Monday, December 30, 2013

My Common Sense in Tingling - What God Really Thinks of Children!

As funny as it may seem, sometimes people do post thought-provoking posts on...Tumblr. I just saw an example below. The following graphic after this paragraph makes the assertion that God does not love Children and that the Bible is full of examples of Children being killed. It attempts to back this charge up by rattling off a series of Bible verses in attempt to back up such silly blasphemy. The Bible verses are either twisted out of context or outright lied about what it says. I think it would be instructive to go through each verse and see if it really tells us ways in which we ought to kill children. I will quote each verse and demonstrate what it really is saying. If anyone thinks that this is a matter of interpretation I have to disagree. This is a matter of reading comprehension. Can one read a text and understand what is being communicated? If one can look at these passage and come away with the thought that the God of the Bible is commanding his people to kill babies, I have to question either their intellectual abilities and/or honesty.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. - Matthew 18:6

Many times people take a verse out of context because they don't read the surrounding verses but that excuse can't be used here. Jesus is not saying that children should be thrown into the sea tied to millstones and drowned.  Jesus said that the people who hurt those who follow him, especially children, it would be better that they have stones tied around their necks and drowned than what will actually happen to him. In other words, hurting children will get you a worse punishment than having a stone tied around your neck and drown in the sea. The concrete shoes treatment would be getting off easy. The passage is pointing out how important children are to God. 

20 “Look, Lord, and consider:
    Whom have you ever treated like this?
Should women eat their offspring,
    the children they have cared for?
Should priest and prophet be killed
    in the sanctuary of the Lord?

21 “Young and old lie together
    in the dust of the streets;
my young men and young women
    have fallen by the sword.
You have slain them in the day of your anger;
    you have slaughtered them without pity.

22 “As you summon to a feast day,
    so you summoned against me terrors on every side.
In the day of the Lord’s anger
    no one escaped or survived;
those I cared for and reared
    my enemy has destroyed.” - Lamentations 2:20-22

This was the prophet Jeremiah crying out to God about the destruction and destitution his people were  enduring. Mothers were eating their children because Jerusalem had no more food because the Babylonians had been starving them out over.  Jeremiah is describing what happened. God is not prescribing what we should be doing or saying that this was a good a thing. This was a horror and a consequence of their sin. God had given them centuries to repent and they would not. So this way wrath and judgement. Take note because your turn is coming if you refuse to repent and turn to God.

10 Therefore in your midst parents will eat their children, and children will eat their parents. I will inflict punishment on you and will scatter all your survivors to the winds. - Ezekiel 5:10

The prophet Ezekiel was one of Jeremiah's contemporaries. He was given the same message to their people as Jeremiah said. Again this was not something people were supposed to do. This was punishment for their evil and rebellion again God. 

24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. - Genesis 19:24

The graphic appears to be saying the God likes to burn children to death because he destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. However these two cities were extraordinary wicked and God can choose to bring judgment whenever he wants to and however he wants to and on whomever he wants to. We cannot do that because none of us are better or worse than another human being.

Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke of when he said:
“‘Among those who approach me
    I will be proved holy;
in the sight of all the people
    I will be honored.’”
Aaron remained silent. - Leviticus 10:1-3

Nadab and Abihu were not children when this happened. They were grown men and knew what they were doing but still chose to sin. 

18 If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid. - Deuteronomy 21:18-21

This passage is not trying to imply that young children would be treated this way. The passage is referring to an adult child. For example not cleaning your room would not get you stoned. It would have to be extreme and continuous.

29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well.  - Exodus 12:29

God did not kill all the children...just the firstborn including adults. This points forward to all who were covered under the blood of Jesus will be saved just like the folks who painted the Passover lambs blood on their door posts were saved.

36 Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron and attacked it. - Joshua 10:36

IT was a war. Were they supposed to be tossing flowers and request surrender? I hope on one would really think that was appropriate.

Yet she was taken captive
    and went into exile.
Her infants were dashed to pieces
    at every street corner.
Lots were cast for her nobles,
    and all her great men were put in chains. - Nahum 3:10

This was part of a prophecy explaining what was going to happen to the city of Nineveh  It is about Judgement. They deserved it because of their Sins. But they deserved it no more than you or I.

