Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Darwin on Naturalism and Knowledge

With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?
Charles Darwin, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin

Something to think about... but then you must think also about how much trust to put in your thoughts.

If the cosmos evolved by chance with no anticipation of man, and if there was no created correspondence between the human mind and the physical cosmos, is there any good reason to trust the mind's conceptual apprehension of the cosmos? Can naturalism provide a connection between the human mind and the universe, other than what must be considered an incredible coincidence?
Kenneth Samples "A World of Difference"

Naturalism and Why We Are All Insane

Note some of the comments in the article Why We Are All Insane

Natural selection wants us to be crazy — at least a little bit.

That's nice.

Cooperative relationships were critical to ensuring access to food, whether through farming or more strategic hunting, and those with blunt social skills were unlikely to survive,

Do we really see family lines in humanity die off because of "lack of social skills"?
In some cases, do we not find those with less social skills having more children?

...nature cares about genes, not joy,

Now, matter possesses "personality".

But even if 16 million men today can trace their genes to Genghis Khan (nature's definition of uber-success can be measured by his prolific paternity), very few potential despots achieve such heights.

Success defined by naturalism - prolific paternity of this nature?

Certain types of depression, however, Geary continued, may be advantageous.

That's nice. Remember this the next time naturalists look at you crazy when you suggest there can be purpose in suffering.

Evolution likely favored individuals who pause and reassess ambitions, instead of wasting energy being blindly optimistic.

Evolutionary Election!

Natural selection also likely held the door open for disorders such as attention deficit
Where's the hope for humanity now that it's not just toward the fittest, but the unfit that it moves?

Similarly, in its mildest form, bipolar disorder can increase productivity and creativity. Bipolar individuals (and their relatives) also often have more sex than average people, Geary noted.

The goal now for all should be to become bipolar?

Sex, and survival of one's kids, is the whole point — as far as nature is concerned

What about being bi-polar, depressed, unsocial, etc.? Oh, what about "prolific" paternity? Who determines the ultimate point?

Summary: Naturalism.... One must BE crazy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Politicians Passing the Buck

Article on Abortion

If one knows killing is wrong, but does not know when life begins, wouldn't it be more prudent to not support opportion?

Could the politician's attempt to put the blame with the Catholic church be political maneuvering?

Can God tell the difference?

And how about the other politician's statement - "but there’s been gradations of whether it was wrong. You know, from venial or mortal sin, as we Catholics say, and versions of it.”

Any consideration of what God says?

The Psychology of Tolerance

Thinking about how many people take "pride" in being "tolerant" today, I wonder...

If by "being" tolerant of others (regardless of whether others' beliefs are true or not), some mistakenly (or without thoughtfulness) think taking such a position and/or participating in such a practice keeps one safe from God's judgement (as if it doesn't exist or will not be fully and/or finally extended to them).

(It's not unusual for individuals to create their "own little world" and begin to think or act as if their world is all there is... but then be suddenly and without warning awakened to the truth)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Can you identify the Logical Errors?

From A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash

Mr. Campbell defended his fellow writers against complaints that they had not included alternative explanations for life’s diversity, like intelligent design.

His attempt at humor came with an edge:

“We also failed to include astrology, alchemy and the concept of the moon being made of green cheese,” he said. “Because those aren’t science, either.”

“Faith is not based on science,” Mr. Campbell said. “And science is not based on faith.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Skeptical of Religulous

Unlike "Borat," or even a Moore film, “Religulous” is a dead end. In the last quarter, the laughs peter out as we realize the exploration is pointless.
Roger Friedman
Quote from Bill Maher's Anti-Religion Movie

Trailer clips of Bill Maher's movie "Religulous" reveal the fact that though Maher may borrow an interesting style from Borat (putting faces and realism on much of what is already known and experienced in religion around the world); the film will be short on substance (i.e., nothing new will be unveiled when it comes to Maher's proposition that "All Religion are Bad" and "They are Ruining Everything".)

Specifically, Maher will, as usual, in appealing to the public (argumentum ad populum) make sweeping generalizations (dicto simpliciter), yet fail to present and prove this point, particularly showing evidence and/or reasons leading to sound argument and proof that (1) Biblical Christianity is irrational; (2) Biblical Christianity is false; (3) Biblical Christianity is inferior; or that (4) Biblical Christianity leads to or is responsible for that which is deplorable(/lamentable).

For sure, the movie will be pregnant with propaganda, massive with empty mockery, and glutted with contemptuous gibes; all the while showing nothing more than the blasphemous attempt of an blabbermouthing man who seeks to prove himself something in a domain and concerning a matter he knows little about.

Hopefully, the word will get out before people waste their money.

Mohler on Determinism

Good article by Al Mohler on moral responsibility from determinism perspective and Christian perspective.

As Mohler points out, determinism:
... also renders human existence irrational. How can we understand ourselves, our children, our spouses, our friends, or our neighbors if moral responsibility is undermined by determinism. Our legal system would completely collapse, as would the entire experience of relating to other human beings.

1. Any worldview that depends on or sets determinism as an explanation for ethics will prove unstable.
2. Christianity proves stable in the area of ethics.

Type rest of the post here

Idolatry can be Dangerous

Case in Point: Religious Man Eaten After Trying to Receive Blessing From Crocodile

While the consequences of this idolatry were obvious, consider what was said about those who worshipped the golden calf...

"I have seen these people," the LORD said to Moses, "and they are a stiff-necked people."

Be careful WHO you worship!

Motivations and Actions Resulting from Serving God or Mammon

In Christian Theology Students Forced off Campus by Mob of Islamic Hard-liners, it's stated
The government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, which relies on the support of Islamic parties in Parliament, is struggling to balance deep Islamic traditions and a secular constitution. With elections coming next April, the government seems unwilling to defend religious minorities, lest it be portrayed as anti-Islamic in what is the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

The point is you cannot serve two masters. Serving mammon doesn't provide motivation to do the right thing in this situation. Serving God would.

Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Question for Eckhart Tolle / New Age Followers

Borrowing a phrase from John Sire,

"Is God one to be worshiped (i.e., he is a personal nature), or merely an intellect or force to be recognized?"

It seems some suggest God is simply an "energy" or "force", but one than can be "known" and is worthy of "worship".

Homosexuals... Does your argument STILL stand up?

Homosexuals, in trying to get society to accept or "normalize" their behavior and practices, often offer the argument that homosexuals are smart, talented, athletic, good cooks, artists, community organizers, etc.

While one does not deny the other things may be true (and good), that doesn't mean that society should accept or normalize their homosexual practice.

Case in point: In Convicted Child Molester Gary Glitter Refuses to Leave Thailand After Being Denied Entry to Country, it's shown that Glitter has talent and produced a song reaching the top ten list in America; however, just because of his talent or song, does that mean we should accept, overlook, or "normalize" his practice? I don't think so. If the argument doesn't hold up for Glitter, it doesn't hold up for others with sinful behavior either.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

To What Value is Human Reason?

Borrowing terms from Peter Medawar, I submit that atheists (/humanists, etc.) err in substituting the sufficiency of reason for the necessity of reason.

Monday, August 18, 2008

China Confiscates Bibles (Atheism, Practice)

Here's an article that probably only gets a brief scan if that from most readers: China Confiscates Bibles From American Christians

Note the following though:
1. The "officially atheistic government" claims religous freedom but then confiscated 300 Bibles. (Consider the 8th & 9th Commandment)
2. An officer of the "officially atheistic government" denied confiscating the Bibles. She said authorities were just "taking care" of them. (If so, why did they give the individuals back one Bible each? Did they not also need to be "cared for"?) (Consider the 9th commandment)
3. The "officially atheistic government" prohibits proselytizing and is worried that if the spread of religion goes unchecked, believers might ultimately challenge the Communist Party's authority.

Seems this "officially atheistic government" denies(/opposes) freedom, lies to cover it up, operates out of fear, shows intolerance, seeks to intimidate and demonstrates a form of tyranny.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Skeptical of the 2 party system...

Read this article, then take the jump to see the "surprise ending":


Two political parties today proffer their principles and their candidates, as the remedy for the troubles that afflict the nation. Each claims that its policy is the sure pathway to peace and prosperity, and each seeks to justify its measures as not only expedient but right. The Republican party is the party of order, of liberty, of justice, and public faith; their opponents represent the reactionary ideas of privilege and caste, suggest repudiation and propose to win, if at all, by violence, intimidation, and fraud.

In the interests of mere natural justice we rejoice in the inevitable success of the Republican party, but only because it will delay impending ruin and prolong, for a little, our chances of reformation. The parties differ only in that one proposes to carry us to ruin a little less rapidly than the other.

Our great national crime is rebellion against God and rejection of His law. From this sin, neither party proposes that we should turn. Not even the Republican party has in it virtue enough to save the nation. Not even the Republican party proposes any cure for the political corruption of which we are really dying.

Not in the bosom of either party is the future welfare of the country to be sought, but in a calm, clear, persistent demand for a Christian constitution which shall restrain our public servants from violating the laws of God and exclude from office the irreligious and immoral. A radically defective constitution is the root of our evils; there the remedy must be applied...
[The brief article below was originally printed in The Christian Statesman in November of 1868. One hundred and forty years later, we still face essentially the same situation in our political system.]

Much thanks to Doug Comin - I "appropriated" this from his post on the Puritanboard.

Skeptical of the US Justice System - Free Hannah!

Unknown ingredient
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas— As newlyweds in 1997, neither Hannah Overton nor her husband Larry wanted to move back to this port city. Both had grown up here, but Hannah wanted to do missionary work abroad and Larry remembered as a kid how its churches were disunited. Yet they thought God wanted them back—perhaps to unify the city, though they couldn't say how. Disobeying God, they agreed, was worse than living in Corpus Christi. They moved into a house on the south end of town that Larry remodeled. They started a family that now includes five children born to them. It's a family Hannah Overton hasn't seen much of lately. Last month, she became No. 01478117 in Gatesville Women's Prison, serving a life sentence for a crime she says she's innocent of—and her conviction has further divided the community she hoped to unite. Ironically, family is where her troubles started: She had always wanted a big one. In June 2006 the Overtons decided to adopt 4-year-old Andrew Burd. But on Oct. 3, before the process was complete, Andrew died suddenly of salt intoxication. Days later, Hannah Overton faced capital murder charges.

More here - scroll down to read the article

Friday, August 15, 2008

Individualism AND Collectivism

A new trend I'm seeing among elites is to discuss aspects and preferments between individualism and collectivism. See here and here.

Often when the world examines the two (individualism & collectivism), they side with one or the other, and pit one against the other, often leading to faulty and disastrous results.

The better solution is to recognize the co-relationship and involvement of both individualism AND collectivism, as the two each have their place within the whole, and as the two come together for the betterment of the whole and the individuals. Why is this? Because the triune God is both one nature and three persons, both humanity and our relationships stem from and reflect these aspects of God. For example, as a person, I'm not only an individual but at the SAME time I'm also part of a greater humanity. Even in my family, I'm not only an individual (distinct from others) but an integral part of my collective family.

As with other tensions of reality found in life, whereas the world often wants to suggest the answer is either "A" or "B", often the correct and best answer in "A AND B".

Type rest of the post here

Preaching Salvation by God or Man

Can man save himself? The answer is no, but many preach it.

Great post on this subject by Jim Bublitz at 'Man Saves Man' and Decisions are the Plan

Thanks Jim for the way to have brought focus and light to this issue.

Evolution and the Nature of Man

Why is it that if man evolves (I'm using an argument from others) that man's nature has not changed? Is this immune to evolution even over thousands (/millions) of years. Man, even know he knows better, still is prone to act out of a sinful nature (malice, coveting, theft, lies, impure, unchaste, etc.) In fact, a case can be made on one level that man is worse in these areas that other beings, for what animals do the things that man does to the extent that man sometimes does?

