Friday, November 09, 2007

The Depravity of Self-Glorification

Once again my local newspaper has taken an opportunity to glorify secular humanism and atheism, through the publication of a opinion page commentary. Click here to read the article.

What follows is my "Letter to the Editor" submission in response to the article.

~~~~~

Oh, for the days of Leon Worden, when there was some balance to the spiritual musings of The Signal’s columnists! But, those days are gone. Now, the readers of The Signal are fed a steady diet of secularism, agnosticism, post-modernism, paganism, and atheism under the auspices of political, satirical, and civic commentary. It is darkness, not light, that epitomizes the opinion section of The Signal, as the goal of the new editorial regime appears to be the glorification of the depravity of man. A case in point is Willy Gutman’s “Swan Song” article.

According to Mr. Gutman, his “greatest victory . . . has been one of self-conquest—reaching emotional and spiritual independence by shedding absurd beliefs, relying on [his] inner reserves of intellectual power . . .” Mr. Gutman went on to write: “Last I was a struggling agnostic for most of my life. I have since come out of the closet and breathed oxygenated air of emancipation by proclaiming my atheism.”

It is not with anger I pen this response. Not at all. I write these words with sadness, concern, and pity for Mr. Gutman and people like him. Tragically, like so many other professed atheists in the world today, Mr. Gutman does believe in a god. You see—Mr. Gutman is not really an atheist. His god is Willy Gutman. And in his inane effort to rely on his “inner reserves of intellectual power,” he accomplished that which he likely did not intend to accomplish. He validated the truth of the Bible. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good” (Psalm 14:1). “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper” (Romans 1:28).

Mr. Gutman and all others who insist on living within the delusion of self-glorification will one-day face the reality that there is a God. “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; He will save us” (Isaiah 33:22).

Mr. Gutman may be “emancipated” from his belief in God, but he remains a slave—a slave to the sin of his own depravity and self-glorification. Jesus said, “Truly, truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin” (John 8:34). I hope Mr. Gutman will one-day come to repentance and heed the instruction of the apostle Paul. “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts” (Romans 6:12).

Mr. Gutman rightly closes his article by recognizing that his time in this life is “precious and fleeting.” Mr. Gutman’s only hope, and the only hope of those who share his humanistic and atheistic beliefs, is to shed his remaining “absurd beliefs,” recognize he has broken God’s Law, turn from and confess his sin before God, and receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior—recognizing that Jesus’ shed blood on the cross and His resurrection is his only hope for escaping the wrath of God to come. Only then will he truly be emancipated. Only then will he truly breathe the oxygenated air of spiritual life. But until then, he remains dead in his trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).

8 comments:

Jim Baxter said...

Consider:
The missing element in every human 'solution' is
an accurate definition of the creature.

The way we define 'human' determines our view of self,
others, relationships, institutions, life, and future. Many
problems in human experience are the result of false
and inaccurate definitions of humankind premised
in man-made religions and humanistic philosophies.

Human knowledge is a fraction of the whole universe.
The balance is a vast void of human ignorance. Human
reason cannot fully function in such a void; thus, the
intellect can rise no higher than the criteria by which it
perceives and measures values.

Humanism makes man his own standard of measure.
However, as with all measuring systems, a standard
must be greater than the value measured. Based on
preponderant ignorance and an egocentric carnal
nature, humanism demotes reason to the simpleton
task of excuse-making in behalf of the rule of appe-
tites, desires, feelings, emotions, and glands.

Because man, hobbled in an ego-centric predicament,
cannot invent criteria greater than himself, the humanist
lacks a predictive capability. Without instinct or trans-
cendent criteria, humanism cannot evaluate options with
foresight and vision for progression and survival. Lack-
ing foresight, man is blind to potential consequence and
is unwittingly committed to mediocrity, collectivism,
averages, and regression - and worse. Humanism is an
unworthy worship.

The void of human ignorance can easily be filled with
a functional faith while not-so-patiently awaiting the
foot-dragging growth of human knowledge and behav-
ior. Faith, initiated by the Creator and revealed and
validated in His Word, the Bible, brings a transcend-
ent standard to man the choice-maker. Other philo-
sophies and religions are man-made, humanism, and
thereby lack what only the Bible has:

1.Transcendent Criteria and
2.Fulfilled Prophetic Validation.

The vision of faith in God and His Word is survival
equipment for today and the future. Only the Creator,
who made us in His own image, is qualified to define
us accurately.

Human is earth's Choicemaker. Psalm 25:12 He is by
nature and nature's God a creature of Choice - and of
Criteria. Psalm 119:30,173 His unique and definitive
characteristic is, and of Right ought to be, the natural
foundation of his environments, institutions, and re-
spectful relations to his fellow-man. Thus, he is orien-
ted to a Freedom whose roots are in the Order of the
universe. selah

That human institution which is structured on the principle, "...all
men are endowed by their Creator with ...Liberty...," is a system
with its roots in the natural Order of the universe. The opponents
of such a system are necessarily engaged in a losing contest
with nature and nature's God. Biblical principles are still today
the foundation under Western Civilization and the American
way of life. To the advent of a new season we commend the
present generation and the "multitudes in the valley of decision."

Let us proclaim it. Behold!
The Season of Generation-Choicemaker Joel 3:14 KJV

Anonymous said...

Mr. Miano,

Your November 9, 2007 criticism of Willy Gutman, the former Signal columnist, was baseless, ignorant and unwarranted.

Had you taken the time to understand the man and his life rather than just summarily dismissing his viewpoint, you'd know he's seen more suffering, death, corruption, and "depravity" in one year than you've seen -or written about- in your entire life.

Mr. Gutman escaped the clutches of Nazi Germany with his physician father, hid among other Jewish refugees in Bucharest, then made his way to the USA after the war alone, with no money and few chances.

From that, he built a successful journalism career spanning several continents, five decades, and multiple assignments. He's educated and informed readers about the world's forgotten poor, particularly in Latin America.

While you sit and lecture your readers about the "evils" of humanism and atheism, Mr. Gutman has been out there trying to change things by informing his readers about the cruelty of man to fellow men and about the utter uselessness of religion to allay the suffering of the poor.

Your words to the people Mr. Gutman wrote about would have been what exactly? That heaven awaits? Their lot in life may be bad, but God will reward them?

You don't even address one of Mr. Gutman's main themes: in a world of suffering, death, hardship and more, how can the loving God of the Christian faith exist?

Shame on you for your cowardly attack on a man who spent his life educating people. He's done more with his columns than 1,000 of your religious tracts.

- Degenerate Atheist

Tony Miano said...

Dear "Degenerate Atheist,"

A "cowardly attack"? That's a somewhat hypocritical position, don't you think--especially since I signed my real name to my "letter to the editor," but you posted your comment on my blog anonymously?

Thank you for affirming the truth of God's Word. Jesus said, "And you will be hated by all because of My name" (Luke 21:17).

As I've prayed for Mr. Gutman, I will also pray for you--that you will come to the realization that it matters not what you believe, but rather whether or not what you believe is true.

I pray that God will grant you the gift of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ--that He will allow you, by His grace and mercy, to turn away from your sin of arrogant unbelief and allow you to receive the free gift of eternal life that only He can give.

Either way, you will one-day bow your knee before Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. My hope and prayer for you is that it will not be too late. Either way, whether you believe it or not, you will either bow your knee before you enter heaven, or you will bow your knee before you are cast into hell for all eternity, as the just penalty for your sins against God.

You are in my prayers and, I am sure, the prayers of many others who read this blog.

Thank you for taking the time to post your comment.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Miano,

I did not post my name due to my standing in the community and the likelihood of retribution from community members like you. If that makes me a hypocrite, so be it. I attacked your argument, not you personally.

I see from your response that you are not interested in a discussion. That's a shame, since I understand that you have done "missionary" work in Latin America, in places similar to Mr. Gutman. I thought perhaps you would sympathize with the plight of the poor described by Mr. Gutman. I thought, perhaps, that you were ignorant of Mr. Gutman's work.

