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Monday, March 20, 2017

Bill Nye on video lying about evidence!

Bill Nye on video lying about evidence! I wrote that headline to grab people's attention. It's a little sensational, I'll admit, but I still mean it to be literal. I'm referring to the 2 hour video released by Answers in Genesis where Nye debates Ken during a tour of the recently opened Ark Encounter. Is it just me or is Nye really that rude of a person? He referred to several AiG staff scientists as “incompetent,” despite their doctorate degrees from reputable colleges like Harvard or Ohio State; he told Ken Ham he needed to study geology more; he told Ark visitors they needed to go to university; and concluded his tour saying that he couldn't be friends with someone like Ken Ham, though he might try to rescue him if he were drowning or something like that. That last comment was real big of you Nye! //RKBentley rolls his eyes// Look, there are people with whom I disagree but who aren't jerks. Bill Nye is a jerk. Maybe it's not very Christian of me to say that. I must say that Ken Ham was very gracious with Nye, even praying for him after Nye's comment that he might rescue him from drowning (which I guess also means he might not). But you can see in the video that Nye seemed to annoy even Ham at different times.

Anyway, back to my point of Nye lying. I haven't counted, but I would guess Nye used the term, “evidence” at least fifty times during his tour of the Ark. How he used the term, though, was often, grossly misleading.

Before I get into Nye's use of the word, let me talk a little bit about what evidence is and what it's not. Evidence is raw data. It's facts or observations. Contrary to the popular expression, facts don't really speak for themselves. Evidence just is. What we do, then, is look at the evidence and invent theories to try to explain why the evidence is the way it is. What is this thing? How did it get here? What might I conclude from it? Theories are our attempts to make sense of the evidence. A good theory should seem to explain the evidence reasonably well. In any case, the evidence itself is mute and doesn't care about our theories. In other words, the evidence is never really “for” a theory.

Some people, like Nye, conflate their theories with the evidence. During the video, Nye routinely makes comments like (paraphrasing), “All the evidence says that the earth is 4.5 billion years old.” Do you see what I mean? The evidence doesn't say anything. Bill Nye subscribes to a theory – his interpretation of the evidence – that says the earth is billions of years old. But he never says, “My theory is that the earth is billions of years old”; he merely repeats over and over, “The evidence says it.”

Evolutionists believe they have a monopoly on the evidence. It's sort of a game of dibs where, once evolutionists explain the evidence, that evidence is not available to explained by any other theory. The earth can't be young because they've already said it's old. There is no evidence for creation because it's already been used for evolution! Evolutionists do this so that when we disagree with their theory, it looks like we're disagreeing with the evidence. Tsk, tsk.

Nye certainly did this in the video. On a couple of occasions, Ken Ham tried to pin Nye down on the differences between the evidence and the conclusions we draw on the evidence. About 52 minutes into the video, for example, Ham and Nye are talking about tree rings. It's Nye's contention that there are living trees that can be dated to before the time of the Flood based on their rings. Ham counters that the rings aren't evidence in the sense that Nye is using them. Rings are something that simply exist in the present. We could count the rings of a tree and extrapolate backwards (4,000 rings means 4,000 years old) but we know that trees sometimes grow more than one ring per year. So 4,000 rings is the evidence and 4,000 years is a conclusion about the evidence. Even after Nye acknowledged that multiple rings can grow in trees each year, when Ham asked him if he could then be wrong about his conclusion, Nye stubbornly refused to concede even that simple point. “No. Absolutely not,” Nye says, “.... My interpretation with respect to the age on the earth in this regard is absolutely correct.” Time after time during the entire video, Nye offers his theory while calling it the evidence.

But look, if all Nye did was conflate his theory with the evidence, I wouldn't necessarily say he was “lying” - though it is still grossly misleading. However, Nye made other statements that were even more misleading. At about 1:17 in the video, Ken Ham mentions the account in Joshua where the sun stopped in the sky. Bill Nye replies, “Why would it do that? There's no evidence for that.”

