ATHEISM- APOLOGETICS [links added- long version]
MY RADIO LINKS-
http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-7R Kant, Hume, Sartre
http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-6E Apologetics- Kant, Hume
http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-6F DaVinci code
http://wp.me/a4V5qQ-7Q Something from nothing- Quantum Leap
On today’s video- I attempted the impossible- to tell the story of ‘everything’ in 1 hour.
Ok I bit off more than I could chew.
It took 2 hours [the next video ‘history of the world- part 2’ will finish it].
But- to sum up today’s video.
Is the biblical account of creation accurate?
We read that God made everything- by speaking.
Is this even possible- or some silly fable?
Over the history of time we read the story of the Jewish people- their trials and failures.
That’s the majority of the history of the Old Testament.
They believed the story in Genesis- while others questioned whether or not all things actually had a beginning point.
In time- we see the rise of the Greek philosophers- during what we call the intertestamental period [the 400 years between Malachi and Matthew].
These thinkers were looking for the answer to these questions- and the Greek word they used to describe this answer- was LOGOS- which is the Geek word- for WORD.
Then we had the appearing of Christ in the 1st century- and the apostle John calls him the LOGOS.
That’s the same word that the Greeks were looking for- John says ‘we have found him’.
Remember- this is Jesus Christ- the living Word.
Ok- over time we had the great movements of history- the Renaissance- the Reformation- the Enlightenment- the scientific revolution- the industrial revolution.
Most scientists believed that all creation was eternal- so- for them- the answer to ‘everything’ was- it was always there.
In the 20th century we had the great breakthroughs of Einstein- and we call one of them the Big Bang theory- meaning- all things did not always exist.
They had a beginning point- which we call the point of singularity.
Ahh- now we are back to ‘where did it all come from- if at the start- there was nothing’.
Yes- ‘In the beginning God spoke’.
So- at the end of the story- of everything- we find the answer at the beginning.
In the beginning God spoke-Yes- the early followers of Jesus called him by this name- THE WORD.
And science and logic show us that all events need a cause [even the 'event’ of creation].
So- this history of the world- recorded in the scripture- was true all along!
1946 JEWS TEACHING SCIENCE- WHAT IS THIS?
I want to try and cover a little bit more on Einstein.
But just a few quick notes.
The last few days- as I have watched some of the post election coverage- I find it funny how the ‘4th estate’ has tried to rise above their own ignorance.
This past year- as I have both read- viewed- listened to many media sources- all sides of the various debates that go on in the country.
There was a conscious decision made- by some on the left- to ‘suppress the vote’.
I thought it was the Repubs that were trying to do this?
Yes- there were efforts made- whether noble or not- to suppress some of the minority vote [noble - some say they were just trying to stop voter fraud- others said they were trying to suppress the minority vote].
But- how did the left do this?
Once again- yes- hailing from the great state of N.J. [ the headquarters of many media outlets- it is sad that the most grievous offenders come from my hometown area! - Fort Lee- Secaucus- spots right where I grew up].
MSNBC spent an entire year mocking the faith of Romney.
I saw Martin Bashir- actually say- on air- that Christians should not vote for Romney because he denies the Trinity.
Can you imagine him saying this about a Muslim candidate?
Chris Matthews- he spoke about Romney and his religion as weird- a cult- and other interesting terms [Matthews says he was taken out of context- but simply using the word accomplishes the task].
Now- after a year of this- it is true that some White evangelicals [their target audience of suppression] did indeed not vote for Romney.
In media lingo they call this ‘failed to get out his base- the White vote’.
They see what they did as a noble cause- a good thing.
When you convince yourself that those who don’t embrace your ideas are racist nuts- then it justifies this double standard.
There was an article on Hillary Clinton seeing the Broadway play the Book of Mormon [yeah- Bloomberg manages to keep the lights on Broadway on- but watch out if you’re from Staten island or the Rockaway’s!]
When she came out of the theater she said it was so funny- she couldn’t stop laughing.
What was she laughing at?
The play is an open mockery of the Mormon faith.
Yet- this same state dept official- she was outraged over the release of some on line movie clip that depicted the prophet Muhammad in a negative light.
They just sentenced the maker of the movie to a year in jail- over some probation thing.
Yes- that’s the double standard of the media- politicians- it is quite obvious.
As I read a few chapters every few days- I want to comment on the important- relevant stuff.
One of them being the very word Relativity.
Now- I am tempted to go back and review all the posts we did on physics [you long time blog readers might remember?].
But this book is not a physics book per se’- but a biography.
Yet a quick review might help.
Einstein became famous for a few things- most of us know the famous equation E=mc2.
Simply a conversion of mass into energy formula- it works for all things- not just Nuclear.
His theory of Relativity shook up the world of physics- and Einstein is indeed the father of what we call modern physics [and Quantum theory].
Okay- what he did was he took the centuries old ideas of Newton [the father of classical physics] and he said that time and space were not absolutes.
That’s is- that depending on the observer [and his speed] time actually changes.
Some in the scientific community could not fathom what he was saying.
The book has actual headlines from the NY times- they openly doubted some of Einstein’s work
I remember reading this years ago- but this time I saw the real headlines.
They said stuff like ‘what is this new theory- that space might be limited- this defies the actual definition of space’.
Now- it would take too long to tell you what they were covering- but it is one of the various theories of the universe.
In actuality- the times might have been right in this one case [it’s a theory that the universe is curved- has no detectable edge- if so- you can than argue for an infinite universe in a closed space- because there is no edge- or end].
As a side note- logically- the times was correct.
Just because you can’t find a ‘sharp edge’ to a thing- that does not mean the thing is ‘endless’.
I covered this years ago in our apologetics posts- it was interesting to have re –read this from this author [Isaacson].
He is a good author- and explains stuff well.
