says his older patients don't like how their tattoos look on their older skin and many are embarrassed about them, attributing their acquisition to youthful folly.  He also warns against multiple piercings on the ears --as the cartilage has gotten infected causing disfigurement common to prize fighters, known as "cauliflower ear,"  definitely not a mark of beauty. ]
[Leaving our bodies unmarked and unpierced as God made them, was characteristic of  O.T. Jews and has been characteristic of the more modernized (civilized?) cultures --distinguishing us from the pagans who made graven images and art canvasses of their skin.  From where do we get this desire to tattoo?  In the church?  No, from the world and its values of  fads, peer influence, from the world's  standards of beauty and "cool."    From the pagan, unbelieving cultures --from the drug and punk culture --from Hollywood --not from the Bible, the Christians, their families and churches.  As with so many things,  the worldly lead  the culture and the Christians follow.  Instead of the other way around.

I worked with a very poor family with a sexually abusive father.  They lived in most desperate circumstances.  The kids were into tattooing themselves (before it was a fad) with pens and cutting the ink into their skins with pocket knives--self-mutilation.  Part of the cutters' syndrome.  Of course we know of  pagan cultures of the past where the standard of beauty is a disc in the lip, rings stacked to elongate the neck, feet bound to make them small, crippling the girls in China.  I've heard that getting tattooed and pierced  is almost addictive to some people.  

said a starting price for a small tattoo could be $80.  That would cover 2 or  3 months of child support  through our ICCM ( Int'l Child Care  Ministries)  for  sex traffic prevention.  Or help the Winckles with their "country shares" to run their FM community center in Hungary.     I realize the same argument could be used to criticize Christians for eating out and buying clothes or owning anything nice--however, food and clothes, housing and cars,  are American necessities, whereas tattoos are not. 

However, I am NOT writing this to criticize tattooed Christians  and definitely NOT  saying  the non-tattooed are better Christians.  I know some wonderful Christians, whom I admire, who do have  some inobvious tattoos.

Some tattooed believers  say they use their tattoos for witness among the tattooed --and they get Christian-themed tattoos and believe they are  springboards for witness to others who also have tattoos.   If that's really the motivation, so be it.  May the Lord bless their ministries.  (Though I guess a tattoo on the inner thigh or the posterior would not be a witnessing tool?)   

But those who work with  church youth might want to refrain from  recommending  tattoos in teaching or by showing off their own as something good to other people's children --considering many parents hope their kids won't tattoo --at least for its potential to affect their future careers and the expense of both receiving and removing them. 

Yes, tattooing is superficial --generally not reflective of the heart or one's character--possibly not that important one way or the other --not affecting relationships.  However, many  do use tattoos to reflect noble sentiments --love for someone, e.g.--but we shouldn't feel somehow "incomplete"  as untattooed persons --or more attractive with tattoos.
On a similar issue, I remember when churches and establishment types objected to long hair on the guys --as started in the hippie and rock cultures in the 60's.     (I heard of some Illinois sheriffs out in the country where I taught, who arrested 2 young men -- for what, I don't remember --but they let them off with a penalty of cutting their hair!)   Our Christian profs led the way to longer hair in the church as it became the prevailing style for men's hair at the time. At first,  Jon's grandparents and parents thought the style was sinful,   but  we said to them that Jesus from Nazareth probably had long hair --and for Samson it was a virtue.  As far as I know, there really wasn't any sinful connotation in the Bible against long hair on men, but the church had it as a legalism in western culture --such that when the rockers and the hippies let their hair grow, they INTENDED  to be "anti-establishment"  for worldly reasons --to be "in your face"  to parents, bending the rules and being against the military draft and the Viet Nam war.  At first, the long  hair  on boys and men just symbolized rebellion. Then it became mainstream fashion--and it was never really a sin in itself. Of course, tattooing is a little different than long hair in its Biblical prohibition. But it is another example of how the worldly, often rebellious youth, Hollywood and pop cultures  have affected Christians --more than the Christians have affected them.

 I wrote this because it's topical--in this week's World.  And I believe we should discuss things we do as Christians--and give our youth and parents who raise them wise biblical counsel and well-rounded, informed direction about cultural trends --especially when the church is being challenged to conform to the WORLD'S values in the name of compassion, love and witness. 

Romans 12: 1--I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Can one think soberly and humbly, be a good Christian,  and still get tattoos?   Yes, but would I recommend it?  Not me --but I don't want to be guilty of thinking more highly of myself and my opinion than I ought.  It is a matter for biblical consideration, reflection, personal conviction and I think a discussion on what it means to be worldly and to be good stewards of  both money and the body.  To those who already have tattoos, I'd say, "Don't worry about it."  To those who don't, I'd say,  "Be spiritually and biblically thoughtful first of all."

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."--II Peter 3:9

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

On Pre-Marital Sex --posted at an Atheist Blog

A woman wrote me that she felt no guilt or unhappiness that she and her husband had had many previous sexual relationships.  Therefore, it's not a sin, she said (after all, there is no God in her view.)  She believes there shouldn't be any teachings that abstinence until marriage is best, or that virginity is good to reserve for one mate --in short, Christians should not promote their views on sex.

I agree that no one should feel ruined or miserable --except to feel the guilt that all of us need to feel for falling short of God's glory --"all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" and because of that we die. We are mortal --all of us --since the first couple's sin. Jesus came saying, "Repent; the kingdom has come!" or "the kingdom is nigh--near --right at hand!" And with the Kingdom and its King comes the chance to start anew --completely forgiven for past error.

If we don't feel any guilt, do we possibly also have a seared conscience?? Would you feel guilty if you were unfaithful to your spouse? Should you feel guilt for betrayal of vows, for infidelity, for lying, stealing, for cruelty, for anything? Should your spouse feel guilty if he did those things to you?

Jesus was very merciful and non-condemning and protective of the woman "caught in adultery" because He said all her accusers were sinners, too --that all had committed adultery in their hearts. He also forgave the man on the cross beside him, a thief, because the man believed in Him. Without guilt, however, is there no deterrent for unkindness and cruelty and selfishness in human relationships? Jesus didn't condone adultery --(or fornication, etc.) or call it the unpardonable sin, but he told the lady to "go and sin no more." He lifted her up.

As long as it isn't my own husband, or my family's spouses, other fornicators and adulterers aren't hurting  me in their sex lives (unless we have to pay for the consequences out of our pockets with tax monies)  --but they do sin against God--because God calls adultery and fornication sin--and for good reasons. The prohibitions are for our good. Fornication caused syphilis, gonorrhea, AIDS,  HPV, Herpes, unwed pregnancy --and we have only had cures and good treatments in the last century or half-century  for the STD's --and condoms still aren't fool-proof to prevent all risk of STD's or pregnancy. Many kids have been left fatherless because of fornication and adultery --and forced into poverty. Many people have been broken-hearted and hurt by sex lives that didn't result in marriage --ever--or sex lives that ended their marriages.

So, while you [the atheist commenter to whom I was writing] don't acknowledge that your past sex life was sinful --you should admit that it was risky and could've had very unhappy consequences for you and others --as promiscuity has had for many people.   Pre-marital sex, if not a sin in the view of unbelievers, is at least not the wisest choice for young persons to make.  Not something we should be recommending as harmless.   It is frought with risk. You are lucky or blessed to be happily married now when both of you have history of sex with others.

The whole point of Christ's salvation is to restore to us the joy of our salvation and a relationship with our Maker through faith in His love and presence -- --and there is a Biblical concept of "restoring the years the locusts have eaten." I believe this means that God can bless us from here on out --from the point at which we believe and trust Him and agree with HIS definitions of our sin nature --and the nature of sin.

You  [the commenter] say you think you live with integrity by opposing the Creator of the Universe who "wants to burn your soul?"    That's just about as foolhardy as in, "the fool hath said in His heart, 'There is no God.'"  However, be sure, God does NOT WANT to "burn your soul."  He loves you and has sent a Savior.  He wants us who believe in Him to spread this good news.

Let's see --a Heaven to gain --or a Hell to shun? Which would I rather have for Eternity?

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Witness to an Atheistic Blog on Homeschooling, Gay Life Span, Salvation

The biggest opposition in America to Christians --and also to home schooling  --comes from those who oppose the Bible and the Bible-believers on the topic of sexuality and also the topic of abortion --those 2.   Atheists  encountered on blogs  often hate believers  for maintaining that there is a God who doesn't like these two "rights" which  Americans have claimed.

[I stumbled across a blog  on the subject of homeschooling --and the atheists there vigorously defended  the virtues of  what Americans  traditionally viewed as immoral.  They don't like the idea that Christians will spread the Biblical definitions of sin to their own children, in their schools, and on blogs --where they often censor speech that disagrees with them.  This blog was my  post to them today.}

Here is one study on lifespan  of homosexuals about which some atheists disputed my report that they die younger than straights:

"...which study was conducted in Vancouver British Columbia and published in 1997 in the International Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 26,657-61: It almost exactly mirrors the findings of the maligned  Family Research Institute and the Camerons, their psychologists.

"Despite their attempts to downplay the practical consequences of their research, it is difficult to ignore that
the study concluded with the statement that “'under even the most liberal assumptions, gay and bisexual men in this urban centre [Vancouver, BC] are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871.'” Corresponding almost exactly with Cameron’s study, the Vancouver study indicated that “'life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men.'” 

That is reason enough to not paint a falsely rosey picture about activities and promiscuity common to the gay (male) community. --suggesting that latex really will prevent all the bad consequences of casual and/or unnatural sex (recommended by some of you here as harmless) --be it hetero or homosexual in nature.

I've seen very intelligent people here, very literate, articulate, presumably educated people --call immorality good --and morality, evil. Just as the Bible predicts of "the last days." Some have said promiscuity is ok with protection--and virginity is nothing to recommend to youth --and "whatever feels good is permissable--even if you like giving yourself and others pain--consensually."

