Category Archives: Biblical Apologetics

Books Every ‘Seeker’ Should Read

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(Click above to read the article)

A friend posted this article originally titled “26 Books Every ‘Spiritual But Not Religious’ Seeker Should Read.” I didn’t catch why she excluded “religious” seekers from her list. Nevertheless, a worthy topic, and one I would like to expand on to include this “seeker” – me – and a list of my own that have influenced me in my 73 years of life.

I will begin in my late teens when I was dating my wife of now 53 years. She was a Roman Catholic, and I thought if this young romance is to go anywhere, perhaps I should learn a little of her religion. I had little or no religious beliefs, let alone knowledge, but I did understand that Catholicism was the oldest religion, and therefore if there was a “true” religion, this was most likely it. I don’t recall thinking of the many other religions – Islam, Buddhism, Judaism … I wanted to know about the “real” one — I was a “seeker.”

So at the age of about 18 I frequented the local library and started to read about Catholicism. I have no recollection of the books I looked into, but suffice it to say that this brief experience began my life as a “seeker.”

A few years later I would fall under the influence of my girlfriend’s older brother – an Atheist. Gordon had a persuasive gift of gab, and me being a “seeker” he had a ready student and introduced me to Atheism and Existentialism, hence the first books on my list.

    • Why I Am Not A Christian  — Bertrand Russell.
    • No Exit  — Jean Paul Sartre
    • Being and Nothingness – Jean Paul Sartre
    • The Playboy Philosophy – Hugh Hefner

Skipping ahead a few years, married and back in college after a time working and a Navy tour, I read books like this one:

    • The Passover Plot  — Hugh J. Schonfield
      A book “debunking” the Jesus myth.

So during those years I guess I considered my “seeking” finished and I settled into a world view of evangelical Atheism – yes I was outspoken and mocking of all things religious.  I’m sure there were other books from that era, but I don’t recall. The ones listed above were certainly the most influential in my life.

So at a ripe old age of early twenties, I settled into my “know it all” world view of Atheism.  This lasted to age 36.

I’ll list the books that transformed my life (and that of my family as well) from that point on, beginning with the earliest:

    • The Late Great Planet Earth  — Hal Lindsey.
    • There’s A New World Coming – Hal Lindsey
    • The Rapture  — Hal Lindsey
    • Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth  — Hal Lindsey
    • Others by Hal Lindsey

Lindsey’s books unexpectedly caught my attention when I innocently picked up his Late Great Planet Earth  book back in 1980. I thought I was going to read a fanciful yarn akin to Erich von Däniken‘s “Chariots of the Gods.” What I got instead was Lindsey laying out a case claiming that today’s current events line up with the prophetic Biblical writings of thousands of years ago describing the “last days” of planet earth. This was like getting hit upside the head with a 2×4 and got my attention and interest. 

Lindsey wrote his book in the 1970s in the midst of the Cold War  when the Soviet Union was a strong and prominent player on the world stage and Communism was on the march in many parts of the world. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, it appeared that Lindsey might be off the mark in highlighting Russia as one of the key players in the “end times” scenario. However, Russia is once more prominent as a world power, and in fact is now positioned in the Middle east (Syria) whereas it was not in the 1970s – something to pay attention too.   

There are many other thinkers and writers on Biblical Prophesy and I have read a number of them  — some good and others not so good (an exercise for the student?). But let me move on …

Lindsey’s books, along with my study of the actual Biblical passages he highlighted, launched me out of atheism and into Christianity. But I was a total rookie and had many questions and internal conflicts. The following are some of the books and ministries that helped this “seeker” through those oft-times confusing times.  

I could go on and on, but let me conclude …

During this period of seeking and growth back in the early 1980s, I actually did read the Bible through from cover to cover.  One of the surprises I found, as one of the worlds foremost experts in that book that I had not previously opened,  were the many  practical lessons useful for living a full life … how to be a better husband, father, friend, employee, boss, brother, son, citizen …

So I would encourage you as a fellow “seeker”, don’t stop at being just a “spiritual seeker”, but press on to seek the whole banquet that will fill that hunger within you.

 

Don Johnson – January 2017

 

 

 

 

ISIS, the Nations and the End of the World –maybe it’s time to take the Bible seriously.

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I became a Christian in 1981 largely through the unexpected realization that the Bible was true. This realization in my life came through predictive Bible prophesy made vivid in the books of Hal Lindsey, mainly his book The Late Great Planet Earth, what the New York Times called the “no. 1 non-fiction bestseller of the decade.” (1970s). 

Hal Lindsey
               (click  on the image above)

Read here the Barnes & Noble Overview of the book:

The impact of The Late Great Planet Earth cannot be overstated. The New York Times called it the “no. 1 non-fiction bestseller of the decade.” For Christians and non-Christians of the 1970s, Hal Lindsey’s blockbuster served as a wake-up call on events soon to come and events already unfolding — all leading up to the greatest event of all: the return of Jesus Christ. The years since have confirmed Lindsey’s insights into what biblical prophecy says about the times we live in. Whether you’re a church-going believer or someone who wouldn’t darken the door of a Christian institution, the Bible has much to tell you about the imminent future of this planet. In the midst of an out-of-control generation, it reveals a grand design that’s unfolding exactly according to plan. The rebirth of Israel. The threat of war in the Middle East. An increase in natural catastrophes. The revival of Satanism and witchcraft. These and other signs, foreseen by prophets from Moses to Jesus, portend the coming of an antichrist . . . of a war which will bring humanity to the brink of destruction . . . and of incredible deliverance for a desperate, dying planet.

And here we are,  decades later. Has that scare gone away? Are the events Lindsey talked about no longer of interest? Can we go  on with our lives and no longer worry about such earth-shattering events and now concentrate our worry on Global Warming?

Well no … the events and players in and around Israel are still in play, and perhaps even more relevant than in the 1970s when Lindsey wrote.

Even a casual, uninformed and uninterested person must have at least a passing interest and knowledge of events in the Middle East … and this describes me in those many years ago in my Atheist past.

So let me bring you up to date on what some are saying here in the much more enlightened year of 2016.

The following article is by Greg Laurie from the January issue of Decision magazine:

ISIS, the Nations and the End of the World

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The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3 that in the last days, things will go from bad to worse. We could compare events in the last days to dominoes that are closely stacked together. Once the first domino goes, the others will fall in rapid succession.

That is how it will be with world events in the last days, beginning with the emergence of the Antichrist. Then there is the Tribulation period. Then there is the Battle of Armageddon. Then there is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Then there is the Millennium. These events are closely stacked together. And once the first one starts, the others will follow in rapid succession. Events in our world today are getting very close to that. I think I can safely say that we have never been closer to the return of Jesus than we are right now.

In October 2014, at the Aspen Institute’s Washington Ideas Forum, former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was quoted as saying, “I think we are living through one of these historic, defining times. I think we are seeing a new world order.”

Hagel went on to say, “What we’re seeing in the Middle East with [ISIS] is going to require a steady, long-term effort. It’s going to require coalitions of common interests, which we are forming.”

We have shifting and change in global powers right now. A new world order will emerge. And I believe there are things happening right now that we have never seen before in human history. It is a reminder that Christ is coming.

Ezekiel 38 says that a large nation to the north of Israel’s newly established homeland, along with a number of allies, will invade Israel from every direction.

Get out a map of the world and find the little sliver of land in the Middle East known as Israel. Now look to Israel’s north. What do you find? You find Russia. Is Russia actually the force known as Magog, which the Bible says will march against Israel in the last days? No one can say with absolute certainty, but I think we can make a pretty good case for it.

Magog was the second son of Japheth (see Genesis 10:2), whose descendants, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, settled north of the Black Sea. The descendants of Tubal and Meshech, Japheth’s fifth and sixth sons, settled south of the Black Sea. These tribes intermarried and became known as Magog, settling to the north of Israel. In Ezekiel 39, God says, “I am your enemy, O Gog, ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and drive you toward the mountains of Israel, bringing you from the distant north” (Ezekiel 39:1-2).

Then there are the allies that ultimately will march with Magog. In Ezekiel 38 God says to Gog, “Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya will join you, too, with all their weapons” (Ezekiel 38:5). Persia officially became known as Iran in 1935. In 1979, Iran became an Islamic republic.

If the Magog that Ezekiel is speaking of is indeed Russia, then it’s fascinating that Iran is identified as an ally of Magog’s. It is worth noting that for 2,500 years, Russia had no alliance with Persia (Iran). That is, until now. Today they are officially allies. An alliance prophesied 2,500 years ago has been formed now. It is indeed a sign of the times.

General Mohammad Naghdi, commander of Iran’s Basij forces, stated, “Our ideal is not [nuclear] centrifuges but the destruction of the White House and the annihilation of Zionism [Israel].”

Which brings us to ISIS. Initially dismissed as a junior varsity rebel group, they have proven to be a major player in terrorism. We were all horrified by the attack in Paris, where 130 people died. Now it has come to America’s doorstep. San Bernardino is now the site of the largest American terrorist attack since 9/11. Terrorists Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14, leaving another 21 wounded. Malik pledged her loyalty to ISIS on Facebook and ISIS has called the shooters “followers.” It appears that Malik radicalized Farook.

We have never faced a terrorist group like ISIS before. Sebastian Gorka, an expert on ISIS, works closely with the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and the intelligence community. He proposes that ISIS is far more dangerous than Al Qaeda.

Among his findings are the fact that ISIS is the richest group of its type in human history, with enough cash to level about 1,600 terrorist acts equivalent to 9/11. He describes their ability to recruit as mind-boggling; they have recruited 19,000 foreign fighters in the last nine months. They do this largely through social media, radicalizing people online who have no digital footprint. These people are not necessarily being monitored by authorities. They do not have to be authorized by ISIS or anyone else. They get radicalized and they act. There are links to training videos that show them how to create acts of terrorism. They use encrypted technologies that hinder the ability of authorities to intercept and analyze information. This was not even possible until the last 10 years.

All of this is done with the objective of producing a global caliphate, or Islamic government.

Jesus told us to be aware of the signs of His return. And when those signs get closer together and bigger and brighter, we know that His coming is near. In fact, it seems as though every time we turn around, there is a new sign. That is what Jesus said it would be like before His return. These events will be happening closer and closer together, and we certainly are seeing that today.

