Saturday, May 21, 2011

The end is near (again). No, for real this time....


YAHOO News is reporting...
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – With no sign of Judgment Day arriving as he had forecast, the 89-year-old California evangelical broadcaster and former civil engineer behind the pronouncement seemed to have gone silent on Saturday.
Family Radio, the Christian stations network headed by Harold Camping which had spread his message of an approaching doomsday, was playing recorded church music, devotionals and life advice unrelated to the apocalypse.

Camping previously made a failed prediction Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1994.

Al Mohler has a good read if you are wondering if the end of the world as we know it will happen today.  In a post entitled, "The End is Near?  The False Teaching of Harold Camping", Mohler writes,
Harold Camping is now warning the world that the Day of Judgment will begin at about 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, 2011. The 89-year-old founder of Family Radio has made such pronouncements before, most recently in 1994. He now says that he simply miscalculated then, but he is absolutely certain that he has the right calculation now. You have been warned.
Despite the long tradition of people who claimed special secret knowledge about the return of Christ, and despite the fact the Camping has got it wrong before in 1994 (yes, this isn't the first time; yet he's been given a pass and scores of people still follow him and give him money--his ministry is worth $72M), Camping remains undaunted.

But Mohler has the right perspective....
First, Christ specifically admonished his disciples not to claim such knowledge. In Acts 1:7, Jesus said, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” In Matthew 24:36, Christ taught similarly: “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
To state the case plainly, these two verses explicitly forbid Christians to claim the knowledge of such dates and times. Jesus clearly taught that the Father has not revealed such dates and timing, but has reserved that knowledge for himself. It is an act of incredible presumptuousness to claim that a human knows such a date, or has determined God’s timing by any means.
Second, the Bible does not contain hidden codes that we are to find and decipher. The Bible has been given to us in order that we might know the truth, and the truth is clearly revealed in its pages. We are not to look for hidden patterns of words, numbers, dates, or anything else. The Bible’s message is plain and requires no mathematical computation for its understanding. The claim that one has found a hidden code or system in the Bible is an insult to the Bible as the Word of God.
Third, Christians are indeed to be looking for Christ to return and seeking to be found faithful when Christ comes. We are not to draw a line in history and set a date, but we are to be about the Father’s business, sharing the Gospel and living faithful Christian lives. We are not to sit on rooftops like the Millerites, waiting for Christ’s return. We are to be busy doing what Christ has commanded us to do.
In Hebrews 9:28, we are taught that Christ will come a second time “to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” That is the faithful Christian response to the New Testament teachings about Christ’s coming. The church is not to be arrogantly setting dates, but instead to be eagerly waiting for him. Of that we can be truly certain.
Read the full article here.

For years, Camping has convinced untold numbers that the visible church is evil, so they should follow him.  And with all of this hullabaloo, scores more will be convinced that Christianity has nothing to offer because of con-artists like Camping.

So after today, can we please make Camping's name synonymous with "heretic"?

Like at 6:01pm to be precise?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday, Mr. Hubble Telescope

April 24th was the bday, but I'm thank for this telescope and the beautiful pictures of our universe that it has given to us.

NT Wright deconstructs Hawkings deconstruction of Heaven

In case you missed it earlier in the week, the otherwise brilliant scientist, Stephen Hawking, ventured out of his narrow specialized field of theoretical physics to pontificate on why Heaven is a fairytale for scaredy-cats (the topic of "Heaven" being properly the realm of meta-physics).  

Illustrating the old dictum that "the man of science is a poor philosopher," theologian & NT scholar, NT Wright deconstructs Hawking's stinkin' thinkin'.
Hawking is working with a very low-grade and sub-biblical view of ‘going to heaven.’ Of course, if faced with the fully Christian two-stage view of what happens after death -- first, a time ‘with Christ’ in ‘heaven’ or ‘paradise,’and then, when God renews the whole creation, bodily resurrection -- he would no doubt dismiss that as incredible. But I wonder if he has ever even stopped to look properly, with his high-octane intellect, at the evidence for Jesus and the resurrection? I doubt it -- most people in England haven’t. Until he has, his opinion about all this is worth about the same as mine on nuclear physics, i.e. not much.
 Read the rest here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Nature of Nature

I'm super grateful for my friend, Catherine, and her Easter gift to me:  The Nature of Nature:  Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science.   The book is edited by her son, Bruce Gordon (see "Coffee with Dr. Bruce Gordon"), and his collegue, William Dembski.

The mammoth book (917 pages excluding endnotes) is a collection of essays by both Christian and non-Christian thinkers on the issue of naturalism, the belief that nothing exists outside of physical matter or nature.   Some notable non-Christian thinkers include Michael Shermer, Francis Crick, Roger Penrose, David Berlinski & Michael Ruse.  Noteable Christians include Bruce Gordon, William Dembski, William Lane Craig, JP Moreland, Alvin Plantinga, & Stephen C. Meyer.  

The debate?  Bruce Gordon explains in his introductory essay:
"A central issue in this interplay between presuppositions and conclusions, one made all the more pressing by recent scientific advances, is whether the universe is self-existent, self-sufficient, and self-organizing, or whether instead it is grounded in a reality that transcends space, time, matter, and energy.  More pointedly, does our universe find its ultimate explanatory principle in matter or mind?"
Some of the articles are way out of my league (e.g., articles on Quantum Physics which, just perusing them is enough to make ones head swim--unless of course, you speak that language), but most are right up my ally in terms of my interests in philosophy, cosmology, & ethics.

What am I looking forward to reading the most?
  • "The Rise of Naturalism & Its Problematice Role in Science and Culture" (Bruce Gordon)
  • "Sauce for the Goose:  Intelligent Design, Scientific Methodology, and the Demarcation Problem" (Stephen Meyer)
  • "Evolution versus Naturalism" (Alvin Plantinga)
  • "Must Naturalists Be Realists?" (Michael Williams)
  • "On the Origins of Life" (David Berlinski)
  • "DNA:  The Signature in the Cell" (Stephen Meyer)
  • "Life's Conservation Law:  Why Darwinian Evolution Cannot Create Biological Info" (William Dembski & Robert Marks)
  • "The Limits of Non-Intelligent Explanations in Molecular Biology" (Michael Behe)
  • "The Chain of Accidents and the Rule of Law:  The Role of Contingency and Necessity in Evolution" (Michael Shermer)
  • "Naturalism and the Origin of the Universe" (William Lane Craig)
  • "Habitable Zones and Fine-Tuning" (Guillermo Gonzalez) 
  • "On the Origins of the Mind" (David Berlinski)
  • "Evolution and Ethics" (Michael Ruse)
  • "Naturalism, Science, and Religion" (Michael Tooley)
As you might guess, this will keep me busy for a long while.  Now, if I only had a reading group to discuss these articles....

Do you like mysteries?

Dr. Holly Ordway has a nice, succinct post on mystery novels and the Christian worldview. 
Mystery novels, taken as a whole, reflect at a deep level the truth of the Christian worldview. And yes, I mean mystery novels in general, not “mystery novels by Christian writers.”
Here’s why.
In any normal mystery novel (notice that I am omitting weird literary or experimental ones; those are the exceptions that prove the rule), certain ingredients are essential:
1. A crime.
2. An investigation of the crime.
3. A resolution of the crime.
All three conditions point ineluctably toward a moral universe, one in which right and wrong, good and evil, have objective meaning. Let’s consider each point.
 Read more here.