15 October, 2016
07 October, 2016
Was Jesus tolerant or loving? Did He just merely tolerate evil or was there something deeper still? Yes, Jesus definitely treated everyone he met with the utmost personal respect, no doubt about that. However, when He ran into corruption, there are several passages in the Bible where He definitely jumped into critical mode. Examples of this include the "rich young ruler", the money-changing tables in the temple, and, my favorite, Matthew 23. Jesus was especially critical of people who claimed to be pious but didn't act out their own piety, of setting standards for others and then not living up to those standards themselves, which is exactly the kind of hypocrisy that the scribes and Pharisees exhibited. Isn't this exactly the same thing the media and Democrats are doing today? You bet.
Woe to you, media and Democrats, you hypocrites! You throw "one after another -ism" at conservatives, yet you are the ones who are actually acting bigoted and hateful in the process. You blind fools! If you were truly tolerant, then your behavior would match your words.
Woe to you who say "the presidential move for Trump would be to release his tax returns." Trump called you out in the exact same context regarding the deleted emails on Hillary's server! Instead of accepting this as a plank in your eye, however, you use proof by assertion to cover it up. You blind guides! Which is more significant to the security of this nation, the tax returns, which contain financial statements, or the emails, which contain classified information?
Woe to you, media and Democrats, you hypocrites! You put a tithe of Clinton Foundation donations to actual charitable use, yet use the remainder to do nothing more than enrich yourselves and pay for your lavish lifestyle. Simultaneously, you accuse Trump of trying to introduce a "trumped-up, trickle-down" economic policy. Blind fools! Which is more crooked, investing in real estate or selling offices within a government department to the biggest foundation donors?
Woe to you, media and Democrats, you hypocrites! When people speak out against Christianity, you say nothing, but when people speak out against Islam, you call them "Islamophobes" and "bigots". Blind fools! Which is responsible for the majority of terrorism, Christianity or Islam? Statistically, Islam, which more than 90% of post-9/11 terrorists observe.
Woe to you, media and Democrats, you hypocrites! When Trump implies that you are being hypocrites for wanting to repeal the Second Amendment and disarm average citizens by saying that you must also disarm your Secret Service agents, you mine this implication out of its original context — hypocrisy — and use this mined quote to falsely accuse Trump of making a death threat. You blind fools! Everyone who has ever carried out an assassination threat against a President successfully has always been explicit, never implicit in those threats.
Woe to you, media and Democrats, you hypocrites! You assume that there's an inherent racial bias in most modern local police forces, yet you place Planned Parenthood clinics in calculated locations such that disproportionately more unborn African-Americans are aborted than unborn whites. You blind fools! Which is a bigger number, 1,000 or 30 million? The latter is how many African-American unborn children have been brutally butchered in Planned Parenthood clinics; the former is a grossly high estimate of how many African-American youth have been killed by police.
Woe to you, media and Democrats, you hypocrites! You said "Mexican government policies are pushing migration north" and that if illegal immigrants commit crimes, then they should be deported, yet call Trump racist for making statements that are very similarly worded. You blind fools! If you have said something and haven't apologized for it, then you are in absolutely no position to criticize anyone else for saying the same thing.
Notice how the pattern is very similar to the pattern in Matthew 23 with the Pharisees? In both cases — the Democrats of today, the Pharisees of 2000 years ago — we have people "running the system" who are trying to exhibit self-piety. They're trying to make themselves look good by bashing others, not realizing that they're inadvertently bashing themselves in the process. This behavior is precisely the last thing we need more of as we enter a new election cycle.
01 October, 2016
WARNING: The following are paragraphs, not individual sentences or phrases, and the whole paragraphs are what combine to provide context. Failure to include the surrounding contexts of quotes in your replies is quote mining.
One thing that atheists seem to be very good at when arguing with intelligent Christians like Sean McDowell, Greg Koukl, J. Warner Wallace, and myself is finding ways to circumvent the cosmological argument. If space, time, and matter all had beginnings simultaneously, according to this argument, then the "uncaused first cause" must transcend space, transcend time, and not be made of matter — all three of which are attributes of the God of the Bible. Atheists often just avoid this argument, how exactly? By positing theories like the "multiverse" that on their own merits are even more impossible to prove absolutely — not just impossible to prove empirically but also impossible to prove forensically and archaeologically — than Christianity.
Right off the bat, there's a problem with calling the multiverse a "theory". A theory must be provable by definition. Is the multiverse provable? If it were, then it would be possible to travel physically from one universe to another and back and live to tell about it. That alone is physically impossible proof, why? Because even at the speed of light, our own universe takes *billions* of years to cross. How many years, therefore, would it take to travel from one universe to another if multiple universes exist? Trillions? The astronauts would be fossils by the time they got there — if it was even possible to leave this universe without the spacecraft self-destructing.
Self-destructing? How can that be, you may ask? Because all the constants within the confines of this universe are just perfect for matter to exist. The instant you step outside the universe and enter something else, you enter a place where matter cannot physically exist! What does a spacecraft, at that point, do? There's no forces outside space-time that can sustain matter, so immediately that presents an enigma if talked about from a purely materialistic standpoint. Put short, even if we could travel outside this universe, we might not make it to another universe (if such a thing exists at all) without first running into a complete space-time dead zone capable of destroying all matter at the subatomic level.
Is the multiverse theory still possible? Of course. Is it reasonable? Based on the Christian definition, yes, but based on the atheistic definition of reason, absolutely not. When people posit theories like the multiverse, what they're essentially doing is copping out. They're trying to replace God with some impersonal entity that not only is it physically impossible to obtain empirical support for — just as with the God of the Bible — but it's also physically impossible to forensically support, and, to add insult to injury, physically impossible to archaeologically support. If you have not only no empirical evidence but also no manuscripts or artifacts supporting a theory, then what you have is a theory that takes more faith to believe than Christianity — hence the title of Frank Turek's book, "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be An Atheist".
27 September, 2016
Why is it that the media loves to "fact check" people? What does that even mean? Since the RNC and DNC, I have been asking these same questions. What I found was shocking: the number of fallacies the media and Democrats have committed over the past year. I have dedicated this post, therefore, to going over the top 7 most egregious of them.
1. Quote mining
In June 2015, Donald Trump made a bunch of statistically valid remarks about illegal immigration: Despite liberal claims to the contrary, the ratio of criminals to good people is much higher among illegal immigrants than among both legal immigrants *and* people who stay in countries like Mexico. How did Trump get painted as a racist, therefore? This is how: the media harped on "they're sending rapists… they're sending drug dealers…" while completely ignoring "and some, I assume, are good people". That last sentence is the one that provides the entire context of what's being said. Quote mining is exactly this: placing quotes outside of their surrounding contexts and attacking people over them.
2. Ad hominem
"Racist". "Sexist". "Homophobic". "Xenophobic". "Islamophobic". "Basket of deplorables". Should we go on? These have absolutely nothing to do with the topics, the ideas, the key problems that this country has faced since Obama took office. Instead, they're all about attacking people personally. They're a distraction: instead of going after the issue, they're attacking a person's character directly and going off topic in the process. Yup, that's exactly what the definition of ad hominem is, and you wonder why in the world these people who claim to be the logical, reasonable ones are committing it.
3. Association fallacy
Just because someone supports an (allegedly) divisive candidate does not under any circumstances mean that the person in question is also divisive even by the same definition. Accusing people of being racist or sexist merely for associating with people, even if those people actually are, is called the association fallacy, and applying it towards people is ad hominem on top of the association fallacy. This is aside from the fact that when talking about Trump in particular, the alleged divisiveness is a false accusation that one needs to commit fallacy #1 in order to support.
4. False dichotomy
"I respect you as a human being, but don't agree with you on [name key issue]." "Homophobe!" "Transphobe!" "Woman-hater!" The assumption in this accusation is obvious: it's that anyone who disagrees with you hates you. Irony: notice how the person responded with name-calling? That makes the liberal twice as hateful as the conservative in this case! If calling someone a f****t or t****y is hateful — and it is hateful indeed, even by my own conservative standards — then calling someone a homophobe or transphobe is equally hateful. A false dichotomy, by definition, is assuming that there are only two options when there are in fact more than two. In this particular case, you have complete agreement at one end of the spectrum, total hate on the other, and tolerance in the middle — three options, not two.
5. Poisoning the well
The fallacy of "poisoning the well" is a fallacy in which irrelevant (and abusive) information about an opponent is presented with intent to distract an audience. Since fallacy #1 (quote mining) is the fallacy that the media used to give people the impression of Trump being a racist, this fallacy was something that the media has been guilty of right from the get-go, and the "basket of deplorables" remark would also qualify as this. So, accusing Trump of committing a hasty generalization, are we? You're committing this fallacy by doing so.
6. Red herring
Ad hominem is technically a subset of this one. Any argument that attempts to distract from a topic is called a red herring, and there are plenty of them from the left to say the least. One of the most common examples is when someone responds to issues like Islamic terrorism and illegal immigration with "not all Muslims are terrorists" or "not all Mexicans are drug dealers," respectively. Yes, those are true statements, but do they have anything to do with the topic at hand? No. They fail to take into account, respectively, that the majority of post-9/11 terrorists are Muslims and that the ratio of criminals to good people is higher among illegal immigrants than among legal immigrants, which happen to be the respective topics.
7. Circular reasoning
When the left tries to attack us, do they even think about it? Unfortunately not. When the premise and conclusion are the exact same thing, that's called circular reasoning. Some examples are to the effect of "conservatives are dumb, because… conservatives are dumb," "DNA and homology point to Darwinism and not to OEC because… DNA and homology point to Darwinism," "Trump supporters are racist because… Trump supporters are racist", or, for an example that goes contrary to forensic evidence, "People who think Christianity is objectively true are closed minded… because <repeat>". Failure to use anything other than circular reasoning to defend a position makes you the closed-minded one.
05 September, 2016
WARNING: The following are paragraphs, not individual sentences or phrases. Picking them apart and responding to individual phrases outside of their whole-paragraph contexts is quote mining.
Where are the accusations of racism from before Trump's presidential campaign began? From 2014? From 2013? 2012? 2011? 2010 or earlier? If there's an article PUBLISHED BEFORE June 2015 accusing Trump of racism, then I want to see it, because all accusations "going back decades" of racism have been raised ex post facto. If ex post facto laws are unconstitutional, then so are ex post facto accusations unconstitutional.
About the Central Park Five: The people involved weren't exonerated until 2002. Could Trump have known in 1989 that all of the people in that case were innocent of all charges? Absolutely not. Granted, he shouldn't have jumped to conclusions about it, but if these people were on death row as long as most are today, then they likely would have been on death row long enough to get exonerated for it before the government got a chance to kill them. Moreover, since 1989, forensic technology has greatly improved to say the least. We have more powerful microscopes. We have more accurate means of collecting DNA that can go almost completely undetected to would-be murderers. We have better training for police detectives in detecting the smallest of small samples. Comparing 1989 with 2016 on accuracy of finding out who's guilty and who's innocent is committing the historian's fallacy.
Now, about that wall, which seems to be the main talking point for those accusations of racism — why is it that Mexico can secure its southern border with Guatemala, and that's not racist, yet it's racist for us to secure our southern border? That's a plank in the Mexican government's eye. Tear down all fortifications ― fences, walls, everything ― on your southern border, Enrique, and then we'll reconsider our southern border wall. Don't even think about citing Snopes on their denial of the existence of the Mexico-Guatemala barrier either, because its staff are Hillary donors and therefore biased. The point isn't whether or not a wall across the Mexican-Guatemalan border already exists, the point is whether or not Mexicans are calling for one to exist, and according to a very popular Mexican newspaper, yes they are:
Translation: "Yes to the border wall… but in Mexico's South." And, to translate the subtitle, using my 3 years of Spanish class and 9 years of experience communicating in Spanish: "In the southeast of Mexico there are two borders: one with Guatemala and one with Belize that don't bring benefits; on the contrary, only problems are induced because those crossings are being used for a new invasion: one of Central Americans using our country to cross into the United States."
The alleged hasty generalizations of all Mexicans as rapists, meanwhile, stopped a year ago. Give me one instance from March 2016 or later in which Trump hastily generalized all Mexicans as rapists or as drug dealers and then we'll talk, because if you still believe that 13 months after he said it, then you're believing old news, for one. Two, what exactly did Trump conclude that paragraph with? "And some, I assume — some are good people." Leaving that sentence out of a Trump quote is also quote mining, which means that whoever is making that charge is making it on a fallacious premise.
Finally, if you go to accuse Trump of being a hypocrite, perhaps you should look at your own candidate and, *especially*, her VP pick first. Tim Kaine claims to be a Catholic. Hillary claims to be a Methodist. On abortion, both the Catholic and Methodist churches use the Bible's position as their own, and the Bible's position is staunchly pro-life (if you attempt to quote a single Bible verse to support a pro-abortion view without also quoting everything else around it, then you're quote mining). What, meanwhile, do Hillary and Kaine both support? The self-refuting lie that is moral relativism: if it's immoral to impose morality, then it's also immoral to impose the moral claim that morality shouldn't be imposed — that entire view is false by its own standard. They think they can have their cake and eat it too on this issue by claiming to be Christian and for abortion at the same time, which is an act of blatant hypocrisy. That is a plank in Hillary's eye (and Kaine's eye) that must also be addressed before they can go on to accuse us of anything.
It's been a couple of months since my most recent post regarding the 2016 election. Since then, the battles between Trump and Hillary have gotten progressively more heated, to say the least. We Trump supporters now have Julian Assange and WikiLeaks on our side, for one — foreign hacktivists, including the notorious "Guccifer 2.0", have managed to leak thousands upon thousands of internal DNC emails that provide proof positive of what Dinesh D'Souza said the Democratic Party was like behind the scenes. As if that's not enough, some of these leaked emails also include conspiracies between DNC members to rig debates and tamper with voting machines — conspiracies that unfortunately even involve the company that owns the servers on which this blog is hosted happens to be a part of, which I just busted using the Google Now assistant to deliver biased election news sources.
Let's be honest, I for one have a long history playing with Google's open source projects, to say the least. It all started long before Android and Chrome OS even got off the ground, in fact — in December 2007, I began building my own desktop computer for the sole purpose of making sure that Linux could run on it without any problems. That was a success, but it took a lot of research and a great deal of effort to say the least. I completed this project in January 2008, and installed an alpha release of Ubuntu 8.04 on it. Fast-forward to 2009, however, and something interesting happened: Google began using Linux to develop two OS'es of their own. It was in November 2009 that the source code to one of them — Chrome OS — was released to the public, and I as a Linux user was all set to begin compiling and building it to see how it runs. I also began experimenting with Android — the other Linux-based Google OS — in 2010 when I got my first smartphone, and in March 2011, I got my first Chromebook (a Cr-48).