29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[a] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life - Matthew 19:29

Jesus was not commanding people to abandon their children or their families. In the context of the passage, Jesus was saying that we should love nothing more than Him. But if we loose our families (ie because we are killed for our belief and obedience to  Him) because we put Jesus first He will take care of  us. Jesus also commanded us to obey Him and He tells us that we must take care our our parents and children. Therefore we can't just abandon them. Therefore, Jesus is not telling us it's okay to abandon or neglect our families.

20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. - Revelations 2:20-23

In the last Scripture cited, again out of context, the children of a specific woman who misleads and perverts her position of teaching in a specific church at a specific time. Her sins are listed but we are not told if her her children are adults or younger or her name or much specific information. If you want to apply this for today, you can see that we are given a description of what a false prophet teacher looks like and what can happen to such a person. Don't be like her. 

In looking at the passage again, I've got to point out that this particular church isn't being admonished because the have a woman as a leader and teacher. They are being warned against what she is teaching.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

FacePalm of the Day - Who is really Specal Pleading?

John Loftus posted a blog post in which he reiterates his contention that Christians do no more than special pleading when giving evidence and arguments for what what we believe and why we believe it. The article is entitled "Christian Apologetics is Little More Than Special Pleading" and after it showed up in my RSS feed it seems to have been deleted. I'm bringing it back up because he makes no new arguments here but summarizes his mind set. I am responding in red font and his words are in black font. Let's first define what "special pleading" is.

Description of Special Pleading
Special Pleading is a fallacy in which a person applies standards, principles, rules, etc. to others while taking herself (or those she has a special interest in) to be exempt, without providing adequate justification for the exemption. This sort of "reasoning" has the following form:
  1. Person A accepts standard(s) S and applies them to others in circumtance(s) C.
  2. Person A is in circumstance(s) C.
  3. Therefore A is exempt from S.

Once again let me say that all attempts to defend Christianity are little more than special pleading to a conclusion based on other grounds, most notably one's culture and private subjective experience. To see this for what it is just look seriously at how Muslims, Mormons and Moonies defend their faiths. Don't just note that their conclusions are different. Look at how they reason. So the only way to defend Christianity is to argue that one's culture and private subjective experience are reliable guides to the truth about the nature and workings of the universe. But anyone who has visited a different culture, or took seriously the fact of religious diversity, should see quite clearly that neither of them are reliable guides to the truth. Christians are therefore in denial.

So let's try to understand what Loftus is arguing. He is saying that Christians are in the same circumstances C as Muslims, Mormons, Moonies, and all other religious people because the standards S by which we reason and accept reality are blinded by our own culture and private subjective experiences. It is true that if Christianity was only based on culture and private subjective experience, Loftus would be right. But this where his reasoning goes off the rails. Biblical Christianity is independent of opinions and culture for its truth claims. The commands given in the  Bible are independent of your culture and what you feel about them. So is Jesus' sacrifice - his death, burial, and resurrection. This also transcends whatever religious diversity arguments anyone might even think of raising. Just because they are rejected by another religion does not make them wrong. True that depending on your own experience or understanding will not lead you to any truth. Christianty is not based on either.

They prefer to live in a childish pretend world where they have an unfounded hope because of the perceived need for hope. Faith is a pathology that keeps Christians from taking responsibility for their own lives, that keeps them from thinking for themselves, that allows them to mindlessly quote-mine from the Bible, that forever keeps them from growing up. I have never been more convinced of this as I am today.

This sure is a lot of accusations being thrown around. Loftus can't substantiate any of it. He has readily admitted in several other posts and books that we can only talk about probabilities because we can't be certain. He even has said that we don't need certainty if we know how likely something is to be true. Yet, he is so certain that the Bible is wrong.  The most he can argue is that he thinks that the Bible is probably not true. His "reasoning" for this conclusion is dubious because he agrees that human reasoning is flawed and yet he is using his own reasoning to come that conclusion. He is asking us to think that his reasoning is worth trusting. Yet, I see no reason to drink that kool-aid. The Bible is reliable and more than likely true - it is true.

