Tag Archives: apologetics

Who Has Abandoned the Scientific Method? — Post by Michael J. Findley

dawkins assumptions bkgrd

Certain people use misdirection when discussing our beliefs and deliberately misstate what we believe. We therefore want to make clear our position on the authority of the Scriptures as God’s Word and how we approach this subject.

  1. Before Isaac Newton, there was no scientific method. He used the theology of the Bible and the orderliness of God’s character and applied those standards to the material world to develop principles that we apply to all fields of science. Christians follow this scientific method faithfully.
  2.  Secularist scientists are the ones who have abandoned the scientific method. Because they have bowed to the pressure of “publish or perish”, there is enough deliberate dishonesty and fraud in scientific journals to warrant abandoning belief in modern science.
  3. The word “believe” in the Bible means to understand. The word “belief” in secularist scientific writing means to trust what cannot be understood. It is modern scientists who have faith in what cannot be understood, not Christians. The scientific method applied to the Bible proves that the Bible is valid and accurate. It was written by the people who claimed to write it at the time they claimed to write it. If you refuse to accept the validity of the Bible as expressed above, then you can know nothing about any fact of history. Thousands of documents validate the Bible including those among the Dead Sea Scrolls. These documents support the truth that It was written by the people who claimed to write it at the time they claimed to write it.
  4. Scientifically, the Bible must be evaluated on its content, statements, and its claims.
  5. Circular reasoning is the realm of the secularist. Assuming present processes were the same in the past, assuming no worldwide flood or recent catastrophic changes , assuming radiometric processes worked in the past as they do today, assuming that there was no change in the way tree rings form – 1 per year—and more assumptions than can be listed here. They use assumptions as the basis for physical examinations and assume they have proved their assumptions. They refuse to examine scientifically valid evidence presented in the Bible.

 

 

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Review of the Movie “God’s Not Dead” — Post by Mary C. Findley

Gods-not-dead

Because of the fact that we are on the road all the time, we seldom get to see movies. We did, however, make time to see this one. Very glad we did. Note that the following review does contain some spoilers.

Kevin Sorbo has always been a favorite actor, but he has always played a good guy in the roles I have seen before. He does bad very well. I think Professor Radisson personified the attitude of the secularists whose writings I see and hear and read every day in the course of my ongoing research for our book Antidisestablishmentarianism and our Conflict of the Ages homeschool series. He had his admiring friends, his enviable position, his upscale life, his beautiful girlfriend. It seemed to me that his life must be perfect.

But there’s a topic these people can’t leave alone. Why has Richard Dawkins (a real person, and still living, as the movie humorously noted) written so many books attacking belief in God? If God doesn’t exist, if Christianity is marginal and stupid and a waste of time, why keep wasting time going after it? Radisson essentially seduced his girlfriend away from her Christian roots (while she was still a student and he her teacher, apparently) and did not want her to talk about the subject. Yet he brought it up himself by saying, (my paraphrase) “The silence is getting too loud.” He made his classes sign papers saying “God Is Dead.” He regaled his colleagues with snide remarks about the Christian student’s presentation when he demanded that the young man do this assignment. Why do secularists keep worrying the bone of contention that is Christian belief if it’s so laughable?

Professor Radisson says that many staunch atheists were once Christians. This is also true-to-life. Why do people not only “give up on God” but also go on the attack against God, which is correctly pointed out by Radisson as the real root meaning of the word atheist? One of the reasons is that God is “not fair”, meaning things don’t go the way a person desires or even expects. “Sometimes the answer is no” when you pray with all your heart about something. People cannot accept the verse, quoted more than once in the movie (Isaiah, 55:8), “My ways are not your ways, neither are my thoughts your thoughts.” Sin will always be here, until God wipes it away, and its consequences will spill over and ruin lives.

The young Chinese student (from the People’s Republic of China, based on a true-life man who came to America to study medicine) reports to his father that they are “talking about God” in his class. His father warns him that someone might be listening, and he might ruin his brother’s chance to study abroad. In other countries, just talking about God is a punishable offense. This is not a myth or an exaggeration. Governments opposed to true belief attack family members, the ability to hold a job, and do everything to extort obedience to atheism. Our government is becoming one of those, and in many ways is already. The entire education system is set up to indoctrinate in preparation for having obedient secularist subjects. Stepping outside the movie, here is a list of quotes from real psychologists and educators explaining their position. http://www.psychquotes.com/ Please take the time to read this and look up these people if you do not know them or the influence they have had or now have in education.

