Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 In 4 Minutes - YouTube

2012 In 4 Minutes - YouTube

Answering Muslims: Refuting Zakir Naik on Muhammad in the Bible

David Wood and Sam Shamoun are actually doing more than just correcting the errors of Zakir Naik on the realities of Islam, they are also combating the ignorance of many Christians. Thank God for them.

Answering Muslims: Refuting Zakir Naik on Muhammad in the Bible

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Debunking Christianity: In a Godless Universe the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting is What We'd Expect Would Happen

John Loftus attempts to argue that the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School was exactly what we should expect because there is no God. I disagree. This is indeed facepalm worthy. But let us attempt to think through his argument, because he obviously didn't.

Even though I'm a godless atheist I say this. Don't quote me though, at least not without my explanation. I'm not speaking about a godless ethic, that supposedly atheists do these kinds of deeds, and/or that they have no ethical standards to condemn such terrible senseless acts. I do have an ethic and I do condemn these kinds of deeds. That's a topic for another time so don't derail what I'm saying with irrelevant comments. What I'm saying here is something different.

For the sake of this post, let's grant that a godless atheist like John Loftus does have an ethic and can condemn these kinds of deeds such as murdering children and their teachers as wrong. I am willing to allow for that because the Bible is more than clear that he can grant anyone that much grace even a godless atheist.  I agree that what Loftus is saying is something qualitatively different.

People are not too good at comparing hypotheses but that's what we must do. Most often in our debates we latch on to a theory and seek to confirm it, ignoring competing ones. It's called confirmation bias, and psychological studies show we all have a strong tendency or bias toward our pet theories. We don't give competing theories the time of day. We ignore them as false and sometimes even ludicrous.

Agreed. Let's see if John Loftus can avoid this trap as he tries to compare his godless hypothesis with Christian theism.

But if we compare the godless hypothesis that there is no god with the God hypothesis that there is an all powerful, perfectly good, all knowing deity, it's patently obvious that the best explanation for this horrible tragedy is the godless one. Now believers may think they have good reasons to accept the God hypothesis anyway, but this tragedy is not one of them to say the least. Let me briefly explain.

So we have a conclusion drawn that the godless hypothesis explains such a terrible thing such as this. We immediately run into a problem: What does he think the godless hypothesis explain? Does it explain how a man could walk into a school and gun-down twenty young children - boys and girls; six and seven years-old - and six of their teachers?  Does it explain the big question why?  What is it he is trying answer? Maybe as he explains what he mean, Loftus will tell us what he means as he explains how the godless hypothesis provides answers.

In a godless universe shit happens without rhyme nor reason. Life is predatory from the ground up. Creatures eat one another by trapping unsuspecting victims in unusual ways, launching surprise attacks out of the blue, and hunting in packs by overpowering prey with brute force and numbers. Sometimes a creature just goes wacko for no reason at all. Humans are not exempt. Sometimes the wiring in our brains goes haywire and we snap. We too are violent and we inherited this trait from our animal predecessors. We also show care and concern to our kith and kin but we can lash out in horrific ways at what we consider an uncaring world.

So the godless hypothesis is answering the question "why?" with things "happen without rhyme or reason". Then he gives examples from nature.  He raises more questions than answers.  Is it condemnable when "Creatures eat one another by trapping unsuspecting victims in unusual ways, launching surprise attacks out of the blue, and hunting in packs by overpowering prey with brute force and numbers." or when a "creature just goes wacko for no reason at all"? If not, then why is it condemnable for that man to kill those 26 people?  If so, why?

In a universe where there is an all powerful, perfectly good, all knowing God this tragedy is not what we would expect to happen.

Why? I see no reason to make that conclusion. Loftus neglects the Biblical description of the universe with human beings enslaved to sin with hearts inclined to evil - I'd expect nothing different. Instead, I'd wonder why such things don't happen more often.

And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. - Genesis 8:21

There were innocent children who were brutally massacred. We would not expect that after praying the Lord's prayer to a loving heavenly father that such a deity would allow this to happen, just as we would not expect a father in that school to sit by and do nothing while the gunman killed his children.

Hmmm...just who does Loftus think prayed the Lord's Prayer before this happened. Our society took prayer out of of public school, remember?

