Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Atheists Sound The Alarm: Decline Of Christianity Is Seriously Hurting Society

"Only a few years ago, the aggressive “New Atheist” movement was on the march, with rhetorical brawlers like Christopher Hitchens and renowned biologists like Richard Dawkins leading the charge against religion and the last vestiges of Christian faith in the West. Religion, Hitchens famously stated, “poisons everything,” and could only be considered, at best, humanity’s “first and worst” attempt to solve existential questions. If these cobwebbed superstitions could be blasted away by the refreshing winds of reason and the Enlightenment, a fundamentally better society would rise from the ashes—or so the thinking went.

But as Christianity fades further and further into our civilization’s rear-view mirror, many intelligent atheists are beginning to realize that the Enlightenment may have only achieved success because it wielded influence on a Christian culture. In a truly secular society, in which men and women live their lives beneath empty heavens and expect to be recycled rather than resurrected, there is no solid moral foundation for good and evil. Anti-theists like Christopher Hitchens mocked and reviled the idea that mankind needed God to know right from wrong, but scarcely two generations into our Great Secularization and we no longer even know male from female.

It would be interesting to know how the late Hitchens would have responded to the insanities that have proliferated since his passing, and whether he would have come to realize, as some of his similarly godless friends have, that one does not need to find Christianity believable to realize that it is necessary. Douglas Murray, who has taken to occasionally calling himself a “Christian atheist,” has publicly argued with Hitchens’ fellow “Horseman of the Apocalypse” Sam Harris over whether a society based on Enlightenment values is even possible without Christianity. Harris holds out hope that such a society is possible. Murray is sympathetic, but skeptical.

Increasingly, Murray admitted, he believes the atheist project to be a hopeless one. When he joined me on my show recently to discuss his latest book The Madness of Crowds, he reiterated that he believes that in the absence of the secularist’s ability to hammer out ethics on fundamental issues such as the sanctity of life, we may be forced to recognize that returning to faith is the best option available to us. There is a very real possibility, he noted, that our modern concept of human rights, based as it is on a Judeo-Christian foundation, may very well outlive Christianity by only a few short years. Cut off from the source, our conception of human rights may shrivel and die very quickly, leaving us fumbling about in a thick and impenetrable darkness.

Without the Christian underpinnings of our society, it will be up to us to decide what is right and wrong, and as our current culture wars clearly illustrate, our civilization will tear itself apart before it regains consensus. Many optimistic atheists recently believed that once God was dethroned and banished, we could finally live as adults and get on with the utopian project of creating a society based on faith in ourselves. These skeptics were unfortunately skeptical about everything except the goodness of humanity, despite the fact that they had no metaphysical or even Darwinian basis for this easily disprovable assumption. Jordan Peterson’s phenomenal popularity is partially based on his recognition that people are not generally good, and that the past century proves this with the blood of millions.

It is the abject failure of this thesis that is leading some prominent atheists to begrudgingly admit that perhaps Christianity was more necessary than they thought. As recently as 2015, Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion) was arguing that children needed to be protected from the religious views of their parents, and made a series of alarming comments regarding the rights of parents to educate their children in the tenets of their religious faith. By 2018, however, Dawkins was warning that the “benign Christian religion” might be replaced by something decidedly less benign, and that perhaps we should take a step back to discuss what might happen if the evangelical secularists are successful in destroying or banishing Christianity. Other atheists and agnostics, from Bill Maher to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, have echoed Dawkins’ sentiments. This is a radical shift in only a handful of years—and the fact that atheists are sounding the alarm should be a warning to Christians about the consequences of our ongoing secularization.

Dawkins has now come out and repudiated his previous belief that Christianity should be banished from society even more firmly. In fact, he told The Times, ending religion—once his fervent goal—would be a terrible idea, because it would “give people a license to do really bad things.” Despite the fact that Dawkins has long argued that the very idea of the God of the Bible being necessary as a basis for morality is both ridiculous and offensive, he appears to be backtracking. “People may feel free to do bad things because they feel God is no longer watching them,” he said, citing the example of security cameras as a deterrent to shoplifting. One wonders if he has heard Douglas Murray remind people that the Soviets murdered their millions in the firm belief that there was no Judge waiting for them when the killing was over.

Dawkins discusses these ideas further in his latest book, Outgrowing God. “Whether irrational or not, it does, unfortunately, seem plausible that, if somebody sincerely believes God is watching his every move, he might be more likely to be good,” he confessed begrudgingly. “I must say that I hate that idea. I want to believe that humans are better than that. I’d like to believe I’m honest whether anyone is watching or not.” While this realization is not a good enough reason for him to believe in God, Dawkins says, he now realizes that the affirmation of God’s existence does benefit society. For example, Dawkins admitted, “It might bring the crime right down.”


Monday, December 2, 2019

Why Did The Watchtower Society Become An Associate Member Of The United Nations In 1992 Until 2001?

"Before posing this question as an attack on the organisation it is best to prepare the way otherwise the effect can be lost. Start by asking why JWs are not allowed to participate in political affairs. Then move on to asking them why they hate the UN so much. Getting them to confirm first how the UN is so opposed to Jehovah’s kingdom before dropping the bombshell that that the Watchtower Society joined it increases the effect. They may well deny that this actually happened but just ask them to speak with their elders to confirm it or research it themselves. Leave the question to simmer in their minds."


Sunday, December 1, 2019

Comments On The Jehovah's Witnesses New World Translation Rendering Of Hebrews 1:6

  • Discussion:
          -Hebrews 1:6 was translated in the following manner in the 1961 edition of the Jehovah's Witnesses New World Translation:

          "Let all God's angels worship him."

          How the passage from Hebrews is rendered in modern editions of the New World Translation:

          "And let all of God’s angels do obeisance to him.”

          The Greek word translated into English as "worship" is proskyneo. It goes beyond giving somebody honor, especially when employed in a religious context. That is indeed the case with Hebrews 1:6.

          Consequently, the rendering of proskyneo as "do obeisance" (instead of worship) in the New World Translation is wholly inappropriate. This is a clear example of the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower Society taking liberties with the text.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

A Major Problem For The Jehovah's Witness Belief That Jesus Is Michael The Archangel

  • Discussion:
          -The Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Interlinear Translation renders Hebrews 1:3 as follows:

          "[Jesus] is the reflection of [God’s] glory and the exact representation of his very being."

          If Jesus Christ is Michael the Archangel as the Jehovah's Witnesses believe, then, according to the logic of the above quoted Scripture passage, that would mean the essence or nature of God must be that of an angel.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Do Occurrences Of Brain Damage Refute The Immateriality Of The Soul?

        Critics of mind-body dualism (the position that the mind is immaterial, body is physical, and both are separable) argue that changes in brain function rule out the existence of a soul. It is claimed that instances of the brain influencing our behavior prove consciousness to be illusory. A common assertion made in neuroscience is that the mind and the brain are one in the same.

       There is a relationship between the mind and brain, but that does not mean both are the same. The brain is the instrument by which we access our consciousness. Thus, the mind is dependent in a sense on the brain. Organic brain damage may hinder our overall performance. Just as a broken computer which is unable to access the internet does not prove such to be nonexistent, so a damaged brain does not disprove the immateriality of the soul. Following are a few excerpts from secular sources that expressly reject mind-body dualism but argue the mind transcends the brain:

        "...neuroimaging studies may not be as objective as some would like to think. There are still large gaps between observation and interpretation – gaps that are ‘filled’ by theoretical or methodological assumptions. It is then no surprise that researchers have difficulty replicating experimental findings, and that one lab may often find results that contradict those found in another lab where researchers have slightly different biases and make different methodological assumptions (Miller, 2010). This is not to dismiss neuroimaging studies altogether, but rather to suggest that there needs to be more skepticism about what grandiose conclusions we draw from them." (http://modernpsychologist.ca/the-mind-does-not-reduce-to-the-brain/)

        "...The brain plays an incredibly important role. But our mind cannot be confined to what’s inside our skull, or even our body, according to a definition first put forward by Dan Siegel, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA School of Medicine and the author of a recently published book, Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human." (https://qz.com/866352/scientists-say-your-mind-isnt-confined-to-your-brain-or-even-your-body/)

        "...the mind is not just a product of brain activity. If it were, it would be impossible for changes in psychological functioning to bring about changes in the brain, in the same way that it would be impossible for changes in the images on a computer screen to bring about changes to the circuitry of a computer. This highlights the fact that the psyche is a phenomenon in its own right, with its own features, its own structures and patterns. It can’t be entirely reduced to neurology. It has to be studied in its own terms."(https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/out-the-darkness/201701/why-the-mind-is-more-the-brain)

        Following is an excerpt from a source that does argue for mind-body dualism:

        "Penfield’s observations bring to light a perplexing aspect of epilepsy — or at least an aspect of epilepsy that should be perplexing to materialists. Seizures always involve either complete unconsciousness or specific activation of a non-abstract neurological function — flashes of light, smells, jerking of muscles, specific memories, strong emotions — but seizures never evoke discrete abstract thought. This is odd, given that the bulk of brain tissue from which seizures arise is classified as association areas that are thought to sub-serve abstract thought. Why don’t epilepsy patients have “calculus seizures” or “moral ethics” seizures, in which they involuntarily take second derivatives or contemplate mercy? The answer is obvious — the brain does not generate abstract thought. The brain is normally necessary for abstract thought, but not sufficient for it." (https://evolutionnews.org/2016/04/wilder_penfield/)

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Do The Incorruptible Bodies Of The Saints Prove Roman Catholicism?

"The most commonly used example of an incorruptible body to argue for Catholicism is the example of St. Silvan who was martyred in the fourth century. It is claimed that his body has not decayed in over 1,700 years and you can still see the gash on his neck where he was killed.

But this “incorruptible body” is actually a wax sculpture. His real remains are located below this wax figure...

In the vast majority of these incorruptible bodies, there is a wax mask placed over the face to hide the signs of decay. If their bodies are truly incorruptible, then why is the wax mask necessary? One of the most common examples of an incorrupt body is that of John Vianney. But what those websites who use his body to argue for Catholicism won’t tell you is that his face is actually a wax mask.

But for those bodies that are not wearing a wax mask, their faces have been preserved by a miraculous process called embalming. If the process of embalming proves that Catholicism is true, then Communism is also true because the body of Vladimir Lenin is incorrupt as well."


Monday, November 25, 2019

Commentary On John 1:16

"...what does the phrase "grace for grace" actually mean? The preposition translated "for" in Greek is anti, which could readily be translated "in place of." The idea is that when one supply of grace is used, there will be another to take its place. There is constant and uninterrupted replenishment of the grace of God for the believer. Thus his sins are never exposed; they are under the blood of Christ all the time. Let us not hesitate, therefore, to invoke God's grace constantly. God never wants us to be lacking in His grace. We must have His fullness. Let us not be afraid that we shall ever exhaust the grace of God. In Him there is an inexhaustible supply."

Spiros Zodhiates, Was Christ God?, p. 309

Commentary On John 1:12

"The verb translated "gave he" in this verse, edooken in Greek, comes from the same root as the words dosis and dooron, meaning "gift." Therefore edooken in this context has the implied notion of giving freely. There is no restriction to God's giving. Divine authority can become ours freely, without restriction in its outflow and without the necessity of our having to pay for it. And this exactly describes the attitude of God toward us in our sinful state. It is sin which has made us the children of the devil. No matter how great our sin, God's giving of grace is sufficient to meet it."

Spiros Zodhiates, Was Christ God?, p. 236

Why The Author Of The Fourth Gospel De-Emphasizes John The Baptist (In Upholding Christ's Deity)

"At the time when John was writing his Gospel, in the latter years of the first century in Ephesus, the sect emerged whose followers called themselves Hemerobaptists, a Greek word meaning "daily bathers" or those who were baptized daily. Between the time when Paul preached the gospel in Ephesus and the time of the writing of John's Gospel, the person of John the Baptist, who had died as a martyr for the faith, had assumed proportions which threatened the supremacy of Jesus Christ. Some people believed that he was not merely the forerunner of the Messiah, but that he himself was the Messiah. As J. B. Lightfoot says, "His baptism was no more a single rite, once performed and initiating an amendment of life; it was a daily recurrence atoning for sin and sanctifying the person." (St. Paul's Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, p. 403). And then he goes on to say, "In the latter half of the first century, it would seem, there was a great movement among large numbers of the Jews in favor of frequent baptism, as the one purificatory rite essential to salvation" (p. 404)."

Spiros Zodhiates, Was Christ God?, p. 166-167

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Commentary On John 1:3

"...there are those who teach that Jesus Christ is the first creature of God the Father and also the Creator of the world. But this teaching contains both a logical and Scriptural inconsistency. One cannot be both a creature and the Creator. The second part of John 1:3 excludes the possibly that Jesus Christ was both a creature and a creator in His pre-incarnate state. After stating that "all things through him came into being," John goes on to say, "and without him was not any thing made that was made." The "him" refers to Jesus Christ. The "all" of the first part of the verse and the "not any thing" of the second part are all-inclusive, i.e., they cover the entire creation and have no exception anywhere in the created universe."

Spiros Zodhiates, Was Christ God?, p. 134