News & Notes

LAST CHANCE FOR AUSTRALIAN TRIP. We have been announcing a Does God Exist? trip to Australia during July of this year led by John and Phyllis Clayton. If you have an interest in the trip or any part of it, you need to act right away. Call or write Mark Story, Queenslander International Travel Group, 5082 E Hampden Ave, Suite 230, Denver CO 80222. You can reach Mark by phone at 303-370-0288 or by FAX at 303-727-5934.

DOES GOD EXIST? VIDEO SERIES AVAILABLE IN PAL FORMAT. There are two basic versions of videos in the world today. One of these is NTSC (the format used in the United States and Canada--also called VHS). The PAL format is used in the British Empire, Australia, and virtually all European and Asian countries as well as most of South America. Because of our approaching trip to Australia, we have made arrangements to have our 24 regular Does God Exist? video programs made into the PAL format. We want to emphasize that these tapes are in English and are not be to confused with our International Video Tapes which we have always had in both NTSC and PAL formats.

To order a copy of the PAL format Does God Exist? tapes will cost $60.00 ppd. in the United States (plus $5 extra postage to Canada and $60.00 plus postage overseas. This same series in VHS format (NTSC) is $50.00 ppd. in the United States. As usual, these videos may be borrowed with a deposit and then returned for a refund (minus postage costs). Let us know if you have an interest in these materials which come with a teacher's discussion guide of questions and answers.

MEDIA AT IT AGAIN. Major news magazines seem to always try to find any way possible to denigrate Christianity in particular and belief in God in general. During the recent Easter season, all three major news magazines (Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report) ran stories about "scholars" who claim "that not much of the New Testament can be trusted" (Time, April 8, 1996, page 52). The stories quote a group of self-appointed experts called "The Jesus Seminar" who, for the past year or more, have been releasing one public statement after another claiming that there is no academic support for the biblical writings.

History has been full of people who claimed to be well-educated and who ridiculed the biblical account. Most of the time, the major claim is that the story is too preposterous to be believed, and this has consistently been the basis of the "Jesus Seminar" criticism of the Scriptures. It is not a case of finding new documents or making a new historical discovery that gives these skeptics the basis of their attacks on the Bible's credibility. Their arguments are based on what they think is reasonable and what they assume are editorial modifications by Christians over the centuries. Ignored is archeological data on recently-discovered manuscripts that contradicts their conclusions. One has to be reminded of Voltaire, the great scholar of his day, who claimed the Bible was so irrational that it would be out of existence in 100 years. One hundred years after he made that statement, the house he lived in was a Bible printing company's main printing area. The primary arguments for the validity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God remains untouched by the Jesus Seminar.

NEW BIBLE TRANSLATION. We always are glad to see attempts to produce better and more accurate translations of the Bible. The newest effort is by Everett Fox, a professor of Judaical Studies at Clark College. Fox has attempted to capture the "rhythms, syntax and outright quirkiness of biblical Hebrew" so his translation appeals to a listener rather than a serious student of the language itself. It certainly reads better to this reviewer than the "Rapping With Jesus" bible that some of my students have shown me, but it is not a serious study Bible. (See Newsweek, January 15, 1996, pages 54-56.)

BOOKS AVAILABLE ON FAILED ATHEIST EXPERIMENT. We have mentioned from time to time the story of Liberal, Missouri. This was a town which a leading atheist, George H. Walser, was able to convince to exclude religion from its midst. No church could exist within the city, and religious people were encouraged not to live in the community. What happened was that crime and immorality became so rampant that the city failed and finally asked churches to come in and establish a religious base for the moral and legal system of the town. We have encouraged people to read these books because they represent once again the fact that Christianity works and atheism does not on a practical daily basis.

A newspaper in Liberal is distributing two books which record the history of this town. They are:

The Strange Town of Liberal Missouri $8.40
The Story of Liberal Missouri by O.E. Harmon $6.40

These prices include shipping/handling charges, and they can be ordered by sending your check to:

The Liberal News
P.O. Box 6
Liberal, Missouri 64762

George H.Walser and Liberal Missouri by Boyce Houton
This book might be available through:

College Press,
P.O. Box 1132,
Joplin, MO 64802

Let us emphasize that we do not sell these books. We are not a business. Please do not send an order to us for these books.

HOPELESSNESS, CANCER, AND HEART DISEASE. Mortality studies of 2,428 men in Finland have shown that men with high levels of hopelessness die at rates two to three times higher than those with low hopelessness. I remember a chapter in a book by Dr. S.I. McMillan many years ago which was titled "It isn't what you eat; it's what eats you." There seems to be some validity to the point that frustration, stress, and being disillusioned are dangerous to one's health. We would argue that Christians who look to the hope of heaven as a primary priority are in a better position to have hope and to avoid hopelessness than those who have only this life to look to for total fulfillment. --Source: Science News, April 13, 1996, page 230

THE TRAGEDY OF DUNBLANE AND SEXUAL DEVIANTS. We argue that sexuality outside of the designed plan of God is dangerous and destructive. That is not a politically correct statement these days, but it is a statement borne out again and again. The recent tragedy of 16 children and their teacher shot down by Thomas Hamilton is one more example of the fact that sexual beliefs and practices do make a difference in the mental stability of people. Hamilton was at best a pedophile and had a long history of sexually-deviant behavior. Like AIDS, there are consequences of certain life style choices, but the tragedy is that many times the consequences bring tragedy and heartbreak into the lives of innocent people.

FROZEN EMBRYO OVERPOPULATION. We have mentioned from time to time that one way some people have found to solve an unwanted pregnancy is to have the baby taken from the mother's womb and freeze it rapidly so that it can be reimplanted in the mother's womb or a surrogate mother's womb perhaps twenty years later when the child is desired. The problem is that so many babies are being preserved in this way that there is now an over-population of frozen embryos, many forgotten by their parents or perhaps in some cases the parents have passed away. What is to be done with all of these babies--now and in the future? Scientific American (April, 1996, page 16-18) addresses the problem and proposes some rather mechanical solutions, but none are very satisfactory.

As long as mankind chooses to reject God's plan for the family and for sexual conduct, the problems are going to continue to multiply. An unwanted child is a tragedy at any level, and the consequences of the acts of immoral adults cannot always be easily solved.

CIRCUMCISION AGAIN. We have pointed out from time to time that skeptic attacks on circumcision as a malicious biblical practice are misguided. An article titled "The African AIDS Epidemic" (Scientific American, March, 1996, page 62-68) argues that lack of circumcision makes a man especially susceptible to the virus in heterosexual relationships.

MAD COW DISEASE--A FAILURE OF GOD'S SYSTEM? England has been having a problem with bovine spongiform encephalopathy better known as Mad Cow Disease. We have seen a few skeptics arguing that this is another case where God's design has broken down, allowing a deadly disease to be transmitted through a food God allowed man to eat. The problem is not with the eating of cattle as much as it is with what man has done to cows. Cows are vegetarians. This particular disease originally was identified in goats and sheep and was named "scrapie." The illness showed up in cattle when sheep organs were used as filler in cattle feed. The changing of the normal diet of cows to animal material avoided a barrier that normally would have prevented the disease. Man's inability to understand the complexity of the natural world causes many of his problems.

GALILEO DATA CONTINUES TO AMAZE AND DELIGHT. On December 7, 1995, a probe was dropped into Jupiter's atmosphere to take measurements and study the composi-tion of the giant planet. As data continues to be analyzed, more and more surprises are showing up and more questions are raised. Recent announcements include the fact that there were far fewer clouds than expected, wind speeds up to 330 mph have been measured, far less helium is present than expected, and Jupiter has about the same percentages of oxygen and carbon as our Sun. Most theories about Jupiter are going to have to be rewritten.

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, May/June 1996