Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Answering Good Friday and Easter Questions

Many events occurred during what many Christians call Holy Week, leading up to the Crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday and his bodily Resurrection on Sunday. Some professing Christians are confused, annoyed, and even judgmental about our celebrations of Easter, and misotheists join in the attacks.

Some Christians and misotheists falsely claim that Easter has pagan origins. There is also the question 3 days and nights that Jesus was in the tomb.
Credit: Free Christian Illustrations
One of the questions people have is when they count on their fingers, they believe that Jesus could not have been crucified on Friday and rise from the dead on Sunday. This comes from shoehorning modern counting methods into ancient Jewish reckoning. We do want to be honest with the text, don't we? 

Another problem some people have is the claim that Easter is based on pagan traditions. Unfortunately, this nonsense is spread by modern church traditions and ill-informed pastors. Ignorance of history and languages are not excuses for Pecksniffian attitudes religious people who look down on those of us who choose to celebrate Easter. 

If you get up on the hill and look down for the bigger picture, so what? If the name and dates associated with the Resurrection were originally from the pagans and then Christianized, it would not change the reality of the Crucifixion and bodily Resurrection of Jesus! Many names in our culture today have pagan origins. This is being written in March, which was named after Mars, the Roman god of war. It is posting on Wednesday, named after Wodan (the equivalent of the Norse god Odin). I used to schedule these on Thor's Day. Does anyone care about those names, and many others? That'll be the day!

In fact, I used to believe the pagan tradition think myself, and took down some posts I had made years ago where I spread the error.

"But Cowboy Bob, not Jesus or anyone else commanded us to celebrate his Resurrection or Christmas, either!" 

That's an irrational way of forbidding something, because there are many things that were not commanded that should be refused if those people wanted to be consistent. Also, Jesus celebrated the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah), which was certainly not commanded. Looks like the wheels came off that wagon.

Let's move on to the article featured here today. It was written in 2008 and updated in 2020, so we got that goin' for us, which is nice. It is quite in-depth and I found it fascinating. It would be very helpful to you to read it. Also, below is a 16-minute video that covers some of the highlights of the big one. After that, a few other links of interest. Read, watch, learn. Savvy?

To read the article, head on over to "Easter and Good Friday: questions and answers". The other material follows.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Proof and the Unbeliever

There are times when a mocker will say something like, "Prove to me your God exists". A Christian may ask, "What kind of evidence are you willing to consider?", which is a reasonable question. (One actually told me to provide it, then he would consider if it was acceptable. I knew where that would lead!) Unbelievers already have all the evidence they need, but they suppress the truth (Rom. 1:18-23).

Christians often have wrong ideas about giving proof to unbelievers and persuading them to come to faith in Christ. The reality may seem surprising.

We can present all the evidence (or proof) we can, and if someone does not repent and make Jesus the Lord of his or her life, we may think that we've failed. But our job is to sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts and be ready to make a defense of our hope (1 Peter 3:15), and salvation comes through the working of the Holy Spirit, not because of our skill and eloquence (1 Cor. 2:1-5). Considering how many Christians get uppity because they have the One True Interpretation of Scripture™, perhaps pride is one reason that God has not made the salvation of others up to us (1 Cor. 1:12-13). We must be ready to present the gospel message (Matt. 28:18-20). We may be simply planting seeds at the time and never know the results, but those are up to God.

At a local Bible conference, a respected seminary professor unintentionally contradicted the apostle Paul. During the Q&A session, he opined that “you cannot prove the existence of God to anyone because you must choose to believe in God.” While the second half of that statement is correct, the first half fails Forensic Evidences 101, clashing with the proof principles taught in Romans 1:18-28.1

Did the seminary professor’s reasoning mischaracterize God’s proofs of His creatorship? If so, how did he stumble? The professor confused proof with persuasion.

To read the rest, see "Do the Unpersuaded Have Enough Proof?"

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Innate Goodness and Pre-Adamic Humans

Some professing Christians are setting themselves up as authorities to say that God did not mean what he said in the Bible. This is a serious problem. Unfortunately, gullible people are being deceived about our alleged goodness, and humanoids that existed before Adam.

