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 get a fruit fly to become another thing [they breed and reproduce fast- so that’s why they use them].
After many dollars and years spent trying this- they can’t get this to happen.
There are many more reasons I could give- but after things like this kept popping up- some in the field- leading Evolutionary scientists- Gould [MIT]- one of the daughters from the famed Leaky family- etc.- starting having real doubts.
Now- these doubts were not based on religion- but science.
The data showed that there seems to be this huge wall between species- that is it’s not as easy as Darwin first thought.
As a matter of fact- the science showed that it is virtually impossible for one thing to become another thing [as far as we can tell right now].
So- the normal thing you would do [should do] at this point is to say ‘maybe we got it wrong- maybe we need to look in another direction’.
And Walla- Punctuated Equilibrium.
Yes- as Dennis said- scientists have said that this is the idea that instead of things slowly evolving over millions/hundreds of thousands of years- they simply changed overnight.
Now- this in reality would be saying ‘the other side- those who questioned Evolution- are right’.
Because the 2 major competing theories are Evolution [things changed slowly over millions of years into new species].
Creation- things came onto the scene at once [or set times].
The Punctuated Equilibrium idea is simply a fancy way of saying the evidence points to the creationist as being right.
But instead of coming right out and saying it like that- instead the theory sounds like it is a result of Evolutionary biology.
I have heard this stated over the years- that indeed Evolution has made this new discovery possible.
Now- I’m not a total rejecter of the entire theory.
I have said in the past that there is no doubt that evolution [natural selection] does take place within the known species [called Micro Evolution].
But there is lots of evidence that seems to say Evolution does not take place on the bigger scale- species changing into another species over long periods of time.
[Darwin thought that whales changed into cows over many years- he thought that the Black aborigine tribes were proof that Evolution was true- he said these Black races were less advanced along the scale. And the famous ‘Monkey Trial’ here in the U.S. [Tenn.] made it look like the Christians were idiots. Many are not aware that the Evolutionary book that Scopes was accused of teaching Evolution from was actually a racist book that the KKK endorsed. The book [by George Hunter] had a scale of the most advanced races- and the least advanced- of course at the top were Whites- the bottom were Blacks. Yet the media made it sound like the more noble side was indeed those who backed using the book in public schools].
But the entire argument shows you how people’s bias affects the end result.
In reality- for anyone to say that Evolutionary science has been responsible for the great breakthrough- known as Punctuated Equilibrium- well it’s ridiculous.
Because Punctuated Equilibrium is simply saying that those who reject the theory that species change into new species over long periods of time- they are right.
So what you see is a manipulation of the argument- to make it look like the ‘losing side’ is actually responsible for this discovery.
But in reality the other side was right all along.
See- I knew this would take the whole post- thank Kucinich for it.
O- by the way- he does have a backup plan.
He can always say the aliens did it.
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.
1860- POLITICS OR RELIGION?
I wasn’t sure how to close up this week- I know how much you guys like it when I do politics! [note- every now and then I drop a joke or 2 in- I realized once that everybody does not know when it’s a joke- but if you have to say each time ‘here I kid’ it kinda ruins the thing].
I did go to the mission yesterday- and Dirk- my homeless friend that I gave a lecture to on the ‘proofs for the existence of God’ [he was kind of going off the other day on how everyone believes what they hear- that there is no real way to know who is right- so I covered the history of apologetics and the proofs for the existence of God- I kinda blasted the guys for about 15 minutes- and wasn’t sure they were following].
So when I see Dirk- the first thing he shows me is this book on Bertrand Russell- the famous British philosopher- I wrote about him when I was doing the study on philosophy.
Dirk was kind of repentant- he must of took my ‘speech’ to heart- and he told me he was going to put more of an effort into researching stuff.
Now- it was a surprise to see my homeless buddy running around with a Russell book- but I got the hint that he did get something from my talk and wanted me to know he was trying.
By the way- being he showed me the book- I encouraged him to read it- but had to let Dirk know that Russell was a very influential 20th century British philosopher- he was famous because he was a public protestor against the use of nuclear weapons.
But in the field of thought he became an Agnostic.
He was raised as a believer- but at a young age he read a book from another famous thinker- John Stuart Mill.
Mill wrote about what we have been discussing these last few days- the law of Cause and Effect- and how things came into being.
Mill said ‘if everything has to have a cause- then why not God? Who caused God?’
Now- Mill wasn’t the first thinker to pose the question- but Russell became influenced by this idea and espoused it for the rest of his life.
Though both of these men were smart- they stumbled over this misconception.
The law of Cause and Effect [also referred to as causality] does not say EVERYTHING has a cause.
It states that all EFFECTS have a cause.
In essence- it’s within the realm of logic to espouse an infinite- causeless being.
Now- some might say this is ‘illogical’ but using the laws of logic [like we covered the last few days].
In the end- the only logical explanation for all things is an infinite being.
Anyway- don’t want to re hash the whole thing again- just thought it interesting that Dirk was reading Russell’s book.
Even though there are a lot of news events that could be covered today- lets finish with a few ‘religious’ things.
I have a verse here [about 200!] hanging on my wall- it’s from Isaiah [I think? I write them down and hang them up- but I don’t write the reference].
It says ‘do these things- and when others read about them- this will be a witness to them’.
There are others along this line that I have come across these last few years.
I started working with the homeless in 1992- with guys that were on drugs- ex-cons- before that.
I never told any of these stories until a few years back.
I started the blog in 2006- Facebook a couple of years later.
I felt that it was part of the ‘next step’- that is doing ministry- that the Lord wanted me to get into.
So- even though I did not even have email until 2006- or even get online until that time- I did my best to put together the blog [amateurish as it is] and start the process.
Now- over the years- as a student of religion, philosophy, ecclesiology [church]- I have written a lot about what it means to ‘do church’ or ‘be church’.
In Christian circles this has been hotly debated in recent years.
Many in the House Church movement have written- and debated with those who are more into the Traditional type churches.
There are many Protestants who have all types of ways they see ‘church’.
In its most basic form- the best definition that I have been able to come up with- is Church is a community.
It’s a worldwide community of those who confess Christ [the universal church].
And it’s a local community of those who follow him.
If you read the gospels- Jesus and his disciples are a good picture of the church.
Now- many will say ‘No John- the church was not formed until Acts chapter 2’.
Okay- I hear that.
I see the whole thing.
But- as community- it’s a mistake- in my view- to dismiss the gospels as ‘pre church’.
I don’t want to get into a theological debate- because I’m not even sure how many are following right now.
But- the point is- if we actually read the things that Jesus told us to do [sounds simple enough].
We would end up doing a lot of the things that most of us call ‘prison ministry’ or ‘street ministry’ or ‘outreach ministry’.
In actuality- these things are a main function of being a community.
So- over the years- because many of us associate church with the meeting [or the building]. We have a tendency to shift the focus from community- to the corporate entity.
Years ago I filed the corporation papers for our ‘church’.
Instead of paying a lawyer- I got a self help book- ‘how to incorporate your church’ and filed.
It was no big deal.
But I realized how we confuse the actual corporate laws of a state- they have ways they recognize what they call ‘a local church’.
And what the bible actually teaches.
In the bible- the church is a community of people- much like Jesus and the disciples going thru the towns- preaching- healing- helping others.
Yet- much of the focus of modern ‘church’ is the corporation ‘how much do we need this month? How many members do we need each month to tithe- and cover the vision of the church’.
Much of the focus- and effort- is spent on raising money for the corporation.
People are ‘challenged’ to sacrifice for Gods work- but the challenge is often seen thru the lens of ‘give till it hurts’.
Look- I’m not against giving- I give lots of money away.
But when you have the majority of church goers- who mean well- when they begin seeing their sacrifice mainly thru a paradigm of giving more money to a corporation- then this blinds them to the majority of teaching in the New Testament that calls us into the world- in real ways- to be the ‘actors’ [ones who act- function- not just give money so others can act/function on our behalf].
That is- the primary responsibility of the believer is not simply to go to church on Sunday [though this is a good thing].
Or to tithe to the ‘church’.
But to be active in helping one another- to be giving our lives away for other people.
This is the heart of the whole New Testament.
So- my purpose in telling these stories the last few years was simply to show one example [out of many- there are many Christians who do see the stuff I just showed you] So these things could be ‘the wisdom’ that the example of people seeing what it means to ‘be church’ might lead others to a ‘more better way’ [Hebrews.]
So- I’ll end the week with the example of my homeless buddy reading the writings of a 20th century British philosopher.
The politics will have to wait- yeah- I know your sad.
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.
1859- NOT A CHANCE
Went Down to the mission yesterday- saw the guys.
Dirk has his van running good- put the new radiator in [a few posts ago].
