August 9th, 2011 by Michael L. Brown

It was political strategist James Carville who coined the now-famous phrase that helped catapult Bill Clinton to the presidency, incessantly reminding him that, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Any candidate seeking to unseat President Obama in the 2012 elections will surely follow this same strategy.

After all, the economy is in shambles and Americans are fed up with the latest congressional efforts to reduce the deficit. Unemployment is nearing epidemic proportions, gasoline prices are outrageous, spending is out of control, and for the first time, our national credit rating has been downgraded. Worse still, if foreign money was pulled out of our economy, we would have a massive, coast to coast collapse.

Political pundits commonly warn candidates, especially Republican candidates, that voters today are not as concerned with social and moral issues as much as they are concerned with the economy. In that respect, Carville’s sage advice to Clinton is nothing new. After all, Hebert Hoover’s 1928 campaign slogan was, “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” Has anything really changed since 1928 in terms of what Americans care about the most?

Surely, it still is “the economy, stupid.” Or is it? Could it be that there’s more to the story? Could it be that we make a serious and fundamental mistake when we separate economic issues from moral issues? Could it be that we are often treating the symptoms rather than the cause? There was bipartisan disgust as the nation watched the president and both political parties wrangling over a solution to the current financial crisis, and in the end, all we got was a very small, largely ineffective band aid. As one political cartoonist depicted it, the congressional “solution” was like slowing down the speed with which the Titanic was sinking.

Across party lines, there was a feeling that we were not really getting to the root of the problem, but few, if any were suggesting that it is impossible to separate economics from morality. Eventually, our moral choices will have a definite and direct impact on the money (or lack thereof) in our pockets.

A successful businessman recently suggested to me that some of the roots of our economic problems include:

1) Instant gratification. It was Jim Morrison of the Doors who once proclaimed, “We want the world and we want it now!” That was 1967. Today, we really want it now (as in “instant”; think “messaging” and “downloading” and more). If I want it, I will find a way to get it, and I will get it now. Yes, it’s true that I’m out of work, but I will get that iPad, I will be at the movie theatre this weekend, and I will find a way to buy the latest, trendy threads. Thank God for credit cards!

2) We have become consumers rather than producers. One website claims that, “Americans constitute 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy. On average, one American consumes as much energy as 2 Japanese, 6 Mexicans, 13 Chinese, 31 Indians, 128 Bangladeshis, 307 Tanzanians, 370 Ethiopians.” And, “Americans throw out 200,000 tons of edible food daily, enough to feed 3 third world countries.” Of course, some of this has to do with the fact that we have a lot more at our disposal than, say, the average Ethiopian. But a lot of this also has to do with our selfishness, greed, and lack of discipline. Do our political leaders dare address those issues?

3) The breakdown of the family. Two generations into the sexual revolution (which has brought us to the point of sexual anarchy), and two generations into no-fault divorce, the “traditional family unit” is an increasingly threatened species, and at a high economic cost to our society. Author Frank Turek points out that kids raised by their mom and dad are: “a. Seven times less likely to live in poverty; b. Six times less likely to commit suicide; c. Less than half as likely to commit crime; d. Less than half as likely to become pregnant out of wedlock; e. Develop better academically and socially; f. [Are] healthier physically and emotionally when they reach adulthood.” You had better believe the breakdown of the family has massive economic implications.

4) Abortion. With all the concerns about Social Security defaulting, very few leaders are talking about the 800 pound gorilla missing from the room, namely, multiplied millions of working Americans who are not here to pay into the system and contribute to the economy because their lives were cut short in the womb. Yes, there is an economic consequence to abortion as well.

Perhaps, then, it would be wise for political candidates who really care about what’s best for America to change their slogan to, “It’s the morality, stupid.” Or is this slogan too true to be good?

Michael Brown is host of the daily, syndicated talk radio show, The Line of Fire, and author of A Queer Thing Happened to America: And What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been.

Posted in Culture, Lead Article, News Tagged with: , , , , , ,

June 29th, 2011 by Frank Turek

Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission.
 

Are you supposed to have sex at work? I guess it depends on your profession, but for most of us the answer is “no.” Why then is corporate America obsessed with training about sex?

As described in several recent columns by Mike Adams, I was fired as a vendor by Cisco for my conservative beliefs about sex and marriage even though my beliefs were never expressed on the job. When a homosexual manager found out on the Internet that I had authored a book giving evidence that maintaining our current marriage laws would be best for society, he couldn’t tolerate me and requested I be fired. An HR executive canned me within hours without ever speaking to me. This happened despite the fact that the leadership and teambuilding programs I led always received high marks (even from the homosexual manager!).

How could an experienced HR professional commit such a blatant act of discrimination unless the Cisco culture was decidedly tilted left? Why didn’t Cisco’s relentless emphasis and training on “inclusion and diversity” serve to prevent this? Maybe it’s because “inclusion and diversity” means something different to corporate elites than to normal Americans. That’s why their training didn’t prevent the problem but actually created an environment of intolerance that led to the problem.

Cisco’s chief “Inclusion and Diversity” officer, Ms. Marilyn Nagel, had trouble on the phone defining what “inclusion and diversity” actually means at Cisco, so she sent me several links from the Cisco website. As in our conversation, I found no specific definition on the website but plenty of platitudes, such as Cisco is committed to “valuing and encouraging different perspectives, styles, thoughts, and ideas.”

If that’s the case, then why not value my “perspectives, styles, thoughts and ideas?”

