Friday, June 17, 2016

Let me tell you what I find offensive...

So, I'm having breakfast with my wife at McDonald's on Saturday and I read this headline on FaceBook: Community Shocked Over Christian Church Sign: 'Muhammad not Greater than Jesus.' And they aren't kidding when they say shocked. One resident, Eric Cohn, is reported as saying, I literally had to stop and back up and make sure I saw what I saw, and I was profoundly offended and upset by it.” Cohn also felt moved to write a letter to the editor of the local paper where he said, “Disparaging another group’s God is completely out of line.... Please, take it down — now.”

Another offended resident said in the same editorial, I want to complain openly about the marquis in front of the Missionary Baptist Church on Belmont Drive. The message on the west bound side of the sign promotes ignorance, bigotry and hatred, none of which are regarded as true Christian values.

In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father but by me.” The message of Christ is one of exclusivity. There is only one name by which men may be saved: it's Jesus – not Allah, not Muhammad, not Buddha, not Confucius. If Jesus is right, then all these other religions are wrong. Liberals say I'm intolerant but the truth pretty much is exclusive. I find it offensive – and more than a little hypocritical – that liberals say I'm bigoted and intolerant for believing the words of Christ. They say I'm wrong for believing someone else's religion is wrong yet liberals can't see how they are calling my religion wrong.

Even the mayor of Hood River, OR, had an opinion on the sign. Mayor Blackburn said, I was really annoyed and sad. I am annoyed that in this political season there's a solid case of ugly going on. I think it norms up this kind of behavior like 'oh it's okay to be a bigot now.'

The other thing that offends me is when elected, public officials abuse their office. Is this mayor aware that the Constitution protects our freedom of speech and the right to freely exercise our religion? If private citizens want to write letters to the editor or protest a church, they have a right to do so. But when the mayor, a representative of the state, uses the sway of his office to mock and ridicule the religious speech of a church, it erodes our liberty. Mayor Blackburn is a despot, a tyrant, and an offender of freedom!

OK, now fast forward to Sunday. My wife and I are having lunch after church and see the news of the shooting in FL. A radical Muslim called 911 and pledged allegiance to ISIS before shooting more than 100 people, killing 50 of them (later it was amended to 49). How sad.

I find it strange that the “peaceful” religion of Islam continuously spawns worshipers who would shoot people in a night club, burn Christians alive, behead people on TV, fly planes into buildings, and strap bombs to themselves to blow people up in a mall, while brain-damaged liberals continuously call for tolerance. Yet let a Christian church puts out a sign that says Jesus is greater than Muhammad and militant bleeding-hearts seem ready to riot. Really?

Oh, and I'm getting a little offended that the shooting is being characterized as an attack on gays. It's sort of like the President calling the Ft. Hood shooting a case of workplace violence. This was a jihadist. He would have found any reason to shoot innocent people. If it weren't a gay nightclub, it could have been a bus full of first-grade kids. It didn't matter to the shooter. At the end of the day, he wanted to create terror. If we don't identify the problem for what it is, it only distracts from the issue. We need to deal with radical Muslims who want to kill all of us; this is not the time to talk about gay rights or gun control.

It is God's will that we should all come to believe in the Son and have life (John 6:40). It is the plan of terrorists to kill non-believers. Christians want the lost to hear the truth. We want to reach them with the gospel – the good news. There is life in Jesus and none other. We plead with people, we reason with them, we pray for them – we don't shoot them. Are liberals really so thinned skinned that they're offended by a sign that says the Muslims are wrong?

I'm offended by stupidity.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Five Reasons Why I Reject Theistic Evolution: Part 5, Conclusion

5) Evolution is just bad science

Let me just start by saying that I'm surprised evolution is even given the time of day by anyone other than evolutionary biologists. It is a useless theory. It makes no predictions, has led to no advances in technology, and has zero impact on any other branch of science. I'm trying to find something just as useless to which I can compare it but I really can't think of any other trivia that's quite as useless. Maybe if someone studied the relationship between the names given to frogs in jumping contests and their number of wins, you might find something close except that there would at least be value to the owners of frogs if a correlation were found. He he he.

