Answering critics – Soft Tissue in Dinosaur Bones

After more than one debate over the importance of Creation vs Evolution studies with one individual, and plumbing the depths of its veracity as a ministry, a simple comment about soft tissue and carbon 14  having been found in dinosaurs led  quickly from a cordial discussion to being accused of idol worship, being told to stop harmonizing the bible with science,  and assertion that the entire group of Christians, including many with advanced degrees the world over,  who happen to believe in the chronology presented in the Old Testament are wasting their time and resources.

Once cooler heads prevailed this question was presented, as a challenge that I accepted.

“Will you please address the issue of the misrepresentation of Mrs. Sweitzer’s data. I would like to ask you to study her findings and using google, a library, the bible, and your own research, refute those findings by backing it up with real tangible data.
Then tell me how that data or her data in any way lies in contradiction to the creation of the universe by an omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent Creator.”

It was worded well, and once asked, I felt it would be an opportunity to extrapolate on a few issues I have written about before.

Mrs. Sweitzer’s data came from this article:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dinosaur-shocker-115306469/

and was copied and ker-plasted as a retort to my simple acknowledgement that soft tissue and Carbon 14 had indeed been found in dinosaur bones, and this was a problem (one of many) for evolutionists who cling to the molecules to man scenario.

Firstly we must declare off hand, and as I have taught many times on line and in person, that presupposition plays a rather large role in this debate, and as the article so adeptly googled and flung was from none other than the Smithsonian, not exactly a bastion of Christian thought and intellect, we can expect absolutely nothing from them but strong religious adherence to Darwinism, and the beating drum of millions of years. I have searched its archives dozens of times for artist renderings of hominids never found, and claims of a 4.5 billion year old earth. Since the challenge that was presented requested research to analyze the dumpster fire that is evolutionary theory, I’d like to point out this article from that very website answering  the difficult question, “How do we know the earth is 4.6 billion years old.”

Rather than admitting plainly that they don’t… they have instead presented – under “SMART NEWS” no less – that the reason is radiometric dating. As an example, they mention Carbon dating, which renders a sample ‘carbon dead’ after 80,000 years, uranium-lead dating, a measurement fraught with assumptions and bad data, and zircon of all things, which the RATE team, a group of 8 Christian doctors who studied radiometric dating in an 8 year long study, is presently using to show helium diffusion rates prove even these supposedly old rocks have way to much helium  to be old. This is the same group that published their findings of Carbon 14 in diamonds, a hardened carbon that evolutionists claim are billions of years in the making, and should have lost their carbon 10,000 times over.

You may ask, “but don’t they use these dating methods to date the fossils?”

The answer is no. They use the made up geologic column to date the fossils, and the made up fossil dates to date the rocks they are found in. Classic circular reasoning, and a thorn in the sides of evolutionists who dare to challenge the dogma. Don’t believe me? Don’t take my word for it:

If you look up Paleontology  in World Book Encyclopedia, vol. 15, 1978.) – p. 85 “Paleontology (the study of fossils) is important in the study of geology. The age of rocks may be determined by the fossils found in them.”
And then look up Fossils – p. 364 “Scientists determine when fossils were formed by finding out the age of the rocks in which they lie.” These books were in every university in the country.

What about our biology text books?
“Often, the layers of rock can be dated by the types of fossils they contain…. Scientists have determined the relative times of appearance and disappearance of many kinds of organisms from the location of their fossils within the sedimentary rock layers.” (Glenco, Biology Textbook, 1994, pp. 306-307.)

But surely the atheist evolutionists who tout the importance of radiometric dating use it to date the rocks, no? Here are two such atheists:
“I can think of no cases of radioactive decay being used to date fossils.” (Ager, Derek V., “Fossil Frustrations,” New Scientist, vol. 100, 1983, p. 425.)
“The rocks do date the fossils, but the fossils date the rocks more accurately.” (O’Rourke, J.E., “Pragmatism Versus Materialism in Stratigraphy,” American Journal of Science, vol. 276, 1976, p. 53)

For more studies on dating issues, please see this post.

To the issue at hand. The article (not in its entirety because of length) is below in green. My comments from my creationist position will be in blue. Note, I was asked to “refute those findings”, which since it was her discovery, I won’t be doing, but will be addressing her conclusions. And also I was asked to speak on how her conclusions lie in contradiction to the creator God of the bible, which is the crux of the issue, and a wonderful question. Let’s get started:
After 68 million years in the ground,

This date was obtained based on the presupposed accuracy of the geologic column. We “know” how old T-rex’s are because of evolution, therefore if we find one, it is this old. Part of our Jurassic classification. Many times during my debate similar presuppositions were stated as definitive truth, such as “we know the rocks are billions of years old”. Two quotes from other atheists:

“Contrary to what most scientists write, the fossil record does not support the Darwinian theory of evolution because it is this theory (there are several) which we use to interpret the fossil record. By doing so, we are guilty of circular reasoning if we then say the fossil record supports this theory.” –  Ronald R. West, “Paleontology and Uniformitarianism,” Compass, Vol. 45, May 1968, p. 216.

“The prime difficulty with the use of presumed ancestral-descendant sequences to express phylogeny is that biostratigraphic data are often used in conjunction with morphology in the initial evaluation of relationships, which leads to obvious circularity.” – B. Schaeffer, M.K. Hecht and N. Eldredge, “Phylogeny and Paleontology,” Ch. 2 in Evolutionary Biology, Vol. 6 (edited by Th. Dobzhansky, M.K. Hecht and W.C. Steere; New York Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1972) p. 39.

 a Tyrannosaurus rex found in Montana was dug up, its leg bone was broken in pieces, and fragments were dissolved in acid in Schweitzer’s laboratory at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. “Cool beans,” she says, looking at the image on the screen.

It was big news indeed last year when Schweitzer announced she had discovered blood vessels and structures that looked like whole cells inside that T. rex bone—the first observation of its kind. The finding amazed colleagues, who had never imagined that even a trace of still-soft dinosaur tissue could survive. 

This of course is also based on the presupposition that evolution is true. From the dates of the bible, Noah’s 600th year was approximately 4500 years ago, which is when all or close to all dinosaurs were buried and fossilized, along with explaining the earth’s plentiful biomass oil reserves from buried forests etc. This means anomalies such as soft tissue and carbon in diamonds doesn’t defeat, but supports the biblical timeline. We would expect to find all sorts of catastrophic evidence as well, which we do. Polystrate fossils are a notable one, one organism passing through different strata rock. Article

Schweitzer, one of the first scientists to use the tools of modern cell biology to study dinosaurs, has upended the conventional wisdom by showing that some rock-hard fossils tens of millions of years old may have remnants of soft tissues hidden away in their interiors.

“It has been well established that such biological structures and molecules should not last beyond a few tens of thousands of years, and could not possibly survive millions of years. So why are they there?” – Brian Thomas, M.S.  

“The reason it hasn’t been discovered before is no right-thinking paleontologist would do what Mary did with her specimens. We don’t go to all this effort to dig this stuff out of the ground to then destroy it in acid,” says dinosaur paleontologist Thomas Holtz Jr., of the University of Maryland. “It’s great science.” The observations could shed new light on how dinosaurs evolved and how their muscles and blood vessels worked. And the new findings might help settle a long-running debate about whether dinosaurs were warmblooded, coldblooded—or both.

