Case Study: A Wasted Life, Martians vs Percival

470172a-i1.0What led to Percival Lowell’s obsession with life on Mars? Led him to be convinced all the way to his deathbed it held signs of ancient civilizations? Led him to waste 22 golden years convincing his eyes of what his heart wanted to see? Life on mars, and martians,  is a theory that captivates the imaginations of people even today. (See: UFO’s and God)

As the egregious failure to provide evidence of abiogenesis, or the natural process of life arising from non-living matter,  marred evolutionary progress in the late 1800’s, some form of organic evolution had to be found. Abiogenesis was essential for propping up Darwinian theory, and amidst the embarrassment of Darwin’s disciples classifying gypsum (sulphate of lime) as a spontaneous sea life form, science needed a new, non-divine source for life. Incidentally, the newly found ‘life form’ was never denounced publicly, and Haeckel, the evolutionist who presented it, was convinced the real life form of his imaginings was laying in the ocean floor waiting to be discovered until his dying day. He was lecturing in Berlin on evolution in 1905, standing before a back drop of artist renderings relating man with apes, and his own notorious embryo drawings, found later to be completely falsified. (Haeckel was known to be a German hero of Hitler, and gave credence to his opinions on the master race.)

At the height of his influence in 1876, Haeckel said, “[The spontaneous generation] hypothesis is indispensable for the consistent completion of the non-miraculous history of creation.” One year later was the’discovery’ from Italian astronomer Schiapatelli that would ignite a series of far reaching events to answer this evolutionary vacuum. With the limited telescopic technology available, this searcher of the stars found a straight line on the planet mars. He called them “canali” for channel in Italian, which of course became “canals” in English. A few months after this announcement was the failure of Haeckel’s spontaneous life form. Despite the modesty of Schiapatelli’s report, the imaginations of the scientific community where abuzz with visions of extraterrestrial life. And why? Ian T. Taylor says it this way: “Relegating that origin to some cosmic outpost gave a measure of intellectual satisfaction since no amount of negative evidence could lessen the possibility of it being true; in other words, it was for the foreseeable future beyond the reach of man’s inquiry and could neither be proved or refuted.” (In the minds of Men, 2008)

Which brings us, stage now set, to Percival Lowell. While traveling abroad, Percival discovered that Schiapatelli was no longer able to continue his work, and enthusiastically adopted the search for proof of Martians. He was surrounded by the progressive thinking of evolution, and with science clamoring for a life source from space, Mr. Lowell was all too eager to help. From 1894 to 1916, Lowell observed Mars, wrote about Martians, and encouraged the public with lectures and maps. Using the excellent viewing conditions of Arizona’s nighttime sky, the number of canals he observed swelled to over 700.

Other scientists seemed to struggle with eyeing the same canals Percival did, to which he replied – ‘such observations relied heavily upon viewing conditions.’ There was even a water vapor discovery that also somehow eluded other scientists. This did not stop the passionate, if not obsessed, astronomer from producing “Mars” (1895), “Mars and Its Canals” (1906), and “Mars As the Abode of Life” (1908) along with a myriad of articles discussing our fourth planet.

I discuss the dangers of indoctrination in other articles, and continue to make application as we face an educational system today that is itself obsessed with the faith of evolution. Let us examine the fall out from Lowell’s observations, bearing in mind the unrelenting PR campaign for evolution that took place before Lowell, run by Huxley, the X-Club, and various societies that held sway over the whole scientific community (this is not an exaggeration, and parallels today’s methodology). Lowell influenced the imaginations of the western world with his continual promotion of a martian probability. One such imagination belonged to a writer named H.G. Wells. The very one who wrote War of the Worlds (1898) about a martian invasion of Earth.

You know what comes next. Another Wells, this time Orson Wells, and his Halloween hoax radio show of 1938, an age of tension, and war, and technological terror. Orson proved that with theatrics, some sound effects, and not a shred of evidence, a dedicated groups of individuals could create absolute panic. The radio broadcast convinced thousands the end of the world was happening, as he presented a War of the Worlds live radio show, causing at least one death, flooding the police switchboards, and pulling off the greatest media stunt of all time.

Sci-fi followed suit, from Isaac Asimov to  area 51 to Star Trek, and as evolution was blasted into the American school system in 1959 via Eisenhower’s National Defense Education Act, the need for abiogenesis was just as necessary as it was in 1876. With the space race against the Russians being the impetus for this, and the moon landing not far off, it is no wonder America never lost its fancy for Martians.

In 1976, 60 years after Lowell’s death, the Viking spacecraft landed on Mars, mapping the surface, and proving what the Mariner series spacecraft had already ascertained a couple years before. Lowell was wrong. There were no canals. None. Not one.

I cannot think of a more disappointing scientific legacy that that of Percival Lowell. I have written my first book, and know the passion and dedication that it takes to carry it out. This man not only wrote three, but built his own observatory, staffed it, and arduously studied the red planet for 22 years. I in no way feel that Lowell was a con-artist. On the contrary, I believe with every fiber of my being that he worked with dedication, ethics, and honor, and that he truly felt he was serving humanity with his efforts. He never learned of the worthlessness that was his legacy. So where did it all go wrong?