That's very curious. What type of evidence would Bill Nye expect there to be for such an event? Historical events cannot be studied scientifically. I could ask, for example, “Where is the evidence that George Washington crossed the Delaware?” You can't study the river and discover it. The only way we can know it happened is because people who lived at the time wrote that it happened. The written accounts are the only evidence we have. And the evidence we have for Washington's crossing of the Delaware is the same evidence we have for Joshua's long day. Nye doesn't have to believe the written account but to say there is no evidence is a lie.

From there, Nye segues into a point he made several times in the video. He defines science to mean “the search for a natural explanation.” According to Nye, any time you invoke a miracle, it's not science. Of course, however a person defines science does not change what is true. If God stopped the motion of the planets for 12 hours, then that is what happened regardless if Nye thinks it's scientific. Nye desperately wants people to believe that, if something isn't scientific, it's not true. Nye told Ham he was “absolutely” wrong about Joshua's long day. Such a rebuke implies that Nye has absolute knowledge of the event. We know he doesn't. Therefore, Nye's continuous appeals to the “evidence” or to an arbitrary definition of science is pure bluff.

This leads me to Nye's most blatant lie about evidence. While Nye was waxing on about the account from Joshua and how science does not allow miracles, Ham interrupts him and asks, “Why should I accept your definition [of science]?” Nye pauses for a moment, then, with a straight face, replies, “Because we have so much evidence for it.”

You can watch him make the offensive remark at 1:18 on the video. Nye actually claims there is evidence for natural-only definition of science. Incredible! Please, Nye, show me this evidence! Where in the universe can I observe it? Can I put it under a microscope or weigh it on a scale or hold it against a ruler? Can I put it in a test tube?

Perhaps Nye is ignorant about how much of science is based on philosophy rather then evidence. In one Big Think video, Nye admits he's skeptical of some of the claims of philosophy. What he doesn't seem to realize is that his “natural only” view of the universe has a philosophical premise. It's a tenet of science – a belief akin to religious faith.

In his dogged determination to prove Ken Ham wrong, Nye repeated the word “evidence” over and over and over. He said there was no evidence for miracles but there was evidence for his definition of science. Watch the video for yourself. Time and time again, Nye lied about evidence.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Can a person lose his salvation? Conclusion

This is the last post in my series about how a person cannot lose his salvation. I encourage everyone to read the entire series but I'm going to recap my points briefly. I've talked about how salvation is described as a fundamental change in our nature – how we are “born again” and “pass from death unto life.” The Bible continuously describes our salvation using words of permanency like, “everlasting life” and “they shall never perish.” Furthermore, the Bible attests in many places that it is God who secures us in our salvation and we are kept by His power, not by our own works. Finally, I talked about how the majority of verses critics cite are “negative arguments” where they point to a conditional statement and argue the opposite. For example, in Revelation 3:5, God promises to not blot from the Book of Life the name of the soul that overcomes; critics argue that means God could blot the name from the Book of Life if the person fails to overcome.

There are a few verses, however, that critics cite which are not negative arguments. It's my opinion that in every one of these cases, the people being described are not – and have never been – Christians. Following are a few examples.

Perhaps the most cited passage is Matthew 7:21, Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” This verse is cited as proof that a confession of faith alone is not enough to guarantee salvation but, rather, confession must be followed by good works (that is, “doing the will of My Father”). In the context of the entire passage, however, Jesus makes it clear that these are people who only claimed to be Christians but never had a personal relationship with Him. Consider verse 23, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” I've written before about the emphatic force used in this passage in the Greek. Jesus is saying He, never knew these people – not even ever! They are not people who knew Him then became lost. They are people who never knew Him but thought they were saved because of the good works they did in His name.

Another passage sometimes offered is Hebrews 10:38, Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. The argument is made that this means if a believer should turn away from the faith (that is, “draw back”), then God will no longer have any pleasure in him. I don't believe that interpretation is valid when the verse is considered in context. Verse 39 says, But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. The epistle writer is clearly intending to exclude himself and his readers from the group that could “draw back.” He instead identifies the Hebrew audience as those who believe unto salvation. It is only lost people who hear the gospel and draw back that displease God.