Okay what was the other stuff that some objected to?
Some associated- wrongly- the theory of Relativity- with the modernist philosophy called Relativism.
Relativism [remember the philosophy stuff?] said that there was really nothing as objective truth- that what you see might be just as true as what someone else sees.
You might both be looking at the same thing [morally- murder- etc.] yet to one it might be wrong- to the other- right.
This idea- Relativism- was strongly rejected by many philosophers- especially those with a Christians/Theist background.
Even today this is one of the major debates going on in the world of the philosophy.
But- some confused what Einstein was saying- and they thought [or used it] to back up the ‘moral’ philosophy of Relativism.
This was a mistake.
Einstein himself- as I mentioned in an earlier post- was not a relativist at all- that is when speaking about moral absolutes.
So some began to associate him- as one of the new ‘Jew’ scientists- who were introducing dangerous doctrines to the world.
Yes- some of the objectors to Einstein objected on the basis of this new ‘Jewish science’ that was breaking away from the moors of Christian science- whose father was Isaac Newton.
See how both anti Semitism- and religious belief played a role in this?
I’ll end with a quote from a famous man of the time- an up and coming politician- I mean he could awe his audience like no other.
Obama- Clinton- even the great communicator- Reagan- were no match for this man when it came to giving a speech.
He said ‘Science- once our greatest pride- is today being taught by Hebrews’.
Who said this?
The future leader of Germany- Adolph Hitler.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] - I have posted lots.
1942 POLITICS AND EINSTEIN
Let's start with the big story of the day.
Just a few things before I get back to Einstein.
As I have followed the news on this- over the past few weeks there has been some question on whether or not the media have manipulated any of the numbers.
Going in to today’s election- if the media are correct- Obama will no doubt win.
They have shown polls that have the president winning in enough states [battle ground states] that he should win.
Are any of the polls wrong- or possibly skewed?
That the question.
It’s hard to say that all pollsters would have some inside conspiracy to do this.
Actually I don’t believe that they would [they do have reputations you know].
But- we do have some actual evidence that some have done this.
It’s hard at times to filter out the bias- on both sides- but let’s try and take one example of possible skewing.
Most of the polls we have seen these past few weeks have shown the sample of people that they use.
For instance- you might have one say they polled a thousand folk- then they’ll say 39% were Democrats- 31 % Republicans.
Now- some on the right were saying ‘see- they are cheating’.
Would this be cheating in a poll?
Because the pollsters are trying to get an accurate picture of the electorate- that is- if they ‘think’ that more Dems will vote- then this would be a fair way to poll.
So- how do they figure out who the likely voters will be?
They usually look at the last election [presidential].
But- everyone who watches politics will tell you that the last election- 2008- had an historic turnout of Dem’s.
Many were not only voting for a man they felt would do a good job- but they also felt like they were part of an historic thing- the possible election of Americas first Black president.
Everyone [well most] will admit this- and it’s not wrong to admit this- that many came out to be part of an historic event- fine.
So- did some of the pollsters do this- did they use a larger number of Dem’s in the polls?
Now- a case can be made that you would not have the same type of turnout this time.
Because you don’t have the same historic significance- it’s not historic to say ‘yeah- we voted for the first Black president in history- the second time’.
Okay- but the pollsters do have a reason to have more Dems than Repubs- sometimes.
But- there were some polls that showed twice as many Dems [as a percentage- that is if you had 7% more Dems last time- this time they were showing about 14%- something that would be next to impossible].
So- yes- in this few cases- we do have some evidence that some pollsters were rigging the system to benefit one side.
Okay- said all that to say this.
If Romney wins- and big [which I doubt] then you just saw a good example of media bias- because according to most of the media- Obama should win.
Lets see what happens in the morning.
Okay- just a few notes on the Einstein biography I’m going thru.
The book is an older book- I picked it up a few months ago at half price books.
But it’s a good book- not written from a religious perspective at all- the author- Walter Isaacson- is a top notch writer.
The reason I say ‘not from a religious perspective’ is because it’s kind of amazing how many times Einstein- and his companions- either speak about God- or outright quote him!
Yeah- over the years I have heard views from both sides [Atheists and Theists] who have tried to make Einstein more like them.
But the actual quotes from him- and how many times they allude to God- is really more than I thought.
I’m at the point in the book [about halfway] where you begin seeing the anti Semitism rise up in Germany.
As most of you know- Einstein was a Jew- who came from Germany.
He lived at the time of the rise of the Nazi’s- and the anti Jewish ‘ness’ of the times would affect him.
Einstein held teaching positions at various universities of his day- one was in Berlin.
Some of his contemporaries- men like Max Planck- were indeed all in for the German nationalism that was riding a wave at the time.
Einstein on the other hand resisted the mixing of science with nationalism- he believed more in a global type citizenship- that the great breakthrough’s they were making at the time- were for the world- not just for the benefit of one nation.
Einstein would refuse to sign a declaration signed by many of the thinkers of his day- one that supported German nationalism.
Instead he was part of a smaller group who drew up a sort of pacifist declaration- one which would fall by the way side because of its lack of support.
A few notes.
I find his insight into war- where it ‘comes from’ to be enlightening.
I’ll give you a quote- it comes from “a biologically determined feature of the male character” “What drives people to kill and maim each other so savagely” “I think it is the sexual character of the male that leads to such wild explosions”.
Einstein saw a sort of genetic ‘defect’ in man- something within him- that was the root cause of war.
In the book of James- in the New Testament- the brother of our Lord writes ‘from whence come wars and fighting’s among you- come they not hence- even from your lusts that war in your members’.
Yeah- I think James and Einstein were on the same page.
Eventually Einstein would oppose the war- that is- the initial aggression that was sprouting from his homeland.
