The recent spate of books, lectures and debates by atheists are awakening the sleeping giant of the church, said Lee Strobel, one of America’s most popular Christian apologists.
“The new atheists have kicked the church in the ribs, and she’s waking up,” said Strobel, who will speak next weekend in Tulsa.
“I’m seeing it all over the country,” he said of huge apologetics conferences, new scholarship in the academic world and more formal debates.
Strobel said the average person in the pew is not reading the late Christopher Hitchens and other popular atheist authors, but neighbors and co-workers are.
“They’re getting questions they can’t answer,” he said.
Average Christians are ill-equipped to answer those questions, and they are asking their pastors for training in apologetics, the study of the rational defense of the faith, he said.
“I think we’re entering a golden era for apologetics,” he said.
Strobel, a former atheist and Chicago Tribune journalist, said he doubts that surveys showing a rise in atheism accurately reflect a trend in U.S. society.
More people identify as secular because it has become socially acceptable to do so, he said. In fact, politicians in some parts of the country who used to emphasize their Christian heritage now do the opposite.
Strobel said that as he travels and speaks, by far the No. 1 question people raise is how can a loving God allow pain and suffering?
Christianity has an answer to that question, but people who are suffering do not want “five intellectual steps to understanding,” he said, they are looking for a personal answer…
For all 9/11 conspiracy theorists, enjoy this from the History Channel:
Church-state separation — yes, but State-church separation — no. Well, it’s more complicated than that in the UK.
A gay couple in Great Britain has announced plans to pursue legal action against the Church of England for refusing to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, less than one month after the country officially legalized gay mariage, but explicitly excluded the Church from being forced to conduct the ceremonies as they go against biblical teachings.
Barrie Drewitt-Barlow and his partner, Tony, have been considered by many in Great Britain to be the “poster couple” for same-sex marriage legalization, as they became the first gay parents in 1999 through surrogacy, and have since had five other children through surrogacy. The couple had a civil partnership ceremony in 2006, and own a surrogate center in Chandlers Quay, Maldon.
The gay marriage legislation approved in Great Britain earlier this year, known as the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, included a “quadruple lock” meant to protect the Church of England and other religious institutions from being forced to perform same-sex marriages against their faith. Under the current law, churches may “opt-in” to perform same-sex marriages, but they cannot be forced to conduct ceremonies.
Despite that highly-publicized safeguard being included in the legislation, many critics believed that gay activists would ignore that exclusion and continue to push for churches to be forced to participate in gay marriage ceremonies against their will. Now just weeks after the legislation was passed, it appears those fears were well-founded; Drewitt-Barlow and his partner argue that they wish to “test” this protection in court. The couple have claimed that they are practicing Christians and they want their children to see them wed in a church ceremony.
“The ink’s not even dry on the Bill and churches are already facing litigation. We warned Mr. Cameron this would happen, we told him he was making promises that he couldn’t possibly keep,” Hart said. “He didn’t listen. He didn’t care. He’s the one who has created this mess.”
“Mr. Cameron’s chickens are coming home to roost and it will be ordinary people with a religious belief who yet again fall victim to the totalitarian forces of political correctness,” Hart continued.
“We now face the real prospect of churches having to choose between stopping conducting weddings, or vicars, and priests defying the law and finding themselves languishing in the dock,” Hart added.
Here caught on video we see the intolerance of homosexuals.
We have asked Muslims to condemn Muslim extremists. Now we ask homosexuals to condemn this regular and repeated behaviour of their community.
If you do NOT condemn this behaviour, it can only be seen as a sign that you condone the behaviour.
The incident is reminiscent of an episode that took place at last year’s Toronto Pride Parade, also caught on video, where a street preacher was surrounded by a mob of angry pride marchers. However, in that case the police took the side of the pride participants, telling the street preacher, “You’re promoting hate.” The police ultimately compelled David Lynn and his team from Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries to leave the area and stop preaching.
The Seattle attack is another example in an increasing string of violence by homosexual activists.
Last August, it was only thanks to the heroic actions of a security guard at the Family Research Council that a gay activist intent on killing employees at the organization was stopped in his deadly assault.
This past January a group of Brazilian Catholics who gathered to march through the streets of Curitiba in the state of Parana to protest abortion and homosexual ideology were harassed, spat upon, and physically assaulted by a mob.
