googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: May 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Natural Selection is the Opposite of Evolution!

When I first wrote about the video, “What Every Creationist Must DENY,” I had not intended to make it a series. Now this is my 3rd post on the subject and I have at least 2 more posts planned so it has become a series regardless of my intention. Please bear with me.

If I had to reduce evolution down to its most fundamental essence, I would have to describe it as reproductive differential. Simply put, whoever leaves the most offspring wins. It doesn't matter how strong a creature is or how fast or how clever; if it doesn't leave any offspring then its advantages die with it. If a creature is a good enough hunter, fast enough to escape predators, and appealing enough to attract a mate, then it will hopefully have offspring that will inherit its advantages. The next generation begins the race anew. The fit will live to reproduce; the unfit will die. Eventually, all the characteristics not suited to a particular environment will be removed from the population and the species will become well adapted to its surroundings.

The judge that helps decide who lives, who dies, and who's genes will be passed along is a cruel mistress by the name of Natural Selection. She's an impartial judge and is only concerned with one question: does it work? Every detail of every creature is judged on how well it works: the shape of its teeth, the color and length of its hair, how fast it can run, how high it can jump, and even the shape of its eyes will be judged. If a trait passes the test, the creature lives to be tested again. Hopefully, it lives long enough to pass its traits on to the next generation. If a feature fails, its host dies. If the host died before leaving any offspring, then the unsuitable trait died with it. The trials continue unceasingly: what works lives – what doesn't work dies. Over time, natural selection works remarkably well and a species becomes very well adapted to its environment.

To help visualize natural selection, I like to use the example of dogs. Most people are familiar with dogs and know that they are a very diverse group. Dogs can have long or short hair, be a variety of colors, be sleek or muscular, and can range in size from the very large mastiff to the very small chihuahua. Dogs represent a kind that includes not only domestic dogs but also wolves, foxes, coyotes, and dingos. Suppose I took a pack of mutts containing dogs of all sorts, then released them into the wild. Natural selection would immediately begin her work. The dogs that lacked the instinct or ability to hunt would quickly starve. In a wooded environment, dogs with brown fur might be better camouflaged which would help them sneak up on prey or hide from larger predators (like pumas or bears). In a snowy environment, lighter colored fur might be more advantageous. Their hair must be long enough to give them warmth and protect them from sun burn yet not so long as to overheat them or harbor disease carrying insects. Their bodies should be large enough for them to overpower prey but not so large as to require more food than is available in that area. Everything about the dogs will be tested: their sense of smell, their eyesight, their hearing, even the shape of their ears. The dogs that have the features best suited for that environment will tend to survive longer and have more pups; the dogs not well suited to that environment will tend to die sooner and have fewer pups.

Over several generations an interesting thing occurs – the pups will all begin to all look alike having similar size, hair length, color, patterns, etc. When all the dogs possess enough traits in common that they can be identified as belonging to the same group, we could call it a new species.

When species are adapted to their environment, they become specialized and less diverse than their ancestors. While the dog-kind is very diverse, dog breeds (like Irish Setters) or dog species (like Canis lupus) all tend to look alike. Because breeds or species are specialized, they are less able to adapt to new environments. A snowy environment, for example, might prefer white hair. However, if I released only Irish Setters into a snowy environment, they will only have red pups and so could not adapt as well as a diverse pack with lots of colors could.

This is a limitation of natural selection. It can only test features already present in a creature. Suppose I had released my hypothetical pack into an environment containing a lot of blue. Blue is fairly common in nature: there are blue plants, birds, insects, reptiles, and fish. If the environment contained a lot of blue, a blue dog might have an advantage. However, there are no blue dogs and natural selection is not able to “add blue” to the features it selects. Natural selection works only by quickly removing the unfit from a population which allows the more fit to continue a while. That's all it ever does.

This is bad news for evolution. Evolutionists notoriously conflate natural selection and evolution as though they are the same thing. They are not. Here's a quote from Science Daily that I've used on my blog before:

Countering the widespread view of evolution as a process played out over the course of eons, evolutionary biologists have shown that natural selection can turn on a dime -- within months -- as a population's needs change

Did you notice how they shift from saying “evolution” to “natural selection” in the same sentence? Whenever I cite this quote, the correct response from honest evolutionists should be to say that Science Daily should have been more careful with its wording. Instead, they hem and haw and make excuses for Science Daily. Have they no shame? Even though I know they know the difference, they are so jealous of the term “natural selection” that they cannot bring themselves to draw a clear line between it and evolution. They prey on ignorance and want people to believe that natural selection over time necessarily leads to evolution.

