News and Notes title
from Does God Exist? March/April 2012

JULY 23-27, 2012

Lake PowellBryce Canyon PURPOSE: To help Christians understand the Canyonlands area, the history of the earth as seen in the rock record, and how that history correlates with a literal understanding of the Bible.
WHERE: Leave from Flagstaff, AZ, visiting Sunset Crater, Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Meteor Crater, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, and points in between.
CONDUCT: Air-conditioned motor coach with lectures presented by John Clayton and Alan Doty en route. At each point participants will have the option of hiking or staying in one place and enjoying the view. Hiking is not required.
PGrand CanyonARTICIPANTS: Anyone age eight or older who is willing to participate in lectures, devotionals, studies, and wholesome activity.
INCLUDED: Bus transportation, motels, field guides, entry fees, breakfasts Tuesday through Friday. Not included: Other meals, gratuities, souvenirs, transportation to and from Flagstaff.
COSTS: No money is paid to Does God Exist?, to your guides, or to John Clayton. The only cost is for the items described above. Cost is: singles: $949; doubles: $889; three or four in a room: $549. Trip insurance is available.
FOR A COMPLETE ITINERARY, RESERVATION, OR INFORMATION, call Queenslander Tours at 877-865-6711 (toll free) or by e-mail at Information can be viewed at Other questions can be directed to John Clayton at 269-687-9426 or e-mail at

(These three pictures: Roland Earnst.)

RESPONSE TO ACLU NOTE. In the September/October 2011 issue we told of an ACLU suit in South Carolina to allow inmates to have pornography while in jail. Dr. Paul Smith who has had experience in this area sent the following to us in response to that note:

“I read the ‘News & Notes’ item concerning the ACLU, jail, and the inmate use of pornography. I was once a guest of the State of Texas and I know for a fact that pornography in prison increases perverted sexuality and objectifies the female officers rather than recognize and/or respect their authority. That is why I wrote the following piece while in prison. Paul”


“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). In Genesis 2:25 it is written concerning Adam and Eve: “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” In Leviticus 18 we find that to look upon the nakedness of one who is not your spouse is an abomination before God and a practice of the ungodly.

Pornography is pictures, writing, and other explicit media that is intended to cause sexual arousal. The word pornography is derived from the Greek word porne, which is the root word of the Greek porneuo, which is to indulge in immoral behavior (lust) and illicit sexual activity by both genders. This includes adultery, fornication, incest, and homosexuality.

Pornography is a multifaceted sin that contributes to other sexually deviant behavior such as rape and child molestation. It is also a form of idolatry because it turns the human body into an idol of fornication and perverse pleasure that is totally out of the realm of God’s purpose for His creation. Pornography objectifies women and degrades the beauty and purpose of God’s special gift to man (Genesis 2:18).

Pornography is a powerful stimulant that is very addictive and desensitizes the user and it leads to more and more perverse behavior in order to satisfy the addict. The majority of rapists and child molesters are heavy users of pornographic materials.

One of the many terrible tragedies is that many of the adult women and all of children who become active participants in pornography were sexually abused and many — especially children — are forced and/or sold into pornography. Therefore, those who use pornographic materials, and derive pleasure from them are actually deriving pleasure from a human being who has had his individuality and self-esteem ripped from him by both physical and psychological force. Therefore, the users of pornography are just as guilty as those who horribly hurt and pathetically abuse these women and children. Unless they confess and repent of this awful sin, they will stand before God under severe

As a final note, in God’s eyes, pornography also includes those so-called men’s magazines that contain pictures of scantly dressed women in seductive poses. No “real man,” and especially not Christian men, would be viewing such things (Proverbs 6:25)!
Dr. Paul Douglas Smith, M NC/Th.D.

ATHEISTS DEMAND THEIR OWN CHAPLAINS IN MILITARY. Jason Torpy is the president of The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers. He is demanding that atheists should have their own chaplains since the military provides chaplains to Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and Protestants. His group has been a 501(c)(3) organization for five years and Torpy is a former Army Captain. Army Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis points out that the chaplains have provided encouragement by using belief in the hereafter. He is quoted by (11/17/11) as saying “If you get someone who says ‘Sorry, if you get killed, you’re just going to become a potted plant. There’s no hereafter.’ that would not be terribly motivating, especially to a military that goes to war.”

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS DIES. One of the major players in the “new atheism” of the twenty-first century and the author of God is Not Great, Christopher Hitchens has died at the age of 62 of esophageal cancer. Hitchens was vicious in his sarcasm and hatred of God and Christianity and people like Mother Teresa, but he was wildly inconsistent. He believed in marriage and that wives should be able to stay out of the workplace and live at home with children “because they were the gentler sex,” but was well known for his use of alcohol and unclean living including cigarettes. He opposed Bill and Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore, Sarah Palin, Saddam Hussein, and Galileo but supported George Bush and the war in Iraq, Salman Rushdie, Ayatollah Khomeini, and homeopathic medicine. He went to his death maintaining his beliefs and causes and rejecting God. The idea that atheists turn to God as they die was not borne out in Hitchens’ case. Source: Hillel Italie, AP,, 12/16/11.

STEVE JOBS DIES. In a similar vein, Steve Jobs passed away on October 5, 2011. In The Week (November 11, 2011, page 5) his sister who was with him as he died quotes him as saying, “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh Wow.” There have been all kinds of speculations as to what he was seeing or what the meaning of his words were. There have been many famous people who have said some tantalizing things as they died. Emily Dickinson is quoted as saying “I must go in, the fog is rising.” Thomas Edison said “It is very beautiful over there.” Like “out of the body experiences” there are likely to be physical and/or chemical explanations for what these folks saw, so we would not attach great significance to them.

A new biography Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson indicates that, like many others, Jobs was turned away from faith in God by the question of why God would allow suffering. When he was 13 years old Life magazine published a shocking cover picture of two starving children in Biafra. Jobs took it to Sunday School and asked his pastor if God knew about those children. The pastor told him that God knows everything. Young Steve said that he did not want to worship a God who knew about this suffering and did not do anything about it. He never went back to church again, but he did spend years studying Zen Buddhism. We have often dealt with the question of why would a loving God allow pain and suffering in this world. We have a website devoted to that question ( The simplified bottom line is that man’s bad choices lead to suffering and God’s people are his instruments to bring peace and healing. We need to be doing that. Jobs apparently recognized that because much later in life he said, “The juice goes out of Christianity when it becomes too based on faith rather than on living like Jesus or seeing the world as Jesus saw it.” We would suggest it is because of our faith in Jesus that we should be living like him and seeing the world as he saw it.

When Jobs was facing death he wanted to believe in God. He said, “For most of my life, I’ve felt that there must be more to our existence than meets the eye. … I like to think that something survives when you die.” Steve Jobs changed the world in computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. However, in this life he never found the answer to that most important question, “Does God Exist?”

THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER AND GOD. One of the interesting research programs going on right now is the huge particle accelerator with a 16.5-mile-long tunnel beneath the border of Switzerland and France. The hope is that this research will enable the detection of the Higgs particle which would tell how elementary particles acquire mass. Dr. Lisa Randall who is involved in this research has written a book titled Knocking on Heaven’s Door which suggests that extra dimensions exist close to our own four-dimensional world. The biblical description of God and his action in our world closely resembles this suggestion. Those who believe in God never have to be concerned about any research negatively affecting their faith, because the lesson of history is that the more we know about the creation the more we see the accuracy of the Bible and the reasonableness of faith in God as the creator. Source: Smithsonian, December 2011, page 25.

ATHEISTS WHO GO TO CHURCH. In the December 2011 issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion there is a report of a study of 275 scientists at “elite” research facilities in the United States. Sixty-one percent of the participants describe themselves as atheists or agnostics, and 17% of those reported they had attended church more than once in the past year. The sociologists conducting the study suggest that the cause of this is that the children of these skeptics are being allowed to make up their own minds about their personal faith. That is an interesting speculation, but it may also be that these researchers are researching questions about choices in life, and have not ruled out God as a possible answer.

SUPERNOVA GOES OFF IN PINWHEEL GALAXY. On August 24, 2011, astronomers were able to watch a star explode in a galaxy known as M101 or the Pinwheel Galaxy. Seeing a star explode is a fairly rare occurrence, but we usually observe them long after the event took place. In this case the star was being observed through the whole process. Because we know how bright a star like this is both normally and also when it explodes, it is possible to determine the distance the star is from us, since observed brightness is the inverse square of the distance away. When this calculation is done it shows the star and its galaxy are 21 million light years away. This figure agrees with other astronomical methods of measuring distance. We can also watch the chemical processes that take place within the star producing elements like iron and calcium. This discovery reminds me of Henry F. Schaefer’s comment when he made one of the many discoveries for which he is famous. He is reported to have said, “Oh, that’s how God did it.” Source: Science News, September 24, 2011, Page 5.

EUTHANASIA COMPLICATION. Some new studies of “brain dead” patients with sophisticated new machines has brought some new evidence into the question of who is brain dead and who is actually conscious but effectively buried alive inside an unresponsive body. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario using an EEG machine on vegetative patients have found that they can understand and react mentally to various commands. The implications for euthanasia advocates is obvious, but even questions about when to “pull the plug” may be impacted by new tools and understandings. Source: The Week, December 2, 2011, page 21.

DUTCH BATTLE ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. The Netherlands has been the scene of a number of liberal actions over the years raising moral and religious issues on abortion, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage. Wim Pijl, a 67-year-old civil servant, was fired because he refused on biblical grounds to perform same-sex marriages. Dutch gay-rights groups maintain that there are 104 civil servants who refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. Pijl maintains that he is discriminated against because of his religious views and is planning legal action. No matter how this case turns out, it is obvious that the same battle will take place in the U.S. soon. We have tried to point out in this journal that once same-sex marriage is accepted, it would be difficult not to also allow group marriage, polygamy, polyandry, or even animal marriage which some have already advocated. Source:, November 16, 2011.

ANTIHELIUM CREATED. Researchers on Long Island have succeeded in creating antihelium-4 as they smashed gold nuclei into each other. When nuclei are shattered in such experiments, equal amounts of matter and antimatter are produced. The problem is that when antimatter collides with matter the two annihilate each other producing energy. Normally antimatter is contained by using magnetic fields to hold the antimatter so it makes no contact with the matter of our world. In the creation process, there should have been equal amounts of matter and antimatter produced, and the question of why we see very little antimatter in our region of space is still an area of speculation for cosmologists. Source: Discover, January 2, 2012, page 39.

MORALITY AND FAITH. One of the areas that suggest there is a God and the Bible is his word is the fact that religious people have higher moral standards in general than non-religious people. In the past atheists have denied that statement, and have referred to cases where big name preachers and teachers in religion have been caught in some compromise of their religious views. Recently there have been some studies that support the view that faith in God promotes a higher moral calling — and a number of editorials to explain the data away. In 2000 Michael McCullough and his colleagues at the University of Miami released three dozen studies showing strong correlation between religiosity and lower mortality rates. In 2009 McCullough and Brian Willoughby released studies showing that religious people are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors and are less likely to engage in risky sex, smoking, doing recreational drugs, and drinking. Atheists seem to have decided that these figures cannot be argued with, and now atheist writers are maintaining that there are psychological explanations that have to do with monitoring behavior and following healthy life-styles. Obviously atheists will not admit that God has anything to do with how we live and what we do, but for most of us choices in life are supported positively or negatively by our faith in something beyond what this world offers. Source: Scientific American, December 2011, page 102.

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