Friday, 27 November 2009

Deepak Chopra Recalls Last Conversation with Heath

Tuesday January 29, 2008 09:45 AM EST

Deepak Chopra Recalls Last Conversation with Heath | Deepak Chopra, Heath Ledger

Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage;

Heath Ledger was tired and emotional before his shocking Jan. 22 death, Deepak Chopra tells PEOPLE.

"He was a little depressed about not having seen his daughter," explained the The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success author, who was with their mutual friend Shekhar Kapur – Ledger's director in the 2002's The Four Feathers – when he spoke to the actor the day before he died. "It was like, 'I'm missing my girl. ... ' He hadn't seen [two-year-old Matilda] over the holidays, he mentioned that."

The 28-year-old Ledger, who was in the midst of shooting The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, also admitted he was having trouble sleeping. "He's a very, very ambitious actor and hard-working guy," said Chopra. "He was still high from the experience [of filming in London] and he hadn't come down ... He was exhausted."

But the actor was still excitedly making plans – agreeing to meet Chopra and Kapur for dinner the following day. The doctor even tried to schedule a massage for Ledger at New York's Chopra Center on that fateful day. But by the time the appointment was confirmed, the actor had already made plans to get a rubdown at his apartment.

When Ledger's body was found in his Manhattan apartment, Chopra heard about it via text message – leaving him to break the news to Kapur. "I had to sit him down and say, 'I'm sorry to tell you this, but we're not going to be having dinner with Heath. He's dead.' " said Chopra. "Shekhar is totally devastated." (The director, who called Ledger "brother," later described the actor as the "most gentle, the most honest, most caring" person.)

Chopra recalled Ledger as a doting dad with a spiritual side. "[Heath] was always questioning about the meaning of existence," he said. "He'd always bring up existential dilemmas and conundrums ... Is there a higher consciousness? What's the meaning of existence?"

That's why, in the end, the best-selling author thinks it's unlikely Ledger could have taken his own life. (The initial autopsy was inconclusive on "cause of death and manner of death;" toxicology results are still pending.)

"He was connected to life and joy," said Chopra. "Joy is the word."


Reference: People Magazine

Pantheism, New Age & Oprah

Reference: YouTube

What do you call this again?.... Oh yeah, pantheism or even worse.. panatheism... taught by New Agers like Oprah Winfrey and her spiritual gurus Deepak Chopra (author of The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success), Gary Zukav (author of The Dancing Wu Li Masters and Seat of the Soul), and Eric Butterworth (author of Discover the Power Within You), Eckhart Tolle (author of A New Earth and The Power of Now), Marianne Williamson (a host on the satellite radio program Oprah & Friends and author of The Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife), and her best friend Gayle King (editor of The Oprah Magazine, and host on the satellite radio program Oprah & Friends).

Reference: YouTube

Depok Chopra says, “The Law of Pure Potentiality could also be called the Law of Unity, because underlying the infinite diversity of life is the unity of one all-pervasive spirit. There is no separation between you and this field of energy. The field of pure potentiality is your own Self.” Chopra then adds, “your true Self, which is your spirit, your soul . . . is immune to criticism, it is unfearful of any challenge, and it feels beneath no one. And yet, it is also humble and feels superior to no one, because it recognizes that every one else is the same Self, the same spirit in different disguises.”

This concept of truth lying deep within each of us as if it were our genetic code is likened to the idea that “God” resides within each of us as an inner guide to show us the way to all truth. There is one truth, but many ways to discover it. You may choose the Christian path; another may choose the Buddhist path, or the Hindu path. It makes little or no difference which path one chooses; according to Oprah they all lead the inquirer to the same truth. God lies within you as your highest self. "You are what you think."

Morality: Part One

Man cannot make a moral framework on which to judge. For man is in himself immoral.

What is Truth? How Can We Determine Morality?

This really addresses the issue from the Garden of Eden when Satan tells Eve that she will surely not die, but she will be like God. It puts us in the question of God's truth versus Satan's truth. Which truth did Adam and Eve choose? Satan's truth. So now we beg the question: Was God telling the truth that they would die? Yes! Death was introduced when Adam and Eve took Satan's lie as truth.

We can see an example of postmodern thinking in President Bill Clinton's statement, "That depends on what your definition of "is" is."

This also brings up the question that Pontius Pilate asked upon Jesus' trial. Jesus said that he "came to TESTIFY to the truth." And Pilate replied, "What is truth?" Without really wanting a response, but just making a statement. So what is truth? Jesus said he came to bear witness to the truth.
In the following articles I will try to get to that conclusion: 'How do we determine morality?'

The following is an excerpt from a dialogue with my friend Anne Hodgkinson,

"Have you heard of the Euthyphro question posed by Socrates? Whether the good is good because it is good (a separate entity) or because God said it was good? I came to the conclusion that it was the latter (because God said it was good). If God's desire for His created things not to be destroyed is part of his personality, then the continuation of His created order is good...God's personality is good (not that God is a personless "force" of good...but that His personality defines what is good). I do not believe any of us truly want destruction (what Satan desires), though we may think we do...some of us just want certain goods without minding if those "good's" require destruction to obtain (C.S. Lewis wrote on this a bit in the beginning of Mere Christianity). As we were made in God's image, we desire not to be destroyed, but to continue existing. And who could know better how His creation should continue to function than God? God does not need to answer to an outside authority of "good" because He is the Creator of everything..."

How do you communicate truth to a world that isn't sure what truth is—or even if truth is? How do you commend spiritual absolutes to people who insist there are none?

"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

Jesus Christ

The Conscience: Now how do we know right from wrong?

For anyone who believes, God says to His people, "I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts" (Jeremiah 31:33).

Romans 2:15
They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness,

Hebrews 10:16
This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,

2 Corinthians 5:10
And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Questions and Answers
by Dr. David A. DeWitt

Q: What is our conscience?
A: Our conscience is a spiritual ability built into every human being by which we make ethical judgements based on inner moral principles.

Q: How does our conscience work?
A: When we believe certain information (place faith in knowledge), we establish inner laws. These laws may be right or wrong, depending on whether our knowledge is of the truth. As we encounter complex life situations, we apply our inner laws, as a judge deciding a case presented by a prosecutor and a defense attorney. By this, our conscience creates a solution (unique for every situation), which it considers morally right. When we act inconsistent with that judgement, we experience feelings of guilt.

Objective Morality vs. Moral Relativism
This is a recent response to a deist regarding his remark that "maybe God is tricking us and murder is really good... maybe God is good and Satan is bad,"

Research has been done that even a cannibal in an African tribe still knows murder is wrong. I don't believe that murder is wrong just because that's what the bible says. I don't just simply follow the bible because it "works for me," as it were. I'm talking about knowing something that's built-in.

The thing is, everyone thinks their view is right. And some people argue that Christians are intolerant and forcing their views on others. But then aren't they themselves forcing their view that Christians? Something good could offend someone's belief. A good thing could become bad or vice versa. Good then becomes a moral judgement just like Bad is.

The challenge of intolerance is also itself being morally challenged. It's a claim that some moral thing is true. The rule you want to tolerate, but the meaning of that has now shifted to almost mean the opposite now than it used to be. So if you're intolerant then you've done something wrong. This is moral relativism.

You can judge the validity of a moral principle by putting the principle in action, as it were. Your question if "murder is really good" is saying that that people can make up morality on their own views is a homicide detectives worst nightmare: someone who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience--a sociopath.