For evolution to occur, a population must acquire traits. For something like a reptile to become something like a dog, you would have to add hair. The imagined first-ancestor-of-everything did not have hair. Neither did it have feathers, gills, scales, skin, bark, bones, blood, nor organs of any kind. Just think how many features one would have to add to a bacterium to make it into a bird or birch. So evolution demands that populations ACQUIRE traits while natural selection can only REMOVE traits. Natural selection is the opposite of evolution.

In a recent post, I talked about “microevolution” and “macroevolution.” In my example of dogs, there are some people who would call natural selection acting on the traits present in the pack, “microevolution.” If the pack eventually earned the moniker of species, some people would say that's “macroevolution.” It's a lie because these dogs have not evolved in the least since nothing was added to the population. Evolutionists would have us believe that evolution is “change,” these dogs “changed,” therefore these dogs “evolved.” What's more, they argue that over millions of years, these same types of changes could turn these dogs into something that is not a dog! It's nonsense. It's poppycock. It's foolishness! Creationists should not even give ear to such ridiculous ideas and we certainly should not participate in this lie by using these terms ourselves.

There are many things that have been associated with evolution that really have little to do with evolution. Evolutionists often invoke terms like “natural selection,” “variation,” and “millions of years.” While it's true that evolution requires these three things, by themselves they could never lead to evolution. The only leg upon which evolution could stand is “mutations.” Mutations is the real hero of the evolutionary fairy tale. Mutations could maybe turn a frog into a prince but natural selection and time cannot.

I'm going to talk about mutations more in another post. In the meanwhile, creationists need to recognize the difference between natural selection and speciation (which really occurs) and evolution (which does not occur). We need to correct evolutionists who place a false importance on some “change” observed in a population. And we need to stop calling natural selection evolution.

Further reading:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Remembering On Memorial Day

There's an old saying about soldiers: "All gave some.  Some gave all."  We are given our rights by our Creator but it is our soldiers who fight to preserve them.  

On this Memorial Day, we should offer prayers of thanks to God for our liberty and for those who died protecting it.  

God bless America.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Creationists Deny Evolution!!

In my last post, I discussed the apology-for-evolution video, “What Every Creationist Must DENY.” My focus in that post was more on the failed logic seen in the video. However, in the midst of the video's bad arguments was this little gem: creationists must deny “macroevolution.” Isn't that hilarious? I mean, denying evolution is sort of a prerequisite to being a creationist, isn't it? So the video is right on one point – creationists deny evolution. Duh! Like the old saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Now the video did use the terms “microevolution” and “macroevolution” as things creationists must deny. Speaking as a creationist, I admit that I deny that evolution occurs at all – neither micro- nor macro-. However, creationists and evolution don't necessarily use these terms in exactly the same way so I thought I'd take a moment and explore them.

Microevolution typically describes variations in a population from one generation to the next (by the way, the video claimed creationists must also deny “variation”). The peppered moth study is a famous example of microevolution where the ratio of light/dark moths changed over the period they were observed. Since the variation occurred within a species, most evolutionists and many creationists would agree that the peppered moth study is an example of microevolution.

Some creationists also use the term “microevolution” to describe variations within a kind. Species like lions, tigers, leopards, and cheetahs are all members of a single “cat-kind” and are all descended from a common ancestor. The features that identify any particular species are merely different combinations of traits already present in the kind. A kind can become very diverse (cats can become lions, jaguars, and lynxes), but they are still the same kind. Therefore, many creationists use “microevolution” to describe variation within a kind. On this point creationists and evolutionists begin to differ since evolutionists consider changes that occur above the species level to be “macroevolution.”

What creationists do not believe is that one kind can change into another – like a dino changing into a bird or an ape into a man. This is what many creationists would call “macroevolution” This is what is meant when some creationists say they accept microevolution but not macroevolution. In the creation v. evolution debate, it is evolution at the macro-level (one kind changing into another) that is the point of contention. This is the defining difference between creationists and evolutionists.

As I've already said, I don't believe evolution occurs at all and I avoid using either term. I also heartily discourage other creationists from using them. “Evolution” is an equivocal term that evolutionists use to describe nearly any type of change in a population. By using the terms micro- or macro- to describe the change, the creationist opens the door to abuse because evolutionists are not careful to distinguish between the two. Consider this quote from Wiki:

Although creationists accept microevolution of varieties within a kind, they claim that macroevolution does not happen. To biologists there is no dividing line between the two, and in the modern evolutionary synthesis the same mechanisms are seen operating at various scales to cause both evolution within species and speciation at a macroevolution level or wider changes, the only difference being of time and scale.

