"THE BOOK OF PROVERBS" Surety, Sloth, Scoundrels, And Strumpets (6:1-7:27) INTRODUCTION 1. The first nine chapters of Proverbs contain discourses extolling wisdom... a. Praising it over folly b. Illustrating its value in life 2. Interspersed throughout are exhortations regarding wisdom... a. Warnings against foolish conduct b. Counsel on behavior that reflects wisdom [Such is the case in the text for our study (Pr 6:1-7:27), where we find warnings concerning "Surety, Sloth, Scoundrels, and Strumpets." Let's start with the warning...] I. REGARDING SURETY (6:1-5) A. THE WARNING... 1. Do not become surety for a friend 2. That is, do not make yourself liable for someone else's debt 3. If you do, get out of it as quickly as possible 4. If necessary, humble yourself and plead 5. The warning is repeated in Proverbs - Pr 11:15; 17:18 B. THE REASON... 1. It may seem like kindness to cosign a loan for a friend 2. But there are reasons it may not be (from the Believer's Bible Commentary) a. You might be helping him to buy something which it is not God's will for him to have b. You might be encouraging him to be a spendthrift or even a gambler c. If he defaults and you have to pay for something that is not your own, friendship will end and bitterness begin 3. Thus it may be better to simply give or loan the money personally - cf. Mt 5:42 [From being too eager to help, we now turn to being too eager to sleep as we consider a warning...] II. REGARDING SLOTH (6:6-11) A. THE WARNING... 1. For sluggards who prefer sleep to work 2. Learn wisdom from the lowly ant 3. Observe her diligence without need of overseer 4. How she provides in the summer and gathers in the harvest - cf. Pr 30:25 5. The emphasis is on being diligent in one's work B. THE REASON... 1. Laziness is the parent of poverty 2. As taught elsewhere in the Proverbs - Pr 10:4; 13:4; 20:4 3. You only steal from yourself when you are lazy 4. Thus diligence in all that we do is the proper course - cf. Ecc 9:10; Ro 12:15 [From personal conduct in ourselves to that seen in others, we next find a warning...] III. REGARDING SCOUNDRELS (6:12-19) A. THE WARNING... 1. The tactics of the wicked described (especially a con man) a. Walks with a perverse mouth (crooked speech) b. Winks with his eyes, shuffles his feet, points with his fingers (winking and giving signals to deceive others, CEV) c. Perversity in his heart, devises evil continually (plotting mischief) d. Sows discord 2. Somatic therapy truly perverted! a. Using the body in ways to deceive others b. Whereas earlier we read of better ways to use the body - cf. Pr 4:20-27 3. Upon such a person calamity and destruction will come quickly B. THE REASON... 1. The Lord hates such behavior 2. It is an abomination to Him: a. A proud look (arrogance) b. A lying tongue (dishonesty) c. Hands that shed innocent blood (murder) d. A heart that devises wicked plans (contemplating evil) e. Feet that are swift running to evil (quick to do evil) f. A false witness who speaks lies (lying in giving public testimony) g. One who sows discord among brethren (note well: this is ranked among lying and murder!) 3. Conduct that destroys relationships with others is just as abominable as that which destroys our relationship with God Himself! [Finally, resuming a thread first started in 2:16-19 and expounded further in 5:1-23, we find a warning that starts in verse 20 and continues throughout the seventh chapter...] IV. REGARDING STRUMPETS (6:20-7:27) A. THE WARNING... 1. Listen to your parents when they warn you 2. They can keep you from the immoral woman 3. Who seduces with flattery tongue and allures with her eyes 4. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart 5. An illustration of one caught up in this folly - cf. Pr 7:1-27 B. THE REASON... 1. She will reduce you to a crust of bread, and prey on your life 2. She is too hot to handle safely, you will only burn yourself 3. People may have a little tolerance for one who steals out of hunger 4. But no one has respect for a man who steals another's wife 5. The husband in particular will never be appeased CONCLUSION 1. Thus the wisdom found in Proverbs is seen to be very practical a. Guiding one in their own behavior b. Guarding one against the behavior of others 2. Warning us against such things as... a. Surety that ensnares b. Sloth that impoverishes c. Scoundrels that mislead and sow discord d. Strumpets that entice and destroy through the lust of the flesh Will we heed the words of wisdom? In our next study we will find Sophia (wisdom) once again pleading for us to heed her cries...
"THE BOOK OF PROVERBS" The Peril Of Adultery (5:1-23) INTRODUCTION 1. Earlier in his discourses on wisdom, Solomon warned of being delivered from an immoral woman... a. The seductress who flatters with her words - Pr 2:16 b. Who forsakes her husband and forgets her covenant with God - Pro 2:17 c. Whose home and paths leads to death - Pr 2:18-19 2. Similar warnings are repeated in these discourses of Solomon ... a. In chapters five, six, and seven b. Such repetition implies that the danger is great c. It was a serious problem in Solomon's day, certainly no less today [In chapter five, we read of "The Peril Of Adultery". Beginning with a call to pay attention (Pr 5:1-2), we are warned about...] I. THE PROMISE OF ADULTERY A. THE FALSE PROMISE... 1. It sounds and feels good at first - Pr 5:3 2. For such enticement involves flattery - cf. Pr 2:16; 6:24; 7:21 3. And forbidden fruit is always tempting - e.g., Gen 3:6 -- Adultery promises much, but what does it deliver? B. THE REAL PROMISE... 1. The end of adultery is sharp bitterness - Pr 5:4 2. The real promise is death followed by condemnation - Pr 5:5; cf. He 13:4 3. Thus the ways of adultery are unstable, unknowable - Pr 5:6 -- Adultery delivers, but not what it promises! [To appreciate what adultery really delivers, we are next told of...] II. THE PRICE OF ADULTERY A. IT COSTS YOUR WEALTH... 1. Solomon pleads with his children to stay away from the immoral woman - Pr 5:7-8 2. His first reason: "Lest you give your honor to others..." - Pr 5:9a 3. He reiterates: "Lest aliens be filled with your wealth, And your labors go to the house of a foreigner." - Pr 5:10 -- Alimony and child support can eat away at your finances B. IT COSTS YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH... 1. Solomon's second reason: "...and your years to the cruel one." - Pr 5:9b 2. He adds: "And you mourn at last, when your flesh and body are consumed." - Pr 5:11 3. Bacterial STDs (e.g., Chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea) are often brought on by immorality; 4. Viral STDs (e.g., genital herpes, Hepatitis B, AIDS) are incurable -- Sexually transmitted diseases can eat away at your body C. IT COSTS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH... 1. You will be filled with self-recrimination: "How I hated instruction, and my heart despised correction! I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me!" - Pr 5:12-13 2. You will not forget what your parents, teachers, preachers, and true friends told you 3. As you recall the violent affects of divorce on your spouse (and on your children who will likely suffer the worst), you will berate your stupidity! - cf. Mal 2:16 -- Your conscience can eat away at your peace of mind D. IT COSTS YOUR REPUTATION... 1. As suggested by these words: "I was on the verge of total ruin, in the midst of the assembly and congregation." - Pro 5:14 2. People do not take lightly the sin of adultery - cf. Pr 6: 27-35 3. Can a person be trusted who would lie to their spouse? -- Your unfaithfulness can eat away at your reputation [Adultery destroys one's wealth, body, soul, and reputation. Forgiveness is possible (1Co 6:9-11), but many affects of adultery continue throughout one's life. Much better, therefore, to take to heart...] III. THE PREVENTION OF ADULTERY A. LOVE YOUR SPOUSE... 1. Rejoice with the wife of your youth; be enraptured by her love - Pr 5:15-19; cf. Ec 9:9 a. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church - Ep 5: 25,28 b. Wives, learn to love your husbands - Tit 2:3-4 2. Why be enraptured by an adulteress (adulterer) and seductress (seducer)? - Pr 5:20 a. One's true character is revealed by their immorality b. If they commit adultery with you, they are likely to commit adultery against you! -- Enraptured love is commanded, which means it can be learned (and relearned) B. LOVE YOUR LORD... 1. The Lord is omniscient, and sins will have their effect - Pro 5:21-23 a. He sees all - Pr 15:3 b. God will judge fornicators and adulterers - He 13:4 c. When one sins against the Lord, their sins will be exposed - Num 32:23 2. How much better to love the Lord, and be loyal to Him a. He looks for those loyal to Him - cf. 2Ch 16:9; Mt 22:37 b. Joseph's devotion to God prevented him from being tempted - cf. Gen 39:7-10 c. The Lord blessed Joseph because of his faithfulness - cf. Gen 39:21; 41:50-52 -- Those who love the Lord foremost, love their spouses forever! CONCLUSION 1. The promise of adultery is deceptive... a. It promises pleasure b. It really promises death and condemnation 2. The price of adultery is terrible... a. Which too many learn by sad experience b. Which all can avoid by heeding God's Word 3. The prevention of adultery is possible when our love is in the right place... a. Loving the Lord with all our heart b. Loving our spouses with God's blessing Heed the wisdom of Solomon regarding "The Peril Of Adultery", and we will not destroy our lives with misdirected affection...!
The Quran and Jesus’ Personal Conduct
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
The Quran’s confusion regarding the person of Jesus manifests itself repeatedly—a confusion that reflects the misconceptions and misrepresentations of the New Testament that were prevalent within Christendom in the sixth and seventh centuries, which, in turn, were mistakenly accepted into the Quran. For example, consider the Quran’s report of Allah’s communication with Mary regarding Jesus:
(And remember) when the angels said: O Mary! Lo! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word from Him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, illustrious in the world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (unto Allah). He will speak unto mankind in his cradle and in his manhood, and he is of the righteous. She said: My Lord! How can I have a child when no mortal hath touched me? He said: So (it will be). Allah createth what He will. If He decreeth a thing, He saith unto it only: Be! and it is. And He will teach him the Scripture and wisdom, and the Torah and the Gospel. And will make him a messenger unto the children of Israel, (saying): Lo! I come unto you with a sign from your Lord. Lo! I fashion for you out of clay the likeness of a bird, and I breathe into it and it is a bird, by Allah’s leave. I heal him who was born blind, and the leper, and I raise the dead, by Allah’s leave. And I announce unto you what ye eat and what ye store up in your houses. Lo! herein verily is a portent for you, if ye are to be believers (Surah 3:45-49, emp. added).A parallel passage is found in Surah 5:
When Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My favour unto thee and unto thy mother; how I strengthened thee with the holy Spirit, so that thou spakest unto mankind in the cradle as in maturity; and how I taught thee the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and how thou didst shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My permission, and didst blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission, and thou didst heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission; and how thou didst raise the dead, by My permission; and how I restrained the Children of Israel from (harming) thee when thou camest unto them with clear proofs, and those of them who disbelieved exclaimed: This is naught else than mere magic (5:110, emp. added).Even the casual reader of the New Testament is familiar with Jesus healing the blind and lepers, and raising the dead. But the New Testament is conspicuously silent about Jesus creating birds or speaking from the cradle, even as it is silent on nearly all details of Jesus’ childhood. That is because the Quran’s allusion to Jesus fashioning birds out of clay, which then came to life, was a fanciful Christian fable with a wide circulation. It is found, for example, in the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Savior (15:1-6) that dates from the second century (Hutchison, 1939, 1:199)—four hundred years before Muhammad’s birth:
And when the Lord Jesus was seven years of age, he was on a certain day with other boys his companions about the same age. Who when they were at play made clay into several shapes, namely asses, oxen, birds, and other figures, each boasting of his work, and endeavouring to exceed the rest. Then the Lord Jesus said to the boys, I will command these figures which I have made to walk. And immediately they moved, and when he commanded them to return, they returned. He had also made the figures of birds and sparrows, which, when he commanded to fly, did fly, and when he commanded to stand still, did stand still (The Lost Books, 1979, pp. 52-53).A similar legend is found in the Gospel of Thomas (1:4-9) that likewise predates (Cullmann, 1991, 1:442) the production of the Quran:
Then he took from the bank of the stream some soft clay, and formed out of it twelve sparrows; and there were other boys playing with him.... Then Jesus clapping together the palms of his hands, called to the sparrows, and said to them: Go, fly away; and while ye live remember me. So the sparrows fled away, making a noise (The Lost Books, p. 60).Observe also in the above Quranic passage the allusion to Jesus speaking while yet in His cradle. This point is elaborated more fully in Surah 19 where, after giving birth to Jesus beside the trunk of a palm tree in a remote location, Mary returned to her people carrying the child in her arms and received the following reaction:
Then she brought him to her own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! Thou hast come with an amazing thing. Oh sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a wicked man nor was thy mother a harlot. Then she pointed to him. They said: How can we talk to one who is in the cradle, a young boy? He spake: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He hath given me the Scripture and hath appointed me a Prophet, and hath made me blessed wheresoever I may be, and hath enjoined upon me prayer and alms‑giving so long as I remain alive, and (hath made me) dutiful toward her who bore me, and hath not made me arrogant, unblest. Peace on me the day I was born, and the day I die, and the day I shall be raised alive! Such was Jesus, son of Mary: (this is) a statement of the truth concerning which they doubt (Surah 19:27-34, emp. added).The idea that Jesus spoke while yet in the cradle preceded the Quran, having been given in the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Savior (1:2-3): “Jesus spoke, and, indeed when He was lying in His cradle said to Mary his mother: I am Jesus, the Son of God, the Logos, whom thou hast brought forth, as the Angel Gabriel announced to thee; and my Father has sent me for the salvation of the world” (Roberts and Donaldson, 1951, 8:405). These mythical accounts are contrary to the Bible’s depiction of the Christ. Yet the legendary folklore extant in the centuries immediately following the production of the New Testament is replete with such absurdities, which obviously were so commonplace that the author of the Quran mistook them as authentic and legitimate representations of the New Testament.
Hutchison, J. (1939), “Apocryphal Gospels,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 1:199.
