Friday, September 28, 2007

The Shameful Inventing, Promoting & Temporally Profiting from New Ways of Shame

Ashleymadison is a company whose billboard states "Life is short, have an affair"

Their spokesman's rationale: This is just reality, no need in hiding it. It happens to be where some people end up. We want to be there for them when they find themselves there.

In other words, not only try to excuse sin & disregard it's shame, but promote it, support it, and defend it.

Does this rationale sound familiar?

Only blindness and corrupt orientation can explain the world's failure to see and acknowledge the error in their arguments and the wrong in their ways.


"... they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them." (Rom 1:32)

Repeating Mistakes of History - Authorities Acting Like Children & Treating Children As Authorities

In the Fox News story entitled "Democratic Candidates Say They're OK With Second-Grade Teacher Reading Gay Prince Fairy Tale", one candidate states the following:

"I don’t want to make that decision on behalf of my children,” he said. “I want my children to be able to make that decision on behalf of themselves, and I want them to be exposed to all the information, even in — did you say second grade? Second grade might be a little tough, but even in second grade to be exposed to all those possibilities, because I don’t want to impose my view. Nobody made me God.”

2 Questions:

1. When it comes to OTHER issues of morality such as honoring authority, killing, stealing, lieing, coveting, etc., should we not instruct our children there either? Why is it that when it comes to issues of sexuality, particularly homosexuality, there's a difference?

2. What kind of parents and legislators (regardless of their political party) are they who surrender judgment on issues of morality to children (even 2nd graders)? Are parents and governors not to lead, teach and provide for our children?


Isaiah 3 "See now, the Lord the Lord Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support...I will make BOYS their officials; MERE CHILDREN will govern them."

Deut 6:4-6 "Hear, O Israel: ... "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. IMPRESS THEM ON YOUR CHILDREN. TALK ABOUT THEM when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Interesting Article/Review: The Re-Enchantment of the World

"We live in a strange time, in which religious belief seems to be flourishing, church attendance is high, evangelical preachers are household names and traditionalist congregations are more populous than ever. And yet one has only to turn on the television, go to a movie theater, look at a newsstand or read about, say, sex- education courses in the public schools to feel that our society is almost militantly at odds with revealed religion and biblical teaching. Meanwhile, tracts on atheism ride the best-seller lists -- alongside books of soft spiritual uplift from mega-church pastors. What age are we living in, exactly?
A secular one..."

Here is the full article.

A very interesting assertion:

The Protestant Reformation plays the central role in Mr. Taylor's narrative. By denying the sacramental, by identifying all "magic" with "black magic," by giving rise to a "work ethic" that has deep links to commercialism, the Reformation helped to pave the way, much against its intentions, to the world of anti- religious humanism.

I may have to buy the book - but being a partaker of the fruit of the Protestant Reformation, I'd contrast between "magic", that is - man's attempt to control supernatural forces to the quite reasonable belief in supra-natural forces interacting to display the depravity of Man and the eternal Glory of God.

Instill Panic (The New Plan)



A TREND worth watching.
(You may need to pay attention ... QUICK!!!)



Were you aware that THE PLANET IS IN PERIL!?


CNN is hosting a two part special report entitled "PLANET in PERIL". Issues covered by the report include "global warming, species loss, habitat loss, and overpopulation". The website for the special conducts a poll to see if participants think the world is ALREADY OVERPOPULATED. A special "education" section suggests after classroom presentations related to the report, teachers should "instruct each group to brainstorm all the ways that its environmental issue is connected to the others. Next, have representatives from each group stand in a large circle with signs denoting their environmental issues. Give one representative a large ball of string. Have him or her hold on to one end of the string and toss the ball to another representative while explaining a connection between their issues. Have all the representatives repeat the same steps, tossing the ball of string to each other until they have identified all the connections and built a web between their issues." In addition, an "impact" section encourages individuals to effect change since "BAD THINGS HAPPEN in the world EVERY DAY. But good can result and one person can impact the world." [Capitals, my emphasis]

Former VP Al Gore has sounded his GLOBAL WARNING ALERT.

A commercial for a special by journalist Ted Coppell states the population in our prisons are dangerously high and "our prisons ARE BEING OVERRUN."

The list could go on.

Here are my questions:

1. What are the spiritual/worldview beliefs and positions (in addition to the personal, political, and financial issues) behind these programs/agendas?

2. WHY THE NEW & URGENT SUGGESTION OF PERIL & PANIC? Why motivate on the basis of FEAR rather than Love, Stewardship, Altruism, etc.? (What's behind it?)


