Plastic Souls: The actual threat attached to Artificial Intelligence

If you ask inventor and famed futurist, Ray Kurzweil, the world will be run by artificial intelligence within 30 years (27 to be exact). The man has been called a “restless genius” by The Wallstreet Journal, “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes, “Edison’s rightful heir” by Inc. Magazine, and “the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence” by none other than Bill Gates.

The Law of Accelerating Returns

In one of his best-sellers, The Age of Spiritual Machines, Kurzweil proposes something called The Law of Accelerating Returns. In short, this is the idea that technology, throughout human history, hasn’t increased at a linear rate, but at an exponential one. So, for instance, if you transported someone in a time machine from 1750 to the present day, the technology would have advanced at such an incredible rate (e.g. cars, planes, moon landing, phones, TV, computers, internet) that the incomprehensible differences might actually drive the poor guy insane. But if you transported someone from 1500 to 1750, the same gap of years, while some aspects of life might still amaze them, the shock would be significantly less. And if you wanted to travel back even further for someone to be shocked by the technological advancement of 1500, you might have to go back an entire millennium. Again, technology is not advancing at a linear pace. It’s advancing at an exponential rate.

Artificial General Intelligence

Ray Kurzweil says that the world will achieve Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) by 2029. Without letting it get too tech-sounding, AGI essentially refers to the computational power of the human brain. We already have something called Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI). This is the ability of a computer to perform one specific task at an extraordinary speed, faster than human.

So, you’ve perhaps played chess on your computer before. Today, the best chess players and best Jeopardy players in the world are now artificial intelligence. 

Given a specific algorithm, a computer can routinely beat the brightest human mind in almost every specific task. Siri, the digital assistant on your iPhone, is another example of ANI. Siri has no self-awareness. But the program “Siri” can nonetheless access more information with more accuracy faster than any human.

Artificial Superintelligence

Kurzweil’s bet is that by 2029, Artificial Intelligence will be able to think through everything in life as comprehensively as any human. And by 2045, humans, now officially inferior, will essentially become subservient to Artificial Intelligence. This is called Artificial Superintelligence (ASI). In The Age of Spiritual Machines, the most fascinating, ominous quote of all actually comes from a somewhat crazed sounding guy that Kurzweil almost seems to admire – a Harvard mathematician named Theodore Kaczynski. That’s right, THE UNABOMBER. The line between genius and insanity is razor thin.

Kurzweil also, however, offers a less Doomsday, less Matrixy scenario than computers taking over the world. In this more optimistic case, humanity will graft the new advanced intelligence into our being, and become transhuman, which is seen as the next evolutionary step. The internet has already made all human knowledge accessible. But the next step is to have the brain’s neocortex seamlessly integrate this information from the cloud.

Imagine never having to read another book, learn another equation, or, for that matter, memorize another passage of the Bible.

What if you could simply download the Bible’s information and truly recall every detail of it as easily as you can recall details from your day? Kurzweil would suggest that we’re about 25 years out. The methodology of Catechism instruction is going to have to evolve. It’s hard to even comprehend the implications all of this might have for faith.

Read the rest of the article HERE at Bread for Beggars

Abortion Then/Now: What we can learn from how the Early Church dealt with abortion & infanticide

the-early-church-and-abortion

“Without God and the future life? How will man be after that? It means everything is permitted now.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (New York: Vintage, 1991), pg. 589

Communist Russia, Communist China, and Nazi Germany eliminated an incredible amount of human life. Stalin was responsible for around 20 million deaths. Mao Zedong’s regime is credited with a staggering 70 million deaths. Hitler comes in third with around 10 million murders attributed to his name. The twentieth century was the world’s great experiment in seeing what intentionally godless governments would produce. The end result was a century with more slaughter of human life than all other centuries combined.

Without question, the saving grace of the western world has been the presence of an inherited Christian worldview. Abraham Lincoln, William Wilberforce, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were able to make assertions about human rights and usher in civil rights reform based solely on a belief in the biblical Imago Dei (i.e. “the image of God”) – the idea that all humans have value because God himself imbued humanity with special value.

