Like the old set, these videos can be borrowed or purchased at our expense. The cost of the series will be what it has been in the past--$50ppd. for the entire set with a teacher's guide. To borrow the videos, send the $50 as a deposit, and we will refund your money when the videos are returned. Send your request and deposit to Does God Exist?, PO Box 2704, South Bend, IN 46680-2704. (Make check payable to Dowagiac Church of Christ.)
Reminder of Does God Exist? Opportunities. We want to remind our readers that the Summer Seminar program at Rochester College in Detroit will be held June 10-14. This is an in-depth college-level program on content and applications of our program. We must have you registered to have materials for you and a place for you to sit. You do not have to be at every session, but we to need to know if you are coming for logistical reasons. Contact us at 1555 Echo Valley Drive, Niles Mi. 49120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, if you are applying for one of our Does God Exist? scholarships, we need to have your essay and application by June 1 for the current scholarship.
Koran vs. New Testament Issue Goes On. The continuing saga of terrorism and its connections with Islam goes on and on with the media trying to portray all religious views as of equal value. In Newsweek, February 11, 2002, page 51-57, is one of the more honest presentations of some of the differences. Mohammed is correctly identified in the article as a military commander, and the Koran is correctly identified as having statements calling its followers to violence. One of the best statements is this one: "And while the Crusaders may have fought with the cross on their shields, they did not--could not--cite words from Jesus to justify their slaughters." This is usually responded to by saying that Mohammed lived in violent times, but Jesus lived during the Roman occupation of all of Palestine with conditions at least as violent and as destructive as in Mohammed's day; and yet Jesus told his followers to "turn the other cheek," "go the second mile," "live at peace with all men," and, in fact, told Peter to put his sword away. There is a striking difference between the teachings of Jesus Christ and all the other religious alternatives that are out there. It is tragic that those who claim to be followers of Jesus have not done a better job of following his teachings.
The Water Planet. The Bible clearly places great emphasis on the role of water in the formation of the earth and its bio-systems. "The spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" in Genesis begins with a great emphasis on water and its role in living things. Eldridge Moore, a geologist on the University of California-Davis faculty, has provided evidence that at one time as much as 95% of the earth's surface may have been covered with water. It will be interesting to see if this new evidence stands up and that a better understanding of the history of the planet may not show even more connections to the Genesis record than now exists. --Reference: US News and World Report, January 29/February 4, 2002, page 37.
Post-Polio Syndrome. One of the programs that we have been involved in for many years in this work is helping people deal with tragedy and hardship in life. Our own experience with a child with multiple birth defects and with my wife's juvenile diabetes has shown us how much help such an outreach can be. Ralph Scott (191 Double H Dr., Jasper, AL 35504) has opened our eyes to a new problem that many of us old-timers can remember well--polio. Ralph has had after-effects of polio since he was 15 years old and has made a ministry out of it. It turns out that even some people who never knew they had polio are now finding that they had a non-active form, and they are now having post-polio syndrome effects. You can write Ralph if you want help or information, but he tells me there is a good publication called Polio Network News, 4207 Lindell Blvd. # 110, St. Louis, MO 63108-2915, phone 314-534-0475 and on the web at www.post-polio.org.
Dead Sea Scrolls Finally Out. Fifty-four years after they were first discovered, the publication of the entire texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls is finally completed. A group of scholars had kept the full text locked away for decades, but they are now out and available. There are 900 scrolls and commentaries written in Hebrew and Aramaic on more than 15,000 leather and papyrus documents. Reading the reviews of the scholars doing the work on these scrolls does not suggest that there is anything that is going to have a negative effect on the Bible or affect the validity of Jesus as the Son of God, but they are very useful in understanding the conditions and activities of various groups during the time in which Jesus lived.--Reference: "Religion Today Summary News," via Pulpit Helps, February, 2002, page 30.
What Clones? A major news story came out not long ago claiming that a company called Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) had cloned a human being. It turns out that what the researchers for the company had done was inject cumulus cells into eggs that had had their nuclei removed. Two of the many cells injected divided and became four cells and one became six cells. Other scientists have pointed out that DNA from the cumulus cells were not involved or giving instructions to make protein for embryonic development; so from a scientific viewpoint, this was not a clone. A rather scathing denial that cloning has been accomplished was in Scientific American, February 2, 2002, page 18-19, if you are interested. The important issue here, however, is not whether cloning of a human has been done, but the obvious point that it probably will be done in the future. We would like to restate the point that this is not a denial of the design of the cosmos or life and that the spiritual makeup of all humans regardless of how they are conceived is not affected in the least.
Atheists Writing Bible School Literature. Over the years, we have subscribed to a magazine put out by the National Center for Science Education (NSCE). When I first subscribed, it was because, as a public school science teacher, I thought an organization like this would help me be a better science teacher. When I got the first issue, I realized that what this group consisted of was an anti-creationist group. Because there are things about denominational creationism that I believe oppose the teachings of the Bible, I stayed on their mailing list just to follow what was happening in their efforts. The leading spokesperson is Dr. Eugenie Scott who is an eloquent spokesperson and capable leader. The NSCE has become more and more atheistic through the years and has kept increasing their attacks on religion and the Bible as they have gained more money and the support of many people who are not atheists, but who realize the fallacies of denominational creationism. The NSCE has now released a Bible School Curriculum to help churches do a better job of teaching evolution. It uses the PBS video on evolution and will certainly try to promote a philosophical, materialist agenda. We will get a copy and tell you more about it later, but our readers should be aware that it will be marketed as a Bible School Bible Science Breakthrough.
Out-of-Wedlock Data. Of all births in the United States, 33% are to women who are not married. That compared to 36% in Canada, 41% in France, 39% in England, and 55% in Sweden. In Japan, the percentage is 1%, in Spain 15%, and in Italy 8%. One interesting statistic is that the U.S. leads the world in teenage births with 29% of all unmarried births being women age 15-19. In second place are Great Britain and Canada at 15%. Italy is at 10%, Germany at 9% and France at 4%. All kinds of speculations can be given on these numbers, but beliefs of the culture obviously have a huge affect. In Japan, unwed mothers are stigmatized with the government even refusing benefits.
--Reference: Scientific American, January, 2002, page 24.
More Numbers. The cost and extent of alcohol and other addictions continues to stagger research gatherers. Here are some 2001 numbers:
Costs per year: alcohol--$184 billion, illegal drugs--$143 billion, tobacco--$138 billion.
U.S. deaths: tobacco--430,000, alcohol--110,000, cocaine--4,864, heroin--4,820, tranquilizers--2,038, antidepressants--1,745.
Number of people addicted to: tobacco--65.5 million, alcohol--15.4 million, cocaine--3.3 million.
--Reference: Popular Science April, 2002, page 51-55.
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