Roundup

Two excellent and free resources to download — a robust Gospel tract and a brief but thorough refutation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons.

Click to download

Gospel tract: The Great Exchange

Mormons & Jehovah’s Witnesses: Who’s Really Knocking at Your Door?

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The White House leaks should be a huge issue in general, and especially for this campaign.  If these leaks were made out of stupidity it would have been bad enough.  But they were made for personal gain.  In a rare display of the Left crossing the aisle, even some Democrats have admitted the leaks are wrong.

Intelligence and Special Operations forces are furious and frustrated at how President Obama and those in positions of authority have exploited their service for political advantage. Countless leaks, interviews and decisions by the Obama Administration and other government officials have undermined the success of our Intelligence and Special Operations forces and put future missions and personnel at risk.

The unwarranted and dangerous public disclosure of Special Forces Operations is so serious — that for the first time ever — former operators have agreed to risk their reputations and go ‘on the record’ in a special documentary titled “Dishonorable Disclosures.”

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A great summary of the “tolerance” movement:

Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant. Then it tries to silence good.

That is exactly what has happened in this country.

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I was glad to see Kevin DuJan writing again at Hillbuzz.  Good tips about ways to stay up on pop culture references without wasting time and money on lousy movies:

I love the website TheMovieSpoiler.com because it offers “spoilers” of films currently in theaters.  A “spoiler” is a detailed synopsis of a movie that I can read very often the day a movie comes out and know everything that happens in it even if I never intend to see it.  I like doing this so that if a movie hits big in pop culture I can get any jokes derived from it even if I’ve never seen it myself.  When I was a kid growing up in Catholic School in Cleveland the nuns who taught us used to take a weird pride in not knowing anything at all about current movies, TV shows, music groups, etc.  ’Oh, I don’t know who that is,” they’d delight in saying, claiming to have never heard of Indiana Jones or Darth Vader or whomever.  I really don’t think they were kidding, either, or just trying to pretend that they didn’t know anything about current movies to make them seem more pious or whatever.  They really thought it was best to completely avoid pop culture and not “contaminate” themselves with it.

I think a lot of conservatives do this too, even in the year 2012, and I think it’s stupid.  You don’t need to sit through 2 hours of a bad movie just because it’s currently popular, but you should at least try to know what people are excited about in pop culture.  The Left beats conservatives in the ever raging culture wars because conservatives think “taking the high road” means avoiding knowledge of what’s currently hip and popular, but that’s just idiocy.  So many dumb things Republicans do are attributed to “taking the high road”.  Aren’t you tired of this, yet?

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Can a materialist question Darwinism without having his career ruined?  Short answer: No. It is an analysis of how even atheists get destroyed by the Darwin lobby for daring to point out its flaws.

Darwinism beyond the level of simple micro-evolution has never been observed or tested experimentally. And what’s more – the proponents of Darwinism do not want their theory to be subjected to criticism or testing. It fulfills a religious purpose, and therefore they are very concerned that it not be taken away from them. They are fighting against having to care what God things, and they will strangle any good experimental science that shows that their religion is wrong. You can see the same fundamentalism at work in the atheistic war against the experimental science that confirms the Big Bang theory, which describes the origin of the universe out of nothing.

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I’m glad to see some Darwinists admit that the movement really did think there was “junk DNA.”  Too bad so many of them are trying to re-write history and not admit the failure of their theory.

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12 QUICK REFUTATIONS OF JIM WALLIS’ LEFTIST, PSEUDO-CHRISTIAN DOCTRINES – nicely done response to an article by Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis

A pleasant dialogue with an atheist

A recent visitor asked some common questions. I appreciated his tone and his willingness to concede one of my points from the The “Bronze Age Mythology” fallacy post. Here are his comments and my responses.

LoneWolfArcher, your belief that there is an all-powerful creator who cares about the little details of our lives and your disbelief that we might actually just be here, without being created or having a bigger purpose — THAT is egoism at its finest.

Isn’t the real question whether or not it is true? If my kids felt that my wife and I created them, cared deeply about the details of their lives, sacrificed for them, had their long-term best interests at heart, etc., would they be unjustified in claiming it?

And under atheism, where would be the rationale that egoism is wrong? Wouldn’t that be expected? And where would be the grounding to criticize any behavior as universally wrong?

The core of my atheistic beliefs, and the core of many others, is the lack of any evidence of a creator or god.

