Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter 2008

There is nothing quite like an auditorium full of Christians singing hymns of praise to God. The songs spring from the deepest emotions because we struggle to find adequate words to express what our hearts feel and can barely contain. We struggle to understand the unmerited grace which God freely gives through Jesus christ. On this most important of Christian holidays, we sing to celebrate in praise and worship. We sing because it brings joy to our hearts and refreshes our souls.

The following are three of my favorite Easter hymns.

Christ Arose!
Words and music by Robert Lowry, 1874.

Low in the grave he lay, Jesus my Savior!
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o'er his foes,
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus my Savior!
Vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o'er his foes,
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Death can not keep his prey, Jesus my Savior!
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o'er his foes,
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o'er his foes,
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Christ the Lord is Risen Today
Words: Charles Wesley, 1739.
Music: Lyra Davidica, 1708.

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

Thine Be the Glory
Words: Edmond Louis Budry, 1884; tr. Richard Burch Hoyle, 1923.
Music: George Frederick Handel, 1747.

Thine is the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son;
Endless is the victory, Thou o’er death hast won;
Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
Kept the folded grave clothes where Thy body lay.

Thine is the glory, risen conqu’ring Son,
Endless is the vict’ry, Thou o’er death hast won.

Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly He greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
Let the church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing;
For her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.

Thine is the glory, risen conqu’ring Son,
Endless is the vict’ry, Thou o’er death hast won.

No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life;
Life is naught without Thee; aid us in our strife;
Make us more than conqu’rors, through Thy deathless love:
Bring us safe through Jordan to Thy home above.

Thine is the glory, risen conqu’ring Son,
Endless is the vict’ry, Thou o’er death hast won.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

God Said No.

I asked God to take away my habit.
God said, No.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.
His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No. Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
it isn't granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.
I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No.
You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No.
I give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.

I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said...Ahhhh, now you've got the idea.


The above is from an email a friend sent me a few years ago. Where he go it, I have no idea.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Two is better than one

I'm happy to announce that my very good friend Esther has accepted my invitation to become a full time co-contributor to this blog. What more can I say?


Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Play on the Word

This post first appeared on God Vs. Darwin, and is reprinted here, backdated to match the original post on GvD.


When I was in South Carolina last week, a very interesting discussion occurred behind the scenes here at GvD. AG suggested to the group that Esther write a guest post for this forum. Dabich readily agreed and once I discovered the proposition, I saw the brilliance of the idea. When I advised her of this discussion, and after the shock of it wore off, she was excited to be asked and thrilled to do it. Scribe had a dissenting vote and Rudy's opinion was never given one way or another. On this forum, at least regarding posting, majority rules. So without further ado:

God versus Darwin.

Hmmmm. . .

From the first moment I read this blog title, I was struck by that little word in the middle - "versus."

It is a daring proposition to think that there is anything in the finite human Darwin on par, "against," or "versus" what we know and have credited to an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God, but that initial turn of phrase intrigued me.


It is still intriguing me, and from here, I write.

I have always been drawn to word plays and puns. Love them.

When I read the Scripture, I languish and meditate over the words. I digest them slowly, and I savor every morsel and bit of sweetness and spice that I can draw out. I not only want the meat off the bone, I want to taste the marrow in the bone.

"Versus" is a word that I am sensing this with on several different levels.

Allow me to enjoy this little word exploration, if you don't mind, and maybe we can find common ground and a blessing from it.


"Versus" as defined by The Merriam-Webster Dictionary means "against" or "in contrast or as an alternative to."

Is God really "versus," or against, Darwin?

I would posit to say, No. No, not really.

Some of you are gasping right now realizing that I am a Conservative Christian, and I seem to be saying that God is not opposed to Darwin's Theory of Evolution. No, I'm not saying that, and I'm not going there in this word endeavor either. To tell you the truth, my aim in this word voyage really has nothing to do with proving or disproving Evolution or finding a "plausible" combination of Evolution and Creation.

My objective is to show you something about the word "Versus" that is beautiful, refreshing, and has application to our lives.

God is definitely not against Darwin. Darwin the man, that is, with a need for greater purpose and an eternal connection. With all that God has done for Man as outlined in Scripture, God has never truly been against Man. Sure, God has had moments of anger and frustration when Man has brought consequences on himself by his disobedient actions, but scripture after scripture and story after story tells of God's desire to give Man another chance and to "raise him up" to something better.

Whether you believe the Scripture to be true or not, the essential and well known Gospel Story is that of a Father so desirous of a whole and healed relationship with Man that He turns over His greatest and purest love - His son - for sacrifice. For those of you with children, how many of you love anything more than those children and would be willing to send your child alone to a small tribal village across the world where they practice cannibalism and genocide to let your child die a tortuous death with the mere possibility that the village could be saved from its murderous preferences and desires? Not too many, I would say.

Everything in God cries out "to be with us" not "against" us. The very term Emmanuel, which has so much application at this upcoming Christmas Season, means "God with us."

God wants to be with us. Apparently, God likes us.


Get down to the real and raw essence of what I just said. Ahem (Clearing my throat, that is.). . . In my best New York by way of South Carolina accent: "Whatcha gonna do 'bout it?" The Man Upstairs likes us. He apparently thinks we're pretty special and cool enough to hang out with.

I didn't write the Scriptures. I didn't create the story. I'm just putting in layman's terms what the whole Bible talks about - over and over and repeatedly. The story goes on and on about how God did this and that to show His love, how He visited this or that person to comfort him or her, how He created this or that miracle to prove His love, and how He gave up (sacrificed) this or that - and ultimately His greatest love, His son - to win even ONE back to His arms.

It is so easy to look at the Bible as a list of rules and regulations and dos and don'ts when really the overriding story is of a God who is totally smitten and in love with a bunch of men and women who are pretty egocentric and repeatedly find reasons to doubt and distrust Him and that love.

To reference a recent topic in Scribe's blog: God's got a bad case of unrequited love.

[As a side note: How nice it must be for Him when He does get to experience rekindled love in one of His creation. In Scripture it says that all of Heaven rejoices with Him when one person realizes how much love has been waiting for him or her all along and comes to His arms by trusting in that love.]

Stop pontificating and finding reasons to push God away. God likes us even when we give Him all kinds of reasons NOT to like us. Get over yourself. Get freed up. You're not "all" that, you never will be, and you don't have to be, and guess what? God is totally in love with you, and He has already proven His love for you. Those two previous sentences alone should be liberating in and of themselves.

God loves you with your bed head, bad breath, moodiness, anger, and all. He's just waiting for you to stop throwing up defense mechanisms as to why you don't need His love or don't want His love. Get over it. He already does love you. Accept it and believe it.

God already proved how much He wants to be with us. He let His son take the fall to regain that privilege for us. . . and for Him.

Please get that: GOD HAS DONE WHAT HE HAS DONE AS MUCH FOR HIM AS FOR US. He is madly and passionately in love with us.

God wants to hang out with you and let you get to know Him too. God wants to be known, Guys! Jesus hung on the Cross so we can hang out with God.

Since when do we turn away new friends, let alone one so well connected?

There is no "versus" in God's heart when it comes to His love for us. That love is absolutely and totally pure and paid the highest cost ever.

There really is no God versus Darwin, because, even with his skewed theory, God was madly and utterly in love with Darwin as His creation....

and that's no "monkeying around."

I said I love plays on words, and there's more that I see in the word "versus."

It's really a continuation on the previous theme of God's love and how He wants to "Verse Us."

That play on the word will have to be saved for a Part Two sometime down the line...

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Collins: Why this scientist believes in God

A friend of mine sent the link to this article in an email to me today. While I disagree with some of what the author writes, it is good to read that a life long study of science has led someone to faith in God rather than away from it.

POSTED: 9:37 a.m. EDT, April 6, 2007 (link above)
By Dr. Francis Collins
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the Human Genome Project. His most recent book is "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief."

ROCKVILLE, Maryland (CNN) -- I am a scientist and a believer, and I find no conflict between those world views.

As the director of the Human Genome Project, I have led a consortium of scientists to read out the 3.1 billion letters of the human genome, our own DNA instruction book. As a believer, I see DNA, the information molecule of all living things, as God's language, and the elegance and complexity of our own bodies and the rest of nature as a reflection of God's plan.

I did not always embrace these perspectives. As a graduate student in physical chemistry in the 1970s, I was an atheist, finding no reason to postulate the existence of any truths outside of mathematics, physics and chemistry. But then I went to medical school, and encountered life and death issues at the bedsides of my patients. Challenged by one of those patients, who asked "What do you believe, doctor?", I began searching for answers.

I had to admit that the science I loved so much was powerless to answer questions such as "What is the meaning of life?" "Why am I here?" "Why does mathematics work, anyway?" "If the universe had a beginning, who created it?" "Why are the physical constants in the universe so finely tuned to allow the possibility of complex life forms?" "Why do humans have a moral sense?" "What happens after we die?" (Watch Francis Collins discuss how he came to believe in God )

I had always assumed that faith was based on purely emotional and irrational arguments, and was astounded to discover, initially in the writings of the Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis and subsequently from many other sources, that one could build a very strong case for the plausibility of the existence of God on purely rational grounds. My earlier atheist's assertion that "I know there is no God" emerged as the least defensible. As the British writer G.K. Chesterton famously remarked, "Atheism is the most daring of all dogmas, for it is the assertion of a universal negative."

