Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The end of America?

Time once more for another chain email. This one actually claims that America is now dead, and dishes out who they think is to blame. This will probably be one terribly misinformed email...
Written by a USMC Vet. (I can't argue with any of it. Passing it along as it was received.)
He wrote:
The American Dream ended (on November 6th) in Ohio . The second term of Barack Obama will be the final nail in the coffin for the legacy of the white Christian males who discovered, explored, pioneered, settled and developed the greatest Republic in the history of mankind.
The American dream is dead? In 2005, home ownership in the USA was at an all time high of 69.2%. By 2013, home ownership had fallen to 64.9% after the burst of the housing bubble (back to pre-bubble ownership levels). Is this a bad sign? The fact is that the ownership rate can be misleading. To be classed as a homeowner, you must own or rent your home. But there is a group of people that are ignored in these numbers. If you still live with your parents, you don't count. If your parents move in with you, they don't count.

Those groups are understandable. But with the recession, friends started moving in together to save money. One would own the home, and even though the other may be paying rent, they are not counted the same as someone renting an apartment of their own. Both are renting, but only one is considered a homeowner. So the rate is somewhat misleading because people are being responsible. Also, they aren't jumping into home loans that were rigged to fail from the off. People taking steps to better themselves in the smartest manner they can. How is the American dream dead? Also, try telling the one million+ legal immigrants each year the the American dream is dead...

Why the sole focus on white Christian males? I may not be Christian, but I'm a white male, and can tell you we are still the demographic in the seat of power in America. As for the Christians that discovered, settled, explored America... So what! Many of the first Americans where Christians. But many weren't as well. In fact, many of the most prominent of the founding fathers were deists rather than Christian. Remember, it is they that saw it fit to institute the separation of church of state when they formed the America that we so love.

And while Lief Ericson was the first to land in North American, and that he was a recent convert to Christianity. Remember, it was another Norseman, Bárdi Herjólfsson who first sighted North America. His religion is not known. If he was a believer in Odin and Thor though, does that mean we should fight to place the Norse beliefs above all others instead of Christianity?
A coalition of Blacks, Latinos, Feminists, Gays, Government Workers, Union Members, Environmental Extremists, The Media, Hollywood, uninformed young people, the "forever needy," the chronically unemployed, illegal aliens and other "fellow travelers" have ended Norman Rockwell's America .
Gee, the GOP's favorite painter was pro-civil rights.
They must be so confused right about now...

Well I see that someone already has their tin-foil hat firmly in place. Norman Rockwell's America? Really? I don't think that means what you think it means. This isn't Mayberry we're talking about. Yes, his painting harken back to a simpler time. But did you know that Rockwell was registered as an independent voter? Sometimes he voted Democrat, and sometimes he voted Republican. Hell, he even voted for a straight Socialist candidate once. Also, let's not forget his painting "The Problem We All Live With". His statement on the issue of civil rights. Something in stark contrast to an email that started by pushing for white Christian male preference...
The Cocker Spaniel is off the front porch. The Pit Bull is in the back yard. The American Constitution has been replaced with Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" and Chicago shyster, David Axelrod, along with international Socialist George Soros will be pulling the strings on their beige puppet to bring us Act 2 of the New World Order.
Must not be our Cocker Spaniel, because she's as lazy as it gets. As for all the claims here... Citation needed. Why is it that conservatives tout the Constitution so grandly, yet complain when it is actually used in church/state separation issues? I oft wonder just how many actually know what it actually says...
Our side ran two candidates who couldn't even win their own home states, and the circus fatster, Chris Christie, helped Obama over the top with a glowing "post Sandy " tribute that elevated the "Commander-in-Chief" to Mother Teresa status. (Aside: with the way the polls were run, he didn't need any help!)
Oh, yes... the polls were 'rigged' for forecasting the exact thing that actually happened. Does that mean that reporting the truth is now a conspiracy? You have a whole 'news' network in Fox News that is nothing more that a spin an propaganda machine. Pot, meet kettle. And why is it bad that Christie thanked Obama after Sandy? I thought you were for values. When someone helps you, you thank them. But instead of that, you'd prefer it if he attacked him instead of thanking him. Where are those values now...?
People like me are completely politically irrelevant, and I will never again comment on or concern myself with the aforementioned coalition which has surrendered our culture, our heritage and our traditions without a shot being fired.
Lets get this straight... So it's fine when Bush actually
takes rights away. But when Obama doesn't take rights
away, he's accused of taking rights away?
If you feel you're politically irrelevant because your favored candidates lost, then learn to deal with it. You were in the minority, and it looks like you will continue to be. And what of our culture, heritage and traditions have been surrendered? Seriously, I really want to know. Because I see an America that is going strong in the freedom department.

Chances are, you are upset that the playing field has been leveled, and you no longer have everything your own way. The White Christian males can no longer tell everyone else what to do. This is not American losing anything. It is America gaining! Wrongs are being righted, and rights are being given that were formerly wrongly blocked or withheld. It's America being what America is supposed to be.

White Christian males no longer get to play the role of puppet master, and rights are now more evenly administered. And to that there is the statement of 'without a shot being fired'... So the moral here is that if you don't get to tell everyone how to live their lives there should be an armed rebellion? Sorry, but that makes you sound like a violent nutter.
You will never again out-vote these people. It will take individual acts of defiance and massive displays of civil disobedience to get back the rights we have allowed them to take away. It will take Zealots, not moderates & shy, not reach-across-the-aisle RINOs to right this ship and restore our beloved country to its former status.
Again, calls for defiance (peaceful and non-peaceful) to get back rights that haven't been taken away. I hear all these complaints of Obama taking away our rights. But what rights are they talking about? The only thing I can think of is NDAA (Oddly, the Conservatives I know actually like the NDAA). But when I ask those that make these complaints, all I ever hear them claim is a right that hasn't gone anywhere and is under no attack at all.
Those who come after us will have to risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to bring back the Republic that this generation has timidly frittered away due to "white guilt" and political correctness...
Classy... even more calls for an armed uprising to fight a non-existent enemy. Sounds more like a spoiled child throwing a tantrum for not getting it his way...
An American Veteran....................... Semper-Fi .
If this was actually written by a vet, then I thank them for their service. But I can not get behind this racist message or narrow exclusivity and violence that this email exudes.
Got the guts to pass it on?
Oh, I'll pass it on... With corrections of course!

-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kidney for a brother?

