Pastors Nationwide Should Send Sermons to Houston Mayor

Southern Evangelical Seminary: Pastors Nationwide Should Send Sermons to Houston Mayor .

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Dr. Richard Land, President of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES,, is calling on pastors nationwide to send a message to Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who recently subpoenaed five pastors, demanding their sermon notes and private communication with congregants as these notes related to homosexuality or transgenderism.

“The ideal response to this egregious violation of religious liberty in Houston is for pastors nationwide to send their sermons to Mayor Parker with a return receipt requested,” Land said. “Pastors should also send a copy of their sermons to their own mayor as a warning that ministers of the Gospel will not relinquish their callings or their freedom to speak the truth from Holy Scripture. They should also invite their mayors to come to their worship services.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Can God Be Disappointed or Repent?

This is another in a series of critical questions about the Bible.

Question: The Bible says that God created mankind, then was sorry that He created (Gen. 6:6). It also says God changed His mind, or repented (Ex. 32:14). If God is all-knowing, He would know everything from the beginning, could not become sorry, and could not change His mind. 

In response, this question is very similar to others that have already been addressed about God knowing His future actions and being able to think through situations. See here. 

The Bible also describes God as having hair (Dan. 7:9), a backside (Ex. 33.23), hands and fingers (Ps. 8:3, 6), a mouth (Num. 12:8), lips and a tongue (Is. 30:27), eyes (Ps. 11:4), ears (Ps. 18:6), and other human attributes. But we also know that the Bible describes God as being a spirit (John 4:24) and not being a man that He should repent or have any regret (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29). Still further, the Bible describes God as having wings (Ruth 2:12; Ps. 17:8; 36:7) and feathers (Ps. 91:4). Since a spirit can have none of the physical attributes of a created being, and since one passage says God repents and another says He cannot, how can we reconcile these?

The answer lies both in the language of scripture and in the philosophical approach we use with scripture. We have no trouble when Jesus says he is a door (John 10:7) or a vine (John 15:1), for no one concludes that Jesus was made of wood or was a plant. We do not believe the Bible is literal when it says God parted the Red Sea with a literal blast from His nostrils (Ex. 15:8) or is so large as to measure the seas and the heavens in His hands (Is. 40:`12). We also do not get confused in everyday speech when we say to one another, ‘She’s driving me up the wall’ or ‘I’m at my wits end’ for we know these are figures of speech and do not take them literally. We also know that when the Bible says that the “; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Is. 55:12) that this is not literal, for we know from observation and making logical conclusions about reality that hills do not literally sing or clap.

Therefore we can use our minds to know that the universe did not cause itself to come to exist, there must have been a cause outside the universe that did not come into existence, but always existed, i.e., is uncreated. This cause must not be made of matter, for all matter is finite and all finites are created. An uncreated, nonmaterial, eternal being that has knowledge is infinite and would indeed know all things, and all-knowing things do not change their minds.

We can then discern between the passages that give God human attributes as anthropomorphisms, and the ones that describe God as spirit as literal. God does not change His mind since He knew His plans from the beginning. He nevertheless deals with us on our level in language familiar to our common tongue.

More importantly, an explanation such as this should be rather common and straightforward. That such a question arises is a clue as to the critics’ searching for problems in the Bible rather than reading it fairly to discern its truths.

Posted in Apologetics, Bible, Theology | Leave a comment

What is Enough Evidence for an Atheist or a Christian?

Today I heard a panel discussion by three atheists who were kind and brave enough to address our Christian apologetics organization, Ratio Christi. The panel was asked to explain their thoughts about atheism and Christianity. One of the participants repeatedly told us that he flatly dismissed any and all philosophical reasoning as evidence for Christianity. He considered philosophy as so much sophistry and illusion, mere words capable of deception. He hammered philosophy quite thoroughly, making it clear that he put no confidence in the philosophical arguments for God, such as, for example, a logical cosmological argument presented by William Lane Craig. What he did consider valid is empirical evidence, things we can test and hold as hard data.

The atheist claimed that he had objections that no Christians had been able to answer, that they always stopped talking before he did. This made me a bit suspicious, for all people, atheist or Christians, tend to stop talking when the other side becomes unreasonable. More often, the most annoying person is the last one speaking.

One of our apologists asked him what were the questions that Christians were not able to answer. His list was:

–how do we know that what you believe is true?
–how would you know if it’s false?
–how would superior evidence overwhelm your belief?
–what’s more probable: your position being true or it being false?

Now from someone who had just told me several times that he only focused on empirical evidence, not philosophy, I would have expected some questions that involved empirical data–some answer that involved pressure, temperature, or quantity. But when asked about his most troubling questions, he mentioned how to draw a logical conclusion. The only way to answer the questions he provided is to see if proper conclusions are drawn from valid premises. This man, while decrying philosophy, asked for philosophical answers. His statements were self refuting.