There are other passages people cite and providing an exhaustive list would be too long for this series. The passages above are just example of how some passages used to argue that a person can lose his salvation really are talking about people who were never Christians. 1 John 2:19 says, They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” In this simple statement, John makes clear that people who “leave” the faith were really never of the faith. I'm not sure how much more overtly this could be stated.

In the parable of the sower (Matthew 13), the seeds that falls on the stony ground or among the thorns represent people who seem to accept the gospel but later turn away when faced with trials. Only the seeds that falls in the good soil, the ones that produce fruit, are Christians. Time after time, Jesus tells us that we can judge a Christian by his fruit. We may not be able to look at a person's face and know if he's a Christian but we should be able to tell by judging his actions. There have been – and will always be – people who claim to be Christians but really aren't. Maybe they even genuinely believe they are. But at the end of the day, they had never really become a sheep.

2 Peter talks about this same thing. Some people hear the gospel and enter into fellowship with believers. Later, they return to their former ways but are worse for it because they have heard the truth. Peter quotes Proverbs, describing them as dogs who return to their own vomit or pigs that return to wallowing in the mire. They never became lambs; that is, they never experienced the life changing transformation of being born again. They remained dogs and pigs and, eventually, returned to acting like dogs and pigs.

Ultimately, of course, God is the judge of who is saved and who is lost. We may form opinions based on men's actions but God sees their hearts and He knows who are the sheep and who are the goats. Even Christians sin. I've sometimes said that a sheep might get dirty but a pig wallows in the mud. Christians will also be judged for their sins. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 talks about the time every Christian will face, when his works will be judged by fire:

For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

My sin has consequences – not just in this life but eternally. Every moment I spend on worldly things is time wasted building a house of wood and straw. It is time I could have spent pursuing things that will last eternally. When other saints are casting their crowns at the feet of Jesus (Revelation 4:10), I could be standing there empty-handed knowing I had squandered my reward. But regardless of whatever loss sin might cause us to suffer, Corinthians is clear that it cannot cost us our salvation.

Read the entire series

Friday, February 10, 2017

Can a person lose his salvation? Part 4

I don't believe a person can lose his salvation. In this series until now, I've cited verses in the Bible that clearly say that our spiritual birth is like our physical birth – it is a transforming event that permanently assigns who we fundamentally are. Furthermore, once we are saved, God promises to keep us. In light of these verses, I cannot see how salvation could be temporary or conditional.

Of course, other people will cite other verses that seem to suggest that it is possible to lose our salvation. When confronted with two passages that seem to present differing ideas, the solution is not to decide which passages we believe are correct. The reality is that both verses are correct and the truth lies in a harmony of the two. In this post, I will discuss some of those passages often cited to support the idea that a person could lose his salvation.

Some passages that people cite, seem to include a condition of continuity. Consider Revelation 3:5:

He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

In my first post in this series, I quoted a website that used the analogy of a free car to represent salvation. That author was full of analogies. When discussing Revelation, he said this:

Notice that God's pencil, which wrote your name in the Lamb's book of life, also has an eraser at the other end. The name can be erased from the book of life if you don't overcome.

Can I just say that I find it odd that someone would quote a promise where Jesus says He will not do something and use it as evidence that He might do it? Anyway, the author is attempting to highlight the condition that a person must overcome or else his name will be erased from the Book of Life. There are other verses that seem to carry similar conditions:

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Heb 3:6)

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Heb 3:14)

By reading just these verses, the implication seems to be that we must continue professing our faith until the end in order to receive our reward. But as I've already said, our understanding of any verse must be tempered with the rest of the Bible. In a previous post, I cited 1 Corinthians 1:7-8:

Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If my continuance in the faith rests in my own hands, then my salvation is in peril. My flesh is weak. My faith wavers. But Jesus has saved me and He lives to continuously makes intercession for me. Those verses that talk about salvation being conditional on my continued faith must be in harmony with the promise that I am kept by the power of God. I know I will stay fast to the end because He has promised to keep me firm until the end.

