The Hunger Games and Christianity

April 23, 2012

I saw the hunger games last weekend on a date night with my wife and then again this weekend with my daughter.  Even though I haven’t read the book yet, I had seen the previews and it looked interesting and full of action.  It did not disappoint, and I enjoyed the movie both times.

WARNING: If you haven’t read the books or seen the movie yet I want to warn you that I might be sharing some spoiler information that would ruin your plans to enjoy it first.

The movie overall seemed to be making a statement about control and power in life.  It would be interesting to look up the author, Suzanne Collins and see what her views were about different subjects in politics, religion, and life.  I wonder what kind of statement she is attempting to make about our current culture.  I think there are several angles at which you can take the scenes and lines and interpret them a certain way.  You could make an argument for the voice of the media today, perhaps a political statement, you can draw a parallel between the different economic classes, and a few other topics I’m sure.  Today I want to address the Hunger Games and my Christian faith, since I relate everything to my own personal relationship with Jesus Christ why not relate a movie and see what conversations we can stir up.

The first thing I want to bring up is the general idea for the Hunger Games all together.  The idea that one day in our future we might find ourselves in some similar situation with a twisted goal of survival to the death as a reality game seems so foreign to me, but then I question, could we find ourselves as a culture doing something like that in the future?  Will Survivor go into its 50th season with a shocking new twist?  I hope not!  Pondering the Hunger Games I think that this type of behavior that we credit back to the gladiators of Rome, but I have to say that I don’t think we as humans, still value life much more than we did thousands of years ago.  Sure our war habits have changed into more modern practices, but the 20th century has been one of the bloodiest centuries since recorded history.  In David Berlinski’s book “The Devils Delusion” Berlinski spends 3 pages totalling up the amount of deaths in just the last century. 1    Dare I even mention the issue of abortion and that since the Roe. v Wade Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in 1973 there has been an estimated 50 million abortions in the US alone.   Yes, I went there.  The right to life is one of the single most important issues for many Christians today.  There is also something to be said about how the tributes are paraded in proudly before the masses weeks before their own deaths.    I’m curious, where do you think we are as a nation, a planet with the value of human life?

The second things that caught my eyes and ears was a conversation that Peeta has with Katniss the night before the games begin.   Petta says

“I don’t want them to change me in there  Turn me into something I’m not.  I’m sure I’ll kill just like everyone else… only I keep wishing I could think of a way to… show the Capital that they don’t own me, that I’m more than a piece in their Games.  If I’m gonna die, I still want to be me.” 2

As a Christian I often think that we are in a battle not to compromise what we hold to be TRUTH in life and no matter what the rest of the world does or deems acceptable we strive to live our life for God no matter what everyone else does.  There are so many scriptures that speak to this challenge.

Ezekiel, one of God’s prophets warns the city of Jerusalem that they have fallen into a compromise with the nations around them and because they have failed to follow the Lord, the Lord himself will be against them.  (Ezekiel 5:6-8)  Would we rather have it our way, like Burger King or have Almighty God against us?    There is the more-widely known Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” and a few chapters later we are told whom we are to conform to.

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” – Romans 8:29

Mind you that, I am not preaching this blog from some state of perfection.  The process to conform to the likeness of the Son, Jesus is a life-long journey.  One filled with many traps and snares that I have fallen into before.  I am a nobody, just trying to help anybody find the peace and joy in life on the way to eternal life with God.  I am thankful for the help that God gives me in the journey.  He doesn’t just leave me to my own.

1 Corinthians 10:13 the Bible promises us “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a wayout so that you can stand up under it.”

The last thing I will mention is this post is at the very beginning of the movie where the tributes are chosen in the Reaping.  All the teens that are of the appropriate age are herded to the Reaping where a boy and girl of each district are chosen by the people of the Capital.  Katniss has a sister named Primrose who was chosen to represent the 12th district and in a move of compassion, Katniss runs forward and volunteers to take her place.  According to the law, someone had to be chosen as a tribute from each district, and it was strictly enforced every year, for the past 75 years.  No doubt you can see the great parallel between mankind and God.  God is Holy and Just and must punish sin.  It is His law.  As Jesus stepped forth and left His Heavenly home to volunteer His own self to be willing to die for all of mankind.  I would encourage you to grab you Bible and read Philippians 2:3-11.  It is a great picture of what Jesus Christ did for us.

