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from Does God Exist? 3rd Quarter 2021

STAY UP-TO-DATE ON NEWS AND NOTES. The stories in News and Notes are condensed from articles previously published on our website DOES GOD EXIST? TODAY. You can use the links within each of these articles to see the original posts (on the Does God Exist? Today website) for more details. (Some of the articles below have links to outside sources, which may not be available after we have published this page.) There are also many other interesting and informative articles on the Does God Exist? Today website each day. We encourage you to follow us daily on “Does God Exist? Today.” On that website you can also subscribe to our free weekly e-mail update. We call it “The Best of the Week from DOES GOD EXIST?” It contains links to the most popular of our posts on DOES GOD EXIST? TODAY and our facebook page (Facebook.com/evidence4god).

John Clayton

OPPORTUNITY TO STUDY WITH JOHN CLAYTON: Because of the COVID pandemic, we have suspended our lectureship schedule. In place of that, we are providing an opportunity for congregations to have a lectureship electronically. We want to give the readers of this publication the same opportunity to study with John Clayton.

We will mail you a DVD of the first four lectures in our video series. You or your group can watch the four programs writing down questions and challenges to the material. Please send us your questions via e-mail or postal mail, and John Clayton will respond to them. If you are satisfied with that material, return the DVD, and we mail you the next one. Your only cost is the return postage for the DVD.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please send us your name and address, and we will send you the first DVD. Watching the Does God Exist? presentations in the comfort of your home is an excellent way to receive the information without risk from COVID or the inconvenience of driving to a lectureship site. E-mail your request to John Clayton at jncdge@aol.com.

DISCRIMINATION AGAINST RELIGIOUS BELIEFS: One of the most challenging issues facing churches, businesses, and the court system is how to resolve situations where a business owner refuses to do something that would violate their religious beliefs. For example, recent cases have involved a flower store owner who was asked to provide flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding and a cake artist who was asked to create a cake for a same-sex wedding and then a sex transition celebration. Both of these cases involve discrimination against religious beliefs.

A florist named Barronelle Stutzman in the state of Washington refused to prepare a floral display for a same-sex wedding because she believes that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Unfortunately, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear Stutzman's appeal, allowing the lower court ruling against her to stand.

An even more consequential challenge involving children existed in Philadelphia. The city of Philadelphia refused to place foster-care children with a Catholic agency because it would not allow same-sex couples to apply. In a narrow ruling, the Supreme Court decided in favor of the Catholic agency.

Since our political system has embraced everything from prostitution to marijuana, the days ahead look difficult for people trying to live as Christ taught us to live. Remember that Christians in the first century faced the same kind of problems, but Rome never claimed to guarantee religious freedom as the United States Constitution does.

Source: https://adflegal.org/blog/devastating-news-us-supreme-court-declines-hear-barronelle-stutzmans-case

MILITARY SUICIDES INCREASING: General Mark Milley, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified on June 23, 2021, to the House Armed Services Committee. He said that the suicide rate among military personnel is so high that it affects the training and deployment of troops. In 2018, 326 active-duty troops died by suicide. Last year that number had risen to 377. All indications are that the suicides in 2021 will be well over 400.

The military has placed increasing restrictions on chaplains and significant pressure on them to support Islam, Buddhism, atheism, and LGBTQ belief systems. It has become increasingly difficult for them to hold Christian services. Chaplains are not allowed to frame patriotism in Christian values. Is it any wonder that military suicides are increasing?

If you are convinced that there is no God and no life beyond this life, what is the motivation to participate in a war for America? “Survival of the fittest” does not suggest that a person should die for a political system that will never benefit them.

There is an old, false saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” I know it is not true because I was an atheist in the army, and I was in foxholes and maintained my atheism. Many young men around me depended on their faith and the chaplain to get them through the military experience. I have to admit that they were better soldiers than I was. Christian values have always been the foundation of this country. Trying to turn America into a secular state opposed to Christianity has a great deal of collateral damage, including an increase in military suicides.

