Return to 4th Quarter 2017 articles.
from Does God Exist? 4th Quarter 2017
ANNOUNCING OUR 2018 CANYONLANDS TOUR! Once again we will be conducting an educational tour of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion Canyon, and the desert southwest. The dates will be September 9 – 14. For more information, see page 19.
THIS IS OUR LAST QUARTERLY ISSUE FOR 2017. Since the first of this year we have been publishing quarterly rather than bimonthly. In order to be more up-to-date, we have a new website with daily features. You can find it at www.doesgodexist.today. The response to this change has been positive and we appreciate your continued interest in our message. We will be back with you in print in 2018, or keep up with us daily at Does God Exist? Today.
ATHEIST RUNS INTO ISLAMOPHOBIA PROBLEMS. The American media is paranoid about allowing anyone with convictions to express those convictions. The fact that I have quoted the statements of Jesus Christ that, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6), has caused me to be excluded from a number of media presentations and publications.
Richard Dawkins, perhaps the world's most publicized atheist, was cancelled in August 2017 from giving a speech at an event hosted by the publicly funded radio station KPFA in Berkeley, California. The statement from the station was that he had made an “abusive speech against Islam.” Apparently someone found a 2013 tweet in which Dawkins said, “Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today.”
What is interesting is that in his defense Dawkins points out that he is “a frequent critic of Christianity, but has never been de-platformed for that.” We have pointed out that the media bias against Christianity is huge, and Dawkins has underlined that fact. For more on this go to: www.doesgodexist.online/dawkins-admits-anti-christian-discrimination.
UPDATED WEBSITE. We now have a redesigned website for the videos, audios, and printed materials that we publish. We invite you to visit www.doesgodexist.tv. On that redesigned website you can watch the entire DOES GOD EXIST? video series. We recently added four more programs for a total of 36! You can also listen to the 26 sessions in the DOES GOD EXIST? audio series. The website also has links to other materials and resources including links to our main website www.doesgodexist.org.
RELIGIOUS BUSINESS RIGHTS GOES BEFORE SUPREME COURT. On August 31, 2017, an opening brief was filed with the United States Supreme Court in a case called Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. This case involves a Christian man named Jack Phillips who designs cakes. Mr. Phillips has always used his custom works of cake art to promote messages that he can support morally and religiously. If he were asked to make a cake showing pornographic material, he would decline, even if it did not violate the law. The state of Colorado is maintaining that he is violating the rights of a couple who asked him to make a cake for their same-sex marriage. He said that doing so would violate his Christian convictions.
The implications for this case are huge. There are several other cases of Christian owners of flower shops, printing companies, wedding venues, and photographer/videographers facing lawsuits, fines, and bankruptcies for not wanting to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies. It will be interesting to see how the Supreme Court deals with this question of whether freedom means that no moral standards can be involved in what a business does or sells. Could not this same principle be applied to Christian ministers who refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies or owners of art galleries who refuse to display erotic art? For more on this go to: www.doesgodexist.online/business-owners-religious-freedom.
GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE “ENGINEERED.” On August 21, 2017, there was a total solar eclipse that crossed the United States from west to east. The next total eclipse to cross the U.S. from south to north will occur in 2024. One message that should stand out from the eclipse is the precision that God has built into the creation of the cosmos. Some have questioned how astronomers can predict when eclipses will occur including the exact time for a given location. We can do that because God created an orderly universe.
Many of us earth science teachers use the Earth Science Curriculum Project. It has a lab where students plot an eclipse and predict what kind of eclipse will occur. They can predict when it will start, how much of the Sun will be covered, and when it will end. One of my students commented after doing the lab, “Wow, what engineer thought up this system?” Another student responded “No engineer did it. God did it!” The first student responded, “Well, God is a pretty cool engineer!”
We think God is much more than just a “pretty cool engineer.” You can read more about the eclipse and God's design on DOES GOD EXIST? Today at www.doesgodexist.online/great-american-eclipse-engineered/.
WHERE IS GOD WHEN NATURAL DISASTER STRIKES? Many times atheists and skeptics use natural disasters as proof that God does not exist. The argument is that an almighty and loving God would not allow these things to happen, so therefore God does not exist. That is a faulty argument that assumes we know more than an omniscient God could know.
So where is God? Why does he not do something about the suffering? God is there, and he is doing something. God is working through his people. We are all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). When tragedy strikes, even those who do not have a good relationship with God begin to show a little bit of that image as they reach out to help. Those of us who are Christians should be the most willing and eager to show God's love. We not only bear the image of God, but we also remember what Jesus did and what he said about helping “the least of these” (Matthew 25:34 – 40).
To read more, go to www.doesgodexist.online/where-is-god-natural-disaster-strikes/, and we also have a website devoted to the question of why God allows pain and suffering: www.whypain.org.
TURKEY REMOVES EVOLUTION. Turkish education minister Ismet Yilmaz has announced changes to the textbooks in that country. Starting next fall, the Turkish government will remove evolution and all references to Charles Darwin from the textbooks along with 170 other topics that do not coincide with the Islamic government views. The new curriculum to replace these topics is said to be “value-based” and in harmony with student development.
The current biology course for twelfth-grade biology has a section titled “The Beginning of Life and Evolution.” It is being replaced with a unit titled “Living Beings and the Environment.” This new course is said to include discussions of adaptation, mutation, and natural and artificial selection without mentioning evolution or Darwin. An earlier section for an eleventh-grade philosophy class will be titled “Evolution and other Ontological Opinions.”
The situation is complicated in Turkey not only because of the influence of Islam but also because of the failed coup in 2015. The government is using the schools as a part of its control of the population. Included in the new curriculum are units about the groups that the government is fighting such as the Kurdistan Workers' Party and the U.S. based cleric Fethullah Gulen. American creationist groups that want to include their particular view of biology may want to look at what is happening in Turkey. The new curriculum, which is religiously based, is turning the classroom into a political football.
We have pointed out that modern agriculture, animal husbandry, aquaculture, and fish management depend upon the basic concepts that Darwin presented. The fact that animals can change and that this change can be used to benefit mankind is important for young people to learn. The enemy is naturalism in which these concepts are expanded to exclude God's role. Source: Detroit News, 9/18/17, page 5A, AP release by Zeynep Bilginsoy.
DATA ON PORNOGRAPHY — A GROWING PROBLEM. One of the ongoing debates between atheists and Christians is over whether atheism promotes immorality and Christianity uniquely opposes it. Christians maintain that we need a fixed moral standard to live by. Romans 3:20 says that knowing God's law gives us the knowledge of what sin is. Atheism maintains that there is no such thing as evil and therefore no such thing as sin (see Richard Dawkins' book River Out of Eden, quoted in the article “Why Did God Become Man?”).
How can you maintain a moral code when the basis of the code is changing or non-existent? Pornography advocates say that porn helps them meet their sexual needs. Their philosophy is “survival of the fittest” and doing whatever meets your emotional needs to stay fit. Society has moved away from Christian values, and naturalism has become the guide for how we live. What has been the result?
Here are some sample numbers:
- An MSNBC.COM survey shows that 8.7 million Americans are addicted to pornography.
- Prison officials maintain that 100% of inmates incarcerated for a sex crime were pornography users.
- 600,000 children are victims of pornography each year.
- 77% of those who molested boys and 87% of those who molested girls were regular users of hard-core pornography.
- Children spent 64.9% more time on pornography sites than they did on game sites in 2000.
- 91% of first exposure to pornography by teenagers was during benign surfing of the Internet.
- 53% of teenagers have been exposed to pornographic materials on the Internet.
- UNICEF reports that one million children each year are forced into prostitution and used to make pornography.
You can argue that these statistics have a cause other than the decline of belief in God. However, the “other causes” have not been identified, and we would suggest they do not exist. Atheist attempts to provide an intellectual approach to being moral may be good in theory, but they do not work. People who claim to be Christians sometimes do not follow God's code of conduct, but for many people over the centuries, the moral standards God has given have worked. Some excellent books are available that go into this discussion in depth. We recommend Paul Chamberlain's book Can We Be Good Without God? Source: Pornography's Pain by Allen Webster, available from www.ceibooks.com/church-supplies/tracts/pornographys-pain-pack-of-10.
We produced a DVD with Jimmy Hinton titled Spiritual Warfare: Safeguarding Churches from Child Predators. It is available at www.churchprotect.org or from our special topics videos in our catalog at doesgodexist.org.
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© Roland Earnst
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