There are more things I would love to bring out, perhaps in another post later.  If you have some other thoughts relating the Hunger Games to the Christian worldview or your faith, please feel free to add them.  As always questions, comments, and discussions are welcome.

End Notes:

1. Berlinski, David – The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretenses, pages 22-24

2. Collins, Suzanne – The Hunger Games, pages 171-172


Preachy, Judgmental and Intolerant

April 20, 2012

This past week I have stirred the waters with some comments and questions on Facebook.   I realize that I may be asking for it when I post up a comment or question, but that’s okay with me, I enjoy the discussions and debates.  I don’t even mind being called names some times, as long as they leave my family and my mom out of the comments.  After thinking through some of the comments this past week, a few thoughts crossed my mind about the three words in the title above.

Preachy - When you and I share our opinions it can be offensive, especially when it comes to our faith and beliefs.  The Bible  talks about this in Hebrews 4:12 when it says “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ”  The word “dividing” brings the idea of a forced separation, picking sides, or not staying in a neutral position.  While it may be comfortable in the middle and not rocking the boat sooner or later I believe we must put our oars and paddles in the water and choose a direction to go in.  The key to not being preachy is to give someone enough food for thought that they will take a step back and consider what you have said because it was carefully thought out and presented in a nice way.  1 Peter 3:15 commands us as Christians to “do this with gentleness and respect.”  Apologist Greg Koukl uses the phrase “to place a stone or pebble in someone’s shoe.”  If we are not kind or gentle, or respectful it’s as if we smash someone over the head with a boulder.  This will get you nowhere.

Some people don’t understand why Christians share their faith and see it as being pushy or preachy.  Christians don’t see it this way because of our beliefs that we are trying to help our fellow-man see the world through the lens of our worldview and that there is only one true worldview.  Let me use an illustration to help you understand.  As a parent, I teach my kids about the dangers in the world.  To not talk to strangers, to watch out for creepers and child predators because I love them and don’t want them to fall prey to those kinds of people.  In the same way, Christians believe that there is a literal Hell and that we want to do our best to help other people avoid that any way possible.  Mind you that we should respect others beliefs and not force anything on anyone, but it still is a responsibility to help others understand the Bible, the teachings of Christ, and what it takes to receive the gift of eternal life.

Judgmental – Judging is one of those “hot-button” words that brings up a lot of negative thoughts.  Many people including Christians have often quoted Matthew 7:1 that says “Do not judge” or the King James version reads “Judge not.”  If we continue to read after the first three words we see that the Bible is not saying that we cannot judge, it tells us that we will be judged with the same measure that we judge others by and in verse 5 “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. ”  The judgment that takes place is to help someone else, not to kick them why they are down.  We must check our attitudes and motives when we speak of someone else.  Is it to build ourselves up or make ourselves look good?  One of the realities to being an associate pastor is that the scriptures preached/taught are not always popular or easy to swallow for everyone, including myself.  BUT, if I am to preach the whole Bible, I can’t take scissors and cut out the parts that I don’t like.  I must make judgments on things from time to time in relation to God’s word.  What things should I post and not post on Facebook/Twitter, How should I be responsible with my possessions, Who should I vote for, Why should I buy or not buy this CD?  Perhaps the key here is given advice when asked and not pushing it on someone who didn’t ask for it.

Intolerant – The last word, intolerant is another popular word used by people when their viewpoints are challenged.  It is a label that almost reaches the level of the word racism in our American culture.  Have you ever considered intolerant as a good word?  It can be.  Mother Teresa was intolerant of poverty and hunger.  The United States was intolerant of the Genocide of the Jewish people by the Nazis in WWII.  Some others are intolerant of the mistreatment of animals or child abuse.  Being intolerant just means that you can’t stand for something or that you will not accept it.  Jesus was most intolerant of the religious leaders of His day and held little contempt for them and their actions that led the people away from the truth of God’s word.  Being tolerant doesn’t mean that you have to agree with someone elses viewpoint or opinion.  It just means that you respectful recognize to their own right to a different belief or opinion.  It also  doesn’t mean that they are right, or that you both are right about something.