As the faith of a nation goes, so goes its perception of personhood.

Consequently, if you’ve been following trends of Christian religious activity over the past 20 years, it was no surprise to you that the New York State legislature passed the Reproductive Health Act on January 22, the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The act allows abortion at any point during a pregnancy (24 weeks had been the prior limit) if it is deemed “necessary to protect a woman’s life or health.”

If you’ve ever read Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker’s famous article in the NY Times from over two decades ago, you knew this was coming. If you realized that the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL) targeted New York upon its founding in 1969, you knew this was coming. If you were aware that over a quarter of all pregnancies in New York already end in abortion, you knew this was coming.

When you’re raised in the United States, it’s perhaps easy to forget that abortion and infanticide have been quite common in world history. The reason they have been forbidden in the West for centuries is only because Western values were shaped by Christianity. Author Benjamin Wiker makes the case in Moral Darwinism:

“[T]he laws against abortion and infanticide in the West are only intelligible as a result of its Christianization, and the repeal of those same laws is only intelligible in light of its de-Christianization.”

Benjamin Wiker, Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists (Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity, 2001), pg. 100.

A fairly apples-to-apples comparison of what we see happening today in America is what was seen in the Roman Empire. The Twelve Tables – the earliest known Roman legal code, written about 450 B.C.E. – permitted a father to expose any female infant and any deformed or weak male infant to the natural elements to let them die in the fields. Philosophers Plato and Aristotle, both recommended infanticide as legitimate state policy. (cf. Plato, Republic 5; Aristotle, Politics 2,7) Seneca regarded the drowning of children at birth as both reasonable and commonplace. Tacitus stated that the Jewish mindset: “it is a deadly sin to kill an unwanted child,” was but another of the Jews’ “sinister and revolting” teachings (cf. The Histories 5.5). The famous Roman medical writer, Celsus, goes into great detail in De medicina (cf. 7.29) about how to surgically carry out an abortion. Etc.

Some of these thoughts are new to America. But they’re not technically new.

So, the relevant question then is: How did the early Christians, with very little political, educational, or financial clout, react to the tragedy taking place around them?

To read the rest of the article, CLICK HERE to continue to the Bread for Beggars site.

Bird Box – An Exercise in Why a Severely Flawed Movie Captivates a Country

220px-bird_box_(film)For the first time ever, the cinematic buzz over the holiday season was not about a blockbuster that came out in theaters, but about Netflix original Bird Box. America’s top streaming service boasted that the film garnered 45 million viewers within a week of its December 21, 2018 release date.

If for no other reason, Bird Box is significant for that – another obvious sign that this generation has changed the way it primarily consumes content, entertainment or otherwise.

But make no mistake. There is some intrigue surrounding the significance of the material itself. Anything that captures the attention of 50 million people must necessarily be tapping into something that feels common and important to the human experience.

The story is that of Malorie (played by Sandra Bullock), a mother, who is trying to bring two children to safety in a post-apocalyptic world. The movie flashes back and forth between the days at the outset of the cataclysmic event – the arrival of a mysterious force that is driving most of humanity around the world to suicide – and the “present day” – which consists of Malorie paddling the two children she’s responsible for down a river to attempt to reach safety. The catch, the reason for the blindfold, and subsequently the frontrunner for best meme fodder of 2019, is that the force cannot actually affect you so long as you don’t look at it.

The movie did not receive tremendous reviews, netting only a 51 Metascore. So why the popularity?

Crazy special effects? The $19.8 million budget is minimal by comparison to most large theater releases.

The flawless plot? Can’t be. A quick glance at IMDb’s user review page will help you see that the lack of explanation for the origin of the evil entities, the inconsistent powers/limitations of those entities, the lack of explanation for why some humans remain entirely unaffected by the entities are all problematic. Furthermore, the lack of character dialogue about the cause or intention of the entities is a recurring theme amongst critic reviews. While I can’t speak for the book, most reviewers would consider it a fairly significantly flawed plot. So that can’t explain viewer attraction.