Have you studied the cosmological, teleological, moral, etc. arguments for his existence? If you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to subscribe to this blog — http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/ or especially Stand to Reason at http://www.str.org or http://www.pleaseconvinceme.com

Atheists who act well are actually more moral than the religious, since the religious are acting out of doctrine or fear of hell.

I concede that many atheists behave relatively well on human terms. But they have no philosophical grounding for universal morality.

In their nothingness to molecules to life to man view, my conversion from atheism to trusting in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is solely due to Darwinian evolution (or some such thing), so why would they criticize what their worldview created?

Also, in Christianity, we are not acting properly because we think it will gain us entrance into Heaven. No amount of good deeds can undo my countless sins against God. We act differently because God has changed us and out of gratitude for what Jesus did for us. We believe He is God in flesh and that we should see the world as He does and act accordingly.

Atheists acting well are doing it for exactly the right reasons — compassion, empathy, and knowing what is right with having it threatened into us with a big stick (hell etc.).

But on atheism you have no reason to say those are the “right” things.

Speaking of not having to answer for your actions: if you believe in a biblical god, you can be a ten time murderer and as long as you accept Jesus etc. you go to heaven. An atheist who murders no-one and acts charitably all their lives, but doesn’t accept Jesus or whatever nonsense it is, goes to hell. THAT is not having to account for your actions, or in fact, the very opposite. Your god is a sick joke and to dress it as morality is wrong wrong wrong.

Technically, you are right. Grace, by definition, isn’t fair. If you want fairness, you’ll get it. You will be punished in Hell for your sins. That is fair. If you want unfairness, then trust in Jesus and how He paid for your sins on the cross. Was that fair for him to pay the penalty I deserved? Not at all. But I’m eternally grateful for it.

If your god actually exists, then they’re welcome to actually show up and communicate with us. But if they exist and are doing an extremely good impression of not existing by hiding, then they might as well not exist at all at this point.

He did show up. We killed him.

He also reveals himself through the Bible. I highly encourage you to read it carefully, even if it is just so you can be more effective at criticizing us.

Something being right, or not wrong, in a book doesn’t make everything the book claims correct. Lots of stars, yes. Doesn’t prove that the bits about a god are true.

I agree. My claim wasn’t that one true statement makes everything in the book true. It was merely that this was a rather significant claim and one that, in my experience, is completely (and conveniently?) ignored by skeptics. Seems like in fairness they’d want to give some credit for it.

On the flip side, I assume you’d agree that even if a book contained errors that other parts could be true and would have to be evaluated as such. I believe in the inerrancy of the original writings of the Bible, but I don’t need to prove that to share the good news of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection with people. We have plenty of evidence to point to.

The point of this post is spot-on — it’s a good point which I hadn’t paid much attention to in the past. “Bronze-age” does seem like a lazy slur. The fact that it is used doesn’t mean the people who are using it are wrong, either, but yes, it’s lazy.

Thanks, I appreciate that. I don’t like when either side uses cheap sound bites to dismiss the others.

If there was a god defining good and evil, it’s just as arbitrary as man defining it. If there is some notion of good that is higher than a god, then god isn’t defining it. So which is it?

I think you may be referring to something known as the Euthryphro Dilemma (I’m sure I misspelled that!). The answer is that God doesn’t “make” good and He also doesn’t sit under “good” in the sense that He is under authority to some standard. Good is simply part of his essence.

Plus, christians regularly “redefine what is good” themselves, in theory, by overriding god/Jesus in the bible, by (rightly!) ignoring the morally repugnant parts of the bible. So is god actually god or not?

I look at it differently. God is good, all the time. It is part of his essence. In our fallen nature we may misunderstand him, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t good.

There are plenty of morally repugnant things in the Bible, as an overarching theme is that we are fallen sinners in desperate need of a Savior. The Bible records many such acts. But God is perfectly holy and sovereign and just, so He can punish as He sees fit.

Confused atheists

I saw this well designed but self-refuting graphic on Facebook.  

Those are fairly common sentiments of atheists.  If I had more time I’d re-write it all sorts of different ways, but I’ll just share what another person noted:

If you are hungry, that’s too bad. If you are thirsty, find a water fountain. If you are cold, get to the shelter. If you are in need, good luck. If you are in trouble, don’t bother me about it. I have this attitude because I have no concern for ultimate reward or consequence. I can act like this because it’s right for me. I am an atheist.

That highlights the flaws in the picture.  If you get to make up your own standards then you can proudly follow them all you like.  But you can’t explain why it is a universal good to be proud of them.  And you can even be proud of not adhering to your standards, provided that one of your standards is hypocrisy.  Note that I’m giving the benefit of the doubt to the atheist in question that he actually does all those things.

