Sunday, June 5, 2022

An Indespensable Factor in Minimumizing Mas Shootings

            I appreciate Dr. Jetelina’s insightful initial critique[1] of the popular ploy of naming mental illness (MI) as the cause of mass shootings (MS).  She firstly noted that such incidents demand substantial and careful strategizing of a degree not compatible with the capacity of a person debilitated by MI.  Further, she offered more plausible causes of MS by stressing such emotional drivers as envy and grievance. 

Nevertheless she neglected to consider the “elephant in the room” that the Bible calls “sin.”  While secularists may laugh at my suggestion, it is obviously the case that “scientific” claims have failed to disarm the crisis at hand for the reason that such schemes as just cited, cannot be abated by physical laws and mathematical formulas because the latter's' wiles are instead aspects of human freewill.[2]  And mass-shootings by automatic weapons are never just a single murderous act.  Every pull of the trigger or shift of the scope onto the next person entails the choice to murder each additional victim.  Since the concept of "choice" is incompatible with results from physical laws, scientific authority has no relevance.  

The biblical term “sin” entails both disobedience of the authority of God and/or the moral law that normally exists in every conscience even as it also elevates the rebel to the decider of their pragma-tic urges.  Is it any wonder then that chaos erupts wherever the will of God is roundly ignored?  The analogy of that inevitability is similar to the expected result of a concert when each musician willfully ignores the conductor.  Surely only ugly noise can result from the clash.  No other outcome is plausible. 

In the case of the mass-shooter, he may find fleeting glee in both the trauma he brought about, and the infamy tagged onto himself.  Yet there is a further, immeasurably weightier consequence.  I confidently declare, there is hell to follow.  MS perpetrators apparently assume they will leave behind the fallout of the evils they brought upon the world.  But they are wrong.  Numerous times the New Testament warns that every person will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and hear the pronouncement either that, through His death and resurrection and consequently His gift of salvation, we who receive Him have everlasting life, OR instead, by refusing to trust Christ, our record of rebellion will render our verdict, "damnation."  Doubtless some will scoff at this claim.  Yet I know of no one who has looked at the evidence favoring the truth of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, and who then conclu-ded the evidence is either lacking or weak.[3]  It is this unassailable fact of history which substantiates the statement in the Apostles’ Creed that “He [Jesus] will come to judge the living and the dead.”  The only ones who doubt this either have not considered the evidence; or prefer "to walk in the darkness rather than the light" (John 3:19).  Either way, scoffers violate the principles of scientific methodology.  True scientists follow the science as far as the evidence takes them, and then when that path dead-ends, they yield to realities that do have answers (spiritual) which, in this case, affirm the reality of sin and its negative consequences, and consequently urges our reception of answers that only Jesus provides; the reality of redemption that follows our confession of sin.  Unless we receive Him, we face the prospect of hell.  That warning must be everywhere proclaimed, even as law-breakers would be wise to heed it.



[1] Dr. Katelyn Jetelina (Epidemiology). "Its Hard to Explain (And Fix) Evil." (June 3, 2022),  https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/ FMfcgzGpGKdxRCKwvlPrXwpbzXjWHNGg

[2] I reject as absurd the materialist's objection that freewill is an illusion. If that was really so, their own claims must also be rendered illusory.  

[3] You may immediately access the case for Jesus' resurrection in my essay, "Hoax? Myth? Or Literally True?" at my website: www.christianityontheoffense.com/articles  ** or Lee Strobel. The Case for Christ: Updated and Expanded. (Zondervan, 2016).

Monday, May 2, 2022

The Absurdity of Leftism's Crocodile Tears

                   And the improbability of their reaching, on their own wisdom, the truth they feign to demand

It is hard to exaggerate the depth of ludicricity[1] Leftists bring upon themselves by their decrial of Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter even while parading themselves as the sole guardians of “helpful” pub-lic discourse.  Instead, their determination to censor opposition exposes them as both cowards who are fearful of scrutiny, and clueless fools by their lobbing at the Right, “charges” of censorship of the same nature as their very own posture; a delusional tactic called “psychological projection.”[2]  In both cases they defy any semblance to either truth-seeking, or the obligations that truth, once known, demands.

