Monday, October 26, 2015

One of God's purposes for the State of Israel

I do not wish to defend all the actions of Israel and its leaders.  Human wickedness has no political or religious boundaries.  However, had the Muslim world accepted the UN 1947 Partition Plan, Israel would have had a state, and the Palestinians would have had a state. But in order for the Muslim world to accept that plan, they would have had to acknowledge that Islam was not the true religion that needs to be accepted by the entire world. And they refuse to acknowledge that. As a consequence, Israel's borders have expanded.

So what to most of the world appears to be merely a human story is in the spiritual world a much bigger story. God is using the nation of Israel as a witness against Islam. God chose Isaac and not Ishmael. God chose Jacob and not Esau. God gave the promised land to Israel. And the gifts of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29. Paul said this in regard to the Israel that had not accepted Jesus, not the Church.

Further, it is a witness against Islam that Muhammed is not God's prophet. The oracles of God were entrusted to the Jews, not to anyone else. For salvation is from the Jews.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Something we all should be concerned about: The chances of a "Solar EMP."

An EMP, or electomagnetic pulse, can be caused by either a solar flare or man-made nuclear device.  Either way, if the pulse is large enough, the effects - knocking out our power grids and burning out the transformers - could be catastrophic, possibly resulting in mass starvation.  This article from NASA says the chances of solar EMP by 2020 are 12%.

According to this article, protecting our nation from the effects of an EMP would cost about $20 billion, which sounds like a lot, but certainly sounds worth the investment when compared to the potential consequences of doing nothing.

I think this is one time when all of us, regardless of our political affiliations, could agree that we should contact our local, state, and federal officials to demand immediate action.  It doesn't take long to look up who your representatives are online and send them an email.  If enough of us do it, they will pay attention and probably act on it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

C.S. Lewis on Choosing among the Myriad of Religions

From C.S. Lewis's essay (warning:  the online version has quite a few typos) "Christian Apologetics",

For my own part, I have sometimes told my audience that the only two things really worth considering are Christianity and Hinduism. (Islam is only the greatest of the Christian heresies, Buddhism only the greatest of the Hindu heresies. Real paganism is dead. All that was best in Judaism and Platonism survives in Christianity.) There isn’t really, for an adult mind, this infinite variety of religions to consider. We may salva reverentia divide religions, as we do soups, into “thick” and “clear.” By thick I mean those which have orgies and ecstasies and mysteries and local attachments: Africa is full of thick religions. By clear I mean those which are philosophical, ethical, and universalizing: Stoicism, Buddhism, and the Ethical Church are clear religions. Now if there is a true religion , it must be both thick and clear: for the true God must have made both the child and the man, both the savage and the citizen, both the head and the belly. And the only two religions that fulfil this condition are Hinduism and Christianity. But Hinduism fulfils it imperfectly. The clear religion of the Brahman hermit in the jungle and the thick religion of the neighboring temple go on side by side. The Brahman hermit doesn’t bother about the temple prostitution nor the worshiper in the temple about the hermit’s metaphysics. But Christianity really breaks down the middle wall of the partition. It takes a convert from Central Africa and tells him to obey an enlightened universalist ethic: it takes a twentieth-century academic prig like me and tells me to go fasting to a mystery, to drink the blood of the Lord. The savage convert has to be clear: I have to be thick. That is how one knows one has come to the real religion.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Is the Atheist my Neighbor? A Review

 Are you a religious person who has a friend or relative who is an atheist or agnostic, but they just don't fit the usual categories of someone who wants to lead a selfish life of sin? Instead, they seem like pretty decent people?  And you just don't know  how to fit them in with what you have been told the Bible teaches about such people? 

Or are you an atheist or agnostic who is tired of religious people telling you that you actively suppress an innate belief in God, borne of a hatred of God and a desire to be wicked?  And to bolster their case they cite passages, such as  Psalms 14:1 and 53:1 in the Hebrew Bible, or Ephesians 2:12 or Romans 1:18-21 in the New Testament?

 Then the  book,  Is the Atheist my Neighbor?, by theology professor Randal Rauser, is for you.  In it Randal explains why none of these biblical passages are good reasons for accusing atheists of blindly, stubbornly ignoring God out of a desire to sin.  And he shows how often they can be good, reasonable people that are worth getting to know and befriend.  People who would make good neighbors.

Is the Atheist my Neighbor? is a short (97 pages), easy read.  But I think it is an important work, that can help change the tone of the conversation between believers and non-believers from hostility to respect and even friendship.  That's something we all could use a lot more of in this world.  Pick up a copy.  After you read it, I think you'll want to pass it on to that special friend or relative. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Parable of the Good Atheist

Theologian Randal Rauser offers the audio version of the Introduction to his book,  Is the Atheist My Neighbor?which is even better in the print version.

Or now there's the  youtube version.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Conversion of a Psychopath

I should probably warn that there may be some triggers in this video.

Why I am a Christian (David Wood).

Friday, May 1, 2015

Curing a Snakebitten World

There's a very strange story in one of the books of the Hebrew Bible:

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and every one who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. (Numbers 21)

There is no explanation why looking at the bronze serpent on the pole would heal someone of their snake bite.  Does looking at the bronze serpent somehow suck the venom out of the victims before it can kill them?   I'm not sure, but it sounds like a possible explanation. 

Now what is interesting is that Jesus refers to this story when explaining his own significance:

  “14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. (John 3)

So what connection did Jesus see between the story of the bronze serpent in the Hebrew Bible and himself?   Well, most of us are familiar with the story of the serpent in the Garden of Eden, and how it tempted humans to eat of the forbidden fruit, which resulted in their eventual deaths.  We could say that they had been snakebitten, and that the serpent's venom - sin - has been coursing through our veins ever since.  Could it be that is what Jesus had in mind?

If so, it would explain what John the Baptist says about Jesus earlier in the same gospel,

"Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"  (John 1:29)

In the sacrificial system of ancient Israel, on the day of Atonement, the high priest would confess the sins of the people over a goat, which would then be driven out into the wilderness.  (See Leviticus 16) Once the goat was gone, the people were considered to be cleansed of their sins.  Their sins had been taken away.

What is interesting is that the goat isn't just driven out into the wilderness.  It is driven into the wilderness to Azazel.  Azazel was probably the name of a demon.  Could it be that the goat is returning the sins - the venom - back to the serpent from whom it originally came?

Likewise, when Jesus was raised up on the cross, he absorbed into himself the sins of the world - the venom from the serpent - and perhaps returned it to its original source.  That seems to be the cure that God has offered to our snakebitten world.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Simple Way to Know the Truth about Jesus

I agree with Michael Brown's very simple way to know the truth about Jesus.  Just skip to the 21 minute mark of the following video.

Michael Brown:from drug addict to a disciple of Yeshua.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

FBI’s AMERITHRAX Case just unravelled. Ex-FBI agent who directed investigation suing FBI, turns whistleblower.

From here:

" Plaintiff [FBI Whistleblower] continued to advocate that while Bruce Ivins may have been the anthrax mailer, there is a wealth of exculpatory evidence to the contrary which the FBI continues to conceal from Congress and the American people."


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Surveillance State Repeal Act

Just in case any of you think our government spies on us much too much, here's a chance to do something about it.  Tell your senators and representatives to support the The Surveillance State Repeal Act.

Who am I kidding? Few or no one reading this will contact their representatives. That takes too much time. Besides, if we don't let the government spy on us, how do we stop the terrorists? What am I thinking? Sorry. Go back to doing whatever you were doing before I said anything.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Vote for Jesus!

My Jewish friend in Chicago is campaigning vigorously for Jesus "Chuy" Garcia for Mayor.  I figure if my friend is willing to become a Jew for "Jesus," the least I can do is offer my blog to help out.

It's Time to Choose a New Mayor.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Interacting with the Online Enemy

An intersting Reuters article about how Nestle is interacting with the online enemy makes me wonder if this is how the government interacts with those who question the official story of 9/11.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Jerry Coyne's Safe Space?

Given that I have been banned from making any sort of comment at Jerry Coyne's blog - not even a link to a cute cat video - I wonder if that is his safe space.

UPDATE:  I take it back!  They posted my link to a cute cat video!  There's hope!

For all you curious people:  this one.

NEW UPDATE:  I take back my take back!  My post of the link to the cute cat video was deleted!  LOLOLOL!!!

So yes, I think it is reasonable to conclude that is Jerry Coyne's safe space.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

How to Effect Change? Target the Economic Elite, not the Politicians.

