Happy Halloween! Sort of!

2009 update: Not only is it a great excuse to eat candy, but we get to turn back the clocks 1 hour tonight (either that or get to church an hour early tomorrow).  Doubly sweet!  Better yet, we moved this year so I can try my stupid joke on new kids.  And it is Reformation Day and the weather is beautiful!  This is shaping up to be the 4th best day of the year (after Easter, Christmas and birthday).

—–

I like giving out Halloween candy (or Reformation Day candy, for those who oppose any costume/treat activities on October 31), but when our door bell rings 100 times then the dogs go nuts 100 times.  Trend analysis is not their strong suit.  One good thing is that this conversation gets repeated often:

Little kid:  Look at the doggies! 

Me:  Actually, they are cats dressed up as dogs.  Great costumes, eh?

Little kid:  Really?

The reactions are pretty consistent.  Little kids: laugh or look confused, adolescents: laughter, teens: (sometimes reluctant) grins.  Try it if you have pets, free of charge.

Fortunately the production only lasts a couple hours.  I just sit around playing my guitar in between visits.

Variety bags of candy always seem to have something objectionable in them.  It is a conspiracy to dump their bad candy by packaging it with good stuff like Butterfingers.  This year one bag had Almond Joys and another had chocolate Laffy Taffy.  I’ll have to sneak those into their bags or my house may get egged.

My wife bought the movie Alien for the girls to watch.  I heard a great comment on that last year.  Most horror films (I’m not a fan of the genre, BTW) leave you saying to the characters, “Get out of the house, you idiot!”  But with Alien that wasn’t an option, so it made it scarier.

Here’s a good perspective on Halloween and Christians by one of the most conservative blogs I read.

The dogs.  Or possibly the cats.

Some oldies.

For your parody pleasure, this is a great send up of The Shining by The Simpsons.

How many translations did your Bible go through?

bible5.gifOne. 

Really. Just one time from the original language to the language and version of your Bible.  The original writings were copied many times, but the Bible you hold was probably only translated once.

Many people – including some Christians – are quick to say that the Bible has been translated and changed so many times over the centuries that we don’t know what the original writings said.  For example, I saw a video clip where Deepak Chopra (alleged religious expert) claims that the King James was the 13th iteration of the Bible.

But contrary to that myth, the books of the Bible have only been translated once and the copying process was very robust, dependable and verifiable.   

For example, Paul wrote in Greek, and we have Greek manuscripts to make translations from.  That is one translation. 

Conventional wisdom: Tranlations from one language to another to another . . .

Greek original ==> Latin translation ==> other translations ==> King James version ==> New International Version, etc. 

What actually happened

Greek original ==> copies of Greek original ==> Latin version

Greek original ==> copies of Greek original ==> King James version

Greek original ==> copies of Greek original ==> New International Version

Etc.

So the real issue is how accurate and reliable the copying process was.  The science of textual criticism shows that the copies of the New Testament are 99.5% accurate and that the differences are minor and have no impact on Christian theology. Even atheist textual critics will concede that.

Regarding the Old Testament, here are some notes from the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry:

The OT does not have as many supporting manuscripts as the NT but it is, nevertheless, remarkably reliable.

  1. The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew OT done around 250 B.C., attests to the reliability and consistency of the OT when it is compared to existing Hebrew manuscripts.
  2. The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 also verify the reliability of the OT manuscripts.
  3. The Dead Sea Scrolls were ancient documents that were hidden in a cave in Israel about 2000 years ago. The scrolls contained many OT books, one of them being Isaiah.
    1. Before the Dead Sea scrolls, the earliest existing manuscript of the OT was dated around 900 A.D. called the Masoretic Text. The Scrolls contained OT documents 1000 years earlier. A comparison between the manuscripts revealed an incredible accuracy of transmission through copying, so much so that critics were silenced.

In summary, the Bible you hold has only been translated once, and the copying process was very robust, dependable and verifiable. 

Also see Is The New Testament Reliable? and Has the Bible been rewritten so many times that we can’t trust it anymore?

What are the odds of that?

cards

This is by no means a definitive argument against evolution, but I offer it to put the “time, chance and random mutation” theory in perspective. 

Everyone knows that micro-evolution occurs, such as dog breeding and bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics.  But macro-evolutionists believe that with enough time an amazingly complex single cell of unknown origin could make lots and lots of small changes, develop reproductive capacities and eventually become humans, elephants, caterpillar/butterflies, chameleons and so much more.