As I see world events unfolding, I wonder if perhaps the Lord isn’t waiting for that last person to believe before He calls His church home. In fact, that person may be walking around on Earth somewhere today.

I believe the only hope for America is a nationwide revival.

Not convinced?
I can understand your reluctance and hesitance – even your welled up anger at some religious Jesus Freak  “trying to push his religion down my throat.” I’ve been there … I understand.

Don’t believe me … don’t believe Hal Lindsey … don’t believe Greg Laurie.

Do your own homework, your own research … don’t trust me … don’t go to church (yet) … read authors like Lindsey, Laurie and others and ask yourself perfectly reasonable questions:  “are these guys nuts?” “are these guys extremist religious weirdos … and how dangerous are they?”

Then check out what they are saying against history and current events.  Are they just liars out to make a buck on the gullible?

And finally … check out what they are saying against what’s actually written in the Bible. This may take some amount of courage … to actually open and read the Bible.

But ultimately what you do with it is totally up to you alone. You must decide for yourself what is truth in these matters.

This is not a matter of trying to win an argument.

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Don Johnson – February 2016

"Cry ‘Havoc!’, and let slip the dogs of war".

From Shakespeare:

“Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.”
… from Shakespeare’s  Julius Caesar

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Israel: Beware of Obama  From Michael Goodwin : New York Post March 22, 2015

First he comes for the banks and health care, uses the IRS to go after critics, politicizes the Justice Department, spies on journalists, tries to curb religious freedom, slashes the military, throws open the borders, doubles the debt and nationalizes the Internet.

He lies to the public, ignores the Constitution, inflames race relations and urges Latinos to punish Republican “enemies.” He abandons our ­allies, appeases tyrants, coddles ­adversaries and uses the Crusades as an excuse for inaction as Islamist terrorists slaughter their way across the Mideast.

Now he’s coming for Israel.

Barack Obama’s promise to transform America was too modest. He is transforming the whole world before our eyes. Do you see it yet?

Against the backdrop of the tsunami of trouble he has unleashed, Obama’s pledge to “reassess” America’s relationship with Israel cannot be taken lightly. Already paving the way for an Iranian nuke, he is hinting he’ll also let the other anti-Semites at Turtle Bay have their way. That could mean American support for punitive Security Council resolutions or for Palestinian statehood initiatives. It could mean both, or something worse.

Whatever form the punishment takes, it will aim to teach Bibi Netanyahu never again to upstage him. And to teach Israeli voters never again to elect somebody Obama doesn’t like.

Apologists and wishful thinkers, including some Jews, insist Obama real­izes that the special relationship between Israel and the United States must prevail and that allowing too much daylight between friends will encourage enemies.

Those people are slow learners, or, more dangerously, deny-ists.

If Obama’s six years in office teach us anything, it is that he is impervious to appeals to good sense. Quite the contrary. Even respectful suggestions from supporters that he behave in the traditions of American presidents fill him with angry determination to do it his way.

For Israel, the consequences will be intended. Those who make excuses for Obama’s policy failures — naive, bad advice, bad luck — have not come to grips with his dark impulses and deep-seated rage.

His visceral dislike for Netanyahu is genuine, but also serves as a convenient fig leaf for his visceral dislike of Israel. The fact that it’s personal with Netanyahu doesn’t explain six years of trying to bully Israelis into signing a suicide pact with Muslims bent on destroying them. Netanyahu’s only sin is that he puts his nation’s security first and refuses to knuckle ­under to Obama’s endless demands for unilateral concessions.

That refusal is now the excuse to act against Israel. Consider that, for all the upheaval around the world, the president rarely has a cross word for, let alone an open dispute with, any other foreign leader. He calls Great Britain’s David Cameron “bro” and praised Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammed Morsi, who had called Zionists, “the descendants of apes and pigs.”

Obama asked Vladimir Putin for patience, promising “more flexibility” after the 2012 election, a genuflection that earned him Russian aggression. His Asian pivot was a head fake, and China is exploiting the vacuum. None of those leaders has gotten the Netanyahu treatment, which included his being forced to use the White House back door on one trip, and the cold shoulder on another.

It is a clear and glaring double standard.

Most troubling is Obama’s bended-knee deference to Iran’s Supreme Leader, which has been repaid with “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” demonstrations in Tehran and expanded Iranian military action in other countries.

The courtship reached the height of absurdity last week, when Obama wished Iranians a happy Persian new year by equating Republican critics of his nuclear deal with the resistance of theocratic hard-liners, saying both “oppose a diplomatic solution.” That is a damnable slur given that a top American military official estimates that Iranian weapons, proxies and trainers killed 1,500 US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Who in their right mind would trust such an evil regime with a nuke?

Yet Netanyahu, the leader of our only reliable ally in the region, is ­repeatedly singled out for abuse. He alone is the target of an orchestrated attempt to defeat him at the polls, with Obama political operatives, funded in part by American taxpayers, working to elect his opponent.

They failed and Netanyahu prevailed because Israelis see him as their best bet to protect them. Their choice was wise, but they better buckle up because it’s Israel’s turn to face the wrath of Obama.

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From Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei –  Source: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/11/09/iran_s_khamenei_israel_must_be_annihilated.html

Iran’s Khamenei: No Cure for Barbaric Israel but Annihilation

View image on Twitter

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The Hamas Covenant  – Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas_Covenant

The Hamas Covenant also known as Hamas Charter, refers to the Charter of the Hamas, issued on 18 August 1988, outlining the movement founding identity, stand, and aims.[1]

The Charter identified Hamas as the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine and declares its members to be Muslims who “fear God and raise the banner of Jihad in the face of the oppressors.” The charter states that “our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious” and calls for the eventual creation of an Islamic state in Palestine, in place of Israel and the Palestinian Territories,[2] and the obliteration or dissolution of Israel.[3][4] It emphasizes the importance of jihad stating in article 13, “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”[5] The charter also states that Hamas is humanistic, and tolerant of other religions as long as they “stop disputing the sovereignty of Islam in this region”.[6] The Charter adds that “renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion” of Islam.[1]  …

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The Times of Israel reports“ … erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable, … ”

The commander of the Basij militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said that “erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable,” according to an Israel Radio report Tuesday. 

In 2014, Naqdi said Iran was stepping up efforts to arm West Bank Palestinians for battle against Israel, adding the move would lead to Israel’s annihilation, Iran’s Fars news agency reported.

“Arming the West Bank has started and weapons will be supplied to the people of this region,” Naqdi said.

“The Zionists should know that the next war won’t be confined to the present borders and the Mujahedeen will push them back,” he added. Naqdi claimed that much of Hamas’s arsenal, training and technical knowhow in the summer conflict with Israel was supplied by Iran.

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Some notable statements and actions of Obama on Israel

Obama calls for Israel’s return to pre-1967 borders – May 19, 2011 

These borders are referred to in Israel as the Auschwitz borders – referring of course to the infamous Nazi death camp where a good many of the 6,000,000 Jews of \Europe were gassed and burned – they are called the Auschwitz borders because Israelis realize that given a chance the surrounding nations would complete what Hitler started in his “Final Solution.”

I mark this May 2011  speech by the President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, as the point in which the United States of America officially turned its back on the nation Israel. You may object that many Americans, including yourself and  many in Congress have not turned their backs on Israel … and you’d be correct – except that the President of the United States is the official and Constitutional face of American foreign policy to the world. You and I – like it or not – are now living in a nation that has abandoned and turned its back on a nation surrounded by mortal enemies sworn to its destruction.

I find this to be utterly repulsive! A previous American President, Harry Truman, was the first to recognize the new nation of Israel in 1948 … and, as I recall, within minutes – not hours or days, but within minutes of its declaration as a new nation.

Obama’s longtime association with the anti-Semitic Jeremiah Wright:

For nearly two decades, Barack Obama was a member of Rev. Jeremiah Wright‘s Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Obama described Wright as his “spiritual advisor,” his “mentor,” and “one of the greatest preachers in America.” Moreover, Obama contributed large sums of money to Wright’s church, and he chose Wright to perform his wedding ceremony and to baptize his two young daughters.
Wright has long been a vocal critic of Israel and Zionism, which he has blamed for inflicting “injustice and … racism” on the Palestinian people. According to Wright, Zionism contains an element of “white racism.” Likening Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to South Africa’s treatment of blacks during the apartheid era, Wright advocates divestment campaigns targeting companies that conduct any business in, or with, Israel. He has referred to Israel as a “dirty word,” asserting that “ethnic cleansing [by] the Zionist is a sin and a crime against humanity.”
On December 4, 2007, Wright was named as a member of the Obama presidential campaign’s newly created African American Religious Leadership Committee. But Wright was compelled to step down from the Committee three months later, after videotapes of his many hate-filled sermons ignited fierce public debate and criticism. For further information about Wright and his anti-Semitism, click here.

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Obama’s real record on Israel

President Obama has never visited Israel during his time in office, despite having been as close as thirty minutes away in Egypt, and managing to go to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iraq.

President Obama told Jewish leaders in July 2009 that he was deliberately adopting a policy of putting daylight between America and Israel.

President Obama has legitimized the UN body most responsible for demonizing Israel as the world’s worst human rights violator.  The president joined the UN Human Rights Council in 2009 and is now seeking a second 3-year term, despite Israel’s requests that he do the opposite.  

President Obama made Israeli settlements the key stumbling block in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Starting in 2009 he chose to castigate Israel publicly, often, and in extreme terms at the General Assembly and the Security Council. The Palestinians took the president’s cue and ended direct negotiations until such time as Israel capitulates, even though the subject is supposed to be a final status issue.

President Obama treated Israel’s Prime Minister to a series of insulting snubs during his visit to the White House in March 2010.

President Obama cut a deal with Islamic states at a May 2010 meeting of parties to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, contrary to assurances given to Israel. He agreed to help convene a 2012 international conference intended to pivot attention towards disarming Israel and is currently negotiating the details of this diplomatic onslaught.
President Obama introduced in his September 2010 address to the General Assembly, a September 2011 timeline for full Palestinian statehood and membership in the UN, thus encouraging Palestinians to push the same unilateral move.  

President Obama suggested in May 2011 that Israel use the 1967 borders as a starting point for negotiations – knowing full well that Israel considers those borders to be indefensible, and that agreements require the border issue to be determined by the parties themselves.

President Obama created a “global counter-terrorism forum” in September 2011 and invited eleven Muslim states to join – on the grounds that they were “on the front lines in the struggle against terrorism.”  At the insistence of Turkey, he then denied entry to Israel.

President Obama told French President Nicolas Sarkozy in November 2011 – when he thought he was off-mike – that he regretted having to deal with Israel’s Prime Minister.

Obama: Yeah, This Iran Deal Doesn’t Actually Stop The Regime From Getting a Bomb  “What is a more relevant fear would be that in Year 13, 14, 15, they have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that point, the breakout times would have shrunk almost down to zero,” Obama said.

and more …

Some things the Bible says about Israel and Surrounding nations in what is called the “Times of the End.”

“I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:3 – speaking of Israel

There will be a mass return of Jews to the land of Israel (Deuteronomy 30:3; Isaiah 43:6; Ezekiel 34:11-13; 36:24; 37:1-14).

“ …  then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. … “ Deuteronomy 30:3

“ … I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar

and my daughters from the end of the earth, … “ Isaiah 43:6

“For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country.  … “ Ezekiel 34:11-13

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley;  it was full of bones. 2 And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me,i“Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

11 Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.”  Ezekiel 37:1-14

Red is Israel Green is Islamic nations

Zechariah 12:3
And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces although all nations of the earth are gathered against it.

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So yes … the dogs of war are being loosed yet once again. 

Barak Obama may not be one of those dogs, but he is certainly stepping up to the task of loosing those dogs … and the United States as it stands right now is one of those “nations of the earth gathering against it [Israel]”

 

Don Johnson – April 2015

Islam–Jihad … and the Ten Commandments – an update

Further to my previous  comments (see below) on the Ten Commandments, I would like to bring to you attention a marvelous little book The Ten Commandments – Still The Best Moral Code by Dennis Prager. 

While living in San Diego in previous years I enjoyed listening to the Dennis Prager radio talk show — you can follow him on the internet at the link just above, and I highly recommend him.

This little book of Prager’s is a great little book — concise, easy to read and quite relevant even (especially) in todays increasing secular culture.

In my comments below, I highlight “You shall have no other gods before me.” and talk about the evils that have been done throughout history by mankind creating all sorts of gods, and then acting out the conseqenses of believing in these false gods … the current onslaught of radical Islam is a prime example of such evil.

Prager’s take on this commandment — “You shall have no other gods before me” puts it in the context of —  let me just let him say it —


… The point of biblical monotheism is that there is only one God and that only this God, the Creator of the universe Who demands that we keep these Ten Commandments, is to be worshiped. Why? First, because one God means one human race. Only if we have the same Creator, or Father, as it were, are we all brothers and sisters. Second, having the same parent also means that no person or group is intrinsically more valuable than any other. And third, one God means one moral standard for all people. If God declares murder wrong, it is wrong for everyone, and you can’t go to another god for another moral standard.   … ”


Prager introduces this little book by stating “The most important words ever written are the Ten Commandments.  … ”

I could scarcely disagree with that sentiment.


Exodus 20

And God spoke all these words:

2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

____________________________

Continue reading

A Stronger Israel?

“In postmodern wars, we are told, there is no victory, no defeat, no aggressors, no defenders, just a tragedy of conflicting agendas. But in such a mindless and amoral landscape, Israel in fact is on its way to emerging in a far better position after the Gaza war than before.”

Further to my previous post ‘Hamas Tunnels Used To Target Israel’s Kindergartens,’ I would like to direct your attention to this essay by Victor Davis Hanson.

Also, in light of the continuing wars and struggles in the Middle East, in particular as related to Israel, I would encourage you to investigate for yourself the Biblical prophesies concerning Israel and the “End Times.” In these prophesies, as well as in the daily media reporting we see an increasingly isolated Israel forced more and more to go it alone in its own defense. We also see a resurgence of anti-Semitism and hatred of the Jew, in particular in Europe where, as you may recall, a man named Adolf Hitler set off on a program for the total and complete annihilation of the Jews.

Iran and other nations surrounding Israel, and especially the so-called Palestinians have been actively seeking the completion of Hitler’s genocide since the re-establishment of Israel in 1948, and the United States appears also to be abandoning Israel as we see our president Barack Obama in May of 2011 pressuring a return to the 1967 boundaries of Israel … boundaries referred to in Israel as the Auschwitz borders, and our Secretary of State John Kerry actively courting the enemies of Israel in achieving a so-called “Peace Process.”

Are we living in the “End Times” as prophesied in the Bible? I can’t tell you that we are or are not … all I can do is to call your attention to such a possibility, and call your attention to the personal implications if indeed we are living in such times.

Do your own study and research. In today’s Internet age, it is easier than ever to investigate and inform yourself, an I strongly encourage you to do so.

Do an Internet search on, for example “Psalm 83 wars” and Ezekiel 28, and on Matthew 24. Do a search on “End Times” and see what you can find with this searches.

Don Johnson — August 2014

Guest Commentary: Current state of the Union

 

America, Love it or Leave it

That means you too Mr. Obama!!!

By: Dean Elliot

WE ARE JUST 5 DAYS AWAY FROM FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMING AMERICA.

Remember that statement made 5 days before Obama took office in 2009? That statement raised a few eyebrows then but most didn’t understand at that time the full meaning of what he intended to do to our country. The press gave him a pass and the uninformed voted for him not because of his experience, education, leadership techniques, or the content of his character (most of these were unknown) but simply because of the color of his skin and the fact that he could read a teleprompter.

If you look at how he has acted since he has been in office, he has never gotten out of campaign mode. Well, maybe a little; he does play golf a lot, but depending on who he plays with, that could be campaigning as well. Case in point: The strike on Benghazi in the evening. Where was he? After he was informed, he went to bed to rest up for his trip to Las Vegas for a fundraiser and a round of golf the next day. Baghdad is about to be overrun. Where is he? Jumps on AirForce One and goes to Palm Springs for a fundraiser and more golf. Where are the priorities here?? Fundamentally Changing America, “playing” president, and lavish vacations (at taxpayer expense) are the obvious priorities.

Why does he want to change America? He grew up outside of our country, went to Muslim schools, befriended communist radicals and absorbed their teachings, styles and goals, and sat under the religious teaching of Rev Wright, who hates America and is a radical racist. What do you expect form a man with such background. There is still “hushed” controversy over his place of birth and thus his eligibility to be president. He and his wife (who stated ‘I am finally proud to be an American’) have spent large amounts of money hiding their school records and anything else that would provide insight into their background. If you want to hide these things, then there must be something to hide. Based on the color of his skin, the press gives him a pass.

To accomplish the goal of changing America he surrounded himself with radicals, communists, marxists and gave them the authority to accomplish his goals.

Some of his first actions were to tour the World apologizing for how bad America has been, patting our enemies on the back, alienating our friends and bowing to Muslim leaders. He does nothing to stand up to those threatening us. The result is that no one is afraid of what we might do if they attack. ie; Benghazi: no one has even been indicted 2 years later. Israel, our only friend in the region, can’t trust or depend on us any more. European leaders have absolutely no respect for him.

By the way, based on his actions with Muslims, he is at best a Muslim sympathizer and at worst an undercover outright Muslim.

Then there are the scandals and cover-ups. Does any one in this administration care. I think not. Obama does not care as long as he can get away with ignoring the adverse situations or making some ovations to appease the critics. If these situations do not directly affect his ultimate goal of “Change” or his vacations, then he really doesn’t care what happens.

What is the result for America? We are weak in the world. World leaders who are our friends don’t trust our president; they view us as floundering on the world scene. We have pulled back as a world power to keep evil in check and evil is filling the gap. Soon this evil will be not only at our doorstep but will have caused more and worse damage than that which 9-11 did to our country.

I haven’t said anything about the debt crises. By the time Obama leaves office, he will have increased the national debt by $10 trillion, more debt than all the other presidents combined. This in itself will bring the country to it’s knees.

Who is going to stop this monster that we have for a president. Congress seems powerless and the Supreme Court won’t stand up and say enough is enough. It seems that some of the country is waking up. Maybe they will show some resolve in the voting booths in November. Hopefully there will be some credible people counting the votes this time. The problems discussed here will only get worse, I’m afraid, until Obama is out of office. Since impeachment is probably not in the cards, we will have to endure for another 2 years. If conservatives can hold the house and take over the Senate maybe they can at lease slow Obama down and stand up and say enough is enough!

We need to remember that God knows what is going on and is ultimately in control. There is a sign as you come into Mojave, Ca that has been there for years. It reads as follows:

“2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Our Christian Nation needs to heed that verse from the Bible and get on our knees and maybe we can see the kind of change that is needed.

 

Dean Elliot – June 2014

A Somewhat Easy Prediction: Iran to Have Deliverable Nuclear Weapons This Year

But then what? That is the big question.

The answer is — Big Trouble, though we don’t yet know the magnitude of that trouble.

We have several avenues of evidence that sheds light on that question:

  • Iran’s constant threats to wipe out the nation Israel – in other words, to complete Hitler’s Holocaust. The new Iranian president uses less strident words and phrases than his predecessor, but the intent is the same … and the ruling Muslim religious leaders have not changed their tune.
  • Iran’s cronies and surrogates are the biggest perpetrators of terrorism and militant upheaval, and seek hegemony in the Middle East … and ultimately well beyond.
  • The US government of Barack Obama, John Kerry and others have abandoned any pretense of stopping the Iranian ‘bomb’, and in essence have given the green light to Iran for completion of its weapons program – all the while cutting Israel out of the picture.

This last item, the US (and the West’s) capitulation to Iran is a near replay of the 1930’s when Neville Chamberlin capitulated to Hitler and thus precipitated World War II.  Read this chilling article: What Churchill Would Make of Obama’s Iran Appeasement to get a clear picture of the admonition we often hear but mostly ignore “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Read what  Churchill said about Chamberlin’s actions at the time:

“Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonour. They chose dishonour. They will have war.”

Translating to todays world we have:  “Obama spokesman Jay Carney said the alternative to the nuclear deal would be war.” Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, warned that the failure of the deal will force Obama to, “choose between military options or allowing Iran’s nuclear program to continue.”

The author of the Churchill article continues:

Since the deal allows Iran’s nuclear program to continue, it’s a buffet of three choices, all three of which lead to conflict of some kind. The only variations are in the date and in the capabilities of the enemy.

That was the problem with Munich.