In April the head of the Catholic Church in Belgium, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, remained calmly seated with eyes closed in prayer as four topless lesbian activists attacked him with shouts and curses and doused him with water.
Last April, a group calling itself “Angry Queers” claimed responsibility for throwing baseball-sized rocks through nine church windows in Portland’s Mars Hill Church, known for its traditional marriage stance.
A Muslim preacher is secretly filmed urging followers to take benefits from the state to fund a holy war.
Anjem Choudary was secretly filmed mocking non-Muslims for working in 9-5 jobs their whole lives, and told followers that some revered Islamic figures had only ever worked one or two days a year.
“The rest of the year they were busy with jihad [holy war] and things like that,” he said. “People will say, ‘Ah, but you are not working’.
#1 Barnes and Noble. #5 Amazon.
Darwin’s Doubt is by far the most up-to-date, accurate, comprehensive and in-depth review of the evidence from all relevant scientific fields that I have encountered in 40 years of studying the Cambrian explosion. An engaging investigation of the origin of animal life and a compelling case for intelligent design.
— Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig, Senior Scientist (Biology), Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Emeritus, Cologne, Germany.
Stephen Meyer’s new book Darwin’s Doubt represents an opportunity for bridge-building, rather than dismissive polarization — bridges across cultural divides in great need of professional, respectful dialog — and bridges to span evolutionary gaps.
— Harvard geneticist George Church.
It is hard for us paleontologists, steeped as we are in a tradition of Darwinian analysis, to admit that neo-Darwinian explanations for the Cambrian Explosion have failed miserably. New data acquired in recent years, instead of solving Darwin’s dilemma, have rather made it worse. Meyer describes the dimensions of the problem with clarity and precision. His book is a game changer for the study of evolution and evolutionary biology. Stephen Meyer points us in the right direction as we seek a new theory for the origin of Cambrian animal phyla.
— Mark McMenamin, paleontologist at Mt. Holyoke College and author of The Emergence of Animals (Columbia University Press).
Stephen Meyer elegantly explains why the sudden appearance of animal forms in the Cambrian period gave Darwin pause. He also demonstrates, based on cutting-edge molecular biology, why explaining the origin of animals is now not just a problem of missing fossils, but an even greater engineering problem at the molecular level. With mathematical precision, he shows why the neo-Darwinian mechanism cannot produce the genetic information and novel proteins — or systems for regulating their expression — that are required to build new animals. An excellent book and a must read for anyone who wants to gain understanding of the very real — though often unreported — scientific challenges facing neo-Darwinism.
— Dr. Russell Carlson, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, director of the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, at the University of Georgia.
Darwin’s Doubt is an intriguing exploration of one of the most remarkable periods in the evolutionary history of life — the rapid efflorescence of complex body plans written in the fossils of the Burgess Shale. In laying out his case for intelligent design (ID) based on this evidence, Meyer has emerged from the “ID wars” of the past decade as perhaps the most thoughtful and engaging advocate of this controversial perspective. No matter what convictions or beliefs one holds about evolution, Darwinism or intelligent design, Darwin’s Doubt is a book that should be read, engaged and discussed.
— Dr. Scott Turner teaches biology at the State University of New York. He’s the author of The Tinkerer’s Accomplice: How Design Emerges from Life Itself (Harvard University Press).
Just as some radicals what to get rid of Christian education in schools.
BRITAIN risks turning out a generation of amoral children as schools struggle to find the time to teach the difference between right and wrong, according to a survey published yesterday.
One in three of the 2000 state school head teachers polled said schools were not doing enough to develop the morals of their students and one in five said they were doing too little to help pupils understand the difference between right and wrong.
One head commented: “We train children to be successful, ruthless, greedy and selfish; our virtues are money, fame and looks. We do not reward kindness, do not value loyalty, do not care about courage.
The survey coincides with a growing movement in the United States to try to develop children’s good character, including traits such as resilience, self-control and empathy.
Research has showed that lack of such characteristics is hampering youngsters later in life.
Some schools in the US use character report cards on which pupils are scored every year. Others train their teachers to be moral role models.