Let’s consider something very simple.  Imagine that you shuffle a deck of cards.  If you shuffled it one time per second, how often would all the cards go back into their original order? (Ace of spades, King of spades, etc.)  The math is simply 1/52 (the odds of the Ace of spades being on top) times 1/51 times 1/50, etc. I left out the Jokers to make it easier.

Guess how many years it takes?  I’m not kidding: 2,557,653,956,460,680,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

If everyone on the planet shuffles the cards instead of just one person, it only takes 393,485,224,070,873,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.  That is still 87,441,160,904,638,500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times the age of the earth, and even more times the period that life has existed here. You are much more likely to win the Lottery seven times in a row.  We even have a term to describe the practical probability of that happening: Zero.

I make it so easy — you didn’t even have to create the cards or the people to shuffle them.  But when you’re done, all you have is a particular card sequence.  You haven’t brought anything to life.  You haven’t created new cards.  You haven’t developed different sexes of cards that can make new cards that evolve to a computerized version of Monopoly.  Most importantly, you just created a pattern, not information.  DNA is full of information, not just patterns.

The odds of all that would be enormously higher.  This is a very simple view of the requirements for structural changes:

  • Many genes must change at once.
  • A change to any one gene affects many functions.
  • The probability of a genetic mutation being beneficial is very low.   Harmful or insignificant mutations are far more likely.
  • Significant changes require many simultaneous beneficial mutations.

When you extend the odds of each of these things it becomes quite fantastical that, as some evolutionists claim, a mammal would go from exclusively consuming fresh water to salt water and more.

And remember, even if macro-evolution proved to be true it still wouldn’t disprove God.  Evolutionary theory doesn’t explain where the universe came from or even where life begins.  Its proponents just assume that there is no God and work overtime trying to prop up their massive non sequitur and stifling the speech of those who dare to disagree.  Their theory is so transparently false and ridiculous that even with their crushing of academic freedoms, their monopolies in public schools and the complicity of the media, most people still don’t believe it.  It reminds me of a quote by J. Budziszewski:

Though it always comes as a surprise to intellectuals, there are some forms of stupidity that you must be highly intelligent and educated to commit. 

Meditate on the figures above the next time someone tells you that the universe came into being with no creator and that chemicals came to life and organized themselves to all we see today.

Macro-evolutionists must think the Lottery is a sure thing.

Also see the Wintery Knight’s post on this, which addresses how the formation of a single protein is vastly more complicated than this example.

A typical protein isn’t made of 52 parts, it’s made of around 200, and there are 80 possible amino acids, not just 26! And in the case of proteins,the vast majority of the possible sequences that you can make won’t have any biological function at all! (And there are many more problems besides, such as chirality, cross reactions, and bonding type). Even if you filled the whole universe with reactants and reacted it all at Planck time, you still wouldn’t be likely to get even one protein!

And this link is a keeper — Could life have emerged spontaneously on earth?

Confronting false teachings with truth and love

Oh no. He’s refuting my sermon points before I even speak.  Jesus, there’s either going to be radical transformation today, or I’m going to be chased to my carI shouldn’t have worn flip-flops.

Read this for a great example of how and why to preach the truth in love.   Someone from the congregation in Pretoria, South Africa, gave a prosperity gospel message that contradicted what James was going to preach about.  Ignoring it would have been easy.

Blessings to him for confronting the false prosperity Gospel in such a productive way.  What he did was right even if the first speaker hadn’t been convicted of his errors. 

Vigilance of sound doctrine is vital. Look how many false teachings in the church Paul had to correct just 20 years after the resurrection.  It is even more important today, as false teachers have had 2,000 years of work to build on for their latest un-biblical ideas. 

Some people mock the importance of sound doctrine, but it couldn’t be more Biblical.  Even the Sermon on the Mount was an extended-play correction of false teachings, even though most theological liberals don’t realize it.

Roundup

People with ‘no religion’ gain on major denominations — But as with most polls, you have to dig to determine what is really going on.  This does not mean that the % claiming to be atheists has increased:

The percentage of atheist Nones — who say there’s no such thing as God — hasn’t budged in years. “It’s not as though dozens of people at the Methodist Church read (atheist Richard) Dawkins and suddenly decided God doesn’t exist,” says Kosmin.

“There are so many misconceptions about who the Nones are. They’re not New Age searchers or spiritual or even hardened atheists,” says Kosmin.

“They’re a stew of agnostics, deists and rationalists. They sound more like Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine. Their very interesting enlightenment approach is like the Founding Fathers’ kind: Skeptical about organized religion and clerics while still holding to an idea of God.”

Hat tip: Stand to Reason

Coming soon to a country near you: Woman gets police visit after writing letter protesting gay pride parade

After witnessing a gay pride march, committed Christian Pauline Howe wrote to the council to complain that the event had been allowed to go ahead.

