Friday, October 31, 2014

Ten quick responses to atheist claims?

Christian Today posted an article that is supposed to offer quick responses to ten atheist claims. So let's take a look and see if it actually delivers...

1) You don't believe in Zeus, Thor and all the other gods. I just go one god more than you, and reject the Christian God.
Art by ryomablood
The problem with this idea is that 'gods' such as Zeus and Thor are not comparable with the biblical understanding of God.

"There is a vast distinction between all of the Ancient near eastern gods and the God of the Bible," said Prof Lennox. "They are products of the primeval mass and energy of the universe. The God of the Bible created the heavens and the earth".
The point that Lennox is missing or ignoring is that the god of the Bible, like all other gods, is an unproven entity that is supported by exactly zero evidence. The other point is that the Christian disbelieves in Zeus, Thor, and all other gods for the very same reason we also disbelieve in the Christian god.

2) Science has explained everything, and it doesn't include God.
Science cannot answer certain kinds of questions, such as 'what is ethical?' and 'what is beautiful?' Even when it comes to questions about the natural world, which science does explore and can sometimes answer, there are different types of explanations for different things.
"God no more competes with science as an explanation of the universe than Henry Ford competes with the law of internal combustion as an explanation of the motor car," says Prof Lennox.
First of all, no one is saying that science has explained everything. The beautiful thing about science is that it never stops. Lennox feels that there are things that science can't answer, and I would opine that science can delve into the realms that Lennox says that it can't. But even if it couldn't... So what?! Not having a scientific explanation doesn't mean that you can just plug in whatever story you favor.

Another important aspect is that science and religion are very much in conflict if you are going with a literal interpretation of the Bible. There are stories that are very much in contradiction with what science has shown to be the reality.

3) Science is opposed to God.
There are certain conceptions of a 'god' that might be opposed to science, but not the Christian God. There might be certain kinds of 'gods' that are invented to explain things we don't understand, but they're not Christian.
"If we're being offered a choice between science and god... it is not a biblical concept of god," said Prof Lennox. "The biblical God is not a god of the gaps, but a God of the whole show. The bits we do understand [through science] and the bits we don't.
"Among many leading thinkers, their idea of god is thoroughly pagan. If you define god to be a god of the gaps, then you have got to offer a choice between science and god."
Science is actually impartial to religion. It just so happens that God claims just happen to regularly fail scientific scrutiny. Lennox claims there is no conflict, but as I've said, the Bible makes claims that science have shown are false. Also, there is no proof of God, so there is no way he could be remotely scientific since evidence is what science runs on.

4) You can't prove that there is a God.
This kind of statement ignores that there are different kinds of 'proof'.
"Can you prove that there is a God?" asked Prof Lennox. "In the mathematical sense no, but proving anything is very difficult. The word proof has two meanings. There's the rigorous meaning in maths that is very difficult to do and rare. But then there's the other meaning – beyond reasonable doubt".
That's the kind of 'proof' we can present: arguments to bring someone beyond reasonable doubt. For example, rational arguments such as those from philosophers Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig, the personal experience of Christians, and the witness of the gospel accounts in the Bible.
Lennox fails to realize that his God fails on both accounts to an impartial party. If he feels that personal experiences are 'proof' of God, than the personal experiences of Hindus, Muslims, Satanists, Scientologists, Pastafarians, or Buddhists prove their respective deities to be real as well. Somehow I doubt Lennox would accept the personal experience of a Muslim.

5) Faith is believing without any evidence.
Christian belief has never been about having no evidence: the gospels were written to provide evidence, as the beginning of Luke's attests. The end of John's gospel says, "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."
But believing without evidence is a common notion of 'faith' at present. "This definition is in the dictionary and believed by many," said Prof Lennox. "So, when we talk about faith in Christ, they think that's because there's no evidence. [John's gospel shows that] Christianity is an evidence-based faith."
The Bible is not evidence of anything. It's the claim and no more. If faith was belief with evidence, it would cease to be faith. Hebrews 11:1 also contradicts Lennox's claim when it says...
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
6) Faith is a delusion. I'd no more believe in God than I would in the Easter Bunny, Father Christmas or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
These ideas have been made famous by people such as Prof Richard Dawkins. The only thing they are good for is mockery.
"Statements by scientists are not always statements of science," said Prof Lennox. "Stephen Hawking said, "religion is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark". I said, "atheism is a fairy story for people afraid of the light".
"Neither of those statements proves anything at all. They're all reversible. What lies behind all these delusion claims is the Freudian idea of wish fulfilment [that we believe what we hope to be true.] This works brilliantly providing there is no god. But if there is a god, then atheism is wish fulfilment."
It sounds as if Lennox is unduly taking 'delusion' as an insult, when it simply means 'a belief that is not true'. Also, the God/Easter Bunny/Flying Spaghetti Monster comparison is a valid one and not a joke as he believes. This is because there is no evidence for any of them existing. In this way, they are very much the same.

7) Christianity claims to be true, but there loads of denominations and they all disagree with each other, so it must be false.

Why does the existence of denominations imply Christianity is false? It might imply that Christians have very different personalities and cultures – or even that Christians aren't good at getting on with each other – but not that Christianity isn't true.
"There are all kinds of different kinds of teams in football, but they all play football," said Prof Lennox.
This smells like a straw-man because I've literally never heard an atheist cite the existence of different denominations as proof that Christianity is false. I've only heard denominations brought up for two reasons.

Two different denominations will claim that they are the only ones who have it right, and they will claim that the other is doing it wrong. They will often go as far as saying that the other is in danger of Hell while they are on the road to Heaven.

The existence of denominations does  alsothrow the Bible into question. The Bible is claimed to be the perfect word of God. If it is perfect, that would mean that it should be perfectly clear and not open to interpretation. Yet all these different interpretations is why we have so many denominations . Thus the Bible can't be fully perfect.

8) The Bible is immoral.

If you want to question the morality of the Bible, what basis does that morality have? There can be a serious contradiction within atheist criticisms. Dawkins wrote: "In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference."
If this is true, then why does he question the morality of anything? "Dawkins says faith is evil," said Prof Lennox. "But at the same time he abolishes the categories of good and evil. That doesn't make sense."
Believers just love to pull that quote and use it out of context don't they? That Dawkins quote was from a book on evolution, and is about evolution. What he's saying is that evolution is indifferent. But make no mistake, people aren't. As I've written before, morality easily arises without the need for a deity. Also, no matter which way you want to look at it. I also wrote about the shear evil on display in the Bible. Anyone who claims the Bible to be moral either hasn't read it all the way through, or possesses the ability to rationalize an amazing blood-lust that would make even the most prolific mass-murderers blush.

