Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Bible and Capital Punishment - Greg Koukl

Stand to Reason

The Bible and Capital Punishment

By Gregory Koukl

of Stand to Reason (


I. The Bible and Capital Punishment


    A. Capital punishment was commanded by God in the Old Testament.

      1. It preceded the Mosaic Law.

        Gen 9:6 Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.

      2. It was based on the dignity of man, i.e. man's transcendent value.

        Gen 9:6 Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.

      3. It was commanded in the Mosaic Law.

        a. Twenty-one different offenses called for the death penalty in the Old Testament.

        b. Only three include an actual or potential capital offense, by our standards.

        c. Six are for religious offenses.

        d. Ten are for various moral issues.

        e. Two relate to ceremonial issues.

      4. "But King David wasn't put to death for his capital crimes."

        a. David understood what justice demanded in this case: "As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die." 2 Sam 12:5

        b. If God chose to set aside punishment, that doesn't mean the punishment is unjust when it is executed. God was the one who required capital punishment in many instances.

    B. Capital punishment was assumed in the New Testament.

      1. God ordains governing authorities:

        a. Jn 19:11 Jesus answered [to Pilate], "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above."

        b. Rom 13:1-2 Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

        c. 1 Pet 2:13-14 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.

      2. Those governments may practice capital punishment.

        a. Rom 13:3-4 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.

        b. Acts 25:11 If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar.

    C. Jesus' ethic of love and forgiveness doesn't disallow capital punishment.

      1. "But Jesus would forgive."

        a. This argument proves too much. 

          1) It becomes an argument against any punishment what-so-ever.

          2) What should we do with the criminal we've forgiven?

          a) Life in prison instead of capital punishment?

          b) But Jesus would forgive.

        b. Jesus never challenged the validity of the death penalty. 

          1) In Jn 8:3-11, for example, there were no witnesses left to testify against the woman caught in adultery (the Law required at least two witnesses).

          2) Jesus actually upheld the Law here, He didn't abrogate it, but He did so in a way that wouldn't allow the evil designs of the Scribes and Pharisees to be accomplished. 

        c. Jesus asked God to forgive, not Caesar; He didn't suggest civil punishment or capital punishment was inappropriate.

        d. We must argue for the coherence and consistency of both Testaments. 

          1) The question is not, "Was Jesus right or was Moses right?"

          2) We must also factor in Paul and Peter.

      2. "Jesus was crucified."

        a. I'm not sure what the point is here? Yes, Jesus was the victim of capital punishment, but what follows from that?

        b. The real issue regarding Jesus was not capital punishment, but His innocence.

          1) Peter assails the act of handing over an innocent man to godless executioners.

          2) Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know--this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. (Acts 2:22-23)

      3. But what about forgiveness?

        a. God's mercy is always available in His court. 

        b. Man's court is another matter, governed by different biblical responsibilities.

    D. One simply can't say that capital punishment is patently immoral on biblical grounds.

      1. Jesus did not "abolish the Law," 

        He fulfilled it, but not in the sense that all laws are wiped from the books. Then we would have no punishment for any biblical crimes.

      2. Matt 5:17-19

        Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.


II. Retributionism vs. Rehabilitationism


    A. Each position is based on a particular view of man.

      1. Rehabilitationism

        a. Man is man sick, needing healing.

        b. Man is a machine needing fixing.

      2. Retributionism

        a. Man is a free moral agent who makes choices for which he can be held responsible for.

        b. Man is worthy of praise, resulting in reward, or blame, deserving punishment.


    B. The case for retributionism

      1. Man a free moral agent.

        a. He is capable of choosing good or bad behavior.

        b. He may be influenced by his environment, but not ultimately controlled by it.

        c. We have an immediate awareness of our moral natures, that we freely make moral choices.

        d. It seems to make sense to praise and reward good behavior. If we're not responsible for our choices neither blame nor praise make any sense.

        e. If we are not free agents, then we are determined and therefore not responsible for our behavior, either good or bad. B.F. Skinner was right; we've got to bite the bullet and realize that we're "beyond freedom and dignity."

      2. Crime is not pathological, deserving rehabilitation, but moral, deserving punishment.

        a. The goal of justice is penal, not remedial, moral, not therapeutic.

        b. Two purposes of capital punishment:

          1) Justice demands punishment of the guilty.

          2) Goodness demands protecting the innocent in society.

            a) "Capital punishment is to the whole society what self-defense is to the individual." The Ethics of Life and Death J.P. Moreland, p. 115.

            b) Dennis Prager: "We have a war going on here between murderers and society, but only one side is allowed to kill."

      3. The punishment should fit the crime (lex talionis).

      4. Capital punishment fits capital crimes (crimes that involve the loss of life).


    C. Objections to retributionism

      1. Arguments that prove too much.

        a. Many arguments against capital punishment prove too much because they apply with equal force against any punishment at all.

        b. "Capital punishment is applied unfairly."

          1) Even if this were true, the injustice here applies to those that got away, not to those that got punished. It's never unjust to punish a guilty man if the punishment itself fits the crime (lex talionis). The injustice is remedied by applying it more often, not less.

          2) Better unequal justice than no justice at all.

          3) If one man is paid for a job (he gets what he deserves) and another isn't, how do you rectify the inequity? You don't take away what the first man deserves, withholding his pay because the second man didn't get paid. That would double the injustice.

        c. "Innocent people get condemned."

          1) This is a criticism of any system of justice, not a particular type of punishment. Life is flawed, not capital punishment.

          2) Why must we accept a philosophy that says it's better for 100 guilty people to go free than for one innocent person to be condemned?

          3) Guilty people repeat crimes that injure and even kill other innocent people.

          4) "But death can't be undone." No punishment can be undone.

          5) Our attempts at improving justice here must be at the level of the process of adjudication making any determination of guilt more trustworthy.

      2. Other objections:

        a. "How can you be for capital punishment but against abortion" (the "seamless garment" argument)?

          1) The term "Pro-life" is actually a misnomer. Our case is not for every one's life or every form of life. Pro-lifer's are against the unjust taking of innocent human life, particularly the life of the unborn child.

          2) The right to life is not an absolute; it can be forfeited. This moral right is only prima facie; it stands only until challenged by some greater law, like justice or protecting the lives of the innocent.

          3) We also have a right to freedom, but it can be properly overridden with incarceration when certain conditions are met.

          4) An unborn child has committed no crime that forfeits its life.

        b. "Capital punishment is cruel and unusual."

          1) It's not cruel and unusual, but rather the exact punishment that fits the crime.

          2) This is an appeal to the language of the Bill of Rights, but the ones who wrote those words believed in capital punishment. If one wants to redefine the term for modern times, then he cannot argue from the Bill of Rights itself, because that has the old definition.

        c. "Capital punishment doesn't work; it doesn't deter crime."

          1) It always deters the offender. Dead people don't commit more crimes.

          2) If it lacks in deterrence, it might be because it is not widely exercised or not done speedily enough to be a threat.

          3) The principal goal of capital punishment is not deterrence, but punishment. In that way it works every time.

        d. "Why not a life sentence?"

          1) Confuses a life sentence with a death sentence.

          2) It's unjust (doesn't fit the crime) because the criminal only loses liberty, not life.

        e. "This kind of death is undignified."

          1) In one sense, all death is undignified.

          2) Argues only against certain aggravated forms of capital punishment and not capital punishment itself.

          3) In the final analysis, the question is not the dignity of death, but its equity or justice.

        f. "There's no opportunity of to reform the criminal." Justice is the goal of punishment, not reform.

        g. "Capital punishment violates human dignity."

          1) It is specifically because of man's value and dignity that we punish his moral wrongdoing. We don't punish animals for stealing or killing (we don't punish them, we remove them for our safety).

          2) We hold men morally responsible because of dignity.

          3) "It is based on the assumption that normal adult beings are rational and moral beings who knew better, who could have done otherwise, but yet who chose to do evil anyway, and who therefore deserve to be punished." JPM p. 118

          4) Arguably it is undignified to force rehabilitation on free moral agents who don't want it.

        h. Roman Catholic objections

          1) The Catholic position against capital punishment is somewhat ironic given their position on purgatory, in which even when God forgives a sinner, still he must suffer for his own sins.

          2) What of the practice of penance?

    Study Exercises:

    1. Where is capital punishment first mentioned in the Bible ?
    2. What is the biblical rationale for capital punishment ?
    3. Show how capital punishment was assumed in the New Testament.
    4. Does Jesus' ethic of love and forgiveness disallow capital punishment?
    Give reasons for your answer.
    5. What is the basic view of man behind rehabilitationism ?
    Retributionism ?
    6. How are the notions of praise and blame related?
    7. Reply to the arguments that capital punishment should be abolished because it is applied unfairly and innocent people may be condemned.
    8. Refute the "seamless garment" argument.
©1994 Gregory Koukl. Reproduction permitted for non-commercial use only.
For more information, contact Stand to Reason at 1438 East 33rd St., Signal Hill, CA 90755
(800) 2-REASON (562) 595-7333

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Great little article here.



Jeff  Miztah  Rogers, Yahoo! Contributor Network

The promise was given by God through Isaiah:

Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit ...the desolate heritages; Isaiah 49:8

Read the rest here.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Peaceful Loving Verses from the Quran

Since Islam is such a peaceful religion, I thought I would share some loving verses from the Qur'an

What the Qur’an says about Christians and Jews

  1.  "Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them." Surah 2:191
  2. "Kill the Jews and the Christians if they do not convert to Islam or refuse to pay Jizya tax." Surah 9:29
  3. "When opportunity arises, kill the infidels wherever you catch them." Surah 9:5
  4. "Terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur'an." Surah 8:12

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The suffering brothers and sisters of aborted children

The suffering brothers and sisters of aborted children 
from (there are some great testimonies in the comments to read)

The suffering brothers and sisters of aborted children

Siblings are meant to be together. (Photo credit: TimothyJ on Flickr)
Siblings are meant to be together. (Photo credit: TimothyJ on Flickr)
Abortion is anything but a simple choice. It affects not just the child who dies in an unimaginable way. It affects not just the mother who suffers through the abortion or the father who could do nothing to stop it. Abortion affects the family at large – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and brothers and sisters.
It can be a very strange thought to wonder why you were chosen to live while your brother or sister was chosen for death. Why did you survive? What would your sibling have been like, acted like, looked like? Would he or she have resembled you? Become your best friend? Years of memories you should have had were wiped out before you ever knew that your brother or sister should have existed. Indeed, abortion is anything but simple for the brothers and sisters of aborted children.
Barb, who has worked with the AAA Center for Pregnancy Counseling for nearly thirty years, writes this:
Abortion teaches children that they have worth because they were conceived in the right conditions and at the right time; that they have value because their parents want them. Up to 50% of all American children have lost a brother or a sister to abortion, making it much more likely that they live with a performance view of love: I was born because I was wanted therefore I better perform so they will continue to love me.
Barb also talks about the reality of survivor’s guilt among siblings of aborted children and about the horrors of selective reduction, in which one or more babies in a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, quadruplets) are selected for death and aborted while the rest are allowed to live. Mark I. Evans, a doctor known for doing selective reductions, explains the heartache from his own perspective. Imagine the thoughts of surviving siblings once they discover what happened to their brothers or sisters, right next to them in the womb:
It’s a very hard procedure, because the baby is moving, and you are chasing it. That is what is very emotional — when the baby is moving and you are chasing it.
Angie (not her real name) is the sister of two aborted children. She was the oldest child and the only girl allowed to be born. Her only full biological sibling was aborted in a back-alley procedure, just a few short years after Angie’s birth. Angie’s mother then went on to have two sons – Angie’s half-brothers. They were five and nine years younger than her. When Angie’s mother got pregnant for the last time, she decided she was too tired to have a fourth child. So she flew to New York, where elective abortion was legal at the time, and aborted Angie’s last sibling.
The siblings of aborted children sometimes find it hard to deal with their trauma. (Photo credit: James Dennes on Flickr)
The siblings of aborted children sometimes find it hard to deal with their trauma. (Photo credit: James Dennes on Flickr)
Angie will always have to wonder why she was allowed to live when her brother or sister was subjected to a crude back-alley death. Would she have ever had a sister? Would her real father have been able to stay in her life if her full brother or sister had lived? What would it have been like to have had a sibling close in age to her; to grow up with as a friend? Would she have been a second mother to her youngest sibling, just like she was to her youngest living brother? What made the difference? Why was she saved, when others died?
While Angie may never get all of her answers, it’s important that she – and other men and women like her – find an outlet for their painful questions. There are several wonderful healing ministries for men and women who have experienced abortion, but it’s much harder to find a support group for siblings of aborted babies.
Renee – an oldest daughter just like Angie – shares these sentiments on her blog, Surviving Sibling. She writes about her very personal story – her struggle with her brother’s untimely death, her love for her mother, and both her and her mother’s decisions to get involved in the pro-life movement.
Apparently she chose that night [the night of her mother's abortion], because going out, then, would not likely arouse suspicion. Years later it brought me such pain to think that that night before she left, when I gave her a hug, I also hugged my little brother inside, but the next time I hugged her, it was just her alone. L How sad she must have been. And how innocent and unaware I was. …
For a while after finding out, I had such a deep sadness that I could not identify at first. I felt like I did when I lost one of my nursing home friends, but nobody had recently died. What was up? Then I realized it was my brother. I was grieving the loss of a little sibling, that up until then had not existed (that I was aware of). How strange. How could I possibly feel so strongly for someone I never met, or even knew about? As I mentioned before, I am not an emotional person, so these feelings were extra unappreciated. I felt stupid for grieving 11 years later. He was long gone, I shouldn’t feel anything. But, that’s not how it works. Over time, I felt that sadness less frequently, but still, 6 years later I feel twinges at times. I have also, at times, felt completely at peace with our situation, and at other times, have seriously forgotten about him. That, I believe, is often a defense mechanism.
Renee has decided to reach out to other siblings of aborted children through her blog and through two Facebook groups she’s created: Abortion Hurts Siblings and Others and a “secret” group called “I Lost a Sibling to Abortion.” If you are suffering from the loss of a sibling through abortion – or still processing it – check out Renee’s blog and Facebook groups. Losing a sibling through abortion is a legitimate cause for grief and pain, and it’s important to find healing as much as possible.
Abortion Recovery International also helps siblings of aborted children find healing. You can call them at 1-800-395-HELP.
We must admit that abortion causes only suffering for the brothers and sisters of an aborted child – whether they come before or after the abortion. As Barb says:
I think one of the most difficult things for me to face is a woman who is attempting to justify an abortion for the sake of her other children. I always want to tell them…the best thing for her little ones is to have a brother or a sister. In fact, explaining to sons and daughters a few years in the future as to why they aborted their sibling will probably be the most difficult thing they will ever do[.]

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Christians Beaten for Worshipping in India

Anti-Christian Violence Spreading Across India « Persecution News

Anti-Christian Violence Spreading Across India

ICC Note:
Two more incidents of anti-Christian have been reported coming out of the state of Madhya Pradesh. Hindu nationalist groups like RSS are stoking religious tension into outright religious conflict. Two pastors were attacked and beaten in separate incidents this week. In each case the pastor was arrested and jailed after being beaten. In both cases the Hindu radicals broke into the homes of these pastors. Are pastors in India safe?
2/21/2013 India (AsiaNews) - Two more anti-Christian incidents in Madhya Pradesh illustrate the latest trend among Hindu fundamentalists. In addition to filing false charges over forced conversions, they are now attacking Christians in the privacy of their homes even though "praying in one's home is not a crime," Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) Sajan George said.
Pentecostal Christians were attacked in two separate incidents on 16 and 18 February. Last Monday, members of the Hindu ultranationalist Bajrang Dal stormed the home of a man, Hiralal, in the village of Roshni, where they beat up Rev Iliyas Buck who was leading Bible studies. After the attackers called police, the clergyman was taken into custody and charges of forced conversion were laid against him. He was eventually released a few hours later.
Last Saturday, Hindu nationalist from the Bajrang Dal and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) broke up a prayer meeting in the village of Gulai. After beating up the clergyman conducting the service, Rev Isaac, they took him away later in the evening to Khalwa where they resumed their beating. Later, they handed him over to police who kept him in jail overnight.
Although the Indian constitution recognises freedom of worship, incidents of this kind have become more frequent across the country.

66 Churches Burned Down in Burma since June 2011

Sixty-six Churches Burned Down in Burma Since June 2011 « Persecution News

Sixty-six Churches Burned Down in Burma Since June 2011

Religious persecution, rape still evident in Kachin State
ICC Note: In this shocking report a human rights organization working in Burma reveals that sixty-six churches have been burned down by the Burmese military since the beginning of a military offensive in June 2011. The Burmese military, which is made up completely of Buddhist troops, has been at war with the ethnic Kachin, who are over 90% Christian, for decades. A cease-fire between the groups ended when the Burmese military attacked again in June 2011. According to this article they have waged “unequal warfare” on Christian holy days and torched sixty-six churches in just a year and a half.  
2/15/2013 Burma (MN) -Sixty-six Christian churches have been burnt down in Kachin state since the conflict erupted in June 2011, according to the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT), a figure that is backed by Myitkyina-based Kachin Baptist Convention.
According to website CatholicCulture, spokesman Bishop Francis Daw Tang of Myitkyina said, “As a church, we walk with our displaced people, watch their lives being destroyed by war, their families fragmented by the depressing life in the displaced camps.”
He accused government forces were waging “unequal warfare” on Christian holy days.
Kwat’s Marip said there are now 100,000 people displaced by the conflict in Kachin State, 60,000 of whom are sheltered at the Sino-Myanmar border or other areas under Kachin rebel control, and 40,000 in areas under government control.
Marip said her organization had continuing evidence of systematic rape by Myanmar troops against Kachin and other ethnic women. She said KWAT had recorded 30 incidents where 64 women or girls had been sexually assaulted in Kachin State since the conflict began.
“Half of those women raped were killed afterward,” she said.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Origin Of Life Follies: Evolutionists Ignore the Obvious Questions

OOL Follies: Evolutionists Ignore the Obvious Questions

Posted on
By David Coppedge
RNA lite? Chemicals known as TAPAS and CA (left) assemble together forming rosettes (middle) that then stack into genelike chains (right). Credit: B.J. Cafferty et al., JACS (2013)
RNA lite? Chemicals known as TAPAS and CA (left) assemble together forming rosettes (middle) that then stack into genelike chains (right).
Credit: B.J. Cafferty et al., JACS (2013)

In origin-of-life (OOL) research, any partial solution seems good enough, even if the big questions go unanswered.

Stack of Plates Sans Code
Science Now got real excited about a new kind of RNA that, with a sufficient kind of design, can organize into a stack that reporter Robert Service (not the Alaskan storyteller) believes mimics DNA.  In “Self-Assembling Molecules Offer New Clues on Life’s Possible Origin,” he spoke of problems with certain RNAs called CA and TAP that stubbornly refuse to self-assemble in water.  A little tweaking got them to cooperate the way scientists wanted:

Unfortunately, in water CA and TAP clump together in large ribbons and sheets and quickly fall out of solution, making it hard to conceive of how these proto-RNAs could have stored genetic information in the earliest stages of life.

Now, however, Hud and his colleagues at Georgia Tech and the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Barcelona, Spain, have solved this solvent problem. The researchers gave TAP a short chemical tail, transforming it into a chemical they call TAPAS, as they reported on Friday in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. And that one change encourages it to assemble with CA to form rosettes in water. What is more, the rosettes stack atop one another, forming long genelike chains made up of as many as 18,000 individual TAPAS and CA components—quite a stack of small plates….

OOL Follies: Evolutionists Ignore the Obvious Questions

Posted on February 13, 2013 in Cell Biology, Dumb Ideas, Geology, Origin of Life, Philosophy of Science, Solar System In origin-of-life (OOL) research, any partial solution seems good enough, even if the big questions go unanswered.
Stack of Plates Sans Code
Science Now got real excited about a new kind of RNA that, with a sufficient kind of design, can organize into a stack that reporter Robert Service (not the Alaskan storyteller) believes mimics DNA.  In “Self-Assembling Molecules Offer New Clues on Life’s Possible Origin,” he spoke of problems with certain RNAs called CA and TAP that stubbornly refuse to self-assemble in water.  A little tweaking got them to cooperate the way scientists wanted:
Unfortunately, in water CA and TAP clump together in large ribbons and sheets and quickly fall out of solution, making it hard to conceive of how these proto-RNAs could have stored genetic information in the earliest stages of life.
Now, however, Hud and his colleagues at Georgia Tech and the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Barcelona, Spain, have solved this solvent problem. The researchers gave TAP a short chemical tail, transforming it into a chemical they call TAPAS, as they reported on Friday in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. And that one change encourages it to assemble with CA to form rosettes in water. What is more, the rosettes stack atop one another, forming long genelike chains made up of as many as 18,000 individual TAPAS and CA components—quite a stack of small plates.
Unfortunately for Service, this serves no purpose without a code to organize the sequence of the plates (which don’t even resemble DNA’s double helix and paired bases – the foundation of the genetic code).  He was content to call this “a step in the right direction.
Assault on Battery
Tia Ghose in a story on NBC News said, “Theorists are pumped up about their new origin of life proposal.”  This one has nothing to do with RNAs, but rather theoretical natural “batteries” in hydrothermal vents where “life may have gotten started.”  The gaps in one quote are astonishing:
Somehow, the precursors of life harnessed carbon dioxide and hydrogen available in those primitive conditions to create the building blocks of life, such as amino acids and nucleotides (building blocks of DNA). But those chemical reactions require a power source, said study co-author Nick Lane, a researcher at the University College London.
Ghose seemed close to a solution merely by having the battery, without the need to explain the computer and software.  Live Science asked, “Origin of Life: Did a Simple Pump Drive Process?” but did not offer a critique of Lane’s suggestion.  In its coverage, Nature News didn’t address DNA or codes at all, but exposed Nick Lane to SEQOTW by stating a conundrum:
It is assumed that the rocky proto-cells would initially be lined with leaky organic membranes. If the cells were to escape the vents and become free-living in the ocean, these membranes would have to be sealed. But sealing the membrane would cut off natural proton gradients, because although an ATP synthase would let protons into the cell, there would be nothing to pump them out, and the concentration of protons on each side of the membrane would rapidly equalize. Without an ion gradient “they would lose power,” says Lane.
Proteins that pump protons out of the cell would solve the problem, but there would have been no pressure for such proteins to evolve until after the membranes were closed. In which case, “They would have had to evolve a proton pumping  system in no time, which is impossible,” says Lane.
Lane implies that given some time, the impossible becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain, as George Wald claimed decades ago in a widely-criticized article on the origin of life.  On PhysOrg, Nick Lane swept aside the problem of the genetic code with a hand wave: “Life is, in effect, a side-reaction of an energy-harnessing reaction.
It Rocketed from Space
Intoxicated by the phrase “building blocks of life,” Tia Ghose looked to the wisdom of NASA scientists who think they found hydroxylamine.  What?  Well, given access to acetic acid, this “white, unstable crystalline, hygroscopic compound” (Wikipedia) whose nitrate form can be used for rocket fuel, can form amino acids, Ghose claimed in Live Science.  And once you have amino acids, can’t you envision proteins?  Again, nothing was said about the genetic code, or even how those amino acids could be filtered into a one-handed population.  Instead, Ghose imagined worlds in collision: “In turn, hydroxylamine could react with other compounds, such as acetic acid, to form amino acids that could be dumped onto other worlds during space-rock collisions.
Get your local OOL researcher to take the following pledge: “I will not publish anything that contains the words may, might, could, perhaps, or possibly.”  They won’t do it because they would be out of a job.  For the rest of us, their storytelling under the banner of “science” is unbearable.
For an explanation of why partial steps in their story are of no value, we turn to a quotation from the 5/22/2002 commentary:
They took a giant leap of faith. “But at least they were in the lab experimenting; isn’t that better than just giving up and claiming ‘God did it’?” (This is a favorite criticism of Eugenie Scott and the NCSE.) It depends.
To illustrate this, picture a large canyon, representing the origin of life, that the evolutionists must cross by building a bridge over it. They think they are making progress when they hire a helicopter to hold a steel girder out in mid-air and say, “We have demonstrated that this girder would work as part of our bridge, if all the other parts were in place.” But what happens the moment they let go of the girder, and the pilot flies away? It crashes to the bottom of the canyon, accomplishing nothing. In their write-up of their results, they might refer to other helicopters that have held up other girders and cables at other points, none of which could have ever hung out there in mid-air waiting for the next piece to join up, yet they boast about the progress they’re making.
An evolutionist may retort that they are not holding their girders in mid-air, but building from the sides to meet in the middle. No they are not; every one of their experiments independently cheats by invoking intelligent design (the helicopter or the prefabricated girders), which is unlike what nature would do. To imitate nature, they would have to take their intelligently guiding hands off the apparatus, and wait for millions of years in despair while nothing happens. Besides, nature would only be able to build from one side of the canyon, and would have no directionality or will to aim for the other side, or to build on any previous “successes”. (How do you define success, by the way, without a mind?) Invoking natural selection prior to replication is also cheating; but without it, there is no building on prior successes.
Our bridge analogy is actually generous toward evolution; we gave them helicopters and steel girders, which are all designed objects built or manipulated by intelligent minds. The evolutionists’ task is to tell us how mindless nature, using raw materials like iron ore, built the bridge itself, without help, and tell us why nature would even want to do such a marvelous thing. And why even grant them the iron ore? Go back far enough, and they have to explain the origin of all the raw materials from nothing.

Jesus Resurrection Debate - Dr. Gary Habermas vs Antony Flew

Originally presented in 2003 at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Christian Dr. Gary Habermas vs then atheist Professor Antony Flew

(434) 582-2577 or 582-2099 (OFFICE)
(434) 534-0601 (HOME) 
  • Ph.D., (1976), Michigan State University
    • Area: History and Philosophy of Religion
  • M.A., (1973), University of Detroit
    • Area: Philosophical Theology
  • B.R.E., (1972), William Tyndale College
    • Majors: Christian Education, Bible, Social Sciences
    • Minors: Philosophy, Greek, English and Speech
  • 1981 to present: Liberty University
    Title and Position: Distinguished Research Professor; Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School; Chair, Department of Philosophy and Theology, Liberty University; current appointment: teaching in PhD program
  • 1979 to 1981: William Tyndale College
    Position and Title: Chairman of Philosophy Department, Associate Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy of Religion
  • Thirty-Six Books (Author, Co-Author, or Editor), including:
    • What’s so Good about Feeling Bad?, with John Thomas (Tyndale, 2008)
    • C. S. Lewis as Philosopher, co-ed. with Jerry Walls & David Baggett (InterVarsity, 2008)
    • The Secret of the Talpiot Tomb: Unraveling the Mystery of the Jesus Family Tomb (Broadman & Holman, 2007)
    • Philosophy of History, Miracles, and the Resurrection of Jesus, second edition (Academx Publishing, 2006)
    • Resurrected? An Atheist & Theist Dialogue with A. Flew (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005)
    • The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus with M. Licona (Kregel, 2004)
    • The Risen Jesus & Future Hope (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003)
    • The Resurrection: Heart of New Testament Doctrine (College Press, 2000)
    • The Resurrection: Heart of the Christian Life (College Press, 2000)
    • The Thomas Factor: Using Your Doubts to Draw Closer to God (Broadman & Holman, 1999)
    • Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence for Immortality with J.P. Moreland (Crossway, 1998; Wipf & Stock, 2003)
    • In Defense of Miracles: A Comprehensive Case for God's Action in History co-ed. with D. Geivett (Inter-Varsity, 1997)
    • Forever Loved: A Personal Account of Grief & Resurrection (College Press, 1997)
    • Prolegomena to Theology (Harcourt Brace, 1996)
    • Survey of Christian Theology (Harcourt Brace, 1996)
    • The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ (College Press, 1996)
    • Why Believe? God Exists! with T. Miethe (College Press, 1993)
    • Dealing with Doubt (Moody Press, 1990)
    • The Shroud & the Controversy: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for Authenticity with K. Stevenson (Thomas Nelson, 1990)
    • Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? The Resurrection Debate with A. Flew, ed. T. Miethe (Harper & Row, 1987; Wipf & Stock, 2003)
    • Verdict on the Shroud: Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ with K. Stevenson (Servant Books, 1981; Dell Publishing, 1982); Nine foreign editions; International best-seller
    • The Resurrection of Jesus: An Apologetic (Baker, 1980; University Press of America, 1984)
  • Over Sixty Chapters or Articles in Additional Books, including:

    • "The Resurrection of Jesus and the Talpiot Tomb," in Buried Hope or Risen Savior? ed. Charles Quarles (Broadman & Holman, 2008)
    • "The Resurrection of Jesus and Recent Agnosticism," in Reasons for Faith, ed. Norman Geisler & Chad Meister (Crossway, 2007)
    • "The Resurrection Appearances of Jesus" in Harmony of the Gospels, ed. Steven L. Cox & Kendall H. Easley (Broadman & Holman, 2007)
    • "Mapping the Recent Trend toward the Bodily Resurrection Appearances of Jesus in Light of Other Prominent Critical Positions," in The Resurrection of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan & N. T. Wright in Dialogue, ed. R. Stewart (Fortress, 2006)
    • "Resurrection of Jesus" & "Resurrection of Jesus, Implications of," in New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics, ed. C. Campbell-Jack & G. McGrath (InterVarsity, 2006)
    • "The Case for Christ's Resurrection," in To Everyone an Answer, ed. F. Beckwith, W.L. Craig, & J.P. Moreland (InterVarsity, 2004)
    • "Plato, Platonism," "Rationalism," & "Resurrection of Christ," in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. W. Elwell, Second Ed. (Baker, 2001)
    • "Why I Believe the Miracles of Jesus Actually Happened" & "Why I Believe the New Testament is Historically Reliable," in Why I am a Christian, ed. N. Geisler & P. Hoffman (Baker, 2001)
    • "Historical Epistemology, Jesus' Resurrection, & the Shroud of Turin," in Proceedings of the 1999 Shroud of Turin International Conference, ed. B. Walsh (Magisterium Press, 2000)
    • "The Evidence of Appearances," in The Case for Christ by L. Strobel (Harper Collins/Zondervan, 1998)
    • "Philosophy of History, Historical Relativism and History as Evidence," in Evangelical Apologetics, ed. M. Bauman, D. W. Hall, & R. C. Newman (Christian Publications, 1996)
    • "Did Jesus Perform Miracles?" in Jesus Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents the Historical Jesus, ed. M. Wilkins & J.P. Moreland (Zondervan, 1995)
    • "A Public Debate" in Arguing Persuasively by R. Lee & K. Lee (Longmans, 1989)
    • "A Plea for the Practical Application of Christian Philosophy" in A Christian's Guide to Faith and Reason by T. Miethe (Bethany, 1987)
    • "Averroes, Rationalism and the Leap of Faith" in Shalom: Essays In Honor of Dr. Charles H. Shaw, ed. E.J. Mayhew (Tyndale College Press, 1983)
    • "Skepticism: David Hume" in Biblical Errancy: An Analysis of Its Philosophical Roots, ed. N. Geisler (Zondervan, 1981)
  • Articles: Well over 100 articles and reviews published (or accepted) in journals and magazines such as:

    Religious Studies, Faith and Philosophy, Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, Dialog: A Journal of Theology, Fides et Historia, Christian Scholar's Review, Philosophia Christi, Catholic Digest, The Simon Greenleaf Review of Law and Religion, Bibliotheca Sacra, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Themelios, Trinity Journal, International Christian Digest, Apologia (India), Criswell Theological Review, Journal of Church and State, Christian Counseling Today, Christian Leadership Journal, Grace Theological Journal, Christianity Today, Saturday Evening Post, and Conservative Digest.
1996 to present: Visiting or Adjunct Professor , teaching about forty courses at fifteen different Graduate Schools and Seminaries, including:
Trinity Evangelical, Trinity Western/Northwestern (Vancouver, Canada), Biola, Bethel, Western (Conservative Baptist), Southeastern Baptist, Tyndale (Toronto), Tyndale (Amsterdam), Reformed (Orlando), Southern Evangelical, Faith
Approximately 1800 lectures at about 100 universities, colleges, seminaries, in the U.S. and elsewhere, including:
Stanford, Pennsylvania, Duke Divinity, Rice, UCLA, Notre Dame, Southern Methodist, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Baylor, Michigan State, Washington (WA), Washington (St. Louis), Louisiana State, Pennsylvania State, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Kentucky, Eastern Virginia Medical, Clemson, Arizona, Arizona State, Cal Poly, George Mason, Windsor (Canada), Wycliffe Hall (Oxford), Oriel (Oxford), Clare (Cambridge), Tyndale House (UK), London School of Economics (UK), Uppsala (Sweden), Lund (Sweden), Strasbourg (France), Moscow (Russia), Novasibirsk (Siberia, Russia), Trinity Evangelical Divinity, Trinity Western, Wheaton, George Fox, Southwestern Baptist, Dallas Theological, Biola, Bethel, Taylor, Southeastern Baptist, New Orleans Baptist, Midwestern Baptist, as well as dozens of churches, including Willow Creek, Southeastern Christian, Maclean’s Bible, Mariners, Christ Fellowship, and Thomas Road Baptist
Marital Status: Married (Eileen), seven children, ten grandchildren
Hobbies: Reading, sports, chess
Head Coach, Liberty University Ice Hockey Team (Club), 1985-1994

Antony Flew

After the WWII, Flew achieved a first class degree in Literae Humaniores at St John's College, Oxford. Flew was a graduate student of Gilbert Ryle, prominent in ordinary language philosophy. Both Flew and Ryle were among many Oxford philosophers fiercely criticised in Ernest Gellner's book Words and Things (1959). A 1954 debate with Michael Dummett over backward causation was an early highlight in Flew's career.[10]

For a year, Flew was a lecturer in philosophy at Christ Church, Oxford. Afterwards, he was a lecturer for four years at the University of Aberdeen, and a professor of philosophy at the University of Keele for twenty years. Between 1973 and 1983 he was professor of philosophy at the University of Reading. At this time, he developed one of his most famous arguments, the No true Scotsman fallacy in his 1975 book, Thinking About Thinking. Upon his retirement, Flew took up a half-time post for a few years at York University, Toronto.

North Dakota Senate passes personhood amendment and abortion ban

Submitted by jennifer on Thursday, February 7, 2013
BISMARCK, N.D., Feb. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — For the first time in US history, a personhood amendment has passed the North Dakota Senate.

SCR 4009 states, “the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

In addition, the Senate has approved SB 2303 which “ensures that the protection that our criminal laws afford to victims of crimes extends to all human beings born and unborn.”
SCR 4009 is the first personhood amendment to ever pass the North Dakota Senate.
The amendment will move next to the House of Representatives, where similar personhood amendments previously passed in 2009 and 2011 but were prevented from being voted upon by undemocratic maneuvers.

“North Dakota is leading the way for equal rights and protections for all human beings,” affirmed Jennifer Mason , spokesperson for Personhood USA. “After the struggles to pass life-affirming amendments in the Senate in the past four years, we are very pleased that the North Dakota Senate has chosen to protect all living human beings. This is a historic day in North Dakota.”

SCR 4009 and SB 2303 were both written as to ensure that mother and baby are both treated as medical patients, that medical care is not inhibited, and that fertility treatments are not banned.

“Abortion laws are archaic, based on 40-year-old science and technology,” added Mason. “Our understanding of pregnancy and human development since Roe v Wade has changed dramatically. There is no question now that the unborn child is a human being and a person, who has a right to legal recognition and protection.”

SOURCE Personhood USA

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Falling Plates

Are There More Gospels? - Mike Licona, PhD

Did Emperor Constantine have anything to do with putting in four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) in the New Testament? Many skeptics think the church supressed "gospels" outside of the New Testament, so they won't be in the canon of scripture. But is this true? Mike Licona explores this "Da Vinci Code" like conspiracy.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Zeitgeist: The Movie Refuted - by Steve Gregg

Part 1 of 2

Part I of Zeitgeist the Movie, entitled The Greatest Story Ever
Told, questions religions as being god-given stories, arguing that
the Christian religion specifically is mainly derived from other
religions, astronomical facts, astrological myths and traditions,
which in turn were derived from or shared elements with others. In
furtherance of the Jesus myth hypothesis, this part argues that the
historical Jesus is a literary and astrological hybrid, nurtured
politically in the interest of control.

Horus, an ancient Egyptian Sky God (Referred to in the movie as
a Sun God), is introduced as having a number of attributes similar
to that of many of the religious deities which came after him,
including but not limited to Attis, Krishna, Dionysus, Mithra and
Jesus Christ; these attributes include a virgin birth on December
25, twelve disciples, burial for three days, resurrection, and the
performing of miracles. Steve Gregg, Bible teacher from easily refutes, these lies, myths and
half-truths put forth by Peter Joseph and gives the true

Part 2 of 2

The Case for a Creator: Evidence from Biochemistry

Click here for the video.

A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God (Hardcover)
The Case For A Creator DVD
A journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God