               President Biden is now determined to establish “The Truth Commission,” which hauntingly echoes George Orwell’s prophetic book, 1984.[3]  Biden’s ploy is, on two grounds, utterly absurd.  Firstly, in doing so he and his followers (“the blind leading the blind”) betray complete ignorance of the limits of intellectual certitude.  It is for example a basic tenet of scientific inquiry that under the best of circum-stances (when the scientific concern being addressed is closely-connected to mathematical data, e.g. physics and chemistry), proof is not possible for the reason that humans are vulnerable to their own biases, committing errors, and/or missing unforeseen variables.  Consequently, valid research demands checks-and-balances in order to minimize errors.  Further, when research turns to more complex and even controversial areas of science such as biology, and the challenges that it presents, including viral and bacterial theories, the possibility of approaching consensus is increasingly difficult.  More serious still, however, when scientists seek to apply theories to the challenge of, for example, life-or-death consequences in multifaceted contexts such as a pandemic, then reaching an effective strategy demands assembling not only fully-informed and qualified, but also unique minds who are granted the freedom to challenge the status quo by actually following the evidence where it leads (FEL).[4]

               The solitary means for intellectually seeking complex scientific (or historical) truth is by the strategy known as “Inference to the Best Explanation” (IBE).[5]  On the one hand the means for the simple falsifying of an erroneous hypothesis is relatively simple, though not directly constructive.  On the other hand, IBE works to answer questions or address actual problems by first of all agreeing on the nature of the phenomena that is being addressed.  Only after that step is substantially[6] completed do scientists then propose their hypotheses which seek to account for the problem.  Thirdly, the competing conjec-tures are scrutinized by all to determine which one most adequately accounts for the challenge.  Now, it shouldn’t be hard to see how this research strategy is completely defied by Biden’s Administration.

               Indeed, one glaring example of a schema that contradicts the FEL dictum is evident in the determination of the New York Times to paint Elon Musk as inherently racist solely by association for reason of his being raised in South Africa (SA).  Although the facts indicate that 1) Elon had Black friends as a youngster, 2) his father belonged to an anti-racist party, 3) Elon left SA in order to avoid participating in its army, the “investigators tweets to the contrary exposed their failing aim to defame him. [7]



[1] To the charge that this is an invented (non-existent) word, I reply that the folly that the Left is exuding is utterly without parallel in history.

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/projection

[3] https://george-orwell.org/1984/

[4] H.D.P. Lee, tr. Plato. The Republic. (Penguin, 1955), # 394, p. 133. ** See also my essay, “No Truth? Then No rationality! And No Enduring Society,” at my website, www.christianityontheoffense.com

[5] “Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design and the Return of the God Hypothesis.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_8PPO-cAlA (45:00f).

[6] Investigation guided by scientific methodology entails ongoing refining of the relevant data in light of ongoing research.

[7] https://www.foxnews.com/media/twitter-users-new-york-times-elon-musk-racist-south-africa



Continue my essay at "Crocodile Tears Over Musk," at my website, www.christianityontheoffense.com




Saturday, April 16, 2022

Leftism's Glaring Cowardice

 This article is a repeat of my blog posting from many months ago. However it isn't for historical purposes that I bring it back.  Since, as I argue, so-called "progressives," are becoming increasingly entrenched in their folly.  See if you can agree with my assessment:

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               In 1964, during Democrat Lyndon Baines Johnson’s official oversight as the 36th President of the United States, the “Free Speech Movement” was formed to defy his administration’s ban of on-campus protesting over the Vietnam War. Their goal was consistent with that of any university. 1 Astonishingly however, the Wikipedia article on this topic, which was revised as recently as this month (Dec. 1) states, “To this day, the Movement’s legacy continues to shape American political dialogue both on college campuses and in broader society.” 2 Yet ironically, Leftists3 today are seemingly clueless to the contradiction of their stance in the face of that Movement back in the 60’s to which they claim inspiration. 

