Science, belief, denial and visibility 1

In the previous article we talked about doubt which can be around the believer and non-believer. We have seen in the previous articles that many people have questions about life and surrounding. They wonder if knowledge of science would stand in the way of their belief. Sometimes people may find themselves dangling at the edge of belief not able to take the plunge.

In case you are feeling like that know that “you are not alone”. If  you are ashamed to ask questions or have reservations that seem insurmountable, “you are not alone”.

Some may consider religion “like a merchant selling its own knockoff of the real thing”.  They prefer to look at it as a “similar imitation, but not the authentic product”.

As recognises in 3 Ways Religion Has Failed Us is that it are human beings who made a concoction of religion. He writes:

the problem with religion: it is manmade and lacks the integrity of the real thing. Religion offers the “good enough” instead of the “best.”

But the right religion shall always present the best of what is available at that moment and shall never be satisfied with just offering something which might be “good enough”. In case that is so you are probably looking at the wrong religion.

Churches nearby or far away from home

Percentage of state populations that identify ...

Percentage of state populations that identify with a religion rather than “no religion”, 2001. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those Americans who live in the Bible Belt where most people go to a church in their neighbourhoods may be called lucky that they are able to find a church very near by. In certain countries people have to go far for their service in a church. For example our ecclesia its services make that people have to travel between 40 and 360 km to come to the Breaking of the Bread, having our services taking place in Nivelles/Nijvel, HeverleeLeuven, Mons and Paris. This also makes that we do not have many people wanting to join, or to come regularly, because everybody just wants to have their church at the doorstep.

In Belgium the Catholic church shall have to face the distance problem also from now, because most Catholic churches shall become closed from 2014 because there are not enough priests and not enough churchgoers. Five to ten parishes shall be concentrated to one place from now on. We wonder if those Catholics shall travel such one way of 20 km to go to mass. In protestant circles this has not been strange over the years, so they are used to cover some distance to go to church.

The 26 years old, student, writer, sceptic and worshipper (of … ?) says:

Many people are walking away from God.

Faith and religions are some of those things people get confused with. Also the matter if it has something to do with a god or the True God. Strangely enough several people are searching the internet to get something to know about what “religion is.” The young writer finds that our look at religion and its painful presentation of God may be outdated. He writes:

The truth is, religion missed the bus into the 21st Century and now we are faced with an unpopular decision: starting over or being left behind.

and he has good reason to think so. Many churches did not see how time passed but also how times changed. God, Who is One, does not change, but they wanted to create their own pictures of their god how they wanted to see him fitting their age and time and making up their church according to their denominational construction. Most churches do not want to follow the way church has to be formed according to God, but do want to fit it in according their idea of how church should look like. And that is where church went on the wrong track or got on the line of deviations and delays.

English: A map showing the Norwegian Bible Bel...

A map showing the Norwegian Bible Belt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several churches, certainly in the United States wanted to make science the enemy of religion. In Holland several churches got blinded by the American Mega churches and having more than three hundred television channels to choose from, most home-stayers got pulled away by reality shows, series and some by those television preachers which promise all the gold you can think of. In Belgium, just a few, but also too many, found their way to those television churches, which make it easy to sit at home and say you watched a service, so you have done your Sunday duty.

The fight between science and religion.

We have all the seen the ugly fight between science and religion. Whether it has been in a classroom, a courtroom, or a Sunday morning sermon, we all have heard why one is right and the other is wrong.

continues the writer of 3 Ways Religion Has Failed Us, where he suggests this is just not the case and says he does not believe science is the enemy. He has good reason to believe that science and faith can co-exist and even work together.

In America it is possible, like in Holland to go to schools where they do not want to accept the world evolved. the author of the above mentioned article also was taught in high school that evolution was silly because of all the “missing links.” but did they get deeper into the subject of how the world could have been going on for millions of years? He does not tell. But we can see here at the European continent that more fundamentalist Christian churches and Christian schools want to give their youngsters an idea of the evolution of the world which is not according the real Bible teaching nor according to findings many scientists and archaeologists made.

Also at the television churches they mock with all scientific findings and ridicule archaeologists and other scientists.

Luckily the young writer who graduated in 2006 has seen new discoveries.

He came to understand that science can teach us where we came from and how the world as well as humans are evolving.

But I also believe that there is a certain point where science (logic and reason) are limited and this is the place faith takes over. Science cannot and will not explain everything, but neither can religion.

It has never been the aim of Christian religion to do this. It is wrong to think that the Bible would or should have to be a scientific explanation book and scientific instruction book. God provided a Guide for everybody whatever schooling they might have had or even also for those who did not get the chance to get an education.

God His Word had to be available and understandable for everybody. You do not have to be a theological scholar to understand God’s Word; That is one of the biggest misunderstandings and the biggest cause of having ‘religious institutions’ having deformed God His Words and having them made dogma‘s many people just took over, because they believed they had to believe what those theologians said, because they could not understands such ‘godly and divine matters’. Lots of people also wanted to have religion co-inside with their traditions and as such found it acceptable to have a three headed god for example. The Trinity made it also possible to have something mystic or something special ‘attractive’ because incomprehensible. It also made that they continue to worship pictures and have many saints or people where they could pray to. Otherwise they only had to count on One Something, Who was not a man but a Spirit, and could not be seen or pictured, because the God of Abraham can not be seen and may not be pictured.

So What Now?

One of the greatest tragedies in life is when people hold on to something when they know it has failed. The denial of carrying a corpse around can be a tremendous burden.

The problem with getting people to come and see about the different ways of religion and how the God of the Bible wants to have people around Him, is that people do not want to break with the past, with the attitudes of their ancestors and with the traditions of the region where they are living. It often takes a move to an other country before people would take over … some other traditions …

Or are people willing to come to the facts? Or do they only want to have faith in something they can grasp?

Spirit or person, reality or tradition

To get people to decide for their own, taking the words for what they are and how they are written down in the Bible is very difficult. When we do our preaching and read parts from the Bible, lots of people continue to bring into it always their background of their trinitarian teaching. when there is written “this person” does this or that, they consider that there is also said that “that person” does this or that, instead of willing to take the “this” person where is written “this” and the “that” person where is written “that”. And as such they keep mixing figures but keep also not seeing clear.
That way we also do find Christian denominations which say God is a woman because God is Wisdom and the Bible talks about “her” and “she”. Also others say God is a woman because God is Love and love is feminine and the Scriptures talk about “She” when it describes that love. Others say God is a man because He is a warrior, or something else which is masculine. But God is none of them because He is a Spirit.

” (24)  “Elohim is Spirit, and those who worship Him need to worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24 The Scriptures 1998+)

People should try to accept that there can be a Supreme Being that is not like them or does not fit their images. God can not be pictured, except that we know He has some elements of us because we are created in His image. Because nobody has ever been able to see God, we also can have no real picture of Him in our mind and we may not make a picture of Him in our life.

” (1)  And Elohim spoke all these Words, saying,  (2)  “I am יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, out of the house of slavery.  (3)  “You have no other mighty ones against My face.  (4)  “You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth,  (5)  you do not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, יהוה {Jehovah} your Elohim am a jealous Ěl, visiting the crookedness of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,  (6)  but showing kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and guard My commands.” (Exodus 20:1-6 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (19)  And He said, “I shall cause all My goodness to pass before you, and I shall proclaim the Name of יהוה {Jehovah} before you. And I shall favour him whom I favour, and shall have compassion on him whom I have compassion.”  (20)  But He said, “You are unable to see My face, for no man does see Me and live.” (Exodus 33:19-20 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (17)  Now to the Sovereign of the ages, incorruptible, invisible, to Elohim who alone is wise, be respect and esteem forever and ever. Amĕn.” (1Ti 1:17 The Scriptures 1998+)

” (16)  who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or is able to see, to whom be respect and everlasting might. Amĕn.” (1Ti 6:16 The Scriptures 1998+)

Visible or invisible

How many people are wiling to accept that God the Immortal King of the King of kings is and was invisible? In case Jesus was God than nobody could have seen him and stayed alive. Many people saw Jesus of whom the Father in heaven declared that it was His son. In case God twisted His words and the above verses would not be true, nor that what God said from heaven was totally true than people could and should consider God a liar. But God does not tell lies. Though many churches of the Christian Faith made Him one who was not telling the truth or not keeping His words. Those who think Jesus is God should question if Jesus told the truth when he was asked if they could sit next to him or when he would return or when the end times would come. Every time Jesus told them it was not given to him to decide who was to be seated where or when he would come back. He told them he did not know such things. But God does know everything, so those who do not accept Jesus as the son of God but make him the god son are making God into a liar. He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony or witness in himself; he who does not believe God, has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony or record that Jehovah the God of heaven and earth has given concerning His son.

” (10)  The one who believes in the Son of Elohim has the witness in himself, the one who does not believe Elohim has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the witness that Elohim has given concerning His Son.” (1 John 5:10 The Scriptures 1998+)

Denial

Religion Stencil

Religion Stencil (Photo credit: murdelta)

Atheism brings the denial of the existence of God or gods, but those who have faith in the Creator should know that the God of gods exists and that man still make many gods today.

It is narrow-minded to reduce a naturalist’s worldview down to its negative component of atheism, just as it is narrow minded for a Muslim to consider a Christian anti-Muhhamad.

Theo • philogue writes in Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction:

Such reductionist labeling can feed into prejudices and hinder mutual respect and productive dialogue.  On the other hand, … I don’t necessarily think the argument Baggini advances in order to accomplish his redefinition of the word “atheism” is sound.

But he also warns:

It seems to me that evangelicals who hold to exclusivists positions ideologically (i.e. that only Christianity is true and all other religions false) have no choice but to admit with Baggini that human beings in general are not good at interpreting their experiences — especially religious experiences.  How can Muslims be so skeptical about the religious experiences of Christians (or vice versa), but be so confident in their own?

Scientific understanding having more continuity globally than religious understanding

According to the Bible when people die they are just death and can do nothing or think anything. But there are religious people who think their soul is some extra element in their body which shall go out of it. In such an instance, when there would be a soul leaving the body, able to think and do things, this ‘soul’ should remain fully conscious after death. When this would the case you should wonder why the soul does not retain memories for those with brain disease, dementia , Alzheimer, etc..

Here it seems that views of consciousness after death are problematic in light of the dependency relationship established by science between consciousness and brain activity.  This area of science is forcing some evangelicals, for example, to rethink their interpretation of biblical language about souls to accommodate the scientific data. {Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction}

Several people say there is strong evidence for consciousness after death by the “testimony of mediums, supposed appearances of ghosts, and near-death experiences.” First of all they forget the near death experience is an experience the person had when he or she was not death but alive. It is an experience of a ‘living soul’, being the ‘being’ of a person.

Psyche and Amor, also known as Psyche Receiving Cupid’s First Kiss (1798), by François Gérard: a symbolic butterfly hovers over Psyche in a moment of innocence poised before sexual awakening.

In the Bibletranslations we do find the Hebrew ne′phesh and the Greek psy·khe′ in certain languages being translated as “soul” and “psyche”. It is not about Psyche (/ˈsk/, Greek: Ψυχή, “Soul” or “Breath of Life”) or Eros the mythical figure which fell in love with Cupid or Amor. It is about the Psyche (psychology) which is the totality of the human mind, conscious, and unconscious.

When we look at the different texts in the Holy Scriptures we can see that it was God Who placed His Breath in the first human beings, plus in the animals,  and as such the person or animal came into a living being. When spoken about a soul, this person or animal was meant. The soul is the life that a person or an animal enjoys and it does not mean an immaterial or spirit part of a human being that survives the death of the physical body. The Bible tells us that when God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life that after that action man became a living soul.

“(7)  And יהוה {Jehovah} Elohim formed the man out of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils breath of life. And the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7 The Scriptures 1998+)

It does not say that man was given a soul but that he became a soul, a living person.

“(5)  “But only your blood for your lives I require, from the hand of every beast I require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I require the life of man.” (Genesis 9:5 The Scriptures 1998+)

The “blood of your lives” or the blood of your souls” is not the blood of something different than the normal body we can see. When we see the same word in the original text we should translate it the same or when we use once ‘soul’ and the other time ‘live’ or ‘body’ in the same translation we should know that it is all speaking about the same thing ‘the corps’ the being of something or someone’. The Greek word translated in 1 Corinthians 15:45 for “soul” in many translations is the accusative case of psy·khe′. KJ, AS, Dy, JB, NAB, and Kx also read “soul.” RS, NE, and TEV say “being.”

” (45)  And so it has been written, “The first man Aḏam became a living being,” the last Aḏam a life-giving Spirit.  (46)  The spiritual, however, was not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.  (47)  The first man was of the earth, earthy; the second Man is the Master from heaven.  (48)  As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.  (49)  And as we have borne the likeness of the earthy, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly.  (50)  And this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood is unable to inherit the reign of Elohim, neither does corruption inherit incorruption.” (1 Corinthians 15:45-50 The Scriptures 1998+)

When something happens with people the Bible says this or that happened with the souls.

“who before were disobedient, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ship was being built. In it, few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.” (1 Peter 3:20 HNV) (NHBESY, NKJV, RNKJV, RV,Sawyer, WORNT,
“eight, souls were brought safely through water.” (WPNT); “eight souls, were delivered through water” (NET)
eight souls, were saved by water (RHB)
“wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (KJV, BRG, LEB, LITV, a.o..)
“Those who in the past were disobedient; and in the days of Noah, when the Spirit of God had patience, he commanded an ark to be made in the hope of their repentance, but only eight souls entered into it, and were saved by it floating upon the water.” (1 Peter 3:20 Lamsa NT ) “which were formerly disobedient, in the days of Noah, when the long suffering of Alaha commanded an ark to be made, in hope of their repentance; and eight souls only entered into it, and were kept alive in the waters.” (1 Peter 3:20 Re. Murdock);  “a few folks” (JMNT)
“those who disobeyed long ago in the days of Noah, when YHVH in extreme patience, commanded an ark to be made, hoping that they would amend their ways, but only eight people entered it and survived the water during the flood.” (1 Peter 3:20 ToY+ )

In several places, like in Joshua 11:11 we can find that those “souls” could be “stricken” or “killed” or could fall under the edge of the sword.Theo Philo writes:

It seems impossible to contest that the traditional Christian anthropology of body-soul dualism is problematic because it requires one to believe that “non-material thinking souls exist along side brains and somehow interact with them, and that, further, the dependency of consciousness on brain activity miraculously disappears at death, when the soul lives on without the body”

But according to the Bible there is no body-soul dualism at all and when people fall asleep, leaving the world of the living they shall be death and will not be able to do anything with what they collected in their life nor shall they be able to think something or do something, except having their body decaying or to dust or in the incinerator coming to ashes. When life comes to an end it is the breath of the person which goes out the person but not to live somewhere else. The breath is the transfer of air caused by breathing or by being alive.

” (2)  While I live I praise יהוה {Jehovah}; I sing praises to my Elohim while I exist.  (3)  Do not put your trust in princes, In a son of man, in whom is no deliverance.  (4)  His spirit goes out, he returns to his earth; In that day his plans perish.” (Psalm 146:2-4 The Scriptures 1998+)
” (5)  For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know naught, nor do they have any more reward, for their remembrance is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5 The Scriptures 1998+)
” (9)  See life with the wife whom you love all the days of your futile life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of futility. For that is your share in life, and in your toil which you have laboured under the sun.  (10)  All that your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:9-10 The Scriptures 1998+)
” (14)  I know that whatever Elohim does is forever. There is no adding to it, and there is no taking from it. Elohim does it, that men should fear before Him.  (15)  Whatever is has already been, and what shall be has been before. But Elohim seeks out what has been pursued.  (16)  Then again I saw under the sun: In the place of right-ruling, wrongness was there. And in the place of righteousness, wrongness was there.  (17)  I said in my heart, “Elohim judges the righteous and the wrong, for there is a time for every matter and for every work.”  (18)  I said in my heart, “Concerning the matter of the sons of men, Elohim selects them, so as to see that they themselves are beasts.”  (19)  For the event of the sons of men is also the event of beasts – one event befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Indeed, they all have one breath – man has no advantage over beasts. For all is futile.  (20)  All are going to one place – all came from the dust, and all return to dust.  (21)  Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the beast, which goes down to the earth?  (22)  So I saw that man could do no better but to rejoice in his own works, for that is his portion. For who would bring him to see what shall be after him?” (Ecclesiastes 3:14-22 The Scriptures 1998+)

For us will happen the same as the animals. Our penalty for the sins we have done shall be paid by our death, where we shall end up breathing, thinking, speaking or being able to do anything. For that which happens to us happens also to animals. Even one thing happens to both of us, man and animal alike. As the one dies, so the other dies. Yes, they have all one breath; and man has no advantage over the animals: for all is vanity. There is no evidence at all for life after death and the Holy Scriptures tells us what is going to happen to our body (our souls). We shall all return to dust. Decay shall come over human beings as it comes over plants and animals. We better believe in the stronger evidence for human mortality than in evidence for immortality of human ‘souls’ being some extra spiritual being in man.It is the philosophical ideas of the early writers and of later fantasts which made people dream of adventures lives in some strange after-life worlds or underground-worlds, or several heaven-levels (be it 8 or 12 heavens according some worldly writers).We can not see any different soul than the souls running around on this planet, the masculine and feminine beings, called man and animal. No scientific X-rays or special screening could prove there would be some alternative ‘ghost’ or ‘spirit’ in the human beings. What is scientifically proven is the aura or a sort of temperature change around each living being. The aura appears by humans but also by animals and plants. so that also does not proof any existence of an extra spirit in the human beings which would be an other ‘soul’ than the ‘soul’ spoken of in the many books of the Bible where it is meant the persons.