Why he would ask for philosophical answers is obvious, for philosophy is merely thinking. We do not have the option of whether or not to think, but only whether or not to do it poorly or well. Etienne Gilson has wisely stated “Philosophy buries its own undertakers.”

It would appear that this atheist only dismisses philosophy when it is convenient for him to ignore such principles as things not arising without a cause. He is quick to tell Christians that their claims must follow the law of noncontradiction and valid principles of epistemology.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Mathematical Difficulties of Natural Selection

A 2011 confernce held at Cornell University presented a series of academic papers that focused on viewing biological systems in terms of informational questions. The authors drew parallels between numerical searches and biological systems. By applying conclusions about searches to biological information, conclusions can be drawn about how the capabilities of biological systems to produce practical results. The proceedings were published in Biological Information: New Perspectives, Marks, et. al., eds., (London: World Scientific, 2013).

One paper in this volume is Pragmatic Information by John W. Oller, Jr. In this paper, Oller attempts to show the difficulty of filtering a useful result from a quantity of random noise. Oller uses information found in the English language to illustrate the task needed to draw useful results by searching through non-useful noise.

Such a search is relevant to darwinian evolution, which purports to work by random mutations being filtered by natural selection to provide useful results. The many non-useful mutations are eleminated and the few useful mutations are kept.

Oller shows the difficulty of a search method finding a useful result in a large amount of random data. The 26 letters of the English alphabet give us about 35 available sounds. The word “strengths” gives eight phonetic segments. A random change in these eight segments by the 35 available sounds gives a possible combination of 35[8th]*, or about 2.25 trillion combinations (Biological Information, p.76). Only a miniscule fraction of such a number would result in any meaningful sylables allowed in English. By moving our attention to sentences, the numbers get much worse:

The number of meaningful 12 word sentences would be about on the order of 10[12th] enabling us to estimate that the ratio of meaningful 12 word sentences in English to all the strings that could be formed from all the words in the Oxford English Dictionary: It comes out to be about 4.59×10[-58th] Finding the few meaningful strings by chance in a heap of such nonsense would be a little like trying to find some very tiny needles in a really huge haystack . . . Consider next that if we move the combinatorial explosions up several notches to the length of a short novel, say 30,000 words . . ., the number of possible strings explodes to 600,000[30,000th]. . . At the level of a short novel, the ratio of meaningful strings to possible ones has diminished to a complete vanishing point for all practical purposes.(ibid.)

Practical research by biochemist Michael Behe supports Oller’s conclusion. Behe lays out his research in his book The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism. In studying malaria and the drugs used to combat it, Behe has a large population in the millions of people infected with a disease over many, many years, and a large number of the population that has been injected with drugs to fight the disease. In the case of malaria, darwinian evolution seems to be limited to filtering through a very few mutations, and those only in terms of degrading existing information, such as sickle cell disease, not creating new biological information that was not there in the first place.

If Oller’s and Behe’s work is valid, we have no good evidence to show that natural selection working on random mutations has the power to filter through the vast quantity of biological data required for darwinian evolution to work on a scale as large as entire species. The level of information in a short novel is quite small compared to that required to change from one specie to another. It does not seem reasonable for the biologist to continue to tell us that since such huge improbabilities are not impossible, they must be true.
*wordpress has difficulty presenting superscript numbers clearly, so I have used brackets to indicate scientific numbers.  

Posted in Apologetics, Evolution | Leave a comment

Where is the Burden of Proof: Christianity or Atheism?

Christian & Atheist discuss who has the burden of proof for their position.

A: Since I am the only reasonable person here, the burden of proof lies with you theists.
C: I readily welcome the burden of proof for my views, for there are proofs for God’s existence and evidence that the Bible is true. But you have a burden of proof also. Are you making a claim that your view is true? If so, you are making a truth claim and have a burden of proof for your idea.
A: No, atheism is a-theism, a lack of belief. Since I make no truth claim, I have to prove nothing. I merely have no belief. Since you believe something, only you have to prove something, not me.
C: If you do not believe God exists, then you must hold to naturalism, which is the view that the only things that exist are natural, such as matter and energy.
A: Yes, of course. I am logical, and naturalism is the only logical position. Only matter and energy exist.
C: You then have a burden of proof to show that naturalism is true.
A: No, silly Christian. The natural world is just there, as Bertrand Russel said. It does not need an explanation.  But I do not believe in God, so you have a burden of proof for showing God exists.
C: I am an a-naturalist. I have a lack of belief in naturalism, and the burden of proof on you is to show that naturalism is the correct viewpoint.* As an a-naturalist, I merely disbelieve that the natural world is all there is. I do not have to prove anything, but you have to prove your point.
A: Well, I….uh….it just exists.
C: While you are at it, please explain the existence of things such as mathematics and justice, since they are neither matter nor energy.
A: You’re a fundamentalist and an idiot. And Christians are hypocrites. And your dog is ugly.
C: It seems that I have a great deal of rational explanation for my belief, but you have ducked your responsibility. You merely try to focus on the reasons for my viewpoint, but by your own admission, offer no good reason to say that your position is true. I will continue to hold that God exists and the Bible is true.


*Thanks to Jon Stewart for the inspiration.

Posted in Apologetics, Atheism | 11 Comments

William Lane Craig vs. Christopher Hitchens

I think the following snippet of a debate from Craig & Hitchens is very telling. It becomes more striking when one is familiar with the level of arguments presented by each man earlier in the debate, but this should suffice to show the nature of the mens’ arguments. Here is the rebuttal period from a debate where Craig attempts to build a logical case, and Hitchens attempts to build some sort of inferential one or some sort of guilt by association. He does not attempt to prove much of anything logically. Hitchens presents what are common atheist positions, which are not much more than “You don’t really believe that, do you?”

But what is most striking is that Hitchens seems to be unfamiliar with Craig’s first question. Craig asks Hitchens to distinguish between broad categories of atheism and agnosticism, and Hitchens seems as if he has not been faced with the question before. Further, Hitchens appears to change his position right before our eyes, moving from one position to the other.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Genesis 1, Science, and Logical Conclusions

This week I learned of a college student at a large, local state university who told of a story about one of his professors. The student’s geology professor, on the first day of class. specifically took time to ridicule Genesis 1. What this has to do with teaching undergraduate geology is more than a bit questionable. Recent news reports included beheadings done in the name of Muhammad. I wonder what would happen if this geology professor went to a few select mideast countries and ridiculed the Quran on the first day of class. On second thought, I do not have to wonder.

But I do wonder whether this geology professor has taken the time to read Genesis 1, or any of the other 49 chapters of the book. Keep in mind that we live in an age where the leading scientists of our day tell us, with all seriousness, the absurd notion that absolute nothing can produce something, even everything (See here, and here, and here).  Meanwhile, Genesis 1 is getting a bit of a new evaluation that should lead us to a new respect for the old story.

The folks over at Six Day Science have stated “Genesis 1 makes at least twenty-six statements about the creation of the universe and the development of life on Earth that can be tested against current scientific understanding.” These items are not only tested against cosmology, chemistry, physics, and yes, geology, but are found accurate. You can find the explanations here and here.  Next, the folks over at Reasons To Believe have several resources on how science is compatible with Genesis (start here).

I am reminded of the introduction to logic course that a relative of mine took at a local public university. I saved their handouts and tests, and the examples used in class leaned heavily toward showing logical fallacies in conservative Christian positions. Some of the examples were straw man examples, but even if we considered the rest valid, the irony of such a class is blatant. The professor taught logic by using in-class examples that only showed fallacies in one viewpoint, a clear persuasion technique.

I am further reminded of the account of a Chinese scientist who was visiting the USA, doing a few lectures on particularly unusual fossils found in China. In the lectures and demonstration, the scientist questioned Darwinian evolution. One of the American scientists asked “Aren’t you afraid to question Darwin?” which hinted at a lack of academic freedom and pressure to toe the line on Darwinism. The response was telling: “In China, we can question Darwin, but not the government. In the US, you can question the government, but not Darwin.”

Respected scientist and researcher James Tour has said the following:

I do have scientific problems understanding macroevolution as it is usually presented. I simply can not accept it as unreservedly as many of my scientist colleagues do, although I sincerely respect them as scientists. Some of them seem to have little trouble embracing many of evolution’s proposals based upon (or in spite of) archeological, mathematical, biochemical and astrophysical suggestions and evidence, and yet few are experts in all of those areas, or even just two of them. Although most scientists leave few stones unturned in their quest to discern mechanisms before wholeheartedly accepting them, when it comes to the often gross extrapolations between observations and conclusions on macroevolution, scientists, it seems to me, permit unhealthy leeway. When hearing such extrapolations in the academy, when will we cry out, “The emperor has no clothes!”? (for the rest of this article, see here)

Here Tour touches on a subject that seems to me to be a significant issue within the modern scientific community. Any given area of science, even sub-sub areas of specialization, include so much published research that most scientists have trouble staying current in their own fields, yet alone being expert enough in other disciplines to understand the interdependent details of such a wide-ranging theory such as Darwinian evolution. (for more, see here)

In any case, it seems telling that a professor in a science class would spend time ridiculing a view that is not particularly relevant to the course. Such actions tell of motivations that are not based in education or a pursuit of truth, but are grounded in an emotional dislike for the viewpoint.


Posted in Evolution | Leave a comment