One of the five lies evolutionists tell is that microevolution + time = macroevolution. To them, time is like a magic wand that can turn a frog into a prince via tiny changes. In the most famous example of microevolution (the peppered moth), birds would tend to eat one shade of moth, then the other shade as environmental factors changed. In the century since the study, what macroevolution has occurred among the peppered moths? Evolutionists usually say that 100 years isn't long enough for macroevolution to happen. Then let me ask you this: what microevolution has occurred? The ratio of light/dark moths has changed back and forth to a net change of ZERO! The change is not accumulating nor can it. If birds continuously ate one color of moth, it will never add new colors to the population no matter how long it occurs.

Evolutionists give no consideration to the type of change we observe. By their own admission, the only difference they see between micro- and macroevolution is time and scale. They believe the same mechanisms drive both and the accumulations of small changes (micro) will amount to big changes (macro) over time. Therefore, it makes no sense to an evolutionist when he hears a creationist say, “I accept microevolution but not macroevolution.” Thus, I discourage using the terms at all.

For evolution to occur, traits must be added to a population. For a dino to become a bird, for example, you need to add feathers. Natural selection (which the video also claims creationists must deny) removes traits from a population. Birds eating one shade of moth demonstrates one way traits can be removed. Therefore, natural selection is the opposite of evolution. The “little” changes we observe in populations (the removal of traits or the rearranging of existing traits) will never amount to anything. It would be wrong to call them microevolution.

Evolutionists suffer under the belief that you can turn a molehill into a mountain by continuously removing dirt; you just have to dig long enough! Creationists are a little smarter than that. We understand that not all change is equal. So hats off to the video for spotting it; creationists don't believe in evolution – not even a little. Thank you, Mr. Obvious!

Further reading:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Do Creationists Deny These Things?

There's a video on YouTube called, “What Every Creationist Must DENY” (note the use of capital letters in 'DENY' - how petty). I've seen the video before and briefly referred to it at least once on my blog but I never really made an effort to respond to it because, frankly, there's no substance to it. It's an empty argument. A while back, though, in another discussion I was having online, I heard an evo making remarks that I immediately recognized as being from this video. When I looked up the video again, I noticed that it's had over 313K views with a very high approval rating. Regardless of whether it has any good points, 313K views is substantial enough that I should respond to it.

The premise of the video is that evolution is supported by an overwhelming mountain of facts and if anyone denies evolution, he must also deny all of the facts that support it. The video then proceeds to trot out a long list of the things which creationists supposedly “must deny.”

It's ironic that the list begins with “logic” since the video is a case study in logical fallacies. As I said, there's not a substantial argument found anywhere so I'm not sure exactly how I should respond. I suppose I'll simply highlight a few of the logical fallacies committed in the video in order to demonstrate how it completely lacks an argument. There are a few specific items mentioned in the video that I could discuss but I'll save them for future posts. The items I cite now will only be for the purpose of demonstrating some fallacy.

By the way, the music in this video is the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. By happy coincidence, thisis the same music Warner Brothers used for their “Daffy Duck's Rhapsody,” so while I was watching the amateurish arguments raised by the video, I kept hearing Daffy Duck singing in my head. Oh, the justice of it!

First, this video is about the best example of argumentum verbosium that I think I've ever seen. Because the list of terms given in the video is so long, it's apparently intended to give the impression there's an impressive amount of “evidence” for evolution. But they're just terms! None of them is an argument. One term listed, for example, is dendrochronology. Really? Creationists “MUST”deny dendrochronology? Dendrochronology is a method of dating by using tree rings. It's a scientific discipline. It's not “evidence” for evolution any more than theology is evidence for God. Other items mentioned include gravity, weak nuclear force, and trigonometry. All of them are just empty terms.

Another fallacy committed by the video is the bald assertion. At no time during the long list of terms did the makers of the video attempt to explain why any of these things must be denied by creationists. Admittedly, the makers did say at one point there was another video to explain why creationists must deny gravity but here they suggest nary a reason. This video might have been a little more substantial if it had only about 1/3 of the terms but each was accompanied by at least some explanation. As it stands now, the video is about as persuasive as a 2nd grade bully who says, “Johnny is a poopy-head!”

Because the video lacks any attempt to justify the items on its list, many of the items sound non sequitur, See what you think: “Because you believe in creation, you deny gravity.” How does that follow? It doesn't.

