No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: atheism

Dino Dan the atheist


Okay, so my kids have started watching a show on Nick Jr. called Dino Dan.  This show is about a little boy who can see dinosaurs.  He tracks

Dino Dan the Atheist?

them and takes notes.The show prides itself on it’s “dino facts”.  These are the facts that they present on the show.  The show also talks about using the scientific method to solve problems.

My kids really enjoy this show.  They enjoy watching the dinosaur’s.  I have to admit…if I were a kid and this show was on…I would have watched it as well.  Okay, okay…I did watch it with them.

So as I am watching Dino Dan with my kids and I hear them talking about dinosaurs being millions of years old.  I hear this in passing and don’t think anything of it…until my daughter draws a dinosaur and tells me that it is millions of years old.  This poses a problem.  With that timeline, Dino Dan assumes the evolutionary model of Earth.

I had to explain to my daughter that the science used to say that the dinosaurs were millions of years old (carbon dating) was not very solid,  and that the dinosaurs are probably not millions of years old.  The reason that I have problems with this show is that it presents these things as (indisputable) facts.  Even the most hardened evolutionist will have to admit that the dating method for dinosaurs is rickety at best, but Dino Dan….does not.

Herein lies the problem.  We have discussed on a number of occasions how we are constantly bombarded by society with “facts” about how the earth was created and about how we were formed.  Evolutionists have for some time been pushing their agenda in the classroom, and recently (last 40-50 years) have been winning the battle for the classroom.  Evolution, while having absolutely no evidence to support it, has burrowed it’s way into the classroom for our kids to digest as truth.  Where evolution exists…God cannot exist.  Evolutionists (and atheists) know this.  While the battle rages for the classroom, shows like Dino Dan have free reign to spew  evolutionary thought without any kind of information about creation in the show.  So your kids get the evolution viewpoint without the creation view point at the ages of 3 – 8…when they are most impressionable.

Shows like Dino Dan wrap evolution up into a nice little present that your kids will easily digest.  So that by the time they are 10 they have completely bought into the idea that earth is millions of years old.  Teaching a younger earth to them in Sunday School or at home then becomes a challenge, and at a very young age kids are faced with their first major contradiction.  Dino Dan displays the effort that atheists will go through to indoctrinate our kids at such a young age.

As parents we should all be aware of what our kids are watching.  Fortunately, I happened to watch a few episodes with my kids.  This is indicative of the challenges that we face going forward.  The subtle attempts to indoctrinate our kids with a doctrine that deny’s the existence of God and his role in creation.  The older our kids get the better they are to use their own discernment skills.  At the ages of 3-8 their discernment skills are less developed.  This means that we have to be their discernment and filter.  Our protection now expands beyond regular TV now to the cartoons that they watch on channels like Nick Jr.  Which is unfortunate.

Advertisements

U2’s Bono interview about Christ


Okay….so I am always on the lookout for how celebrities describe their faith.  I find it interesting.  9 times out of 10 they end up creating a God that does not exist in the Bible.  Then along comes this excerpt from a book where Bono from U2 is being interviewed about his faith.  Actually the interview is from September 2010…but never the less it is an incredible read.  The following excerpt is from the poached egg and can be found at this link.

Christians in a rock band?

 

Bono: My understanding of the Scriptures has been made simple by the person of Christ. Christ teaches that God is love. What does that mean? What it means for me: a study of the life of Christ. Love here describes itself as a child born in straw poverty, the most vulnerable situation of all, without honor. I don’t let my religious world get too complicated. I just kind of go: Well, I think I know what God is. God is love, and as much as I respond [sighs] in allowing myself to be transformed by that love and acting in that love, that’s my religion. Where things get complicated for me, is when I try to live this love. Now that’s not so easy.

Assayas: What about the God of the Old Testament? He wasn’t so “peace and love”?

Bono: There’s nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is. I accept the Old Testament as more of an action movie: blood, car chases, evacuations, a lot of special effects, seas dividing, mass murder, adultery. The children of God are running amok, wayward. Maybe that’s why they’re so relatable. But the way we would see it, those of us who are trying to figure out our Christian conundrum, is that the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you’re a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.

Assayas: Speaking of bloody action movies, we were talking about South and Central America last time. The Jesuit priests arrived there with the gospel in one hand and a rifle in the other.

Bono: I know, I know. Religion can be the enemy of God. It’s often what happens when God, like Elvis, has left the building. [laughs] A list of instructions where there was once conviction; dogma where once people just did it; a congregation led by a man where once they were led by the Holy Spirit. Discipline replacing discipleship. Why are you chuckling?

Assayas: I was wondering if you said all of that to the Pope the day you met him.

Bono: Let’s not get too hard on the Holy Roman Church here. The Church has its problems, but the older I get, the more comfort I find there. The physical experience of being in a crowd of largely humble people, heads bowed, murmuring prayers, stories told in stained-glass windows

Assayas: So you won’t be critical.

Bono: No, I can be critical, especially on the topic of contraception. But when I meet someone like Sister Benedicta and see her work with AIDS orphans in Addis Ababa, or Sister Ann doing the same in Malawi, or Father Jack Fenukan and his group Concern all over Africa, when I meet priests and nuns tending to the sick and the poor and giving up much easier lives to do so, I surrender a little easier.

Assayas: But you met the man himself. Was it a great experience?

Bono: [W]e all knew why we were there. The Pontiff was about to make an important statement about the inhumanity and injustice of poor countries spending so much of their national income paying back old loans to rich countries. Serious business. He was fighting hard against his Parkinson’s. It was clearly an act of will for him to be there. I was oddly moved by his humility, and then by the incredible speech he made, even if it was in whispers. During the preamble, he seemed to be staring at me. I wondered. Was it the fact that I was wearing my blue fly-shades? So I took them off in case I was causing some offense. When I was introduced to him, he was still staring at them. He kept looking at them in my hand, so I offered them to him as a gift in return for the rosary he had just given me.

Assayas: Didn’t he put them on?

Bono: Not only did he put them on, he smiled the wickedest grin you could ever imagine. He was a comedian. His sense of humor was completely intact. Flashbulbs popped, and I thought: “Wow! The Drop the Debt campaign will have the Pope in my glasses on the front page of every newspaper.”

Assayas: I don’t remember seeing that photograph anywhere, though.

Bono: Nor did we. It seems his courtiers did not have the same sense of humor. Fair enough. I guess they could see the T-shirts.

Later in the conversation:
Assayas: I think I am beginning to understand religion because I have started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?

Bono: Yes, I think that’s normal. It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

Assayas: I haven’t heard you talk about that.

Bono: I really believe we’ve moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.

Assayas: Well, that doesn’t make it clearer for me.

Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics; in physical laws every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It’s clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I’m absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that “as you reap, so you will sow” stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff.

Assayas: I’d be interested to hear that.

Bono: That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep s—. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.

Assayas: The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.

Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s a mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let’s face it, you’re not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled . It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.

Assayas: That’s a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it’s close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world’s great thinkers. But Son of God, isn’t that farfetched?

Bono: No, it’s not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: “I’m the Messiah.” I’m saying: “I am God incarnate.” And people say: No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You’re a bit eccentric. We’ve had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don’t mention the “M” word! Because, you know, we’re gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he’s gonna keep saying this. So what you’re left with is: either Christ was who He said He was the Messiah or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we’ve been talking about earlier. This man was strapping himself to a bomb, and had “King of the Jews” on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: OK, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I’m not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that’s farfetched

Bono later says it all comes down to how we regard Jesus:

Bono: If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my s— and everybody else’s. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.

The Religion of Atheism


So for one of our classes Kevin and I are reading a book called “Legislating Morality”. This book takes a hard look at morality, relative morality, and an absolute moral law given by God. In this book I stumbled across a few quotes that I thought were interesting. The part of the book where these quotes are found focus on the “deity of evolution.” The overarching point is that evolutionists are atheists by nature, thus making evolution and atheism a belief system. Atheist’s strongly argue against this point, however a conclusion must be drawn as to the origin of the universe and man, and atheists (by definition) must accept evolution as the origin of both universe and man.

The Bible of Atheism?

The Bible of Atheism?

To illustrate this point consider the words of Charles Hodge: “What is Darwinism? It is atheism. This does not mean as before said that Mr. Darwin himself and all who adopt his views are atheists; but it means that his theory is atheistic; that the exclusion of design from nature is…tantamount to atheism”. This is logical and well-reasoned. If you believe in evolution, you deny the creation. If you deny the creation, you deny God. You can deny the logic presented by Hodge, but you cannot deny the direct conclusions of the fathers of Darwinism. They conclude that evolution in and of itself is a deity.
Consider the words of Darwin himself who wrote: “I speak of Natural selection as an active power or deity; but who objects to an author speaking of the attraction of gravity as ruling the movements of the planets?… It is difficult to avoid personifying nature.”
Alfred Wallace stated that “Natural Selection is supreme”. He went on to say “There is a power not only adequate to direct and regulate all the forces at work in living organisms but also the more fundamental forces of the whole material universe”
Thomas Huxley (Darwin’s bulldog) stated: “I can see no reason for doubting that all are coordinate terms of nature’s great progression, from formless to formed, from the inorganic to the organic, from blind force to conscious intellect and will”.
What must be the logical conclusion of the above individuals? God is dead, or more accurately, He never existed. Intellectualism and natural process rule everything. In other words “science” and natural selection are the new deity, the new creator, the new god. According to the premier evolutionist (Darwin), evolution has replaced God.
With atheism and evolution bound to one another we can see that atheists do, in fact, have a god to worship – and worship it, the do. Because not only does it give their own creation narrative it ultimately defines moral values as well.

Consider the following:
Friedrich Nietzsche: “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, the murderers of all murderers, comfort ourselves?” He answered the question with the following “must not we ourselves become gods simply to seem worthy of it?”
With God (the moral law giver) dead, all absolute moral standards died with him.
Fyodor Dostoevsky stated the following: “If God does not exist, then everything is permitted”. This is quite true.
Consider the following statement: “If nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such cases all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being may thus be rendered futile. But preservation goes hand in hand with the inexorable law that it is the strongest and the best who must triumph and that they have the right to endure. He who would live must fight. He who does not wish to fight in this world, where permanent struggle is the law of life, has not the right to exist”.
The above statement fits with the evolutionist ideology. Survival of the fittest, strongest will survive. The author of this text was Adolf Hitler. The Evolutionist/atheistic ideology was the foundation for the genocide of 12 million people. People who were “weak” and needed to be weeded out. With god dead anything is permitable, including genocide. In fact, one could convincingly argue that the theory of evolution is a foundational cause for most all racism today, but that will have to wait for another post.

Atheism is its own religion. Think about it. It has its own story of creation of the universe, and its own set of moral values because of this belief of creation. Are these not characteristics of a religion? These principles are religious in nature. The Bible defines creation, and comes with a set of moral values. In this sense Atheism, is just another religion.

SHARE THIS:

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

More reliable…Aristotle or the New Testament?


 In one of our previous posts we took a look at the time frame between the crucifixion and the writing of the New Testament.  What we found was that the timeline of the writing was no different than our current timeline of writing books about our recent history.  This is a standard that is acceptable to all historians.

Now that we can verify that the timeline is acceptable, can we verify that the words

Which is more reliable?

Which is more reliable?

 themselves are acceptable?

First it must be conceded that the original text of the New Testament (and Old Testament for that matter) do not exist.  However, there are a significant number of copies (manuscripts) that do.  This is a critical point.  Most atheist’s will argue that a lack of the original autographs indicates that there is no way we know that the words in the New Testament accurately represent the events they depict.  This argument is faulty because copies can give a gateway into what the original text said. 

Consider for a moment that someone (for whatever reason) wanted to copy this post.  Two days later…wordpress.com goes crazy, and this post is lost forever.  The only evidence that the original post existed would be the one copy made.  Now let’s expand that scenario.  Let’s say that 100 copies were made of my original post, and then wordpress.com crashes.  The only evidence of my original post is 100 copies made.

In both examples the original post has been destroyed, and all we have are copies of the original post.  Now, how can we determine which best preserved the text of the original post?  Some would answer that the one copy would be the best representation of the original because there is less chance for an error in the copying of the original post.  Theoretically you would be correct.  The less something is copied the less chance there is for error in the copy.  Realistically that argument cannot stand.  The premise with the argument is that the copy is correct.  But how can you tell?  You can’t.  You have nothing to compare the 1 copy to, to determine how faithful it was to the original that was destroyed.  In this case the 100 copies would be a more reliable source to see what the original post said.  The reason, you can compare 100 copies and see any variance.  For example, if 99 of the copies have the sentence “The only evidence of my original post is 100 copies made” and the 1 copy has “The only evidence of my post are the copies that are made” there is a high probability that the former was in the original. 

So the principle is simple, verification through sheer volume.

Consider the following statistics:

  Author Date Written Number of Copies Accuracy of Copies  
Plato 427-347 B.C. 7 —-  
Aristotle 384-322 B.C. 49 —-  
Homer (Iliad) 900 B.C. 643 95%  
NewTestament 1st Cent. A.D. (50-100 A.D. 5600 99.50%  
 

 

This is an incredible chart.  The New Testament has 5,600 copies…In Greek.  The “in Greek” is significant because the original text was written in Greek (common language of the day).  If we add copies from various languages such as Latin the total number of copies would go as high as 24,000.  That is 24,000 copies of the original documents, the original writings of the Apostles.  No other document in antiquity can claim such a volume.  Other famous writers of antiquity fail this test.  This is not to say that the copies of these other documents are inadequate or that the copies are wrong.  It is simply to say that you have much less quantity with which to verify its contents and, therefore, much less confidence in those copies. 

Consider Plato.  Plato is well known for his writing “The Republic”.  There are only 7 copies of the original.  How confident can one be that the translation we read of “The Republic” is the one that Plato wrote?  Confidence level has to be low because you only have 7 copies to compare against one another.  However, historically speaking, “The Republic” has been accepted as an accurate recording of Plato’s words.

Now consider Aristotle.  Aristotle is credited with making contributions to logic, metaphysics, biology, botany, politics, etc…  How confident can we be that what we read today represents what Aristotle actually wrote?  There are only 49 copies of Aristotle’s works.  Once again, historians easily accept the historicity and authority of the writings of Aristotle as many have dubbed him the “father of the field of logic”.  However, as compared to the New Testament, the confidence level has to be low.

Now consider the Greek poet Homer.  Homer is well known for his literary works such as “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey”.  If we look specifically at the Iliad you will see that there are 643 copies of the original.  This allows for a fairly broad comparison and can create a high degree of confidence that the Iliad that we read today, is very similar to the original version.    

Finally consider the New Testament. The New Testament is a combination of several authors.  There are 5,600 copies of those books in their original language.  This allows historians to compare 1 copy with 5,599 other copies to see if it matches.  Based on this comparison, scholars have been able to identify a 94% word for word match of all of the copies.  To put this into context…there are 138,020 words in the New Testament.  All 5,600 match precisely for 129,738 words.  Pretty incredible?  This would leave 6% open to review for error.  Scholars state the 3% of the 6% can be attributed to misspellings, notes in the margins, and punctuation errors.  This would leave 3% open for review.  Scholars argue, (and I agree) that the 3% have no impact on the message being delivered – they are simply a similar statement with perhaps slightly different vocabulary and syntax.  It would be the same as the example given above (“The only evidence of my original post is 100 copies made” verses “The only evidence of my post are the copies that are made”).

What does this mean?  This means that the 5,600 copies of the originals are at least 97% consistent with one another.  This means, that on text evidence alone, that you can feel 97% – 99% sure that the words you read are exact representative of the original documents.

That makes the New Testament the most textually reliable document in ALL of antiquity.

This fact, taken with the historical accuracy spoken of in our previous post means you can have complete confidence that the story recounted in the New Testament is reliable – this should, in turn increase your confidence in its message.

SHARE THIS:

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

The Nihilist, The Atheist, and The Christian


I am sure that everyone has been paying attention to the shooting in Arizona.  Jarod Loughner, went to an event hosted by Representative Giffords.  9 people died, including a 9 year old child.  There is news out now that Loughner is a nihilist.  Now I have heard of nihilism before from movies, or jokes but was never sure as to what it actually was.  Today being a snow day here in Kansas City…I figured I would take a look.

I did a Google search on the word nihilism and landed on an Encyclopedia article which talks about nihilism.  Here are a couple of excerpts:

“While nihilism is often discussed in terms of extreme skepticism and relativism, for most of the 20th century it has been associated with the belief that life is meaningless. Existential nihilism begins with the notion that the world is without meaning or purpose. Given this circumstance, existence itself–all action, suffering, and feeling–is ultimately senseless and empty.”

“In his study of meaninglessness, Donald Crosby writes that the source of modern nihilism paradoxically stems from a commitment to honest intellectual openness. “Once set in motion, the process of questioning could come to but one end, the erosion of conviction and certitude and collapse into despair” (The Specter of the Absurd, 1988).”

It would appear that nihilism is the conclusion to atheism.  Everywhere I go atheists are always talking about one thing…skepticism.  Atheists are always talking about a lack of evidence for God.  At some point they must come to a conclusion.  If they conclude that there is in fact no God, there is only one logical conclusion…life is meaningless, there is no purpose, and that it all is senseless and empty. 

If in fact this is the conclusion that one draws;  life, your actions, your family, everything has no meaning.  There are no moral rules.  Nothing to govern you or society.  Nothing that would prevent you from gunning down 9 people because there are no consequences.  If that seems a little harsh then I would advise that you think this all the way to conclusion.  The thought process for a nihilist would be as follows: “I question the existence of God.  There is not enough evidence to demonstrate that he exists (atheism).  Well if God doesn’t exist, and there is no afterlife, then what is the point.  Life is meaningless, my actions are meaningless.  Why bother with anything (nihilism).”  Here I would agree with Donald Crosby in the quote above when he says that this belief, or this thought process can only lead to depression and despair.

With all of that said…

God exists.  The primary evidence for Gods existence is his creation (Romans 1:20).  God loves you.  If you are sitting in despair or are thinking that life has no meaning…think about this, God sacrificed his son for YOU! (John 3:16).  He sacrificed his son for those who continue to deny his existence.  Who continue to deny the existence of his son.  How powerful is this love?  So powerful that God will forgive ALL of the things that you have done, and will do.  That is so important that it should be said again…  God loves you so much, that despite denying his existence, that he will forgive you for everything that you have done.  Call on God, ask for his forgiveness, accept Christ as your savior in your heart and you can inherit the Kingdom!  You should know that you are not meaningless in God’s eyes (Matthew 6:25-33).   Each one of us is precious to God.  He knows you.  I am not meaning the proverbial you as in everyone…HE KNOWS YOU! (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:16).  This is the good news that Christian’s talk about!

Do not despair!  The God of the universe knows your name, and loves you unconditionally!

If you need prayer or are ready to give yourself to God PLEASE CONTACT US!

kcbob

SHARE THIS: 

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

You KNOW it’s a Myth!


You KNOW it's a Myth

Atheist's may have this one right...for a change.

The above image is a snap-shot of a billboard put up near the Lincoln Tunnel by the American Atheist Society.  I may not agree with Atheist’s on 99.999999999% of things, but they may have inadvertently stumbled onto something with the “You KNOW it’s a Myth” billboard.  If you know us at all… you know our stance on Biblical reliability and authority, but hear me out here…

There is a lot about the Christmas story that is either presumed or assumed.  Much of this has to do with the story of the wise men.  From a biblical perspective, very little is known about the wise men.  However, much can be determined based on their actions.  This to me is the story behind the story of Christmas.  The story of the wise men provides a interesting backdrop to the birth of the Messiah, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Where did the Wise men come from? 

There is very little in the Bible that indicates where the wise men came from.  Tradition (as well as a popular Christmas carol) have them coming from the Orient.  From a biblical perspective this assumption is tenuous at best.  What we know from the Bible is that they simply were from the East…  nothing more.  That being said, in order to determine where they came from we have to look at historical circumstances.  For that let’s look at the Parthian Empire.  The Parthian Empire was a rival to the Roman Empire.  The “MU” to the “KU”, the “OU” to the “UT”. The Parthian Empire was the ruling empire of East Asia.  It’s boarders extended from the Euphrates river all the way to Modern day Pakistan.  The Parthian Empire is relevant because it was the ruling Empire for Babylon at the time of Christ’s birth and the Parthian Empire fought with the Romans in 40 BC for control over Palestine.  The Parthian Government was ruled by two assemblies; the Arsacids (royal family) and the Megistanes which consisted of Magi (priests) and wise men (influential Parthian of non-royal blood).  While there is still debate as to where the wise men, or Magi, came from, the Parthian Empire may provide the best possible place for a number of reasons that will be explored a little later on. 

Many speculate that the wise men came from Babylon.  This is entirely possible.  The interesting thing is, Babylon was located within the Parthian Empire.  One more interesting item of note:  The Parthian Empire was on the door steps of Palestine.

Who were the Wise men?

So who exactly are these wise men?  Most Christians probably pay no attention as to who they really are, and focus more on the fact that they were at the birth of Christ. 

Here is what we can gather from the Bible.  Depending on the translation you use you will see the word Magi, or wise men in Matthew 2:1.  While I do agree that some Magi (wise men) were pagan in nature there were some who were not.  Something to consider: while the Israelites were held captive in Babylon, Daniel was appointed to be the Chief Administrator over all of the wise men (Daniel 2:48).  Additionally, a large number of Israelites (Levites, and Bejaminites) stayed in Babylon after the exile.  The conclusion here is that there was a fairly large contingent of Israelites in Babylon for a long period of time that would extend from post exile (approx 537 BC), to Parthian Empire Babylon (247 BC) to the Birth of Christ (approx 4 BC). 

In a broader context one could look at it this way:  There is a high probability that there were Magi in Babylon (circa the Parthian Empire) that were very well aware of the prophecies of Daniel), as well as the prophecies.

Again, Some Magi were members of Parthian government.  It would be the equivalent of the Senate in the US.  These are men who were able to elect the King as well as depose the King.  Needless to say, the Magi carried a certain amount of gravitas wherever they went.  Remember, the Parthian  and Roman empires bordered one another and  had been at war for a number of years just prior to the birth of Christ.  As a result, Herod probably feared the Parthian Empire, because he was once replaced as King by  King Antigonus who was a vassal to Parthia.  When the Romans regained control of the area… Herod was restored to power. 

Why would the Magi come to Jerusalem and then Bethlehem?  

This question gets to the heart of the matter.  Why would these men travel to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem upon seeing a star?  There would have to be something incredibly compelling to travel nearly 1,000 miles to see the King of the Jews.  Ezra’s travel from Babylon to Jerusalem was 120 days (Ezra 7:8-9).  This is a pretty significant trip.  Overall, for the Magi, this would be a trip that lasted nearly 8 to 9 months.  Why would they do this?  What was so compelling to them that they would leave their homes, travel by caravan, to follow this star?  I would suggest that it is because of Numbers 24:17.  

Numbers 24:17 reads as follows: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel”.  The interesting thing about this passage is that Balaam was a sorcerer hired by Balak to curse the Israelites as they camped on his boarders, ready to conquer him.  Instead of cursing Israel, God took control over Balaam and he blessed the Israelites (Numbers 24:10-14).  Then Balaam dropped the bombshell in numbers 24:17.  Many speculate what the meaning of 24:17 is.  Some say that it relates to David’s kingdom.  If this is the case, then the prophecy was not fully fulfilled by David.  The Damascus Document is a part of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  It is a commentary on scripture that dates back to 2nd century BC.  Part of the Damascus commentary focuses on Numbers 24:17.  And the star is the seeker of the Law who came to Damascus, because it was written a star has came forth out of Jacob and a scepter has risen out of Israel. The scepter stands for the prince of the congregation. At his coming he shall break down all the sons of Sheth.”  Numbers 24:17 had been interpreted to mean the coming Messiah.  If I’m correct, this is how the Magi would have read Numbers 24:17. 

Back to the motivation for the trip…  If these men were holdovers from the exile or shared the same office that Daniel had, there is a very good chance that the Magi would have to have been familiar with the prophesy of Numbers 24:17 in order to understand the meaning of the star over Jerusalem.  This is why they left seeking the King (Scepter) of the Jews.  Additionally, they may have known they were in the Messianic era because  Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy was coming to an end. If this is the case, they would have expected the Messiah to be born soon in order for the prophecy to hold true.

How many Magi came?

Most, if not all, nativity scenes show three Magi present.  Most Christmas stories tell of three wise men being present.  The reality is that Bible makes no mention of the number of Magi that came to Jerusalem (it only lists their three gifts).  In fact, men of the stature as described above would have required many attendants to come with them.  Given the value of their gifts to Jesus and the dangerousness of the road they likely traveled, the Magi more than likely would have needed an armed escort – especially if they were officials from the Parthian Empire.  This presents an interesting image of not just three but literally hundreds of attendants with any number of Magi travelling across the country side following a star.  This point is most notable as the caravan reaches Jerusalem and is seemingly able to get virtually an immediate audience with King Herod.

When did the Magi come?

Again, if you look at most nativity scenes, you would be under the impression that the Magi were present at the birth of Christ.  Again, this is not biblically supported.  As a matter of fact, the Bible (Matthew 2) clearly contradicts this notion.  Matthew 2:1 is the first indicator that the wise men were not at the birth of Jesus.  Additionally, take this into consideration; if the star appeared over Jesus at the time of birth we know at a minimum that it would be at least 120 days before the Magi could reach Jerusalem.  If you add on the time that it would take to identify the star, organize the caravan, plan the trip and get on the road, one could easily be looking at anywhere from 5-6 months total time before they reached Jerusalem.  Maybe another month before they reached where Jesus was.  This would make sense with King Herod’s order to kill all of the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under (Matthew 2:16).

Based on the above information we can logically determine that (in regards to the “Three Kings” of carol fame) the Atheists have it right – Well, sort of… and purely by accident.  However, we should celebrate reason, rather than legend.  And reason dictates that the Bible is historically accurate and the final authority on all things theological and historical. This really is the little known story of Christmas.  If my historical theory holds true, then many of the idea’s surrounding the greatest story ever told would be a legend built off of this historical story.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

What else can be said?


Probably one of the more hotly contested topics discussed (when it comes atheist versus Christian) is that of evolution versus creation.  So many have discussed this topic, that as I was sitting thinking about  a post topic I wondered if there was anything I could add to the conversation.  Think about how hot this topic is.  School boards deny the teaching of creationism because it is based on faith.  School boards allowing evolution because it is based on “science.”  Hollywood has even taken up the banner with movies like Expelled and Religulous.  One has to wonder…why does the debate continue?  I think this is a fair question. 

The Bible offers a fairly simplistic explanation for how the universe began, “In the beginning God created”.  Nothing extraordinary…except for the fact that God created everything.  He had his hand in everything that was created.  Now, there are many different camps inside of Christianity when it comes to the interpretation of Genesis.  Some will look at 7 days as being a flat 7 days.  Others will look at the verse in the Bible that a day to us is 1,000 to god, and suggest that each day was 1,000 years…7 days = 7,000 years.  I am not going to focus on that difference here. 

What I would like to focus on is the response one might receive when having a conversation with someone who believes in evolution as opposed to creation. 

Most Evolution supporters will make the following statement “Overwhelming evidence supports this fact”.  If that is the case why is it then a theory?  Case and point look at this link.  Notice anything?  The first sentence of the second paragraph describes evolution as a fact.  My question then is why describe it as a theory as well (in the first paragraph)? 

ALL evolution defenders will tell you about the transitional form.  This is commonly known as the missing link.  Everyone has seen the picture of the chart showing the transition from monkey to man.  The truth is that there has been no evidence found that supports the theory of transitional forms.  This is the lynch pin of evolution.  Without it evolution can never be proven.

I find the idea of a “transitional form”  fascinating.  Man evolved from monkey.  Did that evolution stop?  Think about it.  If evolution is the reason that we are here, where are the living transitional forms from monkey to man?  Unless evolution just said…”okay I’m done” once man had taken present shape.  I mean, evolution has to be ongoing.  Meaning that the evolution of the monkey would be ongoing as well.  If this was the case (evolution) where is the living missing link?  If evolution is ongoing as evolutionists would describe, then surely evolution would be continuing for monkeys (and other species) as well.  Where is it?

Another fascinating question is “how”.  It is possible to “how” the evolution theory to extinction.  How?  By simply asking “how did that happen?” If you ask this question enough one must admit at some point the ultimate conclusion that evolution is nothing more than an improbable theory, not a fact as it is portrayed by many.

The fact of the matter, both Evolution and Creationism are a matter of faith! Evolution is NOT science… In fact, Creationism is technically more scientific!  In order for something to be “science” one must be able to observe and record the phenomena and reproduce it with a differing variables… (this is the very definition of the scientific method that most of us learned about in middle school).  No scientist has observed the macro-evolutionary process happen and they certainly have not been able to recreate the generation of life, nor have they been able to cause the mutatation of any species into another! However, if one accepts the biblical principle that there is a God, then it is plausible (even probable) that He then recorded His “observations” in a record that most Christians would agree is reliable and infallible… So, again, the Christian understanding of creation is technically more scientific than the theory evolution could ever hope to be!

