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Showing posts from January, 2012

Is Everyone's Biblical Understanding Tainted by Preconceptions?

In looking over the news, I came across an article concerning dueling Joels: Bible Scholar and author Joel Hoffman disagreed with Lakewood mega-church Pastor and author Joel Osteen. While there is probably more that Joel Osteen and I agree upon than disagree upon, I do not believe that he is a good Bible expositor. (What I have heard strongly suggests that he is a proponent of the prosperity Gospel - a teaching that I find not only not Biblically supportable but contrary to the Biblical teaching in many respects.) Thus, initially I did not expect the article to be particularly interesting -- after all, there is a lot disagreeable in Osteen's teachings.

But when I read the reasons for the disagreement, I became more interested. It essentially boiled down to this: Hoffman was calling Osteen a coward for hiding behind the Bible for being against homosexual marriage when Hoffman was stating the the Bible did not condemn homosexuality. Since I think that the Bible is rather clear in it…

Does "Tebowing" Violate Matthew 6:6?

Recently, in response to criticism of Denver Bronco Quarterback Tim Tebow's outspoken belief in God, I authored a blog entry entitled Bill Maher's Twitter and the Fear of God in which I supported Tebow's practice of kneeling on the field in thankful prayer to God. One of my favorite commenters, Alejandro, wrote: "As a former Christian, I have to point out Matthew 6:6, which seems missing in the discussion."

Being one who doesn't like to leave an issue unanswered, I did want to comment on why I don't believe that Tebowing violates Matthew 6:6.

Matthew 6:6 is part of a broader story. Here's the entire account with Matthew 6:6 in bold:

Giving to the Needy

1. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be prai…

What is Sin and How Can I Explain It?

Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. ~ Lutheran Service Book, Divine Service, Setting One
Sin is a basic concept of Christianity. Christians speak about how we have sinned and how we need forgiveness from sin. Yet, Christians are inordinately bad at explaining sin. As a consequence, many non-Christians struggle with the concept of sin...or discount it all together. They equate sin with some action that society considers wrong. So, some people believe that as long as they don't lie, cheat, steal or kill they haven't sinned.

This understanding of sin is shallow and unbiblical. So, how can we describe what sin is to others in a way that is Biblical and which non-Christians can readily grasp?

The Biblical Words for "Sin"

To begin with, what is the source of the word "sin"? Several words have been translated as "sin&…

Science is a Cultural Construct: Supernatural is a Fact

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Last time I wrote an article about the atheist IQ scam, round II, the latest go round with Nybrog and friends. We have not heard the last of the IQ issue, I still plan to write part 2. Yet there is an aspect of that last post that I want to go into while I'm writing part 2. One aspect of that bear further reflection, that's what Brown said about the Flynn effect. The Flynn effect is the notion that IQ's have been rising, that the IQ's of our great grand parents would have been extremely low, low enough to count as restarted. The reason is because, as I said in that article:

Meta:

This is all very self referential because IQ is only measuring IQ not intelligence. Brown talks about the Flynn ects which shows that IQ's are getting higher. Our children will be smarter than us, we are smarter than our parents and grandparents. The problem is they are only getting higher not because people are really smarter but because the concentrated urban environment re-writes cultur…

Latest Round of Atheist IQ Scam Based upon Racism and False Assumptions

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Einstein believed in God.

On Atheistwatch I've written about the new attempts of atheists to prove that they have higher IQ's than religious people: Atheism's Psychology Today Scam, and The Atheist IQ Scam (part 1) (see part 2). Today I found an article by Andrew Brown in the American Guardian (Andrew Brown's Blog) where he demonstates the racist background of the atheist assumptions. He also discusses the idea that IQ tests are not measuring intelligence but cultural norms.

First, I originally wrote about Atheist IQ claims (that atheists are Smarter because they have higher IQ's) on Doxa. This was roughly somewhere in the early oughts (2001-2004). At that time the atheist website making the claims put up a bunch of old studies that pre-dated the 60s. They had small samples and their basic assumptions where veg. they used the term "liberal" interchangeably with atheism and most of them never made clear that they had any atheists in the study. My criticism w…

Is Everyone an Agnostic about Other Religions?

In reading through news stories today, I noted that a number of stories concerned agnosticism. The always less-than-thoughtful Huffington Post has an article entitled "Debates About Agnosticism Are as Old as the Concept Itself", and second entitled "Agnosticism in the UK: It's Time to Listen to the Faithless Majority." (I wonder why the Huffington Post is obsessed with agnosticism.) Following up on some thoughts, I came across a page on the old Skeptical Web...er, I mean the Secular Web, called "Why I am an Agnostic" by Clarence Darrow.

The opening paragraph is written in a different typeset than the remainder, so I am uncertain whether the following quote is from Mr. Darrow or from skeptic who felt he ha to take a few cheap shots as a sort of introduction to Mr. Darrow's own thoughts below. Regardless of the source, the quote that caught my attention was, "Everyone is an agnostic as to the beliefs or creeds they do not accept." This was…

A Simple Illustration of the Trinity

Too often I have sat in churches where teachers have tried to illustrate the Biblical concept of the Trinity. The problem is that almost without exception, these illustrations are wrong, wrong, wrong! (Please note, that my repeating wrong three times is not the simple illustration of the Trinity -- just emphasis.)

Common but Bad Illustrations

I remember one pastor using the example of a man being a Father to his son, a son to his father and a husband to his wife. See? A Trinity. Yes, it is a Trinity, but it is not the Biblical Trinity because it is an example of Modalism or Sabellianism. The Trinity is not God presenting himself in three different forms or modes. The Trinity teaches that each of the three persons of the Trinity are separate persons each of which is fully God.

Another example was by a well-meaning teacher as part of a kids' sermon. She pulled out a "boom box" which was a single music system with a radio, a CD player and a cassette player built in. See? Th…