A Christian Perspective
A 'Christian Perspective' provides brief comments on important issues
- The Power and righteousness of God Go
- Global warming and the Australian bushfires Go
- The Jehovah's Witnesses and Christmas Go
- That's My King Go
- Shocking News for atheists Go
- The theory of evolution story contradicts itself Go
- Mass murder at school (Parkland) Go
- The Passover, Full moon and Easter Go
- "A Lesson From a woman who was America's leading Atheist, Madalyn Murray O'Hair". Go
- Designed by natural selection? Go
- ICE; the upside and the downside of this party drug Go
- Eastern meditation and Christian meditation; they are not the same Go
- The law; what role does it play? Go
- Subjective Experiences Go
- World Population Increase Go
- The marvelous human brain. Go
- Blood Moon Go
- The difference between Christianity and the religions of the world Go
- "The History of Julius Caesar and Jesus Christ" Go
- "The Gospel and the fruit of the Gospel". Go
- Samoa and the problem of the Sabbath Go
- The King James Version of the Bible - 400 years old Go
- A Bizarre Cult, also Bill Johnston sees gold dust Go
- Just A Few Accidents Go
- The theory of evolution is not good for some people Go
- The terrible consequences of porn Go
- "The amazing giants" Go
- "Bali Bombers meet their fate". Go
- "Debate". Go
- "Read the Bible". Go
- "The Hand of God" and "Wrong source of information" Go
- "Richard Dawkins". his latest book refuted (This article uploaded in March 2010 ) Go
- "Conspiracy Theories" Go
- Scams, Lies and Deception Go
- "Foolish Belief", also "Car Development" Go
- "Da Vinci Code" moved. Also, ARCHIVE - Old news. Go
The year 2020. This is the year that everyone gets 20 20 vision - you've probably heard that one before. I normally try to post a comment to this section on 01 January each year, however, this year, I had software problems which I had to sort out. So, my apologies for being a couple of days late. Now on with the serious part.
The World population - by one estimation at least - has reached in January 2020, 7.8 billion, and everyone of those individuals needs the truth. "The truth will set you free." (John 8:32).
The Power and righteousness of God
I want to begin this year 2020, by focusing on the great power and righteousness of God, as this is the best starting point when studying many important subjects in theology. Even when we look at things God can not do, his amazing power and character shine out in a spectacular way.
Things God can not do:
I stated earlier that “God is not above the law”. That is a rather crude way of explaining the situation, so I must provide a corrective. To say or suggest that there is something above God, diminishes who God truly is. The being and character of God is the law. We get a glimpse of this fact in several passages of Scripture, particularly in the book of Romans which reveals that man has fallen short of the perfect standard of God. “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The use of the word ‘glory’ is far better than ‘law’, because it shows the intimate connection between the person and character of God and his perfect law. God is not separate from his perfect law, as sadly, us humans are. His very being and character is a display of perfect law. Hence the term, ‘glory of God’. He does not experience a sense of restraint because of the law as us sinful humans rightly do.
When we move from the perfect law of God (the glory of God) to the word ‘truth’, we see that it is used in reference to God in a similar way. Jesus does not just proclaim the truth, the God/man Jesus, is the truth. Jesus says of Himself, “... I am the way and the truth and the life. ...” (John 14: 6).
- He can not learn, because to learn, requires that you do not know certain things in the first place. However, God knows all things (in theological terms, He is omniscient) therefore, learning is impossible.
- He can not remember, because to remember requires that information goes out of memory, after which it comes back into memory (re-member). However, with God, nothing goes out of memory. All facts are before Him all of the time.
- He can not lie, deceive, or break the law. I can point you in the right direction which shows that God can not bend or break the law with just two words; THE CROSS. When someone wants to bring a person who has considerable power into line, it might be stated, “nobody is above the law”. In a study of God in theology, we soon discover that not even God is above the law - to put the situation in rather crude terms. More about that later. If God could break the law, then there would be no need for God the Father to send His Son to suffer and die on the cross. All He would need to do is bend the law, and bring about His desired goal without the suffering. However, because He is righteous, avoiding suffering was not an option. Regarding the suffering, it was so horrific that a new English word had to be invented to adequately describe the pain. The word is ‘excruciating’. The word comes from the crucifixion. Ex meaning out of, and crucifixion. So excruciating, is a pain of a type at least similar to that endured in a crucifixion. Clearly, if God could break the law, He would not choose to suffer in the sufferings of Christ. His suffering is astonishing when we consider the power at His disposal.
- God’s power is clearly manifested in the way he creates. The Bible does not tell us that the universe was created by God out of nothing, but rather, “... what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11:3). Scientists today understand that matter and energy are interchangeable. Matter can be changed into energy, and energy into matter. Einstein’s equation E=MC² reveals how much energy can be released from matter. Clearly, a large amount when we consider a nuclear explosion. When energy is converted to matter, an enormous amount of energy is required as revealed in the equation M=EC² (the C² part refers to the velocity of light squared). Humans have produced matter after expending a huge amount of electricity in a short burst, but do not expect an ingot of gold to be produced by that method anytime soon. The best achievement from scientists are sub atomic particles. When we consider the above, it leaves one in awe at the power of God who created the earth, sun, moon and stars, in fact the whole universe with His energy. What enormous energy!
- When we consider God’s great physical power (the theological term is omnipotent), we need to be mindful of the fact that if anyone could escape the law, it would have to be God. The astonishing thing is that God does not bend the law, he meets the demands of His perfect law. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed to the Father saying, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt. 26:39). The love of the Father for the Son is greater than that of any person who has, or ever will walk upon the earth (John 3:35, 5:20). If there was a way to avoid suffering, that path would have been chosen, but there was no other way. The Father sent His Son on a path of suffering, and Jesus willingly accepted it (Matt. 16:21-23). When Jesus was offered wine mixed with gall (Matt 27:34), he refused to drink it. It was not unusual for those who were about to undergo the suffering of crucifixion to be offered stupefying drugs, however, Jesus, being willing to take on the full penalty (the full suffering) for our sins, refused this mixture which would have deadened the sense of some of the pain. NB. This incident should not be confused with an incident several hours later where Jesus was offered ‘wine vinegar’ (Matt. 27:48, John 19:28-30).
It is with this background of the righteous character of God that we are in a position to understand that there is only one way that God can save sinners ... More
(Uploaded on 02 January 2020).
Global warming and the Australian bushfires
I normally try to avoid political issues, however, a lot of damage is likely to arise if those highly active in promoting a war against man-made global warming end up directing time and energy away from measures to prevent another very large bushfire here in Australia. To put things in perspective, Australia’s contribution to the global output of greenhouse gases stands at just 1.3%, so even cutting our contribution by a massive 50% isn’t going to achieve much in the global scheme of things. Australia can take practical measures to prevent another bushfire, and perhaps provide some lessons for other parts of the world.
The severe December 2019 - January 2020 bushfires in Australia - which had their beginnings in September 2019 - have resulted in thirty-three people losing their lives, including three firefighters from the US when their C130 water bomber aircraft crashed NE of Cooma, NSW on 23 January. Our hearts and sympathies here in Australia are with the loved ones of the brave firefighters who left their country to help meed the needs of others in distress so far from home.
Material damage from the fires includes 3,000 homes destroyed. The amount of land laid waste by the fires is around ten million hectares (100,000 sq km or 24.7 million acres) an area the size of South Korea. Regions affected include South East Queensland, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia. Many are hurting from the large devastation, and people are naturally demanding an explanation. Some climate change activists have leapt at the chance to promote their cause. In their minds at least, the blame is with man-made global warming.
It is widely accepted that the global temperature is around two degrees Celsius above levels prior to the beginning of the industrial revolution. It was two deg above in 2018, and two degrees above in 2019. Nobody is claiming there was a sharp increase of around one degree or more in 2019. If the 2018 global temperature was at the 2019 level, then it begs the question, “Why didn’t Australia have an equally bad bushfire season in 2018?”
On the 19 December 2019, the temperature at Nullarbor on the Nullarbor plain in South Australia hit 49.9 degrees Celsius (121.8 Fahrenheit). Some climate change activists made the claim that the high temperature was due to global warming, however, the weather bureau made the point that on that day, air currents hit the Western Australian coast from high up in the Indian Ocean where the temperature is relatively high. The air then moved southeast across the parched desert landscape (very parched due to the long drought), then moved north east into western Queensland where temperatures in many towns hit the mid 40s (Celsius). In summary, the weather bureau put the high temperatures down to an unusual weather event, not global warming. Even if you subtract the global warming two degrees Celsius, you still have a very damaging 47.9 degrees.
Three things play a role in producing a severe bushfire. Heat, dry conditions, and a large fuel load. A few years back, tests were conducted in Australia to measure the effect of doubling the amount of fuel. It was found that doubling the fuel load didn’t just double the severity of the fire, it actually quadrupled the effect. Thankfully, authorities are now taking action to reduce the high fuel loads in some areas of the Australian bush. Aboriginals will play a role in the hazard reduction burns. For hundreds of years before white settlement, they regularly set fire to the bush as a means of managing the land.
My uncle informed me recently that back in the 1970s he joined a group of farmers to hear a lecture by a scientist from the CSIRO on the action of eucalyptus (gum) trees regarding their drawing water from the ground, and finally sending the water out through the leaves. The scientist informed the farmers that in times of drought, the eucalyptus trees cut back on water going to the leaves, and increase production of eucalyptus oil in the leaves as a survival mechanism. Eucalyptus oil, especially when it is heated, is flammable. That will help to explain why eucalyptus leaves burn with such fury under drought conditions. The role of heat in a fire also helps to explain why doubling the fuel load, has a quadrupling effect on the severity of the fire as explained earlier.
Bushfires in southern New South Wales and in Victoria tend to be more intense, and cause more fatalities than bushfires in Queensland, not because the weather is hotter in Victoria; quite the opposite. Queensland is a hotter region. The main reason for the severity of Victorian bushfires is the composition of the bush, with its high density of eucalyptus trees. In September 2019, there were at least forty bushfires burning in Queensland, however, the Queensland fires soon lost the main focus in the national news because of the severity of the fires down south.
Regarding the Black Saturday bushfire in Victoria in 2009, a witness noticed a blue tinge floating at the top of eucalyptus trees during the severe heatwave just prior to the fire engulfing the area. That suggests there was an unusual gas above the trees at the time. Furthermore, the intense heat of a bushfire turns liquids to gas, which explains why in a bushfire, green leaves burn, and with considerable energy if they are eucalyptus leaves. The fury of the 2009 bushfire was captured on amateur video and displayed on TV around the country. I will never forget the huge roar of the flames which had the sound of a large get engine under full throttle. The gas from the eucalyptus trees reached high into the air, and the flames followed. It was a somewhat fearful experience to watch on TV; it must have been terrifying for the cameraman who was actually there. He is very fortunate to have gotten out alive.
Clearly, in bushfire prone areas, eucalyptus trees need to be kept clear of houses. While eucalyptus leaves burn quite intensely, the trunk and branches usually survive fires quite well. The Black Saturday bushfire was Australia’s most severe with 180 people losing their lives.
Regarding the means of fighting a fire, a helicopter in conjunction with ground crew might be helpful in fighting grass fires, and perhaps small bushfires under the right circumstances. A few months back here in Australia, a man was in the national news because of his unusual method of fighting a small grass fire which was slowly moving toward his property. He grabbed his small domestic blower which is normally used to blow leaves and twigs off footpaths, and turned it on the small grass fire. It easily blew the fire out in the same way that a puff of air from the mouth blows a candle fire out. The strong downward blast of air from a helicopter will certainly put many fires out when the helicopter is manoeuvred in the correct manner. Up to this point in time (January 2020) I am not aware of a single incident where a helicopter has been used to extinguish a grass fire by means of its strong blast of air, but I am sure that day will come - hopefully soon.
Just as a point of interest, a tree which has been hit by lightening should not be considered for firewood. It won’t burn. The flammable substances in the tree, exit the timber under the strong forces of high voltage and heat. A further problem is that the tree is very difficult to cut.
Since initially placing this article on my site on 01 February, I have decided I must state why I have not joined the alarmists on the matter of global warming. I happen to be among those who can remember the mid 1970s and the great alarm that the world was plunging into another ice age. Science told us the world was getting colder, and as a consequence, many farms in the future would experience lower levels of production. If we didn’t prepare for a cooler world, there would be starvation on a large scale. Placing the two scary scenarios side by side, I think I prefer the global warming to the global cooling scare. At least with global warming, and the slight increase in the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere (currently at around 400 parts per million), you can achieve greater growth from many plants.
The constant bombardment through the media of global warming alarm is causing stress in some of the young people, so I must say a few things that are positive. We live in a better world than that of the 1970s. Lead has been removed from petrol, cars are more fuel efficient, much of our electricity supply needs are met by means of wind and solar, reducing pollution. Furthermore, there are plans by many countries to phase out production of petrol and diesel consuming cars in favour of electric cars. The British Prime Minister, Borris Johnson, announced on 05 February 2020 that he plans to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars in his country by 2035. That will contribute to less carbon dioxide emissions, cleaner air and better health.
While the future looks bright, there is room for improvement. Many train stations around Brisbane for instance (along with other cities around the world) are not supported by multi-level car parking, and there is often overcrowding of train carriages at peak hour - although not as bad as some of the packed carriages in Tokyo.
After the above digression, I must come back to the subject of firewood. I am in awe of the wonderful design of timber. It is useful as a material for houses, furniture, paper and firewood. Some timbers don’t perform as well as others as a firewood, however, most will do an adequate job.
Finally, I must report that I am in awe of the wonderful design of timber. It is useful as a material for houses, furniture, paper and firewood. Some timbers perform better than others as a firewood; most at least will do an adequate job. When we consider how things would go terribly wrong if the design of timber is not right, we stand in awe of our great creator God. If a large amount of gas is produced very quickly when a log is heated, then a log fire would be quite violent and burn out very quickly - spoiling the chance of producing a good medium cooked steak for lunch. If all timbers produced 50% less gas when heated, that would also be a big problem. Our great designer God has got the design of timber just right. “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; ...” (Psalm 104:24).
(Uploaded 01 February 2020).
NB: Some figures have been updated since posting the report on 01 February. Australia is a country of drought and flood. True to that reputation, the heavens opened up in the second week of February and many regions experienced flooding. The rainfall was along the whole of the east coast of Australia, providing relief from the drought, and extinguishing the bushfires. Praise the Lord!
(Updated 12 February 2020).
The Jehovah's Witnesses and Christmas
The Watch Tower organisation (Jehovah’s Witnesses) once promoted the celebration of Christmas, but later changed its mind. In one of its publications, the organisation stated that Christmas Day, “... in celebration of our dear Redeemer’s birth, has for long centuries been celebrated on December 25th; and although it is now well known that this date is in error, and that it more properly corresponds with the date of the annunciation to Mary, none months before out Lord was born, and that he was born about October 1st, - nevertheless ... it cannot be improper, in harmony with general usage, for us to remember in a social way our dear Redeemer’s birth at this time.” (Zion’s Watch Tower, December 15, 1898, p. 370).
Several years later, the leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses changed their minds about the October date, and decided on September instead, while remaining very supportive of Christmas being celebrated. Watch Tower stated, “... that really he was born about September 25, nine months later [from the traditional Christmas Day]. One day, as well as another, will serve us to commemorate our Savior’s birth in the flesh, as a gift of God’s love to a condemned and dying world.” (Zion’s Watch Tower, December 15, 1908, p. 379). Eventually, they changed their minds yet again, and decided that Christmas should not be celebrated at all, because many years ago, pagans had celebrations on 25th December. In taking this stance, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not being consistent because on Sunday they go off to their Kingdom Halls to worship. They ignore the fact that Sunday was named many years ago after the Sun god, hence “Sun Day”. When those who are truly Christians go to Church on Sunday, they are not thinking of a pagan festival that took place on a Sunday centuries ago, they are thinking of the great love of Christ who suffered and died for all those who completely trust in Him. Likewise, when those who truly love Christ sing Christmas Carols and have a special celebration on ‘Christmas Day’, they are not thinking of what pagans did on that day, their thoughts are on the amazing fact that God (the second person of the Holy Trinity) took on human flesh (to be like us). In his body of flesh, he gave himself up under the plan of the Father to suffer and die on the cross on behalf of sinners who put their trust in him (2 Cor. 5:21, Colossians 2:13-14).
The Jehovah's Witnesses also deny the deity of Christ. The fact that He came to earth as both God and man (100% God and 100% man). This link provides more on that subject ... More
(Uploaded December 2019).
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That's My King
I make a point of watching and listening to this brief but powerful message at least once each year, usually around Christmas time. Click on the link and Enjoy!
There are several short versions of the message, “That’s My King”, one of which has been downloaded more than four million times. You’ll find that’s not surprising when you hear this powerful message by S.M. Lockeridge, “That’s My King” (6 min.) : Go
If the short message has wet your appetite for a good sermon, then click on the link for the full message by S. Lockeridge. “That’s My King” (Full sermon, 1hr 6min.) : Go
The short message is available in high definition quality at vimeo.com (NB: This worked well on my computer, but not the iPad) - Go
(Uploaded on 15 January 2016).
Shocking news for atheists
Just over ten years ago, atheists in particular, were celebrating the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s book, “The Origin of Species” (1859). It was Darwin’s claim that all living things have evolved from a simple form of life. We now know that even microscopic organisms are quite complex. Scientists at the time warned Darwin that no transitional species have been found which would support his minute form of life to large complex forms through an evolutionary process. That information did not deter Darwin, he insisted that, given time, transitional species would be found. Some scientists who had a strong passion for Darwin’s ideas put forward creatures which they believed were an example of a transition from one creature to another, only to find the ‘evidence’ would not stand up to close scrutiny.
Another failure comes in the form of evolutionary leftovers. As late as the 1960s when I was going through High School, we were taught the view (based on theory of evolution thinking) that many organs in our bodies which appeared to give no biological benefit, for example, tonsils, were useless leftovers from a distant past when they were needed by our supposed less evolutionary developed ancestors. Initially, more than one hundred body parts were thought to be useless leftovers. However, as time marched on, and science progressed, it was found that the useless organs were not useless at all. All of the organs play at least a very minor role in maintaining good health. Some organs, for example, the tonsils and appendix, can on medical advice, be removed with no serious harmful consequences.
In this year, we are more than 160 years on from the publication of Darwin’s book, and we have the ‘shocking news’ - in the eyes of some at least - that the solid uncontested evidence for his theory still remains at zero. Meanwhile, evidence that our genetic code is degrading over time, rather than getting better as the theory of evolution would require, came to light several years back. As a conservative estimate, at least 100 errors are entering the human genetic code with each generation, with no means humanly possible of reversing the trend (1).
When God created Adam and Eve, he gave them a perfect genetic code, however, when they rebelled against God and disobeyed his command, the earth fell from its perfect state so that Adam and all of his descendants have had to toil hard in order to survive (Genesis 3:17-19). The genetic code of Adam and Eve also had a slight fall from its perfect state, so that after many years - close to one thousand - they died (Gen. 5:5). The near perfect genetic code at the beginning allowed Cane (the first child born to Adam and Eve) to marry his sister without genetic problems showing up in their children. We are now many generations on (and many accumulations of genetic errors on) from Adam and Eve. Some doctors are now publically warning against marriages between first cousins because of the high number of cases of abnormalities in their children, when compared to the general population. A further consequence of the increase of errors in the code is the increase in the cases of cancer.
The fact that our genetic code is degrading with each successive generation is well known among geneticists, but do not expect a headline in your local newspaper to declare the theory of evolution is now proven to be wrong, or that evidence for the existence of God is revealed in the genetic code. Quite often, in their minds, small evidence is okay, but massive, radical, clear evidence would upset the atheists in the community, and they don’t want that.
Footnote: (1) , “Genetic Entropy & The Mystery of the Genome”, p. 38-41.
For those who want to read further on the accumulation of errors in our genome, I commend a book titled, “Genetic Entropy & The Mystery of the Genome” by Dr J. C. Sanford, FMS publications, New York, paperback, 271 pages. The first edition came out in 2005. As science has progressed with further supporting evidence coming to light, further editions have appeared over the years. The fourth edition came out in 2014. This is a great scholarly work for those who want to delve into the details.
(Uploaded on 15 January 2019).
The theory of evolution story contradicts itself
According to one version of the theory, an evolutionary development has to provide an advantage to the creature during every stage of the development to the final outcome, otherwise the development in a certain direction becomes a burden for the creature, and it dies out.
When we look at the progress from a microbe reproducing through splitting in two, to a creature which reproduces through the actions of a male and female. It will require that at some stage, the transitional creature is able to reproduce by both splitting in two, and also reproduce by the reproductive process of a male and female. Nobody is going to make the claim that in one generation, the creature split in two, and in the very next, we have a male and female involved in the reproduction. This now raises a big question, why would a microscopic creature which reproduces very successfully by splitting in two, begin a process of developing a second method of reproduction? A second method of reproduction would be a big burden to the creature. So here we have a contradiction to the theory. A further problem is, what would a creature which both splits in two and also reproduces by means of the action of a male and female look like? Furthermore, observation of creatures from the time of Darwin to this present day provide no evidence of a creature developing an organ which will double up on a function which it already possesses. Further to that, there is no evidence of a creature developing a new organ which will give it a significant advantage. For instance, amongst all the humans, dogs, cats and horses on this planet, you will not find one instance of an organ in development which will allow the creature to both breath air, and also extract oxygen from water. It must be remembered that to obtain a healthy functioning organ, it is necessary to have the letters of the genetic code in the correct order. The letters of the code are A,T,C and G. No microbiology professor can sit down without notes and place a long string of letters in the correct order to obtain one of our current organs, not alone a new beneficial organ. Us humans would love a new organ which eliminates viruses and bad bacteria, but only God can accomplish such a thing.
It is foolish to think, chance random processes will give a good result. So this raises the question as to why men go to the trouble of inventing ridiculous ideas so as to avoid the evidence of God. The Bible has the answer. It is the sinful condition of the human heart (the very soul of man). “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23). In another place we read, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Yes, who can understand why people think they can fight against God and win.
(Uploaded on 15 January 2019).
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In recent months, there has been some excitement on the Internet over a letter allegedly from Pontius Pilate, reporting to his superiors in Rome about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The letter (contained in an ancient document known a “The Archko Volume”) is quite lengthy, going into some detail on several points - even describing the appearance of Jesus Christ. The letter gives an excuse as to why Pilate had to allow the crucifixion of Christ, even though he had tried to prevent it. A primary reason given is the lack of military power at his disposal to quell a riot. The letter states, “I wrote to the Prefect of Syria for a hundred foot-soldiers and as many calvary. He declined. I saw myself alone with a handful of veterans in the midst of a rebellious city, too weak to suppress an uprising, and having no choice left but to tolerate it.” (The Archko Volume, p. 137).
There are several things which indicate that this letter is a forgery, the most telling being the claim that Pilate had a weak force. Pilate actually had the command of a large military force. A Bible Encyclopaedia reports, “As governor he had five infantry cohorts and a cavalry regiment under his command (perhaps some five thousand men in all) for the maintenance of order, an unusually large force for a province that had no serious external commitments ...” (Pilate, International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Revised Edition, Vol. 3).
It has been stated many times before, the Bible is the “sure word of God”. No other document is needed for sound doctrine and practice. The Bible states, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17, ESV).
(Uploaded on 01-10-18. ).
Mass murder at school
On Thursday 15 February 2018 (in afternoon of Wednesday 14th in the US), a troubled nineteen year-old Nickolas Cruz, an ex-student of Majority Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida USA opened fire on students and teachers killing seventeen. Cruz, who had an obsession with firearms which concerned teachers and students, had been expelled for disciplinary problems. He came into the school with a gas mask, smoke grenades and armed with an AR-15 assault rifle. He also had several magazines full of ammunition. Cruz set off the school’s fire alarm which then enabled him to shoot students as they exited their classrooms. A newspaper in Australia made the point that “The deadly gun rampage at a Florida high school yesterday took to 18 the number of school shootings across the US this year - a phenomenon authorities seem powerless to stop.” (The Australian, 16 February 2018, p. 8).
Nickolas Cruz was later arrested and faces trial.
Australia experienced several mass shootings with semi-automatic firearms leading up to the terrible mass shooting by mentally unstable Martin Bryant at Port Arthur Tasmania in 1996 in which thirty-five were killed - the worst mass killing in the world by a lone gunman up to that point in time. In addition to the death toll, at least twenty were wounded. In response to the demand from the Australian public for stronger controls, the government brought in laws which prohibit the general public from owning semi-automatic firearms. A semi-automatic rifle fires a round every time the trigger is pulled without the need to manually reload. Those who owned firearms in a prohibited category, had to surrender the rifle/s to the relevant government authority and compensation was paid. I grew up in a country town and owned a couple of rifles. One was a semi-automatic .22 calibre rifle. Being on the band list, I had to hand it in. I did so gladly, realising that a small sacrifice by a few could save lives. That small sacrifice by myself and many others has paid huge dividends in the number of lives saved. There has not been a single mass shooting in Australia since more stringent gun controls were brought in - in particular, the banning of semi-automatic weapons from the general public.
Citizens in Australia who wish to own a firearm must first obtain a shooter’s permit. On the application form, a reason must be stated for possessing a firearm. When I filled out the form in the 1990s, I clearly remember the form stating that personal protection was not an acceptable reason for owning a firearm.
I like to point out to those who think a rifle tucked away in a cupboard is good for protection, that the opposite is most likely the case, because the person without a rifle will be forced to think more deeply about the issue and put in place a plan that actually works, such as having a guard dog, and video surveillance. Statistics show that the occupants of a house are much safer in a home without firearms.
Gun manufactures in the US advertise their rifles and pistols on TV with the claim that it is as a means of protection against the bad guy out there. Never mind that other people in the western world survive quite well without the expense, concern and risk which goes with having a firearm in the house. Furthermore, the US has a higher gun ownership than comparable countries (e.g. Australia, the UK and Canada), and at the same time, suffers a far higher rate of gun related deaths.
Statistics on gun deaths
For most of the statistics quoted in this brief article, I am grateful for the work of Simon Chapman, author of “Over Our Dead Bodies”, published in 1998, just two years after the terrible massacre in Port Arthur Tasmania. Simon Chapman, at the time of writing his book, was Associate Professor in Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Sydney.
The higher the number of guns in a community, the higher the number of deaths from guns. On that point Simon Chapman, looking at the situation in Australia in the early 1990s says, “The most striking feature of the distribution of firearm mortality in Australia is that the two States with the most permissive laws, Tasmania and Queensland, have gun death rates significantly above the average.” (Simon Chapman, “Over Our Dead Bodies”, Pluto Press, 1998, p. 47).
The United States has the most lax gun laws in the western world. It also has the highest number of deaths from guns. “A comparison of homicide rates between the US and Britain found that the non-gun US homicide rate (per 100,000) population was 3.7 times higher than the British rate, while the rate of handgun homicides was 175 times higher. This suggests that, even if Americans were inherently somewhat more murderous than the British, the easy availability of handguns has produced a massively disproportionate number of homicides.” (S. Chapman, p. 44). In 1991, deaths from guns in America was 38,317. In some states in America, deaths from guns was higher than deaths from motor vehicle accidents. (S. Chapman, p. 49).
