Tag Archives: honesty

Pride and Prejudice and Scientific Honesty

A number of more modern scientists strive to maintain the integrity of their profession in the face of much dishonesty on the part of committed Secular Humanists. University of California Professor of Psychology Stanley Sue believed that it was essential to avoid the common secularist redefining of the word “theory” into “fact,” as Richard Dawkins frequently does when speaking of Evolution. Sue instead demanded that the bias so evident in secularist dogma be avoided.
“Scientific skepticism is considered good. … Under this principle, one must question, doubt, or suspend judgment until sufficient information is available. Skeptics demand that evidence and proof be offered before conclusions can be drawn. […] One must thoughtfully gather evidence and be persuaded by the evidence rather than by prejudice, bias, or uncritical thinking.”
Richard Feynman, 20th century physicist, apparently had no use for skewed data and the common practice of simply burying contradictions to theories being researched. He cautioned scientists to be thoroughly honest in their work by including supporting and contrary evidence and anything discovered along the way that might advance knowledge.
“If you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid — not only what you think is right about it; … You must do the best you can — if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong — to explain it. … Those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; …The idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.”
When scientists ignore this commitment to honesty, they fall into the same trap that Isaac Asimov did. Claiming to speak as a scientist, he rightly invoked the word “inspired” to express his baseless but religiously held beliefs. “We can make inspired guesses, but we don’t know for certain what physical and chemical properties of the planet’s crust, its ocean, and its atmosphere made it so conducive to such a sudden appearance of life…” Although he appears to be humbly admitting science’s limitations, Asimov is in fact dishonestly claiming that when a scientist guesses, it is like ordinary people stating facts. Notice that instead of allowing for the possibility of a creative act by God, he assures us that all that happened was a “sudden appearance” of life made possible by natural conditions.
In the novel Pride and Prejudice, an unscrupulous man plays on social prejudices to advance his own position just as many secularists advance their “scientific” theories. He pretends humility while providing supposed evidence for theories people already hold. Jane Austin said, “Nothing is more deceitful … than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.” Those who misuse science frequently advance the “scientist’s” own reputation without presenting sound science or true knowledge. “Carelessness of opinion” is almost a watchword for those who feel free to advance any belief and call it science, and frequently they receive applause when they should be greeted with healthy skepticism.
Today the observations and measurements of the physical world must support the established religion of Secular Humanism. “Carelessness of opinion” expressed by their celebrity pseudo-scientists along with their “inspired guesses” must be given as much weight as facts. Its adherents of course, deny this. They loudly denounce the corruption of the Church-State union and insist they are pure of such entanglements.
John W. Draper, 19th century American physician and photochemist, claimed that “Science has never sought to ally herself with civil power. She has never subjected anyone to mental torment, physical torment, least of all death, for the purpose of promoting her ideas.” While asserting that theists are invariably corrupt and violent, he deflects attention from the hand-in-glove relationship of secularists with the courts resulting in the bombarding of schools and government institutions with lawsuits demanding removal of any hint of religious mention in the name of “separation of church and state.”

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Truth Stumbles in the Streets

In January 1975, I was a passenger in a multi-vehicle accident on an ice covered bridge in heavy fog near Knoxville, TN. The uninjured grabbed everything we could to flag oncoming traffic to stop. Tragically, we could not get everyone’s attention. Ignoring the fact that the bridge was covered in ice cost several people their lives that day.

Does ignoring the facts usually have such a tragic ending? No. Maybe that’s one reason we have a culture that puts a premium on mockery. Is truth really just a matter of opinion? How is it that the most attention-getting person in a group is the most skilled mocker?

When Jesus said believe in God, believe also in me. (John 14:1 KJV, NASB), Jesus was not asking his disciples, “So what are your opinions about God?” He used the word believe the same way Moses used it when God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush. Moses told God that they will not believe me. (Exodus 4:1 KJV). Moses told God that the elders of Israel would not accept the words of God as authoritative. Why? Because they would not accept Moses as a credible witness. Exodus 4:1 actually means they will not accept me.

Did you think the word believe, as used in the Bible, meant accept something without thinking, blindly? It means to examine the facts and come to a conclusion. The best example that I have come up with in our culture is a jury foreman, when the judge asks if the jury has reached a verdict. When the foreman responds “We find the defendant is guilty (or not guilty)” he means that they believe, because they have come to a conclusion based on the evidence. Yes, it is an opinion, but it is a reasoned, informed opinion based on the facts.