But reason alone cannot prove the existence of God. Faith is reason plus revelation, and the revelation part requires one to think with the spirit as well as with the mind. You have to hear the music, not just read the notes on the page. Ultimately, a leap of faith is required.

For me, that leap came in my 27th year, after a search to learn more about God's character led me to the person of Jesus Christ. Here was a person with remarkably strong historical evidence of his life, who made astounding statements about loving your neighbor, and whose claims about being God's son seemed to demand a decision about whether he was deluded or the real thing. After resisting for nearly two years, I found it impossible to go on living in such a state of uncertainty, and I became a follower of Jesus.

So, some have asked, doesn't your brain explode? Can you both pursue an understanding of how life works using the tools of genetics and molecular biology, and worship a creator God? Aren't evolution and faith in God incompatible? Can a scientist believe in miracles like the resurrection?

Actually, I find no conflict here, and neither apparently do the 40 percent of working scientists who claim to be believers. Yes, evolution by descent from a common ancestor is clearly true. If there was any lingering doubt about the evidence from the fossil record, the study of DNA provides the strongest possible proof of our relatedness to all other living things.

But why couldn't this be God's plan for creation? True, this is incompatible with an ultra-literal interpretation of Genesis, but long before Darwin, there were many thoughtful interpreters like St. Augustine, who found it impossible to be exactly sure what the meaning of that amazing creation story was supposed to be. So attaching oneself to such literal interpretations in the face of compelling scientific evidence pointing to the ancient age of Earth and the relatedness of living things by evolution seems neither wise nor necessary for the believer.

I have found there is a wonderful harmony in the complementary truths of science and faith. The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. God can be found in the cathedral or in the laboratory. By investigating God's majestic and awesome creation, science can actually be a means of worship.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Good Wednesday makes more sense

I ran this article over on my main blog last year on Good Wednesday. I think it is appropriate to re-print it again here, for your benefit.

Was Jesus Really Three Days and Three Nights in the Heart of the Earth?
by R.A. Torrey (1856-1928)

In the twelfth chapter of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is reported as saying, “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:40). According to the commonly accepted tradition of the church, Jesus was crucified on Friday, dying at 3 PM, or somewhere between 3 PM and sundown, and was raised from the dead very early in the morning of the following Sunday. Many readers of the Bible are puzzled to know how the interval between late Friday afternoon and early Sunday morning can be figured out to be three days and three nights. It seems rather to be two nights, one day, and a very small portion of another day.

The solution proposed by many commentators to this apparent difficulty, is that “a day and a night” is simply another way of saying, “a day,” and the ancient Jews reckoned a fraction of a day as a whole day. So they say there was a part (a very small part) of Friday (or a day and a night), all of Saturday, another day (or a day and a night); and part of Sunday (a very small part), another day (or a day and a night). There are many persons whom this solution does not altogether satisfy, and I confess it does not satisfy me at all. It seems to me to be a makeshift, and a very weak makeshift. Is there any solution that is altogether satisfactory? There is.

The first fact to be noticed in the proper solution is that the Bible nowhere says or implies that Jesus was crucified and died on Friday. It is said that Jesus was crucified on “the day before the Sabbath” (Mark 15:42). As the Jewish weekly Sabbath came on Saturday (beginning at sunset the day before), the conclusion is naturally drawn that, since Jesus was crucified the day before the Sabbath, He must have been crucified on Friday.

However, it is a well-known fact, to which the Bible bears abundant testimony, that the Jews had other Sabbaths besides the weekly Sabbath that fell on Saturday. The first day of the Passover week, no matter upon what day of the week it came, was always a Sabbath (Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 23:7; Numbers 28:16-18). The question therefore arises whether the Sabbath that followed Christ’s crucifixion was the weekly Sabbath (Saturday) or the Passover Sabbath, falling on the fifteenth day of Nisan, which came that year on Thursday.

Now, the Bible does not leave us to speculate which Sabbath is meant in this instance; for John tells us in so many words, in John 19:14, the day on which Jesus was tried and crucified was “the preparation of the Passover” (italics added). In other words, it was not the day before the weekly Sabbath (that is, Saturday), but it was the day before the Passover Sabbath, which came that year on Thursday- that is to say, the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified was a Wednesday. John makes this as clear as day.

The gospel of John was written later than the other Gospels, and scholars have for a long time noticed that in various places there was an evident intention to correct false impressions that one might get from reading the other Gospels. One of these false impressions was that Jesus ate the Passover with His disciples at the regular time of the Passover. To correct this false impression, John clearly states that He ate it the evening before, and that He Himself died on the cross at the very moment the Passover lambs were being slain “between the two evenings” on the fourteenth day of Nisan. (See Exodus 12:6 in the Hebrew, and the Revised Version margin.)

God’s real Paschal Lamb, Jesus, of whom all other paschal lambs offered through the centuries were only types, was therefore slain at the very time appointed by God. Everything about the Passover Lamb was fulfilled in Jesus. First, He was a Lamb without blemish and without spot (Exodus 12:5). Second, He was chosen on the tenth day of Nisan (Exodus 12:3); for it was on the tenth day of the month, the preceding Saturday, that the triumphal entry into Jerusalem was made.

We know this because He came from Jericho to Bethany six days before the Passover (John 12:1). That would be six days before Thursday, which would be Friday. Furthermore, it was on the next day that the entry into Jerusalem was made (John 12:12 and following), that is, on Saturday, the tenth day of Nisan. It was also on this same day that Judas went to the chief priests and offered to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:6-16 and Mark 14:3-11). As it was after the supper in the house of Simon the leper, and as the supper occurred late on Friday or early on Saturday, after sunset, after the supper would necessarily be on the tenth of Nisan. This being the price set on Him by the chief priests, it was, of course, the buying or taking to them of a lamb, which according to law must occur on the tenth day of Nisan. Furthermore, they put the exact value on the Lamb that Old Testament prophecy predicted (Zechariah 11:12 and Matthew 26:15).

Third, not a bone of Him was broken when he was killed (John 19:36; Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalm 34:20). And fourth, He was killed on the fourteenth of Nisan, between the evenings, just before the beginning of the fifteenth day, at sundown (Exodus 12:6). If we take just exactly what the Bible says, that Jesus was slain before the Passover Sabbath, the type is marvelously fulfilled in every detail; but if we accept the traditional theory that Jesus was crucified on Friday, the type fails at many points.

Furthermore, if we accept the traditional view that Jesus was crucified on Friday and ate the Passover on the regular day of Passover, then the journey from Jericho to Bethany, which occurred six days before the Passover (John 12:1), would fall on a Saturday- that is the Jewish Sabbath. Such a journey on the Jewish Sabbath would be contrary to Jewish law.

Of course, it was impossible for Jesus to take such a journey on the Jewish Sabbath, because His triumphal entry into Jerusalem was on the Jewish Sabbath, Saturday. This was altogether possible, for the Bible elsewhere tells us that Bethany was a Sabbath’s day journey from Jerusalem (Acts 1:12 and Luke 24:50).

It has also been figured out by the astronomers that in the year A.D. 30, which is the commonly accepted year for the crucifixion of our Lord, the Passover was observed on Thursday, April 6, the moon being full that day. The chronologists who have supposed that the crucifixion took place on Friday have been greatly perplexed by this fact that in the year A.D. 30 the Passover occurred on Thursday.

One writer, in seeking a solution to the difficulty, has suggested that the crucifixion may have been in the year A.D. 33. Although the full moon was on a Thursday that year also, the time was only two and a half hours from being Friday. Consequently, he thinks that perhaps the Jews may have observed the Passover on Friday, instead, and that the crucifixion therefore took place on Thursday. However, when we accept exactly what the Bible says- namely, that Jesus was not crucified on the Passover day but on “the preparation for the Passover” (John 19:14) and that He was to be three days and three nights in the grave- then the fact that the “preparation of the Passover” that year was on a Wednesday and His resurrection early on the first day of the week, allows exactly three days and three nights in the grave.

To sum it all up, Jesus died just about sunset on Wednesday (April 5). Seventy-two hours later, exactly three days and three nights, at the beginning of the first day of the week, Saturday at sunset, He arose again from the grave. When the women visited the tomb in the morning just before dawn, they found the grave already empty.

From this, we are not driven to makeshift that any small portion of a day is reckoned as a whole day and night, but we find the statement of Jesus was literally true. Three days and three nights His body was dead and lay in the sepulchre. While His body lay dead, He Himself, being quickened in the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18), went into the heart of the earth and preached unto the spirits that were in prison (1 Peter 3:19).

The two men on the way to Emmaus early on the first day of the week, that is Sunday, said to Jesus, in speaking of the crucifixion and events accompanying it, “Besides all this, to day is the third day since these things were done” (Luke 24:21). Some people have objected to this, and it is said that, if the crucifixion took place on Wednesday, Sunday would be the fourth day since these things were done; but the answer is very simple.

