Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lift Every Voice and Sing

Watson May Have Won Jeopardy, But Ken Jennings Scores the Moral Victory - Topless Robot

What??!!! Jen Jennings lost Jeopardy?! Good thing that computer named Watson is not conscious!

Watson May Have Won Jeopardy, But Ken Jennings Scores the Moral Victory - Topless Robot
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Answering Muslims: Sam Shamoun vs. Nadir Ahmed: “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?”

I cam across this debate between Sam Shamoun and Nadir Ahmed. The debated the question: "Is Islam a Religion of Peace?" Sam said "No." and Ahmed said "yes". Watch the videos in which they try to prove their point of view. The commentary on the debate is also very useful. Not new, but useful!

Answering Muslims: Sam Shamoun vs. Nadir Ahmed: “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?”

Answering Muslims: CBN: Civil War in France

This video disturbed me. Especially when the store owner in France was reporting such horrific crimes against her by Muslim men who want her to leave. I was wondering "what are the authorities doing?" France was once a superpower. Has France sunk so low enough that it can't protect its citizens - both Muslim and non-Muslim? I think all of Europe is going that way and so could the United States. "Christians" who think we should force convert everyone against their will are just as wrong as those Muslims seeking to impose Sharia anywhere. We need to be praying, folks.

Answering Muslims: CBN: Civil War in France
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Islam and Christianity A Common Word: An Enlightened Agnostic Jew: Lesley Hazleton on reading the Qur'an

Thegrandverbalizer posted the following video yesterday. It's interesting. Lesley Hazleton was interesting to listen to - she is articulate, thoughtful and witty. She makes valid points that people throw the Qur'an under the bus out of ignorance and never really bother to research it for themselves. The problem is that when I've checked out the statements Sam Shamoun, David Wood, or James White and see if they are taking the Qur'an or Hadiths out of context I find that they are telling the truth. I admit that I am far less knowledgeable about the Qur'an than i am about the Bible but when I look at the arguments against the Bible of people who think the at we should all be Muslim, I can easily see where they are wrong. I don't know if they are lying or truly don't know but I'll assume ignorance instead of malevolence. As for Hazleton, her testimony does not carry much weight for me because she is an agnostic which means she has not made a commitment to Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, or anything. thegrandverbalizer seemed to me to try to suggest that she was leaning toward to Islam but I didn't get the sense of that at all. When I hear some of the statements she had to say about the 72 virgins in heaven and killing infidels she didn't really answer any of the objections I know that have been raised that I don't think have been adequately answered. The fact that seems unaware that women are not excluded in the Bible raises a flag for me that she doesn't understand Islam any better than she understands the Bible. When I hear women extol Islam, I just don't understand it. I mean are they reading the same translation I am? Did Hazleton not read about the violence and commands regarding how to treat infidels when Muslims have the majority and military and economic control? How does she reconcile that with the context she gave when Muhammad conquered Mecca? How does she feel about how women are treated in Islam controlled countries? Rape and brutality have always been used to keep people in line, but at least in Christianity the perpetrators acted against what it means to be Christians.

Islam and Christianity A Common Word: An Enlightened Agnostic Jew: Lesley Hazleton on reading the Qur'an
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Has Science Made Belief in God Unreasonable? MP3 Audio by J.P. Moreland - Apologetics 315

Brian Auten has posted a lecture by philosopher J.P. Moreland discussing the question: does science make it unreasonable to believe God? The short answer: no. Listen to his longer answer at the following link.

Has Science Made Belief in God Unreasonable? MP3 Audio by J.P. Moreland - Apologetics 315
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FacePalm of the Day #61 - Islam and Christianity A Common Word: Christianity in Chaos: Turn The Cheek vs. The Just War

thegrandverbalizer has posted an artcle bringing up a supposed contradiction in the concepts of "just war" and "turning the other cheek". He attempts to make a difference between the Old Testament teachings, Jesus' words in the Gospels and how Jesus is portrayed in Revelations. In this post I will take the majority of his post and respond - skipping the discussion of CS Lewis because what Jesus has to say ismore important than what me or CS Lewis thinks. I have bolded text from thegrandverbalizer's article and I will respond from the point of view that what he wrote in the comments section is true: I am seriously trying to understand how the various Christians understand these specific passages.

The very unfortunate situation that Christians have found themselves in. It must be very hard to throw the man you claim to follow under the bus.

Let's see if thegrandverbalizer can make this charge stick.

I cannot imagine the internal conflict, the pain and confusion that goes on in the sincere Christian's heart and mind when they are forced to recognize that the teaches attributed to Jesus are not practical for them to follow in today's world.

Let's see if he can prove this one too.

Namely the issue of 'turning the other cheek'. Verses the 'Just War'.

So thegrandverbalizer is arguing that Christians are in conflict over turning the other cheek or defending themselves from harm.

There only a small fraction of Christians to my knowledge that follow Jesus 2.0 (The Jesus of the New Testament)

What:? Let's wait to see if he can make this duck fly.

However, the vast majority of Christians follow or prefer Jesus 1.0 (Prior to incarnation) and Jesus 3.0 (His return when he annihilates all life forms that oppose him)

The difference?

The minority of Christians such as Mennonites, Amish and Quakers (or society of friends) truly believe in the power of God to wage peace and not wage war. They believe in Jesus 2.0

Although I am not sure of their eschatology surrounding end time events.

For example what a beautiful and amazing piece this is written by a Christian:

I'm not a Mennonites, Amish or a Quaker but I don't see how recognizing that waging war is sometimes necessary is at odds with any Jesus taught.

So you can see at least two Christians were not in favor of 'just war' and one tried to make a case for it using C.S Lewis own fictional works.

I respect C.S. Lewis, but it doesn't really matter what anyone thinks except what scripture says about this.

Matthew 5:39 "But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Now some Christians (Mennonites, Amish, Quakers , Jehovah's Witness) see in this as a statement true for all times and applications.

For example does anyone remember this very horrific incident that happened to the Amish community in Pennsylvania last year?

Now how did the Amish respond? Did they use is an opportunity to advance a ban on assault weapons? Did they attack the liberals? Did they blame a decadent television culture? Did they seek revenge? Did they use it to promote their local grown agriculture that could surely bring them needed revenue?

NO! They did not! They held funerals as was routine in their community and said prayers. They had complete faith that we belong to God and to God is our return!

For this they are stand up people and always have my admiration and respect.

These Christians have a deeper esoteric understanding of the following text of the New Testament than I could fathom.

Let's really look at what the scripture says in this context.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. - Matthew 5:38-42

Jesus quotes the Old Testament law and one must remember that the law was not designed to say that evil must be responded to in kind but to limit the amount of vengeance people should expect from one another. For example, if you stepped on my toe, my response would be wrong if I killed your whole family. Jesus is not . The context Jesus is speaking of is the case where your personal safety, honor, or ego are at stake. We know this because being slapped in the face in the context of the 1st Century was the highest insult one could receive - especially being slapped with the back of the right hand. on the right side. If you turn the other cheek, the person cannot strike you with the back of their right-hand and probably wouldn't because slapping you with the left or with the front of the right-hand  and admit that you are equal to them. It's actually a way of protecting yourself. And as for the tunic and going the extra mile, Jesus is not just teaching that we should be humble and help others but even if it is unappreciated or inconvenient for us personal.

Romans 12:19
"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."

I find it interesting that thegrandverbalizer would quote Paul as an authority although he has gone on record repeatedly that he thinks Paul is wrong.  God uses Paul to make the promise to take vengeance for evils done against us.

Matthew 5:39 "But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Now for me this passage in Matthew if taken literally in all context and times is not practical. If I saw my sister being raped or molested by my father I certainly would not 'turn the other cheek' or run away. I also certainly would not distance myself from her in the future and label her an unstable individual. This is an unloving thing to do!

I would defend my sister, or my children from such an aggressor and I would do what was necessary to stop the violation!

Now notice this is in the context of self defense and not pre-emptive. It is not aggressive or offensive war.

Jesus is not telling us not to protect our families from harm. The Books of Esther, Joshua, and  Kings all show that God tells his people to defend themselves. and their families. Unfortunately there are times for war.

1 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:
 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 8 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Nothing Jesus said sets this aside.

Move over Jesus 2.0 here comes Jesus 3.0!