             Indeed left-of-center ideology today is thoroughly pervaded with a spirit of both censorship and the suppression of honest debate4 in matters of substance, each of which fundamentally undermines freedom of speech that is protected in the First Amendment of our U.S. Constitution.5 This ploy seeks, apparently, to buffer Leftists from scrutiny by an informed public as applied in the following ways: 

•      In terms of posture, the Left’s chronic refusal to engage in dialogue with Conservatives destroys even the possibility of reaching a common understanding together. So much darker, then, is the prospect of reaching mutually acceptable solutions. Nonetheless, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Kamala Harris, to name a few, insist on unchecked grandstanding as opposed to conversing. 

•      Censorship of critical facts has marked the ongoing ploy of all news networks, except Fox, over this recent Presidential election campaign. Not only did they forbid broadcasting the hundredplus-nights of rampage when police were constrained from both halting the damage and protecting lives; they also refused to assign the blame to the refusal of Democrat Mayors to act. 6 

•      In contradiction to scientific methodology7 concerning Covid19, both Google and Facebook censor viewpoints that lie outside the prevailing Leftist vision, despite being advanced by renowned first-rank scientists who have advanced degrees in the very same relevant medical fields.8 

•      Leftism 9 has aided the obscurity in Joe Biden’s pre-election schemes both in terms of his “agenda” and his financial entanglements with China. Only after his win seemed sure, did the press report what they earlier mockingly dismissed; that Hunter Biden is under FBI investigation. 

       These factors each betray Leftism’s deep insecurity about exposing their views to public scrutiny. Indeed, apart from such ploys there is little prospect that they could remotely prevail in an honest vote. I for one gladly invite challenges to my own views. How pathetic it is then that they fear to do the same. 

    

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Is Science-Honoring-Trust an "Essential" Biblical Posture?

              My pastor recently asked me why I thought it so important to insist (as indeed I do) on creation through[1] the Big Bang (BB).  That query moved me first to reflect, and then to self-clarify, that my focus is really less on the BB per se than it is on the authority of scientific judgments in general.[2]  His challenge (which I welcomed) suggested he does not share my position.  Indeed, as we continued he told me that some of “our” congregational members hold to young-earth-creationist (YEC) views, and consequently, he expressed disapproval of anyone seeking to dissuade them.  Now, it is important to clarify to readers that my pastor and I revere each other and are also cordial friends; a posture that in fact reflects the actual tone of this respectful interchange.  Since I had already suspected his views, I was actually glad we forestalled our having to dance around the table about this matter.  In fact, I assured him that in our congregation, I only desire to witness to my view; not challenge others.

               There is no doubt in my mind that, by commending the BB as an apologetic tool for affirming the existence of God, my very presence, to a degree, impedes peace (insofar as peace exists) in any Christian circle; much like a pebble caught underfoot in one’s sandal, for the reason that I am effectively calling YEC into question.  I take no joy in unsettling the faith of YECs (although it should be duly noted that YEC adherents do the same thing with respect to the BB).  So, that tension really goes both ways (at least it should).  Yet since I hold that creation began through the BB, the question logically follows, “Does the Bible authorize dismissing established scientific facts insofar as they seem to conflict with a biblical text? 

               
For the full article, find me at my website, www.christianityontheoffense.com/articles      


[1] The Big Bang did not cause the universe.  It was the effect from God calling the cosmos into existence in a manner consistent with Genesis 1:1.

[2] If science conclusively indicated the earth was created before the sun less than 10,000 years ago, I would embrace young-earth-creationism.

[3] Langdon Gilkey. Maker of Heaven and Earth. (Doubleday, 1959), pp. 48-54.

[4] Phenomenon, a (pl) is the material stuff of reality that can, in principle, be perceived and measured by our senses or instruments.