Christian, you can show us otherwise and here's how. Just produce a series of arguments, along with the objective evidence that backs them up, that your sect-specific type of Christianity is the one true faith without any special pleading.

Biblical Christianity is more than up for this challenge. I would like to see Loftus first make his arguments without special pleading. 

The pathological nature of faith should be seen in any attempt to do so. The hard part is to show this is exactly what you're doing, since the nature of the pretend game of faith blinds you from seeing the double-standards you use to defend it. You can see the double-standards in people who defend other faiths. You are blind to this same thing when it comes to your own. You think you have the requisite evidence, but this so-called evidence isn't objective evidence that could convince a reasonable outsider at all. You only accept this so-called evidence because of the need to have hope, even if it's an unfounded one.

I find it amazing that Loftus can't see how the above "observations" apply to him as well as it does some religious proponents. He is truly special pleading  because he assumes a standard for evidence for Atheism and pretends that he is using logic and reasoning but Christians are not. All Loftus is using is emotional and based on his own culture and subjective experiences.

This Is How You Protect Your Marriage!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Weighing in on the Phil Robertson Controversy

Today, I finally heard of the Controversy that came about from an interview of Phil Robertson in GQ Magazine. Robertson is one of the stars of the A&E show Duck Dynasty. Robertson made statements completely consistent with Christianity against Homosexuality and other sins rampant in America today. A&E fired him from the show and people are calling for him to apologize. Here is a really good video explaining the situation and why it is silly.

Not everything that Robertson said I agree with. The situation was also discussed on the Pierce Morgan Show on CNN.

The really amazing thing is how people are trying to spin Robertson's statement as non-Christian. Morgan said himself that although he claims to be a "Christian", he does not believe all of the Bible is true. Michael Brown did a great job representing the truth of the Bible. Too bad the other people he was talking to on the show did not hear him.

Piers Morgan Says Belief That Homosexuality Is Sinful Is 'Bigoted' and 'Fooey' | Media Research Center

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Truthbomb Apologetics: God of love or God of judgment?

Here is a good sermon by Michael Ramsden. He explains why there is no contradiction between
God's love and judgement. 

Truthbomb Apologetics: God of love or God of judgment?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Who Controls Salvation? James White vs George Bryson

For a while now the following video has been on YouTube. It's from a video of a debate on Calvinism from 2002 between James White and George Bryson.

Recently, the whole debate has been posted on YouTube 

WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR — The Hunger Games Are Real (by thehpalliance) ...

Like all great fictional franchises that transcend time, The Hunger Games movies and books make very astute commentary on the times and events from which it was born.  The Hunger Games is a fictional story but the following video shows that it is eerily similar to life and times today.

WIL WHEATON dot TUMBLR — The Hunger Games Are Real (by thehpalliance) ...

Debate: Atheists vs Christians (Krauss + Shermer vs D'Souza + Hutchinson) - YouTube

The following video was a debate where I got to admit that Lawrence Krauss and Micheal Shermer won this debate. It does not make Atheism right, but it does show that some atheists can win debates. I think that the reason why the Christians in this debate lost it is because they didn't defend or explain the Bible. That is why they lost. They practically gave the debate away if you want to show that Science does not refute God.

Debate: Atheists vs Christians (Krauss + Shermer vs D'Souza + Hutchinson) - YouTube

Studies on Hosea | Dr. Claude Mariottini – Professor of Old Testament

Dr Calude Mariottini  recently posted a summary post with links to his blog posts regarding the Book of Hosea.

Studies on Hosea | Dr. Claude Mariottini – Professor of Old Testament

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hundred Examples of Faulty Logic

I have heard of couple of attempts by Atheists to summarize proofs for the existence of God from Dr Victor Reppert. It's satirical but I don't think that it shows a complete misunderstanding of what the arguments.  I think the graphic on the right summarizes the level of intelligence demonstrated on these pages.

Hundreds of Proofs of God's Existence.