Fast forward to 2016, and I have not only a Nexus 6 but also an HP Chromebook 11 G4, which I do admit I have a Linux distribution called GalliumOS on at the moment, why? To get Android Studio onto it for my Android development class at Saddleback College. Oh, and yes, that's another thing: I have something in the Chrome Web Store already — the infamous "Wake Up!" app, which I also open-sourced due to the fact that built-in Chrome OS power management is poor to say the least.
Long history with Google aside, I for one am getting absolutely fed up with how sold out Google is for the establishment. Election-rigging is clearly no laughing matter, and the fact that a company with as much industry might as Google is trying to get in on this matter is a problem to say the least. I am warning Google right now: If I see one more article from CNN, WaPo, HuffPo, NYT, WSJ, MSNBC, Salon, MotherJones, or any other liberally biased source along those lines either in my Google Now card feed or on my Google Now election card, then when I get something developed that is worth selling, I for one will be glad to personally donate all of the proceeds from Android and/or Chrome app sales to the Trump campaign.
Why, you ask? Because as I already posted in the post linked to in the introductory paragraph, Hillary simply cannot be trusted. She's a sellout. Her campaign is funded by Planned Parenthood, which is something that even African-Americans like Alveda King are fed up with. She wants to force the church to support abortion. She wants to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which is critical for making sure that Christians' First Amendment rights aren't infringed upon. She is a neo-Canaanite extremist who will do anything to continue sacrificing the unborn on the altar of convenience. Google: If your motto is "Don't be evil" then supporting someone as evil as Hillary is hypocrisy.
27 July, 2016
In July, I published a post to this blog pointing out that many of the claims that atheists make don't even meet their own standards. To review that post, those claims are "there is no truth" (that claim can't be true either if that's the case), "all truth is scientific" (that claim is philosophical and therefore false by its own standard), "all truth/morality is relative/subjective" (that statement claims to be true not only for the claimant but also for opponents, making it false by its own standard), "Christians are hypocrites" (A, hasty generalization, B, tu quoque, and C, anyone who tries to arbitrarily make up a standard oneself has the burden of living up to it; if they don't, then they're also hypocrites), and "you shouldn't judge" (A, that statement is a judgment, and B, quoting Matthew 7:1 without also quoting Matthew 7:2-5 at the same time is quote mining). It's the number 3 self-refuting statement — "all truth/morality is relative/subjective" — however, that even some presidential candidates still don't see the problem with.
Who can't see this problem? Hillary Clinton, that's who, and her vice-presidential pick Tim Kaine is just as bad when it comes to failure to call this self-refuting idea — and the self-refuting statement that accompanies it — out for what it is: false by its own standard. It's almost hilarious, really, that Tim Kaine hasn't been excommunicated from the Catholic Church over his relativism regarding abortion in particular, why? He claims that abortion is bad for him and his family but also claims to not care what others who might support abortion think about it. Blatant lie: because moral relativism is self-refuting and therefore false, the only thing that can be true in this regard is a moral absolute, which means that it's either good or evil. Since the Catholic and Methodist Churches, for that matter, both consider abortion to be an absolute evil, both Kaine and Hillary should be excommunicated from their said churches, at the very least.
Ah, but Trump is also an abortionist, you claim, right? For two reasons, that's a false claim: A, just because someone claimed to support abortion 16 years ago doesn't mean that claim is up-to-date (that's a fallacy called slothful induction), and B, there was reportedly a change in his position in 2011 when a friend of his wanted to abort his wife's child only to not go through with it, then seriously regret the contemplation once he met his own child face to face. Further, the Republican candidate for VP — Mike Pence — has a record as governor of Indiana that is about as pro-life as any candidate can possibly get on this matter — he reportedly used state *executive orders* to strip Planned Parenthood of all Indiana state tax funds, and as a result multiple abortion clinics in Indiana are closing down. As VP under Trump and as Senate President, Pence would likely use his Congressional powers to push acts into law that take his actions against PP in Indiana to the national level.
Also, enough with the claim that "it's a danger to women's health" to have a pro-life position! For starters, there's a difference between caring about both the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child vs. caring about the life of the mother at the expense of the life of the unborn child. "The unborn child is just part of the mother" you claim? According to the science of genetics, that's a lie. If that claim were true, then the DNA of the unborn child would be 100% identical to the DNA of the mother. That's not the case. Instead, the instant a sperm enters an egg, the DNA of both fuse together. The result? A genetically distinct cell that is genetically programmed, genetically wired, genetically predestined to grow into an embryo, a fetus, and then, finally, a child outside the womb. To jump to the conclusion that an unborn child is a part of the mother's body simply because of the location inside the womb is to flat-out deny science, and to say "it's my choice to abort" is again an act of believing the self-refuting lie that is moral relativism.
No one that tries to bring self-refuting ideas to Washington belongs in the White House. Claiming to be Christian means refraining from "nullifying the word of God" for the sake of anything else. The Pharisees, according to Jesus (Mark 7:13), "nullified the word of God" for the sake of tradition. The misnomered "Democrats", meanwhile, do the same thing: they "nullify the word of God" for the sake of moral relativism. Either they're pro-life Christians, pro-abortion atheists, or hypocrites. They can't have their cake and eat it too.
14 July, 2016
Calling ANY Field of Science 'Settled' while Claiming to be a Beacon of Reason at the Same Time is Hypocrisy
WARNING: The following is an essay, not individual sentences and not individual paragraphs. Quoting part of this work without also quoting the surrounding context ― the context that is the whole thing ― is quote mining.
It's almost laughable, the nerve that some scientists, particularly those that are also atheists, have. They claim to be beacons of reason. They claim to be rational. They go on to claim that all who don't agree with them and their opinions about Christianity must be deluded simply because they're not 100% materialistic. They group Christianity together with other religions that bear far more radical ideologies, then commit the hasty generalization of assuming that anyone who is against, for example, abortion or homosexuality is just as evil as Muslim terrorists. There's an irony in this, however: What about their own science communities? Is there discrimination there too?
Notice the standard that these accusations imply: Don't stop thinking. Always make absolutely certain to examine every piece of evidence closely. Never jump to any conclusion. This is a standard in which absolute certainty about any field of science is impossible. Do the scientists themselves do this? Do they refrain from jumping to conclusions? Do they keep thinking about everything without stopping their thoughts about anything? Do they explore every possible explanation, regardless of consensus about the evidence that they find, or do they shove all of that evidence through some materialistic worldview filter?
Ah, the answer is the latter. "[Darwinism] is a fact" they claim. "The science is settled." "There is no other possible cause for life than a naturalistic one." This is doing precisely the very thing ― namely, stifling thoughts that they disagree with ― that they accuse us of. Although I do kind of agree with them based on the fact that it's a consequence of the deadly sin that is greed, climate change is also a field of science that people pull this trick on. Same thing when it comes to other modes of politically and (ir)religiously motivated science, like science that pertains to homosexuality for instance. A consensus is NOT an objective truth! It's an opinion of a multitude of intelligent people, sure, but without God, an opinion is an opinion regardless of how many people hold it.
Moreover, if only science yielded truth as atheists claim, then guess what? The claim in and of itself would be false by its own definition. The claim that "all truth is scientific" isn't scientific, it's philosophical. I'm always willing to go back to the Craig v. Atkins (1998) debate on this issue: we have a case in which Peter Atkins claimed that science is the only thing that yields truth, and what is William Lane Craig's response? You cannot use the scientific method to prove math, nor can you use it to prove philosophy, nor can you use it to prove history… most importantly, you cannot use science to prove science itself, why? Because the mathematical formulas that science depends on must simply be assumed true in order for science to even be conducted!
So, without much further ado, it's hypocrisy to be skeptical about everything without also being skeptical about skepticism itself. Whenever you exempt a claim or view from its own standard, what you get is a breeding ground for hypocrisy, and unfortunately, that's exactly what the nature of most of these charges is.
12 July, 2016
Is Christian apologetics really 'tyranny of the experts'? Some lay believers seem to think so. They cherry-pick 2 Timothy 3:16 while at the same time ignoring 1 Peter 3:15. That aside, what exactly did the oldest of patriarchs use to defend their views? Did they resort to apologetics as often as we did? As Bill Dyer points out, even Abraham did, by believing that if God can create everything from nothing, then He can also raise Isaac from the dead — granted, Abraham also is told by God not to go through with the sacrifice. Now this is a trivial example, but is it the only one?
In fact, no — at least not if you look to deuterocanonical and/or apocryphal sources. The book of Daniel as we know it — at least the book of Daniel as Protestant Christians (including Lutherans like myself) know it — is not the same book of Daniel that adherents of Catholicism, Greek Orthodoxy, Russian Orthodoxy, and Coptic Orthodoxy know. Why? Because the Hebrew Bible was canonicalized by three different groups of Jews which each canonicalized it in their own entirely different ways.
These three versions of the Tanakh are called, by scholars, the Egyptian, Palestinian, and Babylonian traditions. The version that is present in most Protestant Bibles is the Babylonian one, which is also the one that most modern Jews have in their canons. The Palestinian version, meanwhile, is the one that the Ethiopian Church uses, and the Egyptian version is the one that the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches use. It's in this version of the book of Daniel — particularly the end of it — where things get interesting. It's a story of an idol — Bel/Marduk — and a dragon-like beast, and how Daniel proves both of these to be false.
First, we have the Bel idol. This bronze statue is given food, and it disappears the next day, and Nebuchadnezzar is portrayed in this epilogue as begging the question about this idol's nature, that the idol must be eating the offerings. So, Daniel pours ashes on the temple floor one day. Then, the next morning, footprints in the ashes leading to a secret door are discovered, proving that the idol's own priests are taking the food to a secret area to trick everyone. Then the people see that this idol — the one that Nebuchadnezzar is the most devoted to, mind you — is no more than a fraud, and Nebuchadnezzar's theory is debunked.
The next one is of the dragon-like creature, which Darius the Mede claims must be divine because it does eat and drink. So, what does Daniel do? Poison it. He gives it food that has been contaminated with a poison that, when the dragon ate it, would give off enough gas to make the dragon's stomach explode. The dragon eats it, bursts open, dies, and what does Daniel tell Darius the Mede? Because it's not immortal, it's not divine either. This version then goes on to say that it's for this offense — killing the dragon — that Daniel is thrown into the lions' den.
Notice how in this account, Daniel doesn't just simply assert that Babylonian idolatry is fake. He goes on to provide evidence proving the Babylonians wrong about what it is they're worshipping. That's apologetics, is it not? So, we have Abraham, we have Daniel… why should our faith be any different? We have a whole wealth of arguments at our disposal to debunk worldviews like atheism that present a similar threat to Christianity today, so why not use them the same way the patriarchs did? I for one would rather just get with the program and follow in these patriarchs' and other apolosists' footsteps.
07 July, 2016
In the history of the church, no issue has resulted in more hatred, not only from the church but also of it, than those which are LGBT-related. Just three months ago, Target made highly controversial headlines, how? By removing gender signs from bathrooms simply to support a small minority of the population, one that insists that they are female when really male, or vice versa. Why is it that people would insist this, however? Is it scientific or deluded? Is gender based on chromosomes or on thoughts?
09 June, 2016
17 May, 2016
Is the Bible really accurate in its claims? I mean, as a middle schooler (and on the fine line between Christianity and atheism at the time), I had quite a few doubts about its reasonability. It wasn't until 9th grade (2007-08) that the first of those doubts began to get debunked, and it wasn't until I learned the historical-legal method in my third full year of college (2014-15) that I began to really see how accurate the claims in the Bible are (I did indeed believe the Bible to be true before the apologetics lessons of March 2014, March 2015 [McDowell], and March 2016 [Koukl], but didn't have all the answers to give for why I believed), since that's when Sean McDowell (who just turned the big 40 today — congrats!) showed up at my church and used the same method to prove that the Bible is accurate in its claims. This post, therefore, is dedicated to going through how I got to that conclusion in detail.
27 April, 2016
In my previous post, I made a rather strong case against the habit of looking for Exodus evidence in the wrong time period. Towards the end of the post, however, is a claim that refers to Khamudi as being the Exodus Pharaoh, as opposed to someone from Dynasties XIII (Rohl) or XIX (mainstream). Little do people realize, however, that the archaeological pattern from Avaris and other associated sites matches much more closely with the chronology of the lower kingdom of Divided Egypt than anything else. So, I'm using this post as an explanation for why I personally think that the Lower Egyptian dynasties are far more important, Biblically speaking, than the dynasties from Upper Egypt or from a unified Egypt.
A very important discovery was indeed made, right at the beginning of the earliest possible Avaris settlement. A Syrian-style house, very similar to the kind of house that Abraham, Isaac, and/or Jacob would have built in their hometown of Harran, Syria, was found at this location, and was subsequently flattened. On top of this flattened house, a palace was constructed. This palace was huge. It contained courtyards, speech chambers, a robing room, a front entrance with 12 pillars supporting it, and a garden in the back containing 12 tombs. Note this interesting pattern of 12's here: There was only one Semitic culture at this time, bar none, that considered 12 to be a number of cultural significance, and that culture was ancient Israel.
The one tidbit that *really* gets interesting, however, is that one of these 12 tombs behind this Avaris palace was shaped like a pyramid. Extremely unusual, why? Because only Pharaohs and queens had pyramid tombs at this time — not even viziers had pyramid tombs! Imhotep certainly didn't. Neither did any other highly important vizier in ancient Egypt, before this period or after. The person buried in this tomb, however, was a foreigner. His cult statue shows him with red hair (!), yellow skin (!), a throwstick (!) across his shoulder, and painted to look like he's wearing a multi-colored coat(!). Either this is indeed Joseph himself, or his career is identical to Joseph's.
The Pharaoh who was ruling at the exact same time that this palace and tombs were constructed in Avaris was Amenemhat III. His statue is a much more drab complexion compared to Joseph's: he's depicted with ears turned out so as to listen to people's concerns, and with a facial expression that is much more indicative of worry than of prosperity. It was during his reign that "Bahr Yussef" — the "Waterway of Joseph" — was constructed to divert half the water from the Nile into the Faiyum, a marshy lake that was used to grow crops like rice and wheat during times of plenty. Making it bigger means it's possible to grow more, and according to the Bible, Joseph interpreted the dreams of Amenemhat as seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine, correct? During a time of drought (definitely a famine-causing phenomenon) on the Nile, the Faiyum would have still been large enough to hold water for much longer than 7 years.
After Amenemhat III, however, something really interesting happens: One kingdom becomes two. Dynasty XIII (the one that Amenemhat was a member of) rules Upper Egypt, and a brand new Dynasty XIV — Joseph's dynasty — rules Lower Egypt. Amenemhat was probably *so* impressed with Joseph's famine-foiling tactics that he decides to give half of his kingdom to Joseph and his descendants as a gift — the fact that he's buried in a pyramid tomb, the *only* vizier throughout Egyptian history to do so, seems to suggest exactly this.