But instead of a simple acknowledgement, she received a letter warning her she might be guilty of a hate crime and that the matter had been passed to police.

Playing the What if Bush had done it? game that highlights media inconsistencies is easy.  But it isn’t just the normal media bias, it is the pressure to prop up their creation.

. . . the press has a story line that they have to defend.  If Obama gets exposed as a flop, and worse as a typical Chicago pol, then it makes their failure to properly vet Obama during the primaries that much more clear.  In a sense, they created Obama, and his collapse would be their collapse as well.

Victory: Abortion/Obama graphics displayed at liberal bastion Berkeley — very effective displays shown at a wildly Liberal campus.  Hopefully it wakes some people up to what abortion really does.  Caution: Very graphic.

As if we needed more proof, President Obama lied about abortion not being in the health care “plan.”  Turns out he was playing a Clintonian game where he was referring to a plan that didn’t exist, rather than the real plan.  And why is is that I should trust him?  Hat tip: Verum Serum

You have got to be kidding me: Democrats Vote To Give ACORN Regulatory Authority Over Financial Institutions ?!?!?!

These are the same organizations that pressured banks to make subprime mortgage loans and thus bear a major responsibility for the collapse of the housing market.

In light of recent evidence linking ACORN to possible criminal activity, Democrats took an unprecedented step today to give ACORN a potential role alongside bank regulators in overseeing financial institutions.  This is contrary to recent actions taken by the Senate and House to block federal funds to ACORN.

A recent inquiry into bank funding of ACORN activities by three House Committees found that institutions that would be regulated by the CFPA have provided millions of dollars to the organization in the form of direct donations, lines of credit, cash, and other assets over the last 15 years.

Roundup


Germany leads us in stem cell solutions — not because of embryonic stem cell research and cloning, but because they banned those completely and focused on adult stem cells — the research methodology that is ethical and successful.  I realize that not destroying unborn human beings for medical research gets in the way of pro-abortion rhetoric, but can’t we just spend our money on techniques that, you know, work?

60 Minutes may be in the doghouse with Fox soon if they keep pointing out unpleasent facts about how much fraud there is in the current government run health programs.  Hey, they can’t manage what they’ve got, so let’s give them five times as much!  

Stan has a well written piece on the oft-debated question of whether Christians can lose their salvation.

Scott Klusendorf, formerly of Stand To Reason, is a first class pro-life apologist.  Go check out his site, even if just for the main page where he demonstrates how there is just one issue on which the whole abortion debate turns: What is the unborn?

Librarians banning ex-gay books — I’m married to a librarian who does not appreciate the inconsistency of library organizations who pretend to be all about access to information while banning books that don’t prop up their worldview.  The American Library Assocation had an issue dedicated to pro-gay cause a year or so ago. 

Visit most public school libraries and you’ll find an array of books that address the subject of homosexuality. Many include sexually explicit content, and some even include graphic images. But if you’re looking for a book that refers to the possibility that homosexuality can be “reversed,” a Chicago-based group says your best bet is the banned books list.

Welcome to the world of fake tolerance.  Ironically, librarians are usually quite proud about offering formerly banned books.  Free speech is now all about saying whatever you like, as long as you agree with Liberal dogma.

 funny pictures of cats with captions
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Materialistic philosophy: A heaping mound of FAIL

. . . nobody will ever die from thinking God created the universe or having some doubts about the proposition that hydrogen is a substance which, if you leave it alone for 13.5 billion years, will turn into Angelina Jolie.

Mark Shea (Hat tip: regular commenter LCB)

By materialistic philosophy I don’t mean the “acquire all the things you can” way of life.  I mean the worldview that everything is material and that nothing is spiritual.  It is also called evolutionary, Darwinian, macro-evolutionary, naturalistic and other terms.  Think of it as the nothingness-to-molecules-to-man / elephant / fish / caterpillar-butterfly / etc. worldview (or just meditate on the opening quote).

This worldview has six fatal flaws:

1. It isn’t true.  The facts do not support it — the Cambrian explosion, the rarity of beneficial mutations, irreducible complexity, time required, and so much more.  Twisted facts and unethical suppression of tough questions and the truth prop up the worldview for now, but it is crumbling.

2. Even if evolution could happen the way materialists describe it, it doesn’t prove that it did happen that way.  Just because something is possible doesn’t mean it happened.  Darwinists commit this error daily.

3. Even if it did happen that way, it doesn’t prove that there isn’t a God.  Remember, macro-evolutionary theory  just tries to explain how life evolved.  Despite major efforts it can’t explain how chemicals came to life, let alone how the chemicals came into being in the first place.

This is the top error that people like Richard Dawkins make.  They are quick to assume that support for evolution disproves God’s existence.  Their transparent lack of logic just makes them poster boys for Romans 1.  They aren’t dispassionate scientists.  They are on a mission to ignore God and science is just their tool of choice.

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

4. Even if it did happen that way and there is no God, then it is the cause of all religious beliefs, including my belief that the resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation for the facts agreed to by nearly all historians.  Therefore, pride about not being religious is illogical for materialists .

If all we are is a series of chemical reactions, then life is truly deterministic and I have no choice in any of my decisions.  My chemical makeup and circumstances fated me to go from atheism to Christianity.

5. Even if it did happen that way and there is no God, then there is zero grounding for morality.  Those are just chemical reactions making you think there is such a thing.  Of course, macro-evolutionists rarely go three sentences without making a moral claim, but that inconsistency doesn’t seem to trouble them.

6. Courtesy of commenter Bubba, I offer another fatal flaw:

[Materialistic naturalism] also cannot account for human rationality, which the supposedly rational atheists affirm even if they deny the reality of the moral law.

If human thoughts are merely the result of physical and chemical processes, then they can be no more rational than the by-products of other biological organs — the bile of the liver, or the carbon dioxide from the lungs.

And if human rationality is illusory, then we cannot draw any trustworthy conclusions about the world around us.

Materialism is ultimately an argument that all arguments are invalid, and the philosophy is therefore self-defeating.

Other than that, materialistic philosophy is a great idea.

To recap, materialist / macro-evolutionary / Darwinist philosophy fails because:

  1. It is not supported by the evidence.
  2. Even if it was possible it doesn’t mean it happened.
  3. Even if it did happen it doesn’t disprove God’s existence.
  4. Even if it did happen and there is no God then it “created” religious beliefs.
  5. Even if it did happen and there is no God it doesn’t ground morality.
  6. It can’t account for human rationality.  It selects for survival, not truth.

P.S. Here are some definitions from the good folks at Dictionary.com:

Materialism:  The philosophical theory that regards matter and its motions as constituting the universe, and all phenomena, including those of mind, as due to material agencies.

Naturalism:  The view of the world that takes account only of natural elements and forces, excluding the supernatural or spiritual.  The belief that all phenomena are covered by laws of science and that all teleological explanations are therefore without value.

The value of trials

None of us seek out trials.  We work hard to avoid them.  But as John MacArthur pointed out in a recent Podcast sermon, they serve many purposes.

Trials test us so we know how strong our faith is, for good or bad.  God already knows how strong our faith is, but we may not know.  Thomas Manton said, “The worth of a soldier is never known in times of peace.”

They teach us that we can still have joy despite being unhappy.

They humble us and keep us from thinking too highly of ourselves or our personal ministries.

They increase our focus on more important things rather than trusting on our money or success.

They increase our focus on heaven.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

They help us see whether we love God more than ourselves.  

Deuteronomy 13:3-4 The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.

Enduring trails enables us to help others.  How many of you have gone through something difficult that then helped you minister to others?   My wife had 5 miscarriages before and after the girls were born and that has made us much more sensitive to infertility issues.

Luke 22:31-32 Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.

Roundup

Inherit the Myth summarizes the falsehoods of the anti-religious movie Inherit the Wind.  Sadly, countless public school students were forced to watch it and took it at face value.

Ironically, today the roles of the Inherit the Wind players are reversed — only now, the characteristics are real.  The Darwinists will do everything they can to end your career and assault your character if you dare to criticize their theory or advance reasons for Intelligent Design.  Dawkins, Hitchens et al insist that religion is evil and must be done away with.

As noted here:

[Christopher] Hitchens, a columnist for Vanity Fair and author of the book God Is Not Great, told a capacity crowd at the University of Toronto, “I think religion should be treated with ridicule, hatred and contempt, and I claim that right.” His words were greeted with hoots of approval.

Religion is “sinister, dangerous and ridiculous,” Hitchens tells NPR, because it can prompt people to fly airplanes into buildings, and it promotes ignorance. Hitchens sees no reason to sugarcoat his position.

“If I said to a Protestant or Quaker or Muslim, ‘Hey, at least I respect your belief,’ I would be telling a lie,” Hitchens says.

Without Fox it is unlikely that you would have heard of the ACORN scandal (Hello, Charles Gibson?), Van Jones’ resignation, the National Endowment for the Arts propoganda scandal and more.

