Friday, November 28, 2014

Black-robe Regiment

Letters to the editor are often big on opinion, and can also be quite factually flawed. Take this one for example...
It started out slowly, almost unnoticed by most, an after-thought on the nightly news — but sometime during the 1970s the Supreme Court would rule that a Christmas nativity scene on public property was unconstitutional because it violated the First Amendment’s so-called “Establishment clause.”
And it did violate the establishment clause. So where's the problem?
And so began a downward spiral into the abyss we now find ourselves in today — an assault on anything Christian from the secular and atheist communities.
Huh? There is no assault on 'anything Christian'. There is a battle against church/state violations (no matter the religion), but there is no plot to take away people's personal religious rights.
Over subsequent years, the battle has raged from the serious to the ridiculous: from nativity scenes to words like “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas;” holiday trees replacing Christmas trees; from Easter displays to Bibles, public prayers, The Ten Commandments and crosses; and all the words and depictions that atheists say offends them.
For the One hundred sixty thousandth time, none of this has ever been challenged due to offense. They are only ever challenged when they break the law.

Nativity: If you have one on government property and don't represent other religions equally, it is an establishment clause violation. But the average Joe is allowed to have as many nativity displays as they like.

Happy Holidays: Again, because the government isn't supposed to promote one religion over others. And why is this even an issue? Do the Christians that complain about this not realize that 'happy holidays' also includes Christmas?

Holiday trees: Okay, this one seems silly. But it's for the same reason as 'happy holidays'. But if the state house wants to put up a tree and call it a Christmas tree, that's fine as long as they display counter displays from other faiths as well. But why do Christians raise such a big fuss when the 'Christmas tree' is actually Pagan and the Bible actually speaks out against the practice (Jeremiah 10:1-10).


Easter displays: Same as Christmas displays

Bibles: Individuals can have them, but the government isn't allowed to promote on holy book over another.

Public prayer: Individuals can pray. The government just isn't supposed to lead prayer.

Ten Commandments/Crosses: They are illegal if solely promoted on government property. But there's no quarrel with citizens or private organizations having and displaying them.
The atheists have won many battles, but the Christians also have a few wins such as the Mojave Desert Cross, the San Diego Cross and the Twin Towers Memorial Cross.
So the courts made some mistakes... In the case of the Mojave cross the land was sold so it was no longer government property. Doing so was kind of a dirty move, but did technically make the display legal. How is the Mount Soledad cross case a victory for the believers? It was ruled unconstitutional and that it shall be removed. The removal has simply been stayed pending appeal. That sounds more like an atheist win that hasn't finished yet. Finally, I (and a lot of atheists) actually agree that the 9-11 'cross' is fine since it never was created as a religions monument or symbol.
 Then there are all the depictions of the Ten Commandments, and Christian statues and plaques that have been taken down, covered up or dragged into dark courthouse basements where they now sit out of sight, but certainly not out of mind and not forgotten — an atheist win, for now.
Well they were in violation of the law. Holding Christians accountable to the same laws as everyone else is not an attack on Christianity, and is actually an equal application of the laws that bind our nation together.
There was a time in this country when you could pray in schools or at school football games until atheists, aided and abetted by the so-called American Civil Liberties Union, started filing lawsuits against prayer in public places.
 I thought lying was supposed to be a sin... You can pray in school and at football games. You have always been able to, and always will. Administrators simply can't lead those prayers. And that's not something that is new. It's always been illegal, it's just that these violations are no longer being ignored.
In the run up to the American Revolutionary War in 1776, there was a group of pastors speaking out from their pulpits in churches across the colonies, preaching freedom, liberty and independence from the British Crown — the British called them the Black-robe Regiment after the black robes they wore while preaching.
So? Let me guess... This means we are a Christian nation, right? Wrong!  The founders wrote a secular Constitution for a reason, and let's not forget that the Treaty of Tripoli clearly states that "The United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion."
Today, there’s a new Black-robe Regiment forming because of the difficult times in which we find ourselves.
How is a black-robe regiment going to help us combat climate change?
 There is a war going on for the very soul of this nation, and over the values that made this nation great. American values are under attack from secularists, atheists, the federal government and activist judges.
Oh the irony of them promising to rescue a country that was originally set up as a secular nation, from secularists...
The Black-robe Regiment is fighting back with the truth of God’s Word.

Bruce Knipp

Jacksonville
Is that that God's word where he said to pray in private, to force rape victims to marry their rapists, or that eating bacon is just as bad as murder?


-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Christmas confusion

Christmas commercialism got you down? Why not waste time by asking Billy Graham for a terribly uninformed answer on the subject!
Q: I know Christmas is still weeks away, but I'm already dreading it. For us, it's just one hassle after another, plus spending money on relatives we almost never see. I know I shouldn't feel like this, but I can't help it. How can I change my attitude? -- Mrs. M. McK.
I'm also tired of the commercial monster that Christmas has become. This is one of the reasons my family has decided not to exchange gifts last year and this year. I would suggest buying gifts only for those closest for you, and to instead focus on the most important part of Christmas... Togetherness with family and loved ones.
A: I suspect many readers could echo your complaint; Christmas has become so busy and commercial today that it's hard not to feel overwhelmed. And in the midst of all the activity, we easily lose sight of its true meaning.
That's not surprising since only atheists and modern day Pagans seem to be knowledgeable of  Christmas being a holiday of stolen Pagan holidays and traditions.
Of course, it shouldn't be this way. As I read your letter, I couldn't help but think of the words to one of our most beloved Christmas carols: "Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright...." How different Christmas is for us today! Instead of focusing on the miracle of Jesus' birth, we find ourselves totally absorbed in things that a year from now may be useless or forgotten.
Speaking of the supposed miracle of Jesus' birth... Let's ignore that there's no proof that Jesus ever existed and instead focus on the fact that the Bible talks of Jesus being born during the shepherding season. So, much earlier in the year than December 25th. The date we celebrate Christmas now was purposely selected to co-opt the Pagan celebrations I already mentioned to try and make conversion easier. Also, what about the contention by some that the translation of Mary being a virgin may have been mistranslated and should mean 'young woman' or 'maiden'.

