Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Toxic People, Overexplaining, and False Salvation

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

While Christians need to obtain their spiritual knowledge from the Bible, pastors, godly teachings, and so forth, the Holy Spirit can sometimes prompt us to learn things from unexpected sources. Indeed, although psychology is entrenched in evolution and naturalism, it can have occasional benefits — but is dangerous to those who are not grounded in the Word of God.

A secular advice video discussed how people try to gain approval from others who do not care about us. Our ultimate value comes from God, not others.
Credit: Pixabay / Gerd Altmann
You and I may be souls whose intentions are good, so we don't want to be misunderstood. It's natural to clarify what we say to some extent. When it comes to dealing with someone who is accusing and unwilling to believe what we say, why try so hard?

In "Toxic Misotheists, Being Alpha, and the Bible", one of the points discussed was how toxic people manipulate others. A recent video by Ashley Berges (one of my previous sources) titled "Over Explaining is a Trap - Are You Trapped?" brought this into focus in a different way. For some reason, many of us seek the approval of others who don't really care about us, and want them to throw us a bone. When accused of something, we naturally defend ourselves, but become excessive with certain people. It seems that we cater to the manipulators.

Long ago, I learned that if someone is going to say or think evil of me, there's nothing I can do about it. Ronon Dex said, "I try not to let things I can't change bother me". Although a fictional character in a science fiction series heavily based on evolution and (surprise!) meditative spirituality, this phrase in itself is good.

Why do we want that certain person's approval, especially when we are reasonably well accepted by coworkers, friends, and family members? When accused of wrongdoing, we keep on explaining and overexplaining. This turns into excessive words, which is something the Bible warns us about (Prov. 10:19, Eccl. 6:11, Matt. 6:7, Matt. 12:33-37).

Ever notice that parents lose battles with children because they let them control the conversation with endless questions and badgering?

In overexplaining and using many words to defend ourselves, we are actually giving someone things to use against us. Giving them power over us. Dehumanizing ourselves. This happens in interpersonal relationships or trying to present biblical truth to scoffers. There was an article written in the character of "Mr. Mafioso" that discussed using silence as a means of leverage and extracting information. He said that he would keep as silent as possible, then the other person would babble away and give out personal details.

Berges also keeps saying, "Your truth". This can easily mean, "The truth of what you're saying". In other places, however, Ashley seems to say that truth is relative. There is no your truth or my truth. Ultimate truth is found in Christ and is explained in the Word of God. She needs to repent of relativity and self-idolatry. 

When it comes to having discussions with unbelievers, especially online, we can keep going and going, banging that drum, but their batteries never seem to run down. Except for carnal or even false Christians who want to win arguments or seek revenge, our goal is to sanctify Christ as Lord and be ready to make a respectful argument (1 Peter 3:15) and ultimately to lead them to Jesus. Creationists uphold the truth of creation and how Genesis is foundational to all major Christian doctrines, trying to remove stumbling blocks so that people can come to faith.

Ashley pointed out something that many of us in biblical creation and other areas of apologetics have realized. I'm rephrasing it now, and it is how everyone has a worldview: People have a narrative and filter through which they interpret data. That includes the things that someone is saying, overexplaining, but those people may have already decided the other person is wrong or not to be believed. We experience automatic rejection by those with Atheism Spectrum Disorder all the time. 

She said, "Our value is not created from someone else's acceptance". Very true, but here is where biblical discernment applies. Ashley's channel is saturated with "self love" and "self acceptance" (such as this video), but the heart of the unbeliever is wicked (Jer. 17:9). She also is into meditation.

While she says many helpful things, her worldview contains philosophies and psychology that are contrary to the biblical worldview. It contributes to a false kind of salvation (see "Mystical Feelgood Salvation"). We need to be born again, and seek to please God. So, she had some truth about someone else's acceptance and our own value, but our ultimate value comes from a right relationship with God. We have value to him (Rom. 3:8, John 3:16).

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Mystical Feelgood Salvation

While Bible-believing Christians understand salvation as being made right with God and spiritual deliverance, other people want salvation in different ways. Because of its Christian connotations, other people seem to avoid the word. But they still seek relief from suffering and to obtain a feelgood experience.

Trends in psychology include mindfulness, counting blessings, and a mental happy place. These produce selfishness and are contrary to Scripture.
Modified from an image at Unsplash / Erik Brolin
There is a trend in psychology toward mindfulness which is a form of meditation that Christians should avoid. Actually, everyone should. Supposedly it relieves stress, but is actually counterproductive. Another secular feelgood technique is to count your blessings, but it leaves out God who provides our blessings. (I fell on Monday and needed medical care. Afterward, I thanked God that it wasn't worse, and that the people at the urgent care clinic had skill and compassion.) Another false feelgood salvation is to have people go to their "happy place", which often has a setting in nature.

Mindfulness actually causes selfishness. Counting your blessings is focusing on yourself and what you have, not thanking God for what he has provided. Nature  as a happy place without awareness of the Creator is further selfishness. The Christian life is the opposite, and our Creator tells us to seek the good of others as well as having humility. These secular feelgood salvation efforts are temporary when they work at all, but true salvation involves repentance and getting our priorities straight through Jesus.

At this point, I would appreciate it if you read "Can You Have Godliness without God?"

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Adam was not at War with Creation

Some opponents of biblical authority tamper with the words so they can change the meanings, or even impugn the character of God. Something that cannot be emphasized enough is context. Theistic evolutionists are known for manipulating context for their own ends.

Some theistic evolutionists attempted to use certain meanings of Hebrew words to say that humanity is at war with nature. This is a misuse of context.
Credit: Pixnio / Luis del Rio
There is an old joke that, although oversimplifying, makes a point. A man wanted to hear from God about a problem in his life, so he opened the Bible at random, plunked down his finger, and read that Judas went and hanged himself. Well, that was unhelpful. He tried again and found where Jesus said to go and do likewise. This was getting annoying. His third attempt gave him where Jesus told Judas to go and quickly do what he was going to do. The man realized he was using the Bible the wrong way.

Context takes several forms, including the chapter and even the whole of Scripture. Sometimes people need to drill down into the original languages to understand context more fully. Some owlhoots riding for the Darwin Brand and waving the flag of theistic evolution decided to grab certain words for nefarious purposes. It did not go well.

The Dominion Mandate for Adam, Eve, and humanity itself is to subdue the earth. While those TEs did not exactly misuse the Hebrew words, they used a meaning that implies Adam was at war with nature. They ignored the other meanings of benevolent rule, as well as how the original creation was very good. Such efforts to undermine God's character and find excuses to shove in evolution are...truly bizarre — as well as viperine.

Because of their less-than-biblical worldview, theistic evolutionists often strive to find supposed imperfections in the creation week in Genesis 1. A common argument from theistic evolutionists is that the Hebrew words used in Genesis 1:28 for “subdue” (kābaš) and “rule” (rādâ) imply that there was death before the fall. In a recent YouTube video, apologist and theistic evolutionist Michael Jones (Inspiring Philosophy) used this argument:

To read the rest of the article, click on "War and Conquest in Genesis 1?". For some related material on word manipulation regarding homosexuality, see "Does the Greek word arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9 really mean ‘homosexuals’ or something else?"

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Rejecting Lies and Herd Mentality

Many people who claim to "follow the science" really do not. Appeals to authority linked with lack of critical thinking, plus ignorance of actual science, are disastrous to societies as well as individuals. Culturally correct, consensus, and "woke" views actually dismiss scientific realities in favor of political trends and emotionalism. Taking a stand for truth and reality can be hazardous to careers — and even personal safety.

People are following trends and false science that denies facts. Truth is not determined by culture or feelings and Christians must take a stand.
Credit: Pixnio / Rachel Claire (slightly modified)
Darwin's hijacked version of natural selection as well as neo-Darwinian evolution are thrown around as if they were established truth. We are bombarded with the "fact" of evolution, and assertions are often subtle. Most people go along with the herd and accept what is presented as science.

What is more disturbing is that in recent years, secular scientists have been saddling up and riding with deviant behavior. Considering how the formerly United States is under divine judgment (as are many other nations), God is giving people over to their sin. Now people can supposedly change genders at a whim despite true science; feelings do not change reality. This is in opposition to God's clear design for men and women. Some of us reject lies and pressure to accede to live with herd mentality. Bible-believing Christians must follow the truth, not false science or current trends.

Perhaps my parents were naïve. They raised me to respect my teachers, the government, and other authorities, and to believe these entities acted in my best interests and certainly wouldn’t lie to me. I was warned about the duplicity of politicians and used-car salesmen, but they were mostly grouped in classes by themselves.

Now I know I was misled by these authorities on some very important things. For instance, in biology class I was taught as scientific fact a totally fanciful—and atheistically religious—story that “survival of the fittest” caused the evolution of life on Earth. Disseminating that lie was an abuse of youthful trust in authority.

The lying has gotten far worse. Back then, I never felt institutional coercion to join a perverse government-led movement that affirms as truth many things I and most other people can clearly see are false. For example, until recently it was basic common sense to recognize that male and female are the two biological sexes. Today, anyone daring to speak common sense is publicly pummeled with disparaging names (or worse) by members of a rapidly growing deviant movement. They use a hostile crowd to systematically isolate people from each other by making everyone afraid to be associated with the pummeled person lest it also happen to them—a method to strong-arm conformity in thinking and control the behavior of an entire group.

I hope that you will take the time to read the entire article. To do so, head over to "Refusing to Live by Lies".

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Answering the Critics Without Being Foolish

There is a pair of verses that may perplex Christians at first glance, and scoffers call it biblical contradiction. This is Proverbs 26:4-5. The claim that they are a contradiction is easily dismissed, but the question about not answering a fool according to his folly, followed by answering, can be clarified. It is also a powerful method for defending and presenting the faith.

Christians are to engage with unbelievers who want to have good discussions, but we must not let them derail a talk and be foolish ourselves.
Originally, this now-public domain image by Sidney Paget
was used to illustrate the 1903 Sherlock Holmes story "The Empty House"
The Bible makes it clear that God calls unbelievers fools. That's not God being on the prod and calling them stupid, but it is deeper than that because it is about character, not intelligence (although some exhibit a lack of intelligence).

Do a Bible search with theWord, other software, or online and look for fool, foolish, and similar words. It's not gratuitous abuse. I can't think of a good way to open a discussion by telling someone that he or she is a fool, that would be counterproductive. Nor should any Christian be smug when dealing with unbelievers (unlike some groups I could mention who have the "one true doctrine", but never mind about that now). After all, we want them to come to Christ!

Also, many misotheists try to put Christians on the defensive with assertions, generalities, accusations, and so on. Such things are frequently used to derail the discussion — suddenly, it is on their terms. There are ways to handle these tactics and keep them on the subject without joining in their folly.

Instead of my self-consciously cringing internally whenever someone asked about my faith, my one-on-one conversations with non-believers became fun and exciting—not least because of the potential eternal benefits for them! I’d like to recount here one such conversation, not just because it was tremendously encouraging and memorable for me, but also because in hindsight I can see I unwittingly brought into play a number of scriptural injunctions relating to evangelism, including ones that atheists wrongly say are contradictory: Proverbs 26:4 and 5.

The conversation extended unbroken for more than three hours during a commercial airline flight from the northern Australian city of Darwin to Brisbane on the east coast.

To read the full article, see "Answering fools’ folly". Also recommended is "Fool-Proof Apologetics — A Powerful Way to Defend the Christian Faith".

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.

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