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Next: Science, belief, denial and visibility 2

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Please do find additional reading:

  1. Faith
  2. Bible a guide – Bijbel als gids
  3. The Trinity – the Truth
  4. Idolatry or idol worship
  5. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. #1 Creator and His Prophets
  6. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  7. Edward Wightman
  8. Dying or not
  9. What happens when we die?
  10. The Soul confronted with Death
  11. Dead and after
  12. Destination of righteous
  13. Destination of the earth
  14. Sheol or the grave
  15. Soul
  16. The Soul not a ghost
  17. Is there an Immortal soul
  18. Human Nature: What does the Bible teach?
  19. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  20. How are the dead?
  21. The soul has no rainbow if the eyes have no tears
  22. Let not sin reign in your mortal body
  23. We will all be changed

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Also of interest:

  1. 3 Ways Religion Has Failed Us
  2. Direct Faith & Belief
  3. Can A Theist Appreciate Baggini’s Atheism? :: Book Review of Julian Baggini’s book Atheism: A Very Short Introduction

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  • No religion ‘is the new establishment’ (christiantoday.com)
    Two surveys conducted by YouGov reveal that out of 8,455 British adults polled, 38 per cent – 3,199 in total – said they have ‘no religion’.

    This is most notable in younger generations, with almost half (48 per cent) of those under 30 identifying themselves as having no religion, while only 27 per cent of over 60s said the same.

    Furthermore, for the first time ever, ‘no religion’ has become the identity of the absolute majority of those aged 18 and 19.

    It is important to note that ‘no religion’ is not synonymous with ‘atheist’.

  • UK Supreme Court: Religion Does Not Require God (clrforum.org)
    Last week, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom–since 2009, the highest court in the UK–handed down what looks to be a significant decision on the meaning of “religion” in English law. The decision suggests that, for legal purposes, religion does not require a belief in God.
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    Lord Toulson made clear he was not announcing a categorical test for all circumstances–Scientology qualifies as a religion. The court ordered the government to certify the couple’s church as a place where valid marriages could take place.
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    Religion is inherently communal, and some of the most important benefits the state derives from religion–for example, greater civic participation–depend on religion’s being a group activity. In America, some people have begun to argue for a very individualistic definition of religion, one in which a sole practitioner, following her own inner voice, can qualify as a religion for legal purposes. Earlier this year, a federal appeals court rejected this view, and there are good reasons to do so. I’ll have more to say about all this is a forthcoming paper, to be published next month by the European University Institute. I’ll post more on this subject then.
  • New Statistics: the religious make-up of America (skeptical-science.com)
    The Washington Post has published a rather detailed breakdown of religion in the US … alas statistics, so yes it can indeed be potentially quite dull stuff, I’ll skip a lot of details and cut to the chase of what it is of interest – non-belief is rapidly increasing.
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    40 per cent of people in Boston have no religion at all, and it’s more than half in many counties. As for the 47 per cent of Bostonians who are Catholic “participants” – well, there isn’t much participation going on come Sunday morning. We’re talking about 17 per cent Mass attendance these days –and it was only 20 per cent before the clergy scandals broke. The story is the same in many other supposedly Catholic cities – fewer than one in five Catholics go to church regularly. Compare that to the 70 per cent in the 1950s
  • Ask an Atheist: The Usual Questions (csgroome.wordpress.com)
    I am not 100% certain. I am certain beyond reasonable doubt, enough to state that I see no reason to think supernatural beings exist. Any academic and self respecting atheist who embraces science and reasoning would always leave their opinions open for change and new evidence. This is where Atheism differs from religion, because we are not certain and would change our views if given evidence, but we are convinced by the lack of evidence and by all rational argument, that appealing to myths from intellectually dark parts of human history can not even begin to give us answers to any questions, even moral or epistemological ones.
  • Haunting the chapel: my thoughts on heavy metal and religion. (seanmunger.com)
    Is heavy metal inherently anti-religious? Having been virtually a lifelong metalhead, I can say from experience that many people, both within and without the scene, believe that it is, or should be. Critique of organized religion or aspects of it has been a common lyrical and thematic element in metal for decades.
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    Even without analyzing the long history of Satanic themes in metal, the music itself has always celebrated nonconformity. Its heavy and dissonant tones, developing beginning in the 1950s, by their nature challenge the normal, the usual and the mainstream. Religion, especially orthodox or fundamentalist religion, is the ultimate conformity. It certainly didn’t help that some religious organizations and people, especially evangelical Americans, made metal music a target in the 1970s and 1980s, blaming it for causing suicides, school shootings or indoctrinating kids with Satanism. Against this background, the heavy-handed anti-religiosity of figures like Glen Benton (Deicide) seems more like retaliation than provocation.
  • Visible Religion: Beliefs permeate life in Indonesia (indonesiaful.com)
    Students praying in West Java. (Elizabeth Kennedy/Indonesiaful)

    Students praying in West Java. (Elizabeth Kennedy/Indonesiaful)

    Indonesia has six accepted religions: Islam, Catholicism, Christianity (which really means Protestantism), Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. It is not acceptable, however, to be atheist, agnostic, or Jewish. The first pillar of pancasila, Indonesia’s guiding political policy, is “belief in one God,” which has enough room in it to accept Indonesian versions of Hinduism and Buddhism, but definitely not the lack of any God at all.

    As a result of “knowing” that everyone has more or less similar beliefs, religion takes a highly visible role in everyday society here. My school’s flag ceremony alternates every other week with school-wide prayer, which is separate for Muslims, Christians, and Catholics. There are different uniforms for Muslim girls (long skirts and sleeves for girls, with headscarf) and Christian girls (short sleeves and knee-length skirts). All students take classes in their own religions, and each school has rooms for each religion.

