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  • Ron Thomas 4:04 pm on 2015-03-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , letter to editor,   

    I have written quite a number of letters… 

    I have written quite a number of letters to editor in our local newspaper (Decatur and Mattoon, IL) through the years. I have been somewhat of a broken record, but this is by design on my part. I want to underscore the empty atheistic moral code that many in society seem to want to adopt.

    On occasion I will go to the newspaper website and peruse the comments to my letters. Today (3.3.2015) I looked to see the following replies to what I most recently wrote. So readily are they willing to accept some moral standard that has an objective quality to it, but so “emptily” are they able to put forth a moral code that is obligatory for others to follow!

    Since they have failed to do so, comments that illustrate this follows.

    ****So tell me Mr. Thomas, how is it that our moral code based on religion did not prevent our invasion of Iraq and inflicting massive casualties, war crimes, and misery on a country which did not attack us? How was this not “evil”? Our moral code did not prevent this country from committing a large number of atrocities. It seems “thou shall not kill” has a few loopholes in which you can fly a B52 through.

    ***Religion isn’t responsible for creating moral code, society is my friend. If religion was the source of all morals we would never have had slavery. Which commandment was it that said, “Thou shalt not own or enslave another person”??? Which one? Oh, that’s right…none of them. It’s because society tells us what’s right and wrong, not religion. Society advanced and gave women the right to vote, not religion. Society gave and is still trying to give equal rights to all, not religion. –oblivious

    ***Show me what part of the bible endorses democratically elected governments? Democracy and republicanism is a pagan invention discovered by the intellectual enlightenment. . Christianity was an enemy of democratic rule. The divine right of kings was their standard.

    ***Mr. Thomas pretends to know the workings of the mind of an atheist. Shall we then conclude that dishonesty is morally permissible to the theist? There is no written rulebook for the atheist, and yet all the ones in my acquaintance, and there are many, observe the practice of treating others as they, themselves, would wish to be treated. How does a theist, whose handbook sanctions genocide, incest, cannibalism, and slavery, among other atrocities, find the nerve to criticize anyone else?

     
    • marciasettles 5:03 pm on 2015-03-03 Permalink | Reply

      Do you even bother to respond to such attacks?

      • LaraIngalls 6:03 pm on 2015-03-03 Permalink | Reply

        Whether Mr Thomas replies or not, indulge me with a response. I hear these and others all the time.

        Firstly many, many, many things are done by individuals that break the rules/ moral codes they live under. Just because most drivers speed at some point does not change the law, it shows humans break/ disregard the law. They do the same to a Biblical code in the New law. This does not mean God’s law has no power, it means humans break His law. Grace, mercy and forgiveness are possible under God’s law, generally not man’s law.

        Secondly, God’s law is higher than society’s law, which as we know changes with leaders, borders, and time. God’s law has remained the same, year on year, for nearly 2000 years. As for women’s rights, it is God’s law which makes no distinction between male and female in what is expected. Man is the one who creates societal laws that discriminate against women. The same goes for racism; God is no respector of persons (Acts 10:34). His law applies equally to all genders, colours, nations, sizes and times. There is nothing in God’s New Testament to either endorse or disallow slavery, which is society’s choice. But God’s laws of love, mercy, honesty apply across all human relationships.

        Thirdly, God has never endorsed any human government system. In the Old Testament, when He ruled Israel directly for a time, then He acted as legislature and executive, allowing appointed Judges to be the upholder/ enforcer of the law. And the Israelites asked God for a king like their neighbours and enemies had. So He relented and gave them a king. There is nothing in this which supports the divine right of Kings.

        Lastly, it is my experience that atheists are extremely rude and abusive in language towards those who have a faith in a higher power, whomever that is. It is true that atheistic leaders such as Hitler and Stalin wreak genocide, hatred, mass murder, etc., to spread rule by fear. As for genocide, incest, cannibalism, slavery and other atrocities… Kindly point out for me what New Testament law endorses these?! Please do not confuse the message and the messenger. As stated, a lot is done in God’s name that He detests. In the end He says, Depart from me, I never knew you (Matthew 7:21-23).