There are other verses I could cite but I don't want to make this post too long. In short, it's my opinion that nearly all of the verses usually cited could be characterized as “negative arguments.” This is where a verse says one thing and the argument is made about what would happen if the opposite were true. I can't say I never make negative arguments but I don't believe negative arguments are strong arguments. I might say, for example, “I work hard so I can get ahead.” The opposite would be, if I don't work hard I won't get ahead. Perhaps I wouldn't, but where in that argument is found the possibility that I won't continue to work hard? I believe the same thing is true of the Bible. Perhaps if I stopped believing I could lose my salvation but that doesn't necessarily mean it is possible for a truly saved person to stop believing.

Perhaps the most cited verse to support the possibility of a person losing his salvation is John 15:1-2:

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

This is almost cited like a “gotcha” verse. At first reading, this verse is also a type of condition where God “takes away” any branch not bearing fruit (“cuts off” in the NIV). In other words, if a branch doesn't bear fruit, it's cut off. I very, very seldom appeal to the original language but, in this case especially, I believe most, mainstream versions of the Bible don't accurately translate this verse.

The word being translated is the verb, airw (airō, Strong's 142). It is sometimes translated as “takes” but the primary meaning is “lift up.” Even in verses where it is translated as “takes,” the meaning is still usually, “take up” or “pick up.” In the parable of the sower (Mark 4:15), for example, Satan “takes” the word which had been sown; the picture painted in the parable is of a bird “picking up” the seed that fell by the way.

In John 15, Jesus creates the metaphor of the Father as a husbandman. Every branch that abides in Him will bear fruit. He “lifts up” the downtrodden branches so that they are able bear fruit and He prunes the fruitful branches so that they can produce even more fruit. This is easily understood by anyone who has seen a vineyard. Even today, branches are still tied and held up from the ground. Note that in verse 6, it is only those branches that do not abide in Him (i.e. are not Christians) that are cast into the fire.

I believe the problem is that we sometimes see instances of people who profess to be Christians and seem to be saved, but later they reject Christ and live like they're lost again. They fit the bill of people who seem to have been saved but did not continue in the faith. Earlier I used the term, “truly saved.” I chose that deliberately because I believe many of the verses that seem to talk about someone losing his salvation are actually talking about people who were never saved. That will be the subject of my next and final post in this series.

Read the entire series

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What do liberal news media have in common with clowns?

I'm going to take a short break from my series to interject my thoughts about the alternative media – aka “fake news outlets,” aka CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, The NY Times, The Washington Post, et al.

Do I need to say that these supposed news organizations have a liberal bias? I mean, really? Everybody knows it. And yes, I mean EVERYBODY knows. I know it. You know it. Anyone who watches these shows knows it. Their fans know it. Their critics know it. Elected officials know it. Democrats know it. Republicans know it. Even the so-called journalists who report on these shows know it. Do you understand what I'm saying? EVERYBODY knows these organizations are liberal. But what is absolutely hilarious is that they keep trying to pretend they're unbiased.

Pretend for a moment that President Trump holds a press conference and a reporter shows up wearing a clown nose.
President Trump asks, “Why are you wearing a clown nose?”
The reporter stares back straight-faced and says, “I'm not wearing a clown nose.”
Trump presses him, “Look. You're sitting right there wearing a clown nose. Everyone can see it. Why are you trying to deny it?”
The reporter begins talking over the President, “Why are you trying to pivot off the subject by talking about me? No one is wearing a clown nose. You're just trying to avoiding answering the hard questions.”
Trump throws up his hands in exasperation. Shaking his head, he humors the reporter, “OK, what's your question?”

Doesn't that sound ridiculous? I'm telling you that it's not that far-fetched. When these so-called “news networks” try to say they report the news objectively, they sound to me as ridiculous as a reporter denying he's wearing a clown nose. It's so obvious that their denial just makes them seem all the more foolish.  After a certain point, you just can't take anything they say seriously.

I don't get it. You are all liberal. You KNOW you are. If you want to be cheerleaders for leftists, then be the cheerleaders. I'd understand that and some people like to hear the cheerleaders for their cause. But please, please, please, stop the charade. Why do you all continue the farce? You're not fooling anyone and it's becoming embarrassing. I know you're not embarrassed, of course, but I'm embarrassed for you.

Just stop. OK?

Rant over. Carry on!