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Return to September/October 2013 articles.

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from Does God Exist? September/October 2013

NOW IT'S HOOKAH SMOKING. Our society continues to embrace using drugs of all kinds as a way to cope with life. Public hookah bars use water pipes with a tobacco and fruit mixture and have grown in popularity. Researchers have found that these water pipes produce high benzene levels as well as high pyrene levels. These chemicals have been linked to leukemia, lung cancer, and immune problems. The Christian concept of being responsible for the care of your body involves not damaging it. First Corinthians 3:16 – 17 lays a strong charge on us not to damage “the temple.” Source: Science News, June 1, 2013, page 9.

NUMBERS SUPPORT CHANGE IN MORAL VIEWS. A Gallup Poll released May 31, 2013 show that 60% of Americans say it is morally acceptable to have a baby outside of marriage — up from 45% in 2001. Those who believe it is morally acceptable for unmarried people to have sex now stands at 63% — up from 53% in 2001. Homosexual relationships are morally acceptable to 59% — up from 40% in 2001. Source: The Week, May 31, 2013, page 17.

MUTATIONS IN OVERDRIVE. One of the questions that we hear a lot about is why there are so many diseases and disabilities in mankind. The question usually revolves around the question, “If God created us why are there are so many defects?” As the human genome has been studied, scientists have found that the mutation rate in man is huge. Each generation has roughly 100 billion mutations. Humans have five times as many rare gene variants as would be expected in any animal population and the reason is that our population has grown so rapidly — from 5 million people 10,000 years ago to over 6 billion today. If Adam and Eve's gene pool was perfect, the natural process of mutation would have produced problems since most mutations are harmful. God has given us the ability to understand our genetic makeup, and to do something about it. The incredible complexity of our genetic makeup speaks strongly of the fact that we can know God is the Creator by seeing that we “are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Source: Discover, June 2013.

Full-size wooden replica of Noah's ArkTHE NOAH’S ARK REPLICA CRAZE. We have mentioned in this column in the past that Answers in Genesis, the organization operating the Creation Museum, is building a $73 million theme park with a full-scale ark and zoo in Williamstown, Kentucky. We also have mentioned that Johan Huibers in the Netherlands has built a 3,000-ton, full-sized model that actually floats. John Hagee's church in San Antonio has built an “inside the Ark” model complete with animatronic animals. Churches in Frostburg, Maryland; Florenceville, New Brunswick; and Broomfield, Colorado have all built arks. The government in Yerevan, Armenia, is involved in a plan to build an ark theme park in view of Mt. Ararat. A full-sized replica of the ark is part of a resort on Ma Wen Island, Hong Kong. Most of these models are not designed to educate. They are promotional tools for money-making entertainment and/or ways of promoting a denominational creed. They are inaccurate and convey the wrong message about Noah and the flood, but they sell. Source: Christianity Today, June 2013, page 9.

OXYGEN AND DINOSAURS. One of the many reasons why dinosaurs and humans did not live together is the fact that in the age of dinosaurs the oxygen content of the atmosphere was considerably higher than the 21% we have today. By studying charcoal remnants from the time of the dinosaurs it is now known that the oxygen content was at least four percent higher than today. The higher oxygen content allowed dinosaurs to be larger because higher oxygen content facilitates breathing. A negative factor would be that fires would be far more likely and more intense. With a four percent higher oxygen content even moist vegetation would ignite. Dr. Sarah Brown says, “Fires were a regular part of the dinosaurs' lifestyle.” All of the world of the dinosaurs was designed to prepare the resources God knew man would need, and understanding how these resources were produced allows us to find them and synthesize them. They were a part of “God created the heavens and earth.” Source: National Geographic, May, 2013, page 19.

POPE FRANCIS EMBRACES ATHEISTS. On May 22, 2013, Pope Francis told worshipers at morning mass “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. … Even the atheists.” This has unleashed a flood of explanations, denials, praise, and condemnation from Catholic scholars, atheists, humanists, and all kinds of philosophers. The Pope can explain himself and probably will eventually, but the quote is out of context and is consistent with the Pope's previous statements about Catholics reaching out to people “who don't belong to any religious tradition.” The Blood of Christ redeems all humans who are willing to be redeemed, but just like a condemned man can refuse a pardon, people can and do refuse God. Let us not jump to conclusions about the Pope abandoning his faith. Source: CNN blog: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/23/heaven-for-atheists-pope-sparks-debate/.