The original Hebrew does use 'Almah' which typically means 'young woman' rather than
'Bethulah' which only means 'virgin', so the possibility of Jesus actually being the non-miraculous product of yet another teen mom is a very real one.
What can you do? First, set aside time each day as a family to focus on Jesus. Read together the prophecies of His coming from the Old Testament...
Like how the books of the Old Testament where rearranged from the way the Jewish holy book had them so that they appeared to point to Jesus more than they originally did?
...and the events surrounding His birth in the New Testament.
Like that there's no proof that it ever happened, that the Bible never actually says there where three wise men, or that the Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the star of Bethlehem was put in the sky by Satan to lead people to the baby Jesus to have him killed?
At Christmas, God came into the world in the person of His Son --
Unproven claim...
...and your life will never be the same once you understand this.
Unless you're one of the millions of Christians who didn't have their lives completely changed by this baseless assertion.
In addition, ask God to help you schedule your time and your money wisely -- and to learn to say "no" to things that aren't necessary.
Like deciding to stop wasting money giving it to the church?
Instead take time for things that will help you focus on the real meaning of Christmas, such as a special Christmas concert or church service.
The real meaning? So the Winter Solstice, 'rebirth' of the Sun (and coming thaw), feasting and merriment then...


-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Minimum wage housing

There is an image making the rounds online that claims that there aren't any states where a person can afford a two-bedroom apartment on a 40 hour a week minimum wage income. Minimum wage isn't much, but is the image's claim true?

Lets start with where I live... In Maryland, the minimum wage currently stands at $7.25 per hour. Before taxes, that gives us a monthly income of $1,160. Housing costs can vary a lot depending on condition, accommodations, and location... But I found apartments as cheap as $300 per month online. So right there we can see that the claim being made in the image is a false one.

Unfortunately, some have taken that info and pointed at it as proof that there is no need to raise the minimum wage. But is that true? Sure they can afford an apartment, but can they afford life? I could buy a $150,000 car or I could have bought my home. I could afford either, but not both. My realtor told us we could buy twice as much house as we did. Sure, we could afford the house... but not anything else!

The cheapest apartment would leave an extra $860 for the entire month. But add in electric, water/sewer, gasoline, phone and/or internet, heat in Winter and cooling in Summer, insurance (renters and car), car payments or maintenance, etc and you are cutting it pretty tight. And that's with just one person living if the cheapest housing available.

But most of the apartments listed where at least a little more than $300, and add in any dependents and it's game over. Sure, a 40 hour minimum wage job may rent an apartment, but it isn't a living wage. A place to live isn't of much use if you can't eat, light it or live in it properly.

To claim that the ability to scrape by enough to afford an apartment proves that the minimum wage is in no need of a raise is oversimplifying a much more nuanced issue. And since inflation just keeps getting worse, things are only getting tighter and tougher.

So yes, the image is making a false claim, but the opponent's jump conclusion is also equally false.


-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christians = Puppies and Rainbows?

Grumpy Cat has her own movie coming out, but while some wonder why Tard is always wearing a scowl, some are confused by grumpy Christians...
Q: Why are some Christians so grumpy? We have some neighbors like this -- always complaining about something and making life difficult for everyone around them. I'm sure they're sincere about their faith, but I wish they weren't so unpleasant. -- Mrs. R.G.
Maybe because belief doesn't really change who you are, or because their attempts to stick their noses in everyone's business have possibly been rebuffed. Certain kinds of believers can seem to get themselves tied in knots when their attempts to control the lives of others doesn't go the way they wanted.
A: I wish they weren't so unpleasant, either, because that's not the way Christians ought to be! Words like "joy" and "joyful" occur hundreds of times in the Bible, and a grumpy Christian is a contradiction in terms. The Bible says, "Rejoice always" (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
What an absurd standard! Billy says that Christians should be joyful just because the word 'joy' is used 'hundreds of times'? The number of times a word is used means nothing without also considering the context. Leviticus 9:24 uses the word 'joy' when talking about God receiving a burnt sacrifice. 1 Samuel 18:6 talks of joy in celebration after murder. Many verses speak of joy after battle. Jon 3:7 says "May that night be barren; may no shout of joy be heard in it." Joy is used describing an ostrich in Job 39:13 for crying out loud! But the vast majority of the appearances of the word 'joy' are not about simply living a joyous life, but about worshiping God.

But since Billy puts so much stock in the number of times 'joy' is printed in the Bible, lets see just how many times it's in there. I'll use the New International Version since it's the best selling version here in the USA...

Joy: 242 times

Hate: 127 times
Slave: 181 times
Anger: 268 times
Evil: 430 times

Kill: 445 times
Death: 465 times
Destroy: 504 times
Sin: 1,346 times

So if word count means anything, Christians should be angry evil killer sinners. Especially since 'forgive' (121 times) is used less than hate or slave...
I don't know why your neighbors are this way; it simply may be part of their personality. But it also may be because they see the sad state the world is in, and they no longer believe it's going to get better. I understand this; God hasn't promised that the world will ever be perfect -- not until Christ returns and God makes all things new.
Billy loves talking about Christ making everything all better when he comes back, but if that's the case, what the hell is he waiting for?! As for them thinking the world is in a sad state... Many Christians feel that not being able to force everyone to be Christian and be governed by a world-wide Christian theocracy is the world going to Hell in a hand basket. Ironically, these are usually the same people who decry Sharia law (as do I) while wanting to institute the Christian equivalent.
But we aren't called just to complain about what's happening in the world. Instead, we're to do all we can to make the world a better place -- and over the centuries Christians have done exactly that. God calls us to love others for Christ's sake -- and then to put our love into action. 
Yup, nothing says love in action like holy wars and being a broken record of telling everyone they are terrible sinners that deserve Hell. Oh, and trying to withhold rights from people just because of your ancient religious opinion...
How can we be joyful, no matter what's happening to us, or to the world? The key is to focus on Christ, not on our circumstances.
No, the key is to focus on yourself and not the beliefs of others. If you are a Christian, worship Christ. But stop peering into the lives of others and wondering if they are doing the same. If Christians (and other religions to varying degrees) would just stop the constant proselytizing the world would instantly become a much more harmonious place.