Also, be sure to see the 37 second video where an MSNBC “newsperson” takes on-air email corrections from the White House. But they aren’t biased, eh?

Obama’s reaction to Fox News demonstrates that he isn’t just the reincarnation of Jimmy Carter, but Richard Nixon as well. It’s the political version of That 70’s Show.

MoveOn.org will add your name to petitions whether you like it or not.  How honest of them!

Go see Bryan’s terrific Kairos prison ministry website.  Here are quotes from the testimonials page.  I’ve heard many of the same things at the unit we support.  More about Kairos and prison ministry here.

This is not just a weekend, this is eternal. This is my family forever. – R.H.

I never heard of KAIROS before. I would like to spread the word of what KAIROS means. – B.H.

I wish it would never end. Because of the love of Christ I can be free in Christ despite being incarcerated. – J.J.

I have been incarcerated for 31 years. I have never experienced love like this – H.B.

I came in not knowing what to expect. The love I found in there blew me away…all the people praying, the emotion in the room is something Ill never forget. The “Presence of the Lord”, I sang it all night long. – D.H.

I didn’t know what to expect. It’s been very fulfilling…this has been a lot of work, but I have been able to go back to the house and get great sleep and come back ready to go… – S.F.

This is not just a weekend, this is eternal! This is my family forever! – R.H.

I thank God for this fellowship. – M.L.

This is a good thing that I think everybody needs to go through whether they get out or die here. – G.M.

I never heard of KAIROS before. I would like to spread the word of what KAIROS means. – B.H.

Some of the best lessons learned in life are through experience. It’s amazing to me the diversity here, but the family growth is amazing. I”m very glad to be a collective part of it. – M.B.

I didn’t expect any of this. Keep the faith. It’s hard out there in the yard, but keep the faith! – E.H.

I wish it would never end. Because of the love of Christ I can be free in Christ despite being incarcerated. – J.J.

I can cherish this love for the rest of my life. The power of prayer is awesome. I’m looking forward to telling others about KAIROS. The more we share, and give back…it’s all about that… – D.H.

I came with an expectation of having a good time. I’ve met people I would never associate with in the yard. After 20 years of being in here it feels good to have an expanded family. – B.B.

I’m a simple person. I feel the love. I’m glad to have God in my life. – W.B.

I really have enjoyed myself. I’ve never been able to just relax and have fun. I never sang so much! Lat night I had the song “Jesus is the Rock and He Rolls My Blues Away” stuck in my head! – A.D.

It’s been a joyful time up here. Fellowship and food…LOTS of fellowship and LOTS of food…heartfelt discussion, too. We aren’t alone. Everyones’got problems. This is a hard experience to go through in here. This is a good thing. we can leave here with a good mentality. – R.O.

The singing took me out of my space. I don’t think it makes me soft, I like the group of guys I’m sitting with. I’ve still got some walls, but I respect everone’s views. I listen and learn. – S.A.

LOVE! There’s nothing but love in this room! I hope the whole world could be like this! – E.G.

We all know how hard it is to find something good to report home to our family and friends. Isn’t it wonderful to have something this great to happen to use?! This has brought us together, broken down the walls I’ve built upon whatever prejudice or bias we have. – B.B.

I have been incarcerarted for 31 years. I have never experienced love like this! – H.B.

You don’t have to be a religious person to be involved in KAIROS. My eyes have stayed wet all weekend…it’s been very emotional. It’s very hard to cry in a place like this, but I’ve felt that I can here. – S.F.

This has bee a life changing experience for me. Up to now, I thought I was in control. But, I found there is someone bigger than myself, I’ve let go and let God! – D.S.

It’s been a beautiful weekend for me. The Lord has blessed me this weekend. This is something that I will never forget. – M.L.

I came in not knowing what to expect. The love I found in there blew me away…all the people praying. The emotion in the room is something I’ll never forget. “The Presence of the Lord”…I sang it all night long. – D.H.

I came for the food. I found the love. We on th inside have to learn how to express love. – R.O.

I give all glory to God. I’ve truly been blessed, the love has been incredible! I don’t want this to end. I look forward to the Tuesday night (“Prayer and Share” groups). This has torn down a lot of walls. – J.J.

There was love all in there! I thank God for putting it in your heads to do this, because you didnt have to. – E.G.

I always looked at Christ as great king. He came to serve, not to be served. He’s the most courageous leader I’ve ever heard – W.B.

Weve been told that we would be unable to descibe this weekend. When I saw thes placemats (created by kids) they touched me. I’ll keep these, they inspire me. – D.D.

God hasn’t forgotten us. – R.H.

I now know that God is good. – J.H.