Is the movie’s appeal the fact that Sandra Bullock is incapable of turning in a bad performance? Nope.Although, I’ll admit, this is my favorite movie of hers in a while.

I believe that storytelling, at its best, taps into something powerful that we know deep down, but we previously lacked the intellectual framework, or the vocabulary, to give explanation to. With that, I’ll offer 3 “biblical” reasons why I think Bird Box has been a hit:

To read the rest of post, please CLICK HERE to continue to Bread for Beggars.

When Big Bird Died

IAmBigBird_Reg

No, Big Bird didn’t actually die. Nor did the puppeteer who has played him. Nor will the character, who will now be embodied by an understudy. But, with Sesame Street’s 50th anniversary quickly approaching, the man who has pulled the strings for the past 50 years, Caroll Spinney, is calling it quits this week.

Spinney recently said in aNY Times article that the demands of the job have simply become too much at the age of 84. In fact, Spinney ceased doing the physical portion of the role in 2015 and has only been providing the voice since.

The 8-foot-2 bird was apparently originally intended to be portrayed as“a funny, dumb country yokel.” But after a few episodes, Spinney instead suggested to the producers that he portray Big Bird as a child surrogate.“He can be all the things that children are. He can learn with the kids.” And for the rest of the next 50 years, that’s what he did.

Jeffrey Dunn, the president and chief executive of Sesame Workshop concluded,“Big Bird has always had the biggest heart on Sesame Street, and that’s Caroll’s gift to us.” 

For many of us, Sesame Street was a way by which we safely learned not only our A-B-C’s, but also essential social life lessons like compassion, kindness, and gentleness. For parents, Sesame Street, led by the colorful curiosity of an 8-foot, child-like avian counterpart, was like a free (or at least publicly funded) educational and emotional tutor.

But have things changed? Have kids changed?

Most would likely argue that Sesame Street was clever, entertaining, educational, and mostly innocuous. Nonetheles, probably more than any other form of modern entertainment in the past half century, Sesame Street conditioned a national “teach my kids for me” attitude. I’m obviously not suggesting that having kids watch Sesame Street meant negligent parenting. I’m simply making the case that a free, safe, digitally available resource that allowed parents to let go of being hands-on with their kiddos could become problematic. Household TV’s were common by 1969, the advent of Sesame Street, and the idea that TV’s can help raise kids became common as well.

The entertainment world (and the world in general) shifted drastically as the internet was commercialized in 1995. With 2-3 generations of parents already accustomed to leaning on technology to assist with parenting, it seemed obvious that personal computers, tablets, and smartphones would also deliver the necessary content to raise our kids. It’s cheaper and more sophisticated than ever.

And that leads us to what American psychologist Jean Twenge, perhaps our country’s brightest generational researcher, calls “iGen” – the generation after Millennials/Gen Z. They were born between 1995 and 2012. They are the most diverse generation in America’s history and total 74 million (24% of the population). And all of them will have experienced adolescence in the age of the smartphone. In her book by the same name, Twenge argues that today’s youth are growing up less rebellious and more tolerant, but less happy, anxiety-ridden, and completely unprepared for adulthood.

Big Bird represented a naive child that knew and understood almost nothing, so constantly asked questions to adults who cared for him. Today’s hyper-connected child “knows” everything, or at least has access to all available human knowledge, but still understands nothing – a dangerous combo. We literally have heartless devices in our homes by which we can say, “Alexa, Siri, Google….give me the information I’m curious about,” and they do, without concern for a child’s soul. This is a monumental shift.

Consider, for instance, how we’ve transitioned from a culture where in 1988, the movie BIG, starring Tom Hanks, was the tale of a typical child who wanted to grow up too quickly, to today, a culture of teens intentionally postponing the transition into adulthood. Research suggests that this is the most self-cloistered, safest generation we’ve seen. While there is some positive here, the delayed adulthood and prolonged adolescence creates some issues we’re only beginning to understand. For example, the average child’s awareness today of social tensions and human sexuality has drastically accelerated from where it was 50 years ago. Every world problem found on the internet is my problem. Every possible option found on the internet is my option. Again, this isn’t all bad, but unlimited information at an age where you’re not mature enough to handle the information can become harmful.