The book does not go into detail about the actual war [WW2] at least not yet.
But we know from history that the Nazi’s would be part of one of the most heinous mindsets the world has ever known.
Hitler’s idea that a certain race of people were inherently ‘less human' that others.
Many do not know that some of his thoughts were formed by the popular idea of Evolution.
The teaching that all humans are on a scale of the ‘most evolved’ and the ‘least evolved’.
Yes- I have gotten into this in the past- and don’t want to do it again right now.
Eventually the allies would also cross a line of war- a line that divided the U.S. and the British for a short time.
The line of bombing urban centers- and targeting civilians.
Some of the correspondence that came out after the war showed that certain American military commanders objected to the bombing of civilian centers.
They would eventually do as they were told- but they did make their objections known.
The British were more willing to engage in the bombing- after all- Germany had already bombed them.
The first city center to go was Hamburg- a convenient target- right across from the British on the North Sea.
Above Belgium and the Netherlands.
War has a tendency to take all sides further than their conscience would allow at the start.
There seems to be something within the nature of man that always leads down a road of more destruction- not less.
One of the greatest minds of our time- a man who was brilliant- and also struggled with his own passions- saw it as some type of inner flaw of man.
A sort of ‘sinful nature’.
Yeah- James- the Lords brother called it ‘the lusts that war in our members’.
On this point they agree.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] - I have posted lots.
1936 EINSTEIN THE DETERMINIST.
In keeping with the last post [propaganda] I read an interesting AP article on Syria.
As most of you know Syria has been in a civil war for many months- they are the 1st ‘Arab spring’ nation that has not ‘fallen’ to the rebels.
Now- there are lots of political things going on in the region [Russia and China not supporting a Libyan style NATO action] that are sustaining Assad’s regime.
But I found it funny how the western media have chosen to portray the war.
In order for the media to side with those who want to depose Assad- they must ‘side’ with the ‘deposers’.
So- the article spoke about the outside Al Qaeda groups who are coming in to assist the rebels.
It used terms like ‘heroism’ ‘valor’ ‘experienced fighters who know what they are doing’.
These terms were used to describe Al Qaeda fighters- in contrast to Assad- a ‘crimes against humanity’ description.
Wow- I never thought the media would actually try and honor Al Qaeda fighters- in order to accomplish their agenda.
That my friends is the ultimate in propaganda.
Okay- I read some more on Einstein over the weekend- and wanted to cover a few things.
Over the years as you read various sources about famous folk- you need to be aware of the source.
For instance- Christian writers [writing from that perspective] often portray the religious tendencies of a figure in a more favorable light then an atheist writer would.
So you have to be careful that the author is not writing his own story into the person he is covering.
But the biography I’m reading was not written from a religious view.
Yet- the author does share the various positions Einstein has taken about God over the years.
One thing to note is Einstein was a lover of philosophy- he admired men like Hume, Kant and Spinoza.
If you remember- a few years ago I covered the history of philosophy and how much of it dealt with what the causes of things are.
The law of Cause and Effect [also referred to as causality].
As a Physicist- Einstein had a great interest in these subjects.
At the end of the day- Einstein fell into a camp of thinkers called Determinists.
That means he believed that that the universe was ruled by definite principles- even though we did not have the answers to all the puzzles- yet he was convinced that if we searched long enough- we would find order to it.
This belief is in keeping with Theistic thinkers- not with those who ascribe chance and disorder to the creation.
I might have bitten off a little much here- but the point is- at the end of the day Einstein rejected the commonly held belief that there is no real cause to the things we see.
Many thinkers who argue against the existence of God argue form a perspective that chance is behind the ‘perceived’ design we see in nature.
Dawkins [the famous atheist] calls it ‘the appearance of design’.
Einstein did not simply believe in the ‘appearance’ of design- but he believed that the Cosmos was indeed a product of some type of cause that gave it design.
Now- I’m not saying Einstein was a Christian [or observant Jew]- but the point is- in his thinking- he rejects the most commonly held arguments that are made against the Theistic world view [in Cosmology- science] and sides with the Christian thinkers of our day.
Einstein famously said ‘God does not roll dice’ meaning he did not believe in the atheistic argument that things just happen without any cause.
No- Einstein seems to agree with one of his favorite thinkers- Spinoza said ‘All things are determined by the necessity of Divine nature’.
Yes- Einstein was a Determinist in his thinking- he did indeed side with the Theists at the end of the day.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [Facebook] - I have posted lots.
1932 CHALLENGING THE SYSTEM
I have finally started my book on Einstein.
I bought it a few weeks ago- and never had the chance to break it open.
I also am working my way thru the Catechism of the Catholic church- quite a volume indeed.
I watched a couple of documentaries on Netflix over the weekend- Last night I caught a documentary on Hunter Thompson.
He was the character that Johnny Depp played in the movie ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’.
Hunter was a sort of counter culture hero- he wrote for Rolling Stone and had his own unique style of writing.
He called it Gonzo journalism- he said the writer needed to inject himself into the story- and become part of the story.
Sort of like what the reporters did in the Iraq war- we called it ‘Embed’.
He covered the campaign of George McGovern- who sadly passed this week.
George was the quintessential liberal- but a man of conviction- he was a good man.
Hunter made it into the headlines a few years back- he killed himself with one of his favorite things- a gun.
Yeah- Hunter was a gun lover- a liberal- and in some ways a moralist of his time.
Now- with all the doc’s I saw [also finished Greek civilization] and the books I’m reading- it’s hard to pick one subject to cover at a time.
But let me go with Einstein for a few minutes.
In this biography- by Walter Isaacson- he doesn’t go too deeply into the science of Einstein- which would take a whole physics course to understand.
But he does cover some high points.
One of the things that Thompson and Einstein had in common- was their willingness to challenge the system.