This brings us to the fallacy of the straw man. Creationists obviously don't deny gravity, trigonometry, the speed of light, natural selection, or Neaderthal DNA. To suggest that we do or to insist that we “MUST” deny these things is to misrepresent what creationists believe. It's a text book example of a straw man.

Also included in the video are a couple of appeals to authority. At one point it says that creationists must deny “200,000 peer reviewed papers.” At another point it says that evolution is supported by “hundreds of scientific techniques, used by thousands of scientists.” Scientists and papers aren't evidence in themselves. Scientists study evidence and write papers about their studies and conclusions. Also, scientific techniques aren't evidence but are methods of gathering or studying evidence.

There are so many other fallacies committed in the video that we can't possibly get to them all. It commits a sweeping generalization by suggesting all creationists believe the same thing. It commits conflation by equating scientific disciplines and techniques with evidence. I could go on and on but I'll start wrapping up.

Near the end, the video makes an ad hominem attack. Quoting the video: “People who are able to deny millions of facts, and believe in things that don't exist including global conspiracies are called PARANOID DELUSIONAL” (capitalization in original). This is a consequence of the straw man argument set up earlier in the video. That is, creationists must deny things like gravity, they must believe in a global, scientific conspiracy, therefore they must be delusional. It's easy to knock down a straw man, isn't it?

Finally, the video ends with this appeal: “One can only hope that by showing people how silly their denial makes them look, they will open their eyes and begin to... think about it” (ellipsis in original). It's rather optimistic of them to believe that such lazy arguments will open anyone's eyes. But then again, 6,000 people “liked” the video so at least some people think it's compelling. I guess it shows how irrational people can be charmed by foolish arguments.

Let me just say in closing that the Bible is very clear about the origin of the universe and the creation of man. Since evolutionists reject the true account of creation given in Scripture, we can only conclude one thing: every evolutionist must deny reading!

Further reading:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Revelation 2:17 – What is Our New Name?

To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Revelation 2:17

In spite of the many criticisms I've heard about the Bible, for the most part, the Bible is fairly straightforward and easy to understand. On the other hand, books like Revelation are admittedly a little tougher. Certainly, Revelation is full of symbolism and while it may not be difficult to understand the words, the meanings of the symbols aren't always clear. Revelation 2:17 is an example of difficult symbolism. What does it mean to eat the hidden manna? What is represented by the white stone? What is the new name given to us? I've read many commentaries that talk about these things but, as for the “new name,” I also have a few ideas of my own.

There are some family names that carry a certain impact. Think of the name, Kennedy, for example. Anyone who is called, “a Kennedy” is immediately identified as a person of wealth, power, and influence. The name, Trump, is beginning to have a similar ring. Anyone born into these families inherit a certain reputation simply because of their name. It's not only the names of wealthy families that bring fame. Other families are remembered in infamy, like the Hatfields and McCoys.

These families, of course, are known nationally. However, even in smaller circles, family names sometime give impressions of who we are – even if they don't fairly represent who we are.

In Isaiah 56:5, God said, I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.” Names like Vanderbilt or Rockefeller might impress people in this world. However, the name Jehovah surpasses them all. In eternity, we will be called His people. That's a family name worth having.

Besides family names, the names of certain individuals carry their own baggage. A person's name is often the equivalent of his character. Abraham Lincoln was renown for his honesty; “Honest Abe” they called him. Other names are notorious. Benedict Arnold was a brilliant general who led his troop to many victories over the British yet now his name is synonymous with traitor. John Wilks Booth was a handsome man and acclaimed actor. Even though he was the Brad Pitt of his day, when people hear his name, they only remember him as an assassin.

God is the perfect Judge. When we stand before Him, our earthly reputations mean nothing. No matter how many good things I may have tried to do here on earth, when I stand in judgment, I will be known only by my sins. I will be called a liar, thief, adulterer, blasphemer, sluggard, and murderer. In Christ, though, I am justified. I won't be remembered forever as the person I am now. I will be called righteous, redeemed, ransomed, reconciled, and loved. I will be called a child of God.

I rejoice that Revelation promises me a new name!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How Unique Does It Have To Be?

One of the most cited articles published on TalkOrigins (TO) is their 29+ Evidences For Macroevolution. One evidence cited among the 29 is the much touted “nested hierarchy of species.” The so-called “nested hierarchy” is a sort of feather in the evolutionary cap. It is sometimes invoked as a sort of proof of evolution (of course, nothing is science can really ever be “proven”). If all species are descended from a common ancestor, they should be able to be arranged into a type of hierarchy. It's a prediction of the theory of evolution. TO believes the hierarchy is observed and thus the prediction is confirmed. From their article we read, Most existing species can be organized rather easily in a nested hierarchical classification. This is evident in the use of the Linnaean classification scheme. Based on shared derived characters, closely related organisms can be placed in one group (such as a genus), several genera can be grouped together into one family, several families can be grouped together into an order, etc.”

A good scientific theory should be falsifiable. TO knows this and so, with each prediction they make, they include a potential falsification. In the case of the nested hierarchy, TO admits that it would be problematic for evolution if “many species” were found that were difficult to group in the hierarchy. By saying “many species,” TO seems to hedge their bets against any single species being found that could potentially upset the whole theory. Yet in their article they say, “Keep in mind that about 1.5 million species are known currently, and that the majority of these species has been discovered since Darwin first stated his hypothesis of common ancestry. Even so, they all have fit the correct hierarchical pattern within the error of our methods. Furthermore, it is estimated that only 1 to 10% of all living species has even been catalogued, let alone studied in detail. New species discoveries pour in daily, and each one is a test of the theory of common descent [bold added]. TO would like to give the impression that even a single new species could disprove the whole theory. It's a bold move designed to imply that the theory is so robust that it stands unflinching every day while each new species discovered confirms evolution to be true.

So let me ask: how unique would a new species have to be in order to disprove the entire theory of common descent? Science Daily just published an article describing a new species which, after genetic analysis, is “not a fungus, alga, parasite, plant or animal.” That's curious. Exactly where does it fit in the nested hierarchy, then? The article says, “We have found an unknown branch of the tree of life [aka nested hierarchy] that lives in this lake. It is unique!”

Exactly how unique is this creature? From the article, we read, “We are surprised. Enormous quantities of environmental samples are taken all over the world. We have searched for the species in every existing DNA database, but have only found a partial match with a gene sequence in Tibet. So it is conceivable that only a few other species exist in this family branch of the tree of life.”

TO said that every new species discovered “is a test to the theory of common descent.” Since this creature cannot be placed on any existing branch of the “tree of life,” wouldn't it be the magic bullet which TO said would falsify the theory? Alas, no. Even though TO said their theory is tested with each new species discovered, they really don't mean to say that a single species – no matter how unique – would undo all those nested hierarchies they've spent all this time drawing. What they've done instead is simply draw a new branch on the tree of life from this species directly to the imagined common ancestor.

What we have is a vicious cycle of circular reasoning. Scientists are already convinced their theory is true and so their theory isn't tested by any new evidence. Instead, all new evidence is viewed in light of the theory. The nested hierarchy isn't at all threatened by the discovery of new species so long as scientists fearlessly draw new branches to accommodate them. What's laughable is that they use their theory to draw the “tree of life” and then have the nerve to hold up the “tree of life” as evidence for their theory!

Monday, May 14, 2012

I'd Like to Be Like Uncle Tom

Like most people, I learn the meaning of words and terms by hearing how they are used. I suppose that's the usual way people learn any language. Should I be angry with myself, then, that I've long had the wrong impression of the term, “Uncle Tom”? I've always understood the phrase to be a term of derision. Usually, it is spoken by black people to insult other black people where the first group accuses the latter of “acting white.” I know that Clarence Thomas was called an “Uncle Tom” when he was being considered for the Supreme Court. Congressman, J. C. Watts has often been called an “Uncle Tom” for being a conservative Republican. Any black person who isn't a card-carrying, liberal Democrat is called an “Uncle Tom.” It's a term reserved by blacks for blacks who don't act black enough.

From the way the term has been used, I had the impression that Uncle Tom was a mousy, smarmy character who would suck up to white people in an effort to ingratiate himself into their favor. I considered him a snake of a person, similar to the clich̩ fink portrayed in prison movies. You know the type Рthe weasel-looking inmate who would squeal on fellow prisoners in hopes of earning special treatment from the guards. Such characters usually only win loathing from everyone.

Perhaps I should not be too hard on myself for not knowing that the fictional character of Uncle Tom portrayed in the book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, bears no resemblance to the rat-fink I had in my mind's eye. After all, when liberals use the term, “Uncle Tom,” they usually mean it in precisely the same way I understood it. I suspect rather that it's those who hurl the term who are ignorant of the true nature of the literary character.

I've read a lot of books in the past including many of the classics but as is always the case, there are far more books that I haven't read than I've read. Uncle Tom's Cabin happens to be one of the books I hadn't read until recently. That's too bad. It's a treasure that I wish I could have cherished decades ago.

The book surely gored many sacred cows of its time. Certainly the southern slave owners were exposed for their crimes against slaves – both the “good” masters and “bad” masters. This book also shone a light on the complacent abolitionists of the north who spoke openly against the scourge that was slavery but did very little else but speak. Much blame was also (justly) laid to the charge of the churches in that day. Perhaps the worst offenders were those churches who endorsed slavery as a part of the divine order of things but other churches were equally culpable by walking a fence on the issue – not endorsing slavery but neither condemning the white slave owners in their congregations. The book gave a most insightful glimpse into the plethora of attitudes that existed on every side of the issue.

The hero of the story was, of course, Uncle Tom, who, throughout the book, moved from master to master (three in total). The masters ranged in attitude from the most benevolent to the most malign but each was used in such a way as to show the injustice of slavery. Throughout his trials, Tom was a model of Christian character: His honesty and integrity won the confidence of many who knew him, he always concerned himself with the salvation of those around him – slave or master, and he relentlessly sought instruction from the Bible.

As I read, I sometimes thought of Tom as a picture of Joseph and at one point in the book, Tom also intimated the same thought about himself. As the book progressed, however, I saw Tom as much more like Christ than Joseph. Toward the end of the book, two slave girls had planned their escape from the wicked, Simon Legree. Legree intended to learn the details of the escape from Tom. Read this edited version of the encounter:

Tom heard the message with a forewarning heart; for he knew all the plan of the fugitives' escape, and the place of their present concealment; - he knew the deadly character of the man he had to deal with, and his despotic power. But he felt strong in God to meet death, rather than betray the helpless.

He sat his basket down by the row, and, looking up, said, "Into thy hands I commend my spirit! Thou hast redeemed me, oh Lord God of truth!" and then quietly yielded himself to the rough, brutal grasp with which Quimbo seized him....

"Well, Tom!" said Legree, walking up, and seizing him grimly by the collar of his coat, and speaking through his teeth, in a paroxysm of determined rage, "do you know I've made up my mind to kill you?"

"It's very likely, Mas'r," said Tom, calmly.

"I have," said Legree, with a grim, terrible calmness, "done - just - that - thing, Tom, unless you'll tell me what you know about these yer gals!"

Tom stood silent.

"D'ye hear?" said Legree, stamping, with a roar like that of an incensed lion. "Speak!"

"I han't got nothing to tell, Mas'r," said Tom, with a slow, firm, deliberate utterance.

"Do you dare to tell me, ye old black Christian, ye don't know?" said Legree.

Tom was silent.

"Speak!" thundered Legree, striking him furiously. Do you know anything?"

"I know, Mas'r; but I can't tell anything. I can die!"

Legree drew in a long breath; and, suppressing his rage, took Tom by the arm, and, approaching his face almost to his, said, in a terrible voice, "…. You've always stood it out again' me: now, I'll conquer ye, or kill ye! - one or t' other. I'll count every drop of blood there is in you, and take 'em, one by one, till ye give up!"

It was but a moment. There was one hesitating pause, - one irresolute, relenting thrill, - and the spirit of evil came back, with seven-fold vehemence; and Legree, foaming with rage, smote his victim to the ground.

Scenes of blood and cruelty are shocking to our ear and heart. What man has nerve to do, man has not nerve to hear. What brother-man and brother-Christian must suffer, cannot be told us, even in our secret chamber, it so harrows the soul! And yet, oh my country! these things are done under the shadow of thy laws! O, Christ! thy church sees them, almost in silence!

But, of old, there was One whose suffering changed an instrument of torture, degradation and shame, into a symbol of glory, honor, and immortal life; and, where His spirit is, neither degrading stripes, nor blood, nor insults, can make the Christian's last struggle less than glorious.

Was he alone, that long night, whose brave, loving spirit was bearing up, in that old shed, against buffeting and brutal stripes?

Nay! There stood by him one, - seen by him alone, - "like unto the Son of God."

The tempter stood by him, too, - blinded by furious, despotic will, - every moment pressing him to shun that agony by the betrayal of the innocent. But the brave, true heart was firm on the Eternal Rock. Like his Master, he knew that, if he saved others, himself he could not save; nor could utmost extremity wring from him words, save of prayers and holy trust.

There is much about Tom that is worthy of emulation. In many ways – in every way, really – he was superior to the white men who owned him yet he carried himself with sincere humility. The quiet strength of his testimony won many to Christ. He even prayed for Simon Legree while he was being beaten to death.