This is seen in perhaps the most obvious and concerning shift with iGen – a massive spike in teen anxiety and depression. Between 2012 and 2015, depression amongst teens rose 21% in boys and 50% in girls. Twenge says that after declining in the 1990s and stabilizing in the 2000s, the suicide rate for teens has risen again. 46% more 15-19 year-olds committed suicide in 2015 than 2007. 2½ times more 12-15 year-olds killed themselves. Twenge goes on to say,“It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental health crisis in decades. Much of this deterioration can be traced to their phones.”

What Do We Do?

I think the general takeaway here is that you simply can’t rely on the surrounding culture to provide the guardrails necessary to disciple your child. The truth is that you never could. And for that matter, you should never rely even on your church, your child’s school, or any youth ministry to disciple your children either. These obviously aren’t bad things, but they’re not parental substitutes. Churches should never take away from parents what parents are called to do and churches (as an organization) are not fully equipped to do – i.e. Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Prov. 22:6)

I’ve recently taught on two texts in a row that make this point, and it’s become incredibly apparent to me that God designs for parents (ideally both mother and father) to play a hands-on role in this child-rearing.

“Fathers (or parents), do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” (Col. 3:21)

“Fathers (or parents), do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Eph. 6:4)

Consider cutting your kids screen time down. Perhaps a weeklong fast. If a 16-year-old can’t survive a week without social media, this probably points to a deeper problem. What they’re ultimately craving in social media is deep relationship. And no one is better equipped to offer that, and shape their psychological wellness, than their God-appointed parents.

The most hellish experience that Jesus Christ ever faced was the moment he cried out and couldn’t find his Father: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34) Fortunately for us he willfully chose to experience that cosmic estrangement in our place. But we obviously wouldn’t wish anything remotely close upon our kids. So hug them and kiss them and spend significant time with them. Be closer to them than their portable devices.

Kaeptivating Campaign

You’ve likely seen Nike’s new campaign. It stars Colin Kaepernick, probably the most polarizing figure of the past several years not named Donald Trump.

In 2016, Kaepernick came into the national spotlight when he controversially chose to kneel during the United States national anthem, which is played before each NFL game. Kaepernick would go on to describe his behavior as a protest against racial injustice in our country. He told media outlets “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Some perceived Kaepernick’s silent protest as an admirable, non-violent freedom of expression that brought attention to an important cause, i.e. oppression of minority groups. Others perceived Kaepernick’s actions as disrespectful to our flag, our country, and the members of the United States armed forces who risk their lives to protect the rights symbolized by that flag.

This debate will not be settled and I have no desire to try to persuade you one way or the other. As a country in which the majority has lost the pursuit of God’s glory as our highest cause, we’re never going to be able to determine which is a more important issue – respect of minority or respect of armed forces, racism or nationalism. Unless God is our highest cause, we have no ability to respectfully debate important, but proportionately lesser issues. Christians are born again to be Christians first, and American/other next, black/white next, male/female next, Republican/Democrat next. But this generation hasn’t been born again.

This kneeling debate won’t get settled, and can’t get settled, because we’ve publicly lost the common ground necessary for even having an ethics debate in the first place.

As polarizing as Kaepernick’s actions have been, of course an advertising campaign featuring him – Nike’s 30 year anniversary “Just Do It” celebration – is naturally just as polarizing. The immediate financial impact is mixed for Nike, as the stock immediately dropped 3% due to public backlash, but online sales have reportedly spiked by 31%. Further evidence of the divisive nature of the campaign, two small Christian colleges – Truett McConnell University in northern Georgia and College of the Ozarks in southwest Missouri – have removed any Nike merchandise from their stores and changed companies for their uniforms, all while several marketing executives have labeled the campaign a “stroke of genius” that speaks directly to the heart of the brand’s core constituents.

Again, time will tell on the financial merit of the campaign, but the basic debate will remain unsettled.

