Return to 3rd Quarter 2020 articles.
from Does God Exist? 3rd Quarter 2020
STAY UP-TO-DATE ON NEWS AND NOTES. The stories in News and Notes are condensed from articles previously published on our website DOES GOD EXIST? TODAY. You can use the links within each of these articles to see the original posts (on the Does God Exist? Today website) for more details. (Some of the articles below have links to outside sources, which may not be available after we have published this page.) There are also many other interesting and informative articles on the Does God Exist? Today website each day. We encourage you to follow us daily on “Does God Exist? Today.” On that website you can also subscribe to our free weekly e-mail update. We call it “The Best of the Week from DOES GOD EXIST?” It contains links to the most popular of our posts on DOES GOD EXIST? TODAY and our facebook page (Facebook.com/evidence4god).
DISNEY REMOVES LGBT CONTENT — FOR RUSSIA. To remain politically correct in the United States, Disney has gone to great lengths to include LGBT content in their productions, including those designed for children. However, Disney removes LGBT content in the Russian version of children's movies to meet the government's demands. They have also done the same for Muslim countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Singapore, where a very brief lesbian kiss was edited out of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The Russian versions of Onward, Rocketman, and Avengers: Endgame were also edited for LGBT content. Interestingly, Disney removes LGBT content for Russia and Muslim countries. It seems strange that family values are emphasized by the entertainment industry for children in other countries and ignored in the United States. Source: www.texasonline.net.
EXPERT IN ALL FIELDS — OR NOT. In today's world, we see well-known atheists like evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins writing books and making speeches about God. His understanding of what God is and what the Bible actually says is full of errors. If he were not famous for his scientific knowledge in biology, his theological discussions would not get any coverage in the media.
Even Nobel Prize winners are not an expert in all fields. As a result, they have presented some very destructive teachings and beliefs. William Shockley, the inventor of the transistor, received a Nobel Prize in 1956. He maintained that blacks were genetically inferior to whites and should be paid to volunteer to be sterilized. James Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, received a Nobel prize in 1962. He said that blacks are inherently less intelligent than whites and that exposure to sunlight increases sexual urges.
Our point here is that it is not valid to use an expert in one area to prove something in an area outside of their field. A Ph.D. in one area of science is not an expert in all fields. Source: Skeptical Inquirer, May/June 2020
MEDICAL MIRACLE CURE CLAIMS. Beware of medical miracle cure claims for “a wide range of diseases, mental disorders and conditions.”
As I write this, I have a family member who is dying of cancer. Hospice is caring for him, and he has only a few more days to live. What started as prostate cancer has gone to bone cancer and a massive brain tumor. When the bone cancer was detected, the family member was taken to a marijuana clinic where he was placed on a treatment of marijuana compounds and a strict diet endorsed by some religious leaders. This treatment went on for many weeks.
Standard medical treatment did not have a cure for the bone cancer but could have controlled it, and the life expectancy would be for many years. My family member was told that marijuana treatment could eradicate the bone cancer. There were even a few “testimonies” given by people who claimed they had been cured. Eventually, it became evident that the cancer was growing, not shrinking. By the time they stopped the marijuana treatment, a baseball-sized tumor had developed in the brain. Because the marijuana treatments had replaced standard medical procedures, there was nothing that could be done.
Examine claims of medical miracle cures of any kind with skepticism. We are not talking about cosmetic issues or supplements for simple aches and pains. We are talking about major issues like cancer, mental disorders, and diabetes.
DECLINE IN PRACTICING CHRISTIANS. The Barna Research Group repeats studies to identify trends. Research this year indicates a decline in practicing Christians in America. They define a practicing Christian as: “Someone who identifies as a Christian, agrees strongly that faith is very important in their life, and has attended church within the past month.” In the year 2000, 45% of Americans surveyed identified themselves as Christians using that criterion. In February of 2020, that percentage had dropped to 25%. This research was based on interviews with 96,171 adults.
Many people who claim to be Christians have not made a practice of attending church services. At the same time, they would probably be upset to be called “non-practicing Christians.” However, the truth is that Barna used the same set of questions in 2000 and 2020. There can be no doubt that there has been a sharp decline in practicing Christians in America.
DEEPWATER HORIZON TEN YEARS LATER. On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill began. By the time technicians could bring it under control, it had dumped 134,000,000 gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days. There is far more involved in this disaster than the removal of the obvious symptoms of the spill. Oyster production from Apalachicola to Galveston has collapsed. Louisiana has lost well over 50 million dollars in oyster harvest revenue. Scientists studying the oyster beds tell us that 8.3 billion oysters died as a result of the spill. A single oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water a day. Oyster shells are used to make mortar, build roadbeds, and to supplement chicken feed. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has changed all of that.
Skeptics criticize any notion of God creating the Earth by saying that if there is a God, he did not do a very good job. Humans are threatened with shortages of food and water. Why are there shortages? Human greed, selfishness, ignorance, desire for power, and refusal to live as God told us to live has resulted in destructive wars, mismanagement of resources, waste of incredible proportions, and foolish and irresponsible management of resources.
When God created the Earth, he provided for an abundance of food and water. We cannot blame God for what humans have done. Christians must lead the way in the responsible use of God's gifts. Source: National Wildlife, February/March 2020.
ARMY CHAPLAINS FROM OVERSEAS. Roughly 20 percent of today's Army Chaplains were born outside of the United States. Raja Kandanada, who was born in India, now works at the Pentagon as a family-life chaplain. He says that although he was born in India, he was born again in the United States. Although he experienced discrimination in India because of the caste system there, he has come to understand the meaning of God's love in America and the debt he owes to his adopted country.
As America veers away from belief in God, those who have lived elsewhere see the effect of faith in this country and want to be part of it. Source: Christianity Today, April 2020, page 19.
COMMUNIST CHINESE PRIORITY. While the world has been trying to stamp out a contagious virus that originated from China, the Chinese Communist government is battling something else. The Communist Chinese priority is to stamp out Christianity.
In March, the Chinese government began a campaign to remove crosses from churches in three eastern provinces. Government officials told the church leaders that the crosses “were too eye-catching” and might “attract people into the churches.”
Jian Zhu, director of the Chinese Institute at Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, Illinois, said that China's persecution of house churches has intensified. Chinese authorities ask people to spy on their neighbors and report churches meeting in homes. They also require teachers and students to sign statements denouncing Christianity. He said, “Cameras are all over to watch church and Christians go to Sunday services.” What do the Communists do with the data they gather concerning Christians? According to Zhu, they threaten families not to go to church, “or they will be punished or their relatives could be in trouble.”
Pray for the Chinese Christians as they suffer for their faith.
CHRISTIAN WITNESS DURING THE PANDEMIC. As we write this, the nation has been shut down by COVID-19. We have no way to know what the situation will be when you read this, but there is no question whether the virus has impacted families and the country's economy. At the same time, some positive things are happening because of Christian witness during the pandemic.
An exciting story was circulated by SAT-7, an interdenominational Christian television center in the Middle East. A man in Iran called the television station and said that what they were presenting was not like the message that dominated his country. He said he could not believe that they had joy and peace about them which he found attractive. He did not have a clue as to who Jesus is. However, he knew that what Jesus was saying was better than the violence, terror, and killing that were a part of the religion that dominates his part of the world. A week later, this man called again, but this time he had 25 young men crammed into a tiny apartment, and all of them wanted to hear about Jesus. Secret house churches are blossoming all over the Middle East. The coronavirus allows Christians to show compassion and bring help and necessary medications to people who are suffering.
In America, the coronavirus is showing the huge contrast between atheist beliefs and what Christianity offers. Survival of the fittest as a guide to life does not work well with a pandemic. Many first responders are Christians, and serving others and saving lives even at personal risk to themselves is the exact opposite of atheistic belief systems.
The coronavirus is not God's retribution for human sin, but all things work for the good of those who love the Lord (Romans 8:28). Christian witness during the pandemic brings a shining light in a culture that suddenly finds itself unable to manage.
EVIDENCES OF GOD, VOLUMES 11 and 12. We have two new books available in the Evidences of God series. Volume 11 contains articles that appeared in our journal from 2007 to 2010. And volume 12 contains articles that appeared in our journal from 2011 to 2015. They are comb-bound and include a subject matter content guide. For example, if you want to find an article on evolution, you can look in the guide and find every article we published on evolution within those dates.
Earlier volumes of Evidences of God are also available going back to 1973 when we began printing the journal. People have told us about three favorite uses of these books. Those who prepare church bulletins find the articles to be a fast and easy way of having something available on a given topic. A second use is in “letters to the editor” columns in local newspapers. A third use is when someone raises a question on a topic we have covered, you can copy the article and hand it to the person. A fourth use is to get a perspective or data on an issue when preparing a speech, a sermon, a term paper, etc.
These books are available on loan or to purchase for our cost of $6.00 each with postage paid from Does God Exist?, PO Box 2704, South Bend IN 46680.
One of our readers sent us the following article by an unknown author titled “Perspective.” We thought it was worth sharing.
- Imagine you were born in 1900.
- On your 14th birthday, World War I starts, and ends on your 18th birthday. 22 million people perish in that war.
- Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. 50 million people die from it in those two years.
- On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%.
- That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy.
- When you turn 39, World War II starts. You are not even over the hill yet. And do not try to catch your breath.
- On your 41st birthday, the United States is fully pulled into WWII.
- Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war.
- At 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million perish.
- At 55, the Vietnam War begins and does not end for 20 years. 4 million people perish in that conflict.
- On your 62nd birthday, the Cuban Missile Crisis is a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, could have ended.
- When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends.
Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How do you survive all of that? When you were a kid in 1985, you did not think your 85-year-old grandparents understood how hard school was or how mean that kid in your class was. Yet, they survived through everything listed above.
Perspective is an amazing art, refined as time goes on, and enlightening like you would not believe. Let us try to keep things in perspective.
© Kanjana Kawfang. Image from BigStock.com
© dehooks. Image from BigStock.com
© photoguns. Image from BigStock.com
© mikeledray. Image from BigStock.com
© scaliger. Image from BigStock.com