Misconceptions

October 10, 2011

A  few days ago a question was posed to students in a secular student alliance club  at a local high school in my area.   The question was “What will it take for you to believe in the existence of a god?”  Answers begin to come it and last I checked there was 230 comments on the question.  As I read through the answers and discussion that followed I noticed how misconceptions about God, the Bible, and Church can keep many people from having a theistic worldview and from trusting in the Christian worldview.  Here’s what  I mean.

One student answered, “To believe in the existence of an all-powerful god with the general well-being of humans in mind as most universalizing religions do, I would have to see evidence of a world with less… ‘bad’…”  I believe this student has a misunderstanding of why the world is bad.  Perhaps he thinks God is not great enough to create people who are perfect, or that perhaps God is to blame for the bad in the world.  This is clearly a misunderstanding of the free will that God gives us as humans and the sinful nature that we are born with.  God doesn’t create evil, he only makes it possible.  This is a misunderstanding of human nature.

I have already covered the misconception about faith, it you missed it you can click here to read about it.

Another student says “For me to worship that entity in addition to believing it exists, I’d also need evidence of the power of prayer, heaven, or hell”  Among other things, this student is looking at the power of prayer as a possible proof.  What do most people think about prayer?  Is it like a magic genie where God grants you whatever you want?  Do we as Christians push this thought by our words and actions?  We know God answers prayer, but we know that He doesn’t always answer them how we want.  We also know what the Bible says that we pray we must pray in Jesus name and that we must align our requests with the holy scriptures.

A student that I have been talking with recently made this comment, “The holy scriptures that people study today are translations of the originals (which we don’t have) and as we all know, things are always lost in translation.”  he went on to add “the original documents were written centuries after the stories that they depict took place. Doesn’t this make you wonder about the validity of the words that you’re studying?”  This student has received some faulty information that I have seen before.  Unfortunately there are people who want to misrepresent the truth, on both sides of the debate I might add.

There were some great questions and comments made by the students, some of them I could see are genuinely searching God and welcomed any thoughts by the Christians that interacted with them.

So what do you do to clean up the misconceptions?  Here are a few suggestions.  Know what the truth is for yourself.  Do the research, look at the evidence, and be able to communicate with others the evidence in a way that is easy and makes sense.  You should also know what others are saying against the truth and be prepared to respond to it.  Winston Churchill once said “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”   For those who know the truth and yet try to cover it up or repress it, do the most damage.

It is amazing to me how many people have already made up their mind about  the validity of the Bible, but have never read more than a few chapters of it for themselves.  I do understand why some may have difficulties with it.  Miracles for example may be one reason.  In the near weeks we will look at the miracles within the Bible.  Maybe they even read through it once completely, and think that they have a good grasp on it, that might be more dangerous.  I’ve been reading and studying it for about 25 years now and I have much to learn of it myself.

As always questions, comments, and discussions welcome.


Witness Online vs Face to Face

October 9, 2011

With the  invention of the internet, chat rooms, Blogs, Facebook, Skype,  and other social media, sharing your faith can be done in a variety of ways including,  not the least of which, still face to face.  I’m not here to stir the debate whether sharing the gospel online is better or worse than sharing it in person.  I view it like missions both near and far, both need to be done, the more you can do to share the Gospel in any way is good.   If you have access to a computer and feel confident in using it to talk with others about what you believe, go for it!  What I do want to point out is the differences between the too and also caution you about over the computer sharing.

BODY LANGUAGE & EMOTION:
When you talk with someone face to face you can look them in the eyes, change the inflection of your voice, body language.  It is easy for you to show someone you really care for them.  You have taken time to visit them, or perhaps give time out of your day.  The old adage that, “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care” is true.   When you are talking to someone online, there is a loss of body language, emotion, and depending on of you are using Skype or some other video program your voice.  You also have to be careful how you type.  For example, TYPING IN ALL CAPS CAN GIVE THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU ARE YELLING, to many young people online.  Depending on your grammar usage,  it may also be hard to understand what someone types out.

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS:
Building relationships is key in sharing your faith with others.  Often times it will take many conversations with people to get them to understand or trust your worldview.  Relationships can be built both in person and online.  I do believe that they can be built faster in person.

ONLINE INFORMATION:
As you talk to people online one of the advantages is that you can have a lot of information at your fingertips from your personal collection of notes to websites that hold endless amounts of information.  As you may have already discovered, not everything on the internet is true.   I wish  I had a nickel for every time I see a Facebook post telling me to click here if  I don’t want to have to pay for Facebook.  It is so easy to put things online today.  It is also much easier for people to write blogs and articles online rather than in an actual book that can be examined closer by more people.   Knowing your information is key to catching lies and false information on both your view and others.

CUT AND PASTE MEMORY:
How many of your good friends or family members cell phones do you have memorized?  Not many I bet.  Thanks to the great inventions of cell phones, contact lists, and other electronic devices studies have shown that we are not using our minds like we used to use them.  With everything now digital you don’t have to remember many things because most likely you have them in your pocket or on your computer.  Cut and Paste is a great time-saving feature, but it also has its negatives as well.  We might not memorize scriptures as much, if we can just cut and paste them from our favorite website.  The same is true of arguments of apologetics as well.

You also run the risk of overloading the person you are talking with too much information.  You can cut and paste so much information that it can become a turn off, that no one wants to read.  (That’s why  I try to keep these blogs short, easier said than done.)  If you are a slow typist you will also run the risk of losing people’s interests also.

CLOSING THE DEAL:
As you talk to people and began to show them the evidence behind your worldview or beliefs.  You may bring them to a point where they become frustrated and just log off the internet.  While someone can do this in person, it is harder to walk away from a live person.

Got any other ideas or examples that you want to add?  As always, questions, comments, and discussions welcome.  Online or face to face, if you know where to find me.


Building a Firm Case for Christianity

October 4, 2011

Once you know what people believe  you will know where to start building a firm case for a Christian worldview.   If you missed the Conversational apologetics post I suggest you read it.  It will help you discover what people believe, or what worldview they have.  As a disciple of Christ we all know that it is our responsibility to share the Gospel of Jesus with those who ask us about our faith.   You may even have the desire to do so, and have been preparing for an opportunity to do so when the chance comes.  Where do you start?  Should you take a straight path to the cross?  Should you share Bible verses with them?  While it is never wrong to share the message of the cross with anyone, there may be a few other helpful points to consider as you began building your case for Christianity.

If you look at the illustration below, it shows you the progression that it takes to hold a Christian worldview.  You cannot hold a Christian worldview until you move from an atheist position.   Similarly, you cannot hold a Christian worldview, until  you know what type of theistic position you hold.  Do you believe in one God (monotheistic), more than one god (polytheistic), God is in everything (pantheistic), etc…  Likewise, you will have difficulty trying to convince someone that the Bible is the inspired word of God, if they don’t believe that a God or gods exist.  The same way someone will have difficulty with the claim that Jesus is God, if they don’t trust the Bible as a reliable source.

As you talk and ask questions to others about what they believe you will discover what they believe and where they are in the progression above.   Then you will know where to start with helping them along the way towards a Biblical worldview.  A friend of mine, Chris Sherrod, who teaches apologetics and has been published in several books uses an illustration of a set of pillars to show how the different evidence builds upon more evidence to provide a solid case for Christianity.

Building a Case for Christianity

Over the next weeks and months we will begin to break down the 4 pillars above and examine the evidence that God has given us.
As always, questions, comments, and discussions are welcome.


Why I believe

September 28, 2011

Why I BelieveStarting off from the gate I want to summarize why I believe, what I believe about the existence of God and my faith in the Christian God of the Bible, and His incarnate name given in the New Testament, Jesus.  This blog is meant to be a general one and I will spend the next months and years breaking it out piece by piece so that it can be swallowed and enjoyed bit by bit.

After studying many of the worldviews through books, articles, talking with people in person, I have concluded that my Christian world view is the most comprehensive, complete, and logical worldview of all the many different worldviews including atheism.  While it still holds some difficulties and challenges, it stands tall over all the other worldviews.  In no particular order, here is Why I Believe…

1. Faith.  Yes Faith, there is a dual definition of faith floating out in the sea of apologetics, in short a blind faith and a Biblical faith.  I will explain this in greater detail in a soon coming post, but in short I believe Christianity takes and uses both those types of faith. I am convinced that most people do not understand the true definition of Faith.  Hebrews 11:6 says “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

2. Creation.  When I examine the world in which I live, I see evidence for a beginning of the universe, I see intelligence, and a mind behind the matter.  I have not found any answer in the material world that points to other trustworthy conclusions.

3. The Human Mind and Soul.  Why are we conscience? Why are we special?  Why do we have the ability to reason and think?  Why do we have  moral absolutes?  How do we judge what good and evil is?    In a world without God, these things are not possible.   The Bible describes the human condition perfectly.

4. The Bible.  The Bible makes the bold claim to be written  inspired word of God, but should we just except the Bible as God’s Word, because the Bible tells us so?  The Bible is a reliable book that is written in many different styles, by more than 40 authors, on 3 continents, over a period of about 1,500 years.  It is the most unique book ever written and for centuries it has stood the test of time and scrutiny by many.  When you compare the Bible to all other religious books, the Bible stands tall.

5. Historical Jesus.  Jesus was a real person, despite the constant attempts to blur the evidence.  But, Jesus made some bold claims about who He was and what His mission was about.  There are many sources, outside of the Bible that confirm the existence of Jesus and record some of the claims He made that are in the Bible.  Christians can even exclude even the evidence of the Bible and some of the other questionable secular documents and still make a case for Jesus existence, that is solid.

6. The Church. Yes, the church.  I realize that sometimes the church (people) can look pretty bad and can be rather disappointing, but the church (the people) has also made some great strides and impacts in the world in where we live.  Christians have been of the forefront leading the charge in several advancements for good in our world.  Slavery, Women’s rights, and even Science.

7. Religion.  Religion is mans attempt to come to God.  Religion shows how we have a yearning to get to God, just like we have a desire for food or procreation.  God gives us a desire that can be met by Him just like finding food and companionship.  Even though many people have wrongly been lead into believing in something that they haven’t researched, the desire for God is there.    I have always preferred the phrase, relationship over religion.

8.  The Empty Tomb.  Perhaps the greatest evidence for my belief.  The resurrection is key to Christianity.  Without it, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:14 , my faith is in dead.  When you examine the evidence for the resurrection you are not left with any other choices that make any sense at all.  Jesus made claims that would rise from the dead, something that  charlatan would not dare to do.

9. Personal Experience.   I realize that my own personal experience is not as strong a proof as some of the other items listed above.  For example, I could say that God answered a prayer request of mine, a Mormon could say the same thing.  Some personal experiences are subjective.  But, this doesn’t mean I should throw out the personal experience all together.

Let me stop you before you start to pick apart these individual items by saying that no single one of these proves anything.  No, I cannot in a denotative way point to God and say “see, there He is” like I might point out Bob who fixed my car or Larry who made me a sandwich.  (I will address why I think that this is perfectly how God designed it to be in a later post.)  Let me point out that each of these individual areas lead or point to a particular conclusion that God does exist, and that Jesus is who He claimed to be.  It is the sum of the conclusions that add up far better than any other worldview.  Biblical Christianity uses all the different methods of science, philosophy, reason, and reality to build a strong case for a Christian worldview.  No other worldview can claim that which Christianity does, they either fail in arguments in one or more areas by contradicting themselves or by not being able to produce the evidence that Christianity does.

If you are searching for answers, and want to start looking at different worldview, that is great, can I offer a suggestion?  Start with Christianity.  There is something about Jesus that most of the other major worldviews want to include him in their teaching.  To Muslims, Jesus was one of 28 prophets, In Hinduism Jesus is a good moral teacher, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons view Him as the Son of God, by which we can earn our salvation.  Jesus is the central feature in Christianity, not only because of his teachings but because of who He is, and claimed to be, God.

As always, questions, comments, and discussions welcome.  I am looking forward to the breakdown of these items that I have listed above.  In my next few posts I will give some basic information about apologetics and lay a foundation and order down for looking at the evidence piece by piece.


The Light Bulb Comes On!

September 28, 2011

Last night after typing up My Story and posted it to my blog,  I went to bed I had some trouble falling asleep.  I usually don’t have any trouble, maybe it was the mountain dew I drank around 11pm, not sure.  My mind was full of different things from the day.  Things I am reading about, church and family things.  Then it hit me, I had been considering getting back to writing more on my blog and was wanting to find a way to organize some of my thoughts in a coherent way that  I could keep up with.  I believe I had found the way to go.  I have  kept a notebook of my studies and notes on books that I have read over the last year.  I had organized it into a way that I could find what I was looking for quickly.  I would just simply use the same type of format that I have in my notebook.  Now I really couldn’t sleep my mind was racing with ideas and how I would start out.   I have loved teaching apologetics, but I know  I couldn’t get away with that each week at church, so, I decided that I will use my blog to post articles, thoughts on what I believe, and bits and pieces of arguments and definitions within the apologetic studies.  I have found my angle, to educated anyone on how I came to believe and trust in God, specifically in my Christian faith.

I realize that this will be lots of work, but I have a passion for it, and I will enjoy doing it.  I know that there are going to be those might read my blog that disagree with me and my worldview, that’s OK.  I would just hope that they as well as anyone would keep an open mind to the ideas that are presented, as I try to do with the books, articles, and blogs that I read.  I will welcome any comments for and against my views expressed.  The only thing I will ask is that the discussions are kept clean of hate speech and name calling.  I will post anything in response as long as it is truthful and free of meanness.    I will follow the rules for myself as well.   I was frustrated a few weeks back when I started dialoging with a gentle man from San Francisco about the truthfulness of the Bible, and after reading his article I found a few things that I questioned and posted a response to.  I gave him a few facts and things to consider in a reply, but he never approved my comments to be seen by the public readers.  I was disappointed that he didn’t post my comments  for whatever reason it was.  I suspect that it might have made his article look bad, I guess I will never know, because after several attempts to contact him now, he has just ignored my messages.    That is also something that I will try not to do to anyone who leaves comments on my blog.  If it becomes time-consuming, I may have to change the time frame in which I respond, but I don’t think that will be a problem, I’m not anyone famous, and I don’t care to be, and hundreds of people will not be reading my blog daily.

So here goes, let the blogging begin, and I hope that it will help you in your journey, to discovering what I have found to true and trustworthy in my relationship to Christ.  As always, I will welcome any comments, questions, and discussions about anything I type.  In my next blog I will summarize what are the factors, evidence, and reasons for my belief in God and my Christian faith.


My Story

September 28, 2011
Amy and me

Amy and me

A few weeks ago our pastor challenged the church congregation to “Be Courageous and Share Your Story”.  A few days later it hit me that one way, not the only way, I could do that would be online through my blog or on Facebook.  So here it is, Here is my story and I welcome any questions, comments, or snide remarks.

I grew up in a great home, a happy home, and while  I felt very sheltered from a lot of crazy things in life, I knew that  I was blessed because of the environment I was raised in.  My parents were both involved in church and so consequently, so was I, but again I didn’t mind.  I loved church, I love the people in the church.  My friends in church were different from most of the other students at school.  I had a few good friends at school, but most of my close friends were in the church with me.  Because I had a long history of being in church I knew a lot about the Bible, facts about God, and felt like I had a grasp on why things were the way they were.  As an early teen I began to notice that my brother and some other friends were making a choice to trust Jesus as their savior and they were baptized later on.  After a few months, it hit me that I knew a bunch of facts about the Bible and God, but I had not yet taken those facts to heart.  I had not really placed my faith, my trust in Jesus in my own personal way.    One night, while at a youth ministry event I really felt convicted within me to stop putting off what I already knew I needed to do and go talk to someone about making my faith personal.   I still get reminders today, because of my job,  of how scary that can be for a teen, to walk out of a pew or crowd and go talk to someone.  I knew what I had to do, grab the closest person near me and make them go with me!  I grabbed a great friend named Susanne and stepped out to find someone to talk to.

That night, April 30, 1988 I sat down with a man who went over the gospel of Jesus with me quickly to make sure I understood what I believed and what my need was.  For the first time I placed my trust in Jesus, that His death on the cross was payment for my sins and even though I didn’t understand it all, I knew that I was far from perfect and that I needed Jesus not only for an eternal life, but for a great life now.  I said a short prayer and asked God to forgive me of my past sins, I placed my belief in Jesus, for who He said he was, and I turned my life over to God to be my Lord, or boss for a lack of a better term.  A few months later I was baptized by my grandfather, who also was a pastor, in Yazoo City, Mississippi.

Since I have placed my faith in God I have had some interesting times, some great times, some challenging times, but they have all helped me grow in my relationship to God.  During my college years, I struggled with the idea that, perhaps I was a Christian only because I was raised in a Christian home.  I didn’t want the faith of my parents, I wanted to own my own faith.  I began to look at all the other worldviews and examine then for myself.  I knew after all, that not all the different worldviews could be correct.  I begin reading books on other religions and studying them to get a better understanding of them.  I admit at first I kept a close grip on my faith and didn’t want to be pulled from my own faith.  Some might say I was studying with a presupposition.   I was lucky enough to be taught though by my pastor and other teachers that I should do the research and examine things for myself and not just except the way things are because someone tells me so.  Trust is earned.  What I read was backed up by what I read for myself and what I found to be true in life.  My faith was becoming my own.

Right before finishing college, I began to question my career and what God really wanted me to do after I graduated.  I had always felt that God wanted me to be a teacher, but the last few months before graduation, I believe that God used a few different people to speak to me about being a pastor/minister.  After a few months of pushing the idea aside I finally quit telling God “no”, and I told God that if He wanted me to do something different with my life I would do it and trust Him for the things I didn’t know.  It was amazing what happened immediately after I had that conversation with God in my prayer time.  I felt this peace just fall over me like a heavy blanket.  I knew right then and there that I was not going to be an orchestra teacher anymore.

Right about this time, God opened a door for me to work in a church as an intern for the youth ministry.  Six months later the church came back and offered me the job permanently.   That was in 1997.  Fourteen years later I have had the joy of serving 3 churches as their student pastor  and have loved every minute of it.  I don’t feel like it is a job, but rather a calling.   Over the past 14 years I have grown in my passion for teaching the Bible and have also found a love for apologetics.  Apologetics is the study of “why you believe what you believe” or backing up your faith with reason and evidence.  Apologetics has allowed me to get a better grasp in what I believe and made my faith stronger.  Over the last few years I have opened up my reading and began to read books from both sides of the debate between atheists/agnostics and believers.  I try to read both sides to get an honest view-point from both sides of the aisle.  I have yet to find anything that worries me or that might cause my faith to stumble.  My passion today still lies with both the teens in this generation and teaching them apologetics that will prepare them for the vastly different world in which they live today.  It is a different world in which I lived in 20 years ago as a teen.

If you have any questions for me I would be glad to try to answer them for you.  I don’t know all the answers, not even close, but I would be glad to share what I have found to be solid ground to stand upon in my life.

God Bless,

John


“I love it When a Plan Comes Together”

July 3, 2010

OK,  just got back from the movies.   I went to see the A-Team movie a remake of the TV show I watched as a child growing up in the 80’s every Friday night at 9:00pm.  I have to say  it was a bit disappointed with the movie tonight.  I’m not sure that if there is a sequel that I will go and see it.    I remember for years watching the Dukes of Hazard, and the A-Team back to back almost every Friday night for years.  It was great family time with the whole family and then off to bed at 10:00 when Dallas came on.  Several things I will remember about those nights like;  it was the one night we got to stay up late and the jokes about dad liking  Daisy Duke.

 Hannibal had his saying at the end of the program after the bad guys were caught and the adventure was over.  “I love it when a plan comes together.”  Everything seem to just work out perfectly and the good guys went home and we waited impatiently until next week to see what would happen again.  Sounds a little of the reality scope of life doesn’t it?  It was no fairy tale ending because they were always on the run from the MP’s and Cornell Decker. 

 The thought occurred to me on the way home that God might have the same phrase that He uses on us when all through our lives different things may happen and they might seem out of control and crazy, but in the end they work out for a “mission accomplished.”  The world can be a messed up place, and because of the sinful choices of people it can be hard to grasp the idea that God is in control and God has plan that He is working out, but it is true.  God is in control , He has a plan, and even when the world is crashing down around us or with us, God is there.

There are so many scriptures that show us that He is in control and that He has a plan for those who are His children.  Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 2:10, Romans 8:28 just to list a few.  It is always easier to look back after you have come through an experience and see where God used it to better you or to teach you something, or even to begin a new chapter ministry or life.  The hardest part is trying to see God in situations that you are currently going through, we often look for God working in areas when He may be doing something totally different with a situation. 

Are you going through a tough situation right now?  Do you struggle to find God working in your life some times?  Let me encourage you to do 2 things.  Remain close to God and His people (the church) they will be a great support for you.  Secondly, just keeping doing what God has called you do, being obedient to him with what you know He wants you to do, until the time comes and you know He wants you to do something else.  It may be weeks, months, or even years that will pass before you see how God was with you in a situation or how you grew in the tests and trials you passed through.  Rick Warren, Pastor and Author says in his book “Purpose Driven Life” that God often uses your greatest weakness or failure to be your greatest ministry in life.  Think of the possibilities of how God can use your experiences to help others  who are going through where you have already been.

  Maybe, like Hannibal Smith  you might even say “I love it when a plan comes together!”


Return to Rock Eagle

April 19, 2010

Hey Class of 93, any of you remember the 5th grade trip to Rock Eagle?  For decades now the Gwinnett County Schools has sent the 5th graders on a week-long trip to Rock Eagle in the summer.   I went back to Rock Eagle for the first time since that summer in 1986  this past weekend to pick up a student in my youth ministry from a weekend camp.  We had some great discussions on the road and pulling back into the park reminded me of one of the worst trips I think I have ever had.  Here’s what I mean:

It starts before we even got to camp, the bus we were on broken down on the middle of I-20 and we spent about 1 hour sitting on the side of the road under an over pass waiting for another bus to come pick us up.  After we finally boarded the second bus guess what?  It broke down also about 20 minutes later.  Well after boarding a 3rd bus we finally made it to Rock Eagle.  I should have understood the bus situation.  It was a warning from God trying to keep us away from the camp.  God knew bad stuff was going to happen!

After we got there we settle in our bunks and meet the counselors that were in charge of us.  I don’t remember much but only that we had a very strict counselor and got yelled at often for breathing the wrong way.  It seemed that all the other counselors were very loose and let their students do just about anything they wanted.

Another memory I remember was that some other students from another school kept wanting to fight students from our school.   They started throwing sand in people’s eyes randomly and running off.  I remember several of the guys in our cabin got attacked, I think Jason Brasswell was one of them.

The last memory was the best.  We had heard from the counselors that the movie Friday the 13th was partially filmed  there and like you should tell a bunch of 5th graders that anyway it added to the scary we got later in the week.  One day we decided to go look at the famous pile of rocks made by indians long ago (Rock Eagle)  They school drove us by bus to the big pile of rocks and after we were done they decided to let us all walk back to camp through the woods by ourself with no adult supervision.  I was in the back part of the group and several of us got lost on the way back as it started to get dark.  I remember freaking out as a kid thinking Jason was going to come out and get us with his chainsaw.  Finally we found our way back to camp and then we got yelled at by our super strict counselor for being late.

This was in the days before 2nd graders had cell  phones, heck this was before cellphones  weighed less than 15 pounds and you had to carry them in a big back pack so we didn’t have them to call for help or to call for our parents to come get us from the awful bad camp.   Makes me wonder if the person who invented the cell phone was a 4-H camper with us.

So, just wanted to say thanks Rock Eagle and thanks 4-H club for all the great memories you gave me.  Let’s do it again sometime real soon… NOT.  Well all joking aside, we survived just fine and that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

If you have any great memories of your experience at Rock Eagle please feel free to add comments!

Go Comets class of 1993


Jesus and March Madness

April 7, 2010

Well congratulations to Duke and UConn for their wins in the NCAA tournaments this year.  I enjoyed watching some of the games this year, especially Uconn and Mia Moore.  What they have set as far as records is nothing short of amazing.   Our Pastor, a former collegiate player, has shown me where the women’s skill sets and techniques are so much better than the mens.  After watching a few of the games I must agree with him.

How did you do, our your brackets this year?  Did you enter into any contests or competitions with friends?  A few of the other youth pastors and I had a group and had a good time talking smack to each other.  I did how I expected to do, not any where close to winning.

Every time March Madness roles around  I can’t help but to think about Jesus and the prophecies in the Bible.  There is a lesson to be learned in the odds and mathematics of both the NCAA tournament and with Jesus fulfilling prophecy  Here’s what I mean:

According to BookofOdds.com the odds of picking every single game in the tournament correctly are 1 to 35,360,000,000.  Playing the lottery has better odds in most cases.  This is why some of the companies, like Dr Pepper and Yahoo.com,  can afford to create excitement by offering a 1 Million Dollar prize if you enter and pick every single game correctly.  It’s all about the odds for them and the money involved.

Well now that brings us to Jesus and the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah.  There are over 60 prophecies about this promised Messiah and details of His birth, birthplace, life, death, teachings, His nature, His resurrection, and events after burial, just to name a few.  All these are documented in Josh McDowell’s foundational book called “Evidence That Demands A Verdict” or His updated version “The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict”  (chapter 8, pages 164-202)   Josh McDowell was a atheist who set out to disprove Christianity and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but as he searched for answers he found out through his discoveries that indeed there was one true living God.

In McDowell’s reasearch he brings into the light the work of Peter Stoner in his book Science Speaks.  Stoner does a great job at the probability and statistical mathematics of Jesus and fulfilled prophecy.  Stoner took just 8 of the probabilities of the Jewish Messiah and figured out the odds at which Jesus or anyone would fulfill them.  He came up with a rather large number.  The odds were 1 in 10 to the 17 power.  That would be a 1 with 17 zero’s after it.  [1,00,000,000,000,000,000 ]  Stoner gives a great visual example of that number, because it is so big and hard for us to wrap our minds around.  Imagine that you fill the entire state of Texas with Silver Dollars 2 feet high.  You mark one Dollar with an “X” and then blindfold a man and have him take one guess and find the one dollar with a “X” on it.  Keep in mind that this is only 8 of the prophecies and not the entire lot.  Stoner’s research has been examined for years now and the mathematics in his work has been found to be solid.

Well, where do we go from here?  Let me just encourage you whether you are a believer or not, to take a closer look at the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.  I am quiet sure you will see something different with Him than with any other religious leader in the world.  There is a difference with Jesus because He was who He claimed to be, God.

As always your comments, questions, snide remarks are welcome.


Why I believe Evolution is False

April 1, 2010

I will keep this short and spare you on some of the details.  If you would like the details I will be glad to send them to you or discuss them further.

Using the word FLAWED,  I would like to expound on 6 talking points that place a lot of doubt in Darwin’s theory of Evolution.  The idea came from Chris Sherrod, a friend and fellow student minister years ago.  Chris Sherrod also has written a chapter in the new book from Sean McDowell, called Apologetics for a New Generation.   I love using the acronym  and teaching it to students because of the ease of it to memorize. 

FOSSIL FALLACY – Darwin himself said that in order for the theory of evolution to hold weight that in order we must find proof in the fossils by what he called transitional fossils.  These are fossils that show us the process of evolution at work by finding fossils that are in transition from one form to the other.  Like half bird and lizard or also the half ape-man.  Well how many of these kinds of fossils have we found, Zero!!  Not one transitional fossil has been found yet and this throws great doubt on Darwin’s Theory.  Evolutionist have had to scramble around to try to find other theory’s to support their lack of evidence like “gap theory” which also brings more questions into the argument because it doesn’t fit the facts.

LAWS VIOLATED – In order for evolution to be true, it must break a few key laws of science.  The most important Law broken is the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics which states simply that over a period of time all complex systems go from a state of order to disorder.  That over time they breakdown and become less complicated.  Evolution states that everything we know came from a random “Big Bang” in the Universe and we slowly evolved into complex organisms over billions and billions of years.  Imagine taking all the parts of a wrist watch and placing them in a bag and shaking them up and they come together to form a nice new Rolex time piece.

Another Key law broken by evolution is the law of Biogenesis, which states that you can not create life from non-life.  Scientist have been trying this for decades and cannot break this law and create life in the laboratory but cannot.  You will never be able to get life from a granite molecule or life from other non-living matter.

The last law or principal is Cause and Effect.  Cause and Effect simply states that every effect has a cause.  similarly, every cause also is an effect of something else and also has a cause.   The cause is either a “what” or a “who”.  For example; what caused the vase to fall of the shelf?  The earthquake caused the vase to fall.  What caused the earthquake?  Was it the blasting of dynamite at the quarry next door or was it a real earthquake?  You can go on and on with layers of cause and effects.  What caused the earthquake?  Plate Tectonic movement, caused by the heat of the earths core, which is caused by the suns warming rays, etc…..  With respect to evolution, what caused the big bang that started the universe?  Even if you break matter down to its smallest form, to the sub-molecule level and start talking string theory and other new ideas, where did that come from?  Evolution has to answer 3 big bangs in reality not just 1.  The origin of matter, the origin of life, and the origin of conscience thought and a moral compass.

ABSENCE OF OBSERVATION – No one has ever saw evolution happen and there is no way to test it.  Let me point out the difference between Macro-evolution and Micro-evolution.  Macro evolution is the kind that Darwin wrote about.  It is the idea that we slowly evolved over billions of billions of years from a simple cell, primordial goo into fish and from fish to reptiles, from reptiles to birds and eventually other creations to primates to humans.  Micro-evolution also know as adaption is the faster process where in an organism, animal or plant change to adapt or survive from predators or climate.  We have seen and witnessed this process of micro-evolution, but this is not the same as Darwin’s theory of evolution.  Further more these adaptions have not gone from one species to another ie… snake to bird or fish to reptile.  Some examples of this, like the peppered-moth can be found in the section below under Erroneous examples.

WITHOUT A MECHANISM – Evolution has no purpose or reason.  Life cannot create itself and why would it desire to create itself for there is no reason behind all of the small details of the universe.  If there was life from the beginning, why would it need to evolve in the first place?  Why not just stay as the simple primordial ooze that it was.  We know that in nature there are mutations and with the process of Natural selection which we can see in nature, these mutations are harmful at best and most mutations  are eliminated by the process of natural selection and nature.

ERRONEOUS EXAMPLES – There have been many finding through out our history of so-called proof of evolution which have turned out to be false or cases where evolutionist thought or believed to be true without knowledge or fact.  Below are a few examples of many.

Peppered moth – got its name during the industrial revolution in England.  The moths were seen to change from a pure white color to a darker color and have spots that helped camouflage themselves from predators due to the rise of factories and smoke that came from them.  This is an example of microevolution and not macro-evolution.  Notice that the moth was still, a moth.  It didn’t change into a large bird or other species.  The process of Natural selection deems that the ones with spots were able to survive from predators better that the pure solid and lightly colored moths.  As the darker and spotted moths mated their kind and color began to increase as the others decreased.

The changes in the bone structure and skulls of people.  Much is made of height and other features, but in fact they are still human features not ape-men features.  Some finds have recently been under fire by scientist who believe that the few skeletal remains  found of curved or arched back bones were those of people who had a disease such as rickets.   We see people in our time today that have similar issues.

There are other examples such as the Archaeopteryx, Vestial Organs, Past ideas that fetuses had gills in utero, the list could go on but for the sake of time I will not.  Each had been thought of as further proof of evolution , but were found to be incorrect.

DESIGN & DNA – Can you imagine in all the evidence we have in the universe that it all was a random chance rather than a design set forth by a creator.  You can look at DNA and see the complex design and pattern of  life’s code.  DNA is some complex that it would make a computer program from Apple or Microsoft look like first grade math.  The DNA code in one single cell can hold as much information as the equivalent of 500 volumes of an encyclopedia.   The earth is finely turned to support life and if one detail of the earth was different in rotation, temperature, gravity, and etc…. Life would not be able to exist.  Try imagining a computer programing itself or a complicated invention like a watch or computer coming together all by itself.  Seems so crazy right, but if you don’t believe that God exist and created everything, then you have to believe that it all just is a random purposeless accident of chance.

I think it takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe in God.  I really believe that the debate will go on for the next hundred and thousands of years without a single assurance that God created everything through a 6 day Biblical creation and the theory of evolution.  We may never know “for sure” to either side.   That’s when faith comes into play in the role of not having all the answers.  I hope that these points will cause you to think about what you do believe and why you believe it.  I will also follow-up this blog with another entry on why I do believe that there is a God in the near future.  As always I welcome your comments, questions, and opposing views.