Gave Henry a ride back to the boat dock where he works- there were these beautiful Pelicans all lined up along the dock- never saw so many in a row like that.
On my way back to the house I saw a few cars in front of me make a detour- I realized there was a cop car with his flashing lights parked in the local speed trap.
Of course they’ll stop you for anything- I had gotten a ticket for driving without my license in the same spot a while back.
My inspection sticker has been expired since around May- of last year.
Yeah- I know.
I took it to the inspection guy a couple of month’s back- it failed for the tires.
So- as I saw the cop- I did a detour too- and went to another shop [yeah- I know].
I figured ‘Lord- I just helped the guys out- maybe I can get a break’.
So as I sat in the waiting room- doing one of those silent prayers ‘Lord- blind his eyes to the tires’.
You say ‘John- I thought you weren’t one of those positive confession type guys’.
I’m not- but when you’re in a bind you do what you have to.
The kid comes back ‘sir- your tire failed- your brake light is out- and you have a hole in the catalytic convertor’.
The plan didn’t work out too well.
Okay- let me finish a few more comments on proofs for the existence of God.
Yesterday I got into it a little with Dirk- and the other week I mentioned my friend Mike.
I have known Mike for a long time [the homeless artist] and I never knew he was really into the science shows and all.
As we talked Mike told me how over the years he has spoken with Christians/preachers and he has said ‘why do you think God created everything- Fungus and bacteria seem to produce on their own- maybe the cause for all things is that’.
Now- this was a good question- Mike told me that the only response he ever got was ‘the bible says God made everything’.
Okay- I got the point.
I told Mike that what he has observed over the years- the shows he has seen- that these things are good- they are true- science and God do not contradict.
I simply explained to Mike that fungus is part of the material world- and science teaches us that the material world did not always exist.
Therefore- if fungus did not always exist- it could not be the ‘creator’ of everything else.
Mike never heard this simple truth.
He actually thought about it- kind of in a way- a look on his face- like ‘geez- I just lost the last thing I clung to’ type expression.
He thought it through- understood what I said [I went a little more in depth] and then responded ‘well- maybe some other non physical being did it- instead of God’.
I simply gave him the argument I posted around 2 posts ago.
Okay- what was Mike seeing in the fungus?
He saw what we call Secondary causes.
That is there are many things in the natural world that do indeed re produce on their own.
Things grow and develop.
God made the creation to be self sustaining in a way.
Yet- many good people have heard ‘bad’ arguments- things that are false on its face- and don’t really know it.
The most popular ‘misstatement’ today is ‘everything was made by CHANCE’.
Now- I’m not a physicist- but this statement- on its face- is not true.
Look carefully- chance is NOT A THING.
Okay- chance is NO THING.
Chance is NOTHING.
When people make this statement they do not realize what they are actually saying.
This statement says ‘chance is the actual cause of creation’.
They are giving what we call Ontological status to the word Chance.
They are treating it as in if chance was a living thing- a real thing- not simply a word that describes the odds of something.
Okay- the other misconception is ‘Given enough time- anything can happen’.
Is this true?
If you took a room- were able to seal it- nothing gets in- nothing gets out.
And you have nothing in the room.
How many years would it take for you to open the door- and find a functioning world?
People- planets- stars- parades- horses- stores- etc.
I mean- is it possible- over a long period of time- for this to happen?
No- this is simply not possible- not scientifically possible.
But if you knew there were some being who had control over the room- who did have access to it- and had the power to create.
Well then it would be possible for the room to contain things.
When it comes down to it- there are really only 2 choices.
Either everything popped into existence from nothing [this is impossible].
Or something caused everything to be here [the Christian view].
When people realize this- that this debate is not about ‘well- you believe in faith and the bible and fairy tales- and I believe in fact’.
Actually no you don’t [you being the atheist- unbeliever].
No- in this debate there really is only one rational conclusion- that someone is responsible for ‘everything in the room’.
The other explanation ‘everything in the room came from chance- given enough time’ is not an option- at least not a logical one.
1856- FOR THE BIRDS
Late happy father’s day to all you dads out there.
Yesterday I got up early and went to Wal Mart- I wanted to get presents for my girls and do a kind of raffle at my oldest daughter’s house [Bethany].
I had wanted to meet at the beach- but I realized that plan wasn’t going to work so we ended up at her house.
I bought some nice stuff for the kids- and had a home bingo game I bought a while back [my wife plays with her sister- so I got them a cheap home version] and I used the thing that turns/mixes the bingo balls in the cage- and stuck the names of my kids on the balls.
It was silly- but they liked the stuff.
So- after I bought the gifts I took a ride to the beach [about 2 miles from where I live] and jumped in the gulf- yeah- it was dad’s day- so I swam.
O- I forgot- while driving to Wal Mart we had one of those quirky storms- and I [and everyone else] spotted a Funnel Cloud over the bay.
I stopped and took a few pictures- we do get them in our area- but it might be only the second time that I spotted one live [you see them on the news at least once every year or so- from the area].
As I was walking back to the truck after the swim- I heard someone yell out ‘hey John’.
Sure enough it was my buddy Tim [carpenter Tim- I wrote about him in the last few weeks].
Yeah- I have not spoken with Tim in years- like I said- sometimes I’ll run into my homeless friends once or twice every 2-4 years.
That was the case with Tim.
He was on his bike- and he told me he just got back to the area.
He rode the thing to Roswell N.M. [no joke- he’s a real bike rider!].
So we talked for about 2 hours [yeah- was running late for the father’s day gig].
Tim shared with me all the times the Lord provided for him on the bike ride.
At one point the weather got real cold- and the day before he found some long John’s [thermal underwear] at a rest stop- they were still in the bag!
He told me how this was how God provided the whole time [a few week- month type trip].
He told me he still has a camp in the Bluff [where I live- many years ago I used to visit Tim regularly in the camps- many of the homeless have camps- Tim was a regular friend- I would trek thru the brush area- maybe half a mile or so- Tim would have a nice camp set up- he’d brew me some Folgers over an open fire].
As we were talking there at the beach- he had some of the old Folgers coffee in his bag- sure enough he broke it out and made some right there.
I gave Tim some money- he really did not want to take it- then he tried to give me something of value [he had some music C.D.’s].
I told Tim ‘no buddy- the last few weeks I have been giving 20’s away- felt like I needed to catch up’. I was slacking with helping the poor- so it was the lord that allowed this chance meeting.
Tim told me he still has a camp on the property of some rich lady who lives here in town.
He does work for her- at almost no cost- so she lets him live there- outside!
He has told me about her in the past- nice lady- but a staunch atheist.
You know- the type that really lets you know they don’t believe.
He was telling me how she’s an avid bird lover- has all the stuff on her property for birds.
I gave Tim a quick Apologetics argument he can use with her- if he ever gets the chance.
I have written a lot about this over the years- but let me give you the short version.
Apologetics is the field where you argue for the existence of God- you use the proofs from science and logic and philosophy to argue your case for the existence of God.
Okay- this is the short version.
The fact that ANYTHING EXISTS- is proof that God exists.
For many thousands of years- dating back to the time of the famous philosophers- Plato, Aristotle and Socrates [5- 600 years B.C.] people who studied the universe [Cosmologists] believed that the universe [time, matter, space- all things that make up the physical world] had no beginning point.
Most [though not all] believed that the universe was eternal- even the contemporary Carl Sagan said ‘the universe is all there ever was- and all there ever will be’.
So- when Christian thinkers argued for the existence of a creator- most used the Aristotelian argument that said ‘God is the Prime Mover’.
Which meant- He started all motion.
Even the great 13the century Catholic scholar- Thomas Aquinas- used this argument.
But- in the modern era- science has found out that yes indeed- there was in fact a time when no physical matter existed.
We learned this in the 20th century- men like Einstein made great breakthroughs in the field of Physics- and they showed us that there was a time- well- when there was ‘no time’.
It would take too much to cover this here- but men like Hubbell and a few others made some great scientific observations that backed up Einstein’s theory- and vice versa.
So- when SCIENCE [not religion- not bible- not ‘God talk’] showed us that all matter had a starting point- it left the atheist in a tough spot.
If there was a time when nothing existed- then how did everything get here?
The only logical conclusion is something [or someone] who exists outside of the physical realm [called the metaphysical realm] had to have been responsible for it.
Why is this the only logical explanation?
Because things cannot come FROM NOTHING [the ancient saying ‘out of nothing- nothing comes’].
So- we are left with the dilemma that there was indeed a time of NO MATTER- and therefore something- outside of the material realm- has to be responsible for it.
This is indeed- in my view- the greatest Apologetic argument used to ‘prove’ the existence of God.
