Friday, August 31, 2018

why I love: Jesus a testimonial

    As we search for truth we must be honest with our first steps. Truth is not a discipline acquired in a court of educated philosophers.  But instead it is an ideal drawing our conscious to morality through the experience of upbringing in life.  At least this is my experience. And in my heart I know the truth as none other than Jesus Christ.  Here are two testimonials of my experience. first in the negative and second in the denial.  They are not fully biographical but simply marking off points of the completion of my worldview.  I have since found many rich experiences than have grown me through pleasure and pain.  These are on no scale the foundations of my beliefs but simply the trail that has started off my journey and built confidence in my path.


Why I love Jesus (excerpts)
  Now a lot of my stuff on my links deals with philosophical and theological topics.  Not to mention politics.  ;)   But this essay has more to do with how I feel about things personally.
  On one hand I feel like God gave me a mind, so I try to use it to honor God to the best of my abilities and often get caught up in that.
But beneath all the talk; I wonder do people know where my heart is?
So I am trying to search myself to say what I have felt and what I feel.  What drives me to get up every day.
But I really want to express the love and feelings that are inside me.
I grew up in a world that I should not have been allowed to survive in.( I had a heart condition and I had to have two forms of heart surgery as an infant.)
       As a small child I had a lot of pride.  I was good looking and confidant.  I heard the stories of Jesus and how he was a great prophet. But then again, there were lots of Bible stories and other stories.  I really felt that the death of Christ was wrong. He sounded like a good man, later I heard about the gospel.  I didn’t like the devil and I liked God.  I wanted to go to heaven and I did not want to go to hell. So it was an easy decision.  I didn’t make it at church though. In fact my family stopped going before I came to faith in Christ. But I made the decision and talked to my parents before I made it and they gave me their testimonies.  I decided I would be the best person I could be from then on out.
      But life was not always fun and most of my life I always felt ostracized.   I would get teased and picked on as I grew chubby.  I also, obviously, was not the greatest at socializing.
I would spend huge amounts of time alone.  At the playground I was by myself.  I wend spend time in the back yard meditating.  Soon my family began leaving me alone when they went out.  All that time I had to myself I would use my imagination and fantasize and think about science and God.
During that time I never really understood that there was a contradiction between evolution and God.  I was told about both sides. But it did not seem my responsibility to reconcile.  Also I had not joined the church and become baptized.  I had assumed that, that was my parents responsibility to tell me.
So I guess I was a nominal christian or “born-again’  I knew I had the responsibility of being a believer but did not know what that entailed. I tried to live right and be a good person.  But some things I felt like were beyond me. Like witnessing to the lost, or giving a tithe or reading the Bible.
 I would go to bible camp and liked it a lot; and then it would be back to secular living. “But I had a praying grandmother!” (a black gospel song, true in my life as well) and her and grandpa’s prayers were answered when my best-friend got me going to church.
       In the middle of this I went to middle school.  I was picked on pretty profusely, I was jumped on several occasions, I was cussed out constantly.  I had my tooth knocked out on one occasion.  There was a whole gym class(5 classes combined just over 180) and this one boy who would not only cuss me out and sometimes hit me.  But he would get the whole class riled up and after cussing me out publicly, they would chant “fat Matt”
        He would ask the whole gym “is any one this $#@&’s friend?!” you could hear the rumble of whispers as children would ask themselves.  I would look desperately towards the guys who hung around and joked alongside me. They would tell me “I don’t have a problem with you but no, your not my friend.”
“Ha ha! You fat muth^%$&^! You ain’t got no friends! Your pathetic! Sh&*!”
“Fat Matt! [clap! clap!] Fat Matt! [clap! clap!] Fat Matt!!!”
        Sometimes you have no relief.  Sometimes there is nothing to welcome you but pain. When I was in elementary school I thought “Things are going to be different, when I get to middle school.”  Well obviously though they were different; but they weren’t better.
        Where was God?  I never questioned that.   If God is all-powerful how can my suffering kill him?   The question of God’s existence was something that was presented to me in the form of atheism since the age of 6.
        Naturalism was a doctrine that I had to struggle with in my young life.  The idea that everything is materialistic and operates according tot he laws of nature.   If I had bought into that doctrine, I probably would have killed myself.  What point is there to life if it isn’t fun?  My life wasn’t fun. I was indoctrinated to think that God had nothing to do with anything.  (mostly in TV and studying science)
      But ultimately all that life brought me was death.  Dying was so scary.  Because I was supposed to cease to exist. Life was a night mare.
         So where was Jesus?  Every time I heard about him I it would bring me joy.  Every story taught was so great.  Even when you hear a story that comes off negative you know in the end that it’s Jesus and every thing becomes so true and clear.
        But a lie developed in my heart. “That was 2,000 years ago.  If he didn’t love you, do you think he would have put it into John 3:16?  That doesn’t make sense! “that whosoever believes (except Matt Singleton) may not perish but have everlasting life.”
       Church was not the answer either.  Getting used to being cussed out in a secular world gave me some bad habits.  Also now that I had hit puberty I was made aware of all the new sexual rules.  Alongside this is the fact that I did not feel accepted in church.  Things didn’t work out at the first church I went to.  So I went to another.  It took youth at that church 9 weeks to say hi to me!
No, I had no problem understanding what many so-called Christians never realize.  Church doesn’t save anybody. So I decided to put religion on the back-burner. I still attended.  Only I did not try to be extra spiritual or anything.  I felt like church going Christians were too holy to accept me.  And generally I always felt alienated by them.
      On the other hand the fact that I would not  do drugs or drink or have sex before marriage alienated me from the secular world.  I really noticed this when seeking a girlfriend.  If I was the type to buy a girl alcohol or Weed, I would have found a girlfriend.  Or if I was part of the church cliche' I may have had a girlfriend as well.  But I had neither.  Of course because of the abuse I assumed it was because of my weight.  In recent years, I looked back at my high school pictures and am shocked at the fact that I was not nearly what I envisioned myself to be. I would see a picture of myself on the wrestling team and be shocked at development of my triceps and lats. Alas I never enjoyed my looks as I was constantly haunted by the middle school chants of “Fat Matt!”
      I was obsessed with avenging my self and claiming some respect.  I played football, wrestled, threw discus and shot-putt, trained in Tae Kwon Do, and power-lifted.  I even started doing better in school and made the honor roll by junior year and kept that.  But no matter how much I did, it was all conditional.  People only care about you when you are doing something that serves their desire.   Whether it was through entertaining or performance or intimidation or service.  Eventually you get tired.  Yet what happens when you are still empty.  And what about grace?  I used to have a vindictive attitude. I will be nice to you as long as you are nice to me.  Well eventually, I couldn’t trust any friends ever.
     I had also observed every group of people; but they had failings. The stoners, would destroy themselves.  The nerds were disloyal, the jocks only cared about success.  The popular people didn’t care about you. Every where I found, like Solomon, vanity or emptiness.
      Somewhere in the middle of all this I found myself attending a charismatic service.  An African lady was speaking in tongues. After her husband taught a powerful message on the beatitudes.  “It should read “Oh the blessed” As in how blessed you will be if seek out Christ in this way!”
They had a line of people and the preacher (Dr. Qua) would pray and his wife would point her finger like a gun as she would speak in tongues.  Unlike the TV, she did not seem erratic at all, she just seemed like she was speaking a foreign language. I was uncertain with whether this was biblical.  But at this point I knew that it was time to really seek God.  Was the lie true? Or Did Jesus love me personally?  This was a blessing I needed in my heart.  I needed to know if He really loved me. And He did. They did the laying down ritual after that.  Honestly, I didn’t have to lay down, I could have kept standing. But I was overwhelmed, and I figured that was it the way they felt comfortable leaving me so I decided to oblige them.  But I had experienced something incredible. Suddenly I had an experience that was unlike anything before.  Suddenly I felt clean. I felt pure as if I was totally sinless. Not that I was in a literal way. But I felt sanctified because God let me know that he was present in my daily life.  My friends went along with it at the time, but years later disavowed the whole thing, but I’ll never forget.
        Suddenly, I was able to see things differently.  I was able to see how people everywhere felt just as lost and empty as I did.  Soon, God gave me a compassion for other people that I had not acquired otherwise.
        Over time God, changed my heart and had me doing things that I thought I could never do.  I would find the direction of my life over the next couple years turn towards ministry.  Not instantly!  My grandfather was a minister in Appalachia, and I knew first hand that real ministry has nothing to do with a nice job and a furnished home, that it was an ongoing sacrifice that pays in heaven and very little on the earth. I honestly wanted to live a comfortable life, try to be rich and famous and then afterword a generation or two, devote my life to this.
But God would take away my options and helped me realize that there is no purpose to living unless I was serving him. 