I'm not sure why his name has come to be such an insult. I wish I could be more like him.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obama Quote Mines the Bible

President Obama's recent flip-flop on gay marriage really comes as no surprise. The writing has been on the wall for a while. His justice department has refused to defend DOMA; he ended the “Don't ask don't tell” policy, allowing gays to serve openly in the military; and he's a flaming liberal. Hello?! Did anyone really think he was ever sincere in the 2008 campaign when he told Rick Warren, “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. For me as a Christian, it’s also a sacred union. God’s in the mix”? With his interview yesterday, the cat is now officially out of the bag. His views have “evolved” and now he is in favor of gay marriage. I can only speculate as to why he waited until after the NC referendum to make his announcement.

What really bugs me about his announcement (OK, a lot of things about it really bug me as we'll see) is his lame appeal to the Bible. In his interview, he tried to use his alleged, Christian beliefs to support his position:

[Michelle and I] are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.

I'm already on record as an official doubter of Mr. Obama's Christian faith. Comments like this only serve to reinforce my conclusion that his faith isn't genuine. As I will show below, his feigned piety cannot conceal his true feelings.

Comments like these are squarely at odds with the left's usual disdain toward matters of faith. It was only a few days ago that I discussed the offensive remarks made by Dan Savage. In that instance, Savage, a liberal, attacked the Bible because of its stance against homosexuality. Now, Obama, a liberal, cites the Bible to support his “tolerance” of gay marriage. So which is it, folks? Are liberals having a little trouble deciding on which side to butter their toast?

Also, what about the so called “separation of church and state”? Usually, the left accuses conservatives of wanting to establish a theocracy. Here, Obama is using his faith to justify his position on a political issue. Granted, he hasn't established a gay marriage law but, as discussed already, he has advanced the gay agenda via executive order. Did these decisions stem from his religious beliefs? Why is it a bad thing if a conservative legislates according to his faith but a good thing when a liberal does it?

When liberals cite the Bible to justify their stance on anything, it usually demonstrates their gross ignorance of the Bible. They don't seem to understand that the work of feeding the poor, caring for widows and orphans, and taking care of the sick were jobs given by Jesus to the church! Liberals want Caesar to do the things of God. I am not the least bit interested in shirking my responsibilities as a Christian only to let the government steal money from (aka “tax”) us in order to do the things Jesus commanded His believers to do.

Finally, I'm further annoyed by Obama's obscene abuse of Scriptures. The Golden Rule? Are you serious, Mr. President? The Golden Rule is a fine principle to live by but if it's going to be abused like this, it could be used to support anything. If I wanted to legalize drugs, I could cite the Golden Rule. If I wanted to support polygamy, I could cite the Golden Rule. If I wanted to promote incest, I could cite the Golden Rule. If I wanted to read pornography, I could cite the Golden Rule. In that same vein, Mr. Obama cites the Golden Rule to support gay marriage.

By the way, I just heard today that Nancy Pelosi has also come out on the side of the President saying that her “Catholic faith” prevents her from discriminating against anyone. Ummm, Mrs. Congresswoman, are you aware of the Catholic Church's views on homosexuality?

This is a type of quote mining. Mr. Obama is using a single passage to suggest the Bible supports his view while ignoring the many other places where the Bible specifically denounces his position. If he's going to resort to the Bible, why doesn't his consider Matthew 19:4-6? Jesus Himself defined marriage saying, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female? For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.” This is not a vague platitude that Obama can spout as a “justify anything I want” proof text. Jesus said marriage was intended by God to be one man and one woman for life. It's not a man and a man; it's not a woman and a woman; and it's not one man and many women.

The President would like to say his position stems from his belief but it's a lie. He is using his beliefs to shape the Scriptures rather than letting the Scriptures shape his beliefs. He pretends piety while making moral judgments that directly contradict the absolute morality of the Bible. He then wishes to use his twisted understanding of Scriptures to bludgeon us.

I suspect the average Obama supporter would seldom undertake to read anything a large as the Bible. Remember that mobs tend to think in soundbites. But it is precisely because the Bible is so voluminous that they are able to find tiny nuggets of truth they can seize upon. I can almost hear them saying, “This passage is good, the rest is evil.” It is only for the reason of quote mining the Bible that liberals even concern themselves with it.