They took on the ‘received wisdom’ of the day- and were daring enough to take the ‘path less trod’.
Just one area- Ether.
At the start of the 20th century Ether was an accepted ‘scientific truth’ that most [if not all] scientists accepted.
It would be like Dark Matter today- something that seems to be ‘true’- most of the scientific community speak of it as real- yet- as far as we know- we have never once actually detected it.
So- ether was this theory that said light/energy is a wave [not particles] and therefore for this wave to move thru space- it needs a carrier.
Ether was this so called vapor like substance that allowed Energy/light to travel.
At a young age Einstein accepted this idea- but he was learning at a time when particle physics was just getting off the ground.
Though atoms and molecules [particles] were indeed part of the conversation- yet they were not totally proved yet.
So- part of the great breakthrough of Einstein put to death the idea of Ether- and instead we learned that light is not a wave so to speak- but a sort of particle beam- we did not really need the Ether concept- and to be honest- it never was really there.
This is just one little tid bit from the book that I thought interesting- today you would be considered a fool if you still talked about Ether [in this way].
Yet- at the time of Einstein you were a fool if you did not accept it.
Einstein would later challenge the field that he launched- Theoretical/Quantum physics.
He felt like some of the ideas were not really scientific- too much speculating.
That’s what I see as I watch/read about some of the most popular ideas that seem to make it into the TV specials that cover these subjects.
It’s often the theories/ideas that are ‘way out there’ that are the most interesting- and get the most viewers.
The problem is- many of these ideas are [in my view] modern day Ethers- they are accepted ‘fact’ even though we don’t really know if they exist.
When I see shows on alternate universes- parallel worlds- where we supposedly have duplicate lives and all.
Well- this is not science- this is not even Ether- its fairy tale land.
Yet- these same theorists will mock belief in an omnipotent being- because they want to see the facts.
So- over the next few weeks I will try and hit a little more on the books I’m reading- cover some more important news stuff- and try to be as challenging as Hunter.
Sometimes it’s when we go against the status quo- when we are open to see things differently- that’s when we make major breakthroughs in our thinking.
We should not cast off all the stuff that has come to us down thru the ages- but we need to realize that some of the stuff that seems to be accepted fact today- just might be the Ether of yesterday.
1896 SIGNS OF THE TIMES
‘Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee- is burned up with fire’ Isaiah 64:11.
Yesterday I mentioned that I watched a couple of negative documentaries about Christianity- they were done from the extreme skeptic’s perspective.
In these types of shows they usually have a few Christians/preachers that they portray as idiots.
In some cases- we can’t help ourselves!
One of the scenes was this group of protestant Christians traveling to Israel on a holy land tour.
When they are at the site of the temple mount [a real big deal for certain protestants- called Dispensationalists].
The pastor is speaking- very loudly- and quoting Jesus from Matthew 24.
He says ‘Jesus said there would be no stone left upon another- he meant it- all these stones will come down’!
Now- I know he meant well- and it must have felt exhilarating for him to kind of be standing up for Jesus- but we all know that there is this huge gold mosque sitting right at the spot where the temple used to be.
And this is where- for some Protestants- the rubber meets the road.
The above verse comes from the Old Testament prophet- the people of God [Israel] were being judged- they lost their homeland and eventually their holy temple would be destroyed.
Over a period of time they would return to their land and the temple would be re built.
During the days of Jesus you had a 3rd temple- even though the 2nd rebuilt one was never destroyed- yet Herod [the father of king Herod whom we read about in the bible] would undergo this huge rebuilding project- and he turned the temple of Jesus day into this huge majestic place.
So- when the disciples were with Jesus one day [matt 24] they said ‘look at all these great buildings Jesus’.
And that’s when he gave the response ‘their will not be left one stone upon another that shall not be cast down’.
This event took place in the year AD 70- the Roman general Titus would sack Jerusalem and the temple was cast down- there was not ‘one stone left on another’ literally.
After the destruction- many went in and searched thru the rubble for the gold that melted and fell between the stones- they actually laid every stone bare during this process.
So- the actual words the minister quoted from Jesus- these words were not defending the glory of the temple- which in Christ’s day came to represent religion apart from God.
No- the words of Jesus were actually a rebuke to those who put too much emphasis on the temple itself [which just happened to be the camp that the above minister was in- ouch!]
Christians do have a problem with stuff like this- lots.
I also caught a few preaching shows over the past week- and many of them had the same theme.
One man was ranting against Muslims- he was quoting verses in the Bible that talk about avoiding the evil person.
I actually just posted on this a few weeks ago.
These verses come from the Apostle Paul’s pen- in his letter to the church at Corinth.
He was not saying to have no contact with unbelievers [or people of other faiths]- he was talking about ‘church members’ who were living in open sin.
I got into it the other day- don’t want to rehash it again.
The point was- even though this minister meant well- he was giving the opinion that Christians should have no peaceful dealings with Muslims- or any other religion for that matter.
Is this right?
The bible says we should live peaceably with all men.
In the Old Testament we read the story of Joseph.
He became the second most powerful figure in the land of Egypt- only Pharaoh was over him.
Joseph was living- and functioning- in the midst of the Egyptian people- who did indeed have different religious beliefs than Joseph.
Yet we read how Joseph earned great respect from the Egyptians- and when Joseph’s dad died [Jacob- who was named Israel] they respected the wishes of Joseph and even mourned with him.
Now- this is a great example of believers having friends- functioning in society- without purposefully offending people.
I do not claim to have perfect understanding about the end times- but I do see some major flaws with what most people think about when they hear ‘end times’.
Many Christians see a future restoration of the temple in Jerusalem.
They see a huge problem that the mosque sits on the temple site- and they have various scenarios to see the thing removed.
