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Showing posts from August, 2013

Head Coverings

Paul's first letter to the Corinthians addresses questions that the Corinthians had with regards to the church (7:1). One of the questions which is addressed in the first part of chapter 11 is, should a women pray or prophecy with her hair uncovered? This question has caused controversy in the past but in recent times it has been considered irrelevant. This is unfortunate since it was obviously included in the Bible for a reason. On the other hand it must be kept in perspective, wearing a symbol on your head is not greater than applying the symbol to your heart. It is for the latter reason that it is important to discuss this topic.

Paul's purpose in taking up this subject is to make sure the Corinthians understand that "the head of every man is Christ, and the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God (11:3)." In other words, there is an authority structure that governs our relationships with God and our spouses. It is noteworthy that he also incl…

The Holiness of God - Part 2

God being set apart in regards to sin has been displayed since the beginning of the world. Adam and Eve were expelled from their garden paradise for being tricked by a snake. Not only that, but their sin is the cause of death for all mankind. This punishment was because of what we would call one mistake.
Moses, whom God spoke to as a friend (Ex. 33:11), was punished for his disobedience and not allowed to enter the promised land, because he did not treat the Lord as holy (Deut. 32:51 - 52). The actual event appeared inconspicuous. God had asked Moses to tell the rock to yield its water, instead Moses struck the rock twice with his staff (Num. 20:6 - 11). Moses' punishment seems disproportionate to the actual infraction.
God's expectation is not "good enough," it is perfection. Not even one "mistake" is acceptable. Christians have a tendency to forget this frightening aspect of God's character. Unintentionally salvation has become the focal point instead…

The Dawkins Delusion - Chapter 3 - Arguments for God's existence

In this third Chapter of "The God Delusion", Richard attempts to quickly destroy all the arguments that have ever been put forward for God's existence. Considering the amount of debate and scholarship on this question, it is obvious that he cannot do it justice in only one chapter. I will look at each of the major arguments that he makes individually.
Thomas Aquinas Richard's first order of business is to tackle the proofs that Thomas Aquinas makes for God's existence. This initial arguments shows exactly the path that will be taken. Instead of interacting with the most powerful arguments for God's existence, he takes arguments that were made in the 13th century. This is a pattern that can be found throughout the book. Richard asserts that The Unmoved Mover, The Uncaused Cause, and the Cosmological Argument arguments all involve an infinite regression with God as the terminator. However, the main thrust of all these arguments is to show that material needs a …

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbour (Gal. 6:1-4). The context of this quote from the Bible is an admonition to walk according to the Spirit who's fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Walking by the Spirit involves failure which needs correction but we need to be careful. There are two thoughts in these verses that may be helpful: (1) Bearing one another's burdens. (2) Let each one test his own work.

When somebody is caught in a sin, the biggest temptation is to become "Sin commentator." It is very simil…

Stalin

After reading a book on Mao, I realized I did not know very much about the eastern part of the world. Mao idolized Stalin in some respects and so it intrigued me to go read about Stalin (I read a biography written by Robert Service). To get the full picture, I will also have to read about Lenin and Marx as well.

Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhughashvili, know as Stalin, was born on December 18, 1878 and died on March 5, 1953 at 9:50 AM. He reigned from the 1920's, after Lenin's death, to his death.  His Mom wanted to be a priest, but that was not to be. He had a gift or organization and editing. He was a workaholic and focused on making the USSR a economic and military power. His goals in large part where accomplished. Many people in Moscow mourned his death. However, his pension for terror and his uncontrolled suspicions caused untold misery.

The most telling part of this book came at the very beginning.
Stalin carried out campaigns of carnage which have been described with words o…

Obama's Basic Morality

Obama recently spoke out on Jay Leno about Russia's new law against promoting homosexuality to minors. In his comments he makes the following statement:
I've been very clear that when it comes to universal rights, when it comes to people's basic freedoms, that whether you are discriminating on the basis of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation, you are violating the basic morality that I think should transcend every country. It is intriguing to see Obama refer to a "basic morality." How does he determine this basic morality? Why does he think his morality is correct? The answer seems to be found in the words "I think." There is a difference in being something or acting on something*. Actions resulting from sexual orientation and religious beliefs are choices, even if the accompanying desires are difficult to restrain. Russia's law does not prevent people from being homosexual, it only prevents them from promoting it to children. This is not d…

The Dawkins Delusion - Chapter 2 - The God Hypothesis

In chapter 2, Dawkins is once again defining his terms. He quickly lumps all religions together, whether they are polytheistic or monotheistic. A short and seemingly gratuitous detour is made to assert that America was founded by secularist. He clarifies difference between an agnostic and an atheist and states his own preference, "I cannot know for certain but I think that God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there (pg.51)." However, the main point he is trying to make is that science is a comprehensive worldview, which he illustrates using NOMA.

It is hard not to see that Richard works in a binary world. You are either on his side or against him. In this one chapter alone he belittles Michael Ruse, Alister McGrath, and Richard Swinburne. All of these people are very intelligent in their own right. If he likes you but you disagree with him, he will not believe you meant what you said. "I simply do not believe that Gould could possi…

The Dawkins Delusion - Chapters 1 - A deeply religious non-believer

Over the years I have tried to read books from people with a different perspective then myself in an effort to challenge my own views. Although many people have challenged me to read these kinds of books, I have found that it is not reciprocal. Most people only try to reaffirm their own beliefs instead of challenging them by looking at a different perspective. It is truly amazing how confident people are when they are usually quite ignorant of opposing points of view. The "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins is one of the books I have read. In the following blog post I will do a chapter by chapter review.

Chapter 1 -  A deeply religious non-believer

The first chapter is rather uneventful with the purpose of setting the grounds rules for the remainder of the book. Richard asserts that he is not critiquing Einsteinain religion (pg. 20), which he does not consider religion at all, but he is mainly looking at religion that involves anything supernatural. He also makes the point…

MAO TSE-TUNG

I just finished reading a fascinating and yet horrifying biography called "The Unknown Story MAO" by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. This book opened my eyes to the forces that shaped and continue to shape the Chinese culture.

Mao was born on December 26, 1893 and died on September 9, 1976 at 82 years old. He became the undisputed leader of China in 1949 through manipulation and fear. He reigned for a little over 25 years and was responsible for well over 70 million deaths during peacetime (pg. 3). During the "Great Leap Forward" from 1958 - 61, he starved and overworked around 38 million people to death (pg. 430) for his dream of becoming a world superpower. In 1960 at the peak of this famine "urban housewives were getting a maximum of 1,200 calories a day. At Auschwitz, slave-labourers got between 1,300 and 1,700 calories per day (pg. 429)." The "Cultural Revolution"from 1966 to 1976 terrorized the entire nation in his goal to purge his party and…