Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I've heard that some cultures used to be very fearful of the white man with a camera. They believed that if you took their picture, you had the ability to steal their souls. I enjoy photographing people. There's nothing like a well-executed candid portrait to catch a person's natural actions and reactions. I don't believe I'm stealing the subject's soul. I see it more as borrowing their soul!

Whatever the status of the natives' soul-stealing belief, I'm more concerned with more recent attempts to steal the souls of modern westerners. We made it through most of childhood believing in an Almighty Creator. We took solace in knowing that our existence was under the Sovereign hand of Divine Providence. Everything happened for a reason and we knew there was a part of us that would survive mortality to gaze into face of God.

And then it happened. The production of one single photo threatened to capture our very souls. It wasn't a portrait of us taken by some invading force. It was a picture they showed us. One day we saw one of those famous charts, illustrations or drawings showing a theoretical progression of the evolution of human-kind from lower primates. This explanation of our origins seemed to knock out of us the very breath that up until that moment we believed God had breathed into us!

Believing that we've lost our souls, many of us lost our morality and purpose as well. There's no time to view the onslaught that the soulless philosophies of the 19th century visited upon the 20th century. The consequences of godless dictators on millions of their people are clear.† Without souls, opposable thumbs and written language are two of the only unique characteristics we possess to distinguish us from the rest of the animal kingdom!

The Good News is that you do have a soul. It's the reason that in spite of all your animal instincts and passions you still desire higher truth, beauty and love. It's the reason you can listen to music and have more than just a sensation caused by neurons firing in your head. And although you may be painfully aware of your own mortality, it's the reason that you still have a poignant concept of eternity in your heart!

You may say that you can't accept the reality of God's creation of the universe in seven, 24 hour days. Although Genesis 1 is Hebrew poetry, many accept the account as accurate fact, rather than literary device. There are also believers who accept evolutionary theory. As far as I can tell, the only reality you must accept is a person: Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God. He is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.

I realize that this is a can of worms, and I encourage you to do further research on the topic of creation and intelligent design. Get both sides of the argument. My plea to you who have had your soul taken in the name of modern science: Realize, you are unique. You are God's creation. The particulars of how he made you are not nearly as important as the fact that he made you and desires to have a relationship with you.

Say a little prayer tonight that if He is real, He would show you. Don't let your science become an excuse to abandon your faith. Don't listen to arguments by sensationalists who only desire to see faith and science polarized and irreconcilable. Don't let them them steal your soul!

Some would argue that religion has been responsible for most of the violence in history. I disagree sharply, referring to such godless men as Hitler and Stalin, who were responsible for millions and millions of deaths. However, whether killing took place in the name of God, racial superiority, or communism, the fact that people are naturally murderous, gives credence to the Biblical view of man:
Rom. 3:10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; Rom. 3:11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. Rom. 3:12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Rom. 3:13 “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” Rom. 3:14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” Rom. 3:15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; Rom. 3:16 ruin and misery mark their ways, Rom. 3:17 and the way of peace they do not know.” Rom. 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

[Illustration by Peter Steinfield]

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