[5] Not “heaven” the “abode” of the saints and the angels, but the starry heavens.  The word, “heaven,” in the Bible has three definitions.

[6] A nebulous term that can mean all of existence below the highest heavens, including every aspect of nature.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Young-Earth Creationism Disregards the Testimony of Psalm 19:1

  "The heavens [the physical order - nature] declare the glory of God"

           The Big Bang (BB) beginning of the universe is, on rational grounds, the unassailable[1] indicator of the existence of God for two reasons: Firstly, its observational scientific data[2] proves[3] without ambiguity that the cosmos came into existence out of absolutely nothing (Genesis 1:1).  Secondly, the fact of the ongoing expansion of the cosmos is echoed in 11 Bible verses,[4] even as biblical writers also reference God 62 times as Creator of the heavens and the earth to sharply distinguish Him from the false gods.  Yet despite the powerful case for the BB by such proponents as Hugh Ross, John Lennox, and William Lane Craig, our secular culture takes very little notice. This paper raises one major reason why that is so.               

      It is clear that young-earth creationism (YEC) draws upon certain scientific data to support two of its primary claims, including firstly that the creation of all things happened less than ten thousand years ago and secondly, that Noah’s Deluge flooded the globe to such depths that the highest mountain tops were submerged. The problem is, however, that in order for scientific tidbits to yield pragmatic impacts, they must be so-framed that they successfully account for the phenomena[5] in question.  Although one goal of scientific methodology (SM) is to discard errant ideas, its higher purpose is rather to effectively account for the phenomena that is being investigated.  Here then is the rub: YEC seeks to the contrary, to explain away that same body of facts.  Now should one ask, “Why does YEC’s appeal to certain data [albeit selectively] not count as proof that they do respect science?”  The answer should become clear by turning to the respected scientific research strategy known as “inference to the best explanation from a pool of competing hypotheses.”[6]  This tactic is the most foundational of all scientific methods for gaining insight into nature’s interactions and processes.[7]  Consider its four key points:

1.      The ultimate goal of science is to explain phenomena as opposed to merely refuting falsehoods.

2.      Since it is not possible to prove claims about phenomena, each scientific team is left to propose the hypothesis they hold most adequately accounts for the greatest range of evidence.

3.      Scientific insight into the phenomena under consideration is attained by means of contrasting and comparing the differing hypotheses as proposed by competing research teams.

4.      That hypothesis which prevails is deemed the best scientific insight on the matter investigated.          

Returning to YEC; the question of whether the facts they appeal to are correct is not relevant since their goal in rejecting “Bible-denying” facts is to discard threatening evidence as opposed to demonstrating any superiority for their own.  Since as I implied, the goal of SM is to referee both data and the hypo-theses they frame; YEC virtually never adds evidence.  In the event of exceptions, new data should of course be welcome.  Yet while YEC is entitled to re-interpret data;[8] it must never deny factual evidence. 

               Further, YEC (aka “Scientific Creationism”) disqualifies itself from being scientific by definition.  The reason is that science, by definition, gains insight about its object solely through direct analysis of nature’s relevant features as opposed to appealing to insights from the Bible.  This distinction[9] in no way


[1] Cosmologists who deny God’s existence ignore the testable evidence. See Hugh Ross. Creator and the Cosmos. (RTB, 2018), pp. 85f.

[2] See my papers, “God’s Prints are Everywhere,” **  “Was the Big Bang the Big Beginning?” at my website: www.christianityontheoffense.com

[3] Legal scholar Dr. J.W. Montgomery stated that since it isn’t possible to attain strict proof, lawyers persuade juries on the basis of “proof beyond reasonable doubt.” https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/john-warwick-montgomery-interview/id351907712?i=1000100484018

[4] Job 9:8, Psalm 104:2, Isaiah 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; 45:12; 48:13; 51:13, Jeremiah 10:12; 51:15, Zechariah 12:1. It is God alone (the higher author – 2 Timothy 3:16) who grasps Big Bang cosmology; not the biblical writers themselves.  