A classically poor atheistic argument

PZ Myers, one of the “New Atheists” (just like the old ones except rude and lacking reasoning skills) plays the same tricks that Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and others do.   Richard Dawkins went on the radio show of Hugh Hewitt, who  Myers considers to be a “far right radio wingnut” and a “ridiculous puffed-up blowhard of very little brain.”  What a charming fellow this Myers chap is!  With winsome, well thought out arguments like that you have to know his scientific facts must be right as well. 

The main point of Myers’ post was to re-hash the classic double-play fallacy used by many atheists.  It hinges on the way they use the argument against miracles as synonymous with the argument against God. 

They pretend to be proving that God doesn’t exist, then they assume it and act shocked — shocked, I say! — that people of faith believe in miracles.  Then they dismiss the believers as idiots (just read as much of Myer’s comment thread as you can stomach) and act as if nothing they say can be believed.  See how Dawkins tries to play the game:

Richard Dawkins: Okay, do you believe Jesus turned water into wine?

Hugh Hewitt: Yes.

RD: You seriously do?

HH: Yes.

RD: You actually think that Jesus got water, and made all those molecules turn into wine?

HH: Yes.

RD: My God.

HH: Yes. My God, actually, not yours. But let me…

RD: I’ve realized the kind of person I’m dealing with now.

Note what Dawkins did: He assumed what he should be proving — namely, that God doesn’t exist.  And he turned it into a personal attack as well.  In addition, he probably lied, because unless he is a complete moron he already knew what Hewitt’s beliefs were.  My guess is that he pretended to just figure it out.

So Dawkins’ fallacies were carefully choreographed to demonize his ideological opponent and to pretend that he’d already proved that there is no God.  And Myers and his gang eat it up as if Dawkins actually accomplished something.  Aren’t they bright!

If they really think that this trick proves anything then they are as foolish as they claim Hewitt and other believers are.  If they know how ridiculous their arguments are yet they use them anyway then that demonstrates their lack of character.

Here’s another clip from the interview where Hewitt exposes more misstatements by Dawkins plus examples of Dawkins’ fear of real debates and more of his misstatements.

Inerrant, infallible, inspired

I’m re-running this post with some more thoughts.  Even though I believe that the original writings of the Bible were without error, God-breathed and incapable of error, those views aren’t required for belief in God or the resurrection.  You can take a minimal facts approach and see that even if there were slight discrepancies in the accounts about Jesus that the resurrection could still be true.   

Just look at key facts that virtually all historians agree on, such as the following, and realize that his resurrection is the best explanation for those facts.

  • Jesus really lived and was killed on a Roman cross.
  • Jesus’ disciples believed He rose from the dead and appeared to them.
  • Paul believed that Jesus appeared to him.  Even skeptics concede that Paul wrote most of the books attributed to him, including Romans, Galatians, I & II Corinthians and others.
  • Jesus’ brother, James, was a skeptic who converted after Jesus died.

There are skeptics who endorse alternatives to the resurrection (e.g., Jesus’ body was stolen, it was ripped up by dogs, the swoon theory, etc.).  These folks unwittingly  give a lot of support for the resurrection: They show that the historical facts are so strong that one must concede that a real person named Jesus lived and died on a Roman cross and the body did not stay in the tomb. 

—–

bible5.gifClaims of Biblical inerrancy, inspiration and infallibility apply to the original writings.  I have researched countless difficulties and found answers that satisfied me.  Some are tougher than others.  Some things are in the Job category (as in, I’m not capable of understanding them or God doesn’t need me to understand them). 

I learned enough about the book to be comfortable that God “wrote” it, and I trust that if there is something in the 1% that appears to be a contradiction then either there was a translation error or – much more likely – there is something I’m just not understanding properly.

In short, after working through enough difficulties with satisfactory answers I tend to give God and his Word the benefit of the doubt.  I’m sure this thrills him to no end.  I say that tongue-in-cheek, because on the one hand He certainly doesn’t need the Neil-seal-of-approval but on the other hand He does love it when we exercise faith.  Not blind faith, not faith despite the evidence, but faith grounded in the truths He has revealed to us.

Are there passages in the currently published Bibles that don’t belong?  Perhaps.  The ending of Mark and the story of Jesus and the woman accused of adultery are not in the earliest and best manuscripts. 

Also, some verses sometimes lose a little meaning in certain translations.  For example, when Exodus 21:22-25 is properly understood it is a pro-life passage, yet pro-choice people will use a poorer translation (for that passage) such as the RSV because it supports their position. 