As Christians we must realize and trust the Holy Spirit to guide us in talking with others.  How should we approach them?  Should we build a relationship with them first to earn the right to speak into someones life?  How far should we “push” a topic?  We need to know when we need to stop and walk away for a bit.  Remember even Jesus was not accepted by all and in His own home town he instructed His followers to “wipe the dust off” their feet if they were not accepted.  (Luke 10:10-12)  This is something that is learned the more you interact with people and the better you know who you are talking with.  In 1 Corinthians 1:18, 23 it says that “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” and ” but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,”  We see  that some will not receive it well, some will look at the cross as foolish or a stumbling block.


It’s Resurrection Day, Forget the Bunny!

April 7, 2012

Since, it’s Resurrection Day, I figure I would make an easy post and spend time with the family.   The following is a collection of objections and answers to the resurrection of Jesus.  It has been a slowly growing as I read more  and add things to the Pile.   I will cite the authors and books at the end.  Many books have the similar information.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:17 “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins”  As a Christian, EVERYTHING hangs on the resurrection.  Everything.  IT has turned many skeptics into followers.  I hope this will add to your faith and make it stronger.

OBJECTION 1: IT IS UNREASONABLE TO BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION

Because of the beliefs of many atheists and skeptics it is the last option that they would accept because of their presuppositions about the Bible, miracles, or belief in the existence of God.

ANSWER:

1. Because the resurrection was a physical resurrection and not just a spiritual one, there are many difficulties to faking the resurrection by stealing the body or some other means of trickery.  You have the following points.  Wrapped in a linen cloth and about 100 pounds of spices.  (Mixed together they form a gummy substance) Placed in tomb with a large stone weighing anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 pounds.  There were Roman guards placed at the tomb to guard against any chance of trickery.  A Roman seal was placed on the tomb that if broken, would call for an investigation and death by crucifixion of the one responsible.   If a Roman Guard left his post he would face strict punishment.    There must have been a good reason for the guards to flee.

2. The Biblical account of the resurrection has the women to be the first ones appearing at the tomb.  This seems to be issue if you believe that the claims of the resurrection were made up.  During the Biblical times women had no right to much anything, they were not given the ability to testify in court except in a few cases.  If someone wanted people to believe a lie that Jesus really was alive, then why weaken the argument with women.  The reason the women were the first to the tomb and to witness Jesus is perhaps, because it actually happened that way.

3. Another issue is the reaction of the disciples.  The disciples had scattered after the arrest of Jesus for fear of their own lives.  Annas the high priest had been asking questions about Jesus followers also.  They had locked themselves in a room in fear of persecution that Jesus had warned them about.  (John 15)  Jesus had appeared to them and shown them his hands and side.  (Proof)  What followed then was the transformation of their lives.  They went from hiding to boldly proclaiming the news of his resurrection.   They were also willing to face opposition, cynicism, ridicule, hardship, prison, death, and death.

4. After the resurrection, the Christian faith exploded and many Jews had become followers of Jesus.  In doing so they left several key tenants of their faith behind.  Below are a list of some of the major ones.

  • The animal sacrifice system.
  • The binding supremacy of the laws of Moses.
  • Strict monotheism to a belief in the Trinity.
  • The Holiness of the Sabbath.
  • Belief in a conquering messiah to a humble, servant in Jesus.

5. The conversion of “hardcore” skeptics in NT times.   There are 3 mentioned in the section.  The apostle Paul, James the half-brother of Jesus, and Thomas who was not with the disciples when Jesus appeared to them in the room.    Each of the 3 are listed with the scripture references  within the Bible that show their conversion.  Paul is of course the strongest example because he was a well-known figure and his letter to the Corinthians is dated the earliest written and  he is well-known outside to the Bible  many with his writings.

6. Only the resurrection would explain the growth and survival of the church.  It is well documented about the persecution of the Christians in the first century.  Nero was well-known for his hatred for the Christians and Nero blamed the burning of Rome on the Christians.  So, if the resurrection was fake and made up why would all the Jews and Gentiles have placed their lives in so much danger and trouble in less it was true?

7. There were too many appearances of Jesus to have the resurrection easily dismissed.   The 1 Corinthian letter from Paul lists the great number of people whom Jesus revealed himself too.  (Chapter 15 , also Acts 1:3)  At the time of Paul’s letter which is about 55-57 A.D.  Paul included that many of those witnesses were still alive.  This was most likely 20  years or so after the death and resurrection.  There would have been plenty of voices of opposition to Paul’s claim that Jesus had resurrected.