        I have taken the time to read Darwin, Dawkins, Hitchens and such to understand atheism. I wonder how many atheists have read the Bible cover to cover. Most I know take what they hear from movies or others, or worse, what some Catholic history or tradition does, and lay that at the feet of God. This is a fatal flaw. Read the Bible, Old and New, to understand who God is and what He wants from you.

      • Ron Thomas 7:18 pm on 2015-03-03 Permalink | Reply

        No, I don’t respond. I am, however, interesting in seeing if there is a substantive reply to anything I write along that line. As you can see there was nothing.

        On Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 5:03 PM, The Fellowship Room wrote:

        >

    • Andrew 5:52 pm on 2015-03-03 Permalink | Reply

      Last paragraph – how do people think the Bible ‘sanctions’ genocide, incest, cannibalism, and slavery? Such nonsense…

  • Ron Thomas 3:42 pm on 2015-02-26 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , letter to editor   

    Atheism and a meaningless word ('evil') 

    Since there are no absolute moral values to the atheist, agnostic, or even the secularists, then all values a person has is relative to that person. There is nothing obligatory in the values of one to be followed by another. This is the case because, as one atheist wrote, “Claiming that there is any standard that is objective and transcendent of man, set forth by God, is plain and simply a lie.”

    Yet, this empty statement is one that can’t win the day, and is self-defeating. For instance, in an article dated February 15 (A-3, Herald & Review), a humanist chaplain felt compelled to rewrite the ten commandments for the 21st century. Why would such a one (or ones) need to do something like this if values are relative to the individual? This is done because of the moral bankruptcy of a subjective/relativist moral code that has origin in man.

    The statement is also empty for another reason. In a news report the evil Islamic State captured 90 Christians (A-2, Journal Gazette, 2.26.2015). An atheist ascribes the meaningless word “evil” to something that they can’t objectively say is evil at all! The best they can do is say it is “evil” to them. To an atheist, one’s moral code is subjective and relative to oneself. If the community of the Islamic State (a collection of individuals) condones and participates in the beheading of innocent people, then that “moral” behavior is codified (written or unwritten), thus becoming sort of a subjective “moral” law. What can atheists say to judge it as immoral, since they don’t believe in a moral code higher than man? Only that they think it is immoral.

    Finally, the statement is empty of substance because there is no way to judge as immoral a Catholic priest for possessing child pornography (A-3, Journal-Gazette, 2.27.2015). On what basis would the priest, or anyone, be wrong when an individual “valued” it to be acceptable?

    The atheistic moral code is a lot like one who asserts that life can come from non-life. This is a physical/material impossibility. Think about that for just a moment. An atheist wants a moral code that can successfully judge between right and wrong – but they have none. An atheist also wants life from non-life – but they can’t get that either.

     
  • Ron Thomas 7:00 am on 2015-01-27 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , delusional, letter to editor, Mattoon Journal Gazette, , , Warren Jeffs   

    Delusional Jeffs 

    In the January 24th paper is an article on the life of a community with its religious leader, Warren Jeffs, incarcerated for immoral practices with young girls. Unfortunately, many in the religious community are still deceived that Jeffs speaks for God. “To his followers, roughly estimated to be about 6,000, he is a prophet who speaks for God and can do no wrong.” Because many find their spiritual guidance from a delusional religious man, the religious community is also delusional.

    Moreover, there is no foundational difference between a delusional Jeffs and a woman in New Jersey “who put her newborn baby in the middle of a road and set the child on fire” (Herald-Review, 1.18.2015, p. A-3). Moral codes that have an origin in the thinking of man spawn such actions. Of course, a moral code that has its origin in a man like Jeffs is not really all that much different than a moral code put forth by atheists, agnostics, and skeptics (AAS).