Hundreds of Proofs of God's Non-Existence.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

God Answers Prayers

Look at the picture on the right. I found it on Tumblr. It is an attempt to argue that prayer is pointless and ineffectual. Someone added some commentary below it to show how Christians prayed in the past and how those prayers failed. There are several problems with this based on some bad assumptions. Let's first look at what the Bible says about prayer and then look to see how we can see what is wrong with the supposed prayers.  One thing I would like to know is how does confrontingbabble-on know that people prayed prayers like this one? Problem is that people assume that God is obligated to answer your prayers the way you expect him to do. No where doe the Bible say that.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. - James 4:1-3


13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. - 1 John 5:13-15

Prayer is not about changing God and making God do what you want. It's about communicating with God and allowing Him to change you. Therefore if you pray for something that is not in God's plan or according to God's will, the answer is an automatic "No".

What that prayer was asking god for…
1913 prayer: "Dear God, please stop the government’s plan to collect income taxes…and prevent women from getting the vote…as this will surely destroy this great nation…For thy glory, Thy will be done…Amen"

February 3 – The 16th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, authorizing the Federal government to impose and collect income taxes.
March 3 – The Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913 takes place in Washington, D.C. led by Inez Milholland on horseback.

No where does the Bible tells us that Women should not vote nor have a voice in government. Even if someone did pray this why would anyone think that God would want women not to work or vote? They didn't get that idea from God. As for social security taxes, Jesus told us we must pay our taxes.  I'm glad God said "No".

1940 prayer: "Dear Lord God, please stop women from showing their legs in public…as this will surely destroy this great nation…For thy glory, Thy will be done…Amen

May 15 Women’s stockings made of nylon are first placed on sale across the U.S. Almost five million pairs are bought on this day
 Now where does the Bible tell us that about Women.  I'm glad God said "No."
1969 prayer: "Dear God, seriously, hear my prayer…please confound those so arrogant to presume to leave earth and go to the moon, as you confounded those who would build the mud brick ziggurat of Babel of around 6 floors high into the heavens…as this will surely destroy this great nation…For thy glory…Thy will be done…Amen

July 24 – Apollo program: Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins return safely to Earth after the first landing on the Moon.
November 19 – Apollo program: Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean land at Oceanus Procellarum (“Ocean of Storms”), becoming the third and fourth humans to walk on the Moon.
November 24 – Apollo program: The Apollo 12 spacecraft splashes down safely in the Pacific Ocean, ending the second manned mission to the Moon.
  God's will was done. No reason to assume that God didn't want people to go to the moon.
2012 prayer: "Dear Jesus, please, please, please, I implore you…stop our leaders endorsing gay marriage…prevent those who would damage the fine work of the godly Boy Scouts…prevent that black Muslim being re-elected president…and stop weed being legalized…as all this will surely destroy this great nation…For thy glory, Thy will be done…Amen"

May 9 – Barack Obama becomes the first sitting U.S. President to announce support for gay marriage
October 18 - The Boy Scouts of America release documents containing over 15,000 pages relating to allegations of sexual abuse by over 1,200 scout leaders between 1965-1985
November 6 – 2012 elections - Barack Obama is reelected President of the United States, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney
Maine becomes the first state to legalize gay marriage via voter referendum. Maryland and Washington do the same. Minnesota also rejects a constitutional amendment which would have banned same-sex marriage.

Washington becomes the first state to legalize marijuana. Colorado does the same.
Why did God allow this? Especially because we know that God says in scripture that homosexuality is sin. Why would God allow it to become more and more accepted?

 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. - 2 Timothy 3:12,13

God's will is indeed done. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ten Signs That You Don't Know What A Christian Is

I found the above image posted on Tumblr and I think its very illustrative of the fact that while many atheists and agnostics like to pretend the Christians believe the Bible and in God out of ignorance and we can be shamed and ridiculed into accepting their way of thinking, they really don't know what they are talking about. This particular graphic contradicts reality and has some real problems that fail to show that Christians are unthinking. This is so bad that I wonder if people who believe these 10 things actually think.