This proof reminds me of the Elvis or now, Michael Jackson example I have used for many years.  Imagine today that people started claiming that Elvis or Michael Jackson was not dead but had come back to life.  What if the number of people started growing and more and more people joined the band wagon.  All the families or government would have to do is open the casket or dig up the body to silence the critics.  One objection might be, “well the families wouldn’t want to do that.”  Maybe, but keep in mind that the government in Jesus day was not like that of today.  If they wanted to put an end to the Christian movement, all they had to do was produce the body.  They didn’t because they could not produce the body, it was gone.

OBJECTION 2: JESUS WAS NOT REALLY PHYSICALLY RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD, BUT RATHER IT WAS HIS ESSENCE – SOME PART OF HIM THAT LIVED AMONG THEM.

Many times critics will claim that the disciples did not see a real physically resurrected Jesus but rather a spiritual one or something to the equivalent.

ANSWER:

This would imply that the disciples went on and on about the resurrection of Jesus dishonestly and new it was a lie.  Or at the least ALL had hallucinations of Jesus resurrection to believe it was real.    I will look at the second part of the last sentence in another Objection next.  In Paul’s letters to the churches he specifically uses the word “Soma” which is translated body.  His repeated use of the term implies very much that Jesus had a physical resurrection.   Rhodes lists the scriptures that show us Jesus had a special glorified resurrected body, in which I will list for reference.

  •    Luke 24:39 – See my hands and feet, touch me to see.
  • John 2:19-21 – Jesus told about destroying the temple in 3 days and building it back up again.
  • Luke 24:30, 24:42-43, John 21:12-13, Acts 1:4  – Jesus ate food  4 different times.
  • John 20:17, Matthew 28:9, Luke 24:39 – He was touched and handled by many different people.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:35-44 – Paul talks of the body that goes down into the grave, and the body that comes up.

OBJECTION 3: JESUS WAS NOT PHYSICALLY RESURRECTED BUT SEEN BY HIS FOLLOWERS IN A SPIRITUAL SENSE.

This objection comes from the objection of skeptic Keith Parson, where he notes that the famous scripture in 1 Corinthians 15:5-7 uses the word “ophthe” which has the meaning of either “seeing” with the literal eye or “seeing” with mind or spirit.  In other words because we do not know the clear meaning of that word, we can assume that it was a spiritual vision they saw and not a physical one.

ANSWER:

This objection does not fit well with the rest of the Bible and the use of others who saw the resurrected body of Jesus.    The numerous passages in the gospels as well as the other Pauline epistles.    It also does not work within the context of the same letter of Corinthians.  Paul also uses the phrase heaven vision to make a vision of a different type.

You can also look at the same answer above for more of the same evidence of Jesus having a physical resurrection and not just a spiritual one.

OBJECTION 4: THE DISCIPLES OR OTHER PEOPLE STOLE THE BODY OF JESUS, AND THE DISCIPLES ASSUMED HE HAD RISEN FROM THE DEAD.  Because we have tons of evidence that bodies don’t just rise from the dead or disappear into nothing or Heaven.  The only two options that we are left with is that someone stole the body or the tomb was not empty.

ANSWER:

There are several issues that make the likelihood of the disciples taking the body of Jesus.  Below are some listed from the first objection above.

Wrapped in a linen cloth and about 100 pounds of spices.  (Mixed together they form a gummy substance) Placed in tomb with a large stone weighing anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 pounds.  There were Roman guards  placed at the tomb to guard against any chance of trickery.  A Roman seal was placed on the tomb that if broken, would call for an investigation and death by crucifixion of the one responsible.   If a Roman Guard left his post he would face strict punishment.    There must have been a good reason for the guards to flee.

It also is worth pointing out that the disciples were in no shape to steal His body.  There were hiding and on the run from the Jewish rulers.  It also goes back to the basic principle that “no sane person” would die for something they knew was a lie.  It was not worth all the trouble or persecution they received.

OBJECTION 5: THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS HALLUCINATED THAT JESUS ROSE FROM THE DEAD.

ANSWER:

Hallucinations generally happen to individuals and not large groups or multiple people.  The 1 Corinthians 15 passage says that Jesus appeared to over 500 people at one time.  Did all these people have a hallucination at one time?  The answer is not likely.

Books Referenced:

McDowell, Josh; Evidence That Demands a Verdict, second edition.