If there is no objective morality then there is no moral intuition on which to act. If morals are relative then you would have to say that Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were right in their own state of mind of moral intuition. Even if I believe what I believe is true, I'm wrong. Even if I happen to approve of your view or don't believe in your view, I'm wrong. If moral relativism is true then we live in a world in which nothing is wrong. Nothing evil. Nothing is worthy of praise or blame. There is no injustice or justice, in which I'm intolerant. Who can believe that? Who can live that way? No one can and no one truly believes that way!

That's like one guy cutting in line at the cue for tickets to the football game and some guy yelling out "Hey! you can't... do... that.... nevermind... my comment is my own point of view." People become passive aggressive. It's a good reason to do whatever you want. Moral relativism is a bankrupt view.

If there is one moral rule that applies to us that is not physical. There is one non-physical reality that science cannot know. That's the liberating idea. What gives force to this world's law of nature? The best explanation for moral rules isn't a happening by chance. It is by someone: A moral ruler. A moral law giver.

You can't deny that when you look deep down inside yourself you know that you've done something wrong, that you've violated something and you want forgiveness. Deep down inside you know that there is truth. There is something better than this life. I know this because I used to be an agnostic. And what Jesus offers is a solution and forgiveness.
Maybe you're objecting Jesus because there is all this evil in the world. I don't know, maybe you help me understand what you mean. Tell me what you think right and wrong is. How do you personally determine right from wrong? What is justice for you?

Junior Idols

Innocence lost: the dark side of Akihabara

The crowd in the Ishimaru Soft event space in Akihabara sits anxiously awaiting the arrival of an idol, whose most recent DVD they purchased for the right to meet her. Led on by the MC, the 50 or so middle-aged men call out in unison: “Mana-chan!” After two more calls, she appears—a girl of 13, looking dazed and sheepish. As the cameras zoom in, she strips down to her bikini, which drapes on her under-developed form.

Mana is a “low teen” pursuing a career as a model. As abhorrent as it may sound, children as young as 2 who are billed as “junior idols” release photo books and DVDs. Insofar as the models do not expose their breasts or genitals, this is not against the law. But the way scantily clad kids blow on flutes and lick ice cream cones in front of the camera has raised eyebrows at home and abroad.

The idol industry in Japan in general is estimated at ¥60 billion annually, and junior idols shift some 3 million photo books and DVDs per year. There are countless websites (such as Pure Little Sister Club) and a syndicated magazine (Moecco) catering to fans.

This trend began in the ’90s, when columnist Akio Nakamori coined the term chidol, or child idol, to describe the sudden increase of young models. The neologism fell out of favor and was replaced by “junior idol,” which shifts the emphasis from childhood and links the phenomenon with legitimate up-and-coming idols.

In Akihabara, long known for its stock of lolicon (Lolita Complex) and “little sister” movies and magazines, the number of shops advertising idol DVDs marked U-15 (under-15) has quietly increased.

“This is a gray area in Japan, but the residents of Akihabara and I find it reprehensible,” says Takaya Kobayashi, 54, a Chiyoda Ward councilman.

But at places such as Oimoya, located right on Akihabara’s main street of Chuo Dori, fans crowd around merchandise displays featuring underage girls.

“Looking at junior idols soothes me,” explains Shigure Akagi, 45, an artist who says he draws inspiration from these products. “I do not have children of my own, so seeing them makes me happy.”

He isn’t the only one. Mr., the most eccentric member of Takashi Murakami’s stable of pop artists, admits he suffers from lolicon, and recruited junior idols to star in his 2008 film, Nobody Dies.
Ostensibly, the parents who sign their daughters to be junior idols are hoping they achieve mainstream fame like Mr.’s girls. And it isn’t impossible. Saaya Irie, for example, was cast in Hell Girl and other TV programs after her stint as a child model.

Legally, this is a dark shade of gray. A 1999 Japanese law bans children in depictions of sex, genital touching and “arousing” nudity, but junior idols manage to skirt these issues. In 2002, Japan signed the UN’s Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography, which bans “any representation, by whatever means, of real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes.” Defenders say images of junior idols are not for “primarily” sexual purposes. Indeed, scenes in these DVDs can be as harmless as family travel videos. Just not always.

In April 2008, UNICEF distributed a petition with 21,000 signatures asking Japan to curb junior idols and lolicon anime. In November, at an international meeting in Brazil, Japan was condemned as “The Nation of Child Porn.” Japan and Russia, the organizers say, are the only G8 nations that have not taken action against child exploitation.

Japanese authorities fire back that it is hard to define what is and isn’t art, and that policing the small, independent publishers and video companies is tough. Meanwhile, the numbers show that Japan is, in reality, a safe place for kids: there were 754 reported cases of sexual abuse in 2000, compared to 89,500 in the United States. This could, however, be due to underreporting, or the fact that the official age of consent can be 13 in some places.

Junior idols sell raw innocence—a major commodity today.

What's next?
America's teen idol scene isn't too far behind Japan. Just look at the popstar idols like Lady Gaga and how she influences the way pre-teens dress nowadays. No shame, and no morals. Disgusting!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Is God Evil?

Edited on Saturday, August 27th 2011 for accuracy.

In Isaiah 45:7, God plainly says, "I make peace and create evil." What do we do with a statement like this? Is it possible that a good God can create evil? "If God exists, why is there evil in this World?"

The Problem of Evil

Philosophically there are two things we need to bear in mind. When you say something is evil, you assume there is something good. When you assume something is good, then you assume there is moral law by which to differentiate what is good and evil. And if you assume there is a moral law then you must ultimately deposit there is a moral law giver. But that’s not what your question offers. It is trying to disprove and not prove a moral law giver (God). If there is no moral law giver, there is no moral law, and if there is no moral law, then there is no good, and if there is no good then there is no evil. And the question really self-destructs in terms of objectivity of an objective rule to measure good and evil. You see, the question in fact affirms there is a moral framework exists in life.

Now if you’re addressing the issue of evil and why God allow it, let me explain something: God has a plan to get rid of evil, but not yet. In order for him to prove himself as good, there must be evil. How does God show us evil? By showing us that we are not good; if we were good, then we’d be God. In order to understand evil, we must look at what is the origin of evil. The original creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). There was no sin, no evil, no pain, and no death. Yet today the world is permeated with sin, evil, pain, and death. What brought these about? Scripture indicates that the turn downward came the moment Adam and Eve used their God-given free will to choose to disobey God (Genesis 3).

The Origin of Evil and God's Ultimate Purpose for Allowing it

Some people wonder why God couldn't have created humans in such a way that we would never sin, thus avoiding evil altogether. The fact is, such a scenario would mean that we were not truly human. We would require that God create robots who would act only in programmed ways—like a chatty doll whose string you pull and it says, “I love you.” Who would want that? There would never be any love there. Love is voluntary. God could have made us like robots, but we would have ceased to be men. God apparently thought it worth the risk of creating us as we are. In this sense, we have to realise that Satan is on a leash, and can only go so far as to whispering in our ears evil thoughts. Satan does not have the power that God has, therefore cannot be God or good as you mentioned in your challenge.

As Ravi Zacharias would say, “Love cannot be programmed; it must be freely expressed.” God wanted Adam and all humanity to show love by freely choosing obedience. This is why God gave Adam and all other humans a free will. Norman Geisler is correct in saying that “forced love is rape; and God is not a divine rapist. He will not do anything to coerce their decision.” A free choice, however, leaves the possibility of a wrong choice. As J.B. Phillips put it, “Evil is inherent in the risky gift of free will.”