Faith and liberalism don't mix well.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

If I Wanted America To Fail

Here's a provocative video put out by a group called, Free Market America.  The video speaks for itself so there's not a lot I could add except maybe, "Amen"!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dan Savage Bullies Christian Students

Dan Savage is a gay advocate, a newspaper sex advice columnist, blogger, and supposed “anti-bullying” champion. He's perhaps most acclaimed for his “It gets better” campaign aimed at encouraging young gays who are being bullied. I also think he's gay. Needless to say, he's a controversial character but he caused quite a controversy of a different sort a few weeks back with his comments to a group of aspiring, high school journalists. In the midst of what was supposed to be an anti-bullying speech, he launched into a rant against the Bible in front of high school students, where many of the students responded by walking out. The video of his remarks is provided below.

A lot has already been said about Mr. Savage's remarks and I don't want to bore anyone by echoing what has already been written on 1,000 other blogs. Suffice it to say that I agree that Mr. Savage has the right to say what he said. I also have the right to call him an idiot. In the arena of free speech, some people say things that will offend others and Savage pushes offensive speech to the extreme. But if he couldn't say it, there wouldn't be “free” speech, would there?

I am a little curious about this venue, though. I've only heard it described as a “conference” for high school journalists. Are these public school students? Is this a government sponsored event? If so, then I most certainly do object to Savage's remarks. Actually, I object to them in any case but if this is a government sponsored event, then I object on the grounds of the free exercise clause in the first amendment. No one would deny that a public school ordinarily shouldn't bring in anyone who speaks to endorse the Bible. Neither should they bring in someone who openly criticizes the Bible. Regardless of that, even if this wasn't a government sponsored event, I still think the language Savage used was not appropriate for high school aged students. Many of these young adults were not old enough to get into an R-rated movie. They didn't need to be hearing R-rated language. However, this isn't really the point of my post.

I'm also a little amused at the irony of the remarks. This alleged “anti-bullying” hero, in the midst of an “anti-bullying” speech, proceeds to verbally bully the Bible believing students in the crowd. Some might say he was simply speaking against those who would use the Bible as grounds to mistreat gays. Really? Who in the audience did that? He didn't know if any of them have ever bullied anyone. It's obvious that his remarks were against all Bible believing Christians. When those students, not guilty of anything Savaged alleged, walked out in protest (at least one in tears), he referred to their protest as a “punk ass move.” It just strikes me as self-defeating that a person would be so intimidating if his objective is to persuade people to stop bullying others. However, this isn't really the point of my post either.

Like I've already said, I don't want to echo what has already been discussed elsewhere on the net and other media. There were at least two things I've not heard being discussed anywhere. First, I was a little surprised at some of the comments made by people who criticized the students! I heard more than a few people say that, if these students are aspiring journalists, they need to learn to be objective. They shouldn't walk out and refuse to listen to points of view they might happen to disagree with. I have to laugh at the insincerity of these critics. I believe the people who make this point are themselves theophobes who are looking for still another excuse to ridicule Christians. Like most people who reject the Bible, they're not rational. They cannot apply their logic consistently nor have they thought through their position. For example, what about the students heard on the tape who hooted, hollered, and applauded Savage's remarks? Where's their objectivity? If a good journalist shouldn't protest views he disagrees with, shouldn't he also not cheer wildly views he does agree with? These amateur critics, who pretend to know what a good journalist should do, haven't picked up on that point.

This is sort of an ancillary point but I believe those students who cheered Savage are representative of the alternative media today. I heard the other day that CNN's viewership has tanked. Newspapers all across the nation are folding. Do you know why? It's because these outlets pretend to report the news objectively but cannot conceal their seething liberalism. Nobody is interested in hearing their bias.

The second thing I noticed about Savage's remarks is the same point I've raised several times before. He said the Bible is “wrong” on human sexuality. Such a notion suggests there is some absolute “right” view of human sexuality. OK, then – where is it? I ask in earnest. Show me where has been written the absolutely true and correct standard of sexual conduct. I don't believe such a thing exists outside of the Bible.

Mr. Savage speaks as though he has authority on the subject yet he has no authority beyond his own opinion. And even though many might laud his opinion, I defy him to lay his finger on some absolute rule that transcends opinion. Without such a transcendent standard, Mr. Savage's opinion carries no more weight than my own. As a matter of fact, my opinion likely carries more weight because mine is the opinion held by the majority of people. If rights are determined by the majority, I don't even need to appeal to the Bible to condemn homosexuality. I could say homosexuality is “wrong” on the simple grounds that most people think it's “icky.”

Mr. Savage has retreated a little from his remarks in the wake of the backlash that followed. However, he will never turn away from his course. I hope he makes more remarks like this because it will only shine more light on his error. It's still sad, though. He doesn't see how wrong he is nor does he know how lost.