PLAN B AND MORALITY. A federal judge has ordered the FDA to lift its restrictions on the sale of Plan B drugs to girls under the age of 17. Plan B drugs prevent the implanting of an embryo and thus effectively prevents pregnancy after an episode of unprotected sex. Very few people want to see children having a baby. One writer summarized it as “ ‘young kids are sexy beasts whose urges cannot be controlled,’ and that whenever they have a little ‘accident’ like unprotected sex, they should be able to ‘nip on down to the drugstore for a fix.’ ” Many of us who waited until marriage to have sex are quite amazed to hear anyone say that our “urges cannot be controlled.” More to the point is the incredible ignorance of our culture concerning what sex is and what it brings to those who use this great gift of God as he directed. Sex is not just an emotional release, it is a bond to oneness that has real meaning and purpose for a lifetime. To trivialize the purpose of sex is to lose a great and precious gift. The wrong message is being sent to children by the rhetoric of the Plan B proponents. Source: The Week, May 17, 2013, page 19.

HUMAN MICROBIOME DISCOVERED. This is probably a new word for you, because according to scientists we have discovered something that is “like finding an organ we didn't know we had.” In the past ten years researchers have discovered that the human body hosts 100 trillion benign bacteria which help us digest food, program the immune system, prevent infection, and even influence mood and behavior. This host of bacteria is now called our “microbiome.” We sometimes think of bacteria as what make us sick, but in reality most bacteria help us live and are carefully designed and constructed tools to shape our lives. “I will praise you Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Source: The Week, May 17, 2013, page 11.

City road with cars and air pollutionKILLING OURSELVES. The American Lung Association in its 2013 “State of the Air” report has rated the ten dirtiest cities in the U.S. Seven of the ten are in California with the Los Angeles area being number one, and the Bakersfield area number 2 through 5. Houston and Dallas are numbers 7 and 8, and Washington D.C. is number 9. The data shows that we already have 1,000 excess deaths every year due to pollution of this type, not to mention the pain and suffering that pollution causes when it does not cause immediate death. A vast percentage of human suffering is due to our careless use of what God has given us, not to some failing on God's part. Source: Discover, July 2013, page 82.

MISUNDERSTANDING CLONING. A well known theologian, Sean O'Malley, has called human cloning immoral saying, “Human cloning treats human beings as products, manufactured to order to suit other people's wishes.” That reminds me of the first complaints by some theologians against surgery when the first surgery to remove a dead fetus from its mother's womb was being done. They maintained that opening the human body was usurping God's authority. In May it was announced that cloning has been used to make human embryonic stem cells, opening the door to making new organs out of a patient's own tissues. Imagine the potential for good of being able to make a new liver out of your own cells to replace a cancerous liver! There would be no rejection because it was your cell material that was used, and the old cancerous organ would be no longer a part of your body. Understanding God's design for life is giving man the ability to eradicate much of the disease and suffering that is a part of this world. Source: The Week, May 31, 2013, page 19.

ALIEN WORLD COUNT CONTINUES TO CLIMB. The study of exoplanets (planets orbiting stars other than our sun) is expanding rapidly. The May 3, 2013 issue of Science magazine (page 565) has a detailed discussion of the data and how it has been secured. Over 900 planets have been confirmed to be orbiting stars in our galaxy, and over 3,000 have been detected but not verified. During its lifetime the Kepler orbiting telescope was able to provide a wealth of data showing that the creation process has spawned massive amounts of matter in space providing unlimited horizons for man to explore and venture into. What an exciting time to live, when an unlimited universe is opened up to man and with resources so enormous that our only limitation is our ability to get along with each other. That is a problem that only the principles given to us by God can solve.

ALCOHOL AND MILITARY RAPE. We have all been saddened by the newspaper accounts of sexual assaults in the United States military — estimated to be at 26,000 assaults in 2012. Lt. Col. Elizabeth Robbins has reported to the Washington Post that most of the attackers had been drinking heavily at the time of the assault, as had many of their victims. Those of us who have been in the military know there is a lot of social pressure to drink when off duty and inhibitions can be lost when alcohol is involved. Robbins says the military “must attack its drinking culture …” and we would suggest that admonition applies to our entire population. Christians need to lead the attack against this destructive recreational drug, not be a part of it. Source: The Week, May 31, 2013, page 9.

OTZI’S GENOME. In 1991 a Stone Age man was found sticking out of an Alpine glacier and he was given the name Otzi. Analysis of Otzi's genome shows that over four percent of his genes are Neanderthal genes indicating a strong connection between the different races of man early in man's history. We are all related and all go back to a common human ancestor and all evidence available to us supports that fact. Source: Science News, May 18, 2013, page 13.

The White HouseWHITE HOUSE AND ATHEISTS MEET. The Secular Coalition for America (CSA), an atheist lobbying organization has been praising a meeting that was held between the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and half dozen atheist representatives including The American Atheists, American Humanist Association, and Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers. The recognition of atheists groups as having significant input to faith-based programs is interesting. The SCA statement says “The White House is looking to better include atheists.” Such a meeting might not be all bad, but we would worry about whether the ultimate objective would be to exclude believers in God from having input into national moral issues. Source: theblaze.com

COMETS AND WATER. One of the interesting questions that astronomers have wrestled with is how planet earth got so much water — a substance essential to life. All of science is a study of how God has done what he has done, and how he created and distributed water is important. In July 1994, Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter leaving dark streaks containing water. Recent measurements of the water in Jupiter's upper atmosphere show that 95% of the water there came from Shoemaker-Levy. For the data see the April 23, 2013, issue of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Source: Science News, May 18, 2013, page 18.

NATURAL FRACKING. There is a concern about fracking to produce gas and oil, fearing that such activity may contaminate groundwater. In Buffalo, New York, there is a fire burning under a waterfall that has been burning for as long as humans have been in the area. The fire is produced by a natural gas seep coming from the fracking of a shale 1,200 feet deep in the ground. It is bizarre to see this fire burning under a waterfall, but it is a reminder of how God has provided man with more than enough resources to live on this planet we call Earth. Source: Science News, June 15, 2013, page 4.

AFRICAN ORIGINS QUESTIONED. The media would have us believe that our origins are in Africa, and that man's origin is totally African in nature. Repeated finds have been made in Asia which challenge that notion. The most recent is an animal named Archicebus achilles recently found in China. The Bible indicates that man's origin is in the Fertile Crescent area in modern day Iraq, which is generally accepted as the “birthplace of civilization.” The definition of what is man is part of the issue in this debate, but the “out of Africa” theory has evidence problems of its own. Source: The Week, June 28, 2013, page 17.

RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA ISSUE GROWS. In November 2012, Washington State and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. Between the medical uses of marijuana and the growing acceptance of it as a recreational drug, we can expect to see an accelerated growth in the health and social consequences of drug use, just as we have with alcohol. It has been well documented that people using marijuana perform poorly on tests of working memory. It has also has been shown that the drug blunts concentration, weakens motor coordination, and interferes with the ability to scan one's surroundings for obstacles. The danger of people driving while using marijuana should be obvious. A 2009 study showed that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels of 5 ngm/ml of blood was as impairing as alcohol blood levels of .08. Between 1992 and 2006 hospital and rehab centers for minors abusing marijuana showed an increase of 188%. Alcohol abuse for the same group dropped by 64%. It would seem that Christians need to stand against this destroyer of God’s temple (1 Corinthians 3:16 – 17) and not be participants in it. The argument that legalization means controlling the substance and lessening its effect does not seem to be compatible with the facts available on abuse. Source: Scientific American, June 2013, page 34.

INTERNET ABUSE. The ultimate case of Internet abuse took place in March 2010, when a South Korean couple let their three-month-old daughter starve to death in their apartment while they spent 12 hours a day nurturing a 3-D fantasy online role-playing game known as Prius Online. A documentary was released in June titled Love Child which details this story. The parents were brought to trial and their defense was that Internet addiction has impaired their judgment. With gambling online becoming fashionable, we can expect more irresponsible behavior like this from adults. Like a lot of things, moderation has to be preached in how much and in what way we use the Internet. Source: Scientific American, June 2013, page 24.

NEW VIEW OF QUANTUM THEORY. Quantum theory is used to describe the very small and the basic questions of how charge and mass are produced. It has been very successful in explaining some of the behaviors of things like quarks and neutrinos, but it produces some absurd possibilities. One of the most famous is called “Schrodinger's Cat” in which a thought experiment produces the absurd view that a cat could be both alive and dead at the same time. A new view of quantum mechanics called “Quantum Bayesianism” suggests that the experiment is just a description of the observer's mental state. The cat is either alive or dead and the observation reveals which. Wave function is the issue, and if you are confused you might be helped by a well written article in Scientific American (June 2013, page 47) titled “Quantum Weirdness? It's All in Your Mind” by Hans Christian von Baeyer.

ATHEISTS ERECT MONUMENT ON GOVERNMENT PROPERTY. Starke, Florida, is familiar to many of us, because there is a large prison there that has worked with many of us involved in prison ministries. In Starke there is a granite slab that lists the Ten Commandments in front of the Bradford County Courthouse. Atheists have tried for some time to get the slab removed. Since they could not accomplish that, they erected a 1,500-pound granite slab near it giving quotes from public figures in the past including Madalyn Murray O'Hair supporting atheist views and ridiculing the Bible. Source: Huffington Post, July 1, 2013.

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