When a woman has been raped, it has been the ultimate desecration and plunder of a human being because it has taken that which is the most private, sacred and invaded and violated experience. It defies human expectation.

The fact that humans used God-given free choice to disobey God did not take God by surprise. C.S. Lewis suggests that God in his omniscience “saw that from a world of free creatures, even though they fell, he could work out . . . a deeper happiness and fuller splendour than any world of automata would admit.” Or, as Geisler has put it so well, the theist does not have to claim that our present world is the best of all possible worlds, but it is the best way to the best possible world:
“If God is to both preserve freedom and defeat evil, then this is the best way to do it. Freedom is preserved in that each person makes his own free choice to determine his destiny. Evil is overcome in that, once those who reject God are separated from the others, the decisions of all are made permanent. Those who choose God will be confirmed in it, and sin will cease. Those who reject God are in eternal quarantine and cannot upset the perfect world that has come about. The ultimate goal of a perfect world with free creatures will have been achieved, but the way to get there requires that those who abuse their freedom be cast out.”

Doesn’t this reflect how our justice system works?

A critically important factor involved in the suggestion that this may not be the best possible world but it is the best way to the best possible world is that God is not finished yet.
In view of the scriptural facts, we may conclude that God’s plan had the potential for evil when he bestowed on humans the freedom of choice, but the actual origin of evil came as a result of a man who directed his will away from God and toward his own selfish desires. Norman Geisler and Jess Amanu note, “Whereas God created the fact of freedom, humans perform the acts of freedom. God made evil possible; creatures make it actual.” Ever since Adam and Eve made evil actual on that first occasion in the Garden of Eden, a sin nature has been passed on to every man and woman (Romans 5:12, 1 Corinthians 15:22), and it is out of the sin nature that we today continue to use our free will to make evil actual (Mark 7:20-23).

Even natural evil—involving earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and the like—is rooted in our wrong use of free choice. We must not forget that we are living in a fallen world, and because of this, we are subject to disasters in the world of nature that would not have occurred had man not rebelled against God in the beginning (Romans 8:20-22). The Gardens of Eden had no natural disasters or death until after the sin of Adam and Eve. There will be no natural disasters or death in the new heaven and earth when God puts an end to evil once and for all (Revelation 21:4).
  1. If God is all-good, he will defeat evil.
  2. If God is all-powerful, he can defeat evil.
  3. Evil is not yet defeated.
  4. Therefore, God can and will one day defeat evil.

One day in the future, Christ will return, strip away power from the wicked and hold all men and women accountable for the things they did during their time on earth (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:11-15). Justice will ultimately prevail. Those who enter eternity without having trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation will understand just how effectively God has dealt with the problem of evil.

Some sceptics may be tempted to refute that it should not take all of human history for an omnipotent God to deal with the problem of evil. God certainly has the option of doing away with all evil immediately—but choosing this option would have definite and fatal implications for each of us. As Paul Little has pointed out, “If God were to stamp out evil today, he would do a complete job. His action would have to include our lies and personal impurities, our lack of love, and our failure to do ‘good.’ Suppose God were to decree that at midnight tonight all evil would be removed from the universe—who of us would still be here after midnight?”

Even though God’s ultimate solution to the problem of evil awaits the future, as I have argued, God has even now taken steps to ensure that evil doesn’t run utterly amok. Indeed, God has given us human government to withstand lawlessness (Romans 13:1-7). God founded the church to be a light in the midst of the darkness, to strengthen God’s people, and even to help restrain the growth of wickedness in the world through the power of the Holy Spirit (e.g., Acts 16:5; 1 Timothy 3:15). In his Word God has given us a moral standard to guide us and keep us on the right path (Pslam 119). He has given us the family unit to bring stability to society (e.g., Proverbs 22:15; 23:13). And much more!

Trusting God in a World of Suffering

There are other inadequate explanations for the problem of evil we could examine, but they are not as prominent today, and space forbids further exploration.

Sometimes we wonder why God allows us to go through certain painful circumstances. But just because we find it difficult to imagine what reasons God could have does not mean that no such reason exists. From our finite human perspective, we are often only able to see a few threads of the great drapery of life and of the will of God. We do not have the full picture. That is why God calls us to trust him (Hebrews 11). God can see the full picture and does not make mistakes. He has a reason for allowing painful circumstances to come our way—even if we cannot grasp it.

If finite humans can discover some good purposes for evil, then surely an infinitely wise God has a good purpose for all suffering. We may not understand that purpose in the temporal ‘now,’ but it nonetheless exists. Our inability to discern why bad things sometimes happen to us does not disprove God’s benevolence, it merely exposes our ignorance.

Romans 8:18
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

(See also 2 Corinthians 4:17; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 1:6-7).

Sometimes the ‘good’ that God brings out of our suffering involves drawing us closer to him. [When I was 19, I ended up in the hospital due to a night of drinking. It led me to cry out to God for the first time, just to know that he was there and willing to pick me up and give me a second chance to start life over.] Sometimes the ‘good’ that God brings out of our suffering involves a positive change in our character. Peter refers to this when he says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7; modern paraphrase: “No pain, no gain”).

All this is said with a view emphasizing the need for faith in the midst of this world of suffering. God is most assuredly working out his purpose in our midst, and we must trust him! Gary Habermas and J.P. Moreland put it:
“The God of the universe invites us to view life and death from his eternal vantage point. And if we do, we will see how readily it can revolutionize our lives: daily anxieties, emotional hurts, tragedies, our responses and responsibilities to others, possessions, wealth, and even physical pain and death. All of this and much more can be informed and influence by the truths of heaven. The repeated witness of the New Testament is that believers should view all problems, indeed, that entire existence, from what we call the “top-down” perspective: God and his kingdom first, followed by various aspects of our earthly existence.”

Reference:, Who Made God by Ravi Zacharias and Norman Geisler, p.36-39, 45-47.

Monday, 23 November 2009

10 Ways To NOT Get Saved - Todd Friel

Is There Evidence for the Existence of God?

My church men's group and I were watching a video about truth, that asked the question: Do you believe what you believe is really real? After pondering this a while. What I got was; if you truly believe that God is up there ready to listen to whatever you're going through, then, why is it so hard to pray? It should be harder to leave your room from prayer than to go to your room to pray. If you truly believe in God and what the bible says then what is stopping us from sharing the Good News and sharing the gospel? Or even having a quiet moment with God every day? Can you stake your eternity on the bible?

So That They Should Know

It is this knowledge based on evidence that people are enjoined to act upon and trust. And that is what faith is. There is no good reason that you cannot have knowledge about God if the evidence is good. The bible teaches us this in the Old and the New Testament, and common knowledge of knowing things can teach us this too. And this is why Psalm 14 says, “The fool says in his heart, god does not exist.” Now how could God say this if the evidence was not overwhelming, such that anyone does not believe is a fool? Now there’s no blind leap of faith necessary to believe in God, but only an intelligent step of trust based on abundant evidence.

Greg Koukl

How does one convince a nonbeliever that the Bible is the Word of God?
by R.C. Sproul:

Before I try to answer that question directly, let me make a distinction that is important at the outset. There’s a difference between objective proof and the persuasion or conviction that follows. John Calvin argued that the Bible carries both persuasion and conviction in terms of its internal testimony—the marks of truth that could be found just by an examination of the book itself—as well as external evidences that would corroborate that substantial evidence to give solid proof for its being the Word of God.