Zacharias, Ravi; Can Man Live Without God

Sherrod, Chris; Faith, Fact, and Reason Study #4 Jesus is ALIVE

Rhodes, Ron; Answering Objections of Atheists, Agnostics, and Skeptics


Evolution on Trial: Ape-Men Take the Stand

April 7, 2012

Taking the Stand next in the case on Evolution is the Ape-Men discoveries that many evolutionist cite give proof of the common decent between man and apes.

A lot has been made about the close relation between man and primates.  It has long been said that of all the animals, humans are  more closely related to the primates more than any other genus family and species.  Evolutionist point to studies done where primates can be taught to communicate and other simple reward based tasks.

Ernst Mayr an evolutionist cites the homology between apes and humans as proof of common descent.  Homology is the study of similar structures between  certain species.  “For example,” as Chris Sherrod explains in his book on the flaws of evolution  “if we compare a bat’s wing, a bird’s wing, a man’s arm, and a porpoise’s fin, we  can see very similar  patterns in how the bones are arranged” 1

Sherrod continues to point out that the homological similarities come from different types of cells and DNA and they develop in a different pattern during embryological development.   Additional, it is just as easy to say that they come from a common designer as it is to say they come from a common ancestor.   Evolutionist must explain the incredible similarities between the hands and feet from random mutations, that all end up the same.

Molecular geneticist, David Berlinski notes, “Chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorilla reason; they form plans; the have preferences; they are cunning; they have passions and desires; and they suffer.  This is the same of cats, I might add.  In as much of this we see ourselves.  But beyond that what we have in common with apes, we have nothing in common, and while the similarities are interesting, the differences are profound.” 2

Difficulties between the primates and man are what ultimately caused Darwin’s partner or collaborator, Alfred Wallace to doubt his own theory about evolution.  He saw the extreme advancements of the human race leaps and bounds ahead of all the primates.  Besides obvious differences between physical appearances, there are other issues to address including; the human brain, the organs of speech and articulation, the human hand, the external human form, with its upright posture and bipedal gait.  It is only human beings that can rotate their thumb and ring finger  in what is called ulnar opposition in order to achieve a grip, a grasp, and a degree of torque denied of any of the great apes.  Sure science has its guesses, but they are not backed by facts.  Do we understand why among the animals humans alone have acquired language?   A refined delicate moral system? Or art, architecture, music, dance, or mathematics?

There is much more to mention about the homology, but we will move on and perhaps address more homology in later posts.  The next section of my blog I want to spend some time examining the hominoids that have been discovered by  paleontologists.  A hominoid is a claimed extinct man like ape that led up to the modern humans.  Many of the hominoids have been given names due to the location and details of the discoveries.  These hominoids can be broken down into 3 categories;  fakes, mistakes, and unknowns.  I will not go into great detail about each one, but you are welcome to “dig up” more information in books and articles.

First the fakes, there have been a number of discoveries that have initially gotten praise by those who support evolution and have turned out to be fakes. One most famous was Piltdown Man, found in 1912 where someone had filed down an orangutan jaw and stained it and attached to a human skull.

Secondly, there have been a number of hominoid discoveries that when originally discovered were touted as support for evolution, but in more recent times and under a deeper look, paleontologists have backed off from their original views and labeled them as something else.  Nebraska Man, found in 1922  was used in the famous Scopes Monkey Trial and was a strange-looking tooth.  It turns out it was only an extinct pigs tooth.  Lucy, who was only about 3 feet tall was thought to be a pygmy, was actually an orangutan.

The last group of hominoids are a bit of a mystery and there is not a lot of evidence to point in any direction anyway.  Many of the hominoid fossils are only skulls, incomplete fragments of bones, and really not much to make educated guesses on.  While some are strange, with the knowledge of bone crippling diseases that we are aware of today it is more likely that these few hominoids are human remains that have suffered from bone diseases like Ricketts or arthritis.  Other human remains dated around the same time period show us that humans were already walking upright at this current time period.  Ones like Java Man, Peking Man which was actually 14 monkey skulls that appear to crushed at the base, Neanderthal Man found in Germany in 1856 who had a sloping down forehead and a was found to actually be human that cared for family, wore clothes, and looks very similar to the aborigines living in Australia today.

As always questions, comments, snide remarks are welcome.