IS THIS SIMPLY:

1. News/reporting?
2. Issues like the environment are the latest hot topic issues?
3. Social, environmental, & deed oriented issues are the new means of connecting (emotionally, politically/financially) with the emerging generation? Note: not only is CNN dealing with these issues (from a 'threat' standpoint) but Newt Gingrich is promoting a vision/impact movement on some issues from the conservative side (though promotions thus far seem to cast it from a more positive perspective)...OR
4. Have those who possess a non-theist and man centered worldview (the very ones who like to accuse Christians of using "scare tactics" (the threat of hell) to scare people and get their money... now begun preaching their own scare tactics which while simply calling for individuals to make an impact (by giving to organizations/charities like the Red Cross, etc.) are doing by instilling fear rather than appealing to virtue?

While I've yet to study this matter, I present the trend as something worthy for believers to take note of. What's certain is that while we've been called to be good stewards, we've not been given a spirit of fear, though the world seems to be seeking to instill one!

Perhaps an opportunity not only for displaying the peace and confidence we possess in the presence of those who give way to panic, but an opportunity for communicating a message of hope and reaching others with the gospel.

As a previous post on creation/evolution pointed out, there's nothing new about the world hanging by a thread. If you observe all the things that must be in order and within limits (including not just temperatures, oxygen levels, etc. but the very laws that govern the universe) in order for life to continue, it's only by the authority and grace of God that we are sustained at any moment, and yet we have God's covenant word and promise concerning the sustenance and perpetuation of the world. "

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be, WORLD WITHOUT END. AMEN! AMEN!

"And my God shall supply all your needs..."

In an article entitled "Over-Promise, Under Deliver" over at Debunking Christianity, an argument is made that the Scriptural truth and promise made in Philippians 4:19 ("And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus") along with other biblical promises made in Scripture cannot be trusted. To this end, besides recounting his own practice and experience in a church, Joe, the author, tries to substantiate his claim by stating "Occasionally, my comfortable theological bubble was punctured by instances of sincere believers being inflicted with pointless suffering" after which he goes on to tell the experience of a young Christian wife whose cheating husband left her and her life in shambles and to add to it all she experienced cancer during the divorce.

The question is: Did God's promise fail her?


First, one must not confuse provision of one's needs with freedom from all suffering. Surely Joe understands that by this provision God who placed the curse upon the world (both as punishment as well as a help in redemption) did not intend to communicate by this verse that man would be free from all humiliation, hardship and suffering associated with living in this fallen world. One's exegesis, given the biblical and historical record, would have to be found lacking to arrive at such a conclusion (as well as to make such an assertion, or to apply it in this manner). At the same time, that is not to say that God does not rule over, make use of, as well work and provide through suffering circumstances to accomplish both His will and the good of his people, including ultimately providing for all their needs.

Second, one must ask who decides whether suffering is "pointless" or not? Is not even this based upon one's true and ultimate need? As one put it "We may not feel the want of what God sees we require. We may desire wealth, or health of body, but God may see that that we need spiritual riches and health of sould, and to give the latter He may have to withhold the former." Look at the apostle Paul who prayed for deliverence from his thorn in the flesh, but "God's response was grace to bear it, and Paul saw that his need was supplied, and then gloried in his infirmity." God promises to answer all Christian's prayers the way statement that "God does not give himself an out"God, who simply gave man over to the suffering resulting from his sin, often and still uses suffering and hardship for good. As one put it "Job's need could only be supplied by passing through a peculiar experience; but it was supplied. He was led into the furnace, supported through it, and brought out of it. Noah's need could not be met without a demand on faith and obedience such as had never been made before. But Noah believed and obeyed God, built the ark and was saved. Jacob's need could only be met by Joseph's being governor of Egypt, and this involved much grief. Abraham's need could only be met by the stern call to offer us his son, and the result of that action will follow him throughout eternity in untold blessings. And so with Moses, David, Daniel, Jonah, and Paul." The point is that by assigning an atheist view of suffering to deny the promise of God regarding provision even in the face of suffering is to poison the very water one then seeks to condemn.

(BTW: As far as Joe's statement that "...God does not give himself an out" and his inference that God commits to answering Christians prayers the way we ask/desire, perhaps Paul's example should cause him to check his exegisis and findings on this matter as well.)

