GOD EXIST? 2011 SUMMER
SEMINAR IN THE CANYONLANDS SEPTEMBER 18 – 23
see the linked
The tabloids and some mainstream media have been
extolling an announcement by the space agency that “Alien Life Forms
Have Been Discovered.” As usual, the glitzy headline belies what is
actually going on and what it means. A study at Mono Lake in California
has found a bacterium that can grow in arsenic-rich environments if
phosphorous is present. Robert Sawyer who was on the team that studied
the bacterium says “We have found a different life form that uses
arsenic in its basic DNA structure.” Arsenic is element number 33 in
the periodic chart which is in group V along with nitrogen,
phosphorous, and antimony. These elements are very active chemically
and bond strongly with nearly every element in the periodic chart.
Arsenic trioxide is quickly formed when arsenic is heated in air for
example. The fact that living things can use these group V materials in
the DNA helix is remarkable, but it is not a new alien life form. No
one expects to run into arsenic people on some phosphorous planet. It
is a remarkable thing that DNA is so well designed that it can function
with a wide variety of chemical environments — arsenic and phosphorous
complexes mimicking nitrogen phosphorous structures apparently being
one. We will have more for you as more data becomes available.
BILLBOARDS IN HOLIDAY SEASON.
A billboard near the Lincoln Tunnel
in New Jersey over the holiday season, had a manger scene with the
block letters “You know it’s a myth — This Season Celebrate Reason.”
The billboard cost $20,000 and was paid for by American Atheists. The
billboard company (Lamar Billboards) is the same organization that
posted the “You can be good without God” signs last year. However, they
refused to put up billboards of a political nature during the last
election because “we think it is misleading … .” There were four
competing atheist groups that ran ads over the holidays according to The New York Times
, this being the
first one displayed.
Another atheist coup was an ABC
program on November 9, 2010, with Diane Sawyer in
which she interviewed Baptist pastors who no longer believed in God.
The interview revolved mostly around discrepancies these pastors found
in the Bible, all of which were things we have discussed in this
journal and are relatively easy to answer. No attention was paid in the
interview to the positive things taught in the Bible or the answers to
these alleged discrepancies. Young people hit these issues every day,
and the failure of churches to address these struggles continues to be
an eroding force on faith among our youth.
Barna Research studies show that 98 percent of the
residents of Shreveport, Louisiana, describe themselves as “Christian”
making it the most Christian city in the country. Portland Maine, is
the most atheistic with 19 percent describing themselves as atheist or
agnostic. The least Christian city in the U.S. was San Francisco with
68 percent describing themselves as Christian. These numbers do not
mean a lot because the meaning of the word “Christian” is very
ambiguous. I have a number of atheist friends who call themselves
Christian because of what they are not — not Muslim, not Hindu, etc.
Source: Christianity Today
December 2010, page 13.
GEOGRAPHIC ON DAVID AND SOLOMON.
The December 2010 issue of National Geographic
67) contains an interesting analysis of the archeological evidence for
the biblical account of David and Solomon. The author, Robert Draper,
interviewed the major archeologists studying the ruins throughout the
Middle East, and asked for their assessment of what the evidence shows.
In our May/June 2010 issue (page 15) we had an article by Dr. Lydia
Evdoxiadi Verniory on the archeological claims about the historicity of
the Bible, and this National
article shows how true Dr. Verniory’s statements are.
This article shows how far apart the experts are, and sheds some
interesting light on the conditions that existed during the time of the
biblical characters we read about in the Bible. Those with an interest
in archeology and the Bible will find this National Geographic
article to be
IN RELIGIOUS KNOWLEDGE STUDY.
In September 2010 a study was
released showing that atheists/agnostics know more about religion than
believers do. We had a comment about that study in our January/February
2011 “News and Notes.” As researchers have looked at the study
conducted by “The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life,” they have
found the numbers are misleading. The study gave 3,412 people a series
of 32 basic questions about religion. Atheists/agnostics got an average
of 20.9 right while the average of religious groups was 16 with some as
low as 11. We now know that the atheist/agnostic group was very small,
only 212 people, and the sample was drawn from well-educated groups
with many of them involved in organized atheism. If someone were to ask
me to get 212 people who believe in God to take the test I can
guarantee an average of 25 by choosing people in apologetics and who
have strong educational backgrounds. When the Pew Forum “did a more
stringent analysis, correcting for respondents’ education and
income … there was no significant difference between believers and
nonbelievers.” It is the same old story that “figures don’t lie, but
liars figure.” Source: Scientific
, December 2010, page 31.
magazine reported in their November 29, 2010 issue (page 17) that 788
English language science papers have been retracted since the year
2000, and 30 percent of those — some 236 papers —were retracted because
of fraud. The rest were retracted because of errors. Our society seems
to feel that scientific research is beyond corruption or error, but
anything done by humans will have error and fraud involved in it, and
learning not to trust the fallible work of humans is an important
survival skill in all areas of life.
Even though marijuana is illegal by
federal law, 13 states have established programs for its use, and
369,634 people are users. Previous surveys have shown that 16.7 million
people use marijuana at least once a month in this country. Because it
has been shown to relieve nausea and pain, the medicinal use of this
drug has accelerated its acceptance. The facts are that there are two
agents in marijuana that affect humans. One is tetrahydrocannabinol
(THC) and the other is cannabidinol (CBD). THC leads to the
intoxicating component of pot and CBD gives the drug its sedating
power. THC produces paranoia and hallucinations and diminishes short
term memory. Acetaldehyde is present in marijuana just as it is in
tobacco and causes damage to the DNA and can initiate cancer. Marijuana
is addictive, but withdrawal does not cause severe withdrawal symptoms.