From here:
The group made a number of decisions along the way that attracted criticism, even from some who agreed with EQAT that global warming is a threat. One was to focus on a bank instead of political authorities. The Environmental Protection Agency and politicians are the legitimate deciders on environmental policy, we were told. Why target a bank that is only doing its job?
We chose our target believing everyone needs to take responsibility for their role in the unfolding disaster of climate change, including banks whose financial decisions have enormous consequences compared with most individuals and groups.
Princeton study released in 2014 gave support for our choice to target the economic elite. The study found major policy decisions in the United States don’t result from the normal political processes, but from the economic elite telling politicians what to do. Billionaire Warren Buffett earlier put it more pungently to the New York Times, when he said, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
EQAT recognized that many Americans are in denial about the class warfare raging around them. Targeting a bank, we though, might help people smell the coffee.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Conundrum of Robert Reich's Remedy

Robert Reich's article, "The Conundrum of Corporation and Nation," begins by telling us that even though most American corporations are doing better, most Americans are not. The first reason he cites as an explanation for this situation is

First, American corporations exert far more political influence in the United States than their counterparts exert in their own countries.
In fact, most Americans have no influence at all. That’s the conclusion of Professors Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University, who analyzed 1,799 policy issues — and found that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”
Instead, American lawmakers respond to the demands of wealthy individuals (typically corporate executives and Wall Street moguls) and of big corporations – those with the most lobbying prowess and deepest pockets.
Depressing news for those of us who didn't know it.  But what is his remedy?   He provides the answer at the end of his article: 
What’s the answer to this basic conundrum? Either we lessen the dominance of big American corporations over American politics. Or we increase their allegiance and responsibility to America.
It has to be one or the other. Americans can’t thrive within a political system run largely by big American corporations — organized to boost their share prices but not boost America.
Unfortunately, he neglects to inform us how people who have a near-zero impact on public policy can change  it.  Anyone out there have a clue? 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What does Evolution mean?

Casey Luskin, who is a proponent of Intelligent Design, isn't my favorite writer, but I think he makes the issue clear here:

"What does "evolution" mean? As we saw in my previous post, no one doubts the idea that I called Evolution #1 -- that is, the uncontroversial observation that small-scale changes can occur in populations of organisms. Evolution #1, or microevolution, is well-supported by a large body of evidence. Evolution #2 refers to universal common descent, which receives wide support in the current scientific understanding. Whether that support is justified is another question that I leave aside for now. However, as the Scientific Dissent from Darwinism List shows, when it comes to what I termed Evolution #3 -- the idea that an unguided process of natural selection and random mutation can account for the complexity of life -- there is major scientific controversy and cause for doubt. It is when we speak about Darwinian evolution in this sense that the scientific evidence turns decidedly weak, as the mainstream technical literature confirms."

ID proponents are divided on the question of Evolution #2 - universal common descent.  Michael Behe, for example, argues in his book, The Edge of Evolution, that the evidence for it is overwhelming.   But nearly all ID proponents would challenge Evolution #3 - that the complexity of life can be accountd for by an unguided process. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Shroud of Turin and the Jew

UPDATE:   Barrie Schwortz's review of part 1 (about the Shroud of Turin) of CNN's docudrama, "Finding Jesus.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ask God who Jesus is.

I think one can make a decent philosophical, cumulative case for the existence of God. Not an airtight, open and shut case. But a decent. cumulative case. I say cumulative, because there would be a number of separate, independent arguments, each of which isn't by itself conclusive, but when taken together offer reasonable support for belief in God. Would such a case be stronger than a case against God, that could be made from the argument from evil and perhaps other arguments? Good question. I'm not sure. But even if the philosophical case for God is stronger than the case against Him, I often wonder if that is the way that God wants us to come to know Him. 
I've been advising people that if they want to know if God exists, that they should ask Him. But occasionally I wonder if my advice should be more specific. After all, I believe that God has fully revealed Himself to us in Jesus. I wonder if I should be telling people that they should ask God who Jesus is. 
There would be an easy way to test this. Those of you who don't believe in God could say, "God, if you exist, who is Jesus?" If this is the "correct method" of coming to know that God exists and who Jesus is, then God will show you. But what if it isn't the "correct method"? Or what if God doesn't exist? Or what if Jesus is not the full revelation of God to us? Then I would expect that you wouldn't get an answer. Ah, but what would happen if we ask God if He is Buddha? Or some other deity? Should we ask God about those possibilities? I would think that if God exists, and if you are really curious about those questions, then you should ask God about them. 
But which God should we ask? I'm inclined to answer, "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." But that's because of my Jewish background. For those of you who prefer something less Jewish, perhaps you could ask the "Anselmian God." The God a greater than which cannot be conceived. One who is all good, with no hint of evil. 
How would you know that the answer you get is really from God, and not just your imagination or a hallucination? I'm not sure. I suspect that if God wants you to know that He exists and who Jesus is, that He will find a way to make sure you know that it is not your imagination or a hallucination.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fighting against the God of the Bible may not mean fighting against God.

Mike Gene discusses Craig Hicks' Militant Atheist Meme at his blog, where I left the following comment:

"I wonder if it would help if we made a distinction between the God of the Bible (or any other major religion) and an Anselmian God. An Anselmian God is a being a greater than which cannot be conceived. Such a being would be morally perfect, and therefore could not be sadistic, misogynistic, or homophobic. If Hicks came to believe that such a God existed, would he still fight against this Anelmian God? Or would he make a distinction between the Anelmian God, in whom he believes and tries to worship, and the God of the Bible (or other major religions), whom he does not believe in? 
Now Christians believe that the God of the Bible is the Anselmian God. I for one, occasionally have trouble defending that belief, especially when it comes to some of the things that the God of the Bible supposedly commanded or did in the Old Testament. So I can understand why Hicks or others wouldn’t believe that the God of the Bible could be the Anelmian God. And I can understand why they wouldn’t want to worship the God of the Bible, even if they were willing to worship the Anselmian God. The challenge for us Christians is to explain how it is possible that our God of the Bible really is the being, a greater than which cannot be conceived."

Monday, February 16, 2015

101 Answers to "Scientific" Arguments for Young Earth Creationism

Well, I don't know for a fact that they respond to all 101 arguments, but so far the Old Earthers at Reasons to Believe have responded to the dozen or so arguments that I have searched for at their site.  If I had more time and interest, I would look up the other 89.  Which side has the better arguments?  Not being a scientist, I couldn't say for sure, but it looks like Reasons to Believe has the better arguments.  At the very least I can say that the dozen or so arguments for YEC that I searched for have been disputed.

101 "Scientific" Arguments for Young Earth Creationism

I used scare quotes around "scientific" because I do not want to be accused of affirming that these arguments have been confirmed by some sort of valid, generally accepted empirical method.  I have no idea if they have or have not been so confirmed.  However, they are being presented in that way, and they seem open to empirical confirmation or disconfirmation.  So in that sense, they are of a scientific nature.  I am curious if they have all been refuted.

Age of the Earth; 101 Evidences for a Young Age of the Earth and the Universe.

Let me add that currently I am an "Old Earther," believing that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, and that the Universe is about 13.7 billion years old.  But if it turns out that that is a wrong belief, I won't lose any sleep over it.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Official Investigation of WTC collapses: a classic case of "Pseudoscience"?

In How Science Died at the World Trade Center, Kevin Ryan argues, rather cogently I think, that the official investigation conducted of the collapses of all three WTC buildings on 9/11 was a glaring case of "pseudoscience," which he says will have the following characteristics.

  1. There is a lack of experiments.
  2. The results of experiment are ignored or contradicted in the conclusions.
  3. There is either no peer-review or peer-reviewer concerns are ignored.
  4. The findings cannot be replicated or falsified due to the withholding of data.
  5. False conclusions are supported by marketing or media propaganda.
  6. Hypotheses that are supported by the evidence are ignored.
Ryan argues that the official investigation exhibited all six of these characteristics. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

What would a "Theistic Science" look like?

Philosopher Alvin Plantinga argues in his book, Where the Conflict Really Lies; Science, Religion, and Naturalism, that there is deep concord between Theism and Science. Theists believe that a rational and all-powerful God has created this universe, and has created us in His image, so that we can understand and investigate His creation. 
What I find even more fascinating is the life of George Washington Carver, who managed to meld his faith with his scientific investigations, praying that God would reveal the secrets of His creation to him. I wonder if this was how science was meant to be done.  If so, then the difference between "science" and "theistic science" is that the latter is performed by scientists who daily ask God for guidance, insight, and wisdom as they do science.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Job's comforters would have defended the Canaanite genocide.

Job's comforters justified the ways of God to Job. Job had to make special intercession for them to God. I suspect that they would have justified the Canaanite genocide, also. I can't see Jesus telling someone to kill children, or old or pregnant women. And I believe that Jesus is the expression of who Yahweh, the God of Israel is. Even if my argument is right, it's wrong.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Seattle Seahawks Head Coach: 9/11 Truther?

I won't be watching the Super Bowl.  As a lifetime Lions' fan, it's just too painful and depressing to watch once again two other teams compete for the NFL championship.

