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Monday, December 31, 2012

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Here I Go Again: Correcting a Darwinist (Scharnagel)

Sigh. I can’t believe that I must do this again. Jim Scharnagel recently responded to my last column (Answering Liberal’s ‘Gotcha’ Questions). In attempting to “correct” me, he makes a very common mistake when it comes to Darwinian evolution that no seasoned Darwinist (I think he would consider himself one) should EVER make.

Mr. Scharnagel states that “Techniques such as carbon dating have proven dinosaurs lived 265 to 65 million years ago, and remains of our ancestors have been unearthed dating back to 6 or 7 million years.” As I have noted often before, carbon-14 dating CANNOT date objects to be millions of years old. Because of the rate of decay of carbon, it can only date objects to thousands of years—at best a few ten-thousands of years.

He then asks, “How else could you account for all those ancient fossils?” How about a global flood? (“Billions of dead things buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth.”)

He also asks some other very good questions: “How could two people produce today’s population of more than 7 billion people in 9,000 or so years? Where did Cain and Seth get wives? How could Noah get all the Earth’s terrestrial animals into his tiny ark for 40 days and nights? And what about the plants?”

Some answers (from Genesis!)

On billions of people in thousands of years: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v1/n2/billions-of-people


On how all the animals fit on the ark: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2000/07/26/dinosaurs-on-the-ark

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Confronting Christmas

As godless secularism becomes more and more entrenched in our culture, the Christmas season is one of the most contentious times in our calendar. Every year there are stories in the news of banned Christmas trees, or of Christmas trees renamed “Holiday trees.” Christmas concerts at public schools draw threats of a lawsuit (even when the poor in Africa are the beneficiaries!), and U.S. Congressmen are barred from wishing their constituents a “Merry Christmas” in their official mailings. This year, even Charlie Brown is creating controversy.

Actually, when it comes to A Charlie Brown Christmas, there was controversy from the beginning. In 1965, just as the culture wars were heating up in the U.S., the “enlightened” executives at CBS balked at the Peanuts classic containing Bible passages. Most every American has heard Linus, in teaching Charlie Brown the true meaning of Christmas, perfectly recite the King James Version of Luke 2:8-14. Of course, the Scripture reference is what was “controversial.”

Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts (the most popular and influential comic strip of all time), was insistent. As Lee Habeeb of National Review puts it, “[Schulz] knew that the Luke reading by Linus was the heart and soul of the story.”

Today children (and adults) are bombarded with deceptive (but alluring) messages about “Christmas Spirit” and how Christmas is about “spreading joy throughout the world,” and “a time for warmth and brotherly love” (as a recent TV cartoon declared). Even Dickens’ iconic A Christmas Carol is bereft of the complete message of Christmas.

Of course, brotherly love and spreading joy are not bad things, but they are far from the “heart and soul” of Christmas. Schulz was right. The “heart and soul” of any Christmas story is “[B]ehold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

Or, as C.S. Lewis put it, Christmas is the story of how “the rightful King has landed.” Just prior to His death, as Jesus stood before the Roman governor Pilate, Pilate asked Him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” After some discussion Pilate concludes to Jesus, “You are a king, then!” Jesus answered him saying, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world…”

So Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Savior King. “Hark! The herald angels sing; glory to the newborn King!” This is the reason for the all of the conflict and contention when it comes to Christmas time. This is why so many fear a Nativity scene, a Christmas tree, or even a meek “Merry Christmas.”

Who wants to be confronted with the idea that maybe they are ignoring the most significant event in human history? Who wants to be reminded that perhaps Jesus Christ really was (and is) a King?

And He’s not just any king, but a king with a holy mission. “Amazing love, how can it be, that you my King would die for me?” Jesus was the Christ, the “Messiah,” the “Anointed One.” As the angel reported to the shepherds, “today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you…” Jesus was a king who was born to die—not only to die, but to rise again and rule forever.

His death was to “redeem” us and to serve as “atonement” for us. Jesus came into the world so that the world, through Him, “might be saved.” And on the third day after his death, our King, born in a stable, conquered even death so that we could live forever with Him.

When Christians truly celebrate Christmas, we celebrate not just a birthday, but the beginning of a sequence of events that would change the world forever. He was born, He lived, He died, He arose, and now He is preparing a place for all of those who would believe in Him. Just as sure as all of the other events took place, we who celebrate Christmas look forward to His return and we will celebrate for all eternity.

Just before handing Jesus over for crucifixion, Pilate asked the crowd, “What shall I do, then, with Jesus…?” That is the ultimate question that each of us must answer, and Christmas provides us with the beginning of the answer.

Have a truly Merry Christmas.

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Saturday, December 15, 2012

People Killing People

The greatest fear for any parent worth anything is the fear of their child preceding them in death—especially a young child. When we hear of such a tragedy, like what occurred yesterday in Newtown CT, we often say “I can’t imagine.” The terrifying reality for parents is that, we can imagine. We look at our own children and think of what those other poor parents are suffering through and wonder how we would handle it if it were our tragedy. I don’t know and I don’t want to know.

What I do know is that, whatever means that the enemy uses to perpetrate such destruction, no amount of political effort can change a human heart. Of course, this doesn’t mean that lawmakers and laws don’t play a role in keeping us safe. However, as I noted after the November 6th election, for things to really change in America, we need a spiritual awakening. We need true revival. Then the politics will take care of itself.

Isn’t it disgustingly ironic that liberals—Bloomberg, Menino, Piers Morgan, (MSNBC’s) Alex Wagner, et al—are screaming for more gun control after the death of 28 Americans, including 20 children, yet nearly 4,000 children a day are killed in the womb in the U.S., and liberals barely bat an eye. I wouldn’t for one second trust the motives and sympathies of someone when it comes to their concern for “gun control” when they refuse to act to act to protect the most innocent among us.

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Friday, December 14, 2012

Answering Liberals "Gotcha" Questions

As much as the establishment GOP would like for the “social” (I prefer “moral”) issues to go away, liberals simply won’t allow it. Contrary to popular belief, lately it has been liberals on offense when it comes to making the moral issues into campaign issues. How ironic is it that, when jobs and the economy are overwhelmingly the leading issue in a political campaign, liberals insist on debating the moral issues. Contrary to GOP establishment beliefs, this is not a bad thing.

Conservative Christians are on the side of the truth when it comes to abortion, same-sex marriage, evolution, and so on. We simply need candidates who truly believe our positions and can intelligently articulate them. When debating the moral issues, too many GOP candidates are simply pandering. Other conservatives have their hearts in the right place, but they are unable to communicate effectively their positions when put on the spot by liberals—whether their opponent or the media.

If your heart and your mind are not in this debate, serious mistakes can (and will) be made (ask Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock). I can’t change anyone’s heart, but I can provide some mental ammunition when it comes to debating the moral issues.

Thus, as a public service to conservative Christians everywhere, but especially to those running for public office, this column is a primer for how to answer those “gotcha” questions that any candidate opposing a liberal will inevitably have to answer.

First of all, on the question of rape and abortion, as Mike Adams of Townhall.com points out, one should use significant caution when discussing such matters. Next, I would advise an approach taken by Jesus Christ Himself. Often, when doubters were attempting to trap Jesus with their “gotcha” questions, to reveal their ignorance and hypocrisy, Christ responded with a question of His own.

There are several such questions with which to respond when asked why one does not support abortion in the case of a pregnancy resulting from rape.  For example, almost certainly the person urging a rape exception does not really believe in the exception.  As Adams also points out, “[i]n order for there to be an exception to a rule banning abortions, there has to be a rule banning abortions. That much is obvious. It is also obvious that pro-choicers do not merely want abortion to be available in cases of rape. They want it available in all cases.”

Thus, one should ask them: If I agree to the rape exception, would you then agree to ban abortion in all other cases? Also point out that there are literally thousands of people alive today who were born as a result of a rape. (A good idea would be to name a specific example.) Ask if it would be acceptable to kill that person because of the circumstances of his or her conception.

Another good question, as I pointed out months ago, would be: Instead of killing the innocent child in the womb, why not execute the rapist? A follow up would be: Do liberals (or others) who support abortion in cases of rape also support the execution of rapists? Perhaps the best question would be, why compound one evil deed with another? Rape is a horrific evil, but so is the taking of an innocent life.

On the issue of marriage, conservatives are often asked if they support same-sex marriage (or more sinisterly, a loaded question such as “Do you support marriage equality?”). The conservative response should be “No,” immediately followed by, “How would you discriminate and define marriage?”

Most liberals want to define marriage as a union between any two consenting adults. Of course, this ignores polygamy, polyandry, and other variations of multiples marrying. The point is (as I pointed out months ago), any definition of marriage is “discriminatory;” it just comes down to whose definition you want to use.

It should also be pointed out that, once same-sex marriage has legal recognition and protection, businesses, schools, churches, and so on could then face legal consequences if they “discriminate” against same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage supporters should have to answer whether they would support such legal actions.

Then there is the dreaded, “How old do you think the earth is?” question. Once such a question is asked, any conservative worth his weight should seriously consider ending the interview/debate right then and there.

This question is nothing more than a blatant attempt by liberals and their apologists to paint conservatives as “religious nuts” or “anti-science bumblers.” As Paul Krugman of the New York Times put it after Marco Rubio was asked about the age of the earth, “Like striated rock beds that speak of deep time, his inability to acknowledge scientific evidence speaks of the anti-rational mind-set that has taken over his political party.”

Of course, what liberals are really trying to get at is whether their conservative target accepts Darwinian evolution (D.E.) as “the gospel” when it comes to how life began. Without billions of years, D.E. is as dead as a dinosaur fossil. This is why liberals are so committed to millions and billions of years. Thus, the conservative retort should aim to redirect back to D.E.

Use questions such as: do you really believe that humans, monkeys, elephants, antelopes, lions, lizards, apples, apricots, roses, and rhododendrons all have a common ancestor?  Do you believe that all life on earth came into being without a Creator? What does D.E. contribute to operational science today? (In other words, what is D.E., other than an attempt to explain our existence without a Creator?) If D.E. is so fundamental to science (as most evolutionists will claim), then why is it possible to reject completely D.E. and millions/billions of years and still operate perfectly well in any scientific field (including medicine)? And similarly, as Rubio put it, what does D.E. have to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States?

It would also be worth pointing out (as I did last year) that two of the greatest scientists who ever lived, Isaac Newton and Johannes Kepler, both calculated the earth to be only a few thousand years old. Kepler calculated a creation date of 3992, and Newton firmly defended a creation date of about 4000 B.C.

The most important thing to remember when faced with difficult questions is that there is such a thing as absolute truth, and there is an Author of this truth. We will only get the right answers to the difficult questions when we allow ourselves to be guided by His wisdom. As Newton put it, “Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done.”

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Introducing Choices Care Pregnancy Center

According to the research group Child Trends, as reported in the New York Times earlier this year, more than half of all American children born to women under 30 are born out of wedlock. In addition to this, 41% of all births in the U.S. are out of wedlock. This includes 29% of white children born to unmarried mothers, along with 53% of Hispanics and 73% of black children. Of course, millions of such pregnancies end in abortion. Truly America is awash in what is commonly deemed “crisis pregnancies.”

Since the late 1960s, in an effort to respond to such pregnancies, and to serve as an alternative to abortion, the crisis pregnancy center movement began. There are now over 4,000 such centers in the United States. Since 1987, Gainesville has been blessed with such an operation.

Formerly known as the Gainesville Care Center, Choices Pregnancy Care Center (Choices) began with a full-time staff of one and an annual operating budget of just over $13,000. That first year, the Care Center offered pregnancy tests, provided maternity and baby clothing, and 15 volunteer client assistants ministered to 182 often young and very scared young ladies.

Today, Choices has a staff of 10 and the 2013 budget will be around $400,000. Choices has 45 female client advocates, 25 male client advocates, a nurse manager, and two volunteer sonographers. They offer a variety of programs and services which range from pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, to STD tests (for male and female), to post abortion recovery support (for male and female). They also educate clients on the “adoption option” and then refer them to Christian adoption agencies in the area.

In the 25 years of its existence, Choices has served over 30,000 clients. Over 1,100 children have been spared abortion as a result of their work. In the coming year, Choices will provide services to well over 1,000 individuals, female and male.

The vision for Choices Pregnancy Care Center came about in 1985. The “core group” then consisted of Don and Sylvia DeLozier, Jim and Ethel Boone, and Brad and Mary Dunagan. The doors opened in 1987 with Sylvia DeLozier serving as the executive director.

The current director, who has held the position for the last 20 years, is Ann Gainey. Many local churches, businesses, and individuals help support the center financially. Local nurses and physicians volunteer their time to serve at the center or on the board of directors.

As a recent press release indicated, in an effort to broaden its reach and appeal to more young women and men facing an untimely pregnancy, the 25-year-old Gainesville Care Center has changed its name to Choices Pregnancy Care Center (or simply “Choices”). “We are changing our name, but the heart of our mission and services remains focused on the tiny hearts that inspire us every day,” said Ann Gainey, the organization’s long-time executive director. “Our new name also is more descriptive and will help people better understand what we do.”

The name change was a carefully thought-out decision in which even an outside consultant was hired to help in the effort. The change was made to serve the targeted constituency more broadly. The previous name was sometimes confused with nursing homes and senior adult day-care centers.

Also, the decision to go with “Choices” is an effort to reclaim the word from the pro-abortion community. “We are hoping to reclaim the word ‘choice’ and help young men and women narrow down and eliminate the choices available to them when they are facing a tough decision,” said Choices officials.

Mrs. Gainey also noted that, “Another reason for the name change is the recent opening of a second location off Winder Highway in South Hall.” She added that, “Most importantly, we wanted to attract more area young women and men in need of pregnancy information as well as our many other services.”

Those who visit Choices looking for help are treated with respect, compassion, and care by the client advocates and administrative staff whose goal it is to show them the love of Jesus in real and practical ways. Call 770-535-1413, or visit www.choicespregnancypartners.org to find out how you can be a part of this vital ministry in our community.

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Friday, November 23, 2012

Learning the Hard Way

Having four children 10 and under offers plenty of intimate, hands-on lessons on human nature. For example, sometimes, in spite of Michelle’s and my best efforts, good parental instruction is ignored and hard lessons have to be learned. I’m not talking about situations that lead to enforced discipline, but rather those that result in sad and tough natural consequences.

A good recent example for us is one that many families have experienced: the misplaced bike. What happens in this case is that the child not only fails to put away his bike properly, but leaves it in such a place that it is run over by the family car. Of course, much sadness and sorrow ensue, but this is also a great opportunity for learning.

A great biblical example of learning things the hard way is the parable of the lost son. In this story, Jesus described a father with two sons. The younger son approached his father and demanded his share of the estate. Shorty after this, the younger son took all he had and left for a distant land. There he “squandered his wealth in wild living.” After losing all he had and staring at starvation and poverty, the son “came to his senses,” repented of his sins, and humbly returned to his father.

I’m afraid that similar such hard lessons loom for this nation.

After winning on November 6, gloating liberals boldly declared, “The right has lost the culture war.” Who could blame them for such a conclusion? In spite of a weak economy and terrible employment numbers, Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion president in our nation’s history and the only sitting U.S. president to declare support for same-sex marriage, easily won reelection.

Harry Enten of the UK Guardian concluded that, “The 1990s culture wars were fought over many social issues that many on the right thought were being redefined from their traditional normals by progressive activists and the liberal media for the next generation. Three of the key points of contention were abortion, gay rights, and recreational drug use. The results from last Tuesday's election indicates that the right is losing the war on these three issues.”

In addition to Obama’s reelection, the results that form such thinking are as follows: For the first time ever, voters in U.S. states (Maine, Maryland, and Washington) approved same-sex marriage. Voters in two states (Colorado and Washington) passed ballot measures that allow for the recreational use of marijuana. Wisconsin elected America’s first openly gay U.S. senator. What’s more, the GOP lost two very winnable senate races (Indiana and Missouri) partly due to their candidates’ inability properly and intelligently to articulate the pro-life position when it comes to abortion in the rare case of pregnancy due to rape.

Liberals have also declared themselves the winners in the “class war.” Writing for New York magazine, Jonathan Chait noted that, “Like every president, Obama won for myriad reasons, important and petty. But his reelection was hardly small and hardly devoid of ideas. Indeed, it was entirely about a single idea. The campaign, from beginning to end, was an extended argument about economic class.”

In spite of the class warfare, as I noted just after the election, I’m convinced that millions of Americans voted for Obama, et al, for no other reason than for their support of legalized killing of children in the womb, and for their support of perverted (same-sex) marriage. Too many Americans want the social and legal approval of sex without consequences.

What liberals forget, or choose to ignore, is that even if such social and legal protections are achieved, this does not remove the tough natural consequences of immoral behavior. In other words, winning elections isn’t going to bring back a child killed in the womb or cure the many diseases that stem from illicit sexual activity.

Along with the loss of a life, the sad consequences of an abortion are myriad. According to National Right to Life, women having an abortion face more than a doubled risk of future sterility along with an increased risk of future miscarriages. Thirteen out of 17 studies in the U.S. reported an increase in breast cancer among women choosing abortion. Abortion has also been associated with cervical and ovarian cancer.  

Besides the physical trauma, many post-abortive women are doomed to a lifetime of guilt and pain, with common experiences such as depression, anxiety, self-hatred, loneliness, and hopelessness. A 1995 study revealed that women who have had an abortion are 89% more likely to abuse their other children.

Just as one can’t violently end a pregnancy without suffering some consequences, a culture can’t redefine the foundational institution of human society without suffering for it. (And remember, libs, ANY definition of marriage is discriminatory.) Even without same-sex marriage, the destruction of the traditional (biblical) family unit is already well underway.

The number of U.S. households headed by unmarried adults now outnumbers those led by married adults. Also, more than half of all American children born to women under 30 are born out of wedlock. In addition to this, 41% of all births in the U.S. are out of wedlock. This includes 29% of white children born to unmarried mothers, along with 53% of Hispanics and 73% of black children.

Of course, as I have noted before, the push for same-sex marriage has little to do with marriage. Marriage is just the means to a more sinister end for the homosexual movement. This is about sex and about legitimizing, through the American judicial system, a sexual lifestyle that many Americans find immoral (and, as I have noted, dangerous).

Then there is the inevitable consequence of a nation living well beyond its means. Make no mistake about it, for far too many Americans, the primary function of the U.S. government is to provide income, food, housing, and health care. As Robert Samuelson recently reported, “In 2011, ‘payments for individuals’ including health care, constituted 65 percent of federal spending, up from 21 percent in 1955. That's the welfare state.”

Much in the media has been made recently of the “fiscal cliff” facing the U.S. Almost certainly, Congress and the President will come to some agreement and the media will report that we have “stepped back from the brink.” However, it is very unlikely that much will be done to deal with the trillions in debt that the “welfare state” has wrought.

Whoever wins elections does nothing to change the natural consequences of disobeying what is often referred to as Natural Law. There is no getting around it; human beings were meant to behave themselves in a certain way. When we violate the standards set by Natural Law, or when our own laws are in conflict with Natural Law, hard consequences await. The important thing is to learn from our mistakes, and as in the parable of the lost son, to return to what is right.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2012, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com