Now- some say ‘but how do we know it’s God- maybe there is some other ‘non material’ thing/being that did this’?
Look- some of the so called ‘new atheists’ have gone down this line of reasoning- and made fools of themselves.
One quick example.
One of the famous present day atheists is Richard Dawkins.
He was pinned down in an interview- and he was confronted with this dilemma.
He actually said that he thought it was possible that some ‘being’ from another time might have made all things.
He said the being- well- would have to be eternal [because if he isn’t- you have the problem- where did he come from].
He said this being had to have been very smart [you can’t get intelligence from non intelligence- this is a scientific observation].
And this being had to be very powerful- because he created all things.
In short- when Dawkins was done- he described the attributes of God down to the last detail [omniscient, omnipotent, etc.]
So- any thinking person- even an avowed atheist- realizes the problem that they face in trying to explain the existence of all things.
I told Tim it was ‘funny’ that this lady loves birds- but ‘hates’ God.
The Apostle Paul said in Romans chapter one ‘they did not want to have God in their thoughts- so God gave them up to worship the created order- Birds, etc..’
Yeah- men who rejected the obvious proof of God- creation- became worshippers of creation [they made idols of animals and birds].
I found it interesting that Tim’s bird lady was living proof that the bible is true.
I had a good time talking with Tim- it’s been a while- he asked if he should come by the house and visit in the upcoming weeks- I told him sure.
Tim is one of the homeless guys who does not like to impose on people- that’s why I hardly ever see him- he won’t even go to the free mission to eat- he avoids the whole scenario of looking like your homeless.
He works- lives- and feels like it’s his right to not have a home- without being looked down upon.
Well- I’ll end with that for now- for those who want to read more about Apologetics- I have stuff on the blog you can find- have fun.
1853- SEX- ALL TYPES
Let’s cover the ‘other’ news story of the day- the Elephant in the room.
Yes- with all the things going on in the news this week- we also have had the start of the Jerry Sandusky sex case.
Most of you know the scoop.
Sandusky is the famous coach from Penn state that worked for years with the famed Joe Paterno.
There were rumors- and ‘chance’ encounters where people saw Sandusky with young boys- and he was caught molesting kids.
As the defendants have been testifying this week- well- we heard bad stuff.
I don’t want to ‘defend’ the Sandusky’s of the world in any way- but I want to speak openly- and in a politically incorrect way about sexual orientations of all kinds.
I have a book here in my study- about 3 feet from where I’m sitting.
It’s the story of Jeffrey Dahmer’s conversion to the Lord after he was sent to prison.
I do realize that we see lots of jail house conversions- and for some people they will never believe that a Dahmer could convert.
But as I read the book- and also have watched the re play of the interview that Dahmer did with MSNBC- I do believe he was sincere.
One very interesting- and truthful part of the interview was when Dahmers dad was asked ‘why do you think this happened to your son’.
The dad- who is a Christian man- said he felt like somewhere along the line- Jeff associated- connected- the act of sex with dead things.
That he was fixated as a boy with skulls and dead things- and in time when he went thru puberty- that he also- somehow- connected the joy of collecting skulls and stuff with the act of sex.
Now- some might dismiss this as a lame excuse- and of course the crimes Jeff committed were very serious [for those not familiar- Dahmer is the famed serial killer who cannibalized his victims].
In point of fact- people- in all societies and in every age- can- and have ‘learned’ certain types of behavior- for good or ill.
The reason this debate is hard to have in our country- is because the present debate over gay rights pits one group against another.
For anyone to say ‘we actually do have proof that certain sexual behavior can indeed be learned’ seems to be bigoted and against the civil rights of people.
The purpose of this post is not to get into a long drawn out discussion over this.
I want to simply say- there are- and have been- all types of sexual associations that people have made with certain acts.
In the Sandusky case- with minors.
In the Dahmer case- with dead things.
The list does go on.
Is it possible to ‘un learn’ associations like this?
In short- yes.
Is it easy?
A few years ago I noticed that one of the major hospitals in the U.S. - famous for doing sex change operations- very quietly quit the practice.
As I listened and read about the story- I came to find out that the hospital- that was lauded for their non judgmental attitude- their willingness to break ‘the religious bigotry of our day’ that after doing the operation for years.
Admitted that the results were horrendous.
The rate of depression and suicide among most of the patients went sky high.
After years of doing the operation- the data showed that despite all the ‘political correctness’ the facts on the ground were these operations were doing more harm than good.
Yet- year after year we see people who have had the operation- on well meaning news shows being interviewed- and the interviewer- without fail- always comes across as ‘look how accepting I am of you- look how wonderful it is for us all to celebrate your freedom and to not judge’.
Yet- many of the times I get the impression that these people are under great pressure to go with this line.
That they are cast into the limelight as a great example of acceptance- and they seem at times to not want to let the interviewer- or the world- down.
But- if the data says the rate of suicide and depression sky rockets among those who have gone thru with the procedure- then if we really love these people- or our kids- or generations to come- then we would be more careful before we jump on the ‘what a great thing you did’ bandwagon.
In the whole debate about whether or not sexual orientation [or simple associations of sexual expression with particular acts] is changeable- we need to be aware of the overall effects we are having on all sorts of people.
In the Sandusky case- we do see an attraction that many men have.
There are entire organizations supporting man/minor ‘love’.
NAMBLA- North American Man Boy Love Association- being one.
Do these men make the same argument that some have made with the gay rights issue?
Many argue that that they have had this ‘orientation’ for as long as they can remember.
They argue that they share a common orientation with thousands of other men all over the world.
They argue that its’ the ‘Victorian era morality'- that religion wants to impose on people- that tells them- and society- that they are wrong.
After all- if ‘God created me this way- why should I not express it’.
Now- I- like you- do not accept these arguments- but in truth- they are basically the same type of arguments that others have made with the gay rights debate.
[Note- I do have gay friends- and I do not want to come off as saying I equate child molesters with gay people- I don’t. The point I’m making is the NAMBLA folk are saying ‘who has the right to say that Man/Boy sex is wrong’. And to be honest- if you reject the basis of natural/moral law- then they win the point.]
The point I’m making is if we- as a society- tell people that sexual orientation is never learned behavior- then we are in ways justifying the NAMBLA argument.
I was going to delve into the entire field of what we call natural/moral law.
Where does it come from?
Does society simply make up moral law?
This is a very long debate- going on since the days of Immanuel Kant [one of the great thinkers going back a few centuries].
In short- some have argued over the years that we need to rid society of moral law- that it’s these restrictions on men [particularly sexuality] that is the cause of society’s ills.
The famous thinker Freud [and Nietzsche] advocated this.
But after hundreds of years of debate- there are no examples of any successful society that has managed to develop any type of functioning ethic- apart from what we call the Judeo/Christian ethic.
I don’t mean to come off as judgmental- nor to offend any group of people- but if we are telling entire generations of people ‘you are a slave to your sexual orientation’.
If we are saying to people ‘you can never change’ or overcome your sexual associations.
Then we might be biting off more than we can chew.
If it simply makes us [the interviewer] feel better about ourselves when we say ‘see- you have done such a great thing- if only these religious bigots would stop judging you’.
But in reality- the data show that these people suffer tremendously- for the most part- after they get the sex change.
Then maybe we need to re think what we are saying to them as a whole.
Maybe we should tell people ‘yes- associating sexual expression with a particular act- or life style is a very strong thing’.
In most cases- even in cases like Sandusky- even if there are hundreds of thousands of people with the same ‘feelings’ all over the world.
Yet- if we do love people and are honest- we would tell them it is possible to change the feeling- the association- dare say ‘orientation’.
We must realize that there are many types of sexual expression- that society- and moral/natural law say is wrong.
Those in these lifestyles- often will argue that the orientation was with them for as long as they can remember.
Others argue that there are many others like them.
All this may be true- but in the end- this does not mean the association is right [NAMBLA] or can never be broken.
I’ll end with a couple of verses ‘I hate vain thoughts- but your law do I love’ ‘commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts will be established’ ‘God will keep them in perfect peace whose minds are fixated on him’.
This entire debate is long- and even many Christians disagree on some points. There are movements within the church that seek to accept the gay lifestyle as an acceptable lifestyle.
Today’s point is- if we tell people- with all types of orientations- that you can 'never change’ them- or overcome them- then we are not being honest.
If we think that the solution is ‘let's just live with no moral law’.
That has been debated- and tried- and found wanting [Freud died in a mental hospital- going insane from a sexual disease].
If we love our kids- those around us- our neighbor- then we should not encourage those among us struggling with orientations to ‘go with what you feel’.
Or to be so accepting of an operation that the data shows does not solve anything- only makes it worse.