Because only certain perspectives, styles, thoughts and ideas are approved, you see. “Inclusion and diversity” to corporate elites actually means exclusion for those that don’t agree with the approved views. Whoops, there goes “diversity.”

Shouldn’t the real intent of Cisco’s value of “inclusion and diversity” be to ensure that people in that diverse workforce work together cordially and professionally even when they inevitably disagree on certain political, moral or religious questions? It would seem so. In a large multicultural workforce, people need to work together despite political or religious differences. That’s a noble and necessary goal. It’s totalitarian, however, to subject people to “diversity” training and corporate sponsorships that go beyond teaching respect for people to advocacy of what they do in bed.

All employees should treat one another with kindness and respect because they are fellow human beings, not because of their sexual behavior. If people are to be respected simply on the basis of their behavior, then none of us qualify for respect because we have all behaved badly on occasion.

So instead of trying to force all employees to accept any sexual behavior—especially something as controversial as homosexuality—the inclusion and diversity police should be urging us to treat all people with respect simply because we are human beings. That’s all you need to be productive at work anyway.

But as soon as you start telling people from different religious and cultural backgrounds what they must think about homosexuality, you will offend and create conflict and resentment. As a Christian, I am commanded to respect all people. That’s what I was doing at Cisco. But don’t tell me that I have to respect and celebrate what people do in bed. Don’t tell me that I must violate my conscience or my God in order to make widgets. That’s not only immoral and un-American; it’s manipulative and stupid. How does accepting homosexual behavior have anything to do with job productivity? Are we supposed to have sex at work?

There simply is no business reason to judge my beliefs about sexual behavior or anyone else’s. And even if some corporate nanny could dream up a reason, it would not justify the assault on an employee’s conscience or religion.

Notice that Cisco did not have a problem with my behavior. My job performance was deemed excellent, and I was “inclusive and diverse” by working in a respectful manner with people of all moral, religious and political views.

Cisco had a problem with my thoughts. Although I certainly accepted homosexuals, I committed the thought crime of disagreeing with homosexual behavior and homosexual political goals. So despite all their talk about “inclusion and diversity,” Cisco deemed my thoughts about something irrelevant to the workplace as grounds for immediate exclusion. Do you think they would have excluded me if I had pro-same-sex marriage thoughts? Of course not—that’s an approved view that Cisco actually sponsors (even though they deny it).

But people who don’t accept homosexual behavior don’t have to work at Cisco then!

True, they don’t. But if Cisco or any other company wants to make it a requirement that every employee and vendor personally accept the behavior of homosexuality or homosexual political goals such as same-sex marriage, then tell us directly. Broadcast it to the world. Cisco can’t and won’t because such a requirement would be a clear violation of the religious protections codified in the Civil Rights Act, and it would result in a mass exodus of employees and customers.

Instead, they create an oppressive culture of political correctness under the false banner of “inclusion and diversity” to achieve the same ends. They tell the world that they value and encourage “different perspectives, styles, thoughts, and ideas” while they punish or intimidate into silence people who have “different perspectives, styles, thoughts, and ideas.” While Cisco executives would never admit this, their actions reveal this twisted truth: Cisco values homosexual behavior more than honesty, freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.

Is it the same at your workplace? Are you tired of having to hide your conservative or religious beliefs as if you live in a totalitarian state rather than America? If you continue to cower in silence before an intolerant militant minority, it will only get worse. To paraphrase Edmund Burke, “All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.” It’s time to do something—speak up.
 

Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org.

Posted in Featured Articles, News, Sexuality & Gender Tagged with: , , , , ,

May 6th, 2011 by Frank Turek

Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com , used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org.

It’s easy to spot militant atheists who attend my presentation called I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist. They usually sit with their arms folded and scowls on their faces. During a recent presentation at Michigan State, I knew I’d get push back from one such scowling student sitting to my right. He looked mad and was mad. (He wouldn’t even smile at a hilarious Homer Simpson clip!)

He shot his hand up during the Q&A and yelled out, “You mentioned the problem of evil during your presentation but you didn’t answer it! If there is a good God, then why does evil exist? Why doesn’t God stop it?”

I said, “Sir, that is an excellent question. Sometimes I bluntly answer this way. ‘If God stopped all evil, he might start with you . . . and me because we both do evil every day.’ To end evil on earth God would have to take away our free will. But if he takes away our free will, he takes away our ability to love as well. Allow me to show you a video that beautifully illustrates this in less than two minutes.” I then played this outstanding video (developed by my friend and fellow seminary graduate, Jim Zangmeister), which traces evil back to free will.

Most in the audience appreciated the clip and applauded. But the atheist was unmoved. “Why do babies die, why do tsunamis occur? These aren’t the result of free will!” he protested.

“True, they are not the result of someone’s free will today,” I explained. “But Christianity traces all of our trouble back to a free will choice by Adam. As a result, we live in a fallen world where bad things happen, but God takes the initiative to bring good from evil. In fact, you can sum up the entire Bible in one word—redemption. Paradise lost in Genesis is paradise regained in Revelation. God initiated and achieved this redemption by sending Jesus Christ who suffered and died on our behalf. So we can question God about suffering as the biblical writers did, but God didn’t exempt Himself from it. Jesus was the only completely innocent person in the history of the world, yet he suffered horribly for our redemption. He brought good from evil.”

The atheist didn’t like that either. He interrupted me several times, so I finally asked him, “Are you an atheist?”