Yet the last thing people would want is a book telling them they are in desperate need of repentance and of a changed life and of bowing in humility before Christ. We don’t want that book to be the truth. Calvin claimed that there is a tremendous bias and prejudice built into the human heart that only the influence of God the Holy Spirit can overcome. Calvin distinguished between what he called the undicia—those objective evidences for the trustworthiness of Scripture—and what he called the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit, which is necessary to cause us to surrender to the evidence and acknowledge that it is the Word of God.
But I think this is a critical issue upon which so much of the Christian faith depends. The Bible makes the claim that it is the unvarnished Word of God, that it is the truth of God, that it comes from him. God is its ultimate author and source, though indeed he used human authors to communicate that message.
In speaking with people about this, we have to go through the laborious process of showing first of all that the Bible as a collection of historical documents is basically reliable. The same tests that we would apply to Herodotus or Suetonius or any other ancient historian would have to be applied to the biblical records. The Christian should not be afraid to apply those kinds of historical standards of credibility to the Scriptures, because they have withstood a tremendous amount of criticism from that standpoint, and their credibility remains intact. On the basis of that, we come to an idea. If the book is basically reliable, it doesn’t have to be inerrent or infallible; it gives us a basically reliable portrait of Jesus of Nazareth and what he taught.

We move from there in linear fashion. If we can on the basis of general reliability come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ did the things that history claims he did, it would indicate that Jesus is more than an ordinary human being and that his testimony would be compelling. I would move first to a study of the person of Jesus and then ask the question, what did Jesus teach about Scripture? For me, in the final analysis, our doctrine of Scripture is drawn from the teaching of Jesus and from our understanding of who he is.

How do you know the Bible is true?
by R.C. Sproul:

That’s an excellent question because so much is at stake in the Christian faith in terms of the truthfulness of Scripture. The Bible is our primary source of information about Jesus and about all of those things we embrace as elements of our faith. Of course, if the Bible isn’t true, then professing Christians are in serious trouble. I believe the Bible is true. I believe it is the Word of God. As Jesus himself declared of the Scripture, “Your word is truth.” But why am I persuaded that the Bible is the truth?

We need to ask a broader question first. How do we know that anything is true? We’re asking a technical question in epistemology. How do we test claims of truth? There is a certain kind of truth that we test through observation, experimentation, eyewitness, examination, and scientific evidence. As far as the history of Jesus is concerned, as far as we know any history, we want to check the stories of Scripture using those means by which historical evidence can be tested—through archaeology, for example. There are certain elements of the Scripture, such as historical claims, that are to be measured by the common standards of historiography. I invite people to do that—to check it out.

Second, we want to test the claims of truth through the test of rationality. Is it logically consistent, or does it speak with a “forked tongue”? We examine the content of Scripture to see if it is coherent. That’s another test of truth. One of the most astonishing things, of course, is that the Bible has literally thousands of testable historical prophecies, cases in which events were clearly foretold, and both the foretelling and the fulfillment are a matter of historical record. The very dimension of the sheer fulfillment of prophecy of the Old Testament Scriptures should be enough to convince anyone that we are dealing with a supernatural piece of literature.

Of course, some theologians have said that with all of the evidence there is that Scripture is true, we can truly embrace it only with the Holy Spirit working in us to overcome our biases and prejudices against Scripture, against God. In theology, this is called the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit. I want to stress at this point that when the Holy Spirit helps me to see the truth of Scripture and to embrace the truth of Scripture, it’s not because the Holy Spirit is giving me some special insight that he doesn’t give to somebody else or is giving me special information that nobody else can have. All the Holy Spirit does is change my heart, change my disposition toward the evidence that is already there. I think that God himself has planted within the Scriptures an internal consistency that bears witness that this is his Word.

©1996 by R.C. Sproul. Used by permission of Tyndale.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.

Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Tactics Against Atheistic Challenges:

Where is the evidence?
As Christians we have been laid with the "burden of proof." The proof or evidence of the existence of God, and we are to give good reason for why we believe that He exists. The burden of proof is a principle that states that the person who asserts a proposition has the burden to defend it by reason or evidence (Steve Tsai, Evidence is always interpreted in light of a world-view. And evolutionists have a faulty worldview, which causes them to misinterpret the evidence that is presented. Their humanistic worldview does not allow them to consistently interpret evidence correctly. Dr. Jason Lisle, from AIG, explains, "God has said in His Word, and God tells us that we are never to abandon the authority of his Word, even when we are refuting those who contradict (Titus 1:9). You may certainly use scientific and historical evidence as part of your apologetic (for example, to show inconsistency and arbitrariness in the evolutionary worldview). However, Christians should not try to approach evidence from a “neutral” perspective, rather than from a biblical worldview: neutrality is unbiblical (Matthew 12:30) and logically impossible (because it is a non-neutral claim)." So remember to use God's Word as your authority. This is what we stand on, and this belief should be our evidence to the unsaved; that our world view is entirely different. The evidential claim is philosophical. It must stand to philosophical rigour. The lack of belief would be contradictory. Some evolutionists will argue that there is not enough evidence or the evidence you give from the bible or even archaeology is just "not enough." They will just not be satisfied because they're thinking is fundamental. Yes, they too can be fundamentalists in their own worldview.

Let me share a script from Steve Tsai, from his blog;

Now I think this is a fair thing to ask of the atheist, that is, asking him to bear the burden of proof. If God’s existence is impossible, improbable or simply fortuitously untrue, it seems common sense dictates the atheist should give evidence for these claims. At least you would think.

At this point, modern atheists have one more trick up their sleeve, one that supposedly counteracts the burden of proof. The issue has to do with the etymology of “atheism,” defined not as a positive belief in the non-existence of God, but simply a lack of any belief in God. The prefix “a-“ is understood as “without,” and “theism” (as you well know) means “belief in God.” So they will argue, the atheistic position is not one of positive affirmation in God’s non-existence, but rather simply a lack of belief in the existence of God. Atheists are without, or lack belief in God. So because the atheist has asserted nothing, she has nothing to prove. She does not have to prove the non-existence of God, because she never positively asserted God’s non-existence. She simply has to shoot down arguments by theists, since they do make a positive claim and must bear the burden of proof.

If you sense something has gone amiss, you are correct. I think this is an unfair ploy designed to shift the burden on the theist while allowing the atheist to continue taking the offensive. It’s much easier to tear down others rather than erect an edifice of one’s own. And many times, rhetorically the aggressive person seems like he is winning.

Here are a few good responses to this ploy:

1. First, if you wish, you can play the same game. That is, refuse to give in to this unfair tactic by turning it around back on them. How this is done is you take the positive affirmation of atheist (which they must have, since a belief system cannot be purely negative) which is the materialistic thesis that claims, “all things are explainable in terms of physics and chemistry” and simply add the prefix “a-“ to it. So instead of claiming to be a “theist” (which would be a positive claim), one can claim to be an “a-materialist.” That is, one simply fails to manifest the materialistic thesis. And of course since a lack of a belief (according to the atheist) does not require proof, the a-materialist (theist) can sit back and fold his arms smugly knowing he has not violated any principle of argumentation.

This is more of a touché maneuver to show the unfairness of the atheist’s ploy. The point here is to show him that you can play the same burden of proof game too. Of course the objective of this response is not to end in a stalemate, but a simply to show the atheist his flaw in thinking, and encourage him to take up the burden of proof again. In effect you’re saying, “if you’re view does not require proof, than neither does mine given the same rationale. Oh, you don’t like that? Then let’s do away with this game and get back to proving our claims.” This can be returned to any time in the course of conversation if the atheist reverts back to his atheism-is-a-lack-of-belief-so-I-don’t-need-to-prove-it position.