  • Religion and Young People: The Lost Generation? (collectionofclancy.wordpress.com)
    I know of many relatives, friends and people I’ve met in general who are either agnostic or atheist and I don’t judge them for it. However what kills me is that their status gives me the feeling that they are the smarter and more enlightened people. But on the other side, the church gives me the feeling that because I have more liberal beliefs means I cannot truly be as good as the devout. A rock/hard place moment.
  • Does Religion Shape a Person? (meesh14102.wordpress.com)
    My Catholic education and religious family background influenced me to be a devout Catholic; no doubt about it. I attended Church every Sunday, received the sacraments, prayed every night, etc. I was a firm believer in God, heaven, and hell. However, as I matured in my college years, I began to have a few doubts about my religion. There was no traumatic life event or epiphany to lead me to these doubts, I just simply began to question. I began researching different religions, asking people of different beliefs their opinions on God (or lack there of) and finally I read a book. I was assigned to read, “God No!” by author Penn Jillette during my Communication Ethics course.
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    I don’t need a God to influence a good and honest behavior. My mom told me to never speak of my new belief (or lack  there of) ever again and to Never tell my father. I respected these wishes and continue to keep my thoughts about God and religion to myself. I believe a persons’ inner self shapes their character. I do not believe religion is what influences a good or bad character.
  • Religion? (lordmontello.wordpress.com)
    The cause and effect of religion leads to nothing but groups of different beliefs that have waged war on each other for not accepting their beliefs. Without religion their would be no blood shed by religious cults and will prevent mass war between other civilizations belifs.
  • The False Compatibility Of Religion And Science (amitoben.com)
    Religious counterparts will often point out that many scientists are religious, and that most, if not all, scientists in the past were religious as well. This claim is often propped up by such big names as Kepler, Galileo and Newton, and is commonly capped off with a challenge to nonbelievers that takes the form of “Who are you to claim to be smarter than those great religious scientists?”.
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Bible containing scientific information

Does the Bible contain scientific information unknown at the time?

Answered by  

Some attempts to find scientific knowledge in the Bible are misplaced. For example, in Isaiah 40:22 the ‘circle of the earth’ does not describe the earth as a sphere; the Hebrew word for ‘circle’ is used, not the Hebrew for ‘sphere’ or ‘ball’. However, the Bible does contain information which has historically been of considerable scientific value.

Demythologizing the cosmos

Aristotle

Aristotle (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

Unlike every other Ancient Near East cosmology, the Bible describes the universe in naturalistic terms. The sun, moon, and stars are inanimate objects rather than gods, the universe was not created from the recycled body parts of divine beings, and the universe operates according to fixed laws. Early Jewish and Christian commentators understood that nature is regular and orderly, since everything in nature takes place according to fixed laws which God has instituted, which never change. [1] [2]

This concept of the universe, which we take for granted, was revolutionary in the Ancient Near East and was not even approached by the Greeks until around the 4th century BCE. In fact the inadequacy of Greek science led to a complete dead end. [3] Unable to free itself completely from mythology, Greek science finally stagnated and failed to advance any further. [4] Western science was not revived until the 6th century CE Christian philosopher John Philoponus challenged the pagan cosmology inherited from the Greeks. [5]

“Expositio et quaestiones” in Aristoteles De Anima by Johannes Buridanus, 1362?.

A pagan Greek philosopher,  Proclus, had written a massive polemical commentary explicitly criticizing the Biblical description of the universe and its origin, on the grounds that it was scientifically unsupportable. Philoponus destroyed Proclus’ arguments in his reply, demonstrating the many flaws in Proclus’ work. [6] He also wrote numerous commentaries on Aristotle’s works which identified their errors, using the Biblical cosmology as his tool. [7]  This breakthrough was instrumental in the formation of Western science as we know it. [8] Philoponus’ work was used by later scientific investigators such as such as Bonaventure, Gersonides, Buridan, Oresme, Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola, Galileo Galilei, and Isaac Newton, all of whom made significant scientific progress as a result.

The universe had a beginning

Philoponus had defended the Christian cosmology, deriving powerful arguments from observations of the universe that it must have had a beginning, and that it was finite in duration. He singlehandedly debunked the greatest pagan philosopher and cosmologist in recorded history (Aristotle), as well as burying Proclus’ criticism of the Christian cosmology. Later Jewish and Christian cosmologists throughout the medieval era made similar arguments, based on the same observations. Christian scientists from Francis Bacon to Isaac Newton all understood this, for centuries.

Incredibly, some of the greatest 20th century scientists such as Eddington and Einstein claimed it could not be true (apparently Einstein later said it was possibly the greatest error in his career). Eddington even admitted he didn’t want it to be true, for philosophical reasons. [9] It was only recently that scientific evidence for the ‘Big Bang’ proved that the universe did indeed have a beginning and would have an end, contrary to what many scientists had believed.

Health & hygiene regulations

Examples of cleansing rituals (and other commandments), carried out under the Law of Moses with excellent hygiene benefits include:

  • Carrion is not to be eaten (Leviticus 7:24)
  • The examination and cleansing of objects known to have come into contact with infectious persons, and their destruction if they are unable to be cleansed (Leviticus 13)
  • The quarantine and routine inspection of those suffering from infectious diseases, and the washing or destruction of objects touched by that individual while infected (Leviticus 13, 14)
  • Dwellings known to be infected with mold are to be repeatedly cleansed and examined until the mold has been completely removed, persons in the dwelling to wash themselves and their clothes, any physical material in the house which carries the mold is to be disposed of outside the residential area (and replaced with new material), and if the dwelling cannot be cleansed or if the mold keeps reoccurring the entire dwelling is to be destroyed and the debris disposed of outside the residential area (Leviticus 14)
  • Men and women with abnormal genital discharges were to wash themselves and their clothes, if they touched anyone or anything without washing their hands that person or thing had also to be washed (Leviticus 15)
  • Cleansing rituals involved washing with running water, avoiding the danger of stagnation and the transmission of infection by contaminating a static body of water with unclean material (Leviticus 15)
  • Those in contact with a dead body to wash themselves and their clothes, and any open container which was in a room where a person had died was to be considered unclean, together with its contents (Numbers 19:11-20)
  • Latrines to be dug well clear of residential areas (Deuteronomy 23:12-13)

Historical, medical, and scholarly commentary on these passages has noted the value of these instructions. [10] [11] [12] [13] George Washington actually used and enforced the hygiene rules in the Law of Moses to improve the health of his troops, and to give them a significant advantage over their English enemies, who were not so aware. [14]

Egyptian medical science was crippled by its belief in the supernatural cause of many illnesses. [15] The Law of Moses never attributed sickness to supernatural evil such as demons (unlike the nations around them). This gave them a tremendous advantage when approaching the issue of health and medicine. [16] [17]


References

[1] Sirach chapter 16, verses 26-28, 180-175 BCE.

