Thursday, April 19, 2018

Logic and the Bible

Some people are intimidated by discussions about logic, there is no need for that. We use it all the time. Obviously, most of us do not get formal with it, we just reason our way through problems, play games, and so forth. Although logic discussions can use notations similar to those of algebra, the letters are shorthand and make sense.


Jason Lisle discusses three basic laws and how logic is biblically based.
Credit: Freeimages / Aleksandra P.
There are some things about logic that may seem surprising. Laws of logic are intangible, like numbers. If you write "5" or "law of identity" on a board, then erase it, the number or law does not cease to exist. Logic is actually a reflection of the mind of God, and we use it because we are created in his image. Without God, then logic, numbers, and science would be impossible! Dr. Jason Lisle explains the three main laws of logic and their biblical basis in this article.
Laws of logic are the rules of correct reasoning.  They reflect the way God thinks and the way we must think if we are to think correctly.  Laws of logic are also called “rules of inference.”  Correct reasoning can never violate a law of logic.  There are many laws of logic.  But three are considered the most basic or primary.  Let’s examine these three and how they stem from the mind of God.
I'd be much obliged if you'd read the rest. Just click on "The Biblical Basis for the Laws of Logic". Also, you may want to look at a previous post on how using logic is a moral obligation, "Logical Thinking and the Christian". If you have a notion to read up on some logical fallacies (atheists and evolutionists use these to manipulate Christians and creationists quite frequently), click on "Logic Lessons".



Thursday, April 12, 2018

Is Christianity Fading Away?

There was a time when church-going had the appearance of being respectable, even if people were insincere about their beliefs. Today, there is open contempt for Christianity, and atheists claim that their numbers are increasing. However, that is a bit difficult to tell, because sometimes not even atheists know the meaning of atheism, such as "Christian atheists". Those folks seem a mite confused, don't you think?

In addition, hardcore atheists like to claim that the increase of "nones" in surveys mean that they are "winning". Not hardly! "None" means not affiliated with a particular religion or denomination; it does not mean a rejection of God. I'll let you in on something: I left the church I was attending because of what I considered their "stealth creationism" — they believed in it, but didn't want to be "labeled". This area has apostate churches or strange gatherings, so this child is, by some measure, a "none"!

Christianity is growing despite the efforts of atheist regimes, Mohammedans, and secularists. We have received persecution, and it is on the increase. Persecution has happened from the beginning. In the United States, we've had it comparatively soft, and people have become lackadaisical in their theology.

Bible believing churches are getting stronger
Credit: Unsplash / Ben White
Yes, we see many church buildings in Western countries repurposed or outright closed. People are leaving mainstream liberal denominations. Why? One big reason is that young people are not given much reason to stay. That is, they are not being given answers to their questions, and their parents are not exactly being inspiring in their professions of faith. Do they talk the talk, or walk the talk? The truth is, Christianity in these here United States is still alive. Churches that practice what they preach, and teach that the Bible is true from the beginning, are thriving. We can grow, and grow stronger.
We’re used to hearing that religion is dying in America, secularization is inevitable, and that young people are leaving the faith in droves. But a new Harvard research study has great news for Christians. Previous research typically focuses on the massive increase in the proportion of people who claim atheism or ‘no religion’. But these reports generally don’t address where the decline is happening. This new research demonstrates that the decline is in ‘moderate’ religion. So it turns out that ‘religion’ isn’t dying, but the differentiation between believer and unbeliever is becoming clearer.
To read the rest, click on "Christianity in America is not dying!"



Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Those Specialized Christian Words

"Excuse me, Cowboy Bob, can you spare a moment?"

"Sure."

"I am concerned with your conduct a few moments ago. It was not consistent with some biblical principles."

"Thanks for bringing that to my attention. My sanctification in that area is rather lacking. Please pray for me."

Christians have their own specialized lingo
Credit: Pixabay / StockSnap
People have their own specialized words and terms in various places, and sometimes they seem to be speaking a somewhat different language. A mechanic can tell you what needed to be repaired on your vehicle, the sergeant gives instructions to the troops, my wife tells me what went on in her workplace, the cowboys on the ranch discuss work that is being done, Christians can write and talk to each other, and so on. Some use "regular" words that have entirely different meanings in various contexts, some words are unique for the people involved. Most of us, even as individuals, have lingo that needs to be explained to other folks.

For Christians, the basics of salvation are simple, but it is a lifetime journey to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). The Holy Spirit is leading, teaching, and convicting us, and the Word is absolutely essential for our growth. With that comes specialized vocabulary. 

Even definitions are important. For example, if someone says, "I believe that God is the Creator", he may not mean six-day recent creation, but instead could believe in the false teaching of "evolutionary creation". Define creation. Also, if you ask a Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, Roman Catholic, and a Southern Baptist if Christ is the only way to salvation, they would all probably answer in the affirmative. Define Christ, salvation, only way. In both examples, clear definitions can result in greatly different responses.

It is interesting to see remarks from "former Christians" (even some who have claimed to be pastors) who display no understanding of the Bible or Christian terminology. "I went to a church for years..." If that person really went, I wonder if he or she paid any attention, or if the pastor believed the Bible in the first place.

So, Bible believers do their studying and have fellowship, but have to be careful of how they address spiritual things to unbelievers. For one thing, they are unable to understand the deeper things (1 Cor. 2:14, 2 Cor. 4:4, John 8:44). However, we are commanded to spread the gospel (Matt. 28:18-20) and be ready to talk to someone who asks us (1 Peter 3:15). When that happens, we must avoid as much Christianese as we can so we don't confuse people.


via GIPHY

Many professing Christians are nominal, giving intellectual assent to the principles of the faith, but not having an adequate understanding of them. Dr. Jason Lisle has a very helpful article for all of us.
The Christian says, “You need to repent and trust in Jesus for salvation.”  The unbeliever responds, “Salvation from what?  Why would I need Jesus?”  The Christian then says, “You need to be born again to be saved from your sins.  Jesus is the propitiation for our sins.  His blood will atone for sin, and you can be justified and sanctified before God.  The alternative is an eternity in hell.”  The unbeliever responds, “I am basically a good person.  I don’t think a loving God would send me to hell.”

Perhaps you have heard, or even been a part of, such a conversation.  Christians have a tendency to use certain “religious” terms that are either directly from Scripture, or which are used as shorthand to describe a biblical principle (such as the ‘Trinity’).  There is nothing wrong with this.  However, it can be a problem in communicating with unbelievers.  Christians tend to assume that unbelievers understand such terms, but that is often not the case.  Even Christians sometimes misunderstand certain biblical terms.  We here examine, define, and explain some of the more important biblical terms that are helpful in understanding the Gospel.   We will include relevant verses that shed light on these terms.
I hope you'll read the rest of the article, and possibly save the link for later reference. To do either or both, click on "The Problem of Religious Language".

Friday, March 30, 2018

The Laminin Cross and Apologetics Gimmicks

The best-known symbol of Christianity, the cross, is used in merchandising, jewelry, decoration, and more. This is sometimes done by unbelievers, or people who give an intellectual assent to the truth of the gospel but do not have serious convictions about its meaning.


The resemblance of laminin to a cross is not a reason to use it for Christian apologetics
Credit: Open-i / NIH
(Usage does not imply endorsement of site contents)
One of those misused things is the protein called laminin. In some instances, it has a resemblance to a cross.  Some folks got all het up about it and used it as evidence for God's existence and the truth of the gospel. Some may reckon it as evidence for creation (take that, evolutionists!), but it is nothing of the kind. This is not apologetics, old son. We need to cowboy up and do some serious work for the presentation and defense of the gospel and biblical creation.


via GIPHY

On a related note, we had someone at The Question Evolution Project who was enthusiastic about supporting Genesis 6 and insisting that hoax pictures of "giants" were real. (Genesis 6 does not actually say giants, but they are mentioned elsewhere.) He seemed to think we were doubting God's Word, but he was using pictures that were not real and a misunderstanding of the Genesis Flood to support the Bible! 

Let's face it, too many professing Christians and creationists are more interested in captioned pictures, out-of-context Bible verses, and trite sayings than knowing what and why they believe. Some stories are cute, but are nothing more than mind candy: no nutrition, and can be harmful. We can celebrate the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross, his death, burial, bodily Resurrection, and defeat of death without degrading the message with gimmickry. We have powerful evidence, and the truth is on our side.

So, just what is this laminin thing, anyway?
Laminin, interestingly, is in the shape of a cross . . . In fact, a quick Internet search turns up multiple websites selling T-shirts, mousepads, stickers, coffee mugs, and a host of other items with a picture of the laminin protein. These items usually include a catch phrase such as “Great designers always leave their mark” or “Fingerprint of The Creator.” As a molecular biologist, I can certainly appreciate excitement concerning a protein (which really shows what a science nerd I am!), but a protein as an icon of Christianity?
To read the article in its entirety, click on "Laminin and the Cross".



Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Enoch, the Bible, and the Flat Earth

You have probably heard the story that Christopher Columbus defied the consensus of the flat earth by taking his voyage, but that is a myth. The truth is, most people believed the world was spherical, even from ancient times. Sure, there have always been a few folks who believed the world was flat, but for some reason, there has been an increase in flat earth proponents in recent years.


Some professing Christians believe in a flat earth, taking Bible verses out of context and using the false Book of Enoch
Image credit: Pixabay / JooJoo41
Unfortunately, professing Christians are getting caught up in this, as well as secularists. In my opinion, some of those Christians want to feel superior to those of us who believe in the spherical earth because they really believe the Bible. But it does not teach this. Some atheists are milking the idea that the Bible teaches a flat earth in one of many efforts to misrepresent Scripture and especially biblical creation science. Kind of like when J. Edgar Hoover's enemies spread the discredited story that he was a crossdresser.

One tinhorn is doing the typical atheist thing: he found some creationists who believe the earth is flat, therefore, the Bible and creation science are wrong. But then, if I recollect rightly, logic on his planet includes square circles and married bachelors, too.


via GIPHY

To continue the "I'm special" belief, these professing flat earth Christians believe outrageous conspiracies, including all of NASA lying for decades, and that all science supporting the round earth is wrong or fake. Impugning the integrity of other Christians inside NASA as well as others does not seem to matter to them. But it must be true, it's on YouTube!


via GIPHY

Taking it further, these religious folks also take Bible verses out of context. While they're saddled up and riding the Out of Context Owlhoot Trail, they bring in extrabiblical  texts like the Book of Enoch. Some give excuses for believing it, although it has no basis to be accepted as authentic. Worse, they take parts of Enoch's supposed book out of context, sometimes even ignoring parts of verses that refute their claims. This is not exegesis, old son, this is eisegesis — and beyond.
The Book of Enoch is an important source for those who promote the notion that the earth is flat. A few portions of this rather long book teach that the earth is flat, but other passages are ambiguous about the earth’s shape. Flat earthers are selective about which portions of the Book of Enoch that they cite, because other passages clearly contradict aspects of the flat-earth model promoted today. The book of Enoch almost certainly is pseudepigraphal because there is considerable doubt that the patriarch Enoch wrote it, despite the claim within the book that he did. The Book of Enoch is not canonical. Therefore, it ought not be used to interpret Scripture, particularly in claiming the Bible teaches that the earth is flat.
To finish reading this very interesting article, click on "The Book of Enoch and the Flat Earth". For more posts and articles refuting the flat earth stuff, I assembled several of them here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Using Secular Science to Negate Bible Miracles

There was a time when the Bible was respected as a source of history from believers and secular scholars alike, but that seems to be fading nowadays. As atheism, anti-creationism, postmodernism, and other things are ramping up, attacks on the Bible are also increasing. 


Secular researchers attempt to explain the miraculous Red Sea crossing by the Israelites through scientific means
Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center
(Usage does not imply endorsement of site contents)
However, blatant attacks on the Bible by village atheists who get false information from their bigotry clearinghouses are the domain of amateurs. Many will argue from their materialistic presuppositions by asserting that miracles cannot happen, and find excuses to dismiss them individually. To get even more viperine, scoffers rely on the public's adoration of what "scientists say", then use scientific finagling to discredit miracles. This is inconsistent, since they are trying to disprove events that they claim never happened in the first place.

In this example, we have the crossing of the Red Sea by the Israelites. The analysts do not believe the Bible, but are trying to explain the miracles involved through natural means. They contradict themselves and each other, and do not take into account the source documents of Scripture.
Some secular scientists have a new strategy: instead of completely rejecting Scripture, they accept parts of it in exchange for the power to filter out God and His works, especially miracles. An example of this strategy is found in the attempt to explain the Red Sea crossing as a natural phenomenon. However, these explanations cannot explain the details of the biblical accounts or tests of self-consistency.
To read the rest, click on "The Red Sea Crossing: can secular science model miracles?"


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Legacies of Eve

Eve sinned but later had faith and hope in the promised Redeemer
Adam and Eve, Lucas Cranach, ca. 1520
Way back yonder in Genesis, God formed Eve from Adam's side and then brought her to him. It's easy to read Adam's remarks as a kind of dull speech, but take a look:
This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man. (Gen. 2:23)
I have to agree with someone, I disremember who, that said Adam was making a joyous exclamation that could be heard with the excited voice when a guy says, "Allll RIIIIGHT!" Personally, I expect Eve was a hot babe. In fact, the first couple were probably the best looking folks in history — despite their depictions in classic art.

We know what happened in the third chapter of Genesis: the serpent deceived Eve by appealing to her pride (a strategy he successfully uses with humanity even today), she gave the fruit to Adam who probably watch the whole deception thing happening, death entered the world through sin. That's one legacy of Eve. Another is that Adam named his wife Eve because she would be the mother of all people (Gen. 3:20-21).

So, people may be tempted to think of Eve as a wicked woman that cause everyone a great deal of grief, and causing women to have increased pain in childbirth (Gen. 3:16). Easy to think negative things, especially when we don't read the text carefully. The Redeemer would come through her seed. Don't just stop in Genesis 3, either, since Eve shows hope and faith.
The first woman carried a lot on her shoulders—by encouraging her husband to rebel against God, she helped bring suffering and ruin upon her children and all their descendants. Yet she found hope in the same promised Seed that we all look to.

I’ve always been intrigued by Eve. She was the original “bad girl” of the Bible, and most people think of her legacy as one of sin and despair for all mankind. She has another legacy, however, one of hope in her Seed, the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ. Understanding Eve and how God worked in and through her gives us hope and teaches us the importance of looking to Christ.
To finish reading, click on "Eve’s Legacy—Hope Amid Despair".