What could a loving heavenly father have done? There are tons of things. Just have the gunman's brakes fail on the way so he would crash his car into a telephone pole and die. If God knew the man would one day kill these people then he could have killed him in a thousand unsuspecting ways like this. He had twenty years to do it. God could have snapped his omnipotent fingers causing the man to have massive amnesia such that he wouldn't know who he is, or what he was going to do with his guns that morning. God could have caused his guns to misfire if nothing else. God did nothing that a loving father would have done.

Just how many times do you think that God has done exactly that. How many school shootings have been avoided through God's direct actions - restraining evil? We don't know. We only know about the times God has allowed such things to happen. While we don't know why God allowed this, we can trust that God really knows best and God has a purpose for everything God allows to happen. God has the right to do as God wills because everything belongs to God.   

When comparing these two hypotheses the God hypothesis fails and the godless hypothesis prevails, hands down, no question, no ifs ands or buts about it.

I'm amazed that any rational person would really think that "stuff just happens" is a viable answer and would think that the godless hypothesis. Really? Really? It's the godless hypothesis that fails. So what answer does the Bible give? Here are two of my favorite verses on the subject:

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[h] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. - Romans 8:18-25

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?
I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” - Luke 13:1-5

Silly godless atheist, Theodicy is for Christians.

Debunking Christianity: In a Godless Universe the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting is What We'd Expect Would Happen

Faceplant of the Day - Debunking Christianity: William Lane Craig, The Last Great Christian Apologist We'll Ever See!

First and foremost:  Dr William Lane Craig not the last Christian Defender and he most definitely not the only one! Defeating Dr Craig does not defeat Christianity by a long shot. The following video, pointed to by John Loftus, attempts to point to Dr William Lane Craig as making  blunders in his response to the massacre of children and their teachers in Conneticut on December 14, 2012.

The Video's author attempts to exploit one of Craig's weaknesses: Theodicy.  However the video shows that atheism has no answer at all. I don't fully agree with Dr Craig's answer to the question raised in this video: Why do such evil things happen?

The shooting on December 14, 2012 is dissimilar with Herod's killing of Children after Jesus' birth.  Look at it. Herod only killed boys in Bethlehem under 2 years of age and we are not talking about thousands or millions of lives. Bethlehem was not a huge place there would not have been that many children there. Some folks think that other historians would have mentions it, but I doubt that a few boys in Bethlehem being killed by Herod would have raised must attention - awful that is. I doubt that there would have even been as many as 20 children having been killed. Does that mean that Herod's actions weren't that bad? No! It explains why there was not more attention or anger raised up over this.  It is also completely consistent with Herod's character.

So could God have worked this out without a single life of a baby being lost? Yes! Could God had prevented the terrible tragedy on December 14, 2012? Yes! I don't know why. I agree that it doesn't make sense to us that it would be to remind us what Herod did, but that that doesn't mean that there is no God or that the Bible is in error.  I don't know how God is going to turn that into a blessing. What I do know is that it's best to stick to Jesus' answer to such a question.

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” - Luke 13:1-5

Debunking Christianity: William Lane Craig, The Last Great Christian Apologist We'll Ever See!
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The Deen Show's "Aspiring Baptist Minister" Reviewed and Refuted

The Deen show is a Islamic show that attempts to convert non-Muslims to Islam. It often attempts to air the testimonies of former Christians. They also attempt to give these converts some weight and credentials to give their apostasy from Christianity some legitimacy. Unfortunately, they are not honest about it. This is a case-in-point. Dr James White talks about a recent show featuring Khalil Meek and points out the glaring inconsistencies and errors. Neither the Muslims putting the show together or the former Christian seem to know what Christians believe.

The Deen Show's "Aspiring Baptist Minister" Reviewed and Refuted

Also read David Wood's post on this at: Khalil Meek Exposed by James White
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Answering Muslims: Robert Spencer: The Origins of the Qur'an

Robert Spencer sums up the origins of the Qur'an. Take a look!

Answering Muslims: Robert Spencer: The Origins of the Qur'an
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Friday, December 28, 2012

Faceplant of the Day - Michael Gilmour: Top 10 Zombie Scenes in the Bible

Bart Willruth has posted a link on Debunking Christianity to the following post which he introduced thusly:

Professor Gilmour of Providence University, Manitoba, Canada, has listed his favorite zombie imagery of the Bible. See his Top 10 Zombie Scenes in the Bible.
I think "zombie culture" is all well and fine. I think books, movies, and video games are just another form of entertainment. However, I think stating that there is "zombie imagery" in the Bible is not just dishonest but wrong. Some proponents of this silliness want to insist that they are merely defining "zombie" as meaning that dead people coming back to life from death. Many of these people then go on to make fun of the Bible insisting on equating the same kind of zombies we see in popular culture with people we see raised from the dead in the Bible.

