Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Drink offerings were one of the various offerings that God had commanded for the Hebrews. Unlike some offerings where part of it went to the priest, drink offerings were completely spent out as a sacrifice. Drink offerings accompanied the daily offering (Ex 29:40–41; Nm 28:7) and the Sabbath offering (Nm 28:9), as well as certain festivals, such as the Feast of Tabernacles (29:18, 21).
In Philippians, and in 2 Timothy, Paul refers to his life at the end as a drink offering being poured out as a sacrifice for God. So Kyle had on stage with him three small tables set up with cups filled with some sort of liquid and bowls in front of each.
He took the first cup, started pouring it out into its bowl, and said (I’m paraphrasing to the best of my remembrance): “Here’s a man who puts everything he has into his career. His days are nearly completely filled with his work and he has little time for much else – his family, other interests, or God. He’s gone a lot, but he thinks that’s OK, because he’s convinced himself that he spends “quality” time with his kids and wife when he’s home, and that’s what really matters. He’s acquired a nice paycheck, nice title, and lots of things, but he’s always got his eye on something else – something more.” Kyle then wrung out the last drop from the cup and said, “And then he’s gone and no one really has too much to say other than he was a good provider and hard worker. And of course, other people now possess what he worked so hard to earn.”
Those words hit home for me as I can easily get wrapped up in work, say “yes” to too many trip requests, and think that ‘quality’ time erases the need for ‘quantity’ time with my kids and wife (try the ‘quality’ time thing with anything else – sleep, food, breathing and see how it goes).
But thinking that family and such should come first was erased by Kyle’s next set of statements. He grabbed the second cup, began pouring it into its bowl, and said, “And here’s a mom. Everyday she fills her life with her children and is consumed with taking care of them. They’re her life, plain and simple. Being a devoted mother is a good thing – a great thing – a high calling. But the problem is there’s no room for anything else – her children get 100% of her and there’s nothing left for anything else. And at the end … her kids grow up, leave, and she’s empty, not knowing what to do with herself.” Kyle pushed the last drop from the cup into the bowl – “And now she’s all gone”.
Being a parent is certainly a great thing, but is it the first thing we’ve been called to be?
Then Kyle took hold of the last cup and began pouring it into its bowl. “And this is your life. Everyday, you pour yourself into your work, your kids, your spouse, your hobbies, sports, TV, and a number of other things. You run fast and hard; you’re busy all the time; you can’t slow down – too much else to do, too many people to deal with, and yet … something’s missing. You know that, but aren’t sure what to do about it or even listen to that still, small voice of God that’s talking to you. And before you know it …” Kyle then wrung out the last drop from the cup … “your life’s all gone.”
“What are you pouring your life into?”
Kyle then went on to relay the sad story of a young guy in his 20’s who prematurely died. Kyle had to do the funeral so he went to the guy’s family to find out details about his life. “What can you tell me about him?”, Kyle asked.
Silence. Then someone spoke.
“He liked hats.”
“Hats?” So Kyle wrote down “hats” in his notebook.
“What else can you tell me about him?”
“He liked to collect hats.”
“Collected hats”, Kyle wrote down.
Kyle then said that’s all these folks could tell him about the young guy. How tragic, he said, that a man’s life could consist of nothing more.
Kyle said he always hopes to hear how someone served God in some manner throughout their life; that they put their time and energy into eternal things for the Kingdom of God; that they indeed fulfilled their role as husband, wife, provider, father, mother, etc., but that there was another dimension to their life – a spiritual dimension where the fruit of being born again manifested itself in various ways, activities, and service that was directed towards God.
There is no doubt that when a person get ups every morning and goes to work that they are performing, in one way, a spiritual act. Ditto for the stay-at-home mom. But there should be more, especially if you’re a Christian. Now, this doesn’t mean that all of us need to rush out and become missionaries. Kyle’s point is that we should each have a central priority in our life that’s directed to God, a calling that we answer, one that’s clearly visible to all who encounter and know us, and something that may manifest in various different ways.
So what about you? Right now… Today … What are you pouring your life into?