The thing that actually fascinates me most about the campaign is Kaepernick’s soliloquy, which is powerful, and the accompanying tagline. It might be the most religious-sounding language in a secular commercial I’ve ever heard. Kaepernick narrates the entire 2 minute 20 second piece. In his opening comments, he says,

“What non-believers fail to understand is that calling a dream ‘crazy’ is not an insult; it’s a compliment.”

If you take that out of context, it almost sounds like something that could be written by the early church fathers. This is followed by a one-minute summary of inspirational sports stories. But the climactic moment is when Kaepernick says,

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

This is captivating language. The problem is that he’s talking about sports. I love sports, but an adult knows they’re not worth the level of passion Kaepernick is describing. Sports are incredibly fun and help teach a multitude of valuable life lessons. But that’s the point – they’re NOT life, they only help us understand real life. They’re not worthy of this type of rhetoric, let alone sacrificing EVERYTHING in your life. Even when you admire Kaepernick’s position in the fight against social injustice, some fear that the ad might be watering down his overall message for the sake of promoting an athletic brand.

C.S. Lewis was insistent that the greatest themes in literature were powerful precisely because they latched on to themes of the gospel, the one truly great story. I’ve written before about how fictional superheroes are attractive precisely because they latch on to some aspect of the one true hero, Jesus. Similarly, Kaepernick’s words here are inspiring precisely because they sound amazingly like that of the true Messiah. Listen to just one example of Jesus’ call to discipleship:

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? (Luke 9:24-25)

Colin Kaepernick’s call to radical sacrifice for the sake of a transcendent goal is moving, but if it’s Nike’s call for sports dominance, it’s foolish. If it’s a call for social justice, which is his real intent, it’s worthy and impactful. But if you take those words and make them about the salvation of all mankind, then it’s the most important thing ever.

If you haven’t noticed in recent years, a good percentage of the best-selling Christian books, from authors like Francis Chan to David Platt to Jenn Hatmaker, have been about Christian radicalism. They are arguably reactionary to the “Best Life Now” Christianity of the early 2000s. Christians are learning that comfort in this life is not the highest goal for the called. Rather, discipleship means that you believe in the Jesus thing. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Kudos to Nike and Kaepernick for helping us with the vocabulary.

None of this, by the way, has anything to do with attaining your dreams, a process by which people tend to run over one another in order to achieve. It’s about thanking the one who sacrificed everything to forgive you for chasing dreams of this world and gift you the ultimate reality – life with God.

nikekaepernickad

Responding to Hell – 3 Witnessing Techniques Anyone Can Learn

A young man trying to share the Bible with two young women.

Witnessing is different today than 50 years ago. Obviously we have the same gospel of Jesus Christ. That hasn’t changed. That never does. But the culture most definitely has.

In Evangelism in a Skeptical World, Dr. Sam Chan provides a fantastic analysis of how modern western culture has shifted in its perception of truth. He describes how gospel presentations like Four Spiritual Laws (CRU), The Bridge to Life (Navigators), and Two Ways to Live (Matthias Media) were all tried-and-true ways to share the message of Jesus in the twentieth century. All of them were highly effective presentations that helped bring people to faith in Christ. But Chan, an internationally respected Christian apologist for several decades, notes that as he toured America giving lectures, something changed in the early 2000’s. He says that he found people becomingly increasingly unimpressed with his presentation. He came to understand this was due to the fact that society’s spiritual questions had changed. Americans were no longer asking the questions those older gospel presentations were designed to help navigate.

Chan has many helpful thoughts about evangelism in general, but for our purposes today, I want to limit the conversation to his insights about discussing hell with modern people.

There is arguably no doctrine more offensive to our relativistic, postmodern society than the teaching of hell. But it’s impossible to truly witness to a non-believer without eventually getting to the doctrine of hell. Any attempt at doing so would necessarily change the gospel itself. Many Christians, sensing this, just avoid witnessing entirely. The vast majority of Christians that I talk to have never had a single conversation with a skeptic about the reality of hell.

But there are ways to refute the bad logic of someone who has misguided perceptions about hell – to help people in our current era see the wisdom, and even the love, attached to hell.

