Return to 3rd Quarter 2023 articles.
from Does God Exist? 3rd Quarter 2023
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
AFTER SCHOOL SATAN CLUBS: One of the consequences of the rejection of God and Christianity in the United States has been the success of the Satanic Temple. This group, active worldwide and claiming 700,000 members, is headquartered in Salem, Massachusetts. They have launched a nationwide campaign to bring After School Satan Clubs to elementary schools.
After School Satan Clubs offer a coloring book published by the Satanic Temple, which engages children in satanic rituals and constructing a pentagram, the official symbol of the Church of Satan. The Washington Post commented, “The Satanic Temple is determined to give young students a choice: Jesus or Satan.” The message of the Satanic Temple ridicules Christianity, belief in God, and the Bible's moral teachings.
The United States Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that elementary schools could not stop the evangelical Good News Club from hosting after school club meetings. That decision opens the door for After School Satan Clubs. Christians must be aware of this threat. Parents and local church leaders need to educate themselves on what is being taught in the schools and be ready to oppose satanic teaching if it comes to their communities.
References: https://christianaction.org/christian-action-network-releases-video-exposing-after-school-satan-clubs/ and https://thehill.com/homenews/education/3990175-after-school-satan-clubs-gain-popularity-amid-legal-victories/
GOVERNMENT PUNISHES BIBLICAL VIEWS: The Bible makes it very clear that God created male and female as two separate sexes. God told Adam, and likewise, future males, that they would provide by “the sweat of your face” (Genesis 3:19). Through Eve, God told females that they would be able to fill the roles that males could not accomplish on their own, especially giving birth to children. Yet, today, the government punishes those with biblical views.
Society today has decided that respecting the difference between men and women violates the rights of various groups, so we must deny those differences. We see this in schools and colleges nationwide. The government has decided that having separate restrooms for men and women violates the rights of men who want to use women's facilities.
Christian colleges with separate dormitories for men and women are receiving crippling fines and threats of closure. Another significant issue is whether a biological male who claims to be a female has the right to compete in women's sports. Christianity espouses moral conduct found in God's Word, but the government punishes those with biblical views and forces them to act against their moral beliefs. We must pray for America and those affected by the government's actions in their distorted attempt to expand human rights.
References: https://adflegal.org/case/college-ozarks-v-biden and https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/3801686-federal-judge-rules-west-virginia-law-restricting-transgender-athletes-is-constitutional/
THE SCOURGE OF PORNOGRAPHY: A BBC report on May 9, 2023, summarized psychologists' research on the effects of pornography on British children. It listed behavioral issues in eight year olds, such as profanity and violent language, directly related to viewing pornography. Elementary teachers attempting to stop disruptive behavior commonly hear the “f” word from their students, and the study shows a direct connection to watching pornography.
The Bible gives real solutions for Christians to avoid evil. In 1 Thessalonians 5:22, Paul tells us to avoid every appearance of evil, and Galatians 5:16-26 details the consequences of allowing “the works of the flesh” to saturate our thinking. Churches cannot remain silent about evil, including the consequences of lust. We must clearly teach children and adults what pornography does to children, marriages, and physical health.
The reason pornography is a major problem today is that it enriches certain people with money and influence. We cannot expect atheists and non-believers to stop the scourge of pornography. Therefore, Christians must be motivated to stop pornography's spread, especially to children, but many in the religious community avoid the subject.
UNDERSTANDING ANIMAL COMMUNICATION: Reports tell us that portable sensors and artificial intelligence may make a form of human-animal communication possible. Researchers use digital bioacoustics to record the animals and artificial intelligence to interpret what they say. So far, scientists have studied the communication of bats and bees. Using tiny digital bioacoustic recorders, researchers at Tel Aviv University have gathered bat communication at frequencies above the limit of human hearing. Computers lower the frequency and slow it down to make it audible to humans, and artificial intelligence compiles the data to make it intelligible.
Understanding animal communication can involve more than sounds. Dr. Tim Landgraf at Freie Universitat in Berlin has deciphered bee communication, which involves both sounds and body movement. He has decoded the signals which tell other bees where to find nectar or warn of danger. Landgraf even built a robot named RoboBee that can enter a hive and control what the bees do.
Understanding animal communication is challenging since every animal is different, but that shows another level of design that science is just beginning to understand. The more we learn about the creation, the more we have to be amazed at the wisdom of the Creator.
Reference: “How Scientists are Using AI to Talk to Animals” in Scientific American for May 2023, page 26.
CANNABIS USE BY SENIORS: The use of marijuana to treat chronic pain and discomfort like arthritis has been widely publicized and legalized in many states. So naturally, those of us who are older look for any way to relieve the aches and pains that come with age. Because of that, the use of cannabis by seniors has increased dramatically.
We are responsible for ensuring that what we use to relieve discomfort is good for us and does not harm our bodies. That means we must use caution and listen to research about so-called miracle cures. But unfortunately, new studies of the use of cannabis by seniors have raised a red flag about its safety. The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, January 9, 2023, reports on visits to emergency departments in California, where marijuana has been legal for any use for several years. Cannabis-related visits to emergency rooms by seniors (ages 65 and older) rose from 366 in 2005 to 12,167 in 2019.
Unfortunately, there is big money in cannabis so merchants promote its use. However, you should only use it under a doctor's supervision and not accept the “miracle cure” claims made by your local marijuana store.
Reference: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Focus on Healthy Aging for May 2023, page 2
EFFECTS OF ALCOHOL: A flurry of new research reports on the terrifying effects of alcohol. The University of Victoria, The Cleveland Clinic, The American Cancer Society, the U.K. Biobank, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism have all contributed the following data on alcohol consumption:
One of the terrifying effects of alcohol is that it contributes to more than 75,000 new cancer cases and 19,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. Alcohol is the direct cause of seven types of cancer — oral cavity, throat, larynx, liver, breast, and colorectal cancer. Heavy drinkers have five times the risk, and moderate drinkers have 1.8 times the risk. In addition, one drink a day raises the risk of breast cancer by 9%.
Alcoholic liver disease kills 22,000 Americans every year. Two alcoholic beverages a day for five years can damage the liver, and one drink a day increases the risk of heart attack and stroke by up to 20%. Previous claims said that red wine could do good things to improve health, but the ingredient in red wine that does this is the antioxidant resveratrol. A person would have to drink 500 liters of red wine daily to get significant benefits, which would cause high blood pressure, stroke, and abnormal heart rhythm.
The terrifying effects of alcohol result in immense pain to humanity. One way to oppose the use of alcohol is to educate people about its destructive nature.
Reference: Reference: The Week for 3/24/23, page 11
WASTE OF FOOD AND RESOURCES: One of the great tragedies of American culture today is the incredible waste of food and resources. People in many places around the world are surviving on less than 1000 calories per day, and starvation is killing vast numbers. Over a third of the food produced in the United States is never eaten. On average, Americans throw away a pound of food per person daily.
God has provided us with all the resources we need to feed the world's population, but corporate greed, selfishness, ignorance, and a lack of concern for others cause the problem of world hunger. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus described judgment based on how we conduct ourselves in meeting the needs of others. The first thing Jesus mentions is that providing food for others is a responsibility of his followers (Matthew 25:35, 42). One way we can do that is by avoiding the waste of food and resources God has given us and becoming leaders in the war against hunger. By living in obedience to Christ, we can witness the reality of God to the world.
Reference: The Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter for February 2023 has several tips for reducing food waste, including “the truth about date stamps” on food that cause people to throw away food that could be eaten.
ELIMINATING PAINT PIGMENTS: What if we could reduce environmental problems by eliminating pigments in paint? Creating colorful paint without pigments is possible by copying something found in the natural world. For example, butterflies, birds, fish, and cephalopods use structural color to create their dazzling beauty. Light, rather than pigments, creates structural color.
Debashis Chanda and colleagues at the University of Central Florida have researched eliminating pigments in paint by using structural color. Pigment colors are artificially synthesized molecules, requiring different chemicals for each color. Structural color involves producing a geometrical arrangement of two colorless materials to make any color of the rainbow.
Unlike pigment color, structural color never fades. Another advantage is that it reflects infrared radiation, so the material under the paint can stay 25 to 30 degrees F cooler than with chemical paint. In addition, since the colors will not fade, there may not be a need to repaint as often, and eliminating pigments in paint reduces chemical substances that can cause environmental impacts.
Interestingly, structural color is another thing we learn from studying the natural world, where the colors we see in living things often come from structural color rather than pigments. This is one more example of the intelligence God built into the world, and we can learn from what God has already done.
References: https://new.nsf.gov/news/researchers-create-worlds-first-energy-saving and https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.adf7207
PURPOSE FOR HUMAN EXISTENCE: “Why do I exist?” People have discussed and debated the purpose for human existence from about every philosophical direction imaginable. Atheists have written books to tell us that we are just accidents with no purpose for existence.
In the Bible, we can find clues to help us understand more clearly the purpose for human existence. First, we see a major confrontation in the war between good and evil in Matthew 4:1-10 when Satan tempted Jesus. Then we see the culmination of the conflict in Revelation 20-22. People often fail to understand the Book of Revelation because they do not understand that it is not describing a physical war. The war between good and evil is in a realm beyond this material world.
Ephesians 6:10-20 makes it clear that the purpose of our existence is beyond flesh and blood but involves a struggle “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” In Ephesians 3:8-13, Paul writes that his purpose in existing was “to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Revelation 20-22 gives a prophecy of the ultimate destruction of evil and describe the wonderful existence we all can have if we fulfill the purpose for which God created us. John 1:5-9 makes it clear that we will not be perfect, but we will be forgiven and cleansed as we fulfill the purpose for human existence.
Atheists try to tell us that evil does not exist and that there is no reason for us to be here. However, the evidence and the biblical message show us the reason for our existence and the joy and love God makes available to us all
Answers to the CROSSWORD: ACROSS: 4-cardiomyopathy; 5-zero; 6-image; 7-tears; 8-emotional; 10-heart: DOWN: 1-suffering; 2-convergent; 3-stroke; 9-three
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