Yeah, I know….when compared to some of the other articles written online this seems pretty simplistic.  I don’t have to be convinced that creation is right, because I know that it is.  Atheists that tell you that creation can’t be proven because it requires faith are deluding themselves.  It requires more faith to believe in evolution than it does creation.  Evolution involves too much chance for me.

To rebel or obey…that is the question.


To Rebel or to Obey…That is the question.

What can I say?  I, like many of you (at least according to the polls) do not like the fact that our government now controls most of the auto industry, health care, and student loans.  As I sat and watched (with disgust) as the house passed a bill that will effectively socialize health care, I wondered, what recourse we as Christians have against such a governmental move.  My question is, can Christians rebel against the government without sinning?

Most people (atheist’s, and Christians alike) will use Romans 13 to say that Christians have no right to rebel against government.  Romans 13:1-7 says this:

 1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (NIV)

 

So what are we to take from this?  Paul’s point is very clear.  Submit to governing authorities, because God establishes authority.  IF YOU REBEL YOU ARE REBELLING AGAINST GOD!  Wait a second did I just read that?  Sure enough, there it is Romans 13:2.  How does this stack up against the rest of scripture though?  Even the most basic level of Bible knowledge will show that that the Bible has examples where God moved people to resist a government. 

Moses is the easiest example where the Bible shows how God can prompt us to resist a government.  

Exodus 1:15-21 shows us how midwives disobeyed Pharaoh when asked to kill every Jewish boy.

Daniel 3 shows three men (Shadrach, Meschach, and Aded – Nego) defy Nebuchadnezzar when asked to bow down before him as king.

Acts 5:29 shows Peter defying a Judge.

Daniel defies King Darius’ decree in Daniel 6:1-17.

The Bible does contain events which show that Godly men disobeyed authority.  If you read Romans 13 in conjecture with these stories there would appear to be a contradiction.  Either Paul got it wrong, or the people in these events got it wrong.  I have to admit, I was stuck at this point.  So which is it?

To begin my own evaluation you have to remember one simple point, God cannot contradict himself.  And, if you remember from my previous post (The Bible…Good Moral Stories?); every word in the Bible is true.  So based on that simple principle both Paul and the other events have to hold a singular valid point. 

The next point, what were the conditions that allowed these people to rebel?  I think Acts 5:29 and Daniel 3 hold the key.  In both examples the men involved with these events choose to obey God rather than obey men.  This involved knowingly disobeying the law of the land.  For Peter it was claiming that Christ was Lord, for the three men in Daniel it was not kneeling down before Nebuchadnezzar.  The other examples also support this notion.  The single message we can take from these events is that in all of them, the laws were in contradiction to God’s law, and God’s word. 

Let’s look at some other things that Paul said in general to help shed some light on our overall obligations as Christians.  II Corinthians 10:5 states “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” This to me defines the very nature of the issue at hand.  Paul states that we will demolish EVERY pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.  The knowledge of God is the Bible.  We will demolish anything that sets itself up against the Word of God.  How can we compare the events noted above, with II Corinthians 10:5?  Back to Romans 13…

What point is Paul trying to make?  To what specific point was he talking to? Re-reading Romans 13 I come to the conclusion that Paul was talking about general law, and paying taxes.  If the general law, for instance, is to stop when a policeman pulls you over, do not rebel.  If the general law is to pay taxes then pay your taxes.  This is the point, I believe, that Paul is trying to make in Romans 13.  How do I come to this conclusion?  Paul knows that God would not have us submit to laws that are contradictory to His law.  God has shown us, through His Word, that we are obligated to not obey laws that defy God (see above).  This successfully answers the question I posed at the beginning; can Christians rebel against the government without sinning? Would we be violating Biblical doctrine if we did rebel against the government?  The answer is:  IF a particular law CLEARLY contradicts GOD’S WORD WE ARE OBLIGATED TO DISOBEY THAT LAW. 

So what now?  If you have come to the same conclusion that I have the next viable question to ask is what do we do know?  II Corinthians 10 holds the answer to the question.  II Corinthians 10:2-5 (NIV) states:

I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Paul is clear as to how we are to proceed.  We will not use the weapons of this world.  We as Christians must, MUST unite together and proceed in a way that is demonstrative of God’s love, and will.  We can defy ungodly laws, without violence.  So what does that mean?  Legal challenges, not obeying laws that contradict the Word of God and voting Godly Christians into office.  These are a few of the things we can do at this time.  But we must be united behind the mantle of Christ and hold firm.   

It would be easy for me to stand in front of you and tell you what I think you should do in response to the passage of the health care bill.  You probably can tell from the opening paragraph where I stand.  Romans 13 is something that I have been praying about since the health care bill passed.  Atheists love to remind me of my obligation to submit to authority, especially when they are in authority.  It is important to understand that I don’t have all the answers and can only provide insight as to my own education when I study the Word of God.  The initial version of this post was much more harsh, and much more to the point.  I believe that through prayer the Holy Spirit softened my heart.  It is far too easy to fan the flames of discontent than it is to stoke the fire of reason.  Our first obligation must always be to God and his infallible Word.

SHARE THIS:

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

The Bible…Good moral stories?


Have you ever been in a conversation about the Bible and hear a believer say “Some of the things in the Bible are good moral stories”.  How about a conversation with a non-believer that usually ends with “you believe that everything in the Bible is absolutely true?”  I certainly have.  What these people are usually implying is that some of the stories in the Bible are a little too fantastic to believe.  Nine times out of ten they are usually referring to Jonah, Noah or maybe even creation. 

The people described above are indirectly calling into question the inerrancy of the Bible.  If you are like me, you had never heard the word inerrancy and the Bible in the same sentence, let alone as truth.  In fact, up until a couple of years ago I would have been the person described above.  I used to look at the story of Noah, and the story of Jonah and say “wow, Really!?”  It was hard for me to accept the fact that a man would sit alive in the belly of a fish or that the world was flooded and Noah’s family was the only group that survived. 

If this is the first time that you are hearing the word inerrancy, the definition is simple.  According to the dictionary inerrancy means without error.  So what does inerrancy mean in the context of the Bible?  Well, if inerrancy means without error that means that in order for the Bible to be inerrant it has to be true.  The Bible has to be true.  Say it one more time and really let it soak in.  The Bible has to be true.  This includes all of the “stories” that are in the Bible. 

God is truth.  This is a pretty simple statement.  How do we know that God is truth?  He describes Himself as truth (Deuter. 32:4, Psalm 33:4, John 17:17). Meaning that truth is a characteristic/attribute of God.   What is the consequence of being truth?  That God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).  This provides the biblical foundation that God, and by extension God’s Word, is truth.  Pretty easy right?  God is truth, therefore God cannot contradict himself, and cannot lie.

Most people don’t hang their hats on this point when arguing against the inerrancy of the Bible.  What you will more traditionally hear from atheists primarily is something along these lines…”Your own Bible says that man will make mistakes.  Men wrote the Bible, so how can you say that the Bible is inerrant?”   If you have heard this statement before (I am sure many of you have) you should know that the premise of the question is incorrect.  This is a reflection of how half-truths can shape an opinion.  Man did not write the Bible alone.  The proof? 

2 Peter 1:21:

21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21, NIV)

Need more proof?

1 Corinthians 2:13

13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. (1 Corinthians 2:13, NIV).

NEED MORE PROOF? 

2 Timothy 3:16

16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV).

The message behind these verses, while man put pen to paper so to speak, they were not writing, the Holy Spirit and God were writing.   So lets back up a second and recap.  We have God saying that he is truth and incapable of lying (Deuter. 32:4, Psalm 33:4, John 17:17, Titus 1:2), we have multiple verses saying that man alone did not write the Bible.  We have this written explicitly in 2 Timothy 3:16 that God BREATHED the scripture.  What is the conclusion to be drawn?  That scripture is truth.  No discussion, no qualifiers, no distinction on moral stories, or things of this nature.  SCRIPTURE IS TRUTH, according to the word breathed by God.  This tells us that the Bible is inerrant. 

The argument posed in this blog is a simplistic basic argument for the inerrancy of the bible using God’s word.  Skeptics will challenge truths in the Bible because they appear to be contradictory to other statements in the Bible.  In future blogs we can address some of these “discrepancies” (emphasis on quotes). 

As Christians, we run the danger of showing others that the Bible is errant.  Statements like “good moral story” and “a little too fantastic” will do nothing but demonstrate your own lack of faith in the holy word of God to those you are testifying to.  Ultimately the question that has to be posed is this, if the book of Jonah is not true, what else isn’t?  Go back to the word of God.  If Jonah is not true then God is not truth.  Which means that possibly other parts of the Bible are errant.  Which ones?  Who knows, but what we do know is that this thought process brings error to the word of God, which destroys the entire bible.  Seem fatalistic?  Think about it.  The life of Christ, true or false?  You are probably screaming true, right?  But what is more fantastic, a man living in the belly of a fish, or a divine pregnancy where God sent his son, who was of God to die, where he was crucified, raised from the dead, and ascended to heaven?  Get the point?  The next time you feel your mind thinking that creation, or Jonah, or Noah or ANY of the “fantastic stories” of the Bible are just that, remember 2 Timothy 3:16, and know that God is truth, you are not.

PLEASE NOTE:  For a more evidential and less philosophical argument that doesn’t rely upon the interpretation of any Bible verses/passages, check out Kevin’s post on manuscript evidence.

SHARE THIS:

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

%d bloggers like this: