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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

You Supply the Caption

This one left me scratching my head.

It has such a Purgatorio feel to it I just had to post it:




















India, orphans, fish. What else says Sweet Baby Jesus?

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Cuil Runnings

So I heard about Cuil, the new search engine developed and designed by some Google apostates.

So far I like the layout and the design of the thing, so I am hoping for them to have a bright future as an alternative to Google, but they still have some kinks to iron.

Like every, self-absorbed narcissistic person, the first thing I did when I went there was I "cuiled" my personal name.

Next to my website "Fred's Bible Talk" is a picture of a distinguished looking black gentleman.

Just so that you all know.... That ain't me.

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Scientific Fundamental Extremists

*See Addendum

Here's a fun little article exposing the religious zealotry of some of the more rabid evolutionary extremists like P.Z Myers and Richard Dawkins.

From a lefty-wing on-line magazine of all things.

I wonder if the author realizes how profound he is?
I wonder if creation-a-phobe bloggers like Charles Johnson will pay attention to the significance of this article?

What's Wrong With Science as Religion

Like I always try to hammer home to my readers, everyone is committed to a worldview. There is no neutral ground, and the ferociousness of these "scientific" defenders against any challenges of their worldview of scientism displays this debate is not around brute evidence, but heart issues.

Addendum 8/1/08

I thought I would mention this amazing twisting of the facts from a frothing anti-creationist, because it demonstrates the desperation of the "science=religion" aspect of the Salon article.

I have been pointing out the Darwinian descent of Little Green Footballs curator, Charles Johnson, for a few weeks now. I was most particularly annoyed with a post he wrote back on July 10th claiming U.S. creationist groups were being funded by radical Muslims. This charge was alleged against both ICR and the ID think tank, The Discovery Institute. The Discovery Institute wrote a post refuting Johnson's assertions, and I posted an email I received from ICR also refuting the assertions.

In response to the Discovery Institute disavowal, Johnson posted a defensive "rebuttal."
In that rebuttal he makes one of the more dishonest claims I have seen from anti-creationists in a while. He writes in his defense:

The misdirection: I did not “imply” the Discovery Institute was in league with Islamic radicals. I stated outright that the Discovery Institute is in league with Islamist creationists, a fact that is indisputably true, as we’ll see in a minute.

Did Charles forget the title of this post in question? He wrote, Radical Muslim Funding US Creationist Groups? Maybe he thinks the question mark leaves the charge in the realm of ambiguity, and he didn't say exactly Radical Islam, but Radical Muslim is close enough in my mind, and no where did he talk about Radical Creationists. What exactly is a Radical Creationist anyways?

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Honest to God

Ken Samples commented on a blog I wrote.

I responded to Ken.

David has stepped up to challenge my comments. He has given me a lot from which we all can learn, and hence the reason why I bring my rebuttal to the main page.

David writes,

The physical evidence from geology, astronomy, etc. regarding the age of the earth clearly conflicts with the young-earth interpretation of Genesis. As both the physical evidence and Scripture have their origin from God, obviously they are ultimately in agreement. However, both exegesis and science are performed by fallible, limited, sinful humans.

The hammer often wielded to level the "big whammy" against young earth (YE) creationists is the notion of evidence. Geological evidence, claims the old earth (OE) creationists, says the earth is millions of years old. Astronomical evidence suggests the universe is so many billions of years old. Hence, YE simpletons either ignore this evidence by pretending it isn't there or dishonestly change it to suit their purposes.

Yet, evidence is not brute and naked; it has to be interpreted according to and through a set of presuppositional filters. In the case of David, our visiting OE believer, he assumes the typical gradual uniformitarian model of geology taught in school is correct. At least I am fairly certain of his gradual uniformitarianism as he will dismiss the idea of global flood in the next section.

Laying that a side for the moment, David wisely points out that both the interpretation of evidence, what is often times mistakenly considered "science," and biblical exegesis, are performed by fallible, limited, sinful humanity. However, just as OE believers will often argue, David writes, We must carefully examine both to see where errors seem likely to have occurred. Even though David claims both these disciplines are ultimately in agreement, when they conflict, David implies we should examine both equally to see where errors have likely occurred.

It has been my observation, though, that such equality never happens. When these "conflicts" appear, the automatic conclusion seems to always be there is a problem with our understanding of the Bible. Rarely, if ever, is the problem with our understanding of the scientific evidence. The exegesis of scripture must yield to the infallibility of the obvious, conflicting evidence.

David lays out an illustration: For example, does the way in which flood geology portrays God as wildly and erratically dispensational in His use of natural laws accord with the Biblical picture of Jesus the same yesterday, today, and forever?

Wildly and erratically dispensational? It has also been my further observation that OE believers tend to subject themselves to a self-imposed myopia when it comes to YE research. I personally would like to see some examples of what he means by "wildly and erratically dispensational" and how that conflicts with the character of Jesus, but whatever the case, has David not read Andrew Snelling's research on flood geology? Has he read any YE creationist's research in flood geology?

David continues,

Regrettably, the main reason for taking an old-earth or evolutionary position with regard to the scientific evidence is honesty- young-earth and antievolutionary scientific arguments are so blatantly bad as to be irreconcilable with "You shall not bear false witness."

Again, it would be helpful for David to give us some examples. None the less, as always the assumption, it is the YE folks who have dishonest scientific arguments. Whereas, non-creationists, yeah verily, atheist, anti-creationists, are always honest when handling the evidence. See this article to get a different take on "honesty" in science: Controversy in Paleoanthropology.

David goes on,

Of course, science should not dictate our theology. In particular, the claims of creation science must not be allowed to dictate our interpretation of Scripture.

This is a good rule of thumb to follow. Science, or to reiterate, the interpretation of science, shouldn't dictate our theology. The assertion made by David implies YE creationists allow their views of science to dictate their theology, whereas the OE creationists handle the evidence correctly, and of course, with honesty. But, OE creationists make claims about creation science, or at least their version, that does dictate our interpretation of scripture. In their case, as we will see, it is the re-interpretation of the historical narrative of Genesis from being a chronological account of God creating in a span of a week to the idea that the Genesis account is great epochs of time where a person can fit in bazillions of years.

Continuing with David,

In reality, non-calendar day views have been around since at least Origen. Of course, he went totally nuts about taking the OT allegorically, but more responsible commentators such as Augustine also adopted different views. Thus, it's clearly untrue that non-calenday day views are purely an attempt to accommodate to science.

That nutty Origen. The historical fact of the matter is the day-age view of modern day progressive creationists and other day-age systems didn't begin to appear UNTIL the Christian Church believed they had to accommodate increasingly popular views of "science." There is no way an OE believer can get around this reality of history and appealing to Origen as an example will not rescue him. I would like for David to produce an orthodox theologian who articulated, for example, Meridith Kline's view of Genesis before the 1800s, or even Hugh Ross's view of Genesis before the 1800s, who was taken seriously as a sound, orthodox exegete and expositor of the scripture.

One additional point before moving on. OE creationists will regularly appeal to Augustine as a prototypical example of a progressive creationist or some other OE system. He is claimed to have spiritualized the creation narrative hundreds of years before the old earth views of geologists began challenging the Church in the 1800s. Augustine certainly spiritualized Genesis, but it was in the wrong direction for OE creationists. He taught that the creation week of Genesis happened in an instant, rather than 6 ordinary days of time. No where did he suggest the days of creation were understood to mean "great epochs" of time where millions of years of Earth's history can be played out. Additionally, and more to the point, Augustine has an entire chapter in his City of God called Of the Falseness of the History Which Allots Many Thousand Years to the World's Past, in which he argues for a 6,000 year history for the Earth.

In reality, all interpretation of Scripture relies on science to tell us whether a particular statement is factual, figurative, etc.

ALL interpretation of Scripture relies on science to inform us whether Scriptural statements are factual? Has David paused to consider that principle? As far as I have seen, no field of science has ever factually verified the resurrection of a man from the dead three days later. No field of science has verified the multiplication of bread and fish out of thin air or the instantaneous and total restoration of physical movement to an individual born paralyzed. In reality, David, people appeal to these lack of findings in scientific fields to deny the authority of Scripture. This is the Isaac Asimov view of the Bible: where it is scientifically factual it is true, where it isn't, it is myth.

David continues,

Most people seem willing to accept that the world is round and that the earth goes around the sun, yet those are not the impressions you get if you misinterpret the relevant Biblical passages as scientific assertions, rather than as descriptions based on the appearance of things.

Oh my, the great Galileo vs. the Roman Catholic Church argument. The average person, the category where David I guess falls, believes the Catholic Church built their cosmology from the pages of Scripture. The Scriptures are said to teach the world is flat and the sun and stars orbit around it. Now that humanity has evolved from the dark ages with the courageous leadership of such risk taking men like Galileo holding their hand, we know the Earth orbits the sun, along with all the other planets. Thus, we should never trust the ignorant superstitions found in the Bible as a source of any information regarding anything "scientific."

The problem with this utterly backward view of Church history is that the prevailing cosmological model of that day was founded on the works of Ptolemy and Aristotle and their Greek philosophical ideas, not the pages of Scripture. Later, when the cosmological models of Ptolemy and Aristotle were challenged as being reliable, then the Roman Catholic Church attempted to defend their views by appealing to passages from the Bible wrenched from their contexts. Thus the disagreement was not between Galileo and the Bible, but Galileo and a slowly crumbling cosmological model.

David continues,

It is true that those with a low regard for Scripture generally accept an old earth and evolution. However, this does not mean that accepting an old earth or evolution leads to a low regard for Scripture.

I would agree those who I know in the apologetic world who defend an OE model adhere to a high regard for the Bible. They fail, however, with adhering to a high regard for the authority of the Bible. There is a big difference. Someone can say they believe the Bible, but do they believe in its authority and sufficiency to inform our understanding of the world? I know lots of unbelievers who have a high regard for the Bible. They will even appeal to it as the basis for their ethics. What they don't have is a high regard for its authority and sufficiency. For where the Bible may conflict with the prevailing philosophy of life, they will compromise their high regard for the Bible in some fashion so as to balance their convictions toward the Bible with what is wrongly believed to be the infallible conclusions of the secular world.

David leaves us with some concluding remarks,

Rather, there are at least two ways to conclude that science is reasonably reliable. If you believe from Genesis 1 that everything was created by an orderly and rational God, who made us to be stewards of creation, then it's reasonable to conclude that the universe behaves in an orderly way, that we can figure out how it works to a useful approximation, and that we ought to do so. Conversely, if you don't put much trust in supernatural revelation, science and subjective judgments are the main sources of information available to you (though you don't have good philosophical basis for trusting in science).

I am reckoning that David believes those of us who hold to YE creationism don't believe an orderly and rational God created the universe to behave in an orderly way so that we can figure out how it works.

David identifies the foundation of our dissent: The issue isn't over whether or not you believe a rational God created, but it is by what interpretive grid we use to weigh and measure that creation He created for us to explore. The Bible provides for us an historical framework that clearly tells me God created in the space of a week's time. On top of that, the biblical record is constructed in such a way with the use of genealogical links that we can trace the history of our world chronologically. I believe those genealogies are accurate and reliable because an orderly, and I would add, infallible God, wanted His people to be anchored to the history of where things began for them. So, with that revelation we can draw reasonable conclusions about the age of the Earth.

David opines that honesty drives the OE views of Genesis and our evaluation of the creation. Any Christian who honestly evaluates the evidence will be an OE creationist. That is because God has created with honesty. However, by adopting this OE reasoning, we make God dishonest in His revelation. I believe God honestly told us how long it took for Him to create and God honestly has placed chronological markers in Scripture for His redeemed people to have an historical grounding. Honest exegesis of the Genesis narrative will only yield such a conclusion.

What then is being more honest with God? Respecting the honest and infallible revelation He has granted in Genesis and interpreting our created world according to it, or respecting the man-made conclusions about our created world that is for the most part fueled by a humanistic system with an outright disdain for God?

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Testing your Fatherly Devotion

My wife insisted that I mention this video...



It was sent to us by a friend in one of those "forward this to as many people as you know" style emails. I tend to roll my eyes when I see them pop into my inbox, but this one captured my attention.

The original email said this:

A son asked his father, 'Dad, will you take part in a marathon with me?' The father who, despite having a heart condition, says 'Yes'. They went on to complete the marathon together.

Father and son went on to join other marathons, the father always saying 'Yes' to his son's request of going through the race together.

One day the son asked his father, "Dad, let's join the Ironman together!" His father said "Yes"

For those who don't know, Ironman is the toughest triathlon ever. The race encompasses three endurance events of a 2.4 mile (3.86 kilometer) ocean swim, followed by a 112 miles (180.2 kilometer)bike ride, ending with a 26.2 miles (42 kilometers) marathon along the coast of the coast of the Big Island. Father and son went on to finish the race together.

The impression you get is that this was maybe a once or twice thing for the father and son, but I did a search on their name, Team Hoyt, and came up with a website for a foundation, meant to help children with physical and mental handicaps transition into the "normal" life we all take for granted. The pair are Dick (the father) and Rick (the son) Hoyt. The website gives much more background to this father and son team. Dick Hoyt has been competing in races and marathons like this with his son, Rick, since the 70s! Unbelievable.

More to the point of unbelievable is the fact that Dick has to tow his son in a boat to complete the 12 mile swim of the Ironman competitions. Swimming 12 miles with dead weight.

The video being featured on "God Tube" as sort of a Christian video implies the Hoyt's are believers, but I didn't find anything on their site to suggest they are. They very well could be as far as I know. What I do see is a father's devotion that should be a challenge to all fathers as they raise their children.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

The Anointing of the Light-bearer

I always enjoy good, political sarcasm.
Especially when it is aimed at the opponent of my position.

He Ventured Forth to Bring Light to the World

All that is needed now is to powder this guy with gold dust and hoist him about on the shoulders of a hundred men in a pyramid shaped chariot like that Xerxes fellow from the movie 300.

I am still waiting for that moment when you hear someone from the crowd yell out during one of Obama's speeches, "It's the voice of a god and not a man!"

I'll let the reader figure out the biblical passage I have in mind.

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Creation Terrorists

Annoyed with Charles Johnson's lies against biblical creationists in which he attempts to link them to radical, Islamic terrorism, I shot the folks at the Institute for Creation Research an email inquiring about their take on Johnson's slanders. I received the following:

Dear Fred,

Thank you for contacting ICR. There is no official affiliation of ICR with Harun Yahya (pen name for Adnan Oktar) and/or with the Science Research Foundation (SRF), founded in 1990 by Harun Yahya; nor has there ever been such an official (or unofficial) affiliation.

ICR desires to bring the creation-science message to those who invite its speakers to give the scientific reasons for the authorative account of the Genesis creation, with no political or doctrinal agreements attached. ICR desires to remove the evolution impasse that has kept – and still keeps – millions of souls trapped in this unscientific and religious theory. In fact, ICR seeks to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Although ICR does not have the time to continually champion the cause of creation in such encounters, this does not mean that ICR has ignored such criticism; the ICR staff has responded to critics and have present rebuttals to evolutionist viewpoints and supposed discoveries in current events related to our area of expertise for over three decades. These responses have been posted on ICR's website, in ICR publications, and products.

Nevertheless, it should be obvious to anyone that these anti-creation organizations have been set up to invalidate Genesis and anyone advocating its literal translation. They do not accept Scripture as God's authoritative Word, Genesis as a literal history, or Jesus Christ as God, the Creator.


Along those same lines, the Discovery Institute has published this post answering Johnson,

Little Green Footballs fumbles the Ball...

Johnson owes some apologizes in my opinion.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Gleanings in Job #16

... continuing in my devotional series on Job

God has heard and has spoken (33)

Elihu was a fourth friend of Job who had remained quite for too long. Being a young man, he had allowed his elders to dialog with Job for nearly 30 chapters or more of conversations. However, Job's friends had not helped Job (Job 32:12). They falsely accused him of being under God's divine judgment when such was not the case. Moreover, they did not respond rightly to Job's rebuttals to their arguments (32:16).

Though it is true Job did nothing deserving of divine judgment, his response to his circumstances was becoming soured. His words revealed a person becoming self-righteous and scornful against what he knew to be true of God and His character. This is a hidden danger with trials: Our ungodly response may reveal sin in our hearts. There is also a truth to be learned: our theology will shape our response. What we believe about God will filter how we react to trials, particularly severe ones.

Elihu recognized how Job was developing wrong thinking about God. He was afraid to say anything because of his young age (32:6); however, the interchange between Job and his three friends stirred up his spirit so that he was compelled to speak (32:8). That is an understandable reaction when you witness people drawing wrong conclusions about God. Elihu believed he needed to defend God's honor, and rightly so.

In his response to Job and his friends, Elihu hits on three important areas of correction concerning our thinking about the Lord during trials:

I. God does hear and has spoken

II. God is just and acts fair

III. God is sovereign and acts wisely

Let me consider the first one:

I. God does hear and has spoken

Contrary to what Job has been arguing on behalf of himself, claiming that God has not answered him, Elihu reminds Job that God is very much aware of his situation. Elihu repeats Job's main complaint against God beginning in 33:8. Simply stated, Job saw God as being out to get him. But as Elihu reminds him, God is greater than man (33:12). God is not obligated to give an accounting of any of His words, or what is really His revelation of dealings with men, in order to satisfy their questions as to why things are playing out the way they are. (33:13). It is foolish to even contend with God regarding these matters.

Yet, Elihu does remind Job that God does hear him and He has spoken.

Three ways Elihu mentions to Job:

Direct Revelation (33:15-18)

God does speak in visions and dreams to men. This manner of revelation would be anticipated during this time in history of God's dealings with men, because there was no written revelation in the form of scripture.

Through the suffering of trials (33:19-22)

Trials, as Job has been experiencing, chasten men to the point they need to learn dependence upon God. Trials should have the effect of humbling a person and drawing him to the Lord. Rather than justifying himself, Job should come to God humbly.

Through a mediator (33:23)

This would mean a prophet or some spokesman for God who reveals His mind to men. God often used men to speak to others. In the case of Job, there was some legitimacy with his friends words, because they could be telling Job what God wanted him to hear, but Job wasn't wanting to listen.

In His revelation to men, God is more than gracious to sinful man.

God speaks:

- To instruct men about their sinful deeds (16-18). God instructs men regarding their sin so as to keep them from destroying themselves, as well as further sinning against Him.

- To restore men to right standing before God (24-26) God is gracious in that He reveals to men how to be restored to fellowship with Himself. God wants to have a relationship with His people, and that involves providing the knowledge on how that is accomplished.

- To restore men to their fellow men (27, 28) When men have their sin revealed to themselves by God, then they can see how they have wronged their fellow men, confess that sin, and ask for forgiveness. When we know what God expects of us with others, we know what is needed to have restoration with them if we have wronged them.

Before moving on to his next comment, Elihu offers a challenge to Job to give ear and listen to what he has to say (33:31). Elihu wanted to justify Job, to stand with him during his trial, but first Job must rethink his attitude against God. This is a challenge all men - even today - must consider as well.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Biblical Proportions

Came across this little, unnoticed internet article:

Much of Earth's oil reserves can be traced to one single, undersea volcanic eruption...

...So say some scientists.


You mean like an eruption that would cause a global flood?

Like the one recorded in the Bible?

Fountains of the great deep breaking up and all?

Oh, it couldn't be that, that's a myth.

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The Perils of Ministry

Attempts to make your sermons relevant to the culture, along with presenting an entertaining service so as to keep people coming back for more, can have dire consequences:

Pastor gets into motorcycle crash during service.

The opening line of the article is killer:

A pastor brought out a dirt bike during a church service to demonstrate the concept of unity. Now he's demonstrating the concept of healing.

Hardy-har-har.

My first question is wondering how a dirt bike being driven through the worship center like some sort of holy Evil Knievel stunt show demonstrates unity, but I digress.

This of course reminds me of the risk a church took every Easter when they chose to use a live donkey in the "Triumphal Entry" scene of their Passion play. Donkeys are not as sure of foot on plastic covered carpet and "Jesus" could very well experience what it is like to be in a rodeo.

(HT: Sharper Iron)

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Heresy in the House

I had a practical, pastoral question to explore. I can say up front I don't have any specific, detailed answers to the scenario I am going to present, but I would be curious for any input my readers can offer.

I was listening during the last week or so to one of my favored radio talk shows and a caller told the host how her and her husband were divided politically this election year. When they were married about 12 years ago, both of them were conservative in their politics, but over the last 8 years, the husband has steadily become more liberal in his views to the point he will be voting opposite his wife. The host asked the lady if this division was causing any strain in their marriage, and though she affirmed it was not, her hesitancy told me she wasn't being entirely honest.

At any rate, the conversation got me to thinking. Certainly it is one thing for spouses to have opposite opinions regarding politics. I would imagine such a sharp disagreement would create a bit of tension in the home. But it is quite another thing when a couple disagree spiritually over biblical doctrine.

The scenario I wanted to propose involves a couple who get married and are both solid, Bible believing Christians. They attend church together, are actively involved in various ministries, etc. What happens then, if one of individuals begins to develop conflicting beliefs? Say for example, the husband becomes a liberal, United Church of Christ guy, abandoning his gospel orthodoxy to embracing full on universalism. Or perhaps both were Orthodox Presbyterians and the husband comes to embrace open theism? Worse yet, he leaves the church to start his own cult group.

All of these examples I have heard about, or seen happen over the years. Some of the congregations have dealt with the errant spouse with discipline, and out right disfellowshipping, but that still leaves the Bible believing spouse to live with the heretic, as it were.

My questions to anyone willing to leave a comment:

  • Have you ever had to deal with a situation like this in your church?
  • How did you or your church handle it?
  • How do you counsel the spouse who has not embraced spiritual heresy?
  • If the spouse is a wife, and the husband insists upon her attending his heretical church, what would be your counsel to her?
Just a note to my immediate circle of friends. I am not speaking of any specific situation, so don't be wondering if I have someone in mind. I don't. I am just thinking out loud here about a real possible situation, that I know for sure has happened in the past to folks I know about. I figured if I know about certain couples where one spouse has embraced heresy, and the other hasn't, then I figure others out there have also encountered similar situations as well.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

I (Heart) New York

If you like skyscraper sized, catastrophic destruction, here are,

15 Different Ways New York Has Been Destroyed in Movie History

I don't think War of the Worlds really counts as being on this list because that particular scene took place in New Jersey, at least that is what I understood from the movie.

It is eerie to see the World Trade Center in the backdrop of many of these shots.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Crime and Punishment

Little Green Footballs hits bottom, digs

Continuing in his campaign of spreading boneheaded propaganda against those individuals who would dissent from a Darwinian perspective on life, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs posted this deceitful smear last week:

Radical Muslim Groups Fund U.S. Creationist Groups?

The gist of the post is to make a link with Muslim "creationist" apologist, Adnan Oktar, who is hardly a "creationist" as I have noted in two previous posts here and here, and other Christian creationist organizations like ICR. The post then goes on to cite a report from Reuters (a news agency often commented on by Johnson as being unreliable, easily duped by Arab photo stringers, and is too accommodating for terrorists) who interviewed Oktar concerning the enormous book he wrote called Atlas of Creation. The report suggests that Oktar is able to make huge print runs of the book, as well as mail them to creationists all over the world because he is funded by Saudi money. The final sentence in the citation is a quote from a Turkish-American physicist who makes the off-handed remark that if there are any funds flowing it is from Oktar to U.S. creationist groups. Thus, if one connects Johnson's dots he has laid out before us, well the Discovery Institute is really a sleeper cell awaiting their orders to cut the throats of American children as they play in their backyards.

That bit of deceit is bad enough, but the most egregious is when Johnson links his readers to a page on Oktar's website mentioning the conferences the Turkish apologist has arranged to promote his Islamic "creationism" to the public. Among those named by Oktar as speaking at his conferences, which are held in Turkey, are Dr. David Menton and Dr. Duane Gish, both respectable creationists. At first glance, the names of these men speaking at an Islamic creation conference is a bit troubling. Why would these men be speaking at an Islamic conference like this? However, looking a bit closer at the article on Oktar's site, this particular conference where Gish and Menton spoke took place in 1998.

That's ten years ago folks!

My curiosity was stirred nonetheless, so I contacted a person I happen to know via the internet at Answers in Genesis, where Menton is a staff speaker. My friend responded to my inquiry and stated that Menton did indeed speak at that conference and regrets it something terrible now. He was led to believe he would have opportunity to give his regular talks on various issues pertaining to anatomy, with scripture and the gospel incorporated in the talks. However, Oktar's group censored him, as well as all the other Christians there, severely limiting the things they could present to the audience. It was a mistake he won't make again.

I have always noted that one of the dangers with intelligent design theory as it is promoted by the Discovery Institute, is that its apologetic approach is much too broad when confronting evolution in our culture. By steering away from a solid commitment to our self-disclosed Creator, marginalizing the biblical creationists in their midst, as well as primarily appealing to the vague ideas of "ID" taught by ancient Greek philosophy, the otherwise fine folks at the Discovery Institute have opened themselves up to being in league with curious, theological bed-fellows. This kind of compromise will only continue to handicap them and bring them under scrutiny by those in the ignorant masses, like Johnson.

That being said, it is one thing for Charles Johnson, or any anti-ID person, to passionately disagree with their system of belief, but when hatred for a dissenting viewpoint gets to the point a well-known blogger has to start inferring ridiculous conspiracies and begins making stuff up, his disagreement has gone beyond simple, passionate dislike, to becoming pathological. Again, more proof this debate is deeper than mere "scientific" evidence. It involves the heart.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Gleanings in Job #15

Continuing in my devotional series on Job...

Elihu Speaks (32)

We have come to the place in the book of Job where Job's three critical friends have been silenced. After a series of long dialogs attempting to correct Job, and his rebuttals to each of their speeches, they are unable to answer him.

Job 32:1 opens by saying that Job's friends ceased to answer Job.

However, one friend remains who has not yet spoken who arises to defend God's honor in light of what he perceives as Job's self-righteousness.

Elihu, son of Barakel, a Buzite. Elihu may had been a distance relative of Abraham. Elihu is the son of Barakel, who was a Buzite. Buz, according to Genesis 22:20, was a nephew of Abraham, and his older brother was Uz, the land where Job came.

There are a good deal of commentators - generally of the liberal bent - who believe the chapters of Elihu speeches were added at a later date. They argue these chapters were not a part of the original story or narrative. Some of the reasons they claim this:

- Elihu is mentioned no where else in the book.
- His style and language differ from the rest of the book.
- His arguments add nothing new to the book.
- Job did not answer Elihu.

But, all these points are easily answerable:

- The text states that Elihu did not speak until this point because he was a young man and respected his elders to speak first.
- He hadn't spoken because he did not carry the weight of authority as the other three friends.
- His style and language should be different, because he is a different person.
- His arguments would also be different, because he is offering different arguments.
- Job did not answer Elihu because God Almighty interrupted him to speak for Himself before Job and his friends.

As we have seen, Job's three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, all claimed he was suffering his severe trials because he was receiving retribution for unconfessed, personal sin. The friends accused Job of such things of taking advantage of the weak, like widows and orphans, of misusing his authority as a wealthy man against those who are helpless, and just being an all-around scoundrel to his fellow man. Job's responses to his friends were to deny these accusation and to offer his own rebuttal to what he rightly perceived as absurd, speculation about his situation.

Elihu, on the other hand, answered Job with the counsel he needed to hear.

Rather than accusing Job of suffering because of retribution for unconfessed, personal sin, Elihu points out how Job's suffering was stirring up self-righteousness and Job was in danger of becoming sinful.

The record of Job tells us Job did not sin against God by charging him with any wrong (1:22) or sin against God with his lips (2:10). Though it is certainly true Job never accused God of acting sinfully against him, however, as he debated with his three friends as to the reason why they claimed Job suffered under such heavy trials, he was becoming bitter. Trials test our faith, and our response to trials can either be good or bad. Job was beginning to steer toward having a bad attitude, rather than one which kept focus upon who God is.

When Elihu first speaks, he was becoming angry at both Job and his friends. He was angry with Job because his attitude giving a distorted picture of God. He was angry at his three friends because they were neither helping Job think through his trial properly, nor were they answering him as they should. They didn't give the arguments Job needed to hear.

In the chapters which follow, Job 33-37, Elihu attempts to help Job recapture the correct view of God by pointing out three realities of who God is:

I) God does hear and has spoken

II) God is just and acts fair

III) God is sovereign, and acts wisely


These three foundational arguments can be taken to heart by even those in our day and age suffering through trials. Elihu's correctives not only helped reorient Job to think right about God in times of trial, but can also help us.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

We'll see if this pig can fly

Ever since being a blood bought, water immersed Baptist, and becoming fully active in church life, I had a pronounced conviction that there was something severely wrong about a church who boasted of having 3,000 members on its rolls, but only 1,100 people showed up on a weekly basis.

The same can be said about smaller churches where 450 members are listed on its rolls, but only 185 show up on a weekly basis.

Oh, call me old fashioned, but I thought such a set up was deceptive, if not outright lying on the part of the leadership.

Sure there are probably reasons for it. Laziness with discipleship, cowardice on the part of the leadership to discipline church members, and of course the unwillingness to hurt someone's feelings by removing his or her name.

Hopefully this will begin to change in the SBC specifically,


Because the resolution was sponsored by Tom Ascol of the Founders, however, I think its supporters will have a difficult time getting this porcine to take flight. That's because Tom is perceived by a good portion of the SBC pastors as a "disturber of the peace." He's all into Calvinism and Bible exposition and that Reform stuff that kills soul winning, and those traits will be excuse enough for pastors to ignore the resolution. In fact, SBC president, Johnny Hunt, expressed caution with the idea of purging rolls. His attitude alone in dismissing the resolution before it is even really initiated, demonstrates my point.

But greater miracles have happened, so we will see.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

FBT Updates

I have been re-editing and reformatting various blog articles I believe are "timeless," as they say, for more permanent exposure at my Fred's Bible Talk site. The main difference is they lack the cutesy pictures I would attached to my blog articles.

I began with my series on KJV-Onlyism. More will follow shortly. They can be located here.

And for those folks who have asked about MP3s, I will have some more of those podcasted in the near future, too.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Perils of Small Town Living

Every time I read these sorts of stories from my hometown paper, I have to sort of smile. Takes me away from the fast pace of L.A. life to a simpler time.

Farmer has close call in grain bin.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Remember those TV Preachers being audited?

Senator Grassley had audited 6 televangelist ministries, most notably Benny Hinn, Joyce Myers, and the weather controlling Copelands. He recently issued an update:

GRASSLEY UPDATE ON MINISTRY RESPONSES, BACKGROUND QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS DOCUMENT

Interestingly, Hinn and Meyers are eagerly cooperating. I reckon they don't want their gravy train to derail. The Copelands and Creflo Dollar told him to jump in the lake.

(HT: Morey's Gang)

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My Friends

My wife had a friend send her an invitation to Facebook. My wife then set up a Facebook page and before she knew it, all these new friends began inviting her to be their new friend.

I became curious.

Here, where I work, I have overheard my friends talk about Facebook and how much fun it is. So, I had my wife invite me to be her friend on Facebook, and now I have a brand new Facebook page.

Amazingly, just like what happened with my wife, I had people inviting me to be their friend. I had friends coming at me from all directions. It was like I was in 7th grade all over again, but this time without the misshapened body, acne sores, and the teenage angst; and no Wayne Head to loudly point out my misshapened body in public. This time I am popular.

I noticed a few things about Facebook. First, with meeting all these friends, it sure can eat up a lot of your time. Before a persons knows it, he or she could be on Facebook for 3 hours. My wife and I had to pull ourselves away from the computer yesterday evening, because we became so consumed with confirming our new friends, we forgot we had children. They were hungry and we had to feed them.

Also, there is an Orwellian element to Facebook. It's like the system knows your every move. When I visit my home page, there is a box in the side bar telling me everything happening currently with my click of friends. Like, "Neil just flushed the toilet," or "Neil is rocking out to Dokken," or "Neil is enjoying a fabulous episode of Manimal on TVLand."

Then there is an etiquette thing I need to nail down. Do I have to confirm everyone who wants me as a friend? I mean, I have a handful of invitations from people to be friends, but they're folks I don't know and never met in my life. I guess I could make a new friend, but the Facebook invitation to be friends presents the invitation as if this person is like a best buddy. When you receive the invitation, there is an option to confirm the friendship or ignore it. Confirming the friendship sends a little message to the person informing him or her that "Fred has confirmed your friendship" or something along those lines. But if I click ignore the friendship, will the person receive a message informing him or her that "Fred does not like you and has rejected your friendship"? I don't want to be perceived as rude or mean-spirited.

And then I noticed there are pictures of these pretty girls in my side bar sometime, but I am not sure if they want to be my friend or if they want me to send them an invitation to be friends.

My wife says I should think of them as enemies.

Well, it looks like Facebook will be another internet tool to indulge my narcissism.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Just in case anyone was wondering...

I had intended to continue in my response to an email I received from gay "evangelical" apologist and Church historian revisionist, Rick Bretlinger, but I have sort of lost interest at this time. Primarily that is because I can only deal with lying, soul destroying heresy for so long before I just tire of dealing with it with any amount of seriousness. But second, I have newer interests on my horizons, including a big review of Sam Waldron's new book, A Blast Sounded Against MacArthur's Monstrous Millennium, or something like that. Also, life and work are exceptionally busy for me at the moment and that sucks up a lot of my time.

I will return to Rick's email sometime later, because I believe his claims are important to answer, but for now I am sitting that on the back burner. The three previous parts can be read under this tag: Answering Gay "Christians"

I will continue in my little devotional series on Job, which I have happened to like posting and I have received many encouraging notes of thanks for doing it. The compiling takes me a bit of time because I am working from a loose set of notes and fleshing them out to readable posts takes work. The Good Lord Willing, I hope to have the next installment up this week.

By the way, those who haven't been following the comments in the meta under my post contrasting Intelligent Design Theory with Creationism, Boy howdy! I attracted a gaggle of angry, seething evolutionist/atheists. One anti-theist named "Bob" left four screeching rants that will amuse many of my readers.

And they say religion has nothing to do with this debate. It's all about science and fact. Yeah, right.

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The Jesus Stone

I tend to be extra leery of these types of media announcements. I have seen way too many Christian "apologists" in the past run hog wild with these announcements as "evidence" for the reliability of the Bible, only to do a face-plant when the "evidence" in question is exposed as being a fraud or hoax.


If I am reading the article correctly, apparently there is a stone that pre-dates the birth of Christ - were talking maybe 20 B.C. (or B.C.E. if you are one of those "progressive" theologians) - and written on that stone is 87 lines of Hebrew suggesting that Jewish tradition taught about a coming Messiah who will die and then be raised from the dead three days later. The stone is yet to be officially authenticated, hence the reason for my word of caution for my evidentialist friends.

Amusingly, the article tries to cast this find in the realm of being problematic for Christians. The author suggests that if the stone is real and the message on the stone is legitimate, then Christianity is no longer unique, but is tied to early, pre-Christian Judaism. Has this person forgotten the Old Testament? Christianity has always taught that Jesus is a fulfillment of OT promises and both Jesus and His Apostles taught He was the coming Messiah. His coming and ministry was prophesied by the OT prophets, including His death and suffering (Isaiah 52-57 for example). Why this stone, if real, is perceived as a problem for Christians is a strange conclusion. If anything, it is more of a problem for the Jewish community, and for the current anti-theist apologists who claim Christians borrowed from pagan, mystery religions like Mithraism, in order to bolster their new religious system.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Where the (heck) is Matt?

Quite good. The guy must be like rich to do this...
Or maybe out of work.

Where the (heck) is Matt?

You may want to turn off the HD option to get the full effect. It slowed our machine down.


HT. Challies

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Does ID = Creationism?

A Hip and Thigh Classic

I swear this is not a blatant example of monkey see, monkey do. Honestly.

I was thinking of re-visiting the first post I ever wrote for my blog because current events warranted a re-post. I mean it. I was thinking about it long before Phil re-posted his.

I digress.


A brief word from our founder:

Regular readers to my blog will note that I tend to write on current events dealing with evolution, intelligent design, and creationism. There are a few reasons for this. First, it is a subject I happen to find interesting. I like science stuff. Second, and more importantly, the debate of origins is a fundamental one in our society, and in fact, beyond our society to encompass the cultures of the entire world. Origins is a subject that enthralls humanity simply because I happen to believe the question of origins is a big part of man being created in the image of God. Additionally, a pronounced line sharply polarizes people into specific worldviews they attempt to defend with heated passions. What one thinks of origins, evolutionary theory, and creation, exposes what a person believes about reality and how to understand the world. Then third, the modern day Church is myopic to the fundamentals of the disagreement. They either think the debate with vehement haters of creation can be won by overwhelming these dissenters with evidence, or they may believe religion and science are to remain separated, with science being a neutral method of gaining knowledge with the two never mixing. Rarely do modern Christians realize the heart of the debate comes down to philosophical biases from both sides being injected into the discussion. Evolutionary proponents are hardly neutral in their evaluation of science and are just as much a religious fundamentalist as their creationist opponents.

In recent years, the ID movement, promoted primarily by the Discovery Institute, has attempted to challenge the philosophical strangle hold evolutionary theory has as the prevailing zeitgeist of our society, especially in schools. Their attempts to undo the grip of evolutionary thinking on the minds of people has sadly met with failure on the court level. The recent example being a case in Pennsylvania, and more than likely one which will take place in Louisiana due to the governor signing a bill to allow ID to be discussed in the class room.

One of the major talking points of IDers is that they are not religious and they certainly aren't creationists. The secular world who hate God refuse to accept their distinction and merely see IDers as being biblical creationists wrapped up in new clothes and this despite their protestations to the contrary. This rejection is held by both leftists, as well as conservatives, who would consider themselves "religious" as in being church attenders. As I noted in a post a week or so ago, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs represents the typical attitude of ID haters, painting them as the "new creationists" and dismissing them as cranks, kooks, and quacks, who promote a pseudo-science attempting to take us all back to the dark ages when people thought the stars and planets moved across the sky because angels were pushing them.

The first post I wrote when I entered the blog-o-sphere happened to be on the one issue I think defines my apologetics when it comes to the origins issue. It was a post interacting with, and dispelling, a newspaper article written by a Kansas City Star columnist who, like the vast majority of anti-ID advocates, believe ID is just another way of saying biblical creationism.

This month of July, 2008, happens to mark the 150th anniversary of when Charles Darwin began compiling his research into the earthshaking book On the Origin of Species by the Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life. In light of this, I thought I would re-publish my original post. I reformatted the post a bit, the linksto the article I interact with no longer works, so I just removed them, but overall the material is still relevant in distinguishing between ID and biblical creationism.

Does ID = Creationism?

One of the biggest pieces of misinformation continually being passed along by the Main Stream Media as they print reports on the debate between Darwinian evolutionists and their critics, is the absurd notion that Intelligent Design (ID) proponents are really disguised fundamentalist Christians attempting to sneak religion into public schools.

This is a blatant falsehood.

Anyone who insists upon promoting this lie demonstrates either personal laziness with the ability to discover what ID adherences genuinely believe, or a willing duplicity to intentionally distort the facts.

For those unfamiliar with the ID movement, it is a grass roots effort among a growing number of scientists from a variety of scientific disciplines to challenge the sheer irrational implausibility of Darwinian evolution as the means of explaining the origins of life on our planet. They offer their challenge in a number of ways, but the most common is by acknowledging the obvious complexity of multi-cellular life; a fact either ignored by evolutionists, or dismissed out of hand with illogical explanations.

One of ID’s main talking points is the irreducible complexity of even the smallest microscopic organisms. Simply put, the tinniest bacteria have specifically complex parts that are necessary for the organism to function. Thus, if any one of those parts were “reduced” – taken away or lost – the bacteria would cease to function and could not survive. For example, on a larger scale, the common woodpecker shows such irreducibly complex parts. This unique bird has a specially shaped skull and a padded beak allowing it to take the impact of repeatedly beating its head against a tree. Additionally, the bird’s neck contains a spring loaded bone, providing it the ability of a jackhammer so as to punch holes in wood. Remove the special skull and padded beak and the shock of pounding its head will kill it. Remove the spring loaded neck bone and the woodpecker looses its ability to pound through wood. In short, all of these special parts that give the woodpecker its wood pecking abilities had to be in place at the start of the woodpecker’s existence or it would not be able to survive. Such evidence exposes the stark unreliability of evolutionists to explain the presence of all life on earth, let alone the woodpecker.

The Darwinian philosophy of alleged “common ancestry,” adaptation through mutation and gradual change over long periods of time (or short periods of punctuated equilibrium, depending upon your philosophical, evolutionary leanings), does not even begin to adequately explain the origin of biological life we observe. Intelligent Design proponents are honestly evaluating the evidence and recognize the interpretative conclusion of the evidence drawn by evolutionists is primarily driven by their presuppositional commitment to materialistic atheism and not everyday, applied science.

Scientists in the ID movement dissenting from the “norm,” as it were, believe the fundamental flaws of evolution should be discussed in the public arena, especially the public schools, where these flaws have gone unchallenged for years and are passed along as “fact” by shallow minded biology teachers who forbid students to even consider the problems inherent with evolutionary philosophy. Intelligent Design wishes to provide students with all the available information and points of view interpreting the information so they can learn to think critically; the “status quot” wishes to censor them.

Now granted, ID has the word “design” in its self-description, and that in turn implies some recognition of an intelligent cause to do the designing, but this non-descript intelligence does not equate the God of revealed scripture who created the universe and all that it contains in 6 days as the Genesis narrative tells us. There is nothing necessarily “fundamentalist Christian” with ID’s intelligent cause.

Yet, in spite of the disconnect between the ID’s “intelligent cause” and the revealed, biblical God, witless reporters and writers in the secular media insist upon equating the two. One of the most recent examples is from an article written by Mary Sanchez, a regular opinion writer at the Kansas City Star. In her article, Democracy Under Assault in Schools, originally published on May 3rd, 2005 and re-published in the L.A. Daily News on May 27th, where I read it, Mary tells the tale of one Pedro Irigonegaray, a Cuban immigrant who fled with his family from Castro’s Cuba when he was a boy. Pedro grew up loving the freedom of democracy this wonderful country provides and he eventually became a defense attorney (as all democracy loving immigrants from Communist countries aspire to be) so as to be a crusader defending everyday freedoms in jeopardy of being taking away from the common man. According to Mary, one of those precious freedoms Pedro is involved with defending in Kansas is the freedom from the tyrannical ideas of Intelligent Design. In one of the more strained comparisons I have read in some time, Mary believes that teaching students to critically analyze the philosophical claims of origin science is an assault on American democracy and is akin to full blown communism, albeit, “fundamentalist Christian communism.”

Putting aside her bizarre defense for freedom from religion, I gave up on Mary being a credible editorial opinion maker when she wrote:

As a defense attorney, Irigonegaray’s client was mainstream science, the theory that life evolved through the ages. It was sort of a modern-day Scopes Monkey Trial. The Kansas Board of Education listened to the arguments. Proponents of Intelligent Design (a new way of saying creationism) want the scientific theories of evolution downplayed in the public classrooms. Intelligent design argues that nature is too complicated to be the result of natural causes and is best explained by creator.


One is at a loss where to begin in correcting the distorted ignorance contained in this paragraph, but her comment that Intelligent Design is a new way of saying “creationism” is inexcusable and the easiest to answer if one were to simply do a quick Internet search, an ability Mary apparently does not have. A cursory reading of one of the main websites of the ID movement, The Center for Culture and Science, clearly states ID has revulsion towards any form of biblical creationism. Under their questions section they write this in response to whether or not ID equals creationism:
4. Is intelligent design theory the same as creationism?No. Intelligent design theory is simply an effort to empirically detect whether the "apparent design" in nature acknowledged by virtually all biologists is genuine design (the product of an intelligent cause) or is simply the product of an undirected process such as natural selection acting on random variations. Creationism is focused on defending a literal reading of the Genesis account, usually including the creation of the earth by the Biblical God a few thousand years ago. Unlike creationism, the scientific theory of intelligent design is agnostic regarding the source of design and has no commitment to defending Genesis, the Bible or any other sacred text.

The difference could not be any plainer. The most noteworthy distinction between ID theory and biblical creationism, as the paragraph explains, is creationism’s recognition of the biblical God who has revealed Himself in the pages of Holy Scripture. Moreover, creationists acknowledge and uphold the authority of the Bible as the infallible source of divinely revealed information telling mankind where life came from and who created it.

Intelligent Designers, on the other hand, believe in some non-descript intelligent cause and are agnostic as to who or what this “cause” is. It could be anything from aliens living in another dimension who created our universe using high energy particle accelerators to a super intelligent galactic turtle. Sure, there are some muddle-minded Christians who have latched onto ID theory with an attempt to “Christianize” it. I, as a biblical creationist, recognize the important worth of ID’s task of tearing down the ideological stranglehold evolutionary theory has on the academic mind. But, the fact of ID not being grounded in the true and living God who has clearly revealed Himself only allows any person with a wacky belief about a creator and creation utilize ID arguments.

Many of the promoters for ID are non-religious, non-practicing Catholics. Others are somewhat atheistic. Dr. Jonathan Wells, who wrote a tremendous book exposing the outright scientific fraud published in high school science texts books called The Icons of Evolution is a Moonie. That means he believes a squat, little Korean man is the Son of God. Even the famed, former atheist, Anthony Flew, acknowledges how ID arguments changed his mind about the plausibility of materialistic atheism to explain the world’s origin so that now he believes in some form of deism. Yet, he still reviles the living God, shaking his fist in His face, and he continues to hate Christianity as a revelatory, religious system.

These key distinctions are glaring. Any time a Galileo-like high school biology teacher challenges evolutionary dogma with ID arguments that results in him being brought up on charges of scientific heresy, reporters in the MSM, along with opinion writers like Mary Sanchez, trot out some fossilized biology professor from a local community college who quickly renounces him as promoting religion in public schools. Do these people truly believe they are doing genuine reporting? Defending American liberties from the onslaught of theocratic minded Christians?

Please.

How long will these folks persist in their embarrassing ignorance by passing along the same boring, anti-religious clichés comparing ID to fundamentalist Christians desiring to rob Americans of democracy and impose a theocratic government? It is becoming wearisome and unoriginal.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Whom should I date?

I mean, if I were a single Muslim guy, the choices are so hard. All I got are the eyes to go by.

The girl with the pink head covering may be a lot of fun, but she could be a little too progressive, but the girl with the sun glasses looks like she may be mysterious.


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