Here's a question someone wrote to Billy Graham that made me feel sick...
Q: My brother has kidney disease, and unless things change he'll probably need a kidney transplant. Is there anything in the Bible to keep me from offering him one of my kidneys? I want to help him, but I don't want to do anything God forbids. -- Z.J.
So let me get this straight... His brother has kidney disease, yet he takes to time to send a letter in to an advice column, waits for them to read it, waits for them to write a reply, and waits for the newspaper to (maybe) publish the reply. All the while he mentions that he'll probably need a
transplant soon. Talk about mixed up priorities...
A: No, I find nothing in the Bible that would prevent you from offering one of your kidneys to your brother.
His doctors would, of course, need to be sure it was medically possible, but you shouldn't worry about it from the Bible's standpoint.
In fact, I commend you for your willingness to do this. Often today, people are asked (perhaps when renewing their driver's license) if they're willing to be organ donors when they die -- and I encourage people to do this if their family agrees or there isn't any other barrier.
Countless thousands today are alive because of blood transfusions, and I'm always thankful when I see a sign outside a church advertising a blood drive. What you're considering is similar to these efforts.
Actually, while I'm happy that ZJ is considering donating one of his kidneys, the whole situation makes me sick. His brother is sick, and is possibly going to die without a transplant. ZJ considers the possibility of a life-saving transplant, but first wants to see what the Bible says. If the Bible says it's okay, he'll offer. If not, he won't. So ZJ is actually placing the Bible of higher importance to him than his own brother's life! This simply sickens me. How can someone be happy to just stand by and let their brother die when there is some way they may be able to help? Oh, well an old book says... Thankfully the Bible didn't stand in the way this time, but I do still worry about all the time ZJ wasted by writing into a newspaper advice column first...
I couldn't help but think of Jesus' familiar parable about the Good Samaritan (you will find it in Luke 10). You probably know the story: A man was robbed on a lonely road and left for dead, and the first people who came by ignored him.
Finally, a Samaritan stopped, tended the man's wounds, put him on his donkey, and took him to an inn where he could recover -- at the Samaritan's expense.
It may be costly to help those in need (like your brother), but God calls us to do all we can to assist them.
After all, Christ didn't abandon us, but gave His life for our salvation. "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" (1 John 4:11).
You know what, after the first half of this letter, I'd rather reply by simply posting some intelligent comedy from the great Mitchell & Webb. If you want a laugh, and an analysis of the good Samaritan story, give this a look.

-Brain Hulk

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Jesus was afraid

Was Jesus afraid to die on the cross? That's what one of Billy Graham's readers wants to know...
Q: I've always been puzzled by a prayer of Jesus just before His arrest. From what I've heard, it almost sounds like He didn't want to die, and was even asking God to stop what was about to happen. Is this true?
It does sound like curious behavior for someone who was supposed to know they'd return from the dead just three days later doesn't it?
A: You're referring to Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, a secluded area just outside the city of Jerusalem. He took three of His closest disciples with Him, who fell asleep while He struggled in prayer (an illustration, I'm afraid, of their spiritual dullness - and ours).
In His prayer, Jesus looked deeply into the "cup" He was about to drink - that is, the experience He was about to undergo. What did He see in that symbolic "cup"? He saw far more than the physical suffering He was about to face - terrible as that would be. Instead, He saw the sins of the entire human race, and by accepting the "cup" He would be taking upon Himself God's judgment for those sins. He was without sin, but now He was about to take upon Himself the terrors of death and hell for us.
 He was afraid of the suffering that was due to come his way. But he supposedly knew that he wouldn't be dead long... And what of the penalty of sin that he was supposed to take on? He was supposed to pay the price of sin for all. But if you think about it, he didn't. The price of sin is supposed to be an eternity of suffering in Hell. If Jesus took all that sin upon himself to pay that price personally, than he should be taking on an endless number of eternal sentences of suffering in Hell that he would presumably serve congruently.

But Jesus didn't suffer in Hell for eternity (or several eternities, if such a statement even makes sense). He was crucified, returned from the dead after just three days, and then went straight up to Heaven. So Jesus didn't really pay the price for sin at all. Otherwise he'd have stayed dead, and stayed in Hell for all eternity.
No wonder Christ asked God if there was any other way our salvation could be won! No wonder He prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me" (Matthew 26:39). He knew the physical agony of the cross would be nothing compared to the spiritual agony He would experience, bearing the punishment for our sins.
But Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane didn't end there! Instead, He submitted completely to the will of His Father, knowing there was no other way our salvation could be won. Don't ever take lightly what Jesus Christ did for you. He gave His life for you - and may you give your life to Him in return.
There was no other way salvation could be won? Sorry, but I'm not buying it. Christians like to talk of how their god is omnipotent. There is supposed to be nothing he can't do. So the statement that there was no other way makes no sense at all. If he's omnipotent, the way is any way he wants it to be. For example... What if I was God?

If it was up to me to decide who wins salvation, I wouldn't have to think about it much at all. Instead of basing salvation on worship, I'd base it on who people are. I would look deep into their hearts to see what kind of people they were. We all make mistakes, but were they a good person with the best intentions, or where they hateful to the core? No more punishing good people and rewarding bad. If I can come up with a much more fair selection method, why can't Christianity's god? But when you realize that the Bible was written in a time when the people thought sacrificing a goat could bring the rains, is in any surprise that these primitive people thought a human sacrifice was the only way?

-Brain Hulk

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Friday, April 25, 2014


Pro-choice or pro-life? It sounds like a pretty simple question, however hear far too many people classify themselves incorrectly in response to this question. In a way, it reminds me of the multitude of atheists that incorrectly state that they are not an atheist, but an agnostic.

When I've heard people answer the abortion question, I'll sometimes hear them say something like, "I'd never have an abortion." They then feel that this answer leaves them wearing the pro-life label. But there's a problem here. They didn't answer the right question.

The question wasn't whether they'd get an abortion, but if they were pro-choice or pro-life. Answering the 'would you' question doesn't necessarily answer the initial question here. Yet, half of the people I hear calling themselves pro-life either cite religion, or simply say that they personally wouldn't get an abortion.

And when we look at the statistics, we see that a 2012 poll found that 50% of Americans consider themselves pro-life, while 41% label themselves as pro-choice. But is this a reliable picture of America? No. Because in response to the question of if abortion should remain legal, 68% agreed that it should. How can that be? 68% say abortion should be legal, yet only 41% say they are pro-choice? A 27% margin of error is hardly reliable at all. It is rather telling though...

Over a quarter of American's answer the pro-life question incorrectly, and thus adopt the wrong label. What these people don't realize is that you can be pro-choice, but personally not subscribe to abortion for yourself. If you think abortion should be a choice women should have available to them, you are pro-choice whether you would personally have one or not. In order to be pro-life, you must both not want one, and think it should be illegal and unavailable to all.

So why does this mislabeling matter? Elections. People tend to vote for candidates that they think share the same views as they do. This may mean voting for pro-life candidates when they aren't actually pro-life themselves. They may actually be defying their beliefs with their vote. And when up to 27% of Americans classify themselves incorrectly, that can be a very big deal indeed.