2. One can simply ask the atheist if she would answer “yes” or “no” to the question “Do you believe that God exists?” Either answer to this question would be considered a positive assertion, and would therefore require argumentation and evidence. Now it is possible that the atheist at this point still could refuse to answer “yes” or “no” and instead repeat the tag line of the ploy, “I simply do not have a belief in the existence of God, therefore my position does not require proof.”

If this happens, there are two more ways the conversation can go. Either they still want to stay engaged and discuss your positive evidence for God’s existence while shirking their responsibility, or they will want to disengage completely from the topic. If the atheist takes the latter position, then you can once again reassert (1), that you can play the same game too, and since you can, atheist is not any more rational than your a-materialism. A position is considered more rationally justified if its grounds are more certain than other competing positions. If atheism and a-materialism have identical epistemological grounds, than one is no more rational than the other. The retreating atheist satisfied with his ploy must accept this point. That would be my parting shot to that kind of atheist. But I doubt any thoughtful atheist would be satisfied knowing his atheism is as rationally justified as my theism, for the very point of argumentation is to show your opponent’s position as rationally inferior.

If the atheist is of the former variety that still wants to engage, I would kindly explain how his tactic is unfair (since he wants me to do all the proving while he does none) and stipulate the conversation will only progress if he bears the same burden I do. That is, let’s keep the conversation fair, since both sides actually do make positive affirmations (with atheism at least positively asserting materialism, and very probably asserting God’s non-existence). Atheists make bold claims about God, and many actually harbor feelings of hatred against him. How someone can hate or ball their fist up against an entity that apparently enters into none of the propositions one believes is beyond me. My point here is that an ultimatum is set, fair conversation or none at all. And if the atheist is not willing to bear the burden of proof, I feel very comfortable ending the conversation. Don’t throw your pearls before swine.

3. I think this point of logic I’m about to raise is one that is rarely understood by the atheist. For example, let’s say I do in fact give five good arguments for God’s existence. And let’s say, for the sake of argument, the atheist has successfully rebutted or refuted all five of my arguments for God’s existence. The question is, does this mean God does not exist? Does my failure to provide evidence of God’s existence prove the opposite point, his non-existence?

No, not at all. An unsubstantiated claim is not a false claim. Epistemologically they are different. Even if all my arguments fail, all that proves is that I have bad arguments or may be a poor apologist. It does not prove God does not exist. And it does not entail that no one has good arguments for God’s existence. At worst, my failure would leave the issue of God’s existence a question mark. That is, maybe he does exist, maybe he doesn’t. You see, this is the point where the atheist is supposed to step up, and argue from uncertainty to the positive claim of God’s non-existence. But if he is not willing to bear his share of the burden, then God’s existence is neither impossible, improbable nor fortuitously untrue (and this is the case even if all my arguments have failed). And if the atheist has shown none of these, I reckon he’s a rather poor atheologian, since God’s existence is still left on the table as a very real possibility.

4. This last point may be a more complicated one. It may be the case that the atheist’s ploy in self-contradictory. That is, there is a logical difficulty in asserting a lack of a belief (here I will use “knowledge” and “belief” interchangeably for this point, which is think is fine for present purposes). I know we do so all the time in common parlance, but strictly speaking this may be impossible, since you have to at least know something about what you’re denying knowledge of. So to totally lack knowledge of something and to assert that at the same time would seem to be contradictory.

Now there’s a weaker sense in which we can assert our ignorance of certain issues. But in these cases its arguable that the assertion of ignorance is one of lesser knowledge to greater knowledge, that is, one of degree. We know a bit and we wish to know more. The problem with the atheist’s ploy is that it is not this type of degreed claim, but a non-degreed claim of a total lack of knowledge. It’s hard to believe that anyone can assert their lack of belief in things that don’t enter into any of the propositions that one holds. How can you affirm you lack a belief unless you first know the belief that is lacked?

This is more clearly illustrated by employing what philosopher’s call propositional or doxastic attitudes. For any proposition, there are three epistemological stances or attitudes that can be taken towards it, 1) affirmation, 2) denial or 3) withholding of judgment. Notice there are only three propositional attitudes. The proposition under consideration is that of “God exists.” If you affirm the proposition, you are a theist. If you deny the proposition, you are an atheist. If you withhold judgment, you are an agnostic. Notice there is no propositional attitude of “lacking a belief.” Affirm God, deny God, or throw your hands up in the air and say you don’t know. But it is unclear on this very standard account of propositional attitudes where “lack of a belief” would fit in. So at best, “lacking a belief” is an extremely queer concept, and at worst it is self-contradictory.

Check out Greg Koukl's book Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions. Visit

Some Interesting Apologetical Items
by Jeremy Livermore:

Byzantine church Mosaics

In the 4th century, after the conversion of the Roman emperor Constantine to Christianity, Helena, Constantine’s Mother, went to Israel to discover the sites that were important to the Christian faith. She designated holy places and venerated many particular sites where a significant New Testament miracle was performed, including where Jesus was born, died, and resurrected.

At many of these places, Helena ordered a church to be built. These Byzantine churches were usually small, perhaps the size of a modern house. On the floor a beautiful tile mosaic was usually laid depicting fish or something of historical relevance to the Christian site. Throughout the centuries of invasions, wars, and earthquakes, the original church was destroyed. But the ornate Byzantine mosaics still exist beneath the later crusader floor mosaic or later modern era mosaic which repeated the same design. Additionally, some churches were rebuilt in such a way that the new mosaic floor connected to the original Byzantine mosaic, interwoven to produce the same design. The only difference one could tell between the Byzantine mosaic and the later mosaic is the Byzantine mosaic is faded.

It was really amazing to be standing on the same floor that early Christians and church fathers stood on. You know that saying "Being there is everything", well it was true in this case. At many moments, with the help of our good tour guide, I felt like I traveled back in time and could picture what it was attend a church service at that ancient Byzantine basilica. These moments were not just limited to the Byzantine church ruins. I found that I could easily imagine what it would have been walk in Caesarea, Capernaum, Nazareth, Skythopolis, and Meggido. It is hard to describe but going back in time is somewhat close.

Continuing Archeological Finds:

During our trip, President Obama was visiting with the King of Saudi Arabia and making a speech in Cairo, Egypt. So we picked up some local magazines and newspapers to catch the local response to the Obama visit. While learning about the different political extremist views of the West Bank PLO, Gaza leadership, and Israeli left, we stumbled upon some articles of recent archeological discoveries in Israel. By the look of it, these were common entries in the local news. On any given day, there could be news of a different amazing artifacts dug up around Israel.

I knew Archeology has always been a major point of national pride for the modern nation. But I came to understand that there were significant continual efforts being made by the Israeli government, through many benefactors and the Hebrew University, to reclaim the history of Israel through archeology. In the last several years, there have been increased efforts and funding for more digs in regions and settlements in the West Bank recently annexed by the Israeli army. Last century, scholars in Israel and around the world have been mesmerized by monumental discoveries such as the dead sea scrolls and the walls of Jericho. Scholars are hoping that the discoveries of last century will pale in comparison to those of this century.

