Posts Tagged ‘Eternal Life’

Christmas 2009

December 25th, 2009 Comments off

Wishing a Rich and Rewarding Christmas to my Readers

Just thought I would post some end of 2009 updates:

I will address the Shreveport, LA chapter of Reasons to Believe on the 3rd Monday of January, 2010 on the subject ‘The Testimony of the Witnesses’, an investigation into the credibility of the Christian Holy Writ. We will consider the weight of the earliest written testimony in regards to the claim of resurrection of Christ. And we will examine how writers such as Bart Ehrman, John Dominic Crossan, and Elaine Pagels can proceed from the the early Christian literature and arrive at results in diametric opposition to the views of both its authors and its recipients.

Sistine Chapel in Rome

Michelangelo - Fresco From The Sistine Chapel

I posted the following on Facebook in response to various discussions. It is not complete, but holds the germ of a theme upon which I would like to expand  in the future, God willing:

People think that because we live in a free society, we may practice Christianity, when actually the converse is true. Because we practice Christianity we live in a free society.

Ultimately we will each act according to our most deeply held convictions. Likewise, a society will be shaped by the ideology of its members. In predominately Hindu society, for instance, there will be little compassion for the downtrodden – after all, they are merely reaping the fruits of their actions in a previous life. In the Islamic world, there exists little tolerance for opposing viewpoints – possession of a Bible is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, for instance; even though that nation is generally considered to be a rational, modern society. Likewise Marxism is a jealous god, accepting no rivals.

“But I believe in nothing,” one might say. “I have a secular viewpoint, bound by no primitive superstition.” Even so, this person has a core ideology. After all, this person believes in and wants good things for their self. And with no outside constraint, ethics for each ‘secular’ person generally devolves into ‘what’s good for me’. This leads to a materialistic, self centered society; such as we see developing in the United States as we renounce our Christian heritage, or as we saw in the Roman world after they left Stoicism.

All of the common principles of freedom that we have come to cherish – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc. were birthed in western Christian society. The rest of the world not only does not practice these ‘freedoms’, they do not see the advantage in practicing these freedoms. They are ‘foolishness’ to the non-Christian world.

We may judge the viability of a belief system by the merits of the society it produces. And before we run headlong to accept an ‘enlightened’ diverse viewpoint, we should examine the societies where it has been established to see where it leads – to see the conclusion of its adoption. Likewise, we should have a BETTER society in clear view before we renounce a way of life that has led us to freedom, prosperity and world hegemony.

November 24 at 6:19am ·

Here is an open letter from Bishop Tobin to Congressman Kennedy which I found quite interesting: Dear Congressman Kennedy

I will be making submittals to major publishers again in January. I have been somewhat remiss and have not contacted anyone in about 9 months. Depending upon which statistics program referenced, this website generated between 22,830 – 28,608 hits during the month of November from 1974 sites and 984 unique visitors. And this for a one year old site whose readership spreads solely through word of mouth. Many thanks to my readers. The increasing readership of the website should at some point provide additional inducement to prospective publishers. I am very interested in IVP Academic, and would be much obliged to anyone capable of a positive referral.

I am also aware that some of the footnote links are not functional. Its on my ‘to do’ list. You can still scroll manually to find the reference.

Best Wishes to all for 2010,

John Takach

Categories: The Big Question

The Witnesses to the Witnesses

January 2nd, 2009 8 comments

(Excerpt from Chapter VI of How to Live Forever)

…It turns out that Christians were still being tortured to deny Christ through the first decade of the fourth century[1]. Then in 313 AD, Constantinus Augustus (Constantine) and his brother-in-law, Licinius Augustus, issued

Henryk Siemiradzki. Leading Light of Christianity. Nero's Torches. 1876. Oil on canvas.National Museum, Krakow, Poland.

Henryk Siemiradzki. Leading Light of Christianity. Nero's Torches. 1876. Oil on canvas. National Museum, Krakow, Poland.

the Edict of Milan. With this decree, for the first time in its nearly three-hundred year existence, Christianity was formally recognized as a legal religion within the Roman Empire.

We have previously shown that cessation of testimony was sufficient to save a Christian from the Jewish persecution. Now it appears that simple repentance granted immunity from Roman capital punishment as well. It is logical to conclude that the many Christians slaughtered during the church’s first three-hundred years believed their message was worth dying for.

2. The Witnesses to the Witnesses

In reference to the stated goals of this book, we are very fortunate to possess the written transcripts of these earliest Christians’ message today. The pages of these documents contain the most graphic eyewitness accounts of resurrection ever recorded. All of these writers risked their personal safety, and many sacrificed their lives rather than renounce their beliefs, thus providing compelling evidence of their sincerity. Read more…

Clement of Rome

December 25th, 2008 3 comments

The Use of Material Deriving from the Synoptic Gospels

In the Letter of Clement to the Corinthians

(Also known as I Clement)

A.) The Apostolic Fathers


There remain extant today a relatively few documents authored by those who were personally acquainted with Jesus’ disciples. These works fill a vital role in demonstrating the transition from a faith based upon the personal experience of the believer into a faith based upon documents written and endorsed by eyewitnesses. The disciples of Jesus’ disciples are commonly known as “The Apostolic Fathers”. Pre-eminent among their writings are:

1.) A letter by Clement of Rome (a disciple of Peter and Paul) to the church

at Corinth (Achaia).

