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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Whatever Happened to Free Speech

I read in the paper today that Phil Robertson is being kicked off of Duck Dynasty because he said that homosexuals are sinners. He even quoted scripture to show why he believes that. I've only seen a few episodes of the series, (Other than sports I don't watch much TV) but I've discovered that I have quite a lot in common with the four men on the show as far as beliefs.

What scares me is that we've gotten into an Orwellian state where people with sincere religious beliefs aren't allowed to say their mind for fear of censure. What's next? Putting him in jail for having such beliefs in the first place. I know some who would agree with that. I thought the first amendment protected speech other than obscenity or fighting words. He certainly wasn't trying to pick a fight, just state what he sincerely believes, and I've heard much worse obscenity on that same TV network.

I understand that the network has the right to air what they wish and not air what they don't wish, but by refusing to allow this man to state his opinion for fear that it would offend a portion of the audience just proves what conservatives have been saying for a long time. The media is controlled by the left wing who want to use it to spread their agenda. Namely the acceptance of homosexual behavior.

By the way, stating support of homosexuality on television also offends a large portion of the audience, the Christians. But we know how to counter it. We just don't watch. Maybe it's time we spoke up more for our free speech rights.

UPDATE! Due to public demand, Phil has been reinstated. It seems A&E realized that there are a lot of people who agree with Phil and they DO watch TV.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Truth

First of all, most Americans don't even know what the twelve days of Christmas are. They are the twelve days from December 26 to January 6. In many other countries, Christmas is not a day of partying and gift giving, but a day of religious solemnity. That is, on Christmas, they actually observe Christmas. The day of giving gifts is January 6, sometimes called Epiphany or Three Kings' Day. The custom to which the populr song refers is the custom of giving gradually nicer gifts on each of the twelve days.

The Biggest untruth about the song going around today is that it was written as some coded reference to Biblical truths. Such as the two turtle doves meaning the two testaments etc. This makes as no sense as there is no connection between the items in the song and what they are supposed to represent. How am I supposed to remember testaments from turtle doves, or gospels from calling birds? It's hard enough remembering the entire song without having to remember what everything stands for. There is an excellent article about this on Snopes.com here http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/music/12days.asp

I don't mean to ruin this for anyone but I don't mind letting the truth get in the way of a good story.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Songs That Aren't

While listening to a collection of traditional Christmas songs, it occurred to me that many of the songs which we so readily identify with Christmas actually don't mention anything about Christmas. I've made a partial list below. Please comment to add some more.

Winter Wonderland
While this song mentions the season of winter and many things associated with it, Christmas is not mentioned at all. This is true of several others on the list including...
Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
Frosty the Snowman
Jingle Bells and
Jingle Bell Rock
In fact the only version of this song I've heard that really rocks is the version by Geoff Moore and the Distance on Sparrow Records' "CHRISTMAS" album.

Sleigh Ride
is actually a good song (especially the Boston Pops' instrumental version) but again doesn't mention Christmas in the lyrics. It does say something about a birthday party, though.

Not so common is the song
Marshmallow World
I actually dislike this song very much because my mother had it on a Johnny Mathis Christmas album and my little sister played it to death one year.

Often included on Christmas compilations is the song
My Favorite Things
from The Sound of Music, A musical which has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas.

The biggest surprise to most people, though, would have to be
The Hallelujah Chorus
While the song comes from an oratorio about the life of Christ, this chorus is actually sung for the resurrection. It's really an Easter song but nobody sings it, then.

There's my list so far. I may add more as I notice them. Feel free to comment on these and add some yourselves. Also go here and buy my book. (I need the money for Christmas presents.)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I am now a published author!

I have finally fulfilled a dream. My first book is now available at smashwords.com and soon at other online retailers. It's called "Answering Darrow : What William Jennings Bryan Should Have Said" It is a critique of Bryan's responses to Clarence Darrow during the famous Scopes "Monkey" trial of 1925. Head over here and get it. it's only 1.99 and available in multiple formats.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Eve's Temptation

Here is a question I've seen on the internet.

If the Garden of Eden was a perfect paradise as Christians claim, then why 
did Eve even want to eat the apple? Wouldn't a perfect place provide 
everything a person would want or desire and thus she would want nothing?

First, it wasn't an apple but that's beside the point.

You would think that Eve would have been perfectly happy in Eden, so why did she sin? The same question can be asked of us today.  Why is it that the best way to get someone to do something is to tell him he can't? Humans are always attracted to the forbidden. Tell us a million things we can do and only one we can't and we will still want to do the one we can't. A millionaire still wants more money. A man with a happy marriage still is tempted to adultery.

Let's look at how the serpent talked Eve into taking the fruit.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1 John 2:16)

This is how the Bible describes temptations.
"lust of the flesh" It feels good. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food," (Genesis 3:6) The serpent probably talked to Eve while she was hungry. Satan attacks us when we are already weak.