Have you noticed that our modern culture no longer believes in absolute authority? Believe now means “l like.” Haven’t you heard statements like “I believe I’ll take chocolate” or “I believe pinstripes are better than plaids”? Tobelieve in God no longer means a reasoned conclusion based on facts. While insisting on logic, proof, and evidence, in practice our Secular Humanist culture demonstrates that facts no longer matter.

Does everyone who names the name of Christ agree up to this point? The principles are rather clear and universal. We begin to run into problems when we attempt to go past the principles. May I give a few examples? I know this is sort of dangerous because we all tend to “go off on tangents.” I only want to use these as examples of ignoring the facts. Notre Dame, Brigham Young and Bob Jones University all have similar student honor codes. This story could have happened at any of these schools. The following quote is from the blog “BradentonPatch,” though there are hundreds of other blogs with the same basic information. “Chis Peterman, a senior at Bob Jones University, racked up demerits after he created an activist group on campus, [attacking the High School principal] and ultimately was kicked out when his last demerits were issued for watching the television show “Glee” off campus. This is the same demerit system used at all of the US military academies, such as West Point, Annapolis and the Air Force academy in Colorado. Many times and in many schools violations of an agreed-upon code of conduct enforced by this demerit system have resulted in student expulsions. Probably the most famous expulsion was West Point, in the case of the rowdy undergrad George Armstrong Custer (George was later reinstated and his record purged, so this does not show up in every history of West Point). The point is, for better or worse, the demerit system has been around awhile.

The Huffington Post posts the following: “So the problem with going to college at a baptist [sic, Baptist should be capitalized and Bob Jones is non-denominational] school like Bob Jones University that ‘s actively working toward returning America to the 1740s is that there are some super ridiculous rules. For example, you can only watch certain TV shows off-campus like Girls and Breaking Bad and reruns of Real Sex. Just kidding. Those shows are most definitely on the banned list.

“Chris Peterman, a student at BJU (insert middle school sense of humor here), claims watching Glee on his computer at an off-campus Starbucks got him in big trouble with the school. So much trouble in fact, that they banned him from graduation by suspending him.

“While I think we can all agree that the plot doesn’t always makes [sic] sense on the show, I doubt that’s why it’s on their unapproved list. I’m going to take a wild guess here and assume it has something to do with their positive portrayal of LGBT students as well as their openess [sic] when it comes to discussing teen sexuality.”

I quoted the article in its entirety. It has no explanation for omitting important facts which turn the entire article into a lie. This is the modern “style.” The Huffington Post probably does not even think of this as a lie because everything in the article is factual (sort of). Simply omitting important information is “not important,” as long as it supports their religious beliefs. And apparently spelling words correctly isn’t important, either.

Is that example unclear? Please let me try again. JFK died 49 years ago, so the basic information about his administration is an established fact. Right? I was so wrong. In a facebook post a few weeks ago, I used JFK as an illustration. JFK was assassinated when I was in the 2nd grade in 1963. I pointed out that his administration was known for immorality. When he died, our teacher talked to us about his death, the school principle talked to us, another person came to school to talk to us, family members talked to me, our pastor talked to us, and so did others. I was only in second grade, so it is all kind of muddled, but the one thing I remember clearly is most, if not everyone, started off with something like, “JFK was an immoral man, but…” At that time, I knew nothing about the policies, religion, political party or history of JFK. All I remember were the eyelevel tabloids.

Was I right to post this as an illustration of something else entirely? Here are some of the comments: 1)”Is it your business to know the details of the confessional?” 2)”As a second grader, I seriously doubt you even know what the word hypocrite meant back then, and suspect the only ones painting the Roman Catholic church as anything were anti-Catholic bigots who have taught you very well to follow in their footsteps.” 3)”You say that public sins should be dealt with publicly, but how many people during JFK’s day knew of his shenanigans? Pretty much nobody, at least not the public.”

To this last comment I wrote, “JFK was a well known serial fornicator.” The same writer replied, “JFK’s pecadillo’s (sic) were not known by the public during his life.”

Why should I include these quotes in this blog? This is a blog about how to treat facts. First, I was alive and remember the tabloids and what people told me. But even if people do not believe me, the following is easily found after searching only a few minutes. The January 2, 1962 issue of Look magazine published a special on the Kennedys. It was quite favorable, but it included a small article on two secretaries who were nicknamed Fiddle and Faddle. National Enquirer (some question as to which tabloid was first) began publishing articles about JFK’s mistresses. In 1962 there were no large-audience-syndicated radio announcers like Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh. Every little station throughout the country had its own stable of announcers. Some picked up on this story. The real news came with the death of Marilyn Monroe, August 5, 1962. When the report said that last person she called was JFK (true or not), that statement unleashed a worldwide media frenzy. In 1963, DNC Chairman John M. Bailey circulated a private memo wondering if JFKs immorality would become such a campaign issue that it would bring down the Democratic Party in the 1964 elections. He mused that maybe JFK should not run again.

This information is easy to find. Once again, this is not about JFK. It is completely about being truthful in handling facts. Yes, there are issues with facts on both sides and like a good juror, we must examine the facts carefully and come to the correct conclusion.

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Why do Mitt Romney Supporters Have to Compromise to Support Their Candidate?

American politics is all about picking the best candidate among the available choices. I hated Gerald Ford; thought he was awful. But, in 1976, the first year I could vote in a national election, I voted for Gerald Ford against Jimmy Carter because Jimmy Carter was so much worse. In 1980 I was pleased and happy to both support and vote for Ronald Reagan. In 1988, I voted for George Bush Sr., believing once again that it was a vote for the lesser of two evils. His administration was a very pleasant surprise. I can still remember Rush Limbaugh’s parody, “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iraq.” When operation Desert Storm was over, our family stood across from General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. in Philadelphia for the biggest parade I had ever seen.

Fast forward to 2008. The best candidate was Mitt Romney, so I supported him. This was more depressing than 1976, because Gerald Ford was picked by Richard Nixon, not the electorate. When John McCain defeated Mitt Romney, I voted for him in the general election without enthusiasm.

Now it is 2012. John Kyle, Rick Rubio, Pat Toomey and other great, well-qualified men are sitting on the sidelines. At this point, whatever you think of them, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich have no chance. The race is between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney. Rick Santorum is the better of the two men. While there are ads from both men that disappoint me, the outright fabrications are coming from the Mitt Romney supporters.

Rick Santorum’s greatest weakness is that his during his time in the Senate, he should have taken a stronger stand against excessive government spending. However, Mitt Romney’s record on government spending in Massachusetts is no better. Mitt Romney, as governor, had to support and/or sign bills he actually disagreed with. He has had many opportunities to explain why he made some of these decisions as Governor and as far as I am concerned, he has not done a very good job of explaining his positions.

The fibs his supporters bring up again and again all center around the false concept that we are opposed to Mitt Romney as a person. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here is a list of hard-core reasons for not supporting Mitt Romney. And yes, even today he is better than John McCain.

1) As Sandra Day O’Conner pointed out, he is not a very good Mormon. America was founded on the Judeo-Christian ethic. Speeches from George Washington to George Bush make frequent references to God, pray to God, ask for God’s guidance and blessing as well as repent of sin. You may search for a long time without finding anything in Mitt Romney’s speeches to follow in this tradition. On this issue, he would be no different from Obama.

2) He signed gun control legislation. There are 80 million gun owners in the USA. That is an enormous voting block to offend for a man who calls himself a conservative. In spite of this, Ann Coulter and Ted Nugent have endorsed Mitt Romney. Ted Nugent made his endorsement Friday evening. In less than 48 hours there were several petitions with thousands of signatures (at least that is what the circulators of the petitions claim) asking Ted Neugent to resign from his position of NRA board member. Ann Coulter is facing an organized boycott of her products. Unofficial, individuals within the NRA are claiming that Mitt Romney is a greater threat to gun ownership than Barack Obama because Mitt Romney has actually signed several pieces of antigun legislation. Barak Obama would have, but he has never had the opportunity.

3) He appointed liberal judges as Governor, passing over conservatives. Though he says now that he would appoint judges like Roberts and Alito, he does not mention Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia. Why? Mitt Romney looks at Alito and Roberts as more moderate. Scalia and Thomas are too conservative for him.

4) Ann Coulter calls Obamacare and Illegal Immigration the “make or break” issues of this election. On the Illegal Immigration issue, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are close enough to ignore the issue. But Obamacare is really nothing more than a national version of Romneycare in MA. Romneycare even requires private health providers to provide free birth control, like Obamacare.

5) Rick Santorum is not making social issues the focus of the campaign. The media and Mitt Romney are. Every media event Rick Santorum attends, the social issues are the only questions these people ask. Rick Santorum has principles he is not going to compromise so he is forced to resort to short canned answers to questions which he has answered thousands of times already. Then he moves on.

Why do Mitt Romney’s supporters ignore these enormous issues and falsely claim that we have some sort of personal, unreasoning animosity toward Mitt Romney? I read a list of these personal attacks in an Ann Coulter piece defending Mitt Romney which ended with “are these the best arguments the Romney haters have?” Coulter says in the piece, published on her website February 22, “Purely to hurt Romney, the Iowa Republican Party fiddled with the vote tally to take Romney’s victory away from him and give it to Rick Santorum — even though the ‘official count’ was missing eight precincts.”

We are not Romney haters, those are not our arguments and to falsely claim that they are is dishonest. The only reason I can think of for relying on this straw man type of attack is that you are defending what you know in your heart is indefensible.

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President Herman Cain

An unidentified man won a bet on the St. Louis Cardinals winning the World Series with 999 to l odds. Long shots can win whatever the odds. This also applies to elections. It’s not over until the last vote is counted. At this point anything can still happen. But the outcome of the 2012 Presidential election is already almost certain.

Gambling houses exist because the odds favor the house. The odds in politics heavily favor the status quo. Our son has asked in despair what he could do to end political corruption, but he didn’t like the answer. If you really want to make a difference, learn accounting and stay out of debt. Follow the money trail to find out who the real good guys and bad guys are. Then learn the system to understand how to make the bad guys pay and help the good guys win.

This would take a lifetime of effort, which is why bad guys often win. It’s too much trouble to stop them. The best example I know of this is the original TV Series Law and Order, Season 8, Episode 21, “Bad Girl.” The DA’s office has decided not to ask for the death penalty in this particular case. Robert Vaughn plays a representative of the police union. He meets with D.A. Adam Schiff in a closed-door meeting and tells Adam that they want this girl, who killed a police officer, executed. Regardless of the rest of the storyline, this is how the real world works. The rich and powerful call a closed-door meeting where they tell others what to do. This is what the current Occupy Movement claims to hate, yet their very tactics support that system. It is this very lack of understanding of the system that will allow Herman Cain to become our next President.

In a grossly oversimplified view, there are three basic types of primaries. Caucuses have party members who have earned the right to vote (usually by just showing up). They vote in a closed meeting. Though the average nonparticipating voter can vote for a representative, he does not directly vote for the candidates. Next are closed primaries. In a closed primary, only voters who register for the party holding the primary can vote. Last are open primaries where anyone can vote, just like a general election.

In states with a caucus system, you campaign to a small number who will vote. In states with a closed primary, you campaign to your party’s base. In states with an open primary, you campaign like a general election, emphasizing your party’s issues.

In the 2012 election, if Obama wins the Democratic nomination, he will almost certainly lose the general election. Yes, the St. Louis Cardinals beat 999 to 1 odds and something could cause Obama to win re-election. But the house usually wins and the house is against Obama. So the Republican nominee will probably win the general election. The odds are massively in his or her favor.

The Republican Party is split between conservatives, generally known as the TEA party movement, and more liberal members. Within the Republican Party, conservatives have more votes and liberals have more money. Several strong conservatives on principal have split the conservative vote. Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum and Ron Paul are vying for the same voters. Normally, that would leave the only strong liberal candidate, Mitt Romney, with the nomination.

In spite of what the liberal news pundits keep telling us, there are several reasons why Romney is not gaining support and pulling ahead. One is Ron Paul’s campaign. Even if Ron Paul is not the nominee, and his nomination is very doubtful, many of his policies will become part of the party platform. These policies are anathema to Mitt Romney and liberals like him. As various campaigns run out of money and collapse, the votes pledged to those candidates forced out of the running will be transferred to someone else. Historically, those votes go the candidate with the best chance of winning whose views are closest the candidate who dropped out. Of the conservative candidates, Herman Cain has the most support and the most money. Without any support from Mitt Romney and his followers, if Herman Cain picks up the votes pledged to Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, he will have a majority.

The major reason I believe Herman Cain will win is that he is the most liberal of the conservative candidates. His economic program is to simplify the tax code, but keep it “revenue neutral.” That is, no massive reduction in the bloated federal government. Though he says that he is pro-life, he wants to end Roe v Wade and let the individual states decide on abortion. He wants to stop illegals from coming into the US, but he has not spelled out how. Herman Cain is the only conservative that can take votes away from Mitt Romney.

Herman Cain is also likable and honest. His lack of political experience, at least for now, is a plus. The only other candidate that comes across as completely honest is Ron Paul. People are horrified by Ron Paul’s attempts to legalize drugs and close all foreign military bases, but they respect his honesty. Even Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann hedge their statements, which Republican voters are tired of. Even when I disagree with Herman Cain, I know why. Neither of the Bush presidents could claim as much honesty or clarity in their statements.

But in the end it is a numbers game. In the 2008 general election John McCain had 59,934,814 votes and Barack Obama had 69,456,897 votes. About 18 million voted in the Republican primaries, but most states had only a few thousand who controlled the delegate selection process. Probably the most telling sign is in the polls which show Herman Cain ahead of Rick Perry in Perry’s home state of Texas.

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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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