The presupposition, of course. The starting point, believed with an emotional faith that, I dare say, no one could have talked him out of. It is the same here as with biology, paleontology, anthropology, and all sciences, where how you interpret the world around you is directly affected by what you believe. Some would levy the same argument against Christianity, and would be right to do so, though it is the only starting point that offers satisfaction. To explain would take another article entirely, however I will say this. There is reason, logic, and answers within Christianity that cannot be found anywhere else. Rom 1:20 – “For from the creation of the world the invisible things of Him are clearly seen, being understood through the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” God can be clearly seen, and a presupposition beginning with a holy, inerrant, and prophetic creator is a much more reasonable faith than a faith based on man’s failed attempt to prove we are all just cosmic accidents. If Percival Lowell hadn’t been influenced by man’s idea to supplant Christian truth with humanistic evolution, as history shows us, this story wouldn’t be so tragic. Would  those 22 years have been better spent studying God’s word, instead of Mars?

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Christians are Hypocrites

“I don’t go to church, because Christians are nothing but hypocrites!”

This charge is often levied against churches, or the people who attend them.

“I know a guy/girl who goes to church, and acts Christian, but they did this, or that.” “I talked to this pastor, and he was a jerk.” “At least I’m real and true to who I am, Christians pretend like they are perfect or righteous.”

Let’s cut past all the subterfuge and subtlety. Are Christians hypocrites? Yes. Every single one. Hypocrisy is the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform. By definition, Christians have moral beliefs, set forth by God’s word, to which we desire to adhere. But every single Christian fails in this task. Every single one falls short, and I dare say this happens daily in the heart and minds of each, if not in actions.

Jesus says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” The moment this expectation, demanded by a holy God (for what else could infinite perfection demand), has failed to come to fruition, even in the smallest of ways, we have by definition become hypocrites and in fact, lawbreakers. We have failed to live up to a moral standard we accept as right.

But let us consider an atheist, who by definition, has a subjective moral code, derived from either ones own opinion, from popular opinion, or from the opinion of those who are in charge and can force a citizenry to exercise a particular behavior. In these instances, a moral code also exists, albeit one that is not handed down from a perfect creator, but is instead decided upon by mankind. If we reflect on the results of these subjective moral laws, depending on the flexible moral code of a given society, then two results  can generally be expected:

  1. If you live in a morally stringent society with heavily girded laws, as a citizen subject to these agreed upon codes, any violation of these codes renders you a hypocrite, and a law breaker, i.e. anyone who disagrees with Sharia.
  2. If you live in a morally relativistic society, defined by anarchy, nihilism, or lawlessness, or if you have determined within your own subjective mind that your behavior should fit no moral code (i.e. sociopath, or in religion – New Ageism), then you have absolved yourself from consequence to escape guilt. Anything goes.

Number 2 is extreme, and approaches mental disorder, however the reality in everyday life is a combination of the two. Often one who wishes for the freedom to be flexible in beliefs finds themselves to be militaristic towards anyone who holds to an opposite view, like during an abortion or transgenderism conversation, thereby pitting one set of subjective beliefs against another, if there is indeed no standard, and neither of which has more merit.

The reality is, therefore, to escape being a hypocrite against whichever moral code you reside under,

you must either operate perfectly within that framework – nigh impossible, or

you must adopt a framework with a moral bar set so low that you can’t help but live up to its standard, and then defend it militantly to escape any shame and guilt associated with those behaviors, or

you must constantly be ‘moving the goal posts’ within an ever changing set of standards, which is by definition, not a standard at all.

With careful, logical scrutiny, one could conclude that every acceptable moral set of beliefs would inherently have as its members nothing but hypocrites, all of whom are constantly trying, and re-trying, to live up to the expectations they believe in. As it is with every pursuit in life, from sports, to education, to religion, to parenting, human experiences are riddled with failures, and shortfalls. We strive for excellence in these pursuits, though we may never achieve perfection, and in so doing we work to better ourselves. It is the same with our walk in Christ, and for this walk we use the word sanctification, a lifelong and constant goal. The alternative, in Christianity, as well as sports/parenting/education, is to set the standard so low, that you feel validated by sub-par character and performance. This is no way to enrich a life, or the lives of those around you.

The result of this constant falling short is accepting the reality of hypocrisy. This is why Christians should gather in churches, as it is a place not only for worshiping the one person who set up the holiest standard possible, and then lived up to it, but also to surround yourselves with those who cannot, and are there to love and support each other. This is the essence of the body of Christ. Those who recognize that despite all human effort, they are in need of grace and mercy from a holy Creator.

Let me save you the trouble of pointing it out. You will not find perfect Christians in church. Christians struggle with anger, alcohol, sexual immorality, hate, depression, gossip – oh Lord the gossip, among a myriad of other sins. Yes we hide them, yes we don’t like to announce our struggles and shames from the mountain tops, and yes we pray for forgiveness constantly for not being as good as we can be. But there is peace and joy in Christ, in grace, and in knowing that we can let go of all of our missteps and focus the next day on how to love better. And despite these struggles, there is a concerted effort (or should be in a healthy church group) to do good works, to support others, and to be generous with the gifts that we do have.

If you are a non-believer that has had an unpleasant experience with a Christian, please realize that this person is struggling daily to do what is right, or may be going through his or her own temptations or trials, just like you. To dismiss thousands of years and mounds of evidence of revelation from God, to dismiss all His good works to bring about a savior, and our relationship with Him, and to dismiss the reality of eternal life with that Creator, because you interacted with someone who fell short in their walk is to dismiss the very reason we need Jesus Christ. In fact, as an unbeliever, are you not claiming to have a problem with a belief to which you do not conform? Is that not hypocrisy?

So if someone finally reaches the conclusion that he or she has fallen short of God’s perfect moral standard, that they are ready to admit that they are a hypocrite in their own right, based on the moral law written on their heart, then they can safely come to a church of believers. They are in good company, a place full of hypocrites, who all have fallen short, and all wish to experience freedom from their sins. If I see you there, I will do my best to lift you up, and do life with you. But I am a hypocrite too, so I may fail, and need forgiveness from time to time.

 

Archeological/Geological Response to Atheist Part 2 of 5

Atheist: Here’s a very incomplete list of things that cannot be explained by your flood or fit into the young earth creationist’s timeline (continued):

(for part 1, click here)

plate tectonics, the higher elevation and older age of the continents compared to ocean floors,

Plate tectonics is not a criticism of creationism. Both models agree we see observable plate tectonics. However, based on what we observe today, there are many features that can be explained by a global flood. Many canyons and hundreds of volcanoes lining the ocean floor; layered strata, most fossils, the ice age, the Grand Canyon, and yes the tectonic plates, which were created when the great fountains of the deep burst forth. Imagine water exploding violently from great cracks in the crust such as the Atlantic Ridge, forcing water and mud to race around the globe. Great plates of land began to buckle, forming the mountains of today (complete with buried lifeforms on top of them), This is why the major mountain chains are parallel to the ridges from which they slid.

In regards to the assertion that the age of continents are greater than the age of the ocean floor, my response would be, who dated them? This is circular reasoning. One cannot tell me the earth is very very old, and then use the date they tell me it is to prove it is old. This conclusion is based solely on the faith in this evolutionary model. Aside from its obvious assumptions, this is like declaring that the mountains are old because they are old.

the sheer number of animal species that exist,

Doctors and scientists from both AIG and Creation MInistries International have done exceptional work in this area. Taxonomy and speciation have massive hurdles to overcome if evolution is true, as well as does the fossil record. The animals found are stubbornly found complete and distinct, perfectly designed, and in most cases easily classifiable. This would not be the case if evolution is true, and again obvious to a second grader, if slow gradual change was the rule, then it would not be necessary for all evolutionists to scramble at every presumption of a found transitional form, for there would obviously be millions and millions, so many that taxonomy itself would be impossible. The great variety of species is a boon to special creation, because we do not have to assert that humans, bananas, the porcupine, mold, and octopuses are all somehow related!

Further study will allow you to conclude that not only was their room on the ark for all land animals, but that God has provided great variety within His beautiful design. Species in each case can be traced back to either the genus or family level of classification, now known as the baramin, and each baramin can account for the many species and sub-species that micro-evolution has caused over time. But in each case, and this is key, we always find that biological constraints keep one kind from changing beyond a pre-designed, natural, genetic limit. 

angular unconformities,

Not overly familiar (I am not a geologist), though there is a great creation evidence in bent rock layers, evidence that great amounts of earth were buckled and uplifted during a time where all the rock was soft and pliable (no evidence of cracking). This wouldn’t have happened it hard, brittle rock was slowly uplifted for millions of years. Regarding the uncomformities, I’d direct anyone who wishes to delve into it specifically to Creationist Taz Walker’s explanation of the most famous site for angular uncomformity east of Edinburgh, Scotland.

dolomite,

Touting dolomitization as evidence for evolution, we find evolutionists claiming “evolution” as a pervasive force through all sciences. This is done as if natural occurrences are for some reason denied by Christians in a continued attempt to label them “anti-science”. I have hotly debated atheists who are very precise in their definitions, and who attack when attempts to offer different syntax through context are used. It is a great inroad to an ad hominem attack in many cases. That being said, the consensus among the science-minded elite within the debates have asserted emphatically that evolution is defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool. This is from experience, and again, this was emphatically, sometimes rudely asserted. As you can tell from the definition, it applies to organic material. Yet somehow, we keep running across inorganic evolutionary assertions, like in geology here, or in regards to chemical or stellar evolution, where one must deduce that somehow inorganic material is somehow also mutating to provide the universe with different or more abundant types of matter. (We find this as an insurmountable hurdle in the Big Bang Theory model, as matter not only has to explode from the central explosion, but must also keep creating new material along the way).

The reality regarding dolomite is that minerals do change over time. This is hardly anything new, though claiming it is analogous or even a type of evolution, and that biological and geological evolution have occurred together to bring about the existence of man was not something Darwin agreed with, but has become part of the great evolutionary thinking that has been forced to cover many sciences, since without God it must explain everything. That is of course what materialism is. Robert Hazen the geologist wanted dolomitization to be defined as ‘mineral evolution by mutation’ (Hazen, R.M. et al., Mineral evolution, American Mineralogist 93(11–12):1693–1720, 2008).  The bottom line, the chemical changes of minerals over time is well understood, is observable, and does not exclude a creationist account.

massive deposits of salts via evaporation of ancient lakes and oceans,

Remember, the claim is that this is a list of things that CANNOT BE EXPLAINED by a flood or in a young earth timeline. In this case, this is predicated upon evaporation being the definitive cause of these large salt beds, a theory presented by Ochsenius in 1877. Here are a few problems with the evaporation theory, however:

  1. To form a deposit only 1 km thick would require seawater 60 km deep to be evaporated.6
  2. The salt formations show negligible contamination with sand, contradicting the evaporation model which requires a sandbank in combination with consistently dry weather over a long period of time. This process would introduce a lot of sand into the salt evaporation enclosures.
  3. The salt formations exhibit negligible contamination with marine fossils, contrary to what would be expected with seawater constantly flooding into the evaporation area and the enormous amount of seawater involved.
  4. The evaporation areas need to be in regions of high sunlight and low rainfall if the seawater is to evaporate. However, the distribution of salt deposits globally contradicts the idea that all of these areas were once near the equator for the required time to achieve such a result.