My deconversion from evolution experience

   Looking back at my life, my first experience with evolution followed my interest in in science as a child. I liked the idea of learning and scientific experiments.  I loved watching science fiction, thinking about the possibilities of technology, as well as chemistry.
  As a child I had started getting and interest in science and technology early on.  My parents got me a children's encyclopedia set when I was 6. Near the same time they got me a microscope. I loved zoology My favorite animal was the ant, So my parents would later get me an ant farm.
   My family got away from church attendance for a period of several years.  At the age of 7 I had decided to get saved Because I liked Jesus, I didn't like the devil And I wanted to go to heaven and I didn't want to go to Hell; So I asked Jesus to save my soul.
  But while I was never an atheist I hit a period of existentialism. (not that I knew what that word meant!) Because I was taught through television that miracles never really happen and if someone says they are happening, then that person is crazy.
  So God was someone I believed in, in my heart.  But had little or nothing to do with reality.  To my knowledge at this age I could be wrong for believing in God. Though I still gave Him my allegiance.
     Science though was great and evolution was cool.  The idea that one animal could change into another seemed to bring up endless possibilities.  One core aspect of my science philosophy was a line from the movie "back to the future."  "You know, if you put your mind to it; you can accomplish anything."
    Even though miracles were strictly prohibited,  science had little distinction between theory and fact. I understood the dinosaurs and evolutionary charts and geological ages to be facts just as strongly historical as Abraham Lincoln. (As a native of KY, I had visited tons of places Abe Lincoln lived as a child in Indiana and KY)
    Evolutionists today argue that evolution was simply a way of understanding biology and nothing more.  But this is not what I have found in my studies. More importantly is that it was not my experience.  The narrative which I worked from was that everything began in a dot no bigger than the hole of a pen.  Now I felt free to insert God as the maker of the dot. Yet that was the starting point.  I recall in the cafeteria as a first grader telling the boys that I had discovered the secret of the universe.  "matter and electricity" to which they replied "Bwahahahah!!!" You see, I was espousing a materialistic worldview.  They thought I was insane because there was more to life than that.  Recently I discovered a similar situation in philosophy.  If you believe that all things are made of the same substance, or several substances for that matter. How can you prove it?
Without seeing the universe for yourself.  
       I loved science and I wanted to be a scientist one day. I would think of inventions that I wanted to invent.  I thought of an undersea city to help with overpopulation basically a giant glass dome with a funnel for air.  I thought of a flying Frisbee, it would operate much like today's remote control drones.  One idea I really liked was that of a remote controlled hovering lawn mower, I even had it solar powered. (but solar energy wouldn't be strong enough. maybe vegetable oil or coal. ;) btw, this is when I was 8. )
  One thing that concerned me though with the atheist worldview is that there is no after life.  Your ID is annihilated.  Life is whatever it is good or bad,  there are no breaks.  Death is inevitable.  Sure people can wish that some techno-miracle happens, Yet it never seems to stop.  People can talk about cryogenic freezing, but one fact I found out recently is that such freezing would ruin your chromosomes and you couldn't be reanimated regardless.  Even if somehow, they found the technology to preserve human life, Do you think the common man would have access to it?  One thing I noticed that the secular world was looking forward to was the invention of the flying car. Now one fact few people know is that they actually invented flying cars! But do we have them available? No! Because of economic abilities and corporate competition we have not had flying cars even though they exist.  The same goes for many medical cures.  To have an on going life you would have to have a miracle followed by a practical miracle; and another miracle if you want to live for ever. But yet another miracle because this would take centuries to happen even then in a world that is not supposed to have any miracles ever.
  Will death be the way you want it? No matter how you plan it death can happen at any moment. You could get hit by a car or get a bizarre disease. You could be stuck as a paraplegic or quadriplegic all your life. What if you ended up in a bad government or you were made a prisoner of war?  What if there is no escape? I would think about the Metallica song "one".   Such a torturous end drags the patient to beg God for mercy.  Many witnesses recall on sept. 11 at ground zero.  Cries and wails over and over screaming "dear God! Oh Jesus!"  Here was a city with a horrible reputation for corruption and infinitesimal population of Christians suddenly begging the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob and the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy as every philosophy was now failing them. As such pure atheism offered me no hope and I hope that the God whom I trusted in was the true Living God.
Well in the 4th grade I had my first crises as to the authority of science.  I had been taught that atoms were the traditional 6 ringed symbol that we still use today.  But then they told me that their new electron microscopes had shown that a real atom looked more like a a gray cloud.   I was taught something scientific.  I was taught something that was a hard science.  I assumed that the scientist had already seen the atom and yet now they had seen something and it was different from what they taught as the truth.  It was here that I learned that what science teaches is sometimes what people think instead of what actually is true.
  Then at Bible camp (the only christian teaching I would receive for 5 years) we had a really good preacher come and speak. One day, he taught us that dinosaurs were in the Bible! (job 40:15-24"behemoth", 41 "leviathon" as well as other accounts of "dragons")   One of the biggest reasons I assumed evolution was true, was because the dinosaurs lived millions of years ago.  Now I discovered that the bible had an answer.  These creatures could be part of the biblical history.( new translations try to re-translate these passages to other animals. But the animals never match the descriptions.)