[5] By a “phenomenon” is meant a naturally occurring object or event that can be experienced by our senses. 

[6] The word, “hypothesis” stands for a tentative proposal that is offered up for scrutiny in light of the available evidence.

[7] Stephen Meyer.  Return of the God Hypothesis. (Harper One, 2021), pp. 223-229.

[8] One example entails examining the very same fossil record as their opponents, and raising the question, “Where are the transitional fossils?”

[9] See “Disarming the Alleged Conflict between Scientific Fact and the Text of Genesis 1 Without Compromising Either One.” Op.cit. (2).

To read my entire article visit my website: www.christianityontheoffense.com

               

2.     


Thursday, March 3, 2022

Sins, Sin, And the Only Way to Redemption, Part 2

Getting the Real Point of Ash Wednesday and Lent              

                There is a sense in which God’s ultimate goal is not to deprive us, but rather to replace our current state with something far greater.  Yet in order to experience His superior life, we must let go of our old, sinful, one; not piecemeal, but by renouncing it altogether (Mark 8:33-35, John 12:24).  You may notice that these verses specify our need to indeed “die” (a reality I will further address).  Since how-ever, these words were spoken before His death, Jesus was using a metaphor that was yet to be fully unveiled.  Yet beginning soon after with three successive events: 1) His resurrection from the dead at Easter, 2) His Ascension into heaven forty days after that, and 3) on the Day of Pentecost ten days later still; now that He returned to earth in a transformed manner, Jesus comes NOW to dwell spiritually in the lives of all who receive Him (Revelation 3:20, John 1:12).  Put another way, in the Four Gospels, Jesus “in the days of His flesh” (Hebrews 5:7) related to everyone in a localized manner, while the New Testament (NT) Epistles by contrast speaks of Jesus – in terms of His relationship with us – in a spiritual manner.  Notice that the uniting point of the Gospel’s is God’s giving-ness in Jesus Christ!  Consider also that God will not do His work along side us, but (Praise the LORD!) only by Himself in and through us.  So Jesus’ prior calling disciples to “come after” Him (Mark 8:34) is now replaced with the new concept of our yielding the throne of our hearts in surrender to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  The single best place in the New Testament to encounter this teaching is in St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans chapter 6, where he lays out our relationship with the living Christ in light of our baptism into Him.  In addition to the word “into” (eis Gk – 6:3) in service of this reality, Paul also employs the words, “crucified with” (6:6), and “united with (6:5),” which, I add, are words in the passive form, with God as subject.  So these truths share the common theme that Holy Baptism is a work of God upon our lives in a sacramental sense. 

On the other hand, this is not to say that we have no choices to make in this matter.  Notice that several of St. Paul’s summary statements are both in the imperative mood: “So you must also consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (6:11), and “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body to make you obey its passions” (6:12).  Since God created us with free-will, He has conse-quently restrained His capacity to force us to obey His will.  At the same time, however, ask yourself who ch. 6 identifies as the saving agent.  Although the text is not explicit, the answer is “God the Father” through the death and resurrection of “Christ Jesus,” His Son (6:3-6).  In summary this means our singular choice pertains to whether or not we receive Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:6) as both our Savior from Sin and as the Lord of our life.  Anything short of this measure  (temporarily renouncing certain pet pleasures for a season, going to church, claiming to be less-sinful than our neighbors, etc.) misses out entirely on God’s purposes for our lives (Romans 3:23a).  The word translated “repent” in the NT (metanoia GK) means having your mind changed.  The word translated “confess” (homo-legoumena Gk) likewise literally means to agree with God both that we are sinners and that He is the rightful Lord of our lives.  To “repent” does not mean, as popularly imagined, that we force our lives to be moral (we can’t!); neither does it demand tear-filled groveling.  What it does entail is the total surrender of our lives to Christ by agreeing that we need His salvation.  Failing to do so conveys a denial both of His claims and the cost that He paid to redeem us back to Himself in salvation.  Finally, since it was out of His love (John 3:16) and good-will (Romans 8:31-32) that He saved us,, we can be assured that surrendering our life to Him is no losing proposition at all; but rather unspeakable gain!  Why then settle for renouncing a single pleasure as our chief goal in the Season of Lent?  Of course confronting our personal vises is has some importance.  Yet it fades in importance when contrasted with “the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ [our] Lord” (Philippians 3:8), who not only saves us but will also make us new (2 Corinthians 5:17).                     