And I wouldn't know if it is correct to call Pete Carroll a "9/11 Truther," but Kevin Ryan uses Carroll's questions about 9/11 to point out some of the problems with the official accounts of it:   Why Would Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll Question 9/11?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Islam and Israel

I've just begun reading "What the Qur'an Really Says," by Shaykh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi, but already I'm finding it fascinating reading. He argues that the Qur'an clearly teaches that Allah gave the promised land to Israel, and will one day bring back all the Jews to that land, before the end times.  Therefore, there is nothing in Islam that prohibits Muslims from recognizing Israel as a Jewish nation.

If only this were the majority view of Muslims, perhaps peace could be attained more easily.

God's Attitude Toward Making Peace with the Canaanites

Joshua 10 recounts how the other Canaanites attacked the Gibeonites for making peace with Israel. I think this demonstrates that almost all the Canaanites had no interest in making peace with Israel. What is interesting is that not only does Israel come to the defense of Gibeon, but so does Yahweh, sending down great hailstones and killing more of the hostile Canaanites than the Israelites kill. If God was angry that Israel had made peace with Gibeon, this would have been the time for Him to show it. Instead, He Himself comes directly to Gibeon's defense. I think clearly, God's main desire was not to slaughter the Canaanites. If they had chosen peace, He would have been happy with that.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Why did the Canaanite genocide take place?

Being troubled by the Canaanite genocide, I re-read Joshua over the weekend. Rahab submits to Yahweh and helps His people, and she and her family are spared. The Gibeonites trick Joshua, but make peace and are spared. They are punished for the deceit and are made hewers of wood and drawers of water. But that punishment was not part of the condition for making peace. In other words, had they just come to Joshua and sued for peace, it would have been granted to them. Later, the Gibeonites are attacked by neighboring Canaanites for making peace with the Israelites. It seems clear that the other Canaanites were not willing to sue for peace. In chapter 11, we are told,
"18 Joshua made war a long time with all those kings. 19 There was not a city that made peace with the people of Israel, except the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon; they took all in battle. 20 For it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, in order that they should be utterly destroyed, and should receive no mercy but be exterminated, as the Lord commanded Moses."
It is clear that if the Canaanites had sued for peace, mercy would have been shown and peace would have been granted.
The idea that Israel was commanded to slaughter the Canaanites indiscriminately, regardless of whether or not they were willing to accept Yahweh and His people Israel is false. The Canaanites, for the most part, were people who knew that Yahweh had miraculously brought His people into the land, and yet they continued to refuse to worship Him, and tried to eliminate His people Israel. That is why they were slaughtered.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

How to evade security at the WTCs.

If 9/11 was an inside job, and the WTC buildings were taken down by controlled demolitions, how did the conspirators manage to evade detection by security at the WTC complex?  Kevin Ryan offers some evidence that perhaps the head of the security company was part of the conspiracy:    Barry McDaniel and 15 Reasons to Investigate Stratesec."

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Behe's latest Reply to Miller.

Professor Michael Behe has published a series of four posts in response to Professor Ken Miller's response to his challenge.  Links to Miller's response and to the first three of Behe's posts can be found at his last post,  "Kenneth Miller Steps on Darwin's Achilles Heel."

In my opinion, Behe decisively wins this round (as I think he has won the previous matches against Miller).  Further, it's difficult for me to believe that Miller isn't being purposely deceptive in his criticisms of Behe.

UPDATE:  "Decisively wins" is too tame a phrase to describe what Behe did to Miller.  "Took him to school"?  "Humiliated him"?  "Behe beat him 'til Miller's blood covered the floor, then he used his carcass to wipe it all up"?  Yeah, that last one comes close.  And Behe did it all without being the least bit impolite.  I take my hat off to the man.

In fact, if you think of Behe as Gene Hackman, and Miller as Richard Harris, it went something like the film clip below, only Behe didn't display any animosity, at all.  He merely used Miller as a punching bag to send a message to all the other Darwinist critics out there.

Unforgiven (2/10) Movie CLIP - English Bob (1992) HD:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Nine Questions about the Paris Attacks

Kevin Ryan asks Nine Questions about the Paris Attacks.

To me, the three most intriguing questions involve the apparent suicide of the investigating police commissioner, the I.D. card left behind in the get-away car, and what looks like the non-shooting of the police officer.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

9/11 in the Academic Community

Glad to see this video, which was made over a year ago, has finally been released to youtube.

9/11 in the Academic Community

Their website is