End Notes:

1. Sherrod, Chris, Faith, Facts, and Reason Study #5 The Flaws of Evolution, pg. 84

2. –  Berlinski, David, The Devils Delusion, Chapter 8


Liar, Lunatic, or Lord

April 6, 2012

It’s Good Friday, and I figured it would be good to pull out a little C.S. Lewis.  The Liar, Lunatic, or Lord proof is one of C.S. Lewis’ most famous use of reason and the law of excluded middle.  The law of excluded middle is often called the either/or law.  I will borrow an example from Ravi Zacharias to explain the law of either/or.  Imagine my wife and I are taking a walk down the street together and another couple that knows us walks up to us and makes the statement “Congratulations, I hear you are pregnant.”  At the same time my wife says “yes” and I say “no.”  The other couple stares in confusion and shock, wondering what is going on.  My wife cannot be both pregnant and not pregnant at the same time.   There is an explanation for the different answers.  Perhaps my wife hasn’t told me yet, perhaps we agreed not to tell anyone until after a certain time has passed, perhaps there might be new trouble in our marriage!!  But we know that she cannot be both pregnant and not pregnant at the same time.  One of us is wrong.

Jesus is the center of Christianity, even many other religions claim some part of Jesus either calling him a prophet, a good moral person.  Jesus made some bold claims as he taught the people, the biggest Jesus made was the claim that He was God.   Several places in the scriptures Jesus claimed to be God some of the more popular scriptures are. John 8:58, John 10:30-33, John 1:1,14.  There are many other statements and examples that we can pull from scripture, but not at this time. Jesus forgave sins, allowed Himself to be worshiped, among many other clues from other people.

Using the Law of excluded middle we can see how Jesus claim to be God was really the only one that makes sense.  You can see from the chart below of how it flows. out with the either/or law.

If He was a liar consider the following results:

1. He deceived people on purpose
2. He was a terrible blasphemer (Claim of God)
3. He was a hypocrite (Told others to tell truth & He lied)
4. He evil because He claimed to forgive sins
5. His followers trusted Him for eternal destiny
6. He was a fool, for He died for His lies.
7. He is not a great moral teacher because of this list.

Of all the results above, I find the hardest to believe that Jesus was lying and He went to His own dead on a painful cross for nothing.  I don’t know anyone who will die for a lie THAT THEY KNOW is false.  It doesn’t make sense.  However, what if Jesus just thought He was God, He believed it, and perhaps was crazy or a lunatic.

If He was a lunatic consider the following:

1. There is no evidence of Jesus being abnormal or imbalanced.  A lunatic is typically only into themselves and doesn’t care about others around themselves.
2. Unlike a madman, Jesus always demonstrated the greatest composure under pressure.  For example when religious leaders questioned Him, when crowds tried to stone Him, even when He was on trail for His life He was calm and in control.
3. Jesus was too wise, loving, and creative to be crazy.  If he was crazy we should all hope to be crazy also.
4. Mad or Insane the miracles and resurrection stand on their own.
5. The disciples would have obviously recognized a crazy man after spending 3 years with Him side-by-side in ministry.

Those two possibilities don’t seem to make a lot of sense, that leaves us with the third possibility which is Lord.  Jesus is who He says He was and it is either our choice to choose to reject Him or accept Him.

Originally in C.S. Lewis’ explanation there was a 4th category of Legend.  But since his writings in the mid-19th century a great amount of external evidence to Jesus outside the Bible has been discovered through other Christian and even non-Christian historians that make Jesus a historically a real person.

One other objection I have heard over the last year was that perhaps Jesus was a real person, but never claimed to be God, and after His death the early followers and church made up Jesus to be something greater, like God.  The problem with that argument is that many of the early Christians, even most of Jesus disciples died a martyrs death faking a story, creating a lie, and trying to keep it going.  The idea that the early church in the 3rd and 4th centuries changed the writings of the Early apostles doesn’t fit either because of the sheer amounts of manuscripts that were created as Christianity was being spread.  It would be very illogical to think that the church could get hold of every single manuscript and change them.

As always, questions, comments, and discussions are welcome.  Have a great Good Friday and remember it’s Good for us that Jesus died for our sins.


Evolution On Trial: Fossils Take the Stand

April 4, 2012

Last Call for Fossils.  Fossils, where are you at?  Apparently the fossil record is in danger of not showing up for court and being held in contempt.  It’s about time.  Sorry for the bad humor….  The next witness to take the stand is the fossil record.  The fossil record is most likely the most over used evidence for Evolution today.   We will take a closer look at the fossil record and see why it does not make a good witness/evidence for evolution either.  I will address the fossil record in 2 parts, ape-men fossils, and the rest of the animal fossils, specifically transitional fossils.