The Muslim father tries to carefully guard his daughter against “unbelievers” as an interesting divergent viewpoint. He is not an atheist. He is trying to show his daughter love and protect her. His belief is sincere, that his god is the only true one and anything else besides Islam opposes his god. If only Christians would look at their God that way and try as hard to protect the sanctity of His Word and their children’s faith. We are taught to be tolerant, but we have lost the true meaning of “love the sinner, hate the sin” when we accept everything in a very misguided and unscriptural form of “love”.

The character of Josh’s girlfriend interested me. She represented a very real segment of Christianity that is very compromised by secularist thinking. I think such people honestly believe signing a paper saying you don’t believe in God means nothing. They believe it is a necessary compromise in the present that will not affect future service. They are waiting to be fully prepared before beginning to serve God, and they believe that they must not allow anything to interfere with that preparation. The world tells us to have our lives mapped out, to plan every detail and not let anything interfere or we will not realize our dream. Along the way, we are prodded into abandoning the foolishness of family and faith and challenged to network with peers. It is not unrealistic that this girl would declare an ultimatum and break off the relationship. Secular thinking puts self on the throne. It teaches people to always be in control, to achieve personal satisfaction, success, praise from colleagues.

The businessman played by Dean Cain is the counterpart of this girl. Anything that disturbs his routine or interferes with his self-centeredness must be discarded. His girlfriend (the journalist Amy) wasn’t carrying out her part in their relationship. She spoiled his triumphant announcement that he had been made partner by saying she was dying of cancer. There was no difference in those moments between those two couples. Josh’s girlfriend walked away because he was doing something that did not advance her goals. The businessman walked away because Amy was not only spoiling his moment, she was going to become a burden and drag his life down. Do not tell me that Josh’s girlfriend was not every bit as selfish and secularist as the businessman. His visit to his mother and her utterance were so significant. He considered the time he spent with her imprisonment since it was of no benefit to him. She said he did not understand the real prison, the comfortable, appealing one where the door now stood open, when he saw no reason to leave. He rejected the idea of being imprisoned.

Josh’s girlfriend rejected the reality of Matthew 10:33 and denied God before men just as surely as everyone who signed the paper in the class. John 12:42-43 is a key passage for people who think they are all right with God, like this young woman no doubt thought. Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. The world system is our synagogue. The church long ago stopped throwing people out because they didn’t have the right beliefs. “All are welcome” doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want, or avoid whatever you don’t want when it comes to following Christ.

The pastor whose car won’t start, and who can’t even get a rental to take his missionary friend on a Disneyland vacation, provided some comic relief but also an important lesson. Sometimes it’s not time to go yet. Because their trip was delayed over and over, he had real ministry opportunities, including a climactic chance to tell someone (my paraphrase), “In a few minutes you’ll be getting to know Jesus Christ better than any of us can.”

I asked our daughter a question that has come up often in the recent reviews of movies dealing with God and biblical subjects. “Will unbelievers go to see this movie?” Many sincere believers say such movies to not attract an unsaved audience and will only be “preaching to the choir.” She answered very wisely. “Some people will go to it who only think they are saved.”

 

 

 

 

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The Conflict of the Ages

Every good writing teacher tells us to narrow our topic because the sure sign of a novice is a paper entitled “The Universe and Everything in It.” Yet The Conflict of the Ages can rightfully include every thought every man has ever made. Augustine’s City of God, John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion and Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae are three attempts at this daunting task, yet they are incomplete. This brief overview, The Conflict of the Ages, will include information not available to Augustine, John Calvin or Thomas Aquinas. I also hope, by the grace of God, to make this much shorter work easier to understand for the modern mind. All Scripture references are from the KJV, unless otherwise noted.

The Conflict of the Ages references hundreds of authors, yet one source needs special mention. The website Sacred Texts by J.B. Hare is the largest collection of public domain material of which I am aware. The entire website of over one thousand books is available for purchase on either CD ROM or DVD ROM. All of the ancient texts I source are public domain books from this collection. A problem with this or any other collection is proving the validity of the primary sources. Though I do not know anything about J. B. Hare, except the information posted on his website, I believe that he faithfully and accurately scanned the texts. The problem is, are the texts reliable? Since they are public domain, they are older and sometimes not the latest translations. I am confident, however, that they are acceptable. Some sources I use are books where Westerners lived among a tribe and wrote down oral traditions. Though we trust that the authors accurately recorded the oral traditions, how much ‘contamination’ with outside influences shaped these oral traditions? The Lore of the Whare-Wananga, a New Zealand tribe, is well documented by the translator S. Percy Smith to be older than outside influences and free of ‘contamination.’  Myths of the Cherokee by James Mooney, however, was published in 1900 after more than 250 years of wars and close contact with outsiders. The level of outside influence on the oral traditions of the North American Indians is impossible to measure or deny.