Gun deaths in Australia between 1990 and 1995 averaged 560. Australia’s population in the early 1990s was about 18 million. That gives a gun death rate per 100,000 per annum of 3.11. If we move forward from the 1990s to 2016, we find the situation is still bad for US citizens. Time magazine states, “The country’s firearm death rate rose to 12 deaths per 100,000 people last year , up from 11 in 2015.” (Time, 20 November 2017, p. 9). When we compare the numbers; Australia at under four, and America at twelve, we can see that something is terribly amiss in the US. When we move to Japan, the comparison gets worse. Gun control in Japan is very strict, even by Australia’s new standards, with good results. “Japan has nearly seven times Australia’s population, yet has nearly six times fewer gun deaths and nearly three times fewer gun homicides.” (S. Chapman, p. 60).
Mass shootings in America
“The U.S. has only 4.4% of the world’s population, yet it accounts for roughly 42% of the world’s guns, according to the comprehensive 2007 Small Arms Survey. And roughly 31% of the world’s mass shooters are American, according to a university of Alabama study.” (Time, 02 April 2018, p. 24).
A small part of the terrible toll
Fully automatic firearms have always been illegal for the general public to possess in all of the developed nations of the world except in America, where Congress did not ban their sale until 1986. Unfortunately, the new legislation did not include the prevention of adding a device to make a semi-automatic firearm fire rapidly like a fully automatic. Stephen Paddock was able to fit a device known as a ‘Bump Stock’ to his semi-automatic rifle to make it fire like a machine gun. Hence the high number of casualties at the Las Vegas concert - 58 killed and 851 wounded. Because of the way a bump stock works, the rifle can not be fired accurately, hence, it has no genuine role in the sport of shooting.
Many Americans want tougher gun control laws to curb the number of deaths from guns, however, they face a major challenge. Major gun manufacturers in the US donate money to the National Rifle Association, who in turn donate to politicians. Donald Trump’s political campaign received at least $20 million for support in the 2016 election. Thankfully, after the Parkland Florida shooting, there has been a campaign demanding that politicians refuse donations coming from gun manufactures, either directly or indirectly. However, sadly, this campaign may not run for long due to the inexperience of many of its leaders, and lack of resources. I hope to be proven wrong on that point.
The large number of shootings in the US is damaging to the image of the country. Other countries do not have shootings in their classrooms. In an effort to reduce the incidents of shootings in schools, some schools in the US have an armed guard. The armed guard is meant to act as a deterrent. Clearly, the armed guard at the Parkland Florida school was not a deterrent. Placing guns in the hands of teachers will not work either. Mentally disturbed people who pick up a gun are usually not concerned about dying. Because strict gun controls in Australia, the UK and Canada are working very well, these countries do not even have to consider having an armed guard at their schools. That reduces the cost of education, and creates a more relaxed atmosphere - a necessity for a good learning environment.
The campaign for change needs to focus on several points, for instance:
- In October 2006, Charles Roberts killed 5 students, then himself at an Amish school in Lancaster County Pennsylvania.
- In December 2012, Adam Lanza killed 20 first-graders and six staff members at a Connecticut elementary school.
- In 2016 Omar Mateen killed 49 people at an Orlando gay nightclub.
- In October 2017, Stephen Paddock killed 58 and injured 851 at a Las Vegas concert. (See Time magazine, 12 March 2018, p. 15)
- In November 2017, Devin Kelley killed 26 people in a Sutherland Springs, Texas church.
- In February 2018, Nickolas Cruz killed 17 at a High School in Parkland Florida.
Ideally, only those who qualify for, and obtain a shooters permit (after background checks have been conducted) should be allowed to obtain a firearm. Those belonging to a hostile militant threatening organization should automatically be banned from obtaining a licence.
- A ban on politicians accepting money either directly or indirectly from gun manufactures which in effect is purchasing political influence, in other words, it is bribery (corruption).
- Ban the sale or use of both automatic and semi-automatic firearms.
- Make illegal the ownership or use of a device which which enables a firearm to produce a rapid rate of fire.
- Ban the advertising of guns in the arena of the general public (e.g. radio, TV and billboards).
- Ban the advertising of guns for personal protection.
- Ban the sale of human shaped targets.
- Firearms must be secured in a locked cabinet when not in use. The firearms and magazines must be stored empty of ammunition.
- Potential firearm owners must pass a written test to show they have full knowledge of gun laws and safety procedures.
Criminals like to possess a semi-automatic rifle because this type of firearm has significant fire-power, and therefore, good intimidation power over people they wish to control. In Australia, when police find a semi-automatic rifle in a home or in the boot of a car for instance, they can take possession of the weapon and arrest the owner, then begin a thorough search to see what other illegal possessions the person might have. In the US, a policeman under the same circumstances is powerless to do anything after discovering a semi-automatic rifle, because in that country, semi-automatic rifles are legal.
The problem in the US is one that is not going to go away soon, partly because people who are challenged psychologically - mainly those with low self-esteem - tend to like an easy path to empowerment. Guns provide a method of instant empowerment. Gaining empowerment seems to be a factor in the mass shooting at Port Arthur in 1996. A problem for those who lack self-respect is that while going out into a field and firing a powerful weapon at a target, an animal, or sadly, even at a person, gives a sense of power, it does not cure their problem. Respect from others only comes from hard work, particularly self-sacrificial work.
It is interesting to note that there is one who has great respect from around the world because he gave up power. That person of course, is the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says of Christ that, “... being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:6-8). Jesus Christ showed the strength of his character, not by degrading or killing others for selfish gain, but by giving himself over to suffering and death for the benefit of others.
Helpful youtube clips on this subject
(Uploaded on 14 March 2018. Some additional material added in April 18)
The Passover, full moon and Easter
- Michael More opens a bank account and gets a free gun (3 min.): Go
- 13 year-old buys a gun (2 min.): Go
- A CNN crew buys a gun without questions being asked (6 min.): Go
- A 9 year-old girl accidentally shoots her instructor (3 min.): Go
- “Bowling for Columbine” is a movie which exposes America’s gun culture. Released in 2002. The presenter is Michael More. This informative movie is available on line (for a price), and occasionally it appears on TV.
The Passover, full moon and Easter have connections with each other. The Easter full moon (Pascal full moon) in March 2018 was very special. However, before coming to March, I must say something about February 2018. February was very unique that year because it did not have a full moon. For that to happen, January needs to be a ‘blue moon’ month, that is, have a second full moon on the last day of the month (under rare circumstances, the second last day of the month will work). February is the only month that can miss having a full moon, because the maximum length of February is 29 days (on a leap-year). That is shorter than the lunar phase cycle (synodic period) which is 29.5306 days. March 2018 was unusual in that the paschal full moon (on 31 March) was a blue moon. The pascal full moon is the first full moon after the March equinox which is on or about the 21st March (depending on leap year and time zone). It will be several decades before we have another paschal full moon and blue moon together.
The Passover connection to Easter
From the time of the Exodus, to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by Roman forces under the command of Titus in 70 AD, the Jews celebrated the Passover. A spotless lamb was sacrificed and eaten by each family to commemorate the time when the Jews were commanded to sacrifice a lamb and sprinkle blood on the door posts of their home, “Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the Lambs.” (Exodus 12:7). The word ‘Passover’ comes from the fact that the destroying angel passed over the houses with the sign of the blood of the lamb. The Bible states, “‘On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. ‘This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance.’” (Exodus 12:12-14).
The ancient Jews followed a lunar calendar. The Passover was held yearly, fourteen days into the first lunar month (the month of Nisan, on the sacred calendar). The beginning of the month is when the first crescent of the moon is visible, so fourteen days into the month gives a full moon. The Bible states, “The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.” (Exodus 12:5-6). For seven days, beginning from the fourteenth, the Jews were to eat bread made without yeast (Ex. 12:18). Jesus suffered and died at the time of the Passover (full moon) because he is the “... Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29).
Easter is on the weekend which is closest to the date of the pascal full moon. The reason why Easter Sunday is important is because it was on the first day of the week (Sunday) that Jesus Christ rose from the dead (Matt. 28:1-2, Mark 16:1-5, Luke 24:1-6, John 20:1). From the above, we can see why the Passover full moon and Easter Sunday are linked together.
There is a far more important issue here than just the history of Passover, and the special day of Sunday, and that is; why did Jesus come to suffer such a cruel death? The answer is because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Rom. 3:24). God’s way of dealing with the sins of his saints is to place the sins on the account of Jesus Christ who pays the penalty on behalf of his people. Scripture explains the situation this way, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21). “... Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people ...” (Hebrews 9:28). Only the work of Jesus Christ can save sinners. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
(Uploaded on 14 March 2018)
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A lesson from Madalyn Murray O’Hair who was America's foremost atheist
People fit fairly broadly into one of four groups when it comes to beliefs about God.
Madalyn O’Hair, wasn’t simply an atheist, she was a passionate atheist. In 1952 she completed a law degree but never practised law. No doubt her knowledge of law helped her to advance her aims which were to take every thought of God out of American life.
- Those who are 'born again' children of God through Jesus Christ and who are passionate about their commitment to him.
- Those who are God-fearing and may follow one of the world’s religions.
- Those who acknowledge there must be a god, but make no commitment to follow him.
- The atheist. The person who believes there is no God. Those at the bottom end of this group passionately proclaim their atheistic views.
In 1960 she filed a lawsuit (Murray v. Curlett) against the Bultimore, Maryland School District claiming it was unconstitutional for her son William to participate in Bible readings at Baltimore public schools. The case went to the United States Supreme Court which voted 8-1 in her favour, effectively banning ‘coercive’ public prayer and Bible-reading at public schools in the United States. Following the decision of the Supreme Court, she founded American Atheists.
Those who followed Madalyn’s atheistic beliefs were encouraged to give to her cause. She received large amounts of money which totalled in the millions. Some of the money ended up in her secret Swiss bank accounts. That’s not surprising. She did not believe there was a God to whom she must give an account on judgment day.
David Roland Waters was hired to work in the office of American Atheists as an office manager and typesetter. He was a devout atheist, proven by the fact that he gave no thought for God when he committed some vicious crimes for which he spent time in jail.
David Waters continued in his Godless ways. He was convicted of stealing $54,000 from American Atheists. During his period of employment at the office, there were several suspicious burglaries. Madalyn wrote a scathing article about David Waters, exposing some of his crimes. The article was meant for members only, but a disgruntled member gave David a copy, he was furious over what he read and planned his revenge.
From 27th August 1995, Madalyn, her son Jon and Robin whom she had adopted were not publically seen again. She left a note at the headquarters of American Atheists in Austin implying an absence for some time and a visit to San Antonio, Texas. The following month, her son Jon ordered $600,000 (USD) worth of gold coins from a San Antonio jeweller, but took delivery of only $500,000 (USD).
After a lengthy absence, people began to speculate that they had fled the country with money stolen from the organisation. Eventually a murder investigation focussed on David Waters. Police concluded that he, with accomplices had kidnapped the O’Hairs, forced them to withdraw the missing funds, and then murdered them. Waters faced court, was convicted and faced the death penalty.
To escape the death penalty, David Waters showed police where they were buried. Two years to the day after revealing their burial place, Waters died in prison of lung cancer.
As for the stolen gold coins, David Waters kept them in a suitcase in a storage unit rented by his girlfriend. It was secured by a cheap padlock. He took out $US 80,000 worth of coins and partied with his girlfriend. When he eventually came back to get more, he found the remaining $US 420,000 missing. Petty thieves operating in the area used a master key to gain access to the storage units. When they opened the storage unit and the suitcase, they struck gold - literally. They spent the money in what can be best described as wild and reckless living. Police recovered only one of the gold coins.
Madalyn O'Hair was a victim of her own beliefs
Her belief was that if you could get rid of God in your life, you would be free and happy because you decide how to run your life, not God. You are only answerable to yourself. Because of this attitude, Madalyn repeatedly failed as an employee because she wanted to tell those senior to her how to run the business - she wanted to be boss. Consequently, she was fired from several positions. She repeatedly failed in her relationships with men. Two marriages failed, and she had at least two failed illicit relationships.
As for the relationships between the Atheists in her office, instead of everyone being happy liberated people, there was bitterness and strife. Sometimes the strife developed into shouting matches with each person trying to make his or her view dominant.
Madalyn Murray O’Hair spent much of her life trying to get people to forget about God, but that did not stop God from reaching out to someone very close to her; her son William. In 1980 William under a move of the Spirit of God, placed his faith in Jesus Christ. He became a Baptist pastor and a passionate preacher of the Gospel. Occasionally, when his mother organised a rally, he would rally believers to protest close-by to counteract her false message. William knew first hand just how destructive his mother’s belief system was to her life. Ultimately, her beliefs cost her, her life. She deliberately hired an atheist, a man who acted as an atheist, and killed her.
What did the American atheists gain from all the millions of dollars they poured into their anti-God cause? The answer is, very little. They gave little thought to the consequences of giving money to a belief system which has no ultimate accountability, and they lost all of their money to people who engaged in self-indulgent living.
God honours those who honour Him.
“...Those who honour me I will honour, but those who despise me will be disdained.” (1 Samuel 2:30).
TV documentary (Australia), “Cutting Edge”, SBS, 06 February 2007. Also shown in October 2017 under the title, "The Lady Vanishes". Keep an eye out for this title, it may return.
Uploaded March 2007 Index
Why did Jesus have to die for sinners? Why couldn’t God just forgive sin?
Sadly, many sermons are ‘feel good’ sermons, they do not adequately teach, consequently, some Christians have been listening to sermons for years, and yet they cannot adequately answer this basic question. One clue that Jesus had to suffer and die on behalf of sinners comes from the fact that the method of salvation was very painful. Clearly, God would have chosen another method if it was available. Jesus said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42). Subsequent events show that the cup of suffering could not be taken from Jesus, he willingly took on the suffering, and to find out why, click on the link and read, “God’s Method of Saving Sinners”. Salvation.htm
The Bible sticks to the facts (Acts 14:19-20)
“But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.” (Acts 14:19-20)
This passage is interesting at several levels. Firstly we see here the determination of Paul in his placing himself in such danger. He was not killed, but from a human point of view, he easily could have been.