9) Surely you don't take the Bible literally?
Some atheists (and a few Christians) have a very black and white idea of how to interpret the Bible. You either have to take it 'literally' or chuck it away, they think. That ignores the reality of language and how it reflects truth.
"Jesus said 'I'm the door'," said Prof Lennox. "Is Jesus a door like a door over there? No. He is not a literal door, but he is a real door into a real experience of God. Metaphor stands for reality. The word 'literal' is useless."
Sorry, but 'metaphor' and 'literal' are not remotely interchangeable. I will opine that I feel that literally interpreting the Bible at all time is madness. The problem is if a believer claims that some parts are literal and others are metaphor, how do you tell when what it is saying is literal or not. Why is it assumed that Jesus making the blind see or coming back to life are literal and not metaphorical? Also, there is the bad habit where things will be considered literal until that interpretation has been shown to be false. Suddenly, it is claimed that it was a metaphor all along. Such an action is simply dishonest.

10) What is the evidence for God?
You can debate the existence of God until the cows come home. It can be very interesting, especially when you go into the detail and explore the subject in depth. But for an atheist, they might be missing the point or avoiding the real issue. Prof Lennox advises to ask them the most important question:
"Suppose I could give [evidence for God], would you be prepared right now, to repent and trust Christ?"
And the answer almost every atheist will give you is that yes, give me evidence and I'll believe. Actually, many of us want(ed) to believe, tried to believe, and at one point did believe.

So what we see here is ten examples of a believer missing the point, presenting a straw-man, or just not making sense.


-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Salvation lost

Once a believer always a believer? Can one be disowned by God? RJ wants to know and decided to ask Billy Graham about it...
Q: Can you lose your salvation once you've honestly committed your life to Jesus? A friend of mine says you can, and another says you can't. This bothers me, because I sincerely believe in Jesus, but I'm afraid I'll do something wrong and maybe lose it all. -- R.J
Salvation? Lose it? I haven't even seen proof that it exists yet... I'd be more concerned about that part of the equation first!
A: I don't doubt the sincerity of your friend who believes we can lose our salvation if we sin after we've given our lives to Christ, but I respectfully disagree. Jesus said, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away" (John 6:37).
Really? So that means that Billy is in favor of just letting the majority of American atheists be then?
Think of it this way. When a child is born, he or she becomes part of a family. Even if they rebel or do something wrong, they're still a member of that family, and nothing can ever end that relationship. And when we come to Christ, we become members of a new family -- the family of God. We are now His children, and just as an earthly child will always be part of their family, so we will always be part of Christ's family -- even if we sin and turn away from Him for a time.
Then why are so many believers concerned with converting or saving atheists then? You see I, like a great many atheists, once believed. There was once a time in my life when I had no doubts that my Bible studies were teaching me the truth. I'd pray every night, think about God, ask him for help... I well and truly believed. And I'm not alone. The atheist ranks are full of former believers, evangelists, missionaries, those studying to become clergy and even pastors.

When some believers find that an atheist once believed, we are usually met with accusations or attempts to convert us. But according to Billy there is no need. He claims that former believers like myself are still saved. To that I will now simply say to those knocking on my door, you can just skip our house and leave us alone.


-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Forgiveness > Permission

We've all heard the old phrase 'it's better to ask for forgiveness than permission'. This phrase will often be offered with a little laugh as it is meant more as a joke. And I agree that it is a funny phrase on the surface. But if you look at is seriously, it's actually really bad advice.

There was a comedian that once said, "I wanted to pray to God for a new bike. But I know he doesn't work that way. So I just stole one and asked for forgiveness instead." A funny joke, but what if everyone took this mindset seriously?

That is why I don't see the concept of Christian forgiveness as a positive thing. It offers no deterrent from doing wrong, because every wrong will be forgiven if you just ask. Maybe that works for you, but it's terrible for society. Other people are still left hurt. Wrongs were still done. The bike was still stolen, money embezzled, lives taken...

So while it is a funny little phrase, it isn't one to be lived seriously. Not if you want to live a moral life and not recklessly hurt others anyway.


-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

God and Earthquakes

Somehow Rob Phillips over at the Baptist Press is actually arguing that Earthquakes aren't a problem for God, but that they strengthen the claim there is a God... What!?
The Lisbon earthquake of 1755 changed everything. In minutes, this thriving, affluent city was brought to its knees. Roughly 50,000 people died. The sky turned black. Fires raged. Then tidal waves washed over the port, drowning hundreds more...Later, Voltaire wrote a poem challenging the prevailing view that this was a divine act of judgment...Voltaire did not challenge the existence of God. He simply asked what kind of deity would create a world with such design flaws. It's a question other thinkers of his day dared to ask as well -- a question taken up by today's ardent atheists and carried to the extreme conclusion that God does not exist.
Huh? I don't know who Rob has been talking to, but no atheist I know would claim that Earthquakes prove there is no God. Most atheists will only go as far as citing such events as evidence against the existence of an all-loving god.
The earthquake and tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia in 2004 and similar disasters that struck Haiti in 2010 and Japan in 2011 are more recent examples of what may be described as natural evil. While many atheists concede that moral evil exists in the world, the idea of natural evil seems to prove either that God does not exist or, if He does, He is not a compassionate all-powerful God worthy of worship.
Sounds about right, but he left out all-loving.
Not so fast.
 Really? Where's the problem?
Plate tectonics
Okay... How does that vindicate God any?
In their book "Rare Earth," Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee observe that Earth "is still the only planet we know that has plate tectonics."
You sure about that? Because Mars has plate tectonics and Europa may as well.
They further show that plate tectonics is a "central requirement for life on a planet." It's also largely responsible for differences in land elevation that separate the land from the seas.
But there's more. Plate tectonics recirculates carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and without carbon dioxide we would not have life.
Dinesh D'Souza writes in "What's So Great About God?": "The whole tectonic system serves as a kind of 'planetary thermostat,' helping to regulate the earth's climate and preventing the onset of scorching or freezing temperatures that would make mammalian life, and possibly all life, impossible."
Plate tectonics also aids the formation of minerals deep in the earth and their availability near the surface.
Finally, the tectonics system contributes to the earth's magnetic field, without which earth's inhabitants would be exposed to cosmic radiation.
So, in a sense, we owe our existence to plate tectonics and the earthquakes it produces. Of course, earthquakes often cause great destruction and claim the lives of many people. These are real tragedies that must not be minimized.
That's all well and good, but it doesn't change anything. Claiming that earthquakes are but an unfortunate side-effect of extremely beneficial plate tectonics does not improve the case for God. This actually attests to a natural process rather than a perfect design by a God. For if a god designed plate tectonics and worked in earthquakes as well, then it would be a bad design. He's supposed to be able to do anything, so he could have just omitted earthquakes from the equation if he wanted to.
However, to make the leap from tragic consequences of natural disasters to accusations that God is aloof, petulant or non-existent fails on numerous counts. People die of heatstroke and skin cancer but that doesn't make the sun -- or its Creator -- our enemy. Fires often devastate property and take innocent lives, but without fire many technological advances such as smelting metals would not be possible.
In addition, floods and hurricanes cause tragic death and destruction, but these natural disasters would be impossible without water, without which no living creature could survive.
Sigh... that's nature for you. It is indifferent and can be as devastating as it is beautiful.
It's true that something is wrong with the created order -- and this has been the case ever since the man's fall in the Garden of Eden.
 But when God is defined as being perfect, the nature that we see actually does disprove a 'perfect' god. That's because a perfect deity couldn't create an imperfect creation. Additionally, a perfect god wouldn't be able to make a creation that was even capable of becoming broken. The very claim that Rob uses to try and explain away the problems in the world actually proves that his god can't be a perfect one. Now isn't that embarrassing...