Zombies loom large in popular culture these days. Max Brooks' "World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War" (2006), the Jane Austen, Seth Grahame-Smith mashup "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" (2009), and Melissa Marr's "Graveminder" (2011), to name but a few recent novels, enjoy a wide readership. There are also graphic novels, the AMC television show "The Walking Dead," video games, and of course movies. Some of my recent favorites in the latter category include the Norwegian Nazis-as-zombies film "Dead Snow" (2009) with its delightful tagline "Ein! Zwei! Die!" and Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon's "The Cabin in the Woods" (2012). With all of this going on, there is little surprise to come across the open-source, collaborative Stinque Zombie Bible. It was just a matter of time, I suppose, and the King James Bible will never be quite the same.

I think that the only reason for such a thing as a "zombie bible" is due to ignorance as to what the Bible really says about the people who were raised from the dead. 

I am an unabashed zombie fan but also teach "classic" English literature and the New Testament so I can't quite bring myself to desecrate the literary and religious masterpiece that is the Authorized (King James) Version by contributing to the Zombie Bible. Still, wanting to get into the spirit of things, I can't resist noting a few biblical scenes and themes -- a top 10 list -- that come to mind each time I watch or read the latest version of the zombie apocalypse to come along. At least in some passages, a zombie-Bible mashup requires very little editorial interference.

If there are any scenes in the Bible that remind you of fictional zombie apocalypse, I doubt that you seriously understand what the Bible is describing. 

1. The Gospel of Luke: "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen" (Luke 24:5). Such a suggestive phrase. Note also that the angels asking the question and those they address are standing inside a tomb at the time (Luke 24:2-4).

 Suggestive? The Angel is pointing out that Jesus is not dead. He is alive. He was dead. Jesus' Resurrection is unique. Jesus was the first to be Resurrected - meaning all the other people who died and was raised from the dead before Jesus later died again. Jesus'  Resurrection was qualitatively new and different. Jesus did not just come back in the same body he had before. That body was transformed - not deformed.

2. The Book of Revelation: "the sea gave up the dead that were in it" (Revelation 20:13). John the Seer's creepy statement reminds me of a scene in George A. Romero's "Land of the Dead" (2005) that features slow-moving corpses walking out of the surf, and Max Brooks' "World War Z" with its account of the boy returning from a swim with a bite mark on his foot. He also describes the zombie hoards roaming the world's oceans: "They say there are still somewhere between twenty and thirty million of them, still washing up on beaches, or getting snagged in fisherman's nets."

A deformed hoard walking out of the sea? Is that really what you get when you read Revelations 20:13? I don't. Why? Because 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 paints a different picture and gives us a good picture of what Revelations 20:13 will look like when it happens.

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

3. Deuteronomy: "Your corpses shall be food for every bird of the air and animal of the earth, and there shall be no one to frighten them away" (Deuteronomy 28:25-26; cf. 2 Samuel 21:10; Psalm 79:1-2; Isaiah 34:2-3; Jeremiah 7:33). The ancients worried about the exposure of their body after death. Improper care of one's corpse was a terrifying prospect, so it is no wonder it features in prophetic warnings of divine wrath. Qoheleth insists that even though a man lives a long life and has many children, if he "has no burial ... a stillborn child is better off than he" (Ecclesiastes 6:3). The indignity of non-burial presumably accounts for the honor bestowed on the poor man Lazarus in Jesus' parable; the rich man receives proper burial but Lazarus "was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham" (Luke 16:22) because there was no one to care for his remains.

I don't see how one could equate an undead existence as a zombie with the improper burial. And the  point of the parable of Lazarus and the rich man turn his argument all around. Lazarus' was carried away by Angels because  he was righteous. The rich man was not because of his wickedness.