Theistic evolutionists sound persuasive, but they damage the gospel message. There is no valid reason to think a humanoid race existed  before Adam.
Credit: Unsplash / Krys Amon
American author John H. Walton has some odd views that can be considered Gnostic, and Irish theologian Niamh Middleton presents some beliefs that are truly off the rails. These sidewinders are not only rejecting biblical authority, but are also accommodating atheistic views of origins as well when they accommodate theistic evolution. False teachings like these seriously damage the gospel message.
Today, many modern writers who describe themselves as evangelicals openly disagree with the core Christian doctrine of original sin. Some argue instead that Jesus seeks out original goodness in us. They reject a historical Fall in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve rebelled against the clear instructions God had given them (Genesis 2:15–17), earning the punishment of both physical and spiritual death (Genesis 3:19; Romans 6:23). Such denials of the words of Scripture by theistic evolutionists are deeply ironic: Adam and Eve’s very sin was in agreeing with the serpent’s questioning and open defiance of God’s words: “Did God actually say?” and “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3:1, 4).

Sadly, this slide into further compromise of biblical truth shows no sign of slowing. Far too many Christians are oblivious of what leading movers and shakers of evangelical thought actually believe and teach. We need both to be aware for ourselves and to help prevent others in our churches from succumbing to such scholarly-sounding but treacherous teachings.

To read the rest, see "Teaching ‘original goodness’ is anti-Gospel". Kindly come back for the next installment.

While the previous article discussed the concept of a race of humanoids that supposedly existed before Adam, what follows shows that to justify this view, one has to tie the Bible to a chair, torture it, and kick it down the stairway. Indeed, they do violence to the Bible by ignoring the contexts of not only Genesis, but the original languages and the rest of Scripture. Anyone with a modicum of biblical knowledge should realize that this is not only wicked, but stupid.

Arguments from biblical scholars that find ways of reading ancient near Eastern1 or evolutionary ideas into the text of Genesis are becoming popular amongst lay people and Christian apologists. In a previous article I noted that apologist and theistic evolutionist Michael Jones (Inspiring Philosophy) has used several of these arguments to try and refute “young earth creation” (biblical creation). Based on the work of Old Testament scholars John Walton and Michael Heiser, Jones argues that Genesis 1 implies there were more people around than Adam and Eve (i.e., pre-Adamites) and that, therefore, in Genesis 2, which he believes is a sequel to Genesis 1, God elects Adam and Eve out of that group of people:

This is getting interesting! To finish reading, visit "Other Humans Before Adam & Eve?"

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Toxic Misotheists, Being Alpha, and the Bible - Part 2

As planned, here is the conclusion from Part 1. Harmful people in our lives can feel like we are in an emotional and spiritual whirlpool with our vitality draining away.

Not Apologizing or Explaining

This is a difficult area for me in several areas. Gibbs makes not apologizing his Rule #9, and he picked it up from John Wayne in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon: "Never apologize, mister, it's a sign of weakness". Related to that is explaining yourself. In fact, the two can often be combined in pitiful displays of poltroonery. File under "Never say never".

Many atheists exhibit dangerous traits of narcissistic sociopaths. Includes superior knowledge, and condemnation of people they choose to hate. We can resist their harmful effects
Credit: Flickr / Dave Stokes (CC BY 2.0)
One problem is when people offer apologies. Those sound like excuses most of the time, especially when they're strung together like in this humorous example:

When we "own it", we are less likely to seem weak. It can also take the wind out of the sails of a detractor. F'rinstance, a different supervisor was armed for bear, ready to give me a deserved chastisement. I reckon he was expecting a string of excuses, but he seemed to sag a bit when I said, "I screwed up". When other people force apologies out of us (especially when we are not guilty of something), we are devalued and they get ego boosts.

When being direct and limit our words, we're also less tempted to embellish the truth or even lie outright. Or babble.

There are definitely times when apologies are necessary and helpful, don't be disunderstanding me. Gibbs broke Rule #9 when it was needed, and they guy being advised in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon also apologized. They are necessary in relationships, and Christians must confess our sins to God — and sometimes to other believers. The people making secular material that I have used do not know the dynamic of Christians helping each other grow in the Lord.

"Why do you use Western slang, Cowboy Bob?"

That would be a fair question that's probably not trying to put me on the defensive. (Toxic people, especially atheists, constantly seek to do that.) I may as well tell you that cowboy lingo, imaginary conversation partners, humor, and other things are devices to keep an article from being drier than an Arizona dust devil. It also helps readers know that there's a person behind the keyboard and not an automaton. I can inject a bit of personality into posts and articles. Of course, this one is very personal, but I'm doing those things anyway. Unapologetically.

Over-explaining can be a serious problem. Not only do we waste time, but we can seem — and even become — weaker. It is tempting because we want people to like us and not judge us in a negative way. As I indicated, acknowledging a mistake and moving on can be the best action. Also, concise answers are often better received, and it is more difficult for a toxie to put us on the defensive. They don't know and respect us, and quite often, we are always guilty in their eyes. Those kinds of people are not invested in our lives, and many don't know or respect us as persons.

Besides, overexplaining also can confuse a situation. Those who have watched NCIS may have noticed that Gibbs is a man of few words; he's not a babbler.

Jesus had some comments about words. When he discussed the swearing of oaths, he added, "Let your yes be yes, and your no be no", and not to go beyond that (Matt. 5:37). He also said that we will have to account for our words. He was not advising brusqueness or rejecting conversation, but we must learn to shun babbling.

It is difficult for me to strike a balance because not only do I want to avoid being harshly judged by others, but I teach through writing. Being properly understood is important, so explanations are in order. (Like you're reading right now.) For the most part, it is the author's responsibility to make things understandable. The hard part is volunteering unnecessary explanations in my daily life.

Toxic Atheists

Let's face it, those with Atheism Spectrum Disorder are exceptionally toxic — especially those on the internet. Rational unbelievers might say, "I don't believe the way you do, but if it makes you happy, great". There was a time when that may have been the case, but atheists are becoming more militant nowadays and seek to dehumanize Christians — especially biblical creationists. Mayhaps it could be classified as narcissistic atheopathy.

I didn't notice any of my resources use the term "control freaks", but that term accurately describes many of those toxic people. Those of us involved in apologetics have noticed that professing atheists (they really do know that God is real, Rom. 1:18-24) exhibit traits of narcissistic sociopaths. They try to put us on the defensive, often succeeding when we follow their distractions, and become enraged when we try to keep them on topic. They want to play their games and make up their own rules as they go along.

Atheists are threatened not only by the gospel of Jesus Christ, but despise biblical creationists. Why? One main reason is that we emphasize the importance of recent creation and the authority of God's Word. There's no room for their naturalistic and incoherent epistemology. Many of us have observed that their modus operandi is to change the subject and attack. Again, they seek to put us on the defensive, often with logical fallacies and unwarranted conclusions.

Some are so antagonistic that a person is challenged on practically every statement to "prove it", which greatly hinders intelligent conversation. This is something to which I have kowtowed, spending hours on supporting links when writing articles because someone may challenge me. I have to break out of that. It's a nice day here today. I won't prove that. Deal with it, hippies.

One guy taunts atheopaths by pointing out their hypocrisy, then teases them more. They are not beta males, they are "karens" and even "epsilon males" (see Brave New World.) I don't advise that, but it does show that they cannot take jokes or receive true observations about them.

There are times when we must delay our responses from hostile, loaded questions and from attacks. While some may be sincere and we can help remove roadblocks from their unbelief, they would rather express opinions (Prov. 18:2 ESV). There comes a time when we must remember Matthew 7:6 and 10:14. In fact, since they are desperate for attention, ignoring them can seem like torment. We do not need to get into tit-for-tat responses and let them drag us down to their levels.

If you study on it, since they know that God is real and Christians offer the truth, they are coming at us from a place of hatred (John 15:18-25, 2 Tim. 3:12) and fear. (Have you ever noticed that petty people  seek to bring down those they perceive as better than them? If you're attacked, you're a threat.) The internet is a cesspool of hatred for God, and is conducive to anonymity and fake names. Other Admins and I have banned people from The Question Evolution Project only to have them continue to rail against us using duplicate accounts — often with fake names. I say again that many are desperate for attention.

As Christians, we can pray for people and our situations. It is also important to encourage one another, and not only those who are in the big-name ministries. Our job is to sanctify Christ as Lord and be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks us (1 Peter 3:15). That is what many of us are trying to do, and also to help build up Christians who are serious about their walk with Christ.