Friday, November 21, 2008
Using the song “I kissed a girl” from Kate Perry, Fulbright’s basic premise is that the vast majority of people with the exception of a few who have really attained to a preferred level of sexuality are limiting themselves to being either heterosexual or homosexual. If we could just get past this hang-up, argues Fulbright, we would open the floodgates of greater pleasure in the realm of sexual experiences. Naturally, she pens a couple of sentences used as her disclaimer that one should only do what they want to do, but it’s clear what she believes is best. Let me reprint excerpts from her column below along with some commentary:
After all, everyone has the potential to be erotically, romantically or affectionately attracted to anybody. Looking at your sexual potential as black or white — as society has taught us — is what can confine our inner nature, longings and curiosities. Looking at your sexuality rigidly — as either gay or straight — limits your erotic imagination.
“Everyone”? Now I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. After 44 years of life, I’ve never looked at another man, paused, and thought to myself “Hmmmmm….” And I don’t see that changing anytime. Ever. Did I say “ever”?
Notice she believes people like me are ‘rigid’ and are ‘limiting’ themselves in their imagination. More on this point at the end of this blog entry.
She then cites a particular Hollywood personality who is bisexual – a persuasion she says falls in a “gray” area of sexual desire, but is what she ends up extoling the virtues of. She then says:
Funny enough, when it comes to their sexual fantasies and behaviors, most people fall in that gray area. Sex researcher Alfred Kinsey confirmed this in the last century with the Kinsey Sexual Orientation Continuum. Based on the extent to which a person engages in homosexual or heterosexual behavior, this scale argues that people can fall anywhere on a 7-point scale. Those who are at “0” are exclusively heterosexual in their sexual behavior, while those at “6” are exclusively homosexual in their behavior. Few people are exclusive in their sexual behavior, Kinsey’s research found. Most individuals fall somewhere between “1” and “2” on Kinsey’s scale. Their behaviors are heterosexually-oriented, but they still have same-sex fantasies or have engaged in same-sex sex play.
Again, “most” people have fantasies that are gray in nature? She then cites studies by Kinsey who in a 1940’s study asked homosexuals why they practiced their sexual behavior. Only nine percent back then said they practiced homosexuality because they believed they were born that way – a full 91% said it was a choice they made. Today, nearly all homosexuals claim they’re born that way so something must have dramatically changed.
Fulbright then continues:
If you’re going to explore everything your sexuality has to offer, you can’t get hung up on the labels and categories society has constructed around sexual orientation. Seeing your sexuality as fluid can open you up to a whole other world of erotic intimacy and connection. People who have or do enjoy both male and female lovers report that they:
— Are more open to most erotic activities.
— Are able to get more creative in their sexual adventures.
— Can engage in a greater variety of behaviors.
— Can have different needs met, depending on the gender of their partner.
Fulbright claims it is society that constructs the barriers around sexual orientation and practice. But what about God? No, there’s no mention of Him or any talk of moral laws or restraints whatsoever. She then moves on to point out the benefits of choosing to engage in bisexual behavior. We then get to see her opinion on the matter in living color:
In many ways, these people's sex lives are to envy. Whether bi-curious or able to embrace their sexual fluidity, they know more pleasures and electrifying experiences than the rest of us will ever fathom. They have opened themselves up to a whole other playground, which can fuel their libido and capacity for arousal. (emphasis added)
Bisexual behavior, according to Fulbright, is “electrifying”, so certainly the rest of us are missing out according to her. After several more paragraphs of encouragement, she then pens these words:
Case in point: people will often not learn about their sexual capacity for same-sex play until they find themselves living at an all-male prison, a same-sex school, or an elderly facility with slim male pickings. In seeking sexual gratification, people have learned to work with what they’ve got.
One really doesn’t know whether to laugh or become ill over the above statements. You won’t learn about your sexual capacity until you’ve been put out to pasture in an elder care facility that doesn’t have many men? Good grief! But, the main thing is, according to Fulbright, you should satisfy your sexual urges no matter the clientele – you have to “work with what you’ve got”.