Introduction

I. Desire and Interest

No power on earth can substitute for desire and interest. In the oldest written human record, The Epic of Gilgamesh, men are controlled by gods and goddesses through their desires. Children who want something can do unimaginable amounts of work to fulfill their desires when no amount of coercion can force them to fulfill their responsibilities. God has given us the responsibility is to control our desires.

A. Personal Responsibility

Some responsibilities we can ignore and others can do them for us, such as washing dishes or taking out the trash. Some can do other responsibilities for us with great difficulty, such as bathing an invalid. But some responsibilities cannot be done by anyone else. No one can memorize for us. No one else can change our will. Other people can change circumstances to force us to do something against our will, but no one can honestly change another person’s will.

1. Get Wisdom and Understanding

The purpose of this is to help us obey the command Solomon wrote in Proverbs 4:7. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” The way Solomon uses the word wisdom is close to our idea of skill. It means a combination of the knowledge necessary for a task and the discipline to do the task correctly. Solomon exhorts us to use all of our strength and ability to become knowledgeable and skillful in doing what is right and best. He put it another way in Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

2. Study Commanded

However, even when we have no burning desire, we are still commanded to sturdy. 2 Timothy 2:15: :Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” This is not referring to bookwork only, but is similar to what Solomon calls wisdom. It means learning what is right and doing what is right. This is a little clearer in Paul’s admonition in 1 Thessalonians 4:1: “Study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.”

3. Keep at it; a little at a time

Isaiah said in 28:10 and 13, “Precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” A strict interpretation of the passage is Israelites listening to another language in captivity. However, the same principles apply to any type of study, even involuntary. Keep at it, a little at a time.

B. Attitude of the World

Charles Stanley has often said that attitude is what controls us, that it is the most important thing in our lives. The attitude of the world is self indulgence, pleasure. Self-discipline is only important when the end result is greater pleasure.

1. Love not the World

I John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. The attitude of self-indulgence is at war with the love of God. This is a simple, though difficult, decision which everyone must make. 1 John 2:17: “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

2. Learn not the way of the heathen

Jeremiah 10:2: “Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen.” Where John writes about the attitude of the world, Jeremiah writes about that attitude carried out into action. Once again a simple, though difficult command.

C. Study is difficult

Some people might find study a way of escaping other responsibilities. A very tiny number of people find study enjoyable. Most people, however, would rather do just about anything rather than study. Remaining focused on the subject of study is tiring and difficult.

1. No end to book.

Solomon said, in Ecclesiastes 12:12, “Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” No one has the time to do all the studying he believes that he should. Other responsibilities interfere. No one could have ever read all the books he should have. There simply are too many books and life is too short.

2. Study wearies the flesh

Study is one of the most fatiguing tasks God has given to the children of men. He has given us the responsibility to balance the tasks in our lives for His glory. But just because a task is difficult does not mean that we should ignore it.

II. Honesty

Proverbs 23:23: “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding. “

Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Honesty and truth are similar, but not quite the same. Diogenes searched for an honest man, yet he never claimed to be one. Searching for honesty in others is certainly frustrating, but searching for truth can be quite fulfilling. Truth is an absolute, independent of the sinner. Honesty is a character trait. Since we are all sinners, each of us can be honest and truthful at one time and dishonest at another. A man unfaithful to his wife might be trustworthy with large amounts of money. A woman who lies to get a promotion at work might never even consider stealing from that same employer.

A. We are self-deceived.

Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

I John 1:8-10: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

We are born self-deceived and nothing we can do will change our basic nature.

1. We do what we want to do: Pride

Putting our own desires ahead of doing or thinking what is right is the essence of pride. Monks in the Middle Ages who gave up all their personal goods and rights would fight over a pen, simply because it was assigned to them. Apart from yielding to the control of the Holy Spirit, we are all proud. We ignore our pride by looking for pride in others.

2. What we want to do is not what is best.

This is a more subtle form of pride. We choose to do something that we are convinced is best, simply because it is what we want to do. The first and more obvious form of pride is simply doing what we want. This is convincing ourselves, and often others, that our course of action is best. True love is doing what is best for the ones we love. It is also honest.

B. Honesty is the greatest need on earth.

Complete honesty will begin by admitting that we are sinners and finish in Jesus Christ. Without honesty, neither individuals nor the human race has any hope. Wars are the result of national dishonesty. Endless fights are the result of personal dishonesty. Dishonesty is the root cause for personal destruction. Dishonesty is the root cause for family disintegration, national disintegration and ultimately, wars.

C. According to the Word of God, everyone who was ever born or ever will be born falls into one of three categories.

1. Believer

The Bible is a record of believers. Adam is a believer. So also are Noah, Abraham, Moses, Ruth, David, Daniel, John, Mary, Peter, Paul and many more. They are also, as we are, sinners. Their sins are recorded along with their faith.

2. Unbeliever

The Bible is a record of triumph over unbelievers. Balak, Goliath, Jezebel and her prophets of Baal, Sennacherib, the Philistines, Tobiah and many others openly defied the living God. Their destruction is accurately recorded.

3. Compromiser

These are men who knew the Living God and chose to rebel against Him. Today we might say that these are men who want their freedom. Lot, Balaam, Samson, Saul the first king of Israel and Esau fall into this category. Without additional revelation, it is not possible to know if these men were believers or not. Their sins destroyed others and their life stories are great tragedies.

III. Tools

Very few people who look at beautiful cabinets wonder what kind of tools made them. Like those cabinets, very few people who look at our lives will wonder what kind of tools shaped us into what we are today. Tools, and skillful use of those tools, however, are essential for shaping us. We must not get wrapped up in the tools themselves, but keep our eyes focused on the ultimate goal, the ‘finished product.’

A. Designed for unbelievers or weak believers

If we look at ourselves honestly, each of us must admit that in at least some area of his life he is a weak believer. Only pride will toss aside these tools with the attitude of ‘I have progressed beyond this.’

1. Apologetics: Francis Schaeffer, Josh Mac Dowell

The science of Apologetics is the systematic defense of the Faith. It does not mean to apologize for. I am not endorsing any of the men I mention simply because I do not know enough about them. All men change from day to day. I am, however, endorsing these books. Josh MacDowell wrote two excellent books, Evidence that Demands a Verdict and More Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Both books now have been combined into The New evidence that Demands a Verdict. These books use an outline format that makes the information easy to understand. It is similar in format to many doctrines books, with a lot of information in a small space.

Francis Schaeffer, who is now with the Lord, wrote many books in prose. His books are easy to read, though the subject matter is difficult. His major apologetic work is The God Who Is There. Francis Schaeffer not only shows that God exists, but also that He is a God of Love. Each work of his that I have read remained focus on his main point and was a delight to read. If you do not enjoy outlines, I highly recommend Francis Schaeffer.

I realize that most people either skimmed over or skipped entirely my emphasis on honesty and the dangers of pride. The following is one example of why honesty and avoiding pride are so important. The source of this piece is the website http://www.infidels.org. Jeffrey Jay Lowder lists himself as editor. “Many readers will recognize me as the editor of a comprehensive Internet rebuttal to Volume I of McDowell’s Evidence. Yet McDowell completely ignored our criticisms in his “fully updated” New Evidence. This cannot be due to ignorance. I have personally tried to correspond with Mr. McDowell twice; each time I received no acknowledgement.” When I clicked on the rebuttal, I found a series of authors, with Mr Lowder writing the introduction. In the introduction he writes that the purpose for writing these articles is that “ETDAV is also arguably the most influential Christian apologetics book on the Internet, which is what led the Internet Infidels to write The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell’s “Evidence”.” The first author, Farrell Till, writes in his opening paragraph:

“In ETDAV, McDowell begins his defense of the Bible with the claim that it is unique. He parades before us an array of ‘scholars’ to testify to various features of the Bible that qualify it to be considered ‘different from all others [books],’ as if anyone would seriously try to deny that the Bible is unique, i.e., different from all others. At the very beginning of my analysis of this chapter of ETDAV, I will concede that the Bible is undeniably unique. Certainly, there is no other book like it, but this fact, as we will see, becomes more of an embarrassment to the Bible than proof of its divine origin.”

This is character assassination, a tactic they frequently use, as well as flawed logic. The poor writing style makes any kind of an intelligent response difficult. Rather than angering these people with points they do not understand, we need to look at the real issue, honesty.

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