Some Resources

What follows are some of the videos that taught me some things. I am not endorsing any of those channels or even any of the videos in their entirety. None of them are from a Christian perspective. A good deal of this comes from selfishness and self-autonomy, such as, "Nobody knows what's best for you except you". Not hardly! God knows best, you savvy that?

Videos with "bulldog" and "alpha male secrets" in their channel names often have profanity. ("I hate to curse on my channel", then freely curses in most of his videos that I've seen.) It's been a while and I've viewed quite a few, so I may have labeled some with profanity warnings that didn't need it.

I'll list what I consider the most helpful videos first,  but use discernment. Most are less than thirty minutes. Also, I think all of them have something to sell, but I advise against buying those things when we have the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and wise believers we can consult.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Toxic Misotheists, Being Alpha, and the Bible - Part 1

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This is one of my more unusual articles, and it is difficult to categorize because there are several subjects involved. They may seem contradictory at first, but stay with me. Like my prospector friend Stormie Waters says, "See how it all pans out".

There are people in our lives that manipulate us and sap our energy. Many misotheists are often narcissistic, and are more dangerous than others.
Credit: Flickr / Subharnab Majumdar (CC BY 2.0)

It has a strange beginning that involved riding off on side trails and ending up a long way from where I had intended. It happens to many people on the internet, especially when they are not under an immediate deadline. "You may also like..." can bushwhack productivity.

Being the Robust He-Man that I Am

When you're done laughing, I want to tell you that I never viewed myself as an "alpha male". In nature, that is the dominant male in a group, and it involves mating, fending off challenges from other males, and being watchful to help protect the group. There are human males who want "alpha male" traits to be the man who stands out in the crowd, has friends, gets all the women he wants, and so on. There are shades of Darwinism in this. Think about it: Evolutionists say we are animals, so it is fitting to act like them. Or not, when it's inconvenient. Darwinian thinking is flexible that way.

There were several video channels I came across that had coaching on how to be the alpha male, and had things to sell so a man can become a better he-man. Some of the videos had some useful information, and I even realized some mistakes that I am making in my life. Many were interesting from a psychological point of view. What really struck me was that they tacitly agreed with biblical teachings in some places, but for the most part were contrary to Scripture — especially the parts about loving yourself and how you can't love anyone else until you do that. Many were emphasizing how to recognize and deal with harmful people so we can live our best lives. Yes, but...

Toxic People in our Lives

Terms like toxic relationships and toxic people are not exactly common in psychology textbooks, and they were unknown a few years ago. Still, they are apt descriptors. Such people infest our lives, whether at the workplace, social media, friends, family, neighbors, or just about anywhere. Toxies do not have your best interests at heart.

Most of us desire to help others, be liked or even loved, and these people key in on those things. They are very manipulative (especially those discussed later), and we can find ourselves giving them control over our lives before we realize what's happening. They come in various stripes: some are charismatic, others intimidating, and so on.

Looks good, but toxic
Credit: Pixnio (public domain)

Most people want to be loved (or at least liked), that's a given. We interact with each other in give-and-take situations. It feels good to receive, and it is often pleasant to do the giving. Toxies use the good part of our nature to manipulate us. This may not be deliberate, but can come from personality disorders, mental illness, unhealthy influences in their own lives, and so on.

These harmful people may smile to your face, but are using you for their own advantage. This may not necessarily be for material gain, but is often emotional. They "care" about you in that it helps them feel better about themselves. Sometimes this is because they put you down in order to build themselves up, or they get other dopamine advantages by using you.

Quick tip: While we want to be nice and helpful, they stay around people they use. When we refuse to let them manipulate us into doing things for them all the time, we are not helping them because they desire that dependency. Also, they are very resistant to the gospel message because they don't think there's anything wrong with them, no reason to repent. But the Holy Spirit can work in them.

One guy said that we let them "keep us in our heads" so we don't live our lives and express our views. This is also an opportunity to examine ourselves to see what we expect to gain from having harmful people in our lives. Validation? Permission to be ourselves? Mayhaps we think they have higher value than us. That's harmful, old son.