-Brain Hulk

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Pastors gone wild

Pastors are supposed to be people Christians can look up to, but what about when they get into a spot of bother?
Q: Our paper ran a story recently about the pastor of one of our local churches who's been forced to resign because he got caught in an extramarital affair. How could this happen? Aren't people like this supposed to be a good example to others? — Mrs. T.B.
Supposed to be? Sure, I guess. Though there are several aspects of pastors that I feel are far from deserving of adoration.  But why does it happen? I think the answer should be obvious, and maybe TB just doesn't like the answer...
A: Yes, anyone who's been entrusted by God with a position of spiritual leadership certainly should be above reproach in character and the way the person lives. Paul urged his young pastor friend Timothy to flee from sin "and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness" (1 Timothy 6:11).
Really? Because I've seen no record of that being the case. You can just look at the Bible... Lot was supposed to be the only good person in town when God wanted to rain down fire on Sodom and Gomorrah. Yet in that story, this supposedly great man offered his daughters up to be gang raped. Several of God's chosen ones also lead the genocidal killing of city after city. Many taught morally reprehensible as well as misogynistic rules. The church led the murderous Crusades and Inquisition. It even favored Hitler in WWII and aided war criminals. You have the likes of the Westboro Baptist Church, priests that rape children and a pope that worked to cover it all up, just to name a few.

So extramarital affairs or tax charges are but small annoyances to what some religious leaders actually have on their heads. So when one says that they should be 'above reproach in character' I can't help but wonder if that person has been paying any attention, or is simply trying to ignore what isn't compatible with his views.
I hope you'll see this event for what it truly is: a great tragedy — for the individual and his family, and for his church. On a broader scale, something like this also hurts the cause of Christ, because it only confirms what some unbelievers claim: The church is full of hypocrites. (It isn't true, of course. Most only use this as an excuse to avoid giving their lives to Christ.)
You see, but it is true... The church is very full of hypocrites. Many preach tenants of religion that they don't even adhere to themselves. They claim we are close-minded and denounce us for it, all the while being quite proud of their admitted close-mindedness. Many complain that others are trying to force another religion, or atheism on them while they are actually the ones trying to force their Christianity on others. There is the fact that the vast majority of Christians that say we should live by the Bible, violate Biblical teaching and law with breathtaking regularity. Every year we hear of people supposedly trying to steal the holiday season from them, when Christianity previously stole the season from the Pagans... I could go on, but when non-believers talk of hypocrites in the church, it's because there really are a ton of hypocrites within the church.
How could this have happened? Only God knows. Perhaps this individual had drifted away from Christ or had failed to guard against sin. But Satan also will do everything he can to bring down a spiritual leader — looking for weaknesses, drawing attention away from Christ, playing on pride and so forth.
Ugh! Blaming the Devil... Really? The real answer is much more simple. And that's that being a Christian (even a Christian leader) doesn't magically make you a better person. The reason pastors still make errors is because they are human. Religion doesn't make them any better than they where beforehand. With or without religion, you will have good people and bad people. Perhaps some pastors hide behind a false veil of morality, but they eventually show their true stripes. So the real problem here isn't the hypocrisy that runs rampant within religion, but the fact that the total transformative power of Christianity is nothing short of a lie.


-Brain Hulk

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Friday, November 21, 2014

By definition, God can't be love

I've heard it over and over, 'God is love'. Christians will often gush this sentiment with a smile plastered across their face. But why do they do this when the Bible clearly shows that God can't be, and isn't love?

They will cite 1 John 4:8 as their proof.
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
But the Bible goes on to do what it does best... Contradict itself!
for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God...
-Deuteronomy 6:15
Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous...
-1 Corinthians 13:4
So according tho the testimony of those two verses, God can't be love because he is jealous. But the rest of 1Corinthians 13:4-5 is even more damning...
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn't jealous. It doesn't sing its own praises. It isn't arrogant. It isn't rude. It doesn't think about itself. It isn't irritable. It doesn't keep track of wrongs.
Love is kind: Like when God allowed Job's entire family to be killed to win a bet?

Love isn't jealous: We already covered that one...

Love doesn't sing its own praises: Like when God bragged about all that he has done in Job 38?

Love isn't arrogant: What part of creating us solely to love and worship him isn't arrogant?

Love isn't rude: His bet that screwed over Job was pretty rude. So was condoning slavery and commanding rape victims to marry their rapist.

Love doesn't think about itself: The whole demanding to be worshiped deal is a pretty big deal breaker here.

Love isn't irritable: Irritable like commanding and leading genocides (including a global one) because he didn't get his way or people were worshiping other gods?

Love doesn't keep track of wrongs: So what about sin then? If there's no tracking of wrongs does everyone just get into Heaven now?

It should be clear that the Bible is quite contradictory, and those contradictions can often show how ridiculous some Christian claims really are. The Bible may say that God is love, but is also proves that he can't be many more times.




-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

What would Paul do?

Is there a line in the sand where God simply won't have you?
Dear Rev. Graham: How bad do you have to be before God won't have anything to do with you? I've lived a pretty wild life and I'm in jail now. Two men on my block have become Christians and are urging me to do the same, but I honestly can't believe God could ever forgive me. -- M.H.
Seeing how the vast majority of US inmates are Christians, they are in good company. And considering the recidivism rate in our country, it doesn't seem that even new followers of Christ change their stripes any. A study found just this year that 67.8% of US inmates are arrested again within three years, and 76.6% within five years of being released.
A: God has promised to forgive anyone -- without exception -- who truly repents of their sin and by faith commits their life to Jesus Christ. The Bible is clear: "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Acts 2:21).
Which just goes to show that there's nothing about Christian salvation that incentivises the person to be good. You can kill the pope and still get into Heaven if you believe in Jesus as your savior. So to answer MH's question, there is no 'too much' for God. He'll forgive anything in exchange for another thought slave to add to his army...
You've probably heard of the Apostle Paul, whom some have called the greatest Christian who ever lived.
Whoa! Paul? The Greatest Christian? Talk about revealing or a case of setting one's sights quite low!
But do you know his story? He grew up convinced that Jesus was a liar and a fraud, and that His followers were both deceived and dangerous to society.
So he didn't see any evidence that Jesus was telling the truth? And here we are 2000 odd years later, still with no evidence that Jesus was who he said he was, or that he even existed at all...
How could God ever forgive someone like that? But He did -- and God not only forgave Paul, but also sent him into the world to tell others about the new life Christ offers to all who put their trust in Him.
And then Paul's teachings were the source of much misogyny. Many views attributed to Paul include 1 Corinthians: 33-35
As in all the churches of the holy one, women should keep silent in the churches, for they are not allowed to speak, but should be subordinate even as the law says. If they want to learn anything, they should ask their husbands at home. For it is improper for a woman to speak in the church.
 1 Timothy 2: 9-15
Similarly (too) women should adorn themselves with proper conduct, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hairstyles and golden ornaments, or pearls, or expensive clothes, but rather, as befits women who profess reverence for God, with good deeds. A woman must receive instructions silently and under complete control. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man. She must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Further, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed. But she will be saved through motherhood, provided women persevere in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
 Corinthians 11:3-9
But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.
 Ephesians 5:22-30
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, people have never hated their own bodies, but they feed and care for them, just as Christ does the church— or we are members of his body.
 If this guy is the greatest Christian, my opinion of Christianity just plummeted! 


-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The science delusion?

A new book tries to counter The God Delusion by claiming science has the same problems atheists claim that religion has... Huh?
Despite their prevalence and the millions of copies of books they have sold, the so-called “New Atheists” have a big problem. These authors, such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens, have fallen victim to the same thing they spend so much of their writing critiquing: religiosity.
How? They aren't religious, so  how can there be religiosity. Is there passion there? Sure, but that's something different.
When an avowed leftist like Noam Chomsky, far from a traditional theist by any definition, calls Hitchens and Harris “religious fanatics”, clearly something has gone amuck
Indeed. It means that Chomsky has no idea what 'religious fanatic' means.
Richard Dawkins and his supporters completely overlooked the religious associations that are bound with the “Out Campaign”, an advocacy movement wherein atheists wear lapels with the scarlet letter “A” as a sign of their being ostracized by society.
Wearing an 'A' pin doesn't make atheists religious. The folks that work at my bank wear pins of the bank logo. Is my bank a religion too? What about US flag pins, sports team pins, or any other kind of pins? The claim made here is just sad.
Such an unironic appropriation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous novel shows the New Atheists’ blindness to the fact that fanaticism and zeal are not exclusive to religion.
I've never heard anyone ever claim that. This is not new news to me, nor do I think it would be news to any atheist one were to speak to. 
New Atheists are likely to applaud the line that opens Carl Sagan’s famous Cosmos: “The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.” One doesn’t need to be an advanced philosopher to recognize that judgment is not scientific, but metaphysical. The claims made by New Atheists, claims that fall under the umbrella of “scientism”, are as grandiose and as easy to make as “God created everything that is, ever was, or will be.”
Scientism? Great, he's one of those guys that make up a word to try and pass science off as bad or claim that atheists don't actually follow real science...

As for the Sagan mention, Brice is missing the point. An atheist will likely agree with Sagan, but at the same time I'm not going to claim it as absolutely, unmovingly true like those that claim God is eternal. In short, our minds can be changed. Show us evidence that what Sagan said wasn't correct and we will discard that stance and change our mind. But the believer that says God is just eternal never will. This makes the two examples offered completely different.
His rebuttal to scientism begins with a seemingly benign example from Dawkins’ The God Delusion, where Dawkins describes a lunch he had with Jim Watson. He deems that lunch was “a good lunch.” White’s question for Dawkins is simple: “What’s a good lunch?” Using the metrics that one could reasonably justify from the framework of evolutionary biology, it’s not clear what “good” would mean as Dawkins uses it.
More word games? Why is it so hard for some to understand that comparative terms like good or bad make sense coming from an atheist or believer alike?
As White rightly observes, terms like “good”, “dazzle”, and “amazement”, which are often invoked by scientists in describing the grandeur of the universe and scientific discovery, “[don’t have] anything to do with the practice of science.” Even descriptive words that do have scientific merit, such as “complexity”, do not in themselves explain anything more than what they are describing. Saying that the cosmos is “beautiful” because of its complexity says nothing other than that it is complex.
Sigh...  Scientists are allowed to use descriptive terms too, you know. Scientists are human and are conveying their human feelings and emotions. I fail to see any problem here.
While it may be circular to say that belief in God is proved by God (e.g. “The Bible is all true, God told me in the Bible that he was right”), so too is it circular to say that the absolute truth of the scientific method proves itself true.
Except that no-one claims that science is true because of  it's own existence. We can safely say that we can rely on science because of it's results, not because of it's existence. By doing science we end up with answers and results. These outcomes can be further tested to see if they are accurate. We can even take these results and make predictions of what should happen. If doing more science shows that what we say should happen does, it strengthens the case for the the science. Science is not simply deemed to be true because it is, but because it works!
Now, the easy response to White’s argument is to say, “Well, of course we know the things science tells us are true; we don’t question that the earth rotates around the sun, or that we need oxygen to breathe, etc.” White counters this when he points out, “But this ‘of course’ is the marker of ideology, and the ideologist resists examining his own assumptions because to do so would be to make vulnerable his claims to authority.”
But scientists and atheists are open to counter claims.  So there goes that claim... Also, 'of course' is not the marker of ideology as White claims. Rather it is a marker of how sure a person is about something. I can be sure of something and answer 'of course'. But even though I am sure, if you show me evidence that I am mistaken, my mind can be changed.
When thinkers like Plantinga refute the New Atheists, the argument ultimately becomes that all world views, religious or otherwise, rely on unproveable faith claims.
Except that science relies on facts and evidence, so one that relies on science need not rely on faith at all.
White himself expresses skepticism at scientism’s ability to provide a coherent picture of the world that goes beyond mere description of facts.
He does know that discovering and understanding the facts is exactly what science is trying to do, right? It strives to uncover the facts and put them to use. What exactly does White think science is doing that is over reaching?
In particular, he calls for a return to the Romantic spirit. “It was Romanticism,” he writes, “that first challenged the emerging dominance of the scientific and rationalist worldview
Because challenging a rational worldview is somehow a good thing? Romanticism may feel good, but it's not always rational, and certainly isn't always accurate. I fail to see how irrational is supposed to be superior to rational. That's not to say there's no room for the arts or such in a rational world of course.
“But nowhere does he explain why ‘I am my connectome’ should make anyone feel better about themselves than ‘I am my genome.’”
Um... Science is concerned with what is true, not what makes you feel good. Truth doesn't have to align with what people like or want.
Science is beautiful when the confirmation of its theories disconfirms the dominant beliefs of the culture it is working within, or simply disconfirms the intuitions of the human brain itself.” This is paralleled by artistic invention: “Most art innovations are, at first, accused of being impious, or treasonous, or ugly, or decadent, depending upon the ideology.”
But this is exactly what science is open to every single day. So where is the problem?
Scientism and New Atheism reject this idea in favor of absolutist, accidentally metaphysical claims like Sagan’s “The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.”
No, no, no, no no! We are the same kind of scientists that are open to being proved wrong. Sagan was open to changing his mind. He made that statement based on what he knew at the time. To claim he was stating it as a forever unyielding stance is dishonest. What if I am told I am eating an organic pear, and say "This pear is organic"? Am I being stringent? No. Because what if I then see the sticker on the pear and it says it isn't organic? Then I'd correct what I said and say "Oops, it wasn't organic, but it was still good." To pretend years after Sagan's death that he would have refused to admit the pear wasn't organic is quite disgusting to me and makes me question the author's motives.


-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why Jesus?

Do you need to believe in Jesus, or God, or both?
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Why do we need Jesus? Isn’t it enough to believe in God? I don’t see where Jesus fits into the picture. — S.R.
In my opinion, you don't need to believe in either. But for Christians, Christ is a paramount part of the equation. God without Jesus is well... Judaism.
DEAR S.R.: Simply stated, we need Jesus because he is God’s solution to the human race’s greatest problem: our sin.
Wow... God is one horrible problem-solver. He's all-powerful and could solve this supposed problem any way he wanted and he thought that was the best solution? How about just forgiving the genuinely repentant?
Let me explain this by asking you a question: What do you think it is that separates us from God? Is it a lack of knowledge...
Nope. It's actually a gaining of knowledge that causes many to leave the faith, not a lack of it.
...or conflicting ideas about God...
That causes the continuing splintering of denominations of Christianity more than anything else.
... or perhaps a feeling that he doesn’t care?
For a God that allows what he does and does nothing about it, it sure seems like he doesn't give a toss. But this doesn't tell people there isn't a God, just that if there is, he's not a loving deity.
No, the real issue is far deeper than these. Only one thing separates us from God, and that is our sin.
So the thing that God created for no good reason and could easily just forgive if he wanted is far deeper? Sorry, but 'sin' is actually pretty trivial when you consider that Christianity will just ignore any 'sin' if you believe in Jesus. If sin can just be ignored for an arbitrary reason like that, it really doesn't seem to hold the terrible power Billy is saying it does.
God is holy and pure, and even one sin, just one, would be enough to banish us from his presence.
Which is a character trait that anyone would claim makes that person quite a dick if it was being attached to a regular person. And again, you can murder a bus load of kids and God will just look the other way if you are tight with his son.
How then can we be cleansed of our sins? We can’t do it on our own. No matter how hard we try, we’ll never be good enough to come into God’s presence. And that’s why we need Christ.
Only if your religion is about gaining followers by way of blackmail. If positive change was the goal, the test would be genuinely feeling bad about what you had done, not being a blind follower.
He is the only person who ever lived who never sinned, because he was God in human flesh.
The problem with this claim is that if we use the Bible as our guidebook as to who Jesus was and what is and isn't sin, Jesus did in fact sin. And plenty as I have written about previously.
And he came into the world for one reason: to take upon himself all our sins, and become the final and complete sacrifice for sin.
And only played dead for three days instead of staying in Hell for eternity thus showing that he did not pay the price for the sins of all.
My prayer is that you will see yourself the way God sees you, as a sinner in desperate need of his forgiveness.
He hopes you see yourself as a horrible, broken, hopeless person? That's quite the pep-talk Billy...


-Brain Hulk

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Monday, November 17, 2014

How much prayer

If you are a believer, how often should you pray?
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: What does it mean to follow Jesus? My life is so busy that I can’t imagine taking a couple of hours every day to pray, like I guess saintly people are supposed to do. — T.M.
What does it mean to follow Jesus though? The answer my surprise you. As for prayer... Most believers don't pray as much at TM seems to think.
DEAR T.M.: Some men and women may be called by God to do exactly what you say; over the years, I’ve been humbled to meet some of them. When I get to heaven, I’m sure I’ll discover just how important they were in God’s work.
Important? Maybe if they are praying for hours every day it's because they have a very guilty conscious or a hell of a lot to  repent for. After all, Christians do make up the vast majority in US prisons.
But most of us aren’t called to a ministry of prayer like this (although the Bible reminds us to pray in every situation). What, then, does it mean to follow Jesus? First, it means to be committed to him as our savior and Lord. This means we want him to be the master of our lives instead of trying to run them ourselves. Have you turned over the control of your life to him?
So following Jesus means willingly becoming his slave?
Following Christ also means we seek to obey him every day. He knows what is best for us and has told us how he wants us to live in his word, the Bible. Is it part of your life every day and are you allowing its truth to shape your mind and heart?
Follow Jesus through the Bible? Okay so hate your family (Luke 14:26) and cause division in families (Luke 12:51-53) is one way of following Jesus for starters... 
Finally, following Christ means seeing others through his eyes. Christ loved the world so much that he was willing to give his life for our salvation.
And tried to talk his dad (God) out of having to go through with it (Matthew 26:37-44)... An unwilling, needless sacrifice isn't exactly impressive.
The Bible says, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
Nope, nothing says love like following God's example of being a genocidal monster...


-Brain Hulk

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Looking back: Comics

When I was younger, I was a huge comic book fan. In fact, if I'm honest I'm still quite a fan. Especially with all these Marvel titles becoming fantastic movies. That said, there was a period between early 1997 and late 2013 that I ceased reading comics. It was a reintroduction of an old favorite that got me back into them temporarily. But July saw this character get his own ongoing series again which has me once more heading to my local comic shop once a month to pick up the new book.

The staple of my youth was the Amazing Spider-Man. As the nerdy kid that got picked on, it was natural that the story of a nerdy kid that gets picked on gaining extraordinary powers and becoming an admired hero would appeal to me. These stories not only provided entertainment, but also an escape and hope that the quiet nerdy kid can win in the end. Looking back, I think it also helped to feed my love of art in some (at least small) way. Through my years of reading various Spider-Man titles, the art of Mark Bagley was always my favorite. When I would draw Spider-Man, it was always Bagley's art that I would try to replicate.

But it's religion that I usually talk about here... In comics, anything goes, but the Marvel 616 universe largely mirrors our Earth. The popular religions of real life are what you'll find there. In fact, Peter Parker (Spider-Man) is himself, a Christian. It was never central to his character, but he was a believer none-the-less. At the time I was a believer and barely noticed. Today I am an atheist, and the character's beliefs still don't bother me. He's still a character I am a fan of.

Interestingly, comics and theology collided with the creation of a title published by Dark Horse Comics called S.H.O.O.T First. A title in which the titular acronym stands for Secular Humanist Occult Obliteration Taskforce. The premise is that there are creatures from another dimension entering our plane under the guise of angels or demons. They are out to destroy humanity and only the group of nonbelievers that make up S.H.O.O.T. stand in defense of humanity from these creatures disguised as angels. You would think this would be a series that a non-believer like myself would jump right into. But upon reading the sample pages, it didn't really click for me. Maybe I will give it a try some day if I find myself with more disposable income, but for the time being I will skip it. Though, the prospect of introducing more atheist heroes does appeal to me.

But what comic is it that has brought me back into the fold, and once more begin adding to my comic book collection? I still remember the day I discovered the character... It was 1992 and my mother had taken my brother and I to our local Highs convenience store. I looked at the magazine rack like I always did to see if any of the always changing comics selection looked good. There it was, Spider-Man 2099 #5. (I still have this issue and my first Spider-Man in my collection) At first all I saw was a Spider-Man with a different costume. "When did this happen?", I thought. But when I read it, I found that this was not the same Spider-Man, but one from the future.

Set in the year 2099, it is Miguel O'Hara that is Spider-Man. A brilliant geneticist that gained powers similar to the original Spider-Man (plus a few new ones) through corporate sabotage rather than a radioactive spider bite. Miguel is not the nerdy kid, but a loner with different troubles, and sees the mega corporation that he works for as a source of corruption and evil. He feels that a corporation with such bountiful resources should be used for the benefit of humanity rather than it's detriment
(eventually he takes control and does just that).

When Miguel was reintroduced in Superior Spider-Man I was inspired to complete my collection of all 46 issues of the original series. Upon re-reading them all I noticed a theological detail that I had missed in those decades past.

In the Earth of 2099 Christianity is still a major religion, but so is the worship of Thor. Thorites are taken just as seriously as any other religion. And the return of Thor is foretold much like Christians today like to talk of the return of Jesus. In fact, Spider-Man 2099 is seen to the Thorites as one of the prophesied signs of the return of Thor. Looking back, I find that to be a neat little detail that was built into the world of 2099. At the time of this writing, Miguel is stuck in 2014 in the new series. the writing has been great, just as before. And when he eventually makes his way back to 2099, I will anxiously anticipate what other details are revealed about this fictional, but intriguing world of 2099.


-Brain Hulk

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blame the wife...

Sometimes a marriage may not be going well. And sometimes the wife makes the poor decision of asking Billy Graham for advice...
Q:My husband says he loves me, but all he's really interested in is his job. He always brings work home and often spends weekends working, and no matter how much I get after him, things never change. Is it time for me to move on? -- Mrs. K.G.
Does he have to work from home? Are finances stressed to the point where he feels that he doesn't have any other option? Or is he simply needlessly fixated on his job and is ignoring KG's pleas? The context makes all the difference in the world in a situation like this.
Pro tip: This is true for more than just cheating.
A: I sincerely hope that in spite of the problems you face you won't give in to the temptation to end your marriage. Instead, I hope you'll do everything you possibly can to rekindle the love you once had, and even strengthen it -- with God's help.
And what makes him think that she hasn't already been doing everything she can? To me, writing
Billy about a question like this stinks of desperation. So I find the assumption that she's not already trying to save her marriage quite odd.
And I believe this is possible, although to be honest, it may not be easy. Because your husband is so absorbed in his work, much of the burden to change your relationship may be on your shoulders, at least at first. But don't be discouraged; it will be worth it. Nor do you need to feel you are alone, because God loves you and wants to help you. And He will, as you turn to Christ and seek His wisdom and help.
Well Christ has been doing a bang up job helping her out so far... Also, if the relationship is to be saved it's going to have the be a unified task, and not just KG. It is also important to figure out why he brings home so much work. Is the job that much work, or is he spending his days not working as much as he should due to a workplace affair or other issue and is working after-hours so it appears he is getting all his work done as what's expected of him?
First, make it your goal to be the best wife you can possibly be. Let your husband know you love him, and back up your words with your actions. An unhappy, tension-filled home will drive almost any spouse away. Instead, make a determined effort to avoid complaining or faultfinding, and express appreciation whenever you can. The Bible says, "Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife" (Proverbs 21:19).
Sorry, but this sounds a lot like Billy blaming KG for the state of their marriage. "Oh your husband isn't paying you enough attention? Maybe if you where a better wife..."  It's as if Billy has just assumed that KG is ultimately at fault. Actually, it reminds me of when Pat Robertson got a question about a husband having an affair and his reply was essentially "He's a man, what do you expect. Be a better wife so he won't stray again and deal with it." I would say these attitudes are shocking, but then again, when you look at Biblical attitudes toward women they actually fit right in...


-Brain Hulk

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

5 Reasons That Atheism Is Stupid

Looks like it's time once more for a Christian site offering a list of why atheism is wrong/stupid... Up to bat this time is Therefore, God Exists.
What the Bible is expressing here is that the stance known as atheism is a foolish stance. To believe that God does not exist often leads one to deny fundamental aspects of reality. In this way, the Bible declares, the fool says that there is no God. In defense of this claim, I present 5 reasons that atheism is stupid.
But atheism isn't solely the belief that there is no God, or denial that there is a God. At it's root atheism is actual the lack of belief in God and not active belief that he doesn't exist.

1 – The existence of the universe.
Often, when asked to explain why they believe in the existence of God, people will find themselves just saying, “look around us.” They will cite the existence of the natural world as evidence for the existence of God. This is precisely what Paul did as well He said, (Romans 1:20) “For ever since the world was created, people
have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”
That is because, if it exists, it must have an explanation, either, that it is eternal, or, an explanation beyond itself. Just imagine that you are walking along and you come across a ball. You wonder where it came from, and your friend says, “oh, it just exists, inexplicably.” Obviously, that would be ridiculous. But expand that ball to the size of the earth, or even the entire known universe. It still needs an explanation. That explanation cannot be natural, because nature cannot cause itself anymore than a man can be his own father. It must be supernatural, timeless, spaceless, and immaterial. Therefore, God exists.
What about God then? Where did he come from? The believer will simply say he has always existed and offer no evidence to back that claim up. The author is playing with semantics when they say that nature can not cause itself. Saying that the universe (what they are calling nature) can't be created by nature ignores that a natural cause here does not mean out in the woods somewhere, but that the cause follows the laws of nature. That's a huge difference. Furthermore, if a believer can simply claim that God always existed, why can't I just claim the the energy that comprises the universe just always existed?

Additionally, even if we grant that the universe was created, this doesn't automatically mean that God exists. Maybe instead of the Christian god, it's one of the many other creation deities. Or, the universe could be an advanced race's virtual reality simulation, or an alien's science project. There's no need to jump straight to the Christian god.

2 – The Big Bang.
Scientists have discovered that the universe does not just go back and back forever. But that it had an absolute beginning. The agnostic physicist, Alexander Vilenkin, said, “it is said that an argument is what it takes to convince reasonable men, and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the idea of a past-eternal universe. They have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”
He said ‘problem’ because atheists do not like the way the evidence points. If the universe had an absolute beginning, then it must have had a cause beyond itself, (unless you are willing to defend the idea that the universe just popped into being, uncaused, out of nothing – a scientific and logical absurdity). As the cause of nature, space, and time, this cause must be supernatural, timeless, and spaceless. Therefore, God exists.
Actually, he said 'problem', as in the sense of the next question that needs to be answered and researched. The idea that the Big Bang marked the birth of this universe, and that it doesn't go back forever is not new. Nor does it present a theological problem for an atheist. One reason is that atheists don't have to believe in the Big Bang. Also, we don't know what was before the Big Bang (at least not yet). Not being able to take our universe any further back doesn't mean that was the beginning of everything. There could have been another universe before ours. Perhaps it collapsed upon itself. Perhaps universes are cyclical.

Plus, as I've already stated, granting the proposition still wouldn't show that the Christian god is true. You'd still be faced with the task of establishing which god was at work, or if it was some other being entirely.

3 – The design of the universe.
In recent decades, scientists have discovered what is known as cosmological constants. These are elements of the universe, which if altered even a little, then life could not exist. 
Only life as we know it. Change the settings and a different kind of life may be the result. Lets not forget that we are a result of our surroundings.  To claim that the universe was tailored to us is putting
the cart before the horse.
The existence of intelligent life falls into a vastly small life-permitting range. To suggest that they came to be by chance is something like suggesting that the DMV’s random license plate system produced a plate that says “BOBISCOOL” for a man named Bob. It is overwhelmingly more probable that the cosmological constants are a product of design. Therefore, God exists.
Given enough Bobs and enough chances, this would eventually happen. It seems that the author is failing to grasp how many chances there were for life to take root. There are billions of galaxies, with billions of stars, and planets orbiting those stars. There are an almost endless number of chances for life to 'get it right'. The universe is an exceedingly huge place, yet only 0.0000000000000000000042% of it contains matter. This sounds like horrible design to me. But given that there are likely 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets just in the observable universe is it any surprise that everything was just right for life like us to evolve on at least one?

4 – The design of mankind.
The most common argument for design has been the design of biological organisms. Charles Darwin is said to have explained away this design with the theory of macro-evolution. He hypothesizes that organisms had a very simple beginning, and evolved to complexity. But what Darwin did not have access to was the DNA molecule. The first life, that he thought was simple, was not simple at all.
Not macro-evolution, just evolution. The distinction between macro and micro-evolution only exists in the desperate minds of believers who wish for any way to try and discredit the truth of evolution. And so what if Darwin didn't have the ability to study DNA? He did a damn fine job of making a tight case for natural selection without it. But why is the author bringing up DNA? DNA evidence actually goes on to only prove even further that evolution is an unquestionable fact.
The atheist biologist, Richard Dawkins, pointed out that a single DNA molecule has more information than 1000 encyclopedias. To suggest that this came to be by chance is something like suggesting that the Library of Congress came to be by an explosion in a printing shop. We all recognize that messages only come from minds. DNA is an extraordinarily complex message. Therefore, DNA came from a mind. Therefore, God exists.
Again with the ridiculous analogies... I suppose that they fail to realize there were precursors to DNA. Also, the 'information' in DNA is not information like in a book or on a CD. The information in DNA is not digital or analog information, but chemical combinations. These specific combinations result in different traits. It's like when you mix two chemicals together in science class to cause a reaction, albeit much, much more complicated.

5 – The resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
Do I even need to respond to this one? It's pretty obvious that this one is not proof or an actual reason, but begging the question.
When most Christians want to express why they believe in Christ, they will say that he rose from the dead, therefore proving his claims. However, they are usually unable to prove that or provide any evidence for it. So, most people think that the resurrection is just something that one believes in by faith, or not.
 Probably because there is no evidence for the resurrection of Jesus....
But there are a number of confirmed historical facts that are best explained by the resurrection.
Like? This would be news to me, so do tell...
Historians have come to a consensus that the following biblical claims are true: Jesus was buried by Joseph of Arimathea;
Except that there is no such consensus.
Jesus’ tomb was found empty;
A verified tomb of Jesus has never been found, let alone empty.
the disciples had experiences of Jesus alive after his death
Which is only recorded in the book making the initial claim. That is not evidence, but worthless circular reasoning.
and the disciples came to believe so strongly in the resurrection, as to be willing to die for the truth of that belief. 
Again, this is only recorded in the Bible. But even if it wasn't, it wouldn't matter. Believing in something strong enough to die for it doesn't make it true. The members of the Heaven's Gate cult believed so strongly that there was a spaceship behind the comet Hale-Bopp that would take them to Heaven that 39 committed mass suicide.
Most historians hold to these facts.
It would be nice if some examples were provided rather than empty claims, because I've found that the claim being made here is rather false. 
The best explanation of these facts, that makes the most sense of them, is that God raised Jesus from the dead.
Actually the best explanation is that the Jesus narrative was lifted from earlier myths and legends that are known to have existed and told anew. And seeing as to how these stories were believed in their previous guise, is the prospect of them being believed again very far fetched?
That is why the historian, Doctor NT Wright said, “As a historian, I cannot explain the rise of early Christianity, unless Jesus rose again, leaving an empty tomb behind him.”
How rich! 'Doctor' Wright hold degrees in theology and ministry. He is a former bishop, not a historian. He only looks through history through a Biblical narrative. Of course when you look at
things through a lens of the Bible being true, you will inevitably see things as he did. But what about the rise of every other popular religion through the years. Surely their rise can also only be explained by them also being true...

So what we have here is yet another vacant list. It makes a big claim, huge mistakes, and even larger assumptions. It doesn't prove God, but it does prove that some believers still have no idea what will.


-Brain Hulk

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Good out of bad?

Tragedy can strike any of us, but is there a hidden silver lining? MH has a question regarding a tragedy and gets a very questionable answer from Billy Graham...
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: My best friend was killed in a motorcycle accident a few weeks ago, and it’s really hit me hard. I’ve never given any thought to death, but now I can’t avoid it. Frankly, I’m scared, because I know I’m not ready to die. How can I be ready? — M.H.
Chances are that MH hasn't really thought about death because, for a lot of us, it is a scary subject that is just more comfortable to avoid. I feel that understanding death and realizing just how special this life is can make death less scary. Also, the lack of worry about the after-life has helped me shake off a fear of death.
DEAR M.H.: One of the Bible’s greatest truths (although it’s one that’s hard for us to accept sometimes) is that God is able to bring good out of even the most senseless tragedy. I pray this may be the case for you.
So God had MH's friend die tragically just to make a point. Sorry, but that's just cruel to him and anyone that cared for him, and makes God sound like a massive dick!
What do I mean? Simply this. All your life you’ve lived for yourself, never thinking about God or doing anything to prepare for the inevitable moment when you will die and meet God. And it’s very likely you would have continued this way the rest of your life, if it hadn’t been for your friend’s death. Now this tragedy has made you stop and think about your own need for God, and if your friend’s tragic death now causes you to turn to Christ, good will have come from it... Don’t cling to your sins any longer, but turn to Jesus Christ and open your heart and life to him today.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article3618734.html#storylink=cpy
And now Billy is the dick... Did he even read the letter? MH said he didn't think about death, not that he didn't think about God! Saying MH isn't concerned about God and never thinks of him makes absolutely no sense. He is writing a religious advice column about a non-religious issue after-all. So religion is obviously something that MH finds important and thinks about. This is just another case of Billy being incredibly judgmental and nonsensical again.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article3618734.html#storylink=cpy


-Brain Hulk

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Monday, November 10, 2014

No peace on Earth

Why don't we have peace on Earth, according to Billy Graham it's because we don't have enough God...
DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Why can’t nations get along with each other? Is it because some people don’t have enough? If we could eliminate all the poverty in the world, then maybe we’d be able to get along. — E.N.
While eliminating poverty would be overwhelmingly positive, it wouldn't solve every problem. That's because world peace is a difficult and many faceted issue.
DEAR E.N.: We certainly should be concerned about the hundreds of millions of people who live in crushing poverty today. Most of them live on the edge of starvation every day and face disease and hopelessness that most of us can barely imagine.
Well, I can't argue with that. Carry on....
God’s Word is clear: “I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor, and your needy’” (Deuteronomy 15:11).
Wait... Then why is it that the most religious politicians in the USA are usually the once fighting for the rich and against the needy?
Tragically, however, even if all poverty were somehow eliminated we’d still have conflicts and wars. This is because our real problem is deeper than economic inequality or any other social or economic problem.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article3539627.html#storylink=cpy

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 Sad but true.
Our real problem is within ourselves, within our own hearts and minds. The Bible puts it this way: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1).
Even if we have enough, we always want more. Even if we are taught to respect others, someone will always want to control them or even enslave them. Even if all our needs are met, jealousy and greed capture our souls.
Why are we this way? The reason is because we’ve left God out of our lives. As a result, we all have a deadly spiritual disease, a disease the Bible calls “sin.” That’s why we need Christ, for only he can change our hearts and replace our selfishness and greed with his love.
Wait, wait, wait... So the reason that Billy thinks that there are bad people and greedy people is because they don't have enough God? If that were true, then the least Christian countries should also be the most terrible.

So lets look at the world's happiest countries...

1) Denmark: A 2010 poll found that only 28% believe there is a God, and 25% that Jesus is the son of God.
2) Norway: The same 2010 poll found that 22% of Norwegians believe in God.
3) Switzerland: A 2000 poll found that only 16% consider religion 'very important' to them.
4) Netherlands: Only 5.6% of the Dutch attend church at least once a month, and 21% have no doubts that God exists.
5) Sweden: A 2010 poll found that only 18% of Swedes believe in God.
6) Canada: 67% Christian and 24% nonreligious. Yet only 42% claimed religion to be an important part of their daily life.
7) Finland: The 2010 poll found that 33% of Finns believe in God. Down from 41% in 2005.
8) Austria: 44% responded that they believe in God in the 2010 poll.
9) Iceland: The 2010 poll found that 31% of Icelanders believe in God, and very few attend church.
10) Australia: 37% claim to be active worshipers, and 40% say they belong to a religious denomination.

Looking at this, it doesn't seem that religion makes countries happy. But what about crime?

4.3% in Japan believe in God, yet boasts a crime index of 15.27 and murder rate of 0.3 out of 100,000.

Denmark has a crime rate of 27.15 and homicide rate of 0.8 out of 100,000
Norway has a crime rate of 32.96 and homicide rate of 2.2 out of 100,000
Switzerland has a crime rate of 28.2 and homicide rate of 0.6 out of 100,000
Netherlands has a crime rate of 36.43 and homicide rate of 0.9 out of 100,000
Sweden has a crime rate of 41.98 and homicide rate of 0.7 out of 100,000
Canada has a crime rate of 37.16 and homicide rate of 1.6 out of 100,000
Finland has a crime rate of 29.22 and homicide rate of 1.6 out of 100,000
Austria has a crime rate of 28.19 and homicide rate of 0.9 out of 100,000
Iceland has a crime rate of 25.85 and homicide rate of 0.3 out of 100,000
Australia has a crime rate of 41.65 and homicide rate of 1.1 out of 100,000

What about the United States? A country that is 78% Christian... The US has a crime rate of 50.16 and homicide rate of 4.7 out of 100,000

Then lets consider the most Christian countries...

Vatican City (100% Christian) has the highest crime rate in the world!

Ethiopia (63% Christian) has a crime rate of 40.98 and homicide rate of 12.0 out of 100,000
Democratic Republic of Congo (95% Christian) has a homicide rate of 28.3 out of 100,000
Nigeria (largest Christian population in Africa) has a crime rate of 78.17 and homicide rate of 20.0 out of 100,000
Philippines (92% Christian) has a crime rate of 42.02 and homicide rate of 8.8 out of 100,000
Russia (73.3% Christian) has a crime rate of 52.29 and homicide rate of 9.2 out of 100,000
Mexico (5% of the world Christian population) has a crime rate of 52.80 and homicide rate of 21.5 out of 100,000
Brazil (88.9% Christian) has a crime rate of 69.65 and homicide rate of 25.2 out of 100,000

What we see by all these results is actually the opposite of what Billy is claiming we should see.  Rather than seeing the least religious countries being the most lawless and dangerous, it is actually those countries that are the safest. Meanwhile, it is the highly religious nations that show the most discord.


-Brain Hulk

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Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article3539627.html#storylink=cpy


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/billy-graham/article3539627.html#storylink=cpy