Sins, Sin, and the Only Way of Redemption, Part One

                                          Getting the Real Point of Ash Wednesday and Lent

               It is the morning of the Day of Carnival as I begin writing this article.  The term “Carnival,” which is a prominent name of the  Christian festival held on the Tuesday immediately before Ash Wednesday,” literally means “farewell to meat (carne).”  Carnival is intended to mark, in the name of Christ, the final “happy” celebration prior to the Lenten season of renunciation of a long list of pleasures that includes eating red meat.  For this reason it is traditional for many Christians to pick their own pet pleasure and personally deny it until Easter Sunday (as the day of Christ’s resurrection it ends the Season of Lent).  Now I for one am of two minds in regard to the season of Lent.  On the one hand, in-so-far-as it points ahead in our Church calendar to Jesus’ death on the cross on Good Friday, then this season about that focus is extremely powerful in directing our personal priorities.  There is a very real sense in which Lent is a penitential season.  On the other hand, I consider this matter of renunciation a complicated issue.  Why, for example, do our liturgies remove all celebratory aspects of worship for both Lent and Advent (L&A), including the “Glory to God in the Highest”?  For three reasons I judge these omissions to be  wrong-headed!  Firstly, since Christ is risen from the dead, in the context of our worship (including L&A) we today have every confidence that Jesus lives and reigns and rules today!  Secondly, in light of Easter we hold that, despite the awful historical reality of the crucifixion, the symbol of the cross now looms as the very power of God for our salvation even in the past but also in the present (Romans 6:3,4).  Thirdly, the traditional ploy of renouncing generally a single one of our vices, utterly misses the point of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ calls every single person to do.  Further it also understates the necessity of Jesus’ death on the cross as the only means our receiving forgiveness and redemption (John 14:6).

               As the title of this essay implies, the word “sin” in one vital context is expressed in two forms: in the plural “sins,” and in the singular, “sin.”  On the one hand both forms share the same meaning which is literally falling “short of the glory [purposes] of God” (Romans 3:23a).  Now for the three distinctions:

1.      “Sins” (in the plural) represent specific ways in which we “fall short of the glory of God.”  In Lutheran liturgies in particular we confess that we “have sinned in thoughts, words, and deeds, by the things we have done and the things we have not done” and “we have not loved you [God] with our whole heart and we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.”  The list of specific verbal moral obligations include the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), but also include our inner thoughts (Matthew 5).  The same pattern includes the example of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:21).  As if this is not hard enough, St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans further highlights convicting standards that are knowable even to people who never open a Bible.  Examples include firstly 1:18-32 which indicates that evading truth places one under God’s judgment.  Secondly, 2:1-5 warns that people who judge others by a standard of their own making will render themselves liable to God’s judgment under that same standard (also “Matthew 7:2).  In conclusion, none of us have any grounds to prevail before God’s holy standard with our record of sins (Isaiah 64:6).

2.      The word “sin” (in the singular) denotes the fundamental objectionable feature of sin which is our self-centeredness as opposed to God’s will that we be God-centered.  The is, “sIn” has been described as the “great I disease” in which we reframe our demands to center around the “me, myself, and I.”  This posture is effectively an act of rebellion against the rightful authority of God by which He is rightfully the Master of all creation.  This isn’t an arbitrary demand by a tyrannical despot, but a rational expectation in an orderly and harmonious creation in the same way that beautiful orchestral music can only happen when every player follows the lead of the conductor.