Violence and lack of belief

With the recent shootings at the movie theater and the Sikh temple, a lot of people are pointing fingers at unbelief, and saying that the reason we have so much violence today is because we’ve lost the faith that used to guide us, that sense of supernatural reward and punishment that helped us resist evil and do good.

You know, they might have something. I mean, there’s a pretty definite pattern here. Not just the two most recent gunmen, but any number of violent criminals before them, are men who have lost the simple faith they once had in Santa Claus, who “knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.” I’m sure that if they had only held on to their original, childlike belief in an all-seeing Father Christmas, making a list and checking it twice, they’d have never done anything so terrible.

It just goes to prove that Santa actually exists, doesn’t it.

 

Plants vs. the Gospel

Via PZ Myers at Pharyngula comes this delicious tidbit from veteran creationist Henry M. Morris.

Obviously, animal and human life are different from plant life. In fact, the Bible uses the Hebrew word chay (life) and its derivatives 763 times in the Old Testament, never applying that term to plants or vegetation. No place in Scripture attributes chay to plants; only living creatures possess life.

Plants are indeed marvelous, beautiful, complex, and able to reproduce “after their kind,” but they are designed by the Creator to be a source of energy to maintain life. Plants are food—they are not alive.

Now, let’s all turn in our Bibles to the Epistle of Saint Paul unto the Corinthians, chapter 15, verses 35 through 38.

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.

So to understand the resurrection of Jesus, we need first of all to understand that plants are not alive, and therefore can never be said to “come to life.” Therefore what Saint Paul is telling us here is that when the dead are “raised,” they are raised in bodies that are not alive.

Wow, that explains a lot. Creationism sure makes the Bible a lot clearer. Thanks, Dr. Morris! But wait, it gets better.

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Two sides to every story

This looked like an interesting First Amendment story: “Attorney for Pastor jailed in Arizona speaks out” (capitalization as in the original).

Last week we brought you a story about Michael Salman, a Pastor in Arizona who surrendered himself to authorities to face two months in prison. His crime? Holding bible studies in his home. Mr. Salman faced a judge today and things don’t appear to be getting any better. The prosecution is pushing for a harsher punishment for his alleged crime.

The attorney is John Whitehead, of the Rutherford Institute. Hmm, that’s inauspicious. Here’s his statement regarding his client’s case.

Mr. Salman was found guilty of one count of violating probation for holding bible studies of more than 12 people. Where she got the number baffles me. Maybe she got it from Jesus and the Disciples, but in that case it would be 13…

The danger of this case is the government is trying to establish what is and isn’t a church. When it does that they are overstepping the boundary. This violates the very foundation of that Amendment and the Establishment Clause.

Ok, a government trying to imprison people just for holding Bible studies in their private home. Whitehead is right, this is a flagrant and serious violation of the First Amendment. Or is it?

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Primitive Creationism

One thing I think Ken Ham and Kent Hovind do rather well is to remind us how primitive young-earth creationism really is. They know, even without looking at any evidence, that the primitive God of Genesis 1 and 2 hasn’t got a chance of coming up with anything as advanced as our modern, scientific understanding of biology. Being a primitive invention Himself, He is limited to using only the techniques available to the imagination of unscientific and illiterate people.

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Higgs Boson

I heard a rumor that somebody was getting ready to announce the discovery of the Higgs boson, and now I see the discovery being hailed as a done deed on CNN, so I guess they really did it. This is so cool and so awesome! It’s a bit ironic that the discovery was announced on July 4th, the American independence day, by European scientists—if it hadn’t been for penny-pinching anti-science bureaucrats in Washington, that discovery might have been made by, or in conjunction with, an American research team. But America has lost its drive to be pre-eminent in cutting-edge science, preferring instead to come up with innovative ways to mingle science and superstition in public school curricula.

But I digress, and I don’t want my curmudgeonly rant to cast a pall over this tremendous scientific discovery. Like so many in the field of advanced physics, it seems this answer only serves to raise more questions. And that’s the way science ought to work: each new discovery opens the door to making further discoveries. Yes, we have more questions, but now we know what the right questions are, and can start to work on answering them.

Of course, there’s one truly momentous question that’s on everyone’s mind right now, and I’m sure it’s one you all can’t wait to get answered…

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Firefighting

Imagine you’re a homeowner in a heavily-wooded neighborhood, in a year when the rains have been few and far between. You’ve watched nervously as the local news covers area brush fires burning out of control, and you’ve tracked the burn on your online maps, and watched them get closer and closer. Then one afternoon, you see the smoke, off in the distance, and within an hour or so the flames themselves become visible. Where are the firefighters? you wonder.

Finally, they arrive, five engines and a score of men and women dressed in heavy slickers despite the oppressive heat. They pull up and rush from their vehicles to form a line between your home and the fire, and—just stand there. The fire gets closer, and still they stand, staring the flames down, but making no move to unfurl any hoses or uncap any hydrants. Now you can feel the heat of the approaching flames, and the firefighters slowly fall back. Inch by inch, foot by foot, the flames advance, and the firefighters retreat. At last, defeated, the flee to their engines and roar away, and you yourself have only seconds to escape, with just the clothes on your back and whatever you managed to throw in the car before the firefighters got there.

Down the road, you catch up with the useless fire crew and demand to know what the hell they were doing, and why they didn’t get out their hoses and fight the fire. And that’s when you find out: they were graduates of the Focus on the Family Fire Fighting Academy, and the only technique they were taught was, “Don’t play with matches.” So that’s what they were doing. They came to your home, and stood between you and the flames, and aggressively did not play with matches.

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Thought for the day

He who puts God in government puts politics in the pulpit.

Remember that when His Holiness the Very Reverend Newt Gingrich (and third wife) stop by to collect your tithes and offerings, and lecture you on family values.

 

Oh boy

As grieving parents, family and friends try to deal with the tragedy of the Chardon High School killings, at least one commentator is cackling with glee. For Todd Starnes of (where else?) Fox News, the killings give him the perfect opportunity to ask, “Why is school prayer only allowed during tragedies?

As police try to make sense of the senseless, the school superintendent called on people to pray.

It was a wise decision.

But perhaps lost in the chaos is the irony that in American public schools – people are not allowed to pray.

Liberals have successfully banished God from the classroom, replacing Him with the manmade god of secularism.

Yes, those darned liberals and their support for liberal handgun access. Oh wait, no, sorry, handguns are real, and aren’t really a liberal thing. Let’s blame an imaginary response by an imaginary God to an imaginary ban on people praying. Because everybody knows that if you don’t let God into the classroom, He gives handguns to emotionally unstable kids and tells them to go kill people—even when He’s not really banned from school.

Low-cost space exploration

Recent budget cuts at NASA make it clear that the glory days are over, as far as funding is concerned. A report at the Discovery Channel website suggests the possibility of a lower-cost alternative to all those big, expensive rockets and stuff.

Over the past 50 years, billions of dollars have been spent visiting our nearest neighbor in space, the moon. It’s the only extraterrestrial body humans have ever walked on. Besides the United States and Russia, Japan, China, India and the European Space Agency have all sent robotic spacecraft moonward…

But why bother? says a group of parapsychology sleuths who accuse NASA of hiding evidence of aliens on the lunar surface.

Yep, a group of psychics has used “remote viewing” to discover that the Apollo 16 astronauts actually discovered wreckage of an alien spacecraft that crashed on the moon. The wreckage can even be seen in published photos—cleverly disguised as ordinary rocks and dirt. Damn those government censors for covering this all up!
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