Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Theophilus the Biblical Apologist

Some people claim that biblical (young age) creation is a recent phenomenon, but that is contrary to most of church history and to the Bible. Theophilus of Antioch was an apologist who believed the creation account in Genesis and defended the truth of Scripture.

Recent creation is taught in God's Word and is found early in church history. Theophilus argued  against paganism and upheld biblical authority.
Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos / Janaka Dharmasena
Theophilus was a former pagan who converted to Christianity, then he wrote a long apologetic to a pagan named Autolycus about the truth of the Bible. He obviously knew paganism and the Scriptures, and affirmed the authority of God's Word — beginning from Genesis. We need to do the same in our own increasingly idolatrous and pagan cultures.
In the second century, after the original disciples of Jesus had died, the fledlging Christian church was beginning to grow and expand into a hostile Greco-Roman world, and accusations were brought against them by unbelievers. These accusations came from a number of people, one of whom was Pliny the Younger, governor of Bithynia. Pliny wrote a letter (AD 111–113) to the Roman emperor Trajan (AD 98–117) to give a multidimensional complaint about Christians. One of Pliny’s concerns was that Christians had become a social threat by their failure to worship the Roman gods. Because of this, Christians were accused of atheism, since they practiced a religion not approved by the state. . . .

Into this hostile environment, a number of Christian apologists rose up to answer the many accusations against the Christian faith (i.e., Justin Martyr, 100–165 AD; Tertullian, 155–220 AD). However, someone who is often overlooked for his apologetic response to the accusations from unbelievers is Theophilus (Θεόφιλος, friend of God), bishop of Antioch (died 181 AD).

Read the rest of this interesting article at "Theophilus: Second Century Creation Apologist".

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Meditation with the Proper Focus

It may be surprising, but everyone meditates in one form or another. It manifests itself in different ways, whether obsession in how to cheat and win an election, activities of favorite sports times, how much an atheist hates God that destroying "religion" and attacking Christians is an all-consuming goal, proving dust-to-Darwin evolution is true, television, sitting there woolgathering, and more. Some seek more formal types of meditation.

Many people seek meditation as a relief of stress and to seek balance in their lives. Improper meditation often does more harm than good.
Credit: Pexels / Gantas Vaičiulėnas

Much of what is used for meditation purposes involves Eastern religious practices. Some versions want the meditator to empty the mind and think of nothing, but that is actually dangerous because (some folks balk at this truth) people are opening themselves up to demonic influences. No, I'm not saying you'll become possessed necessarily, but demonic influence does happen through opening that door.

The word mindfulness is often used regarding meditation, but not in the sense of paying attention to where you set your keys after you came home. Secular psychologists advise meditation and the occult form of mindfulness, but their advice has proved to be harmful for many people!

The Bible frequently talks about meditation, but people confuse helpful and necessary biblical meditation with Eastern occult forms. Some spurious counselors even have "Christian devotional meditation" that has a smattering of Christian and a heapin' helpin' of mysticism. The most important thing is to meditate on the truth of God's Word and aspects of our Creator's glory and majesty, but without the vain repetition of pagan practices.

People with depression who have been taught mindfulness and meditation do not always get better. Why not?

Depression is skyrocketing among young adults during the pandemic, Live Science reports. It is essential, therefore, to learn what kinds of therapy work, and which do not. Some commonly-prescribed cures may be worse than the disease.

Mindfulness is the art of paying close attention to your thoughts. Meditation, as taught by secular psychologists, often includes mindfulness. Clare Wilson at New Scientist announced, “Mindfulness and meditation can worsen depression and anxiety.”

To read the rest, visit "Object of Meditation Matters".


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Believing Despite Evidence for an Old Earth?

While some areas of the Bible are subject to differing interpretations and even disputes, I reckon we can agree that our understanding is the problem; God is not a deceiver. While we walk by faith and not by sight, we are not conflicted by evidence.