Remember too that most scientists who believe in evolution practice a brand of science where only natural explanations are ever considered for any phenomenon. According to them, miracles cannot happen. Period. This doesn't include just the creation, it also means there was no virgin birth, no healing of the sick, no feeding of the multitudes, no walking on water, no calming a storm, and no resurrection! Christians who compromise on Genesis often believe they are making Christianity more appealing to the masses. Maybe it does – but only by removing the omnipotent God who is the object of our worship and replacing Him with an impotent god who is a slave to the physical laws he supposedly created and is indistinguishable from dumb luck. To an evolutionist, believing God guides evolution is akin to saying gravity is accomplished by angels dragging the planets in their courses. Christians gain no credibility with unbelievers by trying to impose godless theories onto the Scriptures.

I know that people cannot ordinarily walk on water. When Jesus walked on water, it demonstrated that even physical laws like gravity are subject to His will. Miracles are evidence that there is a God and I know when a miracle has occurred precisely because I understand science. All secular explanations of our origins are simply feeble attempts to mask the obvious miracle of the creation. The supposed billions of years, the Big Bang, and biological evolution are fraught with difficulties – so much so that if any theory in a different field of science had similar problems, it would be laughed at.

I wrote a series a few months back where I detailed 10 observations that are best explained by a miraculous creation. I highly encourage you to read those but, for the sake of brevity, I'm going to borrow just a few points from there and offer some examples of where secular theories fail miserably to explain what we observe.

According to evolution, all the different species on earth have a common ancestor. In other words, people, parrots, palm trees, and piranha are all descended from the same, single-celled creature that allegedly lived 3.5 billion years ago. Darwin supposed this “simple” cell was little more than a gelatinous blob of amino acids. For a single-celled creature to evolve into something else, it must acquire novel traits. To turn a dinosaur into a bird, you would have to add feathers. Get it? To turn a molecule into a man, you would have to add new features, generation after generation for millions of generations: skin, blood, bones, organs, hair, etc. For evolution to even be possible, we should see new traits arise in populations fairly often. We don't. It's been more than a century since Darwin and evolutionists have less than a handful of questionable examples. A theory which requires creatures to acquire novel traits flies in the face of what we actually observe happening.

Next, there is the appendix. Though it's often cited as evidence for evolution, I believe the appendix is strong evidence against common descent. If the appendix were leftover from some distant ancestor, we would expect all mammals who have an appendix to also have a common ancestor. The truth is that the appendix exists in about 60 species of mammals with no discernible pattern. It appears in some species of primates, rodents, and even marsupials, but is absent from the intermediate groups that supposedly link these species. It's not at all what we would expect if comment descent were true.

Among secular scientists, the Big Bang is the commonly accepted explanation of the universe's origin. However, the theory is so plagued with difficulties that physicists have to constantly invent incredible stories to even make it work. They propose things like dark matter, dark energy, multiple universes, a finite universe with no center, and a period of hyper-inflation where the universe expanded million of times faster than the speed of light. Many of these are things that we cannot observe or test with the scientific method; they are merely hashed out in peer-reviewed journals where scientists expended great effort showing how such things could work on paper.

These are just a handful of examples of how secular theories of our origins simply fail to explain the evidence. Biological evolution and Big Bang cosmology are plausible sounding theories at first but they cannot bear scrutiny and so are constantly being propped up with ad hoc sub-theories. Unbelievers cling blindly to them not because they are so compelling but rather that the only alternative – special creation – doesn't fit in their there-is-no-god paradigm.

