Friday, March 16, 2018

Are We Really Being Tolerant and Do We Listen?

   Those who claim tolerance often behave very intolerant, but they do not seem to be aware of the contradiction.  When we encounter those we disagree with, our goal should be to educate them.  If we try to silence them, or punish them, or insult them, then we are not being tolerant or compassionate.

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”
― Rick Warren 

 (!) Do not fall for those lies!

Don't Prejudge me and I won't Prejudge you
   If I hold some view you disagree with and you want to judge me, draw your conclusions, and end our conversation; that is up to you.  It is your loss that you will never get to know the real me.  Peoples views are complex and we can only know what someone believes by asking them about their beliefs..... all of them.  If we assume that since they believe A they also believe B; we are judging them prematurely. If we assume someone holds certain views just because of who they associated with or once quoted on Facebook, then again, we are judging them prematurely. I can like one quote that someone said without endorsing every action they have ever done!  I can call myself a follower of Christ without agreeing with every action every taken by Christians throughout all of history.  If you want to know my views on a topic, ask me. Then we willing to listen for a while. My views won't make a good headline.  Any well developed belief on a topic will require a significant amount of time to convey.  If you ask my view on a topic, but start writing your rebuttal in your head after my fifth word, then you really didn't want to know my view.  You just wanted to tell me I was wrong.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Saving a Sick America

I just listened to this podcast. It was good.

Saving A Sick America With Dr. Michael Brown

The podcast was about this book:

Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation
By: Michael L. Brown

Could America's best days be ahead of us? Could we turn our country back to God?

Near the end of the podcast the author mentioned how predictions can be wrong. He mentions these magazine covers:

Time Magazine
April 1966

Time Magazine
June 1971

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Can We Have Too Much Democracy?

   Our culture is obsessed with majority rule and democracy as the best, most just way of making decision for a nation. Well at least we seem to be until the majority votes against what we wanted. Then we seem to insult the majority or say that somehow the results are invalid. When things do not go as expected, our culture's dislike of rule by the majority is fleeting. Soon they will have forgotten about the time "rule of the majority" did not go well and they will be back in love with determining what the majority wants so we can pick a direction.  This would be great if the best direction is always what the majority decides. However truth, reality, and the best outcomes are often not what the majority votes for. There are many times where we ought not to do what the majority wants.

Tyranny of Majority
   Our founders wanted a government for our country that was authorized by "the people", but they knew this came with risks. They feared tyranny of the majority in similar way that they feared the tyranny of government structure they were replacing. Our founding fathers decided to give us "A constitutionally limited representative democratic republic". This is a hybrid form of traditional government structures with specific parts to help avoid the majority of the people abusing their power against the minority. The most obvious part to this being that each state gets two senators, regardless of population size. This helps a small state to have equal power in the senate as a large state.
    Another thing to mention is that I have heard some people posit the idea that our founders would have created a pure democracy if our current technologies had existed to allow all citizens to vote instantly on an issue.  I can't say that I know their thoughts, but based on what we do know and how they structured our government, I have many doubts that this would be true.  Our founding fathers were not perfect, but they were not fools either.  They knew that what the majority wanted, would not always be what was best for the country. Also, I've seen the majority to be fickle at times, which does not fit well with law making.  Laws need to be well thought out and given time to be implemented and evaluated.

Polls and Data
   News and current events frequently mention statistics and polls. You ever wonder why? This is because most of our culture believes that what the majority of people want is what we ought to do.  If we take enough polls and gather enough data we can figure out what most of Americans want. Then we can ignore the minority and proceed with pursuing what Americans really want. The polls and statistics rarely deal with determining what we should or ought to do, but rather what most of Americans think or want to do.

How Shall We Decide Then?
   So if pure democracy is not the best way to run a country, and our current form of government while good in theory has become paralyzed, what is the answer? The short answer is that there is no easy quick solution.
   Corruption and moral failure like we have now did not grow over night and cannot be fixed with any new form of government. All forms of government fail to function if the people running it our corrupt and immoral. We first must change ourselves at the individual level and then let that transfer to our government as one generation replaces another. We can only change ourselves in the right direction if we align ourselves with The standard of rightness, God. Having a proper view of reality and a proper view what ought to be done and then spreading that to others is the only solution to our lost, confused, and apathetic generation.  Once we have a proper view of God, we can develop a proper view of reality. Once we have a proper view of reality, we can start heading in the right direction that we ought to be heading in.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

A rebuttal to: Why I reject a Young Earth

   I love Cross Examined and highly recommend their ministry. However, that does not make them infallible. So here is some comments on a post they made.

In response to this article:

Why I Reject A Young Earth View: A Biblical Defense of an Old Earth - Cross Examined - Christian Apologetic Ministry | Frank Turek | Christian Apologetics | Christian Apologetics Speakers

The three main subtopics of that article:

  1. The proper interpretation of Genesis One.
  2. The question of the fall of man, human sin and its consequences.
  3. The scale and scope of the Flood of Noah.

Regarding subtopic 1: Genesis 1:1,2

   The writer is starting with a false assumption that the English language bible is the proper language to critique the bible in. Genesis 1 was originally written in Hebrew, so his point about a perfect tense verb has no value. Hebrew has no verb tenses. See here:

   Also, creating the universe and stars, but not creating light until much later!?
"(This is of course illogical, for why should God create light in Genesis 1:3 if stars were already shining brightly?)"
There is a lot of information in the syntax article I link to above, including references to Exodus and Jesus' words in Mark 10.

Another reason to read Genesis 1:1-2 without a gap:

Regarding Subtopic 2: death before the fall

   The writer seems to leave out his logic for arguing why death preceding the fall is important for his view to be correct. Normally you only need death before the fall in order to argue for evolution and survival of the fittest.  However, Cross Examined does not support macro evolution. I believe their article is trying to say that the earth may have existed lifelessly for billions of years between verses 1 and 2. If true, this would allow for an old earth and Genesis 1 to co-exist. So why try to posit pre-fall death?

I will try to respond still.

"Some type of death and degradation preceded the fall." 

"The Tyrannosaur was a machine designed for killing."
Dinosaurs are not always what they appear:

"Then we have the fact that the names of the animals which Adam named prior to the Fall have connotations of violence."
Not so fast. See here:
a quote from that article: "The names in the Hebrew Bible for specific animals came after the Flood."

"As I said previously, Adam did not die physically on the day that he ate of the tree, but lived a full life afterwards."
A better translation would have said: "… for when you eat of it you will surely begin to die."
see here: 

Regarding subtopic 3: The Flood

There is a ton of good biblical articles regarding the flood here:

They do a much better job than I at showing why the flood should be taken literally and historically.

The writer of "Why I reject a Young Earth" does not make a watertight argument against the flood in his three paragraphs.

Regarding the reading of Genesis 7:19:
 Genesis 7:19, which reports that “They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered.”

   Even if we allow for "on the earth" to be ambiguous between the entire earth or just the known earth, what about the later portion of the verse that says, "under the entire heavens"?  To draw the conclusion that the author of this verse did not mean the reader to understand this as referring to the whole earth is difficult when two separate sections of the verse seem to indicate the whole earth.  This verse could have said "under heaven".

"Moreover, it must be borne in mind, the Hebrew word for mountains, har, is a general term referring to any geologic relief, from a small hill up to a towering peak"
 I would think that the word "high" before the word mountains would make it clear which meaning of har is being used, but that is just me. Maybe that is too simple and I missed something?

It seems to me that the author of Genesis 7:19 went to great lengths to be clear. Stating things twice and using adjectives to make sure you knew how tall the mountains were.