It is also interesting to note that though Schweitzer’s T-rex is the most notable soft tissue sample, many other samples have been found as well. One in 2013 was the soft tissue in a triceratops, which Schweitzer had nothing to do with – Armitage, M.H., and K. L. Anderson. Soft sheets of fibrillar bone from a fossil of the supraorbital horn of the dinosaur Triceratops horridus. Acta Histochemica. Published online before print, February 13, 2013.

In almost all cases, including Schweitzer, scientists scrambled to disprove soft tissue genuinely that of the speciment itself. “One popular pushback asserts that the soft tissues are not from the dinosaurs at all, but from bacteria that somehow infiltrated their bones and built biofilms in the same shapes as dinosaur tissues and cells.” – Brian Thomas, M.S.

Meanwhile, Schweitzer’s research has been hijacked by “young earth” creationists, who insist that dinosaur soft tissue couldn’t possibly survive millions of years. They claim her discoveries support their belief, based on their interpretation of Genesis, that the earth is only a few thousand years old. Of course, it’s not unusual for a paleontologist to differ with creationists. But when creationists misrepresent Schweitzer’s data, she takes it personally: she describes herself as “a complete and total Christian.” On a shelf in her office is a plaque bearing an Old Testament verse: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I never met Schweitzer, but have no reason to doubt her salvation. Not once during my debate did I suggest evolutionists couldn’t be Christians. The person I was debating, before declaring it supremely unimportant, debated staunchly for evolution’s obviousness, then declared he was not an evolutionist, and then that he was a Christian evolutionist. The two are mutually exclusive. You do not need one to be the other, nor do I teach that, but I will say it causes biblical inconsistencies. More on that later.

 

In 1991, Schweitzer was trying to study thin slices of bones from a 65-million-year-old T. rex. She was having a hard time getting the slices to stick to a glass slide, so she sought help from a molecular biologist at the university. The biologist, Gayle Callis, happened to take the slides to a veterinary conference, where she set up the ancient samples for others to look at. One of the vets went up to Callis and said, “Do you know you have red blood cells in that bone?” Sure enough, under a microscope, it appeared that the bone was filled with red disks. Later, Schweitzer recalls, “I looked at this and I looked at this and I thought, this can’t be. Red blood cells don’t preserve.”
Schweitzer showed the slide to Horner. “When she first found the red-blood-cell-looking structures, I said, Yep, that’s what they look like,” her mentor recalls. He thought it was possible they were red blood cells, but he gave her some advice: “Now see if you can find some evidence to show that that’s not what they are.”

What she found instead was evidence of heme in the bones—additional support for the idea that they were red blood cells. Heme is a part of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood and gives red blood cells their color. “It got me real curious as to exceptional preservation,” she says. If particles of that one dinosaur were able to hang around for 65 million years, maybe the textbooks were wrong about fossilization.

They used to teach that it took millions of years to create a fossil. Then they taught at least 10,000 years (some sites still do). Now we have fossilized pallets, cowboy boots, a hat, a mason jar with a pickle in it, etc. Evolutionists have had to back off of this particular track, like many others due to observable science. Interestingly, scienceviews.com states, “Fossils are formed in a number of different ways, but most are formed when a plant or animal dies in a watery environment and is buried in mud and silt. Soft tissues quickly decompose leaving the hard bones or shells behind.” Water and mud. During my lectures, I show many examples of dinosaurs in death throes from asphyxiation due to being buried quickly in water and mud. Strangely, evolutionists postulate numerous un-provable ideas about how the dinosaurs became extinct (meteor, asteroid, global warming, flatulence (i wish that was a joke) global warming, etc) and yet we find them buried by water in mud all over the earth.

i.e. – World’s Largest Dinosaur Graveyard Linked to Mass Death, By Charles Q. Choi, Live Science Contributor – “The way the fossils are linked together in the same layers of earth within these bonebeds suggests all these Centrosaurs were wiped out simultaneously. The likely culprit in this scenario was a catastrophic storm, which could quickly have routinely made the waters flood up as high as 12 to 15 feet.”

Drowned dinosaur eggs’ fossil remains reveal embryos grew fast, Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2013|By Amina Khan

Yellowstone National Park – Mammoth Site in South Dakota. Mammoths and other megafauna got trapped in a sinkhole and drown about 26,000 years ago

I just wish there was a book somewhere with eye-witness accounts of what happened so we could piece together how all these animals were buried simultaneously in water and mud all over the earth. Oh, wait?

In 2000, Bob Harmon, a field crew chief from the Museum of the Rockies, was eating his lunch in a remote Montana canyon when he looked up and saw a bone sticking out of a rock wall. That bone turned out to be part of what may be the best preserved T. rex in the world.

Just a point here. This guy saw something sticking out of a wall, and it was dated 68 million years. You know… cause its a T rex.Okay. Carry on…

 

Most paleontologists now agree that birds are the dinosaurs’ closest living relatives.

This is probably true, based again on presupposition that if evolution is true, and we have no reasonable theory for extinction, then macro-evolution theory must have turned dinosaurs in to feathered birds.

This means: heavy tail to feathered plumage; dense to hollow bones, cold to warm blooded in some cases, limbs to wings – these are serious physiological changes, and is absurd as it sounds. Fossils have been found that suggest dinosaurs with strange features, but creationists  view dinosaurs having woolly plumages and collagen fibers as –dinosaurs with woolly plumages and collagen fibers, nothing more.

This idea started with the find ‘Archaeopteryx’, a supposed transitional fossil, like many others jumped on publicly, and then backtracked privately and quietly, as it was simply an extinct type of flightless bird. This occurred with many supposed transitions, from Darwin to the present, and the fossil record remains strangely devoid of any transitions, just extinctions, and fully developed kinds, or baramin. They all appear suddenly, and no one teaches that if evolution were true, there should be billions of transitions found making taxonomy and classification impossible. 

Let’s take an aside, and hear just some quotes  (there are hundreds) from our evolutionary scientists about the fossil record:

“The majority of evolutionary movements are degenerative. Progressive cases are exceptional. Characters appear suddenly that have no meaning toward progress [i.e., that do not evolve into anything else] . . The only thing that could be accomplished by slow changes would be the accumulation of neutral characteristics without value for survival.”—*John B.S. Haldane, quoted in Asimov’s Book of Science and Nature Quotations, p. 91 [English geneticist].

“We still do not know the mechanics of evolution in spite of the over-confident claims in some quarters, nor are we likely to make further progress in this by the classical methods of paleontology or biology.”—*Errol White, Proceedings of the Linnean Society, London 177:8 (1988).

“Ultimately, the Darwinian theory of evolution is no more nor less than the great cosmogenic myth of the twentieth century.”—*Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), p. 358.

“. . . there are no intermediate forms between finned and limbed creatures in the fossil collections of the world.” G.R. Taylor, The Great Evolution Mystery, ( N.Y: Harper and Row, 1983) p. 60.

“Evolutionism is a fairy tale for grown-ups. This theory has helped nothing in the progress of science. It is useless.”—*Bounoure, Le Monde et la Vie (October 1983) [Director of Research at the National Center of Scientific Research in France].

“Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin’s argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life’s history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we almost never see the very process we profess to study.”—*Steven Jay Gould, The Panda’s Thumb (1882), pp. 181-182.

“The more one studies paleontology, the more certain one becomes that evolution is based on faith alone . . exactly the same sort of faith which it is necessary to have when one encounters the great mysteries of religion.”—*Louis Trenchark More, quoted in Science and the Two-tailed Dinosaur, p. 33.

In fact, they say that birds are dinosaurs—colorful, incredibly diverse, cute little feathered dinosaurs. The theropod of the Jurassic forests lives on in the goldfinch visiting the backyard feeder, the toucans of the tropics and the ostriches loping across the African savanna.

To understand her dinosaur bone, Schweitzer turned to two of the most primitive living birds: ostriches and emus.

Primitive, again based on presupposition of evolutionary theory. For creationists, these are just kinds of birds.

In the summer of 2004, she asked several ostrich breeders for female bones. A farmer called, months later. “Y’all still need that lady ostrich?” The dead bird had been in the farmer’s backhoe bucket for several days in the North Carolina heat. Schweitzer and two colleagues collected a leg from the fragrant carcass and drove it back to Raleigh.

As far as anyone can tell, Schweitzer was right: Bob the dinosaur really did have a store of medullary bone when she died. A paper published in Science last June presents microscope pictures of medullary bone from ostrich and emu side by side with dinosaur bone, showing near-identical features.

In the course of testing a B. rex bone fragment further, Schweitzer asked her lab technician, Jennifer Wittmeyer, to put it in weak acid, which slowly dissolves bone, including fossilized bone—but not soft tissues. One Friday night in January 2004, Wittmeyer was in the lab as usual. She took out a fossil chip that had been in the acid for three days and put it under the microscope to take a picture. “[The chip] was curved so much, I couldn’t get it in focus,” Wittmeyer recalls. She used forceps to flatten it. “My forceps kind of sunk into it, made a little indentation and it curled back up. I was like, stop it!” Finally, through her irritation, she realized what she had: a fragment of dinosaur soft tissue left behind when the mineral bone around it had dissolved. Suddenly Schweitzer and Wittmeyer were dealing with something no one else had ever seen. For a couple of weeks, Wittmeyer said, it was like Christmas every day.

In the lab, Wittmeyer now takes out a dish with six compartments, each holding a little brown dab of tissue in clear liquid, and puts it under the microscope lens. Inside each specimen is a fine network of almost-clear branching vessels—the tissue of a female Tyrannosaurus rex that strode through the forests 68 million years ago, preparing to lay eggs. Close up, the blood vessels from that T. rex and her ostrich cousins look remarkably alike. Inside the dinosaur vessels are things Schweitzer diplomatically calls “round microstructures” in the journal article, out of an abundance of scientific caution, but they are red and round, and she and other scientists suspect that they are red blood cells….

Further discoveries in the past year have shown that the discovery of soft tissue in B. rex wasn’t just a fluke. Schweitzer and Wittmeyer have now found probable blood vessels, bone-building cells and connective tissue in another T. rex, in a theropod from Argentina and in a 300,000-year-old woolly mammoth fossil. Schweitzer’s work is “showing us we really don’t understand decay,” Holtz says. “There’s a lot of really basic stuff in nature that people just make assumptions about.”

You can say that again! In regards to the mammoth, we have here yet another soft tissue found to go with the many others. The scientific reaction to these tissues is “don’t understand decay.” Evolutionists are so ingrained in billions-of-years thinking, it would never occur to ask the more obvious question, perhaps these haven’t been decaying as long as we first thought. I am reminded of the Scientists in a lab that made coal in 6 hours. At a different time, in 1982 the British made oil in 10 minutes. Noel McAuliffe of Manchester University triumphantly stated, “We are doing in 10 minutes what it has taken nature 150 million years to do.” This is yes another stellar example of our presuppositions determining our interpretations. Another, more obvious conclusion, if one were not blinded by evolutionary theory would be to instead triumphantly announce, “It doesn’t take nearly as long as we thought for coal and oil to form!”

Young-earth creationists also see Schweitzer’s work as revolutionary, but in an entirely different way. They first seized upon Schweitzer’s work after she wrote an article for the popular science magazine Earth in 1997 about possible red blood cells in her dinosaur specimens. Creation magazine claimed that Schweitzer’s research was “powerful testimony against the whole idea of dinosaurs living millions of years ago. It speaks volumes for the Bible’s account of a recent creation.”

This drives Schweitzer crazy. Geologists have established that the Hell Creek Formation, where B. rex was found, is 68 million years old, and so are the bones buried in it. She’s horrified that some Christians accuse her of hiding the true meaning of her data. “They treat you really bad,” she says.

A shame and nothing I’d condone. I like healthy debate, and prefer to present logical material for consideration. It usually isn’t until the ad hominem attacks, accusations, and lies come in that I start getting snippy. 

“They twist your words and they manipulate your data.”

The data is the data. What is observable is the geology of Hell Creek, the bones themselves, and where they were located, and the soft material inside. As a scientist, she is allowed to conclude as she wishes how to interpret this data, but it will be interpreted, no doubt, based on her world view, which in this case is evolution, and the fact that she “already knew” this site was 68 million years old. 

Another scientist who may believe in intelligent design is welcome to take these same facts, and look at them through the presupposition that 4500 years ago this animal was most likely a victim of a world wide catastrophic flood, and that part of it was preserved and didn’t fully fossilize. Forensic or historical sciences, such as archaeology, anthropology, paleontology, and forensics are historical sciences. In other words, results cannot be repeated in a lab. This animal cannot be buried again for all to see. Her emotions in this case are irrelevant. 

For her, science and religion represent two different ways of looking at the world; invoking the hand of God to explain natural phenomena breaks the rules of science.

Breaks HER rules of science, and no doubt the rules of those who educated her. I am grateful she didn’t lose her faith like so many others, but this is a subjective opinion, not a scientific law. Conversely there exists the well known anthropic principle which states that the universe appears to be carefully designed for the well-being of mankind. This is quite recognized, and is in direct opposition to her approach and personal philosophy, since teleologically, we can observe a design and purpose, and therefore can conclude a designer.  

After all, she says, what God asks is faith, not evidence.

Yes it is correct God asks for faith. No it is not correct that God doesn’t want you to use intellect, reason, and consider evidence. Or else He wouldn’t have gone to such great lengths to provide so many prophecies in the word (hundreds fulfilled, over three hundred by Christ alone). He would not have so meticulously recorded the history of the Jewish nation, the forming of their laws, kings, lineages, and travels. He would not have mentioned the cities founded and lived in that archeology has been using since to unravel the past accurately (for more on this please read Josh MacDowell’s New evidence that Demands a Verdict, and Cooper’s Authenticit of the Book of Genesis). Cities such as Nineveh, Ur, Jericho, all found. God used historians like Luke to record eye witness accounts and the history of the early church in Acts, precisely because evidence was so important. In Acts and John alone, over 140 eye witness details have been verified by scholars, because it WAS so important to be able to defend the scriptures. The miracles were actuallyseen, the prophecies  actually fulfilled, and the promise of His return hangs on these events occurring in real history, in real time. The bible implores us to study, and defend it over and over, not to believe blindly in it, and to them follow man’s theories:

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give a defense to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

1 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord
Philippians 1:7 – in the defense and confirmation of the gospel
Philippians 1:17 – knowing I am appointed for the defense of the gospel

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

So we must ask, shall we apply it only to Christ’s life, or apply it to the bible as authoritative? More on that later when we discuss the second part of the question.

“If you have all this evidence and proof positive that God exists, you don’t need faith. I think he kind of designed it so that we’d never be able to prove his existence. And I think that’s really cool.”

Romans 1: 20 states, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” 

Psalms 19:1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

We are without excuse if we do not see God in the wondrous creation He has made for us. A huge point of contention, because simply put, evolutionists must conclude that all this came about by accident. Matter created itself, slowly gave rise to order, to chemicals, to suns and systems, and eventually abiogenesis, life from non-life, another scientific impossibility. From there through millions of years of death, and change for survival, man developed from animals. We must then conclude that at some arbitrary point, after 4 billion years of using death to create mankind, a mere highly evolved animal, a God who started it all 14 billion years ago decided to impart souls, make up a mythology with specific years, and including a flood, and then “really began telling a redemption story” some time around Abraham?

It is clear that Schwietzer is “driven crazy” by people who disagree with her world view, and with her philosophy. But in her defense, they are not disagreeing with the forensic science she conducted. Not agreeing with creationists and thinking it’s kind of cool to not know God has no bearing whatsoever on what was found. And the simple fact remains, soft tissue cannot last 65 million years before breaking down. 

By definition, there is a lot that scientists don’t know, because the whole point of science is to explore the unknown.

In my opinion, when they let go of the presupposition of evolution, much of what they observe in the field will fall in to place, like it already has with Dr. Snelling at the Grand Canyon, Dr. Sanford the geneticist who studied the genetic entropy of the human genome, and fifty others I could name (see in six days: why 50 scientists choose to believe in creation). But let’s hear from more of our evolutionist friends about it:

“Evolution is baseless and quite incredible.”—*Ambrose Flemming, president, British Association for Advancement of Science, in The Unleashing of Evolutionary Thought.

Paleontologist Alan Cheetham, a gradualist evolutionist, summed up decades of his own research: “I came reluctantly to the conclusion that I wasn’t finding evidence for gradualism.” Reported by R.A. Kerr in “Did Darwin Get It All Right?” Science 276:1421, 10 March 1995.

“The theory [of evolution] is a scientific mistake.”—*Louis Agassiz, quoted in H. Enoch, Evolution or Creation (1986), p. 139. [Agassiz was a Harvard University professor.]

“Fundamental truths about evolution have so far eluded us all, and that uncritical acceptance of Darwinism may be counterproductive as well as expedient. Far from ignoring or ridiculing the ground-swell of opposition to Darwinism that is growing, for example, in the United States, we should welcome it as an opportunity to reexamine our sacred cow more closely.”—*B. Storehouse, “Introduction,” in *Michael Pitman, Adam and Evolution (1984), p. 12.

“To my mind, the theory does not stand up at all.”—*H. Lipson, “A Physicist Looks at Evolution,”

“I can envision observations and experiments that would disprove any evolutionary theory I know.”—*Stephen Jay Gould, “Evolution as Fact and Theory,” Discover 2(5):34-37 (1981).

By being clear that scientists haven’t explained everything, Schweitzer leaves room for other explanations. “I think that we’re always wise to leave certain doors open,” she says.

I hope this is the case for all who discount the veracity of scripture.

 

The article can be read in full at the top of this page.

The second part of our question:  “Then tell me how that data or her data in any way lies in contradiction to the creation of the universe by an omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent Creator.”

Again, her data, the actual hard data does not lie in contradiction to anyone. They are simply hard facts. Bones. Certain testable content, location, etc. Evolutionists are adept however at blurring the lines between hard facts, and interpreted data, as well as always insisting they have a monopoly on the sciences. This is simply in gross error. I can’t count the times it has been suggested that Christians need to stop being anti-science, or that we hate or ignore science because of our bibles.

This same accusation was levied at me by this debater as well, and several times at that. But he also did say one thing I agreed with, and that is that the bible is not a science book. Of course it isn’t! Creationists do not claim it to be so, nor do they claim it to be a book on taxonomy or dinosaurs. The bible contains what it contains, and from it, we must derive conclusions based on what God told us. But in it creationists would expect, unlike Schweitzer, to find a Creator God who does speak sense when referring to the natural world, which is precisely what we find. i.e. the hydrological cycle, fountains of the deep, springs under water, pathways of the sea, curve of the earth, hanging it on nothing, etc. In all instances God’s word is correct regarding natural occurrences, and only varies during supernatural events, such as creation. This stands in contrast to all ancient mythology origin stories, and is logically what we’d expect from a God who is outside of space, time and matter.

Through studies, we can learn the culprits that brought us the evolutionary theory, and what their intent was. Lyell wanted to save the sciences from Moses, and from Buffon, to Lamarck, to Darwin, the enlightenment brought us the unsubstantiated theories about the decent of man that we teach today.

The result of these teachings? Rampant racism.

The Decent of Man – 1871 , Darwin – “At some future period… the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.”

Then, “No rational man, cognizant of the facts, believes that the average negro is the equal, still less the superior, of the white man.” Huxley.

Then – “At the lowest stage of human mental development are the Australians, some tribes of the Polynesians, and the Bushmen, Hottentots, and some of the Negro tribes. ” Heckel, pre WWII, and major influence on Germany and Hitler.

These ideas permeated government, politics, and societies such as Japan, China, Russia, and Nazi Germany, and in the 20th century alone caused over 150 million deaths. This, the same theory that an evolutionist Christian may call harmless, and declare  a meaningless fight to teach and disciple people about the truth of our origins. From a creationist perspective, our origins are the same, a family of 8, 4500 years ago, a fact which is corroborated by population growth analysis, genetics, anthropology, and a study of flood legends the world over with similar details (over 300 flood legends exist today).

And what does the bible say about the tribes of the earth? Revelations 7:9-10:   After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

It states we will be standing shoulder to shoulder together.

Furthermore, these two opposing views cannot be married so easily, for as you will see, they are diametrically opposed in almost every way:

Billions of years – Life from non-life (violates law of causality)
All animals descended from common ancestor from 3.5 billion years ago
Animals change in to completely different animals, modifications are virtually unlimited, and additional information is always being added (never observed)
Fossils were laid down over time, slowly over millions of years
Death came before sin, before man
Sun before light
Sun before Earth
Sun before Plants
Creation took billions of years
Dinosaurs came before birds
Land came before oceans
Man just a slowly evolving animal
Man created God

Special 7 day creation – Life comes from life
Animals were created as distinct kinds
Changes within a kind of animal is due to design allowing changes, microevolution. Always due to a loss or rearranging of existing genetic material
Fossils were formed quickly due to a catastrophic flood all over the whole earth
Death Came after sin, and after the first Man
Light before sun
Earth before Sun
Plants before Sun
Creation took six days
Birds came before dinosaurs.
Oceans came before land
Mankind was highly intelligent from the beginning
God created Man

This is a lot of opposites!

And we would be wise to consider Christ’s words in Matthew: “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female.”

Question?

If there is 3,845,000,000 years between mankind and the beginning, was Christ lying?

At what point did God think animals were “human enough” to impart souls to them?

When was the fall?

Did death bring man into the world, or man bring death into the world?

And if there is a curse that Christ came to undo, was it here for the full 4 billion years before man arrived and sinned?

Romans 5 : 12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses…
17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Make no mistake, in the victory of Christ, there will be a curse that is lifted: Colossians 1:20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross
Revelations 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away
Revelations 22:3 And there shall be no more curse

But if the fossil record is full of death, thorns, cancer, disease, arthritis, abscesses, tumors, rickets, syphilis all before man, and the fall in fossil record; if billions of years of chance and extinction occurred to arrive at us, does this not fully undermine the teaching on the full redemptive work of Christ?

There is much much more to this study, how day is literally defined in the bible as morning and evening, and how day “yom”  is used over 2300 times, and how we can easily conclude its meaning based on context. The particulars of the ark. Speciation vs baramins. How both Lamarkism and Neo-Darwinism fail on every level. And so much more. But perhaps the best way to end would be a warning from the bible itself. Read carefully this passage:

2 Peter 3 – Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.

It is as if the bible literally predicted uniformitarian world view in the Last Days. Things continue as they were. This is the battle cry of evolution. Given enough time, anything can happen. But the logical conclusion of many a thinking person who has been indoctrinated by evolution is that if we evolved, than the bible is wrong, man made religion up along the way, and when you die you die. There was no fall, there is no curse, it is as it was from the beginning. This belief will determine behavior, as it has with the 20th century, and as it is doing with millennials in the 21st. They leave the church in droves, because the bible has been robbed of its authority.

 

 

 

 

If Jesus Doesn’t Know the Hour, Is He God?

Question posed to me by students studying apologetics:

“This is a question a lot of Muslims ask because they don’t believe in the Trinitarian attribute of our God and like to use Matthew 24:36 to “prove” that the Son and the Father are not one, but completely separate. So the question is, after reading the verse, how can Jesus the son be God the Father if God is omniscient and all knowing but Jesus does not know the hour and God knows the hour?”

This is how I answered:

The answer is based in what scholars have dubbed “the hypostatic union”, whereby Jesus Christ was both fully God and fully man. He walked and talked as a man, mourned as a man, suffered as a man, yet as God He was prayed to, worshiped, etc. We could certainly do a trinity, or deity of Christ study if need be, using John 1:1 (theos en ho logos), or in John 8 (before Abraham was I am) or Isaiah 7 (Emmanuel meaning God with us). In Micah He is called the everlasting father, etc.

But the emptying of himself on earth is described in Phil 2 “Who, being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man,he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death.”

Another example is in Hebrews 2 it states that “He was made for a little while lower than the angels.” We can infer from all this that Christ, during His earthly ministry, healed and did miracles by the father’s power, or the power of the Holy Spirit rather than His own. Therefore, having to live a perfect life as a man, He did this so perfectly or “fairly” may be a better term, that He did not know the day nor the hour.

If you are looking for a less intense, down and dirty answer, we’d simply refer to Revelations, which is a go-to place to witness to Mormons as well as those who practice Islam, since the deity of Christ is often attacked.

Ask, who is this that says in Rev 1:11 , “I am the alpha and omega, the first and last.” The Mormon, or Muslim will say that refers to God (or Allah they may say). Then ask, what about here in Rev 21:6, “I am the Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end.” Who is that? They will say, God.
Then we refer to rev 1:17-18. “I am the first and the last, He that liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive forever more.” Who is this? They will say, that is God, to which you reply, “When did God die?”

Also, on a side note, The Quran of Islam states that God departed the law and inspiration to the bible’s profits, that he sent down the law of Moses, and the Gospel of Jesus, (Sura 2:87; 3:3; 4:163; and 5:46),  and that the word of God cannot be altered (6:34, 6:115). However, most Muslims will state that the bible has been corrupted and that the Quran must be trusted over the Christian bible. The real question is how can the Muslim trust the Quran, if in its very text it states to trust the gospels, and Allah’s words cannot be changed. Another way to state this is in a simple proof which the text bears out:

1 – If the Bible is true than the Quran is false
2 – If the Bible is false, than the Quran is false
3 – Therefore, the Quran is false

Please feel free to comment, and let me know if you have any additional thoughts in regards to this question.

If you are interested in my Christian Fiction, The Last Saint, please check it out here or on Amazon. 

6 E’s of authenticity

Frank Turek at Cross Examined teaches 6 evidences to consider that give us confidence in the authority of scripture, all starting with the letter E for easy remembering:

1 – Early testimony – As I stated yesterday as an example, the first writings of Buddha are approximately 400 years after the actual life of Siddhartha. By contrast, the New Testament was written before 70AD, many books completed only 17-21 years after the resurrection. This adds great veracity to the historicity of the text.

2 – Eye-witness testimony – Frank teaches that after extensive study, and just as one example, if we take the book of John and Acts, therein can be found over 140 details that could only be eye-witness details. On a side note, many of these are in Genesis as well, proving the authenticity of it too, such as the verified price of a slave at that time matching Joseph’s sale price.

3 – Embarrassing testimony – Would writers of their own story include Peter denying Christ 3 times? What about the Lord they followed and loved calling Peter Satan? “Get behind me Satan.” Or would it describe how the men ran and fled, and the women stayed on the scene of the crucifixion? Or that they were the ones who discovered the missing tomb, in a time where there testimonies were not held in as high of esteem as a man’s. These are in there, not because they help the story, but because they are true.

4 – Excruciating testimony -If you have read Fox’s book of Martyrs, you know the horrible details of the brave Martyrs following Christ, and spreading Christianity to the civilized world. The apostles were boiled, crucified, even upside down, and this was the same group that days before were running away, fleeing, unsure of why they followed Jesus, and fearing the repercussions of such a choice. What made such men do a complete 180, and declare Christ even in the face of death?

5 – Expected testimony – The story of Christ fulfills hundreds of prophecies! From where He was born to how He would die. Emmanuel that was promised in Isaiah 7 was expected, and what was expected was fulfilled. For a great example, please re-read Isaiah 53.

6 – Extrabiblical testimony – We have 10 ancient non-Christian sources, such as Josephus, which describe the basic phenomenon of Christ’s story. You can conclude that even those books that are not canonized scripture agree on the historical Jesus, His plight, and His following, lending veracity once again to the true narratives about Him.

For more from Frank Turek, and other great apologists, visit www.crossexamined.org. Also, he released a great book which I highly recommend called “Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to Make Their Case”.

UPDATE: 7th E is Elaborate Testimony – Without collusion, different writers inadvertently support what each other are saying, and/or provide details that confirm another’s testimony.

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:

__________________________________________

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?

 

 

 

Islamic Extremism Part 3

When the world’s intelligence agencies arrive at the 15-25% of Muslims who are supporters of extremist thought, we must ask ourselves what constitutes extremism. As mentioned in Part 2, to have a barometer at all in regards to extreme action, evil, and sin, we must have an objective standard of good. As a Christian this standard is derived from the Word of God. With only moral relativism as our guide to determine what is right and wrong, we would be reduced to mere opinion, and those who carry the biggest stick will ultimately determine the rules for those around them. This is precisely why America, and before that England, were founded upon common law, and God given rights.

That being said, if we use this as a basis for what is right in God’s eyes, rather than man’s eyes (Judges 17:6 In those days … every man did that which was right in his own eyes),  we can determine what is extreme, or evil. The most obvious one is of course blatant terrorist acts, such as the planes crashing in to the towers on 9/11, the Fort Hood shooting, suicide bombers, the Boston bombing, the truck crashing through pedestrians in Nice, and many others. This is out-and-out murder, and it is quite obvious this behavior should not be condoned, which most American Muslims do not. However, it is interesting to note that though most Muslims are not terrorists, terrorists garner much of their support from governments and citizens who support them. These would be people who believe in Sharia law, and condone things such as suicide bombers, and honor killings.

For reference, here are a few key rules of the legal system of Sharia:

  • Theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand (above).
  • Criticizing or denying any part of the Quran is punishable by death.
  • Criticizing Muhammad or denying that he is a prophet is punishable by death.
  • Criticizing or denying Allah, the god of Islam is punishable by death.
  • A Muslim who becomes a non-Muslim is punishable by death.
  • A non-Muslim who leads a Muslim away from Islam is punishable by death.
  • A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.
  • A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.
  • Girls’ clitoris should be cut (Muhammad’s words, Book 41, Kitab Al-Adab, Hadith 5251).
  • A woman can have 1 husband, who can have up to 4 wives; Muhammad can have more.
  • A man can beat his wife for insubordination.
  • A man can unilaterally divorce his wife; a woman needs her husband’s consent to divorce.
  • A divorced wife loses custody of all children over 6 years of age or when they exceed it.
  • Testimonies of four male witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman.
  • A woman who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).
  • A woman’s testimony in court, allowed in property cases, carries ½ the weight of a man’s because she “might forget”.
  • A female heir inherits half of what a male heir inherits.
  • A woman cannot drive a car, as it leads to fitnah (upheaval).
  • A woman cannot speak alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.
  • Meat to eat must come from animals that have been sacrificed to Allah – i.e., be “Halal”.
  • Muslims should engage in Taqiyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.
  • A woman captive of jihad may be forced to have to sex with her captors (now owners).

According to latest intelligence, 50% of the 200 million Muslims in Indonesia believe in strict Sharia law. 65% of the 80 million Muslims in Egypt want strict Sharia law placed in every Muslim country. 76% of Pakistan’s 179 million Muslims wish to place Sharia law in all Muslim Countries. Bangladesh is home to 150 million Muslims. 25% of them have said that suicide bombings are sometimes justified. With as much respect to peaceful Americans I can muster, I must logically conclude that this mindset is extremist in nature. If someone disagrees, I would be curious to hear the reasons why. By the way, 82% of them want strict Sharia law, and more specifically stated that honor killings of Muslim women can sometimes be justified. There are 54 million in Nigeria for Sharia, 62 million in Iran, 23 million in Turkey. All of Afghanistan (99%). In Jordan, Hamas, the anti-Israeli terrorist organisation has a 60% approval rating. I could go on and on (video summary by Ben Shapiro, and article), doing this with each country where Muslims have a majority. If we look at facts, determine our criteria to define extremism based on freedom, love, and grace, or more specifically on an absolute moral law regarding how to treat one another, as you can see we arrive at far more than 25% of the Muslim world who adhere to extremist beliefs. We are in fact in the 100’s of millions, unless someone wishes to defend Sharia as normative behavior.

The question isn’t whether or not Islam is violent. The question is, what do its followers believe? Because, as we know from teaching creation vs evolution, what you believe determines how you behave. A much more poignant and divisive question might be, why do so many believe this way? Where does this teaching stem from. For that we must compare Islam to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and determine just how so many are being influenced by what they believe to support evil. Again, I do not mean to be insulting, and if someone wishes to defend these actions as not evil, I am all ears. But my ardent wish is that Muslims will see the love and power of Jesus Christ through the gospels, and turn from Islam to the one true savior. I know this isn’t a popular notion here in America, and is looked at with disdain, and narrow-mindedness. But truth is difficult, and I don’t follow Christ because it is easy. I follow Him because it is truth. Christ Himself stated in Luke 12:51, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.” The truth is divisive, and as stated in part 2, tolerance can be a disguise for indifference.

In the final Part, we will examine why these beliefs are prevalent. Does Islam and the Quran promote such extremist thinking?

 

Islamic Extremism Part 2

There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and over 8 million in the United States of America. To marginalize their numbers, or their hearts and beliefs, especially in a democratic republic that touts the civil liberty of freedom of religion, would be to fail in our mission to be the light of the world, a beacon on a hill. Prejudices, intolerance, hate, these are characteristics of fallen man, and are present throughout all of human history. This is why living in a republic can alleviate some of the failures of man, since governance is dictated by law, not by mob rule, public opinion, or dictatorial fiat.

Regardless of how well we have traditionally achieved following it, the law states that we do indeed have a freedom to practice religion, regardless of who agrees with it, as long as that religion is not infringing on the rights of others. It is this author’s opinion that the vast majority of Muslim Americans think this way, respect this approach, and the insinuation that all Muslims are prone to terrorism is a hurtful insult. In speaking with friends, or to the public, there is always tension between those who presume Muslims are all violent,  and those who may know some personally, fully realizing that the family or friends they know do not fit an extremist reputation. So do we… should we… have the uncomfortable conversation about where this reputation comes from?

The reputation comes from the same place that America’s reputation comes from when Europeans are asked about us. Known as silly, rude, debaucherous, self-entitled, America’s reputation comes from the loudest of us. Those that make the most noise, make the most ruckus, and in turn are highlighted most in the media and on-line. In a most similar fashion, the reputation of Muslim extremism comes from those acting out, in obviously horrible ways, according to their interpretation of Quran, their holy book they revere and follow. Only the events that spawn from these extremist individuals and groups are more than loud bravado. They are terrorist events.

Now, it is argued over how many of the 1.6 million Muslims could be considered extreme. If you listen to Hollywood, those who choose to terrorize wouldn’t fill a AAA baseball stadium. But latest intelligence reports suggest that between 15-25% of the Muslim community is extreme in its thinking. This means that between 240,000,000 and 400,000,000 people exist in the world that are dedicated in though and action towards the destruction of the Western World, i.e. those who are not Muslims, infidels, such as Christians, Jews, and others. In many cases, extremism is directed towards other Muslims who do not share the same brand of thinking, who do desire peace, but who are not spared.

400,000,000 people. I dare say this is more than can fit in a stadium. It is in fact more people than all of those who currently reside in the United States. So yes, I agree that this does not reflect the silent majority. But as always, we must look back through history and honestly discuss the reality of silent majorities. For example: Germany’s peaceful majority were not able to prevent the deaths of 60 million in WWII, 14 million of whom died in concentration camps (over 6 million Jews); Communist Russia’s peaceful majority were not able to stop Russia from killing 20 million of its own people; Communist China’s peaceful majority were not able to stop the killing of 70 million people; Japan prior to WWII had a peaceful majority that were not able to stop the slaughter across south eastern Asia of 12 million souls; Korea 3 million, Iraq 900,000, and Cuba, Syria, and so on, and so on…

But what criteria do I decide as an individual, or we as a country, that a certain mindset is “extremist” in nature. An excellent question. The answer if you are an atheist is, absolutely none! There is no logical means to determine an objective moral law in regards to anyone’s behavior if there is no standard. This is the true danger of moral relativism. Those who are in charge determine what is right and wrong. And depending on who is in charge, and how they feel about various issues, right and wrong can sway with the times, with mob rule, with the desires of the human heart, until even suggesting a society base its laws upon an objective morality would be an exercise in futility. Do you care for an example? In Turkey, this very week, a new bill proposed by the Turkish parliament will allow those who rape underage children to be pardoned for the crime as long as they marry the victim after the act.

Without a moral standard, who can clearly state that this is wrong? That this isn’t just how a certain pocket of people evolved, and within the borders of that sovereign nation, they have the freedom to conduct their society as they see fit? If this disturbs you, that means you have the sense of an objective moral law written on your heart. It is there, and according to the bible, it is written there by God. He has given us a standard, through His word.

This is the difference between freedom adjudicated via our God given rights,  versus freedoms granted to us by leaders, or by false teachings. We’d better be sure of whose morality we are approving. I would reiterate that the reputation of some does not give us the right to paint all with the same brush. But is it fair to ask tough questions? To point to obvious truths? To existing deviations from an objective moral standard? Some would declare this to be bigoted. Racist. But how long can the malignant growth of evil continue to not be challenged under the guise of kindness, before the voices of the suffering, and the dead will be heard? If your cry of tolerance keeps you from acknowledging evil, then your tolerance is simply disguised indifference.

In the next part, we will discuss, using an objective moral standard, what behaviors are extreme, and where they stem from.

For the Islamic Conflict Part 1,   click here. 

For Islamic Terror in Nice,  click here.

For “There is only One Race” is Racist, Click Here.

For God vs god (Biblical vs Quran), Click Here.

I’m a Fanatic, or a Hypocrite

I have previously defined myself as a biblicist. This means that I Believe the bible from cover to cover, a rarity, and absolute foolishness to most. Some would retort, “How can you take literally that which was intended as metaphor, or poetry?” The response is of course, I don’t. I realize that different styles of writing are utilized to unfold the entirety of biblical canon. Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones puts it this way:

“The word [biblicist] connotes one who, while taking both the immediate and the remote context in to account, interprets and believes in the bible literally.”

He goes on to say that despite continual biblical criticism, the biblicist believes the promises and concepts therein, and also recognizes the rarity of such a belief, even among pastors, priests, and seminary professors, a shame in my opinion. But we can rest assured that this doesn’t mean I am so dense that I don’t understand prose and allegory are used.

Some other critic might say, “But how can you trust what was written over 2000 years ago!” A great question, not for this article, perhaps, but one that every believer and non-believer needs to answer for themselves. My studies have led me to believe in the truth of the word for many reasons, such as fulfilled prophecy, expert eye-witness accounting, corroboration with history and archaeology, just to name a few. Despite being amazingly unique in its circulation and teachings, it has been preserved better then any ancient book, the next closest being Homer’s Illiad. Just to clue you in to how much better the Bible is preserved, we possess 643 ancient copies of the Illiad, while we possess over 25,000 of the new testament. John Warwick Montgomery said this: “To be skeptical of the resultant text of the New Testament books is to allow  all of classical antiquity to slip into obscurity…”

For more on this subject and others regarding the text, try reading Josh Macdowell’s “New evidence that Demands a Verdict.” The first 200 pages of this book alone will change your world.

Regardless of how I answer critics, the point is that I always do, and zealously so, usually leaping from a sketchy foothold of slight coolness or quiet reserve, (which admittedly is very little to begin with) into an emotional soap-box diatribe, that causes any listener I may have to regard me thereafter with caution. If they don’t know me well, they will say I am a Fanatic, way too zealous and over the top, a bible-beater, a Jesus freak, a literalist who needs to relax because I take ‘religion’ way too seriously.

If the person does know me, then I fear in their hearts, they regard me as a hypocrite. Anyone who believes the word of God so fervently, they must think themselves righteous beyond reproach; a Christian who knows he is better then those he preaches to; a saint among sinners. I must seem so false to those who know my struggles, because the fact is, I fail every day, and they know it. They have seen me stumble, they have seen me fall. They have seen a filthy mouth, and a worse mind, a heart that fights darkness, and a mind that fights anger. They have seen my insecurities cause me to act out in hopes of public approval. They have seen me weak with drink, with words, and with action. They have seen my life, and all of its failures, and they know intuitively that this is not a saint that stands before them. This is not a so-called ‘good christian’. This isn’t a person who should be preaching to anyone. They must watch me wax on and on about my favorite subject, sometimes hotly, sometimes over too many glasses of wine, sometimes after trying to fit in, and they must immediately chalk me up as a fraud. A Hypocrite.

And they are right.

But also, they are not.

It is my favorite subject, because of how beautiful the mosaic is. How intricate the history of redemption is, and how it offers endless study that leads you deeper and deeper into awestruck wonder as you go. And at the bottom of it all, when all is said and done, if the conversation will allow and anyone is left to listen, they will find I am not judging, but just excited. They will find the whole reason that it is my favorite subject is indeed because I am so broken, and so imperfect, and so sinful. It is precisely because of the unique grace offered to us, and that I recognize I need it, that I drone on and on beyond what social protocol dictates. I do not mean to. I just love the material.

So yes, I am a hypocrite, because I am quite imperfect and am preaching. But I am not, because I recognize my imperfection, and therefore recognize my absolute need for grace. This makes me fanatical.

To address fanaticism, let us consider the bible. In it, God claims to have made the very world you stand upon. literally, the ground beneath you. Not only do you draw each breath by His grace, but every beautiful thing you have ever smiled at, ever enjoyed, ever felt, was because of Him. Not only that, He continued to love you, despite your sin, and offered you the inheritance of His son, Jesus Christ, who made all things. It says every single thing, the universe, everything was made… for Him. Even you.

It says this. There is no getting around it. It says fear the Lord, and work out your salvation with fear and trembling. It promises one of two results upon death, either the judgement seat of Christ, or the white throne judgement. If you don’t know which one you will be present for, it should scare you. Why am I fanatical? If it is not true, and is just a religion like all the others, to appease the weakness of man, and lessen the reality of death’s sting, then to be zealous would be foolishness. But being a Christian is hard. Why would we put ourselves through it, when we could instead fill our days with carnal pleasure, self-service, and indifference? There wouldn’t be a need to bother others with our beliefs, and persecution would be someone else’s problem. So why then, if it is so counter-intuitive to be Christian, do we allow God to be Lord over our lives?

Because it’s true.

And I for one would rather live a difficult truth, even with all its problems, then live a comfortable lie, and face the reality of God’s holiness when I die. Upon studying the Bible, to be honest, I find it hard to believe we all aren’t fanatics. I know one day I will wish I had been even more so.

So if I get excited talking about it with you, please know, I’m just a flawed person trying to love you, because God loved me first.

Let’s get political….

In America, looming just over the horizon is an election that will determine who the country’s executive will be for the next several years. With the foreign affairs issues, the debt, the social issues of our times, the divisiveness of our society as a whole, how we react in the coming years will determine our role as either a falling power, or an example of how to manage a country and it’s citizenry. Needless to say, though I will anyway, out of 350 million people, we have collectively narrowed it down to two powerful individuals (referring to power accrued through worldly gain and influence), who are morally questionable to say the least, and who struggle with gaining enough of our trust to look beyond their flaws as human beings as  to render them able to manage our affairs in a competent way.

That is putting it mildly, is it not? Truth be told, the race to the White House is ugly. Every day dirt flies, and the past is drudged up and vomited out on the conscious of the country, for us to dismiss or denounce based on our party line. But what if I told you that collectively, we are no better then they? 50% of our internet traffic is sex related. 22 million of us use illegal drugs, and as far as legal drugs… over 49% of us have used them in the last 30 days. Americans consume over 80% of the world’s opiate supply. 58 million babies have been aborted since Roe vs Wade; that’s 18% of today’s current American population. 20% of men have had more than 15 sexual partners, and 24 million children grow up without fathers in this country. Upon examining your own lives, I would dare say there are moments you are glad haven’t had the bright light of media shined on them, and shown to everyone you know, as well as all those you will ever know. Those rants in traffic, those secret conversations about your boss, your crush, your spouse. Is it possible that these two candidates are a proper reflection of who we are as a nation at present, despite our pseudo-righteous indignation towards the unscrupulous acts of the opposite party?

Consider Isaiah 6, and the ending of King Uzziah’s reign. Upon his death, he had ruled over Judah for 52 years. He was revered, and under his reign as king, the Hebrews enjoyed bounty and peace, and they looked to him to save them from troubling neighbors, as well as any threat to their lives. Never since Solomon was there such prosperity and piety. But Uzziah reached beyond his purview, acting as priest, when his role was that of king, and in doing so, brought about his own demise through leprosy. This left a vacuum of anxiety and fear, and Isaiah wasted no time in filling it with the truth:

“Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,

And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.”

They no longer had a worldly king to hang their hopes on, this great man, brought low because of pride, for no man can act as priest, prophet, and king, lest he be perfect. Without the hope of Uzziah guiding them in to the future, the prophet shared with them the fate of the people, and their inability to even hear the message, much less react to it. Their hearts were closed.

But look at what is promised in the end. ‘The holy seed shall be their substance’, a direct prophecy of the Son of God, one of many that Jesus Christ fulfills. In the end, it isn’t the imperfect political leader who thinks he is a savior that saves them, or the world for that matter. It is instead the only person who can act as savior, priest, prophet, and king . It is only Jesus Christ. Now you may say, hey that’s great, but that was 2700 years ago. What about now? Well, that’s the best part. Anyone we elect isn’t perfect enough to save anything. If we are lucky, who ever that is will recognize the fact that the very earth we walk on was created by someone much greater. But regardless of who is the political victor in November, Jesus Christ lives, and He is and will always be King. And it is only He that saves.

The Time Jesus Saved Christianity

Something to reflect on when studying the word of God, is how important a role prophecy has played. In my Christian fiction, The Last Saint, I allude to what could be a tremendous study:

“Fulfilling prophecy is one of the most compelling ways the Bible has demonstrated
that it is the word of God. It has uncannily and accurately predicted future events, often in minute details. Christ fulfilled many Himself; from where He was born to how He died. Specific prophesies are conspicuously absent from the twenty-six other religious books that claim to be scripture, including the Muslim’s Koran, the Book of Mormon, the Hindu Vedas, and Buddhist writings.”

One of my favorites is the prediction that the Messiah would be born in the inconsequential town of Bethlehem. In Micah 5:2 it says, – But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.-

These words were written over 700 years before Christ was born! That fact alone, if dwelt upon with the proper understanding, should move any heart to fear the Lord.

But there was another prophecy, from Christ’s own mouth. A warning, given in Luke 21. He said, 20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.

The event that took place 40 years after the death and resurrection of Christ was called the Flight to Pella. 40, the number used by God to denote longsuffering, sacrifice, tumult, waiting, spiritual growth, patience, was also the exact amount of years given to Israel before it’s destruction, and the decimating of its temple. Strife between the Romans and the Jews was escalating, leading from revolts up to full blown rebellion. To squash the rebellion, Titus entered the city in 70AD, and during the assault, killed over 1,000,000 Jews. The Sanhedrin was disbanded, the temple was no more, and the Jewish way of life would never be the same.

But the Christians of Jerusalem? They were gone. Some had left before as uprisings grew in intensity. But many fled just before, based on the warning of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. They fled over the river Jordan to Pella, and there, remained safe from the invasion of Rome.

This event not only tipped the balance of power and momentum towards gentiles, and the Christian church, but  prevented the Jews from being able to produce a verifiable messiah from that day forth. The records were burned, and destroyed, and the lines of David were lost. One of the line of David had already fulfilled God’s purpose, and now there was officially no way for the Jewish leaders to prove anyone who came after was in fact of the correct lineage. Ironic that the very destruction of that lineage was foretold by the one who already fulfilled that particular prophecy.

And so, with the heeded advice of their savior, the new Christians of Jerusalem would jettison the city before Roman invasion, saving the truth of the word from being snuffed out before it ever got underway. And with Christ’s words from Luke, we can ascertain that this was most definitely prophetic, and by design, so that the world might come to know the Lord, Jesus Christ. Without that warning, the Christian movement may have been destroyed with the city of David, and the power of the Kingdom of God may have been compromised. But He holds the pillars of the earth firm, and all works towards His good will.

It is interesting to contemplate the “what ifs”. To be awestruck at the perfect wonder of fulfilled words of our Lord. But one thing we cannot do, once knowledge of the word has reached our ears, is deny that a marvelous work was done, and done for our sake, so that the good news of Christ could be spread to the ends of the earth despite barriers, even such barriers as a Roman army. To deny this, is intellectually dishonest, and is turning your back on true history. The truth, the real truth, is scary; but hiding from it is worse.

 

 

Jesus, the Creationist

While in church this Sunday, we were studying Mark chapter 10, which contains one of the many instances where a person in scripture refers to the history of Genesis. In this case, it was Jesus Christ, God Himself, who stated in Mark 10:6

 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.”

This is Jesus talking, the savior. Often times during debates, or listening to testimonies, I hear that people have come across pastors, elders and the like who have dismissed the Genesis account as ‘just a story’. I’m sure everyone reading this has had experience with that; how they just teach us lessons; how it isn’t the main focus; how it doesn’t matter, as long as you believe Christ.

So, you are telling someone who is searching for reasonable, legitimate hope in this crazy world, no don’t believe this over here, but you have to believe this over here. And then that journeymen comes across Mark chapter 10 and what happens? Christ says, in the beginning God made them male and female.

In evolution theory, the beginning of life begins with one celled organisms around 4 billion years ago, the unfathomable magic of time to influence students that given enough of it, the physically impossible can take place. But sexual reproduction does not evolve until 1.1 billion years. That isn’t people, mind you. It is simply the first sexual reproductive event. Man and woman, well they arrive on the scene much later, between 1 and 5 million years ago, depending on who you ask.

But Christ said they were male and female at the beginning. This is a rather large disparagement, wouldn’t you say? A difference of about 3,995,000,000 years between when Man and Woman appear and the “beginning”. So clearly Christ was lying, yes? Clearly He also was just telling stories? No, I’m afraid not. Christ was pointing to the historicity of the Genesis account, and based on that actual history, was applying it to our lives today. It is clear from Christ here, along with many other verses, that the New testament writers fully respected the historical accuracy of the venerated Torah, Moses’ account of the beginning.

Keep in mind that Christianity has many theories on how to conform with man’s proposed timeline, ways to compromise the biblical account in order to acquiesce to evolutionary theory. There is theistic evolution, gap theory, day-age creation, and several others. But as we have learned in Timothy All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. And taken as a whole, every one of these bible-compromising theories falls short. Does your salvation depend on it? No. But you’d better be able to explain the inconsistencies when you approach a non-believer who is searching. Because if they don’t believe the beginning, there is really no reason for them to believe the rest.

And in the case of Mark chapter 10, you either have an All Powerful Creator God who disagrees with materialism’s theory of molecules to man, or you have a very confused deity, who likes to speak in fables, and folktales, to issue his opinion on how best to live; who is flummoxed by real science, real history, and has chosen to deceive His followers in order to make a point. He didn’t know man would eventually find out the truth, and that he would be 4 billion years off in His assessments about time. He chose to take old testament patriarchs at their word,  and either didn’t know or didn’t care that His views would eventually be outdated religious ramblings.

Christ never allowed for the compromising of the Word. Ever. He fulfilled it. It is a sword. The watered down, take-parts-you-like version of the word of God is not intellectually honest, and atheists know it. We must stand with conviction and courage on the word of God. If they disagree with part of it, make them disagree with all of it. But if Christ didn’t allow for the compromising of scripture, then we shouldn’t either. If you allow for the beginning to be false, you inadvertently throw all of its doctrines into question, and that is thorny ground.

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