Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"Wonderous Creation" by Dereje Kebede

By Fikru Helebo

Two years ago I shared the song "Ethiopia" by Dr. Dereje Kebede here on this blog by posting the lyrics to the song and creating a video for it on YouTube. From the number of visitors the song has received on YouTube, it is safe to assume that the song has stuck a cord among Ethiopians. And so, here I am again with another favorite song of mine from Dereje's 4th album titled "Denq Sera". I believe the song was recorded in the late seventies (please correct me if I am wrong) and Dereje uses the Krar (Ethiopian lyre) to sing about the marvels of God's creation.



In the couple of years since I posted the "Ethiopia" song, public interest in Dereje Kebede has picked up steam. This may be partly because of people like me who grew up listening to Dereje's songs and are now craving to hear him sing his old songs. A recent appreciation event organized in Addis Ababa to honor Dereje gives you a good indication of how much respect and admiration Dereje has among his Protestant base. Here is another good example of this from a Dereje Kebede Facebook fan club: "Yemaideferes Selam Alegn" by Behiwot Benyam (a superb rendition bro, keep it up!).

Another reason for the rise in interest in Dereje might be that a lot of Ethiopians are starting to discover his timeless songs. Regardless, I am glad to see this renewed interest. Dereje also gave an in-depth interview this past July to Mathetes magazine (which you can find on Ethiocross) in which he indicated that he is working on his next album (I can't wait to hear it!). Speaking of the interview, I found his interview to be a breath of fresh air and I hope that he will continue to speak out against false teachings and materialism that is prevalent in many churches today and I highly recommend that you read it!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
[All pictures used to make the video are from Ethiopia]

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dr. Dereje is a delusional who believes that a 2,000 year old mythology book is real.

“Christian mythology is just as bizarre as any of the myths invented by humans to try to explain things they do not understand, or things they have no control over (like death, natural disasters, weather, drought, floods, etc.) “

enset said...

Dear athiest/seeker,

I highly recommend that you read the book Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. Here is a synopsis of the book from Wikipedia:

The Case for Christianity

Lewis spends most of his defense of the Christian faith on an argument from morality, a point which persuaded him from atheism to Christianity. He bases his case on a moral law, a "rule about right and wrong" commonly known to all human beings, citing the example of the Holocaust; even atheists believed that Hitler's actions were morally wrong. On a more mundane level, it is generally accepted that stealing is violating the moral law. Lewis argues that the moral law is like the laws of nature in that it was not contrived by humans. However, it is unlike natural laws in that it can be broken or ignored, and it is known intuitively, rather than through observation. After introducing the moral law, Lewis argues that there must be "something behind" it; namely, God.

The other underpinning of his appeal for a benevolent being is his argument that we cannot yearn for something that does not exist. The fact that people thirst reflects that they naturally need water and that there is no other substance which satisfies that need. Lewis points out that earthly experience does not satisfy the human craving for "joy" and that only God could fit the bill; humans cannot know to yearn for something if it does not exist.

After providing reasons for his conversion to theism, Lewis goes over rival conceptions of God to Christianity. Pantheism, he argues, is incoherent, and atheism too simple. Eventually he arrives to Jesus Christ, and invokes a well-known argument now known as the "Lewis triumvirate". Lewis, arguing that Jesus was claiming to be God, uses logic to point out three possibilities: either he really was God, he was deliberately lying, or he was not God but thought himself to be (which would make him delusional and likely insane). The book goes on to say that the latter two possibilities are not consistent with Jesus' character and it was most likely that he was being truthful.

Anonymous said...

Enset

Thank you for the recommendation but I haven't seen any good reason to bother believing.

Concerning Lewis’ moral argument,I recommend that you read this article

Gods and Believers Behave Immorally:

"In most religions, gods are supposed to be the source of all morality. For most believers, their religion represents an institution for promoting perfect morality. In reality, though, religions are responsible for widespread immorality and gods have characteristics or histories which make them worse than the most vile human serial killer. No one would tolerate such behavior on the part of a person, but when with a god it all becomes laudable — even an example to follow."


One frequent defense made on behalf of religion and theism is the claim that they are necessary for morality. This claim takes a variety of forms: people wouldn't behave morally if it weren't for religion or fear of gods, some god or gods are the authors of morality so we can't be moral without following their commands, religion and gods provide reasons to be moral, the absence of religion or gods encourages immorality, a moral person is simply assumed to be religious, and so forth.
Whatever the form, though, the principle is the same: religion generally, or some religion in particular, is equated with morality to the extent where they can't be separated. Sometimes this will be offered as a pragmatic reason for adopting that religion by arguing that even if the religion seems implausible, it's still useful by promoting morality, and this should be encouraged broadly in as many people as possible.
While these claims may be intuitively appealing to many religious theists, just how well-founded is the belief? One means for testing it is to look at the religions themselves. Are their gods moral? Are highly-regarded believers from the past or religious figures in scriptures moral? Are believers today especially moral? The answer to all of this is overwhelmingly negative, and this creates a reason to doubt both the claims about religion being necessary for morality as well as the fundamental truth claims made on behalf of the religion generally and theistic claims in particular.
Continue reading on
http://atheism.about.com/od/argumentsagainstgod/a/MoralBehavior.htm

enset said...