4. The Book of Job: "Why is light given to one in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death, but it does not come, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures...?" (Job 3:20-21). Job is angry he did not die at birth (3:11), adding that he loathes his life and does not want to live forever (7:16). Others prefer death to life out of principled anger against God, like the prophet Jonah (4:3; cf. 4:8). Physical death eludes a surprising number of people in the Christian Bible, and this is not always a welcome thing. The prophet John refers to some who "seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will flee from them" (Revelation 9:6). The prospect of an elusive death, as every zombie fan knows, terrorizes the living. The "stricken" Charlotte Lucas in "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" agrees to marry the tedious and obsequious minister Mr. Collins because she wants "a husband who will see to [her] proper Christian beheading and burial." This is no small task for most survivors left with such a grim assignment, as Shaun well knows: "I don't think I got it in me to shoot my flat mate, my mom, and my girlfriend all in the same evening" ("Shaun of the Dead," 2004).

It's erroneous to say that physical death eludes a lot of people in the Bible. Realize that the Bible says that, so far, only Enoch and Elijah have not died. The reference to Revelations 9:6 describes events and situations that have not happened yet and has nothing to do with the Zombies like those in "Shaun of the Dead" and "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies".

5. The Gospel of Matthew: "The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After [Jesus'] resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many" (Matthew 27:52-53). Unwanted persistent life is a recurring image in biblical literature and so too is language referring to the impermanence of bodily death. The dead do not stay dead. The psalmist is confident he will not "see decay" (Psalm 16:10 New International Version; cf. Acts 2:27; 13:35). We read of the physical resurrections of specific individuals (e.g., 1 Kings 17:17-24; Luke 8:49-56; maybe Acts 20:7-12) and expected mass revivals (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Some of these accounts of un-dying involve reference to un-burying. Mary and Martha's brother Lazarus walks out of his tomb when "they took away the stone" (John 11:41). On Easter morning, mourners find "the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back" (Mark 16:4). A second century writer describes further the events preceding Jesus' emergence from the tomb: "That stone which had been laid against the entrance to the sepulchre started of itself to roll and gave way to the side, and the sepulchre was opened" (Gospel of Peter 9.35).

Unwanted persistent life is a recurring image in biblical literature and so too is language referring to the impermanence of bodily death. No way. No one in the Bible is raised from the dead despite the will of God. Lazarus' walked out of his tomb. He was not deformed and he did not want to eat anyone's brains.

6. Ezekiel: Ezekiel receives a vision promising the restoration of Israel (37:11). Seeing a valley full of bones, the Lord instructs him to speak to them, saying, "O dry bones ... I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live" (37:4-6). When Ezekiel does so, "there was a noise, a rattling" as bones come together and sinew and skin appears and the breath of life returns. The dry bones "lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude" (37:7-10).

No where does the passage tells us that they were deformed or went to look to eat brains/flesh afterward.

7. Zechariah: "their flesh shall rot while they are still on their feet; their eyes shall rot in their sockets, and their tongues shall rot in their mouths" (Zechariah 14:12). They seem to resemble extras in a George A. Romero film.

It is another prophecy. It has not happened yet. I doubt that Jerusalem's enemies will be walking around after they get a taste of this plague.

8. The Gospel of Mark: "hell, where their worm never dies" (Mark 9:48; alluding here to Isaiah 66:24). Gehenna (here symbolically representing "hell," and usually translated so, as in Mark 9:44, 45, 47) refers to the Valley of Hinnom located to the south and southwest of Jerusalem. Following the reign of Israel's righteous King Josiah (see 2 Kings 23:10-14), it became Jerusalem's garbage heap, a place with maggots and rotting corpses. Jesus refers to this burning garbage in Mark 9:48, a place where residents of the city would leave the rotting corpses of humans and animals to the worms that do not die, to maggots. The image suggests the corpses of the damned rot in gehenna/hell -- maggot ridden -- in perpetuity.

That's not an image suggested. Gilmour imposes the images. A fundamental problem with his interpretation is that zombies do not go to hell. Jesus was not only just referring to Jerusalem but to all those who refuse to accept him.

9. 2 Maccabees: "[Antiochus IV Epiphanes] was seized with a pain in his bowels, for which there was no relief, and with sharp internal tortures -- and that very justly, for he had tortured the bowels of others with many and strange inflictions ... he fell out of his chariot as it was rushing along, and the fall was so hard as to torture every limb of his body. ... the ungodly man's body swarmed with worms, and while he was still living in anguish and pain, his flesh rotted away, and because of the stench the whole army felt revulsion at his decay. Because of his intolerable stench no one was able to carry the man who a little while before had thought that he could touch the stars of heaven" (2 Maccabees 9:5-6, 7, 9-10). The Syrian ruler's physical body rots away zombie-like while he still lives. The cause is divine, as the God of Israel strikes this enemy of the Jews with "an incurable and invisible blow" (2 Maccabees 9:5).