He refused to answer but then blurted out, “It doesn’t matter!”

I said, “It does matter because if you are an atheist (I later learned from his blog he is), then you have no grounds by which to judge anything evil. Objective evil doesn’t exist unless objective good exists and objective good doesn’t exist unless God exists. You can have good without evil, but you can’t have evil without good. In other words, the shadows prove the sunshine. You can have sunshine without shadows, but you can’t have shadows without sunshine. So evil doesn’t disprove God—it actually shows there must be a God because it presupposes Good. Evil may prove there’s a devil out there, but it doesn’t disprove God.”

The atheist persisted, “But if God exists, why do some babies die such horrible deaths?”

Well, if the atheist is granting that God exists, then he has a valid question. While he can’t explain evil and suffering from his atheistic worldview, I need to explain it from mine.

My explanation went this way. Although I know why evil in general occurs (see the video), I don’t know why every specific evil occurs. But I know why I don’t know why—because I’m finite and can’t see into the future. Since God is infinite and can see all the way into eternity, he may allow evil events that ultimately work together for good. In other words, he can still bring good from evil even if we can’t see how.

To illustrate, I referred back to the classic Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” That’s where George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, falls on hard times, becomes despondent and tries to commit suicide. He’s saved by an angel and is permitted to see how life in his town would have turned out if he had never existed. George sees that everything would have turned out far worse without him, and thus realizes that even though evil infects life, good can prevail in the end. George could only see this with God’s timeless perspective. Only God can see how trillions of free choices and events can interact ultimately for good even if some of them seem hopelessly negative at the time. (In fact, that’s one reason why God told Job to trust him.)

At that point, a man sitting ten feet from the atheist raised his hand.

“Go ahead, sir.”

He first looked over at the atheist, then back at me and said, “I know of a young woman who was raped and became pregnant. The rape nearly destroyed her.” His voice began to crack . . . “But she decided that she would not punish the baby for the sin of the father. She later gave birth to a baby boy.” (By this point he was weeping openly.) “And that boy grew up to be a pastor whom God has used to help bring many people to Christ. He ministers to people to this day. That boy grew up to be me.”

He then looked back at the atheist and said, “My mother turned evil into good, and God can too.”

The atheist left immediately after the event ended, but I did get to meet that brave pastor who spoke up. His name is Gary Bingham, and he’s the pastor of Hillside Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana. Gary told me that his mom had self-confidence issues for many years but is doing much better since becoming a Christian a few years ago. I thanked him and asked him to let his mom know that she touched many for good that night. I hope through this column she has touched many more today.

Posted in Featured Articles, Philosophy & Science Tagged with: , , , , , ,

January 18th, 2011 by M. French

Some podcasts from VOR authors and related ministries:

Line of Fire Radio from Dr. Michael L. Brown:

Cross Examined from Dr. Frank Turek:

Agony Press from Eric Gilmour:

 

Posted in Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

December 6th, 2010 by Frank Turek

Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com prior to the November election, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org.

The United States Congress was in a rare joint session. All 435 representatives and 100 senators were in attendance, and the C-SPAN-TV cameras were rolling. The members were gathered together to hear a speech by a descendant of George Washington. But what they thought would be a polite speech of patriotic historical reflections quickly turned into a televised tongue-lashing. With a wagging finger and stern looks, Washington’s seventh-generation grandson declared,

Woe to you, egotistical hypocrites! You are full of greed and self-indulgence. Everything you do is done for appearances: You make pompous speeches and grandstand before these TV cameras. You demand the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats wherever you go. You love to be greeted in your districts and have everyone call you “Senator” or “Congressman.” On the outside you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness! You say you want to clean up Washington, but as soon as you get here you become twice as much a son of hell as the one you replaced!

Woe to you, makers of the law, you hypocrites! You do not practice what you preach. You put heavy burdens on the citizens, but then opt out of your own laws!

Woe to you, federal fools! You take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, but then you nullify the Constitution by confirming judges who make up their own laws.

Woe to you, blind hypocrites! You say that if you had lived in the days of the Founding Fathers, you never would have taken part with them in slavery. You say you never would have agreed that slaves were the property of their masters but would have insisted that they were human beings with unalienable rights. But you testify against yourselves because today you say that unborn children are the property of their mothers and have no rights at all! Upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed in this country. You snakes! You brood of vipers! You have left this great chamber desolate! How will you escape being condemned to hell!

Of course such an address never really took place. Who would be so blunt and rude to address the nation’s leaders that way? Certainly no one claiming to be a Christian. Are you sure?

Jesus said something very similar. What? Sweet and gentle Jesus? Absolutely. If you read the twenty-third chapter of Matthew you’ll see that much of my fictitious speech is adapted from the real speech Jesus made to the Pharisees. Contrary to the spineless Jesus invented today by those who want an excuse to be spineless themselves, the real Jesus taught with authority and did not tolerate error. When people were wrong, Jesus corrected them and sometimes he got in their faces to do so.

While Jesus was often more diplomatic, he knew that sometimes you need to be blunt with people.  Sometimes you need to be direct instead of dancing around the issues.  In fact, if you fail to be direct, you risk enabling people, allowing them to continue on their merry way, destroying themselves and the nation.

“Oh, but Jesus wouldn’t say that kind of thing to politicians,” you say.  “He wouldn’t get involved in politics.”

Think again.

Who were the Pharisees? They were not just the religious leaders but also the political leaders of Israel!  You mean Jesus was involved in politics?  Yes! Paul was too. He addressed the political leaders of his day and even used the privileges of his Roman citizenship to protect himself and advance the Gospel.

But didn’t Jesus say, “Give unto Caesar.”  Yes.  So what?  We all ought to pay taxes.  But that doesn’t mean we ought not get involved in politics.  In our country, you can not only elect “Caesar,” you can be “Caesar!”

Jesus told us to be “salt” and “light,” and he didn’t say be salt and light in everything but politics.  Christians are to be salt and light in everything they do, be it in their church, in their business, in their school, or in their government.

That doesn’t mean establishing a “Theocracy.”  Christians should be great protectors of liberty, including freedom of (not from) religion. In fact, having Christians involved in government happens to be advantageous for even non-Christians.  How so?

It is only the Christian worldview that secures the unalienable rights of the individual in God— rights that include the right to life, liberty, equal treatment, and religious freedom.  Islam won’t do it.  Islam means submission to Allah and Sharia law.  It doesn’t protect individual rights.  Neither will Hinduism (the Caste system) or outright secularism, which offers no means to ground rights in anything other than the whims of a dictator. Only Christianity grounds the rights of the individual in God, and also realizes that since God doesn’t force anyone to adhere to one set of religious beliefs, neither should the government.

I often hear Christians claiming that we ought to just “preach the Gospel” and not get involved in politics.  This is not only a false dilemma; it’s stupid (how’s that for direct?).   If you think “preaching the Gospel” is important like I do, then you ought to think that politics is important too.  Why?  Because politics and law affects your ability to preach the Gospel! If you don’t think so, go to some of the countries I’ve visited—Iran, Saudi Arabia, China.  You can’t legally “preach the Gospel” in those countries—or practice other aspects of your religion freely—because politically they’ve ruled it out.

It’s already happening here. There are several examples where religious freedoms were usurped by homosexual orthodoxy. This summer a Christian student was removed from Eastern Michigan University’s (a public school) counseling program because, due to her religious convictions, she would not affirm homosexuality to potential clients.  A Judge agreed (a similar case is pending in Georgia).  In Massachusetts, Catholic charities closed their adoption agency rather than give children to homosexual couples as the state mandated.  In Ohio, University of Toledo HR Director Crystal Dixon was fired for writing a letter to the editor in her local newspaper that disagreed with homosexual practice.

More violations of religious liberty are on the way from the people currently in charge.  Lesbian activist Chai Feldbaum, who is a recess appointment by President Obama to the EEOC, recently said regarding the inevitable conflict between homosexuality and religious liberty, “I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” So much for tolerance.  The people who say they’re fighting for tolerance are the most intolerant, totalitarian people in politics.

Getting involved in politics is necessary if for no other reason to protect your religious liberty, and the liberties of us all.  So if you’re a Christian, follow the example of Christ—call out hypocrites and fools, and vote them out on Tuesday!

Oh, I almost forgot. If you’re a pastor and you’re worried about your tax-exempt status, please remember two things:  1) you have more freedom than you think to speak on political and moral issues from the pulpit, and 2) more importantly, you’re called to be salt and light, not tax-exempt.

If you’d like the complete case for Christian involvement get Jesus Is Involved In Politics! by Neil Mammen.

Posted in Law & Politics, News Tagged with: , , , , ,

June 28th, 2010 by Frank Turek

Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org

Do the New Testament documents tell the truth about what really happened in the first century? As I wrote in my last column, authors claiming to write history are unlikely to invent embarrassing details about themselves or their heroes. Since the New Testament documents are filled with embarrassing details, we can be reasonably certain that they are telling the truth.

Notice that the disciples frequently depict themselves as dimwits. They fail to understand what Jesus is saying several times, and don’t understand what his mission is about until after the resurrection. Their thick-headedness even earns their leader, Peter, the sternest rebuke from Jesus: “Get behind me Satan!” (What great press the disciples provided for their leader and first Pope! Contrary to popular opinion, it seems the church really didn’t have editorial control of the scriptures after all.)

After Jesus asks them to stay up and pray with him during his greatest hour of need, the disciples fall asleep on Jesus not once, but twice! Then, after pledging to be faithful to the end, Peter denies Christ three times, and all but one of them run away.

The scared, scattered, skeptical disciples make no effort to give Jesus a proper burial. Instead they say a member of the Jewish ruling body that sentenced Jesus to die is the noble one—Joseph of Arimathea buries Jesus in a Jewish tomb (which would have been easy for the Jews to refute if it wasn’t true). Two days later, while the men are still hiding, the women go down and discover the empty tomb and the risen Jesus.

Who wrote all that down? Men—some of the men who were characters in the story. Now if you were part of a group of men trying to pass off a false resurrection story as the truth, would you depict yourselves as dimwitted, bumbling, rebuked, lazy, skeptical sissies, who ran away at the first sign of trouble, while the women were the brave ones who discovered the empty tomb and the risen Jesus?

If men were inventing the resurrection story, it would go more like this:

Jesus came to save the world, and he needed our help. That’s why we were there for him every step of the way. When he was in need, we prayed with him. When he wept, we wept with him (and told him to toughen up!). When he fell, we carried his cross. The gates of Hell could not prevent us from seeing his mission through!

So when that turncoat Judas brought the Romans by (we always suspected Judas), and they began to nail Jesus to the cross, we laughed at them. “He’s God you idiots! The grave will never keep him! You think you’re solving a problem, but you’re really creating a much bigger one!”

While we assured the women that everything would turn out all right, they couldn’t handle the crucifixion. Squeamish and afraid, they ran to their homes screaming and hid behind locked doors.

But we men stood steadfast at the foot of the cross, praying for hours until the very end. When Jesus finally took his last breath and the Roman Centurion confessed that Jesus was God, Peter blasted him, “That’s what we told you before you nailed him up there!” (Through this whole thing, the Romans and the Jews just wouldn’t listen!)

Never doubting that Jesus would rise on the third day, Peter announced to the Centurion, “We’ll bury him and be back on Sunday. Now go tell Pilate to put some of your ‘elite’ Roman guards at the tomb to see if you can prevent him from rising from the dead!” We all laughed and began to dream about Sunday.

That Sunday morning we marched right down to the tomb and tossed those elite Roman guards aside. Then the stone (that took eleven us to roll into place) rolled away by itself. A glowing Jesus emerged from tomb, and said, “I knew you’d come! My mission is accomplished.” He praised Peter for his brave leadership and congratulated us on our great faith. Then we went home and comforted the trembling women.

There are other events in the New Testament documents concerning Jesus that are also unlikely to be made up. For example, Jesus:

• Is considered “out of his mind” by his own family who come to seize him to take him home (Mk 3:21,31).

• Is deserted by many of his followers after he says that followers must eat his flesh and drink his blood. (John 6:66).

• Is not believed by his own brothers (John 7:5). (Disbelief turned to belief after the resurrection—ancient historians reveal that Jesus’ brother James died a martyr as the leader of the church in Jerusalem in A.D. 62).

• Is thought to be a deceiver (John 7:12).

• Turns off Jewish believers to the point that they want to stone him (John 8:30-59).

• Is called a “madman” (John 10:20).

• Is called a “drunkard” (Mt. 11:19).

• Is called “demon-possessed” (Mk 3:22, Jn 7:20, 8:48).

• Has his feet wiped with hair of a prostitute which easily could have been seen as a sexual advance (Lk 7:36-39).

• Is crucified despite the fact that “anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse” (Deut 21:23).

If you’re inventing a Messiah to the Jews, you don’t say such things about him. You also don’t admit that some of you “still doubted” Jesus had really risen from the dead, especially while he’s standing right in front of you giving the great commission (Mt. 28:17-19).

Finally, anyone trying to pass off a false resurrection story as the truth would never say the women were the first witnesses at the tomb. In the first century, a woman’s testimony was not considered on par with that of a man. An invented story would say that the men—the brave men—had discovered the empty tomb. Yet all four gospels say the women were the first witnesses – all this while the sissy-pants men had their doors locked for fear of the Jews. (After I made this point during a presentation, a lady told me that she knew why Jesus appeared to the women first. “Why?” I asked. She said, “Because he wanted to get the story out!”)

In light of these embarrassing details—along with the fact that the New Testament documents contain early, eyewitness testimony for which the writers gave their lives—it takes more faith to believe that the New Testament writers were not telling the truth.

Posted in Philosophy & Science Tagged with: , , , , , ,

June 10th, 2010 by Frank Turek

Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org

What are your most embarrassing moments? You don’t want to admit them. And if you do admit them, you certainly won’t add to your shame by inventing embarrassing moments about yourself to make you look even worse. Who’s going to lie to make himself look bad? People will lie to make themselves look good (especially politicians), but no one will lie to make himself look bad.

That’s why when historical accounts contain events embarrassing to the authors (or heroes of the authors) those events are probably true. Historians call this the principle of embarrassment, and it’s one reason why I think the writers of the Bible are telling the truth. There are far too many embarrassing details about the supposed heroes of the faith to be invented.

Just take a look at the Old Testament storyline. There’s little chance the Jews would have invented it. A story invented by Hebrews would more likely depict the Israelites as a noble and upright people. But the Old Testament writers don’t say this. Instead they depict their own people as sinful and fickle slaves who, time after time, are miraculously rescued by God, but who abandon him every chance they get. For example, after witnessing miracle after miracle that frees them from slavery in Egypt, they can’t resist worshiping the Golden Calf when Moses spends a few extra nights on the mountain. Talk about ungrateful folks with short memories! (We seem to suffer from this in America too).

Michelle MalkinThe Old Testament writers record a Hebrew history filled with bone-headed disobedience, distrust, and selfishness. Their leaders are all world-class sinners, including Moses (a murderer), Saul (a paranoid egomaniac), David (an adulterer, liar, and murderer), and Solomon (a serial polygamist). These are supposed to be the “chosen people”—the ones through which God brings the Savior of the world? Yes, and the Old Testament writers admit that the ancestors of this Messiah include deeply sinful characters such as David and Solomon and even a non-Hebrew prostitute named Rahab. This is clearly not an invented storyline!

While the Old Testament tells of one embarrassing gaffe after another, most other ancient historians avoid even mentioning unflattering historical events. For example, there’s been nothing found in the records of Egypt about the Exodus, leading some critics to suggest the event never occurred. But what do the critics expect? Peter Fineman imagines what a press release from Pharaoh might say:

“A spokesman for Rameses the great, Pharaoh of Pharaohs, supreme ruler of Egypt, son of Ra, before whom all tremble in awe blinded by his brilliance, today announced that the man Moses had kicked his royal butt for all the world to see, thus proving that God is Yahweh and the 2,000-year-old-culture of Egypt is a lie. Film at 11:00.”

Of course no press secretary for Pharaoh would admit such an event if he wanted to keep his head! The Egyptian silence on the Exodus is understandable.

By contrast, when the Egyptians scored a military victory, they went to press and exaggerated greatly. This is apparent from the oldest known reference to Israel outside the Bible. It comes from a granite monument found in the funerary temple of Pharaoh Merneptah in Thebes. The monument boasts about the military victory of the Pharaoh in the highlands of Canaan, claiming that “Israel is laid waste, his seed is not.” Historians date the battle to 1207 B.C., which confirms that Israel was in the land by that time. We know this account is exaggerated because, as history attests, Israel was not laid waste. Its seed lived on and sprouted into a great empire under David 200 years later. And its seed lives on to this day more than 3,200 years later.

How does the New Testament measure up to the principle of embarrassment? While embarrassing testimony is alone not enough to ensure historical reliability—early, eyewitness testimony is also necessary (which the New Testament has)—the principle of embarrassment is even more pronounced in the New Testament. The people who wrote down much of the New Testament are characters (or friends of characters) in the story, and they often depict themselves in an extremely unflattering light. Their claims are not likely to be invented.

Let’s put it this way: If you and your manly friends were concocting a story that you wanted to pass off as the truth, would you make yourselves look like dim-witted, uncaring, rebuked, doubting cowards who ran away at the first sign of trouble while the women were the brave ones who remained faithful? No way! But that’s exactly what we find in the New Testament. That’s one reason why I don’t have enough faith to believe that the New Testament tells an invented story.

I’ll highlight some of the New Testament’s more embarrassing details in the next column—even a few details that some could interpret as embarrassing to Jesus. In the meantime, you can find a cumulative case for God and Christianity in the book from which this column is adapted: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist.

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February 24th, 2010 by M. French

Controversial filmmaker Molotov Mitchell (often featured on WorldNetDaily) recently released a video entitled “Uganda is right, Rick Warren is Wrong” concerning Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill which would criminalize homosexuality, allowing for the death penalty in certain situations.


[Link to Video]


The video certainly contains some food for thought and some important American and Ugandan historical information, but one section gave me particular pause. At the 35 second mark, Mitchell states:

According to the Bible, God created the death penalty, not man. And it was God who determined what crimes deserved it.

So unless there’s some passage in scripture that I have missed where Jesus said “I have come to abolish the law,” then Ugandans are right, and Rick Warren is wrong.

During this segment, he displays a reference to Leviticus 20:13 which states:

If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Mitchell, then, is claiming that since Jesus did not come to “abolish the law,” then the Old Testament law that requires the death penalty for those caught engaging in homosexual acts should be enforced in obedience to God. Thus, “Uganda is right, and Rick Warren is wrong.”

It is true that Jesus did not come to abolish the Old Testament law, as Michael Brown has stated in response to the Anti-Missionary claim that “Jesus abolished the Law”:

“As Messiah, Yeshua was the ultimate Torah teacher, showing us how the entire Hebrew Bible reached fulfillment in him and also giving us deep spiritual insights into how the Torah could remain relevant for the Jewish people in generations to come, even when we would be scattered throughout the world, without a Temple, a sacrificial system, or a functioning (earthly) priesthood…”
– Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Volume 4

Does this mean, however, that all nations are bound to issue the laws of capital punishment given to Israel through Moses? If so, when governments refuse to carry out the judgments required in the Old Testament, are Christians required to perform them in their stead? (Gay activist sites have been concerned about this very thing, stating “This is what incitement to violence looks like” and “It’s this nation’s conservative movement, who must condemn this kind of behavior wholly and loudly before someone’s literal blood permanently stains their movement!”)

In the video, Mitchell seems to be quite at ease with this conclusion. But if we are required to put homosexuals to death for the OT laws they have broken, then are we not also required to put adulterers, Sabbath breakers, and rebellious teenagers to death? All of these are capital offenses according to the Old Testament. Does Mitchell really want to go in this direction? (Would Mitchell himself be alive under such a regime?)

As Frank Turek has pointed out, governments have three choices when it comes to legislating a behavior. They can prohibit it, permit it or promote it. Serving as salt and light in the places in which we reside as believers in Jesus, we stand firmly against governmental promotion of homosexuality, adultery, and other behaviors that are detrimental to society. Reasonable minds can disagree as to whether detrimental behaviors should be permitted or prohibited (take the use of alcohol and drugs for instance), and reasonable minds can also disagree with regard to which (if any) behaviors should require the death penalty (for example, first degree murder). The idea however that governments (and perhaps even individual Christians) are required to put homosexuals to death because God required it of ancient Israel, and, after all, Jesus did not come to “abolish the law,” is one that, if it is followed through consistently, would result in either a theocratic state consisting of very few people (imagine loading everyone that has worked on a Saturday into trucks and hauling them off to the electric chair) or a chaotic Christian killing spree (is this at all consistent with the model put forth in the New Testament of Jesus and the early Church?)

Such scenarios are, of course, completely ludicrous, and that is the point. It is true that Colonial America criminalized homosexuality, but they also criminalized adultery and sex outside of wedlock. How many conservatives would hold up to such requirements today? (Need I mention the number of conservative politicians that have failed in this area? Should they be put to death?) Gay activists often unfairly accuse believers in Jesus of “cherry-picking” Bible verses to suit their needs, using scripture as a “prop behind which to hide their bigotry.” I’m afraid statements like the ones made in this video regarding the application of Old Testament law must come from either a place of ignorance (perhaps he had not fully thought through his argument before making it) or as a direct fulfillment of these very accusations. One thing is clear, the scriptures are not to be used in some cavalier fashion, as if we were free to use these precious divine words to attack others and justify ourselves as we please. In the end, “in the same way [we] judge others, [we ourselves] will be judged, and with the measure [we] use, it will be measured to [us].” Let us therefore judge rightly… resisting the homosexual agenda with courage, and reaching out to the homosexual community with compassion.

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February 6th, 2010 by Frank Turek

Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org

The central argument in favor of same-sex marriage or overturning “Don’t ask don’t tell” contains a fatal flaw. In fact, this is the flaw at the heart of the entire gay rights movement.

Joint Chief Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen dutifully proclaimed the flaw as truth the other day when speaking in favor of ending the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. He said, “I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”

Lie about who they are?

Sorry Admiral, but as a former ROTC instructor and legal officer in the United States Navy, I helped deny entrance to potential recruits and prosecuted existing service people for all sorts of behaviors that were incompatible with unit cohesion and military readiness. As you know, the Uniformed Code of Military Justice prohibits numerous behaviors that are not criminal offenses in civilian life (including adultery, fraternization and gambling with a subordinate), yet I never once saw anyone excused for their behavior by claiming that’s who they are.

The military is essential to our survival as a nation. It’s not a social experiment and serving in it is not a right. People have to qualify and then make sacrifices. Military people must subordinate many of their individual rights to advance the national interest. Recruits must agree to give up some of the freedoms that civilians enjoy, including certain sexual freedoms and even the freedom of speech! So even if homosexual behavior is permitted in society, that doesn’t necessarily mean it should be permitted in the military.

Going Rogue by Sarah Palin FREEHaving served, I believe that the military needs as few sexual distractions as possible, be they from men and women serving together in combat or open homosexuality. The job is too difficult and critical to be complicating matters sexually.

More could be said, but I want to zero in on the fatal flaw in most gay-rights causes, and the one the Admiral repeated. It is the failure to distinguish between desires and behavior. Having certain sexual desires—whether you were “born” with them or acquired them sometime in life—does not mean that you are being discriminated against if the law doesn’t allow the behavior you desire.

Take marriage as an example. Despite complaints by homosexual activists, every person in America already has equal marriage rights. We’re all playing by the same rules—we all have the same right to marry any non-related adult of the opposite sex. Those rules do not deny anyone “equal protection of the laws” because the qualifications to enter a marriage apply equally to everyone—every adult person has the same right to marry.

“But what about homosexuals?” you ask. The question would better be stated “what about people with homosexual desires?” Put that way, you can see the flaw. If sexual desires alone are the criteria by which we change our marriage (or military) laws to give people “equal rights,” then why not change them to include polygamy? After all, most men seem born with a desire for many women. How about those who desire their relatives? By the gay rights logic, such people don’t have “equal rights” because our marriage laws have no provision for incest. And bisexuals don’t have “equal rights” because existing marriage laws don’t allow them to marry a man and a woman.

If desires alone guarantee someone special rights, why are there no special rights for pedophiles and gay bashers? The answer is obvious—because desires, even if you were “born” with them, do not justify behavior, do not make anyone a special class, and should have no impact on our laws. (See Born Gay or a Gay Basher: No Excuse.)

Laws encourage good behavior or prevent bad behavior. Desires are irrelevant. We enact all kinds of laws in the country and military that conflict with people’s desires. In fact, that’s why we need them! We wouldn’t need any laws if people always desired to do good, which is why James Madison wrote, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

In other words, there should be no legal class of “gay” or “straight,” just a legal class called “person.” And it doesn’t matter whether persons desire sex with the same or opposite sex, or whether they desire sex with children, parents, or farm animals. What matters is whether the behavior desired is something the country or military should prohibit, permit or promote. Those are the only three choices we have when it comes to making law.

The standard comparisons to race and interracial marriage don’t work either. Sexual behavior is always a choice, race never is. You’ll find many former homosexuals, but you’ll never find a former African American. And your race has no effect on your military readiness, but your sexual behavior often can. Likewise, race is irrelevant to marriage while gender is essential to it. Interracial couples can procreate and nurture the next generation (the overriding societal purpose of marriage), but homosexual couples cannot.

The truth is that our marriage and military laws do not discriminate against persons for “who they are”—they discriminate against the behaviors in which they engage. But so what? That’s what most laws do. For example, the Thirteenth Amendment discriminates against the behavior of some businessmen who might like to improve their profits through slavery, but it does not discriminate against those businessmen as persons. And the First Amendment’s freedom-of-religion protections discriminate against the behavior of some Muslims who want to impose Islamic law on the entire nation, but it does not discriminate against those Muslims as persons. Likewise, our marriage and military laws discriminate against the desired behaviors of homosexuals, polygamists, bigamists, and the incestuous, but they do not discriminate against them as persons.

Now some may object to my comparison of homosexuality to polygamy, incest or pedophilia. I agree that the behaviors are not the same, but the point here is that the logic used to justify homosexuality is the same. “I was born with these desires” could also be used to justify polygamy, incest, pedophilia, and even gay bashing—“Don’t blame me. I just have the anti-gay gene!”

That’s the logic reduced to the absurd. And that’s why people who want to make a case for same-sex marriage or homosexual practice in the military should use different arguments. Claiming you “are” your sexual desires, is a case of don’t ask don’t think.

(If you’d like to think more about this admittedly complicated and sensitive issue, get the compact book from which this article is adapted: Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone.)

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December 5th, 2009 by Frank Turek

Editor’s Note: Originally published on TownHall.com, used with permission. Frank Turek is a speaker and author, and a leading Christian apologist. Learn more at his website www.CrossExamined.org

You can’t put honesty in a test tube.

“Science” doesn’t say anything—scientists do.

Those are a couple of the illuminating conclusions we can draw from the global warming e-mail scandal.

Going Rogue by Sarah Palin FREE

“You mean science is not objective?”  No, unless the scientists are, and too often they are not.   I don’t want to impugn all scientists, but it is true that some of them are less than honest.  Sometimes they lie to get or keep their jobs.  Sometimes they lie to get grant money.  Sometimes they lie to further their political beliefs.   Sometimes they don’t intentionally lie, but they draw bad scientific conclusions because they only look for what they hope to find.

Misbehavior by scientists is more prevalent than you might think.  A survey conducted by University of Minnesota researchers found that 33% of scientists admitted to engaging in some kind of research misbehavior, including more than 20% of mid-career scientists who admitted to “changing the design, methodology or results of a study in response to pressure from a funding source.”  Think of how many more have done this but refuse to admit it!   (The researchers said as much in their findings.)

Outright lies and deception certainly seem to be the case with “Climategate.”  The exposed e-mails reveal cherry picking; manipulating data; working behind the scenes to censor dissenting views; and doubting what the measurements say because they don’t fit their pre-determined conclusion.   Matt Drudge headlined this yesterday as the “Greatest scandal in modern science.”

I actually think there is another great scientific scandal, but its misrepresentations are not quite as obvious.  In this scandal, instead of outright lies, scientific conclusions are smuggled in as philosophical presuppositions.  Such is the case with the controversy over the origin of life and new life forms.  Did natural forces working on non-living chemicals cause life, or is life the result of intelligent activity?   Did new life forms evolve from lower life forms by natural forces or was intelligence needed?

Dr. Stephen Meyer has written a fabulous new best-selling book addressing those questions called Signature in the Cell. Having earned his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in the philosophy of science, Dr. Meyer is at the top of the science food chain.  In our August 8th radio interview, he told me he’s been working on his 600+ page book—which isn’t short of technical detail—for more than a decade.

What qualifies a man who has a Ph. D. in the “philosophy of science” to write on the origin of life or macroevolution?  Everything.  What some scientists, and many in the general public fail to understand is that science cannot be done without philosophy.  All data must be interpreted.  And much of the debate between Intelligent Design proponents (like Dr. Meyer) and the Darwinists (like Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins) is not a debate over evidence—everyone is looking at the same evidence.  It’s a debate over philosophy.   It’s a debate over what causes will be considered possible before we look at the evidence.

Scientists look for causes, and logically, there are only two possible types of causes—intelligent causes or non-intelligent causes (i.e. natural causes).   A natural cause can explain a geologic wonder like the Grand Canyon, but only an intelligent cause can explain a geologic wonder like the faces of the presidents on Mount Rushmore.  Likewise, natural laws can explain why ink adheres to the paper in Dr. Meyer’s book, but only an intelligent cause can explain the information in that book (i.e. Dr. Meyer!).

How does this apply to the question of the origin of life?  Long after Darwin, we discovered that “simple” single-celled life is comprised of massive volumes of DNA information called specified complexity—in everyday terms, a complicated software program or a really long message.  Richard Dawkins admits that the information content of the “unjustly called ‘primitive’ amoeba” would fill 1,000 volumes of an encyclopedia!

What’s the cause of this?  Here’s where the philosophy comes in.  Dr. Meyer is open to both types of causes.  Richard Dawkins is not.  Dr. Meyer’s book explains why natural forces do not appear to have the capacity to do the job, only intelligence does.  However, Dawkins and his Darwinist cohorts philosophically rule out intelligent causes before they look at the evidence.  So no matter how much the evidence they discover points to intelligence (as a long message surely does), they will always conclude it had to be some kind of natural cause.   In other words, their conclusion is the result of their philosophical presupposition.

While Dawkins has no viable natural explanation for life or the message contained therein, he says he knows it cannot be intelligence.  That philosophical presupposition leads to what appears to be an unbelievable conclusion:  To believe that 1,000 volumes of an encyclopedia resulted from blind natural forces is like believing that the Library of Congress resulted from an explosion in a printing shop.  I don’t have enough faith to believe that.

“This is a ‘God of the gaps’ argument!”  Dawkins might protest.  No it isn’t.  We don’t just lack a natural explanation for “simple” life—1,000 encyclopedias worth of information is positive empirically verifiable evidence for an intelligence cause.  Consider the cause of the book The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, for example.  It’s not merely that we lack a natural explanation for the book (of course we know that the laws of ink and paper couldn’t have written the book).  It’s also the fact that we know that messages only come from minds.   Therefore, we rightly posit an intelligent author, not a blind natural process.

Why is it so hard for Dawkins and other Darwinists to see this?  Maybe they refuse to see it.  Maybe, like global warming “scientists,” they have their own political or moral reasons for denying the obvious.  Or maybe they’ve never realized that you cannot do science without philosophy.  As Einstein said, “The man of science is a poor philosopher.”   And poor philosophers of science may often arrive at false scientific conclusions.  That’s because science doesn’t say anything—scientists do.

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