And you can’t “know them to be right” if everyone gets to set their own standards. Such is the endless problem of atheists, having no grounding for moral claims yet not being able to go three sentences without making them.

One atheist wrote this, ignoring that he has no evidence for his position, that we’re not worried and that we do enjoy our lives.  They think it is meaningful to prove that life is meaningless.

Sorry but I have to admit: There is no god. So stop worrying and enjoy your life!

Their worldview can’t explain ours — other than positing that Darwinian evolution randomly led to me convert from atheism to trusting in the evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus — but our worldview can explain theirs.

Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Roundup

Randy Alcorn’s interesting perspective on suffering.

Throughout history God has delayed justice, both upon believers and unbelievers, to give them time to come to him, grow in Christlikeness, and trust him more deeply.

Don’t we give thanks for God’s patience with Saul, the self-righteous killer who became Paul? Or John Newton, the evil slave trader who accepted God’s amazing grace and preached and wrote the song that countless millions have sung? Are we grateful for God’s patience with us? Think of those who endured many years of suffering before the day you came to faith in Christ. Aren’t you thankful God did not deliver this planet from the Curse when millions asked for relief, before you heard the gospel? I came to Christ in 1969. What if Christ had returned and brought final judgment in 1968? Or in 1950, before I was born? If God had brought justice long ago, where would you and If be today? We would either not exist, or we would have been ushered into an eternity without Christ [emphasis added].

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By their own words, Democrats must be racist for requiring photo IDs to their convention.

Obama administration advising black pastors on how to get out the vote – Don’t worry, the ACLU will put a stop to this transparent violation of the “separation of church and state.”  Wait, what’s that?!  The ACLU is part of the process?  Shocking.

It isn’t surprising that they are focusing on those supposedly racist voter ID laws that even flaming liberals in other countries realize are as practical as can be.  The real racism is assuming that if you aren’t white then you are too stupid to get a free government ID.

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More racism, from the “read from the script or get kicked off the plantation” category: NBC Dumps Corey Booker, Punishes Out Spoken Black Democrat for Disagreeing With Obama

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The vote on gender-selection abortions highlights just how extreme the pro-aborts are.

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EvangellyfishIf you like satire, check out Evangellyfish by Douglas Wilson.  I thought the Amazon reviews were good reflections of the book.  It was a good send up of false churches and the hypocrisy we can all fall prey to, yet still had a message of biblically accurate hope underneath. And it was funny.

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Half of all Americans live in households that get government handouts – And the worst part is that Democrats think this is a good thing.  I’m really glad I’m a Christian and that I have hope in eternity.  Otherwise I’d be really depressed about where this is all headed.

No, wait, it is worse: a college educated Liberal has no idea where food stamps really come from.  Junior Achievement classes should be required for all grades in this country.

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Religious Photographer Ordered to Take Pictures of Homosexual Ceremony

A soft tyranny is still a tyranny — and if this isn’t tyranny, what else do you call it? . . .

No doubt the courts would inflict the same ruling if the owner were black and refused to photograph a KKK cross burning. Just kidding.

The ruling confirms five facts familiar to countermoonbats:

1. We have lost the fundamental right of freedom of association.
2. The businesses we run are not ours, but the government’s; therefore, the government determines how we operate them.
3. Our rulers hold Christian religious convictions in contempt.
4. All the animals on the farm are equal, but perverts are much more equal.
5. If we don’t start fighting back more effectively, our society is lost.

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Abiogenesis, or life from non-life: Still impossible.  But that won’t slow down those with blind faith.

Roundup

Jim Wallis of Sojourners had his family interviewed about what his “new kind of Christianity” looks like.  Short version: No cross.

It reads like a spoof.  This “Christian” leader with the ear of the President makes time for baseball leagues but not church.  But what should we expect from a guy who is on record for saying that “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution?”

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Obama’s abortion, marriage views inspire dozens of Democratic politicians to join the GOP - Good for them!

“I’m a Christian, and my first allegiance is to Jesus Christ,” Sheriff Waggoner said. “God established marriage, and He established it between a man and a woman. Those are my beliefs. The Republican Party reflects my beliefs.” . . .

New party members sometimes become active leaders in the pro-life cause. Ohio State Representative Doug McKillip of Athens – who accepted a $500 donation from Planned Parenthood in 2006 as a Democrat – introduced a bill to limit abortions to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy earlier this year.

McKillip credits his faith with his party change. “I became a Christian in ’09,” he said. “You start reading the Bible, and you realize life begins at conception.”

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Freedom of religion — or freedom of choice in general — you’re doing it wrong – California Senate bans “ex-gay” therapy – Looks like those anti-choice zealots from the hopelessly politicized anti-science groups are getting their way.  This is another in a long line of evidence against the “‘same-sex marriage’ won’t impact you” lie.

Don’t believe the lies: Change is possible.  See Witness Freedom Ministries, for example.

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Global Warming Alarmism: When Science IS Fiction – I love Forbes.

Although global temperatures have been pretty flat despite rising atmospheric CO2 levels since the big 1998 El Nino, no one that I know disputes that climate changes. Nor do they doubt that there has been very mild warming since the mid-19th century when our planet began thawing out of the last “Little Ice Age” (predating the Industrial Revolution). And while most acknowledge that greenhouse warming may well be a contributing factor, it is also true that a great many very informed scientists believe that any human contributions to that influence are negligible, undetectable and thereby grossly exaggerated by alarmists, while far more important natural climate drivers (both for warming and cooling), are virtually ignored. Particularly consequential among these are long-and short-term effects of ocean cycles along with changes in solar activity.

The pervasive hype that we are experiencing a known human-caused climate crisis is based upon speculative theories, contrived data and totally unproven modeling predictions. Much of this emanates from politically-corrupted processes and agenda-driven report conclusions rendered by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which is trumpeted in the media as authoritative gospel.

Fritz Vaherenholt, a socialist founder of Germany’s environmental movement who headed the renewable energy division of the country’s second largest utility company, was once a big IPCC believer. Recently, however, his new book titled The Cold Sun: Why the Climate Disaster Won’t Happen, charges the organization with gross incompetence and dishonesty… especially regarding fear-mongering exaggeration of human CO2 emission influences.

Also see Confirmed: The Less You Know About Science The More You Believe In The Climate Change Hoax

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This Richard Leakey link claiming that the evolution debate will soon end has been getting a lot of attention.  He’s right, I think, but for the opposite reasons that he believes.

Such blind faith he has! And so naive and inconsistent. Christians have claimed for a couple thousand years that we all descended from one man and one woman, and Jews for a couple thousand years before that. I’m glad that this atheist is climbing on board the fact train! And his worldview gives him no grounding to consider extinction a disaster. If we’re all just random chemical reactions then there is no such thing as true good or evil. Like most atheists he can’t go three sentences without contradicting his worldview.

And he does the typical double speak about “evolution,” pretending that those who follow real science are denying that things change. That’s a straw man argument.

The first rule of holes: When you are in one, stop digging

We will all make bad arguments at some point.  What we do at that stage is very important.  Do we stand corrected, or do we dig in our heels out of pride?  One bad argument can undermine ten good ones, so it is important for us to be correctable.  Not just for our own intellectual honesty, but for our witness as Christians.

As I emphasize when teaching how and why to read Bible verses in context, I have made many mistakes over the years.  When I realized I had misunderstood Philippians 4:13 or Jeremiah 29:11, for example, I had a choice.  I could keep using the wrong interpretations of these verses, or I could change and use the right ones.

An atheism site had a somewhat useful flowchart about rational debating. (Although they conflated debating and discussion — one can be so thoroughly versed on a topic that they can’t reasonable envision something would change his mind and still debate or discuss something).

Interestingly, while they obviously meant this to imply that Christians don’t follow these rules — and I concede that many do not — I have found atheists to break many of these repeatedly. That is especially true on item 2 about moving on to new arguments once you’ve been shown to have used an inaccurate data point. You can refute their arguments in detail and they just move to the next item in their Big Book O’ Atheist Sound Bites. That’s when you know it is pearl holding / dust shaking time.

I also find that they think they don’t need to offer evidence.  They just point to the views of their monopolistic leaders and assume that is adequate.  Science has been wrong for hundreds or even thousands of years at a stretch, so just because their dear leaders insist something is true doesn’t mean the facts support them.

I find this with false or “saved and confused” Christians as well.  For example, no matter how many times you point out how fallacious it is to say, “Jesus never said anything about homosexual behavior / abortion,” they still repeat that tired sound bite, along with many other pro-gay theology arguments.  It is a bad sign when people can’t be corrected.

It is a good thing to change your views when confronted with valid reasons to do so.  People often stereotype Christians as being close minded, but to be a Christian means that at some point in time one had to admit he was completely wrong about God and the universe and then changed his mind.  I wasn’t feeling unpopular enough as a mere Christian, so after years of investigation I switched to Reformed theology.  We won’t debate that on this thread and my switch doesn’t make me right, I just point it out to note that I had every reason to stay on the other side but was ultimately persuaded to change because I kept an open mind.