But he wasn't turned into a zombie.

10. Genesis with the Book of Revelation: "the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep"; "the first heaven and the first earth has passed away, and the sea was no more" (Genesis 1:2; Revelation 21:1). With the disappearance of chaos, Eden returns: "On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit" (Revelation 22:2; cf. Genesis 2:9). Horrors stories often wander back and forth between forms of paradise (ordered society) and chaos (some variant of an apocalyptic hellscape) thus recalling biblical stories with similar alternations. Zombie stories typically depict the disintegration of the modern world, and often hint at a return from the wilderness to the paradisiacal garden for survivors (cf. Genesis 3:23-24). Danny Boyle's "28 Days Later" (2002), for one, ends with a developing romance between Jim and Salina, happy in the cultivated lands around a cottage that echoes Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The sequel "28 Weeks Later" (2007), however, depicts a failed attempt to restore Eden. After the spread of the disastrous infection in the first film, the sequel documents efforts to repopulate the United Kingdom. Survivors return to their homeland, to what the director's commentary refers to as "a new world" and a "Garden of Eden." Naturally, mayhem ensues and the infection spreads as the movie unfolds. It wouldn't be much of a horror movie otherwise.

Overall there is no reason to equate anything in the Bible with zombie fiction. There is much fiction that borrows from the Bible the idea of Eden lost and regained. So what? The reason I think zombie fiction and horror has so much commercial success is because it is based on two major fears: fear of not being at the top of the food chain and the fear of loosing people we love. The Bible gives us real answers as to giving us understanding of what is true and and what is not true. God does not want us to be living in blind ignorance. You know the truth by knowing him.

I know what some think: that no one really thinks that the equates the people who are raised from the dead with the brain-eating zombies of fiction. For any of those people I have one question. How is this:

Different than this?

Yup, Definitely a faceplant.

Michael Gilmour: Top 10 Zombie Scenes in the Bible
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

FacePlant of the Day - Debunking Christianity: What Would Christianity Have Without Its Myths?

I'm grateful that Harry McCall has actually come up with pointing out an actual problem  with Christianity. This time instead of trying to throw the Bible "under bus",  he attacks Christian myths and tradition in general and St George killing a Dragon to save a town in particular. He wrote:

Christian "truth" is fabricated and propagated by Christian tradition and one of my favorites deals with my experience at Saint George Greek Orthodox Church here in Greenville, S.C. 

Then he tries to use the fact that some Christians who hold this tradition of George and this Dragon as proof of the above statement. He asks a simple and fair question; "Was the dragon a real dragon and how do you know?" All he managed to prove is that some people accept some stories and have no way to defend them. No need to for them to get mad and angry with an atheist for pointing out that fact. McCall's faceplant here is assuming that George slaying a dragon has anything to do with the validity of the Bible - on which Christianity is supposed to rest. Face it. What difference does it make to the truth claims of the Bible if the George and the Dragon story is true? None! What if it's false and made up? Also no difference. You are still a sinner in the need of a savior regardless of the George and the Dragon story. If you are going to try to debunk Christianity than quit making straw men arguments.

Debunking Christianity: What Would Christianity Have Without Its Myths?

Answering Muslims: Eastern Christianity - Filling in the Gaps

Samuel Green has posted series of lectures by Dr Ken Parry in which he gives the history of the Eastern Orthodox Church. I'm really glad to see it because it contains a lot of information that I did not have because we always talk more about the West in the West. Well worth the time!

The Eastern Orthodox

The Oriental Orthodox

Asia, Central Asia, China & India

Answering Muslims: Eastern Christianity - Filling in the Gaps

FacePalm of the Day - Debunking Christianity: Three Biblical Spirits of Which One is Likely to Affect People This Holiday Season

It's always pathetic when Harry McCall attempts to be "Biblical".  Maybe he should look up the word. I think that maybe he's just trying an attempt to be funny. He fails because he attempts to throw the Bible "under the bus". If you are going to try to show that the Bible doesn't make sense, one should avoid illustrating how little they actually don't understand what they read. The purpose of Harry McCall's post is to describe different "spirits" in the Bible and the only "spirits" we should embrace during the holidays should be alcohol. Really bad argument.