The following are 3 examples of responses to give when someone pushes back against the biblical doctrine of hell:

1) “Hell Makes God Unloving” 

This is perhaps the most commonly given reason for a rejection of the teaching of hell: “I don’t see how a loving God could inflict eternal punishment upon someone.” 

What you need to start here is to ask the person where they get the idea that God is, in fact, a LOVING God?

In Greek mythology, the gods are immoral. In Asian mythology, the gods are mischievous. In Islam, the conception of god is certainly holy, but not inherently loving and merciful. Of all religions throughout world history, the ONLY place you get this idea that God is fundamentally and essentially LOVING is…in the Bible.

Consequently, if you want to accept the idea that God is a loving being as an a priori argument, a truth assumption, then it stands to reason that you seemingly would also have to seriously entertain the rest of the body of work from which that argument comes – i.e. the Bible. And the Bible certainly teaches the doctrine of hell. In fact, by a considerable margin, Jesus talks about hell more than anyone else in the Bible. If Jesus is obviously and unarguably loving, as most would attest, if he is the embodiment of God’s love for us (1 John 3:16), then you can’t ignore what he establishes as an important truth for the world, i.e. the danger of hell, as a caution of love.

Furthermore, if someone has a general conception of God’s love and suggests, “My God is so loving that he would never send anyone to hell,” my response is always, “Then your God loves you less than my God loves me, because my God went to hell and back to rescue me. What does it cost your God to love you?” The point here is the same one I bring up in virtually every wedding sermon I preach – there’s really no way to measure love apart from the depths we’re willing to go in order to be with someone. If Jesus went through hell in order to rescue his people, then, by definition, he loves those people more than any God who wouldn’t go through hell for them. Instead of hell being unloving, I’m here making the case that any conception of God apart from a belief in hell is necessarily LESS loving.

2) “Hell Makes God Exclusive”

This claim comes up when it is suggested that someone’s beliefs are held primarily (or exclusively) due to cultural upbringing. For example, “You’re only Hindu because you were born in India.” If that was the case, and belief in Jesus was the only pathway to salvation (John 14:6), it would then seem unfair that certain people were raised in “Christian cultures” with access to the gospel whereas others were raised in predominantly Buddhist, Hindu, irreligious, etc. cultures.

Here, what you do is ask the person, “If they were in charge of heaven, who would you let in?” They might say that they’d let everyone in. And then you should respond with “Are you really okay with mega mass murders like Hitler, Mussolini, and Pol Pot, or even lesser murders, serial killers like Dahmer or Manson, coming into heaven, completely unrepentant of transgressions? Is that loving to their victims and their victims’ families?” If those individuals are impenitent of what they’ve done, and likely do it all over again if given the chance, why would you bring them into heaven and give them another chance to do so? At this point, the skeptic of hell might say,“Okay, maybe not those guys.” But then the skeptic has to establish his own criteria for letting someone in. If he says whoever is good enough, he’s excluding based on the criteria of moral behavior. If he says it doesn’t matter what someone believes so long as they’re sincere and authentically true to self (a common postmodern spin on religion), he’s doing the same thing – making it exclusive.

What you come to realize is that if you let everyone in, you’re not being loving to the victims who need justice, but the moment you make conditions, you’re being exclusive. The person who was critical of heaven’s “exclusivity” is then guilty of doing the same thing they’re condemning the God of the Bible for doing. And if God’s condition is simply that whoever repents and trusts in Jesus will be received, then I’d venture to say that based on THAT criteria, more people are going to get into heaven than on whatever criteria you or I could come up with. Sam Chan has a great line in his book where he says, “The scandal of the Bible is not that people go to hell. The scandal is that God lets people into heaven that you or I likely would not.” 

3) “Hell Makes God Bitter & Angry”

In the Netflix political thriller, House of Cards, the two main characters are a husband and wife who no longer possess any affection for one another. The wife has an affair. And when the affair is exposed, the husband doesn’t really care. The wife actually then confronts the husband about it, saying she thought he’d be more angry. Since we only get angry over the things we care about, the revelation is that the husband’s LACK of anger was the ultimate evidence that he didn’t love her anymore.

If we were designed by God, to be in relationship with God, then if God loves us, he MUST be angry about us rejecting him. It’s not mere pettiness. It’s the product of him hating to see us violate our design, destroying ourselves through an eternal trajectory of self-centeredness (i.e. hell). And yet, because love is not true love if it is forced, God cannot force creatures to love him.

God’s anger in this case is simply evidence of his passion for us.

CHEAT SHEET

“Hell Makes God Unloving”

  • Where do you get the idea God is loving?
  • If there is no hell, how much does it cost God to love you?

“Hell Makes God Exclusive”

  • If you were God, what would your criteria be for heaven be? Is that really less exclusive than God’s criteria?

“Hell Makes God Bitter & Angry”

  • If you were designed to be in relationship with God, and avoiding that relationship is self-destructive, how should God feel?
  • If Jesus is, in a sense, the “husband” to humanity, how should he feel if you give your heart to someone/something else?

SUMMARY

God is angry about sin because he’s good. He goes to hell and back for us because he’s loving. But he doesn’t force us to love him. Instead, he sacrificially pays for us and invites us, no matter what we’ve done, to come live with him (i.e. heaven).

Sermons 2018

With the upcoming holiday weekend, I’m guessing that many of you may be embarking on some road trips. A great way to redeem the travel time is to listen to Christian messages along the way. I personally am constantly streaming various Christian speakers as a way to continue to grow, especially during travel.

To help with that, I’ve linked all of my messages from 2018 below. You can also always access these sermons via iTunes, Google Play, Libsyn, search for St Marcus MKE in your Podcast Store, or download our St. Marcus App – just search for “St. Marcus MKE” in your App Store.

Week 1 – LIE 1 – If Your Marriage Isn’t Happy, You Should Leave (Matthew 19:1-12)

Week 2 – LIE 2 – God Just Wants Me To Be Happy (Hebrews 11:23-26) (coming soon)

Week 3 – LIE 3 – If You Feel Depressed, You’re a Bad Christian (Psalm 143)

Week 4 – LIE 4 – More Money, More Happiness (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

Week 5 – LIE 5 – Women and Men Are Basically the Same ( 1 Corinthians 14:26-40)

Week 6 – LIE 6 – Your Faith is Just Between You and God (Ephesians 2:19-22)

Week 7 – LIE 7 – You’ve Earned Everything You Have (Esther 3:1-6; 6:1-10)

Week 8 – LIE 8 – I Need to Make Something of Myself (Philippians 3:1-14)

Week 9 – LIE 9 – Religion Doesn’t Belong in the Workplace (Daniel 1-8:21)

Week 10 – LIE 10 – That Sin Can’t Be Forgiven (Matthew 27:1-10)

Week 11 – LIE 11 – A Loving God Would Never Send Anyone To Hell (Matthew 25:31-46)

 

Week 1 – The Beginning of the Church (Acts 1:1-11)

Week 2 – Pentecost and Its Meaning (Acts 2:42-47)

Week 3 – Peter Heals a Beggar and Defends His Faith (Acts 4:1-14)

Week 4 – A New Community (Acts 4:32-37)

Week 5 – Sin From Within (Acts 5:1-11)

Week 6 – Becoming More Stephen (Acts 7:54-60)

 

Week 1 – The Healing of Jesus (Mark 2:1-12)

Week 2 – The Family of Jesus (Mark 3:31-35)

Week 3 – The Parables of Jesus (Mark 4:1-20)

Week 4 – The Authority of Jesus (Mark 4:35-41)

Week 5 – The Rejection of Jesus (Mark 6:1-13)

Week 6 – The Sympathy of Jesus (Mark 6:45-52)

Week 7 – The Cross of Jesus (Mark 8:34-38)

Week 8 – The Glory of Jesus (Mark 10:13-16)

Week 9 – The Humility of Jesus (Mark 10:35-45)

Week 10 – The Enemies of Jesus (Mark 12:35-44) (coming soon)

Week 11 – The Anointing of Jesus (Mark 14:1-11)