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Showing posts from December, 2006

Christian Ethiopia Versus the African Taliban: The Role of Religion in African Conflict

In his excellent book, The Next Christendom, Philip Jenkins predicts that due to the growth of Islam and Christianity on the African continent, armed conflict with religious overtones will continue to increase there. He also predicts that the United States will be drawn into such conflict due to its interests in the region and its continued Christian orientation. Hard to find headlines (at least in the US) are bearing out a portion of Prof. Jenkins predictions.

First, though, a little geographic and demographic background. North Africa, with nations such as Egypt, Algeria, and Libya, is predominantly if not overwhelmingly, Muslim. South Africa, with such nations as the Republic of South Africa, Botswania, and Namibia, is predominantly if not overwhelmingly, Christian. Central Africa is full of countries with mixed religious beliefs or predominant Christian and Muslim nations with significant religious minority groups present. With the growth of Islamic radicalism, tensions in …

The 14 Popular Myths of the Biblical Christmas

In light of the fact it is still only the 5th day of Christmas, I thought it appropriate to link to an article by Dr. Jack Kinneer, Adjunct Professor of the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Dr. Kinneer has been lecturing about the evidence that supports the Biblical teaching of Christmas, and an article by Grant Van Leuven in the news section of the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary website which summarizes his response to 14 popular myths about the Christmas account found in Matthew and Luke. Among the myths tackled are:

Popular Myth: The census in Luke’s Gospel implies that the birth took place in A.D. 6 because that’s when we know that Quirinius was governing Syria.

Kinneer's Reply: Luke’s own internal chronology indicates that Luke, like Matthew, placed the birth of Jesus in the period right before Herod’s death in 5-4 B.C. While we know from other sources that Quirinius was governing Syria in A.D. 6, it is clear from Luke’s own ind…

Left Behind the Video Game Arrives

The "controversial" video game Left Behind has arrived and claims of its violent, forced conversion, orientation seem proven flat. I responded here to some baseless charges that the game somehow trained young Christians to murder anyone who disagreed with their theology. I do not have any intention of getting the game myself. I am satisfied with getting Age of Empires III for Christmas. Nevertheless, here is the latest release from the folks at Left Behind:

A statement from Left Behind Games CEO Troy Lyndon:

Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, Women of Faith, Outreach Magazine, National Network of Youth Ministers and Promise Keepers are just some of the organizations that support LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces, a PC game. Read below to find out why…

This is the world’s first high-quality inspirational game which intends to model positive behavior by discouraging physical warfare. Our game is the first game ever to encourage the use of prayer and worship as the mo…

Merry Christmas!

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Jesus, I celebrate your birth as I give presents to my friends and family. When I decorate my house, my yard, my mailbox, and anything that will stand still, Jesus, I celebrate your birth.

When my family gathers around the table and prays over the delicious Christmas food, we celebrate your birth. When I remember the sick and needy at Christmas, Jesus, I celebrate your birth. And now, Jesus, I celebrate your birth by giving you my life, what’s left of it. I’ve been running it myself so it’s not what it should be. Take me, clean me up from the inside out, and make me into the person you want me to be.

Thank you that your forgiveness, grace and love are free. I accept them now as your Christmas gifts to me. Thank you for coming into my life as my Saviour and Lord. I am saved, a child of God, and Jesus is my Lord.
Prayer courtesy of Trust in the Lord.

A Merry Christmas to all!

Jesus' Family -- Not a Secret

Documentary claims Jesus had 'secret' siblings makes a claim that surprises virtually no one in the church -- the Bible speaks of Jesus' brothers and sisters. According to the article:

Author Dan Brown caused an uproar when he suggested in 'The Da Vinci Code' that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene and that they had a family. However, a never seen before ancient portrait suggests that though Jesus may have had a family, it might not be the one Brown suggests.

The portrait, which was discovered deep in the wilderness of the Judean desert, in a remote part of the Holy Land in an ancient Greek Orthodox monastery of St Gerasimos, has a highly unusual portrait of the Holy Family, for along with Mary, Joseph and Jesus, it also shows the presence of a fourth member - a young man.

And what makes this young man's presence even more interesting, is the fact that though simply clad in a dark robe and carrying his belongings on a stick, there is a golden halo which en…

Stem Cells Kill Babies!