Christians must believe the infallibility and authority of God's Word, but there is no conflict between it and actual science regarding the age of the earth.
Credit: Pixnio / Maysam Yabandeh
To quote the great theologian Chico Marx, "Who ya gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" Except in cases of obvious miracles, the Bible does not contain claims that are not contravened by observed scientific facts. Yet some people think the earth appears to be old but through some kind of fideism, they believe the Bible anyway. 

Yes, we need to cling to the inerrancy and authority of Scripture, but we don't need to rustle up a conflict where none exists. When someone says that the earth "looks old", what is their point of reference? The so-called scientific evidence for deep time is fraught with problems and is inferred — nobody knows the age of a planet to use for comparison purposes. In reality, there are many factual evidences for recent creation. As y'all have probably heard before, we don't have to turn off our minds to be Christians.
Some within the creation community make the claim that they would believe God’s Word about the age of the universe even if all the evidence pointed otherwise. Trusting God, no matter what, is certainly a good thing. However, then they claim that He intentionally made the universe “look old.” Did God make an old universe but describe a young one in Genesis just to test our faith?

The article is short, but I think you'll get something out of it. To read the rest, see "Believe Anyway". 

Friday, November 6, 2020

Internet Debates with Atheists are Seldom Useful

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

Christians are supposed to be ready to give reasons for the hope that is in us, and many feel they are witnessing for the faith in various online forums. However, one has to discern when time is being wasted.

Made at Pablo, quote source is here
As I have stated several times in the past, the word debate is used very loosely. Nowadays it can mean a screaming match, a structured exchange of points and rebuttals, an exchange of comments in various online forums, and all sorts of things. Let's consider internet activity.

Minerals-to-mocker evolution is a cornerstone of atheism and for other rejections of the authority of God's Word. Although what is presented as scientific evidence is based on faith, assumptions, redefining words, circular reasoning, and poor research, evolutionists prefer to defend it no matter how foolish it looks. That is because admitting that evidence supports the Bible is infandous.

Readers of my other sites may recall that I have dealt with atheists who demand proof that God exists. That'll be the day! God is holy and infinite, our Creator and Redeemer, and professing Christians should never allow The Mighty Atheist™ to put God on trial. (This is a problem that I have with the Intelligent Design movement.) Sinful humans are in to position to use their corrupted "wisdom" to decide if God exists and is worthy of worship! No, they should be accepting the evidence that they have been given (Rom. 1:18-23), humbling themselves, and repenting.

One atheopath was asking questions and I gave some answers about creation and other things. Then he attacked with, "But you still can't prove your [G]od exists". That jasper did not want answers, but only to waste my time and to troll.

Note as well that when given any sort of evidence to consider, they refuse to read articles, watch videos, and so on. This is often packed into the genetic fallacy where they reject something from a creationist source, and use the loaded term, "valid scientific journal", which is a kind of ad hominem and a disingenuous redefinition that means they require something that cannot happen: creation science presented in a secular scientific journal

Elsewhere, I encountered the atheist mentioned again and asked, "What constitutes proof in your eyes?" The answer was, "[W]hat proof do you have, and I will evaluate it". As I have said, they have all the evidence they need. Let me add that these misotheists are not going to coerce God into making an extra effort to jump through hoops and accede to their demands. Also, if they want scientific or empirical proof that God exists, they are committing the category error. That is, God is Spirit, and the Creator is not made of the creation. Someone once asked, "What color litmus paper would you use to test for God?"

There was a time when most professing atheists were not only honest enough to admit that they believed there is no God (or gods), but would at least tolerate people who did not share in their disbelief. Today, mockery and ridicule of Christians and creationists are militant.

I have mentioned one Page of angry atheopaths whose only purpose is to share Facebook posts to their own Page for the purpose of ridicule. (The owners of Pages shared from usually are given an electronic notification of these shares.) An Admin at The Question Evolution Project shared a post about vestigial organs, and the atheopath Admin acted in the usual manner of mocking without reading and showing herself to be a great fool again:

Used under federal Fair Use provisions for educational purposes
If she was well-read on her own evolutionary mythology as well as real science, she may not have made such ridiculous remarks. Also, biblical creation science organizations have taught extensively in videos, books, articles, and such about how vestigial organs/structures no longer please Papa Darwin.

