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Interviews with intellectuals from across the globe. Exploring philosophy, politics, religion, and rationalism. Steve Patterson is an independent philosopher currently traveling the world to interview people in the pursuit of truth. Topics include logic and epistemology, skepticism, metaphysics, ethics, science and religion, truth, Christianity, Buddhism, atheism, culture, economics, the philosophy of mathematics, and every other topic that's important to humans.
 
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You aren't your body. You express yourself through your body; you are influenced by your body; you even have to take care of your body, but your existence is rooted in another dimension altogether. That's because God made you in His image, and He doesn't have a body. He is spirit (Jn 4:24). When He created Adam and Eve, He created rational, volitio…
 
Anyone who serves God effectively has to have two important qualities: courage and caution. They have to be willing to die for Jesus but determined not to do anything careless that might end their ministry early. Without courage a person won't follow where God leads; without caution a person will create so much trouble for themselves that they have…
 
One of the most wonderful aspects of watching Jesus in action is that we're seeing how things ought to work. He never prayed a wrong request; no prayer of His ever went unanswered because of a lack of faith, and no spiritual opposition was too difficult for Him to overcome. Whenever we get into the subject of prayer the question always arises as to…
 
Let's reflect for a moment on our walk with God. When was the last time that you or I did something because we felt God told us to do it, and then He showed up and did some sort of miracle or we would have failed? If the answer is never, or it was so long ago we can't remember, what we're going to talk about today may be challenging to understand, …
 
“If I do not do the works of the Father, do not believe Me, but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father” (Jn 10:37-38). Jesus did not try to win people by impressing them with the brilliance of His logic. He didn't try to argue people to faith. …
 
Does grace mean I can keep doing bad things and still go to heaven? Does God's love mean I don't have to stop? Does repentance mean if I say “I'm sorry” God will let me continue sinning? If asked those questions most of us would quickly answer, “No! Of course not,” that is until God told us to stop doing something we really wanted to do. In that ca…
 
It's confusing to hear people talk about God controlling everything because everywhere you look He has given so much freedom. He gave humans freedom; He gave angels freedom, and now we hear the Son of God telling us that He too had been given the freedom to choose whether or not to die on the cross. He says the Father gave Him authority over His ow…
 
You and I were not designed to live alone. When God created the very first human being, He said, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Ge 2:18). And it's not! He placed within each one of us the need to be part of a community of people. That's where we are happiest. That's where we are the most productive. And that's where we are subjected to refin…
 
There is only one way to come to God. There is only one door that leads to peace with our Creator. There has never been another way. At the very center of God's plan for the human race stands a cross, the cross of Jesus Christ. From Adam and Eve onward, for thousands of years, people offered animal sacrifices, and though they understood very little…
 
Not only will sheep recognize the voice of the true Shepherd, but the true Shepherd knows which sheep belong to Him. He knows them “by name.” In John's description of Jesus' encounter with a man born blind, we observe this truth in action. On His way out of the temple Jesus saw a particular beggar and stopped. Now there would have been many beggars…
 
I have no idea what the number might be, but I know it's sizeable. How many people have walked away, not only from the church of Jesus Christ, but from God Himself, not because of something God did, but because of ungodly leaders? Lying, abuse of power, double-standards, slander, ambition, lovelessness, false doctrine, financial dishonesty, sexual …
 
It's not easy to define “loyalty.” Try it. Nor is it easy to explain why some people are loyal and some are not. In fact that's one of the most puzzling aspects about loyalty. Sometimes it's those to whom we give the most who abandon us the quickest. People we had every right to expect would be loyal to us, weren't. But then there are those who tur…
 
I think we all ask the question. Our need to ask is automatic; it's instinctive; it comes uninvited. When serious illness strikes, or when we or those close to us are hit by tragedy, particularly if something happens to a child, we ask: “God, what did I do wrong? Why did You let this happen?” We assume it happened because someone sinned. Even those…
 
For a human being to live in such a way that life has purpose, in order for someone to come to the end of their life and feel satisfied that they lived it well, he or she must have discovered the answer to these two questions: 1) Who is God? and 2) Who am I? Without knowing the answer to the first question it is impossible to answer the second, but…
 
Human hearts are not all the same. They vary widely. Some are so full of desires for the things of this world there is little or no room left to desire God. When truth comes and knocks on the door of that heart it finds no place to lodge; there is no interest, no welcome, no sense of need for that truth. That heart is already full; it's full of lon…
 
Forgiveness is a wonderful gift. Who among us is not grateful that God mercifully forgives our sins? Forgiveness means He will not punish us when we sin, though our sin may have set in motion forces that will bring much misery. It means He does not withdraw His presence from us, though from our side of the relationship our hearts may grow harder, a…
 
When people speak about “witnessing for God,” they usually mean talking about Him. We think of a “witness” as someone who boldly declares their faith. And telling others what we believe is certainly an important element in witnessing, but words alone are never enough. People watch what we do far more closely than they listen to what we say, and the…
 
It's getting confusing: Many Christians seem headed in opposite directions. One group is becoming more and more legalistic, pointing to all the rules in the Old Testament and insisting that they are eternal which means they must be obeyed forever. Another group is becoming more and more lawless, pointing to the fact that when Jesus died for our sin…
 
Jesus was gentle with common people and sinners, but He became quite confrontational when He dealt with people who were very religious. In the passage we’re reading today it’s obvious He was very frustrated with the unbelief in this group of Pharisees who were confronting Him. We know from statements He made elsewhere (Mt 23:1-36) that He felt the …
 
Soon after our family arrived here, nearly 25 years ago, someone shared with us a prophetic word that had been given to this church. The word was this, “You’ve been called to be a river, not a lake.” To be honest with you, my heart sank a bit when I heard that statement because I knew what it meant. It meant we were going to send people out about a…
 
To the priests, Jesus was a political problem. They just wanted Him out of the way. But to the Pharisees, Jesus was a biblical problem. He kept putting the needs of people ahead of the rules in the Law of Moses. Yet the God who wrote those rules didn’t seem to be angry with Him. Jesus was performing miracles that were very hard to ignore. If God wa…
 
There are many controversial issues in which it really doesn’t matter if you or I are wrong. It would be nice to be right, but if we’re wrong there is no great price to pay. But there are a few topics in which what you or I decide is a matter of life or death. On these we must be right, or at least as right as we know how to be. On these we can’t a…
 
Jesus invited everyone who is thirsty to come to Him and drink, but who is thirsty—thirsty for God, that is? You might think the answer is everyone, but that’s not so. Everyone should be, but only some are. Spiritual thirst is the longing for more of God, not God’s power, not His gifts, not His blessings, not a miracle, Him. Wanting God and wanting…
 
There are many painful things we endure in life, but I think the most painful is strife. There are forces inside us and around us that drive us apart, so we all live with the uncertainty of being abandoned, never sure who may leave us or why. That makes love a very dangerous matter. To give our hearts to someone is to risk rejection. We become vuln…
 
The religious world is a swamp, not an oasis. Just because people say they believe in God doesn’t make it a safe place. It’s full of confusion, deception, fraud and sometimes truth. So how does a person know which is which? Who should we allow to teach us? How do we know if what that person is saying is really from God?The spiritual environment in …
 
Do you know someone whose walk with God makes you jealous? Does it seem that He likes that person better than He likes you? Does He speak to them often and easily, yet when you seek Him you usually hear nothing? If so, those are symptoms of spiritual jealousy. It begins with a bit of envy, but if left unchecked grows into a deep resentment, even ha…
 
Few people in the Bible raise more questions than Judas Iscariot. Job would be a close second. The most obvious question that arises when we think of Judas is why Jesus chose him in the first place. The Bible says Jesus spent all night praying about who were to be the twelve men who would travel with Him as His disciples. Listen: “It was at this ti…
 
It’s difficult for humans to believe in something they can’t see. Something inside each of us wants tangible proof before we believe. Things the human mind considers to be “real” are those things we perceive with our natural senses, which is why it’s a challenge for most of us to function in the spiritual realm. We’re asked to believe in Someone we…
 
I personally believe John wrote his gospel between the years A.D. 65 and A.D. 70. I think John went to Ephesus to pastor the church in that city after Timothy left to assist Paul who was awaiting execution in Rome (2Ti 4:21; Heb 13:23-24). While in Ephesus John wrote this gospel, even though evidence suggests that the other three gospels (Matthew, …
 
It’s not enough to only introduce someone to Jesus. We also have a responsibility to care for that person until he or she is strong enough to walk with Him on their own. So many obstacles and dangers confront every new believer that without proper care their new faith can be badly damaged or even extinguished. They immediately face pressures from t…
 
There are people who misunderstand Paul’s teachings about works vs. faith. They interpret him to mean that humans have no part to play in their own salvation. They think the word “works” means every form of human activity. So they conclude that in order to avoid trying to earn our salvation humans must remain totally passive in the process. But Pau…
 
The question that confronts most of us when we pray is not whether we believe God can help us but whether He will. We wonder if it’s His plan. We wonder if we have enough faith. We wonder if we might have done something wrong in the past that will block His answer. In fact so many uncertainties rush through our mind that even when we ask for help w…
 
The biblical feast of Passover is based on the death of a lamb. It remembers the night in which God delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt. It’s a deeply spiritual ceremony, and every part is full of prophetic meaning. But the two most essential elements are the blood and flesh of the lamb. The lamb’s blood was smeared on the doorposts and lintel (…
 
This amazing event is full of spiritual lessons, but here’s the one we want to focus on today: This was a test. Jesus used this event to test His disciples which means, of course, He’ll test us too. He wanted to see how they would respond, or maybe we should say, He wanted them to see how they would respond. What would they do when following God go…
 
Would you recognize God if you met Him? How would you know it was Him? And no, we’re not talking about things like a long white heard or brilliant light or voice like thunder. If God became a man, a normal appearing man, would you or I be able to tell that it was Him? What sort of person would He be? What qualities would you expect to find? This is…
 
Everyone is glad to have God’s help when they need it. No one minds a “helper-God” who can be called on in time of need. When people discuss whether or not God exists, they’re usually talking about a particular kind of God, rather than the possibility that there is a spiritual being somewhere. What people don’t like is a moral God, particularly one…
 
You and I have been invited into a relationship with the One who created heaven and earth (Ps 8), with the One who formed us in our mother’s womb and knows our thoughts before there is a word on our tongue (Ps 139), with the One who understands the deepest groanings in the human heart (Ro 8:26-27). We’ve been offered the opportunity to consult with…
 
Faith is a choice, not a feeling. It’s not the ability to talk myself into believing that something has already happened. It’s choosing to believe something will happen because God said it would. There are certain people with very energetic personalities for whom faith seems to come easily, but I don’t think a person needs such a personality to ple…
 
People generally come to God for one of two reasons: either their life has ended up in shambles and they’re left with no other option, or they find themselves in a situation where the presence of the Holy Spirit becomes so strong that their resistance and confusion melt away and they rush into God’s arms. In other words most people turn to God eith…
 
Jesus saw the moment: they had stepped into a “divine appointment.” The people there were ready to hear the gospel. This woman was ready, the city of Sychar was ready, but He was exhausted and in a hurry. He had only stopped to rest and get something to eat. What would He do? Would He explain the condition they were in and politely postpone, promis…
 
It’s so easy to stand there praying, saying all the right things, with my mind still asleep or focused on something else. I can be halfway through the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:9-13) and suddenly realize I haven’t a clue what I just said, and am saying things with no particular awareness that God is listening to me. I’m just reciting words that I’ve memo…
 
After a very dramatic confrontation with the temple leaders in Jerusalem (Jn 2:13-25) Jesus left the city and moved His ministry out to the towns and villages scattered throughout the Judean countryside. There He preached and undoubtedly healed and delivered people from spiritual oppression. His disciples also baptized the people. Judging from clue…
 
Many of the truths Jesus taught can be found in the Old Testament. He explained and applied them brilliantly, but when He taught those truths He wasn’t revealing anything new, just showing us what Moses and the prophets really meant. But there were a few select truths which He taught that were absolutely fresh revelations. They were, in fact, truth…
 
I think it’s easier to handle failure than it is to deliberately walk away from success. When we fail, we have no choice but to face reality sooner or later and admit that we’ve fallen short. But when we succeed at something we tend to grow proud, and as much as we may complain about all that such success demands of us, we cling to it desperately. …
 
When God sent His Son into the world it was like placing a bright lamp in a dark room. Things that had been hidden were suddenly revealed. Wherever He went His presence and His message exposed the deepest attitudes in each person’s heart. Whether or not they fully understood who Jesus was, their human spirit intuitively recognized Him and reacted i…
 
What if I told you that you could be guided by God just like Jesus was guided by God? What if I told you that the same power which was at work through Jesus was available to work through you today? Would you believe me? Would you want a relationship with God like that? Now, let me ask those same questions again, but this time let me ask them anothe…
 
Most people fall into one of two categories: They’re either trying to save themselves, or they’ve realized that they can’t and that they need a Savior. People are either pursuing God’s justice or clinging to His mercy. They either expect to be rewarded or forgiven. And those two attitudes are so deeply different—they lie in such opposite directions…
 
While He was in Jerusalem during the Feast of the Passover and the week of Unleavened Bread which followed it, Jesus must have begun His ministry of healing the sick and delivering those oppressed by demons because John says, “many believed in His name beholding Him (because of) the signs which He was doing” (literal). And then John adds the strang…
 
Sometimes Jesus tells us things we can’t understand, at least not yet. Someday we will. Someday we will look back, and it will all fit together. But not now. Now, frankly, what He said doesn’t make any sense at all. This raises an obvious question: Why would Jesus tell us something we’re not capable of understanding? Why wouldn’t He wait until we’v…
 
What is surprising when we read this account of Jesus cleansing the temple is the lack of resistance by the merchants. For some reason, a large number of people allowed one man to walk in and totally disrupt their business activity. One would have expected a fight to break out or the temple police to intervene, but none of that happened. And though…
 
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