    As a middle schooler I was a victim of bullying on an extreme level.  I had a large gym class with 180 kids(5 classes) where I would be picked on, jumped, cussed out spat upon etc. It was during this period that my evolutionary worldview was not helping things. If this life is hard to live, why live it?  What is the point?  Because there is nothing left to look forward to. I knew several kids who go on to drug abuse and eventually suicide. Because life was too hard. Much of the music from the grunge era resembled this.  A really good portrayal of this situation can be found in the movie "Pump up the Volume" with Christian Slater.  Where the rebel DJ talks about the meaninglessness of Life from his naturalistic standpoint.  A caller then calls in and says he will commit suicide.  But the young DJ laughs it off as not serious. Only to learn that it was real.  Also an overachieving girl at school took all her trophies and blew them up as she had no drive for all the pressure that she was under.
  Also at this time period I got the big proof of human evolution.  Piltdown man.  A half human half monkey fossil if there ever was one.  The picture was obviously half human and half monkey and the fossil had a jaw that was so deep and not like a normal human and yet the skull seemed so human. the drawings said it best.  If ever there was one, this was the evolutionists smoking gun.
   Years later, I had came to an observation.  There were many mutations out there.  I was a big fan of freak shows, which was a part of my evolutionary/science fiction paradigm.  The right mutation would one day lead into the next evolutionary leap.  As opposed to being the down fall and curse of health. But Piltdown man could very well have been a mutation and not the actual evolution of a species.
   Once in Highschool, I was a thorough going fascist.  Like Israel my motto was "never again",  like Stone cold Steve Austin I proclaimed D.T.A "don't trust anybody". I came to believe in "might makes right".  So I started taking Tae Kwon Do. then I joined the football team, the Wrestling team, the power-lifting team, and even threw discus and shot putt for the track team, if for only the chance to stay active.
    The first year was shear torture but I would evolve into a powerful monster.   My theistic evolution reinforced this idea.  That God was cold and would give and take away life. So I would spend these years in the quest for respect. And pursuit of glory.  Humanity was a competition, not a brotherhood.
  After about 3 years this lead to a personal crises.  The desire for respect never gets fulfilled.   Years later I would read Herodotus histories.  In which Xerxes the emperor of Persia, upon seeing his entire army and navy stretched out before him with every tribe and nation from the known world; stood up an wept like a baby.  Why??  Because all that he had would one day die and there was nothing left to conquer.
   Eventually I was in need for the Love of God because I could never find unconditional love anywhere else.
Well in HS science one day we had some experiments that were really depressing. I was in an environment science program in HS.   We were to build a terrarium.  Basically a little ecosystem in 2 liter. putting together plants and animals in a sustainable environment. Everyone's terrarium died within a weeks time except mine. I had a spider in with some bark.  The spider lasted about 8 weeks! :)  But, while I hope that it fed off the fungus.  The truth is that this was very depressing to my evolutionary worldview.   How could the earth just come up with every species from the rocks when we could not even design an eco-sytem?
   I also started to noticed that the earth was not looking so chaotic anymore.  The ecosystem shows that different species are dependent upon each other to survive, so they all have to be in place. But what does that have to do with survival of the fittest?
 The cell was supposed to be simple but then we started getting new discoveries about the complexity of DNA  In fact DNA is more complex than our machines, so wouldn't that show that there is an intelligent designer?
  My Faith in God at this point was growing stronger. I had reached out to God and felt him moving in my life. I grew to have more love in my heart.  My Old fascist mentality was slowly leaving me.  I was attending church but had no family ties or core group of friends.  So I was there only out of duty to God.   But I started to pray more and get my prayers answered. I started to see how the christian way of life was more loving than the secular way of life.  I had seen many youth take their bodes which we assumed were just chemical, and experiment on drugs, only to be driven into depression dysfunctional families and crime.
  These were ideas that this time I was coming to by myself.  But later I would find more clues.  When I got to college it was a Christian University.  Now, this did not mean it was all born-again people.  There were plenty of atheists, Wiccans, homosexuals etc.  But now the classes ended in prayer and there were ministries on campus.
   Now this school did teach evolution and it did not teach that the Bible had no error.  In fact it taught my parents evolution when they attended. But I had made my decision to follow Christ and I was now committed.  Prior to attending college I was getting very serious into martial arts training.  I had acquired my black belt and studied books on other martial arts as well. In fact I took a course on tai chi while at Campbellsville.  So naturally I would find out about pantheism.  I started toying with the teachings of a universal oneness.  I had gained great control over my body through martial arts and I would study a variety of exercises.  During those 2 summers I was a life guard and would practice a great deal of swimming.
One day at the pool I was doing various exercise in the water. I learned how to relax my body and float.  It was very peaceful and I would meditate on being one with my environment. So I floated along the water in a state of serenity.  Then finally, it hit me "klunk!!"  My head hit the pool wall.  I was not one with the pool wall!!  And there went the ideology of monism!
  One scientific discovery that I was made aware of about this time was the invention of artificial oil, coal and diamonds.  Now this was extremely significant to me.  Scientists said it took millions of years for these things to form. Yet humans could form these in a very short period of time.  If humans can form something that appears to be millions of years old in a short period of time... Why couldn't God?
  Then I was taking a course in the History of Western Art.  Then all of the sudden the professor asked a question that was extremely bizarre. "How many people in here believe in dragons?" Nobody would dare raise their hands, I even heard a few snickers.  Something in me wanted to raise my hand remembering the sermon by preacher Dave at Bible Camp, yet I did not.  "Well, they are real!"  "Virtually every ancient civilization has paintings of dragons in historical records alongside other non-fictional animals." The professor went on to say that he believed they were breeds of today's Komodo dragons.  Of course this got my mind racing "perhaps" I thought science is confused and everything fits into the Bible's History..
  Well,  I would grow closer in my walk with God. I felt the call from God to become a minister and even took a missionary trip to Northern Ireland.(this was during the time when there was fierce division).  Unfortunately many of my scholarships did not turn over and I would not be able to take another year at the university.
    During this time I finally put it upon myself to read all the way through the scriptures.  The energy of my fellow missionaries inspired me and I read through the entire Bible in 5.5 months!   One major discovery was the amount of passages where the Old Testament predicts everything in the New.  How would a book for people who don't believe in Jesus constantly prophecy about Jesus unless it was made by God and not the Jews? It was here that I began to realize the supernatural power of the Bible!
    So I went on to Bible college.  This Bible college was particularly advanced because it was connected to one of the top protestant seminaries in the US.
  It was quite a thrill to take classes at an institution where the scholars actually believed in the bible. I would learn systematic theology and philosophy and hermeneutics (Bible Interpretation.) And so many questions were answered.  Now, I had a perspective and a standpoint to confront the issues of an atheistic worldview.
   Now it was during this time period that evolution gave me it's greatest betrayal.  I had found out the truth about Piltdown man. You see their were many drawings and models of Piltdown man.  But the actual fossils were rarely on display.  A paleontologist finally gave serious examination of the famous fossil.   As he looked closely he noticed something odd.  The teeth had been shaved down, someone had tampered with it!  So He looked even harder;  and along the jaw line was copper wiring connecting the skull cap!  So they checked the DNA and the cap was human while the jawline was orangutan.  Piltdown man was a fraud! Worse yet, the discovery was made in 1950!  But I was a middle schooler in 1991. Why was the public school system using tax money to teach me information that been shown to be a complete fraud 40 years ago?!
 You see I was given the impression as did pop culture that evolution was a proven fact and that if it were not for the evidence, no one would believe it. But the reality was that evolution was already a philosophy before it was proven and would be use to indoctrinate millions of people even if it were based upon lies.
  At Bible college we took a course on science. It was here that I read "Darwin on trial". One of my favorite arguments had to do with transitional species and irreducible complexity. Let's suppose you had a mammal evolve into a bat.  The process would take perhaps millions of years. But the intermediate species would have wings that could not fly.  How would that species survive so long with large flaps which hindered it's movement?  Predators would have an easy time wiping out the species. Also the human eye is extremely complex.  For an animal to have evolved human eyes it would have to be blind for millions of years with incomplete eyes. evolution on it's own falls apart.
   But in the same class the teaching of the big bang theory with billions of years and reinterpretations of genesis was also taught.  In fact this was a great compromise.  You could deny the guts of evolution and yet you would still have to compromise a literal reading of scripture.  They pushed the geologic column and the problem of distant starlight. Eventually I caved into the idea for about a year.  But as I continued to study the scriptures it would not add up.  The flood in the Bible was global.  The earth made huge changes. Which is why the genealogies have man living extremely long before the flood and then the ages go down to their current spans after the flood.
 It was at this point that I gave the ministry of answers in genesis a chance. I learned that the geologic column was fabricated.  The earth layers are never stacked up the same from one site to the next.  The column was ordered according to the evolutionary theory which I no longer had any faith in.  Then there was the site of the Mt. St. Helen's volcano.  This disaster was recorded on film in 1981.  Yet it made huge stacks of earth and geologists admitted that if they had not seen the volcanic eruption, they would assume the stacks were 600million years old!  Then you have Ayer's rock, how do you get a mountain sized rock sitting by itself in the desert?  A flood would be the best explanation to me. Most importantly the entire planet shows signs of erosion, sediment, sedimentary fossils and even in the highest mountains there is aquatic fossils.
  The problem of distant starlight had an interesting solution given by Russel Humphreys.  If we assume that because all the galaxies are moving away from the earth that the earth is near the center of the universe;  Einstein's theory of relativity would imply that times speeds up on the outside edges of the universe.  That time is stretch out like a balloon causing distant starlight to be more active.     The problem of starlight and the horizon problem is still an area of mystery for science whether one is a creationist or evolutionist.  But The Bible says that God miraculously created light before the stars existed and that it doesn't say this started at one point.  So I am sure He can get the details right.
  This essay is not about my specifics arguments for a creation vrs. evolution debate though.  But it is about my experience, and how I got where I am at in understanding this.  So in summary, I admit there are attract aspects of an evolutionary worldview.  But evolution lends itself to a worldview of science fiction.  Because evolution is about what is possible as opposed to what is objectively true. Once I had experiences show me that what was fathomable was not reality I had to let go of fantasies.  My Christian faith had long lasted productive results in my life.  Evolution would give me the wrong ideas and lead many to a worse off life.
  An evolutionary worldview has nothing concrete, as soon as a fact is disproved it simply formulates a new excuse.  There is no tolerance of alternatives, whatever certainty you have today will be meaningless years later.
So this is why evolution was just not the fittest for me.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

History of God.

Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.


   Many times in religion verses secularism, we assume an even playing field.
We think that there is no objective record of God and that everything about God must then be blind faith.
   When we look at the scriptures, they are automatically seen as myth, with no historical basis.  But in reality the Bible is not just some book of fairy tales and fantasy and the authors of scripture had no intent of believing fantasy either.

2Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
Galatians 1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
    So if a myth was ok in the minds of the apostles and prophets to make up.... Why would they tell people that myths are wrong? And Why would they be believed?  People at the time knew about myths and that they should be rejected.   The Greeks eventually rejected mythological answers for the beginning of the world.
"Pre-Socratic philosophy is Greek philosophy before Socrates (but includes schools contemporary with Socrates which were not influenced by him[1])."
"The Presocratic philosophers rejected traditional mythological explanations of the phenomena they saw around them in favor of more rational explanations. These philosophers asked questions about "the essence of things":[4]
From where does everything come?
From what is everything created?
How do we explain the plurality of things found in nature?
How might we describe nature mathematically?"
Wikipedia pre-socratic philosophy
   So if the pagan histories were admitted to be myth.  Then the only History left is the biblical record.  Now many in the past have argued that Genesis was nothing more than a myth.  Yet these arguments did not happen until the modern era.
  Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

  Here we have a genealogy, which list God at the head of it.  This is important, as the Bible has now concluded God to be manifested immanently in space and time.
Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.

  So here Paul gathers pagan confirmation of the historicity of God.  If mankind is the offspring of God then He is a historical character.  In fact God interacts with historical characters
Adam
Genesis 2:16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
 
So, here we see God in the process of communicating to Adam
Genesis 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

  Here we see God as a male person.  This means that God is personal, if you are a person, you are either male or female. "It" is not a person.  God needs to be personal to interact with humanity and be part of history.

Genesis 3:8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
  This is a very interesting account because it not only has God acting, but it has him dialoguing with 3 other persons.

Did the Jews really think this was historical?
Here I see confirmation in the writings of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus.
"At that time all living creatures spoke a common language, and a serpent maliciously lured a woman into tasting of the tree of wisdom, promising a blissful existence equal to that of a god.  She tasted the tree's fruit, and persuaded Adam to do so also.  Now aware that they were naked, they covered themselves with fig leaves.  When God entered the garden, Adam tried to excuse himself by blaming Eve, and she accused the serpent.  God told Adam that the earth would no longer produce anything of itself except in return for grinding toil.  He punished Eve through childbirth, and deprived the serpent of speech, putting poison under it's tongue.  He also removed it's feet so that it would have to wiggle along the ground.  Then God removed Adam and Eve from the garden to another place."   Jewish Antiquities: Beginnings  trans. Paul L Maier 
Obviously, Josephus assumed this to be true history and assumed Genesis to be a historical record,
   At this point we have to remember that was not observed with an atheistic worldview.  the naturalistic worldview has to be forced upon history.  However, theism was the natural view.