Another hatetheist joined in with an exceptionally dishonest comment. It contained truth, but was designed to mislead others and make creationists look foolish:

Used under federal Fair Use provisions for educational purposes
He ignored the fact that doctors did remove the appendix (as well as tonsils and adenoids, by the way) because they were allegedly evolutionary leftovers — and caused real or at least potential harm for the patients. Hail Darwin, blessed be! He has hindered medical science many times.

Such bigotry and hatred, along with utter irrationality, are reasons I do not spend time seeking out dens of misotheists. There are times when I may encounter someone who has genuine questions, that is a different matter and I will trust the leading of the Holy Spirit to know whether or not I am wasting my time.

Let me show you these selected examples of visceral hatred from an individual:

Used under federal Fair Use provisions for educational purposes
Have you ever noticed that no other professing atheists chastise the greatest offenders? I believe it's because they tacitly approve of such actions. If a professing Christian acted in such a manner, other Christians are likely to rebuke him and say he or she is being dishonoring to the Lord.

Also, I can't help but puzzle and puzzle and puzzle until my puzzler is sore about their extreme hatred. They hate us because they hate God who lives within us, that's a biblical fact. I think they are pricked in their spirits because biblical creation science offers convincing and compelling evidence against universal common descent evolution and affirming recent creation. That would ultimately mean that God is the Creator and he makes the rules!

Let's saddle up and ride to another county.

There is a site called Revolution Against Evolution that is censored on Fazebook. Every once in a while, a link or site is censored. If I want to share something, I can couch it in my own material. That's the story now, and we'll go to a link that inspired my own article (above).

Dr. Jerry Bergman essentially resigned from engaging with professing atheists online. They are obstreperous, and use a prairie schooner-full of logical fallacies. Stay on topic and discuss the material in a civil and rational manner? Ain't happenin', Hoss.

Unfortunately, although Dr. Bergman has given creationists and Intelligent Design proponents a great deal of excellent material, I have problems with his approach. He needs to be less hesitant about affirming the Bible and learn how to use presuppositional apologetics.

He debated an atheist, who cleaned his clock. Not because of evidence, but a presuppositionalist is unlikely to have fallen for distractions, manipulation, and poor logic. Bergman clearly knows the science aspects of what he was presenting, but needed to learn about worldviews and countering logical fallacies.
I now rarely involve myself in internet discussion rooms with Darwinists (many of whom are, in Stephen J. Gould’s terms, “Darwin Fundamentalists”) because, in the vast majority of cases, they end up viciously attacking, or at the least making fun of, all Darwin critics (and, not uncommonly, all theists).  Feedback from critics is enormously important and is a key to how science functions (called peer review), but I have found critics present very little helpful information on these chat rooms or web sites—although occasionally very useful criticism is provided.  Much more common are cute putdowns and a flow of hateful derogatory sarcasm (note the comments about Darwin skeptic “Charlie Wagner,” below).

You can read the rest (I recommend just skimming the comments of hatetheists, they are common boilerplate material) by clicking on "Why I No Longer Debate Darwinists in Internet Chat Rooms". You may also like some other articles by Dr. Jerry at this link. Oh, and that "goosebumps are vestigial" canard? Here's a quick answer:

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Christians and Voting for Political Leaders

Those of us who live in countries where we can elect our political leaders must keep a few things in mind. Especially Christians. Elections are not supposed to be about personalities, speaking voices, the nicest hair, and other irrelevant things. Choices should be about who can get the job done.

Who will Christians vote for to occupy the White House requires serious consideration.
White House image credit: The White House, modified at PhotoFunia
We should remember that many countries do not allow a choice. In the United States, we are in a constitutional republic and use a democratic process to select our leaders. Unfortunately, many people believe things when a politician seeking power will say things the gullible people want to hear. Christians must prayerfully consider what they are doing, as it is for the glory of God and what is best for the country.