2.) Seven letters by Ignatius of Antioch (a disciple of Peter, Paul, and possibly John). Six letters are addressed to the churches of various cities throughout the Roman Empire; the seventh to an individual, Polycarp of Smyrna.

3.) A letter by Polycarp of Smyrna (a close disciple of John) to the church at Philippi (Macedonia).

4.) Excerpts from a work in five books authored by Papias of Hierapolis, (a “hearer” of Jesus’ disciple John). These excerpts were preserved as citations by later writers, who found Papias’ subject matter useful for their own discussions. It is difficult to form generalizations concerning the writing style of Papias due to the fragmentary nature of material thus preserved. Read more…

Prologue: I Want To Live

December 24th, 2008 5 comments

Prologue: I Want To Live

It is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment…

We are all going to die. We become aware of our mortality at a tender age, and we are taught by society to accept this eventuality as the price of life. Well adjusted individuals reconcile themselves to death as a part of their reality.kalvaria_-_banska_stiavnica4

But instinctively we know that death is our enemy. And no healthy person wants to die.

So we wax philosophic and derive comfort from the axiom that “death is a part of life… (heavy sigh)” – Which it is not. Death is the cessation of life; this precious life being the gift of God.

Many of us believe that if the way we live our life has meaning, Death will seem less bitter at the end. This attitude is both admirable and constructive. The death which follows is still not good. But by all means put the best face on it.

So we live our lives the best that we can, and try to keep our minds off of the sudden stop at the end. We work hard to fill our lives with things, or to pass down to our children. Some may party and chase women or men to fill empty hours with meaning. Or if we are noble, we fill our lives with service. Even so, there is not much that we wouldn’t do to avoid death. But what CAN we do?

Medical science may someday be able to prolong or restore life. Or maybe not. I’m not certain that we even understand the force that we call life. What substance inhabits living tissue which causes it to differ from the dead? I sincerely hope that there are medical professionals who are hot on the trail. But I don’t expect a breakthrough this week. And the fate of men who live a thousand years from now is scant comfort to me.

Literature is replete with examples of man somehow achieving immortality. Mary Shelley introduces us to a world in which science has unlocked the mystery of life. Vampire stories reveal a race of once-men who will live forever, (although usually at the expense of their immortal souls.) Even Shangra La’s promise of a few hundred years seems hopeful to those of us doomed to a life of three score and ten. These stories illustrate our hopes and desires. But they are just stories.

In the real world, where can we turn? A plethora of religions claims to provide insight to an afterlife. An Afterlife! What a wonderful idea if it exists! If dying is just a doorway to a new and possibly better existence, then Death has lost its sting. All that is necessary then is to determine which belief system is correct, and to adhere to that faith. A correct choice guarantees an afterlife in a far better state. Of course a wrong choice might have dire consequences.

A prevalent view today is that all paths lead to God, that one religion is as good as another as long as you are sincere and a “good” person. If you are certain of this view, you may stop reading now. You have nothing left to learn, and your ascent to a positive afterlife is guaranteed no matter what you believe. In the afterlife you may chide me about my vain and fruitless search for the one true path to God. I have noticed though, that those who adhere to this doctrine don’t really believe in anything with certainty. They appear to be just hoping for the best.

These include the “modernists” who first explain away historical written records of the supernatural in terms of the limited understanding of primitive writers, and then use the “lack” of the miraculous to “prove” the lack of the Divine. As well as the “New Agers” who believe that it is arrogant and boorish to claim that your path is any better than the one that they just thought up. Like Aristotle they have no need to test their hypotheses. If it seems right in their head it must be right. It never occurs to them that a true God might just set His own perfect standard for reasons not totally comprehensible to we the finite.

And the testimony of the various religions contradicts this view as well. Many diverse religions claim exclusive access to God. Obviously some are mistaken.

So how do we “test” our hypothesis? How do we make certain that we are on the path to God without having already died? (Which may be too late?) The answer is simple: Just find a man who has overcome Death, and follow His leadership.

To find this man we must commit ourselves to the historical record. Who remembers the splendor of the Tutankhamen exhibits which toured the USA in the late 1970’s? King Tut was an important historical figure. These exhibits from his tomb indicate that Death overcame him. Likewise, a little research provides insight into the deaths of Gaius Julius Caesar, Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, Richard Coeur de Lion, Saladin, Zhu Yuanzhang and most other historical figures. History usually tells us how a famous person died. The written record also indicates that they tend to remain dead.

Categories: The Big Question