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FMeekins

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    Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic.

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  1. An article titled “Christian School Teacher Fired After Deciding To Live 2014 As An Atheist” attempts to place the onus for such a state of occupational limbo on organized religion. But isn't it even more the fault of the educator in question for attempting to turn his crisis of faith into some kind of theological publicity stunt? According to the article, Ryan Bell was a Seventh Day Adventist minister and adjunct professor whose leftwing support of gay marriage and variance with his denomination's eschatology resulted in his resignation from the Hollywood congregation he pastored. He was forced from his teaching positions from Fuller Seminary and Azusa Pacific University when Bell publicly announced his intentions to live as an atheist for a year to see if that particular worldview more accurately reflected his spiritual state where disillusionment caused him to question a number of his most deeply held beliefs. The press account puts the blame for the hardship Bell would have to endure on these respective institutions of higher education. After all, Bell pointed out in the article, he has utility bills to pay and children to feed. But shouldn't these employers be applauded for assisting Bell in taking his experiment in atheism to its logical conclusion? For Bell is not a minister in the Unitarian or Episcopal Churches so wishy washy in their core doctrines and beliefs that they are at times willing to keep outright unbelievers on their respective payrolls. According to the article, Fuller Seminary and Azusa Pacific University both require faculty to adhere to a statement of faith seemingly quite broad in terms of Christian specifics if these institutions of higher education claiming to be Evangelical openly embrace Seventh Day Adventism. What Dr. Bell has said is that, at the time this all came to a head in 2014, he no longer believes the bare bones required by these schools. As such, if Bell for the time being no longer believes that there is an all powerful being sustaining the universe and providing a means whereby fallen men might be brought back into fellowship with Him, why shouldn't Bell also forfeit the salary provided by those that do believe in such in a context that already doesn't sound all that picky or particular regarding what are commonly referred to as secondary theological matters? After all, when the unbelievers are holding the administrative reigns and catch a whiff of doctrinal content they aren't particularly fond of they aren't exactly all that magnanimous either. For example, in “Reason In The Balance”, popularizer of Intelligent Design Phillip Johnson chronicled the case of a Biology Professor that suggested that the complexity of even the simplest lifeforms pointed in the direction of a designer. Whom or what that might be was left up for the student to decide as the professor made no suggestions as to whether that designer was God in yonder Heaven or little green men zooming about the cosmos in a flying saucer. For engaging in the free exchange of ideas in an environment supposedly priding itself on such intellectual dynamism, this professor was booted out the door. Adherents of Intelligent Design have faired little better in other settings. For example, a scientist lost his job at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for simply expressing an interest in Intelligent Design. Yet that very same facility explicitly stated in its public propaganda how its administrators supposedly appreciate innovative perspectives. Apparently believing that a Higher Power is behind the grandeur of the universe has little to do with building better rockets with the exception, of course, of boosting the esteem of Muslims in regards to that civilization's developments in mathematics from nearly a millennium ago. President Obama was quite explicit in making that an aeronautical agency funding priority despite their being barely a cent available for manned extra-atmospheric travel in the form of a space shuttle or lunar expeditions. Did the atheists that got all worked up on behalf of Ryan Bell rush to meet the material needs of the occupationally displaced adherents of Intelligent Design or flagellate themselves in shamefacedness over the way the establishment media expects Christians to upon hearing of the hardships caused by the failure to at first compromise and then ultimately set aside these minimal standards derived from a set of very rudimentary beliefs one would think nearly anyone even wanting to be employed in a Christian setting would agree to? After all, it is not like Fuller Seminary these days enforces a no movies under any circumstances rule. Proponents of the decision to impose penalties upon the bakers refusing to bake cakes for gay weddings insist that we ought to be willing to accept such punishments with little comment as the price for standing for convictions at variance with established social norms. In the case of those professing some manner of public unbelief such as itinerant academic Ryan Bell, this is to be yet another of the expanding network of exceptions and double standards. by Frederick Meekins
  2. Francis Schaeffer is one of my primary inspirations as well :-D
  3. As those following the news over thepast several years are no doubt aware, a leftist protest movement has galvanized under a banner referred to broadly as “Occupy Wall Street” This name was selected almost as an after thought by a coalition of converging groups and causes in order to appeal to the sympathizes of a significant swath of the American population. For there really aren't many that have not been perturbed at one time or another over the shenanigans of Wall Street. To those on the Left, these often stand out as ostentatious displays of greed. Those on the Right, though having little problem in theory with the accumulation of considerable profit, are as just as much in principle disturbed by the government intervention rushing to prevent economic collapse as a result of imprudence on the part of investors and other fiduciaries carelessly overseeing delicate financial assets. Because of those assembling under such a banner, a number of the nation's leaders from institutions such as government and media have spoken favorably of these protests. Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi have often assumed a John Belushi “Thank you, sir. May I have another” posture in gratitude for protesters speaking out with such boldness and direct action. But before Americans that (unlike these protesters) actually work for a living or take an assortment of steps to see that they minimize their dependence upon public assistance march in solidarity as we are told to by revolutionary leftists, perhaps we should take a look at what movements such as Occupy Wall Street actually profess, what kinds of deeds they have committed, and what elites such as Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi endorse by default as a result of their favorable remarks and lack of condemnation. For example, participants in these sorts of upheavals have, like disgruntled apes in zoos, relieved their bowels in police cruisers. Did President Obama speak out against such outrage? If not, shouldn't it be construed that he has no problem with such an act? After all, he found it appropriate to interject himself into the misunderstanding between a police officer and a Harvard professor so full of himself that he did not think he had to comply with the lawful orders of law enforcement like a mundane, run of the mill American. More importantly, if there is nothing inherently wrong about pulling down one's pants and relaxing one's anal sphincter against a police cruiser, then what would be so wrong about perpetrating a similar outrage against a presidential motorcade? After all, are we not acculturated that, in our federal system of government, ideally the local level is just as important as the national and no one person or official more worthy of deference than another? Another aspect worthy of note is how these leftist elites respond to Occupy-style movements in light of their to the Tea Party movement. One such example is none other than Hag Pelosi. In one interview, the crone about broke down into tears how the kinds of frustrations vociferously articulated in the earliest days of the Tea Party movement were what led to the violence of the 1960's, especially as epitomized by those carried out in her beloved San Francisco area. President Obama echoed similar sentiments insinuating that Tea Party activists needed to watch what they said in light of the shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords not by a proponent of constitutional government and fiscal responsibility but rather by a psychotic motivated by the occult as evidenced by the Voodoo shrine he erected in his parents' backyard. But while members of the Tea Party can hardly be linked to any actual incidents of violence and are more likely to have assaults perpetrated upon them as evidence by a Black gentleman beaten to a pulp by union goons for simply attempting to sell “Don't Tread On Me” paraphernalia, those allied with Occupy Wall Street and related upheavals have actually perpetrated outrages that about bring tears to any but the most calloused news hounds. In Italy, mobs in solidarity with the Occupy Movement desecrated and vandalized religious objects and works of art in a church. Had such an act of deliberate animus taken place on the part of the Tea Party movement at a Jewish synagogue (especially of the liberal variety where those that gather do so more out of a passionate disregard for Christianity rather than out of any affirmative embrace of the revelation of a monotheisitic God to mankind), every news bureau in the country would have a correspondent on the scene with Geraldo especially ripping out his mustache in an act of lamentation. And in another act of religious hostility occurring on the Italian Peninsula, a protester set ablaze a Bible during a mass conducted by the Pope. Just see what happens to you if a similar act of disrespect is perpetrated to a particular venerated Islamic text. The next video footage of something set on fire is likely to be you. Did the Obama Administration release any kind of statement condemning such acts of hatred against Christianity? Yet this was the very same regime that propagated the impression that mentioning the terms “Islamic” or “terrorism” to describe the contemporary documented phenomena of violence committed in pursuit of specific theo-political ends is going to spark an epidemic of bias related incidents directed towards Muslims that are in no way participating in this covert yet not so subtle attempt to destroy the Western way of life. Among crimes, there rank gradations of offense. Since the structures are ingrained culturally into our psyches as places exuding goodness and holiness at least to those that frequent them, most Americans of sound conscience would not think of vandalizing a house of worship even if it was of a tradition other than their own. The only other acts that strike the descent individual as more shocking would probably be assaults of a sexual nature and outright homicide. It has been said that in the eighteenth century that the Bible was killed, in the nineteenth century that God was killed, and in the twentieth century man was killed. This rhetorical flourish shows how a total disregard for the basic mortality of Scripture leads to a disrespect for God which results in the catastrophic death that results as man perfects his technology but certainly not his morality. Experimental sociologists of the twenty-first century do not necessarily have to waste centuries any more to watch such a process play out. It is unfolding before their very eyes in the form of Occupy Wall Street and derivative protest movements. Following the shocking vandalism of the Italian churches, participants of the Occupy Movement having expressed such outright contempt for the things of God have expunged themselves of perhaps the greatest hurdle up until now preventing them from afflicting similar atrocities upon their fellow human beings. Perhaps the likes of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi would care to comment on any number of these since they certainly don't mind foaming at the mouth at the alleged behavioral shortcomings of the Tea Party Movement. For example, in a number of Occupy “shanty towns” and indigent enclaves, a number of women have been sexually assaulted and even raped. It was been reported that one of these victims was a 14 year old and, another , a woman with cognitive disabilities. At one Occupy demonstration, a tent for women only had to be established in order to provide a sense of comfort to women reluctant to sleep amidst a group of men whose appearances alone often reveal a lack of discipline and self control. However, given the nature of the mob mentality, is a sign reading “Women Only” going to dissuade a bunch of lust-filled hooligans when they don't have much respect for law, rules, and basic human decorum to begin with? Even when such unconscionable acts occur, often it is the preference of Occupy organizers that such infractions be settled within the confines of the demonstrating collective. After all, when these beatniks believe we are nothing more than animals to begin with, such assaults really aren't that evil after all. Categorizing such acts in that manner is a manifestation of the bourgeois notions of the uptight and sexually repressed. Perhaps it is this notion that the likes of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi embrace so heartily. That notion is of course that the laws that govern we mere common mortals should not be used to bind those consciences and minds so revolutionary that, as Hegel taught, they are already attuned to the new epoch unfolding before us. For example, among those thinking that the sexual predators within the ranks of the Occupy Movement should not be remanded to bourgeois justice are those probably insisting that Herman Cain be placed on some kind of offender registry for commenting that one woman was about his wife's height and for requesting another to doctor his tea. Throughout history, though many revolutions start out galvanized around a noble principle, eventually since they do not yield to the laws of God nor respect the rights of those that disagree with their conclusions, end up in violence and eventually loss of life. As has been seen in terms of the desecrated church and sexual molestations, this movement has already tottered over the edge into violence. The discerning and concerned must ask how long until the loss of innocent life? Already a number of Occupy participants have succumbed to overdoses on pharmaceutical compounds. Proponents of the Occupy Movement will respond that this was the result of the deceased individual's own hand. Fair enough. One only need glance at the vast numbers of Occupy participants for no more than fifteen seconds to tell that these types aren't exactly renowned for pursuing lives of ascetic self-control and mortification of the flesh. However, incidents have occurred that could lead one to conclude that the Occupy Movement could turn violent or even homicidal at the drip of a pin. Or perhaps, in this case, rather a pen. For just such a writing implement was plunged into the neck of one particular broadcast journalist covering one of these activist enclaves. One supposes it only logical that the proper use of such communication technology no doubt evades those unable to master the techniques necessary to aim their respective digestive effluents into the designated sewage receptacles. Often the mouthpieces of these uprising throngs claim that their goals are of a nonviolent nature. Yet these malcontents then proceed to smash windows, flip over automobiles, and now desecrate religious objects. To the average person not educated beyond the point of usefulness, such acts embody the notion of violence. However, to such leftists that have conscientiously abandoned established moral norms, such acts are not construed as violent. To them, such an ethical appellation only applies if forceful actions are directed towards particular types of human beings. But among the first steps of systematic demhumanization is to either take away the property of your political opponents or to exhibit some kind of overwhelming disrespect towards it. For example, bricks through windows and setting trashcans afire is a favorite tactic of this kind of movement in its early stages. As such acts become second nature to the perpetrators, they may even move to even more shocking acts of vandalism such as the painting of yellow stars on the property of those belonging to a particular ethno-religious category. After what might even include a little nocturnal breaking of the glass, the shock troops of the New World Order are well on their way to eroding what little remains of the human conscience to allow not only for the destruction of the things owned by the despised demographic (be they Jews, Christians, property owners or even those driving automobiles deemed too luxurious by the proponents of anarchistic collectivism) but the snuffing out as well of the very lives of those deemed a hindrance to progress and the next stage of social development. Already the mental and philosophical preparation is being put into place to ratchet things up to the next level. Even the godless amoralitsts need to be conditioned for the pending taking of human life. In a story posted at the Blaze.com titled, “Anti-Capitalist Teach-In Leader: 'We Have People Organizing Inside The Military”, a member of the Progressive Labor Party boasted that he and his comrades are infiltrating the military, college campuses, and among industrial workers in preparation of a pending uprising. In essence, this is totalitarian as it mirrors the orders of society laid out since the Middle Ages encompassing nearly everyone in terms of those who work, fight, and pray. Infiltrating the churches and colleges is essential in order to mold the masses in compliance with one's own warped worldview. It is essential to seize control of the means of production in order to bring society to a grinding halt. For if you can cut off access to food, other necessities and assorted luxuries, you can coerce quite a few to go along with your demands even if they are not inclined to because of the ingrained drives for food, shelter, and clothing. There is only one reason that one would want to take over the military as articulated by a mentioned Occupy spokesman. That reason is to none other than kill or intimidate into compliance those within education, industry, and religion unwilling to surrender this side of the grave to the brutalizations of totalitarian collectivism. Some snobs might sneer down their noses since Blaze.com is the news portal of ideological flip-flopper Glen Beck. However, how that refutes the veracity of an Occupy subversive speaking in his own words is never really explained. That's one reason they want to seize control of the military. So the will never be required to explain themselves. However, there was another statement documented that verifies that desire for what the vast majority of Americans would categorize as violence. One agitator participating in Occupy Movement activism enunciated how he would like to hurl a Molotov cocktail into Macy's. Such an act is an act of terrorism not all that different than that perpetrated by Islamists around the world. Anyone claiming it is not because of the animosities they harbor against the symbols of capitalism such as department stores should be asked how they would like such an horrible deed perpetrated against their own homes or economic establishments more to their own likings such as food coops and organic markets featuring what is claimed to be locally grown produce. In response to a brief blog entry I posted, a commenter remarked that I had better stop watching Fox News or Rush Limbaugh and wake up to how the so-called 99% disapprove of how the 1% are living. This also raises a number of questions. For starters, what if I refuse to? As a free individual, I am permitted to consult whatever sources of information and media that I desire. We call that freedom of thought and expression. It is obvious that with such threats that those sympathetic to the rampagers do not respect liberty of conscience. But more importantly, does the fact that the 99% approve or disapprove of something make that thing in question good or evil? It has been said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. To configure that sentiment in a more dignified elocution, the Biblical idiom insists that broad is the path that leads to destruction. For example, it has been said that pure democracy is a group consisting of 51 men and 49 women where the 51 men vote to rape the 49 women. Some conditioned into the notion that the only way to express things is in the most docile manner possible so as not to spark offense will recoil, insisting that such an extreme example could never take place. But given what has taken place at a number of Occupy encampments such as unsolicited toe sniffing, outright sexual assault, the establishment of female-only tents surrounded by barbed wire and a leadership so spineless that it is reluctant too hand over such criminals to the justice system, those that would consider them themselves adjusted human beings had better think long and hard about basing their convictions upon a foundation no more secure than the whims of a drug-addled mob. Global society indeed totters along the edge of destruction. Though anyone aware of a world beyond themselves is outraged by the gross excesses wallowed in by those atop the system, one must also be constantly aware of the threat posed by those fanatically insistent that the only way to rectify the perceived outrages is to nearly destroy all of civilized existence in the process. By Frederick Meekins
  4. In the Church today, a debate rages over the relationship of philosophy and theology to one another. Some scholarly believers as epitomized by Norman Geisler argue that, since this world is God's world, both can be used to understand Creation if each of these disciplines are approached from a Bibliocentric perspective. The other side of the debate contends that, since theology contains God's revelation to mankind, philosophy at best merely repeats the understanding of theology or at worst actively undermines theology by enshrining human reason as the ultimate standard. This debate extends back to the earliest days of the Church. Living in the Hellenistic world awash with numerous philosophies, mystery cults, and state religions, the Church quite early on had to address these realities. Basing their approach on Paul's Mars Hill missionary efforts in Acts 17, early Christians advocating the value of philosophy pointed out that philosophy could be used as a point of contact with the unbeliever when both philosophy and theology concurred on certain matters. For example, Paul was able to win the attention of some Stoics because of the similarities between Christianity and that particular philosophy. Justin Martyr, who went from being a Stoic to an Aristotelian to a Pythagorean to a Platonist, ultimately settled upon being a Christian because he categorized the faith as the true philosophy. The second approach emphasized its own Pauline justification as well by invoking I Corinthians 1 where in the passage the world's wisdom is categorized as foolishness. Elsewhere, Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception.” Those adhering to this approach noted how philosophy often bred heresy and unbelief. A number of Church Fathers favorably disposed towards philosophy harbored questionable beliefs often linked to Platonism. For example, Origen of Alexandria believed that Satan was not beyond redemption since the Devil is a spirit not unlike a run of the mill human being (Gonzalez, 80). Such a perspective was often derived from the Platonic view that God was a nondescript entity that did not create the universe from nothing and did not personally care for individual human beings. Yet God as revealed through Scripture and incarnated in Jesus Christ is known personally by His followers and cares when even the tiniest sparrow falls to the ground. When viewed from a certain light, both of these approaches relating philosophy and theology possessed merit. Each agreed regarding the centrality of God's revelation of Jesus Christ and on the need for salvation. Those appreciating philosophy were correct in pointing out that all truth is God's truth and that segments of truth can be used to introduce the lost to the source of all truth. Those leery of philosophy were correct in pointing out the danger the discipline would wreak if left unchecked. The descendants of the early Church walking the Earth would do well to consider both of these positions. I Peter 3:15 commands the Christian to provide an answer for the hope within. Many apologists and theologians interpret this as giving a response to objections and inaccuracies raised by the unbeliever. In the process, the potential exists to bring a substantial number into the faith by highlighting those points of commonality shared between the faith and the most profound insights that human thought have to offer. Realizing that a percentage of the persecution befalling the Church was the result of inaccurate rumors and incorrect assumptions, the early Apologists set out to set the record straight in a manner that would make a Madison Avenue public relations firm proud. The Apologists answered head on the charges leveled against Christianity and turned them against their pagan adversaries. When accused of orgies and incest through misunderstandings as to the nature of the love feast and the practice of calling fellow believers “brother” or “sister”, the Apologists explained what these terms meant and the pointed out that the pagans themselves committed such debaucheries as exhibited by certain Dionysian rites. (Gonzalez, 50). Accused of atheism for believing in what the Romans considered god and for not believing in the sanctioned state pantheon, Polycarp at his trial was ordered by the judge to vocally proclaim, “Out with atheists.” Polycarp theatrically gestured towards the assembled crowd and declared, “Yes, out with the atheists (Gonzalez, 45).” Having deflected some of the criticism, the Apologists sought to win Classical civilization by showing that the insights and accomplishments achieved by that particular cultural tradition were not necessarily antithetical to Christian belief in and of itself. Justin Martyr argued that all knowledge stemmed from the universal reason of the Logos manifested in the person of Jesus Christ. Reason was to the Greek what revelation was to the Hebrew in terms of the basis of each culture's epistemological foundation. Justin in fact characterized Christianity as true philosophy. The Apologists found themselves in an era hostile to the claims of Christianity. Yet they were willing to proclaim the message that the hostile forces arrayed against the Church needed to hear. Though it has not yet come to the same point in our society where believers are being executed for their faith, the contemporary Church needs to emulate this example before such a state of affairs occurs once more. Over the course of its early history, the Church faced numerous threats. Some of these such as the hostile Roman and Jewish authorities came from without. Those claiming to come from within the Church's own ranks as embodied by the heresies of Gnosticism and Marcionism were as equally dangerous in their own particular manners. Gnosticism was the name given to a number of related sects claiming they possessed knowledge beyond that held by the Church and the ordinary believer. Gnosticism was in fact a blending of Platonism Judaism, Zoroastrian, and Christian beliefs (Chadwick, 35). A number of these beliefs held by Gnosticism put the movement at odds with the Christian faith. First among these was that only the spiritual was good and that matter was in fact evil. This teaching manifested itself in two primary ways. Some Gnostics engaged in extreme ascetic practices that ignored basic bodily needs. Other Gnostics invoked their disregard for the material as an excuse for debauched and licentious practices since they insisted bodily actions bore no impact upon one's spiritual well-being. Beyond this, Gnostics possessed several faulty notions regarding Christ. For example, many Gnostics held that Christ did not actually possess a human body but rather merely appeared to have one. Such a claim would make Christ a liar and thus unworthy of worship. In Luke 24:39, Christ Himself says, “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” If Christ did not have an actual material body, why would He go to such a length in deceiving His associates into thinking He had one? In regards to Gnostic conceptions of salvation, it was not enough to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead, one needed to be initiated into the inner circle of hidden knowledge in order to obtain the passwords needed to ascend to higher levels of enlightened existence. The second heresy faced by the early Church was Marcionism, named for its founder Marcion. Marcion believed that the God of the Old Testament who created the physical world and who was worshiped by the Jews was not God the Father of Jesus (Chadwick, 39). The higher God sent Jesus into the world to correct the evil wrought by the maniacal Jehovah. To do away with physical procreation which nauseated him, Marcion argued that Christ stepped onto the world stage as a fully grown individual. Marcion then took it upon himself to establish a canon of sacred writings suitable to the teachings of his sect. Having enunciated this antipathy for the Old Testament God, Marcion rejected that particular portion of Scripture. Of what came to be known as the New Testament, Marcion accepted only the Gospel of Luke and Paul's Epistles. Even these documents did not escape his editor's pen as Marcion proceeded to expunge these texts of their Old Testament quotes and allusions which he claimed had been placed there as Jewish propaganda. Gnosticism and Marcionism presented powerful threats to the fledgling Christian Church. Fortunately, the Church was able to rally around the faith elaborated in Scripture and empowered by the Holy Spirit to keep these false doctrines at bay. As the Church grew in number and influence, it was not long before those assembling under its banner or claiming to speak on behalf of its divine founder began promoting and squabbling over differing theological beliefs and interpretations. A number of these were either highly controversial or even blatantly aberrant. Montanism was a reaction against Marcion and Gnostic theologies. Both Gnosticism and Marcionism sought to undermine the more conventional literal interpretation of Scripture by allegorizing these as many Gnostics had done or by denying the authenticity of such outright as Marcion had done. Each sect also denied essential doctrines such as Christ's virgin birth or physical incarnation. Montanus along with Prisca and Maximilla were alleged to have prophesied under direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit against as what was classified as “...the Gnostic elimination of the eschatological expectation (Chadwick, 52). “ In many ways, Montanism proved as divisive as its Gnostic and Marcion competition. Many congregations in Asia Minor split, with the church at Thyatira remaining Montanist for nearly a century (Chadwick, 52). The Montanist movement even appealed to theologians of considerable reputation such as Tertullian. Tertullian was originally attracted to the movement's rigorous ethics and spiritual vigor. However, even he grew weary of the innovation after a fashion because of the movement's failure to deliver on its promise of a new era marked by increased accessibility to the power of the Holy Spirit and its promise of a Christian life surpassing even that enjoyed by the Apostles themselves (Gonzalez, 76). Such enthusiasm could not be sustained indefinitely. Even if it could, Montanism was not even necessarily that good of an idea since it was itself based upon questionable theological assumptions. For example, Montanists claimed that those doubting the veracity of their prophetic utterances were guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, the greatest offense one could commit in violation of Scripture. Hippolytus pointed out in reference to the Montanist emphasis on supernatural manifestations that these were not the greatest miracle that an individual could experience. But rather that honor was reserved for the occasion of their own individual conversion (Chadwick, 53). The orthodox response to Gnosticism and Marcionism was not to be found in the fits of ecstasy and seeming irrationalism as offered by Montanism but rather in more powerful tools that the Church would find at its disposal. It would probably not be an exaggeration to say that the average Christian thinks that the Bible plopped down from Heaven complete with leather binding and the words of Christ conveniently highlighted in red. However, the process by which the Church came to accept this gift from God, particular in regards to the books of the New Testament, was a gradual process fraught with a certain degree of controversy along the way. In response to the Marcion and Gnostic denial of certain Gospels and portions of the Epistles embodied by Marcion's acceptance of only the Gospel of Luke and his removal of Paul's Old Testament quotations as Jewish propaganda, the Church felt that it needed to formalize which writings were binding as divinely inspired. Since Jesus accepted the Old Testament as divinely inspired, so would the Church. Therefore, most of the debate arose surrounding what post-Old Testament writings would be accepted into the corpus of holy writ. According to Justo Gonzalez in “The Story Of Christianity: The Early Church To The Dawn Of The Reformation”, the first works accepted by the Church were the Gospels. Instead of being discouraged by alleged discrepancies between the exacting details of the Gospels, orthodox Christians pointed out how the considerable agreement between these documents undermined Gnostic claims to the secret knowledge as found in the sect's preferred text the Gospel of Saint Thomas (Gonzalez 63). The next set of works accepted by the Church included the Pauline Epistles and the Book of Acts. The greatest debate centered around the texts found towards the end of what Christians categorize as the New Testament. Debate ensued over II Peter, Hebrews, James, II John, III John, Jude, and Revelation. Councils were convened at Hipporegiaus in 393, at Carthage in 397, and the Council convened in 419 was under the leadership of none other than Augustine. It was the purpose of these councils to identify which books stood out as having been authored under divine inspiration. However, this process of consensus did not always end the dispute as was the case regarding the Book of Revelation. Though accepted by the third century, its inspiration was questioned after Constantine's conversion because of the book's harsh words regarding tyrannical government and worldliness but this concern subsided by the second half of the fourth century (Gonzalez, 63). Though the New Testament did not plop down fully formed from Heaven into the hands of Billy Graham or John Paul II, the Church can rest assured as to this work's divine authenticity because even to this very day there are few things to which all Christians agree. For example, Dispensationalists and Covenant theologians seldom agree on the specifics of Scripture's eschatological chronology, but both will agree upon the supremacy of the Lord proclaimed within its pages and the value of each inspired word to the salvation of mankind to this very day. Faced with challenges such as Gnosticism and Marcionism, the Church formulated several weapons to be used against these kinds of heresies, the New Testament canon being the most powerful tool at the disposal of the Church. However, the Church also possessed a number of other supplementary weapons to be used in a supportive role in the realm of intellectual and spiritual confrontation. One of these tools used by the Church came to be known as the Apostle's Creed. This symbol of faith was used to identify true believers since those reciting it with understanding were enunciating orthodox doctrine. This creed spoke to the subject of Jesus as God's Son, of the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the historicity of Christ's incarnation under the rule of Pontius Pilate and other foundational Christian doctrines with which assorted competing sects found themselves at variance. The second used in the Church's arsenal was the Rule of Faith. Very much akin to the Apostle's Creed, the Rule of Faith provided a brief summation of key doctrinal ideas such as those enunciated in the Creed such as the Creation, the Incarnation, and the Ascension. Tertullian found the Rule of Faith easier to use than the Scripture itself since the heretics interpreted Scripture through the lens of their pre-established theological preferences while not accepting the doctrines articulated within the Rule (Chadwick, 45). The third method employed by the Church to protect the faith was the notion of Apostolic Succession. According to the idea of Apostolic Succession, Christ passed his teaching authority on to the Apostles who in turn handed orthodox teachings over to their successors who eventually handed down this heritage throughout history in an unbroken chain. This idea was formulated to combat Gnostic claims of secret knowledge either passed down outside the established Apostolic channels or lost until rediscovered by the Gnostic adepts of succeeding generations. Each of these tools used by the Church did possess considerable influence yet could not surpass the power of the New Testament Canon. Both the Apostle's Creed and the Rule of Faith were derived from the teachings of Scripture and were merely tools used to summarize the greater body of work contained within the pages of the New Testament. Apostolic Succession was only of use if those invoking it were willing to adhere to the truth of the Gospel proclaimed by the Apostles and embraced by the early Church. Succeeding centuries would provide the results of what would happen when the traditions of men were given nearly the same weight as the revelation of God. I Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11 list the office and gift of teaching as one of the primary missions within the structure of the Church. It has often been the duty of those taking up the mantle of teaching to fight the doctrinal errors of the day and to prepare their respective congregations to face challenges in the society at large. Two individuals taking up this role in the early church included Irenaeus of Lyon and Tertulian of Carthage. Iraeneus was born in Asia Minor around AD 130. Eventually Irenaeus migrated to Lyon in southern France where he became presbyter and ultimately bishop after Photinus died under persecution. A disciple of Polycarp, Irenaeus had a pastor's heart in that his greatest interest was in teaching his congregation to live the Christian life and comprehend doctrine. As such, he did not engage in significant philosophical speculation (Gonzalez, 68). That does not mean, though, that Irenaeus was an intellectual slouch. In “Demonstrations of the Apostolic Faith” and “Against Heresies”, Irenaeus played the role of an ancient Hank Hanegraaff or Norman Geisler by refuting the doctrinal errors of his day --- namely Gnosticism --- and by instructing his readers in essential Christian belief. Taking the shepherd role of a pastor to heart, Irenaeus saw God as a shepherd lovingly leading his flock of humanity to the culmination of history (Gonzalez, 68). According to Irenaues, humanity was created as children eventually to takeits place as the judges of angels who themselves would help mankind in reaching the point of maturity like a tutor teaching a prince to one day take his place of rulership. Man is also to be taught by God's Word and Holy Spirit. Though history is now marked by sin, there would have been a history anyway (though one not quite as tragic as that now filling the world's libraries). In the drama of history, Israel is the instrument through which God's Word and Spirit reach out to all of mankind with an offer of eternal communion in the form of Jesus Christ. The second teacher to be discussed is Tertullian of Carthage. In certain respects, Tertullian was the Francis Schaeffer or Ravi Zacharias of his day, utilizing logic and argument to reveal the intellectual and spiritual bankruptcy of his opponents. For example, Tertullian used his legal and rhetorical training to expose the inherent inconsistency of Trajan's policy regarding Christianity: don't actively flush out believers but indeed prosecute them if they happen to get caught (Gonzalez, 74). Tertullian believed Christianity represented all truth and to seek truth apart from it through Classical culture was pointless at best and idolatry at worst. This sentiment was summarized by his famous aphorism asking what does Athens have to do with Jerusalem. Despite his wit and penetrating logic, Tertullian veered from the straight and narrow off into the Montantist movement which often emphasized alleged fits of the Spirit over the application of logic in addressing other rising heresies. Perhaps Tertullian's greatest contribution was his understanding of the Trinity. His understanding was formulated in response to Modalism (the belief that the names of “Father”, “Son”, and “Holy Spirit” signify the modes or roles of a unitary God rather than distinctive individuals). Tertullian said of the Trinity that the Godhead consists of one substance and three persons with Christ as the Savior being that distinct person possessing two natures (Gonzalez, 77). And to top off this formidable existence of intellectual accomplishment, Tertullian is honored as the father of Western theology for being among the first to use Latin rather than Greek in his writings. It is often easy to look down upon teachers and apologists for their application of the intellect in approaching the things of the spirit. However, it cannot be denied that these thinkers play a pivotal role in strengthening the faith of believers and in introducing the faith to a hostile and unbelieving world. By Frederick Meekins Chadwick, Henry. “The Early Church.” 1967. Gonzalez, Justo. “The Story Of Christianity (Vol. 1): The Early Church To The Dawn Of The Reformation. Harper Collins Publishers, 1984.
  5. As God's revelation to mankind, the Bible is complete in itself and capable of equipping the believer for every good work. Thus, with it alone, the Christian has everything that is necessary to learn the essentials of salvation and the wisdom necessary to sail the turbulent seas of life. Yet, unlike many other theological and religious texts, the Bible presents numerous universal truths by addressing concrete historical situations rather than by presenting a set of detached philosophical postulates. As such, an understanding of the backdrop against which certain Biblical texts were written can provide the believer with a deeper appreciation of and greater insight into the Word of God. That said, to the average believer, that has not already acquired an extensive background knowledge of the Ancient Near East, such a task can seem quite daunting. Fortunately, “A Survey Of The New Testament” by Robert Gundry makes such a goal much more manageable. “A Survey Of The New Testament” accomplishes this in part by grouping various New Testament books together in relation to when they were written or by thematic topic. For example, Galatians, I Thessalonians and II Thessalonians are classified together as the early epistles of Paul; I Corinthians, II Corinthians, and Romans are categorized as the Major Epistles of Paul. Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, I Timothy, II Timothy, and Titus are lumped together as the Pastoral Epistles of Paul because they were written specifically for young pastors (409). The books of James, I Peter, II Peter, I John, II John, III John and Jude are classified as Catholic or General Epistles because these texts were not targeted towards a specific locality. Hebrews and Revelation are each assigned their own individual chapters. From this system of classification, Gundry proceeds to analyze each of these New Testament books. He accomplishes this by first outlining the major themes of the book under consideration for quick reference and then proceeds to a more in depth analysis of the text under consideration. For example, in the outline for I Corinthians, the student will see that marriage is discussed in I Corinthians 7:1-40 (361). Flipping ahead a few pages, the reader will find, thanks to the convenient subsection headings, where Gundry provides a more detailed examination into the Biblical teaching prohibiting divorce on the part of believers married to unbelievers and where he delves in an evenhanded manner into the debate whether the Christian abandoned by an unbelieving spouse is permitted to remarry. Though Gundry does highlight the wisdom found in the pages of the New Testament epistles most are accustomed to discussing in Sunday school, his “Survey Of The New Testament” is no mere devotional and will keep the attention of those seeking deeper academic understanding of the sacred documents. For example, in his examination of the Book of Galatians, Gundry goes into considerable detail as to whether the epistle was addressed towards either North or South Galatia. Such an academic conjecture has bearing upon as to when the book was written. Gundry points out that, if the text was addressed to the area of Northern Galatia which Paul did not visit until his second missionary journey, this means the epistle was not written until after the Jerusalem Council detailed in Acts 15. If the epistle was addressed towards Southern Galatia, then it is believed to have been written after Paul's first missionary journey and thus prior to the Jerusalem Church Council (346). If one is not particularly inspired by such academic technicalities, one might find the chapters regarding the cultural settings of the New Testament world much more interesting. One may even find considerable similarity with our own era. Religiously and philosophically, Gundry describes a world of considerable variation. Permeating the non-Jewish population of the Mediterranean was the official state religion of Rome combining Greco-Roman mythology along with emperor worship to which the population was expected to grant tacit consent. However, it must be pointed out to the reader that this belief served more as a backdrop rather than the sum total of religious expression. For it is from the assorted esoteric sects and various philosophies that many drew inspiration and centered their lives around. It is at this point where Gundry lists some of the various philosophies popular at that time that the reader can see similarities with those prevalent in our own era. For example, Epicureans taught pleasure as the chief end of life, Stoicism taught dutiful acceptance of one's fate, and the skeptics are described as relativists who abandoned belief in the absolute. As the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul would have confronted these philosophies on a regular basis as exemplified by his encounter on Mars Hill in Acts 20. In light of the popularity of works such as “The Da Vinci Code” and “The Gospel Of Judas”, it can be easy for the faith of the Christian to be shaken by those claiming to have attained higher levels of academic expertise. Written from a solidly Evangelical perspective, “A Survey Of The New Testament” by Robert Gundry is a trustworthy defense against these pervasive heresies that have stalked the Church from its earliest days. It is often assumed that Christianity appropriated the ideas of the immortality of the soul, resurrection of the dead, and ceremonial washing such as baptism from the so-called mystery religions. However, Gundry points out, “On the other hand, not until the second, third, and fourth centuries of the Christian era do we get detailed information concerning the beliefs held by the devotees of the mysteries...Where their later beliefs look slightly similar to Christian beliefs, the direction of borrowing may have gone from Christianity to the mystery religions rather than vice versa (58).” It has been said that the Scriptures are simple enough for a child to understand yet deep enough for a theologian to drown in. “A Survey Of The New Testament” by Robert Gundry will serve as a sufficient life preserver as the believer heads out into doctrinally deep waters. By Frederick Meekins
  6. Yet despite the complexities and intricacies of both the biological and physical realms, atheistic naturalists continue on in their faith despite all the evidence to the contrary. Whereas Christians and other forms of theism look to deity to smooth over or bridge these aspects of reality that the finite mind struggles with comprehending, unbelievers look to other sources as to the origins of things. These are none other than time and chance. With no conscious hand guiding the cosmos as posited in theism, everything we see around us today is the result of fortuitous confluences; in other words, by blind random luck over vast eons of time. Even with vast amounts of time, the atheistic evolutionist must account for how everything is just so to sustain the universe as demonstrated by the Anthropic Constants. Theists point out it defies probability for the universe we experience today to have arisen on its own since such a vast number of fortuitous coincidences to occur in such a manner is not likely. Rather than admit the need for a God, a number of atheists reach into the conceptual “black hole” and pull out what has to be a last ditch explanation. According to the Multiple Universe Theory, the probability of something happening should not be viewed as a statistical barrier to it occurring since parallel realities have formed where everything that could possibly happen has happened (107-108). It is time to invoke the Geisler/Turek doctrine of “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist”. Isn’t it just easier to admit that God exists? Admittedly, over the years, Multiple Universe Theory has led to some interesting science fiction such as the episode of Star Trek where Captain Kirk met an evil version of the Enterprise crew with a Mr. Spock that Dr. McCoy admitted looked like a pirate. However, in the end even DC Comics found the concept of divergent parallel realities very confusing with multiplying Batmen, for instance, that writers often yanked readers around by the chain in terms of plotlines by invoking as a defense as to whether or not the Caped Crusader’s famed insignia had a yellow oval around it at the time or not. Editors finally put a stop to the implausibility over two decades ago through the monumental “Crisis On Infinite Earths” miniseries. Its about time those claiming to be grounded in the real world did the same. Though they attempt to pass themselves off as detached and dispassionate seekers of truth, the proponents of scientism often have less than scientific reasons for undermining the credibility of theism. For example, it has been claimed that when he was asked by Merv Griffin why he believed in Darwinism, famed evolutionist Julian Huxley is said to have responded, “The reason we accepted Darwinism even without proof is because we didn’t want God to interfere with our sexual mores (163).” I will be the first to admit that more than one Evangelical scholar has cited the recall of D. James Kennedy as the source of this quote (including Geisler and Turek) rather than a more irrefutable reference such as a transcript of the broadcast. As such, academic nitpickers will likely snip at it with their feigned sophistication and pretension as if their own claims don’t already rest on a house of cards. However, Huxley’s alleged mindset is just as pervasive among evolution's lesser luminaries as well. Ron Carlson, author of classic apologetics texts such as “Fast Facts On False Teaching”, relates an incident where at an after-lecture dinner a biology professor admitted that, while what Carlson had to say made considerable sense, he himself held a position disturbingly similar to what Huxley is said to have revealed on national TV. The professor said, "I mean if Darwinism is true --- there is no God and we all evolved from slimy green algae --- then I can sleep with whomever I want. In Darwinism, there is no moral accountability (163)." Many will no doubt be shocked by this claim since most academics look like they can barely get dates much less be chronic bed-hoppers though Bertand Russell certainly went through a number of marriages and liaisons for someone looking so disheveled. However, its bluntness is absolutely honest. For if atheism was true and God did not exist, then nothing is right and nothing ultimately wrong. Geisler and Turek tackle this unsettling reality in the chapter titled “Mother Teressa vs. Hitler” since these two figures epitomize the dichotomies of good and evil to the contemporary popular mind. The authors make the following argument: “(1) Every law has a law giver. (2) There is a Moral Law. (3) Therefore, there is a Moral Law Giver (171).” Concepts such as justice, fairness, and rights are ultimately predicated on the foundation of there being a Law Giver unchanging in His nature. For if there is no consciousness existing above mankind and the institutions of the species, whatever those institutions decide becomes by definition the good and the right. As has been said, democracy with no higher check placed upon it is a group of 100 where 51 men vote to rape 49 women. The sensitivities of the delicate in this culture that just about goes to ridiculous extremes to curry favor with the self-appointed mouthpieces of certain favored demographics might be shocked by such a statement. However, it is an honest assessment if the world described by atheism was the most accurate. If there is no intelligence existing above and transcendent to the physio-social realm, the right or rather the operationally convenient becomes whatever those holding power over a given territory say it is. Geisler and Turek highlight a few of these startling implications. For starters, if there is no divine moral law existing about men and nations, there would be no human rights. In an atheistic world, no authority exists above the government; and since it is the final word, whatever it says is by definition proper. If its leaders want the consent of the governed, that is fine and so is rounding up all the Jews and putting them in gas ovens if that is what authorities think is necessary to secure the survival and prosperity of the nation. The fact that a wide array of individuals from Rosa Parks to Gandhi to Alexander Solzhenitsyn have spoken out against the shortcomings of the nations and times in which lived they is itself proof that a moral law exists. Figures such as these are remembered largely in history for marshaling reason and and argumentation on behalf of their respective causes rather than armed force. Geisler and Turek write, "Without a Moral Law, there would be nothing objectively wrong with Christians...forcibly imposing their religion on atheists. There would be nothing wrong with outlawing atheism, confiscating the property of atheists, and giving it to Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell (181)." These authors conclude, "Unless atheists claim that there is a moral law [that] condones or condemns...then their positions are nothing more than their own subjective preferences (181)." by Frederick Meekins Bibliography: Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. “I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist.”
  7. Once the more-thoroughgoing theist establishes the need for a God to get the universe rolling, the conclusions of the teleological argument should be introduced. The argument contends that God not only set the universe in motion but also designed the cosmos in such a way that on average its systems and components function with a degree of efficiently not statistically likely if reality was the product of random chance. Known more commonly as the design argument, the Teleological Proof can be stated formally in the following manner: "1. Every design has a designer. 2. The universe has a highly complex design. 3. Therefore the universe had a Designer (95)." This complexity is evident in the environment in which we find ourselves as well as within ourselves and the creatures we share this environment with as biological organisms. Despite pride in his accomplishments that can veer into arrogance if not kept in check, man is ultimately a delicate creature that can exist only within a narrow continuum of conditions and thrive along only an even smaller range along that scale. The idea that the world was specifically suited so that me might even be able live in such an environment is known as the Anthropic Principle. In The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, the elder demon Screwtape in dispensing advice to his nephew Wormwood on how to delude his human charge counsels the young devil to dupe his victim into perceiving the ordinariness of the world around him and to avoid using real science. Such knowledge could very easily end up encouraging the lost soul into embracing the Christian faith (110). The first Anthropic Constant examined by Geisler and Turek is that of oxygen level. Contrary to what is probably popularly believed, though it is what our lungs primarily extract for the purposes of respiration when we breath, the Earth’s atmosphere is only 21% oxygen. If the percentage was a mere four points higher, fires would erupt spontaneously; and if a mere six points lower, human beings would suffocate (98). To our perceptions, the world seems as broad as the horizon. However, we actually live in a manner not all that different than a fish in a bowl or upon “spaceship earth” as Ray Bradbury termed the globe we travel upon as we careen through space. For the content of the atmosphere is but only one of the constants that must be relatively precise for both life and advanced civilization to exist upon this planet as we know them. Though they are often invoked to frighten the population into embracing policies resting more on assumptions rather than definitive experimental conclusions, the concepts of nuclear winter and global warming help us better comprehend the consequences if the nature of the world were even slightly different. According to the theory of nuclear winter, the Earth's temperatures would significantly decrease following a nuclear exchange since so much debris would be hurled into the atmosphere. Thus, another Anthropic Constant is atmospheric transparency. Geisler and Turek point out that, if the atmosphere was less transparent, not enough solar radiation would reach the earth as this warmth would be reflected back into space. However, if the atmosphere was more transparent, too much solar radiation would make it through, heating things to a level deleterious to life here now as well as bombard us with assorted dangerous forms of energy. Yet another Anthropic Constant the average person seldom gives thought to is that of the carbon dioxide level. As anyone that follows news and politics knows, former Vice President Al Gore has accumulated a fortune for himself since leaving office warning of the dangers theoretically associated with the gas. It is conjectured that, should too much carbon dioxide accumulate in the atmosphere, excess heat would not be able to radiate back into space, causing all life on the planet to burn up. But before one goes too far and long for the abolition of all manmade and naturally occurring carbon dioxide, if there was not enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, too much heat world flow back into space without enough being retained to sustain life. Even if the majesty and precision of the world in which we find ourselves is not enough to melt the coldness of the atheist's heart, perhaps their awe for the human creature the humanists among their number are so enamored with may move them to reconsider their hostility towards the Creator. The unbeliever needs to be confronted with nothing less than life itself. When we gaze out across the vast domains of biology, one of the first things that strikes the thinking individual is the vast variety of life ranging from the tiniest of viruses and bacteria all the way to the most gigantic of whales. In considering the attributes and abilities of each, it is easy to think of some as simple and others as complex. For no matter how much radical zoological egalitarians might want to convince otherwise, there is a vast difference in scope and scale between what the cold virus and a human being are capable of doing. Since relativism is a beloved philosophy of those that think the universe came about through a hodge-podge, helter-skelter process, it must be pointed out that the categorization of something as a “simple life form” is in reality nothing of the sort. For even the tiniest of microbes and even the most miniscule components that make up our own bodies (both single cells) consist of a complexity that baffles the human imagination that even the most intelligent of scientists are yet to replicate them. The so-called building block of life is deoxyribonucleic acid, known more commonly as DNA. Of these molecules, Geisler and Turek write, “DNA has a helical structure that looks like a twisted ladder. The sides of the ladder are formed by alternating deoxyribose and phosphate molecules, and the rungs of the ladder consist of a specific order of four nitrogen bases (116)." However, there is more to this compound than simply being the atomic concrete upon which our scaffolding rests. Contained within the connected nitrogen bases is the genetic blueprint for the particular life form under consideration. Even for an organism as "lowly" as the single-celled amoeba, it is estimated that the information contained within it is the equivalent of 1,000 sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica (116). As Geisler and Turek point out, “For Darwinists...then life can be nothing more than chemicals. Life contains a message --- DNA --- that is expressed in chemicals...but those chemicals cannot cause the message anymore than the chemicals in ink and paper can cause the sentence on this page (122).” Philosophical atheism must not only account for the so-called “simple” cell whose ironically named “genesis” still befuddles mankind’s brightest intellectuals but rather also the more “complex” such as primates, ungulates and cetaceans. This they do through the process that has come to be referred to as evolution. According to atheistic naturalists, the plethora of life forms in the world today can be traced back to those early amino acid strains and bacteria. These primitive organisms began to accumulate adaptations through interactions with their environment that were passed on largely by the process of natural selection. By natural selection, organisms with the changes granting them an advantage over their less fortuitous counterparts were the ones most likely to reproduce. Eventually, so many mutations and variations would accumulate that various phyla, kingdoms, and species would diverge from biology's original trunk and even the assorted branches of this theoretical "tree of life" (to borrow a term ironically Biblical in its origins). As evidence for their theory, evolutionists often point to a number of observable changes that seem to indicate that change in organisms is indeed possible over time. For example, any one that has followed medical news over the past few years knows of the dangers of misusing antibiotics in that drug resistant strains of bacteria can result. In response to this, proponents of creationism will grant that microevolution can occur within a species that can result in an organism's varying characteristics. However, what one ends up with is simply a bacteria with a characteristic that one could argue was already inherent in a certain number of microbes to begin with. Addressing such a reality, Geisler and Turek write, "Unfortunately for Darwinists, genetic limits seem to be built into basic types...Likewise, despite the best efforts of intelligent scientists to manipulate fruit flies, their experiments have never turned out anything but more fruit flies (and usually crippled ones at that) (142)." by Frederick Meekins Bibliography: Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. “I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist.”
  8. According to Geisler and Turek, a number of scientific discoveries come down on the side of the cosmological proof rather than the steady state hypothesis. To assist in remembering what these are, the authors have provided the acronym SURGE. “S” stands for the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Laws of Thermodynamics stipulate that, within the universe, there is only a finite amount of energy and that over time this energy is dissipated into disorder or entropy. From this, both the scientist and the theologian must come to similar conclusions. If there is only a finite amount of energy in the universe, by definition there had to have been some kind of starting point or things would have already reached maximum entropy in ages past. Yet we find that we are still here. This alone is enough to cause the Steady State house of cards to come crashing down. However, from the remainder of their acronym, Geisler and Turek provide the apologist with additional lines of scientific evidence attesting to a moment of creation. The letter “U” stands for universal expansion. In 1920, Astronomer Edwin Hubble deduced from the red shift in light that the universe is expanding outward from one particular point. Traditionally, those embracing the idea of God creating the universe have held the notion of the Big Bang at arm’s length. The concept must be handled with caution because if one is not careful one can end up with a less than Biblical cosmology where matter is as eternally existent as God and not dependent upon Him for its existence. However, the expansion of the universe is itself a confirmation of the laws of thermodynamics as it points to a definitive point of creation because, if the cosmos was infinitely old, the universe would have collapsed back on itself by now. The “R” in SURGE stands for “radiation” from the Big Bang. Discovered in 1965 by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, cosmic background radiation was left over from the moment of creation and has not yet dissipated (81). Yet another aspect of the cosmic background radiation attesting to a deliberate intelligence at work in the universe is the concept of “galactic seeds”, which serve as the “G” in SURGE. According to the theory of cosmic background radiation, this energy signature would not be uniform across the backdrop of space but instead be scattered about in concentrated pockets. Geisler and Turek write, “These temperature ripples enabled matter to congregate by gravitational attraction into galaxies (82).” These seeds themselves attest to deliberation, as Geisler and Turek further elaborate, “The ripples show that...the universe was precisely tweaked to cause just enough matter to congregate to allow galaxy formation but not enough to cause the universe to collapse back on itself (83)." The "E" in SURGE stands for Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. According to Geisler and Turek, the theory posits a need for an absolute beginning for space, time and matter since these are interdependent with one not being able to exist without the others. It was because of the theory of relativity that scientists were able to discover the expanding universe, cosmic background radiation and galactic seeds (84). Despite the marvels of nature, a number of those most familiar with its technicalities and implications continue on in their unbelief. For example, some such as Robert Atkins attempt to evade the matter of how matter came about. In his “Creation Revisited”, Atkins postulated origins derived from mathematical points swirling about in nothingness which Ravi Zacharias pointed out to him after a debate moderated by William F. Buckley were actually something (80). Others such as Robert Jastrow admit, "Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proved by their own methods that the world began abruptly in an act of creation...That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact." Yet according to Geisler, these minds continue on in their agnosticism despite the evidence. Hence the name of Giesler's book “I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist”. The theist might be ready to let his guard down to rest thinking a decisive victory has been scored in the apologetic encounter. However, the battle is far from over. For while the cosmological argument brings the unbeliever into a more theistic orbit, it hardly brings him to the embrace of a creator that cares about His creation or even relates to it on a personal level. The reluctant theist might even attempt to save face by countering that, even if some force or entity we have come to refer to as God set the universe in motion, what we see around us including ourselves is the result of random chance and deterministic consequences spanning back millennia. By Frederick Meekins Bibliography: Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. “I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist.”
  9. Portraying themselves as erudite and sophisticated, the the co-called "cultured despisers of religion" attempt to trip up Christianity right out of the starting gate. Fortunately, Geisler and Turek provide the equivalent of intellectual judo in the form of a number of easily-mastered tactics that can deflect and even redirect the attacks of even the most degreed skeptics. Foremost among these is the Road Runner Tactic. Named after the famous Looney Tune character, the Road Runner Tactic shows that often the loftiest of notions upheld in secular academia provide no solid ground to stand on, bringing to mind the scenes where Wiley Coyote went over the cliff in these animated adventures because these ideas have the ground pulled out from under them as a result of being self-defeating and self-referentially incoherent (39). For example, entire academic specialties base their justification for existence (and thus funding) on the assertion that "There are no absolutes". By this, a variety of intellectuals ranging from anthropologists to philosophers to literary theorists contend that no standard exists above or apart from the culture in which it is utilized and as such cannot be used to judge another society. However, this is itself formulated as an absolute applicable in all circumstances. If one holds to the position in all situations, one has by definition refuted the position by inadvertently holding that absolutes do exist. And if this one can exist, why cannot others be discovered as the mind propositionally, existentially, and experimentally struggles to comprehend the inner and outer universes? As one gazes outward from the self, among the first things one discovers is that something as a totality exists. And as with most issues in this contentious era in which we live, two philosophical divisions have formed regarding explanations how the things around us originally came to be. A number of the foremost thinkers of Greek philosophy and the scribes of Hebrew revelation contend that the world and everything we see in it was ultimately caused by something from beyond that was complete in itself. Known as the cosmological argument, the justification for its conclusion can be stated in the following manner: “(1) Everything that had a beginning had a cause. (2) The universe had a beginning. (3) Therefore, the universe had a cause (75).” In the early modern period before the development of a level of science and technology sophisticated enough to probe the very composition of the universe itself, philosophical counterparts to the traditional theistic conclusions arose. For example, opponents of the cosmological argument retorted that the conclusions calling for an “unmoved mover” were merely that of a personal preference and that an infinite regress backwards into eternity past was just as rationally valid as that of a moment of creation. Advocates of this position named it the “Steady State Theory” as it contends, as Carl Sagan would put it, that the universe is all there is, was, or ever will be. While both the traditional cosmological argument with its starting point and the steady state theory with its assertion that things now are pretty much as they have always been might be coherent with the assumptions of those expounding them, the validity of each as a mental construct must be determined by how well they fit with the evidence at hand. With the advance of empirical science, one theory at this time clearly pulls ahead in terms of common sense and rational consistency. By Frederick Meekins Bibliography: Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. “I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist.”
  10. Though things change dramatically as the years and centuries unfold with the average person enjoying luxuries now that even the bards of old couldn’t have devised for the Homeric pantheon, some of mankind's most basic aspirations and perplexities have remained constant throughout the course of history. Even though he said it dismissively in an attempt to assuage his own conscience, Pontius Pilate’s exclamation of “What is truth?” rings as true today as it did in the time of the Roman Empire. In fact, confusion over it and related concepts can be found at the heart of many of the disputes and issues tearing at the fabric of the early twenty-first century world. In “I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist”, Norman Geisler and Frank Turek analyze why it actually requires more effort to remain an unbeliever and provide a number of tools the Christian can utilize to defend the faith in hostile situations before skeptical audiences. Often, Christianity is downplayed and its influence minimized by secularists in the broader culture through the claim that the system is not objective. From this conjecture, critics diverge into two branches. Older Modernists will argue that their perspective, superficially free of any prior faith commitments and extolling science as the ultimate foundation for truth, is the only objective viewpoint. Postmodernists, having grown weary of maintaining such a facade, dump the illusion of objectivity all together by postulating that every perspective is merely a matter opinion with no viewpoint being any more universally authoritative than any other. In “I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist”, Norman Geisler and Frank Turek endeavor to show how Christianity is the best faith alternative for successfully balancing the tensions between the objective and the subjective. Whether the detached skeptic --- often holding a tenured university chair --- wants to admit it or not, everyone (including himself) holds to some kind of religious position. In their analysis, Geisler and Turek classify religious worldviews into the three broad categories of Theism, Pantheism, and Atheism (23). The authors define the first category of Theism as the belief that a personal God created the universe but that He is distinct from it. Examples of theistic belief systems include Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The second worldview category is Pantheism, the idea that the universe as a mystical totality is God. To better understand this and the differences with Theism, Geisler and Turek provide the following example. In Theism, God is analogous to an artist and the universe His distinct artistic work that is separate from Him but with which He interacts. In Pantheism, God is the painting. Major pantheist faiths include Hinduism, Buddhism, and the New Age movement. The third worldview category is Atheism, which denies the existence of God and often a spiritual or immaterial component of reality all together. Under this category, Geisler and Turek have included Religious Humanism because --- even though differentiated from its secularist cousin in that it gives lip service to the existence of a power beyond the material realm --- Religious Humanism still looks to man rather than God as the final authority. The Modernist and the Postmodernist have further skewered the discussion in their favor by creating barriers between the notions of belief and facts. Geisler and Turek write, “Despite its apparent persuasiveness, the claim that religion is simply a matter of faith is nothing more than a modern myth --- it’s just not true. While religion certainly requires faith, religion is not only about faith. Facts are also central to all religions because all religious worldviews --- including atheism --- make truth claims, and many of those truth claims can be evaluated through scientific and historical investigation (23).” There is indeed a degree of correlation between what a person believes and the world beyond the self. One only needs to point out that insane asylums and mental wards are full of people who for various reasons and as a result of assorted circumstances have had their minds severed from reality. And though we as a society must exercise vigilance and even vociferously oppose those who would infringe upon the freedom and dignity of those whose outlooks run counter to prevailing perceptions but do not pose a definitive bodily harm to those around them, Christians should advocate for their worldview as the perspective that best harmonizes the inner and outer worlds. By Frederick Meekins
  11. After being away from the site for a number of years, it is a blessing to see that the WorthyNews ministry is still going strong.
  12. An asteroid crashes into the earth, killing thousands and unleashing untold havoc. Just months earlier, millions instantaneously disappeared without a trace. Nonhuman intelligences --- extraterrestrials if you will --- finally reveal themselves to mankind, claiming responsibility for the act. The aliens contend they have done this because the vanished could no longer be permitted to hinder humanity’s evolutionary advance. A superior genetically-engineered individual promises to usher in an era of peace and stability --- provided the nations of the world submit to his draconian computer monitoring system. Tiring of global anarchy, the world gladly accepts his diabolical offer. Are these the scenarios of the latest science fiction thrillers to hit theaters or newspaper stands? Surprisingly, they are in fact taken from the Book of Revelation and other passages of Bible prophecy, with modern details added as interpretative elements, to make what many consider the most obtuse portions of the Bible a plausible blueprint for the future. Having jettisoned his Judeo-Christian foundation, modern man stands stupefied as he faces the repercussions of his own moral disregard. This is increasingly evident in the apocalyptic themes addressed in popular culture and mainstream news sources. Viewers are left free to ponder the cataclysm of their own delight. Over the past several years, moviegoers have seen a number of films about volcanic explosions and asteroids careening into the earth. The other apocalyptic horsemen needn’t feel left out. “The X-Files” regularly examines the possibility of totalitarian government lurking under the shadow of alien conspiracies. Other science fiction productions have examined the spate of incurable mutant pestilences ready to lay waste to our medically impotent civilization. Terrorism experts argue that such a weapon of mass destruction will likely be deployed in the not-too distant future. It is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between the dramas and the news programs. This boundary was further blurred when scientists cloned a sheep, unleashing a furor over the legal status of potential human beings conceived in such a manner. This is a legitimate concern in light of the tragedy of abortion plaguing Western society. Yet, the path of caution must run both ways. What protections will exist for the rest of us from these individuals of enhanced ability? A number of these individuals will no doubt use their aptitude for evil since the fallen parts of man’s nature defies even the most sophisticated science. Does anyone remember the Star Trek classic “The Wrath of Khan”, the title character himself being the product of genetic engineering run amok? And much of George Lucas’ Star Wars Saga centers around a series of events referred to as “The Clone Wars”. Scripture foretells of such an individual --- though we know not the specifics of his origins --- who will use cunning and intellect to subdue the earth and its inhabitants for his own nefarious purposes. There is nothing wrong in raising these kinds of issues as man strives to ascertain his cosmic predicament via the venue of popular culture. In fact, the Christian should rejoice in the soul’s struggle to ponder the reality of its creator and the opportunities that open for the sharing of these truths which before now seemed unbelievable. There is also a danger, however, as those unwilling to repent and realign their ways with those declared by God through Jesus Christ will continue along their own path despite the overwhelming evidence. Anyone doubting this word of caution only need be reminded of the tragedy of the Heaven’s Gate Cult back in the 1990‘s. Despite possessing advanced educations and sensitivity to the spiritual decay around them, these souls decided to follow a real nutcase who duped them into believing salvation could be found with a group of interstellar Jack Kevorikians trailing a cold dirt wad, the Hale-Bopp Comet, circling the Milky Way. Man has been provided the answers to his varied yet interconnected problems if he would only choose to accept Christ’s free gift of salvation and follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. Unfortunately, both the flow of history and the forecasts of prophecy seem to indicate that humanity will refuse this message despite the overwhelming consequences. Don’t you make the same mistake. By Frederick Meekins
  13. Apologetics exists as a field of Christian study to aide the believer in understanding his beliefs, why critics refuse to ascent to these eternal truths, and how these beliefs apply to broader intellectual concerns. Upon hearing of these applications of the discipline, those unfamiliar with such studies might conclude the field to be a subject preoccupied with trivial, esoteric arguments divorced from more pressing issues arising in the course of everyday life. However, Apologetics does not have to confine itself to the halls of higher education. Apologetics does, in fact, have a role to play in the more popular forms of communication and cultural expression often looked down upon by more traditional academics and clergy. Many students enrolled in formal degree programs and academic courses of Apologetics no doubt embrace aspirations of serving the Lord in the capacity of a pastor, missionary, or some other form of traditional Christian service. While these students are to be commended for such lofty goals, it must be noted that formalized education in Apologetics can also be good preparation for vocations involving more direct confrontation with the social and cultural realities of the day. Such an assessment is not a detached observation. Rather it is one derived from my own experience of nearly two decades as a writer of editorial and op-ed commentaries. These efforts began in local newspapers but eventually migrated onto the Internet as that particular technology became more widespread and assessable. One would not, at first glance, suspect a connection between Apologetics and scathing news analysis. However, Apologetics can serve as as useful tool to get at the ideas and assumptions concealed beneath the theatrics and hoopla surrounding most public issues. Likewise, the Evangelical might be surprised by the receptivity of many of these public forums to the presentation of the Christian worldview since most believers have grown accustomed to a hostility towards traditional religious perspectives in the mainstream media. The point is not so much for the Christian to expect to anchor the nightly news on one of the major networks but to capitalize on those opportunities made available by new technologies contributing to the democratization of the means of mass communication. The ability of the Christian to stake a foothold and win at least a modest audience in the tumultuous arena of public debate is predicated on the nature of truth itself. Romans 2:14 says, “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, since they show that requirements of the law are written on their hearts...” This reality serves as a gateway to an apologetic utilized by some of the most influential Christian thinkers. Dr. John Warwick Montgomery writes in “The Law Above The Law”, “...the fundamental function of the legal profession is to seek justice by seeking truth. The lawyer endeavors to reduce societal conflicts by arbitrating conflicting truth claims (68).” Similar things could be said of the journalist or columnist as these modern scribes chronicle the events of the day and attempt to relate them to the overall human condition. Yet the Christian taking the insights of Apologetics into the public debate should not expect things to always go along peachy keen. After all, this is an age whose prevalent outlook of relativism stands in opposition to the absolute claims of the Christian faith. It, therefore, falls to the apologist to show the contemporary unbeliever, acculturated to the temper of these times, the disjunction that exists between what the average non-Christian publicly professes and the stable moral order the heart actually longs for whether the individual fully realizes it or not. C.S. Lewis in “Mere Christianity” noted that when there is a disagreement between two individuals, “It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some Law or Rule of...morality...Quarelling means trying to show that the other man is wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless (there was) some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are (31-32).” If radical tolerance really was the ultimate principle around which the universe operated, argumentation would be pointless and perhaps impossible. Alister McGrath writes in “Intellectuals Don't Need God & Other Modern Myths”, “Lewis's point ... is that there is a core of moral constraints underlying human civilization (40).” The Christian makes the argument for the superiority of his answer by comparing how well Christianity and the competing belief system in question measure up to various tests such as that of systematic consistency and coherence. By this test, the philosophical investigator examines how well the statements within a given worldview logically fit together and how these propositions square with the external facts. In the arena of public debate, this test is carried out by extrapolating from policies and ideas to their ultimate conclusions and how they either help or hinder both the individual and the nation. For example, Winfred Corduan of Taylor University writes in “No Doubt About It: The Case For Christianity”, “Relativism plays the role of Zorro in the world of knowledge. It stays in concealment for long periods of time only to suddenly appear at crucial moments, conquer the day, and go back into hiding (37).” In other words, relativism might be good for tearing down dogmas, but there is no way an individual can live or a society govern by this perspective consistently. Because with no standard by which to cry “foul”, such an ethic naturally degenerates into the strong imposing their arbitrary will upon the weak. Francis Schaeffer noted in “A Christian Manifesto”, “We live in...sociopolitical law. By sociopolitical law we mean law that has no fixed base but law in which a group of people decides what is sociologically good for society ...and what they arbitrarily decide becomes law (41).” So if society needs to kill a few million Jews or experiment on a few million fetuses, who is the average relativist to argue against these kinds of things when these atrocities are couched in the language of the “common good”? There might have been a time when Christians could have ignored the outside world with little peril; but as apologists such as C.S. Lewis, John Warwick Montgomery, and Francis Schaeffer have made know, that day is long gone if it ever existed at all. Of the gains made by Christians in the discipline of Philosophy over the past several decades, J.P. Moreland says in “Evangelical Apologetics: Selected Essays From The 1995 Evangelical Theological Society Convention”, “In spite of these gains, however, it would be misleading to speak as if all were well on the battlefront. There is much work to be done...philosophical apologetics should be focused on those areas of study in which activity is underrepresented...Political and social philosophy would get my vote here (19-29).” This analysis has echoed this sentiment in calling for a Christian voice to address the pertinent issues of the day. This examination also embraces the spirit of Dr. Moreland's comments calling upon apologists not to ignore other forms of popular communication for the most part traditionally overlooked by Christian polemicists, primarily imaginative literature. Bombarded with an unending twenty-four hour news cycle and conflicting streams of argumentation on nearly every conceivable issue, some overloaded minds simply turn off any alacrity they once had for the absorption of raw facts and refined logic. The desire to be entertained here in the twenty-first century shows few signs of letting up. John Warwick Montgomery writes in “Neglected Apologetic Styles: The Juridical and The Literary” appearing in the same volume as J.P. Moreland's essay writes, “The...juggernaut of scientific technology has alienated many in our society...Might literary creativity offer a way through this labyrinth? Can literature succeed where other paths have failed (126)?” Unlike rational argumentation, which as to get around tenaciously held objections or what C.S. Lewis referred to as “watchful dragons”, stories have a way of infiltrating the defenses of the mind before one realizes what is happening (McGrath, 198). The success of this approach is not predicated, however, upon literature for literature's sake. For although packaged in the regalia of high adventure, sympathetic characters and compelling settings, to literary sophisticates John Warwick Montgomery observes in “Myth, Allegory & Gospel”, “Chesterton, Lewis, Tolkien display...an infuriating combination or ingenuousness and genius. On the other hand, no 20th century writers in the English-speaking world have had such an ... extensive impact on the intelligentsia in the sphere of ultimate commitment (14).” Of Tolkien, Montgomery admits that some say of this fantasist that he “...limits his imagery to the symbols of Celtic and medieval myth and the verities of the Christian tradition that in the judgment of a recent critic ...'his earnest vision seems syncretistic, his structure a collage, and his feeling antiquarian.'. (14).” Yet “The Lord Of The Rings” has been heralded as the greatest novel of the twentieth century and the cinematic adaptations set in this imaginary realm are the box office hit of any Christmas season. What these tales do is tap into a fund of themes, ideas, and images etched upon the human mind and soul. Lewis himself reflected upon the theories of Jung and Tolkien to account for the appeal of these timeless narratives. Jung believed that myths and fantasies verbalize symbols universal to the human psyche. Tolkien Christianized this idea when he said as quoted in “Myth, Allegory & Gospel”, “The Gospels contain...a story of a larger kind which embraces all of the essences of fairy stories (117).” John Warwick Montgomery further expounds, “To Tolkien and Lewis, tales such as “The Chronicles Of Narnia” can...serve as pointers to...Christian Redemption. Moreover, they will establish in the heart of the sensitive reader an appreciation of and a longing for the Christian story (118).” This technique works because, as Romans 1:20 informs, “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities --- his eternal power and divine nature --- have been clearly seen so that men are without excuse (NIV).” Thus, each human being's inbuilt curiosity regarding God and eternal things pops up in regards to the stories of good and evil so prevalent in contemporary popular culture. With such names as Lewis and Tolkien attached to it, the average Christian might feel unworthy of employing an apologetic having grown synonymous with classical literature for fear of not properly honoring it. However, even those unlikely of ever penning a timeless epoch for the ages can still use speculative narrative to stimulate the imagination in the direction of religious truth. In fact, one does not even have to adorn the tale in the traditional medieval fantasy motifs popularized by this format since the underlying concepts being presented are much more important than the external trappings and regalia. Though it might seem a bit clichéd now in light of the popularity of Left Behind and the crop of other End Times novelizations that popped up at the turn of the millennium, in a creative writing class during college I wrote a short story incorporating certain elements of a literalist eschatology such as the Rapture, the Mark of the Beast and Christian Redemption and placed them in a literary setting incorporating elements of the techno-thriller and police-state genres. The story was surprisingly well-received by a state university audience. Some of the students were kind enough to rank it among the best in the class. It has been said that those who can, do; those who cannot, teach. Likewise, in the literary world, those who can, write; those who cannot, criticize. Among those Christians who enjoy imaginative adventures but lack the creativity to craft their own speculative worlds there is more than ample opportunity to relate the symbols found in these narratives to Biblical truths. Some might consider it bizarre to comb science fiction and fantasy for parallels in Christian thought. Silly as it seems, it is not without precedence among secular academics to examine this kind of material through the analytical lenses of their own respective disciplines. Such efforts have given rise to a group of semi-popular works one might classify as “Star Trek Studies”. One such volume entitled “The Ethics Of Star Trek” by Judith Barad, head of the Department of Philosophy at Indiana State University, examines the moral dilemmas confronted by these beloved characters created by the late Gene Roddenberry. It would, therefore, be just as legitimate to probe and analyze programs such as “Babylon 5”, “Stargate”, “Battlestar Galatica”, and “Doctor Who” as a form of apologetic outreach to an overlooked segment of the population, namely science fiction enthusiasts. The Blackwell Philosophy & Pop Culture Series already does something similar from the standpoint of secular philosophy. II Corinthians 10:3-4 says, “...we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (NAS).” The Scripture acknowledges that the children of God are at war. In this conflict, it would not be strategically sound to have all the participants engaged in the same kind of combat. The army fights on the land, the navy on the sea. Still other agencies such as the CIA gather intelligence for the other branches and engage in other assorted activities not exactly fitting the mission profiles of the other services. Likewise, it is the mission of the apologist to gather information of the conditions outside of the Church and to relay that knowledge back to the body of Christ and to go into places where a pastor might not be accepted or appreciated. By Frederick Meekins
  14. In numerous bioethical debates approached from a secular perspective, many seemingly noble principles such as autonomy, individual choice, dignity, the common good, and the preservation of limited resources are invoked to justify various positions. However, when these complex issues are approached from a Judeo-Christian perspective, many times the implications and morality of these decisions are altered profoundly. Perhaps the most fundamental concern raised by a standpoint informed by the principles of the Bible is none other than personhood. Though something we each possess, its value varies drastically depending on the worldview each of us brings to the concept. For example, to the person living out a consistently evolutionary or materialistic perspective, the idea of personhood is not that important since it is merely an arbitrarily contrived social and intellectual construct with no inherent worth other than what we decide to give it. Thus, it is no major concern if the concept is altered to exclude those at the extreme ends of life’s continuum unable to sustain themselves apart from intensive medical intervention. However, if one approaches the matter from the Judeo-Christian perspective, the concept of personhood impacts dramatically the techniques and procedures one finds morally justifiable. Since man is made in the image of God, the life and spirit of man (his personhood if you will) is unique in all of creation. As such, it is due a respect placing it just below the reverence due God Himself. Since the human being holds a special place in the heart of God, it is God Himself that establishes the guidelines regarding how we are permitted to relate to and treat other human beings. In Genesis 9:6, where God establishes His covenant with Noah it says, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man”. Later in the Ten Commandments this decree is reiterated in the command “Thou shalt not commit murder”. From this, it is established that it is morally incorrect to take an innocent human life not having itself taken another human life. Therefore, it is improper to deliberately take a human life that does not threaten yours or has not violated the law. Since the minds of men dwell continually on evil, a number of wily thinkers attempt to skirt around the issue by redefining personhood to make it distinct from the humanity of these individuals facing the prospects of having these procedures inflicted upon them. However, even these attempts prove inadequate as they endeavor to describe things how some would like them to be rather than how God created them. For humanity/personhood is something one possesses inherently rather than bestowed upon you as a result of having reached some developmental milestone. The individual remains a distinct biological entity throughout the continuum of existence. If anything, by limiting personhood to those having reached some arbitrary standard such as viability, quickening, or sentience speaks more to the limitations of medical science than an actual state of ontology. And with advances, these frontiers are being pushed back further all the time. Things are now to the point where doctors are able to do surgery inside the mother’s womb. A photo of one such procedure where a tiny hand reached out of the mother’s abdomen got Matt Drudge fired from the Fox News Network. It was feared such an image might unsettle or disturb the consciences of viewers regarding the issue of abortion. Scott Rae in “Moral Choices: An Introduction To Ethics” concludes his examination of the abortion issue with the following argument advocating for personhood of the unborn: “(1) An adult human being is the end result of the continuous growth of the organism from conception... (2) From conception to adulthood this development has no break that is relevant to the essential nature of the fetus... (3) Therefore, one is a human person from the point of conception onward (142).” by Frederick Meekins
  15. They could be Christian but lack understanding on the topic.
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