In short- if we love people- we must be truthful with them.
Yes- try not to judge- love them even if they don’t become what you think is best.
But be honest with people.
I feel sorry when I see Chaz Bono being interviewed- time and again- everyone telling her how happy they are for her.
When I know in reality the data says something different.
The statistics show that those who go as far as ‘changing’ their sex- many of them take their own lives.
And it’s not because they feel judged- it’s because many of them can’t believe what they have done.
Sad that we hide this- sad.
[this is a short version- the long one is on my other blog]- https://ccoutreach87.wordpress.com/atheism-apologetics-links-added/
1850- I AM JUST A COWBOY- LONESOME ON THE TRAIL…
This week we were treated to the singing cowboy- I think from Texas?
I’ll admit- I don’t watch American idol- or any of the other shows like that.
But because the cowboy made the news- I saw the scoop.
What happened was you had this talented singer- who stuttered.
He was interesting- fit the Mel Tillis style.
When he was asked about the stutter- he said he got it when a grenade injured him in action in Afghanistan.
Of course the judges- and the audience- loved the story.
The only problem was- he made the whole thing up.
So last night I saw a news report- he seems to have been faking war injuries for years.
Though he did serve in Afghanistan- for a month- yet he seemed to have some issue with his hearing- and was sent home.
As he was being interviewed- after the story came out- he was crying- yes stuttering- and he said ‘this is my truth- this is what I have believed’.
Sort of like truth is relative- if the story ‘helps’ you out- then it’s ‘your truth’.
I remember the old days of listening to classic rock on those vinyl albums.
Yeah- you put them on the ‘turntable’ and the technology was so advanced- you even had that little lever that you pulled to make the Album replay- all on its own!
I still remember the cover to my Thin Lizzy album- I mean those guys rocked.
You might remember the hit song ‘the boys are back in town’ there was another song on the album- called ‘The Cowboy Song’.
Yeah- our stuttering cowboy knows how to sing- and tell tall tales at the same time.
There have been a few news stories of importance this past week.
One of the top ones was the leaking of all the national security info.
I was surprised to see both Dems and Repubs calling for an investigation.
Diane Feinstein- the Dem senator form Cali- she said she has never seen the level of leaks this bad in her 11 years on the Senate Intelligence committee.
What are the leaks?
These are leaks that show the president in tough situations- doing all he can to fight terror- and basically making him look like a tough guy.
The pres denies- in a Clintonian way- that he ‘authorized the leaks of classified material’.
When I first heard the denial- I thought ‘he knows about it’.
As someone who really liked Obama at the start- I have followed him these last few years- and he has done lots of ‘tricky’ stuff- that at first I brushed off- but after a while I realized- well sometimes ‘cowboys like to tell stories’.
As I listened to both sides- McCain, King- a few other Senators and congressman have showed that some of the leaks had to have come from inside the White House- from the small group of people around the pres.
They were detailed accounts of what Biden said- or what Obama did [shuffling the cards that have the names of terrorists].
They brought out the fact that much of the detail- that came out in the N.Y. Times- were things that only a few inner circle people would know about.
While it is true that many people knew about some of the other info- like the Stuxnet virus.
Yet only a few- inside the White House- would know the details of what Biden said- when there were only 5 or so people in the room.
Also- the paper that reported the leaks- said the sources were from the White House [as opposed to the FBI- or CIA].
Now- some of the leaked info is bad- we ‘leaked’ that both the U.S. and Israel were indeed responsible for the Stuxnet computer virus that ruined the nuclear centrifuges in Iran.
Last year Iran had their nuclear facilities damaged- at the time they did not know for sure that it was a virus- and they did not know- for sure- who did it.
Now they know- someone leaked it.
There are a few other things that came out- details of the Bin laden killing- stuff about the underwear bomber.
The thing that makes people question whether or not Obama [his political team] are actually behind it- is all the leaks put Obama in a good light- a terror fighting man.
He even had some movie makers who were covering the Bin laden raid- in some secret meetings- when they were discussing the aftermath of the raid.
It was reported that the Intelligence people were shocked that they sat in on the meetings.
Okay- more than likely he [his team] are behind the leaks.
It was done in a way that if it comes out that he did know about them- that he could say ‘I denied authorizing the leaks of classified materials’ and simply say when he gave the go ahead to release it- he ‘declassified’ it.
Now- like I say- I have watched/heard the pres these last 3 years- he does do this stuff- lots.
Just a few quick examples.
It came out this week that Obama was indeed a member of a political party in Chicago called ‘the new party’.
This is a left leaning group- socialist- that advocate for a European type govt.
Okay- in 2008- a news reporter- Stanley Kurtz- reported that Obama was associated with the group.
He vehemently denied it- it was all lies from some ‘racist guy who hates Blacks’.
The whole thing- you’ve heard it before.
So now we find out- that he was indeed a member.
It came out in an investigation of another group- Acorn.
It was in the minutes of the meeting where he joined- pledged allegiance to the group’s ideals- the whole 9 yards.
Are they denying it now?
What’s the big deal?
If you are running for pres  and a top candidate is known to have been a member of a socialist group- that usually would kill your chances.
So he simply lied- not a big crime- but one of many.
Obama wrote 2 books- autobiographies no less- in his early 40’s [late 30’s?]
Now- for your only 2 books- at a young age- to be about you- does say something.
In the books there were ‘cowboy stories’ if you will.
Of course- when writing the books- you think ‘who will ever go thru them with a fine tooth comb’.
But when you become pres- some will.
So- some people on the right did indeed do this- and they found lies.
The pres denied it.
Yet now- after many years of denials- a biographer who is currently doing a friendly book on the pres- well he ran into some trouble during his research.
He could not verify some of the stories that the pres told.
Just one example.
Those who critiqued the original books- the president’s critics- said he made up stories about some White girl he was dating- that the places and events that he said took place- were actually fake.
These same events were told earlier- by a man named Bill Ayers [who the pres has tried to distance himself from].
They said Obama simply made the whole thing up.
He adamantly denied it ‘how dare you say he lied- you must be a racist’.
Okay- the new biographer- David Marranis- found out that the pres did indeed make the woman up.
Then they spun the story to say ‘he made a composite woman from various women thru out his life’.
Then you had the Obama defenders- like historian Doug Brinkley- saying ‘the purpose of biographies are not to be factual’.
Wow- thanks Doug.
The point is he denied making up the story for years- now he says it was not true.
This is one of many- I don’t want to give them all.
But after seeing this happen a lot- I simply doubt the things he says.
I don’t hate him- I’m not a racist- but this has happened- a lot.
When the president had to distance himself from his former pastor Rev. Wright.
He said ‘he didn’t know the man held to these extreme views’.
That he was shocked to find out all the stuff Wright said- for 20 years.
When he threw Wright under the bus- he told the country that this was a man he did not really know [like Bill Ayers].
Yet the president had written/spoken about Wright- that he was one of [if not thee] most influential men in his life.
He said Wright baptized his kids- performed ceremonies for their family- he even titled his book ‘The Audacity of Hope’ after a line from Wright.
He attended the church for 20 years.
He had lots of wrights’ tapes and C.D.’s that he listened to.
He even said [before he threw him under the bus] that he could no more disown Wright than he could his own Father or family member.
His own testimony was that he knew Wright- loved Wright- was influenced by him- more than other man alive.
Then he said ‘I never really knew the man’.
How can this be?
I guess I’ll end with Ayres.
Bill Ayer’s was the terrorist that blew up a bomb in the 60’s, 70’s- I think a cop got killed by the bomb.
Anyway- he was a radical left wing guy- involved with a lot of the social unrest at the time.
The bomb case was thrown out of court because the govt. messed up some way in the case- Ayres has never denied his involvement.
Okay- Ayers and Obama were said to have been friends.
People that knew them knew this.
But during the campaign Obama denied knowing the man.
He sat on a board with Ayers- but said ‘people sit on the same board with other people all the time- that doesn’t mean they know them’.
He lived on the same block.
The excuse was ‘Chicago is big- you might live on the same block and not know someone’.
Then it was revealed that when the pres launched his political career- it was from Ayers house.
How did that happen?
It just happened to be some strangers house on the block that had lots of room.
I mean nobody would ever get away with doing stuff like this- not when your running for president.
Yet- till this day- Obama says he barely knows the man.
Okay- when the critics went thru Obama’s books- to find the stuff.
One story was Obama walking down to the Hudson River one day- he saw some kid and said ‘see how the mighty river flows in and out’ and he went on to give a sort of parable about life.
This same exact event is in Bill Ayres book- but it happened to him years before.
The same exact event- with the same words.
Many people have said that Ayers Ghost wrote the Obama book.
Yet the pres does not know the man.