These same believers- all good people mind you- also see Jesus restoring the sacrificial system- and him ruling over Jerusalem- with the sacrifices taking place once again.
In the book of Hebrews- in our bibles- the writer says ‘those who continue the sacrificial system- after the crucifixion of Christ- are doing disgrace to the Cross of Christ.’
Theologically- the above end time’s scenario does much harm to the basic message of the Cross.
Geopolitically- it spells disaster.
1895- BUYER BEWARE!
We bought the Rocu thing the other day.
That’s the device that lets you watch movies on line.
You get a lot of real good stuff- I was surprised.
I was also surprised to see all the documentaries about religion and Christianity.
The ones from Netflix looked interesting- so I watched a couple.
All of the ones I saw were done from a skeptic’s point of view.
Now- as someone who writes on apologetics [the defense of the faith] I am familiar with these arguments against the faith.
But- if you are not familiar- these doc’s will shake your faith- for sure.
They are done from the perspective that Christianity basically copied the Greek myths of God and religion- they focus on the ‘similarities’ between Christianity and Greek [and other cultures] religions.
Okay- what was wrong- or deceptive?
First- this entire school of thought was popularized in the 19th century- from the Christian universities in Germany.
Yes- some good men- well meaning men [others not so good! Freud- etc] believed that in order for the faith to survive in this ‘brave new world’ [modernity- and the whole humanistic advance of man since the enlightenment].
That they had to re-fashion the faith and sort of bring it up to date with the times.
Men like Rudolph Bultman introduced the idea of ‘de mythologizing’ the bible.
So- these guys rejected all the supernatural elements of the bible- no more miracles- angels- demons- or resurrection!
Many people embraced this ‘new’ bold approach to the faith- and basically became theological liberals.
One of the reasons some of these men went down this road were covered in the above documentaries.
Okay- as I watched a couple of them- they had similar themes- and were also wrong in the same way.
They compared about 25 other religious myths- from other cultures- and they said these other religious myths all had a savior- a son of god- who had 12 disciples.
They said this Lamb of God died- was buried- and on the 3rd day rose again.
They said he did miracles- was born of a virgin- was called Lord and savior.
And they made it sound like this ‘story’- in complete form- was repeated many times before the Christians ‘picked it up’.
Wow- double wow.
Why are these documentaries dangerous?
First- I actually have read/studied in this field.
The similarities that they described in the doc’s were way overdone- they simply are not true.
That’s the first problem.
But- they did mix in some truth- with the false stuff.
Both of the documentaries I saw [it seems like there is one person- producer- behind the 2 I saw] did give an actual quote from a 2nd century Christian leader- Justin Martyr.
The quote is indeed real- Justin is known as one of the first Apologists of the church.
He defended the faith during a time when many enemies of the faith slandered the religion.
In one defense [out of many] he said that those who reject Christianity because we believe that a Divine son rose from the dead- that others also held the same type of belief in the pagan world.
He was referring to the god Jupiter and the stories that surround those who believed in him.
You also do find this same type of thing in the myth of Hercules.
Okay- so the skeptic was right then?
In the documentary- the skeptic actually gives the quote from Justin- and Justin says that just because these similarities did exist in other religions- before Christ- that this in no way means the Christian faith is false.
Justin said it was possible for satan to have ‘imitated’ what was really going to happen.
The skeptic mocked this argument from Justin- and went on to challenge the faith.
A few things.
First- it is possible that Justin was right.
This whole line of attack is not new [unless you never heard of it before- which is why I’m kinda surprised that Netflix has them in their lineup].
It goes all the way back to the writings of Gilgamesh.
These are writings that also have similarities to the things we find in the bible- yet they are not coming from the Christian perspective.
They contain a story about a flood [like the one in Genesis].
So- over time- skeptics have said ‘see- the bible must have copied these flood stories- because we find them in other cultures’.
I actually covered this before.
Let me give you the short version.
We- as Christians- do indeed believe the story of Noah [the flood].
Some debate whether it was a global event or local- I don’t want to get into that now.
But- if there was a huge event- say like a 911 plane attack on the world trade center.
Would you not expect to find that event- recorded in more than one culture?
Of course you would.
So the fact that other cultures have a flood event recorded too- this does not mean the Christians plagiarized the flood- no- it would be evidence that the flood really did happen.
Now- the similarities between a divine son who rose from the dead.
First- there ARE NOT 25 or so stories like this- with 12 disciples- raised on the 3rd day- and so on.
The producer of the doc was simply mislead- or outright lying.
We must remember that anything we find in Greek culture- which predated Christian ‘culture’ was also predated by Jewish culture.
That is to say that the story of Judaism comes before the Greek philosophers.
Are there any themes in the Jewish religion that speak about a Messiah who would come- die- and be the Messiah of all mankind?
So- you could argue that any similarities between Greek myth- and Christianity- are actually ‘copies’ taken from the Old Testament story.
That is- God himself gave us clues about the story of redemption- and these clues might have very well ‘seeped’ into the Greek culture- before Christ- and that’s why you might find similarities between the 2.
Okay- I could go on- but I think I made the point.
I was not mad that these documentaries were on net flix.
But I saw the danger in presenting one side like this- without giving the other view [which I just gave].
All in all- the Christian faith has more historical backing [like the many thousands of bible manuscripts that survived the early days] than any other religion or writings of any kind.
The documentaries made a couple of good points- things that were indeed true- but they had way too much mis information in them to be playing on such a huge venue.
Buyer [or watcher] beware!
1886- DIVINE LOGOS
Okay- just read Isaiah 65- one chapter left.
These past few weeks I have been going thru the last 15 or so chapters of the book.
There are lots of great themes to do- maybe I’ll take a pic of the verses I wrote down and hung up here in my study.
I also wanted to engage in a conversation on the Divine Logos.
Well yeah- maybe a little scholarly sounding- but my goal has been to ‘upgrade’ our level of teaching.
When I say ‘our’ I’m talking generally about the present day church in America- and the obsession with ‘the now’.
That is ‘what do I get out of this- monetarily?’
Yeah- that’s the rave of the day.
So- every so often I do my best to walk the other road- to give the other side of the coin.
So- a few weeks ago I was at my daughter’s house- we usually have the whole family over for the b-days and stuff.
And my kids like playing those word games.
So they bought some game- don’t remember the whole name- but part of the name had LOGOS in it.
I just quipped ‘you do know what that means’?
Now- I kid around so much- sometimes they have a hard time believing me- like ‘sure- you’re making it up’.
No- for real!
Logos means WORD.
It’s the Greek language- which the New Testament was written in- and it simply means WORD.
My 2nd oldest said ‘I should have known that’.
My oldest daughter- Bethany- just turned 27- Becky is a couple of years younger.
They both have degrees from A&M University here in Texas- top notch school for sure.
So that’s why Becky ‘should have known it’.
Anyway- this word is a favorite in the writings of the apostle John.
In both the gospel and his 3 little letters [1st, 2nd and 3rd John] he uses this term to describe Jesus.
‘In the beginning was THE WORD and the word was with God…’
That’s the Greek word- Logos.
It should be noted that the early Greek philosophers had a concept much like this.
All the way back to the time of Plato- Socrates and Aristotle [around 500 years before Christ] the Greeks were speaking about a universal principle- some type of ‘unifying theory’ that would be the basis of all knowledge.
They spoke about this principle as THE LOGOS.
So- some of the critics of Christianity did use this as a criticism of the church- they say ‘see- the disciples were just making stuff up- borrowing themes that were already there’.
Do they have a point?
A point- maybe- but that’s all.
In the letters of John we also read him refuting a cult of the day- called Gnosticism [Gnosis is the Greek word for knowledge. They believed that they had secret knowledge that the others did not have. A modern twist on this is sometimes referred to as Revelation Knowledge- it’s a form of this ‘special knowledge’ idea that existed in the early days of the church.]
An off shoot of this group were called the Docetists.
These guys were pseudo Christians- they held to some form of Christian belief- but denied the true faith of the church.
They taught that Jesus was ‘a phantom spirit’ that is- they denied what we refer to as the incarnation.
That God became man in the person of Christ.
John was one of the youngest disciples- and he also outlived the others.
His writings are probably the oldest in the N.T. [Revelation]
So- he was around long enough to refute the growing philosophical challenges to the church.
So- putting all this together- when John said Jesus was the Divine Logos- he was not ‘stealing’ that idea from the earlier Greek philosophers who were indeed looking for a Logos principle.
No- he was saying ‘look- we- the followers of Christ- have found the thing you were looking for all the time- he is the Wisdom- the Logos of God’.
Okay- I haven’t read John in a long time- nor have I ever studied Greek.
But- I do have a Greek lexicon [a book that gives you the Greek word before it was translated into English].
And back ‘in the day’ when we were young believers- seeking to learn the faith- these were the basic tools of the trade.
But today- well- the tools are motivation- success stuff.
Learning how to invest- make a buck [or 2] - how to ‘create your world’.
Yeah- we really don’t have time for all that silly stuff like the Logos.
After all- it’s all Greek to me.
Yeah- I know.
1880- ZIGGY STARDUST
I’ve been catching some of the classic rock concerts on VHF 1- you know- the stuff I [we] saw back in the day.
I must admit- I have been an amateur ‘singer’ for many years.
I used to belt them out at the fire house on a regular basis- you know- sweeping the stalls- or doing a daily routine thing.
Okay- no lie- I did get some real compliments over my ‘career’.
One of the Captains asked one morning ‘were you playing the radio in there’.
I told him no- laughing- he did not believe I was singing.
My captain [Lopez] said for years that I should go on the ‘Americas got talent’ type shows.
So- after a while the guys would give a request or 2- and I tried my best.
I remember Sam- a younger guy- one day I sang Lola [the Kinks].
Sam knew the song as a remake- I guess some new group re-did it.
So- I sang the words- which Sam said he never really knew.
I told Sam ‘you do know who Lola is’.
He did not.
‘She walks like a woman and talks like a man’
‘When she squeezed me tight she nearly broke my spine’
‘I never ever kissed a woman before’ [nor this night!]
Yeah- you’re talking Penn State football locker rooms for the years that Sandusky was there.
So- one day I drove the girls to school- I tell them ‘you guys want breakfast- then you have to bear thru another one of dads songs- without laughing’.
They were up for it.
So- I picked one from my catalog [in my head!]
And I was off.
They managed to not laugh- or smile- that was the deal.
At the end- my daughter- per instructions of the bet- said ‘wow dad- that was really good’.
Still- no laugh.
I responded- with a dead pan serious face ‘are you serious.’
She lost the bet right there.
So- I caught the re-run of a David Bowie concert tour.
To be honest- I never really liked the guy- Changes was an all right song- but not much else.
But the stardust character that he sang the tour as [he was this androgynous type persona for the tour] reminded me of the famed Physicist – Neil Tyson.
Tyson heads up the Hayden planetarium in N.Y.
My dad took me there a bunch of times as a kid- I loved it.
Tyson has been making the rounds recently- talking about the Higgs Boson thing.
He is a nice guy- and he is trying to ‘popularize’ physics for the average guy- a noble cause.
But he- like a long line of others- stumbles very badly when he wades into the field of Apologetics/Logic.
Recently I saw a clip- he gave a very enthusiastic account of how the stars ‘made us’.
He said that we now know that the basic elements of the stars are in us.
And he then reached the unfounded conclusion that ‘we came from stars’.
Okay- a brief review.