    Anything that has its origin in man, by the very nature of the case, is a subjective opinion. Thus, one opinion differing from another opinion on the very same topic of discussion allows for both to be right. For instance, one atheist believes there is a universal code of respect for human dignity, but another atheist rejects this out of hand by saying there is no dignity to be given an animal. According to moral codes that have an origin in man – both are right!

    This is further illustrated with the following remark: “Claiming there is any standard that is objective and transcendent of man, set forth by God, is plain and simply a lie.”

    If there is no objective standard, then standards are subjective. If standards are subjective, then the opinion which belongs to one person is just as right as that which belongs to another – though they are on opposite ends of the same topic (this also applies to actions). One thinks it is wrong to lie, while another thinks it is perfectly acceptable. This is why atheism, in its truest form, produces moral chaos and is devoid of moral substance. Atheists, however, must steal the moral foundation coming from God because they can hardly live with their own!

     
  • Ron Thomas 7:43 pm on 2014-12-23 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: letter to editor, , standards of decency, universal principle   

    Letter to editor (Mattoon Journal Gazette) 

    The other day in the newspaper there was an article about a young man charged with a number of sexual indiscretions (“Man accused of Wal-Mart groping pleads not guilty,” A-1, 12/23/2014). These sexual indiscretions are nothing more than sexual immorality. Though he submitted a plea of “not guilty,” the fact that there is a charge is very troubling to any community with standards of decency.

    That is the problem. What are the standards of decency? A secular society is able to set forth some standards, such as legal standards (laws), but the standards are arbitrary and with little moral foundation (apart from legalese language). If a moral foundation exists at all the secularists that are among us are unable to say what that foundation is. If they think they can, it certainly won’t be a religious one or a standard that is objective and transcendent of man. They are able to offer us nothing more than the opinions of man, though some like to couch it in words that sound philosophical and educated, like some “universal principle” that is “self-generating.”

    The standard that is set forth by God, on the other hand, is objective and clear. It is also a standard not beholden to the fluid nature of man’s opinion. What is that standard? The standard is the holiness of God.

    Many people are guilty of sexual immorality; some are even Christians. The accused young man might be guilty of such; it is hopeful that in this tremendously embarrassing circumstance, he can and will change the direction of his life.

     

    Printed 12.27.2014

     
  • Ron Thomas 10:00 am on 2014-11-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , letter to editor, , sinful desires, struggling with sin   

    The Disguise Falls 

    Not long ago there was a letter to the editor that took exception to that which I wrote in the Decatur Herald & Review. It was not a particularly strong exception, but one that was present just the same. In fact, one could read the letter and think it was but a “slap on the hands” given me. I was grateful to read it and had hoped that others would give response to what I wrote more than just the one I have seen. The nature of my letter to the editor was in relation to a news article that suggested the Catholic Church was entertaining a stance on marriage that was not biblical.

    In any case, the gist of the letter was 1) the “Catholic Church has and will continue to maintain that Holy Matrimony is indissoluble between one man and one woman,” and 2) “[e]very effort must be undertaken in these contemporary times to engage those who profess perfectly or imperfectly their faith in Christ.”

    Without dealing with the first point, let me address the second. The concern expressed in this reply to me was that Christians failing to help those struggling with sinful desires (weaknesses) would be a disservice to them and to the Lord. It is true that the Lord’s church should seek to make a positive difference in the lives of those who struggle with sin. This approach not only applies to those outside of Christ, but those in Christ who continue to struggle. The nature of the sin is immaterial; struggling with whatever sinful desire plagues a person—it is important those who want to get away from this struggle know to whom they can turn. People need an answer and a spiritual place where others can assist. Who of us can’t relate with such a sentiment?

    Being able to relate is tremendously important, but no saint should even entertain the thought, much less speak it, that it is okay to compromise the Lord’s way for the benefit of making oneself acceptable to a larger number of people. This is what I understood the Catholic Church to be contemplating. Frankly put, there is no way we can improve upon the Lord’s message and method, so we ought not to try. Yes, it may be true, that more flies are be caught with honey than with some other trap – but a trap is all that it is. It is a feigned effort with a disguise that will fall off.