1. You know a lot less than Atheists and Agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - and yet still call yourself a Christian.

I have to agree that there are many people who are Christians that do not think critically about what they say they believe or why. They don't think about history and theology as much as we should. Unfortunately, I have not found a single atheist nor agnostic who can consistently and correctly describe nor refute what Christian believe or teach. Therefore they don't know the Bible much better.

2. You defend the 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% failure was simply the will of God.

Here is a case in point. The person who compiled this list makes many of the same mistakes people make about God. They don't know what prayer is or what it's for. Prayer is not convincing God to do something on your behalf. Prayer is communication with God. Prayer changes us not God. Other thing is the Bible teaches us to pray according to God's will. Another thing is that "No" is just as much an answer as "Yes". The only way you could get a "Yes" only 0.01% of the time, is that  you only pray according to God's will 0.01% of the time. That is on you, not God.

3. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor "speaking in tongues" may be all the evidence you need.

I've heard many an atheist and agnostics make claims like this, but they never back it up with a single scientific or historical fact disproves the Bible. The majority of the people who make such objections are not capable of defending such a claim..and those who do try to produce such "evidence" can easily be refuted and ignored.

4. You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs - though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend eternity in an infinite hell of suffering. Yet you consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving".

This is another misconception that shows that the author of this list don;t know what Christians are saying. The Bible shows that every single person is sinner and deserves to spend an eternity in an infinite hell or suffering.  It is through Jesus that we are saved. Grace and Mercy. God holds back what we deserve and instead gives us a gift - Himself! We deserve hell because we reject God and trespass against his commandments and character. To say nothing of the pain and suffering we inflict on one another. Why should you or I get away with that? Jesus took the punishment we deserve for those things so that we don't have to. When you reject Christ, you say to God, I can bear the weight of my own sin, I don't need help. God just let's you have things your way. Good luck with that.

5.  You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of the Earth (4.55 billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by pre-historic tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that the Earth is a couple of generations old.

No loopholes are needed because no where does the Bible tell us that the earth is a couple of generations old. You can't get that from Young Earth creationism.  Typically they argue that the earth is 6 thousand to 10 thousand years old. They get that from the way they interpret the Bible but this not a salvation issue and you can be a Christian and yet accept either position. The Bible does not give us any dates for the age of the earth. Makes me wonder if the one who made this list ever bothered actually read the Bible.

6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

More ignorance on display. Mary was not impregnated sexually. Had she been impregnated sexually, she would not have been a virgin any longer. The Greek claims of gods having sex with women was sexual intercourse as we understand it today. Making a claim of Jesus' conception being similar only further highlights how much is not understood. A thinking Christian would want to now why Jesus laid down his life. Of course the same one who spoke reality into existence out of nothing would be able to resurrect the dead. Jesus was not a  man-god or demigod like Hercules or Perseus. To claim this about Jesus means you don't know nothing about the Trinity.

7.  Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" - including women, children, and animals!

God did not slaughter all the Babies of Egypt. Only the first born of each family died. It was not just the Babies - but even grown humans and even the animals. I don't flinch because I see that God gave Pharoah the opportunity to avoid this but he didn't listen. All lives belong to God and he can do things as he pleases. As for the comment about Allah, I think that the author of this list knows even less about Islam than he/she knows about Christianity. I see more a problem with what Muhammad and his followers did than what the Quran says Allah has done.  And for the claim of  "ethnic cleansing" you have to go back to Genesis 15 to truly understand what happened in Joshua. God had told Abraham that He was going to wait to destroy the Ammorites because of their sin - which included child sacrifice which has been proven by archaeology.

16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” - Genesis 15:16

8. You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Trinity god.

One more time - tritheism is not trinitarianism. WE do not believe in three gods. God is one being. Three persons. We are monotheistic. One God. God is not like us in that we are each one being and one person. "Being" and "person" are not the same thing. If you are going to reject Christianity at least get the teachings correct. 

