Monday, November 23, 2009

MAJOR HASAN AN HONEST FOLLOWER OF THE KORAN murdered out of obedience even against conflicting feelings. Read it and weep.

I want to get this information published even though I'm not going to take the time to format it carefully or comment much at this point. Here's the raw stuff.

Gist: Major Hasan who killed so many at Fort Hood did so in obedience to the Koran EVEN AFTER SEEKING WAYS HE MIGHT BE ABLE TO AVOID THIS DUTY. He even gave a speech outlining his thinking in this direction, yet nobody took it as the warning signal it was. The Koran is unfortunately not open to alternative views and he had to conclude that to be obedient to his God he HAD to kill nonMuslims. This conflict came to a decision point when he was being asked to go and kill Muslims, which he couldn't do and be faithful to his religion. The Koran teaches that killing a Muslim will take you to Hell, and killing nonMuslims will earn you blessings. There is no room for other interpretations. The man was excruciatingly honest about the position he was in on account of his religion. He wasn't unfaithful to the American Army so much as REQUIRED BY HIS RELIGION to make a choice he didn't want to have to make.

What sort of idiots are we in the West that we have been ignoring this obvious situation for years now?

I wasn't able to find the speech itself but maybe it's trackable from these links, and Rubin's article is pretty clear about what it says anyway:
Hassan is the first terrorist in history to give an academic lecture explaining why he was about to attack. Yet that still isn’t enough for too many people—including the president of the United States--to understand that the murderous assault at Fort Hood was a Jihad attack.

It was reported that the audience was shocked and frightened by his lecture. He was supposed to speak on some medical topic yet instead talked on the topic: “The Koranic World View as it Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military.” All you have to do is look at the 50 Power Point slides and they tell you everything you need to know.

It is quite a good talk. He’s logical and presents his evidence. This is clearly not the work of a mad man or a fool, though there’s still a note of ambiguity in it. He's still working out what to do in his own mind and is trying to figure out if he has a way out other than in effect deserting the U.S. army and becoming a Jihad warrior. Ultimately, he concluded that he could not be a proper Muslim without killing American soldiers. Obviously, other Muslims could reach different conclusions but Hassan strongly grounds himself in Islamic texts.

In a sense, Hassan's lecture was a cry for help: Can anyone show me another way out? Can anyone refute my interpretation of Islam? One Muslim in the audience reportedly tried to do so. But unless these issues are openly discussed and debated--rather than swept under the rug--more people will die.

In fact, I’d recommend that teachers use this lecture in teaching classes on both Islam and Islamist politics.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


If you aren't hearing about this or keeping up with it, pay attention. Obama is poised to sign this treaty that is supposedly to protect the planet, but what it is really designed to do is strip wealthy nations of their sovereignty -- and that means us of course. This treaty has a provision to punish nations that are supposedly causing the climate problem -- that's us they say -- that will take American money and put it in the hands of Third World countries. Our Constitution PUTS INTERNATIONAL TREATIES OVER U.S. SOVEREIGNTY -- it's written into our own law, so if he signs this treaty he will be signing away our sovereignty to a world government.

Scott Johnson discusses this upcoming attack on our nation in last Sunday's talks. Here's the PDF file that covers all the same material that's in the talks.

Near the beginning of PART THREE of Johnson's talk from last Sunday he airs statements by Obama that show his true IDENTIFICATION WITH ISLAM and his hatred of America, shown among other things by his disgusting attribution of Western achievements to ISLAM that are ALL IN FACT DUE TO CHRISTIANITY. He's taking his clips from this You Tube video (Listening to this gives me such a stomach ache I can hardly stand it).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Show us the bones, Mr. Dawkins, show us the evidence, show us the science. We can do without the fairy tales.

Poor Richard Dawkins, poor Wendy Wright. She keeps saying there is no evidence for evolution or specifically for the supposed transitional forms between different species, and he keeps saying there is. I've barely begun watching this discussion between the lady from Concerned Women for America and Dawkins the biologist, but I want to comment before I watch further.

He keeps saying there IS evidence, go to the museum and see Australopithecus, homo habilis, homo erectus, that these represent a graded series of transitions to modern homo sapiens from something more ape-like (it's supposed to be the ancestor of both apes and man but it always looks particularly ape-like you know), and she's not saying clearly enough for Dawkins to get it why these are not evidence. At least so far - to the middle of Part 2 at this point.

She DOES say "show me the bones" and that is the beginning of our objections, but she doesn't get to explain what she means. What you see in museums and book illustrations are artists' conceptions of these supposed transitional creatures, not the actual facts, not the actual evidence. We are given only a fantasy idea of some creature that may or may not have existed for all we know, imaginatively constructed from only a few bones, sometimes ridiculously few bones. We are not given the actual evidence, the actual bones, which are hardly ever -- in fact more likely never -- entire skeletons, we are not given the reasoning that links a particular body part to another body part, or if by searching for it we can find such a description it often seems glibly and even sometimes romantically (in the literary sense) described rather than rigorously thought through.

Sometimes a skull is found sort of near to but not close enough to be unequivocally related to a particular bone or collection of bones and the insistence that they belong together is not all that convincing from the actual facts. We want the real evidence. We want to be able to think it through ourselves, but they give us only THEIR conclusions and withhold the evidence. We want to see some examples of ape bones versus human bones, and a good range of them since we know there are big differences between individuals, so we can make comparisons ourselves. We want to know exactly how many actual specimens of any supposed "hominoid" type are in existence and how complete they are and how it is known all the parts belong to each other in a particular case. We want to be told exactly where each piece of a specimen was found. We want to know exactly how they were all dated -- was it by the particular stratum they were found in? And how was that stratum identified and dated? Were actual tests done or was the date inferred from other clues and may we please know what facts validate those clues if so? And we'd like to see this all laid out in good English and not in shorthand or scientistic jargon in minuscule old fashioned typeface.

We know archaeologists are scrupulously careful to mark each artifact and fragment as to where it was found at the site as mapped on a grid, and it is all carefully photographed as well. Perhaps this is unfair, but it's easy to get the impression that evolutionists, on the other hand, are rather sloppy with their evidence, preferring to construct their finds from imaginative rhapsodizing rather than actual science, and that they couldn't produce a rigorously kept log of any of the evidence at any site where a specimen was found. If such logs do exist, publish them so we can all mull them over.

Then there are the artists' renditions of the supposed pre-homo sapiens creature. I often wonder: Have the scientists ever seriously considered the huge range of skull shapes and sizes and body types and sizes among LIVING HUMAN BEINGS? They insist that such and such a skull shape is a precursor or a transitional type as if there were a fixed modern type it is precursor TO, though it seems to me I've seen all those supposed precursor types walking around some city in the 21st century, working on a construction crew or reading the Wall Street Journal (or Darwin's Origin of Species) over a latte in a cafe. OR I've seen it in a cage at the zoo: That is, either it's an ape or it's a human being, there's nothing in between.

Also, do the scientists or the artists have the expertise, or work with those who do, in reconstructing the fleshy contours of a face over a skull? It's an exacting science, but I get the impression from the usual evolutionist illustrations that some pretty rough and exaggerated guesswork often suffices for them. TRULY SCIENTIFIC illustrations scrupulously indicate the actual evidence as distinguished from the artistic rendering. It's a mark of the LACK of scientific rigor that what we get from the evolutionists are completed artistic fantasies without a clue to how much of it has any real factual basis.

I'm sure Dawkins is genuinely convinced that those artists' renditions in the museums ARE evidence, ARE science. That's why he just can't get what Ms. Wright is trying to say about them and is so offended that a nonscientist would doubt the work of scientists. He needs to seriously rethink that belief.

I hope Wendy Wright gets into all this with more specificity but I'm going to post this at this point and come back to it later.

Assuming this discussion remains on the topic of evolution I'm moving any further posts on it to my Fantasy of Evolution blog. [Later: Dawkins' latest book on evolution promises to supply the evidence I'm asking for here, but in fact it fails to deliver on that promise, and at Fantasy of Evolution I posted a review of the book from Amazon that discusses this problem.]

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Summary of Flat-Out Wrong (as opposed to Straw Man) Arguments made by Christopher Hitchens

1. This idea that religion was invented to explain the physical facts of life on this planet that we now understand by science is just a lot of hot air. I just heard him say this for the umpteenth time in that flat dogmatic way he has of pronouncing such things he can't possibly know but can only conjure out of thin air, how they didn't know earthquakes were caused by the cooling crust of the earth, that diseases were caused by germs and so on, so they made up the actions of gods to explain them.

But, Mr. Hitchens, we all know those things now and even knowing those things now some of us STILL come to believe in God AFTER knowing those things and I for one have no trouble at all reconciling the scientific explanations with God's control over all of it (I mean the TRUE scientific explanations of course, NOT evolutionism which is bogus). This connection is in fact a very exciting discovery to make after living 45 years as I did under the Scientific Explanation for Absolutely Everything. There is a magnificent and mysterious interaction between the goings-on in the material world and the goings-on in the spiritual world.

Prescientific man had enough sense to intuit this connection but unfortunately he too often put his trust in the demon gods instead of the one true God. Still, the demons may have some power over some physical events too, allowed by the one true God of course. This reminds me of the Lewis and Clark expedition which witnessed an Indian buffalo dance during their first hard winter, and sure enough the buffalo showed up a few days later although there was no rational reason to expect them to. God's mercy I assume. The Indians and the white men took down quite a few of them, the Indians taking by far the most as I recall, and the buffalo fed them all that winter, both tribes.

All the noise and hocus pocus in the buffalo dance is probably irrelevant to the result, though there are no doubt some demonic influences in all that, but the overall effect may be like an intense prayer to the Great Spirit that God hears in His mercy. The Indians had learned to trust in such appeals to the spiritual world -- from the empirical evidence that they got results! As for science, what explanation can science give for the buffalo showing up in a territory they'd left earlier in the season to roam elsewhere, arriving within a few days after the buffalo dance? Many natural explanations might be reasonably enough guessed at, even correctly, but none would be sufficient.

Normally no natural laws are violated in the spiritual-material interaction at all, things just sort of work out one way or another according to the spiritual forces at work -- there are so many possible scenarios that could occur in the natural scheme of things the actual one that does occur startles nobody out of their scientific assumptions. Those who have prayed for it will recognize in the event answer to that prayer though the natural mentality will remain unconvinced. But miracles are also possible, though they occur only very rarely, meaning events that defy all natural explanations.

HOWEVER, this is not likely THE REASON people believed in God or gods in the early days, or at any time.


Post under construction.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Musings on the Catholic confusion in this atheist debate

Still working on the previous post, but wanted to get this in here somewhere. Dinesh D'Souza is a Catholic, and although he's a very bright and knowledgeable guy who has come up with some of the best arguments in this debate with atheism, in the course of it he's constrained to defend Catholicism, including diminishing the crime of the Inquisition.

In Part Five of a debate with Hitchens {earlier than the one previously discussed here) [1:22 - 3:28] Hitchens specifically accuses Catholicism of fascist politics, naming Mussolini, Salazar, Franco, Father Tiso and another name I couldn't get. Hitler hated Christianity but his nominal Catholicism shouldn't be ignored in this tally. I think in Hitchens' very tallying of the Catholic leaders who pursued the fascist cause there is possibly a revelation of the antichrist spirit of the Roman church that I hadn't been aware of before. I was aware that priests had conspired to help Nazis escape from Germany after the war, among other things (Dave Hunt's books describe much in this direction that I've forgotten), but I'd never put it together before with the essential antichrist nature of the Roman church. Definitely something I want to think about more.

Dinesh simply accuses Hitchens of taking the focus off the secular totalitarians, but there really is something startling about the degree of Catholic involvement that Hitchens has just laid out that needs to be acknowledged -- and not merely acknowledged -- it's a sign of the apostate anti-Christian nature of the Roman Church and we should probably be looking more in that direction as the end times continue to unfold. Remember, the Catholic Church has embraced evolutionism and regards Creationists as moronic fundamentalists, and that's just a small part of the worldly system it's embraced in its ambition to global power.

And of course because he IS a Catholic, poor Dinesh can't keep his focus clear on the elements of this debate and that's sad, but what's sadder is that he really does not know Christ, really is not saved, has only an intellectual grasp of the Christian revelation. By part 9 of this series D'Souza is saying he has faith because he does not know, pretty much demonstrating that he doesn't really have true faith as a born-again believer understands it, and this unfortunately contributes to the confusion that gives credibility to Hitchens' position. Faith IS the evidence of things unseen, and if we have true faith we DO know the things we have faith in. We KNOW the things faith shows us. Dinesh is affirming a leap-in-the-dark definition of faith because all he really has is mental assent, and that's unfortunately the case for the vast majority of Catholics, and really probably for all, as Catholicism cannot save. If there are true Christians in that church, the Lord says "Come out of her, My people."

Dinesh also wrongly equated Judaism with the Old Testament and described it as a religion only for the tribe, as if it had just about nothing to do with Christianity. He did this in agreement with something Hitchens said, about how Christianity is a rip-off of Judaism, a plagiarism. Thanks, Dinesh, for not correcting that misapprehension. But I guess he's stuck in a Catholic misapprehension. And it's interesting that it sounds a lot like what Hitler thought of the Old Testament -- evil religion, religion of the Jews. Does Dinesh have no sense at all of the seamless whole of the Bible, the fulfillment of the Old in the New, the continuity from Eden to Revelation? Sounds like he hasn't a clue. Judaism is not Old Testament religion, Judaism is Talmudic religion. the man-made tradition of the Pharisees that Jesus kept condemning that had supplanted the revelation of God. The Old Testament on the other hand is testimony to the one true God and the Jews were supposed to carry this testimony to all mankind. That's what Jesus ended up doing in their stead.

Hitchens and other atheists are rightly confused about what Christianity really teaches when they hear stuff like this, when they have to regard Catholicism as just as much Christianity as any other sect, having no ground for making a distinction, and not caring to make one anyway of course, happy to tar us all with the sins of our worst enemies, the Roman Church, Islam -- even their sins against us.

In part 6 of that debate a questioner says he thinks both Christians and atheists alike agree that morality evolved anthropologically. [around 8:50] Oh wow, has it gone that far that he thinks he can speak for all Christians about that? It's not just Catholics but great numbers of those who regard themselves as evangelicals who have been infected by evolutionism.

Summary of Hitchens' Straw Man arguments

Just a catchall for some of Hitchens' straw man arguments.

1. Straw man argument that we claim all morality is derived from religion or the supernatural.

No, we don't. We affirm that all humanity possesses a conscience. Some DO argue that this fact that we possess a conscience is evidence for the existence of God.

2. He claims we HAVE to believe that for 98,000 years out of the 100,000 evolutionists say humanity has been around, that God did not intervene in painful, miserable, helpless and fearful human lives, deciding to intervene only 2000 years ago.

First, God started intervening, according to the Bible, right after the Fall, right after Adam and Eve sinned, with the promise to send a Savior and with a plan to prepare humanity for that Savior, and providing animal sacrifice to atone for sin until the True Sacrifice would come. And there was never a time that He did not hear prayer and intervene on behalf of people who sought Him. So we do NOT believe that God only started intervening with the sacrifice of Christ.

Second, there are way too many theist evolutionists who accept those absurd numbers for the duration of the existence of humanity although there's no way to reconcile them with anything in Genesis, but if we accept them for the sake of argument along with the teaching of Genesis, and put Adam and Eve at the near end of that 100,000 years, say about 94,000 years after the supposed first human being (which allows for the 6000 years that we can count in the Bible since their creation), you have to reckon with the Biblical teaching that sin, suffering and death did not enter the world until their Fall. That means that ALL living things that preceded them did not die but were still living at the time they came into the world, including all the human race evolutionists believe had been here all that time. There would have been NO DEATH, NO SUFFERING in all that time for God to have been indifferent TO. There would also have been no evolution, as that assumes death. There would have been no fear as the physical universe would be perfectly accommodating to life, with an abundant food supply for animal and human both, no hostile animals, no pain in childbirth, no scary earthquakes etc (all destructive processes started at the Fall and increased drastically with the Flood) and all would have been constantly in loving communication with God, and so on.

There is no point in considering the possibility that Adam and Eve came at the beginning of those 100,000 years, because the whole Biblical testimony since their creation would be utterly destroyed. Hitchens says we HAVE TO believe his scenario. No, we do not.

Dinesh D'Souza's answer to this is a good one: those long ages of human suffering and helplessness that evolutionists believe preceded historical time are more of a problem for those of Hitchens' persuasion than for us. They are hard to account for if we assume that humanity was the same then as now, endowed with the same brain power and inventive abilities, yet didn't begin to do anything to improve their condition for some 94,000 years. I consider this to be a great argument against the whole idea of that supposedly long blank preamble to history.

3. Hitchens argues from that and other examples that the universe is a pretty unfriendly place for human beings. "Some plan" he says.

This needs to be answered in a way that I haven't seen it answered. It was MENTIONED on the Book Expo panel but not pursued. Death and disease and suffering in the universe are NOT part of God's original plan, but the result of the Fall. ALL suffering and death entered with the Fall, are the result of Adam and Eve's original sin, which effected a catastrophic break between humanity and God. We ourselves are now subject to suffering and death, AND we live in a ruined and battered universe as a result of the Fall, that nevertheless, by God's mercy, retains enough of the qualities of the original Creation to sustain us. (In listening to these debates it began to occur to me to wonder if possibly the whole universe outside our planet was also originally more friendly to human life, just as Earth was. Perhaps all the other planets in our solar system were once habitable. Wild idea of course.)