But wait, what about the "Pharaoh who knew not Joseph"? Skip forward about 200 years to the reign of Upper Egyptian pharaoh Djedneferre Dedumose II. During his reign, Egypt goes from two peacefully coexisting kingdoms — Upper and Lower — to civil war. How did this happen? Right around this time, Dynasty XIV is replaced with Dynasty XV. A coup d'état occurs in Lower Egypt, and this new dynasty, instead of being friendly to the Upper kings, is hostile to them. This dynasty is also Semitic, but not Jewish. It was a dynasty of pagan Semites, who worshipped not Yahweh but Baal, Har, and other false idols along those lines, and the first king in that dynasty was a powerful one indeed: Sheshi. He certainly would have a motive to enslave the pious Jews, and it's to persecute them for worshipping one God instead of many.
Supporting this hypothesis is what happens when the Israelites reach the border with Canaan but decide to grumble instead of conquer (Numbers 14:33), then conquer 40 years later. If they had absolutely no contact with this region, why did the Israelites grumble? It was the promised land! How did they know about the Canaanites and Amalekites and how horrible they were if they went through that land hundreds of years earlier and found no one there? The only feasible explanation for this is that Dynasty XV, which began with Sheshi and ended with, that's right, Khamudi, happened to be of either Canaanite or Amalekite origin.
Making Khamudi the Pharaoh who confronted Moses (and, by extension, Apepi II as the Pharaoh that instituted the drowning policy and whose daughter adopted Moses, according to Exodus 2:23) would also make perfect sense from a standpoint of how this powerful Lower Kingdom was able to get overrun and how this bloody civil war ended so abruptly: The plagues and the Red Sea crossing would mean that Khamudi would suffer the loss of his slave force, the loss of his crops, the loss of his firstborn, and the loss of his army. The Exodus would weaken the Lower Kingdom, sure, but the Upper Kingdom? The Upper Egyptians would be saying "You know this Lower king, Khamudi? His slave force is free, his army is under the Red Sea, and all his firstborn are dead — here's an opportunity for us to take him out." Right after the Exodus, this is exactly what happens: Khamudi is killed by an Upper Egyptian Pharaoh by the name of Ahmose I, who conquers the now largely abandoned Lower Egypt and founds the reunified New Kingdom on top of the Lower Kingdom's plagued, pillaged, abandoned, tattered ruins.
25 April, 2016
25 March, 2016
- If moral objectivism is true, then evil has only one definition and therefore does indeed exist
- If moral relativism is true, then evil is undefined, and if evil is undefined, then everything is good and evil is impossible
On this day, Good Friday, March 25, A.D. 2016, my thoughts, prayers, and logic all go out to those who still insist on believing this flawed content, even as I grow in my faith and put it into practice by posting stuff like this. It's sad, really: some have become so hostile to even the remotest possibility that Christianity might be true that, instead of investigating their objections as J. Warner Wallace, Josh McDowell, C.S. Lewis, and, yes, I did (had some doubts as a middle schooler that I chose to investigate while in high school), they choose to raise stuff like this that takes "unreasonable" to an even greater low than the low that they claim Christianity is at, not even realizing how unreasonable their objections actually are.
04 February, 2016
One of the most common questions raised by atheists, and I have seen this raised countless times, to be fair, is the question of why a good God would send people to Hell. This question fails to take into account that all 7 billion people on this planet, not to mention billions of ancient people to boot, are in rebellion against God by nature, for starters — people who rebel get separated, that sounds like a natural consequence to me. In response to this assertion, one atheist on YouTube replied that he thought we were good, and not evil, by nature, at which point I had to give him a little history lesson. There are in fact several biological factors that are evil by nature, and the one I'll be covering in this post — the fight-or-flight response — is the beginning of a multi-part series on biological evidence explaining why we need a savior.
Has anyone reading this ever gotten this sudden urge to lash out in anger when a certain trigger is flipped? When provoked in a certain manner? When physically attacked, to want to just attack in return? I confess, even I have in the past, to my (and this is a serious understatement) ultimate regret. When certain triggers are tripped, the adrenal glands release large amounts of epinephrine. Heart rate increases. Breathing rate skyrockets. The person quivers. At this point, he or she has only two natural, biological instincts: lash out in anger, or be a coward, run away, and let sloth take over. This, by definition, is the fight-or-flight response.
Note how anger and sloth — the products of this biological reflex — are two of the Seven Deadly Sins. What did Jesus preach on the Sermon on the Mount about this matter? He told us to love (!) our enemies, to, "when slapped on one cheek, turn the other", and to keep going the extra mile. Doing all this means suppressing this response that is hard-coded into not only human beings but also into animals of all sorts. Without divine intervention, suppression of the fight-or-flight response is physically impossible.
This, therefore, brings us to the ultimate reason why we must believe to be saved from eternal separation: it's just one of several pieces of evidence (others of which will be covered in other posts in this series) that human beings, all 7 billion of them, are evil by nature. And if we're evil by nature, then it's only by acceptance of the gift of substitutionary atonement that we can possibly get out of this.