This type of argument- which is not new- says if you find common elements in 2 different things- then one must have come from the other.
Why would this be false- at least in the star debate?
Because you cannot get intelligence- information- consciousness- from a non living thing.
As wonderful as the study of the stars can be- yet- to give the stars ‘Ontological status’ [meaning- you give a non living thing the status that only a living thing has] is wrong.
Tyson gives us no mechanism of how the stars actually created us.
I mean you can’t even appeal to biological evolution- because at least it uses living things.
No- the stars have no life.
Then how would you [I] explain the fact that stars have the same base elements that humans have?
Easy- there was one creator- a ‘first cause’ if you will- and according to the biblical argument- he made man from the base element- dirt.
So- in the Christian view- you have both how the same elements are in various things- and you have a ‘mechanism’ that explains how intelligence- consciousness- and life arrived.
They came from an infinite being- who has life in himself.
In the end- this is really the only logical explanation for the creation.
Remember- you can’t get intelligence from non intelligence.
It would be like finding a C.D. in a field- you popped it into a computer and you found information on it.
Then- you broke down [in a lab] the basic elements of the makeup of the C.D. - the actual hardware- not the info on it.
And said ‘aha- I have found the source of the info on the device’.
And you proceeded to show me the ingredients that make up the disk itself.
I would respond ‘all you have done is shown me the common elements that make up the disk- you have in no way proven that these base elements are responsible for the info on the disk’.
That’s the mistake that Tyson makes- he assumes that the common elements we find both in the stars and in humans- is proof that ‘we came from the stars’.
He’s wrong- very wrong.
About as wrong as me thinking I can make it on America’s got talent.
1869- THE GOD PARTICLE [and Mayan flag day]
Hope you ‘all’ had a good 4th of July.
I actually flew the flag for the 2nd time in so many months.
For years I never had a house flag- I hung them up daily at the fire dept for 25 years and it never dawned on me to get one.
So when I woke up on Memorial Day and saw my neighbor’s flag flying high- yea- it made me feel like a commie.
So I went and bought a flag.
I asked my wife- ‘where did you put the flag’ ‘it’s in the closet’.
I get the flag- it’s around 7 or so- and I walk back into the room ‘let’s go hang the flag’.
My wife says ‘what do you mean- you need 2 people to hang it’?
But I want you to stand next to me and recite the pledge.
I thought it was funny- she didn’t seem to think so.
Yeah- I’m one of those types that get the most use out of a purchase as possible.
I’ll probably be flying it on that Mayan calendar day- I think it’s coming up pretty soon?
So- as I debated about what we should discuss today- I picked up the paper [yesterday morning] and the front page headline read ‘JUSTICE DEPT SUES CITY’.
I mentioned this the other day- about the fire dept not hiring enough women [they say].
I read about half of the article- I read the stats- we actually hired more women than other comparable cities.
I really did not want to do another whole post on the thing- but it was sad to see that as a front page headline- I don’t think we have ever been sued by our own govt. before.
[in the post the other day- I think I used the word threat- maybe not- but now I know they did sue].
I have written about our attorney general before- Eric Holder- this guy has politicized the justice dept to no end.
I could give you example after example- even his past dealings are very shady- the Mark Rich pardon- a pardon he recommended when he worked in the Clinton days.
By all accounts- Clinton pardoned a crook because he had connections- Holder used his influence to get the dirty deed done.
Pure- 100% Chicago politics- corrupt to the core.
Okay- instead- let’s do the other big news story- the so called God Particle.
Yeah- I heard/read a bunch of stories on the so called breakthrough discovery.
Now- I am not ‘anti science’.
I am not a person who believes the earth is only 6 thousand years old- or that kids rode on the backs of dinosaurs.
But- in the historic setting of apologetics- and the role that science has played in the debate- I must say there are lots of misconceptions floating around in the air.
Okay- a brief history of the scientific method and how it came to be.
The past year or so I covered lots of posts on philosophy and physics and world history in general.
We covered how during the middle of the last millennium [500years ago] the world began a break thru in many areas- and we often refer to this as the modern era.
Man- science- thought- all of the fields we see as part of the modern era- they began at around this point.
Science/philosophy and religion all played a big role in the debate.
One of the big boys was a man named David Hume- he was a thinker who questioned what we talked about the other day- the law of cause and effect.
This law simply says that every effect has a cause.
Hume challenged the popular idea that we can know causes.
He said we think we can know the cause of something- but in reality we can’t be sure.
The example Hume gave was the Pool table.
He said we see a person hit the q ball- the ball hits another ball and it goes into the pocket.
Hume said it might look like this a string of cause and effects- but we don’t know for sure.
Maybe there are other reasons why the balls are reacting like this.
Another famous example is the Rooster crowing- the guy couldn’t sleep in because the sun kept shinning in his window- so every morning right before the sun rose he heard the darn rooster crow.
So he shot the rooster.
Just because one act precedes another- this does not mean that is the cause.
Okay- we got it Hume.
But some began to doubt all possible knowledge- they said you can’t make any judgments at all- because we don’t know for sure what the real cause is.
Okay- this led another great thinker- Kant- to challenge Hume [the famous quote from Kant was ‘he woke up out of his dogmatic slumber’] and Kant said even though we can’t be 100 % sure- yet for any possibility for science to function- we do need to be able to have some type of way we can settle on knowledge- science does need to be able to say ‘okay- we have looked at this long enough- we think this is what’s causing this’.
Okay- this whole debate is called Epistemology- how we know stuff.
Now- the God particle.
As I listened to the various reports the last 2 days- I could tell right off the bat that there was some funny stuff going on.
The actual statements form the scientists are saying ‘well- we haven’t ACTUALLY seen the particle [also called Higgs Boson] but- we have detected enough other particles- so we think the Boson is more than likely there too’ or ‘it’s like looking in the distance- and you think you see someone- but maybe you’re looking at his twin instead’.