-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Judas, at dinner, with the kiss of death

This time Billy Graham fields a question about Judas. This should be interesting...
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Why did Judas betray Jesus? It’s never made sense to me, because for years he’d been close to Jesus, hearing his teachings and seeing his miracles. And anyway, why did the authorities even need to find someone to betray Jesus? — D.M.
If Jesus did everything he is said to have done, and Judas witnessed it he probably wouldn't have betrayed him. But the Bible says that he did, so that should speak volumes about Jesus' supposed
abilities as much as Judas' character.
DEAR D.M.: During Jesus’ final days in Jerusalem large crowds gathered to hear him, and his enemies were afraid a riot might break out if they attempted to arrest him publicly.
Yes, people were said to come and listen to him. But it was a congregation that would be of no worry to the might of the Roman army. That's like claiming that the US Armed Forces wouldn't be able to easily take down the Tea Party if there was a battle between them. Jesus' followers would be easy for the Roman army to defeat (in number and fighting skill/equipment). So there goes that excuse...
They needed to arrest him privately, but they didn’t know where to find him, since each night he slipped away to a secret location outside the city. That’s why they were delighted when Judas offered to betray Jesus by leading the soldiers to him.
It's not just that the Romans didn't know where to find Jesus, but that they didn't even knew who he was. When Judas turned Jesus in, he had to go as far as pointing out (kissing) which man Jesus was. Isn't it odd that if Jesus was so well known, and had such a large following that the Romans would have absolutely no idea what he even looked like?
Judas will always be something of a mystery to us because you’re right: He had been with Jesus almost from the beginning and had all the evidence he needed to convince him that Jesus was the Savior sent from God. And yet he willingly turned against Jesus and offered to betray him for 30 pieces of silver.
Judas' surprise turning against Jesus isn't a surprise when you look at the Bible as the work of fiction that it is. It reads like a intriguing twist in the story.  It's like when Snape kills Dumbledore in Harry Potter. Or like the twist in The Sixth Sense when we find out that Bruce Willis' character had been dead the whole time. Judas switching sides is an interesting plot development. And seeing that the
Bible is fiction, it makes a lot more sense in that regard.
Why did he do it? Was it greed? That may have been part of it, because the Bible tells us that as treasurer of the little band of disciples Judas sometimes stole money from them. Or was it disappointment, because Jesus refused to become a king and Judas wanted power for himself? We can only speculate about this.

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Or maybe it was none of those reasons. Remember, when the Bible was compiled there were many parts that were left on the cutting room floor. One of those was the Gospel of Judas. In this book, a different story is told. One where Judas does turn Jesus in, but because Jesus asked him to so that all could be fulfilled. How about that option Billy? Or also the option that there was no one for Judas to betray in the first place.
But the real reason was that although he was outwardly committed to Jesus, in his heart Judas remained rebellious and unbelieving. He is a sad illustration of the Bible’s warning: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV). May we all learn from his tragic example, and instead be firm in our own commitment to Jesus Christ.

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One thing I have never understood about Christians is the contempt they sometimes show toward Judas. Okay sure, he turned Jesus in. But if he hadn't, Jesus wouldn't have been crucified. No crucifixion, no resurrection. No resurrection, no savior dying for the sins of all. Without Judas there is no Christianity and no redemption for it's followers. Christians owe that all to Judas. So they should actually revere him rather than hate him. Oh but silly me, here I am using logic again...

-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The mysterious avocado

Sometimes I listen to the radio in my car, and there is an advert that Chipolte is running that I really don't much care for. The spot in question poses questions about the supposedly mysterious avocado. But is it really that mysterious?

Chipolte asks:
The humble avocado. Wrinkly on the outside, yet tasty on the inside. Why is it that way?
Um, to be appealing to the creatures that originally evolved alongside the avocado. They would eat from the plant, and distribute the seeds. Just like every other fruit-bearing plant.
Are you a fruit or vegetable?
It's a fruit. The botanical definition of a fruit is the area of a plant that develops from the flower and contains the seeds. That definition includes the avocado, so it is a fruit.
We don't know why mother nature made you how she did, but we salute her.
Yeah, we actually kinda do... The avocado's creation was driven by evolution. We also know that it is a holdover from another time. You know that giant pit in the middle of an avocado? That's where the seed is. An animal is supposed to eat the fruit, pit and all (just like when a bird eats a mulberry). Later on, the pit/seed is passed by the animal. Then, a new avocado tree would possibly grow where is was deposited.

The avocado co-evolved alongside the mammoth and the giant sloth. These large mammals would eat the avocado whole, and later pass the pit with the seed. In fact, several fruits actually guard their seeds in a hard shell to protect them from being chewed on and eaten, but still be viable when they
The giant sloth would probably love guacamole.
are later 'plated' by the animal that ate it. I know that when I started my Ginkgos from seed, I had to scrape the hard seeds with a knife to help promote their chances of growing.

So avocado evolved to be eaten by a giant sloth or mammoth. That's why the seed is so big. It tastes good, because the tree needs to animal to take and distribute the seeds. But now those creatures are gone... Lucky for the avocado that we found them tasty though. We can't eat the seed, but we can plant them and grow them. If it weren't for human intervention, the avocado may have died out eventually.

You see, the avocado isn't really a mystery at all. It's a product of evolution that survives to this day.

-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How will you view the future?

My wife and I went out for a car club cruise on Saturday, and along the way we realized that with it being Easter weekend, the door-to-door religion salesmen would probably be about. We saw a guy that look like he was selling Mormonism when we went through one town. I wondered if we'd miss whoever comes to our house, or if I actually be home for a change. When we got home, I got my answer... The Jehovah's Witnesses had let us yet another pamphlet in our door.

Since I love to analyze these things, let's do just that...
How do you view the future?

Will our world ... 
• stay the same 
• get worse?
• get better?
How do I view the world? I try to be optimistic, but also realistic. Anything could happen. Medical science could find the cure for cancer tomorrow, or WW-III could break out. The world could get better or worse. But all of that in mind, I try to remain positive, and work to make the best of whatever situation I find myself facing. I can tell you one thing though, the only future the Bible predicts is a bad one...
What the Bible Says
"God... will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away." -Revelation 21:3-4
Revelation? The end times? Really...? That is a pretty bleak future. In a nut shell, Earth becomes a living hell, Jesus returns, the faithful are ruptured, Satan is imprisoned for 1,000 years, he is then released, and Christ defeats Satan in one final battle. We are also told that this could happen at any time, and that we should look forward to it.