A. The Holy Spirit (The promised “Comforter”, Acts 2: 4)

Acts 2:4 is discussing the first time the Holy Spirit fell on the Believers at Pentecost. I guess he thinks the account is untrustworthy and isn't as great as getting drunk.  I wonder why he would ignore such better scriptures that really describe what "Comforter" really means.

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. John 14:16,17

The tongues in Acts 2:4 were just an outward sign for the Believers that aren't meant for unbelievers like McCall. An unbeliever cannot be filled with this spirit. Jesus also tells us what the Spirit does!

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. - John 15:26,27

Jesus also said:

I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” - Luke 24:49

So the spirit is not only truth, consolation, but power.

B. An Evil Spirit (Afflicted Saul, 1 Samuel 16: 14)

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil[a] spirit from the Lord tormented him. - 1 Samuel 16:14

Hmmm.... The Spirit of God leaves,,,,and an evil one comes and torments. Without God equals "being godless". No wonder so many godless people are tormented.

C. The Distilled Spirit (Lives in a bottle before possessing humans. Often cohabits with either of the above spirits! (Proverbs 23: 31 -32)

 31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup,
    when it goes down smoothly!
32 In the end it bites like a snake
    and poisons like a viper.

McCall wants to pretend that the passage is talking about a spirit like the spirits he already mentions in his parts a and b. If you look at the passage, all it's saying is that alcohol abuse will destroy you. Who can argue against that? I've seen alcoholism do exactly that - destroy the alcoholic and the people around him/her.

May your Holiday Season be a spirit filled one! Harry 

Obviously, McCall is trying to insult God using the Bible as well as tell his friends " happy holidays." There is a problem when you misuse the Bible. Just tell the truth. McCall hates God and willing to lie about what God said. Before I sum this up, take a look at what Greg Gay wrote. He tried to help McCall out by pointing out other passages that describe spirits I guess in an attempt to show that drunkenness is better.

Greg Gay Collapse
D. The Spirit of Jealousy (When children see what their brother or sister got. Numbers 5:14,30)
E. The Spirit of Whoredoms (Hosea 5:4)

  1. Numbers 5:14
    And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:
    Numbers 5:13-15 (in Context) Numbers 5 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
  2. Numbers 5:30
    Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.
    Numbers 5:29-31 (in Context) Numbers 5 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
So who really want to be filled with Jealousy? You can't be jealous and contented simultaneously. Passages about jealousy in marriage misses the point. It's not a sin to want what is yours. It's a sin when you want what belongs to someone else. If your spouse cheats on you, you are supposed to feel Jealous. The problem begins with your response. If you have the Spirit from part a, you will respond differently than you would if you are filled with any other kind of Spirit.

As for the Spirit of Whoredoms

They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the Lord. - Hosea 5:4

Notice that the passage is not just about adultery and prostitution. It is about idolatry and Rejecting God and embracing your rebellion against God.  Again this is atheism defined and godlessness illustrated. So what spirit do you want to be filled with? Truth land consolation? Evil? Jealousy? Or Whoredoms? So what is a better passage explaining what we should choose in regards to drunkenness?

1Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, - Ephesians 5:17-19

Gee....I wonder why Harry didn't think this one through? It is much better advice - good not just for the holidays but perpetually.

Debunking Christianity: Three Biblical Spirits of Which One is Likely to Affect People This Holiday Season
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Answering Muslims: Refuting Zakir Naik on the Crucifixion of Jesus

David Wood and Sam Shamoun have begun a series of broadcasts directly refuting Zakir Naik's arguments and misrepresentation. In this one, they tackle Naik's assertion that Jesus did not die on the cross. Granted that Naik's viewpoint is not shared by all Muslims but he has a lot of influence and a platform. I think it's good that David and Sam are going after his arguments and correcting them. This one is truly important.
Zakir Naik claims that a careful reading of the New Testament shows that Jesus never died on the cross. But are his arguments sound? Sam Shamoun and I discuss Naik's main arguments in our latest episode of "Jesus or Muhammad?"

Answering Muslims: Refuting Zakir Naik on the Crucifixion of Jesus
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Answering Muslims: Robert Spencer: Women in the Qur'an

Here is a program where Robert Spencer lays out how women are discussed in the Qur'an.

Answering Muslims: Robert Spencer: Women in the Qur'an

Jesus - The Ultimate Christmas Gift - Director's Cut

The following  post is a kind of "director's cut" of a sermon I had the privilege of preaching earlier today.  It's not a verbatim transcript of what I said, but it is a kind of a write up, followed by the power point I used.

Good afternoon, Evangelist Temple.  Merry Christmas! We say that  “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. The truth is that Jesus is the reason for everything. What we want to do today is to scratch the surface of what that means. Everything points to Jesus including mathematics, science,  and history.  

On December 14 we just saw that a man walked into an elementary school and shot killed over 20 children and 6 adults! We have people shocked and amazed. The question on people’s minds: “How could God allow such an evil thing to take place? Why were some people spared and some people were not?” Some conclude that there couldn’t be a God because there is no good reason for such a thing to happen and blame God. The reason why the subject we are talking about today is so important is that you’ve got to wonder over the course of history how many such inexplicable things have happened. Such things in your own lives have happen that left you scratching your head – with differing levels of despair. Just like God has guided everything for Jesus to come at just the right time to save us, God directs everything even when we don’t understand where things are going and why. This is the good news that Christmas rests on. God is in control and He loves you  - and you can hold on that even when the unthinkable happens.

Given that Christmas is just in a couple of days, let’s take a closer look at Jesus.  Starting at Colossians 1:15-20
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Jesus is the Son. He created all things and put all things in their place. Everything that makes God what God is is in Him. It is through Jesus, that we are redeemed from sin and death.
I’d like to spend some time looking at how History and science come together in Christ. And they come together in prophecy. The Old Testament points us to Jesus. The Old Testament scriptures are full of prophecies that points to Jesus Christ. There are over 300 of them.

Here are 8 of  them

Old Testament Prophecy
New Testament Fulfillment
Christ to be born in Bethlehem
(Micah 5:2)
And Herod asked where Christ had been born ... they answered Bethlehem
(Matt 2:4-6)
2.8 x 105 or 1 in 280,000
Forerunner of Christ
(Malachi 3:1)
John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ
(Mark 1:2-8)
1 x 103 or 1 in 1,000
Christ to enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey
(Zech 9:9)
Christ enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey
(Matt 21:4-11)
1 x 102 or 1 in 100
Christ to be betrayed by a friend
(Psalm 41:9)
Judas betrayed Jesus
(Luke 22:21)
1 x 103 or 1 in 1,000
Christ to be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver
(Zech 11:12)
Judas sold out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver
(Matt 26:15)
1 x 103 or 1 in 1,000
30 pieces of silver casted down and used to buy a potter's field
(Zech 11:13)
30 pieces of silver used to buy a potter's field
(Matt 27:3-10)
1 x 105 or 1 in 100,000
Although innocent, Christ kept silent when on trial
(Isaiah 53:7)
Jesus kept silent when questioned
(Mark 14:60-61)
1 x 103 or 1 in 1,000
Christ crucified
(Psalm 22:16)
Jesus was crucified
(John 19:17, 18)
1 x 104 or 1 in 10,000

Think of how probable for one human being to just fulfill one of them let a lone all of them in a single life time.  Any one person that would fit that many prophecies must be the messiah. It’s like a fingerprint. No one before Jesus or after Jesus would be able to say this.
No one else could have done this and nor would anyone ever be able to fulfill these.
Paul wrote:

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:6-8
So let’s look at just how probable it is for a single person to fulfill just eight of these prophecies. The chances of a single person fulfilling eight of these prophecies are 1 in 1 x 10 to the 28th power. Here is a little bit of math and science. 1 times 10 to the 28th means the number 1 with 28 zeroes after it. That is huge. That is more people who have ever lived on earth. Our best estimates are that there are just under 8 Billion people on earth right now and that there are more people alive now than who have ever lived. Put it into perspective: The more digits that number has, the bigger the number is. 1 Billion means 1 with 9 zeroes. 9 is a lot smaller than 28. If you think just fulfilling 8 of these is such a low probability, what about 16 of them? 32?  300? This is real quantifiable evidence that Jesus is who Jesus said He is.

When you are asking about the odds of something, a visual aid could help.  What we are saying is that one person fulfilling those eight prophecies is like the following:
Filling the state of Texas:

With Quarters

1 x 1028 quarters would fill Texas to  height of 2 ft, marking one of these quarters, using bull dozers to mix them all up, and then blind folded picking the marked quarter at random. We are talking about one quarter out of 1 times 10 to 28th quarters.

We could use all kinds of examples of how God has acted throughout history but I don’t have enough time, so instead we are going to focus on one particular example. Let’s put this in a larger historical context with cultural relevance.

Remember the movie “300”?

 It was the story of King Xerxes of Persia  (the same King in the story of Esther I the Bible) invasion of Greece. The movie is fictionalized and stylized, but it is based on true events.  It even contained some direct language taken from the historical account.  The story of King Leonidas  - when few stood against  many  - is dated to 486 BC. Although the Greeks lost that battle (sorry for the spoiler)  they set the stage for a larger Greek victory not long after that. If you want to see a good documentary on what happened and why and how history is really different than the movie I’d recommend watching the History Channel’s Battle of Thermopylae - Last stand of Leonidas & the 300 Spartans

It is available on YouTube. Anyone who wants to know more please let me know I’ll make sure you get the link.

 Thermopylae sets the stage for Greece to become unified world power. They finally defeated the Persians under Alexander the Great. By this time, you may be wondering what does all this has to do with Jesus? Everything!  Alexander standardized Greek as a  language and a culture and spread it out all around the known world. Greek became the language of commerce, politics, literature, and diplomacy. If it was important and from the Greek or Roman Empire chances are it was in Greek.  When the Romans conquered the Greeks, they kept much of their technology and culture and just incorporated them with their own – including the use of Greek. Because Greek was the dominant language in use even before Jesus, the Old Testament had been translated into Greek centuries before Jesus. All of the New Testament was written in Greek and because the Romans wanted to be able to be able to deploy their professional army anywhere in their empire and beyond, they built roads.  Roads that were also great for commerce – and God had them in place for the Gospel to be spread throughout the Roman Empire quickly. 

What I’m saying is that Jesus birth, death, and resurrection was not a coincidence.  It wasn’t an accident.  Goad wasn’t just crossing His fingers hoping that all of this would work out. God sovereignly put everything and everyone in their place according to what HE wants to do.  Fortunately, He wanted to save us.  Jesus came to do exactly that. He died for us in our place to atone for the sins of His people. If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart, you are one of God’s people and your sins are not counted against you. This is the point of Christmas.  Jesus is the ultimate Gift – at the right place and at the right time.

At this point, I really should give some attention to potential objections and why they offer nothing against the point that God worked through History and we can see that in the fact that Jesus fulfilled prophecies that were given centuries before his birth.

Objection 1: The messianic prophecies are so vague they could describe anyone. Anyone telling you this does not know enough about what the prophecies are. For example, the prophecy that the messiah would be betrayed by someone close to him, the place the messiah would be born, and many other details make it impossible to claim that the prophecies are vague.

Objection 2: The prophecies were not really written by the men tradition says they were. Some claim that Isaiah's prophecies were not really written by the prophet Isaiah or during the time the Bible says that Isaiah lived. They claim that the majority of scholarship backs up their conclusion. Don't buy it. Not in the slightest. Most people who come to this conclusion think that  because they are looking for a reason not to believe that. Even if you grant that them the point ( and I would not) the entire Hebrew Bible predates Jesus by almost 400 years. So the point is moot.  The prophecies and their fulfillment still evidence that God is behind History.

Objection 3: Jesus purposely fulfilled the messianic prophecies so that he could take credit for being the messiah. Not much of an objection. Think about it.  It's assuming that Jesus prearranged not only his being baptized by John the Baptist but also that he pre-arranged  his birth in Bethlehem. Why stop there?  That means if he could do that then he could also arrange a virgin birth. If Jesus did that is that a problem if you are Christian? Nope. That is exactly what we are saying - Jesus did arrange it - all. But of course, wouldn't he have to be God in order to do all of that? Duh! Exactly what we are saying. Making this objection actually concedes the argument. Thanks.

There are two last things I’d like to cover today. 

How do we talk to people about who Jesus is? Dr Ravi Zacharias had the opportunity to speak to one of the leaders of Hamas. When Dr Zacharias had the opportunity to talk to one of the founders of Hamas during a Middle East peace negotiations, he made the most of it. And centered the brief time he had on Christ.
Here is what he said

Jesus is that gift. God’s Word, love, and forgiveness personified.  I want to end with a video that Pastor Stewart showed us 4 years ago. We need to remember and celebrate Christ – all year round.  He just wasn’t a baby in a manger. Jesus is far more.  Let’s end with Dr S.M. Lockridge asking the fundamental question: “Do you know Him?” And then he answers the question by telling you who Jesus is: “That’s My King”.

Here is a video of the slides

Here are slides served from slideshare

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