It's good for every culture to consider that these could be "the last days" for they are "the last days" for each of us in our mortality.  We don't know when Christ will return--or when we shall die.  Jesus told us to be prepared.   It happens that there will be "4 blood moons" (lunar eclipses) this year and next --the only time this century--on Jewish high holy days -- and a solar eclipse between the 4. In the past, a tetra-lunar occurrence like this coincided with significant events for Israel. And significant events for Israel signal the return of Christ ultimately.

Prophecy says that the return of Christ will mean our end for choice regarding our spiritual destiny --when He says all the nations will be gathered and "the King" --the Son of Man (Christ) will separate the people as a shepherd separates goats and sheep --and He will send the righteous to eternal life and the unrighteous who failed at the Matt. 25 kindnesses, to "eternal punishment."   I hope that "eternal punishment" is just eternal non-existence --rather than eternal suffering.  However, Jesus said there is a place prepared for the devil and his angels where the unrighteous will go --where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth."   In any case, we have been forewarned. Atheists do rail against a God who would do this and yet be called merciful by His followers.

I remind us all that our God HAS allowed great suffering --even to His children --his followers and believers --and charges us with the responsibility to fight evil and death and help each other --and trust him when we suffer and die.  So why wouldn't He have a Hell?   We can shake our puny fists  Heavenward about the plight of fallen, suffering humanity who chose sin over obedience to their Creator/Designer --or we  can make peace with Him while there is yet time. Jesus says it is God's LOVE for His creation for which He sent Christ to give us another chance at immortality where there is no more suffering, sorrow, sickness or death. He says He is the Good Shepherd who rescues His sheep --but we do need to want to be rescued. Salvation is a free gift --when we repent (His first public message) our sins will be deleted from God's celestial computer-Mind --to be remembered against us no more. He is absolute holiness, purity, justice --and it is this justice about which the Bible says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."

We speculate rightly that our knowledge and understanding of God is partial --only what He has revealed in His Word and through Christ . There is still much mystery. I believe our biblical view of Him and prophecy is the view He has given us . If it weren't so thoroughly debunked by creation scientists (who are real credentialed  scientists) --if it were not for the lack  of proof and lack of ongoing transitions between kinds of creatures --I could even swallow Darwin's evolution of amoeba to man via lower life forms --as trial and error in God's celestial laboratory where life was created. Instead of that imaginative theory, I imagine angelic competition to come up with all the life forms for planet Earth --all the funny creatures --God's sense of humor.  We are told that  humans are made in HIS image --wherever He resides and whoever He is --He is SPIRIT --like we are within  our amazing minds ---those slimy brains that have computer-esque abilities --natural intelligence that created the artificial to help us. How can you not have AWE for the capabilities of a brain (and the rest of our bodies) --and conclude instead that our consciousness and mental capabilities are a product of an organ that just "evolved" without a DesignerController?

Stands to reason that the Designer would communicate to us a possibility for eternal life out of love for His creation--and that is what Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, came to tell man --that's the purpose of God taking the Jews out of Egypt --honoring a covenant He made with one man, Abraham --and then keeping that covenant thru the Law given to Moses --for our good. And ultimately providing a Savior through the descendents of Abraham--"Immanuel --God with us" "Jesus --for He will save His people from their sins." A Jesus who teaches the worth of every individual in God's sight. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only son that WHOSOEVER believes in Him will have eternal life. For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world --but that the world through Him might be saved."

And yet, we are choice-makers with free will --and we choose to break his laws.  Mortality  (death) is our continued curse --except that Christ does break the power of sin and death for those who pursue and abide in the Word --the greatest life-changer that the world knows. It is His resurrection (and miracles and raising others from the dead) that convinced His disciples that He was the promised Messiah of the Jews --whose resurrection means we, too, can be resurrected as the Risen one promised.

I can't over-state the value of the peace and joy that really comes with faith in the Christ of Christmas --the Christ of Easter. "I serve a risen Savior --He's in the world today --I know that he is risen --no matter what men say. I see His hand of mercy--I hear His voice of cheer --and just the time I need Him --He's always near. --He lives! He lives --Christ Jesus lives today --He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way --He lives --He lives, Salvation to impart --you ask me how I know He lives --He lives within my heart!"

His Spirit bears witness with ours. I can't over recommend to atheists and agnostics to ASK GOD to make himself real to you. He is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient. Yes, repentance is a hard thing to go through --a sad thing to admit and be remorseful for "messing up" in life.  It does bring fearful questions about loved ones who died without faith.  But Jesus was very kind and merciful --a friend of sinners. Not condoning or condemning but delivering --and "restoring to us the joy of our salvation" --"restoring to us the years the locusts have eaten" --and He promises to be  merciful when we continue to fail.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." He is our defense attorney who said He intends to KEEP safe all whom His father gives Him-- all the sheep --the believers who obey in compassion, mercy, forgiveness, generosity, and own their sins so that He may delete them.

See Matt. 25 about our destiny:

"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible