--Reference: The Week, February 18, 2005.
THE SHROUD AGAIN. Some myths will never die, and the Shroud of Turin seems to be one of them. We have seen several articles in the papers and news magazines claiming that Dr. Raymond N. Rogers has shown that carbon dating on the shroud was on a patch that nuns had woven into the fabric of it, and that vanillin levels put the age of the Shroud at a much older time. We have seen denials of any weaving of patches, but the main point is that the carbon dating was just one of many evidences that the shroud was not the burial cloth of Jesus. Church records, the size of the man on the shroud, and the method of wrapping shown on the shroud (which contradicts the biblical account) all support the carbon dating of 1260 to 1390.
BIBLICAL EDOM DISCOVERED. Critics of the Bible try very hard to discount any historical reference they find. Biblical passages claim that the Edomites were major players with statements that claim that Edomite kings ruled before there was any king in Israel (Genesis 36:31). There are also conflicts between Saul and David and the Edomites (see Numbers 20:18; 1 Samuel 14; 2 Kings 14; and 2 Samuel 8:12-14). All of these have been targets of skeptics for years with claims that no significant states existed in the region until the eighth century B.C. Thomas Levy has discovered strong evidence of Edomite communities flourishing during the twelfth century B.C. in smelting sites in Jordan. The site is at Khirbat en-Nahas (Arabic for ruins of copper) and has four layers including a fortress. The lesson of the past is that eventually archeological evidence supports most of the biblical historical account, and this is another example of that.
--Reference: Bible Review, Spring 2005, pages 8.
ATHEIST CHANGES VIEWS ON REPARATIVE THERAPY FOR HOMOSEXUALS. One of the major issues involved in homosexuality is whether or not homosexuality is a clinical disorder. If it is, then therapy should be possible to help gays leave homosexuality, and if it is not then no change of sexual preference should be attempted according to psychologists. Dr. Robert Spitzer, an atheist, was a major proponent of the argument that gays were not a clinical disorder as early as 1973. Dr. Spitzer is a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and is chief of the New York State Psychiatric Institute's Biometric Department. Dr. Spitzer began interviewing homosexuals who had changed their sexual orientation and became convinced that change is possible. He has outraged the gay community and some colleagues by his change of views, but he is functioning on what he has seen. We have repeatedly maintained in this journal that homosexuality is primarily a function of abuse of one kind or another, and that change is possible. If you are interested in studies on this subject we would recommend that you contact Exodus International at PO Box 540119, Orlando, FL 32854 or go to exodusnorthamerica.org on the web.
--Reference: Christianity Today, April 2005, page 94.
COMMUNICATION VERSES LANGUAGE BATTLE CONTINUES. One of the suggestions we have made over the years in this journal is that man does things which cannot be attributed to intelligence or brain function, and that this is evidence of man's spiritual component which we refer to as the soul. Why does man create art, music, poetry, and literature? Why does man feel guilt, sympathy, and compassion? Behaviorists try desperately to attribute these characteristics to intelligence and brain function in man, but most of their claims turn out to be anthropomorphic interpretations rather than evidence supported observations. One of the most interesting articles on this subject in recent years is an article titled "A Telling Difference" by Stephen Anderson (Natural History, November 2004). Anderson does a wonderful job of pointing out the difference between language and communication. He shows that animals have communication skills and then points out the problems in trying to affix language to animal behavior. There is a superb treatment of the claims of Koko, the gorilla with an I.Q. of 95 that has been trained by Penny Patterson. We recommend this article as a fair and objective treatment of this subject for those interested in it, but it will not answer all the questions by any means.
STUDY SHOWS TELEVANGELISTS GETTING BUM RAP. We have been highly critical of televangelists in this journal, and have deplored the push for money by the evangelical networks as well as various ministries. A study from Grand View College in Des Moines, Iowa has shown that we are probably unfair in that criticism. Commercial television devotes 28 percent of their time to fundraising and promotion of products and programs. Studies of the televangelists show that they spend only 17 percent on the same things. Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, and Paul Crouch spent less than two percent of their air time fundraising. Trinity Broadcasting Network spent six percent for the year of 2004. There are many things we do not appreciate about the approaches made by televangelists, but the claim that they spend most of their time on begging for money is unfounded.
--Reference: Christianity Today, March 2005, page 21.
SECULAR COLLEGE INROADS BEING MADE. We do a majority of our lectureships on state university campuses, and over the years we have had a lot of interaction with students concerning moral issues. As a graduate of and frequent visitor to Indiana University in Bloomington, I have had a close connection with one of the main party schools in the country (rated as the nation's number 15 party school and number 5 in the category "lots of beer"). What I have seen is that many Christian fellowships are thriving on these campuses, and drawing large numbers of students. Several of them have also started houses where students can move in and live in a place where drinking, drugs, and free sexual expression are not allowed (Time, May 9, 2005, page 48). This may give those frustrated with America's headlong plunge into immorality a little encouragement.
DINOSAUR FINDS ACCELERATE.
It is difficult for a bimonthly journal to keep up with all of the new
discoveries being made about dinosaurs. In April 2005, it was announced
that dinosaur eggs were found inside their mother that had shells, the
first time that has happened. Other finds have been made that show that
many dinosaurs had a feathery type covering on their bodies that may
have been for warmth. Bird fossils have been found of an ancient bird
that appears to have been able to get up and walk and feed itself
immediately after hatching. We will attempt to develop these announced
findings as more data becomes available.
--References: Science News, October 23, 2004, page 261; April 16, 2005, page 243.
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