"But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence." Luke 19:27

This verse seems to be a favorite of Muslim apologist to try to show that the Bible casts Jesus as violent. The context of the verse is that Jesus is telling a parable and saying what the king in the story said - not issuing a direct command.

However, most Christians will say that when Jesus returns in his 3.0 version he will be a slayer! A great slayer! It is such Christians today like Dominionist and those who believe in Dominon Theology like Sarah Palin's Church. Those Christians like Pat Robertson who believe we should just go and 'assassinate political leaders in Venezuela' are the one's who have no use for Jesus 2.0!

Christians are not called to dominate the world. Jesus said this world is not ours. We are not told in Revelation or anywhere in the Bible to assassinate anyone. Instead of looking to Sarah Palin or Pat Robertson for what Christians ought to do, we should look to what the Bible actually says. There is no Bible stand on. However, Muslims who thinks Muslims should run the world through force seems to have the Qur'an's backing, I'd be more worried about them that Pat Robertson.

For them Jesus 2.0 came and did what he was supposed to do for them in regards to their personal salvation. However they love and utilize Jesus 1.0 of the Old Testament,

3Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. (1 Samuel 15:3)
Mmmm Sinister!

Contrast this with Jesus 2.0
But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. (Luke 18:16)

and Contrast this with Jesus 3.0

Rev 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

"But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence." Luke 19:27

When Jesus returns to judge the world, what other outcome could people who reject Jesus Christ should expect? Given that there is no other way to be saved, there is no other outcome other than death.

So the vast majority of Christians who are warlike are only kept in check by secularism. If Christianity was allowed to co-exist as a state recognized religion we would expect much the same as in the past.

Actually, I think that these two sentences apply to Islam very much more than Christianity.

I want to know any Christian regime in Europe in which a single Mosque was allowed to exist? Contrast that to the hundreds of Churches that exist today and have existed in the middle east even at the Zenith of Islamic military power!

I'm not sure what he means here because today there are Mosques all over Europe and America. Does he mean in the Middle Ages? And what about all the persecution of Christians in Europe, Africa and the Middle East happening today? When was the last news reports of Muslims being raped, robbed, and killed just for being Muslim in Christian countries? We see the reverse daily.

So unfortunately the majority of the Christians see the Jehovah's Witness, the Amish, the Mennonites , the Quakers etc as seriously 'out of touch'. This also includes other main stream denominations such as Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist etc who will not accept the 'Just War' doctrine.

Failing to protecting those who can't protect themselves is not Godly. God empowers us to do good. Protecting people is good. thegrandverbalizer fails in this post to define "Just War",  I'd be hard pressed to try to justify the wars America is involved in now, but I think we can all agree that the Axis powers had to be stopped in World War II making it a just war as I would define it.

In fact I have as of yet found any Christian who was willing to defend the 'Just War' theory by citing passages from the New Testament! They pick and choose.

Romans 12 tells Christians that we must follow the governments that God has placed over us. When our nation calls a just war and does not conflict with Jesus taught and instead protects others, why would we not follow? There is nothing in the New Testament telling us not to defend or protect our families. We are told to stand up for what is right no matter the personal cost.

In fact many of the so called Christians today are very deceptive in that they decry what is being done in the name of Islam but they themselves say that the freedoms we have in the West are because of Christan. This is laughable at best!

Can he prove that?

If Americans, or Englishmen and women were given a choice between John Calvin's Geneva and 21 century America the choice is obvious! No one wants to live under a tyrant who was a misogynist and a prune!

Guess not. I'd like to see poof that Geneva was ran by a tyrant who hated women and was a prune. I can't come to that conclusion based on history. His logic does not follow.

The freedoms that the west enjoy today is because of the enlightenment period. The 'shackles' of religion were thrown off and the realization that Christians would continue to slaughter themselves to settle their disputes led us to the separation of Church and State.

A real distorted view of history. There aren't any Muslim states that enjoy all of the same freedoms that we have in the West and we have those freedoms, not because people stopped being religious,  but because they finally started living out out what the Bible said about freedom. Our constitutional right is to worship God in our own way - not to worship just any god.

