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Return to 4th Quarter 2021 articles.

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from Does God Exist? 4th Quarter 2021

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).

John Clayton

OPPORTUNITY TO STUDY WITH JOHN CLAYTON: Because of the COVID pandemic, we have suspended our lectureship schedule. In place of that, we are providing an opportunity for congregations to have a lectureship electronically. We want to give the readers of this publication the same opportunity to study with John Clayton.

We will mail you a DVD of the first four lectures in our video series. You or your group can watch the four programs writing down questions and challenges to the material. Please send us your questions via e-mail or postal mail, and John Clayton will respond to them. If you are satisfied with that material, return the DVD, and we mail you the next one. Your only cost is the return postage for the DVD.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please send us your name and address, and we will send you the first DVD. Watching the Does God Exist? presentations in the comfort of your home is an excellent way to receive the information without risk from COVID or the inconvenience of driving to a lectureship site. E-mail your request to John Clayton at jncdge@aol.com.

CCL CENTER: On October 9–10, 2021, we attended a seminar on archaeology presented by Dr. Rick Bullard at the new Christian Church Leadership Center (CCLC) in Florence, Kentucky, and toured the Elliott Library and museum located there. Suppose you are interested in historical books dating back to the early 17th century, original Bibles, archaeological finds, and a library with books and artifacts related to the Restoration Movement, in that case, this is a learning center you should visit.

John Clayton

The Christian Church Leadership Center is unique in that it houses rare items not found in any other museum. The library's curator is Jim Lloyd, and he has a thorough understanding of the books and the issues relating to the history of religion in America. Dr. David Fincher, president of Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Missouri, was our host and the man behind the CCLC project. In addition, he has connections with David Lipscomb University in Nashville and York College in Nebraska, home of the Clayton Museum of Ancient History.

We also enjoyed talking at length with Dr. William Custer, an expert in apologetics and the philosophy of religion. Custer is a graduate of the University of Chicago and an associate of Norman Geissler. These men and the CCLC are interested in working with Does God Exist? to provide apologetics training to leaders in Churches of Christ and Christian Churches. We will have more to say on that as plans develop.

The CCLC is offering monthly Saturday presentations by respected scholars on apologetics and topics related to the Restoration Movement. For information about upcoming sessions, visit their website at ccleadership.org/events/. The library's website is elliottlibrary.org. We recommend the CCLC as a new opportunity for solid biblical learning in the Cincinnati area.

Disease Projected Cases Actual Cases
Tetanus 2,500 30
Mumps 353,000 142
Diphteria 618,000 3
Paralytic Polio 33,000 0
Rubella 77,000 0
Meningitis 20,000 14
Small Pox 90,000 0
Data from Dr. Richard Felman, Sept. 17, 2021, Indiana Business Review

BENEFIT OF VACCINES: Health policy columnist Dr. Richard Feldman compiled the data in the graphic to show the benefit of vaccines. Using available public health data, he researched the prevalence of those diseases before science developed vaccines against them. He then adjusted for population growth and projected what the numbers could be today without a vaccine. Then, he listed the recent number of reported cases.

The COVID virus is going to add another set of numbers. Because medical science understands some of the design in God's creation, we benefit from vaccines. God can provide us with the tools to improve our lives, but he will not force us to use what he gives us. That is true of every teaching of Jesus, and it is true of COVID.

MURMURATIONS: One of the most incredible sights we frequently see in the fall of the year is the flocking behavior of birds, with thousands forming massive clouds of flapping wings called a murmuration. That term comes from the fact that produce a murmur-like sound.

Possible purposes for murmurings are to avoid predators or gain a feeding advantage. A bigger question is how they avoid hitting each other. It seems that built into every bird is a genetically imprinted, drive to synchronize their wing beat, reducing the chance of a collision. How do they navigate? I have seen a whole flock make a quick 90-degree turn as if they received instructions of when and how far.

It is clear that, at least in some situations, the grouping of animals presents advantages. One has to be amazed at the design and complexity God put into all of his creatures. Romans 1:20 says that “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, … so [the unbelievers] are without excuse.”

GENDER CHANGE: Human rights advocates frequently demand social changes without understanding the consequences of the choices they promote. An example of that is the current transgender craze among teenagers. It is relatively easy for teenagers to change their names, but the medical treatment of transgender people has become a significant challenge for all concerned. Unfortunately, politicians have advanced transgender legislation without understanding the implications. There are many areas of gender change problems.

John Clayton

Having surgery and taking hormones is a whole different issue compared to participation in sports or sharing bathrooms. But even beyond the physical gender change problems, the mental and psychological issues are also highly complex. Transgender youth are three to four times as likely as their peers to have depression or anxiety. Among 13,600 transgender and nonbinary youth surveyed in 2020, 52% had considered suicide in the previous year, and 21% had attempted it.

The causes of transgenderism are still being debated, and they seem to be very complex. Gender change problems are an issue that is not going away. We would suggest that the move away from nuclear families and the increased use of drugs are involved. When we discard God's plan and design, the issues become very complicated. Playing God with human sexuality has always produced unfortunate results.

INTOXICANTS: The dictionary defines an intoxicant as “that which produces feelings of pleasure or happiness in a person.” Unfortunately, America is becoming a land of intoxicants. In the meantime, our culture is rejecting the words of Ephesians 5:15–18 despite the evidence that they are true: “Look carefully how you walk. Do not act thoughtlessly, but like sensible men. Make the most of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days. You cannot afford to be reckless but understand what the will of the Lord is. Don't get your stimulus from wine but let the Spirit stimulate your souls” (Vaughan, Curtis, ed. The New Testament from 26 Translations).

The American entertainment industry pushes alcohol. Even country music, which used to emphasize the negative effects of alcohol, is now saturated with promoting it as a way to pleasure and happiness. Yet, the destructive nature of alcohol is astounding. Biotech Investor's Journal (September 2021) published a research report on the harm caused by alcohol compared to 20 other recreational drugs. Alcohol ranks number 1 in harmful effects, far beyond LSD, meth[amphetamine], crack cocaine, and heroin.

In America, the maximum blood alcohol content allowed for a motorist is 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood or .08%. In Scotland, the limit is .05%, with penalties of the automatic loss of license, fines up to $7,000, a criminal record, and possibly a prison sentence. In Sweden, the limit is .02%. Alcohol's impact on humans is well documented. Adverse effects on reaction time, perception, and balance are outward products of alcohol use, as are inhibition and impaired decision-making. Now the accepted use of marijuana is adding more pain to the human experience.

As America is becoming a land of intoxicants, people learn that using intoxication to find pleasure and happiness does not work. However, being a light in a dark world (Matthew 5:14; Philippians 2:14 – 15) brings contentment and satisfaction that not only leads to a meaningful existence on Earth but ultimately to eternal joy and happiness with our Lord.

LIFE ANYWHERE? We read the media reports about efforts to find life on Mars, on various moons in our solar system, or planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy. On Earth, we find life in sea vents on the ocean floor and geysers in Yellowstone National Park, leading people to suggest that some form of life can exist anywhere. Add to that the presence of organic molecules in asteroids, and they say that life is out there if we just look in the right places and in the right way.

Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences published a study of 204 soil samples taken from mountains near the Shackleton Glacier in Antarctica. Scientists had predicted that this soil would contain microbes, as is true of soil samples all over the Earth. Instead, they found that 20% of the soil samples, those taken from the higher and dryer locations, had no detectable microbial life. The study seems to indicate that extreme cold and dry conditions can render an area devoid of life.

John Clayton

The idea that some form of life can exist anywhere in every kind of environment is an evolutionary assumption that is apparently incorrect. We know that extreme cold and dry conditions exist on Mars and many moons in our solar system. Assuming there is life elsewhere because it is so abundant on Earth does not mean there is no limit to where life can exist.

We have said many times that there might be life elsewhere in the cosmos, but if there is, God created it. This is not a biblical or apologetic issue, but these new discoveries indicate that there are limits to the environments where life can survive.

UNBORN BABIES CAN HEAR: Unborn babies can hear the world around them. Recently Dianne Neal Matthews wrote in Guidepost's Mornings with Jesus about an experience with the birth of her grandchild.

She traveled to the daughter's home for the birth of her fourth child. After the little girl was born, each family member got to hold her. As the newborn passed between the parents and each sibling, Mrs. Matthews was amazed at how calm, alert, and content she was. The baby had just left a warm and cozy environment inside her mother, and now she was experiencing a cool world with bright lights and new sensations on her skin. Yet, as each family member talked to the baby, she calmly responded.

When Mrs. Matthews held her, the baby was not calm. However, when returned to her mother, she became quiet and peaceful. Mrs. Matthews realized that the baby had been hearing familiar voices of the family for months, making her feel safe. Because Mrs. Matthews lived far away, her voice was unfamiliar.

A baby inside its mother's womb is a baby — not an extension of the mother's body. Unborn babies can hear the world around them. Unfortunately, our nation has now decided that killing a baby is acceptable if it inconveniences the mother. This amounts to infanticide, similar to the ancient Roman practice of throwing unwanted babies into the street. That disregard for life was a part of what destroyed the Roman empire. How long will God tolerate infanticide by our nation?

Picture credit:
Photo: Roland Earnst
© Dzmitry Dzemidovich. Image from big stock.com
© Tarpan 74. Image from big stock.com