I wrote a while back about a website called Genesis Veracity Foundation. It attempts to defend the Bible but it has a peculiar characteristic of constantly referring to Atlantis. Yes, I mean the lost city mentioned by Plato. I can't figure out why anyone would think it was necessary to defend the Bible with such dubious evidence when the existence of the thing in question isn't really relevant to the Bible anyway. That's the same way I feel about theistic evolution. Why would anyone want to reinterpret the Bible to make it compatible with such an irrelevant and unscientific theory?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Five Reasons Why I Reject Theistic Evolution: Part 4

4) It gives the wrong impression of death

The Bible is very clear that death is the judgment for sin. There are several passages that illustrate this: For the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23. By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, Romans 5:12. He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, James 5:20, et al. We die physically because we are descended from Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22) but, after we die, the lost will be judged for their own sins before the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-14). At that Judgment, everyone whose name is not written in the Book of Life, is cast into the Lake of Fire; this is called, the second death (Revelation 20:14-15).

When we are born again, the Bible says we pass from death into life (John 5:24). The gospel is the good news that we can have life in Christ. As Christians, our sins are forgiven by Christ's blood. Our physical death becomes that time when we are rid of these vessels of clay and enter into eternity knowing that we will have no part in the second death. In 1 Corinthians 15:55, Paul rejoices, saying, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Christ conquered death for Christians but, for the lost, death still holds sway. We seldom know when death will overtake us so we need to make a decision for Jesus while we have the opportunity. If a person dies before he has repented, he has forever lost the opportunity for salvation. Ezekiel 18:21-23 says, “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?” God wants all people to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

In an interview with the NY Times, Bill Nye made these following comments:

NYE: I think the fear of death figures prominently in creationist thought. That the promise of eternal life is reassuring to people who are deeply troubled by the troubling fact that we’re all going to die. And it bugs me, too. But I press forward rather than running in circles screaming.

NY TIMES: And ultimately, death is a part of evolution.

NYE: It’s the key. The key is that you can pass on improvements by having kids. And there aren’t enough resources for any population to go completely unchecked, whether the population is humans or crickets. There isn’t enough for everybody, so you compete. And this is one of Darwin’s enormous insights.

According to Nye, death is the key to evolution. You see, it's not just that death happens during evolution, death is prerequisite to evolution. It's the hero of the story. It's the champion of the theory. Yet in spite of this, I still think that most of the people who believe in evolution never fully grasp exactly how critical a role death plays.

Natural selection is sometimes described as the “survival of the fittest.” Of course, this must also mean the demise of the unfit. According to the theory, a creature is born with some unusual trait (either through a fortunate combination of existing genes or through random mutation). On rare occasions, this unusual trait conveys some advantage to its host – perhaps the host can run faster, see keener, or jump higher. Because of this advantage, the host will hopefully live longer and leave more offspring than its neighbors without the trait. The offspring that inherit the advantage will likewise tend to have more offspring and eventually, the creatures having the trait will replace the entire population. The more fit live, the less fit die, and the entire population evolves. That is how it is supposed to work. If the less fit did not die, then the more fit really have no advantage to select.

Because it plays such a key role in evolution, some people almost regard death as noble. Biologos, a group that identifies itself as Christian, has an article titled, Death and Rebirth: The Role of Extinction in Evolution. Wow, “death and rebirth”! It almost seems to put evolution on equal footing with the Resurrection! In the article, the author makes this claim:

Extinction is actually a common feature of life on earth when viewed over long (e.g. geological) timescales. By some estimates, over 99% of the species that have ever lived have gone extinct [this is a lie, by the way].... Such an extinction event (of a single species, or perhaps a handful of species) alters the environment of other remaining species in an ecosystem. This, in turn, may influence the ability of some of these remaining species to reproduce compared to other species.... As the ecosystem landscape shifts due to loss of species, new biological opportunities, or niches, might arise. These new niches are then available to support new species to fill them.

There you go. Animals go extinct but that makes way for new animals to evolve. It's the circle of life. Some things live and some things die and it's good. When a tsunami or earthquake kills thousands of people, critics often say that such tragedies are evidence there is no God. They also say that such events have happened frequently in the world's history and that they are mechanisms that give some species the opportunity to evolve.