Of course Mr. Gutman lived and worked among the poor, writing about children addicted to drugs, crazed old women who wander the street, and child prostitution while you simply "witnessed" to cops.

Nevermind all that though. You're happy just to quote your book and throw out the usual responses to people like me, ignoring your own injunction to be prepared to answer all questions at all times.

So be it, continue with your monologue. Ignore legitimate questions about your faith, particularly the problem of evil.

- Degenerate Atheist

Tony Miano said...

Dear "Degenerate Atheist":

You fear retribution from people like me? Wait.....didn't you contact me? It's not me you should fear (Matthew 10:28).

It's not that I'm not interested in a discussion. I'm just not going to do it here, while allowing you to hide behind your anomymity.

I have no problem making a defense for the hope I have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15). But the burden of proof is with you, the atheist. And since you do not possess all knowledge, you cannot make a case for the non-existence of God. In the vast some of what you do NOT know, if you are a reasonable person, you must allow for the possiblity that God exists. So, since you cannot prove God does not exist, you are an agnostic--an angry agnostic, maybe; but an agnostic nonetheless.

On the other hand, one does not have to posess all knowledge to prove the existence of God. Creation itself testifies to the handiwork of a Creator.

The fact that evil exists does not disprove the existence of God. It merely proves the depravity of man. Bad things do not happen to good people. Bad things happen to people, regardless of their own perceived goodness and/or their standing before the rest of sinful mankind. No one is good--including you and ME (Romans 3:10-18).

Like so many others, you play the theodicy card; but you make the mistake of beginning your argument with the faulty premise that mankind somehow deserves anything good from God and that man is good by nature. What mankind deserves is God's justice and wrath, because we have sinned against Him and have done what is evil in His sight (Romans 3:23). Again, according to God's perfect standard of holiness, righteousmess, and justice; no man is good.

This is why God's grace and mercy, in any context, is so amazing. The idea, the reality that God would extend saving grace to anyone, through the sacrificial death and glorious resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, is more grace and mercy than any person deserves.

Whether or not you agree, this has been a discussion. The fact that it may not be going in the direction you would like doesn't negate the fact that a conversation has taken place.

Considering the tone of your rhetoric up to this point, I think I have extended you sufficient courtesy and grace by posting your comments.

Respectfully, I think I will take the last word on this comment string.

Thanks, again, for posting your thoughts. If you want to continue the conversation, without anonymity, I'm sure you know how to get a hold of me. :-)

If not, you can always take what you have posted here, send it to the Signal as a "letter to the editor," and sign your name. Just a thought. :-)

Praying for you. :-)

Tony Miano said...

John Piper has written an excellent article entitled "Is God Less Glorious Because He Ordained That Evil Be?"

The article can be found at www.desiringgod.org. Simply go to the link for "conference messages" and search by date: July 1, 1998.

Michael Stead said...

Tony,

Thank you for clearly sharing the gospel with the self-proclaimed, "Degenerate Atheist". Like you, I believe athiests do not exist.

With all do respect to you and your attempt to communicate with this person, I think it might be helpful to address his questions and concerns, though sparingly.

I applaud Mr. Willy Gutman's help for the poor in south America. It is typical of Americans, believers in Christ or not, to lend a helping hand to the needy in the states and around the world. People like Mr. Gutman is the nor; he is what America is made of. America is defined by her willingness to give to those in need.

What I do not applaud or understand is this belief that God is responsible for all of the human suffering: the poor, the hungy, and the homeless. The reality is that the responsibility for such awful human conditions can be placed on the shoulders of corrupt governments, lead by corrupt, power hungry, despots and dictators. For some reason that seems to be ignored.

Sincerely, your brother,

Mike Stead

Tony Miano said...

Mike,

Thank you for your comment. I just posted a wonderful article by John Piper entitled, "Is God Less Glorious Because He Ordained that Evil Be?"

I think it handles the question regarding theodicy very nicely and, of course, biblically.