These things were done at sunset, just as Thursday was beginning. They were therefore completed on Thursday, and the first day since Thursday would be Friday, the second day since Thursday would be Saturday, and “the third day since” Thursday would be Sunday, the first day of the week. So the supposed objection in reality supports the theory. On the other hand, if the crucifixion took place on Friday, by no manner of reckoning could Sunday be made “the third day since” these things were done.

There are many passages in the Scriptures that support the theory advanced above and that make it necessary to believe that Jesus died late on Wednesday. Some of them are as follows:

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)

This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. (Matthew 26:61)

Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself. (Matthew 27:40)

Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, after three days I will rise again. (Matthew 27:63)

The Son of man must suffer many things…and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31)

They shall kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he shall rise again. (Mark 9:31 RV)

They…shall scourge him, and shall kill him; and after three days he shall rise again. (Mark 10:34 RV)

Destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands. (Mark 14:58 RV)

Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. (Mark 15:29-30)

Beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. (Luke 24:21)

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. (John 2:19-22)

There is absolutely nothing in favor of a Friday crucifixion, but everything in the Scripture is perfectly harmonized by a Wednesday crucifixion. It is remarkable how many prophetical and typical passages of the Old Testament are fulfilled and how many seeming discrepancies in the gospel narratives are straightened out when we once come to understand that Jesus died on Wednesday, and not on Friday.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Green v. AG - Round V [part i]: Halfway Home

From: American Guy
To: Green
Sent: May 28, 2003
Subject: Re: Fw: finally! My response (complete)


OK, so you reject evolution. But your reasoning for doing so is flawed. You say you "just can't rationalize the idea that the universe and life on earth got to be so diverse and that it runs with such mathematical precisionsimply by chance or random accident." The whole point of evolution is that this didn't all happen by chance and random accident. We evolved because we needed to adapt. The giraffe evolved a long neck to give it an advantage in browsing for food in high trees that other animals couldn't reach. Virues like HIV and Hepatitis evolve so they can better survive against the anti-virals and vaccinations that we have developed to try and wipe them out. And humans have evolved a consciousness and highly sophisticated brain because it gave us a survival advantage. We may not be able to out-run a tiger, but we can out-think it.

You say that scientists "know that evolution can not and will never be definitively proven beyond a shadow of a doubt." Sorry to split hairs but the reality is that evolution can be, and has been definitively proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Again, you can argue if you like that your God has guided this evolution, but no thinking person can argue that evolution itself has not happened.

You claim you "certainly can't physically see, hear, smell, feel or taste gravity." Oh? Do me a favour. Reach in your wallet or drawer right now and grab a coin. Ready? Now let it go. Did you see that? Gravity. Next time you trip and fall to the ground, tell me if you can feel the gravity. If you couldn't feel the gravity, you'd be left floating in place. Unless you've secretly taken up residence on the space station, I'm pretty sure that you can feel gravity. This is what makes the difference between fact and faith. Fact can be proven. Faith must be believed. You 'know' there is a God. That's fine to say, but you must admit that this knowledge is based on faith, not fact.

In regards to the Mississippi decision to teach both evolution and creationism, you say good for them for giving "kids a more rounded viewpoint from which to draw their own conclusions." So your argument then is that they should teach both views and let the kids decide? Why not then also teach them the Native American creation stories (and I mean teach them as science, not folk lore) too and let the kids make up their own mind? If the issue is that we should give them as much information as possible and let them make up their own minds, you surely wouldn't mind them hearing a few other possibilities? Or do you consider Native American creation stories as just that - stories, and therefore not to be discussed as a 'realistic' possibility?

Regarding the eye, I didn’t specifically dispute the example because the authors have not made a credible argument. They are selectively taking data and making it fit their worldview, which is both bad science and bad debate. They argue that some animal would have first had to develop a non-functioning eye that served no evolutionary purpose. This is just plain old wrong. What would have happened (and did happen if you examine the fossil record and several currently living species) is that some species would have developed a rudimentary eye which suited their environment. Lots of currently existing species have rudimentary eyes. Fish that live in the deep ocean, burrowing rodents that live solely underground: many of them have simple eyes that discern only light from dark, or just movement without definition. These rudimentary eyes would have developed more complexity as the animal adapted to fit its environment. It is faulty logic to assume that the eye must have been developed to its current state of complexity in one fell swoop. Thus, the whole anti-evolutionary argument your source makes is founded on a faulty premise.

“Okay, I’m telling you that heaven is real (conversely, hell is also equally as real)”

Are you implying that I will be going to hell because of my lack of belief in your God? The assertion is laughable and is even disputed by many Christian scholars. They can’t decide whether us heathen are doomed to hellfire or if we just end up in some sort of limbo where we are not suffering damnation but are deprived of God’s presence. In fact, several Christians (and I’m not necessarily talking [about] the organized churches, I’m talking the people) believe that non-Christians do end up in heaven, as long as they were true to their faiths. This has been defended by various passages in the Bible, but don’t ask me to quote them.

You say no one from the last 2,000 years who hasn’t believed in your God is there? OK, your argument is that before then people didn’t know any better. What about the people who still today live in a world where they have never been exposed to Christianity? I can’t believe your God is that petty that He’d deny paradise to people who never had a chance. Here’s another one, let’s say for the sake of argument that Christianity as a religion dies out at some point in the future. If for whatever reason, people stop believing in your God and lump him together with Zeus and all the others, is the rest of humanity doomed to damnation, even those that believe in some type of ’new’ monotheistic god, such as the pre-Christian Jews did?

Actually, it just occurred to me - we actually agree on this point. We BOTH feel that there are no Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Animists, etc. etc. in heaven. The only spot we differ on is that I know there are no Christians there either. Sorry, I’m sticking to my guns here, unless you can prove otherwise, I have not heard a persuasive argument that heaven is real.

Getting down to the whole business about there being no body in Jesus’ tomb. Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but after 2,000 years there wouldn’t be anything left of a body to find. Without mummification or some other kind of preservation, the soft tissue of a body decays pretty well immediately after death. Even a few months after a person dies, their non-preserved body would be nothing more than a skeleton. In less than 100 years the likelihood is that there would be nothing left to find. In the desert, the body may have lasted a little longer, but it would be well and truly gone by now. Also, you are going by the Bible’s version that the tomb was empty. Has it ever occurred to you that the people who wrote these events down (bearing in mind much of it was not written till years after the fact) may have had an agenda in what they wrote down? This would not be the first time that history was faked. Nor the last. If His followers really wanted to believe that He has risen from the dead, you don’t think they’d be capable of believing it even if it didn’t happen? I’m not saying this is what happened, but what I am saying is that the possibility is there.

Now to the Jews. OK, they didn’t originate4 in Egypt. History has never been my strong suit. You say they originated in what is now Iraq. Why then don’t they consider this their homeland?

But your next statement is what truly scares me. You are saying that not only was it ok, it was morally right for them to kill the Canaanites. You say that God considered them heathen, so it was okay for the Jews to kill them. This is the same argument Osama and his crew use. We in the West are heathen and it’s necessary to kill the heathen as it’s God’s will. This is the same argument that people who kill doctors who perform abortions use. The doctors are sinning in the eyes of God, so it’s right to kill them. This argument allowed the Spanish Inquisition, The Crusades, and even the widespread extermination of Native Americans by European Christians.

I tell you, if I was God, I’d be pretty pissed off at all these people killing in my name. Especially if I had put it down in stone that killing was a bad thing. I don’t recall the commandment being, “thou shalt not kill, unless it’s someone that you disagree with and think that I do too, in which case, hey it’s fine with me, just clean up your mess afterwards.” Maybe that wouldn’t fit on the tablet, so he just used shorthand. Somehow, I don’t think so.

You spend a lot of time discussing the Bible. Hey - I said before it’s a good book, you and I just disagree on the origins (written by man or God (using man as His instrument)) and its meaning (historical document or set of principles for living a good life). One point you bring up a number of times is the claim that the Bible has never been proven factually wrong. This, to you, is evidence of it’s divine nature and all the proof that you need that Christianity is the true religion. Here’s a hypothetical: What if there is dispute between the churches causing a major schism - some branches of Christianity move in one direction based on ‘new’ information while others move in another? Don’t tell me that this wouldn’t happen - I’m posing it as a hypothetical - just tell me what you would do if it did.

Finally, to your closing question, “the most important question you’ll ever need to answer is this: Who is Jesus?”

Actually, the most important question I’ll ever have to answer in my life is, “Have I made a difference in the world?” Either that or “What do I feel like [having] for dinner?” But I’ll try and answer your question for now.

Jesus was a likely historical figure who lived approximately 2,000 years ago in the Middle East. He was a religious man and considered a leader by many people. He is considered the founder of Christianity. Some believe him to be a god, while others feel that this is mythology. I know this is not the answer you’ll accept, but this is as I see it.

Here’s a couple of questions you need to ask yourself. Why have more people died in the name of God than in any other cause? Why do we continue to allow religion to be a dividing force in the world rather than a uniting one? If the evidence for your God is as persuasive as you claim, how come reasonable and intelligent people can look at the supposed evidence and come to different conclusions?


