from Does God Exist? September/October 2010
THE HISTORY OF BIRDS.
and atheists have tried to convince the public that the Genesis account
is inconsistent with the evidence. One of the points we have tried to
make in this journal is that the SEQUENCE of life in the Genesis
account is very accurate and consistent with modern data. The biblical
sequence suggests that plants were the first form of life to exist on
the earth and that they came in a sequence of their own — grasses,
herbs, and flowering trees. The first animal life is portrayed as being
marine creatures. The same verse that states this also lists birds as
being the next item in the sequence, followed by mammals. You can argue
about time issues, but the sequence of life is accurate, with man being
last in the list of life forms. In Scientific
American magazine, July 2010, page 71, there is an article
“Winged Victory” in which evidence is given that modern birds are
identified in Cretaceous rocks. This would put them on earth at the
time of the dinosaurs. A good picture of the bones of the extinct,
prehistoric bird Vegavis
showing modern features is included. The Bible
is not inaccurate in its listing and the sequence of animals given is
correct, but incomplete. As more data is gained, the integrity of the
biblical record is sure to grow, although human theories about the
details of the history of life will continue to generate controversy.
NEANDERTHALS CONFIRMED AS HUMAN. Over the past ten years there have been scientists who have attempted to prove that Neanderthal man was a different species than are we. Recent studies of DNA from bones found in caves in Croatia have given mitochondrial DNA sequences previously not available for Neanderthal genomes. Using African and non-African gene sequences, researchers were able to show that 10 out of 12 variants in human populations have come from Neanderthals. They have also shown that Neanderthal sequences did not match Europeans well but did match present-day people from France, Papua New Guinea, and China. The Neanderthals were a race of human but not a species separate from ourselves. We are truly all of “one blood” with a common origin in one man and one woman — Adam and Eve. Sources: Science News, June 5, 2010, page 5, and Scientific American, July 2010, page 18.
FORGERY TRIAL ENDS. For the
years a trial has been going on in a Jerusalem courtroom with the
government of Israel spending millions of dollars and generating 11,000
pages of testimony from 130 witnesses and over 300 exhibits. The
purpose of the trial has been to prove that Oded Golan and Robert
Deutsch forged many archeological finds including the widely publicized
bone box inscribed with the name of James. The consensus is that the
government failed to prove its case, but experts believe that the
number of forgeries that are in various museums is huge. The
implications of all of this are that claims of historical documentation
of the Bible or denial of what the Bible says will never be able to be
used effectively. Between the greed and politics involved, artifacts
will not be able to give any final answers to the big questions.
Source: Biblical Archaeology Review,
2010, page 16.
DALE MANOR ARCHEOLOGY SITE. Also in the Biblical Archaeology Review on the same page as the above note is an article about Dale Manor, who wrote several articles for our journal many years ago. Dale has constructed a 35-by-25-yard site near Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, to train students in how to do archeological research. Dale now has his doctorate in Near Eastern archaeology and has received recognition for his work.
YOUNG ADULTS — LESS RELIGIOUS, JUST AS SPIRITUAL. A study of 35,000 people by the University of Chicago has shown that they are less religious but just as spiritual as previous generations. Twenty-six percent of ages 21 to 30 say they have no religious affiliation, as opposed to less than 10 percent of ages 55 and older. Forty percent of ages 21 to 30 say religion is important in their lives, and 41 percent pray daily. Those numbers are basically the same as the older group. Fifty-three percent say they are certain that God exists, which is again about the same as the older group. The bottom line is that organized religion and churches in general are not meeting the needs of the younger people in this country, but they are still searching and open to learning about God. We would suggest that the failure of churches to address major questions in apologetics, is catalyzing the lack of participation in church work and activities. Source: USA Today, February 17, 2010, page 10B
DINOSAUR EXTINCTION BY ASTEROID ACCEPTED. One of the main issues in Darwinian evolution is the assumptions made about earth history by naturalists. That assumption is that no process has ever operated in the past on this planet that is not operational today. In 1980 Luis and Walter Alvarez provided evidence that an asteroid struck the earth and the aftermath of that collision wiped out the dinosaurs. Many naturalists have denied such an explanation, because it is not happening today and would be fatal to some theories. A team of 45 internationally known scientists was assembled to study the evidence and report to the scientific community on the results. Their conclusion reported in Science (March 5, 2010) confirms that an asteroid collision “shrouded the planet in darkness and caused a global winter, killing off many species … .” The evidence is too strong to deny, but those who wish to explain everything in earth’s history by natural processes will almost surely continue to deny it. Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 5, 2010, page 6A.
CLOSING DOWN BIBLE STUDIES. One of the things that has been going on for some time throughout the United States has been that some cities have tried to shut down Bible studies within the city limits. The problem is not the content of the studies, but concerns about the tax status of the buildings where Bible studies are held. If a building is used for Bible studies, it can be called a “church” and churches are tax exempt. To keep the buildings on the tax roles some cities have tried to outlaw Bible studies. In the past few months Gilbert, Arizona, and Rancho Cucamonga, California, have gotten media attention in this issue. In past years Los Angeles and Chicago have had issues along these lines that we have reported in this column. It should be pretty obvious that it would be very easy for such a ruling to be misused, and there is some evidence this is happening in the two cases we have referred to. Source: WorldNetDaily (www.wnd.com), Wednesday, March 17, 2010.
DOES GOD EXIST? AT APOLOGETICS CONFERENCE. June 11–13, 2010, The Does God Exist? program worked with the Apologetics Research Society at a conference at Concordia University in Irving, California. The directors of this group, John Oakes and Foster Stanback, are men we have worked with in the past in a number of different places. Douglas Jacoby, who has had debates with Michael Shermer and has done many apologetic presentations, was also on the program. Classes were held by experts in a wide variety of fields covering everything from quantum mechanics to anthropology. We did two classes and a general session in the evening on “Why I Left Atheism.” On Saturday night there was a debate forum with four different views of evolution from a Christian perspective, and we participated in that presenting a design approach. The speakers in these sessions were PhDs (with the exception of your author), and the studies were in-depth and well presented. This is an organization with huge potential to help in the battles against atheism and naturalism. Their Web site is evidenceforchristianity.org, and they have a wide range of publications and videos that can be used to help local work.
STEPHEN HAWKING AND ALIENS. We
emphasized many times in our materials that the Bible does not say that
this planet on which we live is necessarily the only place where God
has seen fit to create life. If there is life in outer space, God
created it — so if life is discovered, do not throw your Bible away. In
a Discovery Channel program titled “Into the Universe” Stephen Hawking
warns scientists to “think very carefully about whether we want to
broadcast our existence to a potentially hostile universe.” His point
is that if aliens exist, and if they function by the alien guiding
principle of survival of the fittest, they would be “looking to conquer
and colonize whatever planets they can reach.” That is a logical
evolutionary conclusion. We would suggest they might also ask “Has
Jesus been here yet?” and proceed to tell us why we should follow His
teachings. Source: USA Today,
April 27, 2010, page 7D.
CHARTER SCHOOL IN A CATHOLIC CHURCH FORCE CHANGE. Indianapolis, Indiana, has approved a plan to convert St. Anthony, St. Andrew, and St. Rita Catholic schools into charter schools. This will qualify the schools to get a million dollars in state money the first year, but the churches are having to make major changes. These include removing Bibles from display tables, removing saint statues from stairwells, and removing two large limestone crosses that are part of the buildings. Catholic teachers will remain and atheists groups are upset about that. Mayor Greg Ballard is pushing to keep the schools open, but churches are going to have to weigh the cost of having their buildings used for schools supported by tax dollars. Source: Amarillo Globe-News, April 17, 2010, page 1B
NO PROTESTANT SUPREME COURT JUSTICES. Justice John Paul Stevens, the only Protestant on the Supreme Court retired. This left the court with six remaining justices who are Catholic and two who are Jewish. At the time of this writing the proposed replacement for Justice Stevens is Jewish. One might argue about how important it is to have religious diversity on the court, but it is an interesting situation. Source: Christianity Today, June 2010, page 16.
DIVORCE STATISTICS CHALLENGED. Have you heard it said that 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce? Research shows that the numbers are nowhere near that bad. It appears that the media in its desire to denigrate anything that has biblical connections has exaggerated the numbers and misrepresented what is actually happening. Statistics that have been used to get the 50 percent figure were taken from high school graduates under age 26 when they were wed in the 1980s and who were still married when they hit their twentieth wedding anniversary. College graduates who got married at the same time and were over 26 were still married in 81 percent of the cases. College graduates who got married under age 26, were still married after 20 years in 65 percent of the cases. When you factor in the people who had multiple divorces it becomes obvious that the 50 percent figure is very misleading, and in fact inaccurate. Several new books have delved into this subject, and there is a summary of the data in Time, May 14, 2010, page 47.
ADHD AND PESTICIDES. A new study reported in the journal Pediatrics and summarized in Time (May 17, 2010, page 8) says that children with high levels of certain pesticides in their urine are more likely to have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) problems than children with none of the pesticides in their urine. We have made numerous references and articles in regard to the effects of pollution of all kinds (see our cover story in the May/June 2010 issue), and the data continues to support the fact that all kinds of learning and social issues may be rooted in what man has done to his environment. The more people blame God for their problems, the more obvious it becomes as Pogo said years ago, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
THE OIL SPILL AND GOD. People sending us e-mails frequently come up with some bizarre explanations for the problems mankind faces. The BP oil spill has been explained by some as a plot to destroy America, by others a miraculous act of Satan or an act of God to punish us, and by still others as an alien plot to destroy the world starting with the U.S.A. The fact is that greed, selfishness, premature drilling in a place where conditions did not allow adequate safety, and faulty equipment are what caused the oil spill. God never promised to clean up after us when we make a mess — be it oil or immorality. When we behave irresponsibly, there are consequences that we have to deal with, and innocent people sometimes get hurt. Our hearts go out to those impacted by this tragedy, and we hope some good will come from what has happened. If nothing else, it points out the fact that fossil fuels are not the most important thing on the planet.
IS THE SUN AN ODDBALL STAR? That is the title of the lead article in the June 2010, issue of Astronomy magazine. The conclusion is “yes” it is certainly unusual in almost every way that can be measured. God gave us something special in this unique star that makes life possible.
“UNDER GOD” AND “IN GOD WE TRUST” REMAINS. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the use of the term “God” is ceremonial and patriotic, not religious and has thrown out three lawsuits filed by atheist Michael Newdow in Sacramento. This means that for now “under God” will remain in the pledge and “In God we trust” will remain on currency. The ruling does not suggest that the courts are endorsing God, but rather that the word “God” is being relegated to history and ceremony — not faith. Whether this is a victory or not can be debated, but it will satisfy many people. Source: Houston Chronicle, May 8, 2010, page 8.
SAUDI CLERICS ADVOCATE ADULT BREAST-FEEDING. In Saudi Arabia women are subject to strict Islamic law forbidding them from being with men, even in public. If a woman is alone with a man, she can be severely punished. Women in public are required to wear a black garment which covers their entire body except their feet, hands, and face. Their faces are supposed to be partially covered. The only males that women are not required to cover themselves in front of are immediate family members. Under Islamic law mothers are encouraged to breast-feed their children, and if a woman breast-feeds a child that is not her own, that child becomes a “breast milk sibling” to the woman’s children. For this reason many Saudi sisters often breast-feed their nephews so that the cousins are considered “siblings” and the girls will not have to cover their faces in front of their cousins. A man is allowed to be alone with a woman who breastfed him because Islamic law prohibits sexual relations between them. In June 2010, an official adviser of the royal court of Saudi Arabia, said in a TV interview that women who come into regular contact with unrelated men should give them breast milk to drink. In this way they will be considered relatives and they can avoid punishment when they are together. He stated that the milk should be pumped and given to the man in a glass. However, another prominent sheik specified that the man should suckle the milk directly from the woman’s breast. This whole thing became major news headlines in Saudi Arabia and just goes to show the foolishness that results when women are treated as second-class persons. By contrast the Bible and the Christian faith tells us that “there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28b). Reference: http://aolnews.com/world.
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