4. Straw man idea of what faith is, that it is supported by no evidence whatsoever.

Witness evidence. Many witnesses to amazing supernatural events. Which he dismisses as deluded, and those who believe the witnesses as even more deluded, and the written accounts of which he claims are hopelessly corrupted. Sometimes I don't even want to bother defending myself against such self-serving ignorance, just hand him the scimitar, bow my head and say Have at it. An honest sensibility ought to be able to see that the witnesses are honest and rational people, and there's a ton of evidence that the scriptures are reliable.

5. Straw man argument that religion says God created people sick and then orders them to be well.

This is a more direct version of the straw man argument about the 100,000 years of God's refusal to intervene for unhappy humanity. God did not create people sick -- that happened when sin entered. And I have no idea where this ordering them to be well comes from. He wouldn't be saying that sin is sickness, would he, and the ordering to be well then the commandments against sin? Another version of this is his statement that we have some innate inbuilt design flaws. Nope, we were made perfect and sin brought in all the deformities.

But this does get me pursuing some thoughts about this ordering us to be well. God knew very well we couldn't obey the commandments as perfectly as the Law demands, especially not their inner meaning which is only revealed in the New Testament. When humanity fell we lost the spiritual sense necessary to perfect obedience. The New Testament says then that God gave the Law as a tutor to bring us to Christ, teaching us just HOW unable to obey the Law we are, so that we will see our need of being saved. Of course Christopher Hitchens thinks he's doing just fine, thank you very much. Well, the rest of us who know better are grateful for God's mercy.

6. Related to the accusation that we think morality is the result of religion is Hitchens' claim that we think the Israelites had no sense of the wrongness of rape, murder and theft and so on until God gave the Law at Mount Sinai.

This is sheer silliness. We know all humanity was given a conscience. But conscience isn't a fixed thing and different people have more or less sensitivity to it in our fallen condition. Writing down the law was part of the covenant God was making with His people. According to something I read, the giving of the Law was a declaration that God was King of the Israelites, as apparently in that part of the world at that time kings did declare a law for their people as part of their rule over them, as I recall was the case with Hammurabi's law for instance. Such a written law was binding in a way the conscience-directed morality was not, and more strict. Then when we get to the New Testament we are told that the Law was given that the people might learn their inability to obey it in its perfection, as the Law is of an order of perfection and holiness fallen man can't ever hope to attain. This would lead those with a sense of the consequences for failure to obey the inexorable demanding perfect Law to a desire for the mercy offered in a Savior who would take the consequences upon Himself in our stead. Hitchens is contemptuous of this merciful offer, obviously having NO idea just what consequences are entailed by failure to obey the Law, consequences we all rightly deserve -- and if he did have some idea he'd just shake his fist at them anyway.

7. He says the substitutionary atonement of Christ is immoral.

Does he think he can take the punishment for his own sins which deserve an eternity of Hell? He forgets that while he reckons everything in the prosaic terms of the visible natural world, the Bible presents an unseen supernatural world in which our sins have far greater consequences than he can imagine. He can of course deny that this other world exists, but he should at least humbly recognize that in the context of this other world we believe in, the substitutionary atonement by God the Son Himself incarnate is an act of inestimable mercy, and cease from upbraiding us with his own narrow views.

8. Both Dinesh D'Souza and Marvin Olasky argued that Christianity brought a higher order of morality into this world with objective historical consequences that have been documented. Hitchens has never confronted this argument, reducing it to the false claim that Christians think morality is the product of religion or insisting that natural man has exactly the same moral sense. This is simply false but he hasn't yet grasped what is being said.

Christianity DID bring a higher order of morality into the world. Jesus Christ DID inspire respect for women that never existed in ANY culture prior to His coming. Jesus Christ DID inspire a level of compassion for all humankind that never existed in ANY culture prior to His coming. This included the very first inklings that slavery is wrong, that took time to work through, but it never existed in ANY culture prior to His coming and no other culture took even the first steps to abolish it. Dinesh pointed out that only the Christian West rushes to help the victims of a tsunami across the world. Actually now other societies are imitating our lead, but it's a Christianity-based attitude that prompts such actions and it never existed in ANY culture prior to the coming of Christ. Christians were moved to take in and care for the babies put out to die in pagan cultures, and also the sick and helpless elderly who were also abandoned to die. Now we are returning to the pagan practices of killing the unborn and suggesting that we should also kill the useless elderly and others who are helplessly dependent on our mercy. Eventually it was the Christians who established orphanages and hospitals on the compassionate principles of Christ, which have become huge finance-driven institutions in our day that are probably going to end up throwing out the weak and sick and elderly again in a return to pagan values -- and to the evolutionistic values of supporting the strong and abandoning the weak I might also add. A man from Tonga got up in one of the debates to say he was grateful that Christianity had turned his people from cannibalism. And much much more along these lines should be specifically attributed to Christian influence in this world.

These are all specifically Christian contributions to the world that Hitchens falsely attributes to normal human conscience. No, taking care of strangers was NEVER practiced in any culture before Christianity, and women were NEVER respected in any culture before Christianity, and slavery was practiced EVERYWHERE until Christianity. Christianity has so spread itself through the cultures of the West that outright atheists get righteously indignant when such Christian standards are violated, falsely thinking it's just normal built-in EVOLVED morality that feels that way.

D'Souza and Olasky are right about the source of this degree of concern for our fellow man, Hitchens is wrong.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Atheist Inquiry Pt 4, Hitchens and D'Souza

Tonight I've been listening to Hitchens versus Dinesh D'Souza, 13-part debate at the Catholic Thomas Center. There are other debates between these two I may get to eventually.

Dinesh starts out saying he isn't going to argue from Biblical Christianity but from reason and skepticism. I'm disappointed in this. I think the arguments simply for the existence of God are futile and irrelevant.

But then it turns out his focus is on the history of Christianity and the major influence it had in the West, that compassion for instance is not a value in any other culture or religion, but it became a value in Christendom because of the influence of the Christians, also that although slavery persisted in Christian societies it also declined and was challenged in Christian societies and nowhere else on earth, all other cultures taking it for granted. He also points out that science developed only in the West, and would not have developed anywhere else because only Christianity has a concept of a rational Creator who made a rational and law-governed universe that can be rationally studied. These are important arguments I've also tried to make at times, to show that there is a real-world positive impact of Christianity you can trace historically. This should prove at least that something of a very high order happened back there in Jerusalem.

[I left out the reason for his addressing this historical information: he starts by pointing out the values expressed by the atheists that they direct against Christianity, so his answer is to show that those very values derived from Christianity and exist in no other context.]

Hitchens, however, either completely ignored or completely misunderstood the point and launched into his familiar polemic against his straw man conception of religion claiming to be the source of morals, which has been answered in many a debate in many ways but he keeps at it anyway. He says morality is innate as if anyone had ever said anything different.

He also repeats his familiar story about the evolutionists' claim of a minimum 100,000-year history of the human race, 95,000 years of which were theoretically lived in misery and fear without the slightest attention from God, who then decided only a few thousand years ago it was time to intervene. Some God, huh? Some plan.

D'Souza did correct his misunderstanding, clarified that he wasn't saying it took Christianity to bring morality into the world, and that it's quite clear that all human beings are born with a conscience, a built-in sense of morality. I'm glad that was finally said as nobody else had answered Hitchens on that one in other debates.

Unfortunately D'Souza is another theistic evolutionist rather than a creationist so he doesn't make the point about the whole story being nuts because of the bogus timeline, that I made in one of my last posts, but he does make an interesting point: that Hitchens' view of this history puts his own theory in trouble since he has to explain how clever homo sapiens, with all the attributes, brainpower etc. of homo sapiens possessed by all of us, managed for all those 95,000 years to accomplish absolutely nothing in the way of civilization or invention and so on, which only took off in the last few thousand years. Why no reading and writing, history and so on? It's a very good objection to Hitchens' claim. It really DOES raise an important question: How DO evolutionists explain those 95 to 250 thousand years of no progress whatever in the human race followed by a sudden explosion of inventiveness and knowledge that has increased by leaps and bounds for only a few thousand years since? It really is an observation that calls the whole evolutionary scheme into question. Too bad that apparently wasn't D'Souza's objective.

But Hitchens just shrugged it off as usual, even groaned at it while D'Souza was stating it as I recall. Which reminds me to mention that at least at a couple of points when D'Souza was talking Hitchens either fell asleep or pretended to fall asleep, breathing loudly into the microphone.


One other remark Hitchens made in this debate, later on, was again to assert that faith is something you believe without evidence. D'Souza answered that there are other kinds of evidence than empirical evidence. And somewhere in there Hitchens said that sometimes Christians will claim they have evidence, usually miracles, and followed that with the remark that apparently "faith is not enough." Always there is this straw man idea that faith is blind, based on absolutely nothing. Maybe the biggest straw man of all Hitchens' straw man arguments. You have to know something about what you have faith IN, after all, you have to be convinced that the object of your faith is worthy of your trust, so at some point you must have evidence that persuades you of this, and in fact believers often need fresh reminders of God's presence and oversight of our lives to renew our faith. Evidence. But primarily the entire Biblical testimony is evidence, evidence to God's reality, nature and will. God provided enough supernatural evidence to demonstrate His otherness and His power, His judgment and His mercy. Jesus likewise did miracles to prove His claim to be the Messiah. These are our evidence. We believe the witnesses to all these things.

But the atheists scorn the witnesses and destroy the evidence and then claim there is no evidence for what we believe.

The Atheist Inquiry Pt. 3: Evidence

Watching the Book Expo debate with Hitchens and four Christians, 11/12

"Faith is believing things without evidence" says journalist and author Christopher Hitchens, lobbing an atheist grenade from his well-supplied stronghold in his current war on religion. Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins also says religion is irrational because there simply is no evidence for the existence of God.

This is a sort of mission I've been on over the last few days to get a grasp of the current arguments for atheism, listening to both Dawkins and Hitchens among others on various videos posted at You Tube, as they present their case against religious belief. I also watched a film clip at Netflix of Jonathan Miller interviewing British philosopher Colin McGinn on the same general subject. These are all not merely atheists, but self-described anti-theists, men who do not merely not believe in God (or anything supernatural), but who actively object to anybody's believing in God, considering faith in God to be a perniciously irrational and dangerous thing.

McGinn says he'd like to be able to believe in God, while Hitchens quite adamantly declares he wouldn't like it one bit, as it would entail being constantly watched and supervised and judged by such a Being. McGinn, in answer to the question how he explains so many others' belief in God, speculates that it is this very quality of religion that is appealing to people, to be in constant communication, not merely through bodily means, but directly mind to mind, answering our essential loneliness in a way communication through the medium of the body simply can't.

I found this to be one of the most insightful remarks anyone has made, and I hope with all my heart that God might show McGinn that his wish that he could believe can become a reality. However, of course this loneliness, this longing for intimate communication, can never be a reason for belief, can't bring about belief -- or probably McGinn himself would now be a believer himself. Believers are no different in that respect -- wishing does not make it so. {A few days later: I just checked McGinn's website and find him going in the other direction, away from God.}
However, I do think that anyone who really does have such a wish, a real yearning for God to be real, is probably already being drawn by Him and will most likely eventually find true faith. Such a person would be a true seeker, investigating all the clues to find out one way or another whether God really is a reality. Casual wishing won't do it, of course, it must lead to diligent seeking. He would encounter all kinds of doubts of the sort atheists take as gospel truth, but he wouldn't just dismiss out of hand any claims for God just because he isn't convinced by them. He would, in short, have some humility toward such claims, respecting those who make them and those who believe them as certainly meaning SOMETHING by them even if he doesn't yet grasp what they could possibly mean. For instance, when Luke and Matthew say that Mary said an angel told her she as a virgin would bear a son by God's miraculous intervention, such a seeker might be made quite nervous over the violation of natural law in such a claim as something he doesn't think he's ever going to believe, but at the same time he would see no reason to call the gospel writer or Mary a liar or a moron and therefore he would have to live for some time without resolving the question. There would be a lot of tension in such a seeking before it would be resolved one way or the other.

The miraculous doings of God in the Exodus. [Side note: Hitchens claims that Israeli archaeology has proved that none of that actually happened. We've been here before. It was once believed that the people called the Hittites didn't exist because archaeology had found no evidence of them. Then they found some evidence of them. And besides, doesn't it violate some basic tenet of science to claim that a LACK of evidence amounts to a positive proof against the existence of something? Not to mention that the Biblical record itself IS evidence and to claim otherwise is irrational. AND that record does NOT read like fiction, fable, human invention at ALL.]

For this reason I don't think purely logical or scientific claims to prove God's existence have much pulling power. Anything that can be determined purely intellectually isn't ultimately going to be of much value in drawing people to God, although of course the Holy Spirit CAN make use of such arguments too. The kinds of claims that are more likely to make a difference are the above).

How one comes to belief is still the question. DOES anyone come to belief without evidence? Is it a totally irrational process, a leap in the dark? Certainly not. I don't think any of us is made that way. It may SEEM that way in certain situations when doubt has been so heaped on the word of God that believing it seems to have no footing at all, but I don't think anyone can genuinely believe in anything by simply deciding to believe it. We DO need evidence, that's the way we're made, though it may not be the kind of evidence science requires, and in many cases we may not be able to articulate our apprehension of the evidence that persuaded us either.

The interviewer on the show The Hour, on which both Hitchens and Dawkins have appeared, answered Dawkins that a believer would no doubt point out in response to the insistence on evidence that if faith were based on evidence then it wouldn't be faith. To which Dawkins replied, yes, but that isn't a point in its favor, is it?

It isn't enough to say that if faith were based on evidence it wouldn't be faith, you have to say that faith IS in itself evidence. As scripture says: Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. That makes NO sense until you are born again of the Spirit and then you just find yourself saying Yes Yes Yes to all such strange Biblical conundrums. That's also how I responded to Pascal's Pensees, which I read very soon after becoming a believer. It seemed that everything he said was something that had already been shown me in my own spirit, it was all Yes Yes Yes, and yet I wouldn't have been able to say any of it myself, I simply recognized it when he said it.

Same with all those difficult passages in the Sermon on the Mount that Hitchens finds to be so insanely immoral. They only make sense in the light of the Spirit of God. At least he is true to his fleshly frame of reference. To the unregenerate these commands DON'T make any sense and those who are not Christians who admire them don't know what they are talking about. You CAN'T love your enemy without the power of Christ; you CAN'T rejoice in persecution unless the Holy Spirit is with you. Hitchens is honest in that respect. His finding it all immoral as well as impossible goes further than most do, however, but that too is consistent with the mind of the flesh. Of course we will fight our enemies if we do not understand that it is God's power that works in us to love them instead. It's natural to hate your enemy and resent and flee from persecution; but in Christ we exchange the natural life for the spiritual life, the old man for the new man, the old creation for the new creation, the Adam who brought death for the Christ who brings life. Hitchens would find all this absurd, of course, but he COULD be humble about it and give us the benefit of the doubt instead of pronouncing it all absurd and pronouncing us liars or morons or childish. Being told THIS, however, would probably send him into even greater fits of indignation at the arrogance of anyone to suggest his judgment might be skewed. "I won't be talked to in that tone of voice" he'd say. OK man, have it your way.

But prior to that there is still the question of the evidence that leads one TO faith. What is it that makes you think it might all be true? I can't say there's only one way, but the main way, and in fact the way that fits scripture best, is by simply believing the witnesses. The witnesses IN the scripture, the witnesses who WROTE the scripture. We all eventually have to have this kind of evidence or we will not be Christians at all, but that's the evidence that drew me. I believed what people said about their own experience, and I'm including nonChristians who had supernatural experiences of various kinds, and experiences of what they called God that I came to believe was not God after all, but I believed their description of their experience. Even where I had some such reason to question their understanding I didn't just dismiss their testimony, I kept seeking until I found the witnesses that were the most reliable. The Biblical witnesses are reliable. They report on hundreds of other witnesses' experiences that are also reliable. If you can't believe the Biblical witnesses then you can't believe in Jesus Christ. And those who spend all their energy, as Hitchens does, in tearing down and discrediting the testimony of those witnesses, as delusionals and idiots and morons and so on, just dig themselves deeper into unbelief until they may never have a way out even if they wanted it.

Hitchens thinks more evidence is needed than the Biblical reports. He fails to appreciate the wealth of evidence in those reports. Genuine witness evidence of miraculous things and the mind of God. The Biblical witnesses speak of things that are NOT normal, that's why so MUCH witness testimony to so MANY supernatural events was provided for us. God knows our skeptical hearts. He knows we are blind unless He shows those things to us, shows Himself to us. But, of course, Hitchens and Dawkins aren't interested in knowing Him, they want THEIR idea of evidence and that is that.
John 3:11-12 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

1 John 1:1-2 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
But this rapidly becomes pearls to swine when a carnal mind encounters them and refuses to respect them.


Here's a short excerpt of a discussion between atheist Peter Atkins and Christian William Lane Craig on William F. Buckley's show in 1998 where Craig answers the idea that there is nothing science can't explain and that anything taken on faith is erroneous. Atkins actually says that science is "omnipotent."

(Why, by the way, are all these atheists British? Yes, ALL of them, Hitchens, Dawkins, Atkins, McGinn.)


The beauties of the creation. Despite its blasted condition, its deterioration since the Fall, the ravaging of the planet by the worldwide Flood, enough of the original beauty still comes through to stagger us at times. But I must admit that I'm more often impressed by its ruined and battered appearance.

Astronomy: WHERE did the Big Bang happen? It occurred to me to ask this after hearing Hitchens keep bringing it up. I've had in mind for many years this image of the universe as all arranged on the surface of an expanding balloon that I saw somewhere once and if that model is accurate enough then we ought to be able to point to a location in the universe and say it started ... right ... there. But that model doesn't fit the idea that Andromeda is on a collision course with the Milky Way -- In the image I've had in mind all the objects in the universe are flying away from one another. I guess it's more complicated than that. And WAY more complicated than any idea that there was a LOCATION to the Big Bang at all, from which location all things are flying outward. Here's a mystifying description of the current understanding:
The best, non-mathematical description that any cosmologist can create for describing the Big Bang is that it occurred in every cubic centimeter of space in the universe with no unique starting point. In fact, it was an event which our mathematics indicate, actually brought space and time into existence. It did not occur IN space at a particular location, because it created space ( and time itself) as it went along. There may have existed some state 'prior' to the Big Bang, but it is a state not described by its location in time or space. This state preceded the existence of our time and space.
Mathematics mystifies me completely but it's nice to know there are people who can understand it and explain the universe by it.

Oh and I'm pretty sure without completely understanding it myself that William Lane Craig's argument that the Big Bang must have had a cause is a good argument for the existence of God, but all the atheist seems to feel obliged to say to any of our arguments is "poppycock" anyway. Flat denial, no evidence or discussion.

Well, Hitchens and the other atheists have been good for a lot of thoughts about these things. More are crowding in the wings. Maybe I'll get to them later. Again, sorry for the disorderliness of these posts.

Monday, November 9, 2009

More notes and rants about Christopher Hitchens' war on religion. Pt 2

Sometimes he just sounds stupid, and inexcusably ignorant of what he's talking about, yet he seems to have studied his subject, or at least he says he has, and I know he's NOT stupid, so how to explain this? (after writing this I went and read some of the reviews of his book and found many of them describing it as shallow and sophomoric, which fits my take on his talks and debates.

Google page of reviews and criticism of Hitchens' book, God is Not Great.

Nov 4 OR 5:

The problem of debate for a Christian with unbelievers always comes down to the fact that we're talking from and about two entirely different realms of existence, the supernatural and the natural, the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the world, and that purely intellectual argument is carnal while a Christian's effective tools are not carnal.

For Hitchens there is no supernatural, no Holy Spirit, no ability to know anything except through the physical senses and natural reason. He just about deifies rationality, as do most unregenerate intellectuals. He does claim to appreciate the "transcendent" -- as things of awe and wonder -- but his chosen examples of the height of awe and wonder come from the material cosmos, which he finds to be far "more majestic than the burning bush." [Actually, even an atheist could object to the philistinism in such a comparison. I already touched on this in the previous post.]

In principle the supernatural can be proved, such as by miraculous events or the appearance of beings from the spiritual realms, though people have been known to deny the proof of their own experience too; but it appears that God has reasons not to make it obvious in any case. As Pascal said, God gives enough light to guide those who believe, but enough darkness to blind those who don't. Faith is the way we discover the Kingdom of God and it can't be discovered any other way. Even if God leads us through things of the flesh to the things of the spirit, as He often does, we do GET to the things of the spirit and things look very different from here than from there. The quickened spirit of the believer apprehends the things of the Spirit whereas the natural man cannot know these things, so the natural man argues from what he knows and since he can't apprehend God he can only deny His existence -- that is, a certain type does that; some have more humility and at least try to consider that they might be wrong and that those who speak of this other kingdom may possibly know something he doesn't know. Hitchens is not of this type.

Miracles and other intrusions from normally invisible other realms may dazzle us with evidence for the existence of those realms, or even for the existence of God, but in themselves they reveal nothing about salvation or the Kingdom of God.

It takes some of us a long time to learn that this is the basic problem. We keep butting our heads against the wall of the unbeliever's natural blindness. We don't understand it: what we see with our New Creation spiritual eyes is so obvious it seems we ought to be able to persuade by simply presenting the facts. Isn't the Bible just OBVIOUSLY the word of God? Can't you point to so many of its qualities that just scream that truth? Aren't its writers just OBVIOUSLY honest, just OBVIOUSLY God-inspired? It doesn't work that way in most cases. Sometimes it's out and out pearls to swine to make such arguments.

The natural man can't detect God in the world of his senses or intellect, and he also apparently can't tell the difference between religions either, or doesn't want to. Hitchens definitely doesn't want to. He says it's all easily enough explained on the basis of his flatly asserted unsupported dogma that man created God, whereas if God made man this proliferation of religions is inexplicable, especially if you add that man is made in God's image -- that would make God schismatic or even schizophrenic (ha ha). Now, this is all very clever but it is nothing but a logical game he is playing with himself and is about as far removed from the reality as you can get. But it seems utterly hopeless to find any way of showing him that.

His explanations are staggeringly out of the blue speculative wild guesses imaginative lacking any sort of evidence, sheer stab in the dark psychoanalytic brainstorming. He has NO idea what motivates people, he just makes it all up to suit his pet philosophical position, which is basically Evolution. [[[[[Just the way evolution has NO idea what happened in the past but makes it all up on the basis of some very flimsy bits of physical evidence that are far better explained by the Creationists.]]]]] Asked how he explains so many people's gravitating to religion, he simply trots out his evolutionistic one-size-fits-all psychoanalysis and says it's "fear of death." It's not that he's actually heard anyone admit that as their motivation, it's not that he's actually seen that in their behavior. It's not that he can make a case for it on any known ground of psychological reality that one can come to believe something because of fear of the opposite, or the other idea that anyone can come to belief simply by wishing that belief were true. If that were the case many atheists who say they wish it were true wouldn't be atheists any more. No, he doesn't derive it from the believers themselves at all, but entirely from his theory, his unsupported dogma, that says religion is false. In one of the talks he actually characterizes believers as PRETENDING to believe because it makes them feel good to believe. Can he really think that the martyrs down the centuries who died hideous deaths for their Christian belief did that for something they didn't REALLY believe in? Burned at the stake? Stretched on the rack? Bound to a stake and slowly drowned by the incoming tide? And much much worse. But I guess he thinks he believes that. He's just a lousy psychologist then, no sense of how people work. Such a view of believers certainly would create a jaundiced idea about their mental capacity, lead to terrible prejudice and bigotry against us.

It's both frustrating and interesting to watch him spin his delusional explanations about what religion is. The irrational impulse to religious belief, which he also characterizes as the "species'" first stab at philosophy (he asks us how we know God's will; how on earth does he think he knows such things that he pontificates on with such adamant certainty?) Anyway religious belief will never die out according to him because it's (lamentably) latent within us, it will keep reviving in fundamentalist form because "we are a poorly evolved mammal species and we are subject to these delusions." This basic irrationality is still within us and won't ever be completely eradicated because of that. He so wants us to evolve into the rational creatures he believes we could become and should become but he has to acknowledge that we probably won't. Religion has too much of a pull on us, this dreadful dreadful dangerous irrationalism from the babyhood of the species.

Poor man, no wonder he drinks so much.

He goes for the most hackneyed of all bits of debunkery, that religion belongs to the infancy of the species, before we knew anything about how the physical world operates. So we invented gods to explain it all. This is nothing but a thin plausibility built on his irrational belief in evolution, without a shred of actual evidence to support it, but he treats it as absolute dogmatic fact that the human race did in fact invent gods and did so for this reason. At least believers have the written word of God to explain mysterious and distant things to us. All he has is the speculations of modern human beings thousands of years removed from the people whose mental set they so arrogantly pretend to know so intimately. (He thinks any claim to know the mind of God is arrogant, but we at least do have a written testimony that claims to reveal the mind of God to us through communication between God and the spirit of man, and that's a lot more evidence than the evolutionistic construct has. Scientists have no written testimony of any sort, no actual evidence of any sort, they have only their own mental machinations and they construct whole historical and psychological realities on this and this alone. Who's arrogant?)

{sorry, I see I'm pretty repetitive in these notes. If I had the ambition to make this into a polished essay I'd wait before posting it but I don't and yet I think i got some good things said here, so again I'm sorry but rough as it is I'm going to post it and maybe try to clean it up some later.}

Explaining the physical world is so far from the motivation for religion it's sort of stupefying to contemplate that explanation. Besides, since we now CAN explain the physical world so well, which is another huge part of his argument, shouldn't that take care of this irrational tropism to inventing gods? Oh but I guess there's also that fear of death thing. Exit unexplainable universe, enter personal fear of death. In any case if he can come up with an explanation that has some plausibility, however slight, in the context of his own irrational belief in evolution he's happy.



His talk, The Moral Necessity of Atheism Part 1 of 8 parts


He makes a strange error: At the beginning of part 5 of this talk, he says Billy Graham preached in the National Cathedral after 9/11 saying that "all those who had died in those buildings had gone straight to heaven." I have some problems with Billy Graham's theology but that statement is simply not something I can imagine him making. So I looked it up and found that he didn't say ALL went to heaven, he says only many did. Here is the link to Graham's sermon, where he says "And many of those people who died this past week are in heaven right now and they wouldn’t want to come back. It’s so glorious and so wonderful. And that’s the hope for all of us who put our faith in God. I pray that you will have this hope in your heart."


What bothers ME about Graham's statement is the phrase "faith in God," since it's not true that anyone can put their faith in any conception of God and expect to go to heaven. When he does finally mention Jesus Christ he specifically says he is speaking "for the Christian now."

Here in this majestic National Cathedral we see all around us the symbols of the Cross. For the Christian, I’m speaking for the Christian now, the Cross tells us that God understands our sin and our suffering, for He took them upon Himself in the person of Jesus Christ our sins and our suffering. And from the Cross, God declares, "I love you. I know the heartaches and the sorrows and the pains that you feel. But I love you."

The story does not end with the Cross, for Easter points us beyond the tragedy of the Cross to the empty tomb that tells us that there is hope for eternal life, for Christ has conquered evil and death, and hell. Yes, there is hope.

It is perhaps a little odd that someone whose arena is literature wouldn't recognize that the intellect, ideas, emotions, intuitions perhaps, are everyday functions that belong to the nonmaterial realm that is sometimes taken to define the limits of human spirituality, and at least make use of these as examples of the KIND of thing religion is about; would therefore know that "God is a spirit" and know that a spirit could not possibly be evidenced by anything material, from galaxies to black holes. What about the Biblical description of God as invisible? God is invisible Spirit.

During the few months when I first believed in God but didn't yet know anything about Christianity, I liked the expression Universal Mind to describe God, and I still don't think it's false. It says essentially the same thing as God is a Spirit. God is a Mind. God is a Person, a Consciousness, a living Being. An invisible Being. Hitchens will refer to God as if he recognizes that He is a Person and yet he'll pretend to shoot down the possibility of His existence with some argument about black holes.

And he makes no distinctions, religion is religion, and it's all eminently hateable, all destructive of what he considers to be the highest human values.


Article about the Hitchens brothers touching on their mutually irrelevant criticisms: [the brother's calling Christopher a seeker IS fatuity, I agree, but then so is attributing belief to fear of death, primitive irrational wishful superstition and incomplete or sloppy evolution, as is all interpretation of others' motives that is based on mechanistic theory rather than knowledge of the person himself.

There is maybe nothing more irritating and alienating than somebody's insisting that you feel or think a way that you simply do not. That was a great deal of the problem with Freud's psychoanalysis. He may or may not have gotten it right much of the time but the method itself allowed him at other times, and other analysts with much less accurate intuition, even utterly blockheaded inability to grasp another's mental or emotional state, to tell people what their unconscious REALLY desired on the basis of nothing but mere theory, and of course with impunity as it couldn't be proved one way or the other, it merely demands that the person acquiesce in the interpretation.

I suppose this is akin to Hitchens' strenuous objection to believers' claims to know the mind of God. But this is not a fair comparison, as we CAN know the mind of God because He Himself has told us his thoughts on various subjects. We aren't guessing, we know God through His word and prayer. We derive our conviction from study of God's own communications, we are not reduced to theoretical psychoanalyzing of God. But Hitchens himself -- both Hitchenses apparently -- IS reduced to such insupportable theorizing about the motives behind his opposition's beliefs.

This is really also all that the "science" claimed in support of evolution amounts to as well, nothing but an imaginative interpretation of quite scanty facts that lend themselves at least as well to other interpretations. What they have IS interpretation and not hard evidence. They multiply scientific facts as if they amount to evidence but those same facts are usually equally open to alternative interpretations, are not better evidence for evolution than for creation.

We ARE pattern-making animals as Hitchens observes, and it is this habit or capacity or need that has erected the entire edifice of evolutionary theory on nothing but the basic IQ ability to place physical structures in morphological homological sequences.



Thursday, November 5, 2009

A disjointed melange of notes and rants on Christopher Hitchens' crusade/jihad against religion pt. 1

From part 1 of Hitchens talk in Sydney, Australia on Oct 06 2009, just a month ago.

"[Nevil Shute could write about] the inevitable, and about the possibility of extinction, in other words [part 1 6:50] that nature might not know we were here. A great challenge to our self esteem, to our solipsism, that there could be a point in evolution where evolution, that hadn't noticed that we'd arrived, wouldn't even notice that we had gone either" "and beautifully Stanley Kubrick on the screen where, as the inevitable gets nearer all the time, the churches decide it's time for a moment of uplift, and out come the Salvation Army girls with their tambourines and their tins and the churches throw open their door and there's a big banner saying "Repent, There Is still time, brother." It mocks what's coming... and at the close the streets are empty ...but the banner 'There is still time brother' is still flapping in the wind to mock all our illusions" 7:53 "And it's the attempt to live without illusions that I believe is the most dangerous but the most worthwhile and in some ways the most enjoyable undertaking despite its risks, of all, and that's why I'm here." 8:06

I lived "without illusions" in the sense he means it for thirty years (45 if you include the first 15 when I was sort of a nominal Christian who just about never gave it a thought) before I found the REAL Reality in Christ, and I cannot say I found it in the slightest "worthwhile" or remotely "enjoyable" to think of myself as a piece of flotsam burbled up by the Great Evolutionary Experiment into a vast cold universe. I'm not a mammal. I don't even want to say "not merely a mammal"; I am NOT a mammal; the term defines me not. Tell me what are the characteristics of mammals and I will devote myself to being as unmammalian as you can imagine, something a mammal cannot do. I will become as bad a specimen of mammal existence as possible. Same with primates. Does any mammal or primate have such an option? I will prove to you that I am NOT a mammal OR a primate, I am a human being.

"Cosmology ... has been making it ever harder for us to think too highly of ourselves..."
He seems to delight in this owlish sort of platitude.

HE ADMONISHES US THAT EVOLUTION AND THE VAST COLD UNIVERSE ARE TRULY AWE-INSPIRING WHILE THE BURNING BUSH --- EH, NOT SO MUCH! (in part 2 of this video presentation Hitchens is saying how "genuinely awe-inspiring" it is to think that in a few billion years there will no longer be any human beings, we will have evolved into something as far from ourselves as we are from bacteria. And this is supposedly "awe-inspiring" as compared to say, "a burning bush."

What does he find so enjoyable about that comparison? The burning bush wins for me every time. There is simply NOTHING of any HUMAN interest in the vastness of the universe, its silent cold black distances dotted with barren twinkling orbs of burning matter, the impersonal pyrotechnic displays of its galaxies and suns. The universe is inhospitable to human life everywhere except on this planet. It's awesome enough in a purely spectacular way, as long as we may contemplate it from a secure and cozy base, but there's nothing to attract the human soul beyond cold dazzlement.

It takes a philistine of the crassest order to speak of the burning bush in the same breath, if you ask me, let alone make such an invidious comparison as Hitchens makes. The burning bush is something utterly unknown to, utterly beyond the physical universe. It doesn't burn up as all things material do -- Eh, nothing awesome there. And it served as focal point for a meeting between God and man, spirit to spirit, soul to soul, mind to mind, God who is outside the material universe, beingness outside the cold expanse of mere physical space. I AM that I AM, I change not. Eh, Hitchens prefers the inhospitable incommunicable galaxies and black holes.


Hitchens' idea of awe and wonder is paltry and mean. The universe is empty and dark and inhuman. I have NO desire to visit those inhospitable reaches. I have no wish to test the limits of my humanness, to see how much I can endure for the sake of the thrill of going into anti-human regions, snake pits, hanggliding off sheer cliffs and whatnot, and that's the only motivation I can imagine in the astronaut too.

And he actually thinks we should be overwhelmed with wonder at the thought of our demise and replacement by some other species altogether in the distant future? To him this is "mind-expanding" and "awe-inspiring" -- to contemplate those creatures as far removed from us as we are from bacteria. And if you don't see it this way, he says, "then you don't have the capacity for awe and you won't be able to get it from a holy book either." ... truth [can't] come from "desert revelations made to schizophrenics and epileptics." [and the audience laughs and applauds this rank stupidity.]

For someone who holds up the banner of man as the measure of all things it takes a very strange lack of human empathy to say something like that.

But the audience applauds.


Another silly point comes next on this part 2 of this talk. Big Bang, expansion of the universe, more nothingness is coming at us and Andromeda is coming straight for us, and he asks "now is this the plan and whose plan is it?,"
"....but we know this much [the universe is] blasting apart very very fast. A great deal of nothingness is certainly coming to us. [8:06] There's an enormous and utter nothingness in our future. And even if we're not prepared to wait for that or wait for a species change to overtake us, we can see already in the night sky the Andromeda galaxy on collision course with our own [I always thought material in the universe was flying AWAY from each other; whatever happened to that model of the Big Bang and the expanding universe as material on the surface of a balloon that's being blown up? I guess I'm behind the times as usual] That's certainly going to happen, whether we destroy ourselves or the sun blows up or not before that probably not. Collision course. Now, is this part of a plan? You certainly have to ask yourself, Is that part of a plan? If so, whose plan is it? That so much nothingness is built right in and is headed straight for us. So anyone ... if you think all this is going on with you in mind, then you really do have a self-centeredness problem."
There are serious answers to all these charges he just flings out right and left as he goes galloping on, but he seems to be content with amusing the uneducated who don't know anything about any of it either. There's a HUGE area of thought about this that also answers many other charges he makes, that involves the Fall of mankind in Eden -- That the entire physical universe CHANGED at that time is implied in scripture. That is, what we see in this physical universe is NOT the original plan, it's the effect of sin entering into the creation, sin being a severance from God that drastic. Of course the original creation is still present, but in distorted forms; the image of God in man is still present but in distorted form. Exactly what changes occurred we can only speculate about, but we know they are in the direction of death and destruction and inhospitality to life because that's what scripture identifies as the consequences of sin; but the point is that NOTHING we see now, nothing in the living world and nothing in the entire cosmos can be assumed to straightforwardly represent the original Creation. This is also why the Mrs. Watts of his childhood was off base when she assured her young students that the greenness of foliage was clearly a proof of the goodness of God toward us, and so many other Christians who also seem to forget about the Fall when they rhapsodize about the beauties and comforts of this earth. Which is NOT to say such things aren't ALSO real and apparent in our current cosmos, but it's not obvious in most examples, and there's a LOT that needs sorting through in this view of things. It cannot be done justice by a short rant like this one. The Fall is also the framework for the answer to all the questions about suffering and death in this universe. I don't understand why so many of Hitchens' debate opponents have avoided getting into this with him. Have they simply not thought through the implications of the Fall themselves? Have they given in so far on theistic evolutionism that they CAN'T think about the Fall? Are they afraid of it?

In the same vein he goes on to his familiar contemplation of the evolutionistic idea of how long human beings have been here, not long in evolutionary time, 250,000 years the longest estimate, 100,000 thousand the shortest.
"a hundred thousand years our species has been around on this speck" dying for the first 80% of that time span of the "numerous shortcomings of our design," [part 3, 0:34] "terrible disease, suffering, misery, malnutrition and fear --'Where do the earthquakes come from?' 'Why is there an eclipse?' 'What are the shooting stars doing?' and awful cults of sacrifice to try and ward off what are in fact natural events, and war, and rape, and the kidnap of other peoples ... all of this goes on, gradually gradually inching up to the point where you can brew beer ... domesticate animals, separate one kind of corn from another ... progress, but terrible struggle, sacrifice, pain, misery, and above all fear and ignorance. And -- you have to believe this if you believe in monotheism -- for the first 97, 98 thousand of this heaven watches with indifference 'oh, there they go again.' 'that whole civilization has just died out. Well, what are you gonna do? They're raping each other again. They're poisoning each other again ...Three thousand years ago at the most it's decided, No, we've got to intervene now. "
[It was 4000 (or 3900) back to Abraham] (and the ignorant audience applauds this ignorance)

"You have to believe it" he insists. "And the revelation must be personal. So we'll pick the most backward (compared to what in those days?), the most barbaric, the most illiterate, the most superstitious and the most savage people we can find, in the most stony area of the world. We won't appear to the Chinese, who can already read. We won't appear in the Indus Valley where they already know a thing or two ... No, we'll appear to this brutal, enslaved, hopeless superstitious crowd, and we'll force them to cut their way through all of their neighbors with slaughter, genocide and racism, and settle in the only part of the Middle East where there is no oil. And all subsequent revelations occur in the same district. And without this we wouldn't know right from wrong. 3:06. ... but seriously now, do I seriously misrepresent the situation? You must believe something like that happened, or did not, in order to address the whole question where monotheism comes from. I would say that it can't be proved that that isn't how we came to understand morality and the need for it but I would regard it in the light of the other evidence that I've touched upon as being in the very highest degree improbable that that is the way that we discovered how to think, how to decide how to live with one another, what our duties are to each other, and so forth." 4:09

I wait and wait for any of his debate opponents to answer this one and I am just left waiting. Finally at the Book Expo someone in the audience referred back to it but it didn't really get answered. I started suspecting that the supposed Christians on the panel are all theistic evolutionists. I didn't know Douglas Wilson was but why then didn't he correct the time factor here?

Of course it makes us all look SO foolish to support the idea of a very young earth and that is why so many "Christians" have accepted the evolutionist time frame. They aren't "Biblical literalists" they say. Well, if you aren't a Biblical literalist about Genesis how can you affirm the truth of anything else in the Bible? There is simply no room in Genesis for millions of years no matter how you tinker with allegory and parable and "one year is as a thousand with God" and all that. There is simply no way the narrative in the first chapters holds together at all if you stretch it to millions of years.

For one thing there is the timeline given by the ages of the Patriarchs -- even the most liberal reading of that timeline gets nowhere near a million years and I think it pretty clearly dates the earth to around 6000 years. Oh yes, I'm a total idiot, don't I KNOW what science has PROVED about such things? I'm SO sorry so many Christians have abandoned this obvious interpretation of Genesis because they are intimidated by the claims of science. Let God be true but every man a liar. 1 Corinthians 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; ;

Where is he getting this idea that the people God chose were particularly barbarian? God started with the one man, Abraham, a citizen of Ur of the Chaldees, in the heart of Sumer, the civilized world of the time. Abraham was about 1900 B.C. WERE the Chinese writing by that time as he says? Not that it matters. Hammurabi's law was already written. A few hundred years later Moses was brought up in the Egyptian court knowing how to read and write.


Anyway, Hitchens' complaint about the indifference of God dissolves within the PROPER time frame of Genesis. There were no generations of humans before Adam and Eve, let alone 100 million years of them. There couldn't have been: Before Adam and Eve sinned THERE WAS NO DEATH IN THE UNIVERSE, therefore there was never any evolution at any time. Everyone who had been born before them would still have been living. There would have been no misery and suffering of any kind for God to be indifferent TO. Animals would also have lived forever. Long long long before a hundred million years had passed the planet would have been so overpopulated its inhabitants would have been capable of populating hundreds or thousands of other planets in the universe along with Earth. Also if there had been no sin there would have been no need for redemption, so the idea that after such a long period of indifference God finally intervenes with the hope of Christ is likewise irrelevant in the context of the Biblical account.

Shall I go on and imagine into the idea that Adam and Eve came AT THE BEGINNING of the hundred million years? Then there would have been SO much death no creature would still be living after a much much shorter time than that.

God promised the Seed of the Woman, the Messiah, as their salvation already in Eden, right after the Fall. He went on promising His salvation and preparing people for it until He finally sent Him to die for us. Believers before Christ's actual advent WERE saved by anticipating His coming. God was NEVER indifferent in all that time -- but Christ would have had to come within a few thousand years of the Fall. Things would not hold together longer than that. I'll have to refine this scenario some time.


There's really no need to quote Hitchens at such length but I'm too overwhelmed with all this stuff to try to edit it at this point. Maybe after I've posted it I'll do some editing; it's easier then for some reason -- I KNOW anyone reading it just LOVES me for doing it this way but sometimes it can't be helped.

Anyway he's done this same routine on many debates and talks in somewhat varying forms. His latest example of God's immoral indifference to suffering was the Austrian man's imprisonment and rape of his daughter for 24 years, and also Auschwitz. This was on the panel of the Book Expo in Dallas sometime this year, with Douglas Wilson and William Lane Craig and a few others I'm not so familiar with. Wilson gave a great answer about how Hitchens has no foundation for his moral tirades, they just come down from the sky or something like that, which I think Hitchens actually misunderstood as implying there is no material universe or some such weird idea. Others had been giving the predictable answers: we were given free will and God doesn't want automatons but free-willing worshipers and so on.

But NO-ONE got anywhere near what it's REALLY all about, which is that the cosmos is shot through with sin and its consequences misery and death, because of the sins of humanity.

I'm sure Hitchens would wax apoplectic at such an idea, which may be why it was so totally avoided, but it's the only TRUE answer and it needs to be given a chance to be explored at some length. Hitchens denounced Jerry Falwell in the most scathing terms he could think up for calling the WTC attack the consequence of our embracing of abortion and gay rights or something like that, during the event itself, and what I'm saying is a species of that explanation. HOWEVER, I do think Falwell's timing was lousy, we ARE to concern ourselves first with the victims of God's judgments and of sin after all, and then when you are in the right time frame to bring up God's judgment it's about a lot more than abortion and gay rights in any case. The sins of this nation go back a long time and would make a long list. And Hitchens of course now wants to know how I know this, since another thing that gets his dander up is Christians claiming to know God's will. The panel was pretty good at answering that one though they should have been more assertive about it -- We know what we know of God's will through His revelation in His written word which is accessible to us by the Holy Spirit through prayer. Hitchens has thrown out most of the Bible as a pack of lies so of course THAT isn't going to convince him of anything, but we shouldn't be concerned to convince him or anybody, just with getting the truth said as well as possible.

[MORALITY????? Christianity is not about morality, why is that always the theme?]

And why have 99.99% of all the other species that have ever been created already died out? Part of what plan was that?" [see above] ... The planner must be either very capricious, really toying with his creation, and/or very clumsy, very tinkering and fantastically wasteful -- throw away 99.9% of what you've made -- or very cruel and very callous, or perhaps just very indifferent, or some combination of all the above. [see above] So it's no good saying He moves in mysterious ways or that He has purposes that are opaque to us, because even that kind of evasion has to make itself predicate on the assumption that the person saying this knows more than I do about the supernatural, and I haven't yet met anyone who does have a private line to the creator of the sort that would be required, even to speculate about it. In other words, I haven't met anyone, in holy orders or out of it, who isn't also a primate. And neither have you. [I'm not sure I've ever met a primate, but accepting his term for the moment, I HAVE met "primates" who do have a "private line to the Creator" which He Himself has provided to those who love Him.] 5:51
Then he goes on to quote Australian Archbishop George Pell saying Without God we are nothing, to which he thinks he's so clever to respond, Don't talk to me in that tone of voice. And goes on to insist that such a concept is "totalitarianism."

NONSENSE!!! He says this over and over, this idea of "celestial totalitarianism" based on God's primacy and God's all-knowingness. But NOBODY HAS FORCED HIM TO ACKNOWLEDGE GOD. God hasn't forced Himself on him. He's as free to ignore God as he could ever desire.

As Doug Wilson said on the Book Expo panel, the argument from design is a very good argument on the face of it and it has never been refuted. Living things show all the marks of having been designed and there is NO way blind evolution is going to get it to look like it was designed. This is a simple observation that if humbly received and recognized could open up vast new worlds undreamed of. But they just say the equivalent of Oh poppycock, Science is True and That is That. Or like Dawkins they imagine Rube Goldberg methods evolution could use to make living things look designed. And not just "could" use. If he can imagine it, that's all it takes for him to declare it dogmatic truth.


But again, you can't attribute the death and destruction and anti-human things in the universe to the Creation -- these were brought about by the Fall, by sin.

(And oh lookee here, Mr. Hitchens, this is what Jesus' sacrifice is to save us from, what sin has wrought in our universe and our very souls and bodies, though you by your moral-righteous denunciation of the idea of someone's taking our punishment for us don't seem to have a clue what you are up against. All the suffering in the universe, Mr. Hitchens, and that's just the consequences in THIS world. There IS another world, other worlds, invisible worlds. Jesus took all our sin upon Himself and the pangs of Hell as well. Suffering only gets more intense upon death because this material world is a sort of veil between us and those horrors. It's not so much that God SENDS us there as that it's the NATURAL abode of sin and misery that we brought upon ourselves at the Fall, and this is why God sent Jesus to redeem us -- none of us has the ability to take the punishment we deserve, including you for all your bravado about taking responsibility for ourselves. It's an act of mercy not to be scorned. You underestimate the punishment we deserve. This universe IS run by a Moral Law, like it or not -- Hindus and Buddhists know that much with their idea of good and bad karma they labor to overcome -- and when we violate it we bring on consequences predetermined in the nature of that Law. Don't be so cavalier, Mr. Hitchens; you have no idea what you are asking for.)

Well I'd better stop here for now. He just goes on and on provoking me with ridiculous statements but there's a limit to what I can handle in one post.

I apologize for such a disjointed post but I have no other way of getting anything posted on this subject if I don't just put out what I have and hope to straighten it out later.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Swine Flu overestimation / disinformation

Mercola interview with Barbara Lowe Fisher about the CBS study that showed that most of the reported cases of swine flu this season aren't that at all and in fact aren't even flu at all.

Then there's the 60 Minutes report on the 1976 flu season in which there was a big scare about the swine flu that hyped the importance of vaccinations against it. Then it turned out that there were serious repercussions from the vaccine itself.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

End Times Updates: Legislative destruction of the US (amnesty for illegals, "hate crimes" attack on religion), imminent disclosure that ETs are real!

Well, here's one from Scott Johnson we should all know about. In this one he's covering a delightful potpourri of recent events that clearly presage the end of all things

unless the church of God rises up in full armor with our powerful spiritual weapons -- prayer, scripture, repentance -- and pulls down the strongholds bringing this about.
Start with the state of the USA.

We've got legislation coming down that is going to allow illegal aliens more rights than citizens, including gang members. Even CNN is objecting. Scott Johnson plays the audio of Lou Dobbs's report on this, but I also got an emailing from D A Waite's Bible For Today ministry on this one.

They also sent this link about Obama's health care proposals that will leave seriously and urgently sick people stranded just as Canada's socialized health care leaves people stranded without care.

Then of course there is the flu/vaccination hoax that further confuses us about our health and may also in reality compromise it, as mentioned in my previous post.

FIRST AMENDMENT DEMOLITION PLAN: HATE CRIMES LEGISLATION Then we now HAVE, yes, it passed our Congress, the Hate Crimes bill we've known was coming for a long time, the bill that makes it a crime to even THINK or SAY anything that could be construed as hostile to homosexuals. Johnson covers that in this talk too and Bible For Today sent me a long email with many links I may check out and post later. The bill amounts to a violation of the First Amendment which protects freedom of religion and speech from government interference, but the First Amendment has been habitually violated by our legal and judicial processes for years now anyway so who's going to notice?

Then Johnson goes to a report by an "Exopolitics" newspaper on the imminent disclosure to the world that "extra-terrestrials" are real (starts at 00:13:34 on the audio counter). "Exopolitics" has to do with extra-terrestrials.

Here's a website on the subject, and here's their link to the article on the imminence of a "disclosure" of extra-terrestrial presence.

This is to be a "disclosure" because the idea is that it's been known at the "higher levels of government" for decades but not revealed because they've been afraid it would scare people too much. Why they think it won't scare people as much today is a question. Yes, there have been lots of movies about such events, but I personally don't know anyone who is prepared for the idea that those things are actually REAL.

And they AREN'T -- or, they are AND they aren't, but only Christians can really grasp the truth about this. They are demonic apparitions of some sort, like the apparitions of "the virgin Mary" and similar phenomena, including apparitions and manifestations in "haunted houses," of "angels" or "angelic beings," or in past times of "fairies" and so on. They ALL come from the world of fallen spiritual beings, demons, fallen angels and whatnot and they are NOT friendly.

This revelation in any form will shock most people, no doubt, but those who accept the idea that they are beings from outer space rather than demonic entities are going to be the most deceived.

Then Johnson goes on to a clip of Lord Christopher Monckton about the Global Climate Treaty Obama will probably sign in Copenhagen in December, which subordinates all national governments to a global government, and also requires the transfer of wealth from wealthy countries to poor countries in payment of a supposed "climate debt." Monckton suggests that we can still rise up and prevent the signing of this treaty, but


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Swine Flu Emergency Hoax

Scott Johnson has been talking for weeks about the swine flu, how the flu itself is not the problem but the vaccination for it is. Today's talks are on the same topic. You do have to take his stuff with a grain of salt but I want to post Part 2 of today's talks because it covers some pretty clearcut evidence -- that this supposed epidemic of swine flu is nonexistent, that there's no emergency level even if the cases WERE swine flu, but that when they are tested it turns out a huge percentage of them are not only not swine flu but not flu at all. He includes interviews that are very convincing, including Barbara Lowe Fisher who is one of the most trustworthy flu and vaccination experts.

This is the audio for Part 2, and this is the PDF file that covers the same material.

Found a whole Google page of references to swine flu as a hoax. Haven't checked them out but here's the page.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Prayer without ceasing.

I've discovered something wonderful. It IS possible to "pray without ceasing" in a sense I haven't heard much about. I started doing it and then found someone writing about it and I wish I could remember who, now, but maybe it will come to me, possibly one of the speakers at the Revival Conference I listened to recently. I also then discovered that Jonathan Edwards wrote of praying what they used to call "ejaculatory prayers" all day long, just prayers sent up to the Lord in the midst of doing other things. Just to be clear, I've done this all my Christian life, but not to the extent I'm doing it now.

And then I remembered that Saint Patrick prayed a hundred times a day for six years to be rescued from slavery in Ireland before the Lord answered. That did not appeal to me at all, I must say, as the prospect of praying for long periods without an answer is just too discouraging and I figured I'd lose faith. I couldn't imagine being able to make myself pray so consistently with such a sense of futility about it.

What makes the difference is that prayer is pleasant in itself, it's a connection to the Lord and keeps your mind on Him as well as the subject of your prayer.

It's a big help for me because discipline is so hard for me. Having set times for anything is hard. So this solves that problem and I think it's going to have all kinds of spiritual benefits I can only guess at, some already starting to emerge.

Just praying all day long whenever your mind is free at all, when you're doing physical work for instance, when you're driving around town, when you wake up in the middle of the night. I always thought I'd have to get out of bed or sit up or kneel, and that would sometimes just be too hard; but just lying there with my mind constantly asking the Lord for help with this or that now seems acceptable. I find myself now waking up in the morning with a hymn or praise song going through my mind.

Praying for all the things you'd pray for in a scheduled prayer session, praying for each situation as you encounter it too, though I find myself focusing on a particular concern more than the others lately and have been getting some leadings from the Lord about it. Also just worshiping and praising.