Green v. AG - Round V [part ii]: Halfway Home

To: American Guy
From: Green
Sent: June 3, 2003
Subject: Evolution, Heaven, Hell and the Bible


I’m a thinking person and I am in fact arguing against evolution. You say we evolved because we needed to adapt. Adapt to what? You use a giraffe as your example, stating that it evolved a long neck in order to eat leaves in high places. And you’ve frequently referred to the fossil record as evidence of your claims in favor of evolution. So it would follow from your example that science has fossil evidence of giraffes without long necks? How can we be sure that those creatures are giraffes and not some other animal? Seems like having a long neck would be a great advantage to other plant eating animals besides your giraffe. So why isn’t there a wider variety of animals out there with long necks? Humans, you say, have evolved a consciousness and highly sophisticated brain because it gave us a survival advantage. Why then are humans the only creatures to evolve consciences? Other creatures seem to have survived quite nicely without consciences and many other creatures have much less developed brains than humans do and seem to get along well enough. Certainly I’ll agree that humans are able to out-think animals, much to our advantage. Was there ever a time that can be definitively proven that humans could not out-think a tiger or other animals in general? Do we have any physical evidence of humans without consciences or lesser developed brains?

Let me jump ahead to the eye argument for a bit. The authors have, in fact, made a credible argument, using the human eye as an example. But go to the root of their argument: at some point, according to evolution, there must have been creatures without eyes, right? If a creature didn’t have an eye to start with, how would it know that it needed one? Could it have developed an eye, even a very rudimentary one, without some sort of model or pattern of an eye that came before it? In order to adapt, (unless I’m way off base in my understanding of the meaning of adaptation), there must have been some precedent to go by that would tell it that some part of it was inadequate and that it needed to change in order to survive. And why is it, then that there are many different kinds of eyes? So, logically, you’re implying that science has discovered some humans with lesser developed (or even rudimentary) eyes, otherwise how could the human eye have adapted into its present form? And that’s just looking at the physical side of things.

Now back to the end of the previous thought: I’ll use the same argument for the conscience. How could we evolve such a thing when there is no other creature in existence who has one. How did humans know that a non physical entity like a conscience was needed to survive before we knew what one was, and how did we ever survive without one? Evolution, as you present the case, loses credibility quickly, because you’re assigning intelligence to simple creatures who couldn’t possibly have much of it. Whatever creature first came up with the idea of an eye really must have been on the ball that day (or however long it took) to not only think of the idea, but to know what it would take to make it function properly. Unless, of course, you’re willing to concede to the existence of a higher intelligence (God), who created each creature with precisely what it needed to survive in its given environment. Come to think of it, why couldn’t humans have evolved a third hand? There certainly is a precedent to go by (in that we already have two hands to use as a model for a third) and there are many times when a third hand would come in, well, handy. I know I could use a third hand most of the time in order to pick up after the messes my kids leave behind. ;>)

I’d love to know where to find the published scientific data that proves evolution beyond a shadow of a doubt. Interesting reading, I’m sure.

I don’t personally know any Native American creation stories, so I can’t say that I either agree or disagree with them in part or in full. Chances are I’d probably agree with some aspects of them and reject other parts of them. And no, I don’t have a problem with those stories being taught, whether as a science or mythology. I do think it’s important that a wide range of subjects be made available to all students including those in the state of Mississippi, because more information is good, less information is bad. Ultimately, kids will make their own decisions as they grow as to what makes sense to them or not, and I’m not in a position to agree with what every kid will decide, nor am I able to make everyone believe as I do. (It’s more fun if people realize I’m right without my having to tell them so. ;>) ) All I can do is attempt to make a credible argument for why I believe the way I do and point out flaws where I see them and hope people will listen.

I’ll concede your points in regards to my argument using gravity as an example in that I can feel the effects of it when I trip or when I drop a coin. My point in using it as an example was this: I can deny the existence of gravity from now until the day I die, even though the evidence is there that it exists. It’s not something physical that can be held, and I certainly don’t fully understand how it works, but I’d lose credibility if I didn’t acknowledge it’s existence, and you’d rightly call me crazy for doing so. The same can be said for the existence of God, whom we can’t see. Yet the evidence for the existence of God is so overwhelming that credibility is lost in the denial.

I’ll also agree that fact can be proven and faith must be believed. But your faith can be grounded in facts. When you fall you have faith that gravity will cause you to hit the ground because the existence of gravity can be proven. We have faith that the sun will continue to rise each morning and set each evening (Yes, I know the sun doesn’t really rise or set but is based on the earth’s movements. You know what I mean, though - wise guy...), because it’s a given fact that it has done so without fail for a long time. I know there is a God, which is based both on faith and fact. I have faith that it is true, and that faith is grounded in fact, as I’ve been trying to demonstrate throughout. In case you’re interested, the Bible defines faith as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” (Hebrews 11:1-2 NIV)

Am I saying that people who have never been exposed to Christianity are doomed for hell already? No. One of the consistent points that I’ve tried to make throughout is that there is enough evidence in nature that testifies to the existence of God (see Psalm 19) so that even people who have not been exposed to Christianity can’t deny that God exists. Also, the fact that God gave every human a conscience to know right from wrong is another example of the existence of God for people who have never been exposed to Christianity. (If there were no higher authority that we were all accountable to, then would there be such a thing as right and wrong? In fact, your definition of what is right and what is wrong may be drastically different from mine, if God didn’t exist. I feel confident however that we both have the same general idea in regard to right and wrong. Do we agree on all aspects, probably not) In a nutshell, yes, I feel confident that there will be people in heaven who have never been exposed to Christianity, but do believe in God. People of all nations are accountable not for what they don’t know about God (Jesus), but for what they do know and yet turn away from. Regardless, I’m happy that I don’t have to decide who’s in or not, and I have faith that God will take care of it.

“Here's another one, let's say for the sake of argument that Christianity as a religion dies out at some point in the future. If, for whatever reason, people stop believing in your god and lump him together with zeus and all the others, is the rest of humanity doomed to damnation, even those that believe in some type of 'new' monotheistic god, such as the pre-Christian Jews did?”

First of all, the pre-Christian Jews believed in the same God that I do. If the scenario you mention above were to happen, (which it won’t, I assure you) then what would it matter what I think? How can I accurately predict what would happen there, if people came up with a “new” monotheistic god, that hasn’t been invented yet? The question is unanswerable because the scenario is not plausible.

Jesus body: I’ll concede your point that after 2,000 years there wouldn’t be a body left to find because of decomposition, etc. etc. Not only do I go by the Bible’s version that the tomb was empty, but as I’ve stated before, I also use personal experience. I have been to Israel. I have walked the streets of Jerusalem and personally visited the two accepted sites where Jesus tomb could have been. Both empty. There is a place in Jerusalem where the Jews say King David is buried. There is a bier there and it is considered one of the holiest places in all of Israel and heavily guarded to this day. There are no bones to see, per se, but ask any Israelite and they’ll tell you that his remains are/were there at one time.

However, I digress: Picture yourself as living in first century Palestine. You’ve just witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion on the Roman cross. You’ve seen the body taken down, wrapped and placed in a tomb. For three days you go to the tomb, which is closed and guarded by Roman soldiers. On the fourth day you hear that the tomb is empty. You don’t believe it, so you go there and see for yourself. The stone is rolled away, the tomb is empty and the guards are gone. You wonder what could have happened. Then you hear that Jesus was seen alive, first by his disciples and then a few days later by as many as 500 people or so, some of whom you may know personally so you deem them as reliable witnesses. Forty days later you hear that Jesus is gone. Where did he go? Then you hear his disciples in the Temple telling the crowds that Jesus went back into heaven from whence he came? Do you believe it?

I give you that scenario to say this, which was my point from the start: Do you think that someone as popular as Jesus was, pre crucifixion, would just vanish from the public eye after being seen publicly, post-crucifixion, if He were still living on the earth? You see, people living in Jerusalem at that time knew where the tomb was: its location was not secret. It’s likely that there were a good number of people who probably heard Jesus, who many times claimed to be God, teaching in the Temple, and predicting his death and resurrection three days later, even before it happened. If after three days, the tomb was still closed and guarded, do you think the Christian movement would have even begun? Logically, you’d have to say no, and the historical Jesus would have been written off as a fraud and soon forgotten as a lunatic, possibly just a footnote in history, if even that. Never mind Jesus being regarded as a good moral teacher and founder of what would become a world wide religion. Never mind that the majority of the western world was founded on Christian principles. Even the mighty Roman Empire, which tried to stamp out the movement at its roots, succumbed when Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, before it collapsed. Also, consider that secular history records that all of Jesus disciples, except one, died for this cause that they believed in. Many other early Christians were persecuted to death solely for their beliefs, too and it still happens today in many countries. Would you be willing to die for something you knew to be a lie? I don’t think you would, and neither would I.

Briefly regarding the Jews: I said that their forefather Abraham was originally from what is now Iraq. God told him to move to Canaan, where he would make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as the sand on the seashore and as the stars in the sky. So he did, without question, because he had faith that what God told him was true. What were God’s reasons for telling Abraham to leave his homeland, other than to fulfill his promise to Abraham? I don’t know, because the Bible doesn’t definitively say. Perhaps it was a test of Abraham’s faith? Possibly.

Yes, I’m saying it was right for the Jews to kill the Caananites and all of the other non-believing peoples who lived in Palestine at that time. But there is only one reason why it was right, and that is because God allowed it by enabling the Jews to defeat these other heathen peoples, who, in most cases and under normal military circumstances would have been able to easily defeat the Jews they were fighting against.

Yes, this is the same argument that Osama and his crew use, but Osama and his crew do not have God’s divine permission to do what they are doing. Before you even raise the question - No! The God of the Bible and Allah, the god of Islam are not one and the same. If you like, next time I can outline for you briefly the differences between the two, based on what the Koran and the Bible teach.

I’ll also agree with you that this is the same argument that people use who kill doctors who perform abortions use and that this line of reasoning also is responsible for those reprehensible parts of history you mention. Are these people right in what they do or have done? No they are not. Yes, the doctors who murder unborn babies in abortions are sinning against God, because the commandment is Thou shall not kill, but the people who hold to that line of thinking miss that the Bible also teaches that judgment in this way is God’s responsibility (see Matthew 7:1-2 and Romans 2:1-16), not man’s.

I do spend a lot of time discussing the Bible, and well I should because it is the cornerstone of my faith. A good Christian should be familiar with what the Bible teaches. Common sense tells me that if I’m going to believe in something, whether it be Christianity or evolution or whatever, I’d better know enough about it to defend my beliefs. I’ve never said that you didn’t think that the Bible was a good book. And we do disagree about its origins and meanings. But I’ve got to ask you why you think it’s a good book. Would it be just as good of a book if it were known to have errors and contradictions in it?

Hypothetical question: What would I do if someone found an error in the Bible? If a mainstream church went on record and claimed there was an inaccuracy, large or small? No matter what, here’s what I’d do: First, I’d find out as much information about the church or group that claimed they’d found the error(s) and find out what kind of an organization they are, and what their basic beliefs are, so I can see what kind of reputation they have (have they made outrageous claims in the past, etc.) Second, I’d find out exactly what the error(s) were that they were claiming they’d found. Third, I’d pull out my Bible and Concordance and try to understand why they believe there to be an error, and reason it out for myself to see if what they are claiming makes sense to me. Fourth, I’d find out what the opinions are of pastors and authors whose viewpoints I’ve read and whose opinions I trust to be sound to see what they think about the proposed error(s). After all of that is done, then and only then would I decide if I should alter what I believe or not.

What if there is a major schism in the church that was so wide that it split the church? I won’t tell you it wouldn’t happen, because it has, many times throughout the history of the church (see Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation and the Anglican church of England breaking away from Roman Catholicism to name two examples.)

Fortunately for me, over the past 2+ millennia or so many people much smarter than myself have studied and wrote about this book we call the Bible and found it to be error free. (the last book of the New Testament was written in 95 AD and the last Old Testament book in that was written about 400 years before Christ). To be conservative, I’d give the early church about a century or so to compile the Bible as we know it today. So after all that time of being studied an analyzed, I can feel very confident that any error(s) would have been discovered by now.

It would stand to reason that you don’t think there would be Christians (or anyone else for that matter) in heaven, when you’ve stated previously that you don’t believe heaven exists. I’m telling you that everyone in heaven believed in the God of the Bible during their lifetime- pre Christian or Christian, and no one else. You say you have never heard a persuasive argument that heaven is real. The only credible place you’ll learn about heaven is the Bible. Using my trusty concordance, I can tell you that the word “heaven” is used 582 times, “heavenly” is used 23 times, “heaven’s” once and “heavens” 133 times, in the King James Version of the Bible. There are three types of heaven: the ‘aerial’, ‘sidereal’ (starry heavens) and ‘the eternal dwelling place of God’. Jesus uses some comparisons to describe heaven, in Matthew 13. Jesus clearly taught and believed in the existence of heaven. Since Christians believe Jesus came from there and went back there after His earthly incarnation, His description is the only credible one we can rely on.

Conversely, I mention hell, because Jesus taught about it more than He taught about heaven during His lifetime. Am I implying that you’re headed there because you don’t believe in my God (the God of the Bible) or the fact that Jesus is also God? As much as I hate to admit it, yes, because that is what the Bible teaches. Jesus made that fact very plain in His teaching. Does that statement turn you off? I’d say it probably does. If you don’t believe me, I invite you to check it out for yourself. If an organized church or just an individual person, Christian or not tells you otherwise, then they are plainly misinterpreting what the Bible says. And you don’t need to be a biblical scholar or even a Christian to understand it, because the language is very plain in this regard. Historically, people have often misinterpreted the Bible, because it doesn’t say what they want it to. This misinterpretation of what the Bible says is likely responsible for such events as the Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, and other grisly events in human history too numerous to mention.

I won’t deny that the question “Have I made a difference in the World” certainly is important and very relevant. Also, too the question of what you’ll have for dinner is an important one to consider as well.

But if what you’ve stated at the outset is true, that being ‘we are no different from any other animal, that we’re here only to propagate the species’ than what difference does it make in the grand scheme of things what type of impact you’ve made in the world? based on that premise, I’d say none. However, since we humans are different than any other animal because we do have consciences and souls, the difference you’ve made in the world does matter. But since this lifetime we’re living in is so short in comparison to what happens after you die, your eternal destiny takes on paramount importance. That’s where the “who is Jesus?” question becomes critical. If during this lifetime you accept Jesus as God and that He died for your sins, then you win the prize of eternity with God in heaven, which is what the Bible teaches. Conversely, if you reject Jesus for the above reasons, then you get to spend eternity without God in hell (also called the lake of fire). Hey, this is what that good book which you mention (the Bible) teaches, with out excuse or apology. So I will make none either. Look, if you’re right all of this discussion/debate/argument doesn’t matter a bit. But what if I’m right? If I am, where would you rather spend eternity?

Okay. I ask myself these questions you pose at the end. All of them have the same answer, which is: Because everyone has their own view of what God is and isn’t and (as I said before there can only be one correct answer) every group thinks they are right. These questions will continue to be asked until Jesus comes back physically to earth again, which the Bible also teaches (but that’s a topic for another day)

Until we meet again.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Green v. AG - Round IV [part i]: Point

(Ed. note: Due to the ever increasing lengths of these posts, I'm now putting my letters and AG's responses in separate posts, in an attempt to break it up and hopefully make it a bit easier to read. Parts ii and iii follow)

Two weeks later we went at it again...

From: Green
To: American Guy
Subject: finally! My response.
Date: Mon, 19 May 2003


Sorry it's taken me two weeks to reply to your last message. I could accredit the reason to laziness, but that's not true (entirely). I did attend a conference last week that took up my prime e-mail and web-surfing time. However, I've tried to put a lot of coherent thought into this letter, in our ongoing discussion. And since it's been so long I figured I better make this email a good one. Let me also say that I jumped ahead last time with a few additional questions, because I needed to be sure of your response, before I went any further.

Regarding evolution: Last I checked, science was still calling this the "Theory of Evolution" and not just "Evolution," unless, of course, evolution was conclusively proven while I wasn't looking. For the record, the definition of evolution is either the adaptation of species to their surrounding environments over time OR as the theory that life on Earth gradually developed from simple to more complex organisms. While we're at it, lets define theory as:

1) a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena
2) a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well
established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
3) a system of rules or principals
4) contemplation or speculation
5) guess or conjecture

Let me use an illustration pirated from The Truth: God or Evolution by Marshall and Sandra Hall... "So if evolution is correct we've developed from single celled organisms over time to the complex humans we are today. Consider one of the smallest organs in the human body, the eye, and see (no pun intended) if it logically could have taken the evolutionary route. If it didn't, then could we reasonably deduce that it came from the hands of an intelligent designer (God)? Here's the case: If you were to take away any part of the eye, -the retina for example- the eye doesn't work. Subtract the lens? No sight. Take away the cornea? Blindness. For the eye to function, all parts must be present and functional. That in itself is a strong argument for design. But lets go in another direction. Take the concept back into the evolutionary chain. Somewhere along the way, a creature making it's way to humanity would have had to begin having an eye. But how did it start? The eye couldn't have evolved, because there was nothing that would have caused a creature to begin forming a sightless eye. Since the evolutionary theory says changes come about by adaptation, what would have caused an eye-less thing to will a useless eye into its head? How would it know it would ever need an eye that could see? An eye can either see or it can't. There is no reason for a creature to develop a partial eye just so it could become a seeing eye later. So where did the eye begin? Randomly, or by design? The mind staggering intricacy of the eye and the interrelatedness of all necessary parts (irreducible complexity) attests to a God who knew what He was doing."

Now if evolution is true, from simple organisms to complex, that would explain the physical side of life more thoroughly, but what about nonphysical things such as morality and conscience? These things are not physical, yet they exist as surely as any physical object. To go one step further, why are humans the only creatures that have morals and conscience? Why didn't lobsters develop consciences? How about that raccoon? Do you think it's morality would be troubled about the right or wrongness of ripping open some trash because it smelled food inside, only to regret it later? (Ah, I digress...)

I don't claim to be an expert on the classification of fossils and the like, but evolution, in it's broadest sense just doesn't make sense. So, if I must, I'll classify myself in the evolution by intelligent design camp, as you figured I would.

I'll agree with you, that the concept of everlasting life and of eternity is unfathomable. I will also agree that most people feel that death is inescapable. The reason that the concept of "there is no 'what comes next'" is so difficult to grasp is because the concept is wrong, inaccurate, and just not true. How can I be sure aside from my faith that there is spiritual existence after death? Truth is I can't. Unless I knew of someone who died but is no longer dead... Well what do you know, I'm in luck. I do know of just such a person.

I asked you the 2+2 question (a loaded question if ever I saw one - 400 pages, eh? Wow!) to help illustrate my next point, which is simply this - No matter how convincingly I or anyone try to tell you that there is another answer other than four to that equation, you'd think they were nuts, because you KNOW what the answer is, and you can prove it in those 400 pages. The same can be said about religion. There can only be one true religion and all the rest are false. And it can be proven - just count the total number of pages in your typical Bible. So my point is that it is a grave error to equate Christianity with any other religion, because there is no comparison between the two. Let me use another brief but silly illustration: I think you'll agree that all Chevrolets are cars, but not all cars are Chevrolets, right? Christianity certainly is a religion, but no other religion can match Christianity.

Why? You can visit the grave site of every single founder of every single religion the world has ever known, and that grave site will still be occupied! Also, you can bet that people who believe in that particular religion, and who guard said grave site would have you be reverent and respectful, so as not to disturb the remains of said religious founder. But with Christianity, this is all irrelevant. Certainly you can visit the proposed grave sites of Jesus (there are two, and I have) but you won't find a body at either one, because Christianity is based on the HISTORICAL FACT that it's founder is alive, even though He was quite publicly executed by crucifixion. In fact, Christianity would be worthless and would singularly be the biggest fraud ever perpetrated by man if Jesus Christ were still dead.

You see, a funny thing happened to the Romans who ruled Judea in the first century. They either feared or hated this new sect called "Christians" so much that they thought that they could wipe out Christianity by getting rid of places that Christians considered sacred. How? By building temples to their pagan gods on the places that early Christians revered. So, in their zeal to destroy Christianity at its roots, the Romans unwittingly preserved these places ad infinitum, simply by where they built their temples. Because of these buildings, (later generations built churches over the remains of the Roman era buildings) we know today, within a few feet, precisely where the events spoken of in the Bible took place. For example, when we (My ex and I) visited Israel in 1996, we went to the ruins of a town called Capernaum. We stood in the remains of a Roman temple from the fourth century AD that was built directly on the foundation of a Jewish synagogue from the first century, which the Bible records that Jesus taught in. I have a great picture of the two foundations, and the contrast in the stone is remarkable.

Now if Jesus were still dead, and if there were an actual body and an occupied tomb that we knew about, it would have to be one of the most heavily guarded places on earth, then and now, between the pilgrims visiting in reverence or would be plunderers trying to desecrate it, throughout the centuries. So, let me assure you that you can feel confident that there is no hidden tomb out there with Jesus bones still in it.

Aside from the lack of an occupied tomb, we must consider the lives of those men who were disciples of Jesus. The Bible records that all of his disciples saw Him alive after the fact, nail wounds and stab wound still visible and even that he spoke to as many as 500 people at once afterwards, many of whom lived well after the resurrection. Back to his disciples: these were not highly educated men, fishermen for the most part, who got scared and deserted Him the night he was arrested and who became some of the most powerful speakers and writers of that day. Most of whom were martyred for their beliefs by the Romans. Now I don't know about you, but I wouldn't be willing to die for something that I knew was a lie, would you? Josephus (a secular Jewish historian of the first century) records some details of the deaths of these men.

Also, consider the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. I can't think of another culture and race that has been through as much as they have. Historically, the Jewish people have been through much. Consider these remarkable HISTORICAL FACTS: The Jewish people have considered Israel their homeland for roughly 4,000 years. They were first slaves in Egypt (most historians say in the time of Seti and Rameses II.) They left Egypt, conquered many peoples who lived in Canaan, who were more numerous and much stronger than they, after wandering around in the desert for 40 years. They were invaded and conquered by the Babylonians, Medo-Persians, Greeks and Romans. The most sacred place in Jerusalem (the temple), was destroyed by the Babylonians in the sixth century BC, rebuilt about 120 years later. This second temple was destroyed by Titus and the Romans in 70 AD (Islamic Dome of the Rock and Al Asqua mosques occupy the site now). In 135 AD the Jews were kicked out of Israel and prohibited from returning or be killed. They were scattered amongst the nations, and were subjected to the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition, and Holocaust, not to mention wrongly persecuted from countless Christians (acting in the name of God) throughout the centuries, just for being Jewish. And it wasn't until May 14, 1948 that they were allowed back into their homeland, with Jerusalem under their control for the first time since before the invasion of Babylon, YET they managed to survive and retain their culture and racial identity, even though they were without a homeland for almost 1,900 years.

Why is this significant? The Bible says they are God's chosen people. Why is peace in the Middle East always front page news? Civil Wars happen all the time throughout history and usually don't get much more than a passing glance in history, but Israel vs. Palestine and the rest of the Arab world? Front page news since 1948. Why is this particular conflict so engrossing? Because Israel is God's people and country. Jews vs. Arabs? - the greatest family feud that the world has ever seen, or ever will. Both Arabs and Jews consider Abraham their common ancestor. Ishmael, Abraham's oldest son is the progenitor of the Arabs and Isaac, the younger son, is the progenitor of the Jews.

I mention the Bible a lot in this message. Let's consider it for a moment. It was written by about 40 men over a span of 1,500 years or so (the last book, Revelation was written in 95 AD) and in more than three different countries (Israel, Babylon (modern day Iraq), Egypt, Rome and other cities in Greece and modern Turkey). It was also originally written in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek). And since translated into Latin and many other languages since. Yet, the Bible has been miraculously preserved throughout the centuries, before the computer age, with remarkable accuracy, as the Dead Sea Scrolls, found in the 1940's in a cave near the Dead Sea can attest.

The Bible is never contradictory of itself (there are parts that are hard to understand, certainly, but all seeming contradictions when studied out show what remarkable harmony it has). Further, it has never been proven inaccurate in the field of Archaeology. True, there are parts of the Bible which Archaeology hasn't verified yet, but so far is "dead on accurate".

Also consider that about a third of the Bible is prophetic. Many of the events the Bible talks about had not happened when the original manuscripts were written. Of those prophecies that have been fulfilled so far, 100% of them have happened exactly as predicted. Some of the prophecies written about in the Bible still are awaiting fulfillment. Based on previous track record, you can expect the Bible to continue to be 100% accurate. Just to give you two examples, Isaiah makes several predictions about details surrounding Jesus. Isaiah wrote 700 years before Jesus was born. History will tell you that there have been four world dominating empires in history: Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman. The Old Testament book of Daniel, written during the Babylonian and (beginning of) the Medo-Persian empires predicted this, not once, but twice! Also, Daniel alludes to the reformation of the Roman Empire, of which I believe the European Union is a forerunner and is happening in our modern world. So what does this have to do with the present argument?

Why otherwise would sacred texts (the modern Old Testament) from an (historically speaking) otherwise insignificant little group of people from an otherwise insignificant little country in the Middle East and writings from an offshoot of Judaism known as Christianity (the New Testament) be the most read and (still) best selling book of all time? That is nothing to say of the fact that the Bible is the most written about book and most hotly debated book in the history of the world? Simply because there is a God out there who not only exists, but has been the inspiration behind the authors of the Bible and that this God has had everything to do with it's remarkable preservation throughout history.

So, as you can see, my faith is not just some willy-nilly thing, (my term, not yours) but is well grounded in history and fact. Now I know I went off on several tangents there, but the bottom line is this: I believe that we have a soul and that there is life after death because a very credible source has "been there" and "done that." And since that source was and is God, who by definition is incapable of lying, it goes without saying, though I will anyway, that I believe it.

About Jesus, you previously said that you agree that He was a historical figure and that he was a religious man and a prophet in the usual sense of the word (whatever that means). C.S. Lewis, Cambridge University professor, author and former atheist candidly sums Jesus up this way:

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I am ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else He would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is the Son of God - or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool; you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. (Mere Christianity, p. 41)

In your email of April 23, 2002, you said that your beliefs may have been different if you hadn't been forced into Catholicism as a youth, and that you're not entirely sure that there is no God. I'll bet growing up that you were never really exposed to the Bible by your church or encouraged to read and or study it on your own. And that you were more or less force fed the precepts that Catholicism teaches, with out having an opportunity to discover for yourself if what you were being force fed was true or not. I hope that I've gotten you to think thoroughly through your present beliefs and allow for the possibility that you might be missing something. I can tell you and you already know that there are many people out there who discount the existence of God. I can also tell you that there are those who, in their effort to disprove the existence of God, have become believers in the very thing that they were trying to disprove. I think it's interesting that you gave zero chance that Jesus is God, yet you assign to the realm of possibility that "the most extraordinary events can and do happen" in regard to the marvelous universe we live in. Your Oxham's Razor principle is a great example. All things being equal, is it easier to believe in the random chaos of the universe, suddenly having precise order to the nth degree simply by chance or that there is a God behind it all, who knew what He was doing? Oxham's Razor says the simple solution is usually the correct one. Again, I say the God solution is simpler to believe than the other.

Let me end this extremely lengthy email with this quote from Robert Jastrow, an astrophysicist and (former?) director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies:

"Now we see how the astronomical evidence supports the Biblical view of the origin of the world... The essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same. Consider the enormousness of the problem: Science has proved that the universe exploded into being at a certain moment. It asks what cause produced this effect? Who or what put the matter and energy into the Universe? And science cannot answer these questions... For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been there for centuries. (God and the Astronomers, [New York: Norton, 1978], pp. 14, 114, 116).
Look forward to your thoughts.


Green v. AG - Round IV [part ii]: Counterpoint

From: American Guy
To: Green
Subject: RE: finally! My response.
Date: Mon, 19 May 2003

I'm afraid I can no longer debate you on this topic. You've obviously long ago made up your mind and aren't interested in hearing any other view than your own. Frankly, you're beginning to sound like a religious fanatic, and that disturbs me. Please continue to argue for what you believe in (I'd expect no less), but this long email sounds like something a street preacher standing on a milk crate might come out with.

I will comment on just a couple of points you made though.

1. Evolution is not called a 'theory' by any serious scientists. The only people who still refer to it as such are those that have a vested interest in 'proving' that it's false, or else those that are forced to for political reasons. The Mississippi state school system requires its science teachers to discuss evolution as one possible explanation and creationism as another.

This makes a mockery out of both science and education, but the political reality of it is that, just like in most of the Bible belt, the Christian community is an extremely powerful entity which has been allowed to foist its world view on all others.

2. Citing long dictionary definitions, quoting texts of dubious origin (i.e. the one you quote by Marshall and Sandra Hall who are obviously making a very one-sided argument) or putting words like "It's a HISTORICAL FACT" in capital letters do nothing to add to your argument. In fact, they make you sound desperate. You say it's a HISTORICAL FACT that Jesus rose from the dead. Saying so doesn't make it true. If I were to pepper this email with statements like "It's a HISTORICAL FACT that blue is red" or "It's a HISTORICAL FACT that I am obviously right and you are obviously wrong" it wouldn't do anything to persuade you, would it?

3. Here's an old favourite of mine - your claim that Christianity is the one true religion and all others are false. So tell me, if heaven is real, are there no hindus there? What about all those that lived and died before Christianity? Or, you have seem to have special affinity for the Jewish faith - are there no jews in heaven? Frankly, a heaven without Sammy Davis Junior doesn't sound like heaven to me.

There's an old joke about a man who dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter is giving him the grand tour. "This is where the Methodists live. This is where the Buddhists live" etc. It's all very beautiful to see the people of different faiths all in paradise together. Suddenly they come up to a giant walled-in enclosure with no way to see out or in. The man asks St Peter what it is. "Oh that, that's where the Catholics live, they think they're the only ones here."

Is your God so petty that he would only allow people who follow one particular belief in? Even those who have lived faithfully to their own religious (or moral) tenets? All kidding aside, if your God would be that petty, He doesn't sound like an all powerful, all knowing being to me. And if He did let the others in, then your argument that 'Christ is the one true path' doesn't hold up. In short, if it turns out I'm wrong about the whole afterlife thing (but of course I know deep down that I'm not) then I don't see any sort of god punishing me for living my life true to myself.

4. Your argument about there being no tomb with Jesus' body in it is rambling and doesn't really make a point. It's also factually wrong. You say that "You can visit the grave site of every single founder of every single religion the world has ever known, and that grave site will still be occupied!" Actually, just as a first example that comes to mind - Buddha ascended into Nirvana - his body is not in a tomb anywhere according to the doctrine. And there have been a lot of religions over the years - I'm sure some others of them have a belief that their founder ascended into the afterlife. You really can't presume to speak for 'every single religion the world has ever known', can you now?

5. You say "The Jewish people have considered Israel their homeland for roughly 4,000 years." Well, OK, but you also say that they originated in Egypt. Why isn't Egypt their homeland? People who make blind ascertations that Jews are God's chosen people tend to gloss over the more unpleasant aspects of their history. Frankly, the Jewish people have had their share of missteps like the rest of us. You even say that they conquered the people of Canaan. So, since the Canaanites weren't chosen, it was ok for the Jews to slaughter them? It's ok for them to murder Palestinian children because of their disputed shared homeland? If you follow this logic to the extreme, it's ok to fly planes into buildings if you believe you are doing God's will. Surely you don't argue that?

6. The Bible. It's obviously an important book, and yes, I have read great sections of it. I think it can serve a useful purpose as a guide to live one's life. However, even Christian theological scholars debate how much of it is history and how much is allegory. There's also the question of the writing process. As you state, it was written by several authors in a variety of languages over a long period of time. It's been translated countless times. As you know, whenever you translate a document, there can be inaccuracies. Over multiple translations, meanings can be shifted in subtle and not so subtle ways. Here's an example. I typed the phrase "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" into a translator. I translated it to Greek and then back to English. Here's what I got for a 'new' english version: "The fast brown fox jumps beyond the okniro' dog". No I don't know what the second to last word is, it appears to be a Greek word that doesn't translate. You see my point. This is just a simple phrase translated only twice and it has been changed in subtle and drastic ways. 'Beyond' is different than 'over', and Okniro' must be the Greek word (or some variant) for lazy. Now the bible is hundreds of pages long and has been translated countless times from the original. Think how many errors have popped up, even if only one word in 1000 was mistranslated. Don't like my argument? How about the fact that several Christian sects have their own translations, and they don't all agree with each other. You're all using the same source text, but you all read it differently.

7. Finally, you end with a quote from a scientist. I have never denied that some scientists also are religious. No less than Albert Einstein himself was a very a very religious individual. Though he was not Christian, so by your reasoning he is not in heaven. Some scientists believe in religion (of many faiths - Islam was for many centuries the cradle of science while the European Christians were locking Galileo in a dungeon for his 'blasphemy' that the earth goes around the sun) and some don't. Just as in the rest of society. That some scientists believe in god is no more proof of his existence than is the fact that some architects don't believe in god proof of his absence. Which brings up a good point - why are you trying to 'prove' the existence of God? By definition, Christianity is a faith. You can say that you believe. You can say that you have seen evidence, but you can never 'prove' that God exists.

Do I allow for the fact that I might not have all the answers, that I might be wrong on some points? Yes. I'm not sure that you do, though. You are sure in your faith (which takes a certain strength that I admire), but even the most devout should not turn their back on arguments against them, as I fear that you do. As I've said, there is no way to know for sure until we die. At that point, you either get to say "I told you so" and I'll admit defeat, or else we'll all just decompose into the earth and you'll never know that you were wrong. Until such a time, and since I'll never get to gloat if I turn out to be right, I have to go with my beliefs and my understanding of the universe.


Green v. AG - Round IV [part iii]: Rebuttal

From: Green
To: American Guy
Date: May 25, 2003
Subject: Fw: Fw: finally, My response (complete)


This is my complete message. The one you received first was sent accidentally, before I was finished typing, while trying to change font size. Please disregard the first message.

Your opening statement disappoints me. I could say the same thing to you, that I can no longer debate you on this topic because you've obviously made up your mind and aren't interested in any other view but your own. But I won't say this because we obviously do have different viewpoints, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. If everyone who had a different viewpoint than everyone else refused to discuss them, then where would we (humanity as a whole) be? {Sort of sounds like most sessions of congress these days ;>) }

In your prior email you asked me a question (copied below, for reference):

"Let me ask you a question - How can you be so sure (beyond simply your faith) that there IS an afterlife and that the soul continues to exist?"

And my primary goal in the response I sent to you was to try to illustrate that my belief in a soul and an afterlife is inextricably linked to my faith. I also tried to illustrate why I am so sure about my faith and that there is an afterlife in which the soul does continue to exist after death, by giving you some of the reasons why I believe the way I do. If I'm to be painted as a religious fanatic for trying to explain my beliefs, then so be it (get a wide brush there, my friend!) Seriously though, I hope you'd know me well enough after all these years as one who doesn't do or believe anything rash or with out considering all the angles. I've never thought of myself in the fanatic category, though. Actually, it's taken me years to feel personally comfortable with my faith and beliefs for myself, let alone discuss and share them in any type of format, whether I initiated it or not. And certainly, I won't let you down, because I will continue to defend and argue for my beliefs when given the forum to do so. Street preacher? I've met some good ones and some bad ones in my life. I'll take your comment in the good way, however it may have been intended...;>)

1. So whether it's "evolution" or the "theory of evolution" is really a moot point, in my view. I reject it because logically I just can't rationalize the idea that the universe and life on earth got to be so diverse and that it runs with such mathematical precision simply by chance or random accident. Personally I think the scientific community dropped the theory part of it because, despite their best efforts, they know that evolution can not and will never be definitively proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, and they are trying to make it sound as if it has been proven, but that's just my opinion. That being said, however doesn't mean I reject science entirely just because I don't understand most of it. I think science is a wonderful thing, when used properly. And the benefits of scientific knowledge are simply too great to ignore. Look, I don't understand the specifics and intricate details of how gravity works (I'm sure you could explain it to me) and I certainly can't physically see, hear, smell, feel or taste gravity, yet I know it's there whether I believe in it or not. I have faith that it will keep me from floating off of the planet, and it does. Religion, specifically, Christianity (in my case) is similar. I can't physically see, smell, feel, hear or taste God, but deep down inside I know there is a God, whether I actively profess a belief in Him or not.