     

     
    • Eugene Adkins 6:14 am on 2014-11-06 Permalink | Reply

      When people bring up attracting flies, I like to mention that in reality it’s rotten meat that catches the most.

      • Ron Thomas 6:57 am on 2014-11-06 Permalink | Reply

        Very good!

        On Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 6:14 AM, The Fellowship Room wrote:

        >

  • Ron Thomas 3:48 pm on 2014-10-27 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: letter to editor,   

    Morality, and some did not like what I said 

    A while back a person responded to my “letter to the editor” in the Mattoon, IL newspaper (Journal Gazette) by saying: “In essence, you assert that one must accept absolutes in order to critique said absolutes. Thereby, it becomes easy to discern which position possesses the audacity of asserting complete knowledge.” The reason for this remark was because I declared that an atheist has no moral absolutes and, thus, can’t judge things to be wrong except on the basis of one’s desired thinking.

    An atheist, however, does judge some things to be wrong. When you hear of that value judgment rendered by the atheist, be sure to ask on what basis the he thinks something to be wrong (or right). Is it one’s own personal perspective, is it the perspective that belongs to another, is it the perspective that belongs to a group, or is it some moral standard that is obligatory to the whole of man?

    Once an answer is given, then follow that question up with a question like this: since you have identified the standard, why is that I (or another) should follow that standard? It will be at this point that atheism’s moral bankruptcy will become apparent because the foundation for that moral judgment rests on nothing. This is not to say that atheist can’t be moral (for many are), but it is to say that their moral basis is a moral code that originates with the selfish nature of man (or even self).

    In the brevity of the letter to editor, the objector tried to include the Euthyphro Dilemma, but was unable (or unwilling) to develop the dilemma for the newspaper audience because, evidently, he wanted to get to some other points. It was another of his remarks I found interesting. “While philosophy rests upon assumptions not absolutes, morality is a demonstrable evolving system, which contains both objective and subjective morals, paralleling the advancements of society and humanity. That is to say morality is, inherently, from man.”

    What is interesting to me in this remark is his association of “objectivity” with “a demonstrable evolving system.” Boy!, that really gives much assurance, doesn’t it? Man has an objective morality that is evolving?

    • If morality is objective (greater than the individual and collective man), then how can it be evolving (changing), and what is the source that changes (or evolves) it?
    • If morality is evolving – was there ever a time when something which is wrong now, was right a long time ago? If it was right a long time ago, what makes it wrong today?
    • Since there was a change (evolving), how can one know that the change to the new standard is right and true?

    These questions simply make clear that the “objective” standard is not objective at all, but subjective and whimsical. So much for a morality that is greater than man! An atheistic morality might be able to conjure up much that is good, but the atheist has no objective (transcendent) standard by which to know whether he is right or wrong; as soon as it is individually determined, it is undermined because another might disagree with him – and who is to say the other is wrong?

     
    • John Henson 7:48 pm on 2014-10-27 Permalink | Reply

      Atheists are absolutely certain there are no certain objective rules of morality.

    • Ron Thomas 8:06 pm on 2014-10-27 Permalink | Reply

      And many do not even see the irony of this.

    • James 11:38 am on 2014-10-28 Permalink | Reply

      It is typical of many of the devil’s deceptions. I can tell you that you are wrong for telling me I am wrong. I can refuse to tolerate you because I find you intolerant. And I can tell you with absolute certainty that only fools believe in absolute certainty. Then after that I can call you a hypocrite because you don’t live perfectly up to your standards even though my standards are inherently hypocritical.

  • Ron Thomas 6:26 am on 2012-01-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , letter to editor   

    Catholics Come Home 

    Letter to editor,

    The other day (Monday) while I watched a little bit of the collegiate national championship football game I saw this commercial that others had been telling me about. It promoted a website that I thought I would peruse. The television commercial was a message to the many Catholics that have wandered away from the church; there is an appeal for each of them to “come home.” The commercial appeals to people with its positive message.