By contrast, a quarter of the head teachers polled last week said schools in England were failing to develop sound values in students and more than 40 per cent felt schools were doing too little to develop the whole child, particularly since the decline of religious assemblies and competitive sports.
Many added that when they did try, parents foiled their efforts.
One head teacher said: “When trying to instil moral values, parents can be undermining.”
Another said: “”Many children seem to have not been taught manners at home.”
According to Anthony Seldon, headmaster of Wellington College in Berkshire, who organised the survey, “schools should consciously and deliberately be setting out to develop good character, good virtues, and good morals but not enough time is being given to doing this.”
Source: Sunday Times
Published in The Dominion Post, Monday, June 10, 2013. B2.
Here at Albert Mohler dot com.
The church’s engagement with the culture involves a host of issues, controversies, and decisions–but no issue defines our current cultural crisis as clearly as homosexuality. Some churches and denominations have capitulated to the demands of the homosexual rights movement, and now accept homosexuality as a fully valid lifestyle.
“I legally accuse Iran of infiltrating several South American countries to install intelligence stations” – Alberto Nisman, Prosecutor.”
Mr Nisman is investigating a bomb attack that killed 85 people in a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires in 1994.
Iran has always denied involvement in the attack.
But in an indictment handed to a federal judge in Buenos Aires on Wednesday, Mr Nisman repeated the often-made claim that Iran sponsored the bombing.
And he accused Iran of a nefarious project in the wider region.
“I legally accuse Iran of infiltrating several South American countries to install intelligence stations – in other words espionage bases – destined to commit, encourage and sponsor terror attacks like the one that took place against Amia,” Mr Nisman was quoted as saying, referring to the Jewish centre bombed nearly 20 years ago.
Senior Pastor, Craig Vernall, National Leader of the NZ Baptist Union, has notified all Baptist pastors registered as marriage celebrants (on the Baptist List) with the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, that they are expressly forbidden to perform civil unions and same sex marriages under Baptist Administration Manual policy – instituted by the Baptist Assembly Council. Nor can they or any other Baptist celebrant perform such ceremonies in a private capacity, because they are only authorised to their (statutory function) role as marriage celebrants, based on the Call they have to the local Baptist congregation, ancd having accepted that Call, they are duty-bound to uphold the policies etc. of the NZ Baptist Union (of NZ churches).
Good work Craig!
Full article here.
LONDON — British police investigating the savage killing of an off-duty soldier in London have arrested three more suspects.
Scotland Yard said counter-terrorism officers arrested two men, aged 24 and 28, at a residential address in southeast London.
A third man, 21, was arrested separately on a London street at the same time.
Police said Saturday they used a stun gun on two of the suspects. All three were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder.
Orrrr-some, and loooong overdue. Here: discoveringid.org
Here. And for the MP3, CD Baby is significantly cheaper than Amazon and iTunes.
Is this serious, humorous, or seriously screwball?
The Guardian, 12 May 2013 —– Psychiatrists under fire in mental health battle
There is no scientific evidence that psychiatric diagnoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are valid or useful, according to the leading body representing Britain’s clinical psychologists.
In a groundbreaking move that has already prompted a fierce backlash from psychiatrists, the British Psychological Society’s division of clinical psychology (DCP) will on Monday issue a statement declaring that, given the lack of evidence, it is time for a “paradigm shift” in how the issues of mental health are understood.
No scientific evidence…… it is time for a paradigm shift……. gosh, I thought for a moment that they were talking about the creaking mess of neo-darwinism?
Dr Lucy Johnstone, a consultant clinical psychologist who helped draw up the DCP’s statement, said it was unhelpful to see mental health issues as illnesses with biological causes.
“On the contrary, there is now overwhelming evidence that people break down as a result of a complex mix of social and psychological circumstances – bereavement and loss, poverty and discrimination, trauma and abuse,” Johnstone said.
So does this mess apply in any way to the new fad of yummy homosexuality? The ever-so-popular-but-so-far-illusive gay gene seems to imply that homosexuality does not originate in the biological, so where else could it originate other than the “complex mix social and psychological…… and abuse”? This means homosexuality resides in the mind (well, in the brain if you are a materialist) and is therefore a mental illness. Or is it the other 98% of the population that are mentally ill?
In other news: