Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Question of Origins

http://www.eternal-productions.org/question_video/question_video.html

Check out this great video about the Origin of the Universe and all life. You can watch the
whole video online for free. (It is easy to load and doesn't use up too much data).
This is one of the best overviews I've seen of the main evidence for the existence of God
and against evolution and the Big Bang.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dead Men Don't Rise

The Argument from Theistic Evolution Logic (Recently Evolved)

Based on discussions with Theistic Evolutionists and other Christians who accept the Big Bang and millions of years and reinterpret Genesis accordingly, I have concluded that we must bow the knee to science whenever science and the Bible are in conflict. To do otherwise is to make us look like fools in the eyes of the world. The Big Bang, Billions of years, and evolution are scientific facts, therefore Genesis cannot be taken literally.

However, our reinterpreting of the Bible must not stop at these issues – we must also apply scientific facts to the truth about Jesus.  The vast majority of scientists do not believe that dead men rise, and the vast majority of scientists also believe that virgins don't conceive. These are scientific impossibilities. Therefore, the New Testament also cannot be taken literally based on the revelation of scientific facts.

These scientists are highly qualified and base their thinking on countless peer-reviewed studies in top scientific journals. Although there are some minor assumptions with these conclusions they have been vigorously tested scientifically and therefore the chances of them being wrong are so small as to be negligible. Therefore, in this modern age of science we must reject the outdated doctrine of the literal resurrection and virgin birth. These passages must be reinterpreted as being symbolic.

One supporting Bible verse showing the validity of my symbolic interpretation of the resurrection is where Jesus said on the cross – “it is finished” (John 19:30).  This proves that he did not rise after this happened as his mission was already completed.

Those who would argue that we know that Jesus lived because history testifies to it are mistaken. Science is much more reliable than historical reports in the distant past, especially when based on documents written 2000 years ago using accommodating language to poorly educated peasants.  And science tells us that dead men don’t rise and virginal conceptions don’t happen.

Anyone who disagrees with this modern and universally accepted scientific view is a science hater and denying science. More than this, they are bigoted and blinded by biblical literalism. They are fundamentalists and dangerous fools who have no intelligence. Anyone with half a brain knows the scientific fact – dead men don’t rise.

This shackling literalism that takes the resurrection of Jesus literally is doing great damage to the Christian cause. It is putting people off our religion by making them think we are out of touch with the world as it really is in this day and age. We must abandon this kind of narrow-mindedness and accept the irrefutable facts of science – dead men don’t rise.

In the time of Jesus people thought the earth was flat. The Bible is not meant to be a scientific textbook. It is teaching symbolic and poetic truth – the truth that Jesus was a great person. But he did not rise. Any verses that talk about Jesus rising are obviously symbolic because science has shown that miracles like resurrections never happen.

Any distinctions between historical science and operational science are to be ignored as being imaginary distinctions. As is any suggestion that atheistic scientists could be biased against the possibilities of miracles.

It’s not just the fact that most scientists believe that dead men don’t rise but the fact that most people in the world these days don’t believe in resurrections. How could the majority of scientists and people be wrong?

Furthermore, it is very important for Christians to realise that the resurrection of Jesus is not a foundational issue. It is just a side issue that has little importance. It’s a fact – the debate is over – dead men don’t rise. 

(Note - this article is tongue in cheek. I don't really believe these things but am pointing out the absurd inconsistency for any Christian who reinterprets Genesis because of the fallible opinions of scientists. If they are going to listen to secular scientists on the idea of Billions of years, then they should also reject the resurrection if they are going to be consistent - and sadly that is often what ends up happening.)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Misconceptions about Hell



An atheist meme shows a picture of an old bearded man throwing his kids into a fire. The police burst into the house and pointing their guns at the man say, “You’re under arrest! Whoops. Is that you, God? Sorry ‘bout that. You can do anything you want.” ‘God’ replies, “My children refused to recognise my authority so I threw them on the fire.”

Or take this analogy – what would you think of a father that punished his kids to go to their rooms forever because they stole cookies from the cookie jar? I’m sure you would think that he is cruel and that the punishment is out of proportion to the crime.

Unfortunately, the average Christian view of God is pretty close to the above examples – although they try to deny it. Of course God is love and he doesn’t want anyone to go to hell, but the traditional view of hell taught by the church where God sends unbelievers to suffer forever and ever to be tormented in eternal fire is a big misconception based on wrong translations and wrong interpretations of the Bible. Even Hitler didn’t punish his enemies forever, but to say that God will punish unbelievers forever makes God seem worse than Hitler, and may has likely caused many to reject the traditional Christianity. (Churchianity?) Simply put, if God is love – how can he allow the suffering of people forever and ever without end? How could God or we enjoy eternity in heaven knowing that our loved ones were suffering forever in hell?  

There are two main views on hell – the traditional fundamentalist eternal torture chamber view (which comes from pagan ideas and Catholic tradition that have so pervasively influenced Christians thinking that even most Bible translations have minor but significant errors in their translations related to hell) – and the liberal view that has become more popular in recent times that says there is no literal hell or that everyone will get to Heaven in the end (universalism). (These views don’t have much support from the Bible and take verses on Hell as being symbolic).

However, there is also a lesser known third view that stays faithful to what the Bible says - annihilationism. Unfortunately, many Christians write off this view as heresy because they think it contradicts the Bible. However, this view has very strong biblical support when one properly understands and interprets all of the relevant scriptures on this topic based on the original Greek and Hebrew - a task that is not easy to do in the light of nearly 2000 years of misleading teaching on this topic by the church. The traditional view of hell has been the semi-official view of the church since around the 6th century. Despite this, annihilationism does have some support from early Christian theologians, even if it has always been a minority view.

So what about these Bible translation errors? Firstly, the word hell is not in the original Hebrew and Greek. The word ‘hell’ is in the KJV Bible 54 times, but in the NIV only 15 times. This massive reduction in the use of the word hell is related to properly translating the OT word 'sheol' as ‘the grave’. In the KJV NT hell is mentioned 10 times from the Greek word ’hades’ which also means ‘the grave’, 12 times from the Greek word ‘Gehenna’ which is a literal place outside Jerusalem that used to be the local rubbish dump (and is not referring to some kind of nebulous place of judgment for disembodied spirits), and 1 time from the Greek word ‘Tartarus’ referring to a place of darkness.

The second Bible translation problem has to do with the words ‘eternal’ and ‘forever’ in relation to hell. These words are a wrong translation of ‘aionios’ (the root is ‘aion’ where we get our English word aeon) which means ‘age’. For example, it is translated as ‘age’ (end of the age) in Matthew 28:20.  So basically ‘aion’ means a long time – how long? We don’t know. In Jonah 2:6 Jonah says he was in the fish ‘forever’ – but it was only 3 days. The only reason ‘hell’ is translated as being ‘forever’ is because of the arbitrary decisions of translators who have already decided that the traditional view of hell is correct despite the fact that in reality eternal hell fire is a pagan idea and not a biblical idea. Nearly all translators are doing this unwittingly because they have already decided that hell is eternal based on tradition rather than the word of God. The thing that makes it very complicated is that the word can mean forever (and does when used in relation to heaven). One of the only Bible translations that get it right on the topic of hell is Young’s Literal Translation. And the only verse that uses the aion word twice (aionas ton aionon / age of the ages) is in relation to Satan being cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:10) - not every human being that has rejected God as is usually incorrectly thought.

Furthermore, even if you still hold on to the idea of eternal hell you still have to believe it is eternal in duration and not just eternal in consequences. And is it the punishing that is eternal, or the result of the punishment that is eternal?

The Bible teaches that the wicked will be burned to ashes and totally destroyed. (Malachi 4:1-3). And Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire and this serves as an example of the destruction of the wicked in the future. (Jude 7). (Sodom and Gomorrah aren’t still burning). Psalm 37:20 says, “But the wicked will perish: Though the LORD's enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.”

Many verses related to hell talk about this total destruction of the soul. For example in Matthew 10:28 Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Here hell should be translated Gehenna). How can something be destroyed and live on? Destroyed means destroyed and death means death. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death…” (Not eternity in hell fire).

The Bible also talks about degrees of punishment for the wicked. Jesus said that sinners would be punished with ‘many blows’ and ‘few blows’. (Luke 12:47-48). Few means a finite number – once the few blows are over then that means the punishment must be over. If the traditional view were correct Jesus would have talked about ‘heavier’ and ‘lighter’ degrees of punishment. So a key question is - is it the punishing that is eternal, or is it the result of the punishment that's eternal? (i.e. the consequences of the final death sentence are eternal). 

One of the most common Bible passages that is used to argue for the traditional view of hell is the story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16. However, even if you want to take this passage literally it's not about hell as in the final judgment of the wicked - it's about Hades - the intermediate state before the judgment. It's a parable that says nothing about the duration of the punishment of the rich man. See here for more on this: Lazarus and the Rich Man - It's Not About Final Punishment.

This issue is vitally important because it impacts on ones view of God. God’s truth is out there for those who want to find it. But we live in a dark world where Satan’s lies have deceived even many of ‘the elect’ on this topic. Research it for yourself – and find out the truth. It’s not about what I think or what the majority of Christians think – it’s about what the Bible really teaches. God is not a sadistic being who will eternally torment unbelievers. God is love, and he desires a relationship with you. 

For further reading / research:

God or Absurdity Blog post: Is Annihilationism an Unbiblical Side Issue?.

www.rethinkinghell.com.

www.helltruth.com

www.bible-questions-and-answers.com/Hell-Is-a-Mistranslation.html
.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Divorce hope


To find the truth about divorce I recommend the website www.divorcehope.com.

A key issue related to the topic of divorce is that the word that is translated as divorce in many Bibles actually means 'send away' rather than divorce. (See KJV and many other more literal translations which use 'send away'). The cultural context is that in the Middle East then (and still today in some parts of the middle east) men were sending away their wives for trivial reasons but without giving them a certificate of divorce. In that situation they'd be then marrying a second person and committing adultery if they remarried.

Matthew 5:31-32

"It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife [apolyse], let him give her a writing of divorcement [apostasion]: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife [apolyon i.e. sending the wife away without giving her a certificate of divorce], saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced [apolelymenēn] committeth adultery."

I've added in the Greek words. You can see that putting away is a different Greek word than is used for certificate of divorce.

All of this is important, not because I want to trivialise divorce, but because the church, and Christians in general, need to be very careful not to add extra burden and condemnation onto those who have been through the heartbreak of divorce.

John Piper is an example of a Christian leader who gets this issue wrong. In his article on Divorce & Remarriage he says that Christians who get divorced should never remarry. 

I'm not a Greek expert but the study I've done of this matter makes much more sense to me of the text than John Piper does. I wonder how much study John really did of this issue and how he got it so wrong. Even if I am wrong, he should be far less dogmatic about these topics given the implications for those who have gone through the heartbreak of divorce.

Woe to us if we end up being like the Pharisees who Jesus condemned for adding extra burdens onto people without being willing to lift a finger to actually help. Regarding the teachers of the law and Pharisees Jesus said: "They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them." (Matthew 23:4)

To presume to be so sure on these issues to such a degree that some would tell other Christians that they should not remarry or that they were sinning when they got a divorce is the kind of legalistic teaching that puts divorcees off going to church. Even to presume to know that a married couple is automatically joined together by God is going too far.

For example, if a couple got drunk and got married on a whim at a Vegas chapel, would God consider that couple as joined and therefore "what God has joined let no man separate?" To think that is just absurd. How do we know that a married couple is joined before God even if they have been married for a number of years?  Surely we cannot be certain of many things when it comes to the complex topic of marriage, divorce, and remarriage.

It is my hope and prayer that Christians would not misrepresent God in the things that they say or do, especially on such a sensitive topic as divorce.

For Further Reading / Research:

God's Fingerprints in Japan

I wrote this article a while ago about Japan

http://www.101arguments.com/the-argument-from-godrsquos-fingerprints-in-japan.html.

Evolution vs God



“Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate the evidence.” (Richard Dawkins).
“Ray Comfort has done it again. In this video he uncovers the illogic of the atheists' thinking as he shows people two things, how evolution falls short as a true scientific theory and how their belief in it is actually faith.” – Matt Slick, Carm.org

“Evolution vs. God” is a new movie by Ray Comfort, and whether you love or hate the guy, you can’t ignore him. (See www.evolutionvsgod.com). If you haven’t seen the movie yet I encourage you to watch it – you can see it for free here
(
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0u3-2CGOMQ ) on YouTube.

Aware of the fact that evolutionists and atheists pride themselves on believing in the ‘facts’ of science instead of the ‘faith’ of religion, and aware that real science is based on observational evidence and repeatable experiments, Ray Comfort repeatedly asks evolutionists the question, “Could you give me some observable evidence that evolution is true – evidence of a change of kinds – something that I don’t have to receive by faith?” The answers (actually the lack of answers) are very revealing.
The movie shows evolution for what it is, like the emperor with no clothes, when closely examined the hard evidence can’t be seen because it doesn’t really exist – certainly not empirical evidence that is the stuff of real science that can be tested and observed in the present. Things that supposedly happened ‘millions of years ago’ can’t be observed today but must be accepted by faith. (See my article about millions of years).

The university students that are interviewed have faith in their teachers and the “scientific community”. I feel sorry for these no doubt intelligent university science students who have been duped into believing evolution is a fact – but they believe it largely because their professors and the majority of scientists believe it. (The logical fallacies here are the appeal to authority and the appeal to the majority.) But when the PhD science professors (including the famous atheist PZ Meyers) are asked the same questions they can’t provide real reasons or real evidence to show that evolution is true either, just ad hoc stories.

The best ‘evidence’ evolutionists can provide for evolution are things like stickleback fish changing into other kinds of… stickleback fish. (See Stickleback fish article here ( http://creation.com/stickleback-evolution). Or finch birds changing into… other kinds of finch birds. ( http://creation.com/darwins-finches ) But neither of these is really evolution as there is no new genetic information that has been added – it’s speciation (minor variations within the same kind of animal). It is not a change in kind of one animal changing into another animal. This kind of thinking and playing with words (where evolution and speciation are interchanged to mean the same thing) is a logical fallacy called equivocation. Whether this is a deliberate deception or whether the evolutionists are unaware of what they are doing is open to interpretation. However, as Ray points out, why not lie and deceive if there is no God to hold us all ultimately accountable? 

Another ‘evidence’ that is provided is Lenski’s bacteria experiment – but Ray points out that they are still just bacteria. On PZ Meyers’ blog Meyers writes about their interview and says he is upset because in his view Ray ignores the fact that these bacteria have changed to become “quantitatively different bacteria”. But that is exactly the problem – they aren’t really that different – there has been a mutational change but it isn’t an increase in genetic information – the change is a downhill change. All of these kinds of changes, whether via mutation or speciation, are like trying to get to the top of Mt. Everest (or in this case Mt. Evolution) by continually heading down and at best occasionally going sideways! (See
http://creation.com/bacteria-evolving-in-the-lab-lenski-citrate-digesting-e-coli and http://creation.com/the-evolution-trains-a-comin )

Ray also asks a few people if they have a dog and when they say they do, he asks them if their dog was drowning and at the same time a neighbor that they don't know was drowning – who would they save?  Startlingly they say they would save their dog! It’s been pointed out before that caring for pets goes against the ‘survival of the fittest’ of evolution and Ray shows how the theory of evolution devalues human life in general.

Ray Comfort gets to the heart of the matter – evolution (and the atheism it leads to) is not truly scientific and it is believed in by faith – blind faith – because the alternative – believing in Creation and God, means being morally accountable to the Creator. It’s much ‘easier’ to believe in evolution and atheism and then I am ‘free’ to do whatever I want. (But beware – such ‘freedom’ leads to slavery to one’s own desires). 
Ultimately it is evolution and atheism that are “the great cop-out” and “the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate the evidence.”

For more information:
Another review of the movie: http://creation.com/evolution-vs-god

First post

This is my first post on this Brendan Truth Seeker blog. I'm just feeling me way here and trying to figure out the best way to blog about important stuff. I have also written a number of articles on www.101arguments.com

P.S The blog name changed from 'Truth Seeker' to 'God or Absurdity - the Blog' on 14 Mar 2014