Dear athiest/seeker,

Thanks for sharing the info. I will concede to you that Christians (which I am one) were/are guilty of not living up to the moral standards that we preach, but it is not logical to conclude from that Christianity and its adherents are immoral.

If you are interested in hearing what other more thoughtful people have to say about this topic in particular and belief in God in general, here are a couple of links to talks organized by the Veritas Forum at the campus of the University of California at Berkeley earlier this year:

1. "The Language of God: Intellectual Reflections of a Christian Geneticist" -- Presentation by Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project and director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. Dr. Collins presents a case for harmony between faith in science and faith in God. He also shares about his personal intellectual and spiritual journey from agnosticism, to atheism, and to Christianity.

2. "Belief in an Age of Skepticism?" -- Noted pastor and author Dr. Tim Keller discusses the place of exclusive truth in a pluralistic society in Wheeler Auditorium, followed by a Q&A session.

Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

God bless you all!

Fitsum said...

I can only agree with the bloger (enset)about the fact that our (christians) shortcomings should by no means lead into conclusion that what we believe in is just a myth, a mere excuse (explanation) for things we do not understand/can not overcome etc...
We are all weak & sinners, the scripture says: Romans 3:23-24 "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus"
Through Christ we receive all the benefits of salvation including eternal joy (an experience) that can not be explained but only experienced...unfortunately....

Let me conclude my statement by quoting a World War II soldier “If we fight we will die, if we do not fight, we will die, we better die fighting”.
The theme of the quote is: If believing in God in general or Christianity in particular leads to higher morality, it is worth believing in God, even if it means we believed in God that ‘did not exist’ in the first place:)

Anonymous said...

You believers

Have you got a convincing answer to the following questions?

“What is the relationship between the Divine provision and our free will”?

“Has God determined in advance the destiny of creatures” ?

read the amazing contradictions concerning predestination in Christian thinking
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predestination


Some believe that God is omniscient, or eternal or atemporal (free from limitations of time or even causality). In terms of these ideas, God may see the past, present, and future, so that God effectively knows the future. If God in some sense knows ahead of time what will happen, then events in the universe are effectively predetermined from God's point of view. This is a form of determinism but not predestination since the latter term implies that God has actually determined (rather than simply seen) in advance the destiny of creatures.

Christians who follow teachers such as St. Augustine and John Calvin generally accept that God does decide the eternal destinations of each person, so that their future actions or beliefs follow according to God's choice.

A contrasting Christian view maintains that God is completely sovereign over all things but that he chose to give each individual free will, which each person can exercise to accept or reject God's offer of salvation and hence God's actions and determinations follow according to man's choice.

Biblical support of Predestination

Some Biblical verses often used as sources for Christian beliefs in predestination are below.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV)

"At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants."(Matthew 11:25, NASB)

"As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, began asking Him about the parables. And He was saying to them, "To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that WHILE SEEING, THEY MAY SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE, AND WHILE HEARING, THEY MAY HEAR AND NOT UNDERSTAND, OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT RETURN AND BE FORGIVEN." (Mark 4:10-12, NASB)

"All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. "(John 6:37,39, NASB)

"You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you." (John 15:16, NASB)

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,..." (Eph. 1:3-5, NASB)

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified." (Rom. 8:28-30, NASB)

"... but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; ..." (1Co. 2:7, NASB)

"For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur." (Act. 4:27-28, NASB)

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Eph. 2:4-9, NASB)

"...who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, ..." (2Ti. 1:9, NASB)

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. (Psa. 139:16, NASB)
"So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. [verse 17 omitted] So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires." (Rom. 9:16-18, NASB)

Biblical support of free will

Examples of Biblical passages which support free will:

Deuteronomy 30:19 "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,"

Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned."

Romans 10:9 "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

Matthew 9:29 "Then He touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith let it be to you."

1 Thessalonians 4:14 "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus."

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

John 15:7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you."

1 Timothy 2:3-4 "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth."

enset said...

Dear atheist/seeker,

This question of yours about "predestination" and "free will" is beyond what I can handle. So, I asked a few friends for their input and one of them got back to me with the following reply. I hope it helps.

I remember having a debate on the same issue [belief in God, predestination, free will] in the past and never convincing the other party to join my camp. Here is my take on predestination: If God decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, what is the purpose of the cross? Was the word of God playing game on us when it invites us to accept Christ into our lives? Remember, the call to the Kingdom of God through Christ is voluntary (Acts 3: 19; Romans 10: 8-10). In fact one of the major differences between Christianity and Islam is that Christianity is founded on love and freewill. God does not dictate our choices in life and that includes our stand pertaining to spirituality and faith as well as ever day life.