The “Sexpert” wraps up her column by urging her readers to seize every opportunity for sexual fulfillment regardless of their target’s gender – after all, she says, it’s all about being “open minded”.
There are three observations I’d like to make in wrapping this up. First, I wonder how many in the homosexual camp would agree with Fulbright? The battle cry from the homosexual community is that they were born the way they are (with ones wishing to find support from God for their behavior claiming that God made them that way and, therefore, approves of their actions) and must act accordingly, so the charge that they can change their sexual preference would likely rub against their grain.
Second, if one were to adopt the lifestyle Fulbright espouses, marriage would be out of the question, unless some sort of bizarre polygamous bi-sexual marriage arrangement is practiced. Marriage is a committed relationship between one man and one woman for life. Even the homosexual marriages being lobbied for are defined as a commitment between two people. But if one believes Fulbright, then one would have to reluctantly give up all the fantastic eroticism and sexual adventures that come with bisexual behavior to be married since only one person/sex is the partner. Remember she said bisexual behavior is to be envied, so the opposite of that is ... what? Obviously something not as valuable or desirable.
Third, when one examines Satan’s temptation to Eve in Genesis, the enticement can be boiled down to this: The imagination of a “good” that was better than what God was offering. In looking at what Fulbright says in her column, I see the exact same thing. You don’t know what you’re missing by not participating in free, unbridled bisexual behavior. God’s original design of sex between one man and one woman within the confines of marriage is far too limiting and rigid. Far greater fulfillment and adventures await someone who wises up and takes the plunge into the eroticism that Fulbright advocates.
Oscar Wilde, a talented artist who died at the age of 46 from a life lived in keeping with Fulbright’s recommendations, once remarked “nothing succeeds like excess … nothing is good or bad, only charming or dull.” I believe Fulbright would agree with Wilde’s statement, but I wonder how she’d feel standing over the premature grave of a man who lived a life devoid of sexual morals that ran completely contrary to God’s standards – and which followed her advice to the letter?
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
First, don’t be surprised. The world system opposes God and will recommend leaders in keeping with its desires and philosophies. Jesus, referring to the unbelieving world, said: "They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them."(1 John 4:5). This is not a democratic vs. republican vs. independent wrestling match – this is a spiritual battle with philosophies that oppose God being on one side and God’s truth being on the other. And it truly is a fight of ideologies, a fact recognized by Churchill who once said, “The empires of the future will be empires of the mind.”
Next, remember the Biblical mandates given to you by God in His Word. Paul makes very clear in Romans 13 the Christian’s duty to the government: "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor."(Romans 13:1-7)
Note that Paul’s words do not take into account Christian vs. non-Christian leadership, but any government. Peter echoes Paul’s thoughts when he writes, "Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king."(1 Peter 2:13-17).
Keep in mind that the Nero’s of the ancient world were the ones in power when both Peter and Paul wrote these words – rulers who routinely murdered Christians. And yet, both apostles say that we are to be in subjection to the government and honor their authority, because ultimately, it comes from God.
Third, understand your responsibilities regarding opposing a government hostile to God. When can a Christian disobey a government that clearly opposes God and how is their civil disobedience to be carried out?
Christians are to assume an anti-compulsion stance against hostile governments. This means Christians disobey their government when it:
- Commands evil (e.g. you must kill innocent lives, such as in Exodus 1 when Pharaoh commanded the midwives to kill baby Hebrew boys)
- Compels evil actions (e.g. Jezebel commanding that God’s prophets be killed, but Obadiah hid them in caves – 1 Kings 18)
- Negates freedom (e.g. in Acts 4 where Peter and John say they will not stop proclaiming the gospel even though they were commanded to do so)
- Is religiously oppressive (e.g. commands you to worship government officials, such as what happened in Daniel 6 with Daniel refusing to not pray to God)
In these cases, Christians should:
- Refuse to obey the hostile government in a nonviolent way
- Work peacefully within the government to change things
- Accept punishment when it comes from the government
- Flee the government if things become too difficult to endure or their lives are threatened
Finally, Christians should always remember the sovereignty of God and Who it is that remains on the eternal throne. Proverbs 21:1 says, "The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes. God ultimately rules in the hearts of men and he laughs when they think they can actually oppose Him (Psalm 2).