   It is definitely sure that the Old Testament is a complete history.
As far as Biblical history and the ancient texts the Bible...
"It is the most complete history of the ancient past that we possess" READING THE OLD TESTAMENT: An Introduction by Lawrence Boadt.
The biblical framework is in harmony with the accounts of the Gentiles
"Civilization, as historians identify itfirst emerged between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago when people began to live in organized communities with distinct political, military economic and social structures.  Religious, intellectual, and artistic activities also assumed important functions in these early societies."
"Although Historians use documents to create their pictures of the past, such written records  do not exist for the prehistory of humankind.  Consequently, the story of early humanity depends on archaeological and more recently biological information, which anthropologists use t create theories about our early past. Although modern science has fostered the development of more precise methods, much of our understanding of early humans relies upon considerable conjecture."
 Comprehensive Volume WORLD HISTORY by William Duiker and Jackson J. Spielvogel 


Monotheism is historic amongst the most ancient societies

Egypt
 "One, the maker of all things, the Spirit, the hidden Spirit, the maker of Spirits. He existed in the beginning, when nothing else was. What is created He made after he came into being. ... No man knows how to find Him; His name is a mystery and is hidden. His names are innumerable. He is truth, He lives on truth, He is the king of truth. He is life, through Him man lives; He gives life to man, He breathed life into his nostrils . . He Himself is existence; He neither increases or diminishes. He made the universe, the world, what was, what is, and what shall be. ... He hears him who calls on Him, He rewardes his servants, those who acknowledge Him He knows, He protects His followers."
E.A. Wallis Budge, Osiris (New Hyde Park, N.Y: University Books, 1961) p. 357.
china
 The Chinese God was known as "Shang di" (note the similarities to "El Shaddai" one of God's names in genesis) meaning "Lord above" or "Supreme Lord"E. Allie and M. Frazer, Chinese and Japanese Religion (Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1969) p. 268.
India
" In the beginning, who was born the Lord the sole Lord of all that is who made the earth, and formed the sky, who gives life Who gives strength, whose bidding gods revere the ONLY GOD."
 Rig Veda excerpt from Selwyn Gurney Champion & Dorothy Short, Readings from World Religions (Greenwhich, Conn., Fawcett Publ., 1951) pp. 26-27.
 http://www.creationism.org/csshs/v07n2p18.htm


Mosaic authorship

 Late in the seventeenth century Jesuit and deist rationalistic scholars developed a conspiracy theory known as the Documentary Hypothesis.  Where they assumed that Moses was not the author of the Torah  and that the establishment of the Pentateuch was an evolution of Jewish traditions of four sources (Jehovist, Elohist, Deuteronomist and Priestly (JEDP)) which were compiled over several centuries.
The Bible places Moses as the Torah author.
The torah itself

Exodus 17:14 And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. "
Exodus 24:And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. " And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. "
Numbers 33:
And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the Lord: and these are their journeys according to their goings out. "

Deuteronomy 31:And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel."19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel."
22 Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel."
24 And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished,"
Lesser references
Exodus 25: 16,21-22Deuteronomy 28:58; 29:20, 21, 27, 29; 20:10, 11.
Other scriptures in the OT
2 K. 21:8, 1 Ch. 15:15, 1 Ch. 22:13, 2 Ch 24:6, 2 Ch. 33:8, 2 Ch. 34:14, Ne. 1:8, Ne. 8:14, Ne. 10:29, Mal. 4:4
Other scriptures in the New Testament
Matt. 8:4, Matt. 19:8, Matt. 22:14, Mark 1:44, Mark 7:10, Mark 10:4, Luke 5:14, Luke 20:37, Luke 24:27, John 1:45, John 5:46, John 7:19, John 7:22, John 8:5, Acts 3:22, Acts 15:21, Acts 26:22, Rom. 10:5, Rom. 10:19, 2 Cor. 3:15, Heb. 9:19

Scripture Does not fit into the JEDP categories!


Elohim shows up in J passages:
genesis 31:50,33:5,33:11
Jehovah shows up in P passages before Exodus 6:3
Genesis 17:1, 21:1
Jehovah occurs in E-source passages
Genesis 21:33, 22:4, 22:11, 28:21, Exodus 18:21, 18:8-11
    Now the main case for the documentary hypothesis is the internal evidence of differences in the text marked by the different names of God.  Supposedly different authors are adding upon another over the centuries.  they are distinguished by their name for God.  The fact that this claim is not consistent in the scriptures devastates the theory.  If the pattern is not consistent then how can they claim any type of evolution?

Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

mark 10: And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 1

Is Genesis 1 and 2 the same account?
  As we see here, Jesus is twice recorded as answering a question by quoting from genesis 1 and genesis 2 side by side. This implies that he read them from the same scroll.
If we have The Lord Jesus putting the 2 passages together then the duel creation theory falls apart.  If Jesus were only a prophet, this would still be proof, but since he is the LORD, then it is set in stone for any christian.

Where is the manuscript of J?E?P?D?  Nothing!!
Who are the sources? Nobody!
What does history say?
"But because almost all our constitution, depends on the wisdom of Moses, our legislator. "
"Now when Moses was desirous to teach this lesson to his countrymen, he did not begin the establishment of his laws after the same manner that other legislators did: I mean, upon contracts and other rights between one man and another, but by raising their minds upwards to regard God, and His creation of the world
" Josephus The Antiquities of the Jews Preface

Moses was highly educated
"Therefore the child being thought worthy of a royal education and royal attendance. was not, like a mere child, long delighted with toys and objects of laughter and amusement, even those who had undertaken the care of him allowed him holidays and time for relaxaton, and never behaved in any stern or morose way to him; but he himself exhibited a modest and dignified deportment in all his words and gestures, attending dilligently to every lesson of every kind which could tend to the improvement of his mind (21) and immediately he had all kinds of masters, one after another, some coming of their own accord from neighboring countries and different districts of Egypt, and some being even procured from Greece by the temptation of large presents.  But in a short time he surpassed all their knowledge, anticipating all their lessons by the excellent natural endowment of his own genius; so that everything in his case appeared to be an [r]ecollecting rather than a learning, while he himself also, without any teacher, comprehended by his instinctive genius many difficult subjects;(22) for great abilities cut out for themselves many new roads to knowledge." C.D. Yonge The works of Philo pg. 461
 
Now while it is possible for Philo to have been embellishing, we must remember that Philo is 2,000 years closer to the life of Moses and He is a Jew living at the time in Egypt before the Alexandrine library was burnt down. Thus he has quite the scholarly advantage to be authoritative on the subject he speaks.

Masoretic preservation
http://biblesmack.blogspot.com/2017/10/links-for-book-new-look-at-old-word.html
I deal with this in detail in my recent book "A new look at an old word".
But essentially the scriptures teach that they would be preserved and the Jews have kept them in the hebrew masoretic text.
in 143 cases of transliteration from Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian and Moabite into Hebrew and in 40 cases of the opposite, or 184 in all, the evidence shows that for 2300 to 3900 years the text of the proper names in the Hebrew Bible has been transmitted with the most minute accuracy. That the original scribes should have written them with such close conformity to correct philological principles is a wonderful proof of their thorough care and scholarship; further, that the Hebrew text should have been transmitted by copyists through so many centuries is a phenomenon unequalled in the history of literature.”32 He reasons further that since it can be shown that the text of other ancient documents has been reliably transmitted and that the text of the Old Testament has been accurately transmitted for the past 2,000 years, we may rightly suppose that the text of the Old Testament has been accurately transmitted from the very beginning  " Dr. Robert Dick Wilson A Scientific Investigation of the Old Testament pg.71,74-76
Literary genre: historical Narrative
 
  Many have argued lately that Genesis is not a historic narrative but in fact complex poem.  This is exemplified in the literary framework hypothesis.  In this interpretation the 1st chapter is a poem that displays didactic parallelism.  Thus the purpose is to give an allegorical message as to the philosophical differences with pantheism.
 "
Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that:
"creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience
the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story
Noah’s flood was
understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark."James Barr, Oriel Professor of the interpretation of the Holy Scripture, Oxford University, England, in a letter to David C.C. Watson, 23 April 1984. 
   Now Old earth creationist fired back that they had Hebrew scholars who did interpret Genesis figuratively at that time.  However, we must remember that those scholars were huddled in Evangelical Seminaries away from the secular population of scholars whom Barr worked with.

"Genesis is peppered with ‘And … and … and … ’ which characterises historical writing (this is technically called the ‘vav—ו, often rendered as waw—consecutive’). "https://creation.com/is-genesis-poetry-figurative-a-theological-argument-polemic-and-thus-not-history"Because the /wa-/ or /wǝ-/ was naturally interpreted as meaning "and" in addition to a signal for a different tensal interpretation of the forms, the waw-consecutive forms tended to be used in narrative, particularly in continuing rather than starting a story—precisely the places where the use of "and" would make sense."https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waw-consecutive

So we see in monotheism it is judeo Christian Monotheism which has told us HIStory which is OUR story.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Getting to know Matt. 25 crazy facts about Matt Singleton

1. I uprooted a tree
2. while in elementary school, I was in the newspaper for acting and performed at Opry land and KY Center of for the Arts.
3. I had lunch with Senator Rand Paul at a picnic table.
4. I tapped out a ninja.
5. I saved a life
6.I leg pressed 1002 lbs
7. I pinned a professional wrestler
8. I saved someone's life
9.  I found the bullet shell of a murderer
10. I gave a bible to a man who may be dead.
11. I cast out a demon.
12.  I created my own cosmology theory of the universe.
13. I preached from my own home and ran a church 2 years.
14.  I was on TV dressed up as the Statue of Liberty joining with "The League of Mascott's"
15.  I was the lead singer of a rock band
16. I pinned a State champion wrestler
17.  My HS football team broke the state record of offensive points in a season.
18.  I was a political activist who was in a national story protesting a new school policy.
19. I had my toe cut off for my 38 birthday.
20 My 1st wife left me to convert to Islam.
21 I became a grandfather of 8 kids by the age of 34.
22. I chased down and stopped a thief from stealing batteries.
23. I hosted a political talk show and someone used an episode as evidence in court.
24. I tapped out a UFC competitor days before his big fight.
25. I cross dressed for Jesus one-time

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Why the late dates?

       On Face book I got onto a textual criticism group and requested evidence for the later dating fo the gospels popular in acadamia.  After about a week I got this response.  My rebuttals are in Italics



"For example, Craig Keener notes the following reasons to Date Matthew after AD 70;

“Especially the following evidence seems to favor a date after a.d. 70:

(1) More than Mark or Luke (but much less exclusively than John, who writes in the 90s), Matthew particularly engages Pharisaism, which became a dominant element in early Syro-Palestinian Christians’ primary opposition mainly after 70. Indeed, Pharisees may have been much less hostile toward law-keeping Jewish Christians in the 60s (cf. Acts 23:6–9; Jos. Ant. 20.200–3).


Paul  was a pharisee and his exploits in the book of Acts shows more antogonism with the exception acts 22.   Phariseesm had been around since the period of the maccabees The Gospel give obvious motivation against christ in their monopoly of the temple.
In fact this theory mocks the integrity of Paul Who claimed to be a pharisee and persecutor of Christians within 10 years of the crucifixion.


(2) Matthew reflects a Jewish worldview closer to that of the rabbis than any other writer in the New Testament (although many other parts of the New Testament are equally Jewish). But the rabbinic movement began achieving prominence only after 70 (and even then, most common Galileans seem to have remained unaware of most of its views).


based on?  This is quite subjective.   Matthew was a jew at the same period as the rabbis that is why they are similar.
More importantly Rabbis had been around  since the diaspora and synagogue system pror to the 1st nectury.


(3) Matthew and Luke both probably depend on Mark, which probably derives from the mid-60s and may have addressed the church in Rome. The early church was well networked, so Mark may have circulated and become a standard work among many (cf. Lk 1:1) quickly; nevertheless, Matthew must have read and assimilated Mark, then invested a great deal of time arranging, drafting, and polishing his own Gospel. All this evidence suggests a date sometime after 70. (This argument of course falters if, with many conservative scholars, one dates Mark before the 60s. Contrary to accepted scholarly tradition, we lack definite reason to date it to the 60s or early 70s, and our assumption of a date for Mark no earlier than the mid-60s largely represents deference to consensus. Evidence for dating Mark before the 60s, however, seems to me no more definite.)



probably is not definitive  if the critics have the burden of proof then this needs solid evidence.  Matthew does not claim to be based on gospel sources and being an apostle Matthew was an eye witness.
Scholars such as Bruse Metzger make Mark an exception to the prophecy rule thus, there is no rule about the destruction here. (Oxford Annotated reference Bible)

Mark is based upon the preaching of peter who died in 65.  It would be assumed that this was done upon the approval of Peter prior to this.  However, archaeologist have claimed that Peter Died in Caesarea Phillippi.  Thus Peter would have been done in his campaign in Rome and some claim Mark to have ended up in Alexandria Egypt.  Therefore. Mark could have been written between the 40's and 50's.

(4) Matthew more clearly separates the disciples’ questions about the temple’s destruction and the world’s end for his readers than Mark does (Mt 24:3//Mk 13:2–4), even though Matthew’s Jewish readers would have been more familiar with the traditional prophetic perspective that arranged events according to their kind rather than according to their timing.”

Matthew is obsessed with His Jewish Audience understanding that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. As a result this gospel is constantly referencing OT texts.  When Jesus Prophecies he will be focused on separating end times prophecies over and apart from first coming prophecies. The Lord wanted to express the prophecies more specifically there.
He also notes, “Other supporting evidence, such as the fire of Matthew 22:7, offers some support but is not as critical to the discussion.”
But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city."
  This part of a parable of christ.  One has to assue that atthew is not recording the words of christ at all.  It is not even claiming to be historical but instead a parable.



And again;

“The weight of some of the strongest arguments, including the situation the Gospel addresses, initially suggested to me a date as late as the mid-80s, making it (in my opinion) later than both Mark and Luke, but with a polemic less developed (and with opponents less powerful and less targeted) than in the Fourth Gospel in the 90s. Yet because I believe some post-70 bitterness toward Gentiles informs the need for stressing the Gentile mission (especially for those who would place this Gospel or its author in Antioch, a home of that mission), and because I believe other recollections of the trauma of 70 remain quite relevant to the church (including perhaps false teachers claiming a false parousia during the war), I am inclined to lower the date by perhaps half a decade and guess that Matthew was written in the late 70s.”

Robert Stein (NAC) argues for a date between 70-90 AD for Luke;


I notice that theological moderates like to hail stein as conservative.  And in several aspects he may well be.  However Stein has been willing to "go off the reservation" on several occasions and I believe this is one of those times.  We see the typical  Jesus did not prophecy insinuation here.

“If Luke used Mark, then Luke-Acts would have been written after 65–67 and thus after the events of Acts 28. The Lukan use of Mark would suggest a date of 70–90 for the Gospel.
Such a date fits well three additional pieces of evidence found within the Gospel.

The first involves the “many” accounts Luke referred to in 1:1. A later date would fit the existence of many accounts of Jesus’ life more easily than an earlier one.

The second involves certain prophecies concerning Jerusalem’s destruction in Luke which seem to look back at the events of a.d. 70. This in no way requires that these prophecies must be vaticinia ex eventu, or prophecies after the events; but it does appear that Jesus’ prophecies concerning Jerusalem’s destruction were written in light of the knowledge of that destruction. Passages such as 13:35a; 19:43–44; 21:20; 23:28–31, while not requiring a post-70 date, probably are best understood as having been written after the event.

The third piece of evidence involves the positive light in which the Roman government is portrayed. See Introduction 7 (4). This would suggest a date some years after the Neronian persecution in the midsixties and before the persecution under Domitian in 95–96.”

Not seeing any justification Mark waiting to 65 Ad. The positive light of Roman government would push the pre-neronian dating and not post.  If I were writing about Germany in 1950 I would not put a positive spin on their government but I could in 1920.  At least according to this logic.

 


In Conclusion,
It is amazing how many evangelicals bow before the specualtion of late dating!

The problem is that Textual Critics have "The Burden of Proof"
We have church history records which give us the authorship of the Gospels.  We can not simply make up theories to override the facts, that is simply conspiracy theory.
The major argument assumes that the apostles did not record the Gospels objectively and thus would write down prophecies after the fact.
Pressuposing that these documents are artificial is based upon ones worldview and is not at all based upon facts.  Then once the bias is assumed fact ,they take the next step and doubt the authorship of the gospels!  The emperor has no clothes.