9. You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from lesser life forms but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

Prove it. Prove that an amoeba and a tardigrade have a common ancestor. You have to prove that all living things on earth have a common ancestor to show that people evolved from lesser life forms and I have not seen anyone do that.  We can demonstrate animals and plants mutating and adapting but not from one species to another. Dogs stay dogs. Fruit flies stay fruit flies.

10. You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of your god.

That's because the God of the Bible is the one and only God and we don't like people going to hell in ignorance.  You should at least know why you are going. 

Grant Morrison Quote

Here is a very interesting quote by the author Grant Morrison. I think he's right. However very few people seem to realize that the Bible also tells us how special and unique each one of us are. The Bible also tells us why God did this:

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[b] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[c]
29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” - Romans 17:24-31

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Skewed History of Religion

I have been studying this really stupid argument for a few years. It’s a “go-to” argument for many people against Christianity. It does not hold. And I have compiled a list of videos and articles that can help get real clarity here!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Jim Bob Duggar Compares Abortion to the Holocaust

Jim Bob Duggar recently restated his position that abortion is like Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany. Of course this thought causes all kinds of controversy and strong emotions. In one such article, a woman makes dismisses the Duggars for being ignorant and uninformed. I think it's partly because he and his wife have decided to have so many children of their own in a society where people think that that is backwards. She attempts to explain the difference between abortion and the Holocaust as follows.
Several million human beings died in The Holocaust because a homicidal sociopath decided that they didn’t deserve to live based solely on their religion or sexual orientation or mental abilities. Even though these people did not in any way affect Hitler or the way he chose to live his life, he had them systemically enslaved and murdered. In contrast, several million fetuses are aborted every year because the women carrying them decided that it wasn’t in the fetus and/or the woman’s best interest to bring the fetus to term.
I think she misses the following point that Duggar and people like him see in the similarities. You have someone in power determining that it is not in the best interest for a human being to live. Set aside for a moment the idea that a woman should have the right to determine what is right for her body and compare it to the right that we would give any other human being to live. In effect when a baby is aborted, the same choice is made against a human being as when the Nazis decided that those millions of people did not deserve to live. This thought comes from the idea that I don't see how any of us has the right or authority to determine who should live and who should die. 

Hitler did think that the people he murdered were affecting his interest negatively. They were in his way. They were inconvenient to him reaching agendas and goals - same reason some choose abortion.

Jim Bob Duggar Compares Abortion to the Holocaust

Sunday, September 22, 2013

FacePalm of the Day - Debunking Christianity: The Basis for Morality is Empathy

John Loftus attempted to try to find a basis for morality apart from God and again fails. 

Do non-believers have a basis for saying some things cause harm? I think so. Just look at a burning child. We have a computer that computes the steps. Our brains. Such things cause harm. It's obvious. The basis for morality is empathy. The divine command theory has no room for it. If God is thought to command killing witches then empathy be damned. While there are two greatest commandments the only one that counts is the first one. Christians need not be concerned with the plight of human suffering, only loving the god in one's head.

Why the fail? Simple: True burning a child causes harm to the child, but why should that matter if I don't care? Loftus claims that empathy should be the  basis of not doing such evil acts as burning a child, but does that mean that it's okay to burn a child to death if I don't care about causing harm to the child? According to his logic, the only reason I would not cause another living thing wrong is because of the empathy I feel for other living things. But what do you do with people who feel no such empathy. Are they wrong? How can you tell? Loftus' basis for morality has no firm foundation. Why should I care about human suffering as long as it's not me? Loftus and other atheistic grounding for morality is no grounding at all.

Debunking Christianity: The Basis for Morality is Empathy

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Recognizing the Gospel

Today we will be considering what the Gospel is and what it isn’t so we can think about what to share and how to share it.

There are a lot of different ways to approach this but I want to start by looking at Acts 15. First a little background – start with verse one. 

Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”
The apostles and elders met to consider this question. – Acts 15:1-6

We can see here that people have called the nature of the Gospel into question from the beginning of the Church even while the people who actually been with Jesus personally were still alive. Some important things to point out is that people wanted a Gospel based on what they thought was important. In this case: what they saw as the basis of Judaism – the Laws of Moses in general and the custom that all men must be circumcised in particular. Every single heresy and cult begins with corrupting the Gospel.
Look at the form of the argument given in verse 1: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” This is a pattern.  “Unless you are ________, according to the custom taught by _______, you cannot be saved.” The only difference between all other heresies is that they just fill in the blanks differently. For example, historically, Mormonism had said “Unless you are a Mormon, according to the custom taught by Joseph Smith, you cannot be saved.” In Islam: “Unless you are a Muslim, according to the custom taught by Muhammad in the Quran, you cannot be saved.” You can summarize every worldview and every religion in a similar way. 

Just like the First Century Christian, we have to combat heresies today because they lead people away from God. Let’s take a look at what the Apostles did. They held on to what the Gospel fundamentally is. Look at verses 6-11

The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”

Peter starts by showing what God has already validated that Gentiles did not have become Jews to be Believers by treating Gentile believers no differently than the Jewish Believers. Peter defines the Gospel: Salvation through the grace of our Lord Jesus. This is the same as taught throughout the New Testament. Paul, Peter, James, John, and all those following Jesus taught this. More importantly Jesus said of Himself!

23 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” – John 8:23-24

The first century church was just stating what Jesus had already said. We must do the same today. Therefore let us define the Gospel the way we are supposed to. It is stated in various ways but always the same thing: We all deserve death because of our sin but we are saved from sin and death by faith alone though Jesus alone, according to Scripture alone. Here is one of my favorite ways of stating the Gospel and what it means to us.

20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20

People try to deny and avoid the Gospel. Part of witnessing is disarming their defenses and pointing them back to Jesus. One objection that keeps getting raised is the fact that we come to Christ by faith. The world objects to the Gospel by trying to redefine faith into something the Bible never tells us to believe. “Faith” is not believing something or anything despite a lack of evidence or contrary to reality. God does not condone it nor commands it. Many people you may find yourself witnessing to might try to use this objection. Don’t fall for it. Also we have to know what “Faith” is for ourselves. Let us look at an example of what real faith looks like and how it should be applied.

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:6,7

We know from Hebrews that Faith is trusting in God, but not without evidence. Or continuing and deepening relationship with God is part of that evidence. What we need to focus on right now is why is “Faith” contrasted by the sense of “sight”. We know from Hebrews 11 that faith is the evidence of things we cannot see.  This points out how unreliable our eyes and how we process that visual information we get from them truly is. Ironically the sense of sight is the faculty we rely on most but the most easily fooled. This is why we are told to hold onto our faith and trust in God’s word not on what we see or think.  Our eyes are not ultimately trustworthy. I’ve got some proof of that. 

Look at this image: All the hearts are actually the same color. Our brains fill make the hearts different colors

We live in a 3D world, right? How do you know? Do you see in three-D? Nope….not with our eyes. You cannot project a 3D image on a 2D surface – which is the on the back of the eye. Our minds fills in the third dimension because we know it should be there. This is also a blessing of having two eyes instead of one – perceiving depth and distance – it’s not a coincidence. But let me show you how easy we can be fooled if we go on our eyes alone

See 2D moving image that look 3D. (Yeah, I could have chosen other images but I want to make sure y’all were paying attention.)

Such effects are everywhere. In all our media. Taking advantage of how our brains work so our  minds think we are seeing what really isn’t there. Here is another example.  

 So the take-home point is that you can’t trust your  eyes alone to understand reality. This why the Bible says we need faith! Here is another example of such an effet!
Let’s look at two quick videos on how some of Brothers in the Lord are doing witnessing.

Let’s look at two quick videos on how some of Brothers in the Lord did some witnessing.

Old School – Dr SM Lockridge

Current  – Dr James White  and Ivey

This is what the people we witness to have to deal with – the Gospel. We all do. No matter what. As you sit in your seat today, what have you done with the Gospel? Have you gladly accepted it? Do you live by it? Is it more precious to you than anything else? If you cannot answer “Yes” to any of the above questions, you need to find out why you can’t and make some changes so that you can. Jesus loved us so much that He proved it. We cannot do any less.