Third, in regard to the ability of God to provide for our needs, it's not just a question whether we will face certain circumstances or not, but whether God is able to provide for us in and through those circumstances. It's been rightly pointed out that "Jesus is... the comfort and encouragement of His people. Are we wounded? He is our balm. Are we sick? He is medicine. Are we naked? He is clothing. Are we poor? He is wealth. Are we hungry? He is bread. Are we thirsty? He is water Are we in debt? He is our Surety. Are we in darkness? He is our Sun. Have we a house to build? He is the Rock on which to build it. Have we a black and gathering storm to face? He is a swtrong tower to which we may flee and be safe. Are we to be tried? He is our Advocate. Is sentence passed, and are we under condemnation? He is our pardon. To deck Him out and set Him forth Nature culls her finest flowers, brings her choicest ornaments, and lays these treasures at His feet."


Finally, when considering experiences, I have witnessed in my ministry, those who experience the same difficulty, yet for one it results in understanding, maturity and growth while for another it results in misunderstanding, more immaturity and further decline. Similarly, I've experienced those who have been done wrong, while for some it leads to wisdom and righteousness while for another it leads only to bitterness and revenge. I've also witnessed those who have endured sickness and even faced death, which for some drew them and their family members closer to God and to one another,... while leading and resulting in the exact opposite for others. Experience, when qualified and understood, does not detract from but leads to the praise of God's faithfulness.


Conclusion: The problem is not with the promise of God but the faulty exegesis and outlook of man. God's promises are trustworthy and not only can be relied upon, but should be looked to continually with confidence. Just as God provided for Paul and his need, and would look to the Philippians and their needs, so he will provide for all those who look in faith to Him today!

Hopefully, Joe will consider again, not only his exegesis and the way he looks upon circumstances, but the way he looks upon God as well.

Exegesis vs. Eisegesis

Great example of what can happen and where it can lead when rather than reading out of God's Word (exegesis) people choose to read into God's Word (eisegesis). Jazzycat describes it as those who "start with a belief system and try to make their "Christianity" fit ."

(From post at IIDB)
Pentecostal Church.
"Just when I thought I'd heard it all, a friend of mine in Atlanta called me on Sunday and told me he was at a gay pentecostal church. The ushers, wearing white usher uniforms, were drag queens in stiletto heels, long hair weaves, and tons of make up and the church was full of drag queens and cute muscle gay boys being slain by the holy spirit and speaking in tongues. After THREE HOURS he left because he'd had enough and the service was still going strong."

It would almost be humorous, if it were not so sad.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Presumptuous Worldview of Atheistic Morality

“And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us.'” (Deuteronomy 6:24-25)



“Without absolutes revealed from without by God Himself, we are left rudderless in a sea of conflicting ideas about manners, justice and right and wrong, issuing from a multitude of self-opinionated thinkers.” - John Owen


A few months back, I examined the effort by non-believers to justify sexual perversion by appealing to the moral authority of the bonobo chimp. (See Of Apes and Men). The atheist’s vain search for moral standards has taken a strange twist, one which, if taken to its logical conclusion, proves that ethical standards don’t exist. Writing in “Science” section of the September 18, 2007 New York Times, Nicholas Wade asks, “Where do moral rules come from? From reason, some philosophers say. From God, say believers. Seldom considered is a source now being advocated by some biologists, that of evolution.” Aside from the fact that atheists cannot explain how an accidental conglomeration of neurons like the human mind can understand our universe without God (Colossians 2:3), these vain philosophers are setting forth in a journey that few of them would wish to complete.



......
Wade seeks to find answers to his ethical dilemma by citing “The Happiness Hypothesis”, a book by University of Virginia moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt. “Dr. Haidt (pronounced height) began his research career by probing the emotion of disgust. Testing people’s reactions to situations like that of a hungry family that cooked and ate its pet dog after it had become roadkill, he explored the phenomenon of moral dumbfounding — when people feel strongly that something is wrong but cannot explain why.” One must ask if disgust is a valid basis for morality (not to mention that no explanation was given for “disgust” in the first place.) When I was a kid, I thought that eating asparagus was disgusting (and I’m still not crazy about it.) Was it immoral for me to eat asparagus? Someone should have explained this to my parents. (I’ll bet the supporters of Jonathan Haidt love to hear about the Donner Party.)

In addition, it must be noted that humans are not the only animals to express disgust. My cat expresses “moral indignation” at certain types of cat food, a problem expressed by Frans B. M. de Waal, a primatologist at Emory University. Nonetheless, Haidt’s studies led him to theorize that human morality is “driven by two separate mental systems, one ancient and one modern, though the mind is scarcely aware of the difference. The ancient system, which he calls moral intuition, is based on the emotion-laden moral behaviors that evolved before the development of language. The modern system — he calls it moral judgment — came after language, when people became able to articulate why something was right or wrong.” In other words, morality is caused by something that happens in a human brain. I’ll focus more on this issue shortly, but it is a striking admission on the part of the atheist, and should promptly relieve them of the capacity to pass moral judgments on any sort of behavior, including their pet peeves “religion” and “homophobia”.

Haidt goes on to conclude that moral intuition is a by product of instinct. “The emotional responses of moral intuition” he writes, “occur instantaneously — they are primitive gut reactions that evolved to generate split-second decisions and enhance survival in a dangerous world.” Based on this, one has to wonder how anyone can justifiably make moral arguments. Many atheists admittedly would love to see such a world, but as Covenanter pointed out in The Kantian Paradox, they will find it impossible to live that way. Such will be the first to make a moral judgment on anyone who makes moral judgments.

Haidt, obviously impressed by Hindu religious rituals, outlines “five components of morality that were common to most cultures”, though the article does not explain what these are. But we can get a glimpse of what Haidt is trying to promote. “Because these virtues are learned, morality may vary widely from culture to culture, while maintaining its central role of restraining selfishness.” If morality can vary from culture to culture, then there is no moral standard. If the goal of morality is to restrain selfishness, then young children are more immoral than a murderer who, in his own mind, kills “for the good of society”, like Hitler. Haidt goes on to assert, “In Western societies, the focus is on protecting individuals by insisting that everyone be treated fairly.” It sounds good on the surface, though the article never explains why everyone must be treated fairly, nor does he give us any standard by which to judge fairness. In a world where morality is based on instinct, there is no reason to expect anyone to conform to any moral standard. Afterall, a murderer or a thief is only acting on instinct. Why should we pass judgment on an accidental sack of biocarbons for taking the life of another accidental sack of biocarbons? Why is it that humans will tolerate gang activity from chacma baboons, yet express moral outrage when their alleged hairless “descendents” partake of the same activity?

Haidt then proceeds, in one remarkable statement, to undermine his entire thesis. “Notions of disgust and purity are widespread outside Western cultures. "Educated liberals" are the only group to say, ‘I find that disgusting but that doesn’t make it wrong,’ ”. So after telling us that there “are innate psychological mechanisms that predispose children to absorb certain virtues”, he champions an “educational” solution to such innate moral tendencies, leaving him back to where he began, with no concrete theory of ethics.

Dr. de Waal gives an alternate theory. “For me, the moral system is one that resolves the tension between individual and group interests in a way that seems best for the most members of the group, hence promotes a give and take”. Again, such an approach denies any sort of universal moral standard, and does not explain why any individual should confine himself to a moral system that is deemed beneficial to groups, especially since the standard is given "for me".

In conclusion, both Haidt and de Wall have attempted to examine morals from a pretended neutral viewpoint, but have done so in vain. Neither has been able to account for personhood of human beings, nor have they been able to explain how the human mind is able to understand anything, much less non-physical things such as right and wrong. While they appeal to “fairness” and “group interest” as the basis for their ethics, they have not been able to define or account for either of these things. They have not been able to account for human free will, as everything in their worldview is merely a by product of biochemistry. They have failed to explain why humans are the only ones who acknowledge morality (or practice religious faith). In such a worldview, we would have to excuse Hitler’s actions as being caused by his instincts (innate) and poor moral judgment (caused by some bad information in certain parts of his brain). After all, the logical conclusion is that morality is the result of the way the human brain evolved, and if Hitler’s brain is different from everyone else’s, then he certainly could not be immoral. At best, he just had a different moral standard. If, as the title of the article suggests, good morals are written in our genes, then so are bad morals. (This should make an interesting defense case in a court of law. I fear it’s only a matter of time.)

Haidt, who describes himself as a modern liberal admits, “It is at least possible that conservatives and traditional societies have some moral or sociological insights that secular liberals do not understand.” It is an interesting admission, though I find the term “conservative” to be a bit broad. Morality proceeds from God Himself, who is the standard of right and wrong. Pop-psychology has proven that it does not understand the nature of morality, nor can it provide any redemption for our fallen nature. This must come from Christ alone, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3).

"To be given up to our own heart's lusts and to be left to walk according to our own ideas is as dreadful a condition as a creature is capable of falling into in this world" - John Owen


Note: I have assumed that Dr. Haidt is an atheist, based on his views of religion, morality, and evolution. He may or may not be, but he obviously is not a Christian.
......

Response to "Christianity is Delusional" Video

Response to Christianity is Delusional Video


The IRONY of this video is that the maker whose greatest appeal is to reason commits so many logical fallacies.

Here's a selection of the fallacies:

1. Argumentum ad nauseam (argument to the point of disgust; i.e., by repitition).
Simply repeating to ad nauseam the inference that "Christianity is delusional" does not make it so, no more than by repeating that the sky is falling makes it true.

Not only this, but the apparent suppressed tone of the speaker along with the statement he is not trying to criticize the religious beliefs of Christians but to bring about their healing from delusion while seeking to come across as non-judgmental actually does the opposite and worse. It's one thing if a person were simply wrong, it's another to be smugly classified as delusional by the self-asserting intelligent person who seeks to offer you help.

2. Complex Question

Stating that the delusion of Christianity hurts our species is true only if the presumption that Christianity is delusional has been proven and that it can be proven this delusion hurts humanity.

3. Cum hoc ergo propter hoc

Assumption that just because two religions are false (Mormonism, & Muslim) a third (Christianity) must be false is to mistake co-existence and correlation for causation. Just because Jack's beanstalk and Farmer Brown's beanstalk have some things in common doesn't negate the reality for Farmer Brown's bean stalk. Whereas one is magical, the nature of the other is different.

The same can be said of the statement "you know every other religion is delusional, now simply recognize the obvious, that Christian religion is exactly the same."

4. Petitio principii

Inferring that Christianity is a fairy talel based on "remarkable lack of evidence" is to beg the question. The maker of the video's denial of the evidence and refusal to accept the evidence not only does not do away with the evidence but results in circular argumentation. Stating that "The Christian story is an imaginary fairy tale" is no different.

5. Argumentum ad numerum

Simply by suggesting that the four billion people who disagree with Christianity think Christianity is false does not make it so. Besides that, if as the maker says these (four billion) people "see reality clearly", then why are they not in agreement? Besides that, why is it that number of Christians outnumbers their individual numbers of participation. As everyone knows simply throwing out numbers like four billion may be impressive to the undiscerning, but to those who are discerning, not only does qualifying the numbers make a significant difference, but numbers alone does not equate to truth.

6. Argumentum ad hominem

Inferring Christians to be irrational (by stating "Christians are delusional, every rational person can see that") does not make it so.

7. Non Sequitur

If the statement "You should also be able to see there is only one sane position for an intelligent person to take in this diagram" is true, then why are differences found among the positions of those who oppose Christianity? Additionally, just because one stands outside of delusion in one case does not mean one is or must be completely free from delusion.

8. Naturalistic fallacy/Non Sequitur

To assume that Christians being delusional "hurts our species" is to suggest there's a provable purpose and goal of humanity, which unbelievers are not able to show.

9. Dicto simpliciter

Suggesting that science has proven the spiritual realm and influences invalid by stating that 'every valid scientific study shows that prayer has absolutely no effect" is not only to make a sweeping generalization but to impose predujice upon the pool. For example, are not some prestigious hospitals now encouraging spiritual participation and involvement because it makes a difference? Has it not been shown that those who believe in a higher being typically live longer?

10. Slippery slope

Referring to "luck" and it's relationship with Christians seeing things differently not only fails to substantiate the maker's reference but to show the causal relationship between the advocated reference and the consequent action. In addition, it invalidates the very system the maker of the video advocates.

Conclusion: Nice graphics and presentation, but the rest leaves alot to be desired!


......


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Skeptical of SciAm - Response to Scientific American's "15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense"


vs







I just found this article that was an excellent response to an earlier Scientific American article.

A great rebuttal to the evolution faith dogmas.

VideoSift - Hostile to Christians - Particularly Christian Skeptics

I just spent the last couple of days trying to inject a bit of Christian Skepticism into the comments at the popular video site VideoSift (***WARNING*** - some mature, I'd call it immature, content) - I initially posted comments on several videos (particularly the popular Dawkins - What if you're wrong?" clip) challenging the content and worldview either implicitly or explicitly displayed with a link back to the CS site to engender an opportunity for readers/viewers to step outside the secular/profane/atheistic worldview that seems to saturate the place.

Needless to say, it did not go over well...I got banned. Moreover, my comments were deleted. Surprise, surprise.

Romans 8:7a the sinful mind is hostile to God.

Friday, September 21, 2007

CS Response to Dawkins YouTube Video – “What If You’re Wrong?”

Richard Dawkins responds to the question “What if you’re wrong?”




The errors and weaknesses of his response are found in the following:

1. Dawkin’s Ontological Suggestion

Dawkin’s argument that “anybody could be wrong, we could all be wrong…” combines and/or is related to several fallacies: arguing from ignorance (absence of proof is proof of absence”), ad hominem tu quoque (trying to escape from an accusation by directing the same accusation right back), and avoiding the question (while pretending to answer a question, really talking about something else.)

Dawkin’s suggestion does not deny the Christian ontological presupposition that if there is a God who chooses to be reveal himself and be known that he can be known.

2. Dawkin’s Revelational Strawmen

Dawkin’s argument that we could all be wrong about the “flying spaghetti monster or the pink unicorn or the flying teapot” seeks to deny arguments based on evidence by referring to the absurd. While there is evidence which can logically point to a creator who has and continues to reveal himself, there is no evidence (besides prejudiced imagination) that points to the existence of the three objects he refers to. While absurdity can be used for illustrative purposes, it can also be used as diversion and/or deception.


3. Dawkins Environmental Fallacy

While Dawkins, if given more time and thought, might have provided a better or more detailed answer, the argument that he did give suggesting that one’s environment is responsible for one’s beliefs not only fails to recognize the experience of those whose beliefs differ from the predominant view of their environment but fails to recognize the difference between spiritual awakening and conversion and human/cognitive choices.

For example, as I grew up in a Christian family in a Christian environment, not only did this environment on one level point me in the direction of Christianity, on another level it was the very obstacle that stood in the way of my embracing true Christianity. For a time, I believed I was a Christian, though I was not (in that I was looking only to the outward signs and trusting based on my own environmentally encouraged cognitive choice rather than trusting by faith, having been encountered and called by God through the word of his power).

Not only does Dawkin’s answer fail to recognize or deny spiritual possibility, it’s offensive in that it insults the intelligence of man, though on another level it affirms the biblical principle that apart from God man is like one without a shepherd and is not only lost but will follow anything.

While it's true that religions are often found to sprout and survive in places where they are taught (which BTW is logically expected, should we expect them to sprout en mass where they are not communicated?), at the same time it is intellectual and religious ignorance to try to simply and directly equate belief with one's temporal and geographical exposure. If anything, Dawkin's belief here is antiquated and speaks more of the past when religions spread based on limitations with communication rather than the present where communications (at least in more advanced people groups) are not as limited.

Additionally, if one were to apply Dawkin's argument to science, we would all still believe the earth was flat and man could not go to the moon. But just as in science, where revelation (evidence) and new ability or insight can raise one above one's present environment, we should not be surprised to find it the same when it comes to religion.

3. Dawkin's Philosophical Inconsistency

Dawkins makes the assertion that there's no particular reason to believe in the Judeo-Christian God which by "sheerest accident" a person is brought up. If events and activities are by sheer accident alone, then is not Dawkin's own beliefs and statements by sheer accident alone and therefore purposeless and meaningless. Does not evidence such as (order, law, principles, etc.) in addition to reason itself suggest something other than accidentalism is behind what takes place, including the possibility of providence. That's why the Scripture not only declares the time of our birth and the places where we will live are not due to accident or fate but design, but that even the issues of receiving revelation, coming to salvation, etc., are all included and brought about in keeping with God's sovereignty.

4. Dawkin's Retaliatory Accusation

Dawkin's closing question to the questioner asking "What if you're wrong..." is nothing more than ad hominem tu quoque.

5. Dawkin's Admission of Uncertainty

While Dawkin's suggestion that we could "all" be wrong could speak to the question of the validity of differing attempts of interpreting the evidence, at the same time his statement along with the lack of accompanying reason for confidence opens itself to the legitimate conclusion that he not only does not possess assurance in his position but as with others who embrace an atheistic worldview have no ability to possesses assurance (not only of this, but of anything).

On the other hand, Christians who stand on a foundational presupposition that truth can be known because it is revealed by one who is truth, not only can but do possess assurance not only based on revelation but experience.

6. Dawkin's Absence of Answering

In all that Dawkin's said, he failed to answer the question. Put another way, he dodged the answer. What he failed to say, as most unbelievers do not like to address, is that if he is wrong (and Christians are right), he will suffer the wrath of God and the torments of hell forever. While one could argue unbelievers might prefer to not state this because to do so would narrow the possibilities to only the Christians position and thereby give preference or credence to it, it's also true that in the same way that children whose conscience tells them they are wrong do not like to voice the rule or the penalty... so can the reason be for Dawkins.

7. Dawkin's Greatest Error

While not stated, inherent to Dawkin's argument is that by suggesting that the truth cannot be known will excuse error on his part if and when the truth is made clear. But this is to deny that the truth has been revealed and that orientation, attitudes and statements on his part are not in opposition to and in seeking to suppress or overthrow not only the truth but the one about whom the truth is spoken. However, ignorance is cannot always be counted on as a defense, especially if the evidence is clear and convincing and aspects of one's own life prove it.

James Burke - Connections - Online!

On of my favorite short series has been posted on-line; James Burke - Connections.

As a committed believer that nothing happens outside of God's sovereign control - this series acts as a proof! Things happen for a reason, not out of blind fluke!

Here is the first one:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Magnus Hypocrisy

I was just reading a report on new legislation intended to advance homosexuality in the workplace and I was reminded... Wasn't it not too long ago that it was these same individuals whose cry was "You can't legislate morality!" who are now trying to use the law books and courts to do the same thing they formerly accused the religious of doing?

Funny, how when things don't go your way, people cry unfair.
But, when you think it might work to your own advantage, there's nothing wrong with it!

Here we find not only hypocrisy, but affirmation that believers were right all along in that while the law cannot produce morality, it does on one level express and protect the values held by a particular body and both limit and penalize what is deemed immoral.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and Same Sex Marriage

Note the GROUNDS of Mayor Jerry Sanders' decision to abruptly reverse his public opposition to same-sex marriage after revealing his adult daughter is gay, stating: "In the end, I could not look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships -- their very lives -- were any less meaningful than the marriage that I share with my wife Rana."

Is there not a SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE between "MEANINGFUL" and "MORAL"?

I can have a MEANINGFUL relationship with my mother or grandmother but that doesn't mean it would be MORAL for me to sleep with them or to "marry" them.

I can have a MEANINGFUL relationship with my daughter, or my son, but that doesn't mean it would be MORAL for me to sleep with them or to "marry" them.

I can have a MEANINGFUL relationship with my dog, but again that doesn't suggest it would be MORAL to relate to him as a "marriage" partner.

Is there not also a difference between their "lives" being meaningful and their "relationship" being immoral?

It's interesting how the populace today blindly buys into the argument that because there are feelings between the participants that it makes it right. This is no new argument. There have always been "feelings" between those in immoral relationships. The only thing that has changed today is that governers and law makers now more than ever in the history of our country not only fail to consider the foundations of law, but feel the freedom not only to express but act upon their faulty determinations.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Christopher Hitchens Question

Just wondering... If Christopher Hitchens has it all figured out, why is he found so often in pictures holding a cigarette? Wouldn't most educated people say smoking is not good for a person? Suppose Hitchens hasn't figured this out yet, or could he still be in bondage to something as small as a cigarette? ... Just wondering.

Good News from Secular Humanists

Good news from the side of Secular Humanists. I just read the following on the Center for Inquiry's promotion for their 2007 Conference on "The Secular Society and Its Enemies":

"Yet religious fervor in the United States and abroad remains at an all-time high. Science education suffers from the constant onslaught of creationist activists. Democratic politicians have joined Republicans in pandering to religious prejudices. The American courts are stacked with judges who openly denigrate the nation’s vital and historic separation of church and state. Islamic radicalism is on the rise in Europe as well as in the Middle East. In many ways, societies the world over face the ominous threat of de-secularization. " [Bold, my emphasis]

It's good that others see the church is not giving up, nor will it!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Imagining the 10th "Dementia"on



This is a very thought provoking video - the 10th Dimension... - one can see how this series of "imaginings" can create substantiation for the unlimited probabilities necessary to make the improbable probable - for a Christian skeptic's viewpoint of this type of "imagining" see:Evolution is Easy: It Just Takes An Infinite Number of You...


2 Corinthians 4:4
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Secular Humanism - Obstacles

Secular Humanism's Utopia - Things that STAND IN THE WAY:

MAN'S SINFUL NATURE (& Ways)
  • Man's natural orientation and propensity toward evil and sin
  • Man's continuing and insatiable desire for power, possessions, pleasure, prestige
  • Man's insatiable desire for more
  • Man's inability to ultimately avoid all consequences to his actions
  • Man's failure to value the life and good of others compared to his own
  • Man's continuing advancement in methods of killing
  • Man's fear concerning his desire for survival
  • Man's fear concerning the unknown
  • Man's lack of patience, perseverance and compatibility to endure until utopia (even if it was possible)
  • Man's competing philosophies
  • Man's pollution
  • Man's poverty in wisdom, knowledge, resources, and control
  • Man's limitations to live up to his own standards
  • Man's guilt

GOD'S CURSE THROUGH (/AND UPON) NATURE
  • Nature (/Creation) no longer provides man (apart from God) the return, satisfaction, and enduring fulfillment he desires
  • Nature continues to present man with advancing enemies both from without and from within
  • Nature's dominion is not through knowledge alone

(Feel free to add your own...)


CONCLUSION

How foolish for man to put hope in such a system as secular humanism,

How much wiser to put one's hope in the Lord!

How much more foolish for a man living today to put his personal hope in secular humanism,

How much wiser to put his hope in the one who can save!


THOUGHTS TO CONSIDER
  • "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (Jn 3:17)
  • "For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God." (Rom 8:20-21)
  • "Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save." (Isa 63:1)
  • "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it." (Mt 16:25)
  • "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (Zeph 3:17)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hope and Hopelessness concerning the Earth

Regarding the future of the earth and mankind...

1. On the one hand, there are those who live in FEAR: carried along even by the research of those who report that "on it's current path, human society has a shrinking window of time to alter its path", etc. (Note I'm not addressing the merit or use of the research here, but just one group's response to it).

2. On the other hand, there are those who live in DENIAL: who fail to take science as well as personal responsibilities seriously, and simply "eat, drink, and try to be merry" regardless of the consequences.

3. Then there are those who REST in God's word: which says "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." This rest involves neither neglect of wisdom nor responsibility, but results in peace even as man exercises responsibility and looks to wisdom, but trusts in the promise of God!

Endangered & Extinct Species

Endangered & Extinct Species - Have you ever wondered what the big deal is from an evolutionist perspective?

Suppose that either man came from the monkey or that man and monkey came from a common ancestor, what's the big deal from the evolutionist perspective if a species becomes extinct? Wouldn't that just prove they were not the fittest? And why would a more fit species be concerned about the endangerment or extinction of a less fit species since survival belongs only to the more fit anyway?

Can man apart from absolute truth principles even determine whether the preservation or extinction of a species either hinders or advances life and/or experience?

Is it not the instinctive knowledge given to us by the creator that man should care for creation that ultimate drives and guides us?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Eternal Hope vs. A Philosophy of Hopelessness

Derek Thomas gives us some good food for thought.

Administator's note - this link is dead - try this for similar content.

Major Christian Theological Positions Summarized - Sovereignty

I thought this was pretty good - cheers to Triablogue! - entire article here

I. The Theological Options

1. Calvinism

i) God foreknows and foreordains the future; indeed, that God foreknows the future because he foreordained the future.

ii) Calvinism affirms that God is immutable and infallible.

iii) Traditionally, Calvinism affirms that God is impassible. He isn't affected by external events, and he isn't subject to the same range of emotions that we are.2

iv) Traditionally, Calvinism recognizes that some Scriptural depictions of God are anthropomorphic. Indeed, Scripture itself draws this distinction (e.g. Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:19).

2. Arminianism

i) God foreknows the future, but he doesn't foreordain the future. It also affirms conditional election, contingent on foreseen faith.

In Arminianism, God cannot foreordain the future because his predestination would nullify libertarian freewill, and Arminian theology prioritizes libertarian freewill.

3. Socinianism

i) Socinianism or open theism denies that God even foreknows the future.

God knows all possible futures, but he doesn't know which future will eventuate. God must ask human beings what they're going to do or test them to find out what they will do. He is dependent on us for some of his information.

In open theism, God cannot foreknow the future because his prescience would nullify libertarian freedom, and open theism prioritizes libertarian freedom. Open theism takes the Arminian commitment to libertarian freewill to its logical extreme.

ii) Because open theism denies that God is omniscient (since he's ignorant of the future), God is fallible. Indeed, fallibility is the logical consequence of ignorance.3

God entertains false expectations about the future. God is genuinely surprised by the way some things turn out. God makes mistakes, which leads to divine regret for his shortsighted actions.

iii) Open theism denies that God is immutable. Rather, God often changes his mind in light of unforeseen circumstances.

iv) Open theism denies that God is impassible. God can be affected by external events. God not only knows what we feel, but he feels what we feel.

v) Open theism rejects the traditional, anthropomorphic interpretation of many passages in Scripture.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Faith and the Presidential Debates

While the current presidential debates in the U.S. reflect "some" diversity of thinking within the country regarding fundamental issues of the faith, it's also true that in some cases and on some issues presidental candidates are now speaking out stronger and more unashamedly on the side of faith than has been done in the past. As politician's remarks often give some indication of where the populace is, it's a good sign to see how forthrightly and unashamedly many candidates are standing not only on the side of faith, but on the side of "the faith." Perhaps a positive response to those taking such stands will result in greater courage and faithfulness across the board in areas where there appears more pressure to compromise.

Be encouraged, O church, for even the differences are resulting in the truth being proclaimed more definitively at some points at the highest levels of government and society, to the praise of God, who uses all things in bringing about the advancement of Christ's kingdom and the glory of his truth.

Why I believe in baptizing babies (condensed version)

I grew up with the traditional Baptist view, typically referred to as " believers baptism ". It is theologically known as credobap...