Okay- what kind of argument is this?
This is what we call a Metaphysical argument.
It’s an argument that is made- not because you actually detected the thing- but you have come to a conclusion based on the Scientific Method of Induction/Deduction.
You looked at- observed- and tested various things- and you now say ‘well- it must be there- because look at all the other stuff’. [layman’s terms].
Okay- is there anything wrong with this.
But- here’s the catch- many in the modern field of physics refute the argument for the existence of God because in the end it is a metaphysical one.
That is- the materialist scientist [one who says we only deal in facts that we can actually see\detect] uses metaphysical arguments all the time- he just does not realize he is doing this.
Remember the other day- I posted about the many contradictions good men make when mixing science with apologetics and the laws of argumentation [or logic].
They often do not realize they are contradicting themselves- or making out right nonsense statements- because they are scientists- not logicians.
So what we have in the Higgs Boson case- in the Dark Matter- Dark energy case- in the entire Multi Verse theory [many universes].
In all these theories- which now make up the majority of modern physics- they are all the same type of argument that the materialist scientist says are not good arguments- at least when it comes to the argument for the existence of God.
In a nutshell- if we agree to accept that a certain particle must exist- not because we have actually detected it- but because ‘well- it must be there- because if not- then how do we explain everything else’?
If these arguments are being used in all of the above scenarios- and trust me- they are.
Then we can’t exclude the Theist from the table- we can’t say ‘no- you silly Christian- you deal in things we DON’T SEE- we deal in things we do see.’
Actually- you don’t.
All of the above theories are conclusions based on how the other things around them respond.
The reason many think Dark Matter exists- is not because we have found it- we haven’t.
But because in order for the standard model- well- to stand- then Dark Matter simply ‘must be’.
Okay- this is the same type of argument the Theist [one who believes in God] uses.
If you want to exclude the believer from the table- on the grounds that he appeals to a ‘non detectable’ being.
Then we must ditch all of the above.
And it seems- Higgs Boson too.
NOTE- all scientists are not materialists- many are believers- and even many non believers are not materialists. If you are a pure materialist scientist- one who says we cannot accept any other non material arguments [things we don’t actually see/detect] then you also would not be able to accept any of the major theories of physics today- that is if you were consistent in your thinking.
Also why did the researchers at CERN release this as some great new finding?
The ‘discovery’ was made at the new 10 billion dollar Hadron Collider.
This is the world’s largest Atom smasher.
In order for the Europeans to justify the cost- they had to convince people that this was the best chance to actually discover this long elusive particle.
Now- Europe is in a near depression- as most of you know.
This underground ‘particle smashing tunnel’ [I think it’s right on the French Swiss border?] when first opened- had a bad day.
It leaked oil into the tunnel and it was shut down- and had to be repaired at the cost of millions of dollars.
Okay- all of these guys realize- if you do not justify the cost of this thing- in the midst of a European depression- then what are the odds that your gonna keep getting funded?
I don’t know if this was the main reason they came out with the statement now- but for them to have come out- and kinda have fudged on it- makes me wonder.
Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to ‘click’ the note App on my Facebook Profile- I have posted lots.
1868- ALIEN INVASION
Last night I was watching a talk given by the Ohio congressman- Dennis Kucinich.
Dennis is known as a big Lib- he has been the butt of jokes for years- he once saw a UFO- and that pretty much put the nail in the coffin.
But- to be fair- the guy is smart.
Now- I’m not saying I believe everything he says [accept of course about the alien ship] but during the talk he was asked a question.
And he used an example from Evolutionary Biology.
He said- in so many words ‘scientists tell us that there is this thing called Punctuated Equilibrium’ and he used this idea to make a political point.
Now- as I heard Dennis- I thought ‘geez- if I get into this in the morning [now] it will take the whole post’.
So let’s see how far we can go.
I laughed somewhat over the example.
Evolutionary Biology has made great strides- and had setbacks ever since the idea was popularized by Charles Darwin in the 19th century.
Now- Charlie was not the first person to espouse the idea.
In fact- there was another famous scientist at the time- who some believe Darwin ‘stole’ the idea from him [much like the debate with Einstein- the famous Mathematician- Max Plank- at one point took part of the original idea of Einstein and almost became the famous one].
So- what Darwin is famous for is coming up with the theory of Evolution [what we call Macro Evolution- that all species came from a common ancestor- one spontaneous living cell that popped into existence from nothing- Charlie did not teach this by the way- not fully- but the modern theory has gone there].
Okay- it would take too much space to explain all the ins and outs.
But the debate that has raged for the past 150 years has been whether or not this ever really happened.
That is- have all species actually come from a common life.
The strong evolutionist insists [or did insist] yes.
Those who questioned the theory [not just Christians or Theists- but there are many in the scientific community who have expressed real doubt- these men are not believers- but it’s virtually impossible for their voices to be heard because when you question some of the huge problems with the theory your usually tagged as a right wing nut].
So- after 150 years- the evidence that they thought would be there- is simply not there.
After many years of discovering fossils- and trying to see if there is a pattern of things actually evolving over millions of years- the evidence does not show this.
You heard me- the evidence shows something quite different.
It shows us that new species came into existence at set points in history.
That is- we might find a certain species living for so long- and Walla- seemingly overnight- a new one pops up.
There is absolutely no regular pattern of what you would call transitional species- it’s simply not there.
Okay- if this were the only Monkey Wrench [pun intended] then that wouldn’t be so bad.
But as science has advanced- we have also been trying- desperately- to get some type of species- anything- to actually become something else.
The way we [science] attempts this is thru the experimentation with fruit flies.
In the lab they have been trying to simply g