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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ok, This Should Make Up for the Ghost Post

All right, for all you serious minded folks who were scandalized by my link to the top ten ghost pictures, this ought to make up for it and then some:

Holiday Causes Moral Dilemma for Area Teen

It's very Reformational.

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Top Ten Ghost Pictures

Yeah, Yeah,

I realize that I should be doing something about Reformation Day, which is really officially tomorrow, November 1st, but its Halloween today.

So here, according to the curator of this website, are supposedly the top 10 best ever ghost pictures.

Personally, I think a good portion of them are either fake (people lie, you know, total depravity), or they are misidentified. These type of pictures pop up occasionally on Coast to Coast's website with a emphatic testimonial from the photographer that, "This person was NOT in the room when I took this picture!" or what ever. Oh, I bet he wasn't.

Any how, BOO!

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Building Stonehenge

Engineers have always marveled at how the ancients were able to pull off some of the most amazing architectural feats. The Egyptians used ingenuity and slave labor to build the massive pyramids, and the same could be said about the Babylonians and the hanging gardens in Babylon.

However, what about those smaller monuments like Stonehenge? The giant, multi-toned stones would take an army of men to move, right? Additionally, the typical evolutionary mindset is that mankind was not evolved enough to pull off building something like Stonehenge. The way the evolutionary mind works, you would think engineering giant structures is only something of the 20th century. The Art Bell crowd will go so far as to claim aliens had to have done it, or the builders used some lost super anti-gravity technology of Atlantis or what ever.

Well, in Michigan, there is a fellow - a retired engineer none the less - who is attempting to reproduce the famous Stonehenge with one of his own in his backyard. He is doing it largely by himself, using simple techniques he believes were similar to how the folks built the original over across the pond. I bet it is also the same way that Ed fellow down in Florida built his Coral Castle.

No aliens were harmed during the making of this video...



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Friday, October 27, 2006

The Historical Argument

Examining the Claims of King James Onlyism [pt. 11]

For almost a year now, I have been attempting to address what I think are the major, apologetic arguments put forth by King James Only advocates. They claim the KJV 1611 translation of the English Bible is the only Bible Christians should use. All other English translations, particularly those translated in the 20th century, are considered based upon corrupted manuscripts and have the touch of heresy on their pages. Only the King James translation faithfully represents the inspired, preserved Word of God.

With this article, I come to the last major King James Only apologetic argument, what I call the Historical Argument.

King James Only advocates claim that if a person were to study the history of how the KJV was carried throughout the world after its publication, he will clearly see God's hand of blessing upon those people and nations who honor the KJV as God's final authority. For example, the exclusive use of the King James Bible was instrumental in the Puritan revival, the founding of America, the two Great Awakenings, and the great missionary endeavors during the 17 and 1800s.

King James advocate, William P. Grady, sums of the evidence this way:

Although this may appear as unfounded speculation to some, the undeniable blessings of God which accompanied the preaching of the A.D. 1611 Authorized Version constitute the central, irrefutable argument for the superiority of our King James Bible. Church history confirms that the greatst [sic] period of revivalism and missionary activity prevailed when the Authorized Version reigned supreme in the land ... The major premise of this chapter is that the King James Bible has already received the endorsement of God Himself through an unprecedented proliferation of over 900,000,000 copies translated into at least 300 foreign languages ... the Holy Spirit has personally answered the question of "Which Bible?" by honoring the Authorized Version with over three centuries of continuous usage. [Final Authority: A Christian's Guide to the King James Bible, 1993, p. 174 (emphasis in original)]

I personally believe this apologetic point is beyond unfounded speculation as Mr. Grady calls it and is exaggerated historical revisionism. This particular argument is frequently raised by KJV only apologists and oft repeated in their literature and on websites, so it is necessary to address some of the claims.

1) The Acceptance of the King James among the Christians of that day.

The claim made by KJV advocates is that true, God-loving, Bible-honoring Christians quickly accepted the King James as their favored translation. However, this is not true. In my last article surveying the work of the King James translators, I noted that the work was first and foremost a means by which King James I could prevent a major schism from happening in the Church of England. The Puritan movement was unhappy with the way the Anglican Church was being handled. In their minds, the Church was not godly enough and they demanded reform. King James I, on the other hand, was unhappy with the Puritans and he certainly did not care for their favorite English translation, the Geneva Bible. He saw the new translation that would bear his name as a way to not only please the Puritans, but also as a way to supplant the use of the Geneva.

This of course did not happen and the puritans and other Reformed dissenters from the Church of England continued use of the Geneva Bible. In fact, the King James Bible did not become regularly utilized by Christians for at least 30 to 40 years after its publication. The Geneva Bible remained the dominant translation of choice for many Christians including the Puritan Pilgrims who made their way from England and Holland to colonize America. Interestingly, it was King James' persecution of the Puritans that drove them to risk a 6 week ocean journey to come to the New World and they carried with them the Geneva Bible. Even today if you were to travel through New England and visit a colonial society where pre-Revolutionary War life is preserved and acted out by the participants, they quote from the Geneva Bible.

The King James Bible only became dominant as the Church of England solely printed it and banned all others from publication. During the 1800s, as the British Empire flourished after the Napoleonic Wars in 1812, the King James was carried around the world and into the various countries where the British had set up shop. Though we can consider this an act of providence, it is not God's stamp of approval upon one favored English translation that is never to be revised or updated and forever fixed in the language of the 17th century.

2) The King James Bible was the catalyst for the Great Awakenings and missionary endeavors.

Many KJV advocates make the claim that faithful preaching from the King James Bible was the spark God used to bring about many great revivals in Church history, including the two American Awakenings with the first one taking place in the 1740s under such men as George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards, and then the second happening in the early 1800s to the 1830s under such men as Charles Finney. Also, it is asserted by KJV apologists that God blessed the ministries of many of the renown missionaries like Adoniram Judson, John G. Patton, David Brainard, and John Elliot, because they exclusively used the King James as the text for their preaching and translation work.

Though there is a hint of romanticism with such a notion, there is a more obvious and biblical reason why the Great Awakenings, particularly the first one, were so impactful on American culture, as well as the ministries of these missionaries so successful: The strong, theological and doctrinal preaching that marked these men and women. To be even more specific, the preaching of God's sovereign grace in salvation as outlined in the theology of Calvinism.

The majority of KJV only advocates would be loathe to admit the primary role the doctrines of Calvinism had in the lives of these preachers and missionaries, but when we consider the preaching that took place during these times of revival, the translational text utilized is really a secondary consideration. It was the theological content these men preached that God blessed. Nearly ever major preacher from this period of time that we still esteem to this day, were solid, 5 point Calvinists who preached a high view of God's holiness and a biblical view of man's sin and need for a savior. Their preaching further encompassed the complete satisfaction of Christ to atone for sinners and the divine work of salvation in unconditional election. All of their preaching was from a careful exegesis of the text of scripture.

Their preaching stands in sharp contrast to the preaching heard today in many of the KJV only, fundamental Churches, where a pastor generally preaches some guilt trip laden sermon against the congregation and then ending it with a manipulative plea to get people to walk an aisle. Such a contrast raises a question. Which perspective has more lasting value in the lives of Christians? Solid, theological preaching and teaching that uses a translation other than the KJV? Or, shallow, preaching empty of any doctrinal content, but use exclusively the KJV?

3) Modern Versions are the cause of all sorts of heresies and corrupted teaching and the spiritual ills in today's Christian churches.

Quoting again from KJV apologist, William Grady, he has some rather choice, though woefully out-dated, examples of the terrible fruit of modern Bible versions,

By contrast, what kind of fruit has the modern Bible movement produced? Oral Roberts' 900-foot Jesus? "Christian" heavy metal rock bands? Tammy Bakker's air-conditioned dog house? Reader's Digest Condensed Bibles? John MacArthur's theology on the blood? [my personal favorite!- fred] Theistic evolution offered in "Christian" colleges? .."Honk-If-You-Love-Jesus" bumper stickers? "Christian" theme parks? "Roberta" Schuler's [sic] possibility thinking? Born-again athletes who rarely attend church? "Rev." Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition? "Christian" aerobics? James Dobson's condoning of interracial marriages? [another one of my favorites - fred] [ibid., pgs. 184-185]

Grady's list continues on with another 20 or so examples, but you get the point. All of these so-called spiritual ills and heresies are a result, according to Mr. Grady, of Christians abandoning the pure, preserved Word's of God as contained in the King James and using modern versions like the New International and the English Standard. But, this list is utterly ridiculous.

I have already addressed the influence of heretics on modern versions in a previous article in this series, so there really is no need to belabor this point. However, if we were going to be honest, we could make an equal, if not more damning list, against the type of fruit generated by King James onlyism,

By contrast, what sort of fruit has the King James only movement produced? Jack Hyles' bus "ministry?" Hill-billy snake handlers? The KKK? Mississippi lynch mobs? Frank Norris shooting a man in his office? Quick prayerism? "Lordless" salvation? The carnal Christian doctrine? Adulterous fundamental pastors? Preacher kids who act like angels on Sunday, but devils the rest of the week? Lists of legalistic "do's and dont's?" Peter Ruckman's "Alexandrian Cult" nonsense? Dr. Dino's tax evasion? "Dr." Gail Riplinger's copious "research?" BJU's old interracial dating policies? Thomas Strouse's geo-centric cosmology?

Now obviously, some of these examples are a bit over-the-top. Is a slavish devotion to an antiquated English translation to blame, for example, the KKK or non-lordship salvation? Of course not; but neither are modern versions to blame for all of the problems the church currently faces today. The real culprit is a squalid theology born out of vacuous teaching. If the Word of God is not held up with respect and it's message is mishandled in the pulpits on a regular basis, it doesn't matter what translation a person uses, the fruit will beget spiritual retardation.

If Christians genuinely wish to be faithful to what happened at key times during Church History where the Spirit of God was manifested in revival and spiritual renewal, then faithfully preach the Word of God in any translation.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pets who hate their owners

I promise I will return to sober theology shortly...

Halloween is not only the time when people like to embarrass their children, marring their psychies to the point of having no hope of proper social interaction; it is also the time when they like to humiliate their pets as well. These are people with no shame. They also usually have no life.

When trick-or-treating goes to the dogs:






































































Of course we have Star Wars costumes for your pets!




















Hate my owner I do




















What self-respecting cat would ever allow himself to be dressed up like a goon without a serious scratching to be handed out to the owner? Well, here are two. They must have been declawed.

















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Trunk Monkey Theft Retrieval Systems

OK, I imagine most alert websurfers who read this have already seen this commercial a dozen times already. A long lost grade school friend who recently relocated me, sent me a series of these ads from a dealership in Oregon. I was tremendously amused, especially with the anti-theft one, which I had already previously seen.

I definitely want one of these. Thinking of Phil's love for coffee in crime infested portions of the San Fernando Valley, he and Darlene could really use one of these in case of an attempted car jacking. Pec, I am sure, would approve - and the monkey I am sure would make for some amusing blog subjects.

Of course, you run the risk of re-creating another Bakersfield Chimp incident, but if you are being attacked by a violent criminal gang car thief, it may be worth the hassle you'll get when you are sued.



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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

*YAWN*

Wired Magazine has an article on a merry band of intellectuals mounting a crusade against God. They include such luminaries as Daniel Dennet, Richard Dawkins, and newbie atheist fanboy, Sam Harris.

So, what exactly is "new" about their atheism? What fresh insights do they have that wasn't written down by past atheists like Volitare, David Hume, Karl Marx, and Bertrand Russell?

I think these "new atheists" are just a bunch of posers.

When a man's folly brings him to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord Proverbs 19:3 (ESV)

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Crumb Crisp Crusts and other Delights

Orson Welles was a roaring crackpot. Yet, because he was a roaring crackpot he was an artistic genius. His Mercury Theater radio production of War of the Worlds is legendary. I was introduced to Citizen Kane in my last year of college when I had to take a blow-off, easy A film class to fill up my elective requirements. We had a flamboyant lady film teacher gush about how wonderful this movie was. I just rolled my eyes at her emotional display, but when the movie came on, I was transfixed how Welles' film making was decades ahead of its time.

However, because he was cantankerous, as well as a roaring crackpot, many folks in Hollywood despised Welles. He was deemed just too difficult to work with. So, near the end of his career, he was reduced to doing television commercials in order to pay the bills. I imagine many folks my age (mid-30s) can remember his wine commercials where he promised to "sell no wine before its time." He was also the host of a classic HBO Nostradamus documentary, The Man Who Saw Tomorrow. He made me think the guy was a prophet.

Anyhow, despite Welles' uneven temperament, he had a killer voice, so he was called upon to do a lot of narration and voice over work for radio. There is a classic clip that I heard years ago, but just happened across it on the Internet (ah, the glorious web) in which Welles berates a radio producer for his commercials selling peas, fish sticks and hamburgers. It is brilliant, even as you listen to his rants. There are great quotes: "Out of the depths of your ignorance...", "I wouldn't direct any living actor in Shakespeare like this," and "Oh, this is a really wearing one, its unpleasant to read." I would have been delighted to have been bawled out by him.

I always chuckle when I hear it, so I thought I would pass the MP3 I found along to you all.

Beware, he says a cuss word.

Also, check out the Pink and Brain parody from YouTube.


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Friday, October 20, 2006

The Glorious Mucus Lining

Welp, this marks my last official week of radiation treatments. I have two more days next week and then I am done and it can't be soon enough.

Let me see, what will I NOT miss the most?:

The thick, syrupy sensation constantly in my mouth?
the feeling of a hard, salt cube lodged in my throat?
the mouth sores?
the inability to taste (every thing tastes like metal)?
the fiery radiation burn on the side of my neck?

But hey, I am not complaining.

One thing I learned through this ordeal: a mucus lining is really important. It is solid evidence against evolution, because its like one of those irreducibly complex things no thinks twice about until it is not properly functioning.

Apparently, running through out a person's esophagus and down through the digestive track is a lining of mucus. It helps things slide down easily and keeps hard food, like nuts, from being hung up in your throat so you won't choke. It is also helpful in removing disease and other harmful particles that can do you harm.

High doses of radiation dries that lining out and hence the sore throats begin. The difficulty swallowing is miserable.

Thus, we see another fine example of God's wisdom in creation. Evolution, with its descent with modification and increased complexity over millions of years by natural selection and mutations cannot have happened in the case of the mucus lining. Highly complex organisms like human beings came intact with a mucus lining, for without it, no one could have been able to survive to the next generation without choking to death on something as soft as noodles.

I always love it when Darwinianism is debunked, but does evidence need to be so painful?

Geesh.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ah, Rats...

Not for the weak of heart or homeschool moms.


Ben, you always run from here to there....

Being from the south and all, squirrel and possum is prepared in a similar fashion.

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Really Cool Jack-O-Lanterns

Is your Halloween getting boring with those bland, triangle eyed and jagged mouthed pumpkins that are sorry excuses for a jack-o-lantern? Here is a web page that teaches you how to sculpt some sweet looking pumpkins for trick or treating. Ray's pumpkin carving tutorial.

Of course, we don't need to do just monsters and werewolves. We Christians can carve out angels or maybe famous Bible characters. Perhaps the heads of John the Baptist or Sisera.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

The Impotent Beggar god of Unitarian Socinians

This past Friday I linked to an interview on Way of the Master radio with a real live apostate from the faith. I have been trying to find some back ground on this Dan Mages character, but no one I have spoken with so far is familiar with him. I talked a bit with Phil Johnson on Sunday about him and though he couldn't place his name, he could remember there being a group of guys in a class he taught at Master's College baggering him with questions about Socinus when Phil covered the subject of historical heretics.

Mages's website is typical of the Unitarian "free-thinkers" I have encountered over the years (who, by the way, all "think" a like; the adjective "free" is misleading). They delight in uncertainty and being outside the box of traditional orthodox anything. In a word, they proudly wear the badge of being labeled a "heretic."

Additionally, they draw to themselves any crackpot philosopher or writer, no matter how off the wall his or her beliefs may be, or even radically opposed to their core Unitarianism (is there even such a thing as "core" Unitarianism?), if that crackpot happens to be considered outside the mainstream of orthodoxy. For example, Dan has a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes, the early 20th century Supreme Court justice who was a roaring evolutionary based, anti-God humanist and was instrumental in getting pro-eugenic laws passed so as to genetically weed out the helpless in American society who were thought to be "less evolved." I was totally unaware that Unitarians are keen on eugenic policies. He also gravitates towards the quack science of environmentalism and veganism. Seeing that young earth creationism is considered "outside the box" of mainline science, I wonder if Unitarians are 6 day creationists? I digress...

The one thing I noted to Phil before we parted ways was how Unitarians believe in a weak, impotent god who can't do anything in his world. Anyone who is a student at any level of Church History will quickly note how the Christian affirmation of the key biblical doctrines that shape fundamental, orthodox Christianity came about. Typically, what we see as Church History unfolds is that a theological crank cooks up some alternative to a particular Christian doctrine and he begins advocating it in a class room or published material. He has enough personal charisma that he gains a following and his popularity allows his novel beliefs to catch on with academics and many among the unwashed masses. The Christian community then rises up, addresses the doctrines at stake, renounces the crank, and affirms the orthodox biblical teaching. This is what happened with Arius for instance. He taught that Jesus was a created being. His false teaching became such a point of controversy, the Christian Church had to address him. They did and the Council of Nicaea affirmed the Deity of Christ.

Now, what Unitarians would have us believe is that these heretics should have been given an honest hearing. Their "ideas" were too easily dismissed because they fell outside the normal, traditional take on doctrine and were wrongly label heresy by the mean control freaks running the politics of the day. In fact, men like Arius in the 4th century and Servetus and Socinus in the 16th century, were right concerning their perspective on God, but the powers-that-be at the time shot these men down.

However, if we are to believe Dan Mages's take on doctrine, along with many other Unitarian "free-thinkers" I have encountered, they are basically saying that God was unable to preserve His revealed truth among His people. Arius had the "truth" about Jesus, but when he went to proclaim it, he was silenced by the majority. So, according to this line of thinking, for the last 2000 years of Church History, mainline, Bible believing Christianity has had it wrong about its own core beliefs, because I guess, God was unable to make it clear in the scriptures, or in the hearts of His people. That whole thing Jesus said in the upper room discourse about the spirit leading us in all truth just didn't succeed. Interesting how Joseph Smith believed similar things about Mormonism.

This would make a lot of sense with the Unitarian god, because he is already pushed out of his world by the libertarian free will of man and has given up any sovereign claim anywhere so as to be a god who risks. But this makes him a weakling beggar god who has to humbly ask permission from men to get back into his world. Heck, as Dan told Todd in that October 11th broadcast, this god may do something reckless like threaten another Sodom and Gomorrah scenario in which Abraham had to argue against his insanity.

I don't want to have anything to do with the Unitarian god.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Neo-Socinianism

I just listened to one of the most frightening interviews I have heard in a long time.

Sort of appropriate for being Friday the 13th and all.

Hear a real live apostate claim he has moral authority outside of God's law and the right to hold God accountable for his mistakes.

Sadly, he is a graduate from the Master's College.

Fastforward to about 3 minutes, 50 seconds for the start. It goes about 20 minutes or so.

Check it out.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Translational Discernment

I occasionally receive a dissenting comment from KJV onlyists who believe I have gone off the deep end of apostasy for leaving King James onlyism.

I received just such a comment recently from an individual who maintains the Bible Discernment website with hideous graphics to boot. I thought I would bring my response out of the meta and onto the front page for educational purposes:

The Bible is under attack from all sides. Satan knows it tells the truth about him, the victory that Jesus had at the cross, and what will happen in the future. As such, Satan has and still is making every attempt to destroy the Word of God.

(Fred) I often wonder why KJV onlyists have such a low view of God's ability to prevent His Word from being destroyed. If I didn't know any better, they sound a lot like Bart Ehrman or some Muslim apologist. Granted, KJV apologists insist on divine preservation in theory, but rarely do they genuinely believe it; at least that is what I gather from their literature with various comments about corruption.

The preservation they insist upon is only found in their one favored Anglican translation, the AV 1611. Yet, their own notion of Satan destroying the Word of God equally applies to the KJV because it has gone through multiple revisions since its initial publication. This has been documented fully, and it goes beyond just modernized spelling and simple little grammar things the KJV apologists claim were revised.

What better way to do this, than to change the meaning of the Bible over time with different bible versions; each version as it comes along claiming it is the truth and the most accurate of all the versions up until that point.

(Fred) The enemy of the faith is much more clever than introducing heresy by changing the Bible. He keeps the Bible intact, but has his false teachers pour onto the intact Bible heretical beliefs that depart from the faith. Joseph Smith and Ellen G. White were both fond of the KJV and could be called KJV onlyists. They just re-read the KJV to fit their heresies.

The line must be drawn where we say, "If the King James Bible was good enough for 400 years, then it is still good enough for me." For by it men and women have been saved and the knowledge of God imparted unto them.

(Fred) So I guess no one was truly saved BEFORE the publication of the KJV? This is what is being implied here. There is not some magical anointing set upon the KJV, though KJV advocates like to play as if there is. Men and women have been saved through a myriad of translations both before and after the publication of the KJV.

If you believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, then stand up for it.

(Fred) I do stand up for the inspired Word of God. My copy of the "inspired" Word of God is found in my NKJV and the ESV I read from and use regularly. What is being advocated here is the KJV is the inspired Word of God, not the Bible. Inspiration is not found exclusively in one, never to be revised or updated Anglican translation from the 1600s.

An objection often raised against the "King James Only Crowd" is that people learn something from the other (modern) versions, too, and that some even get saved: but I dare say that this occurs in spite of these errant versions, not because of them!

(Fred) But the fact remains: these individuals were saved. That implies clearly that God uses those dreaded modern versions. I guess, though, that these poor people are going to be left languishing in immaturity and a lack of sanctification unless they pick up a KJV.

The Authorized Version of 1611, or, in other words, the King James Bible, stands alone in its uniqueness, integrity, and fidelity to the truthfulness of God’s Word. Among reasons why this writer holds this conviction is because of the great harm done not only to the Word of God, but the detriment wrought in the local church in its public worship, and, of course, because of the confusion created in countless group and individual Bible studies.

(Fred) It may surprisee our friend here to know that the AV-KJV is regularly used by Church goers in England to this very day. There is not a surge of modern Bibles dominating the market there. Yet, the UK, the home of the KJV, is quicklysuccumbingg to a pressing Islamic immigrant problem and local churches are closing there doors or selling their property to cults and foreign religions.

After all, it could be said: How do you think your professor would think or feel if all of his students used different textbooks in his class?! In our case, God is our Great Professor! He alone is the one true God, who has walked among us upon this earth and left us the living and enduring legacy of His Word and His Spirit. Until He comes, Amen.

(Fred) But it is pointless to have everyone sharing one text book that cannot be utilized by the students because the language is antiquated. God has certainly left us a legacy of His Word, but His Word wasn't meant to remain frozen and eternally fixed in the language of the 17th century.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Alternatives

Ok, so Founder friendly Calvinistic Reformed Baptists have been left gnashing their teeth since it was announced the White-Ascol/Caner brothers tag team theological death cage match was cancelled. If you think about it, that is no small announcement. I am not sure that debate guy in charged realized what he did. Non-refundable flights probably had to be eaten, out of town visitors had to cancel the reservations on their Motel 6 suites, the cost of printing is certainly out the window. There is some lost of money involved here.

By now, sycophantic fans of both sides (I am a card carrying member for the Calvinists) are accusing each party with cowardice. Yet, in spite of the fact that this would had been an interesting fight to have watched, I am not entirely sure it would have been a profitable one.

With Ergun Caner being exposed as unhinged when it comes to addressing historic, theological discussions, the debate could have gone one of two ways: a) either James and Tom would be beating up two tomato cans who certainly deserve a public pummeling of that magnitude, or b) the event could had quickly spiraled into an out of control free-for-all. Though either one of those scenerios would have been fascinating to watch in an accident by the side of the road uncomfortable sort of way, ultimately, such a disgraceful exchange would have done no good, especially for the cause of Christ's kingdom.

However, I am amazed how none of James White's detractors are willing to take him on in serious debate over the doctrines of Calvinism. I find it truly amazing. Blog after blog condemn him as divisive on this issue, but when the folks are challenged to do a formal debate, they turn into chickens. I guess I can understand it if a person has never had any formal debate experience. A debate with one of the foremost Christian apologists in America would certainly seem intimidating. But certainly there is someone who thinks James White is crazy out of his head in Calvinism who would have the backbone to meet him in a moderated, public forum.

Seeing that there are no Baptists willing to take up the challenge, may I suggest an alternative? I suggest finding either a Roman Catholic or even a Unitarian to debate this issue. I would prefer the Roman Catholic for a couple of reasons.

A debate with a Catholic apologist would fit nicely into White's yearly theme of a Reformed-Catholic debate. Calvin debated Pighius, White could debate some modern day equivalent to Pighius.

Also, I think such a debate will serve the greater purpose of demonstrating how popular Baptist soteriology found in the SBC and Independent Fundamental oriented churches is hand in hand with Roman Catholicism. For a good many, they won't care. But for those who take seriously the separation of Roman Catholicism from Fundamental Baptists, this may serve as something of an alarm. A loud mouth Baptist preacher who thunders regularly from his pulpit against the Calvinistic intrusion of those terrible "Founder Baptists," may be surprised to learn he argues against Calvinism in the same way a Catholic does. I know it would bother me.

At least it is a thought. If you happen to know some of White's debate arrangers, pass this post along to them as a suggestion. In the meantime, we have White's match with Bishop Spong coming up. I for one am really looking forward to it and in fact, I agree with James that it is the more important of the two debates.

Islamic Jim Crow

I believe we are about to witness a curious socio-ideological convergence take place here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Some of you all may be aware of stories out of Australia and other heavily Muslim populated western countries telling how Muslim cab drivers are refusing to provide rides for blind people and their seeing eye dogs. They also don't give rides to people carrying alcoholic beverages.

Most people think this is something that takes place only in foreign countries, but as this news report reveals, it most certainly is not. Apparently, this is a common attitude among many Muslim cab drivers in many of our major cities. The thing is, no one has bothered to report it. More disturbing, people are willing to accommodate their kooky convictions about dogs and booze. The taxi companies in the story from Minneapolis plan to mark some of their cabs, "anti-dog" or "no dogs allowed."

Now there are several places I could go with this story. Let me share two thoughts in no particular order:

1)Christians who are outraged by the ridiculous convictions of these serious minded Muslim taxi drivers need to reevaluate their own convictions along similar lines. For instance, a pro-life taxi cab driver taking a woman to an abortion clinic. Or what about a Christian with convictions against drinking alcohol in any form taking a person to a bar? Moreover, Christians are generally supportive toward those landlords who refuse to rent their property to openly gay couples, or unmarried couples living together. Would they be so toward Muslim landlords who refuse to rent to blind folks who are dependent upon guide dogs?

2) I am curious to see how the ACLU-civil liberties-multi-cultural crowd will respond toward Muslim taxi drivers who refuse to give rides to Jews or perhaps women who have their heads uncovered? Right now, there is this solidarity with underdog (pun somewhat intended) Islamic groups who are bearing the burden of suspicion from their fellow Americans. Everyone wants to bend over backward to accommodate their beliefs for the sake of tolerance. But when those beliefs begin to cut straight across the values of the PC minded how exactly are they going to react? They find themselves between the common sense rock and the heartfelt hardplace.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Twenty Ways to Answer a Fool (pt. 8)

Is Christianity Anti-intellectual and Anti-Scientific?

It has been awhile since we took a look over Chaz Bufe's little tract outlining his 20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity. I have under taken the challenge of responding to each one of Chaz's complaints against the faith. Previous posts on the subject can be located in the sidebar column.

With this entry, we come to the 8th reason why Chaz believes we all should lay aside Christianity as a viable worldview: Christianity, according the Chaz, is anti-intellectual and anti-scientific.

The claim of an anti-intellectual Christian faith is a common urban myth among those in the atheistic community. Just like the dummied up hoax images of "Israeli" bombed Red Cross ambulances that were eagerly embraced by Hizballah's useful idiots in the international media during the war this past summer, the images of dim witted, superstitiously gullible Christians with their fingers in their noses are regularly recycled among the atheists as being true. They love to draw the mental picture of all Bible-believing, fundamental Christians as being bare-foot, wild-eyed hillbillies who believe all science is of the devil and any college schoolin' is going to steal your salvation.

Chaz is no different. He too delights in laughing at these cartoonish characters he has drawn up of Christians. However, it is not really thinking for someone who prides himself as a "free-thinker." In fact, when it comes to ridiculing Christians, the concept of "free" is dropped by atheists and they all think with a herd mentality. That is because atheists find intellectual comfort with believing in a fantasy Christianity, because it allows them the ease of dismissing them out of hand as unworthy of engaging in meaningful debate. Think about it: if you believe your opponent is stupid and not worth the breath used to argue with him, you can be confirmed in your own belief without even uttering a word. But, this is truly a false assurance and reveals that atheists who imbibe such myths about Christians are just lazy. They don't want to do the serious work of establishing their claims of "anti-intellectualism" they attach to Christian believers.

Chaz's point is long and tedious, so I will leave it to the readers to check it out on their own but there are some general observations we can make:

First, Chaz again demonstrates his ignorance of history. He seems to believe that true science of any sort didn't come onto the scene until the Enlightenment in the 1700s. Moreover, he talks about the Renaissance period as if it were led by brilliant atheistic philosophers, all the while forgetting the bright lights of that time were all Roman Catholic monks for the most part. He raises the favorite example of Galileo, but if any one were to truly study the whole affair rather than taking on blind faith the atheistic mythos that has popped up in their popular literature, a person would realize that he wasn't the lone, scientific mind persecuted by the flat earth superstitious, but a man who was butting up against the accepted "scientific" community of the time. The academics persecuted Galileo more so than the Pope. Galileo is more akin to modern day ID proponents who are calling the Darwinian's evolutionary emperor naked.

Secondly, Chaz seems to forget that highly advanced societies like the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and even the Mayans if we hold them to the same standard, were religiously superstitious even more so than any Christian. Yet, they had these flourishing cultures featuring great engineering feats without the use of modern day technology like cranes and bulldozers. Interestingly, their engineering feats were designed to honor their gods in some fashion with either a temple or pyramid. How could that be if religion only darkens humanity to think irrationally as Chaz suggests. It makes me wonder what Chaz considers intellectual science.

Thirdly, the secular scientists that Chaz holds up as the great rescuers of humanity can be just as superstitious. The good many of Chaz's anti-religious, anarchist comrades, as well as academic elites, believe our government pulled off the terrorist attacks of 9/11. They genuinely choose to believe in a massive conspiracy rather than the facts. Moreover, they are the same crowd who are willing to believe the lie that the Iraq invasion was a move to enrich big oil companies like Haliburton. They will so embrace this fantasy notion that they become agitated to the point of violence if you point out the flaws of their "beliefs." However, probably my all time favorite secular superstition on the part of atheists is the belief in panspermia, or that life on earth came from some source outside the bounds of our planet either by a comet or extraterrestrial intelligence. Even the late Francis Crick, one of the two men who unraveled the DNA strand, believed this scenario to explain the complexity of life, rather than submit to what the Bible reveals of our Creator. Amazing how a hatred toward God leads an "intellectual" to embrace pseudo-science.

And then Fourthly, Chaz must not be aware of some of the more "anti-intellectual" comments coming from his side of the aisle. The way he carries on, you would think scientists are these humble individuals who honestly follow the evidence where ever it leads. Because the hard, scientific "evidence" supposedly points away from any idea of God and always disproves the Bible, there is no choice on the part of the serious minded intellectual but to separate religion from science; to place them into two compartments where never they shall interact. Hence, in order to be intellectual, you have to lay aside a belief in the Bible or your scientific endeavors will be ruined. Is that how these so-called intellectual really think? Consider some of my more favorite candid quotes from atheistic "scientists:"

Professor D.M.S. Watson, once a leading biologists and writer:

Evolution is a theory universally accepted not because it can be proven by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.

Science writer Boyce Rensberger,

At this point, it is necessary to reveal a little inside information about how scientists work, something the textbooks don't usually tell you. The fact is that scientists are not really as objective and dispassionate in their work as they would like you to think. Most scientists first get their ideas about how the world works not through rigorously logical processes but through hunches and wild guesses. As individuals, they often come to believe something to be true long before they assemble the hard evidence that will convince somebody else that it is. Motivated by faith in his own ideas and a desire for acceptance by his peers, a scientist will labor for years knowing in his heart that his theory is correct but devising experiment after experiment whose results he hopes will support his position. [Rensberger, How the World Works, p. 17-18]


Then an all time favorite, Richard Lewontin, a fellow Marxist anarchist like Chaz, wrote in a 1997 The New York Review article,

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so-stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.


Does it sound as though these scientists are being intellectual? Intellectual implies using the rational faculties of the mind. Is it rational to believe in something utterly absurd like non-living inanimate material gave rise to complex biological life just because the only option is to recognize a creator? Sure, the Church has had its share of superstitious beliefs over the years, to which those purveyors of superstition should be faulted and rebuked, but Marxist, anarchist atheists also have their superstitions that are equally anti-intellectual.

Next up: Christians and sex. wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Preachers and Guns

OK, so those of you who ignore Phil's sidebar What I am Doing ignored a stellar You Tube clip. I thought I would post it for your convenience. If you saw it, its worth a second look.

My favorite moment: Arnold Murray of Shepherd's Chapel having his homemade tele-cast interrupted by someone off camera and responding by yelling, "Take this 9 MM to that boy!"

Nothing quite says "All American" and second amendment than a tele-evangelist.

enjoy

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Feeling the Burn

Just to provide you all with something of an update.

I started radiation treatments on September 11th. This is the second stage of destroying a cancer that was removed from my jawline this past January. Just to put people at ease, the radiation is precautionary. There is no recurrence of cancer. In fact, the surgeon told me that if I were a 75 year old guy, he would send me home and tell me I am done. However, because this particular cancer is rare for young guys in their thirties, to be on the wiser and safer side, I may want to pursue radiation treatments.

I wasn't going to do it, but having three young children and learning that this cancer can come back in different locations where it may be even more difficult to remove than the first time, tends to change one's perspective on reality.

I have finished 15 treatments. I have about 15 or so left to do. One of the big side effects of radiation is a sore throat. I was expecting a mild sore throat with a bit of discomfort. Boy howdy, was I wrong. This is like an atomic searing sore throat. Making it even worse is the fact that I caught a sinus cold and coupled with the radiation, my soreness is exacerbated even worse. Last weekend, I couldn't even blow my nose with normal exertion because the pain was so bad. I had to give these worthless little toots. That only caused the mucus to fill up into my nostrils and created a dry, crusty ring around my nose. It was like I was turning into a 3 year old.

In addition to the severe sore throat, my mouth has become dry and sticky. I probably drink 20 bottles of water a day if not more. That's a good thing on one hand because I am sure my body is appreciating the extra water, but I am in a continual state of thirst that I can never seem to quench.

Of course, all of this takes a toll on my strength, and though I am trying to exercise and eat right, I have had a weird lethargy cover me. I am already a lethargic guy anyways, so you can imagine how I am now. I have the desire to do household chores and engage my regular academic pursuits, including blogging, especially the handful of series I started, but it is difficult to sustain the various activities for any reasonable amount of time with out loosing my focus. I am guessing this is one of the ways clinical depression manifests itself in a person's life.

At any rate, the Lord willing, this will quickly pass here in the next month and I can return to my regular routine. One bright spot is the fact that I have regained my normal nose blowing ability with minimal pain, but each morning, my mouth is paste like and the throat is sore. It usually takes a couple of hours for all that to subside. I can't even begin to describe to you the pain I felt last week when it never went away. I have had to pass a kidney stone once, and this pain is up there on that level.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Seriously Sober Spirituality

One of Phil's blogspots for this week is a link to a young fellow who takes issue with the Team Pyro crew and their use of their Pyromaniac graphic photoshoped and incorporated onto nearly every image in each of their posts. He also doesn't care a bit for the fact a person can buy that glorious Team Pyro logo emblazoned across a T-shirt or coffee mug. And oh man, he severely dislikes Frank Turk's pawn shop, where a person can pick up a "Reformation Police" apron or a "Southern Baptist Torch and Pitchfork Society" (one of my personal favs) T-shirt.

This blogger believes these types of frat boy shenanigans are lowbrow and detract from the "serious thinking theology" that otherwise marks the Team Pyro blog as being an excellent read. He also suggests such marketing of the logo is hypocritical, because the Pyro guys would be quick to criticize the "Jesus" trinkets and dewdads that fill the typical Christian bookstores across our fair land.

I was reading Phil's comments about this blog entry to my wife as she ironed our kids clothes and she quipped, "Is that guy like a fundamentalist Baptist?" I said that I wasn't entirely sure, but I thought he maybe graduated from Bob Jones University. She then replied, "Well, I just know the fundamental church I attended for awhile as a brand new Christian thought a lot like that guy. They really had a difficult time laughing about anything." My wife then added, "Reformed Calvinists don't seem to have a problem with humor, they laugh the loudest of all the Christians I have met."

Putting aside Pentecostal and Vineyard Charismatics, that is generally true; though I have to say I have met many humorless Reformed Baptist Calvinists in my day. They are either entirely devoid of any humor as if they had been baptized in vinegar, or their humor is so unsophisticated they think Marmaduke and Heathcliff are two of the funniest comic strips ever drawn.

My point here is not to pit Independent Fundy Baptists against Reformed Calvinists, but merely to wonder out loud why so many Christians from all theological persuasions equate "serious minded theology" with having no fun. I see this all the time. Christians have the mistaken notion that in order to be a really sober minded spiritual believer, they can't poke fun at themselves or enjoy a hearty laugh at the expense of their "traditions." To do so is considered to be mocking or trivializing the faith. Really?

I am completely mystified as to why this blogger thinks it is dumbing down theology or trivializing serious Christian thought if Team Pyro expresses some personality with a logo or offers it for sale on a T-shirt and mug to adoring fans. For some reason a logo on a shirt makes Phil and his boys a roll your eyes laughing stock. I just don't see it. I have never thought less of Phil's opinions about the Emergent Church movement after the great comic book cover battle from last year. In fact, a lampooning image can nail home a doctrinal truth in an already thoughtful post.

As for the product line of Team Pyro merchandise, the very fact the Team Pyro guys ARE serious theologians makes their T-shirts and mugs all the more enjoyable. The logos and slogans are anchored to a group of men who are both deep lovers of God and doctrine and thrill at having fun. Why does serious theology require that we all be morose? The typical "Jesus junk" we find littering Christian bookstores is junk exactly because it is all connected to junky theology. A "This Bloods for You" T-shirt is sacrilegious because of what it imitates, not because it is a Christian T-shirt.

I do not wish to belabor my point too much here, but I do think folks need to lighten up a bit. I believe we can utilize logos on shirts as long as there's a solid theological context in which it exists. Team Pyro, in my curiously strong opinion, provides that context.