First, lets examine the transitional fossils and define what a transitional fossil is.  A transition fossil is a has characteristics that are intermediate in nature to organisms that existed both prior to it and after it. 1  There is some debate as to what is a transitional fossil and what is not.  Supporters of Evolution say that every fossil is a transitional fossil in some capacity.  Several months ago someone tried to explain the fossil record to me as a blank line, that was continuous.   The gaps or parts missing where just not found in the fossil record.

As some one who is skeptical of evolution, I am looking for more in the fossil record that tightly connects fossils between different genus species, which is what the claims of Evolution make.  In other words, more of the evidence that macro-evolution is valid.  So at one point I would say that yes, there are transitional fossils that show a change from one type of prehistoric turtle to another turtle or one type of prehistoric horse to a more modern style horse.

In Darwin’s theory of Evolution he acknowledge himself that in order for his own theory to be proven it would have to be found true in the fossil record. 2  These types of fossils he was hoping to find have yet to be found.     You may have seen pictures of the famous tree of life drawings that Darwin and evolution supporters have used to explain.  The simplified drawing in my blog comes from a book by Chris Sherrod. 3  It is meant to serve as a simple example of the tree of life, other drawings are often more complicated.

I have repeatedly asked people to give me examples of transitional fossils between species and I get 2 responses typically.  First, there are none, because fossils are hard to come by and the transitional ones have been destroyed due to fossils becoming fuel for us greedy humans to use up as energy.  Secondly often bad examples start popping up.  I’ve been told to look at Wikipedia, I’ve been told look at videos on YouTube that people have created with a type of “flip book” effect, and I’ve been shown pictures of prehistoric animals that could pass for a modern-day type of animal.   Here is why I call these bad examples.  The list on Wikipedia is there, and it is long, BUT, most of the pictures of transitional fossils are drawings, artist interpretations, not even based on real fossils found.  There are a few small bones, that are from incomplete remains, but most are drawings.  The YouTube video that is highly pushed also falls under the same boat.  They are drawings.  The pictures of actual fossils found I can easily take a few seconds on each one and call it a member of one of the species that we have today.

Every once in a while someone will bring up the Archaeopteryx, which was discovered 2 years after Darwin wrote The Origin of Species.  You can see from the picture that it is a very interesting fossil for more than one reason.  It is complete and in good condition and appears to be a combination of a reptile and a bird.   Evolutionist said this was a true transitional fossil and crowned it as evidence.  But since it was found in 1861 a majority of scientists believe now that it is most likely a strange type of bird for the following reasons.

1. It was not really a good transitional fossil, because of the fully formed wings and fully formed tail it looks more like a creature that would stand as a different animal, not one in transition.   It’s wings, tail, and claws suggest it was a type of bird possible related to the liaoningornis, recently discovered.

2. The Archaeopteryx was dated to be in the Jurassic period in which birds had already been established in by thousands of pre-dated fossils.  It doesn’t fit the time sequence if birds had already evolved.  HE must have been a “late bloomer.”

3. Lastly, there has only been 1 fossil found of the Archaeopteryx.  It is in the Natural History Museum in Berlin, and not a standard re-occurring fossil that we find all over the place. 4

The Fossil Record does not look good for supporting Evolution.  Scientists know this and that is why they have come up with some alternate theories about the fossil record, trying to fit  a square (Evolution) into a round hole (The fossil record).  In 1972 Steven Jay Gould & Niles Eldredge  proposed a theory called “Punctuated Equilibrium.”  This is the idea that evolution happened in quick  “spurts”  rather than over a gradual slow process.   There are 2 problems with this theory;

1. There are no transitional fossils found that support this theory.  It would be absurd to think that the organisms would change over night.

2. P.E. goes against all current knowledge we have with DNA and adaption.  For an organism to change like that would  go against all DNA and genetic science that we know about. 5

Going back through the layers of rock there is an interesting discovery between the pre-Cambrian ad Cambrian time periods.  In the pre-Cambrian rock there are few fossils and most of the fossils are invertebrates, but at the dating of the Cambrian rock there seems to be a this enormous amount of fossils of many different kinds and types.  This time has been called the Cambrian explosion, because it appears that these fossils came out from nowhere.  Each side of the argument between creationists and Evolution supporters have their own ideas about why this is so.

