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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

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On CARM poster "Stiggywiggy" (I didn't make up his name) does battle with a group of atheists who want to eliminate the term "heart" as reference to mind or inner being, but to use it only as reference the biological pump:
 Elsewhere in another thread today I saw Mudcat attempting to discuss matters of the heart with some atheistic type guy, who was feigning ignorance as to what Mudcat might mean when he referred to the heart. We all know the verse about how a "man believeth in his heart."

"If you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, you shall be saved." We're all familiar with that biblical sentiment. This atheist thought he'd be real cute and started talking about how the heart is nothing more than a muscle, a mere physiological pump.

Once again, I can't help wonder if these guys really believe that. If so, when they hear certain songs, are they translating it this way in their heads:
 I Think Stiggie is totally right here and this is monumentally silly. The desire to control the speech is a suppression of free ideas and exchange. These guys know that the culture uses this phrase "the heart" to mean more than just the physical organ. They try to speak this way to control thinking. It's a form of brain washing. An atheist who calls himself "Deist" gives a half backed explanation but it reveals more about his agenda than the Chrsitians agenda:
No, they use this word "heart' as if they have some sort of secret. It's like a decoder ring that only they possess. No one has any 'heart' unless they have and believe in Jesus. They use the word as a magic word that means whatever they want it to mean. "Jesus enters my heart" is a meaningless phrase, and yet they toss it around to ward off non believers and they post mocking threads when we call them on their chicanery and point out that they are not saying what the 'heart' is. The 'hearty' becomes a gobblygook word that means whatever the poster wants it to mean. How can anyone question "matters of the heart"? Christianity thinks it's THEIR word, and it's their veiled slam at non believers suggesting that their clique has something that they can't describe (and won't) but they have 'heart' and we don't.
That's quite ludicrous to think it's spoken as though a secret. Everyone in the society knows what it means. It may be that most Christians don't have a clear idea of what it is. We all know the general idea. It's silly to speak as thouh Chrsitians are the only one's who use this word. Stiggy has an amauzing ilst destined to drive home this point:
Once again, I can't help wonder if these guys really believe that. If so, when they hear certain songs, are they translating it this way in their heads:

Your Cheating Pump

My Pump Belongs to Daddy

Achy Breaky Pump

Pump of my Pump

Unchain My Pump

Every Beat of My Pump

Young at Pump

How Can You Mend a Broken Pump

Piece of My Pump

Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Pump Club Band

PumpBreak Hotel

It's a Pumpache

Surely all those songwriters were not evangelical Christians, unduly influenced by scriptural bias. But let's assume they were. Let's assume that all romantics are Christians. What about novels? I don't think Joseph Conrad was a Christian. So why wasn't the title of his great book Pump of Darkness? Nor was Dee Brown, who didn't write Bury My Pump at Wounded Knee, nor Carson McCullers, who didn't write The Pump is a Lonely Hunter.
The ancient Greeks did not know about the circulatory system, or blood vessels, they knew nothing about the physical organ that pumps blood. They only knew about the relationship bewteen ideas, things that made them excited, or afraid, or happy, or moved their emotions, and the thumping in the chest. For that same reason they saw the chest as the seat of intellect. They did not know about the brain. Thus we have ideas like "think with your heart." The word was Karida, form which we get our term "Cardiac."
Strong's Concordance
kardia: heart
Original Word: καρδία, ας, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: kardia
Phonetic Spelling: (kar-dee'-ah)
Short Definition: the heart, inner life, intention
Definition: lit: the heart; mind, character, inner self, will, intention, center.
HELPS Word-studies
2588 kardíaheart; "the affective center of our being" and the capacity of moral preference (volitional desire, choice; see P. Hughs, 2 Cor, 354); "desire-producer that makes us tick" (G. Archer), i.e our "desire-decisions" that establish who we really are.
[Heart (2588 /kardía) is mentioned over 800 times in Scripture, but never referring to the literal physical pump that drives the blood. That is, "heart" is only used figuratively (both in the OT and NT.]

The battle ground for belief is in the heart. We could say things like "search the deepest part of your mind" but we have come to associate the heart with feelings and emotions while we still  tend to think of the mind as intellect and all business and maybe the exclusion of emotion. That's why "search your heart" sounds more compelling. Intellectual arguments are only enough to clear away the clutter and enable us to get to the deeper level of feeling. We can also use the intellecutal arguments as a shield to prevent ourselves form ever getting to the "heart level."

The deep recess of the mind that we call "the heart" houses the will. Will is desire. Atheists have  desires that conflict with God's will, or they think they do. That's the basis of the battle ground. The one thing atheists are always saying is that any sort of impersonal God is not God. The one thing they see as making God God is having a will for them to struggle against.

My theory of religious experience has always assumed that we experience God at a subliminal level. We don't know it consciously and to discuss with others we must encode it in cultural constructs because it's a reference to soemthing is beyond our understanding. If there is any validity in this notion it requires that there be a center of knowing deeply in the mind beyond our conscious understanding, thus subliminal requires "a place in the heart." I think that's the real reason for the atheist refusal to think about this term. Not only do they want to control the vocabulary so they can control the issues but they also want to keep away from anything that will remind them of the conviction they feel about the reality of God.

Deist comes back:

Originally Posted by Deist View Post
Seems funny that Christians use it as a nonsense word when they contend "Jesus is in their heart". When asked what that means, they get all mad and defensive. When I suggest that all it means is that "Jesus is in their mind" they go ballistic.
It's true that people might have different concepts of what it means to be "in the heart." We have to be specific at some point. There is no passage that explains it in the Bible becuase the assumption is they know what they mean by Karida. How could God be in your heart? If the heart is the mind, the deep recesses whatever or wherever it means, the place where are true desires are formed, then the power of God reaches us in that place and influences our thinking and our feelings. That's pretty obvious really. The bluster about it's like a secret word and so on is just his ignorance. He's jealous of our relationship with god.

Of course I would be remiss in talking about the heart without mentioning the parable of the sower (Matthew 10:1-9). A sower scattered seeds, some fell in rocky ground some in good ground so on. Jesus tells us the soil is the heart (v 15, v 18, "18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart"). The thrones are the cares of the world that choke out the word (the seed). This is a perfect illustration of what I mean by saying the battle ground is in the heart. It's at that level that the Gospel will be chocked out or will find good ground and thrive. What chocked it? the riches and cares of the world. "22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. " The rocky ground 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

What we see there is a correlation between the things that occupy our attention (the nature of the soil, what kind of soil is your heart?) and the wiliness to accept the Gospel and our ability to cultivate it.
23 "But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

He also tells a parable of the weed:

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

That really makes it sound like we have a passive role. If it falls on good ground we understand it and everything is fine. Is there anything we can do to make sure we have good ground? Charles Finney thought so, he preached a famous sermon on "breaking up the ground." We have to take an active role to cultivate the ground that receives the word. Since we are dealing with our deepest desires we need to search our hearts and determine what means the most to us. How deep intrenched is our love for the cares of the world?

To break up the fallow ground, is to break up your hearts--to prepare your minds to bring forth fruit unto God. The mind of man is often compared in the Bible to ground, and the word of God to seed sown in it, and the fruit represents the actions and affections of those who receive it. To break up the fallow ground, therefore, is to bring the mind into such a state, that it is fitted to receive the word of God. Sometimes your hearts get matted down hard and dry, and all run to waste, till there is no such thing as getting fruit from them till they are all broken up, and mellowed down, and fitted to receive the word of God. It is this softening of the heart, so as to make it feel the truth, which the prophet calls breaking up your fallow ground.
The major warning Finney issues is not to thin we can turn on and off emotions and feelings. The feelings will follow. The thing we have to control is what we set our desires upon. I urge the read to read the entire page of that Text:

Finney, Lecture Three: How to promote a Revival.
that is specifically about breaking up the ground.


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