Hitler had already been making plans for a war with Britain and France that would commence three or four years after finishing off Czechoslovakia. The only thing that the Munich Agreement accomplished was to speed up Hitler’s timetable from three years to one by letting him finish his business with the Czechs earlier than he had planned.

Winston Churchill spoke. “I will… begin by saying the most unpopular and most unwelcome thing… we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat.”

Iran obtaining deliverable nuclear weapons gives them enormous flexibility an advancing their goals – both in blackmailing neighboring nations as well as actual warfare short of using their nuclear weapons. And with the United States out of the short term picture as a foil against this near future Iranian aggression, the outlook looks bleak indeed.

And – it will only be a matter of time before the US gets drawn back into the fray … but at a decidedly weakened  disadvantage.

And Israel? Israel undoubtedly will feel the brunt of military attacks against it – perhaps in several phases – the first being conventional and stepped up terrorist attacks, followed by threats of and actual nuclear attacks.

Israel will survive all of this, and actually emerge the stronger visa vie its Arab and Persian neighbors. This survival will be because it’s one true ally – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – will stand between Israel and its enemies.

Zechariah 12 (Jerusalem’s Enemies to Be Destroyed}

A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel.

The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’

“On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.

“The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.

*  *  *  *

From where I sit it looks like major war coming once again to the Middle East. And if this happens the US will be on the wrong side.

What can we do as individuals?

John 3:16

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 

Don Johnson – January 2014

Maybe We Should Pay More Attention To The Bible … Part 6: Israel Isolated – Iran & Saudi-Arabia Go Nuclear

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing  without revealing his plan   to his servants the prophets.
Amos 3:7

From todays news:

Geneva fallout: Iran becomes a nuclear power, followed by Saudis. Israel loses trust in Obama

Israel’s most painful lesson from the two-day Geneva conference on Iran’s nuclear program is that the man who guaranteed to defend Israel’s security, President Barack Obama, is now marching hand in hand with Tehran towards a nuclear-armed Iran.

Some time ago, the Saudis took what they saw as appropriate preemptive action.

On Jan. 1, 2013, Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and defense minister, traveled to Islamabad and commissioned Pakistan to build nuclear weapons for a multibillion fee. Those weapons were assembled in Pakistan and held ready for transfer to Saudi Arabia at a moment’s notice.

Broken Promises: Obama Turns Back the Clock to 1949

It’s as if the 1967 war never happened and the Palestinians didn’t murder thousands of Israelis. It’s as if Madrid never happened and Oslo was a dream and Camp David a figment.

With his State Department speech Thursday, President Obama has turned back the clocks to 1949.

By asking Israel to negotiate based on the pre-1967 borders, he is acceding to a key Arab demand. True, the president said the two sides should agree on “land swaps” but no U.S. president had ever explicitly endorsed the 1967 lines as the starting point for negotiations.

From the ancient goat herders:

Zechariah 12 (Jerusalem’s Enemies to Be Destroyed}

A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel.

The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares: “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the Lord Almighty is their God.’

“On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume all the surrounding peoples right and left, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.

“The Lord will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem’s inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day the Lord will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the Lord going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.

*  *  *  *

From where I sit it looks like major war coming once again to the Middle East. And if this happens the US will be on the wrong side.

Don Johnson – November 2013

My Free Psychoanalysis Examination On the Couch of Dr. Mackinz

Background and Introduction:

In recent months I have been sticking my nose into places where I see the need for a view contrary to that presented by the articles of interest: in particular those having an evident atheistic and neo-Darwinist bent, and those I feel have a detrimental impact on American life and culture. My forays are usually met with hostility, insult and ridicule … especially from readers and commenters in the Huffington Post.

Recently I ‘ve come across a new site http://ncse.com/blog and I’ve stuck my nose in there as well. The NCSE site advertises itself as a science and education advocacy site. The NCSE site is actually a political advocacy site (fair enough) whose goal is to un-constitutionally intrude government directly into the 1’st amendment as I will argue in this piece.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

You can follow the dialogue on the NCSE site; my moniker is AYearningForPublius.

I single out a fellow who goes by the moniker Mackin, and  will use the metaphor of a Psychoanalysis Examination with me as the patient.
I will use DrMackin when using Mackin’s words directly from his response to me.

I will use DrCouldHaveSaid when I insert what I believe may be consistent with Mackin’s  thinking and world view based on what he (and other like minded people on the site, who I will try to name by moniker, have said). But I could be wrong.

Welcome to the session  … but first let me capture my remarks that triggered the Psychoanalysis Session, lest it be placed under house arrest and disappear from http://www.ncse.com/blog.

—————————————————————–

Dear
Mackinz,

First of all I thank you for your apology, very much appreciated in such a
contentious discussion.

Again you refer me to TalkOrigins, and thanks for that link. I was not aware it existed. Lots of work went into it by the editor(s) and I’m sure it has had a great effect on it’s intended audience.

Skipping to your last paragraph “Toss away all prior assumptions and go where the evidence leads you. Not emotions.”

I have done exactly that, beginning in about 1981 at the age of 36. You see I became a Christian during that time and had a lot of catching up to do on two fronts;

First of all I was coming out of a long period of atheism, and by default evolutionary thought. I don’t recall that I was steeped in evolutionary theory during those years, but back then as now, evolution as a world view was pervasive and unavoidable, and I suspect (memory fades) that it was for me a convenient crutch to support my atheism.

So, there I was confronted with a clash of the two world views of “Darwin did it” and “God did it.” This conflict was traumatic, and I had two choices 1) abandon my new found faith and revert to my previous life, or 2) press ahead with my new life (Born again?) and start digging for answers. At that time, the most readily available resource was the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), just across town. I chose to dig in and search for the answers.
During this period I suppose I was a ripe candidate for TalkOrigins, but found, and still find, a wealth of information from ICR (and Discovery Institute).

It wasn’t quick, and it wasn’t easy, but after much time and much study and prayer, creation became more and more a settled issue in my life.

The second front was my faith, and in particular who was this man called Jesus?
And why should I trust the Bible, a book in which I was the worlds leading authority, but had not even opened it (you should be able to figure that one out).

So I set off on and intense study of Biblical apologetics, and again after much time and much study and prayer, The truth of the Bible became more and more a settled issue in my life. And no, I didn’t treat it as a scientific book.

I Have browsed through TalkOrigin, and in future posts, if you are still listening, would like to comment on a few of them.

Debates such as ours have been going on for years and centuries, and have been debated,
diced and sliced by folks much smarter and wiser than I (and perhaps you). So I thought I would use this time and opportunity to share just one man’s journey through all of this.

Lastly, in this exchange, I’ve run across yet another site http://www.trueorigin.org/
and in particular an interesting debate at http://www.trueorigin.org/spet…
you might like to read; lengthy but informative.

regards,
don

—————————————————————————–

And now to the session.

DrMackin: Don, I’m not sure you understand just how much your arguments are about emotional appeals.

Me: Excuse me Dr. I hate to interrupt you when we have just barely started on this session, but I just must say a few things that may help you to more clearly understand me.

Of course I understand my emotions and how they effected me – both then and even now many years later. I was there! Let me repeat, I was there …  at the front lines in a very real personal battle, and in a very personal sense … a crisis if you will. To pretend there wasn’t emotion involved, or should not have been involved, would be a serious misunderstanding.

Emotions are a significant part of who I am, and always have been. And I suppose they are a part of most everyone else as well. Emotion does inform my life in a variety of ways, and in a variety of circumstances as well, including; decision making, my view on science, politics, culture. And the forming and framing of arguments often times involves emotion and decisions..

Emotions such as love, hate, curiosity, awe, anger, envy (hopefully not that often), appreciation of things of beauty …  and others. Gosh, if emotions didn’t inform my decisions, and sometimes my arguments I should think I would be much like a robot. And of course, emotion is not the sole basis of life, nor is raw logic; each is there and each is important.

Just wanted to help you in understanding me so this session might be more productive. You are the doctor, and I realize that you understand the brain and the mind –  the atoms and molecules – and how thy work, a lot better than I do.

But remember … I was there ….

DrCouldHaveSaid:  Yea well … moving on.

DrMackin: First of all is this assumption:

“First of all I was coming out of a long period of atheism, and by default evolutionary thought. I don’t recall that I was steeped in evolutionary theory during those years, but back then as now, evolution as a world view was pervasive and unavoidable, and I suspect (memory fades) that it was for me a convenient crutch to support my atheism.”

Evolution is not a world view. Evolution does not dictate what is right or wrong. Evolution is simply the reality of the world, and you can yearn for a better purpose in life without a super-being creating you with one.

Me: Excuse me again Dr. but may I say something here?

DrCouldHaveSaid:  Of course Donald, you go right ahead.

Me: Well as far as I can tell, Evolution is a world view.

DrCouldHaveSaid: Yea … well …

Me: No seriously, it really is, and let me explain my view if I may.

First of all is your definition of science as:

naturalism “the idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to Supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world; (occas.) the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world.”

One of the more vivid examples of this type of world view I’ve seen in recent years  is an article from a August 2013 Special Collector’s Edition of Scientific American (Volume 22, Number 2), and the article ‘Origin of the Universe’. Now please understand Doctor, that many of us get our ideas of science from these popular magazines … we don’t have time to get our PhDs.

DrCouldHaveSaid:  Now wait a minute here, we’re talking about evolution … not the origin of the universe.

Me: Let me continue, I have the magazine at home and probably should have brought it had I known ….

There is a really vivid and cool graphic split into two parts across several pages; the first is titled Before the Big Bang, and of course at the center of the picture is … you guessed it … the Big Bang.

Feeding into the Big Bang from the left, as  time before the BB, it shows three or maybe four possibilities; I guess you might call them hypotheses.

  • No Previous Era.
  • Quantum Emergence.
  • Multiverse.
  • Cyclic Universe (this one is not highlighted as the others.)

The graphic depicts the resultant universe(s)  as we know it(them), continuing with four possible futures; but that’s not relevant to what I’m getting at.

You see Dr. there seems to be a big hole in this otherwise nice graphic. What if there is indeed a designer to the left of this Big Bang? What if?

The “what if” question … a key component of intellectual endeavor and discovery. Why is this possibility excluded with no further discussion? What if it were not excluded? After all, I believe (sorry for using that word so loosely) that folks like Newton and Galileo would have included that possibility in such a graphic, and thus their world view.