The role of death in evolution is the complete opposite of what death truly is. Death is an intruder into the creation. It is the consequence of Adam's sin and later, of our own sins. It is an enemy that will one day be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26). Death should be dreaded by the lost and they should seek a way to avoid it. The gospel – the good news – is that there is life in Jesus!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Five Reasons Why I Reject Theistic Evolution: Part 3

3) It diminishes the Person of Jesus

One reason so many Christians are ready to embrace evolution is that they don't see it as an important issue. It's the Old Testament, they will say, and we live in the New Testament era. It is the opinion of many that our belief on origins is not relevant to our salvation so let's not worry about that and just tell people about Jesus. What these same people don't realize is that our understanding of our origins has a direct effect on our understanding of Jesus.

Jesus came to fulfill the law. He said this overtly in Matthew 5:17, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. But what does it mean to “fulfill” the law? He accomplished this in several ways. A Savior was necessitated by Adam's sin in the garden. When Adam fell, he brought death into the world and death has passed on to all men because all have sinned (Romans 5:12). But even as God judged with the Curse, He also promised a Redeemer, the Seed of the woman who would crush the head of the Serpent (Genesis 3:15). Jesus fulfilled that promise.

When Adam and Eve sinned, the Bible says their eyes were opened and they saw that they were naked (Genesis 3:7). They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves but God killed an animal and made skins to cover their nakedness. This is the first recorded death in the Bible and ushered in an era of sacrifices where the followers of God would sacrifice animals as a covering for their sins. Hebrews 9:22 says that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. But the system of sacrifices proscribed in the Old Testament was only temporary; they were pictures of the ultimate sacrifice that would come: Jesus, the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The death of Jesus did away with the need for animal sacrifices. He fulfilled the Law by covering our sins permanently with His own blood.

But what if there was no Adam? No first sin? No Fall? According to theistic evolution, death is just the way it's always been and not the judgment for sin. Then what did Jesus fulfill? It would be like having the answer to a question that was never asked. 1 Corinthians 15:45 says, And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” If the first Adam never lived, what need is there for a second Adam to quicken us? The Incarnation of Jesus was only necessary because there was a literal Adam; if you remove a real Adam, you diminish the need for Jesus. One, outspoken atheist, Frank Zindler, described it this way (as quoted by William Debski):

The most devastating thing, though, that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of biological evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people, the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve, there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin, there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation, there is no need of a savior. And I submit that puts Jesus, historical or otherwise, into the ranks of the unemployed. I think that evolution is absolutely the death knell of Christianity.

This atheist seems to understand the incompatibility of evolution and Christianity better than most Christians.

The other way theistic evolution diminishes the Person of Jesus regards how Jesus viewed Genesis. Jesus is Creator (John 1:3), therefore, we would expect anything He says about the creation to be accurate.

Jesus quoted from Genesis often. When asked about marriage, for example, Jesus said, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” (Matthew 19:4-5). In this passage, Jesus is quoting from both Genesis chapters 1 & 2. He speaks of Adam and Eve as though they were real people. He also said they were created at the beginning of creation – not billions of years after the alleged Big Bang. On another occasion, Jesus mentioned Abel, saying that he'd been murdered (Luke 11:51). In still another passage, He compares the world at His return to the world just before the Flood (Matthew 24:38).

If Jesus spoke about all these things as though they were history, what does it say about His authority when people who claim to be Christians say none of it ever happened? According to theistic evolution, there was no Adam, no Abel, and no Flood. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” (John 3:12). Christian evolutionists say we don't have to believe what Jesus said about the creation or Flood, but we need to trust Him for salvation? It doesn't make any sense.

Finally, Jesus did not mince words when He condemned the Pharisees in John 5:46-47, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” Jesus says it plainly; the Pharisees, who claim to be disciples of Moses, did not believe in Him because they really didn't believe in Moses. It is a simple matter of cause and effect and I believe it applies even today. People who do not believe in the creation also tend to not believe in Jesus.