This model is wholly inadequate to explain the thickness of these formations. The obvious response to evolutionists is, ‘based on your assumption that the evaporation theory is how these formations formed, we may have a time problem. However, is that how it was formed?’ James Hutton, who introduced deep-time as a geologist, was convinced that these formations had a hot magma, or igneous origin. This model has been studied since and explains the formations much more adequately. So yes evolutionists can debunk biblical chronology only if they cling to assumed theories they know demand great time. This is often the default assumption in science, since they already “know” that evolution is true. It isn’t a surprise that if you devise a theory based on great amounts of time, you can then use that same theory to prove great amounts of time.

syntectonic deposits,

These are simply deposits that accompany tectonic activity, which were of course abundant and global during the flood. Not sure which geological observances around cracks in the earth’s crust would be proof against the flood, but again, I am not a geologist. I would caution those who study it though, to be mindful, just like in the prior salt formation examples. A theory based on deep time to explain a deposit will no doubt be asserted because “we already know evolution and deep time is true”. So you will get lots of “millions of years ago” and “slowly over time” comments. The fact is most geological features we can observe can happen very quickly. Obviously, based on the observation of deposits laid down all over the world catastrophically should lead most to conclude that there must have been a catastrophe. To be blind to it because you have already philosophically ruled out a global flood is not science. It is faith.

To be continued Part 3

 

Archeological/Geological Response to Atheist Part 1 of 5

The list that follows is copied and pasted from a comment in a small debate with an atheist. Though science wasn’t the original topic of the feed, rather it was the hopelessness of atheism, this list was presented as a sound refutation of why creation and the flood couldn’t possibly be realities.  I thought rather than get into a tit-for-tat debate in someone else’s comment feed, which tends to by highly unfruitful, I would address the list here. Less emotion, less noise, and a teachable moment for anyone following, that much of the criticisms fired at Christianity are not proofs against it, but are assertions based on the presupposition that their world view is correct, i.e. “there is no God”.  In this way, maybe bible believing Christians can be edified by knowing that regardless of the other side’s presumption, there has historically been great reason to hold fast to the truth of the word. Since “there is no God” must be true for an atheist, everything they observe in nature must not support the bible, or the biblical world view, but only materialism, which means an evolutionary explanation. Out of respect for the atheist and his list, I would state that I am not implying his list was exhaustive, and I am quite sure there is a rebuttal for each comment made. The point here is to realize evidence must be interpreted based on world view.

Admittedly, I have similar biases, for all that I see in nature screams loudly that there is in fact a God, and that the Bible’s history is accurate down to minute detail. I am a firm believer that people are saved through the hearing of the gospel, and the Holy Spirit moving in or softening their hearts. But this doesn’t exclude facts, logic or reason. How could it if God is the creator of our organized reality? My faith in God and His word is the filter through which I see the observable world. One thing biblicists will admit, and which is an obvious truth, is that “scientists don’t say anything – scientists do.” What we then observe, based on presupposition,  is our interpretation of hard facts. Let’s explore!

I’ll put atheist comments in Green, and my responses in Black:

Here’s a very incomplete list of things that cannot be explained by your flood or fit into the young earth creationist’s timeline:

Varves, the Green River Formation,

What the heck are varves?! Varves are sedimentary rock formations, ripples, or laminae that are thought to be annual deposits. At the Green River, geologists can see millions of these varves, and it is often pointed to in much of evolutionary literature as proof the world is very old. When clinging to the presupposition of uniformitarian thinking, an evolutionist would certainly try to claim these must be annual. The truth is, in field observations and in labs, varves have been seen to form very quickly, especially in storms and unusual conditions (aka. a global deluge). In many observations, multiple ridges form instantaneously! Plus at Green River, we find a great many perfectly fossilized fish with great detail preserved in the varves, down to the eyeballs, scales and the like. More than even this, we find a great many fossils there from different ecosystems; plants, and birds (shore birds all the way to forest birds all in the same formation). We know, again from observation that fish rot and are consumed by nature quickly upon death. If we cling to the millions of years to form the Green River Formation theory, we must try to explain how these fish didn’t rot long enough over the millions of years, to form such detailed fossil samples, or why there are fossils at all. Using common sense, I believe we can safely deduce a great catastrophic event not only caused these sedimentary rock formations, but also buried life from a wide area in this one place. Most geologists don’t cling to the idea that each varve equals 1 year.

ice cores,

This theory of annual ice rings has been smacked down like a jump shot defended against by Lebron James. The best and most obvious example is the famous lost squadron. It is worth researching yourself and is a fascinating tale, but to make a long story short – A WWII squadron was lost in 1942 over Greenland. These planes were recovered in 1988, only 46 years later. Due to the shifting in ice, and to the great surprise of the search teams, the squadron was finally located 250 feet down below the surface, and through hundreds and hundreds of ice rings in the mere 46 years. Rings are formed during hot and cold, and are not a product of deep time.

the sheer amount of buried biomass,

This argument is unfortunately due to ignorance of the creation model. Creationists do not have issue  with the huge amount of biomass (oils, coals, natural gases) found in the earth’s crust, but evolutionists think we do. This is because there is great misunderstanding as to what the pre-flood world looked like. Again, blinded by the present-being-the-key-to-the-past assumption (an unscientific one), if one imagines all the organic material on the earth today being used to form coal, we would fall desperately short of what is in the earth’s crust currently.  And that would of course be correct. The problem is evolutionists assume the present land area of the earth is the analogous to the creation model’s pre-flood world. They assume every and all creationists believe in a Pangaea arrangement of continents, and that, like today’s world, the earth back then was only habitable on about 3% of its surface area. But God’s word clearly teaches that not only was the original design supposed to be conducive for man to spread out and subdue it, as well as enjoy its bounty and ability to provide longevity, but also that the post-flood world dramatically changed the earth, as evidenced by plummeting ages, fossil records, and plant material even under the icecaps. In a proper understanding of the pre-flood world, one that fits with the evidence, we would have a surface covered with land, springs underneath (as described in the Garden of Eden [different hydrological cycle], and plentiful biomass, which easily explains the amount of coal and oil in the earth’s crust without resorting to billions of years of assumption. Imagine a world where 65% of the earth is habitable?  With better growing conditions, denser atmosphere, and higher magnetism, we have the potential for a great amount of biomass, much of which would have been buried in the earth’s crust quickly. In other words, this criticism of the bible is based on assumption, an observation of what we see today pushed through the filter of an evolutionary world view. Biomass does not pose a problem to the creation model at all.

ocean sediments,

A surprising factor for an atheist to present in my opinion. Ocean sediment is a factor that fits much more comfortably in the creationist model. Here is what we observe:  Water and wind erode 24 billion tons per year. The sea floor should be choked, but average height of sea floor sediment is only 1300 ft
Therefore the limit based on current erosion rates is 12 million years (much shorter when catastrophic events are factored in) not in the billions.
North America should have been leveled in 10 million years if erosion has continued at the average rate. Mathmatically, and again based on observation, a height of 150 kilometers (93 miles) of continent would have eroded in 2.5 billion years
crumble the concept of ancient mountains. Now of course the evolutionist will counter by saying uplift replaces that which is eroded. But if this were true, uplift from the earth’s crust would not carry with it fossils, or sedimentary rock layers. Therefore after 10 million years, we should no longer find these “old” rock layers on any of the earth’s continents, especially the fossils we find in mountainous regions.

river deltas,

Again, a surprising factor to be presented. River deltas are the fanned out erosion formations at a river’s termination point. The flood accounts for a wide variety of erosion rates, depending on the type of rock and mud in an area, and current river flow in the last 4500 years, but more importantly, the river deltas we do see should be way larger than current sizes if the world was millions of years old. This is another limiting factor. The most striking example of this is the Grand Canyon, a huge evidence for a global catastrophe. This giant spillway has left relatively no river delta from the over 1000 cubic miles of earth that has been removed. If this is slow time, the base of the Colorado River should be the most epic river delta the world has ever known. It is simply not there. The rock and mud has been washed out of this enormous spillway, leaving a great many evidences of catastrophe.

caves, coral reefs,

I am not sure how to address “caves”, as they typically do not present a geological conundrum for creationists. Regarding reefs though, we can look at The Great Barrier Reef, which is dated by greatadventures.com to be 18 million years old. Livescience has it at both 500,000 years old, and 8000 years old. News.com.au has a writer who says it’s 25 million. Now, we could get in to the weeds on this topic, but for the sake of brevity, science has observed its growth patterns, which vary widely, depending greatly on how much fresh water runoff there is from the continent. There are of course, newer and older segments of it, and where it is thickest, The Great Barrier Reef reaches a thickness of 55 meters! Now, growth of coral has been clocked at 5 mm per year and at 25 mm per year, with an average rate of approximately 15 mm. This means that despite its vast size and impressiveness, the reef in its entirety could have been formed in only 3700 years.  The new parts being clocked now, are only about 660 years old. This is not a factor that is a friend of evolutionists.

fossilized forests,

Like a broken record, I question the wisdom of using this factor as anything but proof for a world wide deluge. The obvious response is to point out the many polystrate fossils, or trees that pass through more than one geological layer. Some of these pass through rock, then coal, then rock again, and still others are fossilized upside down, clearly pointing to catastrophism. The obvious question would be, how does one imagine a tree standing upside down for millions of years so that sediment can slowly cover it? If the evolutionist asserts that fossilization of these forests must have happened slowly, I would suggest examining the quick and complete fossilization of many modern objects, such as hats, boots and pickle jars, which would shed  light on it. Plus, again via observation, I would suggest examining the fallen trees of today on a hike or some such thing – take a second grader, not an evolutionary scientist. You will most likely get better observations. (I kid). Then examine these fallen trees, rotting, full of mushrooms and fungus, brittle and decomposing, and try to imagine how given enough time, they might slowly become fossilized. You can do this observation experiment with many fossils. Then see if God’s explanation, or man’s seems like truth to you.

 

To be continued in Part 2

 

 

The Feelings That Drive Us

In studying forgiveness this week, we delved in to Luke 17:

3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you,[b] saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”

6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. 7 And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? 8 But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. 10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”

The interesting thing about forgiveness is that here Christ commands it, as a duty, which is especially noteworthy in a society that cultivates self-gratification, the fulfilling of emotional desire, and the alleviation of consequence from duty or action. The pleas for help against the strength of emotion are not merely a product of today, but of the weaknesses of all mankind, and is illustrated here by the apostles themselves, when they ask Jesus for increased faith. They wish for a greater faith to overcome the emotions set against forgiving others. It is as if they are saying, “no one can forgive someone over and over on their own!”

Jesus’ response? It is your duty. Don’t hem and haw and finally decide to forgive, so that you may then turn around and ask for praise and adulation for simply doing what is commanded. If you follow me, if you love me, then you will forgive, because that is what I have done for you. It is your duty.

Society will absolve guilt and duty with phrases and mantras such as:

“You shouldn’t have to apologize for your feelings,”

“We can’t control our emotions,”

or even

“We should allow for our feelings to guide us in our decisions.”

I admittedly am an emotional person, given to highs and lows, and do struggle with the discipline of not letting un-caged emotion drive my decisions. However, we must remember that we are Christians because it is true, and there is hope in truth. Yes it is emotional, but God has also provided a great many evidences, not the least of which is the reality of a resurrected messiah.

John MacArthur has said, “Pertaining to the bible, its prophecies are fulfilled. Its miracles are true and attested to. It is scientifically flawless and accurate. Its history and archaeology are verifiable to the smallest detail.”

He goes on to assert, “The basic task of the church is to teach sound doctrine. It is not to give one pastor’s opinion, to recite tear-jerking illustrations that play on emotions, to raise funds, to present programs and entertainment, or to give weekly devotionals.”

When it comes to forgiveness, it is described as a duty that should supersede emotional qualms. This also implies that forgiveness is not waiting on the emotion to join the intent, but instead is action taken despite emotion. But what action?

Forgiveness is simply releasing the right for revenge. The action of not disparaging a person who sins against you. To not gossip about them. To even speak well of them. To not seek or hope for their demise, or punishment, or just desserts. These are actions. These can rise above emotion.

Put another way, the act of forgiveness can be carried out as a duty until the emotions match the actions. If however, we wait on the emotion, the weakness of our flesh, to entice us to follow God’s command, would it ever happen?

Another instance of an emotionally driven construct of today is the transgenderism issue, a delicate one, and one that not only defies God’s will for us based on emotion, but also defies very real and understandable science and genetics. Scientifically stated, there is no such thing as transgenderism. It is  a construct of our society. We see similar psychological disorders with anorexia and the like, a person who perceives reality and the biology of their body differently than what is real. Consider this denial in who you are, this rebellion against how you were made, total denial in the identity of yourself. This is akin to suicide, the end of your life as what you were designed to be. Couple that with the mutilation of one’s body to fulfill the emotional desire to not be oneself, and you have not only physically harmed the body, but have harmed chances of a marriage, of having your children with a spouse, to connect with people of the same and opposite sexes on a meaningful level in many ways. This is why those in the transgender world are 19 times more likely to commit suicide than other people groups. A group forever forced to adopt the persona of what they are not.

Dr. Paul R. McHugh, is the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, and is the author of six books and at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles. He states that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

“This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken – it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.” Regarding his willingness to reassign gender through surgery, he said this: “And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs.”

We could go on and on with this subject, discussing an “everything is normal sex education”, child abuse, etc. But the point here and of this article is, we must be aware that truth and morality are objective things. They are verifiable things, and therefore, we must make a choice not to fall into the tempting pattern of blaming and cultivating emotions not anchored to truth, in order to absolve ourselves from reality.

Especially with the support of society, it can be easy to simply blame emotion for all of the situations we find ourselves in, but those not squarely rooted in God’s will tend to leave people in tumult, whether it be in anger, or anxiety, or depression. As we mature in Christ, it should become clearer that the discipline of our actions define who we are. Galatians lists fruits of the spirit in chapter 5, one of which is self-control. Ephesians 4:14 says, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” We must ask ourselves, when society plays on feelings and emotions to convince us that reality is false, do we consult the word for truth, or succumb to the continued and pervasive relativity of popular opinion and PC pressure. If we allow our emotions to be victorious over reason, what do we gain? What do we lose?

Islamic Extremism Part 4

As I try to wrap up this series, the next incident occurs, in Ohio this time. “A suspect was shot dead by police after he allegedly plowed into pedestrians with a car and then stabbed multiple people with a butcher’s knife at the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio, this morning, the university said.” – ABC News.

The name and identity of the attacker has just been released as I write this, one Abdul Razak Ali Artan, a Somali Islamic refugee.

When I wrote about the terrorist attack in Nice, France, I make reference to the politically correct challenges of realizing who conducted the action, knowing without being allowed to say, what faction or religion was tied to the event. We all kind of know, be we all kind of aren’t allowed to say anything. Well, when the assailant drove his car into a crowd, and then hopped out with a knife, stabbing at shocked pedestrians, we kind of knew. But of course, no one could say.

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We said as a final part to my series on Islamic extremism, we would  examine why extremist beliefs are found to be prevalent in Islamic countries. If you are just joining us, I am sure you consider this a bold statement, however, it is based off Part 3. Read that first before complaining. Also, I have already addressed the difference between the God of the Bible, and the god of Islam. The short version is, the Bible clearly teaches the trinity, and that Christ is fully God with us, while Islam teaches that Christ was not God or was even divine, didn’t die on the cross, and wasn’t resurrected from the dead. The Law of Non-Contradiction would stipulate that these are clearly not the same gods. For more on that, click here. Put another more blunt way, in Islam, their god asks you to die for him, while in Christianity, He loved us enough to come die for us. As proof, let us review some  Quran and Hadith Verses:

Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.

And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of Allah.

I would love to be martyred in Allah’s Cause and then get resurrected and then get martyred, and then get resurrected again and then get martyred and then get resurrected again and then get martyred.

Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid (inner-struggler) in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed (we must ask why the inner struggle would result in death)

seeking death at places where it can be expected.

Nobody who enters Paradise will return to this world even if he were offered everything on the surface of the earth  except the martyr who will desire to return to this world and be killed ten times for the sake of the great honor that has been bestowed upon him.

they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth… and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.”

As the Ayatollah Khomeini put it, “The purest joy in Islam is to kill and be killed for Allah.”

At a  youth convention in 1999: “Fighting for freedom, fighting for Islam, that is not suicide. They kill themselves for Islam.”

Back on task, let us look at Islam through the lens of history. The angelic visit for Muhammad happened supposedly in the year 610, when Gabriel appeared. After many years of meditations and visits, Muhammad recited to his band of followers the words he claimed to hear (many were from visions and trances, and many contemporaries believed him to be possessed by demons). This means that the very angel that appeared to the virgin Mary and told her that her son would be on the throne, and be called the son of the Most High God has allegedly revealed new revelation 600 years after revelation was closed and reinterpreted the bible to inform Muhammad that Jesus was not a deity. As a Christian, I am reminded of Paul’s words in Galatians 1:8 “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” Interesting to note that the revelation of Islam and Mormonism both appeared from an angel, as if Paul knew full well what dangers lie ahead.

Another not so small difference between the Gospel of Christ and Islam is the works vs grace component, which like most of the world religions, is in glaring opposition in regards to a means for salvation.

Note that there is no historical evidence of this Gabriel visitation, eye-witness accounts etc, and unlike the bible, the Quran is a revelation from one mind alone, therefore unable to be verified by historical texts and witnesses, not to mention the revelation is the result of no biblical prophecy, and instead stands in violation of biblical commands. This is compared to Christ who fulfilled many.

The prophet, Muhammad, conducted himself according to his beliefs, for what we believe determines how we behave. Jesus did the same, as He healed, taught, preached, blessed, and sacrificed Himself for the world. Muhammad’s actions were quite different. The goals being conquest, a political state based on Islam, which was quite definitively an earthly kingdom. If you are curious, there was a consequence for not wanting to pursue this same goal, if you practiced Islam, as many Syrians are finding out. Dr. Nasr Farid Wasel, former Egypt Mufti, said that all scholars agree that the punishment for rejecting Islam is death. The punishment is indisputably mentioned in the Hadith: ‘whoever changes his Islamic religion kill him.’

So did Muhammad pursue military conquests? Some would claim that Jihad is about the ‘inner struggle’. But facts regarding Quran content are as follows; In Bukhari (Hadith) 97% of the Jihad references are about war and 3% are about the inner struggle. At least 75% of the Sira (life of Mohammed) is about Jihad, and very little of it is about actual religion. Due to abrogation, as well as cultural differences, there is a great disparagement between Islam of the Quran & Hadiths (sayings & conduct of Mohammed), and the Islam as defined/practiced by your Muslim neighbor, American convert, or Muslim group living in the West.

So for insight into the extremist beliefs of those members of Islam that conduct themselves according to the beliefs and actions of Muhammad himself, and not the westernized idea of Islam, let us consider that conduct here, as compared with Christ:

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In 626 AD, Jewish tribes were exterminated.

Rape of the married women captives was condoned, often in front of the captured or dying husbands ([Sahih Muslim, Book 8, number 3371]; [Sura 4:24 -Also (forbidden are) women already married, except those (captives and slaves) whom your right hands possess. Thus has Allah ordained for you];  [In regards to finishing inside a victim of rape, a response of Muhammad’s as opposed to disavowing the rape of women – “O Allah’s Apostle! We get female captives as our share of booty, and we are interested in their prices, what is your opinion about coitus interruptus?” The Prophet said, “Do you really do that? It is better for you not to do it (withdraw before finishing). No soul that which Allah has destined to exist, but will surely come into existence.” (Bukhari 34:432) -] ).

The ransom and beheading of prisoners was common.

In the last Jewish tribe in Medina (Banu Qurayzah), Mohammed decapitated 800-900 men in front of their families. This was 627 AD.

“We went out with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi’l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing ‘azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid-conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter” (Sahih Muslim 3371)

635 Muslims besiege and conquer Damascus
636 Muslims defeat Byzantines at the Battle of Yarmuk
637 Muslims conquer Iraq at the Battle of al-Qadisiyyah
638 Muslims conquer and annex Jerusalem
638-650 Muslims conquer Iran
639-642 Muslims conquer Egypt
641 Muslims control Syria and Palestine
643-707 Muslims conquer North Africa

Spain 711
Battle of Tours, France – 732
Moors 711 – 1492
1009 Destruction of the Church of the Resurrection by al-Hakim
1012 Beginning of al-Hakim’s oppressive decrees against Jews and Christians
1055 Confiscation of property of Church of the Resurrection
1071 Turks invade Palestine
1073 Conquest of Jerusalem by Turks
1076 Almoravids conquer western Ghana
1094 Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus I asks western Christendom for help against Turkish Seljuk invasions of his territory
1095 Pope Urban II launches the first crusade; they capture Jerusalem in 1099
1193 – Buddhists
1389 – Kosovo

1453 – Constantinople
1683 – Vienna
1917 – Israel – 1917 (Balfour Dec)
1922 – Armenians
Europe today (“Londonistan,” OIC, Sharia law)

780 years of the Reconquista

Over 17,000 terrorist attacks since 9/11 in New York.

Pursuit of Caliphate – Europe, America.

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This sampling of history, which is not taught when the west learns of Islam, may start to provide an inkling of where the extremist ideals originate. At some point, one is forced to honestly ask, are the peaceful tenants of Islam truly following the teachings of Muhammad at all?

 

 

 

Quick Warning on New Ageism

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I am seeing this a lot lately. A feel good platitude. A slogan. A new age, anything goes, faux-zen-enlightened bumper sticker. Upon close examination, it doesn’t hold water. I hope those who consider their salvation can think past this, and truly don’t hang their eternal souls on the slogans of new age inclusiveness. Especially since this mess of a poster violates the law of non-contradiction about six ways from Sunday. Unfortunately, most people will grab such slogans, like “the bible was just written by men”, or “God can’t make a stone so big He can’t lift it”, or “separation of church and state”, and compile them as a world view. They will then comfortably walk through life, believing wholeheartedly in a world view they spent no time investigating. H.G. Wells said this about our contemporary lives as it concerns people’s resounding inaction regarding the preciousness of life:

“But in these plethoric times, when there is too much coarse stuff for everybody and we struggle for life takes the form of competitive advertisement and the effort to fill your neighbor’s eye, there is no urgent demand either for personal courage, sound nerves or stark beauty, we find ourselves by accident. Always before these times the bulk of people did not overeat themselves, because they couldn’t, whether they wanted to or not, and all but a very few were kept “fit” by unavoidable exercise and personal danger. Now, if only he pitch his standard low enough and keep free from pride, almost anyone can achieve a sort of excess. You can go through contemporary life fudging and slacking, never really hungry nor frightened nor passionately stirred, your highest moment a mere sentimental orgasm, and your first real contact with primary and elemental necessities the sweat of your deathbed.”

If we research, even lightly, the veracity of this poster’s statement, we will find it severely lacking in truth. Without even addressing the glaringly obvious, commandment-breaking image of putting one of the million false Hindu gods on an even plane with Jesus Christ, God and Lord, creator of all things, we will ask were they all merely teachers of love? Does this discount the necessity of judgement, and offer only pleasure with no recognition of sin, and therefore render our desperate need for grace and Christ moot?  There is a flood to square with, as well as the destruction of Sodom, and the Canaanites, and the existence of hell. Does escaping the reality of a promised judgement for sin require us to simply pick a teacher/deity we like, and try to be loving?  And if you have been following along on my series, you know by now that other gods, other religions, don’t come close to the loving God of the bible. For more on that, please read through that, but one quick example for you is in the year 627; Muhammad decapitated 900 Jewish men in front of their families, and ordered troops to rape women, and enslave them. This was the last Jewish tribe in Medina. Ransoms and beheadings were common place. So judging by these actions, as well as other conquests in the name of Allah, to say nothing of polygamy, and the consummation of a marriage with a 9 year old, was Muhammad a teacher of love, like our feel-good poster suggests? Or were his actions self-serving?

What about Buddhism? Very zen and peaceful, yes? The value of human beings must be quite high in their thinking, right? An interesting story, since we are on the subject, has to do with the killing fields of Cambodia. The maimed and injured were pouring in to medical camps run by Christian missionary volunteers. The country was filled with Buddhists, but Christians were there in droves helping the wounded, ministering to the sick and dying. The Christians asked the local doctor why the Buddhists, considering their peace-filled worldview,  weren’t here helping any of the refugees, and why was it only European and American Christians. He said it was because in Buddhism, it is believed that karma determines your fate, and that these suffering people must have earned these troubles in a past life. It was their Karmic fate that brought them to this, not the sin of a fallen world. So they felt no obligation to help or “love” as our poster suggests.

Perhaps we can find love of people in a place that favors Hinduism, such as India? India, where rats swarm crops, decimating sometimes up to 50% of the food grown for the citizens there. The result of course is famine, and the poor health of India’s massive population. But in years past, they have continually chose not to exterminate these rats. Why? Because in their religion, these rats may be the reincarnated ancestors of peoples’ families, so their lives are important as well. As we zoom out and logically consider this world view, we can ascertain that these rats are being given equal consideration and worth as the human beings in Hindu culture. Even at the expense of their lives.

Does this reflect the same love as our Creator God? A love so great that He declares He knows every hair on your head? That He made you in His image? He came to earth to die for you? Do you sense your value as a son or daughter of the Lord, as compared to other world views? It is interesting that for all the bumper sticker slogans we have, when you get down to it, there is one God of love, and there is the harsh reality of other religions, and how much they devalue life. In these others, upon actual examination, you will find the worth of people on par with animals (Hindu), left to the fate of the universe (Buddha), solely dependent upon the whim of a conquesting god (Islam), or completely fluid based on moral relativism (New Age). The truth is much more beautiful, and hopeful, and yes, loving, then the slogan. But, this does not dismiss us from having to consider the truths of a holy God. That with perfect love, we must also examine perfect judgement. Both infinite attributes of a perfect Creator. So again we say, “determine your salvation with fear and trembling” – Phil 2:12