Those Christians today who distance themselves from Dominonist or Rousas J Rushdoony, or Christian Reconstructionist are simply bleeding heart liberals to the core! They are not at all consistent in their world view. They are apologist and their game is smoke and mirrors.

What Muslims who argue that Islam is about tolerance and peace? Are they inconsistent? Are they reading the Qur'an correctly? The Bible does not say anything about Christians taking over this world, but we are also not to just stand by and not speak up for what is right either. In the West, it is easy to do.  Could you do that in Iran? Saudi Arabia? Lebanon? Egypt? Pakistan?  No.

I respect and absolutely admire those Christians who are consistent with their world view. Any Christian who believes in Jesus 2.0 gets my full respects. These Christians believe in the power of God to deliver them from evil. They are willing to get eaten by lions, and go like a sheep to the slaughter!

I think thegrandverbalizer is mixing categories and reasons. Christians should be willing to go like sheep to the slaughter rather than deny Jesus. That says nothing about allowing dictators to destroy lives or hurt our families. God provides protection sometimes by giving us the means to defend ourselves. In the West, most of that defense is in the freedoms we have been blessed with. Could you say the same in an Islamic state?

What the so called Christians are blind to see is that it is only those Christians who do not resist that God is moved to defend.

Tell that to the Jews in Persia who fought to protect their lives when Esther was queen. Or to Joshua. Or Abraham when he had rescue Lot. Or many of the other instances in the Bible. God always moves to defend his people, but it's not always obviously supernatural.

God is not at all moved to defend and aid those who still seek earthly power, dominion and station. Unfortunately there are too many Christians today who put the Red, White and Blue on par with God! Nay above God!

I agree, we should not seek earthly power but it's like medication. Some people (idiots) think that taking medication is doubting God but it's not. If God blesses you to have medication than he has provided for your needs. Same thing in war and self-defense. You are done and without help with God's intervention from the start, therefore if you have the means to defend yourself you should and trust and depend on God to make up all the places where you fall short..

For them the only thing that will advance the cause of Christ are ICBM tactical nuclear weapons, T1 Abrams Tanks, Sea-wolf submarines, sonic weapons and stealth bombers! Sure the gospel has it's place but these weapons can do much to advance the cause of Christianity!

Unfortunately, there are people who think this way. They need to read their Bible.

I hope that sanity and compassion find their way back in the Christian discourse. I think that interpretation is a very powerful thing. Who and what interprets the Christians is just as important as the text themselves.

Again another point of agreement. The Bible promises that following God will mean avoiding destructive extremes.

I think that there is room for a peaceful Christianity. A Christianity does not believe in Dominion and Theonomy. A Christianity that does not believe in the 'Just War' but that believes that God meets out justice. That the matter belongs to God.

I am confused on this point. Qur'an tells Muslims to fight and subjugate people who deny Islam. Where does Islam teach that God will meet out Justice without the Muslim doing anything? thegrandverbalizer said that "If Americans, or Englishmen and women were given a choice between John Calvin's Geneva and 21 century America the choice is obvious!" I want to ask would one rather live in an Islamic nation under Sharia instead of 21st Century America? I don't. 

Islam and Christianity A Common Word: Christianity in Chaos: Turn The Cheek vs. The Just War
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Debunking Christianity: Quote of the Day, by Paula Kirby in the Washington Post

John Loftus posted the following quote

Religion claims to set its followers free, while all the time holding them in thrall and insisting they kiss the hand of their jailer. There can be no true freedom so long as religion still keeps the human mind in shackles. Link

I think the quote is very timely and perfectly shows what the Bible says about humanity is true: We truly don't know why we stumble. The quote clearly shows the understanding that we are incomplete and not free. The problem is that Paula Kirby thinks its because of religion we are enslaved and misses the point that our jailer is not our desire to find God and relate to God. Our jailer is our own fallen, sin-sick human nature. There can be no true freedom without God. What is religion? It's our feeble attempts to approach God on our terms - as if what we can say or do can free us from our separation and make us complete. It can't - even "Christianity" lived on any terms outside of what the Bible says can fix our situation and release our shackles. Only Jesus can can do that.

Debunking Christianity: Quote of the Day, by Paula Kirby in the Washington Post
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