Thursday, April 22, 2021

Species Extinctions, Earth Day, and Christian Stewardship

Earth Day was established on Lenin's 100th birthday and is most definitely not just a good idea for conservation and care of the planet. Political and economic Machiavellian machinations aside, however, many people sincerely want to do good things for the world.

Although Earth Day is also Lenin's birthday and saturated with evolution and Marxism, Christians have a responsibility to care for endangered species.
I thought you otter know that this photo was taken by Joe Tomoleoni for the USGS
(Also, I hope you sea that usage does not imply endorsement of site contents)
Unfortunately, the environmental movement is saturated with evolutionary thinking. That is, humans and other living things ultimately came from a common ancestor. To be consistent, why should we care that various species are becoming extinct or are endangered? We crawled to the top of the food chain, so we should reign supreme and do whatever we please, right? Fortunately, secularists, pagans, evolutionists, and others are not consistent.

Christians (and especially biblical creationists) should care about the environment — God has created us in his image, and we are stewards of living things. Not just the cute ones, either. When a species is removed from an ecosystem, there is a kind of domino effect that affects other creatures.

Secular environmentalists are quite concerned about disappearing species. But how are Christians to respond to the loss of these creatures?

. . . 

We should also preserve species for the benefits we might derive from them. God’s design in nature inspires new technologies (biomimicry) that make our lives safer and our products more efficient. For example, scientists looked at whale fin design to create a better model for airplane propellers, and a recent study of mussel adhesion could help create a product to clean up oil spills.

Today many prescribed medicines come from plants or other natural products, and scientists are constantly turning to nature for its health benefits. . . .

Beyond considering the practical reasons for preserving species from extinction, we must remember that creation exists, in part, to declare God’s glory and remind us to worship him. His invisible attributes are manifested in the physical creation (Romans 1:20). His infinite wisdom and artistry are also revealed in the stunning engineering, aesthetics, and symmetry of all life. With every extinct species, we lose valuable insight into our heavenly Father’s creative mind, characteristics, and care for his creatures.

To read the full article or listen to the audio version, see "Should We Abandon Some Species to Extinction?"

This song by Camille and Kennerly is a tribute to their grandmother, who had recently passed away.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Evaluating Truth Claims in Genesis

Some people try to dismiss Genesis as myth containing spiritual truth using elements from the pagan neighbors of the Hebrews. Others say it is misunderstood, as if the Creator of the universe was unable to communicate with us. With closer inspection, we see that Genesis is a historical narrative.

Regarding Genesis 1-3, some people say there was a communication problem between God and us, or that it was myth. A closer look reveals the truth.
Credit: RGBStock / Billy Frank Alexander
The idea that the early chapters of Genesis are mythological should not be accepted by professing Christians, as there are serious problems that result. (One of these is that Jesus, Peter, Paul, and others referred to these chapters as literal history, so by denying this, one is calling them liars!) Also, there are repercussions with the gospel message.

Read some classical mythology, then come back to Genesis and see the difference. Myths are vague and have a different flow, but the Bible is precise. Indeed, even the sequence of creation days is specific — a day itself is defined. Interestingly, many translations have in Genesis 1:5 less accurate by using, "...the first day". The New American Standard, Revised Standard Version, Christian Standard Bible, International Standard Version, and several others have this detail correct.

In The Genesis Account, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati wrote:

The days of Genesis 1 have an interesting pattern in the Hebrew, which is not often reflected in English translations. The first day has a cardinal number (i.e. one, two, three …), yôm echad (יום אחד) Day One. The others have ordinal numbers, which are used to refer, for example, to the order of runners finishing a race (second, third, fourth … ). But in Genesis 1:5, the ordinal ‘first day’ (which would be yôm ri’shôn יום ראשון) is not used.