These issues don’t bother me that much because they show that the system works: We have so many copies of ancient manuscripts and different translations that it possible to figure out what the originals said.  The exceptions are limited and we can show why they are exceptions. 

But on most of what really matters there is no debate.  Every version I’ve seen says, “Love your enemies.”  There are 100 clear passages saying that Jesus is the only way.  That is plenty for me.

I know enough of the Bible and the difficulties to have great faith (trust in evidence) that God inspired the originals.  And I have faith in the copying and translation process so that I can read the Bible with confidence.  For difficult or controversial passages there are plenty of ways to resolve issues on the essentials.  But on the non-essentials I don’t lose sleep. 

If people want to have church meetings to debate how often to serve communion, whether to use wine or grape juice, etc., I say go ahead and have a swell time.  Just don’t make me participate. 

We can read the Bible with confidence that God has transmitted his Word to us accurately.  Sometimes the words inerrant and infallible are too loaded with various meanings to be helpful, so I like to emphasize that the original writings of the Bible turned out just the way God wanted them to.

Roundup

Yes, I’m a Conservative.  No, I don’t need a Conservative Bible.  I just want the Bible.  Glenn has a more thorough analysis here.

Wow, ACORN nailed again.  That’s gonna leave a mark . . . provided that a network other than Fox reports on it.  Seems that the ACORN folks lied about throwing James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles out of their Philadelphia office.  The audio is edited in spots due to legal concerns, but the full thing should be forthcoming soon.  Yet just watch Congress re-approve funding for ACORN. 

Why did the American Federation of Teachers union donate over $1m to ACORN?  Hey, it isn’t cheap to have Republican voter registration forms destroyed.

Interesting analysis by Verum Serum: Obama’s enemy isn’t just Fox, it is the “Army of Davids.”

But hold on a minute…Dig a bit deeper and you quickly realize that the White House’s problem isn’t with FOX at all because FOX isn’t the source of any of these stories.

Van Jones didn’t come from FOX, it came from Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit. ACORN didn’t come from FOX but from two intrepid activists via Breitbart’s Big Government. Similarly, the NEA story didn’t come from FOX, it came from one individual, Patrick Courrielche, writing at Big Hollywood who had the nerve to tape the conference call and report on it. And, not to toot our own horn, but they weren’t too happy with the “wise Latina” story that originated right here at VS.

The biased MSM is still getting it wrong on Willie Horton, as Ann Coulter explains:

The Bush campaign commercial about Dukakis’ furlough program never showed a picture of Horton. In fact, the actors playing “criminals” passing through a revolving door in the ad were all white.

Voters considered it relevant that a candidate for president was so beholden to the ACLU that he backed an idiotic furlough program that released first-degree murderers.

Every informed student of the 1988 campaign knows that the Bush ad didn’t show Horton’s picture. And yet in Keith’s discussion of Bush’s allegedly vile, racist use of Willie Horton, he used a phony version of the ad, doctored to include a photo of Horton.

fyi — I may re-run some favorite posts for a while each Friday.  There are quite a few new readers from my Facebook account and I thought they might be of interest.

A commenter on a Facebook page thought it ironic that I could hold the same view that a racist might, yet for different reasons.  I suppose it is ironic, but quite logical when you give it further thought.  My response to him:

Please don’t confuse beliefs with motives.  If a racist believed that racial quotes helped blacks then he would oppose them. 

But if he believed that racial quotas hurt blacks (by perpetuating the myth that they can’t compete and calling into question the very real successes of countless people) then he would favor them. 

And vice verse: Non-racists could support racial quotas if they thought the quotas really helped and could oppose quotas if they thought they really hurt blacks.

The moral: Look to the reasons behind the beliefs.  If you have good reason to question the motives of the person in question, that is different.  For example, those pushing the health care agenda have been caught in so many transparent falsehoods that I don’t believe anything they say now.

(Unhinged) Birds of a feather

Many advocates for legalized abortion, oxymoronic “same sex marriage,” New Atheism / macro-evolution, global warming  and any non-Liberal speech in general (i.e., the war on Fox) have something in common: They fear open debate and want to shut up their opponents.  They will tell you with a straight face that freedom of speech only applies to certain views.  They will do almost anything to avoid serious discussions on the facts and logic of opposing views.

They hypocritically make up a new definition for tolerance then ignore that version as well.  Real tolerance is respect for people but not necessarily ideas.  The postmodern folks sort of switched that to not necessarily respecting people but pretending all ideas should be respected.  As the video below shows, these people don’t believe in respect for people or other ideas.