"lust of the eyes" It looks good. "And when the woman saw.... that it was
pleasant to the eyes," (Genesis 3:6) The tree didn't look evil. It was probably

"pride of life" It sounds good. "And when the woman saw that the tree was....  to be desired to make one wise,"  (Genesis 3:6)  The fruit would give her and Adam an ability they didn't have before. How many times do we want something not because we need it but just because someone else has one and we don't.

There is nothing evil about desire. Desires are necessary for survival. The desires to eat, drink, reproduce, gain possessions etc, are needed to perpetuate the human specie. But we need to realize that when God says "no"  that's it. We should no longer dwell on that desire. God gives us everything we need. It's when our wants overpower our needs that evil begins.

Another thing to notice, Eve's sin was not eating the fruit. Eve committed the sin when she decided to disobey God. God judges our intents, before our actions. Once we seriously consider the sin, the sin has already been committed. (Matthew 5-6)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Origin of the "Races" (We Need to Quit Using that Term)

Recently a reader asked me a question about the origin of the different

Adam and Eve were formed with perfect DNA. But as a result of the fall (Genesis
3) imperfections entered the world. Their children probably had some mutations
in their DNA. Some of these mutations could have led to slightly different shades
of skin color or other slight differences. As the generations went by, these
mutations increased until, by the time of the Tower of Babel, there were many
different looking people.

After Babel, the people separated into different groups and settled different
parts of the world. (Genesis 11) They separated according to language but it
would be perfectly feasable that the different language groups God assigned
were aligned with similar looking peoples. More likely, though, the different races
today are a result of natural selection. For example, some of the people
(Desendants of Noah's son Ham) settled Africa. Since Africa is equatorial and
mostly desert or grassland, the sun shines there for most of the year. Dark skin
is a natural deterrent of many sun-related conditions such as skin cancers. So
the Hamites who happened to have darker skin are the ones which survived
better and produced more offspring. Eventually, the lighter skinned people died
out and the darker ones remained. Notice that this is NOT evolution as many
people think of it. These people all started human and are still human. The
so-called different races  of people in different parts of the world probably all
formed this way.

As far as nationalities go, it is only natural for a group of people, once settled, to
set up some form of government in order to keep the peace. This led to the rise
of cities. Eventually, cities bonded together to form states and nations, usually
based on language. That is a nation would have been a group of people who
lived in the same part of the world and spoke the same language. After all, if
they can't communicate, how would they know they want to band together?
Since then, many nations have risen, fallen, combined and broken apart.

I hope this answers your question.

One last thing about the different "colors" of people. As I tell my students,
everyone has the same chemical in his skin that causes color. How much you
have determines how dark you are. So actually, everyone in the world is the
same "color." We are all just different shades.

As a result of the above article I had some questions about Adam and
Eve asked to me.
The first was simply, "So what 'color' were Adam and Eve?"
Most likely they were a medium brown shade. Imagine what a person would look
like if he were an even mix of all of the "races." That's what Adam and Eve were.
The differences came later as their offspring (who were slightly different from
each other) split up and started different nations.

I also was finally asked the classic question "Did Adam and Eve have belly
buttons, since they were created directly and not born and had no umbilical
cords?" I have always wondered why this is so intriguing. Skeptics ask this as if
all of creation theory hinges on whether Adam and Eve had innies or outies or
were just blank.The answer is probably not, but why does it matter. What
matters is that Adam and Eve were real historical people who actually once lived
as the Bible describes and are the ancestors of every human on Earth today.

How Can You Have Days Without the Sun?

One of the most popular questions received by young-earth creationists, other than "Where did Cain get his wife," has to do with the order of creation events. The questioners wonder how the earth could have been made in six literal days, if the sun wasn't created until day four. After all, a day is defined by the position of the sun. So how could there be three days before the sun was created?

The truth is, you don't need a sun to define days. All you need are regular repeating intervals of light and darkness. We read in Genesis 1:1 that the first thing God created was space and earth. So we have a rotating planet. In Genesis 1:3 we see that the next thing God created was light. Most likely, as soon as God said "Let there be light." the entire earth was illuminated. Light came from all directions and had to be coalesced into a single source in verse 4.

Now there is a rotating earth with light on one side and darkness on the other. That's all that is needed for the term "day" to be used. Verse 5 specifies that there was evening and morning, that is, the earth was rotating out of and into the light just as it does today. This is one reason why I believe the six days of Genesis have to be six literal days. How can you apply the terms evening and morning to an unspecified length of time? Also, the terms "first day", and "second day," etc. point to literal 24 hour periods. If I was talking to you about my vacation and said "On the third day there," you would assume I meant the third literal 24 hour period.

On the fourth day, then, God takes the light and confines it to a source. Actually several sources,
for he makes all of the stars on this day, not just the sun. But the light already existed, now there's just this big ball of plasma for it to come from. An interesting parallel can be found in the description of the New Earth in Revelation 21:23. It says that the New earth won't need a sun for God will provide the light from his own shekinah. That is his own glory. Maybe that's how there was light before the sun in the beginning. We'll never know the source of the first light. After all, the Bible is not a science book, as skeptics are quick to point out. But it is a history book, so we can believe it when it describes the creation.

Another thought: This is one reason I cannot accept the "Gap Theory" of creation. Since the sun, moon and stars are not created until the fourth day of their "re-creation," I guess this means the pre-gap world had no sun, moon, or stars.

Was it a Whale or Just a "Big Fish" that Swallowed Jonah? (And Why Does It Matter?)

For some reason, skeptics seem obsessed with the story of Jonah and the whale.Even 
during the Scopes Trial, Defense Attorney Darrow asked Prosecutor Bryan if he really 
believed that a whale swallowed Jonah. Bryan corrected Darrow by saying the King 
James Version uses the term "big fish" and not "whale." This debate continues today. 
Was it really a whale which swallowed Jonah or just a big fish.

The Hebrew word used in Jonah is the word "dag" which just means fish regardless of 
size. When the Hebrew was translated into Greek, though, the word "ketos" was used. 
Ketos means "large fish" in Greek. This is also the word translated "whale" in the KJV of 
Matthew 12:40 when Jesus gives an account of Jonah. This is where the skeptics point 
out that the Bible is contradictory because, after all, a whale is not a fish; it is a mammal. 
Therefore, Jonah and Matthew can't both be right.

We must remember, though, that the only reason a whale is a mammal is because 
people say so. The modern system of taxonomy, or classifying living things into groups, 
was invented by people relatively recently. When the system was devised, whales were 
put into the mammal group because they share some characteristics with other animals 
in the group. They breathe oxygen, have hair, give birth to live young etc.. If other 
characteristics were used to classify, the whale could have been put into the fish group. 
It has fins, lives in the water etc.. In fact, to the ancients, including Jonah and Matthew, a 
whale was a fish. This doesn't mean they were wrong, they just used a different 
classification system.

Overall, it doesn't really matter whether the big fish that swallowed Jonah was a whale or 
not. The real question is was it a real occurrence or just an allegory. The Bible treats it 
as a real event. Jesus treated it as a real event comparing it to his own death. So, we 
should treat it as a real event.

Who I Am

Before listening to any speaker it is wise to know something about his background and what he believes.

I was born again in 1978. In addition to my apologetic ministry, I have served in the church as a Sunday School teacher, usher, choir member and have sung in a southern gospel quartet. I have also taken two mission trips to Guatemala where I worked in a pharmacy of a village hospital.

Outside the church, I hold a BS in physics with a math minor from an accredited university and an Arkansas teaching certificate in Physics and Physical Science with an approval in Chemistry and Principles of Technology.

I taught Physics and Chemistry (both regular and AP courses) in Arkansas Public Schools for 17 years. I have also taught courses in astronomy, biology, environmental science and study skills. I am also a member of American Mensa, Ltd. and have twice passed the qualification test to appear on Jeopardy. In spite of this I have been called stupid because I believe in a literal six-day creation.

I have been happily married to the same wonderful woman since 1996 and am the proud father of a little girl and owner of a dachshund puppy.

I believe in one God who manifests himself in three distinct persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe God is eternal (without beginning or end,) omniscient (all-knowing,) omnipresent (in all places at once,) and omnipotent (all-powerful.) In addition, God is kind but is also perfectly sovereign and perfectly just.

I believe Jesus is the co-eternal son of God but is also fully God himself as well as fully human. Jesus was born into this world to save the world through his death. I believe he physically rose from the dead to show his power over death and as a precursor to our own resurrection one day. He ascended into Heaven where he currently sits at the right hand of the Father waiting for the day when he will physically return to Earth to reign as king for one thousand years, after which, Christians will live with him eternally on a physical New Earth.

I believe the Holy Spirit, while eternal, was sent by the Father to Earth after the ascension of Jesus to convict people of their sins and to guide Christians into right living. I believe the only way to Heaven is to admit your sins to God and accept the Christ as your savior and Lord. Salvation is a gift of God by God's grace alone.

I believe the souls of those who do not accept Christ will be sent to a literal Hell where they will be punished for eternity. Hell was not meant for people, but to punish Satan. However, people who choose not to accept Christ, instead accept Satan as master by default and will share in his condemnation.

I believe the Bible to be the complete, inerrant, infallible, literal word of God. It was written by men guided by the Holy Spirit. I believe that science, history, archeology and all other fields of study, if interpreted correctly, will agree with the Bible. I believe the Bible is to be read literally as you would any other book. I believe the Bible is the final authority on all matters.