I’m sure our singing Cowboy meant well when he said ‘this is my truth’.
But after you tell ‘your truth’ one too many times- it becomes questionable.
1841- ATHEIST SUNDAY SCHOOL?
We had an interesting news week.
I saw a clip from Penn Gillette- the comedian/atheist/magician.
Yeah- he was raging against the President.
Because Obama supports tough laws against pot smoking- and he at the same time was a pot smoker.
Now- at first I did not understand the ‘guttural’ anger.
That was until I read some of the reports about Obama’s past.
Like most people- I knew that he toked a joint or 2 in high school, and I just chalked it up to growing up in the 70’s/80’s.
Sure- we all did stupid stuff.
I thought the high heels on my shoes were cool- I still remember how proud I felt when my dad painted my room with red, white and blue stripes and stars- ‘just wait until the girls see this!’
But after I read some of the articles on Obama- I was actually surprised that he basically was the biggest ‘pot head’ at his school.
Look- it wasn’t just a toke or 2- it was the whole image of the Cheech and Chong thing.
The reports said how he coined the term 'T.A.’ Total Absorption.
He had this thing that of you wasted the ‘precious Hawaiian weed’ you were looked down on.
He also started a trend where you all light up- and sit in the car- the car fills with pot and you do not roll the windows down until all the pot is gone- consumed by the guys in the car.
There were many pictures of Obama with a joint- scenes where the car is pot filled- they showed the ‘pot van’ they all used.
Obama even coined another term ‘interception’ when they guys were passing the joint around- he would grab the joint out of turn and say ‘intercepted’.
Now- does all this mean he should not be Pres.?
Not really- but I had no idea he was the biggest pot head on the Hawaiian Island!
I mean I now see how his old buddies must be laughing about the whole thing.
They really pulled a fast one on the public.
I read this from a liberal news site- Huffington Post- as well as more conservative ones- it seems like the story is true.
There were lots of pictures and names- and even the nicknames they used- all pot head type stuff.
Now I see why Penn was mad- he ranted on his on line Sunday School program- he is a libertarian- against the drug laws- and he said if Obama was ever caught doing this stuff he would have been arrested and had a record and would have never been Pres.
But then he still supports tough pot laws- that- in his mind- are ruining the futures of many other kids.
Yeah- got it.
Facebook IPO- a mess.
Okay- to all my Facebook family- Dad [Zuckerberg] had a bad week.
As most of you know- Facebook went public this week.
For the first time- you can now buy stock in the company.
The opening price was 38 dollars a share.
I think today it’s around 31- not good.
Lots of stuff.
The Nasdaq- the tech arm that lists most internet/computer stock- messed up.
On opening day the purchasers [and sellers] were delayed for a couple of hours during trading.
If you think your buying at say 34 dollars- and it takes 2 hours to go thru- and you find out you bought at 40- not good.
So you have lawsuits being filed as I speak.
Also- it’s kind of complicated- but the way Morgan Stanley [the bank that financed the initial offering] went about offering stock- they seem to have blown the deal.
Right up until the day before the stock sale- lots of institutional investors had their bids in.
These are the big hedge fund guys and all.
Now- they expected to get so many shares for the money they put down.
When the actual sale went thru- to their surprise- they had lots more than they thought.
It spooked them.
The reason for this was Facebook and the bank decided to put more shares for sale than originally thought.
This caught the investors off guard and added to the fear.
There are a few more things that went wrong- all in all in was not a good day for Facebook.
I like Facebook- I try not to criticize it- it gives us all a free venue to ‘vent’- but this thing went bad- fast.
Some thought the company was valued too high for the projected income- that other tech companies that went public [Google] were bought and sold at a much cheaper price- compared to the amount of projected income- so there were lots of things wrong with this offering.
I was surprised to see the president loosing over 40% of the Democrat vote in some of these primaries.
Obama is running unchallenged- and yet he is losing lots of the vote- to either unknown candidates [they simply vote- other] or to guys in prison!
Yes- a guy sitting in jail here in Texas got over 40% of the vote- amazing [and this was a primary in another state!]
Alaska, Kentucky and West Va. all had a huge percentage of Dems vote against Obama.
I do think the odds of him suffering a loss- maybe a big loss- is very real.
James Carville- the ragin cagin Dem strategist has warned about this- he thinks the Dems are taking this election too lightly.
He sees the writing on the wall.
He’s asking ‘what are you all high or what’.
No Jim- it’s called total absorption.
1839-SCAPEGOAT Yesterday I went down to the local mission- I usually catch up with my homeless friends there.
I didn’t see Henry- but Michael showed up.
I met Mike around 20 years ago.
[ just a note- on my blog- under the Feb. posts of each year I have a category called ‘Homeless’.
I write about my friends in these posts.
I came to Corpus in 1992- most of the guys I met the first year or 2.
So you might read a post that says ‘I knew this guy for 20 years’. Then maybe in another post ’15 years’.
I don’t keep exact numbers- just realize I have known most of these guys since 1992]
The last time I saw Mike was around 2-3 years ago.
He was living on the other side of town- actually- more in the Mexican type area.
Now- I’m ‘at home’ in the Barrio- just like in the ‘white boy’ part of town.
Over the years I have been to the Govt. housing- visiting families- wives- kids- of my buddies that were in jail.
Lots of them were members of the church I started years ago.
So to me- race means nothing.
[Like I told my daughters friend one day ‘I’m not racist- I think Whites are only a little bit better than the other races’ Joke!]
But Mike- well- he was in the ‘bad part’ of town.
So he told me he moved back to ‘the Bluff’ and has a weekly room at the Plaza hotel.
A lot of the ‘homeless’ guys do have places- non permanent- where they stay on and off- this is Mikes thing.
He is working as a cook at the Golden Corral- a famous buffet in Corpus.
We caught up on old times.
Mike asked if I was gonna be around for a while- I told him yeah.
He walked back to the hotel- about 3 blocks- to show me his latest art work.
Mike is an A-1 artist- he has painted for years.
He even painted the signs for the apartments my wife manages [about 15 years ago].
He told me he just painted the for sale signs down the street.
The owner of Floyds Christian Restaurant is selling some land- Mike did the signs.
So he comes back with about 7 paintings- I mean beautiful stuff- all originals.
He paints ‘free style’ he doesn’t look at another picture- just from his mind.
I loved the paintings.
They were different than what I saw before.
Lots of birds- flowers.
Shore line- boats- fish.
He used to do lots of gory stuff- skulls- Mega death stuff [rock group].
I asked him if I could buy one- he does not sell them- but he told me he would let me have one for the cost of the materials.
I bought a beautiful scene- some fishermen pulling in their nets by the sea- a huge pelican on the dock- and these great sunflowers peering over them.
I gave Mike a ride back to the hotel- he did carry all these pictures by hand.
We talked- for about 4 hours.
I have found the guys- who have mental challenges- like Mike- they really benefit just from having a friend to talk to.
It was funny in a way- I must have quoted 50 individual verses that fit the exact scenario that Mike was communicating.
I really don’t ‘preach’ much at all when I’m with the brothers.
They know I’m helping them out [we often go out to eat] and they know I do ministry stuff.
But all these friendships are just that- these guys are simply friends I have made over the years.
But this day was different- I really taught Mike a lot of stuff- in a way that never really happened in the past.
He was telling me how he simply does his art on his own- most people don’t even know his talent.
When he brought the paintings to the mission- everyone was shocked that he actually painted them.
They have known Mike for years- yet they never saw his work.
So Mike told me that he likes doing his work in private- and simply enjoying the satisfaction of the paintings.
I told him that Jesus taught this ‘when you do your good works- don’t let the left hand know what the right hand is doing- do it in secret- and God will reward you openly’.
He said ‘yeah- that’s it!’
One painting he had sitting by the sink- he did not bring this one to the mission- was Christ on the Cross.
Mike showed me the nails in Christ’s hands.
He made them crooked on purpose- he said ‘my dad always told me I couldn’t even drive a nail in straight’.
He did this on purpose- in a way it was prophetic.
The painting of Christ- and the words that hurt Mike- the words he never forgot thru out his life.
He told me that in the past when he did artwork for various people [he has done portraits for hundreds of dollars- though he does not sell his own stuff].
That sometimes people take out their faults on the artist.
If they are dealing with problems they tend to pass them off to the artist.
As we sat there- with the painting of Christ- and the crooked nails.
I told Mike ‘this also is in the bible’
I went on to tell the story in the Old Testament of the Scapegoat.
Yeah- the Scapegoat comes from the bible.
In the Jewish religion at the time- you had the priest bring 2 goats- on one he would lay his hands- symbolically saying ‘we put the sins of the people on you’.