Proverbs 29:2 says, "When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan." No matter who is leading a nation, the above should serve as the guidelines for how Christians should interact with their government. Above all, never forget the power of prayer and the change God can bring about when His people pray for their leaders and nation (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Thursday, November 13, 2008
So there are two thoughts here: people ‘want’ to be good, and we all have a sense of right and wrong. So my question is, how does that answer the question of WHY be good? Second question: what is the definition of good and who defines it? An excerpt from Steve Turner’s poem Creed says:
Because you know you want to, anyway. Unless you were born a sociopath or had your natural sensibilities destroyed in childhood, you have the same general sense of right and wrong, fair and unfair, just and unjust, kind and mean that people have all over the world.
We believe in Marx freud and darwin.
We believe everything is OK as long as you don't hurt anyone, to the best of your definition of hurt, and to the best of your knowledge.
We believe in sex before during and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy's OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.
We believe that everything's getting better despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated.
And you can prove anything with evidence.
We believe that man is essentially good.
It's only his behaviour that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions .
Conditions are the fault of society.
Surprisingly, even some in secular psychology realize that mankind isn’t quite morally right when they start out. Here are the findings from a report the Minnesota crime commission provided after years of research on the subject: “Every baby starts life as a little savage. He’s completely selfish and self-centered. He wants what he wants when he wants it, his bottle, his mother’s attention, hit playmate’s toys, his uncle’s watch. Deny him these things and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness which could be murderous were he not so helpless. He’s dirty, he has no morals, no knowledge, no developed skills. This means that all children are born delinquent and if permitted to continue in their self-impulsive actions to satisfy each want, every child would grow up to be a criminal, a killer, and a rapist.”
Sort of goes against the whole “mankind is really good” argument, doesn’t it? A story is told of a missionary who was captured in Vietnam and led through the streets with the children mercilessly throwing stones and bricks at those the soldiers had captured. He admitted that he prayed the prayer: “Oh Lord, help me to never be caught alone in a group of children with no adult to protect me.”
No matter whether people are raised Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Confucianists, humanists, anything else, or nothing in particular, they all have the same sorts of ethical notions and feelings. Thus, except in extreme circumstances, they all can compare notes with each other and appeal to one another’s moral sensibilities. No specific belief is necessary for goodness.
The great philosopher and professor Frederick Copleston once debated the British skeptic Bertrand Russell (who authored the essay, “Why I am not a Christian”). During the debate, Copleston asked Russell how he determined good and bad. “The same way I distinguish between green and blue”, Russell said. Copleston then asked him to clarify because you can visually differentiate colors via sight. “How then do you distinguish good and bad then?” “On the basis of feeling, what else?”, replied Russell.
On the basis of feelings? In some cultures, on the basis of feelings, they love their neighbors, and in other cultures, on the basis of feelings, they eat them. Which would Russell prefer?
Here is the huge error and danger in this type of thinking: without objective and unchanging moral standards (and a God who authored them), everything from an ethical standpoint becomes emotive. “I don’t like rape” replaces “Rape is wrong”. There is no ultimate authority to appeal to, and even if agreement is made today, who says things can’t change tomorrow? The only solution for true ethical authority is an unchanging Moral Authority, and I know only one.
Human beings are social primates. So they have basic feelings of empathy and sociality built in, just as do other social primates like chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, baboons, and the like. These animals don’t get their social behavior from Scripture and neither do you. Morality finds its roots in human nature.
The folks who adhere to this need to read Darwin’s thoughts on the matter: “With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the 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?”
Human beings are also conceptual thinkers who have a sense of cause and effect. This allows for refinements of nature’s promptings through a better understanding of short and long-term consequences. And it allows humans to learn from experience so their natural inclinations can be made to work better for them.