Source: Tom Vanden Brook, South Bend Tribune, June 24, 2021, page 8A.

Night time lightning storm

LIGHTNING AND HYDROXYL RADICALS: Lightning and hydroxyl radicals are among the lesser-known agents that clean our atmosphere. Hydroxyl radicals are composed of a single oxygen atom combined with a hydrogen atom. Hydroxyls attach themselves to common atmospheric pollutants. Recent discoveries have shown that lightning produces significant numbers of hydroxyls. Electricity from lightning can produce enough hydroxyl radicals to keep our air clean of any natural pollutants and help to reduce human-caused pollution.

We have said before that lightning takes nitrogen from the atmosphere and produces nitrates that provide essential nutrients for plants. Now we know that lightning is also indispensable as an air cleaning tool. With lightning and hydroxyl radicals, God has designed a tool that not only allows plants to provide our food but also cleans our air.

Source: Science News, June 5, 2021, page 13.

THE ANTIMATTER DILEMMA: One of the fascinating problems scientists face as they investigate the creation is the antimatter dilemma. Einstein's famous equation E=mc2 tells us that energy and mass are directly related. We know that mass can be turned into energy, which is the basis of the atomic bomb and nuclear power generation.

Complex experiments have allowed scientists to turn energy into mass, producing two kinds of matter  — ordinary matter and antimatter. When antimatter comes in contact with ordinary matter, they destroy each other and revert to the energy from which they came.

The Bible tells us that God is energy (light  — 1 John 1:5). Because of that, God could create the universe by simply taking some energy and turning it into matter. Suggesting that the creation process was not guided by intelligence means some unknown force solved the antimatter dilemma by separating matter and antimatter at the point of creation. But, of course, that does not explain the origin of energy.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” is a very simple statement, but the presence of antimatter tells us that what God did is incredibly complex. This is real creation and speaks once again of God's wisdom and power.

Source: Science News, June 5, 2021, page 8.

ALCOHOL AND MARIJUANA DATA: In Michigan, marijuana was approved for recreational use in January 2020. The state has just released data for OWI (Operating While Impaired) cases since that time. The state records show a 73% increase in “cannabinoid-involved” crashes in 2020.

Alcoholic drink infused with a cannabis leaf in the bottle

Another area of concern is the increased use of alcohol. Researchers from the University of Oxford studied 25,000 people and found disturbing effects of any amount of alcohol intake. The study focused on the effect of drinking on gray matter in the brain, involving regions that process information. The more people drank, the lower their volume of gray matter. Gray matter decreases with age and dementia but adding the effect of alcohol speeds up the process.

The conclusion of the Oxford research was there is “no safe level of drinking.” The researchers say that damage to the brain is greater than damage from having a high BMI or smoking. Of course, there are other concerns, such as the effect on the heart and lungs, but drinking is a significant factor as far as brain damage is concerned.

Source: Jeff Parrott, South Bend Tribune, June 7, 2021, page A1.

FOSSIL APES AND HUMAN EVOLUTION: Most of the media versions of human evolution are fictitious and inconsistent with the evidence. That is the finding of a study conducted by scholars from the American Museum of Natural History released in the journal Science (May 7, 2021), titled “Fossil Apes and Human Evolution.”

 a black silhouette illustration of human evolution

“When you look at the narrative for hominin origins [referring to bipedal apes and modern humans], it's just a big mess — there's no consensus whatsoever.” That is a quote from Sergio Almecija, the lead author and a senior research scientist at the American Museum of Natural History's Division of Anthropology. He went on to say, “People are working under completely different paradigms, and that's something that I don't see happening in other fields of science.”

According to the study of fossil apes and human evolution, science has a wealth of fossils, but “many of these fossils show … combinations of features that do not match expectations for ancient representatives of the modern ape and human lineages.” The museum's article does not deny human evolution but clearly shows that the story given to the general public is a false impression that our history is a cut and dried factual record on which all scientists agree.

The biblical explanation of human creation is not a detailed physical explanation of human origins. Genesis 2:7 tells us, “… God formed a man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living soul.” The essential factor is that human beings were created in the image of God. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he them, male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27).

It is a destructive message to tell humans they are just animals with no unique qualities or purpose in existing. Humans are created with a spiritual makeup that means we are all equal in God's sight and have a spiritual purpose for existing.

SEAWEED AS A NATURAL RESOURCE: Overfishing, pollution, ocean acidification, and global warming combine to make life difficult for people living in coastal areas who depend on fishing. The use of seaweed is a solution to much of this.

Growing food in the ocean is more efficient than raising it on the land. There is no need to worry about water or fertilizer because seawater has all the nutrients needed. There are collateral benefits as well since many marine species depend on seaweed to reproduce.

Companies extract carrageenan from seaweed and use it in the production of cosmetics, foods, and medicines. More than 25,000 people are employed in farming seaweed in Tanzania, and extensive training programs teach local farmers how to farm seaweed in their coastal waters.

Not only does seaweed provide food directly to humans, but it can be dried and used as food for cattle, sheep, and goats. Seaweed also helps the planet by reducing the carbon dioxide in the air and increasing the oxygen content. The diversity that God has built into the creation allows us to overcome the problem of feeding a growing population while finding ways to reduce pollution.

Source: https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/where-we-work/latin-america/belize/sustainable-aquaculture-a-viable-economic-alternative-to-fishing/

Timothy Clayton

TIMOTHY CLAYTON GAINED HIS SIGHT! On July 27, 2021, at 12:25 p.m., John Clayton's son, Tim Clayton, who had been blind all of his life, became able to see. He also got to be with his mother, Phyllis Clayton, who died in 2008. Tim passed away from complications of COVID-19. Tim Clayton has gained his sight.

Tim had 57 years of life when the medical profession predicted he would pass away before age 12. Tim's life was full of challenges, including blindness, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, schizophrenia, and being mentally challenged. Despite that, he never complained and his faith was a witness to many people.

Cover of Timothy: My Son and My Teacher

Tim was a Christian, and his life demonstrated that no matter what your handicaps and troubles might be, every Christian life has a purpose. He shared his faith with every doctor, nurse, caregiver, teacher, and health worker he met.

We wrote a book titled Timothy  — My Son and My Teacher to tell how his life impacted and taught lessons to people around him. That book became Tim's tool to share his faith with others. He gave copies of the book to everyone he could. It has blessed other parents of children with congenital disabilities and severe health problems. The book is available directly from this ministry or from the PowerVine Store (https://powervine.store/.

This is a time of joy and praise to God for Tim's family and friends, that his journey through life is finally over. Tim Clayton has gained his sight.

EVERYONE HAS FAITH, BUT IN WHAT? I am an old man, and sometimes I make contact with atheistic people I knew years ago when I was an atheist. If they are still atheists, they cannot give me any evidence to support their atheistic faith. They are opposed to belief in God, but their atheism has not blessed them. They are getting ready to die with nothing but frustration, anger, disappointment, and disillusionment.

My atheist friend admitted that being an atheist had not improved his life. He then challenged me to show him how my faith had improved my life. That was easy. My faith led me to a wife who was a blessing to me. When death took her from me, my faith sustained me and led me to a second wonderful woman who has blessed my life. My faith has caused me to have an excellent relationship with my children. It has helped me find joy in a son who sustained multiple birth defects.

My faith has also given me friends I can trust and rely on in all circumstances. My faith led me to a career in teaching instead of the one my father picked out for me, which primarily involved making money. My teaching experience was rewarding and full of joy. My faith took me into a ministry that makes my life full of purpose and value. My faith causes me not to fear death.

A young woman is praying and worshiping

Everyone has faith, but in what? I want to share my faith with others because I want the world to be saturated with a belief based on love, service, and peace. Life teaches us that not having faith in God and his Word brings misery and frustration. Yet, today we have more evidence than ever to believe and live by faith in God.

Picture credit:
© Mindaugas Gasparavicius. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.
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