Since it is physically impossible for us to suppress this reflex, we have Jesus, who *never* used it on another human being — even when threatened with crucifixion — and became the ultimate sacrifice, as God incarnate, to atone for these natural-yet-sinful instincts, to pay for them so we don't have to. Stay tuned, because every Thursday from now until March 3, another member of this series will be posted.
05 November, 2015
|Cyclone Chapala as it approached the Yemeni coast on All Saints' Day, 2015. Two days later, on the day immediately following All Souls' Day, this beast would hammer the city of al-Mukalla, occupied by AQAP throughout much of 2015, with hurricane-force winds, storm surge, and a decade of rain in less than 24 hours, causing a flood of biblical proportions.|
29 September, 2015
19 July, 2015
|Hurricane Dolores as a Category 4 storm Wednesday evening, hammering Socorro Island. Eventually, after dissipating over cooler waters, this system shot a plume of moisture up the coast as a tropical storm, then made landfall in SoCal as a remnant low|
El Niño years tend to make this more likely to happen, for several reasons. One is the weakening and/or reversal of the trade winds. Normally, they blow from east to west ― that is typically why hurricanes also move in that direction. When the trades weaken or reverse, westward movement slows. Second is the large-scale collapse of blocking patterns that typically dominate over much of the North Pacific during the summer months. This allows low pressure systems to form in the North Pacific even during the dry season ― troughs that can grab tropical cyclones and pull them north. Third, with the resulting overall lack of upwelling, waters immediately off the California and South American coasts become much warmer than normal, giving tropical cyclones more overall fuel that can sustain them further from the tropics than usual. All of these factors put together can cause some rather interesting effects as the hurricane season in the eastern Pacific basin (which happens to be the very source of the wind shear that suppresses Atlantic activity) rolls on up.
Although this kind of situation is definitely the first of its kind for July in the known historical record, it's not the first of its kind period. In September 1997, for example, moisture from Hurricane Linda ― which currently holds the record for strongest in Eastern Pacific history, although probably not for long ― streamed across California, causing torrential rains and even hail the size of golf balls in some locations. That same year, moisture from the much weaker Hurricane Nora also managed to cause some interesting totals, especially in the Inland Empire, where flooding was rampant. Going further back into history, one of these eastern Pacific behemoths made landfall in Long Beach as a strong tropical storm back in 1939 ― also an El Niño year ― and even further back, in 1858 — again, El Niño — a Category 1 hurricane brought 85mph sustained winds and 10 feet of storm surge to San Diego.
Given how many impacts we've had already ― heck, even way back in May and early June we had some remnant moisture from Hurricane Blanca as well ― it shudders me to think of possible impacts later in this season, including possible repeats of the 1939 and/or 1858 events, given that 2015 accumulated cyclone energy is already ahead of 1997 levels. Although, I for one would definitely take a direct hit from a tropical cyclone as an added bonus on top of already extreme winter El Niño impacts over this drought any day… catch-22, I guess. These are definitely exciting times indeed.
13 July, 2015
|1000 years of PDO history, with all four 'grand minima' superimposed. Note how decreases in solar activity actually cause a *warming* of the PDO|
06 July, 2015
SST anomalies: Exceptionally impressive to say the least
Compare that to May, and clearly it's a sign that this event is, hands-down, the strongest since 1997. Do SST anomalies alone tell the whole story? Of course not, but it goes to show just how impressive this event is, with more WWB's and downwelling Kelvin waves (next paragraphs) on the way. What makes this map clearly differ from 2014 (especially) is the Banda Sea cold pool: it forces high pressure over Indonesia, thus keeping the atmospheric response locked in place.
Westerly trades: Cross-equatorial tropical cyclones, redux
You may recall that what initially kickstarted this event was a pair of tropical cyclones on both sides of the equator at the same longitude back in March: Cyclone Pam (yes, that's right, that monster, the one that ended up being a direct hit on Vanuatu, completely obliterating heavily populated portions of the island) on one side of the equator, and Tropical Storm Bavi (which never made it to typhoon status) on the other. Fast-forward to July 1 Australian time (technically late June 30 in California) and that exact same thing happened again: TS Chan-hom on one side of the equator, Cyclone Raquel (also a TS when the Saffir-Simpson Scale is applied) on the other. Although Cyclone Raquel was clearly weaker than Pam, it was still paired with another cyclone on the opposite side of the equator. When this occurs, it's like a WWB pitching machine: winds rotate counterclockwise north of the equator, clockwise south of it, and between the two, winds have only one way to blow: from W. Here:
As you can clearly see, what we're looking at is easily the most powerful westerly wind burst since March, and moreover, when Raquel dissipated, the Southern Hemisphere Booster followed right behind. Now, there's a pressure gradient of high in W, low in E, which can keep that WWB progressing further E. In ~5 days, this westerly wind burst could reach the far E Pacific, where more hurricanes (starting with Dolores) should form. For a review: the word "typhoon" is only used W of the date line; E of it, they're still hurricanes.