This begs the question: and just how well is mankind doing with untold number of years to learn about cause and effect, long-term consequences and the like? Have things gotten progressively better – morally speaking over the past few centuries – or worse? Even Frederick Nietzsche, who pioneered the death of God thought and movement, predicted that since society had killed God, the twentieth century would be the bloodiest in the world’s history. He was right.
Further, if they want to talk cause and effect – how about answering this question: Can you explain how amoral matter created moral beings? An effect must always resemble its cause so this causes quite a problem for the atheist/materialist.
Humans are also communicators. They share their thoughts and experiences with each other and across generations. This builds up a lore of ethics that further refines human notions of morality. And it allows people to apply their discoveries in evolving systems of law, religion, community standards, social organization, business ethics, etiquette, and the like.
Communicating to flawed and sinful people and educating flawed and sinful people does little to effect real change. D. L. Moody once said that if you take an immoral man who is stealing parts of your railroad and you send him to college, he’ll come back and steal the whole railroad.
When you dismiss God, you end up not even being able to talk about good and evil, which is why atheists like Richard Dawkins who are at least intellectually honest say there is no such thing as good or evil. How can he say that? It works like this:
If there’s such a thing as evil, you assume there’s such a thing as good. If you assume there’s such a thing as good, you assume there’s such a thing as an absolute and unchanging moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil (as C.S. Lewis said - you can't recognize a crooked line unless you know what a straight one looks like). If you assume there’s such a thing as an absolute moral law, you must posit an absolute moral law giver, but that would be God – the one whom the atheist is trying to disprove. So now rewind: if there’s not a moral law giver, there’s no moral law. If there’s no moral law, there’s no good. If there’s no good, there’s no evil. So where does that leave you? Where Dostoevsky pointed when he wrote that if God is dead, then anything goes.
This is why our founding fathers said that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights – they don’t come from the State or anywhere else. Further, if it’s nobility and goodness you want, you won’t get them from science and evolution. There, it’s only survival of the fittest and it affords no such luxury as dignity and worth.
In the end we find that even hardened agnostics like Huxley said that man lives better when he posits God. Without Him, things get messy real quick. Just look around you.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Interesting comment. So because there are supposedly agnostics and atheists who feel ‘alone’ during Christmas, this anti-God outfit is attempting to undermine the reality of God’s existence to make these folks (and themselves ultimately) feel a little better. This reminds me of Christian philosopher J. Budziszewski’s statement that “those who rationalize their sins find it to be so much work that they require other people to support them in it.”
But, rather than tackle the question of why atheists and agnostics should feel ‘alone’ if other people believe in what they consider a myth (personally I wouldn’t care if the world celebrated the birth of the Blue Dolphin god, because no such deity exists) let’s take a look at their reasonings and rationale for assuming the position they do. You can find their justification for this campaign here. Let’s work through their first set of arguments to the question of “why not believe in a god?”
There’s no universally agreed-upon definition of God, description of what God does, or list of things God wants humans to do. Different cultures, faiths, religious denominations, theologians, and ordinary people have held wildly varied beliefs for centuries. In fact, people aren’t always talking about the same thing. So it’s difficult to know where to start any rational or useful exploration of the subject.
And exactly how does this prove that no God exists? At best, it argues for agnosticism – you’re not sure if God exists and/or are unsure of what He is like. Because disagreement exists on a particular topic doesn’t negate truth and reality. Many students might come up with different answers to a complex math problem; scientists certainly disagree on the origin of the universe; and doctors may disagree on a patient’s diagnosis. None of these situations means that a right answer doesn’t exist or that people should not keep investigating the matter. The problem is that most people take more time to analyze the ingredients label of a cereal box than they do spiritual truth.
Think about this: does the chemist or scientist simply go into the lab and start doing their work haphazardly or do they follow a methodological and systematic approach? Obviously, the answer is the latter. Why think that theology – the study of God – should be done any differently? It’s not that difficult to know where to start, and the process can certainly be undertaken in a rational manner. That’s why I developed the Six Steps to Spiritual Truth series, a summary of which you can find in a response I wrote for gotquestions.org here. But certainly, sticking your head in the sand because you either claim you don’t know, you don’t want to know, or are too lazy to investigate things isn’t the way to go. Eternity is an awfully long time to be wrong.
Most definitions of God aren’t scientifically testable. They are philosophical abstractions, logical contradictions, imprecise spiritual notions, or subjective feelings. So there appears no way to show that this or that particular god idea is true or false, or even makes much sense. Moreover, most people don’t even want their god idea to be scientifically testable, since that might result in it being falsified.
“Most definitions” of God aren’t scientifically testable? This implies there are some that are. And if one validates God’s existence, is that enough?
This particular argument is built on the faulty notion of scientism and the discounted philosophies of A. J. Ayer and David Hume that basically state that if a statement isn’t a tautology (a self-defining statement, like ‘all bachelors are unmarried men’) or empirically verifiable, then it isn’t true.
But, do you see the problem with this stance? It makes a truth claim itself that is neither a tautology or empirically verifiable, yet Ayer and Hume expect us to accept this statement as true. The claim above by the whybelievinagod group is a philosophical statement they want us to believe yet it doesn’t hold up under the weight of their own criteria (being scientifically testable), so why should we believe them?
Moreover, it ignores the important difference between the scientific and legal methods for determining truth. The legal method does not ignore testimony or facts because they are not reproducible or testable. By a process of elimination and corroboration, the legal method allows history and testimony to speak for itself until a verdict is reached beyond a reasonable doubt and the balance of probability is achieved. For example, I did not witness various battles that occurred through history and I cannot reproduce WWII so I must rely on documents and independent testimony to determine its plausibility. Certain kinds of tests are appropriate for different realms of thought. When someone looks at the historical evidence with a fair examination and lets the evidence speak, Christianity is found very reasonable. The atheist rules out the supernatural a priori, which is unfair.
Also, they fail to see the difference between operational and forensic science. Operational science deals with the operation of things, how things function, present regularities, secondary causes, and is based on observation and repetition. Forensic (or origin) science deals with the origins of things, how things came about, past singularities, primary or secondary causes, and is based on causality and analogy. And when Christianity is viewed through the lens of forensic science, it comes through with shining colors.
Lastly, they state that people who believe in God don’t want God to be tested because their end result could be falsified. What a ridiculous charge. The only reason to believe in anything is because it’s true. This is old Freud wish-fulfillment factor logic that overlooks the fact that Christianity openly invites an examination of its claims – something no other faith really does. And if it’s wish-fulfillment you’re looking for, how about a wish that there is no holy God that you’ll have to stand before on the Day of Judgment? My view is they’re guilty of making that (false) wish.
Those definitions of God that are scientifically testable, such as the very humanlike and limited god ideas of children and ancient peoples, have always lacked evidence. The Santa Claus idea also falls into this category.
Ah, OK. Which scientific tests? Perhaps the finding of DNA, whose makeup has been shown to be mathematically identical to language, and the fact that no language has ever arisen outside of intelligence? Or maybe the anthropic factor (the incredible fine tuning of the universe)? Again, scientism – the belief that science is the only purveyor of truth – simply isn’t a valid stance to hold. There are many things science can’t be used for:
- It can’t prove mathematics because it presupposes it
- It can’t prove logic (first principles ) because it presupposes it
- It can’t prove metaphysical truths such as there are other minds other than my own
- It can’t prove ethics – you can’t use science to prove the Nazis were evil
- It can’t prove matters of aesthetics and beauty
- And it can’t prove the statement “Science is the purveyor of all truth” because that is a philosophical statement
Lastly, their point on Santa Claus commits the logical fallacy of “false analogy”. First, Christianity and Jesus Christ are grounded in space-time history. Second, last time I looked, I didn’t see anybody allowing themselves to be martyred like Christ’s disciples did for Santa.
In Part 2, I’ll look at their claim that you can be ‘good’ without God.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Here's the thing: Science, when properly approached without bias and presuppositions leads one to God. Dr. Wernher von Braun, the father of rocket science, once commented: "...as I became exposed to the law and order of the universe, I was literally humbled by its unerring perfection. I became convinced that there must be a divine intent behind it all... My experiences with science led me to God. They challenge science to prove the existence of God. But must we really light a candle to see the sun?”
Another example is particle physicist John Polkinghorne from Cambridge, who was led to God by his scientific studies. He remarked one time that so precise was the rate of expansion and contraction in the picoseconds when the universe came into existence that it would be like taking aim at a once inch square twenty billion light years away and hitting it perfectly on the first try. He then said, “Folks, there is no free lunch.” In other words, it didn’t happen by accident.
So science is not at odds with religion, but it’s the naturalistic scientists who are driving the wedge between the two, not the clergy. Physicist Steven Weinberg has said, “I am all in favor of a dialogue between science and religion, but not a constructive dialogue. One of the great achievements of science has been, if not to make it impossible for an intelligent person to be religious, then at least to make it possible for them not to be religious. We should not retreat from this accomplishment.” Why would he say such a thing? Because of the evidence? No, because of his pre-suppositional bias toward philosophical naturalism.
This is where the real battleground is. Darwin himself knew this and those who truly understand Darwinian thought know this as well. They know that evolution and naturalism are aimed to undo the concept of a creator God. William Provine, an ardent evolutionist, articulates this well when he says, “When Darwin deduced the theory of natural selection to explain the adaptations in which he had previously seen the handiwork of God, he knew that he was committing cultural murder. He understood immediately that if natural selection explained adaptations, and evolution by descent were true, then the argument from design was dead and all that went with it, namely the existence of a personal god, free will, life after death, immutable moral laws, and ultimate meaning in life.”
In the end, what’s observed is that those who hold to scientism (the belief that truth only comes through science) is pushing religion aside and not religion that is pushing science aside. Those doing the pushing on the scientism side reject God on the basis of their presuppositions and not on a true examination of the evidence. And those trying to marry evolution and religion together would do well to remember Darwin’s own concerns as to the tenability of his theory: “Often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself whether I may have not devoted myself to a fantasy." (C. Darwin, Life and Letters, 1887, Vol. 2, p. 229)
Monday, November 03, 2008
Amnesty: Rape girl, 13, killed for adultery
Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, 13, was stoned to death October 27, Amnesty says 1,000 spectators watched the punishment, report adds Rights groups says she was accused of adultery after claiming she was raped.
Nov 1, 2008
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- A 13-year-old girl who said she had been raped was stoned to death in Somalia after being accused of adultery by Islamic militants, a human rights group said.
Dozens of men stoned Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow to death Oct. 27 in a stadium packed with 1,000 spectators in the southern port city of Kismayo, Amnesty International and Somali media reported, citing witnesses. The Islamic militia in charge of Kismayo had accused her of adultery after she reported that three men had raped her, the rights group said.
Initial local media reports said Duhulow was 23, but her father told Amnesty International she was 13. Some of the Somali journalists who first reported the killing later told Amnesty International that they had reported she was 23 based upon her physical appearance.
Calls to Somali government officials and the local administration in Kismayo rang unanswered Saturday.
"This child suffered a horrendous death at the behest of the armed opposition groups who currently control Kismayo," David Copeman, Amnesty International's Somalia campaigner, said in a statement Friday.
Somalia is among the world's most violent and impoverished countries. The nation of some 8 million people has not had a functioning government since warlords overthrew a dictator in 1991 then turned on each other.
A quarter of Somali children die before age 5; nearly every public institution has collapsed. Fighting is a daily occurrence, with violent deaths reported nearly every day. Islamic militants with ties to al-Qaida have been battling the government and its Ethiopian allies since their combined forces pushed the Islamists from the capital in December 2006. Within weeks of being driven out, the Islamists launched an insurgency that has killed thousands of civilians. In recent months, the militants appear to be gaining strength. The group has taken over the port of Kismayo, Somalia's third-largest city, and dismantled pro-government roadblocks. They also effectively closed the Mogadishu airport by threatening to attack any plane using it.