-Brain Hulk

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Trusting foretelling?

A lot of people love to read horoscopes or have their fortunes told. But is that a good idea?
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Can some people really foretell the future? I admit I’d like to know what’s going to happen to me, but I’m not sure if I really ought to get involved with a lady near us who claims she can predict the future through cards and things like that. — L.G.
Can people actually see the future? Nope! Every person who has claimed to possess this power and been put to the test has been found to be a fraud.
DEAR L.G.: I strongly urge you not to become involved in anything or anyone that claims to be able to foretell the future. The Bible commands us to avoid anyone “who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens … or who is a medium or spiritist” (Deuteronomy 18:10-11).
Anyone? What about prophesy? The Bible is ripe with those telling of the future to come. It's odd that the Bible tells to avoid those that tell the future, yet uses those telling what is to come to advance God's plan, or to confirm it's veracity. You can't have it both ways, so which is it?
Why is this? One reason is because such things are often frauds, using trickery or mystical mumbo-jumbo to convince people they have special powers and taking their money in the process.
Frauds with no actual powers that are just out to make money? Sounds a lot like faith healers and preachers of prosperity gospel to me...
Occasionally, I’ve read the “predictions” some supposed fortunetellers made at the beginning of a new year and then compared them with what actually happened by year’s end. Very few of their predictions ever came true.
Failed predictions aren't confined to just fortunetellers. Lest we not forget the many failed end-times predictions, and the failed prophesies in the Bible. Even Jesus got it wrong when he claimed he would return within the generation of his disciples.
But I also urge you to avoid occult practices because they could involve you with spiritual forces and powers that may be real but are absolutely opposed to God. Don’t even go near them, for they will deceive you every time and lead you away from God. The Bible strongly warns us against “the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12).
You heard the man. Stay away from those claiming to know the future, including those claiming to have God on their side.


-Brain Hulk

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Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article3340087.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article3340087.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article3340087.html#storylink=cpy

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Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article3340087.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, October 24, 2014

The problem of idols

Christians being so proud and protective of the Pledge of Allegiance is one thing that hasn't made sense to me. After all, one of the many things that the Bible prohibits is idolatry. And what does the Pledge say?
...worship
I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Stets of America.
Pledging allegiance to a bit of cloth, rather than solely to God would fall under the purview of idolatry. But what else does the Bible have to say about it?
You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
-Exodus 20:2-6
No likeness of anything in Heaven: So that means that the painting of God at the Sistine Chapel is against God's demands. The same goes for the prevalent statues of Jesus and Mary. Statues and portraits of saints and popes? Off limits! According to the Bible, a Christian shouldn't even put out their nativity scene at Christmas time.

No likeness of anything on Earth: Now statues of any historical figure or animal are disallowed?

How the Hell is this any different than praying to a golden calf
or a statue of the Buddha?
No likeness of anything in the water: I don't often see statues of fish and marine life. But if you do, God hates it!

You may not bow down and serve them: So every time you see a Christian bowing down before a cross or statue of Jesus, they are acting in defiance of God's command in Exodus.

So here we see Biblical verse saying that the commonplace imaginary of angles, Jesus and the cross, and revering them as many Christians do is actually in defiance of what the Bible has to say on the matter. Not that Christians not actually following the Bible fully is much of a surprise...


-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Does belief make you better?

I've often said that being a believer doesn't automatically make you a better person. Take this letter to Billy Graham for example...
Dear Dr. Graham: Will God forgive even the sins we forget to confess to him? At the end of each day, I try my best to remember everything I've done wrong and ask God to forgive me, but I'm sure I must miss something. E.L.
Every single day? So every day EL does so much wrong that he can't remember it all? And to boot, he goes though this every day? Apparently he never learns and simply continues this cycle endlessly. So much for that fabled Christian moral superiority.
Dear E.L.: It's good to look back at the end of each day and ask God to show us how we failed, and then seek his forgiveness.

Sin breaks our fellowship with God, and it's important to deal with our sins at once. I'll never forget the advice someone gave me many years ago: “Don't let your sins pile up; keep short accounts with God.”
"Don't let sins pile up; keep short accounts with God."? Apparently Billy is perfectly fine with Christians doing wrongs regularly, just so long as they also say sorry to God regularly as well... How about the advice to simply try not to do wrong at all? Then again Christianity has always been more concerned with forgiveness than actually following the moral guidelines it so often preaches.

If simply believing, and forgiving your sins to God magically makes your wrongs go away, where is the incentive to behave? If anything is forgiven, then a Christian is free to 'sin' all day, every day and simply say 'sorry' to Jesus. Where is the fairness, justice and morality in this? The person being wronged isn't even the recipient of the apology. A god that forgives anything actually prohibits nothing.


-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Doesn't look designed to me

The Earth is perfect. It is so perfect that it is proof that it was designed expressly for us by God. Well, that's how the claim goes anyway. But does that claim really hold water?

The truth is that most of us could think of much better systems to control the nature of our world than the ones we see every day. If the Earth was created expressly for us, why all the variables? Different factors (both natural or man-made) can greatly change the nature of life of Earth. Currently we are causing the Earth to warm. But if everything was created for us by an all-knowing all-powerful god, we shouldn't be able to change the Earth.

