Clinton and Textbooks.
The Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton scandal is not so far back that most
of us cannot remember it (1998-1999), but the most recent group of
history books hardly mention it. Impeachment is discussed and passing
reference is made to Clinton, but the affair is washed off as something
about which congress was divided and no further discussion is involved.
Our society's inability to have any consistent or absolute moral values
seems to have rubbed off on those writing history, so kids will not
even know that what happened was something most Americans considered
wrong at the time that it happened.
--Source: Ben Feller, Associated Press, USA Today, December 28, 2005, page 5A.
Atheists and Petitions. In the American Atheist magazine (July 2006, page 8), Ellen Johnson, the president of American Atheist, has an interesting article about the FCC petitions dating back to the 1960s and 70s. What she shows is that rumors in the religious community have produced avalanches of letters protesting things that in fact never happened, and then she bemoans the fact that atheists cannot get significant numbers of signatures on any petition. The bottom line for those of you who read this journal is that we should never send a letter about something until we know that our information is correct. Let us say it again--there are no petitions by atheists to get religious programming off of television.Chinese Abortion Source In Prison. Chen Guangcheng has been sentenced to four years in prison. Guangcheng is a blind legal activist who has reported to the world the process taking place in China of forcing women to have abortions up to eight months and forcing women to be sterilized. The government in China openly espouses atheism and continues to persecute any religious position or point of view based on Christian morals. In this case what the prison sentence is for is not clear but Time magazine named Guangcheng one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and such attention has probably resulted in his arrest.
Pop Music and Sex.
Most of us can remember our parents complaining about our teenage
music. Sometimes the complaint may have been valid, but usually it was
just a generation gap issue which had little consequence. A recent
study by researchers for the Rand Corporation of modern pop music is
showing there is a definite effect of the explicitly sexual lyrics in
modern pop music. The study involves 1461 adolescents and was carried
on over a three year period. Of the teens listening to explicit pop
music, 51% started having sex within two years as opposed to 29% who
didn't listen to it. Steven Martino who was involved in the study said
"hip-hop and modern pop portray boys as shallow and sexually insatiable
and girls as willing sex objects. We think that really lowers kids'
inhibitions, and makes them less thoughtful about their sexual
--Source: The Week, August 25, 2006, page 21.
Stem Cell Update. New information about stem cells is flowing at an incredible rate. The more data becomes available, the more obvious it is that trying to justify using aborted babies to get stem cell materials is irresponsible. In Scientific American (July 2006, page 53), there is a research article titled "Stem Cells: The Real Culprits in Cancer?" The study has shown that stem cells have been identified as cause agents in leukemia, breast cancer, multiple myeloma, brain cancer, and prostate cancer. These are not stem cells that man introduced, but natural stem cells which because they do not have a genetic program as to what they are to be, end up being tumors.
Citizen (September 2006, page 6) reports on other examples of positive uses of adult stem cells. They include research studies which show: Stem cells taken from adult blood can become liver and nerve cells. Muscle stem cells have the capacity to turn into blood stem cells. Nasal stem cells can develop into heart, liver, kidney, muscle, brain, and nerve cells. Pancreatic stem cells can change into muscle cells, neurons, and insulin-producing cells. Cells from scalp tissue can change into neural, bone, and cartilage cells. Bone marrow stem cells transplanted into the pancreas can morph into insulin-producing beta islet cells, which have the potential to treat diabetes. Bone marrow cells also have helped repair damaged heart muscle. Injections of cord blood stem cells into 9-year-old twins with cerebral palsy increased their ability to speak, decreased their leg cramps, and allowed them to sit up unassisted.Christian Movie Required to Have Warning Label. "Parents strongly cautioned that this movie contains Christian themes." The Motion Picture Association of America is demanding that the above label be placed on a film titled Facing the Giants which is a film about a Christian football coach. The claim is that the film engaged in "naked `proselytizing' for one religion" and might offend people of other faiths. Usually labels like this are put on films that have violence or sexual content that might upset children. Why it is being applied to a film that shows a coach having Christian beliefs is not clear. We would suppose that The Sound of Music and It's a Wonderful Life would also require such labels. The continued growth of bias against anything Christian does not seem to be diminishing.
Out of the Body Explained. For at least fifty years there have been reports in the media about people having "out of the body" experiences in which they seem to float out of their bodies and observe what is going on around them. Most of these claims have also reported people going to a bright light and being very much at peace. While such reports are helpful in reducing the fear of death, they are contrary to what the Bible describes and have a tendency to put the whole process of dying on a rather universal religious base. In Brain Work: The Neuroscience Newsletter, a publication of the Dana Foundation (July/August 2006, pages 5), is a report that tells of research showing that there are natural explanations of functions in the brain which result in such experiences. The temporoparietal junction which controls our sense of balance, seems to be involved. It is an error to ascribe brain functions to spiritual events, and the out of the body experience appears to be on its way to an explanation that puts the experience on a brain response basis.
Mary Magdalene Nonsense. One of the things that frequently happens to us in the twenty-first century is that the absence of information in the Bible is looked upon as a license to promote anything the mind can imagine. This not only generates a lot of religions and religious denominations that attempt to claim connections to Christianity, but it allows biblical minimalists and atheists to give portrayals of biblical stories in bizarre ways. In the last year we have seen a number of examples of that, and probably the most publicized is Mary Magdalene. The Da Vinci Code is probably the first example of this which comes to mind, Smithsonian magazine (June 2006), Newsweek (May 29, 2006), and National Geographic (May 2006) have all jumped on this process. While the National Geographic article focuses primarily on the Judas gospel, the other magazines are less subtle with titles like "Who Was Mary Magdalene" and "An Inconvenient Woman."
This is done by several dubious techniques. One is to not consider the source of the information one is reporting. The Judas gospel, for example, is authored by a gnostic group that was opposed to every principle Jesus taught. Documents exist showing that the early Church fought against gnostic teaching and that their concept of who and what Jesus was is totally opposed to the Bible. This is not an unbiased source, and in fact has no credibility as far as the teachings of Jesus are concerned. Ancient art works are frequently used as sources for articles about Mary Magdalene, but artists have their own misconceptions and motives and are not valid sources of information. Even ancient Roman Catholic sources of information are not reliable, as the Catholic Church has relied upon oral tradition for much of its information, and again human sources can be misled or misunderstood.
The bottom line is that Mary Magdalene appears one time prior to the crucifixion of Jesus in Luke 8:2 where she is cured of a possession. There are many biblical reasons to question that the sinful woman of Luke 7 is Mary. She is one of many women present at the crucifixion and resurrection and plays an important role after the resurrection. There is no biblical evidence of any special relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus--just a lot of tabloid-type speculation.
Red Rain in India. In the summer of 2001, a mysterious blood colored rain fell sporadically in India in the state of Kerala. Analysis of the rainwater shows that it contains red colored cell-like structures about 10 microns in diameter which do reproduce in the laboratory. We are seeing claims of aliens, government eradication campaigns, secret war toxins, etc., in a variety of publications. Popular Science (June 2006, page 31) recently had an article on it. The fact is that we do not know what produced the red rain; we know that this is not an uncommon event. The wind pattern at that time of year comes from the Arabian peninsula toward India. There are any number of things that can be in that dust--fungi, algae, animal remains etc. I can remember being in Terra Haute, Indiana, and seeing frogs and fish falling out of a clear sky to the ground--from a tornado that had gone through some time earlier. This is not a huge mystery of intergalactic proportions. It is simply an interesting meteorological process with biological connections.
Girl Brain Studies Support
Biblical View. Feminists, gay activists, and gender change
proponents are having problems with new studies which compare the
brains of women and men and find that there are significant
differences. Neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine has been a leader in
this research that strongly suggests that there are differences in the
design and function of the brain that cause men and women to be
different in the way the two sexes act and feel. The brain design
includes the chemicals that are secreted to cause things like PMS, and
the size of different sections of the brain are related to those things
that distinguish males from females. The idea that there is a "gay
gene" does not stand in this new data, because a wide range of genetic
characteristics are involved. The Bible is clear that God designed man
and woman to be able to become "one flesh" and we now understand that a
number of structures in the body and the brain are involved in the
differences in the sexes.
--Source: Newsweek, July 31, 2006, pages 46.
Turkish religious authorities have announced they are purging the
Hadiths of statements that treat women as being inferior to men. The
Hadiths are traditional sayings and writings from Islamic Sharia Law
that take material from the Koran and teach it to Muslim lay people.
When we have discussed why we promote Christianity in this journal
rather than other understandings of God, we have pointed out that
violence and the denigration of women are two of the main reasons why
the Koran does not measure up to the teachings of Jesus. The Hadiths
being revised have statements like "The best of women are those who are
like sheep" and "If a husband's body is covered with pus and his wife
licks it clean, she still won't have paid her dues." This kind of
teaching combined with the defamation of women by the practice of
polygamy make up a part of the reasons why we maintain the teachings of
Jesus Christ are superior to that of Muhammad. We have studies
comparing teachings in the Koran with those of Christianity and the
Bible. If you would like copies of these studies, send to
the address below a self-addressed envelope with 41 cents in postage
and we will send them to you. Here are links to PDF
copies of these studies: Comparisons,
Accuracies and Checkability
of the Bible.
--Source: The Week, July 28, 2006, page 6.
Available: For many years we have bound the
articles from this journal into books we call Evidences of God. These books start
in 1972, and volume 10 is now available for 2004-2006. Previously these
books have been bound. Since we are no longer able to print and bind
ourselves, the cost for volume 10 would be prohibitively high so it has
been left unbound on 8½-by-11-inch paper to save money. All
eight books are
available for $25 (Volumes 1-3 have been combined; volume 10 is
unbound), or any one of the books is available for $4.00. We also have
a free year-end report for the year 2006 available upon request. An
index of articles for this year is also available upon request. You can
send your order or request to:
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Does God Exist?, JanFeb07.