The Lost Books of the Bible (1979 reprint), (New York: Random House).
Pickthall, Mohammed M. (n.d.), The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (New York: Mentor).
Roberts, Alexander and James Donaldson (1951), The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Did God Order the Killing of Babies?
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
Skeptics and atheists have been critical of the Bible’s portrayal of God ordering the death of entire populations—including women and children. For example, God instructed Saul through the prophet Samuel to “go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey” (1 Samuel 15:3-4, emp. added). Other examples include the period of the Israelite conquest of Canaan in which God instructed the people to exterminate the Canaanite populations that occupied Palestine at the time. However, if one cares to examine the circumstances and assess the rationale, the Bible consistently exonerates itself by offering legitimate clarification and explanation to satisfy the honest searcher of truth.
The Hebrew term herem found, for instance, in Joshua 6:17, refers to the total dedication or giving over of the enemy to God as a sacrifice involving the extermination of the populace. It is alleged that the God of the Bible is as barbaric and cruel as any of the pagan gods. But this assessment is simply not true.
If the critic would take the time to study the Bible and make an honest evaluation of the principles of God’s justice, wrath, and love, he would see the perfect and harmonious interplay between them. God’s vengeance is not like the impulsive, irrational, emotional outbursts of pagan deities or human beings. He is infinite in all His attributes and thus perfect in justice, love, and anger. Just as God’s ultimate and final condemnation of sinners to eternal punishment will be just and appropriate, so the temporal judgment of wicked people in the Old Testament was ethical and fair. We human beings do not have an accurate handle on the gravity of sin and the deplorable nature of evil and wickedness. Human sentimentality is hardly a qualified measuring stick for divine truth and spiritual reality.
How incredibly ironic that the atheist, the agnostic, the skeptic, and the liberal all attempt to stand in judgment upon the ethical behavior of God when, if one embraces their position, there is no such thing as an absolute, objective, authoritative standard by which to pronounce anything right or wrong. As the French existentialist philosopher, Sartre, admitted: “Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist.... Nor...are we provided with any values or commands that could legitimize our behavior” (1961, p. 485). The atheist and agnostic have absolutely no platform on which to stand to make moral or ethical distinctions—except as the result of purely personal taste. The mere fact that they concede the existence of objective evil is an unwitting concession there is a God Who has established an absolute framework of moral judgments.
The facts of the matter are that the Canaanites, whom God’s people were to destroy, were destroyed for their wickedness (Deuteronomy 9:4; 18:9-12; Leviticus 18:24-25,27-28). Canaanite culture and religion in the second millennium B.C. were polluted, corrupt, and perverted. No doubt the people were physically diseased from their illicit behavior. There simply was no viable solution to their condition except destruction. Their moral depravity was “full” (Genesis 15:16). They had slumped to such an immoral, depraved state, with no hope of recovery, that their existence on this Earth had to be terminated—just like in Noah’s day when God waited while Noah preached for years, but was unable to turn the world’s population from its wickedness (Genesis 6:3,5-7; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 3:5-9). Including the children in the destruction of such populations actually spared them from a worse condition—that of being reared to be as wicked as their parents and thus face eternal punishment. All persons who die in childhood, according to the Bible, are ushered to Paradise and will ultimately reside in Heaven. Children who have parents who are evil must naturally suffer innocently while on Earth (e.g., Numbers 14:33).
Those who disagree with God’s annihilation of the wicked in the Old Testament have the same liberal attitude that has come to prevail in America just in the last half century. That attitude has typically opposed capital punishment, as well as the corporal punishment of children. Such people simply cannot see the rightness of evildoers being punished by execution or physical pain. Nevertheless, their view is skewed—and the rest of us are being forced to live with the results of their warped thinking: undisciplined, out-of-control children are wreaking havoc on our society by perpetrating crime to historically, all-time high levels.
Those who reject the ethics of God’s destructive activity in the Old Testament, to be consistent, must reject Jesus and the New Testament. Over and over again, Jesus and the New Testament writers endorsed and defended such activity (e.g., Luke 13:1-9; 12:5; 17:29-32; 10:12; Hebrews 10:26-31). The Bible provides the only logical, sensible, meaningful, consistent explanation regarding the principles of retribution, punishment, and the conditions under which physical life may be extinguished.
Biomimicry, Butterflies, and Bank Fraud
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
From cocklebur-inspired Velcro® to robotic lobsters, scientists are increasingly looking to imitate the wonders of life. In the field of biomimicry (derived from the Greek words bios, meaning “life,” and mimesis, meaning “to imitate”) scientists, researchers, and engineers worldwide turn their attention to God’s creation to inspire new, intricately designed, man-made products to improve human life and solve various dilemmas.
Recently, professors Mathias Kolle and Ullrich Baumberg of the University of Cambridge studied the microscopic structures in the wing scales of the Swallowtail butterfly in hopes of mimicking its magnificent colors (see “Vivid...,” 2010). The colors of these tropical butterflies are strikingly bright because of the shape of the microscopic structures and because “they are made up of alternate layers of cuticle and air” (“Vivid...”). Amazingly, Kolle and Baumberg have been successful at making “structurally identical copies of the butterfly scales,” purportedly even with “the same vivid colours as the butterflies’ wings.” How exactly do Kolle and Baumberg believe these “color copies” could be used for the benefit of mankind? They believe the artificial structures “could be used to encrypt information in optical signatures on bank notes or other valuable items to protect them against forgery.... [W]e could see structures based on butterflies’ wings shining from a...note or even our passports.”
It is entirely appropriate for scientists to look to nature for the inspiration of their inventions. After all, “the whole Earth is full of His [God’s] glory” (Isaiah 6:3, emp. added). The infinite, omniscient Creator made marvelous, living creatures, including butterflies, for man to use, study, and learn from in this life (Genesis 1:28). Sadly, many scientists today refuse to consider the most important thing to be learned from all of the animals and plants they study and seek to imitate: they all declare the glory of God. Nature did not assemble itself (as Kolle proposed in his discussion of the Swallowtail butterfly). Mindless matter and the random, chance processes of evolution fail on every account to explain the intricate design of even the smallest of living creatures. The designs in nature that intelligent human beings seek to copy demand an adequate explanation; they demand a grand Designer.
For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God (Hebrews 3:4).
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20).
Boy Came Back from Heaven?
|by||Dave Miller, Ph.D.|
It was 2004 when 6-year-old Alex Malarkey was plunged into a coma by injuries sustained in a car accident. After waking two months later, he claimed he had seen angels who took him to heaven to meet Jesus. Six years later, Tyndale published a book by the boy, co-authored with his father, titled The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, which became an instant bestseller, even spawning a documentary DVD. Now, at the age of 16, Alex has retracted his claims and, thankfully, is urging people to return to the Bible for the only reliable source for information on the afterlife (Zylstra, 2015).
Manmade religion typically relies heavily on subjective experience that the perpetrators expect people to accept based solely on personal “testimony.” However, such an approach to arriving at truth is in stark contrast with Bible teaching. God has always insisted that humans must weigh the evidence and draw only those conclusions warranted by that evidence (Miller, 2011). When God revealed new information, He never expected anyone to merely accept the word of another—even a prophet from God—without confirmation by an undeniable miraculous sign that demonstrates divine authenticity (John 10:37; see Miller, 2003a).
What’s more, the Bible speaks definitively concerning the afterlife. Since the Bible can be shown to be the inspired, infallible Word of God (Butt, 2007), it can be relied on to provide accurate information regarding life after death. It does not answer all our questions, but it gives sufficient information by which one can know with certainty the general parameters of life beyond the grave. The Bible teaches that for all individuals who died in Bible history, in every case, a miracle was necessary to restore the separated spirit of the individual to the body. This return of a person’s spirit constituted a resurrection. But miracles served a very specific purpose in Bible times—a purpose no longer needed (Miller, 2003a). Since God has chosen not to work miracles today (1 Corinthians 13:8-11; Ephesians 4:8-13), and no resurrections will occur until the general resurrection (John 5:25-29; Luke 14:14; 1 Corinthians 15:12ff.), there is no such thing as an “out-of-body experience” (for more discussion, read Miller, 2013).
Further, the Bible lays out a fairly complete treatment of afterlife (see Miller, 2003b). Briefly, God gives people this life on Earth to prepare their spirits for their eternal abode. When a person dies, his or her body goes into the grave, while the conscious spirit enters the hadean realm to await the final Judgment. At the Second Coming of Christ, all spirits will come forth from hades and be resurrected in immortal bodies. All will then face God in judgment, receive the pronouncement of eternal sentence, and then be consigned to heaven or hell for eternity (read Luke 16:19-31; cf. Miller, 2003b).
As usual, people could spare themselves a lot of hype and sensationalism that ends in embarrassment, disillusion, and resentment if they would simply consult the sure Word of God and order their thinking and life according to its precepts.
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:12-13).
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so (Acts 17:11, emp. added).
REFERENCESButt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Miller, Dave (2003a), “Modern-Day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation--EXTENDED VERSION,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1399.
Miller, Dave (2003b), “One Second After Death,” Apologetics Press, https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1188&topic=74.
Miller, Dave (2011), “Is Christianity Logical? Parts 1&2,” Reason & Revelation, 31:50-52,56-59; 31:62-64,68-71, http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=977.
Miller, Dave (2013), “What About ‘Out-of-Body Experiences’?” Apologetics Press, https://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=4694&topic=74.
Zylstra, Sarah Eekhoff (2015), “The ‘Boy Who Came Back from Heaven’ Retracts Story,” Christianity Today, January 15, http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2015/january/boy-who-came-back-from-heaven-retraction.html?paging=off.
Lawsuit over Jesus
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
As the creation-evolution debate rages in courtrooms throughout America, and while lawsuits are being filed continually in objection to various visible vestiges of America’s Christian heritage, one court case in Viterbo, Italy is drawing worldwide attention. Atheist Luigi Cascioli is suing Catholic priest Enrico Righi for teaching that Jesus lived on Earth 2,000 years ago. Cascioli contends that Righi and the Catholic church have deceived many people by teaching that Jesus was a real historical person who actually lived in Palestine during the first century. After Judge Mautone initially refused to hear the case, his decision was overruled in December 2005 by the Court of Appeal, “which agreed that Signor Cascioli had a reasonable case for his accusation that Father Righi was ‘abusing popular credulity’” by teaching the historicity of Jesus (Owen, 2006). Righi has now been ordered to appear in court “to prove that Jesus Christ existed” (Owen).
A mountain of evidence exists for the reality of Christ (none more important than the historical, inspired New Testament documents), and yet skeptics continue to allege that he is merely a figment of our imagination, and/or has been confused with one of several “known” historical persons from the first century. If skeptics and atheists are now going to take “Jesus” to court (which should not concern Christians in view of the evidence supporting His historicity), perhaps those same individuals will be consistent and put their beloved theory of evolution on trial. After all, evolutionary science professors worldwide teach students the “fact” that the Universe is the product of a Big Bang, yet no one has ever proven such to be the case. (In reality, a growing number of scientists are beginning to reject this explanation for the origin of the Universe—see Harrub, 2005). What’s more, students are repeatedly taught that life came from non-living chemicals billions of years ago, even though no one has ever witnessed spontaneous generation take place, and the law of biogenesis flatly contradicts this theory.
The fact that Cascioli’s case has reached this far is a sad commentary on today’s society. The fact that the unproven theory of evolution continues to get a free pass among “enlightened” skeptics who (allegedly) want only “the facts,” is also telling.
Owen, Richard (2006), “Prove Christ Exists, Judge Orders Priest,” The Times Online, January 3, [On-line], URL: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/art icle/0,,13509-1967413,00.html.
A Review of the PBS NOVA Television Documentary Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial by Jerry Fausz, Ph.D. Michael G. Houts, Ph.D.
A Review of the PBS NOVA Television Documentary Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial
|by||Jerry Fausz, Ph.D.
Michael G. Houts, Ph.D.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by two A.P. staff scientists: Dr. Houts holds a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from MIT and serves as the Nuclear Research Manager for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center; Dr. Fausz holds a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech and serves as Engineering Project Manager in the Space Systems Development Division of a subsidiary of SAIC.]On September 26, 2005, a trial began in the federal court of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in which 11 parents charged the Dover Area School District with violating the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, thus infringing on their civil rights. Partly at issue was a resolution, passed by the Dover Area School board by a 6-3 vote, that stated:
Students will be made aware of gaps/problems in Darwin’s theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited to, intelligent design. Note: Origins of Life is not taught (Jones, 2005, p. 1).The board passed this resolution on October 18, 2004. Also mentioned in the suit was the board’s vote on November 19, 2004, to require that the following statement be read to all 9th-grade students in the Dover Area School District, beginning in January, 2005:
The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.On December 20, 2005, United States District Judge John E. Jones III delivered a 139-page ruling in favor of the plaintiffs. Not only did the judge give the plaintiffs the declarative relief (stating that the establishment clause of the First Amendment was violated) and injunctive relief (forbidding the Dover Area School District from maintaining their ID [Intelligent Design] policy) that they asked for, he also stated in his ruling the monumental conclusion that Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory.
Because Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.
Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves.
With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the Origins of Life to individual students and their families. As a Standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on Standards-based assessments (Jones, 2005, pp. 1-2).
Almost two years after the conclusion of these federal proceedings, the PBS science series NOVA devoted an episode to a discussion of this landmark case, originally broadcast on November 13, 2007. The program may occasionally be re-run on PBS and other networks, but is also viewable in its entirety on the NOVA Web site (NOVA, 2007b). This article will examine the reasons given by the NOVA executive producer as to why she saw fit to draw attention to this anecdote in U.S. history, discuss the impact of the Dover decision on society and education, as related in the NOVA episode, and critique the substance of the program, which NOVA has titled Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial.
PURPOSE OF THE PROGRAM
I think the real reason that we made that decision is because evolution is the foundation of the biological sciences. As Theodosius Dobzhansky, one of the great biologists of the 20th century, once said, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (NOVA, 2007a).Ms. Apsell also responded to the question, “Why is this topic—and the teaching of evolution—so important?” Her full response to this question was:
Recent polls tells us that 48 percent—almost half of all Americans—still question evolution and still believe that some kind of alternative should be taught in the public schools. What happens when half of the population doesn’t accept one of the most fundamental underpinnings of the sciences? Evolution is the absolute bedrock of the biological sciences. It’s essential to medical science, agriculture, biotechnology. And it’s critical to understanding the natural world around us.Understanding what motivates someone to exercise their creative energy can be very useful in deciphering elements of their product that may be otherwise difficult to analyze. This is especially true when considering a controversial subject like ID. Ms. Apsell’s comments indicate a strong bias towards evolution (i.e., against ID), which will prompt us to look for that bias in the program content. Correspondingly, this review will be equally blatant in responding to both the motivation and content of the NOVA program.
We’re a country built on our command of the sciences and technology. But we now face a crisis in science literacy that could threaten our progress in these areas and ultimately threaten our quality of life. So, at NOVA and at Vulcan, we feel that understanding the importance of evolution, and enhancing science literacy in general, are more crucial than ever (2007a).
For example, Ms. Apsell quotes one of Theodore Dobzhansky’s statements, which is actually the title of one of his papers (Dobzhansky, 1973). The quote does faithfully represent Dobzhansky’s view, as evidenced by the following excerpt from that paper:
The organic diversity becomes, however, reasonable and understandable if the Creator has created the living world not by caprice but by evolution propelled by natural selection. It is wrong to hold creation and evolution as mutually exclusive alternatives. I am a creationist and an evolutionist. Evolution is God’s, or Nature’s method of creation. Creation is not an event that happened in 4004 BC; it is a process that began some 10 billion years ago and is still under way (3:127).In the first place, the idea that creation was either by “caprice” or by evolution is a textbook example of the logical fallacy of a “bifurcation” or “binary argument.” By creating the image of a capricious God as the only alternative to evolution, Dobzhansky thereby makes the godless theory of evolution appear more attractive. The idea that God would have created the Universe impulsively and without purpose (as implied by “caprice”) is completely foreign to the minds of most creationists, who believe that He created deliberately and with full design intent (purpose)—a third option Dobzhansky ignored. In addition, Dobzhansky does not appear to be sure whether evolution is God’s method, or “Nature’s.” Should we conclude from his statement that nature is, in fact, Dobzhansky’s god? One paragraph prior to this quote, he also states: “Only a creative but blind process could produce...the tremendous biologic success that is the human species....” On the one hand, he infers purpose and direction, calling evolution a “method” of God (or nature?); then, on the other hand, he states that it could only be a “blind” process. These statements suggest that Dobzhansky may have been highly confused, indeed.
Dobzhansky’s mental confusion notwithstanding, there are many who we believe would take great issue with Dobzhansky’s philosophy, as well as Ms. Apsell’s proclamation that “evolution is the foundation of the biological sciences.” For one, Louis Pasteur would certainly disagree. Pasteur formulated and thoroughly tested the germ theory of disease, invented inoculations, as well as the cure for rabies, and developed the process of pasteurization. Did Pasteur give credit to “the light of evolution” for his overwhelming scientific contributions to the welfare of mankind, as Dobzhansky implies that he must? On the contrary, Pasteur stated, “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator” (as quoted in Tiner, 1990, p. 75).
Pasteur also empirically established, to the dismay of naturalists, the Law of Biogenesis, which states that life in the natural world only comes from life. With regard to this accomplishment, Pasteur stated: “Never again shall the doctrine of spontaneous generation recover from the mortal blow that this one simple experiment has dealt it” (1864), and it has not “recovered” to this day. Pasteur further confounded the spontaneous generation crowd, now called chemical evolutionists, with a discovery involving the phenomenon of chirality. This is the observation that certain organic molecules exhibit asymmetry, dubbed right- and left-handedness, and are mirror images of each other. With respect to this asymmetry, Pasteur discovered that all molecules associated with living things are single-handed, instead of a 50/50 mix of both types, as with most substances. Pasteur identified this as a defining characteristic of life, a characteristic that remains an enigma to scientists (evolutionary scientists, anyway). This discovery rendered the idea of life emerging from non-life, as hypothesized by the chemical evolutionists, statistically impossible.
It is also interesting that Ms. Apsell equates a lack of belief in evolution with “a crisis in science literacy that could threaten our progress in these areas and ultimately threaten our quality of life.” We have already mentioned Louis Pasteur, a “science illiterate” by Ms. Apsell’s definition, who has contributed overwhelmingly to “our quality of life.” Other “science illiterates” (a.k.a. creationists) who have significantly benefited mankind in their work include Francis Bacon, who first postulated the scientific method utilized by all scientists today, Carolus Linnaeus, developer of the classification system used by all biologists today, Johannes Kepler, who formulated the laws of planetary motion and confirmed the heliocentrism of our solar system, James Clerk Maxwell, father of the modern science of electrodynamics, and Isaac Newton, who formulated the law of universal gravity and formalized the field of dynamics with his laws of motion. The list of “science illiterates” who have contributed substantially to “our quality of life” is neither short, nor cloaked in obscurity. Thus, the motivation behind this NOVA production reveals either the naiveté or deceitfulness of those who blindly accept the philosophical premises of evolution, and eagerly embrace the movement to establish Darwinian evolution as the dogma of science education.
AN EPIC BATTLE
Chapter 1 of the on-line version of Judgment Day begins with the narrator stating: “In October 2004, a war broke out in the small town of Dover, Pennsylvania” (NOVA, 2007d). Following a few innocuous statements by ID proponents, the narrator further states:
But many Dover residents and an overwhelming number of scientists throughout the country were outraged. They say intelligent design is nothing but religion in disguise, the latest front in the war on evolution (2007d).Shortly thereafter, Judge Jones appears, stating, “It was like a civil war within the community, there’s no question.” The word “war” is used three times within the first 10 minutes of the program. In addition, the word “battle” is used four times in this same segment.
Not unexpectedly, the producers of the program do not leave us in the dark as to who they think the “good guys” are in this “war.” Consider the following sequence of statements from the program transcript, also posted on the NOVA Web site:
BILL BUCKINGHAM (Dover School Board Member): To just talk about Darwin to the exclusion of anything else perpetrates a fraud.Note that the statement of Bill Buckingham, one of the Dover School Board members in favor of ID, is countered by three statements, including one by the narrator himself, while the outrageous statement, “It [ID] makes people stupid,” is not even challenged. In fact, every statement by an ID proponent in the introductory segment is countered, while statements by evolutionists are more numerous and simply left to stand at face value. Though in her Q&A, Ms. Apsell insists that “it [ID] gets a fair shake in this program,” the introductory segment alone casts significant doubt on the veracity of this claim.
NARRATOR: But many say intelligent design is the fraud.
KENNETH R. MILLER (Brown University): Intelligent design is a science stopper.
KEVIN PADIAN (University of California, Berkeley): It makes people stupid.
NARRATOR: Eleven Dover residents sued their school board to keep intelligent design out of the classroom. And almost overnight, Dover was catapulted to the front pages of the nation’s newspapers and the front lines in the war on evolution (NOVA, 2007c).
The characterization of ID as an enemy in the “war on evolution” worsens, however. Chapter 3 of the on-line version of the program, titled “Introduction to Intelligent Design,” begins with the story of Lauri Lebo, a journalist covering the trial:
NARRATOR: Lebo began reporting on the controversy. But her interest in the issue was not just professional, it was also personal. Lauri’s father had been the owner of a local radio station, but the oldies format wasn’t paying the bills, and the electric company was about to put him off the air.Later in the program, this story is revisited with the following:
LAURI LEBO: The next day a gentleman came in who belonged to a local church...wanted to lease programming on the radio station and offered to pay a decent sum of money. And overnight the radio station became a Christian radio station. My father became born again (NOVA, 2007f).
NARRATOR: As the legal teams battled it out in court, the clash between intelligent design and evolution was taking a toll on Dover.The narrator’s leading statement that the “clash” was “taking its toll on Dover” makes the reason for including this anecdote more than clear. Not only ID, but Christianity as well, was portrayed as a subversive element—a plague spreading through Dover, driving “a wedge” in Lauri Lebo’s family and in the Dover School Board. According to the program producers, the enemy in the “war on evolution” is apparently not just ID, but also the Christian faith that drives it. It should come as no surprise that one of the final comments in the program, made by ACLU lawyer Witold “Vic” Walczak, is: “The issue is certainly not over. One of the things that we’ve learned is that the opponents of evolution are persistent and resilient. And they’re still out there” (NOVA, 2007j). Ominous words, indeed!
Local newspaper reporter Lauri Lebo sat through every day of testimony, and the conflict began to drive a wedge between Lauri and her father.
LAURI LEBO: He believed that God really should be in science class. He did not believe in science, and he was all worried about me and...because I believed in evolution. And he said, you know, “Well, do you really believe that we came from monkeys?” At that point, I was pretty burned out from the trial, and I didn’t really have the patience that I probably should have had with him, and I just said yeah, I mean, you know? “Yeah, I do believe in evolution, Dad,” you know? And so we’d fight every morning.
If you believe in heaven and hell, and you believe you have to be saved, nothing else could possibly matter. Not the First Amendment, not science, not rational debate. All that matters is that you’re going to be rejoined with the people you love most on this Earth (NOVA, 2007i).
SCIENCE VERSUS RELIGION?
For example, a fundamental premise of evolution is that life spontaneously arose from non-life. This premise goes against every related fact we know about biology, especially the Law of Biogenesis, empirically and brilliantly established by Louis Pasteur. This point and others demonstrate that evolution, far from being “one of the fundamental underpinnings of the sciences,”is, in fact, a complete affront to science. Unfortunately, our society has become so willing to sacrifice anything (including science) on the altar of atheism that we now teach as scientific “fact” an atheistic theory that we know does not fit the facts.
The simplest life is far more complex than anything man has ever created. Would we allow our schools to teach as scientific “fact” that space shuttles randomly assemble and launch themselves? As absurd as that may sound, it would be more logical than teaching as scientific “fact” that life spontaneously arose from non-life. With great effort and expense, people assemble and launch space shuttles. However, with even greater effort and expense people have been unable to create anything close to what is considered “simple” life.
Ironically, NOVA and other pro-evolution organizations that claim to be “scientific” typically do not even mention this obvious problem. This fact is glaring when Judgment Day features three different segments designed to overwhelm us with the alleged evidence in favor of Darwinism: Chapter 2, “What is Evolution?” (2007e), Chapter 5, “The Fossil Record” (2007g), and Chapter 6, “A Very Successful Theory” (2007h). Yet, not one of these chapters mentions the fact that Darwinism requires spontaneous generation, nor discusses how it could have happened in spite of infinitely impossible odds. Evolutionists’ strong desire to suppress evidence and discussion, evident in their vigorous opposition to the decisions of the Dover School Board, is yet another indicator that their belief system has little to do with science, and is merely another false religion.
When dealing with evolutionists, it may be more useful to point out that the theory of evolution is not scientific, rather than trying to convince them that biblical Creationism is scientific. No theory of origins is observable, testable, and repeatable, which places the theories outside the realm of operational science, as the NOVA program and Judge Jones claim regarding Intelligent Design. Even though the evidence strongly favors biblical Creationism, as defined, we cannot claim that it is operational science.
It is also interesting to note that most of the arguments currently put forth by evolutionists and the media are completely irrelevant to the debate. The most prevalent example is the use of natural selection as supposed evidence for molecules-to-man evolution. Both biblical Creationists and evolutionists rely on natural selection, so the process is not a discriminator between the two worldviews.
CHURCH AND STATE
The most remarkable statement in the NOVA program was in Judge Jones’ ruling:
Both defendants and many of the leading proponents of intelligent design make a bedrock assumption which is utterly false. Their presupposition is that evolutionary theory is antithetical to a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to religion in general (NOVA, 2007j).It may be within the scope of the judge’s authority to make a determination that ID is not science, and that the Dover School Board members who introduced the issue were motivated by religious purpose, but to make a statement regarding fundamental religious and theistic belief goes far beyond any semblance of judicial prudence. It is crucial for every American to understand the full implications of this statement. According to the judge’s statement, now law, the idea that evolution could be considered antithetical (an opposing theory) to religion “in general” is “a bedrock assumption which is utterly false.” This is absolutely stunning—and frightening.
The Founders of our nation believed that religion is essential to the survival of popular government (see Miller, 2008). The recent liberal interpretation of the First Amendment seeks to remove this influence from government—to the detriment of our society. Judge Jones takes this one step further, however, asserting that the authority of judicial review (government) should have influence over religious thought in telling literal Genesis creationists, who reject evolution, that the bedrock foundation of their religious belief is false. Realizing that religion has been made impotent to challenge liberal constitutional interpretation, the legal ramifications of the ruling are positively alarming, as the ruling turns the intent of the Founders regarding freedom of religion on its head. It is no wonder that Judge Jones predicted that he would probably be labeled an activist judge because of the ruling.
Shortly after reading the statement above, Judge Jones made another statement in the program:
In an era where we’re trying to cure cancer, where we’re trying to prevent pandemics, where were [sic] trying to keep science and math education on the cutting edge in the United States, to introduce and teach bad science to ninth-grade students makes very little sense to me. You know, garbage in garbage out. And it doesn’t benefit any of us who benefit daily from scientific discoveries (NOVA, 2007j).Clearly, Judge Jones has strong feelings that impacted the scope and language of his ruling, and may have even influenced the decision itself. Richard Thompson, a Thomas Moore Law Center attorney and representative of the Dover School Board in the case, commented:
I think, first of all, you have to say we had a fair trial. I’m just disturbed about the extent of his opinion, that it went way beyond what, what [sic] he should have gone into deciding matters of science (NOVA, 2007j).This observation is an understatement. And we should not be less concerned about the extent of the ruling regarding matters of science, than we are about its precedent for judicial interference in matters of religion. Judge Jones stated in his ruling, “Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge” (2005, p. 137). We mark it as such because the facts presented above justify that claim.
THE WAGES OF COMPROMISE
Q: Is evolution inherently anti-religious?Notice that Ms. Apsell does not claim any personal religious belief. In fact, when she says, “this is perfectly compatible with their belief in God,” and “I personally believe that the beauty of evolution can enhance your belief in a creator and God” (emp. added), she leaves the impression that she shares neither of those beliefs. Notwithstanding, she feels perfectly justified in prescribing religious belief to others: “The view that evolution is inherently anti-religious is simply false.” And with respect to the program not promoting “an anti-religious viewpoint,” significant evidence to the contrary has been given above.
Apsell: Not at all. The view that evolution is inherently anti-religious is simply false. Evolution tells us that the diversity of life on this planet could have arisen by natural processes. But for many people of various faiths, this is perfectly compatible with their belief in God as the creator of all nature. I personally believe that the beauty of evolution can enhance your belief in a creator and God.
By definition science cannot address the realm of the divine or supernatural. This doesn’t mean that science is anti-religious.
And our program, Judgment Day, doesn’t promote either a religious or an anti-religious viewpoint. It accurately covers a trial. And the trial itself did not have an anti-religious viewpoint. I think it’s worth noting that both the judge and the majority of witnesses—including scientists on the plaintiff side—are people of faith (NOVA, 2007a).
Now consider the following excerpt from the first chapter of the on-line version of the program:
ALAN BONSELL: I personally don’t believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution. I’m a creationist. I make no bones about that.Notice how the narrator claims that “Creationists...reject much of modern science” (emp. added) and “most mainstream religions made peace with evolution decades ago.” Unjustifiable, unsubstantiated generalizations such as these are often used to marginalize specific groups—in this instance, Bible-believing creationists. We are told that we are outside the “mainstream” and that we reject “much of modern science.”
NARRATOR: Creationists like Bonsell reject much of modern science in favor [of] a literal reading of the Bible. They believe the Earth is less than 10,000 years old, and that God created everything fully-formed, including humans, in just six days.
Although most mainstream religions made peace with evolution decades ago, many creationists still see evolution as incompatible with their faith (NOVA, 2007d).
No doubt, some religious evolutionists truly believe that there is no conflict between creationism and evolution. Perhaps though, there are some who hold no religious views, yet see no conflict between evolution and creation, because they desire a non-confrontational, subtle method of subjugating religious belief to modern scientific thought. Judgment Day wraps this viewpoint in a blanket of anti-Christian sentiment.
Those who first compromised biblical creationism with evolution have, without a doubt, opened a Pandora’s box of anti-religious abuse. Indeed, they have catalyzed the very process that has flipped our society on its head, giving place to scientists, judges, TV producers, and even atheists, who desire to dictate to devout people what their view of creation ought to be. We are paying a severe price for their compromise of the simple truths of God’s Word. And what we have witnessed until now is certainly only the beginning.
This leads to the conclusion that the purpose behind the making of Judgment Day was to build on the momentum of the Dover Trial to gain further ground in promoting Darwinian evolution in opposition to biblical creationism. This intent is evident in Ms. Apsell’s lament that so many people still reject Darwinian evolution in spite of its domination of public education for decades. In the spirit of true Orwellian doublespeak, she refers to this rejection of evolution as “scientific illiteracy.”
In support of its purpose, Judgment Day goes to great lengths to marginalize those who dare to question Darwinian evolution and those who choose to believe in biblical creation. Momentum for this purpose is derived from the presiding judge of the Dover Trial, Judge Jones, who stated that the creationist views of the Dover School Board members who supported ID were “utterly false” because those beliefs are based on the “assumption” that evolution is “antithetical” to a belief in a supreme being, or religion itself. By establishing a judicial view of “religion” as defined by that which is not antithetical to evolution (“establishment” in First-Amendment verbiage), NOVA is empowered in their pursuit to further marginalize those who disagree with them by the full authority of the U.S. government.
It cannot be overstated that a major contributing factor in the ability of evolutionists to marginalize creationists is that many creationists have marginalized themselves by accepting evolutionist views, in spite of empirical and biblical evidence to the contrary. NOVA capitalizes on these compromises as primary means to promote its agenda through the Judgment Day program. The most important thing Christian creationists can do, while engaged in this clash of worldviews, is accept God at His word, and esteem His Word above “science falsely so called” (1 Timothy 6:20)—and to encourage others to do the same.
Jones, III, John E. (2005), “Tammy Kitzmiller, et al., v. Dover Area School District: Memorandum Opinion,” [On-line], URL: http://www.pamd.uscourts.gov/kitzmiller/kitzmiller_342.pdf.
Miller, Dave (2006), “America, Christianity, and the Culture War (Part I),” Reason & Revelation, 2641-47, June, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2942.
Miller, Dave (2008), “Christianity is in the Constitution,” [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3800..
NOVA (2007a), “Intelligent Design on Trial/Senior Executive Producer’s Story,” [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/NOVA/ID/apsell.html.
NOVA (2007b), “Intelligent Design on Trial/Watch the Program,” [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/NOVA/ID/program.html.
NOVA (2007c), “Transcripts/Intelligent Design on Trial,” [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/NOVA/transcripts/3416_ID.html.
NOVA (2007d), “Transcripts/Intelligent Design on Trial Chapter 1,” [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/NOVA/transcripts/3416_ID_01.html.
NOVA (2007e), “Transcripts/Intelligent Design on Trial Chapter 2,” [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/NOVA/transcripts/3416_ID_02.html.
NOVA (2007f), “Transcripts/Intelligent Design on Trial Chapter 3,” [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/NOVA/transcripts/3416_ID_03.html.
NOVA (2007g), “Transcripts/Intelligent Design on Trial Chapter 5,” [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/NOVA/transcripts/3416_ID_05.html.
NOVA (2007h), “Transcripts/Intelligent Design on Trial Chapter 6,” [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/NOVA/transcripts/3416_ID_06.html.
NOVA (2007i), “Transcripts/Intelligent Design on Trial Chapter 9,” [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/NOVA/transcripts/3416_ID_09.html.
NOVA (2007j), “Transcripts/Intelligent Design on Trial Chapter 12,” [On-line], URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/NOVA/transcripts/3416_ID_12.html.
Pasteur, Louis (1864), “An address delivered by Louis Pasteur at the ‘Sobonne Scientific Soiree’ of April 7, 1864,” [On-line], URL: http://shell.cas.usf.edu/~alevine/pasteur.pdf.
Tiner, J. H. (1990), Louis Pasteur—Founder of Modern Medicine (Milford, MI: Mott Media).
Are Christians Guilty of “Brainwashing” Their Children?
|by||Eric Lyons, M.Min.|
The more worldly and ungodly American society becomes, the more devout Christians will be criticized and persecuted for their beliefs and actions. One popular criticism that has been levied against Christians in recent years involves the Christian home. Allegedly, Christian parents are guilty of brainwashing their kids. Before children are old enough to digest for themselves all of the evidence for God’s existence, the Bible’s inspiration, or Jesus’ deity, some Christians (though sadly not near enough) are ingraining these beliefs into their children. Faithful Christian parents regularly and systematically teach their children fundamental Christian teachings without apology. Is this not a form of brainwashing? Is it not “forcible indoctrination”? How do Christians respond to the “brainwash” accusation?
First, we freely and unashamedly admit that we instruct our children in the ways of God from the time that they are born until they leave home. We sing to them about God. We talk to them about Jesus. We read to them from the Holy Spirit’s inspired Word. Moses instructed the Israelites:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6:5-9).Just as “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52), so the children of Jesus’ followers should be brought up “in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
But is this really the right thing to do? Is it not arrogant to teach kids that atheists and agnostics are wrong and that theists are right? Should we not let kids decide on their own if they want to believe in God? Is it not cultish to say Jesus “is the way, the truth, and the life”—that no one will live eternally in heaven except through Him (John 14:6)? Shouldn’t children be allowed to think for themselves?
The fact is, all parents (even atheistic and agnostic parents) teach their children that certain things are true and certain things are false; that some things are right and other things are wrong. Think about it: Can parents teach their children that 2 + 2 = 4, or must they allow their children to learn this for themselves? Can a mother teach her children that they are not ever to crawl into a freezer and close the door, or must she allow her children to risk suffocation and “learn on their own”? Can a father forbid his son from touching his guns and knives, or should he just leave them on the floor for the child to discover on his own what he should or should not do with such things? Can parents teach their children that they are to be kind to one another, and if they bite and hit each other they will be punished? Can parents teach their children that lying is wrong? Or, must parents simply allow the children to lie whenever they want, and to make up their own minds if lying is wrong for them when they become 18? Most rational adults would never sanction such foolish “parenting.” All parents “brainwash” their children about certain things. [Furthermore, we also understand that children grow up and ultimately decide for themselves what they want to believe and how they want to act, regardless of past influences (cf. Joshua 24:15; Revelation 22:17).]
In truth, Christians teaching their children that God exists or that the Bible is God’s Word is as logical, truthful, and fundamental as teaching them that 2 + 2 = 4. If parents can teach their children laws of science, such as the Law of Causality, the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, and the Law of Biogenesis, then they are implicitly teaching their children that God exists, because all of these laws point to a Creator. If parents can teach children that no mere man knows the future, and then read from the Bible dozens of examples of fulfilled prophecies, they have simply taught the fundamental fact that the Bible is a book of Supernatural origin. Indeed, God exists and the Bible is His Word.
God wants us to teach our children about Him and His Word because it is the right thing to do. If it is acceptable to teach our kids about reading, writing, and arithmetic, about the laws of science, and about how bad lying and murder are, it most certainly is rational to teach children about the evidence for God’s existence and the reliability of His Word. After all, we would not even have reading, writing, arithmetic, laws of science, truth, the value of human life, etc. without God. He is the foundation of every good and true thing. He “is true” (John 3:33). His “Spirit is truth” (1 John 5:6). His “word istruth” (Psalm 119:160; John 17:17). And the truth will set men free (John 8:32). Nothing is more important to teach children.
*If Apologetics Press may help you effectively “brainwash” (i.e., instruct) your children in the ways of God, please do not hesitate to call upon us.
Breaking the Silenceby Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Given the fact that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), it should be no surprise that one of the most disputed days in history “just so happens” to be the most important day for Christians—the day on which Jesus rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:12-18). For centuries, critics of Christ have ridiculed the gospel writers’ resurrection narratives, contending that there are blatant contradictions within the accounts. In his book, Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist, Dan Barker lists no less than 17 “discrepancies” within the resurrection accounts alone (1992, pp. 178-184). In his book Biblical Errancy, skeptic Dennis McKinsey lists 20 alleged discrepancies under a section titled, “The Resurrection Accounts are Contradictory” (2000, pp. 447-454). One of the questions that both of these gentlemen ask is, “Did the women tell what happened?” (Barker, p. 183; McKinsey, p. 451).
Allegedly, Mark’s account of the women who came to the tomb on the morning of Jesus’ resurrection disagrees with what Matthew and Luke recorded. Notice carefully what these three gospel writers penned concerning the women following their visit to the empty tomb.
“So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word” (Matthew 28:8, emp. added).Since Matthew and Luke indicated that the women brought word of Jesus’ resurrection to the disciples, while Mark specified that the women “said nothing to anyone,” then supposedly the resurrection narratives prove unreliable. Is this true?
“Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest” (Luke 24:9, emp. added).
“So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (Mark 16:8, emp. added).
Before answering this question, consider what the prophet Isaiah foretold about the silence of the coming Messiah. He wrote (as if it already had happened):
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth (53:7, emp. added).Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would not open His mouth, but would be “silent.” Question: Did Jesus ever speak during His ministry? Certainly, but this prophecy does not characterize Jesus’ entire ministry. Instead, it refers to the particular time when Jesus was tried and crucified. Still, however, Jesus was not completely silent even during His trial and crucifixion (cf. Matthew 26:64; 27:11; Luke 23:28-31,43). So how could Isaiah describe Him as being “silent”? Aside from the fact that “to open the mouth” frequently meant more than simply to speak or not to speak (see Lyons, 2004), Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled because there was a particular period of time in which Jesus remained silent. Mark recorded that Jesus, while being falsely accused, “kept silent and answered nothing” (Mark 14:61; cf. Matthew 26:63). The silence of the Sufferer was momentary, and any attempt to force Isaiah’s prophecy to mean more than temporary silence is unjustifiable.
Similarly, the women who visited Jesus’ tomb following His resurrection “said nothing” for a period of time. Barker, McKinsey, and other critics who point to Mark 16:8 as contradicting Matthew 28:8 and Luke 24:9 fail to consider that these verses are incongruous only if the writers were referring to the exact same period of the day. The truth is, initially, the women were afraid and silent, as Mark recorded. Then, later that day, they broke their silence and “told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest” (Luke 24:9). Mark’s narrative does not contradict Matthew and Luke, but supplements their accounts. What’s more, if Bible critics were to examine all of Mark’s resurrection narrative, they would learn that following the women’s temporary silence regarding Jesus’ empty tomb (16:8), Mary Magdalene “told those who had been with Him” (16:10) just as the angel had commanded her and the other women earlier in the day (16:7). Thus, Mark defined what he meant when he wrote “they said nothing to anyone.” They said nothing for a time, and then later bore witness of Jesus’ resurrection to the disciples.
Lyons, Eric (2004), “He Opened Not His Mouth,” Apologetics Press, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2603.
McKinsey, C. Dennis (2000), Biblical Errancy (Amherst, NY: Prometheus).