Sunday, December 29, 2013

Losing my Mind

Fortunately, I have not had to deal with Alzheimers, but there was one realization I came to that comforted ME and helped me better deal with my dad as he suffered from spells of dementia in his declining year. 

I would stop by his assisted living apartment each evening on the way home from work.  Often he would tell me about his day "in the woods" - he had been a forester.  At first I would try to correct him and tell him he had really been here in his apartment all day and not in the woods -- but the next day, he had been working in the woods again. 

One day God broke through my dense skull - "I am with him wherever he goes." 

Then, I knew he was in good hands, and I didn't try to correct him any more. 

Seeing him like this was more difficult than I ever expected, and I can imagine how much more terrible Alzheimers is.  We don't know the road God has planned for us, but we can, beforehand, KNOW that He will never leave us and never forsake us (Heb 13:5).  That is a comfort for us as well as our families.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Does the Bible Condon Slavery?

(my response to someone posting on Facebook about this issue)

The Bible and slavery is one of those issues that comes up a lot in discussions with atheists and others who do not understand the background and context of the ancient near east (ANE).  Whereas I've found that atheists are very rarely interested in two way dialog or actually open to learning anything, I'm going to take your statement that this is one of those "puzzles" for you that you really would like to understand better.  So, let me suggest a book to you, "Is God a Moral Monster - Making Sense of the Old Testament God" by Paul Copan.  This book is an excellent resource for clearing up this issue and many other thorny (to us) Old Testament issues.

First of all, I'm going to assume the picture of "slavery" in your mind is the horrific inhumanity of slavery of the 18/19th century.  The slavery the Bible talks about is far different and was even in some cases considered an aspect of social welfare for the needy.  Hebrew "slaves" had God given rights, punishment was limited, etc.  Read the book.  This issue is easily put to rest for those interested in understanding the facts.

It really surprises me that many Christians have never thought of it this way but the entire Bible as a whole is an anti-slavery book.  If I were to write a newspaper front page headline for the Bible it would be something like this: "Master willingly sacrifices life to free rebellious slaves!"  That is a foundational theme from Genesis to Revelation.  Slavery to sin is far worse than 18/19th century slavery ever was.  Sin can send a soul to Hell.  Even the worst slave master didn't have the power to do that.

Also keep in mind the Bible talks about many things, but "talking about" is not the same as condoning.  Does the Bible condon Roman occupation?  Jesus was right there.  He certainly could have blown them away with His breath, but He didn't.

Again, read the book.  It's a great resource.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Resources for Opposing Legalization of Same-sex Marriage

This is a page of various resources for use in the traditional marriage/same-sex marriage debate.

What is Marriage   - Ryan Anderson, Robert George,  and Sherif Girgis
The key question is what basis does government have to be involved in marriage? This is an excellent resource, probably the best single document. It not only sets forth the case for traditional marriage, it also answers many of the common arguments.

People who seriously practice a traditional religious faith—whether Christian or other—have a divorce rate markedly lower than the general population.

The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and practice.

What appears intuitive is true. Couples who regularly practice any combination of serious religious behaviors and attitudes—attend church nearly every week, read their bibles and spiritual materials regularly; pray privately and together; generally take their faith seriously, living not as perfect disciples, but serious disciples—enjoy significantly lower divorce rates than mere church members, the general public, and unbelievers….

W. Bradford Wilcox, a leading sociologist at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project, finds from his own analysis that "active conservative Protestants" who regularly attend church are 35 percent less likely to divorce compared to those who have no affiliation. Nominally attending conservative Protestants are 20 percent more likely to divorce, compared to secular Americans.

Intro and case against Homosexuality from the Bible

Policy – the public case.

Answering Specific Same-sex Marriage Questions


If marriage is anything we want it to be, then it can be ANYTHING!

Other Resources 

Discussing Same-Sex Marriage (Audio) – "How do you make a reasonable argument against same-sex marriage rights? Greg answered that on a recent radio show."

Same-Sex Marriage Challenges and Responses – "Western civilization is shuddering under a tidal wave of activism in favor of same-sex marriage. Here is a careful response to their most compelling arguments."

Denying Same-sex Marriage Isn't Unequal Protection – "An Iowa court recently ruled in favor of six same-sex couples who claimed that denying them the right to marry violates the equal protection clause. This argument seems reasonable at first. Straight people can marry. Gays cannot. This is not equal protection. A little reflection, however, reveals how this view is mistaken.''
Judge Strikes Down Prop 8 – "Prop 8 makes a very rational classification on the basis of a relevant characteristic—that is, the gender of the participants. Men and women are different, and there's no getting around this. This fact has biological, emotional, psychological, and more ramifications when it comes to families and the creation and rearing of children. The fact is that both male and female are essential to marriage."
We're Arguing Definitions, Not Rights – "One common misconception in the same-sex marriage debate is the idea that the traditional legal definition of marriage is a violation of equal rights. Since this is an extremely emotionally charged accusation, it's difficult to get past it into a real discussion of the issue. Here's the approach I usually take…"
Liberal Support for Traditional Marriage – "This self-described liberal Democrat supports California's Proposition 8, which would constitutionally define marriage between one man and one woman because, as the piece so well explains, marriage, as a societal institution recognized by government, is about children."
Answering a Case for Same-Sex Marriage (Video) – Alan responds to Zach Wahls's video promoting same-sex marriage.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Food for Hunger, Water for Thirst

There can be no real meaning to life unless there is a God.

Maybe it really is a simple choice between atheist Bertran Russell's "leading lives of quiet desperation" and atheist Richard Dawkins' "blind, pitiless, indifferent universe" or the God that says "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jer 29:13).

Afterall, when we are hungry, there's food.

When we are thirsty, there's water.

So when our souls ache for peace and meaning, why shouldn't there be an answer for that, too?

Related post: Feed Me!