So don’t let your pride get in the way of rational discussions and defending the faith!  If you get stumped, don’t say something false.  Just say I don’t know, but I’ll find out, then go do some research and get back to the person.  In the mean time, feel free to shift the discussion back to what you do know — namely that Jesus lived, died and rose again and saved your soul — and encourage them to read the Bible.  Then let God’s word do what He promised it would.

The basics of Intelligent Design

The ever-crumbling Darwinian evolution propaganda is so deliberately and aggressively politicized in education and the media and so venomous towards alternative theories that it is hard to have a reasoned discussion about Intelligent Design.  So few people understand the basic premise, which is simple, clear and elegant.  Via What is the case for intelligent design?

Intelligent design is a scientific theory that holds some aspects of life and the universe are best explained by reference to an intelligent cause. Why? Because they contain the type of complexity and information that in our experience comes only from intelligence.

As a result, intelligent-design theorists begin by studying how intelligent agents act when they design things. Intelligence is a process, or a mechanism, which we can observe at work in the world around us. Human designers make a great dataset for studying how intelligent agency works.

When we study the actions of humans, we learn that intelligent agents produce high levels of complex and specified information (CSI). Something is complex if it’s unlikely, and specified if it matches some independent pattern. William Dembski and Stephen Meyer explain that in our experience, only intelligent agents produce this type of information . . .

People infer design all day, every day — especially in science.  Consider forensic science, archaeology and the search for extra-terrestrial life, where constant inferences to intelligent causes are foundational.

One way to get the average person to reconsider the concept of ID is to point out examples like that.  I was talking to a friend this week who is obviously uncomfortable with Darwinism but has never been taught to consider alternative views.  In the same conversation he referenced a TV show about some highly complex ancient ruins that were were so precisely made that they “must” have been made by aliens.  That was a good catalyst for me to compare those obviously designed (whether by aliens or humans) works to something like DNA, which is not only thousands of times more complex but also part of living beings.

If people are quick to assume alien origins for something complex, or even just realizing it would have required unusually advanced human intelligence, why do they drink the Darwinian Kool-Aid and assume that the origin of life, the complexities of DNA, etc. could have arisen without an Intelligent Designer?  They just need to know the real definition of ID and the well-documented fact that materialists cheat and assume that you can’t consider the supernatural when trying to explain something like the origins of life.

Atheists and authority

The Wintery Knight asked, Does God pose an authority problem for you? and offers an excellent analysis of the common answers.

It reminds me of an episode of The Simpsons where an old man is getting a hearing test.  The extremely nice lady politely tells him to do something for the test, and he grumbles back, “You can’t tell me what to do!”  It was such a clever way to show how we rebel just for the sake of rebelling.  Most of my youthful (and, er, uh, adult) missteps were the same sorts of things: Pure rebellion.  Just stickin’ it to the man — or so I thought.  As usual, our rebellion hurts us and not God.

Revelation 16:8-9 notes how people will know there is a God but would rather curse him than repent and glorify him:

The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him.

Romans 1 is always handy to explain this phenomenon as well:

Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Oddly enough, spiritually dead people do exactly what you’d expect spiritually dead people to do.

We should pray for them, ask God to make them spiritually alive and then be ready to be used by God to share his truths with anyone who is interested.

The Multiverse Theory = the Atheists’ Concession Speech.

universe.jpgThe Multiverse Theory is the unscientific and anti-scientific idea that the exquisite design in our universe isn’t caused by an intelligent designer (i.e., God), but it exists merely because there are an infinite number of universes and we just happen to be in one that appears to be designed.  Yes, it is laughable, but the continually growing evidence for design has forced people to come up with a non-God explanation.

Their theory is a self-contradictory attempt to move the goalposts.  Even if more than one universe existed, let alone an infinite number, that would just give greater evidence to the design theory.  More complex things means more evidence for a creator.

I think that those who know that support for Darwinism is crumbling use the Multiverse Theory as a placeholder until they can think of something which is at least a little more plausible.