It is distressing that some Christians are sanctimonious, judging the morality of a candidate based on what they have been told by the mainstream media. Many accusations are made, but we don't see them proven — or even credible. Has God forgiven you for your past sins (whether in the distant past or five minutes ago), and will he forgive you for what you will do in the near future? Yes. Perhaps you should allow the Holy Spirit to convict other people. 

We are not choosing a spiritual leader when we vote for a president or anyone else in authority. For that matter, the Bible instructs us to submit to those in authority and to pray for them. Paul wrote about that while in a Roman prison. Not imprisoned by a Christian government, but one run by pagans.

I have to interject something here. I am not fond of Billy Joel, but something struck me. In the song Only the Good Die Young, he asked about Virginia's mother "...never cared for me, but did she ever say a prayer for me?" When we judge someone, do we bother to pray for them? We would also do well to keep well in mind that we are voting for a platform, which is a set of policies. One party is on record for hating God and supports many things that the Bible opposes, the other wants to do away with abortion and support our freedoms. Do not "think" with your emotions or what you have been told to think by the leftist media. Take God with you in the voting booth. Remember, there is no perfect candidate (nor is there a perfect party) because all are humans who have sinned. Just like you and me.
As many Christians are considering who to vote for in the presidential voting, we should remember what the act of voting is—and what it is not. At first glance, voting appears to be the act of approving a candidate’s personal shortcomings. In other words, some think voting for a candidate is an affirmation of a candidate’s character flaws. Voting is not that kind of action. Instead, voting is the deliberate act of preferring a candidate who supports a set of policies over an alternative set of policies. To illustrate this approach, I submit two things voting is not.

I hope you will read the rest of "Two Things Presidential Voting Is Not". Since this subject is so urgent, I have some more material to present.

I’ve read quite a number of articles on whether Christians should vote, how Christians should vote, and so on. There are so many differing ideas. I come from a country (Australia) where voting is compulsory. Australia doesn’t have the type of constitutional protection America has where there is a special emphasis on free speech, freedom of religion, and free exercise of religion as written in the first amendment. I do praise the Lord for the freedoms that have been enjoyed in this great country.

When my wife and I became naturalized citizens many years ago, we were thrilled to know we could then choose to vote and contribute to who would be elected to shape what happens for those living in this nation.

Please read the rest of "The Bible-Believing Christian’s Privilege to Vote & Pray". Finally, some in-depth material can be found at "God, Creation, and Government". 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Christians and Space Alien Stories

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

As many Bible believers know, the Christian life can sometimes be like walking through a minefield. We have to stay close to God to lead us through it. This involves getting into the Word, prayer, receiving solid biblical instruction, and more. We also must keep in balance. While many pleasures are not inherently sinful, we need to be careful about what we allow into our minds. How about science fiction?

Can Christians like science fiction involving space aliens? The answer is not clear-cut.
Credit: Pixabay / JavierRodrigues
Some Christians seem almost fearful that if they do anything that is not spiritually edifying, they will dishonor Christ. This can be truth out of balance because of the need of building up faith and godly wisdom, and focusing on those things is important — especially for a new Christian. (I'm all in favor of going a mite overboard for a while in that area.) I'm listening to classical music while writing this. While it's "secular", it's not harmful to my spiritual life. Savvy?

By necessity, biblical creationists read and watch material supporting metaphysical naturalism and evolution. Some even read material from atheists, but those people tend to be grounded in the faith and use those things for ministry purposes.

"Why were you watching Stargate SG-1 earlier, Cowboy Bob?

Research! Always looking for material. (Actually, I tweaked a line from Sam Diamond in Murder by Death.) Besides, the Stargate shows are currently my favorite science fiction. 

The science fiction category is extremely broad, including speculative and cautionary stories, fantasies about the far future, monsters, and more. Unfortunately, many presuppose evolution and atheism. In the Stargate SG-1 series, there are numerous snide remarks disparaging "religion", but those are not usually upfront. One premise of the series is that certain aliens pretend to be gods, obtain fanatical following, then use their power to enslave people and gain more power.

