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Living Proof Knocks Atheists on their Ears

What happens when one gives their all to Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory? Is there some measurable result that declares the benefits of such a decision?
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Living Proof Knocks Atheists on their Ears

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No event in the memory of man has been so dramatically and supernaturally telegraphed as the coming of Jesus Christ to the earth to redeem the bound souls of the sons of Adam.  Hundreds of Old Testament prophecies and teachings, as well as Old Testament shadows of the Messiah, create a most intricate and perfectly interwoven tapestry of Jesus of Nazareth, the King of Glory, and the business with which He had and has to do.  The apex of Christ’s ministry culminates at Calvary between two thieves.  Why two thieves?  The holy atonement of eternal consequences, so perfectly choreographed by the God of creation Himself, ends between two thieves. 

Romans 3:10-12:

10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:23:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

The two thieves on the crosses, on either side of the cross of Jesus, were not just happenstance.  They were representatives of the sons of Adam and the whole world’s spiritual condition.  Both were thieves.  Both had earned their punishment.  Both had railed upon Christ, but one had a change of heart and turned to Christ.  The very day of his death, he arrived with Christ in Paradise.  Two thieves?  Not happenstance. 

Have you been born again?  Are you ready to make your peace with God?  Are you ready to surrender your life to Jesus Christ and begin the journey of eternal life?  Are you ready to have all your sin and shame expunged from your record and begin anew?  Today is your day of salvation.  Click onto “Further With Jesus” for childlike instructions and immediate entry into the Kingdom of God.  NOW FOR TODAY’S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, John 10:10:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

GOD SAID, Psalm 107:20:

He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

GOD SAID, Proverbs 11:19:

As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.

GOD SAID, Proverbs 30:6:

Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

MAN SAID: There is no science, no real academic discovery, that proves the existence of God and His Bible.  Christianity is an exercise in futility. 

Now THE RECORD.  The inerrant perfection of God’s Word is demonstrated in the results of following its dictates.  Frequent visitors of GodSaidManSaid are familiar with the truth that all of God’s commandments have inherent within them a blessing or a curse.  When God’s Word is obeyed, the obedient reap the results of doing the right thing.  When disobeyed, the disobedient reap the curse—the result of doing the wrong thing.  It is just that simple. 

What happens when one gives their all to Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory?  Is there some measurable result that declares the benefits of such a decision? 

I recently revisited the book God, the Evidence, written by Harvard Ph.D. Patrick Glynn.  Dr. Glynn is an acclaimed author and has written for The Washington Post, National Review, The New Republic, and more, and at the time of the book’s last copyright (1999), served as the associate director and scholar-in-residence at George Washington University Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.  Several pages of Dr. Glynn’s 216-page book, God, the Evidence, follow:

If science was to prosper, Freud believed, the credibility of religion must be destroyed.  It was, quite simply, the “enemy.” “Of the three powers [art, philosophy, and religion] that may contest the very soil of science,” he wrote, “religion alone is the serious enemy.”

The 1970s were a period of intellectual ferment, and other developments followed.  One of the most important transformations took place in the field of psychiatry and psychology.  Since the days of Sigmund Freud, psychiatry and psychology had been bastions of atheism.  (At one point, no more than 1.1 percent of the membership of the American Psychological Association reported having any form of belief in God—in contrast with the 95 percent of the American population who claimed to accept the existence of some sort of Supreme Being.)  Freud, of course, had characterized religious belief not only as an “illusion,” but also as a “neurosis”—in effect, a collective mental disorder that humanity was in the process of outgrowing.  Yet beginning in the 1970s, evidence began to emerge showing a powerful correlation between religious commitment and overall mental health.  A few mental health professionals began to insist on the necessity of factoring “spiritual” considerations into therapy.  Most notable was psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, whose 1978 book, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth, spurred a virtual revolution in thinking about therapy.  Peck criticized the psychiatric profession for ignoring and denigrating religious belief and argued that mental health could not be separated from considerations of spiritual belief and morality.  His book rocketed to the New York Times best-seller list, where it remained for more than 10 years.  By the 1980s, an increasing number of physicians and researchers were probing the so-called mind-body connection and the apparent link between religious or spiritual commitment and physical health.  Today there is growing evidence that physical health, too, may have a spiritual dimension.

Alongside the findings from psychology, a growing body of evidence from medical research shows a strong positive link between religious commitment and physical health.  At first glance, this should not be surprising, given what medicine has learned in recent years about the connection between illness and stress.  If religion is a stress-reducer—and the data suggest overwhelmingly that it can be a powerful one—then we should expect religiously-committed people, on average, to have lower rates of disease. 

The epidemiological evidence for the health benefits of religious belief and commitment, compiled by David B. Larson and his team at the National Institute for Healthcare Research, is impressive.  Some examples:

• A major 1972 study examined death from various causes among adults in Washington County, Maryland, in relation to church attendance.  Factors such as smoking, socioeconomic status, and water hardness were controlled for statistically.  Findings were as follows: (1) Risk of arteriosclerotic heart disease for men who attended church frequently was just 60 percent of that for men who were infrequent church attenders.  (2) Among women, risk of dying from arteriosclerotic heart disease, pulmonary emphysema, and suicide was twice as high among infrequent church attenders.  (3) Women who attended church infrequently were four times as likely as frequent church attenders to die from cirrhosis of the liver (a finding that may relate to the data showing much lower levels of alcohol abuse among the religiously committed).

• Blood pressure has been shown to be strongly correlated with religious commitment and church attendance.  Religiously committed people and frequent church attenders have, on average, significantly lower blood pressure than do the religiously noncommitted and those who attend church infrequently.  A 1989 study of rural men by Larson and others found that those who counted religion as very important in their lives and attended church frequently had, on average, diastolic pressure levels nearly 5 millimeters lower than did those who counted religion as unimportant and attended church infrequently.  The effects were so profound as to suggest a public health justification for encouraging more frequent church attendance, since a reduction in blood pressure by as little as 2 to 4 millimeters in a population could bring a 10 to 20 percent decline in cardiovascular disease. 

The most startling finding concerned smokers: (1) Smokers who ranked religion as very important in their lives were over seven times less likely to have abnormal diastolic pressure readings than were those who did not.  (2) Smokers who attended church frequently were four times less likely to have abnormal diastolic pressure readings than were infrequent church attenders. 

A comprehensive 1987 review of nearly 250 epidemiological studies found positive associations between religious affiliation and physical health. 

• A 1991 analysis of polling data from the National Opinion Research Center, which included questions on health and levels of religious commitment, found that levels of religious commitment measured by self-reported frequency of church attendance and frequency of prayer correlated significantly with self-reported health status, regardless of the respondent’s age. 

Some of the most interesting findings to emerge from this new “postsecular” research concerns the benefits of prayer.  Prayer, of course, had no place in the Freudian paradigm.  It is by and large not something that takes place in the modern physician’s consulting room.  (Medical doctors, like their counterparts in psychiatry and clinical psychology, are much more likely to identify themselves as atheists or agnostics than is the general population—though levels of unbelief among physicians treating the body do not match levels among those who purport to treat the soul.  A 1991 survey of family practice physicians in Vermont, for example, found that only 64 percent of the doctors believed in God—in contrast to 91 percent of their patients.)  Yet opinion data show that prayer plays an important role in the lives of the vast majority of Americans.  Various polls have indicated that over 90 percent of women and 85 percent of men pray.  Over three-quarters of Americans pray at least once a week, and nearly 60 percent pray once a day.  Paradoxically, even among the 13 percent of the population who describe themselves as atheists or agnostics, one in five reports praying daily.  An in one Gallup survey sponsored by Life magazine, 95 percent responded “yes” to the question, “Have your prayers been answered?”

Are the 95 percent of us who believe our prayers have on occasion been answered suffering from a collective delusion?  If so, medical research shows it is one of the more beneficial delusions a person could have.  Prayer has been shown to have enormous benefits, on both a macro and micro scale.  That is, opinion surveys consistently show a strong powerful correlation between frequent prayer and self-reported well-being.  And laboratory research has revealed a connection between certain prayerful or meditative states and measurable improvements in physiological indicators and overall health. 

One of the most sophisticated studies of religious commitment, prayer, and well-being was undertaken by M. M. Poloma and B. F. Pendleton in the early 1990s.  These researchers added several questions to a large ongoing study of a random sample of residents of Akron, Ohio.  They examined a number of different measures of religious commitment, including, among other things, frequency of church attendance, church membership, and frequency of prayer.  They also divided prayer into three types: colloquial (“How often do you ask God to provide guidance in making decisions?”), petitional (“How often do you ask God for material things that you need?”), ritual (“How often do you read from a book of prayer?”), and meditative (“How often do you spend time just ‘feeling’ or being in the presence of God?).  Nearly all the indicators of religious commitment, including frequency of prayer, correlated with well-being on various axes.  But they also found an interesting distinction between types of prayer.  Exclusive use of ritual prayer and petitional prayer—in this case focused on “material things”—correlated with negative effects.  (One is reminded of that amusing old Janis Joplin song: “O Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz!”)  Colloquial prayer (asking God for guidance) correlated highest with life satisfaction, and meditative prayer with religious satisfaction and “existential well-being.”  [End of quotes]

Thousands of years before man’s vaunted science begins to understand, God and His Word are already there declaring the end from the beginning.  This is the place to build a life, an abundant life, even one that will last forever. 

GOD SAID, John 10:10:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

GOD SAID, Psalm 107:20:

He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

GOD SAID, Proverbs 11:19:

As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.

GOD SAID, Proverbs 30:6:

Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

MAN SAID: There is no science, no real academic discovery, that proves the existence of God and His Bible.  Christianity is an exercise in futility. 

Now you have THE RECORD. 

 

 

 

References

Authorized King James Version

Glynn, P., God, The Evidence, Prima Publishing, California, 1999

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