On this blog, I have taken the position repeatedly that embryonic stem cells kill babies. Now, in an article from the BBC, it appears that the effort to obtain non-embryonic stem cells has taken the life of several children in the Ukraine.

Cranach, the blog of Gene Edward Veith has a link to a terrible article entitled Ukraine babies in stem cell probe which reports how stem cells are being harvested by killing innocent babies -- what everyone would agree is a baby because it has already been born -- in order to obtain the stem cells from these newborn infants for sale.

Healthy new-born babies may have been killed in Ukraine to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells, evidence obtained by the BBC suggests.

Disturbing video footage of post-mortem examinations on dismembered tiny bodies raises serious questions about what happened to them.

Ukraine has become the self-styled stem cell capital of the world.

There is a trade in stem cells from aborted foetuses, amid unproven …

Christianity is not Responsible for the Terrible Things Done by Other Religions

In doing a bit of reading, I came across an article in the American Chronicle by someone named Charles Sabillion. Now, Mr. Sabillion seems to have a solid educational background. His bio says he has "undergraduate degrees in Philosophy, Economics and Law as well as a masters and a doctorate in International Relations. After earning his PhD, he undertook post-doctoral research in the fields of History, Economics, and Ecology." Cool, so he appears to have a high level of education. So, why then does he make such a phenomenal error in thinking as he does in his on-line article Defending the Belief in God is Impossible?

In his article, he makes two separate arguments about defending the existence of God. First, he argues that it's erroneous for apologists for a religion to point to the "worse things" done in the name of secularism in order to discount the "terrible things" done in the name of their own religions. Second, he argues that when the increased …

The Meaning of the Manger

The manger in which Jesus was laid has colored our imagery of Christmas. A manger, "[i]s a feeding-trough, crib, or open box in a stable designed to hold fodder for livestock.” Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, page 674. Usually, we associate the manger with the animals in the story of Christmas or with Jesus’ perceived poverty. I have several nativity sets which include the manger, along with barn animals. Although I am a nativity set enthusiast, there is a much deeper meaning in the manger.

The manger is mentioned three times in Luke 2. Mary lays Jesus in the manger, the angels tell the shepherds that they will find the Savior by seeking the baby lying in a manger, and then the shepherds in fact find Jesus lying in a manger. Obviously, the repetitive references to the manger are indicative of its significance in Luke’s narrative. As Bible scholar N.T. Wright comments:

[I]t was the feeding-trough, appropriately enough, which was the sign to the shepherds. It told them whic…

Together Again – Peter and Cephas

Every Bible student and Sunday School participant knows that Peter and Cephas are one and the same. He is more commonly referred to as Peter, but he was sometimes called Cephas. This is not only the conventional wisdom of church goers, but of New Testament scholars. Some online skeptics, however, backed by the occasional outlier scholar, argue that that Peter and Cephas were two different people that came to be merged into one figure somewhere along the way.

The two-people theory rests largely on the fact that a few second and third century sources affirmed it and the vagueness with which the two names are used by Paul. As to the former, the fact that a few post-canonical sources interpreted these passages in a particular way should not be dismissed out of hand, but also is far from the end of the inquiry. It seems likely that the few early sources who accepted a distinction between Peter and Cephas were motivated, at least in part, by a desire to “clear” Peter of the unflatteri…

The Highest Christology – The Day of the Lord

In my article, Jesus’ Divinity Within Jewish Monotheism, I discussed the many New Testament scriptures which indicated the early Christian belief that Jesus was divine. While reading I. Howard Marshall’s fine commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians, I became aware of more such evidence. The relevant passage is 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6:

Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
According to Marshall,

“[T]he day of the Lord is an OT phrase…

The Seed-Product Model and Intelligent Design

To this point, I have written several blog entries which seek to expose why Richard Dawkins is wrong (in many ways) in his bombastic attack on Christianity. But I have not yet spent any time on why Dawkins is wrong on his attack on Intelligent Design. Fortunatly, I don't have to put too much work into the topic because The Asian Tribune (which agrees that Dawkins position vis-a-vis religion is misguided) has presented an interesting case as to why Dawkins is wrong in his attacks on Intelligent Design in an essay entitled The problem with Dawkins’ anti-God crusade by Vasantha Raja.

In discussing Dawkins' approach to ID, Raja makes the following statement:

[H]is arguments seem to fail to refute the powerful insights ID theorists continue to develop – which in my view will eventually prove to be positively fruitful for the scientific method itself.

The crux of his arguments, above all, seems to reveal his empiricist prejudices that inhibit development of a heuristically rich model …

More on the Myth of the Conflict Between Science and Christianity

Over at the always interesting The Thinking Christian, he also (apparently independently) undertook a discussion of the relationship between science and religion in a couple of posts entitled Is Christianity Opposed to the Pursuit of Science? Part I and Part II. In Part II, he notes the following:

Let's start with where this whole idea began. Surprisingly to many, it wasn't with Galileo or Copernicus. It wasn't even with the Enlightenment. Two highly regarded historians, David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers, reveal that the supposed war between science and Christianity was a 19th-century invention. This "war" had a lot to do with the personal agendas of two men, Andrew Dickson White and John William Draper. Lindberg and Numbers concentrate primarily on White:

"Some of the bloodiest battles, White believed, had been fought during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the period of the so-called Scientific Revolution, when powerful church leaders repeatedl…

A Discussion Between Peter Kreeft and Sam Harris

An audio discussion between Boston College philosophy professor Dr. Peter Kreeft and atheist (who says he shouldn't be called an atheist because there shouldn't be such a word) Sam Harris is available at K2. In my opinion, they are much too complimentary to Sam Harris, and Harris (as he did when he appeared on Laura Ingraham) talks so much that he leaves little time for Dr. Kreeft to respond. I personally think that the hosts did a poor job of moderating the discussion to allow both people to have a fair amount of time to put their points into the discussion.

One part that amuses me is that Harris tries to make the case that the Bible supports slavery. That idea was already decided decisively against his position in the 1800's. Personally, I find that when a person feels they need to play the slavery card, that's comparable to arguing that the earth is flat. To hold that position in light of history deserves not only to be dismissed, it needs to be held up for derision…

Discrimination Against Christian Viewpoints

A few years ago, my daughter participated in a talent show, and she and some other girls danced to "Survivor" by Destiny's Child. I thought they did a good job, and generally I enjoy the songs by Destiny's Child. Certainly, I never thought about objecting to the song as having a viewpoint that may be antithetical to the Christian view. (I don't know if it does, since I have never listened to the words.) I was there to enjoy the show, and I don't think I would have cared what song they danced to (as long as it wasn't "The Stripper" -- now there's a bad message).

But in our mixed up world, a school decided that it would be inappropriate for a 3rd grader to sing a song that she probably hears regularly in Church and which very well have deep meaning to her. Yes, another school has overreacted and discriminated against a young woman by failing to allow her to be able to sing a song simply because it has a Christian message. According to "Chr…

Christianity Isn't Only Compatible With Science -- It Created It!

Today, I received a comment to the CADRE blog entry I wrote on the outlandish "Beyond Belief" conference that I thought was so misguided and so typical that I thought I would highlight it here. What the writer wrote is this:

It's very interesting that Christian must downplay science. They always have. They always will. Sad, really.
I don't know how to say this without insulting the writer (hence, my not using his name directly in this post), but that really is a foolish and ill-informed statement. The idea that somehow Christianity has been the roadblock to scientific endeavor is the biggest myth that has been handed down over the past 500 years. You see, it isn't just wrong, it's so completly out of sinc with the truth as to be Twilight Zone material. Here's the truth -- in all of the cultures in the world, science became a legitimate field of inquiry only in Western Europe because Western Europe was Christian.

Christianity isn't just in favor of scien…

More On Beyond Belief

I want to add my thoughts to BK's observations about the Beyond Belief conference.

