Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Atheists and their comboxes

Just a quick comment about recent interactions, specifically w/ Moth and Troy Waller.
Each has protested to me about the way I interacted w/ them. I don't believe I was particularly rude to them. I certainly never used (and never use at all) any profanity or obscene insults. I never said anythg resembling "you are an idiot".
What I DID do was dismantle their arguments and answer their objections, in a few cases several times and in a few other cases answered a few follow-ups to the original objection.
For that, Troy refuses to post any more of my comments on his blog.

Now, as I told Moth in this combox, he and Troy have implicitly opened themselves up for interactions like this. Why?
B/c each is a guy who:
1) posts his thoughts about Christianity,
2) on a blog w/ a polemic nature and a polemical name (The Ain't-Christian and Why I Don't Believe);
3) has thereby opened himself up to debate from those who disagree (like me), and
4) who has thus far shown willingness to discuss, in line w/ the nature of his blog.

However, when the going got tough for Troy, he banned me.
When the going got tough for Moth, to his credit, he did indeed post my comments and make a response (albeit not in a way that responded to the substance of my arguments but rather pleaded lack of time or of "something that would come close to your level of intellectuality" [his words] on his part).
Now, Moth has asked me to leave well enough alone as far as leaving challenging comments in his combox. I will honor that as long as the subject matter does not directly involve my person.

I simply ask the reader: how seriously can we take someone who fulfills the 4 points above but who runs away from at least semi-knowledgeable challenges? Where does the "free thinking" reside?
Troy flat refused.
Moth tried for a while, was called on several mistakes, particularly in regards to biblical exegesis, and then resorted to insulting me in several comboxes.

As always, comments are welcome from anyone. Beware though - I'll probably answer them.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Why not restore communion?

It's precisely b/c of the mindset revealed by followers of Rome and Constantinople in biblical discussion that the notion of reuniting w/ them in spiritual communion is unthinkable for the believer in the faith revealed in the Bible.
Consider the convo I had just last night w/ an EO acquaintance (not him but rather a mutual friend) over AIM chat.
We small talked a bit about our pasts and his seminary experience and such (he has an MDiv from an Eastern Orthodox seminary and is EO himself). I then expressed my thankfulness for my local church and for the fact that we are not following a large trend in the SBC (discussed often here, here, and here as well as numerous other places).
Which led him to share about his experience at his EO baptism. Which led me to ask him whether he shares that testimony and the Gospel w/ unbelievers. His answer began to indicate a problem: Not usually directly, but he invites people to come to church or to pray, and he tells them that his faith in Christ has changed his life.

Is that the Gospel, friends?

So I asked him about that, commenting that people do need to hear the Gospel. (The fact that the Gospel is "the power of God" went unmentioned, but that's why I said that.)
He protested that this can be too direct, that he was "not sure that being more direct would necessarily work", that such an approach might alienate the unbeliever more.
Now, perhaps he meant just walking up to people and cold-preaching at them, and I can understand his thinking, though I'm unconvinced that such an approach is necessarily wrong. But I DID bring up the fact that unbelievers are "enemies of God" by bringing up Romans 8:6-8.
ME: "if they loved Him then they would love His Son and they would be Christians"
ME (later): more curious about how you interpret "the sinful mind is hostile to God" as anythg other than that; i just quoted the psg, didn't interp it at all

And that's the key - I quoted Scripture to him several times, and each time he responded w/ what boils down to "your interpretation is wrong". But friends, I didn't interpret it at all! I just quoted it, he felt the force of the divine words and tried to squirm away from them. No wonder Heb 4:12 is in there too.
He then asked me how I can assume off the bat that people hate God. I pointed out that Rom 8 says the mind set on the flesh is death.
This brought us to the crux of the matter, and I'll paraphrase:
HE: If someone is seeking the truth
ME: enemies of God are not seeking, no one seeks God
HE: That is ridiculous. (Now I will quote him:) "that is totally heretical"
ME: you just called a direct quotation from Romans 3 heretical
HE: You took that out of context.
ME: the very next verse explains: 19Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. i don't deny that He calls all
HE: That is talking about Jews.
ME: But it says "EVERY MOUTH." Talk about missing context. You can't even see it in the same verse.

Now, I don't think that he really believes the Apostle Paul to have been a heretic, but notice his visceral reaction to my quoting Scripture to him to the effect that all men are enemies of God, hate God, and are not seeking Him. To him the obvious conclusion of the Romans 3 passage is a terrible, heretical idea!
This is what the Lord Jesus warned us about - putting the traditions of men over the Word of God.
Do we react violently against what God has said? Do we jump to calling it evil, overly pious, too rigorous? Are we not putting ourselves in the unenviable position of judging the Judge of the universe?
As long as this attitude prevails among our Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox friends, that's all they will remain - friends. I cannot call brother one who rejects the Word of God in such a way. May God help him.

Monday, February 19, 2007

At midnight I woke up in a flash

With a brainstorm. This doesn't happen to me all that often, but it did last night, and I said "That's brilliant" out loud. There may indeed be tons of people out there who have already thought of this, but it was cool to me and I'm glad that the thought appeared in my mind. I will credit the Holy Spirit for planting the idea in there.

It has to do w/ the age of the earth. As I'm sure you know, it is oft claimed that an old earth is the more "scientific" position, and that one would have to hold to a young earth position (say, less than 10,000 yrs old) solely on faith. What I've been discovering in my journeys of thought, debate, and polemics over the last 3-4 yrs, however, is that any opponent of my position who accuses me of blind faith has at least an equal investment of blind, unprovable faith in their own position, but they don't realise it (for the most part) or hide it (I suspect that is the case for at least a few).

Similar ideas to these were put forward recently at Triablogue by the matchless Steve Hays, but here I will distill them into a form more friendly to my way of thinking. (Consider that a big fat hat tip and a disclaimer - I don't claim originality here.)

The point made by Hays was that the substances/elements/stuff usually used to test the passage of time are only incidentally useful for that, which is to say that uranium's purpose is not to tell time. Nor is a rooster's purpose to tell time, though it does *incidentally* aid to wake me up in the morning.
So an evolutionist will claim that these processes are tested to tell us how old they are, but my question is: how did you test the hypothesis that the same 'aging' processes that you use to find the age of the earth were still in operation in the same manner, say, 1 million yrs ago?
If you were/are unable to test that hypothesis, then why should anyone accept an old earth as 'scientific'?
As so often claimed by evolutionists, science = testability, and I've been asked several times for possible defeaters for the young-earth position. I tell them they have to falsify the existence of the God of the Bible. Now I turn the question back on them (which is far too infrequently done). Show me a way you can test that *assumption* of modern evolutionary science.

My opponent might object: "But you are injecting terrible uncertainties and destroying scientific progress!"
Ah, true. However,
-Am I not more in line w/ the spirit of scientific inquiry over history?
-That sounds like a problem for an atheist, but not for a theist.
-It's not progress if it did not arrive at truth. Which it has not in this case.

In the end, if you insist on holding to an old earth on faith, I don't see why I'm unjustified in insisting you test that hypothesis and show me the results, as you so often do to me. Test the hypothesis SCIENTIFICALLY (ie, using the scientific method) that the same aging processes were in place 1 million yrs ago as are in place today. As it is, you are merely assuming it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

My pastor blogs!

Just wanted to say that. I think he's growing into it and all that, but I haven't looked at it that much yet.
You can check him out here. I added him to my sidebar.
Also, there are lots more pix and at least one more video to see in my pic and video galleries.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Because I've been sick

I had some posts planned, such as dealing w/ a friend's treatise regarding a non-biblical understanding of the Atonement, and then I've gotten into a tiny tangle w/ an atheist to whose blog I was referred by a friend and who, as it turns out, takes part in the decidedly clumsy Christianity Debunkers...
But reality hits. Exactly 2 weeks ago I started feeling a little strange, w/ a bit of a sore throat and some fatigue. Thought nothing of it, went out of town, got sicker, and by Sunday the 2 hour drive back (during which I just rode in the passenger seat) was torture. The Urgent Care facility said it was strep throat and gave me penicillin and an analgesic mouthwash though I could barely talk by that time and my throat was really swollen. At least I was able to subsist on the oxycodone left over from my wife's Rx when she had our daughter (but don't tell anyone, k?) Sunday began what has been the worst, most miserable and painful week of my life up to this point. My throat has hurt so bad and my tonsils have become incredibly swollen that on Thursday I had to have one drained (yuck). By Saturday morning, however, I had seen little improvement otherwise so I just said forget it and went to the ER. They said, "Um, you're dehydrated," to which I responded, "No kidding. I've been living on pills and tea, hold most of the tea, for the past 5 days." A few bags of saline and some steroid drips later, we were in business.
And then they dropped the other shoe - "Sir, you have mono."
Which is a bit of a validation - at least such a difficult time came out of being sick w/ TWO painful illnesses and not just one.
Anyway, this week has been a week of recovery and fatigue. I don't do much and so I haven't posted anything. I don't have the energy. So I hope to see you later. I'll go back to work by the middle of next week for some half-days. I thank God that my job has been so understanding.
Tough time. Glad I'm thru it.