The one goat- the Scape goat- would then run away.
But they took the other- and sacrificed it.
I told Mike- this is what the Scapegoat is- Jesus himself bares the guilt and problems that the people bring to the table.
Mike once again said ‘yeah- that’s it’.
This went on for around 4 hours- I felt it was Gods way of communicating to my old friend- in a way that I never really was able to in the past.
He showed me an art book he bought from Barnes and Noble.
He really liked the way the author drew.
It was a teaching guide for artists.
It had quotes of all the famous painters of the past.
One from DaVinci said ‘the greatest mastery of all is the mastery of one’s self’ [paraphrase].
I told Mike ‘this too is in the bible’.
I quoted from Proverbs ‘he that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls- but he that rules his spirit is better than he that takes a city’,
Once again- it clicked.
I took pictures of the paintings with my cell phone- I told Mike if they come out good I’ll try and post them on my site so my friends can see.
I looked at them later- they did not come out too good.
The one of Christ with the crooked nails- that came out good- I have that as my Wall paper on the phone.
Maybe my daughter will help me post it on the site?
I have known Mike a long time.
His dad was in the Navy and they moved to the city years ago.
Mike is from upstate N.Y.
I have written about Mike before- he seems to have burned himself out on some type of drug over the years- you can tell he has mental problems.
But he is very talented- he has always worked- as long as I have known him.
And he has been on and off the streets for years.
I think the story about the scapegoat really made an impact.
Mike is smart- he asked me lots of stuff this day.
About creation- and science- things that other Christians have told him to reject.
I told Mike it’s okay to believe in certain scientific ‘proofs’ and also be a Christian [he knew a lot about the natural world- and I have taught lots about this over the years].
So he not only ‘saw’ a lot of things from the bible that he never saw before.
But I also was able to show him how the bible does not go against science [I actually just posted a note the other day on this].
I told Mike ‘why don’t you title the Cross painting- The Scapegoat’.
Every time you walk in the room- look at the painting and realize Christ has taken all the guilt and pressure and stuff that others have put on you- he is the Scapegoat’.
Sometimes its easier to remember a story when its connected to an image.
That’s why Jesus told parables- stories that people could ‘see’ in their minds.
Yeah- the scapegoat- with the crooked nails- yeah- how can you forget that?
1837- DID THE HILLS CLAP HANDS?
I usually end the week with a ‘week in review [news]’ type thing- but being I posted 2 political things yesterday- let’s do something spiritual.
The other week I mentioned I just went thru a course [again] on early Christianity.
The teacher- a famous scholar of the day- came from a liberal background in scholarship.
I do like the man- though I come from a different view- I believe the bible is inspired by God- and is ‘the word of God’.
Now- that statement can be expanded on- and at times I have done that.
There are Fundamentalist positions on biblical inspiration that at times leave much to be desired.
The bible has various forms of literature within it.
Poetry- Apocalyptic [Revelation, Daniel] - Symbolic- etc.
So inspiration- or reading the bible ‘literally’ simply means when you read those portions- literally- you read them as you would any other form of literature in the same class.
In Psalms [poetry type category] you read that ‘all the hills clapped their hands and sang’.
Okay- did the writer ‘literally’ mean this?
No- he was using poetry to describe the majesty of God.
But some people do think these verses should be read ‘literally’ and that in some way nature ‘clapped hands’.
The same with the book of Revelation- when we read about the Dragon- or the number of the beast- we realize these are symbols- or riddles- that we need not take ‘literally’.
Will there be an actual number- or code- that some future govt. will stamp on people’s heads or hands?
Have there been teachers/preachers who have taught this kind of thing- who have said ‘we live in a day like never before- where you can actually mark someone in the head/hand thru computer chips’.
So you have people who refuse to get social security cards- or avoid using the computer marker at the grocery store.
But these ways of looking at the bible are too simplistic- and don’t fit the actual style of the writer.
Is this the only time in history when we have the ability to mark people on their bodies?
Of course not- we read in the bible itself that in the Old Testament they actually ‘branded’ slaves- had ways to bore a hole in a person’s ear to show he belonged to an owner.
But we never think of this- we simply accept what we hear and that’s that.
The other day I was talking to a very knowledgeable man in the bible- he has read it [like me] hundreds of times over the years.
One time I mentioned to him the debate [among scholars] over the days of creation we read about in Genesis chapter 1[and 2].
I gave him various ways people interpret the text.
I said ‘you know- Genesis one says God created the Sun on day 4- but he made light on day 1’.
Now- I mentioned this as someone who does take the bible ‘literally’ but who also leaves room that the earth is much older than 6 thousand years.
To my surprise- my friend never thought of this ‘problem’.
He asked ‘what day was the sun made?’
Now- I know he has read the text a lot- but it never dawned on him that the Genesis account has this ‘problem’.
How do we solve it?
Some say ‘God made another source of light for the first 3 days’.
Okay- I don’t go for that.
But I do ‘go for’ the possibility that God is not giving us a scientific account of the creation of the world- be he is giving us a way we can grasp it- being everyone who reads the text is not a scientist.
One interesting view is God was using the 6 day  ‘form’ to categorize the order of things.
Day 1- light. Day 3- luminaries [things that give light]
Day 2- sky, water. Day 4- fish- fowl [things that fill the sky- water]
Day 3- land- vegetation. Day 5- animals, humans [things that eat the stuff]
So it seems like the first ‘3 days’ correspond to the things created on the last ‘3days’.
Okay- is this the only way to see it?
But it shows you that sometimes there is more to the story than meets the eye.
You say ‘John- I will just take it like it says- the bible says it- that settles it’.
Actually I’m fine with that- but the ‘super’ literal way does force the reader to come up with another source of light for the first 3 days- so that interpretation has its problems as well.
Just because we have symbol- poetry- prophecy- and various forms/styles of literature in the bible- this does not mean the bible is wrong- or ‘full of holes’.
No- it means when we come across these various styles we leave enough room to interpret them in the style they were written.
Okay- there’s obviously much that can be said on this subject- maybe I’ll do more over the next week or so.
Like how we got our bible- the development of the Canon [how we know which books are in- and which are not ‘in’].
There were other writings that the early church debated over.
Some of these other writings were considered out and out lies.
But not all- some of the other books were considered okay- but for various reasons they did not make it into the bible.
And a few that made it in were disputed- for various reasons.
The church did not have a ‘complete’ canon until the 4th century.
It is true that the early Christians had a basic unanimity on what was in and what was out.
But not until the 4th century was it decided for sure.
So maybe I’ll do a few posts on that.
I do come from the ‘conservative’ view on this- I do believe the bible is ‘the word of God’.
But that does not always mean you take every verse ‘literally’ in the sense that the ‘hills clapped their hands’- Got it?
1834- HOW LOW WILL IT GO?
This past week I spoke with my Liberal friend from the North- yes- a real person- not a composite!
I always try and take the middle ground in these talks- showing my friend that to be too partisan clouds the mind.
One example- this friend has bought the whole media line that Romney- because of his wealth- is unfit to serve.
That his wife does just sit on the couch all day and does nothing- and they are unable to speak about real issues because of this.
Now- this person voted for Kerry a few years back.
I told my liberal friend ‘say if you found out that Romney actually never earned his money- but he married his wife- who also never earned it- but she inherited it from a rich father’.
And say if Romney was spending all of his wife’s money on yachts- expensive vacation homes- and all the ritzy stuff that Romney has [elevators for cars].
Of course my friend would be even more mad.
Yet this is exactly what happened to John Kerry.
He simply married a woman who was heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune.
Okay- does this make Kerry a bad man?
But this shouldn’t make Romney a bad man either- yet I never heard one story about Kerry being a free loader off of his wife’s money.
The point being we get mad at the other side- even though we allow those same things to slip by if it happens on ‘our side’.
Now- the other day I posted on the economy- that I felt we still had a ‘long hard slog’ ahead.
Others had too rosy of a picture in my view.
Now- economics/finances is like anything else- you look at the data and make the best ‘guess’ possible.
When I looked at the data at the end of last year- we had some bad signs ahead.
This year- the states and local govts [cities- towns] were not going to have anywhere near the revenue that they had for the past few years.
The federal govt. has cut back much of the funding that they gave to the states.
Obama care has also put a huge burden on the states.
One of the ways it ‘covers’ the uninsured is to simply mandate that the states put millions of more people on the Medicare rolls.
This is a tremendous cost to the states- money they don’t have.
Housing prices have gone down- in some places more than 50%- and the way most states/cities pay for their local expenses [schools] is this way [property tax].
So you basically have the states and cities having to come up with more money- and in reality they have nowhere to get the money.
Now- last night I watched the governor from Cali. say that the state is in almost double the debt that they we were expecting.