There is a fallacious presumption included that since there are evil beings pretending to be gods, there are no gods at all — especially the Creator God of the Bible, who generally goes completely unmentioned. Also, the false "war between reason and religion" is often implied. The most blatant caricature of religion was in the episode "Icon". In this one, the team reached a world where sensible people had to contend with "religious fundamentalists" who were loyal to the false gods that used the Stargate. People were awaiting the return of those gods who would reward the faithful. Sound familiar?

Harry Harrison was a noted science fiction author who wrote the often hilarious Stainless Steel Rat series as well as the Deathworld trilogy. Every once in a while in SSR, there would be remarks like, "Sure is good that we're free from the shackles of religion!" The second Deathworld novel was originally titled The Ethical Engineer. This one was a blatant attack on Christianity disguised as a dialogue between the main character and a religious nut. I was tempted to write an article on this novel, but it was long, tedious, and irritating. Besides, it's the same boilerplate tripe that we hear from fundamentalist atheists on a regular basis, and therefore has been refuted many times.

When referring to science fiction, stories of spaceships and aliens often come to mind. Prominent in these are atheistic humanism and evolutionism. Darwin's disciples operate under the presuppositions that since life evolved on Earth and since there are possibly a septillion stars in the universe, then life must have evolved on planets out yonder as well. These stories are usually based on Big Bang cosmogony. Indeed, the Time Lords of Doctor Who were the "oldest" and "most advanced", which assumes evolution, deep time, and the Big Bang.

Can Christians believe that space aliens exist? It's not a salvation issue, but there are serious theological problems with that view, akin to those found in theistic evolution. Can or should Christians indulge in science fiction? More specifically, when it involves extraterrestrial life?

Well, I've drawn inspiration from such stories, including Star Trek:TNG episodes. (If you've a mind to, you can read "Science Fiction and Genetic Engineering" and "Engineered Nanobot Evolution".) This whole shootin' match about Christians, entertainment, secular pursuits, and stories with space aliens is complicated. Wisdom, a biblical foundation, and Spirit-led counsel are necessary.

The following article deals with the aliens issue. I hope you'll read the letter and response (it's actually shorter than what you just read here), and note that there are several articles linked in the text and at the end for further investigation.
Throughout life, there have been preachers who state sci-fi is evil, or Satanic. My father just told me not to worry, Star Wars and such is all in good fun. I enjoy movies with a critical eye and know when the writers are putting in a political or anti-biblical agenda.
I honestly don’t see why there can’t be Christian science fiction. I’m unsure as to why your team have the view that aliens or extra-dimensional beings would be a result of an evolutionary act. There are Christians, here in Oklahoma who believe any of that sort of stuff is actually angels/the fallen ones…I’m not so sure about all that!
To read the full article (a letter and reply), visit "Is otherworldly science fiction biblical?"


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Two Basic Worldviews

Not so long ago, we would hear people pontificating about two kinds of people, such as, "There are two kinds of people: those who believe the Bible, and those who do not".* It may come as a surprise to some people to learn that there are only two worldviews.

We all have a worldview, which is like spectacles through which we interpret information and live our lives. Essentially, there are only two.
Original image before modification: Freeimages / Kenn Kiser
Most people have probably not made a study of their worldviews, but they are the basis of how we live our lives, our presuppositions, our epistemology, and so on. Atheists presuppose there is no God, so their misotheistic spectacles impact how they live their lives and interpret evidence. The same with Christians. There are variations within worldviews of course, such as biblical creationists who are Christians, or professing atheists who are not entirely unreasonable. Essentially, there are only two worldviews.

Picture two people in a living room. A man puts on green-colored glasses, and a woman puts on red-colored glasses. Everything the man sees has a green tint while everything the woman sees has a red shade. The couch may be brown, but to the man it will be a greenish-brown. The chair may be white, but to the woman it will have a pinkish-hue. Everything is colored by the glasses the man and the woman wear. That’s what happens with a worldview.

To read the rest of this short but informative article, visit "Only Two Worldviews".

* My favorite send-up of these things came around when the fad was fading, "There are two kinds of people: those who divide people into two kinds, and those who don't".

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