Some things to think about...
- If this has not changed, WHY? (Certainly, even for survival purposes this would be a critical aspect for change, and yet it's not changed at all.)
- Man is powerless to change his nature, but God can. (Rom 5:6)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Human Freedom and Hell

The following is a quote from G.K. Chesterton

Hell is a monument to human freedom - and, we might add, human dignity. Hell is God's tribute tot the freedom he gave each of us to choose whom we would serve; it is a recognition that our decisions have a significance that extends far down into the reaches of foreverness.

Far from being determined, coerced, irrelevant or without significance, your response and choices matter.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Evolution and Evaluation

"It is sad to know that our ancestors played such a major role in the extinction of these species - and sadder still when we consider that this trend continues today," he said.

The above quote was taken from an article entitled "Extinction from Man, not Climate".

My question is this: Is it appropriate to talk about events in evolution being "sad"? Were these humans not just "less evolved" and living in keeping with their heritable traits, etc., or is it that man (even those who have gone before us) are moral beings responsible for their actions and stewardship? For if things are left to chance, and if they were not responsible, and if they were simply acting with a view toward survival (or happiness, or whatever other end people [or groups of people choose]), then why is it "sad"? Sadness would assume some measure of stewardship and value in protection of species.

Let All Creation Redound to the Glory of God

Praise the LORD from the mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars ... (Psalm 148:7-9)

Interesting article about rethinking the purpose and use of trees. Interesting also to think about whether using trees in particular ways as suggested is for "man to give them purpose" or whether it's for man to "recognize a purpose and usefulness they meet and are already fit for".

Indeed ALL things, the sun, the moon, the stars of the sky, the trees, the organs of the body, etc., ALL have purpose though for a time man may not recognize or understand or appreciate it... but that doesn't mean with wisdom, greater investigation, and insight it cannot be discovered. Indeed, as the Psalmist writes:

Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.

Type rest of the post here

Friday, August 8, 2008

Unapologetic Apologist to Islam

Follow up video to swordbearer's earlier post - starts in earnest about 1 minute in - wow!

Part 2

One World, One Dream (Olympic Theme)

The motto for the 2008 Olympics is "One World, One Dream". The motto seeks to lift up the vision of world harmony. The question is: Can there really be world harmony in a world where core beliefs and values are opposed to one another?

While I'm not suggesting that we should not seek harmony where possible, at the same time the world is either naive or simply setting false hopes before man if believes that there will be world harmony.

Christ has come because there is not harmony... and he has come to provide that there might again be harmony (but harmony that also includes creation in harmony with its creator).

There's lack of harmony where the world opposes those who do not look to this life and to the things of this world as our ultimate satisfaction. There's lack of harmony in places where sin reigns and where man does not seek after or follow the way of peace. There's lack of harmony when it comes to the end to which man should live as well as the solution that will ultimately lead toward our greatest purpose and fulfillment.

While it's true there is "One World and One Reality" (that found in Scripture) those who buy the line of world harmony (apart from Christ's accomplishment & culmination) participate together in "One Dream".

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Type rest of the post here

China and Christianity

So does China allow religious freedom, and are Bibles readily available to any who desire one?

Westerners are being assured that Christianity is allowed in China and Bibles are available and that much is true -- provided you are willing to attend the Three-Self Church and are willing to register with the government to receive a Bible.

Quote from China, the Olympics and the Bible (Modern Reformation - Dick Staub, c. 2008 Religion News Service)

Good article to read... a subject sure to come up in conversation around the Olympics.

Isaiah 2:4 Unfulfilled? (Quandary for Hebrew: How Would Isaiah Text?)

The familiar, unfulfilled prophecy of the 2,100-year-old scroll — “and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” — undoubtedly arouses emotion here.

The above quote is taken from the New York Times and Jerusalem Journal article by Isabel Kershner entitled Quandary for Hebrew: How Would Isaiah Text? Here's the question: Is Isaiah 2:4 "unfulfilled" or does it find "fulfillment" in Christ though it's full culmination may not be experienced until his return?

It's true that many Jews may look to this verse as supposed proof that Jesus was not the Messiah, for in their view if he was, then we would at least see less fighting and wars here on earth, if not no wars at all. Yet, to accept this position one must first assume that Christ's kingdom is simply a physical, national, or earthly one or at least one directed to providing unabated peace for us here in this earthly or fleshly realm. It's no wonder that the article ends by saying "The language may have moved on since the days of the prophets, but perhaps the sense of doom has not."

The solution to this issue as well as the hope for Jews (and all others who will come to know the truth and put their hope in Christ) is in discerning the nature of Christ's kingdom as well as the nature and effect of his rule.

First, one must ask "Is the design of Christ's rule to provide peace of the sort being described in this earthly realm?" The answer is NO! The Scripture is clear that there will continue to be "wars" and "rumors of wars". Christ revealed to his disciples that they would be hated and face difficulties on all sides. The Scripture reveals there will even be times of great tribulation. Besides all this, the scripture points to the fact that Christ's plan is ultimately not to just fix what is broken here so as to simply have an earthly kingdom, but to recreate and renew so as to possess a kingdom of an entirely different sort. Paul writes "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 leberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God(Rom 8:20-21). In addition, the writer of Hebrews states "...In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end (Heb 1:9-12).

One will then ask, are we then supposed to just spiritualize these verses away as if they have no meaning or fulfillment in our present life? The answer to that is NO. Christ has come to bring peace - not only peace with God, but peace among men (at least as far as it will be found among those who experience justification and regeneration through Jesus Christ). As E.J. Young puts it "There can only be a true peace when the hearts of men have been regenerated by the Spirit of God, the Third Person of the ever-blessed Trinity, and a new nature given to them." Through justification ("an act of God's free grace whereby he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteh us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us" WCF Q: 32), God provides peace by redeeming and reconciling people to himself through his own righteousness and the atoning sacrifice of Christ which provides forgiveness of sins and removes condemnation. Having dealt with man's sin, God regards men with favor as as E.J. Young puts it "He therefore approaches man with the gracious offer of salvation and brings man to Himself, giving to him a new heart and declaring that man stands in a right relation to Himself. Man, therefore, born again from the dead, now seeks peace and pursues it. In so far as he is now true to the new principle of life within him - for sin still remains and prevents him from acting in perfect consistency with his new nature - he seeks peace." Isaiah illustrates this change not simply by pointing to the heart, but to the practical effects such change can and will have not only in the life of a believer and in a believer's relations with others, but also as far as the rule and law of God is honored and obeyed among men (even nations).

Does this mean perfect peace will exist on earth? No. There are still those and always be those whose hearts are in rebellion and antagonistic to the Lord and his law. As long as sin (and sinners!) are present and active, there will be malice and a lack of harmony. However, that does not mean peace does not exist. For regardless of the nature and fruit of the ungodly, believers possess both peace with God and are called to peace in their lives as far as it pertains to them.

Will there ever ultimately be peace? YES! The consummation and ultimate fulfillment of Isaiah 2:4 will be when Christ returns and brings about the new heavens and new earth and fills it with his redeemed and glorified people who will pursue and participate only in peace. Hence, even the lion will lie down with the lamb.

So the answer to whether Isaiah 2:4 is unfulfilled is NO! It is both "being fulfilled" and "to be fulfilled", but that is far different from being unfulfilled.

The truth is there IS hope not only for Jews but for all who will discover Jesus Christ, His kingdom and its effects and fulfillment as they really are. To know this new life and to participate in the peace to come requires one to believe upon Christ as he really is, and in believing to repent of one's sins, and look in faith upon Christ, who by his Spirit is at work fulfilling the promises made in Christ.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Engaging Apologetics

I've just read "Unapologetic Apologist" and while I'd be interested in hearing the arguments from those who prefer a "less confrontational approach", from what the article says, it sounds like the apologetics being used have MANY POSITIVES to speak of:

1. It involves "active" apologetics.
(They are doing "something", & even "publicly".)

2. It involves "informed" apologetics.
(They display understanding of Islam & the superiority of Scripture)

3. It involves "engaging" apologetics.
(It speaks to an issue sure to gain attention)

4. It involves "gripping" apologetics.
(It's takes hold, and doesn't let responders off the hook easily)

5. It involves "resonating" apologetics.
(It's done in a way which will get people's attention.)
(It's done in a way which will hit home b/c of truth.)

6. It involves "pointed" apologetics.
(It points people to the Scripture.)

Hate Crimes Legislation Video

Worth watching, keeping in mind, sharing.

"Only God has the right to take a life"

Only God has the right to take a life

The above quote was from a family member of an executed murderer.

1. This position fails to recognise that God may use humans as instruments of his will and that he has authoritatively assigned civil authority the power of the sword(Romans 13:4).
2. This position fails to recognize the accounting God demands from each man for the life of his fellow man (Gen 9:5-6).
3. This position also fails to recognize other areas where either necessity or protection may call for a human taking the life of another such as in self defense (Ex 22:2-3; Lk 22:36) or providing protection for those under one's care (either personally or as one under authority and assigned to carry this out)(Judges 5:8; Ps 144:1; Lk 22:36; Neh 4:17-18).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Islamic Arminianism? (Islam Borrowing From West)

Wow! Short of some language differences and differences in the vows, this looks very similar in practice to what has become so familiar in the West (particularly in Arminian circles, but even a touch of pentecostalism, TV evangelsing, etc.).

1. While it provides proof of a progressive aspect of Islam and it's adopting Western practices in seeking to win converts, one needs to understand there's a difference between simply appealing to emotion and one possessing a true conversion (which includes a change of heart evidenced by faith and repentance).
2. While this individual may himself "bear witness" that the prophet referred to is the messenger of God, that prophet's message is inconsistent with those who went before him.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"Pro-Choice" or "Pro-Murder"?

"Should pro-life doctors and pharmacists be free to practice their profession according to the dictates of their consciences? Should a woman have the freedom to choose an obstetrician or gynecologist she trusts to provide care consistent with her beliefs?"

Forcing Pro-life Doctors Out of Baby Business?

Where's the choice?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Why Folks Choose Churches

I thought this was a very interesting post from

Top 13 Reasons that Unchurched People Choose a Church
(research conducted by Ranier)

  1. 90% - Pastor/Preaching
  2. 88% - Doctrines
  3. 49% - Friendliness of Members
  4. 42% - Other Issues
  5. 41% - Someone Church Witnessed to Me
  6. 38% - Family Member
  7. 37% - Sensed God’s Presence/Atmosphere of Church
  8. 25% - Relationship Other than Family Member
  9. 25% - Sunday School Class
  10. 25% - Children’s/Youth Ministry
  11. 12% - Other Groups/Ministries
  12. 11% - Worship Style/Music
  13. 7% - Location

Top 9 Reasons that Church-Attenders Choose a Church
(research conducted by the Barna Group in 1999)

  1. 58% - Doctrine/Theology
  2. 53% - People Caring for Each Other
  3. 52% - Preaching
  4. 45% - Friendliness
  5. 45% - Children’s Programs
  6. 43% - Helping the Poor
  7. 36% - Denomination
  8. 35% - Like the Pastor
  9. 26% - Sunday School

Top 6 Things that Keep the Formerly Unchurched Active in the Church
(research conducted by Ranier)

  1. 62% - Ministry Involvement
  2. 55% - Sunday School
  3. 54% - Obedience to God
  4. 49% - Fellowship of Members
  5. 38% - Pastor/Preaching
  6. 14% - Worship Services

Reformed Theology\Calvinism won't get you into Heaven