    I appreciate the conviction the Catholic Church has regarding itself, but it is a conviction that is worth challenging. For instance, on the website we read that the Catholic Church is the one Jesus founded 2000 years ago. If one were to subtract that number from our current year that would mean that that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus when He was a teenager! It is likely they meant something like “nearly” 2000 years ago. But is it true? NO

    Look through the pages of the New Testament and see if one can find “Catholic Church” (or anything equivalent) even one time; for that matter, I even encourage you to look in a Bible that is printed and sanctioned by the Catholic Church. It won’t be found. Moreover, look throughout the pages of the New Testament and see if “cardinal”, “pope”, “archbishop”, “monsignor” (among many other terms) is even mentioned. If they are not mentioned (and they are not) why attribute to Jesus what He did not say? The Catholic Church has an answer – for they have been at this for quite a while. Their answer, however, has appearance of substance when, in fact, it is as shallow as a mile wide and an inch deep!

    I think it is great there is a promotion of one’s (the Catholic Church’s) conviction in public discourse. Let us have a debate on that topic and allow others to investigate the truthfulness of the claims.

     
    • Eugene Adkins 6:43 am on 2012-01-10 Permalink | Reply

      I too saw this commerical and noticed they also took “credit” for giving the world the Bible!

      • Ron Thomas 6:56 am on 2012-01-10 Permalink | Reply

        I want to write a letter to the editor on this as well, but I figured I would start where I did and just go from there. Let me encourage you to do the same.

    • John Henson 12:39 pm on 2012-01-10 Permalink | Reply

      Catholicism if it is a conviction, is a conviction misplaced.

      • Ron Thomas 2:13 pm on 2012-01-10 Permalink | Reply

        You are certainly correct, John. There are a great many misplaced convictions. It’s a challenge to us to not allow ours to be.

  • Ron Thomas 4:30 am on 2011-03-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , letter to editor   

    Letter to Editors 

    I am of the opinion that letters to the editor are a great venue to propagate the Lord’s message. It may be that your letter will not get in the local paper, but don’t let that stop you. Be sure, when you write, that you are not harsh or disparaging. Be firm and sure of yourself, and be prepared for responses (sometimes harsh). Since we have lived in Idaho, I have taken advantage of this community service by the local newspaper. Many times I have not been printed, but I still press on. Recently, I submitted a letter to the editor, and the local UMC preacher replied. Here is my reply to him. Perhaps you will find it interesting.

    Letter to editor,

    I was grateful to see that our local UMC preacher replied to my previous letter to the editor. I was grateful because he attempted an explanation to the news report on the document that 33 retired UMC Bishops proffered. However, it appears that he failed to take notice of the fact that I referenced a newspaper report; thus, he mistakenly attributed to me the characteristic of “espousing many things about which I know very little.” I don’t mind when people attribute to me such things, but I would expect an example of my failing rather than a mere assertion. From our local preacher, we have received an assertion. I will not follow his mistake.

    Perhaps it might be a good idea to learn from Mr. Renner as to who actually authorized the apostles to speak; does he think they spoke on their own authority or by the authority of one greater than them? I will answer this for him; it was Jesus who authorized Paul to speak what he spoke, thus what Paul spoke was actually the words of Jesus (cf. Romans 15:18; 1 Corinthians 14:37). Since it was the Lord Jesus, then the mistaken notion that, “…surely my brother-in-Christ is aware that the Bible has no statements attributed to Jesus on the topic of homosexuality” can be summarily dismissed.

    Mr. Renner’s attempt to explicate the meaning of the Lord’s words is unfortunate. When the Lord said to the religious leaders that He desired mercy not sacrifice, He said these words against those who would set up man-made barriers to one’s approach to God (Matthew 9:9-13; Hosea 6:4-6). So the unfortunate rendering offered to us, “I am after mercy not religion” is very misleading. Perhaps the UMC minister should read the actual context of Hosea and see how the Lord applied it to those to whom He spoke.

    Ron Thomas
    Preacher, Highway church of Christ

     
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