Some not so recent discovered archeological finds that we saw, such as the tunnels under the ancient Canaanite city of Jebus (Jerusalem), ancient high walls in Jericho, horse stables in Meggido, inscriptions of Pontius Pilate in Casearea, grottos in Nazareth, and many others, are still continual reminders to Israel and the world that the Christian faith is built on solid epistemically verifiable foundations. These and other frequent gem finds provide evidence that the description of places in the historical records of the Bible are in fact accurate. They show that the words on the pages of Scripture cannot be categorized in a myth genre. Rather these finds give readers and scholars alike continual confidence that the Bible represents historical literature that maps out historical places that actually existed in a space time reality. If the places existed, it is also highly likely that the people and events described in those places were real.

Compare the history written in the Old & New Testament to the book of Mormon. While reading Joseph Smith’s famous work last year, I was thoroughly convinced that this book, if not historically accurate, represents the greatest lie in the history of mankind. It would be infinitely more slimier in fictitious deception than the Da Vinci code, even more disgusting than any the modern suicide cults, because it is the life altering constitution of millions of good people. It is the Bible beyond the Bible of the called "Christian" Mormons. This ever growing population of brainwashed souls has been led astray by a book that speaks in a historical genre but is entirely fiction. Not one archeological find has ever been unearthed. Not one city wall, inscription in stone, temple, church, mosaic, painting, hand tool, pot, coin; nothing, nothing, nothing at all has been found that relates in any way shape or form to the places, peoples, and history described in the book of Mormon.

Thus, it is easy to conclude that if no archeological discovery has been made, the places described in the book of Mormon did not exist. If the places that people walked on and the places where events occurred did not exist, than the people and events described in the book of Mormon did not exist and were never real. It is absolutely sickening to read the book of Mormon, because it is clear that its sole purpose was to provide a believable history, written in the same genre as the historical books of the Old Testament, in order to deceive people away from true Christianity.

After reading the Old Testament for the last 20 years and knowing that there is archeological evidence that show the places written of do in fact exist, I can rest assured that my belief system is not founded on a myth or lie. Until an archeological discovery is made contradictory to Scripture, which there have not been any valid ones that I know of, I will continue to read the Old and New Testament as historically reliable documents.

The Design Argument
by Peter Kreeft & Ronald K. Tacelli:

The universe displays a staggering amount of intelligibility, both within the things we observe and in the way these things relate to others outside themselves. That is to say: the way they exist and coexist display an intricately beautiful order and regularity that can fill even the most casual observer with wonder. It is the norm in nature for many different beings to work together to produce the same valuable end--for example, the organs in the body work for our life and health.

Question: Hasn't the Darwinian theory of evolution shown us how it is possible for all the order in the universe to have arisen by chance?

Reply: Not at all. If the Darwinian theory has shown anything, it has shown, in a general way, how species may have descended from others through random mutation; and how survival of these species can be accounted for by natural selection--by the fitness of some species to survive in their environment. In no way does it--can it--account for the ubiquitous order and intelligibility of nature. Rather, it presupposes order. To quote a famous phrase: "The survival of the fittest presupposes the arrival of the fit." If Darwinians wish to extrapolate from their purely biological theory and maintain that all the vast order around us is the result of random changes, then they are saying something which no empirical evidence could ever confirm; which no empirical science could ever demonstrate; and which, on the face of it, is simply beyond belief.

The Kalam Argument

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause for its coming into being.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause for its coming into being.

Read more arguments by this article.

Is Jesus a historical fact?
Can the Bible be trusted?

Our main source of information about Jesus is the New Testament in the Bible. Is the New Testament true? Is it an accurate historical record or a collection of religious myths? Do other historical records mention Jesus?

Let's start with the first question: Is what the New Testament says about Jesus a true, accurate historical record?

How do historians determine the accuracy of ancient documents and records?

Historians look at:

  • How close, in time and geographically, were the writers of the documents to the original events?
  • How many early copies do we have, how close are the copies to the originals (in time)?
  • Do the documents have contradictions or factual inaccuracies?
  • Are the descriptions of locations, roads, structures and geographical features confirmed by archaeology?

We have copies of other ancient documents that are considered historically accurate. For example, Caesar wrote his history of the Gallic Wars between 50 and 60 BC. The earliest copies we have were made around the year 1000. We have ten copies from that time period. They are considered by historians to be accurate.

The Roman historian Tacitus wrote his Annals of Imperial Rome in about 115 AD. We have one copy of the first six books in this series. It was copied in about 850 AD. Books 11 through 16 are available in a copy made about 1050 AD. Books 7 through 10 are lost. The Annals of Imperial Rome is considered by historians to be accurate.

We have nine Greek manuscripts of first century historian Josephus' work titled, "The Jewish War." These copies were made in the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries. They are considered by historians to be accurate.

Aristotle lived around 350 BC. The earliest copy of his epic poems comes from A.D.1100 -- over 1,400 years after his death. We have five early copies of Aristotle's works.

We have eight copies, dated about 900 A.D., of the history of Thucydides. He lived in the mid-400's BC. Historians have long ago determined, based on these eight manuscripts created 1300 years after the original was written, that the history of Thucydides is accurate.

Homer's Iliad, the bible of the ancient Greeks, composed in 800 BC has an impressive 650 ancient Greek copies available -- the earliest is from the second and third centuries AD - 1000 years after the original was written.

So how does the New Testament compare with these universally accepted historical documents?

We have over 22,000 early copies of ancient New Testament manuscripts! Some papyri manuscripts date to the first century, within a few decades of when the original was written. There are over 5,600 ancient Greek manuscripts. Over 9,000 Latin Vulgate manuscripts. And over 8,000 ancient manuscripts in Ethiopic, Slavic and Armenian. The earliest copies date so close to when the originals were written that the time difference is essentially non-existent.

We have papyri copies containing portions of the Gospels, the book of Acts, Paul's letters and the book of Hebrews made in the first, second and third centuries. The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri date to about the year 200. The M. Martin Bodmer Papyri also date to about the year 200. The Saint John's Library Papyri -- containing a portion of the book of John -- was made in Egypt and dates to between the years 98 and 130 AD (The book of John was written in approximately 90 AD).

Question One Summary

Numbers of copies: No other ancient historical documents come even close to being available in such large numbers (the Iliad is second with 650 copies) as is the New Testament.

Closeness to the originals in time: No other ancient historical documents are available in copies made so soon after the originals were written. (Most other documents are available only in copies made over 1000 years after the original.)

Contradictions: Other than a few minor differences in the Old Testament that are attributed to "typos" - none of which are related to fundamental doctrines or beliefs, there are no contradictions.

Archaeology: Archeology has never contradicted anything in the Bible and has confirmed much of the Bible.

The conclusion: based on the number of copies, and their closeness in time to the originals, the New Testament has ample support for its accuracy.

Question two: Are we reading an accurate translation of the Bible today? Current translations of the New Testament are made using the ancient Greek manuscripts. They are very accurate. All other ancient records (such as the Greek and Roman histories) have a much less solid connection to the originals. If someone were to argue that the accuracy of the New Testament has been lost over time, then no other ancient historical document can be accepted as accurate.

If you do not feel the Bible has been accurately translated, you can purchase a copy of the New Testament in the original Greek, learn to read ancient Greek, and read it for yourself. There is nothing hidden or secret. The quality of the translation from Greek to Engllish is available for all to examine.

The conclusion: the translations of the New Testament we have today (NIV, NASB, NLT, NRSV, NKJ...) are accurate translations and can be trusted.

Question three: Do other historical records mention Jesus? Yes!

