Bhakti Hinduism’s Krishna devotees believe Vishnu is an avatar for Krishna, a god who as an avatar lived among human beings and who declared that “Although I am unborn, everlasting, and I am the Lord of all, I come to my realm of nature and through my wondrous power I am born” (Bhagavad Gita 4:6).
Hey, that sounds like Jesus, doesn’t it? For New Agers and others who seek to render Jesus anything but what He claimed to be, the Avatar comparison is probably too good to resist.
Well, actually no, there is an apparent surface similarity but the reality is that there are multiple profound differences that make the comparison useless, according to philosopher and theologian Kenneth Samples of Reasons To Believe, writing on his Reflections blog.
The Gospel of John opens with the classic statement of Jesus’ incarnation, saying:
There are folks who think that having both Christian faith and a logical mind capable of critically evaluating competing truth claims is impossible, but not so, contends NBC “Dateline” Cold-Case Detective J. Warner Wallace.
After all, Jesus said “you should love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your mind” (Matthew 22:37), so those who say becoming a Christian requires leaving your brain at the door aren’t considering all of the evidence.
It’s almost certainly not something you would think of as a helpful tool in determining where you stand on the “Does God Exist?” issue, but the “Inside-Or-Outside-The-Room” technique might still be just the thing.
The Inside/Outside technique, according to former Los Angeles homicide detective J. Warner Wallace — you may know him as the “Cold-Case Detective” on NBC Dateline —is this: Is it possible to know if a dead person was murdered, committed suicide or died from natural causes or in an accident by the information contained within the scene (the “Inside”) or is it necessary to go “Outside” to find the answer?
It’s become something of a truism that the Millennials are far less interested in spiritual matters and thus much harder to talk to about things like what it means to be a “Born-Again” follower of Jesus Christ.
But a new study jointly conducted by the Barna Group and Alpha USA finds that while there is truth to Millennial resistance to some forms of Christian evangelism, there is much more to the issue.
Compared to older generations, Millennials, according to the Barna/Alpha study, “report many more faith conversations or even evangelistic encounters than older non-Christians. Though this could be partly due to the greater diversity that exists for young people among their family and friends, this isn’t the whole story. For at least some young adults, there appears to be deeper interest in spirituality in general, and in Christianity specifically.”
More on this to come here on HillFaith, but for now, check out the study and this accompanying graphic for a host of data-driven insights that ought to be a source of tremendous encouragement.
Whatever your view of Jesus of Nazareth, there is little room to question the claim that He is the most influential individual in history, even though he lived a mere 33 years two millennia ago in a backwater region of the Roman Empire.
Australian blogger and pastor Kurt Mahlburg says that is why Jesus is so often co-opted for causes other than His gospel, noting on his blog:
“Let’s be honest: It’s all too easy to highjack Jesus and make Him the pin-up boy for our cause. Depending on your flavor, He’s the middle-class moralist, the enlightened guru, the hellfire preacher, the social justice warrior—and the list grows every year.
“The reason Jesus keeps getting a rebrand—the reason He simply refuses to go away—is that He is without question the most influential person in history.”
The answer begins with understanding what it means to live outside of time
Astronomer Hugh Ross says the question of “who created God” is the query he is most often asked on social media. That’s understandable as every human being at one time or another likely has wondered the same thing.
“Every atheist scientist I’ve ever debated publicly has raised that issue,” Ross explains in a recent interview on Reasons to Believe. “There is a fallacy there. They are assuming that God is constrained in time like the universe is and all life in the universe.”
Ross notes that “any entity that is constrained to a single dimension of time, where time can’t be stopped or reversed, at some point must have a beginning or a creation event.”