I actually think today's militant style atheists do us a service by formally declaring their atheism to be a full fledged worldview. Like any worldview, it must explain all of reality including morality, meaning and destiny. The explanation must pass the two main tests of truth. First, it must correspond with reality. Second, it must cohere with itself ... that is, the presuppositions of the worldview cannot contradict one another. If you think like me, you cannot help but feel this is a good thing. As a Christian, I like to hear materialists attempt to defend the origin of morality or the meaning of life. As one commenter wryly noted on BK's Beyond Belief post, in one breath the atheist praises the beauty and majesty of the world ... and in another breath, displays a slide show if missshapen children with birth defects. So which is it? The more the materialist tries to make sense of…

"Beyond Belief Conference" was Really Beyond Belief

This past November, a group of atheists -- who happen to work in the field of science -- got together for a conference entitled "Beyond Belief" in La Jolla, California. The conference was apparently sponsored by the Salk Institute, and featured atheists who work in various scientific disciplines. Details about the conference can be found on the website of a group called the Edge which seems to fashion itself as some type of gathering of the intellectual elite who really understands what's going on. The conference had to be cutting edge because they brought in such luminaries as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris to excite the crowd with their over-the-top viewpoints. But apparently, Mrrs. Harris and Dawkins weren't alone in sharing the view that religion is dangerous. According to the New York Times article about the event proudly displayed on the website:

Maybe the pivotal moment came when Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in physics, warned that "the world needs to…

Saluting Our World War II Veterans

In light of today being the 65th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, it seems apparent that many of the veterans who fought so hard for the world's freedom in the Second World War are nearing the end. In the past three years, both my own father and my wife's father who both served in the Pacific arena have gone to meet Jesus (and we miss them terribly). But for those who are still around, I want to express my own heartfelt thanks for the great sacrifices you and your comrades made in helping to preserve freedom of the world during those dark times.

In looking for words to express my feelings, I came across a musical tribute to World War II veterans entitled "Before You Go". According to the website where it's available,

"Before You Go" is offered as an expression of heartfelt gratitude to those who fought and won the Second World War - for their bravery, gallantry and sacrifices that assure the continued enjoyment of freedoms unprecedented in the…

The Hard Work Of Apologetics

Apologetics takes a lot of time and is not for the faint of heart. One of my favorite Cadre / BK posts is called The Job Of the Apologist. BK offers insights from his own experience in apologetic engagments. I appreciate those like BK who do the yeoman work of apologetics.

Another good model is Regis Nicoll. Regis is a friend whom I met in the Wilberforce Centurions program.

This past August Regis wrote an essay about the atheist movement known as "the Brights." The essay was called Putting On A Bright Face. Members of the Brights were not pleased with Nicoll's essay and responded. Thus began an email exchange that spanned a month.

The posts are a lengthy read, so I don't expect you to slog through them. I merely point them out because they demonstrate what good apologetics looks like. You will find the tone is positive.

One commenter left an interesting comment on one of the email posts.
I have truly been swayed by Mr. Nicholl’s writings. There is a to think ab…

What Is Richard Dawkins' Final Solution for the Religious Problem?

In response to a recent blog entry about Richard Dawkins, blogger Frank Walton alerted me to an interesting story about the aforementioned Mr. Dawkins entitled Anti-Religion Extremist Dawkins Advocates Eugenics. Ordinarily, I ignore these type of over-the-top articles, but then a couple of thoughts occurred to me:

1. Dawkins doesn't have any trouble being very over-the-top in what he says about Christians or God, and so I feel less restrained by the bounds of common decency to speak about this type of thing in his case.

2. Reading through the article, it appears that Dawkins did, in fact, make the statements that led to the headline in the LifeSite article.

3. CT Direct just ran an article by Chuck Colson and Anne Morse entitled War on the Weak: Eugenics has made a lethal comeback warning about a return of eugenics as an acceptable practice in the eyes of many in the secular world.

4. In light of what I have just completed writing about Dawkins and his non-credible beliefs about Ch…

Year-end List

My friend Brent gave me the idea of compiling a year-end list of things to reflect on that influenced our thinking, ethics, feelings, ect. Be thinking about your year-end list. What particularly impressed you this year, and what did not? Particularly, I want you to be thinking about how the Gospel has come to bear on all of the choices you make (hopefully it has!). I'm looking forward to browsing your lists! The guidelines are simple:

Please follow the guidelines.

1.) Please submit responses only for the listed categories.
2.) Please try to include at least a sentence or two on why you made each selection. This makes for a much more interesting read and it's actually the whole point.
3.) Please return submissions (by e-mail or in the comments section. ) no later than: Saturday, December 23.
4.) Please include your name, city and state of residence and a link if you have a blog or website somewhere online.
5.) Please e-mail your list to me at ApologiaChristi@gmail.com.
6.) Please pass…