Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ignoring What We Observe

Below is one of the best videos I have seen that presents the scientific theory of Intelligent Design. This is presented by Dr. Stephen Meyer and Dr. Douglas Axe. Meyer earned his Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science in 1991 at the University of Cambridge after receiving his B.S. degree in physics and earth science in 1981 from the Whitworth College. His dissertation was entitled "Of clues and causes: A methodological interpretation of origin of life studies." Axe is the director of the Biologic Institute. After a Caltech Ph.D. he held postdoctoral and research scientist positions at the University of Cambridge, the Cambridge Medical Research Council Centre, and the Babraham Institute in Cambridge. His work has been reviewed in Nature and featured in a number of books, magazines and newspaper articles, including Life’s Solution by Simon Conway Morris, The Edge of Evolution by Michael Behe, and Signature in the Cell by Stephen Meyer.

What these two scientists clearly and logically present is the fact that Intelligent Design Theory stands on the same scientific footing as Darwin’s. Darwin actually did not use what we classically know as The Scientific Method. Rather, Darwin branched off into forensic science. In doing so, he attempted to explain causation by methods that we can’t and have never observed. In contrast, Intelligent Design Theory also employs forensic science but looks to what we can observe in order to explain causation. On such merits alone, nobody can reasonably argue that Intelligent Design Theory is not science or is lesser science than Darwin’s. In fact, to ignore what we can observe is forensic foolishness. In the case of origins of species, genetic code is the driver. In Darwin’s defense, at the time he wrote his body of work, we knew very little about the genetic code. It was not until the 1950s when Dr. Francis Crick was largely credited with the discovery of DNA, over 70 years after Darwin’s death. But, today, we can’t claim nor support ignorance of what we know and what we can observe.

Simply, what Meyer and Axe logically outline is the fact that it is information that drives genetics and thereby all biological function. And, what we observe today in every area of scientific study is that information is caused by applied intelligence. To conclude that all of this information arrived on our planet driving every biological function was caused by non-intelligence flies in the face of everything we know and can observe on the subject. Ironically The Scientific Method begins with observation - ignoring observation is a non-starter scientifically. Therefore, I would argue that to argue against Intelligent Design is not science, but something entirely opposite. Further, to argue in favor of Intelligent Design is more scientific forensically than Darwin’s body of work. Watch the video and reason for yourself: Click HERE to watch, or watch below.



You can purchase the book "Reason If You Will - How To Answer Questions Regarding Faith" by clicking HERE. Profits go to Camp Bahamas. You can also follow @ReasonIfYouWill on Twitter.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Free Exercise of Prayer

In the ongoing crusade to deny religious freedom for Christians across America, most recently we are inspired by a football coach at Bremerton High School in Washington State. His name is Joe Kennedy. And, under threat of lawsuit, he proceeded to fulfill his promise to lead an on-field post-game prayer for any who wish to join voluntarily. The result was glorious as many players and coaches from both teams joined him center field along with a group of families and friends. They all knelt and prayed to the glory of God. Of course, the easily offended used this as fodder to stir controversy resulting in hateful, bigoted and unconstitutional attacks … against Christians.

Regarding the law and Christian exercise of religion, the Constitution is explicitly clear. The first ten amendments to the Constitution are also known as the Bill of Rights. And, the first and most important in the Bill of Rights is the First Amendment to the Constitution. The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Sounds pretty clear doesn’t it? Well, not to those who wish to distort it into something entirely worthless. Those who align with the unconstitutional suppression of religious freedom pathetically argue that the First Amendment only applies to what happens inside church buildings on Sundays. And, further, when inside that church if you dare preach against homosexuality from the Bible, then they also want to suppress that as well characterizing it as hate speech. And the list goes on and on. In other words, they wish to “prohibit the free exercise” both outside and inside the church.

To the Christian, our religion, or what we believe defines us. It defines every moment of every day. Our religion is something that we exercise first outside the church and only secondly inside. True worship is how we exercise what we believe while non-Christians are observing. More importantly, the truest of worship is how we exercise what we believe when God is observing. And, by the way, God is always observing, every moment of every day, and especially outside the church walls. Therefore, it is outside the church walls where our exercise of what we believe is most vital and most exercising.

To that end, our first and constant exercise of religion is prayer. Prayer is what precedes our exercise, what sustains our exercise and what points our exercise to the One for whom we exercise. Every single mission, big and small, begins with prayer. Even when we are not praying Romans 8:26 reminds us that the Holy Spirit is praying for us. Everything provided for us in a Christian’s life is an answer to prayer. Prayer is our most central exercise of our religion. Prayer is what we do because it is what God does with Himself. When we pray for others we are imitating Him. And, it should never be restricted in a country that claims as its First Amendment in the Bill of Rights to not prohibit the free exercise of religion.

That might confuse those who point to Jesus’ words that seem to discourage public prayer. In Matthew 6:5-6 Jesus says, “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” But, this passage is not saying to never pray in public, but rather it speaks to a false motive behind the prayers of some - self reward. This clarification is demonstrated by context when you read verse 1, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus is restricting the motive of prayer not the exercise of prayer. In fact, 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 says, “pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” That will be hard to do if we must restrict our prayers solely to a private room in our house.

There is only one right motive for prayer. But, there are two settings for prayer - public and private. There is a time for private prayer as well as for public prayer. For example, Jesus publicly prayed in John 17. And, He publicly prayed before and after His miracles (Matthew 14:13-21, for example). Jesus used private prayer many times as well (Luke 5:16, for example). But whether public or private, His motive was not to reward or glorify Himself, but strictly to glorify His father. Jesus even instructed us towards the single motive for prayer in John 14:13, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” The motive must be “that the Father may be glorified.” Whenever the motive is that we be glorified, we should not be praying publicly, but should resist temptation by retreating privately to get right with God. If I openly offer to pray for someone’s need and for God’s glory by taking their request to God, regardless of being in public, God can be glorified.

Now, before you get excited and rise up in arms to defend this coach, I challenge you rather to channel that energy into following this coach. Make your life one of prayer both public and private. By the way, the example of Coach Kennedy sounds rather analogous to that of the prophet Daniel. Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den for praying through his open window overlooking Jerusalem in violation of the law. Does that sound familiar? More importantly, as Daniel 6 reminds us, Daniel’s publicly visible prayers were an immediate reaction to the public posting of the law criminalizing prayer. This is our model, Christian. Our model is bold, loving but public defiance of any law or any notion that seeks to prohibit prayer. Our model is certainly not a lifestyle void of constant prayer. Was that your lifestyle before reading this? Before you treat yourself too harshly, this describes the vast majority of us. Constant prayer should have characterized our lives before persecution. But, it is never too late to start. Please allow this to characterize your religious exercise today.

Everywhere we go should be preceded and accompanied by prayer. And, we should openly offer to pray for everyone that we can. We should be bold in our prayers. And, we should be loving in our prayers. We should pray blessings, hopes, and healings on all who are willing to be prayed for. In fact, there is nothing more resembling of unconditional love than to take someone else’s need to God while asking for nothing in return from either God or the person that you are praying for. Here are some exercises to try every day:

  • Ask your waiter or waitress if they have a prayer request and then take that request with blessings to God as you pray over your food. Follow that with prayer for them in the days that follow.
  • Ask your cashier if they have a prayer request you can pray for. And, if there is nobody in line that you are holding up, pray a short prayer of blessing for them.
  • When someone begs you for food or money, whether or not you give any, pray for them on the spot.
  • When your Christian brother or sister ask for prayer, pray right there and then.
  • Ask those at work if you can pray for anything for them. Inform co-workers that you are praying blessings for them. Even inform your boss of your prayers of blessings for them.
  • Ask your lost family members if they have a prayer request you can pray blessings over.
Prayer is the least we can do for others and it is the most we can do for others. We can do this. We should do this. We must do this. Free or prohibited, this is our exercise. This is love. This is true religion. This is worship. This is the Christian life. Now go live it!
 
You can purchase the book "Reason If You Will - How To Answer Questions Regarding Faith" by clicking HERE. Profits go to Camp Bahamas. You can also follow @ReasonIfYouWill on Twitter.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Glare That Silenced the World

It was merely 78 years ago when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain proclaimed in his famous speech concerning the ill-destined Munich Agreement, “Peace for our time.” Ironically and sadly, less than a year from that naïve proclamation, Hitler’s continued aggression and invasion of Poland was followed by declarations of war on Germany by both Britain and France. The rest is bloody history. And, it is history that has repeatedly taught us that violent aggressors are not thwarted through appeasement. Instead, the earlier they are stopped, the less violent and costly it becomes for all mankind.

Yet, 78 years later, President Obama has repeated the same naïve appeasement of a blood-thirsty aggressor. In response to Iran being the world’s top sponsor of terrorism, her repeated declarations of insatiable desire to genocidally exterminate Israel, and constant chants of “Death to America,” our President has defied the will of the American people by removing sanctions, creating a path for Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon within 11 years, and providing them with $150 billion in aid. In return for giving Iran everything Iran wanted, their leaders responded by leading chants, “Death to America!” while they continue to hold 4 American hostages. It happened before and is now being repeated within three generations. And, once again, it will be at the bloody expense of Israel, America and the world at large. America continues to turn its back on our greatest ally in the Middle East. However, turning our backs is not insult enough. We have also agreed to all but supply the dagger to Israel’s most violent enemy.

As a response, the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, made an address to the United Nations on October 1, 2015. His address is much more worthy of repeating than that of our own appeasing leaders. Netanyahu said the following in his address:  “Iran is setting up dozens of terror cells. Imagine what they will do after the sanctions are lifted." Netanyahu later remarked that Iran is spending billions on weapons and satellites, “Do you think Iran is doing that to advance peace? … When bad behavior is awarded, it only gets worse. I’m gravely concerned the nuclear deal with Iran will prove to be the marriage certificate of that unholy union.” In the most powerful part of his speech, Netanyahu stopped to directly address the nations in attendance, “If Iran’s rulers were working to destroy your countries, perhaps you’d be somewhat less enthusiastic about the deal. If Iran’s terror proxies were firing thousands of rockets at your cities, perhaps you’d be more measured in your praise. And yet the response from every one of you here, utter silence - deafening silence.” After those remarks, he stood at the podium and glared at the delegates around the room for about one minute. The world practically stood silent before him, with zero will to do what is right or courageous. The last time this happened the cost was much greater than heeding the call to stop violent aggression before it blooms.

In fact, the cost of World War II over a six year period was the violent deaths of over 73 million people, 24 million of which were military. Compare that with total deaths in the Iraq War of 25,286 and Afghanistan of 31,520. Had we known in 1938 what we know now, we would have stopped Hitler before he invaded Poland. Aggressors must never be appeased. Appeasement is viewed by aggressors as weakness. And, violent aggressors prey upon weakness. Weakness to aggressors is an insatiable temptation for them to pounce. Iran is likewise aggressive towards Semitic genocide. Appeasing their wishes for nuclear weapons will probably result in an even worse death toll than World War II. The use of nuclear weapons by Allied Forces played an instrumental role in ending World War II. In contrast, a war started with nuclear weapons will be unthinkable. This deal must be stopped at all cost. Iran must be stopped at all cost. Israel must be protected at all cost. And, you play an individual role in that.

By way of example to us individually, Deitrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor, who became historically famous for his anti-Nazi dissent in the early stages of World War II. His famous resistance against the Nazis included vocal opposition to Hitler's euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. As a result, he was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years before he was transferred to a Nazi concentration camp. He was ultimately executed by hanging in April 1945, just two weeks before Allied forces liberated the camp and three weeks before Hitler's suicide. Bonhoeffer was a hero in staunch opposition to evil. He famously said (as if to us today), “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to act. Not to act is to act.” May we remember, be inspired by, and deliberately follow these words for our time.

Psalm 82:3 says, “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.” And Isaiah 1:17 says, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Christian, if the God of the Bible is your God, standing up for Israel and making your voice heard is not an option. America’s government from top to bottom is corrupt. We must honor her authority. But, when she acts in violation of the will of her people by opposing our staunchest allies and making concession for the path to nuclear weaponry/war along with $150 billion of our tax dollars, we have no choice but to publicly oppose. That is democracy. That is what is right. In fact, the defense of Israel is one of few causes that is worthy of risking our very lives.

Remember World War II resulted in the deaths of approximately 49 million civilians. Is life-preserving justice something you are willing to die for? Or, do you value your life more than the millions of innocent women and children who will be brutally slaughtered?

You can purchase the book "Reason If You Will - How To Answer Questions Regarding Faith" by clicking HERE. Profits go to Camp Bahamas. You can also follow @ReasonIfYouWill on Twitter.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Christians Assassinated in America



Several days ago, on the campus of Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, a gunman walked into a classroom, opened fire and killed the teacher. Everyone dropped to the ground. As the gunman reloaded his weapon, he ordered the students to stand up if they were Christians. He then killed every professing Christian assassination style. The gunman was later apprehended by the police before he committed suicide. In a matter of minutes from the news breaking, politicians on the political left, including Obama, were quick to politicize the shooting towards their agendas of aggressive gun control. And, as a result, the days that followed were dominated by nothing but the same old debates. But, this sad day in American history had little to do with gun control. The primary story that we should all be talking about is the targeting and assassination of Christians for what they believe.

We know this episode had nothing to do with gun control for three obvious reasons: 1) The already aggressive gun control laws in Oregon failed to prevent this crime, 2) The additional laws that are being proposed in response to this crime would not have prevented this crime, and 3) Criminalizing the possession guns has never prevented criminals. So, since this has little to do with gun control, what can we learn practically from this episode? What we have learned is fairly sad: When a group of Christians are assassinated for their faith in America, the public at large does not care. In fact, all the politicians, media and leftists care about is using these deaths for selfish political gain. Well, is that what these victims and their families would have wanted? Or would they want us to focus on the growing intolerance against Christians manifested by the silence that ensues after they are brutally assassinated?

Where is the discussion about assassinating Christians? Is this not a hate crime? Or, our hate crimes reserved for every other group, just not Christians? Why are we discussing laws that have no connection with the crime, and ignoring actual contributors like intolerance that is growing to violent extremes? Why are we not examining what prior influences the gunman had in his life to produce such bigoted hatred? Why are we not examining the motive in this case to determine the true ills in our society that spawned his thinking? Since we are doing none of the above, are we not concluding that the true motive and the true causes are not worth examining? What does that say about our society? Just weeks ago, a Christian was jailed indefinitely without bail for peaceful and conscientious objection due to person religious conviction. And weeks later, Christians are targeted for assassination in America while America refuses to discuss it. It is as if that aspect of the crime has no bearing in our nation. But, is there any other aspect of the crime that is remotely as worthy of discussion and resolution?

Then again, this is not just happening in America. Where too is the discussion about assassinating Christians worldwide? ISIS is wiping out whole Christian populations and their preferred beheading weapon is not a gun, but a knife. And Oregon represents the second recent assassination of a group of Christians in America to the thunderous sound of crickets. I wonder if that would have been the response had the victims been Muslims, Buddhists or even atheists. Our country is like the frog that is slowly boiling in the pot of real and violent intolerance, all the while we are being blinded into believing that the peaceful Christians are the hostile danger. America, wake up!

It is of first importance that we honor these victims and their families for the heroes that they are. It is on that note that we will close this post. Before we do, be encouraged that this event is a proof that what Christians believe is actually true. There is only one reason why Christians are being killed all over the globe. That is because they proclaim and stand bravely and peacefully for that which the god of this world violently opposes. Even this Oregon gunman’s manifesto recorded this confession, “I’ve been forced to align myself with these demons and become one of them. At first, it was involuntary, but now I am aligned with them. I now serve. When I die I will become one of them…My success in Hell is assured.” The convergence against Christians is rampantly advancing in both the legal realms in nations that are otherwise referred to as free, and in criminal activity as well. Christian, stand firm for your redemption is ever nearer.

In closing, this blog will honor these martyrs. These are true heroes of the Faith in Jesus Christ. In John 15:13, Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” These heroes called Jesus their friend and stood for Him in the face of a gun to meet their death instead of denying the One who died for them. And, for this act, even greater honor awaits each and every one of these heroes. In fact, Revelation 20:4 reads, “Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” Such martyrs as these will be honored in such a manner. Therefore, in keeping with the honor that is due, we hereby remember the names of these martyrs and their families:

Lucero Alcaraz
Treven Taylor Anspach
Rebecka Ann Carnes
Quinn Glen Cooper
Kim Saltmarsh Dietz
Lucas Eibel
Jason Dale Johnson
Lawrence Levine
Sarena Dawn Moore

Each one of you have inspired us. May we follow your example and keep the faith! Indescribable blessings await your steadfast display of unwavering faith. May we too strive to meet your example.

You can purchase the book "Reason If You Will - How To Answer Questions Regarding Faith" by clicking HERE. Profits go to Camp Bahamas. You can also follow @ReasonIfYouWill on Twitter.