Also, days 2–5 lack an article (ה, ha, ‘the’) while days 6–7 have one on the number but not on the day. So a literal translation of Creation Week would be Day One; a second day; a third day; a fourth day; a fifth day; a day, the sixth; a day, the seventh. One English translation which correctly reflects the presence or absence of the articles is the NASB. For example, for Genesis 1:5, the ESV’s “the first day” doesn’t reflect the Hebrew as well as the NASB’s “one day”. The LXX also reflects the Hebrew article pattern, except for lacking an article on the sixth day.1

I took the liberty of stressing a couple of points that are not emphasized in the article linked below, which is less technical on Hebrew. The main point is that the early chapters of Genesis are written as historical narrative, and God knows how to communicate.
Many Christian scholars have suggested that Genesis 1–3 was never meant to convey historical truth. Instead, they say it is like one of Christ’s New Testament parables. God merely shared a made-up story to convey spiritual truths. Does the Bible give us any clear guidance to know for certain whether Genesis 1–3 is a parable?

After all, as Christians, we believe that there is only one particular way to understand the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word, His perfect and personal communication to His people for all time (2 Timothy 3:16). Accordingly, we cannot carelessly read the Scripture any way we want. To rightly understand His Word pleases Him (2 Timothy 2:15), but to twist the Scriptures offends Him and can lead to destruction (2 Peter 3:16). God has placed a premium on grasping what He really said.

To read the rest or listen to the audio by an excellent reader, follow "Genesis—The Original Myth Buster".

1Sarfati, Dr. Jonathan D., The Genesis Account: A theological, historical, and scientific commentary on Genesis 1-11. MOBI edition, Creation Book Publishers, October 2015. The Hebrew may differ slightly from this book, as it would not copy well and I had to obtain it elsewhere on the web.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Misotheists and the Blue Pill

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This article has several related sources that refer to the movie The Matrix, which has made its mark on modern culture. It added to discussions about living in a computer simulation, and the red pill/blue pill concepts have been quite interesting.

Some people define reality as atheistic naturalism, then ridicule those of us who believe reality comes from God. They took the blue pill, not us.
The popular "What if I told you...?" line in the "memes" was not used in the move.

In a previous article, I wrote about how narcissists, sociopaths, narcissistic atheopaths, and the like manipulate other people for their own purposes. This is somewhat related because many are attempting to create their own reality. One of my references was the YouTube channel of Matt Cross and "Alpha Male Secrets". While most of his content about how to get the girls and be the most interesting man in the room have no appeal to me (Christians should sanctify Jesus as Lord in their hearts and seek to please him more than anyone else), Matt has some interesting things to consider.

In this video, he discusses the blue pill concept and how people are essentially taking it to escape from reality. This alternative reality is found in movies, superheroes (living vicariously through those who have great powers), video games, and so on: people are not accepting their own lives. It is about escaping reality. Matt also hates pornography and says how it contributes to false perceptions. (Do those videos show real people who actually like each other?) Guys watch the models who are chosen for their appearances, to get views, and sell subscriptions to porn sites — then think that real women are like those portrayed in videos.

Mr. Cross has a problem that I've learned to call truth out of balance. Several things in his video are true, but are too extreme. He dislikes escapism because he would rather be working on ways to improve his life and his business pursuits, or other things that are based in reality. As Christians, we are to seek the kingdom of God and to glorify him. There is nothing wrong with having a bit of escapism to decompress. (F'rinstance, I read, write, and screen material to post, but I read a bit of fiction and watch some television). Like anything else, when escapism becomes dominant in someone's life, it becomes a form of idolatry.

By the way, who cares about the identity of someone walking through the observation deck in the opening credits of Star Trek: The Next Generation?

Professing atheists are usually naturalists (nature is all that exists), and they presuppose that reality itself can only be explained in this way. When presenting material that refutes their worldview and especially evolution, their responses include calling Christians and creationists "reality deniers" and simple denial of scientific facts. Some are so desperate to suppress the truth, they humiliate and refute themselves. Mayhaps it would be helpful to actually read the material before making knee-jerk reactions? For example, see this screenshot (I cut out the image in the middle):

Used under Fair Use provisions for educational purposes (click for larger)

To jump back to the video by Matt Cross, I've checked profiles on social(ist) media of naturalistic atheists. Many are saturated with anime, superheroes, and other escapism that has nothing to do with reality. And sports. Lots of sports. (Sadly, some professing Christians give such things a priority, then wonder why their spiritual lives are disappointing.) Those of us who believe the Bible know that science, numbers, logic, and everything else are impossible without God. We are not the ones who take the blue pill and deny reality. We affirm it.

The video that inspired this article has a great deal of profanity and some crude content. With that disclaimer, those who want to see it anyway can click here.

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.