I came across some alpha male coaching videos as well as some by women who say that we do not need to live our lives on other people's terms

Screenshot from Facebook posted on Instagram
(Used under Fair Use provisions for educational purposes)

Sometimes we are unable to say no to requests or demands from toxies. We can be fearful of being negatively judged, but giving in can make us over-extended and increase our stress levels. Important things to which we have committed may be left undone or are incomplete. Decent people do their best to keep their word, but we may break our promises. More stress, more mental and emotional draining.

People who respect and value us will think and even expect the best of us. I have to indulge in a bit of self praise here. A woman came to our door and accused my wife of cheating with her boyfriend. I instantly said that there was no way. When she said my wife is a "lying b**ch", I slammed the door so hard, it damaged the metal frame. It turns out that the "other woman" had a similar name to my wife's name. The unpleasant woman offered no apologies. The door frame is still damaged.

Sometimes, especially in moments (lifetimes?) of low self-esteem, we try too hard to please others — especially those that are not invested in our lives and don't care about our well being. Healthy self-esteem is good, bad self-esteem is very harmful, and some folks use building their self-esteem as a manipulative tool. They are actually idolizing pride and self

True friends as well as good supervisors will encourage and believe in us. (One supervisor I had would tear me down when I would say that I was getting the hang of a certain aspect of the job. Instead of encouragement, he would point out my other shortcomings, real or exaggerated.) I'll allow that sometimes there's a fine line between influencie and encouragement as opposed to manipulation. It seems that manipulation is based on bad motives, including the other person's enrichment.

In one of the videos by Ashley Berges, she mentioned forgiving the other people in addition to setting up boundaries, and even removing harmful people from our lives. Indeed, we should forgive ourselves for allowing manipulations to occur and letting them get control of our lives. Then we try to improve so that we won't fall prey to those people in the future.​​​

Asking Permission

A phrase making the rounds on social media is, "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." Sometimes the phrase is a mite longer. It is falsely attributed to Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss), but there is some truth in it.

Variation on a theme, but very important: If you don't care about someone's opinion, they have less power over you. This works when someone is attempting to demean you. In fact, it irritates them when you don't defend yourself and take the bait on an personal attack. It makes it harder to bring you down to their level and get attention.

More importantly, I am a Bible-believing Christian, biblical creationist, politically Conservative, supporting the Second Amendment, heterosexual, and male. Those things make me "evil" to some people, but that's too bad for them. I am not living to please the crowd and don't seek permission to be who I am.

One place I have this problem is in my writing. While I seek to glorify God and edify the saints, I can also become timorous. For example, I wanted to embed a song by Black Sabbath in an article that would have complemented it. But people may not like me anymore! Instead of praying about it, I fearfully sought advice and ended up apologetically linking to it. That may have been the right choice because I don't want to make a brother or sister in Christ stumble, even though I don't need those petty people who would judge me in their sanctimonious pride. Well, another motto I have is, "When in doubt, go without".

Note that standing up for yourself is not an excuse for being rude.

Never Argue with a Narcissist

If I recollect rightly, my original search was about narcissism. While that word is bandied about to describe people who are vain and seem to have an inordinate fondness for themselves, the real problem is narcissism personality disorder. These people are very taxing, and it is best to keep them out of our lives whenever possible. If we cannot, we need to minimize their damaging effects, such as discussed in this video.

Up a level from the personality disorder is the narcissistic sociopath. These people are actually dangerous. Although they are capable of violence, those that walk among us are harmful to our mental health. They have some similarities to "psychic (or energy) vampires". (While some people take a notion to make that a supernatural thing, it refers to how such people sap your mental and emotional energies.) Psychopaths and sociopaths have traits in common, and need to be avoided whenever possible.

Unfortunately, kind-hearted people are their targets. Narcissists and various sociopath types seem to sense the people who will be their long-term victims. Some people want to help these needy sociopaths, even if they hurt themselves in the process. This can happen by making excessive commitments — and having their priorities hijacked. Too late, they realize that their "friend" is a narcissist or sociopath. Or both.

By the way, don't offer psychological analysis. Saying, "You're doing this because..." makes you look petty, and besides, toxies are not interested. Indeed, we can lose ourselves when trying to "save" people who don't think they need help.

We'll end this part now. I'd be much obliged if you'd read the conclusion.