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Lifestyle Religion

Question: “How should a Christian view politics?”

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Stumbled on this article. Thought I should share…

If there is anything that will spark a spontaneous debate, if not an outright argument, it is a discussion involving politics-even among believers. As followers of Christ, what should be our attitude and our involvement with politics? It has been said that “religion and politics don’t mix.” But is that really true? Can we have political views outside the considerations of our Christian faith? The answer is no, we cannot. The Bible gives us two truths regarding our stance towards politics and government.

The first truth is that the will of God permeates and supersedes every aspect of life. It is God’s will that takes precedence over everything and everyone (Matthew 6:33). God’s plans and purposes are fixed, and His will is inviolable. What He has purposed, He will bring to pass, and no government can thwart His will (Daniel 4:34-35). In fact, it is God who “sets up kings and deposes them” (Daniel 2:21) because “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes” (Daniel 4:17). A clear understanding of this truth will help us to see that politics is merely a method God uses to accomplish His will. Even though evil men abuse their political power, meaning it for evil, God means it for good, working “all things together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Second, we must grasp the fact that our government cannot save us! Only God can. We never read in the New Testament of Jesus or any of the apostles expending any time or energy schooling believers on how to reform the pagan world of its idolatrous, immoral, and corrupt practices via the government. The apostles never called for believers to demonstrate civil disobedience to protest the Roman Empire’s unjust laws or brutal schemes. Instead, the apostles commanded the first-century Christians, as well as us today, to proclaim the gospel and live lives that give clear evidence to the gospel’s transforming power.

There is no doubt that our responsibility to government is to obey the laws and be good citizens (Romans 13:1-2). God has established all authority, and He does so for our benefit, “to commend those who do right” (1 Peter 2:13-15). Paul tells us in Romans 13:1-8 that it is the government’s responsibility to rule in authority over us-hopefully for our good-to collect taxes, and to keep the peace. Where we have a voice and can elect our leaders, we should exercise that right by voting for those whose views most closely parallel our own.

One of Satan’s grandest deceptions is that we can rest our hope for cultural morality and godly living in politicians and governmental officials. A nation’s hope for change is not to be found in any country’s ruling class. The church has made a mistake if it thinks that it is the job of politicians to defend, to advance, and to guard biblical truths and Christian values.

The church’s unique, God-given purpose does not lie in political activism. Nowhere in Scripture do we have the directive to spend our energy, our time, or our money in governmental affairs. Our mission lies not in changing the nation through political reform, but in changing hearts through the Word of God. When believers think the growth and influence of Christ can somehow be allied with government policy, they corrupt the mission of the church. Our Christian mandate is to spread the gospel of Christ and to preach against the sins of our time. Only as the hearts of individuals in a culture are changed by Christ will the culture begin to reflect that change.

Believers throughout the ages have lived, and even flourished, under antagonistic, repressive, pagan governments. This was especially true of the first-century believers who, under merciless political regimes, sustained their faith under immense cultural stress. They understood that it was they, not their governments, who were the light of the world and the salt of the earth. They adhered to Paul’s teaching to obey their governing authorities, even to honor, respect, and pray for them (Romans 13:1-8). More importantly, they understood that, as believers, their hope resided in the protection that only God supplies. The same holds true for us today. When we follow the teachings of the Scriptures, we become the light of the world as God has intended for us to be (Matthew 5:16).

Political entities are not the savior of the world. The salvation for all mankind has been manifested in Jesus Christ. God knew that our world needed saving long before any national government was ever founded. He demonstrated to the world that redemption could not be accomplished through the power of man, his economic strength, his military might, or his politics. Peace of mind, contentment, hope and joy-and the salvation of mankind-is accomplished only through His work of faith, love, and grace.

Source http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-politics.html

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Lifestyle Religion Technology

Does The Bible Say That An Increase In Technology Is A Sign Of The End Times?

Question: “Does the Bible say that an increase in technology is a sign of the end times?”

Many people over the years have proposed that there would be an increase in technology as the end times approach. Among those espousing this view were renowned scientists Isaac Newton and Francis Bacon. On the frontispiece of Bacon’s Instauratio Magna, ships of learning were depicted passing by the limits of human knowledge, with a quote in Latin from Daniel 12:4. In more recent times, this belief has been supported in books like Future Shock by Alvin Toffler and The Bible Code by Michael Drosnin.

In Future Shock, first published in 1970, Toffler described the results of the rapid advancement of technology he had observed in the 1950s and 1960s. As technology brought ever faster changes in society, certain people were left on the sidelines, unable to cope with the speed of change. That stress and disorientation in people was dubbed “future shock.” Toffler did not attempt to use the Bible in his work, but the concept of future shock was alluded to in works like Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth, which was also published in 1970. Mr. Lindsey has made frequent mention of Daniel 12:4 as a prophecy of this rapid technological advance.

The Bible Code was based on the work of Eliahu Rips and others, who proposed that the history of all mankind was encoded in the text of the Torah and could be found by the process of “equidistant letter sequencing” or ELS. This concept was first proposed by Rabbi Bachya ben Asher in the 13th century, a man who is recognized as introducing the use of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) into the study of the Torah. According to this theory, the Hebrew word for “computer” is encoded in Daniel 12:4, thus giving apparent confirmation that technology would indeed have exponential advances with the advent of computers.

With this background information, we are still left with the question, “Does the Bible say that an increase in technology is a sign of the end times?” The short answer is “No.” Working backwards through the previous information, the concept of ELS has been heavily debated in both academic and religious circles. Intriguing discoveries have been made, but the methods by which they appear are suspect at best. The concept proposed by Rabbi ben Asher is related more to divination than to Bible study, and God condemns any method of discerning hidden knowledge (Deuteronomy 18:10,14).

But, as Toffler observed, there certainly has been an exponential increase of technology, and it appears to be gaining ground even more quickly. So what does the Bible have to say on this matter? Let’s take a look at the text in question, Daniel 12:4, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel was told that the meaning of his prophecy would be sealed until the time of its fulfillment was near. The majority of Bible scholars through the ages have understood the last two phrases to reference the prophecy itself. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown’s critical commentary (published 1871) identified the meaning as scrutinizing every page to discover God’s purposes in the events foretold. John Darby translated the passage “many shall diligently investigate,” and Samuel Tregelles rendered it “many shall scrutinize the book from end to end.” Matthew Henry’s Commentary (c. 1700) said, “Then this hidden treasure shall be opened, and many shall search into it, and dig for the knowledge of it, as for silver. They shall run to and fro, to enquire out copies of it, shall collate them, and see that they be true and authentic. They shall read it over and over, shall meditate upon it, and run it over in their minds.”

Many passages of Scripture refer to what will happen at the end of the age, but no other passage seems to deal with increasing knowledge or technology as a sign for us. A greater sign is the advancement of the gospel which Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:14 and which He commanded us to proclaim in Matthew 28:19-20. God’s goal for mankind isn’t to advance as far as we can or to know all we can discover, but rather that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

TheEndOfTheWorld_Square

Source : GotQuestions.org

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Controversies Lifestyle Religion

We Do Not Need God!

I got a call from my tailor asking for a point of clarification on the length of a skirt I had asked him to make for me. In parting, as I reiterated the length; he said “if God allows, the length will be as you want it.” This response can only be interpreted in one way as it relates to this situation. I laughed; he had taken the measurement, he had a sample, he has sewn for me before in that length; why would God create a misstep in the sewing of this skirt?? How did God get into the length of my shirt??

I have really grown puzzled about how Nigerians call God in everything; the ‘Resignation and Situation game’; whatever happens we are resigned to the treacherous will of God. However, what became even more puzzling to me is this; with a country that calls the name of God at the drop of a hat, where prayers are offered, contracted out and paid for; God seems either not to be listening, answering or just taking His time! because we are in grave trouble.

christJapan is an Island nation. 73% of Japan is forested, mountainous and unsuitable for agricultural, industrial or residential use. It has a population estimated at 130m inhabitants. As a result, the habitable zones have extremely high population densities. Japan does not have any natural resource. Religion does not play a big role in the everyday life of most Japanese people today. The average person typically follows the religious rituals at ceremonies like birth, weddings and funerals; may visit a shrine or temple on New Year and participates at local festivals most of which have a religious background.

Against this backdrop, Japan is located in the pathway of natural disasters; the most recent being the devastating earthquake of 2011 that caused the nuclear plant in Fukashimi to leak causing deaths and other long term effects. Let’s not forget the 1945 nuclear bomb drop. Despite all this Japan is the fourth largest economy in the world with equal export and import activities. It built the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge; the longest suspension bridge in the world referred to as a world engineering feat. In the pipeline; a Japanese construction company plans to build an elevator that can lift tourists in space, up to a quarter the distance between Earth and the moon.

Nigeria has a population of approximately 170m people of which more than half are in the ‘youth/working age group of 16-45years’; it has a varied landscape that makes our soil fantastic for agricultural, it has practically all the mineral deposits in its soil with lots of unexplored land, it is the sixth largest oil producer, and most populous black nation that houses the most religious people on earth!

We pride ourselves as hard workers (of what?), Yet when Cameroon warned us months before it released its dam into the path of the Rivers Benue and Niger, we did nothing to prepare for this MAN-MADE disaster. In light of the devastation of the 2011 tsunami and the anticipation of a future occurrence, Japan is planning to build an alternate city to Tokyo. The city, which has been given the functional name IRTBBC (Integrated Resort, Tourism, Business and Backup City) will house up to 50,000 people with provision for 200,000 workers. *clears throat* what plans do we have for anything???

The Scandinavian economies are the healthiest in the world and while they have precious little time for God, they are at the top of the ladder in providing a ‘life’ for their citizenry.

The major religions of the world assent to the fact that God created man and everything else, and gave us creative license over His creation. We are the physical inhabitants; it made perfect sense. Everything we need to make this world a place for us to live in; God has given us. It is all within us. We are all living witnesses to the feats and creations that MAN has accomplished and is still accomplishing. Nature honours creativity. God honours his Word. We have seen people totally devoid of the knowledge of God exhibiting and using their creative juices; did that stop their end product? NO!

Nigeria is so blessed and endowed with natural and human resource that it is an absolute, absolute shame that we are nowhere on any scale competing favourably with other nations. We have not even taped into our resources to make life heavenly for us talk more of impacting the nations. It is not up to God; it is up to us. The world around us has shown us that.

So where are we? We still use hoes to till the ground; mechanised farming is a thing of admiration when we see it; whereas in near and far away lands they are thinking of how to farm on the moon!! It is time we get off our behinds and stop blaming Government for everything!

The amount of time our youth spend in the social media basically doing nothing would have been used to brainstorm on how to acquire a piece of Agric land and start something, how to build upon the pre-existing social media platforms, build a network of volunteers tackling specific issues (like BEACONS_ng); we need more of such groups, being a change agent not in words only but action, tapping our creativity; even if do not invent something, let’s add value. There is so, so much to do, that we have no one to blame but ourselves if we live mediocre lives. That was not the intention.

A parting shot; money is everything and not; so be clear about why you are doing what you are doing. The Laws of Nature respect ‘what you sow, you reap’.

*UPDATE: My tailor brought back the skirt and he had absolutely butchered it!!!!!!

Categories
Controversies Lifestyle Religion

“In The Name Of The Father …”

0510LD1The influence of technology on religion has long been a subject of discourse on this blog and it is definitely an issue that will continue to generate a lot of controversies.

You can read my earlier posts on the influence of technology on religion here.

Apart from the “End of the World” proponents who are very convinced about the very negative role technology would play in the end times, even those who are less believing would have to admit that there is an increasing influence technology is having on World religions.

And with the increasing affordability of tablets and higher end smartphones, it is now very common place to see a lot of Nigerians toting at least one of these mobile devices at anytime.

For a while now, i have paid very little attention to this new age phenomenon. However, my visit to the church last Sunday created a reawakening. It was a bit of a shock to me when it was time for Bible reading and about one-third of the congregation flashed out their tablets and fancy smartphones. Even the presiding Pastor had to comment about this. This is indeed the new face of churches in Nigeria, especially for the churches that cater for the middle and high income earners in the Lekki axis of Lagos, Nigeria.

Even the low income earners have refused to be left behind, thanks to the cheap android knock off tablets that have flooded the country from China. It will indeed be research-worthy to compile the number of these devices now available in Nigeria.

The appropriateness of these devices in the church is still generating a lot of divergent views, even among the church leaders. While some Nigerian Pastors welcome this development as a portrayal of prosperity among its parishioners, however in the world over, some religious leaders worry that the inherently isolating and attention-diverting nature of smart phones has created a generation of worshippers unable to fully engage with the sublimation of self and quiet meditation that underlie both the Eastern and Western religious traditions.

The fact can not be ruled out that for the church to shore up shrinking congregations with new devotees,  those younger worshipers expect activities to include smart phone and tablet use. Device multitasking has become such a pervasive part of their life that quiet, paper-text based religious ceremonies seem even stranger and more off-putting.

However, some religious leaders who have already tried to conduct services over a mobile device to a geographically scattered audience, and those who have tried to integrate smart phones into a physically unified congregation, say they have noticed a significant difference in how worshippers process the experience. Unfortunately, they have found that most people tend to disengage from the experience of communal worship with this mode.

I no longer read a bible from a printed paper based format and i honestly do not know where i have placed mine. Reading my bible from mobiles is a habit that i took on right from the days of my trusty Nokia 3650 back in the mid 2000s. For me, though, I must admit that there is indeed something about digital bibles that does not give you the same experience that you get from the paper based ones but the convenience and the excitement the digital ones give you has made this form of bible the only option for me and many out there.

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Controversies Gadgets Lifestyle Religion

The End Of The Bible As We Know It?

Every technological transition comes with advantages and disadvantages, as the new replaces the old. The same thing is present as ebooks continue to gain market share from hardcopy books. However, one very prominent book that has been the subject of a lot of  discourse is the Christian religious book, The Bible.

bibleSince the mobile phone crept into our lives, gradually taking control of almost every facet of our being, it has become an addiction that most people can not do without for any significant period of time. It is against this background that digital bible advocates probably believe that the only way to make the Bible still relevant in our fast paced, technological world is to incorporate it in our new found addiction – mobile. Over time, the term mobile device have come to include ereaders and tablets, with both form factors now having an overwhelming array of Bibles available for them too.

The question however remains, can the eBible effectively replace the print Bible in every regard? Many would also ask, can an exorcist cast out demons with a digital Bible like they do with the print version?

The fact that most people still feel uncomfortable using their mobile devices to read their Bibles in church probably speaks volumes as regards the way it is still being viewed, especially in Nigeria. This was the subject of my write up almost two years ago which I aptly titled “Ebook Readers – Technology meets Religion” wherein I discussed the trend.

I asked my non-techie wife about her view on the ebible in the church. Her response, “Well, as long as you are reading your Bible on it and not checking your emails or something“. That probably throws a little light on why people view Bible on mobiles in church with suspicion, especially with the advent of the Blackberry.

However, I do remain convinced that the leather-bound Bible on every household bookshelf — like records and videocassettes and newspapers — may soon be endangered, if not extinct. The overwhelming advantages that the ebook, in general, has over the printed book will ensure that the eBible stays very relevant for a long time.

Here are a few:

  • Ebook readers will allow readers to take thousands of ebooks everywhere they go.
  • Thousands of ebooks take up no more space than the reader than stores them.
  • Ebooks typically cost less than paper books.
  • Readers can easily switch from one ebook to another with very little effort.
  • Obtaining additional ebooks requires only a few keystrokes.
  • A new ebook is available immediately for reading.
  • Ebooks consume fewer natural resources such as trees, water and petroleum for shipping.
  • Ebooks have a lower cost of production
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Lifestyle Religion

How Nigeria Influenced Steve Jobs Belief In God

Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs turned Eve’s apple, the symbol of fallen humankind, into a religious icon for true believers in technology.

The just-released biography on Steve Jobs by author Walter Isaacson details all the ins-and-outs of the late entrepreneur’s computer empire. But — as is the goal in all biographies — it’s the personal revelations that make it a compelling read.

Following his death earlier this month, the outpouring of grief for Jobs was huge and unprecedented. All over the world, people felt a keen sense of loss. Not since Michael Jackson has there been such an outpouring of public grief. And it’s never before been lavished on the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation.

Steve Jobs — although raised by Lutheran parents — shunned religion. “In July 1968 Life Magazine published a shocking cover showing a pair of starving children in Biafra (Eastern Nigeria). Jobs took it to Sunday school and confronted the church’s pastor. “If I raise my finger will God know which one I’m going to raise even before I do it?”

The Pastor answered, “Yes, God knows everything.”

Jobs then pulled out the Life Cover and asked, “Well, does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?”

He never went back to church.

Like Bill Gates he did not believe in a supernatural deity nor any organised belief structure.

Steve studied Zen Buddhism in his youth. One of his long time spiritual advisors has been a buddhist guru and Zen Master Kobun Chino. He even married Steve and Lauren. Therefore we can safely say buddhism has influenced Steve’s life and choices.

But, apparently, he still thought there was a 50% chance that God exists.

Isaacson conducted over 40 interviews with Jobs, some of them taped right before his death. He reveals several of the best stories from the biography, including the discussion he had with Jobs about death and the afterlife, explaining that for Jobs, the odds of there being a God were 50-50, but that he thought about the existence of God much more once he was diagnosed with cancer.

However, whatever his religious belief may be, he definitely believed there is a heaven and in making an impact on people around him. In his words, “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Categories
Gadgets Lifestyle Mobile Religion

Ebook Readers – Technology meets Religion

As a rule, issues relating to religion or politics will not be discussed on this site, EXCEPT, as it relates to technology.

Religion is said to be a way of life, so expectedly, the digital revolution is bound to be interwoven with our spiritual lives. For people living in Lagos, Nigeria and other major big cities around the world, it has become increasingly difficult maintaining a healthy spiritual life, no thanks to the fast paced world we live in. Wake up 4:30am, jump into you car 5am, get immersed in your daily work routine at your office, stuck in a hold-up coming back from work, get home 9pm, too fagged out to even eat. The next day, the circle continues. Yeah, on Sunday, you fish out your Bible from wherever, blow the dust off, away to church. Sunday, Sunday medicine, that should do right?

Enter Bible Readers, a comfort and convenience to a lot of us these days. They come in form of dedicated Bible reader devices like those from FRANKLIN and ECTACO or in form of third party software installations on phones. People rarely leave home without their mobile phones, and if they do, they go right back for it. So where best to have your Bible? If you are chauffeur driven or in a public bus, the time spent shuttling to and from your office is enough to grab a message or two from your electronic Bibles.

Naturally, this habit has been taken to the church. It is no longer uncommon to see people reading from their phones in church (though i can’t help but feel that some of them may be doing more than just Bible reading). One thing has not really changed though, the church is still a largely conservative one when it comes to the use of electronic Bibles. I could swear that eyes (apart from my Wife’s) are always drilling into me whenever i read from my phone, but eh, the major thing is for the word to sink in, isn’t it?

I was in a church somewhere in Ibadan a few years back. When it was time, the Pastor came to the pulpit to deliver his sermon. Guess what? From a Bible Reader! Wao, that’s new, ehm, but i wasn’t too sure about that. Was used to seeing Pastors brandishing the biggest Bibles around, so i was a bit taken aback. Anyways, i was quick in flashing out my phone based Bible Reader with confidence and settled in for a good sermon. At least, i have the Pastor’s approval

It’s been a while since i thumbed through a “hard copy” version of the Bible and i can’t help but feel a litle guilty about this, don’t know why, but the ease and bliss i feel when scrolling through multiple versions of the Bible on my phone during church services and Bible studies, is a feeling i’m not ready to let go of in a hurry, if at all.

Unfortunately, my write-up is a bit one sided as i do not know what is obtainable with my muslim brothers although in the past few years, i have assisted quite a number of people in installing Quran Readers on their phones.

So if you are a savvy old youngster like me and you are cool with your phone being more than just a phone, point your phone or PC browsers to Olivetree, E-sword and Getjar amongst others. These sites have tons of Bibles and Qurans for your phones, almost any phone.

God bless you all!