Keep in mind that if all the documents we have from the first two centuries AD were collected and put on a bookshelf, they might take two feet of shelf space.

One of the best known references to Jesus is in Josephus's history titled Antiquities. (Flavius Josephus was born in AD 37 and died in AD 97).

Other ancient writers who mention Christ are Cornelius Tacitus (AD 55-120), Gaius Suetonius Tranquillas (secretary to Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138), and Pliny the Younger who was a Roman author and administrator.

Writting in the year AD 221, Julius Africanus quotes from a history of the Eastern Mediterranean written in about AD 52 by Thallus. Julius Africanus writes concerning the time of Jesus' crucifixion:

"On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun."*

In addition, the writings of opponents of Christianty such as Jews and Gnostics, confirm that Jesus was a real person. If they could, the best alternative for Christianity's enemies would have been to say Jesus never lived. But the evidence was too real and fresh--there were people still alive who knew Jesus or the Apostles. Their only alternative was to accept Jesus, but change his message.

The conclusion: the non-Christian writings confirm that Jesus was a real person.

And remember, in the Bible we are reading eye witness accounts, and carefully researched history, of what actually happened, written by people who were alkive when Jesus was alive.

Recommended reading: The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable by F.F. Bruce

*Recommended reading: The Historical Jesus by Gary R. Habermas

Saturday, 14 November 2009

24th Birthday

Thank You Lord for giving me life!
especially in Canada....

Reference: YouTube

My Utmost for His Highest
Oswald Chambers, Nov. 14:
"I being the way, the Lord led me...."
Genesis 24:27
"There never was a more inconsistent Being on this earth than Our Lord, but He was never inconsistent to His Father. The one consistency of the saint is not to a principle, but to the Divine life. It is the Divine life which continually makes more and more discoveries about the Divine mind. It is easier to be a fanatic than a faithful soul, because there is something amazingly humbling, particularly to our religious conceit, in being loyal to God."

Friday, 13 November 2009

Should Women Submit To Men?

Reference: YouTube; TicTocMinistries

Cosmetic Research - PSP - Skin Cream

NEOCUTIS technology platform relies on the use of cultured fetal skin cells obtained from a cell bank for treating differing skin conditions.

The dedicated cell bank was originally established for wound healing and burn treatments using a single biopsy of donated fetal skin following a one-time medical termination.

The cultured cells can be used to produce skin constructs for wound healing or can be incorporated as cell lysate in a topical carrier for use in dermatology and skin care.

To date, the cultured cells originating from this cell bank are used in research and product development in the following areas:

• acute and chronic wound healing
• eczema and psoriasis, and
• vulvodynia, vulvar vestibulitis

Having developed a topical preparation for different skin conditions, the use of this preparation for daily skin care became apparent. Today this same cell bank also provides a lasting supply of cells for producing Neocutis’ proprietary skin care ingredient Processed Skin Cell Proteins (PSP®).


Thursday, 12 November 2009

Grampa Lilley

Lord be praised! He saved my Grandfather!

Reference: YouTube

A Prayer of Repentance
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David When Nathan the Prophet Went to Him, After He Had Gone in to Bathsheba.

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Why Rome Was Important

God created the world to work in time and space. He worked out a plan for our salvation that would be played out through time. Our Lord wanted to demonstrate His character and goodness through promises, prophecies, lessons, and a growing relationship with us, which we have seen in the past. He also wanted to give us hope. The hope of a future with Him by contrast with the an old covenant(our old ways) and His new covenant through His Son who we put our future and hope into. Since the beginning of creation when Adam and Eve fell into sin, we have needed to work our way to salvation. But God had a plan, and that plan was to look to the cross. The people under the old covenant were looking forward to the cross for salvation and needed to do some things to get there. But now, under the new covenant, we are looking back at the cross, and towards the future building up His Kingdom that we will share with Christ.

People from all over the world were passing through Judea. Egyptians from the West, Romans and Greeks from the North and from the province of Asia (Turkey), Ammonites and Moabites from the East, and Ethiopians from the South. People from all directions were passing through Judea. The Roman road systems linked the nations to Judea unlike any time before.

Once the Roman Empire built roads through Israel, the time was perfect for the Son of God to come. These roads made it possible for the Gospel to be spread much easier and quicker. There was(and is) freedom for all nations and the Gospel could be preached throughout the world. Israel(Judea) needed a Saviour after the tyranny under the Roman Empire. Not to say that Jesus came to free them from Roman rule, but to set free all the captives of the earth, and give them eternal life. If it was not for God to allow the Roman Empire to take control of the middle-east and most of Europe, the Gospel wouldn't have been spread so easily by the Apostles. Thanks to the Roman road systems and bridges that made it possible. Not to mention the Ethiopian as well spread it throughout Africa.

The Roman Empire had a lust for blood. It was in their entertainment. They threw people to the lions and made slaves and gladiators fight to the death in the arenas. Crucifixion was introduced only by the Romans in that time. Read Isaiah 53 and you'll see this is exactly the way the Messiah was described to be killed. There is no better picture in words of that form of brutal punishment from any other time than through a crucifixion and the Roman justice system which made this possible.

I need to point out that this is as far as I have understood why Jesus came at that time and no other before. The modern age was coming and it was perfect timing.

Remembrance Day

Remember to give 2 minutes of silence to tribute the men and women who sacrificed their lives in the bloody World Wars I and II, so that we could have the freedom we have today. Especially the WWII soldiers who survived in Canada, USA, Britain, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, the Middle-East, and Asia Pacific. Pray for the soldiers who continue to fight for our freedom all around the world.

Sir. Winston Churchill,
4 June 1940

"I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.

At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty's Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation.

The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength.

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France,
we shall fight on the seas and oceans,
we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be,
we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae,
May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Is God Angry?

The punishments prescribed in Leviticus and Deuteronomy were examples of what Hell would be like. In the Old Testament, under the old covenant, when a man and a woman were caught in adultery they were brought out of the city gates to be stoned or killed. If we look at the parable, that Jesus told, where the bridegroom kicked out the man who wasn't invited to the wedding, we see an analogy. The man was set outside the door where there will be darkness, and weeping and gnashing of teeth. God will not allow adultery in His presence. He will not allow any sinfulness in His Kingdom.

People will argue that since our faith is belief in the New and the Old Testament, then God commands us to kill. No, He was demonstrating His just will in the Old Testament. And if He didn't want law breakers to go unpunished or adulterers to die, then He would not be just, and it would contradict who He is. But God is also merciful and gave grace to the obedient in the old covenant. Under the new covenant, God has given grace to the humble who take up their cross and follow Him, and punishment to the wicked who reject His Son and cling to their fleshly desires. There had to be a propitiation for all the sins of the world. And that's why Jesus came—to fulfil His perfect will.

Yes, God is angry. He is angry at sin, but He doesn't want us to be scared into repenting. In other words, God does not want to kill you for His glory. He does not find it delightful nor do the angels in heaven sing and praise the Lord every time a sinner goes to hell (Isaiah 27:4-5). There is no greater love than our Lord Jesus Christ. He took upon the wrath that we deserve and laid it upon himself. He knows our pain, because He suffered as a man on the cross. What love! What sacrifice! What a humble and merciful God! What better way to demonstrate His mercy and grace than physically through the man Jesus our Christ and Saviour. He knows we needed evidence and something tangible. What better way than smashing himself into creation(man) to intercede on our behalf. God is love!