‘When the Lord created his works from the beginning, and, in making them determined their boundaries, he arranged his works in an eternal order, and their dominion for all generations. They neither hunger not grow weary, and they do not abandon their tasks. They do not crowd one another, and they never disobey his word.’

[2] Basil of Caesarea, ‘Hexamaron’, chapter 5, sections 10, 370 CE.

‘It is this command which, still at this day, is imposed on the earth and, in the course of each year, displays all the strength of its power to produce herbs, seeds, and trees. Like tops, which after the first impulse continue their evolutions, turning upon themselves, when once fixed in their center; thus nature, receiving the impulse of this first command, follows without interruption the course of ages until the consummation of all things.’

[3] John McKenna, article ‘John Philoponus, Sixth Century Alexandrian Grammarian, Christian Theologian and Scientific Philosopher’, Quodlibet Journal, Volume 5, Number 1, January 2003.

‘The Greek concept of God caused a deep confusion between cosmology and theology and was a dead-end to science, as we know it in our time.’

[4] Wilderberg, ‘John Philoponus’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

‘Reading Philoponus as well as the writings of his great adversary Simplicius, one gets the sense that in the 6th century CE, traditional pagan Greek learning had become desperately insular.’

[5]  Dan Graves, ‘Aristotle’s Earliest Creationist Critic’, 1998.

‘A widespread religion of Philoponus’s time was pantheism, a belief system that sees God as equivalent to nature. In his rejection of this, Philoponus argued that the Creator transcends nature rather than being within it. Having been created, nature exists without constant intervention by God. This radical conception shocked the pagans who believed the gods were imbedded within the material universe.’

[6] Wilderberg, ‘John Philoponus’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

‘The Athenian Neoplatonist Proclus (c. 411-485), the teacher of Philoponus’ own teacher Ammonius, had written a defense of the pagan Greek (Aristotelian, Platonist) belief in the eternity of the world. His aim was to show that Christian creationism was intellectually untenable.’

‘Like the polemic against Proclus, Against Aristotle is mainly devoted to removing obstacles for the creationist. If Aristotle were right about the existence of an immutable fifth element (ether) in the celestial region, and if he were right about motion and time being eternal, any belief in creation would surely be unwarranted. Philoponus succeeds in pointing to numerous contradictions, inconsistencies, fallacies and improbable assumptions in Aristotle’s philosophy of nature relating to these claims. Dissecting Aristotle’s texts in an unprecedented way, he time and again turns the tables on Aristotle and so paves the way for demonstrative arguments for non-eternity.’

[7] John McKenna, article ‘John Philoponus, Sixth Century Alexandrian Grammarian, Christian Theologian and Scientific Philosopher’, Quodlibet Journal, Volume 5, Number 1, January, 2003.

‘However, of greatest important is Philoponus’ cosmology, based upon his monotheism. Believing that heaven and earth were both created by God ex nihilo  he vehemently attacked Aristotle’s assumptions with regard to the eternity of the universe and its dichotomy into a heavenly and sublunary region.’

[8] Dan Graves, ‘Aristotle’s Earliest Creationist Critic’, 1998.

‘Philoponus’s application of Christian theology to physics prefigured a new era in science. The Alexandrian scholar was the first to combine scientific cosmology (the study of the nature of the universe) with monotheism and the Christian doctrine of creation. In doing so, Philoponus anticipated not only the findings but also the methods of modern science.’

‘Philoponus’ replies anticipated the great Renaissance scientists Galileo (1564-1642) and Simon Stevin (1548-1620).’

[9] Arthur Eddington, ‘The End of the World: From the Standpoint of Mathematical Physics’, Nature, volume127 (1931), p. 450.

‘Philosophically, the notion of a beginning to the present order is repugnant to me.’

‘I should like to find a genuine loophole.’

Eddington also acknowledged that the theory of the universe expanding, as proved by Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, was a powerful argument for the truth of the Biblical description of the universe as having a beginning (Eddington, ‘The Nature of the Physical World’).

‘Religion first became possible for a reasonable man of science in the year 1927’

[10] C. Singer and E. A. Underwood, ‘A Short History of Medicine’, 1962.

‘Among the physicians of classical antiquity we find no consistent view of transmission of infection by contact. Indeed the whole idea of infection was effectively absent from them, so that preventive measures based upon them could not be developed. It was reserved for the Middle Ages to conceive serious official measures against spread of epidemics. These measures were constantly derived from the leper ritual of the Bible with its fundamental concept of isolation.’

[11] Kim Taylor, ‘Toxic Mold Assessment: Mitigation, and Prevention’, Federal Facilities Environmental Journal (Summer 2004), p. 60.

‘The first documented residential mold assessment and remediation was reported in the Old Testament (Leviticus 14) in which identification, evaluation, and cleanup methods were described. The cleanup methods described in Leviticus have not significantly changed in the present day.’

[12] Peter M Baldwin, ‘Contagion and the State in Europe, 1830-1930′ (1999), p. 5.

‘The ancient Jews had been the first to develop not only the rules of contagionist prophylaxis detailed in Leviticus, but had also formulated other pertinent aspects of public hygiene: a weekly day of rest, protection of the food and water supply, concern with abnormal discharges of the genitals and more general bodily cleanliness, including perhaps (if one is willing to attribute also functional motives to religious rituals) circumcision.’