So the believers go to Heaven to become God's never ceasing worship slaves (the Bible says Heaven is worship, not hanging out with grandma and grandpap). Meanwhile, those left behind have to go through the tribulations and live through Hell on Earth. Sorry, but neither one sounds good, or like something to look forward to. Oh, and JW's believe that only 144,000 followers (throughout all of history) will go to Heaven. So yeah... the odds of not getting to live through Hell on Earth is pretty slim for everyone.
What that can mean for you
• Meaningful and satisfying  work. -Isaiah 65:21-23.
How is any work or anything supposed to be satisfying when you are told to expect devastating end times at any time?
• No more sickness or suffering of any kind. -Isaiah 25:8, 33:24.
No suffering... Unless, you know... You aren't one of the 144,00 that get admittance into Heaven. But hey, if you do get in, you won't get a cold while you're on your knees in eternal worship.
• A happy, unending life with family and friends. -Psalms 37:11-29.
Except for the fact that the Bible never actually mentions that version of Heaven that everyone seems to talk about.
Can we really believe what the Bible says?
Yes, for at least two reasons:
 No, we actually can't believe the Bible or trust it as reliable. There is no evidence that any of it's fantastic claims, and even many of the mundane claims are actually true. Furthermore, there is much in there that is ridiculous or just plain wrong.
• God has the ability to fulfill the promise. In the Bible, Jehovah God alone is called "the Almighty", for he has unlimited power. (Revelation 15:3) So he is fully able to keep his promise to change our world for the better. As the Bible says, "with God all things are possible." -Matthew 19:26.
God can do anything... Except defeat chariots of iron (Judges 1:19). If God has the power to change the world for the better, then why doesn't he do just that? That is what a loving god would do after all... Jehovah is the only one called 'the almighty'? Sorry, try again. And even so. What if Odin was the only one called the all-father?  Would that prove that Odin is the one true god?
• God has the desire to fulfill the promise. For example, Jehovah has "a yearning" to restore life to people who have died. -Job 14:14-15.
So go ahead and do it then... I thought this god was supposed to be loving.
The Bible also shows that God's Son, Jesus, healed the sick. Why did he do so? Because he wanted to. (Mark 1:40-41) Jesus perfectly reflected his Father's personality by his desire to help those in need. -John 14:9.
And the Norse religion says that Thor defeated the demon serpent during the final battle of Ragnarok. Prometheus also brought mankind fire. Why? He had befriended mankind and wanted to see us live on and succeed. Jesus 'perfectly reflected' God's personality by his 'desire to help those in need'? Did they ever read the Old Testament? How is the genocidal, egotistical, misogynistic, rape ignoring, slavery approving god of the Bible in any way helping those in need?
So we can be sure that both Jehovah and Jesus want to help us to enjoy a happy future! -Psalm 72:12-14; 145:16; 2 Peter 3:9.
Or maybe the Buddha will help you lead a happy future. Or, I could just lead a happy future with no gods or religion at all. Imagine that...
To think about
How will God change our world for the better?
That Bible answers that question at Matthew 6:9-10 and Daniel 2:44.
 Well, since he doesn't exist, he won't. And even if he did, his track record and the Bible's end times predictions paint a clear picture that he only ever makes things

-Brain Hulk

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Was Jesus really dead?

One of Billy Graham's readers wastes their time by asking Billy a question that he will only ever answer one way. After all, he has no choice but to parrot the same unevidenced nonsense...
Q: Was Jesus really dead when they took Him down from the cross? I have a hard time believing that, because everyone knows that dead people just don’t come back to life — which is what you Christians claim Jesus did, don’t you? — C.T.
Correct, people coming back from the dead is a pretty absurd concept. Why is it that we can all laugh about the prospect of a zombie apocalypse, yet Christians take Jesus pulling the same zombie trick as unquestionably true. But was he really dead? Read on, because my replies to Graham will show that we simply can't know (if we're generous with our assumptions)...
A: Beyond doubt, Jesus was dead when His body was taken down from the cross; the Roman soldiers who’d nailed Him to the cross made certain of it. Remember, too, that His body was then placed in a cave-like tomb, which was sealed with a stone weighing hundreds of pounds.
Wrong Billy, it is not beyond any doubt that Jesus was dead. How can that be, when there's not even any proof that he was actually crucified or even existed at all? The answer is that we can't! But there are some glaring problems with the crucifixion story, that throw a ton of doubt into the story, even if we assume he was real and was crucified.

Crucifixion is far from pretty. Jesus supposedly died after just a few hours on the cross. The problem is that death from crucifixion usually took a few days to a week. So if he was pulled down as quickly as the Bible says, he should have still been alive. In a lot of pain, but still living.

There is also a problem with how the Romans checked to make sure he was dead. Did they take his pulse? Nope. They stabbed him with a spear. And when they did so, John 19:34 says that, "But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." It's odd that they took that as a sign that he was dead, because a sudden burst of blood and water like that would actually be a sign that he was alive, and not dead. This is what happens when people write books without doing the proper research...

After Jesus' supposed resurrection, he only showed himself to his followers and hid from those that were against him. Seems to me that if he really was back from the dead, showing this fact to one and all would erase any doubt and bring more into his flock. Maybe he had to hide out so that the authorities wouldn't find out he never really died. Then there is the fact that the gospels can't even get their stories straight, even on the most important story for the Christian religion!
And yet, on the third day after His death, Christ was alive, appearing not only to the women who first came to the tomb to anoint His body, but to the disciples who’d gathered behind closed doors. During the next 40 days He appeared repeatedly to numerous others. Decades later, Paul wrote that Jesus “appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living” (1 Corinthians 15:6).
Any documents to back up these claims that he appeared to over 500 people? No? You would think that at least one of those people who met the supposedly resurrected savior would think it to be a big enough deal to make some note of it...
Only one explanation covers all the facts: Jesus rose from the dead by the power of God. The people of Jesus’ day knew that death was final, just as much as we do. And yet the evidence was overwhelming: Jesus was alive! Only God could make it happen — and He did.
 If all of what Graham has said were actually facts, then sure he'd have a point. But the truth is that they aren't facts. They are claims that have no proof to back them up. So if the face of fantastic claims with absolutely no evidence, isn't the more likely and reasonable answer that it simply didn't happen?
Why is Jesus’ resurrection important? It tells us we don’t need to fear death if we know Christ, for sin and death and hell have been conquered. It tells us also that this life is not all; ahead of us is eternity, either with God in heaven or separated from Him forever in that place of total despair the Bible calls hell. Put your faith in Jesus Christ today — for He is alive forevermore!
Why is Jesus' resurrection important? Gee... How about if you tell me why Horus' resurrection was
important. Or Osiris', or Attis', or Krishna's, or Mithra's, or Dionysus', all the Norse gods, and the list goes on... Resurrection is an old claim that many deities were said to have done prior to Jesus. So why not take their claims seriously as well?

Sounds to me that Billy is just spouting more and more hearsay as if it were truth again. So nothing different there... I just wish he and other Christians looked a little deeper at the stories they are told, because what they find may surprise them.

-Brain Hulk

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Biblicaly cursed and blessed

A recent comment Billy Graham made in his column reminded me of a verse in the Bible that contradicts itself. Graham said...
When we give our lives to Christ, God welcomes us into His family and makes us His children forever.
And he also referenced Hebrews 13:5.
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you
Okay, so by this line of thinking, the majority of atheists should be just fine in his book, right? In the United States (and throughout the world), many atheists were Christians before they were atheists. Many deeply religious and committed... Some even studying to join the clergy. Myself, I was a believer in Christ for many years before I lost my faith in the religion of my youth. But according to Graham, I was welcomed into God's family when I believed, and since he states that this relationship is eternal, Hell shouldn't be a worry if Christianity were correct.

But how does that sit with Mark 3:29?
but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin
I'm guilty of that. So which is it? Will God never forsake me and I am an eternal member of his family? Or is it my blasphemy that is eternal and unforgivable?  But wait... Lets muddy the waters further with Exodus 20:5-6
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Uh... How can he do both. The promise/threat stated in Exodus isn't possible to fulfill fully. Those
Yup, curses... How does anyone take this book seriously?
that are the first generation to 'hate' him would have had to be born of a generation that is blessed. So the following 1,000 generations are promised the same blessing. But the following 4 are also supposed to be punished as well. So, are at least those four generations supposed to be simultaneously blessed and cursed? My parents believe, so am I automatically blessed? What if I had kids? Would they be blessed or cursed? They would be within 1,000 generation of my parents, but also withing four of myself. So which would it be?

Also, how screwed up is it for a god to curse the children of someone for a 'crime' they didn't commit and were not a party to? What if they believe, but their parents didn't? Are they just out of luck?

Of course none of this is really surprising. The Bible is far from sensical, and is ripe with contradictions, so this example is just one among a sea of many.

-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ray Comfort: feeding God

There are few evangelists that are as simultaneously clueless and entertaining as Ray Comfort. And when one of his readers writes him with a question, he doesn't disappoint...
“I'm from Brazil and I really loved the movie/documentary, but Ray I have a question. Atheists [have] an argument…against Christians…: hunger and poverty in Africa, and God is bad with them? What is your opinion?” Felipe Matsuri
Hypocrisy much?
Um... They don't have that phrased quite right. We don't think that God is 'bad with them', we just
point out that if there was a supposedly all loving god, he seems to be displaying this endless love in a rather curious way.
1. As atheists, they have “no belief in a god.” So God doesn’t exist, and therefore didn't let anyone starve.
Wow, he actually got that part right. Maybe this won't be as bad as I thought.
2. For an atheist, a starving child is no big deal, because it's just evolution's “survival of the fittest” in action.
Unfortunately, the cruel truth is that suffering is a very real part of the reality of nature. Some do better, and some do worse. Those that do better are more likely to pass on their genes. But to say that a starving child is no big deal to an atheist is both wrong and offensive. We have feelings. We empathize with those that are suffering and want to help out how we can. Like people of all walks of like, we care. So don't act like atheists see a starving child and think nothing of it. We do care, and when we help, we actually help. Believers may sometimes help, but some simply pray and act like they are actually helping when they're not.
3. Much of the hunger in Africa is political, rather than a social problem. When food is sent for starving people, governments often block its delivery.
True. But that shouldn't be an obstacle at all for a god that's supposed to be all powerful. So he can create the universe and flood the Earth, but he can't defy a small African nation's government or military? Apparently God is less powerful than many of the nations on Earth...
4. Starvation, poverty, disease and death are evidences that the Bible is right when it says that we live in a fallen creation.
Except that he's supposed to be all loving... Anyone that's truly all loving couldn't and wouldn't allow as much suffering as is visible in the world around us if they could help it. And he's supposed to be all powerful too, right? What we are left is another inconsistency in the theology... But what we see is the world we'd expect to find if we truly do live in a fully natural world.
Like I said, Ray's ridiculousness is always good for a laugh.
5. We are the guilty party, and yet sinful atheists (in the ultimate gesture of a delusion of grandeur) stand in moral judgment over Almighty God—when they have no real basis for any morality.
What a load... Guess I was wrong when I briefly thought that Ray might surprise me with an isolated moment of lucidity. Atheists are perfectly capable of morality. While believers may like to pretend that they follow some type of objective morality, they truth is that they don't. We atheists get our morals from the same subjective and societal means that we all do. Morals that are far superior to those in the Bible... A book that has no problem with genocide and slavery.
6. God lets the rain fall on the just and the unjust, and if He withholds rain for some reason, we know that all of His judgments are righteous and true altogether. He never doesn't anything morally wrong. Ever.
I'm guessing Ray meant to say 'He never does anything morally wrong. Ever.' Really? God never does anything morally wrong in the Bible? Advocating slavery? Punishing innocent children for the actions or thoughts of their parents? Demanding the murdering of entire cities? Committing worldwide genocide? Demanding a ritual human sacrifice? The list goes on and on, but if the god of the Bible is one thing, it's certainly not moral.
7. If atheists really care about starving children, they will go to other countries and join the thousands of Christians who are feeding them.
Um... We do. Atheists go overseas, create organizations that help at home and abroad, and donate to existing organizations. Atheists and believers alike help those in need. But when an atheists helps the hungry, it's always by way of food and water, or by donating money to secure as much. And many believers help out in the same way, but some also think they are helping the hungry by sending them Bibles instead of food, or simply preaching to them and praying for them instead of offering actual help.
8. The Bible says we are to love our neighbor (others) as much as we love ourselves. Instead of doing that, most secular governments spend billions of dollars each year creating weapons to kill people.
An interesting complaint, since (at least in the United States) the most religious factions of the electorate, are also the ones that back war and military spending much more swiftly than the less religious. In fact, many Christians backed Bush's Iraq war as a just and glorious holy war. Meanwhile, a non-believer like myself feels it was a war we never should have started.
9. We also spend billions of dollars searching for intelligent life in space; money that could instead be used to feed, house, educate, and clothe the less fortunate.
As if space exploration is worthless... So much of our modern lives owes it's origins to the space program. While it is important to know if we are alone in the universe, space exploration is still important even if we never find other life. We may eventually find ourselves needing to leave the Earth. Either we will pollute it to the point that our home can't sustain us anymore, global warming may one day reach extremes we can no longer cope with, or the eventual expansion of the Sun will force us to move on or die. And isn't criticizing space exploration (something that's actually useful) hypocritical when Christians are wasting at least $70 million on building a replica of the (fictitious) Arc in Kentucky instead of putting that money to noble use.
10. A plane hits severe turbulence. Flight attendants quickly take to their seats before getting food to the hungry passengers at the back of the plane. The atheist is like a man who sees those hungry people, makes an insane leap of logic, and says, “Those people are hungry. Therefore no one made this plane.” Atheism believes that nothing created everything. It is a quiet form of intellectual insanity.
Has anyone else noticed that Ray comes up with the worst, and most flawed analogies that I've ever heard spewed? Lets see if we can actually fix this one for him...

Claims that the banana is the 'atheist's nightmare' because it is
perfect proof of God's design. Doesn't realize that humans
selectively bread the banana into it's current form, which
is nothing like a wild banana.

There is a plane that is crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Some passengers claim that Superman is on board and will take care of all the accommodations. But in the middle of the flight attendants handing out food, the plane hits turbulence and everyone takes their seats. The Christians on the plane would be those that say not to worry, Superman will take care of those that didn't get food yet. Meanwhile, the atheists would be those that hear that claim, but see that those in the back of the plane never got fed. Seeing this, they would doubt that Superman was on the plane (lest he would have helped) or that Superman didn't exist at all.

That would be the more accurate version. I must wonder why Ray feels the need to jump to the unrelated tangent of who made the plane? My guess is that he is knowingly creating a strawman. He makes and absurd statement that atheists don't believe anyone made the airplane to try and also discredit anything else an atheist says. Sad really... Oh, and atheism doesn't say that nothing created nothing. Atheism is simply nothing more than the lack of a belief in gods. But why all this fussing about 'nothing'?

Some believers say that everything had to be created. But then where did God come from? He would have had to come from nothing. They may claim that he's eternal. Technically, that's a bit of a cop out of an explanation, but if the most complicated thing that has been conceived can 'just be' eternal, why not simple energy? Something simple always existing, is far more likely than something complicated after all...

Ray is always good for a laugh. But in that way that he's so wrong that you can't help but shake your head and laugh in dismay at the magnitude of his fail. Sadly, he has fans and followers that eat up his every word (as inane as they often are), and that's troubling.

-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Boring Bible?

One of Billy Graham's readers read the Bible and didn't give it a five star review? This ought to be good...
Q: I don't mean to offend you, but I've tried to read the Bible and found it kind of dull. And yet some of my friends find it exciting. What's wrong? Why don't I get anything out of it?
The truth is that this person should be commended. The reason they found the Bible dull is that they read it without preconceived notions. They read it and took it for what it is. An unbiased reading of the Bible will have you finish it realizing just how terrible it is. It's poorly written, full of absurdities and contradictions, has some very dodgy morals, and a hero that comes across as more of a villain. There's a reason that it's said that the Bible is one of the best books to read for creating atheists.
A: In reality, the Bible should be the most exciting book you'll ever read! The reason is, this isn't just another book; it is God's Word, and through its pages God speaks to us. Think of it: The Creator of the universe wants to talk to you!
Citation needed. All other holy books are supposed to be their deity reaching out to speak to us as well. Odin speaks to us, Allah reaches out, Krishna is telling us the way. So try again Billy. There's nothing about the Bible that makes it any more special than any other holy book.
Tell me again which one is the
good guy...
What does He want to tell you? First, He wants to tell you about Himself - who He is, what He is like, and what He has done for you. We can understand some things about God by looking at the world He created, but we only fully understand Him by discovering what He's told us in the Bible.
And read what Thor has done for us. How he sacrificed himself to defeat the great demon serpent. Perhaps we should read about Prometheus and how he brought us the gift of fire and was sentenced to eternal torture for the gift he had given us. Again, tell me why anyone should lend any more
credence to the Bible over other holy books.
But God also wants to tell us He loves us, and the proof is that He came down from heaven in the person of His Son, Jesus, who gave His life for us. This is why the best place for you to begin reading the Bible is in one of the Gospels (I often suggest John), because there you'll discover who Jesus is and what He has done for us. Because of Jesus, "we know and rely on the love God has for us" (1 John 4:16).
 Yes, discover Jesus for who he was and what he did. A man that if he ever existed was so unspectacular that he left no trace of his existence in the whole of recorded history. His supposed miracles... not impressive enough to be recorded by his peers. Him as a person? So well known that none of his peers thought to even record and account his existence or teachings? Yeah... Sounds like he was real impressive... Any book can make great claims of a character, but if you want to argue that the claims are true, you're going to have to back them up with some proof.
Get a modern translation you can understand, and set aside time each day to read through one of the Gospels - perhaps only a few paragraphs at first. As you open it, humbly ask God to make its meaning clear. Most of all, ask God to help you apply its truth to your life, because "Your word is a lamp for my feet, and a light on my path" (Psalm 119:105).
 Ah, yes... The modern translation trick. The thing with modern translations is that they often not only use more modern language, but they change that language in a dishonest way. Sometimes one or two words are changed in a way that changes the very meaning of a verse. This is often used to try and make an ugly verse seem a little less ugly.

You can think of newer and newer translations as a game of telephone. The Bible was written in one language, then translated to another, then it was translated into English. Then it has been translated again and again. Each time things change and likely loose a little something from the original. Remember, when your Bible has the word 'version' right in the title, just how reliable can it be?

-Brain Hulk

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Blood moon

If you're like me, you'll be looking skyward tonight, and hoping that the weather breaks enough for the moon to be visible. At 2:00 AM EST on April 16th, 2014 we will be treated to a total lunar eclipse. The moon will be tinted red, and will actually be the first in a series of four total lunar eclipses in the next 18 months (about 6 months between each). This is called a tetrad of eclipses.

While I'm looking forward to it, some are reacting in a way that sounds more like our cave dwelling ancestors than modern humans. Pastor John Hagee is actually claiming that this tetrad of eclipses signals the end of the world. That God is telling us that the end is coming, and so is he. That sounds like the words of a frightened caveman who was embraced by deep fear and confusion when they saw the moon turn red.

It should be no surprise that Hagee didn't do any homework. There have been nine sets of tetrads in the 21st century alone. Maybe I missed something, but I'm pretty sure that the world didn't end any of those times. Also, on average, there is at least one total lunar eclipse every single year. Yet the world is still here...

Yet another example of a religious fear merchant. He scares his followers with dire statements, and then sells a book to cash in on his empty claims. Will he admit fault when he's proven wrong? Probably not. He'll just stop saying that the verse he's citing was literal and claim that it is to be taken figuratively and just carry on like nothing ever happened. Such dishonesty, and no understanding of astronomy...

-Brain Hulk

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Easter Christians

A reader asks Billy Graham about a friend who's religiosity comes and goes. Let's see how that turns out...
Dear Rev. Graham: I have a friend who doesn’t bother with God or church most of the year, but as Easter approaches she suddenly gets religious -- goes to church, observes Lent and so forth. Do you think she’s a real Christian, or is it all fake? -- Mrs. V.G.
They grow up so fast. Just last week, Billy was the one throwing out the no true Scotsman fallacy, and this time it's his reader. Graham must be so proud of the ignorance he is propagating. Seriously though, it's odd that VG seems surprised by her friend not acting as religious during most of the year, but then acting more devout around Easter and Christmas. Isn't that the standard modus operandi for a rather large swath of the American Christian population?
Rev. Graham: Only God knows your friend’s heart, and whether or not she sincerely wants to follow Jesus and has committed her life to Him. Perhaps a seed of faith was planted in her heart as a child, and as Easter approaches she senses a need to have it grow.
However, the Bible does warn us against simply going through the motions, but not allowing God to touch our hearts and lives. In other words, if Christ means nothing to us most of the year, it may well mean that our faith is not real, and our sudden burst of religious activity isn’t genuine. The Bible says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). 
Don't you just love how Billy likes to assume that Christians that aren't in your face religious 24/7 are just faking it? Hate to break it to you Graham, but as long as VG's friend believes in Jesus as their lord and savior, they are a Christian. It really matters not what her friend does the rest of the year. After all, the Bible says that you shall be saved through faith and not by works. Translation: if you believe, that's all that matter... regardless of what you do.
After all, if we truly understand who Jesus is -- the divine Son of God who died for our sins and rose again by the power of God for our salvation -- how can we treat Him casually? How can we live as if He were unimportant? Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
How can we act as though he's unimportant? Maybe because there's no proof of him being important or even existing. And what of his claims... Many other deities made spectacular claims as well. In fact, others made the exact same claims as Jesus did.
Pray for your friend, that during this Easter season she may come to understand how great God’s love is for her, and respond by giving her life without reserve to Jesus Christ. Pray, too, that as we approach Easter this year you also may see Jesus in a deeper way, and commit your life more fully to Him.
 And since we're talking Easter, pray also to the goddess Eostre. And celebrate Easter for what it is... A Pagan fertility festival that has been stolen and co-opted by Christianity.

-Brain Hulk

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Don't do it!

We all know that person. The one that whenever the topic of marriage comes up they'll start to badmouth the very idea of marriage. I know that when I got engaged, I heard from a few people who's only response was, "Don't do it!"

Invariably, these marriage naysayers have been married, but then it all went wrong and got divorced, or they are stuck in an unhappy relationship. I suppose that it's fair enough that they don't want others to repeat their mistakes. But is marriage really the enemy here? I don't think so. Actually, I think the real concern shouldn't be over marriage in general, but the reasons for wanting to get married. In my opinion, if you want to get married for the right reasons, you shouldn't allow others to stifle that desire.

But what if it does go bad? As Alfred Lord Tennyson once said, "'Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." I think these are very wise words indeed. Those that were once married and now denounce marriage are focusing only on the negative end. What about the love that they once shared? Why act as though those years were meaningless just because it eventually all came to an end? Are they really suggesting that all things that come to an end are pointless?

I love my wife, and I hope that we grow old together. But should something happen that causes us to go our separate ways, would I regret our marriage? No. Simple as that. These past years have been wonderful. I love my wife and wouldn't trade the time we've had together for anything. While the pain of separation would hurt, those days would still be the the fondest of memories. So why dislike marriage so much? Because it might end?

But is it really?
Or is it just the bonus level?
Not doing something due to impermanence is a terrible standard to go by. Your sandwich won't lastforever, so why bother eating. Your pet will eventually die, so don't bother having one. Your shoes will only wear out, so don't buy any. And you won't live forever, so why bother living at all... As you can see, giving value only to the eternal leaves everything void of value.

So if your marriage fails, don't blame marriage. There were other factors that are actually to blame. Instead, make the most informed choices you can, and focus on the positive. Every cloud does have a silver lining somewhere. I know it sounds cliché, but things are rarely as bad as they seem. Remember the good times, and even the bad as well. For it's the totality of those experiences that makes us who we are.

-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hobby hypocrisy

As most everyone knows, Hobby Lobby has taken the fight against women's health to the Supreme Court. They argue that the requirement to cover birth control in the healthcare plans they provide to employees is a violation of religious freedom. It isn't, of course. But they are still demanding a religious exemption. Now... religious organizations, such as churches, are exempt from this requirement due to the religious freedom issues. A church is inherently religious after all.

However, Hobby Lobby is a craft store. Sure, the owners may be religious, but it isn't a religious organization. We should actually hope that the court rules that the owners of a business do not earn the right to project their beliefs on those that work for them. This issue could go much further, but lets focus on just healthcare for the time being...

Okay, so the owners of Hobby Lobby are Christians that have a 'moral' stance against the use of birth control. What they want is the power to tell their employees to conform to their beliefs rather than their own. Hobby Lobby argues that it doesn't want to cover birth control because of their religion. But what if you work for a Jehovah's Witness? If Hobby Lobby got their way, the Jehovah's Witness employer would be allowed to deny coverage of a needed blood transfusion. Give this same power to a Christian Scientist, and your healthcare now only covers prayer and no actual medical care. But why stop at religion. What if a vegetarian boss has a 'moral' stance as well. Congratulations, the treatment of any illness related to the consumption of meat is no longer covered.

But wait... The Hobby Lobby issue gets murkier. The craft retailer offers their employees a 401(k). A plan that invests money into the companies that make birth control devices, emergency contraceptive pills and drugs used in abortion procedures. Oh, and they match employee contributions. Over the years, Hobby Lobby has actually invested millions of dollars in these firms ($73 million since Dec. 2012). So wait... it's okay for them to make money off of investing in birth control companies, but it's not okay that they have to cover that same birth control in their own healthcare plans?

Additionally, Hobby Lobby already used to voluntarily cover birth control in it's health plans, prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Suddenly, they are outraged that they will be required to cover something that they already covered of their own accord? Am I missing something here?

Okay, so Hobby Lobby covered birth control, and even invested in it. Suddenly, the second they are told they have to cover it, they lose their shit and talk about how evil it is to their religious beliefs. I hate when people jump to claiming racism to be the motivation of something when there's no evidence of it. But could this sudden and hypocritical about-face have something to do with the fact that the dark-skinned Democrat that some pretend is a Muslim is the one that said they had to do it the reason? Or is it just because of dirty political games?

Whatever the reason, Hobby Lobby is guilty of committing the heights of hypocrisy.They don't want to cover birth control that they used to cover voluntarily. Oh, and the birth control companies that they are rallying against make them profits off their investments. Sounds to me that Hobby Lobby's real prophet is profit. Do as we say, not as we do, and whatever makes them a buck. Hobby Lobby are clearly hypocrites, and I surely hope they lose their case... for all our sakes.

-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Humble or arrogant?

Is it arrogant for some believers to claim they have all the answers? Let's ask Billy Graham...
Q: I get very upset at people who claim they have all the answers to life because they supposedly know God. To me, that's arrogant. And anyway, what right do they have to tell me how to live? I don't tell them how to run their lives.
 Yes, it is arrogant. You may often hear me talking about science, and a believer could try and claim that science is arrogant because it tries to say it has the answers. But I'd greatly disagree. While science does provide many an answer, it doesn't claim to have them all. There are some questions to which science answers, "We don't know yet." Science will keep working though... Trying to solve those riddles.

A creationist may cite evolution and say that science claims it has the answer. True, what science has found points toward evolution being the undoubted truth. But that's not arrogant at all. While science (and anyone paying attention) will tell you evolution is true, science also says that any theory can be proven wrong. Don't believe in evolution? Prove it wrong! Bring on whatever proof you may claim to have and we'll test it. If it turns out that you are right, history will be made, and science will be forced to change or even discard the theory to match the evidence.

Science admits it can be mistaken and is open to being changed. That's the very opposite of arrogance. Meanwhile, religions will oft have their static rules, judgements and commands. They will tell you how to live, and no evidence will ever change their minds. Their way is the only way, and all those other religions that feel exactly the same way are all wrong. So yes, it is arrogance served up with a healthy dose of cognitive bias.
A: No true Christian should be arrogant or proud - not if they understand what the Bible says. Pride is a sin in the eyes of God, and the Bible says it even cuts us off from Him. The Bible warns, "The Lord detests all the proud of heart" (Proverbs 16:5).
Because there is nothing more arrogant than admitting that
I don't know everything. Nope, saying you know it all and
can't even be questions is so humble...
 I see we're off to a splendid start already. One sentence in and Graham has already committed the no true Scotsman fallacy. Sorry Billy, but to be a Christian you must only accept Jesus Christ as you lord and savior. You don't get to redefine being Christian to fit your own agenda. Why not just admit that there are good Christians, as well as bad?
Why shouldn't Christians be proud? One reason is because we can never claim to be perfect. No matter who we are, we're still imperfect and sinful in God's eyes. Furthermore, we know we are saved only because of God's grace and mercy, and not because we're better than anyone else. Humility and gentleness should be the marks of anyone who seeks to follow Jesus, not pride and arrogance. The Bible says, "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith... so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Wait... Humility, gentleness and not thinking you're better than anyone? A real Christian (Can I get that at my local grocer next to RealLime and RealLemon?) shouldn't tell you how to run your life? Pardon me, but what exactly does Graham think he's doing with his column? The very purpose of it is to tell people what he thinks they should do! And what part about saying that those that don't believe as he does have the 'hardest hearts', is humble? Billy said that just last week. What about constantly telling people they are helpless, even worthless, without God? Guess Graham isn't a real Christian then...
My real concern, however, is that you would look past the failures and faults of some who may have offended you, and look instead at Jesus. Have you ever done that? When you do, you'll discover a truth that could change your life: God loves you, and He wants what is best for you.
 Yes, turn your life over to Jesus (Just as I did for many years of my life. Funny how that didn't stick...) or Thor, of Krishna, or Helios, or Zeus, or the Buddha. They are all equally as evidenced after all. And just ask the believers of any and they will tell you stories of their transformative power. Odin be praised!
Don't center your life on yourself, constantly demanding to have your own way. If you do, eventually you'll find you're on a dead-end road. Instead, face honestly your need for God, and open your heart and life to Jesus Christ. He'll not only forgive your past, but He will give you a whole new purpose in life.
Christianity: Because there's nothing arrogant about thinking that a universe
of hundreds or billions of galaxies (each with hundreds of billions of stars) is
all here just for us, even though we're stuck on one planet orbiting one star.
No... Not arrogant at all...
Exactly! Don't do what you want to do... Do what Billy Graham want's you to do. He so kindly tells you in the newspaper every day just how to live and how wrong everyone who doesn't feel the same is. Sure, he hides behind a God and claims he's just the messenger.

But let's face it, if he's supposed to be an example of what opening your heart to Jesus will do to you, who would really want to become a self serving fellow that sits around telling everyone how to live their lives, and simultaneously pretends that his advice is beyond reproach? Seriously, if Billy Graham is supposed to be a symbol of Christian acceptance and love, he's doing quite the terrible job. Because what I see is a old man that thinks he has all the answers... has it all figured out, yet ignores the glaringly obvious truth that he hasn't the foggiest.

-Brain Hulk

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Help the poor... No matter what?

Billy Graham answers a reader's question about poverty. And to no surprise, Billy Graham pays no attention to the elephant in the room.
QUESTION: Do you think we’ll ever do away with poverty? I heard someone say we could do it if we just tried hard enough, but didn’t Jesus say somewhere that there’d always be poor people? I can’t imagine living the way millions do in some parts of the world. — Mrs. V. McK.
Jesus also claimed that he'd return for the second coming while some of his original twelve disciples where still alive. Unless you can show me some 2000 year old guys walking around today, it looks like Jesus failed pretty big on that prediction. That said, it doesn't look like poverty is going anywhere anytime soon. That's too bad, because I do think there is much more that can be done to help those in need. I certainly hope that poverty will one day be eradicated, but knowing how some people are, I'm not about to hold my breath...
ANSWER: You’re probably thinking of Jesus’ comment to some of His disciples, after they criticized a woman for pouring a jar of costly perfume over His head as an act of respect and love.

They contended she should have spent her money helping the poor instead of wasting it on Jesus. But Jesus pointed out that He would not be with them much longer, while the poor would always need her help. Soon He would be taken from them, He said, and the opportunity to express their love in person would be over. (You can read this incident in Mark 14:3-9.)

Jesus’ words have sometimes been misunderstood; some have even suggested He was being insensitive to those living in poverty. But nothing could be further from the truth. Repeatedly the Bible commands us to be concerned for those in need, and it points out that God has a special concern for the poor. Remember: Jesus knew what it was to be poor; Mary and Joseph had very little in the way of material goods. The Bible says, “Whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Proverbs 14:31).

Will we ever eliminate poverty? We should do all we can, but the real barrier is our human nature. Unless Christ changes our hearts, the human race will always be riddled with greed and corruption and selfishness. Put your life into Christ’s hands, then ask Him to use you to help others overcome both their material and spiritual poverty.
 I'm glad that Graham thinks we should do all we can to eliminate poverty. I'm sure he's on the phone right now to suggest that Ken Ham halt his building of a Noah's Ark theme park, and instead spend that $73 million helping people in need. No? Oh...Wait, I know!

Billy obviously must be leading the charge to eliminate the tax exempt status of churches so that money can go towards the government helping the needy. Or maybe he's arguing that churches should quit preaching and instead convert themselves into legitimate charities. Wrong again? Huh... I thought Billy said that we should do everything we can to help the less fortunate. After all, that's what Jesus would want, right?

An interesting thing to note is that if churches paid taxes just like everyone else, that would mean $83.5 billion of new tax revenue based on 2013's numbers. What the government actually collected from churches was $0. Quite a marked difference there. But what could be done with $83.5 billion? Oh, that would be enough to pay for the 'food stamps' of everyone on welfare, as well as house the entire US homeless population. Those sound quite like things that would certainly help the poor.

So why don't you see these churches doing everything they can to help the needy? To be honest, if many smaller churches had to pay taxes, they'd simply go bankrupt. But the large congregations would have no problem. All the televangelists you see with their arena sized church services? They are doing almost diddly to help out while they simply line their pockets with more cash. So don't try and act as if belief makes people more charitable. Hell, Bill Gates is the worlds biggest philanthropist, yet he's a non-believer.
Help the poor? This giant arena, jumbotron and light show
won't pay for itself. Priorities! Am I right, or am I right?

Helping out has nothing to do with what you believe, and more to do with what kind of person you are. Sure, we can all do more, but churches are in no way excused from that criticism. In many ways they sometimes exasperate the poverty issue. They may demand a tithe from their congregation, whether that can afford it or not. The TV preacher asking for money will often actually prey on those that have the least, and say they should donate the most to turn their fortunes around. It perpetuates a vicious cycle where people are left clinging to faith, because they now have nothing else.

So yes, lets all do what we can to battle poverty, but lets also hold preaches and churches under the magnifying glass. Because I feel you will be surprised by the number you will find that preach giving, but really just take, take, take...

-Brain Hulk

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