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Friday, August 26, 2011

Arguing from specifics to generalities . . . does this really work?
  
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   How do you feel about this logic?

 
  • Driving a car fast requires a good road!
  • This is a good road.
  • Therefore, the car is driving fast!
  A bit of thought seems to say that statement one and two are correct, but that third one is not so good.

 There is no reason one cannot drive slowly on a good road, right?

 Our reasoning is not always clear and correct is it?

 There is a need to make sure before we conclude something that the arguments we use need to be testable and found true by the recipient of our knowledge.

 Can we agree on that?

 So often, we get strange logic applied.

 I often come across strange logic in arguments around creation and particularly around Noah’s flood.
 
 People find a single instance where a globally agreed general principle has an exception, and then use it to say the whole argument (generally a well tested theory) is bogus.

 What makes a good argument?

 We let’s start by saying all the reasons for accepting the argument must be true. Then, the information provided needs to be relevant and lastly they all should assist the reader to accept the reasons for the argument (the premises must be true).

 A truly valid argument is true only if it is not possible for all the reasons to be true and the conclusion to be false!

 That’s what blows up that argument I put above doesn’t it?

  An equally weird argument is . . .

 
  • Driving a car fast requires a good road!
  • The car is driving fast.
  • Therefore, the road is good!
  By testing the argument, we find that the first statement is not always true. i.e. the statement that driving a car fast requires a good road is false.

 For example, most land speed records are not set on roads but the salt flats.

 If a basic reason or premise is wrong then the argument falls apart.

 Wouldn’t a better first premise be
  • Driving a car fast sometimes requires a good road!
  It’s with this that I come to the point I find difficult to comprehend when listening and reading information from so many Christian folk.

 We seem so keen to build arguments on faulty premises from a non-Christian point of view. They are true from our perspective but without faith are false from the non-Christians perspective.

 I think I know why this happens as well. . .

 We KNOW Jesus, experience Holy Spirit, and are in love with the Father so we have not reason to doubt his existence.

 This is a point non-Christians don’t get because they don’t have the relationship.

 Then because God exists, we argue everything in the bible from that point on, as we interpret it, is absolute truth.

 Notice the problem with this argument!

 I state we argue everything as from that point on AS WE INTERPRET IT is accepted as absolute truth.

 Interpretation is a HUMAN process not a Holy Spirit inspired one!

 We cannot say every interpreted word is absolutely correct, even if we know the shape and form of the letters of the word.

 Let me us one English example. “Gay”

 Today that word is steeped in sexual preference isn’t it?

 Go back a century and use the same word.

 Now it means “happy”, “carefree”, a person of “merry”, “lively” disposition.

 Interpretation requires context to be known and UNDERSTOOD fully.

 Who claims to know and understand God fully?

  JESUS and only Jesus!

 None of us do!

 The words written in our bible are transcribed from Gods thoughts to mankind’s pen in a language few of us understand.

 We then have thousands of years of intervening time that deadens our knowledge of the context.

 Shouldn’t we be very careful of stating we know the context?

 It’s good to investigate what we do know to get as close to the truth as possible.
 
 However, my belief is we can always leave room for others to having differing opinions worth listening to!
 
 So, to get back to the main point, as Christians we cannot use out knowledge of God’s existence as a premises underlying our arguments.

 Those around us don’t know God and so we need to start at a point where they comprehend. That makes sense doesn’t it?

 So, us saying that the whole Earth was flooded and every mountain was covered, while ignoring that the word for “Earth” in the original language can and does often mean “region” in our same bible, means we are constraining our context without understanding it fully.

 Basically, if we say this we are stating we must accept that this fact (the word means globally the whole Earth) by faith!

 
 This is in fact a faulty argument for a non-Christian.


 The statement in the original language is true from our Christian perspective. The statement of the interpretation as “whole global earth” is agreeable to Christians (but not to non-Christians) and so is perhaps even at that point this context is a difficult one to use in discussions with non-Christians.
 
 The original words mean something, and “Earth” in the orginal does mean something. Both Christians and non-Christians can agree on the original word(s) themselves!

 However, when we test this information, based on the vast knowledge base of science within humankind, we know water doesn’t disappear!

 So if that quantity of water exists, it must still be around.
 
 That quantity of water is not around as far as we can see, so this makes the whole argument a bit unbelievable from a non-faith perspective!

 Logic seems to dictate that for non-Christians that the fact that the whole earth (rather than a region ) was covered, is stretching truth a bit.

 By hanging onto it, we are labelling ourselves us untruthful or ignorant from their perspective aren’t we?

 We as Christians hold so tightly to the word meaning “globe” rather than “region” that we then settle into saying we must accept this by faith and it is simply the truth! 

 Then we get polarization between Christians and Non-Christians occurring!

 
Why?


 
The interpretation can clearly also mean “region”.

 This fits the scientific facts as well, and there is no need to polarize. (Or put either person down)

 Now, to conclude, I want to put one last reason forward concerning this global flood argument that is interesting, but in my view hardly feasible.

 The one argument that seems to hold a bit of water (pun intended) is the runaway subduction model by Baumgardner.

He points out that the pre-flood ocean floor sank and later mountains were pushed up changing the area that could accept water as the flood occurred. Therefore, the current topology being post flood accommodates more water than the previous (flatter) topology. He points out the heat generated causes water to evaporate and that helped the flooding.

 Nice argument! Interesting!

 One to put out and evaluate! But let's be careful as well! 

 This is depicting a huge catastrophic ground and mantle movement.

 Huge amounts of heat transfer are involved and the movements of the earth would cause tremendous tumult, major Tsunami’s and vast waves.

 Would an ark have been able to endure this?

 Another fact you can research is this. We have never yet had a wooden vessel of the size of the ark that didn’t pick up trouble due to its size. Wooden ships have difficulty with integrity after a certain size is reached. The Ark is outside the area of comfortable size and with violent seas it’s integrity must be questioned. Logically failure is the only result in violent storms.

 So, this means everything has to be accepted by faith! Perhaps God held the ark together by miraculous power.

 Sure, that can be true, since God does do miracles!
 
 Sure, you can believe this! But make sure you understand that non-Christians can in no way agree with you!

Arguing will only assist in driving them further away from absolute truth, i.e. Jesus!

 I personally like the “region” interpretation.

 It complies with the laws of science we have discovered, also non-Christians can understand and agree with it.

Then I have this subordinate non-provable personal belief that God uses rather than abuses the laws he established in science.

 What are your thoughts?

 I like to be careful when I argue from specific to generalities, don’t you?

Perhaps we need to keep that in mind today.

Fri, August 26, 2011 | link          Comments

Thursday, August 25, 2011

They found a Juramaia

They found a Juramaia

 
 
Juramaia.jpg
   Isn’t it great when we discover something nobody has ever heard about? 


I guess that the team of palaeontologists led by Zhe-Xi Luo from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, US.[1] are ecstatic with their mammal fossil find.  

This little creature is apparently an animal that lived about 160 million years ago.  That’s a long time ago folks!

Yes, I know those new earth Christian creation folk are wrinkling their noses at the moment, but those old earth Christian creation scientists are happy.
 

If you read my blogs about science and Genesis, you will find that this find is not out of line with the Genesis account of God’s creation at all if you subscribe to an old Earth, Genesis loving, God loving guy or girls approach, to reading Genesis! 

This fossil was found in China! 

 Now they used forefeet and teeth structure to say it was a mammal with a placenta.

That may be correct or may not since that is a hypothesis that is as yet unproven.

The fact it is it is there, and that is cool! The fact that it is a mammal is less optional.
 

This little creature is less than 20 grams in weight and supposidly lived together with dinosaurs. 

It is supposedly, one of the strain that diverged from marsupials to placenta animals and so they put this right at the beginning of evolution of mammals.
 

Whatever the truth of this is, their age placement by scientists still supports the sixth day of creation as represented in Genesis.  

Isn’t it fantastic that modern science aligns with God’s word so well!
Thu, August 25, 2011 | link          Comments

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Flood in another culture?
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So often we get told that the bible is wrong, there is no world wide flood horizon
.


 
I agree! 


There isn't a world wide flood horizon, but there were world wide floods around the same times and the bible is still accurate!

 You can read my blogs on this in the “Science and Genesis” section of the website.



There are potential explanations that show that the floods in the time of Noah would have occurred all over the world, but to think that the water rose to that height all over the world just doesn’t make sense. Particularly if you know what was meant by “mountain” in those times and what the people of 1400BC reading the story would have understood.

 Today I want to discuss a NORTH AMERICAN flood story as first heard by an explorer called David Thompson in the late 17th early 18th century.

 He came into contact with a Nahathaway tribe.[1] Documenting their religion he found an interesting story.

 He says;

 “They believe in the self existence of the Keeche Keeche Manito (the Great, Great Spirit) they appear to derive their belief from tradition, and [believe] that the visible world, with all its inhabitants must have been made by some powerful being: but have not the same idea of his constant omnipresence, science and omnipotence that we have, but [think] that he is so when he pleases, he is the master of life, and all things are at his disposal; he is always kind to the human race, and hates to see the blood of mankind on the ground, and sends heavy rain to wash it away. He leaves the human race to their own conduct, but has placed all other living creatures under the care of Manitos (or inferior Angels), all of whom are responsible to Him;”

 Then the following is said;

“…mankind and the animals all did as they pleased, quarrelled and shed much blood, with which the Great Spirit was displeased; he threatened Weesarkejauk that if he did not keep the ground clean he would take everything from him and make him miserable but he did not believe the Great Spirit and in a short time became more careless; and the quarrels of Men, and the animals made the ground red with blood, and so far from taking care of them he incited them to do and live badly; this made the Great Spirit very angry and he told Weesarkejauk that he would take every thing from him, and wash the ground clean; but still he did not believe; until the Rivers and Lakes rose very high and over flowed the ground for it was always raining; and the Keeche Gahme (the Sea) came on the land, and every man and animal were drowned, except one Otter, one Beaver, and one Musk Rat.[2]

 Compare this to the bibles story in Genesis 6 [NIRV]

 “The earth was very sinful in God's eyes. It was full of mean and harmful acts. God saw how sinful the earth had become. All of the people on earth were leading very sinful lives.

  So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people. They have filled the earth with their harmful acts. You can be sure that I am going to destroy both them and the earth. “

 "I am going to bring a flood on the earth. It will destroy all life under the sky. It will destroy every living creature that breathes. Everything on earth will die.

 On that day all of the springs at the bottom of the oceans burst open. God opened the windows of the skies. Rain fell on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights.”

 “Every living thing that moved on the earth died. The birds, the livestock and the wild animals died. All of the creatures that fill the earth also died. And so did every human being. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in it died. Every living thing on the earth was wiped out. People and animals were destroyed. The creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped out.

    Everything was destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark were left.

 Interesting isn’t it? At one end of the world people are saved, in the floods part of perhaps the same timeframe at the other end of the world everyone was killed!

 Two continents, two separated cultures, one similar story!

 Makes one think doesn’t it?


[1] David Thompson, Narrative of his Explorations in Western America

1784-1812. Ed. J.B. Tyrell (Toronto: Champlain Society, 1916).

Wed, August 24, 2011 | link          Comments

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Where is this world going...technology wise?
iphone.jpg
"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."
Albert Einstein


So many people ask me where is the world going, that I thought perhaps I should write down a few ideas.

Let's see. . .

STARTING WITH TECHNOLOGY

Technology is the big one! We get told in The Future Foretold (2008 Edition) written by Written by Michael Roy (first edition), updated and revised by Scott MacGregor that

  • Online information doubles every 6 months
  • Corporate information doubles every 18 months
  • Scientific information doubles every 5 years
  • Biological information doubles every 5 years
  • Useful genetic information doubles every 18-24 months
  • The sum total of human knowledge doubles every 2-3 years (and is soon expected to double every year)
  • Printed knowledge doubles every 8 years
  • Technical knowledge doubles every 3 years

So, lets just focus on the scientific information since that drives most of the other and it looks like the online, corporate and genetic can keep up. [These figures may be off in 2011 but the overall perspective is right and the slight errors do not damage my predictions]

The conclusion of the knowledge rocketing is that humans will soon be unable to process the knowledge available in ANY ONE SUBJECT.

This means that it will be IMPOSSIBLE to have an integrated view of ANYTHING.

So, in human terms this means we have to find ways of getting this information organized in the simplest and best way possible.

We have just got into using the touch based gestures on tablets and phones because that makes navigating information easier.

Unfortunately that's too slow and not intuitive enough.

I predict that soon our phones will listen to our conversations to pick up verbal cues as will other technology. Our images will be checked by small camera's in multiple ways and from multiple directions simultanously. Everything will be used that will integrate our movements from multiple angles to understand exactly what we want from our body language and gestures.

We will teach technology as a whole (not just our phone but our "cloud" based persona) how to interpret a flick of our hand, a nod of our head, and inflection of our voice so that immediately we can have fed to us the specific information titbit that is critically important to us and those around us.

Ear peices will give us information surreptitiously and we will have the ability to have eye glasses of the latest fashion forms that have subtle visual readouts giving us a three dimension view enhancing our world.

What does this mean for us as Christians?

We need to accept change is a way of life.


As the technology becomes more competent, so will the gap between rich and poor, between the "developed" and "undeveloped".

That gap size is currently accelerating. 

There was an upper privaledges class many years ago in Israel. They were called Pharisees and Sadducees! Jesus told then a few things at the time that I think are applicable today.

Didn't Jesus tell them the following (as reported in Luke 11:39). . .

 "You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish," he said. "But inside you are full of greed and evil. You foolish people! Didn't the one who made the outside make the inside also? Give to poor people what is inside the dish. Then everything will be clean for you.

The technology race is one where people are dealing with externals. The latest and greatest advances are pushed and polished. These people are making out they are pure and clean. They are cleaning the outside of the cup, generally so they can make more money or gain more prestige.


They tell us we are getting improvements in our life. Yes, clean cups are better for everyone, but we must remember that as our lives are lived, the externals are not the critical focus. It is the internals that God looks at! God is the God of both externals and internals!

What are the internals that I am talking about?

These are the ethics and morals of society, and continual review to see that we are not leaving the poor people behind in this technological rat race.

How is the development benefiting them?

How does implanting technology into human bodies get led by good biblical ethical decisions and principles?

How can we ensure God's guidlines are built into the technological advances and that we do not get our people cornered into a place that we cannot move without unethical decisions?

What happens when technology makes it easier to discriminate rather that removing discrimination?
 
Do people that put software and hardware together even consider the discriminatory power of the tools they build?

It is of interest to me that wikipedia favours the agnostic community because it is a tool that changes to reflect the information desires of the average world citizen and this seems to be a predominant view currently.

This is impacting every child born today as they use wikipedia instead of the old fashioned and now superceeded paper encyclopedias.

What am I trying to say?

As we build and appreciate technology, and we must, we have to look for Jesus' wisdom to be imbedded in the developments.

Perhaps our guideline should be those Romans 12:7-18

Is it your gift to serve? Then serve.
Is it teaching? Then teach. 
Is it telling others how they should live? Then tell them.
Is it giving to those who are in need? Then give freely.
Is it being a leader? Then work hard at it.
Is it showing mercy? Then do it cheerfully.

 
Love must be honest and true. Hate what is evil. Hold on to what is good. Love each other deeply.

Honor others more than yourselves.

Never let the fire in your heart go out. Keep it alive. Serve the Lord.
 
When you hope, be joyful.
When you suffer, be patient.
When you pray, be faithful.

Share with God's people who are in need.

Welcome others into your homes.
 

 Bless those who hurt you. Bless them, and do not call down curses on them.
Be joyful with those who are joyful.
Be sad with those who are sad.
Agree with each other.
Don't be proud. Be willing to be a friend of people who aren't considered important. Don't think that you are better than others.

Don't pay back evil with evil.
Be careful to do what everyone thinks is right.
If possible, live in peace with everyone.

Do that as much as you can.



It is critical we build this moral truth into our technology.
That's my view at any rate, what is yours?

Tue, August 23, 2011 | link          Comments

Monday, August 22, 2011

How can we understand parables?
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"Jesus of Nazareth could have chosen simply to express Himself in moral precepts; but like a great poet He chose the form of the parable, wonderful short stories that entertained and clothed the moral precept in an eternal form. It is not sufficient to catch man's mind, you must also catch the imaginative faculties of his mind."

Dudley Nichols

   
    
Many years ago, in the hot sun of the Middle East, groups of people gathered to listen to a story teller who told stories with deep meaning.

 There were many of these types of teachers who would pick a spot in the sun or shade to tell their tales. They would sit down and teach those that gathered around.

 Most of these were Rabbi’s or Jewish teachers!

 Jesus was also a teacher, but there was a difference between his stories and theirs. Most of the Rabbi’s quoted wise sayings of previous Rabbi’s or the bible (Old testament) directly, but Jesus spoke with authority and his material was not a reconstructed rework of historical words but came across with new and sharp meaning.

 Not only that, but his stories generally involved using examples from the average persons life activities.

 
 Today when we hear those same stories, we often feel as if we can understand them as well as that original audience.

 We are living in a different time, under different circumstances, yet the words in their simplicity and short sharp focus seem to bridge these areas of difference and we still understand the basic meaning of most of them today.

 There are historical differences, but the science of archaeology and those discoveries which are uncovered daily gives us deeper understanding of the times and lives of people in those times.

 We know parables mean different things to different people. They did even in Jesus day! They are multi-faceted and really require Holy Spirit to trigger the understanding in the correct way.

 However even for the same parable the meaning and impact is different for different people.

 Let’s look at just one parable in the NIV translation;

 Matt 13: 24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
    “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

     “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

    “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

    “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

 The viewpoint of those who respect God and those who are agnostic would be very different wouldn’t it?

 If we love God, this is reassuring, if not, this is threatening. It has in it encouragement for those who try to do what God wants and is a warning for those who don’t.

 The parable stands by itself.

 It’s a story, but we can see that it is more than a simple story, it contains teaching in it as well. Any explanation is in some way less than the story itself, no matter how good the explanation.

 It’s also worth looking at these different explanations since they sometimes give us different perspectives. Here is the same parables from the message translation;

 He told another story. "God's kingdom is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. That night, while his hired men were asleep, his enemy sowed thistles all through the wheat and slipped away before dawn. When the first green shoots appeared and the grain began to form, the thistles showed up, too.

  "The farmhands came to the farmer and said, 'Master, that was clean seed you planted, wasn't it? Where did these thistles come from?'

  "He answered, 'Some enemy did this.'

    "The farmhands asked, 'Should we weed out the thistles?'

  "He said, 'No, if you weed the thistles, you'll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I'll instruct the harvesters to pull up the thistles and tie them in bundles for the fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn.'"

 While this is different, we get the same basic concepts from the translation don’t we?

 Now what is important to understand is that parables cannot be interpreted right out of the context of their original meaning.

 We cannot for example in the light of trouble between Israel and Egypt suddenly decide that the wheat is Israel and the weeds Egypt. That would be nonsense and not at all in line with the original meaning.

 While most of us would never do that, we do tend to sometimes do this to a lesser degree where the contrast in not as clear. We need to be careful of doing this since we would be distorting God’s word if we did.

 We must read these stories within their first century world environment. Trying to interpret with emphasis on specialized combined harvesters etc. is not going to add any value to Jesus original story.

 Let’s also be positive in attitude towards using what we know of the historical context of the time. God has revealed what we need to know to use these words correctly. Let’s do our due diligence, read the commentaries and archaeological discoveries, but then let’s draw close to God and think about the words he said. They will grow a life of their own!

 Today I woke rather depressed with the evil in the world, it’s  disease and success of ungodly people. Then I read this parable!

 
 The joy of life is in the growing amongst the thorns. Ultimately, our endurance and inherent joy will pay off. We will have the true value attached to our lives, we will be gathered to God.

 That is good isn’t it?
Mon, August 22, 2011 | link          Comments


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Rift in Evil

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This suspense thriller centers on Kiara, a beautiful young woman pursued by a murderous group of people, who relentlessly and ruthlessly hunt her and her sisters. Kiara has no idea why she is being targeted! When Kiara and her family turn to the law for help, this fails. Her pursuers’ powers reach deeply into the political and law enforcement world. Family support for her dwindles when they too have to flee her pursuers. Can Kiara escape the clutches of both the law and dishonest big business? With the media broadcasting that Kiara and friends are dangerous and subversive, can Kiara clear her name and bring her pursuers to justice?

 

 
  

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 RiftInEvil.gifThe town of Zinaville is dropped into a spiral of evil causing a young man and a beautiful but abused woman to launch into an investigation that unveils an evil conspiracy.

A horrific mining accident results in Joshua Robyn's father being killed. Joshua struggles both with himself and his townsfolk as he tries to make sense of an incomprehensible situation. Is it an accident or a murder? Why is there a seeming link to evil? Why is his work environment suddenly threatening? What is the conspiracy about and what are they trying to do? As action moves dramatically from exotic African grasslands to the heart of North America's cities, the plot unfolds and the pace quickens. Will there be time? Why is a beautiful abused young woman in the center of this plot?

Evil tendrils tighten on their lives and the interplay between the visible and invisible world shows opposing forces at work.

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Will they be able to stop the evil in time?

 

 

 
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