“Out of the Body
Experiences” (OBE) continue to make the news now and then. Recent
studies of the anesthetic ketamine have shown that the drug causes
feelings of detachment from one’s body and interferes with memory.
This is done by cutting the neurotransmitter glutamate’s ability
to energize certain areas of the brain by restricting transmission
of the brain chemical. Ketamine is a “club drug” and has been used
in the drug culture for a long time. It is becoming more and more
clear that OBE claims can be drug related and lack spiritual
connections or meanings. Source: Science News
, March 26, 2011 page 9.
When the solar system was formed,
massive amounts of energy were used to forge the planet we now
live on as well as the other members of our solar system. We have
all seen the molten material thrown out of a blast furnace as it
produces iron-related materials. It appears that a similar splash
must have been involved in the creation of the galaxies. We have
now seen planets that have apparently been thrown out of their
original solar systems and are drifting free in space. These
wandering planets are very large Jupiter-like objects, but as
instruments get better there may be earth-sized planets found as
well. Astronomers are trying to discover what kind of process
could do such a thing, and how a system like ours could ever
become stable in such an environment. Source: The Week
, June 3, 2011, page
21, and South Bend Tribune
May 21, 2011, page A5.
ACLU CONTINUES IRRATIONAL SUITS.
Sometimes you get the feeling that whoever makes the decisions for
the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) starts out by looking
for the most absurd case they can imagine to deliberately offend
moral and religious people. The Berkeley County Jail in South
Carolina is being sued by the ACLU because the jail refuses to
allow the inmates to have pornography. The lack of practicality is
unbelievable in this case, but the nationwide implications are
enormous. Source: The Week
June 10, 2011, page 6.
STARVATION AND WASTE.
We have maintained
in this journal for many years that God has given us the capacity
to feed every man, woman, and child on the planet. There have been
attacks on the Bible for asserting that man should multiply and
fill the earth. The claim is that this is what caused our global
food problems. We are not saying that we should not control human
population, but we believe that the planet has the capacity to
support everyone living on it today or in the very near future.
The United Nations has recently issued a report stating that one
third of the food intended for human consumption is lost or
wasted — some 1.3 billion metric tons. The problem is one we have
created by our actions, not by overpopulation.
, May 30,
2011, page 9.
We must be careful about dietary claims
of any kind, but especially when those claims come from groups
promoting a certain religious view. There are some writers who
claim that because we eat synthetics we cannot live as long as
Methuselah, and that chemical substitutes like aspartame sweetener
are causing every ailment you can imagine. There are people who
have a genetic disorder called phenylketonuria (PKU), and because
they cannot process phenylalanine used in making aspartame they
should avoid it. Claims that aspartame metabolizes into
methanol, aspartic acid, and phenylalanine are true, but a cup of
tomato juice produces six times as much methanol as a cup of diet
soda and the methanol breaks down into water and carbon dioxide.
Aspartic acid and phenylalanine are amino acids we need to
survive. What goes into our minds is much more likely to cause
problems than what an artificial sweetener might do to us. Be
careful about foods, but do not buy into every claim made. Source:
16, number 3, page 4.
OF CARBON AND DESIGN.
How do you produce a carbon atom?
The classic answer is by fusing three helium atoms, and this is
proposed to take place only in the cores of helium-rich stars.
What is needed is an energy-rich form of carbon produced by three
very loosely linked helium nuclei. This makes a diffuse carbon
nucleus called the Hoyle state carbon, and can only exist with
other forms of carbon. Since 1954 physicists have been working on
this process to calculate what energy is required for the carbon
nucleus to exist. In the May 10, 2011, issue of Scientific Computing
report was issued by the University of Bonn, Ruhr-Universitat
Bochum, North Carolina State University, and Forschungszentrum
Julich stating that the Hoyle state had been computed. If there is
a specific energy for the carbon nucleus to exist, then life is
limited even more than what was previously thought because a very
specific environment and process would have to be present to
produce the carbon. We have talked in this journal many times
about environmental issues in space required for life, but this is
a nuclear question and may be the best evidence yet that life
cannot be explained by chance processes. Source:
NEW DATA ON SUN.
The design of stars to
provide the energies needed to support life is amazing. Recent
data on the sun shows that the amount of hydrogen that is
converted to helium every second is 600 million tons. That is
equivalent to the weight of all the coal burned in the United
States in seven months. We have been provided with enough energy
to supply our needs, we just need to learn how to use it better.
2011, page 12.
SEARCH FOR THE HISTORICAL ADAM.”
This is the cover story
of the June 2011 issue of Christianity
(page 22). The basic question is whether genome
studies have proven that man came from earlier animals and not
from one man and one woman. The controversy has started with
Francis Collins and his BioLogos Foundation which is dedicated to
promoting theistic evolution. The genome of chimps was mapped in
2005 and when compared with humans is 95 to 99 percent a perfect
match depending on what factors are included. Collins and his
associates feel that is enough to say that we and the chimps have
a common ancestor, and the Christianity
article has theologians arguing about what that
means. We have pointed out in this journal numerous times that
what defines man is not his body. The biblical definition of man
is that creature uniquely created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26 – 27
). This has
nothing to do with how the human body looks or even how God
created it. What is it about man that allows us to worship God,
create art, express ourselves in music and poetry, feel guilt, be
sympathetic, and to be able to reason? We are not 95 percent the
same as chimps in these features. The blueprints for the basement
of my house and for my neighbor’s swimming pool are almost
identical. To demand that my basement evolved from an ancient
swimming pool is to force everything to be explained in a physical
way and would make no sense to anyone. In the same way the
biblical message of God’s creation of man is not primarily a
physical event. God created man from the dust of the earth and
placed within man and woman an eternal soul that is in His image.
Demanding that God must have followed a physical human methodology
is an exercise in futility.
MINIMALISM IN TROUBLE.
For a very long time there has
been a constant struggle among scholars between those who thought
the Bible was true and accurate and those who thought it was
unreliable both factually and historically. Archaeological
scholars who believe that much of the Hebrew Bible is merely myths
written at a much later date are referred to as biblical
minimalists. The latest wave of challenges to the Bible came about
in the 1980s with some scholars claiming that ancient Israel never
existed and that the stories of David and Solomon were myths
unsupported by historical evidence. It is obvious that such
viewpoints are used by atheists and skeptics to undermine the
faith of the public, and in the past five years we have seen a
growth in such attempts by people like Richard Dawkins. In the
May/June 2011 issue of Biblical
(page 46), there is an article by
Yosef Garfinkel, who is the Yigael Yadin Chair of Archaeology at
the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The article is titled “The
Birth and Death of Biblical Minimalism.” The bottom line is that
new archeological finds and more detailed studies of ancient finds
have undercut the position of the biblical minimalists so badly
that such a viewpoint cannot be seriously considered. Garfinkel
says that the “mythological paradigm was nothing but a modern
MISCARRIAGES AND DEPRESSION.
A study of over thirteen thousand women who lost a child during
pregnancy reported in the British
Journal of Psychiatry
has shown a high level of anxiety
and depression in the women even when carrying another child to
successful birth. The application to women having abortions should
be obvious. Source: Science
, April 9, 2011, page 13.
OF A CHURCH IN AMERICA.
Ram Cnaan from the University of
Pennsylvania is a nonbeliever who has been studying the value of
urban churches to the cities in which they are located. We have
long maintained that people who suggest taxing churches do not
understand how much the Church saves the community in counseling,
crime prevention, alcohol and drug prevention, community services,
suicide prevention, education, death arrangements, and employment.
Cnaan’s finds placed the average annual value for an urban church
at almost half-a-million dollars. He plans to release a detailed
report on a study he made of twelve churches in Philadelphia. One
church in that city had an annual value to the economy of more
than six million dollars. That economic value to the community is
more than 10 times the church’s annual budget. This points out
that the tax issue is more complex than most people realize.
Source: Christianity Today
April 2011, page 9.
INSTITUTE TURNS OFF E.T. SENSORS.
Lack of funds has
caused the SETI Institute (Search for Extra Terrestrial
Intelligence) in Mountain View, California, to turn off their
receivers that are designed to search for radio signals from
intelligent life on other planets. Along with putting the existing
receivers into “hibernation,” the plans for 42 more dishes at a
cost of $50 million has been put on hold. On their website they
are asking for donations to “bring the Allen Telescope Array (ATA)
back online and resume scanning the skies for intelligent life!”
They say that, “This is a journey that will last our lifetimes, as
we continually strive to get closer to answering the kinds of
questions that may one day change everything about our world.”
Since its founding in 1984 the SETI Institute has been listening
for intelligent life in space, but has found no evidence. We want
to say again that the Bible is silent on the question of whether
there is intelligent life elsewhere in the cosmos. Source: San Jose
(CA) Mercury News
, April 26, 2011.
The Roman Catholic Church has released The New American Bible
is said to contain reordered passages and language improvements so
that it is closer to the original text and better reflects modern
usage. Zondervan has also released a new version of the New International Version
which has been the most popular translation among Protestants.
However, the new NIV is meeting resistance among many conservative
Christians because of it efforts to be “gender neutral.”
ATHEISTS ARE AT IT AGAIN.
In the March/April
issue of this journal we reported on a billboard placed
by atheists in the New York City area at Christmas time. It showed
a manger scene with the caption, “You know it’s a myth — This
Season Celebrate Reason.” Then in the last issue (July/August 2011
we reported that atheists in New York were demanding that the city
change the name of a street honoring seven firefighters who were
killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The name of the street near
the fire station had been changed to “Seven in Heaven Way.” The
atheists were saying that name violated the “separation of church
and state” by using the word “heaven.” The president of the
atheist organization was quoted as saying, “There should be no
signage or displays of a religious nature in the public domain...”
The reason he gave was “We’ve concluded as atheist there is no
heaven and there’s no hell.” Now the New York atheists have filed
a lawsuit against a display at the 9/11 memorial where the World
Trade Center once stood. The item in question is two intersecting
steel beams about 17-feet long that were found intact in the ashes
and debris left at Ground Zero. The beams, of course, form the
shape of a cross, and that is why the atheists object. Joe
Daniels, the president of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum said that
the cross is “an important part of our commitment to bring back
the authentic physical reminders that tell the history of 9/11 in
a way nothing else could.” Jordan Sekulow of the American Center
of Law and Justice pointed out that the atheist group has no
objection to Muslims building a huge mosque near the Ground Zero
site which is being endorsed by government officials. Dave
Silverman, president of American Atheists, said about the cross
that it is “presented as a reminder that their god, who couldn’t
be bothered to stop the Muslim terrorists or prevent 3,000 people
from being killed in his name, cared only enough to bestow upon us
some rubble that resembles a cross.” We would have to remind the
atheists that God gives people free-will to act against His will,
by killing innocent people, by blaspheming and denying His
existence, and even by blaspheming and killing His only Son who
came to redeem us from the sin of wrong choices. Thank God for the
“rubble” of a wooden cross 2000 years ago. Source: FoxNews.com,
July 27, 2011, and OneNewsNow.com, July 28, 2011.