The fact that the climate and other systems on Earth are subject natural processes speaks to the Earth being a product of the natural laws rather than a divine creation. Think about it... If I where an all-powerful god, I would not be confined by the laws of nature. If I was creating Earth to be perfect for humans, I would give it a climate that just was. Not subject to being changed by human activity, volcanic activity or impacts from space. A static unchanging climate that is forever perfect for humanity.

Some believers also like to talk about Earth being placed in just the right place in respect to the Sun. They will contend that Earth was placed in the perfect place for us by the almighty God. This is obviously a case of putting the cart before the horse. But the changeability of this relationship is ignored. Earth is close enough to the sun that a large CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) could cause problems here on Earth. But more importantly, there is the issue of the Sun itself.

In about 5 billion years the Sun's core will run out of the hydrogen fuel that it is currently burning and will instead start going to work on it's helium. There's a problem though, this change will cause the Sun to expand into a red giant. This will mean a Sun that is 100-200 times larger than it is now. Earth will be subjected to a dramatic rise in temperature, not to mention an extra heaping dose of radiation. All of this means that Earth is a lifeless wasteland, oceans all boiled dry before the Sun possibly expands enough to eat the Earth and burn it to a cinder.
The distant future of Earth is not a pretty one.

Again, why the reliance of the laws of nature? If an all-powerful God placed the Sun and Earth as they are just for us, surely he wouldn't place a ticking time bomb right next store. Sure, it provides us with life right now, but it will eventually kill everyone and everything on Earth (if we don't kill ourselves first).

So either God is a terrible designer, or the world we see is actually just what it appears to be. A marvelous work of nature, but still 100% natural. No magic required.


-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How old

I took a survey not long ago that asked what the oldest thing you owned was. This got me thinking... What is the oldest thing I own.

Is it my fossil of a Megaladon tooth that my cat loves to try to take for himself? It is 1.5-28 million years old, but I have older.

My Baltic Amber is 20-22 Million years old. So that's at about the same range.

There's my Ammonite fossil, but it boasts a hearty range of possibly being 66-400 million years old.

Could it be my tiny fragment of Mars meteor from Northwest Africa 1195? Surprisingly it is only 334-360 million years old.

I also have fossils of Orthoceras and Mucrospirifer. 199-488 million years old and 360-410 million years old respectively.

But then there's the undisputed oldest item that I own. That would be my sliver of the Gibeon meteor. This beautiful piece has been radiometric dated at a staggering 4 billion years old! For comparisons sake, Earth is 4.54 billion years old.

These things are all old to varying degrees, but they are unified by one fact. If the universe was only 6,000 years old as far too many believers think, none of these things should even exist.

Now that I've shared, it's your turn. What is the oldest thing you own?


-Brain Hulk

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Christ and conscience

Ever wonder about the conflict between the conscience and violence? HW has, so he asked Billy Graham about it... for some reason.
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: How can we explain the senseless acts of violence that seem to happen almost every day? I was brought up to believe we all have a conscience, and therefore we all should know the difference between right and wrong. But this doesn’t seem to be the case with some people today. — H.W.
There are many reasons for this. Sometimes it's because 'right' and 'wrong' differ depending on where you are and what you believe. Sometimes people can have a mental condition where they can't tell right from wrong. There are also those that simply do not care. And there are also religions that forgive any wrongs. Doing this offers no incentive not to do wrong in the first place, if a simple "I'm sorry God" just makes it 'go away'. Oh, and not to mention religious conflicts...
DEAR H.W.: You’re right, up to a point; God has placed within each of us a sense of right and wrong (what we usually call our conscience), and it certainly should lead us to do what’s right. This is why the Apostle Paul could say to those who falsely accused him of wrongdoing, “I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day” (Acts 23:1).

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article2946781.html#storylink=cpy
Wait, how can God reliably place a sense of right and wrong into every person when he is the largest murderous psychopath in literary history? And as for Paul... that actually illustrates a problem. A Christian may act based on what their god says is right. And a believer in a different religion may act in accordance with his god's wishes. Both may be doing what is 'good', but also may be acting in contradiction with one another.
The problem, however, is that our consciences have been dulled by sin, and the more we sin, the duller they become. In fact, our consciences can become so dulled by sin that we no longer want to do what’s right, and may even lose sight of what’s right and wrong.
Well, God didn't always do what was right, nor did Jesus. So there goes that claim. Talking about not knowing right from wrong... what about Archbishop Robert Carlson? When questioned on his sexual abuse of children, he stated that he did not know that having sex with children was a crime! Seriously?! And we're supposed to treat these guys as some sort of positive example?
Our moral sense becomes twisted, and we end up calling evil what is good, and calling good what is evil. The Bible condemns “the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Romans 1:18).
No matter what, good people will do good and evil people will do evil. But for a good person to do
evil, that takes religion. In all my years, the only times I've seen someone try to invert 'good' and 'bad' was if they were criminally insane, or dangerously devout.
Don’t be surprised at what is happening around us today; our world is largely in rebellion against God. In addition, behind the scenes Satan is also at work, doing all he can to deceive us and turn us against God.
Huh? A study in 2010 found that Christianity is the world's largest religion at 31.5% Islam has 23.2%, and Judaism 0.2%. So that means that a global majority of  55.9% worship the god of Abraham.


-Brain Hulk

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Ray vs Himself vs Jesus

Ray Comfort is one of those guys that is not only very sure of himself, but so sure of himself that he is blinded by just how terrible the arguments he makes are.

His usual street preaching tactic revolves around walking up to people and asking the same questions he's been asking for years....

Have you ever lied? If you answer 'yes' he will ask what you call someone who tells lies. His answer is 'a liar'.

Have you ever stolen anything? If you answer 'yes' he will ask what you call someone who steals.
His answer is 'a thief'.

Have you ever taken the lord's name in vain? If you answer 'yes' he says that's blasphemy.

Have you ever looked at someone with lust? If you answer 'yes' he tells you that Jesus said that he whoever looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery in his heart.

He then concludes that the person is a lying, thieving, adulterous blasphemer by their own admission. But though Jesus who was sinless they can be saved.

But are these really realistic conclusions. I wouldn't personally define someone as a liar unless they lie all the time. If one lie makes one a liar, then I am a designer, mechanic, electrician, plumber, painter, mason, artist, writer, landscaper, doctor, dentist, film critic, columnist, chef, historian, veterinarian, conservationist, etc ad nauseam.

Is all theft really the same though? Suppose that someone's 'theft' is simply taking the last cookie that was supposed to be their brother's. Should that really count the same as embezzlement?

How exactly does one even say the Lord's name in vain? The 'God' in 'God damn it' isn't his name. And Jesus (as in Jesus Christ!) is but a translation of a translation. So neither is really saying the right name to begin with.

Ray Comfort conveniently leaves out that he's no saint since in his books and films he regularly edits video and quote mines, not to mention he just plain makes stuff up that anyone with even a basic understanding of the subject (usually evolution) would know isn't so. So Ray is at the very least a liar who also bears false witness.

Oh, but I guess that doesn't matter to Ray since he claims to be saved by the saved by the 'sinless' Jesus...

Jesus introduced the thought crime when he said that looking with lust equated to adultery. If that is true, then Jesus sinned when he fasted for forty days in the wilderness. Matthew 4:1-2 clearly stats that Jesus was hungry. If we follow the same logic that lust = adultery, then Jesus' hunger was equal to gluttony. There's one sin for Jesus.

Jesus turned water into wine, multiplied the fish and loaves, healed the sick, and raised the dead. Yet Deuteronomy (and many other places) clearly states that magic is an abomination. What are the
supposed miracles of Jesus if not magic?

How about when Jesus went berserk in Matthew 21:12? He entered the temple, got pissed, started flipping over tables and benches, and ran them off. He also curses a fig tree (Mark 11:12-14) for not bearing fruit out of season. Yet in Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus actually suggests that anger and violence are sins.

Then there's the fact that Jesus told a man wanting to bury his father to 'let the dead bury the dead' (Luke 9:60), he told people to hate their own families (Luke 14:26), and that he had come to divide families (Luke 12:51-52). So much for honoring thy mother and father...

What about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (also in Matthew). That section features Jesus questioning God's plan to have Jesus die to take on the sins of all. Questioning God in this manner would be considered blasphemy if anyone else where to do it, so it's blasphemy for Jesus too.

So by the Bible and Ray's standards Jesus is an angry, violent, unreasonable, divisive, uncaring, gluttonous, blaspheming warlock. How's that for 'sinless'...?


-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Reading, God, and the Bible

Believers love to tout the Bible, but what if you have a reading disability?
QUESTION: I know you tell people they ought to read the Bible, but I have a serious reading disability and have never been much of a reader. I just can’t get into it. Is this a sin? — J.N.
As a lover of knowledge and books, it saddens me when someone tells me they aren't a reader. But I suppose it can be understood if they have a reading disability.
ANSWER: God knows all about us, including both what we can do and what we can’t do – and He doesn’t look down on you because you have difficulty reading. After all, millions of people across the world have never had an opportunity to learn to read or hold a Bible in their hands, and God understands their situation.
Yes, God understands their situation so well that he will send all those non-Christians who never heard of Christianity straight to Hell when they die. He's so understanding!
But God has provided other ways for you to learn what the Bible says, and I hope you’ll take advantage of them (if you aren’t already doing so). For example, when you go to church, you’ll hear someone read the Bible, and hopefully your pastor will base his sermon on the Bible. Pay close attention, and even jot down the main points you hear.
Which denomination? Because different churches interpret the Bible differently. Also, what about the many parts of the Bible you never hear about in church because they show God being a bloodthirsty immoral monster, or display how ridiculously flawed the Bible is?

Relying on a preacher only telling you about God's 'greatest hits' is like listening to Take On Me by A-ha and thinking they were the greatest band ever.
Your local Christian radio station also may include programs with gifted Bible teachers who can help you understand the Bible’s message more fully.
Again, what counts as 'gifted'? Only Baptists like Billy? Or whoever just so happens to agree with him?
Why is the Bible important? The reason is because it is God’s Word
Yeah, but many holy books claim that of themselves and other gods. Show me the evidence that shows how the Christian claim is any more valid than all the others please.

I do hope that JN does manage to read the Bible, or learns everything in it that he can. After all, reading the whole Bible (especially with an open mind) is one of the most potent sources of atheism that exists. It really is that terrible of a book.


-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Death with dignity

On November 1, 2014 Brittany Maynard will die. Brittany is 29, recently married and unfortunately has found out she has a brain tumor. Even worse, in April she found that her surgeries had failed and the her tumor had only grown. She was given 6 month to live.

Doctors then suggested full brain radiation due to the size of her tumor. This would mean her hair would be burned off, he scalp would be replaced with first-degree burns, and her quality of life would plummet. Months of research led to the conclusion that no treatment would save her life.

She could waste away in hospice care, with her family watching her spend her final month with
unpredictable personality changes, loss of motor skills, and in progressively worsening pain. Or she could consider a second option...

That option is physician-assisted suicide. Since it is only legal in five states, the Maynard's decided to move to Oregon. Brittany had decided to die with dignity, rather than wasting away and causing her loved ones even more grief.
I plan to be surrounded by my immediate family, which is my husband and my mother and my step-father and my best friend, who is also a physician. I will die upstairs, in my bedroom that I share with my husband, with my mother and my husband by my side and pass peacefully with some music that I like in the background.
That certainly sound like a much better way to go than being consumed by a brain tumor don't you? But does everyone agree?
I do not want to die. But I am dying. And I want to die on my own terms.

I would not tell anyone else that he or she should choose death with dignity. My question is: Who has the right to tell me that I don’t deserve this choice? That I deserve to suffer for weeks or months in tremendous amounts of physical and emotional pain? Why should anyone have the right to make that choice for me?
Why does it sound like this brave woman is defending her choice from criticism by those that say she shouldn't be allowed to end her own life? Because someone actually is. that someone is Matt Walsh (a conservative Christian blogger).
And given her condition, it will be easy for anyone to accuse me of being cruel and thoughtless for criticizing her choice. But, keep in mind, none of us would know about her choice if she hadn’t also chosen to publicize it.
So what if she's gone public about her story? She's fighting to make a choice that should be available an option for all.
She is a cancer patient, and she is also a very compelling spokeswoman for suicide. It is the latter point that makes it necessary for those of us who oppose the Culture of Death to speak up and say something here. Our silence could be deadly, literally and figuratively.
Culture of death? Suicide? She just doesn't want to suffer, or her family to suffer. She's dying anyway... Does Walsh realize that euthanasia is nothing like a teenager slitting his wrists because his girlfriend left him?
If there’s going to be any dissenting voices at all — anyone chiming in to mention that perhaps we shouldn’t treat suicide like a legitimate medical solution for cancer — now would be the time to hear from them. So far, the reaction and the reporting on Brittany’s case have been disturbingly one-sided.
The irony of this dude with tattoos telling you euthanasia is bad
'because Bible', when the Bible also says tattoos are bad.
No one is suggesting that everyone with cancer should just be killed. Brittany is dying anyway, she's just deciding the where and when.
Across national media and social media, I’ve been sickened to see that suicide is now most commonly described with words like ‘dignity,’ ‘bravery,’ ‘courage,’ and ‘strength.’ Popular refrains apparently only ever used to justify some form of murder and destruction have been trotted out once again: ‘it’s her body,’ ‘it’s her choice,’ ‘it’s her life.’
She is facing death head-on. Rather than hiding in the corner, asking 'why me?' or just slipping into a deep depression until she dies. That is incredibly brave whether Walsh think so or not.
If you are saying that it is dignified and brave for a cancer patient to kill themselves, what are you saying about cancer patients who don’t? What about a woman who fights to the end, survives for as long as she can, and withers away slowly, in agony, until her very last breath escapes her lungs?

Is that person not brave? Is that person not dignified? I thought we applaud that kind of person. I thought we admire her courage and tenacity. Sorry, you can’t advance two contradictory narratives at once. If fighting cancer is brave then it is brave PRECISELY BECAUSE she is fighting it rather than giving up and choosing death.

In other words, if struggling against cancer until the bitter end is an act of courage, then it can’t also be an act of courage to opt out and ‘leave on your own terms.’ What makes one courageous is that it is not the other. What makes one commendable is that the other choice exists, yet the heroic individual takes the more admirable route.

So which is it? Which path should we admire?
How about both... Either choice can be brave for their own reasons. It can be brave to accept the suffering and hope to last long enough to see a day when your condition can be treated. It can also be brave to face the reality that you are going to die soon and that there is nothing you can do about it. No one wants to die. Brittany has stated as such. But she realizes that she doesn't have a choice. She is dying no matter what. She has faced this harsh reality and come to terms with it. She is making the irreversible choice to cut her life a little short in order to spare her loved ones from having to watch what will happen if she doesn't. This is quite a brave act indeed.
Don’t you understand what you are saying? She is dying with dignity, which means dying of cancer is not dignified. You are accusing people who die of cancer of having no dignity. That is what you are saying. Own it. Confront it. Take responsibility for the words you use.
No, it isn't saying that at all. She's dying the way she chooses. A person that is given both options and decides to take the option of letting cancer run it's course is also making their own choice. Sometimes that choice can lead to terrible suffering, but they still got to make their own choice.
And what does it mean, anyway, to say that euthanasia is ‘leaving on your own terms’? Do we somehow achieve a victory over death by using it to escape the pain of life? ‘Your own terms’? The terms of the drug maker who concocted the poison pill, perhaps, but your own? Hardly. None of us get to die on our own terms, because if we did then I’m sure our terms would be a perfect, happy, and healthy life, where pain and death never enter into the picture at all.
How deluded... Everyone dies. It is an inescapable truth. To claim this is an attempt to beat death is absurd. The only thing being talked about here is offering the dying the option to die without suffering.
We can’t take possession of our lives like a two-year-old grabbing a toy from his friend and shouting ‘Mine!’ 
So we should allow Walsh to shout 'Mine!' and let him dictate our final days instead?

Also, her death will not be an ask of being selfish, but selfless. A huge part of why she is making this choice is to spare her family. To keep them from having to watch her suffer, and to keep the person they eventually have to bury from being someone other than the Brittany they know and love.
Now, I admit, if we are nothing and we came from nothing and will return to nothing, then I suppose suicide makes some sort of sense. It returns the body to our natural state of nothingness. It brings us home into the abyss, where there is no self, no reason, no existence. But most people don’t think that. Most of us are not radical nihilists.
For crying out loud! Euthanasia and waiting for death lead to the same damn place. Does Walsh not realize that? Choosing to forgo a couple months of terrible suffering does not mean that you think life is meaningless. She led her life and no doubt wishes for more. But being alive doesn't always mean you're living life. Being trapped in a bed, in constant pain, not yourself, and unable to move... Is that still life? Sure you are alive, but why leave life on an incredible low, when you could leave it on so much better terms?
So if God reached out from the depths of eternity to hand us this life of ours, how can we think it acceptable — or worse, meritable — to throw it out before our time is finished?
A god that you have never been able to produce evidence for... But lets skip that fact and talk about how this god set up a plan to come down to Earth just to have himself killed. He worships a god that set up his own suicide mission, but has a problem with assisted suicide? How does one have a problem with one and not the other?
 If you celebrate suicide, then you have answered these questions: life is nothingness, we are here for no reasons, and there is no point.
Wrong. This is not a discussion about if people should just kill themselves all willy-nilly. It's not about people thinking life is worthless and just killing themselves one day. This is about people that value their life and quality of life not wanting their final days to be a nightmare. They value life and want the end of it to reflect the better side of life rather than let it be marred by needless suffering.

Walsh goes on to argue that euthanasia is a conflict to healthcare. He acts like euthanasia is being suggested as a treatment for cancer. That the doctor has to agree that your life is 'worthless'. That it will lead from voluntary to involuntary euthanasia, and that patients should keep fighting to the end of the road.

To the surprise of no one, he just doesn't get it. And I have a feeling he's being deliberate in that regard. (Again) Euthanasia is not being suggested as a treatment, but an option when it is found that death is, unfortunately, the only outcome. Doctors still do everything they can in the states where it is an option, but not everyone can be saved. Euthanasia is also not about life being worthless. It is about coming to the conclusion that this life can't be saved. Though he claims otherwise, Walsh claiming doctors will just start deciding who should die without asking the patient is slippery-slope
fear-mongering.

And finally, people like Brittany are fighting to the end of the road. She had surgery, but it didn't work. She was left with the choice of getting radiation in order to trade quality of life for maybe an extra month or two, or dying on her terms. The end of the road is when the doctors determine that they can't save you. She didn't just get cancer and decide to die the moment she found out. She fought, she had the operations and procedures. But they didn't work, and there was nothing they could do to save her life. She reached the end of the road and then choose her fate.
Death is not a solution. Suicide is not dignified. Killing yourself to escape suffering is not brave. It is, in fact, the antithesis of bravery.
What a ghoul! So now Walsh is calling her a coward... How classy. She has made a brave choice. Sorry if it doesn't mesh with his religion. But as with all these issues, there is an easy solution...

Don't like assisted suicide? Don't get one.
Don't like gay marriage? Don't get gay married.
Don't like abortion? Don't get one.
...and the list goes on...

Please tell me why those against euthanasia are usually also for the death penalty. That just seems contradictory to me. Also, what happened to this Christian mercy I keep hearing about? It sure sounds to me that Walsh is speaking out against mercy.
I am terrified to think that my children will grow up in a culture that openly venerates suicide with this much unyielding passion....
Okay, I've had enough. Walsh loves calling this suicide. Just plain old suicide... But that's not what Brittany is doing. The issue is euthanasia. This is a standard practice in one medical field that any animal lover has probably had to, or will have to deal with. Euthanasia does not stop veterinarians from doing everything they can to save a beloved pet, so why are we supposed to believe that the same option will cause regular doctors to throw their hands up and not really try?

But back to euthanizing a pet. Anyone who's ever faced this choice knows it's a hard one. And almost anyone will tell you that what Walsh is suggesting is incredibly cruel. He would have you just let Fido suffer until he eventually died. This would be outright cruelty.

I faced this choice a few years ago. We had a wonderful loving cat in our lives for a short two years. She turned up as a stray one Winter day and we took her in. Luna quickly warmed up and showed just how sweet and loving she was. She adored us, would follow me everywhere, and we loved her right back. But one day she just went missing. We turned the house over looking for her only to locate Luna acting very sick and hiding in a dark corner of the basement.

After a few visits to the vet, it was diagnosed that her organs where starting to shut down and there was nothing that could be done. She could maybe live a little while longer, but suffering greatly. The other option was to say goodbye to my little friend and select euthanasia. She sat on that table looking at us with those amber eyes of hers like she often did.

Luna, we'll always miss you girl.
Her eyes full of the trust that she always gave us. That we would love her and do everything we could to keep her safe and keep her from harm. As terrible of a feeling as it was to cause those beautiful trusting eyes to shut for good, we couldn't betray that trust. We had to do what was best for her and free her from her suffering.

It would have been selfish and wrong to do nothing and allow her to suffer a few more days... Just watching her descend and suffer more and more by the hour... Allowing such a thing would be cruel and inhumane, yet that's the fate Walsh thinks every person should be forced to face. If it is inhumane to force an animal to suffer, then why is it not inhumane to force a person to suffer?

So make no mistake, Walsh is blinded by the black and white views that his unyielding grasp on his irrational and unethical holy book provides him. And despite what he says, Brittany Maynard is not a coward. She is bravely facing death and using her tragedy to try and get every person the option to at least make the same choice she did without having to uproot their family to another state.


-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Glimpsing life after death?

The Telegraph ran a story recently with the sensationalist headline of 'First hint of 'life after death' in biggest ever scientific study'. That sounds like some pretty big news! Lets take a look at this ground-breaking story...
The largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences has discovered that some awareness may continue even after the brain has shut down completely.
When it comes to scientific studies, the bigger the better. Tell me more.
And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted. 
Awareness? I thought there was supposed to be the first evidence of life after death in here. After all, 'clinical death' isn't the same as that big final death we all will face. But then again, maybe I'm speaking too soon. Continue...
“We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating,” said Dr Sam Parnia, a former research fellow at Southampton University, now at the State University of New York, who led the study.
What!? There's a huge problem here. We don't actually know that the brain stops instantly as soon as the heart does. It's actually pretty standard knowledge that the brain can, and usually does live for a few seconds after the heart stops and has been know outlive the heart by a few minutes pretty often. If you have the right drugs in your system, it could last longer. There is still oxygen in the blood to be used even if the heart isn't pumping. And if you are under stress these experiences of awareness could conceivably be down to increased blood flow before the heart stopped, and a high dose of hormones being introduced to your system.
But in this case, conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes into the period when the heart wasn’t beating, even though the brain typically shuts down within 20-30 seconds after the heart has stopped.
Wait, wait, wait... First he says the brain stops instantaneously, then he says it dies 20-30 seconds later. So he's contradicting himself in this story! Also, the brain working for three minutes after the heart stopped is far from unheard of. It's actually in the realm of what can be expected.
The man described everything that had happened in the room, but importantly, he heard two bleeps from a machine that makes a noise at three minute intervals. So we could time how long the experienced lasted for.
So? If his brain was working and was aware, then he could still hear. He wasn't even dead... Where is the mystery?
He seemed very credible and everything that he said had happened to him had actually happened.
He seemed credible? So can habitual liars and sociopaths. 'Seemed credible' doesn't sound scientific at all.
One man even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room. 
The brain is an amazing thing. Even if we can't see something, our other senses can form a picture for our mind. What we've seen in life and on film can influence our expectations and those images as well. All of us have first-hand experience in this phenomenon whenever we dream.

The brain forms pictures for us that we aren't actually seeing. Bright light from a window or flashlight may become light at the end of a tunnel or the bright Summer Sun. The sounds around us can also find their way into dreams. How often has you alarm-clock buzzer played a different part in your dreams? I've had my wife talk to me when I was asleep, only to find her words influenced my dream. And I've found that the type of music I play while my wife sleeps has influenced the type of dreams she has as well.
Although many could not recall specific details, some themes emerged. One in five said they had felt an unusual sense of peacefulness while nearly one third said time had slowed down or speeded [sic] up. 
 If some had time speed up and some had it slow down, isn't that an inconsistency? If it was truly the afterlife, I would expect things to be the same for all. It actually sounds more like the subjective experience of an aware brain doing what it does.
Some recalled seeing a bright light; a golden flash or the Sun shining. Others recounted feelings of fear or drowning or being dragged through deep water.
Like when a doctor shines a light in the eyes of a patient to check for responsiveness? Or feeling like your airway is restricted due to having a respirator mask strapped to your face, injuries, chest compressions, or actually taking on fluids or having internal bleeding?
13 per cent said they had felt separated from their bodies and the same number said their sensed had been heightened.
Out of body... Take a look at dreams again. And as for the senses, shouldn't that be expected. A brain full of adrenalin means everything is heightened. Also, suppose the patients eyes are closed so they can't see. It's been well documented that some senses can become heightened and more sensitive when one is lost or unavailable.

Interestingly enough, the same group that did this test did another where pictures were placed on shelves so that they could only be seen from the ceiling so there was no way the patient would know they were there. So if the patient claimed an out-of-body experience and mentioned the picture, it would suggest that they really were looking down on themselves. What did the test show? That no one saw the pictures.
Of 2060 cardiac arrest patients studied, 330 survived and of 140 surveyed, 39 per cent said they had experienced some kind of awareness while being resuscitated.
Wait... So out of 2,060 people, only 330 survived. That means it was a 330 person study, not 2,060. 330 is quite a small sample size. And of the 39% that were aware... That's not surprising since the brain doesn't die instantly when the heart does.

This article claims that we've finally sniffed scientific evidence for the after-life, yet it shows nothing of the sort.The biggest news here is that the brain can live 3 minutes after the heart stops. But then again... We already knew that.


-Brain Hulk

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Bad relationship

Now Billy Graham is dishing out relationship advice? The advice is actually pretty good, but the irony is even better!
QUESTION: My niece is trapped in a really bad relationship (not married, but living together). It has no future, but she refuses to see this. We’ve tried to tell her to get out of the relationship, but she just gets mad. How can we help her? — K.W.
My wife and I have been there... Watching someone stick in a bad relationship while ignoring all the warnings they are given. It can be frustrating.
ANSWER: When someone steadfastly refuses to listen to wise advice, there may be little we can do – humanly speaking – to help them. 
Like a believer who will ignore anything that contradicts their beliefs?
They may simply be stubborn, or too proud to admit they’re wrong – or they may sincerely think they’re right and we’re wrong.
Sounds like believers who proudly say that nothing could ever change their mind, or say there is no chance that they could be wrong...
Whatever the reason, they refuse to heed our warnings.
Those who deny climate change because 'God told Noah he'd never flood the Earth again', or deny that they have been indoctrinated since their youth...
What can you do? First, let your niece know you love her and care about her –even if she doesn’t accept your advice. If your analysis of her situation is correct, eventually this relationship will end – perhaps painfully – and she’ll need your friendship. You might offer to take her out to lunch and listen to her side of the story, not arguing but gently expressing your concern and letting her know you care.
Then there's this rare glimmer... Allow us to bask in the glory of Billy actually giving some good advice for a change.
Then pray for her. God can do what we can’t do, and He can change even the most stubborn heart. Pray, too, that your niece will come to see not only the wrongness of what she’s done, but will also face her need for God’s forgiveness and guidance. Pray, too, for wisdom as you interact with her.
Finally, don’t give up on her. Even if your niece rebuffs you right now, your life is an example of how she should be living. She needs Christ, and God can use you to point her to His forgiveness and love.
And then he opens his mouth again and returns to his old judgmental self. Show's over folks, time to go home...


-Brain Hulk

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Dinosaurs among us

It turns out that the Raptors in Jurassic Park probably should
have looked more like this.
We all know the story. Sixty-five million years ago a devastating impact from space killed off all the dinosaurs. The problem is that this isn't actually true. Yes, the vast majority of dinosaurs did die at the end of the Cretaceous period. But not all of them... Some survived and continue on to this day. When told this, some people may start thinking about lizards and alligators. But these reptiles are not actually descended from the dinosaurs.

In fact the dinosaurs among us are quite common. We see them every day. You may feed them, or even provide them with housing. People keep them as pets, and we've all had to deal with the mess when they poop all over your car. I'm talking about birds of course!

This may be surprising to some, but it's true. Today Polly may only want a cracker. But step back in time and Polly was a Velociraptor. We have been able to make this connection due to the fossil record. More recent discoveries have shown that the pictures or the very reptilian looking Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor were actually incorrect. It turns out that these guys were actually adorned with feathers. They weren't for flight as first. Instead they worked as insulation, as well as for display.

The famous Archaeopteryx. One important stepping stone
between feathered dinosaurs and modern birds.
But the fossil record showed that dino-feathers would grow to be more and more bird-like over time. Specimens like Archeopteryx attest to the evolutionary path of birds from small feathered dinosaurs. What of the rest of the dinosaurs? Why did only the ones that became birds survive? Well, sometimes being small has it's advantages. You require less food, can be more versatile, shorter individual life spans, and the ability to have more young more often. It's a perfect recipe for evolution to craft the future generations to come.

Study of the skeletal structure has shown striking similarities between certain dinosaurs and birds. Bird-like ankles, braced hips, hollow lightweight bones, backward pubic bone, and even the presence of a wishbone show that many common bird features were carried over from a much different past. Collagen proteins found in a T-Rex bone most closely matched those of birds when it was tested. Not to mention that they also layed eggs as well.

Nope this guy totally doesn't look prehistoric at all...
And here's another very interesting bit. T-Rex is actually more closely related to modern birds than it
is to other types of dinosaurs such as Triceratops! That's because it's not dinosaurs as a whole that led to birds, but the sub group of Theropods. This is an important distinction to realize because some creationists will point to fossilized skin pressings that show a scaly exterior devoid of feathers. Not all dinosaurs are created equal though. Some classes of dinosaurs had feathers and some didn't. Not even all Theropods had feathers, but the important thing to remember is that the ones that did are the ones that survived.

So make no mistake, birds are a remaining member of the group called Dinosauria. It is rather fitting that to this day, birds of prey are still referred to as raptors. When someone claims that the dinosaurs are all dead and gone, it may be that you actually had one for lunch when you ordered that chicken sandwich. And with a known 10,000 different species of bird, dinosaurs may actually be doing better than ever! Behold the continuing age of the dinosaur...


-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Death bed conversion

What of the old Christian claim of death bed conversions?
QUESTION: Do you believe in “death bed” conversions? My uncle never wanted anything to do with God, but hours before he died our pastor supposedly led him to Christ. I hope he’s in heaven now, but I can’t help but wonder. — Mrs. J.W.
I know you're dying, so allow me to fill your final moments
with me pestering you about personal religious opinions.
So JW forced her uncle to talk to a priest against his wishes on his death bed? That sounds beyond pushy and disrespectful!
ANSWER: God’s promise is clear: Every person who sincerely repents of sin and puts their faith and trust in Christ for their salvation will be saved – even at the last minute.
How quaint. So Hitler in in Heaven then. How could anyone ever have a problem with understanding that to be perfect justice...?
The tragedy is that some people think they can hold off coming to Christ until the last minute – but then they never do.
No, the real tragedy is that Christians around the world see this as a perfect and just system. Under these rules, it doesn't matter if you are a good person. You can commit literally any crime and still go to Heaven. Mass murder, rape, torture, stealing the savings of the elderly. Under God's rule none of that matters if you believe. A man can rape a child and be rewarded with paradise. But if that child is a Hindu, he gets sent to Hell. How can any rational or moral being stand behind such an obviously flawed and unjust system?


-Brain Hulk

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