See The Multiverse is the Poker Player’s Best Friend for a good illustration.  Here’s a sample:

A couple of years ago I trotted out the “highly improbable things happen all the time” meme our Darwinist friends use to such advantage at my home poker game.  For those who don’t recall, this is what happened.  I dealt myself a royal flush in spades for the first 13 hands.  When my friends objected I said, “Lookit, your intuition has led you astray. You are inferring design — that is to say that I’m cheating — simply on the basis of the low probability of this sequence of events.  But don’t you understand that the odds of me receiving 13 royal flushes in spades in a row are exactly the same as me receiving any other 13 hands.  In the game we are playing there are 2,598,960 possible hands.  The odds of receiving a straight flush in spades are therefore 1 in 2,598,960.  But the odds of receiving ANY hand are exactly the same, 1 in 2,598,960.  The odds of a series of events are the product of the odds of all of the events.  Therefore the odds of receiving 13 royal flushes in spades in a row are about 2.74^-71.  But the odds of receiving ANY series of 13 hands is exactly the same, 2.74^-71.”

Please read these words carefully:

Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

It is foolish and rebellious to think that you get to define whether God exists and what He must be like.  Repent and believe while you still have time.  Eternity is a mighty long time to suffer for your foolish pride.  One day you will die and will be judged by your creator.  The standard won’t be your neighbor whom you think you are a little better than.  The standard will be the righteousness of Christ, and all of your secret (and not-so-secret), shameful sins will be compared to that standard.

The Good News: By God’s grace He adopts, completely forgives and eternally blesses everyone who repents and trusts in Jesus.

A “blogment” with an atheist

I’m being lazy and using a comment thread as a blog post to address some common objections of atheists.  There were a lot of similar comments at this thread but I thought this captured some key themes.

Science is the best way to understand the reality of the world around us, to avoid fooling ourselves with imperfect reason, imperfect senses, and personal biases.

Science is great for material things, but by definition it doesn’t deal with immaterial things. And you can’t use science to prove that you should only trust science (circular reference).

And Darwinian evolution selects for survivability, not truth, so, ironically, you have no rational basis to trust your rationality.

The rational part allows us to both accurately weigh evidence and fill in the blanks in our knowledge. The alternative is to defer to tradition or authority.

You beg the question and assume we don’t have evidence for God, the Bible, the resurrection, etc. We have loads — teleological, cosmological, historical, archeological, etc. It is what helped convert me from atheism.

Your assertion about ‘god is supreme law-giver’ is a case in point. The ONLY thing you can say is ‘god says so’. If it causes poverty (abortion), suicide (gay hatred), societal degredation (slavery), dead children (faith healing), war (the middle ages), cronyism, graft, rape, etc (clergy of many vestments), then it simply doesn’t matter. Any believer A who can convince believer B that ‘god said so’ is home free to do anything.

Not at all. That would be the logical conclusion of the false teachers who are totally sure that you can’t be totally sure what the Bible says. I know abortion, suicide, bullying, rape, etc. are all wrong. The fakes will tell you we just can’t be sure because then we’d be putting ourselves in the place of God. (P.S. I won’t tell Max you are one of those nasty absolutists.)

You drank the kool-aid on gay hatred. 1. In your worldview, Darwinian evo caused gay hatred, Christianity, etc. Stop hating on your own worldview! 2. Gays have lots of other issues that lead to suicide. 3. Lots of atheists hate gays (or try to convince me that Matthew Shepherd’s killers — who may not have killed him just for being gay — just came from a Focus on the Family “Love Won Out” conference). 4. Tons of people hate me just for being a Christian, being pro-life and pro-real marriage and I’m not the least bit suicidal, so the hate ==> suicide is a canard. I’m probably way nicer to gays than the average atheist, and not just because I’ll tell them the truth if they ask.

Side note: That is so sad that you consider abortion to be a poverty-preventer. Using that logic, why not kill the kids outside the womb? They consume way more resources than the unborn or newborns. Or let the kid be born then kill the most expensive kid. Wouldn’t that be the most logical way to proceed once your scientifically based morality has deemed it acceptable to kill an innocent human being? (P.S. Note to self: Don’t let Jason travel to 3rd world countries. He thinks nearly all those people should be dead, because the poor in the U.S. live like kings and queens compared to them. I know a lot of very joyful people whose deaths in the womb would have been applauded as pragmatic here in the U.S.)

When the ultimate focus is on what is best for humanity, then ‘let’s kill the infidels’ has to pass a higher test.

What higher test? In your worldview the answer will always be, “Whoever is in power.” That isn’t a higher test, just a flavor change.

“It’s not ‘god said so’ it’s is that a humane and caring thing to do? It is possible to reason to a conclusion about what actions will improve our lot in life and our relationship to other people, and those conclusions will become progressively better over time with a scientific and rational approach.