So, I can only conclude that  naturalism creates (sorry) a different world view than the one many of us, including scientists (such as Newton)  subscribe to.

And if naturalism is to be believed, and strictly adhered to, then something like neo-Darwinism is the only avenue left for discussion and inquiry …  thus evolution is part and parcel of a world view.

In an article trying to explain Why Intelligent Design Isn’t Good Science at a site called Naturalism.org at: http://www.naturalism.org/science.htm#whyintelligent

There is a statement that saysIntelligent design fails as science not because science a priori rules out the supernatural (methodologically it doesn’t need to do this, and in fact wastes no time on the matter), but because the intelligent design hypothesis has no merit as a scientific explanation.”

Doctor, when I read this statement at face value, it confirms the graphic I described earlier. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but that statement and the graphic, both tell me that intelligent design has been rejected a priori, what’s going on here?

Also from that same naturalism.org blog comes:

“Science is a way of knowing about the natural world. It is limited to explaining the natural world through natural causes. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral.”

This is simply not true!

The fact that your organization is attempting to censor this discourse in the schools, and elsewhere, says, that in your learned judgment, you are not neutral, and your brand of science is not neutral on the matter of whether God exists. You have taken a very strong political stand on this issue, and if you are successful, great damage will be inflicted on generations to come, and great damage will be inflicted on the rights guaranteed to all American citizens by the First Amendment.

I will be discussing more on this topic Doctor, in my concluding remarks to this Psychological examination.

DrCouldHaveSaid:  It’s all poppycock. An attempt to avoid a question with the non-answer “God did it”.

Me: Hmm … I don’t think I heard a real response there, but in any case lets continue with my analysis

Hey Doc … guess what? I actually used logic here, and not much emotion, maybe you and I are making some progress here.

DrCouldHaveSaid (actually posted by robnieboer):  I, for one, refuse to read the garbage dressed up in pseudo-scientific terminology that passes for creation “science”. Creation “science” is all about a single statement: God did it. End of story. All the rest of the claptrap is attempts to poke holes in real science to support “God did it.

Me: Sorry to get you all riled up Doc, but aren’t I the one that’s here to get cured of emotionalism. 

DrCouldHaveSaid:  Yea, well, in any case …

DrMackin: Next there’s this:

“So, there I was confronted with a clash of the two world views of “Darwin did it” and ‘God did it.”’”

There is no such thing as “Darwin did it” when it comes to evolutionary science. This is an attempt to conflate science with an appeal to authority, a fallacious argument.

Me: Again Doc … sorry to get you so worked up. Actually I was just using a bit of short hand. You know; “God did it” … “Darwin did it”. You OK with that?

DrMackin: The only thing Darwin did was posit an idea based on his own experiences in the Galapagos, which could possibly explain how life became so diverse. What most people not interested in science fail to understand is that the scientific community does not regard Darwin as anything more than a smart man, like Albert Einstein. In fact, like Einstein, scientists have come to find that Darwin, while correct in general (i.e. life has changed over time through adaption), was actually wrong in many ways.

There are many, many other scientists who have made lasting impacts on the theory of evolution… Darwin just started the chain of dominoes. Scientists would have come to the same results with or without Darwin. Darwin even had a “rival” by the name of Alfred Russel Wallace who conceived of the idea of evolution before Darwin published any works.

Me: Yes, I understand, as well as critics such as Louis Agassiz of Harvard, a contemporary of Darwin. The story of Louis Agassiz is covered in Stephen Meyer’s book Darwin’s Doubt in Chapter 1.

DrMackin: And they did not base their ideas on divine revelation or a selectively edited book written with no credibility. They based it off of observations of nature, and then had other scientists throughout the past century and a half add onto it, refining it and helping explain what one man could not do alone.

Evolution is not about “Darwin did it”.

Me: Again Doc … calm down,  just shorthand.

DrCouldHaveSaid:  So then you said:

This conflict was traumatic, and I had two choices 1) abandon my new found faith and revert to my previous life, or 2) press ahead with my new life (Born again?) and start digging for answers.”

Me: Yea, that’s about right, probably what I said.

DrMackin: Faith in and of itself is not based on logic. It is based on emotions, specifically hope and a desire or yearning for something.

Me: Well Doc, were maybe getting close to agreement on something. Your atheistic faith as expressed by Stephen Hawking when he said “ … tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe became the seeds from which galaxies, stars, and ultimately human life emerged” can’t be proven and is actually pretty bizarre, maybe mathematically sound, but ultimately only that. Likewise old emotional me,  when it comes to “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” can’t be proven either, but caries a whole lot more credibility among us ignorant goat herders than egg-head pontificators talking about fluctuations that produce Tom Brady (he’s that skilled football player by the way).

And hell yea, I have hopes and desires and yearnings for something —  good things and fulfillment for myself, my country and those I love; don’t you?

DrCouldHaveSaid:  So then you said:

“At that time, the most readily available resource was the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), just across town. I chose to dig in and search for the answers.”

DrMackin:

1) I’m sorry that you thought that was the only resource available.

Me: Correction Doctor, I said it was the most readily available, but please continue.

2) You didn’t dig hard enough. You stopped halfway after you found an idea that called out to you emotionally instead of logically.

It wasn’t quick, and it wasn’t easy, but after much time and much study
and prayer, creation became more and more a settled issue in my life.”

DrMackin: One part of logic is to never settle, to always ask questions. Even today, scientists are working to find flaws with the theory of evolution… they just realistically can’t and every attempt to discredit the theory has led to the strengthening of it because it corrected errors that no one had accounted for because no one knew they existed beforehand.

“And no, I didn’t treat it as a scientific book.”

And that is the problem.

Me: No Doctor … I don’t think that is the problem. The real problem and the reason I’m here on your couch in the NCSE Psychiatric Clinic  is the idea I have in my head that contrary to the assertion as Dawkins said “Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory, we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories.” Or as Lawrence Krauss said “The illusion of purpose and design is perhaps the most pervasive illusion about nature that science has to confront on a daily basis. Everywhere we look, it appears that the world was designed so that we could flourish.” Or as Francis Crick stated “It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

Crick said elsewhere “constantly keep in mind that what they (biologists) see, was not designed, but rather evolved.”

So you see Doctor, any contrary notions such as design are to be totally excluded from investigation in science or in the classroom … and I have a problem with that.

I don’t buy into those quotes from the illustrious scientists quoted above, and here’s why:

My experience in life, and especially my experience in my work life REQUIRES me to believe in design. I was a software developer for close to 40 years, with most of it centered on modifications to large scale complex systems and systems of systems. Once in awhile I had the privilege of designing something from scratch, but this was by far the exception. Most of the time I was standing on the shoulders of those giants who preceded me.

This distinction between design and modification is very important to understand. You see, to be successful at modifying, fixing or extending these complex systems, it is necessary to understand, as much as possible, the design of the system. Only when some degree of understanding of the design is achieved, is it possible to successful change or add to the system capability. 

These systems not only had the appearance of design, they had design … they were designed. And to proceed under any other assumption is pure folly.

Had I bought into Crick’s atheistic philosophy (because that’s what it is), then I would have been an utter and complete failure and my long and mostly successful career would have ended in its infancy.

The same is true in just about every other area of our day-to-day life. The auto mechanic must have some notion of the design of the engine he is working on, and the more knowledge of that design, the more effective he becomes and the more wealth he is able to produce.

The doctor operating on my heart, my brain, my worn out knee, my weakening eyesight must have some knowledge of the design of these organs in my body.

The pilot flying the airliner I am taking to San Diego, or the F-15 fighter pilot must have extensive knowledge of the design of his aircraft, and its subsystems, else he crashes all of us into the ground, or is shot down by an enemy that does understand design.

My father, a very good TV repairman in his day, studied the designs of the TVs he was fixing, often using the design blueprints specific to the brand and model he was working on.

The watch maker must have intimate knowledge of the designs required to craft a fine time keeping machine.

The power plant operator or the maintenance crew of a refinery or oil rig must,  of necessity understand much of the design of these very complicated systems.

The sailor aboard a modern aircraft carrier must be well trained in the designs of those systems he is responsible for operating and maintaining. And he must be trained in the design of the various damage control systems, devices and schemes, especially when at general quarters fighting a savage battle. You might try enlisting and serving 3 or 4 tours on one of those things to get an appreciation of design in the real world. Short of that, watch some episodes of “Victory at Sea” and imagine yourself in such circumstances.

Then just yesterday I had the exciting experience of watching another amazing machine, and it’s design, working right within my own body for close now to 70 years – my heart.

For 45 minutes I laid on my side and watched the operation of my heart on a video monitor while the skilled technician performed an Echocardiography examination of my heart.

I watched and listened as the various muscles, valves, veins and arteries pulsed and squeezed in harmony as they went about the work of circulating blood throughout my body. An amazing experience.  I could even see the blood flowing.

At no time during this examination did I ever have the thought that what I was experiencing was ‘the illusion of purpose and design’, or what I was seeing ‘was not designed, but rather evolved.’ Such thoughts would have been absurd.

And the successful author must have a keen sense of the grammatical designs that readers will buy.

I had a boss awhile back, retired major general  Kenneth J. Houghton — ‘a Marine Corps legend’ Kenny had a phrase that caught on with me; something along the lines of “that should be obvious, even to a sea-going corporal.” an idea that Francis Crick, without a doubt, a brilliant scientist and discoverer of the DNA helix, perhaps could have given an ear to such wisdom with no degradation of his brilliance as a scientist.

Most of us folks working in areas such as I have described don’t even consciously think along these lines of is it a design or not … we just plunge in and seek out the design, and then do our work. You might want to take a long sabbatical and try one of these trades or skills that require you to delve deeply into design, and then come back and talk about design. 

The real problem is that you want to keep the idea of design hidden from my school age children and grandchildren, and from political authorities at all levels, and impose totally, an atheistic world view contrary to the notion that things in nature that appear to be designed, may in fact be designed.

Let me tell you a story I’ve learned just recently, a story about a scientist, and a story about DNA, and a story of  recent successes in unraveling a great deal of knowledge about DNA.

DrCouldHaveSaid: (actually Duane K. Roelofs said it) Now see here, you ignorant believer in fairy tales, I am one whose mind hasn’t been addled by Postmodernist, Deconstructionist nonsense. Creationism is not the objective truth. It is only a grossly mistaken, purely subjective, unfounded sacred guess about origins.

Me: There’s that emotionalism coming out again Doc, but let me continue with my story, because it is a story about science and a large scale investigation – an investigation based on the pursuit of truth.

The scientist was Richard Sternberg, at one time the editor of the biology journal, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, a Smithsonian Institute journal.

Dr. Sternberg made the mistake of allowing a peer reviewed paper into the journal that argued that the theory of intelligent design could help explain the origin of biological information. The paper was authored by Stephen Meyer, the year was 2004.

You can read about the subsequent demotion and smear campaign against Sternberg in Meyer’s  book Darwin’s Doubt (chapter 11).

But let’s skip ahead in time and pick up with Dr. Sternberg in a new role – that of a researcher in the ENCODE project (short for Encyclopedia of DNA Elements).

Quite a number of ENCODE research papers were recently published, and one of the key findings was that large portions of genome that had previously been thought of as junk DNA, because they didn’t code for protein (whatever the heck that means), actually had function. The finding was that at least 80% of the genome was indeed functional, and not junk. Now mind you, Doc, this junk DNA was thought for a long time to be major evidence for evolution, since it was thought that this junk was just a collection of debris from millions of years of failed evolutionary trials.

And, science being what it is, I would expect that 80% number to increase as the years pass.    

As Stephen Meyer points out on page 402 of Darwin’s Doubt,

During the early part of the decade, before ENCODE made the headlines, this scientist published many articles challenging the idea of junk DNA based on genomics research that he was conducting at the National Institute of Health …”

Continuing Meyer points out:

… the evolutionary biologist that was punished for his openness to intelligent design while serving at the Smithsonian Institute … [and] his doubts about neo-Darwinism and his growing interest in intelligent design led him to consider the possibility that the majority of the genome could really be functional. His research subsequently confirmed what was for him, an idea inspired in part by intelligent design.”

So Doctor, here is a positive and significant modern example of one who opened the door I speak of in my own paper Atheism, and who ventured  out of the cave and helped discover some amazing and wonderful knowledge about life.

Newton and Galileo also come to mind.

DrMackin: As I outlined in my “Anti-Bible” post, the Bible is full of stuff that does not make sense. Put simply, the god of the Bible creates everything, knows everything, and loves everyone but creates imperfect humans, places them in paradise with an “evil” tree, creates a snake to tempt them into eating from the tree, then punishes them and all of their descendants for eternity for doing so unless they dedicate their entire lives to worshiping him? How the heck is this supposed to make sense?

Me: Let be bring up once more in this context, the idea of naturalism “the idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world; (occas.) the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world.”

Subscribing strongly to this world view seems to present a few significant problems: it will naturally color and throw up a strong bias making it difficult to accept that there is any truth to be found outside of science. There is truth to be found outside of science, and there is truth to be found in the Bible; moral truths, truths about relationships and others. But a naturalistic bias will  make it difficult to even begin a search for  such truths.

Please Doctor, hear me out. I myself am comfortable with intelligent design and creationism, but also understand that I am not affiliated with this philosophy other than as an interested layman. Also, please give the proponents the courtesy and the benefit of professional doubt that they are not invoking holy scriptures of any sort as the basis of intelligent design. Meyer doesn’t, and neither did  Dr. Sternberg in his ENCODE research. Here is a key part of the basis for intelligent design:

“Intelligent design refers to a scientific research program as well as a community of scientists, philosophers and other scholars who seek evidence of design in nature. The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.  … “

DrMackin: And then what are you told in church? The devil (which god would have had to create) is out to get you and get you sent to hell? Why hasn’t God, being as powerful, knowing, and loving as he supposedly is, turned the Devil back into an Angel yet? Is he not interested in saving billions of lives?

DrCouldHaveSaid:  (actually it was P.Brain) If you turn your kids into idiots,they’ll turn their kids into idiots. And when they travel to another modern country,they’ll wonder why everyone thinks they’re an idiot.” Welcome to Europe, you believe in what?….That guy’s an idiot!”

Me: Sounds like you’re getting emotionally worked up again Doc, and lecturing rather than helping me with my own emotional hang-ups … settle down and let’s continue.

Oh, and do you mean those rational modern Europeans that produced Robespierre,  Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Eric Honecker et al?

DrMackin: Free will? Does not exist with an all-knowing, all-powerful god. If he knows everything and can do anything, then anything he wants to happen will happen and anything he does not want to happen will not happen. That’s simple logic.

You were probably never given a satisfactory answer to any questions or were encouraged not to ask questions… I could go on and on.

My point is that you did not base your argument on logic. You settled for something that appealed to you so you would not have to think anymore. You let your contentedness get ahead of your curiosity.

Me: I think we are moving away from a discussion of science into religion, which I guess is OK, because it does, in a way fit into the emotionalism that both of us exhibit when discussion our contrary views.

But I must make a remark or two about ‘free will’.

Contrary to what you say, the Bible teaches free will from Genesis to Revelation. This is evident in the story of the fall of man in the garden of Eden. Regardless of your view on this story, it is a story of the free will of the first two humans and what the Bible teaches was a wrong choice.

Another great example of  free will taught in the Old Testament, and also a great teaching on moral truth is the story of David and Bathsheba.  In the book of 2 Samuel, chapter 11 is told the story of how King David, exercising his free will, broke a number of the 10 Commandments in seducing Bathsheba and then arranging the death of her soldier husband in order to cover up the adultery and the subsequent child.

King David being a smart and logical guy concocted this whole episode based on emotion, lust and logic  …  but lurking near the surface was guilt and shame.

Being king, he could very easily have gotten away with it, and in a purely secular and human sense, perhaps he did.   But then there’s the rest of the story.

Over in the Psalms we read of the shame and guilt of David as he wrestles with what he has done. We read words such as these:

Psalm 32  “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”

Psalm 38  “ Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.
Your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down on me.
Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin.
My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.

My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.
I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning.
My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body.
I am feeble and utterly crushed;
I groan in anguish of heart.

All my longings lie open before you, Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart pounds, my strength fails me; even the light has gone from my eyes.”

And in those same Psalms we also read of a man who is truly sorry and repentant of the bad choices he has made.

Psalm 32: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

Psalm 38: “I confess my iniquity;
I am troubled by my sin.”

Note well here that the sins we commit, the bad decisions we make are often unredeemable in the context of those we have sinned against.  I have one particular episode in my past that sticks out to me, but what I did is irretrievable, except in the context of a forgiving God. 

So what we have seen in this story of David is his free will choices to ignore the ten commandments, and how that played out in the lives of himself and others.

DrCouldHaveSaid: it’s all poppycock. An attempt to avoid a question with the non-answer “God did it”.

Me: Perhaps so Doctor, but my point here was to illustrate the free will the Bible illustrates and teaches. Unfortunately, perhaps your idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world may prevent you from exploring these other sources of truth that aren’t touched by science of whatever definition.

Let me continue with an example from the New Testament.

The life and example of Jesus is another unfolding of free choice. The issue here again Doc, is not whether or not you believe the stories, but is free will being taught and demonstrated?

The story is of the temptation of Jesus by the devil. This story clearly places Jesus in a position where he has a free will choice to make, and since he is fully human, he is capable of making one choice or the other.

And to fill out the Biblical message of free will, we see in the book of Revelation, and speaking to the church in Laodicea: “So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

Here the Bible is asking a group of people at Laodicea to exercise their free will choice of answering, or not, the knocking at the door.

So we do indeed have the dilemma of coming to grips with an all-knowing, all-powerful god and yet we having  free will, but it is not necessarily a contradiction.

**************

On the other side of the coin, the naturalism and atheist side, we have Pope Jerry Coyne I. often making the scientific case that there is no such thing as free will. I’ll let you do the reading and research on what the Pope has to say. 

Another that believed the Darwinian story and likewise knew there was no such thing as free will was Clarence Darrow of Scopes Monkey Trail fame.   

And here is Darrow on free will and the case of Nathan Leopold & Richard Loeb:

Leopold and Loeb had committed a brutal murder of a small boy, simply because they wanted a challenge and some excitement.

Darrow: “Science and evolution teach us that man is an animal, a little higher than the other orders of animals; that he is governed by the same natural laws that govern the rest of the universe,”  he wrote in the magazine Everyman in 1915. Darrow saw confirmation of these views in the field of dynamic psychiatry, which emphasized infantile sexuality and unconscious impulses and denied that human actions were freely chosen and rationally arranged. Individuals acted less on the basis of free will and more as a consequence of childhood experiences that found their expression in adult life. How, therefore, Darrow reasoned, could any individual be responsible for his or her actions if they were predetermined?”
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/criminal-minds.html#ixzz2ds0uHNw9

And more in his summation of the Leopold and Loeb trial …

Nature is strong and she is pitiless. She works in her own mysterious way, and we are her victims. We have not much to do with it ourselves. Nature takes this job in hand, and we play our parts. In the words of old Omar Khayyam, we are only

‘Impotent pieces in the game He plays
Upon this checkerboard if nights and days,
Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,
And one by one back in the closet lays..

What had this boy to do with it? He was not his own father; he was not his own mother; he was not his own grandparents. All of this was handed to him. He did not surround himself with governesses and wealth. He did not make himself and yet he is to be compelled to pay.

For God’s sake, are we crazy? In the face of history, of every line of philosophy, against the teaching of every religionist and seer and prophet the world has ever given us, we are still doing what our barbaric, ancestors did when they came out of the caves and the woods.

Your Honor, I am almost ashamed to talk about it. I can hardly imagine that we are in the twentieth century. And yet there are men who seriously say that for what Nature has done, for what life has done, for what training has done, you should hang these boys.”

Darrow and the Scopes trial

“If today you can take a thing like evolution and make it a crime to teach it in the public school, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools, and the next year you can make it a crime to teach it to the hustings or in the church. At the next session you may ban books and the newspapers. Soon you may set Catholic against Protestant and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the minds of men. If you can do one you can do the other. Ignorance and fanaticism is ever busy and needs feeding. Always it is feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers, tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and the lectures, the magazines, the books, the newspapers. After a while, your honor, it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious ages of the sixteenth century when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind.”

I don’t know when it happened, but sometime after that trial the roles became reversed. But the logic of Darrow remains, only now applied to evolution vs. intelligent design. 

Given the choices Doctor I, of my own free will, choose the side of free will. And I do understand that I along with many others will often make the wrong choices. But at least I will be forced to accept the responsibility for those bad choices, and where possible seek restitution and forgiveness.

And here is a point where my emotion and my logic intersect. The Biblical teachings of free will, and its  proscription against certain harmful acts, provide me a framework within which to live out my life, and provides reasonable input with which to guide my logic in making decisions.

DrMackin: When it comes to science, I never think about how much something appeals to me on a personal level. I really do not care about that kind of stuff… I just want to know what is correct. I have a desire for raw, unadulterated knowledge, and that is the exact attitude that drives science.

Even if science were to come to the ridiculous conclusion that I am the product of billions of years of genetic changes and my oldest relative was a simple, single-celled organism who lived in a unfriendly ocean on a planet which lacked significant amounts of Oxygen in its atmosphere, I would accept it and move on with my life because it ultimately has no effect on my personal life…

Wait, that’s exactly what science says! And it still has absolutely no impact in my search for a girlfriend or on what I do in my time off… Well, other than replying to creationists on a science blog. 🙂

DrMackin quoting me again: “I Have browsed through TalkOrigin, and in future posts, if you are still listening, would like to comment on a few of them.”

DrMackin: Go right ahead. Please do make sure that you have read the works referenced too. It may answer any questions you have before you ask them, or offer proof to appease you.

DrMackin quoting me again: “Debates such as ours have been going on for years and centuries, and have been debated, diced and sliced by folks much smarter and wiser than I (and perhaps you).”

Yes, definitely smarter than me. I am, no doubt, low on the totem pole when it comes to overall knowledge.

But science is not built on one person knowing something or not. It’s a collaborative effort to come to better understand the unadulterated truth of the universe, and if I do not know something, I’m sure someone else does.

As for your site, I am immediately turned off by the use of “evolutionism“. The Theory of Evolution is not an -ism.. The Theory of Evolution is not a religion. The Theory of Evolution is the result of looking at the world around us for answers instead of looking at the words of ancient men for them.

Me: Sorry if I’ve offended you, but in searching my site (AYearningForPublius) I found no occurrence of this word. Did you mean TrueOrigin.org?

In any case, Evolutionism  seems to be a fairly widely accepted word when I do a search on it. But I respect your concern and will try to refrain from using it myself.  

The Theory of Evolution being the result of looking at the world around us for answers is a valid point, but it cannot be concluded that it is the only result of looking at the world around us for answers. The design inference you so strongly criticize in not based on the words of ancient men, but rather the common experience of men from all ages, ancient and modern, and strengthened by the tools and research of modern man in areas such as DNA. 

DrMackin: Religion requires a belief in the supernatural… but one of the biggest criticisms of Evolution by religious people is its naturalism and omission of god.

The Theory of Evolution is about as religious as “Off” is a TV channel or “Not collecting stamps” is a hobby.

Me: Perhaps so, but when I turn Off my TV, I get no new information. Or, if I continuously tune to the Atheist channel I get only some information, and likewise when I exclusively tune to the ID channel I only get some information. But if I am open to tuning in either channel I get a fuller view of the information.

Likewise when I don’t collect stamps I don’t learn some historically fascinating facts that a friend of mine, who is a collector, learns about the Austro-Hungarian navy. So I guess you point is lost on me.

DrMackin: As I am not interested in writing a point-by-point rebuttal of what I think might be some Ray Comfort-level arguments (R.C. is a charlatan, FYI), I’d rather spare myself the headache and ignore that site. Apologies.

Me: Don’t know much about Comfort … watched the video, but that’s it.

But your view of the Bible as stated earlier seems to skip over or gloss over centuries of good Biblical, Jewish and Christian apologetics, and also the many significant and positive contributions of the Bible, Judaism and Christianity to world civilization.. 

Much scholarship has been done in establishing the reliability of the Bible and its accurate transmission from the earliest days to today. Scholarship in areas such as linguistics, archaeology, history, prophetic history, consistency of message and more.

Some modern day examples would be:

D. James Kennedy, Norm Geisler, Ravi Zacharias, Josh McDowell, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Francis Schaeffer, R.C. Sproul and others. 

As for the supposed evils of the Bible and the Christian church, might I point out a few things:

Slavery has been an evil inflicted on humanity since its inception, whenever and wherever you believe that happened. It was banished from the British Empire well before the American Civil War primarily through the efforts of a devout Christian named William Wilberforce, and was banished from America primarily through the efforts of devout Christian Abolitionists.

Claims continue to be made that religion (read: Christianity) has been the cause of more pain, suffering and death than any other cause in the history of mankind.
Consider this. In just the span of 7o some years in the twentieth century, atheism has resulted in the deaths of more than 100 million, that’s 100,000,000+ in the officially atheistic countries of the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia and others. Some estimates put that number of atheist vs. Christian caused deaths as somewhere well north of a 7 to 1 ratio, and in a period of 70 years as opposed to 2000+ years of Christianity.

Things like hospitals, universities, charity, literacy for the masses, capitalism and free enterprise, civil liberties, modern science, the elevation of the common man, the elevation of women, the great art of the European renaissance, classical music, the civilization of many barbarian and primitive cultures:
All developed under a Judeo/Christian Biblical world view … some later than others, but nevertheless happened.

——————

And I do have a few questions and/or observations on a few things talked about in TalkOrigins.

TalkOrigins talks about the evolution of the mammalian eye, and references the study by Nilsson, D.-E. and S. Pelger, but fails to reference a very good rebuttal, ‘Could the eye have evolved by natural selection in a geological blink?’ at http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/could-the-eye-have-evolved-by-natural-selection-in-a-geological-blink/

Just one snippet from the article:
”It is my contention that Nilsson and Pelger’s model of the evolution of the eye is in fact a striking example of Intelligent Design, rather than Darwinian evolution. Readers may be surprised to learn that Nilsson and Pelger deliberately selected each of the 1,829 steps in their model leading from a light-sensitive spot to a camera-type vertebrate eye, by choosing which features they wanted to vary at every step along the way. That makes their model intelligently designed.”

And, although not in anyone else’s peer reviewed  papers other than my own, what about my extension of this eye evolution idea to all organs in the body? This can be read at: https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/intelligent-design-creation-the-evidence/

General Houghton’s sage observation again comes to mind : “that should be obvious, even to a sea-going corporal.

Then there’s this about the the inability of creationists to get their views published by mainstream science …. Claim CA325:

Here’s a couple of examples and reasons why:

Read the series of articles by Casey Luskin  On the Origin of the Controversy Over Biological Information: New Perspectives – at: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/08/on_the_origin_o_3075521.html#sthash.dGqVAWXC.dpuf

Here you will see the deliberate and underhanded way in which the publication of proceedings of a symposium held at Cornell University was sabotaged, and a serious attempt at “book burning” was attempted (the attempt ultimately failed).   This blatant attempt at censorship was orchestrated by the so-called  objective scientific community.

Then there is the treatment of Stephen Meyer’s new book Darwin’s Doubt.  “On Wednesday, June 19, the day after Stephen C. Meyer’s book Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design was published and made available for purchase, UC Berkeley grad student Nick Matzke read the book and then posted a harsh 9400+ word review on the blog Panda’s Thumb.” – All in less than 24 hours. See more at: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/06/rush_to_judgmen073791.html#sthash.R0IgbDwT.dpuf

Matzke is a member of the main stream neo-Darwinian science community, and somewhat of a hero there.

Then there are two recent controversies in universities where any discussion of design in nature has been shut down.

Read my remarks about Ball State University & Intelligent Design: My 7+ Disappointments at https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/ball-state-university-intelligent-design-my-7-disappointments/

And this from Casey Luskin Evolutionary Anthropologist’s Advice: Reject Research Papers if Results Come from Discovery Institute Authors – See more at: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/09/evolutionary_an076161.html#sthash.vOpu8kvd.dpuf

And this from Texas – Henry: Amarillo College sidesteps religious debate in education at Henry: Amarillo College sidesteps religious debate in education | Amarillo Globe-News

And I’ve already given you the story of Dr. Sternberg and the ENCODE project, and his prior censorship at the Smithsonian Institute.

Why is it that the censors and book burners always seem so happy and proud of their work, and puff their chests out so.

In the broader picture is it any surprise when you see relatively few publications from Intelligent Design researchers as compared to main-line evolutionary researchers? An organization such as Discovery Institute, although somewhat of  a clearing house and umbrella organization, occupies just the second floor of a small two story building in downtown Seattle – I’ve been there..

Match those very limited resources against the massive funding and resources of the neo-Darwinians who have the luxury of  government funded programs in Universities all over the world and you can begin to see why it is so difficult for a dissenting point of view to get any kind of traction.

Perhaps a poster boy for such massive funding would be Pope Jerry Coyne I. at the University of Chicago, who is one of the intellectual and scientific  giants in the battle to keep science and education entirely atheistic. 

The University of Chicago is a private university, and therefore you would think Pope Coyne is entitled to teach and write whatever he wishes (unlike Professor Hedin at Ball State). However, it is not to much of a stretch to believe that much of Coyne’s funding is somehow attached to federal and state grants. Therefore, the atheism he spouts is, at least to some degree, funded by tax dollars. Where is the constitutional outcry and attacks that we’ve heard against Professor Hedin, against Pope Coyne?

DrMackin: And let’s get one thing clear, here. If Christian creationism is science because people believe that the Bible is literal, then every other religion’s creation story is just as scientific because they believe in their holy book.

Me: But dear Doctor, we are talking here about the pursuit of truth … the truth of the universe as we know it, as we can know it, and as we can discover it. A pursuit which should include the search for the designs that may be there; and what we can learn and benefit from those designs; whether they be the appearance of design, the illusion of design or actual design. Why would you advocate otherwise?

If the pursuit of such designs leads to or informs and confirms a faith belief, so be it. Always remember:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

DrMackin: I think it’s all poppycock. An attempt to avoid a question with the non-answer “God did it”.

DrCouldHaveSaid: And what’s with this Pope Jerry Coyne I. stuff?

Me: Oh yea, him.

If you remember your history, there was an Italian fellow named Galileo way back in the 1600 timeframe. Galileo came up with an idea in astronomy that ran counter to the scientific thinking at the time, and he also ran afoul of Catholic political protocol as well. 

He was tried by the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. Well Pope Jerry Coyne I. is a major force in a similar Inquisition against an idea that runs counter to dominant scientific thinking of today, and is rigorously attempting to put any notion of design under house arrest.

The house arrest of Galileo was only for the duration of his own life, whereas the house arrest Pope Coyne I. speaks of is much – much  – much longer than that.

The distinct impression I get about Professor Coyne, mostly from reading his blog, is that he has abandoned his career as an evolutionary biologist, and has instead become a professional atheist. That’s fine, but one thing I find disturbing is the question of, how much time and resources does Coyne expend in his atheistic quest, while drawing a salary that is somewhat or even heavily funded by government grants. And I have the same question of other professional atheists in the academic community.

DrCouldHaveSaid: (again) it’s all poppycock. An attempt to avoid a question with the non-answer “God did it”.

Me: I find the view of naturalism

“the idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to Supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world; (occas.) the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world.” 

to be highly irrational, illogical,  unbelievable and unsupported by the overall sway of the evidence.

A snippet from the end of a magnificent little allegorical tale by A.E. Wilder-Smith, He Who Thinks Has To Believe summarizes nicely my position as well.   

“Good,” said the Neanderthaler, “may I then speak more clearly?” They [modern man] nodded. “In reality,” he said, “you are asking us to believe that the paper on which the text of a book is written has developed not only the language in which the book is written, but also all of its concepts, ideas and thoughts. According to you, the paper wrote the entire book. Even its binding and chapter headings are due to the paper alone. However, we, the Neanderthalers, are not prepared to believe that the paper wrote the book, including its language, ideas, vocabulary, and chapter headings, of its own accord. We regard such a postulate as schizophrenic – if I may speak so plainly,” he said, “far removed from reality, i.e. schizophrenic.  …”

*********************************

Me:  Summation and Conclusion

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

President Thomas Jefferson wrote of a “wall of separation” in a letter to a church, and this has become a clarion call to rally behind a paraphrase of that statement in a letter and indeed a working paraphrase of the 1’st Amendment to the Constitution.

The paraphrase has become “separation of church and state” and has come to mean that there is an impenetrable wall that church is never to breach in the public market place. Implementation of this paraphrase in practice is that government has been set free to infringe on faith in any way it sees fit, in direct contradiction of the plain words of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

In very recent years we’ve arrived at the place where the federal government will require federal funding for the birth control needs of a college student, at a level which would satisfy the needs of a full time prostitute, and this at a Catholic university Georgetown. This runs counter to many faith traditions (churches) in this country. At the same time, that same federal government will intrude into schools, universities and churches to impose such ideas and life styles  as homosexuality, same-sex marriage and atheism in the form of mandated teaching of  neo-Darwinist evolution exclusively. These ideas and life styles run directly counter to many Biblical and church teachings, as well as the private beliefs of many Americans. Government does not belong there!

Another paraphrase of the 1’st Amendment, a more accurate and historically correct paraphrase would be

“ Separation of church from state.”

Separation of church from state accurately conveys the founders firm belief that the states and individual citizens be protected in Constitutional language from the abuses of a too powerful and tyrannical central government.  It further conveys the idea that the church, and faith be allowed to inform the government.

This idea of  “separation of church from state”, and the idea of the church informing the state,  I think, is best illustrated by a German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer came of age as a pastor and theologian during the rise and reign of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany.  He resisted the Nazis from the beginning, and ultimately gave his life in the fight against the Nazis. Here are his guidelines in the question of how the church should act towards the state. And note that he gave this direction from the very beginning of the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazis::

  1. Help the state be the state. Question the state regarding its actions and their legitimacy to help the state be as God ordained.
  2. Aid the victims of state action. The church has an unconditional obligation to the victims of any ordering of society—even if they do not belong to the Christian community.
  3. When the existence of the church is threatened and the state ceases to exist as defined by God, it is not enough to bandage the victims under the wheel, but to put a spike in the wheel itself.

And this gets me to the reason why I oppose what your organization, this NCSE Psychiatric Clinic, and what it attempts to do regarding science education. I view your efforts as aiding the government in undermining the 1’st Amendment and the freedoms it guarantees to all Americans. I oppose your efforts because they present a view of the universe, this planet and life on this planet, especially human life, in a totally atheistic manner, with no room given an alternate, and more rational, view. And you seek to codify this into federal and state law in contradiction to what our founders demanded in the Bill of Rights before they would consider ratifying the Constitution.

Governments throughout the ages have consistently sought to increase their power and scope, most often at the expense of the common man. Ours is no different, and is only constrained by a Constitution and Bill of Rights that limits the power of the government, and places ultimate power in the hands of We the People.

Efforts such as yours only accelerate the loss of freedoms, and I would implore you to consider the consequences. There is design evident in our world, in our own creations, and in the world of nature. Allow the free exploration of these ideas alongside your own. Please. 

Respectfully,

Don Johnson

Maybe We Should Pay More Attention To The Bible … Part 5: But what of all the death and suffering caused by religion?


Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing
without revealing his plan
to his servants the prophets.
Amos 3:7


From the Old Testament, The Ten Commandments – Exodus 20

And God spoke all these words:

  • “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
  • “You shall have no other gods beforeme.
  • “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
  • “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  • “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
  • “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
  • “You shall not murder.
  • “You shall not commit adultery.
  • “You shall not steal.
  • “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
  • “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

These 10 commandments are practical rules for all society, and are the basis for a just society, a society  respecting all human dignity and relationships among people, as well as the private property of individuals and families.


But what of all the death and suffering caused by religion?

Good question, but a question that lets your own unbelief off the hook for much of that death and suffering. So let me approach the question from a different angle and ask about all of the good that can be attributed to religion, and in particular the Judeo/Christian religion.

In addressing these issues I will rely on two books that treat these issues much better than I could possibly hope to myself. The two books were written by D. James Kennedy, a theologian and an intellectual who I  have the upmost respect for:

Born of humble origins, the Church has made more changes on earth for the good than any other movement or force in history. Some highlights, which I take from Kennedy’s book What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?:

  • Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.
  • Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition, most of the world’s greatest universities were started by Christians for Christian purposes.
  • Literacy and education for the masses.
  • Capitalism and free-enterprise.
  • Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the American experiment.
  • The separation of political powers.
  • Civil liberties.
  • The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in more modern times.
  • Modern science.
  • The discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus.
  • The elevation of women.
  • Benevolence and charity; the good Samaritan ethic.
  • Higher standards of justice.
  • The elevation of the common man.
  • The condemnation of adultery, homosexuality, and other sexual perversions. This has helped to preserve the human race, and has spared many from heartache.
  • High regard for human life.
  • The civilization of many barbarian and primitive cultures.
  • The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.
  • Greater development of art and music. The inspiration for the greatest works of art.
  • The countless changed lives transformed from liabilities into assets to society because of the gospel.
  • The eternal salvation of countless souls.

And a summary taken from Kennedy’s book What If The Bible Had Never Been Written? …  and I quote directly:

“When a young lady who was not a Christian heard about this book, ‘What If The Bible Had Never Been Written?’, she immediately said, “Oh the Bible has been nothing but oppressive towards women.” This sentiment is often repeated in our biblically illiterate times. The truth is, the Bible has improved the treatment of women. Show me a country where women are treated well where the Bible has not gone first. You can’t because it doesn’t exist. In fact, chivalry — where women became protected and cherished – was started by the Church in the Middle Ages. When hundreds of men on the Titanic voluntarily gave up their lives so that women and children could use the lifeboats, they were following a centuries-old, cultural norm that the Bible had established. However, since the Bible has lost sway among many people in our culture today, I daresay if the Titanic were to sink now, I doubt if most men would so readily give up on trying to get into a lifeboat.

The young lady’s opposition to the Bible (which she had never bothered to read) is far to typical today. I comes from the school of ignorant thought that says Christianity is sexist, homophobic, racist, anti-science, anti-progress, and several other negative things.

What if the Bible had never been written? Consider the implications of such a scenario. There would be no salvation, no Salvation Army, no YMCA, virtually no charity, no modern science, no Red Cross. There would likely be no hospitals, for hospitals as we know them were born in the Christian era, and Christians have build hundreds of hospitals all over the globe. There would probably be no universities; they were created in the Middle Ages in order to reconcile Christian theology with the writings of Aristotle. There would probably be no capitalism, no accounting, no free enterprise. Millions of people would have been killed off by STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) – without any kind of inhibition against sexual promiscuity. Literacy and education might well have been the exclusive domain of the elite. Many of the languages around the world would never have been written down because there would have been no motive to do so. Many of the barbarians of the world over would never have been civilized. Cannibalism and human sacrifice and the abandonment of children would still be widespread, even as abortion and infanticide plague us as we continue to move away from the Bible. Slavery might still be practiced, as it is in pockets of the world where the Bible is forbidden. And we might not even be in the New World – as Columbus clearly stated it was the Lord who inspired him to make his historic voyage. If the Bible had never been written, there would be no Mother Teresas, no David Livingstones, no Isaac Newtons, no William Wilberforces, no George Washingtons, no Lincolns, no Dantes, no Miltons, no Shakespears, no Dickensons. Above all, if the Bible had never been written, we would be cut off from God, groping in darkness without hope.

But the Bible has been written, and we can embrace its wonderful message of the love of God, which is so great that He gave His only begotten Son that we may have eternal life. Because the Bible has been written, the wonderful story of how Jesus came to seek and save the lost has gone out into all the world and has transformed millions of lives and scores of cultures and nations.”

Thank you Dr. Kennedy for your  bringing these historical facts to my attention so many years ago. And  thank you Dr. Kennedy for your  bringing these ‘what ifs’ to my curiosity so many years ago as well.

So now back to the question: But what of all the death and suffering caused by religion?

I don’t deny the death and suffering caused by religion over the centuries. What I deny is using that death and suffering as an excuse for my own disbelief, and as an excuse for living a life as I please, choosing my own moral boundaries — or none at all.

I read somewhere, I think it might have been Kennedy, that more people have died from atheism than in all of the so called religious (Christian) wars of the last 2000+ years since the founding of the Church … and this in the span of just 70 years of the 20th century in the form of world wide Communism; and, more deaths by an estimated 7 to 10 times!

So I am willing to shoulder my share of responsibility for the deaths caused by my “Christian Wars.”  Are you willing to step up and shoulder your share of responsibility for the deaths caused by your unbelief?

So again I’m thinking … Maybe We Should Pay More Attention To The Bible

Don Johnson – May 2013