I say good for the Mississippi state school system having to teach both viewpoints, evolutionism and creationism. This in no way makes a mockery out of science and education, but just gives kids a more rounded viewpoint from which to draw their own conclusions. Same goes with the scientific community, being allowed to foist its world view on all others. (How dare they???)

2. I cited the dictionary definitions for the most part for my benefit, so that I was sure I wasn't taking words out of context. I quoted the source of the eye argument to acknowledge the fact that I wouldn't have thought of that, without help, since the anatomy of the eye isn't something that flows through my everyday thought processes. Of course it's a one-sided argument... I didn't think there were any other kinds of arguments but one-sided ones? Did you expect them to then argue against the point they just made? Still, it is a valid point made, which you have not countered. I'd definitely be interested in your viewpoint on that. You also conveniently gloss over the two paragraphs that follow the eye argument without comment, and I welcome your viewpoint on these as well. Regarding use of CAPITAL LETTERS, I only used them for EMPHASIS and certainly NOT out of DESPERATION.

You're right. My saying that Jesus rose from the dead doesn't make it true, however after making this point I give you some of my reasons for saying so. When I make reference to historical facts, they are not just part of my beliefs system and as such, allow that you could research on your own to verify. I also use a bit of personal experience, citing reference to my vacation to Israel and Egypt in 1996. More on this when I get to your point #4 (bet you can't wait!)

3. Okay, I'm telling you that heaven is real (conversely, hell is also equally as real), and no, there are no Hindus, Buddhists, Islamists there, or anyone else for that matter that for the last 2,000 years or so hasn't believed in Jesus, who is God in human form. Before Jesus, you ask? Sure, there are Jews there, if they believed in the one true God (who later would be known as the God of the Hebrews, and who is also the God Christians believe in), also there are people there who were living before the Jewish race came into existence. People like Enoch, and Noah and his family and others too who had faith in God. Fortunately for me, I'm not responsible for the heavenly roll call. I'll know who's there when I get there myself, someday. Your joke about all these groups of people in heaven is a good one, which I've heard before. Sammy Davis Jr.? Must have missed that one. But no, he's not there if he didn't believe in Jesus. No exceptions. None. (I don't make the rules, just try to live by them best I can.)

4. I've got a few books about different world religions and, while I won't quote from them, my research indicates that Buddha (563-483 BC) didn't bodily enter Nirvana. Rather, after many days of meditation, he reached a stage of enlightenment called Nirvana. After reaching this state, he became known as Buddha and preached his message for about 45 years or so before his death. As for other non-Christian religions, my research indicates that if they speak of their founder ascending into an afterlife after death, it is a spiritual ascension, not a physical one. If you find a religion out there that says it's founder was bodily raised from the dead before ascending into heaven, let me know and I'll research it more thoroughly for you.

One of the points I was attempting to make about Jesus and the lack of an occupied tomb is this: Before His death, He predicted He would die (because he was a prophet in the usual sense) and that after three days would bodily come back to life, which He did, physically. Then I make the point afterwards that Christianity is based on this fact, and if it were not true, then Christianity as it was then and is now would be based on a lie. Then it would be the biggest fraud ever perpetrated by man. Now, secular history will tell you that Jesus died publicly and that His tomb was located in Jerusalem, which is not really that large of a city, even today. There are only be a few places that His tomb could be and I've personally been to both of those places, and there is no body in either place. Now if Jesus were still dead, and if there were an actual body and an occupied tomb, we would know where it is. It would be one of the most heavily guarded places on earth, then and now, between the pilgrims visiting in reverence or would be plunderers trying to desecrate it, throughout the centuries. So, let me assure you that you can feel confident that there is no hidden tomb out there with Jesus bones still in it. If there were, the Christian religion would be drastically different than what we have today. The other point is this: Science can not explain it, and archaeology has not been able to refute it. I'm curious to know how you can say that this is factually wrong? What facts do you have that I am missing?

5. I did not say the Jewish people originated in Egypt. I started with them in Egypt as slaves because after they left Egypt (the Exodus), they considered themselves to be the beginning of the Jewish nation known as Israel. For the record, their origin is actually with Abraham, and he came from Ur of the Chaldees (somewhere in modern Iraq), who, at the prompting of God, moved to and settled in the land of Canaan. (If you're of a mind, read the Biblical book of Genesis (chapters 12-50) which covers the history of the Jewish people up to the Exodus.) Was it right for the ancient Jewish people to kill the canaanites? Yes, because they did it with God's blessing, which was given because the Canaanites and all other people living in that land at that time were idol worshipers and were considered heathen by God. Is it okay for modern Israelites to kill Palestinian children? Certainly not. Is it right for Palestinians to blow up Jewish people in retaliation? No. Do the Jewish people have a right to that land in it's entirety? Yes, they do because it's their inheritance which God promised to Abraham and his descendants thru Isaac, from whom all Jews are descended (not Ishmael, who, was a son of Abraham, but not the favored child). Again, this is all better and more thoroughly explained in the biblical book of Genesis.

6. The Bible. I'm impressed that you have read any part of it. But why is it such an important book, when it started out as only the basis for the Jewish religion? (Jews only consider the Old Testament as their Bible, because they do not acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah, and therefore don't consider the New Testament as part of their Bible.) If the Jewish people were not God's chosen people, then why would the holy book of a small, otherwise insignificant country in the Middle East be so important? What about the holy books of other religions? Why aren't they as prominent? No serious Christian theological scholar debates it as allegory. I'll agree that the accuracy of the history it contains is debated. But it has never been proven to be inaccurate when it has been verified. I point out its multiple authors and composition and languages over about 1,500 years to make the point that it is remarkable that such a book with such an unusual method of compilation does not ever contradict itself, and that it has been preserved remarkably well regarding translation. For example, when the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1940's, a scroll containing the entire book of Isaiah was found, which was identical, except for a few grammatical errors, to the text of Isaiah that has been in use by the Jewish people for more than 2,500 years.

Through the years, the Bible has been translated many times, as you say. Reputable translations were done so using the texts in their original languages. I have a book in my library called a concordance. It uses the King James Version of the Bible as it's base and lists every word in alphabetical order, showing how many times that word was used and verse reference to where it can be found in each instance. It also assigns a number to each word in each Testament which directs you to corresponding Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek dictionaries so you can see for yourself the definition of the words in the original languages. I also have a Bible that has four of the most popular English translations in the same volume, laid out side by side by side by side so that you can compare the translations to see how they are translated and see if the context of each passage is the same. So I feel confident that what I'm reading is pretty accurate.
Some Christian sects do use their own translations, which are contradictory to the widely accepted accurate translations and leads one to question the source of the translation. If a sect is secretive about the translation of their Bible than you can be sure that their hiding something. Now interpretation of the meaning of the actual texts comes into question all the time, and is responsible for all the schisms and such that have split the church apart to it's present factions, including Catholicism, Protestantism and its branches and even the Orthodox churches. Still though the Bible is the most translated and debated and written about book in the history of man, and I don't think even you can logically deny that.

7. I used the quote from the scientist because I thought it was relevant to the present discussion, not because you said that you didn't think that there were some scientists who were religious. Albert Einstein was Jewish, and he is not in heaven if he did not believe in Jesus, no matter how religious he was. For myself, I don't need to try and prove the existence of God, because I'm confident there is one. I'm trying to "prove" the existence of God for your benefit (because you stated you did not believe in the existence of God) by attempting to show you evidence of the existence of God, namely the order, precision and harmony of the universe, along with the extreme diversity of life on Earth, neither of which happened by blind chance, and also, to a lesser degree (in this email anyway) by the fact that of all the creatures on earth, humans alone have consciences or souls which are not physical and could not have come about in the manner that evolution would have us believe.

Do I know all the answers regarding my faith? No. Do I have all the answers regarding my faith? Yes, and they're all in the Bible (properly translated). I learn something new every time I read my Bible, which is truly an amazing book... Do I turn my back on science? For the most part, I do not. But when science tries to tell me something that just doesn't make sense in the most basic way, you bet I do. Do I understand all science has to offer? Certainly not.

As I've tried to counter, there is a way to know about life after death, because someone has died who is now not dead, and all that I know can be found in the Bible. When we die, I don't want to say "I told you so", because that would be boasting and that's not right.

What I'm trying to get at in all of this is that you discount as impossible anything that you can't define by science or measure in a lab or qualify in any other physical way, and that there are some things that science can't rationalize into neat little theories, principles or packages.

What I am also trying to do is to invite you to take an objective look at this religion thing and attempting to show you a good place to start looking, which is Christianity. For a beginning, I suggest you read the Biblical book of John, which is in the New Testament.

All kidding aside, the most important question you'll ever need to answer is this: Who is Jesus?

Look forward to your response.

Stay well,


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