I do wonder if Andy Stanley considers Trump, like he did Obama, a “pastor-in-chief.” But I like how REFORMATION CHARLOTTE puts it: “Andy Stanley’s Church Closing is a Blessing From God to His People, We Should Thank Him!” Heh, so true.
This is an updated post regarding the false teacher, Andy Stanley, with some more video by Wretched (above). But always the J. Gresham Machen’s portion comes first — with some video of the questionable sermons added as well:
J. Gresham Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism, first published in 1923, has shown amazing resiliency in the applicability of its message. When I heard Andy Stanley’s recent comments that we should stop asking, “What does the Bible say about that?” Machen’s words immediately came to mind. According to Stanley, that terrible question should be exchanged for, “What does the New Covenant teach?” or “Even better, what does Jesus teach?” because the two covenants conflict. Watch his comments here, or the full message entitled “Mix ‘N Match”. In light of Stanley’s teaching, read the quote below from Machen, but every time Machen writes about the modern liberal substitute the name Andy Stanley.
If the Christian make full use of his Christian privileges, he finds the seat of authority in the whole Bible, which he regards as no mere word of man but as the very Word of God. Very different is the view of modern liberalism. The modern liberal rejects not only the doctrine of plenary inspiration but even such respect for the Bible as would be proper over against any ordinarily trustworthy book. But what is substituted for the Christian view of the Bible? What is the liberal view as to the seat of authority in religion?
The impression is sometimes produced that the modern liberal substitutes for the authority of the Bible the authority of Christ. He cannot accept, he says, what he regards as the perverse moral teaching of the Old Testament or the sophistical arguments of Paul. But he regards himself as being the true Christian because, rejecting the rest of the Bible, he depends upon Jesus alone.
This impression, however, is utterly false. The modern liberal does not really hold to the authority of Jesus. Even if he did so, indeed, he would still be impoverishing greatly his knowledge of God and of the way of salvation.
The words of Jesus, spoken during His earthly ministry, could hardly contain all that we need to know about God and about the way of salvation; for the meaning of Jesus’ redeeming work could hardly be fully set forth before that work was done. It could be set forth indeed by way of prophecy, and as a matter of fact, it was so set forth by Jesus even in the days of His flesh. But the full explanation could naturally be given only after the work was done. And such was actually the divine method. It is doing despite, not only to the Spirit of God but also to Jesus Himself, to regard the teaching of the Holy Spirit, given through the apostles, as at all inferior in authority to the teaching of Jesus.
As a matter of fact, however, the modern liberal does not hold fast even to the authority of Jesus. Certainly, he does not accept the words of Jesus as they are recorded in the Gospels. For among the recorded words of Jesus are to be found just those things which are most abhorrent to the modern liberal Church, and in His recorded words Jesus also points forward to the fuller revelation which was afterwards to be given through His apostles. Evidently, therefore, those words of Jesus which are to be regarded as authoritative by modern liberalism must first be selected from the mass of the recorded words by a critical process. The critical process is certainly very difficult, and the suspicion often arises that the critic is retaining as genuine words of the historical Jesus only those words which conform to his own preconceived ideas. But even after the sifting process has been completed, the liberal scholar is still unable to accept as authoritative all the sayings of Jesus; he must finally admit that even the “historical” Jesus as reconstructed by modern historians said some things that are untrue.
So much is usually admitted. But, it is maintained, although not everything that Jesus said is true, His central “life-purpose” is still to be regarded as regulative for the Church. But what then was the life-purpose of Jesus? According to the shortest, and if modern criticism be accepted, the earliest of the Gospels, the Son of Man “came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45). Here the vicarious death is put as the “life-purpose” of Jesus. Such an utterance must, of course, be pushed aside by the modern liberal Church.
The truth is that the life-purpose of Jesus discovered by modern liberalism is not the life-purpose of the real Jesus, but merely represents those elements in the teaching of Jesus—isolated and misinterpreted—which happen to agree with the modern program. It is not Jesus, then, who is the real authority, but the modern principle by which the selection within Jesus’ recorded teaching has been made. Certain isolated ethical principles of the Sermon on the Mount are accepted, not at all because they are teachings of Jesus, but because they agree with modern ideas.
It is not true at all, then, that modern liberalism is based upon the authority of Jesus. It is obliged to reject a vast deal that is absolutely essential in Jesus’ example and teaching—notably His consciousness of being the heavenly Messiah. The real authority, for liberalism, can only be “the Christian consciousness” or “Christian experience.” But how shall the findings of the Christian consciousness be established? Surely not by a majority vote of the organized Church. Such a method would obviously do away with all liberty of conscience. The only authority, then, can be individual experience; truth can only be that which “helps” the individual man. Such an authority is obviously no authority at all; for individual experience is endlessly diverse, and when once truth is regarded only as that which works at any particular time, it ceases to be truth. The result is an abysmal skepticism.
The Christian man, on the other hand, finds in the Bible the very Word of God. Let it not be said that dependence upon a book is a dead or an artificial thing. The Reformation of the sixteenth century was founded upon the authority of the Bible, yet it set the world aflame. Dependence upon a word of man would be slavish, but dependence upon God’s word is life. Dark and gloomy would be the world, if we were left to our own devices, and had no blessed Word of God. The Bible, to the Christian, is not a burdensome law, but the very Magna Charta of Christian liberty.
It is no wonder, then, that liberalism is totally different from Christianity, for the foundation is different. Christianity is founded upon the Bible. It bases upon the Bible both its thinking and its life. Liberalism, on the other hand, is founded upon the shifting emotions of sinful men.
J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1923), 64-66. (FREE HERE)
The Evangelical Dark Web exposes Andy Stanley’s heretical worldview. Andy Stanley is a pastor at one of America’s largest megachurches 5th according to Wikipedia, #1 according to Outreach. His influence on the evangelical church is perhaps second to none. As a result many, Christians and churches are influenced by his teachings. This video is intended to be a concise way to show fellow believers that Andy Stanley is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
[Editor’s note: I think the main issue is shown well at the 1hr-2-min and 25 second mark] Don’t miss this very special event! Tell the world! Andy Stanley and Jeff Durbin spend time discussing Andy’s book, “Irresistable”. They have a radio debate on the “Unbelievable Radio” program with Justin Brierley. Andy has claimed that we should “unhitch” the Old Testament from the New Testament. He claims that we the Old Testament Law (like the 10-commandments) is not binding upon Christians, today. In this radio show, Andy and Jeff discuss apologetic methodology (how to defend the faith) and whether or not the Law of God in the Old Testament is relevant for Christians, today.
FIGHTING FOR THE FAITH
Andy Stanley Denies the 10 Commandments (and the Old Testament)
This was a 2nd portion of another post, but with the latest news regarding the well-known ice-cream truck JINGLE being rewritten — I have to break off that smaller portion and expand on it. So let’s deal with the origins of the song first, and then work towards the newer issues as I see them.
The song “Turkey In The Straw” came out in the late 1820’s to early 1830’s. The first part of the song is a contrafactum of the ballad “My Grandmother Lived on Yonder Little Green”, aka “My Grandma Lived on Yonder Little Green”, aka “My Grandma’s Advice”, published in 1857 by Horace Waters, 333 Broadway, New York, which itself is a contrafactum of the Irish ballad “The Old Rose Tree”.(WIKI) The original song was just a favorite tune of fiddle players, it was only started to be used in mistral shows in the early 1900’s. A Democrat changed the song to a racist tune in 1916. I say Democrat because Harry C. Browne had a brief career campaigning for the Democratic Party. In fact, William Jennings Bryan, then the Secretary of State, offered Browne a diplomatic position in February 1914, Brown later declined.(WIKI) As the old saying goes, anything the Left touches it ruins.
Harry C. Browne was born in 1878 in North Adams, Massachusetts. Before his acting career, he served in the Second Massachusetts U.S. Volunteers during the Spanish–American War and had a brief career campaigning for the Democratic Party. In fact, William Jennings Bryan, then the Secretary of State, offered Browne a diplomatic position in February 1914 but the latter declined. Browne later worked for a stock company as an actor, casting him in plays such as Arizona and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm in the early 1900s.
A skilled banjo player, Browne performed in vaudeville for seven years before recording a series of songs for Columbia Records, starting in 1916. His first record, perhaps his most well-known, is a re-interpretation of the American folk song “Turkey in the Straw”. Released in March 1916, Browne appropriated the standard as a coon song re-titled “Nigger Love a Watermelon Ha! Ha! Ha!”. It is commonly referred to as one of the most racist songs in American music: the song relied heavily on the watermelon stereotype, a belief popularized in the 19th century that African-Americans had an unusual appetite for watermelons. For the B-side, Browne chose to record the minstrel show favorite “Old Dan Tucker”, marking the tune’s first commercial appearance on a major label.
Between 1906 and 1925, Browne appeared in at least 14 Broadway shows, including Oh, Lady! Lady!!. His film debut is believed to have been in August 1914 with the release of The Eagle’s Mate. During his acting career, Browne had roles in notable films such as The Unwelcome Mrs. Hatch, The Heart of Jennifer, and Closed Doors. Afterwards, he worked as an announcer and production director for CBS radio, a position he resigned from in 1931.
Get ready to scream for ice cream — with a brand-new song.
RZA, of the Wu-Tang Clan, has partnered with Good Humor to write a cheerful new ice cream truck jingle in place of “Turkey in the Straw” — an earworm with a troubled history long criticized for being racist.
“Remember that ice cream jingle?” the rap legend, 51, said while introducing his new song. “Of course — we all know it. I’m not gonna play it right now because we come to find out that it has racist roots.
“But check this out — Good Humor, they called me up and they was like, ‘We gotta do something about this, Riz. We can change the dynamics. We can make a new ice cream jingle for a new era,’ ” the rapper added…..
So a small blurb that is a good one-paragraph read on who the founder of the Five-Percenters (the Nation of Gods and Earths):
As a member of the Nation of Islam, Clarence 13X was an avid student of Malcolm X and NOI literature and lessons. He also became a member of the Fruit of Islam. In 1963, Clarence 13X began teaching his NOI students that the Black man (collectively) was the “Original Man” and “God,” and he “rejected” the Nation of Islam’s doctrine that its light-skinned founder, Wallace Fard Muhammad, was Allah. Between 1963–1964 Clarence 13X left the Nation of Islam, renamed himself Allah, and founded what is known as the Five-Percent Nation or Nation of Gods and Earths. Five Percenters called him “The Father” because “many of them were the products of broken homes and this was the only father they knew.” Thus, Clarence 13 also became known as Allah the Father or Father Allah. (WIKI)
….Clarence expanded or altered many of the original views of the Nation of Islam in developing the doctrine of the Five Percent Nation. He taught that the doctrine of God as black meant that all black men are God, or Allah. The movement derived its name from a second doctrine that separates all people into three categories. Most people, 85 percent of humanity, were believed to be ignorant of God’s true identity and thus to be unknowingly working to destroy themselves and others, being misled by the 10 percent of humanity who possess knowledge and power but who falsely teach that God is an invisible supernatural entity. Only 5 percent of humanity is made up of righteous people who understand the truth—that the living God is the black man who teaches freedom and justice to black communities.
Clarence also referred to his movement as the Nation of Gods and Earths, a name based on his belief that black men are Gods and black women are queens, or Earths. Within the movement itself, only new members refer to themselves as Five Percenters. Once a black man has realized his own divine nature, he becomes Allah, a God, and a black woman becomes an Earth. Within Clarence’s ideology, men can obtain the divine perfection of the number 7, while women can only rise to the number 6. Therefore, only women in the Five Percent Nation consider themselves Muslims and follow Allah; the men are Allah incarnate…..
This is a good short explanation of the main “gist” of culture and the Five-Percenters as well:
Born Justice Allah, who became a part of the Five Percent Nation when he was 15, explains some of the basic concepts of the Five Percent Nation and questions Jay Z’s affiliation.
A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
In this broadcast of Giving An Answer, H.C. Felder interviews Stacey Jacobs who talks about the origins and beliefs of The Five Percent Nation and how they differ from Christianity.
Freud took this psychological argument and made it a very popular and influential one. He didn’t argue the truth value of the belief; he just argued that you couldn’t trust most thoroughly in a short book, The Future of an Illusion. Of course, the illusion was religion. He didn’t consider religion true or false, he just considered it a psychological illusion that arose from our primitive needs for protection. Our basic infantile unconscious desires a father who would look after us and to satisfy these needs we create the illusion of God.
Freud claimed that one of the oldest psychological needs of the human race is that for a loving, protecting, all-powerful father, or divine providence.
Paul Vitz, Paul Copan and Charles Taliaferro [editors], The Naturalness of Belief: New Essays on Theism’s Rationality (New York, NY: Lexington Books, 2019), p.177.
??????’? ????: This is true regarding secularism more so than religious belief… although it runs through all mankind in general. C.S. Lewis noted that “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction of those desires exist…”. This particular desire is one that cannot be fulfilled in total, or completeness in this realm. We look towards the finish line in heavenly hope…. what Blaise Pascal in his Pensees (10.148) mentions as a “God shaped vacuum or void”:
What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words, by God himself.
In Healing the Masculine Soul: God’s Restoration of Men to Real Manhood, by Gordon Dalbey, the author speaks of Christ addressing the disciples’ father hunger.
When secularism tries to fill this void, we often end up with death on a grand scale. Take for instance Stalin, who, was often referred to as “Papa.” Here is one recollection fitting the Freudian narrative of the human need for “loving, protecting, all-powerful father, or divine providence” – the State is the “all-powerful aspect” here:
My first impressions of Stalin came when I was little. I listened to stories my Dad told of his life. They were always short, just a few compressed sentences, and never judgmental. Never did he say a word against the Soviet rule. Many times, when he mentioned Stalin, he called him otéts rodnói (“caring father”). And every time, a steely caustic smile flashed on his face.
Now, pushing 60, I know smiles. I’m sure my Dad would have put a bullet between his eyes if he had a smallest chance.
Similar stories are told of Mao, Lenin, Pol-Pot, and the like. Persons seeking power by manipulation take advantage of this void. (Likewise, a political Party’s – or jaundiced religions overly promising health and wealth Think of the televangelist TBN types or Buddhist/new age offerings expecting wealth in return. Alternatively, those promising “universal” health care and student loans paid as well as housing. Etc)
We often refer to this “need” in varying ways, like: “she is looking for a father figure” to describe the emotionally harmed woman/girl from a broken home. We all suffer from a distorted need[s] that in our fallen nature we imperfectly try to fill on our own (male or female).
God, fellowship with his Word, and the Christian worldview — as well as relationships in His Body are the best prescribed medicines to begin to fill this void well, only having it complete when we see how He sees us (reunion in Heaven).
Just some thoughts via my local Bucks’ coffee, and reading contemplatively.
A friend asked the following: “Question… Can you tell me what Liberal Christian means. In short form so Lisa can understand….”The Gospel Coalition defines it thus:
Liberal theology is rooted in modern, secular theories of knowledge and has moved towards participation in the work of the church as the priority for Christians at the expense of delineating theological belief, which has led to the abandonment of many orthodox beliefs in many mainline denominations.
Likewise, a friend noted, “I understand liberal theology as subscribing to the Enlightenment presuppositions concerning naturalism. Thus, liberal theology is skeptical concerning supernaturalism. Like Occam, they look for a logical/natural explanation for everything, including the 10 plagues of Egypt, the virgin birth, and the resurrection.”
But this seemingly short definition is followed by a larger article discussing it’s origins. The enlightenment and the differing forms it took were also heavily influential on liberalism both in religious and political reals, as well as “critical theory” stressed by Jacques Derrida:
Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) was the founder of “deconstruction,” a way of criticizing not only both literary and philosophical texts but also political institutions. Although Derrida at times expressed regret concerning the fate of the word “deconstruction,” its popularity indicates the wide-ranging influence of his thought, in philosophy, in literary criticism and theory, in art and, in particular, architectural theory, and in political theory. Indeed, Derrida’s fame nearly reached the status of a media star, with hundreds of people filling auditoriums to hear him speak, with films and televisions programs devoted to him, with countless books and articles devoted to his thinking. Beside critique, Derridean deconstruction consists in an attempt to re-conceive the difference that divides self-consciousnes (the difference of the “of” in consciousness of oneself). But even more than the re-conception of difference, and perhaps more importantly, deconstruction attempts to render justice. Indeed, deconstruction is relentless in this pursuit since justice is impossible to achieve.
The following quotes by the author who put a warning shot across the bow of the modern “liberal” attack of the church… J. Gresham Machen. However, these quotes can in some sense be applied to the Constitutionas well (more on this in a bit).
The chief modern rival of Christianity is “liberalism.” An examination of the teachings of liberalism in comparison with those of Christianity will show that at every point the two movements are in direct opposition.
Here is found the most fundamental difference between liberalism and Christianity–liberalism is altogether in the imperative mood, while Christianity begins with a triumphant indicative; liberalism appeals to man’s will, while Christianity announces, first, a gracious act of God.
It is no wonder, then, that liberalism is totally different from Christianity, for the foundation is different. Christianity is founded upon the Bible. It bases upon the Bible both its thinking and its life. Liberalism on the other hand is founded upon the shifting emotions of sinful men.
The movement designated as “liberalism” is regarded as “liberal” only by its friends; to its opponents it seems to involve a narrow ignoring of many relevant facts.
According to the Christian conception, a creed is not a mere expression of Christian experience, but on the contrary it is a setting forth of those facts upon which experience is based.
But if any one fact is clear, on the basis of this evidence, it is that the Christian movement at its inception was not just a way of life in the modern sense, but a way of life founded upon a message. It was based, not upon mere feeling, not upon a mere program of work, but upon an account of facts. In other words it was based upon doctrine.
Faith is essentially dogmatic. Despite all you can do, you cannot remove the element of intellectual assent from it.
So here is a “Basic” rundown… but a good definition comes from IMPACT 360 INSTITUTE (a long article):
Theology matters because beliefs are connected with behavior. In addition to this fact, one’s theology also reveals the true source of authority serving as the ultimate foundation. Am I going to be faithful to Scripture or conform to what is culturally comfortable? A recent example of this is the book, Untamed, by Glennon Doyle, which is #1 on Amazon’s “Christian self-help” category and currently #1 on the New York Times best-seller list. It is written from a loosely Christian perspective, utilizes Scripture, and speaks about God, faith, Christianity, and morality. It also teaches that you can find God within yourself, promotes moral relativism, teaches that sexuality and gender are fluid, and blames the Bible for creating a culture that oppresses women.
Blogger, speaker and apologist Alisa Childers (author of the IMPACT 360 article [linked] above) talks to us about a dangerous form of Christianity invading our churches. (Alicia has a YouTube Channel HERE)
Liberal Christianity does not mean a “politically leftist form” of the Christian Faith. Although, the same “sickness” applies that lead to similar outcomes, whether in religious beliefs or political beliefs.
That is, true conservatives conserve ideas born from natural rights, as immutable and objective — written in stone so-to-speak… the liberal progressive sees things not “in situ” (situated in the original, natural, or existing place or position) but in flux.
Changing in that, modern definitions and understandings supersedethe previous outdated ideas and definitions as applied by those earlier thinkers. Dennis Prager talks about a popular saying when he was going to college in the 60’s/70’s, it was, “don’t trust anyone over 35 [years old].”
What do I mean about the same sickness?
Here is a must read (a bit long) for the avid fan of Dr. Norman Geisler who enumerates the founding “in situ” nature of the political conservationist. He deals with our countries Founding ideas:
Take for instance Joe Biden’s saying that he won’t be “satisfied” until half of the U.S. Supreme Court is filled with women who hold a “living document” view of the Constitution. To wit, a poll taken by C-SPAN a few years back notes “that 48 percent of voters overall agree that ‘the Constitution is a living document which should evolve to recognize ‘new rights’ and changing circumstances.’ That includes 80 percent of liberals and 66 percent of Democrats — but only 22 percent of conservatives and 26 percent of Republicans. Another 42 percent of voters overall say that the Constitution “should be interpreted according to its original words and meaning.” The survey found that 15 percent of liberals and 23 percent of Democrats agree with this, compared to 68 percent of conservatives and 64 percent of Republicans.”
To read the Constitution through an originalist framework means we seek to interpret and apply it in the way people understood it at the time of ratification. Human nature was no different or advanced then as now. In other words, we look at what supporters said each provision meant as they were “selling” the Constitution to the people and trying to overcome intense opposition to ratification. The assertions of supporters served as the basis upon which the ratifiers – the elected representatives of the people – agreed to adopt the Constitution.
The U.S. Constitution is essentially a contract forming a union of states. In any contract, provisions have a fixed meaning. [One author notes that The U.S. Constitution is a Contract, Not a Rule Book] When you sign on the dotted line, you expect them to remain constant over time. When disputes arise, you always attempt to ascertain what the parties believed they were agreeing to. The ratifiers acted with this expectation.
James Wilson was a Pennsylvania lawyer and politician. He was a key member of the Philadelphia Convention that drafted the Constitution, and one of its most influential supporters during the ratification process. His State House Yard Speech laid the foundation for the ratification effort. In 1790 and 1791, Wilson delivered a series of lectures titled Of the Study of Law in the United States. In one of these lectures, he asserted this was the proper way to interpret legal documents.
✦ “The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.”
Think about it. Would you sign a living, breathing mortgage? Would you enter into a living, breathing employment contract? Would you sign a living, breathing agreement with a builder to build an addition on your house?
Of course not! Because you would have no idea what that contract really means. And you certainly wouldn’t agree that the other party to the contract gets to decide how it will be interpreted.
Progressives want a living, breathing Constitution because they want to mold society into their own image. They crave power. Originalism constrains power. And despite their lip-service to constitutional fidelity, conservatives want the same thing – power.
But the rule of law requires consistency. Otherwise, government becomes arbitrary. When the limits on government power become subject to reinterpretation by the government itself, it becomes limitless in power and authority…..
Essential Christian doctrines are open for re-interpretation….
Historic terms are re-defined….
The heart of the gospel message shifts from sin and redemption to social justice.
We are living in a day when liberal theology has made deep inroads in the church. Many professing Christians and even ordained ministers no longer believe in the authority of Scripture or the resurrection of Jesus Christ. How can people deny these essential doctrines and still call themselves Christians? In this message, Dr. Sproul explains that liberal Christianity is not Christianity at all. It is nothing more than unbelief.
In this in-person interview, I sit down with Alisa Childers to discuss “Progressive Christianity.” Is this new movement dangerous to Christianity?
What was the infectious inroad into Democrats thinking about the Constitution being alive and breathing? Darwinism and his evolutionary view of biology, via Woodrow Wilson’s impact on progressivism. This is a large excerpt from Gary Demar’s article, Charles Darwin, Woodrow Wilson, And The Evolving Constitution
“In Wilson’s book, Constitutional Government (1908), he came out in favor of implementing a Darwinian view of evolution to civil government.
“Constitutional Government praised the presidency as the central political office: head of the party. This was a self-conscious break from the Constitution’s view of the office. The Constitution does not mention political parties, and the Framers had hated political factions in 1787. Wilson, having switched to Progressivism, had to undermine this older political faith. He turned to Darwin as the solution.
“The framers had been Whigs because they had been Newtonians, he correctly argued. This Newtonian Whig worldview is incorrect, he insisted, and so is the Constitutional order that assumes it. ‘The government of the United States was constructed upon the Whig theory of political dynamics, which was a sort of unconscious copy of the Newtonian theory of the universe. In our own day, whenever we discuss the structure or development of anything, whether in nature or in society, we consciously or unconsciously follow Mr. Darwin; but before Mr. Darwin, they followed Newton.
Some single law, like the law of gravitation, swung each system of thought and gave it its principle of unity’ (pp. 54-55). The checks and balances built into the Federal government by the Constitution are now a hindrance to effective political action, he said. This language of balances reflects mechanism. We need to overcome this mechanical way of thinking, Wilson wrote.
“The trouble with the theory is that government is not a machine, but a living thing. It falls, not under the theory of the universe, but under the theory of organic life. It is accountable to Darwin, not to Newton. It is modified by its environment, necessitated by its tasks, shaped to its functions by the sheer pressure of life. No living thing can have its organs offset against each other as checks, and live. On the contrary, its life is dependent upon their quick cooperation, their ready response to the commands of instinct or intelligence, their amicable community of purpose. Government is not a body of blind forces; it is a body of men, with highly differentiated functions, no doubt, in our modern day of specialization, but with a common task and purpose. Their cooperation is indispensable, their warfare fatal. There can be no successful government without leadership or without the intimate, almost instinctive, coordination of the organs of life and action” (pp. 56-57).
Does any of this sound familiar? The Constitution is a “living, evolving document” to be directed in its evolutionary development by leaders who believe that government is the divine force for change.
So the next time you hear someone talk about how the Constitution is a living document, think of Woodrow Wilson, but more specifically, think of Charles Darwin.
The Origin of Life, two world views, Darwinian evolution theory vs Biblical Creation.
The RNA World Hypothesis is presented in the first half of this video from Dr. Pierre Durand, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. PhD student Nisha Dhar Quote (Via TImes Live):
‘RNA molecules were the first molecules which could have given rise to life.’
‘This event is believed to have taken place possibly 4 billion years ago, at a time when a young earth was a hostile place with a volcanic activity and an atmosphere that had yet to contain oxygen. RNA, said Durand, was hardy and would have survived these kinds of conditions.’
Presenting the Biblical Creation science explanation for the origin of life, Dr. James M. Tour (PhD., T. T., and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry Professor of Computer Science Professor of Materials Science and Nano Engineering — Rice University. Smalley-Curl Institute and the NanoCarbon Center.)
[Editor’s Note: The following article was written by A.P. auxiliary staff scientist Will Brooks and one of his students. Dr. Brooks holds a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and serves as Assistant Professor of Biology at Freed-Hardeman University.]
….Evolutionists would have us to believe that non-living elements and molecules joined together and developed increasing biological capabilities. Those who believe in intelligent design reject this hypothesis, insisting that neither RNA nor living cells are able to evolve spontaneously. While some disagreement exists among those in the evolutionary community on the time frame for such alleged reactions to occur, the consensus is that, given large amounts of time, single-celled bacteria were formed. But all known biological principles militate against this notion. Even billions of years could not provide mechanisms for the reaction products to evolve advantageous characteristics and form DNA and cell proteins, let alone create strings of RNA nucleotides, arriving at just the right sequence in order to code for a functional protein. The four nucleotide bases that form RNA (adenine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil) can be arranged in an exponential array of combinations and lengths. For an actual, functional protein to be coded, a precise sequence of nucleotides must be obtained. Forming the code for even one protein by evolutionary means is impossible, without even considering the necessity of the number that work together in a single cell.
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that RNA is spontaneously being created and capable of forming pre-cellular life today. While some artificial ribozymes have been created in the laboratory (reviewed in Chen, et al., 2007), there are still significant holes in reproducing an RNA world to support the hypothesis. The ribozymes created artificially lack the abilities to sufficiently process themselves, and there is no evidence of them producing large quantities of advantageous nucleotide sequences. Moreover, no system has ever created cellular life. There is even significant debate among scientists over the conditions and constituents of a “prebiotic Earth” model.
The RNA World Hypothesis is simply another attempt by scientists to explain the origin of life to the exclusion of the divine Creator. Given the absolute impossibility of life originating from the reactions of non-living matter, it can be justified that RNA did not predate other biological molecules. All biological molecules were created together to work in concert. RNA was designed to be the essential intermediate between DNA and proteins, making our cells capable of sustaining life as it was created. The designer of this system must be the intelligent Designer, the God of the Bible.
This is an old podcast of Dr. Norman Geisler discussing ex-atheist Antony Flew’s book that detailed his leaving atheism. Here is a “Flewism”
“My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato’s Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads.” After chewing on his scientific worldview for more than five decades, Flew concluded, “A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature.” Previously, in his central work, The Presumption of Atheism (1976), Flew argued that the “onus of proof [of God] must lie upon the theist.” However, at the age of 81, Flew shocked the world when he renounced his atheism because “the argument for Intelligent Design is enormously stronger than it was when I first met it.” (See my DNA post: RNA/DNA = Information | Or, What “IS” Information)
Flew’s God was: immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, omniscient, whole [one, or indivisible, perfectly good and necessary exists.
This is a not-too-well-known subtitle of Charles Darwin’s work. I have an introduction to this idea entitled, “Racism and Evolutionary Thought“. Stephen Jay Gould notes the affects of Darwinism on culture:
“Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1850, but they have increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory”
Stephen Jay Gould, Ontogeny and Phylogeny (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Press, 1977), 127.
Human Zoos tells the shocking story of how thousands of indigenous peoples were put on public display in America in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Above video description:
Often touted as “missing links” between man and apes, these native peoples were harassed and demeaned. Their public display was arranged with the enthusiastic support of the most elite members of the scientific community, and it was promoted uncritically by American’s leading newspapers. This award-winning documentary explores the heartbreaking story of what happened, shows how African-American ministers and other people of faith tried to push back, and reveals how some people today are still drawing on Social Darwinism in order to dehumanize others. The film also explores the tragic story of eugenics in America, the effort to breed human beings based on Darwinian principles.
Human Zoos was an official selection of the African World Documentary Film Festival and has won awards for Best Editing (Oregon Documentary Film Festival), Best in Show (Cinema WorldFest Awards) and Awards of Excellence from the Impact Docs Awards and the Hollywood Independent Documentary Awards.
Be sure to check out these other videos about social Darwinism.
Skull-hunters killed Aborigines and legitimized this act asserting that they were doing it for science. The skulls of the hunted natives were sold to museums after some chemical reactions that would make them look old. The skulls with bullet holes were filled in with utmost attention. According to Creation Magazine published in Australia, a group of observers that came in from South Galler were shocked when they saw that dozens of women, children and men were killed by evolutionists. Forty five skulls were chosen among the killed Aborigines, the flesh of them were set aside and boiled. The best ten were packaged to be sent to England.
Today, thousands of skulls of Aborigines are still in the warehouse of Smithsonian Institution. Some of these skulls belong to the corpses dug from the graves where as some others are the skulls of innocent people killed to prove evolution.
There were also African victims of the evolutionist violence. The most famous one was the pigmy Ota Benga who was taken to the world of the white men to be displayed as a transitional form. Oto Benga was caught in 1904 by a researcher Samuel Verner in Kongo then a colony of Belgium. The native whose name meant friend in his native language, was married and had two kids. Yet he was chained, put into a cage and sent by a boat to the evolutionist scientists who within the same year displayed him in the St. Louis World Fair together with other monkey species as the closest transitional form to humankind. Two years later, he was taken to Bronx Zoo in New York where he was, this time displayed as one of the ancestors of human beings together with a few chimpanzees, a gorilla called Dinah and an orangutan called Dohung. Dr. William T. Hornaday, the director of the zoo who was also a fanatical evolutionist delivered long speeches about how he was proud of having such a precious transitional form. The guests, on the other hand, treated Ota Benga as an ordinary animal. Ota Benga could not bear the treatment he received and committed suicide. (Here is a reggae song dedicated to Oto on A BITTA WORLD by BORROW SHANGO.)
….The many factors motivating Verner to bring Ota to the United States were complex, but he was evidently .much influenced by the theories of Charles Darwin” a theory which, as it developed, increasingly divided humankind into human contrived races (Rymer, 1992, p. 3). Darwin also believed that the blacks were an inferior race’ (Vemer, 1908a, p. 10717). Although biological racism did not begin with Darwinism, Darwin did more than any other man to popularize it among the masses. As early as 1699, English Physician Edward Tyson studied a skeleton which he believed belonged to a pygmy, concluding that this race was apes, although it was discovered that the skeleton on which this conclusion was based was actually a chimpanzee (Bradford and Blume, 1992, p. 20).
The conclusion in Vemer’s day accepted by most scientists was that after Darwin showed “that all humans descended from apes, the suspicion remained that some races had descended farther than others … [and that] some races, namely the white ones, had left the ape far behind, while other races, pygmies especially, had hardly matured at all” (Bradford and Blume, 1992, p. 20). Many scholars agreed with Sir Harry Johnson, a pygmy scholar who stated that the pygmies were “very apelike in appearance [and] their hairy skins, the length of their arms, the strength of their thickset frames, their furtive ways, all point to these people as representing man in one of his earlier forms’ (Keane 1907, p. 99). One of the most extensive early studies of the pygmies concluded that they were “queer little freaks” and
The low state of their mental development is shown by the following facts. They have no regard for time, nor have they any records or traditions of the past; no religion is known among them, nor have they any fetish rights; they do not seek to know the future by occult means… in short, they are… the closest link with the original Darwinian anthropoid ape extant” (Burrows, 1905, pp. 172, 182)….
“One of the things about quantum mechanics is not only can nothing become something, nothing always becomes something,” says Dr. Krauss. “Nothing is unstable. Nothing will always produce something in quantum mechanics.”
Commenting on Krauss’ central claim that particles emerging from the quantum vacuum are like creation out of nothing, Dr. Albert writes:
But that’s just not right. Relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical vacuum states — no less than giraffes or refrigerators or solar systems — are particular arrangements of elementary physical stuff. The true relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical equivalent to there not being any physical stuff at all isn’t this or that particular arrangement of the fields — what it is (obviously, and ineluctably, and on the contrary) is the simple absence of the fields! The fact that some arrangements of fields happen to correspond to the existence of particles and some don’t is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that some of the possible arrangements of my fingers happen to correspond to the existence of a fist and some don’t. And the fact that particles can pop in and out of existence, over time, as those fields rearrange themselves, is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in and out of existence, over time, as my fingers rearrange themselves. And none of these poppings — if you look at them aright — amount to anything even remotely in the neighborhood of a creation from nothing (emphasis in the original).
A quantum vacuum, on the other hand, is something—it consists of fields of fluctuating energy from which particles appear to pop in and out of existence. Whether these particles are uncaused, or are caused but are merely unpredictable to us, is unknown. There are ten different models of the quantum level [the most accepted of those is the Copenhagen interpretation], and no one knows which is correct. What we do know is that, whatever is happening there, it is not creation out of nothing. Moreover, the vacuum itself had a beginning and therefore needs a cause.
The potentiality present in the laws of nature has been turned into actuality in the course of the 13.7 billion years of cosmic history by a variety of evolutionary processes. While the biological evolution of life on earth is the most familiar of these scenarios, evolutionary process has also been of great significance for the physical structure of the universe. In the course of the first billion years of cosmic history, the initial almost uniform ball of matter-energy turned into a world that became grainy and lumpy with stars and galaxies. Where there had been a little more matter than average, there was an additional gravitational attraction, which then drew in further matter in a kind of snowballing process. In this way the initial small inhomogeneities were enhanced to produce ultimately a starry universe.
The essence of any evolutionary process is an interplay between contingent variations (in this case, small fluctuations of matter density in the early universe) and lawful regularity (in this case, the force of gravity). A slogan way of expressing this is to talk about chance and necessity. It is important to recognize that in this phrase “chance” is by no means a sign of meaninglessness but stands for the contingent particularity of what actually happens. Even in the course of 13.7 billion years, only a tiny fraction of what could have happened has actually taken place. The formation of stars and galaxies illustrates the general scientific insight that regimes in which true novelty emerges are always “at the edge of chaos,” where order and openness, chance and necessity are interwoven. Too far on the orderly side of that frontier, and things are too rigid for the emergence of anything really novel to be possible; too far on the haphazard side of the frontier, and no novelty that does emerge will be able to persist.
The theist has no need to be worried by the widespread role of evolutionary process. God is the ordainer of nature, and God acts as much through natural processes as in any other way. Commenting on Charles Darwin’s great discovery of biological evolution, his contemporary Charles Kingsley said that we had been shown that God had not made a ready-made world but had done something cleverer than that, making a world in which creatures “could make themselves.” chance is simply creation’s shuffling exploration of divinely given fertility, by means of which potentiality is made actual. The theist will see the twin roles of chance and necessity as the gifts to creation of both independence and reliability, by a God who is both loving and faithful.
The physicist may well see this interweaving of order and openness reflected in the character of quantum physics and speculate that at the subatomic level this has been an important property in allowing the universe to be biofertile. While quantum physics is only capable of assigning probabilities for a number of possible results of a measurement, the range of these possibilities is also constrained by the actual character of the wave function describing the system. It is certainly not the case that anything might happen. The wave function itself evolves in time according to the Schrodinger equation, which is a deterministic differential equation. According to the widely accepted indeterministic interpretation of quantum theory, it is only when the definite form of the wave function is used to calculate the consequences of a measurement that probabilities enter the theory. Most physicists understand measurement to be the irreversible macroscopic registration of a state of affairs in the subatomic system, and it is not necessarily associated with the direct influence of a conscious observer. In other words, surely quantum processes had actual outcomes over the many billion years of cosmic history in which there were no observers present in the universe.
The interpretation of quantum theory is still a contentious issue, with a variety of incompatible points of view being advocated, but the notion of “observer-created reality” is very much a minority position. At most, “observer-influenced reality” (in laboratory experiments affected by choices of what measurements to make) is as much as should be said.
Quantum theory has also contributed to a growing recognition that nature is deeply relational and that atomism is only part of the picture. Once two quantum entities have interacted with each other, they can retain a power of mutual influence that is not diminished by spatial separation. Acting on one here will have an immediate effect on the other, even if it is now “beyond the moon,” as we conventionally say. Einstein was the first to recognize the possibility of quantum entanglement, but he thought it was “too spooky” to be true. He considered that its prediction must show that there was something wrong with conventional quantum mechanics. However, experiments have abundantly confirmed the phenomenon. The instantaneous character of the influence conveyed does not contradict special relativity, since it turns out that it cannot be used to transmit information faster than the velocity of light. Nature, it seems, rebels against a crass reductionism: even the subatomic world cannot be treated atomistically. The theist who is a trinitarian thinker will not be surprised to learn that created reality is relational.
Finally, physicists can not only peer into the universe’s past but also foresee aspects of its future. The timescales are very long, but in the end the prediction is that it will all end badly. As far as the earth is concerned, in about five billion years the sun will have consumed all its hydrogen fuel. It will then turn into a red giant, burning to a frazzle any life then left on the earth. By then life might well have migrated elsewhere in the galaxy; that, however, would only be a temporary reprieve. Over immensely long timescales, the universe itself will die, most probably by continuing to expand and becoming ever colder and more dilute. Carbon-based life will certainly prove to have been a transient episode in the history of the universe.
Eventual futility lies at the end of science’s “horizontal” story, extrapolating physical process into the distant future. However, theism has a different, “vertical” story to tell, based on the everlasting faithfulness of God. For the religious believer, the last word lies not with death but with God. That is a conviction that goes beyond anything that physics can speak about, either for or against.
FOR FURTHER READING
Holder, Rodney. God, the Multiverse and Everything. Aldershot, U.K.: Ashgate, 2004.
Polkinghorne, John. Belief in God in an Age of Science. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998.
_________Quantum Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
_________Quantum Physics and Theology. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007.
Smolin, Lee. The Trouble with Physics. London: Allen Lane, 2006.
Here as well is an article from my Study Bible:
Jeremy Royal Howard, “Does the ‘New Physics’ Conflict with Christianity?,” in The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith, ed. Ted Cabal et al. (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007), 1306–1307.
The Bible portrays God as a rational Being who created the world from nothing and rules over it as Sovereign. Logic, order, purpose, natural law—these qualities are etched into the universe as reflections of the will and mind of God. Moreover, God made humans in His own image, which means our minds are equipped to operate according to God’s rationality. Finally, since God is the author of the world and humanity, we are intellectually ready-made to understand truth about God and the world He made.
Some people say quantum mechanics (QM) refutes these beliefs. QM studies the bits of matter that are the size of atoms and smaller. It was long assumed that these micro-objects would follow the physical laws Newton described, but modern research shows that quantum entities behave far differently than the objects of our everyday experience. For example, photons (light) can take the form of particles or waves. However, the problem is that waves and particles are contrary things. Waves cover a wide zone, but particles can only be at one tiny place at a time. Physicists are baffled that photons can do both. Next, tests reveal that in laboratory settings, quantum particles separated by a vast expanse can still affect one another as if they are in direct contact. This is like scratching someone’s back from two thousand miles away. Finally, experiments suggest that quantum entities behave lawlessly, meaning there are no “rules” for their actions.
These oddities prompt some observers to conclude that QM overturns natural law and rationality, leaving us with an incomprehensible, uncreated universe. Standard physics says matter can be neither created nor destroyed by natural means, but some scientists (falsely) claim that quantum particles naturally pop in and out of existence. From this, leading atheists claim the whole universe “sprang” into existence naturally. No Creator necessary. Furthermore, they say that even if God exists and created the universe, QM shows He made a world He cannot control. Once He uncorked this world, not even God knows what will come of it. Theologians who favor science fads over Scripture conclude the same thing: QM implies God cannot govern creation or know the future.
Scientists have historically taken the appearance of mystery or irrationality in nature as a sign that they do not yet know enough about the object under study. However, following the lead of Niels Bohr’s Copenhagen Interpretation (CI) of QM, many physicists refuse to count their inability to understand or predict quantum action as a sign of ignorance. Rather, they claim QM is basically a finished science that reveals a genuinely lawless and irrational world—a brooding cauldron of chance actions and purposeless conclusions. This fits well with non-Christian concepts of the universe. In fact, Bohr and his colleagues enthusiastically asserted that QM endorses Eastern worldview images. Today, popular science opinion is captive to Bohr’s CI, and thus holds that QM supports New Age or atheistic worldviews.
I suggest the following starting points for the Christian response: First, for all the wild attributes that may hold true in QM, we note that macroscopic reality behaves in a predictable, law-like fashion and everywhere presents us with evidence of its fundamentally rational construction and operation. So even if quantum particles could do lawless things like pop in and out of existence naturally, no such thing happens in the realm of everyday objects. Quantum oddities, whatever you make of them, are detained at the door to the larger realities we experience.
Second, many of the astounding behaviors attributed to QM occur only in highly artificial laboratory settings. There is no certainty that these things can actually happen in real-world settings. Thus, we are justified in casting an indifferent eye on many of the zany headlines coming from physics laboratories.
Third, science’s ability to penetrate the microphysical world is still very rudimentary. This leaves room for exceptionally high degrees of speculation and error. In this light, Christians should join the chorus of noteworthy scientists (like Einstein) who have insisted that QM should not be the basis for worldview assertions. This problem will apparently not be fully alleviated in the future, for scientists acknowledge that the mega-scale facilities and energies required to verify the most important claims of QM will forever lie outside our reach.
Fourth, science would be impossible if this world were not created by a personal, rational Being who designed both physical reality and human beings to reflect His rationality. Any scientific theory that supports non-rational worldviews is self-defeating. After all, the deliberations involved in reaching the conclusion that “this world is fundamentally irrational” have relied on the very rationality whose legitimacy is denied in the conclusion.
Finally, a growing body of experts believes the CI will someday fall out of scientific favor, thus shifting the dominant paradigm of QM to models supporting rationality and natural law. Whether or not this happens, Christians can rest assured that this world is the creation of a rational God who rules as Sovereign over all things, including the wily objects of the quantum realm.
Besides QM, some suggest Chaos Theory and Special Relativity impinge on the Christian worldview. Special Relativity shows there are no fixed reference points in the universe. All motion or apparent non-motion is relative to a specific frame of reference. Some have imagined that this undermines our ability to form fixed judgments that apply universally, but of course our inability to do this in physics is irrelevant to our assurance about unalterable, universal truths revealed by God. As for Chaos Theory, the name itself is deceptive. Properly understood, it only says that many deterministic physical systems are so sensitive to initial conditions that we cannot fully predict their future behaviors unless we perfectly comprehend all of those conditions. Hence it is our ignorance, not creation itself, which sets up the appearance of chaos in physics.
In summary, the new physics highlights human finitude but does nothing to overturn God as Author and Ruler of creation.
And Frank Turek answers the issue in a manner that uses science and experience via science. In other words, while scientists do not know all the ins-n-outs of the quantum theory on it’s “sub-atomic level,” there is NOTHING to suppose the laws of science or logic are undermined. None:
Some atheists will appeal to the quantum level to question the law of causality. But just because we can’t predict cause and effect among subatomic particles, doesn’t mean that there is no cause and effect. That could be a matter of unpredictability rather than uncausality. In other words, the limits of our knowledge of the quantum level might be the issue.
Moreover, any conclusion the atheist makes about the quantum level would use the very the law of causality he is questioning. That’s because his observations of the quantum level and his reasoning about it use the law of causality! While it is possible that causality does not apply at the quantum level, given the fact that the law seems universal everywhere else and the scientist uses it in all of his conclusions, why would anyone conclude it’s more plausible to believe that causality does not apply at the quantum level? Could it be because it helps one avoid God?
Frank Turek, Stealing from God (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2014), 233-234; Does Causality Apply Outside of Space and Time? (Cross Examined).
(Almost all the videos or audios below are from my YouTube Channel. I recovered many of them from my Vimeo account and my MRCTV account. Enjoy, I have worked all day on fixing audio and video to make them more presentable)
If C.S. Lewis was the greatest Christian expositor of the 20th century, Ravi Zacharias might well go down in history as the greatest of the 21st century. Both are often described as “apologists,” but that sounds defensive to the modern ear. (WASHINGTON TIMES)
“To my friend, my mentor and a great hero of the faith [Ravi Zacharias] — Thank you,” Tim Tebow wrote. “I know I’ll see you again and I look forward to that day. Love you brother.” (PJ-MEDIA)
First, let me say, I am a fan of Ravi Zacharias. A huge fan. He has impacted me in countless ways, and thus, he has impacted my family. As a three-time felon, I benefited from his insights into what a Christian worldview should look like, and how a Christian should present himself. But he is a man — in need of a savior and prone to missteps and falls. Like any of us. His statement via CHRISTIANITY TODAY makes note of this:
“I have learned a difficult and painful lesson through this ordeal,” Zacharias said. “I failed to exercise wise caution and to protect myself from even the appearance of impropriety, and for that I am profoundly sorry. I have acknowledged this to my Lord, my wife, my children, our ministry board, and my colleagues.”
Ravi, like many a person I know (myself included), will always make claims not in line with reality to lift ourselves up to a greater status in life to impress others. It is almost a default of our prideful nature. I acknowledge all these faults in Ravi, and in my own life — it is a long and complex life filled with spiritual falls, scrapes, wounds, and battles. Ravi’s message of how the Christian worldview is coherent whereas others are not is not changed by his faults and missteps. God’s truth is unchangeable. As imperfect vessels, we imperfectly reflect His perfection. As you can see one of Ravi’s misstatements is made in the following video… but that retelling of flawed history by Ravi has no impact on the truth of his response in showing the self-deleting assumption of the questioner:
With that being said, Ravi passed from this place to the next. In March 2020, it was revealed that Zacharias had been diagnosed with a malignant and rare cancer within his spine. If one wants a book by him that shows the elegance of his thought and skills as a writer, his book “The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives” is the book I recommend the most. A portion of this book in audio form has been used by myself in a presentation while filling in at an adult Bible study at church (Grace Baptist). the Below is an older post of mine (updated a bit) discussing this section of the book where God’s design of our life doesn’t end with Him knitting us together in the womb — along with the mentioned audio:
BEAUTY IS MORE THAN SKIN DEEP
In this presentation Ravi Zacharias takes his time explaining a talk he was present at where Dr. Francis S. Collins (WIKI) compares a cross section of DNA to a stained-glass Rose window from Yorkminster Cathedral. The design is apparent and Collins mentions it a huge boost to his faith.
At The Veritas Forum at Caltech, Francis Collins shares two images representing the scientific worldview and the spiritual worldview. He asks whether there is a way to merge science & faith, and suggests that his experience is that these two perspectives are not in conflict. (The full presentation can be seen HERE):
“The picture (of the DNA) did more that take away one’s breath; it was awesome in the profoundest sense of the term – not just beautiful but overwhelming. And it almost mirrored the pattern of the Rose window… The intricacy of the DNA’s design, which pointed to the Transcendant One, astonished those who are themselves the design and who have been created semitranscendant by design. We see ourselves only partially, but through our Creator’s eyes, we see our transcendence. In looking at our own DNA, the subject and the object come together.”
END of POST
I have other uploads as well I have used in conversation over the years as well that are instructive to the armchair apologist. Here they are (some recently imported from my VIMEO account:
Ravi Zacharias responds with “precise language” to a written question. With his patented charm and clarity, Ravi responds to the challenge of exclusivity in Christianity that skeptics challenge us with.
A student asks a question of Ravi Zacharias about God condemning people [atheists] to hell. This Q&A occurred after a presentation Ravi gave at Harvard University, and is now one of his most well-known responses in the apologetic sub-culture. This is an updated version to my original upload. I truncated the beginning as well as editing the volume of the initial question. I also added graphics and text quotes into the audio presentation.
A Muslim student at Michigan University challenges Ravi Zacharias on Christianities seemingly lack of ability in keeping the “law” like Islam and Judaism do so well. How can Christianity be true if it isn’t doing that which God demands? (I have recently enhanced, greatly, the audio in the file from my original VIMEO upload… and reconfigured slightly the visual presentation.)
(February 12, 2014) This is for a group of men that are going through Gregory Koukl’s book, “Tactics.” Often times a person merely need to ask his accuser questions to better open up what they mean by their questioning.
✂Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” AND WHEN HE HAD SAID THIS, HE WENT OUT AGAIN…. (NASB – emphasis added)
One example of this “Socratic Method” can be seen here: “Socratic Method ~ Falling On Their Own Sword (Origins Myths)” The students start out sounding like experts and often times the Christians will shy away from conversation when in fact the person is basing their assumptions on a self-refuting idea[s], and all that is needed to bring it out are a few questions.
(March 31, 2013) Ravi Zacharias does a great job in explaining what pornography does to shame, the Holy, and the insatiable fire of not being able to satisfy men’s archetype they build in their minds eye.
(February 11, 2014) A quick witted response brings a light heart to a serious subject. This comes from an event today from the University of Pennsylvania, titled, “Is Truth Real?” Ravi Zacharias International Ministry has the longer version here.
He [Elijah] went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. From there he went on to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.
Here the skeptic posits God’s wrath on 42 children, presumably innocent in that their greatest offense was calling someone a “bald-head.” It would be similar to a guy being called “four-eyes” by a bunch of kids and then whipping out an AK-47 and mowing them down… and then expecting you to view him as a moral agent. In accessing the following books,
✦ The New Manners & Customs of Bible Times; ✦ Manners and Customs in the Bible: An Illustrated Guide to Daily Life in Bible Times; ✦ An Introduction to the Old Testament; ✦ The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament; ✦ Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament; ✦ A Popular Survey of the Old Testament; ✦ New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties; ✦ Hard Sayings of the Bible; ✦ When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties.
I noticed something was missing. That is, a bit more of what is not said in the text, but we can assume using and accessing what any historical literary critic would with the principles that predate Christ — mentioned in the above “latte” link. Mind you, many of the responses in my home library that I came across were great, and, in fact they made me dig a bit further. (I do not want the reader to think that I place myself on a higher academic level that these fine theologians and professors.)
This crowd of persons was older than what is typically posited by skeptics. Secondly, this group was a very bad lot. But didn’t explain why bald-head was egregious enough for God to call 42 scurvy bastards to judgement. To be fair, I sympathize with the skeptic here. That being said, there is more to the story.
I want us to view some artistic drawings of historical figures from Israels history: priests, prophets, spiritual leaders, and even Flavius Josephus.
What did you notice above in the cover to an A&E documentary? Yup, a turban as well as a cloak which covers the heads of the priests and prophets. Take note of the below as well.
I posted multiple images to drive a point home in our mind. The prophet Elisha would have had a couple cultural accoutrements that changes this story from simple name calling to an assault. He wouldn’t have been alone either, in other words, he would have had some people attached to him that would lay down their lives to protect him. And secondly, he would have had a head covering on, especially since he was returning from a “priestly” intervention. So we know from cultural history the following:
He would have had a head dressing on — some sort of turbin;
and he would have had an entourage of men to dissuade any attack or mistreatment of a priest of Israel on a journey.
One last point before we bullet point the complete idea behind the Holy and Rightful judgement from the Judge of all mankind. There were 42 persons killed by two bears. Obviously this would require many more than 42 people. Why? What happens when you have a group of ten people and a bear comes crashing out of the bushes in preparation to attack? Every one will immediately scatter! In the debate I pointed out that freezing 42 people and allowing the bears time to go down the line to kill each one would be even more of a miracle than this skeptic would want to allow. So the common sense position would require a large crowd and some sort of terrain to cut off escape. So the crowd would probably have been at least a few hundred.
Also, this holy man of God was coming back from a “mission,” he would have had an entourage with him ~ as already mentioned, as well as having some sort of head-covering on as pictured above ~ as already mentioned.
QUESTION: So, what do these cultural and historical points cause us to rightly assume?
ANSWER: That the crowd could not see that the prophet was bald.
Which means they would have had to of gotten physical — forcefully removing the head covering. Which means also that the men with the prophet Elisha would have also been overpowered. So lets bullet point the points that undermine the skeptics viewpoint.
✔ The crowd was in their late teens to early twenties; ✔ they were antisemitic (this is known from most of the previous passages and books); ✔ they were from a violently cultic city; ✔ the crowd was large; ✔ the crowd had already turned violent.
These points caused God in his foreknowledge to protect the prophet and send in nature to disperse the crowd. Nature is not kind, and the death of these men were done by a just Judge. This explains the actions of a just God better than many of the references I read.
[May I also add here that there is a bit of “free-will” actions here that could have contributed greatly — although this is still an example of God intervening with nature. I suppose that these mother bears may have minded their own business while keeping their cubs safe. But the ruckus created by this large crowd caused alarm enough in these mother bears to roust their natural instinct to protect their own. That is all. If this crowd had not done the above, everyone could have gone their own way on their respective journeys and “survived.” So while I think God DID intervene, miraculously, the actions natural or Divine were based on the violence of men]
We ARE programmed to believe one way and through the creative power (and infinite genius) of God, get to choose this natural tendency or to cover it up with our sinful, selfish nature that Romans 1 alludes to by numbing our faculties with an whole array of options.
What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words, by God himself.
Blaise Pascal (Pensees 10.148)
Deborah Keleman studies cognitive development in children and Josh Rottman is a PhD student working with her. In a chapter in “Science and the World’s Religions.” they write (p. 206-207):
…religion primarily stems from within the person rather than from external, socially organised sources …. evolved components of the human mind tend to lead people towards religiosity early in life.
Before continuing I just want to make a point, none of them by myself but brought here to review by myself. It has to do with merely assuming the evolutionist position, if true, makes theism true and atheism anathema to the survival of the species. For instance, Patricia Churchland notes what the brains primary chore is:
And this is the main point… okay… if I assume evolution is true, then, out of the choices of “religion” and “non-religion” — which of the two provide a better survival rate of the species? To wit:
Even Darwin had some misgivings about the reliability of human beliefs. He wrote, “With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”
Given unguided evolution, “Darwin’s Doubt” is a reasonable one. Even given unguided or blind evolution, it’s difficult to say how probable it is that creatures—even creatures like us—would ever develop true beliefs. In other words, given the blindness of evolution, and that its ultimate “goal” is merely the survival of the organism (or simply the propagation of its genetic code), a good case can be made that atheists find themselves in a situation very similar to Hume’s.
The Nobel Laureate and physicist Eugene Wigner echoed this sentiment: “Certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.” That is, atheists have a reason to doubt whether evolution would result in cognitive faculties that produce mostly true beliefs. And if so, then they have reason to withhold judgment on the reliability of their cognitive faculties. Like before, as in the case of Humean agnostics, this ignorance would, if atheists are consistent, spread to all of their other beliefs, including atheism and evolution. That is, because there’s no telling whether unguided evolution would fashion our cognitive faculties to produce mostly true beliefs, atheists who believe the standard evolutionary story must reserve judgment about whether any of their beliefs produced by these faculties are true. This includes the belief in the evolutionary story. Believing in unguided evolution comes built in with its very own reason not to believe it.
This will be an unwelcome surprise for atheists. To make things worse, this news comes after the heady intellectual satisfaction that Dawkins claims evolution provided for thoughtful unbelievers. The very story that promised to save atheists from Hume’s agnostic predicament has the same depressing ending.
It’s obviously difficult for us to imagine what the world would be like in such a case where we have the beliefs that we do and yet very few of them are true. This is, in part, because we strongly believe that our beliefs are true (presumably not all of them are, since to err is human—if we knew which of our beliefs were false, they would no longer be our beliefs).
Suppose you’re not convinced that we could survive without reliable belief-forming capabilities, without mostly true beliefs. Then, according to Plantinga, you have all the fixins for a nice argument in favor of God’s existence For perhaps you also think that—given evolution plus atheism—the probability is pretty low that we’d have faculties that produced mostly true beliefs. In other words, your view isn’t “who knows?” On the contrary, you think it’s unlikely that blind evolution has the skill set for manufacturing reliable cognitive mechanisms. And perhaps, like most of us, you think that we actually have reliable cognitive faculties and so actually have mostly true beliefs. If so, then you would be reasonable to conclude that atheism is pretty unlikely. Your argument, then, would go something like this: if atheism is true, then it’s unlikely that most of our beliefs are true; but most of our beliefs are true, therefore atheism is probably false.
Notice something else. The atheist naturally thinks that our belief in God is false. That’s just what atheists do. Nevertheless, most human beings have believed in a god of some sort, or at least in a supernatural realm. But suppose, for argument’s sake, that this widespread belief really is false, and that it merely provides survival benefits for humans, a coping mechanism of sorts. If so, then we would have additional evidence—on the atheist’s own terms—that evolution is more interested in useful beliefs than in true ones. Or, alternatively, if evolution really is concerned with true beliefs, then maybe the widespread belief in God would be a kind of “evolutionary” evidence for his existence.
You’ve got to wonder.
Mitch Stokes, A Shot of Faith: To the Head (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012), 44-45.
While I am not a fan of Charisma… as of late they have posted a few good articles. This being one of them:
Remember, there was much discussion about destroying or harming parts of the brain that decrease belief in God:
This has to be embarrassing… if you’re an atheist. A new study performed at the University of York used targeted magnetism to shut down part of the brain. The result: belief in God disappeared among more than 30 percent of participants.
That in itself may not seem so embarrassing, but consider that the specific part of the brain they frazzled was the posterior medial frontal cortex—the part associated with detecting and solving problems, i.e., reasoning and logic.
In other words, when you shut down the part of the brain most associated with logic and reasoning, greater levels of atheism result.
You’ve heard the phrase, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist”? Apparently we can now also say, “I have too many brains to be an atheist.”…
I also posit that person’s who use illicit drugs, such as marijuana, are less likely to believe in the Judeo-Christian God due to deterioration/destruction of sections of the brain. Parts of the brain most affected are memory and cognitive or parts of the brain that use logic and reason). Whereas, it seems, we see that a healthy brain is ready to receive faith:
…In a piece for the Washington Post, atheist Elizabeth King writes that she cannot shake the idea of God’s existence.
★ “The idea of God pesters me and makes me think that maybe I’m not as devoted to my beliefs as I’d like to think I am and would like to be. Maybe I’m still subconsciously afraid of hell and want to go to heaven when I die. It’s confusing and frustrating to feel the presence of something you don’t believe in. This is compounded by the fact that the God character most often shows up when I’m already frustrated,” King writes.
Neurotheologian Newberg says this is because science does back the reality of religious experiences.
HOWEVER, the key quote in my mind’s eye is this, from Shaheen E Lakhan, MD, PhD, MEd, MS, FAAN — the BRAIN BLOGGER:
The question of whether religion has been “hardwired” into our brains or an evolutionary adaptation has been debated for decades, however, more recently we have uncovered scientific underpinning for both possibilities.
In other words, evolution (if one believes in that exclusively) has hard wired our brains for faith. Not for non-faith.
National Geographic contacted Neuroscience News and invited us to take part in a virtual roundtable discussion to help promote an upcoming episode of Brain Games called The God Brain. (Brain Games: The God Brain premieres Sunday, February 21, at 9 pm ET on National Geographic Channel).
This supports another study of Japanese kids raised with no thoughts of a monotheistic God
For example, researchers at Oxford University (at which Dawkins himself was until recently the holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair in the Public Understanding of Science) have earlier reported finding children who, when questioned, express their understanding that there is a Creator, without having had any such instruction from parents or teachers. As Dr Olivera Petrovich, who lectures in Experimental Psychology at Oxford, explained in an interview with Science and Spirit:
My Japanese research assistants kept telling me, ‘We Japanese don’t think about God as creator—it’s just not part of Japanese philosophy.’ So it was wonderful when these children said, ‘Kamisama! God! God made it!’—Dr Olivera Petrovich, Oxford University.
“I tested both the Japanese and British children on the same tasks, showing them very accurate, detailed photographs of selected natural and man-made objects and then asking them questions about the causal origins of the various natural objects at both the scientific level (e.g. how did this particular dog become a dog?) and at the metaphysical level (e.g. how did the first ever dog come into being?). With the Japanese children, it was important to establish whether they even distinguished the two levels of explanation because, as a culture, Japan discourages speculation into the metaphysical, simply because it’s something we can never know, so we shouldn’t attempt it. But the Japanese children did speculate, quite willingly, and in the same way as British children. On forced choice questions, consisting of three possible explanations of primary origin, they would predominantly go for the word ‘God’, instead of either an agnostic response (e.g., ‘nobody knows’) or an incorrect response (e.g., ‘by people’). This is absolutely extraordinary when you think that Japanese religion — Shinto — doesn’t include creation as an aspect of God’s activity at all. So where do these children get the idea that creation is in God’s hands? It’s an example of a natural inference that they form on the basis of their own experience. My Japanese research assistants kept telling me, ‘We Japanese don’t think about God as creator — it’s just not part of Japanese philosophy.’ So it was wonderful when these children said, ‘Kamisama! God! God made it!’ That was probably the most significant finding.”
Today, nearly a decade since Petrovich’s study, there is now a “preponderance of scientific evidence” affirming that “children believe in God even when religious teachings are withheld from them”.
I often hear atheists exude confidence in natural selection and evolution and all that it entails. However, when natural belief in God emerges… they reject this as fantasy rather than a superior survival mechanism. It is important to understand that I am not arguing for evolution but showing that it is self-referentially false:
NOTE: if you believe in evolution and are an atheist, you would root forand support neo-Darwinian evolutionary “natural selection” in choosing religious belief as superior to that of non-belief!
In a debate during the Q&A session between a theist and atheist/evolutionist, a student asked this great question… and while he did not have the answer to Dr. Pigliucci’s challenge, I do:
Assuming the validity of the “underlying instinct to survive and reproduce” then, out of the two positions (belief and non-belief) available for us to choose from which would better apply to being the most fit if the fittest is “an individual… [that] reproduces more successfully…”? The woman that believes in God is less likely to have abortions and more likely to have larger families than their secular counterparts. Does that mean that natural selection will result in a greater number of believers than non-believers?
 From my son’s 9th grade biology textbook: Susan Feldkamp, ex. ed., Modern Biology (Austin, TX: Holt, Rineheart, and Winston, 2002), 288; “…organisms that are better suited to their environment than others produce more offspring” American Heritage Science Dictionary, 1st ed. (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2005), cf. natural selection, 422; “fitness (in evolution) The condition of an organism that is well adapted to its environment, as measured by its ability to reproduce itself” Oxford Dictionary of Biology, New Edition (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1996), cf. fitness, 202; “fitness In an evolutionary context, the ability of an organism to produce a large number of offspring that survive to reproduce themselves” Norah Rudin, Dictionary of Modern Biology (Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, 1997), cf. fitness, 146.
 Dinesh D’Souza points to this in his recent book, What’s So Great About Christianity:
Russia is one of the most atheist countries in the world, and abortions there outnumber live births by a ratio of two to one. Russia’s birth rate 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. Birth rates are abysmally low in France, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Sweden. The nations of Western Europe today show some of the lowest birth rates ever recorded, and Eastern European birth rates are comparably low. Historians have noted that Europe is suffering the most sustained reduction in its population since the Black Death in the fourteenth 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. 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 birth rates, birth rates among religious people are almost twice as high as those among 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…. My conclusion is that it is not religion but atheism that requires a Darwinian explanation. Atheism is a bit like homosexuality: one is not sure where it fits into a doctrine of natural selection. Why would nature select people who mate with others of the same sex, a process with no reproductive advantage at all? (17, 19)
And churchgoing women have more children than their nonreligious peers, according to the Center for Disease Control’s National Survey of Family Growth, an ongoing survey spanning 2011-2015. The survey involves about 5,000 interviews per year, conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. Women between the ages of 15 and 44 who attend religious services at least weekly have 1.42 children on average, compared with the 1.11 children of similar-age women who rarely or never attend services. More religious women said they also intend to have more kids (2.62 per woman) than nonreligious women (2.10 per woman), the survey found. (Baby Boom: Religious Women Having More Kids — LIVESCIENCE)
In fact, Blume’s research also shows quite vividly that secular, nonreligious people are being dramatically out-reproduced by religious people of any faith. Across a broad swath of demographic data relating to religiosity, the godly are gaining traction in offspring produced. For example, there’s a global-level positive correlation between frequency of parental worship attendance and number of offspring. Those who “never” attend religious services bear, on a worldwide average, 1.67 children per lifetime; “once per month,” and the average goes up to 2.01 children; “more than once a week,” 2.5 children. Those numbers add up—and quickly. Some of the strongest data from Blume’s analyses, however, come from a Swiss Statistic Office poll conducted in the year 2000. These data are especially valuable because nearly the entire Swiss population answered this questionnaire—6,972,244 individuals, amounting to 95.67% of the population—which included a question about religious denomination. “The results are highly significant,” writes Blume: “…women among all denominational categories give birth to far more children than the non-affiliated. And this remains true even among those (Jewish and Christian) communities who combine nearly double as much births with higher percentages of academics and higher income classes as their non-affiliated Swiss contemporaries.” (God’s little rabbits: Religious people out-reproduce secular ones by a landslide — SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN)
Another value that is both measurable and germane to fertility is the importance of religion. People who are actively religious tend to marry more and stay together longer.To the extent that time spent married during reproductive years increases fertility, then religion would be a positive factor in fertility rates. For example, in Canada women who had weekly religious attendance were46percent more likely to have a third child than women who did not. (The Northern America Fertility Divide — HOOVER INSTITUTE)
The AMERICAN SPECTATOR published a wonderful article. And it in large part supports the above contention that belief in God is a natural (in born) position… and that atheism is the REAL product of environment. Read on to see:
University of Oxford developmental psychologist Dr. Olivera Petrovich has spent years researching a single question: Are children predisposed to belief in a transcendent being?
In each of these discussions, much was made out of the evidence — or, as some would have it, the lack of evidence — for God’s existence. Belief in God (or a god, if you prefer), they say, is a product of environment, wishful thinking (like belief in fairies or Santa Claus), or a “mental virus.”
“Part of what I want to say,” writes Richard Dawkins in his bestseller The God Delusion, “is that it doesn’t matter what particular style of nonsense infects the child brain. Once infected, the child will grow up and infect the next generation with the same nonsense, whatever it happens to be.”
But as Dawkins’s archrival, the aforementioned mathematician John Lennox, has said, “Not every statement made by a scientist is a scientific statement.” This appears to be just such an instance. According to Dr. Petrovich, Dawkins’ statement lacks scientific evidence. On the contrary, her research strongly suggests that children are “hardwired” to believe in God.
In a cross-cultural study of British and Japanese children who were shown photographs of manmade and natural objects and then asked to explain how those objects came into existence, children predominantly chose the theological explanation. Dr. Petrovich told me,
The pattern of responding among Japanese children is highly significant in this context seeing that those children live in a culture that does not in any way encourage a belief in God as creator. Yet, the most common reply given by Japanese preschoolers about natural objects’ origins was “Kamisama [God]! God made it.” Whilst there is growing research evidence that children from across different religious and cultural backgrounds consistently attribute to god the existence of natural objects, what is so interesting about the Japanese participants is that this particular causal inference is not a product of their education but a natural development in their understanding of the world.
Religious Belief Reduces Crime Summary of the First Panel Discussion Panelists for this important discussion included social scientists Dr. John DiIulio, professor of politics and urban affairs at Princeton University; David Larson, M.D., President of the National Institute for Healthcare Research; Dr. Byron Johnson, Director of the Center for Crime and Justice Policy at Vanderbilt University; and Gary Walker, President of Public/Private Ventures. The panel focused on new research, confirming the positive effects that religiosity has on turning around the lives of youth at risk.
Dr. Larson laid the foundation for the discussion by summarizing the findings of 400 studies on juvenile delinquency, conducted during the past two decades. He believes that although more research is needed, we can say without a doubt that religion makes a positive contribution.
His conclusion: “The better we study religion, the more we find it makes a difference.” Previewing his own impressive research, Dr. Johnson agreed. He has concluded that church attendance reduces delinquency among boys even when controlling for a number of other factors including age, family structure, family size, and welfare status. His findings held equally valid for young men of all races and ethnicities.
Gary Walker has spent 25 years designing, developing and evaluating many of the nation’s largest public and philanthropic initiatives for at-risk youth. His experience tells him that faith-based programs are vitally important for two reasons. First, government programs seldom have any lasting positive effect. While the government might be able to design [secular/non-God] programs that occupy time, these programs, in the long-term, rarely succeed in bringing about the behavioral changes needed to turn kids away from crime. Second, faith-based programs are rooted in building strong adult-youth relationships; and less concerned with training, schooling, and providing services, which don’t have the same direct impact on individual behavior. Successful mentoring, Walker added, requires a real commitment from the adults involved – and a willingness to be blunt. The message of effective mentors is simple. “You need to change your life, I’m here to help you do it, or you need to be put away, away from the community.” Government, and even secular philanthropic programs, can’t impart this kind of straight talk.
Sixth through twelfth graders who attend religious services once a month or more are half as likely to engage in at-risk behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual excess, truancy, vandalism, drunk driving and other trouble with police. Search Institute, “The Faith Factor,” Source, Vol. 3, Feb. 1992, p.1.
Churchgoers are more likely to aid their neighbors in need than are non-attendees. George Barna, What Americans Believe, Regal Books, 1991, p. 226.
Three out of four Americans say that religious practice has strengthened family relationships. George Gallup, Jr. “Religion in America: Will the Vitality of Churches Be the Surprise of the Next Century,” The Public Perspective, The Roper Center, Oct./Nov. 1995.
Church attendance lessens the probabilities of homicide and incarceration. Nadia M. Parson and James K. Mikawa: “Incarceration of African-American Men Raised in Black Christian Churches.” The Journal of Psychology, Vol. 125, 1990, pp.163-173.
Religious practice lowers the rate of suicide. Joubert, Charles E., “Religious Nonaffiliation in Relation to Suicide, Murder, Rape and Illegitimacy,” Psychological Reports 75:1 part 1 (1994): 10 Jon W. Hoelter: “Religiosity, Fear of Death and Suicide Acceptibility.” Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, Vol. 9, 1979, pp.163-172.
The presence of active churches, synagogues… reduces violent crime in neighborhoods. John J. Dilulio, Jr., “Building Spiritual Capital: How Religious Congregations Cut Crime and Enhance Community Well-Being,” RIAL Update, Spring 1996.
People with religious faith are less likely to be school drop-outs, single parents, divorced, drug or alcohol abusers. Ronald J. Sider and Heidi Roland, “Correcting the Welfare Tragedy,” The Center for Public Justice, 1994.
Church involvement is the single most important factor in enabling inner-city black males to escape the destructive cycle of the ghetto. Richard B. Freeman and Harry J. Holzer, eds., The Black Youth Employment Crisis, University of Chicago Press, 1986, p.354.
Attending services at a church or other house of worship once a month or more makes a person more than twice as likely to stay married than a person who attends once a year or less. David B. Larson and Susan S. Larson, “Is Divorce Hazardous to Your Health?” Physician, June 1990. Improving Personal Well-Being
Regular church attendance lessens the possibility of cardiovascular diseases, cirrhosis of the liver, emphysema and arteriosclerosis. George W. Comstock amd Kay B. Patridge:* “Church attendance and health.”* Journal of Chronic Disease, Vol. 25, 1972, pp. 665-672.
Regular church attendance significantly reduces the probablility of high blood pressure.* David B. Larson, H. G. Koenig, B. H. Kaplan, R. S. Greenberg, E. Logue and H. A. Tyroler:* ” The Impact of religion on men’s blood pressure.”* Journal of Religion and Health, Vol. 28, 1989, pp.265-278.* W.T. Maramot:* “Diet, Hypertension and Stroke.” in* M. R. Turner (ed.) Nutrition and Health, Alan R. Liss, New York, 1982, p. 243.
People who attend services at least once a week are much less likely to have high blood levels of interlukin-6, an immune system protein associated with many age-related diseases.* Harold Koenig and Harvey Cohen, The International Journal of Psychiatry and Medicine, October 1997.
Regular practice of religion lessens depression and enhances self esteem. *Peter L. Bensen and Barnard P. Spilka:* “God-Image as a function of self-esteem and locus of control” in H. N. Maloney (ed.) Current Perspectives in the Psychology of Religion, Eedermans, Grand Rapids, 1977, pp. 209-224.* Carl Jung: “Psychotherapies on the Clergy” in Collected Works Vol. 2, 1969, pp.327-347.
Church attendance is a primary factor in preventing substance abuse and repairing damage caused by substance abuse.* Edward M. Adalf and Reginald G. Smart:* “Drug Use and Religious Affiliation, Feelings and Behavior.” * British Journal of Addiction, Vol. 80, 1985, pp.163-171.* Jerald G. Bachman, Lloyd D. Johnson, and Patrick M. O’Malley:* “Explaining* the Recent Decline in Cocaine Use Among Young Adults:* Further Evidence That Perceived Risks and Disapproval Lead to Reduced Drug Use.”* Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol. 31,* 1990, pp. 173-184.* Deborah Hasin, Jean Endicott, * and Collins Lewis:* “Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Patients With Affective Syndromes.”* Comprehensive Psychiatry, Vol. 26, 1985, pp. 283-295. * The findings of this NIMH-supported study were replicated in the Bachmen et. al. study above.
…A survey of 1,600 Canadians asked them what were their beliefs about God and what moral values they considered to be “very important.” The results of the survey are shown below:
Although the differences between theists and atheists in the importance of values such as honesty, politeness, and friendliness are generally small, moral values emphasized by religious beliefs, such as Christianity, including patience, forgiveness, and generosity exhibit major differences in attitudes (30%+ differences between theists and atheists). (Source)
The strength of the family unit is intertwined with the practice of religion. Churchgoersare more likely to be married, less likely to be divorced or single, and more likely to manifest high levels of satisfaction in marriage.
Church attendance is the most important predictor of marital stability and happiness.
The regular practice of religion helps poor persons move out of poverty. Regular church attendance, for example, is particularly instrumental in helping young people to escape the poverty of inner-city life.
Religious belief and practice contribute substantially to the formation of personal moral criteria and sound moral judgment.
Regular religious practice generally inoculates individuals against a host of social problems, including suicide, drug abuse, out-of-wedlock births, crime, and divorce.
The regular practice of religion also encourages such beneficial effects on mental health as less depression (a modern epidemic), more self-esteem, and greater family and marital happiness.
In repairing damage caused by alcoholism, drug addiction, and marital breakdown, religious belief and practice are a major source of strength and recovery.
Regular practice of religion is good for personal physical health: It increases longevity, improves one’s chances of recovery from illness, and lessens the incidence of many killer diseases.
So we can see that the above are important factors in a healthy, stable, family which would have the highest percentage or chance in a family situation to create “family values.” What about divorce rates and the 2009 data. This is dealt with well at CHRISTIAN ACTION LEAGUE, and shows how Barna and the Government can miss-categorize whole swaths of people and their affiliations:
…Wright did his own research using the General Social Survey; a huge study conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, and found that folks who identify as Christians but rarely attend church have a divorce rate of 60 percent compared to 38 percent among people who attend church regularly. More generally, he found that Christians, similar to adherents of other traditional faiths, have a divorce rate of 42 percent compared with 50 percent among those without a religious affiliation.
And his is not the only research that is showing a link between strong faith and increased marriage stability.
University of Virginia sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project, concluded that “active conservative Protestants” who regularly attend church are 35 percent less likely to divorce than are those with no faith affiliation. He used the National Survey of Families and Households to make his analysis.
Glenn Stanton, the director for family formation studies at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colo., has been writing articles to spread the truth about the lower divorce rate among practicing Christians.
“Couples who regularly practice any combination of serious religious behaviors and attitudes — attend church nearly every week, read their Bibles and spiritual materials regularly; pray privately and together; generally take their faith seriously, living not as perfect disciples, but serious disciples — enjoy significantly lower divorce rates that mere church members, the general public and unbelievers,” Stanton wrote in the Baptist Press early this year.
At issue in Barna’s studies is how he defined “Christian” and to what other groups he compared the “Christian” divorce rate. Apparently, his study compared what he termed “born-again” Christians — those who described their faith in terms of “personal commitment,” “accept as savior” and other evangelical, born-again language to three other groups, which included self-identified Christians who do not describe their faith with those terms, members of other, non-Christian religions and people of no religious beliefs.
Because his second group would have included many Catholics and mainline Protestants, Wright points out that Barna was, in many ways, “comparing Christians against Christians.” No wonder the rates were similar….
In USA TODAY, David Kinnaman, Barna’s president, said that “the statistical differences reflect varied approaches, with Wright looking more at attendance and his research firm dwelling on theological commitments.” Duh! The bottom line seems to be that the more seriously couples take their faith, the less likely they are to get a divorce. That seems like a self-evident truth, but it appears there is also evidence for it. In other words, this is a nominal, vs. committed Christian vs. secular person battle.
I can go on-and-on, but lets shorten what we have learned, and it all revolves around this:
“There’s something about being a nominal ‘Christian’ that is linked to a lot of negative outcomes when it comes to family life.”
I realize that much of this can be classified broadly as “The Ecological Fallacy” — but it is an amassing of stats to show that in fact the committed Christian understands the totality of “family values” and commits to them more than the secular person.
1a) Those who attend church more are to be found in the Republican Party; 1b) Those who do not, the Democratic Party; 2a) Those in the Republican Party donate much more to charitable causes; 2b) Those in the Democratic Party, are much more stingy; 3a) Republicans earn less and give more; 3b) Democrats earn more and give less; 4a) Conservative Christians and Jews (people who believe in Heaven and Hell) commit less crimes; 4b) Liberal religious persons (universalists) have a higher rate of crime; 5a) Regular church attendees have a lower drug use rate; 5b) Irreligious persons have a higher rate; 6a) Moral “oughts” are answered in Christian theism (one “ought” not rape because it is absolutely, morally wrong); 6b) Moral “oughts” are merely current consensus of the most individuals, there is no absolute moral statement that can be made about rape; 7a) Republicans are happier than Democrats; 7b) Democrats are more depressed; 8a) The sex lives of married, religious persons is better/more fulfilling — sex is being shown to be a “religious” experience after-all; 8b) The sex lives of the irreligious person is less fulfilling; 9a) The conservative is more likely to reach orgasm [conservative woman I assume]; 9b) The liberal woman is not; 10a) They are less likely to sleep around, which would also indicate lower STDs; 10b Democrats are more likely to have STDs through having more sex partners; 11a) Republicans are less likely (slightly, but this is so because of the committed Christians in the larger demographic) to have extra-marital affairs; 11b) Democrats more likely; 12a) Republicans over the last three decades have been reproducing more… 12b) Democrats abort more often and have less children through educational/career decisions 13a) Christians are more likely to have children and impact the world; 13b) Skeptics replace family with pleasure and travel.
Forty-three percent of people who attend religious services weekly or more say they’re very happy, compared to 26 percent of those who go seldom or never. The Pew analysis does not answer the question of how religion, Republicanism and happiness might be related, however.
Most young people start out as naive, idealistic liberals. But as they get older, that changes. They get more conservative, usually because they grow up. But just imagine that you never get out of that liberal mindset. You go through your whole life trying to check people into a victim box, always feeling offended, always trying to right all of the wrongs in the world, and always blaming government for it. It’s no wonder you’d end up miserable when you get older! Going through your entire life feeling like that would make you a very angry, bitter, jealous, selfish person — and often, that describes aging liberals to a T.
All in all, being a Republican gives you a 7% edge in the happiness department, which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a greater factor than race, ethnicity, or gender. And just a reminder — Republicans have the advantage across all class lines as well, from upper class to middle class to lower class. Lower class Republicans are happier than lower class Democrats. Middle class Republicans are happier than middle class Democrats. And upper class Republicans are happier than upper class Democrats.
And I’ll say it again. It’s because of the difference in world view.
THE BLAZE helps set up some of the following media presentations:
…The organization also released the results of a survey that it conducted among its members. That poll, commissioned online between June and December 2015, garnered 8,000 responses, finding that 96 percent respondents are registered to vote. It should be noted that the results are restricted to member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and may not be representative of atheists more broadly.
Secular members were asked to identify their political persuasion, with 29 percent selecting “Democratic” and 36 percent selecting “progressive/liberal.” While that totals 65 percent, 21 percent selected Independent. On the flip side, only 1 percent identified as Republicans, with 3 percent selecting “Socialist/Marxist” and 3 percent selecting “Green.”
Democrats often think of themselves as kind and caring, and of Republicans as callous and mean-spirited. But why? Are Progressive policies more likely to raise people out of poverty than conservative ones? And what really counts as “kind”: supporting policies that feel good? Or supporting policies that do good? William Voegeli, Senior Editor of the Claremont Review of Books, explains.
AEI President Arthur C. Brooks explains how we can win the fight for free enterprise by articulating what’s written on our hearts. “We have to see that we’re not in an economic battle for the future of America,” Arthur says. “We’re in a moral battle.”
Dennis talks Arthur Brooks, professor of public administration at Syracuse University, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism. (Originally broadcast December 28, 2006)
. . . Survival of the Fittest!
“Since women that believe in God are less likely to have abortions, does that mean that natural selection will result in a greater number of believers than non-believers.” Assuming the validity of the “underlying instinct to survive and reproduce” then, out of the two positions (belief and non-belief) available for us to choose from which would better apply to being the most fit if the fittest is “an individual… [that] reproduces more successfully…”? The woman that believes in God is less likely to have abortions and more likely to have larger families than their secular counterparts. Does that mean that natural selection will result in a greater number of believers than non-believers?
Divorce. Marriages in which both spouses frequently attend religious services are less likely to end in divorce. Marriages in which both husband and wife attend church frequently are 2.4 times less likely to end in divorce than marriages in which neither spouse attends religious services.1
Mother-Child Relationship. Mothers who consider religion to be important in their lives report better quality relationships with their children. According to mothers’ reports, regardless of the frequency of their church attendance, those who considered religion to be very important in their lives tended to report, on average, a higher quality of relationship with their children than those who did not consider religion to be important.2
Father-Child Relationship. Fathers’ religiosity is associated with the quality of their relationships with their children. A greater degree of religiousness among fathers was associated with better relationships with their children, greater expectations for positive relationships in the future, investment of thought and effort into their relationships with their children, greater sense of obligation to stay in regular contact with their children, and greater likelihood of providing emotional support and unpaid assistance to their children and grandchildren. Fathers’ religiousness was measured on six dimensions, including the importance of faith, guidance provided by faith, religious attendance, religious identity, denominational affiliation, and belief in the importance of religion for their children.3
Well-Being of High School Seniors. Among high school seniors, religious attendance and a positive attitude toward religion are correlated with predictors of success and well-being. Positive attitudes towards religion and frequent attendance at religious activities were related to numerous predictors of success and wellbeing for high-school seniors, including: positive parental involvement, positive perceptions of the future, positive attitudes toward academics, less frequent drug use, less delinquent behavior, fewer school attendance problems, more time spent on homework, more frequent volunteer work, recognition for good grades, and more time spent on extracurricular activities.4
Life Expectancy. Religious attendance is associated with higher life expectancy at age 20. Life expectancy at age 20 was significantly related to church attendance. Life expectancy was 61.9 years for those attending church once a week and 59.7 for those attending less than once a week.5
Drinking, Smoking and Mortality. Frequent religious attendance is correlated with lower rates of heavy drinking, smoking, and mortality. Compared with peers who did not attend religious services frequently, those who did had lower mortality rates and this relationship was stronger among women than among men. In addition, frequent attendees were less likely to smoke or drink heavily at the time of the first interview. Frequent attendees who did smoke or drink heavily at the time of the first interview were more likely than nonattendees to cease these behaviors by the time of the second interview.6
Volunteering. Individuals who engage in private prayer are more likely to join voluntary associations aimed at helping the disadvantaged. Individuals who engaged in private prayer were more likely to report being members of voluntary associations aimed at helping the elderly, poor and disabled when compared to those who did not engage in private prayer. Prayer increased the likelihood of volunteering for an organization that assisted the elderly, poor and disabled, on average, by 20 percent.7
Charity and Volunteering. Individuals who attend religious services weekly are more likely to give to charities and to volunteer. In 2000, compared with those who rarely or never attended a house of worship, individuals who attended a house of worship nearly once a week or more were 25 percentage points more likely to donate to charity (91 percent vs. 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer (67 percent vs. 44 percent).8
Voting. Individuals who participated in religious activities during adolescence tend to have higher rates of electoral participation as young adults. On average, individuals who reported participating in religious groups and organizations as adolescents were more likely to register to vote and to vote in a presidential election as young adults when compared to those who reported not participating in religious groups and organizations.9
Ethics in Business. Business professionals who assign greater importance to religious interests are more likely to reject ethically questionable business decisions. Business leaders who assigned greater importance to religious interests were more likely to reject ethically questionable business decisions than their peers who attached less importance to religious interests. Respondents were asked to rate the ethical quality of 16 business decisions. For eight of the 16 decisions, respondents who attached greater importance to religious interests had lower average ratings, which indicated a stronger disapproval of ethically questionable decisions, compared to respondents who attached less importance to religious interests.10
Vaughn R. A. Call and Tim B. Heaton, “Religious Influence on Marital Stability,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 36, No. 3 (September 1997): 382-392.
Lisa D. Pearce and William G. Axinn, “The Impact of Family Religious Life on the Quality of Mother-Child Relations,” American Sociological Review 63, No. 6 (December 1998): 810-828.
Valerie King, “The Influence of Religion on Fathers’ Relationships with Their Children,” Journal of Marriage and Family 65, No. 2 (May 2003): 382-395.
Jerry Trusty and Richard E. Watts, “Relationship of High School Seniors’ Religious Perceptions and Behavior to Educational, Career, and Leisure Variables,” Counseling and Values 44, No. 1 (October 1999): 30-39.
Robert A. Hummer, Richard G. Rogers, Charles B. Nam, and Christopher G. Ellison, “Religious Involvement and U.S. Adult Mortality,” Demography 36, No. 2 (May 1999): 273-285.
William J. Strawbridge, Richard D. Cohen, Sarah J. Shema, and George A. Kaplan, “Frequent Attendance at Religious Services and Mortality over 28 Years,” American Journal of Public Health 87, No. 6 (June 1997): 957-961.
Matthew T. Loveland, David Sikkink, Daniel J. Myers, and Benjamin Radcliff, “Private Prayer and Civic Involvement,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 44, No. 1 (March 2005): 1-14.
Arthur C. Brooks, Who Really Cares: America’s Charity Divide, (New York: Basic Books 2006), 31-52.
Michelle Frisco, Chandra Muller and Kyle Dodson, “Participation in Voluntary Youth-Serving Associations and Early Adult Voting Behavior,” Social Science Quarterly 85, No. 3 (September 2004): 660-676.
Justin Longenecker, Joseph McKinney, and Carlos Moore, “Religious Intensity, Evangelical Christianity, and Business Ethics: An Empirical Study,” Journal of Business Ethics 55, No. 4 (December 2004): 371- 384.