Secondly, we see the honest matter of fact way in which the incident is reported. There is no twisting of the facts to make out that Paul had been killed, and that by the power of God, he had been raised to life. This report corrects an error held to by the people of Lystra. The Bible states quite plainly that Paul had not been killed. There was no miracle on this occasion.
This passage sets an example to those who try to turn minor incidents into a miracle from God. There are enough proofs of God’s powerful working in history and in nature without looking into situations where miracles don’t actually exist.
While it is true that the student of the Bible must be mindful of the great miracles of God, he must also be aware that he must reject and expose that which is false. God will be 100% successful in establishing his kingdom with that which is true.
Australian astronomers have delivered a stellar bombshell to theory of evolution ideas as to how stars are formed. The Australian newspaper (14 March 2017, p. 3) reporting on findings published recently in Nature Astronomy, states, “Researchers monitoring ‘star-quakes’ – the stellar equivalent of earthquakes – have found a startling symmetry in dozens of swollen stars known as red giants. … The study, which gauged the spin of 48 red giant stars in two clusters within our galaxy, found 70 per cent were aligned with each other.” This alignment of spin is a problem for those who don’t believe there is a design to the universe. A design indicates there is a designer. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1).
Designed by natural selection?
Academics who push the idea that all of life got to where it is now by accident are challenged by the evidence of design. One very flawed argument used is to claim that natural selection has designed the wonderful structure of all living things. I was surprised to read on the BBC web site that a leading biologist, Edward Osborne Wilson has stated that, ‘Our minds and bodies are exquisitely well designed by natural selection.’ (www.bbc.com, 07-11-2014). Yes, he actually used the word, ‘designed’.
Let’s consider the above claim for a minute. Can natural selection provide creatures with a heart, brain, liver, spleen, skeleton etc.? The answer is a resounding, No! Natural selection can not design. All natural selection can do is use the genetic code (information) from the male and female. Natural selection can not make complex changes in the genetic code, that is why there has not been an observation of a creature developing a new organ. So if you are counting on natural selection providing humans with an organ which will rid everyone of all infections; sorry, that is just not going to happen. We often seek pleasure, but God seeks character from his people. We are faced with the wonderful fact in the amazing genetic code that God is the designer and creator of all creatures.
(Uploaded on 01 July 2016).
Don't mess with the milk
Time magazine (18 April 2016, p. 8) reports a study has shown that full-fat dairy products reduced the risk of diabetes by 46%, possibly because (among other things) those on full-cream tend to eat less. The manufacture of skim milk looks like another case of man trying to improve on what God in his wisdom has provided, but only making things worse.
What I am talking about here is not the substance that some like to skate on from time to time, but rather, a form of methamphetamine. The other two forms which are used by drug users are referred to as ‘speed’ and ‘base’.
I prefer to give help on theological matters rather than give warnings on illicit drug use, however, I feel many would be less inclined to fall victim to marketing by drug pushers if it was widely know what happens to the body when a person ingests ‘ice’. A very helpful TV programme here in Australia recently highlighted some of the dangers from using this drug.
Ice releases adrenalin, the fight or flight drug. Associate Professor Nicole Lee from Flinders University made the point that Ice also releases large amounts of Dopamine into the brain - more than any other drug. Dopamine is a naturally occurring substance in the body. Small amounts are released when a person watches a beautiful sunset, goes for a stroll in the park, or eats a nice meal. In fact, it plays a part in all pleasurable activities. When ‘Ice’ is consumed, large amounts of Dopamine are sent from the body to the sensory areas of the brain. The user feels a sense of great pleasure for a while, however, there is a downside to the experience. The dopamine comes from the body, not the ingested drug. When the limited supply of the dopamine is used up, the drug user feels depressed. The simple things of life such as enjoying beautiful scenery, a TV programme and the company of friends do not bring pleasure anymore because the pleasure chemical has been used up at a party the night before.
The person finds him or herself in a desperate need to obtain more drugs to find release from the terrible depression into which they have plunged. The desperation reaches the point in some individuals that they turn to crime to support a very expensive habit - in some cases more than $100- per day - to achieve what most people have for free; a cravings free contented mind.
Long term abuse can result in damage to the pleasure mechanism. It is around twelve to eighteen months before the mechanism is restored to full health. That’s a long time to be separated from the simple pleasures of life. Drug pushers talk about the initial pleasure from using the drug, but are silent about the pain to follow.
The clear message here is, ‘Don’t ditch all of your pleasure chemical (dopamine) at a party, your pleasure chemical is important.’ We are wonderfully made by God, we should not mess with the chemical balance he has given us.
The use of this drug has resulted in death, the list of things that can go wrong when a person takes ‘ice’ is too long to list here. I thank SBS for highlighting this particular drug problem to people here in Australia. (Ice Breaker, Insight, SBS TV, 07 October 2015).
I will move on from the drug problem to a related issue, and that is high and low moods. Some people make the mistake of chasing after the very happy bright party type mood. However, research into mood has revealed that the brain is not designed to be in a bright happy mood all of the time. When a person purchases for instance, a new car or TV set, it will put them in a happy mood, however, the mood does not last. Eventually the car becomes simply a means to travel to a desired destination, and the TV a means by which a programme can be viewed. The reason being that the brain is continually seeking a middle mood position, that is why money can’t buy happiness - although a little certainly helps.
When a person obtains an emotional high, they will soon discover that any attempt to stay there is like fighting against gravity. Eventually the emotion comes back to earth. Emotional highs are good for people, they help to clear the mind of the troubles of the day or the past week. Research has also revealed the benefits of a low mood. When people are in a low mood, they are more likely to be careful and thoughtful in their judgments. Investigation becomes more thorough and consequently people in this mood are less likely to be deceived.
The important point which comes out of this is that we are wonderfully designed by God so that both moods, high and low have their benefits. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
( Uploaded on 04 December 2015 )
Eastern meditation and Christian meditation; they are not the same.
Some devotees to meditation in India take the practice very seriously. I recall a documentary on Indian meditation several years back where it was revealed a man had gone to the trouble to partially bury his head in the ground. Over the top of his head he had placed a piece of cloth which looked like a tea towel. He was making a determined effort to empty his mind of all thought so as to gain some spiritual insight.
Back in the early 1970s I read the story of an eastern meditation incident (in one of the western nations) which went terribly wrong. These days, the eastern part is often dropped. It is simply called meditation. The story told of a chap who went out into a field and emptied his mind of all thought. As he gazed into the distance in his altered mental state, he noticed a rabbit. His mind became fixated on the rabbit which grew and grew in his mind until it became a monster. He was taken to a mental hospital to deal with the monster in his mind.
When eastern meditation techniques began to gain some popularity - the emptying of the mind type - I became concerned. Now, new research by a couple of psychologists has given further grounds for concern.
The weekly science magazine, New Scientist (16 May 2015), reports, “Meditation and mindfulness have a dark side that should not be ignored, say psychologists Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm. Twitching, trembling, panic, disorientation, hallucinations, terror, depression, mania and psychotic breakdown - these are some of the reported effects of meditation.”
The article makes the point that de-stressing and happiness were not what meditation with their Hindu and Buddhist roots were designed for. “The purpose of meditation was much more radical: to challenge and rupture the idea of who you are, shaking one’s sense of self to the core so you realise there is nothing there (Buddhism) or no real differentiation between you and the rest of the universe (Hinduism).”
“David Shapiro of the University of California, Irvine, found that 7 per cent of people on meditation retreats experienced profoundly adverse effects, including panic and depression. Experience appears to make no difference - experts and naive meditators are equally likely to be affected.” (New Scientist, 16 May 2015, p. 28).
In contrast to eastern meditation, Christian meditation does not involve emptying the mind. It involves having the mind dwell from time to time on important facts. So what are those important facts?
“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no-one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendour of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.” (Psalm 145:3-5). Meditating on the wonderful works of God shows the contrast with eastern meditation with its empty mind approach. Christian meditation builds on what is in the mind. It brings about a thankful attitude toward God with the effect that we will be more zealous to follow his ways in thought word and deed.
- God led his people out of slavery in Egypt. Consequently, his people have an obligation to be holy and to keep his commandments (Lev. 11:45).
- Through the means of the Lord’s Super, the people of God are to meditate on the completed saving work of Christ (1 Cor. 11:23-26).
- We are to think on the great works of God (Ps. 145:3-5).
- Christians are to think on that which is good (Philippians 4:8).
God bought the people of Israel out of Egypt, therefore they are obliged to be holy, for God is holy. (Leviticus 11:45, Also Lev. 22:33).
The law; what role does it play?
( Uploaded on 01 July 2015 )
The role of the law is different for the Christian to that of the non-Christian
I was in a discussion with a young pastor a few years back, when he asserted that the law has no part in preaching, it is done away with by the work of Christ - unfortunately, a poor understanding of the role of the law is quite prevalent in the Church today. I asked this chap if he ever declared to people that they are sinners. He answered, Yes! I then explained to him that what he is doing with that proclamation is declaring in a small measure at least, the law of God. The law of God is perfect, and by that law, everyone falls short; everyone is a sinner before God. (Rom. 3:23). The Bible declares “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4).
I must state at this point that God’s law can’t be anything less than perfect. For the law to be anything less than perfect would require that God himself be less than perfect, however, “... in him is no sin.” (1 John 3:5).
When Jesus walked amongst sinners, he did not try to accommodate the lower standard with regard to law which mankind sets for itself. Concerning God’s perfect law, Jesus declares it is not done away with. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matt. 5:17).
Further to this point, Jesus goes on to explain the high standard of God’s law. For instance; regarding sexual sins, a man has committed adultery in his heart if he lusts after a woman. (Matt. 5:28). God’s law goes beyond that of “... ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’” (5:21). God’s law is; “... anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” (5:22).
Jesus states the situation quite clearly when he says, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20).
It must be remembered that for the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, seeking to be righteous before God was basically a full-time profession. So this statement from Jesus is equivalent to telling a Roman Catholic that his righteousness must be greater than that of the Pope. It is similar to telling a person in the Church of England that his righteousness must exceed that of the Archbishop of Canterbury; his righteousness must be greater than that of the great evangelists, John Knox, George Whitefield, John Wesley and Billy Graham. We can state the situation for mankind this way. The best deeds of the best saint on earth will merit him nothing but death and destruction on judgment day. There is only one righteousness that will survive that great day, and that is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. (Jeremiah 23:6, Rom. 3:21-22. 5:17. 1 John 2:1).
Regarding the law, all of the great evangelists declared God’s perfect law because:
There can be no conviction of a need to come to Christ without a conviction of coming short of God’s perfect standard which is seen in his law.
- The law shows sin (Rom. 3:20, 7:7).
- The law is perfect for converting the soul (Ps. 19:7).
- The law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Gal. 3:24).
For the Christian, the law can no longer condemn him before God because Christ has kept the law perfectly for him. The prophet Jeremiah foretold this would be the case. Regarding Christ, he declared, "... This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness." (Jeremiah 23:6).
The non-Christian however, remains under God’s judgment because he does not trust in the perfect substitute for sinners; Jesus Christ (John 3:18. Rom. 10:1-3). For further information on this subject, see the paper, “God’s Method of Saving Sinners” available from the main page.
( Uploaded on 02 May 2015 )
Alex Malarkey confesses, ‘I said I went to Heaven because I thought it would get me attention.’ Alex Malarkey is a car-accident survivor, who claimed in the best-selling book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven that “he visited angels during his time in a coma at age 6; he now admits it was a hoax.” (Time magazine, 02 February 2015, p. 3). Sadly, some Christians are peddling subjective experiences about Heaven or Hell in the misguided belief that they are doing good to the Church. In reality, what they are doing can lead to confusion and uncertainty. What needs to be considered is, what role does personal subjective experience have in establishing the truth in the Christian faith?
There is a big difference between the evidence for the various religions of the world and Christianity. The false religions of the world rely very heavily on subjective evidence, whereas the Christian faith points to the very substantial objective evidence.
Hinduism is based on the subjective experiences of its founder when he meditated under a tree one night.
- Subjective has to do with the effect on the mind - feelings.
- Objective has to do with what is outside of the mind - events, action.
Islam is based on the subjective experiences of its founder when he meditated in a cave one night.
Christianity is based on the objective evidence of a mountain that shook under the voice of God in broad daylight (Exodus 19:6-19, Hebrews 12:18-21, 26). An event which was witnessed by the whole nation of Israel. Christianity is further attested to by the objective evidence that God raised the Lord Jesus from the grave (Rom. 1:3-4). When Christians point to this or that subjective experience for evidence of the Christian faith, what they are doing is operating on the very same level of evidence as the false religions of the world.
Thomas, one of the disciples, received a mild rebuke from our Lord when he was reluctant to believe the report from trustworthy witnesses that Jesus had risen from the dead (John 20:24-29). Christians have sufficient reason to believe from the evidence presented in Scripture. At least Thomas did not seek subjective evidence, he wanted to see the real thing - objective evidence.
In my view, it is somewhat demeaning of the powerful evidence for Christianity when the subjective experience of a young child is pointed to. Unfortunately, the boasting of seeing things is not limited to children; adults can engage in this type of activity as well (Colossians 2:18). Those who want to look further into this important subject should read a paper titled, “The Objective Evidence For The Christian Faith”, a free download from this web site.
( uploaded on 06 February 2015)
World Population Increase
On the first day of 2015, the world population of humans stood at 7.28 billion
In 1900 the European population was 420 million, while the population in the US was 90 million. Precision is not really possible with world population estimates. For instance: 7 Billion mark was reached on 12 March 2012 According to the United States Census Bureau. However, the United Nations places the date of that milestone on 31 October 2011. Previous milestones:
In 207 years (1804 - 2011) the world population has increased from one billion to seven billion. The above data matches well with the fact that eight people stepped out of the Ark after the worldwide flood in about 2,300 BC. The steady increase in the population from the three fertile couples at that time (the three sons of Noah and their wives) up to the Industrial Revolution, and the much larger increase since then, has resulted in the population we have today. According to the Atheistic theory of evolution story, mankind evolved around one million years ago, however, the world population data does not support the claim that mankind has been on the Earth for anywhere near 100,000 years, not alone one million years.
For more information on the conflict between the theory of evolution story and science, see the paper, "Can The Theory of Evolution Survive The Attack of Science?". That paper is a free download from the 'Origins' section (Page 1) in the home page.
- 7.8 Billion in January 2020. An increase of roughly 1.8 billion in the past 20 years (30%).
- 6 Billion on 22 July 1999 (US Census Bureau). 12 October 1999 (United Nations).
- 5 Billion in 1987
- 4 Billion in 1974
- 3 Billion in 1960
- 2 Billion in 1927
- 1 Billion in 1804
- Two hundred million in the time of Jesus Christ.
(uploaded on 01 January 2015)
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The marvellous human brain
I am slightly amused when an Atheist (God denier) tries to present to me an argument that God does not exist. If God does not exist, then the human brain is just an accidental arrangement of atoms. If the brain is just an accidental arrangement of atoms, then there is no solid basis for trust in what the brain is thinking. The brain might give a really, really strong assurance that there is no God, but the accidental arrangement of atoms - the brain - might be really, really wrong. In fact, the person who thinks that way is wrong.
As a Christian, I can trust my brain because I know the genetic code for the human brain was written by a loving purposeful God who has determined that people should use their brains for the glory of God, and in the service of others. For God to accomplish the above, he must, and has, designed a brain which can be trusted.
The Atheist learns to trust his brain, however, there is nothing at the heart of his belief system which gives grounds for trust. He argues for the claim that his brain is an accidental arrangement of the genetic code. By making this claim, he destroys the value of thought. For the Christian however, thought is valuable because information came into the world from God - He wrote the amazing complex genetic code, which includes the code for the brain. With the brain, man has been able to accomplish many marvellous things, including the invention of the telephone system, TV, and rockets which have put man on the Moon. Because God designed the human brain, he has ownership of all that man has created. In fact, because he is the creator of all things, he has ownership of all of the information in the universe.
The Bible states, “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.” (Job 12:13). Regarding the value of wisdom, the Bible states, “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers.” (Prov. 19:8). The plea from the Christian is, “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psalm 25:4-5). King Solomon was greatly blessed by God with wisdom and understanding.
“God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, ...” (1 Kings 4:29).
“For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6).
( uploaded on 01 December 2014)
The dim photo is of the eclipse of the moon (the moon is in the shaddow of the earth). The moon usually turns red during an eclipse. This photo of the eclipse of the moon was taken on the day of the Jewish festival of passover (15/4/2014). The paschal full moon is the first full moon after the sun crosses the equator into the northern hemisphere. Easter always follows the paschal full moon, hence, Good Friday is not on the same day each year. The white spec in the top left corner of the photo is Mars. My appologies for the poor quality. I did not have my tripod with me for this photo. For larger image, click on -
On the day of Pentecost, immediately after the twelve disciples were baptised in the Holy Spirit, the apostle Peter stood up and gave a speech in which he said: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people …” (Acts 2:17). Peter goes on to say, “I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Acts 2:19-20).
He talks about the sun being turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. Some people view these signs as something which will happen in the future, but it must be remembered that the sun was darkened on the day of the crucifixion. The term ‘last days’ does not necessarily mean the very last years for this present earth. The writer to the Hebrews says in regard to God speaking to us, “… in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son …” (Hebrews 1:2).
Regarding the crucifixion of our Lord, it took place on the day of the Passover. The Passover was held in remembrance of the night when God passed over the homes of those who had obeyed his command to place some blood from the sacrificial lamb on the top and sides of the door frame of their homes (Exodus 12:23). God gave the assurance to the Jews, “ … and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” (Ex. 12:13).
Before I go any further, I must make some chronological points about the word ‘day’. For modern people, a day finishes at midnight. We have clocks which indicate when midnight has arrived. The ancients did not have that luxury, so for them, the day ended when the sun set, and a new day began. Jesus celebrated the passover (the last supper) in the evening. That was the beginning of the passover day. All faithful Jews were celebrating the passover at that time, not knowing that the lamb of God had come into the world. After the passover meal (last supper), Jesus went out to the Garden of Gethsemane. It was here that he was arrested and eventually taken to Pilate where he was sentenced to death - with the energetic support of the Jews.
Jesus was crucified at the third hour i.e. 09:00 (Luke 23:33). “At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour” (Mark 15:33). That is, from midday through to three o’clock in the afternoon. It was around three pm that Jesus said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46) and he died.
From the above, we see that the celebration of the passover, and the giving up of the life of Jesus Christ, the “… the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) all took place on the one day as planned by almighty God. The Passover was always at the time of the full moon - the ancients followed a lunar calendar. An Eclipse of the moon can only take place when there is a (100%) full moon. It is possible that there was an Eclipse of the moon in the evening or night after Christ was crucified. During an eclipse, the moon usually turns a blood red colour. Such an event would have caused some alarm to the people of Jerusalem, particularly after the Sun turned to darkness from midday through to three o'clock in the afternoon when Christ died. These two events put together would have had some impact on the minds of the people of Jerusalem.
Regarding the sun turning to darkness, this event was not an Eclipse of the sun. An Eclipse of the sun only take place when there is a new moon, that is, the moon has to come between the sun and the earth. This means the darkening of the sun was a supernatural event. It is also possible that the moon turning to a blood red colour was also supernatural, however, it is most likely that God, in his wonderful timing, used a normal astronomical event to his glory.
Pentecost always took place fifty days after the Passover. Consequentially, the events of the crucifixion would still be very fresh in peoples' minds. When Peter stood up and spoke about the sun being darkened and the moon turning blood red, the people knew exactly what he was talking about. He explains the above events, and urges the people to repent (Acts 2:38).
Finally, I must say something about a book titled, “Four Blood Moons: Something is About To Change” by John Hagee. Hagee has become fascinated with the fact that four total eclipses, each six months apart (called a tetrad) will occur at the time of Jewish festivals. One of several problems with his idea is the fact that the total eclipse on the 15th April produced a wonderful blood red Moon for many viewers on the east coast of Australia, however, by the time the moon was visible on the west coast, it was simply a normal full moon. Israel had to wait another five hours before the moon was visible; by that time, there was no ‘blood’ moon. See my photos taken on the east coast of Australia. For more information, I recommend an article written by Mike Moore, who is General Secretary of “Christian Witness To Israel”. Click on 11:08 AM 30/04/2014 Go
Regarding the sign of “… blood and fire and billows of smoke.” (Acts 2:19). It is possible that that part of the prophecy refers to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70 by the Roman army under the command of Titus. That was a year of blood, fire and billows of smoke.
( uploaded on 01 May 2014)
The 'blood red' phase did not last long. By the time the Moon was seen by people in Israel, it was simply an ordinary full moon. This photo was taken on the same night - less than four hours after the 'blood red moon' photo. Israel is seven hours behind Eastern Australian Standard Time. For larger image, click on Moon
Update on 'Blood Moon' story. The last of the 'blood moons' in Jerusalem occurred on 28 September 2015 - the final of a 'tetrad' of blood red moons. Books authored by Mark Biltz from U.S. based EI Shaddai Ministries, and messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn had many readers believing there would be a collapse of the global financial system and a massive Californian earthquake. However, the 28 September 2015 came and went without incident. For more on this failed prophecy, see Diakrisis, Vol. 3, No. 48 November/December 2015 or www.taministries.net ( uploaded on 04 December 2015)
The Big Difference
I am occasionally asked what is the difference between Christianity and the other religions? Actually there are many superficial differences which people might point to, for instance, Christians celebrate Christmas and Easter. That however, is not getting to the heart of the issue. The one BIG difference between the religions of the world and Christianity (that's biblical evangelical Christianity) is the way God is viewed. All of the religions of the world debase or water down the moral character of God. His righteousness is lowered to such a degree in their eyes that all a person has to do is live a good life and be religious to a large extent, and God will accept him or her into heaven - never mind that the person is not perfect.
In biblical evangelical Christianity, the perfect moral character of God is maintained. He will not allow one single person who is not perfect into heaven. God is viewed as perfect, while man is seen as a sinner. The Bible says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). If every person has failed, then clearly, sinners need a substitute to stand in their place. That person of course is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only person to walk this earth all the days of his life perfectly. When a man places his faith in Christ, the righteousness of Christ is put to his account. The Bible declares, "... This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord our righteousness." (Jeremiah 23:6, emphasis added). See also Romans 5:17.
The religions of the world do not take the problem of sin seriously. All a person has to do is be devoted in a religious sense and their sins are hopefully covered. There is no certainty. Only in biblical Christianity are sins completely dealt with. The perfect Lord Jesus suffered and died on behalf of sinners. That is, those who place their faith in him.
In my more active teaching ministry with young people in the 1980s, I would occasionally present a drawing of a hill with three crosses on the hill. I would then declare that after judgment day, all sin in the universe will be dealt with. Either our sins are dealt with in the person of Jesus Christ who suffered and died on the cross in our place, or they are dealt with personally when we suffer a just punishment for eternity in a place called Hell. Even the devil along with all the evil spirits will suffer punishment in Hell.
In summary: Not one person who is not 100% perfect through Christ will enter Heaven. Not one sin in all the universe will ultimately go unpunished. All sins are dealt with in the perfect suffering of Christ, or they are dealt with in Hell. The false religions of this world do not meet that perfect standard - God's standard.
( uploaded on 09 May 2011)
The history of Julius Caesar and Jesus Christ
In my discussions with Atheists, I sometimes hear the claim that the Bible is a very ancient book, therefore it can’t be reliable, because we can’t be sure about history that comes from the distant past.
A problem with the above idea is that there are many details in history which predate the time of Christ. Also, some of the details are very detailed.
Take for instance, Julius Caesar; we know that he was assassinated in 44 BC. We even know the exact date on which he met his fate. It was the Ides of March, that is, the fifteenth of March.
The details don’t stop there. We also know that he was stabbed twenty-three times and that only one of the wounds was fatal; a deep wound in the back. Furthermore, the post-mortem revealed he was clutching a note warning of a plot against him. The above details were brought out in a TV documentary aired in Australia in 2008 titled, “Who Killed Julius Caesar?” The details are known to us more than 2,000 years after the event because eyewitness evidence was written down.
We know details about Jesus Christ today for the same reason. Details were written down regarding what he said and did. Some of the many details reported about Jesus include the fact that he was stabbed just once, and that was with a spear after his death on the cross to make sure he really was dead (John 19:34-37).
The details regarding Jesus focus on what he said, because what he said is important. The exact date of his death is not important, therefore that detail is not recorded in Scripture. By comparison, what Julius Caesar said is not important, therefore, it is of no eternal consequence if a lot of attention is focused on the day of his death (the fifteenth of March in the year 44 BC) instead of on what he declared. In that context, it is appropriate that we have the exact date of his death.
The big difference between Scripture and secular writings (including biographies on significant men like Julius Caesar) is that Scripture is inspired of God. That means God moved the writers to write what they wrote (2 Tim. 3:16).
Regarding the death of Julius Caesar, it brought temporary euphoria for those involved in the plot, and little else. The outcome from the death of Jesus Christ is still being felt today in the lives of millions of people. Those who trust in the death of Christ for their sins gain the following:
• The assurance of sins forgiven and peace with God (John 3:16).
• Inner peace that the world can’t give (John 14:27, Acts 10:36).
• The benefit of a well-ordered and meaningful life when lived according to God’s will (Prov. 12:2, John 10:10, but the Godless endure much trouble. Rom. 3:9, 11).
• The assurance of a heavenly reward in the age to come (Eph. 6:8, John 14:2-3).
For more information on the saving work of Christ, see my paper, “God's Method of Saving Sinners” available from the main page.
Uploaded on 05 June 2009.
The Gospel and the fruit of the gospel
Some time back, a Christian newspaper (New Life, 16th October 2008) reported a message from a Church minister who gave his views on what the Gospel is. The paper was not endorsing the message; it was simply reporting. It quickly became apparent to me that this chap has failed to appreciate the distinction between ‘The Gospel’ and ‘The fruit of the gospel’. Among the many things he lists as being the Gospel he says:
“The Gospel is about invitation – joining in from where you are, not persuasion.
The Gospel is about bias – a particular regard for those on the margins.
The Gospel is about crossing boundaries – not respecting any division.
The Gospel is about leading – by being the servant of all.”
Its surprising how many people will accept such statements as being the Gospel, but they are not.
The first use of the word ‘gospel’ is in Matthew 4:23 where we read, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” (Matt. 4:23).
The word ‘gospel’ (Greek euangelion) means 'good news'. In the above passage, we see Jesus tells the gospel, or good news of the kingdom of God. In another passage Jesus said, “... the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15, KJV). “... believe the good news!” (NIV).
After the resurrection of Christ, the gospel message changes. The apostle Paul makes clear to his readers what the gospel is. He says, "... I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you ... By this gospel you are saved ..." (1 Corinthians 15:1-2). The apostle then elaborates.
“... For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
We see from this that the focus of the gospel (good news) has shifted from the kingdom of God to the major events surrounding the one who is the doorway to the kingdom.
Regarding the Gospel, the apostle Paul states that he is, "... eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome." (Romans 1:15). In other words, he is eager to present a specific message, not simply a message which deals with issues that surround the Gospel. The lesser issues can be handled by others later. In the next verse, the apostle reveals the power of the Gospel.
"... it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. ..." (1:16). Rom this point, the apostle informs us what is revealed in the Gospel.
"For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith ..." (1:17).
The good news - post the ascension of Christ to the Father - is Christ-centred. It refers to the good news of what God has done in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ lived a life of perfect righteousness which is put to the believers account. “The Lord our righteousness” (Jer. 23:6. See also Rom. 1:17). Jesus also endured whipping and a cruel death on a cross. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Jesus Christ stands in our place in regard to the righteousness that is required before God, and he also stands in our place with regard to the punishment required for sin. The main message is the message of the substitutionary atonement. Part of the message includes the bodily resurrection of Christ and his ascension to the Father.
When a person proclaims the Gospel, he proclaims certain past historical events which are centred on the person and work of Christ. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia says regarding the gospel.
“It is the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins and sonship with God restored through Christ. It means remission of sins and reconciliation with God. The gospel is not only a message of salvation, but also the instrument through which the Holy Spirit works (Rom 1:16).”
Pastors who fail to proclaim the work of Christ fail to proclaim the Gospel.
The Gospel is the good news of what God has done in Christ. It is the message by which people are saved (1 Cor. 15:2).
The fruit of the gospel is what God does in the life of the believer.
The Gospel, and the fruit of the Gospel should not be confused, those who do so end up declaring an unclear message.
For more information on another neglected and often misunderstood subject, the 'substitutionary atonement', see my paper titled, "God's Method of Saving Sinners", available from the main page.
Uploaded on 16 November 2008. Expanded 01 March 2015.
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Samoa and the problem of the Sabbath
The end of the year 2011 marked a big change for the nation of Samoa. The political leaders decided to move the International Date Line to the East of their nation to share the same day with New Zealand. To make the alignment, they decided to skip Friday 30th December 2011 and go straight to Saturday. For the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church, the change is a real problem doctrinally. The SDAs don't follow the Christian Sabbath, they follow the Jewish Sabbath which begins at Sunset on Friday, and ends at Sunset on Saturday. Many SDAs are quite legalistic regarding what they consider to be the correct day on which to have their Sabbath. Some even consider their salvation to be in jeopardy if they worship on the wrong day! Just which is the 'correct day' is rather problematic around the International Dateline. With the sun over the Pacific Ocean, some SDAs worship on a Saturday, while others wait until the next day for Saturday to arrive because their community is East of the Dateline.
Regarding the problem on Samoa, some simply want to count off seven days from the previous Saturday, which means they would be having their morning service on the same day as Christians who honour the Lord by having their Sabbath on the day He rose from the dead; Sunday. Others however, want to stick with the tradition of the Jewish Sabbath which begins at sunset on Friday, even though there is the legalistic cost of failing to worship on the seventh day from the previous Saturday. Those who want to read more on this subject should look at my paper, "The Christian Sabbath Or The Jewish Sabbath, Which Should I Follow?" Accessible from the main page.
( uploaded on 02 January 2012. )
The King James Version of the Bible (KJV)
May 2011 marked the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Version of the Bible. It became a huge success, outselling every other book. The old english words have a beauty and character which many people love. Handel's 'Messiah' which is sung by many thousands around Christmas time takes its passages of Scripture from the KJV. Its language in the minds of many conveys a certain authority. I still remember a nicely carved sign in a shop around three decades back which read, "Thou shalt not steal". I find some passages of Scripture in the KJV have a certain beauty, however, I am also mindful that the KJV has some shortcomings. Research has shown that the writing style of the original Greek New Testament was of the man in the street. Those who penned Scripture did not use words which had dropped out of use two or three hundred years back. Also, scholars now have a better understanding of some of the Greek words, leading to more accurate translations in recent years. Some claim the KJV to be the best version. Those who want to follow this subject further can read my article on the KJV debate, accessed from the main page. Also look at "The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture".
(uploaded on 09 May 2011).
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At Wilkesdale near Kingaroy in SE Queensland Australia, there is a Christian cult commune headed by forty-seven-year-old Alan John Miller. Alan is one of several fulfilling Scripture which declares that in the last days, there will be false Christ's. He declares that he is Jesus Christ. Joining him in this ridiculous delusion is Mary Suzzane Luck who declares she is Mary Magdalene. They claim to have around forty followers in this fantasy. Those who are part of what has been dubbed, 'The Jesus and Mary Cult' have cleared land in the shape of a giant cross. I guess they feel more spiritual if the clearing in which they live is in the shape of a cross.
A report on the cult by David Murray was featured in the Courier Mail, 15 May 2011. A picture of Alan Miller and Mary Luck accompanies the story. The shirt Alan is wearing with its floral design looks like it would be quite at home in a hippie commune in the 1960s. Mary Luck is much more sensibly dressed.
In case you are wondering, the Scripture being partially fulfilled by Alan Miller says, ""For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect - if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man."" (Matthew 24:24-27).
Bill Johnston and Gold Dust
Ridiculous claims are not limited to Australia. Bill Johnson, an evangelist from Bethel Church California USA claims he has seen angel feathers, gold dust and diamonds fall from Bethel’s ceiling. There were reports of gold dust appearing for a congregation in the UK about two decades back. A news reporter came to the Church to investigate the claims. When someone in the congregation opened his hands to display the gold dust, the reporter's comment was, “All I see is sweat”. Eventually the dishonest claims ceased.
Bill Johnson is not bothered by the exposure of the dishonesty in the UK. He is going full-steam ahead with his own claims. I have heard the claim of seeing angel feathers before, but those claims went the way of the gold dust in the UK. At this point I will put forward a couple of questions.
. If angels are such powerful creatures, why are they losing their feathers?
. Do angels have feathers? Please supply chapter and verse!
The teaching ministry of Bethel, headed by Bill Johnston, claims that it can teach people how to bring on God’s power to heal, and even raise the dead. According to the press (Josh Robertson, The Courier Mail, 28 May 2011, p. 14), this healing gift or knowhow is being marketed to people at prices of up to $720.00. Its DVD curricula is being marketed to Churches for around $7,000.
Among those caught up in what is regarded by many as a scam is the Nexus Church on the north side of Brisbane and the Holyfire Ministry Training School at Park Ridge on the south side.
Apparently those handing out their money, and those receiving it are not bothered that the Bible reports that Simon was rebuked when he tried to buy a gift of God from the apostle Peter. “Peter answered: ‘May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!’” (Acts 8:20).
A major reason why some Christians are gullible enough to part with their money - not many fortunately - is because of a failure to understand that God is economical with his revelation. He gives enough revelation for a willing person to follow Him faithfully. It is also true that the revelation is small enough for the unwilling person to stumble. For the unwilling, or only partially willing, Holy Scripture is not good enough. That person wants to see someone walk on water, or raise from the dead before they will take Scripture seriously. The message of our Lord through Abraham to the rich man who wanted someone to raise from the dead was, “... If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” (Luke 16:31).
At this point, let me introduce a doctrine which seems to be missing in many Churches. “God is economical with His revelation”.
Most parents around the world say something like this to their children at some point. “I have told you once and I am not going to tell you again”. The parent is in effect, warning the child that he or she is economical with his or her revelation as to what is required.
That same doctrine applies between God and man. If we choose to be only half-hearted in finding out what God requires of us, He is not going to get people to walk on water or raise from the dead. We have to take note of the revelation which has already been given.
Some Christians get excited over reports of spectacular miracles occurring somewhere, never mind that the miracle has a question mark over its validity or is clearly fraudulent in the eyes of many.
A problem with the fraudulent spectacular miracles is that they detract from the far greater miracles which God is doing every day, such as; raising the spiritually dead to life. Giving spiritual sight to the spiritually blind, and changing the cold hard heart of man so that he is warm toward God and fellow man. While man is dazzled by fraudulent spectacular miracles, he will be blind to the truly great miracles of God which are all around him.
The Bible is quite clear on the point that God is economical with his revelation. Regarding the voice of God which spoke from Mt Zion and shook the earth, the Bible declares, “‘At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’” (Hebrews 12:26). One of the things which the words ‘once more’ reveal, is that God is not going to speak from Mt Zion several times for the benefit of those who choose to be somewhat blind and dull of hearing to the things of God. If Bill Johnston has his gold dust examined, I think it will be found to be iron pyrites; that’s fool’s gold.
Upload on 06 June 2011 Return to - Index
Just a few accidents
Atheists have no choice, they are forced into a situation where they have to believe in things which make no sense. At the heart of the theory of evolution story is a long list of accidents. The first accident is the life accident. That is where some bits and pieces bump into each other in a very complicated arrangement so that life is formed. Additional accidents are as follows:
Some evolutionists are on record as having claimed that human beings are simply highly evolved pond scum. There is a big difference between pond scum and humans. That is no problem to evolutionists. It only takes a few accidents to go from pond scum to humans. I will list some of the accidents:
- The reproduction accident - After at least thousands of false starts, a simple life form splits in two and both pieces keep on living.
- The complicated reproduction accident - Again, after at least thousands of false starts, the life forms separate into two groups. One group the males, the other group being the females. From that point on, they take on a very complicated means of reproduction.
My question for the Atheists out there is:
- The lung accident - The lung accident is not one accident, but rather, a lot of little accidents which culminate in the completed lung accident.
- The heart accident, the arteries and veins accident, the blood inside the arteries and veins accident, and finally, the heart starts beating accident. For a time, when animals receive a cut, they bleed to death until along comes the coagulation of the blood accident. There are many other accidents I could mention such as the liver accident, and the pituitary gland accident. In fact, there are more amazing accidents in the theory of evolution story than you will find in the entire account of Gimm's Fairy Tales.
What is your favourite theory of evolution story accident and why?
This section uploaded on 18 July 2010.
Theory of Evolution
The theory of evolution is not good for certain groups of people.
In addition to the above, the theory of evolution is not good for science. To find out why, read the paper, "Can The Theory of Evolution Survive The Attack of Science?". That paper is a free download from the 'Origins' section (Page 1 section) in the home page. Also, take a look at the brief paper Just A Few Accidents.
- It is not good for the Australian Aborigines. Darwin thought they were sub-human; an evolutionary link to the full human. In his mind, to be fully human, you had to have white skin. Aborigines were once listed in an Australian museum booklet in the early 1900s as being animals. Darwin’s ideas led some early white settlers in Australia to shoot Aborigines. It has been estimated that perhaps as many as 10,000 bodies of Australian Aborigines were shipped to British museums in an attempt to prove they are an evolutionary link. In the Australian island state of Tasmania, they were deliberately exterminated. Many Aborigines found protection in mainland Australia in Church run Aboriginal settlements.
- It is not good for non-whites. Darwin’s ideas have led many whites to look down on coloured people as being inferior. This terrible attitude led Hitler to the belief that he should work toward developing a super race of white people. The attitude also led to apartheid in South Africa and Negro slavery in North America. When slavery was banned, discrimination remained. Discrimination has largely been shed, but not without some nasty riots in the 1960s.
- It is not good for women. Darwin looked down on women and saw them as inferior to men. It was in about the year 2003 that I saw an article in a newspaper which looked at women from an evolutionary point of view. The writer - a male of course - sought to give some technical reasons as to why it was that women missed out to some extent in the evolutionary process. I didn’t waste my time fully reading through that article.
- It is not good for those at the bottom end of the socioeconomic spectrum. Those at that end of the spectrum aren’t as fit as the others, and remember, Darwinism is in praise of the fit. It does not matter if those at the bottom die off. An extreme form of Darwinism will even accommodate helping the unfit to die off. I have in mind at this point the shooting of Aborigines, and Hitler’s and Stalin’s extermination camps.
- It was not particularly good for the peace of mind of Stalin. He had the length of the curtains where he worked shortened so that a potential assassin could not hide behind them. Someone else might decide he was the fittest and take drastic action to prove his point.
This section uploaded on 05 July 2010. Return to - Index
The terrible consequences of porn
It has been known for a while that if a person has multiple relationships, and later marries, the bond between the two will not be as solid as the marriage where there were no previous relationships. Now it has emerged that another type of relationship can ruin marriage; a relationship with porn.
Pornography has been at least a slight problem since the widespread availability of glossy colour magazines. Back in the 1970s, I was informed of a retired policeman who had set up a retreat to help young men escape their addiction to porn. The problem today is far greater because sexually explicit material is available on mobile devices free of charge. A high percentage of male adolescents are becoming addicted to pornography before they have had their first kiss. It has now emerged that addiction to pornography can mean more that annoying sexual thoughts that intrude into everyday life.
A few brave men have decided to speak out about the destructive effect of porn on their lives. “Time” magazine reports on the experience of a young man who found naked pictures on the Internet when he was nine. When he was fifteen, he learned how to download explicit videos. He often watched the videos several times a day with the spare time he had available as a part-time worker. When soft porn eventually failed to satisfy his cravings, he moved on to hard porn. In his final year of high school, he had the opportunity to have sex with a flesh and blood woman. When he tried to perform sex, he found his body would not respond to her naked presence. It would only respond to porn. “Time” reports that “... he came to believe that his adolescent Internet indulgence had somehow caused his problems and that he had what some are calling porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED). A growing number of young men are convinced that their sexual responses have been sabotaged because their brains were virtually marinated in porn when they were adolescents.” (Time magazine, 18 April 2016, p. 30).
In this first half of 2016, most people do not know what the four letters PIED stand for, but unfortunately, because of an emphasis on sex, and little on self-discipline in western society, the letters PIED will soon become as well known as the three letters, HIV.
Christians are sometimes looked on by others as people who miss out on some of the joys of life in our hedonistic (pleasure seeking) society. The Bible for good reason condemns sexual indulgence (Eph. 5:3, Col. 3:5). It condemns sex outside of marriage (Heb. 13:4). Within marriage, the husband is to give to his wife her conjugal rights (sexual rights) and vice versa (1 Cor. 7:1-5). Put simply, Christians are not to be self-centred pleasure seeking individuals. The end result of following the Bible is a very fulfilling and satisfying life - but usually not without moments of suffering and pain. Regarding suffering, we must be mindful that God Himself is prepared to suffer in order to achieve righteousness. We know that, because He suffered in the sufferings of Christ on the cross. That is a sobering thought!
(Uploaded on 16 June 2016).
The amazing giants
Get ready for photos of some amazing giant skeletons to arrive in your Email if they have not done so already. In recent weeks, a story that giant skeletons, have been found in Greece is circulating the worldwide Email system. It is claimed the skeletons could be of the biblical Nephilim. "We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them." (Num. 13:33).
In most of the photos we see digital images of skeletons which are clearly larger than a normal human skeleton, but in a couple of the photos, the digital image of one of the skulls is so large, it is beyond giant size, it is monster size. The skull alone is around one half metre from the base to the top; larger than the trunk length of a man working next to the skull.
Whoever digitally enhanced the size of the skull has over played his hand. You won't find this story in any reputable archeology report, and it won't hit the news headlines. There is a non-Christian group which occasionally puts out false reports of this type. Around ten years back, they put out a report that they had found the skull of Goliath buried on the battlefield complete with a stone buried in his skull. The problem with that story is that the skull of Goliath was not buried on the battlefield. David took the skull to Jerusalem (1 Sam. 17:54) where it was no doubt placed on display. Eventually it was buried on a hill, "the place of the skull" (John 19:17). We all know what happened on that hill.
For more on the interesting story of King David, the battle against Goliath and "the place of the skull", take a look my paper, "God's Covenant With King David" available on a link from the main page of this web site.
This story uploaded on 09 June 2010.
Convicted Bali Bombers Meet Their Fate
09 November 2008. The convicted Bali bombers who took the lives of 202 people were executed by firing squad at 0015 hrs this morning. But that is not the end of the matter, they must next stand before God on judgment day to answer for their religion of hate and murder which has born fruit in the suffering of so many.
Jesus said, “‘By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, ...’” (Matt. 7:16-21).
Uploaded on 10 November 2008.
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Skeptics Vs Creationists
Recently I read a Creation Ministries booklet titled, “Skeptics Vs Creationists”. The booklet dealt with a formal debate between the two parties which was hosted by, and placed in the Sydney Morning Herald weblog of Margo Kingston, a well-known weft-wing Australian journalist.
Often in these types of debate, the person challenging the Creationist takes a purely atheistic approach, which means the first form of life was just an accident. Complicated forms of life are just the end result of a long series of accidents. See my paper, “Just a Few Accidents”.
Imagine my surprise when the Skeptic avoided the difficult problem of how the first instance of life occurred by allowing the possibility that God exists. In defence of evolution he says, “It is not about the origin of life. It is not about the origin of the universe. It is about the journey which has brought us from there to here; whether that journey was initiated or guided by God is outside the realm of scientific investigation.” (page 30).
It is easy to visualise a situation on judgment day where God challenges this man by saying, “If you believed it is possible I exist, then why didn’t you seek after me? Away from me you wicked fellow to the punishment you deserve!”
The Australian skeptics are described in the booklet as a group that “investigates the paranormal and pseudo-science from a responsible scientific viewpoint”. One member of the group runs a web site which aims to tackle the problem of uncritical thinking.
The theory of evolution is not accepted by a large number of scientists, but the skeptics have swallowed the theory “hook, line and sinker”. It appears to me that their ability to critically look at ideas only works some of the time.
God has created mankind, and we have the ability to communicate with each other. If we have the ability to talk with each other, then quite clearly, God has the ability to talk to us. Those who want to investigate the question of whether or not God has spoken to us should read the article, “The Objective Evidence For The Christian Faith” available from the main page in March 2010.
Uploaded on 01 November 2008.
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Read the Bible
“For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6).
As a young man in the Air Force in the 1970s, I committed myself to the task of reading the Bible from cover to cover. One of the men who shared my room - a Christian - asked me what I was doing. I explained it was my intention to read right through the Bible.
He then explained to me his concern that I was getting a little too familiar with the holy book by spending so much time reading it. His view was one of adoration and awe for the book, so that you put it up on a shelf and stood back a little from it, taking it down occasionally to refresh your mind regarding an important passage.
My reply to him was that the Bible is a message from God to us which must be understood and obeyed. Failure to understand and obey can have serious consequences. The Bible is a tool for discovery and obedience. It is not an end in itself. God, the author of the Bible, is to be the object of our adoration and worship. I am thankful that I developed a keen interest in what God is telling mankind through his word.
My reading plan was quite simple. I started at the beginning of the Bible and committed myself to reading at least ten pages before going to the mess (dining room) for dinner. My plan was to read through the Bible at least twice before going to Bible College. I easily met my target by reading half way through the book for the third time before commencing studies at the Sydney Missionary and Bible College in 1974.
My commitment to read through the Bible came out of theological debate in my parents home. When I was a child, Jehovah’s Witnesses called in to the home to discuss the Bible. My maternal grandfather became concerned and came on at least a couple of occasions to debate their doctrines. He brought his more biblically aware brother, Sern Jensen.
I was too young to follow the debate, but I could see that my great uncle had a confidence about what he was declaring because of his knowledge of the Bible. I understood that what they were debating was important, so I vowed and declared that I would read the Bible from cover to cover so as to understand for myself what the truth is.
Today, people are not reading the Bible as much as they should. Part of the reason comes from the many distractions of the modern world. There are now many opportunities to choose superficiality and pleasure over substance and importance.
There are solutions. If the TV is a distraction, switch it off and commit yourself to not turn it on each night until you have read a set section of Scripture. Just as an athlete must set his mind to the task when training for his temporary prise, so too, those who study the word of God must set their mind to the task, because they work for a far greater prise.
Today I have read the Bible from cover to cover more than ten times, and the New Testament many more times. It is by reading the Bible right through that I am able to dig up many of its treasures.
Occasionally I am asked how I was able to write articles such as “God’s Covenant With King David”. The answer is, I have no easy method. As I continually read through the Bible, I take particular note of the topic I am studying at the time as I come across it in my reading. I don’t like to let treasure slip through my fingers so I take notes of important statements I come across. Sometimes I find I do not have all of the information I require until I read through the Bible again, focussing on the particular interest. Finally, the information is put together to form an interesting story for others to enjoy. The paper dealing with God’s covenant with King David is now part of a larger paper titled “The Hand of God”. You can now download that paper from the main page.
While that paper and others on the web site will be helpful for the student of God’s Word, they are no substitute to the exercise of reading the Bible. Those who are familiar with the truth will not so easily become the victims of error.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Posted on 08 June 2008.
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The Privileged Planet
News update: Since posting the comment below, I have added more material. The paper attached to The Mathematical Impossibility of the Theory of Evolution is now titled A Finely Tuned Universe.
I don’t normally advertise DVDs, but “The Privileged Planet” is the first DVD in the intelligent design category which has that “I must see that again” quality about it. I must warn though, it does contain some technical information which some find hard to follow. It is available in well-stocked Christian book stores.
Regarding the earth and its atmosphere, it is generally known that the atmosphere is held onto the earth by gravity. Well actually, there is more to it than that. Our earth has a hot molten iron core which is constantly in motion generating a magnetic field. The magnetic field is necessary to hold the atmosphere to the earth. Without the field, the atmosphere would be stripped from the earth by the solar wind. There are many other similar bits of information on the DVD.
The DVD makes the point that there are at least twenty physical laws which must be correct (little margin for error) to support a complex form of life. The number of laws known to be necessary for complex life has grown since the production of the DVD.
Some Atheists are making the claim that the correct laws for our existence are just a coincidence and that other amazing coincidences have happened in the past. For instance, the list of coincidences between Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy. I have refuted that argument in a short (one page) addition to my paper “ The Mathematical Impossibility of the Theory of Evolution” (5 pages). See section two on the main page of the web site.
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The Hand of God
A booklet titled, "The Hand of God" was uploaded on 01 March 2007. It looks at the remarkable hand of God through time, culminating in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Those who fall into error on the subject of the baptism of the Holy Spirit usually do so because they focus on a verse of Scripture here and there and fail to give sufficient attention to the overall plan of God as revealed in the rest of Scripture. When the overall plan of God is understood, many of the otherwise difficult passages of Scripture are clearly understood. It is the primary focus of this web page to give readers an understanding of the bigger picture before going into detail on individual verses of Scripture. Take a look at "The Hand of God" and enjoy. A free download (22 pages, .pdf format) available from the main page.
Wrong source of information
People can get themselves into a lot of trouble when they reject God and get their values from another source. Take for instance the case of Devin Moore, a young man in the United States who now sits on death row.
Devin was taken to an Alabama police station for questioning about a stolen car. He was initially cooperative, but suddenly lunged for the policeman’s gun. He successfully grabbed the gun and fatally shot the police officer. Before escaping in a police car, he shot and killed two more police. He was later captured and questioned about the incident. He is reported to have said at one point, “Life is like a video game. You have to die sometime.” (1)
If there is no God, then the claim that life is like a video game is largely true. You just live out your life the way you feel is best and take your chances. People like Devin need to know there is a God who gives meaning and joy to life. On the other hand, if God is ignored, the offender faces the certainty of a just punishment which lasts much longer than anything the courts can deliver. For information on how to get right with God, read, “Four Things You Need to Know”. (Available from the main page, page 1). Uploaded May 2007
(1) (Helen Phillips, New Scientist, 21 April 2007, p. 33).
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Professor Richard Dawkins, outspoken Atheist and evolutionary biologist, was in Australia in the first week of March 2010, promoting his book, "The Greatest Show On Earth". This is the same Dawkins who believes that evolutionary change is brought about largely by mutations. However, when asked to give an example of a mutation adding useful information to the genetic code, Dawkins could not give one. I thought scientists were supposed to adopt views which are based on scientific evidence! You can view Dawkin's response to the above question by viewing the .htm version of my article, "Can The Theory of Evolution Survive The Attack of Science?" See the link at the bottom of the article.
Dawkins gave at least public support to the Atheists bus advertising campaign which stated, "There's probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy life". The Atheists who came up with that slogan obviously don't know much about Christianity. My fellowship with God has added joy and meaning to my life. No genuine Christian would want to give up what he has gained. Jesus said, "... I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10).
Dawkins has publicly made the claim that no true scientist doubts the theory of evolution. That is an outrageous claim. Not only do many scientists doubt the theory, many have publicly opposed it. Some of those scientists by way of exanple are listed in my paper.
Bad Design Argument
Dawkins, in an interview on 03 March 2010 with Fran Kelly, the ABC Radio National Breakfast host (Australia), made the claim that he had evidence that mammals are not designed because all mammals have a nerve (Recurrent Laryngeal nerve) that starts at the brain and goes down into the chest cavity, loops around a major artery and travels back up to its destination, the larynx (voice box). He makes the claim that for humans, that long journey is ridiculous, and for a Giraffe, it is 'mega ridiculous'. If there really was a God, he would not do it that way.
Atheists have fallen on their faces many times with the, 'We don't understand what this is for, therefore it proves there is no God.' I am surprised that Dawkins still persists with that line of argument.
In the past, evolutionists have claimed the human body had many 'evolutionary leftovers'. This idea arouse out of ignorance concerning the function of many organs. For instance, the appendix and the tonsils. The term, 'Junk DNA' was given to DNA which appeared at the time to have no useful function. All of the above have now been found to have a useful function. Dawkins has fallen into the ignorance is evidence error. He does not understand why the nerve needs to be so long, so lack of understanding becomes the basis for his argument.
Double Edged Sword
Dawkins argument is a double edged sword. As an Atheist, Dawkins believes every nerve and organ in our body just happens to be the right size and in the correct place through chance random processes. If chance random processes are so clever, how come it got one nerve wrong? God, the designer and creator of the universe and everything it contains, obviously has a reason for the nerve travelling down into the chest cavity which man has yet to discover. Dawkins and his fellow Atheists are not likely to be in any hurry to find a complicated answer to the above problem. To do so would only add another nail to the Atheist's coffin.
Dawkins makes the claim that his book provides proof that the theory of evolution is true. That is quite a bold claim to make. I have been following the theory of evolution controversy for many years now and I have yet to see any evidence that
poves the theory. Dawkins might be excited that he thinks he has the proof that the world has been waiting for, but I certainly don't see that excitement in the wider scientific community. Dawkins book has been on the book shelves of stores for several months now and it has failed to generate much interest. So in summary, don't expect to see bold headlines in the newspapers stating, "Theory of Evolution Has Been Proven" anytime soon.
Dawkins produced a book titled, "The God Delusion". The poor logic in that book was challenged in a book titled, "The Dawkins Delusion". Dawkins latest book has been challenged by a scientist from the field of microbiology. His name is Jonathan Sarfati. His book is aptly titled, "The Greatest Hoax On Earth?" The front cover features two chess pieces - the two kings. The black king has SCIENCE written on the side of it, and it is standing. The white king has EVOLUTION written on the side of it, and it has fallen on its side. In the science verses theory of evolution debate, science wins every time when correctly presented. Those who want to find out more about Jonathan Sarfati's book should go to
Climbing Mt Improbable
To overcome quite large scientific obstacles to the theory of evolution, Dawkins talks about 'climbing Mt Improbable'. His argument is very clever, but not sound. Basically, his argument goes like this. We are to imagine the progress from microbe to man as being like a tall mountain. Going from the base straight up a cliff face is very difficult, but if we start a long way back from the mountain and choose to go up a gentle slope, moving forward inch by inch, then we slowly climb, increment by increment, until finally we reach the top. By this approach, big problems can disappear if you just chop them up to small enough pieces.
With this line of thinking, someone could put forward the claim that a man could hit a golf ball from this galaxy across to the next. The many objections to the idea are overcome by:
The evolution story which has microbes turning into men can only gain respectability when a lot of scientific information is ignored. It is not only science which must be ignored, but also recent history. Atheism along with theory of evolution thinking was of no benefit to Hitler and his people, and it was of no benefit to Starlin and his people. Both Germany and Russia suffered badly because their rulers did not believe they were accountable to God. They could do to others as they pleased. Giving to a ruler or government some support for the idea that there is no God that he or they must answer to may give additional freedom, but it is a very dangerous freedom.
- Ignoring a lot of scientific facts.
- Then claming that by driving the golf ball forward 100 metres or so at a time, then slowly, increment by increment, you will get that ball across to the next galaxy.
Now lets add some missing scientific facts:
- The golf ball will not continue in the direction of the target galaxy because gravity will bring the golf ball to earth.
- Even if we ignore that scientific fact and imagine the ball staying put in the intended direction of travel, there are additional scientific facts which will prevent any man from driving a golf ball increment by increment to the next galaxy.
I will now deal with the matter of suffering because Dawkins, and many others for that matter, think they have a case against there being a God because there is suffering in the world.
When I was going through combat training as a young recruit in the Air Force (RAAF), our instructor made it clear to us that we should not expect to be treated well if we were captured. If officers hit their own men to emphasise a point (Japanese officers for instance in WW II hit their men), then we should not complain if an enemy officer hits us if we get captured. We had to deal with each situation in its context.
Suffering and a God of love
Some complain about the suffering in this world, arguing that if God loves everyone, then why does he allow suffering?
The answer to this puzzle is best seen in the context of the suffering of Christ.
God sent his Son into the world to suffer and die for those who put their trust in him. Jesus was completely righteous every day of his life, therefore, he was not deserving of any suffering. However, he chose to suffer in order to bring sinners to God.
It follows then that if God sent his own Son to suffer, and Jesus determined himself that he should suffer, then those of us who are sinners can hardly complain about our own sufferings. If we do unjustly grumble and complaign about the hardship we face, then we add to our sins in the light of the one who took on suffering without complaigning.
Many of Christ's followers take on suffering, usually financially or through hard work in order to alleviate the suffering of others. It is interesting to observe that it is often the case that those who complain the loudest against God about suffering are the ones who put in the least effort to alleviate the suffering of others.
Suffering produces character and proclaims a good character
If I do not work, I will suffer hunger and poor shelter. Suffering motivates me to take care of my own needs and the needs of others. If I am thoughtless about what I eat, or engage in substance abuse, then I will suffer the consequences.
Some suffer because of circumstances outside of their control. Perhaps through harsh environmental factors, or the terrible actions of others. Jesus Christ suffered terribly because of the actions of others.
God is not someone who dwells in a remote area of the universe, and has little thought for his creation. The great marvel for all of mankind is that God sent his Son into the world in human flesh. Jesus then endured the hardships that were common to men of that era, and finally suffered a cruel death.
Suffering in the context of time.
People suffer and Jesus suffered more than most. His suffering ended in death, as in most cases will our lesser earthly suffering. His suffering was not in vain. He rose from the dead to receive the reward prepared for him from God the Father. Our sufferings in this world will also come to an end. Those who have done evil will be cast into Hell where they will receive the punishment they deserve. From that moment on, all unjust suffering will come to an end. No person can rightly complain about the final outcome.
Those who are saved through the work of Christ will enter heaven. The final state for all of mankind will never end. So in the context of eternity, the sufferings of this world are very short in duration.
Suffering, the great excuse.
Some people don't want to come to God for various reasons. Quite often it is because they harbour a secret sin or at least a secret desire to engage in a sinful activity. Such people don't want to admit to such shortcomings on their part, not even to themselves. They decide not to find fault with themselves, but rather with God. They are not going to come to God because he has allowed suffering for a short time. This excuse is used by a wide range of people, from the humblest of servants, right through to professors and prime ministers. The folly of their actions will be revealed on judgment day because God knows the heart of every man.
This article uploaded on 25 March 2010.
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Dawkins anti-God book
Just before Christmas 2006, The Courier Mail newspaper reviewed a book written by Oxford University Professor, Richard Dawkins titled, "The God Delusion”. As the name suggests, this book puts up arguments for the claim that God doses not exist. Dawkins denounces all religion as absurd.
One reviewer says, “Disappointingly, Dawkins fails to see the difference between moderate Christian groups and fundamentalists with links to terrorist groups.” Quite clearly, Dawkins is taking a rather simplistic approach to the subject he is dealing with. Would Dawkins be happy with a student taking a simplistic approach with a science subject?
Dawkin’s book has enraged believers such as Terry Eagleton, the Professor of English Literature at Manchester University. In comments published in the London Telegraph he complained Dawkins’s book contained “vulgar caricatures of religious faith that would make a first-year theology student wince”.
Rival science writer Professor Stephen Jones who wrote the best seller, “The Single Helix” said of Dawkins book, “...
it was depressing to see the forces of irrationality coming back again”. Jones is the Professor of Genetics at University College London. (The Courier Mail, 23 December 2006, p. 25) Clearly, Dawkins can write a book with simplistic arguments attacking the existence of God, but can he go to a laboratory, put together some ingredients within a specially designed shell, then place his ‘seed’ in soil, water it and watch it grow up into a plant? Hardly likely. On just this one point, God wins, Dawkins loses. Web sites like this one are needed in an age where Christianity is coming under increased attack. Inform your friends so that they can be encouraged.
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New paper: "Conspiracy Theories"
A few years back, there was a documentary on TV on spying. Under the subject of ‘disinformation’ - you and I would call it just plain ‘lying’- a former KGB officer was interviewed. He confessed to working with another KGB officer on a book which had the aim of leading Americans to distrust their government.
The book took advantage of the then recent John F Kennedy assassination. It made the claim that Kennedy was shot on the orders of agents within the US government, and that government officials put measures in place to cover up their work. The book is a complete work of fiction apart from the basic facts.
In recent years there has been an increase in books with a government conspiracy theme. They are clearly written with the aim of getting as many people as possible to distrust the free and open democratic process which we enjoy. Some examples include the International Bankers conspiracy theory which became popular in the 1970s. That theory which has now lost favour wanted us to believe communism was financed by powerful international bankers.
More recently, a theory proposes the massacre of thirty-five people at Port Arthur in 1996 was carried out by or with the aid of the Australian government. A more daring theory claims the attack by terrorists on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon was carried out on orders of the Bush administration. The theory even makes the rather absurd claim that the damage to the Pentagon was caused by a missile instead of a jet airliner. Again, the aim of the theory is to get people to distrust their government.
It has come to my notice that some Christians are believing the stories and are helping to spread them. Those who think there is any substance to one or more of the stories may like to read my rebuttals. See file: 'Conspiracies.htm' accessed from the main page under the Refuting Error section (page three).
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Scams, Lies and Deception
I, along with thousands of others have been receiving by Email offers to accept a gift of a large sum of money. The offers of course are not genuine. To learn more, click on link. Go
Uploaded on 01 February 2011.
A few months back, I stood in line at a checkout where the steady progress of people past the cashier had come to a halt. A lady was rummaging through a box of stones on display. A sign on the side of the box said, "Lucky Stones". She had already grabbed four or five stones when she made the comment that she was trying to find the stone marked "Harmony". It apparently didn't occur to her that someone had simply collected the stones out of a river bed and had put labels on the stones with a nice sounding word to encourage buyers. At $1.00 per stone, she paid a high price for her foolish behaviour.
If you want to read something that really does make sense, read "The Objective Evidence For The Christian Faith". It's free. Access from main page. Index
Regarding the release of the new model Holden (VE) widely reported on in August 2006, one car reporter had this to say. “It has cost a staggering $1.2 billion to develop over eight years and has undergone the most intensive parts and components validation in the company’s history.” (Gordon Lomas, Cars Guide, The Courier Mail, 05 August 2006, p. 3).
Quite clearly, GMH did not think chance random processes could produce a good quality car. Chance random processes will not produce the complicated machinery found within all living things. If you want to see how hopelessly inadequate chance random processes are at producing a complicated piece of machinery, then read my paper, “The Mathematical Impossibility of The Theory of Evolution” accessed from the main page. For a slightly humorous look at the theory of evolution, go to: “The Beginning of Everything”.
The Da Vinci Code
This article has been moved to the end of the paper on Conspiracies (See 'Conspiracies.htm' or 'Conspiracies.pdf').
News in this section has dropped out of mainstream current interest
The year 2017
This year marks a significant anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in earnest (the 500th anniversary) when Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg Germany. This act, protesting the false teachings of the Roman Catholic Church took place on 31 October 1517. Because the 500th anniversary will mark a momentous time in Church history, I plan to make some comments on the reformation over the coming months leading up to the special date, the 31st October.
Felix Manz (c. 1498-1527)
First Anabaptist martyr in 1527 (10 years after the beginning of the Protestant reformation). Felix Manz had a thorough knowledge of Hebrew, Latin and Greek. He joined with the Swiss reformer, Zwingli in 1519, but later differences surfaced, particularly over the baptism of infants. With Gabel and Hetzer, he formed the original Swiss Brethren congregation. This group did not recognise their baptism as infants because it was not based on a personal commitment to Jesus Christ, so they all submitted to a legitimate baptism. Opponents to the practice viewed the believers’ baptism as a second baptism, hence the name ‘Anabaptist’ ('ana' means again). The Swiss Council passed strict laws in 1526 against rebaptising in an effort to stop the practice. The laws included death by drowning for those who disobeyed. Later that year (1526) Manz was arrested, and on 05 January 1527, after refusing to recant, he was drowned in the River Limmat. He was the first martyr who was fighting for believers’ baptism; in fact, he was the first martyr to die at the hands of fellow Protestants (The New International Dictionary of The Christain Church, p. 628). The river Limmat flows into Lake Zurich. Some sources say he was drowned in Lake Zurich. It is 490 years this year (2017) since the martyrdom of Felix Manz.
(Uploaded on 01 July 2017).
Two hundred years ago
It was two hundred years ago (March 1817) that a branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society started distributing the Bible in Australia. “Eternity News” says regarding this great event,
“For Christians, the Bible is so much a part of their every day, that it’s hard to imagine life without it. But for the first three decades of the colony of New South Wales, many hard-working settlers had no access to the word of God. It was with the vision of assisting in “distributing the word of God – the Bread of Eternal Life – to the poor perishing souls of our fellow creatures” that an auxiliary branch of the British and Foreign Bible Society in the colony of New South Wales was set up on 7 March, 1817. The creation of what has become known as the Bible Society Australia was reported on by the Sydney Gazette: “The lonely settler, who can read, or has anyone about him who can read, but is nevertheless without a Bible, will now find a means of collecting his little household about his fire side, and instead of passing away his evenings idly and without delight, listen to those lessons of instruction that will at once amuse and gratify him more than any other book, or any other manner in which he could have employed the space of unproductive leisure.” (From https://www.eternitynews.com.au/section/good-news/) Accessed January 2017.
If you remember the years of the Billy Graham Crusades, you may recall that Cliff Barrows played a big part as director of the music programming. He was visible before the public as the man who led the singing. After a brief illness, he passed on to glory on 15 November 2016 at Carolinas Medical Centre, Prineville USA, aged 93 (Billy Graham passed into glory on 21 February 2018 aged 99). Fortunately, the free on line “New Life” Christian newspaper covered the details of his passing. This big event was largely ignored by the secular media here in Australia. I have uploaded the relevant newspaper which gives an outline of the life of Cliff (PDF format) to my web site, click on ‘Go’ and read a short piece about Cliff on page one. Go
For current and back issues of the paper, go to www.nlife.com.au
Religious Instruction in Queensland
This news will apply primarily to residents of Queensland Australia, but may be of interest to others as well.
The Courier Mail (Saturday 15 April 2006, p. 1) reported on an attempt by the Beattie Labor government to change the laws governing religious education in Queensland. The proposed changes would have allowed Humanists, Atheists and others to push their views on to children. Thanks to those who have protested over these moves, particularly to clear thinking politicians such as Stuart Copeland who "slammed the laws, saying they hailed from the ‘loopy left of the Labour Party’" (CM, 18 April 2006, p. 2) and also Carolyn Cormack. The battle to present to children the truth has been won for the time being. Regarding this win, the Courier Mail says:
“Plans to widen religious education in state schools have been dumped after the Beattie Government bowed to pressure from conservative Christian groups. The backflip followed growing concern among Labor backbenchers that the Government would face electoral opposition from some Christian churches and right-wing community groups.
But humanist and representatives of some minority religions said the current rules were discriminatory and vowed to continue their fight for equal access. Premier Peter Beattie and Education Minister Rod Welford yesterday announced the Government had shelved the plan but did not rule out similar changes in the future." (Rosemary Odgers and Lachlan Heywood, The Courier Mail, 23 May 2006, p.1).
We may need to take up the fight at a later time as the last part of that report reveals.
See following, the earlier report from the Courier Mail and my comments:
The Courier Mail (Saturday 15 April 2006, p. 1) reports. “Any belief system could soon be taught in Queensland state schools following changes to the laws governing religious education. The changes will allow any group - religious or not - to offer spiritual instruction to children, provided their parents agree. The State Government has pressed ahead with the changes despite the protests of Christian churches worried about marginalising religion in schools ... Under section 75 of the Education (General Provisions) Bill 2006, due to be enacted this year, no student will attend religious education lessons unless their parents write to the school requiring them to do so. And in line with anti-discrimination laws, religious education classes will no longer be taught solely by church representatives. Groups with a non-religious system of beliefs - providing they are apolitical - will also be allowed to teach religious education classes. The Australian Humanist Society expects the Bill to be enacted in July...”
It appears the government has been swayed by the Humanist Society. The paper reports that the Humanist Society “has already drawn up a syllabus dealing with science-based education, creative thinking, ethical responsibility and the separation of the church and state.” (p. 1).
It appears that under the above system, a child’s knowledge that one day, he or she must stand before God and answer for what he or she has done is to be replaced by ‘ethical responsibility’. But why bother with ‘ethical responsibility’ if you think you can get away with a bit of self indulgence and perhaps a bit of crime as well? I think it was back in 2003 that the Beattie government made witchcraft legal in Queensland. The Beattie government also brought in Sunday trading. This legislation is another step in the wrong direction.
Parents with children in state run schools will need to monitor very carefully what their children are being taught. If they are not certain, they should probably decide to not have their children taught religious instruction through the school system.
Web sites like this one are becoming increasingly important in today’s world where people are facing distracting forces; the pleasures of the world along with God denying and God distorting doctrines. If you find this web site helpful, don’t keep it to yourself, tell a friend.
Yours in Christ
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