Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Interview with a tattoo artist

I don't like tattoos. Though I am a Graphic Artist, I personally think tattoos mar the beauty of the human body. However, both my nephews have tattoos (plus, my niece has her tongue pierced and her lower lip pierced), and a friend of mine, who is a strong Christian, has both arms covered in tattoos (though he got them before he was saved, and he regrets the tattoos now).

Leviticus 19:28 even says, "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord." However, this was a command from God, specifically to the Israelites, after they had left Egypt as former slaves. They were going to the Promised Land, which was Canaan. Canaan was currently occupied by pagans who practiced child sacrifices and other horrendous acts. God did not want His followers---His people---to disfigure their bodies after the manner of the pagans. Lacerations and disfigurement were common among pagans as signs of mourning, and to secure the attention of their deity. God wanted His people to be separate from these pagans.

Not only that, but the verse before (verse 27) says, "Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard." This is a prohibition still followed by orthodox Jews today. Yet, this verse demonstrates that these commands were for a specific people. I don't know of any Christians who believe that if you cut your hair, you are sinning. In fact, when I was attending Bob Jones University, they had a rule that your hair could not touch your collar or your ears, and your bangs had to be at least an inch above your eyebrows. I was told that someone actually used the verse mentioned above (or possibly a similar verse) to try to keep from getting a haircut! However, I think they still made him get his hair cut.

Many Christians today would consider a tattoo parlor an ungodly place. Yet here is a guy who apparently uses the art of tattooing for the glory of God:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Using martial arts weapons to paint with

"The lordship of Christ should include an interest in the arts. A Christian should use these arts to the glory of God, not just as tracts, mind you, but as things of beauty to the praise of God."
(Francis Schaeffer, "Art and the Bible")

Philippine-born Rick Alonzo paints with martial art weapons:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Christianity, the Arts and the Martial Arts

Man was created in the image of God. God is the original Creator of all things. God also loves beauty (as evidenced in His Creation). Man, too, was given the ability to create. Man was created to glorify God and serve Him. However, some churches seem to think that Art and Drama are not legitimate for a Christian to partake in, unless they have an obvious 'religious' connotation to them. For example, drawing pictures is OK only if it is used to create something like a gospel tract; or, Drama is OK only if it is used to accurately depict something from the Bible. And I would agree that both Art and Drama have been used, at times, to depict things that are ungodly, or even perverted; or even have gone so far as to explicitly mock Jesus. Yet, I think most of the time, Art has been used simply to depict people, or things in nature; and Drama has been used largely to depict interaction between people, whether it be something historical, or something fictional.

Therefore, for a Christian (or a church) to say that Art or Drama for their own sake are not legitimate or appropriate for a Christian, unless they are 'spiritualized' by having direct 'religious' connotations, is to deny the fact that different people are given different talents by God, and that people create things because they were made in the image of a God Who created the heavens and the earth. And for a church to imply that a person's gifts or talents are not legitimate or appropriate unless those gifts or talents are used within a church service, or to promote the church, or to help with the building and upkeep of the church, is to have a far-too-narrow view of people's God-given gifts and talents.

For example, some Christians might not think too highly of my using Photoshop to create something such as this:

Original photo of me in 7th Grade:

The same photo after doing some things to it in Adobe Photoshop CS2:

In addition, some Christians think that the martial arts are evil and inappropriate for a Christian---either because they promote violence, or because they are rooted in Eastern Religions. When I first asked Jesus to come into my 'heart' and take over my life at 19 years of age, I immediately gave up weight-training and karate. Why? Because they were the 'gods' in my life. In other words, they held the priorities in my life. Years later, the Lord allowed me to get back into weight-training and martial arts---just without having them as priorities in my life. He doesn't want to take away our fun and enjoyment; He simply wants us to put Him first.

I find it interesting and ironic that some of those Christians that are so opposed to martial arts are strong advocates of owning a gun; while I, on the other hand, would not want to own a gun, because I hate guns, and I hate the thought of shooting a human being with a gun.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Altering a photo with Photoshop

"If Christianity is really true, then it involves the whole man, including his intellect and creativeness. Christianity is not just "dogmatically" true or "doctrinally" true. Rather, it is true to what is there, true in the whole area of the whole man in all of life."
(Francis A. Schaeffer, Art and the Bible, Ch. 1)

I used Photoshop CS2 to alter this photo of my mom.

Here is the original photo:

And here it is after I did a few things to it in Photoshop:

Friday, April 25, 2008

Days and years in Genesis

Many people today discount the lifespans of those listed in Genesis, saying that its impossible that people actually lived that long. However, if the years in Genesis 5 are really shorter concerning men’s ages, then the days in Genesis 1 and 2 must be shorter as well, concerning the Creation account. Contrarily, if the days in Genesis 1 and 2 are actually thousands or millions of years, then the years of men’s ages in Genesis 5 must be thousands or millions of years!

Other ancient genealogies other than the Bible show long lifespans as well, during that time. The Sumerian Kings list mentions 3 kings that are said to have reigned 72,000 years each. Now, that is obviously exaggerated, but that very exaggeration makes more sense if people did live long lifespans back then. If they merely lived 70 or so years, such an exaggeration would make far less sense.

Genesis 7:4 says, “Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” If days were actually thousands or millions of years in Genesis, then it must have rained without letup for millions of years! That would mean that Noah was afloat in the ark with the animals for millions of years! On the other hand, if a 900 year genealogy is actually more like 90 years, then 40 days and 40 nights must only be a few minutes or less. This would mean that God flooded the entire world in just a few minutes!

Gen. 8:3,4 says, “The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.” How could they be so precise and exact with time periods HERE, yet be so imprecise when reporting people’s ages, or the days of Creation, in earlier chapters? In other chapters, very exact measurements are given, as well. It’s ridiculous to think that they could be so particular and exact with dates, measures, etc., yet be so imprecise and inaccurate when notating the number of years that people lived, or how long the period of Creation took.

If the recorded ages of some of the people in Genesis reflects a longer span than the years they actually lived (i.e., Adam lived 930 years; Seth lived 912 years; Enosh lived 905 years; Kenan lived 910 years; Mahalalel lived 895 years; Jared lived 962 years; Enoch lived 365 years; Methuselah lived 969 years; Lamech lived 777 years; Noah lived 950 years), then why is it that after the Flood, when God announces that man's lifespan will be shorter from now on, the lifespan of people begin to be (eventually and somewhat progressively) more 'normal' as they are today?

Gen. 11:10,11 says, "Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad. And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters."

OK, lets say that 500 years was an exaggeration of, say, 5 times the actual years that Shem lived, meaning that he actually lived to be 100, and he actually had Arphaxad when he was 20 years old.

However, in verse 12, the next verse, it says, "When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah." Verse 13 continues, "And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters."

So, if you apply that 1/5 argument, Arphaxad must have become the father of Shelah when Arphaxad was 7 years old!

The same thing applies to the verses after that. Shelah became a dad at 30 years of age and lived to be 403. Eber became a dad at age 34 and lived to be 430. Peleg became a dad at age 30 and lived to be 209. Reu became a dad at 32 and lived to be 207. Serug became a dad at age 30 and lived to be 200. Nahor became a dad at 29 and lived to be 119.

If those ages of their lifespan were actually much shorter, then the ages they became a dad must have been much younger. So again, they must have fathered children when they were not even 10 years old yet!

Not only that, but notice that, in general, the lifespans become progressively shorter and shorter.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hidden Treasure

A short film depicting a modern parable.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cell City

A ‘simple’ cell is nothing of the sort. Ernst Haeckel couldn’t have been more wrong when he called a cell a “homogeneous globule of protoplasm.” Since developing far more powerful microscopes than in Haeckel’s day, we have found that a cell is more akin to the tiny speck of dust in Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears A Who,” where the “speck of dust” turns out to be a tiny planet, home to a city called "Whoville,” inhabited by microscopic-sized inhabitants known as ‘Whos.’

A single cell is so complex, having many different compartments in which different tasks are performed---specialized areas partitioned off for specific jobs and duties---that it is much like an industrial city containing businesses, highways, departments of government, energy and utility companies, cargo storage, way stations, and sanitation engineers. The nucleus is where the DNA resides; the mitochondria produces the cell’s energy; the endoplasmic reticulum processes proteins; the Golgi apparatus is a way station for proteins being transported elsewhere; the lysosome is the cell’s garbage disposal unit; secretory vesicles store cargo before it must be sent out of the cell; and the peroxisome helps metabolize fats. Just as a house or building has rooms separated by walls or doors, each compartment is sealed off from the rest of the cell by its own membrane. Even the membranes can be considered separate compartments, because the cell places material into the membranes that is not found elsewhere. In fact, there is much more to the complexity of a cell than this little mini-summary has shown, but this will serve as a brief glimpse to demonstrate just one of the many reasons why the occurrence of macroevolution is astronomically improbable. In fact, Louis Pasteur disproved spontaneous generation (life arising from non-life), also called abiogenesis, in 1864.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Batman investigates a crime scene

(Click on image to enlarge it)

This is an image I created in Photoshop. Though it really has nothing to do with theology, I'm just posting it for comic relief...just for something different. The construction signs, binoculars, broom, and the little yellow guy, I drew in Illustrator. Batman, the Riddler, and the pyramids were all taken off the Internet; I just cut Batman and the Riddler out of their respective backgrounds in Photoshop. The shadowy mound that Batman is standing on, I did in Photoshop. And of course the words and word balloon and thought balloon, I created in Photoshop.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I've always liked this quote

"Going to church doesn't make you any more a Christian than going to the garage makes you a car."
-Laurence J. Peter

I have also always like the following quote, ever since I heard it, years ago:

"A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still."

There are similar quotes to this one as well, including the following:

"A man convinced against his will is not convinced."
-Laurence J. Peter

"He that complies against his will
Is of his own opinion still. "
~Samuel Butler, in Hudibras (Part iii. Canto iii. Line 547)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Old Testament Sacrifices

In the Old Testament, there were several types of sacrifices.

The burnt offering (Lev. 1; 6:8-13; 8:18-21; 16:24) required a bull, ram or male bird (dove or young pigeon for the poor) to be sacrificed. The stipulations were that there must be no defect in the animal and that it had to be wholly consumed. This was a voluntary act of worship. The purpose was atonement for unintentional sin in general. It was an expression of devotion, signifying commitment and complete surrender to God.

The grain offering (Lev. 2; 6:14-23), required grain, fine flour, olive oil, incense, baked bread (cakes or wafers), and salt; no yeast or honey was to be used. This accompanied the burnt offering and the fellowship offering (along with a drink offering). It too was a voluntary act of worship, and signified recognition of God’s goodness and provisions, as well as devotion to God.

The fellowship offering (Lev. 3; 7:11-34) required any animal without defect from the person’s herd or flock, and a variety of breads. This was another voluntary act of worship, signifying thanksgiving and fellowship, and included a communal meal.

The sin offering (Lev. 4:1-5:13; 6:24-30; 8:14-17; 16:3-22) required (1) a young bull for the high priest and congregation; (2) a male goat for the leader; (3) a female goat or lamb for the common person; (4) a dove or pigeon for the poor; (5) a tenth of an ephah of fine flour for the very poor. This was mandatory atonement for specific unintentional sin; signifying confession of sin, forgiveness of sin and cleansing from defilement.

The guilt offering (Lev. 5:14-6:7; 7:1-6) required a ram or lamb. It was mandatory atonement for unintentional sin requiring restitution. It included cleansing from defilement, making restitution and paying a 20% fine (i.e. in addition to returning whatever he stole, took by extortion, or whatever was entrusted to him, or the lost property he found, or whatever it was he swore falsely about).

When more than one kind of offering was presented, the procedure was usually as follows: (1) sin offering or guilt offering, (2) burnt offering, (3) fellowship offering and grain offering (along with a drink offering). This sequence furnishes part of the spiritual significance of the sacrificial system. First, sin had to be dealt with (sin offering or guilt offering). Second, the worshiper committed himself completely to God (burnt offering and grain offering). Third, fellowship or communion between the Lord, the priest and the worshiper (fellowship offering) was established. To state it another way, there were sacrifices of expiation (sin offerings and guilt offerings), consecration (burnt offerings and grain offerings) and communion (fellowship offerings ---these included vow offerings, thank offerings and freewill offerings). This procedure or order also applies to the way someone is saved. It even applies to the general order in which we should pray. As far as salvation, this is the order: (1) repentance, (2) surrender to Christ, (3) indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whereby our body becomes God’s temple.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Relationship, not 'Religion'

To be a Buddhist, you don't have to know Buddha.
To be a Muslim, you don't have to know Muhammad.
To be a Confucianist, you don't have to know Confucius.
To be a Taoist, you don't have to know Laozi.
But to be a Christian, you do have to know Jesus.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Questions regarding Evolution

1. If Evolution takes billions of years, then how is it that a sperm and an egg only takes 9 months to produce a human baby?

2. How did a woman's menstrual cycle evolve?

3. How did reproduction evolve?
(In Question #1, I was asking about the time factor involved; now I'm asking for the specific evolutionary steps that were supposedly involved.)

4. How did cell splitting evolve?

5. How did protons, neutrons, electrons, lepons, muons and quarks evolve?

6. How did breastmilk evolve?

7. How did feelings, emotions, conscience and imagination evolve?

8. If "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest" are fact; and, assuming that homosexuals were born as homosexuals; then, how is it that there have been homosexuals for thousands of years? Why did evolution not weed them out because of their inability to reproduce?

9. How did the ability to dream evolve?

10. How did sexual organs evolve?

11. Why did flounders "evolve" with two eyes on the same side of their head?

It is more probable that all the computers in the world today came together (starting with nothing) by sheer chaotic accident, with no designers or builders; than it is that man, with his incredibly complex brain (not to mention the unbelievably complex network of cells working together to make up all his organs, his body and all his functions) evolved.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hmmm, maybe the theory of Evolution is falsifiable after all...

Check out this link:
Especially notice this:
And this:
And this:
And this:
And this:
"NOVA TV Special, God, Darwin And The Dinosaurs, "...dinosaur footprints, side by side with humans. Finding them would counter evidence that humans evolved long after the dinosaurs became extinct and back up...[the] claim that all species, including man, were created at one time."

And this large cat track:

"Naturally, evolutionists must explain this away, so they just say, "It is carved." They don’t need evidence. They know large mammals did not live with dinosaurs, so this cat track must be carved.

Creationists on the other hand, test their hypotheses. We cross-sectioned the track with a view to looking for the possibility of subsurface structures. If the structures within the rock were randomly truncated by the foot-shaped depression, carving would be indicated. If however, the structures conformed to the depression, then there would be clear indication that the track was not carved, but genuine."

Some people might say, "If these are real, then why haven't we seen them in the News? If they were real, they would be all over the media!" However, evolutionary Scientists have a vested interest in their occupation. Besides that, they are prejudiced on the side of Evolution, and against the idea of Creation. Not only that, but the media filters out many things that go against its political or philosophical viewpoint. Scientists and reporters and the media are supposed to be disinterested parties that report on what they see, without letting their personal opinions affect what they report; but much of the time, this is not the case.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Are All "Real" Scientists Atheists?

"The idea that all scientists and educated people are atheists is a myth. The Sigma Zi [Xi] Scientific Honorary Society did a poll of 3,300 PhD’s and concluded that scientists are anchored in the US mainstream and that 1/2 participate in religious activities regularly."

"Richard Feynman (Nobel prize in physics) has said, "Many scientists do believe in both science and God, a God of revelation, in a perfectly consistent way."


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Psalm 23

OK, today I decided to post this cute little video of
two-year-old twins reciting Psalm 23.

Just in case you can't understand them, here is Psalm 23
in the NIV, which is the version they are reciting from:

"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters; He restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life;
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Taking the side of Science

"We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of the failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so-stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."
(Evolutionist Richard Lewontin in The New York Review, January, 1997, page 31)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Survival of the sacred

"Why religion is winning

By Dinesh D'Souza
November 11, 2007

The vigorous, the healthy and the happy survive and multiply.

– Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

Religion continues to grow worldwide, and atheists in America and the West are having a difficult time explaining why. These nonbelievers, most of them Darwinists, are convinced there must be some biological explanation for why, in every culture since the beginning of history, man has found and continues to find solace in religion. Biologist Richard Dawkins confesses that religion poses a “major puzzle to anyone who thinks in a Darwinian way.”

Here, from the evolutionary point of view, is the problem. Scholars such as anthropologist Scott Atran presume that religious beliefs are nothing more than illusions. Atran contends that religious belief requires taking “what is materially false to be true” and “what is materially true to be false.” For Atran and others, religion requires a commitment to “factually impossible worlds.” The question, then, is why would humans evolve in such a way that they come to believe in things that don't exist?

Philosopher Daniel Dennett states the problem clearly: “The ultimate measure of evolutionary value is fitness – the capacity to replicate more successfully than the competition does.” Yet on the face of it religion seems useless from an evolutionary point of view. It costs time and money, and it induces its members to make sacrifices that undermine their well-being for the benefit of others, sometimes total strangers.

Religious people build cathedrals and pyramids that have very little utility except as houses of worship and burial. The ancient Hebrews sacrificed their fattest calves to Yahweh, and even today people slaughter goats and chickens on altars. Religious people sometimes forgo certain foods; the cow is holy to the Hindus, and the pig unholy to the Muslims. Christians give tithes and financial offerings in church. The Jews keep holy the Sabbath, as Christians keep Sunday for church. Religious people recite prayers and go on pilgrimages. Some become missionaries or devote their lives to serving others. Some are even willing to die for their religious beliefs.

A critical question

The evolutionary biologist wonders: Why would evolved creatures like human beings bent on survival and reproduction do things that seem unrelated, even inimical, to those objectives? This is a critical question, not only because religion poses an intellectual dilemma for Darwinists, but also because Darwinists are hoping that by explaining the existence of religion they can expose its natural roots and undermine its supernatural authority. Biologist E.O. Wilson writes that “we have come to the crucial stage in the history of biology when religion itself is subject to the explanations of the natural sciences.” He expresses the hope that sometime soon “the final decisive edge enjoyed by scientific naturalism will come from its capacity to explain traditional religion, its chief competitor, as a wholly material phenomenon.”

So how far have these evolutionary theories progressed in accounting for the success of religion? In “The God Delusion” Dawkins writes, “The proximate cause of religion might be hyperactivity in a particular node of the brain.” He also speculates that “the idea of immortality survives and spreads because it caters to wishful thinking.” But it makes no evolutionary sense for minds to develop comforting beliefs that are evidently false. Explains cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker: “A freezing person finds no comfort in believing he is warm. A person face to face with a lion is not put at ease by the conviction that he is a rabbit.” Wishful thinking of this sort would quickly have become extinct as its practitioners froze or were eaten.

Yet Pinker's own solution to the problem is no better than that of Dawkins. He suggests there might be a “God module” in the brain that predisposes people to believe in the Almighty. Such a module, Pinker writes, might serve no survival purpose but could have evolved as a byproduct of other modules with evolutionary value. This is another way of saying there is no Darwinian explanation. After all, if a “God module” produces belief in God, how about a “Darwin module” that produces belief in evolution?

Still, the question raised by the Darwinists is not a foolish one. Biologists such as Dawkins and Wilson say there simply must be some natural and evolutionary explanation for the universality and persistence of religious belief, and they are right. There is such an explanation, and as a religious believer I am happy to provide one.

Two creation stories

The Rev. Randy Alcorn, founder of Eternal Perspective Ministries in Oregon, sometimes presents his audiences with two creation stories and asks them whether it matters which one is true. In the secular account, “You are the descendant of a tiny cell of primordial protoplasm washed up on an empty beach three-and-a-half-billion years ago. You are the blind and arbitrary product of time, chance and natural forces. You are a mere grab-bag of atomic particles, a conglomeration of genetic substance. You exist on a tiny planet in a minute solar system in an empty corner of a meaningless universe. You are a purely biological entity, different only in degree but not in kind from a microbe, virus or amoeba. You have no essence beyond your body, and at death you will cease to exist entirely. In short, you came from nothing and are going nowhere.”

In the Christian view, by contrast, “You are the special creation of a good and all-powerful God. You are created in his image, with capacities to think, feel and worship that set you above all other life forms. You differ from the animals not simply in degree but in kind. Not only is your kind unique, but you are unique among your kind. Your creator loves you so much and so intensely desires your companionship and affection that he has a perfect plan for your life. In addition, God gave the life of his only Son that you might spend eternity with him. If you are willing to accept the gift of salvation, you can become a child of God.”

Now imagine two groups of people – let's call them the Secular Tribe and the Religious Tribe – who subscribe to these two world views. Which of the two tribes is more likely to survive, prosper and multiply? The Religious Tribe is made up of people who have an animating sense of purpose. The Secular Tribe is made up of people who are not sure why they exist at all. The Religious Tribe is composed of individuals who view their every thought and action as consequential. The Secular Tribe is made up of matter that cannot explain why it is able to think at all.

Should evolutionists such as Dennett, Dawkins, Pinker and Wilson be surprised, then, to see that religious tribes are flourishing? Throughout the world, religious groups attract astounding numbers of followers and religious people are showing their confidence in their way of life and in the future by having more children. Despite the sales figures of atheist best-sellers, atheism remains a minority lifestyle and the largest atheist organizations have only a few thousand members.

The important point is not just that atheism is unable to compete with religion in attracting followers, but also that the lifestyle of practical atheism seems to produce listless tribes that cannot even reproduce themselves. Sociologists Pippa Norris and Ron Inglehart note that many richer, more secular countries are “producing only about half as many children as would be needed to replace the adult population” while many poorer, more religious countries are “producing two or three times as many children as would be needed to replace the adult population.” The consequence, so predictable that one might almost call it a law, is that “the religious population is growing fast, while the secular number is shrinking.”

Country by country

Russia is one of the most atheist countries in the world and abortions there out-number live births by a 2-to-1 ratio. Russia's birthrate has fallen so low that the nation is now losing 700,000 people a year. Japan, perhaps the most secular country in Asia, is also on a kind of population diet: its 130 million people are expected to drop to around 100 million in the next few decades. Canada, Australia and New Zealand find themselves in a similar predicament.

Then there is Europe. The most secular continent on the globe is decadent in the quite literal sense that its population is rapidly shrinking. Birthrates are abysmally low in France, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic and Sweden. The nations of Western Europe today show some of the lowest birthrates ever recorded, and Eastern European birthrates are comparably low. Historians have noted that Europe is suffering the most sustained reduction in its population since the Black Death in the 14th century, when one in three Europeans succumbed to the plague. Lacking the strong religious identity that once characterized Christendom, atheist Europe seems to be a civilization on its way out. The philosopher Nietzsche predicted that European decadence would produce a miserable “last man” devoid of any purpose beyond making life comfortable and making provision for regular fornication. Well, Nietzsche's “last man” is finally here, and his name is Sven.

Eric Kaufmann has noted that in America, where high levels of immigration have helped to compensate for falling native birthrates, birthrates among religious people are nearly twice as high as those for secular people. This trend has also been noticed in Europe. What this means is that, by a kind of natural selection, the West is likely to evolve in a more religious direction.

This tendency will likely accelerate if Western societies continue to import immigrants from more religious societies, whether they are Christian or Muslim. Thus we can expect even the most secular regions of the world, through the sheer logic of demography, to become less secular over time.

In previous decades, scholars have tried to give a purely economic explanation for demographic trends. The general idea was that population was a function of affluence. Sociologists noted that as people and countries became richer, they had fewer children. Presumably, primitive societies needed children to help in the fields, and more prosperous societies no longer did. Poor people were also believed to have more children because sex provided one of their only means of recreation. Moreover, poor people are often ignorant about birth control or don't have access to it. From this perspective, large families were explained as a phenomenon of poverty and ignorance.

The economic explanation is partly true, but it falls short of the full picture. Poor people reproduce at higher rates despite having access to birth control and movie tickets; it turns out they generally want larger families. Sure, they are more economically dependent on their children, but on the other hand rich people can afford more children. Wealthy people in America today tend to have one child or none, but wealthy families in the past tended to have three or more children. The real difference is not merely in the level of income, it is that in the past children were valued as gifts from God, and traditional cultures still view them that way.

Muslim countries, with their oil revenues, are by no means the poorest in the world and yet they have among the highest birth rates. Practicing Catholics, orthodox Jews, Mormons and evangelical Protestants are by no means the poorest groups in America, and yet they have large families. Clearly, religious factors are at work here. The declining birthrates in the West as a whole are, in considerable part, due to secularization. The religious motive for childbearing has been greatly attenuated, and children are now viewed by many people as instruments of self-gratification. The old biblical principle was “Be fruitful and multiply.” The new one is “Have as many children as will enhance your lifestyle.”

False prophets

The economic forecasters of the disappearance of religion have proven themselves to be false prophets. Not only is religion thriving, it is thriving because it helps people adapt and survive in the world. In his book “Darwin's Cathedral,” evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson argues that religion provides something that secular society doesn't: a vision of transcendent purpose. Consequently, religious people develop a zest for life that is, in a sense, unnatural. They exhibit a hopefulness about the future that may exceed what is warranted by how the world is going. And they forge principles of morality and charity that simply make their group more cohesive, adaptive and successful than groups whose members lack this binding and elevating force.

My conclusion is that it is not religion but atheism that requires a Darwinian explanation. It seems perplexing why nature would breed a group of people who see no higher purpose to life or the universe. Here is where the biological expertise of Dawkins, Pinker and Wilson could prove illuminating. Maybe they can turn their Darwinian lens on themselves and help us understand how atheism, like the human tailbone and the panda's thumb, somehow survived as an evolutionary leftover of our primitive past.

D'Souza's new book, “What's So Great About Christianity,” is published by Regnery. Website: dineshdsouza.com. Email: dineshjdsouza@aol.com."


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lee Strobel's Testimony

This is a short summary of Lee Strobel's testimony. He is a former atheist, lawyer and award-winning legal editor of the Chicago Tribune who decided to use his legal and journalistic training to investigate the claims of Christianity and see if there was any credibility to it. He decided to do what he did at the Chicago Tribune, which was to check out stories to see if they were true. He decided to look at both sides, as well as looking at other world religions. In addition, he looked at some of the most brilliant legal minds of history; for example, Simon Greenleaf of Harvard, and Sir Lionel Luckhoo, of whom the Guinness Book of World Records describes as the most successful lawyer in the history of the world (he had more murder trials won in a row than any other defense attorney in history). These men were brilliant people who applied the laws of evidence to the resurrection accounts and walked away convinced that they are true. After almost 2 years of intense investigation, Lee concluded that the evidence overwhelmingly supported the claims of Christianity.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Gay Activists Risk Your Life. Tolerate It!

By Matt Barber
Friday, March 28, 2008

"Modern science sometimes serves to validate timeless Biblical truths (not that objective truth needs validating). Romans 6:23 contains two such truths. It provides flip sides to a priceless coin, offering us both a blunt warning and an enduring promise: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Far too often we toss this coin, gambling heads-or-tails with our own best interests. We all sin, but because Christ willingly paid the penalty — suffering death on the cross in our stead — we are redeemed. We need only believe in Him and the gift of eternal life is ours. We can confess our sins, repent (which includes making every effort not to repeat those sins) and move on.

Still, there are those who prefer the tarnished side of the coin to the polished, those who, with haughty hearts and sardonic “pride,” willfully choose sin over Christ; death over life.

It’s a self-evident reality which is bolstered by medical science, but Scripture additionally reminds us in both the Old and New Testaments that those who choose to engage in homosexual conduct do so at their own peril.

Consider Romans 1:26-27 (NIV), which a presidential candidate recently referred to as an “obscure passage in Romans”: “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”

It’s sad when people yield to disordered sexual temptations that can literally kill them spiritually, emotionally and physically. Nobody with any compassion enjoys watching others “[receive] in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” But a corollary to free will is living (or dying) with the choices we’ve made.

That said, it’s an entirely different proposition when bad behaviors place others at risk. This should not — and must not — be “tolerated.”

Current U.S. health regulations prohibit men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood. Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) categorically confirm that if MSM were permitted to give blood, the general population would be placed at risk.

According to the FDA, MSM “have an HIV prevalence 60 times higher than the general population, 800 times higher than first time blood donors and 8,000 times higher than repeat blood donors (American Red Cross).

“[MSM] also have an increased risk of having other infections that can be transmitted to others by blood transfusion. For example, infection with the Hepatitis B virus is about 5-6 times more common, and Hepatitis C virus infections are about 2 times more common in [MSM] than in the general population,” according to the FDA.

A recent CDC study rocked the homosexual community in finding that although MSM comprise only one-to-two percent of the population, they account for an epidemic 64 percent of all syphilis cases.

And Matt Foreman, outgoing Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, further shocked his fellow “gay” activists by admitting, “HIV is a Gay Disease.”

Although the risks extend far beyond potential HIV infection, the FDA notes, “All donated blood is tested for HIV, but the virus can go undetected until the immune system has produced a testable amount of antibodies.” This would pose a “small but definite increased risk to people who receive blood transfusions if the policy were changed.”

But risking lives is apparently of little concern to radical homosexual activists such as Joe Solmonese, president of the so-called “Human Rights Campaign” (HRC), the nation’s largest and most radical homosexual pressure group.

Solmonese recently placed politics over science, falsely declaring this commonsense public health precaution to be “discriminatory.” He has called for the ban to be lifted, with the wildly irresponsible claim that, “[T]here is no medical or scientific rationale for this discriminatory policy.”

In light of the irrefutable medical data, Solmonese’s demand is not only reckless, it’s incredibly dangerous. Unfortunately, it’s a common demand among his fellow extremists.

In South Africa, militant homosexual activists have been “protesting” by deliberately and surreptitiously violating that nation’s blood ban, aiming to flood blood banks with 70,000 units. Who knows how much blood has been contaminated or how many innocent people have been infected. This isn’t a protest; it’s an act of violence.

In recent days, Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern has been viciously attacked and ruthlessly maligned, even receiving death threats, for saying publicly that “the homosexual agenda is destroying the nation.” She even went so far as to say that, in her estimation, homosexual behaviors and “gay” activism pose a greater threat than terrorism.

Reasonable people can debate that opinion, but the actions of “gay” activists in South Africa provide one example among many which would seem to illustrate her point. To intentionally and surreptitiously defy valid health and safety regulations — very likely contaminating the blood supply and infecting untold numbers of innocent people — sounds an awful lot like terrorism to me.

Sally Kern can rest her case, but Joe Solmonese still has a big hole from which to dig himself. With his blunder, he has severely damaged his own credibility and has caused a tremendous setback to the radical movement he leads (a good thing, really).

It’s unconscionable that he would place a deceptive and dangerous political agenda above the health and well-being of American men, women and children. Homosexual activists who disingenuously cry out for “equal rights” should put the “rights” of others to be safe and healthy above their own selfish political ambitions.

Critical U.S. health regulations must not be ignored — or done away with — simply to further some twisted notion of “tolerance” and “diversity” or so that a small minority of people can feel better about the aberrant lifestyle choices they’ve made.

Intravenous drug users are also prohibited from giving blood, but no one in his right mind would demand that addicts be permitted to donate. It’s not because of who they are, it’s because of what they do. The aforementioned studies, and many others like them, prove that, like intravenous drug use, male-male anal sodomy is extremely high-risk behavior.

As I’ve often said, unnatural behaviors beget natural consequences. Regrettably, harmful and often deadly infectious disease can be just one of them."

Matt Barber is one of the "like-minded men" with Concerned Women for America and serves as CWA's policy director for cultural issues.
(Original article is here)