by Chris Banescu – Atheism and materialism are illogical and internally inconsistent philosophies. Both are self-contradictory and suffer from fatal flaws that destroy their legitimacy and render them useless. Unfortunately, these obvious flaws are always ignored by atheists and materialists and insufficiently understood by those who believe in God and hold a theistic view of the universe.
Before we proceed, I believe some basic definitions are in order.
Atheism, is a theory that presumes that God does not exist. It is a doctrine that categorically denies the existence of a deity. By inference, atheists do no believe in anything supernatural and claim that nothing exists outside of natural phenomena and physical matter. They reject the notion that God created the universe, matter, life, and man. [Read more…]
by Chris Banescu – Christianity is not just a “religion.” The Christian Faith embodies the most important truths of this life and all human existence which God first revealed to Moses and the other Old Testament prophets. The fullness of that truth was then completely made manifest in the birth, life, teachings, miracles, crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “It is the fulfillment of all religions in their search for divine truth and human meaning as inspired by God’s law written on human hearts,” explains Fr. Thomas Hopko.
Our God is the God of the whole universe and all life. His laws and wisdom govern all creation and all matter, seen and unseen. This is why Saint John the Theologian so powerfully declared a truth that shook the very foundations of the world: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:1-5). [Read more…]
by Chris Banescu – Fr. Peter Gillquist was a loving and faithful shepherd of our Lord. Not only did he bring many in America into the Orthodox Church, but his powerful and public witness to the truth served as a guide and inspiration to many Orthodox. His work helped re-kindle the faith and inspire many cradle Orthodox Christians, like myself and others, to better understand the depth and richness of our Christian Tradition and embrace our heritage with renewed fervor and commitment.
Having been born and raised in the Orthodox Church, I have always believed that that the Orthodox Faith embodied the fullness of the Christian life and faith, Scriptural teachings, and liturgical worship as established by Christ and His Apostles. However, it was not until I read about Father Peter and his flock’s journey of discovery that I truly recognized how much of a priceless treasure it really is. The spark that triggered that awareness and forever changed the priorities of my life sprung from the pages of his book “Becoming Orthodox.”
Fr. Peter’s account of the incredible journey undertaken by the group of American Protestant ministers in search for the New Testament Church shook me to the very foundations of my soul. Here was a group of devout Christians who loved Jesus Christ so much that they dedicated their entire lives in searching for His True Church and in finding a deeper and closer communion with Christ. They did not have the privilege to grow up in the Orthodox Church and partake of its vast spiritual and religious wealth, yet they worked hard, searched steadfastly, and struggled for many years trying to find what was given to me freely. In reading their story I realized just how blessed and fortunate I was to have been entrusted with such a Pearl of Great Price and ashamed of how little I had done with it. [Read more…]
by Chris Banescu – Perpetual crises and suffering, societal unrest, financial emergencies, institutional dysfunction, governmental tyranny, murder and mayhem, wars, riots, terrorism, and the persecution of the righteous and innocent continues to be the “normal” state of affairs for people and countries around the world. Despite the constant assurances from most secular governments and politicians who promise us “utopia on earth” in exchange for surrendering more of our freedoms and embracing their atheistic and progressive “solutions”, things are getting worse, not better. This seems to be a persistent problem of all human civilizations throughout history, not just a defect particular to our own age. “Terrific energy is expended — civilizations are built up — excellent institutions devised; but each time something goes wrong. Some fatal flaw always brings the selfish and cruel people to the top, and then it all slides back into misery and ruin. In fact, the machine conks. It seems to start up all right and runs a few yards, and then it breaks down,” observed C.S. Lewis. What is the real source of this suffering and is there any hope for a cure?
It is foolishness to believe that the turmoil, economic devastation, social corruption, and societal instability happening in Greece, Egypt, England, France, Romania, other European countries, and even here in America is simply about economics, politics, education, financial mismanagement, or religious, ethnic, or cultural differences. What it is about is the catastrophic moral failure of individuals with power and influence across many organizations and institutions, especially politicians and government leaders. The immorality, vanity, arrogance, hypocrisy, selfishness, corruption, cowardice, envy, greed, and reckless disregard for the long-term safety, liberty, and well-being of the people – whom they have sworn to serve and protect – that we see in the conduct of our leaders are symptoms of what always happens when man rejects God’s truth and wisdom and tries to setup for himself an earthly “utopia” separate from Christ’s teaching. [Read more…]
by Chris Banescu – As the Christmas season fades into the distance and the New Year is upon us, we tend to feel the passage of time most acutely. With the conclusion of the bright and joyous celebrations that commemorate and bear witness to the birth of the Messiah, we often experience a sense of loss, of sadness. We never seem to have enough time to fully immerse ourselves in the feast and absorb the joy and peace that our souls yearn to rediscover and embrace. It all goes by much too quickly. We find ourselves heading back towards the daily routines of our lives, feeling weary, tired, and spent. The light inside us that burned so brightly a few days ago is flickering.
In response, writes Fr. Alexander Schmemann, “come words from an infinite loftiness and an infinite profundity” from the Gospel of Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist. Jesus Christ “was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name… And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace” (John 1:9-12, 16). [Read more…]
by Chris Banescu – There is a reality of the human condition that holds true throughout the history of mankind. Human beings are born with an inner desire for something timeless that nothing in this material world and life experiences can ever truly satisfy. We are all created with a hunger and thirst for God.
All creatures hunger for that for which they were created. A hummingbird hungers for nectar, a lion for meat, a sheep for grass, a dolphin for fish. Man also hungers for food, but he has an even stronger craving for something much greater and more meaningful. “Greater than the hunger for food in man is the hunger for God which manifests itself basically in the hunger for security, for love, peace, joy, meaning, and life,” explains Fr. Anthony Coniaris. This is why Christ reaffirms that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4-4). God is indeed the living water that Jesus spoke of to the Samaritan woman near Jacob’s well, the living water that whoever drinks “will never thirst again”, the water that will become in man “a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4-14).
Real Want for Heaven Man’s inner longing for meaning and happiness is often expressed in a “real want for Heaven” that is present in our souls but which we may not recognize or understand. [Read more…]
Christians believe that human beings were created by God in the image and likeness of their Creator. They proclaim that the entire universe, all matter, and all life were designed and brought into existence by an infinitely higher intelligence who exists outside of time and space. Materialists and atheists, on the other hand, assert that man is the result of a long mindless and chaotic process that randomly stumbled into producing matter, biological organisms, and eventually humans. Who is right?
Mathematics and reason offer us a way to test the materialist assumptions and shed some light into the insurmountable problem faced by atheists. A simple algebraic formula, that even high-school students can master, can help us quantify the probability of random actions giving rise to even the most basic order. To get a better idea of the odds involved, we will calculate the mathematical probability that the simple phrase “To be, or not to be: that is the question:“, from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, can occur by chance. [Read more…]
Each of us has a calling, a vocation, in life. Some discover their passion in their childhood or teen years and know from early on what they were meant to do. Some find their calling after reaching adulthood and encountering the real world. Some stumble unto their life’s work when faced with life-changing events, personal struggles, or tragedies. Some uncover their life’s passion in their old age, usually after retirement, when a growing awareness of their own mortality imbues them with a renewed sense of urgency and purpose. Tragically, many never find their life’s calling, either due to hardships, fear, or plain laziness; despite knowing what they should do, neither bothering to dedicate the time or energy required to follow their dreams, nor making the sacrifices necessary to fulfill their vocations.
By God’s immeasurable grace I am one of those blessed souls that has discovered his calling in life. I believe my vocation is to be a Voice Crying in the Wilderness, a messenger who strives to open men’s hearts and minds to timeless truths and principles, to help them discover what’s truly important in this life and in eternity. A messenger of the One who created everything in this universe, the laws that govern all matter and morality, the individual atoms and cells that make up my body and the soul that gives it life, and the very reason that allows me to think and write these words. [Read more…]
As scientific research and advancements, supported by increasingly more powerful computer technologies, delve into the vast complexities of biological organisms, the handiwork and genius of their Creator become more obvious and irrefutable. Recent experiments by researchers using a computer generated “cortical simulator” designed to duplicate a miniscule fraction of the functions of a mouse brain illustrate the immense structural sophistication and the enormous intricacies inherent in all living creatures.
In February 2007 scientists from IBM’s Almaden Research Lab and the University of Nevada used the BlueGene/L supercomputer, equipped with 4,096 processors each using 256MB of memory (for a total of 1 Terabyte (TB) of memory), to run a simulation that attempted to mimic one second’s worth of the processes of half a mouse brain. The “massively parallel cortical simulator” recreated the equivalent of 8,000,000 neurons with 6,300 synapses each, inside the 1 TB main memory of the system. Despite such massive computing power, the vast complexity of the simulation required that the experiment run for a full ten seconds in order to simulate just one second of real time mouse brain activity. [Read more…]