The cohabitation epidemic and its effects. Fifty percent of all Americans age 35 to 39 live with someone outside of marriage. The numbers have risen from one million in 1970 to 11 million in 2000. Seventy percent of all Americans have been impacted by divorce--either their parents or their own, and the media and entertainment industries have attacked the institution of marriage in every way imaginable. Dr. Neil Clark Warren who is a psychologist and author on this subject has these and other interesting statistics on the subject in a number of books and magazine articles. Here are some interesting facts on cohabitation:
The Bible and its plan for marriage are not out of date, but address the most fundamental needs of all men and women. The more data becomes available, the more obvious it is that in relationships we "reap what we sow." --Source: "The Cohabitation Epidemic" by Dr. Neil Clark Warren, Focus on the Family, June/July 2003, page 10-11.
Stonehenge mystery solved. Psychics and proponents of alien visitation to the earth have long used Britain's Stonehenge at Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England to support their claims. The basic argument is that the 80 massive bluestones weighing up to four tons each that make up the monument are not found anywhere in the area. Archeologist Timothy Darvill has reported in the magazine British Archeology that he has found the quarry from which the stones were taken. It is found in the Preseli Hills in Wales where there is a quarry containing numerous pillars just like the ones at Stonehenge. The pillars have the exact same chemical make up as the ones at Stonehenge and have clear signs of having been worked by human hands. The dating of the pillars and Stonehenge are also the same (2500 B.C.) and the moving of large stones was common at that time--by water and by simple machines over land. There is no evidence of alien or supernatural forces being involved in any of the places like Easter Island or Stonehenge. Ancient man was not stupid and accomplished many interesting feats in all areas of endeavor. --Reference: The Week, July 29, 2005, page 20.
Mexican footprints. We have had a number of questions sent to us by people who saw news articles about a new find of human footprints in Mexico that have been dated to 40,000 years ago. (See Natural History, October 2005, page 11, and The Week, July 29, 2005, page 20.) The first point that needs to be made here is that the footprints are across volcanic ash, which lends itself to potassium argon dating. The problem is that this dating method has many problems--leaching of the parent rock in wet climates, and a long half life making it hard to use on something like a 40,000 year old sample. The bigger question is why this is an issue. The Bible does not tell us when God created man or how old the earth is, so if humans walked in the Americas 40,000 years ago, that is not a biblical issue. It is a problem to classical anthropology which has always maintained that man came to this continent 11,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. Like any scientific question, data will eventually resolve this anthropological issue, but it is not a biblical issue unless your denominational creed teaches a 6,000 year age to the cosmos. That is a denominational problem, not a biblical one.
Alcohol misinformation. We continue to see information in the media about the supposed beneficial affects of drinking. We suspect the material comes from the liquor industry, but it is important to know the facts. A Harvard study linked drinking wine to age-related memory impairment, and a Japanese study related beer drinking to preventing cancer and that has been all over the media. The fact is that nonalcoholic beer and wine produce the same effects, and the beneficial agent in these beverages is not the alcohol. A recent study at the University of Mississippi has shown that alcohol speeds up tumor growth by stimulating blood vessel formation and an Italian study has shown that as little as 25 grams of alcohol a day increases the risk of cancers of the digestive tract, larynx, intestines, liver, and breast. The Lancet, a British medical journal reports that four percent of "the global burden of disease" can be blamed on alcohol--about the same as tobacco. We maintain that alcohol is the most destructive recreational drug known to man, and any attempt to justify its use as a health beneficiary is simply misinformation. --Reference: Discover, August 2005, page 9.
Jehucal find confounds biblical minimalists. There are many people who spend a great percentage of their time attempting to prove the Bible wrong. One of the problems of such an attempt is that new data keeps showing that the Bible is correct. Recently excavators in Jerusalem found a hardened clay seal with the imprint "Jehucal, son of Shelemiah, son of Shevi." Jeremiah 37:3 and 38:1-4 mention this man and describe his role. The claim that this part of the Bible was made up by writers centuries later does not stand up in the face of continued research and study. --Reference: The Bible and Archeology at www.ucg.org/booklets.
Microchips provide incredible data on birds. One of the evidences of design in the creation is the incredible ability of many animals to migrate huge distances. The navigational abilities of many living things amaze those who study them, and now the use of microchips has given more data that is incredible. In the San Diego Union-Tribune (December 23, 2005) is some new data that challenges the imagination. A Christmas Island frigate bird that was studied flew a 26-day journey of 2,500 miles from Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean south of Jakarta to Sumatra, Borneo, and back. The world record, by the way, is a 46-day round-the-world trip by a gray-headed albatross. The more we study the design of the navigational system of these wonderful birds, the more difficult it is to believe that such systems could come about by chance.
More Britons believe in ghosts than believe in God. A British entertainment retailer ChoicesUK conducted a survey of the beliefs of British people that is interesting. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed believed in ghosts, 55 percent believed in a God, 26 percent in UFOs, and 19 percent in reincarnation. When we have done lectureships in England, we have heard repeated references to the notion that we are living in the "post-Christian era." Social pressure might make such a survey less meaningful in the United States, but we would suggest the numbers would be comparable.
Atheists continue to pound away in courts. The ACLU and Michael Newdow, a California atheist, continue to file suits to remove any notion of God from public display and functions. Newdow is the atheist who attempted to get "Under God" taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance. He filed a lawsuit November 17, 2005 in Sacramento to get "In God We Trust" taken off currency. The challenge is that these things violate the First Amendment's religion clauses, which ban government establishment of religion and infringement of the free exercise of religion. The suit also says that the motto violates Newdow's free speech and equal protection rights. Newdow has also challenged the use of prayer in presidential inaugurations. Newdow is a doctor who has gotten a law degree, so he can make his challenges without much monetary need. The well-funded ACLU has sent out mass mailings soliciting money to fight abstinence programs and any relief work done by faith based organizations. You can see their agenda at www.aclu.org. on the web. It seems our country is destined to become an atheist state as these voices and extremist religious groups battle and get media attention. The good work being done by Christians, and the fact that thinking believers in God want separation of church and state as much as anyone, seems to be something that is not made public and gets no publicity in our media.
Reminders. If you want to go on the Canyonlands trip this year, you need to contact us immediately. Call 269-687-9426 or e-mail email@example.com for more information.
We also want to remind our readers that this journal is available on cassette for the visually impaired.
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