The question is whether the benefits of THC and CBD can be obtained
without smoking a joint, and whether legalization will solve the
problems of drug trafficking. We would suggest that just like alcohol,
marijuana should not be condoned as a recreational drug, and its
beneficial uses should be researched more fully before legalization is
implemented. Source: Time
November 22, 2010, page 30.
On January 29, 1999, the
Vatican released a book titled Of
Exorcisms and Supplications
and in November 2010, a conference
was held in Baltimore in which some 50 bishops and 60 priests were
trained in how to conduct the liturgical rite. This was done because of
“a shortage of priests who can perform the rite.” Signs of demonic
possession according to the Catholic Church, are “a violent reaction to
holy water or anything holy, speaking in a language the possessed
person doesn’t know and abnormal displays of strength.” We would
suggest that this is a misunderstanding of demonology and possession,
and that in fact demon possession of the kind described in the Bible
does not happen today. If you are interested in why we think that, you
can go to our video website at www.doesgodexist.tv and watch program
The Census of Marine Life reports in their
October 2010 summary of their study that there are roughly 250,000
species of living things in the ocean. They also state that the number
of species yet undiscovered is estimated to be over a million and could
be in the hundreds of millions. This includes microbes, and to give you
a handle on size, a cubic centimeter of sea water will usually have
roughly a million bacterial cells in it. If you added up their total
weight it would be more than 240 billion African elephants.
In January 2010 there was
an Associated Press article by Vijay Joshi in the news about violence
in Malaysia. Muslims firebombed three churches because of a court
decision allowing Christians to translate “God” as “Allah.” The Muslims
contend that “Allah is only for us,” and the trouble started when Malay
language Bibles translated “God” as “Allah.” This is interesting
because Mizrahi Jews, Bahá'ís, Eastern Orthodox
Christians, and Eastern Catholic Christians also use this Arabic word
for God. The term “Allah” is derived from a contraction of the Arabic
definite article al-
and 'il a h
(deity, god) to
al-lah meaning “the (sole) deity, God”. The word “Allah” was used by
pagan Meccans as a reference to the creator deity in pre-Islamic
Arabia. Allah was one of many gods who was said to be the creator and
the giver of rain. He was said to be have had sons and daughters. The
Hebrew words Elohim
, and Adonai
refer to functions of God
and are biblical. Elohim refers to the power and creativity of God.
Yahweh refers to God’s holiness and the promises of redemption. Adonai
refers to the ruler aspect of God. In our modern world, there are
cultural and political reasons not to use “Allah” in referring to the
God of the Bible, and the history of the word also makes it unwise.
There has been a lot of information in the
media trying to prove that abstinence education does not work when it
comes to teenagers and sex. A study by the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent
shows that abstinence education programs proved more
effective in encouraging teens to delay having sex than comprehensive
school programs that include information about safe sex and
contraceptive options. Source: Time
The Sun’s mass is two octillion tons — that is 27
zeros after the two. The earth’s mass is six octillion grams (remember
there are 453.6 grams in a pound, and 2,000 pounds in a ton). Every
second the Sun loses four million tons of mass as it is converted to
energy and radiated into space. Source: Astronomy
, October, 2009, page 16.
IS A DESTRUCTIVE LIFESTYLE.
The issue of homosexuality will
always be with us. We have tried to state the problems with
homosexuality in this journal saying it is a choice and that humans are
not robotically programmed to any behavior. We have also pointed out
that homophobic behavior is strongly condemned by scriptures and that
we are to love and support everyone, including those whose lifestyles
we do not embrace. A collection of facts on homosexual behavior is
of the facts:
- At any given time less than a third of gays and roughly half of
lesbians are living with a lover because the relationships are so short.
- In married heterosexual couples the violence rate during a one
year period is 2 percent in males and 3.2 percent in females. Studies
have shown that in homosexuals the rate of violence runs as high as 39
percent in gays and 48 percent in lesbians.
- Life expectancy in gays is significantly lower than in the
heterosexual community. The AIDS picture is changing with advances in
medicine, so numbers here are misleading as far as death is concerned,
but 82 percent of those who are HIV positive in the U.S. contracted the
virus in a homosexual relationship.
There is no question about whether the Bible
discourages homosexual relationships. We have pointed out in previous
columns that sexual abuse and the disposal of hormonal waste is a
factor in people being gay. In our opinion homosexuality is a
destructive lifestyle produced by the abuse that people have sustained
in their childhoods and possibly environmental contamination with
hormonal wastes. Those who have had this tendency pushed upon them need
our love, compassion, and support as they battle to make good choices.
In our last issue we announced the latest book by John
Clayton entitled Looking Back
history of how God used John and Phyllis Clayton from the start
of their work in 1968 when they desired to help young people with faith
problems. It follows their story until May 2008 when Phyllis finished
her journey in this life. The book can be ordered online at doesgodexist.tv
, by calling
574-514-1400, or by mailing a check for $3.00 to John Clayton at 1555
Echo Valley Dr., Niles MI 49120.