Sermons

Summary: People are impressionable and the world takes advantage of that, trying to mold our minds and conform our thoughts to align with theirs.

A young teacher with obvious liberal tendencies explains to her class of small children that she is an atheist. She asks her class if they are atheists too. Not really knowing what atheism is but wanting to be like their teacher, their hands explode into the air like fleshy fireworks.

There is, however, one exception. A beautiful girl named Lucy has not gone along with the crowd. The teacher asks her why she has decided to be different.

"Because, I’m not an atheist."

Then, asks the teacher, "What are you?" "I’m a Christian."

The teacher is a little perturbed now, her face slightly red. She asks Lucy why she is a Christian.

"Well, I was brought up knowing and loving Jesus. My mom is a Christian, and my dad is a Christian, so I am a Christian."

The teacher is now angry. "That’s no reason," she says loudly.

"What if your mom was an idiot and your dad was an idiot. What would you be then?"

Lucy paused, smiled and said, "Then, I’d be an atheist!"

Placebo Faith

Ps 14:1 The fool says in his heart,

“There is no God.”

They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

Everybody Believes

As we read the Bible, we find that the writers of both the Old and the New Testaments never attempt to prove or argue for the existence of God. It seems that for the 4,200-year time span covered by the Bible, no one ever found it necessary to say, “You have plenty of logical reason to doubt the existence of God, so here let me explain.” It seems for all those years the existence of a god was a given. Not everyone knew the one true and eternal God who has by His love and grace revealed Himself to us through Jesus Christ, but people for the most part have always believed there is a god. The Egyptians had their gods, as did the Philistines, Babylonians and even the Hebrews once whipped up a golden calf. It seems through out history there has been little doubt that a god exists. There is the fame of Greek mythology, the Hindus, Buddhists, Islam, the list goes on and on and covers every culture. Our own Declaration of Independence includes, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The Declaration mentions God in two other places and I believe every state constitution acknowledges some sought of God or Creator.

Moving toward Disbelief

However, over the last 50 years the idea that God does not exist is a growing and widely accepted idea. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created.” Today many people doubt this and they say they have found scientific research on which they establish their belief. Consequently, this research is taught in our schools and accepted by the government and courts. I say they accept the research because they have shown no fear of God or the possibility of being held accountable for ungodly decisions.

How did the idea that God does not exist get such traction? It is not the research that has cultivated disbelief, but the fact that the question has been repeatedly put before our impressionable human minds.

The Placebo of Suggestion

How impressionable are our minds? In 1955 H. K. Beecher published a book titled, The Powerful Placebo. In this book his research showed that up to 55% of patents with certain diagnoses were cured by taking a placebo. If you do not know, a placebo is a medicine that has no medicine in it; a pill made from sugar, cornstarch or saline. Beecher found that patients diagnosed with illnesses like chronic pain, depression, some heart ailments, gastric ulcers and other stomach complaints had better success on a placebo than on real medicine.

How does a placebo cure? By the power of suggestion; by having an idea planted in a person’s mind. A patient comes in complains of some affliction, the doctor say, “I have a pill for that” the patient believes the doctor, takes the pill and gets well, even if the pill is a placebo. Though many researchers have questioned Beecher’s results, the only thing they question is the percentage, not the amazing healing power of a placebo. What this means is up to 55% of people with some chronic diseases can be healed simply by believing that they will be healed. This means either they heal themselves or their illness was only in their mind. People are impressionable and the world takes advantage of that, trying to mold our minds and conform our thoughts to align with theirs.

We face this everyday, it is the power of suggestion and a power used by advertisers. J. G. Wentworth will tell you that if you have a structured settlement, you don’t have to let others control your money. “It’s my money and I want it NOW!” A fast food chain based in Chicago has been quick to advise us that, “You deserve a break today.” I don’t know how they know I need a break, but it sure sounds good.

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