California is 16 billion in debt- not 9 billion as was projected.
Governor Brown- a smart guy- he once studied to be a Jesuit priest- they are top of the line intellectuals among Catholic priests.
[just as a side note- this order rose up during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. A soldier by the name of Ignatius Loyola was wounded and recovering in the hospital.
He read about the life of Christ and dedicated himself to the Lord.
The Jesuits were the order he founded.
They evangelized all the way into Asia- an area that the Protestant missionaries avoided.
The Jesuits played a major role in the scientific revolution- as a percentage of how few Jesuits there were- they had a huge impact on the development of modern science.]
So governor Brown said his state has lived beyond it’s means for too long- they spent money they did not have- and now the chickens have come home to roost.
Brown is a liberal Democrat.
The governor of N.Y. said the same thing a few months back.
When he got elected he actually worked with the unions in the state and worked out a deal where they were going to cut the huge expenses that the retirees managed to bargain for over the years.
Cuomo- another Democrat- said it was impossible for the state to continue to pay out these lavish benefits.
After the union leaders made the deal- the rank and file rose up [like Greece] and simply elected new leaders who would fight the changes.
I heard a clip from Cuomo- he was yelling ‘we can’t keep making the rich/businesses pay- they are all leaving the state’- just like Cali.
So- with unemployment at historic highs- with state and local govts having to lay off tons of teachers and cops and firefighters.
While the cost to the states is going up- a lot [Obama care].
With all these things in the hopper- besides the ‘unknowns’ like the banks [Morgan Chase] still making risky bets.
Yes- in my view I could not see how some financial guys were talking a huge recovery- some have said they thought the DOW would be at 17,000 next year- nuts!
As I spoke to my liberal friend- they said ‘so- do you think Romney would have been able to create more jobs than Obama’!
They were mad- I said I’m really not a Romney supporter- but being I live in oil state I know from firsthand experience that Obama has cost us jobs.
When he got in office the regulations and the EPA came down hard on the state- they cost lots of jobs.
I saw a clip- video- from Obama the other day- it was from January of 2008- he said he wanted to see the cost of opening up coal powered plants go so high that any sane business person would simply choose not to do it.
Okay- if you have said these things- and have actually done them- then yes- there have been very real jobs lost because of these things.
I assume Romney would not have done this- at least not as much as Obama.
So yes- it’s quite possible that the president’s agenda has cost jobs.
I also explained to my friend that many business owners have put off hiring for 3 years now- because if Obama care passes many of them will be mandated to pay the health care- or a huge fine- for each worker.
Now- as noble as these things might be- they cost real jobs.
My liberal friend- who is a nice person- has lived off of govt. programs for a long time- has only worked a real job for a small part of life.
This person simply had no idea how the private sector really worked- they just listen to the media talking points- and the real world is so much different.
1827- SCHOOL LOANS AND HOW MANY TIMES DID THAT ROOSTER CROW?
I want to try and do both ‘politics and religion’- lets start with politics.
This story is a couple of days late [the big one this week is the anti Romney ad that the Obama campaign released- saying he would not have killed Bin Laden].
This story is last week’s fight over keeping the cost of federally funded student loans from doubling in July.
Basically in 2007 congress passed a law to keep the interest rates low- and it expires in a few months.
Now- both sides of the aisle actually agree on this- they just disagree on how to pay for it [around 6 billion in cost].
The Dems in the senate want to ‘tax the rich’ yes- they are not afraid to keep going to this pool- even though eventually this pool will run dry [not saying all the rich will become poor- but ultimately you drive the wealth from the country- people put their money where it won’t cost so much to keep!]
The Dems in the house want to tax the oil companies.
The Repubs want to pay for it by taking some money out of Obama care.
Okay- as the battle lines were drawn- the Repubs control the house- so they passed it- with about a dozen Dems on board- with the money coming from Obama care.
The President threatened to veto it- and the Dems began accusing the Repubs of waging ‘a war on women’s health’.
Boehner [speaker of the house] actually got mad and said the Dems are waging a phony fight.
Okay- as an independent- there are some points on both sides- but the ‘war on women’ is a stretch.
The fund in the health care law that the Repubs want to use- is a fund for preventative care- less than 1 % of this fund is targeted for women’s health.
The President and the Dems were the first ones to tap into this fund- as sort of a slush fund- when they needed the money for- of all things- a tax cut!
Yes- in the recent fight over extending the payroll tax cut [Social Security] the Dems came up with the idea to tap into this same preventive fund- and they used the money [billions] to give people a tax cut.
Now- when they did it- it was not a ‘war on women’ it was a ‘good thing’.
When the Repubs did it- it was a war on women’s health.
So- this is gridlock- this is why our country is becoming more and more dysfunctional as the days go by.
I have said this over the past few years- if we don’t actually elect people who will deal with the real issues- the big one being the cost of Medicare- which at the current rate will consume around 50 % of all federal spending in a few years- if we don’t elect people who will do this- then all the other little ‘campaign’ talking points will mean nothing.
Okay- this past week I went thru a course by Professor Bart Ehrman.
He teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He teaches Christianity and the New Testament and has been popular the last couple of years because he had a N.Y. times best seller- Misquoting Jesus.
Whenever I study a course- I usually do a parallel teaching on the blog.
Not word for word- I usually have a background in the subject already- and if the course goes too ‘off course’ I dump it and just finish the blog study by memory.
This time I never planned on covering the course from the get go- because I knew Ehrman was what you would call a Liberal scholar.
Now- Liberal and Conservative- in the field of Theology- are not political matters.
Liberals are those who hold to the critical view of the bible that was developed in the 19th century- primarily out of the German universities- men like Rudolph Bultman were leaders in the field.
This ‘way’ of interpreting the bible- called Higher Criticism- had some good points to it- but at the end of the day they came to reject the historical accuracy of scripture- and said that the Gospels were written by unknown men who wanted to simply convey spiritual truths that Jesus taught.
Conservative teachers [like me] hold to the belief that the bible is indeed historically accurate- and the ‘Inspired Word of God’.
Okay- as I went thru the course- I honestly expected Bart to make a better case for his side.
I really learned nothing knew- I was already familiar with the critic’s points- and he made the same ones that the conservative side has already refuted.
Now- let me give you a few examples.
When I first started reading thru the bible as a new believer- I did find some of these ‘discrepancies’ myself.
I noticed that in Matthews’s gospel the story about the denial of Jesus says Peter will deny Jesus 3 times before the ‘rooster crows’.
In Marks gospel it says ‘before the rooster crows twice’.
When I first saw this- it really wasn’t that big of a deal to me- and one time I mentioned it to my Pastor- a good Baptist man who was trained in a Fundamentalist school- and to my surprise he was not aware of this.
I also noticed a few more things like this over the years- and my pastor simply was never trained in these areas.
Now- I mention this only to point out that if you get a well rounded education- it really should include some of these so called discrepancies.
Some of the Higher Criticism is helpful- some not.
But to avoid these textual problems- simply because you’re a Fundamentalist- does more harm than good- especially when your parishioners are learning the stuff on their own!
Okay- I ‘solved’ the problem of the denials by simply seeing that even though one gospel says ‘before the rooster crows’ and the other ‘twice’- that at the end of the day one writer is simply giving you more detail.
It really is not a contradiction- if Matthew said ‘before the roster crows once’ then yes- that would be a problem.
But he simply gave less detail than the other writer.
Okay- after becoming familiar with Ehrman- and knowing that he is famous in the field of liberal scholarship- I thought for sure he would come up with something better than this.
But in actuality- this was one of his main examples of why the bible is not historically accurate.
I couldn’t believe it.
Now- to be fair- there are other things like this that do happen- but they are all minor details of the story [John’s gospel seems to indicate that Jesus was crucified on a different feast day than the other writers say].
But all these minor details in no way justify rejecting the gospels as historically accurate.
Let me just hit on a few things that the higher critics have right.
They do point to the fact that the early followers of Jesus lived in an Oral culture- things were passed along by word of mouth for the most part.
The writing of books [scrolls] did take place- but it was not an easy- or cheap trade.
We live in a day of books and internet access and all sorts of ways for the printed word to be distributed- but in the early church it was not like this.
So- the gospels were probably written about 20-50 years after the death and resurrection of Christ.
Yes- this is true.
The more conservative scholars go with the earlier date [some go as early as 15 years after Christ] but no one claims that the gospels were written at the same time as Christ walking the earth.
Yes- the stories were transmitted orally [oral culture] but they were written later on.
Now- the ultra liberal scholars say ‘see- how could they have known all the facts if they were written so much later’- and Ehrman uses the example of the game ‘telephone’ [or something like that?].
Where you have one person in class tell something to the next in line- and at the end of the line you get a different account.
Ehrman says ‘see- we have no idea what/who Jesus really was’.
Okay- the main discrepancy that Bart used- was the rooster crowing.
He actually sounded mad on the C.D. [I listen while I work!] and he said ‘well- which is it [damn it!!] did the rooster crow once- or twice!’
And then he jumped to the conclusion that the gospels were really fake stories that were made up by unknown men- well meaning men- but they had no real historical truth to them.
This my friends is what I call a ‘leap of faith’.
Geez- if we did this was all other biographies- we would have no ‘factual’ histories about anyone.
I’ll end with a note to my Catholic readers.
A couple of years ago I read the Popes book- Jesus of Nazareth- I did a brief review on the blog and I really liked the book a lot.
One of the things the Pope deals with [remember- Benedict was a priest from Germany- where the whole school of higher criticism arose] in the book is this whole debate over the historical accuracy of the bible.
At one point- as he graciously- yet boldly defends the conservative view- he is talking about the liberal view that the gospels were written by these unknown men who basically made the stories up.
The Pope asks ‘and just how did these men manage to write the most popular books of all time- books that came to be revered and known and loved by generations and generations- and yet no one even knows the names of the authors?’ [I did ad lib a little here]
The bottom line is- if the gospels were written by a bunch of anonymous men who simply wanted to convey some spiritual truths about Jesus- and they managed to stay hidden for all these centuries- this theory has more holes in it than say- a rooster crowing once or twice.
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
1825- PHILOSOPHY [conclusion]
Today let’s wrap up the last philosophy post for now.
Over the last 6 months or so I have posted around 25 posts- covering the pre Socratic thinkers [800 B.C.] and we made it all the way up to the 19th century.
The main philosophical thought of the 20th century was called Logical Positivism.
This idea said there were 3 stages to Western thought/culture;
First- Infancy [religious/myth]
Second- adolescence [philosophy]
Third- adult [science/empirical]
This idea said that man in the 20th century has finally advanced beyond the silly stages of religion and has now moved into a stage where the only true things are empirical in nature.
That is- for something to be true- you must be able to show it scientifically [or mathematically].
It did not take too long before the critics figured out the major flaw with this idea.
This philosophy states ‘the only truth is empirical’ this statement in itself [as well as all the books written on it] is not an empirically proven statement.
Therefore- according to its own criterion- it is false.
This particular aspect of the philosophy was called The Verification Principle [had to be proven/verified scientifically to be valid].
Pragmatism- this is the only home grown philosophy that had its roots in the U.S.
Founded by Dewey and Peirce- this thought denied objective reality and states that ‘whatever works- use it’.
Of course being ‘pragmatic’ in a practical way is fine- we do want things to work.
But at its core Pragmatism says there are no real ethics- no right or wrong- just things people do.
In the beginning of the 20th century you had the British thinker/mathematician Bertrand Russell.
Russell was a good man- raised as a Christian.
But as a young man he read a book by John Stuart Mill [19th century] that questioned one of the classic arguments for the existence of God [the argument from first cause].
Mill said ‘if everything has to have a cause- then why not God- who caused him’.
Russell accepted Mills claim- and became an influential atheist/agnostic.
The main flaw with this argument- that everything ‘has a cause’ is that it’s false.
The law of Cause and Effect [Causality] does not state that everything has a cause- it says that ‘every effect has a cause’.
That is- there is nothing in existence- an effect- that came from nothing.
Some argued that there was no initial cause- but an infinite series of ‘little’ cause and effects that go on forever.
This too is wrong- it leads to another problem called the Infinite Regress.
If there is no First cause- then logically you can never arrive at ‘Now’
There had to have been a starting point somewhere [Einstein has since proved this] and the starting point [Big Bang] could not have come from nothing.
This too is a very common belief among many well meaning people- that somehow science has taught us that all things came from nothing.
This could not be further from the truth- this is referred to as Creation Ex Nihilo- which too is scientifically false.
The only other option- beside the Infinite Regress- and the creation out of nothing- is there had to have been some type of first cause- who is not limited to the material realm.
By nature this being would have to be Metaphysical [outside the physical realm] and would have to be self existent- having no beginning.
To have a First cause- who himself is infinite- is indeed consistent with the principals of logic- and at the end of the day is the only reasonable explanation for the existence of all other things.
Okay- as we end our posts on philosophy for now- why did I cover this?
Thru out the history of the church Christians have grappled and challenged the other world views- and have done a good job at it.
The Christian perspective is not some silly religious way of life that has no real proof.
To the contrary- the church has had the upper hand in all these debates down thru the centuries.
But in today’s ‘media market’ Christianity- the proliferation of self help books [everyday day a Friday?]
The nonstop talk about becoming rich- or sending your money to ‘my ministry’ as a ‘seed faith’ to become rich.
In this environment- many outsiders see the church as an irrelevant- never ending drum beat that they can’t wait to switch to another channel.
This is not the history of the church- and the church has historically won the debate on the reality of God.
It’s just the average person does not know it.
So- for the Christian to be learned in these fields- to have a working knowledge of the opposing world views- is a good thing.
Why do so many believers avoid a field like philosophy?
The apostle Paul warned the Colossians ‘beware of the philosophies of men’.
He also wrote to his protégé Timothy ‘beware of the oppositions of science- falsely so called’.
The word for science in this text is Gnosis- the Greek work for knowledge.
In the early days of the church there was a Christian cult that rose up- called Gnosticism.
More than likely- Paul was not saying that all science- as we use the term today- is bad- but he was warning against a particular from of science- called Gnosticism.
The same with the warning on philosophy- while you could apply it to all philosophy- that is to say that we should be careful when people try to give us opposing ways of thought- yet in context it seems like the apostle is dealing with the philosophies that oppose Christian thought.
For the first 1500 years of the Christian church the study of Theology and Philosophy went hand and hand.
After the Protestant Reformation [15th century] many Protestants avoided the field- which I think was a mistake.
So- as we close up this subject for now- maybe review a few of the posts on the blog that I did these last few months- become more familiar with the apologetic arguments for the existence of God.
Christians do not have to argue- or oppose atheists- or other religions that hold a different view than we do.
But we should be able to give a defense for the faith- to explain to society around us why we believe the things we do.
At the end of the day- we really do have the winning argument.
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
1816- CASA DI MI PADRE
This is the latest Will Ferrell flick to hit the big screen.
It’s in Spanish [no joke] and Ferrell speaks all his lines in Spanish.
I caught his interview on Jon Stewart- plugging the movie- and it looks funny.
I do like Ferrell- I clipped an article [so I would remember to mention it] and just about 5 minutes ago as I re-read the thing- I couldn’t stop laughing.
It shows a picture of Ferrell- all made up to look like a Mexican drug lord [I think he plays a brother of one in the movie] and he’s holding this rifle- in a real awkward way- and he looks like an idiot.
That’s what makes me laugh about the guy- he’s just funny.
The movie is a spoof of the Spanish Telenovela movies- he’s basically making fun of the genre- and at the same time trying to appeal to both Spanish and English speaking audiences.
As the week ends- there have been some surprises in the news world.
Most observers think the Health Care law has more of a chance of being struck down by the court than less of a chance.
It was not so last week- so this is a major story.
Also about 2 weeks ago I wrote some posts on the Syrian situation- if you remember both Russia and China rejected the U.S. lead effort [in the U.N.] to condemn Assad [the Syrian president] and call for his ouster.
At the time I said the U.S. needs to realize that we can’t keep calling for the ouster of leaders- even bad ones- every time a rebellion rises up.
Because the radical Islamist groups see this- and that’s why you started having various protestors calling for ‘NO FLY ZONES’.
They were reading us- and at times trying to simply manipulate us to do their bidding.
Now- after our U.N. resolution failed [because of China and Russia voting it down] Susan Rice- the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.- made a public statement- calling it ‘unconscionable’ and using language that you normally don’t see by ‘fellow negotiators’ from the U.N.
As I watched the fallout- I saw that experts at how the U.N. process works- they said Rice was incompetent- and her reaction showed her inability to handle the job.
These criticisms came from both sides- Russian and U.S.
I also said at the time that the U.S. needs to basically listen to what Russia’s objections are- and we need to move in their direction on this- and not the other way around.
Russia basically was fed up with the West coming in and backing rebel groups- unseating the leaders of the countries- and then leaving the place a mess [Libya- Egypt].
Russia [and China] saw the writing on the wall- and they called for a ceasefire on all sides- and for everyone to sit down at the table.
I thought this was the best way to go as well.
But Rice [U.S.] called for Assad to step down [which means he will get tried and executed- as various Al Qaeda groups take the country over].