I will look at the ape-men fossils in the next post, I don’t want to get to long-winded with this post.  If you have any questions, comments, rebuttals please feel free to leave them.

End Notes:

1. – http://atheism.about.com/od/aboutevolution/a/TransitionalFossilsEvolution.htm

2. – Darwin, Charles, “The Origin of Species” pg. 152

3. – Sherrod, Chris, “Faith, Fact, and Reason Study #5 The Flaws of Evolution” pg. 28

4. – Rhodes, Ron, “10 Things You Should Know About the Evolution and Creation Debate.” Chapter 4

5. – Rhodes, Ron, “10 Things You Should Know About the Evolution and Creation Debate.” Chapter 4


Evolution on Trial: Mutations Take the Stand

April 3, 2012

The next witness we will look at in the case of Evolution is mutations.  I am not talking about bringing any of the X-Men to the stand either.  In the Theory of Evolution mutations and natural selection are two of the main pillars that hold up the case for evolution.  We will look at natural selection in a separate post in the future.

According to Britannica:

Mutation – Alteration in the genetic material of a cell that is transmitted to the cell’s offspring. Mutations may be spontaneous or induced by outside factors (mutagens). They take place in the genes, occurring when one base is substituted for another in the sequence of bases that determines the genetic code, or when one or more bases are inserted or deleted from a gene. Many mutations are harmless, often masked by the presence of a dominant normal gene. Some have serious consequences; for example, a particular mutation inherited from both parents results in sickle-cell anemia. Only mutations that occur in the sex cells (eggs or sperm) can be transmitted to the individual’s offspring. Alterations caused by these mutations are usually harmful. In the rare instances in which a mutation produces a beneficial change, the percentage of organisms with this gene will tend to increase until the mutated gene becomes the norm in the population. In this way, beneficial mutations serve as the raw material of evolution. 1

The last two sentences in the paragraph above dealing with beneficial mutations “being the raw material in Evolution” when the “mutated gene becomes the norm in the population” is what I will take issue with.  This is where the credibility of mutations, losses it power to influence Evolution.

First, lets look at some facts about mutations.

1. Mutations are rare in the first place because an enzyme acts as a sort of proofreader during DNA replication to check for mistakes.  When a genetic mistake is found, the tendency is to correct it.

2. Mutations distort, destroy, or damage the current DNA structure and do not improve or add to it.  As John Morris, faculty of the ICR (Institute for Creation Research) describes “It‘s instructive to try to imagine what must happen to turn a cell into an invertebrate, or a worm into a fish, or a fish into an amphibian, etc. List the structural changes needed. A cell doesn‘t have the genes needed to produce even a simple nodal chord, nor does a fish have the genes to produce legs. This extra genetic information must be added from some external source, but science knows of no such source. Mutations do produce novel changes, but never has a mutation been known to add coded information to an already complex DNA system. On the contrary, it usually and easily causes a deterioration of the information present in the DNA. For random mutations to add the information for a leg where there is none is asking a lot, in fact, asking too much.” 2

The final question is are mutations beneficial?  There seems to be a handful of examples floating around as proof that they are.  Perhaps you may have heard of some of the following examples;  two copies of the mutant sickle-cell anemia gene cause illness, one copy confers resistance to malaria,  the Pima, a Native American tribe that have to be on a special diet to avoid being morbidly over-weight, artificial breeding of crops and livestock that produce greater yields and drought resistance crops. 3   These hypothetical examples of beneficial mutations were all discovered in a lab and through human experiments.  All of these examples did not produce a new animal genus from another, in other words they fall into the label of adaptions rather than macro-evolution.

You can see that mutations sound exciting but, when you take a closer look at mutations there is really a lot of talk and clearly not enough action behind the idea of mutations.  One such objection to this is that the mutations take place so slowly that it i often hard to see and observe in our human lifetime or over the last several hundred years of scientific study.  This objection will lead us to the next to the witness, the fossils, and a closer look at the fossil record.  As always, questions, comments, and discussions are welcome.

End Notes:

1. – http://www.britannica.com/bps/search?query=mutations

2. – Morris, John D. , “Can the Small Changes  We See Add Up to the Big Changes Evolution Needs?”, Article 2002

3.  – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutation


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