Escape from Egypt

Monday, 9 November 2009

Fort Hood Massacre

'Such violence is morally reprehensible and has nothing to do with any religion, race, ethnicity or national origin,' said Mary Rose Oakar, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

20th Anniversary of the Collapse of Communism

Twenty years ago today, the Berlin Wall–the icon of the “Iron Curtain” that separated nations under Communist rule from the free West–was torn down by exuberant citizens from both sides. It thus is a convenient date to celebrate the fall of Communism. The totalitarian, oppressive, murderous system, protected by an extensive secret police and a panoply of nuclear weapons, came tumbling down when its citizens saw through the propaganda, said “no” to its claims, and chose freedom. That was surely one of the most remarkable revolutions in the history of the world.

Reference:, Winnipeg Sun

Is God Invented by People to Console Themselves?

A phrase from Karl Marx is often cited here: "Religion is the opium to human desire." The basic idea is that God is some kind of spiritual narcotic that dulls our senses to the pain of the world and helps us cope with it. We want there to be a God to console us and so we invent him. In this view, religion offers succour for the suckers and losers, but not for serious and sophisticated people.

This argument has its roots in the works of the left-wing German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach, who argued that the idea of God arises understandably, but mistakenly, form human experience. Religion in general is simply the projection of human nature onto an illusory transcendent plane. Human beings mistakenly objectify their own feelings. They interpret their experience as an awareness of God, whereas it is in fact nothing other than an experience of themselves. God is the longing of the human soul personified. This idea was developed by Karl Marx, who argued that it arose from psychological pressures. If a Christian were told this, and were incapable of giving a defence, their beliefs could crumble beneath them under panic.

My response is that Feuerbach's critique of religion is just as effective a criticism of atheism. For example, consider a serial killer who took delight in the pain and trauma of his victims. Would there not be excellent reasons for supposing that he might hope that God does not exist, given what might await him on the Day of Judgement? He argues that people invent their religious ideas to suit their longings and aspirations. In that human beings wish for God, their longing is satisfied by their invention of that God by a process of projection. On the basis of Feuerbach's analysis, it is not simply Christianity but also atheism that can be regarded as a projection of human beings. This resonates with much sociological and historical analysis of the rise of atheism in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, which emphasize how so many longed for a godless world and chose to create one in which reality was adapted to their longings.

The Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, who wont he Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980, has an interesting poit to make here. Having found himself intellectually bullied and politically silenced, first under Nazism and then under Stalinism, Milosz had no doubt as to the ultimate source of despair and tyranny in the twentieth century. In a remarkable essay entitles "The Discreet Charm of Nihilism," he pointed out that it was not religion, but its denial—above all, the denial of accountability in the sight of God—that lay at the root of the oppressive totalitarianisms. Here are some wise words from that article:

Religion, opium for the people! To those suffering pain, humiliation, illness, and serfdom, it promised a reward in afterlife. And now we are witnessing a transformation. A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death, the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders we are not going to be judged. The Marxist creed has now been inverted. The true opium of modernity is the belief that there is no God, so that humans are free to do precisely as they please.

There is a third point of concern about this approach, which is perhaps more serious. There is a fatal logical error in Feuerbach's analysis. It is certainly true that nothing actually exists because I with it to. But does this mean that because I want something to be true, it cannot be? Imagine the man who longs for a drink of water on a long, hot, dusty day. Does water not exist because he wants some? Hardly!

Resource: Beyond Opinion; Challenges from Atheism, p. 31-32.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Jesus: The Solution for Suffering Evil

Jesus' resurrection was a foreshadow of the things to come. In His resurrection we not only see Him restored to His body but to a glorified state. His resurrected body can't die, get sick or be corrupted in any way. Jesus' resurrection was a glimpse of the world to come. It is clear and even tangible evidence of the fulfilment of God's good purpose that He is bringing about. The blind will see, the paraplegic will walk, the mentally handicapped will be able to think clearly. No more pain, natural disasters, or suffering. He alone is the solution to evil. Evil is only the problem for those who refuse Him.


Genetic Information

Carl Sagan showed, using straightforward calculations, why one cell’s worth of genetic information approximates 4,000 books of printed information. Each of Sagan’s 4,000 books had 500 pages with 300 words per page. [See Carl Sagan, The Dragons of Eden (New York: Random House, 1977), p. 25.]

Each book would have a volume of about 50 cubic inches. An adult human’s body contains about 1014 cells. About 800 cubic miles have been eroded from the Grand Canyon. Therefore, we can say that if every cell in one person’s body were reduced to 4,000 books, they would fill the Grand Canyon 98 times.

The Moon is 240,000 miles from Earth. If the DNA in a human cell were stretched out and connected, it would be more than 7 feet long. If all the DNA in one person’s body were placed end-to-end, it would extend to the Moon 552,000 times.

The DNA in a human cell weighs 6.4 × 10-12 grams. [See Monroe W. Strickberger, Genetics, 2nd edition (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1976), p. 54.] Probably less than 50 billion people have lived on earth. If so, one copy of the DNA of every human who ever lived—enough to define the physical characteristics of all those people in microscopic detail—would weigh only

6.4 × 10-12 × 50 × 109 = 0.32 grams

This is less than the weight of one aspirin.

“... there is enough information capacity in a single human cell to store the Encyclopaedia Britannica, all 30 volumes of it, three or four times over. ... There is enough storage capacity in the DNA of a single lily seed or a single salamander sperm to store the Encyclopaedia Britannica 60 times over. Some species of the unjustly called ‘primitive’ amoebas have as much information in their DNA as 1,000 Encyclopaedia Britannicas.”

Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, pp. 116–117.

“Biochemical systems are exceedingly complex, so much so that the chance of their being formed through random shufflings of simple organic molecules is exceedingly minute, to a point indeed where it is insensibly different from zero.”

Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood, 8th Edition (2008), p. 3.

“No matter how large the environment one considers, life cannot have had a random beginning. Troops of monkeys thundering away at random on typewriters could not produce the works of Shakespeare, for the practical reason that the whole observable universe is not large enough to contain the necessary monkey hordes, the necessary typewriters, and certainly the waste paper baskets required for the deposition of wrong attempts. The same is true for living material.”

Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, p. 148.


Defending the Faith

InTouch Magazine, November 2009 Issue, Page 35
Read | 1 Peter 3:13-16

Knowing God's Word and understanding what we believe are essential for growth in Christ and protection form deception. However, these alone aren't the final goal. We are not left on earth merely to know for ourselves what God has said but rather to share His good news with others. In other words, we're to be "ready to make a defence to everyone who asks [us] to give an account for the hope that is in [us]" (1 Peter 3:15).
The word "defence" means an answer one gives for himself. Believers are to be ready and able to give an account or explanation of their motives and reasons for holding onto their hope in Christ. Because of busy lifestyles, many Christians have never taken the time to really think through their views and beliefs. When someone challenges them, they feel a sense of panic because they're totally unprepared.
Giving account for our faith must be accompanied by a gentle and respectful delivery. Aggressively dumping a load of truth on a questioning person rarely leads him to the Lord, but a gentle answer opens hearts as well as ears.
And remember, all that we profess must be backed up with a life of integrity. If we're living a hypocritical lifestyle, not only will our testimony be worthless, but "Christ will be put to shame" (v. 16).

Early Light | These verses were not written to scholars; they were intended for ordinary people with jobs and families. The task isn't impossible, yet it requires time spent reading and studying God's Word. As you set Christ apart as the Lord of your heart, time with Him will become a joy and not a sacrifice.