[13] T Thulchinsky & E Varavikova, ‘The New Public Health: An Introduction for the 21st Century’ (2000).

‘The Hebrew Mosaic Law of the five Books of Moses stressed prevention of disease through regulation of personal and community hygiene, reproductive and maternal health, isolation of lepers and other “unclean conditions”, and family and personal sexual conduct as part of religious practice.’

‘It also laid a basis for medical and public health jurisprudence. Personal and community responsibility for health included a mandatory day of rest, limits on slavery and guarantees of the rights of slaves and workers, protection of water supplies, sanitation of communities and camps, waste disposal, and food protection, all codified in detailed religious obligations.’

‘Food regulation prevented use of diseased or unclean animals, and prescribed methods of slaughter improved the possibility of preservation of the meat.’

‘The Mosaic Law, which forms the basis for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, codified health laws for the individual and for society, all of which have continued into the modern era as basic concepts in environmental and social hygiene.’

[14] Colonel Robert Anderson, Office of the Surgeon General Department of the Army of Washington, ‘The Evolution Of Preventive Medicine In The United States Army, 1607-1939′ (1968).

‘Like Pringle, Brocklesby, Tilton, and others, Washington invoked the Mosaic sanitary code, as stated in the Fourth and Fifth Books of Moses in the King James Version of the Old Testament, Numbers 5: 1-4 and Deuteronomy 23: 12-14. This is shown in the facsimile reproduction (fig. 7) of the broadside of his general orders for the Army under the command of Brigadier General McDougall, issued at Head Quarters, Peeks-Kill [in October? 1777]. A copy of this broadside (43) is reprinted as appendix A, p. 189. In this broadside, Washington refers to Moses as “the wisest General that ever lived, for he was inspired.” He might also, with good reason, have referred to him as “the Founder of Preventive Medicine,” as proclaimed by Wood and others (44).’

[15] The Eber Papyrus (a collection of Egyptian medical texts).

‘When thou meetest a large tumour of the God Xensu  in any part of the limb of a person, it is loathsome and suffers many pustules to come forth; something arises therein as though wind were in it, causing irritation. The tumour calls with a loud voice to thee: it is a tumour of the God Xensu. Do nothing there against.’

[16] Ashland Theological Journal, (29:170), review ‘Powers of Evil: A Biblical Study of Satan & Demons’ (1997).

‘In contrast to contemporary Ancient Near-Eastern texts, the OT makes no reference to demon possession or exorcism, nor do the people exhibit undue fear or fascination with these spirits.’

[17] Richard Hess, ‘Review: A Reassessment of the Priestly Cultic and Legal Texts’, Journal of Law and Religion, Volume 17, #1/2 (2002), p. 378.

‘Milgrom argues that there is a basic distinction between the religious understanding of spiritual forces in the ancient Near East and in Israel. In the former, priests used rituals and incantations to thwart the evil powers and intentions of demons. P eliminated the world view that held demons responsible for the evil in the world. In its place, people were to be held responsible for the wickedness. In this sense, people replaced demons.’

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Picture of Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei and A...

Picture of Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei and Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Replies:

  • Russell Hamner

    your looking for the wrong kind of science, it is indeed political science and social science that has been hidden from you. do some research and reasoning. moses came down the mountain with two tablets, leviticus for the oganization of religion for social science, and deuteronomy for the oganization of political science, seperated by numbers which tells you to count all who are able to go to war i.e. government, and not to count the levites i.e. religion. in effect separation of church and state, so.. the covenant of god demonstrates the seperatio of church and state, the constitutionalist formed the united states, and the constitution on the seperation of church and state or in other words they formed them on the covenant of god.

    look out into your world and watch… it is coming to and end as you know it, soon the kingdom will come upon you as a thief in the night, for god has revealed his purpose, the wheel she is big and she turns very slowly but yet it comes, and yet it is upon you. repent for the kingdom of god is upon you lest the wheel crush you under its heel.

  • Brandy Williams

    Oh my did you all do your home work, however, I have a slightly different outlook. I think that the Bible is full of many different types of sciences; social, medical, governmental, and personal. Even archeologicly. While being the written word of God the practical uses for everyday life was amazing and the governmental applications the best ever displayed. If we all followed them now maybe we wouldnt be in these messes. Socially all the knowledge you need is to love thy neighbor as thy self and it is a magor undertaking to do so at times. I call that art a science! Personally why would you follow Gods order for all the different types of tithing its built to make you prosper and geez at the amount of training it takes to do that! Another science to me. We dig stuff up out of the dirt all the time that proves that the people of biblical times had to be smart ie the babylonian light bulb! I think we tend to over think things instend of practality, we need to focus on what is at hand. Why should any of us care how we make it to the other side as long as Jesus is our center. All we should do is focus on making the time we are given a type of heaven on earth and seek His kingdom first, treat others as we would be treated and watch a move of God spring from the works of our faith and hope. You know those things unseen. What good is it to be a believer is waiting to die some horrible death? Even though I may give myself up to be burned my life now is so much more important than how I leave this life and enter the next. Focus boys focus! Who is our focus?! Nothing but Jesus!

  • Michael

    Russell, I’m not sure where you came up with this perspective but I see several errors you might want to resolve. God was to be the King of the Jews, the same God that inhabited the Temple, the same God that will rule with “a rod of iron.” The Jews did not obey the “separation of church and state” proscribed in the tablets, they rejected God in doing so. (1 Sam. 8:7) God appointed the kings, all the way to the Messiah through the same line. The two tablets don’t separate “church and state,” we don’t even know how many words were on each. The logical split, however, first reveals our relationship with God (commandments 1-4) and then reveals our relationship with each other (commandments 5-10). Leviticus vs. Deuteronomy? Deuteronomy, literally, means “second law,” but practically it is the second “telling.” Those that were present at the time of the first reading had perished, judged for doubting God and His character. Those who had grown up or been born during those forty years then received the same law. “it is indeed political science and social science that has been hidden from you. do some research and reasoning”??? Considering what you wrote, I would encourage you to do the same. “the wheel she is big and she turns very slowly…lest the wheel crush you under its heel”??? Mixed metaphors doesn’t come close, there is no heel on a wheel, oh my! Read Genesis over again, and once you understand who the “seed of the woman” is and the references to bruising, move on, but slowly.

