The Atheist Creed by Steve Turner – 1980

To celebrate the completion of my series through the Apostles’ Creed, I thought I would share the Atheist Creed by Steve Turner.”This is the creed I have written on behalf of all us.

We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don’t hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during, and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy is OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything is getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there’s something in
horoscopes, UFO’s and bent spoons;
Jesus was a good man
just like Buddha, Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher
although we think His good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same–
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of
creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied,
then it’s compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Khan.

We believe in Masters and Johnson.
What’s selected is average.
What’s average is normal.
What’s normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors
and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good.
It’s only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust.
History will alter.

We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.
We believe in the rejection of creeds,
and the flowering of individual thought.

“Chance” a post-script

If chance be the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
and when you hear
State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!
It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.”

– Steve Turner, Creed, 1980

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Amen

(This is part nineteen of a multi-entry blog series exploring the Apostles’ Creed.)

This is the last entry about the Apostles’ Creed. The last word of the line is simply:

“Amen.”

This word is actually a Hebrew word and it implies truth or steadfastness. According to the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, “Since Jews, Christians, and Muslims all use this word in a variety of languages, it may be one of the most widely known words in the world.” It conveys affirmation of a weighty statement or divine commands. In Deuteronomy 27:15-26, God’s people use it as affirmation to His commands. They’re agree with them and agreeing to live by them.

Our lives should reflect this reality. We should live in light of these truths and seek to study them deeper and share them with those around us. We should live as though there is a sovereign Creator-God, we should live as though Jesus came in the flesh, died for our sins, conquered death and will come back in glory. We should live as though the Holy Spirit dwells inside us, giving us the power to live for God instead of ourselves. We should live as though we’ve been forgiven and now belong to a beautiful family of Believers. We should live as though this life is short and temporary. We should live in light of eternity. In a recent sermon, Francis Chan simply said, “My prayer is that your life would make sense in light of eternity.” Does your life reflect the truths of the Apostles’ Creed?

After all, these are some of the core pillars of our faith!

Thus it is fitting to end the Apostles’ Creed with a heartfelt “amen.”

I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of Heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit;
born of the Virgin Mary,
and suffered under Pontius Pilate.
He was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into death.
The third day He rose again from the dead,
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.
He shall come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of the saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Can I get an “amen”?

and the life everlasting.

(This is part eighteen of a multi-entry blog series exploring the Apostles’ Creed.)

After discussing the resurrection of the body in the previous post, we’ll be looking at what the Creed says we resurrect to; namely

“the life everlasting.”

There have been entire books written about this subject, but I want to highlight a few simple aspects of the life everlasting that I find particularly encouraging. Continue reading

the resurrection of the body

(This is part seventeen of a multi-entry blog series exploring the Apostles’ Creed.)

The line of the Creed looks at something that was one of the core reasons I felt as though I could trust that Jesus was the Son of God:

“the resurrection of the body.”

Perhaps someone has told you that even if Jesus was not the divine Son of God, He still teaches us the best way to live; even if there is no Heaven, hell, or eternity, the way of Jesus is still the best way you can possibly spend this life before you die.

But is this true? Is that a Biblical claim or an attempt to diminish the submission that Christ rightfully claims from His followers?

It’s easy, in modern-day America, to make the claim that Jesus’ way is the best way to live, but think about that claim for a moment in light of the Church’s history. Would that claim work in India? Would it work at the underground churches in China? Would it work anywhere Christians are being persecuted today? How would that claim hold up to any of the churches that experienced heavy persecution by the Roman empire?

Paul would say that, if Jesus is not God and there is no resurrection, then we’re wasting our time. In fact, Paul says “if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world” (1 Cor 15:19, NLT). The Common English Bible translates it like this: “If we have a hope in Christ only in this life, then we deserve to be pitied more than anyone else.”

In other words, if there is no resurrection we are the most pitiful people on earth. We’re wasting our time and should just go do whatever we want. All of Christ’s claims hinge on whether or not He was resurrected; because if He was not resurrected, then we won’t be resurrected. And, as Paul says, if our hope is only in this life then we are to be pitied.

Which brings us to the most obvious of all questions, “Is there good evidence for the resurrection of Jesus?”

I believe there is; I also believe that’s an investigation that Christians need to make for themselves, so as to strengthen their convictions and expand their ability to share their faith. Here are some recommended reads if you’re interested:

Online Articles:
Evidences for the Resurrection by J. Hampton Keathley, III
Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Christ by Christopher Louis Lang
Testimony of the Evangelists by Simon Greenleaf
Extra-Biblical Historical Evidence for the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus
Powerful Evidence For The Deity of Christ: The Greatest Sign – The Resurrection

Books (I’m sure there are dozens of options but these are some of the most popular):

The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus
More Than a Carpenter

Here’s a sermon you could watch if interested:

http://marshill.com/v/nrb7h5bxbr1d

Take a look at any of those resources if you’re interested; laying out the historical argument for the resurrection is far beyond the scope of this entry. However, I do think it’s important for Christians to examine why they believe in the resurrection with the hopes that it will deepen their faith and enhance their ability to share their faith.

But if we believe in the resurrection, how should this affect the way we live?

I think Dan & Barb Evans are an excellent example of how the resurrection can dramatically change the way we live. They have been in ministry around the world for 21 years with Cadence International, a group that specializes in ministering to members of the armed forces. I’ve watched them open their home and their lives to show the love of Christ to many people. They have had a profound impact on the lives of many people around the world (I found one great example here). It’s an honor to know them.

During the fall of 2009, Barb was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. For a while, we weren’t even sure she was going to wake up from her brain surgery, but by the grace of God she pulled through. Soon after, a prayer group was started on Facebook. It has over 650 members from all around the world. I only share that last bit of information to convey how far reaching their ministry has been. For the entire Evans family, it has been a long, hard fight but they didn’t stop ministering. If anything, they have done more ministry, through Barb’s battle with cancer, than ever before. Barb spent the last 19 months of her life knowing that her condition was terminal unless God miraculously intervened. She never lost the faith, but instead found refuge in God. Barb spent the last 19 months living her life to the fullest.

On Christmas Eve, Barb spoke very openly and honestly about her battle, her fears, her hopes, her ministry, and, most of all, her desire to glorify God through her struggle and to finish well. On March 7th, Barb breathed her last and went to be with Jesus. Connie and I went to Dan’s house that night to say goodbye to Barb. She looked so peaceful; no more struggle, no more pain, just glory with Jesus. I leaned over and, with a tear in my eye, whispered in her ear, “You finished well, Barb. You finished well.”

While I do grieve for those she left behind, I’m not sad for Barb. Why? Because there is a resurrection. Barb was able to finish well because she knew that there is a resurrection; she knew that, on the other side of death, true life was waiting. She knew that, through His death, Jesus conquered death (Hebrews 2:14-15). Barb knew that something far greater waited on the other side of her death.

But we’ll discuss that in depth with the next post.

the forgiveness of sins

(This is part sixteen of a multi-entry blog series exploring the Apostles’ Creed.)

Few people actually live as though they believe in…

“the forgiveness of sins.”

Consider, for a moment, that you could shed all of your regrets, move on from all your past mistakes, and walk into a future of freedom. Imagine you could live your life and make your decisions motivated by faith, and not fear. Some of the people I love in this world seem to walk around as though they have a cloud of guilt and shame from the past hanging over them. I wish they would shed the past like a butterfly sheds its cocoon and fly with wings of faith. Or, as Oswald Chambers said it, “Leave the broken, irreversible past in God’s hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.”

So how does one do that? They can’t, at least not alone; instead they must be set free from their past by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. The beautiful truth of the Gospel is that you can be set free. Jesus says that whoever sins is a slave to sin (Jn 8:34). But He also tells us that the truest and most pure way we can live is when we are free to love God and others (Mt 22:36-40). We are meant to be free from sin; liberated to worship and serve God. That’s how Adam and Eve lived before the fall (Gen 2:25). Sadly, we are unable to purchase our own freedom. I can see no greater benefit of the forgiveness of sins than freedom. In Galatians, Paul says that we have been forgiven so that we may be free to love God and serve others (Gal 5:1, 13). In fact, going all the way back to the book of Exodus, the reason Moses tells the Pharaoh to set the Israelites free was in order that they might worship God!

Thus, when Christ has set us free, we are free indeed. We can stop being haunted by the past because we are set free from it. This doesn’t mean that we won’t still face the consequences of our past, but it does mean we do not have to be mastered by our sins. It means that God will redeem our past mistakes and use them for His glory.

We often want to fool ourselves and say that Jesus could not possibly forgive our worst sins; the sins we haven’t told anyone about for fear they would never look at us the same. That’s a lie. We overestimate the power of our sins and underestimate the power of the Cross. Could there be a sin more heinous than crucifying the innocent Son of God? Yet we see that Jesus prayed for them, even as they crucified and mocked Him (Lk 23:34). Truly, the cleansing power of the blood of Christ is stronger than the deepest, darkest stains of sin. We insult Christ when we think that our sins have more weight than His forgiveness can lift. God knows the full weight of our sin far more than we can ever fathom and none of it is hidden from Him, yet because of the overwhelming power of Christ’s blood, we can still be forgiven. This is truly miraculous.

Another thought that just occurred to me is that this line follows the line about the “communion of the saints.” How beautiful! Can there be any communion or harmony amongst us if we refuse to forgive one another? In his essay on forgiveness, C. S. Lewis says, Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness, and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it. He continues to elaborate on this idea and closes by saying, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” We are called to pay it forward, so to speak.

This type of love is something that is only possible through a connection with Christ and it is one of the most visible manifestations of the Church.

I pray that I will be able to live a life free from the heavy burdens of my past sins; a life that is radically free to love and forgive others!