My experience in dealing with doubters and atheists has been that they get a kick out of the argument itself, and for the most part, at least in my personal experience, focus only on winning the argument. Christianity or belief in deity in general is based on willingness to accept that which may not be explained in human terms. The bible tell us that our faith in God is foolishness to those who are after earthly wisdom and knowledge (1 Cor. 1:18 - 27). I believe that every individual has his/her own moment of epiphany where either he/she surrenders to a spoken word of God or just feels the void in his/her life and seek God by him/her self. Until that happens, no amount of discussion or debate will bring people to God. The fact is that there are many questions on Christianity that I don't have answers to, or I myself get confused about. But, my faith is built on the saving power of Jesus Christ and all other details are secondary or will get clearer when I meet Him (of course this does not make sense to an atheist).


Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Enset

Je vous présente mes meilleurs vœux pour 2009 et vous souhaite une excellente santé ! (Happy new year 2009!)

Your friend said:

“The fact is that there are many questions on Christianity that I don't have answers to, or I myself get confused about.”

With so many questions without answer and confusion, how wise is it for someone to make a positive conclusion that God exists?

Since the burden of support lies first and foremost with those making the positive assertion non-believers don't need reasons not to believe.

enset said...

Merci, l'ami!

From the progression of your questions, you strike me as someone who is a seeker rather than an atheist. That is good. I do not think my friend's confusion is about the existence of God. I think he was referring to aspects of Christianity like the questions you brought to our attention. As he said it well, "Christianity or belief in deity in general is based on willingness to accept that which may not be explained in human terms". I am sure this is not the kind of "burden of support" you are looking for. Best wishes in your search for truth. You may find the answers for some of your questions at the Veritas Forum. Check them out at www.veritas.org.

enset said...

Here is another input on this discussion from another friend of mine:

It takes so much faith to declare that one is certain that God does not exist. Our understanding is so limited! As you so rightly pointed out, there are many scientists who believe now because evidence points them to God. I really like Dr. Tim Keller and Dr. Francis Collins. Another great website is Reasons to Believe, www.reasons.org – an organization started by Dr. Hugh Ross, a research astrophysicist.

About predestination and free will – this is a difficult and mysterious conflict. God must be in ultimate control of all things, otherwise, He could not ensure that His plans and purposes will be accomplished. His prophecies could easily be thwarted. His will might be overturned. Satan could be the ultimate victor. However, as Job declares in Job 42:2, "I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted."
On the other hand, God clearly allows people to make their choices and bear the consequences of those choices. Scripture is repeatedly points us toward the "principle of sowing and reaping," that whatever a person "sows," that will he reap (Galatians 6:7). Thus, we are left with another mystery beyond our understanding (there are so many of these mysteries, because of our miniscule limits!) of how God can allow free will to function under the umbrella of His ultimate control of all things.

Anonymous said...

Enset

Thank you!

“God can allow free will to function under the umbrella of His ultimate control of all things”

If God knows the future [ultimate control of all things], it means he knows the destiny of his creatures even before they have come into existence. That means, he creates someone knowingly for a specific destination. Then no one can change his/hers predefined destination. if not that gives the sense that God doesn’t know all (or has a finite knowledge).

IF you have an all knowing God who knows exactly what your every move is going to be in the future, it means human beings behave as a robot! They are designed to do the will of the designer (God) but they feel as if they do it in their free will car they don’t know in advance what they are going to do.

The idea of “Free will” and “all knowing God” contradict each other. It seems to me you can either believe in free will or in God but not both.

Anonymous said...

Here is how believing in God and freewill do not contradict each other: God knows our destiny of course, but he does not interfere with, or determine anyone's destiny. I am not denying the involvement of God in our lives but that only happens once we acknowledge His existence and power as our Creator and Savior. That is if we exercise our FREEWILL and choose to be His children. Advance knowledge of something does not necessarily equate with imposition of will on someone else. The very fact that humans can differentiate good from bad, right from wrong and moral from immoral is a testimony that we are not "Robots" but free willed beings. So, as everything in life is determined by the choice we make, so is our destiny beyond this physical world. My friend, you might not have realized it but you are exercising your freewill when you doubted God's existence. But you can change that too.

Anonymous said...

Last anonymous

You believe that “God knows our destiny”.

That means you can’t change your predefined destiny since God is infallible! If he created you for heaven, whatever you do in your lifetime ultimately you will have it! As written in the new testament

“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. [verse 17 omitted] So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires." (Rom. 9:16-18, NASB)

“ My friend, you might not have realized it but you are exercising your freewill when you doubted God's existence.”

I feel that I am created to question & seek the existence of “God”. It is hard for me to swallow what is written in the bible without probing! Do you know that most of the narratives and the other accounts found in the bible remain uncorroborated in any archaeological record.

Anonymous said...

Dear friend,

please read the whole statement and learn

"God knows our destiny of course, but he does not interfere with, or determine anyone's destiny."

You said "you were created to Question God" Please stop blaming God and take responsibility for your own actions. Whether you became a believer or remain an atheist, you will answer to the almighty and face the consequence

Anonymous said...

While it may be nice to have faith, it is unimportant to have organized religions like Christianity that want to conquer into everybody's minds and hearts disregarding other belief systems. But it is the will of nature for diversity (including diversity of faith)to exist in the same way as the physical diversity around us. Organized religions are becoming threat to the peace of the world as they serve as ideology of domination!!!

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