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    Galileo Galilei. Portrait by Ottavio Leoni. De...

    Galileo Galilei. Portrait by Ottavio Leoni. Detail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Additional reading:

  1. Deliverance and establishement of a theocracy
  2. Festival of Freedom and persecutions
  3. Observance of a day to Remember
  4. Were allowed to willfully break the Law of Moses
  5. Relapse plan

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  • Evidence from science, philosophy and history against Mormonism, the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS) (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    “In contrast to the self-sufficient and solitary absolute who creates ex nihilo (out of nothing), the Mormon God did not bring into being the ultimate constituents of the cosmos — neither its fundamental matter nor the space/time matrix which defines it. Hence, unlike the Necessary Being of classical theology who alone could not not exist and on which all else is contingent for existence, the personal God of Mormonism confronts uncreated realities which exist of metaphysical necessity.
    +
    Mormons believe in an eternally existing universe, such that matter was never created out of nothing, and will never be destroyed. But this is at odds with modern cosmology.The Big Bang cosmology is the most widely accepted cosmology of the day. It is based on several lines of evidence, and is broadly compatible with Genesis. It denies the past eternality of the universe. This peer-reviewed paper in an astrophysics journal explains. (full text here)
  • Mathematical Cosmology – Math, Physics, Cosmos (mountainviewranchstore.com)
    Mathematical cosmology seeks to explain the often complicated theories of our universe.
  • Jerry Coyne’s Twisted History of Science and Religion (forbes.com)
    In his latest post on the topic, he promotes the false belief that there is a fundamental conflict between science and religion, and he even makes the wild (and admittedly unproven) claim “that had there been no Christianity, if after the fall of Rome atheism had pervaded the Western world, science would have developed earlier and be far more advanced than it is now.” (For some thoughts on that theory, see this post.)Historians have long realized that the great conflict between science and religion is a myth. But it continues to be an article of faith among the New Atheists. In contrast to his views on evolution, Dr. Coyne thinks that he can ignore the evidence from history and disregard the settled view of experts in the field. But, being a scholar and a rational man, we’re sure that he will change his mind if shown to be wrong.
    +
    Steven Weinberg said it best, ‘science is a corrosive to religion .. and it’s a good thing too’. The church fought hard and long to keep the earth as the centre of the universe, to keep mankind as a result of ‘special creation’, to keep disease and natural disaster as a product of god’s wrath due to the evil of mankind. Anything that might damage the ‘faith and morals’ of the common folk was forbidden regardless of it’s truth .. not exactly a pro-science view. (Edward MacGuire)
    +
    Enter Copernicus. His book caused a massive change in the way people thought about the universe. If you think this was a problem for the church: It was even more of a problem for the universities. Copernicus actually delayed the publication of his book, not because he was worried about the church, but because he worried about the academics! If I recall the history correctly, this was more than just a new model: It was “experimental” mathematics. (Izak Burger)
  • ‘Less Than 1 in 479 Million’: Mathematician Calculates Impossibility of Contriving Creation Account (christiannews.net)
    A mathematician with a historical timeline organization has calculated that there is less than a 1 in 479 million chance that Moses, the author of Genesis, made up the Biblical creation account.Margaret Hunter is owner of Bible Charts and Maps: an organization that produces the Amazing Bible Timeline. The timeline is a circular chart that portrays Biblical events—based on the scholarship of Bishop James Ussher—alongside other significant historical happenings. According to Bible Charts and Maps’ website, over 50,000 people have purchased the Amazing Bible Timeline.
    +Hunter quoted a letter from the Smithsonian Department of Anthropology, which says “the Bible, in particular the historical books of the Old Testament, are as accurate historical documents as any that we have from antiquity and are in fact more accurate than many of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, or Greek histories.”

    Ultimately, says Hunter, “The Bible is not a book of mythical stories of made up people fighting made up enemies, but a factual history confirmed by archaeological evidence at least as far back as archaeology has been able to take it.”

  • How to falsify a religion using scientific or historical evidence (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    I notice that a lot of new atheists seem to think that “I don’t like it” can refute a religion. What I often see among atheists is this tendency to set up expectations of how God would have acted and then complain that he doesn’t met those expectations. I don’t think that this is a good way to argue against a religion, because it’s subjective. God isn’t obligated to comport with atheist expectations.So in this post, I wanted to show how a reasonable person can evaluate and reject different worldviews using evidence.
  • With Lines and Angles – Euclid – Changed the World – One Person (onepersonchangedtheworld.wordpress.com)
    In the Elements, Euclid deduced the principles of what is now called Euclidean geometry from a small set of axioms. Euclid also wrote works on perspective, conic sections, spherical geometry, number theory and rigor.
  • What Caused the Big Bang? A Master Mason and Knight Templar Offers a Unique New Approach to Multiverse Cosmology (prweb.com)
    “In the pages of “What Caused the Big Bang?, I introduce a striking new cosmology that transcends the models of Divine Creation and a spontaneous Big Bang that had no cause.””My book is written for people who are spiritual but not religious, who respect science but are not atheists,” Augustine noted. “If you have no use for the creation story in the Bible and likewise find the claim that the Big Bang just ‘spontaneously happened’ to be unconvincing, then you may indeed like what my book has to offer.”
  • Rare edition of the Bible on display in the Quad Cities (radioiowa.com)
    A very rare edition of the Bible is now on display in the Quad Cities. It’s a copy of the first hand-written and hand-illustrated Bible in more than 500 years, that was commissioned by Saint John’s University in Minnesota, and took 15 years to complete.