Yeah, the Enlightenment crowd was really confident of that until that pesky 20th century came along and ruined it.

ps. Sam Harris – The Moral Landscape is a good read for this relationship between science and ethics. He doesn’t make as much of a distinction between science-based reason and scientific experiments, but it does explain the position in more detail.

Would that be the Sam Harris who thought that rape had some evolutionary benefits but now does not? I’ll pass. Again, rationalize all you like, but no amount of chemical reactions can’t make morality. Any “morality” discussed by atheists is by definition moral relativism.

Cheers.

Theological liberals vs. militant atheists — which do you prefer?

I was watching a theological liberal do his usual false teachings on this thread and noted with amusement how the atheists cheerily agreed with his religious views.  I pointed out that both should be concerned over that.  If they agreed on their favorite sports teams that would be fine.  But if an atheist or someone from another religion agreed with my foundational points about God I’d be very concerned.

Yes, militant atheists can be annoying, but I’ll take twenty of them over a fake Christian any day.  At least the atheists are fulfilling their job descriptions and there is no confusion over roles.  But the fake Christians really confuse the discussions and fuel the atheists’ false assertions that disagreements within Christianity mean that the religion can’t be true.  Their argument fails on many levels, but the actions of the false teachers give them ammunition.  That was a key theme on the link above: “Christianity must be false because Christians disagree.”

Of course, Christianity clearly predicts divisions:

  1. Many warnings of false teachers and many references to the importance of sound doctrine.
  2. The fact that Christians learn more over time — “milk/meat,” growing in knowledge (Philippians 1:9), etc.
  3. God’s guidance about disputable matters in Romans 14 and elsewhere reveals that He knew we’d have disputable matters and gave us guidance in how to handle them.
  4. Some people think they are saved but aren’t (“I never knew you” from Matthew 7, testing your salvation in 1 John, etc.)
  5. We are told not to violate our consciences, so people are right to worship in denominations that align best with their views on non-essential issues.

Based on that, if all Christians agreed on everything then that would be evidence that the Bible’s predictions failed.  The essentials are what divides Christianity from other religions: Jesus deity, his exclusivity, etc.  You can’t take the Bible seriously and miss those, which is another way of highlighting false teachers.  Example: The fake at the thread thought I was wrong to say that Christians must hold the view that Jesus is the only way to salvation.  My point was simply that if the Bible mentions it 100 times then it seems like something Christians should agree with.

Christianity has fought a two-front war from the beginning: Persecutors on the outside and false teachers on the inside.  Things haven’t changed, so we need to be on guard for both.

I think the bigger enemy is inside.

Do Christians want non-believers to go to Hell?

Of course not.  We spread the Good News because we want to obey Jesus and we want people to avoid eternal punishment.

But you wouldn’t know that by reading criticisms from some atheists.  They think we’re being big meanies by pointing out our belief in an eternal punishment for those who don’t repent and trust in Jesus.

They are missing something obvious, of course.  If we wanted people to go to Hell we’d do like the theological liberals and withhold the Gospel. We’d tell everyone that any path to God will do, or just to conceive God however you want him to be, etc. — basic fake Christian / Hindu / New Age / etc. beliefs.  Think of all the time and money we would save!  Think how much more popular we would be!

Oddly, these folks often give you the “But I like the definition [of being a Christian] being people trying to live according to the teachings of Jesus” view of Christianity as they are ignoring the reality of Hell, Jesus’ exclusivity and divinity, biblical teachings on marriage and the sanctity of human life, etc.  But Jesus’ teachings covered all those things.

How they conflate our warnings about Hell with their view that we want them to go to Hell is puzzling.  It is like saying that by warning people not to steal that you really want them to go to jail.

Jesus said Hell was real and He warned people how to avoid it.  He is the only way to salvation.  Here are a few verses on that topic.  I’ve got lots more if you need them!

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Acts 4:11-12 He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 16:30-31 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

1 John 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Luke 10:16 “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Luke 12:8-9 “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

John 8:24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.”

John 10:7-8 Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.

About those Canaanites . . .

The word genocide gets thrown around a lot when people try to criticize God and the clearing out of the Promised Land.  Richard Dawkins particularly likes it, especially when trying to dodge debates with William Lane Craig.

That term fails on a couple of levels, not the least of which is that these people were thoroughly guilty.  They had done all sorts of things such as sacrificing their children on super-heated metal images of their gods (see Leviticus 18 for a laundry list of things these charmers had done for 400 years).

I highly recommend this link for an overview of the Canaanite issue: We Don’t Hate Sin. So We Don’t Understand What Happened To The Canaanites.  Too many Christians try to apologize for God and rationalize away the meaning of the text.  I remember one guy teaching a Bible study who insisted that God didn’t really say that, but the Israelites made it up to rationalize taking over the land.  This is far too common.

The question that remains is what do you think of God for commanding such a thing? Does God have a right to do with His creation as He pleases? If you have a problem with the selective judgment of the Canaanites then how do you feel about the almost complete destruction wrought by God of the whole world during the Flood? And how do you feel about the impending destruction of everything at Armageddon?

Too many people made themselves god and the arbiters of what is good and evil, and even those standards are flexible and incoherent.

We need to look to God for what is truly holy.  He is the Lord of the universe, and He sets the terms and conditions.  His terms of surrender are wildly generous, but you must come to him on his terms, not yours.

P.S. Speaking of God’s holiness, you can currently get a free Kindle version of The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul!  (You don’t have to have a Kindle to read it — you can use the PC Version of the Kindle).

Atheist group tips hands with another self-refuting billboard

In what has become an annual self-parody for atheist groups, they throw tantrums via billboards to spread their beliefs.  In the past they claimed that “you can be good without God,” which of course ignores that they have no grounding for the word “good” if there is no God.

Here’s the 2011 version:

Via Atheist Group to Sponsor Anti-Christmas Billboards Featuring Jesus, Santa & Satan:

“American Atheists announced Monday on their “No God Blog” a new billboard campaign in their continued effort in “laboring for the civil liberties of atheists,” but in reality just upsetting those who disagree with their theological stance. A press release for the American Atheists’ new holiday season billboard campaign reads:

“American Atheists announced today that their new billboard is going up in several locations nationwide, including the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel: the same location as last year’s famous ‘You KNOW it’s a MYTH’ billboard. The new billboard will also be going up in Ohio and Florida.

This year’s holiday season billboard features pictures of Neptune, Jesus, Santa Claus, and the Devil and says, ‘37 Million Americans know MYTHS when they see them. What do you see?’”

Anticipating the inevitability that their billboard will offend others, Dave Silverman, the president of American Atheists, said, “When you question someone’s long-held beliefs and doctrine they are going to be immediately offended and be on the defensive: it’s a known psychological phenomenon.”

Yes, it is a known psychological phenomenon that atheists go nuts when they see a manger scene or a cross, so they have the ACLU sue on their behalf to make them go away.

But here’s the amusing part: Even secular historians are wildly in agreement that Jesus really lived and then died on a Roman cross.  They may not believe that He was divine and rose from the dead, but they believe He really lived.  The atheists are as bad at history as they are at science (where they tend to be pro-abortion and pro-Darwinian evolution) if they believe otherwise.  

Speaking of history, if the atheists are so brave in countering myths why don’t they publicly mock Mohammad’s alleged revelations in a cave, 500+ years after Jesus died on the cross, claiming that it wasn’t Jesus at all? (Koran, Sura 4:157-158)  That might get them the attention that they crave, and would at least put them on the side of accurate history.

Or how about if they did billboards highlighting the myth that gays are “born that way,”  or that they are 10% of the population, etc.?

It is easy to spot a bully: They pick on those they know won’t hurt them back.

My advice to Christians is to treat the billboards the way we treated our daughters when they threw tantrums as very small children: Don’t give them the attention that they crave.  It worked really well for us.  Just narrate to others what the atheists are doing and how illogical their statements are.  After all, if Darwinian evolution was true it would be 100.00% responsible for my faith in the evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  So why would they want to criticize their pet theory?

Turning the tables: If evil exists then atheism and moral relativism are both wrong

circle-slash.jpgThe “problem of evil” is a classic argument used against the existence of God, but it is self-refuting. If evil exists — real, universal evil and not just people’s opinions that some things are evil — then that defeats the foundations of both atheism and moral relativism.

  • Atheism – Universal moral laws require a universal moral lawgiver.  Even if Darwinian evolution was true, it could account for feelings of morality but not objective morality.
  • Moral relativism – Making universal claims about right and wrong goes against their worldview.

Both groups rarely go three sentences without making moral claims that they expect you to adhere to, but their worldviews can’t support them and give you no reason to take them seriously.

Evil doesn’t disprove the existence of God, it supports it. Even if it didn’t fail in these ways it still wouldn’t disprove the existence of God.  Atheists can’t prove that God couldn’t have a morally sufficient reason to permit evil for a time.

Hat tip: Stand to Reason