Today we focus on the pro-legalized abortionists.  Pro-life students at McGill University in Canada overcame great odds and an attempted ban just to get a speaker approved.  But that wasn’t the end of it.  As noted at Thoughts Out Loud:

After jumping through all obstacles with Canadian McGill University officials and the campus Student Union, event organisers were able to schedule, advertise to students and hold on campus a presentation addressing the issue of abortion. However, the event shortly went pear-shaped when, no sooner had the host introduced the guest speaker, and barely had the speaker an opportunity to complete his opening sentence, that a group of rowdy pro-abort protesters disrupted the presentation.

Go to the one minute mark of this video to see the face of the new “tolerance.”  Watch as much as you can stomach of college students who think that the pro-life position is so awful that it can’t even be presented in public.   They are so pathetic that I was embarrassed for them — and they are my ideological enemies!

Unbelievable.  Screaming, shouting, singing children’s songs and more all because they couldn’t stand that others might hear the pro-life view.  Remember, no one was forcing these “adults” to listen to anything.  How open minded of them.

It is a scientific fact that human life begins at conception.  If these folks think it is morally neutral or a moral good to be able to crush and dismember that life before birth, I wouldn’t try to prevent them from defending that view in the public square.  Why are they so afraid of pro-lifers sharing our reasoning?  Why do they think that presenting our views to a willing audience is worse than this?

This won’t be getting better anytime soon.  These extremists want people with conservative values to fear them and to just shut up.  Not here.

Help build churches & orphanages for persecuted / poor Christians

One of our favorite organizations is International Cooperating Ministries, a:

non-profit, trans-denominational Christian organization that works toward the mission of nurturing believers and assisting church growth worldwide. With our partners, we leverage simple church growth principles to see our vision of growth in the faith of individual believers, the number of people within each church, and the number of churches within a nation-truly actualizing Christ’s commission to “make disciples of all nations!”

They primarily build churches (roughly $7,000 each) and church/orphanages (roughly $25,000).  The church/orphanages are exciting projects because they not only help the local church and the orphans, but the widows who take care of the orphans as well.

They use a “web” approach, so that each church that receives a building needs to help 5 other churches start in their vicinity. 

They offer a “mini-Bible college” to help the churches have sound doctrine.

One of the things I like about them is that their administrative costs are paid for by a foundation, so 100% of what you give goes straight to the projects.

They build churches around the world, including many countries where persecution is rampant. 

Check out their web site and see what you think.  You might want to donate or get a group to raise funds for a church.  Perhaps you’ve been seriously blessed and could pay for a whole church yourself!  Think about that for a while.  It is a great way to encourage other believers, help widows and orphans, and spread the Gospel!  Who knows, you might get to go visit them someday in this life, but if you are a believer you can be sure you’ll catch up with them in Heaven someday.

As Jesus said, where your treasure is there your heart will be also.  When you donate to projects around the world your heart will go there as well.

Here is an example of a group in need, Project # 09IN12788TAM — This congregation lives in Uttar Pradesh, one of the most unreached and militant states of India with 20% Muslim and nearly 80% Hindu. Evangelism is much more dangerous here and Christians often suffer religious persecution.  From the pastor, Ram Prakash:

I had a vision to spread the Word of God. The Lord helped me hold meetings in my house with five people in 2000. The gatherings increased to forty or more; we rented a house, and more came. In 2001 – 2003, there were many kinds of difficulties. In some areas, police took up against ministries. In the midst of this, many people came forward and were baptized, and God allowed us to spread to adjoining districts.

In the last eight years, God has been so faithful. Now we have more than 100 people and more than that have been baptized. Due to the lack of facilities, many cannot come every week. I pray God will allow us to build a church soon.

It’s a party every Saturday!

The title of the post is the nickname for the Nutcracker rehearsals each Saturday when the “party scene” is rehearsed.  The actual performances are Friday, December 4 – Sunday, December 6.

This year I get to play Dr. Stahlbaum, the host of the party, for two of the shows and a regular “party dad” for two other shows.  I always like to learn something new.  The party guys are wearing tuxes this year instead of old-timey duds, so that will be a fun change. 

My youngest has a bunch of good roles, including the Dewdrop Fairy (my favorite).  My wife is helping make a lot of the costumes.  My oldest is performing in the Nutcracker at the professional company where she is a trainee.  We’re excited to go see that one as well. 

It is your best holiday entertainment value – $18 for adults, $12 for students and seniors.  Nice theater, good show and no having to to drive downtown!  Guys, impress your wives/girlfriends and take them to see some fine arts.  It is a big hit with kids because it is colorful, fast moving and has many short scenes. 

Go here to order tickets for the Houston Repertoire Ballet production of the Nutcracker.